Another long sad song from the one-note trumpet. Sorry to anyone who makes a practice of reading every blog. I swear I didn't used to be this boring.
Well, today has been a bust. I made one resolution for 2013–to eat clean–and today, Day #1 (I never honor resolutions till the 2nd), I blew it totally. I stuffed myself with all the reactive foods, i.e., the ones that make me feel the worst physically and mentally. Thing is, I don't want to eat this shit anymore. I am by now so well versed in its ill effects that I can't enjoy it. It tastes like chemicals or cardboard and leaves an unpleasant skim in my mouth. Then, cue the stomach pain, the joint stiffness, the foul mood and gnawing anxiety, and finally, the feelings of pure hopelessness. And yet, today I simply could not stop myself. It really was no different, I don't think, than any other form of self-injury. I was looking for numbness and punishment.
In my experience it takes about two weeks of detox to really feel better–though a slight psychological lift kicks in sooner. And from there on out, it's an upward trip. The biggest benefit I noticed during my recent 6-week trial was an 80% reduction in my anxiety. There was so much more space in my mind, so much more air and color. For the first time in a couple years, I really enjoyed silence, because the voice in my head was calm, wise, reassuring, and quite funny. I had a few surreal moments of trying to reconcile my current age and circumstances with feelings of confidence which were much more in line with those of my childhood, early 20s, and late 20s/early 30s.
One of my main motivations for a "clean 2013" is empirical: simply, I want to see where a full year of consistently good physical habits and decent mental health can take me. If I think of it as an experiment, I have a chance. If I see it as a feat of discipline that I must perform in order to be adequate (how I see most things), I am totally sunk. The part of me who resents the idea of being broken will sabotage me at every turn. "You say I have to do this? Yeah, well, fuck you too," etc etc.
So many conflicts. I want to get well and move forward, and I don't. I am drawn to the idea of abstemiousness, but my inner wild-child–aka Mad Meg–is drawn to excess. I want more structure, and I want to throw any and all damn rules off the back of a train. And, most relevant to my presence here on the board: I want to do it completely on my own, and I want to be part of a close community.
This isolation/communion struggle is an ongoing thing with me, and has throttled a good many of my relationships in recent years. Like any simple animal, my first impulse when sick is to go off and lick my wounds in private. Showing other people all my vulnerabilities, my failures and diminishments is just too humiliating and scary. So I pull away and vow to whip myself through some bootcamp-for-one which will restore my former qualities and let me emerge from my social purdah a totally lovable and respectable person. In the meantime, I am so lonely, so guilty about failing my relationships, so ashamed of my vanity–and increasingly socially awkward into the bargain.
I don't know what to do. I have considered taking an extended leave from this site, mostly because I want to deemphasize the role of "depression" in my self-concept. (I am not talking about denial so much as a shift in emphasis.) And I certainly do dream of going away, getting my shit together, and being able to come back and be of more use to people who are really struggling. Maybe I even dream of being one of those inspiring (infuriating?) "success stories." I don't really know. I have always been a self-taught, solitary sort of doer; and yet, I realize that there is a difference between writing or drawing or learning yoga on your own and struggling with certain fears and addictive responses. I think it would great to cheer others and be cheered at the same time. I love the idea of building solid friendships along this path–not relationships of shared misery so much as shared effort–but invariably have a week of those bad days, when the words and wit just don't come and I can't reach out for pure shame.
I am agitated, daunted, and plain old discouraged tonight. Lonely, too. I am sorry to have rambled.