Piecing Reality Together

questions_sm2My celiac disease diagnosis in July 2012 came as a shock.  Discovering my weight had dropped to 109 pounds, later dropping to 104, stunned and scared me, especially when accompanied by a significant bone density loss.  My other seemingly disconnected symptoms only made sense in hindsight.

Unfortunately I rationalized my symptoms.  I told myself:

  • Our new scale doesn’t work.
  • Our old scale doesn’t work either.  (Both scales registered the same weight, not surprisingly.)
  • Clothing manufacturers must be offering vanity sizing, labeling clothes smaller than the actual cut.
  • My bras must be stretching out.
  • I don’t have a real memory issue or brain fog, I just have too much on my mind.
  • Maybe my skin issues and protruding veins resulted from aging.
  • I must resolve whatever emotional issue causes my binge eating.
  • I “get away” with eating so much because of my inherited high metabolism.

I focused on my binge eating as the problem, never suspecting an inability to absorb nutrients in my small intestine caused physical starvation.  Of course I targeted the eating behavior since I knew nothing about celiac and didn’t exhibit the more classic digestive symptoms which might have helped my doctor pinpoint my condition.  Although I’m fully aware what happens to each of us ideally suits our soul’s purposes, I wish my diagnosis hadn’t taken so long, taking such a toll on my body.

My last post Inner Expert encouraged you to know what you know when it comes to who and what might help you when healing.  However, sometimes your own stories, fears, and preferences cause you to distort reality.  Now I realize I didn’t want to know my weight, not wanting to face the number reflected by my binge eating.  Now I see I didn’t want to remain my normal size 6 or 8, I secretly enjoyed wearing a 4 or 2 or even less.  Now I understand why none of the therapists’ or healers’ suggestions for why I might be binge eating made sense as conventional wisdom pointed toward an emotional cause, not a physical one.

Gently pay attention when things don’t add up.  Kindly and compassionately question what you tell yourself, especially when it comes to historical hot buttons or blind spots.  Unfortunately addressing reality only works when you face it first.

Ever told yourself a convincing but erroneous story?  How does courageous honesty with yourself feel?

10 comments

  1. I feel challenged (in a good way!) when I read your blog posts. You challenge readers with thought-provoking questions. As I read your post today, I thought about Mark Twaiin’s words, ““The older I get, the more clearly I remember things that never happened.” You mention that “sometimes [our] own stories, fears, and preferences cause [us] to distort reality.” I remember the jolt of pride I felt when slipped into a pair of size 0 jeans (even though I was bone-thin and my hair was falling out). I am grateful those days are 20 lbs ago. I don’t think there is an American woman alive with an accurate body perception. Your words remind me to be honest … especially about my own blind spots. And especially to myself.

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    • Julie, thanks for your lovely post and for your feedback on the good challenge I present you. I agree distorted body images linger for many American women. I thought I’d put it behind me until I realized a tiny secret glee around my new smaller size. Even if it wasn’t “real,” a small, unconscious part of me liked the label. Now I deeply get how a number, be it weight or size, discounts one’s health and well-being. Ironically this awareness propelled me to stop weighing myself years ago. Now I must use the scale as a tool to assess health, not as a measure of merit. Thanks again for your post, it got me thinking as well.

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    • Thanks for your comment, John, and you’re welcome! My personal experience has made me who I am both as a human and as a healer so I’m happy to share what I’ve learned from it.

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  2. What a powerful message for all of us Christy! How often have I lied to myself, when the truth was right in front of my eyes. It’s like a part of us blinks open for a second and somehow thinks facing the truth will hurt, so we just take in a little bit at a time. I think for me, not looking at the truth has mostly come from my old habit of “pleasing others”. I’d overlook what was my truth taking the option of making others more comfortable.

    I am grateful that life’s journey just gets better as we figure these things out about ourselves. I’m so appreciative for you sharing the experience you have faced with your body – it is so inspiring and encouraging to me. Getting “naked” so to speak and just telling it like it is – is SO healing to all! We are all in this together!!

    Thank you Christy – sending you love on this journey!

    Karen

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    • Karen, thank you for your interest, comment, and kindness. You’re so right about the fear facing the truth will hurt, we do everything we can to minimize hurt, even when it ends up being more painful trying to avoid it than just going through it. I know the people pleaser place and have written about it some in my blog. When I consider it, me being sick would cause problems for others which probably explains why it took some extreme physical circumstances for it to register. I’m the healthy one, the strong one, the helper and healer, and so on. Ah, the power of labels!

      Thanks for your lovely feedback about my own story. I debated sharing it but decided what I’ve learned trumped my self-consciousness. I appreciate you sending love and I’m sending love your way as well.

      In gratitude,
      Christy

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  3. Christy, Dr. Brené Brown would be so impressed with your choice to disclose vulnerable information. I am so thankful as much of your journey mirrors my own. Always being the ‘go to gal’ and problem solver does not leave much time or thought to one’s own health. People often asked me how I found the time and energy; now I know the answer – by not caring for myself. My physical health became the ‘price’. Many ignored or ‘shrugged’ symptoms later, Multiple Sclerosis became my take it much easier guide post. I still struggle with the idea of ‘my needs’ but I guess some habits die a little harder than others. Thanks for this blog to remind me of the value of self care and observation:) ♥

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    • Hi Teena, thanks so much for your comment. I love Brené Brown! Oddly I didn’t feel vulnerable posting this since I reported the facts and not my emotional response to them.

      Big hugs to your around your Multiple Sclerosis and finding your way back to yourself and your needs. Many women fall into the Superwoman or People Pleaser (or both) roles due to cultural and familial expectations so I love every story of awakening to a new, healthier way to give and receive support in the world. Your needs matter!

      You’re so welcome, I’m glad you found the post helpful.

      May you be well,
      Christy

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