For years I've joked about "having some time off" by going bananas and ending up in a padded cell with fuzzy slippers, lots of sleep, and 3 meals a day I don't have to cook.
Until one day last week when I realized I'd created my own padded cell.
I do have fuzzy slippers but don't get all the sleep I want and still cook meals. After an intense bout of depression I'm still trying to conquer and some major life challenges this year I found myself medicating with food and alcohol.
I was eating what I wanted when I felt like the black hole was swallowing me and when I felt good I was eating healthy. Except the dark vortex of pain was present in some way every single day. I didn't feel like eating so when I did, I just ate what I thought would taste good at the time. I didn't drink to get drunk, or even buzzed, just a bit to take away the anxiety of what I couldn't control in my life.
I was on some medicine that was helping my brain but not my body. So I changed medicines. But I kept gaining weight. When I weighed in at my all time bigger than nine months pregnant weight last week I thought again that my family would be better off without me.
Angry. Sad. Hopeless.
I spent some time with a wise friend and talked and cried. She encouraged me to do what I needed to do to be free. I knew she was getting free herself and I could see it on her face. Her eyes understood my pain more than her words could speak.
Unlike the wind that you can feel but not see, HOPE can be seen even if you don't feel it. When I stop and become intentional about looking around at my beloved ones and the blessings in my life, hope appears.
Having hope doesn't mean my padded cell evaporates. It's still there, tempting me to stay enveloped in the safety it provides. Safe from being truly seen in the heart places, experiencing the comfort of self when I'm tempted to venture out, and narrowing my focus to the minimal life that I might be able to control.
Why leave the padded cell?
I know it will only shrink until I'm confined so much I can't move at all.
I long for the expansive outside world of athletics, not shopping in plus size stores, eating yummy food in moderate amounts, having a glass of wine for the pure enjoyment of it, and not being stared at because of my size. I crave the freedom of water skiing, snow skiing, cycling and looking like I live a fit lifestyle. I want my sons to wrap their arms all the way around me for the first time, to be excited to introduce me to their friends and not be embarrassed about how I look (yes, they are starting to notice).
I desire to be the bride my Love married. Slightly altered maybe since I had babies, but not confined to negative self talk & food addiction run wild. Vibrant, funny, and able to go out on his arm without beating myself up or obsessing about my flaws.
I will get out of this cell. I won't stop until I do. I will open myself up for love and life; letting go of the need to protect myself from the unknown. One day at a time.
Love. Life. Hope.