Thursday, September 20, 2007

Wine and Chocolate Will Not Help

I can tell when I'm getting stressed, and feeling like I'm sinking under everything that's going on. I go quiet, and I start to think about turning to those old friends, red wine and Dairy Milk. Particularly the red wine. My way of dealing with a situation I don't know how to handle is essentially denial, and anything that can get me into a semi-comatose state, with my senses dulled, is a winner for me. The chocolate isn't such a non-negotiable part of the deal, but old habits die hard (even if, to be fair, I'm more likely to reach for the Green & Blacks now).
I'm trying to retrain my brain at the moment. Running helps far more. I can still clear my brain of everything I am trying not to think about, and I can still dull my senses to everything except the mechanical action of my legs and my arms, and my breathing, and my heart rate. And I don't get a hangover in the morning. But somehow, even though I know that, and I know that it's a better way to deal with the situation, it just doesn't have the same appeal to my brain when I'm sitting at work deciding how to spend the evening. On Monday I got to running club, sat for 10 minutes in the changing room and then decided to go home. I forced myself to run last night, but my heart wasn't really in it when I set out. It got better though, and I'm glad I did it. And maybe if I do it often enough it will become my stress reliever of choice.
I will admit to a little bit of comfort eating, and I will admit that some of my clothes are a little snugger than they were a week or two ago. That doesn't bother me, I'm not bingeing as such, just being a bit less controlled than I could be. Why do I feel like food is going to help though? After all, a bar of chocolate or a slice of toast isn't going to sit there talking to me, hugging me, or doing something practical to make me feel better. It might provide momentary satisfaction, but the taste is gone quickly, but the emotional void is still there waiting to be filled. At the most it will take my mind off things for a moment or two, but it's actually not chocolate or wine that's best at that. What I need is the sort of food that I can stand in the kitchen cooking for an hour or so, busying myself with doing something. One of my favourite comfort foods is risotto, not just for the taste but because standing there stirring the stock in allows me to empty my head of anything else. Spending the time cooking something, or running, is time devoted to my health and wellbeing, rather than worrying about someone else's.
But if that's the argument I need to use to tear myself away from the wine and chocolate, I'm still not sure how to stop the habit I have of retreating into myself, of barely uttering a word, and certainly not letting anyone know what's bugging me. My brain seems to think that it's weak to ask for help, or to admit that I don't know what I'm doing, or that I'm out of my depth. I've simply never been in this position for, and don't seem to have any instinct that kicks in and tells me what to do, other than to try my best to ignore it in the hope it goes away. And I'm not sure that is going to happen.
At the moment, it seems that this could be my plan for the weekend:
Friday night - leaving drinks, then to Bradford for rugby. Home.
Saturday - 5 mile race. Drive to Humberside airport. Drive from Humberside airport to Blackpool. Visit hospital. Drive home.
Sunday - help with registration for 10k race. Get train to London. Do 20 mile run.
Monday - sleep through dull conference. Sleep on train home.
The strange thing is that the runs are probably going to be the times out of all that where I feel most chilled out and relaxed, and the part of the weekend I'm most looking forward to because I'll get some time alone. Further evidence that I'm not entirely sane. Or, if I still am (just about), that my sanity is quickly ebbing away.


Blogger K said...

I hope you feel better soon.

And really, valuing your time alone is not an indicator that your sanity is in doubt!

10:17 PM  
Blogger Rev said...

I do this "go quiet" thing too. When I was young my mother would ask me to "come out of the tree I'd climbed" so I just call it being Treed now. It's my default way of dealing with things, I think.

It's useful at times--it helps me get through things--but I also find it helps me procrastinate at actually doing anything.

Anyway, I just wanted to say that I hope you have the time in your head that you need and that being there helps you sort things out.

3:42 PM  
Blogger JessiferSeabs said...

As somebody who is nursing an extremely bad hangover today, and just ingested a chocolate croissant, less than two weeks before my marathon, I really needed to read this. So thank you for posting it.

4:02 PM  

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