Critical Mess

Subtitle: “Critical Mass”

“Critical Mass” captures my adult weight struggles.

I began gaining weight near midlife. In addition to normal metabolic changes, I struggled with the loss of a “dream job,” as discussed in “Delusions & Illusions,” a job, evidently so important to my sense of self, after the loss, I spiraled into depression, emotionally paralyzed.

Luckily, my wife Caroline, an extraordinarily successful businesswoman, makes enough money to negate the impact of my income loss on our lives.

Caroline looks at the world differently than I. 

As a New England Yankee, Caroline believes if you have a problem, you pick yourself up by your bootstraps. You don’t spill your guts to a therapist. You lean on your sisters. Or friends you’ve had since freshman year in college. Or, your adult daughters.

When Caroline was diagnosed “pre-diabetetic”, she was told she needed more exercise. The next day, she hit the treadmill for one-hour. That was four years ago. I’m guessing she’s missed her daily exercise no more than ten days per year.

I’m not wired that way. I wish I was, sort of.

In the depths of my depression, Caroline didn’t have the capacity to recognize, or perhaps, the ability to relate. She was supporting our family, financially, our daughters emotionally, and me, by giving me space.

In couples therapy, Caroline said, that between her job and taking care of our daughters, she didn’t have bandwidth to deal with my problems.

Caroline tried, in her own way. She isn’t heartless. She enrolled me in a weight-loss physician’s group. She insisted on couple’s therapy but I wonder if she was motiviated by her desire to say she did her best to save the marriage, rather than actually work to save it.

My weight gain became a lightning rod for my depression. The psychology is fascinating to me.

Eating makes me feel better. On some primal level, I suspect eating equates to survival. Emotionally, I suspect eating takes me to the safety of my first providers, my parents.

Overeating fills me with shame (and oh-so-delicious carbohydrates). Shame in my lack of control. Shame in the distance between me and my athletic family.

Overeating and mirrors are toxic reminders of how far I have ahead.

Perhaps surprisingly, my perspective isn’t bleak! Through my journey, and with the help of my therapist, Allie, I’ve slowly learned to stop being so fucking binary. Off/On. Good/Bad. Right/Wrong.

I realized I shouldn’t minimize the time it took to get to the point when I wanted to change my path. Nor should I imagine moving forward is continuous, without setbacks.

Do I continue self-loathing over the aspects of my life which brings me shame, sabotaging my ability to change my path?

Or, do I recognize how vital patience is, and with that awareness, continue my journey,  one day at a time.

Guess which perspective I picked.

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I know…the picture contradicts my post… I couldn’t fingure out what to use visually so photoshopped this. Next one will be better. I promise!

2 thoughts on “Critical Mess

  1. I’m following your journey with interest, Jon, and enjoying the way you write. As a pre-diabetic – I wish I had Caroline’s resolve. Instead I have a complicated, convoluted relationship with food that is too frequently driven by hormones and emotions. I sympathise with you on that score!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Sandra,

      It is a fascinating aspect of existence that we can have such different relationships within our emotional spectrum. While I try to change my relationship with eating my ex is so differently wired it is a non-issue.

      The challenge is appreciating that what is a non-issue for one person may appear like an insurmountable Alp to another. And often, that mountain range may be so deftly camouflaged it remains uncharted and unseen.

      Thanks so much for commenting. It is gratifying.



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