The Letdown Effect
I turned in my book manuscript draft in mid-February. Then I went on vacation. Last week, I came back and faced down a migraine. The last week has been harder than I thought it would be. My therapist mentioned that this might be the case, especially since I have a history of what I like to call post-adrenaline depression.
I hated final exams at school. I was a stressed-out basketcase. I rarely slept, couldn’t eat all that well from anxiety (even before the ED…my love of snacking on pretzels helped stem the weight loss), was usually sick with a cold, and was irritable, moody, and generally not fun to be around. But my need to keep myself together in order to take the exams usually kept things from getting ridiculously out of hand. My myopia saved me, in a sense. After the exams were done, despite being uber-glad that they were over and I could read for fun! and sleep! and drink something that wasn’t espresso! I almost always plunged into a depression afterwards. Maybe depression wasn’t the right word. It was more like a serious funk–my mood dropped, I was apathetic and unmotivated, and, horror of horrors, bored out of my mind.
The last week has pretty much been a repeat of that. Not quite as serious because bills need to be paid no matter how much I (don’t) want to work, and I got a couple of extra projects from one of my freelance places, which also helps. Productivity is my antidote to despair.
Along with this funk came a bit of decline in my eating. It was thrown off first by the end of the book-writing period in which things just got chaotic. Not restrictive per se, but I didn’t have the time, energy, and brainpower to take the time I normally would in planning and preparing meals and snacks. I did really well during my vacation, eating responsibly and mostly not too little or too much. Then the migraine hit and I didn’t eat nearly what I needed to for that day. I didn’t do quite as bad as I initially feared when I tallied everything for the day, but there was a definite drop. The next day, I did eat what I needed but felt terribly guilty. And so the passive restricting began, followed by the active restricting.
It wasn’t super severe, especially in comparison with some of the crazy stunts I’ve pulled in the past. My weight didn’t massively go down. Mentally, though, I was having a rough time yesterday. Depressed, cold, apathetic and terrified of everything. Which is kind of what snapped me into action. I texted my therapist and we worked out a safety plan and I’m trying to get back on track. I did a full day of meals today and most of the day yesterday. I was horribly anxious this morning, but I’m pushing through it and it’s lifting, mostly.
I have a busy rest of the week planned, which will help, since business helps make the ED stuff more obvious (I don’t have the brainspace or time to obsess or engage in behaviors). It also gives me something to think about besides calories and existential anxiety.
So…that’s where I am. Regrouping and pressing on.