I have been experiencing various levels of grief since Sunday. I am pretty sure I am one of those people that they call an Empath. Some of the characteristics of an Empath are major empathy, easily overwhelmed, strong intuition, love of nature, dislike of crowds, deep caring, problem solving, high sensitivity, need for rest/recharge, dislike of conflict, trouble fitting in, isolation, boundary issues, unique view, and easily overloaded. This list of characteristics is like it was written to describe my life. What does that mean? It means that life is extremely exhausting. I am so much more aware of my surroundings of the emotional kind. When people feel things that I am close to or even just know casually, I feel their emotions too. I feel it as my own. I think being an Empath can make others around you feel that you are selfish or something similar, but it quite the opposite.
So with all that in mind, when something happens to us and people that we are extremely close to, like my mom, the grief is overwhelming. I am dealing with my grief, my moms grief, my kids grief, my step dads family’s grief, and the grief of everyone I know who loved my step dad. I don’t enjoy being this way all the time. It’s a very emotionally draining way to live life, but I do pride myself in being a compassionate person. A forgiving person. A comforting person. I do have to work at not making myself the important person when it’s others grief. I just want to be there for them. I want to help them. It is just in my nature to want to help. Sometimes other see that as me trying to make things all about me.
I think in my last post I mentioned that I started my pre op diet on the same day as finding out the passing of my step father. I was devastated and immediately started thinking about food. At any given moment for the last three days I could have picked up my keys and hit a drive thru and stuffed myself full of burgers, tacos and soda and felt better for at least a moment. I wanted to so bad. It was like the food was calling me. Reminding of how good it tasted and how it would help me feel better. I knew I couldn’t do that to myself. I have too much to lose to fail at this again. To not accomplish this goal gives me a bad feeling. Its like this is my last chance. I pushed through and I am proud to say that when I weighed in on Tuesday, after only 2.5 days on the diet, I lost 7 lbs. I was like a kid who was just given the toy of the year on Christmas morning! It was the confirmation I needed to know that I am doing good despite the extreme adversity.
How To Find Alternate Ways of Coping
It was great luck or divine destiny that I just happened to have a counseling appointment today. I canceled it thinking I would have already left to go to GA, but luckily was able to get it back when I realized I would still be in town. We talked about a lot of things, one being finding another way to cope instead of eating. What can I do that will help me quash the urge to eat when it is not from hunger. We came up with adult coloring books, my diamond paintings I am working on, calling a support person, and I added Praying! Pushing through the last few days with only minor blips on the diet has helped me to realize that I CAN do this! I WILL do this! I HAVE to do this!
The next few days will be additionally challenging with adding travel into the mix. Keeping to a diet is one thing when you are home, but traveling and knowing the kids will be eating out is going to be tough. A saying I once heard comes to mind. Prior Proper Preparation Prevents Piss Poor Performance. What does that mean? It means I will be more likely to succeed if I plan. So, I planned. I figured out how many of my shakes and bars I will need while I am gone. I am going to get a small cooler and fill with ice to keep them cold while traveling. I am going to pack some of the snacks that I am allowed and plan to hit some places to eat that I will be able to get something for my one real meal of the day. Most likely somewhere I can get a piece of grilled chicken and a side salad. This will be another challenge that will give me the confidence boost I need to know I can do this. That I can adapt to the way of eating that will be necessary after surgery to be a success.
Do you ever emotionally eat? What have you done or tried to replace that desire? I would love to hear your stories.