Wednesday, May 1, 2013

My pants are too tight...

This morning, I put on my favorite pair of pants…and they were too tight.

Immediately, anxiety filled my mind.

It was like a sudden summer storm, blowing in from the north, bringing hail and strong winds.  The anxiety was threatening to level my house.  I wasn’t sure if my foundation was strong enough.

I couldn’t focus on anything else besides the fact that my pants felt too tight.  I mindlessly walked around trying to finish getting ready.  I started three or four tasks and never finished any of them.

I couldn't concentrate because my thoughts were occupied with other things.

I was figuring out how to lose some weight.  My brain defaulted to, “I will cut out sugar and grain.  I will exercise seven days a week for two hours.  I will do anything I can to avoid gaining more weight.”  My life is over, as I know it, if I can’t fit into my clothes anymore.

The anxiety grew and snowballed into more anxiety, even though I used some of my coping skills to try and stop it before it was too late.  I sat down and took some deep breaths.  I listened to some soothing classical music.  I wrote what I was thankful for down on a piece of paper.  I read from the Bible and prayed the rosary.
No matter what I did, the anxiety was there, and I couldn’t do anything to get my calm back.

Eventually, I had to cancel my plans.  For me, it was going to be a relatively busy day.  I had some commitments I wanted to fulfill.  However, I couldn’t push myself to do any of it.  From experience, I know when I am past the point of no return and it is better for me to just stay home.

After several hours, the anxiety is gone and I am left with a heavy weight of depressed feelings.  I am down because my anxiety kept me from doing what I wanted to do today.  And I am also down because I still feel fat.

Why do I feel this way?  Why is it so gosh darn important for me to be certain size?  How was I so blind-sided by this anxiety storm?  Why didn’t my coping skills work?

Before the panic attack set in, I can look back and see that my stomach was upset, and I felt stressed and unhappy.  My stomach doesn’t feel good because it is “that time of the month”.  I had a lot on my plate today - an extra long to-do list - causing me some extra stress.  And I am unhappy because of the underlying depression that is always there and my high self-standards that I make myself live up to.

For me, that is a triple threat –the “trifecta” for the perfect storm.  Physical pain, too much stress, and on the verge of tears…

OK, so now what?

(Drum roll, please!)


Cognitive Behavioral Therapy: Retraining Your Thoughts

I have to change how I talk to myself.  I have to repeat true, uplifting statements over and over.
I am not perfect.  Not every day can be a perfect day.
It is OK if I have to cancel my plans and stay home.  The world will go on without me.
I am not a failure if I take some pain medication.  I am not weak for accepting the hurt.
It is not worth risking a relapse if I have to push myself to the breaking point.
Don’t compare myself to others.  Don’t compare my failures to other people’s accomplishments.
Even if I don’t do anything at all today, my life is still important – I am still valuable.

If you were expecting something of me today, I regret to say it will be put off until tomorrow.  As of now, I foresee a nap in my future.

Being realistic, I should eat a nourishing meal, take a short nap, and go for a 20 walk or jog.  I know those three accomplishments are the “trifecta” for a good mood.  If I can complete those things, that would be good for me.  If not, I will just try again tomorrow.

Stay tuned for tomorrow’s post to find out what happens!  Just kidding…I’ll be fine.  You take care of yourself now too.

{Photo 1: “Russia Storm” by Craig Borchers, Photo 2: “Cottage after the Rain Storm” Painting by Mary Borchers, Photo 3: “After the Storm” in Naples, Florida by Mary Borchers, Photo 4: “Painting of a Single Rose” by Mary Borchers}


  1. Mary, I just wanted to thank you for your posts, especially about body image, ED, and the interior experience of it all. I have people close to me who suffer from the same, and sometimes it's hard for me to fully understand, and even to know what's them actually reflecting on their sickness and what's the sickness talking. Your posts give me real insight, and it's uncanny how sometimes what I read on your blog could be said by a loved one here, just the other day or maybe tomorrow. And then some of it is entirely new. And getting to read about how you cope, experience coping, and all of it--it's a real gift.

    So, thank you! God bless you. Carry on.

    1. Thank you for reading! I am glad that my posts are helping to give you insight into ED's. It is so misunderstood sometimes. I really like how you brought up the fact that sometimes it's the "sickness talking" and not the person himself/herself. Just knowing that piece of information will help you tremendously. Thanks again for your kind words. God Bless you too!