Day 97: Far from perfect! -Bye bye ego, hello shame!

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These days I am under tremendous pressure work-wise: the third chapter of my PhD is due at the end of the week and I am nowhere near finished. This means I am putting in 10 hour long days, while battling very intense feelings of anxiety and discouragement, which (NO WORRIES!) is just part of the fun of being a graduate student. 

Soooo although time and life expectancy are running out for me, I still want to take the time here to draw out a brief comparison of how I am reacting under stress now, vs. how I did 3 months ago – when I was still drinking daily and in secret. This is an interesting experiment because in both cases, this is me AT MY WORST and the only varying parameter is the presence/absence of booze as a coping mechanism. So here it goes, and it ain’t pretty…. (bye bye ego, so loooong !!! ).

Back then: 

  • I would start drinking at 5pm every day to keep working and “push through” for another few hours
  • I topped meditating completely (I was drunk in the evenings and hungover in the mornings so what do you expect!!!)
  • I would hide my drinking from people/my partner/the liquor store people (going to different stores every day)
  • I would completely emotionally shut off from my partner and shut him out (even cancelled plans to meet his sister for the first time, claiming to be too depressed)
  • I was too ashamed and unable to open up as to the cause of my misery (which boiled down to anxiety and alcohol abuse to cope with it)
  • I experienced complete loss of libido, even feelings of physical repulsion when my partner initiated sex
  • I completely withdrew socially (apart from my boyfriend I spoke practically to no one in a month)
  • I stopped exercising completely
  • I had a general feeling of lethargy, difficulty in doing things: I was a catatonic zombie
  • I engaged in drunken and secret binge eating EVERY evening for about two weeks (ice cream, chocolate, peanut butter, you name it) and felt horrible physically
  • I had very poor body image
  • I had very poor self-esteem
  • I engaged in very negative self-talk
  • I Had general feelings of worthlessness and hopelessness

Now: 

  • I am not drinking
  • I have strong feelings of aversion towards meditating but am still stubbornly committed to at least 15 minutes of meditation per day (instead of usual 2 hours). I can really feel a difference: not meditating SUCKS, everything feels much worse, but I just can’t get myself to sit down. I have great difficulty in concentrating while meditating
  • I have great difficulty in opening up emotionally to my partner, I keep wanting to shut him out, but am able to let him in and be vulnerable when confronted about it. He has been feeling rejected and I haven’t done much about it.
  • I am able to identify and talk about the cause of my misery (anxiety from work)
  • I seem to have a complete loss of libido.
  • I have been engaging in daily binge eating in the evening for the past week or so (I even sometimes begin eating chocolate or peanut butter in the morning after breakfast… YIKES): I am relying on sugar instead of alcohol to “get through” the workday/anxiety and eating to the point of discomfort, every day. I am feeling too ashamed to tell anyone about this, especially my partner. (THIS IS EXACT SAME BEHAVIOR AS PREVIOUSLY WITH ALCOHOL!)
  • I feel like I am on autopilot / in a tunnel/ condemned to a fast-paced yet mindless rhythm of anxiously doing things (rather than slowing down, putting things into perspective and focusing how I am really feeling, i.e. opening the door to feeling better). 
  • I am seriously unable to stop and relax: I am an anxious manic zombie. 
  • I feel a general numbness towards ANY of feeling except anxiety, irritation (or sugar cravings): Very un-buddhist !!! 

Yep, this is me at my worst. Or me feeling my worst.

At least work is giving me a distraction from the anxiety … caused by work !!! HOW ABSURD THIS ALL IS! (#Samsara).

So in conclusion,  the only thing that feels different this time around is that I am sober. Otherwise I am still an anxious mess. (ok, clearly I was severely depressed back in August, whereas now I am just very anxious but not depressed at all, and my self-esteem is much higher/my self-talk much less negative).

WHAT I AM MOST ASHAMED OF: I still need a crutch (it’s just a different one than I used to have. Both are empty calories though …haha). I really wish I didn’t use bingeing as a coping mechanism. Why can’t I be a sports addict instead? lol – I have probably put on the 15 lbs I lost during the breakup lol. I am too scared to weigh myself and see. (Is this eating disorder behavior? Urghhh I don’t know anything anymore)

Also, and I think this might be more important: when under pressure I am still sacrificing self-care (meditation/exercise), when I know that these are the moments I need it THE MOST. When will I learn?

Long story short, I am still far from perfect [duuuuh, and MAYBE THAT’S MY PROBLEM… TRYING TO BE PERFECT all the time/SETTING IMPOSSIBLE UNATTAINABLE GOALS – you know the drill… “to confirm limiting beliefs that I’m not good enough”… yada yada yada. Urgh]

Maybe I should listen to my partner, who said (about the being sober part)  “that’s a huge difference!!!”. I guess it is. 

 Oh well.

I know that it is a past behavior of mine to find tremendous secondary benefit in doing my work last minute, under pressure, with my back to the wall. (This trait I inherited from my mother who for example decided to get an MBA at age 50, and wrote her whole thesis in a few days, locked in her office, like an insane maniac. And passed brilliantly). I know that at least this gives me an excuse to “fail” if I fail. The whole process is stupid. I know I need to just relax and not put so much pressure on myself. I have 4 days left to finish.

Writing this blog post was the ultimate act of self care given the present situation. (the only reason I wrote it is because my boyfriend called me and I finally opened up about my feelings and cried, which broke my “numb zombie” bubble and allowed me to close my books and take an evening for myself. Writing this made me feel better though 🙂

I CAN’T WAIT FOR THE HOLIDAYS!!! Hang in there

Xxx Anne. 

Published by nomorebeer

Learning how sobriety helps you ENJOY life.

23 thoughts on “Day 97: Far from perfect! -Bye bye ego, hello shame!

  1. Anne, you are my blogging world twin, (I know I said previously you were my daughter but it’s my prerogative to change things to suit my case). We came into this sober world together, so there’s an affinity there. Your post really touched me as I had no idea how bad things had been for you. All those things “wrong”with you that you list do not resonate with the strong, vibrant, funny woman I’ve been following these last few months. Sure they have happened/been happening but so has all the good stuff. “Ashamed,” you say? Fuck that I say. Ditch that shame , you have so much to be proud of. You have been on an amazing journey, you have been searingly honest, you have been amazingly supportive to ALL the other bloggers. I don’t want to sound didactic and controlling but I will be cos your my twin: finish the thesis, celebrate your massive achievements, continue to grow and develop. You are without doubt “Anne the Invincible!” And we all love you. Good luck! Jim x

    Liked by 7 people

    1. Jim has said it all really Anne and he is spot on. You have so many things to be proud of and read that list back .. there are positive changes, some subtle but still there non the less. Even writing the list and blogging is a positive. This is stress at its worst and there is good reason, you are under immense pressure. Try not to beat yourself up because of it. It’s understandable and you are surviving it.
      Keep going, keep blogging and believe in yourself! Perfection is dull btw, it’s our. idiosyncrasies that make us interesting.
      You can do this Anne and we are all here for you no matter what happens
      Claire xx

      Liked by 4 people

      1. thanks Claire 🙂 yes I will keep going and yes there are many positive changes (which I have neglected in my “stress-themed” post)- soon everything will be much calmer and I can relax 🙂 Thanks so much for the support you guys !!! xxx Anne

        Liked by 1 person

    2. alsssooooo thank you so much for being here, your words mean so much Jim !!! Without your support/parallel journey this simply would not be the same !!! and you are 100% right to remind me of all the good stuff that has happened in the last few months – I tend to forget that really easily. xxx Anne

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Thanks for being so honest Anne – a lot resonated with me in your post, especially the chocolate, loss of libido and not making time to meditate (you are doing so much better than I am on that score!). We are all doing the best we can and for the record I think you are amazing! I guess we are all figuring out what is actually our personality and what was the drink. Keep going and keep blogging! 💞💞

    Liked by 5 people

    1. yes absolutely 🙂 And I certainly plan on improving my stress-management skills, and hopefully taking it a bit easier on myself. This is also why I have decided that academia is not for me – some people enjoy it and thrive in it but for me it’s too much pressure. I much prefer doing work that isn’t displayed for the whole world to see ^^ PS> Being 100% honest on here might have sounded a bit dramatic (from Jim’ and Claire’s reaction) but I also see great therapeutic value in cutting the bullshit and “owning up” to the less glamorous stuff and working from there 🙂 We will figure this out! xxx Anne

      Liked by 2 people

  3. Hi Anne! You are under so much pressure right now and you are still sober committed! That is amazing! Try not to be hard on yourself, I and I know many others look up to you and all your accomplishments! They are huge! Keep truckin along….We think you are doing great!! 😃

    Liked by 3 people

  4. Hi Anne!
    All I know is that it took my body and mind time to heal. It took way longer than I wanted.
    The most important thing that helped me was learning about self-compassion.
    No one is perfect. The more I let go, and hugged myself, the more I could heal. I had an awesome therapist who helped on this path as well.

    Big hugs!
    xo
    Wendy

    Liked by 4 people

      1. yes y’all are SUPER right and I’m doing much better remembering the self-compassion since I popped the ungentle bubble and wrote that post. A lot more gentle now … to myself and then … lo and behold, to others too 🙂 xxx big big hugs to both of you ❤

        Like

  5. What you are doing is hard! Getting sober AND writing your dissertation-amazing! I, too, find it incredibly difficult to be stressed and practice self care. Hopefully, it will get easier, but I’m the meantime, just do the best you can. You’re doing great!

    Liked by 2 people

  6. Hi Anne. Your comment – cried, which broke my “numb zombie” bubble – wow! That’s it. That is so it. I can remember many of these warm healing cleansing cries. All the emotions flying around and then bang the soul cracks through that numbness and hugs the heart. A true breakthrough. What a beautiful step my friend. Thank you for this post. I had thought I had been following you but it doesn’t appear I was. Sending much love, hugs, and all my support. You are a beautiful soul😊

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Anne, thanks for your honesty in this post. I can relate to the whole binge eating portion. It’s as if our addiction moves to another substance (in this case food) when we quit alcohol. Hang in there and give yourself some credit. You’ve made it 97 days and are sooo strong for doing so. Sending you hugs and prayers! ❤️

    Liked by 1 person

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