Denial River

I spend a lot of mental energy taking self-inventories. I like to think that I know myself pretty well.  I am able to point out my flaws, which are many and varied. I know my triggers and my coping mechanisms. I can anticipate my reaction to almost any situation. But, and I can't stress this enough, BUT...knowing is not addressing and awareness does not equate to progress. In other words, I can call a spade a spade, but unless I use it to dig a garden, nothing will grow. 

To be more specific, I know that denial is one of my go-to self-sabotages. It's an unhealthy coping mechanism that I've used my entire life. When faced with something unpleasant, either situational, emotional, etc. I coast down the river of denial (see what I did there? I'll see myself out 😂) until I suddenly find myself going over a waterfall and being battered and bruised by an onslaught of the very thing I'd sought to avoid in the first place. And, while I know that denial always (yes, always) comes back to bite me in the ass, I'm still inexorably pulled to ignore things that I find uncomfortable. 

Tonight as I write, I am at the bottom of another waterfall. I'm treading water and trying to keep my head above the angry foam, just trying to catch my breath long enough to make it to shore. You see, I've known for a while that I've gained weight, that I've been snacking and ignoring my usually rigid input-output regimen. I've purposefully avoided the scale that lurks beneath our bathroom sink. I've stuck to elastic waistbands and all-forgiving t-shirt/hoodie ensembles. It was all OK...until, per usual, it wasn't. A little voice started to become louder, urging me to face what I'd been pretending wasn't a problem. It rose above the din of my mental chaos, until it was the loudest in the room. "Get on the scale," it said. So, I did...and the descent into self-loathing was swift and brutal and I've been floundering ever since.

Now, I know that the scale is never a good gauge of self-worth, but I also know that I am particularly susceptible to knee-jerk reactions and reprehensible self-image as a result of those three glaring digits. What I don't know is how to feel any better about myself now that the band-aid of denial has been violently ripped away and I'm left with insult added to injury. I've let myself get to this point, both physically and emotionally. I've been a victim of myself, again. I'm angry, not just at the weight, which I honestly can't even begin to process, but at my own willful ignorance of the growing problem. How can I be so enlightened to the fact that I use denial to my detriment, and yet still be snared and chafed by its ropes?

This time, I am fully snared. I'm stuck and can't free myself from the grips of a trap I walked right into, the trap I helped set for myself. The awareness of this problem is now painful, all the more so because I am without actionable steps to mitigate it. That, I think is the worst part. The crux of it all is that denial of a problem prevents you from formulating a plan to solve it. Instead, the issue balloons until it is too large to be contained, and it explodes in your face. There has been no gradual introduction to the idea of being overweight, because I've ignored it. Even though I've been gaining weight for a while, I am, to me...suddenly fat. I've got whiplash and the urgency to get back to my normal is at a fever pitch.

As I write this, I am taking stock of myself once more. I know that I'm probably going to just trade in denial for obsessive workouts and over-the-top caloric restriction. I'd like to say that I have grown enough to be able to approach this healthily, but I also know that I don't yet have the mental fortitude to tolerate the discomfort of, gasp, moderation. It has been a really hard day for me, but it always is once that joyride down denial river comes to a screeching and violent end. Tomorrow is another day, however, and sometimes that is the only branch we can grasp to pull us out of the turbulent waters of today.


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