Trading Coping Mechanisms

Call me stupid, crazy, naïve, or all of the above … but I assumed that when I stopped chewing and spitting, I’d lose the 5-7 lbs I’d gained during those two years of my peak disorderedness.

HA!!! How wrong was I?!

In fact, not only did I maintain that weight gain, but I even gained another 5-7 on top of it! Ouch.

Granted, I’m 30 now (not 24 like I was when I first joined WW) and I realize I have a desk job and (despite being active at the gym) I realize I don’t walk to the Metro every day like I did back then … but I think it’s much bigger than just that.

In doing a little self-analysis, I think it’s because stopping chewing/spitting only put a Band-Aid on the real problem: I went from using chewing and spitting as a coping mechanism for anxiety to using emotional eating/impulse buying as a coping mechanism for anxiety.

See a common denominator here? Anxiety still remains.

Ultimately, I still haven’t been able to really get a grasp on my anxiety levels. Sometimes I think I’m OK, but other times, not so much.

It’s as though I replaced one issue with another; truly, it’s no wonder I’ve not been able to get a grip! I’m battling myself here.

I know Dr. G. would tell me I need to come up with another coping mechanism … and I don’t dispute that, I need a healthier alternative for sure — writing, talking to my husband or calling a friend or family member, etc., but this stuff is often so private that it’s hard to open up about it; no one really gets it (and I can’t/don’t expect them to).

I think I need to do what worked for chewing and spitting and apply it to my emotional eating/impulse buying problem — and that means choosing pride over guilt once again and just saying no.

Literally, March 15, I woke up and vowed not to chew and spit. And I haven’t since. I made a firm decision and stuck to it. I feel recovered from that disordered behavior.

But the impulsive/emotional stuff requires thought before action. And that’s where I still struggle. In fact, outside of this disordered eating realm, I struggle with impulsiveness — opening my mouth before thinking, jumping into a conversation that maybe I don’t need to be a part of, etc.

I need that next level of mindfulness and since awareness is half the battle, I think I’m going to start journaling my emotions in addition to my usual journaling. I’m hoping it’ll help with the other stuff.

I don’t want to go back to Dr. G., but I’m not ruling out the possibility of seeing a different therapist because ultimately, while I know therapy helped, it definitely wasn’t the end of the road for me. There’s still work to do upstairs … and I’m not giving up.

I feel optimistic right now … thanks for listening.

How about you? What are some of the coping mechanisms you use? And did you find you traded one for another, or were you able to nip them all?


10 thoughts on “Trading Coping Mechanisms

  1. Thought before action is one of those things that sounds so simple and obvious, yet I find it so hard sometimes!

    I am REALLY working on trading coping mechanisms lately, and I’m proud to say that I’ve really made progress. Some things I am doing are: taking a hot shower (sometimes when I think I’m hungry I’m actually cold. Weird, eh?), playing sudoku (definitely requires ALL my mental capacity), or cleaning. They really are working!

  2. the coping mechanism i try to use is to first, remove myself from the kitchen. i then try to find something to do to nurture myself, even if it is just going upstairs to read a book or watch some mindless tv. that seems to have nipped em all for me.

    also, if you decide to go back to therapy, i don’t know what dr. g’s background is, but you may want to see someone who specializes with compulsive disorders. jmho. 🙂

    good luck, i know you can do this!

  3. I’m glad you’re approaching this positively. I’m sure you’ve done the research and know all the benefits of a vaginal birth (there are many) BUT, that said, when you trust your doctor and he says this is possibly a necessity, what are you going to do? As you may remember, I was in the exact same situation. Both my dr and I were strongly opposed to a c-section and in the end it became what had to happen because of Nate’s breech presentation and how little I stretched in the pregnancy (I haven’t even fully processed yet the complicated feelings I have about some of that being “my fault” – one of these days).

    It is very nice knowing the day you’re going in, but I’ll be honest – it was very hard for me afterward knowing he missed out on certain antibodies and hormones because he wasn’t born vaginally. It also delays milk production and I often wonder if it was one part of my not being able to nurse. I’m glad Nate is perfect and I wouldn’t have pushed for a vaginal delivery against my dr’s orders because I knew he was 100% treating the c-section as the last, last, last option. (Oh, and I didn’t find the surgical recovery to be that big of a deal – possibly because I had two abdominal surgeries previously and was preoccupied with the baby anyway.)

    At this point, the part that’s both comforting and scary is that most of it is out of your hands. What will happen, will happen – and stressing about it does no one any good (including Maya). So keep up the positive thoughts.

    And if you ever want to talk about this with someone who’s been through something similar, I’m always here.

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