When I moved to Las Vegas, I thought I was getting a super sweet deal when my employer offered me the chance to telecommute. And I mostly was getting a super sweet deal. But there was a downside to it… my husband started working long hours in public accounting and I had a bit of a paranoia about “out of sight, out of mind” in terms of work and I started to work really long hours. Since I had lots of hours all by myself I was sinking into a deeper and deeper funk and that’s when my disordered eating tendencies kicked into overdrive and I moved into full-blown anorexia. For two years I was on a steep downward slide into a bad place.
Then I started to train for a marathon in 2007 and it started to bring me out of that eating disorder (ED) darkness. And then I trained for another marathon, and another one. And that helped me to branch out into my community and meet other people. I attended group runs in the evenings and I ran with others for long runs on the weekends.
Even going into treatment in 2009 to really work on my ED issues (it’s really hard to fix yourself with an eating disorder, getting professional help makes a difference) gave me a community to interact with. After that time I got my RRCA coaching certification and started coaching for Team Challenge. This was perfect because when my spouse had late work hours or weekend work hours, I wasn’t alone all the time. I had training groups, fun runs, places to go and people to see.
But that all changed when I had my daughter.
Before I get into this and anyone accuses me of not liking my kid… she is the best person in the world and I love her more than I ever knew it was possible to love a human being.
My days are filled with parenting, working, parenting. No longer can I go do races or group runs or try a new group fitness class. Just planning a night out with friends once a month involves strategy. I’m alone doing my work or I’m immersed in little kid land. I’m so tired.
Telecommuting keeps you somewhat isolated.
I have urges to restrict and fall back into my ED behaviors, as a way of coping and controlling something in my life. I guess it’s kind of good that the other part of my diagnosis is “perfectionism” because knowing that I have to fuel myself to take care of her, keeps me from restricting.
Not saying that perfectionism is a good thing, though; just putting that out there. Perfection = bad.
However, it’s really hard to not fall into a funk and feel down. And social media makes it harder at times. I see friends posting photos after completing local races and I feel sad and a little jealous that I couldn’t do it. People ask me “What’s your next race?” and I often don’t have an answer. January-May my spouse works crazy long hours (CPA widow here) so I am essentially a single parent. And then rest of the year, I still do the majority of the parenting.
Social Media is hard (and wonderful… I do love it!) because it paints a weird picture of people’s lives. I have to constantly remind myself that I only see the small picture. Because if I didn’t remember that, I have some people that I would have to assume the following about them:
they’re training all the time
they’re crying in a corner all the time
they’re drinking wine all the time
they’re making cutesy crafts all the time
they’re putting on makeup all the time
They’re not doing those things ALL THE TIME. At least, I hope they’re not… My social media followers might think I just take pictures of my feet and hang out with my kid all the time. But that’s not true… I’m spending a large chunk of time standing at my desk too. And there are a bunch of hours spent each night listening to my spouse snore while waiting for my child to call out that she needs help using the potty as I weep softly about how I just want some peace and quiet to sleep
However, I’m struggling these days. I feel like a shell of who I should be and I’m giving up on dreams/aspirations more and more each day. My stress levels are out of control and I’m pretty sure the stress is the cause of the health problems that have been plaguing me and getting worse for the past 3 years. Either that, or there is some kind of legitimate health problem that is causing my physical symptoms, inability to deal with stress, and my depression/anxiety. But suffice it to say, I feel like crap these days.
I need to make a change. I don’t want to enter my 40’s feeling like this. So I’ve gotta step up my self-care game over the next year. The problem is that taking care of myself feels like slighting others. (Others being: my kid, my dog, my spouse, my family, my work) I need to hope that it is possible to get to a point where I feel more stable and also don’t feel like I’m dismissive toward those I care about because I go for a run or get my hair cut or get some sleep. Because that’s health… making sure that all facets are taken care of: physical, mental, emotional.