Tuesday, October 27, 2009

No More Medicating

When Angus told me he was leaving, after 14 years together, it literally felt like somebody had reached into my chest and tore out half of my heart. I walked around with a sucking chest-wound for a long time—2 years really. Little by little it started to scab over but it never felt right again. It was like the old part couldn’t grow back. Gnarly scar tissue could only cover up the hole. Then I met Robert and my heart started to bleed a little bit, like that scar tissue was getting pulled back, so I could let somebody new in. That scared me a lot. I thought, “What if I let him in and then we don’t end up together? We have to end up together or I’m going to end up even more damaged!” And I made some stupid decisions in my panic. Ultimately, my irrational behavior drove Robert off. So I brought about the very thing that I was most terrified of having happen. And now I’m left with this open wound again.

Here’s the thing that they don’t tell you about being healthy: you can’t numb yourself. I use food to self-medicate. Other people use alcohol or drugs. For me, it’s always been food. It makes me feel comforted and safe, like I’m doing something nice for myself. And also, I’ve been thinking that being fat was what I used as my excuse for why nobody wants to be with me. If I’m fat then it’s not because I’m broken. It’s because men are shallow, not because I’m too fucked up to be with.

But what happens when you can’t have the food? You just have to feel the pain; there’s no way to dull the feelings. Now I feel pain all the time. It’s not going away. I cry every day and I don’t know how to escape. You just have to bear it. It’s no wonder so many people use food, drugs, alcohol, or sex to hide. It’s exhausting and it doesn’t stop. And the worst part is the realization that even when my heart stops bleeding again, it won’t be whole. I’m going to have to learn to use a scarred and damaged heart. I know logically that it can be done and I’m most likely strong enough to do it. But thinking about the energy and grief that lies between me today and the day that I know how to use my heart properly is so demoralizing that it almost stops me from moving forward.



  1. Firstly, that's why there therapy.
    Secondly, I've always said (even to you!) that you cannot be good in a relationship until you're happy being alone. No one else is going to make you whole - you have to be whole all by yourself. That's not to say it's easy, but it's imperative.

  2. Shut up Stephanie. I'm so sick of you being right. :)

  3. You are so very brave to be so vulnerable and honest. There is no way you can't succeed with this level of honesty. ou rock. And way to go on the 10 pounds!!

  4. Jen - can't he'p m'self. And I meant "there is therapy" - I do know verbs too :D

  5. Jen, here's the good news...WE ARE ALL BROKEN. The cover ups only fool ourselves and never anybody else. So, we come together in friendship accepting other people's brokenness and yet critisize (spelling?)our own brokenness. Give yourself some grace. Give yourself the same understanding and love you give to others in your life. You are beautiful. Your desires and longings are valid. The tears may come and that's ok. It really is all good. If these feelings and thoughts that you have are bothersome to you, channel yourself into service to others. Find a place to volunteer your time that helps other people. Service tends to balance one's perspective.