Morphing from mad to sad

Crying helps me slow down and obsess over the weight of life’s problems.”―Sadness, to Joy

I’m too sad to walk, just give me a few… hours.” ― Sadness before she and Joy head into Long Term Memory

Day 15 of no sugar and my mad has mostly morphed to sad. My volunteer lifestyle coach, Jody, says this is an improvement, that depression is anger swallowed, that you can’t deal with sad until the mad’s out of the way.

Well, this feels pretty debilitating — the sadness of no sugar. Even with the sun shining, my outlook is gray and drippy, far more suited to “mixed winter precipitation” than to blue skies.

I think this is because sugar, in this year of moving from one state to another, has become my all. My pacifier, what I look forward to to get through the day, what cheers me up, gives me energy (momentarily), handles my feelings. Now I have to think them through.

I think I’ll begin by chatting with my inner Sadness, Sadness was one of the five emotions of the main character in Pixar’s “Inside Out,” a brilliant, animated movie, way too sophisticated for most, including me the first time I watched.

I need to tell this little blue girl inside that it’s going to be OK, that I appreciate her expressing my sadness when it’s appropriate, but she might occasionally let out Joy for a little airing as well. They might share the stage. That really all sugar was doing for both of them (and me) was putting them in a food coma, upping inflammation and brain fog.

It’s OK to be me, a horrendously difficult lesson to learn at 77 years of age. And while I’m trying to let go of anger at inadequate parenting, I must still note that I was loved when I did well, when my grades were high or my piano-playing, amazing. Never just because.

It’s OK to be me, no matter what my shape, my finances or my state of physical fitness. That I’m a person that some people like (and some people don’t) no matter what I weigh. That I’m getting rid of sugar so I can feel better, not to please someone else. That once I get some kind of handle on sweet, I can move onto to something else, like my nightly glass of wine on weekends only.

I’m also learning to say “This is too much. Beyond my emotional band width right now, overwhelming.” That’s part of the anxiety that comes, for me, with depression. I start hyperventilating. Everything seems more than I can handle. I eat a pound of chocolate.

But, that’s OK, too (not the chocolate). In fact, I canceled two things yesterday just because of those reasons. “I can’t right now.” Now I have to call my long-time friend K. and tell her I’m sorry for all the times I got huffy with her because she couldn’t handle doing something. I get it now.

Take it easy on yourself and have the peaceful-est holiday ever.


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