Haunted Houses

It’s here.  The next episode.

The elevator doors opened, and I rode it down into that familiar darkness.  Time to see how the training, and planning, and digging in play out when all the rules change, and I turn from Jekyll to Hyde.

I felt the change start on Friday while I did my laundry.  I’d identified my mom’s house as an eating trigger already, so I had a plan.  While my clothes sudsed, I’d get my bike out of the garage and ride around town.  I even brought a little tire pump in case the tires were flat.  They were.  And the pump didn’t work.  I put the bike away, went back into the house, and saw the Fiddle Faddle.  The rest was a blur of food.

I broke the surface occasionally during my feeding frenzy.  I told myself, “You don’t have to do this” as I reached for the container of cookies in the freezer.  But, that voice was wee and far.  In retrospect, I had choices.  I could have taken a walk or gotten in my car—anything to get away from the house.  But, those weren’t choices then.  They would have been inconceivable.

I drove from Mom’s straight to another trigger house where I lived with my friends for two and a half years while I was at my worst.  Whenever I visit, I feel the shades of those years gather around me.  I feel that other me wanting to rise up.  When my friends go out of town, I take care of Gracie, their dog.  Again, I had a plan on how to dodge the ghosts.  Instead of “keeping Gracie company” I’d let her outside, take her for a walk, check her food and water, then get out.  No hanging around with the big screen TV and the pantry full of trigger food.  Uh uh.  Get in, take care of business, get out.

All plans flew out of my head when I walked in the back door.  All the old behaviors reared up and took over.  Yesterday, I even brought over my own food to try to keep the ghosts at bay.  They just turned out to be appetizers.

Even while I berated myself for being possessed, I could still watch with curiosity.  I watched how the exhaustion inherent in depression seemed to grease the compulsion’s skids.  I watched how all the self-talk that worked while I was stable made not a dent in the compulsion now.  I watched as the compulsion suddenly stopped, the frenzy ended, and I quit eating.  The good news was that in my own apartment, I didn’t feel the compulsion to eat.  At least for the time being, “that house is clean.”

Curiosity and information will lead to different strategies.  It seems clear I need to stay away from these haunted houses for the time being.  Perhaps I need to do my laundry at the laundromat this summer.  Maybe I can’t take care of Gracie for a while.  The eating rituals that have developed in these houses need to be broken and the ghosts exorcised.  That will be my homework.

In the meantime, I have one more day with Gracie.  Once again, I’ll try to stick to business and get out of the house before the specters find me, before depression and compulsion conjure phantoms too strong to escape.

I’m on an Adventure.

17 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Fork in My Eye
    Jun 10, 2012 @ 08:00:36

    Well done! I love how you turn everything into a fun (relatively speaking) metaphorical battle. You always choose themes that appeal to my taste (ghost stories, yay!) and the photos you use to illustrate come from all my favorite movies and shows (Poltergeist, Xena, Alien, Star Trek of course, lots of others. I think we have very similar taste in fiction, yes?) Maybe that’s the kind of thing that will help me be more successful in my own battle (with my weight, mood and pain management).

    My partner recently had to leave town for a week to visit her ailing parents and I resolved to be proactive in her absence. (I really hate it when she’s gone.) I was going to eat right and exercise all week and be super-other-mom to the kids last week of school and fix all (or one) of the broken things in the house to surprise her when she got home. Instead, I went on a refined sugar binge the day she left that has continued for a week after she got home. (I did well with the children and the house, but food is always my reward. I have to undo that somehow.) Anyway, I’m still trying to turn it around again, and just wanted to let you know that I think you’re very inspiring and appreciate it when you share your struggle so colorfully.


    • Sandy Sue
      Jun 10, 2012 @ 21:33:35

      I hate when that happens (the sugar binge). If you hate it when your wife is gone, that’s probably enough angst to jump-start a binge. At least that’s where I’d start spelunking.

      And thanks for your kind words, Tori. This work is hard enough without making it boring, too. I say, spice it up with eye-candy and icons!


  2. littlesundog
    Jun 10, 2012 @ 10:36:04

    I love your candidness. Your words always soothe me, knowing I’ve felt some of those same ill and uncomfortable feelings before. I don’t travel back to the old haunts much anymore. I make very few trips to places from my past, and when I must, I avoid people from those places like a plague! I turn to my introverted ways and recharge in the tranquil and peaceful ways of nature, which fortunately, can be found ANYWHERE!


  3. rachelmiller1511
    Jun 10, 2012 @ 13:13:09

    I’ve been sooo bad this weekend- literally packets of biscuits. Sometimes quitting the sugar seems impossible. I can relate to the haunted houses. I have one or two!


    • Sandy Sue
      Jun 10, 2012 @ 21:38:09

      That sugar addiction is so hard. Just when I string a few days of clean eating together, I dive off the deep end. I guess the trick for me is to just climb out of the pool and start again.


      • rachelmiller1511
        Jun 11, 2012 @ 02:49:40

        Same here. I think it would be great if health providers really viewed it as an addiction and were able to provide proper treatment. It would be even better if they stop selling sugar-based products- painful, but better 🙂 !!

  4. Kathryn McCullough
    Jun 10, 2012 @ 18:17:39

    For me, the compulsion to overeat is the hardest to fight. Hang in there, my friend. Do what you can to take care of yourself.


  5. Sheryl Mae
    Jun 10, 2012 @ 22:18:11

    Boy, if you find that magic pill I want you to pass it on, no keeping it for yourself. After a painful Sunday I’m ready to try ANYTHING! And to think I get another month of this. Yuck!


  6. pegoleg
    Jun 11, 2012 @ 16:01:39

    I’m sorry for your runaway train and hoping you’re coping better today.

    It still amazes me how many people are addicted to sugar. The analytical sides of our brains can sit and diagram triggers and counsel caution, all the while our bodies are gettin’ busy, face-down in a tub-o-ice-cream.


  7. The Two Fat Ladies Getting Slim....
    Jan 04, 2013 @ 01:27:11

    Yep now that I can relate too! Great


  8. Lyn
    Sep 15, 2015 @ 00:39:40

    Tortilla chips and cheese, peanut butter, ice cream, chocolate covered peanuts, Girl Scout cookies, brownies, scones, the list goes on and on of the foods I can eat whole packages of in one sitting. Believe me, I can totally sympathize with you, Sandy. Must be genetic. I would also be a lot better off if I’d dump the TV out somewhere on the Interstate and cancel my membership at Netflix. TV and binge eating seem to have a mysterious (or not-so-mysterious, if one has half a brain) symbiotic relationship. It would help, too, to turn all my comfy chairs upside down so I couldn’t lounge in them. My house would resemble something out of “Ghost Whisperer” (yeah, I just finished watching the whole series on Netflix), but perching on pointy upturned legs would perhaps abbreviate shark attacks on the refrigerator.


    • Sandy Sue
      Sep 15, 2015 @ 13:08:40

      Oh, man. Our ancestors have a lot to answer for considering our genetic cesspool. I’m incredibly grateful to my med provider for suggesting treatment for Binge Eating Disorder this past May. Drugs have never worked in any way for anything, so to have the compulsive eating disappear… well… maybe it’s something our Irish Witches could have conjured.


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