I went to my hypnotist, Kristin, and together we decided to take an inside out approach. To make changes that will stick, I need to change what I'm composed of, to gently break down old patterns and reorganize my thoughts towards a new goal. I needed to sit down and sift through my thoughts as if my head were a closet and a long winter was drawing towards an end.
It was magic. That night was my first night in months without the agony of insomnia, my first morning without the thick, slow-headed, heavy-eyed hangover of sleeping pills.
Completely, unabashedly drawn in, I wrote down everything that I needed help with and I saw Kristen again and again, ticking off the things we'd worked on like a grocery list. We fought shame and procrastination and fears of all sorts and heartbreak and self defeating habits. I kept sleeping. I didn't need to bucket through the Ambien like I'd been doing. Kristin was like a therapist, only she did most of the talking. And she always knew exactly what I needed the outcome of our sessions to be, even when I was stammering and excited and talking in circles.
There is a sudden change after each session, an overnight change, but nothing feels jarring or dramatic; you've been slightly reprogrammed, and suddenly the behavior you exhibited just two days before no longer makes sense to you. It doesn't even interest you. You fall asleep at a normal hour, you stop eating when you're full, you go for a run even in the pouring rain because you know it's going to make you feel better.
Good decisions come easily, and the burden and influence of toxic relationships in your life float away, so easily you barely notice. You study the bars and bars of text messages between you and the boy you were briefly and barely involved with, he's one of those self identified assholes, flippant and rude and constantly disappointing and debasing you, and you scratch your head, wondering why on earth you ever engaged with such a person. You delete his number and go back to making breakfast, or driving, or talking to someone at a dinner party or whatever it is you were doing that did make sense. You delete him from your life without a second thought, without so much as a moment of triumph or self congratulatory spark- you just slap whatever needs slapping, like a mosquito on your leg, and you move on.
Curled up on her reclining chair, I told her about how heavy everything feels, how it takes me forever to leave the house, and even though I feel buried under stuff I still buy stuff every day.
"Nothing is acute here." I tell her. "I'm not a hoarder, I don't have a shopping addiction and I don't have any social phobias, I'm just pretty pathetic with money, and I can't keep my room clean, I can't even keep sheets on the bed if I'm being totally honest, and I never go to sleep feeling like I've been an award winning employee or friend or daughter or writer or climber or anything."
I exhale slowly, frustrated at my own in eloquence. "And I eat a lot. When I cook it's healthy, I do a lot of raw stuff, lots of kale smoothies and that trendy stuff, but I'll make like, a whole entire blenderful, enough for five people, but since I live alone I just drink all of it. Yesterday I drank like, three avocados in one day. It's fine, but it's getting really expensive."
(I think about how hard I will laugh about this one day, probably somewhere far from here, on the floor laughing about the time I saw a hypnotist because I drank too much fucking spinach.)
"Also, just in general, I use too many words."
Kristin is smiling at me, she's bemused, lots of people are bemused by me. But she also is with me on this, my teammate. She doesn't get overwhelmed. She says, "I understand. Why don't we start at the most basic level. Let's start with what you eat."
From now on, you only put something in your body if it makes sense to do so. If you're hungry for food. It doesn't matter if it's healthy or unhealthy, good or bad, bought or made- it does not make sense to put anything inside your body when you don't need to.
That attitude is an invitation to weight, to extraneous, unnecessary stuff. There is throwing back two glasses of wine to melt the stress of a not particularly stressful day, meeting up for my fourth dinner out in one week, not because I really care to, but because I don't know how to say no thank you. A third cup of coffee because I'm bored. Produce wilting in the refrigerator drawers where I've forgotten about it.
Then there is all the hidden politics of food, the threats and headlines and ubiquitous fear of Monsanto, preservatives and paleo fads and all the insufferable conversations about where you get your protein?
I'd rather eat well and simply and avoid all of that altogether, as easily as stepping over a stream.
After this, says Kristen, all of this will be easy for you. As simple as yes or no. You will recognize when you are hungry, you'll eat and you'll enjoy it, it won't even occur to you to do otherwise.
This was my first step in what's shaping up to be some sort of big multifaceted ill-conceived and oddly timed adventure. That and I sold my skis.