Do you run from your shame?

Fetus at 8 weeks after fertilization 3D Pregna...
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I have avoided words for a while.

I mean my own — on the page — telling me things I may not want to acknowledge.  I find out about myself as I write.  What have I been afraid of knowing, I wonder, as I put off writing day after day?

I am uncomfortable with how narcissistic blogging is and yet I can’t seem to write any more without knowing others are reading.  Except what is in my prayer journal, I am completely out there — laid open, exposed.  And by choice.  I don’t know what I think about this.

For a month now I have exercised six times a week.

Taking vigorous walk/run on the treadmill downstairs.  I am up to three miles a day.  I’ve lost about four pounds.  I reassure myself that this pace is the healthy way to lose weight and that this rate is one that can actually be maintained.

I find myself angry and discouraged, when I think of all the weight loss programs that promise miracles and sometimes provide them.  I once lost 17 pounds in about five weeks.  It was years ago.  My body was younger. I did it without exercise.  But I was told that I looked ill.  And inevitably it all returned.  Those pounds brought friends to the party I call my thighs and double chin.  I remind myself that wasn’t on an antidepressant then and weight gain is one of the top side effects of this medication.

But I hate the weight — It’s visceral.  I am ashamed of being fat and more so of being ashamed.  But how I loath being fat.  It is complicated by my mother’s yo-yo dieting my entire life.  And in God’s irony I married a yo-yo dieter as well.

In my mind being fat equals failure. Although intellectually I challenge this idea, it seems to be winning.  I have to challenge it over and over again, because of people I love and respect working their whole adult lives on this issue and “failing?”

Up until a few years ago weight wasn’t an issue for me.  Now I judge myself for my “failure” and I assume others are judging me too.  I realize suddenly how I have utterly bought into the idea that “thin = beautiful, intelligent and successful.”  Imagine the judgmental thoughts I have then.  The shame.

And so I run, longer and harder each day, hoping the weight of my shame will be lost with the physical pounds.

I’ve thought a lot recently about time passing.

I suppose because we’ve come full circle with Molly moving back home after four years on her own.  And a new school year for the other three kids. Around the time that my father was ill my depression was at its worst.   I was trying to decide if I should go on an antidepressant to help manage it.  For Tom and I, going on an antidepressant was a sobering choice that we thought and prayed and researched ad nauseam.  It was one  that we struggled with for months, so when I decided to go ahead I had to take a prerequisite pregnancy test.  No-one could have been more shocked to find out I was pregnant, it was just too much.  Dad was sick with cancer – basically dieing.  Mother was caring for him, in Colorado alone, and was at the height of her drinking.

Being pregnant was the worst news possible.  Mostly because there was no research on the impact o this medication on the fetus.  And I was desperate for help coping.managing.surviving the depression.

A few weeks later I miscarried seven weeks into the pregnancy.

As I look back on those days now, with distance and perspective, I am filled with longing for that child.  She would have started kindergarten this year and as I watch the tiny children walking hand in hand to school, their seemingly enormous backpacks on their tiny shoulders, lunch box dragging, their new white tennis shoes, I am crushed with the sight of it.

And wonder will I mark the passing of every year with this lost child?

I had a dream about her.

I was in a busy train station.  People were flowing in and out of trains and it was difficult to figure out which way to go.  I felt confused about my direction, overwhelmed.  Then a tall blond college-age young woman turned her head toward me.  She was beautiful, angelic, and strikingly similar in looks to my daughter Emma and she had downs syndrome.  I knew she was my daughter.  She looked me and said, ‘They wouldn’t let me come.”  She smiled. This was my daughter that I had lost when she was just seven weeks old in my womb.

I woke up with the knowledge that she wanted to come to me and that she was at peace.

I am six years into the battle of dealing with depression.

There is so much learned.  Many things I have lost or given up.  Much grief and more joy that I could have imagined.  Depression has made me the person that I am now — stronger, genuinely in love with Jesus, disciplined spiritually, more and more at peace with myself in the world.  Twenty pounds heavier and hating that.  But knowing that this depression is a conduit to a better life for me.

I exercise because I know that it helps me manage my depression and my goal is to be off medication.  And it makes me feel good.   I exercise because it means I am willfully thumbing my finger at the Sink Hole of depression.

Keeping balance, along with the wrong attitudes I have about fitness and weight, well, that’s another story.

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