Week 7… the finishing line is in sight, the crowd is cheering me on, I’m getting support from every direction and my meals are being prepared with ease and comfort. I’ve definitely found a “home” and SO much more as part of the I Quit Sugar Program (IQSP). So the big question I find I’m asking myself now is “What happens when I break through that finish tape? – will there be an anticlimax, a sense of abandonment, or will there be a greater prize to be won?”
Through comments I’ve read on the IQSP forums, I can see that I’m not alone in thinking this, with similar feelings and concerns being expressed… Some people are nervous – if not in panic! – about having to rely upon themselves to ensure the meals they prepare after IQSP finishes are correct and healthy – without having the certainty that the IQSP provides by publishing the meal menus. A few I’ve read also express worry about the organisation, time and effort needed to research, plan and create their own shopping lists, in order to retain some control over their ingredients and meals…
After reading through these sorts of comments, I found myself responding to them with the tact of a bull in a china shop – which, as a Taurean is pretty typical for me! – making a comment in the forum that in short came down to telling people to “just get on and do it!” After re-reading my response though, I now see that what I meant as well-intentioned suggestions, were in fact pretty tactless… There I was outlining practical ways to move forward such as allowing time to plan meals, suggesting writing shopping lists, getting a note book (how patronizing does that sound huh?!) and allowing ourselves the same time and being organized … but the bottom line still read “just get on and do it!”
My intentions were honestly good, driven by a long held belief of mine (which I’ve written about at length in earlier blogs…) that if you do something, you generally feel better but with this tactless comment of mine firmly out there “bold as brass”, I now feel rather worse and not better about myself… so I’ve decided to explore with you all my reasons for responding the way I did, because my comments clearly may come across as quite “harsh”!
Let’s start with my defense – because yes, part of me feels that I NEED to defend myself…
First, when I read the word “Help” I can’t hold myself back from rushing in, pulling on my tights, mask and cape, pinning the rescuers badge to my chest and starting to problem solve! Secondly, I believed the people posting the comments were doing themselves a disservice and undermining their abilities – as it seemed clear to me that they DO have the skills to survive simply because they had managed to complete the IQSP this far… so surely they would be able to “just get on and do it”.
By rushing in at the time, eager to problem solve, I didn’t consider my comment so harsh. However what I didn’t “think” or acknowledge at the time was the potential nervousness and/or panic they were expressing?! Only afterwards when I re-read the comments did my inner voice start screaming at me… “Sarah! What about those times you’ve been crippled by anxiety… You MUPPET!” Remembering how my thought processes froze, sometimes defrosting temporarily only to a sludgy mush, only to be refrozen again… So on reflection, perhaps, my “just get on and do it” was maybe a little harsh!
After when I thought about it what ALWAYS helps me is to release my inner “Elsa” – you know, the one that sings “Let it go… Let it go… let the storm rage on… the cold never bothered me anyway” (you sang that with me right?! No excuses, here’s the lyrics) … I’ve used this on many occasions to accept my own feelings of anxiety and nervousness and maybe that’s why the “cold” (anxiety and panic) in the comments I responded to, just didn’t register or occur to me.
So in summation – that’s what they say in court, right… – The LAST thing I wanted was for my comments to come across as being dismissive! I can see that nowadays, I tend to automatically react to a situation and just “do something” rather than let anxiety freeze me solid! I hate the “cold” so problem-solve and that’s why I rushed in with this “just get on and do it” comment…Your Honor!
The plain truth is that – for me – “doing something” is far much more fun! This usually starts when I recognize my feelings are changing, triggered by, let’s say, anxiety… my thought process is affected and I begin playing the “What Ifs, the But’s and Maybe” (WIBM) game. This game tends to create endless possibilities and questions about any given situation and – even better – my mind constantly changes them! – so my questions become perpetual (does this sound familiar, have you been there too?!). This is when I have previously and still COULD just shut down, frozen, becoming overwhelmed in considering every possible outcome… just hoping I’ll be able to deal with each and every one – whether in reality, they were ever going to happen or NOT!
It’s at this point when the real fun starts… with my inner “Elsa” holding the key helping me to let it go – yes see me singing loud and proud right here!
I start to realize that I can NEVER prepare myself fully for ALL the possibilities that the WIBM game throws up and that – even worse – I see I’m totally wasting my time seeking answers that go absolutely nowhere, FAST! Plain and simple… I’m over thinking and avoiding situations, in effect, stalling – NOT rocket science… and what’s more the WIBM game is a real pain in the a$$ for creating this situation because as soon as you think you have one possibility answered… another rears its ugly head! – Like those “Whack-a-Mole” or “Gopher Bash” games which I find are both futile and totally exhausting!
In the long run, I’ve had to learn to trust myself and consciously avoid overthinking or over preparing otherwise, I can end up only thinking ad reinforcing what I’m NOT capable of when in reality, I know that I am MORE THAN capable. I’ve learned to recognize when I’m playing the WIBM game – “bashing the gopher” – and that my “worrying” in no way helps me deal with the situation. There’s no doubt that playing the WIBM game can and does make you feel better, albeit temporarily – but hey we all like to bash a gopher occasionally! – however from experience, I know that playing the game comes with a price (and not just exhaustion!). It’s so easy to start missing out BIG TIME on that important thing called “life”… just think of all the other things you could be doing, instead of busily trying to bash a gophers head in!!
Also I finally decided (without having enough hours in the day anyway!) that wasting my time trying to bash the gopher is not a wise option – not even to get rid of those bingo wings! Without doubt there will be times of uncertainty when that damn gopher will raise its head and I will start to play the WIBM game… but I can now recognize when the game is starting and accept the situation for what it is and deal with it… then and there. So, regrettably, it seems I have a lot to thank the damn Gopher for! I can see him now, jumping up and down but I am NOT going to play! I prefer instead to “Let it go!” (sing it go on I dare you) and go do something far more interesting, less futile and less exhausting!
Hopefully all this (yes I know I go on but I’m passionate about this) has gone some way to explain, hell justify even… okay! defend the comment I posted…
Although I must confess, with week 7 all but gone, I too feel a little anxious but don’t worry because… you bet I’ve just gone and posted a comment to myself saying “just get on and DO IT!”
After all, I must “practice what I preach” right!