You wouldn’t know it to look at me because I’m not classically self-destructive. I’m not a big risk taker. Never was one for drugs. Not much of a drinker anymore. I’m not going bareback in any rodeos, if you take my meaning. I wear my seatbelt.
My self-destruction comes more in the form of apathy and neglect. Which makes it hard to detect sometimes. Because some days it’s too much work to give a shit. Some days are meant to be tossed into the trash. Some days you’re just supposed to say “fuck it” and drive on without exercising or properly hydrating and eating like a raccoon raiding the dumpster behind McDonald’s.
Okay, you’re not supposed to, but you do.
Okay, maybe you don’t, but I do.
And sometimes these days blend together to establish a kind of norm and one day something comes along to rattle the cage of my existence and I realize, holy shit, I’m slo-mo blowing up again.
The really tricky part about this is that sometimes this self-destruction focuses itself on one smallish aspect of my life so I really don’t notice it until the behavior sprouts little roots that burrow into my existence and then that weed of destruction becomes even harder to yank.
For example, right now I’m having trouble with my eating habits.
What I mean by that is that I’m eating by habit. I’m not eating because I’m hungry. I’m eating because I usually eat at this time of the day. Managing my depression leaves me somewhat routine dependent, so I do tend to do things at the same time most days. I get up at the same time, exercise at the same time, shower at the same time, eat at the same time. And while this is very useful, it also leads to mindlessness. It leads to eating my snack at three because it’s three and not because I’m hungry.
More troubling is my response to realizing that I’m doing this.
It’s nine o’clock. Time for my evening snack. I’m not really hungry. Oh well. I’ll eat it anyway.
What? No! Bad self!
Aside from the fact that eating when I’m not hungry isn’t a good idea in general, I also have a couple of digestive issues, including GERD, so eating when I’m not hungry is EXTRA not good. It’s particularly distressing that my response to this is, “Oh well,” and doing it anyway.
This behavior is tied directly to the apathy of my self-destruction, the neglect of my self-destruction, the utter not-caring-about-myself of my self-destruction.
So, I must be mindful. I must reset my behavior back to mindfulness. Depending on the situation, it can be quite a task.
In this case it means doing the thing I absolutely loathe: tracking everything I eat. I’ve written before about turning food into math and the guilt that comes with it, so there’s some natural apprehension that I’ll become obsessive about every food particle I put into my mouth. However, this time I’m approaching it a little bit differently.
The point of this very conscious food tracking isn’t to restrict my calories, but to be aware of what I’m eating, when, and why. The point of this is to be mindful about my eating. The point of this to reinforce the idea that I don’t have to eat a snack at three o’clock because it’s three o’clock.
The point of this is to re-educate myself on LISTENING to my body.
And then responding with something better than an apathetic, “Oh well”.