Yesterday, I ate too much.
Let me try to begin again.
Lately, I’ve been experiencing many of the symptoms of depression without actually feeling sad or ‘low’ or ‘depressed’ – generally. I mean, sometimes I feel a little sad for a little while, but I know depression, and depression this isn’t. Generally I’m happy and upbeat and have a positive outlook. But I also have been sleeping a bit … off … somewhat erratic, not just ‘insomnia’ or some vague inability to get out of bed every morning … some nights I stay up later, some mornings I can’t motivate myself to get out of bed, and when there’s a correlation there I understand (obviously, if I stay up later, I’ll want to sleep later), but often there’s no correlation. And on the other hand, some nights I’m out like a light and some mornings I’m up bright and early and get stuff done. And most of last week I had to take a nap at work in the evening, on my break. And I’ve been having reduced appetite lately, much of the time. Not all of the time, but even when I fail to eat enough and know I’m hungry, feel like I need to eat, I also have no appetite, and I have trouble forcing food down my throat, as though I were overstuffed.
Which was where I was all day yesterday. Not hungry when I woke, so I waited a while to eat breakfast, but I didn’t get hungry, so I ate anyway. No problem. But then I just kept eating all day, more and more and more and I knew it was way too much, but I didn’t stop. It was mostly just grazing, snacking, not meals much, just eating candy and pretzels and snacking cereals and dried fruit and the like… and I wasn’t hungry at all. There was one point where I stood up to throw out one empty container and get something else to eat where the act of bending over to open the trashcan lid almost made me vomit, my esophagus was so full of food, but I just choked it down and kept eating. Then Zoe came over and was hungry, so we went to Eatza Pizza, an all-you-can-eat pizza place, and I ate more than enough for a meal, and then a little more. And then we went back to my place to hang out and play video games and watch bad movies, and there was more snacking. And then I stayed up late and just kept eating. Not once yesterday was I hungry. And I’ve eaten “emotionally” before, eating because I was sad or lonely or whathaveyou, and this wasn’t that, because I wasn’t feeling any strong emotions yesterday or even really any consistent emotions; some lethargy, some frustration trying to get my graphic novel’s sketches started, some pleasure when the ideas and drawings finally started coming out of my pencil, pleasure at being able to spend time with Zoe, mostly good feelings from the movies… I don’t know, no overarching ‘theme’ of emotion. Just a lot of irrational eating. And it isn’t that I didn’t know I was doing it, I did, and past some point in the evening I almost began thinking about stopping myself, but … I never did. I was still eating at 2AM.
This morning I ate a sensible breakfast and packed a normal lunch: two bananas, a sandwich, a reasonable portion of pretzels, and two cookies. To last me all day. No vending machine food for me, today. Judging by my lack of hunger, that should be pretty easy. Sitting around the house eating is one thing; it’s a step or two removed from the money it costs me. Snacking from the vending machine when I’m not hungry is much more difficult, since I see the money leave my wallet. So that doesn’t happen. I do eat food from the vending machine – but when I’m really, really hungry. Not like today. I wasn’t hungry for breakfast this morning. I felt hungry a few minutes ago, but I think I was just thirsty. I’ve got a pitcher or water filtering, and I’ll be thoroughly hydrated soon enough. Then after work I’ll go to the Willow House to hang out, and if I actually manage to get hungry, I’ll go drop $1.75 at Taco Bell for some cheap eats, and if I’m not hungry I’ll just have a Dirty Mocha or the like and it’ll keep me running until I get home after midnight. All very reasonable, logical, and actually easy because it’s habitual – it’s easy to eat right by building successful habits.
Make a good lunch before work, and I know I’ll eat exactly that much and no more. Weekends are harder; I don’t have habits formed, or even a plan yet. But weekdays are easy. And yesterday it was easy to eat too much.
In some way, this is because of the reduced appetite. If I don’t get hungry, and if I don’t intentionally and habitually eat, I will forget to eat. And with this weird lack of appetite (which I’ve experienced before) even when I go eight or ten or twelve hours or more without eating, I still don’t get hungry, but I do get weak and light-headed and have trouble concentrating and maintaining balance and all those other fun body-running-on-empty symptoms that failing to eat brings on. ((People ask me if I’ve fasted, and I can’t honestly say yes because I never did it intentionally, but I have forgotten to eat for more than a day an a half a couple of times. I don’t think unintentional fasting is the same thing, though.)) So I’ve got myself into the (relatively healthy) habit of forcing myself to eat, even if I’m not hungry. Which translates to being able to force myself to keep eating on days like yesterday, even though I’m not hungry and not “bored” – I’m so used to eating when I’m neither hungry or emotional or anything else that it doesn’t feel strange.
I’m thinking of going forward with writing my diet book, and then maybe trying to follow it. It’s pretty basic, pretty obvious, the diet. And the most interesting thing about the whole project is really just the format; I want to write a “Diet Book” in the format of a “Choose Your Own Adventure” book. It’s an idea I’ve had. Of course, now someone’ll just steal it and make millions. Bah. But I’ll work on mine and try to get it done … soon. It’s surprisingly easy to make books. I think it’ll be brief enough that I can make it pocket-sized and saddle-stitched, so people can carry it with them at all times and use it all the time as an easy reference. It should be able to make decisions for you, if I write it right. Easiest diet, conceptually, that I know of, and in “choose-your-own” format, it’s even easier, because you wouldn’t have to actually think. Ah, not thinking. I remember when I first figured out how to do that – it’s great – I like to do it once in a while, like an occasional recreation.
As I said, I’ve also been having a bit of trouble self-motivating, though this largely relates only to my personal creative projects. Such as painting, writing, drawing, and the like. I had intended to get the first draft of my ‘sin eater’ novel written or at least largely written before the beginning of April, because I’ll need the entire month of April to get this ‘graphic novel’ reasonably done. Alas, while I did get it begun and created a few foundational elements, I am perhaps less than 8% of the way into my projected expectation for the length of that book. But I need to focus on the ‘graphic novel’ project, or I’ll fall dreadfully behind. Actually, I discovered this weekend that the length I have projected for this project makes it “4 times easier than a 24-hour comic” and “24 times easier than a 4-hour comic.” Both of which I’ve done, but neither of which I’ve ever done on a workday. Which most of the month is, of course. But I have confidence that I can make it work, one way or another. I’m telling you now though that if (as I have been thinking of doing some version of for some time) all the people turn out to be stick figures this is primarily for anonymity and universality, and only a little bit about saving time and effort.
Anyway, so… I keep not having the motivation I need to get this stuff done on the timelines I set myself… without a few of those really intense deadline-looming 12-hour days of intense work. Which are okay, but it sure would be nice if I could work more consistently. It would make it easier/more-sane to plan on how much I can actually get done. But I barely touched the ‘graphic novel’ all weekend, and mathematically I ought to have completed over a dozen pages by now to be up to speed, and preferably twice that, since it was the weekend and I have “more” time than on weekdays. I have two or four pages roughly sketched out. And I have about 83% of the whole thing outlined and the story broken down and the character arcs described and all that … and that’s a contributing factor to my struggle, I think; I’ve never really been able to write a story I already know. But I need to learn to be able to do that; I know several good stories that I otherwise won’t be able to write. The Untrue Tales is practice for that; I have a general idea of how the story goes for the bulk of the series, but I can still play most of it “by ear” the way I normally do; just put my hands to work and watch what happens. And I think it’s helped some, because I’m still basically playing the comic by ear and just sortof generally steering it so that … by this page, this has to happen, and before the end of this ‘chapter’ such and such has to be explained, but otherwise do what I want. And it’s begun to be okay, I think. I’ll see how it proceeds.
And I’ll be able to get the ‘sin eater’ book and Untrue Tales Book Three both done in May without too much trouble, so that’s not a big deal, I’m still on track, but … I have hours and hours available to me every day, even work days, hours that I could be working on writing and art in, and … I seem to choose to watch DVDs and play video games and browse the internet and… eat… instead.
((*** snip ***))
I just went to lunch. Good sandwich. More than enough pretzels. (I didn’t just keep eating them. I’ve saved them in case I want them later, or tomorrow.) Also, some progress, though not the kind I expected.
I took my bag with my laptop and a notebook with lined and blank paper in it and all my other … stuff, plus my lunch, to the break room. And as I ate I opened my laptop and checked my mail; nothing too interesting there, as usual. And when I was done with my mail, I put the laptop away, got out the notebook, and turned to the first blank blank page – only to realize I didn’t have any drawing pencils (or other pencils, for that matter) with me. I thought there might be one in my desk, but I didn’t feel like packing everything back up in the middle of eating to go see, so I flipped back to the first blank lined page and got out a pen to write with. And since I’d already had some small success with sketching out the first several pages roughly, I began trying to write the words for those pages.
For half a line I was in that expository format I’ve been using for vague outlining, but then I crossed that out and started writing carefully metered poetry instead. Which I’ve been half-planning on using for this project for several weeks now. Sortof. I’d thought I’d probably end up with iambic pentameter, but I tried that and the way my mind is telling the story is … well, it’s carefully structured, so far, but not as regular as that. Sortof. We’ll see how it polishes out over hundreds of pages. Anyway, I made some progress, which is good.
I still haven’t really been hungry today. For about forty minutes before I went to lunch I had a lightheadedness that bespoke low blood sugar and a certain mild acid feeling in my stomach I’ve never associated with ‘hunger’ before, but there was certainly no feeling of emptiness, of wanting to eat, no growling, none of these or other feelings I do traditionally associate directly with hunger. But I ate, and I stopped eating about two bites after the lightheadedness had receded and my stomach just didn’t feel like anything anymore; it was the last two bites of the sandwich and four or five pretzel sticks. And I’m sure I ate enough yesterday to make up the difference, but I also … know I should eat every day or risk doing strange things to my metabolism, which is already pretty strange.
I need to get myself to get up early and go shopping and get a Schraeder/Presta air chuck adapter so I can use the compressor to refill my bike’s tires – the handpump I bought is barely adequate. I say things like this a lot. Eventually I’ll actually get myself riding again. I can see it. I just have to get the rest of the excuses out of the way.
Anyway, I’m going to go either take a nap or write poetry, this is already long enough.