27 February 2008

Psychological Issues

So, for those of you who follow or at least read my Twitter account, the last few days have been very difficult for me mentally. Although there are no very big problems, I have been making some. True, I have a couple of midterms coming up and my progress through my classes have been anything but stellar (been getting a lot of Cs lately as opposed to the frequent As I've gotten in the past), and am worried about the overall outcome of this semester based on how it looks now, but other more personal things have become problems for me even though they really shouldn't be problems. I've made them problems, and it worries me. Ever since my senior year in high school, I've been pretty self-concious of my weight and appearance. And even though I admit that I do not look like trash, I still feel that my appearance is something to be desired. I am not just talking about what I wear, but my body style and the state of my health: physical and mental.
Well, for the last few years I've attempted to maintain a regimine to help me maintain (or lose) weight, appear healthier, and be happier. And they've all failed miserably. Is it because I'm lazy? Definitely not. Is it because I'm looking for a quicker way out? Nope. Maybe its because my life is so hectic? Very possible. Is it because without the diet that I currently have (which is a misnomer since I still each what I've always been eating - just less of it) have adverse consequences (intense hunger pains, exhaustion, headaches, failure to think in complex terms, and most importantly, anger)? Most definitely. They always say that one diet does not work for everybody, and I am one of those people. I need to have breakfast in the morning or I'm cranky all day (mark of someone with a touch of hypoglycemia). I need to eat a substantial lunch (I get intense headaches and begin starting to shake if I don't). And dinner is always full of whatever I didn't have earlier in the day (fruits, veggies, etc.).
Now, since last year, I've been working hard to go to the gym often, and seemed to maintain a very regular regimine of going every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday for quite some time, but as soon as the holidays came by in 2007, it came to a crawl. I was incredibly busy during and after the holidays. In fact, for 3 weeks up until this past Monday, I was unable to go to the gym at all! In fact, even today I wasn't able to go to the gym for the sole reason that I have a midterm in one of my classes tomorrow! Its been getting ridiculous! Fortunately, when I do go, I have Ashley to go with me, which makes going to the gym that much better - consider it a weird way of bonding together (with the exception of Wednesdays when I have to go alone because its a logistics nightmare otherwise). I have been desperately seeking some way to help me lose weight - especially since my first semester at CSUSM when I ended up getting really bad stretch marks across my stomach. For a guy, its really embarassing, but I've resolved to use it as a drive to prevent it from happening again.
Well, a couple weeks ago Ashley and her dad began a diet that works very similar to that of the diets diabetics use. Very low carb, high protein diets. In the beginning, I thought it was a good idea, and supported Ashley to achieve her own health goals so that she would be more confident in her self-image, something that I wished to achieve myself. Unfortunately, the diet seemed to me a little too restrictive and some of the ideas did not coincide with some of the things that I learned about in my college Health class on nutritional requirements. In fact, after speaking with Ashley about it, most fruits were somewhat forbidden because of their high sugar content (even though these sugars are quickly burned because of their simple chemical structure - but they are still considered "carbs"). I began to have my doubts and worried about the long-term effects of such a diet and expressed my concern - but met resistance and so I silenced myself. Until Monday, when the constant discussions of the diet - particularly the carb contents of various foods - finally made me snap.
Now, let me rewind a second and explain why I snapped at something so simple as listening to somebody else's diet. My family on my mother's side has a number of very health-concious individuals, and at nearly every family function the mention of various tactics to achieve various degrees of health are almost always heard. Needless to say, I have grown to listen to it being talked about more than I would like. Am I a hypocrite for this, considering how much I would love to achieve those goals myself? Possibly, but like I said before, I've tried the various diets and have found that they work only for a short time and then begin to fail. Now, back to the story...
Well, I had, rather harshly, denounced their diet at the dinner table. Failing to see how their rapid weight loss (however, no more than 10 pounds) and their attributing it to the diet was indicitive of actual health gain, I began to expound my views on how I believed that the diet was far to restrictive and would manifest other problems later on. Hurt by the feeling of betrayal, Ashley stormed away while I finished my dinner. A long and very difficult to manage argument ensued, almost causing me to leave her house altogether because of the "silent-treatment" she was giving me, and failing to respond to my attempt to apologize after I had finally calmed myself at the dinner table. As you have probably read on my Twitter, I felt like a complete ass.
Although the argument was eventually diminished and a compromise had been attained (at least I hope it was a compromise because I do not want her to lose anything), I still felt thoroughly disgusted with myself. Despite Ashley's reassurances that everything was "fine," I still felt that, because of my actions, I destroyed a bit of the trust she had in me. And to help from causing it to come up again (arguments with the one you love never feel good and always leave me very, very depressed), I said that everything was ok whenever she looked at me quizzically and asked me if things were alright. I know it is a white lie, but one that was probably better said for the time being. But regardless, for the last couple days I've felt like a complete jerk - and it scared me.
It wasn't until today when I think I figured out what had caused me to snap. Although some of the blame could be impossed on the fact that I have midterms and the stresses of school were starting to cause me to cave in, I believe that my outburst of sudden anger came as a byproduct of the main drives that compel me to succeed. As I prepared for the day today, Ashley was dressing and was smiling wide and giggling in her triumph as she put on a pair of pants that not too long ago fit snuggly. A feeling of pride welled up inside of me as I felt very happy that she was proud of her achievements thus far, but another more imposing feeling blocked my genuine happiness from shining through. It was a sense of jealousy - the drive that compels me to do above and beyond and has driven me to succeed.
People say jealousy is the worst of all emotions as it can destroy even the happiest of individuals, but through the years I've kept myself in check and used fictional reasons to keep myself motivated to do my very best (although not all reasons were fictional - like the prospect of gaining a very nice job). And since I kept jealousy to the level that people close to me were not subject to my "jealousy drive," it seemed to have backfired in a BIG way today. Since leaving Ashley's driveway, the pounding of my heart and the feeling of burning it produced, the pressure on my head with each heartbeat and the ability for it to distract me from even the most important things (at the time, focusing on driving) made me realize that something was gravely wrong. Why should I be jealous of something that made her happy, since when she is happy, I am, in effect, happy as well? Is it because she is able to do in a short amount of time what I've been trying to do for more than 5 years? It began to eat at me all day, and paying attention in class was difficult. The only distraction from this horrible feeling I got was when I was at work and managed to finally bypass a problem that had been plaguing me for the last few weeks. And when I got off work, I then realized what had happened the entire day.
Now I am at a crossroads where I do not know how to change that part of me that has caused all these problems these last few days. In fact, half-way through my classes, I contacted my mother to ensure that I have the health benefits available to see a psychologist - something I've thought I've needed for a while. Fears that I may be bipolar swept over me - mainly because I do not want Ashley to have to deal with such a problem when we do marry and because it has been seen elsewhere in my family along with alcoholism and drug abuse. But do I go, or is this another side-effect of the stresses of school and will go away with a slight modification of my diet and after midterms? It scares me to think that I may have a problem, but then again, I may not. And with the intensity by which Ashley and I had our arguments before, how much more pain will I cause before it goes away, and will things be as they were afterwards? These are questions that I must answer, and quickly, but just the mere fact that I must answer them in some way and make a decision is unwanted additional stress that may just drive me to insanity.
Now, I know that I have written an exhausting amount so far - and believe me when I say that it is but a summarization of what has really gone through my head throughout the last couple days - but I must stop here having written for well over an hour. Hopefully, with either a stroke of luck, ingenuity, or just plain-old support, I may be able to regain my former self and rid myself of the unhealthy jealousy that threatens the thing that matters to me most - my relationship and future with Ashley.

1 comment:

AJ said...

Hey Sean. I'm sorry to hear that things aren't going too well for you. I hope things pick up for you. I can see how diets can get frustrating. Me and and my friend are looking to get Tennis started again but we just can't seem to find the time. You're welcome to join us anytime.