Written by Morgan Bickenbach-Davies
As January ends and February begins I wanted to share a little recap of how the fear of last month went and talk a bit about this month’s fear.
The fear for January was going to the gym. As someone who harbors a lot of self-hatred and body consciousness, this was no small task for me. I am intensely aware of being in public spaces where the potential for comparison and judgement are high. The fear of having my body looked at and potentially judged can sometimes be crippling. I managed to get to the gym 3-4 times a week for a few weeks this past month, but near the end of the month, my depression reared it’s ugly head, holding me captive. The last week of January was the worst. Somedays it took everything I had to get out of bed and maybe get out of the house but ultimately not to the gym. It also didn’t help that I’ve had some sort of cold bug for over three weeks.
Ultimately, setting myself the goal of getting to the gym in January did get me there more than would have otherwise. So, it wasn’t a total fail, but I definitely have room for improvement as I continue to face this fear in February and beyond.
For February, I have decided to set myself the goal of meditating with the Headspace app for at least 5 minutes a day, every day. Meditation is a fear because quieting the mind usually signals to my inner demon/critic to take center stage and riff. My usual technique to turn down the volume is to be constantly listening to a podcast, audiobook, music or just talking to another person face to face. So, in other words, I have become dependent on external stimulation to quiet the barrage of criticism coming from inside my skull. It’s so bad that I even go to sleep with headphones in.
My hope is that meditation will help me to develop some better coping mechanisms. Ultimately, I would love to be able to feel less anxious in times of absolute silence. I can’t read anymore without hearing slef-criticisms about how slow I read, how stupid I am, that the book isn’t what a ‘smart person’ would choose to read, that I don’t read enough to begin with, that I don’t turn the pages fast enough, and on and on and on. I would love to be able to read a book for pleasure without that little voice ping ponging around in there every time I cracked open a book. I used to devour books. I really miss that.
As for Chris, last month he successfully meditated every day. I’m super proud of him for that considering I know just how scary it is to be still with one’s own thoughts. In February, Chris plans to reduce his dependency on what he considers ‘safety foods’. These are foods that he trusts, that have precise nutritional information and are usually portion controlled. This month, he plans on challenging himself with more ‘real foods’. In other words, foods with more micronutrients, that are more whole and less processed (i.e. less portioned packaging) and more varied than his usual go-to protein bars.
As always, I’ll check back in at the end of February with another progress report. I hope everyone has a great February.