So, let’s just say you have an injury. A running injury…your quad (huge thigh muscle) hurts like a mother trucker periodically. And the doctor gives you some pain medicine but says: It will make the pain go away temporarily, BUT, if you use it too much it could be bad for your health. Let’s say, it will give you heart problems. But only if you use it REGULARLY. And those heart problems could be a ways down the road.
Yes! There are other things you can do for that leg pain, there are some stretches and exercises you can do but it’s kind of ambiguous and we’re not sure exactly what will work or how much of a struggle it will be to do those exercises. And you may have to try several before you find something that works.
But these pills! They make the pain go away immediately! You just have to self-regulate because if you don’t, somewhere down the line, you may have some health problems.
You’d take the pills right? I mean, sure the mystery exercises you would have to try might someday work to make the pain go away, but the pills! They’re right here! Right now! And you KNOW they work!
For me? Leg pain = Sadness and Anxiety. The pills? The 6-pack of Krispy Kreme donuts eaten in a dark parking lot and then hiding the empty box in my purse so no one sees it in the garbage. (What? Typical Tuesday for me.) The exercises? Other ways to learn to deal with negative emotions: therapies, meditation, etc.
Eating the donuts makes me happy. IMMEDIATELY. It makes me able to sleep when I’m stressed because the full stomach is like a giant bottle of Nyquil and a warm bed. SO COZY.
This is why I keep doing it. I KNOW there are other ways to cope with my emotions, my sadness, my stress. I KNOW that the donuts will cause me long-term health problems, especially if I stopped running. I KNOW all of these things, but still…DONUTS ARE EASY. They are a quick fix. I know that people say, “Overeating makes me feel worse,” but that’s LATER. Right now…sitting in my car in a parking lot where no one can see me? Those donuts bring me JOY. In that moment when I’m feeling sad or stressed…They make me feel BETTER. Which is why I keep going back to them.
And yes…this is basically the same problem addicts have with alcohol or drugs. So I try to think of it that way, but DUDE…I HAVE TO EAT. So I can’t just give up food all together. And in that moment, I can convince myself, “I’ll eat these donuts now. But tomorrow will be better.” Because, right NOW? The donuts make me happy. And the negative impact of them? Is not immediate. I don’t immediately gain 12lbs and increase my cholesterol. No, the negative effects are far enough down the road that I can give myself plenty of “good days” between today and the day the negative healthy impacts manifest. I mean, I can tell myself that I’ll eat PERFECT tomorrow! And I’ll run! And I’ll do BodyPump! But right now? I need these donuts to make me happy. So I eat them.
It’s just a quick and effective solution to a temporary feeling of anxiety and sadness.
And you either join me in the car and fight over the last glazed, or you never bought the donuts to begin with. And my husband never buys the donuts. So I’m constantly trying to come up with analogies or metaphors or diagrams or picture books, to explain my struggle. Hence the leg pain/pill analogy. Because he’s in Physical Therapy right now for tons of pain in his back. But you know? I’m still not sure the analogy helps because he still just knows that no matter what he’d do in the analogy, he would still never buy the donuts in the real world.
Probably because my “leg pain” is much worse than his. He doesn’t experience sadness or anxiety like I do. So it’s hard for him to understand that drive to make it GO AWAY. And while running or therapy or friends could also make it go away, I don’t always have the means or the time to go those routes. But when I’m running to the store for stuff for dinner and the donuts are RIGHT THERE…it’s irresistible. Especially on days like yesterday where there are kids home sick from school and family calendars that need to be done and work and laundry and dishes and…
I don’t know. Just another entry in the quest to Try To Explain To My Husband Why There’s A Smooshed Up Krispy Kreme Box In My Purse.