6 years ago yesterday morning my dad died suddenly and unexpectedly of a pulmonary embolism. Shock, pain and grief cloud my memories of the day. Halloween for me is a time of mixed emotions. I have many wonderful memories of trick or treats but one big cloud. The day my dad died I went shopping, trying to find some food to feed my incoming family. I couldn't believe that there were people dressed up and celebrating. I wanted the world to stop and acknowledge the passing of this great man.
During that time I used anything and everything I could get as a outlet for grief. That included sleep, tears, food, anger, humor, loud music, prayer, scriptures, friends and family. I tried to tap off some of the pressure I felt from the fullness of pain. I was willing to try anything.
I came up with a subconscious game. It is a game of sabotage, it only requires one person, one temptation and a pain I want to be distracted from. It is played like this: While alone I think, "I am not hungry - I don't even want to eat cake, I have no desire for that chocolate cake sitting on the table," After awhile my thoughts change to, "I am going to eat it, I am going to take a fork and eat the whole thing....no idea why, it just seems like the wrong thing to do and I am going to do it." Then the cake disappears. The next stage in the game goes like this: Guilt and pain say "You are such a fat cow, I bet you will even eat those tortilla chips won't you? You know you aren't hungry but you will..." and then I do. The game goes on and on until sick, disgusted or both.
A thin beautiful friend told me once that the rules to losing weight are simple. Eat less and exercise more. She told me that she didn't understand why people had such a hard time with it - they should just stop putting food into their mouths. The game isn't ingrained in her head.
I still catch myself playing the game when bored, lonely, sad, overwhelmed or exhausted. I don't want to, it is not a conscious decision - I am playing it before I even realize it. That is why I teach sabotage. When I get to the stage where the first bites are taken it is almost too late. Sometimes I can catch myself and destroy the enemy washing it down the sink, other times I am helpless.
To sabotage the game routine is important: I exercise every morning. I try to only have things on hand that I can eat. I try to protect myself by not having a cake on the counter. But the most important step for sabotage is to be aware of the thing I am distracting myself from. It could be something simple like procrastinating paying bills or cleaning house, or harder like an unresolved fight, hurt feelings, or guilt. Each thing usually has a better solution than shoveling food into my mouth. Being aware of what I am hiding from can be the first step to fixing it. Asking Heavenly Father for help is the second. I have now asked for things some may think silly, help with house work, help to get the desire to apologize, or help to want to read the scriptures. Each time I pray I am answered. The list of things that Heavenly Father can fix is endless, but not always instant. Sometimes he won't fix the problem, sometimes he will just offer me peace. If I am willing to take that I can be changed.
I was blessed with a wonderful father. I am blessed with a perfect Heavenly Father. Each want me to be happy. When I was a girl I fell a lot. If I needed a band aid I could always count on my dad to have one in his wallet. He would pull it out, place it on my wound and I would feel better. Now I am a woman and my dad isn't around. I still have a father who is willing to soothe me with a band aid of peace. He will come to my aid if I but ask. The help he gives is a million times greater than the distraction the game gives