Brain break

Came home from seeing a depressed friend this afternoon and ate half a brownie I’d saved from yesterday, then stirred together my favorite brownie recipe and ate four–or was it five?–more.  And now I feel headachy and faintly nauseous and wonder why the hell I can’t stop myself from doing this.

I was shocked when my friend opened the door, she looked so worn and gray, a short severe haircut, dark circles under her eyes, all the lines of her face drooping.  In my head, she still looks like a lively young woman with long tawny shining hair, not a creature beaten down by life.  “You look exhausted,” I said to her.  “I’ve been exhausted this whole year,” she said. “I’ve never been this tired in my life.  I don’t know if I’ll ever get over it.”

Her relationship of 20 or more years is coming apart, there’s a teenage kid, her partner is miserable and hurt, she is miserable and apprehensive–it’s a mess.  There wasn’t much I could do except listen, but I did that as well as I know how, and then came home and stuffed myself with brownies.  God forbid I should feel those feelings, empathize with her despair, feel her almost obsessive drive for violent physical exertion.  She’s been going to the gym seven days a week, sometimes more than once a day–working out, swimming, riding things, lifting things.

The things we do to escape the anguish in our ceaselessly whirring brains.



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3 Responses to Brain break

  1. Imogen says:

    “The things we do to escape the anguish in our ceaselessly whirring brains.” We used to drink but that escape hatch is no longer open to us. I am sorry for your friend’s pain. It must be so difficult for her but she is very lucky to have you as a friend. I think sometimes it makes the world of difference just to be heard and you gave her that.

  2. sswl says:

    “…that escape hatch is no longer open to us.” Yes, and lasting sobriety means finding some other way to deal with painful feelings. People talk about learning to “sit with them,” and that does work for me some of the time, but I still seem to need an escape hatch at times–hence chocolate and movies. What do you do?

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