Well, hi there! I haven’t written much on the blog over the past few weeks, because I was in a place.
A dark place.
An “I don’t want to go there” place.
It comes with the #cultsurvivor territory. It’s a complex thing, that Complex PTSD.
Being in a cult can fuck with your mindset. #duh.
And no matter how far I’ve come, I feel like there’s so much more to uncover.
It comes off in layers. It can sneak up on me. And sometimes it’s just too much to deal with.
I often don’t realize I’m in that state, and instead start numbing myself.
By drinking a couple of glasses of wine—or more—every night.
By eating copious amounts of sugary snacks and desserts, chips and salsa, and other things I know my body doesn’t appreciate.
And by laying on the couch all day and bingeing something that I have no interest in—like reruns of Bewitched—since it’s easier than actually doing something.
That’s where I found myself 16 days ago.
If my past is any indication, I’d normally just keep heading down that rabbit hole.
I’d keep drinking, but start earlier in the day.
I’d keep chowing down on foods that make me tired, moody, and miserable—oh, and fat.
I’d stop doing things that mean a lot to me, such as finishing my book. Because who needs it, anyway? (Don’t worry, that’s 16-days ago me talking.)
But this time, I chose a different route. Something far more drastic. Something that’s—dare I say it?—kind to myself.
I decided to take 30 days and do a “mindset reset”.
Not a diet, not an exercise plan, but a reset of my whole mindset.
And it’s working—I’m writing this post, right?
Boy, did I need this.
I decided to start my 30-day self-imposed one-person challenge as follows:
- Get up.
- Drink a glass of water.
- Prepare my brekkie and coffee.
- While eating and drinking, read a chapter in a book I’m in the middle of. Right now, it’s Habits of Health by Dr. Wayne Anderson. Good book.
- Do the unthinkable: WRITE IN A JOURNAL.
Yes! Me! The journal hater!
I’ve been journaling for a few minutes every morning.
And it’s HELPING. Who knew? Well, probably a few million people, but whatever.
I’ve been journaling about what I’m eating and how it’s making me feel.
I’ve also been journaling about how much I miss wine, but that I made a deal with myself that I’d give it 30 days. 14 to go…
And guess what’s creeping in there? That’s right! Scientology stuff. Because of course it is.
“Food as punishment” messed up my head. And my body.
Since I’ve been journaling about food, and how it feels to be eating healthy stuff, I got to thinking about my life around food in the Sea Org.
Here’s how that went. Sometimes I’d get to eat real food. But I only had a half hour to eat it, because, you know, I had to get back to the vital work of saving the planet.
More often than not, though, I was in some kind of trouble. That meant a steady diet of rice and beans for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, until I got out of my “lower condition” with the rest of the group. This could take anywhere from a few days to weeks.
Sure, you say, but rice and beans are healthy. OK, fine. But three meals a day? Seven days a week? That’s torture.
And it leads to this unconscious thought that’s haunted me for years: eating the same type of food every day, even if it’s healthy, equals punishment.
Once I escaped Scientology, I had a new lease on life—and food. I ate everything that I could get my hands on. It was AMAZING to be able to have whatever I wanted.
As the years went on, I became more discerning. But deep down, I’ve always had this feeling that if I don’t eat something “different” from yesterday or that I “want” to eat (i.e. chocolate cake), then I’m punishing myself.
See how that works? Insidious. I’d consciously be trying to eat better, and my subconscious would tell me I was torturing myself.
It’s a lot to unpack. But fortunately, by doing this daily journaling, I’m getting there.
Yet, there’s so much more work to do. I honestly don’t think it will ever end. It does get easier, and the journaling is helping. And I’ve been discovering a lot of stuff about my Scientology past that I’d kept hidden.
And so much of it could go into my book.
Yeah, Anne — what’s up with the book?
…is what you’re thinking. I know. My OT powers are strong.
OT powers? What are those? Well, I DID reach the lofty level of OT III, or Operating Thetan III, before I escaped Scientology. So naturally, I have powers far beyond your comprehension and can read your mind. [Insert hypnotic music here.]
Anyhoo, after doing a bit of journaling and detoxing, I’ve realized that I’ve been holding back on finishing the book because more stuff just keeps coming up.
But here’s the deal: I’ve already dived (doven? diven?) enough. I have plenty of stuff in the book. Maybe the other stuff can just go in this blog as I think of it.
Yes, Anne! I can’t wait! Give me more of those juicy details that won’t be in the book!
See? I knew you were thinking that. OTIII works. [Watch Scientology grab this quote out of context and use it against me someday. That would be par for the course.]
So that’s my plan. I’ll finish my final read-through of the book by the end of the month and then send it off to the editor. Get ready, Sheldon. I mean it. I swear.
And anything that comes to mind after I finish the book and send it off can go in this blog.
I feel better already.
Well, well! Doing a mindset reset was a great idea!
I’m feeling feisty again. Which is what I was hoping for.
I’ll definitely complete the 30 days.
And after that?
Well, while I can’t promise to stay away from the wine, I’ll certainly be drinking fewer glasses. Besides, without red wine in my life, imagine all the delightful antioxidants I’d be missing.
And I’ll continue to eat the healthy way I’m eating now. It’s easy, and I’m feeling about a million times calmer and more focused.
Plus, I’ll keep in the breakfast-reading-journaling morning habit. I wake up looking forward to it every day. Weird.
So yeah. It’s been good. 5 stars. Highly recommended.
If you ever feel the need to take a bit of a break from the crazy in your life, why not figure out your own mindset reset? And give yourself 30 days. You might be surprised at how great you feel.
No pressure, of course. I love you just the way you are. (Yes, I know you’re singing it now. OT powers…)