At My Wits' End

I'm up at 3am because I have a lot of things running around in my head and I can't settle in to sleep.

The first thing is work. As I've mentioned before, I love my job. We've been really busy lately, and I'm finally getting the hang of not stressing about it so much, of leaving work at work. But we also have a lot of new procedures, policies, etc. With a new group of people, it is frustrating some times - more for them than for me, because after a year at this company and several years' experiencein startup organizations, I'm used to changes and even welcome them. I always except things to come down the pipeline, but I'm not sure the others expect it. And I also don't want to be a bad leader. I want my example to be a strong example, since I've been there a longer time. That's hard because I'm not always sure what's expected of me outside of my exact job duties. I'm almost never late, I try to shave off any overtime I've got and I dress well. I also try not to be too social. But I'm not sure some times what else I'm right or wrong about. It's silly stuff like - eating at my desk? Giggling at jokes? What am I doing or not doing?

The second thing is my weight. I'm stalled at a 16-17 lb loss, not swinging back towards the lowest weight of a 17-19lb loss, because I'm eating everything in sight. I'm terrified that I'm going to backslide, and I'm not feeling svelte and in-control like I was, despite my "skinny" clothes still fitting, some better than before. This type of fear usually triggers my disordered eating behaviors, so I'm trying to be really careful to pay attention to my emotions and make sure I eat for hunger when I eat . . . not out of fear, bordeom, etc. But it's hard. Some times I'm genuinely, organically hungry and want two sugar cookies, or an extra serving at dinner. Do I punish myself for doing it, do I blame it on the bulimia, or do I just move on? And if I just move on, how do I stop worrying about gaining back? After all, I'm not working out thanks to my NEW injury in my RIGHT fucking leg.

The third thing is Kona. Besides being almost uncontrollable on his leash, he hasn't gotten down the hang of not pooping in the house. I have relegated him back to the bathroom until he gets on schedule - he outgrew the crate long ago and I know he is more comfortable there, but still won't poop. But now he is sitting in the bathroom crying just like he used to do in his crate - so loud and miserably that I cannot sleep. I've been fighting this with him since the HOLIDAYS. We have the same routine every morning: as soon as I wake up between 6 and 8, we go outside and potty. He comes upstairs with me and either plays or naps in my bedroom while I get ready for work. When I get dressed, we have walkies and he usually poops. If he doesn't poop, I come home for lunch and take him to poop. Some days I can't do this, but those days are the exception - not the rule. After work, I come home, we go potty. I either walk him for another poop, then feed him dinner, then walk him within a few hours for his last poop - or, after we tinkle, he comes in and eats, then we go on a long walk for two poops. Then he plays and hangs out with me and the cats, and we go for several more potties before I go to bed between 9 and 11. But some times he doesn't poop on our poop-walks, and he instead poops in the house when I'm not looking.

He is not allowed to sleep with me any more.

I'm at my wits' end. I can't get the house deoderized. I hate being here because it smells so bad to me. And the whole crying in the bathroom thing, combined with him knocking me down and hurting me, is really frustrating. I know it's not his fault that he is a needy, bizarre, spazzed-out puppy. I know he inherited a lot of it from me, and I know I haven't been a great "pack leader." But I have tried SO many things with him, and nothing seems to work. Every time he gets remotely trained, he backslides.

So I will have to get up in the morning and run by Wal-Mart for more of my pet stain and odor remover stuff. And hope I remember what spots I still need to treat, or I'm sure he'll go THERE, too. I'd run out right now, but I'm finally starting to fall back asleep. I guess I will head back that way and make like Scarlett O'Hara . . . worry about that tomorrow.

1 tidbits of wizdom:

CPB said...

First the eating disorder, then I'll share some thoughts on Kona. Learning how to eat in a healthy and respectful manner is difficult, no matter what your history may be. Toss in a dramatic relationship with food and it gets harder. Where is the fine line? I've been battling a form of anorexia for quite some time and have yet to create a healthy relationship with food without punishing myself afterwards.

A girlfriend of mine is going through a similar thing - it seems like we're in the majority now. Pity. She has started to see a Food Coach which has helped her not only come to terms with her relationship with food but has helped her embrace healthy eating habits without denying herself the occassional treat. It seems to be working for her. Everyone is different.

As far as Kona goes, he's a super high energy dog. Terriers are high speed all of the time and unless you establish that you're the pack leader, then they'll run all over you. I have a pitbull at home and grew up with them so I'm very familiar with your situation.

Get Kona a halter that has the lead in the front. This type of harness works with his natural inclination to pull when someone is pulling at his back.

When you walk him make sure that you are in a sound state of mind. Dogs read our energy and respond accordingly. Keep him at a heel at all times until he learns to walk normally. When he doesn't pull reward him immediately with a treat. It will take some time but he'll figure out that when he doesn't pull, he's rewarded. You'll be able to eventually move up to praise.

If he starts pulling gently correct him by pulling him back or stopping. Do not yank on the harness as he'll want to pull more. If he's still spazzing out try making a loud distracting noise like "eh!" and divert his attention. Once he is settled start again.

It sounds like you're exercising him every day, which is good. That should help with energy levels. When you can, he should be walked for at least an hour a day. Sometimes this isn't always possible but even a brisk 30 minutes will help.

When he's in the bathroom make sure to have plenty of chew toys to distract him. If there is a routine when you leave, change it up. Don't say goodbye. Put him in there with his favorite treat and leave quietly.

It sounds like seperation anxiety, which is a challenge but he can come through it. Just be patient. When you greet him when he comes out, make sure he is sitting and calm. This will reinforce the behavior.

Try not to stress out about Kona, it is hard, but he reads that energy. You'll just need to re-establish that you are the pack leader and things will start falling into place. The trick is to keep up with it. You can do this. You've accomplished so much, this is just a drop in the bucket;)

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