How Not To Fuel the Fire

I have been a plus-size woman for the majority of my adult life.  Some years bigger than others (ahem…some DECADES bigger than others), but with the exception of a few years here and there, I have carried quite a bit of extra weight.  I have been extremely lucky, in that I have developed very few medical problems this extra weight.

Yes, I have sleep apnea and slightly high blood pressure, but both are easily treatable — one with a CPAP machine that I am devoted to wearing every time I lie down, and the blood pressure with a tiny dose of medication.  I again say, I have been extremely lucky, and I don’t really lose sight of that.  I know things could be much worse for my physical health because of my size (oy, and the smoking), but thanks to good genetics or the moon pulling the tides or what-have-you, I don’t suffer much with physical ills.

When I first started this blog over seven years ago, I was quite overweight, although not nearly to the degree I am now, and I actually DID have some health problems.  I joined Weight Watchers, dropped a bunch of weight, and walked three to ten miles a day (every day).  Unfortunately, I had a knee energy when I (foolishly) decided I was skinny enough to start running, and the scale has been on the uptick ever since.

For the past few months I have been feeling quite miserable physically, and I finally went and saw my primary care provider, who ran a bunch of labs.  It turned out that my fasting glucose was quite high, and she immediately decided that I had diabetes and she needed to prescribe Metformin (a diabetic medication) and all would be well.

Well, hellz no, lady!  With the 19 pills I take every morning and 24 I take every night for mental health issues, I’m not going to just throw another pill on top of things, all willy nilly.  SO, I asked her to test my A1C (it is more of an average of your blood sugar levels over a much longer period of time, rather than just the one instance).

And my A1C was NORMAL and my mononucleosis test came back NEGATIVE and so I am celebrating because…yay…I haven’t totally screwed my body up yet!  Now, of course, this doesn’t explain why I feel so awful physically, but at least I know that most of my labs are normal, so this is great news.

I spoke with my provider’s nurse, and my provider would like me to mostly eliminate carbohydrates and eat more fruits and vegetables.  I am going to take this under consideration, but I don’t want to do anything too extreme as I have a history of eating disorder, including but not limited to extreme preoccupation with food and calories.

I have not participated in *hardly* any eating disorder activity since LarBear and I have been together, and I want to keep it that way.  I don’t want to get really focused on a certain diet that I need to keep, and end up back where I used to be — all-consumed by anything that went into my mouth (and, similarly, that which was purged).  BUT, I do want to be a healthier person and I really do want to feel better physically so I can do more things.

There is the push and pull, now, that I need to lose weight and exercise more, and I do know that.  I am grateful I have yet to eff up the one body that I have been given on this planet (although I have really put it through quite the cycles of abuse) and so I feel very thankful for that.  I don’t want to worsen things, and turn that next A1C that I have to have drawn in two months into a problem number, but as stated before, don’t want to restart the eating disorder cycle (because it is the biggest bitch ever to get out of).

Any constructive thoughts are welcomed, desired, hoped-for, et cetera, ad nauseum!  😀

O.K., Wild One!

Okay, so maybe “wild” isn’t the right word.  Hypomania?  Mania, even?  What started out as just some “really great” feelings has evolved into something more.  I’m not sleeping but three or four hours a night, and those hours aren’t all at one time.  Nightmares have come on with an even greater vengeance.  I find my thoughts to be confused and jumbled and quite speedy, my speech is pressured, and one day seems to capture ten different mood shifts.

No bueno, my friends.  I did go to see the amazing psychiatrist last week and he increased my Lithium and added Seroquel as a PRN show-stopper of sorts, but I have had little relief.  Especially in the sleep department.  My tolerance for other humans has begun to shrink, and even my feelings of empathy for the puppies in my life who struggle with fireworks and thunder and every other loud noise have been diminished.

I miss blogging every day, but most days I find that I just don’t have much to say.  Or much to say that I think bears repeating from my tired old brain.  Sometimes I think I should just throw it out there anyway, but I don’t.  I admire bloggers who do it day-in-and-out, and maybe I’ll get back there some day.  I think I would have a hard time throwing RosieSmrtiePants away altogether, and don’t think that day is coming anytime soon.  Maybe I could embrace a weekly blogging schedule.  You know, a SCHEDULE.  Gah!

So many things in life are better these days, so it is really aggravating to me that I must still be on the bipolar circus ride of up-down-all-around.  I have resigned myself to think that perhaps it will ALWAYS be that way.  I mean, if the past 33 years is any indication anyway.  I comfort myself by reminding Rosa that at least the current state of affairs does not 100% revolve around depression and anxiety.  Yay for mania (except, ick, really) for keeping things interesting and here’s to a goal of no hysterical crying for 24 hours.

We all have goals, am I right?  ;). Sure do love y’all!

Treading Water, Full Speed Ahead

**TW FOR SUICIDAL IDEATION**

Stuck in time-space travel, living too far into the future, no focus, hyper-focused, zero attention span.  Do not care.  About that (although a little troublesome) or about much.  I’ve let most things I love and care about drop around my feet slowly, starting in August of last year, when my world was given the big smack-down and everything changed.

I’ve cycled through some hypomania and have as of late been mired in depression and super-fun mixed episodes, with a bit of giddy mania sandwiched in.  I have dropped blogging, family, friends, personal hygiene, my TV shows, my music, my books, my sanity, and the smoking and weight loss kick to find myself with a new boyfriend and far too much change and far too much crying, several times a day, every day.  Something is not right.

I feel as if I am living in a different world.  I don’t do the things that ground me.  I am trying new things and they sometimes make me quite miserable.  Cutting off ties to certain people leaves my belly churning and my chest tight.  On the flip of that, I am deliriously happy, ecstatic even at times.  And in the middle, irritable, wounded, striking out.  I am all and I am none.

I am eating Hamburger Helper and Ramen noodles and instant mashed potatoes, even though I can cook, and do cook well.  My body is so parched for moisture from a lack of self-care, that my feet are cracked, my skin rough, my hair thinning.  I do not recognize myself in a mirror.  I have important phone calls to make to set up appointments for my health and should try and see family more, but all I really want to do is stay up all night being whacked or lying in bed all day, broken.

I want to retain the good parts of my life and explore the new, rid myself of the negative or unhelpful, but I can’t make myself care enough to do anything about it.  I probably look fine, even good on the outside, like I am doing well.  But in mind and heart I have gone away.

I sometimes think about throwing myself on the mercy of the psychiatric hospital, or the local crisis services, but I don’t, because that only burdens everyone.  I stay safe because I keep boyfriend Larry at my side as much as I can.  There is only so much one can do, though, and he will get tired.  As with any other relationship, I am probably wrecking this one already with my craziness.

No real worries, friends.  I will keep on keeping myself safe.  These are only thoughts and feelings.  Reality is that there is love in my life and I would never do anything to hurt or abandon anyone in that fashion.

 

 

 

 

Building A Life Worth Living, Week Four

life worth living

 

The tiny miracles, true friendship, amazing family, beloved critters, and lovely events in my life that have made life worth living this week:

1) The ability to send an “unpublished” post to a few friends, have those friends reply in earnest, and wind up with an email chain full of great advice and love.  Thank you…stuff like that makes my week, any week.

2) The beauty that I was able to start again with Goddess of Mindfulness, the ORIGINAL therapist to end all therapists.  She has been a great support to me in what has been a really difficult week.  I have never had a mental health professional be more supportive and more willing to spend the time.  And to genuinely care — that might be the best part.

3) That a tiny miracle, a new baby, may be growing in the belly of one of my dearest friends.  That I will be able to be witness to this little one from pregnancy on up, is precious.

4) The trust that QoB and the Big Dawg have in Blue Cat and myself, to run both stores while they are away at a conference.  The Rock and I did it last year, and it seems that the Big Dawg is getting better at ceding intense control.  That, and we’re trusted — that is the big part.

5) The resiliency of the Kizzer Wizzer.  She had been so accustomed to me being at home 24/7 when I was sick, and now it seems I am gone all the time.  She has transitioned beautifully and is still a happy little dog — she gives me no reason for guilt.

6) The ability to end the week on a high note, feeling good, feeling positive and optimistic, and most importantly, living in the  moment.  The weenie roast at the end of the week was perhaps the best time I have had, with friends, in quite some time.

7) The reaffirmation that I made the right decision in not having children.  It is lovely to watch friends’ and families’ children grow, but I know deep in my  heart that I could never do it myself.

8) The wisdom, courage, and forethought to remove myself from toxic situations before they become too ugly.  Truly beautiful wise mind.

9) Noticing the serious side effects of a temporary medication after one day, being mindful to it, and deciding to not continue.  My mental health is a priority to me, and I would rather have painfully swollen feet and ankles, than to be up peeing every two hours, all night long.

10) The sheer joy of having a big bag of ice in the refrigerator, so I can have my water as cold as I like it, thus motivating me to drink more water.

Building a Life Worth Living, Week Three

life worth living

 

To sum it up (once again), building a life worth living is a concept from DBT or Dialectical Behavior Therapy.  When we are miserable, we aren’t concerned about our quality of life.  As we strive to get better, we start to care and we start to notice our actions that lead us to that better quality.  This series will become a challenge anyone can join, with an official kickoff in the next week or two.  Of course, if  you’re feeling froggy, jump and do it now — just pingback to this post.

1) I was able to see my sister and Baby O today.  An early birthday present, call it what you want.  It made my whole month.

2) A little bonfire at the HH with QoB and the Big Dawg.  Sometimes very few words are needed.

3) The realization that the majority of 2014 has been utterly yucky for me.  The following realization that I am still standing with most of my mental health intact.

4) Taking the pressure off Sister Sara and taking one for the team, feeding Dad’s cat while they are on vacation for a couple days.  True and unexpected appreciation is always welcome.

5) My niece, Little E, turned three today.  When Sister Sara was pregnant with her, I was so disappointed she wasn’t born on my birthday.  Sooo close.  Feeling very grateful to be a bigger part of her life.

6) Making plans to see a good friend next Sunday.  Yes, I have friends.  It is freaking awesome.

7) Talking to Goddess of Mindfulness on the phone.  Sometimes you just need to let it all out there, and it is so helpful to have someone on the other end of the line, letting you know that  your feelings are valid.

8) Chatting with my buddies on the Interwebs, feeling like I gave a couple pieces of good advice, and unfortunately, also like I must buy frozen pizza next time I am at the grocery store.

9) Coming up on the Big 33 and realizing there are many good people in my life, and they love me, and I love all of them.

10) Getting the banner Mental Mama made for this series to fit ALL the way across the page.  Always getting a thrill from figuring out something techie.

A Life Worth Living, Week One

Sometimes there is a good thing going, and it gets ruined by a handful of people.  That is what happened with me and Ten Things of Thankful.  I deign not to participate in it anymore, but I do feel like it is important to get some thankfuls out there at week’s end.

There is a saying in DBT, that you are working toward “a life worth living.”  Amen to that, because in the throes of all that hell and depression and anxiety and mixed episodes, it DOES NOT FEEL like you are living that life.  If you stick with it long enough, however, you start to find little happy flowers popping up in your flowerbeds and you can go out anytime you like and smell the wet earth and lightly-scented flowers.  That, my friend, is a life worth living.

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The following are the events, people, dogs, and other things that made my life worth living this week:

1) Here, right now, in this moment — I can go to the grocery store by myself without massive panic and anxiety.  I even got myself some pretty good deals with the minimal amount of money I had to spend.  I am getting to a point where, *sometimes* I don’t need that boost to get there.  That is huge for me.

2) I thought I was going to lose a chat friend, and then I didn’t, and the chats are better than ever.  Not panicking, not pushing that person away, not going over the top…things I would have done before, they didn’t happen.  I processed it angry, I processed it slightly pissed, and then I processed it neutral.  In all things, neutral won out and wise mind prevailed.

3) I have made plans for the week.  I am having ice cream with Dad today, I am having dinner with my stepsister tomorrow, and I am having a make-up party with my best friend from high school on Tuesday.  I am looking forward to all three events and it makes me feel good that I can get out and do these things.  Having people around you who care helps create a life worth living.

4) All of my prescriptions are waiting for me at Walgreens.  This may seem like no big deal, but it took years of fighting several years ago to get me on the insurance I needed to afford my meds and it has taken years of fighting to deal with the Walgreens system and finally figure out what it was that I needed to do, on my part, to make sure my meds were there and ready and there were no problems.  Figuring things out like this create a life worth living.

5) Sometimes things come about that make you realize who your true friends are.  The ones that stay and listen and give advice, and the ones who can’t be bothered.  Learning which people to keep in your life and those which exist only so you can serve their every need, that is a big life lesson.  Sometimes the time comes when you have to “cut the fat” so to speak and let a few go.  Learning how to do this through effective communication is learned in DBT and builds more credence toward a life worth living.

 

I know I  have been blogging about DBT a lot lately, but it truly is the best thing that has ever happened to me, as far as my bipolar goes (well, except maybe Lithium 🙂  It is a good therapy for nearly every disorder, and the tenets really do help people even without the disorder.  All you have to do is practice the skills, and the happiness will come.

If you’re feeling froggy, feel free to link up to this post with your own list of what made life worth living this week.  I would truly be honored.  Or, if you don’t want to do a list of your own, leave just one thing in the comments.

Sanity, Apparently, Is Fleeting

Once more it’s the up and down, the crash and bang of my mood smacking into the ceiling and then hurtling down into the basement.  In a matter of hours, minutes sometimes.  Too much emotional reactivity to things that probably don’t really matter, but seem SO important in the moment.

I am telling myself that this all has to do with being sick and isolated and off my game and away from work.  Because, I am NOT going to the hospital again, not now.  Someone, perhaps my therapist or maybe my sister, told me that extended illness could really mess with your mood.  Well, here is living proof.

Like a fool, I have been dredging up these memories of DSB.  You see, he was an ass, but I DO have some good memories of our time together.  And with those memories at the forefront, it’s hard to keep in mind all of the negative.  And it makes me think — where did our love go wrong?  Was it me and all my craziness?  Did I need too much, ask for too much?  Did he love me the most he possibly could and it just wasn’t enough?  Was he just that limited?  But more importantly — I think it was my fault.  It could have been, right?  I could  have made it work if I CHANGED him more.  How ridiculous, right?  Sadness will do that to you, make you think that way.

You see, I’m calling this sadness, and not depression, because the two are entirely different.  I’m still functioning — I just feel really crappy off and on.  I had a very nice evening yesterday with Mom and the Big Dawg.  I even ate some real food — steak and a baked potato.  It doesn’t get more real than that, right?  That should make me HAPPY, right?  It did, for a little while.

And then I got home and it was just me and the pup and I started to think about how excited Rascal would always be when you came home and how DSB was always, always waiting in the office with some trashy TV on to hear how it all went.  There isn’t anyone to tell how it all went when I get home now.  There isn’t anyone to kiss me goodnight or to nag at me to take meds or encourage me to get to bed.  The last voice I hear of the day now is Mom’s, or Dad’s, several hours before I go to bed, and while I know they love me dearly, it’s just not the same.

I got up in the middle of the night last night, and have on several other nights here lately, and was surprised that the light wasn’t on in the office.  Like I expected him to be there.  Why would I expect that or even want that?  I think this must be all  part of the grieving process, that I can’t believe I’m STILL going through.  If I look at it, though, it’s only been a little over two months that he’s been gone.

So is this normal?  Is this grief for DSB and a longing for someone to just be there?  Or is this madness brought on by all the medical problems I’ve had the last six weeks, not including the mental health issues toward the first part of that?  Maybe it’s both.  Whatever it is, I hate it.  Fucking hate it.  Half the time I feel like I’ve got it together and the other half I’m just falling apart.

Sadness Moving On

After my visit with the Great Uncle G yesterday, I really felt like I could get back on top of things.  I even went out in the evening and had dinner with mom and the Big Dawg.  I had a good time, the food was excellent, the company even better.  I came home, did a little Internet chatting, watched two episodes of “Scandal” and then went to bed.  At that point, I was still feeling very positive.

I had a good night’s sleep last night so I woke up thinking today would be pretty good.  I came out to my computer, where I always go to wake up.  Drank a glass of water, took morning meds, petted the Kizz Wizz.  Nothing out of the ordinary.  I checked my email, no big surprises there.  I checked my comments from yesterday and also checked on responses to posts I commented on yesterday.  It was an ordinary morning, just like any morning.  I could have been getting ready to go to work for as fine as I felt.

And then I opened FB.  Right there on my home feed, was a very large photo of my old English teacher from middle school, along with words underneath indicating her life accomplishments.  Because, well, she had died.

You know, I knew that yesterday and I pretty much blocked it out.  I was feeling too good to let it get to me, but today, vulnerable from just waking up, it was too much.  I scanned more of FB and it was just more drama, more hate, more kids sick with cancer, soldiers wounded in action and suffering, people hurting other people.  Why do people post shit like that?  What does it really accomplish?

So I shut FB off.  I was kinda trying to hang around to catch a friend of mine, but I couldn’t take it anymore.  I just hung my head and cried.  Cried like a big baby, because the world isn’t fair, people aren’t fair OR nice, and there is a website that just wraps all of that up into one package and drops it on your doorstep.  What is the fucking point of that?

And then a song comes on my Pandora that takes me back to that time in middle school, when I was a student of the teacher who had passed away.  She was an English teacher.  She was so patient with me.  She believed in me, praised me for my writing.  More tears.  Just hanging my head and crying.

I guess it’s going to be a crying kind of day, because I cried while I looked at pictures of my nephew, cried when I think back to the screwed up DSB situation, cried when I thought about how I haven’t been a very good therapy participant because I haven’t sent diary cards in two days, cried because my medication was wrong for so long, just cried, cried, cried.

My instinct is to go back to bed, try and start this day over.  Before all of this silly and random crying started, I had things I wanted to do today.  Things I need to do today.  And I do still need to do those things.  And I really am ok.  Just overly emotional today.

Tears don’t mean something is broken.  Tears are just sadness and sometimes joy, spilling over.  You don’t need to worry that I am crying or that today hasn’t been a very good day so far.  This is just another day in the life of the Rosa, and, as always, it does get better.

tears

The Blurry Selfie

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Yep, WordPress, there’s me.  All fuzzified, but, still me.  I wanted to take a new picture, because I hadn’t had one in three years and all of my FB pictures had me with super-short hair.  I wanted to show off my big long hair.  This fuzzified one doesn’t do it justice, but you start to get the point.

Imagine my surprise when I post this picture on FB and automatically get a harsh reply, “Errrrmmmm, where’s ur makeup?”  Okay, it wasn’t hard enough for me to put it up there, and now my best friend from high school (who is also an Avon rep) points out that, gee, you NEED makeup.  She made me feel so stupid.  And ugly.

And the thing is, I let her.  I let her make me feel stupid and ugly (and of course, fat, because ugly and fat go hand in hand) and undesirable.  I let her make me feel like I needed makeup to be pretty, when I know better.  I do like to wear makeup, yes, but I don’t wear it all the time.  I don’t have to wear it to feel pretty.  But I let her make me feel ashamed, for not being more of a woman, a girly girl.

I think what this photo really shows is a person, trying to put herself out there.  Trying really hard, because it doesn’t come easy.  Trying even harder to overcome the feelings of inadequacy and low self-esteem and the feeling like she really isn’t pretty.  Not at 32 years old.

The truth of the matter, is this person doesn’t NEED makeup.  Maybe a little mascara for those blonde eyelashes, maybe a touch of eyeshadow, of blush.  But that would be about it.  This person isn’t in need of foundation and concealer and powder and all the face paint.  This person doesn’t think it looks good on ANYONE.

So there are a few blemishes here and there, and those eyes would really POP with a tiny bit of makeup, but there’s nothing wrong with the picture above.  That woman is lovely, inside and out, and it is a damn shame that she lets others make her feel differently.

Sometimes You Have to Burn Bridges

burning bridges

 

 

Younger, naive, much less in tune with the ways relationships work (and don’t work).  To put it simply, I was just young and dumb and hopelessly romantic.  I thought I was in love, maybe I was.  It sure seemed that way, when we weren’t fighting over something silly and he wasn’t ignoring me or giving me the silent treatment.

We were very different.  At that young of an age, I had a restlessness to do things.  Anything, really.  I wanted to have have dinner and an evening of conversation at my mom’s house, go catch a movie once in awhile.  I wanted to have my pregnant step-sister over and make her brownies and see how excited she got when the pan came out of the oven.  I wanted to go to ballgames with my dad and not see his disappointment everytime I left the house.

And he didn’t want to be around people.  Not anyone.  Not his family, not my family.  Sometimes, I think, not even me.  I did everything I could to catch his attention — cooked great meals, suggested movies to watch, brought home card games I thought he might like.  To no avail.  The harder I tried, the more he ignored me.

I see now that it was terribly painful for him to be around other people.  When he said, “Rose, I don’t know what to say!” — he really meant that he didn’t know what to say.  I thought he was just shy at first.  And that was okay because I’m a little on the shy side myself when I first get to meet someone.  But it was more than that.  There was a complete confusion, for him, about how people interacted, talked to each other, empathized and loved one another.  He didn’t understand it, and it couldn’t be taught.  I tried — he would say, “just leave me alone.”

I don’t know how I made it through three years like that.  My biggest problem with him was that he constantly ignored me.  I would get home from work and we would talk for a little bit and, even though he had been home all day by himself, he had to get away again.  He would go to the basement and play video games at full volume, for hours on end.  He would take his tablet or his iPod and go listen to five or six or seven podcasts.

I remember thinking, “I just want him to like me.  To love me, even!”  I remember wondering why he never wanted to be around anyone, no matter how loving and including they were.  It was all very confusing to me, because I felt like I was doing all the right things, like my family and his family were doing all the right things.

When things were close to the end, we were sitting around taking online questionnaires.  I sent him one for Asperger’s Syndrome.  He read off his answers to me, which were all lies.  The truths were all such CLEAR markings, and I can say that I do have some experience with this, having worked in the the mental health field for over ten years.  I began to think, not for the first time, that something clinical could have been playing a role in our dysfunctional (nonfunctional) relationship.  Not that it was or that it had, but that it COULD have.

Right after that, we got into a big fight about the same old things (ignoring me, never wanting anything to do with anyone, playing video games for 12 hours at a time overnight).  He said he was leaving.  I told him that I would hold him to that, and he left the next day.

It’s three years later and imagine my surprise when he friends me on Facebook.  Knowing I shouldn’t, but wanting to know how he is, I accept.  And he starts messaging me.  Over and over.  Won’t stop.  I finally figured out to unfriend him.  He kept messaging me and I didn’t understand how that was possible, so I blocked him.  My phone rang a few minutes later, and it was him, pretending to be a customer service rep.  I told him we were never getting back together, that it would never happen and that I had bad memories from that time.  He said he understood and would leave me alone.

I hope I don’t have to change my number.