Another Day, Another Monkey Wrench, Solutions Welcome! (gibberish and rambling are included!)

 

I am not sure why I can’t seem to remember that I am absolutely powerless to control pretty much anything, especially the whim and will of other people or the weird Kansas weather or (to a degree) how my body will react (generally dramatically, whichever the direction) to a big medication adjustment or how my frizzy-ish hair is going to handle the day’s vacillation in humidity.

Here we are, another week has gone by, there have been ups and downs, but I am surviving, and am in fact surviving in somewhat decent humor.  A bit over a week ago, things were getting a bit too roller-coasterish with my mood, and my Seroquel was increased (for the second time this month) and I really thought that was not going to affect things (overall), too much.  I was, of course, terribly wrong and while it has given me moments of extreme grogginess, the really irritating thing is that I am just extremely hungry at all times, no matter what I have just eaten or what else I have done that day.  In addition, the sugar/carb cravings are back and I really do put a lot of that on the Seroquel.

Some of it is me, though — me not handling anxiety well, me not handing “change” well, me just reverting to slacker (eating) ways.  The other problem the past week or so has been that I have not been able to do my normal exercise routine, partly because of bad knees, but mostly because of serious toe infection (both big toes) and extreme ingrown toenails.  My primary care, thankfully, decided that now was the time to pull both toenails.  They  have actually been giving me trouble for years, so in a sense, I am happy to start over with a fresh nail bed, but it was quite painful and remains a bit more than slightly painful, the dressings are not easy to change, and I have had to back off of my daily trips to the pool to do aqua aerobics.

I am on Day One of no exercise, and one would think I would be faring better, especially considering years and years of slackerdom and the past year in which I barely moved from the couch.  No lie, however, I am going quite stir crazy and have been bouncing from project to project to project.  Nothing is satisfying the itchiness inside my brain, and to keep that itchiness company, my stomach is constantly complaining that it be filled.  It is a miracle that I am not hugely over-eating my plan calories allotment, but the desire is definitely there.

I am going to have to figure out some more creative ways of telling my cycling brain to shush, of telling my growling tummy that it is not in fact starving, of settling the  feeling in my legs of wanting to bounce around, and so forth.  I am employing all of the usual remedies, like chair exercises, doing new crafts, working on special projects for others, reading, talking Kizzie and Lucy’s ears off, browsing the internet, trying to organize different spaces.  I think I need something totally different, and I have thought about it all day and decided that maybe YOU have the suggestion that I am needing.

So please, do tell, what amuses you when you feel similarly?  I am pretty open to suggestions, provided it includes nothing illegal, smoking cigarettes, or imbibing in any kind of mood-altering substance.  Let’s hear it!

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Resurfacing After a Period of Extreme Selfishness

I have barely looked at another blog, have stopped interacting with nearly everyone I follow on FaceBook, have ceased communications with the small handful of people that I had usually communicated with on a semi-regular basis, and I went underground.  My friend Marilyn had talked to me previously about hunkering down and waiting for the storms to pass, and I guess maybe I took that to extremes a bit.

The positive news about my (relatively) short hiatus from all others in my world is that:

  1.  I have been smoke-free since January 3rd.  Parts of it were hard, parts of it were nearly impossible, but I have made it this far and I don’t plan on turning back.  As a bonus to this accomplishment, I did this without totally wearing out my (now) miniaturized support system.  (as in, no dogs or boyfriends or close family members were harmed in the obtaining of over three months smoke free…yay!)
  2. I have lost 67ish pounds since December, thanks to a healthy eating plan (that is sustainable in the long-run) and almost-daily aerobic exercise.  It turns out that “those people” were actually right about exercise being good for your mood, body, and overall well-being.
  3. I have become “more social.”  That doesn’t mean I am hitting up the grocery store or going to parties or any such nonsense.  It means that, at the YMCA where I exercise every day, it is kind of similar to how it was on the long-ago “Cheers” sitcom, where everyone really DOES know my name.  I must say, it does make exercising easier, to have all of those supportive people around.
  4. I have more “stuff” figured out in my life.  Although therapy  has been helpful, I have mostly grown in life because I am learning what makes me happy and I am learning to say “no” when something doesn’t feel good and I am (constantly) trying something new every day to grow myself.

I have missed blogging pretty terribly, and have missed some of my blog friends even more, but my hopes is that I can reconnect with people easier now that I am a bit more stable.  I would love to start writing in this thing again.  I don’t know if anyone really cares about that, save for me, but I do miss writing things out.  I have been keeping an altered art journal, and writing pretty regularly in that by hand, and I plan to keep that up, but again, am hoping to maybe throw a few words up in this space every now and again.

If there is a thought in your head that I have forgotten about you, chances are pretty much 99% that this is not the case, that I just needed to disappear for awhile.  I am not going to do a bunch of shout-outs right here and now, just know I have missed you and I hope we can catch up soon.  I am bringing a happier, calmer, and healthier Rosa to the table, and I hope you stop by and say hi soon!

Reasons I Might Be Losing My Mind

With the exception of “Dear God: You Forgot to Mention the Bad Parts” (which was one of my favorite posts of recent, but that received almost no attention…go look!), I have mostly been doing challenges for my post updates.  Lots of list posts, goal posts, thankful posts.  That’s all well and good, but I don’t want to be THAT blogger.  I started this blog to put it all out there and to process and to be reminded that I am flawed, but human.  I haven’t been putting it all out there.

I know we’re all tired of Rosa saying what crap 2014 has been (but it has), and it’s safe to say that my mental health has taken a nosedive once again.  There are reasons, though, this time.  There were triggers to the nosedive and I am going to say like I say on my tagline and “tell it like it is.”

Firstly, I have been going through a family struggle.  It’s something that everyone wants to keep private for very good reason, but it’s really been bringing me down.  I don’t know how many tears I have cried over this, and I don’t know when or if it will get better.  It weighs on my mind heavily, maybe more so than it should.

Then, there’s all the med changes.  No more Zyprexa and no tapering off the 10mg I took three times a day.  No more sleeping pill (a benzo) after a very short taper.  And remember the Geodon decrease and the Abilify upswing.  All 0f this within the last little while.  The no more sleeping  pill thing has probably been the worst and I haven’t slept in days.  I did, however, get a reprieve and was prescribed a small dose of Trazadone that I am hoping will work wonders.  I want to sleep, I don’t want to be comatose.  Hence getting off the other sleeping pill (plus, the sleep-driving just wasn’t a good thing).

The pressures to change my lifestyle.  Quit smoking AND lose weight.  Start exercising.  Eat healthier.  Taper down your smoking.  All at once, all coming at me from family, friends, doctors.  Everyone means well, I know, but I can’t do it all at once.  Goddess of Mindfulness told me today the same thing:  Rose, you can’t do it all at once.  She thinks this is a terrible time to quit smoking, even though I have been amping up for it for almost two weeks now.  She says I need to let my meds even out, start sleeping again.

Goddess of Mindfulness also thinks I need to focus on healthy eating.  She thinks it will make me feel better overall.  My dad really wants me to join a gym, after I mentioned that I might at some point want to do water aerobics.  The doctors are telling me no help for me until I quit smoking.  Everyone else just looks at me and my growing size and horrible cough and tries to recommend something.  Or just looks at me.

Something has to give.  Right now, in this very moment, my eating is out of control and I have to fix that.  Weight loss surgery somewhere down the line?  Maybe.  For right now, though, there has to be a change within my brain.  This is something I can do anytime.

Quitting smoking?  I will continue to cut back.  I will quit within the next month or so.  Can I do it all at once?  No.

Exercising.  I do want to do the water aerobics classes, but money prevents it, and right now I am so out of breath to do anything, that continuing smoking prevents it.

And all 0f the aforementioned squirrels just run around my mind chattering, and I am overwhelmed, and I feel like I’m losing it.  Something has GOT to give.

Trading Noodles for Hope

Another week has passed…finally.  About a month ago, I was looking forward to this week, Holy Week.  I was going to attend all of the services, celebrate Jesus.  It’s 5:03 on Easter evening and I didn’t go to a single one.

I have felt the absence of God recently.  I felt like I had found Him and now it feels as if He has gone.  I think that it is possible that depression is blocking Him from reaching me, sinking me deep into concrete and covering my ears and eyes to the beauty in the world.  It is hard to see anything good coming.  Even when they are brought to my attention, I see no hope.  I feel mired in these terrible feelings.

Of course, the question is asked, “And what are you doing to bring yourself back?”  The answer is always, “Not enough.”  I am not doing enough.  I feel like giving up sometimes.  Sometimes I do give up for a little while, sometimes even a long while.  I am at that point where there is only a little piece of me that thinks I can feel better.

Wanting is not having.  I do want to feel better.  At least, I think I do.  I just want things to be easier.  I want to not struggle, I want to not feel sad and alone.  What I do not want to do is work at it.  I am lacking the energy to do the smallest things for myself.

Today I went to the grocery store for the first time in about a month.  I have been eating random things out of my pantry and freezer, eating at Mom’s, and eating fast food.  And a lot of noodles.

I have really been missing having healthy food around house.  There has not been much to eat at the house, and while I feel like all I want is a sandwich or a salad, I just give up and eat junk.  I go get junk.  I do not go to the grocery store, I go to the drive-through or the gas station.  It is no wonder my body feels terrible, with all of this processed and fried food.  All the salt!!

I was going to put off going to the grocery store for another week, but I am beginning to miss protein and feel like I have eaten enough carbs to last me a lifetime.  I wonder to myself, knowing what GoM would say, if this latest sequence of giving up on monitoring my eating is contributing to my depression.  Well, of course it is.  I have the want to eat something healthy, but I don’t have the energy or desire to do anything about it. 

So, I went to the grocery store today.  I bought meat, vegetables, healthy dairy, fruit, and nuts.  I have this tiny glimmer of hope within me that I can start doing better with what I am eating.

If I could just make myself care about one little thing, I want to care about what I am putting in my body.  If I could just get that one little thing under control, the rest might start to come together.  Eating better might mean more exercise, which could lead to more energy to put toward making myself feel better.

I have talked myself into having a goal for the week.  Yay.

Just click on the link:

Norah Jones, Sunrise

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fd02pGJx0s0

ABC 123

Life has been quite the struggle later.  Between crippling anxiety, depression, suicidal thoughts, negative tapes, and insecurity, it’s been miserable.  I think I had a real wake-up call when I realized I was spending five to six nights per week at QoB’s house, calling Goddess of Mindfulness frequently, and being told to get a grip by my med doc.  Sometimes you don’t realize how bad it is getting until you’re already there.

So, I made a conscious decision to do things to make myself feel better.  I have started taking my Cymbalta regularly.  I am doing my sunlamp every morning.  I have tried to decrease my dependence on QoB and Big Dog by not going over every night, and instead, getting things done around my house.  Staying busy has been the key.

I know that both Dr. Love and QoB say it is ok to just “hang” but there are so many things that I want to do that I haven’t been doing due to the lack of motivation that depression and anxiety brings, that it is feeling good to get caught up.

I have cleaned the top two levels of my house, and it’s just a matter of time before I get the basement finished.  I’ve tackled some small projects that have been bugging me, and have been working at building mastery by cooking.  I have also really been working on mindfulness, especially in regards to my eating habits.  I find that if I pay attention, I am not really hungry during the times when I was usually eating.

It doesn’t take as much as I think it does to feel satisfied, and the integration of some new-found foods has much helped.  I was really in a rut with eating junk food and am now eating a lot of vegetables and some fruit.  I have also been concentrating on eating whole grains, and limiting sugar and salt.  No more empty carbs!

For example, I have been eating a lot of spinach salads, squash, sweet potatoes, brown rice, chicken breast, and the like.  I am making a meatloaf for dinner tonight that isn’t particularly healthy (covered in bacon), but it’s for Dr. Love and he deserves some good comfort food, taking a break from eating work food.  I fully believe that I can be rational about the meatloaf and just eat a normal portion.  YES I CAN!

Sacred self has also been a big part in feeling better.  I took Kizz for a walk last night and am trying to get into that routine.  I bought myself some new shower stuff and am spending time doing things that I enjoy.  Some of the skills mix together, but it never ceases to amaze me how much they work.  I am not keeping a diary card, but maybe I should be.

Back to basics, baby.  Goddess of Mindfulness and the IOP program gave me the greatest gift — my DBT skills — and they are something I can always bring more focus onto when the going gets rough.  It’s just getting around the willfulness that depression and anxiety create.

Keane, Somewhere Only We Know

A Healthier Year

There’s nothing like a visit to the doctor (a walk-in clinic, nonetheless) to make one think about the decisions one makes regarding diet, exercise, bad habits, and medication.  After two serious bouts with bronchitis, sinusitis, and laryngitis within a matter of a few weeks, I am thinking about quitting smoking.  I am fairly motivated and am doing the “preparation” steps to make it happen, which will also make me healthier.

Another wake-up call came when I stepped on the scale.  I’ve gained 13 pounds in the last three months.  Winters are always a time for me to pack on the weight, but it has more to do with the fact that I am eating regularly now and not purging…and not exercising. 

I have felt really disconnected from my body for a long, long time.  And when I did feel connected, it was as if my neurons were mis-firing, making me think of only (what I consider to be) my negative physical traits.  But mostly, it has been a feeling of disconnectedness.  My body has felt awkward, like I don’t have any control over how I move or my muscles, even with fine motor skills (except for typing). 

I was talking to Goddess of Mindfulness about this a few weeks ago and her suggestion was to exercise.  I was being fairly willful about it (as I have been for over the last year), and said that I thought I would try meditating and stretching (like I used to do every day).  As it turned out, I didn’t really get into it, I think, because I was scared of what I might find if I reconnected with my body.

As I was saying, after being weighed and being ill twice in a short time period, I thought long and hard about what I am putting my body through, and also what I am not putting it through.  I have had periods in my life where I have lived very healthfully, physically and, to a certain extent, mentally.  Now that my moods are more stable (and I had the doctor’s visits), I am very strongly feeling like I want to make my physical health better, which I have completely and totally neglected for about the last two years.

For the past three days, I have walked.  The first day I walked at a good pace for 30 minutes, the next day 45 minutes, and the following day 60 minutes.  The endorphin rush I get from walking is amazing (I used to walk up to 9 miles a day, usually 6 daily) and I had forgotten how much I enjoyed it and what a self-soothe and sacred self it is for me. 

In addition, Dr. Love set up the BowFlex in the basement, along with free weights, and I worked out on it two out of those three days for about 20-30 minutes each day.  I used to lift weights all through high school and loved it loved it LOVED IT and had really forgotten how much I got out of it.

One other thing that I am doing is my stretching and mindfulness for 20 minutes each day.  It’s great to take a walk, do the Bowflex, and then sit and listen to my Celtic music while I stretch.  SO RELAXING.  Talking about it, I’m really looking forward to more of my routine today! 

Dr. Love joined me in the walking and lifting on two out of the three days, and it turns out that it’s a really great way for us to reconnect at the end of the day.  It’s also a good motivator for me, and for him, as well, as he says he has gained weight since we met and he used to be really physically active and is not so much anymore (other than the occasional martial arts class).  It’s really a huge plus for our relationship.

In the moment, my mind and body are very connected in my head.  I am being mindful of being thirsty and drinking water instead of diet soda, little aches and pains, the difference between actual hunger (I had really truly forgotten what it felt like to be hungry) and emotional eating type of hunger, and basically just feeling every last thing. 

So, life is good.  Now it’s all about fine-tuning, developing a routine, and getting in a healthy rut.  I’ve done it before and know I can do it again.  I really have the confidence and determination and internal motivation to do it now, and I am really looking forward to feeling physically healthy again. 

Workout Mix by Paul  that I found on YouTube.  It’s fairly long, but gives you a good idea of songs to put on a workout mix.  Also, there is some gangsta rap that contains language that some may find offensive.