These Things Do Pass, Only With Time

It has been nearly a week before Thanksgiving that I last blogged, and I am working really hard on not being sorry about that.  So much has happened in that space of time, and so much has remained the same.  I have had some people suggest to me that I shut down this blog, just as people have in the past when I have gone walkabout for longer than a few weeks, and maybe, in all fairness to everyone else that might be the thing to do.  For me, however, I have decided time and time again that shutting this blog down is simply not an option.

Because this blog is for me.  It’s my place to vent and think things through and scratch that writing itch and have a record (for myself, for the future Rosa, something for me to ponder light years from now when I am old and grey, when I get this world figured out a little more).  I don’t think it hurts anyone for me to blog infrequently, although maybe it is an annoyance to others at times, but I can always be reached here.

So the blog will stay, and I might write often and I might not, and some weeks I might stay up on my reading and some weeks/months may go by before I show up around your blog.  Life is not so predictable, and I’m not sure anyone would really want it to be, even though I know sometimes we wish for things to be slightly more predictable.

The crippling depression that plagued most of 2016 has mostly lifted, mostly after I was chastised for not using my sun lamp by my medication provider and ended up with a new lamp because the older one was so outdated.  And, whew boy, did it ever provide some ramped up rays, because I was feeling amazing, in no time, and before you knew it I had tripped into a hypomanic state, well on my way to mania.

So, for the last few weeks, almost a month, I have been trying to quiet down my brain while stimulating it constantly, because that was the only thing that was comforting.  The hypomanic episode slid into me deciding to:

  1. Give up caffeine completely, cold-turkey
  2. Give up Xanax, cold-turkey
  3. Quit smoking, aided by nicotine patch
  4. Reorganize and de-clutter several areas of my house
  5. Drastically change my eating habits in an attempt to lose weight
  6. Move more, in general, than I have in the past year combined

So far, I have stuck with all six of these things.  I went through most of the last month feeling like I had a severe case of the flu or maybe lithium poisoning, but it turns out that it was just withdrawal.  It’s over for the most part now, but my body is still adjusting and every day is a new challenge.

In addition to this, I have decided to actually start working on real issues in therapy, instead of the same crap every week.  I told my therapist last week that I thought maybe I was finally ready to do something about my PTSD, because it is giving me such trouble, increasingly so within the last few months.

I was referred almost a month ago into a medically supervised weight loss program, and yesterday had my initial meeting with the supervising doctor.  Just on my own, I have lost 18 pounds from December 15th of last year to now, and am excited (and slightly overwhelmed) about the plans for weight loss we made yesterday and will continue to work on.  I really like the doctor — she was very understanding and seemed quite empathetic.  She also at some point wants me to work on my emotional/mental issues with food and body image and exercise, and, as she says, I am not currently being treated by the mental health center for my eating disorder and I need to talk to someone about it if I am ever going to have sustained weight loss and a more healthy relationship with food.

I’ve honestly been doing quite a bit of ignoring everyone in my life except a few people, and that is  how I have been coping with all of the depression of last year and the mania recently, and because it is honestly just easier that way sometimes, but I have a feeling that once some of the PTSD issues are alleviated somewhat, that maybe I will be better about reconnecting with people, even though it has never been a strength of mine.

Change and more changes.  With the six things I mention earlier having been accomplished and/or continuing to work on, I finally feel like I have a chance at a much higher quality of life, and I haven’t felt that way for an extended period since long ago.

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New Physical Malady Intersecting with Existing Mental Illness Equals a Flare on Both Sides

I know I have blogged briefly about my skin issues and recurrent staph infections and the like, and now I have an official diagnosis:

Hidradenitis Suppurativa

You can read all about it in that link, or you can just know that it is a very painful autoimmune disease, with a genetic component, has no cure, and basically a person with this disorder has sweat glands that never developed correctly and is plagued with boils, nodules, and blisters that develop most often in places where skin rubs together.  It is considered a rare disease, there is much conflict about how to treat it (from surgery to antibiotics), and it is really hard to find a doctor that knows much about it.  There is a great deal of stigma around the disease, as misinformation abounds and let me just say that it is NOT caused by poor hygiene and it is NOT caused by being overweight (although some people anecdotally find relief by going on keto diets).  It is believed that everyone has different triggers for flares, and so far I have found that my main flare is stress.  That is a relief, of course, since heaven knows I have no anxieties or great fears or stress.  Hahahahahah!!!

I have actually be unknowingly dealing with this disease for years, it has just now reached the point where it is much worse and is needing treatment.  I learned of the diagnosis a week ago, and, rather than being disappointed in having yet another label to my name, it is actually helpful because now I can research and pinpoint and see what might help me.

I have my primary care doctor making a referral to the premiere teaching hospital in my area, basically the same place where anyone goes when they have a rare or serious disease and is not receiving adequate care locally.  I am hopeful to have an appointment within the next few weeks.  In the meantime, I am just trying to minimize pain, not aggravate things, and learn all that I can.

This flare in HS symptoms has created a bit of a flare in my depression and anxiety, which were on the uptick before I even knew this was what I was dealing with.  I am trying to stick to building structure and building mastery, as in keeping a schedule and trying to do new things out of my comfort zone.

LarBear has not been well lately, and it is becoming clear to me that I need to at some point learn that YES I CAN go into a grocery store by myself or go into a gas station and pay for gas or all of those little tasks that he takes care of so that I can pretend I don’t exist in the world and keep me from interacting with anyone.

I am midway through this current round of DBT group, and have discussed with my group leader, and I am going to at the very least take a break after it is done.  I have about six more months in this module, so its not coming to an end anytime soon, but I really feel the need to leave myself the possibility of more sessions in the future (insurance limits to four) and I am also getting slightly bored with things.

I have been having the hardest time leaving my house, and I think part of that stems from the fact that my house is so comfortable and clean and chaos-free now.  I do a lot of sitting on the porch and listening to music and writing, but have not been doing much crafting.  I really feel as if I have no talent whatsoever and I especially feel like I am wasting my time in art therapy.  Ok, I’m painting, but I’m horrible at it.  I am a failure at it.  I really just don’t feel a creative bone in my body other than writing.  At least I still have writing.

I went through a meltdown earlier this week because I decided that I was not entitled to the depression I have been feeling.  I mean, life is GOOD, I just feel so very sad.  Very, very sad.  I can’t explain it, and I can only hope that working on building structure and building mastery and trying my hardest to stay busy will bring me out of it.  That, and my med doc has given me a tiny dose of an antidepressant that is an SNRI.  Just hoping it doesn’t make me manic.

So, that’s life for now and I’m going to keep on living it.  My survival rate to this point is 100% and I intend to keep it that way.

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!  😀

Getting Back on the Road of Posting, No Matter What

Am I expecting too much or needing more than is available?  I really don’t think so; I don’t believe these negative feelings are simply the tapes of depression.  I think that what I FEEL is happening, truly is.  And even if it weren’t, it’s my perception and my head and my body and my brain, so I get to decide.

We create our own realities.  I have certainly molded and formed the most quiet and dark box that I could have.  Any small amount of pain I have, I try to wear on the inside, because it seems that people grow weary of the usually mental emphasis on things, but now it is physical AND mental pain.  I would not wish the last five months of my life on my worst enemy.

There is that, all of that, and now lately my brain isn’t working.  I can’t find the right words, I forget things immediately after they are told to me.

I am numb, through and through.

I am being told by my therapist that every little bit of blogging will help, even when I don’t want to,  even when I have nothing to say.  So, here I am.  Maybe tomorrow will be better.