Monday, July 21, 2014

Back on the road!

Shin splints begone! I am running again!

As much as I wanted to go out there and knock off a 4 mile run immediately, I had to take it easy so I didn't land myself right back where I started. I went for an easy, 2.25 mile run on Friday and started off easy. When I finished, I was surprised at how my pace had improved - almost 30 sec faster than my average.

Of course I thought it was a fluke. So on Sunday I ran again along my favorite route - the Boston Esplanade. I will never, never in my life get tired of running around the Charles River. It's too bad it's so far from my house that I can't just run there. Instead, I took my bike out for the first time this year, biked 5 miles to get to the Esplanade, then ran. (and then biked home! Yeah!)

And my pace improved. This time, 1:20 faster than my average pace. Say what?

One of the things I like best about using Nike+ as my main running app is the math it does. Pace, distance, time, averages, high scores; it keeps track of all of it. And even though I haven't been running a lot (I only average about 6-10 runs per month), my pace has improved significantly, and I'm well on my way to hitting that coveted 10 min/mile. Plus, I've finally pushed past my plateau and I've started to lose weight again.

Monday, July 7, 2014

My long weekend

I broke my 'no smoking, no drinking' streak and hung out with some ex coworkers on Thursday. I'm paying for it now (my weight went up a little bit and I missed 2 runs this week), but I was happy I did it.  I don't get to see Joe and Courtney very often (since one or both of them are always at work or school), and it was a really good time. Plus, I couldn't handle another holiday weekend where I didn't have plans. I had to get out and do something, even if that meant getting drunk.

This is one thing that has really bothered me lately. I'm pretty lonely. I rarely have plans with anyone over the weekend or during the week. And it's not like I don't try. But everyone else is really busy with their own life. They're busy with their own family, or their own projects. Most of them complain that they never have enough time. I'd probably be that way too if I still had a second job. But I'm single, with one job, and a handful of hobbies that don't take up nearly enough time.  I don't have family that lives nearby. My closest family member is 6 hours away, so I don't have the option to 'swing by' for a BBQ or just a friendly visit over the weekend.

I'm not jealous or frustrated that my friends are busy. This is great for them. They're living their life in the happy way that they deserve. If I had the choice, that's exactly how I would want to be living my life too. It would just be really nice to see them occasionally. I call up a friend and ask them to hang out, and I get told that they'll have to check their schedule and get back to me, or that 'maybe next month we can do something.'  Or no response at all. I've just about given up on asking.

So that's why I couldn't handle another weekend of nothing. And breaking my rules in order to hang out with some really good friends was a good deal.

I could just really do with something good happening to me right about now. Losing some weight, having a friend get back in touch, not being in chronic pain*. Any of these will do. I'll take any of them.

* I'm really over this pain. My muscles are constantly sore, even though I take very good care of myself after I exercise and try to eat healthy. It's getting so bad that I'm having trouble sleeping, even with meds. I took a few days off training, and my first run back, 2 hours later the pain returned.

Wednesday, July 2, 2014


Oh hey, look what I won:
More gadgets to help me on my way!

Thanks to my employer who had a weight loss challenge. I won because I lost over 4% of my weight in 8 weeks. 

Running is my happy place

This image has nothing to do with this post;
except that it makes me happy.
I just wanted to do a little check in (for myself mostly). When I'm feeling good I don't tend to think about WHY I'm feeling good or what I'm doing that's making myself feel good.  It's just as important to assess your mood and mental health when you're feeling great as it is when you're feeling horribly anxious and depressed. I tend to forget this.

I'm feeling alright, and trying to keep it that way.  I quit smoking on Friday and have been doing great since then; staying away from triggers and talking to myself logically when I'm having a craving:

-"This isn't going to fix the thing you're stressing out about."
-"You will be setting yourself further back, running-wise."

Usually the first reason fixes any craving I'm having. Because it's true. Inhaling tar and smoke and getting a mini-high from the nicotine will not fix the boredom I'm experiencing, or the frustration I'm having for myself. And as long as I don't give up and just say 'Well fuck, at least I tried,' I think I can do this. Most times in the past when I 'quit' and then started up again where situations when I just threw my hands up in the air in frustration and thought 'It doesn't matter because everything I'm doing sucks anyway!' Taking care of myself wasn't a priority anymore because I just sucked so I might as well just pile on the suck that I was.

Fighting depression doesn't leave a lot of willpower for quitting a nasty habit.

But I'm doing ok. And I'm trying so, so, SO hard to be nice to myself and not call myself an idiot for anything and everything.

I've been doing some CBT work with my new therapist, as well as some work understanding the trauma I experienced and how to deal with it. All in all, it's helping and I really think it's making a difference in how I view myself.

Thursday, June 26, 2014

The Jungle or the Cliff?

I had this moment this morning, a thought that kept me smiling through my whole commute.

I feel good today.

And I thought about my state of mind and being last week, last month; when I was struggling to just survive. I had no goals, long or short term; wasn't looking forward to anything; and everything felt horribly pointless. It felt like I had been dragging myself through a jungle full of paralyzing objects, when suddenly I found that the jungle ended in a cliff. I could either go forward off the cliff, or turn around and go back through the jungle and HOPE that maybe things would get better some day. And lemme tell ya, after that jungle, continuing off the cliff didn't seem like that bad of an idea. Almost a relief. But I couldn't decide what I wanted to do. So I stayed at that point, in between the cliff and the poisonous jungle, desperately trying to figure out which way to go.

As you might imagine, it's really difficult to do anything worthwhile with your life when you've been seriously considering ending it for any length of time. I had to decide which way to go - and I had to be totally committed if I was going to trudge back through that jungle. Because I had no idea how long I would be in there as I tried to find a way out. If I turned away from the cliff, I had to be determined that I wasn't going to go back that way again.

I can't say for sure at what point I decided to turn back into the jungle. All I know was that I did it without hope of anything getting better for me. I figured that if it was meant to be, life itself would find it's own way of pushing me off the cliff. I didn't need to give it any help. So I kept going, almost in a daze, in no particular direction except away from that cliff.

And I watched the movie 'Warrior' for some reason. I hadn't seen it in years and all of a sudden I HAD to watch it.

Naturally, I started thinking about the few years I spent training in MMA.  Muay Tai and Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu specifically.  And how I stopped because of my divorce. Most of all, I remembered how I felt when I was training: Confident, self assured, beautiful, and mentally and physically strong.

And suddenly a rush of great memories popped up. And I mean great memories. When I was training in MMA I was going through hell. Working 90 hour weeks, my marriage was falling apart, and I fantasized about sleeping more than 6 hours a night.  But when I was training, none of that mattered. I trained hard and was proud of what I was doing. I was considered one of the guys and treated with respect by all of my teammates. My Sensei took pride in training me. And I met one of my best friends on those mats who to this day is an inspiration to me.

And I wanted back in. Desperately. I decided that I have to start treating myself better if I ever wanted to get that comradery again.  I put together a modest workout schedule and forced myself to make healthy decisions.  It's been less than a week since, and already I am a thousand times better.

And I'm so fucking grateful, because at the moment, even if it's only for a short while, I'm out of the jungle, and also not at the edge of a cliff.  I'm in some sort of weird place that makes me happy.  And that's something to celebrate.

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Some days, it's good enough.

Yesterday was acceptable. Not perfect, but also far from worthless.

I like making lists. I make lists for just about everything. Mostly to-do lists. I don't know what my obsession is, but I know it used to be much worse. I used to write them on my hand. I had a very complicated shorthand system so others couldn't read what I wrote and they just thought it was gibberish.

I read somewhere once that people with depression should try to do something, even if it's small, on days when you feel like all you can do is lay on the couch and let your thoughts take you to horrible places. Wash the dishes. If you can't wash all the dishes, wash a dish. Cook a healthy meal. If you can't do that, defreeze the chicken so you can cook tomorrow. That kind of thinking has helped me a lot, because I can accept that I'm feeling horrible, and it's a valid feeling, but I can also do something small to help me out of it.  If I can do more than wash a dish or defreeze the chicken, great. But I'm not pressuring myself to do more than I can possibly do.

I made my to-do list sort of ambitious, even as I was making it I knew all these things weren't likely to get accomplished. But I did accomplish a lot.  I made guacamole and lunches for the next few days. I prepped the chicken for the curry I'm going to make tonight. I did the dishes and folded the laundry. I didn't run though. So I brought my clothes with me today and I won't leave to go home until I at least walk 2 miles.  I know exercise is difficult with depression, (especially when you're just starting) because it's hard enough to get out the door and go to work. Or carry groceries home, or just walking a lot. And even though I know how I'm going to feel even after a few days of running, it is still so hard to get my feet out the door. It's hard to get your feet out the door to run even if you don't have depression. Just type in 'running motivation' to Google and you'll get millions of reasons to run. It's really, really hard some days, especially when your anxiety tries to do this every morning:

Art by Claire Jarvis

Depression can physically hurt. It's not a symptom I think about often, but when I was carrying two grocery bags home yesterday. and I couldn't get a seat on the train because it was too crowded.  And I was miserable and in a lot of pain. These bags weren't that heavy, but the entire ride home was miserable. That's probably why I didn't go out for my run as soon as I got home. I decided to sit down and read for a few hours on my cozy recliner instead.

So, some days you don't get everything done. Most days you're not going to be perfect. But guess what? It's good enough.  And so am I.

Monday, June 16, 2014

Hope is a good thing. Maybe the best of good things. And no good thing ever dies.

Phew, that was a rotten couple of weeks.  Not only because I couldn't do any real physical activity because of the stitches; but also because something triggered some terrible memories I had tried very hard to forget. I also had to survive for 2 weeks with almost no money.

Whoever said 'money doesn't buy happiness' has obviously never lived off of ramen noodles because you were too poor to buy real food. That stuff is toxic for your body. I never even liked it all that much in college. I ate it more for the novelty of it...then again, I didn't eat much in college anyway.  So for about two weeks, I attempted to save money by not buying any new food. I have to say, I got super creative with whatever was left in my kitchen, but none of it was healthy by any means.

As you can imagine:

no physical activity + unhealthy/no food + unwelcome bad memories =
survival mode, and survival mode takes a lot to come back from

I also spent the last 2 weeks trying to get a waitressing/bartending job.  I must have applied to at least 20 places. I got one call back and I didn't get that job. Deciding to get a second job was a really difficult decision to make, and I had kinda hoped I could just get one and get on with the misery (I do really enjoy working in the hospitality business and I do miss bartending; but I know myself. Once I get a job, I'm going to be working my ass off, working all hours, probably going full time again. I won't have a social life, I won't have the free time to do what I enjoy doing, and I won't stop until my body physically gives out on me. So, while getting a second job is a financial solution, I know I don't have the boundaries to keep it as a part time job if I know I could be making more money). But apparently it's harder to get a waitressing job than I thought.  Fabulous.

And today started off no different. On my way to the office, at 8am, I was crying, stressing about my debts, my credit score, how I depleted my savings while I was trying to survive, among a ton of other worries.

And then I paid some bills. Since I had just gotten paid, there was a nice buffer of money to pay off some bills that were 2 months old (oops-what was I saying about having a shitty credit score?). And I felt a little better.

And then I canceled my cable subscription, and made a to do list- filled with things that I knew I didn't want to do, but they would make me feel better.

Then I went to pinterest and typed in 'running.' The reason I love pinterest is because I can always find something that makes me laugh. And also, there's a ton of people out there who are just as nerdy about the things you're passionate about. And then I saw these two gems:

And I remembered how I felt before I got cancer, and how a run was the only thing that could get me out of bed without hitting the snooze button 10 times. And I remembered how happy I was then.

It sparked a little hope.

When you haven't had anything resembling hope in a long time, you forget how powerful just a little bit can be. Like when you've been in complete darkness, and the tiniest bit of light dilates your eyes and can seem brighter than anything else you've ever seen. That's how it feels now.

I hope that I will enjoy my first run in over a month.
I hope that the food I make will be delicious as well as healthy, and it will make me feel better.
I hope I can feel strong again one day.

I hope I can accept that today I am good enough.

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Unusual summer clothes

So, if there's something I'm going to need this summer, especially since I've been losing weight and fitting into 'summer' clothes again (201.5...almost out of the 200's), is a whole bunch of lightweight arm warmers.

Yes, arm warmers. And not for the typical reason you'd wear arm warmers.

See, I've got more scars than I like to count up and down both my arms. While I've come to terms with them and don't feel as ugly as I used to, I can always tell when someone sees them and for a split second their face is dark, as they determine whether or not to ask me about them. Usually people are polite enough not to ask, but that split second moment when their face changes is enough to trigger my anxiety and put me in 'fight or flight' mode; as I determine if I need to lie to this person, what lie I should use: 'I work at an animal shelter,' or 'You should see the other guy...haha,' and what not. I know no one is judging me, but I've had strangers (and some friends) who really wanted to know, and just kept pushing me until I had to walk away or tell them very sternly to drop the subject.

Needless to say, I don't want to have to deal with that all summer.  So my solution is arm warmers.  I can make these, by hand, no problem, and as a bonus put on a geek flair to most of them. That way most people will think I'm just a weirdo, and not someone who self injures.

For the most part, these arm warmers are going to have to be opera length (almost up to my shoulder) because my scars are EVERYWHERE. But that's ok, I can modify the ideas I've found pretty easily.  I even have a tutorial. The whole point of this project is that I'll just become someone who wears arm warmers all the time, it'll be weird, but it will be like my superhero costume or something.

Some ideas(in addition to a bunch of single color ones I'm going to make):
X-men inspired

Dr Who - Tardis

This is far too busy - but a Portal theme

Legend of zelda - Link
Dr Who - 4th Doctor

Obviously, I'm not going to be making a heavy knit arm covering, but here's the ideas. This might seem like the WEIRDEST idea I've had in awhile...certainly unconventional. But hey, let's give it a try.

Thursday, May 22, 2014

No more cancer

First off: yay no more cancer

I'm pretty sure anyone who has ever had cancer before just prays to God that they hear these words, and I hope they all do. And I realize that most people actually have to fight for their life, and sometimes they don't beat it. It's a miserable, piece of shit disease and not enough negativity can be attached to what it does to people, their lives, and everything.

But guess what? I don't care. I wasn't worried. I didn't even want to let myself get mad about it when I got the news last week, because my depression kept telling me I didn't have a right to be upset. It was basically the least threatening form of cancer you could get, and it had the nerve to inconvenience me. People have twisted their ankle and had more ramifications than this sissy cancer did.

::this post is about to get super depressing.  Feel free to stop reading::

And I've got friends who are great, who have told me I have every right to feel angry; who are happy that I no longer have any more cancer. My depression keeps telling me that these people are just tolerating me and they're happy I don't have cancer because then I don't have to weigh on their lives like I have been.  My depression is a little bastard that actually admits that I'm a really strong person, who is very talented and can do anything: BUT (here's the catch) I shouldn't be upset about anything. Ever. Especially when there's others out there who have it so much worse. My depression makes me feel guilty for having depression and convinces me that I shouldn't feel badly about anything because I'm just a selfish, narcissistic, lucky princess who has convinced herself that she has depression so she can be an attention whore.

I'm not sure if anyone else has depression that tries to convince it's owner that it doesn't exist. I'm not sure I understand it completely.  All I know is that I live in a constant state of guilt, thinking all my actions, every single one, is hurting someone. My depression tries to get me to shut myself out from everyone so I don't hurt them; then when I'm by myself it berates me and tells me that I'm a shit friend because I made all this up and what I should be doing is just be normal. And don't even get me started about my depression's opinion about my self injury. My depression tends to use a lot of profanity and it sometimes surprises me with the unique insults it comes up with.

I've gotten into the good habit of not listening to my depression. It's a very good habit because depression lies, but it's coming back with a vengeance this week.

See you on the other side.

Monday, May 19, 2014

If you want to make God laugh, make a plan.

Good news: I went out and did that 3 mile run last week that I was bitching about. Actually, I did 3.5 miles, because reasons.

Actually, i stayed on track pretty great the whole week.

Then I got a chunk of my shoulder removed on Friday and now I can't run or dance for 3 weeks. 

I got diagnosed with melanoma last week and needed to get what they call an excision surgery, which basically means they had to cut a 1cm space out from the infected area.  The infected area was already a few centimeters big, so they took a lot. And they went 3cm deep - down to my muscle. Yay for 3 layers of stitches!

Ok, enough gross medical stuff, I can't handle too much of it. There's a reason my whole family is doctors and nurses and I'm an artist.

Anyway, first thing I asked my doc about was my recovery - if I could run and dance, since I did that pretty often.  She said she didn't want me risking ripping out my stitches, so I should take a break for about 3 weeks.



I pressed her a bit, asked her if this was just precautionary or something I really should stick to. She told me she didn't want me to use my shoulder as often as possible. She quickly said that 3 weeks would fly by and I could do whatever I did before without any complications.

That's when I started crying in the exam room. It was so embarrassing.

I understand I could have been told a lot worse things, and my 'cancer' is probably gonna turn out to be nothing, but of course I'm not going to know for another week or so. So really, I'm bitching about the superficial stuff and in a month it probably won't matter. I mean, any other person who has had cancer would LOVE to fix their cancer by a minor surgery and no working out for 3 weeks. I understand this.

But this is really, really bad news for me. First of all, I finally just got into a routine, and started enjoying working out again, I was getting healthy, being active and getting shit done. Not just exercise-wise, but in all other areas of my life. I was eating better, working on projects, painting; basically just doing great, and I know a great deal of that was because I was getting the endorphins from running, staying on schedule, and pushing through days when my motivation was low and my mood was terrible.

Secondly, I've been managing my depression and anxiety with running and dancing. When I didn't run for 2 days, I could sense my mood getting darker and I made sure to run as soon as I could. There's many doctors who say that exercise is just as important as medication when managing depression.  So, running is my medication, and not being on my medication for 3 weeks scares the crap out of me. Some of my close friends understood how big of a deal it is for me. But because it's such a 'stupid cancer' I don't even feel like I have the right to get pissed about it.

I chose to tell my parents on Saturday, and I should have known better. Loving they are, understanding and empathetic they are not. My dad was more concerned with getting my medical records and looking them over to 'make sure I was getting the best care.'  ('re a pediatrician in another state. What the FUCK do you think you can possibly do?) Oh, and also he wanted them for educational purposes. I told him I'd get him the pathology reports, but I might change my mind. Most of the conversation he and I had were about the statistics and numbers and him asking me for all my medical reports and 'oh, well I don't want to pressure you, and you can say you don't want me to have them, but I think it would be for the best.'  Yeah, no pressure at all Dad. Then after all this he's like 'ok, well Love ya!' and promptly gets off the phone. I understand he doesn't like talking about cancer, he's had it twice, and he's not a 'feelings' guy, but holy shit Dad! I didn't tell you this so I could be your little lab rat. Boundaries maybe? Don't act like you're doing all this because you care. You care about what you're interested in, not what I need.

Mom wasn't much better. Like I said, very loving and they have the best intentions, but not terribly empathetic.  My mom's entire reaction is to listen to me (although I was grateful for that - especially when I told her why i had been running and why it was so important to me); and then sigh and say, 'well, i wish there was something I could do,' 'I'm so glad they took care of it early,' 'Well, you'll still have fun at the wedding even though you can't dance.'  But I guess my mom can't deal with me being all sad and depressed for more than 2 minutes, because then she whipped out, 'Well, try not to let this whole thing make you depressed.'

...let? ...I've been diagnosed with depression for over 10 years and you know full well about it, even if you try to forget. You think if I just sit in my room and think positive thoughts I'll be just fine, then after 3 weeks I can bounce back and go back to the way things were? As if I don't already fight EVERY DAMN DAY because my brain has a chemical imbalance that I didn't ask for and have been trying like hell to fix, or at least just manage?

I might have yelled at her for that comment. I told her that statement was about as useful as me telling her to 'try to make her heart beat slower' to manage her blood pressure better. Not sure if she got it, but she got real quiet, and I think we said goodbye soon after that.

Anyway, so the next few weeks I won't be posting anything much at all; let's hope these 3 weeks aren't so bad. According to everyone else, it's fine and not a big deal at all.  So, let's believe them for awhile, why don't we?

But honestly? I'm just waiting to punch someone in the face.

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

WTF brain??

I have a 3 mile run I have to do today because I didn't do it this morning. 

And I just want to fall into bed and cry. Don't ask me how this happened, I was fine 3 hours ago, everything was awesome. Now, not so much.

But if I get home and I just crawl into bed, I'll regret not going for a run, even if it's not going to make any fucking difference anyway, because I'm not losing weight and it doesn't seem to matter how long I run because I'm still going to be fat for my friends wedding, despite eating well and working out.

Oh, and I'm gonna have a huge fucking scar on my back from my surgery. Sexy.

I just want to crawl into a hole and not talk to anyone for a week.

But I'm gonna do the mother-fucking run. It might not make me feel better, but at least I'll feel justified if I want to crawl into bed after, tell the world to fuck off, and spend the rest of the night hating everything.

Run when you're angry

I got some stupid news yesterday. Stupid because I don't get to be mad about it, but I am. 

After I got said news, I went right to the gym, put on my angriest music, and ran an 11:58 mile.

One goal down y'all.

I'm confused though, I'm really not dropping any weight. Some of my clothes are fitting better, but not always. I feel like I've plateaued this week and last, despite all my efforts.  I think I probably haven't been eating enough, so I'm really going to have to force myself to eat more often. And drink more water, always drink more water.

Monday, May 12, 2014

Swing Kitten

So, last weekend I was able to turn it all around and have a very successful, busy, and happy weekend.  I'm gonna go ahead and give all props to Jeff and Jacklyn, since they randomly invited me to go swing dancing on Saturday.

Even though I never have anyone who wants to go dancing with me, I love tagging along with them. I get to dance with Jeff a few times and a few strangers. It's always a good time. This time we went to 'Uptown Swing Dance' near Coolidge corner. Even after one night, I am SOLD on this place. The band was great, the lesson was excellent and interesting, and there weren't so many people that we were all bumping into each other. Charleston Swing Central is great, but it was really crowded.  Plus, it didn't hurt that this weekend I asked (and got asked) to dance a lot! Just about every other song I was out there dancing. Everyone was so friendly and totally ok that I was such a newbie. I loved it. I might take some classes with them since they're pretty cheap ($65 for 6 classes), and I'll get to know the community better. They only do these dance nights once a month and I'd like to be in shape for them. (don't know if it's common knowledge, but swing dancing is exhausting ya'll)

And bonus: I can bike there when I get in a little bit better shape. Good, because usually I need a ride after getting of there at midnight; since the buses are erratic, especially at that hour. I'd rather bike 30 minutes to get home than take 3 buses and get home at 1:30.

Bonus bonus: Even though I was unbelievably exhausted and sore on Sunday, I still went out and did a 2 mile run Sunday night.

My mom asked me why I felt like I had to go out and do a run after exhausting myself dancing.

"Because I love it."

It's been awhile since I've been able to say that.

To quote Wil Wheaton: "Everything is really awesome and amazing, and I feel really weird right now."

Friday, May 9, 2014

Just keep running

So it seems like taking 2 days off of running is a bad idea for me (I did cross training one day, total rest the next). I'm not sure if I was just getting the runner's high and that made me feel better, of if my downward swing in mood was for other reasons(perhaps it was just an episode of hypomania?). But I'm gonna blame my not running for 2 days.

Yeah, I said hypomania.  I've been entertaining the possibility that I might be bipolar. My old doctor hinted at it, but didn't really do anything about it before she dropped me because I was too difficult for her to deal with after my hospitalization. So, there's that. And I'm not seeing any more doctors, so I probably won't get a proper diagnosis. Some might think that isn't a smart idea. I think it's the best idea I've had in awhile. I get to monitor my moods, in detail, take proper notes and take care of myself in the way that I see best. Plus, I'm not going to get shuffled on and off a cocktail of medications that will disrupt my life as I wait to 'see if they work.' Fuck that. Plus, not seeing a doctor means I won't just get dropped without a safety net (my last 3 psychologists and psychiatrists basically told me that I had to stop seeing them, and didn't give me any help to find a new doctor).  Win win I think.

I'm not saying anything negative about medication though. Medication made my life easier for awhile, and I was willing to try a whole bunch of meds to see what worked. But I'm tired of it. I'm tired of exhausting myself and getting nothing in return. I'm tired of meds that work for years and then just randomly stop working. I'm tired of the side effects that are endless and unpredictable, even when you stop taking the drugs. So, I'm done. I'm done with doctors who violated their ethical oath to do no harm. I'm tired of telling someone my life details and basically just getting affirmation that I'm doing things correctly and I just need to be nice to myself. I don't need to sit in an office for an hour and pay a copay for that. I can do that on my own, thanks. I have the internet.

The only time I've ever spoken to a doctor and it really helped was when they had a vested interest in my well being. My aunt gave me more help in 2 days than most therapist did over years of sessions.

Anyway, about last night.

Last night sucked. I got a few home projects done, and enjoyed having all this time to myself. It was great. Then 11:30 rolled around and I tried to get some sleep. All of a sudden I started over thinking my condition and what it meant, if I was being too dramatic and if I needed help at all. And thinking I didn't want to talk to anyone about this because even if I did it wouldn't change the way I felt.

So, even though a part of me wanted to send a 'I'm scaring the shit out of myself - please help me' to everyone I knew, I just wrote it all down. Reread it, and wrote it all down again. I took some pills to help me stay calm (even though I was upset, I wasn't agitated. I just didn't want the chance of becoming too panicked and injuring myself. And I'm staying on my 'stay calm' pills. I know exactly how those work and I don't have side effects. I stopped taking my antidepressants).

Finally got to sleep around 3am, after locking the cat out of my spare bedroom and sleeping in there. For some reason I couldn't sleep in my new bed. The night before that, I had the worst nightmares I've ever had. I woke up screaming, crying and terrified, and I was seeing things. Things trying to get in through my window. I've never seen things that weren't there before and that got me scared all over again. So, I slept in my spare room, on my old futon, curled up in a little ball and tried to stay calm.

Naturally, since I don't sleep well on the futon, I didn't get up for my morning run. I kinda knew that would happen. So I've schedule my run for after work. I can't miss it, because I have a 3 mile run to do tomorrow.

I don't want to psych myself out, but I'm slightly worried about this weekend. I don't have anything planned and I'm not sure I want to. It might end up being one of those weekends I stay in my house.  But I get bored sitting around and watching Hulu. Maybe I'll walk around for hours, as long as I don't have to talk to anyone. I just don't want to see anyone, because I don't want anyone to know how scared I am. I don't want advice, I don't want to see a doctor, I just want to deal with it.

Because in the end, I'm alone in this. Doctors leave you, men claim to love you and then take everything you give and leave you broken and scared.  Friends try to help, but they have their lives; their own problems, hopes, and dreams. I don't want to be a negative person in their life. If I'm gonna be around them, I want to be the best version of myself. They're not going to be around to see me at my worst, and they (have hope for me) but ultimately want me to act my best around them. And sometimes I just can't.

The only person who is going to be there when I fail is me. So I have the right to handle it however I want. Maybe when I get another job (since I have hospital bills taking up 1/4 of my salary) I won't have time to worry about this anymore...I won't have to worry about making plans with friends because they'll be too busy and so will I.

Just keep running girl. That's the best thing you can do for yourself now.

Thursday, May 8, 2014

click, click, click...

I've wanted to be a creative art director for close to 10 years. That was my goal, that's what I set everything on, and decided that if I could reach that, I would be the happiest panda ever.

I almost got it. I almost got a job as an art director, but I didn't have enough digital experience. Most of my career I've been print-based. I've never learned HTML, Java, or built a website (my portfolio is hosted on a general website). So, I wasn't upset about the job so much as I knew I just needed to learn more.

Funny how things start clicking into place.

That job I almost got, I had the interview about 2 months ago. Since then things have been happening.

- Our group at work got Adobe CS6 premium (flash, dreamweaver, and fireworks included)
- My company offered a beta testing for those who wanted to learn digital marketing. I signed up.

So now, besides taking the marketing courses offered through my company, I can also start using to further my education, now that I have access to the most updated Adobe products.

(And as I just finished typing that sentence, I just got a goodie bag filled with usb keys, a notebook and more information from the digital marketing course I'm taking.)

It just keeps coming!

Turns out, I'm really, really enjoying learning about digital marketing, social media, web content...all these things that I never considered learning about before. And I'm thrilled I get to keep learning.

Basically what I'm saying is that after a few weeks of this new content, I'm seriously considering adjusting my long term goals.

Here's the thing: I like creating; I like being part of a group to bounce ideas back and forth and come up with a solution. I like creating stuff alone, I just like creating, learning, looking for better solutions.

So far, I've been working in the very literal sense of creating something: flyers, catalogs, books, websites. But I'm learning that creativity isn't limited to design or print or anything like that. I think I'm more effective at being a creative person, rather than being a creator. And maybe that means I need to advance my skills.

I want to be a linchpin. I'd rather be a student and teacher of many skills than the master of one. I want to be like someone I learned a lot from and still inspires me to this day. I might be a good designer, but I can do bigger and better things.

And, I don't want to be at the bottom of the totem pole anymore.

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Who knew?

The past week I've been pretty successful about getting my butt in gear. I'm sure it's because of my new bed. For the past 3 years I've been sleeping on a 10 year old futon that I took when I left my ex husband. I let him keep the bed, because at that time I was still putting his needs above mine.

Just over a week ago, my new bed was delivered. I shelled out a bit of money on it, but to have a new mattress and new pillows after the creaking futon...I was in heaven. I could spend all day in that bed.

And it's been easier to get up in the morning. Most mornings trying to get out of the futon was like trying to get to a 6am shift with a massive hangover. That's how it felt. Every. Damn. Day.

I got up early this morning (like yesterday) to go for a run. 2 miles.

You know what my time was per mile? Just under 15 minutes. (before you think 'Gosh that's slow, why is she proud of that?' It's because I haven't run really in years. I am currently at least 80 pounds overweight. And because last week my fastest mile was 17 minutes. These things take time.)

Next goal is the 12 minute mile. But for now, I'm pretty happy.

Friday, April 18, 2014

Some past memories are sneaky and evil

Not a real post. I just get this stuck in my head sometimes and I just have to let it run its course.

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

I get to run (this isn't a real post)

So, I injured myself.  I was dancing (while drunk) and fell and hurt my ankle pretty badly. It's been almost 2 weeks and it's still tender. All I've been doing is icing it and I haven't been working out, just walking. I'll see my doctor about it in a few weeks since I already have an appointment with her.

I really hope she'll just tell me to ice it for a bit longer and everything will go back to normal.  For the first time I thought about what it would be like if I couldn't run again. Honestly, I've been lucky. I've done enough stupid things that I should have been injured before, the worst I've ever had was an inflamed IT band.  Not running again, or the potential of getting injured again and having to take time off running scares the crap out of me. I know I haven't been running a lot recently(ahem, a lot), but I always have it in the back of my mind. I can't ever not think about it, even if I'm not doing it.

Maybe because of this, I stopped drinking and smoking cold turkey. So I tried to quit a few months ago, then the hospitalization happened. I'm trying again. I don't really have a plan or a mantra in case it gets bad; I just don't want to drink or smoke. And right now, that's enough.

Today is the one year anniversary of the Boston Marathon Bombings. I work very close to the finish line, and the whole city seems a little somber. And everyone seems a little kinder. I love this city.

Monday, April 7, 2014

Back to work

So, the cruise was great. Amazing places, amazing sun; I had a blast.

I also made some advancements in a lot of areas, I rarely drank, I didn't smoke, and I got up at 6:30 for 3 days and exercised. I also got to see a lot of art, including some etchings by Rembrandt and Picasso. Bought some art and won some art as well!!

Emile Bellet lithograph I bought
(along with 2 other pieces by Bellet as well)
Marcus Glenn seriolithograph(?) I won
(This guy did the art for the 2013 Grammy's)


I can't wait to get all 4 pieces in the mail. It's going to be amazing having these incredible pieces in my house. Going to the art lectures and seeing the art of the greats made me feel...something like being homesick. But homesick for a place I've never been. I'm not trying to be deep or anything, but maybe I just enjoyed being around people who were so passionate about all kinds of art, and seeing the work of masters.

And I feel great (besides the sunburn I got). I'm rejuvenated, encouraged, and excited to continue working hard and feeling better.  I want to paint, get back on schedule to run a marathon next year, and maybe, just possibly, even date a little. (If the guy is worth my time...I refuse to make the same mistakes again)

And it's great that Boston has warmed up a little...I can get back outside and enjoy everything, instead of hurrying from point A to B as fast as possible. I love this city. I don't know how much longer I'll be here, but I have to enjoy it as much as I can for as long as I can.

And I want to buy a bed and a mattress within 6 months. Random, but hey, if I'm putting up art on my walls I think I should be sleeping on something better than a 15 year-old futon.

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Focus on the bigger picture

I'm going on vacation next week. On a cruise. To Puerto Rico. I planned this vacation months and months ago, and I've been so stressed on getting into amazing shape and looking great that I couldn't get excited about the actual vacation. I had a goal to be 30 pounds lighter for this vacation than I actually am at the moment. And that was stressing me out so much that I almost forgot all about the actual vacation. 

As if people who are overweight can't have fun on a cruise. Ridiculous, right?

I'm getting healthy. I haven't been drinking very much at all, I've cut down on smoking a lot, I've been eating better and I haven't hurt myself in a week. Considering where I was 2 months ago, I did a 180 and I should be super proud of myself. And I am. I just need to stop focusing on my size and what I'm not 100% great at (i.e. cooking for myself and going to the gym regularly), and instead look at my accomplishments and being happy for myself.

So, I'm not at my ideal state. Who on earth is? I plan on enjoying the hell out of this vacation, having a ton of fun, and taking tons of pictures.

And I'm going to start by buying some fun clothes looking forward to a few days when I'm going to be in the sun, getting a tan, and rewarding myself for the amount of work I've put in to get myself to this place, and to forget about all the shit I've had to go through the past few years.

Friday, March 14, 2014

Happy Pi Day!

Friday finally!  Glorious!

Still going strong with the whole 'no alcohol' thing. Plus, I've been cooking some excellent plaeo meals, and going to the gym more often and with less of a struggle. I'm feeling great, lost a few pounds and I'm fitting into some clothes I hadn't fit into since before my hospitalization. I'm still tempted to pick up some wine after a rough day at work, but a) usually I'm too exhausted to think about walking to the store and getting a bottle...I'm just so spent lately and I'm not sure why, b) I'm essentially gorging myself on seltzer water. Carbonated water...I love it!

And I had a pretty interesting phone call yesterday, I'll have more details next week.

Basically, I'm feeling pretty good. Also, I did my taxes yesterday and it looks like I'm getting a pretty decent refund. REFUND. I haven't gotten a refund since before I married Sean. (turns out you get a refund when you're not working a second job that relies mostly on tips) So in the next few days, goodbye credit card debt! I'll still have to pay all the hospital bills (I finally hit my out of pocket maximum of $2,500, hopefully that'll be it), but at least I can pay those off gradually without interest. And getting rid of credit card debt is going to be such a weight off my shoulders. I've been trying to pay that thing off for years. Finally!

Weight: 208 (my goal is to be under 199 before the cruise in 2 weeks. It's attainable)

Monday, March 10, 2014

5 days and counting

I'm gonna sound like an alcoholic here. No way around it. I don't think I am, but others tell me that's up for debate.

Anyway, it's 5 days into lent, and I successfully got through the weekend without drinking or really being tempted to drink. And it was kind of amazing. It's great to wake up on a Saturday or Sunday without sleeping in because of your hangover. It was great to just get out of my house before noon, and do errands all day, rather than hiding in my apartment because I always feel crazy anxious the day after I've had a bit too much. That's actually a physical response rather than a mental one. It's the body trying to fight back against the sedative effects on the central nervous system caused by drinking, so it can cause a state of hyperactivity, causing nervousness for no reason.  For once my broken brain isn't to blame!

Anyway, it was kinda tough on Friday and Saturday night, trying to figure out what in the hell I was gonna do with my evening if I couldn't get a little buzz on. It was especially harder after I got into a 'fight' with my ex. But I stuck to it and kept myself busy. I cooked, I knitted (for a project for my church and the Boston marathon), and I smoked. Yeah, I know...not the healthiest way for me to pass the time, but if I was giving up one vice I was gonna be damned if I had to give up another. I also ate ice cream. ICE CREAM! That's when I know I'm struggling. I only eat ice cream if I really, really feel the need to treat myself.

But hey, in the end, that's how you gotta do it. You have to treat yourself and be kind to yourself if you're trying to make a change, especially if it's not an easy one. It took me a long, long time to learn that lesson, because apparently I'm pretty thick.

And I feel great today. I feel less heavy and I didn't have any nervousness over the weekend, and that's a great way to be. I got a ton of things done and I have more energy to address the things I need to do this week (example: Taxes. ugh).

Thursday, March 6, 2014

Bye Bye Booze

I don't really do Lent . Not for religious reasons anyway. I understand  the whole point of it and it's a lot more than just 'giving up something' for 40 days. I just don't really do it. However, every year I'll give myself a challenge for health reasons.

Although I have to be careful because I have a tenancy of getting carried away. Example: 6 months after I had finally gotten back on track after being anorexic and bulimic for a really horrible 2 years, I thought it would be a good idea to give up bread (Atkins was pretty popular at the time). Within 2 weeks of Lent and giving up bread, I was suddenly giving up a lot of other things...other food things. Luckily I had some friends who saw this and convinced me to give up on Lent that year so I didn't whither into a toothpick. Since then, I haven't given up anything food related for Lent . My broken brain just can't handle it. I think other years I've tried meditating every day, or not swearing (I'm a lady with the mouth of a seasoned sailor), etc.

This year, I gave up alcohol. I'm hoping that after Lent, I won't want to use it to distract myself from my problems. I was drinking a lot more after I got out of the hospital. And hey, it'll be good for my liver. Everybody wins! (Well, technically I just win...but many different parts of me win)

Thursday, February 27, 2014

A pretty damn good week

Ok, so Monday wasn't anything to brag about. I was feeling good, and decided to finally tackle the emails I'd been ignoring for a few days. Unfortunately I decided that I should have some wine while doing this. Bad decision. I hate to admit this, but drinking wine on the weekdays became a normal thing at some point. I didn't always have to have something to drink, but it's not something I reserved for weekends.

I really just need to not drink. Reasons include: I shouldn't be drinking with the medication I'm on, it makes my anxiety worse, it's a ton of empty calories, and as quoted from Parks and Recreation: 'Wine is crying juice.'  So true. And I smoked actual cigarettes. Bad.

So, skipping over Monday night, the rest of the week has gone pretty well. I've been aggressive and assertive about looking for jobs, updating my resume, and contacting people to open up my networking opportunities. I even bought 2 new shirts that I can totally wear to an interview, and a pair of pants that I can fit into soon enough.

I've also been grocery shopping, cooking, and planning meals so I can really dedicate myself to eating paleo. Once I get into it, I'll have no problem sticking to it (the reason I stopped before was because I got hospitalized and I didn't have the resources while I was held hostage for 6 days). I just need to organize the hell out of the first few days.

Work? check.
Eating healthy? check.

Feeling good? Check!

**planning on going to the gym after I get out of work today, but I keep saying that and not going, so I'm just gonna write this down here and keep thinking it. Think good thoughts for me**

Monday, February 24, 2014

CBT and my lovely weekend

Through some sort of miracle, I did stay halfway on track on Thursday. I went home and made a paleo shepherds pie, but I also drank.  At least I did one thing right.

Friday I learned a bit more about separating my anxiety from what was actually happening. Sort of like cognitive behavioral therapy, which has helped me in the past.  So I made a chart. The first column was for the actual facts of things that are happening to me. The second is what I interpret from them (which is what usually stems my anxiety attacks). And the third column is what I can (reasonably) do with the facts. Here's what I came up with:

And you know what? I actually felt better after writing all of it down and not letting my brain make up these horrible stories about me. I had done this exercise in the past, specifically in marriage counseling, but I never gave it much value because I didn't understand how it could be applied to my own mental health. So this was a really big step forward in recognizing how to address my anxiety.

And I had a great weekend. I rented a car and went to visit a few friends who live way out of town. One of them was even having a Mardi Gras party, so I had the opportunity to meet a lot of their friends before their wedding in a few months. And I had a really good time and didn't feel horribly awkward after I left. I'm not sure if Jeff and Jacklyn's friends are just amazing, or if I was just having an exceptionally, good day. Probably both.

Sunday the awesomeness continued. Although I slept around 14 hours; when I got up I did the dishes, took out the trash, changed the cat litter, vacuumed a bit, and even did grocery shopping and my laundry. Of course, these were things that took me about 5 hours to complete and the normal person would have done it in 2; but I'm just happy I was able to do all those things in one day.

It was a pretty good weekend, especially considering the last few weekends I've had.

Plus, I switched to e-cigarettes on Saturday.  I feel alright and I'm going to make it to the gym today. I missed my chance last week, but with all the progress I've made over the past few days, I'm ready for this one. So far, the 'change one thing per day' is going alright.

Friday: I recognized how to engage with my anxiety in a way that is helpful for me.
Saturday: I quit smoking and I went to see friends and attend a party. I also realized that drinking makes me anxious, so I think that would be the best reason in the world for me to quit drinking.
Sunday: I did a lot of chores and errands (even though I slept most of the day)
Monday: Go to the gym and make some meals for the week

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Resist the desire to do something stupid

One of the emails in my inbox that I was terrified to open was from my insurance provider. 'You have new documents now available to view.' Translation: Now I get to see how much I owe the hospital for my unnecessary stay. I haven't even gotten the bill from the Psych Ward yet, and I'm guessing insurance isn't gonna cover nearly as much of that as it did for the hospital.

Without insurance, it would have cost me over $10,000 - for a 2.5 day stay in the ER and 6 stitches. With insurance it came down to a more reasonable $1,500.

I say 'reasonable' because hospitals are expensive. And if you unfortunately have to go to one, whether it's planned or not, you know how expensive it can get, even for a short stay, even if you're only there for a few hours.

This was my first (and hopefully last ever) hospitalization. And I feel so angry and frustrated. My hospitalization was completely unnecessary and humiliated me at every turn, took away my freedom, my privacy, and my time. It didn't help me at all and put me in a worse condition than I was before I was stuck in there. And now I have to pay for it. Literally.

It is going to be really hard to stay on track tonight.

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Day 2

Today, I went grocery shopping and made a frittata for breakfast. First time I've cooked since the ward. Also, I didn't drink and I didn't hurt myself.

Maybe tomorrow I'll go to the gym and make a paleo shepherds pie? We'll see :)

Obsessing and letting go

Originally, I meant for this blog to be focused on physical healthiness, since in the past 2 years I blew up like a balloon and currently weigh more than I ever thought possible. I thought if I could get my physical body in shape, that would be good enough for me, all I needed to be balanced and healthy. Controlling my weight has been a sort of addiction throughout my life; I look back at the diaries I had from when I was younger and I obsessed over my weight and how I looked. I had another blog and all I talked about was my obsession with food, and running, and I realized how much I was beating myself up over not being 'disciplined' enough.

Keep in mind, I never was an all star athlete. I didn't do sports in high school and my family was never very 'active.' Occasionally we went on bike rides or my Dad and I would walk along the peanut line near our house. My mom was overweight, and I don't think my dad ever let her forget it. He was supportive of her being healthy but in all the wrong ways. So I must have learned subconsciously that being 'thin' was a good thing, and I never learned that being 'strong' or 'healthy' were the best reasons to be in shape.

But, being healthy is more than physical health. It's mental and spiritual health as well. Kind of like what 'being sober' is to anyone who's gone to an AA meeting. I learned the difference between 'clean' and 'sober' a month ago when I got committed to a mental institution.

Being clean means getting the toxins out of your body, whether it be alcohol, nicotine, drugs, or any other unnatural element that got you addicted in the first place. Being sober means being healthy in mind, body and soul.  I always thought being 'clean & sober' was just something you said. But it's really a bigger process than I thought.  It's amazing how much you can learn when you're placed in a totally different situation than you've ever experienced.

I can't talk about the institution now; maybe I will after more time has passed. Right now, I just want to get healthy, or 'sober.' I've spent the last few weekends hiding in my apartment and praying no one called me or texted me so I could just fall to pieces in private.

I need to be more than just physically healthy, which means doing a lot of things differently. I'm going to finally stop beating myself up for not doing enough. I'm going to think better of myself. I have this illness that I have to take seriously; because it's hard to admit that I don't have a serious problem when I can't even open my email because I'm too anxious about what an email from a stranger or my best friend might say. (seriously, I have 43 messages in my inbox, and I usually have 2) I just wish I had a professional to talk to about my anxiety, since my 'de-panic' meds make me dizzy and sleepy, and my therapist dropped me after I told her about my time in the psych ward.

So, here goes.

Yesterday: I didn't drink or hurt myself. I woke up without any fresh scars, and that's a start.

Wednesday, January 22, 2014


It's been a hell of a month. 

I can't say why it's been a hell of a month because I'm not ready to put myself out there for the entire internet to see all my faults and issues.  As far as being healthy, I was kicking ass and taking names the first 2 weeks after New Years. I realize a lot of people were, and then life got in the way and we all fell back into old habits.

But I saw a dramatic decrease in my size and increase in my energy level. Apparently not drinking, not smoking, eating right and going to the gym day after day made me feel better. Imagine that.

I'm going to get back to the gym today, after a 2 week break, so unfortunately it's a lot like starting over again. I'll keep my fingers crossed that I can just jump back into my old routine before everything was interrupted.

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Obligatory New Years post

This feels almost so cliche I considered not even posting.

But I was so damn proud of myself that I chose to celebrate my accomplishments instead of knocking them down and calling it 'cliche'.  So there.

The holidays at home were pretty difficult; and I couldn't use any of my crutches to get through them (parents don't know I smoke and would be horrified if I did, and they barely drink so that means I get the stinkeye if I have more than 3 drinks in a whole evening).  I was there for over a week. Yikes--talk about cold turkey.

The plus side of that is I sort of lost my taste for smoking. Oh, I smoked a bunch the night I got home, but I just didn't want more than 2. And I didn't want much to drink either.  I had a bit to drink on NYE, and I allowed myself to smoke; but I wanted to stop after new years.

And you know what? I'm doing pretty awesome. I haven't had anything to drink since NYE (and work was even cancelled on Friday due to the snowstorm...a 3 day snowed in weekend with no plans used to equal 3 days of a continuous happy buzz. Not this time).  I did finish off my pack of cigarettes from NYE(3 cigarettes) on Saturday, and I feel a bit bad about that, but at least I didn't drink.

So, no drinking and smoking for a week now? Is that all? NOPE!

I've gone back to cooking some really great paleo meals (I have friends who are doing the Whole30 and another friend who is gluten-intolerant, so they passed on some stellar recipes), I'll share some of them in another post.

Plus, I finally got off my ass and got back to the gym. I figured I'd start with a free plan from Runner's World, called 'The Starting Line.' You can get it from their website in the 'Beginners' section. It was created for overweight people like me who haven't worked out in forever, the first few weeks you just walk.

I really thought I'd be in better shape than I actually was (I still think of myself as a runner, although I haven't run a mile in under 12 minutes in 3 years), so I had to remind myself to start slow and accept that I had to walk before I could run.

So, I'm actually pretty proud of myself. I don't want to burn out so I'm not going to try to tackle anything else at the moment, or push myself too hard at the gym, or force myself to cook every night (last night I ate organic peanut butter with apple slices because I didn't feel like cooking something new).

Weight: (up 5 pounds since I weighed myself last month...grr...holidays) 223

I hope ya'll had a great new years!