Tuesday, December 19, 2017

December 19, 2017

It is near Christmas, so I am not doing well.  Christmas is so stressful for many reasons. My mom is always extremely stressed at Christmas time which doesn't help. My grades are due at school; my schedule changes, and transitions are very difficult. I'm screaming inside my head right now, basically. I just sent an email to Salon to pitch a story idea. It's a long shot, but eventually I will be published in Salon.  I could also fix my entries to go along with The Appalachian Trials. That is another option that I haven't taken yet. I get a terrible pit in my stomach whenever I think about writing. I think it is something that I must do. I'm not sure why I think that, especially if it is going to make me anxious. Is it just a leftover dream from my childhood? I don't know. On the up side, I weighed myself after 11 days, and my weight was around 172.6.  That's exciting. For my height, I can be up to 160 pounds, so I'm getting closer. I have maintained this weight for months now. My goal is to get down to 150 pounds, so that it can fluctuate from 150 to 155. I've been doing some stress eating, but it has greatly improved.

The hard part about feeling depressed is that it is difficult to write. When I give myself a second of time to think, I start looking at my surroundings finding sadness in everything. I look at the window frame of houses I pass, and something about the stillness, lack of people, lack of noises in the house makes me feel the emptiness of the house. This is a house that I am walking by or running by. I feel my head clean out as I start running, and hopefully I get to a part of the running or walking up forty flights of stairs that brings a focus on just the physical exertion. This helps my mind start to repair some of the damage that depression is causing moment by moment by moment. The words don't flow out like they should. I can't quickly recall names because of the Wellbutrin. The Buspar that I take two times a day barely takes the edge off. The Effexor- well if I forget to take my Effexor, my eyes hurt. There are electric flashes in my head. It feels like I have a terrible flu. Nothing makes it go away except getting somewhat drunk. I don't drink anymore at all because drinking is a depressant. Not to mention the alcoholics in my family. I don't want to be any part of that. Too many people that I love and who are a part of my life drink too much. I can't do something that is guaranteed to make me feel bad in the morning- especially when my natural chemicals inside my brain can make me do that all by myself. I need no help with this, no help at all.

I have been very proactive about doing everything I can do to feel as good as I possibly can. I have exercised every day, every single day. I am taking all my meds on time (of course). I have an appointment with my therapist tomorrow and my health coach tomorrow. I make lists. I try to tell myself "if it isn't happening RIGHT NOW, it IS NOT happening." As my mind spirals, I tell myself, "STOP." It repeats. "Stop" Stop. Stop. Stop. Stop. Stop. Stop. Stop. I put up an invisible wall to help my thoughts from spiraling. They spiral any way.

I went to my daughter's violin recital and felt guilty that I am not helping her practice more. I felt guilty that I didn't read them a story last night, that I felt exhausted and helpless by 9:00 PM and went straight to bed where I slept for as many possible hours as I could because then I don't have to be awake for those hours- during those hours I don't have to fight the feelings off, the spiral of self hatred, the spiral of what I have done wrong, the list of things that I have to do. Which means that I can not do many, many of the things I am supposed to do. I see people when I have to because that is a rule I have for myself: you have to go to things you are invited to. I do not want to go. Hardly ever. But I must go. I listened to Jenny Lawson the other day on The Hilarious World of Depression. Her excessive, spiraling thoughts and anxiety are so much worse than mine. Why can't I cut myself some slack and stop it? It makes me angry that I have depression. I feel angry that I have to fight it. I only feel okay if I am in the middle of a sprint or at the top of the 42nd floor at The Marriott where I climb the stairs. Before is just the anxiety of how will I run? Will I run? Will I actually do it? How many minutes will I wait before I start? I have free time at 10:30. Will I do it? Will I? Will I do the only thing that can save myself?

The goal, obviously would be to run first thing in the morning- before anything- before Santa, before talking, before existing, running to power my mind.  I ran/walked a half marathon on Saturday. It helped. Before that, I had walked up the stairs on Friday. It helped a little, but only a little, not as much as it usually does because I felt like too many hours had passed between exercising, between wringing the demons from my brain. I scream inside my mind again. Nervousness and anxiety at each transition, finishing a class, starting a class, kids getting home from school, getting kids from school, interacting with my family, interacting with my immediate family. Can I be present? Can I be there? Can I be normal? Am I too harsh, too what?  It was exhausting and demoralizing how terrible I felt when we had to decorate the tree. I didn't know how I was going to get through that day. I had run a half marathon the day before which is usually enough to give me some residual strength. However, it wasn't quite working. I texted my mom/dad/Juli.  It helped somewhat.

My said, "You have a terrible illness; people did from it. Pull yourself together."

"Really?" I thought to myself, "Oh, I hadn't thought of that." Here comes the inner scream again. My niece is supposed to be here any minute now, so I'm wrapping this up. Thanks for listening internet.

Sunday, October 22, 2017

Today

I am going to attempt to write for at least 20 minutes...to clear my head, to be honest about where I am now.  I slept too long last night which stressed me out because it throws off my mental health.  I didn't even get out of bed until around 10:00 AM.  Mario brought me two coffees and the paper to read.  I know; I'm spoiled.  I got up dizzy with too much sleep around 10:00 AM.  The kids and husband were going to go watch a football game at a friend's house which left me the unusual situation of having time to myself.  I watched a one and a half episodes of Sherlock while straightening the house.  Then I forced myself to run.  I have gone on a run every day since Friday which is extremely helpful for my mental health.  As always I am on my usual medication which includes: Effexor, Wellbutrin, and Buspar (twice a day).  It certainly helps take the edge off.  Exercise really helps, too.  I have been listening to The Hilarious World of Depression which is really good.  John Green was talking on the show about thinking that spirals out of control.  I definitely struggle with that.  While I was running today- once I got to a certain threshold- my mind began to clear.  I ran most of the way downtown to The Marriott.  At the Marriott I indulged in 9 small Madeleines- of course I did- a tea and water.  The security guard paid for it for some reason.  I'm not really sure why. Maybe I looked pathetic?  I'm not sure.  The run felt pretty good.  I wasn't exhausted from work which helps.  After stuffing myself with Madeleines, I walked up the 42 flights of stairs to the top.  It was good.  It wasn't that hard since I have been running and walking up some stairs for the past few days.  I am going to try to maintain this during the week, and I think that will help.

I started walking the three miles home, and my mind started spinning.  I'm glad the weekend is almost over and that it is later in the day which helps.  It means that the weekend is almost over.  I immediately started to feel guilty and terrible because I hadn't been with my family even though I hate football.  I chose not to go over to the house.  I exercised and cleaned somewhat which should help.  However, my binge eating has been getting out of control, and my eating is definitely in control of me.  I haven't weighed myself in days, and I have a meeting with my nutritionist on Wednesday.  I want to take control of my life again, and I want to achieve a healthy weight for my height (a maximum of 160 pounds), but can I do it?  I have doubts today.  I felt so panicked yesterday of the thought of how I would fail as a mom, fail to get through the weekend, that I told myself I absolutely must eat whatever I needed to eat to get through that.  I ran to the soccer game.  I ran home and stopped at two different places to eat two different things by myself so that no one else would see me.  Of course the strangers in the shop saw me, but that was ok.  I felt somewhat guilty, but I felt like it was necessary to shove that food down my throat.  I bought a cookie, too, and I had to throw that away after I finished shoving a small chocolate pie down my throat.  I threw it away as I envisioned myself eating it in secret at my house - which I can do and have done for years.  I am disgusted with myself.  I am sad that I continue to feel empty, alone, and powerless against this illness which is always with me.  Yes I am managing it.  Yes I have a wonderful husband and family and some friends.  I am fighting every day against this sinking, this thing that is dragging me under.  It is always with me.  It is always with me.  I know that I can have a happy life, and I know that I can have moments where I feel good.  When I got off work on Friday I felt so much worse than I do right now.  I hadn't exercised, I felt like my lessons at work didn't go over well.  I didn't see how I was going to get to my kids' festival that I had to get to.  I forced myself to run up the hospital's stairs twice which was 22 flights of stairs.  I ran as much as I could, and I walked a lot of it.  It definitely helped clear my mind.  I can feel my mind clearing now, too.  Sometimes as I run at the end of a hard day, I feel like I am filled with the depression and anxiety, that it is oozing out and pouring in at the same time.  It is working its way out and into my body.  I feel like I have to acknowledge its presence.  I don't accept it. I don't like it. I will never like it.  Will I ever accept it?  I hear people on podcasts talking about how they have accepted it.  I feel like a combatant like it is my arch enemy (ala Sherlock). I abhor it; I try to sometimes not think of it.

I have been thinking for the past month really about how I will tackle two things.  First I need to maintain the weight I lost consistently.  Second I need to begin losing the final 30 pounds (20-30 pounds depending on how optimistic I'm feeling.)  I talked to Mario about having my celebration be a week on the Appalachian Trail right after school is over with two of my friends.  When I am hiking I can honestly get rid of the anxiety and depression.  I don't think to myself what a failure I am since my house isn't cute, charming, and welcoming like a Betty Crocker house, how my classroom is not exactly how I want it-every moment planned and conducted like I picture it in my mind.  How can I do this technique, Writing Workshop, do the asinine things required of me such as state testing, be cheerful, be all the things I need to be for all the people that I need to be.  How can I be anxious about these idiotic, trivial things when an acquaintance is dealing with her husband who had a psychotic break and killed their 18 month old child.  I don't have problems compared to that. Certainly not. 

I would like to experience and show gratitude for what I have, all that I have, who I am, who my husband, children and family are and how lucky I am.  I was healthy enough to run today. I was healthy enough to feel good while running. It wasn't fast, but it felt good.  God give me the strength to be in the moment, to be the best I can be, to be there for my family, for others, to teach the best lessons I can, to balance my work, family, and personal life- which I feel again that I am a failure in.  My instincts tell me to stay alone, without others, but I don't want to do that. I do want to nurture friendships with my mom, my sister in law, my friends.  God help me.  I am thankful. I am thankful. I am thankful.   

Healthy Life Plan

I went back and read some of my previous blogs, and I realized I need to explain some more information about my healthy life!  I mentioned in an earlier post that I was ready to deal with my disordered eating.  This disordered eating plus the stress of a house fire (arson) that my family survived two years ago, well all of this lead to a huge weight gain.  I had to add some medication to my med. regime to cope with the fire.  I started taking Abilify which led to a huge weight gain.  I got accepted in a Propel Study through LSU.  This lead to a 30-40 pound weight loss (depending on the day).  It was extremely hard.  I am part of the study for roughly another year.  My weight has started to slowly creep back up, and I am struggling with my disordered eating again. 

Friday, December 30, 2016

December 30, 2016

My kids are in their last day of art camp, so this is my last day to write without interruption.  I am feeling overwhelmed and unsure of myself.  I feel this heavy weight that sits on my chest.  My husband wanted me to go for a walk with him, but I told him I had to focus on my writing.  Now I am replaying the conversation in my head over and over.  Maybe I should have gone with him? This is my challenge that anxiety and depression throw my way (daily).  It is hard for me to understand what is the best choice for me in a given situation.  I struggle to make simple decisions usually.  I feel a heavy weight of anxiety on my chest because we have friends coming in today.  I am trying to tell myself to feel gratitude for this.  I am so lucky to have friends coming in to visit.  What is the worst that can happen, I tell myself?  They lived here before, so they know their way around.  It's just hard for me to be "on" all the time.  I need to retreat into myself sometimes to get the energy I need to be present.  I have been doing fairly well this holiday season in staying pretty stable.  It is very helpful to be around my husband.  I relax when he is there, and I know that I'm going to be ok.  I have also been running almost every day along with taking all of my medication to a "T".  I almost always do this anyway (the medication part- at least).

I am struggling to maintain the weight I have lost.  I have promised myself that I will not get above 184 pounds.  The lowest I have been is 180 pounds.  My weight is hovering around 183.6 right now.  I have been indulging in the holiday sweets, and I am struggling mightily with my will power today regarding food.  I am a recovering binge eater.  I don't usually admit that.  I think I have told my husband that information once.  I have improved significantly on that front since I became part of an efficacy study with Propel.  I have a health coach that I meet with once a week; I weigh myself first thing in the morning, and the results go to my health coach.  This keeps me somewhat in check.  I meet with her one week from now.  I have been in the study for about 90 days, and my binge eating has improved tremendously.  I have slipped up a couple of times.  Last night, there were cupcakes.  I had two, and I was about to have three.  Fortunately, the kids ate the rest of the cupcakes.  Eating sweets helps fill a void.  It tends to push down the anxiety and the fear a little.  It doesn't get rid of it.  It is a temporary fix.  As I write this, I am struggling with the desire to buy a treat at the coffee shop.  I'm not even really hungry.  I just want the sweet.  I don't know if I will be able to control the urge.

I was hoping to work on a pitch for a column I am going to try to get into.  Literary Mama is looking for new columnists.  To be accepted, I have to write a hook, a 6 month plan, and 3 columns.  That is a lot of work!  I can't seem to get in the groove for it right now.  I don't have to.  I have a job which I love.  I'm happy to focus on that right now, too.  I don't want to pressure myself to do something I can't do yet.  I was able to write my first entry for my Appalachian Trails Blog yesterday, and here I am writing on my personal blog.  I have to start somewhere.

What is my plan to do what I need to do to feel the way I want to feel today?  I need to focus on gratitude.  I feel so thankful for my daughter.  I feel gratitude for my son.  I am so thankful for my loving husband, my mom, my dad, and my brother.

I just talked to my husband.  We are going on a walk.  Then we are going for a healthy lunch.  I am doing this instead of eating an unhealthy sugary treat at the Coffee shop.  It's a small victory.  It will help my body adjust.











Wednesday, December 28, 2016

December 28, 2016

I have been enjoying Etta's Depression Marathon blog.  It is depressionmarathon.blogspot.com.  I love this blog because it is so positive. She chooses each day to have gratitude.  I guess what I want to talk about today is where I am at today.  I am taking quite a few antidepressants every day. One of them I actually have to take twice a day.  This helps me emotionally, and I think physically.

I have had a difficult time forcing myself to get back into writing.  On the running front, I have been running for 30 minutes straight at least 3 times a week.  I have registered for a half marathon in New Orleans on February 5th.  That gives me exactly 6 weeks to prepare.  Over Thanksgiving I did a 10 mile walk run.  Let's be honest, I walked half of it.  That's fine, though.  I did it.  Today, I walked 3 miles; then I ran 3 miles back. Hurray 6 miler!  Tomorrow or Friday I am going to run at least 14 miles.  It is 4.39 miles away from Abita plus 3.55 miles.  This equals 15.88 miles.  I want to do at least 13 miles.  We shall see!  I think I will most likely do a big bike ride tomorrow. Then Friday I will do a big run on Friday.  This will be a walk/run.

Here is what I have been up to.  I joined Propel, a study at a local clinic which promotes healthy weight loss.  They actually pay me to do this.  I had to jump through a few hoops to get into the study, but that is all done now.  Now I meet with my amazing health coach once a week.  Each day I get on the scale and weigh in.  I have lost almost 30 pounds in 90 days which is amazing.  How did I do this?  It was painful.  I have to eat fewer calories than I burn....every...day.  I was down to 180 pounds.  This morning I was up to 183.8.  I have decided that I will not get higher than 184 pounds during the holidays.  This morning, I had two whole wheat pancakes and a giant piece of carrot cake for lunch.  Yes, I tend to love sugar and carbs.  I think in order to get down to a healthy weight for my height (5' 7"), I am going to have to cut out sugar.  Yes...cut out sugar.  This will be painful.  I am obviously still not quite on track since this is during the holidays.  I will keep you posted.

I know this is a short post, but I have to get back on the horse somehow.

-Katy

Saturday, August 27, 2016

July 29, 2016

It is Friday, July 29, 2016.  My summer is winding down.  I am a teacher, and I start school again on August 8, 2016.  I am actually looking forward to starting school because it helps balance my mood.  I do well when I am busy and have lots going on.  When I was in college, I tried to be as productive as possible to help combat my symptoms of depression.  I was extremely busy, and I didn't like it when things slowed down because my thoughts would be too overwhelming.

I am hoping that my husband will be able to take the kids to his mom's house to go swimming, so I can go to my favorite coffee shop and focus in on some writing. Let me be honest, lately I have been browsing different writing ideas and avoiding the actual writing part.  I am forcing myself to try to write for a minimum for 30 minutes.

This morning I woke up and went for a run with my friend.  Hurray!  It was a short run/walk of 3 miles.  We walked and ran it.   I haven't run in a few weeks, so it was difficult.  I've had worse, but it was definitely hard.

It is always hard when you have had any time off from running.

I want to share with you- my blog- what my major goal is this year, which is getting prepared for The Appalachian Trail next summer.  This summer, I hiked for 3 days on the trail with my husband.  We didn't do that many miles, but it was a start.  I am currently 200 pounds which is about 40 pounds from the highest my weight should be.  I'm 5 feet 7 inches tall, and the heaviest I should be is around 560.  I have seen a nutritionist once so far, and my second meeting is next week with her.  This will be the most difficult challenge I have ever taken on.  It is, in a way, even more difficult than dealing with the daily challenges of life.


Sunday, August 21, 2016

August 21, 2016

I just started work again, and it has been a blessing.  I am a teacher, and I have the summer off.  For someone with depression and anxiety, that is extremely challenging.  I struggled to manage my depression all summer.  I managed it ok, but there was rarely a moment that I was completely free of its grip.  Last weekend was the weekend before students arrived, and I felt so ill.

I told my husband, "Please help me make it through this weekend."

I have been in my element since school started.  It takes all of my attention and energy to memorize the 75 new students' names and to begin absorbing their personalities. We are off to a good start.  I was extremely exhausted this weekend.  Therefore, I allowed myself to nap on Saturday for one and a half hour.  This is always risky for me because usually I want to sleep all of the time because I am depressed.  I did not feel depressed when I went down for a nap, and I think it was due to the start of the school year.  I am trying to balance spending time with my kids, my husband, and preparing for my students.  For the first couple of weeks of school, there is no real balance.  I do have to put in extra work, but all of the teachers have to do this.  My family is also super busy and tired from starting school again.  My kids love school, and I teach at their school which is extremely helpful. We are all on the same schedule.

This weekend I did not have that aching feeling of trying to survive the weekend.  I knew how I would survive it: laundry, dishes, going to the pool with the kids.  I slept way too long last night, but I didn't let it ruin my day today.  I did manage to do 10 minutes on this intense stair climber in the gym.  I am going to use the stair climber to help me prepare for my AT adventure in June.

An update on my preparation for that trip.  I did go to a nutritionist two times.  She honestly stressed me out and made me cry (I never cry).  I cancelled my last two appointments.  I am running 3 times a week with my friend in the morning before school.  My final plan is to exercise for 2 hours a day (5-7AM)?  Wouldn't that be amazing.  I need the time to clear my head, be alone.  I feel that all of the little things make me extremely irritable.  If I have that down time to myself running with the ability to think, I believe it will make the irritations of life more bearable, and I will be able to float above it somewhat.