Gotta take it easy on myself.

This is a Really Real Health post.  Mental Health and Physical Health, one effects the other. This is also one of my longer posts.

CW: Weight talk. Mention of Suicidal Stuff.

I’ve been really down on myself.

 

The first year after Parker died I lost a shit ton of weight by seriously working hard at getting active. I got sick, gained some back, got back on track and kept losing. The gym was my sanctuary. Can’t tell the sweat from the tears. Work it out. All that happy-crap.

Over time I’ve slowly slacked off at the gym, and it became apparent that my diet had to change in addition to the gym for me to get anywhere. I gained some weight back, enough that I was uncomfortable in my own skin.

About 4 months ago I started doing Noom and went back to working out as often as I could. I lost 30 pounds. The same 30 I had gained in the previous year and a half. And then 7 weeks ago my mental health took a dive.

I came out of the hospital going back and forth between binge eating and restricting my food. I couldn’t stop eating some days and on others I couldn’t force myself to eat. I was skipping meals, refusing to eat dinner because I knew the scale would be down more the next day. It was really really unhealthy and not typical behavior for me.  Well, the restricting food was new, binge eating was what got me in trouble in the first place.

Luckily I mentioned it to a close friend who told me that maybe I should give weight loss a break and focus on my mental health. Ya kn

 

ow, keeping myself alive was more important than getting myself skinny. I backed way off for a few weeks. Still kept weighing every morning (it’s a Noom thing) but stopped focusing so hard on what I ate.

I tried to get back on track with Noom, kept rewinding the program and kept slipping. Finally I dropped Noom, I had at least the basic idea and knew what worked, I couldn’t justify paying for a program that I couldn’t keep up with. I’m GLAD I started with Noom, I learned a ton from the articles, weighing myself daily is a major game changer, tracking food is key for me. Even when I wasn’t sticking to the program I maintained my weight, even if I didn’t lose any.

Now I’m using another program to track food, I’ve tried to get back on track with doing this consistently for the past 2 weeks. I start off great, tracking breakfast and maybe lunch and then when I realize dinner is going to be something quick and unhealthy, I don’t bother tracking it and then forget for the next 2 days.

I’ve also only been to the gym a handful of times in the last 2 months.

I’ve been really down on myself.

About all of this.

And then today I came across a picture from the day I first cut my hair short.

img_1098

 

My jaw dropped.

I’m an entirely different person than I was 5 years ago.

The weight loss is striking, but so is the smile. My smile goes up to my eyes now. (I swear, in some ways Parker left that to me, she used to smile so big her eyes would squint shut.) I’m happier, so much happier, I’m also So So So much healthier.

Five years ago I was letting myself die slowly, a slow suicide through food and inactivity. And I mean that, I was done with living and was just waiting to die.

Two months ago I didn’t want to live for another moment. I had the plan and the means. I was ready to end this all.

I need to stop being so down on myself. I’ve come a LONG way. Even though I still have periods where I’m suicidal, it isn’t an every day, all day problem. Most of the time I’m living so much larger than I ever would have before.

And as a small bonus I’m 100 lbs lighter than I was in that picture.

Working it out

This is a Really Real Mental Health post.

With some Really Real Widow stuff thrown in there too.

I’ve been feeling really good. Even my bad days don’t last and don’t get as bad. I’m using a lot of coping skills to pull myself off of any emotional roller coasters I end up on. Part of me thinks this is too good to last, part of me thinks maybe I’ll be okay for awhile.

I went back to the gym today, first time I’ve been there in over a month. I’m thankful that Mickey has been gently reminding me that the gym still exists, but has also been understanding that I just don’t feel like I have the time while I’m in PHP and school.

Today I took the day off from PHP, so I went to the gym and it felt really, really good, even though we took it easy.

I’m tired of PHP. My empathy feels broken and I’m restless when I’m not doing something with my hands, so groups are both boring and difficult to sit through. I’m not in crisis anymore, so the educational groups feel redundant, I’ve learned most of this stuff before and I know how to use it until I hit my skills breaking point. Then knowing it doesn’t really matter because I’m too far under to use it.

PHP is incredibly helpful for me when I’m in crisis, but I’m learning that when I’m stabilized it isn’t the best place for me. And I have over 2 weeks left until I’m finished. If I stick around to finish out my time. Nothing is making me stay.

It felt really good to be in the gym. It felt really good to have my normal routine back today. It felt good to avoid the emotional exhaustion that comes after a day at PHP.

I’m really torn.

And on another topic.

The thought crossed my mind a few days ago that widowhood isn’t that hard right now. That’s one of those thoughts I hate to have, because inevitably after that thought comes a difficult period of grief.

Right now it’s just a quiet hum in the back of my brain. I miss Parker. I wonder what life would be like with her still here. I wonder what the world is missing out on with her gone. I wonder how she would react to my latest crisis. I wonder if we would still be married. I wonder if we would have been able to pull ourselves out of survival mode.

And, I also love my life as it is. It’s one of those things that will always be difficult to reconcile. I want her back in this world and I don’t want to give up what I have now.

Luckily it’s not a choice I’d ever have to make, she’s gone and nothing will change that.

Something came up for me in PHP a week or two ago. Blaming myself for Parker’s death is one way of wishing I had control over something that can never be controlled. If her death was my fault, then doing things differently means maybe I can keep another loved one from dying.

Believing that her death isn’t my fault means realizing I had no control over it. It means realizing that I can’t control the life or death of other important people in my life.

It means I’m helpless to save them.

That’s a hard thing to process.

I miss her. I wish things would have been different but I realize I had no control over it then, and I have no control over what happens now.

Anyway, hopefully I can spend more time in the gym working this shit out. It’s been such a great form of therapy for me these past 3 years.

Can’t tell the sweat from the tears.

 

Bounce Back

This is a Really Real Mental Health Post.

I started an all day, 5 days a week, Partial Hospitalization Program last Wednesday.

The school semester started today.

Therapy every Friday afternoon.

Derby and NAMI Wednesday nights.

I need to get back to the Gym.

Somewhere in there I need to clean the house and grocery shop and cook dinner and pack my lunch.

I keep expecting myself to be 100%.

This weekend I got so mad at myself because Friday I ended up melting down. I was exhausted, emotionally and physically. I was overwhelmed. I was realizing that there was so much that needed to be done with school starting and here I was away for the weekend.

But the alternative was staying home alone for three days which didn’t feel like the greatest idea either.

So while I was in the car trying to nap I was also beating myself up. The crisis was over, why couldn’t I handle this?

Because I’m not 100%. I’m not even 50%. I’m not suddenly, overnight, all better, just because they let me come home.

They only let me come home because I’m safe.

But that doesn’t mean the thoughts are gone.

That doesn’t mean this mood episode has totally passed, even though I try to act like it has.

The good news is, Saturday and Sunday were a lot better. I was able to relax into the flow of a tournament. I met some new people. I saw some people I hadn’t seen in awhile. I watched some great derby.

I enjoyed myself.

But the knowledge of what was coming as soon as I got home was still looming over my head. I looked at my classes online a few times. Tried to read some of the coursework. The words got jumbled in my brain. My focus isn’t quite where it should be, quite where I need it to be.

I’m overwhelmed.

And that’s okay.

Because I’m not 100%. I’m not even 50%. I’m not suddenly, overnight, all better, just because they let me come home.

I still have a lot of healing left to do.

I need to cut myself some slack.

No one is expecting perfection.

Except me.

Except me.

Except.

Me.

Maybe this isn’t the semester to worry about deans list and honors programs. Maybe this isn’t the semester to return to full time classes. Maybe passable work and part time classes are just fine.

Maybe a messy house and Instacart and frozen meals.

Maybe it’s time to reconsider some priorities, even if just for now.

Maybe I’m allowed to be less than 100%. Maybe even less than 50%. Maybe I’m not expected to be suddenly, overnight, all better.

Healing takes time.

Working on myself has to be the top priority.

Otherwise, I’ll never bounce back.

Anhedonia

This is a Really Real Mental Health Post.

Trigger Warning: Past suicidal thoughts and plans. Past self harm thoughts and plans.

Completely flat affect.

Complete absence of feeling.

Nothing.

The world wasn’t black because the world barely existed.

I felt no connection to life, no reason to keep living.

I couldn’t feel love.

I wasn’t afraid of dying.

I had plans and didn’t care if they worked or not.

Didn’t care what was left behind.

Didn’t care what mess was left to clean up.

I can’t remember a depressive episode like that before. I’ve had dark times where I felt like there was nothing, but there was still a feeling of dread within the nothing, I was still sad. This time, there was just

nothing.

I could tell that Wonder Woman was scared, but I couldn’t feel it.

I knew, somewhere, that I had to care, that there was a reason to care. I knew logically that she loved me, and I knew I logically that I loved her, but I couldn’t feel the emotion called love, I couldn’t recall ever feeling it, or what it might have felt like.

Maybe death would make me feel something.

Maybe sliding out of the car door and rolling down the highway would make me feel something.

Maybe sliding a knife across my skin would make me feel something.

Could anything make me feel something?

I knew that was a dangerous place for me to be, possibly the most dangerous place for me to be.

I didn’t care if I died, didn’t care that I was suicidal.

I got an extra appointment with my therapist. She asked that I not be alone for the weekend, asked that I get myself to the gym, stay busy, push myself to keep going until I saw her again, until I saw the doctor.

And now the weekend has passed.

Things aren’t so empty now.

I can see color again.

I see the world again.

I can feel fear again.

I feel love again.

I smile again.

I’m not sure what made me hold on through the absence of feeling. I’m not quite sure how I managed to reach out to others when I couldn’t even stay connected with myself. But I’m glad I did.

I’m glad I’m still here.

I hope I never experience that again.

Feeling depressed is better than not feeling at all.

That’s What My Therapist Say

This is a Really Real Mental Health Post.

Trigger Warning: Suicidal thoughts and loose plans.

Yesterday, plans as I saw them, got derailed due to

one

stupid

letter.

A letter that someone I count on should have written months ago.

And now I’m in a holding pattern.

I don’t do change well.

Even when the change is just in my expected time line.

 

I’ve already been in a bad place, barely hanging on, just keeping the gunshots quiet.

“Shhhhh, it’s going to be alright.”

Dishes piling up before I beat them back down again.

Cheering myself on each night that I cook.

I’m worthy of another day of fresh air.

I am productive.

I am worth something.

 

But I can’t make it to the gym, I can barely make it out of bed, I’m making it to essential appointments but rescheduling the rest.

Does that cavity really need to be filled this week?

Nah, it can wait until their next available.

School work has spiraled out of control, I don’t know if I can catch up in this final week I have left.

 

And then I crawl out of bed and go into an appointment to find out their missing

one

stupid

letter.

 

I mean, in the grand scheme of things it’s no big deal. It’s the beginning of the month and as long as she gets this letter in within the next few weeks, I can schedule my last appointment and everything will be on track. But this is a delay, a wrench in the process, something I just couldn’t handle in my already depressed state. I could see six months of work crumbling in front of me. I could see the whole process falling apart, again.

I came home.

I climbed into bed.

I screamed.

I started wondering what would happen if I just took every pill in the house. None of them would kill me on their own, we’ve locked all of the toxic quantities away, but if I just took everything we had around here, every fucking last pill, would the mixture be enough.

I mean.

I haven’t cooked in days, the kitchen is a fucking disaster, the trash cans are overflowing, I’m not sure of the last time I showered.

I’m useless.

And now even this is falling apart, again.

I took an Ativan at the urging of a very wonderful friend.  Something to stop the thoughts from climbing all over each other and escalating.

I passed out into dreamless sleep.

I wake up to a Wonder-ful Woman holding Starbucks.  I swear she’s an oasis or some shit.

I’m not sure if I’m overjoyed to be holding Starbucks or miserable because reality is back.

(But come on, Starbucks)

Reality, the dishes in the sink, the kitchen where I don’t know what to cook and it’s dinner time.

I’m useless.

I’ll order pizza with money that I don’t really have to spend, but we’ve gotta eat.

I’ll spiral down the road of self hatred over how bad I am with money while we wait for it to arrive.

And eventually I’ll pass out for the night, still wondering if every pill in the house will do the job completely.

 

I wake up way too early. The house is silent except for the prancing of little dog feet.

There’s barely enough room on the kitchen counters to make her food.

I’m useless.

I hear the chords to a song in the back of my head but can’t quite place it.

I feed the dog. I feed myself some oatmeal and a hard boiled egg that I made earlier in the week, before I became so useless.

Oh yeah, it wasn’t that long ago that I was doing things.

I hum along to the song in the back of my head.

I take the dog out, I make myself some coffee and absentmindedly drink it.

I start thinking about the shower that I desperately need and that maybe, I think, I might be able to take this morning.

I look up some crafty stuff on the computer. Make a mental note of some supplies I need, but don’t impulsively buy them.

“Everything’s gonna be alright”

The song in the back of my head starts to come into focus as I climb into the shower.

“Everything’s gonna be okay”

I think of some little stuff I might be able to make later with supplies I still have at home.

“It’s gonna be a good, good life”

And maybe I can even start to tackle that kitchen.

“That’s what my therapist say”

I’m still not out of the dark. I feel it pulling at me from all sides.

“Everything’s gonna be alright”

I still have a ton of schoolwork that I feel completely overwhelmed by, and I’m not sure where to start.

“Everything’s gonna be just fine”

I still don’t want to leave my house or go to the gym.

“It’s gonna be a good, good life.”

But, maybe I should keep holding on for a bit longer.  Maybe

one

stupid

letter

isn’t the end of the world.

And maybe I’m not quite useless.

Wow, that was a full month.

This is a Really Real Mental Health Post.

Facebook just showed me my July Moments video.  You know, the one where they make a compilation of a bunch of things that you did and pictures that you took in the previous month and put them all together in a template.

This has been a rough week or so.

But watching that video I realized just how much I’ve done this month.

Just how much I’ve accomplished, just through living my life.

Just how different that is compared to a few years ago.

And I know, I know, that I talk about this pretty often, but sometimes I need reminding. I’ve come a really, really long way.

A few years ago I couldn’t walk around the block without running out of air. Making it to my monthly doctors appointments was about the only thing I did outside of the house. I lived at my desk. I didn’t go places alone, even doctors appointments. Some days, even for weeks, I couldn’t leave the house at all because of anxiety.

And now, I look at all I did in July, and I am amazed that I’m the same person.

You couldn’t have told 3 years ago me, who hadn’t started going to the gym yet, that I’d be going almost every day.

You couldn’t have told, 3 years ago me, who freaked out flying to Florida for Parker’s Celebration of Life, that I’d be flying alone and really being mostly okay with it (minus fat people problems, but that was another post).

You couldn’t have told 3 years ago me, still thick in the trauma that life kept dealing me, that I’d see Hamilton because good things could happen to me.

You couldn’t have told 3 years ago me that I’d have this much control over my reactions to emotions.

That I’d go this long without yelling.

That I could be in a relationship without fighting.

You couldn’t have told 3 years ago me, still completely miserable, that I could be fighting through a depressive episode, and still be happy on some level.

You couldn’t have told 3 years ago me that I’d be living my best life 3 years later.

And that I still think it’ll get even better one day.

So.

I may not have that car.

And I may not be finished school.

And I may not have a job.

But I packed a whole lot of stuff into this past month, which is a really big deal, because at one point in my life, I couldn’t have done that.

And I’ve come so, so far.  I’m sure I’ll keep going.

Body Positivity

This is a Really Real Body Acceptance Post.

Body acceptance is hard.

It’s an ideal I’m constantly chasing.

While also trying to change my body.

It’s no secret that I want to be smaller. I want to fit into this world in better ways and I’m working hard to do so.

I want to hurt less and I’m working hard to do so.

Fuck, I’m getting surgery to do so. And I’m already working on the life changes that are going to take place after that.

But I also try to accept my body where I am right now.

Where I will be five pounds from now.

Where I will be ten pounds from now.

Where I will be, with skin sagging, fifty pounds from now.

One-hundred? I don’t know if I’ll get that far, but if I do I want to accept myself now just as much as I do then.

I know there will be challenges then too.

We always find something wrong.

For me, body acceptance is one day wanting to make shirts saying “Fat! So?” and wear them loud and proud.

But then the next day I want to hide in bed because I see pictures of me in a tank top with my arms hanging out.

My arms which always seem too big.

My arms with skin that already sags from weight I’ve lost thus far.

I see pictures and I wonder how I managed to feel so confident in a tank top when I looked like

that.

How I manage to wear them to the gym and out in public at all when I look like

that.

I pick apart every little detail.

It sends me to my safe space.

Hiding in bed with covers over my head.

Body acceptance is hard.

I’m not there yet.

I’m not sure I’ll ever be.

But hopefully I’ll keep rocking the tank tops and faking myself out.