This year, this decade.

This is a Really Real “Life in Review” Post.

It’s the end of a year.

I figured, just like so many people do, I’d reflect on the past year of my life.  Think about my accomplishments and what I’d like to take with me into next year.

This year I started giving myself permission to take up space.  Physically, verbally, emotionally. I realized that I was allowed the space that I need. Some of the time I was able to hold the mindset that everyone who thinks otherwise can fuck off. I want to get better at that mindset next year and stop trying to shrink myself to suit others.

This year I survived one of my more intense series of suicidal thoughts. I got myself help. I saw that I have a huge community of people who support me, both virtually and locally. I want to be better connected with that community.

I learned that even though I feel like I’m outside of a group, it doesn’t mean I actually am.

I found joy in sending snail mail. Making well over 100 cards in the past 3 months has been so wonderful, and even better was knowing that it put a smile on someone’s face. I want to keep going, and maybe start selling my work.

I think one of the biggest things I learned this year is that it’s okay for things to be stable. It’s not the calm before the storm, it’s just the calm, and life can really be this way without worrying about what comes next. I want to carry comfort with stability going forward.

I learned to live in the moment. That fully accepting what is happening is the first step to finding solutions. Fighting against a problem only takes energy away from solving it. I learned that not being okay, is perfectly okay. That as long as you don’t make a problem worse, you’re doing the right things – you can always build from there.  I learned that it’s okay to ask for what I need, that it doesn’t always mean fighting.

It’s the end of a year.  One of the better years of my life.

It’s the end of a decade.

It’s hard to wrap up the past decade because there’s a giant split down the middle.  The before and the after.

In the before, there was a lot of love, and a lot of trauma, and a lot of resilience, and a lot of struggle.

In the after there’s a lot of growth, a lot of falling (metaphorically and physically), a lot of healing, and a lot of pain.

It’s the end of a decade. The hardest in my life.

I wrote a big long thing trying to list out the good and the bad of the last decade, but honestly, that’s not all that helpful.  The past decade (and the ones before that) got me to where I am now, and now is what matters.

Now is where I want to spend my time.

Part of Self Care

This is a Really Real Mental Health post.

It’s really easy to get wrapped up in crafting.  I get to sit in one place and let my creative mind flow, distracting me from whatever else is bothering me.

Distracting me from depression,

from housework,

from showering.

Distracting me from life outside of the safe space by the computer.

I just saw a post from this time last year, and I was in the same head space.  I am able to peek out for small bits of time and clean the house, or go spend some time with some friends, or do self care in other ways.

And because of that, it is hard to recognize how pervasive the depression has been.  I mean, I’m still functioning, so it can’t be THAT bad.

Except I dread leaving the house.  Not as bad as it was, but it’s certainly there.

I have to bribe myself into the shower, a part of depression that no one wants to speak out loud because it just seems incomprehensible to those without depression. It seems gross.

Even brushing my teeth takes focus and effort and willpower.

But I don’t FEEL that bad. I’m still smiling and laughing and finding things to be happy about.

My writing is almost non-existent.  I just can’t find anything to write about. I can’t find a reason to stop my other forms of creativity and put fingers to keys.

Except this is part of self care too. My writing is a big way that I process. A big way that I pull the blinders off and actually focus on what is happening.

My writing is my place to get really real with, not only everyone else, but also myself.

I’m still not sure how to break this cycle. Leaving the house is hard, going to the gym is harder, socializing feels like a chore.

I went for a walk the other night, and when Mickey was going to meet up with me to walk, we ended up driving to Starbucks instead.

It was just easier than the physical effort of being cold and miserable outside.

I remember a time when I couldn’t walk very far. I remember what it felt like when I started walking further and further distances. I remember what it felt like to have goals and aspirations around fitness.

I have no idea how to get that back.

I have no idea what to set as a goal.

I don’t even know if I care, to be honest.

But I am beating myself up about it. While still making excuses not to go.

I guess I care enough to give myself shit for not doing what I know will help.

This shit is hard, friends. Even when mental illness isn’t trying to kill me,

it’s keeping me from living.

 

I deserve love.

This is a Really Real Mental Health post.

I’m surrounded by love and I deserve to be. That’s a profound statement coming from me, especially the second part.

I. Deserve. Love.

Sometimes I can’t remember that.

Sometimes, especially now that I’m “living my best life” I wonder how I deserve any of this.

“You deserve happiness, we both do.” Wonder Woman and I mention that (or some variation of it) to each other on at least a weekly basis. I need the reminder when things in my head are dark.

I look for the other shoe to drop whenever things are good. Things can’t be this good, not without something going wrong.

And the thing is, when I’m doing well things still go wrong. Deciding not to have surgery threw me for a loop. I sobbed in Wonder Woman’s arms, I sobbed in the shower, I sobbed while writing the post about it.

But I kept moving forward.

And now it doesn’t seem that bad. It was a blip on the radar in an otherwise great life.

I’m surrounded by love, and kindness, and caring,

and I deserve it.

I have an amazing fiancee. We communicate better than I could ever imagine. Our relationship is so gentle and calm. I love her and feel loved in return. I still look for things to fall apart. I still wonder what thing I’m going to do that will drive her away.

I’m surrounded by love, and kindness, and caring,

and I deserve it.

I have a derby spouse . (It’s a derby thing.)  They are one of my closest friends. We check on each other on a regular basis, sometimes daily, sometimes weekly. We encourage each other constantly. They are exceptionally kind to me and I am kind to them. I still wonder what I’m missing. Are they just pretending to be my friend. Am I really worthy of a friendship like this?

I’m surrounded by love, and kindness, and caring,

and I deserve it.

I’m in a new relationship. It has flowed together so smoothly. We are spending lots of time learning about each other and our lives. I care for her and feel cared for. And I still look for the other shoe. I’m waiting for someone to get upset with this polyamorus situation and call and end to it. I’m waiting for her to to decide that I’m not right for her.

I’m surrounded by love, and kindness, and caring,

and I deserve it.

There are other important friendships, people I have known for years, people that supported me through Parker’s death, best friends, close friends, those friendships that can’t be defined.

I am surrounded by love, and kindness, and caring,

and I deserve it.

There’s my family that loves and supports me, sometimes by telling me hard truths that I need to hear, sometimes financially, sometimes by loving me in the best way they know how.

I am surrounded by love.

And I deserve it.

You deserve it too.

It’s Not Fair!

This is a Really Real Mental Health Post.

and a Really Real Health post.

I worked my ass off and got approved for bariatric surgery.

My final appointment is at 10am today and I will schedule surgery.

Except, I’m not going. I sent a note in last night cancelling my appointment and dropping out of the program.

My therapist never wanted to write my recommendation letter, even though she spent 5 months trying to.  She finally had a long detailed talk with me about it late last week. She didn’t think I was really thinking about this, she thought I was only looking at the outcome I wanted and not the actual challenges.

She thought as much as I’ve grown, as far as I’ve come in the last 3 years, this would be a huge setback to my mental health.

I wanted to ignore her, especially since I’d just spent $200 getting the recommendation letter from an online therapist. I called my older sister, the voice of logic in my life. I wanted her to cheer me on like she’s done in the past.

She pointed out everything my therapist did, and more.

I have worried that my therapist is just against the surgery in general, but I know my sister isn’t. She’s been a major support to me since the first day I talked about it 7 or 8 years ago.

I’ve come so far with my mental health. It’s fucking amazing the growth that has happened in the last 3 years. I sit here as an entirely different person.

But

I still can’t keep myself on a healthy eating routine.

I still can’t keep myself from binge eating.

I still can’t keep myself going to the gym.

I still can’t keep myself focused on school work.

I still can’t control my spending.

Basically,

I’m really good at starting stuff, I’m really good at that initial push. And I still have zero follow through.

Right now, falling off on healthy eating sucks.  I gain weight back and I feel like a failure.

After surgery it could put me in the hospital.  Surgery isn’t going to magically give me the follow through and the willpower to succeed.  Surgery isn’t a quick fix, it’s just a tool.

Also,

As much as I fight it, food is still a coping mechanism for me. I react to stress, to depression, to boredom, by turning to food. I fight it, but it happens, often.

What happens when I completely remove that avenue of coping because it’s physically impossible? What happens to my mental health? What do I replace it with?

What happens if I can’t replace it with something healthy?

What happens if I can’t cope without it?

I’m not typing this all out to convince anyone else, I already know I’m not getting the surgery. I’m typing it out because I need to see it in black and white. I need to type it and grieve it.

I’m sad.

I feel defeated.

It isn’t fair that, yet again, my mental illnesses are getting in the way.

 

 

 

I feel good, please stay.

This is a Really Real Mental Health post.

I really have felt good the last few weeks. This is fucking amazing.

But.

Of course there’s a but.

I’m finding little things slipping and that scares me.

I’m no longer interested in crafting, I’m halfheartedly playing games on the computer and mindlessly scrolling facebook. I don’t want to clean and the house is a bit of a disaster right now. I have to fight to do the dishes instead of following my normal routine.

I still feel great, but those are warning signs. This is a case of what comes first, does depression cause a lack of motivation, or does lack of motivation cause the depression. When I’m not motivated it’s easier to get bored, boredom lets my brain be an asshole.

Except right now it’s not being an asshole. Not too much anyway. It’s making me want to eat the house cause I’m bored, and that kinda sucks.

The question is, what do I DO about it? How do I find a way to stay engaged in activities that I have no interest in? How do I keep myself busy and keep my brain occupied? How do I beat back the demons if they try to take over?

How do I stop eating my way through the kitchen? Seriously, that one frustrates me the most right now.

I’m not sure what the answers are and I’m not sure that anyone else can give them to me. Therapy tomorrow should help.

At least I’m back to writing daily, that’s always a good thing.

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.

Stop holding me back!

This is a Really Real Health post.

I’m in NY visiting one of my closest friends.

Yesterday I woke up with a backache that didn’t want to calm the fuck down.

Today I got a migraine that’s kept me confined to the house.

This is annoying.

I remember times when these kinds of things would keep me housebound for weeks at a time. I remember my health being so bad that I had a home care nurse. I remember when I felt like I couldn’t live with the amount of pain I was in, day in and day out.

I remember when this was more than annoying, it was debilitating.

Now it’s just annoying.

Now I know it’ll pass and I’ll be able to keep moving forward.

It feels like my chronic pain “stuff” holds me back sometimes. The reality is, I push through it more often than not. I’m in pain daily and I work around it. I try to give myself credit for that. But when I’m out of town trying to do things with a friend, it’s frustrating that this kind of stuff acts up.

It makes sense though. I’m out of my normal routine. I spent hours in a car getting here. I’m sleeping on an unfamiliar surface. Making a trip like this takes a whole lotta spoons, but it’s worth it.

I remember a time when a trip like this would have been unfathomable.  It wasn’t that long ago, really. Just three short years ago, I was still working leaving the house on a regular basis into my routine. I couldn’t have imagined that I’d come this far.

Today I’m working on treating myself with kindness, recognizing that I don’t have control over when and how my body will rebel. This isn’t an ideal time or place, but it could always be worse.

Hopefully I’ve gotten my pain for this trip out of the way, I’ve got a few days left here and I’d like to be able to fully enjoy it.