Today I finally got fully moved into my new “corner”. I ended up having to move all of the computer equipment myself so my back is tight and throbbing. I had hoped to avoid this and take as few muscle relaxers as possible. Now, if my boss had told me I would be moving back when she decided instead of waiting until the last possible minute, this wouldn’t have been an issue. Now that I’m in here, I realize I will be spending tomorrow cleaning. It’s so dusty! I’m suddenly congested and my eyes are watering but it appears to only be the dust so it’s fixable. My office-mate is not here today or tomorrow so I have a little time to settle in on my own. Mexican food was provided for lunch so now I’m dealing with heartburn and upset stomach as well. So let’s review: felt pretty good this morning. Currently: back is throbbing, head is aching, nose is running, chest burns and stomach is doing somersaults. If ever there was a time I wish I could call in sick without getting in trouble!
So how do I know my boss decided I was moving well before she told me? We were in the main office last Thursday and she mentions that she had ordered the new chair especially for me since I was moving back. Well the orders take a least a week, then the chair has to be put together, and it had already been sitting there for several days and no one had said anything. I have one other problem with this chair. She ordered the “big & tall” chair. While I appreciate her trying to be thoughtful, it’s huge compared to the others so it’s embarrassing. I wasn’t having any problems with the others either. I’m kind of insulted and yet I don’t really understand why since obviously my weight is no secret. I guess maybe if she had said something first? I just don’t know. I made a point to thank her this morning to see what she would say (and because I really do appreciate the thought behind it) and she was very pleasant but just a little awkward. Oh well, life goes on and I see my therapist later this week.
I’ve been so confused, no wonder I can’t lose weight! Two of my close friends are both getting healthy by giving up pop, making slightly better food choices, and exercising. I’ve had doctors telling me not to worry about exercise but to overhaul my diet, doctors telling me I should be a vegetarian, doctors telling me to cut sodium 100% out of my diet, doctors telling me to pay for a weight loss treatment center I can’t afford and one doctor telling me to make better choices and exercise every day even if it’s for just 10 minutes. That one doctor that believes in moderation and exercise? She’s my psychiatrist!
It makes perfect sense. I know from experience that exercise makes me feel better and feeling better helps me make better choices. It was just so hard to ignore all of the other doctors that should know better. I was on the verge of overhauling my diet again. I stopped and remembered how many times I have done exactly that and it has backfired every time. I will make some improvements to my diet including lowering my sodium, adding more fruits and vegetables, drinking more water, and monitoring my portions better.
The last thing I truly focused on health-wise was stopping the binge eating. I would say that at this point, it is 90% gone. I can’t eat the quantity I used to even if I wanted to and I’m finding it easier to distract myself in the evenings. I know it helps that, through therapy, I am feeling my emotions rather than stuffing them in my mouth. The one weak area I seem to still have is when I’m tired. It took two months which felt like a long time but it’s breaking two decades of a bad habit!
I also know that exercise can help me sleep better and I need to use my light therapy again with the season changing. I shouldn’t have waited this long! I hardly see any daylight before work now and only about an hour afterwards. I’m sure it would help if I could get out of this basement office some during the day too!
So here’s my next steps: 1) use the light in the mornings, 2) work exercise back into my life.
I have a friend willing to go to the gym after work with me so I want to make that happen at least 3 days per week to start and build up from there. And days that I don’t go to the gym I need to spend at least 10 minutes on the treadmill at home. I also need to make a point to take my dog for a short walk when I get home. She doesn’t like the outdoors much and runs back in the house as quick as she can but it will do us both good to get some fresh air even if it’s already dark some days.
I recently finished reading a book my therapist loaned me called “When Food is Love” by Geneen Roth. The description from Amazon.com says “In this moving and intimate book, Geneen Roth…shows how dieting and emotional eating often become a substitute for intimacy. Drawing on her own painful personal experiences, as well as the candid stories of those she has helped in her seminars, Roth examines the crucial issues that surround emotional eating: need for control, dependency on melodrama, desire for what is forbidden, and the belief that one wrong move can mean catastrophe. She shows why many people overeat in an attempt to satisfy their emotional hunger, and why weight loss frequently just uncovers a new set of problems. But her welcome message is that change is possible. This book will help readers break destructive, self-perpetuating patterns and learn to satisfy all the hungers—physical and emotional—that make us human.”
I struggled a lot with the book because she bases this behavior on our past however I didhave a pretty good childhood and there was never any abuse. My therapist however believes that the behavior can also be learned from our parents or be from more subtle issues and that helped me to move on with the book. I can see the progression of my weight gain over the course of my life. As a child it was slow. We were brought up on horrible foods – everything came from a box or a can. The only emotional issue I dealt with prior to the teen years was that I was always competing for attention with my twin sister. I still feel like she received most of the attention and I have a reason for why although I’m not sure it’s a reason and that I’m not just making excuses for my parents. Then there were the rebellious years and I actually ate less from 15-18, probably due to getting attention from other activities, mostly negative attention as I stayed in trouble. I have never in my life thought of myself as the attention seeking type so this was a major realization. At 19-20, I lose my cousin, my aunt, my grandmother and my mother while my first marriage fails and I have an abortion. I was overwhelmed and I simply shut down. In the 10-11 years since then I have gained an average of 10 lbs per year. Over 100 lbs.
I didn’t struggle with mental illness until 2004 when I was diagnosed with depression. Since then, there’s been anxiety, bipolar, and talk of borderline personality disorder. I find it interesting that my weight gain did not speed up at this point. Before this point I lived as if I didn’t have a care in the world. In 1 year I managed to go from having it all to nothing. Literally nothing as my boyfriend at the time managed to get me an old chevy blazer, I had to go back to school and take a student loan to pay $290 a month for an apartment and get food stamps to feed myself. Maybe it did speed up and I just don’t remember well enough to see a difference. Actually, that’s probably very likely. My memory is shot.
Basically, I need to do 2 really big things. I need to deal with the feelings I have about my childhood. (And I have a particularly hard time with that because when my mother died I put her on a pedestal and have refused to even think a negative thought about her since.) I also need to grieve the losses I suffered that I never grieved for after I shut down in 2001.
I have to do these things in order to fix my life in the present. I will probably do a lot of writing here (so much for making this a less negative space!). A lot probably won’t make sense but I’ll do my best. I would like to be able to look back in the future and understand this myself.
I’ve realized lately that most of my obsessions and anxieties are based in fear. To be honest, I can’t think of one that isn’t at the moment.
I obsess about money for fear there won’t be enough. I obsess about food for fear of being hungry, for fear of not losing weight, for fear of gaining more weight.
I am anxious about doing many things for fear of getting hurt or being embarrassed. I am anxious about going to the gym in the morning for fear of being assaulted in a rough neighborhood before it’s light outside. I am anxious about trying a fitness class for fear I won’t be able to keep up or complete the class. I am anxious about not taking enough food for the day with me for fear I will get too hungry and give in to the convenience of fast food. I am anxious about going for a walk with my coworker for fear she will think I am too slow or that my back will hurt too much to go very far.
This is just a sample. Some of these, like not having enough money, are rooted in things I have been through in the past. And some of them, like fear of being assaulted, are rooted in my parent’s fears. Some seem so small but become larger than life when I am faced with them day after day after day.
My work now has to be to find all of the barriers I have put between myself and good health and tear them down one at a time.
It seems that having a doctor tell me it wasn’t safe for me to exercise anymore sent me into a slow downward spiral that I am just now breaking free from. Without exercise, I started letting my diet slip until I was right back in the awful place of convenience foods and binge eating. She prescribed beta blockers finally but I had some serious side effects. When they called in a new medication, it turned out to be one we had already tried that had failed. I called back to tell them that and she referred me to a cardiologist instead of trying something else. To say I was frustrated is a major understatement. I saw the cardiologist a few days ago and that was a rough appointment. He gave me the hardcore lecture but I suspect I needed it. He started me on new prescriptions and I’m trying to tough out the side effects but starting to worry as they get a little worse. I think I will put a call in to the office and let them make the decision about whether or not it’s something to worry about. He does want me to consider bariatric surgery to help with my health problems faster than dieting alone can do and I’ll probably talk to my therapist about that later this week because I have very mixed feelings. He has also referred me to an endocrinologist to deal with the pre-diabetes and get nutrition counseling. I have modified my eating this week but it’s not nearly where I need to be. I don’t think I can dive in to that headfirst again because I can never maintain it when I do. I just keep reminding myself that I already have the high blood pressure, high blood sugar and high triglycerides and that diabetes will be the next health issue to show up and that scares me. I can’t constantly remind myself how miserable I am at this point because, well besides it being hard to forget, I tend to beat myself up and then turn to food for comfort. I wish someone could tell me how to do this.
Well, I certainly didn’t mean to let most of a week go by without posting! It’s been a crazy week. I have a little side business and I was distracted by stuff involving that for most of Tuesday. Wednesday I had my Lasik and went home and to sleep right afterwards. Thursday I was so happy I had taken the day off. I had a follow-up eye appointment and a psychiatrist appointment, then spent the afternoon at home cleaning and resting my eyes and babying my dog when she freaked out about thunder. My eyes feel gritty but I’m seeing with 20/20 vision. The eye doc said my tear film is not lasting as long as it should which just means my eyes are staying dry so I’m using drops more often to help with that. Otherwise, things looked good and I will go back again next week. My psychiatrist made no changes to my meds, and honestly, I haven’t been back from vacation long enough to know if anything I’m feeling is normal. She did want to talk to my primary care doctor though. She was concerned that we’re not being aggressive enough in getting my BP and heart rate down so that I can exercise. She knows how much being active helps with mental health. She thought it was likely just because this doctor doesn’t know me that well yet so she was going to call her yesterday. I will see my primary care doctor on Tuesday so I’m hoping she’s ready to move forward with beta blockers then. She had been afraid of them because they can cause depression but that’s pretty well under control. I’m looking forward to a calm weekend at home so I can cook and clean and my husband will have time to work on his trucks. Hope you have a great weekend too!
Before I dive in here, I should say that last night actually went very well. I guzzled water all the way home and made my smoothie immediately when I got there.
I was wondering yesterday if my good mood was just looking forward to vacation or if I was slightly manic. It wasn’t severe so I decided to just keep an eye on it and move on. No change when I went to bed. I woke up this morning angry and agitated. It eased into frustration and forgetfulness. Back the other way to a super good mood and my commute starting with a sing a long. Next thing I know I’m crying, my heart is racing, my head is spinning, I’m anxious and I’m shaking. I was still in a pretty good mood while all of this is happening. (This was all just during my commute.) Since getting to work the good mood has mostly subsided and left me disoriented and all of those other things. I had taken a klonopin trying to take the edge off and it wasn’t making any difference at all. After a major crying meltdown in the bathroom, I took 2 more, my coworkers cannot see this version of me. It has taken forever to make a difference but I’m finally somewhat calmed. However, my heart is still racy (anxiety), I cannot think straight, I’m somewhat disoriented, jumpy and a little teary. I want to crawl out of my own skin so bad it hurts. I am terrified at what this could do to our vacation. It may be a week at the lake with family, but I haven’t had a real vacation since I was about 15, it’s a pretty big deal. I don’t know what to do right now. I’ve had several moments where I absolutely feel like I need to go to the ER but of course I don’t want to and that could lead to all kinds of complications that are worse. My psychiatrist didn’t have much of anything to offer me beyond that vacation should help and watch my blood pressure. Well, yeah, my blood pressure is up. It’s been up for years. I’m on the 4th variation of medications and it’s still up. Doesn’t sound like much of a trigger to me if nothing has changed. Her response did nothing but irritate me for not having anything helpful in it and make me feel overwhelmed and helpless because she’s the person I count on to help with this stuff.