“It’s always darkest before the dawn…”

The above is from “Shake It Out” by Florence and the Machine, although it’s an idiom that has been around for a very long time, well before Florence.

My anxiety has been slowly getting better, but it’s an up and down process. Most mornings I no longer wake up with a sense of dread, but these days it seems that my anxiety has been replaced with sadness or, some days, numbness.

All I want, at this point in my life, is a baby. I have baby fever, constantly, because I am terrified that I will never have one. All of my romantic pursuits thus far have either fizzled or imploded in spectacular fashion and it rather dampens one’s spirit. Yes, there is still the guy that I currently have romantic feelings for, but his behaviour thus far suggests that he doesn’t have any romantic interest in me. I don’t know, since I haven’t asked him, but I’m frankly tired of having my heart broken, so the idea of pouring my heart out to yet another person who doesn’t love me back is almost as unappealing as plucking out all of my eyelashes, one by one.

I deleted my Facebook a few weeks ago. I tell most people that it’s because it’s a time-waster (which it is) but mostly it’s because I cannot stand that all of my friends are getting engaged or married or having babies. Three are pregnant as we speak, one just had a baby girl last week, six had babies last year, three got married last year, five are going to be married in 2017 and two will be married in 2018 (so far!).

I feel like I’m not a real adult. I spent most of my twenties either travelling or doing temp jobs, meaning that my resume is full of gaps. I don’t own a car, I don’t own property, I’m not in a relationship (nor have I ever been in one), I live with my parents, and the pitiful sum of money in my bank account is set aside for tuition for next year. I’m hoping to get scholarships for this next year, but if I don’t, then I will graduate with approximately $0 to my name at 29 years old.

I look at the people that I grew up with and it seems like everyone else has their lives at least somewhat together. Most are in careers by this point, not jobs. Most are married, or at least dating. Many have children. Most own their own property. All of them have lived away from home at least once, for a decent amount of time. I don’t have any of those things, not to mention that I am a) overweight and in a perpetual cycle of self-loathing because of it and b) am a disorganized mess, but every time I look at all of the stuff I have to do, I get anxious and overwhelmed.

I feel like I’ve failed. That I have slipped up somewhere along the way, and that my punishment is that I won’t be able to live a normal life, to get married, and to have kids. I thought, when I was younger, that I wanted to be a nomad and live in exotic places, but as I’ve gotten older I’ve realized that really, all I want is the house in the suburbs (or the country, even better) with a picket fence and a big yard and four children and dogs and cats and maybe some chickens. I don’t want to be a housewife, per se, as I do very much love the career that I am pursuing, but if I had to pick between my career or children, I would pick the kids every single time.

I am afraid of the future, that I won’t get what I so desperately want. I think that’s the root of my anxiety, to be truthful, or at least it plays a huge factor: I am terrified of being alone. The thought of living on my own is appealing, but it also brings about crippling anxiety. The idea of never getting married and never having children is one that makes me cry almost every time it crosses my mind and these days, it seems like I can’t escape it.

I’m seeing my therapist on Thursday, so I’m hoping he can help me work through this, but right now the world feels really dark and lonely. Here’s to waiting for the dawn.

 

Advertisements

When life gives you lemons…

I have been doing pretty well lately, I think. My anxiety is still a huge problem, but I have a great therapist and I am slowly learning how to better handle my emotions, mostly by recognizing when I’m having a panic attack and calming myself down.

Healing, however, is not linear…and today was shit.

So, there is this guy…

The last time there was a guy, he broke my heart into a million pieces. We spent a ton of time together, just the two of us, and we talked every single day about everything, leading me to believe he felt the same way. He did not. And he knew it. He misled me for months until I finally got the courage to tell him I wanted a relationship, at which point he told me that oh, by the way, he knew the whole time that I was in love with him and he liked spending time with me because I am “awesome” but that he doesn’t want a girlfriend. Ever.

So, needless to say, I am very hesitant when it comes to dealing with men. It took me months to get over THAT BOY and I don’t care to ever repeat that situation.

Fast forward 10 months and I meet this guy at school when we are paired up by our professor. I wasn’t attracted to him at first, to be honest. He is an attractive guy, certainly, but there wasn’t really anything…until we started talking. And then I figured out how much we have in common. So I thought, hurray, I found someone new and I wasn’t even looking.

Today, however, I’m not so sure. I am beginning to be concerned that he has a drinking problem. More than once he has failed to show up for get-togethers that he assured me he was attending, with no explanation, because he was drunk. These were group plans, mind you, so it’s not like he left me sitting alone in a restaurant. But still, it rubs me the wrong way and I find it deeply concerning that alcohol is a reoccurring theme.

Yeah, okay, we’re in college. And yeah, okay, he likes to have fun with his buddies. But something doesn’t feel right and my heart is breaking because he isn’t the person that I thought he was…and because I am very concerned for him right now.

Has anyone ever dealt with someone with an addiction? I feel like I don’t know him well enough to ask him about it, and I don’t want to say anything until I have more information, but I am alarmed and very sad, frankly.

So…cue the anxiety. Cue the panic attacks. Cue the idea that he doesn’t really like me and that he is getting drunk because the thought of spending time with me while sober is just that awful. I know it’s probably not about me, but when someone that I really care about doesn’t show up for plans we made, I immediately assume it’s because of me. That I’ve done something, that they secretly hate me. I know it’s ridiculous. I know it’s irrational. But self-loathing runs deep.

Slow and Steady…

You heavens, give me that patience, patience I need!

King Lear, Act II, Scene iv.

I love Shakespeare. I know many people don’t, but I love it…watching it, that is. Shakespeare is meant to be watched, not read, that’s the huge mistake that the education system has made. But I digress.

I did a Shakespeare acting class a few years ago and one of my classmates was given King Lear’s monologue from that scene to perform. I could not quote the rest of the speech, nor anyone else’s, for that matter, but I remember that one line because it speaks of that which eludes me…patience.

I have a really hard time waiting for things. “I want what I want when I want it” is something that I find myself saying a lot. I think that’s probably the reason why I am such a control freak perfectionist, I want things done exactly how I want, exactly when I want, and I dislike waiting for things that I want. Weight loss is a biggie.

I have spent many, many years trying to lose weight. Almost 20, in fact. I would bet that I have tried to lose weight hundreds of times over the years, in many ways: the cabbage soup diet, the all-fruit diet, Atkins, Whole 30, no sugar, no carbs, no gluten…so many. In high school, I alternated between killing myself on the treadmill every night to going without food almost all day to try and lose weight. Did some of them work? Sure. For a short period of time. But none of those lasted, nor did the results. None. Why? Because I wanted a quick fix. I wanted to lose 20 lbs a week. I wanted to “be skinny” by such and such date and so I didn’t want to wait, I wanted results NOW. Had I been patient, had I worked out consistently (and at a reasonable pace) and slowly changed my eating habits, maybe I wouldn’t be here now. But I am, so I’m trying to learn patience.

Flexibility is another, as I am a perfectionist. I never expect perfection from others. In fact, I would say that I am very forgiving of others’ mistakes. But mine? No way. So sometimes I give up. I can’t do it perfectly, so I just stop doing it. I can’t tell you how many times I have vowed to exercise for 30 days in a row or 6 days a week for 60 minutes at a time and then I failed…so I got frustrated and quit. I’m not proud of it, but that’s the reality that I have to deal with.

The biggest thing that I have learned along this journey is not about calories or exercise or weight loss or health. It is to be kind, to be patient and to be forgiving…of myself. I am trying to work out at least 5 days a week and to make the best possible food choices I can, I really am. But am I going to beat myself up if I skip a workout? No. Am I going to starve myself the next day if I “slip up” and eat a burger or a cupcake? No. Because this has to be a realistic change. There is no way that I will be able to go the rest of my life without drinking a Coke or having cake and ice cream or eating french fries and a cheeseburger. No way. There is also no way that I will be able to work out 7 days a week for 60 minutes for every single week of my life. I certainly want to live a healthy lifestyle, but I also want to have children. If I workout 7 days a week for 2 hours a day, no doubt I will lose weight, but can I do that with a baby? No. Could I do that if I decided to go to graduate school? Probably not. Maybe some people could do that forever, but not me.

I have had a lot of problems with anxiety lately, so I’ve started seeing a therapist to help me work out my problems. One of the issues that has come up is my perfectionism. I hold myself to an unattainable standard, meaning that I am constantly disappointing myself, leading to depression and even more anxiety. I have started to learn how to take care of myself when this happens: reading a good book, watching a funny tv show, snuggling with my cat…all that stuff. Taking care of myself also means that I forgive myself when I “slip up”: miss a workout, have a “treat” more often than I should…all that. It’s hard. It sounds easy, doesn’t it? Loving yourself, treating yourself with kindness…it sounds easy.  But for me, it’s really not. I’ve spent so many years hating myself, being mean to myself and holding myself to unrealistic expectations that it’s become a habit…and habits are hard to break.

So, I say again…”You heavens, give me that patience, patience I need!”

One step forward, two steps back…

So…I have come to the realization that I do not have to be skinny to be happy, that I do not have to be 130 lbs to be beautiful, and that no number in the world should dictate my happiness.

Easier said than done, however.

I suffer from chronic, debilitating anxiety. Usually, it’s enough under the surface that I can handle it by breathing or talking to a friend or even just having a nap. Sometimes, though, it gets so bad that I feel like I can’t breathe. I can’t stop crying, I hyperventilate, my stomach is full of knots and I feel like I will either lose my mind completely or die.

Most of the time, to an outsider, it’s irrational. Lots of people get nervous or anxious about everyday things, but I bet that most people don’t understand what it’s like to let your imagination truly run away with you…it’s terrifying. Horrible images play in your mind, negative thoughts run through continuously, and you feel like you will never be happy again. You almost want to die just to make it stop…I’ve had those thoughts before. I’ve never attempted suicide or even made a plan…but when my anxiety is bad, there are times when I think “If only I were dead, then this would all be over”.

It’s an awful, awful place to be. Exercise helps anxiety, in fact, it’s one of the most effective treatments for it. However…it’s really REALLY difficult to motivate yourself to exercise when you feel like utter garbage. When you’re lying there wishing you were dead, usually the thought of putting on gym clothes and sweating on a treadmill ranks next to strutting naked down the busiest street in your city.

I’ve been exercising relatively regularly these days. Not as much as I want, but usually at least twice a week. I also got a FitBit for Christmas and so I’ve been trying to get in 10,000 steps every day, but it’s difficult sometimes.

So…we’ll see. I’m searching for a new therapist at the moment, as I don’t think that mine is working out very well. We just talk…which is okay, but I can do that with my friends. I need more.

Does anyone else deal with anxiety and depression? Have any of you ever tried CBT or DBT or meditation? I’m hoping to find something that will help me…

The time has come…

…the walrus said, to talk of many things.

Well. It’s been a long time. How long? A very long time.

Many months ago, I decided to end this blog. 2016 was, to be frank, the worst year of my life. Issues with work, with friends, a broken heart, family issues, my father’s health, my own health…it all just became too much.

But now I’m back, from outer space. I am on a new journey of weight loss. I no longer weigh myself, as I decided that the scale is not my friend and the number is not important. I no longer have a goal weight. Rather, I am going on how I feel. I have learned to love exercise and I am currently working on making it a habit, thanks to my gym buddy, my brother. I quit my job and went back to school, pursuing a career that I love. And I am much, much kinder to myself than I once was.

I picked, long ago, an arbitrary number that was “ideal” for me. This number was based partially on the outdated and inaccurate method of BMI. I no longer believe that my life should be ruled by a number. As long as I am healthy and fit and I feel good about myself, I no longer care what that number is and I refuse to let it dictate my happiness and my self-worth any longer. I will need to be weighed occasionally, like at the doctor or if I were to have surgery, but I do not want to know that number ever again.

I WILL be tracking my measurements, but mostly just for my own curiosity, to see my progress. I do not have any “goal” measurements, I just want to reduce my body fat percentage, increase my fitness and feel better, both physically and mentally.

Here we go friends…happy losing!

Progress Update – as of January 30, 2016

Height: 5’7″
Current Weight: 310.6 lbs
Gain: 2.4 lbs
Current BMI: 48.6
Gain: 0.3

Sigh. I’m up again. Oh well. This week I ate out a lot, I think that’s why. I did try to make good choices, but when you eat out you usually vastly underestimate how many calories you’re consuming.

Emotionally, I’m doing okay, but it’s hard. It comes and goes and it probably will be that way for a long time, to be honest. I’m a very emotional, “heart on your sleeve” kind of person and I get very emotionally invested in the people and things that I care about. I also don’t deal very well with change.

I have a friend who has been incredible to me over the last couple of weeks, just listening and helping me sort out my feelings. She suggested to me that I get assessed for OCD (obsessive compulsive disorder). People with OCD are usually portrayed in the media as germaphobes who are obsessed with order and cleanliness. Not true. It IS true that people with OCD can have compulsions such as washing their hands multiple times, but OCD is primarily an anxiety disorder which manifests itself in obsessive negative thoughts and chronic anxiety about disastrous things happen. Compulsions (such as hand washing, turning the light switch on and off multiple times) occur because they make those with OCD feel safe, they calm the anxious thoughts.

One of the symptoms of OCD is called “hyper-responsibility”, where you worry about your friends and family’s happiness to the point that it’s detrimental to your own. I always thought it was just my anxiety, but knowing that it could possibly be more than that is interesting. We will see how I go.

I realized that I totally forgot to post the update of my goals last week, so here goes:

Weekly Goal #1: Get 150 minutes of exercise a week. Update: Haven’t done this, not even close. However, it’s been absolutely beautiful out where I live, so I thought that I would go for a walk at lunch. Hopefully that will also help lighten my mood.
Weekly Goal #2: Eat breakfast every morning. Update: I’ve done really well with this so far, actually. Most mornings I have at least had a smoothie, so yay for me!
Weekly Goal #3: Daily dry brushing (twice daily). If you don’t know what dry brushing is, it’s using a dry body brush on your body to exfoliate your skin. It’s supposed to stimulate circulation, stimulate the lymphatic system, reduce cellulite and eliminate toxins. I don’t really believe that any of that is true, but it feels nice and it makes my skin really soft. Update: I haven’t done it twice daily, but I’ve done it most days. It hasn’t done anything for my cellulite and I doubt that it will, but exfoliating is good, so who cares?
Weekly Goal #4: Drink 2L of water very day. Update: Well, I don’t think I ever drank 2L and I didn’t do it every day, but I did drink more water than normal this week and I tried to choose water over other choices.

Weekly Goal #5: Get 8 hours of sleep a night. We will see how I do!

Cheers, happy losing!

Progress Update – as of January 23, 2016

Height: 5’7″
Current Weight: 308.2 lbs
Loss: 1.2 lbs
Current BMI: 48.3
Loss: 0.2

So, we’re down again, hurray! It isn’t really anything to do with me though. I didn’t exercise this week, I was too depressed. I know that exercise is actually one of the best things that you can do for depression, but it’s hard to remember that when you’re lying in bed wishing you could just disappear.

I got a lot of sleep, I guess that’s something. But it’s mostly because, as soon as I got home from work every day, I went to bed. I honestly didn’t feel like doing anything else. I don’t think it was healthy, necessarily, but it’s what I needed this week and I figured I would give myself a few days.

Otherwise, I didn’t really take care of myself. I hardly ate because food made me nauseated and I didn’t exercise or drink enough water and as soon as I got home I was in my pajamas.

I am trying very hard. Unfortunately, though, mental illness is a really difficult thing to handle and sometimes you just need to give yourself permission to do nothing. I don’t think it’s healthy to do that all the time, I think that it’s important to go through the motions until they have meaning again, but for a few days it’s okay to just let yourself do what you need to do. I was able to get up and get dressed and go to work, which I think was a pretty amazing accomplishment, considering how terrible I felt, so at least that’s something.

I’m slowly getting over my heartbreak. It doesn’t physically hurt so much, but it will take a long time to actually get over it. I am proud of myself though, I did not fall back into my terrible emotional eating habits, I really did try to make good choices, despite feeling so crappy. (Well, that is to say I made good choices when I actually ate, which wasn’t all the time.) I’m hoping that getting into an exercise routine will help even more.

Cheers, happy losing!