starting small

Stress is a trigger for a lot of people when it comes to unhealthy eating habits. Through many years of therapy I’ve mostly gotten away from binge eating when stressed, though not entirely. I’m working on it.

I’m not following a “diet” right now because, quite frankly, I don’t believe in them. I didn’t gain this weight overnight, I’m not going to lose it overnight. What I need to do is learn, and PRACTICE, healthier eating habits that will stick with me for life.

So much easier said than done.

There are a few things I’ve been trying to do for some time now that I hope will help:

  • avoiding drinks that have sugar added
  • drink only 100% fruit juice and that’s usually just what I need for a smoothie
  • I keep healthy snacks in my cupboard at work so I’m seldom tempted to go get junk food
  • the snacks I keep at work are usually of the “100 calorie” or single serving variety
  • eat small bits throughout the day, loaded with protein typically, so that I don’t ever get super hungry

I also know that taking care of my mental health is crucial right now. I should have walked this morning but I was up for it. Instead I spent time taking care of some tasks I’d been putting off around the house. I feel better for having done that.

The key for me is to just keep trying, keep moving forward, keep making progress. It’s all about one step at a time.

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finally friday

The end of the week was, for a long time in my world, just the end of the week. I won’t say that it was awful, but it wasn’t amazing. Mom and I would usually spend all day Saturday running around – errands, shopping, whatever other trouble we could find – exhausting ourselves.  On Sunday we might do things around the house, or attempt to recover.

And then…

Lancelot.

How can you not love that smile? Seriously. And that’s little Riley the River Otter on his shoulder. Riley came home with me from the aquarium in the Dubai Mall. It’s not uncommon for L to include one of the “kids” in the pic when he sends me a selfie. He’s adorable and sweet and treats me with respect and I love him.

So now weekends are usually spent doing stuff together like cooking, eating out, going to movies, watching movies on the couch, and lately we’ve been going to the local farmer’s markets with Mom. Good times.

I wouldn’t say that my weekends are necessarily better, they’re different. I always had a good time with my mom, and I definitely have a good time with L. I do look forward to the weekend just a little more, mostly because, well, grown up things. Y’all know what I mean.

Last night I was able to get another necklace pendant put together. I’m planning to wear it next week with a new outfit. I’m still trying to put together new things to wear. I seriously think that part of my Case of the Blahs has to do with my “look.” I want to look like I feel and I’ve been feeling younger lately. I’ll just blame L for that.

At any rate, I’m still doing my best to get my “poo in a pile” as Dr. K would say. I’m trying to do better with the food and I’m making sure to make time for the activities I enjoy. Working my DBT skills like a good kid.

so there i was, wading through a pond full of blueberry jelly and whisky when suddenly…

Evidently what I needed was to get the ol’ creative juices flowing again. And, oddly enough, I’ve done some of that through cooking.

That was actually last week, but we’re counting it. Balsamic marinated chicken with a Balsamic Caprese salad. Super easy and amazingly delicious.

That was just a few nights ago. Salmon, zucchini noodles with caramelized

onions and cherry tomatoes, and quinoa. It was my first attempt at cooking quinoa and only my second time doing the zucchini noodles like that. Oh. My. GAWD.

I’m trying to eat better because I’ve really let that lapse here lately and I’m seriously thinking all of the junk I’ve been putting in my body is taking a toll. Mom is on the bandwagon with me, as is Lancelot. It helps when everyone is trying to get healthy.

And then there’s this…

Miz K and I finally got some pics we’d taken around campus framed and hung in our small consultation room. We’ve only been in this space almost a year, not like we were rushing anything. I took two and she took two. The frames were a donation from Dr. K so there really wasn’t any cost. And the color totally helps. We’ve picked out four more, ones that represent the seasons, that we’re going to hang up later this week.

But wait, there’s more…

That’s one of the shawls I’m working on. The pattern is called Stormy Sky and the yarn is a Knit Picks Stroll Tonal, I can’t remember the name of the color. It’s soft and beautiful and the pattern is super easy. You start with the one corner and work the stripes out from there. This is typically my early morning project.

But wait, one more…

I had ordered some gorgeous lampwork beads from an artist I adore. Last night I decided that I needed an instant gratification project. These two pendants are part of the result of that. I also put together some bits from a bead show L and I went to earlier this year. I’m thinking tonight I might make something else.

reset

I was diagnosed with Bipolar Disorder in 2006, shortly before my 30th birthday. I’ve been in what I consider “active” recovery since 2009, shortly after my 4th (and final) suicide attempt. Most of the time I’m pretty good, like stable enough that your average stranger wouldn’t notice anything unusual about me. Well, nothing unusual aside from the strange hair and my unique fashion sense.

But sometimes I’m off my game and I need to hit my own reset button. This seems to be one of those times.

The doc started me on a new med to try to help with the tremors that I have, caused by Lithium. Maybe it’s the slowed heart rate that’s resulting from that.

Two years ago I had a breast cancer scare. I just went in for my mammogram last week and was rather nervous about it. Maybe it was the anxiety from that.

Work is getting ridiculously busy again, a little earlier than usual. Every time I think I’m going to get caught up I feel like yet another paper avalanche happens. Maybe it’s the stress from that.

I did something to piss off my back and I’ve been entertaining a headache for several days now. I’m still not sure what caused either, but that could be the culprit.

Regardless, I’m not feeling like myself and I don’t like it one bit.

I’ve been redecorating my office a bit. I’ve been buying new clothes, changing up my look. I’ve changed some of the bits in the bedroom.

I’m not sure what else to do, but I’ll keep trying. Something will hit the reset button in a meaningful way and I’ll be back on track.

50 shades of “better”

There really isn’t such a thing as “better” when discussing mental illness unless you’re talking about degrees of illness. I will never be “better” like someone who has had a broken arm can be considered “better” because the bone has mended. I will never be “better” like someone who had pneumonia is “better” because the pneumonia is gone.

But –

I am a million times “better” than I was ten years ago.

I have struggled, I have hit rock bottom and kept digging, I hurt the people I loved, I did horrible things to hurt myself.

But –

I am a million times “better” because I have learned strategies and I’m more in touch with my body and the way it talks to me. I listen to my doctors and my mother and Lancelot when they tell me I’m not acting like myself. I take care of myself. I take my medicine. I sleep.

But –

I won’t ever be cured, or healed, or however else you want to describe it. There will always be times of struggle. There will always be tweaks to meds. There will always be a need for therapy. There will always be constant care and feeding of the demon Bipolar, and that will always be my full time responsibility.

But –

That’s how I am “better” than I was ten years ago.

my body sounds like a bowl of rice krispies cereal, is that a good thing?

It’s no secret that getting older comes with some icky shit, like your body popping and sputtering at odd moments. Right now my back is reminding me that being on my feet, like I was last night at the glass studio, is going to result in being punished. I tried to mitigate it by wearing sandals that had a lot of cushion and support but evidently it wasn’t good enough.

Oh well, that’s why Ceiling Cat gave us Tylenol.

But hey, I am going to be rewarded for my pain. May I present to you the first phase of the Beautiful Purple Flower Lantern that also includes the Biggest Pain in the ASS Blue Butterfly…

The sample piece at the studio was more elaborate but it wasn’t really my style. I was going for a very clean, almost Japanese, kind of aesthetic. And then my dumbass decided I wanted to do a butterfly. Not sure what the fuck I was thinking.

I had wanted to share a picture of the new blue shawl I started but I left it in the car, so that ain’t gonna happen today. Let me, instead, show you the new hair…

The front bit is kind of coral and blonde and the rest is my standard dark purple. It feels much more “me” if that makes sense. And I’m totally grooving on the super short cut still. This takes zero maintenance, and for whatever reason that front bit insists on having the wave. But that’s perfectly fine. My dad’s hair had natural wave to it, so I’m wearing it proudly.

making the most of it

Lancelot periodically has to work overtime. I kind of hate this. Don’t get me wrong, it’s a common thing and a known hazard and it really doesn’t happen often. And at least he’s hourly so, unlike when I get to work extra, he gets paid for it. So I try (honestly, I try) not to bitch about it too much.

He had to work last night, big ol’ bummer. But instead of pouting and feeling sorry for myself, which honestly does no damn good, I decided to act like a big girl and I’ve been making the most of what we refer to at work as “found time.” So far I have…

  • Taken Mom out for a lovely dinner where we both got tipsy
  • Re-wrote the directions for a knitting pattern because I found them confusing
  • Actually did some knitting
  • Thoroughly cleaned my bathroom
  • Did my food prep for the week
  • Took care of some paperwork for my health care account
  • Cleaned up the laptop
  • Got my outfits and jewelry ready for next week

Might not seem like a lot (or maybe it does) but it certainly helped pass the time and I feel good for having been productive.

Possibly the most exciting news is that I’m not really done with grad school after all. I met with the program coordinator on Friday and got some new information that makes all the difference. I’m going to take at least one semester off, but during that time I can be writing on my own and “banking” material for later. I also found out that I have TEN YEARS from when I started to get this done. That takes a lot of the pressure off.

Lancelot is super excited. He told me that he knew I wasn’t giving up, just taking a break. He’s got a lot of faith in me. Anyway, we’re going to go to the residency this July for a day to sit in on a lecture and see everyone. I want him to get a sense of what the experience is like. And the coordinator wants to meet him.

I’m actually excited to start writing again.