I’ve been in a weird kind of “mood that isn’t a mood and is maybe lasting too long but then again so is the anxiety that’s ever present everywhere these days” kind of place and I have to say, it sucks.
I love the change of the seasons in an intellectual and visual sort of way. The change in the temperatures, the extra rain right now, the changing leaves are all really pretty and a very pleasant departure from what summer is around here. But if I’m going to have any mental issues they tend to happen during the changing of the light – sunlight that is. Too little in the autumn and winter cause one set of issues and the switch back to lots of it in the spring and summer causes a different set of issues.
Being mental is just such a fucking treat.
Once a month I haul Lancelot in for a haircut and beard trim and I usually get my mop of hair dealt with. This time I decided that enough was enough. I’ve been trying to grow it out but it was looking very much like how my grandmother wears her hair and I was not loving that. Changing my hair is actually a pretty standard thing with me. When I feel like it’s time to shake my snowglobe I will typically either go for a drastically different cut or, back in the day, a radically different color.
I’ve actually had my hair like this before, and it was most certainly a different color. I like the asymmetrical thing, especially since my hair’s natural curl makes this a ridiculously easy style for me in terms of what it takes to fix it. Approximately 3 minutes and a small dab of hair goo, that’s what.
I’ve been trying to spend some time getting back to meal planning and all of the other things that kind of feel like “life hacks” for me, because in all honesty, right now I need that shit more than ever. Apparently it’s working, at least at the surface level. One of the people that works in our office suite made the comment that I have my life together, which she totally meant as a compliment, but all I could think was, “little sister, if you only knew.”
All of the hacks and the prep stuff is really because I have a terrible, ugly secret…
It feels so strange to think that I’ve been working from home for almost a year now. And it’s even more strange for me to think that I’m fast approaching a second birthday celebrated in a very subdued fashion due to a global pandemic. Not like that’s huge, but it’s huge.
Want to know what else is huge?
I am officially 249.75lbs and that has been an unofficial goal for a while now. The next actual official goal will be 225lbs. I’m hoping that getting back to the treadmill and starting to use the pilates bar on a more regular basis, along with going back to drinking more water every day, will help get me there a bit more quickly.
Part of this is needing routines. I’ve said it before, I live and die by routines. I’m starting to get back into some of the routines/habits that I used to have that really seemed to help, if nothing else they would help with my mental health.
I get a week’s worth of outfits out on the weekend, including any necessary under garments and jewelry; they hang together in the back of my closet.
I use pill trays to organize and set out my morning and bed time pills, two weeks’ worth at a time.
I have a reminder set on my phone for Monday evenings – that’s when I take my Humira shot.
I have other reminders set on my phone for things like monthly cleaning chores, watering plants (weekly), and giving the dog her meds (monthly) – my philosophy on this is “set it and forget it.”
I always put my car keys in the exact same place when I get home, on a key rack in our entryway. If I don’t put them there I lose them, without fail.
I keep multiple baskets in the laundry room so that I can take the dirty stuff down and sort it every few days. When there’s enough of something to run a load I do it. This keeps me from spending an entire day on the weekend doing laundry.
I try to create a menu for the coming week – just dinners – mostly to make sure I have all of the ingredients on hand.
I go to bed and get up at approximately the same time every single day. Part of it is my brain not letting me sleep in much and part of it is just that I’m so used to this schedule.
I realize that probably already seems like kind of a lot, but I need a few more. I’m not feeling like I’m doing a very good job with…
It’s not that I don’t like to do things or be productive, rather I prefer to expend minimal effort for maximum reward. For example,
I made crock pot chicken curry for dinner last night. It’s once of Lancelot’s favorite meals, mine too, and it’s not at all difficult. What it is, however, is time consuming to prep. So since I was chopping this stuff up anyway I decided I would chop enough for THREE dinners and just freeze the stuff for the other two. I also took the time to measure out the spices I need and put that in little plastic containers so all I need to do to cook these meals is add my protein and two cans of coconut milk. Voila!
So maybe it’s not “lazy” but it is definitely front-loading. Since I was messing with spices yesterday I mixed up two more little plastic containers of the spices I need to make chai coffee. And I did a single serving of overnight oats, just to test a theory. I was right – two packets of instant apple cinnamon oatmeal with eggnog is rather tasty.
I’ve been going through the house, mostly the kitchen, trying to use up stuff we have on hand before buying anything else. Mostly I’m talking about groceries, but I might end up talking about yarn. I’m on the fence about that. More likely I’ll try to use some of my other craft supplies.
But man oh man do I digress.
I’ve been trying to make a list of all the possible dinners I could make given what’s in the house. Part of this is wanting to make sure that we use the food we have on hand before it spoils. Part of it is wanting to minimize trips to the store. And part of it, quite frankly, is boredom.
At any rate, I’ve been trying to keep moving forward. I had a few rough days last week but I feel like I’m bouncing back appropriately. The weekend ended up feeling like a really nice balance of work and play. And yesterday I cleaned up the closet in my office (previously looked like The Dumping Ground) and found a tiny silver Christmas tree with little lights on it. Very festive.
I’m still trying to make good progress on that one last gift and I am struggling. I’ve got two weeks left and I am bound and determined to finish it. So off I go!
First the easy update, I think the shawl will be done yet this week. For one thing, I’m getting towards the end of the pattern. For another thing, I’m getting frighteningly close to end of the yarn. I’m thinking I might be making a few executive decisions about how many repeats to do. But hey, that’s part of the beauty of a pattern like this, I can be as flexible as I want.
Here’s a totally random update… We picked up a delicious watermelon last weekend and man do I love me some good watermelon. But this sucker was HUGE, like so big I was afraid me and Lancelot couldn’t possibly eat all of it before it spoiled. And that’s when I remembered something from when I traveled over to Delhi and Dubai.
We had already cleaned and chunked up the melon so I just tossed a quantity into the blender and abused the hell out of it. And that was it. No straining, no fussing, no nothing. Pour it in a cup, stick a straw in it, and enjoy. It’s wonderful. And it’s healthy. So yay.
So I mentioned outing myself, something I actually used to do pretty regularly. I have Bipolar Disorder and I’m not at all ashamed to talk about it. FFS, I was actively working on writing my memoir all about it! When it comes up naturally in conversation and it makes sense, I have a tendency to say something.
Today I met with a faculty member who will be teaching an online Social Work class that deals with mental illness. DUH, it made sense to me to bring up my diagnosis. I’m more than 13 years into recovery at this point and I’m in a good place with my treatment so I’m pretty damn comfortable talking about it, particularly since I know that talking openly and honestly helps to fight the stigma associated with mental illnesses.
For example, I will tell you…
I take medication every day to help stabilize my moods; 12 pills to be precise (all of my other pills are for other doc prescribed stuff)
I meet (via Zoom right now) with my therapist every other week
I don’t drink more than 2 drinks in a 7 day period because I know that more is not healthy for me
I don’t smoke, anything, because it screws with my mood
I go to bed at 8 because if I have trouble sleeping that leaves me enough time to get sleep before I must get up in the morning
But I usually get up around 4am and start doing stuff
I haven’t been actively suicidal since 2009
I don’t like violence of any kind and I wouldn’t dream of hitting another creature
It’s taken a long time for me to like myself
But if you just met me under normal circumstances you would likely never guess that my home life was any different than your own. And that is one of my greatest successes I think; being able to “pass” for someone who doesn’t have a mental illness.
This may sound odd but I have wicked issues with the change from Winter into Spring. Something about the extra sunlight makes my little brain feel like an Ez-Bake Oven that’s been plugged into a dryer outlet. Oy.
But I’ve learned this the hard way so I don’t have to suffer quite so much anymore. It never ceases to amaze me the weird stuff that I get to deal with. Like, did you know…
I am so perpetually dehydrated from the Lithium that I typically drain a 32oz cup every night, while I’m in bed. I wake up every hour or so completely parched. I figured out early on to just fix myself a big glass of water or tea and take it to the bedroom with me.
I have such trouble sleeping that, at doc’s orders, I take the bulk of my psych meds at bedtime PLUS I take Melatonin and Benadryl. Sometimes it still takes more than an hour.
I cannot deal with clutter and chaos. If my physical environment is too chaotic my brain fuck near shuts itself off. As soon as I realize I’m having trouble concentrating I look around to identify and then fix the mess. I try very hard to make my bed every morning and not leave the bathroom filthy. Before I leave work for the day I straighten up my desk. Sometimes I have to do that a few times during the day, too.
If I need to do something it has got to be written down or I will forget it. A combination of age and a little latent brain damage from the last SA have resulted in World Class Shitty Memory. I keep lists at work and on the phone for my personal stuff. Sometimes my lists have lists.
And don’t get me started on forgetting words. I sometimes know damn good and well that a word exists for what I want to say but it refuses to come to my mouth. I stop, breathe, say “English is hard,” and then it usually shows up. But it sucks.
Now if you’ll excuse me, it’s time to eat some pretzels and contemplate a new hiding spot for the bodies…
I don’t understand even half the nonsense that goes on in my brain so I do hope that you, gentle reader, don’t expect me to be able to explain it to you. Because I can’t. But here goes my best effort…
I am slowly but surely getting everything ready for my trip. I checked my packing list again this morning and I think it’s as thorough as I can get it. I’m not sure yet when I’ll do my practice pack but it needs to be soon.
I’m not too worried about the packing thing. I’ve done this before. I know the tricks to getting through airport security and what to expect. One of my biggest things with these trips is that I don’t check luggage on the way there. I don’t want to arrive and find myself with no clothes. I’m more than happy to check a bag full of dirty laundry on the way home.
So I’m taking a carry on suitcase and my backpack, like I always do. I don’t travel with body wash or shampoo, no liquids in my bag at all. Slip on shoes for going through security. Backup paper copies of everything, and backup digital copies as well. I wear a light jacket and comfortable jeans; I’ll be sleeping in those clothes on the plane so they need to be like pjs.
This trip I’m also going to pack and empty duffel bag. I figure if I find time to shop I can always check my suitcase and carry the duffel and backpack as my carry on pieces. I’m checking with my travel partner to see what she thinks of this arrangement.
I’m still working on my list of things to do but I’m making steady progress. And that, I think, is why it’s starting to get to the “gee, this actually does sound like it could be fun” point.
I’ve been looking for projects to take with and still haven’t totally decided. I’m starting to think that perhaps I’m limiting myself by thinking I have to take this particular yarn with me. The one “must” is that the required yarn be in my stash as of right now.
I feel that urge to change things again. It happens now and then, sometimes in response to external stimuli, but not always. I’m kind of feeling that butterfly feeling right now for no particular reason. And that’s just fine.
My back is starting to get better. It’s a process. One of the things we’re trying is a new (hand me down) standing desk at work. It gives me the option of working while seated or while standing. They’re also working on getting me additional monitors, which will be a huge help for productivity.
The one young man I work with did all of the heavy lifting for me. I had to rearrange some of the bits in my office to make everything work, but I think it does.
Last night Dr. K and I went to the gym and hit the track. I think I love those walks as much for the time to have candid chats as much as for the exercise. It really is more tolerable to exercise when you have a partner like that to keep you accountable and to keep you company.
Today is therapy day, which is always something I look forward to. I even remembered to bring a shawl with me so I can knit in the waiting room. I inevitably get there early and end up playing with my phone, so why not do something that’s actually productive and enjoyable?
Speaking of being productive, I’ve been trying to get myself into some routines for getting things done at home. Lancelot has his own routines and I think something like that would help me. Plus it would take some of the pressure off, no more waiting and then trying to cram everything into one evening or, worse, Sunday afternoon.
Do you have routines that help you stay on top of things?
eating a bowl of ice cream isn’t going to make the world end
“traditional” meal prep isn’t necessarily right for me – I get bored too easily
variety is crucial; this includes a little junk every now and then
my mental health is every bit as important as my physical health; I can’t neglect one in favor of the other
this is a process
Lancelot thinks I’m beautiful no matter what
I lost 1lb since Monday even with eating the ice cream last night
The lighting in my office is horrid. But yes, I’m wearing tie-dye. This is a high-low skirt and kimono style vest over a white tank. I got the combo at the art festival a few weeks ago. I made the jewelry. I think this may be my new favorite outfit.
Mom and I are trying to eat healthy dinners together and I’m trying to have healthy lunches but I really have realized that having the exact same lunch every day is not for me. There will be similar pieces, such as fresh clementines and hard boiled eggs, but I’m going to try for something a little different. If I have a salad I’ll try to put different things on it, you know, stuff like that.
I know for damn sure that if I get bored with the food I’ll drop this damn “healthy eating” thing like a hot rock.
Yes, it’s a pain in the ass to make a lunch every night, but the pay off will be worth it.
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.
I currently weigh 269lbs. I am 5’6″ tall. Depending on who you ask I am considered Morbidly Obese even though I am constantly told, even by medical professionals, that I don’t look that heavy.
But I am. And I’ve decided that being that heavy is almost certainly the root of my discontent these days.
My body hurts, almost constantly. It just plain doesn’t feel right. And I get tired entirely too easily.
These aren’t part of a larger, more sinister, issue. This is me not having taken proper care of my body for far too long. I will own this issue because it’s mine to own.
So what’s my goal? I will lose 100lbs by June 24, 2020.
Before anyone panics, that would still have me at a healthy weight for my height. I am also doing this at the recommendation of my doctors. I have no intention of doing a crash diet, using laxatives or stimulants, starving myself, exercising to the point of excess, or anything that is otherwise not healthy. I plan to be more diligent about my food and drink choices and increase my activity, namely walking.
I can do this. I will do this. Lancelot and Mom are doing it with me, though I don’t think either of them plan to lose as much. We will support each other.
I’m telling you all about this because I need to be held accountable. And maybe you’re looking for someone to inspire you or make you feel better about your progress. Who knows.
I will share good recipes as I come across them, I promise you that. Sometimes that’s the hardest part.