Sunday, June 29, 2014

In Memory of Kitten






Kitten,
                I didn’t get to say a last goodbye but I’d like to put one out there. You were a very special cat and my family and I will all miss you so much. You were found in our neighbor’s garage as a kitten and we took you in. You were an adorable kitten and you never really grew up, you even stayed mostly the same size. You’ve had so many different names; because you were so feisty and bitey we named you after a shark, and then at times you’d let loose some real smelly ones so we called you skunk. My family had a very heated argument over what your official name would be but mom’s name won out because she’s the one who filled out the vet papers.
                During my life there were a lot of times that I didn’t want to be around people but I’d always leave the door open a crack for you. You are always welcome wherever I am. When I came to visit after I moved out, sometimes you were the first I looked for and said hello to. I was flattered when I realized you recognized my car and would come out from whatever bush you were in to greet me.
                I knew you trusted me because when you were pregnant, you choose the space under my bed to have your kittens. It was pretty gross but also amazing and special. I really wish I could have been there for your last moments so you knew I loved you and knew I was there for you, but I’m thankful that my little brother was able to be there. He put you in a cushy bed and sat with you for hours and giving you attention. I almost made it in time, I hope you know I was rushing to get there but it just wasn’t enough. My brother told me you seemed ready to go and very peaceful.
                We have so many memories of you that we will always cherish, even my dad liked you and he doesn’t usually like cats. It won’t be the same without you.

I love you and will miss you always Kitten. Rest easy.

Jane



Thursday, June 26, 2014

Newly Diagnosed, Confused and Anxious



The next few posts are going to be ones that I wrote this past winter and never got around to publishing. This is a post I wrote in February and didn't publish.

I don’t know what I’m writing today. Perhaps just an update. I’m one day away from seeing my psychiatrist and possibly getting my meds changed. Hopefully for the better and for the cheaper.
I’ve been so anxious lately, though, I’ll definitely have to mention that. I got a little behind on my work so for the past few work days I’ve been anxious in the mornings to the point where my throat closes up a bit and it’s hard to breathe. I can usually take deep breathes and breathe through it, though. It takes a while to calm down and then I’m yawning the rest of the day. I’m getting plenty of sleep; I’ve been going to bed regularly at 10:30pm (then it takes about an hour to actually sleep) and then getting up around 7:30am. It’s all part of my effort to get to work on time.
So, I’ve been sleeping ok, waking up pretty well, and getting to work mostly on time. I’ve been taking my meds and even tracking my moods with moodtracker.com. I like that website because I can send myself reminders to track my mood, I can track multiple times a day, and even report mixed moods. I’m not sure if the anxiety has always been there so often or if I’m just noticing it more now that I’ve been tracking my moods.
Anyway, so I wrote down some stuff to tell the psychiatrist tomorrow to help him diagnose me correctly and I’m going to list them out here to help me organize my thoughts. Shit, I forgot my notebook. Maybe I can do it from memory?
Happening now
·         Anxiety most days; throat closing up, shallow breaths
·         Binge eating; out of control cravings when I feel like I just have to eat and eat NOW! Usually chocolate, cookies, donuts, etc. I will go out to the store and buy snacks if craving is strong enough. Definitely interfering with my weight loss efforts.
·         Peeling skin off the bottom of my feet. Sort of like the need to eat, sometimes I feel a need to peel skin. It’s really gross, my feet smell bad all the time and sometimes it’s difficult to walk because I’ll keep peeling them even after they are bleeding.
·         When I leave in the morning I check that the door is locked at least 10 times, sometimes more if I’m feeling more anxious.
·         I have very vivid dreams that can be violent and disturbing. I have been raped in my nightmares several times.
·         Sometimes my dreams are so real that I think they’re memories.
·         I’m often depressed; it doesn’t always last all day. Lately I have been anxious/happy/elevated in the mornings but then down in the afternoon and evening. It hasn’t been super bad lately (the past week).
·         I did feel ‘sped up’ when I first started Cymbalta, but I didn’t report the symptom because I thought it was just a really good antidepressant. Also, I liked the feeling and didn’t want it taken away.
·         Sometimes I have a lot of projects; I make huge lists of all the things I want to do, but then when I feel down again I don’t do any of those things.
·         Last year, about August or something I met this guy and slept with him on the third date, which is very unlike me. I wanted to sleep with him on the second date and I even told him we didn’t need a condom (but he said no because he wanted to be safe and he didn’t have any condoms).

Happened in the past
·         Extreme mood swings during college that happened very quickly. Feeling like I can do anything to despair within a minute. And then back again
·         Was a point when I couldn’t read anymore in college; my eyes would just slip off the page
·          Again, in college, outbursts of violent anger. I felt out-of-control; I hit things, threw things, kicked things, broke things, yelled and screamed.
·         Sometimes I could get suddenly ‘rage-level’ angry at someone just because they were near me or slightly in front of me. I yelled at my sister a lot sometimes because I felt like she was getting in my way on purpose to block me from a conversation or keep me excluded or away from whoever we were with, usually my mother.
·         Felt like people were purposefully excluding me a lot of the time. I felt like people were always talking about me behind my back or watching me.
·         Sometimes I thought there were cameras watching me (middle school and elementary school)
·         Once, I had a hallucination that spiders were crawling all over me when I was in bed, but I’ve always thought of that as a one-time thing. Just a weird thing that happened between waking and sleeping.
·         There was some time where I thought I had been in space (elementary school/middle school) but I had just dreamed it.
·         I used to think that if I didn’t worry, something bad would happen. I was very superstitious and I felt like if I had certain thoughts, they could make things happen.
·         Racing thoughts and ruminating thoughts so bad I would use TV to literally and purposefully ‘stop’ my brain.
·         At one of my friend’s parties when I was younger I was ‘the life of the party’ (elementary school)
·         Once, at a dance in high school I just went up to a guy I didn’t know and asked him to dance. But usually, I could barely talk to anyone.
Right now I’m thinking he’ll say ‘Bipolar with OCD, anxiety, and Binge eating disorder’. I’ve read that Bipolar + Binge eating is really complex and behaves differently than other Bipolar types and can even be more severe.
Shit, that’s a lot of stuff and I don’t think it’s even all of it. That list covers most of the things I remember that might be important for diagnosis. Except for some things that I’m not sure I can admit to anyone. I’m still not sure I’m going to tell him about wanting to sleep with a guy without a condom.
I’m also a bit nervous because my psychiatrist (pdoc) is a much older man and I’m not sure what his opinions are. I’ve had a lot of experience with older men and how they treat me like… well, like a little child who doesn’t know anything and doesn’t even deserve to be listened to. I’m not sure older men even HEAR young woman like me when we speak to them. But, my therapist is in partnership with my tdoc and he is also an older male (although not quite as ancient). Seriously, my pdoc looks like he’s mostly in the grave now, he’s just sitting up inside his coffin, pecking at his computer with his pointer fingers.








Sunday, June 22, 2014

Fit & Fab; My first Weight Watchers meeting


The next couple posts are going to be ones that I wrote this past winter and never got around to publishing. This is another post I wrote in January/February but never got around to publishing.


I went to my first weight watchers meeting in late January.  I stayed at work a little later than usual so that I could go straight to the meeting and not be at home in-between.  Once I get home after work I like to stay there and it’s supremely hard to motivate myself to go back out, especially into the nasty arctic cold.
I ended up walking into the little Weight Watchers store just on time (6pm) and was a bit confused at first because the set-up was odd. There were a few shelves with products and some motivational posters but it was mostly taken up by computer terminals and large blue screens in semi-circles around scales on the floor. I passed about four of these terminals and walked towards the sound of a woman’s voice, then I encountered another woman who greeted me cheerfully.
I gave her my pre-registration printout and looked around dazedly. Then she asked me if I had ever been in a computer before.
??? what? I stood there looking at her, trying to figure out if she was really so condescending to ask if I’d ever used a computer before, while she asked the question several more times as if repeating it would make it any easier to understand for me.
I told her I had been using the online tools for a few weeks but this was my first meeting.
‘oh, so you’ve never been in a weight watchers computer before?’
I’m still confused, are there special computers for weight watchers? Does she mean the online tools? Perhaps she’s wondering if I’m in their system, but I should be because I pre-registered and have been using WW online. So I’m still trying to think up a proper response when she hands me a clipboard and cheerfully tells me to go on in, and we’ll register after the meeting.
After this confusing experience, I shyly sneak into the back row of the meeting, excusing myself as I try to fit past people in between the chairs. I find a seat and put my stuff down, trying to get the crazy lady out of my mind and listen to the woman speaking.
The woman did most of the talking, but she also asked for others in the meeting to speak about what they’ve been going through. She changed her slide presentation with a little silver clicker in her hand.  They talked about portion sizes and tricks that people have been using, also how people’s lives have changed while using weight watchers. There were some interesting things said. There were many different people there, one woman smaller than me, most a little larger.  One husband and wife came together, saying it was not their first time restarting weight watchers. They have tried many times and had little successes and here they are trying again. The husband said it’s most important to keep trying. I heard the ‘it didn’t get put on in a day, it’s not going to come off in a day.’ One woman said she has started putting her salad on her dinner plates and the ‘main’ entrée in a smaller plate or bowl. ‘It takes a long time to eat salad,’ she said.
It was very interesting and a very relaxed atmosphere. After the meeting, I stayed back to fill out my form and talk to the leader. There were a few other newbies as well and the leader gave us a little orientation to weight watchers and told us about her personal story. She gave us little folders with WW tools and tracking books. She lost weight on WW as well, she said all the leaders have done this. She seemed very nice, although slim, she talked with us about her own struggles with eating too much. We newbies each said a little about ourselves. I said that I had trouble with binge eating and my doctor had told me I was gaining weight too fast, but still I had trouble not gaining. I finally started maintaining my weight in 2012 and then beginning to lose in 2013. But I had only lost 10lbs last year and was having trouble losing any more without gaining it back. We discussed simple start and I said I had tried it but had moved on to tracking for more flexibility. We also talked about weighing ourselves and I explained that I only weigh myself twice a month and not around my time of the month in order to keep myself sane. She said it was a good way to go about it but pointed out that as long as I weigh myself at the same time each day, I will still see my weight loss. So weighing in on Wednesday at 6pm is not a bad thing. It won’t be the same weight that I would get if I weigh myself in the morning, naked, before eating anything, which is what I normally do.
After the meeting, the leader scanned my pre-registration sheet and took my weight. They gave me a little sticker for the tracking book with my weight on it. It was 6lbs heavier than when I had weighed myself naked, in the morning before eating, but she said you have to take clothes and the time of day into account. But just judge that number by the number next week to see the change.
Anyway, it was a good experience and I look forward to going back this Wednesday. I expected it to be longer than half an hour, though.















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Thursday, June 19, 2014

FF: A winter binge



The next couple posts are going to be ones that I wrote this past winter and never got around to publishing. This one is a post I wrote in January/February;

So; I believe I’ve mentioned how cold it’s been, every time the temperature dips back down, I have felt an uncontrollable need to rush to dunkin donuts and get half a dozen delicious, chocolate-covered or sugar-coated or crème-filled deliciousness. I didn’t see the pattern at first, but after the third time I realized it. When it gets cold, I crave baked, sugary goods. Filling, fatty stuff. And, since it’s been too cold to be in my living room or bedroom, I haven’t been cooking or doing my Yoga challenge like I had planned. I did my best so far on weight watchers when I was making every meal from their recipes. But, I got hibernatory and started ordering out a lot instead. Or just making a PBJ. Once, I did have a can of soup but it was disgusting…

Yup, so two weeks after I had lost 3llbs, I gained 2.8 of it back. From pizza, Chinese food, PBJ’s and oh so many donuts. I think part of the problem was that I had gotten a bit cocky. I had done well, and then I guess I thought I was good… well, it doesn’t work like that. Once it comes off, it can go right back on again.
That, and I was having a lot of ruminating thoughts (thanks, Depression!) about my father and how he had treated me as a child.
Honestly, I don’t want to go into it much for this post. Just know that he was hard on me, there was a lot of yelling, and it’s where I learned many of my irrational thinking patterns.
So having ruminating (repeated, hard to control thoughts?) thoughts about this was not good. Whenever I am upset I tend to turn to food. It’s always been that way. When I was younger, I had a kick-ass metabolism, and it was probably also curbed since other people ate that food too while I was living in my parent’s house. My sister seemed to notice every missing morsel and was vocal about it. (it’s not fair to me, waaa) So I probably ate a little less, I definitely tried to hide how much I ate from them. But, it didn’t show, I stayed skinny until the tail-end of college when I finally started gaining due to ‘cookie dinners’ and ‘vending machine breakfasts, lunches and dinners.” I will NEVER eat a frozen meal again. Not because I’m choosing to be healthy, blab la bla, but because I can’t even stomach looking at them anymore. They all look and taste like cat food to me now (how I assume cat food tastes, come on now, I’m not that crazy).

Anyway, one thing that made me successful on simple start was the fact that I was able to have dessert every day. I bought cookies and put fat free ice cream between them and stuck them in the freezer. Ice cream sandwiches with my favorite Kroger bakery cookies!! And cold, so that you know they’ll stay fresh after a few days and don’t feel pressure to eat them all at once before they go bad.
So I’ve decided to have dessert every day. The past two days it’s been donuts. Oh, I love donuts way too much. I can almost taste them now…
But knowing I WILL have dessert each day and being able to think about what I want so that I can have the thing I want most that day, and being able to look forward to it helps me to not snack throughout the day, and gives me a little bit of that feel-good, bingey feeling without going overboard. Because that’s the other rule: buy only single servings. So yes, I have to go out every day to buy dessert, but if I bought more than one, they’d both get eaten in one sitting. I just can’t control myself. It’ll sit there in my mind, I won’t even be able to push it to the back, I’ll think about it until I finally give in and eat and it will feel SO amazing!
But the new rule is; One single-serving dessert a day, eaten with full attention and pleasure after dinner and logged appropriately in weight watchers. I’ll try to keep my points low enough during the day that there will be some extra for this snack, but I won’t worry about it too much because of the weekly allowance. And even if I go over, oh well. With a single serving it’s not likely to be by much and it’s keeping me in control so it’s worth it.
I feel like I’m really treating myself well, giving myself this daily dessert. It’s a self-hug (don’t make this sexual, guys).



















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Sunday, June 15, 2014

Some Ado About Triggers

My blog talks about some heavier stuff in general, but there are times when I'll need to delve into even darker things and I don't want trigger any kind of negative response in someone else who might be sensitive to that topic.

So I'm taking my cue from other forums and websites on the internet and adding trigger warnings to my blog if I am going to talk about any kind of trigger-y topic. It will look something like this;

TRIGGER WARNING: SUICIDAL THOUGHTS

These are for the more serious topics such as suicide. For other topics, always use your discretion.















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Sunday, June 1, 2014

The Fire of Anger

"Fear leads to anger.
Anger leads to hate.
Hate leads to suffering." - Yoda
I read a lot of star wars books as a kid and many of them had this famous quote written on the back. Not that I don't love Yoda, he's one of my favorite little green dudes besides Kermit, but I have to disagree with him here. I mean, yes, this emotional cause/effect line could lead to suffering - especially if you're living out the life story of Anakin Skywalker - but Yoda's writers are missing a big point here. Each of those things on its own leads to suffering. I would say fear and anger have been forms of suffering for me many, many times in my life.
Anxiety issues? Check. Anger problems? Double check. Especially when all that fear turned to anger just like Yoda said it would. Turns out it's pretty common after you've suffered way too much fear and sadness. That type of anger is just like fire. It gets out of control in a split second and suddenly your world is burnt beyond recognition.
You have to be careful. Breathe. Stay ahead of it. So that you don't end up doing something or saying something you'll regret later on. That's just more suffering.
The hulk isn't right. I thought I'd always be angry, but it fades.   After all that fear and sadness, the anger was so strong I thought I would always be angry. It still comes up every now and then, but it's nothing like the rage I used to feel.
I wasn't sure I was going to post this, because everyone seems to be afraid to talk about anger. I know I am, because it's hard to look at yourself in that kind of light. Everyone seems to see you as some sort of monster. But the less it's talked about, the more dangerous it is (or feels).