Thursday, March 31, 2011

Do you want to be healed? (181.2)

Yesterday was a "I just wanna feel numb day" again. I think my hormones and/or medication are really, really off. I just don't feel right in the mornings and at night, and often in the late afternoon. I have an appointment with my psychiatrist on the 12th, and will ask her then. (Accupuncture is the 8th. I'm still going to physical therapy too. Good grief, that's lot of doctors trying to fix me.)

Today is my first counseling/therapy appointment. I've been looking forward to it, because I need the help so desperately, but this morning I realized that there is a LOT of stuff I've put in a nice tight lock box that I'd rather just stay there. I don't want it all dragged out in the light. And I know the only way I'm going to get better is to dig it all up. I read Vickie's post about doing deep work with her therapist NOW, after she's been in maintenance for a few years & has all her weight off. NOW is the time to get to the deep stuff, because she CAN. So, maybe, I can do the surface stuff for now & leave that lock box closed--I'm definitely not ready for it. I know it won't happen today.

I barely even know where to start today. I keep imagining the opening lines of our first conversation.... "so what brings you here to see me today?" "Ummmmm, I don't even know where to start." Do I start with my weight? My food issues? My dad's illness & death in October? My depression? Yes, yes, yes, and yes. I know it's a process--it's not going to get solved today. I guess I just feel overwhelmed at the idea of it all.

Last Sunday our pastor's sermon was powerful--it spoke to me very deeply, and it's been rattling around in me all week. He talked about the lame beggar who was by the pool at Bethsaida. Jesus asked him, "do you want to be healed?" Our pastor explored the idea of what an absurd question that is. Of course the man who can't walk wants to be healed! Why would Jesus even ask that?

Then he said, but if the beggar is healed, then his whole life will change. He won't be able to depend on others to take care of him. He won't have any excuses to wallow in misery any more. For a man who'd been dependent on others for his existence for his entire life, it's not a small thing to suddenly lose that dependence.

So, we have to ask ourselves the same thing. What is it that you want Jesus to heal in you? And, DO YOU WANT TO BE HEALED?

Our pastor told us the story of when he was in school. In elementary school he had rheumatic heart disease. He missed an entire year of middle school because he was so sick. He was told he'd never be able to participate in sports. By high school, his freshman year, he'd secretly joined the track team, telling his mom he was the manager. When his mom found out (as mom's always do) that he was running on the team, she took him to the doctor to have his heart examined. The doctor said it was remarkable--his heart looked much better, and as long as he didn't have any problems, he could continue to run and race. He was, essentially, healed.

That put him in a strange position. He wasn't a great runner. He usually came in last or next to last place. So, now that his doctor told him he was healthy and didn't have a bad heart, what excuse did he have to be a lousy runner? He was healed. And he lost the excuse to be a loser, or at least to not be the best he could be.

I keep asking God to heal me, every morning praying for help when I feel like I'm never going to get better. Then, like last night, when I'm eating ice cream at 11 pm, I ask myself--do you really want to be healed? There is so much that I blame on food & my weight. So many excuses of what I can't do, or don't do, or won't do.

Mostly, I'm afraid that being healed means I will have a great big vacuum that I can't fill with food anymore. If I don't have sugar and fat and carbs, what will I have to soothe the hurt and loneliness? I know what's supposed to go there, in that vacuum. Love, God, family, peace, hope. LOTS of intangible stuff that healthy people know how to access. Can I get there? Can I find it in myself to want to be healed? For real this time?

I told my friend Debra last night that the only time I've felt really, truly, consistently happy in the past 15 years was in 2008, and 2009, when I was thin & running regularly. Don't get me wrong--I've had (and still have) a lot of joy in my life. I have a blessed family, a loving supportive husband, and two beautiful children who give more love to me every day than I could have ever imagined I deserved. But being overweight/obese since I was 26 has shadowed a lot of that happiness, except in 2008 and 2009.

I never really gave up food as my main source of comfort in those two years. I figured out how to be just good enough, burn just enough calories and get just enough endorphins in my brain from running, to lose weight and keep it off for a while. But I didn't do any (or enough) inner work.

Jesus told the beggar after he healed him to "pick up your mat and walk." Jesus didn't want the man to have an excuse to go back to the life he'd lived before. "Be healed. Get rid of the mat. Walk into your new life with Me." I guess this time, I'm starting on the inside. Hopefully it will work it's way to the outside.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Tuesday afternoon (181.2) ramble, ramble, ramble.

It's almost time to go home from work, and I wanted to write because I've had a rough day. And I think the day has been hard b/c yesterday afternoon was so hard. And because I still haven't gotten enough sleep (although I'm sleeping better with melatonin now). This is totally stream of consciousness so feel free to skip it. :) Seriously. It's a brain dump. I won't be offended. Skip to the last paragraph to find out about my arm & back injury, if you'd like. And hopefully I'll see you again soon and have a lot less garbage to spew.

OK.... let the Ramble Begin. Last night I took my meds about 9:30, and was sleepy by 10:30 but I felt like I needed to blog b/c I wanted to eat. So I wrote a little on my iPod, felt better, and then watched some of "Mildred Pearce," which is a mini series on one of the cable channels, I think.

My husband is watching it. He will not go to sleep without watching TV (which drives me nuts). I've been trying to sleep in my bed, as opposed to the couch, because it's more comfortable and it's my bed too, and some nights I get sucked into what he is watching. Most nights, I put on my sleep mask and, if the TV is too loud, I put in my earbuds & listen to ocean waves on my iPod until I fall asleep.

But last night, I watched about 30 minutes of this TV show, which culminated with a little girl dying, and it upset me. I knew she was going to die--this was sort of a flashback and Mark had been upset the night before by the show where the girl had died. I don't know why I kept watching.... because I love Kate Winslet, I guess. So, anyway, I fell asleep fairly quickly but it was almost midnight.

At 1 am my son came to our room, wanting to sleep with us, which he rarely does but is starting to do more often. I let him because he seemed scared, like he'd had a bad dream. Otherwise I don't let the kids sleep with us except on rare special occasions. It interrupted my sleep all night, because he's 5 years old and squirmy, and because we only have a queen sized bed.

Then I was up at 6 am to get some work done that I couldn't finish yesterday, for a meeting Mark had today at 10:30 am with clients. I still had work to finish for the meeting when I got to the office at 9. I hurried, was stressed out, got it finished as usual, but then I was DONE. I messed around with finding a back pack online for almost an hour. I found one, but the process wore me out even more.* I like to get in & get out when I'm shopping, even on line. But finding a bag for my 17" laptop was a chore.

What was worse, around 10:30 am I started to feel like I was going to throw up. I got a headache and just generally felt horrible. It dawned on me that it was the McD's wild berry smoothie I had stopped and gotten on the way in to work. I got a large, drank most of it, and then realized much too late that whatever they put in there (loads & loads of sugar, surprise surprise) was making me sick. It's not the first time a drink from McD's has given me a headache. I can't drink their McCafe coffees. They give me horrible headaches, even though Starbucks doesn't (I make espresso at home now and haven't had a Starbucks in months). I thought I was OK with the smoothies. I've had them probably about 4 or 5 times this year and they haven't really bothered me & I've thought of them as a "healthier" choice. Ha. I pulled up the ingredients & nutrition info online today. Never again will I get one of those things. Almost 70 grams of sugar in a large berry smoothie. Good grief, no wonder I was feeling sick.

So then lunch was a salad & some soup from Zoup! And we had a meeting at 1:30 pm at the office for a church committee. The meeting was fine, except I felt guilty most of the time because we need a chairperson, and no one else can do it, and I feel like people think I *should* be able to do it, but I just can't right now. I barely have the capacity to function as it is. I'm so behind at work and at home. I get one or two things done a day & that's it. I can't imagine adding the responsibility of this committee on top of my life right now, even though it's not *that much* work. It's the idea of failing at yet something else, that I just can't handle.

The meeting was over at 2:45 or so. I finished my daily performance report work (which takes about an hour or so every day), and then the rest of the day I've been on Facebook catching up with people, and that's just made me mad. Too many links to stories (political and food related) that piss me off. Too many happy people working out and showing off their running medals and their fabulous vacations. A lot of sick & unhappy people, too, that I commiserate with. Most of the time FB makes me feel connected to people. Today wasn't that kind of day.

My favorite radio station has been talking about how some scientists have proven that comfort food--even just the thought of comfort food--can make us feel better, feel less lonely. DUH. They are celebrating it and think it's funny. It's making me mad. Everything is making me mad or pissy or feeling like Poor Me. Ugh.

I need something to feel better. I don't even want food. I just want to feel better.

The sun isn't around today. It's cloudy & cold. I had hoped to do some kind of exercise today, even brought my gym bag in the car. Now, it seems like an impossibility to even attempt to move. I need to be in my bed under my comforter. Or in a hole somewhere.

Instead, I think I'm going to pick up my kids. That is almost always the best part of my day. My son and my daughter looking at me with a happy smile, ready to go home. Hopefully I can keep it together enough for dinner and baths tonight.

*My arm and back problems are all related to my work environment and (we figured out yesterday) the bags I carry my laptop and other junk in. The nerves in my arm were messed up from the 20-30 pounds I carry in the crook of my left arm every day. When I had strep last week, I didn't carry anything for 6 full days, and my arm got immensely better.

My neck and back also stopped hurting because I wasn't looking down at my laptop at work. I had elevated my laptop already and gotten an external keyboard, but I hadn't put the laptop up high enough apparently. Monday I worked only 4 hours & my neck was killing me. I figured out I was still looking down enough (even though it was very slight) to do damage. I put a box under the notebook riser, and that is working today. No neck pain, no back pain. I bought a new backpack for my laptop and junk, so the weight is where my PT said it was supposed to be.

My leather satchel doctor-bag handbag is now going in the bottom of my closet. It's how we figured out the cause of the nerve damage, though--I had it at my appointment yesterday, she saw me put it on my elbow bend, and said that's the worst purse I could carry. I made the 30 pound a day on my left arm connection and voila! Injury solved. At least I don't need an MRI. I just need a Physical Therapist to follow me around all day & tell me what else I'm doing with my body that I'm going to regret in another few years.

Monday's post on Tuesday - 182.8

(I wrote this Monday night around 11 pm from my iPod, but it wouldn't post for some reason. So here it is, Tuesday morning, and even though I wrote to keep from eating, I might was well put it out there today.) Having been off work most of last week, I had a crazy day today. It was supposed to also include my physical therapy appointment, which i went to, and a simple appointment for our dog to get a heart worm shot and then a grooming appointment. Best laid plans...Luke had pink eye this afternoon and I had to pick him up right after my PT appt. We got to the Vet at 4:30, left at 5:30 with a diagnosis of ear infections and allergy testing (for the dog .... She's as much work as the kids sometimes), then to Walgreens to get an $80 bottle of pink eye meds. Mark picked up Sophie from school, but I still didn't get home until 6 pm. My prayer group friend Donna was coming over at 7. So. Not much time to her kids and myself fed. But we did it. I had a nice talk and the kids were great while the Grown Ups Ladies talked. But I am now fried and pretty strung out and have to get up early for work tomorrow I didn't get done today. But I'm not on the couch watching tv or eating. At least that's something.  

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Sunday - 182.6 And No Crying!

I didn't cry today. That's kind of a big deal. I've been crying a lot lately. Part of it is I finally started my period today. I freaking hate my up & down hormones. I swear, when Sophie hits puberty, I pity my husband & son. The other part of it is, we have had a great weekend. We saw the 3rd Narnia movie last night with the kids, & it was WONDERFUL. Best one yet. Not at all scary, even for my 5 year old (he hasn't seen the 1st one yet--it's a bit creepy & we may wait a while longer for that one). It was intense, but not overwhelming. And oh, did I cry during the movie, but not from sadness, from pure joy. If you're a Christian, it's a must see. If you're not, well, I guess that's one reason why CS Lewis wrote his stories in the first plant the seeds of faith. And, I haven't sat on the couch to watch any TV by myself all weekend. We watched a few cartoons Saturday morning (before I went to get my hair done--2 1/2 hours of bliss, and another piece of self-care I'd been putting off) and a kid's movie tonight while I was putting away groceries & getting everyone dinner (so, I only sat down to eat, and that was in the kitchen). Big, huge, monster difference NO TV makes in my life. Now it's time for bed. I've been having trouble sleeping the past several nights. I've not been going to bed with a belly full of carbs and fat, for starters. And I've got an extra 30 pounds on my body from when my Psychiatrist prescribed my xanax (plus, I'm guessing I'm starting to build a tolerance to it finally, after taking it more regularly). I am trying melatonin, on my mom's suggestion, and last night I had to take 1 mg of xanax instead of .5 mg. I used to only need .25 mg to get to sleep & stay asleep. I think I have an appt with my doctor in April, so we'll be talking about that if it's hasn't straighted out by then. Hoping to keep up this regular blog thing, in place of TV. Here's to a productive & healthy week for you all.

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Saturday - Music, not TV

Listening to Stevie Wonder & other good stuff to go to sleep to. To clean the house to. To drive to. To blog to.

TV really can suck the life out of a day. Ya know? Music adds to life. I want more music in my life.

Feeling better today. Held onto that feeling that I wrote about yesterday. Didn't eat to soothe any feelings. Didn't eat at night. The feeling is still with me today.

My appetite isn't normal. It's pretty much not there. I don't know if it's a hangover from my strep throat, or if it's a little gift from the Universe. God gives graces when we least expect it sometimes. When we most need it.

Had a little break down this morning about Dad. But then it was over, and I'm having a productive day. A joyful day.

Tonight we are all going to the Japanese Hibachi place for dinner, then going to the cheap movie theater to see Voyage of the Dawn Treader.

We are supposed to get an inch of snow tonight. On top of the daffodils and Bradford pear blooms. Topsy turvy seasons, can't make up their minds. It's no bother though. The sun will be back eventually.

Sophie is sitting beside me practicing one of her songs from music lessons. It is heart breakingly appropriate. "When you smile and you sing, everything is in tune and it's Spring, and life flows along with a smile and a song."

Friday, March 25, 2011

Stevie Wonder Therapy

So this week has been a bust. Sunday I spent on the couch, depressed, "hormonal," and basically out of it all day long. The day was filled with sloth, food, and self-loathing.

Then Monday morning around 5 a.m., I woke up freezing cold with a sore throat. I shivered my way to the kitchen for a handful of ibuprofen, put on some warmer PJs, and got under the comforter. I was so cold and achey I figured I had gotten the flu. It crossed my mind more than once that my lifestyle recently was literally making me sick.

It's spring break here, so Sophie was off school, but thankfully my Mom*** retired at the end of January so she came and picked up the kids & kept them at her house until Wednesday.

So I spent Monday in bed, alternatively freezing and sweating. And crying. I was miserable and alone (Mark had to work after all).

Then Tuesday I could barely talk, barely swallow, and when I looked at my tonsils with a flashlight I knew I didn't have the flu. It was a nasty case of strep throat. I called my doctor's office again (I'd called Monday to confirm that my symptoms were probably viral, but at that point I hadn't bothered to look at my throat) and went in that afternoon. Sure enough, confirmed strep. I got a shot of antibiotic there, and amoxicilin for 10 days.

By Tuesday night I wasn't scary-feverish any more. By Wednesday I could get up and walk around and clean the kitchen and take care of the kids, more or less.

Thursday morning I tried to get ready for work but after I half-way dried my hair & couldn't even manage that without sitting down, I gave up and put my PJs on. Thursday night was a lot better, although I still felt a bit sluggish.

This morning I slept until 9, but I managed to get ready for work and come in around 11:30. I feel human again, although I do still have several big white spots still on my tonsils. I called my doctor's office yesterday and asked the nurse about being referred to an ENT. I had strep 3 times last year. I just seem to get it way too often. And a week of being this sick just is not OK. We'll see what happens.*

Anyway....all my appointments had to be cancelled**, so no therapist, no PT for my arm (although that's better because I haven't used it for basically a week), no nothing but being miserable.

Five days of lying around, feeling horrible, feeling sorry for yourself---gets really freaking old.

So, last night I had a tiny little epiphany. We'd put the kids to bed, and Mark & I were watching American Idol. The contestants this year are amazing. They did Motown songs this week, which I really like, even though I don't ever listen to it.

Stevie Wonder was a special guest last night, and he always brings such joy to the stage. Something, somehow, clicked inside my head. YOU CAN HAVE THAT JOY, TOO.

Maybe it was shear mental exhaustion from being sedentary for so long. Maybe my hormone cycle is back to the happy hormones. Who knows. All is know is I woke up today and felt better and downloaded a bunch of Stevie Wonder songs to my iPod. And I've been listening to him all day.

Another not-so-little epiphany this week. I watched "Eat Pray Love" Tuesday. I read the book years ago--loved it--so I enjoyed the movie. In one scene, Liz tells Richard from Texas that she misses her ex-husband. He tells her something that has been rolling around in my head ever since. I had to pull the whole quote, because it really is amazing.

"So miss him. Send him some love and light every time you think about him, then drop it. You’re just afraid to let go of the last bits of David because then you’ll be really alone, and Liz Gilbert is scared to death of what will happen if she’s really alone. But here’s what you gotta understand, Groceries. If you clear out all that space in your mind that you’re using right now to obsess about this guy, you’ll have a vacuum there, an open spot – a doorway. And guess what the universe will do with the doorway? It will rush in – God will rush in – and fill you with more love than you ever dreamed. So stop using David to block that door. Let it go.”

I can remove "David" and fill in the blank with all the crap that fills my head--my Dad, my weight gain, my food addiction, my childhood, my feelings of inadequacy, guilt over the most stupid stuff ever... It's a wonder I can even function at the level I do.

This is heavy duty stuff. Transformational. Feel it. Send it love & light. Then DROP IT. I can't fight the thoughts. They still come. Little by little, the past day or so, I've been testing it out. I think it's helping.

I've got a lot of crap to empty out to get a vacuum, an open spot, a doorway. But I've got to start sometime. Might as well start today.

*I know I'm a bit old to get tonsils and adenoids out, but here's the deal. I can't SLEEP because these diseased organs are so swollen I am snoring before I even fall asleep. It's one thing to keep your spouse awake from snoring. It's quite another when you keep yourself awake. Seriously, I was crying Tuesday and Wednesday because I was so tired but couldn't get to sleep. Last night I woke myself up from snoring, and just moved to the couch before I woke up my husband.

**Today I rescheduled my appointment with my therapist for Thursday. I also called & got a hair appointment. I haven't had my hair cut for months. God is looking out for me--my stylist had a cancellation for tomorrow morning at 10 for a cut and a color. Seriously, when doest that happen? So blessed.

***I realize that I am so very lucky to have a mom who can swoop in and take care of my kids. Luke had strep too, even though his throat wasn't sore. He had a high fever Monday night; she took him to the doctor Tuesday. She also came and got all my laundry yesterday and brought it back today. I know, I know. She's the best Mom ever.

Friday, March 18, 2011

Not on track...

Run over by the train, is more like it.

I've been to see a physical therapist four times about my back, which turned out to be not just my back. I have medial and ulnar nerve damage in my left arm. I have lost more than half my grip strength. I have next to no pronator strength. The PT isn't 100% sure, but thinks I could also have damage to the C5 disk in my spine. I'm wearing a brace on my arm during the day and at night, and doing physical therapy exercises at home, and seeing the PT twice a week. My upper back pain has subsided quite a bit in the past week; my arm hurts like the devil.

Unfortunately, my 5 minutes a day of PT exercises has been the extent of my physical exertion for the last three weeks.

I really didn't think it could get much worse, but it has. I weighed 186 today. I've been weepy and depressed, and pushing it down with food. I finally broke down and bought some clothes last week in size 14s, and in some ways I felt like it was a gift to myself--to acknowledge what IS, and to allow myself to have something to wear that actually fits. In other ways, it was a mental defeat. I never dreamed I'd be back here again.

I finally, just yesterday, called and made an appointment with a counselor. The office I'm going to is well respected and I asked specifically for someone who deals with eating disorders and depression. My appointment is Wednesday.

I also am going to have someone start cleaning my house twice a month. I found a girl who cleans for another lady in our office building, who charges $15 an hour. Having my house clean will be a huge help.

I have so many projects and responsibilities that are hanging over my head unfinished....they mentally push me down and I often just feel helpless, like nothing ever is going to get done. Instead of finding it in myself to take baby steps and chip away a little at a time, I feel overwhelmed and do nothing. Then I feel guilty. I feel like a failure. Because I've got scrapbook stuff strung out over the living room, I've got estate stuff for my Dad that's still not done, I've got Christmas snowmen in my family room and dining room (yes, still), I've got mail at work that hasn't been opened for two months, I've got a printer at home that still isn't set up yet.... and more and more and more.

I know this is very unhealthy. I know it's related to my food issues. I'm hoping I go to the counselor next week and we can figure out how I can be "fixed." Because, despite what I hear on the Growing Human Kindness CD's, I can't convince myself I'm not broken. That's how I feel. Broken. Something's wrong, down deep, and it needs to be fixed. Clearly, I'm not in any position to fix myself right now.

The failure thing is a big issue for me right now. I can't hide my weight gain any more. I'm a walking statistic--I've regained the majority of my lost weight--and I feel like everyone I know, who gushed & praised & said how great I looked, now feels sorry for me or wonders how I've let myself get back to this size again. Whether they are thinking that or not, and regardless of how it doesn't matter what other people think, this is what I think they are thinking. And it makes me want to hide, and not participate in life.

More than anything else, that's why I finally called the counselor. I can't NOT live my life. I've been there too many times, and it sucks. I don't want to live like this any more. I just want to feel normal again.

Saturday, March 05, 2011

Saturday - off again, on again (181.4)

It's not been a great couple of weeks. Nothing horrible, just the usual.

I had a bad bout of PMS--very moody, didn't want to do anything or see anyone, ate too much for comfort. That lasted a couple of days, then I pulled out of it and felt like I was getting back on track.

Then I injured my upper back (between my shoulder and neck) and I've been in pretty serious pain for this past week. It started as a simple pain when I'd turn my head wrong. It hurt a little, and I thought I'd work it out with a shiatsu massage pillow.

Well, apparently I just made it much, much worse, because the next day (Sunday) my pain was constant and deep and severe. Enough that Monday & Tuesday at work I cried at my desk. Wednesday I took the whole day off. I went to a chiropractor-ish guy and got adjusted, & he said my chest muscles are tight so my back in compensating and I slump forward too much and it's making my back muscles a mess.

I felt better after I left--for about 30 minutes, then the pain was back. I went to the after hours clinic to get some pain meds, and the doctor gave me a muscle relaxer, a steroid pack, tylenol 3, and 800 mg ibuprofen (which I was already taking on my own---200mg x 4 pills, duh dude!). The pain was almost gone this morning, but it came back this afternoon, although it's not as bad as it was. If it's not better by Monday or Tuesday, I'm going to my real doctor.

Anyway, I let it derail me. Mostly because my energy has been directed at just surviving my pain-filled days without crumpling into a ball of helplessness. I will never, ever doubt or question someone who has chronic pain (like, my husband) again.

And I of course gained weight. A stupid amount of weight. 5 pounds worth. I don't even know HOW I ate enough to gain 5 pounds. On Thursday, I weighed my heaviest since 2007 - 183.6. Ugh. Ugh. Ugh.

So, I'm back at it. I started a new tracking spreadsheet again at the end of January. My old one was lost when my hard drive died. I keep track of workouts, weight, mood, night eating, TTOM, and whether or not I've taken my vitamins. It's invaluable information, to look back and see "OH THAT'S WHY" the scale went up (or down). I also started earnestly following my LAWL plan on Friday....again. Today I've done well. I'm planning on the same tomorrow. 2 or 3 days strung together isn't going to cut it, though. I've got to get consistent, and get consistent NOW, before I weigh 200 pounds again.

I've decided I am going to see a therapist, but I need to shop around the city to see who does eating disorders treatment. I wasn't crazy about my last therapist, who is in my psychiatrist's office, and I don't want to go back to her. I don't want to put off seeing someone much longer. My PMS will return in 3 weeks and I'll be right back to being a weepy, sugar-filled mess before I know it. I don't want that to happen again.

Despite the rain and despite my back pain, mentally I feel pretty good today. Heck, I'll take an "up" mood any day. Doesn't matter why or how. I'm just enjoying my family time and gearing up for a good day tomorrow.