Monday, June 30, 2014

Powerless & Okay With It

On the phone with my mom last night about some t-shirt designs for a family event in July and my sister came up. She left Vegas early to start working at a week long camp down in Oregon but apparently she didn't get to complete her mission. She had a seizure and was brought home.

There are a few important points to remember in regards to my sister. A) No, she is not epileptic. B) Yes, she has had seizures before. C) No, she is not in treatment for anything specific.

I was immediately angry when I heard the news. Angry at the doctors that have done nothing to help my sister and my sister who has done nothing to help herself. But there is nothing I can do about any of it.

My husband tended to me and helped me quite a lot when I was in the depths of some bad depressive episodes, but could he force me to decide to live? No. No one can force someone to live or make the choice to care for themselves. I can't make my sister take care of herself and all the interventions or hand holding in the world won't solve her problems. It's up to her and watching her suffer the consequences of her decisions sucks for the rest of us, but that's how it is.

What are her problems exactly? I'm not sure anyone knows the full extent of the situation. She's deathly afraid of needles (well, the hospital kind, not the tattoo kind) so testing or treatments become problematic. She's severely anemic and suffers from "gluten sensitivity" and pleurisy. Her nutrition is horrible. Her self-esteem is horrible. She has had depression and self-harming problems. It's not unusual for her to try and eat as little as possible in a vain attempt to lose weight, yo-yo dieting is common, she may or may not have a history of eating disorder, I do not know. Fainting isn't strange and the seizure business has happened before but that occasion was resulted from an alcoholic binge. All in all, she's got health problems and they aren't being addressed.

The hippie in me believes that proper nutrition could solve the majority of her problems. The paranoid in me thinks she might have some strange disease hiding among all the symptoms. Whatever it is, I hope she makes the decision to face it, take responsibility for her health and chose health for herself. Until then, all I can do is tell her that I care, that I'm afraid for her, that I'm mad at her, and that I will support her when she decides it's time to get better.

For now, I'll take care of myself and hope for her. I'm powerless to cure her but I can still care, and that's enough.

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Liar, Liar-Yep, That's Me!

Remember a few weeks back I scratched my arm during an episode? It is healing but still sticks out. Very pink and noticeable, and people have noticed.

They ask, "What happened there?" and "Did you get burned?" or "Looks like you got bit!" Very rarely I can keep my cool and just shrug it off and claim it's "just a scratch." More often, things get awkward and I am very obviously evasive as I try to explain the wound's origins.

I wish I could say something like, "Oh, I had a bad episode and self-harmed a little bit. That's bipolar for ya!" but that feels too dismissive. It's wrong that I don't take self-harming more seriously and imagining saying such off-hand things to other people seems to emphasize my delusion. Not to mention I'm not openly bipolar.

It's so NOT a small talk thing yet remarking on someone's visible injury is a small talk topic from the ice ages! It's been awkward for me and while people seem to let it go rather easily I hate lying about it. The lying just contributes to my shame and isolation and I won't do it anymore. Awkwardness be damned. If they ask, I'll tell them happened (what words will flop out of my mouth, I haven't a clue!) so be it.

Of course, until then I'll be hoping the mark disappears before the next person asks about that big pink wound on my arm!

Sunday, June 22, 2014

Another Trip Bites The Dust

Feels like I just got decompressed from the PA road trip when it was time to head for Vegas with my sister, mother, and family friend!

The trip went pretty well even though there was some bitchin' and bickering toward the end (me and my sister) but we ended up on the same flight home and ended on a good note.

I enjoyed the sunshine and heat more than I expected. Lots of sunshine and lots of water! It was a good workout walking the strip and I managed to eat pretty well except for one excursion to Carl's Jr. 

That shake was so good.

Overall my mood has been pretty good. I've had dips but nothing terrible and I've been noticing when I am stressed and been coping pretty well. It used to take weeks for me to cope with my hurt feelings or stress but the turn around is becoming faster and faster. There is still a bit of lag in my reaction time which creates some confusion (for instance, I'll be stressed by something at noon and won't feel it sink in until after dinner) but I'm getting quicker at acknowledging my feelings and resolving them. 

The next big family event is the 4th of July BBQ in a couple of weeks so the hubster and I are concentrating on some R&R and recharging our introvert energy reserves ;) I'm planning to make some cute cookies for the 4th, so maybe I'll play "food blogger" for a day and post a picture of cookies!

In other news, Iroh is back to his old, old self. A little wobbly on the back legs but overall much more bright eyed and rambunctious again. Millie threw up 3 piles of kibble this morning (after such a good streak too!) and Fio will be going into the groomers soon. His right rear leg is doing much better although still a bit weak.

Thursday, June 12, 2014

Warm Days

It's been nearly 3 weeks since my bad episode in late May. The marks on my arm are shiny pink and healing well, though the larger one may scar. Hard to tell. Sometimes the littlest things will scar on my skin and other times not. No idea what the rules are there.

I've been feeling in pretty good spirits but have had several days where I've been immensely tired. A nap or early bedtime is helping but it is odd being the one excited to hit the hay, that's usually the hubbo!

I've fallen behind on some housework but haven't seen any molds sprouting up so I'm giving myself a break. The more important thing is that I haven't self-harmed and I've been doing very well taking my thyroid and supplements.

In wellness news, I've managed to lose a little more weight and have been exercising at least every other day. The tiredness can complicate the exercise regimen but more often than not I just exercise and yawn at the same time.

Fio is well on his way to recovery after spraining his leg several weeks ago. He's still not 100% but he does use the leg more often and can jump and run again.

Iroh is also doing well in recovery. Still taking medication for his bladder infection but already looking much more chipper. We've also upped his thyroid medication and are helping him off the couch and things when we can as the vet says he has some arthritis in his hips.

Millie. Millie doesn't really have any problems and I'm a little on guard waiting for something to go wrong since both the other pets had issues recently! Although she still vomits all the time. Maybe she doesn't have concentrated issues but rather an eternal problem to bother us with?

The weather has been warmer and I have really enjoyed being a few pounds lighter. It doesn't make a huge difference in my overall appearance but it has made me feel a little more comfortable wearing t-shirts and skirts (down to my knee or lower as a rule!). The hubster and I are getting excited for camping and having a road trip planned for July already :)

Day by day, I'll get where I'm going...

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Random YouTube Find Sparks Interest

I spent some time toodling around YouTube and found this Stephen Ilardi TEDx talk to be worth the time.

While I had heard much of the information in this talk elsewhere in my studies what I hadn't heard was such a strong argument for the effectiveness of lifestyle changes on depression. Ilardi's description of our ancient evolutionary adaptations and the immense lifestyle changes resulting from the industrial revolution made so much sense to me. Being a "sensitive" person and struggling with mental health issues, I find myself thinking quite often that I just don't belong in this day and age. Maybe it isn't so crazy to feel that way when our bodies truly are adapted for a totally different lifestyle!

If you watch the video you'll find an interesting picture of a white rat in Ilardi's slides as he discusses exercise. This point in the talk triggered many memories for me. Having been overweight for the majority of my life (I started feeling fat in 4th grade and dieting by middle school) I've had my fair share of experience with treadmills, boot camps, yo-yo dieting, and guilt-trips. Having Ilardi firmly state that exercise is not natural (aboriginal cultures don't exercise, they simply live) made me feel better about not having a gym membership and my preferences for walking, hiking, jogging, hard work, and yoga. His talk also made me realize the skewed relationship I have with diet and exercise.

For many years I've been encouraged to lose weight and eat differently for mostly cosmetic reasons. While I would occasionally get the message that my health would benefit the overwhelming conclusion was that exercise and dieting was to lose weight and change myself and not related to personal wellness. I still struggle with this programming and the horrible self-esteem it has generated but I hope to grow away from those misguided ideals. I've found that not only does improving my health for aesthetic purposes not work but focusing on my wellness is more beneficial and effective. It's so much easier to get out for a jog when I tell myself that I'll feel better rather than putting myself down and pushing through a punitive exercise! Maybe I haven't been so off-base most of my life, maybe I've just been lost in translation.

I plan to read Ilardi's book soon. I'm sure I had come across it before in the library but was turned off by the title, "The Depression Cure." After seeing Ilardi's talk on YouTube, I think I'll now give it a good once over :)

Sunday, June 1, 2014

June. Yikes. It's June!

Can't believe it's June already.

I had planned to be a bit further along in my "progress" than I find myself and it is forcing me to accept where and what I am right now.

I haven't lost all the weight that I wanted to, but I have shed nearly 20 lbs since the beginning of the year and I'm in better shape (though pretty sore from Saturday's run/walk).

I haven't completely changed my eating habits or begun eating as nutritiously as I wanted to, but I am eating less calories and more whole foods and less crap (a little less crap at least).

I haven't magically recovered from my mental ailments, but I am rebounding from episodes more quickly and having more "good" days (although the bad days are still pretty bad).

While I'm not a changed woman, I think I'm heading in the right direction, so I will stay my course. I didn't win a blue ribbon in making changes but I'm not outta the race!

Baby steps take a while to add up....

2 Years With Fio

It's June and that means we celebrate Fio joining the family.

Hard to believe it's been 2 years since we brought the little bugger into our home. Now it's normal to find poo bags in the laundry (unsoiled BTW) and we know an unsettling stare means he has to go outside.

Having a dog has definitely changed our status quo. It means travel plans get a little more complicated and we've learned the hard way all groomers are not created equal, but we can't imagine cuddling up on the couch for a movie without the dog.



Sure, he's still not blessed with dog-on-dog social graces and can be a poorly behaved asshole on walks but he sure is handy when we spill something on the floor.