Showing posts from 2019

Weight Loss, Adele, and What If We Have It All Wrong?

I just read an article on "The Mighty", a digital health community created to empower and connect people facing health challenges and disabilities, about the big deal the press is making of Adele recently losing weight.  This article so affirmed ideas I have had for years but never thought could actually be true, because society and especially medical personnel, have been saying the opposite. The article, titled "What to Remember Before Commenting on Adele's Weight Loss" (published mid-December 2019, written by Lexie Manion...$deep_link=true  has some amazing thoughts in it.  But by far my favorite paragraph is this one: "For those struggling with eating disorders and disordered eating, celebrating someone's weight loss uninvited can trigger dangerous behaviors in an attemp

Christmas is Here

I have had bad Christmas seasons before - the year I found out my husband wanted a divorce, the first Christmas I had as a truly single mom, the year I lost my job/career and decided to move back home... but this year has topped them all.  The biggest difference between those horrible years and this year is that it never got back.  I wasn't able to muscle-through and at least try by going through the motions.  I just couldn't work it up to care enough. I chalk this up to major depression and some life events happening this month.  I haven't put up one decoration and have barely done any Christmas shopping.  I haven't gone to one Christmas party or event (well, with the exception of watching my daughter's college choir in their annual Christmas event - but I felt numb through the entire program).  My daughter and I make Christmas cookies together almost every year (very few exceptions), but that didn't happen.  We didn't even watch "A Charlie Brown Chr

Mixed-State Ultra-ultra Rapid Cycling Bipolar Disorder Type 2 Is...

Mixed-State Ultra-ultra Rapid Cycling Bipolar Disorder Type 2 is... ... See the lists for "Depression Is...", "Hypomania Is...", and "Anxiety Is...", combine them, and have them pop up randomly at any time of day, any day. Sometimes scenarios off of 2 or even all 3 lists can show up at once.  Sometimes it's more than one scenario from one list all hitting at the same time.  Sometimes in the morning, you start with scenarios from one list then at some random point in the day, change to another.  Sometimes you can stay on one list, cycling through many of the scenarios on just that individual list for days, weeks or months. The only thing you know for sure with this disorder is that no matter how you feel at the moment, that feeling will eventually change with a different scenario or list heading your way.  Though it's possible for it to change into stability, even then it's temporary.  The lists will return with a vengeance.  Medicine, the

Mania/Hypomania Is...

Mania/Hypomania is... ... talking way too much and even though you feel embarrassed doing it, you can't stop; ... not being able to get to sleep; ... not being able to stay asleep; ... waking up way too early; ... having amazing ideas for all of these life-changing projects, but not being able to focus enough to finish any of them, or even really get started on them; ... feeling at the top of your game but in the back of your mind knowing can't trust that feeling; ... working non-stop without stopping to do basics like eating or getting something to drink; ... having medical conditions like restless legs syndrome amp up so that you are miserable while you are working non-stop; ... having anger issues that you can't seem to control; ... dealing with constant thoughts, usually negative, that you can't silence no matter what you do; ... not being able to stay on a topic of conversation; ... being distracted extremely easily; ... spending more than usual; ...

Depression Is...

Depression is... ... knowing how relaxing a hot bath would be but still putting it off as it's too much effort; ... recognizing that there's one task for the day that has a deadline, and even though it should only take about 10 minutes to finish and submit, still putting off getting it done; ... not caring about how you look; ... not being able to plan ahead, like what you need to buy at the grocery store so that you can make meals for the next week; ... forgetting something someone just  told you; ... not wanting to get out of bed but also not being able to sleep while in that same bed; ... feeling "foggy" all the time, not being able to focus or concentrate, becoming very ADD but only for that time; ... not being able to decorate for a holiday, or at least not wanting to; ... realizing that your addiction is killing you but not being able to stop doing it, again because it's too much to even figure out where to start; ... viewing your work as horrible,

Anxiety Is...

Anxiety is... ... heading down a staircase, imagining what the fall would be like and wondering which time it will actually happen; ... seeing a large nail or other sharp protrusion coming out of a wall and thinking about the scenarios for your head hitting it and having a major injury or dying; ... waking up in the middle of the night with some strange symptoms, looking them up to make sure it's not a heart attack (even though you've looked them up many times before), seeing you don't have even the unusual symptoms of a heart attack, but still not being able to go back to sleep because what if it is, in fact, a heart attack; ... having your boyfriend not answer your text for an hour and, even though you know he's probably just taking a nap, letting the fear freak you out - being sure that he's injured or dead; ... looking on a tracking program (our whole family does it) late at night and seeing that your adult daughter is at an unusual location and, even thoug

Making it Through the Holidays with Addiction and/or Mental Illness

No matter where you are in your sobriety or mental health journey, the holidays won't make the urges to turn to your addiction or make the symptoms of your mental illness go away.  Social media and television portray holiday parties and family gatherings as wonderful, fulfilling, stress-free times.  In fact, they are just the opposite.  For an addict or someone who struggles with mental illness, the stress of the holidays can be the trigger to bring even someone who has gotten more healthy into going back into old behaviors.  I'm not a doctor or therapist but I did some online research to try to find any tips that might help during this difficult time of year.  Following are some suggestions that might help: - BEFORE the holidays hit, make a plan.   Studies show that stress can bring long-dormant behavior back.  Get with your sponsor or another support person and plan for those stressful times. - Remember that you aren’t alone.   We are all dealing with staying

Oh... The Holidays...

Every year around the middle of October I start to dread what is to come: The Holidays ... Halloween, Thanksgiving and Christmas - the trifecta of guilt, bad memories, and stress. All of my memories of this time of year weren't bad.  I guess Halloween was ruined first.  As a kid, I was diagnosed with hypoglycemia.  I could still have sugar (this was before they equated carbs with sugar), but had to only eat it with something to slow down the spike in blood sugar that would later lead to a glucose low. Reese's became my favorite candy during this time, and it still is.  The peanut butter has protein and fat, which helps slow down that surge of sugar from the chocolate that would run through my veins.  Halloween to me meant getting all of the cool different types of candy and then trading pretty much everything for the few Reese's Cups my brother got. Maybe it happened and I forgot about it, but I don't ever remember ever going crazy on candy after Halloween.  I had

Post-Thanksgiving Thoughts... (trigger warning about food addictions)

The day after Thanksgiving...  I always have regrets.  Many people do.  Most revolve around eating or drinking too much, or staying out too late, or spending more on Early Black Friday sales than they should. I have regrets every year.  Mine almost always involves thinking about how I failed at coping with the day and trying to think of ways to cope better next year.  Sometimes the regrets do include how much food I ate or the kinds of food (ie - desserts), though since I'm not a huge fan of most Thanksgiving foods, I'm more likely to eat too much pizza than during a Thanksgiving meal. Thanksgiving is a horrible day for someone with an eating disorder.  Even though I'm technically not in recovery, as I haven't committed yet to working a program for food addicts, I know I'm close to making that decision.  I'll be honest in that I actually plan to wait until Christmas is over to do so.  I know that's not the smartest move, as one more month of literally fe

A New Diagnosis... and Hope

I have mentioned my daughter on this blog several times.  I have several mental and physical issues that I deal with... my daughter has more.  She has fibromyalgia, dysautonomia, generalized anxiety disorder, major depressive disorder, and has a few addictions.  This semester at school has just about taken her out.  It has been very difficult for her to deal with, to say the least.  But Friday something happened to give us hope... Her old rheumatologist was a wonderful woman and we are thankful for her helping us figure out what was going on.  However, she is pretty old-school and has resigned herself to saying that there's nothing that can be done for the pain of fibromyalgia, except for narcotics, which she won't give to a young person, especially one with a history of addiction. This all makes sense but when my daughter is in so much pain she can't make it to class AGAIN, I always have to wonder if there is the possibility of something else out there that could help

When Those You Love are Hurting

I write this blog from both the perspective as someone who deals with these things personally and as someone who has several loved ones who also deal with these issues.  Right now the latter is tearing me up inside. My daughter has several health issues - mental and physical.  As anyone who deals with these issues knows, the mental makes the physical worse and vice versa.  In other words, anxiety from an anxiety disorder can cause physical pain.  If you already have a condition that causes pain, like fibromyalgia, add anxiety to the mix and it's a lot  to deal with. She is currently in college and was hoping to do something really special next semester - one of her big dreams.  However, this semester has been truly horrible for her.  Right before the semester started, she hurt her back badly - so badly we thought for a while that she would need surgery.  Instead she "just" needed physical therapy 2x-3x a week by a specialist in this type of injury... and the only on


It's been a very busy few weeks.  I'm a professional photographer and when the work is there, I have to take it.  Who knows when I'll get another job?  In the past two weeks, I have been blasted with work, which is a good problem except that I totally wore myself out and got sick.  I've had a bad cold for the past week and it continued through a massive 3-day out-of-town shoot I had earlier this week.  When I got back home I hit the bed and haven't been out of it much since. Today I decided I wanted to get out of the house.  I really don't think I'm contagious and my coughing is at a minimum, especially when I'm sitting up, so I wasn't worried about infecting anyone.  So I decided to go to a social activity I've been looking forward to attending for a few weeks. Background... One of the things I've been doing lately is learning sign language.  This is something I've been trying to learn since I was probably about 10 years old but for

What a Wonderful Day!

I wrote this in 2004 when I was living in Tennessee.  It's a very busy time in my life right now so I thought I'd post something that was very important to me, even though it was a long time ago. Saturday evening... Wow.  Now that I'm back home it's hard to believe that it really happened.  I went on my first hike in years!  It was so hard but so wonderful.  I wrote this stuff in my journal so that I would be able to remember this day and I'm pasting it here for your reading edification.  :) Get a snack, go to the bathroom, get settled in a comfy chair - it's not short - but I think the time that God provided for me today is so great that I just had to share... The views of the river and the mountains on the way there were so beautiful!  I will have to go back; it was prettier there than in the Smokies. I originally was going to go on the hike and then meet my best friend to spend the rest of the afternoon with her.  When I finally realized it just wa

To All of the Professors and Teachers of Those with Invisible Illnesses:

I know that, overall, you are compassionate people and really do try.  You chose to work with young adults.  I don't think that you chose teaching just because you like kicking people when they are down.  I'm sure you feel you are doing the best thing for everyone when you don't honor a student's accommodations so that you can "be fair" to the other students. But there are some things you may not realize. You may not believe that these students have actual medical conditions because when you see them, you are usually seeing them at their best - on the days they are able to make it to class and get their work done.  There are many medical and psychological conditions that are cyclical.  A student might be fine for a month or more and then have a flare-up that's so bad she can hardly get out of bed.  Just because a condition isn't there 100% of the time doesn't make it not real. You also may not realize that often those with invisible illnesses

Autobiography in Five Chapters by Portia Nelson

This is one of the best portrayals I've seen about the struggle of recovery... ...and how you finally win. I I walk down the street. There is a deep hole in the sidewalk I fall in. I am lost... I am hopeless. It isn't my fault. It takes forever to find a way out. II I walk down the same street. There is a deep hole in the sidewalk. I pretend I don't see it. I fall in again. I can't believe I'm in the same place. But it isn't my fault. It still takes a long time to get out. III I walk down the same street. There is a deep hole in the sidewalk. I see it is there. I still fall's a habit My eyes are open; I know where I am; It is my fault. I get out immediately. IV I walk down the same street. There is a deep hole in the sidewalk. I walk around it. V I walk down another street.

Eating Addiction Support... Finally

In the midst of everything else going on right now, I don't think I mentioned something that could be more life-changing than anything else I've written about. First, I want to tie it to the theme of this blog. I have mentioned before that I am extremely overweight.  I won't put a number on it since I honestly haven't weighed in a very long time - and with my mental health issues, hearing a number puts me into an even deeper depression than usual.  It's not worth it to know a number. However, you can imagine it as more overweight than anyone you know but not as overweight as the shows where people are practically immobile (closer to the first than the last). As a stigma, eating too much is both the most accepted addiction because so many events center around food and the least, as it's one of the few addictions/mental health conditions that society and public figures can make fun of without any backlash. There isn't an overt stigma in most of society

Another Pity Party

It's time for another pity party, even though I don't have cookie dough for this one.  If you read my last post, you'll have at least some idea why.  But it basically comes down to: I'm living in a house with... - my mother who deals with mental illness and lots of physical conditions; - my father who deals with mental illness (though mild) and lots of physical conditions; - my daughter who deals with mental illness, addiction, and lots of physical conditions; and - myself, who deals with mental illness, addiction, and lots of physical conditions. I'm trying to be a partial caregiver (thankfully none need full-time care at this point) to all 3, as well as take care of myself. Last night I went to an Overeaters Anonymous support group for the 2nd time.  My other addiction was, frankly, relatively easy to overcome, because it came up later in life.  It wasn't easy, by any means, but compared to overcoming compulsive eating, I'm sure that becoming sobe

Why Even Try?

I really am trying to stay as positive as possible with these posts.  They are supposed to be encouraging... helpful.  But today I just have nothing left. My daughter has chronic pain from some medical conditions as well as clinical depression and anxiety disorder.  On top of all that, she hurt her back about a month ago and has been in lots of pain off and on for that issue.  This all is with the start of a new semester at school. I can't remember off-hand but I'm pretty sure I have blogged that I haven't been able to do rideshare much lately due to the heat. Also, I haven't gotten much photography work.  Finances are always an issue but it's at the "I'm terrified" point now. After a long time without a credit card, I'll admit I got one recently. I was only going to use it for purchases that I could easily pay for within the month; purchases that I had to make (like doctor copays, etc). Well, these little expenses are adding up and the wor