Archive for February, 2010

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Road Trips

February 22, 2010

I used to love going on road trips. When I was growing up, almost all of our family vacations consisted of traveling many hours to visit relatives. We’re talking seven-hour, nine-hour, and twelve-hour road trips. I loved staring out the window at the ever-changing Texas landscape. I loved listening to the radio. I loved letting my mind wonder… imagine… envision… plan. I could dream big – as big as Texas. Anything was possible.

As an adult, I’ve also enjoyed road trips. If I travel alone, I love that I can be one with my thoughts – uninterrupted. I love the wide open spaces. I love the long road in front of me. If I’m traveling with my sisters – I love the conversation and the singing along (quite loudly) with Journey’s Greatest Hits cd (best road-trip cd ever).

Something has changed in the past year or so. Anytime I’ve had to travel out-of-town, I’ve experienced quite a bit of anxiety. It sucks! I’m constantly worried about my car breaking down or about getting in an accident, or I don’t know what.

To be fair, I have had a few issues with my car in past trips, especially in the last year. I know that must be playing a part in all this, although anxiety has never been an issue for me, previously.

Even when I ride the bus (because of the car issues) from my city to my sister’s city, which I’ve done quite a bit this year, I become anxious. I just want to be there already. I don’t want to go through the process. It’s just too much. I don’t get any pleasure out of it. I don’t want to be alone with my thoughts. It’s way too uncomfortable.

In two weeks, I have to take a seven-hour trip with my dad and return home two days later. STRESS. My dad, whom I love dearly, will talk the ENTIRE trip. (Deep breath.) This will only add to my anxiety. The purpose of this trip is to get all my STUFF that my aunt and uncle have graciously been storing on their property – an apartment full of stuff. The thought of dealing with it makes me sick to my stomach.

I hope this trip-associated anxiety will disappear one day. Road travel used to be so therapeutic for me. I envision many trips in my future. I want to be able to enjoy, not dread, them.

If anything is possible, can’t this be?

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Fat, Fatty, McFatterson

February 19, 2010

It’s after midnight, and I just scarfed down two slices of pizza and washed it down with a Coke… sigh.

I had a thought earlier today. What if I inventory what I eat in my blog? It’ll make me more self-aware. Blah, blah, blah. No one cares about what I eat!

I should care, though. I’ve got to make some changes. I’ve got a freakin’ reunion to go to in about six months.

I’ve already envisioned getting up early to go to Shipley Do-Nuts… or Starbucks.

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LumpLife

February 16, 2010

Life is a lump in my throat.

What do I mean by this?

I’m referring to those moments when life stops you dead in your tracks, when you have to take a pause because it’s too overwhelming; when the emotions build up inside of you, and you’re left with this excruciating pain in your throat – the lump. That’s it. The physical manifestation of it all being too much… just. too. much.

My life is filled with lots of those moments.

I haven’t been very good at managing them. I usually let them swallow me up. They take me down… and I stay down.

It’s time that I get up; that I really start fighting back. I have it in me. I just know I do.

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Olympians

February 13, 2010

I love, love, love the Olympics! I get so excited when it’s “that time.” I watch from the beginning of the opening ceremonies to the end of the closing ceremonies. I watch as many events as time allows. I never get enough.

When I was a young girl, during the 1984 Summer Olympics, my sisters and I created a make-shift gymnastic apparatus out of our couch. I would give my best Mary Lou Retton imitation by signaling to the imaginary judges, running as fast as I could from the kitchen into the living room, and hurling my body into a hand-stand position on the couch. My sisters were both my competitors and my judges. Ah, those were some good times.

There’s something incredibly attractive and sexy about Olympic athletes. They are very hard-working, dedicated, fearless, determined, and relentless. Those are all admirable traits. Those are all traits that I wish I had. The reality is that I am not hard-working. I’m a quitter. I am not fearless. I am fearful. I am not determined or dedicated. I am ambition-less and undedicated.

Do I get to blame these things on debilitating depression? Are the odds against me because I’m bipolar? I don’t know. If I were being as gentle with myself as a therapist would be, what would I say to myself? I’m not sure. I just know I can’t let myself off the hook.

I can strive for better, for more. I know I’ll never be an Olympian. I’ll be okay with that if I can just make some real progress in the life that I’ve been given. It’s going to take work… a different kind of work than that of an athlete. I am capable of hard work. I have to dedicate myself to this task. My life depends on it.

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I’m a big girl now.

February 11, 2010

In keeping with the theme of my last post, I thought I’d share a little history on the size of my ass.

When I was growing up, I was all legs and arms. I had no meat on my bones. I was a “toothpick.” I remember being measured and weighed in 8th grade… I was 5’8″ and 115 lbs.

For a short time, in my sophomore year of high school, I actually gained enough weight to be considered normal. It didn’t last long. I thinned back down before too long, and finished out high school at 5’10” and 125 lbs. – a real light-weight.

As a young adult, I was extremely thin at one point. So much so, that my doctor felt the need to throw question after question at me about my eating habits. I soon realized that she was concerned about me being anorexic. Please know that I have never had an eating disorder. I was just so busy living my life, and I didn’t own a scale. I eventually put on enough weight that anorexia was no longer a question floating in the air.

Weight was a non-issue for most of my adult life. I was considered thin until I hit about 30 years of age. After that, I was a very normal weight… meaning I fit within my doctor’s parameters for normal.

In October 2007, I was put on a mood stabilizer called Depakote. I proceeded to gain 40 lbs. in one year. In that year, I ate all the chicken pot pies, doughnuts, cookies, brownies, ice cream, and milkshakes one could stomach. It was a glutenous situation. I did more than my share of sleeping and watching TV during that time, too.

I was put on a different mood stabilizer in September 2008, which I am still on today. I have continued to gain weight. I am up another 15 lbs. My eating habits have not changed. My cravings haven’t changed. My doctor says that the medicines I’m on now are “weight neutral”, meaning they shouldn’t cause me to gain or lose weight.

So, here I am… I’m gonna say it… 200+ lbs. Yikes. I NEVER thought I would have to admit that. What a number.

I’m officially a big girl.

While medicines have contributed to the current state of my body, I cannot continue to use that as an excuse. It’s all me now. My eating habits are deplorable. I lie in bed and watch TV all day, and although I’m starting to go to the gym, I can’t really say I get much exercise, yet.

Now that I’ve shared, I’m going to eat a snack.

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Gym Adventures

February 11, 2010

My dad gifted me with a gym membership in October of last year, and so far I’ve only been a handful of times. The gym has always scared me… all the machines – what are they all for? Then there’s all the people who know what they’re doing. I want to be one of those people.

I stick to the treadmill and the bicycle. I tried the elliptical machine one day and lasted a whole two minutes. Soon, I hope to try some classes. I really don’t like all the mirrors, though. I hate looking at myself, especially while I’m trying to work out.

I ventured out into the cold rain today to go to the gym. Mainly because I told my dad I would… not because of any inner strength or determination on my part. I managed to walk on the treadmill for a whoppin’ 25 minutes… 25 minutes was all I could muster. Now I’m telling myself, “You know, you went. You got out in the nasty weather, you drove the 15 minutes to the gym and you went inside. Okay, that’s a victory.”

But… on the way home, I chose to reward myself, which is a nice way of saying I sabotaged myself. I stopped at Whataburger (the best!)  and got a cheeseburger, fries, and a SWEET iced tea. I washed it all down with some Runts – my favorite hard, fruit-flavored candy.

Sigh.

This is a nice little habit I’ve gotten into after my visits to the gym. Oh, I stop and get a fruit smoothie at Smoothie King (sounds healthy, but they’re loaded with calories), or I stop at Starbucks and get a non-fat, no whip white chocolate mocha, or I stop at Taco Bell and get a Mexican pizza. Then, of course, there’s Whataburger, my go-to fast food joint.

So, I’m acknowledging that there are some things I can work on here. I can stay at the gym longer than 25 minutes, and I can skip the “rewards” afterward. I can give myself a chance at success.

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Friends

February 9, 2010

When I’m in the depths of my depression, when absolutely nothing matters, I do what I do best – I isolate myself. I disappear. No one can find me. There have been many, many times in my adult life when I have sunk into a deep depression and completely shut myself off from my friends. Phone calls are ignored, emails go unanswered… for months and months… sometimes more than a year.

For some reason, my friends wait, and eventually I make contact with them again. They are always excited to hear from me… and we pick up right where we left off.

They should be allowed to expect more from me, though. Friendships are two-way roads. It’s important that I’m available for them when they need me, not just the other way around. I need to continually work on this. It’s equally important for my mental health. I need to be held accountable. I need to be a friend as much as I need friends.

Like I said, maintaining the friendships I have is absolutely critical to my mental health. I feel good when I reach out to my friends… no matter how long it’s been since we’ve last talked.

I am as honest as possible with my friends about being bipolar. They are supportive in all the ways that they know how to be, and for that, I am so thankful.

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