A Quick Hello from the Inside

Look who has internet access! There’s so much to talk about, I don’t know where to start.

So, it’s been a week since I’ve been at the Menninger Clinic – it’s a psychiatric hospital in Houston. They’ve done a lot of psychological and cognitive testing and it turns out I’m severely depressed and I have anxiety. Duh.

Testing has also shown that I have a horrible memory, I have a hard time dealing with my emotions, I have no coping skills and my quality of life is at 25 percent. I knew the other things but when you see the results of a psychological test tell you that your quality of life sucks, and sucks bad, it makes you even more depressed. If that’s possible. And I’m here to tell you that it is.

I have a “team” that guides me through my journey here that includes a psychiatrist, psychologist, nurse, therapist and social worker. We all agreed that ECT was the way to go but what I didn’t expect was that I would have to be weaned off all of my meds. ALL OF THEM.

That’s:

Lamical
Topamax
Wellbutrin
Zoloft
Rexulti
Trentellix
Vyvanse
Klonopin
Ambien

That’s a lot. I’m surprised I haven’t exploded yet. Or maybe I should’ve exploded when I was put on all that crap. I’ve had little withdrawal except for the fact that I cry at the drop of a dime. I’m not all too sure that’s not normal at this point.

It’ll probably be two more weeks before I’m off most of the meds, then I can start the ECT, which I’m excited about. Some of the girls here have done it and said they’ve felt some improvement. My doctor said he hopes he can get me back to where I was before I had my little breakdown in 2017. That would be lovely. But I’m not putting all my eggs in one basket. The program I’m in asks me to go to classes, such as cognitive behavioral therapy, dialectical behavioral therapy, self compassion, grief journeys, chemical dependence education and more. They don’t depend on biological therapies only, they make you work. And teaching you how to mentalize and employ solid coping skills is a big part of the program.

My brain is super foggy right now, so I’m going to sign off.

I hope ya’ll are staying well. I’ll try to keep up the my blog as best I can.

See you later, alligator

So, I’m taking off the next 6 to 8 weeks. I talked it over with my therapist and husband and we all decided I needed to be inpatient at a mental health facility this past week and, lucky for me, the clinic had an opening in the program starting this Monday that I wanted to be in and that was the best fit for me. One that focuses on my treatment-resistant Major Depressive Disorder, generalized anxiety disorder, social anxiety and PMDD, and emotional eating. Even substance abuse, because I’ve abused my anxiety medicine in the past.

The clinic is Menningers in Houston, which is well known in the psychiatric arena. I’ve heard such good things about it and I’m hopeful. I should be – the program cost a damn arm and a leg but now’s the time to get better. Nothing else has worked.

The one thing I’m worried about is ECT is not part of my program and I really want to do it. The program leader said I can meet with the doctor to see if I’m a candidate but I don’t know who else would be a better candidate. I’ve tried multiple medications (Prozac, Wellbutrin, Zoloft, Lamictal, Rexulti, Saphris, Doxepin Lexapro, Cymbalta, Abilify – just to name a few), TMS, ketamine infusions and now Spravato. I’ve been depressed (way) over 5 years, so really how can they turn me down? But they could, so good thoughts please. It’s really my one shot. I wont be able to afford a place like this again and I’m not willing to be away from my children for this long again.

That’s the only thing making me nervous. My babies. I know my husband and mother-in-law (and my mom and dad are helping too) can handle everything, I’ll just miss them so much. I’ll miss my son’s birthday and I’ll miss the first day of school. It’s just hard. But when I come out I’ll hopefully be way better and won’t have to miss anything else, because let’s face it, I’m barely living now.

I won’t have access to internet, other than email., so this is so long for the next 6 to 8 weeks. I will miss blogging but I guess I’ll have some stories when I get back.

Stay well, my friends. See you on the other side.

Crash and Burn

Y’all. I have lost my damn mind. I stopped fasting. I stopped eating healthily. And I’ve been drinking at least one Diet Coke a day. The struggle is real.

I don’t even want to get on the scale because it would probably depress me even more but I’m guessing I’m around 179 again. I would say I’m surprised about this whole thing but I’m not. It usually happens when I change my diet and start weaning off Diet Coke but guess what? I’m going to turn it around and get back to where I was. I’m not going to be a quitter. I mean, I was a quitter for a couple of weeks, but that’s ok.

I still haven’t bought any Diet Coke for the house. I’m still buying healthy groceries. I just need to buckle down and back off the carbs, mainly macaroni and cheese. Delicious macaroni and cheese. And bread. Mmm, bread.

On another note, I haven’t been feeling well since I had that stomach bug at the lake house during the week before Memorial Day. I even went to the ER for fluids and to draw labs because I was sure I was low on iron or potassium or something. Turns out I wasn’t but when I went to see my primary care doc, he checked my thyroid and my thyroid numbers were low, so I got bumped up to the next dosage – 150 mcg. I haven’t noticed a huge difference, but it hasn’t been that long.

So anyway, I’m going to try and stop my shenanigans today but who am I kidding – it’ll probably be Monday. Or tomorrow. I’ll shoot for tomorrow.

Stay well, my friends.

The Gym. The Dreaded Gym.

I used to go to the gym everyday. I used to do high intensity interval training (HIIT) twice a week. I ran a 5K just to prove that I could do it. I did things that were hard but made me feel so strong.

I haven’t worked out in months and months. And maybe more months. I dread the gym. Why? I have no idea. It’s not just the gym, I don’t even want to go outside for a walk or jog. It’s very strange because I felt so good when I’m working out. There’s nothing better than getting all sweaty and knowing that you worked it out, you did your thing and took another step toward being healthy. Besides that, it helps my depression and usually I do whatever it takes to put that bitch it its place.

So, what is wrong with me? As for the dreaded gym, I could feel intimidated, sure. But walking around the block? I could do that. I could even stream videos of workouts at home while the kids are at camp. I really don’t have any excuses. I even have cute workout clothes. So, what is this mental block? Now that I’m writing this, maybe I don’t want to take care of myself but I do everything else to make myself better, as long as it’s easy I guess.

I could sign up for another 5K and let that be my motivation but the last time I did that, I didn’t train – yes I have to train to run 3 miles – so I just bagged it and felt guilty. And wasted my entry fee.

A lot of people are telling me to try Orange Theory, where there are all sorts of people – non-judgmental people – all shapes and sizes who go at their own pace. This is appealing to me, because I’ve heard it’s just like the HIIT classes I used to do but there’s that mental block again.

I just need to jump. My weight is stalling and I need help getting to where I want to be. I want to feel strong again. And I want to show my kids that I’m strong. I want them to be proud of me.

I’ve been mentally rehearsing either going to the gym or going to Orange Theory, so we’ll see how this plays out. Something’s going to change. I can feel it. Or at least I want to feel it. I need to start taking care of myself, no matter what the cost. I’m always willing to try a new treatment or drug but why not this?

Any of you ever felt this way?

Lake House Trip and Update on Life

Let me start by saying the lake house was a lot of fun. I learned to play corn hole and I learned that I wasn’t very good at corn hole – my sis in law replaced me pretty fast as her partner but I still had a blast playing. The best part of the trip was watching the kids have such a good time. They went swimming, riding on the mule, jet skiing, and playing with a bubble machine. The lake house is truly magical for them. There’s nothing like spending time with your cousins and I’m so glad they have that.

All of that was briefly interrupted by a stomach bug. It started with my niece, then my mother, my nephew, sister in law, my daughter, me, my husband, my aunt and my brother caught the tail end. It was pretty awful for the adults but the kids bounced back rather quickly. I was in a lot of pain, really dizzy and couldn’t eat for days. In fact, I lost 5 pounds which I was really excited about. If you’re going through so much unpleasantness, let’s say, you need some kind of award.

BUT GUESS WHAT. I seemed to have gained it all back despite not eating much since. My stomach is still a little queasy, so I really haven’t partaken in a good meal. I’m very disappointed but oh well. So….

Starting weight: 187
Current weight: 179

Now that I’m back home with my own food, I’m sure I’ll be able to eat my healthy meals and continue to lose some but I’ve been saying that for a couple of weeks now. It’s starting to piss me off.

Also, I feel off the wagon on the Diet Coke front. My parents have no shortage of Diet Coke and it’s in every fridge in the house and lake house. It practically poured itself down my throat, so I’ll have to start over with that. It’ll be easier because I don’t have any here. So, I tell myself.

That’s about all – I did see my psychiatrist while I was up in the Dallas area. She was happy with my meds, even though I told her some days I wake up and say to myself “is this as good as it’s ever going to get?” and she seemed to say yes, it might be. She said for me, depression is a life-long illness and I might never get better but someday I could get to a better place. That depressed me, because I used to see butterflies and rainbows most days. Now I’m lucky to see some moths flying around a light bulb. Not to say I’m totally unhappy with my life. My life is great as far as my family, friends and how fortunate I am. I just miss feeling happy most of the time. Now I feel like I’m just getting by and that’s surviving, not living.

Sorry to leave on such a negative note but that’s how it is sometimes.

Stay well, my friends.

Nutshell

The fam and I are out of town, so this will be quick.

We decided to go to the family lake house before summer camp starts and we’ve had a really good time. Hanging with the cousins. Swimming. Playing corn hole. BBQing. Then a stomach bug hit and that hasn’t been so fun. I haven’t caught it yet – about half the family has been struck down.

Speaking of stomachs, I did not lose any weight this past week. I have no idea why. I’ve been eating well and drinking more than 2 liters of water every day. I don’t think it’ll be hard this coming week because my parents eat healthily, but who knows.

I’m still 179, starting weight 187. I’ll take it.

Maybe if I get the stomach bug I’ll have a little help. Only kidding. My mom and SIL are in total misery.

That’s all for now. Stay well, friends.

Also, I’m writing this one my phone, so if the format looks crazy that’s why.

Week 2 Fasting: I’ll Take It

Week 2 
Starting Weight: 187
Current Weight: 179

So, I lost 2lbs this week, which is great, but after last week’s 6 I was expecting more. But 2lbs gets me out of the 180s and I’m grateful for that. It means I’m that much closer to my goal weight in the 160s. I sound obsessed with the scale but I know when my clothes fit the best based on my weight. Plus, I’m obsessed with the scale. Which you shouldn’t be by the way – you should have non-scale goals, too.

As far as the Intermittent Fasting (IF), I did go most days without eating past 2 p.m. but this was a crazy week with end of the school year parties and Teachers’ Appreciation Week, so I had to eat dinner a couple nights. I still ate healthily.

I’m VERY happy to announce that I had NO Diet Coke this week. Not one sip. Last week I had a few sips here and there – nothing close to a whole can. Now I can say I went the whole week. I’m so proud of myself. I’ve been drinking Diet Coke for almost 20 years (yes, I’m old) and for the past 10 years my doctor has been begging me to stop*. He will give me a gold star for sure. Right after he jams my B12 shot into my arm.

Speaking being B12 deficient, my depression has been better since I started fasting and losing weight. I don’t know if it’s my diet or the ketamine infusions I’ve been getting – I received one three weeks ago and one last week. Even though sometimes anxiety and depression start biting at my ankles it’s not enough to bring me down. This allows me to keep eating healthy, drink water, make healthy decisions for myself and not sabotage my progress. My depression would not allow any of this to happen.

Getting back to the subject, I know I can’t lose 6lbs every week, like the first week – it’s unrealistic – so I know I need to exercise to speed up my weight loss. (As I’m writing this, I’m saying to myself 2lbs is good and I need to chill.) But exercise is good anyway. I’m still too nervous to go to the gym, I don’t know why, so I’m going to try my husband’s stationary bike. I hope after a few days I’ll get bored enough to go back to the gym to my favorite treadmill and eventually lift weights again. Maybe I’ll just woman up and go to the gym, lol.

This week I will be positive and continue doing IF as best I can. What healthy decisions are you making this week, friends?

 

*Diet soda has links to weight gain and metabolic syndrome, which can make diabetes worse or increase the risk of it developing. Some sweeteners in diet soda even cause insulin spikes in the blood which worsens insulin sensitivity over time and can eventually raise blood sugar levels, according to MedicalNewsToday.com

Diet Coke

I can remember the day I took my first drink of Diet Coke. I was 18 and had been addicted to Coke but started a preventive migraine medicine. One of the weird side effects was that it made carbonated beverages taste different. Coke tasted horrible, so I figured I’d try Diet Coke, I was cutting the calories, right? That was 17 years ago. 

Before I recently quit, I loved Diet Coke. I drank up to 5 or 6 a day. Water always came second. It was such a treat to me and always what I needed in the morning – that taste of it burning down my throat and giving my the caffeine boost I needed to start my day. Then I’d get to work and have like 5 more. That burn in the morning and the feeling of “ahh, this day will be ok” is what I miss most. It’s almost making me want one right now, but I know if I took a sip it would let me down, it would taste badly and make me feel bloated and sick.

When I moved to Corpus Christi, I saw a new doctor. When he learned that I drank Diet Coke, he told me to stop. I didn’t. Next month (9 years later), I get to tell him that I’ve stopped after trying to stop that whole 9 years. Oh, yeah. I’ve tried before, always half-heartedly and never got anywhere past 2 weeks. But this time is different. I’m not going back. I have no reason to. 

All the findings of Diet Coke scare me: it’s linked to diabetes and heart disease. It’s also linked to depression and we all know I don’t need more of that 🙂 But seriously, it doesn’t cause weight loss, it’s not nutritious and there’s really no reason to drink it, besides it being delicious. And after quitting for a few days, it doesn’t even taste good anymore. I promise. 

It’s bittersweet writing this blog – a dumb blog about soda – but I think what makes me sad is there is no “treat” for me in the fridge anymore. Diet Coke became a comfort for me. I drink water and tea now but nothing can replace that feeling of grabbing a cold one at 3 p.m. when your kids are driving you crazy and you just need a pick-me-up until your husband comes up and helps you with your hot mess family. 

(And don’t even get my started on coffee – I tried it for weeks and nothing worked for me. You can’t convince me that any of it is good.)

Anyway, so long Diet Coke. You needed to go but that doesn’t mean I won’t miss our years together.

Fasting as Fast as I Can Go

So, a lot of you responded to my weight gain blog. Tons of you reached out and said you were in the same boat, which is nice to hear that I’m not alone but it also means maybe I should share some of my weight loss journey, which shouldn’t be too depressing. One would hope.

Yesterday, I started a intermittent fasting plan. Basically I eat three meals a day but only between certain hours. I can eat between 6 a.m. and 2 p.m. and that’s it. I can have water and tea anytime, but mainly tons of water Now, I want to be clear that I don’t consider this a diet but making healthy life changes. I do not think fasting is sustainable for the rest of my life but I do hope it will encourage me to make healthier choices and help me gain momentum to start losing weight. Also, I’m not advocating fasting. Check with your doctor before your start any diet changes or exercise plan. You’ve been put on notice.

Anywho, I made it through the day better than I thought. I accidentally skipped my third meal because I read the plan wrong but I wasn’t that hungry during dinner time and David graciously didn’t eat in front of me, so there’s that. I also didn’t have any Diet Coke SO THERE’S THAT, TOO. I’m been trying to quit for years and even though it’s been one day it feels like years.

I want to document this journey with pics, so below you’ll find pictures of what I started at and I’ll post updates throughout this process. I also won’t be a liar and tell you I’m perfect. If I make mistakes while trying to make these life changes, I’ll ‘fess up. There’s no “cheating”, this is all a learning process. I’ll even tell you the numbers on the scale.

Yesterday, it was 187. I’m 5’7”, making my BMI 29.3, which is considered Overweight on the charts.