Liking Myself in the Moment

10 Mar

I know I talk about some pretty personal stuff here, sometimes uncomfortably personal. I have noticed that some of you who read this are kind of taking what I talk about the wrong way. This is perfectly understandable given some of the subject matter discussed, especially in the last few posts. Even though I do get why some, particularly those who care about me, might feel pressure to say something that will make me feel better or to make an attempt at “fixing” my problems, I think some of my followers are forgetting what this is all about. In light of this recent pattern of comments and communications, I want to reiterate a couple of things before I get started today.

My ultimate hope for this blog in its current form is to make people feel less alone in this world by talking about the things I struggle with. Because I am who I am, I really only know how to do this in an overly honest, “in your face” (for lack of better words) sort of way. I want to start conversations about these topics. I want to take the shame away from struggles like weight control, smoking cessation, depression, anxiety… everything. I want to remind people that we are only human and we all have issues and struggles and there is no shame in this or in needing a little help once in a while (or a lot of help a lot of the time).

What this blog is NOT about is attention seeking. It is not about wanting anyone to fix my problems for me. It is not about shit stirring. It is not about making anyone worry about me or feel bad for me. It is just about being honest in hopes that it makes someone else feel brave enough to speak up when they are having problems, or maybe just making someone who will never have the courage to speak up feel a little less alone in this world. That is all. So please don’t automatically think that I am in some sort of crisis mode when I vent here. This is just who I am and if you know me well, you know that you only need to worry about me when I am not talking about this stuff. You got all that? OK good… now let’s move on!

I did something today that I haven’t done since October. I painted my nails. Actually, I didn’t just paint my nails. I gave myself a manicure and pedicure. I soaked my feet in hot water with Dr. Teal’s Epsom salt foot soak; I trimmed, filed, buffed, and polished both my finger and toenails. I even pumiced my heels! And I left a pore cleansing facemask on while I did it. And I ate a Cadbury’s Fruit & Nut milk chocolate bar too! While I did all of this I watched a corny 80s movie and made smarty-pants remarks on Facebook from my phone. By the time I finished I was feeling downright cheerful.

As I concentrated on painting each of my teeny-tiny toenails I realized something. I wasn’t thinking about anything else but not painting my entire toe. I wasn’t worrying about what my son was doing; I wasn’t concerned with what bill needed to be paid next, I wasn’t worried about finding an outfit that makes me feel less fat for the social engagements I have planned in the coming week… I wasn’t worried about anything but what I was doing. I was living in the moment. Which is obviously something I have trouble doing.

Another thing that struck me was the fact that in that moment, I was also being kind to myself. I wasn’t telling myself that I am not pretty anymore because I have crow’s feet and a really fat ass. I wasn’t telling myself what a shitty mother I am because my son can’t seem to go more than three days without saying something really crappy that hurts my feelings. I wasn’t telling myself I am a shitty wife because I didn’t vacuum and dust the living as I had originally planned. I wasn’t telling myself that I am a shitty daughter and granddaughter because I haven’t been to my home town to visit since Christmas. I wasn’t telling myself that I am shitty friend because I am a home body. I wasn’t telling myself that I am a shitty sister because I wait for my brothers to call me instead of calling them. I wasn’t doing anything but allowing myself laugh at Michelle Pfeiffer and Mercedes Ruehl playing mob wives and giving myself pretty toes.

I realized that I have been treating myself terribly for a very long time and that this is probably just feeding the gloomy mood I have been fighting. How can I possibly expect to feel anything other than soul crushing depression when I am so unkind to myself? I started really thinking about this and I think that this current bout of emotional self-flagellation started last fall. It started just before we went on vacation because I was feeling an inordinate amount of stress about several things at the time. But I really started beating the shit out of my psyche in late November when I slacked off on working out daily. The longer I go without a regular workout routine, the worse I feel.

So without beating myself up for not working out regularly, I am going to have to force myself to get back in the habit of being active. For me working out is a big struggle due to my physical disability (I really fucking hate using the word disability or disabled. But it is just easier than explaining or making excuses for my balance problems and you all know what the deal with that is). I can’t just go to the gym and hop on a treadmill. I do aqua aerobics (which is more of a workout than you think it is) and I can go for walks with my cane. I can also do Wii Fit free step with a walker set up in front of the balance board just in case. I was feeling really great about the routine I had and really proud of myself for doing it. I want that feeling back. I want it back because I want to be subtracting from the scale rather than adding to it again but I want it back for another, more important reason. For the first time in my life I see the connection between mental health and physical activity.

I have been considering going on an antidepressant lately. That is something I am always hesitant to do because I don’t feel like I have been depressed severely enough or long enough in recent years to justify taking pills. I don’t think there is anything wrong with taking medications like this and I want that to be clear about that. I just rarely feel that I am in a place where I truly need them (and trust me, if I do feel like I am in that place I will go to my doctor and talk about it). Anyway, this last bout of depression, the one I am digging my way out of now, has lasted a bit too long. As I said, I was considering medication… in fact; I just talked to a friend about this a couple of days ago. I am not ruling medication out entirely, but I really feel like getting back into my workout routine might be more beneficial than pills in terms of fighting off this funk I have been in.

So my goal in the next few weeks is to get myself back in the habit of working out again. I think that once I start moving my ass, the rest will sort of fall into place. I will check back soon to let you all know how it is going. I wanted to talk about giving up sweets for a month but this post ended up finding a different focus on its own so I am throwing it in here at the end. I come from Catholics and my mother still gives up stuff for Lent. I don’t. But because I decided that my sweet tooth is out of control lately (probably related to being depressed), and everyone else is giving something up for a moth, I am going to look at this month of no sweets as a science experiment. I haven’t really figured out the parameters of the experiment yet, but I will keep you posted on that as well.

OK! It is 1:30 am and I have to get up for aqua aerobics in the morning so I had better get my silly ass in bed!


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Riding the waves of dual-diagnosis as a parent.

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