Reboot: Month 3

I’m just going to jump right into this since I’m a couple days late.

Move it move it: Still feeling really good about this one. With the exception of a migraine and a sore knee, I haven’t missed my morning walks or yoga. I’m transitioning into some running, planning to start Couch to 5k this week. I’m feeling MAJOR changes in my strength while I do yoga. I can nail chaturanga, and yesterday I actually held crow pose for about five seconds. My balance in standing one leg postures is getting a lot better too. I have been experiencing some “don’t wanna” feelings in the morning when its time to walk, mostly because of the weather and the fact that I can’t head right out the door after I feed the cats because its still dark. But I’m doing it! I get 5 out of 5.

Clean my plate: Still doing ok with this, but I’ve definitely eaten more junk in the past month. I notice when I eat junky food I end up craving more junky food, so I need to be more careful. I’ve been relying on Amy’s frozen meals a little more than I would like to because they’re easy and they are vegetarian. Still haven’t fully committed to plant based all the time because not everyone in the house wants to do that, and since Zach enjoys cooking, I haven’t wanted to impose extra work on him. I’ll figure it out. Giving myself 4 out of 5 this month because I know I can do better.

Honey do: This one has moved to a different level this past month. I haven’t done a lot of things on “the list” because I spent a significant portion of this past month getting roofing quotes, and trying to round up possible candidates for other big jobs that need to be done around the house. Obviously I’m not doing the physical work on those things, but they are things that have sorely needed to be done and I’m finally in a place where I’m able to do them. Still, I could be getting more stuff done and I’m kind of mad at myself for that. Maybe I should put “don’t be so hard on yourself” on my list. Going with 3.5 out of 5.

Write like a writer that writes: You know, while it doesn’t show so much on here, I have been doing a bit better with this. Just writing things that are kind of intensely personal that I’m not sharing with anyone. Considering taking on nanowrimo next month, but I’m not sure yet. My write up for this is 2.75 out of 5.

Mini Mental Vacations:  I was doing a pretty good job with this one for a couple of weeks, doing something every day. Then I hit the end of the meditation series and stopped looking for new ones every day. I know it would be really good for me to try to take this a little more seriously, but sometimes I feel like reading is my mental break. I’ll go 3 out of 5.

Earn my explorer badge: I’ve definitely been getting myself out and about more, even stepping out of my comfort zone sometimes. One thing I notice with this is I’m getting a lot more comfortable with just doing things on my own. The company of other people is nice (and probably something I should be making more of an effort towards) but being comfortable and confident on my own is kind of a big deal. I think that’s going to get me out doing more stuff on my own. Going with 5 out of 5 just because I feel awesome about this.

I’m really glad I made the commitment to do this for myself. Not only am I feeling so much better physically and mentally, but I’m learning a lot about myself. I know where I need to restrict myself, and I know where I need to push myself. I guess trying to have a healthy mid-life crisis was a good idea after all.

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Other peoples feelings

Today is World Mental Health day.  I feel like there’s more than one of these? Maybe the other was mental health awareness day? I don’t know. When I google “mental health holiday” or “mental health day” I just get stuff about getting through the holiday season or taking a day off of work.  Not exactly what I was hoping to find.

I’ve struggled with depression and anxiety for most of my life. I’ve done many not so great things to deal with it, from cutting myself to trying to drink my problems away, to just not being safe with my life and body in a number of ways (that I’m not going to get into). Right now my depression is well managed, so it’s mostly anxiety that I’m working to keep in check. Sometimes it’s the most literal kind of anxiety, like shortness of breath, tightness in my chest and stomach, feelings of impending doom and extreme fear that at times have been bad enough that I thought I was having a heart attack. Other times its just flutters that I can identify, address, and move on. Other times it leaves me feeling exhausted and afraid to get out of bed. On a day to day basis, though, my anxiety comes across more as a feeling of self-doubt and sometimes crippling perfectionism. I spend a lot of time second guessing myself and my actions (ask me how long it took me to write this!) which really slows me down. I’m getting better at dealing with this, but it’s definitely there, and its also not something that a lot of people would think of me feeling when I say, “I have anxiety.”

My point is, and I swear I have one, that while lots of people suffer from anxiety, or depression, or OCD, etc., not everyone experiences the same illnesses in the same ways. Two people can go to a doctor and walk out with the same diagnosis even though THEY ARE NOT FEELING EXACTLY THE SAME THINGS. Even two people who experience the same event, like the loss of a parent, or a car accident, are not going to react the same way, think or feel the same things, because feelings and brains are really god damn complicated, y’all.

This is what I think makes mental health such a struggle for our society to understand and in some cases for people to accept that it is even a real problem.

IMG_1270
Sometimes we just need someone to hold our hand

It amazes me that in this day and age, people still doubt the existence of things just because they can’t see them or touch them. Learning about mental health issues, talking to people who have these problems, can be a great exercise in empathy though because it forces us outside of ourselves, makes us do our best to walk in another persons shoes. It can also lead to the exact opposite. Not understanding it doesn’t give you the right invalidate other peoples feelings. Saying things like “you shouldn’t worry so much about that,” or “you’re getting worked up over nothing,” or “you just need to cheer up,” or (I think) worst of all “you really should be over that by now.” That’s not empathetic, and that’s not at all helpful. So if you catch yourself wanting to say those things to someone, for the love of all that’s good, JUST DON’T.

If you are struggling with feelings that you don’t like, feelings that you don’t think other people will understand, I want you to remember one thing–no matter what, you are not alone. I’m right there with you, as are sooo many others. People you know, people you don’t know. Don’t let anyone invalidate the way you feel or make you doubt yourself just because they don’t understand. If someone tells you what you feel isn’t real, turn around and find someone who does. There will be someone out there that will listen.

 

 

Reboot: Month 2

Yes, I know. I’m late with the update, but I have a legitimate excuse, and the bitches name is Irma. I didn’t have power for five days, and cell service was really spotty for the first few. I figured this would wait.

Anyway.

If you have no idea what my reboot is, read this post. Now lets evaluate.

Move it move it: I’m kicking ass and taking names with this one. I walk at least four mornings each week, more often its five. I do yoga every damn day. I did Yoga with Adriene Yoga Camp again. I started Yoga Revolution at the end of August, figuring it would end perfectly on September 30th, then Irma had to fuck that up. Giving myself 5 out of 5.

Clean my plate: This one is going really well, too. I’m still cooking good meals, focusing on vegetables. Most days I track what I eat, but I allow myself off days. I do still have a sweet tooth, but I think I’m even getting that a bit more under control. One thing I didn’t put into the original post was cutting back on drinking, which I’ve done. I committed to at least 60 days with no alcohol. I did it. Since then, I’ve had a few beers, but I’m not going overboard. Score 5 out of 5.

Honey do: This one is coming along nicely, if n slowly. I’ve knocked a few things off of the list I made last month, and I’ve been going through things and weeding stuff I don’t need out. Found some pretty cool treasures, too, like old pictures of my grandparents. I feel like I could do a bit more here, but that’s probably because theres SO MUCH that needs to be done around here. Honey gets 4 out of 5. 

Write like a writer that writes: Ha. Hahahahaha! Nope. This one is not going well. If making lists counted, I’d be doing well, but I’m not counting lists. It’s silly too, because I find myself composing blog posts in my head, but then I don’t write them. A lowly 1 out of 5. 

Mini mental vacations: I downloaded the Headspace app, but they only give you, like, seven free sessions before they start charging you a whole lot of money, so I stopped doing that. I do allow myself mental breaks though. I don’t check social media first thing in the morning, which is a mental break in itself. I found another app to try that doesn’t have a monthly fee attached, so I’m working with that. I’m going to say 3.5 out of 5.

Earn my explorer badge: This one is hard. I went to the Ed Sheeran concert, and while going to concerts is not new or something I wouldn’t usually do, I did put myself out there, in a way, to do it. I went by myself, and I went because I really wanted to. I went ahead and seized that moment. What was crazy was I was not filled with anxiety about it, like I would have been a year or so ago. I’m getting better about getting out of the house and doing stuff in general, but I haven’t tried a lot of new things. Points awarded 3 out of 5.

I’m quite happy with my progress. Feeling stronger, sleeping better, my mood is just better. My anxiety is much more under control. Proof of that happened last week when Irma hit and I didn’t have a complete breakdown, and managed to stay fairly calm aside from the mess and discomfort. I’m definitely going to keep rebooting.

 

Ed Sheeran-Divide Tour

So yeah, I went to see Ed Sheehan last week, and it was AWESOME. I know there’s a lot of hate associated with him, I’m guessing because he’s successful and people like to hate successful people, because otherwise I’m not sure what there is to not like. The guy is talented. Full stop. IMG_0416

He didn’t have a band. He didn’t have a huge stage set up with lots of props, aside from the video screens. It was just him, his guitars, and a loop station. He sounds just as good live as he does on his albums. It was a great experience. I’ve been to a lot of different kinds of shows, I’ve seen “really popular” performers, have been to big stadium and arena shows, but this one goes up there just in terms of the musical performance. He didn’t need a lot of flash and bang to make it a good show.

When he was talking to the audience at one point, he said concerts are one place where people come together for a common interest. Sporting events are similar, but there are two sides, but at a concert, everyone is there to see the same performance, all rooting for a good show. It’s a rare moment of togetherness with strangers that we don’t get too often.

I really wish I had better words, but I’ll just let him sing for himself.

Frustration

Its that time of year, the time of year when my frustration tends to reach a peak. Usually its weather related because the heat and humidity make everything feel so stagnant with no relief in the near future. Maybe the weather is playing a part in my general frustration level, but the things that are bothering me are not centered around “damn its hot” but instead its “damn I’m alone.”

I do my best to be there for people. I do what I can because I enjoy helping people, and I’m just one of those people who has that annoying “empathy” gene. I worry that I’m not doing enough, or sometimes that I’m trying too hard. If someone is clearly upset and won’t talk to me, I worry more and tend to think I’ve done something to make them not feel like they can trust me (yes, that is self centered thinking,I know). Sometimes I try to do things, whether they are actual thing things, like something someone could physically benefit from, or just to be supportive. When I try to be there for someone, or do something for someone and they reject it, it really stings.

I know I can’t control the actions of other people, and I’m responsible for my own happiness. I don’t often let people in on things that are bothering me. I either internalize them, or occasionally I come here and complain because nobody reads this. I like to help people, but I don’t like to reach out for help. If I ask for help with something, it’s usually skill related, like I need advice or help fixing some “thing” around the house that I don’t fully understand. I don’t usually tell people the stuff that scare me or upset me. Then everything boils up and I act weird around people because I really need to talk but am afraid to say, “hey, I need someone to talk to” because I’m a) afraid they’ll say no, and b) I don’t like letting people into my carefully constructed walls because that just leads to me getting hurt. Especially when I reach out to them and they won’t reach back.

I don’t know if this is making any sense. I don’t really care if it isn’t. I just want it out there. If you’ve ever been in a crowded room, a room with friends and family even, and just felt so completely and utterly alone, then you know how I feel.

Reboot Month 1

A month ago, I decided it was past time to start making some changes in my life. While I’ve been feeling like a lot of things are out of my control, there are plenty of things that I do have control over, and I was not tending to them properly. Basically, I’ve been doing a shit job of taking care of myself. So lets check in, shall we? I’m going to rate each area on a scale of 1-5 (1 being “not really doing it” and 5 being “doing freaking awesome”).

Move it move it: My goal was to walk at least three days a week, and do yoga five days a week. While I was a bit slow on out of the gate with the yoga, the walking came much easier than I expected. I go first thing in the morning, and find I’m able to mostly ignore the heat and humidity. I’ve been walking five days a week, and doing yoga at least that many, if not six. I’m giving myself a 5 out of 5.

Clean my plate: My diet was atrocious, I was eating too much junk and craving junk. I wasn’t eating meals a lot of the time. Instead I was just mindlessly snacking and then eating dinner. While there’s still definite room for improvement, my goal was to eat more vegetables and fruit every day, and I’m feeling really good about that. I’ve also just cut back on junk in general. The days that I cook for myself, I’ve been leaning towards vegetarian meals. I feel like I could be balancing things a bit better, but I’m off to a good start. I’m going with 4 out of 5.

Honey do: I’ve been making small amounts of progress here and there. Part of the problem has been not having an actual physical list of things I need to do, and instead just keeping a mental inventory. I fixed that this morning, and started writing down some actual things to cross off. Still, even with my haphazard, unorganized approach, I’ve managed to get a few things done that have been nagging at me. Lets go with 3.5 out of 5.

Write like a writer who writes: Ha. Yeah. I said every day, then I said five times a week in the same paragraph on that one. Can’t really say I’ve been doing either. Most of the writing I’ve been doing is kind of free flowing “I need to get these thoughts out of my head” private journaling, but it’s not as frequent as I would like, which is bizarre because I often feel better after I write that stuff down.  I can improve here for sure, so 2 out of 5.

Mini mental vacations: While I’ve been taking some time most days, it hasn’t been every day. The days I do something guided, it’s usually longer than a simple five minutes. When I get back from my walks in the morning, I could very easily use my cooling off time to just take a five minute mental break. I just need to set a timer or something. I do spend a decent amount of time reading every day, which keeps my mind focused on one thing, but reading time is reading time, and I don’t want to cross the two activities. What I need to do is learn to quiet and focus my mind when I’m feeling most frazzled. Going to give this one 2.5 out of 5.

Earn my explorer badge: The vague one, because I didn’t want to limit myself in what would be considered a new adventure. So how am I going to grade myself? Ah, hindsight.  I’ve been getting out of the house more, been to a few new places, tried some new activities (and one old one that now feels extremely foreign). I’ve been trying new recipes. I’ve been trying new routes I was previously afraid to take on my morning walks. I read a book I wouldn’t have chosen on my own (and LOVED IT). I feel really good with this category.  Points me 4 out of 5. 

Overall, I’m feeling really good. The exercise especially, I think, has made a huge difference. I’m sleeping MUCH better, my anxiety hasn’t been as bad. I feel stronger physically and I’ve been a bit happier in general. I think I made a good choice starting this. I’ll check in again with this in a months time. Meanwhile, I’ll try to post something other than just pictures.

 

For crying out loud

Sometimes I really feel like I need to cry, but I can’t.

Sometimes I don’t want to cry, but I do anyway.

Sometimes I start crying and have no damn idea why.

Kitten rescue videos always make me cry.

Movies that I think will make me cry often don’t.

I fully expect to cry through most of The Last Jedi.

The Macy’s Thanksgiving Day parade makes me cry.

I often wish I was one of those people that didn’t cry easily.

Sometimes I’m glad I’m able to cry easily.

Crying is never easy, really.

It all ends in tears, anyway, right?

 

 

 

Hunger/Reboot

You guys! I may have figured out a way to get my life on (some sort of) track.

I recently read Hunger: A Memoir of (My) Body by Roxane Gay (excellent book, highly recommend reading it). She is very forward about her struggles with obesity and the events that drove her to seek comfort in food, but there’s so much more to be taken away from her story. It’s really about what she hungers for in life, the good things that she doesn’t feel like she deserves because of something terrible that happened in her past. While her life events are quite different from my own, I still felt a real connection to what she was saying; because of things I’ve done, things that have happened, and choices I’ve made, I don’t feel like I deserve the good things I hunger for, which is depressing.

sleepy cat
rebooting, please wait

I also followed along last year as Wil Wheaton did what he called a “life reboot” where he chose areas in his life that he felt needed improving.

So where do these things intersect? I figure maybe, just maybe, if I work on the areas of my life that I’m constantly telling myself I need to improve, maybe I can finally being to address those feelings of hunger, and start to feel like I do deserve good things.

So I sat myself down and came up with a list of things I wanted to change. Needless to say, it was SUPER long, so I decided to trim it down into a few categories that would encompass many, if not all, of the things I would like to address (and would it really be me if I didn’t make the list sound a bit vague and silly? Of course not). So here it is!

Heathers life reboot in six easy steps!

  • Move it move it
  • Clean my plate
  • Honey do
  • Write like a writer who writes
  • Mini mental vacations
  • Earn my explorer Badge

Move it move it: This one is pretty simple–I need to exercise more. I need to move my body before it starts to break down and not work. Before I hit a point of no return. I’ll probably end up varying what I do, but for the time being, I’m going to say I will go for a walk three days a week and do yoga five days a week. Seems like a safe place to start.

Clean my plate: By this I don’t mean I need to be a “clean plate commando.” I need to clean up what I’m eating. I need to cut back on the fast food and processed junk, eat more veggies, and do my best to eat three meals a day. I’m going to start this goal with increasing the amount of vegetables and fruits I eat on a daily basis.

Honey do: There’s plenty of things that need to be done around this house. Things that need to be gone through, projects I’ve had planned that have fallen to the wayside. I’m going to start kicking this list in the ass. Anytime I find myself sitting around thinking “eh, I’m bored,” I’m going to find something on this list that needs to be done and do it. Hoping to knock off at least one item a week.

Write like a writer who writes: I used to write a lot. I kept a journal nearly every day, I wrote letters, I wrote stories, all kinds of stuff. Lately the only thing I write on a regular basis are tweets. I’m making it a goal to write SOMETHING (tweets not included) every day. Whether it’s a post here, something personal I don’t want to share, or a short story/vignette that’s been floating around in my head, I’m going to write that shit down at least five times a week. Maybe I’ll even start a page for creative writing on here (no promises).

Mini mental vacations: I considered saying “meditate” but that’s just too rigid right now, though that is pretty much the end goal. I’m going to make time every day to clear the mental clutter and slow the racing thoughts and just focus on the here and now. I may do that through a guided meditation, or by focusing on an activity like knitting or cooking. Whatever way feels best to do it that day is how I’m going to practice being here now and not off somewhere in the la la land that is my imagination. I figure if I can do five minutes a day, that’s a good start.

Earn my explorer badge: This one sounds extremely ambiguous on purpose because it could really be anything. I want to go to some new places. I want to listen to new music. I want to try new food.  I may just take myself to a movie I want to see, or go wander around a book store. Mostly what I need is to get out of the house, but I’m leaving this as a space to explore, try and learn new things. I’m not going to put any rigid guides on this right now, I’m just going to wait and see how it unfolds.

So that’s my plan. I’ll check back in every month or so with a progress report. I’m hoping this will help hold me accountable so I actually follow through.