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.

 

 

Advertisements

I finally came up with a new name for the blog that fits!

fairlyordinarystories.com (as if that wasn’t obvious)

I spent so much time wracking my brain trying to come up with something pithy or clever, a play on words that basically said, “hey, this is a blog where I write about my life, which is, for the most part, not that exciting,” and the WHOLE TIME it was staring me right in the face in the blog title–a life fairly ordinary.

Duh.

More to come…

So that Whole30 I did?

I wrote a blog a bit over a month ago about my experience with Whole30. Since I wrote it, I’ve debated taking it down, but I’m not going to. Instead, I’m going to tell you about the fallout I’ve experienced since doing the program. Things have changed since my Whole30, and not all in good ways.

Am I a dietician or nutritionist with the knowledge or degree to back things up? I am not. Am I going to drop a bunch of links telling you why this diet is flawed? I am not (with the exception of this one herethis one right hereand maybe this one, where, if you look around, you’ll see the Slim Fast diet ranked higher on the list ).You’ve got google and a sense of curiosity, you can do that yourself. Instead I am going to give you my real life, post Whole30 thoughts and feelings.

I cannot, in good conscience, recommend Whole30. I mean, yes, it’s your body and if you want to do it, I can’t stop you. I know there’s a lot of great Whole30 success stories out there, and they make it tempting to try the plan. That’s how I got hooked into it. I didn’t feel well, knew I needed to change something, and all of the grandiose claims (red flag #1) about weight loss and improved health really spoke to me and got me pumped. That is exactly what a fad diet is supposed to do. It’s supposed to hit you at a visceral level, it’s supposed to make you feel like it’s the “One True Answer to All of Your Problems.”

Fad diets are NOT the answer. Ever. I have YEARS of experience in this area. The only explanation I can give for why I fell for it is a complete sense of desperation.

When I was reading the books that outline Whole30 and all the reasons why it’s so good, there was an inkling in my mind that said, “eh, something about this doesn’t seem right.” (red flag #2) I ignored that. Now, the more time passes post Whole30, and the more non-Whole30-subsidized reading I do, I really wish I had listened to that voice.

The grandiose claims for instance. There’s TONS of them, ranging from weight loss to apparent cessation of medical conditions. I’m not saying these people are lying about their experiences. If they did have tons of success, I’m happy for them. I do think those claims are leaving out a lot of important information (red flag #3), though, like what were they eating before Whole30? Did they only do the diet for 30 days, or did they do it longer? Seriously, if someone who eats a diet that’s primarily processed foods starts eating whole, clean food OF COURSE they’re going to see positive results. Switching from a fast food diet to food you prepare at home and have control over is going to provide anybody with better nutrition. I think its fair to say that’s a common sense conclusion (which you are free to disagree with).

In the books, particularly It Starts with Food, they have a lot of resources listed to back their claims. I haven’t read all of them since they are not all easily accessible (i.e. available on a website for my lazy ass to read)  but ones I’ve looked at feel very cherry picked. They come from entities who are already pro-paleo or anti-grain. You can always find both sides of an argument, and yes, you do want to use the research that backs up what you’re saying. I’m not saying they did a bad thing doing that, if anything it should have been me who did more vetting. However, using bully language (red flag #4) to make people believe your way is the Right Way, and that your one-sided claims are The Only Truth ? That doesn’t sit right with me.

I didn’t mention in my last blog, but they offer daily email support. Yes, it cost like $15, but I wanted the extra support and elusive resources those emails were supposed to give me. At the end of the daily email you click a button that either says “yes, I stayed on plan. Go me” or “No, I fucked up, so now I have to start over.” (not exactly what they said, but that’s how my brain remembers them) The emails were, in some ways, kind of alarming. They were full of broken links (red flag #5) so I didn’t get all of the resources and benefits I expected. There were also several instances where they person they linked to had decided paleo was not so great after all (red flag #6). The newest articles were at least two years old (red flag #7. SERIOUSLY, WOMAN HOW DID YOU IGNORE ALL OF THESE RED FLAGS???).

Just after the half way point, one of the emails addressed how to decide if you should start over if you slipped up. “Did you drink some wine or eat grains? Then abso-fucking-lutely you should start over. That’s what we tell you from the start. But if you ate salad dressing and then found out there was agave nectar in it? Eh, don’t worry. A little sugar isn’t that big of a deal, really.”

Wait, what?

I’m supposed to be “slaying my sugar dragon” and you’re now saying that a slip up on sugar isn’t that big of a deal (red flag #8)? I clicked my “go me, I win” button and closed my email thinking ,”did they actually just fucking throw out their own hard and fast must be follow rules and expect me to feel good about that?”

The last ten days of emails were the worst. They were the most pro-paleo of the bunch. The subject of reintroducing foods was addressed, along with the question of “how do I know if I should continue my Whole30?” They say its never “Whole365” but 45, 60, 90? Thats not necessarily a bad idea, but Whole30 is still really awesome and life changing.  But then, in these last days of emails, that they FINALLY admit (red flag #9) that no, 30 days is not going to undo years of bad eating. They recommend continuing if you’re either not feeling the awesome effects (red flag #10), are seriously high on said awesome effects (red flag #11), or if you haven’t “slain your sugar dragon.” Oh, you mean the sugar dragon I might have fed with that “heh, a little sugar ain’t bad” sweeter I might have slipped up and eaten? That before that one email I would have led me to dejectedly start the program over feeling like a failure (red flag #12)? Yeah. That’s the one. Its safe to say, I was seriously pissed.

My results weren’t earth shattering, which I outlined in my last blog. Did I learn some things? Sure I did. I think the most important thing I learned is that obsessing over food and trying to stick to a really strict plan is not a healthy option, ESPECIALLY when it comes to your mental health. One of the reasons I didn’t blog right after I finished the program was because I felt so miserable, mislead, and turned around by the whole thing (not to mention feeling like a big ol’ failure in general) that I was kind of depressed. But since I’d put so much work into the diet, and did learn from it, I tried to wrap it up in a semi-optimistic bow for anyone else who might have done it and felt lousy at the end. Cause I’m helpful like that, you know?

Have I continue on a good eating path since then? Well, considering I just ate peanut M&M’s for breakfast, had McDonalds at midnight a couple days ago, and some days only eat a handful of almonds in the morning and then nothing until dinner because I’m too fucking annoyed and tired to want to mess with preparing anything, its safe to say I haven’t. If anything, I’ve felt too bummed and burned out to care. Yes, there is an obesity epidemic that has been fueled by the wide availability and ease of crappy food. I know what foods to eat most of the time, and which ones to eat in moderation (actually, maybe I should write a diet book). I’m just not doing it because I have no wind in my sails at the moment. Yet another fad diet failed me, and while that’s not a surprise, I’m really angry with myself for falling for it.

I know I don’t get a lot of traffic here, but if you, too, stumble across this after feeling duped by Whole30 and want to commiserate? I welcome you. Also, if you are pro-Whole30 and want to leave me a comment defending the diet, go ahead. However, if your comment is full of unnecessary vitriol that doesn’t lead to reasonable discussion, I probably will ignore it.

Now I should probably go eat some real food. Preferably something with gluten . . .

An Ode to Miss Jean Louise

This post was for GISHWHES 2016, so, if it seems weird? GISHWHES.

Every year during the first week of August, Miss Jean Louise is heralded for her tremendous encouragement and authoritarian control over those participating in GISHWHES. She is renowned as a purveyor of unique and amusing art, the likes of which the world has never seen, fostering creativity through mediums that include, but are not limited to, food fashion, performance art, seat-of-your-pants poetry, and flash mob water balloon fights. However, there is one aspect of Miss Jean Louise’s considerable array of talents that is not properly appreciated or publicly celebrated. That role?  Advisor (aka babysitter) to Misha Collins.

Over the years, there’s no questioning the fact that Misha’s antics have brought joy and laughter to many. His enthusiasm bubbles over into often ostentatious public displays. tumblr_m3t1rpsvIL1qfch0zHis fans see this, and they love it. They laugh and laugh and laugh, flooding tumblr with images and memes of silly, silly Misha, yet they do not acknowledge the role Miss Jean Louise is quietly playing in the background.

Misha NEEDS a babysitter, as he’s basically a middle-aged toddler. Someone has got to protect him from himself, and Miss Jean Louise is heading up that difficult and challenging task. It may appear, when you see pictures such as the one I’ve shared, that Miss Jean Louise is not in control, but I can assure you that she is. The Misha Brand™ we all know and love is carefully curated and shared with the public through Miss Jean Louises’ caring, competent eyes. She is the glue that holds it all together.  She knows the world needs this silly man-child to heft their love upon, someone who encourages and inspires us to leave our comfortable little shells. When we do that, we make the world a little bit stranger, a little bit brighter, and for this, we must thank Miss Jean Louise.

Nobody is infallible, though, and Misha does sometimes escape the diligent watch of his guardian. Evidence of this can be seen on Facebook live streams of Misha tromping through treacherous woodlands, or using his phone to send a sneak peek to his followers from backstage at San Diego ComicCon, where there are signs that clearly say “Hey, you, don’t use your phone!” She obviously can’t be awake 24-7 and still be refreshed enough to keep control over her charge. Misha recently took advantage of her very human need for sleep when he made some crazy proclamations regarding item #141 on the GISHWHES 2016 list. Still, Miss Jean Louise managed to gain the upper hand, making Misha provide a public apology to his GISHWHES constituents. There is no doubt that in the Mishaverse, Miss Jean Louise reigns supreme.

You may not see her standing in front of the camera making her presence known, but Miss Jean Louise is always there holding Mishas’ hand. Her invisible fingerprints are on everything he does. She is the cool head organizing all of the crazy capers you so enjoy. For that, I kindly ask that whenever you see an image of Misha that makes you smile, hear of an act of kindness he has somehow facilitated, or see a GISHer doing their GISHy thing, send up a silent thanks to the incomparable Miss Jean Louise. It is the very least we can do.

 

 

 

Where my Whole30 went wrong, and right

This is not an endorsement of Whole30. See here for updated details.

Right around the beginning of March, I got the spring cleaning bug, which is totally natural for me. Its ingrained in my psyche as the right time to deep clean the house, work on the yard, etcetera, but getting started wasn’t so easy. I hadn’t been sleeping well, my energy was sluggish, I felt like I needed to spring clean myself. Enter the Whole30.

I’d read about this “nutritional reset” a while back and thought I’d never get anyone in the house to go along with it because it’s strict. For 30 days, you eat vegetables, some fruit, protein from eggs, meat, and fish, and good fats like olive oil, ghee, coconut oil, avocados, nuts and seeds. You eliminate alcohol, dairy, grains, legumes, soy, and ANY added sugar or sweetener. I was feeling weighed down with cravings for late night fast food, cookies and candy, stuff I knew wasn’t doing me any good in the long run. I got the snacky snackies any time I walked in the kitchen. The sugar cravings were especially driving me nuts, so Whole30 seemed like a good place to get a jump start. I ran the idea past Zach, and aside from the “no cheese?” he thought it sounded ok. We tried some recipes, we enjoyed them, so it felt like it wasn’t going to be so bad. I even gave up my morning oatmeal and afternoon avocado toast to kind of prep my system for it so I didn’t get a massive carb flu. We planned to start in April after the Magic season was over and he was home more and not at games where the only food available was pretty lousy.

I read the Whole30 book, I read It Starts with Food. Their reasons for taking on their plan were fairly sound–there are a lot of “foods with no brakes” out there, as in food you only mean to eat a little of and end up going overboard with (makes sense, been there done that). EatWhole30-Instagram-300x300Some foods like grains and dairy are bad for your gut health, blood sugar, cholesterol, and hormones, and can lead to systemic inflammation (again with the gut? everyone is so obsessed with their gut, but do I have systemic inflammation? according to the book, if you are overweight, yes, yes you do). Beans are mostly carbs and not a great source of protein and while sure, they’re great for fiber, they there are plenty of other vegetables for that. Alcohol is empty calories and just isn’t good for you in general, and sugar is the devil dressed like a Reeses peanut butter cup. That’s a major simplification of their reasoning, but you get the drift. Its strict paleo, basically. Oh, and the scale. Throw it out for 30 days, stay off of it and don’t obsess over the number. Instead, pay attention to how your clothes fit and how great you feel. Focus on those non-scale victories. I could get behind that. I don’t go on the scale that often anyway because that number does haunt me. I’ve been fighting with my weight for a while now, and while I lost about 40 pounds last year, I’d kind of stagnated, and possibly had put a few back on.

So April comes along, and so does life, and officially starting the Whole30 got pushed back. And back. I take the time to collect recipes, read the life altering stories, getting psyched. We set a start date of May 11. Naturally, I got a stomach virus that day, go figure, I ended up starting a couple days late.

I started with strong intentions to follow the plan, to eat like they wanted me to eat. The plan is three meals a day (bonus meal for those who work out) and try not to snack, so you can get your appetite and hormones in order. No more late night snacks, or mid afternoon snacks.  Meals should be big enough to make you feel full, but not stuffed. I followed the meal template for the right amount of protein and fats, filling in the rest with vegetables. A couple of days in, I started doing some yoga again because movement seemed like a good idea. My mindless snacky snackies went away.  Sure, I missed dark chocolate, but I was doing ok with the food I was eating and didn’t miss my late night McDonalds fix. My sleep, however, was terrible, somehow worse. I would sleep for maybe four or five hours and wake up not able to go to back to sleep because I seemed to have this surplus of energy, so I added walking in with my morning yoga routine. Sure I would end up unable to keep my eyes open and would take a nap later that morning, but all was going well. I felt good about things.

They say most people quit around day 10 or 11 because those are the hardest days. At that point I felt great, even thought about throwing around the idea of Whole60 instead of Whole30 (but not Whole365, you aren’t supposed to do that). I was taking longer walks and doing 20-30 minutes of yoga. I was determined.

Then day 14 came. We’d been planning a week of meals to make sure we could stay compliant, and MAN was I sick of meal planning. I didn’t think I could stomach more eggs. And quinoa. I really wanted some damn quinoa (really? how is quinoa so fucking bad?). Zach and I were spending a lot of time reading labels looking for hidden sugars, which are EVERYWHERE, people. There is sugar in bacon, Italian sausage and smoked salmon! WHY IS THAT EVEN??? Why does Italian sausage need sugar? If there wasn’t sugar, there was some sort of oil that was discouraged. Pretty much most prepared foods were out, so we were doing a lot of cooking. Not a problem, because we were working together, and I was enjoying it. I was so ON PLAN, not eating too much fruit, even making olive oil mayo at home to avoid the nasty oils and sugars in commercial mayo. I even made homemade ketchup! I didn’t eat out at a restaurant once because I didn’t want to stray from this plan. This plan of miracles! This plan where I was going to feel so much healthier and leaner. This plan that said my skin would improve, my hair and nails would be stronger, my energy would skyrocket, my strength and endurance would improve (chaturanga to up dog? nailed that bitch). I would have less headaches, my sleeping would finally normalize! I didn’t want to jeopardize it, I didn’t want to eat anything that wasn’t compliant. I was a fucking rock star of compliance.

Things got better around the third week. I was falling asleep much more easily, my energy was good, my clothes felt looser, I generally felt lighter. The last few days, however, turned into a drag. I was getting headaches again, my digestion was a bit off and I wasn’t sure why. I was waking up with less zeal for the day, but I carried on.  Zach and I talked about how we would go about eating afterwards, about the positive impacts the 30 days had, the ways we felt better. Zach finished a couple days before I did (stupid stomach flu) and not only was he eating better and more regularly, and going out to get some exercise, he’d lost 16 pounds. I was thrilled for him! I woke up on my day 31, excited to measure and weigh myself to see how much of a physical change there was, because I was sure it was significant. Overall I’d lost about six inches, and three pounds.

Three. Fucking. Pounds.

It no longer mattered that I looked and felt smaller and lighter, or that I was stronger because I’d probably put on muscle. Suddenly, because of that insignificant number the scale had given me, it didn’t matter that cravings were not so much of an issue, or that I had learned to better appreciate the natural flavor of good food. I felt like a god damn failure. I looked in the mirror at my skin and couldn’t say there was much change (maybe a little, but I’d also switched moisturizers part way through). My hair wasn’t thicker or stronger, my nails weren’t stronger or longer. I don’t have any scheduled blood work so I don’t know if it improved my cholesterol or thyroid numbers. I was pissed, I was upset, I couldn’t figure out what I must have done wrong because THREE POUNDS is nothing in the scale of what I feel I need to lose. I was so ON. POINT. the whole time, where the hell did I screw up? It was really disheartening.

Does this thinking go against what the plan wanted me to achieve? Definitely. Do I feel like I unnecessarily worried over every bite that I ate for a month, yeah, I kind of do. In the end, they tell you that while it may “start with food,” health and weight loss involve a lot more. Things like getting enough good sleep, lowering your overall stress level, and not isolating yourself from the world for a damn month cooking and doing dishes because you can’t completely control what goes into food at restaurants or friends houses. That? That doesn’t work. That is not sustainable. That’s not a healthy mindset. Is the number on the scale indicative to my success? Not really, but there’s so much stress on weight, healthy BMI, and frankly what looks good in the media today, and my brain is hyper-tuned to all of it. Especially here at this middle age I find myself reaching. Especially because I lost my mom to diseases that could have been prevented/improved/avoided if she’d taken better care of herself, her weight, and what she ate.

Ugh. Damn. And Ugh. I really wanted to be a success story, you know? And here I was, a loser non-loser. So on point with everything that I almost missed the entire point.

You have to change your mind and your mental relationships before everything else clicks into place. You have to let go of the numbers to really see and feel the good changes you make. Most of all, you have to not be so damn hard on yourself!

Game. Set. Match.

I was really damn happy to have some quinoa last week, but I still filled my plate with mostly vegetables, and that dark chocolate? Its worth the indulgence because it makes me happy. Its not like I’m eating a bar a day, even, just a little bit a few days a week. I’m going to continue to eat what I like with special attention to whole foods as much as possible. I don’t think grains are evil, neither are beans. I mean, sure, there’s a difference between wonder bread and sprouted grain bread, or even fresh sourdough from the bakery. Farro, rice, quinoa, or any of the other myriad grains are probably preferable to pasta. Some hummus with fresh vegetables? Awesome. After all, the countries with the lowest instances of heart disease are those that eat lots of veggies, whole grains, and legumes, and limit their meat consumption. And they drink red wine. I’m about ready for some of that.

Moral of the (really long) story? Don’t demonize food. Don’t expect physical miracles from a certain way of eating because other people have had success because we’re all so different. You doing you is not the same as Sally doing Sally. Most importantly, while its important to pay attention what you stuff in your maw on a daily basis, and less processed food is most likely the best way, its not worth stressing over every bite, because doing that, will bite you in the ass.

BONUS!  Here’s some stuff I learned and thought about over the month. Bits of info I might pass on. Sorry if this is a bit scattered.

  • Meal planning is generally a good idea when possible, because you end up wasting less food
  • My knife skills are much better
  • My relationship with the kitchen is better in general
  • My relationship with food is improving
  • You can make a really good ranch dressing without dairy
  • I eat until full, and not beyond, and that feels good
  • Finally used that spiralizer, and let me tell you, sweet potatoes “noodles” with tomato sauce and meatballs is really tasty. Its not spaghetti and meatballs, but its good
  • I’m much more aware of what goes into the food I’m eating, and it is worth paying attention
  • Morning walkers are friendlier than evening walkers
  • When you eat that many fresh vegetables and fruit, there is plant waste, and man do I need a frigging compost bin
  • Coconut aminos do not taste like soy sauce
  • Life without pasta and cheese is not the end of the world
  • Homemade mayo is super duper easy, and fun with an immersion blender, and makes me feel like a wizard on some level (mayo is in a lot of sauce and dressing recipes that are Whole30 compliant, plus tuna, egg, or chicken salad, so I guess if you hate mayo, I don’t know what to tell you other than homemade tastes WAY different from store bought)
  • That paleo life, while great for some, is just not for me. I’m not lactose intolerant, and I have no problems with gluten or soy. Eating organic and responsibly farmed meat and fish, while great in practice, is EXPENSIVE when you try to do it for every meal. Plus, meat at every meal just doesn’t feel necessary to me. I’m not doing any major weight lifting or endurance training so I’m not overly concerned with my protein consumption, plus, eating a plant based meal makes me feel good inside and out

 

 

 

 

High on paint fumes

After I posted the last blog, things just started falling in line and getting done.

I got a call Monday about delivery of the new sectional. They could have brought it this past Wednesday, but there was no way I would be ready, so its coming this Wednesday. This was the kick in the ass that I needed, a definite date that I HAD to be done by. I’m not usually big on procrastination because it makes me anxious, but sometimes I guess I need the crunch time to really get rolling.

I found a place that deals in mid-century furniture and sold the couch and chairs. I got a bit less than I would have liked, but considering the cushions needed to be replaced/recovered, I’m not considering it an extreme loss. It was kind of hard to see it go since its been around my whole life, but I know the new furniture will be a welcome change. Paint was purchased on Monday, we got the chimney cleaned Tuesday (it was bad, y’all), and the old couch and chairs were picked up on Thursday. Wednesday I threw tarps over everything and painted the ceiling. What a pain. in. the. ass. I kept getting paint in my eyes. I used up the gallon I’d gotten and had to send Zach to pick up another to finish. He and Jon helped me finish the ceiling. Friday Zach and I were able to get the walls done. Saturday I did trim, and between Saturday and today, the carpet was cleaned.

So now I have this big, empty room.IMG_0401 I have curtains to hang. I have plenty of pictures to put on the walls. The sectional is going between the windows, across from the fire place. Eventually, the carpet will be replaced with wood. It probably would have been smart to do that before getting furniture, but I didn’t think about that until Friday night. The lack of sleep and paint fumes had me thinking Friday that maybe we could install flooring in just the living room, and save the rest for later, but cooler, more rested heads prevailed and said that was pushing it too much.

I won’t lie. Even though the things I’ve been worried about are now done, the past week has been a real challenge. I sat down and cried many times because I felt overwhelmed and scared. I was so anxious about getting things done that most days I was up before the sun. My allergies have been horrendous, probably because so much stuff was moved around, or I’m allergic to latex paint. Tonight it should be decent enough to open the windows, so maybe some fresh air will help.

The best part of all of this is we’ll finally have a place to gather and relax. Zach can have friends over, the TV can be comfortably viewed from more than one or two seats. We can have a fire on nights that are cool enough to pretend its worth it. Generally, the whole room is going to feel warmer and more inviting. Now I just have the rest of the house to contend with.

August, September . . .

August is probably my least favorite month. May is difficult, with my mom’s birthday, mothers day, and date of her death all in one month, but August is a different kind of messed up. By the time August rolls around, we’ve already had a good three months of summer heat and humidity, and I know that it will continue through August with gusto. Nothing really good has ever happened in August, either.

September is moving up there, too. Maybe if I didn’t live in Florida, I wouldn’t be growing to dislike it so much, but its the FIFTH month of summer heat. If I’m over it by August, I’m WAY over it by September. I think I spend the entire month walking around with Green Day in my head. 

 Now its October, and its still hot and humid. Finally we have some lows forecast for the 60’s, but only for a few days, then its back to 90’s during the day, 70’s for lows. I would really like to open a window at this point and get some fresh air in here, but I’m just not feeling the temperatures yet, and won’t be for another couple of weeks AT LEAST. Its frustrating. I’m jealous of the people who are breaking out boots and sweaters.

I feel like I’ve been off track for the past two months. The first eight days of August, I was participating in GISHWHES (its a scavenger hunt. I meant to blog about it, but I’ve just been off and never got to it). It was an interesting experience, and I met some really cool people, but I got so stressed out that I ended up not feeling well. I had been doing yoga every day since April, I believe, so at the end of July I decided to change it up and do this two week “yoga shred” challenge. It was nothing like yoga, I don’t even know why it was called a “yoga” shred. I’ve done some good power yoga, and even though its a lot more cardiovascular and challenging than a lot of the yoga I’ve done, it still felt like yoga, which leaves me feeling peaceful and focused. I digress, during the “yoga shred” I aggravated a muscle in my hip. That was right around the time GISHWHES was ending. I was stressed out and tired, so I decided to give myself a break, and things just haven’t been the same since.

Last month, I gave myself a deadline of October 4th to get the living room painted. Its something I’ve been planning to do for a while (LONG ass while), plus we have some new furniture coming this month, so I thought it was doable. I thought I’d be motivated enough to do it. I did lose a week of September to a really nasty cold, but otherwise, I’ve just run out motivation to get myself moving. I don’t feel like myself, and part of that I blame on what feels like a never-ending, humid, suffocating summer.

I’ve been trying to get some stuff done in the living room this week to get it ready for painting, but every time I do anything, my allergies get awful and I’m sidelined because I can’t breathe or see. I’m trying different allergy meds, but it gets so bad I need to take benadryl, which leaves me feeling doped.  I’m starting to wonder if my allergies are partially in my brain, though, because deep down I feel bad for changing things in this house that have been one way for almost my entire life. My grandparents got the couch and chairs I have back in the 1950’s when my grandfather was stationed in the Philippines. The entire living room set up is not functional for the way we live, and its not my style. Since this is my house now, it should be ok to make it my own, right? But I still feel guilty. Plus, the furniture is large, and I haven’t found it a new home. I’ve said to Zach that I just don’t see how I’m going to work around it to paint the ceiling, walls, and trim, and there’s nowhere else in the house to put this stuff. He sees a way, but I’m just stuck seeing everything as impossible obstacles.

The only thing progressive I’ve done is pick the wall color and make a list of supplies I need (in my head). Zach has been picking up some of my slack and getting things organized and out of the way, and I feel bad about that because he’s been doing manager training this week, along with NBA preseason starting. He’s busy. Jon’s busy too. I feel like it should be my problem since it was my idea, so I’m having a hard time saying what I need to say. “I need help.” I should be excited–I’ve wanted to change the living room for a long time now, so why do I just feel like crawling in a hole, waiting for the storm to pass?

Bummer end to the month

I was doing really well for a while there. I was getting up every morning, working out, eating well, feeling good about myself. Then a couple of weeks ago I just crashed. I lost all confidence in myself. I lost my drive. It came on without warning and it seems to have settled in. I’m staying in bed later, not exercising, not keeping track of my eating like I should be. I really don’t know what happened.

They say exercise is supposed to help with depression. My doctor did say it could make anxiety worse, but this doesn’t feel like anxiety. This is just a pit of despair I’m in. I’m picking fights with Jon, I’m getting upset over little things, and bigger things. Stuff is just not going well in my head.

My dad is home from rehab. He got back a week ago. He’s doing his physical therapy by himself, but at least he’s doing it.  I guess its been pretty uneventful having him back. The quiet of no tv was nice while it lasted, though.

I’ve either acquired athletes foot or I’m having an allergic reaction to something I put on my feet. They’ve been itching horribly the past couple of days. I’ve been using allergy medication and athletes foot spray today and one of them is helping. I’m just not sure which. Seems there are a lot of things I’m not sure of these days.

Cleanse it

I’m on the third and last day of a Shakeology cleanse. I’m getting all of the nutrients I need by drinking three shakes a day and eating dinner, which is a white protein and  green vegetable, but only having that one meal to chew makes me hungry. Also, I’m detoxing a bit again, so I’m headachy and light-headed. Its really been a case of mind over matter, and I’m pleased I’m actually going to make it through, but oh man do I want a steak tomorrow!

Otherwise I’ve been taking time to myself, thinking about things, trying to take care of myself a bit. Had a massage yesterday, gave myself a mani pedi. Today I got my eyebrows waxed, which is SUCH a thrill, but they look better now and that makes me feel better. I also got to pick up my new glasses yesterday. They’re Tiffany so they have little silver hearts by the hinges. They were 50% off making them extremely reasonably priced, too. Can’t beat that.

Zach is doing most of the visiting to my dad. He’s been really good about it. I explained to him why its hard for me to go there, but I still should drop in at some point this week. Zach says he seems to be doing well, so who knows when he may come home. Its pretty quiet and relaxed without him here, I have to admit.

I hope you all are enjoying your summer. What are you doing? I’m just trying to avoid the heat as much as possible!

 

defeat

Last weekend Jon and I went to Lecanto to visit his dad for a St. Patricks day bbq. I know Jon isn’t terribly close to his family, particularly his dad, so since we got the invitation last month, I’ve told him it was completely up to him whether we went or not. Anyways, we went, and it made Jon completely miserable. He said in his own blog that the only reason he went was because it was important to me to “meet the family.” I am a little old fashioned, and being introduced to family does mean something to me. It shows acceptance. But this? I never wanted him to be unhappy. That’s the last thing I want. If I never met his dad because he didn’t want to see him I would have understood. Frankly, I was very nervous around his father, and didn’t quite know what to say. I had an opportunity to have a conversation with him, but I was too afraid and backed out. For the past week I’ve felt like the biggest jerk in the world. Jon says he doesn’t blame me, but its all there, written in black and white, or whatever colors his journal is. It makes me cry now, just thinking about it.

This weekend, as well as Saturday of last weekend, we spent a lot of time outdoors walking. Last weekend was the Winter Park sidewalk art festival. Its held along Park Ave. and the park that sits along side it. The oak pollen has been high lately, and being out a good part of the day breathing that made me wheeze. I think I kept Jon up most of the night because he kept talking to me, concerned about my breathing. I’ve been a little wheezy since. Maybe there is something else wrong, I don’t know, but I felt bad about wheezing so much. Also, every time we walk, I get extreme pain in my calves. Maybe too much laziness has led to muscle atrophy. I just don’t know, but it really sucks. 

I started something called Shakeology. Its a meal replacement shake with a ton of nutrients, antioxidant, adaptogens, etc. I feel like I’m still waiting for its full effect. The first week and a half I was going though detox, and that was rough. I enjoy drinking it. It feels very complete. I’m technically a Beach Body coach so if any of you are interested in their products or programs (Like Insanity or P90X) don’t hesitate to contact me, violetsinblue@gmail.com, and I’ll help you out. I feel like I can be a great coach. I’m very good at supporting people and encouraging them. I’m just not good at doing it for myself. I’ve got two fitness programs and fear of failure has stopped me from starting both of them. I have a good deal of weight to lose, and I know its not going to be easy at my age and fitness level. I wish I had somebody who was gentle and understanding of my fear to help motivate me. Actually I could really use that in several aspects of my life. But I want to get fit. I want to be healthy, I want to get things done. I’m just scared and don’t believe in myself. And when I hurt people I love, it makes me feel worse about myself.

So yeah. I’m having a kind of shit month. Hope yours is better.