Depression and Addiction Lie

The world lost a great one yesterday. While I never had the opportunity to meet Robin Williams, he did touch my life. He was an amazing man. Today’s radio programming of the morning show has been filled with stories of how amazing Robin was. A kind man who took time for everyone.

He was recently here in Minnesota seeking help for his addiction problem. He was getting help. It made my heart happy to see someone that needed help getting help, but sad that he didn’t get privacy to deal with his addiction. I am always thankful for people that can share what truly are invisible illnesses so that people can be more aware of what goes on.

Depression is REAL. Addiction is REAL. Both of these things are often suffered with behind closed doors. When you are in the throws of depression, or addiction you feel alone. Or at least I did. It LIES to you. It is a scary place to be. You close off, retreat and fall into the lies.

It is hard to ask for help, but help is there. It is scary when people offer help, it is scary to let people in. Depression and addiction can be invisible. I hid mine for YEARS.

As the world mourns the loss of a great man, who I can only imagine had no idea just the impact his death would have on the world, I urge you to check on your friends and family. Not check on them about Robin’s death, but check on them about whatever is going on. Take a personal inventory of yourself. Be mindful of your moods.

I have written a few times about my struggles with mental health, and right now i know I am being very closely monitored by my friends, as well as Robb, and myself. Loss of a job, combined with wedding stress is enough to trigger me into a roller coaster of instability. I am thankful that my friends are checking in with me. I have a great toolbox full of resources to deal with the stresses internally/personally thanks to my time in the hospital. I have workbooks, and outside resources, like excercise that I have found in recent years to help me. I also have the national suicide prevention hotline number on a magnet on my fridge. I know that seems silly, but it is there for a reason, a last resort there is always someone there. 1-800-237-8255

I don’t know what I want to accomplish by speaking about this today. I am still processing what happened, however I just really want people to be aware that both depression and addiction are very lonely and scary places to be. They are places full of lies that you can’t tell are lies. It’s a very difficult place to escape, and even if you are surronded with love, it can still be the most lonely place you have ever been.

suicidepreventionlifeline.org

Saying Thanks

So I spoke up in my Weight Watchers meeting today. I do that a lot. My meeting is full of amazing people. You wouldn’t think at 0700 on a Saturday morning people would be so lively but truly the meeting is awesome! The thing about the first meeting of the day on a Saturday is the people who are at the meeting… really want to be there and are truly motivated to, well… get shit done. I am a front row sitter. Studies show people who sit in the front row lose more weight… that isn’t why I sit in the front row… I just like it better there, and I didn’t know about the statistic when I started sitting in the front row. I am always so thankful for all the information all the members have, and I like giving back to my meetings when I feel like I have something valuable to share.
Today we were talking about “BLT’s” bites licks and tastes, but more specifically being accountable for them. I felt the need to bring the group off on a momentary tangent on accountability. Specifically not taking your team for granted. I had gotten myself into a routine with my new job of going to the gym 3 times a week. I had been eating well, and then… they closed our pool for cleaning. This shouldn’t be a big deal they do it every year, and the nice part a about being a YMCA member is I have other locations I can go to.
Instead of going to another location I started just walking as my workout. While it was an okay thing, when the pool opened back up I didn’t head back immediately. It took a nudge, a strong nudge from my support team to get me to get back into my routine.
Once I got back to the gym, after one strong push, Robb said he had hoped that I wasn’t upset that he said I needed to get back to the gym and that he was only doing what I had asked him to do. It was in that moment that I realized how very crucial it is that we thank our support teams when they step up for us. When we ask for help we do so for our benefit. It’s easy to forget that it can be very difficult for those close to us to step into the “danger zone” and mention things that may be deemed sensitive subjects.
For me things like portion control or going to workout when mentioned by people I haven’t explicitly asked to help keep me accountable might be enough to turn me into a raging bitch! It would make me feel vulnerable and violated. When approached by someone I have deemed safe and supportive it puts things in a different light.
I wanted to remind others to thank their support people and not take them for granted. It can be difficult for people to speak up even when we ask them to do so. Just keep this in mind as you move along. If your support person/persons are mentioning things to you, make sure you are thanking them, because speaking up is hard!

Fitbloggin is Days Away!

OMG!! Fitbloggin is days away! The excitement is building inside of me, but I am trying to keep it quelled. I have not set my sights yet on my one don’t miss thing in Savannah like I did last year. Last year was my first Fitbloggin. I was a ball of hundreds of feelings. Portland was a great experience. It was a culmination of so many things that actually led me to be reunited with my cousins whom I had not seen in basically half my lifetime. I was set to travel with friends last year, we had flights booked together and things started changing and I ended up flying out on a flight alone. It was fine, I wore my branded shirt in hopes of someone approaching me at the airport, because I was destined to spend the first several hours alone… or so I thought.

I was so blessed that Brooke approached me at the airport. Turns out she was on my flight! We rode to the hotel together, and bummed around the city a bit. We bumped into bloggers in the lobby that I was stunned to find out knew who I was. I don’t expect anyone to know who I am this year, nor did I last year.

This year my original roommates have had to sadly cancel. I luckily was able to join forces with Liz and will be sharing a room with her for the duration of the trip. (which means I get baby-holder dibs!!) I will miss so many of the wonderful people that won’t be making it this year that I bonded with last year. I know situations aren’t always ideal to get away. Family, work, costs all effect being able to get to the family reunion. Know if you aren’t there this year, you are being carried in peoples hearts, truly. You will be missed.

To those that are coming for the first time this year, please come find me. Last year I was so scared to branch out and say hello to people. I stuck close to those I knew, and I Was afraid to approach people for fear of it being clique-ish. What I quickly came to learn is everyone is so wonderful! We all have stories, and the more you talk to people, the more you are going to want to get to know people! I hope to make more of an effort to engage with people this time, however there is only so much time.

Be prepared to laugh and cry. Be prepared to feel things you didn’t expect. Be ready to try new things and step out of your comfort zone. Be open to opportunities this is a safe place. Be prepared for “the hangover” which isn’t alcohol, but a desire to be with your tribe.

Look for me, and I will look for you, be warned I won’t remember your name. I am horrible with names. I may address you by your twitter handle or blog name. Be in photos! I barely took any last year, this year I want photos and lots of them. Experience the event, and take it in in whatever way you do.

Tweet me/DM me, friend me via the Facebook group and I will give you my cell number to text me if you are worried you won’t have someone to talk to or sit with.

It’s time to dig out those suitcases kids! Kris is Coming to Savannah!

Treat Day

I think I am blessed in a way. My job isn’t one that has “Treat day”. We don’t usually have a ton of snacks in the office. Around the holidays there are treats, I have been known to supply the office with baked good and snacks on an occasion but overall it isn’t a minefield like I hear some places are.
It is a pizza junkies dream as I have mentioned before. I would say 3 days a week or so there is delivery pizza coming into the office. With me being off gluten and dairy it isn’t even asked of me if I want to go in on a pie. … Even before I started my “No Dairy, No Wheat, No Fun” Mantra as the boys here call it I wasn’t much for ordering in except an occasional Sushi delivery, or Jimmy Johns Unwich. I usually bring my food… I don’t get a lunchbreak during my 10 hour day… so I need food that I can eat cold, I strive for things that can sit around. Hot coffee Cold water? What are those things!
One of my new employees called in today to tell me she would be stopping by the office to drop off some paperwork. I said it wasn’t necessary, to which she said she had a treat and “You should never turn down a treat”. My mind immediately went into self-hate-negative space… which it does, but I am learning to recognize, and I though, never turning down things is how I ended up the size of a house. I didn’t let myself stay in that headspace long and told Patty I would see her soon.
When Patty arrived she placed a gallon size bag of cookies on my desk… My eyes went wide like cookie monster ready to go on a binge! I immediately grabbed the bag said thanks so much! Everyone will really enjoy these, and turned to give them to my supervisor without another thought. I plopped them on his desk, without taking one. She looked upset, and I explained in a playful fun way that the guys here all say I am on the no dairy no gluten no fun diet. I said that I appreciated it but that I just couldn’t eat it.
She understood, no drama, the world didn’t end. I have spent a good bit of time thinking about this whole, treat yourself thing. I do treat myself… I treat myself by eating the foods that nourish my body. I treat myself by buying the foods that I like to eat. I treat myself by enjoying a better cup of coffee… I am sorry buy Folgers just isn’t my cup of choice. I will drink it, but I prefer something better. I am not one to blankly turn down a treat but I am one to be selective of what treats I have these days. A treat doesn’t have to be defined as food, it can be getting a new bottle of nail polish, or a new dress. It can be a trip to a new gym to try out a guest pass, or even making an extra deposit in a savings account for something bigger.
It is all about framing what you want and finding and fighting for what you want out of life. For me those cookies… they aren’t the treats I am looking for right now. Yes the looked so good, and I LOVE the thought that was behind them… but I will let everyone else in the office enjoy them, and rest more soundly knowing that I treated myself by making the choice that respected my body.
I may or may not have treated myself to a can of the new Apple-berry LaCroix fizzy water when I came home from work, and I may have even changed my dinner plans with the crockpot cooked chicken to spicy pb2 chicken and cantaloupe. I feel good about my day. The sun was out, the puddles of slop were abundant for splashing in… and now I will retire to bed… on schedule!
xoxo ❤

Focus

So, 2014 is underway… I look at my blog and I have FOUR blogs that I started, and never got back to… Do I lack focus on my blog? Possibly… more specifically I have been reaching out microblogging with my instagram account (Do you follow me over there? my name is KrisGetsHealthy) 2014 the year of Honor, honoring myself, my choices… making sure I am focusing on what I need to do to set my lifestyle up for those sustainable changes we need to make to have a lifestyle stick.

Since I took my new job back at the end of 2011/beginning of 2012 I have had an increase in my bottom line… meaning my rear end… not cool! My focus has been to try and make my life, that WAS working to get my weight down, work with my new 10 hour days of high stress near non-stop desk work.

I found that looking at the big picture was SO overwhelming, in as much as it wasn’t working. You can’t manage everything at once. There is too much to control! I have taken to breaking it down into more manageable parts and I have been trying to establish each part into it’s own manageable little bubble.

The first thing I worked on was to establish a bedtime routine… in my job I need to be sharp, I need to look at the bigger picture, visualize traffic patterns for the time of day, cross reference with the general layout of the state/city in my mind, estimate recovery times from airports, think critically etc etc etc… Dealing with brain fog from fibromyalgia is bad enough some days, add a lack of sleep and my goodness a lack of sleep spirals my brain into a VERY messy place!

I have a fairly strict bedtime that I keep. I am slightly more flexible on the weekend, but not every weekend… and if I do it one day I try to keep the regular bedtime the next. (for example if I am up Friday night, then Saturday night I don’t usually stay up). I sleep with headphones on, (sleepphones actually) that I can pull down over my eyes and use as a blackout mask. This is not to say that I don’t have insomnia come visit me on occasion… I have melatonin and a few herbal sleep support things I can take. There is this awesome thing called Sleep Water that I drink on occasion that helps too. My sleep routine is, I would say, pretty well established, it is a habit. A healthy living lifestyle habit. People that tell me they get 4 hours or 5 hours a night on a regular basis and can’t figure out why they aren’t feeling well, or can’t do X (whether that is focus, or be on time, or lose weight, or whatever) I just want to grab and shake… sleep is a foundational element.

So now that I have that habit well established I am looking at what are the bigger holes in my life… what are the things that are SO IMPORTANT to health, and wellness and well being, that I just don’t have a handle on. One of the things that happens with my job being so busy is that I forget to drink..not just water, but anything… So many night I would come home from work and find that I had only had a cup of coffee in the morning, and then whatever I was drinking with dinner! How horrible for my body!! I took to taking a 3 liter bottle of water with me to work, and I’d work to drink that during the day. I did pretty good with that, since it was in my line of sight most of the day. Having something visually there means I can’t avoid it, I can’t ignore it. However ambient water gets old… it started cold in the morning but by the end of my 10 hour shift it wasn’t exactly what I was looking for. What is a girl to do… if I don’t see it I wont drink it.

The last few weeks I have been having great success at monitoring my water intake with an app from the iPhone marketplace called Plant Nanny… it lets you set reminders to “water your plant and water yourself.” You set your weight, your activity level and it tells you how much water your body needs. I am set to sedentary since I have a desk job, and since even when I hit the gym it isn’t much activity… it would put me at normal at most. The default reminders you can set are every 2 hours between 8am and 10pm, I have mine set to start at 0400 and run till 0500 reminding me every hour to drink. Even if I don’t go get a drink right away when the little alert pops up it at least puts the idea in my head that I need to be hydrating my body. I need to make drinking a routine that comes as naturally to me as going to bed. I need to focus on hydrating my cells, pushing toxins out of my body, and helping my body learn that perhaps what I felt as hunger is thirst, or a combination of both.

So here I am bringing my #Focus to one thing at a time. I can’t do everything, I am spread so thin at work trying to control everything that I am glad to be finding a balance and being able to pick and choose one healthy goal to focus on here in my everyday healthy life. Finding the focus and determination not to give up. Honoring my body by making sure that I am establishing some kind of healthy routine, and making sure that I am putting it into place. The more you do something the more ingrained it becomes.

Do you track your water or do you find it’s just one more thing to try and keep track of? How much sleep do you get a night? Do you try to get 8 hours? What kinds of healthy living routines do you focus on in your life?

Running on Decaf…

Hop in the time machine with me! Let’s navigate back again all the way to second grade and lets watch for a moment.  There I sit at the kitchen table, grumpy and groggy, sad, not wanting to go to school.  This is the year I cut my hair at school, lied about it, got into trouble for it.  I refuse to eat breakfast and it is the morning of the CTBS test, this is the standardized testing for the state.  This is the morning I get a small Peter Rabbit mug full of the blood of life, coffee.

Wayne’s World wavy lines, fast forward…. by the end of high school I would drink a cup before school, take one with me, and continue to fill my coffee mug throughout the day from the faculty pot.  I was downing something like 17 cups a day.  Water… what does that mean I existed on coffee and caffeine free diet coke.  I was forced off coffee, or moreover caffeine when I had my nervous breakdown and went into treatment for my depression in the hospital.  Caffeine is a drug and I was abusing it.

I had a coffee pot next to my bed when I lived with my now ex husband, there was pretty much constantly coffee available I drank it he didn’t.  He was into Mountain Dew and Southern Comfort.  When I saw the bad habits and behavioral patterns emerging that reminded me of how I was back in high school I went off coffee again, cold turkey.

So now I am a real adult, not that I wasn’t when I was married, but seriously I was still a child, I was still too young.  I live in the big city, I know I LOVE coffee.  I have used coffee as a crutch since I moved here.  When I would stay up for 2 or 3 days at a time working nights and trying to have some kind of life, swapping shifts to make social events, I would drink coffee like no one should.  I enjoy the flavor, the subtle differences in different blends, I enjoy savoring a cup of coffee.

Coffee cupI was bringing a mug (5cup home-brewed pot) with me every day to work in the morning, when you get up at 3am to work a 10 hour shift, plus prep time for your shift, and then have someone who isn’t quite on time EVER that is your relief it turns into a 10.5 hour day 5 times a week, coffee seems like it should be a part of the day.  I recently decided, about the time I gave up gluten and my stomach was being so horrible, that perhaps that much coffee was not a good idea.  I have been cutting back my coffee consumption significantly.  No more caffeine, and also no coffee until I have had a liter of water in the morning.  It is supposed to be really good for your skin to have water first thing in the morning, Can’t hurt to start the day with water right?

Have I noticed a change in the no caffeine role in my life yet?  Well, truth is I still have had a bit of caffeine here and there.  There is a small pack of 7.5 ounce cans of coke zero in my work fridge for the simple reason that on occasion my headaches are bad enough that I need the caffeine to make the pills work better.  I want to not be dependent on the caffeine, and while I know a decaf Americano still has a small amount of caffeine in it, I am certain that it is significantly less than what the quad shot tall had.  I still plan on drinking coffee, but only in moderation, not every day.  Like I said I enjoy the flavor, and that is what I am going to focus on, enjoying the flavor of the coffee, sipping not gulping, swirling not chugging.

Is it realistic to think I will never have caffeine, absolutely not, I do not live in a world of absolutes.  I want to go long enough without a significant amount of it in my system that I can feel what kind of effect it has on my body.  So here I sit with my decaf Americano with heavy cream. YUM!

Pepperidge farm still remembers that you can numb your feelings with food

So last night I was headed to bed, and I was watching a bit of TV and a commercial came on and something clicked inside of my head, proof that I am much more aware and awake about the subtext and subtle cues around me of food and it’s influence in our world.  You can view the commercial here and I suggest that you do so you know what I am talking about.

For those of you that can’t view this commercial it is a husband and wife having a conversation getting ready to go out for the night.  The husband is prodding his wife along about not being quite ready to go yet.  She is half in frame with a glass talking about how she has to spend the night with the bosses wife.  Haha it is a big joke we are supposed to laugh at booze being used to lubricate her senses for the night.  skip forward just a bit and we come to find out she is medicateing herself not with a cocktail, (because alcohol is not the answer) but the more socially acceptable form of medication, FOOD!  Now I get it, it is just a commercial, but I actually literally cocked my head to the side and grabbed my bedside table and wrote down Pepperidge farm still remembers… that you can numb your feelings with food.

There is a stigma that ataches itself to an addiction to alcohol and drugs, but somehow the idea that food being used as therapy, and comfort, and hidden eating and being an addiction is somehow ignored and disordered eating being trivialized, joked about and ridiculed is really making me mad.  There is a Sonic commercial where the husband is hiding his eating from his wife, (I believe he is out to eat with his best friend and says Don’t tell my wife).  Is the obesity epidemic and poor nutrition habits of this country a joke to everyone?  Are the skyrocketing numbers of body image issues among not just girls but boys as well resulting in eating disorders not a big enough clue to anyone that this should not be a joke?

I think the fact that the moment i saw what was really going on in this commercial and my mind clicked over and felt it in my mind, and my gut I could tell that there was and is something deeper going on in my life.  I talked briefly in my last post about my cupcake issue.  And how I found a solution to that with making my own.  I don’t want to be swayed by fancy packaging or advertising.  Fruits and veggies are bright and vibrant, and will be coming into season, center isles are full of crap.  The tables have turned marketing professionals you need to change your game!

The answer is to turn off the tv right?  Turn off the tv and go to bed, or for a walk, or 100 other things.  I can only fight for what I know is right for me or my own family, but seriously I understand they are looking for some humor, but this hit a sour and bitter note with me.

What do you think?