Limitations

Swim today: 15 min.+ hot tub = great routine

I decided not to volunteer today. I’m disappointed with how little I do there and I am just sick of taking the bus. To really nice day out today and went to go on a little walk, by myself. I just tried to take my dog to the mailbox and some idiot was just walking around out there with their dog off -eash, and although it was a friendly dog, it made my dog go crazy and start pulling me when this other dog ran over and tried to play with him. I got all tangled up and re-opened the bad cut I have on my finger.

Pet peeve of the day: when people don’t leash their dogs!

Check out this post by Heather at sideofsneakers.com. Our stories are so similar, although I canโ€™t/am too scared to do the exercise she does. I wish the best for her. Like Heather, I can remember the exact day my nerve disorder started almost two and a half years ago: July 3, 2009. After a relapse last month, I am feeling better the last couple of weeks though. So thankful for that. I also just have to concentrate on swimming. What is getting me the most down is the limitations in my career plans which makes me so disappointed. I just have to keep going and realize that most people wonโ€™t ever understand, but stick up for myself with disability accommodations in the workplace and school!

Giving up Guilt and Mt. Baldy

Some things you must read that I am thinking a lot about:

  • Rachel Wilkerson (LOVE her blog!) and how she stopped formal workouts without becoming unhealthy. I have some interesting thoughts on why this works for a lot of people and how not worrying so much about formal exercise helps me in dealing with my nerve disorder. I really thought about this after I read her post. It’s something that I have gradually come to feeling more comfortable with. The thing is, I LOVE LOVE LOVE to exercise, no joke. But I also realize that using exercise as my only coping skill for my anxiety has been too hard on my body in the past. And also, now that I can’t do that much formal exercise, I feel upset about it all the time in the sense that I miss something I love, but I also worry all the time that the limitations will affect my body and that affects my body image and leads to problems and worries about that. So over the years and months since the onset of my nerve disorder, I have had to come to see how much activity you can get in a day bustling around cleaning and stuff, and also that my gentle workouts are good for me and that they are enough, they don’t mean I am lazy or even unhealthy. My swims and short walks are what are right for me right now. I love them and I want to enjoy them. I just like that word gentle. I do wish I could work out harder a lot, but it’s not terrible what I can do, it’s good for me. And I listen to myself.
  • And even better, her post on how much healthier she is doing since she gave up feeling guilty about every little thing (her “sorry, I’m not sorry” attitude). I have been thinking about this a lot, how much better I would do if I just OWNED my own life, gave up worrying so much about others for things that really don’t matter to the detriment of myself. I really focused on doing this today, and it really helped. NEED to continue that mindset.

Today, we went on a drive to Mt. Baldy in the San Gabriel Mountains. Again, SO refreshing, and got me out of my funk today and really saved me. I just loved the smell of the pine needles and the mountain air, and thought of home in Colorado and how the mountains are such a part of me, in my bones. I felt ALIVE again, that feeling I covet so much.

Near Mt. Baldy, San Gabriel Mountains

Then we took Ralph to the dog park, our first time there, and that made me SO happy too. He had so much fun!

How do you conquer guilt? Is it a problem for you? It invades my life every day.

When was the last time you breathed that fresh mountain air?

PA School: Timeline

I have to constantly, constantly, talk myself up about applying to PA school. How I’m going to go about it, that I can do it, not to get anxious about the process, etc.

Today I felt so restless and purposeless and unfulfilled, as usual. ๐Ÿ˜ฆ It’s such a struggle. Then I get this fear going that it will never end. Then I become immobilized… Again.

So today I made a timeline. It reminds me to go one step at a time. It also reminds me of what I need to do, and give me a sense of accomplishment as I check off pieces of the plan.

Timeline:

  • June 27-28: Finish application essay
  • After 4th of July trip (by June 11th): Set up shadowing with a PA
  • By July 12th: Order transcripts
  • By July 18th: Ask for rec’s
  • Register for a couple of classes by July 20th
  • Submit application by 8/31!

Great swim today! ๐Ÿ™‚ I love summer! Anxious to go on more walks; my foot kind of hurts right now. But I have enjoyed them today and I’m going to go on another one after dinner.

It helps me so much to think of what nutrients are in my food. It’s actually fun. Tonight I had:

  • Chicken breast baked with Caesar and Lemon Pepper – PROTEIN! My main focus right now is making sure I get enough protein every day (along with my New Year’s Resolution of taking my multi-vitamin every day, which I am kicking ass at!).
  • Roasted potatoes with basil, salt, and pepper – fiber, actually a modest amount of protein, iron, and a good source of Vitamin C (if you eat the skin, which I always do).

Do you make timelines for yourself? Do you stick to them?

What is your favorite way to cook chicken breasts? I get a little bit grossed out by them, so I prefer them chopped up in a stir fry, which is what I am making tomorrow night!

The Pain Experiments

My life is sometimes a series of pain experiments.

One such experiment occurred this morning.

So, we have my continued transportation situation going on (to the pool, the only place I care about going).

So today, while waiting for B to wake up (still waiting…but the guy starts the swing shift today so I will give him a break), I decided to try out driving his SUV…to the pool. It went okay. It was not a very well-done experiment because I drove there and then turned right around and came back, so my pain isn’t really indicative of what it would be like to drive there, swim (thus resting my foot for awhile), and then drive back. Trust me, at home in Colorado, this made a huge difference. {I will probably never stop calling Colorado home.}

My initial thoughts are that this is do-able, much more do-able than the bus. But I still don’t want to push it and do it everyday. I am hoping we can come up with a schedule. Like Tues/Thurs I wait for him and we both go when he wakes up at noon, Fri/Sat he drops me off, Sun/Mon/Weds I drive myself. That would be three days a week of driving. I think I can handle that. We will see how my foot recovers today, but I think that will be okay. I just want to KNOW what a general schedule is like.

The important thing now-a-days is not so much that it hurts WHILE I am doing something, but how long it takes to recover afterward. That is what I have made so much progress with. Recovery time gets less and less all the time (knock on wood). ๐Ÿ™‚

So right now it’s actually not feeling terrible, though it did on the way home. Hmm…I will think about this.

You think you are sick of hearing about this?! Imagine being B…figuring out this situation is all I talk about!

In other news, I am getting basset hound fever…I miss Deeter, my basset who died in August. Someone needs to save me from this, because, trust me, basset hounds are the biggest pain-in-the-ass dogs ever!

Deeter soon after I adopted him from the pound, about 9 months old

Just doin’ it

Ah Nike. Just do it. One of the greatest ad slogans of all time. Really inspiring actually.

Today, I just DID it.

I am trying to work on this: just making a decision and going with it. Not analyzing every little thing and then being so indecisive because I don’t want to make the wrong choice. Also, not whining and regretting things later. Just saying,ย  okay I did ‘X”, it’s over, move on.

Today I decided: I am just going to frickin’ TRY the bus. See if I can walk to the bus stop, see what it is like to ride it to the pool. Decided this last night actually, and just went with it this morning.

It was a 3-hour affair to swim for 25 minutes at a pool that is 3 miles away. Yes, you heard me…three hours. It involved more walking than I would like. But I think I can do a different route next time that involves less walking. It wouldn’t be something I would do a lot, but it is an OPTION to get out of the house and go to a coffee shop or something when I am really going crazy.

I rode the Omnitrans system of San Bernardino County. The bus drivers were REALLY nice and helpful. However, the bus stop was farther from our apartment than I thought, which annoyed me, and on the way there, stupid Google maps that the public transit systems use (RTD in Denver uses it too) always tell you a route that really is not the best or closest, so I had to go a WAYS once I got off the bus to the actual Bally’s building. I was in a lot of pain by the time I got there. By a ways, I mean 4+ blocks, which is a whole lot for me! This was annoying because there were two stops closer that I saw on the way!

But I made it there, and on the way back I used one of the closer stops and asked the bus driver for directions, which were much more efficient and involved less walking than what I found on the website. So if I do that next time, the main walking will just be from the bus stop to and from my apartment. This is not something I want to do a lot AT ALL, but as I said, it’s an option.

*Also found out, after talking to the manager, that they WILL start heating the pool here at the apartment complex in two weeks. The pool is smaller than I would like, but that is an option too. I will probably vary all of these things and have B take me on the weekends, which is three days a week since he only works four.

NEW EXPERIENCES: Since I have been here, I have been to three new stores/places that I have always wanted to try. Some thoughts…

  • IKEA: Had never been to one until last weekend. Wow. It is huge and crazy and cheap and they have a crazy restaurant inside that sells Swedish food AND daycare for kids while you shop! We thought it was crazy that they sell black chairs but no black tables (and very few brown chairs to go with the brown tables). The guy who worked there said that the black chairs go with the brown tables (uh, no…). We ended up buying a brown solid wood table elsewhere on sale that is MUCH nicer, but we will probably go back to IKEA to get a bed frame. However, I will not be going in next time because I cannot handle walking around a ginormous store like that!

  • Trader Joe’s: Strangely, with all the natural foods stores and products in Colorado, we don’t have Trader Joe’s. So this was my first time going to one. It really wasn’t what I expected at all. I thought it would be just like Whole Foods but slightly cheaper, and look like the inside of a whole foods store, with the deli, etc. Instead, I found a pretty bare, decoratively-speaking, store with just rows of aisles. I also had no idea that they were so cheap because they basically only sell their own brand. I was disappointed to find that they sell hardly any gluten-free products! Wasn’t expecting that. But they did have a lot of other awesome stuff and the prices were great! Will definitely go back. ๐Ÿ™‚

  • The Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf: While I had to wait an hour for the next bus to come, I found myself at a stop right next to one of these. Totally lived up to my expectations – awesome! Excited about that. I have worked at a lot of coffee shops, and while we all love Starbucks, I actually think their coffee is really poor quality stuff. You can notice this when you try their drip coffee (the espresso drinks are all so masked by sugar and other ingredients that they are fine, good even.) But The Coffee Bean was delicious! ๐Ÿ™‚

Tomorrow, I am going to do a big summary and update post on my nerve pain/disorder – so that I can replace the link on my about page and for anyone who doesn’t know.

Also, pictures coming later today: engagement ring and photos of the apartment and new area. ๐Ÿ™‚

***

What do you think of IKEA, Trader Joe’s, The Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf?

Things I HAVE to do every day

I have to swim every morning. I just have to. I have to swim every day. And it has to be in the morning. I have to create that little routine for myself or I get LOST, and that swim is the cascade for the rest of the routine. I need that right now. Sometimes, when I am really busy with other things (which is rare right now), it won’t bother me not to, but right now it is the most important thing I can do to take care of myself.

Last night, I promised myself, “I make it happen that I can go tomorrow!!!” And get a lot done, and take care of myself. I am going to take a class this summer and one this fall at the closest community college (the two pre-req’s I still need for PA school). The summer one starts June21. I just have to keep that in my head, that I will have SOMETHING to do then! And until then I can have a GOOD ROUTINE and know that B will be here too!

So B took me to the pool this morning at Bally’s (really like their pool there, getting a membership —> it’s warm and OUTSIDE!). He lifted while I swam. We left the house at 5:30am, but that was fine. As long as I get to go in the morning, I am happy. ๐Ÿ™‚

I went crazy on Monday pretty much. I can choose not to go to the pool, but when I feel TRAPPED here, that is when it really gets to me. (Remember I can’t drive…well, not more than a mile or so without A LOT of pain…so I don’t do it or I won’t be able to walk all day.)

I just found out that they don’t heat the pool at the apartment complex at all. That means the lady totally lied to me when we chose this place. The agent right now just said that it will start heating up ‘naturally’ soon as the weather gets warmer. I am sure that is true when it gets to be 95-100* here in the summer, but what about now? Freaking out! What am I going to do?

So I think I am going to ask B to take me again tomorrow. For some reason I feel so bad about it. He has to be at work at 8am. I think it will only be for this week though…after that he can just take me on weekends and maybe 1-2 mornings a week and then I will swim in the apartment complex if possible or try (?) to experiment with driving to Bally’s.

It is really important to me to get to go and important for my mental health. I need to somehow stop feeling so guilty about asking for help with that. But how do I know I am not being a burden? At home, in Denver, I can drive to the pool myself because I have a car there and it is only 1 mile from my house. But here I don’t have a car, and the pool is 3 miles away. It would take me 30 minutes to get there by bus, and I am not sure it really is better to take the bus because the vibrations hurt almost just as much.

  • Sorry I am posting a lot (WHY I am sorry, I don’t know. Everyone I know says I say sorry too much.) It just helps me so much to write when I am struggling or antsy; to remind myself of things. I also feel with every comment how much all of you people who actually read this believe in me, and that is so special to me and has helped me through many, many things.

Challenge

My dear friend Kendra, also known as my pseudo-therapist, was talking me through some stuff today and gave me a great idea.

She said that instead of dwelling on the bad things (see last post), I should look at this time as a challenge and almost literally make it a game. She talked about how she does this at work, and honestly I used to do this at work too. I never got stressed out about work, because I just looked at deadlines as a challenge like this and never took petty lab-gossip seriously. I get so stressed about little things, but I was always proud of how I was cool at work like that. It really ended up making me a better employee.

So for me now, it will kind of work like this: setย out one or two challenges for the next two weeks. You have to really work your mindset like it’s a game, like being slightly competitive at Monopoly but it isn’t the end of the world if you lose one day. You might actually have had more properties this game than the last one at least. Then you work at it but don’t get so hard on yourself.

Okay, I actually hate Monopoly….moving on…:)

So MY challenges are these:

  • Challenge: Swim every day until my arms hurt and then on the day I can’t go, just do more mini-walks and treat that day the SAME as a swim day (as far as not judging myself and using coping skills….which I often give up on when I can’t swim). It’s not that I only feel worthy when I swim, not at all, just that it helps me FEEL so much better and I shouldn’t deny myself it because I am not deserving of it, because I AM!
  • Challenge: I have this huge fear going on about getting a panic attack or not being in control of myself and using negative coping mechanisms when I don’t even want to anymore. Then, they often happen out of the fear itself! So when I panic or feel the urge to “mess up” (my code word), I don’t want to overthink it. I am just going to do as many DBT skills as I can, write them down, and SHOW PEOPLE what I did. I plan to add that to the bottom of my blog entry every morning for the day before and/or e-mail it to B every night if that isn’t good enough. He is being gracious enough to let me do that, nice man. ๐Ÿ˜‰ I also have a spreadsheet thing that is printed out that I mark the skills down on during the day. I used to do that a lot and it is SO helpful. Then you can see all the skills you have to choose from and feel proud when you check one off!
  • Challenge: Let the past go. Move on from HERE. Just focus on myself.

I know I say a lot of things about what I am going to do on this blog, but this one I really am. ๐Ÿ™‚ I need some accountability, somewhere to check in and just send this progress out into the world. I am referring here to writing down the skills I used at the bottom of each day’s entry for the day before. A big goal for me will be not having to be perfect with this, just setting out the good things I did do. Kind of like my worth journal.

My worth journal, FYI, is a journal I do whenever I am feeling worthless (a HUGE problem for me, especially being unemployed). I write down: Worth for Todayย .

And then I just list everything that I accomplished, from swimming to applying forย X amount ofย jobs, to researching or working on school applications, to cleaning and cooking (after that I write WHY it gives me worth…because I helped my mom who works full-time so she doesn’t have to do it). I will also write, “I coped well with _________” because I think using DBT skills counts for something! You can write down helping a friend, anything! I write down my volunteer work with the dog rescue a lot.

I know we should all feel worth just for being US, but honestly, I can’t always do that. I can rarely do that. So this helps me a lot. It shows the big things I accomplished and the little things.

What positive coping skills are you using lately?

New med

Wow. I am loopy from this Cymbalta (aka duloxetine…if I am going to be a pharmacist, I really need to start calling things by their generic/compound names…but the brand names are so much easier!).

I almost might take it every other day for a week so I can function. I am so sensitive to medication. I slept for 15 hours last night! But I feel calmer and that is so nice and appreciated. Yeah, I think I will do it every other day for a week. And consider again if I should take it at night. I can’t decide. Maybe 5pm?

So, so far the side effects aren’t too bad:

  • mild nausea, off and on
  • sleepiness/loopiness
  • dizziness
  • weird dreams! (common with drugs that affect norepinephrine)

So FYI: I am taking/trying Cymbalta for my anxiety, which is disabling and severe, and for my nerve pain. Hoping it will knock out two birds with one stone. I tried for SO long not to take an anti-depressant again but my brain is so biochemically messed up I decided I need to love myself enough to give it a reprieve.

Going to go swimming in a few. ๐Ÿ™‚

Then my dad and I are going to go try out FiveFingers and see how they would work. I think it’s pretty hilarious that I want FiveFingers so I can go on 1/5 of a mile walks. Sigh…maybe someday I will be able to make it farther.

Okay, no real point of this post today!

I will see B. in 9 days!!! I can’t believe it. ๐Ÿ™‚

 

Exciting News from MTV

Something I have been working on: how to ACCEPT ‘no’ or ‘it’s okay’.

I am getting much, much better on SAYING ‘no’ myself when I don’t want to do something.

My problem remains with how to accept a statement from someone else. For instance, my new therapist is REALLY far way – 40 minutes drive on Fridays. I asked my dad if he minds taking me there (Friday is the only way I can go and she is the only eating disorder specialist who works on Fridays with my HMO). He said “No, I don’t mind” a couple weeks ago, but I have been constantly worrying about what a burden it is to get a ride there (2 1/2 hour escapade). So we decided to try it out last Friday and it was really far but I really liked her. So I asked him again and he said it’s fine. So I just decided to do my new policy:

  • Completely give in to believing what someone says. If they aren’t telling the truth, it is THEIR problem for not being able to say “no”, not mine.

EXCITING NEWS TODAY! I found out that the new season of Jersey Shore starts JANUARY 6th!!! My life is going to be so complete in January! B. is coming home AND Jersey Shore starts again?! They might beat out the countdown to B’s return on my calendar. Haha…just kidding.

Okay. I really do like Jersey Shore though. It’s like the highlight of my week when it’s on. Such a great escape from my mind.

ALSO EXCITING —> I am to fly out to see B. Jan 8th to 15th! He is scheduled to come home right before that so I hope he isn’t late. As usual, I am nervous about working out the swimming situation, I know two in town but I don’t know if I can drop in or if I will just have to bullshit them and ask for a week-trial pass and pretend I still live in town. But if I can get that settled, I will be so excited. I wish I could just stay with him for awhile (provided the pool situation is worked out) but I know I need to do things here too.

Doing things here” means *therapy*. Bleh. Sometimes, a lot, I feel so pressured about therapy because of my family. I just want to go to me. And if I will do better in Tennessee than being at home with all these myriad of triggers, it annoys me that I feel obligated to stay here. They just don’t understand that, how much better I do out of this house. But I KNOW that, so I just have to decide what is best for myself.

I read this article lately about dealing with the holidays. It was talking about how we all revert back to our inner 12-year old when we are at home. I apply this especially living back at home, but it can be going home to visit or even just Christmas Day itself when everyone descends to the same place together. Anyway, the article said to acknowledge that this is normal and that everyone experiences it, but also to repeat to yourself over and over, “I am an adult. I can make my own decisions. I am me now.” I have been doing this a lot and I think it is really empowering and reminds me that this is true, which boosts my confidence for coping and releases that trapped feeling a little bit.

I also read an article about dealing with family interference, particularly pertaining to eating disorders. The best thing I took away from it was to realize I don’t have to be accountable to anyone but myself, because that is all that is worth it at the end of the day. I don’t have to explain anything to anyone or feel bad about myself. I just have to stay focused on myself and my goals, and most important for me is retaining who I am and who I want to be.

I CANNOT WAIT FOR THE HOLIDAYS TO BE OVER! But I am keeping in mind two things to get through:

  1. Keep repeating again and again the same thing above. I am an adult. I get to make my choices. I am working on setting up important things for my future. I am going to move out of here soon.
  2. Keep in mind my goal for the month of December: to be conscious of others’ stress and not just my own – to be more kind. So I don’t want to make the season hard for others just because I don’t like it.

Carl and the Ladies

I usually go swim about 9 or 10am.

On weekdays, this just happens to be during the old ladies’ water aerobics class.

There are three lap lanes. Usually it’s just the ladies taking up half the pool and then me swimming my laps in the lanes on the other side.

They are very amusing.

I won’t go into too much about the trauma that happens when my timing isn’t right and I hit it so we all end up in the locker room at the same time. Let’s just say that they have no qualms about walking around and having full conversations in the nude about their husbands, medical appointments, grandchildren, and house maintenance problems. They will just talk for 5 full minutes without any clothes on. Sometimes they talk to me like this. And there are 20 of them. It is interesting. I’ve gotten used to it. Go them. Now it only bothers me when they talk about sex (that happens a lot more than you would expect and isn’t anything you want to know about).

Anyway, the point of this story is Carl. My favorite days are when Carl comes to class. He is the only man in an aerobicizing sea of swimming elderly ladies (who do more talking than actually exercising).

Let’s just say that when you’re old….there aren’t that many men left compared to how many ladies are left. Thus, Carl is quite popular for that reason and for being the old male around.

He gets swarmed like a bunch of teenage girls spotting Justin Bieber.

“Oh my gosh. Carl’s here today.”

“Hi Caaaaarl! Saved a spot for you in the shallow end.”

“Oh hi Carl. SO glad you could make it today. Isn’t this crazy weather we are having.”

At first I judged Carl for being the only man doing water aerobics. Then I figured out he is a genius and this is all part of his plan, like a guy walking a puppy.

Just as long as no one sleeps with Carl and then talks about it in the locker room, I’ll be good.