Angst Girl

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Stuck

Adult

As the title of this post suggests, I’m feeling stuck. My weight has plateaued so I’m making absolutely no progress toward my biggest goal of getting into shape. And, worse yet, I’m not doing anything about it. For about the last month I haven’t been feeling up to par.

For the first couple weeks I just didn’t feel well and had no motivation or stamina. Then I entered a week in which I slept pretty much around the clock. Now I’m back to feeling weak and with no get-up-and-go. It’s terribly frustrating.

Because I’ve had a heart attack, the first thing I thought of was a problem with my heart so I called my cardiologist and he scheduled an echo of my heart. Luckily, that turned out to be okay and my heart function seems to be normal.

The next thing I thought of was my thyroid problem for which I take levothyroxine every day. A low thyroid level can cause lethargy as well as a host of other problems. So I’ve scheduled an appointment with my internist for this Wednesday. I assume she’ll want to do a battery of blood tests. Hopefully that will get to the bottom of this.

Of course I’d be a fool not to consider a psychological problem due to my history with clinical depression. But it really doesn’t feel like that’s the problem. I didn’t feel depressed when all this started. I do, however, feel a little depressed now because of my lack of ability to get anything accomplished. I sit and look around at the pit that is my house and try to convince myself to get up and start cleaning. To this point I’ve had very little success. Instead, I sit around and beat myself up for not cleaning or doing anything. And that, my dear readers, will make anyone depressed. I’m still open to the possibility that it’s psychological but I want to rule out a physical problem first because that would be easier to deal with. Plus, I can’t get in to see my shrink until April.

I have a number of projects around the house that I want to get to beyond just cleaning but nothing’s getting accomplished on those fronts either. I feel like a prisoner in my own body; like I’m disconnected from my physical self and have no control over it. I was walking three days a week on the track at a local hospital but that has fallen by the wayside. Yet another reason to beat myself up and not make any progress on my weight loss goals.

So what have I been doing with my expanse of time? Sitting around watching bad TV, that’s what. It wasn’t until I got cable TV that I realized how many terrible reality shows there are. I’ve managed to avoid most of them, flipping right past them. But I do have a few favorites (“Deadliest Catch,” “The Voice,” “NY ER,” “Long Island Medium”). I avoid the Kardashians like the plague because I can’t fucking stand them. I’ve been watching a lot of “Sex and the City” reruns and classic TV shows. Oh, and listening to my neighbor’s loud music. That’s always a joy.

Stuck. I’m feeling it in so many different ways and it sucks. I need to shake things up and get off my ass and do something. Or at least cut myself a break and quit berating myself for NOT doing things. Obviously thinking negatively about myself hasn’t helped me get moving so I may as well be more gentle with myself and see how that works. I’ll keep you posted.

Julia

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Suicide With Dignity

Hang on, folks; it’s going to be a bumpy ride.

I am a supporter of the choice of euthanasia for people. I’ll go even farther and say that I believe people without life-threatening physical diseases should also have the choice of when to die. The only thing we truly have is ourselves and it should be our right to choose to end that life in a peaceful, mindful way. Why do we force people, who want to end their lives, to do it in such an awful way when we afford our pets a more dignified death?

If you’ve read this blog at all, you know I’ve suffered from crippling depression for most of my life. There were many times that I wished I could find a way to end it all without having to resort to a messy, secretive mode of death. It took me many years to find medication that helped even out my brain chemistry to a point where I can stand to be alive. I’m currently on medication that helps diminish the effects of the depression, but if this cocktail of medication ever ceases to be effective I would probably once again be put in a position to want to end my life.

I’d done some research in the past regarding the best way to commit suicide. There aren’t many options, people. I don’t own a gun and would hate to go out that way anyway. I have medication but not the information to know if an overdose would kill me or just make me brain dead. The best way I found was using helium because you go to sleep before you pass away. The problem, of course, is how to get it inhaled sufficiently to do the job. And I can’t ask someone to help me because I would fear they would be charged with a crime.

We still are squeamish about helping someone who is dying of an incurable disease to die. I do believe that we will come around eventually on that but I’m certain we will never give people with psychiatric ailments the same opportunities. People say that someone who isn’t in their right mind can’t possibly make a decision like that. But I firmly believe that people know if they’re enjoying life and are contributing to society.

One of the caveats that people have placed on euthanasia is that there must be someone else who makes the ultimate decision about whether the person deserves to end her life as she sees fit. Some people feel that doctors should make this important decision but why should a doctor be entrusted with that kind of decision? If someone is suffering, whether physically or mentally, it should be up to THAT PERSON to decide when her life should come to an end. We shouldn’t have to convince some gatekeeper that there is a good enough reason.

It’s my life and I should have complete control over it. Of course there are details to be ironed out, but there needs to be an option for people who no longer want to be alive.

Julia

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Depression

In addition to my other numerous acquaintances, I have one more intimate confidant…. My depression is the most faithful mistress I have known – no wonder, then, that I return the love.

– Soren Kierkegaard

It is a demon always looking over my shoulder or standing in between my life and me. It is dark and mysterious and the scariest thing I’ve ever encountered. I am in constant fear of being consumed by it and that is a rational fear because it has certainly consumed large quantities of my life and energy and spirit. Not only does it steal your life while you’re living it, it affects your ability to be able to remember your past. When it is present things literally look, smell, and sound different. What is this monster forever lurking in the shadows? My depression.

In moments of strength I realize that my depression cannot do anything to me that I do not allow. But when I am sliding down a steep slope into complete despair that is not how it feels. For most of my life I have felt completely controlled by clinical depression. It has been both a shadowy monster constantly hovering over me and a comforting friend who is always there; I have let it define me for most of my life. It has been a burden to me and those who love me but I was never quite able to shake it and chase away that monster. I have been on medication and off medication, in therapy and out of therapy and still it bedevils me. Sometimes it is content to watch me from afar and I can feel its eyes on me. Other times it inhabits my soul and rearranges my thoughts. And, oddly, at times its presence comforts me.

It is insidious and has affected every aspect of my life. It has threatened my ability to work and certainly forced all the joy out of my life. It is an illness that affects not only the person suffering from it, but also the people who love her. I am thankful that my parents were so supportive but there is only so much other people can do. I have suffered from depression since I was a little girl and it has stolen large chunks of my life.

I often look back on the little girl who I was and mourn for her. Instead of waking each morning, eager to explore the world, I would linger in bed trying to summon the desire to face the day that lay ahead. Even as a child I dreaded every day that I was alive. For as long as I can remember, I’ve been depressed. When I was little I didn’t have words for it, but as I look back I can recognize it for what it was. Although I did not have a name for it, I definitely saw the world through a curtain of gray.

(This is an excerpt from my book, A Life Less Lived. I am happy to say that this is just the beginning of my story.)

Julia

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Inadequate

I watched a documentary on PBS on Monday named “Flying” and it left me feeling inadequate. In fact I almost stop watching it, even though it was interesting, because I was feeling bad about myself. It chronicled the life of a forty-something woman who is a filmmaker and travels the world. She has a ton of friends from different countries and backgrounds. She was living an exciting life and I found myself to be jealous of her. I have a very small circle of friends and am currently unemployed but have always had desk jobs. I don’t travel that much (although I’m on the final countdown to my European trip!) and would like to travel more. She was able to be very introspective and looked to her friends for context and feedback and is able to take negative feedback and make it an opportunity for personal growth.

I found myself taking stock of my life and not really liking what I saw. I’m still fat, I have few friends, I’m on disability so I have no job, I’m not spontaneous, and I’m just not comfortable in my own skin much of the time. I finished the documentary in tears. I know I shouldn’t covet someone else’s life but I just couldn’t seem to help it.

The more I thought about it, though, the more I realized that I just couldn’t live that life even though I wanted to. I’m an introvert (see THIS LINK. It completely describes me) and I need to get comfortable with that. It’s who I am. I’m working on losing weight, I’ll eventually have a job again, and I have little need for a large circle of friends. I need to find a way to be okay with where I’m at in life but it SO wasn’t what I imagined it would be. I mourn for that loss. But I need to stop getting stuck in the mourning period and move on with life as it is or make the necessary adjustments to change it.

I also need to cut myself a break. I’ve had difficult things in life to deal with (as we all have to some extent) and I’ve been able to come out the other side still intact. Depression consumed many years of my life and being overweight has inhibited me from reaching my full potential. As a residual effect of the depression, I tend to get stuck in the past because for so many years I didn’t see a future for myself.

The facts are that I’m a very compassionate person, I’m smart, have good common sense, love deeply, I embrace the differences in people, am a good problem-solver, and I am creative. I need to embrace the good in me and live from a place of gratitude and self-love rather than jealousy or grief. I couldn’t live her life because I am me and have different strengths and struggles.

I can intellectually realize all these things but have never been able to absorb them and believe them. It’s something I’m working on and will continue to work on the rest of my life I’m sure. With what do you struggle?

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A Pain in the Knee

The continuing saga of my knees. The latest chapter involves an injury that occurred Sunday. I stepped into my house and felt a searing pain in my left knee. That’s right, I was STEPPING INTO MY HOUSE. For fuck’s sake. It hurts really bad (worse than other knee injuries I’ve had) and I’m now walking with a cane. Or I should say hobbling with a cane. That just pisses me off. Is there no end to the negative ramifications of being fat?

Due to the injury and limited mobility, it’s easy for me to get depressed. I have a history of clinical depression but I’m on some good medications now so I’ve been feeling pretty good. But I’m feeling depressed and worried about the trip to Europe I’m supposed to take in October. My usual knee pain was going to be enough of a hindrance but if I’ve seriously injured my knee I don’t know what I’ll do.

So I’m sitting here with my leg up and iced and I pick up the phone to make a call and there’s no dial tone. Nada. Zip. Zero. I unplug the phone and plug it back in. Nothing. I check all the other phones in the house and they’re all on the hook and none of them has a dial tone. I get on my phone company’s website and that’s about useless. I’m trying to figure out what to do when I suddenly remember I have a cell phone. Duh. I know that sounds stupid but I rarely use it; I really only have it for emergencies. I call the lovely phone company and inform them of my trouble (after a maze of automated bullshit). They first inform me that the minimum charge, if the problem is on my end, is $85.00. Crap on a cracker that’s expensive. But he checked my line and said there was a short in the line so it’s a problem on their end. He said they would have it fixed by 7:30 PM the following day.

And that’s how I came to where I am now: sitting in my recliner with a sore knee, depressed, and without communication with the outside world. NOT a good combo for me. I’ll live through it and there are certainly worse atrocities in the world. But I’m just feeling a little helpless and lost right now. I go to the doctor tomorrow morning (showering should be a joy) so maybe I’ll have a course of action after that. I’m not actually going to the doctor for my knee; I need to talk to him about some lab results, but while I’m there I’ll discuss my knee with him. He’s the king of referrals so I will not be surprised if he just dumps me off on another doctor.

Ok, let’s say something good about the day. I found a portable, folding stool to take with me on the trip and ordered it thanks to my mom. That way I’ll have a place to sit down if I need it no matter where I am. There, that’s something positive. Good girl, Jules!

 

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The Book

Welcome to my little corner of blogland! I’m very happy to announce that I’ve published a book, A Life Less Lived, and it’s available on Amazon.com. You can purchase it in the paperback edition or the Kindle edition. The book is a personal memoir about my struggles with clinical depression, sexual abuse, weight, and gastric bypass surgery. It sounds like a heavy book but you’ll be left with feelings of hope and optimism.

This blog is a further examination of these topics as well as my feelings on life and people in general.

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