Done With Diets

It has come to my attention that I am incapable of dieting.

Properly, I’m incapable of dieting properly.

A little bit of background: I used to be overweight, a hangover effect from being on an inappropriate dose of seroquel. Then I changed to Zeldox, and lost 25 kg.

If you’re reading this and think losing weight will fix your body issues I hate to tell you but losing weight for me brought a range of new body issues. I was happy with my body before I lost weight but now my body just feels like a work in progress.

To make matters worse last year while dealing with increased seroquel, stress from lack of sleep and trying to get my drinking under control I gained 10kg. This time I wasn’t ok with being overweight and my body image took a nosedive. So I set about trying to lose that weight.

To start with my weight loss attempts were decent. I managed to lose 7 of the 10 kg by exercise and an appropriate caloric deficit. But then I stalled, and things fell apart.

You see, while researching nutrition to find the best way to healthily lose weight, I realised that after I first lost weight I was eating far too little. Part of this was due to the reduced appetite that came with starting zeldox, and part of it, I realise now, I was scared of putting weight back on because I knew it would make my already precarious body image worse. I was losing weight eating more than how I maintained my weight for over a year.

So when I stalled, I got it into my head that I need to eat the same way as I did at my lowest. And that’s what I tried to do, for a bit. But purposeful restriction ended up being very triggering.

For the past few weeks I have been terrified of certain foods, and developed this curious habit of binging in the morning. I get up, weigh myself, and regardless of what the scale says go straight to the fridge.

During this time I had a relapse with my drinking. After staying dry for months I started binge drinking at night. I have had these kind of relapses before and it usually happens when I try to stick to a restrictive diet. I would starve all day, then drink a bottle of wine. When you’re drunk you will make bad choices when you want to eat and this is what ended up happening.

While all this was going on, ironically the thing I was trying to avoid happened – I gained back a couple of kilos.

Yesterday, while I was feeling miserable after being full of wine and a massive meal I came to the conclusion that I can’t diet anymore. I just can’t. It’s too triggering.

So does this mean I’m going to eat whatever I want, whenever I want? No. I will try to eat well, but I will allow myself to indulge occasionally. It means I am focussing on health, not weight loss.

When I see influencers – usually plus size, saying that they were focussing on health, not weight loss I didn’t understand it. Wouldn’t health mean weight loss? But now I do. Framing clean eating around losing weight it too triggering for a lot of people, and I realise now that I am one of them.

So for now, the focus is accepting myself at the size I am. I did it before I lost weight, I can do it again, surely.

Mac

Advertisements

It’s Ok Not to Enjoy Christmas

When I was a teenager I was sitting in my room crying at midnight on Christmas eve. My Mum came in to see why my light was still on and asked me what was wrong.
“I just feel like I’m going to have a terrible time tomorrow because I feel terrible. You’re supposed to enjoy Christmas.”

 
I’d been having a bad time with my mental health for pretty much all of my teen years and along with feeling like shit all the time comes with guilt for not enjoying holidays and family celebrations like I felt I was expected to, and I was feeling that keenly that Christmas eve.

 
Mum said that the holiday season puts unfair expectations on Christmas to be the most amazing day but it’s stressful for a lot of people for a lot of reasons, and I could just work on getting through it. I can’t really remember Christmas that year but I don’t remember it being terrible, it’s as if my mother’s words gave me permission to be not ok allowed me to coast through it with minimal guilt.

 
Mental health problems and other stressors don’t take a break just because it’s Christmas. Sometimes the last thing you want to do is pretend to be grateful for gifts you don’t want, sit through dinner with obnoxious relatives or hear any more of that ghastly Christmas music. But tell yourself it’s ok not to enjoy these things – lots of people don’t – and look toward eating chocolate covered almonds and watching Christmas specials.

 

Mac

A Spoonie’s Checklist For the Holidays

Well, Christmas is less than a week away. Are you completely prepared? No? That’s ok, neither am I.

 
As well as shopping for gifts and catering it’s important to remember that services shut down over Christmas and the new year so those of us who rely on them need to plan our care around that. This is just a brief checklist of things ypu may need to take care of before everything shuts down. I have to note this is just based off my needs, other spoonie friends may require different services that I don’t know about so I apologise in advance for not mentioning them.

 
So, here is a spoonie’s to do list for the holiday season.

 
1. Don’t leave Christmas shopping to the last minute.
If you have anxiety like me, over crowded shopping centres with stressed out people and no parking spaces coming up to Christmas are like the last thing you want to deal with, which is why I started my shopping in November. Unfortunately I’m not done because Pea kind of left it to the last minute to tell me that he wants me to buy for all of his family – including five nieces and nephews – and he has no idea what they whant. (Men, amirite?) I have bought for most of them so far and hope to knock over the rest today, which will be a huge stressor off my back once I know I don’t have to brave the shopping centres any more.

 
2. Plan your grocery shopping to ensure you have everything you need.
Supermarkets will be shutting for a day, or a few days, depending on where you live, so make a list of everything you need to see you through and stock up, there’s nothing worse than running out of toilet paper on Christmas day. It’s important to remember though it is ONLY for a few days – no need to buy enough toilet paper for a month. If you are catering for Christmas make sure you have everything you need – I never go without a list. Yes the shops are stressful this time of year (see above) but you will feel so much better once you are back home with all your supplies.

 
3. Sort out your scripts.
I haven’t done this yet…shit.
The local pharmacy may close from a few days to a week so if your meds are running low it would be a good idea to fill your scripts now. Two of mine need doing, and I need to dig out the repeats and take them up today.

 
4. Sort out your care plans and referrals for the new year.
Hopefully you’ve already done this but if not, make that appointment now. If made now, you can probably get an appointment early in the new year. I need a new mental health plan, they need doing every cander year. The surgery I work at only closes for three days over Christmas and two days over new year but the number of calls I get from people panicking because they have an appointment with their specialist and they haven’t got an updated referral is frustrating. Make your appointments now.

 
5. Plan for the day.
Nothing gives me anxiety like knowing a big event is coming up but not knowing what I’m doing for it. With two families to juggle between I like to know what I’m doing long in advance. Pea is the complete opposite, and takes a what ever happen, will happen approach. Despite my best efforts he has been reluctant to nail down plans with his family but we got there in the end. If you’re like me, you may want to figure out exactly where you’re going for the day, and rsvp.

 
Hopefully Christmas goes smoothly, and here’s to a healthier new year.

Mac

Cymbalta Shortage In Australia – What To Do If It Affects You

Last night, a facebook friend shared a status from one of her friends saying there was a shortage of Cymbalta, or Duloxetine, in Australia. And by shortage I mean absolutely none left until December. Apparently this woman was not made aware until she went to the chemist to fill her script and was told they were all out. And this was a problem because she had waited until she was completely out before going to get more.
(Medicated friends – never ever do this. I don’t as a rule.)
For those not in the know Cymbalta belongs to the unconventional class of antidepressants known as the serotonin – norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors (SSNRIs) For those of us with mental illnesses it is used for depression and anxiety but is also used to treat chronic pain.
This drug is not one of the cocktail that I take – a doctor that I don’t normally see considered putting me on it a couple of years ago but we mutually came to the conclusion that it wasn’t the best fit. But being part of the mental health community naturally I take interest to such a crisis that may affect other spoonies that I know so here we are.
I couldn’t actually find any media coverage of this shortage – amazing! I bet if we had a warfarin shortage or a chemo drug the media would be all over that (insert eye roll emoji) the truth is I couldn’t find any data that indicates how many people in Australia this actually affects, so I don’t know the magnitude of the problem.
So I turned to someone who might know – my dad. He’s a GP, not a psychiatrist but manages quite a few patients on Cymbalta.
Unlike the woman on facebook, he has been aware of the shortage for a few weeks and has been trying to get his patients onto alternatives. Cymbalta comes in two strengths, and he’s not sure if both are out.
So if this affects you, what should you do?
Do NOT go cold turkey, says dad. Ring your GP and your psychiatrist and try to get in asap. If you’re thinking, yeah right as if I can get a quick appointment with a psychiatrist you might be surprised what they might do for you in a dire situation. My psychiatrist’s receptionist told me she doesn’t do emergency appointments but when I rang her directly and told her I hadn’t slept for four days she got me in that day.
So if this affects you, good luck. I hope you find a good alternative, and withdrawal isn’t too difficult.

Mac

What It’s Like to Go On A Hen’s Night As A Problem Drinker

I drank more than everyone else and not as much as I wanted. Story of my life these days really.
So back to last Friday night: I had to go on a hen’s night, for the first time since my drinking became a problem. That meant being in situations where alcohol as readily available, and I had to make the decision to partake and try to avoid being ‘that’ drunk in the group or not drinking at all.
I chose to drink. Bear in mind that I had arranged to be picked up afterwards by my parents so if I was obviously drunk when they got me, they wouldn’t be happy.
The other object of consideration was that the hen is a christian girl, as are most of her friends and the others are mums who have to get up to young children the next day so in that scene, no-one is going to be drinking a lot. If I get black out drunk I will stick out.
The hen’s party consisted of dinner at a fancier pub bistro then bowling at a nearby games centre that serves cocktails. Very sensible activities but with a lot of alcohol available.
With the above considerations in mind I went to the pub. The bride the be was already there, and a few of the other girls were also arriving so we immediately went to get drinks. I took note of what everyone else ordered – a few lemonades, lemon lime and bitters – and when it was my turn thought fuck it, might as well have one to start the evening off and ordered my standard poison, a gin and tonic.
I took my drink back to the table and put it down. “Oh did you get a piece of lime in your lemonade? That’s a good idea.” The maid of honour asked cheerfully.
“no, it’s a gin and tonic.” I admitted sheepishly
“Ah…lemonade with extra then. Nice.”
It is a conscious effort for me to drink slowly but I did that, only allowing myself one sip at a time. I made myself get engrossed in the conversation as I hadn’t seen these particular friends for awhile and the bride was more than happy to talk about all the intricacies of wedding planning. I told myself that I would only have another gin and tonic with dinner.
We had dinner and I tried to be as healthy as you can be with pub dinner (steak and veggies) and got my second gin and tonic. I was appalled when I ordered from a different bartender and he charged me more.
We finished eating and I finished my drink, then the bride said “We’ll wait another half hour then we’ll walk to bowling.”
I found myself thinking, half an hour…that’s enough time to get another drink. No, I told myself firmly, you can wait until we get to bowling.
After we got to the next venue we had to wait for a lane. Some of the girls started playing arcade games and I went predictably straight to the bar and perused the cocktail list. Immediately my attention went to a long island iced tea. Tempting, but I don’t want to be comatose by the time my parents pick me up with I definitely will be if I drink one of those. I settled for a gin mixer and went on my way.
We started bowling which I am terrible at. So many gutter balls. About halfway though they gave us bumpers and strangely my scores went up while everyone elses scores went down. In amongst this I found time for another sneaky cocktail.
Our time on our lane ended and the girls were wanting the go to karaoke but I knew I was just going to keep drinking so I decided to call it a night. I called my parents and they came and got me. I didn’t feel drunk, and nothing was said about how sober I appeared on the ride home.
I guess the biggest thing I’ve learnt on this journey is when to remove yourself from the situation. This is what I keep with me moving forward.

Mac

Just Checking In

 

It’s been a while since I have blogged and I guess I want to update where my life is at now.  It’s not often that I stop and think “hey, how am I going?” and when I do, and am really honest with myself, the answer can surprise me.  I did this recently and after exhaustive rumination I came to the conclusion that I wasn’t going great, and I’ve started putting some habits in place to rectify that.

 

First, the drinking.  It’s funny how drinking and sobriety episodes have become such a major episode of my life – and this blog – but here we are.  After several binge drinking episodes at the start of April co-inciding with my meltdown when Pea went on his weekend away, I realised I had to do better.  And so my energy has gone into stopping binge drinking.  Not drinking altogether, I’m picking my battles.  I went on to have a couple of binge drinking episodes over the next month but there were greater lengths of time between them.  As of now writing this I haven’t had one since late April – nearly a month ago.

 

With binge drinking all but conquered for the time being, I had to be honest with myself and realise that I was still drinking too much in a day, even though I wasn’t getting drunk.  I was drinking most days and I began to realise that it had taken its toll on me, most noticeably in that I have gained about ten kilos over the last couple of months.  Alcohol is a lot of empty calories, plus drinking makes me want to eat junk food.

 

So now my energy goes into losing weight.  I have realised that if that is going to happen, I have to stop drinking altogether which I have done as of last week.  I’m allowing myself a couple when I go out, but if I end up finding it hard to control myself then I will cut that out too.  I know I can lose the weight provided I am able to say no to drinking, I lost five kilos at the end of last year when my weight crept up once I started of seroquel.  I was on Antabuse at the time so obviously I was having no alcohol.

 

Staying sober without Antabuse is hard, it is really hard to say no.  Some people might say why not just go back on it?  I did say in one of my Youtube videos that I want to see if I can stay sober without a drug but truthfully I’m scared of the effects if you do drink.  I’m scared I might snap one day and have one of my binges which on Antabuse can kill you.

 

In my experience weight loss has more to do with what you eat than exercise but I am staying active.  I have thrown myself into roller derby fully, we are training on Wednesday night for two hours and on Friday night for three hours.  I go down to the local netball courts during the day and get on my skates when I have a day off.  I view learning the skills as a project, and I love having a project.

 

I have also started running.  Pea and I have registered for the city2surf again which for non Australians is a fourteen kilometre fun run from Sydney’s city centre to Bondi beach.  I know I have to train or it will be a struggle so I have been going running three days a week.

 

Work has picked up and I am now working a second shift a week.  Two days a week may not sound like much but increases in any activity is hard for me to get used to.  I have a lot of insecurities about work and feeling useless, worrying if I am making a useful contribution to the team but working a second day gives me a chance to develop into the role a bit.

 

Hopefully all these changes will make next month a better one

 

 

 

Mac

 

A Midnight Meltdown

 

Pea went away for the weekend on Friday and, knowing this holiday was coming up, I had gone off Antabuse and was basically looking forward to a weekend of alcohol and junk food binging.  I know that sounds bad, but it is what it is.

 

Before he even left however, the cracks started to show.  I tried to control his packing process from his sleeping arrangements to the food he was taking.  He went to a dirt bike event where around seven hundred dirt bike riders would bring their bikes to a camp site near Kowen in the ACT for two days of riding and camping.  A week before I was calling my parents to see if they had any suitable camping gear, urging Pea, who was rather laid back about the whole thing, to start packing.

 

Luckily there was a camping gear sale at Aldi so he got most of what he needed there.  After borrowing an eski from my parents, he was set.  He didn’t want to take any food – just wanted to fill that huge eski with beer – because he said there would be a food truck there.  At my insistence he took some sausages and bread because with one food truck for seven hundred people you don’t know if a) the food is any good and b) they might run out of food.

 

On Friday, I woke feeling off and called in sick to work.  I went with Pea to do his food shopping and nagged him unsuccessfully to buy more food.  Back home, I hovered around while he did his last minute packing, stressing that he was going to forget something.

 

He left around eleven, and my feelings of uneasiness continued.  I distracted myself by watching some youtube, until midday when I went to the pub for lunch as I do every Friday.  I surprised the lady in the restaurant by ordering “the usual, but only for me this week.”

 

I watched more tv that afternoon and was plagued by the overwhelming desire the have a drink.  The voice in my head kept saying “just have one” but I knew I wouldn’t be able to stop at one, and then I wouldn’t be able to drive to roller derby training.  And even if I did manage to get there somehow, skating drunk is not advisable.

 

I got to roller derby early, and texted Pea to call me, knowing he’d be at Kowen by then.  He did, but the signal kept dropping out and eventually we gave up.  I accepted that I wouldn’t be able to talk to him until he came back.

 

Once training started I felt shaky, and it occurred to me with a pang of anxiety that if I got hurt there was no-one to come and get me.  I didn’t know who I would call.  Pea’s sister lives down the street but I don’t have her number.  My parents live nearly an hour away.  I held onto the wall for nearly fifteen minutes until I could be persuaded to join in.  Later another freshie broke her tailbone which did nothing to ease my feeling of discomfort.

 

After training we went to the pub and I told the girls that my partner had gone away.  They all started talking about how much they enjoyed their partners going away which left me wondering if I’m just tragic, or if we just haven’t been together long enough (I asked my mum this later and she told me in no uncertain terms that no, we haven’t.)

 

Finally I drove back home and the part of the weekend I had been apparently looking forward to could begin.  I started pouring drinks and watching funny shows.  But rather than relax me, the alcohol seemed to have the opposite effect.  Then at around midnight, my heart dropped into my stomach with a realisation.

 

What am I doing?  I don’t want to be doing this.

 

I was only doing this because I was alone.  And I was terrified to be alone.  I hate sleeping alone yet that is what I would have to do because I had drunk too much to drive anywhere.  I turned off the television, poured the rest of my drink down the sink and took my gabapentin.

 

The next day, I woke determined to do better.  I went to the supermarket and bought ingredients to make a healthy lunch.  Then I called my Mum so at least I would be talking to someone that day.

 

Over the phone Mum picked up that I sounded stressed.  She invited me to stay over for the weekend so, after a bit of thought, I decided that would be best.  At least that way I wouldn’t sleep in an empty house.  I took the ingredients for my healthy lunch and no alcohol.

 

It’s now Sunday and I’m sitting in my room at Mum and Dad’s typing this.  My messages to Pea don’t seem to be getting through so the first he’s going to know about this will probably be when he arrives home late tonight and finds me gone, though he will probably be able to figure out what happened.

 

Now that I know how Pea going away affects me I am better able to deal with it in the future, i.e with no drinking, healthy food and not isolating myself.  Once you know better, you do better.

 

I still miss him though.  I guess I’m just tragic.

 

 

 

Mac