Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Proof is in the Pudding

Despite the title, I didn't actually have any pudding this week.

Instead, I had:

Macaroni and cheese (box style, the kind with the squeeze packet of cheese)
Chocolate Chip Cookies
100 Calorie packs with honey wheat pringle sticks
Sandwiches on potato bread
Bread crumbs
White pasta
Crescent dinner rolls
Rice cakes with chocolate mint drizzle

I wish I could have enjoyed it more.

I've been trying really hard not to write much recently. Doesn't that seem silly? I mean, this is my blog, and you all come because you like to read what I have to say.

Truth is, I've been sort of ashamed.

I'm sure I've told you all that I'm manic/depressive. Mostly, I have it under control by simple tracking. There are certain things I habitually do when I'm getting ready to go into a downward spiral. (The big one is scratching. When I get upset, I start scratching my legs. During really bad periods, I've been known to actually draw blood. And, just so you know, human fingernails are filthy-dirty even under the best of circumstances, and I usually end up getting those scratches infected. Loads of fun!)

I used to be on medication to regulate my moods, with sedatives prescribed for me when I would have panic attacks.

Have you ever had a panic attack? I don't recommend them for a fun time.

It's been a long time since I've had a really bad one; as a matter of fact, the last time I was having them regularly, they got thrown to the side after I was involved in an actual situation worthy of panic. My mother and I were at a junk shop to sell some action figures and other collectibles when an irate customer came in, started throwing things and screaming at the manager, and threw the manager around into some of his displays and - worst of all - was between us and the way out of the shop! I ended up having to dry swallow my medication because he was frightening me so badly that I couldn't breathe. After that, I didn't have another one for years. Guess my body figured that it didn't need to bother manufacturing panic after that.

I wonder if I could replicate that experience... I could go down to Church Street at 3 a.m....

Not that I'm seriously considering putting myself in an actual dangerous situation.

Well, not really.

The last two weeks have been, in a word, hellish.

I've had panic attacks so bad that I get muscle cramps in my back, sobbing fits that leave me breathless and coping with the very worst headaches. I either can't sleep at all, or I can't seem to wake all the way up. I can't focus on anything. All my projects and obligations have been left undone.

I've been angry and upset, lonely and yet irritable around people. The few times I've been forced by prior commitment to be social, I've been pretending. Honestly, if you asked me to relate an anecdote from those times, I wouldn't be able to produce one. I can't remember what I said, or did. If anyone's noticed, they've been too polite to say anything.

It's been a long, long time since I've been this deep into my depression. And this is probably the first time in my life that I've managed not to engage in self-destruction. Usually, when these periods get particularly bad, I do something crazy. I don't pay the bills for months at a time, hiding the bills and pretending everything is fine. Or I go out and have an affair. There's something heady and wonderful about the sensation of falling in love (even if Love isn't what you're in at all) that provides relief against the bone-crushing darkness.

I haven't done any of that. I've just pulled away from the world. Emails go unanswered. My email game is languishing in my benign neglect. I haven't cleaned the house. Mostly, I've just sat around, watched TV, and read myself insensible.

I'm still working on coming out of it, but I think I am. Finally.

I gained weight this week, .8 pounds... and yet, it wasn't as bad as I was afraid it would be. I could have so easily just kissed off my eating plan for the last few weeks. God knows, there were times when I wanted to. Where the quick, easy relief of chocolate or ice cream would have helped me, brought my mood to closer shallows...

And I didn't.

That's worth remembering.

I gained weight this week. I'm not entirely happy about this. And yet, I know where it happened. White bread and I don't get along, no matter how much I love it. Processed food with its high sodium content doesn't help me. Forsaking my water in favor of diet soda doesn't help. But these are normal things. It's normal eating and normal weight gain. (Also, if my numbers are correct, this is my ovulation period... unlike a lot of women who bloat up around their time of the month, I have a weight-spike about 2 weeks beforehand...)

When I first started weight watchers, I was scared that I would never be able to do this automatically. That I would always be vaguely confused and sure I wasn't eating quite right, or that I wouldn't be able to follow the plan for the rest of my life. And yet, when I couldn't manage anything else in my life, I didn't go crazy with the eating.

That's worth remembering.

I can do this, even under the worst possible circumstances. This is maintainable, not just for the immediate weight loss, but for life.


carla said...

sending you my thoughts and prayers.

life can be tough at times (I so know) and Im proud of you for posting all this. reaching out.

let me know if I can help at all.


SeaShore said...

Take care. (hugs)

Vodka Mom said...

thinking of you and sending you strength. You have come so far, it seems, and are an inspiration to the rest of us.

Unknown said...

I too am Manic/Depressive. I know what you are going through it's tough! I get anxiety/panic attacks while driving stemming from a semi-truck that pushed me off the road in a rain storm. I'm sorry you are going through a tough time, and man your symptoms sound so familiar to me. Hang in there, things will get better!

Martha said...

You are so strong, and really such an inspiration. Keep at it, you know you're worth it!

Anonymous said...

Oh, love. I hate this for you. I know those feelings too well and I HATE, hate, hate this for you.

However. That said...

Improvement and progress in dealing with chemical imbalances is exponential. It's frustrating and devastating that you're suffering these things again - but as you said, you are dealing with them in so much healthier ways. You are so much more able to cope than you used to be. You have gotten better. As I keep reminding myself when I have these "relapses" or whatever you want to call them, the measure of your wellness isn't in not having these times - it's in how you deal with them. And you have clearly made major progress.

Know you're in my thoughts, for whatever that's worth, and that I'm proud of you. There's no way to describe how horrible these things are, or what courage it takes to deal with them without being self-destructive. You've made some major changes, and now is when they show. So you're not perfect? Hell, who would be? You're doing great, and I'm proud of you.



*As a side note, I've had the same experience - that the panic goes away when you've had to deal with a REAL panic-worthy situation. I've heard others say that too. Like it resets the brain or something...

kikimonster said...

I'm catching up on all my blog posts that have gone by, and I just want to say that you are so strong for sharing all this with us. I wish I could help (which is my usual reaction to things) but I know the only thing I can do is give you some *hugs* and encourage you to keep going. Loved the MizFit guest post!