Still Holding On: Getting Things Done

Still Holding On: Getting Things Done

I’m still trying to hold on for dear life. My psychiatrist will be back from vacation next week, so I really just need to make it through this weekend. I can do that. I have a lot on my mind, maybe it will distract me from my own depression. I’m doing the best I can not to let my weight gain get the best of  me. I’m still working out, I just finished a 50 minute Zumba video. I’m also doing the best I can with my food, but it can be hard when your meds cause you to be uncontrollably hungry.

I made a plan for myself so I can get through not only this next week, but this next month.

  1. Continue to work out at least 5 times a week.
  2. Stay in contact with friends and family.
  3. Plan and cook healthy meals.
  4. Find all of the shirts and skirts that fit me and put everything else away for now. (It really sucks trying to fit into clothes that are too small every day.)
  5. Contact my psychiatrist next week and begin with his suggestions.

I can do this. Even if I’m doing it while crying, I’m still doing it. The other day, someone asked me how do I do things when I’m so overwhelmed and depressed. The only answer I could think of, was that I just do it. I just do whatever it is that needs to get done. That’s not really a good answer, but I guess I don’t know how I do some of the things I do. I think I stuff my emotions in the moment and then let them all burst later, when I’m at home. It may not be the healthiest way to get things done, but it’s what I know how to do right now.

Cape Cod, Here I Come! (In 2 Months)

Cape Cod, Here I Come! (In 2 Months)

I haven’t slept one wink since I woke up yesterday morning, and I’m not even tired. Besides that, my mom and I got my plane ticket to go to Cape Cod to spend a week together! It doesn’t happen until August, but I’m excited now that I made my final decision. This is the only time I get to have real one-on-one time with my mom. I’m really looking forward to it. We’re talking about doing some things that we’ve never tried before. Plus, I’ll get to see my sister, her husband, and their kids! I overlap my vacation with theirs for about 24 hours. I can’t wait to see them all.

I go to the same cottage that my family has been going to since before I was born. I have so many memories of Dennis Port, MA. The cottage is a short 1 to 2 minute walk to the water. I don’t like to go in the water, but I enjoy lying on the beach. It’s a private beach, so it’s not crowded, which makes it easier for my anxiety. My husband wants to come, but we just can’t make it work this year. He’ll be coming back to Connecticut with me in the beginning of December for my mom’s birthday. Maybe he will be able to come with me to the Cape next year. I worry about him being on the beach. He has 3rd degree burns on over 30% of his body. It happened over a decade ago. He’s perfectly fine now; he just has to be very careful when he’s out in the sun.

My flights, both ways, are non-stop. That will help reduce some anxiety. I’m trying to prepare for this vacation, so I want to try to lose a bit of weight. And the more important thing that I have to do is find a lab to get my weekly blood work done. I already found a pharmacy where I can get Clozapine, so the rest of it should be easy.

Zone Meal Plan

Zone Meal Plan

In the past 6 months, I have gained 32.5 pounds. Bipolar weight gain is terrible and extremely difficult to control. The weight gain began when I was in the midst of yet another depression, before I started taking Clozapine. Then, during the first couple weeks on Clozapine, I noticed that my hunger was never-ending and as a result, my weight was increasing even more. It was one thing when it was just 10 pounds, but now it’s more than 30. I have been through many depressive episodes, and I’ve gained weight during each of them. The largest amount of weight I gained during a depressive period was 80 pounds; that was when I was taking Risperdal. I will never take that medication again. During most of my other depressive episodes, I gained somewhere between 40 and 60 pounds. I always manage to lose the weight and get back in shape; I even keep the weight off, as long as I’m not in a major depression.

I decided, while I was on vacation, that I would start a new food plan when I returned. My husband said he wants to lose weight as well. It always helps to have another person in the house eating healthy and exercising. I have decided to go back on a zone (block) food plan from CrossFit, which I was given several years ago from my personal trainer at the time. It requires a lot of measuring and weighing. Breakfast, lunch, and dinner are all 3 block meals, and both of my snacks are 2 blocks each. After a couple of weeks, I will lower my snacks to 1 block each. I just want to give myself time to get used to eating on a schedule again. I think that starting with 2 block snacks will give me a bigger chance for success. If anyone is curious about the CrossFit Meal Plan, just follow this link, Crossfit Meal Plan PDF. The document explains what a zone meal plan is, what blocks are, it has a block chart showing what foods are worth, and example meal plans.

The meals are plenty for me to eat and they taste good; I’m not hungry. I still want to eat, but that’s just because I always want to eat. I eat compulsively; I overeat pretty much all the time. I wonder how long I’ll be able to follow the plan without overeating. Once I eat off my meal plan, the rest of the day is doomed. My mind doesn’t work right in so many ways, and food is one of those ways. I’m particularly proud of myself for choosing to start this meal plan. I really hope I stick with it and follow through. It’s a sign that my depression could be improving. I still feel depressed and have suicidal ideations, but even the smallest improvement can make a huge difference. My husband suggested that we work out together; he used to be my workout partner years ago, and we had a lot of fun. It sounds like a great idea; I just have to figure out how to manage my anxiety. Plus, I should probably only do one thing at a time; maybe I should wait until I’ve been on the new food plan for a couple of weeks before adding in a workout at the gym.

“Better to have, and not need, than to need, and not have.” – Franz Kafka

“Better to have, and not need, than to need, and not have.” – Franz Kafka

My favorite quote comes from Franz Kafka, possibly from his book, “The Metamorphosis”, but it could have been from another one of his works. I’m not positive that it’s originally from him or not, but that’s as far back as I can trace it. Kafka said, “Better to have, and not need, than to need, and not have.” I actually try to live my life based off of this quote. I’m not sure exactly what the quote was originally meant to explain. To me, it means to plan and be prepared for life, because anything can happen at any time. It’s important to always be prepared for any situation. For example, I don’t always know how long I’m going to be out, so it’s best to bring my medications with me just in case. I also take pain medication and see my doctor every 3 weeks for treatment. Sometimes, I get a refill on my pain meds before I’m out, because I don’t want to run out before I see her again. It’s better to have them and not need them, than need them and not have them. I can apply this quote to just about any aspect of my life. Being prepared, in my opinion, is always helpful.

The quote is popular it was even made into a song called, “It’s better to have, and don’t need” sung by many different artists including Don Covay, Huey Lewis & The News, Barbara Lynn, Sam Moore & Bruce Springsteen to name a few. I can see than many people interpret this quote to be about protecting oneself. For me, the quote can mean something as simple as remembering to grab my keys when I leave the house, just in case my husband doesn’t have his. This quote reminds me to be prepared in every aspect of my life, which is something I struggle with, especially when I’m dealing with depression.

Franz Kafka (1883 – 1824) is from Prague; he was a German speaking novelist and also wrote many short stories. I had to read a lot of his works throughout college, and I actually enjoyed them, at least the parts that I understood. I’m curious what this quote means to others people. How do you feel about it? How can/do you apply it to your own life?

Productivity Difficulty

Productivity Difficulty

I’m home and I’m trying to get some things done today. I just don’t seem to have the energy or desire. When I was in Connecticut visiting my mom, I could get up and start doing things without a problem; it wasn’t difficult for me. However, now that I’m home, I notice that it seems to take a lot more effort. Why is that? Why is life easier in one place and harder in another? I wish I had the same amount of energy and desire no matter where I am. When I’m home, I rely on my routine, which I’m having a hard time following so far today. I had this same problem with productivity before I left for vacation; I think I have this problem any time I’m home. I almost always get things done, but it’s extremely difficult. I usually feel as if I’m pushing myself close to my breaking point. When I’m away, I do what I want, when I want, but it’s all so much easier to do and I’m much more productive.

Maybe it will just take me a little time to get back in the swing of things, hopefully. It’s possible that I’m just overwhelmed because there’s so much to do. My husband does try to clean up before I come back home. The thought he puts in is enough for me, it shows that he cares. Plus, no one can clean up as well as I can, at least not to my standards. I know my husband tried because the bed was made and there were no dishes in the sink. There are papers all over the place, but it could be a lot worse. I want to be a productive person, I want to get things done without pushing myself beyond my breaking point; however, productivity requires energy and efficiency. Maybe I can just do one thing an hour. I could also spend 20 minutes coloring in my new adult coloring books in-between each task I get done.

I still have to email my doctor, go grocery shopping, unpack, pick up the papers all over the house, pick up my prescriptions, return a gift that doesn’t work, and call a doctor’s office to debate a bill that they billed incorrectly (I think). It’s a lot to do, but it’s all written down on my to-do list. I need to be productive, for myself. I need to feel useful. The more I get done, the better I feel about myself.

Busy Day, Fun Day

It’s going to be a busy day today. However, all the things I’m doing are things I want to do. I get to visit with several people, and I’m visiting everyone separately. It’s best like that, so I can actually catch up with everyone and we can all spend time together. One-on-one time is always the best.

I’m having breakfast with a guy who was my dad’s best friend. I’ve always called him dad, it’s a long story, but he is a very important man in my life and he has been as long as I can remember. Then I get to see my aunt. I get to spend all afternoon with her. It will be nice to talk to her in person instead of just over the phone. We have such meaningful conversations over the phone. The best part about her is that it’s easy for me to be with her. We have an open and honest relationship. Then I’m going go visit my nieces and nephew. Honestly, I’m hoping that last one works out, but I’m not sure if it will. I’ve been stressing over that one. I like to have everything planned, but making plans with my sister or brother-in-law have been impossible. Maybe I’ll just show up there, I don’t know anymore.

Even though that last visit could be stressful, everybody I’m seeing today, I want to see. All of it is my choice; I only see these people twice a year at most, so I’ve been looking forward to these visits, which are long overdue.

Routines: A Plan Of Action

Routines: A Plan Of Action

Maintaining routines is extremely helpful to me; it is a great way to help manage bipolar disorder. Routines require ideas, plans, and action; these things keep us active and help us to feel good when we accomplish our daily tasks. I know I should follow my routine more strictly by keeping to a regular sleep schedule and eating on a regular schedule, but those things are very difficult for me to regulate.

The routine that I do keep may not be as structured as it should be, but it works for me. First of all, I go to the same stores that I always go to when I run errands, even if they are further away or more expensive. I do that because I’m comfortable going to stores I know. I like to write in the mornings and evenings. I take the dog for a walk late at night; he has a reflective harness for our safety. I also try to run errands during the day before the stores get busy. Then I can do household chores later in the day. Every night, I write a to-do list for the following day. As I complete my tasks the next day, I cross them off my list. My to-do lists allow me to create a plan for the next day that I can take action on and complete.

I try to keep my routine flexible so that it’s easier when I have major changes. It’s more like a plan or structure instead of a strict routine. I’m not good with change, most of us aren’t. When I keep a very strict routine, I have a hard time when it comes to seeing family and friends. My flexible routine allows me to manage my life while still being able to get together with others, even at the last minute. I know it would be beneficial if I went to bed at the same time every night and ate at the same time every day. These are things that I can work on. Everybody is different, and everyone has different needs.

Right now, I’m visiting my family, so my routines are all messed up. I have lots of things I want to get done, so I made a to-do list as always. Hopefully, that will help me keep some structure in my life while I’m away. I’ve been trying to plan things such as visits with people, but it hasn’t been working very well. Some things have to be left up to chance.