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HAPPYWALKER's Recent Blog Entries

Depression and finding my way out of it

Sunday, November 06, 2011

It's something I've dealt with off and on for many years. It feels heavy...like walking around with a damp blanket covering me. It immobilizes me. I don't want to do anything except curl up on the couch and watch mindless tv. It robs me of my joy and I forget to notice all the things I have to be grateful for. It makes me eat comfort foods which only creates more anguish. It's a viscous cycle that's sometimes hard to break out of.

Why am I so depressed?

For one, I haven't yet been able to fill the huge hole inside from the loss of my sister. Sometimes I miss her so much I ache all over. I lost my very best friend and confidante. She's irreplaceable.

On top of everything, I have a sick cat. My Emma is just 6 years old and started losing a great deal of weight several months ago. I took her to the vet and bloodwork determined she's losing protein from either cancer or an inflammation in her intestines. She's been on a steroid med for the past couple months. Initially she did well, putting on 1 lb. in a month. We cut the med down last month and she lost half a pound, so now she's back on twice a day but seems to continue to decline. We have 2 other cats I adore also, but Emma's the one who follows me around all the time and sleeps on my pillow every night. Losing her will be hard.

I'm in the season of feeling blue/eating for comfort/gaining weight/feeling bad about myself. It's a pattern. This is a hard time of year for me. It starts with my birthday on 10/25 (horribly sad this year - my 60th and first one without my sis celebrating with me)...then the Halloween candy,...coinciding with cold weather starting early in November and less daylight after daylight savings...on to Thanksgiving Day stress and all that focus on food (why do we always have to have 12 different dishes at this one meal???)...then the entire holiday season is a bummer for me, starting right after Thanksgiving until January 1 (I've become a real scrooge over the years - don't like shopping, no longer send cards, decorate less and less, don't feel like baking but usually end up doing it anyway and then eating too much of it, basically can't wait until it's all over)...then there's the COLD, snow and ice from Jan. thru March (sometimes April), coupled with cloudy-damp-dark-dreary days that seem endless. It's 6 months of UGH!!!!

I need to change this pattern...right now....THIS year. I can't do winter depression on top of dealing with healing from my horrific loss. I'll explode! I'm sure my doctor would prescribe meds for me to feel better. I'm opposed to taking medication because all drugs have some sort of negative side effects and I am not willing to succumb to that as a solution. My belief system is that I have the ability to overcome this through behavioral means.

I know it won't be easy. I know that it's going to take every ounce of strength I have to turn things around. I also know that it IS within MY power to do so!! No one else can do it but me. That's the good news because it means that I am in control...I am the captain of my own fate..I write the story.

I think it'll be a work in progress to find ways to recapture my joy. I'm starting with things I know I can do:

1. Walk daily - walking makes me happy. Ironically, when I'm depressed I don't feeling like walking even though it's EXACTLY what I need to feel better. If it's nice outside, I need to push myself out the door. If the weather is crappy, I need to just pop in a walking DVD and commit to at least 1 mile...guaranteed I'll want to do more once I begin. It's the getting started that's the hardest part.

2. Same as walking, go to Zumba class Tues., Wed., and Thurs. Dancing makes me happy too.

3. Use my light therapy every morning for 30 minutes. Take vitamin D supplements.

4. Carve out at least 30 minutes a day for meditation. Stop thinking and just breathe during this time. Connect with my inner self who knows the perfect solutions I'm seeking.

5. Watch less tv and instead read uplifting books or pop in a motivation DVD (I already own many books and DVDs of this nature - get them out and use them).

6. Listen to my inspirational CDs while cleaning - two positives...I love it when the house is clean and it's a perfect time to multi-task and inject positive thoughts at the same time.

7. Keep things simple for the holidays. Reduce stress as much as possible. Always remind myself that it's my own thoughts and perceptions that make things better or worse, and I have control over those. Dan wants to have Thanksgiving at our house this year and he's quite set on it. I should be grateful I have a brand new kitchen with great new appliances and I do love to cook. That doesn't mean I have to put pressure on myself to create this "perfect" meal. It's only one day and I can make it as pleasant or as stressful as I choose...it's my attitude that will make the difference. Same goes for Christmas....don't have expectations of other people and don't put demands upon myself. Maybe this is the year I ease up on the guilt of not wanting to do all that "commercial" stuff, and instead work on helping others and strengthening my spirituality.

8. Try something new and see what happens. Through hospice, they are conducting a six week support group for those who are dealing with loss through the holidays. I was hesitant at first to do this, but am considering it now as something that may end up being very beneficial.

9. Remember this: I don't have to lay down and let this depression take over me. When I allow myself to become depressed, I only focus on what's not working in my life and what's missing. There are so many things I do have to be thankful for. Whatever you focus on expands. The more you give of something, the more you get back. Give out love and joy to others and you receive the same.

Appreciation and gratitude of the simpler things in life that create joy seems to be the biggest antidote for depression. Once I can get in the right state of mind, everything else just seems to fall into place. Instead of having to push myself, I have the energy required to easily do all the things listed above. I start wanting to eat healthier and that comes easier. I see the pounds drop instead of pile on and that fuels my motivation more. Happiness is no longer something evasive...I don't have to chase it, it follows me everywhere I go.

I can turn this around. I will turn it around. This is the time to do it....right now!

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

SUBSMITH 11/7/2011 10:28AM

    Yep, the holiday season, the sugar induced highs and lows, the less daylight... it all makes it hard on some of us. My hubby has a real hard time by December. He now takes the week AFTER Christmas off, just to do yardwork and get some daylight. It does help him through it all. First, the hope of a vacation, then the dose of daylight. Sometimes we go on a daytrip hiking too.

I really love #1 to #7 on your list. You have a plan, and it can help you! We've seldom had 'traditional' Christmas, since hubby gets sad. I've had to keep the emotions on a level plain by decorating simply, avoid debt, not expecting him to socialize.

I've recently learned to refuse that these are my holiday choices: monetary debt vs. guilt over less gift giving? Neither is a good choice. It was hard for me last year, but for the first time, we agreed to a very small budget and I stuck with it. I'd never budgeted or planned the holidays before. In the end, other's felt less obligated to overspend as well, and I felt really good when the season was done! No credit cards, just an honest giving of what we could do. And I gave of my love, more than my things. The New Year felt fresh and no debt or excess overloaded the day. IF friends and family don't love us for who we are, they aren't the people I need in my life! It's great, because it takes that emotional yo-you from the season for me. I did make the mistake of feeling obligated to make cookies for a daughter across the country at college. Not again. I could not resist the sampling and began sugar binging (which I had not done in years). As you may have guessed, moodiness followed. Yuck. No more cookies! DD will have to be loved by me some other way!

Thankyou for your openness to share this blog. It was a blessing to me, and I'm sure to others. I pray this will be a calm and peaceful winter for you... That there will be warmth in the fireside of your heart and love that overflows... That good health will stride with you and be your companion as you get moving.... For in Christ... all things are made NEW and that includes you and me! God be with you as you journey to wellness and LIFE!


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LIFEWALK 11/6/2011 8:58PM

    emoticon emoticon emoticonyou've learned and realized a lot about what does work for you & this will help carry you through better this year. The support group sounds like a wonderful idea to and even perhaps the "focus on others" might express as volunteer something or other in some way... dunno... personally, i'm hunting a light, increased the d3 and practicing the things on your list... Here's to sunshine of spirit for both of us! (hugs~n~luvs :)

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MAZZYR 11/6/2011 7:05PM

    Oh Mary, your plan is so well thought out and positive. Be well, dear friend.

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REBELBLITZ 11/6/2011 5:31PM

    You sound like you have wonderful plans. I was going to suggest sunshine and then you mentioned walking outside. Sometimes in the winter darkness many become saddened.

A bible scripture came to mind that I would like to share.

2 Samuel 22:29 – You are my lamp O Lord; the Lord turns my darkness into light.

I will keep you in my prayers for you to be uplifted and not depressed during these winter months.

emoticon Best wishes to you. Cheryl

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HEALTHY4ME 11/6/2011 4:14PM

    OH sweetie, I can so feel your pain and depression and ironically that is how I describe when I get depressed, I can feel it come and envelope me, hubby who is chronically depressed says his isn't like that.
Grreat plan and I think it will work but now to enforce it anad keep working at it... I know that is my biggest challenge to keep at what are great ideas and plans but ha a day or two at the best.
HUGS and message me if you want to talk,

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LIV2RIDE 11/6/2011 3:22PM

    You have a GREAT plan to make it through the holidays. I know this is a really hard time for a lot of people. Hopefully your walking and Zumba can keep the darkness at bay. I've often wondered why the holidays have to be so stressful and glutenous. It's always been all about the food when it should be focused on your loved ones and spending time with them. I'm also going to try to turn that around this year. I host Christmas Eve for my family. Instead of offering 5000 different dishes I'm keeping it simple. I'm not sure why I need 5 different desserts. REALLY!! Thanks for the reminder.

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WILD4STARS 11/6/2011 2:39PM

    You have a wonderful plan. I know you can do it.

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Zumba Halloween - FUN, FUN, FUN!!!!

Friday, October 28, 2011

Last night was the most fun I've had in a long time!

We dressed up for Halloween and the place was decorated with cobwebs and creepy things. The lights were turned low and there were black lights all around.

We danced to Ghostbusters, Thriller, Monster Mash, and a bunch of new songs.

I came as a honey bee.

note: bee costumes are NOT slimming....horizontal stripes yikes!

My husband came at the beginning, wearing his beekeeper getup. He's a real beekeeper, and he gave my instructors each a honeybear.

Here's a picture with our Zumba instructors....Europa on the right, and co-instructor Hilary on the left:

And here's a pic of our whole group:

Europa gave out 3 prizes for best costumes. The prizes were 2 free classes, woot woot! I got the first one!!! She HAD to give it me....I bribed her with honey, haha!!

I'm so glad I decided to stroll over there on one September evening to check out Zumba. Who knew you could have so much fun burning tons of calories!!

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

TEACHERWANDA 10/29/2011 11:28AM

    I am a firm believer in doing fun things. You and your friends are having fun and getting healthy. Good for you!!!

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LIFEWALK 10/28/2011 6:53PM

    emoticonfun! fun! fun! & oh so cute!!!

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MJK0430 10/28/2011 5:36PM

    What a Fab time! And such a cute outfit! emoticon

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MAZZYR 10/28/2011 12:55PM

    Oh Mary, it's so wonderful to find an activity you love. Zumba away!

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WILD4STARS 10/28/2011 12:26PM

    You look totally cute! Sounds like tons of fun! emoticon

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Happy birthday to me!

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

As of today, I've been on this planet for 60 years!!! I feel the same as I did in my 20's (well, in my mind that is). As time goes on, it seems the years go by faster. I'm sad that this is the first year that I won't be celebrating with my sister. I know she's all around me today, wishing me happiness....but it's not the same.

My husband is putting up a new railing at my sister's house today and I'm going with him. BIL has put the house up for sale and will be moving down south in a matter of a week or so. I don't blame him. Too many memories and he'll be in a nice, sunny, warm, cheerful climate. A completely new environment is just what he needs and he'll have the support of his son. This'll probably be the last time I'll visit Janet's house.

New chapter. Janet's year-long suffering is over. I'm starting a new decade of life. I need to discover how to make it the best it can be - starting with my health.

I got my Fitbit yesterday. It's tiny! Much smaller than the picture. Amazing what this little thing can do! I wear it all day and it records every step, every flight of stairs, adds up the distance, calculates the calories, and records how long I sleep (even how many times I wake up during the night). It uses a 3D technology to track movement. Nice little gadget, but exercise and activity have never been my problem.

Now to focus on the eating side of the equation! I started logging my food in last week but fell away from it mid-week. I'll recommit today and keep recommitting until I stick with it.

I know I have the ability to make positive changes, and now I have an angel watching over me to guide and encourage me. emoticon

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

REBELBLITZ 11/2/2011 9:38AM

    Happy birthday to you!

Keep the Spark going! Cheryl

Comment edited on: 11/2/2011 9:39:46 AM

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LIFEWALK 10/26/2011 7:41PM

    emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticonHappy Birthday dear friend! Happy Birthday 2 you :)

(hugs) sounds like another important step today.

Sounds like good food & happy eating ahead! good4u!

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7WORSHIPS 10/26/2011 6:35AM

  Happy Birthday to you as you begin this decade of your life journey!

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FRUITYCHERRY 10/25/2011 11:22AM

    Hugs to you on your Birthday. Best wishes to you as you embark on this new decade! emoticon

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WILD4STARS 10/25/2011 10:31AM

    Happy Birthday
emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon
Happy Birthday.
I'm right behind you, I'll be 60 in December. I say 60 is the new 40 !!
Having such a wonderful angel to watch over the next decades of your life is truly a blessing. I am sorry for you loss, yet I know she is still there for you.

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HEALTHY4ME 10/25/2011 10:23AM

    Happy Birthday to you!!! you are a special person and I know you can do it all!

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LIV2RIDE 10/25/2011 10:04AM

    Happy Birthday!!

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MAZZYR 10/25/2011 9:23AM

    Happy Birthday!

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EJHEINRICH1 10/25/2011 9:12AM

    emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon

Happy Birthday my Friend.

29; ¸¸BIRTHDAY TO YOU!.•*•♫♪
♪♫•*¨*•.¸¸♥ ¸¸.•*¨*•♫♪ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♪♫•*¨*•.¸¸♥ ¸
♪♫•*•HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO YOU!¨*•♫♪ ♪♫•¸¸♥ *•♫♪
¸♥ ¸¸.•*¨*•♫♪ ♪♫•*¨*•.¸¸♥ ¸¸.•*¨*•♫♪¸♥ ¨*•♫♪
¸♥ ¸¸.•*¨*•♫♪ ♪♫•*¨*•♫♪ ♪♫••.¸¸♥ ¸¸.•*¨*•♫♪
¨*•.¸¸♥ ¸¸.•HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO YOU!♪♫•.¸
;♪...¸¸.•*¨* •♫♪ ♪♫•*¨*•.•♫♪
¸♥ ¸¸•*¨*•♫♪¸♥ ¸¸.•*¨*•♫♪ ♪♫•*¨*•.¸¸♥ *•♫♪

emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon

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CINDYHOUGHTON 10/25/2011 9:09AM

    Tell me more about the Fitbit. Sounds really cool! I drive by my mom and dad's house every time I am in town. I miss them both dearly and it is strange knowing they are no longer there. May your heart be comforted and your days be brighter.

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BLACKJACK67 10/25/2011 9:03AM

    Good luck! You can do it.

Sorry to hear of your loss.

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It's a new day

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Rants are good if they result in positive change. Sitting around complaining does nothing, so I'm all done with that. On to the positive changes....

This morning I ordered myself a birthday present (next week I'll reach the big 6-0!).

It's called a Fitbit. It tracks your steps, distance, stairs, calories burned. It even tracks your sleep. It's really small so easy to wear.

It's wireless - when you are within 15 feet of the base station, it automatically uploads the data onto your computer. You can view real-time stats on your Fitbit and the website keeps all your data in charts and graphs to show progress/trends.

The next positive thing I did was log in my food this morning! Fitbit has a food tracker on its website, but I have to say that SparkPeople's is much better. I already have tons of favs on SP and they've improved the tracker since I last used it (years ago!). Fitbit just tracks calories, and I like to keep track of certain nutritional components also, which the SP tracker does nicely.

As much as I resist doing it, there are extreme benefits from tracking. I ate 606 calories for breakfast! In the past, I would just continue on eating in oblivion. That was a huge wake-up call for me. If I'm being truly honest with myself, the only times I resist tracking are those times I don't want to obstain from eating high calorie foods in large quantities.

Right now at this moment, I want to face up to it. I can't change what I refuse to see. Now I can see in black and white how much I'm consuming and how much I'm burning. There will be no escaping and living in a world of self denial.

The payoff will be SUCCESS! If I'm staying within my goals, I will see success again. I still remember how great that felt. It wasn't that long ago (March-Oct. 2010) that I was on fire and dropping pounds every week. I keep thinking about that to refuel my motivation.

The biggest thing that has changed for me since last night is my attitude. I'm 95% there if my attitude is in the right place. Things are about to change in the right direction.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

LIFEWALK 10/20/2011 4:50PM

    emoticonAwesome Mary, now you're talking!

There is a difference between saying no excuses and being realistic with what we can handle... for example, I can't do a difficult triple twist double flip high dive but I can get my lil self to the pool several days a week or drink my water or track or leave off the extra goodies or whatever challenge I choose to work on. It's so funny because sometimes I do better doing a white knuckle and sometimes I do better easing off... a lot depends on my mind and mood, lol but I guess that's normal, eh?

So, what I am hearing in you is the desire, the determination and a plan of action! Sparktacular!!!!

(ps, i tend to draw eating line/goal at eat up to what I burn... that fitbit is going to be soooooo useful for you!!! can't wait to hear how you like it :)

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MAZZYR 10/20/2011 3:46PM

    WTG, my SparkSista!

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SHANTISHANTI 10/20/2011 1:36PM

    Good for you Mary! I going to have to check out the Fitbit, it sounds awesome. I agree that tracking what I put into my mouth is one of the keys to success. There is no avoiding the truth when I look at the totals for the day. Sending you positive energy every day. Namaste, Mary Ann

Comment edited on: 10/20/2011 1:36:26 PM

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WILD4STARS 10/20/2011 1:34PM

    You're on a roll!! emoticon
Look forward to hearing how you like the fitbit.

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LIV2RIDE 10/20/2011 12:14PM

    RIGHT ON!!! Good for you for taking control of the situation and doing something about it. emoticon emoticon emoticon

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What the heck am I doing?????

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Warning - this is a rant blog. I just have to blow off steam and have a serious talk with myself. This seems to be a good place to do it.

I went for a 5 mile walk this afternoon. I love walking and am starting to get back to it after many months of being on again/off again. I just ordered a couple of Leslie Sansone 5 mile walk DVDs to add to my collection so that I can continue my daily walking during the winter months - no excuses.

I've been going to Zumba for the past month and a half and I love it. I generally go 3 times a week and it's a sweaty heart-pumping 1 hour workout. I've never had so much fun while burning lots of calories.

I should be losing weight and feeling great, but I'm not. In fact, tonight when I got home after Zumba class I felt a bit ill. I may be overdoing it with the exercise, and I believe I'm doing that to compensate for my horrible eating habits.

I've gotten completely away from my healthier eating habits I had established over a year ago. I'm not eating salad every day. In fact, sometimes I don't have ANY vegetables. I'm overloading carbs - too much bread (even white bread & rolls - EEK!) and too many sweet treats. Too much sugar, butter, oil, and all the things I previously worked hard to get out of my diet. I haven't had a green smoothie in months....and I LOVE green smoothies. My Vita-Mix is sitting on the counter collecting dust. There is something seriously wrong with my attitude.

Every time I finish my Zumba class I SWEAR that I will do better with my eating. I enjoy Zumba a lot, but I have to admit that I am really pooped and losing steam by the halfway point. I worry about overtaxing my heart when I'm carrying all this extra weight. I worry very much about my health. My sister just died of cancer a couple of weeks ago....what's it gonna take for me to take this seriously????

I feel every single extra pound and frankly I'm really angry at myself. I deserve much better than this. No one is forcing me to eat these things. I am not powerless. I have every reason in the world to do something different and feel better. I have the ability to do it. What happened to my desire?

Sometimes the gentle, self-loving approach isn't enough. I need to go back to some of the Beck basics and write down all of the reasons I want to reduce my weight. I need to give myself some tough love. I can't eat whatever I feel like, whenever I feel like, and achieve a slim, healthy body. And no matter how much I exercise, it isn't going to help me if I continue on this path of binge eating of all the foods that harm my body.

It doesn't feel good right now and I wrote this blog to remind myself of just how bad it feels.

So.....the million dollar question I have for myself is: What are you gonna do about this?? There will be plenty of soul searching done tonight!

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

HEALTHY4ME 10/20/2011 9:48AM

    Wouldn't let me post, now you may get it about 3 times. anyway it was I too have no veggiesin house, no fruit, been letting the huge decisions and life changes affect my health which is the direct opposite of what I should be doing. Dr has put me into madatory retirement and still sort of shocked even though I sort of knew.

So now you will take care of you, as Janet would want you to, I will take care of me as mum would want me to. They are our angels out to watch over us, but we still have to help ourselves.


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WILD4STARS 10/20/2011 7:58AM


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MAZZYR 10/20/2011 6:18AM

Rant away, dear Mary. You have come to the right place. A good rant always makes me feel better. Lol, my 3d friends don't want to hear complaints, but you have a captive audience on SparkAvenue.
When you're ready, just make a U turn and get back on track, as often as necessary.
SparkSista, always know that you are not alone.

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LIV2RIDE 10/19/2011 8:47PM

    This kind of rant has been going around lately. I think at some point we all come to the realization that we can't keep doing the same thing expecting different results. I've never heard of this Beck book. Would you mind sharing? I'd be interested in checking it out. Bottom line is it all boils down to what we are willing to do to change the situation. A bit of soul searching will help you figure it out. Good luck! We are all here to support you.

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LIV2RIDE 10/19/2011 8:47PM

    This kind of rant has been going around lately. I think at some point we all come to the realization that we can't keep doing the same thing expecting different results. I've never heard of this Beck book. Would you mind sharing? I'd be interested in checking it out. Bottom line is it all boils down to what we are willing to do to change the situation. A bit of soul searching will help you figure it out. Good luck! We are all here to support you.

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LIV2RIDE 10/19/2011 8:47PM

    This kind of rant has been going around lately. I think at some point we all come to the realization that we can't keep doing the same thing expecting different results. I've never heard of this Beck book. Would you mind sharing? I'd be interested in checking it out. Bottom line is it all boils down to what we are willing to do to change the situation. A bit of soul searching will help you figure it out. Good luck! We are all here to support you.

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LIFEWALK 10/19/2011 7:58PM

    emoticon emoticon emoticonthe Beck book offers a nice structure Mary, and you are so in the midst of deep grieving, which will take time to move through. But... as you do, take the steps you can, keep standing up & trying because one of these times you'll find yourself on your feet, longer and longer, and stability will come back into your life... however impossible it may feel or sound right now. Rant aside, just know it's ok... we're here whenever you want to rant... i have soo bent your ear... (hugs)

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OFF938 10/19/2011 7:58PM

    Vow to change ONE THING, RIGHT NOW. For example, vow to start back with your green smoothies, then DO IT. Once you have that established, pick something else. The good things you are doing will multiply and you will get back on track. The first step is the hardest!!!


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