Sunday, March 13, 2011
For days I have debated writing this story but after reading of others in a similar situation I decided exposing something I deal with may help someone else.
I suffer from depression. Some studies claim this is a brain disorder, others claim it is a reaction to stress and other factors beyond our control. It really is not important what causes it; what is important is dealing with it.
Last night is a good example. I had a pleasant day, was catching up on emails and various sites I participate in, public television was airing an oldies/doo-wop music special (yes, my era) and all felt okay. Then, a veil of darkness draped itself over me and my mood changed. I even posted a status update about it.
There have been numerous counseling sessions and medications but they are not a permanent barrier tough enough to always keep the brightness shining. One thing that has been shown to help is exercise so last night I began several vigorous exercises and followed with a long, hot shower. That helped, but after a short while I only wanted to go to bed, read a while and shut out the world.
Normally, as some of you know, I am an upbeat, positive person who tries very hard to lift up others and encourage them to do their best every day. Once in a while a SP friend will write and ask why I haven't answered their recent blogs. I reply and tell them that sometimes I just need time to myself. Later, though, that day or another, I will read and reply to 40 or more blogs.
Last night I tried to backtrack and determine what led to that veil dropping. Nothing is ever decided in a vacuum. One feeling or thought leads to another and another until a lever is pulled and moods change. Often, too, long-buried feelings surface and cause us to examine our lives and our decisions. It is a complicated situation.
What I ask of you is if you know someone who seems to be down, who seems to change moods for no apparent reason, talk to them, see if they need to see their doctor about their changing moods. It's likely they do not know themselves why they are happy one minute and not the next.
Mine largely began in 2006 when losing three relatives in three months a year and a half earlier hit me. That was followed by a diagnosis of diabetes soon after. One of the valuable aspects of SparkPeople is the information passed along on various illnesses and diseases via articles, message boards and other avenues. I have learned so much from this site and from the members who have also shared their situations. The support I have received here has been a true blessing.
I remain positive about life. As my weight has finally dropped, blood sugar readings have dropped also. Other medical indicators have posted terrific numbers. I am grateful to a health insurance nurse for referring me to SparkPeople. My time here has not been wasted. I have learned how to adapt to my problems and to those of others. I continue to enjoy the friends I have met here, from Finland to Canada to Australia, and from California to Virginia. What a group of motivating people you all are.
For more information about depression, please check the site for the National Institute of Mental Health at www.nimh.nih.gov/health/publications
Thank you for reading this far. I hope I have explained why it sometimes takes me a while to catch up with everyone or to blog.
Life can be good if we have faith and exude love, friendship and compassion, if we help others whenever we can and if we believe there is a greater purpose in store for each of us if we only open our minds and our hearts.
We can succeed if we believe in ourselves and never, ever, give up.
Thursday, March 03, 2011
Today, I ran across these two quotes:
"Greatness lies not in remaking the world but in remaking ourselves." - Mahatma Gandhi
“Take the first step in faith. You don't have to see the whole staircase, just take the first step.” - Dr. Martin Luther King.
Together, these thoughts easily point us in the direction we need to travel to have a successful weight loss journey. They also provide a framework for viewing our efforts to become the person we each aspire to become.
Take the first quote, for example. "Greatness lies not in remaking the world but in remaking ourselves." Now, it would be a significant achievement if we were able to remake the world, but common sense tells us the chance of our having an effect on the entire world is negligible.
But we CAN remake ourselves, can't we? One positive day and one pound at a time?
How do we do that? By following Dr. King's advice to “Take the first step in faith" and understand that we "don't have to see the whole staircase" in order to "just take the first step.”
Sounds pretty simple. Take the first step, even though we do not know how many steps we will ultimately take and where they will lead us. But if our goal is to remake ourselves, we can be pretty certain our steps will take us to a glory land of weight loss success we never would have dreamed of if we had not taken that first hesitant step.
Will you take the challenge that is implied in the statements of these two wise people?
Will you make a sincere, focused and determined effort to remake yourself into a happier, thinner, healthier person?
All you need to do is take that first step in faith and always believe in yourself this is something you CAN and WILL succeed in achieving.
That's it -- take one step, then another and believe in ourselves. Something we all can do, isn't it?
Saturday, February 26, 2011
Lately, I have read many blogs and status updates from people who say they are tired. This is something that hits me from time to time, like this past week when all I had energy for was to rake a bag of leaves or put the trash out. The rest of the time I have simply wanted to sleep.
Oh, I've gotten in time here on SP and on Facebook and LinkedIn, and I have made progress on getting my tax papers in order and a book edit that is due soon, but find I can only do these things in spurts of a couple of hours or so, then I need to head to bed, sometimes reading for a bit, sometimes not, before falling asleep.
Tomorrow I may have an excess of energy, work in the yard, sort and de-clutter boxes of things in the house, edit and be on fire, getting many things done and feeling good for having done so. Then again, maybe not.
I know the theorem that states that a body at rest tends to stay at rest while a body in motion tends to stay in motion, but knowing that and finding the energy to get going are two different things. Could this be from boredom? I don't know.
What I do know is that despite being so tired, I remain positive about my weight loss and strive to continue encourage and lift up others. I continue to mull over the remaining plot of the mystery I'm writing and stay on top of emails, reading blogs, huddling every day with all my teams and monitoring the teams I co-lead. But overall I feel as if I'm wasting the time that has been entrusted to me every day.
On Monday I see my primary care nurse practitioner and will ask her about this but I wonder why it hits for so long and so often recently.
Have you had bouts of fatigue like this? If so, how did you overcome them?
Wednesday, February 23, 2011
I have been having a few things repaired and upgraded around the house the past couple of months . One has been the back bathroom. New floor tile, new comfort height terlet, as Archie Bunker would call it, cracks repaired from the house settling and soon, new paint to match the tile, new shower curtain and window drapes (I'm not rich enough to have "window treatments" like on TV redesign shows).
Last night at dinner with my brother and his family and our sister and her grown daughter and son, I joked about getting some crime scene tape from my nephew, the police officer , and putting it across this bathroom's door when the painting is completed to keep anyone from using it . When asked why, I responded that this was going to be the "good" bathroom.
You know, like when our Moms always had the "good" scissors we were not allowed to use? Or the "good" china and silverware, "good" linens, bedsheets and tablecloths that all never saw the light of day unless company came for dinner or for an overnight visit? And, no, visiting family members didn't rank high enough to warrant pulling out and displaying the "good" things.
Then we had our "good" clothes for church and for the rare occasions when we went out to dinner at a real restaurant with white cloth napkins and tablecloths and waitresses and waiters. To our "going to church clothes" we always had to add our "good" shoes. Of course, later while in the Army this was a good thing. The smart ones among us kept a pair of freshly spit-shined dress uniform shoes in cloth shoe covers for inspections so they wouldn't get scratched or dirty.
There was also the matter of Dad's tools. We could use what we needed -- screwdrivers, hammers, etc., as long as we didn't use his "good" tools, heaven forbid. If we did, our bottoms would be sore for the rest of the day.
One day I used a thermos to put lemonade in, tossed it in the basket on the front of my bike and went wherever it was I was going . When I stopped, the thermos flew out of the basket and crashed to the concrete, shattering the glass-like coating inside and making the thermos unusable. I thought little about it, being a kid and all, but when I got home I caught the dickens from both Mom and Dad because it had been...the "good" thermos.
The last thing I will need for the remodeled bathroom is a new scale. But I have decided that, based on the indoctrination I received during my formative years, that neither I nor anyone else will ever use it.
Because it will be my "good" scale. And we all know we never use our "good" things, don't we?
Wednesday, February 16, 2011
Yesterday I had several errands to get done. It seemed as if every traffic light was against me and I spent long periods waiting for a green light. When I got to the bank I had to wait in line at the drive-through. The grocery store? Waited in line to check out. Everywhere I went I had to wait.
But wait I did because I knew those intermediate delays were but small bumps in the road that would not stop me from getting done what needed to get done.
As I waited at one intersection, I thought of some of the posts and blogs I've read here on SP that bemoaned in excruciating detail how frustrated the posters are with their lack of weight loss progress and I wondered, "Where is the patience?"
We all know too well we did not awaken one morning 20 or 50 or 150 pounds overweight. We know that our excess baggage crept up on us one candy bar, one pizza, one order of French fries, one ice cream sundae at a time.
And we should know that our extra weight will not be released overnight, but may take months, maybe years to get rid of.
We should know that but some people refuse to acknowledge it. They become impatient and want what the fraudulent advertising says, "Lose 20 pounds a month on this diet plan, or with this pill."
Sorry to inform those misguided souls, but that isn't how things work in this world. No one was born a bodybuilder or a musician or a writer; they worked long hours and sweated and practiced and learned about their craft before they reached a level of expertise. Many times they wanted to give up, but they persisted because they knew the ultimate reward would be worth their immediate sacrifices.
They knew they had to be patient and wait for the results.
Then, one day, they flexed in front of a gym mirror and saw muscles or played a song without hitting wrong notes or had a story or book published and that is when they reviled in jubilation at the successful culmination of the totality of their efforts.
So I urge those who are impatient with their weight loss, those who moan about "only" losing a few pounds despite all their hard work: Never give up. Acknowledge that the effort put forth today may not produce results tomorrow or next month. Patience is the virtue we need to cultivate.
Patience, and a stout belief in ourselves that meal by meal, exercise by exercise, positive day by positive day we are inching ever closer to seeing the success of our efforts.
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