PCOH051610   52,513
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Whew - I'm still here and apparently not going anywhere!

Saturday, June 23, 2012


As many of you know (because I go on and off like a broken record) I've had a few struggles with mental illness. It has always been "just" depression and S.A.D. (and I say "just" because really there are so many other mental illnesses much worse out there as we all know - nevertheless depression is scary enough for me!) so when my doctor suggested my waves might really be mild bi-polar with S.A.D. thrown in as an added bonus it was like a light went off. Actually to be completely honest I do think she has tried to bring this up before but I sort of ignored it.

So, I've been a bad place lately. I would get up, drink a cup of coffee and a muffin from McDonalds and probably not eat anything else until supper. Then I would barely eat but at night time I ate a full bag of Reese's mini peanut butter cups. And, heaven help John if he wanted a taste! Jeepers, I was mean.

At my latest appointment with my "shrink" (a term I hate but I always have trouble with spelling psychiatrist) I prepared beforehand with a little chart. She was tickled with my "creativity" and especially more so when she realized that for each concern in my life I had listed solutions.

My question to her was WHY I go in spurts. I am gung ho about eating correctly and exercising and then it all falls by the wayside and I do absolutely nothing. I thought it was lack of willpower to stick through but according to her way of thinking it is actually the ups and downs of bi-polar. Hmmm....

So I asked her what I could/can do about this and she posed an interesting question to me:

What would I do if I was diagnosed with diabetes? I said I would make whatever lifestyle changes I could make and along with the medication I would do my best to keep it under control. She went on with various other ailments and diseases and each time I blurted out (without thinking) that I would take the medication if prescribed but would have to do my part as well.

Then I had my ah -ha moment: she was teaching me a lesson. I know a) because I read a lot, b) I am a member of Spark and c) from experience that depression can be "helped" with lifestyle adjustments. So she sat back and on a prescription pad wrote down:


"For the next two weeks - make a conscious effort to be aware of what you are eating. Eat three meals a day and your desire for night time eating will be cut dramatically. Concentrate on lean protein, whole grains, fruits and veggies, dairy and make sure to drink plenty of water.

Try to establish a routine that includes some fun time with your dogs and your husband. Walk as much as possible. Get adequate sleep but be careful not to use sleep as an avoidance. Read everyday. Treat yourself and be kind to yourself.

Come back in two weeks and see me and we will undoubtedly see an improvement. You must continue this the rest of your life to maintain optimal mental and physical health."


P.S. I am only a phone call away but I know you can do this!


Just thought you might all want to know that I am doing better these past few days just by following her advice. A lot like Spark, isn't it?

Today I made smoothies out of 1 cup of orange juice, 1 cup of vanilla greek yogourt, 1 cup of sliced banana and 1 cup of frozen blueberries. Yummy and healthy. And now as supper is being prepared so is Chef Meg's Slow Cooker Strawberry-Rhubarb Conserve. It smells delicious.

I am writing what I eat in a book I have started for my renewed attempt at keeping my mental state on an even keel. For once in my life I am not worried about what I write or how my writing looks....I am doing this for me.

Weight is going to stop being my focus right now (I'm back to 224 pounds) I have to start consistently eating better and have my doctor's prescription for the days when I feel like I just don't care. In addition to my prescription medication I am taking a multi-vitamin, a vitamin B complex and vitamin D. She suggested fish oil as well so I might as well start that!

Anyway, thank you to the many of you who reached out - I am going to have to re-examine the role Spark plays in my life but I am not quitting. I have to stop worrying about what friends I stay in touch with and those I simply can't keep up with.

Thanks for believing in me when I had lost hope in myself. Will be in touch!

xo Susan

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

VICKILYN4 7/10/2012 10:28PM

    Thanks for the blog Susan...it seems even I can use this advice. You can do this! We are here for you. I'm back and if you need me just let me know. Sorry I was gone for so long. Ive missed you! (:

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GOANNA2 7/7/2012 11:34AM

    Hi Susan,
I have been off Spark for a while too. Thanks for sharing this wonderfl blog.
You can do this. Your plan sounds wonderful. emoticon

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LESLIES537 7/4/2012 1:25PM

    Ok, I love your shrink! LOVE her! Not nearly enough as I love you, though! ;)

Sorry it took me forever to read your blog. Feel free to kick me whenever we finally do meet!

Keep doing what the doc ordered!! Know I love you to pieces and am always thinking of you!

p.s. I'm PROUD of you! emoticon

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SHEILA-45 6/27/2012 4:52PM

    emoticon Susan, We're here for you. You have what you need and you know what to do. Your doctor's plan is sound! Great advice, much like what we've learned on SP. On the days when it's hard, know that it will pass and tomorrow will be a new day. It's rough getting through those patches, I know, but you have the SP family for support, your loving husband, and your doctor. You can do this one day at a time, one foot in front of the other, take baby steps to a healthier life. emoticon

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ANNCHER 6/27/2012 12:39PM

    Thanks for sharing your blog with us. I am glad that you are making progress!
Big hugs going your way! emoticon emoticon

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WINGSONME 6/26/2012 10:20PM

    Hi Susan
It was nice to hear from you, and to learn that you are on the road to do what is right for yourself..Stick to helping yourself,that is what we all have to do everyday one way or another.. Best of everything goes out to you. Thank you for being my friend. chris

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YIWEN39 6/26/2012 11:21AM

    Sound advice Susan, keep it up, you know you deserve it! I wish you the best of luck and I thank you for sharing your journey and your ups and downs with us. Take care and all the best! emoticon

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GRAMLORI 6/25/2012 4:19PM

    Susan - -
I wish my step-daughter would have that same kind of A-HA moment!!! I feel so blessed to be part of your circle of friends.....even if we don't stop and chat very often! Just to see the picture of your beautiful smiling face encourages me.

So glad you are better....and you have a very good 'shrink'!!

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KEEPITUP05 6/25/2012 1:38PM

    I definitely believe she is giving you great advice! Even for someone without depression all of these things keep us healthy mentally and physically. Please know that your Sparkfriends are here if you need to chat or just have someone listen. Sending you a virtual hug! Saying a prayer for you today! I am so glad you are feeling better! emoticon emoticon

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CHRISTINA791 6/25/2012 11:06AM

    I love your doctor's prescription. One of the biggest things I remember from when my depression was at its worst was that I just needed someone other than me to tell me what to do. I was barely motivated to get dressed in the morning, but if I had instructions from an outside source, I could focus on getting those few little tasks done. Those little tasks became a lifeline.

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JLPARKHURST 6/25/2012 8:45AM

    emoticon Susan!!! YOU CAN DO IT!!! emoticon

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EJOY-EVELYN 6/25/2012 12:13AM

    Thank you, for sharing your insight of hope! I appreciation the thought you put into a process designed to bring you an improved quality of life. Sounds like wise advice all around.

I found myself saying a prayer of hope for you (something I'm grateful that I get more practice at as I knit prayer shawls for a church ministry) as I read a minister friend's lie and truth with ties to 1 John 3:16: "We know what love is because Jesus gave his life for us. Thats' why we must give our lives for each other." (CEV)

Lie: If my life is a mess, it doesn't hurt anyone but me.

Truth: You are not an island. You re connected to everyone around you. Your decisions matter to those you touch.

I'm so glad you have a solid network of people around you! Wishing you well!

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TRICIALICI 6/24/2012 10:20PM

    Thanks for sharing Susan! Your doctor's advice is right on! Every sparker would do well to follow it. I'm glad that you are getting the help you need, and I hope that you are well on your way to managing your illness. I have a couple of children who - in the past - had serious bouts with depression and I know how debilitating it can be. The bright side, though, is that there are good medical resources available and it sounds like you have found some. Congratulations on the progress you are making. Keep up the good work!

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IMIN2GENES 6/24/2012 9:15PM


I hope this doesn't sound too corny... I am so proud of you! I know you will be able to do this. You've got a hubby to support you and a very wise "shrink" indeed. I love her prescription to you. I'll be cheering you on all the way. It sure sounds like you're off to a great start. I do hope you'll continue on with Spark although I do share the concern about balance with you. It's hard to keep up with everyone you want to. I'm really happy for you!

PS - I take fish oil and it's been wonderful for my joints. Plus I've got a lot less lower back pain in the morning.

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MILLIE5522 6/24/2012 6:14PM

    Do you think your doctor is on SP? lol!
I know that my depression has improved a lot since I have been on SP. emoticon

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GAYLE-G-63 6/24/2012 2:28PM

    My Dearest Susan,

You are sweetheart. I understand how difficult it can be. The only 'advice' I can offer you is to remember that you are not alone. And when you're in the dark of darkest places, I know how difficult that can be to remember.

Every day is a new chance and a new beginning. Be kind to yourself.


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HOPESINGH 6/24/2012 1:01PM

    I think you got great advice, and I'm glad you're sticking to it. Don't be too bothered about marginal issues, you don't really have to satisfy everybody...
emoticon emoticon emoticon

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PEDODGEBALL 6/24/2012 12:26PM

    Susan, your doctor ssounds like a great person to help you get thru this rough patch. The plan sounds great and maybe its something I should follow. I am having a hard time right now with my RA and depression, I need something to get me back on the road towards a happier life. Thanks for sharing and I will be thinking of you the next couple of weeks. you can do it!

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LUXITTA 6/24/2012 11:46AM

    emoticon That's awesome and your shrink sounds great! Hang in there, we all know you can do this... I struggle to, but there are things you can do to make it all better *at least most of the time*


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ASL191 6/24/2012 9:00AM

    Sounds like you have a good plan ahead,mkeep focused on that for the next two weeks and see where that takes you.
Looks like you may have turned that corner???

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A good doctor is worth their weight in gold.

While I'm grizzling about the crappy weather here (Winter, cold, miserable etc etc) I'm fortunate not to suffer from SAD or Depression. I must watch my brother, who with his many health problems, can go off the rails sometimes. It's hard to know what to say to someone who just can't pick themselves up sometimes. Sparks is probably the best medicine for all of this, I know it helped me through some hairy moments like the bushfires and my Mum's death last year and it will help you as well. You have so many caring people here who just want to help and be there for you.

I think we can all "go off the rails" sometimes but the important thing is to get back on as soon as possible. Please don't forget that we are here to listen, no matter what the problem.

Take care Mate!!!

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Comment edited on: 6/24/2012 8:31:14 AM

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CCASKEY37 6/24/2012 6:42AM

    I'm glad to hear you have another way of coping (not just with food but life).

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CHLOE453 6/24/2012 6:29AM

    Oh Susan I think your doctor could not have given you better advice....I thank you for sharing her prescription with us. If it is ok with you I would like to print out her "prescription" so that I can read it daily to help me stay focused as I am having such a difficult time right now. Wishing you lots of success and easier times. Hugs~~ emoticon

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HICKOK-HALEY 6/24/2012 4:05AM

    Good for you, for making better changes. I have RA, so I know how ups and downs can be. Fortunately I live in a sunny state, so I don't have to combat SAD. Hang in there, you can do it. Just take a step at a time! emoticon

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JAMER123 6/23/2012 11:47PM

    Susan, you have a very remarkable Dr. and like others, don't let her go! She did a wonderful job of equating the mental issues with other disease processes. I am a Fibromyalgia person and this auto-immune disease still isn't recognized by many. We have the physical pain that slows us done which is very much like the emotional pain you have. I am so glad you are staying with us on SP!! The program is so much like your Dr. wants you to work with. We are here for you as we continue to walk the same path with different issues. Blessings to you!! Get your walks in and enjoy! Just so you know, I think you are a remarkable woman!!
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SANDEEB7 6/23/2012 11:40PM

    Fantasic Susan. I'll be praying that you get more and more into the healthy eating habit. Enjoy your walks, enjoy your dogs. You're beautiful. Sensible psychiatrist! God bless. emoticon

Comment edited on: 6/23/2012 11:41:09 PM

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Q8PRINCESS 6/23/2012 11:39PM

    Glad you have a good doctor, that's a big help. It's also nice to hear from you and know how you are doing. As far as support goes, we're here even if we can only "talk" online.

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SVELTEWARRIOR 6/23/2012 10:32PM

    I like your Dr.!!!! Yoy are right in not making your weight your focus....your health is the top priority! You sound like you are in a better place. Remember you are stronger than you think

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ANNETTEMARIE63 6/23/2012 9:23PM

    sounds like your dr is terrific!

As for re evaluating things. that is part of the journey when you make a lifestyle change. I feel that getting support on sparkpeople is not only for weightloss. Good luck in your journey! emoticon

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GOOZLEBEAR 6/23/2012 8:49PM

    Dear Susan, first of all, you are welcome for the support, that is what I love about my SP teams and friends. Sounds like your doctor has given you some wonderful advice and you are on the right path, making right choices for you. Please keep in touch and let us know how you are progressing. We are here for you!!!!

Thanks for sharing your doctor's suggestions with us, I know that isn't easy to write about but it probably helps just "voicing" it!!!

emoticon emoticon emoticon

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    It sounds like you have a great doctor!!

I truly believe this is for ourselves, in case you didn't notice I have been still on spark just not as active!

Idea that you might like. Take one pair of pants that are just a little snug and use those as a guide for the next two weeks. No scale at all, just how those one pair of pants fit.

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SPARKLISE 6/23/2012 8:11PM

    Mild Bipolar?
If it's true, I think i might have it.
I don't know how else to explain my mood swings,my ups and downs,happy one minute and crying in 10 minutes.
It's weird.
It does help when I eat better,but my binge eating disorder makes it hard sometimes.
Thank you for sharing and hope you can feel better soon.

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MOMITA3 6/23/2012 7:57PM

    emoticon Thanks for the Goodie. I am so glad that you are doing better. There is so much truth in what you write. There is a lesson for everyone. Hope to see you posting on the chat thread. God Bless!

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KANSASROSE67 6/23/2012 7:56PM

    Thank you for the Goodie! I'm so glad you're hanging in there with Spark, and more importantly, with your health and well-being! I think the steps you and your dr. are taking are terrific. Best wishes.

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BOVEY63 6/23/2012 7:41PM

    I am so glad you has such a good session and are working toward a healthier you - both physically and mentally. It is wonderful that you are sharing this with us - not only because we care so much about you but also because you just may be helping others who are going through something similar. Your honesty is always so refreshing.

And, so very happy that you are staying with SP - I would miss you my friend!
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LIBBYG7 6/23/2012 7:35PM

    Oh Susan....
What a wonderful, brave lady you are. To admit to a mental illness is nothing more than admitting to any other chronic illness....including diabetes, heart disease etc. I feel privileged to be among the friends you reached out to. You always have my love and support - I hope you know that.

I've been clinically depressed since I was 12...yes! 12. I just didn't know it until my 30's. My doc told me then, as yours did, think of it as diabetes; it can be managed. Funny - I never felt any stigma at all.....in fact I'd be happy to be Depression's Poster Child (if they ever had one.......lol). Seriously, as you well know, it's not something you can 'snap out of' , pull up your 'big girl panties' over, get a 'grip' on....etc., etc. And to be bi-polar is just a little worse - because of the ups and downs. Thank goodness there are meds and doctors like yours who can explain it to you....understand your needs.....give you permission to feel your feelings.... and even help you with your dietary needs. She's a gem...don't let her get away. And do take your meds....religiously! They are your lifeline - as you probably know.

By the way....Catherine Zeta-Jones recently came out to the world that she is bi-polar. And I'm sure half of Washington and Hollywood are.....Just wanted you to know.

We're all here, whenever you need us (me)....I've also cut back on my Spark activity lately (as did another good friend). I think maybe this is a time to take stock of where we are in life, in health, by ourselves. I know Sparks will always be here for me and I'll support my friends when they reach out. Sparks has given me a new start in health!! My medical and pain problems have to take precedence right now -- but I'm following my food plan, regardless!!!

You are the neatest, most honest and loving person in the world ....take care of yourself and keep seeing your remarkable doctor and follow her instructions. She knows what she's talking about....!!!

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Comment edited on: 6/23/2012 7:41:36 PM

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CODEMAULER 6/23/2012 7:32PM

    Be true to yourself and you cannot go wrong!


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A1KAYOS 6/23/2012 7:22PM

    Susan - I am so happy you are not quitting spark and more importantly you are not quitting on yourself!! You are stronger then you realize and you can get through this. Do you realize how strong someone has to be to realize they need support and help? You continually amaze me as you progress through this and will no doubt come out on top. With the changes that were mentioned in your blog to help your mental state, it will no doubt help you lose weight (even though that is not your focus). Please know that there are many people here that care about you. Stop by the Scarlet's when you can to say hi and let others know how you are doing (or at least swing by my page so I know how successful you become)!! emoticon emoticon

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CHUBRUB3 6/23/2012 7:03PM

    Thanks for the update Susan. You can do this and we are here for you my friend.
It sounds like you know what to do and are prepared this time. I am rooting for you.

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SLIMMERKIWI 6/23/2012 6:55PM

    It sounds like your Psychiatrist is an excellent one :-)

I'm glad you are finding good benefits of listening to YOUR advice to you - LOL!


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ILOVEMALI 6/23/2012 6:41PM

  I'm so happy that you are feeling better. Your doctor sounds amazing, and the plan that she laid out is empowering. You can do this, and we are all here to help. emoticon

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HEALTHYBARB1 6/23/2012 6:11PM

    Susan- sounds like taking the doctors advise and working on a non scale victory form of life is a great path for you to be on. Medical and emotional issues so tie in with getting healthy!! Will be praying for you and checking in to see how you are doing. If sparkpeople helps you than use the parts that do!! I think your plan looks great and I am so thankful that you found a physician that knows you well enough to give you some clear direction and get you on the right path!! Prayed for you today to be able to take one day at a time and to accept the ups and downs of life along the way. YOU WILL SUCCEED!! I BELIEVE!! TAKE CARE OF YOU!! Hugs Barb

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MAMAPOSTIE 6/23/2012 5:53PM

    Susan, I'm so glad your doctor is so understanding and helpful and that you are getting good help now. It won't be easy, and there will be good and bad days, but it sounds like you are forming some good coping mechanisms and your positive attidude will help you so much along the way.

You have a wonderful husband by the sound of it, who will help you through this, I'm so glad you've decided to stick with SP, of course there will be days when you don't log in, and I'm sure no one expects you to do more than is right for you at the time. Stay in touch with blogs like this, that way your message will get across to all your friends without you having to visit each page.

All the best and take care.

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JOANNANOW 6/23/2012 5:47PM

So good! I feel happy... knowing that you are sticking around!
Your therapist sounds like a good egg.
I love the way you keep pushing for the best in life.

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_LINDA 6/23/2012 5:29PM

    Oh Susan -so glad you are staying and getting the help you need. I had a friend who was seriously bi-polar and had to be on medications to control it. I guess I missed the signs in you, but the up, down, up, down could have just been the depression cycling with your normal sunny personality.. Its sure no fun to have to deal with that, but there is no shame in admitting you have a problem. It IS an illness like anything else on here and it bytes to have to deal with it. I like using the word shrink too -my typing is bad enough without having to spell long words with too many consonents :P
Welcome back to healthy lifestyle living! Looking forward to hearing of your progress!
Be well, love you!!
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PONYFARMER 6/23/2012 5:25PM

You are smart and you have this, with depression (I know this first hand) it taints the way we look at everything. I find it creeping in on some days and like you and your doctors Rx, I take steps to change the direction my thoughts are going. You are not only smart but you are strong and I am cheering for you. Thank you for sticking by me b/c I don't worry about what others think of me, when I have to back off of SP, I just do it for me. Congrats for all you do to get yourself back on track. Deborah

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GEORGIAK25 6/23/2012 4:50PM

    Susan well done., Isn't it funny we know all the answerws but when we hit the deep dark place the answers are all jumbled. I feel you will be successful this time and time again. Hugs you know we are here for you too. emoticon

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POPSY190 6/23/2012 4:49PM

    Spark is basically about a healthy lifestyle. I know the majority focus on weight loss but that doesn't have to be the priority for everyone. I'm so glad you have decided to stay. It's one way to stay connected with people without having to deal with the whole social scene. I use the "other goals" section of the trackers to create aims for myself only - they don't have to be only about food and exercise; one of mine is to read some books I have had for years. Keep in touch when you feel like it. emoticon

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KAYDE53 6/23/2012 4:39PM

    I'm glad that you're getting the help that you need!! I'm also very glad you're staying with SP, but if you have to cut back, so be it. You do what you need to do to get healthy!! emoticon emoticon

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Seriously thinking about leaving Spark....

Tuesday, June 19, 2012


I know you could all see this coming....as I haven't been the most active nor supportive member of Spark for quite awhile. It all goes back to my all or nothing way of thinking.

It is like I am eating myself into a fantasty land where I am waiting for the healthy eating food fairy to step forward and put and end to it. I'm not drinking my water and even sit down to drink Coca-Cola with meals...me?! Even my husband is shocked because I rarely drink soda.

Give me a few days to think about it but I know something has to change and I am the one to make the changes.


  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

ILOVEMALI 6/22/2012 1:27PM

  My week wasn't great, either. Up down Up down. I want to be Down Down Down...

we need to take little steps. Just take one and be done today.


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CHRISTINA791 6/22/2012 12:58PM

    Sorry to hear that haven't been where you want to be over the last while.

I agree - you absolutely need to do what's best for you. I know it's difficult to get past the all or nothing mentality, but Spark really is about learning and adjusting a plan for your own life. Maybe backing off will give you what you need, but know that your friends here will be waiting for whenever you need us. I'd also second seeing the doctor and getting some bloodwork done if you're finding some sudden changes in how you feel - the problem could be something undetected.

Wishing you all the best with whatever direction you take.

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RUNNER12COM 6/21/2012 1:03PM

    If you think SparkPeople is the problem, then yes, definitely, walk away. But do you really think that it is?

We're here for you when you're ready. Hang in there!

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SVELTEWARRIOR 6/20/2012 10:50PM

    I really hope you don't quit. I think I can safely say we all had times when we felt out of control and not a very good Sparker. The beauty of Spark People is there are alot of people here for you. We are willing to listen and encourage you and yes even give you a swift kick in the butt if needed. Remember this is not a race it is a journey and journeys have lovely level trails but they also have many mountains to climb. It is always better to go on this journey with those who are and have been there too.

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ANNETTEMARIE63 6/20/2012 3:12PM

    We are here for you hon, want to talk, let us know and move forward past this and never beat yourself up for the past because that is gone. emoticon

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EJOY-EVELYN 6/20/2012 11:38AM

    Praying that you find the unique way you have of achieving your goals without taking too many steps backwards ( . . . and we all take them). I'm a firm believer that computer fasts and sabbaticals can be very healthy (and yet, some are not). Guess that's why we call it our own, unique journey. May you find joy! Hug, hug!

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JOANNANOW 6/20/2012 11:22AM

    Hmmm coke with a meal... been there done that. It sounds like you are in a rebellious frame of mind! I get it ... I do that too. The beauty of spark people is that you can go away and ignore it without hurting any thing. You can slam the door and take a week or a month or a year off and come back to find there are sparklers ready and willing to support you with encouraging words, information, silly goodies and inspirational stories.

I am not doing the food thing right now either and have been thinking that I should give it a rest too. I get tired of being told what to do. The only reason I come back each day is that I am hopeful that the connections with people will pull me back to the place where I can do the food thing consistently.

I am amazed to have found people that are such wonderful communicators and have been enjoying the early morning chats with women from Australia or France or Newfoundland. Unlike you I don't feel much guilt about where I am at in the food tracker ... I love the whole thing and find that as time goes by I am evolving and learning about myself and my spark friends. It's not all about miles and sugar consumption. As far a virtual friendship goes I think that most people are not too hung up about being in constant touch. Feeling pressured about being a "good friend" is a hang over from the "real" world. Here in the virtual world there is always someone that responds to a thoughtful blog or an SOS status post. It seems to me it is also about human experience and the amazing opportunity to communicate with this huge group of people.

I love being in your circle Susan... I would miss you so much if you were gone. What ever you decide.... if it is just a break you need or to move on to something else... the quest for good health and better living goes on. I am sending hugs and hoping that I will find you again when you are ready. I have enjoyed your company you are a talented writer and your personal exploration has touched so many sparklers because you are so honest and up front about depression and how it impacts every aspect of health and well being. You can consider yourself a ground breaker where it comes to banishing the secrecy surrounding mental illness and the taboo against talking about it. emoticon emoticon

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PURPLESPEDCOW 6/20/2012 6:28AM

    You need to do what is best for you, but think about it....can you accomplish your goals by yourself? Rethink your goals first and rewrite them, push the restart button and really start over from stage one if you need to. Sparkpeople is a wonderful tool, full of support, and a safe place to talk about what is really going on. I think that there is something else going on that is taking priorty over a healthy lifestyle right now in your life and if you can identify that, you will be back in no time. Take a break, but don't leave forever.

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_LINDA 6/20/2012 1:52AM

    Susan, its not important to be an active or very supportive member of Sparks. The bottom line is you are in it for YOU! YOU are the most important person here. Sparkpeople is simply a tool, an aid to help people make healthier choices in their lives. Whether it be by the support of teams and friends, or just simply making use of the many resources on here, the only reason you should be doing this is to make things better for yourself. Just keep telling yourself you are WORTH it, and use whatever works for you and cut out the excess. I don't know how you feel, but writing has always been a catharisis for me, and perhaps it has been for you too. I very much enjoy your blogs and getting a glimpse of life on an island, your great sense of humour and your positive outlook on things. You would very sorely be missed if you were to leave. But you must decide what is best for you, that is the bottom line..
emoticon emoticon emoticon

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Q8PRINCESS 6/20/2012 12:44AM

    Don't wait for the healthy food - go buy it - then eat it!
Maybe it's more of a lot of computer time and not so much eating healthy time. Maybe it's more a balance of important things in your life.

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SLIMMERKIWI 6/20/2012 12:30AM

    Have you been to your Dr for a physical and bloods? What you have described sounds to me like you could have diabetes. Often people who suddenly crave sodas etc. when this is normally foreign to them, it is found that there is a problem in this area. The sooner you get checked the sooner you will know and be able to work on some changes.

IF the bloods show that Diabetes isn't an issue, then it COULD be beneficial to check out a therapist - perhaps there are other things going on in your life and it is reflecting in your nutrition, (or lack of it) and overall outlook on your life.

Let us know how you get on!

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SETAGOAL1 6/19/2012 11:04PM

    You have not given up on yourself. You now know you are the only one that can make it happen for you.

You have the power to succeed or fail.

You have chosen to succeed.

Few baby steps complete a long journey

Writing is progress!!!

Janet- emoticon

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AMARILYNH 6/19/2012 8:05PM

    I think you gave yourself your answer: "It all goes back to my all or nothing way of thinking." Remember that the founder of SparkPeople began with 10 minutes a day of exercise. ANYONE can do 10 minutes a day - if that's too much start with 10 minutes every other day - of 5 minutes a day. Its not the how much, its doing SOMETHING!! The same is true with other healthy habits - make small changes you can stick with and life will fall into place. This isn't about SparkPeople, its about YOUR life!! And you are worth the effort!!!!!

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KAYDE53 6/19/2012 6:30PM

    I wouldn't worry about being an active or supportive member of Spark as much as I would about what happens when you quit? Are you just going to go on a binge, and perhaps gain even more weight? Or are you going to find a viable alternative? Hopefully, you will decide wisely, and make the best choice for you!! We're still here for you! emoticon

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NANCYSINATRA 6/19/2012 1:25PM

    Hi Susan, I don't know you, and you don't know me, but in reading the little I have about you, I'm sending you mail, because I have so much to say that should not be said publicly. The one thing I do want to share right away is, there is no such thing as quitting!! I TOTALLY get the all or nothing, but this journey is about YOUR LIFE,and you can't just quit that. We can all fall, last night I ate a caramel apple, three nutty bars, a coconut cookie, watermelon, peanut butter sandwich, AND ice cream. I'm stressed and depressed, and so I eat. Don't know if today I will get back on track again, or if it will take me days or weeks, because like you I'm an all or nothing person, BUT, I WILL get back on track, because the only other choice I have is to die.
So you may not be posting on SP, you may not be supporting others right now, but guess what,you will still be eating everyday, so everyday you have a new opportunity to make a healthy choice, actually several times each day. So is your choice today water or soda? So what if it's soda today, because tonight you have the choice to make again, and tomorrow you'll have the choice again. So what choice are you going to make?

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A-NEW-PAULA 6/19/2012 1:01PM

    Do something different but I don't think leaving spark is probably the answer. Join a new team, reset your fitness or weightloss goals, give yourself a new spark name but most people who leave rejoin weeks or months later with a huge gain wondering why they left!

I'm just starting The 17 Day Diet and there is a team here on spark for it. It is hard and extreme but it is helping me get my appetite under control!

One of the good things about spark is you can have a coke, candy, etc if you track and account for it AND still lose weight!

Good luck and I hope you find a program that works for you!


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MILLIE5522 6/19/2012 12:47PM

    Please don't go! I feel that this place is a refuge; a place where you can vent and everyone on here will understand what you are going through. I don't expect to change your mind but I just want to let you know that I value your SP friendship and have enjoyed your blogs. emoticon

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GRAMLORI 6/19/2012 12:20PM

    It's ok, we've all done that! But I understand where you are at.....I have truly enjoyed getting to know you and your furry babies, and the area you live in is so beatiful! Since I have never been there, it was nice to see your pictures. I hope you change your mind, because you are one of my "SparkBuddies".....but you know what is best for you.
emoticonto you, Susan,

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BOVEY63 6/19/2012 11:32AM

    You need to do what you feel is best for you, but I for one (of many I am sure) would miss you terribly. I love reading, and always look forward to, your blogs.

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ZANNACHAN 6/19/2012 10:49AM

    I think Prizm96 made a lot of really good points... I hope you find an answer that works for you. It's also okay to take a break from sparks--you don't have to give up on it forever to take a little vacation from it.

When I've fallen off the wagon and am struggling to pick myself back up, and everything seems so overwhelming, I often refocus on a couple of baby steps--maybe getting my 8 glasses of water or at least a couple of servings of veggies. I try to make the goals positive ones, not negative--that is, I focus on drinking MORE water, not LESS pop. Because by focusing on what I *should* be having, I'm less likely to crave what I want to avoid... and also I am less likely to feel deprived. If I really want that Coke, I can still have it... but after drinking 8 cups of water I'm less likely to want it.

Of course, that doesn't help with your decision of whether or not to stay on sparks. Ultimately, you have to find something that works best for you. I do hope that you decide to stay, however!

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PRIZM96 6/19/2012 10:42AM

    I agree that it is your choice and you do need to decide if it is helping you or not. At the end of the day, we have to decide what is best for us.
BUT, before you decide anything, go back and re-read your blog that you wrote on Sept 13, 2010 "Week 3 and I'm lovin' it!" You can feel your excitement and pride!! You also mentioned knowing that your depression would again show it's ugly head. :-(
Also, please remember back when you made the pledge to do this (getting healthy) for PEACHES. YOU deserve to be healthy. YOU deserve to be happy. YOU deserve...........

I hope you find the answers you are looking for. Good luck! :-)

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HOPESINGH 6/19/2012 10:18AM

    I guess the important thing is if you feel Spark is helping YOU or not. As far as I'm concerned, even if you're not posting comments on stuff it's nice to read your blogs and join your journey, that's support even if you don't feel you're supporting your Sparkfriends. But if you feel it's not helping you fight your demons, then it's your call...
I still hope you stay emoticon

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A blog full of pictures - of me, my dogs and where we walk and what we see

Monday, June 11, 2012


I really hope this works this time as I had it all done this morning but when I clicked on spell check I somehow lost everything. AARRRGGGHH. But since I did promise you some pictures I will try and try again until I can get them posted. (I guess if you are reading this it must have worked! emoticon

Here goes with the pictures:

The first picture is a path in the woods we found by accident in April. Yes, you did read that right...April. I loved this spot and am looking forward to walking it as much as I can next winter.

The next one was taken in basically the same spot but looking in the other direction. You can really see the difference in how the snow melts in the open as opposed to the shelter of the trees.

This picture was supposed to be a family one but a squirrel ran by and we lost Louisa and the blur of white you see is actually Maddy in hot pursuit!

This is how I looked starting out when we were in the open and the wind was whipping....some cute, eh?

And this is what I looked like behind that hat and those oversize sunglasses!

Then Maddy got in the act of dressing up

This is Louisa and myself later on in May on our way to walk in the woods! She is more interested in what she sees out the window that actually posing!

Not to be outdone here is Maddy with mommy!

Looking for John to give the all clear sign before they are allowed to jump out and run!

A road we found quite by accident. It was really peaceful but we didn't see any wildlife thanks to the noise Maddy and Louisa were making.

Maddy thought these were prints of aliens wearing high heels but was okay once we told him they were from a huge moose!

Getting tired of being asked to sit when there was so much to see and sniff

All Louisa needs to make her happy is a stick and somebody to chase her!

A hundred shades of green

Guess who found mud to walk in?

Pretty fireweed

What was happening behind my back while I was admiring the fireweed

This and the following one are "just because" scenery shots

And my favourite picture of recent walks is this one. Just look how cute their shadows are on the rock behind them

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

ANGRITTER 8/6/2012 5:50PM

    Told you I was going to go back through your blogs and check you out! I just showed Aunt Di your pics in this blog and told her you get to see this scenery every day. When I lived in NY state, it was pretty like this but I was so young I couldn't really appreciate it. But after living in Florida for the past 31 years I realize that I miss that place so much and how pretty it was every time I went back to visit (we lived on a dairy farm). And you get to look at this every day. Wow!

All I have down here in Jacksonville is flat ground, HOT days, HUMID nights, and sweat, sweat, sweat! You can sweat in the air conditioning! My grass is green, but only because we've spend years and years getting all the sand to fill in with SOME kind of grass - we don't even care which type anymore! I plant grass seed every summer and by the next summer it is dead and gone in one area of the yard that I like to call the "SuperFund site", meaning that there is probably so much ground contamination that nothing will ever thrive there. It's a joke because my father put down TONS of weed and feed, but it was really WEEDS that were growing. So nothing grows there anymore!! (I did get some grass this year that looks like it will make it.)

I just enjoy reading your blogs and then catching up with you in the threads! You are right... we could probably get into some devilish trouble together!!

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GAYLE-G-63 6/24/2012 2:31PM

    Susan, you take great pictures! Makes me want to walk there, also! =)

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PONYFARMER 6/23/2012 5:31PM

    Great pix. Made me smile all the way through. You and your pups are adorable. You live in a very beautiful place. Me not so much but there are patches of beauty where my house is located. Keep up the great walks and picture too.

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IFDEEVARUNS2 6/19/2012 2:47PM

    Just beautiful! All of you....

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SANDEEB7 6/19/2012 11:33AM

    Wow Susan. Thanks for this. I just saw it now, because I've also become a bad Sparker lately. I log in every day...bu just can't watch portions or exercise. Really battling, but also due to stress. So I know how you feel.
Anyway...this blog was so enjoyable, esp for me living out here in the desert, and not being able to keep a dog. And dogs were always my life . I loved seeing where you walk, seeing you, seeing your pets. Thank you. You are lovely.
Be blessed. Hope you stay on Spark, to keep blessing us.

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MOMITA3 6/16/2012 3:00PM

    Beautiful scenery, beautiful dogs. Lucky Lady! emoticon

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PRUPLEBEAR 6/15/2012 5:48AM

    Great pic! Thanks for sharing

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TWEETYKC00 6/15/2012 5:17AM

    Great shots, that must be a really nice walk for all of you. You have great pups to go with.

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KEEGSMOM1 6/15/2012 3:19AM

    Love the beautiful pictures and happy dogs!

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GEORGIAK25 6/12/2012 3:42PM

    Great scenic route and the dogs are cute. Such a renewal of spirit in this place. Enjoy often.

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MILLIE5522 6/12/2012 11:53AM

    Great pictures! Your dogs are lovely emoticon

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HEALTHYME229 6/12/2012 11:46AM

    What sweet pups you have there - and clearly very happy!

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JOANNANOW 6/12/2012 10:52AM

    Oh boy now I feel stupid! As soon as I sent the last comment about not being able to see the photos they all appeared! The scenery looks a lot like here in Northern BC. It feels like we could be neighbours! Thanks for a little glimpse into your world Susan. The dogs are wonderful... you and John look great.
Have a great Tuesday emoticon

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JOANNANOW 6/12/2012 10:46AM

    I get red x' s and that happens to me often when people send pics. My soft wear is not able to click on it and get the photo. If you know why or anyone out there does. Please clue me in. emoticon

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MUSTANG_SALLY2 6/12/2012 10:45AM

    I'm so glad you took the time to post these. I so enjoyed your walks! Your fur kids are beautiful. Toby and Maureen would love to go on those walks with you. Unfortunately, they stay on lead most of the time. I'm not sure they'd come back, especially if they had all those fun things to see and do! LOL


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A1KAYOS 6/12/2012 10:10AM

    What a gorgeous place you live in!!!! Your dogs are so adorable!!! emoticon

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CCASKEY37 6/12/2012 7:02AM

    Love the nature pics. My dogs are kinda like yours... They are afraid of all water unless that water has mud on the bottom.

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ARTJAC 6/12/2012 2:00AM


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HAPPY-ME 6/12/2012 1:59AM

    I love the last picture and the one with Louisa with the giant stick. That's hilarious. Dogs are such happy characters. My dogs nickname is Nutball(given to him by my brother). Thanks for sharing!

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POPSY190 6/12/2012 1:54AM

    Beautiful - people, dogs, scenery. Thank you.

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Q8PRINCESS 6/12/2012 12:47AM

    Love the photos! The scenery is beautiful. Your dogs look quite happy to be outside. Also love your wallpaper.

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JAMER123 6/11/2012 11:53PM

    Great pictures!! Love your dogs, esp. Maddy. Kind of looks like one of my little ones. Thank you for sharing the pictures and taking time to repost all that work!!

emoticon emoticon emoticon

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KAYDE53 6/11/2012 10:54PM

    Great pictures!! Especially that last one!!! The scenery is beautiful & I can see why you love living there! Thanks for sharing!!

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CHLOE453 6/11/2012 9:28PM

    Love your picts!!!! Thank you so much for sharing. emoticon

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JUDYAMK 6/11/2012 8:41PM

    thank you for showing the nice photos

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GOOZLEBEAR 6/11/2012 7:47PM

    Thank you for taking us on your walk, love the scenery, you and hubby and of course the pups. Louisa looks so much like my late Honeybear. Yellow labs will always have my heart!!!

Have fun on your excursions!!!!!

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-COURT- 6/11/2012 7:13PM

    thx for posting great pix. dogs are so cute..photogenic.

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BOVEY63 6/11/2012 6:05PM

    Great pics ~ you guys are all adorable and you really do have some beautiful scenery to walk in.

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0309COOKIE 6/11/2012 3:58PM

    The pictures are all great. But my absolute favorite is the one with your pups' shadows on the rock. That is so cool.

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JLITT62 6/11/2012 2:46PM

    Lovely photos! Everyone looks so happy.

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    Oh, my GOODNESS, Susan! I am so glad I didn't miss this blog! It's beautiful! I LOVE that photo of just you stuck in there that you didn't mention (the one under the hat and sunglasses!) You are beautiful! Thanks for sharing all the lovely photos! It really is great to see where you go and what it's like there, as well as to see you and your hubby and doggies! I loved it very much! Have a great week! emoticon emoticon

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HOPESINGH 6/11/2012 2:29PM

    Cute doggies! You can see their character in these pics. And the woods, the rocks, the trees... so beautiful!

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EJOY-EVELYN 6/11/2012 2:17PM

    What a lovely area you and your loved ones live in. A small piece of heaven here on earth shown beautifully through the lens of your camera. Thanks! No wonder island living is often referred to as paradise!

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WIZKEY 6/11/2012 1:58PM

    So beautiful!! Thanks for sharing!!

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    Wonderful pics!! Loved the family shot with the blur going by!!


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GRAMLORI 6/11/2012 1:26PM

    What a beautiful area you live in!! Your furry kids are gorgeous, as well! I look forward to be able to enjoy walking once again, hopefully in the not too distant future. I bet your scenery has some changes every day, keeping it all fresh and oh-so pretty.....God sure paints beautifully, doesn't HE?

Have a blessed week, Susan!!

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CHRISTINA791 6/11/2012 1:19PM

    Gorgeous pictures! I love how happy the dogs look. One of my favourite things to run across on the paths is a happy dog with a stick in his mouth. You always know that it's the very best stick in the whoooole universe!

You're looking fantastic, too!

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An the Academy Award goes to our dog Louisa

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Hi and Happy Sunday (early Monday for some)

I am starting to come around again from yet another cycle with S.A.D. ~ special thanks to all of you who helped pull me through yet again! emoticon

The sun has been out all weekend but there is a frost warning for tonight. I doubt it will happen because it seems too warm but one never knows. I am hoping it doesn't dip that cold!

Went for a 5 km walk in the woods last night with Maddy and Louisa which the three of us enjoyed tremendously. Poor Louisa has been under the weather with an urinary tract infection. Earlier this week she woke up one morning and really wasn't herself. Normally she is bounding around the house with those big eyes of hers glossy and that tail wagging a mile a minute. But I noticed she hung out in the spare bedroom and when John came home from work she barely wagged her tail. I wanted to call the vet right away but John and my mom thought I was over-reacting, especially where vet bills are so high and money is tight.

The next morning there was no improvement so I called the vet and got in pretty much right away. An urine test showed another infection and now she is on three weeks of antibiotics. Thankfully she is feeling much better and so what if it cost us $200 we can't afford. She could have won an Academy Award though for "acting well" at the clinic. When the vet asked what the troubles were Louisa was jumping around, wagging her tail, giving paw, rolling over for belly rubs, etc.

The vet tried to examine her and Louisa kept giving her kisses. Then it was time for an actual examine where they felt down her sides and Louisa sat down and kept giving our vet her paw. She figured that wasn't comfortable enough so she lay down and got on her back with her belly up in the air all the while whipping our vet in the legs with her tail. She is quite the little actress, she is! The pH level of her pee was way off and she had been miserable at home but a trip to the vet, hey, it is time to put her best face forward. (WOOF!)

I've been giving her her medication in "pill pockets" followed by some cheese. Maddy sits by and watches every morsel and when spit the pill pocket out Maddy spit out his cheese. You would think we were poisoning them or something. Anyway, when he saw Lou take the pill pocket back in her mouth he took his cheese back and ate it. Funny little things they are!

I have taken some pictures of our walks lately which I will post tomorrow. I doubt we will be walking much tonight as I am tired. I vacuumed our car and truck today and washed them inside before going across the road to a neighbour's house as they are taking the brick off the front of their house. I even got to swing a sledge hammer! John was over there helping all day and now we are going back there for supper. I am sure I burned some calories but I have no idea how many! Felt good just to be out and be active.

Talk to you all later!

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

A1KAYOS 6/12/2012 10:12AM

    Glad to hear the emoticon is shining!!! My dog does the same thing at the vet - it is amazing how much they act like people!!!

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JOANNANOW 6/11/2012 11:00AM

    Wow that sunshine really did it for you! So good!

Dogs are so funny! Cheese is a real comfort food when it comes to taking meds. Good thing you figured out what was wrong with Louisa. My guys know the vet's place as soon as they get near the door and are reluctant to go in right from the get go.

We had sun all weekend too on this side of the country! It was wonderful.


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JLITT62 6/11/2012 4:23AM

    Wow! You're lucky she's so happy at the vet. Simba is, too, but then we go from shaking & cringing down to terrified!

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POPSY190 6/11/2012 3:20AM

    Loved the story of the drama queen. Hope she is better soon, though.

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EJOY-EVELYN 6/11/2012 3:15AM

    Glad to see Louisa is on the meds she needs to heal. You're next.

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ARTJAC 6/11/2012 12:27AM


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KAYDE53 6/11/2012 12:06AM

    Glad Louisa is on the mend, they can be quite the drama kings & queens can't they? Mine don't like to go to the vet, so they always have on their mournful, sad faces, and shake like leaves. It's all pretty pitiful, and that's when they're just going for shots. Looking forward to seeing pictures of your walk! emoticon

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ILOVEMALI 6/10/2012 7:50PM

  Our dogs are our family, aren't they?

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LUXITTA 6/10/2012 4:56PM

    Your pup sounds nice :)

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BOVEY63 6/10/2012 4:46PM

    Our furry friends sure do bring so much to our lives.

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MSKITYOCAT 6/10/2012 4:28PM

  Isnt' that always the way, whether or not its a pet or a child. blessings on your journey with your pets.

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TEXANMOM81275 6/10/2012 4:02PM

    Hope everything works out for your furry kiddo! We ran into a similar thing with a 18 year old Pom. She was barely getting around, super grumpy and just in general didn't look good, but take her to the vet and then it's sunshine and roses during the visit. I miss that old dog, but she eventually hit that virtual wall.

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Some answers to questions some of you have asked...

Thursday, June 07, 2012


I thought I would take a minute to clear up an apparent misconception about S.A.D. Although it usually affects people in the months from November - March, this is not always the case. Of course, I am not talking about those who just live in the southern Hemisphere, either.

S.A.D. can occur in peak of North American summer. It is a much rarer form but some people suffer dreadfully when the daylight hours are actually longer. Mine has been diagnosed by two doctors who have taken the patterns of my mental health over the span of several years into consideration. I do not do well when we have a lot of dreary, grey weather. With the climate we have here, this can occur at any time from March on.

And, I we have thought about moving across the country to find the "ideal" climate. However, we have so much going for us here that it does seem like heaven on earth.

One of our policitians told a national film crew that you can tell all the Newfoundlanders in Heaven as they are the only ones who want to go back home!

I love it here, I don't like the weather this time of the year, I would move if circumstances allowed it and yes, I am still fighting this sense of depression that washes over me with each dark, gloomy day.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

A1KAYOS 6/12/2012 10:16AM

    I can understand why you don't want to move from looking at your pics - it is absolutely beautiful up there! Are there any supplements that you can take that can help you out - like the Vitamin D that someone else mentioned? I have a deficiency in Vitamin D but thankfully the only side effect I have is tiredness but I have some friends that suffer from S.A.D. as well and they say it helps them slightly with that too.

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ILOVEMALI 6/9/2012 2:51PM

  Talk to your doctor about vitamin D supplement. Sure helps me!

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    Oh, I do know about SAD, as I told you my brother had it. I am glad you have worked at seeking relief in all the ways possible! You deserve to have JOY! emoticon emoticon emoticon

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HOPESINGH 6/8/2012 9:50AM

    It's great that you love your area so much. I'm pretty sure I wouldn't stand it, but I'm a summer kind of person. And I don't mean Newfoundland summer emoticon
Keep using all the tools you told us about!

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LUXITTA 6/8/2012 6:49AM

    Hang in there! I'm here for you, I to suffer so I know the things you are going through. I have been told that Newfoundland is beautiful! A friend of mine is actually moving back there probably! Maybe I will see it one day!


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_LINDA 6/8/2012 3:18AM

    So very sorry Susan :( I do know what you mean about dark, gloomy days. For five years our summers were cooler, wetter and cloudier than normal. We finally had the best summer ever last year and I spent it on my butt recovering from foot surgery :P. I guess living within a large body of water pretty much guarantees lots of precipitation and cloudy days for you :( It is wonderful you love where you live so much you won't consider moving. I feel the same way about my place here. It may wreak havoc on my RA with the rapidly changing weather -freeze to thaw and windy as all get out, but it really is a special place to live. I hope the sun finds you soon and that your light therapy lamps do something for you..May your team of Doctors find a way to treat your double whammy of depression and SAD..
Take care of yourself..
emoticon emoticon emoticon
emoticon emoticon emoticon

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JAMER123 6/7/2012 10:52PM

    I am sorry you are still having difficulties. It really is a bummer to be effected by SAD (I too, have it). I have been going to Texas in the winter and I find this is a great help. I haven't been able to go until after Christmas due to our kids wanting Christmas as we normally had. So that puts up on the road right afterwards. But until then, I feel myself slipping in to the depression as the days get shorter and more dreary. I hope you can find a good solution for you. I use the Ott-lite when I start feeling low and it helps me! emoticon emoticon

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JOANNANOW 6/7/2012 10:05PM

    I took a yoga class a while back and we chanted this when we started ... it was such a sweet thought ... so I am sending it to you.

"May the long time sun shine upon you, all love surround you."

Thanks for clarifying the SAD situation and what ever you do don't move to Vancouver or Prince Rupert! It is notorious for grey days in both places!

emoticon emoticon

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POPSY190 6/7/2012 9:00PM

    I have known another person who found spring incredibly depressing. I think it was worse for her because the rest of us liked the season so much that we didn't really understand the problems it brought her. So she was surrounded by people burbling on about bulbs and lambs and new life and couldn't really join in the happiness. I can understand your reluctance to move house. People think we're mad staying in Christchurch but it's our home and we love it!
Your plan of action to deal with S.A.D. sounded good to me - I think you have to go along with the doctors' diagnoses. If there are tactics to alleviate this they will be the ones to know about it. There might be groups on-line on other sites if you can't find one on SP. I've found http://www.beyondblue.org.au very useful. It's Australian but general in content. I've used the Anxiety section and there is one on Depression. In the meantime, here's wishing you some sunshine. emoticon

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