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The Countdown is ON!

Wednesday, December 04, 2013

Well, I did it. I signed up for the Gulf Coast Half Marathon to take place in February 2014. I swore off long distance running in 2011 after having participated in four half marathons and a number of 10ks and 5ks. With each distance race, I got slower and less inspired. The frustration and disappointment creeped in. So I decided to leave endurance training. I celebrated the decision with two special Sparkfriends who joined me in snowy/cold Wisconsin for my "last" race, a Valentine's Day 15K.

That was nearly two years ago. A lot has happened in that time mostly involving two teenagers, one lively foreign exchange student and a bittersweet cross-country move. I never stopped running but I was no longer wed to a training plan or set of expectations. I began to bike more, walk more and even learned to love yoga, something I never thought I'd enjoy. While the time has been somewhat directionless, I haven't been sedentary.

A few months ago, I opened my big mouth to a friend in my new home town. I told her how we should do a half marathon together. (Where did that come from?!) We both had recently moved from the cold/snowy Midwest to the balmy (and surprisingly hilly) Gulf Coast. The warmer temps and humidity were kicking our butts during routine runs so we began longing for those brisk Wisconsin mornings we used to complain about. One thing led to another and here I am signed up for a half marathon in 12 weeks. The good news is that the course is FLAT (like much of Wisconsin!) and the ave. low is 43. A Gulf Coast February is much like a Wisconsin May. Perfect. For. Running.

I am having some difficulty wrapping my head around half marathon training again. Three miles used to be a breeze but now I huff and puff my way through it. (Although the hills on foot and bike around here have made inclines a little easier.) I know it means I need to slow down and leave all former expectations behind. So that's what I will be focusing on in the weeks ahead - to enjoy each training run, train according to "feel" and leave the rest.

After a two year break, the countdown is ON!

  
  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

NAVYMOM133 12/4/2013 5:57PM

    Good for you!! I am very excited to read this news. How awesome to have found a new friend, also from the Midwest, to work with on this endeavor.

emoticon emoticon emoticon

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LIGHTNINGRUNNER 12/4/2013 2:52PM

    Congrats and welcome back to training. Glad you have a training partner - I am betting you will do GREAT!

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Time Heals

Thursday, September 05, 2013

I am doing much better now.

I couldn't say that in May, or June or most of July. And I was embarrassed because for all intents and purposes, my life was great. I had a roof over my head and everybody was healthy. But I felt horrible. That is the insidious nature of anxiety.

I won't go over the details of what brought on my anxiety. You can read my last blog.

The good news is that after a little work, I am doing better. Much better. Why the turnaround?

1.) I kept up my exercise routine. I think exercise has played a huge role in my getting through this last year. One article put it this way: the "good" stress of exercise prepares the body over time to handle negative situations.

2.) I talked about it. I told my friends what I was going through and they provided the support I needed. I could begin to focus on the positive. What a blessing! (And you know who you are...)

3.) I read about it. I put my hands on books and articles that discussed anxiety, aging, diet, hormones and more. I learned I wasn't alone.

4.) I made myself get "out there." Anxiety is isolating so I forced myself to stick to my volunteer schedule, to meet new friends for dinner and to try a few new things. These interactions led to a number of delightful door openings: yoga, group bike rides, a potential running partner and so much more. The doors continue to open.

I am still getting used to this new town but I am feeling confident and happy here. Time does heal.

  
  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

NAVYMOM133 9/9/2013 8:06PM

    Confident and Happy!! I love the sound of that statement!
emoticon emoticon emoticon

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MARATHONMOM26.2 9/6/2013 9:55PM

    Sorry I missed this yesterday! You know how thrilled I am for you and all the opportunities that have presented themselves recently. emoticon

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NINJALINDA 9/5/2013 1:44PM

    So glad you are doing better. I know anxiety can be debilitating (my MIL suffers with it horribly). Keep on doing what ya gotta do to keep it at bay!

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LIGHTNINGRUNNER 9/5/2013 1:21PM

    So happy you are back!!!

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GRAMMYNSC 9/5/2013 11:47AM

    I have dealt with anxiety since I was 20yrs old....severe anxiety the kind that makes you go to the ER! But guess what? In 2007 I nearly died and it was real and so many people prayed for me and kept me going....I made a decision to lay that anxiety at the cross and forget the What if's.....The truth is I can't change anything but my reactions to things....I don't watch the news anymore and I don't worry about things I can't change....You can do this.....Keep on keeping on!
God is Love

Love Kitty emoticon

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TIME2BLOOM4ME 9/5/2013 11:43AM

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STUDLEEJOE 9/5/2013 11:43AM

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Anxiety: My Secret to Weightloss

Monday, June 10, 2013

I have lost eight pounds in three weeks. Normally I would be ecstatic. But I know the weightloss has occurred at the expense of my mental health.

I have been struggling with anxiety for about a month now. I am not sure why. I am not sure it matters at this point. But my suspicion is that perimenopausal symptoms are forcing me to face some emotional baggage. (Either that, or I’m dying. Ha! That’s a joke for my friends out there who also struggle with anxiety.) My emotional self says, “Uh no. Don’t want to go there, wherever that is.” And my physical self says, “I know what we’ll do! We’ll make you irritable and bloated and sad. And then we’ll give you itchy/crawly skin and make you wake up with weird facial swellings. Just for kicks we’ll make you completely heat intolerant. On top of that, we’ll give you neck tightness and a constant lump in your throat. And just to make things really fun, we’ll give you occasional chest tightness to the point where you think you’re having problems breathing. Oh, and you’ll feel on edge all. the. time. If not on edge, then just plain sad and uninspired.”

Ugh. I think those who’ve experienced chronic anxiety will understand me when I say – it is exhausting.

The only reason I have lost weight recently is because I’ve had an appetite vascillating between barely-there and none-at-all. There is no “unexplained weightloss”, just the fact that my body has been on overdrive and the acid reflux (I think) from constant stomach churning has turned my appetite into dust and my poop into a continuous run each morning.

At the beginning of May, I had routine bloodwork done. When the results came back, the doctor said my estrogen was high, as in not the kind of high that comes from estrogen dominance but the kind that is simply off the charts high – ovarian cancer high, adrenal cancer high, endometriosis high. I then had abdominal and pelvic ultrasounds (because of some bloating and nagging lower right pain) and both came back clear. So no scary tumor! Yay! The doctor suggested a retest. Perhaps the lab made a mistake. When the bloodwork came back the second time, my hormone ranges were back in the land of normal. Crisis averted.

By that time, I had read everything I could get my hands on about high estrogen. I read about how our environment increases estrogen levels which can then feed some cancers. I read about how caffeine, sugar and alcohol can also increase estrogen levels. I began to think about using more natural body products and cleaning supplies and sticking to organic whole foods. I eliminated caffeine, sugar and alcohol (which wasn’t difficult because I didn’t have much of an appetite anyway.)

Once I heard the good news, you’d think I’d have been relieved and return to my peaceful-easy life. Indeed, I was relieved. My appetite actually came back a little. But this is the insidious nature of anxiety. It literally popped up on my face late that night when my lower lip suddenly swelled for no reason. I took an antihistamine and by noon the next day, it began to disappear. The next day, my upper lip swelled. The day after that my eye swelled. What?! I was clearly retaining fluid. (And my anxiety told me I was dying. So my throat got tight. My chest got tight. “Am I going to suffocate?!”) I began taking antihistimines pretty much around the clock and I was eventually swelling-free for four days. Yay! Maybe it’s just allergies. Grass pollen is sky-high right now.

Then I went for a massage on Saturday. After an hour I got up from the table and my eyes and upper lip were swollen. I looked like I had been hit in the face. It had been a rather rigorous massage so perhaps my lymphatic system had a lot of toxins to deal with. More anxiety. Big burning lump in my throat. Fear. Fuzzy head. Fear. Tears. Fear. No appetite. Fear. No energy. Fear.

To those who don't struggle with anxiety:

1. I went to the doctor. My estrogen was high. But then it was normal and the ultrasound was clear. Great news!

2. I got some swellings on my face. They eventually responded to antihistimines. Great news!

3. I had a massage. It made my face swell. The swelling went away. Great news!

But for someone who lives with anxiety, I’ve had all this great news and am still sitting in a sea of anxiety. So I finally made an appointment with a therapist. I had my first session last week and it went really well. It seems that I am in a state of grief. I’d say it has to do with moving from the Midwest to the deep south. But it probably has more to do with being in a new town, having no connection to it and realizing that I will soon be letting my children go (and my youth).

I am contemplating the empty nest in a town where I have no roots.

I have spent the last 11 months setting up our new home, getting the kids acclimated and worrying constantly about their happiness. (Geez, they have handled it beautifully.) My husband loves his new job. And I have found a few friends, mostly through volunteer work with Habitat for Humanity. It’s all good. In fact, I thought I was handling the transition well. After all, it has been almost a year. But there was a gentle gloom that settled in April that bloomed into all-out anxiety by May. Some of it was instigated by widely fluctuating hormones. Some of it was further exacerbated by physical symptoms that turbo-charged my sympathetic nervous system. That's just how I'm wired. All of it has to do with unfinished emotional business. (At least I hope so! That’s another joke for those who deal with anxiety.)

It’s time to find my own voice. It's time to face the fear.

All I can say is that I’d rather lose weight the old-fashioned way. This has been a really tough couple of months.

Do you experience chronic anxiety? Did it increase as menopause approached? How did you deal with it?

  
  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

NINJALINDA 9/5/2013 1:53PM

    Wow...where the heck have I been & how did I miss this? Glad things are turning around now!

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MARATHONMOM26.2 6/14/2013 3:08PM

    I love what the others have posted here. I am confident that you will get through this and learn how to cope with your anxiety to the point that it will be a non-issue for you. It may never go away entirely - as you said, this is how you're wired - but it can be managed!

Keep doing what you're doing, keep sharing with your friends, and we will remind you of how far you've come. You may be anxious but you aren't alone!

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NAVYMOM133 6/12/2013 6:07AM

    I am really glad that you are pushing yourself to get answers. Rule out the physical side and then work on strategies to deal with the anxiety. I am thrilled you had a really great, first session with your therapist!! Build the rapport and talk through every last thing. There's something really unique and freeing that happens when you can discuss things with a kind, thoughtful and professional person. A good therapist knows how to listen and will help guide you to the things that may be pressing on you. There's a nice continuity, too, as you can just pick up where you left things, and he or she can provide feedback and ideas regarding 'what's new since last week' topics you want to hash out. Not a personal stakeholder in anything going on, but a neutral voice where the main focus is on how YOU'RE doing and what's been going on with you. Neutral to the situations, but a professional who understands the mechanics of anxiety and can provide great insight and real help in dealing with it.
Big hugs to you, at this new juncture. As you've identified, there're more changes already weighing on your mind, like the kids growing up and starting college. Having that wonderful therapist is an excellent, important outlet and feedback loop. If he or she clicks with you, keep going! You'll have her as an important resource as long as you want.
You WILL get through this challenge because you don't stop looking for answers and have an open mind. You're smart and capable *and* healthy; now it's time for some peace of mind, and I know you'll get there!
emoticon

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HUSKERGAL27 6/11/2013 3:15PM

    I had no idea how detrimental anxiety can be to your body. Thank you for sharing this, and I hope you are able to get through this and maintain your health.

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SEATTLESIMS 6/11/2013 12:38PM

    Wow, you have been dealing with a lot, good for you for trying to point out the good points.
I've had herbal help with mild anxiety. NOW brand 'true calm' pills I take proactively before going into a high anxiety situation. I also use a spray or drop for when I'm feeling the anxiety come one but can't remember the name right now.
I have found that keeping active helps me avert anxiety attacks.. but that might not work for all situations and all people.
I've also had friends and family that have had prescribed medications do wonders for them.
Good luck and hang in there!

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LIGHTNINGRUNNER 6/11/2013 7:02AM

    Wish I had answers of any sort for your ?'s, but alas no. I wonder if meditation would help the anxiety. I find that in general women have more anxiety, because simply we worry about everyone else long before ourselves and when everyone else is okay - we start to worry about ourselves and then we question why they are all okay and when will that shoe drop.



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ROSEWAND 6/10/2013 11:16PM

    As one who experiences anxiety, I loved your
blog. Why is we can always find something
to attach our anxiety to? emoticon

One problem solved leads us to find something
new to worry about. And yes, my issues increased
during and after menopause. Talk therapy helps;
meditation helps; yoga helps. emoticon

And owning it as you are doing really helps. too.
Some of us are wired this way. That requires us
to develop new coping skills and self-awareness.
You sound like you are on your way to those new
skills and awareness. emoticon

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Can't Rely on Magic for Long...

Monday, April 08, 2013

This is an open letter to myself...

Dear Sorgin, you are slip-sliding all over the place. For the last few weeks, you've let your defenses down and have allowed things into your diet you know aren't good for you. Other people can eat them. You can't. Other people can control their impulses when it comes to chocolate, wine and some processed foods. You can't. So stop tempting yourself and put the brakes back on. YOU are in control. Act like it!

You are lucky. You haven't gained weight. You are holding steady. But it's only a matter of time. All that stuff you nibble here and there? It's the gateway to putting back on the pounds. More importantly, it makes you unhealthy and feel crappy. You went through years of that before 2008. Do you really want to go back there?

Do yourself a favor and B.E.L.I.E.V.E. you can do this. Think before you grab. Get rid of the stuff you don't need. Set yourself up for success.

You know what works.

Just do it.

  
  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

MARATHONMOM26.2 4/9/2013 1:12PM

    Absolutely! You are not the same person you were 5 years ago. You see the slippery slope and you know how to put on the brakes before you go over it.

This isn't about willpower, it's about choice. Choosing to feel better all day vs for 5 minutes. Choosing to do what furthers your long term goals for yourself vs what your inner child wants r.i.g.h.t. n.o.w. choosing health and fitness and joie de vivre vs chic chips

I believe in you. You can do this!

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MICKEYH 4/8/2013 9:58PM

    Yes, you can do it!! Hang in there. emoticon emoticon

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NAVYMOM133 4/8/2013 7:30PM

    I am with you 100%. My magic gave out. It is NOT worth it!
Time to regroup, girl, and get back in the groove.

I am setting myself up for success, too! Today has been a great day. I will not blow it in the hours I have left. May you remain strong as well!

emoticon Thank you!

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NINJALINDA 4/8/2013 2:53PM

    Amen, sister! (This was good for me to read as I sit here eyeing the candy jar)

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LIGHTNINGRUNNER 4/8/2013 2:53PM

    What a great blog and a great reminder I am a lot like you - will power isn't great when it sweets.

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Ramblings at the Edge of the Slippery Slope

Monday, March 25, 2013

I find that if I blog on a fairly consistent basis, I am likely to take this journey seriously. So here I am, writing a blog because it's been 10 days and I am feeling a little out of sorts. I suppose "conflicted" is a better word.

Things are good. The kids are on spring break. One is visiting his girlfriend in Wisconsin. The other is home with me and hoping to see two of her friends who are visiting nearby for spring break. So the routine is gone for the week. That's where the "conflicted" part comes in. This is supposed to be a carefree happy week and I worry my daughter will be bored or that her friends will flake out, that I will eat all the wrong stuff and not exercise and that my son will come back depressed. Why can't I just go with the flow?

I did my first race in over a year on Saturday. It was a 10K and I am happy with my performance. I did think it would be easier than it was but I am happy that I finished and didn't want to die. I guess I feel conflicted about it because of the overblown expectations that loomed in my head. "You can go faster! You've done half marathons! A 10K should be a breeze!" Why isn't it enough that I did the race and finished?

So it's the first day of spring break and I treated myself to some cookies and chocolate chips. They didn't even taste good. I guess that's what the "conflicted" part of me does. When things are out of sorts or the routine is broken or I think things aren't the way they should be or I am worried about how things will play out, then I indulge in sugar because it's immediate satisfaction. I can't control the other stuff. I can't shake the icky feelings. But sugar tastes so good! Why can't I learn to sit with a little unpleasantness? Goodness, it's not an emergency or crisis but I sometimes run to sugar like it is.

That's what's on my mind today. I know I need to STOP now. No more chocolate chips. No more cookies. I am not hungry. I am not in the middle of a crisis. Everything is fine. In fact, everything is pretty darn good. It's time to recognize that and back away from the slippery slope.

  
  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

LIGHTNINGRUNNER 4/1/2013 4:32PM

    Hang in there. Do your best that is all you can ask of yourself.

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MARATHONMOM26.2 3/25/2013 6:23PM

    Sugar. Ha! I know it all too well...

Try to focus on right now, not all the potential issues of the week... S is having fun, G is more independent than she was a year ago, you are settling in there... I know that need to console with food all too well. Big difference I see in you is that you are more aware of it than ever before. You are taking the steps to change your behavior, so don't let a slight change in routine derail you.

I know you'll get through this!

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MOMTOCONNOR2003 3/25/2013 4:41PM

    I too am an emotional eater. I suffered with a headache from Friday afternoon through the weekend. In fact I did not move from the bed on Friday after work until Saturday night. I spent over 24 hours lying in bed. But that did not stop me from indulging in girl scout cookies. When I feel bad or sorry for myself sugar food is my fall back as well. One day I will be skinny but I think sugar will always be my addiction when down and out.

Good Luck with your week! Enjoy the kids home and try to make it a fun active week while they are home.

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