Thursday, January 09, 2014
I have had many long conversations with one of my good friends this week and this little gem just came out of my mouth and I knew I needed to share it with everyone:
"Am I really this crazy or do I chose to let myself me defined by the diagnosis codes to which I have been assigned?"
I'm just going to leave that with you one to ponder. How would you answer this question if you feel it applies to you? Those of you who know me, how do you think I answered my own question?
Your friend - "Sprink"
Saturday, January 04, 2014
It is hard to return after such a long absence. I hope you all know that even in my absence, I have thought about you often. I'd like to tell you that nothing is wrong - and that I've been busy living life in my new body...but I cannot. The truth now revealed is that, I have been a prisoner of my mind and body. First please accept my apology for abandoning my blogging and contact you. This blog is my way of starting to forgive myself. It's a process, and won't happen overnight, but the sooner I retrain my Mentally Unhealthy body, mind, and soul on God, Family, and Friends instead of “the past” I will resume my earthly journey and stop my physical and social isolation.
I think back to prior blogs using my analogy of life as a journey, like a car ride, and you have to focus on today, keep your eyes on the road, learn from the detours and learn the lessons by sharing your experience with your friends (and occasionally a complete stranger). Honestly I don't know how I let this happen, I blinked and 2013 was gone. I don't want to feel this way again. The hole in my heart seems so cavernous and wide that nothing will bridge the divide. For the better part of the last year I haven't even been driving my car, living my journey, or staying connected to God and His plan for me. I have been doing the very thing I warned you of in that car analogy. I kept focus on the rearview mirror, never looked forward, lost myself in pain of the past and disconnected from nearly everyone and everything in my life.
Half my life ago a dear friend from college (Beck, yep that's you) told me (after I told her about my life's successes and failures) said to me, “I’ve never known anyone who’s life is such a rollercoaster, every time you achieve more, you either get bored and try something completely different, or lose everything.” How prophetic she was back then. My “all or nothing, up or down, high, low or manic joys and accomplishments or depressed/suicidal was textbook mental. 49 years later I understand why I feel like I’m always starting over – I live on a Bi-Polar Roller Coaster.
It took 49 years to realize my life has always been Bi-Polar. The first of my “attempts” (a lame one at that), was as a sophomore in College. Combine booze with pills in the bottle that has the warning label telling you not to drink with it. It just came back to me now, that very night, aside from not finding anyone to really confess my actions too, was the first time I saw Jesus’ face. I didn’t even drink that much or take that many tablets that night – a couple hours after which my eyes blurred and then only for a brief moment, I saw His face. I felt forgiven. His forgiveness was limitless and absolute…But fast forward three decades and I am still trying to forgive myself.
Why my mind picked now to remind me of that “vision” 29 years ago is simple – Jesus has always been my Footprints in the Sand…God, The Bible – I felt forgiveness and peace…and the next day continued my life of consumption and excess. It was easier than coming out of the closet…At least back in the 80s. While I did first learn to truly forgive others in College, I couldn’t forgive myself. By January, 1986 my weight had ballooned to 365 lb. I resolved to lose the College weight gain and by Graduation in June I was down to a svelt 220 lb. How did I accomplish this in 5 months? I did two things, I ate 1400 calorie low fat diet under Dr’s supervision and danced at the only Gay night club 3 or 4 nights a week with my female dates. I had a couple of male friends that were Gay and danced with me too, but I seemed to queerest of the bunch – yet always had a female date. During that time I rarely drank nor binged like the bulimic I was in High School. That Winter and Spring of 1986 was the first time I tried to take care of my body and accept my sexuality.
When I graduated, not only did I look fabulous, but my entire immediate family (27 or so) was all in attendance. That day was one of the first and only times I felt truly proud of myself. Up until that moment I was only concerned with making my mother, father and grandparents proud.
Yes I am an only child. Some would say I grew up with a silver spoon in my mouth. Other’s just called me spoiled or pretentious. I guess it was easier than being misunderstood by most and labeled a queer or a fag. So I continued dating great women climbing corporate ladders, jumping off them, owning a bar. At least I came out of the closet in 1998. 90 days in Parkside will do that do to you… I cried when I received Small Business Person of The Year Award for my gourmet store, then lost everything a year later.
Yesterday on TV I heard, “my best thinking got me to this point.” I hadn’t really heard that phrase since my stay at Parkside 25 years ago. I think for many – that simple statement can be a life-changer, a wake-up call, an epiphany even… Not to me!!! Some people live life at ground level, others climb 3, 6, or even 12 steps to happiness. A couple years ago I couldn’t walk up 3 or 4 steps without pain, and the 17 steps I climb to my 2nd floor office and bedroom used to send my heart into overdrive.
“Nothing less than everything I have done” has got me to this point, and finally I feel the hope again. 2012-2013’s blogs contain more truth about who I am than any single person was ever allowed to know – not even my closest friends or family knows me this well, and since my memories come and go as they please – you probably know me better than I do at this point.
I have learned, and come to this conclusion – until I get better at healthy living and stop being so hard on myself, the groundhog days will continue. These past nine months have been the longest mental depression (and I mean literally, depressed my mind, ignored my body) and want to not make these mistakes again. Monday I see my psych and stomach surgeon – both great guys. I am asking the psych to re-evaluate my meds and doses and alternatives because something isn’t right. My stomach surgeon on the otherhand will give me a smile and a good dose of Yiddish guilt when I am completely honest about my narrowly avoided Vertical Gastric Sleeve burn through.
Thank you for reading this dear SparkFriends. Here I have found a forum for positive affirmation with people just like me and completely different than me. You have given me support, understanding and unconditional love. You all have helped me accept, understand, and learn about who I am. I am forever grateful and cherish your presence in my life –
God Bless- “Sprink"
Thursday, August 15, 2013
When I found copies of two emails I received from a dear friend back in 2008, it really hit me how much my life has changed because of a simple decision, to let my God back in my life and return to Church. I'll touch on just how important this person is at the end of this blog. Here's what he had to say to me after I told him I had returned to my Church and my faith.
"Please follow through with this. You are liked by so many people, you have amazing talents and most of all you are loved by GOD. We care so much about you, please make wise decisions even when they are hard, tough or just downright don't make sense at the time.
YOU ARE NEEDED, YOU HAVE A PURPOSE BIGGER THAN YOURSELF
You and I both know it's all about the journey. The journey is the destination.
Pray like you've never prayed before. For the first time in your life give everything to Him, don't hold on to any worldly thing (food, drink, house, car, attitudes, language, thoughts)."
Those of you familiar with my "story" know that I have used nearly these exact words in one fashion or another to describe my journey since life saving Weight Loss Surgery. Coincidence? I don't think so. It took me some time to lose everything, the car in 2009, the house in 2010 and my mind since 2007. All so I could arrive at this day - to realize just how genuine his love was for me and how accurate his prediction of my future. This is no ordinary friend, he was then and is now "The One." He went on in a later email that afternoon to send me this prayer. I was in tears when I read this:
"How many times have I turned away?
The number is the same as the sand on the shore
But every time You've taken me back
And now I pray You do it once more
Please take from me my life
When I don't have the strength
to give it away to you You Jesus
How many times have a turned away
The number is the same as the stars in the sky
But every time You've taken me back
And I pray You do it tonight"
Although not as often as I would like, we do have long conversations like the old days. Our connection is so natural, so intimate, so honest, that I don't think either one of us knew just how important we would become in each other's lives. I don't have to tell him how important he is to me, it's implicitly understood. While our lives have taken different paths and we are now separated by distance, work and family our love and friendship will endure.
I know that with the same undeniable confidence that I write these words to you today, that the rest of my "journey" will be be as important as the beginning. I don't expect everyone to share this same level of peace through faith as I am right now, or even believe it is possible. I do however pray that some day you will.
I hope you have that special someone in your life that you are inexplicably and universally connected to by a bond that is so strong you will always know that you are loved...that you make a difference...and that we all touch more people's lives than any of us will ever know. Just keep your heart and minds open my friends. Anything is possible - enjoy the journey!
Your friend - "Sprink"
Friday, July 19, 2013
Hello to all my friends - I hope in my absence that things have been well for you and that you are blessed with more good days than bad. I am temporarily camerless, so the picture above is from June, but I think I look even better now... I finally got the time and the Bipolar Roller Coaster in my head to focus long enough to ask for thoughts on recent traumatic encounter with some of important people in my life.
I went to visit them last Monday, first time in months. I told them how richly blessed I was that God has never turned his back for me, and has always provided exactly what I need at the very last moment. Between an unexpected check and my roommate getting 6 weeks of full time paid training for his new job things look like we're going to get caught up on bills for first time this year.
Next thing I know is that both of them are harrassing me about not having a job to supplement my disability income (they have mentioned this before but not this judgementally). Then I get blasted about how much medication I am on now - and likely will be for the rest of my life. One said to me "I feel sorry for you" taking so many medications and vitamins (which they don't even know one name of).
Needless to say these two people are the same ones who helped lead me back to my Lutheran upgringing and my life here at the Church, and this past weekend's sermon was about forgiveness. The thing that bothers me the most I think - is that they went swung from being proud of all my weight loss and physical & mental transformation - to pitying me in one 15 minute conversation.
People who suffer from multiple mental disorders and dealing with their bodies readjusting to a new hormones, vitamins metabolism and lifestyle have NO IDEA WHAT IT FEELS LIKE, unless they have some or all of the same disorders etc. Sure I would like to go work part time somewhere, but for now, I am getting used to moving around and being out of the house for extended periods of time while my roommate of 12 years is working again.
So I am going to forgive and when the time is right, try to let them understand how BiPolar, Depressed, ADHD, and Impulsive Outburst Control Disorders affect my ability to function on a consistent daily basis - just living.
This is kind of unusual for me to just vent, and thank you for taking the time to read and hopefully respond with your thoughts on the matter and to just say hi. Have a Blessed weekend -
Your friend, "Sprink"
p.s. does anyone have the Fitbit Arm-band/Bracelet or other Fitbit models and how do you like them? Thanks - S
Friday, June 07, 2013
Wow, what a difference a year makes - right? I've been trying to come up with a way to summarize a few of the major changes this last year has blessed me with - putting a picture in there really drives the point home. I honestly don't remember what it felt like at 340+ lbs, other than I dreaded the nightly climb up 17 stairs to go to bed - and wheezing for ten minutes before bed.
When I look at any of my old pictures, it is as if I am looking at a stranger. In many ways that is true, since I feel like now, at age 48 I am finally discovering who I really am, meeting that person buried for so long under years and pounds of emotional compensation and overeating.
Because of your support and positive inspiration and comments along the way this last year, I have a new-found feeling of acceptance and self confidence that has kept me smiling since shortly after surgery. Early in 2012, I would wake up every day lifeless, numb, without purpose or direction. Today, my life is much different. I wake up ready to take on the day - and discover the blessings the Lord has placed in it for me. And while I still battle with my Bipolar, Depression, and ADD - I treat them as superpowers instead of disabilities. When I am manic I get things done, when I am "down" I focus on nutrition and sleep, and when I am focused, I find my voice and can sit down and blog for a bit. It's a balancing act which frankly, I am quite good at.
One more thing I wanted to share with you is new outlook on clothing. When I was larger, I spent thousands on new Polo Shirts and Pants. Since I had to shop at the Big N Tall stores the last decade things got even more expensive. But now, I have a closet filled with literally 20 different polo and golf shirts, six cable knit sweaters, three new pair of pants and three new pair of shorts. The cost for my makeover? About $100. Over the last two months (and especially while in Florida) I hit every thrift shop I could find. I now have the most beautiful shirts, in every color, I now have to think about what I want to wear each day. That makes me feel so good about myself, to have never spent so little or looked so good as a result.
While shirt shopping I also found a like new, never been sat in Lazy Boy recliner, which I really needed since the larger me broke the last recliner. Guess what I paid for it? Would you believe $40? I feel asleep in it the first day I got it - perfect. And did I mention how nice it is to "fit" into a chair or recliner without bursting out the sides? Awesome!
Today, right here right now, in my recliner and cable knit sweater, at 4am, I am content with the world, and my place in it - and I wanted to share that with you, and thank you all for being a part of my new world...where anything is possible as long as you believe...
God Bless - your friend, "Sprink"
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