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The Hardest Blog Ever Written.

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Sunday, December 30, 2012

I have met the enemy...and he is me.

I have made the decision to go for counseling. That one sentence embodies the toughest decision I have ever made. It goes against my very fibre of "I'm gonna do it my way". I guess I got that way from years of feeling like no one understands, or cares for that matter, so therefore I must handle everything myself.

How, where, or why I guess is a moot point.

I did talk to a clinician last night and after reviewing my physical symptoms as well as the emotional side of things, I am absolutely for sure struggling with anxiety and depression. I hate that truth, but it has grown to where I really can't afford to be a John Wayne any more. From a weight loss perspective, I don't believe I can go any further until issues, however painful, are addressed.

When I first started at 385 lbs, my calorie requirements were so high that I could make small changes, get off my rear and do something and lose weight in spite of the emotional eating episodes and binges. Not so any more.

There is a part of me that doesn't want to admit it, and certainly not in a public forum, but there is safety with my friends and I have had nothing but support here.

It's ok to admit that I am not strong.

So much of this stems back from when I was growing up. I was one of "those ADD kids". I was failing in school and I was put on Ritalin. My grades instantly skyrocketed. I could focus, think again, mom cancelled her reservation at the loony bin and life was good.

I hated it.

I hated the fact that I had to take a pill to be normal, that I was defective and could not measure up to the normal kids. I would always be substandard unless I took a pill. Between that and being the fat kid, being bullied, and not being well to do in a preppy school, I never measured up. A day late and a dollar short in everything I did.

Once I got out of school I vowed I would never do that again. I would be capable.

I has worked...for the most part. I delved deep into tons of self help literature (as if you can't tell from my writings) and really looked inward. I learned goal setting and the empowerment that comes from doing big things and it really helped.

But that is also why I feel like a total failure because for me to go to counseling feels like all that I did to try to help myself was pretty much a waste of time because ultimately it came full circle and here I am in some shrinks office.

I feel like I am weak and all of the talk, the stuff, everything I did was just so much piss and wind...pardon the French.

However, I have learned that when you know what you must do in your heart of hearts, you must do, no matter how uncomfortable, how humbling, how un-manly it may seem.

Maybe I just need a friend.

Maybe if I can come to grips with those things that are really hurting me, that I will come out more battle ready than ever and will finally reach my destination.

It is for that reason alone that I will go because I am tired of floundering. I have proved that I will stop at nothing to see it through but this......this is hard.

If I can run a marathon, I can walk into a doctors office.

Link To My Public Blog: mailboxes2miles.blogspot
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  • v ADELE66
    Bravo! Bravo! Bravo!

    It is extraordinary how acceptable it is to talk about our physical health and how unacceptable it still is to discuss mental health. I see so many people on here who have conquered their weight issues but continue to struggle and suffer because they haven't paid any attention to their non-physical needs.

    When you start counselling, initially you may feel that it makes you feel worse not better, but stick with it, the rewards are well worth waiting for.

    Best of luck to you - and well done on overcoming your reservations.

    1276 days ago
    Do not feel weak. Sometimes things are just beyond our control. It never hurts to admit you need to talk to someone about issues you're having. You will get thru all of this and you will come out of it more stronger and confident. emoticon
    1276 days ago
    It takes courage to admit you need help. I wish you success in achieving your goals.
    1276 days ago
    I'm deeply impressed by what you wrote here.
    And touched.
    You are not weak. And you ARE handling everything yourself also if you see a counselor. It is 'just' one more way of taking good care of yourself.
    When picking a counselor, I hope you will be picky and seek one that you feel can really help you - there are so many different types of therapy, methods out there and the person who uses them is quite important, too.
    1276 days ago

    Comment edited on: 12/31/2012 5:22:48 AM
    You're doing a wonderful thing reaching out for help. And don't feel down that you have to take medication for your depression. It's just a fact of life. But I'm proud of you for the progress you've made. You're a great person!
    1276 days ago
  • v ANGIEN9
    It takes courage to admit you need help and then seek it!! You have friends here and we won't judge you. I get therapy monthly and take medication daily. I am not ashamed and I think the work you have done already will help you complete your journey to a healthy lifestyle.
    Angie emoticon emoticon
    1277 days ago
    It takes a lot of strength and courage to face all of things and admit them not only to yourself but to the world around you. Well done and the best of luck in getting the support and help that you need from a professional setting. Non-professionally, your spark friends are always here for you!!

    1277 days ago
    There is no shame or failure in deciding to go to counseling. Nor has all the introspection you've done this far been a waste of time. If anything, it will help you in therapy because you are already familiar with many of the concepts. You can benefit from someone else's prompting you to look at things in a way you may have never done before. Therapy has played an essential role in my life at specific key moments that I needed someone else's guidance to make a tough choice, get through a difficult life change, change jobs, become more assertive, and much, much more. I am a big believer in therapy. This could be the key that helps you unlock what has blocked you in the past. This could help you change what needs changing. It doesn't mean you have to go forever. Maybe this is a season of your life that needs it. Keep an open mind and don't be hard on yourself. You've made it this far and you're willing to do whatever it takes to succeed. You can do this, too.
    1277 days ago
  • v 123ELAINE456
    You have made a very wise decision to get the help for the depression and anxiety. You are very strong to seek this help You need. Everyone can use help like this sometime in there lives. Depression and Anxiety can can You. If You need Medication take it to help You get through this. You Have many Friends here on Spark People and are here to help and give You all the support we can. You have accomplish so much here. May God be with You and Bless You. Have a Wonderful 2013 Too. Take Care. You Can Do This.

    1277 days ago
  • v NEWSTART127
    I saw my doc about a referral last month... and with the change-over of our benefits and EAP programs through work, I've delayed doing anything until 2013. But like you, I know that the time has come that I need more help. It's not a sign of weakness, knowing or asking for help. It's a sign of strength. emoticon Forward and onward march!
    1277 days ago
    You know those commercials that they've been showing on tv...the ones where there is a professional violinist, or a professional radio dj, or a professional baseball player...and they're asked "You wouldn't expect your doctor to do your job, would you? Then why do you think you can do their job?" It's for acid reflux, but the same question could be applied in just about any situation, including yours. Why do you have this expectation that you, alone, must be able to solve your problems? NO ONE does anything by themselves. We are all dependent on each other for everything, in thousands of ways. You've made a decision to seek professional assistance. That is a wonderful thing! Your mental health is important too; embrace it as you've embraced your physical health! Here's to a healthier, whole, new you in 2013!
    1277 days ago
  • v FITFOODIE806
    Ad you've just proved that you are stronger than any of us ever knew. I wish you peace in this journey.
    1277 days ago
  • v JUNEAU2010
    I respect you even more than I did before I read this blog. I cringed at the having to take a pill to be normal or something along those lines. Labels are so harmful! (I have puh-lenty of them!). I salute you for not flinching at what you see when you look inside yourself.

    There is no shame in seeking counseling. In fact, being able to admit you need help (a teacher, a dietitian, a trainer, a counselor) and to seek that help is a strength. emoticon
    1277 days ago
    You know what? I think ANYONE could benefit from counseling. Just talking about things helps you get a grip on situations. You have made a good decision and certainly have my respect.

    1277 days ago
    Yes. You have friends. A lot of them, right here.

    Whoa, whoa, whoa. I have to disagree with you on at least one point. You may feel weak, and like everything you did was in vain, or a waste of time, but that's just not true. You're very strong. A weak person doesn't decide to get help, they try to self-medicate and blame others.

    Look. If you wanted to get to Hawaii (a nice paradisical goal), you could walk, you could run, you could swim, you could ride a bike, you could do marathons and triathlons. But eventually you'd have to take a boat or a plane. Just because you rode in a boat or a plane for part of your journey, that wouldn't invalidate everything you did to get to your embarkation point. It would mean that you're smart enough to do the practical and reasonable thing when the time came. In fact, you couldn't take the boat if you didn't get to the pier.

    OK? Get it? This guy ON2VICTORY's my friend. He's still on to victory. Quit beating up on him. He's a good guy. emoticon
    1277 days ago

    Comment edited on: 12/30/2012 10:32:58 PM
    Oh my goodness. Anxiety is real and when unchecked, it is debilitating. I was out on medical leave for 10 weeks this time last year. I worked on my physical health at the same time as I learned how to manage the anxiety. My primary care prescribed 30 days of a mild sedative and a sleeping pill. Then she prescribed LOTS of exercise, then more exercise, talk therapy with someone who could help me get some perspective and who could help learn to manage anxiety. I used the medication for a short time (less than a month) so I could learn how to sleep again. The 30 day supply of a mild sedative lasted for 4 months. I stuck with the therapist for 9 months. We went from weekly visits to bi-weekly visits. Now I have the tools to manage my anxiety and I know where to go if I need help again.

    It saved my career. It saved my marriage. It saved my health.

    You are worth every minute of effort that you put into it.

    1277 days ago
  • v DONNA5456
    You inspire!! emoticon
    1277 days ago
    I can't see a reason why this decision would harm you-- unless you set unrealistic expectations. I remember the 1st time I went into counseling- in 2002 - I was not lucky to find a good counselor at the time and I was too vulnerable to realize that the problem was not me. My 2nd attempt a few years later reaped a lot better benefits. I found some good guidance... but part of me was still seeking a "prescription" of what to do--- aka, take step 1,2,3 etc and I promise you'll be better/cured/improved... heck, I would have taken a promise to be 50% better with open arms at the time. But there was no such thing- the counselor did not cure my eating issues. Those feelings/thoughts/engraved behaviors remained with me. My 3rd attempt was good, but ultimately I didn't like the counselor and then again question if it was my unwillingness to listen to her...
    I haven't seen anyone in a long time - maybe 5 yrs? And I feel okay about me. It took a huge "FALL" into a dark, dark whole of overeating/depresssion/wacked out hormones and exhaustion, along with putting on 25 plus pounds to get me to a point where I "surrendered" and accepted myself.

    Anyways, this is not my blog- my point is that there is no miracle cure in therapy- however, it is a great tool to point things out to you that you probably already know, to give you a new perspective, to allow you to let go over old wounds and face some fears or issues that you are putting off to deal with. I can promise you that the more you embrace you, with all your faults and the more you keep digging at those issues and feeling all the pain- basically jump right into the fire- which is going to feel uncomfortable or even worse- the more you will figure out what will make you feel better and happier!

    1277 days ago

    You are blessed! You have so many friends here that gave you heartfelt responses. I hope you read them over and over.

    Good luck but it is really up to you!

    emoticon emoticon emoticon
    1277 days ago
  • v LINDAK25
    If this is what you must do to reach your goals than you have to do it. This has nothing to do with failure or not being good enough. This is just more self discovery on the journey you are on. We all have to face ourselves and embrace all of who we are. Accept this and you will be able to move ahead on your journey. You can do this. And yes, this is hard. Has any of this been easy? Like the poster says: Pick your hard.
    1277 days ago
  • v CAPER85
    It would appear to me that you have many good friends from all the responses you have rec'd thus far. You are not weak but stronger than you think. It takes a lot courage to do what you are doing. And you are most certainly not alone either. What you have written down may just shake others to their reality & they too will seek counseling for their issues...present company included.

    When 2013 rolls around we will open a new book. Its pages are blank. Opportunity for a better tomorrow is just ahead for all of us. What we write on those blank pages is really up to us.

    I wish you the very best & Happy New Year!! emoticon
    1277 days ago
    1277 days ago

    If you had trouble figuring out how to do a kettlebell snatch, would you ask someone who understands them to look at your attempts and give you pointers? I think we both know the answer to that question.

    Seeing a counselor is much the same, for your mental health. You know what you're trying to do, but you're having trouble getting it done. It's time to let someone who understands what you're trying to do and has an outside perspective take a look at your efforts and direct your attention to what you need to work on.

    I have never been in counseling myself, but I've seen the results from some people close to me who have been. The results vary, with the best results happening for the people who view it as a positive step to make their lives better and the worst results happening for the people who view counseling as a waste of time . . . but those attitudes primarily existed *before* the people in question walked through the doctor's door.

    As others have noted, you still have to do the hard work. The counselor just helps direct your efforts so you can work more effectively.

    Q: How many psychologists does it take to change a light bulb?
    A: Only one, but the bulb has to really *want* to change!

    So, Robert, do you really *want* to change? If so, you'll do what it takes to change even if that includes seeing a counselor.
    1277 days ago

    Comment edited on: 12/30/2012 9:20:45 PM
    You are not weak. You are strong. Move forward and progress. The world is your apple. Much success in the coming year.
    1277 days ago
    Our emotional health is just as important as our physical health! Thank you for making your emotional health important!
    1277 days ago
    Admitting that you can not do everything yourself is not weakness, it is a sign of wisdom. Getting help shows courage and humbleness. All of this goes against the "normal" society teachings of "if your a man you can do it your self" B.S.

    Do not beat yourself up over this. The mind is a tricky thing. Your mind can get you into all sorts of holes in life, but the funny thing about tht is that your mind once it gets you in those holes usually can not get you back out, because for some reason you mind now thinks that that is the place to be. Thus the reason for out side help.

    And on the subject of taking pills, if it gets you back on track isn't it worth it?

    Keep being honest with yourself and telling those around you what your actually felling and you can get through this too. Believe in yourself. We do. emoticon
    1277 days ago
  • v SEATTLE9
    So many of us have used counseling and/or prescriptions to get a firm footing. I have never heard anyone who has made this choice say they regret it. It isn't a failure; it's taking charge and deciding you want to do something about your life.

    I admire that you are making this decision - it takes guts!
    1277 days ago

    Comment edited on: 12/30/2012 8:22:41 PM
    Go. You can do it. Look at all the hard stuff you've done! You deserve to feel better. You take care of your wife and kids, now it's time to take care of you.
    1277 days ago
    People who aren't strong don't get the help they need. Only the strong are brave enough to admit they need help. Hang in there.
    1277 days ago
  • v DALID414
    Congrats on the realization and you are strong in just the realization. You are choosing to make yourself better, it'll happen for you.
    1277 days ago
    Robert i understand your pain. Unlike you I wouldn't admit i needed the help. Because of that my three children practically raised themselves after my husband was killed. I thought to myself what can talking to a therapist do to change anything? Because of that we all suffered way lo.ger than we should have. 20years later with lots of damage done now know that trie strength comes fro GOD and knowing when to ask for help. Congratulations on your strength. Good luck
    1277 days ago
  • v _JODI404
    Taking this step does NOT mean that you are not strong!! It's OK to admit that you need help, but that does not mean that you are not a strong person.

    You are in NO way a total failure!!!! You have already accomplished and achieved a great deal ~~ you have SO much to be very proud of.

    Also, about measuring up.... Don't waste one more minute comparing yourself to others because this is YOUR journey!! You don't need to worry about what others are doing and if you measure up.

    There is nothing unmanly about seeking counseling. I think it is a big problem in our country that there remains such a negative stigma attached to counseling, depression, Rx's, mental health. These are conditions, just like physical ones that often require medical expertise to treat. The more people are willing to be open and talk about this, hopefully the less shame and stigma will exist.

    Do what is best for you and try not to have such harsh judgements against yourself.
    I wish you great healing from your doctor. And if this Dr. isn't a good fit for you... don't give up -- try another one.

    I think you are showing your strength in this blog, not your weakness!!

    You are right to feel supported here - because you are!! You have definitely have many true friends here!

    Take Care Robert. You can do this!!

    emoticon emoticon

    1277 days ago
    You know few things take more strength then knowing when you need help. We all need help in our lives. It just takes different forms. I have considered getting counseling myself, as I still have so many feelings of worthlessness from my upbringing, but also would feel like that was admitting that I needed someone's help other than my own, my family and my God's help.
    1277 days ago
  • v LIVESTRONG2010
    That you can and this is something that YOU need to do for yourself. Stay strong and true to you!
    1277 days ago
    I am so sorry to read that you feel like a failure. In my opinion, a failure to acknowledge that we all need various and sundry forms of help along the way is the failure and that it's a strength and a triumph to acknowledge that you need help and to see it out. I've done it at various points---even at times when my world outwardly seemed to be doing well.

    I don't think that you are coming full circle to the place where you started---I think that our paths are circuitous in many ways and that life is a matter of making strides in one direction and then pausing to reflect and then making revisits to the past (necessary ones) and then forging forward again. It's never just doing it for the first time. It's doing it better and making it better.

    I wish you the very best. You are not alone!
    1277 days ago
  • v HDHAWK
    Several things you've written here sound similar to things I said to myself before I went to counseling. I was so used to handling everything on my own. I felt like a failure for not being able to handle things at that time. It ended up not being a big deal after all. I made it worse in my head than it really was. When we have problems we talk to friends but sometimes we need someone who doesn't know us so well. Someone who can be objective. Doing what you need to do for yourself is anything but a failure.
    1277 days ago
  • v ACTIVE_AT_60
    Robert - Slimdown and hdhawk said it better than I could ever have said it! Look at this as a strength exercise - the exercise is to strengthen some physiological changes (not weaknesses) in the brain.

    'maybe I just need a friend" - the problem in a situation such as this is the friend need to be able to ask the right questions and give you the appropriate answer. Unless you have formal training in that - it is at best not helpful. You need a person and possibly 'a pill' to change the biochemistry and normalize the physiology.
    1277 days ago

    Comment edited on: 12/30/2012 6:56:22 PM
    Whenever you need a friend, you know how to get in touch. I'll be here for a couple more months yet before we leave.
    1277 days ago
    It takes huge strength to seek out expert counselling, and you've built the strength to get to this point yourself, so good for you.

    Cognitive behaviour therapy (CBT) is very effective in dealing with anxiety and depression: one classic resource is "Mind Over Mood" (here's the Amazon link:

    Dr. Judith S Beck applied cognitive behaviour therapy to weight loss/weight loss maintenance in "The Beck Diet Solution" -- another great resource.

    All best to you in this next leg of your journey!!

    1277 days ago
  • v REJ7777
    You've already overcome many obstacles all by yourself. If you've hit a wall, it's pretty smart to consult a therapist for needed insights, so that you can progress even further towards your goals. I wish you much success in 2013!
    1277 days ago
    I don't think you are weak at all. In fact, you are one of the strongest, determined, and inspiring people I've met around here.
    1277 days ago
  • v BABYNURSE2000
    Robert, you touch so many people - right to the core - when you "speak". Blessings to you as you struggle to find the answers you need. Like many before me have said, this is not a weakness, but once again shows that you have an amazing strength.
    1277 days ago
  • v LIV2RIDE
    You can work through this. We are all behind you 100%.
    1277 days ago
  • v RUDITUDI2000
    1277 days ago
  • v LINDAKAY228
    I have been through counseling in the past, and over the past year have considered it again and know it would benefit me. I'm the one everyone leans on, and tend to be "superwoman", although I'm not at all. I think most people could benefit from some counseling at some time in their lives. Sometimes it's not the friend that you need, but someone that isn't closely linked to you and can help you objectively look at yourself and what you want, and what you can do to get there. People that love us either have a hard time listening to our pain, or want to protect us and aren't entirely honest with us, or their views of things are colored by their relationship with you. A counselor doesn't have those things. A good counselor will not tell you what to do, but will listen and then help you to figure out the answers that are deep within you, but that you have a hard time accessing. Don't be ashamed or embarrassed or feel like a failure by it. It is a very positive step to take on your journal to complete health. Good for you for realizing that and taking that step. It's a step forward, not a step backward. As they say, we are only as sick as our secrets, and a counselor is often a person who can help us find those hidden secrets that we keep secret even from ourselves, and be a person who can hear them without other complications of relationships. Many only need a short course of therapy, others sometimes a little longer. Think of it like physical therapy, but for your brain and inner being. You can know what stretches or exercises might help an injury, but it just doesn't work right until you have a physical therapist involved. Same with our inner self sometimes. You may not need meds to help. But even if you do, there is no shame in that to help restore the neurotonin and serotonin and other brain chemicals that affect anxiety and depression to normal balance. Embrace this chance to grow in a new way instead of looking it as a failure.
    1277 days ago
  • v CM_GARDNER78
    Anxiety and depression plagues me........and it is the HARDEST thing to ask for help for!! You are making a good choice for you - no matter how hard! Once you start to feel better, you will look back one day and be shocked over HOW much better you feel....and you'll be amazed that you went as long as you did suffering! Good luck!
    1277 days ago
    Robert, there is no weakness is seeking help...on the contrary, it takes courage and wisdom, to realize and accept that you need some help and then take the necessary steps to seek out that help, be it a pill or counseling or both. You are once again serving as an example to others by being brave and sharing your struggles.

    I, like others who have so far responded, am in you think any less of us? So extend that same kindness and understanding to yourself. YOU ARE WORTH IT!!
    emoticon emoticon emoticon
    1277 days ago
    Robert, You are a strong man. Everyone needs some help once in a while. Don't worry about what some people may think. You are doing this for you. Remember, you are worth it. You're right, if you can run a marathon, you can walk into the doctor's office. Take care my friend.

    1277 days ago
    I hate to be argumentative, but there aren't enough semi-trucks in the world to hold carry the amount of strength it takes to live with anxiety and/or depression, so I just want you to go in knowing you already have tons of strength. Sometimes, we just need a break from carrying it all by ourselves before it takes its toll. You deserve the support.
    1277 days ago
  • v ALLISON145
    Don't be so hard on yourself. Depression and anxiety are a chemical imbalance, not a character flaw. There's only so much you can do with exercise and even counseling before you must consider medication, and that's OK. Really, it is.

    1277 days ago
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