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Goin' down

Thursday, February 02, 2012

I’m still trying.
It’s still hard.
I doubt the latter will ever change; the former… comes and goes. Right now, we’re in a trying phase. Heh. Trying phase. There’s a double meaning in that. But what I meant by it is that I’m currently in a phase where I work to improve my physical state; I eat healthier, I track my food, I exercise, stuff like that. Then I’ll get sick, or hurt, or busy, and one or more of those things will stop happening. But… well, one of the things I’m dealing with right now, as I’ve mentioned, is trying to be gluten-free. It’s challenging, and EXPENSIVE, but my hope is that once I’m really there, some of my other health issues will improve. That’s the hope. Keep your fingers crossed.
In the process of trying to be healthier, I’ve been realizing that I have an attitude problem.
I have a couple of FB friends that are relentlessly cheerful; they see the good in everything, and always have something positive to say.
I should think that’s really cool. I should be able to applaud that kind of attitude, and try to emulate it. Shouldn’t I? I mean, positivity is supposed to be a good thing.
I think I was absent on the day they doled it out, though.
Don’t get me wrong – I’m pretty optimistic. I always have been. But I’m optimistic in a negative kind of way. I generally feel things will work out for the best, but that they’ll suck in the process of getting there. It’s my way of always being pleasantly surprised, if things go well.
I resent cheerfulness. I actively dislike people when they admit to being happy. I mean, how dare they? Surely either they’re faking it, or they’re living in a dream. Surely. Because, honestly, how do you go through life in this world and manage to be happy?
I read an article the other day about how to be happy at work (http://www.inc.com/geoffrey-j
rk.html). The boiled down version is, if you’re unhappy, it’s because you’ve made yourself unhappy. The way to be happy is to change the rules for yourself. If you’ve set the bar too low (If there’s no decaf coffee made when I need it and I have to make it, it’s going to really make me mad! If someone has decided hovering over the office potty is better than sitting on it, and has left a damp present for whoever comes next, that’s going to make me angry! If someone cuts me off on my way to work, that’s going to set me off!), then of course you’re going to be angry all the time. So I guess the idea is to list the things that currently make you unhappy and make you happy, and then decide what on that list isn’t working for you, and make a new list that makes it more challenging for things to upset you, and easier for things to make you happy.
And I get how that might work.
I mean, it seems a little contrived, but such things can work, for some people.
Here’s my thing. And it’s the reason I’ve never really believed in getting therapy, either, even though I think I could probably do with some.
I’m afraid that if I change my outlook on life… if I become a positive person… I won’t be me anymore.
To be fair, being me just at the moment is a less than fantastically fun place to be.
I think it’s safe to say I suffer from depression, as well as anxiety. I’m very isolated. I have friends, but most of them I see infrequently. The rest of the time, I’m on my own. I’ve gotten quite good at being on my own, and most of the time it doesn’t bother me too much, but… well, sometimes it does. I miss going out, and doing stuff, and being around people without feeling totally awkward and weird.
I wasn’t always like this. I used to have a life. I wasn’t always just going through the motions.
I am not a well human. And this shows up fairly dramatically in the form of my physical health, though there’s a bit of a chicken vs. egg thing going on, there; am I depressed because I’m unhealthy? Or am I unhealthy because I’m depressed? I think the truth of that is, I was unhealthy, and it made me depressed, which made me even MORE unhealthy, and now I’m just in this vicious downward spiral.
I recognize this, but I don’t know how to fix it without changing who I am. Maybe changing who I am would be a good thing, I don’t know. But most of the people who know me seem to like me OK; they think I’m funny, at least. They care about me. They’d be there for me, if I was able to make myself reach out. I’m the one who’s unhappy and doesn’t know how to connect.
So if anyone has any suggestions on how to work on that, I’m open.

Moving on….
A bunch of my work friends are looking to get together at a local diner for a weekend breakfast. We’ve done this once before, and I didn’t want to do it then, either. And not just because it requires me to be social.
I grew up on diner food. I grew up on bagels with butter, and pancakes, and French toast, and bacon, and ham, and syrup, and grilled cheese and bacon. I’m a picky eater; the safest, easiest place for me to find something I was going to like was to go to some diner and eat deliciously greasy breakfast food. Plus, you could smoke till… well, till it killed you. Diner food is the ultimate comfort food. And diner food is a big part of why I look the way I look.
These days, not only can’t I eat all the deliciously greasy food because it’s just not a healthy thing to do, I can’t eat it because of the gluten in it, which I seem to be intolerant to, and the fat in it, which given my lack of a gall bladder and the subsequent problems that’s caused, my body doesn’t seem very fond of.
But that doesn’t make it any less tempting. Breakfast food is, without a doubt, the hardest thing for me to resist. I LOVE breakfast food. I’d eat pancakes for every meal, if I could! I know that eating this food now would cause me severe pain and misery, but I also know that the taste of it would be nearly divine.
The last time we did this, I ate my healthy serving of cereal at home, and only ordered a fruit cup at the diner. Yay me. Everyone else ordered the things I wanted to order, but couldn’t. I behaved myself. I think my drooling was kept to a minimum, and only when no one was looking. But it was HARD.
Most social situations entail food. For the most part… food is off my menu. This has made social gatherings, which I’ve been having trouble with recently just because they involve actually talking to people, even harder. I don’t want anyone to feel insulted because I won’t eat their food.
I don’t want everyone to look at me funny because I have to eat my own food that I brought from home to someone else’s party.
I don’t want to sit at a diner and eat fruit.
It’s easier to just stay at home than deal with all of that.
Thereby adding another loop to the downward spiral.
But… still trying.
I’m not planning to give up.
For one thing, if I give up the gluten-free thing, it means being really physically ill. Somehow, that lacks appeal. So I think it’s safe to say that, except for the occasional slip, I’m good to go on that one. I’m bitter about it, but I’m trying not to be. I’m lucky, and I know it – it was a lot harder to go gluten-free not too terribly long ago than it is, now. And I think that it’s becoming more accepted, now – there will, eventually, be less of the people looking at me funny thing. In the interim… I bring my own food to places, or I eat before I go. So be it.
As for the depression/anxiety thing… that, I have no answers for. I try not to give in to it too much. I go to work every day, because I have bills to pay, as well as expensive gluten-free food to pay for. I’m trying (mostly failing, but trying nonetheless) to move towards making jewelry for actual money. Right now, I’m saving up for a PO box, so I can have a tax ID. Of course, in the interim, I should actually be making jewelry; that’s been harder to make myself do. But I’ll get there. The nice thing is that, at least for the time being, there’s no pressure there. I’m looking at other changes in my life I could make… whether they’ll improve my situation, or just be a lateral move… is less certain. But making any moves at all is challenging when you feel like nothing matters, so I keep trying to make moves. And I’m trying not to make stupid moves just for the sake of moving.
I’m a work in progress.
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Member Comments About This Blog Post
  • JKM822
    I was reading through a bit of your blog after I got your friends request, and I saw lots of parallels, too, except for one heck of a doozie - you fought through the chronic pain & health issues and met your goal!!! That's HUGE! I envy your fortitude in a big bad major way! So if you've got advice on that, I am eager to hear it.
    For example, right now, my sinuses are working in conjunction with the herniated discs in my cervical spine to give me a headache that starts i my shoulders, pinches the base of my skull, and ends behind my eyes. I'd really like to get a workout in today, but I can't imagine beating this pain down. At least the lumbar spine hasn't piped in, too. ;-)
    As for the potential mental health issues... at least in my case, pretty darned sure about the anxiety. The depression is harder to admit to, but when you look at symptoms of depression & can check off most of them, it's pretty compelling. It sounds like you've got a supportive signif. other, though; that's fantastic, and I'm glad of it. I love living alone & not having to compromise on anything, but it does leave me living in my own head a lot.
    I think you're kinda amazing, too - hopefully we can help each other through the rough bits.
    Oh, & re: the GI bits, have you had your gallbladder checked? Do you, in fact, still HAVE one? (They took mine out. It helped...for a little while.)
    2634 days ago
    Ohhhhh, man, I do not even know where to begin. Have you been reading the journal I am not even at all good at keeping? Seriously, I can relate to SO MUCH of what you have to say here, and I'm terribly sorry to hear someone else has the same struggles!

    I have been GF and just about everything else-free for nearly 8 months now, and it is HARD. I too have gone to Baker's Square with friends and eaten beforehand but ordered only an insanely expensive fruit cup and coffee just so I didn't feel like a total freak show.

    For a long time it was worth it though. But right now, as I seem to have hit a wall in my improvement (my M.O. with all sorts of pain and health issues) I am not so sure anymore.

    I may also have some degree of depression and anxiety after all these years of relative cynicism. I have spent most of my life suspicious of the really happy folks -- surely they are living in big, fat denial! And besides that, contentment breeds complacence. And so on and on.

    And yet, I too (rather oddly) consider myself a sort of optimist! Of course things are the way they are for a reason, for a lesson to be learned or what have you, and always work out the way they are meant to, but no ma'am, that does not mean it won't suck hard core along the way. In fact, how cold it not? Life is hard, yo, and that's just the way it is.

    And I also sometimes fear that this is just who I am and maybe I need to just accept me and love me -- that if I change as much as I think I want/need to, just who the heck will I be then?


    I also am caught in the chicken-or-or-the-egg trap with my supposed depression and anxiety (not quite convinced or ready to own those diagnoses just yet) and my insanely infuriating and exhausting chronic pain. I feel like if I could just figure out which is the cause, maybe I could get better. I am starting to believe it is just unresolved "stuff" - lifelong stress and unfortunate circumstances - manifesting physically, they way they do in overeaters, and I'll be sure to let you know how that theory shakes out for me. emoticon

    I've added you as a friend. I am quite sure you are an amazing person who I will be very happy to know better. emoticon
    2634 days ago
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