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stop me if you've heard this before

Tuesday, March 29, 2016

actually, no, don't. you've definitely heard it but i'm going to keep writing anyway.

i took about a year and a half off. it was planned, just not for that long. i thought i'd be back before now. but life has its own plans so i'm just now back where i wanted to be last summer. that is, i'm finally a member of a gym again and i've been eating more vegetables than pizza and am actually losing weight [i think? i don't have a scale at the moment]. yay for me!

the past year and a half has been tough. very rewarding, it turns out, but very tough. after essentially getting kicked out of my home of the previous 3 years, i gave up my dream job [dream job in work, not in pay] to move somewhere i had a chance of surviving: back to chicago. now, if you don't know my story very well, in 2010-2011 i had a complete mental breakdown, which led me to move back to a family home in rhode island to work on recovery. i got worse before i got better, but landing my dream job and having a great community gym helped a lot. anyway, i lost everything in 2011, screwed up my career path, finances, credit, personal life, because of bipolar disorder. i have been working on getting all of that back since. and it's been really hard.

so, october 2014, i was told that my uncle was selling the house i had been calling home for the past 3 years, and i needed to be out by december 1st. i scraped together enough money for a move, and came up with the terrible [so i thought] plan to go back to chicago, because i just didn't know where else to go. i mean, i didn't make it in this city the first time, what made me think i would on the second try? but i had friends there, and after three lonely years in rhode island, friends and a support network was what i needed. i took a gamble and moved back right before thanksgiving. i mean, it was that or the streets, but at least i had friends to crash with, right?

the gamble hasn't entirely paid off, yet. i think it's more of a long-term investment at this point, and we'll see how it turns out. but things are going better. there was a very rough start that hasn't quite settled, as my ruined credit has made getting an apartment pretty much impossible. but i've been staying in a friend's apartment that she moved out of and the landlord doesn't care, so that's... fine, for now. employment-wise, i've yet to get back into my dream job [librarian] but i've still lucked out. a temp agency just happened to assign me to a two-day job at a mental health nonprofit as my first assignment with them, and that two day assignment turned into a three week assignment, then off and on for six months, then full time for another six, and then the organization *finally* hired me in december! so while it's not a library, it's pretty great, i love the work we do [we help people with mental illnesses who are in need of housing... so, me, essentially, if i had known about them when i needed them] and there's plenty of potential for growth [i'm already in line for a promotion even though i'm not eligible for another two months, plus there is a "peer success" group that's specifically people with mental illnesses working as case workers for other members, that i'd qualify for that i'm thinking about going for eventually]. plus, it's my first job with full benefits since 2009! awesome health insurance [which i'll get to in a bit], dental and vision [i have contacts again! i ran out over a year ago and had to wear my outdated glasses for the past year], paid time off, a 401k... plus, the great thing about working for a mental health organization is that they really understand the need for mental health days and encourage taking them [i'm taking one tomorrow, actually. my first paid day off in seven years]. anyway, things have been much better than they initially looked [although i still would like my own apartment...].

one of the things that took forever to get sorted out, though, was fitness. around last february, right when i was about to dust off my running shoes for the spring, i started developing terrible pain in my calves. this wasn't from lack of exercise, i was walking to work and everywhere else every day [yes, i live within walking distance of my job! and target. so basically, everywhere i need to go], and walking more didn't improve it. by april, i couldn't walk more than a couple blocks without wanting to cry from the pain. it was terrible. it took until the summer to figure out what was wrong [when you don't have health insurance, it takes longer to figure out what's wrong with you, who knew!], and it turns out that it was a potassium deficiency that was causing muscle depletion! so i focused on that and after a few months, things were back to normal. but then winter hit and i still didn't have a gym membership, so working out was put on the back burner yet again. [i have a fear of slipping on ice while out running/biking, and chicago is very icy in the winter!] but in january, i did purchase just dance [video games are my favorite way to get back into working out!] and have been slowly building up my cardio with that, as well as a pair of dumbbells stashed at my desk to do some strength in downtime at work. so progress has been slow since the beginning of the year, but happening.

but my benefits kicked in at the beginning of this month, which means health insurance! and my insurance is super awesome and has a fitness program. see, gyms in chicago are wicked expensive ($60/month is the norm, plus an enrollment fee] so they've been out of my budget even though i really miss going to the gym. anyway, with my health insurance's fitness program, i pay $25/month for the gym! it's actually a whole network of gyms across the country that i can use while traveling and stuff at no additional cost, but i have a "home" gym that's my regular. anyway, i joined that on thursday so i've now gone twice and i am so happy to be back on the elliptical!

[as for the gym itself, i am not too happy, but i can deal. see, i was part of a small community gym in rhode island, i knew everyone who went there and was friends with a good number of them after two years, and i had an excellent personal trainer who was friendly and personal and supportive and everything i wanted/needed. the new gym is very corporate and impersonal, which i'm not a fan of but did expect so i'm only *reasonably* disappointed. but i've already butted heads with the personal trainer initially assigned to me, so i am not giving him my money because i've already got some fatphobic vibes from him. i'll do this on my own and show him wrong, whatever. as much as i'd like a personal trainer again, i'm not going to settle for just anybody.]

[[plus, health insurance: i earn points through doing healthy things like joining a gym and going up to 3 times a week. i can redeem said points for video games. free video games is an excellent reward for healthy activities for me!]]

on other healthy notes, i've got my first doctor's appointment in years set for next tuesday [yay! but also nervous. but happy to take care of things. but anxious that something's wrong and i just don't know.], and i'm going to get referrals to a bunch of things but importantly, a psychologist! because even though i feel like i've mostly got my bipolar disorder managed at this point [especially with being back at the gym, as working out has always been my #1 effective treatment for it], my anxiety [and especially my social anxiety] is just getting worse and worse and i want to get that under control. [i'd like to be able to hold a normal, non-emotional conversation with someone without crying? because that's what happens right now? that's not normal?]

ANYWAY. long story, but life has definitely improved and now my health is going to as well. i've been checking back in at sparkpeople for a while now but i'm finally announcing it now that i'm back at a gym. hey people, what's up?
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Member Comments About This Blog Post
    Welcome back. I think you are doing soooo amazing. Keep up wiyh it. You can do this. You gave overcome so much already.
    966 days ago
    Good to hear your life is getting back on track. Have fun working out.
    966 days ago
    As a Chicago resident Welcome Home ! Sometimes in life we take many paths to become complete . Seems like you're on your way to good health . The weather is beginning to warm up and spring in Chicago is lovely .

    Wishing you success in your job search - one day at a time . emoticon
    966 days ago
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