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Friday, October 17, 2008

Depression and Weight and Blogging and Prayer and Clementines and Joy...

Shoot. I've been gone over two weeks. Sorry...again.

I started falling into another spell under the dark cloud, which doubly bummed me out, because I had come out of a very extended clinical depression this past January. It had been nice feeling normal all these months, pretty happy, often joyful, just normal.

So, for a couple weeks, I've been sleeping and feeling flat and ignoring chores like grocery and house cleaning. I had a few clusters of no-showering days, too, which is gross to go 3 or 4 days sans shower. But that is always one of the signs I'm in the blues--lack of energy to do squat, even wash my hair. And the sleeping too much. And the not blogging. And even not reading my Bible or praying, which is the worst thing to do for a religious person--stray from essential spiritual disciplines.

I started feeling that self-loathing, too.

Getting on the scale and seeing 277.6 didn't help. I wanted to cry, just cry, at gaining those pounds when I was close to getting into the 260s.

Two days ago, I felt so distressed about falling into another deep pit and regaining what cost me so much to lose, that the first thing I did when I woke up, lethargic and blue, was drop naked on my knees by my bed and pretty much beg for help out of the shadowland. I just didn't want to go there again, not this soon. I'd lost 4 years to depression this millenium, and I refused to just let it take another 4.

So, I prayed, I showered, and I read a Psalm, some I Corinthians, and recited the Apostle's Creed. And I said no to the daily dessert splurge I'd been using as medication. I called hubby at work and asked him to stop by the market and get me some papaya, clementines, plums, mushrooms, melon, and salad fixings.

The next day, I prayed again, and then I hauled my butt to Pilates. I hadn't been doing well with my exercises (to my estimation), cause I felt so low in the energy. It was excruciating to do anything. But though I wanted to cancel, I got dressed with my stinky unwashed-for-four-days hair and got through it. I did much better than the sessions the week before. After my session, I went to the farmer's market and filled a basket with fruits and fresh veggies to help me resume my healthful eating plan.

That was yesterday.

Today, I started to feel like the cloud was lifting. I did't feel dark blue, more like turquoise (lighter, prettier). I felt more energy. I COOKED! The first time I made dinner in over two weeks.

Today, the scale said 273.6. Four pounds off in a couple days.

I know that eating fruits and veggies and eating home-cooked meant less sodium, so I'm debloating. It helps. I feel less uncomfy in my skin.

I know there is a connection between depression and obesity--as my endocrinologist mentioned more than once trying to get me to take antidepressants. Here's an article about it:

People who are depressed may be more likely to become obese because of physiological changes in their hormone and immune systems that occur in depression. Also, they have more difficulty taking good care of themselves because of symptoms and consequences of depression, such as difficulty adhering to fitness regiments, overeating, and having negative thoughts.

Tell me about the difficulties. If I haven't got the initiative to take a 10 minute shower, it's damn for sure I'm not inclined to spend 30-to-45 minutes cooking a healthy meal or spend twenty minutes walking round the block!

I'm sure we've all heard how exercise is shown to help depression. The fact that I kept up the Pilates (only cancelled one class when my stomach rebelled and I got the runs) I think helped, too, to keep me from falling all the way over the cliff:

Treatments such as exercise and stress reduction can help to manage both obesity and depression at the same time. Potentially, dieting, which can worsen mood, and antidepressants, which can cause weight gain, should be minimized.

I certainly minimized dieting. But that was effect, rather than proactive.

My Pilates instructor really stressed how she wanted me to get into some regular aerobic activity. She is very gung-ho that this will help regulate my mood. I'm sure it will help. I went for a very short walk, ran into neighbors, got into two conversations. Not much aerobic stuff, but I felt lighter in spirit just from chatting. I got to share another pack of my South Beach Living whole grain, high fiber tortillas with one neighbor, who loved them when I gave her a pack a few months ago. (I ordered by the case.)

I've spent time in the last couple days researching local therapists. We're gonna switch insurance (again, dang)in January due to employer decision. I'd like to see if they cover treatment for depression and eating disorders of the therapy sort, rather than the drug sort. I'd like to take advantage. If they don't, we'll have to find a way to pay out of pocket for at least one sesson a week. If it means one less Pilates session a week, then so be it. But like dear Lyn, I know I need to get that kind of help. I do think my mood issues are at root a huge part of my eating issues, and as the article states, we who have these problems need treatment that's coordinated, addressing both:

"The treatment of depression and obesity should be integrated," the authors conclude. "This way, healthcare providers are working together to treat both conditions, rather than each in isolation."

If you also suffer from depression issues that impact your obesity situation, see if your insurer (if you have one) can pay for you to visit a therapist that has experience with BOTH depression and obesity, or who will integrate with a nutritionist or other specialist to get a holistic approach. It's all related.

So, I'm struggling, but the moment when I got on my knees and asked my Creator for help made some change. Some would say it's not God, but rather simply my own internal voice or will determining change. Each will analyze it as they choose. Me...I believe it was God. For whatever reason, my cry got heard this time.

I know, intellectually, that I'd do well to get on my knees about this issue first thing every day. Consistency ain't my strong suit, sadly, but I saw a big change in my mood from THAT moment, so I'll honor God by believing He brought freshness and light into the stifling and dark threshold of a depressive episode.

I've dealt with depression for 40 years. You'd think I'd have a better system of coping mechanisms, know what to do right off to minimize the damage. But depression is a sneaky mother, and you wake up and all vim is gone, all vision is bleak, and strategy seems beyond you. Just goes to show how debilitating some things can be.

On, the happy side: Clementines have been lovely. I wouldn't be surprised if those sweet babies have been therapeutic. Not just the vitamin C and all, but that bright, bursting sweetness. Man, go and have some clenmentines today. Don't miss this gift nature offers. Yum.

And for all those who left comments asking about me, thanks. I apologize for disappearing this month, but I am so grateful to be remembered.

Be happy today! Eat well. Move. Pray. Laugh. Sing. Dance. Give a gift to someone. Call a pal. BE HAPPY!

A few verses on joy to close out:

This is the day the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it.
Psalm 118:24 NIV

…let the hearts of those who seek the Lord rejoice. Look to the Lord and his strength; seek his face always.
I Chronicles 16:10-11 NIV

These things have I spoken unto you, that my joy might remain in you, and that your joy might be full.
John 15:11 KJV



SeaShore said...

Glad you're back Princess, and that your world is looking brighter. Take care.

PS - Love clementines!!

spunkysuzi said...

I'm so glad your back and finding a way to help to heal you!! "hugs"

Anonymous said...

I'm glad to hear you're feeling better.

But do remember that clinical depression is caused by imbalance of chemicals in the brain. Certainly if you were hypothyroid you wouldn't eschew medication but try to reason your way out of it.... the same should be true of other chemicals in your body. Depression is a medical condition, not a failing of will. Don't rule out medication if you need it. It can make a world of difference.

LadyBug0088 said...

I've been through some similar instances...I have been battling anxiety for the past year. At first I thought I was depressed because I cried but they are more like anxiety attacks when I get stressed out.

I know how hard it is when you feel this way. I'll keep you in my prayers.

JC said...

I'm so glad to see a post from you. I understand completely. God never fails, His mercies are new every morning but we have to gather them just as the Jews gathered manna in the wilderness. So many times I haven't gotten help because I haven't asked for help or asked with wrong motives. I'm glad your better. I'll keep you in my prayers. You are His Princess.

Wendi said...

Fab Kate is right, better living through chemisty. I've been depressed before and all "they" want to do is give you a pill and see you again in three months, so i get that counceling is very much needed but they can work together.

Lyn said...

You came back!! I am so happy to see you. I'm sorry you've been suffering so much. I've been thinking of you, and I am just glad you did gather the strength to come back and keep working on your health. I missed you :)