Sunday, June 28, 2015

Thermostat or Thermometer?

A thermostat sets the temperature.

A thermometer takes the temperature.

I remember once hearing the saying that when you enter a room you should be a thermostat, not a thermometer.

It made sense at the time.

Last week I realized..... I AM A THERMOMETER.


Well, that can't be good.

I have been working hard to rise up out of anxiety and despair, and last week I felt like I was winning.

I woke up one morning in a really, REALLY, good mood.

Those around me?

Not so much.

I felt my mood slipping, being caught up in the upset of another.

But I stopped myself.

I AM A THERMOSTAT - I kept repeating over and over to myself.

It may not be the mantra that Buddha was professing, but hey,

it works for me.

And today?

Today despite the temperature outside being hot and the humidity being high, I am in a good place.

Thermostat: 1 Thermometer: 0

Monday, June 22, 2015

First Post Challenge

I am taking up Edwina's challenge today. It is a timely request and will help me break my writers block.

Here it is: A Special Place in Heaven

It was an introductory essay - why I was starting, and a bit about who I was.

This post reminds me how how far I have come, how much has changed in the past seven years, and how much has stayed the same.

My husband did retire a year after this post was written.

So did I three years later.

That play did go on, and it was wonderful.

And my blog has been a way for me to stay in touch with others and myself.

That trip to Florence was amazing.

And yes, I still believe that there should be a special place in Heaven for teachers.

My life is still clickety clacking down the straight line track.

It came apart this year.

It is coming together again.

And so it goes.

Anyone who wants to join this first post challenge should - I nominate all and sundry!

Here are the rules:

Copy-paste, link, pingback or whatever way you want to, your first post.

State what type of post that was. E.G. Introduction, Story, Poem

Explain why that was your first post.

Nominate 5 other bloggers. Five because I know the pain of opening a lot of tabs at once.

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

A ton is two thousand pounds

Over the past two years I have lost sixty pounds.

This is a slow weight loss.

I didn't lose weight because someone told me to, or because people were mean to me about my weight.

I did it for me.

I started to take care of myself, to make better food choices, and once my plantar fasciitis was healed I started to walk, and then started to swim.

I started to feel better

I used to think that if I lost weight

a) My feet wouldn't hurt after a long walk, or standing all day

b) I wouldn't have to stop to catch my breath when climbing hills

c) my carpal tunnel would go away

d) stairs would be easier

e) my back wouldn't be so problematic

f) I would fit into smaller sized clothes

g) I could stop taking anti-depressant medication

Only d and f are true.

I struggle with the comments people make:

a) You have lost a ton of weight!

b) Skinny Mini!

c) Did you stop eating sugar?

d) Are you ok?

e) You look sick.

f) Your gall bladder surgery might be related to your rapid weight loss.

g) You are disappearing!

h) I know you are anxious, and you can't eat, but you've lost weight! Way to go!

So for the record:

I have not lost a ton of weight. A ton is 2000 pounds. I have not lost 2000 pounds.

Yes, I do look sick in recent pictures. I see it too, but it is not because of my weight loss it is because I have been struggling with anxiety over the past few months. In fact I weigh only two pounds less than I did in December.

No I have not stopped eating sugar. Is sugar bad? (This is a rhetorical question.)

I am not disappearing.

I am 5 feet 5 1/2 inches tall and I weight 160 pounds.

Technically that means my BMI is still in the overweight category. (Not that I hold any credence in BMI numbers, but again, I am just sayin'!)

I try to smile, and say thank you if the comment seems complimentary, I sometimes get a bit snippy if the comment seems back-handed.

I would be lying if I didn't say that it is nice to shop in the regular stores instead of the plus size stores.

I would be lying if I didn't say that it is nice to walk across the pool deck, admiring the strength in my legs.

I would be lying if I didn't admit that I have more confidence in certain, clothing optional, situations.

But, really what I want to say is that people didn't make comments about my weight when I was heavier and I really appreciated that.

Our society looks at weight loss as something that should be congratulated, applauded, revered, sought after.

So I know that people feel they are doing a good thing when they comment on my appearance.

That is the influence of media, society, our culture.

It is stupid.

Being thinner is not the be all and end all of my existence. Of anyone's existence.

It is just where I am now.

I have been much thinner in my life.

I have been much heavier.

Here are the facts:

I weigh less than I did two years ago.

I did it on purpose.

I did it sensibly.

I eat what I want. (Including at least one chocolate chip cookie every day ;) )

I swim 2-3 miles a week.

I walk in the sunshine.

I go to a weekly yoga class.

Weight loss is not the panacea for everything that ails me, and I can accept that.

I try to be gracious when people comment on my weight loss, I really do. I know that often the comments come from a loving, or caring place.

But sometimes?

Sometimes, all these comments make me cranky and anxious about social situations.

So, let's talk about gardening.

Or swimming.

Or hummingbirds.

Let's not talk about weight.

Mine, or anyone's.



Saturday, June 13, 2015

Full Disclosure

I don't know what possessed me.

Maybe I was just tired of lying to people.

Anyways I went to my knit group last week. I hadn't been for a few weeks.

Where have you been? inquired a knitterly friend, discreetly.

I haven't been feeling well, I said.

What was wrong?

Now normally this is where I make up some vague statement about stomach problems.

But not this time.

This time I said:

I have been having anxiety attacks.

I haven't been able to eat.

She was kind, and empathetic and understanding.

She expressed surprise because she has always seen me as someone who is out-going, interested in many things, doing many things.

Ah, yes.

I have hidden it well.

But I am taking crazy back.

I am not hiding in the closet of mental illness anymore.

Because as Ash Beckham says - a closet is no place for a person to truly live.

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

Cure for what ails me

Today started out pretty rough, I was quite shakey but after breakfast headed out for my mile swim anyways.

It was a good swim and settled my stomach down enough to have some miso soup, some sunomono and a couple of pieces of inari.

I lay on the back porch sipping tea and reading about the life of Mary Magdalene and then?

Then three little girls came over to play mahjong, eat chocolate chip cookies, listen to Babar stories and chatter about their last few days of school.

Truly a healing afternoon.

Oh, and it was a sunny, blue sky day.

The Lord is my shepherd,
I shall not want.

Monday, June 8, 2015


Ok, my bad.

I did have a panic attack about 11 last night, and not a great morning, but hey, that's what the meds are for.


I saw my doctor today and he says I am on the right track, and I am, I just have to make sure the track is going somewhere and not around in endless circles.

I am being selfish. Doing what I want. Spent the afternoon at the beach with my daughter - sitting in the sun (and the shade), and then spent the rest of the afternoon reading (and snoozing) on the back porch.

My stomach has settled down enough that dinner seems like a possibility, and I am going to start another batch of water kefir.

See (she says to herself), you are getting things done.


You are.

Getting things done.

And Mary Magdalene appears to be right there with me.

Sunday, June 7, 2015

The bouncing ball is on its way up

From where I was a week ago, things are definitely moving in the right direction

I can eat. (Hooray)

I am having more good moments than bad. (Cheering loudly)

I washed windows. (What?)

I saw my counsellor. (And just when I though I had no more tears left).

My craft room has never looked so organized - and I have two boxes for goodwill (Those two thoughts aren't really connected, it is just that the goodwill boxes are living in my craft room.)

I swam a mile, outdoors, in salt water. (In the sun, no less).

I have been repeating the 23rd psalm over and over. (My new mantra - which is better than "Everything sucks")

I have had a whole day without a stomach ache. (Oh my God, maybe I just jinxed this because I have a few hours until bedtime)

I have been experiencing all these strange connections with books, both fact and fiction, about Mary Magdalene - and now am reading voraciously about her and her life. (Not sure why this is important in my healing, but I know it is)

Thank you to all who have been in my corner - it matters.

God Bless you all.

Thursday, June 4, 2015

Depression isn't funny - at least not to me.

I read many blogs by other bloggers who struggle with mental illness.

Many of them can reflect back on their episodes with humour, or irony, or righteous anger with lots of expletives.

I can't do that.

It is never funny for me, and swearing doesn't help either.

Not when I am in it, for sure, but also not when I am out of it.

It is always painful.

It is always the place where I wish to be anywhere but there.

Robin Williams used to tell amusing anecdotes about his struggles with mental illness.

I don't see the humour in them when I listen to them now. I used to laugh with him but felt uncomfortable for him. For me.

Two of my favourite bloggers are hilarious. They see humour in the most mundane conversations or situations they witness or are part of.

I wish I could write hilarious posts like they do sometimes.

Maybe then, days like today would be more bearable.


But, I doubt it.

Monday, June 1, 2015

Who would you be?

In the middle of an anxiety attack last Monday my naturopath asked me who I would be if the worse possible thing happened.

My replies were about who I wouldn't be. What I would be missing.

No, she asked, who would you be?

I know people who have had the worst happen.

They still know who they are.

When I talk about who I am it is about being a mother, a wife, a teacher.

But those things aren't really who I am.

Who am I?

I am an almost sixty year old woman.

I have many very good friends. Friends who would do anything they could to help me.

I have two children who would do whatever they could to help me.

I have siblings who would be there for me if I asked.

And yet,

when anxiety struck last Monday - I mean capital A N X I E T Y struck last Monday I was paralyzed.

I cried a lot.

I hurt a lot.

And then?

Then I started to reach out.

Slowly at first - tentative conversations.

Cancelling some social engagements.

Picking up the phone, even when I couldn't bear the thought of a conversation.

Calling the doctor - even though I was afraid.

Reaching out to loved ones, even though their plates are full enough.

Who am I?

I am a woman who is loved and respected by many, many people.

I am a woman who will go to great lengths to avoid conflict while all the while remaining conflicted within myself.

I am a woman who finds peace in knitting, and swimming and yoga.

I am a woman who struggles with anxiety and depression, but refuses to give up.

I almost gave up this week.

But I didn't.

I am a survivor. Or rather,

I am surviving.

And today?

Today, that is the best I can do.