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Posts Tagged ‘exercise’

I know how it feels to be passed by. I know how it feels to allow someone else’s success to be my own failure. I know all too well how hard it is to battle a nasty inner voice.” @AmericaFerrera

america-ferrera-triathlete

Inspiration is all around us. I found a little bit of it the other day in the New York Times in an essay about training for a triathlon by America Ferrera: “How a Triathlon Helped America Ferrera Defy Her Inner Critic.”

With every step, stroke and pedal, I turned “No, I can’t” into “Yes, I can,” “I’m limited” into “Look what I’m capable of,” and “I’m weak” into “I am whole, healthy and strong.’” @AmericaFerrera

You’d think that someone who is as successful as she is in her chosen profession would be beyond negative self-talk. Especially with so many agents, publicists and studio execs kissing her (bad)ass on a daily basis.

But no, she does it too. It was also nice to hear someone who is in the public eye openly admit to being human and fallible. I find that refreshing and inspiring. I have to admit that blogging about my own psychological challenges feels a bit strange at times. I’m not one who likes attention, I dislike most reality TV shows, and I was raised not to “air my dirty laundry in public.”

BUT, if no one aired their dirty laundry, how would we know that how we feel is also how a lot of other people feel. We can only learn and grow by sharing what we know, by being honest. So hopefully you appreciate my contribution to the noise as much as I appreciate America Ferrera’s.

And who isn’t guilty of negative self-talk, even though we know it’s not good for us. And it can be as innocent as calling yourself stupid if you make a minor mistake. I’ve called myself that just for dropping something. And each and every one of those comments chips away (subconsciously) at your self-esteem.

I have to admit that I have tried to use positive reinforcement on myself, but it always sounds silly or lame. Or like Donald Trump. “I’m Awesome!” “I’m Huge!” “I’m a force to be reckoned with,” etc., etc… So even if I don’t do that, thank you America for reminding me not to do the other.

I finally got my answer to that question: Who do you think you are? I am whoever I say I am.” @AmericaFerrera

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When you think like a designer, when you are willing to ask the questions, when you realize that life is always about designing something that has never existed before, then your life can sparkle in a way that you could never have imagined.

designing-your-life

It’s been six years since I last posted something here. Inertia is a BITCH!

Life has taken a lot of twists and turns since then. I finally moved away from Northern California (and that damned mechanical turkey) (see my Nov. 24, 2009 post “Giving Thanks for an Epiphany“) and relocated to the East Coast. I’ve also begun to experiment with pharmaceuticals again, which I am not happy about. But with all of the stress that comes along with moving, and aging, etc., I felt that it was time to reach out to some new doctors and see if there were any new pills worth popping in an effort to stop a downward spiral. Yes. And no.

For a few months I was on and off some medications I had tried before. Since I couldn’t remember what I had taken, how many milligrams, and in what combination with what, I let the doctor convince me to try things I had already tried, like Abilify and Wellbutrin. When there was no luck with those, he was convinced that I would see some relief with Latuda, a drug I had never tried before but which I was aware of thanks to Sunovion‘s unrelenting TV advertisements. Since it seemed to be working for everyone else, why not me? Well, I don’t think I took it long enough to find out. I had to stop it cold turkey because it was making me want to crawl out of my skin. There’s an actual term for that side-effect. It’s Akathisia, which is also something I was quite familiar with.

On to a new doctor. And here I am, starting my second week with Rexulti, and upping the dosage from 1mg to 2mg.

I’ve also been seeing a counselor/therapist of sorts who has been trying to get me to try things like DBT (Dialectical Behavior Therapy). (He confessed last week that he didn’t think DBT would necessarily do me any good, but that having to adhere to the schedule might.) He also wondered, out loud, if perhaps my expectations were too high. “No,” I replied immediately. It wasn’t something I had to think about. “I’m trying to get from black to grey,” I said, “so, no, I don’t think my expectations are too high.”

Anyway, I’m at my desk writing again, so that’s something. And I feel it’s the only thing that keeps me sane, keeps me committed. The unexamined life is not worth living. But then neither is the over-examined life. But just by sitting at my computer THINKING about what works and what doesn’t, encourages me to keep trying. To re-establish all of those daily activities that have some impact, however small, on my mood-swings or depression; like eating right and exercising. And writing. So even if this new drug doesn’t work, I’m fairly certain it will be the last one I try, so I’m going to need something else to fall back on.

Be well, Marco

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Undoing DepressionMost depressed people are perfectionists.  We feel that if we don’t do a job perfectly, our entire self-esteem is endangered.  Often this leads to procrastination.  The job is never really begun; outright failure is avoided, but the depressive knows he’s let himself down.  Then again, depressed people want to make themselves over from the ground up: we want to lose thirty pounds, run five miles a day, quit smoking and drinking, get our work completely reorganized, and have time for relaxation and meditation.  It seems like there is so much to do that we never start...”        We have to learn that attaining more limited, realistic goals is much more satisfying than building castles in the air.” “Undoing Depression; What Therapy Doesn’t Teach You and Medication Can’t Give You,” by Richard O’Connor, Ph.D. 

I’m not naïve enough to think that observing thoughts alone (how, what, when we think) can manage depression/bipolar disorder. 

What we need more than anything is a foundation.  We need to create a sense of stability that exists for most people, but rarely for the bipolar person.  There is no consistency in our thinking, in our way of being in the world or the way we react or respond to it.  We are more often than not, out of control.  Or more accurately, we feel out of control.  No one can “control” their emotions, but for the majority, that’s not a problem.  For the majority, there is a sort of equilibrium to their moods, usually some sense of cause and effect, at least where extremes are concerned.  But for the person with bipolar disorder, we are often dealing with extremes that seem to be out of our control, unpredictable, random and irrespective of existing circumstances. 

But how does one build a foundation when, as Dr. O’Connor suggests, we want to do everything at once? 

Personally, I can’t think of just one step.  I’m a perfectionist.  I’m impatient.  I want to start an exercise program, design and implement a new diet/meal plan, revamp my budget, write down my goals and priorities (along with deliverables,) find a new job, start a support group, locate an acupuncturist, practice yoga at least five times a week, start meditating daily…. 

The list of things goes on and on.  And yes, I get so overwhelmed with what I want to accomplish that I never start anything.  Just doing one of those things never seems to be enough, and doing all of them, “perfectly,” well, of course, that’s just impossible. 

And then there’s the track record hanging over my head.  Every time I want snap myself out of a depression I fall into that same thought pattern.  The idea of it, the mere thought that I CAN recreate myself, sends me into a manic phase.  But then reality hits and I realize that it can’t all be done at once, not everything implemented by tomorrow.  And then I remember that I have been down this road before and failed, miserably.  Why bother? 

Because I must.  Because there are no alternatives. 

First commitment: No self-medicating.  No more drinking and no more Ben & Jerry’s.

Second Commitment:  Get to the gym.  Even if I only do ten minutes on the treadmill.

Third Commitment: Diet.  Start eating regularly.  I often skip meals and then binge on junk food.  The result being mood shifts induced by dips in blood sugar.  (Like I need help with my mood shifts?) 

That’s it.  That’s all I have to do.  I don’t need to plan out an exercise program in detail, working my upper body one day and lower the next.  I don’t need to have a weekly menu laid out and scheduled that incorporates the perfect balance of fat/carbs/protein for each and every meal.  I just need to do something.  To be proactive.  To shift my thought process from victim to steward.  And, more importantly, I am not to attach failure or success to any of the outcomes.  I just need to begin living life more consciously and to take more responsibility for my complicity with the impact of this disease.

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