Stopping and restarting: diets, work-outs, medications – why does it still surprise me?
Re-engaging gets harder each time. What I can never remember, though, is why I stopped. This time I don’t even know when I did. This time it wasn’t a conscious decision to completely stop whatever.
I’ve been summing the last few months up a little off-handedly. “I did a stupid thing,” I say.
Truth be told, I did a few stupid things.
I never said, “I’m going to quit exercising.” I just missed a day or two, felt run-down, had something else to do, hurt too badly.
I never said, “I’m going to stop eating healthy.” I just became ambivalent. One cheeseburger couldn’t hurt, one donut, one candy bar, one Christmas cookie.
I never said, “I’m going to hibernate.” I just let the winter darkness and my limitations pull me down. It’s really hard to stay awake and engaged or enthusiastic when it’s midnight-black at 6:00 PM, and you haven’t been eating well, sleeping well, or talking to anyone – about anything.
I never said, “I’m going to stop taking my medication.” I just forgot a few mornings, got a little muddled, felt a little sluggish, somehow, ignored them for a while. A long while. Even though I knew better – even though I’ve witnessed the catastrophes of others, I didn’t see it in myself.
The real root of the problem would be that I went off my anti-depression medication sometime early last summer.
The last one was catalyst; the first stupid thing I did. Everything else fell apart pretty easily, pretty quickly, catastrophically, as would be expected. I still didn’t see it. I struggled through, day after day, every minute segment of every minute of every day. I became intolerant; of others, of myself, of life. I thought I was ok.
I cling to subtleties. I profess sincere differentials between thoughts and actions. I solidly stand by my declaration, belief and pronouncement in defense: “I am not going to hurt anybody, and I’m 100% not suicidal… I just don’t want to live anymore.”
To me, there is a glaring chasmic separation between the two. For others, there is not. Suddenly, I had an appointment with an employee assistance program, and subsequently, my PCP, a Psychiatrist, and a Psychologist. In fact, up until I said those words, I still thought I was ok. I honestly did not know I felt that way, until I said so. Finally, I saw the problem.
That’s how I ended up restarting, sitting across from a randomly assigned therapist, suffering through pregnant pauses, and what I projected would be some light-weight psycho-babble.
“What’s good about you?” was the first question asked of me, after explaining how I got there.
We both sat in my silent hesitation as I struggled to process what I thought I should be saying to end this nonsense. Tears got in the way, but eventually I blurted out something impersonal to break the silence.
“I’m logical,” I offered, “Procedural. I do what I say I’m going to do.”
“Then you’re saying you’re reliable?”
“Right,” I snorted, sarcastically continuing, “Except I’m not reliable right now. I can’t stop crying. My ears are ringing fulltime. I always have a headache. I’m exhausted; have to push myself through everything. I argue with myself all the time. Over stupid things. Like, I noticed my socks are sticking to my rough feet and think, “You should moisturize your feet.” But, I keep sitting there, doing nothing, until I eventually re-advise myself, “You should really moisturize your feet.” But, the lotion is upstairs, so I decide I’ll take care of it on the next trip up. Eventually, I go upstairs, and come back down again. I’m shuffling around the kitchen putting together lunch, and my socks are snagging and tugging. Yeah, I forgot about it, but I’ll do it when I go back up for bed. But, at bedtime, it’s -7 degrees. I am cold and my feet are colder. Even though the sheets have taken up where the socks left off, I’m not about to get out of bed and put chilly wet stuff on my heels. In the morning, I struggle with the darkness, with the cold, with my clothes which are tighter than they should be. I put on my socks and shoes downstairs, and re-realize I should really, really moisturize my feet, soon.
In response to my embarrassment at having ended up so wrecked, the most amazing and consistent thing I heard, over and over, from different people in different walks of life, with different degrees; PhD’s, DO’s, MSW, Counselors, Therapists was this: “It’s not your fault your body chemistry isn’t built to handle stress. Some people just have low levels of what we need to cope.”
I’ve been working my way back into the game for two months now.
Do I feel I need to be ashamed of this? No.
Do I expect understanding from everyone? No.
Do I still feel a little stupid for being solely responsible for straying so far from a life formerly sort-of under control? Yes, I do.
I’ve told anyone who’s asked:
I don’t know who that other person was, and I don’t want to be them ever again. Ever.
So, I’ll accept the side effects. I’ll bear with the constant ringing in my ears, expecting at some point it will fade out of my conscious awareness. I’ll counteract the appetite suppression with advance-planned daily menus to be sure I am eating enough. I’ll use the excessive thirst to help get in at least 6 cups of water a day. I’ll exercise more than regularly – almost daily and sometimes twice daily – to stay limber and combat the added muscle pain on top of my normal muscle pain.
I’ll thank GOD for science, and for the friend who posted the article below. I count myself amongst good company, citing Pastor Perry Noble’s poignant point:
“It’s ok to not be ok,” he says, “but, it’s not ok to stay that way.”
Quote for the week:
Enjoy this week’s discovery links:
Pastor Perry Noble’s Brave Blog http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/02/26/perry-noble-anti-depressant_n_4861303.html?ncid=fcbklnkushpmg00000051
Why You Should Choose Vulnerability: http://bryonjackson.blogspot.com/
Brene Brown: http://brenebrown.com/my-blog/