Lessons

Mortality Settles In – Part 1

This week I learned that  my psychiatrist has died.  I tried to contact him to reschedule my appointment and his number was disconnected.  This prompted me to google him and I found his obituary.

I was really looking forward to speaking with him – to talk about my weight loss and how much better I was doing since the last time we spoke shortly after my brother passes.  He was so smart.  I could ask him about anything and it seemed he always had great answers and insights.

I’ll miss him as I’ll miss all of the people (and pets) that have left my life over the past 4 years.  The list just seems to keep growing. . . .

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Lessons

No Excuses

I’ve been asking myself lately when do I stop using having bipolar disorder as an excuse.  I used to think to myself all the time of how people didn’t know what I was going through.  If they knew they would be nicer or more understanding.  I thought of it as something that made me a little less than everyone else.  I read everything that said you never fully recover there is always something a little different, a little off, about someone with bipolar disorder.  But I have to say I don’t feel a little different or a little off.  I feel better – more comfortable in my own skin and like my mind is more of a friend of mine now and not an adversary.  So I say to myself I’m not going to use bipolar disorder as an excuse anymore because I honestly I was just using it as an excuse for myself.  I was the one holding myself back.

Lessons

Pavlov

So when I was in college I learned of Pavlov’s dogs.  I didn’t think much of it until I ended up in a mental hospital.

At 9pm every night a nurse would find me and give me my pills if I did not go to the window and receive them like I should have.  It pissed me off when I was in the hospital.  Why did I always have to take my meds at 9pm?  What if I was busy?  What if I didn’t feel like it?  Why did they come looking for me?  I knew where to go to get the pills – just wait until I get there.  But at 9pm like clockwork they managed to give me my meds.

Now – many years later – at 9pm everyday the thought of taking my meds comes to mind.  I was well conditioned and I’m a little bit thankful except for the nights when I don’t want to take my meds at 9pm and the thought will not leave my mind.  Some people forget to take their meds entirely and that would be catastrophic for me so it’s all for the best.

Lessons

The Hardest Thing About A Routine

The hardest thing about a routine is building it.  While I read it takes 66 days to build a habit changing your routine can take years.  I’ve tried for years to build a routine that includes exercise.  At one point many years ago I was able to pull it off but the circumstances were ideal.  Now I find myself in a similar ideal situation and I’m not going to pass it up.

Routines build endurance.  It’s true sometimes the grind is a bit much but getting back into a routine is a lot easier than building a new one.  It’s actually like a safety net.  When things are way out of whack remembering your routine can put you back on track.

Facing Forward, Lessons

What I Crave!

I used to feel like I needed a double cheeseburger.  And I’ve felt for many years that I need french fries in my life.

Now when I think of food I think of what I want.  It’s a slight change of thought but when I think in terms of what I want I can not have it because I know that I do not need it.

I spent the first month of my lifestyle change attempt inside of my apartment sitting one on one with my cravings.  I listened as my stomach growled and stared into space and tried to clear my mind.  I felt a bit like someone in a movie going through a drug detox who has to lock themselves in a hotel room.  But instead of just one weekend my detox took three.

I feel a lot better.  I’m sure there are many more hurdles ahead but to me the beginning is the hard part.

Facing Forward, Lessons

Try Again!

This is my new mantra!

14lbs down – no McDonald’s (I smelled the french fries as I passed by yesterday – lightly fried, perfectly salted – and no I did not stop).

I lose track of how many times I’ve tried to do this and now it is working.  I’m doing it.  People say never give up but that sounds like a glib statement when you’ve failed as often as I have.  But beneath every cliche is a bit of truth.

And so I continue. .  workouts today, tomorrow, & thursday . . . repeat next week and the weeks to follow. . .

Lessons

Who do you appreciate?

Many times in my life I’ve felt underappreciated.  My self esteem suffered enormously once I was diagnosed with bipolar disorder.

People say if you don’t value yourself then no one will value you.  But I’m certain that what allowed me to reach a point when I valued myself was other people placing value in me when I couldn’t come up with it on my own.

The truth is I didn’t just tell myself to get better and it happened.  Many people told me I could recover long before I believed it.  I thought I knew myself better than they knew me.  I assumed they may have been right before but they were wrong about me.  And oftentimes I just didn’t listen.  I didn’t appreciate that they took the time to invest in my well being.  I was more concerned with the people who I thought should have been there for me and weren’t than the people who were carrying me along the way.

Now I know who to appreciate –

The people who ask me how I’m doing and actually want to hear the answer.

The people who feed me food for my stomach when I’m hungry and food for my soul when I feel all alone.

The people who reach out for no reason other than to gossip or make me laugh.

I’ve always wanted to be liked the most by the people who thought the least of me and I overlooked the love of the people who were happy to know me.  It took a bit but I’ve finally learned who to truly value and appreciate.  Knowing this makes me feel so much more loved.