Catching up on the mental aspects of weight loss

by Christine on December 5th, 2011

filed under Christine's Life Updates, Gastric Banding Surgery

On Friday I was hanging out with a friend, drinking some truth serum, and sharing insights. My friend shared that he thinks that my depression that I have been dealing with lately is due to a major identity crisis. “I don’t think that your head has really wrapped itself around the weight loss you have had,” he said. “And I don’t think you’ve really figured out who you want this new Christine to be.”

Huh.

You know, I think he is onto something, on both accounts. I don’t think I’ve really wrapped my head around my weight loss. Oh sure, I’ve had a jolly good time shopping for clothes in new, small sizes. I still get a major thrill whenever I buy something in a Size 2 or 4! I’ve embraced all the NSVs, and I’ve embraced the number on the scale. I have worked hard at Maintenance Mode, and one year later I’m doing pretty good with it.

But all of that stuff is external, really. I definitely haven’t embraced the image I see in the mirror. I still battle with the urge to lose MORE weight, and I definitely do not have an accurate vision of what my body truly looks like. My weight loss has had an impact on the relationships that I have with other people. I’ve lost several friends due to their jealousy over my weight loss. I interact with people–especially men–in a completely different way. I flirt, and I’ve never done that before. I am not used to the attention I get. I have difficulty looking people in the eyes; I’m still afraid of what I see reflected back at me. Scorn? Disgust? Nothing at all?

I could go on and on. There’s a lot of mental and emotional stuff to embrace with a major weight loss, and I definitely haven’t addressed a lot of those mental issues. It’s funny to me that I’m coming to this realization 3 years after my surgery, and one year after reaching my goal weight.

But my friend was also right when he pointed out that I haven’t figured out who I want this new Christine to be.  I definitely don’t want to stay the same old Christine–the one that is afraid to look people in the eye, the one that’s filled with self-loathing, the one that many times would rather die than to embrace Life.  Who should New Christine be? What kinds of clothes should she wear? What kind of attitude should she have? How can New Christine interact with people in a more positive and rewarding way? How can New Christine go through life happier, with a more rewarding and fulfilling life?

Yup, this depression may very well be caused by a much larger identity crisis.

I’ve been trying to sort through that this weekend. Maybe even come up with some answers to that.

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Revolutionary War Weekend

by Christine on September 19th, 2011

filed under Christine's Life Updates

Yesterday the hubby and I went to the Saratoga National Park, where the Battle of Saratoga was held in 1777.  The Park Service was having a demonstration with a few reenactors blasting off old cannons and whatnot. It was a perfect day, and it felt great to get in about 2 miles of walking. Hubby loved the cannons going off and asked the volunteers a bunch of questions about the metal properties, gunpowder, etc.

This past week was a really difficult one for me. My depression reached a definite low…the lowest I’ve been probably in 4 years or so. The anti-depressants really screwed me up too–made me really nauseous. Plus, I was so swollen I couldn’t get any food down. I hardly ate a thing for 2 weeks.

I lost a few pounds, but nothing really substantial, and I’m sure the weight will come right back on this week.

But on Friday something switched on my body, and “bam” like that I was fine to eat normally again. Go figure! On Saturday we went to the mall and stopped at a restaurant that has one of my favorite salads in the world. Oh, it felt great not just to be able to eat solid foods again, but to eat veggies and healthy food! It was fantastic! That salad tasted even better than normal.

Last night we made a steak for dinner. Nice thing about the band, is I eat so little, we only have to make one steak. I eat about 1/4 of it, and hubby eats the other 3/4 of it. It works out great. OMG the steak was so delicious! I had to cut it up into tiny bite-sized chunks, but it went down with no problems. I made a side dish of sauteed mushrooms & corn. Yummy! Add a glass of skim milk to that too.

Today is a new week, and I am feeling hopeful that it will be better than last week. I have some challenges ahead of me (some of the furniture in my house is getting “repossessed” by my in-laws, who want to take it down to Florida) but I feel good that I can get through the week okay. Last week I wasn’t really sure.

My task for this week is to really try to hammer out a financial plan to get us out of the debt that we can’t seem to dig ourselves out of. It might mean me taking up a part-time job during the holidays. I hope not, but it might be the best thing for me to do.

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No time to celebrate…

by Christine on September 12th, 2011

filed under Christine's Life Updates

Last year I posted about my memories of September 11th. A few years ago, when I was working for an architectural firm, we won a project working on Tower 4 of the World Trade Center, and I got to go for a personal tour of “The Tub.” Check out that post here.

Last night we watched the 9/11 Ten Years Later tribute. I remember watching that documentary about the rookie fireman when it was first released. Hearing the updates, how 9/11 has affected all of the members of the fire squad, was very compelling.  Hubby even got a little angry and punched a cushion; I think he has always wished that he joined the military so he could get a little revenge for what happened to us.

It was a very low-key, boring weekend at our house. My antidepressants have me feeling loopy and nauseous. I can’t keep any food down, and as a result I’ve lost about 4 pounds (hooray!). I lack any ability to concentrate and focus on the tasks at hand. Consequently I pretty much slept all day yesterday. Today I feel well-rested, but space cadety. At least I’m feeling numb, and not the emotional rollercoaster wreck I was last week.

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The blues have me restricted.

by Christine on September 9th, 2011

filed under Christine's Life Updates, General Information

I’m not doing very well over here.  Mentally. Depression, you know. It’s been a rough few days, honestly.

I’ve always dealt with depression, from as young as I can remember really. All my earliest memories are of crying myself to sleep and feeling unconsolable, out of place, unwanted, unnecessary. Even at 4 or 5 years old. I had a suicide attempt when I was 19, and ended up in the hospital, stomach pumped and all that jazz. After that, I thankfully recognized that the never-ending melancholy was depression (you’d think that would be a real “duh” thing, but I grew up in a family that refused to go to doctors, and “you’ll get over it” was our family motto.) and finally got some medication for it. What a lifesaver that was–literally.

Medication helps a lot.  But medicating depression is one of those tricky things because after you take it for a while, you feel better, and then you decide that you don’t need the medicine anymore! And then after a while the depression comes back, and it’s kind of this never-ending cycle.

For the longest time I was convinced–CONVINCED!!–that the cause of my depression was my weight.  My weight prevented me from doing the things I wanted to do. My weight kept people at bay, made it hard to make friends and be outgoing. My weight kept me from having a decent amount of self-esteem or even self-respect. While all of these things are true–my weight did create obstacles for me all the time, every day–I’ve also learned recently that sometimes depression is just a medical/chemical thing, and isn’t necessarily caused by any one thing, like weight. Sure, it can be influenced and triggered by circumstantial events, but it’s not always the cause of the mood.

Although I know that there is a lot of things going on with me right now that is triggering the depression, I wonder how depression has been affected to some extent by the weight loss surgery. For instance, I think there’s a kind of let-down once you reach your goal weight. It’s kind of like a bride after her wedding; there’s a kind of “Now what?” feeling? That exhilaration you feel every time you step on the scale and see a drop is no longer there. There’s nothing to be fighting for. It’s a let down in some ways. For me, I think the fact that I’m slowly regaining some of my weight is causing the depression. It makes me feel like I STILL don’t have control over my body and my weight, even after all this time and surgery. It’s extremely frustrating.

But really, this total sense of tiredness, listlessness, emptiness inside…it’s coming on for multitudes of reasons. Yesterday I pulled out my last stash of anti-depressants, and I’ll call my doctor for an official prescription renewal. I informed hubby about how I’m feeling, so he’s on “Christine-Watch” now and will help me monitor my mood and stuff. He’s super awesome like that.

Because of how I’m feeling, I can’t eat a thing. I never experienced my gastric band reacting to my mood quite as much as it currently is doing right now. I tried having some chicken noodle soup for lunch yesterday but it was so tight and restrictive I ended up barfing it all up. For dinner (out at pub trivia) I had a cup of cream of chicken soup–totally blended and creamy–and barfed all that up too.  This morning I woke up at 3 a.m. (I was at work at 4 a.m.!) and have been dry-heaving all morning. I don’t know if it’s the medicine making my stomach wonky today. Maybe.

Can’t sleep. Can’t eat. Can’t think straight. My anxiety is off-the-charts. (OMG because I left the house so early today, I forgot to turn off the alarm clock and it’s going off RIGHT NOW and it might go on all day! I feel like driving home to take care of it. I can’t believe I screwed up the freaking ALARM CLOCK!) Smothering feelings of being unnecessary, worthless, guilty, anxiety and worry…I simultaneously feel like I’m drowning and feel completely empty inside, too. Just flat, emotionless.  I either want to eat everything in sight (which I’m sure I’d barf up from the restriction) or want to eat nothing at all. I’m a wreck and really not doing well.

Sorry to be such a downer today.

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Leaped off the horse

by Christine on September 14th, 2010

filed under Christine's Life Updates

Yikes. So yesterday was a really, really bad day. I ate. And ate. And ate. And then ate some more.

There’s no excuse for it. I don’t pardon myself by saying “I had a bad day” or “You’ve lost 90 pounds, you deserve to have a free day every now than then” or “what’s the worst that could have happened?”  There was absolutely no excuse for it; I’m lazy, lost focus, felt that my emotional insanity was more important than my health, etc. I completely suck, and I hope that I can make up for it over time.

I’m not sure how bad the damage is; I refused to weigh today.

I’m NOT going to reach my goals if I continue acting in this way. This is counter-productive to getting me to my goals.

Are you holding your breath, waiting for me to change my horrible cheating ways?

You would think after losing 90 pounds that I’d have kicked this emotional binge-eating monster in the ass, but alas, that doesn’t appear to be the case. I will have to work on keeping the binge-eating monster in check for the rest of my life, I think. It’s not easy, as yesterday proved.

I’m feeling out of it, tired, lethargic, and depressed, and today isn’t the first day. In fact, I came into work 2 hours late today partially so I could sleep in. (The other part was to completely clear out my savings account to pay off mounting dental bills [hubby’s] that are accruing because of SHITTY U.S. HEALTHCARE INSURANCE COVERAGE, Goddamn insurance bastards bloodsucking leeches.)

Last night I was fretting over the bills, to which hubby retorted with a snippy reply, “fine, I’ll just never go to the dentist again” which DUH, is NOT the solution needed here, but it also doesn’t solve our money issues! So I fired back at him, and the next thing you know we were fighting, giving each other the cold shoulder, and I spent the night on the couch.  The emotional drain of the entirely day, from the nightmare the morning before to the fight in the evening wiped me out entirely, and I was asleep by…8:30?

But back to my tiredness issues: I battled extreme lethargy a year ago. I’m very lucky that my doctor takes me seriously when I talk to her about it. We found the solution for my extreme tiredness a year ago in the form of a few incredibly expensive, special-ordered pills with a dose high enough to kill a small person (or so the pharmacist said. “Where have you been traveling to?! she asked me in interested horror), but I’m afraid that my tiredness has come back to haunt me. I’m procrastinating seeing El Doctoro again, hoping that I’ll “snap out of it” or something. After all, I’m not convinced that it’s not being caused by something different, for instance, depression in this case.  At the very least…the very very very special-ordered pills she ordered…I can’t swallow because of the gastric band and the size of the pills. It’s a silly reason not to go, but I’m scared. There ya go. I said it.  I’m a chicken. Bawk bawk.

The tiredness is escalating, just like it did the last time. The last few nights I’ve slept 12 hours, then 13 hours, then 14 hours last night. And still I wake up feeling tired.

So yeah. Today I’m going to rein in my eating, go to bed early (again), and try not be a terrible bitch to my husband. That’s the plan.

Have you guys ever tried Emergen-C? It’s a powered thing (like Crystal Lite) that you add to water. It’s a little fizzy, only has 5 calories, and comes in different flavors. Plus, it’s chock full of vitamins.

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