Category Archives: depression

I Knew This Day Would Come

IMG_0640For the first couple of weeks on keto, I felt like a pile of dirty clothes, left on the floor to fester and rot. Well, maybe that’s a little exaggeration. I just remember the transition from being a carb-burner to a fat-burner was not without its struggles.

For the next couple of months, I started feeling better and better, and I knew I was feeling on top of the world (cue Karen Carpenter’s voice here). I also knew that no one ever stays feeling that way forever. Gradually, though, I have become a little less ecstatic and a little more realistic.

I’ve been cheating on myself a little bit lately with food. Still no carbs, but a little bit extra here and there. I managed to keep this fact from myself as I simply didn’t write down all the transgressions on my food tracking app. For all intents and purposes, if you looked at my food diary, I was rocking this diet!

Hi my name is Siouxsie and I’m an alcoholic. That’s what they say at AA meetings, even if your drug of choice is something else. I’m far, far from an alcoholic, laughably so, but I still possess addictive thinking and behaviors. And what I’m addicted to is anything (legal) that I think will make me feel better. My drug of choice used to be carbs. How often I turned to junk food and sugar when I sensed dissatisfaction within. And, just like any addict (I think), when you get rid of the main source of feeling “good,” a bunch of feelings you have been avoiding rush in and vie for attention. Surely these feelings contribute to relapses.

And for an addict, occasionally there will be some other substance which will quell that dissatisfaction and those uncomfortable feelings. Which brings me to today.

I turn to social media now hoping it will make me feel better. More connected, heard, witnessed. I turn to meaningless television shows I can binge on Hulu and Netflix and Amazon prime. I turn to the carb equivalent of literature — easy to take in, non-nutritious, digested quickly and I am left wanting more.

So what if there is a “keto equivalent” for information? What if there is a portion that is similar to these good fats I am eating every day? Well, if you have read anything I have written you may know I love a good analogy. Therefore, for me there is definitely a keto equivalent.

The good “fats” are writing, creating, reading non-fiction, drawing, reading classical or deeper literature, listening to podcasts with some depth and meaning. 75% of the time I am using my brain these are the activities I want to be doing. The protein is connecting with people in real life.  (In some cases, that may mean FaceTime if the person lives in California.) 20% of the time I am using my brain, I will be nourished by connecting with people in real life. The “carbs” could be empty or near-empty like scrolling through Twitter, Reddit, Facebook, or slightly more nutritious like (TBD – to be determined – any ideas?) and I would allot 3% of my brain space to these activities.

I drew the onion illustration for my post. Normally, I just google an image, which is fine, but I like drawing, even though I’m a primitive beginner. Actual food was the outer layer of my onion. I see that information processing is the next layer. The parable of the two wolves has caught my attention today. I want to feed my good wolf so I’m taking in more goodness, kindness, compassion, truth, beauty.

I still have to work out what going “keto” on information looks like. I know a few things it doesn’t look like. I have a hunch that shifting my information “macros” will lead to a more satisfying, meaningful experience. What about you? How do you find a good balance in how you take in information and create things? What tips do you have for managing the information that is available and coming at us full speed ahead 24/7/365? What are your good “fats” relating to information?

 

N is for NOT Taken Down by Depression (BONUS POST!)

****ing depression.

It nags at me. Gnaws at me. Nips at my heels. It’s a rock in my shoe. Fingernails on the chalkboard of my soul. An Excedrin-sized headache. Depression is a backpack full of rocks that I do not wish to wear.

My posts this month are about acceptance. So I suppose there is something to be said for being accepting of the lessons I have the opportunity to learn through dealing with depression. But, depression is not my friend, and I hesitate to allow it to have more than the slightest attention as the thoughts that go along with depression pull me down, down, down.

Until I have a solution to the challenge of depression, I intend to stand against allowing it to overtake me more than it already does for short, although always way too long, periods of time.

Considering my posts so far this month, I acknowledge and accept that I am probably all wrong, mostly mistaken and somewhat short-sighted when it comes to how I think about depression. Which is to say, there are no doubt new and improved ways to think about this experience. I acknowledge and accept that the compassion I have developed as a result of having children is the exact kind of compassion I want to extend toward myself always, especially when depression is getting me down.

In my post The Discipline of Determination, I am reminded that it is not the fact of having depression and working on it, but being aware of what the experience is doing to me, to my character. I suspect the piece of Enlightenment that is relevant here is to begin to intentionally listen to my own intuition about depression and my experience of it. For Feast or Famine, I daresay it’s time to embrace both the ups and downs of depression and allow the natural ebb and flow to be part of the experience of having it, and hopefully overcoming it.

Along the same lines as I wrote in Giving Advice, it’s time to get quiet and look inside to see what I might be thinking about being depressed, and allow me to give myself some advice about next steps. In Humanism, I ask the question of what might be possible if I am willing to see the good in others. Is there an application for me regarding depression, I wonder.

Thinking about Randolph Junuh from The Legend of Bagger Vance, how might the burden of depression be part of me stepping into what I am here to do?

As I walked this morning, I noticed an Annie Lennox song running through my brain. Aha, I said, take note and see how this relates to what I am thinking about here. Sometimes it’s a whole lot more important to live with the questions for awhile than to rush toward an answer. At least for now, I accept this part of my life and I look forward to seeing what comes of these juicy musings.

“Dark Road”

It’s a dark road
And a dark way that leads to my house
And the word says
You’re never gonna find me there oh no
I’ve got an open door
It didn’t get there by itself
It didn’t get there by itself

There’s a feelin
But you’re not feelin’ it at all
There’s a meaning
But you’re not listening any more
I look at that open road
I’m gonna walk there by myself

And if you catch me
I might try to run away
You know I can’t be here too long
And if you let me
I might try to make you stay
Seems you never realise a good thing
Till it’s gone..
Maybe im still searchin
But I dont know what it means
All the fires of destruction are still
Burnin’ in my dreams
There’s no water that can wash away
This longin’ to come clean
Hey yea yea….

I cant find the joy within my soul
It’s just sadness takin hold
I wanna come in from the cold
And make myself renewed again
It takes strength to live this way
The same old madness every day
I wanna kick these blues away
I wanna learn to live again…

It’s a dark road
And a dark way that leads to my house
And the word says
You’re never gonna find me there oh no
I’ve got an open door
It didn’t get there by itself
It didn’t get there by itself

I Think I Might Have Found my "WHY" — FAT TUESDAY, Part 4

Things I have tried to manage and maintain a healthy weight:

Making sure I ate 5 servings of fruits and vegetables every day (summer, 1986)
Running three times a week at lunch time (1986-87)
Personal training + low-carb/not paleo (2002-2003)
Some crazy Diet Center thing (five minutes, 1979)
Personal training without changing my diet (various)
The HCG diet (various)
Having a baby (hehe)
Paleo diet (various)
Intermittent fasting
Cardio + Nutrition + Weighttraining
Geneen Roth’s guidelines
Mindful eating

Things that have succeeded in managing and maintaining my weight for very long.

*crickets*

Apparently, depression is one of those conditions that often impacts weight. For a variety of reasons, diet also seems to impact depression.

Impersonating a slug this morning, I came across an article called “Medicating Women’s Feelings” in the New York Times. Suddenly I realized why I had chosen to be a layabout this morning; so I would discover this article. Her article raised quite a kerfluffle in the comments section, but it reminded me that I had heard James Altucher talk about how we have serotonin in our gut. And THAT has led me on a detailed search for more information about how diet, gut flora and health, and digestion impact our serotonin levels.

For me, being able to get off of an anti-depressant sounds INCREDIBLE. So far, my research has not yielded anything in particular that makes a definitive connection between diet and depression, but there are signs that such a connection exists at a deeper level than I have been aware of. I’m on a quest to discover what connection might exist.  Imagine if I could eat to support my brain chemistry and that same method would also support my overall health and weight!

Continuing with baby steps this week of eating the perimeter of the grocery store and keeping a written record of what I eat. Adding in one more baby step of setting up eating hours of 7am to 7pm, and fasting hours 7pm to 7am.

Tigger’s Top 15 Tiny Steps to Minimize Depression in Eeyore

Hey, depressed person who may be reading this. Thanks for reading. Try one of the things on this list TODAY. 

A. Listen to music that you LOVE! There may be more sad songs out there than happy ones, lyrically speaking, but look for songs that energize you, that lift you up a little or a lot! I took my daughter to a My Chemical Romance concert a few years ago, before I was into them, but I am now, and every time I hear a song by them, I remember the huge adventure of that concert and it just lifts my spirits. 


B. Exercise! Most people who are feeling depressed are definitely not feeling the love for getting up and getting moving. This is where the concept of having an exercise appointment comes in and can sometimes be enough motivation to get going. If it’s in the budget, get a personal trainer! Part of their job is listening to you and finding positive things to say. 

C. Medication! For me and many others, it helps tremendously. My brain knows when it is on the med that works with my brain chemistry. Lots of people are able to take it for a period of time and then wean off of it. Many others take it for the long-term. 

D. Offer yourself compassion! Depressed people are well-versed in listing all of their failures, shortcomings, mistakes, errors, blunders, oversights, bumblings, and overall general personal suckage. Try thinking kind thoughts toward yourself — the kind you would extend to a child who had just skinned their knee, or a beloved pet dog or cat. 
E. Read! Enjoy different kinds of books. Read books that allow you to escape into a fantasy world where you can use your imagination. Read books that teach you something about life. There are literally hundreds of resources to help you find books that will interest you, not the least of which is your local librarian. 

F. Watch interesting movies and television shows! This could be expanded to include YouTube videos. Trick here is not to get hypnotized by the one-eyed monster and end up even less motivated. Watching things should be done judiciously, and should bring you at least a smidgen of joy.

G. Maintain a normal day/night routine. Experiment with going to bed and getting up at roughly the same time every day. Seems that turning off screens 30 or 60 minutes before bed is a very good idea for your brain, which needs to settle down to sleep. Don’t check Instagram if you wake up in the night!

H. Drink some water! Eat some fruits and vegetables! Depression demands Tostitos, coke, Froot Loops, and ice cream. Yeah, that’s because Depression wants to intensify itself and junk food does the trick. Eating REAL foods helps strengthen the REAL you. 

I. Find a pal you can text when you are feeling down and let them know how you are feeling. Depression wants us to sit alone, in a dark room, and focus on how we have no friends, no one cares, and it’ll never get better. Not true. Even if you don’t feel close to anyone right now, there are a lot of people out there who would be willing to provide this type of support. 

J. Clean up something, or declutter for a few minutes. Choose one square foot to clean up, or one small task, like clearing all the trash and dishes from your nightstand. Even a tiny step like this is able to improve your mood, in many instances.

K. Spend a bit of money. A bit. Don’t impulse spend on anything more expensive than $6.34, but go shopping or even window shopping. It gets you out of the house, gives you the opportunity to greet and be greeted by another human, and shifts your state, even if only a bit.

L. Go through the door of your house to the actual outdoors. Whether it is to walk to the end of the driveway, walk or drive to the local library or coffeehouse, or just let the sunshine pour onto your head, do it. Even five minutes outside is better than 24 hours inside. 

M. Pet your cat or dog if you have one. Or even your son’s stuffed Baymax character. Baymax is soft and soothing. 

N. Laugh on purpose. Even if there is nothing funny. Lie down on the floor and just make a belly laugh occur. You’ll probably feel sheepish at first, since you know the laughing doesn’t match how your insides feel, but you will be amazed at how laughter, even fake laughter, can make a difference.

And a bonus route: Set a time for 15 minutes to get yourself started on a task, any task. Taking a shower. Washing the dishes. Writing. Walking. 

And a bonus bonus! Sometime when you feel more like yourself, create your own list of routes to minimize your depression. Seems like making choices while depressed can be extremely challenging, so make a plan in the light for the darkness that may come again.