I’m working out. Every day, I plot out ways to hit my 10k step goal, and I feel a little panicky if I miss the gym more than 1 day in a row. I’m eating very carefully. I have a food diary app that I carefully update, I plan out my meals and snacks, and I toss back what feels like gallons of water every day. Oh, I’m not starving myself, just being ever so careful to keep it healthy and controlled. When I don’t, though, when the calorie count gets a little too much over the budget, I get a little panicky, too. Then I have to make sure I work out that day and the next, too, just in case.
It’s kinda obsessive. I get that.
It’s also pretty much exactly the opposite of how I was the past 6 months or so. Then, I was mindlessly binge eating while finding it incredibly difficult to get off the couch. I was exhausted, so tired that I’d look up and hours would have passed with absolutely nothing done at all, except for the quick and shameful fast food run to yet another drive thru window. I bought cookies and chips to keep around the house as “treats” for the kids and then I ate them all myself, feeling sick every bite of the way.
It was kinda depressive. I get that.
When I get to how I am right now, when the switch flips and I feel motivated and confident and goal-oriented, I try to make the most of it. And it’s not that hard, it’s really not. There’s also the uplifting fact that when I actually DO get started on something (exercising, eating healthy, writing, volunteering), it pushes the depressive times back. That’s the whole object in motion stays in motion trick. But it’s hard, too. I worry about slowing down, or missing a week from the routine, or taking a “cheat day”. There’s no such think in my world. If I cheat one day, then there’s another and another and another. Then I think, well, I’ll just get back to it tomorrow. And so on… you get it.
In either scenario, motivated or depressed, the common theme remains. I feel anxious.
When I’m depressed, I worry that I’m gaining weight, that the health problems eating away at my older family members will consume me, too. I worry my husband will be disgusted and annoyed at my lack of ANYTHING, that I’ll never get off the couch, that I’m failing my kids. I worry I’m setting a terrible example of laziness and poor health for my kids, that I won’t be able to play with them, that I’ll get old and fat and miserable and will have to watch my grandchildren play from a Lazyboy recliner, because I wasted away my chance at strength and energy and health and can’t get out of my damn chair.
On the flipside, I worry about failing again. I worry that I’m creating body image issues for the girls by actively dieting and exercising. I worry about skipping a workout, scheduling my week so I won’t have to miss it. Getting to the end of day without my 10k steps is devastating. Eating over my calorie goal is infuriating. I worry about weekends, when my husband cooks and there’s always the Sunday Morning Big Breakfast. I get angry when he, in his effortlessly thin body, flippantly talks about everything in moderation and balance and blah blah blah. I worry about the glass of wine or Saturday night cocktail that I want, but don’t think I’ve earned.
It’s all bullshit. I get that.
Other people have some balance. Other people can work out and then eat some nachos without counting the number of chips. Other people can take a day to binge watch Netflix with a side of Wendy’s and not have it ruin their week. Other people have their shit together. I bet it feels nice.
This is my brain, my bipolar II carousel, in real life. Ups, downs, wonky anxiety. The occasional panic attack. No actual reason, in a lovely and secure lifestyle, to feel that way. I know, I take meds to control this. I know, I can admit, they’re not working as well as they used to. But I’m not ready to fuck with it yet. A mild depressive episode is NOTHING compared to the horrified panic and terror I feel even THINKING about being experimented on again with brain altering drugs. Call it PTSD, call it whatever the hell you want. It’s something I have nightmares about. Literally. Mostly, it’s about the drug with the side effect of “night time paralysis”. That’s where I woke up at midnight to find myself drowning and frozen in quicksand and my voice swallowed in my chest. FOR HOURS. I couldn’t scream, I couldn’t move, I could barely breathe. It finally stopped the moment that Kurt reached over and touched my shoulder to say good morning. Then it let go, suddenly, and I started bawling.
So, no. There will be no new meds. And I’m not that bad off, all things considered. In fact, I’m pretty good. I feel healthy; for all that I am worried about not going to the gym tomorrow and already planning to just take a quick run through the neighborhood in the morning even if it’s raining. That’s not a bad thing. Plus, the more I take care of myself, the easier it is to take care of myself, and the better it feels to take care of myself long-term. Of course, I start to drive people nuts talking about all the ways I’m taking care of myself and how they should, too. But whatever.
You take the good with the bad and the bad with the good. That’s life.