Saturday, April 25, 2015

Emotional fallout to change

I have two friends who have lost over 70 lbs in the past year. Each one shared with me independently that at a certain point they experienced an emotional crisis with the change to their bodies. There was a period of mourning. There was a feeling of loss, not just of the weight but their "old selves." And then needing to make friends with their new selves and get comfortable with their new bodies.

I just put two and two together and realized that I have been experiencing something similar. I'm doing these good things for my health, questioning long held beliefs about myself, and checking back into life. So why do I feel kinda lonely and out of sorts? The more I meditate, the quieter it is in my home which actually feels disquieting to me. Backwards, right?

It's like I don't know who I am anymore. Breaking long held habits leaves a void. And while I am replacing those bad habit with new healthier ones, it feels weird and uncomfortable and like, who hell is this person that stopped watching tv and now meditates. Do I even know her?

I know it was similar with my friends who lost weight. They were like, I'm kicking ass at being disciplined and working hard and losing a ton of weight, so why am I sad?

I know it's just growing pains of a major transition and I will get to a place where I no longer feel out of sorts. These healthier more mindful habits will become my new normal. There will be pitfalls and psychological boobie traps that come with making major changes. It takes inner strength to stay the course and follow your metamorphosis through to completion.

And it's okay to mourn the "old you." It's one of the pitfalls. Just be sure to dust yourself off and give yourself a mental high  five for climbing out of that booby-trapped hole. 

Friday, April 17, 2015

Thursday, April 9, 2015

SAINT MOTEL - My Type (Official Video)

I am loving the horns in this song by Saint Motel.

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Where I started when I wanted to face my depression

The resources I found helpful-

1. Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction 8 Week Course
The short story is that it is an introduction to meditation class. It was developed Jon Kabat-Zinn for use in hospitals and is completely secular (not Buddhist or Hindu or any kind of spiritual).

It's hard and you spend the first two weeks feeling the little toe on your right foot and focusing on your breathing but if you pay the money you will go and you will be with other people thinking "oh god, not the body scan meditation again." And the teacher will ask "and how did returning to your breath feel ?" about 10 times and make you keep talking until some epiphany comes flying out of your mouth.

Just like anything else in life, you will get out of it what you put in. But I promise you, you will get something out of it. I'm not sure what exactly but something worth the time invested. Google the eight week course in your area. I went to New Mindful Life in San Diego.

Look up the instructors and see if they have any youtube videos. Choose the one whose voice you like the most because you end up listening to it a lot. And it blows if their voice is annoying.

2. Book List:

10% Happier by Dan Harris- A true skeptics tale of meditation

The Untethered Soul by Michael Singer

The Mindfulness & Acceptance Workbook For Depression by Kirk Strosahl and Patricia Robinson

The Mindful Way Through Depression by Mark Williams- You can read it for free here:

There's More to Life Than This by Theresa Caputo- When you are ready to get spiritual, listen to the Long Island Medium. She's strongly catholic and there's a lot of "out there" concepts like guardian angels, guides, reincarnation, spirit and energy, intuition and signs. But I found it comforting. Especially the concept of a soul circle where you can have several lives with the same souls and that your struggles are part of lessons you agreed to learn or impart before your soul entered a body.

Unstuck, Your Guide to the Seven-Stage Journey Out of Depression by James Gordon

3. Look up and download the app called "Breathe". It's actually called Stop, Breathe, and Think. It's free and has 6 minute "feel good" meditations, or, at least, meditations that I think are way easier than mindfulness meditation. It's my favorite of like 10 meditation apps I've tried.

4. Start talking about it. When I got comfortable talking about my depression and anxiety I was shocked at how many of my friends experienced the same or even worse. And the more I just laid it out there, the easier it became. And the easier it became, the less I felt like I had to apologize for my depression. Most of those I told were supportive and even those that weren't as understanding (particularly the older generations), I didn't take it personally. I decided it wasn't my job to make them understand. They didn't have to live in my head all day, every day.

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

On depression

While I've alluded to it, I have not yet really written about my depression. I've started this post several times dating back several years. When I look through my draft posts I can see where I started to put words down on paper. Tried to put words to my feelings and my experience. Tried to form the sentences into a take home message or at least a message. But I couldn't. That's the thing, depression takes a lot out of you and takes away your ability to do simple things, things you want to do, things you intend to do.

And even when I read through what I had started to write... it isn't very helpful.

It wasn't until I read the article from Meg Fee about her eating disorder that I thought I should really finish writing about my experience with depression because reading her blog post helped me. And maybe what I write can help someone else. Or at least, not feel so alone in their experience.

I too, like "Meg Fee," felt like the professionals that I sought help from did more harm than good. I got incorrect diagnosis' and just bad "treatment." I know not everyone has this experience. Some people get lucky and hit a home run on their first attempt at seeking help. But I think that is more the exception than the rule.

I was diagnosed with major depression about 8 years ago. I've had depression on and off since I was a teenager I believe now. At the time I was diagnosed I was having thoughts of suicide all the time. I went  to my healthcare provider (kaiser) and was told I was lucky and I was able to get 4 whole private therapy sessions!!! Although I expressed that I didn't want to be put on anti-depressants, I was pressured into it anyway. A psychiatrist spent all of about 10 minutes with me, then put me on generic Zoloft (or Prozac, I can't remember which was first).

That's when I entered the zombie phase of my life. Sure I had fewer thoughts of suicide, but I also had fewer thoughts. I was numb. I didn't feel anything and one of them, generic Zoloft or generic Prozac, made me so tired I couldn't stay awake during the day even after sleeping an average of 10 hours at night. I was practically narcoleptic.

During the last 8 years I've been in and out of serious depression, I've seen at least 6 different therapists and tried at least 6 different anti-depressants. Not once has a prescribing psychiatrist called to see how the medication was working for me. I just stopped taking them and no one knew. No one knew my side effects either.

Fast forward to last month when my thoughts of suicide returned regularly. My life has been stagnating over the years and I just couldn't imagine another 40 years of the same. And I can't tell you the last time I felt happy. 

In February, I stopped taking the current long named generic anti-depressant I was on because I was still experiencing negative thoughts and emotions all the time. I had intended to wean myself off in order to go a different anti-depressant as was recommended over and over to me by therapists. (Some medications you have to get out of your system before taking a new one.)

By this point, I was beginning to truly believe that I was just extremely lazy, and unmotivated with nothing to give and nothing to live for. But once I stopped taking the meds I realized I was less fatigued and had more energy. Maybe I wasn't just lazy, maybe the meds were actually making me sick. I decided to explore the alternatives to medication and traditional therapy while I had the energy.

I plan to blog about my experiences. There might be some lapses, but that's the plan right now.  Alternative therapies I've tried so far include mindfulness meditation, shin-rai spiritual awakening, hypnotherapy, psychic medium healing and an appointment with an archetyping life coach that told me my archetype was a knight (with a dash of queen and priestess).

I've started on an alternative path and some things have worked out well for me and some I feel neutral about and some I question. But I do know that I feel so much better off the drugs.

Saturday, March 21, 2015

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Friday, February 27, 2015

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Animal Shelters- it boggles my mind

Today I saw an update on Instagram of a cute dog named Junior that had been put to sleep because he didn't get adopted at the shelter in Chicago. I started crying. How in this day and age is there still a pet overpopulation problem? Bob Barker told us for decades to spay and neuter our pets. And people started doing it. You can't take a pet home from the shelter that isn't fixed. Where are all these cats and dogs coming from and who are these irresponsible people who end up surrendering their pets or worse, abusing and neglecting them? It boggles my mind. I just don't get it.

I volunteered at the Sacramento SPCA well over 10 years ago. It was filled with pit bulls and older dogs and I knew in the back of my mind that many if not most were put down without some serious luck. Families didn't want to bring a dog into their home of unknown background that might be sick or aggressive or unfriendly after an unhappy life. But with all the education efforts and the increased willingness of loving individuals and families to adopt from shelters and the decreasing number of pet shops that sell dogs and cats, why do we still have overcrowded shelters? Why, why, why?

Through Facebook and Instagram I follow so many animal rescues and volunteers across the country and I know that I am not the only one that would love nothing more than to quit my job and start an animal sanctuary. There are so many animal lovers out there tirelessly finding homes for shelter pets and fundraising for the medical expenses of the abused.

So how are there still animals being euthanized in shelters? In my mind, shelters should be more like a lost and found at this point in time. There should be a waiting list to adopt a dog.

The only explanation I can think of is that there are still way too many greedy people in this country that think breeding dogs is means to make quick money. And it is those people that abuse, neglect and fill the shelter directly and indirectly with homeless dogs.

I get so angry. I don't even know what else to say.