Me And Beer.

I’m trying to only come here to write if I can do a “normal” post that doesn’t revolve around something negative in my life because lately I sound like a basket case.

But then I remembered: Oh, yeah. I am a basket case!

I cut back drinking a lot over a month ago. I had basically been drinking 2+ beers every night since the election. Before that I was prone to the periodic “Beer Before Bed” during the week and maybe 2+ on the weekends, but my weekends were getting 4+ and my weeknights were 2+ and I decided: Okay. This is a bad habit.

That conclusion proves I’m super-smart and intuitive. People should be paying me to evaluate their lives.

So, I cut back a few weeks ago and am back to where I was pre-election. Some nights none, some nights one, but rarely more than 2 even on the weekends. Since I’m also monitoring how I feel closely as I evaluate Lexapro’s effectiveness, I’ve started really thinking about how alcohol affects my mood/mind and I’ve decided that I really should limit it to 1 beer, or 2 if they’re spread out over 3+ hours. Because more than 1 beer every 90 minutes and my emotions plummet and I get so very depressed.

One beer is fine, it loosens me up and calms anxieties. And I like beer, we have a lot of good local breweries and I love trying new stuff. I had two over the course of an outing with friends that lasted more than 3 hours and that was fine too. Just kept me a little looser than normal. But last night at family dinner I wasn’t driving, and I get stressed about Wesley’s behavior at these type of gatherings, so I drank 4 beers over the course of 3 hours and I felt SO TERRIBLE. I just could not stop thinking about how terrible of a wife and Mom I was, and on the way home I just closed my eyes and fought back tears thinking about how they deserve so much better.

AND THIS WAS DAMN MOTHER’S DAY.

So I’m going to quit that shit.

I’m going to keep it at no beer during the week unless it’s something special and then never more than 1 beer unless I’m at an event that lasts longer than 3 hours and then I can have another beer an hour after I finish the first one.

This schedule will allow me to enjoy beer, but hopefully keep me from falling into the bottomless pit of self-hatred I tend to fall in lately.

Oh, and related: Unless my goal is an effed up sleep schedule, Lexapro hasn’t done shit for me. I’m still only about 10 days in and my doctor gave me 3 weeks before a follow-up appointment because she said it could take that long, but as of right now? No change. I’m still running and eating better (I’m down 6 pounds!) but I still feel terrible a lot of the time. Fingers crossed it will kick in but if not, we’ll try something else. Life is too short to feel this shitty, AMIRIGHT?

We Can Almost See The Finish Line.

So…we close on our new house today! It’s 1,500 sq ft which – if you include the differences in garages between the two houses – is about 1/3rd smaller than our old house. We have definitely achieved “downsizing” at a much more extreme level than we anticipated. We accepted a smaller house for a perfect location.

I mean, wouldn’t you accept one less bedroom to be next door to a Krispy Kreme?

KIDDING. We are not moving next door to a Krispy Kreme.

(But I would have accepted 1 less bedroom to do so, if it had been an option.)

The house we are buying is a 3-bedroom, was built in the 60s, and has had minimal work done to it since. We’re in a good enough situation with how we worked the sale to be able to get a 15-year mortgage and still put some money into upgrading it before we move in. So, while we close today, we won’t move in until later this summer.

The un-fun things: We have to re-do tons of electrical and almost all of the plumbing. And it’s not really “un-fun” because, you know, we’d like to avoid floods, leaks, and fires. But…you know…doesn’t do much to change the look of the house, so we won’t be able to tell much of a difference after spending tons of money to do that.

But we do like being able to sleep at night, so we’ll do it.

The fun thing? We’re remodeling the kitchen.

There’s other stuff we’ll want to do eventually…expand the master bathroom to overtake a hall closet, close in a carport to build a laundry room, etc. But the kitchen remodel will get us feeling like we’re living in a better house than before, which will be a good feeling. It’s sucky to downsize AND downgrade, so the new kitchen will make us feel like we traded up in some ways.

Most importantly though – the house is in a completely different part of town. It’s only 200 yards – as the crow flies – to the trails we run. Since we can’t fly like crows and have to respect property boundaries, it’s about 1/4 mile away. But that’s going to be great. It’s also really close to Donnie’s office and a little closer to mine. It’s just 2 miles from downtown where we end up going for a lot of functions anyway and there’s a pool and a playground one block away. We accepted the burden of a “fixer-upper” and a house a little smaller than we wanted, just because the location was ideal.

Once we get out of the apartment and the storage unit and into this new place the entire “Let’s Downsize!” adventure will finally be over.

And – it looks like – I will have survived it.

This house will have more challenges though, it’s got a backyard in disarray and it’s just – you know – old, but we’re excited about the neighborhood and the part of town and we really feel good about this step in our lives.

Let’s do this thing…

Entering the world of heart rate monitoring…

I’ve never been a data junkie. I only had a GPS watch for small chunks of my running career, it was never something I really got into. I also had uncooperative gear and so at the first sign of error I ditched it. I’ve never once monitored my heart rate for any activity. If I’m doing anything, I’m writing miles down in my bullet journal but even that has been sporadic as my training is sporadic.

Well. Look what Donnie got me for Mother’s Day, he gave it to me yesterday.

You see, it’s a smart watch. It is a Garmin Forerunner 235. It tells time AND it is a HR monitor and a GPS. He’s been using one for about a year and after protesting, “THAT IS WAAAAY TOO EXPENSIVE!” and secretly thinking Ummm…I don’t give two flying craps about this kind of data…, I opened it up and started playing around with it.

And like that, I’m a data junkie.

I’m so fascinated by my heart rate. I haven’t worn it on a run yet, I hope to do that tonight, but just my resting heart rate is something I’m intrigued by. I never even knew that before! And I took some time this morning to connect it to My Fitness Pal so I can maybe start tracking food too and – GUYS – WHO AM I?

Of course, this time next week it might be just a timepiece and I never make it do the fun things, but I AM SO EXCITED ALL OF THE SUDDEN. I can’t wait to test it out running tonight (Did I tell you about my toes? I’ve had infections in my big toes that have had me not running for 10 days) and watch it during the day! It tracks my steps so I’m going to make sure I get up and walk around my building sometimes.

AND! It gets notifications from my phone too, which I really don’t get a lot of, but it’s nice to see texts etc without having to look at my phone.

If Donnie had said he was going to get me one of these I would have told him, “Don’t waste your money.” I mean, they are STUPID expensive. I know because I’m the one that bought his! But…now that I’ve been playing around with it (I got 6.5 hours of sleep last night! I think drinking two margaritas next door helped fight the Lexapro insomnia :)) I am kinda loving it.

I’ll keep you posted. Maybe I’ll be one of those people that talks about their heart rate all the time!

My Brain On Insomnia

Instead of trying to figure out how to cathartically expunge the contents of my distraught soul, I’m going to pose a bizarre hodgepodge of questions I’d love input on.

  • Lexapro insomnia: Just me? My doctor did warn me that it could happen temporarily but HOLY CRAPBALLS Y’ALL. It’s bad. This is just the shit keeping me up TONIGHT. Yesterday was entirely different.
  • How have you handled differing of opinions of punishments in a co-parenting situation? I struggle with this a lot because I was raised by my Dad and there was no one in the house to debate his punishments. How do you compromise when you so strongly disagree? Do you take turns? “We’ll do it your way this time, my way next time.” That doesn’t really make sense if the difference of punishments come from different methods entirely. You can’t go back and forth.
  • Our new house (1500 sq ft, not updated since the 60s, closing on Friday, hopefully!) has the skeleton of what you can tell was a pretty great back yard at one point. How do I revive it in the easiest way possible? What plants are hardest to kill?
  • Am I too old to wear a choker?

    Wait. Scratch that. I’m answering myself. I’m not too old to wear shit. I can wear whatever the f*ck I want, society! KISS MY ASS.

  • How do you talk to people who you love and trust…but who don’t find treating mental health as “real” medicine? People who supposedly love me but who also think either A) Therapy is ridiculous or B) Medicating is ridiculous. (Weirdly enough, they’re not the same people. Therapy-haters approve of medicine, Medicine-haters approve of therapy.) I have a hard time feeling anything but judged when I’m open about my struggles but I WANT TO BE OPEN SO NO ONE ELSE FEELS JUDGED. Do you sit down and talk with the people? Do you have resources like links or videos to share?
  • Do you have a quick/easy granola bar/ball recipe? I’m sick of pre-packaged granola bars as it feels so wasteful but so many of the recipes I find require SO MANY STEPS, or food processors or something. I want to just use a bowl. And maybe a spoon.

Deserving Happiness

“Do you fear death?”

That was the ONLY question on the two tests I had to take at my doctor yesterday that I gave myself a “zero” value. They were tests to rate my anxiety and depression and there were questions with number scales and they would add it all up and decide what range you were in. I experience everything on both tests at least a little bit, except that one. I don’t fear death. I did when I was religious, but not now. I fear pain, I fear fear, I fear illness, but I don’t fear death. I was really proud of myself because I thought: Since most people fear death, this means I’m going to score better than most people.

Nope. She was very concerned. “Um…the way you described what you’re going through I expected a ‘severe’ on the anxiety scale, but you tested ‘severe’ on the depression scale too. Have you ever been diagnosed with depression?”

“Wait. But I don’t fear death! Don’t I get bonus points for that one?”

Depression has never ranked more than as a “side effect” of my anxiety but truthfully – I knew I was showing signs of depression lately. The “things that used to bring joy no longer bring joy” symptom is like a “DEPRESSION” neon sign. So, I wasn’t really surprised we were discussing it, I was surprised that my score was so concerning.

“You are definitely a candidate to try medication. You are suffering with SEVERE symptoms. We need to fix this. Can I ask you to show me your hands?”

This was a weird question but we had just been talking about my busted toenails so I kinda assumed the two were related and as I held them up for her, she took them and turned them over so she was looking at the tops as I was holding them out and she said, “Do you always shake like that?”

I was immediately embarrassed.

“Um. Not always. I really get nervous at doctors. That’s why you haven’t seen me since 2012. I’m really nervous.”

She took notes.

Then we talked about “normal” and how I seem to have a distorted view of “normal” because I don’t feel like I’m that far from “normal” but my tests indicate I’m quite far from the normal level of anxiety or depression.

“If you’re mentally healthy – so to speak – very few, if any, of these symptoms are present always. You seem to indicate that several of these are just part of your constant state of being. This is most definitely very far from the baseline of mental health we like to achieve.”

We also talked a bit about my reservations with medication. I explained that if it were someone I loved, I would be all over it. “MEDICATE YOURSELF!” I would shout it from the rooftops and hold their hand every time they got a prescription filled.

“But, it’s weird. I have this feeling that someone with a life as good as mine MUST be able to cope without medication. I know that’s not true when you apply it to anyone else, but applied to me? It’s different.”

“The fact that you have a privileged life and are still this miserable is exactly the proof you need that it’s chemical. If there are life situations that cause isolated cases of anxiety or depression, that’s something that we might not need to medicate. But your life is great and you are miserable. Your brain chemistry needs adjusting.”

And somehow, that worked with the part of my brain that was hesitant. She’s right! My life is great! I should be happy! Just like how humans should be able to walk on two legs but when you no longer can because of a broken bone, you have to get the bone fixed. My wonderful life and my increasing anxiety and depression are the proof I need to justify chemical intervention.

So I’m officially on Lexapro for now. 10mg daily and I check back in with her in 3 weeks because she said it will take that long for me to really tell if it’s working. I didn’t sleep much last night, but she warned me that’s a side effect that will fade. I do feel better having a plan and she never once made me feel inadequate for needing all of this. I don’t know why I’m able to look at everyone else in my life and say, “You deserve to be happy, and if that requires medication, do it.”

But I look at myself and only see the flaws and errors and mistakes of my life and think, “Welp. Maybe this is as good as it should get for me. Maybe I don’t deserve happiness.”

It’s so dark written out like that, but also so true when you dig under the cobwebs of my twisted brain.

But I’m happy to have a pill and a plan. It seems a lot of people I know are on Lexapro so let’s hope it works as well for me as it does for them!