Plant-Based…Again.

Y’all know I’ve called myself a “lazy herbivore” for over a year now. I like to eat plant-based when I can but I also don’t memorize hidden animal products in weird ingredients and I like to enjoy the random office treat (because I work in a real estate office and THERE ARE ALWAYS TREATS) which is rarely vegan. I don’t like the word vegan because it garners a lot of anger and hatred. From MEAT EATERS and vegans alike, which is really weird. I also just recently bought a handmade leather item from a leather-crafting friend (a purchase I justified by looking at the global impact of buy that versus a synthetic/plastic item made in a factory in china) and things like that make me using the word “vegan” almost illegal.

ANYWAY! PLANT-BASED! LAZY HERBIVORE!

I wasn’t eating very well in the months since my weird bought of depression started after my 100K.

Wait. Speaking of that phase – I let me get back to that for one second.

The reason it took me awhile to get help was because I didn’t feel like I matched my friend’s experiences with depression at all. It was a weird sadness that I think I just described as “tainting everything” but that I was functioning fine (except for the over-eating) but I just felt BAD. In general. Well, Heather is going through the same thing and – of course – described it beautifully.

But a low buzz of sadness hangs onto every minute of my day like a soggy cotton sweater. I wake up almost every morning with tears in my eyes from having cried in my sleep. For no reason.

Full entry here

ANYWAY! I was eating terribly while I was wearing that soggy cotton sweater. And I cared a lot less about the whole “plant-based” thing because I was trying to make a shift in the negative energy I was feeling: Sadness, Anxiety, Overwhelming Dread etc. My Grief Recovery calls these things we fall back on: STERBs (Short Term Energy Relieving Behaviors). Food is my STERB. Basically, when I’m sad/stressed/whatever-bad-feeling – I know food will break that energy inside of me. It disrupts it for a moment, maybe not feeling “better” in a true sense but feeling “different” which my mind associates as “better” – so I go to the food. And from February until May I had kinda stopped caring even what food that was.

And holy SHIT I felt disgusting.

So, as part of all of the recovery I am trying to get back on track because I felt BETTER even on a BINGE day when I was eating plant-based. I bought the book I’ve heard so much about: How Not To Die and I’ve been trying to make note of the foods I’m eating throughout my day so I can just say, “Is this good for my mind, body, and soul?” for at least a moment as I write it down.

And – I’ve decided to try to eat salads.

See, I have this weird problem as an herbivore. My stomach is very sensitive to whatever it is on the outside of plants that sometimes makes you feel like you’re digesting rocks. I haven’t tested it thoroughly because the pain is debilitating, but basically things like raw broccoli, almonds (not almond milk, just almonds and almond butter), some greens, advocados…they cause me extreme pain and discomfort and so I cook the shit out of everything.

BUT! Fresh is so much better! Right?

SO. I’ve been playing around with salads for about a month now while I test out items and see if they don’t make me want to die. I started with spinach greens because they’ve never bothered me and then built/tested from there and NOW I HAVE THE RECIPE FOR KIM’S PERFECT SALAD.

IMG_4558

Just to make sure you appreciate the effort that goes into this salad from someone who HATES ALL ACTIONS RELATED TO COOKING – I need you to know: Everything had to be cut by me. NOTHING WAS PRE-CUT. I mean, the Spinach was bagged but it was WHOLE. I even cut the tiny tomatoes! I CUT IT ALL.

  • Spinach
  • Carrots (peeled and cut fresh – no mini carrots for this girl)
  • Baby tomatoes
  • Mushrooms
  • Kalamata Olives (I buy the whole pitted an then cut them b/c the pre-sliced ones seem slimier)
  • 1/2 TBS of Chia Seeds (I’m scared about braving more due to my tummy issues, and that shit is EXPENSIVE)
  • 1 microwaved and cut-up GARDEIN Chick’n Patty. I know a lot of people don’t like meat replacements but this one is just DELICIOUS and it adds a punch to my salad.
  • About 1/2 cup of drained white beans from a can.
  • Some italian dressing

Eventually I’d like to start cooking the white beans myself (Easy ideas?) and I’d like to make my own dressing (Easy recipes? I like Italian dressings with red pepper) to really seal the deal but otherwise? This salad is MY BOMB. I look forward to eating it every day. I don’t look forward to making it, it has stretched out my morning prep a lot…BUT! I think it’s worth it.

This week was kinda the first week I’ve gotten “on track” with my eating. I’m trying to not think about the 15-20lbs I’ve gained in the last few months. (Especially because I’m on steroids for a hideous bought of infected poison ivy and no one should sept on the scale when they’re on steroids.) I’m just focusing on tracking my health (water intake, food etc) and moods (I’ll talk about how I’m tracking my moods later) and just trying to really think about what I need when I am craving a STERB. Do I really need that bag of french fries? How will my body process that and how will it affect my mood? I have “alternatives” I’m trying to go to that will “disrupt the negative energy” like food does: Make an Eboost Water, Make a cup of coffee, walk around the building, stretch etc. Trying to disrupt that energy in a more HEALTHY way.

So far, so good. I mean, I have a kickass salad…what more do I need, right?

Hi. My name is Zoot and today I’m seeing my first therapist.

I see people all the time post Facebook statuses like, “I keep getting back pains when I run…any ideas?” And people will recommend chiropractors and PTs and acupuncturists. They’ll tell you their favorite NSAID or how they depend on Epsom salt baths. Some will tell you their experience with switching mattresses or pillows.

But no one ever posts a status that says, “Some days are too much…any ideas?”

And I write statuses all the time about how we need to change this. We need to normalize mental health care and be open to talking about it. When they shut down the doctor’s office where my kid got counseling for his anger, I went on the NEWS and talked about it, and I talked about the stigma of this type of healthcare and how terrible that is for people struggling. I tell my kids that when they have seen their therapists it’s no different than going to their pediatrician. NO SHAME. It’s nothing to hide.

YET! Yet…I took my blog off my Instagram account because I have so many real world people that follow me there and I’ve been talking about my own journey to my own mental health so much here and…well…I was ashamed. I was afraid they’d look at me differently the next time they saw me. Maybe I’d no longer be “Fun Goofy Kim” and I’d be “Crazy As Shit Kim.”

And then…THEN…I felt total shame about taking it off and trying to hide the fact that I’m seeking out mental health care. So I decided to write this entry. THERE IS NOTHING MORE META.

My name is Kim. I have always suffered under the burden of several types of anxieties as long as I can remember. I manage them successfully most days, but in many ways they also often darken my life. Lately, as my plate seems to be overflowing with obligations, as the presidential election cycle becomes more and more ugly, and as I suffer through my least favorite month (March: The month we spent watching Dad die in 2009), it has all become too much. I’m not sleeping well, I’m crying too much, and I can not manage my diet because my stress-coping mechanisms always revolve around binge eating.

So, I’m getting help. I made a million phone calls (AND I TOTALLY ABHOR THE TELEPHONE) last week trying to decide who is covered by my insurance in what way and then trying to matching up covered counselors with my issues and today at 10am I am meeting with a therapist. I chose an LPC because I’m avoiding medication right now. (I have this intense awareness of the GOOD parts of my anxiety and I’m terrified of losing those in medicating the bad parts.) She may be terrible. She may be amazing. Who knows, but I’m trying to be casual about it. I want people to be as open saying, “Hey – did you like your counselor who helped you with your anxiety?” as we are saying, “Hey – did you like that Physical Therapist who helped you when you had Runner’s knee?”

I’m feeling unwell. I’m going to a doctor. Just like if I had tendonitis or a stress fracture. My brain is not processing the things in my life successfully and instead it is backfiring so I’m going to seek help in fixing that. I’m starting with a therapist just like you might start with an x-ray. I need someone to help me look at the big picture for awhile to help me see if I need to approach things differently. Maybe I just need to change my running form or my tennis shoes. Or maybe I need surgery. Either way – I need to be open about it so the next person who feels like the weight of the world is crushing her to death will feel okay coming out and saying, “Some days are too much…any ideas?”

OMIGOD.

Nikki and I went out to dinner and a show last night and didn’t get home and to bed until 11pm so I “let myself sleep in” and didn’t get up until 4am so I’m skipping packing lunches this morning so I can make sure I have time to update this ole blog before going for a run.

Yesterday went well. Days I eat right and run always go better than other days. I printed 3 pages of licensed counselors, Psychiatrists, and Psychologists that are covered by my insurance. I got frustrated though because the first few counselors I googled were all faith-based so I skipped that list and went to the Psych portion. The first few I googled specialized in childhood behavior disorders so those wouldn’t work. The, while going through the lists and noticing a bunch of doctors using the same addresses, I TWO “groups” that had several doctors covered. Since I didn’t have time to Google everyone I decided to call both of those offices and just see if they could see who was covered and tell them if any of them specialize in People Like Me. I called both and got put on a phone line to leave my name/number for a follow-up.

That’s where we’re at. I’m hoping I get follow-ups today as I didn’t call until about 2pm yesterday.

I do feel like there has to be a better system than calling ON THE PHONE and then having to say, “I need a therapist,” because JEEZUS I avoided that. I used the word “counselor” which was confusing because I was calling about a Psychiatrist at the one number so I need to just OWN it. “My name is Kim. Life is hard for me right now. I Need someone to help me.”

And thank you for everyone who reached out and encouraged me not to avoid meds. I explained to some of you – it’s a weird hang-up I have. In my head, no matter how bad it gets, I just say, “If it gets worse I’ll get a therapist, and then if it gets worse I’ll get meds.” So those are my safety nets and I’m landing on “therapist” one first but knowing that “medication” one is still there is good and weirdly comforting. I have this anxiety that if I start taking meds and I’m still having waves OF THE KRAZEE then what? WHAT IF I AM UNFIXABLE?

I know. Dumb. But the explanation to the order of things. I also have fears of side effects and the neutralizing of other extreme parts of my mind that I like, but we’ll save that for another day.

SO. I made steps. And I knew you guys would be making sure I did so I’m making time after a late night to post about it here. Thank you all for making me feel less crazy. I have a select few close influences that sometimes ride the “Just be happy!” or “Just exercise!” or “Just eat better!” train so it’s hard having those voices not in my head all the time. Thank you for telling me the other side.

12794331_10154584476218496_4764934725748601947_n

Today is when.

So, if you go to a consult with a surgeon about a breast reduction (I AM NOT GETTING A BREAST REDUCTION) they encourage you to try losing weight first as surgery may not be necessary. If you go to a consult to have a lap band procedure they make sure you’ve at least tried changing your diet first. In general – the rule of thumb is always try the lifestyle changes before the medical solutions because medical solutions are not always a good answer and have risk of other problems.

I tell you all of this because today I’m going to try to find a therapist. But, because of my fear of prescription medications (another entry for another day) I want to go ahead and make sure I tackle some lifestyle changes so that if it comes to that, I can feel certain I’ve really tested out my running theory about my eating habits and my emotions. BAD FOOD MAKES ME FEEL BAD.

I know, it’s a crazy theory and probably won’t pan out.

But I’ve been feeling really bad lately. And I’ve been feeling really bad at some level for awhile now and I’m certain it runs much deeper than my diet but I’m just as certain my diet is not making it any better. Here’s a sidenote: The funny thing is about my emotional plummet is that I feel like I’ve been a much better Mom lately. Somehow as my sadness grows and taints my every thought, I’ve become more patient and understanding and involved with my kids. So, that’s interesting. Let’s hope as I work through these issue the good parenting sticks around as I’d hate for the kids to be all, “It’s weird. Mom is so much nicer when she’s randomly crying all the time.”

IMG_3414I know the extreme sadness relates to this month. March will always be “the month we watched Dad die” but it’s only March 10th and that means I have 3 more weeks and if my sadness has darkened my days this much already? The next 3 weeks are going to be terrible. SO. Today is when. Today is when I try to get a handle on my health again so I can tackle the sadness that has engulfed me. TODAY IS THE DAY I INGEST THIS VERY EXPENSIVE POWDER THAT LOOKS A LITTLE LIKE DEHYDRATED POOP.

I tried to do a sugar detox a few years ago and I didn’t even make it 24 hours before my anxiety and depression flared up so bad that I thought I was going to need to be sedated. It was BAD, y’all. I joke about it all the time, “Proof I’m addicted and probably should give up sugar…” but it was NO JOKE. I’m not trying a full detox (and I had plenty of fruit on that terrible day) because I need my coffee how I like it so I don’t lose my will to live (that’s not too much of an exaggeration) but I’m reducing the sweetener I use a bit and I’ll still use my energy powder mid-day because without my other stimuli I’ll need that (and it has some sweetener in it) but other than my sources of energy, I’m removing sugar from my diet. I’m removing beer except for one at Anaheim Chili when we eat there on Saturdays. I’m going to attempt clean eating as much as possible, but since I haven’t tried, I’m not sure what road blocks are out there. I want to show up at my first therapy appointment and be able to say, “I have not been eating crap for X days” so that they can rule out any chemical (food related) cause for my emotional instability.

And if that emotional instability wanes with the bad eating? Then my theory was right and hopefully I won’t need any prescription treatment for my current episodes of anxiety and depression. And if my theory was wrong and I still feel terrible, I can carefully walk into that arena (because of the aforementioned fears) knowing I did everything I could do first.

But I need you all to hold me accountable. If I don’t come back tomorrow with a follow-up outlining my progress in finding a therapist (it took more than a few days when I was looking for one for Wesley) and a report that I’m sticking to my “Eating for Happiness” nutrition plan, then I need you to call me out. I NEED A THERAPIST, Y’all. I don’t feel like outlining the exact reasons why, just please trust me. Kim’s brain in March is always a bad place to be but this March is a million times worse.

And the damn time changes this weekend which makes it all SO MUCH MORE TERRIBLE. I love the early sunrise, I hate our stupid daylight savings takes that one joy away from me.

So, here’s to braving the phone and calling to find a therapist. Here’s to Eating for Happiness. Here’s to trying to go for a run this morning (having some issues after running 40 miles on Saturday) (those “issues” are me not wanting to run) and hopefully succeeding. Here’s to finding joy and not losing the good parenting habits I’ve picked up while engulfed in my own sadness. Here’s to f*cking daylight savings. Here’s to surviving March.