Lately

Sorry I have been gone for a little while; I am having technical difficulties! (Seasonal affective disorder) Eh, I’m used to it!  We had a hurricane a few weeks ago and it brought cold weather. Add low sunlight and presto! It is obnoxious, but I have tools to deal with it and while  a thorn in my side; it is nothing to write home about. Just know you CANNOT control your thoughts and emotions, but you can deal with them in appropriate manner. NOTHING happens without our permission! Negativity in life is inevitable, but it only overcomes us if we ALLOW it! I challenge everyone to concentrate on the haves, rather than have nots! Example : I have very good health (kind of haha, my labs are great!), 2 cats who love me, love in my life, and a roof over my head. I have my life. I will be grateful and slay the day!

Advertisements

Me

In early November of 2003, I had reached my lowest point and attempted suicide by overdosing on drugs and alcohol; I awoke from a coma about a week later. Unable to move or make noise, I found myself as one sees a newborn baby. I was extremely anorexic and malnourished; I was also very addicted to drugs and alcohol. What strikes me now as no coincidence is this: my family was holding vigil over Thanksgiving dinner in the hospital cafeteria when I came back to life.

My life had completely taken a downward spiral since my days as a glowing college philosophy student. My dream of becoming a professor had been replaced by the hellish torture of alcoholism, drug addiction, and an eating disorder. While in school, I modeled myself after the great philosophers and truly thought the greatest thoughts were derived from the use of some sort of substance. I imagined myself holding council with the greats in absinthe bars across Europe and sharing my brilliant two cents with those around me. As an adolescent, I was an avid athlete and won many scholastic awards; I graduated ahead of my class and the future was in my hands. My addictions had other plans:  a dentist’s daughter, private school and university taught, I often found myself homeless and at the end of my addiction, living to drink and drug. My dreams had been replaced by nightmares and it all came to fruition that bleak November night. No longer could did I care about my mental or physical health; I was physically addicted and drinking to live. How dark it is before the dawn!

Upon overdosing I found myself in a coma on life support; unable to breath on my own, my systems were shutting down. Recently, I found out that one night, they prepared my family for the worst. It is very important for posterity’s sake that one takes into account what atrocious shape I was in, as you may find the later portion of my story rather uplifting. After awakening, my living nightmare began, I had cut off the oxygen supply to my brain and was unable to move or make noise, due to the large holes now in my cerebellum. I wish I could say that was an a-ha moment, an awakening of sorts; sadly it was not. I did not drink, drug, or practice my eating disorder for  three years, as I was physically unable and due to mobility issues had moved back home with my mother (my father committed suicide in 2001). After three years, I was walking with a walker, and ready to live on my own again… so I thought. By 2007, I had destroyed what little progress I had made; I was once again drinking and practicing the eating disorder, only this time I was severely disabled. In the spring, I found myself, once again, in a psych ward. Guardianship was relinquished to my mother; I know not why, but all of a sudden a switch flipped on inside of me and I decided then and there I would “get better”, so to speak.

I remembered the philosophical teachings of Epictetus, how one creates their own circumstances and of the great psychologist Viktor Frankl who claimed that “He who has a why to live can bear with almost any how.” I began inpatient hospitalization to nourish my body and uncloud my mind. Once I was well enough, I began working with a nutritionist and attending support groups; I abstained from alcohol and drugs, but faltered with the eating disorder. Honestly, it was difficult to let go of all of my unhealthy habits. Resisting drugs and alcohol, I remained sober for 3.5 years. On December 14th of 2013 I, again, drank; that is an important date for me; that is the day I took my life back. I decided enough is enough and all but wore out my copies of my motivating philosophical books. The next few months found me sober, quitting smoking, halting the eating disorder, becoming vegetarian, and obtaining a gym membership. It’s truly amazing as to the things we can do when we apply ourselves! All this while, I’ve held onto the notion that there is reason for one’s suffering; if anything, it is to share hope with those who may well be fighting their own battles. For the first time in 20 years, I myself began to see hope. I sought refuge in the works of William James and studied Joseph Campbell’s “The Power of Myth”. These works led me to believe there was an immutable sense underlying all; it was not up to me to figure my life out, but I could, indeed, live to show others that hope is for all, not simply the worthy.

In 2014, I was doing so well all around that I set a new goal for myself: to go back to school to be a personal trainer. You must remember that from 2003-2004 I could barely move; so this was a lofty goal. I gained my certification on the first try, joining only 10% of my class; next up, find employment. Believe it or not, I applied at gyms and health and nutrition stores. I secured a position in a health store and took the paratransit bus to work; I remembered stories from my childhood: these helped me overcome adversity. Aesop’s Fables, morals, and abstractions guided me through troubled waters. CS Lewis is another favorite who I studied intensely, not for his religious, but philosophical teachings. I believe now that “Even at night there are stars that shine”.

I have not had an eating disorder or used substances since 2013; neither have I eaten meat or smoked. As I now know, there is meaning in the suffering. Life happens; it is up to us as to its meaning. I know today that I make a choice everyday as to the path my life will take. “I am the captain of my soul; I am the master of my destiny.” Hope is available for everyone; take heart; it is yours if you want it.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Me

I suppose in a way I am telling on myself. I have bipolar disorder; so did my father and he committed suicide (today is his birthday).This is something I have eluded to, but not openly discussed. I feel it is pertinent to do so, however, as the season for SAD (seasonal affective disorder) is upon us (in the US). I know  my disorder (especially the depression) gets worse in the fall and winter months due to many factors. It is important to look at your history and be honest with yourself; is this something that effects me and I need to be concerned about. In the past my past eating disorders, addictions, and depression and depression have run rampant this time of year; I am now proactive. I will give you some practical everyday tips that I have found helpful. This is NOT medical advice! And, FYI nothing is an instant fix;give things time to work. Also I have found that your mindset helps; rather than be pessimistic and constantly telling yourself “This is pointless it will never help”, try telling yourself “This might work for me!”.

Mental: Even when things seem like they can’t get any worse, DO NOT GIVE UP!!!!!!!!!!!!!! It is always darkest before the dawn they say. Unfortunately sometimes you cannot see the light of dawn. It is important for me to tell people I care about to keep an eye on me (especially this time of year); not overprotective, but just to notice if I start to act strange or isolate. This is a good resource for mental illness; it has alot of areas to explore :National Alliance on Mental Illness

Physical: There are many things you can do to help depression; namely do not isolate and force yourself to do things; do not let yourself slack; little by little, things will add up and you’ll find yourself in a hole. This is not only true of actions around depression, but life in general. Because I am frugal,and am also aware everyone does not have unlimited funds at their disposal, here are some free (but useful) tips. Get an adequate amount of sunlight;  a lack of vitamin D (found in sunlight) can lead to an increase in myriad of physical symptoms ( obesity, mineral loss,etc.) but also causes a great increase in depression; this primarily why we get SAD. As the sunlight gets low, as we are outside less, we receive less vitamin D, which makes us more physically vulnerable:Information on vitamin D deficiency and depression. If you are concerned about skin cancer, wear sunscreen to block harmful UV rays. Another area I’ve found helpful is staying physically active, namely exercise; this will increase the serotonin in your brain (the chemical that keeps you “happy”) and increase endorphins which will give you more energy. This is particularly helpful if your depression includes anxietyInformation on mood-exercise relationship. If you have trouble with the cold weather, research an exercise program that can be performed indoors. If you are older and/or have muscle, joint,or other health problems; talk to your doctor. Ask for their input on a safe but effective program suitable for you to perform.

Social: Like I said, it helps me to let others in my social  circles to keep  an eye on  me. This way, I am proactive about my mental state.

Trust me, there is a large portion of my past when,as positive as I am now, I was that much negative. We are where we are in life. There is no correct path for EVERYONE. I just know what works for me!

be awesome