Still Wounded

I wrote a post about 5 days ago, but didn’t post it because I had to drive Fox somewhere.

I just want to give a quick update before I share the post: it turns out I was transferred to Fox’s prescriber at the same clinic where I’ve been going, so I was able to make an appointment with her (just in time to refill my meds). The “epic quest” was not so epic after all – thank God. (I’m still having trouble believing it.)

This turn of events was extra good because I was able to use my doctor’s appointment to address some problems that have been bothering me for a while. I apparently have arthritis in my knees; he sent me to get x-rays, which may result in physical therapy that will (hopefully) alleviate some of the pain so I can be active, healthy, and happy(er than I am when I’m sedentary). I’m also (hopefully) going to have a sleep study done to figure out what’s causing my chronic fatigue (you know, besides the depression), and blood work for good measure. My conversation with my doctor has me feeling more motivated to try and actually eat healthy foods, which is an important part of self-care.

Anyways, without further ado, here’s the post I wrote 5 days ago:

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Re-Igniting the Spark

I randomly decided to re-join SparkPeople today, and it was so worth it!

One of the first things I did was join “teams” focused on dealing with depression and anxiety, which I’m hoping might provide some additional information and social support. I also joined 7 other teams, set a plethora of goals, and proceeded to track everything I ate. And guess what – it’s telling me I need to eat more – calories and protein, to be exact.

Fox and I made an epic grocery shopping trip, during which we spent way too much money and – by conservative estimates – walked for at least an hour! Boom! That’s 1/3 of my exercise goal for the week! Booyah!

We came home with plethora of fresh fruits and veggies, yogurt, frozen veggies, and minimally-processed meat. I had a delicious apple (“Oh Spock! This is amazing! Why don’t I eat apples every day?”), and a little bit later, we cooked.

Namely, we made delicious tacos: ground beef, cheese, and bell peppers in spinach wraps. And Fox made a huge Caesar salad, which we enjoyed before the tacos. It was actually too much food – I doubt I’ll be hungry again in time to eat that last bit the tracker is saying I need. I loved every bite and felt really good eating it – in part because it was fresh and in part because I’d done half the work to make it. (When we cook, we cook as a team.)

I’d forgotten how much I love cooking. It’s so much fun, and so rewarding. 😀

Best of all, we have leftovers, so we get to enjoy our delicious cooking again!

And something about getting points for doing basic things I should do anyway (such as taking a few minutes for relaxation) makes them seem so much easier. “Yeah, sure, I can do that. It’ll only take a few minutes, and it will feel good.” That’s what I really like about SparkPeople – it’s not just about losing weight. You don’t have to make it about weight at all (though the weight-loss ads are kind of overwhelming). My goals are to get at least 8 hours of sleep a night and listen to music at least once per day and actually go tend to my garden each day and cook at least 3 times a week (and so on …).

And if it kicks my butt to exercise, all the better. If it inspires me to make healthier food choices, all the better. I’m feeling really good about this decision, really hopeful. Today felt wonderful – and it was just an ordinary day in which we ran some errands. Nothing special.

I know from experience that I’m high from starting something new. Over time – probably before long – my enthusiasm will wane. I wasn’t planning to get too involved in the community aspect of the site, but maybe I will. If I make friends, then they can encourage me to stick with it when I don’t want to be bothered, and I can do the same for them.

You’re welcome to visit my Sparkpage – and friend me, if you’re on SparkPeople. Let’s see where this rabbit hole goes!

Healthy Plurality

For most of “my” life, “my” thoughts have “taken the form of” a conversation between 2 or more people. I think something, and someone else responds – sometimes in agreement, sometimes with a counter-argument. It might happen when I’m trying to make a decision or just thinking about something that’s important to me or has temporarily captured my interest. Sometimes it just … happens.

Sometimes I’m alone, but that’s actually kind of rare. Most of the time it feels like someone else is here with me; we experience all the same things together and (usually) support each other in coping with them. On occasion it’s like I’m in a crowded room with several conversations buzzing all around me – or, several people all shouting what they think I should do / say / eat. (Eat? Whoever said that? Yes, eating is the most important thing we do every day. No, breathing is! Eating and breathing, okay! We don’t have to decide what or whether to breathe – unless there’s cigarette smoke. Just leave “eat” in there, okay? Do we have to leave this whole conversation in here? It’s really embarrassing! It’s how our brain works …)

Umm, where was I? Oh, right. I hear it all with my mind’s ear, like when a song gets stuck … really, whoever wrote that? It just sounds so lame! Hey!

That’s what you get for trying to minimize the fact that the rest of us exist. So there.

I’m sorry I’m introducing readers to a (potentially) new concept. I didn’t want to weird them out too much at first. Give them a chance to learn what healthy plurality is before they have to deal with our arguments!

This is fun!

Anyway, I’ve been curious about the idea of plurality for some time, but I thought it could only be part of a disorder – what was once called “multiple personality disorder” and now (in the US) is called “dissociative identity disorder” … as far as I’m aware, they’re essentially the same thing. “My” way of being plural has always felt normal-for-“me” … which is a little weird to say because I’ve gotten so used to being depressed that in a way that feels normal too. So, let me clarify. Depression has always interfered with some aspect of my life, whether it’s feeling confident and important / respected in social situations, getting out of bed in the morning, taking care of myself, dealing with really intense emotions, etc. Being plural has been … interesting … but never actually a problem. Right, folks? No problem? … Usually. Any group of people will have disagreements and drama. Sometimes it gets a bit stressful; sometimes we’re not as supportive of each other as we could or should be.

I wouldn’t want anyone here to go away; I enjoy their company. It’s just another way of being, and “I” often find it adaptive. How? If I’m feeling lonely there’s someone I can talk to. I don’t have to make difficult decisions alone. There’s often a comforting voice, such as the one who reminded me that the incredibly harsh self-criticisms were the depression talking, and didn’t reflect reality. Or the one who convinced me to get out of bed today by promising I could have cookies for breakfast …

I recently had the opportunity to meet members of 2 multiple systems (independent people who share the same body) and learn a bit about their subjective experiences. I learned that plurality / multiplicity / multiple systems can develop naturally and don’t have to be the result of trauma / psychopathology. The people involved in such systems don’t need to integrate into one personality in order to be healthy. As at least one member of a multiple system put it, “We find that the easiest way to explain our thought processes is as a conversation among multiple people.” (not an exact quote)

Sound familiar?

I’ll admit, the possibility of being multiple is scary. Does this have to go in here? Yes, it’s part of my experience! As I meet others who share “my” body, how do I know that what they’re saying is coming from them and not me? I think I’m usually the one fronting (using our body to interact with the physical world). If I become more aware of, engage with, and get to know the others as individuals, do I have to give up control of our body to them? If I do, will I get it back? Yes. I can only deal with this – okay, fine, I’ll use “stuff” – for so long. Is any of this even real? Yes!

Ultimately, it’s all subjective. Of course it’s all happening inside my / our head – that doesn’t have to mean it isn’t real! (props to anyone who gets the reference) I’ve / we’ve lived this way for as long as I can remember; nothing will change unless we want it to. Being aware of it, even talking / writing about it, doesn’t change it. It just broadens our understanding of ourselves, and the many ways of being in the world(s).

I’m very new to the idea of healthy plurality and can only share my own experiences. To learn more from the perspectives of healthy multiples, including faq and the like, visit Healthy Multiplicity . com

You might also find this Glossary helpful.

Out of the Darkness: This won’t happen overnight.

So, for anyone who doesn’t know, the Out of the Darkness Overnight is a 16- to 18-mile walk that takes place overnight; it is an endurance event (to raise money for research and programs to prevent suicide and help survivors).

I’ve never done anything like this before. I’ve done a 2.5-mile MS Walk (National Multiple Sclerosis Society). I’ve done Relay for Life, which was overnight but had a track I could walk as many or as few times as I wanted; I spent much of the night not walking. Never before have I walked for hours and hours on end. The most I’ve walked at once is 5 miles.

The idea of walking all night scares me. I wouldn’t have signed up, if I’d really thought about it beforehand. To be honest, I’m kind of glad I was impulsive.

This is a nice kick in the pants to make the lifestyle changes I need to be healthier – both physically and mentally. Thinking about what I’ll need to do to prepare for this event has helped me realize: When I said I was “walking to save my own life” yesterday, I meant it literally. It’s gotten to the point where my idea of “physical activity” is walking to class, and “eating vegetables” is putting tomato sauce on my pasta. I’ve developed a habit of having Pop Tarts for dinner because I can grab them from a vending machine before class. (They’re probably the most hunger-satisfying, not-absolutely-horrible-for-you option in said machine.) Last night my “dietary success” was having nachos after class – because the menu listed calorie counts and the alternative I was considering had twice as many! It’s not that I don’t know how to live a healthier lifestyle. I need motivation.

countdownWell, Ziya, this is it!

Starting today, I have 16 weeks to prepare. 16 weeks to go from eating Pop Tarts and getting out of breath from a brisk walk across campus, to being capable of walking 16 to 18 miles in one night.

… somehow …

Today I am starting small. I am learning to become more aware of when my body needs water. Too often I let it go until my mouth is unbearably dry, just because I’m too lazy to get up and refill my glass! That will not do at all. So, my primary focus for this week will be on (re-)learning to keep water near me at all times and drink it frequently, before I feel thirsty.

I’ve also been meaning to start planning my meals ahead of time. I keep putting it off because I find the process very tedious, but I’ve seen how well it works for other people and how poorly not planning has (not) been working for me.

My primary reason for wanting to do this is to make life easier on days when I need to eat away from home. If I have healthy food with me, it will save me the stress of trying to make remotely-healthy choices that aren’t too expensive – while hungry. Of course, in addition to planning my meals, I’ll need to make preparing them ahead of time a priority. Half the reason why “eating vegetables” means putting tomato sauce on pasta is because that’s a very easy, mindless thing I can do when I’m too hungry and distracted to cook properly.

Stretching is crucial.

Finally, it seems stupid to put off any kind of physical-activity-related preparation until next week. This is the part I find hardest to embrace, so I’ll start really small: my legs have been screaming at me to stretch them! I’ll start doing the stretches in the Overnight: Stretching Guide at least once per day. Perhaps I can also get up the guts to look at their Training Program (PDF), which includes a 15-week option.

Why am I craving pizza bites?