I’ve been watching the West Wing a lot lately. It’s one of the things I do when I’m feeling depressed and withdrawing. I curl up in my bed and just attach to a fake world.

Depression and anxiety have been part of my life for as long as I can remember being alive. I tried pharmaceutical treatments and found that they weren’t right for me. That leaves me with holistic and cog native-behavior treatment. Basically, eating right, exercising, sleeping, and controlling my thoughts and actions (thinking before acting.) My symptoms get worse at a special point each month, often driving me to find I can barely tolerate being around other humans. Forget about multitasking because no matter how simple, I will only feel flustered irritation.

So now I’ve set the mood. I’ve been having stomach troubles – more than normal. Sometimes the thinking just becomes too much. The rules, too much. The doubt, the contentiousness, the calculation – too much.

My stomach problems have really been troubling me.  Is it all stress? Is there really an underlying illness in my small intestines?  Am I going to spend more nights with terrible pain and disgustingness that I’ve experienced twice in 3 weeks?

The stress of change has been high over the last year, particularly the last 6 months. I quit a stressful job without having another job lined up, I “cleaned” up my diet (mostly, not completely), all that workout stuff I write about all the time, and my mom died just as I was getting into the scary zone on finding a new job [I got 3 job offers the week of my mom’s services (in fact, the day she died I got a call for a second interview for the job I really wanted and had on the last night I saw her alive told her I thought I wasn’t going to get.)]

If I want my healthy lifestyle to remain healthy and for all life then I have to find ways to cope. I used food and alcohol to medicate myself. I can’t do that any more and I’m struggling. In addition to all the stress of  all the normal stuff I’m stressed about how to feel better.

Lately, exercise feels like punishment instead of therapy.

Based on all of this, I quietly made two changes: I stopped drinking caffeine and I stopped eating meat. Caffeine because it isn’t good for my stomach and it doesn’t help with the anxiety. It wasn’t that hard to give it up last year, but it’s a little harder this time. Particularly when one finds herself falling asleep in a meeting at work. Meat because the thought of undigested bits of chicken lingered with me and meat is not at all appealing. Prior to my last episode of “what’s wrong with my stomach – OMG I think I’m going to die!’ I had been contemplating giving up meat because of my fondness for animals. It was getting harder and harder to eat animals when I was finding so much joy in seeing them out in nature.

Today as I write this I have had a mixed day. I started off anxious – have to get to the courthouse on time for jury duty! (it was a Grand Jury day.) Get through GJ duty (which I actually enjoy.) Come home, take ibuprofen, get in bed, watch The West Wing, nap. Get up and do some dishes and think about how I’m not going to follow-through with my workout plan because I don’t feel good. I have cramps, and I’m depressed, and shouldn’t I get this one day of the month to do whatever I want?! Convince myself that I should at least walk because it’s nice out and exercise is supposed to help with all the things I was complaining about mentally. Convince myself to try. Do Couch-to-5k Week 1 Day 1. Add extra minutes. Realize I’m better than Week1 Day 1 and know that next time I should start at Week 4. Bathe. Vacillate about dinner. End up eating something tasty and healthy. Eat blood orange sorbet and dark chocolate. Write rambly, incoherent post about my health and wellness – lately.


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