Where The Hell Have I Been?

Subtitle: I f’ed up.

Over the last 6 months, I have made 8 posts. 8 ÷ 6, carry the…

While I don’t need to explain this pitiful output and have ruminated about disclosure for the paucity of posts, I decided finally to out myself. Not that kind of outing. Anyone who reads more than one post knows I am out.

Also, everyone knows that I am a yo-yo’er. I have, however, maintained or lost weight consistently over the past 2+ years. Not this winter. My bingeing returned with a vengeance as my SAD ( Seasonal Affective Disorder) burst into major depression. So here comes the “outing” part. I have recurrent episodes of depression that are more significant than regular readers might have thought. The occasional mention of “my therapist” refers to the amazing woman who has been treating me for over 12 years with a myriad of meds and analysis. (Hey, she is the only one allowed to say that I have a form of bipolar illness. I don’t even get to say it.) No, I do not get manic – too bad because I could use a creative flair now and then. I have had episodes of hypomania that usually manifest as irritability (OK, more than usual), insomnia, and anxiety. One could call it Bipolar II – but we aren’t using the “B” word :) I could provide history of my disorder and the amazing family history that snakes up both sides of the family tree. (It’s in the blood as the Amish say.) But that is boring and not the intent here.

Life had been smooth sailing until the end of December when I hit one of my lowest episodes in recent memory. No matter the cause – I like to blame it on my trials as a breast cancer surgery survivor – I tried to sooth myself with food. Even though it didn’t work, I kept trying and not writing and not weighing and gained almost 20 pounds.

Why should you care? Folks with depression and other forms of “more common and less severe” mental illness receive less support, acceptance, and tolerance from family and friends. My own wonderful partner called my lazy during this episode. I was suicidal.  People do not get treatment because of societal judgment of these common mental conditions that can lead to major bad outcomes.

Moral of the story: If you are depressed, get help. It is a major illness. Treatment is effective. Most of us are highly functioning members of society, even. If you know someone who is depressed, please be understanding, ask what you can do to support them. For god’s sake, don’t call them lazy.

With some tweaking of meds, support of my partner (who finally saw my distress), and other changes, I managed to stop bingeing and get back to monitoring. In one month, I lost 13 pounds eating on plan. Now it’s time to write again. Honestly, part of the reason for this post is to remind me that the next time I feel like bingeing, I need to check in with my brain AND my body.

20 thoughts on “Where The Hell Have I Been?

  1. So I don’t like the phrase that you f’ed up. That leads down the path to fault and blame and all those other words that have no place here. And you gained 20 pounds — so what? Me too actually. That time from December through March totally did me in in that respect. I have all kinds of opinions about blogging and the blog world and its shame-inducing qualities, but we’ll save that discussion for another time.

    Most importantly, I’m glad to know you’re here, you’re working on being better, that your partner totally supports you, and that you have an amazing therapist (wouldn’t the world be a better place if everyone were also in long-term psychotherapy?) who gets you. And kudos on courage for an honest post full of very personal information.

    Glad you’re here, and glad I’m here to read. And I support you too in every way.

    • Thank you for the encouraging words Michele. I probably should have clarified that that “f” up part referred to not posting, not writing, not staying in touch with my support system. I don’t blame myself for being depressed, but I did realize during my darkest times that writing and blogging (even if I did not publish) would have been helpful to me. Even my therapist kept gently pushing for me to blog. Smart woman.

  2. Jan–good to “hear” from you again. I have suffered from major depression myself over the years–I get it. Most people don’t–they think you should just “cheer up”, as if that were possible. I am glad you are doing what you need to do to feel better–hope you soon feel really good. By the way, you are very important to me–I think you know that. You can always call if you need someone to vent to! Love you!!!

  3. T-Byrd! I do feel so much better. Even after years of going through these cycles, it is hard not to feel shame. So silly, as if one has total control over one’s brain chemistry! I can only learn from each episode (like taking my meds regularly is a good thing) and hope old age eventually burns down the frequency. And I will call, even when I’m feeling good!

  4. I’ve been wondering the same thing. So glad you’re back. I understand the struggle with depression and the trouble with coming to terms with the diagnosis. Listen there is no shame in facing a life threatening illness, the treatment and then having some emotional issues after. You KNOW it’s normal and that you went through that ordeal like a trooper which means you probably didn’t stop to THINK or FEEL. Now you can DEAL and move on to a long life of health. Glad you’re back at it. I am still struggling with the 20 pounds I’ve gained after steroids and just other BS. Blah blah. Back to work.

    • Thank you so much for staying connected, Ann. Sorry the steroids did their “thang” and added weight. It just shows how metabolism is influenced by hormones (exogenous and endogenous) when someone as active as you cannot keep weight burned off. Insulin is a bugger.

  5. I’m really glad you checked in and posted so honestly. I’ve suffered from severe depressions since I was 9 –and yep, 9 year-olds can become suicidal, though some folks are astonished to ponder it. I’m in a mild depressive episode now–which makes just showering and doing minor tasks a bit monumental–even blogging. But in a severe depression, I’d be a wreck, doubtless gaining weight, surely not even blogging at all.

    The fact you are losing again, checking in, well, I know it means BEING BETTER. :D

    Keep at it. I hope both of our clouds will lift forever. It would be nice not to have to deal with this crap in the last years of my life. I’m 52. 43 years of dealing with this is tiring sometimes…but when the days of sunshine turn into weeks and months and sometimes even years, it’s nice, eh? :D

    God bless…

    • Thank you for reaching out. Your story and blog are amazing and inspiring. Count me as a new reader/subscriber. And, yes, the seasons of internal sunshine are remarkable.

  6. I appreciate your honesty, Jan – I know that depression is not an easy thing to talk about…and yet so many of us go through it. It really does become one dark cycle…I’m so glad for you that lightness is in your life again. And I’ve been so happy to see your comments, too – it’s just good to have you around because you bring so much to us. Big hugs to you.

    • Hugs back at ya, Shelley! Part of my big blue episode was having a difficult time reading, much less commenting, on my favorite blogs. I have been catching up on your running. Way to go!!!

  7. I’m so sorry you’ve been struggling, Jan, but so glad to know you’re on a better, healthier track now. (If you ever figure out why we push away from the very thing(s) that might be most helpful, could you let me know? :))

    • Cammy, you are so observant about people pushing away from things that are most helpful. I think at some point I just got too embarrassed to post or even comment on other blogs because I had been gone so long. Silly me. I’m too old to get embarrassed any more!

  8. Thank you for a wonderful, heartfelt post, Jan. So glad the sun is beginning to shine again for you. For me, I found it’s not easy to ’round the corner when your husband says, “Get over yourself!” and your mother says, “Stop feeling sorry for yourself!” Fortunately, I had a doctor that saw what was going on and helped. You’ve done a great job of writing, living healthy, and helping people you don’t even know with your blog. Thanks!
    Donna

    • Donna, thank you for sharing some of your story and then encouraging me to keep writing. I walk a fine line deciding what to share about my inner self. If one person is helped by unveiling this most hidden aspect of myself then the days it took struggling to write the post were worth it.

  9. I am so happy to see you writing again. I’ve thought about you often and wondered what happened.
    I read that writing down our thoughts is almost as good as telling someone what we are feeling and thinking. It allows us to get those thoughts out and can be beneficial to our mental health. Blogging can be a helpful therapy – who knew.

    Your therapist sounds amazing and I am delighted to know you are back on track and doing well.

    • Tami, you know I feel guilty having abandoned my favorite bloggers… And, I know better than most the health benefits of writing. I have just chosen not to write in a therapeutic manner before. (This still isn’t the most beneficial type of writing for health – that would be too fragmented to put on a blog.)

      I am scrolling through you recipes and posts, enjoying catching up with you and your family!

  10. I am so glad to hear from you! I was worried. And you were often in my thoughts. I LOVE how you write about this with such a great sense of humor. I take that as a good sign:)

  11. You are so astute, my dear friend. My sense of humor was among the last parts of me to return. It IS a good sign, and I am back to my usual state of abby-normal.

  12. I have been checkin in to see if you were back even while I have not been so prolific. I sensed we were sharing a down period, though mine was not as difficult as yours (I have experienced them like that in the past, though.)

    It is true that we can acknowledge all the things which may help and yet not do them when we are in that state. So I am happy to see that you had help and got yourself on a good path again AND started writing, even if you didn’t always post.

    You will always be such an inspiration for me because we share so many similarities and you have overcome so much and still work through it and get on track. I hope to meet you sometime!

    • Thanks, Susan, for the meaningful comment. It would be great fun to meet you also! Perhaps we will take our long fall trip to the NW (and through your area) then again we have no idea where we will spend those 5 weeks on the road.

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