depression

Standing At A Crossroads – My Journey So Far

My life has been marked by ups and downs. Years of (relative) wealth, health and happiness, compared with years of no money, poor health, and unending misery. I have had great years, good years, bad years and terrible years. I like to think I can say that without flinching, being honest and proud, but I can’t. My life is what it is. I can’t change that, even if I could, I wouldn’t. But how I feel about how my life has developed over the years, well, that’s another discussion entirely.

My life hasn’t been easy. And even as I typed that sentence I could feel myself becoming defensive, as imagined comments ran through my mind. I always find myself feeling defensive if I say I’ve been through struggles or my life has been hard because for years I was told ‘there are people out there who have it so much worse than you do’.

Which to my way of thinking just falls under the ‘what do you have to be depressed about?’ line of seriously unhelpful commentary. That’s not to say there aren’t people out there who have it worse than me, there is and I am very much aware of how terrible the world can be. For example, when I was at school, I had 180 kids in my year. As of today, of those 180, at least 15% have passed away. And I’m only 37. However, to me, that’s not the point. I’m not talking about everyone’s journey with depression, nor could I even if I thought about attempting it.

You can’t compare people or their level of suffering. This isn’t a ‘who’s pain is worse’ bingo, life doesn’t work like that. People have different ways of coping (or not) and different experiences that makes up their lives and their journey. I can only speak on what I’ve gone through and my experiences. That’s how I can be authentic about who I am and the journey that I am still travelling through.

I was first officially diagnosed with depression when in 2006, when I was 24. I was diagnosed with chronic depression about eight years ago. I live with depression and anxiety, I have had issues with self harming in the past and for as long as I can remember I’ve had suicidal ideation or suicidal thoughts. I can remember being a teenager and thinking that the world would be so much better off if I wasn’t in it. Even now, I still get the occasional fleeting thought. It never lasts long and to be honest, I’ve stopped taking them to heart because to me, finding out the underlying issue is more important. Okay, so I had a brief moment, but what caused that moment, what is making me feeling like this? Sometimes that’s an easy answer to find, sometimes its more difficult. I am currently on a low dose of medication that works for me, for now. I was on sertraline or zoloft, for almost four years and it worked great for me, until it didn’t. The trials and struggles of coming of medication and trying a new one is not something that I would wish on my enemy its awful. But for right now I’m stable but my life is at a crossroads.

For the past eighteen months I’ve been unemployed, the first six months of that was working on my mental health and getting my meds changed and stabilised. And for the past year, it has been my physical health that has been the reason I haven’t been able to work. And that is a new thing for me, I’ve never had issues with my physical health, I’ve always been relatively healthy. But I’m waiting for a gallbladder operation, and its double the usual waiting times where I live for an op, and so I feel like my life has been on hold. I’m not living, I’m just existing. And that is what I need to change. How I get there? Well, that’s the question isn’t it. I don’t know what that’s going to be, or how its going to take shape. Today is day one for me trying to figure that out.

Weight Loss

Introductions

So, I figured I would use today’s post to introduce myself properly.  Reading over the last post I realised that although I gave some information about me, I didn’t introduce myself. One, because it honestly didn’t occur to me, being totally sleep deprived and Two, blogging from my tablet is a nightmare, and I won’t be doing it again. Wow, the mobile keyboard is annoying for trying to type out posts.  I’ll stick to my laptop for blogging.   I need my qwerty keyboard.

So, introductions.  My name is Alison, I live in Scotland and I’m 37. And for as long as I can remember, I’ve thought I was fat. I remember deciding I wanted to lose weight when I was about ten. Which isn’t healthy, but my best friend was tiny and skinny, and I constantly compared myself to her. Looking back, especially at my teenage years makes me want to pull my hair out. Yes, I was curvy and maybe a stone (14lbs/6.5kg) overweight. I looked amazing and I thought I was fat because I was surrounded by people who, to me, were slimmer and prettier than me. That’s an issue I’ve dealt with my entire life and to be perfectly honest its still something I struggle with today.

But, weirdly enough, not when it comes to going to Slimming World. I don’t compare myself to everyone else in class because everyone’s journey is unique. Some only have a stone to lose, some have a lot more. I’m more on the ‘a lot more’ end of the scale but that’s okay. Rome wasn’t built in a day. I want to be at target, whatever that might be. At the moment, I have no main target, I’m just taking it seven pounds at a time.

I joined weight watchers for the first time when I was fourteen, against the wishes of my mum, but with my GP’s permission. I was too young, and it was a bad idea but trying telling any teenager who is convinced that they’re right what they’re doing is a mistake. So, after a few weeks I gave up. And over the next few years I put on a lot of weight. And I’ve spent the last twenty years trying to take it off again, with varying degrees of success.

As I said in my first post, my health issues have been my biggest struggle when it came to losing weight. Particularly my mental health because when my depression is bad, I am a comfort eater and all I want is junk. Doughnuts, crisps, chocolate, you name it, I’ll eat it. But since I’ve been on my latest anti depressants, that hasn’t been an issue. Also, with being dairy free, the amount of cakes I’m willing to eat has dropped. 90% of the dairy free cakes I’ve found have been less than tasty.

Slimming World is going great guns, I got weighed this morning and I’ve lost another 2 pounds. So I got my shiny sticker for my book, and my first half stone certificate. I am so happy with losing half a stone in two weeks. Its got me off to a great start and I feel confident about going on. I made the decision to pay for a 12 week block, which means, if I’ve paid for it, I’m going. I have no intention of giving up, this is the best I’ve felt in a long while. The next thing to do is take measurements and photos, so I can track my progress.

I set a target for losing 3 pounds this week, which feels like something I can achieve. So my aims for the week ahead are:

  • eat more fruit and veg (aka speed food)
  • drink more fluid, aim for 6 glasses a day
  • walk at least 30 mins three times this week.

All little goals, all achievable. All going to be done.