Monday, 30 December 2013

Looking Back

Tomorrow's New Year's Eve. I'll be spending it at home, most likely asleep by midnight, just like every other year.

But today, I'm reflecting, trying to figure out where the year's gone. It seems to've flown by while I've stayed stuck in the same place. There have been few big changes, but there were some. Let's start at the beginning.

On the 20th of January, we unexpectedly said goodbye to our beautiful 15 year old girl, Silky. It destroyed me. Part of me died when I saw the moment her life left her eyes. It breaks my heart everyday when I look at her collar, still on display on the back porch.

I stopped leaving the house in January, with the exception of appointments. For several months prior I'd only go to the supermarket, with decreasing regularity, but then I just stopped. Mum seems to link it to when a lady approached me in the meat section and started gushing in a shrill voice 'Oh my gawd! You're like a model! You're so tall, you're so thin, I wish I looked like you. Honey, come look at this girl...', as that was one of the last times I went out. I link it more to Silky's passing and the devastating impact it had on me. Since then, I think I've gone out three times; twice to the cheese factory, and once to the You Yangs for a picnic.

I turned 20 years old on the 30th of April. A week later I was diagnosed with Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease, after being ill for quite some time. I was admitted to hospital, suffering from an exacerbation and an infection called Bronchiolitis. My lungs functioned at about 30%, and I was told I had to quit smoking. I'm getting there. Slowly. 

In July, I started sewing again, after three years on hiatus. So far, I've made a coat, a dress, two fitted skirts, two loose skirts and two pairs of track pants. After becoming more comfortable with my skills again, I started working on a historical project in November. 

As for my weight, it's been another relatively uneventful year on the scales. I've been between roughly 42-47kg (BMI 12.3-13.7) throughout the year. I lost a little at the start of the year, then started maintaining again in July, which I held for about four or five months until it started dropping again a few weeks ago. I don't know exactly how much I weigh right now, and I'm okay with that, though I do have a tentative weigh-in date in the back of my mind coming up in the new year.

As much as 2013 hasn't been a great year, there are some positives. I've met so many wonderful people on here over the past year, and friendships have grown stronger and closer. I know I say it a lot, but I honestly couldn't have made it through without you guys. This community has been my rock, my support network, my social life, my safety net to catch me when I fall, and it means more to me than words can express. 

So, here's to 2014. I've got my new notebooks; two for food logs, two to keep track of my smoking, covering six months each. I'm not one for setting resolutions, but I do have a few goals for next year. I want to work towards leaving the house more. I want to keep sewing, further my skill and build my knowledge, and maybe even get back into corsetry. I want to reconnect with some old friends. I want to try to move out of home. I don't necessarily have clear plans for these things, but they're something to keep in the back on my mind.

I have no idea where I'll be in a year's time, but there's only one way to find out. 


Thursday, 26 December 2013

Bah, Humbug!

Thank God it's over. I don't have many words about the day, so I'll just share some pictures instead.

I crashed in a heap yesterday after all was done, and am now back to just trying to get through each day, one moment at a time.

I saw the dietician on Christmas Eve. I have three weeks without appointments coming up in the New Year, which could be interesting. I see her next week, on New Year's Eve, but not again until the 21st of January. Last time she was away this long, my GP had to weigh me weekly, but I don't know if that's happening this time.

My weight dropped again this week, despite holiday indulgences over the weekend. 'Just a little bit' she said. I don't know exactly how much. I don't want to know, not for a few more weeks at least. I know I won't be losing quickly, and I don't want to trigger myself. It's never enough.

Exercise has definitely been helping over the past couple of weeks, in one way or another. It's cathartic in a similar way to self-harm, and it gets me out of my chair for a while. I've been keeping up with 60-90 minutes of step aerobics each morning, except yesterday, broken up into half-hour lots. The dietician wants me to keep it capped at an hour, and try for a minimum of 800 calories a day, but at the moment I don't know if I can.

Anyway, on to the Christmas pictures. I know it's a difficult time for a lot of us, but I hope you all had the best day you could. 

My shiny new full-length mirror. I've always wanted one, so I bought myself a little Christmas present.
Triple-layer chocolate cake, filled with buttercream and frosted with ganache. It was my second attempt at piping (ever). I gave a slice to my dietician, then realised I should've just made a cake for the whole clinic. Not only my GP and dietician, but the other GPs, nurses, and the girls at the desk have all been so good to me over the years.
Roast chicken with from-scratch stuffing, seasoned with fresh thyme and garlic. Duck fat potatoes.


Friday, 20 December 2013

Pandora's Box

I've started exercising again. Needless to say, it's not with my lung health in mind. 

In truth, today was day six. I started on Sunday. I hadn't exercised for one year, three months and three days, nearly to the minute. 

I've been doing step aerobics for an hour a day, sometimes a little more. My breathing can't hold up for much longer, not yet anyway, so I haven't been going crazy with it. 

It doesn't matter how tired I am, how much I don't want to move, or how much I ache. It's one of the few things I can actually motivate myself to get out of my chair for. I just do it. Anxiety gets me started straight after breakfast. Exhaustion overpowers me the moment I sink back into my chair. It's just a case of mind over matter. I pop in my headphones, and don't stop until the timer does.

I never listen to music anymore. It's too emotional. I can't do it without crying. I listen to the 80's radio station in the car and the kitchen, though it's not the same as actually listening to music. But I do when I exercise. Pounding the step in time with the music, sweating the feelings out. My playlist has been the same for years, a mix featuring My Chemical Romance, Deadmau5, Marilyn Manson, The Doors, The Sisters of Mercy, David Bowie and Bauhaus. They all hit home the same way they did years ago, strike the same places in my heart.

I haven't been sleeping well lately. The nightmares are back with full force. I spend the nights tossing and turning on the couch, waking up every hour and fighting to get back to sleep. Summer is always bad for PTSD but I've never known why. It doesn't correlate with anything. It just is.

I had 400ml of Shiraz on Tuesday night, totaling 1,200 calories for the day. Wednesday was 550, yesterday was 650. I'm trading in sandwiches for fruit, sugar-free ice cream for hot chocolate, in an effort to keep my carb intake at a safe level while conserving calories (my blood sugars still fall at the drop of a hat). Yesterday I made something I haven't had since last summer, which I haven't a proper name for, but it's equal weights of nonfat vanilla yoghurt and frozen strawberries, blended together to make a low-calorie frozen snack. Try it, it's brilliant. 

Thank you to everyone who's been reading and sending kind words lately. You lovely ladies are the bright spot in these dark days. 


(Yesterday, it was 41°C [106°F], so I spent the day inside, slugging down water. Since that meant smoking less, I distracted myself by bleaching and dying my hair. I was a smidgen short on bleach, so I have kind of a two-tone thing going on, but let's call them 'highlights' and say I did it on purpose.)

Tuesday, 17 December 2013

Cracks Appear

There's only so much a person can take before they start to crack.

All the little things keep building up. I don't know quite how to explain it. The depression/anxiety/PTSD monster is growing daily, and I'm running out of ways to cope. So I cut back a little. 

Last Tuesday, I was a wreck by the time I left the GP, and had a few Black Russians, reaching 1,270 cal. 
On Wednesday I met 1,180, hoping the 100-calorie reduction would sate the urges, at least for a little while.
By Thursday, everything came tumbling down, and my intake's been between 500-800 since.

I was dreading seeing the dietician. I hate having to face her and say I'm struggling. I feel like I shouldn't see her at all unless I actively want to move forward, otherwise it seems like a waste. But I can't bear the thought of not having her appointments to break up the week, to remind me I'm living in the real world. Thankfully, she's been patient and kind enough to put up with me for nearly two years now. 

She asked what's changed to make me lower my intake. Friday night, mum asked the same. I couldn't give a clear answer. There is no clear answer. There was no one definitive trigger, no distinct turning point. I told them both the same things.
"It's just... everything."
"All the little things keep building and building."
"Everything's too much."

It's been lurking for a while, but I can't fight it anymore. I'm not coping. I want to lie down and wave a white flag. I want to be numb. I want to disappear. It feels silly that I can't pinpoint exactly why or what changed. It's just everything, and I can't take it.

The dietician wants me to try for an Ensure every second day, so I don't lose my ability to drink them, but I don't know if I can do it. I'll be having a glass or two of wine tonight, which seems to be a Tuesday routine, if that counts, but beyond that I really don't know. 

So it hasn't been a great week. I haven't been sewing. Haven't been cooking. My smoking's creeping back up and over the 40-a-day mark. Mum tried to get me out of the house for coffee on Sunday, but it was too much. Next year, I think I'll set a goal to try going out once a month. 

Apologies for the negativity lately, but at the moment I just can't see past the fog. 

Christmas is only a week away, and I don't want it to get here. I haven't finished gift shopping. I haven't even planned what I'm cooking. I don't feel festive or joyful. It doesn't feel right. I'm not ready. Somehow, it doesn't feel like the end of the year at all. 

I am sad.
I am tired. 
I am hurting. 
I am feeling too much. 


Wednesday, 11 December 2013

Someone to Talk To

I saw my GP yesterday, and finally had a chance to talk to her about counseling and the Mental Health Nurse. I had a list of questions to ask, simple things, like 'why do I have to see her?', 'what will I talk to her about?', 'how will she help?'. I ran through them in my head before the appointment, but once I sat down and she asked me how I was, I lost the words. 

I couldn't get out clear questions, more vague fragments, like 'I just don't know' and 'I need more information'. Still, she said some reassuring things. She wants me to be able to talk to the nurse like a friend, for her to get to know me and build up a trust. It can start slow, with just one appointment a month and working up to weekly. There won't be any probing questions about my past or deep-and-meaningfuls. It's just to have someone to sit with and talk to to get things off my chest, which I do admit could be helpful.

Then she told me the nurse was at the clinic now, literally in the next room, and asked if it'd be okay to meet her quickly. She'd finished seeing patients for the day, and my GP had asked her to stay back for a few minutes to meet me. I said please not right now, that I needed time to think and process things first. She tried to talk me into it, but I ended up in a panic, head between my knees, hyperventilating, crying that 'you said on the phone you wouldn't push it today'. She's giving me a couple of months, which is a huge relief, but I have to start counseling with the nurse by March 2014.

We talked about my medications. I've been on Zyban for just under two months now. I think it might be helping a little, with my smoking at least. The last few weeks I've been smoking 35-40 a day, down from 40-50. I just don't feel like I need quite as many. I'm not sure if it's helping with the depression, but at least it hasn't made it worse like other meds have. Most days I still can't get out of my chair, though I've had a few days in the last month without self-harm, which is a change. It's not that the urge isn't there, but there have been times when I've just been too... I don't know... too drained to commit acts of self-violence.

The only problem is the script costs $160 a month. My heart sank when she told me that. My pension covers the first two months as a quit-smoking aid, but it's not covered for longterm treatment of depression. She really wants me to stay on it. She thinks it's the right med for me and could potentially help a lot with both smoking and depression, as does the psychiatrist she consults with. We need to check with insurance to see if they'll reimburse some of it, though apparently they don't usually. She said to not give up if they initially say no, to take it to the top, that she'll write a letter saying whatever it needs to say. But if insurance won't reimburse it, I can't keep taking it. Mum's said that she'll pay the full price for it, that if it helps it's worth every cent, but I couldn't shoulder the guilt. I carry too much guilt about money as it is. I just couldn't do it.

The dietician was yesterday too, which made for an overwhelming and exhausting day. I filled her in on the last couple of weeks, mostly about the cheese-trip to Warrnambool, and the 200 and 350 cal days when I was home alone. She asked how I felt physically on the lower days, and I told her my blood sugars dropped to 3.5 after the first day. I felt a little tired and shaky and slightly nauseous on the second day, but nothing too dramatic. She asked if I was still thinking clearly with the low sugars, and I couldn't help but giggle as I said 'as clearly as I normally do!'.

It doesn't seem like two weeks since I last saw the dietician. Normally when she's away it feels like much longer, but not this time. Time's blending into one big mess of undefined days and lost hours, speeding by while I sit frozen. I don't even know what I'm doing with myself anymore. Everything just feels like it's slipping away.


(P.S, since a couple of you mentioned it in comments on my last post, I feel the need to say; I've never really had trouble eating in public, no more than I do at home anyway. It's strange now that I think about it, but it's never been a huge problem for me. Maybe because I've never had to eat in public much, I don't know. It's just never been that big a issue for me.)

Friday, 6 December 2013

Say 'Cheese'

Yesterday I took a rare step out into the world.

You might remember a few months back, I went on a day trip to a cheese factory down the coast, which was the first time I'd left the house in a long time. I'd gone there with mum several times before, but that was the first time I'd gotten out of the car. Last time, we bought 5.5kg of vintage cheddar. Yeah, well, we've run out! So yesterday we headed off to buy more. 

It's been on the cards for a while, but I've kept putting it off. I decided to bite the bullet and do it this week since I didn't have any appointments, which I thought might make it a smidgen less stressful. We'd actually planned to go on Wednesday, but didn't make it out of the house. I nearly backed out again yesterday, but in the end I decided to go, even if I didn't get out of the car. I'd still be better off than I would be stuck in my usual rut at home.

I did manage to get out of the car, which was nice. We weren't there for long, just long enough to buy the cheese and have some lunch. We bought 6kg (13lbs) of vintage cheddar. I actually remembered to take a photo this time before it was opened (posted below). For curious bunnies, that's a total of 24,180 calories.

We had lunch in the cafe. I ordered a plate of cheese and crackers to share with mum, and a big long black to wash it down. It was the easiest option to calculate, and the safest amongst a menu of fried food, giant sandwiches, baked goods and sugary drinks.

I felt like I was in zombie-mode (for lack of a better term) for the time we were there. Even now, it seems surreal and dream-like. Heading out to the car, I dropped a block of cheese, and that was when it all came crumbling down. I'd been holding it together so well, but it was just too much. The floodgates opened, the zombified feeling suddenly lifted, and I broke down. I couldn't stop crying, for hours even after we got home. My back and butt are literally bruised from sitting in the corner of the kitchen because I just couldn't get to my chair. 

As stressful as it was, it was still a nice change of pace to get out for the day. We weren't at the cheese factory for long, but it was about five hours in the car. When I think about it, I've only really gone out twice since early this year. Once to the cheese factory in September, once to the You Yangs in October. Each time has ended in tears, and it makes me doubt whether it's even a good idea to try going out. The concept of leaving the house on a regular basis seems so foreign now, it's petrifying.

In other news, it took me a few days to get back on track after the weekend. My blood sugars and calorie intake were back to normal on Monday, thanks to an early morning Ensure, and Wednesday was my first day back on track with my regular meals (approx. 700-900 food, 400-600 Ensure).

This Tuesday is the dietician first thing, followed by the GP in the afternoon. I hate having two appointments in one day and try to avoid it, but oh well. I need to write a list of questions for my GP, especially about the mental health nurse. I have so much to say, but I just go blank during appointments. 

Anyway, for now I'll leave you with a few photos from my little adventure. I'll try to remember to take more next time.

Water crackers with assorted cheddars: vintage, tomato & chive, and herb & spice.
They also make garlic & pepper, chili, and cracked pepper flavoured cheddars (though I haven't been game enough to try any of them).


Sunday, 1 December 2013

Home Alone

I've been home alone for the weekend. I know it sounds pathetic, but these days I struggle with being alone for more than a few hours. The house is quiet, and it amplifies every thought and emotion. Time drags on, painfully slow. Everything just feels empty and sad. I don't know what to do with myself.

Food is always difficult when I'm home alone. I lose all structure. Yesterday I ended up having an apple in the afternoon and made some veggie soup for dinner, though I'd had breakfast with mum before she left. The soup was a tin of tomatoes, a couple of roughly chopped carrots, frozen onion, vegetable stock powder and basil, all boiled up and puréed. 46 calories a cup. I would've added some celery if we had any, but I did the best I could with what I had on hand.

I spent most of yesterday curled up on the couch, marathoning The Addams Family. I couldn't really focus, but it was noise to have in the background. I tried to do some sewing, but didn't get very far. I'm working on a late 19th century dress (picture below). Historical costuming will always be a passion of mine. I have no idea when it'll be finished, but I wanted a challenge, something I could learn from.

It's Sunday afternoon now. Mum will be home in a few hours, and I'm making a stir-fry for dinner. I had a Weight Watcher's fruit-in-jelly cup earlier, which was a bit of a nostalgia trip (for the first year of my ED, all I ate was vegetable soup and these jelly cups). Yesterday totaled 200 calories, today will be closer to 300. I couldn't bring myself to have an Ensure. The real challenge will be trying to get back on track tomorrow.

In other news, Tuesday was the dietician. My weight stayed the same, to the 100g, for the third week in a row. I'm always amazed by it, but it happens more often than you'd think. She wanted me to move up another 50 calories, but it feels far too soon after only two weeks on 1,250-1,300.

She's away this week, so I've got a fortnight with no appointments and no reason to leave the house. Both she and mum have been suggesting I try going out again at some point soon, so I'm thinking about that. I haven't gone out since my little picnic at the You Yangs, and that was two months ago. I don't know. We'll see what happens.


Monday, 25 November 2013

Ups and Downs

It's Monday. I can't believe it's the last week of November already. I know I say it every month, but the year's just disappeared. 

The last few days have been draining. On Thursday I got a voicemail from the clinic. My GP found out that I rearranged the appointment to exclude the mental health nurse, and had moved the appointment again. I panicked and broke down, assuming she was going to corner me into seeing the nurse, that she wasn't going to give me a chance to talk to her first, etc.. When we tried to call she'd already finished for the day, which gave me ample time to think up all the worst possible scenarios.

The next morning she called back, saying she just had to move the appointment because she was overbooked. She's not going to ambush me with the mental health nurse, she understands where I'm coming from and that I need more information and time. I really wasn't expecting her to say that, but it was a huge relief after so much uncertainty and worry lately. 

Thursday was one of the hardest days I've had in a while, even before the GP stress, and I don't think there was even a trigger for it. I had my slice of toast for breakfast, but broke down halfway through my yoghurt. The best way to describe these breakdowns is that they're as incapacitating as a panic attack, but more depression than anxiety. I can't move, can't stop crying, can't even have a cigarette although they're right next to me. On Thursday it lasted from 8am-1pm, for no real reason. I'd only just managed to stop crying and calm down when we got the voicemail about the appointment, and I was a wreck again for another two hours. 

Amongst the stress, it hasn't been a great week for food. I've missed lunch more often than not, and I've only cooked dinner once. I made a new batch of stew last week (beef, tomato, carrot, potato, onion, flour, stock cube, herbs) that clocks in at 138 cal per cup/250g, so that's been dinner most nights.

Saturday was probably my best day mood-wise in weeks. I spent a few hours planning my next sewing project (which I'm quite excited about, but more on that another time), and did some baking for the first time in ages. I made two dozen banana bran muffins for mum, and had a small one warm for afternoon tea (132 cal). It's not something I could do everyday, but it was nice to get back in the kitchen, and I know mum always appreciates it. 

Anyway, I've rambled enough so I'll leave it there. I hope you all had a great weekend. 


Wednesday, 20 November 2013

Small Steps, and New Skirts

I saw the dietician yesterday, after my first week on 1,300 calories. Physically, I haven't really noticed a difference from the increase. I haven't changed my meal plan, Ensure still makes up the rest. Mentally, I'm struggling. I haven't consumed this much, this often for years. I hate seeing the numbers this high, but I know I don't have much choice. My intake was between 1,260-1,290 this week (400-600 Ensure), and miraculously enough, my weight didn't go up alongside my calories. 

I managed to talk with my dietician more than I have been lately. I told her that my only real motivation for raising my calorie intake is because my GP's making me panic. I explained how she was asking all these questions about past weight restoration, and said she was concerned about my weight dropping (which it isn't) and my BMI. She thinks my GP's just concerned about the losses I had in the first half of the year, and because I've kept it off. She asked if I'd be willing to gain back a few kilos, and I felt sick with dread. I know that a year ago I was maintaining a slightly higher weight and I was okay with it, but after having lost those 3-5kg, I can't bear the thought of gaining it back. 

She was just lovely and kind, and tried to make me feel less stressed about my GP when I was completely panicking. She thinks there should be less reason for concern because my intake's increasing again, which was a relief to hear. I also told her about the whole mental health nurse thing and how stressed it's been making me, and she said she doesn't think it needs to be rushed, so hopefully my GP won't mind my rearranging the appointment either (I haven't seen her to find out yet).

I also wanted to get her opinion on exercise, so I told her about my lung check-up, and she was shocked that he's still suggesting using a treadmill or exercise bike for an hour everyday. She said that when I do start exercising again, it'll be building up slowly, like five minutes a day or a few short walks each week. She still wants my intake a bit higher first, but she's going to talk to my GP about it again so we can figure out a balance between improving my lung capacity versus the risks of potential weight loss, injuries, overexercising etc., and start planning how to work towards it. 

I haven't been sewing much this past month, but I have managed to slowly put together a few (very simple) projects. They're nothing fancy, but they're practical. I made a couple of plain cotton circle skirts (pictured), for the approaching 40°c days when it'll be too hot to wear much else. I've also made two pairs of track pants, which are hideously plain and boring so there's no photo, but they fit perfectly and are so warm and comfy.

I think that's about it for now. Sorry I haven't had much to say lately, but if I did it'd only be complaining about my mood.

I hope you're all managing to get through the week in one piece. 


Wednesday, 13 November 2013

Breaking News: Exercise makes you feel better about yourself

I had my check-up with the thoracic physician this morning. For newer followers, back in May I was diagnosed with Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD), and was admitted to hospital suffering from an exacerbation and Bronchiolitis. Basically, I've permanently damaged my lungs from smoking.

I've been dreading this appointment. Don't get me wrong, he's a really nice guy, and he understands I have severe anxiety issues and tries to be accommodating. But I know I haven't been doing as well as I should be, and he's a little hardheaded when it comes to exercise.

He asked if I've been exercising, and I told him my dietician doesn't want me to. He kindly informed me that 'studies show' exercise helps with depression and self-esteem, as well as improving lung function, and recommended putting a treadmill or exercise bike in front of the TV for an hour every day. He basically said "you know, you'd feel a lot better about yourself if you exercised". I wanted to say "buddy, you have no idea", but I just repeated that my dietician doesn't want me to, adding that my intake isn't high enough and I'd lose weight, and that I have issues with overexercising. I think he got the point, but it's extremely confusing and guilt-inducing to have him telling me I should run for an hour a day, when my GP and dietician are concerned about my weight.

I told him I've been smoking 40-45 cigarettes a day, which is a new high for me, though he's still happy with my progress because I've barely been touching the green stuff. I also told him I've been on Zyban for about a month, though it's primarily for depression and hasn't reduced my urge to smoke yet. This recent depression, constant anxiety and subsequent inactivity are big parts of why I'm smoking so much. Whereas your normal smoker does things with their day and takes a break for a smoke, I'm the opposite. I sit outside in my armchair, chain-smoking for most of the day, only moving if I need to do something.

Honestly, it's hard to find motivation to quit smoking when I'm feeling so low. As blunt as it is, it's like; I don't really want to be alive right now, so why would I want to improve my health? That said, my lung capacity's about the same as it was three months ago, which is good, though my airways are still very noisy. All in all, I'm not doing too bad. 

And the dietician yesterday... ugh. I told her I was thinking of moving up to 1,250-1,300 calories. She said it would be fantastic if I felt I was ready, and I told her my GP's panicking me a little. It was a shitty day and I didn't feel able to say much more than that, so there's still a lot of questions left unasked. Plus I know she talks to my GP after my appointments and it made me apprehensive to say much. I don't know. I just couldn't say the things I needed to say. Maybe next week.

A huge thank you to everyone who's been reading and commenting lately. You guys mean the world to me, and I'd be totally lost without your support.

(I tried to make myself feel a little better today by putting effort into my outfit and doing my makeup. It didn't work, and I was straight back into my track pants within five minutes of getting home, but oh well. I'm definitely rekindling my love of stripey knee-high socks though.)


Friday, 8 November 2013

Reality Check, aisle 3

So, the appointment with my GP was nothing short of a nightmare.

She said that I "need to get some counseling on board". There's a Mental Health Nurse who she wants me to see. She said they come to my clinic, so I'd be meeting them in a 'safe environment'. She's arranged for this nurse to sit in on my next appointment, just for 10 minutes to introduce me. 

But I'll get back to that in a moment. It wouldn't have panicked me quite so much, if it hadn't led into this conversation. 
"How many times have you been admitted to hospital for weight restoration?"
I told her once, two and a half years ago. She asked if it was helpful, which hospital I was at, how the nurses treated me. She said she's concerned that my weight's been slowly dropping. I snapped back that it's been the same since July. By this point I was a panicking wreck, so when she started going on about my BMI, I had to ask if we could please not talk about it right now. 

So, back to the mental health nurse. I wouldn't be upset if my GP had offered it, discussed it with me, or asked me to think about it. But she didn't, she forced it. She arranged this appointment with the nurse even after I said I didn't want her to. The next day we called and canceled it, and booked one with just my GP.

I'm not saying that I won't see the nurse, but I won't see them under these circumstances. It will not help me in any way if it's forced. I will panic, and I will flee. It is the worst way to introduce a mental health professional. Initially, I said I wouldn't see them. After I calmed down a bit, I realized that I'm not really being given a choice. But I at least need to talk to my GP more about it, find out more information, have time to consider it and figure out how to do it in a way that's actually safe. 

One big flaw in her logic; she thinks introducing a mental health professional in a safe place, at a safe appointment, makes it safe. It doesn't. It makes my appointments with her no longer safe. She is making the one safe place I can go completely unsafe.

And why is my weight suddenly such a big issue? I've been maintaining since July, and I've had literally 10 appointments with my GP since then. I know it's a low weight, but why is there suddenly so much concern? Why can't I just be left as is?

I think I might have to move up from 1,250 to 1,300 calories next week. I fucking hate it, but there's too much 'concern' right now. It's the only thing I can do to try to ease this pressure. I can't lose everything I've worked so hard for. It's only an extra scoop of Ensure, but jesus, it's so hard to convince myself to. I'm also going to ask my dietician why the hell this is all suddenly happening, when I've been maintaining for months and it's been fine. I am fine.

Sorry this post has been so long and rambley, and probably sounds totally pathetic. I've been a wreck ever since the appointment, I can't stop crying about it, I'm panicking and nothing is okay. I'm going to talk to my GP more about the mental health nurse, get more information, and hopefully she'll let me slowly work towards it in a safe way. Between that and raising my calories, I just hope it gets them off my back again.


Tuesday, 5 November 2013

Another Week, Another Month

I've been trying to focus on just getting through each day, one day at a time, one moment at a time. Something must be working, because I've somehow made it through another week.

Dinner's becoming a problem again. I've been having soup most nights, in an attempt to keep stress levels down. There's a mechanical routine to my other meals that dinner lacks; the same breakfast every morning, two different lunches on alternating days, two different snacks on alternating days. Dinner's different, especially since I started cooking family dinners again, and sometimes it's just too much. 

Saw the dietician this morning. I went in teary-eyed and can barely remember what we talked about. It means a lot to me that she still sees me every week, even when I'm not making any progress. At the moment I just don't feel able to change my food routine, and I'm still maintaining my weight and drinking my Ensure, so I don't see what the problem is. 

I've been on my new antidepressants (Zyban) for nearly three weeks now, and I'm seeing my GP again later this week. Depression's taken over every part of my day. I don't feel able to do much at all, I'm constantly crying for no reason. The most I leave my armchair is when mum takes me out for a drive to distract me and calm me down, like a child.

I did start sewing some track pants over the weekend, after three weeks of doing nothing. It's not much, but it's something. 

Next week's my quarterly check-up with the thoracic physician (aka, the lung doctor man), and I'm dreading it. I've been chain smoking a lot, mostly due to depression and the inactivity it's caused. Over the last 3 months, I've gone from averaging 30 cigarettes a day up to 40-45, some days are as high as 50. I also have to explain why my dietician doesn't want me exercising, which could be interesting. 

I can't believe it's November already. Where did the year go?

P.S, good luck to those of you doing NaNoWriMo this year, as I know there's a few of you (I'm hoping to get back to it next year).


Wednesday, 30 October 2013

Pros and Cons pt.2

When my dietician asked me to list the pros and cons of gaining weight, neither of us were expecting me to actually think about it. But I spent days thinking about it. It got under my skin and kept me up at night. My thoughts were running but nothing made sense.

I tried to think of things that would objectively happen if I gained weight, but the only thing I could think of was "if I gained weight, my physical health would improve". I told the dietician that I know it should be a 'pro', but to me it's more of a 'con'. I don't particularly want my physical health to improve, which I know a lot of you can understand. I told her I was finding the whole thing overwhelming, and we left it for another time. 

It was another week of 1,200-1,250 calories (300-500 Ensure), and the scales showed a small gain for the first time in two months. She asked how I felt, and I wasn't too sure. It was upsetting, but it doesn't send me into a hysterical panic like it used to. I don't run out of the room in tears anymore. I know weight fluctuates up and down as a part of maintaining, and I've had losses to balance it out. I still worry that it'll keep going up and real weight gain will sneak up on me, but my dietician assures me it won't. 

She didn't push any goals this week, not to raise my intake, or to phase out Ensure, or to do any soul-searching.
"Just focus on getting through each day."

It's been another tough week. I try to do things every day, like sewing, or reading, or watching a movie or writing a blog post, but I never last long enough to achieve anything. I don't know what to do with myself. I don't even know how to explain how I feel. I just don't know. 

*I actually put on a real outfit, instead of going to my appointment in track pants and ugg boots. I even added a splash of color. My dietician was shocked.*


Wednesday, 23 October 2013

Pros and Cons

The dietician gave me some difficult homework this week: to write a list of pros and cons about gaining weight. 

She wants a better understanding of how I feel about my weight, but to be honest, I don't really understand it myself. It's all blurry and tangled. It's making me look deep inside myself, and it's messy.

I'm writing things down, though they aren't clear pros and cons. So far they're more like 'reasons why I don't want to gain weight' and 'things that would happen if I gain weight'. It's confronting and confusing to even think about. I want to give her a real answer, but I don't know if I can face it.

A shout out to Eve, who set me the same pros-and-cons challenge a few weeks ago. While I couldn't give her an answer, she gave me serious food for thought, as always. 

The dietician looked back through my notes, and I've been maintaining my weight since July/August. Not too sure how I feel about that. I barely spoke during the appointment. She said she wants to change focus to phasing out Ensure, instead of pushing to raise my calorie intake, but at the moment I just don't have the motivation.

I feel so stuck in this depression, unable to do much other than sit and chain-smoke. I don't know what to do. It's like I'm zombified. Apologies for the lack of posting lately, but there's so little to say.

At the moment I just want to hide away in my blanket cocoon. My ability to cope is dwindling. It's only 2pm, and I've already smoked 40 cigarettes today. 
I am simply not functioning. 

Cuddles with Misty this morning: a little bright spot on a rainy day. 


Thursday, 17 October 2013

1,000 Days

I picked up my new antidepressants today. My GP called this morning, asking me to come in. She'd spoken with a psychiatrist yesterday, and they recommended Zyban (Bupropion, Wellbutrin) as it's not only an antidepressant, but also an effective aid for quitting smoking, and lord knows I need to quit. 

I'm starting on 150mg, and halving my Mirtazapine to 30mg. She said I'll feel 'jittery' for the first few days on Zyban, but it'll pass. I just hope it helps make things more tolerable again. 

The dietician was lovely this week, as always. When we sat down, she started saying that I've done well in the time I've been seeing her, maintaining my weight and staying out of hospital, but at the same time, it's not a good thing.

She said she's looking into 'strategies' to help me 'move forward'. I'm not exactly sure what she means, but I guess we'll discuss it more next week. I really do appreciate that she's trying to help beyond her call of duty. I just don't know if I can accept that help. I initially sought her help to maintain my weight and stop being a frequent flyer in the emergency room, which I've achieved, but in effect it keeps me sick, and she doesn't want that. 

My weight stayed the same after another week on 1,200 calories. She asked again about moving up to 1,300, and I told her I'm really struggling with the idea since I'm already maintaining. Her big worry is if I fall ill again, my body mightn't be strong enough to cope, and any extra energy would help. During my last COPD exacerbation, I unintentionally lost a couple of kilos. She wants me to at least gain that back so I have a 'safety net' for future illness, but I just can't bring myself to gain, whether it's 2kg or 20kg.

I forgot to mention in my last post, but on Sunday I reached 1,000 days in a row on MyFitnessPal. It's a meaningless and sad achievement, I know, but I still enjoy watching the days add up.

Sorry this post has been all over the place. It really should've been multiple posts, but it's taking a lot of effort and time to gather my thoughts lately. Each day seems harder than the last, and I just hope these new meds will help turn that around.

Thank you all for your wonderful comments on my skirt. You guys flatter me, seriously. I wore it to see the dietician, and she was so pleased I'd finally finished it after so long.

Caesar salad (249 cal) I made for dinner last night. It was my first 'knife & fork' meal in many months (I've been finding using two pieces of cutlery strangely complicated recently). 


Monday, 14 October 2013

Circle Skirt

finally finished skirt #2, my fourth sewing project, yesterday. 

For this one, I made the same waistband as my last skirt, then drafted a circle skirt instead of the tapered panel skirt. I'm pretty happy with how it turned out. I'd forgotten how much I adore the simple circle skirt.

It took me about 5-6 weeks to make, opposed to one week for my last skirt. Depression isn't conducive to productivity, obviously. The zipper alone took me several weeks, constantly re-doing it, and it's still not perfect.

You'll have to excuse my bland fabrics. I'm very much a 'black' kinda girl (as if you all didn't know that already), and I'm rebuilding my wardrobe starting with the basics. Not to mention, it's hard to browse for fun fabrics when you can't go to the store yourself.

It's still a novelty to have clothes that actually fit. I kinda regret giving up sewing for nearly three years, but it was worth waiting until I stopped losing/gaining/losing massive amounts. I'm now a stable size 4AU, and not planning on gaining anytime in the foreseeable future. I don't think I've mentioned before, but at my natural weight, I wore a size 12AU (sometimes even a 14). 

Not much else to say for now, I just wanted to share these pictures with you all. Sorry for the crappy photo quality; I really need a new dress form. 
I'm still waiting on my GP to write me a new prescription. She called the next day, saying she wanted to consult someone before prescribing me anything new, and I'd hear back early next week. Which isn't a bad thing, and in the big picture it makes no difference, but it's made this weekend seem endless. 

Wishing all you lovely ladies a pleasant week ahead. 


Wednesday, 9 October 2013

Something had to Change

There's so much to process, so much to say. This post might be a little messy, so bear with me. I had my monthly appointment with the GP this morning, and the dietician yesterday. Let's start with the GP.

It's no secret that I've been struggling lately. Yes, I'm managing to hit my calorie goals, but that's about it. It's become a real battle to make it through each day, and something had to change. In sheer desperation, not knowing what else to do, I asked my GP if she could change my anti-depressants. 

I've been on mirtazapine for nearly three years now. A few months ago, for whatever reason, it stopped helping. She raised my dose from 45mg to 60mg, but it didn't help. She said she has to think on what to prescribe me, but she'll write me a new script tomorrow. As frightening as it is to change medications, something has to change. I still don't understand why it stopped working after so long; there was no trigger, but I guess it doesn't really matter why. I'll have a new script to pick up tomorrow, and while I know it won't fix anything, hopefully it'll make things more tolerable again. 

She checked the bruise on my arch, which is still spreading two weeks after the injury. She actually asked if I'd done it again, which I haven't. We discussed my self-harm habits, and gave me advice on which methods are less dangerous. She checked my injuries from head to toe, and said she'll be checking each time I see her from now on. I have three scripts; antibiotics for the infected wounds, a gel to help with healing, and an ointment to prevent further infections. 

As for the dietician, well... It was one of those days. The kind where I only brushed my hair two minutes before walking out the door in my slippers. 
I sat down and she asked "How've things been this week?"
I was stumped "I... I don't know."
"Not a good day? Was it hard to get here?"

We talked about the picnic in the You Yangs, about the few dinners I've cooked. My intake last week was between 1,211 and 1,230; accuracy and consistency seems to be kinda my thing lately. My weight stayed the same, though she again expressed concern over the 'trend'. For now, I'm relieved that I'm not gaining, she's relieved that I'm not losing.

At the moment, I'm brain-drained. I just want to hide in my blanket cocoon. Tomorrow, I'll have new meds, and hopefully things will start becoming more tolerable again.