September 7, 2011

Depression, part three

Yesterday, on my way home from work, I looked down at my wrist. I wasn't expecting to get paid until October but got a two-week paycheck a few days ago for my work in August, so I took part of my last paycheck from this summer's article writing job and splurged on a treat for myself, a reward for surviving the summer:

And yesterday, I wore it when I rode to and from the university.

I was cruising down a hill, going as fast as I could - it was over 100ยบ out, so the breeze blowing on my face felt incredible. Looking at the Garmin, I clocked in at 20.2 mph. That's as fast as a car can go, and my legs, with the help of the sloping hill and a little physics, were moving me at that speed.

I thought about one morning when I was an undergrad; I was up very early, unable to sleep, so I went for a walk around the campus. There was a speed detector that the police set up on the side of a road, and it managed to mark my pace:

I took a picture and sent it to friends, joking that it captured my speed because I was as big as a car; they laughed and likely thought nothing of it. I was laughing, but as a means of hiding my deep sadness and discontent with my life. Yes, I accomplished a lot of wonderful things as a super obese person. A lot of people loved me and were proud of me regardless of my physical condition, but the problem was that *I* didn't love me. I wasn't proud of what I was doing, because I knew that it wasn't all I was capable of. I needed to invest not only in my mind, but in my physical self, to nurture my self-confidence and self-esteem with healthy eating and an active lifestyle.

Coasting down the hill yesterday, there was an incredible feeling of lightness that washed over me. I was never as big as a car, but now, I'm as fast as one. With my fingers clutching the handlebars and my feet on the pedals, I control where I go, if I stop or detour, and how fast I get to wherever I'm headed. Hurtling towards home, it felt like cruising towards my goals - I'll get to where I want to be, and in the meantime, I'll try to enjoy the sun on my face and the breeze in my hair.

In the past few months, I've struggled intensely; the past three weeks or so have certainly been the worst. I'm not at my goal weight - in fact, I've lost and gained the same five pounds for nearly three months. I've been doing well with biking a lot but I've been struggling with my eating again since this weekend. My relationships are all in a period of transition right now. I'm stressed beyond measure and feeling very unsure about my new life - the one in California, yes, but also, the one in this new version of my body. It's all very overwhelming, and they're certainly major causes/side effects of my current situational depression.

But that's the thing - this depression is exactly that ... situational. It's normal to be upset because things aren't going well. It's normal to feel stressed and angry and anxious because you've sacrificed every constant and every comfort in your life in the past year in pursuit of a healthier future, or because you've been unemployed all summer and things don't seem to be looking up, or because the people you love more than anything decide to cut you off entirely for seemingly no reason at all.

Now it's up to me to figure out how to cope with the situations - how to treat them in the moment so that I can survive them and come out better on the other side. It may mean not weighing for a while, or it may mean recording my weight daily again. It may mean completely rebooting my relationships, or it may mean ending them completely. It could mean any of a number of things, I need to sit down quietly with myself and really figure out the next step. Ultimately, though, the decisions will be my own, and that's the strongest defense I have over my depression: when I'm feeling in control, that's how I know I'm back on the winning side of the fight.


timothy said...

i wish we could all see ourselves as others do, to me you are this incredibly brave kick-ass warrior woman who's afraid of nothing. you've accomplished so darn much and i think you rock! you'll figure it all out and you'll succeed of that i'm sure. just make a plan and do it. when you set your mind you can accomplish anything! xoxoxoxoxoxoxo

financecupcake said...

You communicate your thoughts and feelings so well. I can't wait to read about how you decide to handle things. You're doing a great job so far, and you see and realize things that most people wouldn't.

Amy said...

I've been a bad bloggy friend since I haven't been commenting!

I've read all of this three part series and I have to say, you're such an incredibly strong and amazing woman. The amount you have overcome and taken control of your life over your Young Adult/early 20 years is just amazing.

While yes, people go through crazier things and sadder stories, your parents divorce immensely impacted you and your volatile relationship with your mom created many residual issues. The fact that you have pushed through and continued to achieve goals in your personal life despite the hard times surrounding you is nothing short of amazing.

I hope you look in the mirror everyday and tell yourself you're awesome, because you should.

I myself am the queen of the gaining/losing same few pounds. I GET how frustrating that is. I GET how annoyed you can be with yourself, particularly when you've done it before. You know the formula, you know what's right and what's wrong.

BUT... that being said, while I am still heavier that I ever intended to be after restarting my journey over a year ago (common I could have met my goal seven times over), I haven't ever grown so much and been so happy in YEARS. It's not all about the weight loss. I think taking hold of your life in any way shape or form deserves credit. Looking at and analysing your life, thinking about yourself EVERY DAY and choosing the best path for yourself deserves just as much credit. Choose happiness every day. Choose life every day. Those things are just as valuable and just as noteworthy as choosing to eat an apple instead of a chocolate bar and getting up off your ass instead of sitting in front of the TV.

You've chosen life too Mary, YOUR life and don't ever forget how amazing that has been! No matter how jealous others become and try and make you feel otherwise.

downsizers said...

Our lives have so many parts to them. When some of these parts don't seem to be working as we want them to or like they used to we can compartmentalize so "one bad apple doesn't spoil the barrel". It seems to me you are doing the right thing and are truly thinking things through. It's only a matter of time; time that will help you work through this. You are still doing many good things and that will save you. What we focus on gets bigger so focus on what's right in your life. This is what you seem to be doing.

Hyla said...


Look how far you've come. If you needed some space to make yourself the person you want to be that is OK and acceptable and normal. People who can not support you through that are not true friends.

Take it one day at a time.


Meghan said...

Hang in there. Everyone else has said what I would have. I don't want to sound generic but it will get better.

Anonymous said...

Concentrate on the things you can control and the things that bring you joy. Sometimes you have to select your focus, regain control and then when stable dig in on the trickier, more intransigent issues.

Jen said...

Cliche, but I believe in it - What doesn't kill you makes you stronger. :) You're just lovely. Keep doing what feels right within you. Keep looking to the positive side of life. You're creating a beautiful life. :)

SkippyMom said...

I came over from our pal Josie's blog [Yum Yucky] and I have read all the way back to April.

You are AMAZING. I shared with my husband and he agrees. You should be very proud of yourself for EVERYTHING you have done this past year and not just losing the weight.

And neither of us believes you weigh 192 - you have to weigh LESS than that - you look so fit! And your workouts are so great! Good for you. And I have to add, yeah - your legs are hot - gorgeous. [Hey trying to fit in a lot of comments I thought of while reading months of posts. heehee]

Anyway - I just wanted to pop in, let you know how wonderful your blog is [inspiring] and that I will be back to visit often.

Take care and enjoy California - I just bet it is going to be GREAT!

marisol said...

As selfish as it sounds, you need to do what's best for you. Here's something I've read before that I think will help you.

People come into your life for a reason, a season or a lifetime. When you figure out which one it is, you will know what to do for each person.

When someone is in your life for a REASON, it is usually to meet a need you have expressed. They have come to assist you through a difficulty, to provide you with guidance and support, to aid you physically, emotionally, or spiritually. They may seem like a godsend, and they are! They are there for the reason you need them to be. Then, without any wrongdoing on your part, or at an inconvenient time, this person will say or do something to bring the relationship to an end. Sometimes they die. Sometimes they walk away. Sometimes they act up and force you to take a stand. What we must realize is that our need has been met, our desire fulfilled, their work is done. The prayer you sent up has been answered. And now it is time to move on.

Then people come into your life for a SEASON, because your turn has come to share, grow, or learn. They bring you an experience of peace, or make you laugh. They may teach you something you have never done. They usually give you an unbelievable amount of joy. Believe it! It is real! But, only for a season.

LIFETIME relationships teach you lifetime lessons: things you must build upon in order to have a solid emotional foundation. Your job is to accept the lesson, love the person, and put what you have learned to use in all other relationships and areas of your life.