Tag Archives: happiness

an attitude of gratitude

I have so much to be grateful for today, not least of which are these guys:

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I’m actually in Toronto right now so I have a lot to be grateful for.  My family are here.  My sister has made a beautiful home away from home for us, literally considering my family’s comfort and wellbeing in building her own family’s house.  We’re grateful to be made to feel so at loved & at home here every time we visit.

I’m also here to visit and cheer up my mother, who has been trapped inside with hew own injury, a broken lower leg, since February.  I’m grateful to have my mother still with us, and grateful to have a strong bond with her.  My sister and I are both close with our mom, another relationship we’re lucky to have.

I’m also grateful for the family I have here to visit: my sister and I have a good relationship as adults, and I adore her daughters, my nieces, who are like little sisters to Ben (grateful for that, too).  They’re beautiful, brilliant, strong, free creatures, each of whom displays emotions and intelligence in equally high amounts.  My brother-in-law is a wonderful guy who is just fun to hang out with, as well as a great husband and father.  My sister has a beautiful family, inside and out, and I’m so grateful to be only two hours away.

I’m listing out all this gratitude right now because it’s just hard to feel grateful for all these blessings when my foot looks like it lost a bar fight to someone a lot meaner:

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From last night: my foot looks like a bloated drunk who got severely beaten up

I’m really trying for gratitude here, in the form of, “I’m grateful I’ve never had an injury worse than this”, but it hurts today after all the activity and exertion yesterday and I can’t go down stairs properly and anything that isn’t being trapped in bed with my foot up causes the fluids to rush back in a very painful way.

Still, the practice of gratitude does make me feel slightly better.  Over the past year, I started using the Best SELF Journal: a daily entry in which I start and finish my day by listing 3 things I’m grateful for.  Sounds like something out of an archived Well and Good article (“The Buzzy Reason These wellness Gurus Start Their Day with Gratitude – And How You Can Too”).  It is, however, a legitimately proven tactic to improve mental wellbeing, so I have added it to my mental toolkit to deal with my depression.

Gratitude may not make up for missing out on physical activity, which is on the list of the Big Things That REALLY Help With Depression.  Walking or running outside are big needle movers for mental wellbeing.  It’s therefore extremely tempting not to be grateful for anything when I’m on Day 5 of hobbling about and don’t know how long this is going to take because I can run again without fear of messing my foot back up.  The challenge is pushing past that self-pity and finding ways to be grateful that are not depending on my physical status.

 

simulated caffeine withdrawal

Last Friday, I hit a wall.  I ran out of energy.  I thought it was a depressive episode at first, triggered by hormones, a unique facet of depression that only biological females have to contend with.  Then it stretched out for a week of exhaustion, of headaches and dizziness, of a slightly elevated pulse, of a need to constantly nap or rest.  Now I’m not sure what it is, if it’s depression that has extended itself into physical symptoms or a physical condition that’s causing me to be exhausted and subsequently depressed.  Given that cardio – either running or cycling or HIIT – is a key part of my self-care and depression maintenance, it may just be that my inability to muster the energy for exercise is making the mental condition worse, feeding into the cycle.
Whatever it is, I would like it to stop so I can have my life back.  It feels like I’m in caffeine withdrawal, like someone has swapped my two cups of high octane organic coffee with decaf.  It feels like the norepinephrine and dopamine that my antidepressants are supposed to keep in my brain are missing again.  It feels like any and all stimulants, whether from the antidepressants or from caffeine, are simply missing, leaving me in a state of withdrawal and misery and exhaustion.  It feels like my batteries are drained.  Maybe I’m sick, maybe I’m depressed – I have too many x– factors to be able to tell.
I thought it was enough that I already spent hours every week trying to hack my brain and correct the chemical imbalance I was born with.  I have a problem with my brain’s wiring, an inherited depressive condition that causes a complete lack of motivation.  Superficial research indicates that this is a problem with the receptors in my brain: I do not get any sort of positive reward for tasks accomplished or for actions that should give me joy.  Hence, a sort of Eeyore-ish response of “why bother?” to every possible action.  Why accomplish anything?  Why even get out of bed if there are no positive emotions to be had for it?
This is not the best way to live my life right now.  I’d like to have my normal existence back now please.  Perhaps there is a physical reason I feel this way.  I hope it’s something I can figure out, fix, and get back to my normal existence

March 10th, 2014: spring!

20140311-205229.jpgIt’s another beautiful day today, so here’s the view from my bedroom window, at left, looking across to other homes on the next block over.

It feels like spring today: the air is soft. Walking home last night, I could just pick up on the smell of the park, with all the grass exposed again after a month under snow. It smells like spring is coming. I missed this moment, in L.A., where there were no seasons. I missed the moment just when a northern city starts to see spring appear.

It is so nice out there that I actually walked to Staples and back to pick up construction paper for the Scout opening craft tomorrow. It’s just nice to be outside again, in soft, cool air, instead of the OMG face melting cold that we’ve had this winter. It’s nice to walk for pleasure again, and be able to smell the grass and leaves that have been under the snow for months.

Finally, I finished CrossFit Foundations this morning. I’m now clear to actually start taking classes. This mornings mini-WOD was really tough, and I still hurt from it (that, and learning “the clean” weightlifting technique), but I am probably going to go back and keep training. This is the kind of muscle building training I was looking for, that I knew I needed in order to shift my fat/muscle ratios.

And since I’m blogging again, I may as well start writing up more of my diet and exercise in my blog posts:

Sleep: 5h, which is pretty terrible. Need to get to sleep earlier tonight.

Exercise: WOD was AMRAPs, with a partner. We took turns doing a 130m sprint, followed by 12 wall balls (squat and medicine ball throw). I did four rounds, and I know I maxed out on effort, so go me.

Meals:

Breakfast: eggs with cabbage/broccoli/carrot shred mix; paleo banana bread with grass-fed butter
Post-Workout: plantain grain free tortilla with half a chicken breast
Lunch: chicken salad (paleo mayo, curry powder, apple, celery, collards, the rest of the chicken breast) and garbage soup (beef broth, turnips, yam, carrot), with three quarters of an apple. Ended up eating the salad at lunch and the soup and apple with a few almonds after getting back from meetings at 3.

(Also, I brought two servings of soup to work which I am reheating in a mini-crock-pot at my desk because I am THAT BROOKLYN)

Dinner: Cowboy chili (made with stew beef and butternut squash) with spinach and avocado, a few lamb meatballs, and a plantain tortilla with avocado.

Evening snack: another apple and some raw almonds. I am not supposed to be eating evening snacks, since it’s teaching my body to rely on more glucose after dinner when I’m supposed to be winding down, but I was desperate for energy so I could get back up and work my “second shift” (finish work for the day & prep for tomorrow’s Scout meeting) I was exhausted when I got home, and had to take a half hour nap before I was able to get up and function again, and then I just wanted that apple because I desperately wanted the fruit sugar to jumpstart my body again when I woke up.

And now, it’s time to go work that “second shift”: finish the work I didn’t get to complete because I had to leave early for a parent teacher conference. Prepare for Scouts tomorrow, by preparing the opening craft/activity and revisiting marching band commands for parade practice. Tidy the kitchen and set up meals for tomorrow (Paul is back at work, since he had to take the afternoon off to keep an eye on Ben, who had a half day due to parent teacher conferences. Therefore, I want to do something nice to help him, which will consist of kitchen cleanup)

But first, I’m going to drink a cup of tea and chill out for a few minutes. It’s spring. I’m going to open a window and enjoy that for a few more minutes.