Saturday, May 14, 2011

Identifying the problem

We recently discussed eating disorders in mental health, and obesity is classified as an eating disorder. I am not surprised by this... I can't even say I didn't really know this... but I have never really thought of myself as having an eating disorder... I guess I had fallen prey to the same stereotypes that almost everyone else has. The reason this is relevant, is because my textbook talked about some of the causes (in medical jargon that's etiology) of obesity... not the obvious ones, but the psychological components. When I was reading the material, it felt familiar... and it felt right... and it fit. It got my mind working and I was doing some reflection about why I am having so much trouble facing this problem and tackling it and resolving it.

The things that I have realized, and some theories I have come up with are:

Lack of strength....
I don't feel like I am strong enough to tackle a lifestyle change of this magnitude. I don't know why I feel this way, but I do. When I think of all the work I have to do, and all the weight I have to lose, it makes me just want to curl up in a ball and hibernate... and in a way, that's kind of what I have done, and continue to do. So this is part of the mental work I have to do. I keep telling myself that I need support, I need someone to do this with me... like an exercise buddy or something. My family has as yet not been able or willing to step into this support role for me. This doesn't make them unsupportive, and I realize this NOW. They don't know what do to help me, they have their own things going on, and ultimately this is MY journey, my fight, my business. Since strength is the issue, the only way to address this perception of weakness and slay this dragon for good is to do this BY MYSELF!! and FOR MYSELF!!! I can't expect them to help me. And even if they did help me... it wouldn't really help me (if that makes sense). So I think my Zune and my inner monologue will have to be my support network for now.

I have always had a very timid and tentative personality. I have always been the peacemaker/peacekeeper. I have always felt like I have to walk on eggshells aroun people. I have never been particularly assertive. I am the product of control freaks and dominant personalities. I have anxiety (diagnosed by a doctor), so I have some fears that can be really debilitating. And when I have people enabling me to avoid my fears, I don't face them or conquer them... I don't grow. So I have historically put myself in some pretty extreme situations to face and conquer my fears. One such situation was leaving Austin and moving to Seattle. Returning to school is another, for even though I am not afraid of nursing, I am TERRIFIED of failing, or screwing up big in some way. So to be working my way through school has been a pretty intense situation all by itself. I have to stand up and give presentations for strangers, I have to perform skills tests, and interact with strangers and people who are generally not in a happy place (patients), which has played HELL with my anxiety! Even on meds, I still flush deep red, and I sweat like a pig if I'm extremely anxious. So here I find myself in 2 really intense situations simultaneously. Am I STRONG enough to deal with 2 huge projects at once? Both of which require a ton of focus and discipline?? So just these 2 things are a vicious cycle.

I am on meds for depression as well as anxiety. They have helped me immensely, I am a different person now than I was before I started taking them. But I'm not fixed... LOL When I lived in Austin, I was thin. I started gaining all of my weight after I got to Seattle. I attribut this to a few things. One is the fact that I live in a suburb, and so you have to drive everywhere, unless you want to be on the bus all damn day. In Austin, I was in the heart of the city, I could walk anywhere I wanted to go, or take a short bus ride and I was there! So my activity level has decreased quite a bit just based on that alone.

Another thing is that when we moved here, we moved here alone. We had no friends or family living here. We left all of that behind in Austin and started fresh. The culture here is different. People are more reserved and timid, so I had a culture shock period. I had a very hard time making friends, in fact I still do. I mean, I get along with people. I get along with pretty much everyone... but I don't have that many FRIENDS. So not that many girls nights, or brunch dates, or whatever it is that people who have social lives do. I have my husband, but he's a homebody... he'd rather stay in than do just about anything. LOL I drag him out some, but mostly try to let him be. I also have a kid. So without that family/friends support network, we didn't really get out much because of lack of child care. No sitter = no outings. So basically this has been many many years of me pretty much being at home, not alone exactly, but still quite lonely.

Then let's add in the weather. The summers here are gorgeous (most of the time), but the rest of the year is pretty dismal. Lots of rain, and even more grey overcast days. In the winter, we don't get that much daylight. It's dark here in the dead of winter by 4:oo -4:30 pm. I really think I have seasonal affective. And I think I must have been a bear in a past life, because I don't like being out in yucky weather, especially when I'm forced to be.

So this is pretty much a recipe for disaster. My coping skills have been...well.... maladaptive... to use a mental health jargon/term. I turned into myself. I curled into a ball... and I guess medicated myself with food. Although I never really realized it. And while medicating myself with food, I became extremely sedentary and inactive. Yes, I know there are a million different ways I could have dealt with the situations I listed above. I can see that NOW!! :p LOL But that's the nature of depression... it's really hard to see past how shitty your life feels. It's really easy to feel like you have no control. Like life is living you.

I guess it is time to be my own nurse... Time to design my own care plan. Time to implement the solutions that have been so elusive to me up to this point. Time to put this education I'm going eyeballs deep into debt for in play.

I am almost done with school for the semester. So I think my summer will be the summer of Gigi. I finally have the tools in my toolbox, and I am learning how to use them now... I am going to try to build something over the summer. And yes, I know I have made sweeping pronouncements before. Some may see me as the girl crying wolf because if this. That's fine. I don't blame you. I guess the proof will be in the pudding at summer's end. And of course this will not just be a summer endeavor. I have way to much work to do for it to be over that quickly. But hopefully intensive work over summer with no other distractions (aka school), I will have the momentum and the mindset to be able to work on both my health and my education simultaneously. My brain might even work a bit better if it's healthier. LOL And I won't bust a sweat so quick in clinicals. And I won't feel like I got hit by a truck after an 8 hour shift on my feet.

That's my hope anyway.