The use of the word "flush" is what gets me here. I wonder if it's sold with a colostomy bag?
As I have been experiencing a really tough couple of weeks (and more on that when I feel ready to confront the insanity), I find myself reading and rereading this particular blog entry one of my best friends sent me not too long ago. I wanted to share it with all of you - it's accurate, amazing, awe-inspiring, wonderful, pure, honest... Well, enough gushing...
Because I couldn't say it on the phone
From: Thursday, December 13 2007
I was recently at lunch with a few friends, one who had just been diagnosed with OCD that manifests itself in a need to straighten up everything around her, and I was all really? That's considered OCD? Because I thought that was just considered BEING ALIVE. And because she hasn't ever read this website she asked if I had ever been treated for a diagnosis abbreviated with capital letters. I looked across the table at my other friend, someone who is very familiar with what I have written here, and she almost gagged on an ice cube. I nodded and then explained that I'm in ongoing therapy for what's called C-R-A-Z-Y.
I feel like I need to say something today, right now, about my feelings toward therapy and medication, because in the last couple of months I've watched several people around me suffer needlessly because they were either too afraid or too arrogant to take care of their mental health. And I guess I'm trying to understand why anyone would resist trying to work through an issue that is making their life miserable, and that maybe if I came out and talked about what I have been through and how I feel about what I've been through, that someone may feel a little less embarrassed about getting help.
I suffer from chronic anxiety and depression, and I believe it started manifesting itself when I was in high school, maybe earlier. I didn't seek treatment, however, until my sophomore year in college when I was on the brink of dropping out, when I finally called my father and exposed a very dark side of me, explained that I did not have the ability to cope no matter how hard I prayed or tried to get over it. My mother had always sensed this about me, had watched bi-polar disorder wreck the lives of several of her brothers and sisters, and she had to convince my father to take this seriously. A week later I saw a therapist who prescribed Zoloft. That medication changed my life, lifted a dark cloud that had been tormenting me for years, and I stayed on that drug, healthy and happy and able to cope, up until Jon and I decided that we should try to get pregnant.
I never should have gone off that drug. I know this now, having suffered terrible postpartum depression that could have been avoided had I seen the red flags in my third trimester, had I taken early steps to deal with the symptoms. But three months after Leta's birth I was an inconsolable, suicidal mess. I was beyond repair, and all the drugs I tried in the following months would only make things worse: Risperdal, Ativan, Trazadone, Lamictal, Effexor, Abilify, Strattera, Klonopin, Seroquel. I couldn't sleep, couldn't unclench my jaw or hands, couldn't imagine how I would get through another ten minutes. After weeks of threatening to leave Jon if he had me committed to a hospital, I finally gave in and committed myself.
Because I was under constant supervision, my doctor in the hospital was able to give me therapeutic quantities of drugs immediately: 40mg of Prozac, 10mg of Valium, 2400mg of Neurontin. It was a combination he had given to countless women who had suffered postpartum depression, one that had worked time and time again. I felt a difference within two hours, and if you ask Jon he will tell you that when he brought Leta up to the hospital that afternoon to have lunch, he saw Heather for the first time in seven months, not that awful woman who liked to throw keys at his head. I truly believe that my doctor in the hospital saved my life. I owe that man my life.
In the years since my hospital stay I have tapered off Valium completely and now only take 300mg Neurontin at night. I still take 40mg Prozac every day, and here's where I cannot be emphatic enough, I will continue to take it or something like it for the rest of my life. I will not ever be off medication. I continue to see my therapist, not every week or even every month, but whenever I hit a road block and need someone to help me talk my way through it. Sometimes I have bad days, sometimes bad weeks, but the medication enables me to cope, to see a way out and over those times. I am not ashamed of any of this.
I think many people are afraid that if they take medication or even agree to see a therapist that they are in some way admitting failure or defeat. Or they have been told by their boyfriend or their mother or their best friend that they should buck up and get over it, and that asking for help is a sign of weakness. Well then, let me be weak. Let me be a failure. Because being over here on this side, where I see and think clearly, where I'm happy to greet my child in the morning, where I can logically maneuver my way over tiny obstacles that would have previously been the end of the world, over here being a failure is a hell of a lot more enjoyable than the constant misery of suffering alone.
Yesterday I wanted to say this to someone but didn't because I'm afraid she will stop talking to me about certain things because I'm not telling her what she wants to hear. She wants me to tell her that she is right and that if she ignores a certain very large problem it will go away. But I don't understand why being right is more important that being happy, why someone would go on living with a sick, nauseating swarm of junk in her stomach rather than trying to figure out how to fix it, because the act of even admitting that she feels this way is somehow a character flaw.
All of this is to say that I am a success story. I am a victory for the mental health profession. And if you're even the tiniest bit on the fence about therapy or medication or herbs or acupuncture or prayer or meditation, whatever it is that you would turn to to try and pull your way out of sadness but are afraid to because of all that it would mean, here is this crazy woman in the Utah desert who admitted and accepted all of those horrible things about herself and in doing so found a better life.
And the only other thing I can offer right now to shed just a smidge of light on my mindset these days, check out my MySpace blog.
"I have a trick for pasta. I actually eat it a lot, and its usually one of my go-to dinners when I am trying to lose weight. Ahem. Like lately. Like, since I gained 6 pounds in one month. Okay, so make the pasta (obviously the lighter one is better but I don't count carbs so I eat whatever pasta I want). Try to score pasta sauce with less than 50-60 calories per half cup. Then, instead of using the straight pasta sauce, add in a whole can of diced tomatoes (whether italian or no seasoning) those have like 80 calories PER CAN!!! it makes the pasta seem so healthy and full of tomato flavor and adds bulk to your meal. sprinkle with a little low fat (i like the 2% kraft) mozzarella - and I mean SPRINKLE, maybe a pinch. and you're done! another suggestion is to add some steamed broccoli or broccollini. Anyway, as a serial dieter, I am always trying to add bulk to any meal because like everyone, portion control is my problem."
And also from Roxanne:
"...Mac and cheese has a great low cal recipe on the side of the box. Make it with light butter and fat free milk and its even BETTER than the nutrition info would suggest. I, again, add broccoli to it - I like broccoli and it has a lot of fiber and iron!"
Which is really awesome because, as you know, I like food.
So I got this low calorie pasta in the mail not too long ago and finally got around to making it last night from a company called "Fiber Gourmet." They call themselves a "food technology company," dedicated to making/selling reduced- calorie, high-fiber food products that, besides being good for you, actually taste good. I scored some pasta but it looks like they are also going to develop other products- the latest of which seems to be mac n' cheese (they couldn't send me THAT? LOL).
I don't really wanna bore you all with the semantics - I mean, they have a website (and you should check it out because they give you a lot of great info.) but yeah - I boiled water, poured in the fettucine, added some Trader Joe's organic tomato sauce and presto! Dinner!
When people ask to send me samples, I always say they are welcome to do so, so long as they understand that if I don't like the product, I will certainly say so. I just wanna make that clear to you. But actually, I LIKED this stuff. I mean, it wasn't any different tasting than regular pasta and if it's better for me, why wouldn't I eat this stuff? (FYI - they will charge you $6 for S&H which is why, frankly, I will not be eating this stuff under my current budget.)
It's not like I have some scientific way of grading this stuff but tastes good? Check. Easy to make? Of course. Reasonably priced? I think so.
Here are the nutritional facts. The only thing that bugs me? Carbs. I am a carb-hater. I think it's a result of being on too many anti-carb trend-diets but my eye goes right to that line now. But hey, it's pasta. And hey, it's high in fiber so it's not staying with you too long if you know what I mean...
If anyone else out there is gonna check it out, do let me know. I'd love to hear other opinions.
Here are some photos. I actually documented my lo-cal pasta filled evening. I was only thinking of my readers. I am awesome. *wink*
This reminds me -- I brought my leftovers for lunch. Who's hungry?
#5 is of particular interest to me:
5. Cobb Salad
Photo: Richard Moross
The responsibility of eating all this greasy, fatty food can be weighty. Sometimes so much so that Americans have been known to say “I think I’ll just have a salad today.” Of course, when we say salad, we don’t mean it in the same greens-and-tomatoes topped with balsamic way that the Euros do. No, when we make a salad, we pile it so high with meat, cheese and carbs that it passes the caloric intake of the cheeseburger we were so proud of ourselves for passing up. The ultimate example: the cobb salad. Bacon, chicken, eggs, cheese, and really whatever else you can find in your fridge, ideally piled so high that the eater can see no shred of lettuce at all.
Sunday was really rough on me.
You know, I'd come home Friday, tail between my legs n' all that, feeling a little low, needing some familiarity. And really, it was no secret to my parents that I'd been down. They know me well enough...
So on Sunday, when we all went to see a movie, I was feeling a little better but still had this little raincloud following me - I felt mildly like Eeyore. And I ducked into the ladies room before the show and when I returned to where everyone was waiting for me, they were all looking at me and laughing.
Imagine my befuddled embarassment.
I asked my mom and brother what was going on and my mother, with glee I now totally resent, said my father had been making a funn joke about me.
"Oh? What was it?" I asked, wearily.
Well, I guess I was taking too long in the bathroom. And my father said to everyone "Well, you know she didn't fall in..."
My mother felt the need to explain further: "Cause, you know, you're too big."
I was horrified. I mean, really and truly. I was also mortified. How could they? You think I like feeling and looking this way? You think this is easy? And who is supposed to love you unconditionally and be there for you... Well, I couldn't hold off the tears. My brother began to lay into my mother for having the audacity to repeat that "joke" to me and I just excused myself to a sofa in a hallway off the theater lobby where I sobbed and sobbed up until the movie started.
After the movie, I couldn't so much as look at my parents. I was/am really hurt. In the last couple days, they have continued to speak to me and call me and e-mail me as if this never happened and because I don't know how else to go on, I am playing along. Because I am in such shock it even happened and that no one apologized.
You know, I know you gotta play the cards you're dealt. I just wish, sometimes, I'd been dealt a better hand!