Monday, May 20, 2013

Finding Beauty in Negative Spaces

It's no secret that I've been a mess lately.  Fat.  Unhappy.  Poor.  Angry.  Sick.  Injured.  You name it, I've probably been it. 

I feel like my life has been on a downward spiral for the past three or four years.  I am sure there are a lot of factors at play but I feel like it started when my job (which was initially six miles from home) went virtual about five years ago.  The first year was great.  I got to work from home exclusively (although I somehow let myself get out of the habit of going to the gym every day, which was very bad).  Then my boss unilaterally decided that I needed to drive to his house...25 miles away in really crappy Bay Area traffic.  There was no easy way to get there via public transit so driving was my only option.  By the way, I drive a Toyota Tundra, which gets 12-17 miles to the gallon on a good day.  (I haven't had a raise in about 7 years, so adding that much gas to my expenses wasn't really all that awesome.)  I did work a deal so that I could work from home two days a week, and I rocked that schedule (wearing yoga pants and flip flops) for about three years.  It was, however, kind of a dead end job.  The work was slow with the economy and I was very bored.  But I did get to work from home two days a week and could wear jeans to work every day!  On the days I was working from my boss' house, it also put me in a good spot to drive to Twirly Girls more often for classes.

Spiral downward (on the gym front).

Then, last September, my boss told me the news...I needed to look for another job.  I was nervous, as I had worked with him for 9 years -- had left my previous firm with him to open his office and I had outlasted all of the partners he had taken on over those 7 years.  But I was also ready for a change.  I found a job somewhat quickly -- but in San Francisco.  So now I not only needed to get up and put on big girl clothes and make-up every day, but I would have to take a train into "the City" (about 40 minutes each way barring any delays).  Kiss what little gym time I was getting and my regular Twirly Girls classes good-bye.  BART (Bay Area Rapid Transit) is cheaper and often faster than driving but it sucks for many reasons (the first being, it seems to have delay issues four days a week;the second being, you're on a train with strangers who smell and hit you with their bags).  The walking to BART and my office and back every day quickly (and sadly) took a toll on my body -- and the bone spur in my foot started wreaking havoc.  I am now in daily pain.  Three years ago, I was run/walking a 5k.  Now I can't walk an entire mile without ruining my week.

More spiraling downward.

I have seriously been in a negative place for a very long time.  I really don't know how to pull myself out of it.  Anxiety.  Depression.  Fears.  Worries.  I sit at my desk at work every day with my chest tight -- hardly able to breathe -- and I worry some more.  I sweat on BART while having a mini panic attack -- and I worry some more.  I am taking sleeping pills to make myself sleep.  Then taking Klonopin at work to make myself stay in my seat (I somehow lucked out with two bosses that have been described as difficult).  I realize that all of the negativity is just pulling me down further. 

I don't necessarily believe in The Secret -- I don't think that by envisioning a bike, it will magically appear -- but I can appreciate the thought that what you put out into the universe, you get back.  I have watched that boomarang take me out over and over in the last few years.  I am grumpy, which attracts more bad things, which just makes me more grumpy.  I rant about it somewhere -- in the real world, on Facebook -- and feel better for a minute, but then the avalanche happens and I'm buried in more of my own shit.  I don't really know if I believe in karma either.  I've watched bad things happen to good people and good things happen to assholes.  I don't know if "everything happens for a reason," or if shit just happens and sometimes you can see the lesson you might learn from it or maybe it just happened.  I don't know.

But what I do know is that I need to pull myself out of this funk.  Even if I am trying to practice Health At Every Size, I am not happy at this weight.  I am not healthy (which I recognize is separate from my weight).  While I am trying to improve my eating and exercise habits, I have resigned myself to the fact that I may not lose weight (while secretly hoping that I do lose at least a little).  The last time I lost weight post-gastric bypass, it was a very long process (about a year and a half to lose 22 pounds) and I was exercising twice a day to make that happen.  That doesn't seem healthy either.  Now I have 50 pounds to lose.  It is also hard with my bone spur to get a ton of "quality" exercise.  In the span of only about a month, I have gone from having mild discomfort (probably a 3 out of 10 on the pain scale on a daily basis) to constant burning pain (more like a constant 7 out of 10, which sucks when you have to walk so much to get to and from work).  Pain makes me want to be a grumpy asshole all of the time. 

Anyway, the point of all this whining is that I'm actually trying to be a more positive person.  Starting now.  I want to eat better, exercise more and not let my own negativity bring me down.  I have chosen to be where I am -- whether it's the place I live or the place I work.  Those are *my* choices (granted, I've made some bad choices in life, but I have chosen to stay for my own reasons, and I need to recognize that...I am not being held hostage).  Yes, I use food and shopping as my crutches, and since I have had less money to spend over the last few years, I have increasingly used food to soothe my anxieties.  I am trying to find a less crazy therapist to help me work out those issues.  I am not really setting any goals here in the numbers department.  Eating better, working out and working on myself.  Those are my daily goals.  I can't really put numbers on them.  But I just know I can't live in *this* place anymore.

I pass a ton of homeless people on my way to and from work.  Dirty.  Smelly.  All of their worldly possessions in a shopping cart or a couple of duffel bags.  I saw one man whose skin could only be described as tree bark.  I certainly do not have a horrible life and it's about time I start realizing that and stop allowing myself to be dragged down into the muck.  I used to be such a fairly happy person.  I know she's still in there...she just needs a little coaxing to bring her back out. 


  1. We're here for you Lori. When you are having a bad day, remember that you are not alone, you have an entire community behind you :)

    1. Thank you so much! If it was just one bad day...I'd be ok. I did just get a call back from a therapist today! My first appointment is next week. Let's hope they are a good fit. The last one was crazier than me!! :-D Love you guys and thanks for being there!

  2. hang in there lori! i beleive that everything is 90% mental- fix the mind and the rest will follow. One thing i've found helpful (even if it sounds super lame) is to write down all the good things. Write down 5 good things that have happened or that you have achieved in the day or that have even just made you smile (it only takes a few minutes, you could do it on the BART?) and when you feel like crap, take it out and read it.
    i find it easiest to keep on my phone since i have it with me all the time. eventually, you wont need it but its always good to come back to!

    1. Thank you!! I start with a new therapist in one week. I'm excited.

      I love that idea. I will start writing things down. I'm also trying to do little things like smile at people more. Especially on BART. lol.

  3. First time visitor to your blog. Still a pre-op. But I've had my fair share of depression and stress in my life. Counseling and meds may help. But ultimately, for me, it's usually ME who has to realize that I am wallowing and that I need to make a change in the right direction. Grab myself by the bootstraps and make a positive change. Sounds like you are doing a few of those things (apt with counselor). Hope you feel better soon.


    1. Yeah, that used to work for me. Not anymore. Maybe the meds are messing with me. Or maybe life has just become too overwhelming. I start with a new therapist tomorrow though, so I definitely hope to pull myself out. :) Thank you!