I miss *us*

I am definitely in a down time.  I did, however, express to my husband that I felt like he and I needed to reconnect in a “romantic” way because I feel like he and I are not as close as we have been as far as that sort of thing goes.  He has been great to me lately, very supportive of the things I’m trying to do to change my life, but as far as feeling like we are in love with each other, that feeling has not surfaced in a while on BOTH of our parts.  I know he loves me, and I am just feeling that maybe my declining beauty and getting older is really affecting his attraction to me.  Plus the weight and all that.  I don’t *feel* sexy so I don’t want to have sex, etc.

I have been focusing too much on that lbs number.  I kind of lost sight of why I started working out and taking better care of myself in the first place.  It wasn’t about getting skinny.  It was about getting *healthy*.  If I am feeling healthier — that is, less pain, more energy, better moods, etc. — THAT is the goal.  Not a number on the scale.  If I achieve the goals and I’m still a size 16 then that is going to have to be OK.  I cannot happily focus on something like that.  I have to find my beauty no matter where I am.  If as a side effect of living a bit healthier, I lose some weight, then fine.  But that cannot be the purpose. 

It has disappointed me that I am having to watch my calories SO damned closely.  I can’t do that.  I am going to continue to track my food, and try to stay within the caloric range.  I am trying to include lots of water, veggies and fruit, and protein in the mix; less carbs; but I’m not going to obsess over it.  I’m going to try to focus on getting more exercise…and worrying a bit less about eating rabbit food all day, every day.  This is not to say that I am going to go hog wild and eat junk food all the time again.  I know that is bad for me.  That is counterproductive to the “feeling better” mission. 

I have noticed that when I go a few days without drinking lots of water, my newly cleared-up skin starts breaking out like crazy.  I get canker sores in my mouth, my skin gets even drier than normal, etc.  So I know that water is absolutely imperative.  And I have been going kind of crazy with the pop drinking.  Because it is in the house.  Now that it is all gone (thanks to my binging), I can start over with that. 

I actually really enjoyed myself when I was holding out my streak on not drinking pop, and doing crunches every day, etc.  And I do enjoy doing cardio.  I wish I enjoyed strength training a bit more.  I hate doing it.  I hate calisthenics, and I hate dumbbells.  This is where I wish I was using circuit training machines.  Maybe if I had a workout bench, etc., and a specific place set aside for me to work out it would be easier.

I wish I could have time every day to do 45 minutes of (enjoyable) cardio, and 20 minutes of yoga.  The yoga I would prefer to do in the evening.  I *could* do it at night but after I put Lola to bed, I’m just so tired I want to sit and have a quiet moment or just go to bed.  I would do even more cardio if I could because I know it will benefit me.  The strength training I know I should do every other day 3 x a week.  It is just SO boring and hard to do when I have to look at the computer screen for every exercise and try to use things around the house for stability or balance. 

This has nothing to do with my mood except that I know that my lack of activity or structure really affects my feelings. 

After I shared with my husband today that I feel lonely and I miss our love and our chemistry, he came home with a card and flowers.  I love him.  I know he loves me and I just want to know that he still adores me like he used to.  I feel so scared that these inches of extra weight on me are draining his attraction to me.  And since I know my birth control pills are sapping all my libido our sex life has been nil lately.  I am switching back to my old pill at the end of this pack. 

I think I need to take a bit of time for myself — I mean, to spend a little time on being a *girly girl* and recharge my feminine batteries so to speak.  I need to color my hair, I need to get a pedicure, I need to go through my clothes and get all the prettiest stuff out for wearing.  I need some new shoes (as we’ve discussed), and I’d LOVE a little extra money to get some good outdoor walking clothes, and some Bare Essentials makeup.  Oh, wouldn’t that be lovely.

Money would help.  A lot.  As usual.

The Spoon Theory (copied from another source)

My friend Chuck shared this with me, and it is copied from another place (referenced at the bottom).  It was written by a person who suffers from Lupus, but it also really applies to people who are bipolar as well.  In my case, the combination of bipolar and fibromyalgia really makes it a challenge for me to just “get up and go” like so many other people do.  It is truly an act of pure willpower.  Of course there are many who will still think what they think, that I’m just wallowing in self-pity or laziness.  I really don’t know how I can respond to that because if you know me on one of my good days you know that lazy isn’t a word to describe me.  Self pity, however, isn’t even the word to describe me either — it’s more like self-condemning, self-loathing, self-ridiculing because I can’t psyche myself into being like those ‘energetic’ folks in my life that just get up and go and all the things they do, seemingly on autopilot, that have to be planned out and at this point in my life, fucking written down on a checklist so that I will remember or at least attempt to do them.  In fact, I fucking resent it.  But the indignation and resentment doesn’t fuel me to do a damned thing because instead of energizing me, it drains me further.  I wish I could make people understand this but the ones who I want to understand the most, just do not because it is totally foreign to them…But anyway–read this.  It’s very good.

The Spoon Theory

My best friend and I were in the diner, talking. As usual, it was very late and we were eating French fries with gravy. Like normal girls our age, we spent a lot of time in the diner while in college, and most of the time we spent talking about boys, music or trivial things, that seemed very important at the time. We never got serious about anything in particular and spent most of our time laughing.

As I went to take some of my medicine with a snack as I usually did, she watched me with an awkward kind of stare, instead of continuing the conversation. She then asked me out of the blue what it felt like to have Lupus and be sick. I was shocked not only because she asked the random question, but also because I assumed she knew all there was to know about Lupus. She came to doctors with me, she saw me walk with a cane, and throw up in the bathroom. She had seen me cry in pain, what else was there to know?

I started to ramble on about pills, and aches and pains, but she kept pursuing, and didn’t seem satisfied with my answers. I was a little surprised as being my roommate in college and friend for years; I thought she already knew the medical definition of Lupus. Then she looked at me with a face every sick person knows well, the face of pure curiosity about something no one healthy can truly understand. She asked what it felt like, not physically, but what it felt like to be me, to be sick.

As I tried to gain my composure, I glanced around the table for help or guidance, or at least stall for time to think. I was trying to find the right words. How do I answer a question I never was able to answer for myself? How do I explain every detail of every day being effected, and give the emotions a sick person goes through with clarity. I could have given up, cracked a joke like I usually do, and changed the subject, but I remember thinking if I don’t try to explain this, how could I ever expect her to understand. If I can’t explain this to my best friend, how could I explain my world to anyone else? I had to at least try.

At that moment, the spoon theory was born. I quickly grabbed every spoon on the table; hell I grabbed spoons off of the other tables. I looked at her in the eyes and said “Here you go, you have Lupus”. She looked at me slightly confused, as anyone would when they are being handed a bouquet of spoons. The cold metal spoons clanked in my hands, as I grouped them together and shoved them into her hands.

I explained that the difference in being sick and being healthy is having to make choices or to consciously think about things when the rest of the world doesn’t have to. The healthy have the luxury of a life without choices, a gift most people take for granted.

Most people start the day with unlimited amount of possibilities, and energy to do whatever they desire, especially young people. For the most part, they do not need to worry about the effects of their actions. So for my explanation, I used spoons to convey this point. I wanted something for her to actually hold, for me to then take away, since most people who get sick feel a “loss” of a life they once knew. If I was in control of taking away the spoons, then she would know what it feels like to have someone or something else, in this case Lupus, being in control.

She grabbed the spoons with excitement. She didn’t understand what I was doing, but she is always up for a good time, so I guess she thought I was cracking a joke of some kind like I usually do when talking about touchy topics. Little did she know how serious I would become?

I asked her to count her spoons. She asked why, and I explained that when you are healthy you expect to have a never-ending supply of “spoons”. But when you have to now plan your day, you need to know exactly how many “spoons” you are starting with. It doesn’t guarantee that you might not lose some along the way, but at least it helps to know where you are starting. She counted out 12 spoons. She laughed and said she wanted more. I said no, and I knew right away that this little game would work, when she looked disappointed, and we hadn’t even started yet. I’ve wanted more “spoons” for years and haven’t found a way yet to get more, why should she? I also told her to always be conscious of how many she had, and not to drop them because she can never forget she has Lupus.

I asked her to list off the tasks of her day, including the most simple. As, she rattled off daily chores, or just fun things to do; I explained how each one would cost her a spoon. When she jumped right into getting ready for work as her first task of the morning, I cut her off and took away a spoon. I practically jumped down her throat. I said ” No! You don’t just get up. You have to crack open your eyes, and then realize you are late. You didn’t sleep well the night before. You have to crawl out of bed, and then you have to make your self something to eat before you can do anything else, because if you don’t, you can’t take your medicine, and if you don’t take your medicine you might as well give up all your spoons for today and tomorrow too.” I quickly took away a spoon and she realized she hasn’t even gotten dressed yet. Showering cost her a spoon, just for washing her hair and shaving her legs. Reaching high and low that early in the morning could actually cost more than one spoon, but I figured I would give her a break; I didn’t want to scare her right away. Getting dressed was worth another spoon. I stopped her and broke down every task to show her how every little detail needs to be thought about. You cannot simply just throw clothes on when you are sick. I explained that I have to see what clothes I can physically put on, if my hands hurt that day buttons are out of the question. If I have bruises that day, I need to wear long sleeves, and if I have a fever I need a sweater to stay warm and so on. If my hair is falling out I need to spend more time to look presentable, and then you need to factor in another 5 minutes for feeling badly that it took you 2 hours to do all this.

I think she was starting to understand when she theoretically didn’t even get to work, and she was left with 6 spoons. I then explained to her that she needed to choose the rest of her day wisely, since when your “spoons” are gone, they are gone. Sometimes you can borrow against tomorrow’s “spoons”, but just think how hard tomorrow will be with less “spoons”. I also needed to explain that a person who is sick always lives with the looming thought that tomorrow may be the day that a cold comes, or an infection, or any number of things that could be very dangerous. So you do not want to run low on “spoons”, because you never know when you truly will need them. I didn’t want to depress her, but I needed to be realistic, and unfortunately being prepared for the worst is part of a real day for me.

We went through the rest of the day, and she slowly learned that skipping lunch would cost her a spoon, as well as standing on a train, or even typing at her computer too long. She was forced to make choices and think about things differently. Hypothetically, she had to choose not to run errands, so that she could eat dinner that night.

When we got to the end of her pretend day, she said she was hungry. I summarized that she had to eat dinner but she only had one spoon left. If she cooked, she wouldn’t have enough energy to clean the pots. If she went out for dinner, she might be too tired to drive home safely. Then I also explained, that I didn’t even bother to add into this game, that she was so nauseous, that cooking was probably out of the question anyway. So she decided to make soup, it was easy. I then said it is only 7pm, you have the rest of the night but maybe end up with one spoon, so you can do something fun, or clean your apartment, or do chores, but you can’t do it all.

I rarely see her emotional, so when I saw her upset I knew maybe I was getting through to her. I didn’t want my friend to be upset, but at the same time I was happy to think finally maybe someone understood me a little bit. She had tears in her eyes and asked quietly “Christine, How do you do it? Do you really do this everyday?” I explained that some days were worse then others; some days I have more spoons then most. But I can never make it go away and I can’t forget about it, I always have to think about it. I handed her a spoon I had been holding in reserve. I said simply, “I have learned to live life with an extra spoon in my pocket, in reserve. You need to always be prepared”

Its hard, the hardest thing I ever had to learn is to slow down, and not do everything. I fight this to this day. I hate feeling left out, having to choose to stay home, or to not get things done that I want to. I wanted her to feel that frustration. I wanted her to understand, that everything everyone else does comes so easy, but for me it is one hundred little jobs in one. I need to think about the weather, my temperature that day, and the whole day’s plans before I can attack any one given thing. When other people can simply do things, I have to attack it and make a plan like I am strategizing a war. It is in that lifestyle, the difference between being sick and healthy. It is the beautiful ability to not think and just do. I miss that freedom. I miss never having to count “spoons”.

After we were emotional and talked about this for a little while longer, I sensed she was sad. Maybe she finally understood. Maybe she realized that she never could truly and honestly say she understands. But at least now she might not complain so much when I can’t go out for dinner some nights, or when I never seem to make it to her house and she always has to drive to mine. I gave her a hug when we walked out of the diner. I had the one spoon in my hand and I said “Don’t worry. I see this as a blessing. I have been forced to think about everything I do. Do you know how many spoons people waste everyday? I don’t have room for wasted time, or wasted “spoons” and I chose to spend this time with you.”

Ever since this night, I have used the spoon theory to explain my life to many people. In fact, my family and friends refer to spoons all the time. It has been a code word for what I can and cannot do. Once people understand the spoon theory they seem to understand me better, but I also think they live their life a little differently too. I think it isn’t just good for understanding Lupus, but anyone dealing with any disability or illness. Hopefully, they don’t take so much for granted or their life in general. I give a piece of myself, in every sense of the word when I do anything. It has become an inside joke. I have become famous for saying to people jokingly that they should feel special when I spend time with them, because they have one of my “spoons”.

Stolen from But You Don’t Look Sick and can be applied to any chronic illness including mine.

Trying not to let disappointment trip me up.

I am trying not to be disappointed in myself. I have fallen off the wagon as far as the gung ho motivation. I am going to kick my own butt this week and I am not going to allow myself to get lazy. I can understand that this last week I was hormonal and had a lot of money stress, but what I need to realize is when I am feeling like that it is the MOST important to me to take care of myself. Because not doing so just makes it all worse.

Today I have already walked my 30 minutes, and I have done my streches and 50 crunches. I’ve showered, dressed, applied makeup, etc., and gotten my toddler cleaned up, dressed, etc. as well. My husband was gracious enough to load the dishwasher for me while I was out walking, so now I only have a few more dishes to put in there (yes, they were THAT piled up), and I’m going to get all my housework caught up. We seriously need to get some laundry done so that is another thing I need to focus on today. I have a couple more household management type things to do as well.

As far as my own personal needs, I just need to make sure I eat within my calorie range, drink my water, and get a couple of veggies and fruits in there somewhere. I need to decide what vitamin supplements I want to take to make sure I’m getting all the nutrients I need. I am also going to need to get some glucosamine condroitin to help with my joint pain.

I went to the doctor on Friday, to talk about my body pain, to find out if maybe I was doing something wrong that was exacerbating the pain I am having. Basically it was a wasted trip, in that she had nothing to offer as far as my fibro flares go. She told me to keep exercising, but maybe to step back the intensity. The only surprising thing that happened, that redeemed the whole trip to the doctor was that she took a look at my walking shoes and deemed them “horrible”, and that I need to get a much better shoe and arch support. I am not surprised that she said “horrible”, they are WalMart specials with velcro instead of shoestrings. So I guess I need to invest in a good pair of shoes in the very near future. I’m sure that will help with the arches hurting. I noticed today that I didn’t have any shin pain walking at a slightly slower pace, but was really distracted by the arch pain. My achilles tendons are still sore but I am trying to keep them nice and stretched. I am taking advil a couple times a day as I can remember to help with the inflammation.

I haven’t been too good with the soda war. I have been indulging in it every day almost, and I am ready to get back into the 6 days off 1 day on routine. My hubby bought some pop and is going to keep it locked up so that I can only get to it with his consent. I really love having the caffeine boost but the calories are truly empty calories and I don’t have many to spare. I just miss it so much. I don’t like coffee or tea so I’m pretty screwed there. It’s water for me, and it can get pretty boring. I am not into those flavor things you put in the water. If I can’t have my pleasing confection of bubbles and cola, then I would rather just drink the water. It is a sad affliction to me.

Our money situation is causing me a lot of stress. This stress is adversely affecting so many things and it is really giving me a hard time in focusing on my health goals. I have not learned how to let go of the stress in regard to the money. I will spend some time balancing my checkbook and figuring out what the next paycheck is going to look like, and once I realize I have done everything I can possibly do, that is simply going to have to do. I just don’t know how to let go of the worry. It sucks so many units of happiness out of me, I cannot even begin to explain to you.

Well, I can’t stop the momentum, I need to get going on the tasks I have set for myself. Au revoir.

Today’s Inspirational Muse Brought To You by:

Shattered Dreams – Johnny Hates Jazz
So Alive – Love and Rockets
Rock the Casbah – The Clash
Try Again – Aaliyah
I Don’t Wanna Go On With You Like That – Elton John
No More “I Love Yous” – Annie Lennox
I’ve Been Thinking About You – Londonbeat

2nd entry for today 11.01.07

Miles Walked: 2.5

Minutes Walked:  30

Workout Heart Rate: 110

Strength Training (Yes/No):  Yes

Days Without Soda: 13/365

Days of Doing 50 Crunches:  14

Yoga (Yes/No): Yes

Glasses Water Drank: 9+

 

This has been a pretty good day, considering I spent a few hours out of the house running errands and visiting at the SIL’s house while Princess was in babysitting class with her cousin.

 

I am really tired and ready to go to bed.  See the previous entry to see all the great stuff I accomplished in October! yay me!

 

November starts the next phase of my health regimen.  My goal is to keep my calorie consumption around 1720 per day, and try to burn 300-600 calories a day.  30 minutes walking at the pace I walk burns me around 240 calories.  I am thinking that I need to come up with something to do in the afternoon that can burn some more calories.  Probably some calisthenics and some dancing.  I just found a cool website and I’m thinking of ordering the dance videos: http://www.flirtygirlfitness.com — they have some sexy dance routines that I would like to do to help me get back in touch with sexy movement.  I’m feeling distinctly non-sexy lately. 

 

Oh, well, I should get off here and go to bed.  Good night!


PS – My hair is really, really soft tonight.  Like clouds in heaven.  Too bad my hubby is too busy fixing other peoples’ computers in the basement, because he’s missing out on some hair paradise up here.  And it smells great too.

October 2007 Report Card

ACCOMPLISHMENTS FOR OCTOBER 

Days Walked:  23/31
Days Strength Trained: 6/31
Days Belly Danced: 2/31
Days I Did 50 Ab Crunches: 13/31
Days I Didn’t Drink Soda: 12/31
Miles Walked: 49
Minutes Walked: 589
Minutes Of Other Exercise: 197 

Started using SparkPeople to track food and exercise – used it 28 out of 30 days so far. 

Started using MoodTracker (late September) to track my moods and medications.  Have used it 40 days so far. 

Cleaned My House: 20 out of 30 days. 

Other Accomplishments: 

Cleaned off patio and furniture/toys etc.

Saw major improvement in bipolar disorder symptoms.  

Cleaned out Princess’ closet 

Set up really good daily routine 

Visited Cincinnati for a weekend with Kitty

Learned a lot about myself and my strengths/weaknesses.

Done Wallowing

Ok, I’m done wallowing, I think. 

As regards the birthday.  Hubby did mention it like I said, when he brought me my McDonald’s breakfast sandwich (a weakness I sometimes indulge), he said it was a birthday sandwich.  That was the only mention all day.  He got home at 8:30 p.m. and I had to go right out the door to take Princess to the Halloween store to get some last minute things to go with her costume.  I also bought Lola’s costume while I was there.  Nothing big just a $15 purple leopard costume.

Anyway, we were heading home around 9:15 or 9:30 p.m. and at that point Princess had not mentioned my birthday all day.  She truly forgot.  It just wasn’t as important to her as her “real” mom’s birthday.  That is obvious.  One of my friends, to whom I have not been able to talk to for a couple of years (lives in California), called to wish me happy birthday and I guess Princess caught on from my end of the conversation that it was my birthday (for 3 more whole hours).  As we are walking in the house, once again with her hands full of stuff I bought her, she found it in her heart to say in a monotone, “Happy Birthday Liz.”  I said, “Thank you, Princess.” and just continued to go into the house.  At this point I had not heard from my mom and a couple of my siblings that celebrate birthdays so I was feeling pretty unloved and underappreciated by my family.  (Of course my best friends and niece can always be counted on to remember, but anyway…)  I retreated into the bedroom to cry a little bit and there was a card on my bed.

It was from Hubby and although the words were sweet, I felt really sad anyway, because I didn’t WANT a card.  I WANTED to be acknowledged, I wanted a little extra tenderness to make my day more special.  I KNOW we don’t have any money to buy presents, and that isn’t what it is about.  I just wanted a little extra love, but I actually got less that day than I normally do.  I laid there for a while and wallowed, but I could hear them in the other room whispering about me.  Whatever.  Then Princess couldn’t figure out where some items were for her costume (which I knew I was going to have to create myself anyway because she acts completely helpless sometimes, it is annoying).  I got up and found them and when I came into the room there was another card from Hubby. 

I don’t know why the cards made me feel worse, but they did.  Because I felt that there was no real thought put into it.  Almost like a last minute thing on his way home.  And he only knew to do that because he had talked to me a couple times during the day and I was really sad and wasn’t able to hide it in the tone of my voice. 

As far as Princess goes, it just burns my ass that I do everything for her and every time she hurts me or sells me short, or expects more out of me than anyone should, I forgive her and continue to jump through (fiery) hoops for her every day.  I don’t know many moms who would do for their kids the things I do for her.  I just want to give my kids everything, I want their every day to be a miracle.  But I guess I have made a mistake, because I feel every day that she loves me less and less.  And loves herself more and more.  I don’t know how I can fix this.  I’m sure this is just teenage stuff, but it still hurts that she can go through all this special trouble to do something for her mom’s birthday, and talks to her all sweet and tenderly on HER birthday but I get NOTHING. 

Yesterday afternoon I finally decided to tell Hubby how I felt about Princess and him and the non event of my birthday, and he acted like a jerk of course.  As usual, he tries to turn it around and make it my fault.  He even said he said “Happy Birthday” to me several times during the day, but girls, he is a lying butthead because he did not.  I think he is on crack or something.  LOL.  He hung up on me.  Then later, he acted like his phone died.  SURE, hon.  SURE. 

Ok, maybe getting mad about this is immature.  This kind of thing has never bothered me before and I don’t know why it is bothering me now.  I have been working so hard to be the best person I can be, and a good portion of why is because I wanted to be better for the two of THEM.  But apparently I’m not good or special enough to make my birthday special in any way.  What is sad is that TayTay, whom I have had nothing good to say about for over a month, REMEMBERED TO CALL ME AND WISH ME A HAPPY BIRTHDAY right after school.  Sad, huh?

So yeah, this has made my waning motivation disappear entirely.  Tomorrow is 11/1/07, when I am supposed to start Stage 2 of my SparkPeople health plan.  I have not logged on to SparkPeople since Saturday.  I haven’t watched my food, and I didn’t walk today, and I haven’t done crunches since Friday.  I haven’t done anything.  Yes, my sister’s visit distracted me and threw me off my momentum.  We spent a lot more money than we should have, and now we’re pretty much flat broke until NEXT Friday. 

So all of those things have discouraged me, and I can definitely see the effects of the lack of exercise and structure in my days.  I feel as bad as I did before I started my health and lifestyle changes a month ago. 

So I add to all this badness the need to forgive myself for not having the self determination to stick with it.  Even temporarily.  Because I fully intend to get back on track.  Now it is just for me, and to hell with “being a better person” for anyone else but me and Lola. 

And yes, in case you’re wondering, I am on my period so I’m sure this is coloring my feelings.

I do love my husband and I know he loves me, and I love my STEPdaughter and I know she loves me in her way.  But I think I am being taken for granted a bit at least by her.  As far as Hubby goes, I don’t see what I do that he could take for granted except take care of the kids.  I just feel like he doesn’t love me as much as he used to.  Maybe it is the fact that he has to deal with my depressions.  I feared that it would cause him to love me less, and from the angle I’m looking at now, I feel that it is. 

Well, journaling today was part of my “basic needs” checklist, which I bit the bullet and opened and am trying to get through as much of it as I can although I didn’t start it until 12:45 p.m.  I felt a journal entry was necessary to let people know what went down on my birthday.  And yesterday other than my argument with Hubby, I spent the afternoon decking my ungrateful STEPdaughter out for her Halloween dance, which I went through a lot of trouble working out a deal with her dad that she could be TEMPORARILY UNGROUNDED to be able to go to.  Because I am nice that way but this is not recognized or appreciated. 

Sometimes I feel so sad and despairing about the fact that Princess does not love me the way I had hoped she would (as much as I have loved her), I just want to leave, divorce Hubby and let him just raise her on his own.  She’d probably be happier that way because I feel like she dislikes me more than she likes me.

And that is where I am right now.  I have more of my checklist to do so I will go now.  And my daughter Lola wants me to hug her.  At least someone loves me.