March 7, 2016
Last week I posted that every Monday I would review how things went the previous week. Here is my first Weekly Wrap-up.
I made a big mistake the other day. I didn’t knock on wood. Tuesday I posted an article titled Happiness, and I shared my good news that I had been stable for a while and listed things that increase my happiness level. Unfortunately, I forgot to do one very important thing – knock on wood. The very next day the bottom fell out. I had no motivation to read, to write, to watch TV and, of course, the last thing I wanted to do was shower. When I’m depressed, good hygiene is not one of my strong points. Being in such a cramped environment with water pounding on my skin is almost unbearable.
It was a difficult Wednesday, Thursday and Friday. The shades were closed and I sat alone all day with my stinky self. Somehow I did get some writing done, and I caught up on some of the blogs I follow. I even introduced myself to some new ones, but even these mundane tasks were challenging. Every few hours I’d have to take a break because I was overwhelmed and exhausted.
Relatively speaking, it wasn’t nearly as big of a battle with depression compared to times past. Also, because I am a rapid cycler, it only lasted a few days, but it hit me hard because I’d been doing so well. I think I had reached that dangerous spot where I thought maybe I was cured.
Weight and Fitness
A little background for those new to this blog. On average a person with bipolar disorder gains about 50 lbs after going on psych meds. I wish it was only 50 for me. I doubled that number and this 5’5” tall man reached a maximum weight of 303 lbs. My doctor suggested I get gastric bypass surgery, but once the surgeon described the procedure to me I decided against. I wasn’t thrilled with the idea of having my intestines detached, having chunks of my stomach cut out and then my intestines reattached. I may have considered it a little more, but I was told I would need to lose 10% of my weight before I could have the surgery. My immediate thought was – what the hell? If I could lose 10% of my weight, why wouldn’t I just continue losing. I then decided to join Weight Watchers.
After joining Weight Watchers I started doing a ridiculous amount of exercise (mostly walking) and was thrilled to lose 90 lbs. I wish it stayed that way. Unfortunately, it didn’t. Just 10 lbs away from a 100% loss and I started backsliding. Slowly over time my weight was creeping back up, and today I weigh 266 lbs.
Why did I gain so much back? Because I stopped doing all the things that Weight Watchers taught me. I’m not going to say that I’m not frustrated over it, because I am deeply frustrated. I’m also damned mad. However, I refuse to blame Weight Watchers. In fact I have to give them credit. If I had quit their program entirely and stopped going to weekly meetings, I would likely have gained all my weight back and more. That’s what happens to the vast majority of people who lose weight. I’m still down 37 lbs from where I started and that is a small win. Year after year the U.S. News & World Report rates Weight Watchers as the best weight loss program. I will attest that is true. When I work their program, which is more about life change rather than just weight loss, I lose weight. It’s when I don’t adhere to their plan, I gain. It’s that simple. Depression has played a major role in my weight gain. When I am depressed, I eat and eat a lot. When I was depressed last week, I wanted to pull a chair to an open refrigerator and dig in. I wound up gaining just over 2 lbs.
Right now I consider losing weight a top priority to saving my life, so I did something I don’t usually do – I made a goal, My goal is to get below 200 lbs by December 31st That equals 6 lbs. a month, or 1.5 lbs. a week. That’s very doable.
The novel has been coming along fairly well. I won’t give many details yet, but it is a mystery. I’ll just give little bits and pieces away over upcoming months to wet your appetite. I expect the book to be about 70,000 words, spread out over 22 chapters. I have a rough draft written, and when I say rough, I mean really rough. I am cleaning things up and am working on my 2nd draft.
Each week I attend a writer’s critique group and we share pages and discuss them in a loving environment – the good, the bad and the ugly. I had a bit of a setback last week. I read part of chapter 5 to them and definitely got some of that warm, loving feedback. Basically they told me an interaction I had between 2 people was unrealistic. The group unanimously agreed to this. I came home, licked my wounds and thought about it. They were right. To correct the problem, I’m going to have to go all the way back to chapter 1 and do some rewrites. I won’t have to rewrite everything, but I do have much to add some events in that will make chapter 5 realistic. I can’t go back and make the changes now, which is what I want to do, but I’ve learned enough to know that a writer can keep going back and rewriting earlier chapters to make them perfect and end up never finishing the damned thing. So, I’ve taken note of the changes that will be made, finished chapter 5 for now and moving on to chapter 6.
There’s this week’s rambling wrap-up. I don’t plan to be as detailed and long winded in the future, but felt the need to do so this week to help ya’ll catch up with where I am today. Have a fabulous week – I plan on it.