I can do this.

I am fed up with how I feel and look.

I have gained 40 lb in two years and I am not happy about it.  It was nesting into new relationship, stress galore caused by my ex-h’s drama, Seroquel, and too much wine to either numb (during the week) or celebrate (at the end of the week).

I am trying to not be all-or-nothing in my thinking.  This is always a set-up for failure with me.  Intellectually, I know it is all about small changes that add up.  Lifestyle.  Blah blah blah.  I know it will help with keeping depression and anxiety at bay.  I am doing alright, but I could be doing better in the mood department and it is time to take next steps beyond meds and therapy.

So, today I’m riding my bike to work.  It won’t be pretty.  But I just have to get there and then get home.  And I know how my brain works.  Once I’m on it and going I will love it.

Here I go.  I can do this.

Day One

Today was my first official day of being a full-time working single mom. Full-time in the 9 to 5 work sense.  I have my kids every second week these days.

The first four years, when I was finding my sea legs no longer being married, I had them 80% of the time. It was best this way as my kids were in the house they’d always know.  My ex had left me (in an awful, epic way that I will one day write about) and moved out, and I was hell-bent on keeping things as stable as possible for the kids while their dad had his midlife crisis.

Once I stopped crying (and it wasn’t long) I started making my new life.  I went back to school and made a career shift.  I started working part-time while I was in school.  There was no way I could work full-time while having the kids 80% of the time, not with one of them having special needs.  (Yes, I know, there are parents who do this because they have to- I’m just saying I didn’t have to so I didn’t.)

Recently though I got the opportunity to up my hours at work to full-time and I went for it.  If not now, then when?

Anyhow, today is day one of that gig.  I wish I could say it was easy, but if anything it was a bit of a gong show.

First off, I wake up late (fuck you, Seroquel).  I forget to give the girl her ADHD meds.  On the way to school I realize this but she doesn’t want me to go back home because then she’d be late.  I get to work, start training this new woman and I get a phone call from my lawyer.  We had an appointment, and I’d forgotten to put it in my calendar.  Fuck!  I have to leave work early to take the girl to the doctor.  She tells me she feels no different not being on her meds (she’s told me this a few times).  Discuss with dr, who suggests we go off of it for awhile to see what happens, fingers crossed.

I come home, the house is a disaster.  What I really want to do is have a glass of wine on the porch to unwind, but I am going to try my best to drop the weight I have gained since being depressed/going on Seroquel (again, fuck you Seroquel).  I instead pour myself a grapefruit Perrier on ice – a healthy choice, go me!  And I sit and purge my brains out here for half an hour before embarking on the dinner/homework/chores journey for the day.

Four more days. Four.

Stormy weather

The weather in my part of the world has been messed up lately.  Two weeks ago it was sweltering hot, spaghetti straps and flip-flops weather.  A week ago people were wearing boots and winter jackets.  Today it started off windy, humid and threatening to rain.  Then it poured, like a monsoon. And then, sun!  Sun and *cool*.  Like the weather gods just can’t make up their fucking mind.

And, neither can I.  I am in a constant self-assessment mode it seems. Mostly I hover around feeling ok, but just ok.  Often I feel a non-specific anxiety.  Very often I feel bored and unmotivated, but if I push myself, I can get stuff done.  Sometimes, but just sometimes, I feel happy.  I am happiest at the end of a work week, happiest when I am shuffling the kids off to their dad’s for their week with him (yes it does make me feel guilty to be glad they are leaving), happiest when I don’t have anything pressing on my that I have to do.

I’m better, but not quite there.

I have decided that I hate the Seroquel and am pretty much going to insist I go off of it when I go back to the pdoc in a couple of weeks.  I have gained 15 lb on it.  It makes getting up in the morning impossible.  I mentioned switching to Wellbutrin (which I’ve been on before) as an adjunct to the Effexor instead of the bleeping Seroquel, and she wasn’t against it.  We agreed though to try cutting the Seroquel in half first.  Well, I did that and I am as groggy as ever in the morning, and my appetite is still carb-craving ravenous.  I. hate. Seroquel.  And that’s that.

Anyhow, I’m not giving up until then.  I’m going to try in the meanwhile to cut out as many carbs as I can and get in some more exercise.  I’m not going to drink during the week- aside from the temptation to self-medicate, it’s just too many damn calories.  I’m going to make sure I get enough sleep and pack healthy lunches for work.

Which is why on this cool, rainy Sunday evening I am on my porch, sipping a Bloody Caesar.  I love the promise of Mondays and new beginnings.

In other news…

This week will be challenging.  I am going from working 3 days a week right up to a full 5.  I was offered a job with a different organization in my building in addition to the one I already have, doing much the same thing. I am excited yet scared at the same time.  It will be intense the weeks I have the kids, like this one.  Less so when I am not.  It has been 14 years since I worked full-time, egads.  Since before I had kids.

This is what the real world is though.  Jobs and kids and problems and little bits of joy in there when you can grab them.  I am going to try, try hard to make this, all of this, work.  I owe it to myself.

Plugging along

So.

It is pretty safe to say I am doing well with respect to living in depression/anxiety land.  Sometimes I’m happy, sometimes I’m a bit sad, much of the time I’m somewhere in the middle.  But I am definitely not where I was a few months ago.

The Seroquel thing is still bugging me.  I don’t feel the apathy that I did when I was at a higher dose, but it is hard as fuck to get up in the morning still.  And, that’s not going to fly for long.  The kids are back in school and every second week I need to be up at 6:45 – stat.  Not to mention that as of next month I will be working a full 5 days per week – go ME.  One step closer to financial emancipation from the ex-husband.  So….there will be less slack in my schedule.  Working 5 days is a far cry from 3.  I will have to up my game, and the Seroquel is not helping to that end.  I brought up the idea of switching it up to Wellbutrin at my last appointment, and my lovely pdoc kind of nodded her head, and said yes, that’s a possibility, but lets lower the dose of Seroquel first.  Two weeks in, I guess I am getting up, but it is still hell.  And I am still 10 lb up from where I was when this whole fiasco started.

The thing I haven’t talked about to *anyone* is my drinking.  I am drinking most nights.  I have anywhere from 2 to 3 glasses and it helps me unwind. Most of the time, dare I say, it makes me feel happier.  It makes me less anxious, easier going.  I know this is not good.  Not good as a coping mechanism, not good from a weight loss perspective…just not good.

So that makes me think, maybe my depression isn’t being adequately treated…if I still feel this need to unwind at the end of the day.  But really, I just think I have developed a habit.  A habit that is less than healthy.

Anyhow.

I got the promotion I wanted.  And now I am scared.  There will be that much less room for slack in my life.  I’m a single parent 50% of the time. One of my kids is fairly needy.  My ex is a benign presence.  I am functionally responsible for the kids’ lives in so many ways.  I schedule the dental and other appointments, I submit all the claims to not one but *two* insurance companies and follow up when something goes wonky.  I make sure their bike helmets still fit, check to see if last year’s snowsuits will do, arrange for music lessons.  I am the Operations Manager of our kids.  He pays for things when I ask him to.  He is flexible with our schedule when I need him to be and buys things for them when I ask him to.  It could be worse – I never lose sight of that.  But I am Captain Kirk of this family and I think, whether he resents me for it or not, he very much knows it and, furthermore, prefers it that way.

I am rambling, probably because I am tired and wired and coming to the end of a crazy, two-week sprint with the kids.

Next week is for me.  For working and puttering and catching up and just watching Netflix and snuggling with my awesome hunky man.

Over and out.

Turning a corner

Things have been feeling…different.  Good different.  G and I are back from our camping trip.  Before we left, I wasn’t all that enthusiastic about it, which was a sign of the times.  I wasn’t enthusiastic about anything.  Thank goodness he was totally into doing all of the heavy lifting for the trip and was not at all put off by my lack of initiative.  I knew intellectually at the time that this trip would be good for me, but I wasn’t feeling the love. Somehow I just knew that being out in the bush, miles and miles away from cell access or even a road, would be good for me.  The idea of only having to focus on the basics — food, clothing, shelter — was very, very appealing.

We had to paddle for three hours to get to our site.  There were a lot of peaceful silences. At moments I just lost myself in the rhythm of my stroke.  As I got tired I just kept my eye on the horizon, and thought about how good it would feel to be on dry land again.  That was about as complicated as my thoughts got.  When we finally saw, through binoculars, a good site, my heart jumped a little blip of joy.  I was ready to get out of that boat.

And when I did get out of the boat, I was quietly proud of myself.  I had paddled 13 km, when I’d barely ever been in a kayak before.

The next few days were simply about making food, building fires, and exploring our lake. It was bliss.

I was happy to finally get home.  A hot shower, a glass of wine on my porch, unloading the dishwasher, laundry galore.  I caught myself doing this things not just with ease, but with a sense of contentment and satisfaction.

What changed?  Who knows.  Time passing, my self-induced drop in Seroquel dose perhaps.  All I know is that I feel better and that’s what matters.