“Emily, no. NO. Jesus christ, just…no.”
— Friend, when I asked if I can wear my FitBit to my wedding.
“Emily, no. NO. Jesus christ, just…no.”
— Friend, when I asked if I can wear my FitBit to my wedding.
This whole time I thought I needed to lose weight and get toned, but it turns out all I really needed to do was purchase this full-length skinny mirror.
I’ve gotten many comments about my lack of posting lately. Most of you think it’s because I’m too happy and in love to bother writing anymore. HAH! No.
Yes, I love Eric dearly and yes we are very happy together, but that would never be the reason I stop posting. If I’m writing less, that is usually a bad sign. I write more when my energy is good. I make myself write when my energy is bad, too, because it is definitely therapeutic. But you’ll certainly see more frequent posting when my spirits are up.
SO STOP BLAMING ERIC.
Jk, you can blame him a little, at least for the blog’s decrease in entertainment value. My pre-Eric dating life was more amusing. For you guys, at least. Living it was bona fide hell.
Anyway, back to the point. Here’s where I’ve been:
I have felt like absolute dog shit for the past 5 weeks. No, not depression (wahoo!), but feeling this awful for this long was starting to make me FEEL depressed, which is when I knew I had to make a change. I was blaming the new Paleo diet (for those of you not familiar, Paleo is essentially a whole-foods diet…nothing processed, no added sugar, no dairy, no grains, no legumes). I had started feeling this way about 6 days into the diet (after an initial first week of feeling fabulous), so I was certain that my body was just transitioning from carb-burning to fat-burning for energy, and it was taking a little longer than normal because I’ve been feeding it approximately 16 gallons of sugar-coated garbage per day for the past 34 years and now it’s like WHAT THE FUCK DO I RUN ON NOW!?!? CHRIST.
So I was just giving it some time.
But weeks passed, and I still felt incredibly weak and depleted. I essentially felt as if I possessed no muscle whatsoever. My arms and legs were extremely heavy, and when I walked, I felt like I was going to teeter over. It hurt to hold things in my hands (even my phone. I HAD TO PUT DOWN MY PHONE, GUYS). I was so irritable I wanted to punch everything in sight, which is less than ideal when you work with children.
But I really didn’t want to give up the Paleo diet, because the switch to this lifestyle had instantly cured my two biggest life-long ailments– headaches and stomachaches. So I kept riding it out, certain my strength would return, as well as my ability to not be a fang-toothed fire monster.
It didn’t. I started crying every day because I couldn’t run anymore. I could barely make it up the stairs to my classroom at school. I couldn’t carry a grocery bag. Social events made me anxious because I didn’t know how I’d feel. I pushed myself to go to a friend’s outdoor-concert birthday party, only to end up crying hysterically to her when I didn’t have enough energy to stay on my feet.
Nobody likes the girl who cries to the birthday girl. I know that’s not even a thing, but I made it a thing, and I think everyone involved can agree it was not a good thing.
So I had a ton of blood work done. Checked all my vitamin levels, thyroid, cholesterol, blood pressure. Everything came back fine. I started to think I was going insane (you know…again).
I googled everything I could find on issues with pervasive weakness. About 3 hours into my google search, as Eric tried to gently pry the computer out of my hands and suggest I do something productive, like stand up or blink, I came across a testimonial from a girl who had very similar issues. They were related to her birth control. Specifically, she started noticing herself fall apart as soon as her pharmacy switched her over to the generic form of her pill.
This had recently happened to me. About 7 weeks prior, my mail-order pharmacy had sent me a 3-pack of the generic form (Levonorgestrel and Ethinyl Estradiol) of my regular birth control (Aviane). I wasn’t thrilled about the switch without notice or approval, but I naively trusted it’d be the same thing, and I’d be fine. Well, you know how the saying goes– “naiveté killed the cat.” (Yeah, I know, it’s “curiosity.” But that doesn’t fit this context and there’s no good quote about naiveté so BACK OFF.)
I immediately googled “Levonorgestrel and Ethinyl Estradiol.” The reviews and patient testimonials were insane. Basically, women switched to this pill and turned into Medusa. One girl swore it caused her divorce, because she became a completely irrational and emotional lunatic. Another used to be a marathon runner and then found she could barely walk (um, hello?!). Another gained 15 pounds in 3 weeks despite going to the gym every day and being in the most active, healthy phase of her life. Another stopped having sex with her husband because the sight of him disgusted her (that sounded more like a life problem than a medication problem, but godspeed to that couple.) Overall, the pill had a user rating of 1 star (for comparison, the name-brand pill I’d been taking had a rating of 4 stars).
“Holy shit. I’ve been poisoning myself,” I thought as I scrolled through testimonials that easily could have been written by me. I had basically been waking up every morning and swallowing a tiny little dragon pill that turned my insides to mush, my pupils red, and my breath to Game-of-Thrones-worthy fire darts.
I stopped taking the pill immediately. Didn’t even ride out the pack like they say you’re supposed to. Just stopped mid-pack and threw the rest in the garbage.
I quit it last Sunday. By Thursday, I was myself again. My body no longer feels heavy. I’ve been running every day. I have my strength back (not 100%, as I haven’t worked out in 5 weeks, but it is infinitely better). I can walk up stairs and not lose my breath. I can laugh again. I don’t hate everything.
Needless to say, Eric is relieved.
So the point here is four-fold:
Number 4 is very important. Because if you murder your significant other, it should be because that’s just who you are as a person, not because a pill made you do it.
I’m glad to be back!
You woke up this morning at the ripe hour of 10:00am, took one look at the beautiful sunshine cascading through the window and thought, “Fuck. It’s a gorgeous day.” Then you covered your head with your pillow and sobbed.
Because you know who doesn’t care that it’s a gorgeous day? Your Depression.
Depression isn’t impressed by the abundant sunshine and the flowers blooming, because all Depression wants to do is lie down, hold its head between its hands, play a reel of guilt-ridden thoughts on loop, and pray for bedtime. But gorgeous weather gets in the way of this. Gorgeous weather causes friends and social media to say, “You should definitely go outside– it’s gorgeous out!” And of course you SHOULD go outside. And if you were you, you WOULD go outside. But you’re not you right now. Depression has the reins, and Depression laughs in your face when you think about leaving the bed. Depression says, “Go ahead, sad sack! Go try to ‘enjoy’ that weather. But if you think that weather is going to get rid of this headache, infuse you with energy, or make you stop hating yourself, then you really haven’t been paying attention for the past 20 years. Worthless idiot.”
Yeah. Depression is THAT mean.
But you try anyway. You swallow three Advil, force yourself to drink water, and put on your sneakers. You jog a whole city block before Depression says, “Nope, not happening, loser!” and slows your jog to a brisk, then painfully slow, walk. YOU are a marathon runner. YOU have trained for and finished 7 half marathons and 3 full marathons in the past five years. But Depression laughs at you for thinking that makes a difference right now. What YOU can do doesn’t matter. YOU are not running the show right now. YOU just get to watch while Depression takes a body that normally sprints every single morning and paralyzes it to a slow, walking-through-mud trudge.
But you run anyway. Not in the way you want to, or as fast as you want to, and only intermittently, for less than two blocks at a time. Because while you’re powerless to fight Depression in its entirety, there’s nothing wrong with giving it a quick FUCK YOU every few minutes. You make it to Central Park, and inherently, somewhere inside you, you know it’s beautiful. You know you’ve been waiting all winter for this kind of weather, for this kind of scenery, and you know what you should feel. But Depression doesn’t give a fuck. Depression takes the opportunity of a gorgeous day and uses it to make you feel even worse about yourself. Depression says, “See all these happy people enjoying the day? Bet you wish you were one of them! But nope, you’re just here, wallowing in your misery, looking around and feeling sorry for yourself. You can’t appreciate ANY of it. Because you’re selfish. And spoiled. Do you know how many people would kill for the luxury of being able to spend a whole beautiful spring day in Central Park? You’re pathetic.”
Like I said. Depression is a mean motherfucker.
But you keep going. Because while the walk/jog isn’t making you feel any better, and the weather isn’t giving you even a modicum of the energy that everyone swears it will, and every step feels like it’s sucking out a piece of your deadened soul, you know that if you can at the very least hit your daily Fit Bit step goal for the day, you will have ONE victory to hang your hat on. ONE little seemingly superficial victory that you can point to and say “I did this thing today.” ONE tiny victory before you crawl desperately back into bed and cry into the Kindle that you so badly want to read but Depression, with its crippling assault on your concentration, won’t allow you to. ONE minuscule victory that will allow you to whisper a semi-satisfied, “Fuck you, Depression” as you fall into a pill-induced, fitful slumber tonight.
And you do it. You hit the goal.
ONE small victory against Depression.
Maybe tomorrow there will be two.
Eric got us both FitBits and immediately challenged me to a “who takes more steps in a week” contest. Which, to be honest, is just insane, as 1) I run marathons and 2) I’m on my feet with children all day.
But he INSISTED he’d still out-step me, which made no logical sense, unless the theory “Boys are good at all the things!!!” makes sense to you. (No, he didn’t say that. But it was there on his smug face). So I have spent the entire week ensuring that I will beat him– running unnecessary runs, finishing every errand that’s been on my my to-do list for months, mindlessly walking in circles in my kitchen, pacing for 25 minutes in my therapist’s waiting room (which didn’t at all make the other patients anxious, I’m sure of it. They would have been clutching that Xanax regardless.)
But it’s all been worth it because I have been kicking his ass, and have so thoroughly enjoyed rubbing it in his face all week.
Ok, well. This isn’t fun anymore.
Kid: “Did you run the marathon just so you could eat all the turkey at Thanksgiving?”
Me: “That’s ridiculous.”
WHO TOLD HIM?!?!?!