My Weight Struggle

I have been on a roller coaster with my weight for as long as I can remember. When I was young, fourth or fifth grade, I played softball, soccer, and tried cheerleading for one devastating season. Throughout cheerleading I was always told to eat less, smile more and cover my face in makeup so I would be prettier. I was never the smallest girl on my softball team or my soccer team despite running just as much as the other girls. Maybe more since my attitude always earned me extra laps.

Those types of comments continued on through middle school where I ballooned to a larger size. And then I continued to grow. And grow. I was still playing sports, but I moved right before my 8th grade year and it was very hard for me to make new friends in a small town school where “new” kids just didn’t fit in and never would.

I kept getting bigger in high school. I was still running. Still playing sports. I was trying. I didn’t think I was TOO big. But I was one of the biggest girls on my soccer team and it was hard for me to feel good about myself or my weight. I graduated high school at 170 pounds. I was 30 pounds heavier than my sister. Which no one let me forget. I was several sizes larger than she was even though I had the same exercise program and food in my daily life.

As I went to college, things just got astronomically worse. I was in a steady relationship for the first time ever and he was abusive. I gained a lot more weight with his abuse and the never-ending comments about how I was too fat to get another boyfriend, too ugly, too big, not good enough, not smart enough. He left and I entered into a depression. I put on a total of 100 pounds give or take a few after I graduated high school. I put on weight in a relationship, I put on weight after we broke up, I put on weight and put on weight. I couldn’t lose any weight.

My last year in college I worked hard to lose weight. I wanted to fit into my bridesmaid dress for my sisters wedding in May. I lost about 50 pounds before the wedding. I ran and I worked out with my University’s ROTC program. After graduation, Bobby and I kept up with the exercising. It gave us something to do and bond over. I lost another 25 to 30 pounds with him and I was finally under 200 pounds again. For a little bit of reference I am only 5’4 and 270 pounds was an extremely unhealthy, unattractive weight for my body type.

Now that I was finally under 200 pounds, I knew I needed help to get the rest of the weight off. I started my new job and after 6 months or so, the ladies in my office decided we would try Weight Watchers together while we trained for a half marathon. Our half marathon is actually coming up this weekend and I have lost another 35 pounds. I am now down below my high school graduation weight and I have lost a little over 100 pounds.

The main problem for me though is that I am still not happy. I don’t feel good. I don’t feel happy. I don’t feel proud of losing any of the weight because when I look in the mirror I still see the 270 pound me looking back. I see all the flaws. The belly pooch, the stretch marks, the chubby cheeks, the big thighs.. I don’t know how to fix my self image problem. My boyfriend tells me all the time I am beautiful, but I don’t see it and it makes it very hard to believe him.

I am still not happy with my weight. It’s not just the way I look, but the number I see. It’s hard for me. It’s bad for my confidence. I want to be where my doctor thinks I need to be. To be there, I still need to lose another 25 pounds. I can see a lot of places where it could come off of, but so far it has stayed put. I am just trying to work harder now. I go to the gym 3 to 5 times a week, I run, I train. I just want to see progress. I just want to FEEL the progress.

I wish things were simpler and easier. I wish that my mirror was just built to show me the progress I have made as opposed to the faults I see. But it isn’t. And I can’t depend on other people because it’s in my mind.

So until then. I will continue to workout and do my best to see the results.

 

Fear 8. Being Behind

What does that mean? Being behind. To me, it means a lot of things. Being behind in education, love, life, milestones, general things that happen in daily life.. And for as long as I can remember, I have felt like I am falling behind.

It’s very hard to be a twin. I wouldn’t trade my sister for anything in the world, and I love her with my whole heart. We have a connection that can’t ever be broken, but it’s hard to be the twin that can’t do anything right. That’s the twin I am.

I get a lot of things done, and I have accomplished a lot of things, but that doesn’t mean I feel like I have done them all in the right time.

In high school, my sister was involved with the man who is now her husband. They’ve been together since our sophomore year in high school. Which is wonderful for her and for him. I did not have that experience. I had several boyfriends while in high school, including one who was not the best first boyfriend you could ask for. He was abusive and controlling, but thankfully, he left me and I moved on. I dated a few other boys in high school and was informed multiple times by family members that I needed to stop running boys off and be more like my sister. And that’s when I started to really question myself.

Continuing through high school, there were other things that happened to influence that I was falling behind in life. Even though we took a lot of the same classes, she was in the top 10% of our graduating class, I wasn’t. She was section leader for our band section, and captain of our soccer team. I had always been the one who took sports more seriously, so that was one of the most devastating things to ever happen in my life up to that point. I remember my senior year, I stepped onto the field for a total of 2 minutes and 17 seconds. I didn’t play in my senior night, I didn’t play in my last game, I didn’t play in our playoff games, I didn’t even play on JV. I know, looking back now, that it was my own fault, but it didn’t make me feel like I was making any progress in life. Falling behind.

At our graduation party, people asked me what I did wrong to not get the same scholarship she got to our university, and why I didn’t have a boyfriend at our graduation, etc. It was never ending. That didn’t stop when we got to our college graduations. She graduated a year before me, with a double bachelor’s degree. I was incredibly proud of her, but at her party, a lot of the family friends couldn’t seem to figure out what was wrong with me and it started all over again. I graduated a year later with my bachelor’s degree. At the same time, she got married. I was behind again.

At my graduation party, no one cared that I was graduating college after a long and hard fought five years, they just wanted to talk about my sister getting married to her long time boyfriend and high school sweetheart. Which was fine. But.. didn’t make me feel too great. They all asked me repeatedly when I was getting married. I told them that since I didn’t have a boyfriend I had no idea. So they told me to be more like my sister. And I fell a little further behind.

I started working out a lot more. Applying to a lot of jobs and trying to use my chemistry degree. I got official notice that I got my job the same week she got a giant promotion at her company. Although my parents seemed to be proud of me for a few days, they were soon distracted and when we went out to dinner to celebrate, it was a celebration of her new promotion more than my new job. I love my sister very much, but it was difficult to be happy for her at that time. Behind a little bit more.

When she graduated, she also bought a house, and a car. I got those same things, it just took me a few more years. A little more behind. Don’t get me wrong. I am so proud of her. Beyond proud. I think a lot of my “being behind” comes from internal problems. I have always been compared to her and found wanting. Now I see all the things I lack without them being pointed out.

My sister and her husband are currently trying for a baby but have run into problems due to her PCOS. I want them to have a baby and I want her to be happy but at the same time I see her crossing another milestone without me. I am still not married. Although I am a few steps closer than I have been in the past. I have a steady, long-time boyfriend, and we have a home together, cars together, and a kitten. We’re discussing marriage but we have a few more things we need to get figured out before we take that plunge. And to be honest, for the first time, I am okay with it. It’s okay to be taking things slow. I want things to be right. So I am trying to relax and be okay with where I am and where things are going.

So, that is my eighth fear. Falling behind. Being behind. Staying behind. I want to be where people my age should be. Everyone from my graduating class is married/engaged/or a mother/father. I am trying not to focus on it, but it’s an ever present thought.

Thanks for reading.

Silence. The Worst Way to “Acknowledge” Problems.

What happens in your life when things go wrong? Do you talk about it? CAN you talk about it? Is it a big problem? A small problem? A health issue? A money problem? What’s happening in your life that you need to handle? Better question… HOW are you handling it?

I suffered A LOT in high school from what is essentially ignorance and silence on an issue that was almost considered to be taboo in my home. Mental health. I struggled with anxiety, panic attacks, depression and self harm. But I never even knew that those things were a possibility even though there is a genetic predisposition to depression in my family. My mother had postpartum depression and she was on medication for several years to essentially cope when my younger siblings were toddlers. But she stopped taking medication and basically shoved her entire experience and struggle under the rug.

When I was put into mandatory counseling at the age of 17 due to a teacher at my high school finding out about my self harm. My mom was called. My parents were notified because I wasn’t of age yet and since I was at school they were required to be notified. My mom cried and asked me where she went wrong with me. She didn’t tell me she had suffered from depression for several years, or that she had considered counseling for herself off and on for several years. She asked what was wrong with me. Why was I upset? Why was I angry?

Once in counseling I was just embarrassed about everything. Ashamed. Guilty. Mad. I didn’t understand why I was being blamed for everything when I was feeling extremely victimized by all the people around me. My parents, teachers, friends, my sister, my boyfriends, myself..

It was hard to admit that I had a lot of pain. All I thought I felt was anger. And I didn’t realize at the time that the “anger” was just pain. Internal pain I couldn’t escape from. I fought it. I fought myself. My mind. I felt so guilty, all I could think about was how much I had hurt my parents even though I felt like they had hurt me too. I was so ashamed of how I had made them feel. I felt like they were disappointed. Ashamed of me. Exhausted from trying to deal with me. And each one of those feelings alone is hard to handle, all of them combined was devastating to me.

I learned through counseling just how dangerous silence can be. No one acknowledged that there was a possibility something like this could happen to me. No one gave me a warning. I’ve since learned, I am also genetically predisposed to other health problems, cancers, diabetes, heart disease, hypoglycemia, and dementia. I question a lot of things now. I learned to handle my panic, to an extent, and I have learned to manage my hypoglycemia through my diet. I lost weight to avoid diabetes and I get regular cancer screenings. I still occasionally go to therapy. Sometimes you just need to talk.

I have good days and bad days. When I get stressed out I feel like there are WAY more bad days than good days. But when I am happy, it can be weeks of good days. It’s hard when you try to deal with it alone. And I feel like that’s one of the things that led to my problems in high school. Trying to handle everything alone. It wasn’t supposed to be happening and I needed to just be able to handle it. Everyone had problems and I was just being weak.. The internal battle was only escalated by the fact that I didn’t realize that problems like the ones I was having were not normal. There IS help. And help is a GOOD thing. Your brain is a muscle. It gets tired, sore, worn out. If you mess up your knee you go to a doctor. If your brain is hurting, you go to a doctor. It’s not a bad thing. It shouldn’t be such a taboo. Ignoring the problems completely doesn’t make them go away.

There are so many things in this post that can be posts in and of themselves. I just want to emphasize that silence is not the way to handle things. The problems you’re facing will still be there and if you have the option to have someone else help you with them you should use it.

Best wishes to each and every person out there who is struggling and feels alone. You’re not alone. You deserve help. So get it.

Thanks for reading.

Fear 7. Career Progression

There are so many facets to this particular fear for me. Advancing in my career outside of regular promotions that are disclosed once the job is accepted requires a Master’s degree.

Let me preface this with, I was accepted into a Master’s program in my chosen field. But, I got too overwhelmed with things happening at work and in my personal life that I chose not to attend. I can’t decide if I regret that decision or not at this point in my life.

One thing that scares me about my career progression is my current “boss”. She’s not actually my supervisor at my office, but she is over all of the chemists that work in the lab I work in. When I was finishing my training for my most recent career progression/promotion she literally made my life hell. I had been training for almost a year, while simultaneously working in an area I had previously trained for. She hated everything I do. Everything was always wrong and small problems that required a possible email or phone call ended up being large issues that she berated me for. I got to the point where I didn’t want to go to work anymore. I was scared anytime the phone rang or I got a new email. I had multiple days where I broke down and cried at work after she would call me. And she called me almost every day. Sometimes just to tell me I would never make it at this job and that I should probably quit now before I wasted more time and money. That was incredibly hard to hear, especially being so new to my job anyways. She was supposed to be encouraging me, but instead she was tearing me down. Word by word. I questioned a lot of things at that point in time. Whether I was right for my current job, whether a Master’s degree was worth pursuing if I wasn’t even any good at the one I was at without it, if I could afford to go back to school, and if I was going to pass the classes in my current frame of mind if I went back.

Another thing that was on my mind, was how I was going to finance my education. I managed to get through my undergraduate degree with no student loans, but once I started my new job I got a new car, and I was in the process of buying a house when I was applying to schools. I was taking a huge hit to my finances and I wasn’t sure if I would be able to afford school loans on top of everything else that was coming up and needing paid. Now, as I sit here reconsidering going back to school all I can think about is how I still have a car payment, I now have a house payment, and I ended up needing medical attention recently and I am paying those bills as well. Can I budget for student loans? Probably. But would I be able to continue taking a yearly vacation? Buying gifts? I don’t know. It may seem strange, but the majority of my money isn’t spent on myself outside of my bills. I spend a lot of my money on gifts and activities. I love to give people things that I think they will enjoy. I love to give presents that make people smile and since I have the money to do it, I don’t mind indulging them in their more expensive requests. I also enjoy doing runs. And those are definitely not cheap. In case you haven’t noticed by now, I am actually terrible at keeping money. Can I manage it? Yes. But I like to spend it. Bobby is good for me when it comes to things like that. He makes me save money and gets on to me for spending it on things he deems unnecessary. It’s been good for me, and frustrating at the same time. Spending money together is what being a couple is all about, but when we both make our own incomes and still have to share it can lead to some adjusting.

Outside of the financial aspects and the potential for my “boss” to go absolutely bananas again if I were to put in for any sort of promotion above what is expected, there is also the internal fear that I have. I don’t consider myself a people pleaser, but I don’t like making people unhappy either. I want people to be happy. I want them to enjoy being around me, and I want to make a good difference wherever I happen to go. I worry about how I would handle confrontations or people who were unhappy with how I was in a professional capacity. It was hard to deal with my “boss” and I don’t want people to talk or think about me in the same way I have thought about her. I would hate for anyone to talk to me the way she talked to me. And I know it might not happen, but at the same time, it might. And that’s scary. That’s another part of my anxiety coming into play. I am scared of hypothetical situations that have no basis for happening but keep me from pursuing things nonetheless.

Could I make it in school? Could I get the grades that I would need to graduate with the Master’s program? Would it make a difference in my life? My career? Would it help or hurt me? Would I be able to attend my classes and still work? If it’s all online could I keep up with the work without letting myself get distracted? So many questions. So many unknown questions.

Then there’s the alternative. I go back to school, put myself in debt, and nothing happens. I don’t use it. I don’t get the promotions that are supposed to come with a Master’s degree. What would I do then? Not to say it would be completely useless, I could eventually teach with my combination of degrees and experience, but if I didn’t get to promote within my company/lab then what? It would be essentially on hold for the next 20-25 years of my career and I would still have to pay back all of my borrowed money for loans on the same salary I receive now. I could do it, but I don’t know if I want too. I don’t know if it’s the right choice for me.

Then I have to ask myself honestly, if I think I would be a good professional leader. Do I have what it takes to progress past where I am right now? And I don’t have an answer for that either.

Then I question whether or not the classwork would overwhelm me while I try to work at the same time. CAN I do it? CAN I keep up with it all? Or will it overwhelm me and I quit or cry or lose hope in myself? That almost happened in my undergraduate studies and I worry about the possibility of it happening again at a higher level where I am literally going into debt to get an education.

The unknowns that are associated with the chance for career progression are overwhelming. I don’t know what will happen in the future, but I do know if I am going to go back to school I need to do it quickly. One, because my GRE scores will no longer be valid and I don’t want to take that test again, although I would. And two, because if I don’t go now or soon, I don’t think I will continue to even think about it or have that motivation to go back.

Until I decide, maybe you guys can leave me some comments on pros and cons about going back or staying out of school?

Thanks for reading.

 

What Makes Me Happy?

I am just feeling the need to write this one today. I am feeling a little lonely since Bobby has gone back to work (he works out of state, 10 days away, 4 days home). I thought it would be a good idea to write out things that make me happy. Things I can and do enjoy when he is home and away.

1. Working Out.

I thoroughly enjoy working out and he actually got me a gym membership with a tanning package! (Yes, I know tanning is bad and has some potentially bad side effects such as cancer, but I enjoy it and it relaxes me and feels like a prize after a good workout) He knows I have struggled with my weight, he has actually been around since I was at my heaviest, and helped me by working out and getting me running again when I first started to get serious about losing weight after college graduation. He works out with me when he is home and it’s nice to have a shared passion that I also enjoy on my own. Granted, he is more into lifting weights, while I am more into running, but there’s enough in common between us that we both enjoy going to the gym.

2. Gardening

I actually have a very intense passion for flowers. Inside and outside. Although Bobby and I have a kitten, and she literally destroys any plant or flower in the house. So, we only have outdoor gardens now. But I enjoy working in them very much. Just this past weekend he and I actually finished our front flower bed. We put in new rose bushes and some small flowers that will branch out and cover the ground. I was also gifted some hosta lilies from his mom. 🙂 He also bought me a peach tree so I get to experiment with growing a fruit tree for the first time! I am planning to put in another new garden this upcoming weekend if the rain hold off on me. I have several species of lilies that will go in and I am planning to put in elephant ears (my favorite plant!). And even though this isn’t really a “garden” we’re planning to put in a patio and a fire pit in the backyard so we can start hosting parties! I am hoping for a 4th of July party where I can show off the whole house and yard. Fingers crossed I get all of my furniture moved in by then.

3. Junking

I LOVE to go junking. It’s a lot of fun and a great bonding experience for me and my mom and sisters. We love to go hunt around at garage sales, thrift shops, antique malls, and auctions. We have found a lot of great things when we go out and about and we always have a lot of fun, whether we find anything or not! I can honestly say, this is one thing that is all mine. Bobby does like to go to auctions with me, but the rest is all just something I enjoy doing alone or with my family.

4. Soccer

I love playing, watching, anything to do with this sport. It was a passion of mine for years. I played from the age of 8 until I was 19 in an outdoor league, then I played off and on through college and for a year or so after in an indoor league with some of my adult friends. I love watching soccer, on television or in person. It makes me happy. I also used to referee soccer and I enjoyed that immensely until the parents and coaches just got to be too overwhelming and negative. I still love the sport though. I don’t follow any particular team, but if it’s on I will definitely be watching it.

5. Baking

I much prefer baking to cooking. I am not very good at cooking without a recipe or better yet, a box that tells me exactly what I need and what to do. But baking… Baking I love. It’s such a relaxing thing for me. I am a chemist by nature, and baking is just like chemistry. I do like to follow a recipe, but I have made my own on more than one occasion. I don’t eat very many desserts or sweet things, but I love to make them. Some of my favorites are fudge, drop cookies, no-bake cookies (I still count it as baking if I get a cookie from it!), and I make some of my own cakes and pies and cobblers. It’s very stress relieving to just go in a kitchen and make something beautiful and delicious. It smells wonderful, it looks amazing. That gives me such a huge sense of accomplishment.

6. Reading/Writing

I have a slight addiction to reading and writing blogs and articles.. I love to read anything really. Novels. Romance stories with a smidge of mystery and comedy. Makes me smile. I read A LOT. I enjoy learning new things whether it’s entirely random facts, interesting things from across the world, the news, advice columns.. Anything and everything!

I can’t think of too much more off the top of my head, but I think I made a good start on a promising list!

Thanks for reading!

 

 

Fear 6. My Anxiety

This fear seems to go hand in hand with my depression. I am afraid of what it can and will do to me in the future. Will it require medication? Is it going to make my life harder when I try to have children or get married? I have so much anxiety and stress in my life on a daily basis I can’t imagine adding anymore.

I want a lot out of life, but life itself makes me exceedingly nervous. There is no way to plan for it. It’s unexpected at all times. Anything can happen at any time. That scares me. I have been in and out of counseling, but it never makes my anxiety any less than it has been. I learn coping mechanisms, I learn how to identify and deal with panic attacks, because I do have Panic Anxiety Disorder, but even with identifying and handling panic attacks and anxiety I don’t feel like I have a better handle on it in general.

It doesn’t really seem to “hinder” me throughout my life, but there are a lot of side effects that come along with an anxiety disorder. I chew/bite my nails until they bleed when I am stressed out or suffering from my anxiety. When I am stressed, I also tend to get cold sores or fever blisters. Which are a result of changes in mood, hormone levels, and just in general the stress causing the body’s immune system to drop. I also tend to panic and run away from whatever has panicked me. For example, sometimes I just get overwhelmed. I was trying to let my parents and sisters dogs in once and they had wet feet from the grass. There’s six of them, and they’re all big, but I shouldn’t have lost my cool when I couldn’t corral them all inside one at a time. I yelled at them and screamed. Left the back door wide open and scared them all as I ran away in tears to lock myself in the bathroom and cry about how my day had taken such a drastic turn. It’s not always something big or dramatic that leads to an episode.

It’s episodes like that one that make me question my ability to be a parent. I know eventually I will have to disclose all of that to Bobby in a way he’ll understand, because I think right now he doesn’t understand that it’s not always big, scary things that overwhelm me. Having kids is a fear in and of itself so adding my anxiety and depression on top of it is.. Awful.

Is there hope for me? Am I really doomed to fight this everyday battle for the rest of my life?

Recently I have taken large steps to attempt to get my anxiety under control. I have tried to stop biting my nails, they’re now long enough I can put polish on them. They’re currently a light blue with glitter. Not exactly professional but I work in the back so it’s not as big of a deal for me. I haven’t had a cold sore in several months. And that makes me pleased. Especially since I have been through some large changes in my life recently. Bobby and I made our first large purchase together, a new truck for him, which ties us together for the next 7 years of our lives permanently. While it’s exciting, it’s also nerve wracking to be financially planning for not only my own future now, but his, ours as well.

It gives me something good to focus on. Something to aim and try for. But I can admit, it’s also exceptionally nerve wracking as well. I don’t want to be a disappointment to people around me or to myself.

So here’s to trying again. Fighting one more day. Handling whatever life decides to throw at me.

Thanks for reading.

The Ex-Best Friend

I don’t know how many people out there can relate to this, but I have an ex-best friend. She and I were friends for almost 10 years. All the way through high school, and most of college. Then it was like.. a switch flipped. I think we both contributed to the down fall and the spiral out of control, but she says I blindsided her when I decided to terminate the friendship. I felt a small amount of guilt about that, but more than anything, all I felt was relief. Terrible? Probably. But it was so true.

The friendship was hard for me to maintain, and to be honest, it felt more like a relationship than a friendship at times and all we did was fight and argue, mostly about how I had disappointed her or let her down. And that was really hard for me, especially when I was trying to desperately to crawl out of the hole my depression had dropped me in while I was in college.

Let’s rewind and go back to the beginning. We met in band my freshman year in high school. We played the same instrument and since she was a year ahead of me in school, she was the section leader. We didn’t exactly hit it off. She was almost the complete opposite of me. I was happy, and confident. Vibrant is what a lot of people used to call me. That was before going to college and the relationship that crushed my spirit for several years and the unfortunately long climb back into a reasonably normal self that I am now.

She was one of those kids that always wore black, not that that was bad, but it was different. She was also exceptionally quiet and you never knew what she was thinking but you always sensed that she was judging you and finding you lacking. I found out later, that she was extremely judgmental and she was almost always drunk for the first two years that I knew her. She had a substance abuse problem. She drank A LOT. And she cut.

I think at first, I wanted to help her. I wanted her to see that life doesn’t have to be all bad. She was extremely pessimistic and didn’t see anything good about herself or anyone else around her. Including her family. She always claimed that her dad was abusive towards her but.. I never saw any evidence of that, and I was friends with her for almost ten years. She always said he made her feel uncomfortable. Which I can’t fault her for. She said he was too touchy feely with her, but I think part of that is that he bothered to touch her at all (as in a hug). She was, and is, extremely standoffish. She doesn’t like to be touched or really even talked too as far as I have found out.

After she graduated, things got a little tense. She was living at home and trying to go to school close to home. Which meant she was closer to her dad a lot more often. She never worked or lived on campus and that meant she was home alone with him a lot. When I went to school, she acted like it was expected for me to house her since I was in a dorm away from our home town, still not far away, but far enough she felt like she was free from her dad and her family. I told her no and things were tense again, that first year and a half of college for me was a whirlwind in and of itself. I was in an abusive relationship and literally fighting for some semblance of freedom. Once we were broken up, I was fighting to be me again.

I think part of our friendships downfall was simply the fact that I was, and still am, selfish. I am 24 years old. I want to do things, go places. And I want to do and go as I please. That didn’t always work well with her. She acted like I was obligated to invite her, or take her places with me. And that’s because even though I was growing up and learning what I could do and where all I could go, she wasn’t. She still NEEDED me. NEEDED to not be alone. I feel like we grew apart. Because I was growing up and she wasn’t.

Eventually she decided to transfer schools to a city about 3 hours away from where I was. She was struggling with being alone for the first time and I didn’t have the time or the inclination to drop everything and run to comfort her. She started dating someone and he ultimately ripped the fabric of our friendship beyond repair.

He lived in another state and they dated long distance for several years. But they had a rocky relationship where they would break up and get back together, and break up and get back together. He was into drugs and alcohol and women that weren’t her. He always blamed their lack of a normal relationship. They lacked a certain intimacy that he chose to find with other women closer to his home. One of the worst things that happened when she was dating him though, was that he spoiled her when he was in the mood too. She would have a “bad” day and he would leave his job (he was employed with his dad) to drive down to see her. A Six or seven hour drive. He would arrive like a knight in shining armor at three in the morning and she’d skip classes for the next few days to spend with him while he helped her to “feel better”.

Once they were broken up “for good”, she would expect that same behavior of me. Which wasn’t fair or possible. I lived just three hours away, but I worked 40 hours a week and was in class or lab 60 hours a week and doing homework whenever I wasn’t sleeping. She then grew to resent that I never visited her. I did go up once or twice a year, but only if there was something we could do besides sit on her dorm bed and watch television for hours.. I would go up for football games or baseball games, basketball games or homecoming. It was hard for me to visit her though because the campus she was on was where my abusive ex was. I didn’t enjoy being there anymore. I was on edge and always fighting memories everywhere I went.

That was something else she didn’t quite understand. And then we come down to the real friendship ender.. I made the mistake of trying to get her and the ex back together. She begged me to run interference, and I had dated his brother for a little bit while they were together. I didn’t realize he was going to hit on me, he was a real ladies man but he had always been hands off with me. Until they were broken up. He came onto me and even though things never went anywhere with it, she never forgave me. So, to get back to me, when I first started talking to my now boyfriend, Bobby, she took it upon herself to send him naked photographs of herself and her (beautiful) body. I am a bigger woman, I’ve lost a little over 100 pounds and I could still stand to lose another 25 or 30 to be in my “normal” weight range for my height. She has never, and most likely will never be above a size 2. And I have to admit, she has the body type Bobby has always gone for. All of his ex girlfriends look like her. But I don’t feel like that excuses her behavior.

Friends shouldn’t do things like that. And I can admit to making mistakes in the friendship. I wasn’t always there when she needed me to be. I wasn’t always there when she wanted me to be. I withdrew from things because I didn’t feel there was trust there, but I never bothered to talk to her about it. I should have, although I don’t think it would have changed how I feel right now about the things she did to me. I can’t forget what she told him. I have it memorized. Word for word. “You can’t really want to be with her. She’s fat. Look at me. I’m what you want. I’m beautiful. Fit. I take care of myself. She’s a fat bitch.” That was accompanied along with a photograph of her enviably flat stomach and great boobs.

Yesterday was her birthday. I didn’t send her a happy birthday message or wishes for happiness. I don’t wish anything bad for her, but I don’t want her in my life anymore. My family doesn’t understand and at family functions, which she almost always gets invited too, it’s awkward. They blame me. And that’s okay. Even if it does hurt my feelings, that’s how they see things. That’s what they feel. And that’s valid whether I think I was in the right or wrong. Do I wish I had family support in my decision? Absolutely. But it doesn’t make me feel bad for making what I feel was the best decision for me personally.

I wish I had been able to help her see the good qualities she has and the potential in life around her. I do feel like I have failed when it comes to that. But I did everything I could and if she didn’t take the reigns to change her life, it’s not my fault. I can’t change her life for her. That’s something she’ll have to do for herself. I still pray for her. I hope she finds whatever makes her happy. I just hope she can do it on her own and not with people pushing her and prodding her every step of the way.

So to my ex-best friend, good luck in life.

Fear 5. My Depression

Depression doesn’t automatically sound like something to be feared, but for me it is. Sometimes my depression can be overwhelming. It can be debilitating. It can be very scary indeed.

I am always scared of falling back into my depression, and that when I do, it will be the one time I can’t manage to climb out. If I do fall into a depression, will I end up alone? Will Bobby leave me? Will I end up on medication that hampers me more than it hurts me? What will happen to me and will I end up dependent on medication for the rest of my life?

All of those fears and many more are rolled up in my head all the time. They make it hard to escape and be my own person sometimes.

I often have to ask myself if these fears are even grounded. Do they even mean anything? Do they have any effect on my life? And then I realize, its a conscious effort every single day to be happy. I work at it. I work really hard.

I have often wondered if I am bipolar. I have deep times in my life when I don’t have the energy to do anything and I have to work exceptionally hard at getting my mindset right for the upcoming day. Then there are some days when I make excessive impulse decisions and I ride those decision through to the end before fear and panic overwhelms me and I drop back down into a depression. I bought a new car on impulse. Drove to the dealership, traded in my old car and drove off in a new one. I didn’t even blink at the $300/month increase in payments, or the fact that I would be increasing my insurance by $100 a month for full coverage all at one time. It took me about 3 days to realize the financial impact on my life and how much my budget was going to be affected.

I bought my house in much the same way. I was living in an apartment and I woke up one night to the college kids above me screaming and stomping and partying (again) at 2 in the morning. I had to be up in just a few hours to get ready for work and I had already talked to the landlord several times before then about the excessive noise and the rudeness of them parking in my designated spot. It sounds silly, but those were big things to me in my frustrated depressed state. So one day, I started packing my stuff up, and I started house shopping. I found a house I liked within 2 months, closed on it within another month and had moved out of my apartment and into the house within 4 months. I didn’t hesitate to add yet another $300 a month increase in cost of living, and another $200 in utilities, then another $150 in cable and internet.. All of that on top of buying a new car just 5 months before..

Sometimes I just don’t think. It took me until I got back from my vacation to realize the financial impact THAT was going to have on my life. It’s been several months since then and things are starting to even out in the financial aspect, but I always have to ask myself when will the next time be? What will I be purchasing next? What is going to happen to finances when I get back into a rut and then I end up slightly manic taking a giant risk again?

Is depression always like this? It is always a matter of buying your way out? Finding one thing you think will make you happy and going after it before you sink back down?

I am scared of it always being like this. Always the ups and the downs. Always the internal questioning of whether I am actually happy, or whether I am pretending again. And then asking myself if I am pretending that day. Trying to realize what is happening in my mind It’s a never ending battle.

I am scared for my future. I wish I knew if it included medicine, or if it didn’t. Am I going to fight this battle forever? Am I going to end up with postpartum? Am I going to end up alone after pushing everyone away?

Another fear that I can’t face until it comes around. It’s a lifelong fear. But I hope that one day I learn a better way to handle it and deal with it.

Thanks for reading.

What Makes Me Enough?

I recently (yesterday) wrote a post called “Habits” and I received a suggestion from thepurpledreamer on a way to combat some of the negative thoughts that sneak up out of habit to ruin my day, my mood, and my self esteem.

Her suggestion was to compile a list of all the things that are good about me. In my own words, the things that make me enough. I’ll be honest and say, I am a little nervous about writing this. Because as I sit here, there aren’t very many qualities or things about myself that I like well enough to consider putting down. And that makes me realize I have a much bigger problem than I was aware of at first.

So, what do I think makes me enough? Maybe not great, or even good, but enough.

I am educated. I have a bachelor’s degree in Chemistry and I worked very hard for it. It’s something I am proud of myself for sticking with and seeing through. I originally did not want to go to college at all, but I stuck it out for 5 years and completed a bachelor’s degree and a double minor. One minor in Anthropology and one in Mathematics.

I am stubborn. This doesn’t seem like it would be considered a good thing, but this is what got my degree. I was determined to get it and too stubborn to change my major to something easier even though chemistry was hard for me. Another thing being stubborn has helped me accomplish is losing 100+ pounds. It didn’t help my body image or the way I think about myself, but my body is healthier nonetheless and that’s a plus.

I am loyal. This one seems self explanatory so I won’t bore anyone with why I feel like this can be added to the list.

I am sensitive. This one is as much a fault as it is a strength I think. I can empathize with a lot of people in a lot of different scenarios and I have a lot of love to give to anyone who might happen to need some. However, I also feel VERY deeply. Everything. And that can hurt me.

I love. Deeply. Truly. Always.

It’s so sad to me that while trying to compile a list of things that I like about myself, all I can do is think about all the things I don’t like. I can’t find any good things to focus on, because I keep talking myself out of putting them on the list. Maybe when I update this list, or I am having a better day in the future it will grow or I will feel like I have more positive attributes. Unfortunately today is not that day.

Thanks for reading.

Habits

Does anyone out there just have a habit you can’t seem to kick? Biting your nails (guilty as charged here..), swearing (and 2 for 2), or maybe it’s a different type of habit. A habit that’s much more harmful and less cathartic.

For example, I also have a terrible habit of criticizing my every move. Talking meanly to myself in my head, and sometimes even out loud, because I know that will hurt me more to actually hear it. Sometimes I intentionally stress myself out to the point of functioning on autopilot because I just can’t bear to be alone with myself. All habits. All much more debilitating than chewing on my fingernails.

I see my every flaw. Every mistake I make, or even “mistakes” I only THINK I make haunt me. I can replay conversations from years ago and that ONE hurtful comment is the only one that I focus on. Could have been a lovely conversation, beautiful weather, then all of the sudden, have you gained any weight? Are you bloated? Are you tired, or are your eyes always that bruised? Are you mad? Because you’re not smiling and so you look really mad. What size are you wearing now anyways? A 16? 18?

Every single negative word is burned in my brain. On my bad days, one of my habits is to replay them all. Mostly in order from what hurts the least to what hurts the most. Because by the end, I need to have convinced myself that nothing has changed. Why do I do this? Habit. I am used to feeling bad, let down, and like the greatest disappointment in the lives of my parents, friends, lovers and extended family.

In high school I had a problem, a habit, of self harm. I didn’t know how to put my anxiety/fear/depression/anger into words and deal with it in a healthy way so I cut. It’s not something I am proud of, but it’s something that led me to be the woman I am today so I can’t leave it out completely. I feel like even though I haven’t cut in years, and I have learned to handle my pain and anger in a more healthy way in regards to my physical self, I can’t say that I have learned an actual positive way to deal with it. I still hurt myself. But rather than with a knife or razor blade, I use words and thoughts.

This is something I was hoping to outgrow, but so far it seems to be increasing rather than slowing down. I find myself doing it much more frequently than I used too. I don’t know if it’s because growing up and having a job that only takes 50 to 60 hours a week leaves more time for me to be alone with myself, or if I just stress more now that my entire livelihood depends on my job and the money I bring home, whereas in school it was just gas to and from, food, and school payments.

It’s funny, because I didn’t even realize this had become a habit until I was talking to my boyfriend and he kept asking why I always talked about myself so negatively. I had to be honest with him and explain, all I remember are the negative things people say. Whether it’s that I am mean, fat, ugly, dumb, etc..

Now that I am focusing on it I realize I do this A LOT. Every single day. I feel like I am holding myself back from having a full and happy life. I don’t let myself be happy very often because I am constantly afraid of things that I have heard in the past coming back to haunt me. I am currently working on addressing my thoughts when I notice and recognize that I am having them. I am trying to curb them before they sink in too deep and I can’t control them anymore.

Does anyone have any advice for how else to manage this besides even more extensive therapy? Is addressing it and trying to fix it on my own going to help at all? Maybe just recognizing it will make it seem like it isn’t as big of a deal? Or will it make it worse? So many things to think about all rolled into one. I haven’t been at my job long enough to feel like therapy is warranted so I don’t know how I would ask for the personal time to take an hour a week to deal with things. Maybe just talking it out will help me. Until then, try to recognize your own habits. Are they positive? Negative? Are you hurting yourself or helping yourself? If you’re not helping yourself, please stop what you’re doing and reconsider. You are a unique person. Individual and special with talents and gifts no one else has. Even on your “bad” days. You’re still the best you. I’ll try to follow my own advice there.

Until next time, thanks for reading.