On Sunday, at church, people said that I "glowed" and looked happy. It's amazing, but true-I am continuing to feel better and better, which is such a relief. I feel alive and at ease with myself in a way that I haven't in a long time. I've even worked on one of my worst bad habits: obsessing about negative past events and dreaming up negative future ones as I drive. This only furthers my depression and anxiety, especially as I drive a lot. Recently, I started saying this prayer while I'm driving to keep my mind from ruminating: "O God, let stay in the present and let me live out to my edges." I'm not quite sure where it came from, but it just popped into my mind one day and I've held onto it. I repeat the phrase over and over in my head and smile to myself. It keeps me in the present, centers my thoughts on wanting to do good things, and gives permanence to the goal of being fully present and fully alive. When I remember to say the prayer, I really do seem to be able to stay more focused and be in a better mood.
BTW, this is what I wore to church:
Light, cotton skirts in this style look really good on me and I own a lot of them. It's a common style that's great for the southern heat and the best thing is that they are easily found at Goodwill. I love Goodwill! I have found some really unique pieces at great prices, like this skirt covered in yellow and tan pears. A tip: shop at Goodwills in rich neighborhoods-they'll have designer clothes, but still sell them at the rock bottom prices. Sweet!
It's National Eating Disorder Awareness (NEDA) week and I must say that I am very happy with the way that I am eating nowadays. I started taking the medication, Zyprexa, as a mood stabilizer a little over a month ago and it was a very tough decision for me. I had been on it once before and during that time I was the most stable I've ever been as an adult. So why did I get off of it? Because it sparked my hunger in a big way and I gained forty pounds. I got frustrated with the fact that every time I saw my doctor, I was told that I had gained weight, so in the end, I told my doctor that I wanted off. He agreed and a few months later, I was completely mentally unstable again. (I feel the need to add that I was seeing my general practitioner for my psychotropic medications at the time and that is a big no-no. I had my reasons and one day I will explain why in a later post. I now have a psychiatrist that I trust and who, I think, is doing a good job managing my medications.) I tried a lot of different medications, but none of them stabilized my moods in the way that Zyprexa had done. I went through hell trying out all of the different medications and it took going through this period to teach me just how precious my recovery is. I finally came to the point where I was willing to try Zyprexa again. I remembered the joyous days I used to have and that seemed totally out of my reach with every other medication, but I was also really scared too. Taking Zyprexa again was saying that I will not let the need to feel "in control" run my life and that my eating disordered thoughts will not win the battle for my mind. When my new psychiatrist found out that Zyprexa had once helped me, he immediately wanted me back on it and I honestly told him my reservations. He convinced me to try it again anyway. My therapist has started weighing me-backwards, so that I cannot see the number-right before each therapy session. She told me to pass my need to know my weight onto her and that she would let me and my doctor know if my weight started to dramatically increase. If it did, we would take appropriate action then, which would not be dieting, but something else, like seeing my nutritionist, lowering the dosage, or getting off the medication altogether. It was such a relief to pass my out-of-control control issues onto my therapist. As a Christian, I have been told often to pass my cares onto Godde. Well, I passed my cares onto my therapist and it felt wonderful. I feel that we experience Godde through our physical surroundings, including other people. For me, right now, passing my cares onto my therapist is about as close to giving them up to Godde as I can get. At first, my hunger and my self-consciousness did significantly increase, but as time went by, the hunger normalized and so did my eating and thinking. Now, I am delighting in food, but not obsessing about it. I am listening to my body and trying to stay mindful as to whether I am emotionally hungry or physically hungry and then eating or not eating accordingly. It is so wonderful to feel "normal" about the way I approach food now-not as something to be feared or obsessed with, but as something to be enjoyed that is vital for my survival.
To this end, I will share with you yesterday's adventures with food:
I discovered snickerpoodles , which are a cookie that you can make for you AND your dog. Really! It looks like a snickerdoodle, but it's far less sweet, because it is sweetened with honey. It has a great texture and surprisingly, a fabulous taste! It's not sickeningly sweet the way some cookies can be, but the cup of honey gives just the right amount and the mixture of cornmeal and cinnamon gives the snickerpoodle the exact same texture and feel as the cinnamon-sugar on a regular one. The only thing is, because they're not incredibly sweet, they're very addicting and I kept on wanting more...
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1/2 cup shortening
1 cup honey
3 ¾ cups white flour
2 teaspoons cream of tartar
1 teaspoon baking soda
½ cup cornmeal
2 teaspoons cinnamon
Mix vegetable oil, shortening , honey with eggs. Beat well. Add flour, soda and cream of tartar. Knead dough until mixed well. Shape dough by rounded teaspoons into balls. Mix the cornmeal and cinnamon together in a bowl and roll balls in mixture. Place 2 inches apart on a greased cookie sheet . Press the balls down with a fork. Bake for 8-10 minutes at 400F. Cool on a rack. Store in airtight container.
Yesterday, I had made the cookies with the girl I work with. Later that same day, we went to the mall and had frozen yogurt from Tutti Frutti. I know this will sound un-American, perhaps, but I actually like frozen yogurt better than ice cream! It's less sweet and tastes great with fruit. This is passion fruit and coconut frozen yogurt with blackberries, kiwis, and passion fruit jellies. So yummy and pretty!
Then, for dinner, I made a fabulous pasta dish: Pesto Squash. I got the idea from allrecipes.com, but I made it my own by adding in other ingredients.
Wow! What a great way to end the day! The walnuts gave great crunch and the noodles helped absorb the oils from the pesto. This was a very tasty dish that could easily be served hot or cold. Enjoy NEDA week by enjoying good food and by treating your body and the bodies of others with kindness.
The evidence suggests that shaming kids about their weight leads to disordered eating (both under and over eating), low self-esteem, and bullying. The evidence suggests that promoting weight loss behaviors in kids predicts eating disorders and weight gain but not weight loss. So if we follow the evidence we would choose to focus on health, and promote programs that encourage kids of all sizes to develop health habits.
Coming to terms with disability means understanding what your limits are, and loving and accepting yourself for who you are today. This can be a difficult journey, because we are all taught that disabled people are to be pitied.