self-help

My WW Story

WW, formerly known as Weight Watchers. “Wellness that works.” What finally drove me to sign up for a weight loss program after decades of self-sufficient obesity?

Pain.

Not just any pain. A very particular kind of nerve pain. Specifically in my left foot. More accurately, the top of my foot…with periodic zaps of electricity pricking the sole of my foot from the inside out,

The top of my foot is so hypersensitized right now that the hem of my pant leg feels like a jagged, splintered shard of glass scraping across it.

Fun stuff.

According to the doctor it’s a rare condition called Tarsal Tunnel Syndrome. Like Carpal Tunnel, but, in the foot.

Yay me! I have a knack for the unusual when it comes to pain and injury. A few years ago, I fell and gave myself a spiral sprain. That’s usually something athletes get, not the general population. But, that’s another story for another time.

The doctor laid out my options:

Gabapentin – an anticonvulsant sometimes used to treat a wide array of mood disorders with some extreme (but rare) side effects like agitation, increased libido, and mania…Sounds like it could trigger a manic episode and I’m already taking four different psych meds to manage the bipolar, depression, anxiety, and insomnia. No. Thank. You.

Surgery – I’m a single mom, struggling to parent my High Functioning Autistic child who also experiences ADHD. I also live upstairs. I can’t afford an extended recovery period from surgical intervention.

Weight Loss – the universal answer to whatever ails you if you carry excess fat on your body, Don’t EVEN get me started! However, it was the most viable of my three options.

Initially, I doubted I could effectively transition from a life so sedentary that my spirit animal could be mistaken as a sloth. After all, WALKING HURT! So, I decided nutrition was the key.

I have lost weight before, using activity and nutrition. As a matter of fact, I lost 20 lbs at the beginning of this year with walking and changing to a healthier diet. Then, I transitioned from my manic state to a bad depressive state, stopped moving, and switched to a fast food diet. The 20 came back and brought a few friends. Five to be exact.

So, here I was – a 49 year old, medically obese woman of 265 lbs with hypothyroidism, Type II Diabetes, high cholesterol, Bipolar II Disorder, PTSD, fibromyalgia, and, now, Tarsal Tunnel Syndrome.

I also have the child I’m parenting, a 25 year old daughter, who is also parenting three littles, who (whom?) has me as her primary emotional support person and occasional baby sitter, and a son turning 32 in three days.

I have a lot of healing to do and a lot to live for. Also, I’m finally reaching the point in life where I believe I’m worth taking care of, too.

I needed help.

So, I searched Weight Watchers. They still had their Labor Day Special going on. It was barely something I could financially afford.

I’m destitute. Between my youngest daughter’s issues and mine, I am not currently able to sustain employment. Her dad pays for electricity, internet, this miniature hand-held computer I use to blog aka cell phone, and pays for all she needs. I live in public housing, survive on $352/mo of SNAP benefits (formerly known as food stamps), and a $72/mo stipend.

I committed close to half my stipend to the first six months of my Weight Watchers lifestyle.

Since I also experience a hitherto undiagnosed Binge Eating Disorder, I decided to approach this like a recovery program and committed myself to attend 90 meetings in 90 days.

Today, November 6, 2018 is my 53rd day and I will be attending my 55th meeting.

If you’re curious about or interested in how this part of my journey has gone, you can find it on my Instagram, humaninrecovery. Start here.

Addendum: I’ve lost about 20 lbs and I have walked daily for the past several weeks and can now walk two miles at a time…sometimes in under 20 min/mile. Yes, the nerve pain is still there.

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C’mon Get Happy

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This week’s WW topic is “Happiness.”

Today was the first of seven of these workshops I’ll be attending this week on my “90 meetings in 90 Days” journey. (I owe you a post to explain that. Tomorrow. Maybe.) Today’s discussion was interesting. I’m looking forward to see how it gets addressed in the other workshops.

The weekly handout suggested that being happy makes the healthy activities we do in our lives more possible and increases the experience of those things. It also acknowledged that partaking of those activities increases happiness.

The workshop’s Coach listed a formula that determines one’s happiness level:

50% Genetics
+10% Life Circumstances
+40% Attitude, Thoughts, & Actions

My immediate reaction was to scoff at the Life Circumstances percentage. I mean, although it hasn’t been as painful and difficult as other people’s, it’s been generously peppered with a lot of trauma. Consequently, I have PTSD. Plus, I experience Depression, Bipolar 2 Disorder, fibromyalgia, and am parenting a child with regularly tells me things like she wishes I would kill myself or that I had been born dead.

Yeah. Happiness is HARD. That’s a LOT of genetics and life circumstances.

I spend a lot of time fighting tears, dealing with bureaucracy, and managing conflict. I’m skeptical that Happiness is a state of being that’s more than occasionally possible for me.

I think Acceptance and Contentedness are much more doable. I think there can be moments of happiness. I think we have to be emotionally and mentally healthy and functional to be able to experience even those moments of happiness. I simply don’t believe that Happiness is achievable as a permanent state.

All that being said, I have my own formula:

Psych meds
+Therapy
+A supportive community
+Activity
+Self-Care
+Choosing to be in positive environments


The ability to experience happiness.

What say you?

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The journey of self-care

“For to see the end from the beginning is a sign that it’s already finished. It’s just a matter of walking it out to completion.“
Dorothy E. Young

I read this on another Tiny Pepper’s NanoPoblano 2018 blog the other day.

It struck me with its profundity. It seemed quite biblical.

  • I can’t see the end of this journey I’m on. I see the transformation pictures of other women who started out my weight and judgy, cynical, self-defeating thoughts start popping in my brain like popcorn. Thoughts like:
    • How skinny is skinny enough?!?
      I could never get THAT small.
      That’s just too thin.

    The fact of the matter is that it doesn’t matter what their size is and it’s not mandated that I get that small and have my body look like theirs. Their journey is different than mine. Their whys are probably different than mine. They are different from me. We are all unique and special in our own way. So are our journeys.

    We do have something in common, though, other than our need/desire to lose weight.

    Learning how to care for ourselves well is key to making it through to the end of this stage of our life’s journey AND not having to go through this stage again.

    Ultimately, many self-care habits and routines are going to vary as much as those of us on this journey do. However, the basics are all the same:

    • Nutrition
    • Activity
    • Rest
    • Relaxation
    • Passionate purpose

    There are some internal prerequisites to achieve those basics. The first of which is deciding that you have value, that your life matters, and your needs are as important as anyone else’s needs.

    That belief in one’s own value leads to the second prerequisite: boundaries. What are those?

    • The ability to say, “No,” to unreasonable demands and requests, is a key boundary.
    • The ability to decide how to deal with and whether to take the criticisms, snide & snarky remarks, manipulation, and verbal abusiveness, all of which are so prevalent in our lives.
    • The ability to stand up for one’s self and assert the right to exist, breathe, and occupy the space you’re in, unapologetically.

    These are the foundation of this journey of healing, recovery, and growth we’re all on. Once those things are in place, as much is possible, then, self-care is possible. Once caring for and about oneself is primary, then, belief in our own abilities comes next and we become unstoppable…even if we can’t see the end from the beginning, at first.

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    NanoPoblano – November 2018 Daily Blog Challenge

    🤔 You’ve probably noticed, or maybe not, how dormant my blog has been for a long while. Periodically, I try to jumpstart my writing by doing a daily blog post challenge. This is another such effort.

    The past few times I started a challenge, I haven’t been able to do the full month before…life. My hope and my plan is to incorporate my life into this month’s effort.

    By that I mean I’m going to bring y’all up to speed with the things that have been going on in my life this year, especially the past couple of months:

    • Parenting
    • Autism
    • ADHD
    • Bipolar 2 disorder
    • PTSD
    • WW (formerly Weight Watchers)
    • Binge Eating Disorder & Compulsive Eating

    are among the things I’ll write about. There may even be a haiku or two and other poetry tossed into the mix.

    Welcome and thanks for joining me on this journey.

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    Writing Prompt: lettrs – Dear Self

    Dear Self,
    Being bipolar, depressed, and anxious, means feeling insane, sometimes acting the same. The thing is, you’re not crazy or lazy, you’re amazing!

    You are neurodiverse, your brain is structured differently. You think differently, experience the world differently, and process those experiences differently. Your capacities, abilities, skills, and talents are different than those with neurotypical brains, not affected by chronic trauma.

    That doesn’t make you bad or wrong and it doesn’t mean you have to change the things which make you, you, in order to conform.

    Yes, medication may be useful, but, it isn’t a cure, because a cure isn’t needed. Think of it as the difference between “breaking” a horse and developing a relationship of trust while training the horse.

    Stop fighting to conform and force your brain to be something it’s not, not allowing it to do what it’s built for, and hobbling it’s ability to move and flow.

    Think of the medication as the tack – the bridle and reigns to direct, the saddle to stabilize, and the stirrups for holding more balance and control. When you lose your grip, slip, and fall, it may take a little bit of work and time, but keep getting back in the saddle and, each time, you’ll stay on and ride, going further and lasting longer.

    The world needs you to be you, not a copy or imitation of anyone else. Otherwise, God would have created you to be them and not you.

    Remember, you’re the only one capable of being you and you’re pretty special.

    Writing Prompt: August Scrawls Day 7

    Letting Go

    Thoughts of you won’t go away
    Feelings won’t be annulled
    My heart’s freedom, obliterated
    None of this in my control

    I judged myself insensate
    My obsession as obtuse
    My desire for you puerile
    My hope, confusing to deduce

    Now I understand the truth
    There’s neither fault or blame
    I know it was a fantasy
    Though I’ll never be the same

    It will take as long as it will take
    For my heart to heal and grow
    I must now forgive us both
    If ever I’m to let you go

    Writing Prompt:

    August Scrawls – annul

    IG: hopelessperriott

    Writing Prompt: August Scrawls Day 5

    Faith Exploration

    The shopkeeper looked up from the book she’d been perusing, The Christian Witch’s Handbook: Solitary Practitioner’s Edition by H. Fuller Hutchinson. It was a familiar sight she beheld: A younger woman, perhaps in her late 20’s or early 30’s, with a furtive demeanor and brightly curious eyes.

    Having decades of experience, she innately understood that the young woman wanted the shopkeeper to be aware of her presence, but didn’t want direct attention.

    “Welcome. Feel free to explore. I’ll be here if you have any questions.”

    The young woman flashed an uncomfortable smile of acknowledgement. Then meandered down a wall aisle of books the shopkeeper knew to be for the curious and those seeking to learn about the various paths and practices. This aisle also contained all the basic ritual items one would need or want if they were just starting out.

    She observed the young woman thumb through a couple of books, then put them back. Next she looked at the tools for ritual and practice. Her confusion was clear as she picked up both a dual edged dagger and a single edged knife seemingly more suited to using in the kitchen. She grabbed one of each and approached the counter where the shopkeeper stood.

    “Will you help me understand the difference between these two knives?” She pleaded, overwhelm evident on her face and in her voice, as she carefully rested both blades on the counter.

    “Certainly dear, I’m quite pleased to do so. The smaller blade has sharp a edge on each side and ends in a sharp point. The handle is has a hand guard between the handle, called a hilt, and the blade. It’s commonly known as a dagger. It is always used as a ceremonial or ritual tool and never actually cuts anything physical, it is strictly used for ritual. It is called an athame.

    The second one here is a bolline. It’s also ceremonial, however, it’s also more of a practical tool, much like a kitchen knife. Notice the single edge blade and lack of a hilt.

    Do you have any other questions?” the shopkeeper inquired.

    The young woman tentatively replied, “Well, you see, I’m a Christian and even though I know church tradition considers witchcraft and paganism sins and heresy, I’ve come to believe some of the practices actually honor and serve God’s purpose of loving the world.”

    Suddenly the shopkeeper understood there had been a divine and mystical reason for her to have chosen the book she’d been perusing just before the young woman came in.

    “You know,” she began to explain, “There are Christian Witches. Here, perhaps this book can help you on your path.”

    “Thank you sooo much,” the young woman exclaimed. “I was so confused and kind of scared when I came in today. You have been so kind and helpful. I’ll take the book and wait to decide which blade I’ll need. How much do I owe you?”

    “I am always happy to help. Let me know how else I can help once you’ve read the book. That will be $15.”

    As she placed the book in a bag, she grabbed her business card, inserted it in the front cover. Then handed it to the young woman, who left the shop with a more confident and purposeful demeanor than she had entered with.

    The shopkeeper smiled to herself, mentally saying a prayer of gratitude for the encounter and that the young woman finds the path for her.