Let’s talk about Contrave, the new weight loss drug (and weight loss in general)

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Recently, the FDA approved a new prescription drug called Contrave, for people who are not yet obese but merely overweight with “risk factors such as high blood pressure, high cholesterol, or diabetes.” (WebMD)

It’s not something entirely new; it’s actually a mixture of two drugs already on the market:  Wellbutrin, which is used as an anti-depressant, and naltrexone, which is used as an anti-addiction drug.  Theoretically it’s supposed to reduce hunger and food cravings.

There’s been some speculation about why weight loss drugs are hard to sell to Americans.  This article sites reasons such as not being covered by insurance, and the memory of health scares caused by diet pills no longer on the market.

I think it also might be that people realize that if you do want a smaller body, there is no quick and easy way to go about getting one.  The only tried and true method of losing and keeping weight off is a lot of work and a lot of time.  It’s a long-term commitment, one that doesn’t always end up being sustainable, and one that can actually lead to other peripheral issues.

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Alternatives to gluten free bread & gluten free pasta

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Because I have more than one digestive issue, I don’t just have to watch gluten, I also have to watch my carb and grain intake in general.  My diet is supposed to be mostly plant matter with some fruit and some meat.

Thing is, I like sandwiches and pasta, partially because they’re easy to make.  So I’ve scoured the internet for different ideas on how to replace those things – here’s what I’ve got to share:

1. Use lettuce instead of bread for sandwiches.  I nice big  head of iceberg or whole romaine can hold other ingredients pretty nicely.

2.  Cut an eggplant, squash, large pepper, large tomato, or cucumber length-wise; fry, bake, or saute if desired; use as a bread alternative for sandwiches.

3. Use portobello mushroom caps as a bread alternative.  This is good for a burger or a chicken breast sandwich.

4.  Use baked potatoes instead of bread.  I got this one years ago from my travels in the UK.  Over there, they call them “jackets” and they put in potatoes anything that we here in the US put on bread – tuna salad, chicken salad, curried chicken, ham and cheese…be creative.  This clearly takes longer to prepare, but it’s a nice hearty winter meal.

5.  Use nori sheets instead of bread.  I’ve never tried this, but I’ve seen it on multiple websites.  It’s that seaweed stuff that they use to make sushi.

6.  Turn your sandwich into a salad.  Anything you can put on bread or a lettuce wrap can also be put over shredded lettuce or leafy greens.

7.  For great past alternatives, GET A VEGGETTI!  I found mine at Walgreens  and I love this damn thing.  I use squash, zucchini and occasionally carrots to make pasta alternatives.

8.  For lasagna alternatives, use eggplant instead.  I think squash or zucchini would also work nicely.

9.  Use coleslaw or broccoli slaw to make a pasta salad recipe with.

10.  Use legumes instead of pasta – toss beans with pesto or some other sort of dressing, with other favorite ingredients.

And do what I do – scour google, bookmark food blogs, etc.  I’ll even look up regular recipes, and figure out how to swap out the stuff I can’t have with the stuff I can.  (I.e., Can’t have alfredo sauce?  Make it using cauliflower puree instead.)

I get sick of eating the same stuff over and over, so for anyone out there with dietary restrictions, the key word is going to be creativity.

This week in “Why We Need Feminism”

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A wonderful account from xoJane about what it’s like to disentangle yourself from a domestic abuse situation.

This is a story out of Detroit that I’ve seen floating around about a woman who was killed for refusing a man’s advances.

This may or may not be a hoax, but here’s an article discussing an anonymous letter posted on craigslist discussing why women should make themselves more available to men in public spaces. Hoax or not doesn’t matter – the content of this craigslist posting reflects all too well the attitude of a lot of men that women should make themselves available not only sexually, but for conversation, compliments, eye contact, or should at the very least attempt to look inviting.  We need to keep having these conversations, over and over and over, to reinforce the idea that women are allowed to exist – in public and in private spaces – without being pestered or harassed.

In news that should surprise no one, women working in restaurant jobs tend to experience high levels of sexual harassment.  And it’s not just the customers who do it – it’s an industry-wide issue.

Jennifer Lawrence rightly bands the distribution of private photos assault, and I applaud her for refusing to apologize for having nude picture. (I do not, however, applaud the fact that she thinks the gluten free diet is the “cool new eating disorder” – let’s all keep in mind that some of us actually get sick when we eat gluten; it’s not an eating disorder in the classic sense of the phrase.  For many people, it’s an actual medical issue.)

How to support Size Diversity at any size

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I was reading one of my favorite blogs this morning, Dances With Fat, and there was a post up talking about how Ragen Chastain, the blogger, won’t blog about products for money.

Within that entry was this paragraph:

For those of you size diversity activists who wear smaller sizes, one option for activism is to buy your clothes at places that also sell clothes for people who wear plus sizes (or, as I like to call them, sizes.) That way, we reward companies that are inclusive and when companies choose to ignore fat people it’s not just our money that they miss out on.  Of course, what activism you engage in is always up to you.

And I’m glad she brought that up.  I’m a size 2 now, but I wasn’t always, so I understand the frustration with not being able to find clothes you like in your size.  Unfortunately, I haven’t always been cognizant of whether a brand offers larger sizes – not for lack of support, but simply because I have tunnel vision when it comes to shopping.  I look for things in my size and price range, and don’t really take the time to pay attention to anything that’s not in my size or price range.

That’s changing today.  From reading lots and lots of wonderful bloggers, I have a pretty good idea of what brands offer a wider range of sizes, and which don’t.  I’m pledging to be more aware of size ranges of clothing brands and stores that I shop at, and I’m going to make a concerted effort to give my money to brands and stores that offer brands in a range of sizes that are inclusive to women of all sizes, not just a few.

I echo the sentiment that what activism you engage in is up to you – but I’m definitely on board with supporting companies that actively support size diversity.  I’m hoping that, even if others choose not to outright boycott brands that don’t have larger sizes, that they’ll at least be more aware of what size ranges are available when they shop.

A few facts about Celiac Disease

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This is a great post from the New York Times Celiac Disease.  But for the TL;DR crowd, here are some highlights…

- Celiac is more common in Caucasians.

- Celiac is on the rise, and not because diagnostics are better, but likely because of excessive cleanliness (lookin’ at you, germaphobes!), infant formulas, and – the one I personally think is the most problematic – a difference in the way grains are bred now.

- Celiac/gluten intolerance presents itself in a variety of different ways; just because you don’t have the traditional GI symptoms doesn’t mean you don’t have Celiac.

- Celiac is often misdiagnosed as IBS or other issues.

- You can have Celiac but test negative for it for a variety of reasons, including if samples aren’t taken from the right places, and if you’ve already gone gluten-free prior to testing.

Regarding two of the points above, my worst symptom was early satiety, and by the time I was severely ill, I was consuming less than 800 calories a day and losing 2-5 lbs a week.  I wasn’t having diarrhea or bloating or any of the traditional lower GI symptoms.  For me, eating gluten makes me feel like I’ve swallowed a brick, and if I eat or drink anything on top of that brick-in-my-stomach feeling, it’s painful.

Yet biopsies and an upper GI scope found nothing wrong.

Toward the end, I pretty much went off solid foods, because liquids didn’t make me feel as full as long, and I intentionally avoided foods that fill you up quickly, like rice or breads.  Thus, I had barely been eating, and was mostly consuming liquids and semi-solids like pudding, before my Celiac test.  Some of the semi-solids may have had some gluten, but between the scant amount I was consuming and the fact that I wasn’t consuming a lot of grains at that point means my test could have been a false negative.

If I wasn’t eating a lot of gluten, why was I still so sick?  Easy – because going off gluten doesn’t make you feel better overnight, particularly if you’ve been reacting to it for a long time – and by that point, I have been pretty sick for 6 months.  I may have started to feel better on a liquid diet eventually, but as soon as I ate any gluten, I would have had another flare up without knowing why.  All I knew, at that point, was that eating solid foods was bad.

I honestly don’t know if I officially have Celiac or not, and the only way to find out is to consume gluten daily for a long enough period of time to cause an autoimmune reaction.  In other words, I’d have to make myself sick and miserable – possibly to the point of debilitation – to find out.  My current doctor recommended against retesting for Celiac for that very reason, and so my official diagnosis is Leaky Gut with gluten, lactose, and soy intolerance.  I was also previously diagnosed with SIBO from a previous physician, which my current doc thinks may have been caused by the Leaky Gut issues.

Personally, I urge anyone who has any sort of ongoing issues to go off gluten, even if you’ve tested negative to Celiac.  Cutting out gluten for a while is the only way to know for sure.  Ideally you should go cold turkey for at least 2-3 weeks, but I’d say try it for 2-3 months to really clear out your system and give your body time to heal.  Worst case, nothing changes and you can officially rule it out as a possibility.

I also urge anyone who is skeptical about gluten intolerance to STFU.  Just because someone has tested negatively doesn’t meant that something isn’t happening.  A lack of a measurable reactions in the intestines doesn’t mean that someone’s body can process gluten well.  Not to mention the simple fact that you don’t have a say in what others do or do not consume.  :-)

We’ve finally figured out that fat shaming doesn’t help

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Finally, the studies proving that fat shaming doesn’t work, and in fact only encourages further weight gain, is finally filtering more heavily into mainstream media.  Here are a just a few links to different pieces discussing this issue.

“Fat-shaming is wrong and if you do it or allow someone to do it in your presence, it says a lot more about you than the person you are judging.” – HuffPo

“Suggesting that there is a uniformity in how prejudice is experienced only serves to silence those who find it hard to be heard. It also obscures the institutional power that enables such prejudice.” – On why comparing fat shaming to racism and sexism is misguided, from The Guardian

And because I’ve often wondered this myself, here’s a recent review of the movie Shallow Hal, which sunk its good intentions under a lot of really insensitive fat jokes.

 

Colorado school system wants to rewrite history

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While I was off in Europe, something really disturbing was happening here in my own backyard.  Special thanks to my friend Kelly for writing about this and thus bringing it to my attention – it’s really important that this be discussed.

Jefferson County schools in Colorado – a school system that serves parts of the metro Denver area- has a board member who is proposing that the school censure and carefully frame how history is presented to students.

The proposal states:

Materials should promote citizenship, patriotism, essentials and benefits of the free enterprise system, respect for authority and respect for individual rights. Materials should not encourage or condone civil disorder, social strife or disregard of the law. Instructional materials should present positive aspects of the United States and its heritage.

So let’s break this down.  How I read this, and how I think it’s meant, is that we need to reframe our history in a positive light, and leave out any of the more negative aspects.

Particularly any sort of civil rights movements – this proposal seems to be to be proposing to completely erase whole racial groups and their struggles.  From the Trail of Tears to the horrors of slavery to the Civil Rights movement of the 60s to the first and second waves of feminism to the current fight for LGBT rights and the continued efforts toward women’s rights – all of these things should be either ignored, or whitewashed (literally!) beyond recognition, all for the sake of ignoring the more problematic parts of our history.

She’s backtracking a bit now, even at one point admitting that she’s not particularly familiar with the curriculum, which is even more frightening.  But even her “let’s not encourage children to disobey the law” rationalization is total bunk – because people should absolutely disobey the laws, if the laws are wrong, harmful, discriminatory, or misguided.  People should stand up and protest – as peacefully as possible – when a proposal is being made the sounds like it is not in the best interest of the people it is meant to serve.

JeffCo students staged peaceful walk-outs several days in a row.  I’m proud of these students.  Incredibly, heart-swellingly proud.  Not just because they’re standing up for themselves and calling out the school board proposal for exactly what it is, but because they’re demonstrating something very important, something that they likely learned from our recent history – that these kinds of protests are necessary to bring about change, and to make sure the voice of the underrepresented are clearly heard.

I’m not a big fan of obeying authority for authority’s sake, nor am I a big fan of reframing our country’s history to be positive and celebratory.  There are things about this country that I love, but it has had some really dark, shameful moments, and it’s important to talk about these things.  And it has had moments of social strife that have inevitably resulted in positive change, and it’s important to talk about these things.  And it is still far from perfect – racism, sexism, and classism are still alive and well, and although certain aspects of these things are technically illegal, they continue to operate within our culture in very big ways.

We need to talk about all of it, the good and the bad, the celebratory and the shameful.  Because if there’s one thing I do believe, it’s that adage that people who are ignorant of history are doomed to repeat it.

The only rewriting of U.S. history that I personally condone is rewriting it to account for the voices of minorities and women whose voices and experiences are often subsumed or glossed over.  And while we’re at it, let’s do the same in American Lit – get those minority and female writers in there.  We have plenty, and we need to weave them into the curriculum like they are – gasp! – a part of our country’s literary and historical heritage.

Raising money for a good cause!

Greetings from London!  I’m having a great time here, but I’d like to take a moment to talk about something that’s on my mind back in the states.

My good friend Tricia is the mother of fourteen year old twin girls, and her friends are trying to help her raise money for them to be able to be on the varsity cheerleading team.  They did a lot of work to get ready for try outs, and both girls made it!

Here’s the problem, though – for both girls, fees and uniforms will cost $840, or else they can’t cheer with the team.  Tricia is a single mother who is receiving only sporadic support from the girls’ father.  She wants desperately to be able to make this happen for her daughters, but she can’t do it alone.

Tricia is an amazing person – someone I truly admire for her positive attitude despite whatever negative situation she’s facing, her self-sacrificing nature, and her seemingly uncrushable sense of humor, which allows her to laugh at situations that would make most people cry. Everything she does, she does with her twins in mind.  She’s an extremely devoted and engaged mother who will do anything she has to do to make sure her kids have a better chance than she did.

And I have to commend her for all her hard work, because it’s definitely paid off – her girls are hardworking, considerate, intelligent, love school, have ambitions, love their mother, and are generally just enthusiastic and engaged kids.

Not just that – but these girls are also self-sacrificing.  In the six years I’ve known her, I’ve never seen her girls pout, cry, get angry, or throw a fit when Tricia has to tell them know.  Instead, they tend to be the ones reassuring her that they understand that she sometimes can’t afford things, and that it’s okay.

I think that these two amazing kids and their mother deserve a bit of good karma.  I can’t think of anyone I know who deserves a break more than this family.

If you can spare even just a few dollars, please consider donating to the twins’ uniform fund. 

Cheerleading is a rigorous sport that requires a lot of physical stamina and focus, as well as a huge time commitment, while still maintaining good grades.  I honestly believe these girls can do both and excel at each, and I honestly believe it will enhance and benefit their lives in many ways.

Please, internets, help my friend out.  Even $10 would help.  Anything you can spare (provided you’ve met your own needs first.)

If you’ve read this far, thank you over and over.  If you can’t spare any money, perhaps you’ll be willing to send some good vibes their way…CM.

Possible hiatus?

Just so everyone knows, I’m traveling for the next two weeks.  I will have internet access, but given my recent depression and the fact that I’ll be having to do a lot of walking with an energy level that’s lower than normal, I don’t know how much energy I’ll have to be blogging.  I’ll try – I’ll be in London, which is an amazing city, one of my favorite places on earth, and Edinburgh, which is another really interesting city, and beautiful…especially in the rain.  I have a picture, somewhere, of Edinburgh Castle in the rain that I took during one of my previous trips.

This is actually my third trip to the UK.  It’s been 14 years since the last time I was there.

I want to update and share pics.  I intend to.  But if I don’t…I’ll be back in early October.

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So here’s a link to somewhat misguided (in my opinion) blog from The Guardian entitled, “Do you know what too fat looks like?”

In it, the author says that because more and more people are overweight or obese (using clinical terms b/c that’s what the author used), the stigma they face “must surely die away.”  And you’d think so, but actually, it’s not dying away at all.  More and more fat/size acceptance advocates are speaking up and calling our culture out on fat phobia, sizeism, etc., and that’s awesome.  But dying away?  Not quite yet.  Sizeism is still very much alive and well in our culture (and the author’s culture as well.)

The author then goes on to describe a study that showed that African American women in the U.S. have a different perception of what an overweight body looks like than medical doctors.  They used the following scale in their study:

 

 

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Turns out, the African American women surveyed identified images 8 and 9 as obese and the weight of those images as possibly unhealthy, which, according to our author, is a negative thing.

Spoiler:  According to researchers, images 2, 3, and 4 are the normal/acceptable images.  1 is underweight, 5-9 are overweight or obese.

Personally, I think white culture here and abroad can learn a lot from African American culture as far as being more accepting of different body types – I’ve read multiple studies which discuss how African Americans are more accepting of larger body types, more dismissive of standards of thinness, and very aware that beauty standards are inherently racist.  I count all of those things as positives.

The author goes on to quote one of the study’s researchers, who basically says that because African American women have a different standard of what is overweight/obese than the medical profession does, simply being told by a doctor that they’re overweight may not be enough to motivate them to lose weight.

To this I say – good for those women, because the medical profession is rife with its own weight biases and is in desperate need of an attitude overhaul and some new measurements and standards when it comes to how to work with fat patients.

Then this paragraph in particular bothered me:

“When most people around us are overweight or obese, it’s hardly surprising that we no longer notice it. Fat has begun to look normal. In one sense, that’s great – the stigma that overweight people have suffered in the past because of the way they look must surely die away. But it’s a dangerous road. If we don’t know we are overweight, we may be at risk of sleepwalking into crumbling joints, heart problems and diabetes.”

Emphasis mine – because I’m reading this as, While it’s good that stigma is dying, it’s also bad because health.  If fat people see bodies like their in images and in society, they might start to think it’s okay to be fat and then we’ll all get sick and die!

This is called fear-arousing communication, and it’s a powerful rhetorical strategy that basically aims to persuade people do to what you want them to do by scaring the ever-living shit out of them.  This sort of fear appeal contributes to stigma, because now everyone is putting themselves at risk and it’s an epidemic and WILL SOMEONE THINK OF THE CHILDREN and OMG FAT PEOPLE DRIVE UP HEALTHCARE COSTS WITH ALL THEIR FAT PEOPLE DISEASES and THEY’RE GROSS ANYWAY BECAUSE FAT IS ICKY AND UGLY AND THEY’RE ALSO DISEASED AND EW, FAT PEOPLE!  See how that works?  <– (Sadly, this is not entirely sarcastic, nor an exaggeration.)

So since we clearly can’t have fat people walking around thinking that it’s okay to be fat, the blog author comes to this conclusion:  “The researchers suggest that health messages should be accompanied by pictures of what healthy and unhealthy weight actually looks like. It’s something we are all losing sight of.”

Pictures?  You want to show people pictures of fat people so that you can label their bodies as unhealthy?

WHAT?!

So let me break this down:  Because there’s so many fatties walking around, we’re all normalizing to fatness which means the weight stigma thing is going to die out, which is apparently underscored by African American women having more tolerance for body diversity and typically disagreeing with the medical profession, thus we need to accompany already stigmatizing public health messages with actual images to make sure we’re properly body shaming people into wanting to lose weight.

To me, sounds like an advertisement for stigma and body shaming.

I have a better idea.

Let’s stop making BMI the be-all, end-all of what is fat and what isn’t, because it’s not always reliable.

Let’s start encouraging the medical profession and health researchers to check their own biases and stereotypes when they’re talking about or dealing with or studying fat people.

Let’s stop thinking that body shaming is motivating, and start focusing on health over outward appearance.  Embracing Health At Every Size (HAES) is a good way to do that.

Let’s start understanding that body weight and indication of health are mistakenly conflated and need to be separated in public consciousness.  I’m walking proof of that – I’m only thin because I have a GI system that doesn’t work correctly.  When I was fat, I was actually healthier – I worked out more, I was physically stronger, I had more stamina, and I was way more active in general than I am now.

And for god’s sake, let’s just put to rest the notion that because more people are fat, fat stigma is dying out.  This is not a neatly polarized, thin vs. fat issue.  Having more fat people in the world is not making fat stigma go away – in fact, I think the “obesity epidemic” and all the concern-trolling and stigma that has grown out of public health campaigns shows that tolerance for fat bodies is not necessary increasing along with our collective waistlines.

Also, not all fat people are okay with being fat.  There are fat people who have internalized and end up perpetuating the stigma.

And there’s a thing called stereotype threat that even fat people who are okay with being fat have to deal with.

In short – let’s start treating fat people like human beings who matter and have a right to exist, let’s stop making assumptions about other people’s health, and let’s start embracing movements like HAES which focus on positivity rather than spend copious amounts of time and resources on negative messages.

I’m willing to bet that tolerance, acceptance, and positive motivation will get us a hell of a lot further as a society than negativity will.

 

 

How I’m handling depression v. 2.0

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So after the hellish bout of depression that I dealt with from fall of 2011 until summer of 2012, I decided that this time, I’d better be more proactive about asking for help.

It’s a bit easier, this time around…but I must remind everyone that asking for help is not always easy.  If you know someone who needs help and isn’t asking, please don’t blame them for not asking, or dismiss them by saying, “If you need help, ask.”  Neither of those reactions are helpful.

Anyway.  No one worry, I’m not alone, I’m not anywhere near as badly depressed as I was a few years ago, I’m simply recognizing that the feeling is back.  The mood is back.  I know that if I let it go, I’ll sink further into it.

It’s mainly the lethargy I hate.  The lack of motivation.  How it impedes my ability to write.  A big warning sign that something’s wrong in my life is when I stop writing, or write infrequently.  For some reason, it’s hard to think during a depressive mood.  I guess that’s why the call it depression – it suppresses your ability to focus, dampens your enthusiasm, and makes you feel tired all the time.  That’s how I feel, anyway – I’m tired a lot.  I don’t have a lot of energy.  No spare energy, that’s for sure.  One workday burns me out.

One of the things that felt *so* good after coming out of the first depressive episode in 2012 was the fact that when I got home from work, I still had energy.  I would write, I would read, and it was effortless.  I had the focus.

Now I’m pretty much forcing myself, because I know what’ll happen if I don’t.  So I’ve increased my reading lately, partially because it’s a low energy activity (well, low physical energy), and it stimulates the brain.

I also get free counseling through my employer, and I’m using it.  I have a coworker who’s great about getting me to walk at lunch, and she pushes me to keep moving when I don’t really want to.  I was doing a lot of photography the past few weekends, as you can see in my previous posts, and that’s been quite therapeutic.

I’m also preparing for a trip, which is occupying a lot of my time, and is something I am looking forward to.  Mostly.  It does feel a little overwhelming sometimes – travelling takes a level of energy that I’m not quite up to – but I’m going to keep pushing myself while I’m still able to.

Last time, I lost that ability.  So again…don’t blame people in your life who can’t snap out of it, or push themselves harder, or just keep trying, etc.  I’ve been at the point where I honestly couldn’t do those things, and that’s the only reason why I’m able to now – because I understand what’s happening this time.  Last time, it took me a while to understand and accept that I was depressed.  This time I get it, and I don’t feel ashamed of it, and I’m not in denial about it.

I’m owning up to it because I think it’s important to accept that things like depression happen to a lot of people for a lot of reasons, and to dispel some of the myths around it, like the fact that people just aren’t asking for help.  Sometimes they are, but you don’t hear it.  Sometimes they can’t, or don’t want to, and they shouldn’t be chastised for that.

Depression is also not weakness, it’s not giving up, and it’s not not due to a lack of character.  It doesn’t mean you can’t function – it can, but it doesn’t always.  It’s not for attention, it’s not just something that people can snap out of, and it doesn’t look the same for everyone.  Not all of us display sadness or cry a lot – some of us just appear tired and more muted.  So don’t judge and don’t preach and don’t make assumptions.  Those things don’t help.

What helps?  For me…people who try to keep me moving in ways that I’m capable of moving – like walks and photography.  People who say, “Hey, I hear you, and I’m here,” and just leave it at that.  That’s enough, a lot of the time, for me.  I don’t like it when people are too pushy, or try to get me to open up.

I’m lucky enough to have friends and coworkers who get that, so I’m counting myself as fortunate.  I’ve pushed through depression before, and I believe, at this point, that I can do it again.  The effort it takes at times feels monumental and overwhelming, and I have moments where I want to retreat and not do the work and just find a safe place where I feel good enough and can function, but I’m not letting myself stay there.  That’s really what people need to know – I’m trying.  It’s just that trying is a slow process.

Feelings & Photography

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I’ve got stuff going on in my life at the moment.  Stressful stuff.  Stuff that zaps my energy level.  And I feel that familiar slide happening – that slide into listlessness and lethargy that happened to me back in 2011.  I don’t want it to happen again.

This time, I’m trying to be proactive.  I am seeking therapy, but that only happens once a week.  That leaves me with a lot of waking hours to fill, hours where I need to be productive and learn and support others while trying to keep myself from sinking further down into a place that makes it hard to resurface.

Unfortunately, these sorts of mental states tend to render me incapable of writing anything of significance, so I throw myself into other outlets. Lately that’s been reading (more than usual), and photography.

I always read a lot, but I’ve been reading less social science stuff (with the exception of what I read for grad school) and instead indulging in comfort books.  They’re like comfort foods – books that you can lose yourself in for a little while, books that make you feel better.

But taking pictures is helping the most this time – photography has been the best buoy.  For the past two weeks, I’ve been indulging in it a lot more than usual.  I’m planning on getting up before sunrise tomorrow to do some more.  I enjoy doing it, but it also feels therapeutic.

It’s the birds, I think.

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Maybe the butterflies.

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Maybe just the process itself.  Watching, waiting.  Being patient.  Being present.

I don’t know, exactly.  I just know that it helps.  It keeps me floating.

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