Being a Realist

*This is my opinion alone. You are welcome to your own view and approach to life.*

*As I was writing this I realized that it would take a volume of books to explain and really breakdown and define and truly study states of mind and outlooks on life, etc.. So I must point out that this, obviously, is just the skin and bones of my personal stance.*

There are pessimists, optimists, and realists. There are people all in between as well, but for simplicity’s sake, I’ll just stick to the three. I am a realist although I haven’t always thought of myself that way. I was already (just barely) an adult when I learned of this definition and way of thinking. Although I had always thought this way, I now had a word to put to it.

Optimism: hopefulness and confidence about the future or the successful outcome of something. – Merriam-Webster dictionary

Pessimism: a tendency to see the worst aspect of things or believe that the worst will happen; a lack of hope or confidence in the future. – Merriam-Webster dictionary

Realism:  the attitude or practice of accepting a situation as it is and being prepared to deal with it accordingly. – Merriam-Webster dictionary

Most people only think along the lines of optimism and pessimism. It’s so much easier to just have two all black and all white options, right? But life doesn’t, nor has it ever, been that way. Life is so much more complex.

Growing up I lived in a typical family and was surrounded by typical teachers, friends, doctors, etc.. The lesson and advice was to “always look on the bright side”.

But I never could quite get that; it’s just not a realistic way to live. Especially when you live with chronic illness.

It is not bad to think about the bad side, to know that bad things can and do happen. The healthy thing to do is to understand that life can go any way it darn well pleases. Yes, we can steer it toward the outcome we want, but it is not guaranteed to end up there. Being just as aware and expectant of the good as well as the bad outcomes will save you a lot of pain, especially if things don’t go the way you’d hoped and planned.

How many times I’ve witnessed (or been) the optimist so very crushed and heartbroken because the thing they hoped, worked for, and expected to happen went the other direction. If only they had been a realist they wouldn’t have been quite so hurt by it.

OK, OK, I am exaggerating there a bit. I have no quiff with optimists; optimism is a good thing (in moderation), certainly better than pessimism. I just prefer realism because, well, it’s more truthful, it’s the realistic way to be.

Many, not all, optimists are afraid of reality. They hide from even considering the bad things that are just as likely to happen as the good.

All I’m saying here is one should never dwell on one side more than the other, no matter what side it is. Realism is not pessimism, nor is it optimism, because it is realizing that both good and bad can and do happen, and not dwelling on one or the other more. Being prepared for both is a good thing, obviously.

I am not implying that optimists and pessimists won’t and don’t stay aware of the other, but they do dwell too much on one and do their damnedest to avoid and ignore the other.

Just doesn’t sound reasonable to me. It’s like setting yourself up for heartache (optimism) or living in constant heartache (pessimism).

Many realists actually call themselves optimists. “Hope for the best but plan for the worst” is not optimism, it is realism.

I have had people imply to me that they think I can be quite pessimistic. No, I am realistic. Just because one does not fear thinking about and talking about their negative thoughts and feelings and experiences doesn’t make them a pessimist. If the people who think this of me actually spent the time to get to know me, they’d realize I am quite happy and well balanced in my good/bad thoughts/feelings and outlook on life. I am not (no one is) perfect, but I strive to be balanced.

Sometimes good things happen, just as often bad things happen. This is life, why not be prepared for, and accept, both?

I’m just a realistic individual who accepts things as they are.

What do you consider yourself to be of the three, or others even?

 

Touching Base

Once or twice a year I have to stop and look at myself. Not in a mirror so much as looking over my daily life, habits, routines, thoughts, emotions, etc.. We tend to get caught up in things, get too close and not realize that we aren’t going about things in the easier, less stressful, or correct way.

What the heck am I talking about?!

  1. Diet – Diet is a word easily misunderstood. Your diet isn’t a short-term thing you do just to lose a few pounds or have a good A1c “this time”. Your diet is the way you eat all the time. My current diet is shit. It’s terrible and I know it and I keep telling myself to go back to the way I know works for me, LCHF. But my current living arrangements make it difficult.

A. The other people who live in my home constantly buy high carb foods free to the entire household. Since I’m home all the time (for many reasons) and the bad foods are here, I can not and do not resist them. I ask the other people to not bring these things into the home (or to keep them out of my sight at least), but, really, I can’t expect others to live the way I need to. Wait! I can! They are type 2 diabetics! They should be eating just like me (a type 1)! We should be working together to be healthy. But, alas, life doesn’t always go as it should.

B. I know it is my own responsibility to eat the way I need to. And I do try, but in this part of life I suck at being strong. I eat carbs when I’m stressed, and in this living arrangement I am very stressed all the time. I eat carbs out of bad emotions, anger, frustration, sadness, etc.. The other people in the house do the same thing, so currently the refrigerator and pantry are packed with ice cream, pudding, pasta, etc.; it’s bad. This makes for a difficult time resisting.

C. We eat out too often. And I’m not the type to want a salad when there are fries and burgers available, and at a much lower price. We just need to stop with the fast food. I love to cook, and when I cook/prepare it is healthy and delicious. So why do we eat out so much?!

D. I don’t just eat bad, I also skip meals a lot. If it’s just me at home and I have no one else to cook/prepare for, I’m apt to just not eat at all. I often go almost an entire day without eating at all. This is just as bad as eating the wrong things.

2. Activity – I enjoy staying active; I love to clean my house, I enjoy spending a day on the town running errands or just running around from shop to shop for fun. But for some reason I’ve never been able to stick to a workout routine, not even the ones I really enjoyed. I suppose it’s because a workout really works you, pushes you to your limits and even hurts! So even though I enjoy it and it’s lasting benefits, it can be difficult to want to keep doing it.

And despite hard and continuous work, I still can’t lose not even one pound! I have many theories as to what is keeping the weight on (hypothyroidism, insulin resistance, age, muscle building, diet), but it all comes down to the fact that if you don’t see results you just don’t want to keep trying. I’m not dumb, I know how diet and exercise work, I know how to lose weight, I just can’t! And it is frustrating!

3. Medical stuff – Hohum, I’ve been burnt out for a long time. I stopped going to all my doctors, even my endocrinologist. I check my BG only when I feel high or low. Terrible, I know. I have so many medical issues I just can’t deal all the time. It gets so overwhelming, depressing, frustrating! There’s never a break; it’s not like these diseases are just going to say “OK, I’ll go away for a while so you can take a breather.”. Hell no! Even when I decide to conveniently forget that I’m chronically ill with a million issues, they’re still there nagging at me, demanding my attention, scratching at my nerves.

How else can I make you understand what it is like?

But, the past couple of days I’ve been on top of my BG checking. And I’m thinking of scheduling a couple doctor appointments. And I’m trying hard to eat right. I know I need to get back on track, I’m trying.

4. Mental/Emotional Stuff – I quit taking Cymbalta. It was helping at first, but the past 6 to 8 months I started having issues with it. I wasn’t feeling anything, both my physical and emotional feelings were greatly dulled. I felt like an alien in my own body. Disturbing to say the least. So I quit it. I feel so much better all around now, even though my natural feelings are difficult to deal with sometimes, I am so very happy to be myself again.

As I mentioned earlier, I live in some difficult arrangements at the moment. Not only is the house a hellhole, but one specific person we live with is almost my complete opposite and leaves me in a constant state of frustration, disgust, discomfort, and anxiety. I NEED cleanliness, sanitation, and organization in my home in order to be comfortable and happy. This other person is dirty, has no idea what sanitation is, has zero concept of organization, and is profoundly lazy and uncaring about any of these things.

So, not only do I have to live with this person, but I also have to do a ton more cleaning of dirtiness I and my hubby didn’t even create because fighting, arguing, begging, reasoning,  have all proven to be useless on this person.

I live in a home where I am unable to be comfortable, happy, or even sane!

*Deep Breath*

 

In the end, I obviously have a lot to work on, but what’s new? This is all just a constant in my life and I will continue on. The only thing that has changed is that I have learned from it all and will use this new knowledge to make myself a better, healthier person.

I will keep trying.

Withdrawals

*This is a blog post of my own personal experiences. I am not a doctor or professional in any way.*

Against recommendations, I decided to stop taking my depression medication, cold turkey. I decided to stop taking it for a number of reasons. I didn’t feel I needed it anymore. I am tired of being on so many medications, so I decided to stop taking (one-by-one) the ones I don’t absolutely need to stay alive. Also, I am tired of seeing so many doctors so often, so I decided to stop seeing the ones I don’t absolutely need to see to stay alive. And lastly, I hated the way it made me feel; artificial, numb, separate from myself…and had very poor sleep quality.

The cold turkey part is the part that was against recommendations. I decided to do it this way because I stopped seeing my psychiatrist and she was the one who had to put in my prescriptions for this particular medication.

It is recommended to ween off of this medication and not just stop taking it. Either way you are guaranteed withdrawals of some sort.

Stopping Cymbalta is guaranteed to cause withdrawal symptoms. Depending on how high a dose and for how long you’ve been on it, these withdrawals can be a multitude or few, they can be severe or mild, and they can last two weeks or much longer.

I am only listing here the ones I experienced. I was on 60mg per day at the time I stopped the medication. I experienced several withdrawals that fluctuated in severity and lasted nearly a month.

I fib a bit when I say I stopped cold turkey. At first I went from taking the pill every day to taking it every other day…but then it seemed to not make sense this way so I just stopped taking it at all.

My withdrawal symptoms were as follows:

Short temper/easily frustrated/aggressive personality: This was the first change I noticed. I perpetually felt like I was PMSing super bad. Everything got on my nerves, I was snapping at everything and everyone. I would be doing nothing and suddenly just feel angry out of the blue and want to scream at the top of my lungs just to relieve the frustration!

Brain Zaps: This was probably the most annoying symptom of all. It is not painful. It feels as if a jolt of electricity is shooting through your brain. It is not painful, but it is annoying as all get out! At it’s worst I was getting “zapped” every few minutes all day long!

Suicidal thoughts:  I was not suicidal! But I did think too much about death and dying. And I did have such low emotional points that I thought the world would be a better place without me. I would say I was one step away from becoming suicidal.

Dizziness: I had a few little bouts of dizziness. Annoying.

Nausea: I did have nausea on and off, but it never got so bad that I threw up.

Headache: I had a few headaches, but they were so mild I could just ignore them.

Nightmares: I wouldn’t call them nightmares, but they were disturbing. I am used to having these types of dreams, I have them all the time anyway. But the dreams I had while withdrawing seemed to be extra anxiety inducing. My body was physically reacting to the dreams. This is something that doesn’t usually happen when I have these kinds of dreams.

Confusion: Mild. I would be doing something and get confused for no reason and have to concentrate extra hard to get back on track.

Fatigue: I had chronic fatigue while taking Cymbalta (which is one reason I decided to quit it) but the fatigue was even worse while withdrawing.

Insomnia: I had bouts of insomnia while taking Cymbalta (which is another reason I decided to quit it) but I had even more while withdrawing.

Anxiety: I have anxiety anyway, but while withdrawing it was way worse. I would have physical symptoms for no reason at all. And when I did have reason to be anxious, the symptoms were so very exaggerated!

Blurry Vision: Depending on where you look, this may or may not be a listed withdrawal symptom. I had it. My vision was markedly more blurry while withdrawing.

There are other possible withdrawal symptoms, but these were the ones I experienced.

I am completely withdrawn from Cymbalta now and I have not felt (or slept) this good in probably three years!

If you have trouble with depression to the point that you need medication, then I suggest you take it. More often than not the benefits outweigh the risks. But always be aware of the risks of coming off of a drug…sometimes doctors neglect to warn their patients of this “risk”. Mine did let me know about the withdrawals, and asked me to be sure and work with her if and when I decided to come off this medication.

It was my own personal choice to do it the way I did. That’s me, always choosing the more punishing path…

 

 

I Dream in Symbolism

…And very, very vividly. There are many a morning when I wake up thinking my dream had actually happened. Or I’ll be remembering something and have to stop and think, “Wait, did that really happen or did I just dream it?” It can really make a person think they’re going crazy! LOL

Well, here is a quick rundown of a recent dream. This one really shows the powerful symbolism of my subconscious.

I woke up and my entire body had broken up into pieces. It appeared that every joint had come apart and I just fell to bits all over the floor. I was looking at all the pieces of my disarticulated body from my spirit form, I guess. I was panicking and crying, not knowing how this happened or how to fix it. Then my hubby comes into the room and asks what is the matter. I, at this moment, am holding pieces of my body, trying to puzzle it back together. “I can’t fix myself.” I cry. “I don’t know what to do!” I scream. Hubby looks down at me and says, “Don’t worry, we’ll fix this.” His words do not make me feel any better. I simply feel hopeless.

 

Then I woke up.

Look to Change

My health is good right now. I have a couple of struggles still; keeping my blood sugars down, and my chronic sleepiness.  But most of all I need and want to lose weight!

I’m so huge right now.

I look in the mirror and feel nothing but disgust and shame.

My weight struggle started at puberty. I didn’t know it for many, many years but my doctor and I suspect I developed PCOS at the time I began my journey into womanhood. I was finally diagnosed in my mid thirties!

I’m pretty sure it was at puberty and the development of PCOS that my insulin resistance set in…it is a symptom of PCOS after all.

I also have hypothyroidism which slows down the metabolism and therefore causes easy weight gain and difficult weight-loss. I’m on meds, but they don’t help the weight issue.

I can go on and on finding health issues and other things to blame my obesity on. They aren’t lies, they really do make it too easy to gain and very difficult to lose. But it is also my own fault. I eat too many carbs and calories, and I don’t get enough exercise.

But things may change soon. You see, I have been unemployed for almost three years now. I have kept busy with projects and chores, etc. but living with no real schedule or responsibilities makes it very easy to be lazy, and to eat whenever and whatever, and however much you want.

I may be getting a job soon. If I do, this will be a full-time job. A career! I will have a set schedule which means I will be eating at set times, and active at set times. This, hopefully, will make it much easier for me to eat healthy and less, and loose some weight!

And my hubby is more than willing to do it with me. It always helps to have a partner.

Wish me luck at my interview! I really need and want this new career for so many reasons!

I Want to Sleep Forever

I really don’t have a plan of what this post is about; I just felt like writing.

I got my labs done a few days ago. Thyroid panel, vitamin panel, CBC, cholesterol, etc (no A1c, I already did that last month). The point of all these labs were to check my general health, check how well my thyroid meds are working, check for Hashimoto’s (a thyroid disease), and check to see if there is an obvious reason for my excessive sleepiness.

All, the entire order of labs, came back within normal healthy levels.

I should be happy, right?

Nothing is ever simple with my health…

Yes, I am happy that my labs say I am generally healthy…

Then why am I so damned sleepy all the time!?

I’ve had this problem with excessive sleepiness for about three years now. At first it was attributed to severe depression. Medication and therapy put the depression in it’s place, but I still felt sleepy all the time but in a different way. The depression left me both physically and mentally drained. This chronic sleepiness is only “mental”. It’s like a drowsiness.

When I developed my thyroid issues the symptoms became physical and mental again. Weakness, tiredness, fatigue, and drowsiness. I started thyroid medication and once again the physical symptoms disappeared but the mental remains.

  • I sleep about 12 hours a night and then usually take a 3 hour nap during the day. When I am awake I often feel restless.
  • I sleep ‘normal’ for me (just way more hours). My entire life I have been a toss-and-turner, waking several times a night but falling right back to sleep. I dream extremely vivid. My sleep is restful and usually pleasant.
  • Although I used to be a light sleeper, easily wakened, I recently have on occasion been sleeping so deep it is difficult to wake me. I’m worried about this.
  • No matter what, I am ALWAYS sleepy. If I nap, I can then function despite still feeling sleepy. If I force myself to stay awake I become like a zombie and can not function well at all; the next day I will end up literally sleeping the entire day.
  • When I first wake in the morning my body is stiff and sore and I am unsteady on my feet, but once I start walking I quickly loosen up and get steady. My mind takes much longer to begin to function properly, I don’t think clearly, I don’t feel awake and aware, trouble remembering things. It’s almost like I am still dreaming.
  • I usually fall asleep as soon as my head hits pillow, but about once or twice a month I get insomnia that lasts anywhere from 2 hours to the entire night.

These symptoms do not coincide with any medications I am taking, so I don’t think this is a side effect of any of them. Also, my doctors do not seem to think this is a symptom or result of any of my illnesses.

I have been tested for sleep apnea and do not have it. I am wondering if it might be Idiopathic Hypersomnia or Narcolepsy, but I really need to see a sleep specialist to figure it out…if it is a sleep disorder and not caused by something else.

Why do I always get all the chronic illnesses that breed so many other problems?

The Hound of Diabetes Hell

I really like my general practitioner. I only see her maybe twice a year, but I’m glad to have her. She is easy going in personality, she’ll joke and chit-chat with you. She is very well educated and knows her stuff. And she is thorough…and she takes the time to listen!

I have been getting monthly B12 shots because I am deficient. The nurse does them so I do not have to see my doctor and pay a co-pay. The doctor’s office usually schedules the appointments a month or two in advance, but this month they didn’t. Of course I called to inquire about this. The nurse on the line told me my doctor would like to see me to touch base since it has been six months since I started the shots.

OK, I set up the appointment.

Now, let me let you in on my anxiety and frustration about this office. The following rant does not in any way change how I feel about my general practitioner, it’s not her fault, really.

My general practitioner orders yearly labs for me. All the normal stuff, including A1c. Well, even though my endocrinologist orders A1c tests every three months (and the doctor’s share info on patients), there is still the yearly order from my general practitioner.  Whenever I get the lab done that is ordered by my GP, if it is above 7 her diabetes nurse calls me to discuss it.

She calls, and calls, and calls, and sends e-mails, and sends snail mails. And then when I go in to see my doctor, or get my B12 shot, or for any reason, the diabetes nurse will jump in to talk to me. I have told her that I do not want to or need to talk with anyone except my endocrinologist regarding my diabetes. I do not need or want any other hands in my diabetes pot! I work very closely with my endo on my diabetes care, we know what’s up, we need no help on this.

I’ve been a type 1 since 1987, I think I know all there is to know about my care. I’m not perfect, but I know what I am doing!  When people (anyone) hounds me about my diabetes care it crushes my spirit. I’m not non-compliant! I’m not stupid! I’m not untrustworthy! I know what I’m doing and I don’t need or want your help!

OK, so I got my labs done a few weeks ago and the nurse was hounding me again because my A1c went up significantly. I know why it went up and myself and my endo have been working on it. I have thyroid issues and this was making my BG’s impossible to get and keep down. As soon as I started thyroid meds (just after my labs were done) my BG’s plummeted to where they belong.

So, in the back of my mind I was thinking one of the reasons my GP wanted to see me was because of the A1c…

So I went into this appointment a bit aggravated. I kept going over my responses in my head if the diabetes nurse came in to talk to me.

Don’t blame me if I punch her….

The appointment was a normal visit. Weight first – It came up too high, as usual, but a good 12 lbs lower than I was expecting, so I was mildly happy with that. My blood pressure was 127/65. My temperature was normal.

The doctor came in and she was her normal sunny, pleasant self.

“Oh, I love your hair! The style is the same but you changed the color.When did you do that?”

“I just dyed it like two days ago.” I smiled.

IMAG0523

“I haven’t seen your husband in awhile, how is he doing?”

I was pleasantly surprised that she remembered my husband and that we’re a couple (who I go to most of his appointments with). This is one reason I love my GP so much. I told her he’s doing well.

She listened to my heart, looked in my ears, and felt my neck.

She asked me how I’ve been feeling, do I still have B12 deficiency symptoms? I told her the dizzy spells are gone and I feel great except that I am super sleepy all the time, I sleep an average of 15 hours a day… but I think that may be due to my thyroid issues.

We talked about my thyroid, and all my vitamin (B12, D, Iron) deficiencies… and, yes, we talked about my BG’s. She was very understanding about my A1c going up, she knew it was because of my thyroid issues.

“Well, your endo has thyroid labs ordered, so I’ll just add on some other tests as well. We’ll figure out the cause of your sleepiness and get it fixed.”

I’m so happy she is thorough.

After the visit, I got my B12 shot and then headed home.

It was a good, happy, visit after all.  🙂