Therapy Tuesday

Today’s Happy Note: Borrowing a new book from L that I think might be soothing for me during a rough week.

Today was a 9-9 day.  Fun.  Wanted to wake up early for a workout but couldn’t sleep last night.  Didn’t work out yesterday either.  Blah.  I did walk about three miles today with a heavy backpack and (part of the time) heavy groceries.  I knew I would be too tired to cook once I got home (or run, even though I wanted to) so I got dinner at WF.  Came home, made protein ice cream, caught up on emails.  Now I’m here.

Other eats included the traditional post-therapy fro yo:

And some pretty rockin’ oats-in-a-jar:

I added about 3/4 frozen berries to the bottom of an almost empty honey AB jar and then poured the hot oats over them!  Topped with a few scoops vanilla Greek yogurt.  This was amazing!   The cold berries and hot oats worked so well together and made a giant cool mess.  Love.

Yogurt fact: My 95 year old grandfather strains his own plain yogurt to make it “Greek.”  He was telling me how he does it today with a pillow case!  I’ll have to try it sometime. 🙂

Caution: The rest of this post is kind of a downer.  If you aren’t in the mood to read something a bit depressing, I’d say skip it.  Don’t worry, I won’t hate you, I just don’t want to bring you down!

Therapy Tuesday

Today was sort of different.  I basically just told L about my whole “not caring” thing — how whenever she suggests something or wants to take a deeper look at something, lately, I just don’t care — I don’t want to think about things.  At all.  Maybe this is a subconscious defense mechanism; looking really deeply at my my life and my self and the scary inner-workings of my world can be quite painful.  But I don’t think that’s the full explanation.  In general, I am a very curious, open being.  I love learning about myself.  But somehow, when I am actually in the moment of therapy, I keep snapping shut– it feels like I couldn’t tell her my most personal, secretive thoughts even if I desperately wanted to.  Why don’t I want to?  It’s frustrating for both of us for me to not let her be useful.  I am pushing her away and I despise myself for that.

She drew a picture of a box (well, more of a window) for me.  It is a special box called the Johari box.  I really liked the idea of the box.  It looks like this:

I am stuck in the “private self” corner.  I can’t get into any of the other areas with L.  I am fine with myself, at least on the surface, but I experience tremendous difficulty thinking about or talking about the other areas: the public self (what both myself and others know about me), the blind self (what others know about me but I don’t know about myself) and the hidden self (what neither myself nor others knows about me).  Those three boxes scare me and I don’t know why.

It is not fun to continue doing something that I feel so terrible at — therapy.  And it’s not even that I’m just bad at it, it’s actively painful.  Frustrating, confusing.  I should not come home week after week feeling tense and stuck.  I can’t tell you how many times in the last few weeks I have thought about quitting therapy.  But there are two things wrong with this: first of all, I am very stubborn and hate quitting anything, and second, I really do feel a small —  but very powerful — connection to L and I do not wish to abandon that — I want to make it grow.  I want to be able to tell her something other than “I feel sad all the time” or “I hate everything about myself” (and sadly, those have been the bulk of my feelings lately).  I want to be able to talk about my day to day life and to figure out strategies to employ in my relationships.  But as soon as she offers me any kind of serious strategy, I revert to the not caring mode.

I talked a lot today about how uncontrollably, inexplicably sad I have felt lately.  Normally, I feel this way a few days a month.  In the last 1-2 months it has been more than half the time.  I am tired of being depressed.  I’ve been depressed for a good seven or eight years now.  Am I such a failure at all things that I can’t even manage my depression?  L asked me how I physically feel this and I became angry at her.  Who cares where I feel it in my body?  Who cares it it feels like a giant bubble of anxiety in my chest and stomach?  I don’t care what it feels like.  In fact I think looking at what it feels like it borderline idiotic.  I asked L to explain why she wanted to know how I was physically feeling my frustration: she said that sometimes we let our brains get so carried away in memories of the past or thoughts about the future or anxiety about the present moment that we forget what the actual feeling is.

That’s nice.  But I don’t care.  I honestly, right now, am feeling the deepest not-caring I have ever felt in my entire life.  It’s almost a hateful not caring — like I don’t care so much that I hate L.  And of course then I hate myself for hating such a kind being.

In a way, I actually enjoy the self-inflicted punishment that comes with constantly feeling everything in my body and my heart and my head.  It makes me write.  It makes me different.  I don’t want to not feel things the way I do.

But what if that’s the source of all my agony?  I think maybe it is, and maybe that’s what L has been getting it for the last 10 months, whether I have realized it or not.  But I don’t want it to be.  And I certainly don’t want to change.  I am feeling a lot of anger toward myself, L, and the process of therapy right now.  Why, dear God, after close to a year, has she not been able to help me?  Why have I not been able to let her help me?  Why haven’t I let her in.  That’s what I want, more than anything, is to let her in.  There haver been moments when I have felt totally connected to her, and those moments have been beautiful and sometimes pivotal.  So why am I resisting so much now?  I feel like there is no other explanation besides the fact that I am a hopeless loser who doesn’t deserve therapy who is destined to be alone forever.

As I have said before, I truly adore L: I think she is not just an excellent psychologist, but a wonderful, kind human being (most of the time — we all have our moments).  Not only that, but I think she is the right therapist for me.  So what am I doing wrong?  Will I ever feel close to another human being again or have I lost that ability?  When will going “home” ever mean anything besides returning to an empty apartment, making myself a lonely dinner, and crying myself to sleep?

I actually do have a plan for next week.  At some point today I mentioned how I always write about therapy afterwards.  She asked why I haven’t shown her.  I have always considered it somehow too personal; like my writing about therapy is the one thing I have to claim as my own.  But I kind of want to show her now.  I don’t know what else to do.  I don’t know if this might help things along.  But it can’t hurt to try.  I am basically going to compile every Therapy Monday/Therapy Tuesday rant and paste them into one document and give it to her next week.

Goodnight friends!  See you all tomorrow!

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Anti-Anxiety Plan of Attack!

Today’s Happy Note: Reading in the park.

Mental Health Note: I was so wound up when I left work today that I could barely walk in a straight line.  I have no idea where this came from.  I guess part of depression is feeling inexplicably sad, lonely, or confused.  That might be it.  It was a pretty straightforward day at the office.  Very routine.  Normally the routine soothes me, but today it just unsettled me.  Maybe because I couldn’t stop thinking about all the other things I had to do.  On my way home, I devised an anti-anxiety plan of attack!

  • Take a few moments to myself to walk through the park, look at the trees, breathe, and read.  I rarely leave the house without a book, and today was no exception.   I had “The Gift of Therapy” by Irvin Yalom with me.  Yet another book borrowed from L.  I am devouring it.  It is most wonderful and calming.  Not in a creepy way, but it reminds me of L, which reminds me to stay calm; that someone nearby loves and appreciates me unconditionally is an instantly comforting thought.
  • Make a list of specific things bothering me and plan out howto deal with each thing (i.e., just do it, shelve it for later, ignore it, etc.).
  • Don’t worry about a workout.  I like to take one weekday rest day each week and I purposely don’t plan it ahead of time precisely because of days like this.  The idea of traveling to the gym or the gymnastics center or the yoga studio or dripping with sweat in the 90 degree heat was unappealing.  I work out enough that responding to a day of stress by not working out actually makes sense.  I did do about three miles of walking.
  • Take extra time to write in my journal.
  • Don’t stuff my face, but do have exactly what I want for dinner…

Which leads me to these masterpieces:

I was craving frozen fruit all afternoon/evening!  The first bowl has frozen cherries with one spoonful AB and one spoonful PB.  The second one is Talenti coconut gelato topped with dark chocolate, frozen berries, unsweetened shredded coconut, and a few mixed nuts.

Coconut, berries, nuts: I could have done way worse.  Definitely plenty of sugar.  But oh so tasty.  Sometimes food needs to serve both a physical, nourishing purpose and an emotional, satisfying purpose.  I think I successfully accomplished both here! 🙂

Don’t worry, other eats of the day involved veggies and protein!  Like lunch:

Giant tuna mess with hummus, herbs, snap peas (nom nom nom!) and peppers.

Off to do work and clean my room!  Neither of which I especially want to do.  Sigh…

What do you do when you are inexplicable feeling down?

Favorite frozen fruit?

Weekend Workouts + Cold Foods + Things to Look Forward to

Today’s Happy Note: Food Network!  There are a few shows on FN that annoy me but for the most part I’m fascinated.  I love Ace of Cakes and Next Food Network Star.  I tend to be a much simpler cook than most of those on FN, but it is nice to be inspired sometimes, even if the dishes are a bit complicated for my tastes.

Lots of great workouts this weekend!  I wanted to do a long run but just was not in the mood to run in the heat or to do a long/continuous/boring workout.  I was actually going to be doing another ultramarathon around the island today (with the same guy I have done the last two with) but, when I realized it was going to be 85-90 degrees all afternoon, I passed.  I am NOT a heat/humidity runner at all.  Send me out with four layers in a ten degree blizzard and I’m fine.  But the heat?  I just sort of wilt.  The sun exhausts me!  I would have loved to do an ultra today but I knew it wasn’t going to happen.  I’m glad I listened to my body — I just had these terrible visions all morning of me lying in a hospital bed dying of kidney failure.  Not a good image to go into a race with.

Anyways.  My actual workouts: Yesterday I did a 4 mile run followed by 15 minutes HIIT on the elliptical and 10 minutes weights.  Today was split up into three sections: Three mile walk, 30 minutes kayaking (!) and 30 minutes yoga/kettlebell.

I must say, it is quite refreshing not dragging myself through long, monotonous workouts when I don’t want to!

What do you do for a workout when you don’t want to do something long but you still want to sweat?

Kayak pictures:

Dragging my hands and feet in the water definitely lowered my core body temperature a good ten degrees.  To a normal level.  Or so.

Lots of cold eats. Seriously, I think all of my meals today involved yogurt.  I don’t like to eat more than one or two servings of dairy a day since it can be harder to digest.  But there are just not enough cold foods on this earth.  Especially now that my blender is broken.  I do not know how much more of summer I can handle sans blender.

Anyone have any cold food suggestions that don’t consist of yogurt or frozen fruit or require a blender?

I saw someone make a list of thing to look forward to for the week the other day.  I thought it sounded fun and decided I want to participate. 🙂

  • Gymnastics class (assuming I find time this week)
  • Friday night yoga
  • Long run
  • Spin???
  • Meeting the students I’ll be working with for my non-profit job
  • Getting paid (hey, it’s important)
  • Therapy (I’m weird; I do indeed look forward to my time with L)
  • Working on my book of poems
  • Ocean swimming this weekend?

Sounds like plenty of fun!  What are you looking forward to?

Mental health note:  I have become really good over the last few weeks at identifying stressful situations.  This sounds obvious, but sometimes when you’re in a moment of panic — the internet stops working or you find out your great uncle is dying or anything really — it can be hard to talk yourself down.  I’m proud of myself for beginning to institute my self-soothing and destressing techniques.  Go me!

Therapy Thoughts, Sluggish Running, BYOV

Today’s Happy Note: Blogging from the NYPL.  How did I not know this place was beautiful.  In general, I adore libraries.  I have always been drawn to their calm, quiet, but also quirky and smart nature.

That said, the fact that I’m blogging from here means no internet at the apartment yet…but I do have a very nice new colleague who is coming to help me tomorrow!  If that doesn’t work, I might cry. 😦

Onto healthier things!

I have always considered hobbies and passions a major part of a healthy lifestyle.  For many people, hobbies keep them active (dancing, walking, swimming, playing with friends).  My favorite active hobbies are climbing trees (although I’m afraid I’ll get in trouble if I do that in city parks), swimming, walking with friends, and exploring new places in any way possible.  I think yoga, strength, and running are more passions for me.  Whatever.  What I wanted to say is that I have other hobbies too!  Writing, drawing, taking pictures, blogging, planting things, baking, collecting bird pins, studying birds and trees, and READING.  Seeing as I’m in a library right now, I’m going to talk about that last one.

Hobbies keep me healthy because they keep me sane.  No amount of running or working out or eating delicious healthy things can be perfect.  They help keep me sane, calm, and focused, but I need other things that aren’t as explicitly related to my health.  Things that are pure fun.  I think words and pages and lyricism is fun.  So I’m going to do a little feature for the summer called “Caronae’s Shelf.” Every week, I’ll tell you what’s on my metaphorical shelf!  I would love to hear what you guys are reading too.  We can have a mini virtual book club!  Sometimes I might share thoughts, sometimes not.  If you don’t like books, I’d love to ehar about anything else you like to do that keeps you happy, healthy, and sane!

Week of 05/23:

1. Women, Food, and God (by Geneen Roth): Interesting.  I recommend it.  It isn’t necessarily the most straightforward book (there is no precise plan of action), but that’s kind of the point.  I feel like I absorbed a lot of things that made me question my relationship with food and God, and that’s definitely a good thing.  I believe in questioning ourselves and our beliefs.  It helps us grow.

Source

2. 50 Ways To Soothe Yourself Without Food (by Susan Albers)

My response to this just turned into my Therapy Thoughts for the week…

So far this has been really wonderful.  It is geared toward emotional and stress eaters, which I sometimes am, but the tips and discussions are helpful to anyone who is often anxious and unsettled.  I had no idea, but as I was reading,  I realized I have virtually no ways of soothing myself .  I didn’t realize that other people did!  I want to talk to my therapist about this.  I think part of the problem yesterday (I ended up sobbing and feeling unresolved and angry) was that I felt overwhelmed going into the session, and as I began feeling and talking about (reluctantly) some painful things, I had no way of soothing myself.  Isn’t that a beautiful word?  Just the sound “soothing” makes me feel calmer.  I think that going forward, therapy will be easier if I actively work to soother myself when I start feeling or talking about difficult things.  I actually am glad that yesterday seemed to go so badly and that I borrowed this book from my therapist because it led me to this realization.  My therapist has always told me to “be” with my feelings and I always felt like “well, I am!”  But it was never comfortable.  Then she would tell me not to judge myself and to just relax, but it never clicked.  Now it’s clicked and it feels so liberating.  I was always wildly upset when feeling painful things, which, since that was most of the time (both in therapy and in my life), meant that I was often deeply uncomfortable and unsettled.  Sometimes just focusing on my breathing or holding my baby duck Leland or naming different things that I sense around me (“I see pollen on those yellow flowers”, “I feel how soft my sheets are on the bare skin of my back”) makes me feel soothed and calmer.  When I feel calmer, I can deal with things and, eventually, be okay talking about them.  This sounds so simple but it has, apparently, taken me over a year of therapy (eight months with my current therapist) to figure it out!

The biggest thing I got out of yesterday was how upset I feel when I feel lonely.  That’s the place where the upset-ness was coming from.  It brings me back to feeling like no one wants to play with me, and that is one of the worst feelings in the world.  People do want to play with me though!  My friends, my sister, my new co-workers at the non-profit (who I really like, by the way), blog friends.  There are plenty of people to play with.  I know this, and when I do find myself alone, I need not worry so much.  People do like me.

3. Unaccustomed Earth (by Jhumpa Lahiri): excited about this; haven’t read any good short stories or fiction in a while.

That’s this week’s edition of  “Caronae’s Shelf”.  What’s on your shelf?

I did another simple five miler this morning.  This time with ten minutes of abs thrown into the middle (done in some very itchy grass in CP that was in need of some serious mowing).  I felt sluggish again.  It wasn’t painful, but it was slow and groggy.  I don’t know why I feel this way on my runs lately.  I’ll probably run again tomorrow and then do something else on Friday.  I need the running blues to go away.  I like running!

Eats hodgepodge:

I have been craving ice and frozen fruit so badly this week.  I cannot stop.  I had sorbet and frozen mango for dinner last night and about two more servings of frozen fruit (berries and mango) with breakfast today.  I seriously crave it.  Like, when I think about ice, I begin to salivate like other people would over cookies.  I want to chew the ice and the frozen fruit.  And yes, I know it’s bad for my teeth.  I asked my dad what this might mean (I suspected it represents some sort of nutrient deficiency) and he said that a lot of women with iron-deficient based pica crave ice to chew on.  I think maybe I should get my blood tested.  Has this happened to any of you? I have not had a lot of red meat at all lately.  Usually I have it once a week.  I told my dad that I eat my weight in spinach and other iron-rich dark green leafy veggies daily and he told me something interesting: many times, plant-based iron is barely absorbed by our bodies or not absorbed at all.  This is very scary and I did not know that at all!  He is an extremely good doctor who is not biased against vegetarians or vegans at all.  Have you guys ever heard this?  Do you get your iron levels checked?

I had a seven hour meeting this afternoon/evening.  No joke.  Seven hours of presentations and materials and dialogue.  It was important stuff though!

I wasn’t sure what food would be served so I BYOV — brought my own veggies!  This was a good idea as there wasn’t much produce.  I feel better when I eat plenty of fresh produce and I don’t feel weird bringing my own at this point.  That giant container of carrot and asparagus lasted me through lunch and dinner!

Snack was this bar and half a small chocolate chip cookie.

They actually had really high quality pizza for dinner with fresh, yummy sauce.  Yes, I hate tomatoes.  And yes, I like pizza sauce (and ketchup).  Do not ask me why.  I was hangry and had another slice.

I might have more frozen fruit and/or a brownie for dessert.

Because I don’t have Internet at the apartment and, well, I mostly have to do work at work, I haven’t been reading or commenting very much.  I promise I still love you all and will catch up as soon as the Internet is fixed!

I miss you all already!  What’s happening in your life?


Happy Rewards and Silly Friends

Today’s Happy Note: Guess who just finished her junior year of college? 🙂

And boy am I ready to be done.  This week has been exhausting.  I am very ready for summer!  I actually like working a lot and I feel more adult during the summer.  I don’t tend to run wild and I love how the season lets me get into a rhythm and a schedule in the way that the school year really doesn’t.  I am planning a few exciting little projects to keep me entertained so stay tuned!

I decided to celebrate my little junior year graduation with two of my favorite things: Oprah magazine and frozen yogurt!

I like to have a balance of food and non-food rewards, so a frozen treat combined with a magazine is perfect for me!  My next big accomplishment will probably be rewarded with a massage!  Hmm, I’ll have to think of something to accomplish 🙂

Do you reward yourself?  If so, what is your favorite little treat?

Finals Health Week Challenge:

Yesterday (day 4) was kind of meh.  I had a lot to do so I knew I wasn’t really going to have time for a workout.  I might have had room for a walk if I hadn’t procrastinated so much.  People are always shocked to hear this but I am actually a major procrastinator!  On everything.  And it just turned into one of those days where you almost don’t have the energy to think up meals or snacks so you just eat cereal all day.  Does anyone else ever do this?  Hey, I had a lot of frozen fruit with my cereal.  That counts for something!

Mash-up of eats from yesterday and today:

Lots of healthy nom nom noms.

I think I did pretty well today (day 5).  I did a relaxing but pretty quick nine miler this morning and walked another two or so miles this evening.  I think my amount of physical activity today probably made up for not doing too much yesterday!  I’ve had a nice mix of treats and nutrition, too: dried berries, popcorn, raisins, peppers and broccoli, chocolate, spinach, frozen yogurt.  You get the picture.  I had two really nice, clear mental moments today too: once was after I finished writing my contemporary civilization exam (my last one).  I suddenly realized that I am a smart woman!  I just wrote, like, 15 pages about the implications of liberty for human equality in the political state!  I don’t think I’m stupid.  🙂  The next moment came this evening at the movies with friends, when we were goofing around and taking funny pictures of each other.  I saw a picture of me and one of my friends and for the first time in a long time, my immediate reaction was “gosh, that girl looks pretty and interesting”, rather than “that girl looks fat.”  Sounds silly, but this is a big deal for me!

I did have an Adventure today for Adventure Friday (saw Ironman II with friends — surprisingly good) but am too tired to write about it!  I am planning on having an adventure tomorrow though so you guys won’t be too adventure deprived.

I think this picture pretty much sums up the evening!  My friends and I are quite silly…We were trying to pose in front of the Sex and The City poster but it didn’t really work out.

Has anyone done an Adventure Friday post? If so, send me the link and I would love to read it and share it with my other readers!

I hope you all have a most wonderful weekend filled with lots of laughter and contentment!  And pretty May flowers too!