anorexia, Bipolar Disorder, Uncategorized

Better than Before

51RivppusfLOften, I get these grand ideas.  Ideas about all the wonderful things that I can and should do.  To be honest, I am not sure what exactly it is.  Excessive motivation?  Obsessed with improving my overall well-being?

I read Gretchen Rubin’s book, Better than Before, twice. (https://gretchenrubin.com/books/better-than-before/about-the-book/ ) It was an informative read the first time, but the second read was even better.  I was insanely motivated to work on my habits, as many of my habits are destructive.  So, coming off reading the book, I was super charged and, in a place, where I was ready to make some changes.  The changes that I have aimed to make are below:

  1. Limit alcohol intake
  2. Implement exercise regime
  3. Improve body image
  4. Increase overall productivity
  5. Migrate from a “B” Student to an “A” student
  6. More involved parent
  7. Reduce sugar intake
  8. Decrease weight
  9. Eliminate multiple weigh ins per day
  10. Start meditation
  11. Cut back on shopping
  12. Change my attitude towards prescribed medication

 

Yeah, twelve things to change, that’s not too much, nor excessive, totally doable.  Or is it?  Have I set myself up to fail because I have made a list of modifications that I want to make that will require too much from me?  Is this the same as having twelve new year resolutions? What will my therapist think?  Am I manic?  Is this delusional behavior?

Let’s take a peak:

Limit alcohol intake

The first thing I started with was limiting the alcohol intake.  With the support of my family, this one has been successful.  I am now in a place where I promised my doctors that I would get to and now to stay there.  In the book, Gretchen spoke about how one’s will power is the weakest as the day progresses.  So, at the end of the day, we have the least amount of will power.  Ok, so knowledge is power, it will be the hardest at night.

Implement Exercise Regime

The grand idea was to take a walk around the neighborhood when I arrived home from work.  At this point, this has not happened.  Not sure why, but it hasn’t.  I have been successful in hitting my daily goal of 2,500 steps (low I know, but achievable with the fact that I have an office job).  Per my activity tracker, I participate in “exercise activity” twice a week, whether that is a hike, or pacing the parking lot while on the phone.  Improvement is needed, but there is progress in motion.

Improve Body Image

Every morning, as I get ready to get into the shower I tell myself that I am beautiful.  That my body is exactly what it is supposed to be.  I also remind myself that my body does not define me.  I have a note on my computer monitor at the office that says, “You are beautiful” and per a comment left on one of my blogs by my boyfriend, “beauty is in the eye of the behold, and I behold you as beautiful” (God, I love him so!)

Increase Overall Productivity

Yeah, this one needs some work.  I make a list every day of what I need to complete, and I strive to check off every item.  I have worked to be more engaged at work, as well as at home regarding housework, parenting, spousing, and my college education.

Migrate from a “B” Student to an “A” student

Nope.  This is not happening.  I might as well just mark it off the list.  Being a “B” student for me is just fine and dandy.  I have quite a bit on my plate, and if I were to work harder to achieve all A’s that means I would lose out on:

  1. Sleep
  2. Time with my family
  3. What little exercise that I complete
  4. Self-care

I have made the decision, that continuing to be a “B: student with a 3.0 GPA is good enough for me.  If I do happen to get an “A” that is fantabulous, but I will not lose sleep over a “B.

More Involved Parent

When I arrive home from school, I touch base with both the kids.  I ask after their day with some kind of a peculiar question that I come up with out of the very deep part of my brain, like “What was the second best part of your day?”, “What made you wrinkle up your nose today” “Did you ever think about your socks while at school today”  You know just to keep things interesting.

Reduce Sugar Intake

See item one.  Work on number one and you have success on number seven.  Nothing better than killing two pterodactyl with one boulder.

Decrease Weight

See item one and item seven.  Although I have not seen any success, and I have gained weight due to not successfully completing number two, I must set some realistic expectations.  A very wise man reminded me this weekend that yes, I have gained ten pounds, but I have also gained ten pounds of mental stability too (have I mentioned how much I love this guy?)

Eliminate multiple weigh ins per day

Have not started on this one yet.  But set a small goal to reduce weigh ins to three a day.  And decrease one weigh in per week that goes by.

Start meditation

I signed up for a Mindfulness class that will begin the first week of May.  I count this as a win because the money has been paid, therefore the line is drawn in the fast-drying cement.  I will attend and hopefully I will learn how to quiet this brain of mine.

Cut back on shopping

Define “cut back”.  Weight gain has caused a delay in implementing this initiative.  I will never again get rid of clothes that I outgrow as I always end up either gaining or losing weight and needing to buy more clothes.  When will I learn?

Change my attitude towards prescribed medication

Every time I have a smile on my face, I remind myself that my smile is brought to me by Lithium, Vraylar, Lexapro and Hormone Pellets.  That if it were not for my prescribed medication, I would either be stuck in bed, or up on the roof dancing a jig.

 

My number four goal of being more productive is apparently in full swing, I’ve made more progress than I thought.  Thanks for reading this as it helped me see that I am kind of kicking ass, which makes me smile, and that makes me be more thankful for my medication, which causes weight gain, thus providing motivation for exercising during the time that is permitted due to being ok with being a “B: student, but not sacrificing time away from my family.  You are the best!!

Bipolar Disorder, Uncategorized

Will that be Debit or Credit, Ma’am?

18uloxcegkeaqjpgI like to shop.  I experience a high when I can find great deals that involve grand savings.  Money saved is money earned, that’s the saying right?  When I go to Kohls, scratch the silver circle and reveal my 30% savings that gets added to my shoes that were already 50% off, I feel like I was a spectacular shopper.  And when the cashier proudly proclaims that I saved $52.08, I get excited and feel that the purchase is most definitely justified.

I enjoy going to second hand stores, like Goodwill (poppin’ tags is the shirt!).  There is a color tag on sale (50% off) nearly every day and on some days identified tags are a mere dollar.  Yes, that’s right just one dollar.  Once or twice a month everything but food and new items are 50% off.  On those there are hoards of people, crashing into each other’s carts, fighting over dressing rooms, reaching for the same embroidered green hobo inspired three quarter length sleeve shirt.  It’s like the Hunter Games, minus the bows and arrows, sometimes.  My Goodwill plan of attack consists of the following: I enter the store, identify the sale tag, and then go on the mission of only purchasing items that are on sale.  The main objective is only to buy what’s on sale.  Do you know why?  Yup, that’s right, because then I can justify the purchase and I feel less shame and guilt for the money I spent.

Are you seeing a pattern here?  That perhaps, just maybe, I like to shop a little bit too much, and maybe perhaps, I spend more than I should, own more clothes then most, but still always want to buy more?  Dictionary.com defines the noun shopaholic as a frequent shopper, especially one who is unable to control his or her spending.

I have been in debt on and off, in kind of big ways since I received my first credit card when I was 18.  I remember it like it was yesterday.  I opened the envelope and there was a gold card that had a shimmer to it and the marvelous words: Credit limit $600.  “I’ll pay it off every month”…  “only buy what I need”…  “not going to buy anything that isn’t a need”… Yeah that did not last long… Over a few years my credit limit was $15,000.  Insane how the credit card companies reward you for having a spending problem.  I managed to pay off all my debts like five times at this point and am once again back in the place where I am looking to pay down a sizable debt.

Yet, I still spent the last three months spending money on clothes, gifts and experiences.  Christmas is always a challenging time of the year for me.  All the emphasis on buying stuff, where you justify it because it is Christmas and the whole holiday is now nothing but the act of giving gifts.  And hello Hannah, Amazon Prime is the best invention of all times… plus having the app on my phone and one click ordering.  Call it my death sentence.

I also have much stronger impulses to shop when I am manic.  Everything in me is ramped up in general and the desire to shop is unquenchable.  I don’t buy houses or cars, or even high dollar items (see, justifying yet again).  Its $10 here, $25 there, something for the kids, a gift for my spouse.  One of my love languages is giving of gifts, so this is yet another ingredient that adds to the stew that is my shopping problem.

Effective today, I made a promise to stop shopping, other than for groceries.  I made one last trip to Goodwill yesterday.  I was somber and sad, and the shopping made it worse.  I felt such shame.  I was mad at myself for what I had done and how I could have paid down my debts, but no, I needed a new wardrobe because I was yet again changing my style.  “I lost weight and I need new clothes”, I told myself…

So, now I dig myself out of the hole I dug over the last quarter.  I’ll tally up my spending and come up with a revised formula on how to pay the debt off.  I sit and wonder, when will this cycle end?  Will I ever get ahead of this?  When will enough be enough?

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