Trigger warning: I talk about food, weight loss and comfort eating
It has been a week since my last post, but it feels like a much longer interval. It has been a busy week, and I feel like a few things have changed.
First of all, an update on my daughter’s food challenge in midweek. It was ultimately successful, although not without a hiccup. We planned to introduce lentil, and took salmon as a backup option. At the beginning of the appointment, they did a skin prick test just to check whether lentil was still giving a low response – but it wasn’t. It reacted with a big weal, however salmon was non-reactive, so they introduced that instead, successfully.
As for me and my wife? Well, the week took its toll. I knew I was ‘a bit wobbly’ about the whole affair. When typing out my blog post last week I realised I was very triggered and upset, and in therapy on Tuesday I brought it up. We’re going to work on processing the three major allergic reactions i’ve witnessed over the next few weeks. I was in a real state on the day, and decided to stay home rather than accompany them to hospital. I think this was a wise decision, as I was a mess and would have made things much harder.
I also realised how stressed I had been for the last couple of weeks. I had been clenching my teeth all week, and my skin had really flared up – sure signs of stress. On Thursday, it felt like our lives had been on hold and we could now get back to getting on with things…like all having a cold/virus/hopefullynotTHEvirus over the weekend 🙃
Taking a time out
After posting last week, I did something that i’m actually a little proud of. I assessed my mental and physical state and decided to be as gentle as possible to myself, so I had the best chance of surviving the week. I took a break from blogging and social media, and spoke with my line manager at work about being able to take time off if I needed it. In the end, having that option was probably what I needed, and work was a good distraction.
I made myself go to bed at reasonable times, and got up at reasonable times (although my sleep has been bad). I scheduled walks, plenty of time to play bass, and gave myself slack about eating.
Something else happened this week, which was that I felt a lot closer to my daughter. I don’t know if that was down to coming off my meds (i’ll explain below) or engaging a lot with the trauma of her previous anaphylaxis episodes, and thinking about how I feel about them. I feel that I can be a bit more open and present with her, and of course she’s returning that warmth.
Previously, I have described my fears of being with her and leaving myself open to triggering or losing control of my emotions. So I feel good about this at the moment. I’m also keenly aware that it’s only 10 days since a pretty serious incident, so i’m being very cautious about it all.
Setting gentler targets
Another thing that has been in the back of my mind has been the targets i’ve set myself. I made a fairly big deal about the weight-loss challenge, and i’ve been doing the Couch to 5k challenge alongside this.
I wrote a lot about using these targets to drive myself on, and prop myself up. I think they were built on shaky foundations though. I’ve always been worried about how failing to meet goals and targets can adversely affect me and, with it being obvious that I wasn’t going to make this weight loss challenge for a few weeks, I wonder whether that has played into my negative self talk. Well, I don’t wonder really, I know exactly that it has.
I’ve been in survival mode for the last few weeks, and asking myself to forego the one thing that gives me comfort (food) was probably a stupid idea. I’ve been asking myself what on earth I was thinking, to be honest. No, i’m not saying comfort eating is a good thing, but looking at the bigger picture it’s a lot to ask to go through EMDR, return to work, live with complex ptsd and deal with all the things going on at home, as well as thrashing myself with an unrealistic target.
But, saying all that, I do recognise that eating large amounts of carbs and processed food is not good for me, AND I am going to be unhappy with gaining weight. I do get a boost from having goals to work towards, and I still believe in intermittent fasting, so I’m thinking that now is a good time to re-evaluate my goals, with Christmas on the horizon. So, stay tuned for another post about my revised weight-loss challenge.
As for the running, well i’ve been struggling a lot with my Achilles tendons, so i’m having an enforced break. I may go back a couple of weeks on the Couch to 5k programme and build back up again. But i’m not going to criticise myself for not making the 5k target in 9 weeks. Ultimately, I want to be fit by the start of the 2022 cricket season in April, so that’s the longer term goal.
Getting off meds
I stopped taking my antidepressants about 10 days ago. It wasn’t a straightforward decision, although my GP’s failure to provide me with options made it more straightforward than perhaps it should have been. Although the withdrawal effects have passed (i think), I would say there’s a chance i’m still in that window when you start or end an antidepressant and your emotions pick up (at least, that’s my experience). So, it is with caution that I say this, but I feel better for being off meds.
I feel like I have a lightness, a lifting of brain fog. I feel as though the last set of meds were artificially forcing an emotional detachment, but that there was a threshold that, once passed, meant I was overwhelmed. As I said above, I feel like I can connect better with my daughter, and i’ve noticed that i’ve been back to the (sometimes) humorous and chatty person I have been a lot of times in the past. I noticed I was making a few jokes over lunch with my wife yesterday, making her laugh, and it occured to me that that hasn’t happened for a long while.
The one thing the mirtazapine was giving me, was good sleep. I would really like to sleep better than I am at the moment, however it’s not all bad. I can actually get out of bed in the mornings, which may well be preferable to sleeping so heavily it’s a real effort in the mornings. I hope that by naturally making lifestyle adjustments I can get my sleep back on track. I’ve definitely slipped into bad routines with the artificial sleep-maker saving my bacon – lots of caffeine, lots of screen time in the evenings, not winding down before bed at all. Watch this space I guess.
Anyway, that’s my difficult week done, and i’m feeling pretty positive at the end of it. I hope you’re doing OK as well. Take care and thanks for reading.