I hadn’t really been ‘allowed’ to exercise for 2 years. My doctor basically forbid it when I came to her so underweight. But I figured, hey, I was at a healthy weight now, surely a little exercise was OK? As soon as I started running, old feelings started flooding back. I could hear my mind just screaming at me ‘RUN! RUN!’ - it was like relapsing into an old addiction. It felt like a rush of adrenaline, like I could run forever. I kept watching the dials telling me how far I’d run and how many calories I’d burned. I couldn’t stop. My girlfriend and her friend did weights a few metres away, having no idea that I was getting so fuelled up by this exercise.
Ugh, this is still hard to write about. I wanted so much to just be able to ‘snap out of it’, but I couldn’t get myself out of my depression. My girlfriend was doing her best to be supportive and meet me where I was, but it was so hard for her to know what to do. I felt so guilty for putting her through that, but guilt on top of depression is even worse. She really did love me. I don’t know how long it will take me to get over the guilt of what I put her through. I was ill. I honestly did the best I could.
I knew exercise would be good for my mood. Exercise is good for you! But we couldn’t trust me to set the pace for our jogging, because when I start running, I just want to go hard and fast until I’m ready to pass out. My girlfriend is much better adjusted, so we let her set our pace. She saw this as something fun and social we could do together, but as she chatted to me during our jog, I wasn’t even listening. All I could hear was my brain telling me to run.
One of the downsides to being in a relationship was that I constantly had a gorgeous woman around to compare myself to. I saw her naked every day, yet couldn’t bare the thought of her seeing my disgusting naked body. I felt so incredibly fat. I harboured this insecurity that she’d wake up one day and realise how unattractive I was, how awful I was, and that she’d leave me. There was a lot of other stuff going on that added to those insecurities, but it didn’t help that I was such an anxious person. It wasn’t a great way to live.
It was a real sign of how far I’d come that my attitude was so different this time around. I knew I must have been underweight, and so gaining some weight would probably be OK. I also knew that eating more regularly would boost my mood, and I was looking forward to feeling better.
Work conferences are always a big challenge for me. Having a change in my routine makes it very easy to forget meds. Having all that food constantly around me can be triggering. At the time, I had my own room, so I could at least have some personal space. What I’m really panicking about is my conference next week. I’m at a new company, and this company’s policy is that people share rooms. That means I can’t leave my meds out somewhere where I’ll remember them. Maybe one day I’ll be comfortable enough with my mental health that I can be more open with my coworkers, but I don’t particularly feel up to having a conversation about my medication cocktail. Wish me luck.
My counsellor was trying to encourage me, telling me that I’d kept myself out of hospital by utilising the strategies I’d learned. But to me it just sounded like she was giving up.
I should have mentioned in my last comic post, but hospitalisation remains a perfectly valid and often important part of recovery. I had some pretty close-minded opinions about hospitalisation at the time, but it probably really would have helped me to get back on track. Still, I made it through, and that’s what matters.
Oh man, this phase. You know it’s serious business when your doctor starts putting you on supplements generally intended for the elderly. I was not happy. I went into the chemist and started reading the nutritional information on the back and just saw it as nothing but empty calories. I was dead set against it. I wanted to listen to my doctor, but how could I just… eat for the sake of putting on weight? It went against everything inside of me. These were tough times.
Wow, going on daily Xanax, what an adventure. It made me feel like such a zombie. My friends were lovely, and spent time looking after me when I didn’t have the energy to really do anything. I am very blessed with the support network that I have. But something about the Xanax affected either my concentration or my depth perception. I really couldn’t seem to figure out the space around my car. I soon told my doctor what was going on, and she took me off the Xanax. Medication adjustments can be quite the challenge.
(In other news, I hate drawing cars! It looks like a little kid’s Fisher Price car! I swear I drive a real car, not a toy like the one pictured).