disorder

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Starts typing out and not only does that opening sentence make no sense, it just sounds stupid.

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This is how it usually starts and I find when I really want to say something that isn’t superficiality, you always have to find a decent point of entry.

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I feel like I am on the edge of something. You ever have that moment when you get what you want and then you think, “now what?”. That is where it is. For years it seemed that leaving NJ was the goal. So much so that everything fell to the side. And it happened…. and then you realize there were a lot of things that got neglected cause you were focused (read: stressed) to think about anything else.

I haven’t really been mentioning it much but the past few months I haven’t been well. The anxiety, stress and physical demand of the move really messed me up. Pair that with eating out far more than one should and things just happened. I am having issues with my joints, hands, arms.. they feel stiff and overall my system feels like a swollen, unhappy mess.

I was lucky enough to find out that the Tibetan medicine dr. I was seeing in San Diego a couple years back has a practice about an hour from where we are and he sees patients once a month. It’s a sign and just like that I jumped at the opportunity to go under his wing once more. I saw him yesterday and I am about to take on the undertaking of some lifestyle changes. I need to. I am seriously noticing some changes in my body and I know a lot of it is attributed to age. I will be 39 in November and while that is still a young age, I don’t feel that way and things need to change. Damn you nature and your whole process!

Reza going to school full time has been key here. I have more free time and all of a sudden the gates are open for me to do more with myself and for myself. I went from 2.5 free hours a day (peanuts) to full time. I could hear Kool & The Gangs’s “celebration” in my head as we walked back to the car after dropping her off. It sounds selfish as fuck and in the parenting world you’re very much viewed as such cause you want “me” time.

The other day I shared a photo that was going around of a mother jumping for joy cause her kids were going back to school. It was passed around all over Facebook… yes, you know where this is going. Of course I fell trap to reading the comments section, aka where the cesspool of humanity goes to unload on one another. What was supposed to be a joke turned into a parental bashing session and many of the comments summed up: that somehow you aren’t a good parent for celebrating your moment to breathe. You should want to be with your precious nugget 24/7! That is what you signed up for! You like that? Some parents live for this shit, being the taxi driver, lunch packer, nose wiper… good for you if you do. I enjoy it but it isn’t everything I am. I guess this is where I differentiate myself. Before I am a mother, I am a woman, person, wife. If I don’t honor the other roles in my life how am I supposed to be good at the one I am “supposed” to enjoy the most? Balance. Too much focus on one and another will suffer. I don’t suck myself into the role of motherhood the way a lot of other people do and I just can’t allow myself to being condemned for doing/acting in a manner that feels right for me. Newsflash people: There is no model for the RIGHT way. If you think there is, well I don’t know what to tell you.

So the next couple of weeks are going to be interesting. I have a lot of time and I plan on putting it to better use. Getting back on an exercise routine, eating better, getting back into the art, making our space feel more like home. Speaking of space…

We knew that coming to NorCal was going to be an adjustment. The cost of living here is a lot higher and we downscaled in order to make it happen. Apartment living has been interesting, especially when you haven’t done it since 2005. You learn a lot about people when you have to share space, walls and amenities with them. I could do without the smoker under us who really doesn’t give a F her cancer cloud comes into our apartment for one. People can be so gross. You know what else is sad? People who don’t know the difference between trash and recycling. Edumacate yourselves fools! Electric stoves and mini blinds blow. Ha! I get the electric stove part though, the last thing you need is your apartment getting blown up cause the moron next door doesn’t know how to use a stove properly. I do miss cooking over a fire…. electric stoves take away the primal joy of cooking.

I will say one thing, the people here are a lot nicer. Damn. You know how nice it was to take Reza to school and no one looked at us like we got off a fucking space ship? Awesome. It just makes me have a better disposition. Maybe it’s because I appreciate my surroundings that much more, because I know what it likes to feel displaced and incomplete. It is sad that sometimes you need to lose the things you love in order for you to really appreciate them. You feel me? Trust me, I felt and heard it loud and fucking clear. Just trust me on this one.

blue monday

Not sure how this happened but I looked down and most of January is gone. Time hasn’t felt so painfully long, probably cause my headspace is in a much better place. People were lamenting “blue monday” which I never really felt, so the holidays are over, big whoop… we get more ya know? That is unless the Mayans were right then we are all fucked.

For the past almost 2 weeks I have been much better with my intake and as much as I hate to admit it, the bread/gluten and overall dietary abuse was making me one pissy, overinflated bitch. I see the correlation the minute I realize how much happier I am when I don’t eat that shit. Paired with some 5-htp, my hippie herbs and more solid sleep? Feels like night and day to me.

I’m an interesting place right now. I have become so disinterested with so many things, and most of those things are for the better. A year ago I was always glued to the television, reading celebrity gossip, stressed out over uncertainty… basically a bunch of negative feelings that were doing nothing good for my frame of mind. Josh and I are moving forward with canceling our cable btw, I have a feeling there will be zero regrets there. Why pay for something you only partake of once in a very long while? It makes no sense and considering how much time Josh spends away from home, the last thing I want to do when he IS here is to park in front of the box as much as we used to.

Since moving here I have seen such a decrease of drama in my life. I think it has a lot to do with the lack of contact with people, which within itself can be a bad thing but I am choosing to take this time to look into myself a little deeper. I am sitting here typing, listening to some chill music and I have two kittens happily purring and sleeping on my lap. This is what it’s all about. The simple things.

I tend to be a horrible reader cause I need so much quiet and lack of interruption in order to focus. Recently, my book arrived, the Letters Of Frida Kahlo. I have been denting it at a pace that is more rapidly than usual. She gets me thinking, here is this person who was ridden and destroyed with crippling pain, emotional and physical, yet somehow despite all of those debilitating feelings she still managed to put out beauty into the world. It puts shit in perspective so fucking much. Moral of the story: read more and be grateful.

I am trying so hard to exercise a higher sense of self and humility. It’s not an easy thing to do especially when we are in the day and age of the first world complaint, where everyone does nothing but complain about the most trite of things. Shit, even I do it sometimes… the point is, it is distracting to focus on the task at hand, the bigger picture if you will, when people you expose yourself to are doing nothing but looking for a pat on the back. Everyone wants a medal for living these days. Sometimes it takes everything in me to not pipe up on facebook posts and say, “Jesus, will you listen to yourself?”. You think you know people. Note to self: Do a better job of ignoring it.

Reza turned yet another corner. Fed up with her constant insolence and defiance, Josh and I implemented a reward system. She does good, she gets a red heart, she does bad she gets a blue one. 3 blue hearts = time out, for every 5 red she gets to choose from a little prize bin I put together. I was hesitant about whether it would work and it really has, girl has been so much more polite, conscientious and considerate. All so she can pick out stickers. Whatever it takes, right? You don’t know how many times Josh and I stand in her doorway as she sleeps, his arm around me, telling one another how fortunate we are. We know we aren’t perfect but we know we are doing a good job with her and by her. It’a all we can do, right?

Things here in Jersey are surprisingly chill. Yes, it’s cold but I always think it could always be worse. One morning we woke up to find snow all over the place. A white morning and as much as I have been cursing the snow coming, it was actually beautiful to look at. Probably cause this is the first time I really saw it in that kind of abundance. Reza was besides herself, to the point she ran out barefoot and kept eating it. To her dismay it didn’t stick and within hours it was like it never happened. It is supposedly snowing this Saturday and I am thankfully prepared. One thing I have learned about being here? Fashion stops the minute you’re freezing your ass off. Function trumps fashion when your toes feel like they are gonna fall off. Holy Hell.

I have come to accept where we live. I miss my friends, that will never change but we are making the best of what we have for now and rolling with it. I am surprisingly calm about the whole thing, it is so unlike me. Either way I am looking forward to a lot of fun times in the months to come.

operation health update

I went to a follow up with the Tibetan doctor after a month. It’s interesting cause all he does is grab my wrists to assess where we go… My first round of treatment involved the diet, liver/kidney cleansing herbs. The goal was to cleanse out my system, get better sleep, lose some weight. It seems that all of this was accomplished. Sleep and weight loss could always be greater though.

The weight was only a couple pounds, but my guess is as good as anything really. I feel like I have?? Who the hell knows. I am trying not to weigh myself cause honestly, the numbers only fuck with my head and it shouldn’t be about the number right now. All I do know is I feel a hell of a lot better than I did a couple months ago. My head space has improved ten fold, I am not hacking up a lung and sick… Pick your battles ya know?

So now Dr. T wants to move forward on changing my herb supplementation to stimulate my metabolism and regulate my hormones. How he comes to this after some wrist pinching is beyond me but this route has done more for me than going to any Western doctor so I don’t care what he does…

After my consultation I go out to the lobby and minutes later he comes out with two baggies full of what look like Milk Duds or Whoppers. Tan and dark brown.. and then I look on the instructions: “chew 3, 30 minutes before breakfast”. CHEW?? My last herbs were in gel caps, these I actually have to taste? And I have to do this 2 times a day? blah… this is the morning installment:

For lack of better terms, they taste like shit. Not as bad as chewing on magic mushrooms, but the flavor tastes like dirt with a side of cayenne pepper, cinnamon, clove and ass. And then it gets stuck in your teeth which only makes it linger even more. The things I do!

I know what you are thinking, “Just swallow them!” and yes, I thought the same thing. I asked and they are encapsulated so tight that if I do, they just “go right through you”. Fun. But, I did manage to find a technique to make the process more tolerable. I mash them with a pestle in a bowl till they are in powdered form, add a splash of juice and down the hatch. Yes, I can still taste them. I hear from a friend that is on month 4 that you get used to the taste. We shall see…

Any herbal remedies and alternatives take anywhere from 2-3 months to really see/feel any benefits. It has only been a month and I definitely feel like I have more clarity, am figuring out what my body can/cannot handle food wise and again, I am not sick which is just awesome.

I go back in 2 months and we will go from there….

jumbalaya

Yesterday Josh was sitting on the couch and looks down and this little guy was on his arm. How it got there is beyond us but I could not resist the photo op with this very little guy…

It has become clearly apparent that my camera needs to go to the shop to get a massive cleaning. When there are spots in the sky, you know it is time. I shouldn’t be spending so much time on clean-up so after this weekend, the ole girl is going to the shop for a bath. This is where I will feel naked for lord knows how long.

I have been taking a lot of photos on my phone as of late… I love my DSLR but the portability of it is not as user friendly. Plus, why lie… I have had this camera for a while now, with ONE lens and well, I am frustrated with it. Oh boohoo, she is bored with her camera. Brendan was saying, the best camera you have is the one you have with you. Touché.

What else is going on…

Lets see, I made cupcakes for the first time in eons. They were just a little something for Reza’s school Easter whatnot. I forgot how much I love baking… Of course I can’t do much of it cause all of it is a total no-no on the diet I am on and lets be truthful here, I cannot have that temptation in the house. Unless I know I can offload them to people, well, then maybe I would go back to it… but what fun is it if I cannot partake, ya know?

I also bought a new palette of watercolors that I am super excited to break in along with a “Sketch A Day” journal. I cannot wait til it gets here, who knows what interesting nuggets I will be pooping in it.

Ok, lets cut to the chase shall we? Where am *I* at?

A few weeks ago I pretty much came to terms with the fact that I was suffering from some degree of depression. Being sick for so long, along with our streak of not-so-good news really broke me. There is only so much one person can take ya know? I wrote a big long-winded post about it but it wasn’t open to public consumption. Usually that is not the way I am but it felt right at the time and I was so glad I was finally able to admit it to others as much as I was able to admit it to myself. I was met with a ridiculous amount of support and words from a lot of people, so much so that it was a huge push to get off my ass to get better. There is a lot to be said when you think you are alone only to realize there were always people there with you all along. If you were one of those people, the ones that reached out, called, emailed, commented or just gave me the “I so know how you feel” nod… You? Thank you so, so much.

So I started going to therapy. I have been to several sessions and while it was helpful at the time, I found myself not having my heart in it later on. Maybe it was who I was seeing, maybe it was me, who knows! but something did not feel right and to me that is the kind of thing that you have to be all in for, 100% or else it’s not going to evolve into something better. So, my gut told me to call it and I did. I stopped seeing my therapist… plus, that business is expensive! I know at any point in time if I need it again I can go back, but for now I feel like I can stand on my feet a lot taller than I have in a while.

My treatment with the Tibetan Dr. has been going well. I go back in a couple weeks for a follow up to see where I am at. Overall, as difficult as it has been, the removal of a lot of things from my diet has *really* helped with my frame of mind, clarity and focus. Now, it may all be subconscious but the truth is I don’t care. I have felt the best I have felt in a long time and I have a lot to do with that so I am gonna roll with it and see where it takes me. It has enabled me to go back to the gym, not get sick, I’m making my immune system and body stronger. It has been awesome.

I have been doing a lot more with myself…
catching up with friends I wasn’t able to see cause I was sick all the time
social engagements, getting out of the house
I am feeling the creative juices surge again which is always good
I cut a lot of loose ties out of my life
going to the gym and letting it kick my ass little by little
finding beauty and happiness in what is there, the present, the simple.

I won’t lie and say everything is super chipper and all… it isn’t. I have my moments but I do have a better grasp on it. It doesn’t feel so overwhelming. Amongst everything else I wish I wasn’t feeling disappointment toward a few people who have remained conveniently absent despite their knowing where I was at… It really sucks cause I am not the kind of person to reach out when I feel like I am sinking and I did… and it was ignored. But hey, such is life right? Some people disappoint and some surprise you. Despite those couple of let downs, I was more surprised than anything.

Overall, there has been a lot of progress made despite the hurdles and obstacles that seem to keep coming. I am just trying to roll with it as it comes… I have been listening to the new Duran Duran song and the title pretty much sums up where I am at: All You Need Is Now.

That is exactly what I am doing.

checking in, day 3

This diet has been interesting to say the very least. So far I have been managing despite the limitations and with said limitations I am forcing myself to get creative so I am not eating the same shit every day. I have got a lot of “I couldn’t go without X” from people and what some people don’t understand is that when you have not felt well for 3 months, it gets really old so it makes it a lot easier to pass on things that could be harmful to my body and psyche.

notes…

No Coffee… this one has been kinda hard cause I don’t really drink coffee for the caffeine as much as I do for the flavor. I love the flavor of coffee. Now, I don’t mind the little perk up and the epic poos that come afterward but I am trying to stick to it as much as I can. Lately I noticed how crappy it was making me feel so taking a break is a good thing.

Brown rice pasta isn’t as bad as I thought it would be! Pleasantly surprised.

Upon recommendation from a friend, I did the unthinkable…. I bought a vegan cookbook. GASP. The whole vegan concept is something I never thought I would see myself diving into. Yes, there is a stigma for me… you try listening to your friends trying to guilt trip you with “don’t you know, that when you eat meat you’re eating someones soooooulllll” shit. I don’t mind vegans or their diets but the preachy preachy dietary elitism shit that can come along with it can get seriously annoying, so much so that it is off-putting. I like things on my terms and guilt tripping me is not going to make me pass on the bloody steak yo. But since I am on a no dairy restriction (other than plain yogurt – thank god) it only makes sense. We will see what kind of new things I learn how to make in order to satiate the belleh.

The hardest part for me is giving up the sweets. Everyone has their vice and baked goods/chocolate are mine. I made the biggest mistake of going into Whole Foods today, after the gym no less. Lords, the temptation was brutal… but I prevailed! I hear that it will get easier which I hope comes soon cause the withdrawal is something I can do without. Although, I decided to try blue agave sweetener since it is one of the very few sweeteners I can use and I was pleasantly surprised once more! A bit of that in some plain yogurt with fresh strawberries? YUM. I also got some coconut milk based ice cream that rules… if anything to help get me through the patches where I get a serious sugar craving.

I have started going to the gym again. I canceled the 24 hr Cesspool membership and am now going to a nicer, cleaner and much cheaper gym. Josh has been going with me and it has been good. It’s nice to be back in the saddle, just making sure I take the necessary hygiene precautions while there and after to ensure I am not bringing home yet another funky. Fuck I am so glad cold/flu season is dying down around here cause I can’t do that again.

Overall, things are going well and the funk seems to be lifting away little by little. Josh is being super supportive in the changes I am making and in some cases, is making them right along with me. I really am trying to stick to it, keep some structure and direction. Getting my health in order is definitely going to help clear my head space… it’s only a matter of time, consistency and hanging in there. It has only been 3 days but I know I made the right choice to go this route.

adventures in alternative medicine

It is not any news when I tell you that I have been sick on and off for most of 2011. Do the math: 3 of the longest fucking months of my life. It seems that I am on the mend in many ways but the physical debilitation broke me in ways that I never anticipated. It’s amazing how a broken body drags your mind right down with it. The relationship between the two go very hand in hand and I don’t know which brought the other down but the truth is they are both in a place that I have never been.

There is so much I need to take care of at the moment but it is so hard to put any plans into motion when I feel down or sick. So far, after 3 visits to Western Drs. and the frustration that comes with them, AKA they don’t listen, I decided to go an alternate route.

A friend of mine has suggested and recommended a Tibetan medicine Dr. for a while now and after his having good results, I decided to pay Dr. Tibet a visit (not his real name).

For those of you who do not know what the premise of Tibetan Medicine entails I will summarize it: you are diagnosed based on pulse and urinalysis. Sounds totally ludicrous that someone will come to some conclusions about what ails you by pulse and looking at your piss right? More on that later.

So I rolled into my appointment and any skepticism I may have had went out the door. Dr. Tibet had an intense yet calming presence to him and after reading my intake form that had little to no descriptions about what brought me there, he says, “you know what I am about to do?”, I nod and tell him that I know he will check the pulse on my arms. So I extended my arms over his desk and for about 15 minutes, in complete silence, he held my wrist and with closed eyes felt it, then the other hand, then the both at the same time. Complete and total silence. Did I mention this guy had a photo of him and the Dalai Lama in his office? Yeah, not intimidating AT ALL.

He takes my pulse and then excuses himself to go check out my tupperware of piss I had to bring in. Walking around with your urine in a container is SO SEXY.

Anyway, the doc rolls back in the office and starts telling me…

“You suffer from x, x, and x… nothing is of major concern but there are things that could be better. You also wake up at night, have high anxiety and are experiencing these symptoms…”. This is where I am on the verge of tears. Somehow, without even going into any explanations this man KNEW what I was feeling by touching me and looking at my tupperware of pee. I shit you not.

After some brief explanations of his plan of action, he says he is gonna write up some instructions. His English is not great but enough to communicate and that is that. I went out into the lobby and 5 minutes later he comes out with notes, some herbs in baggies and what I need to do. His receptionist man goes over everything with me and sends me on my way.

What was I told to do?
I am taking 4 supplements… 2 are his herbal concoctions that are for liver and kidney functions. The others are 5HTP and a probiotic.
I was given a BEEFY list of foods I need to remove from my diet for the time being, notables being: pork, processed meats, 99% dairy, sugars, chocolate (crais!), caffeine, alcohol, wheat, gluten and very specific veggies and fruits. Some of those really are no sweat for me, it is all just a matter of getting used to it. Some not so much but I can adapt and if I really want to get better, well, I need to.

As I left I felt like a huge weight got taken off my shoulders and if I am going to get better, the belief is finally there… a belief in *something* and in this belief I am going to dive in and hope that these courses of action help guide me to a better and healthier me.

I go back in a month for a follow up.

So here we go.