There have been some interesting developments this month. From studies to mental health, it has been quite a time.
This is a mental health dairy so let’s start with the mental health first.
My medication began to run out last month, and so I was required to visit the Doctor for essentially a check up. Part of this involved the standard survey I have become familiar with over the past 10 years or so. The official nomenclature for it escapes me, but if you’ve ever been a patient of a mental health disorder I can guarantee you know the exact quiz I am talking about. It basically gives the medical practitioner an idea of how your mood has been for the previous 2 weeks. It’s a good indicator to assess where your mind is.
For the first time, I think, since my initial diagnosis I circled a lot of zeroes. It genuinely surprised me by how well I was feeling and had been feeling for several weeks. In a way it worried me, because I didn’t realise I was for all intents and purposes a relatively fine individual. I still don’t even truly know how that content was found. But found it was, and I accept that perhaps my mental state is in the best frame than it has been for some time.
Well, perhaps until recent weeks.
That’s kind of glib, and it shouldn’t really be taken as literal truth. What I’m talking about is my studies. There’s a lot to digest with this, but I’m going to begin with where this segue comes from, which is a screenwriting class that I am taking.
In the past few weeks the screenwriting class has begun to focus more tightly on our own independent script ideas. For over 5 years I’ve been sitting on an idea that draws on a lot of my experience of living with anxiety & depression. I’ve had trouble returning to the idea in that time, even though it is something that I am deeply passionate about. I feel like the story needs to be told, and I hope a large enough audience would want to see it to spread the message that I want it to convey. The trouble I have with writing the story is that because of the subject matter I have to put myself in the mindset of someone who is suicidal. And while I am no longer that person, it drags up a lot of memories and feelings that are associated with my past.
For a while last month I was okay with feelings of loneliness. I was able to remedy the issue by engaging with the world around me – from going to the local supermarket, to even the mall. Just being out in public. With the school workload increasing it is becoming more and more difficult to self-medicate in that regard and I tend to stay in places that are quieter for studying – including my own apartment. With that pilling on top of the writing, in which I am determined to write the best story I possibly can, it’s causing me some minor distress. I’m not even entirely of the belief that what I am feeling is symptoms of actual depression, but more like symptoms of sympathy and empathy. I feel sorrow for what I experienced only a few short years ago, but greater sorrow for the fictional character(s) that I am putting through the trauma.
How I’ve been coping so far is by distancing myself from the material when I can, and I’ve tried meditating a lot more on the issue to think about it in objective terms. The good news is that at time of writing I seem to have a decent layout for the story’s structure, and it should hopefully begin to flow on the page better as the class progresses. I am able to give myself a bit more of a break from that world and live in the present.
I think I am also having difficultly reconciling my time left here as it slowly dwindles away and I feel as though all I have done is work. There’s so much of the country I would still like to explore, but whether I’ll have the time or money is becoming a concern the more time passes.
In less melancholic news; my appointment with the doctor last month also yielded some positive information that I wanted to collect since beginning Keto at the end of December. At my last appointment in November a nurse took a bunch of my vitals, including weight, blood pressure, heart rate, and so on.
I took the opportunity in my appointment to ask for a copy of those to compare with recent results. It has been several weeks since this appointment, but what the vitals helped to set is the baseline of my progress, as I didn’t take any stats prior to starting the diet. I am proud to say that the comparative results are extremely uplifting in that my heart rate is in a much healthier place than it was a year ago. I also found my weight recorded from last year, which appears to show me at my heaviest of all time. With that, I am down 40lbs in a 12 month period, and since beginning in December I am down, as of today, just over 20lbs!
I’ve been taking progress pictures weekly to ensure that the changes are documented. In the past month I’ve noticed that most of my clothes no long fit. I had to put a new notch in my belt to keep my jeans up, which are essentially now 2001- era rock/goth baggy jeans! This has all been a huge boost to my self-esteem. It has also been nearly a full month since I was last tempted by the devil that is pizza. I’m feeling really good about all of this. I’m seeing changes in my face, my neck, my hips… even my wrists are shrinking as shown by how much tighter I’m having to strap my watch to it.
I’m not saying I’m in the best shape of my life, I still have about 100lbs+ before I’m really there, but this is something unique for me. I have never experienced weight loss like this. To see the hard work and dedication paying off, even in the most subtle ways, is extremely rewarding for a fat guy who up until last year had never seen scales retreat in his entire life.
Overall I am feeling very positive. I’m already thinking ahead to how I can continue the diet when I return home for the summer, but also if I choose to go travelling for a week over the Spring Break. This diet is literally changing my life and I couldn’t be happier. As I said, I still have a long ways to go, but I know that I never want to be that fat again. And I’m not pinning my hopes that this cures my anxiety or depression, but I know it has and is going to go a long way to helping restore my confidence and self-esteem.
So until next time…
Much love ❤