Tag Archives: food

*sigh*

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I thought I’d cracked it.  I thought I was done with it.

But no.

The insomnia is back with a vengeance. And because of this, I can’t cut down my dosage, just yet.

Bizarrely, I’m watching what I eat, how much exercise I do… Ah, well, thereby hangs a tale.  I got bronchitis a few weeks back, and that’s slowed me right down.  In fact, if I were going any slower, I would actually be in reverse.  Come to think of it, I think I may well be in reverse.

Has anyone else had major weight gain problems with medication?  I’ve put on over 2 stones (about 30 pounds) in the past year, and even though now I’m working off more than I’m eating, I’m still gaining weight!! How??!

I have started exercising again – slowly. Too much of anything – even laughing – and I go into a coughing fit.  Now there’s another delight I’d like some feedback on.  I’ve had a tickly cough, off and on, since I started the tablets.  Of course now it’s gone turbo because of the bronchitis. I am not so much a funk machine as a gunk machine – not impressive when you’re trying to survive even one song on Wii Just Dance.

Ah, the Wii, my friend. My buddy. My harshest critic at the moment.  I was doing some yoga on it the other day and it said “Now return to your original position.”

So, the next day, I did.

Curled up in bed.

I was going to get up, but somehow I just passed out again.  Not helping the insomnia!  Actually, the other day I only got 3 hours sleep (thanks, students!) but got up at ‘a reasonable time’, thinking that getting up early on 3 hours sleep would somehow kickstart my system, and that by bed time, I’d be so tired that I wouldn’t so much fall asleep as fall unconscious.

Nah-ah.

I was still wide awake at 4am and starting to resemble that twitchy little rodent in the Ice Age movies.

And heartburn?  What the heck?! I’ve been good.  Honest. I’ve not eaten late, or too much (I don’t think) but I go to bed and suddenly I feel like I’ve been gargling lava.  Apparently it’s to do with the cough. You cough, you get all GERDy. You get all GERDy, some of it slips down the wrong way and you get an irritated larynx. You get an irritated larynx, you start getting a tickly cough.  Stop me if you think you can guess what comes next…

I also did as the doctor advised me and stayed off the chocolate. I looked into this. Apparently it’s something to do with anxiety levels. Luckily, I’ve been fine.  I’ve not been craving it or anything.  So clearly I’m not addicted to the stuff, thank goodness.  And then, with it being Easter, I did indulge a little bit, with half a bar of some dark plain chocolate with orange and almonds.  Very nice.  But I don’t think I should ever eat much (ordinary) chocolate again. I couldn’t find the ultra-thin package in the freezer and threw something of a wobble as a result. The hubby gave me a play-by-play. It seems it was the kind of strop a 4-year-old throws at a supermarket checkout… I’m fairly sure he embellished for effect… Hm.

I have however been having a bit of raw chocolate at the weekends which hasn’t had any effect on me at all.  I think I know where this is going.  There’s a difference between raw cacao and ordinary cocoa.  The raw stuff is way gentler. It’s getting easier to find these days too.  Just ask in the nearest health store.

If you want a quick recipe, here you go…

3 tabs coconut oil, 2 tabs RAW cacao powder, 1 tab coconut sugar (powdered). If you want to swap 1 tab cache for milk powder, go ahead (I’m allergic).

Another quick recipe – the oddly named Cocochocofudgies

INGREDIENTS
1/2 block Creamed coconut
6-8 dates, soaked (no need to soak if they’re fresh, obviously!)
Aprox. 2 heaped tablespoons raw cacao or carob

METHOD
Melt the creamed coconut in a bowl in a pan of warm (not boiling). It doesn’t take much, to be honest. In fact, if it’s a hot day where you are, that’ll probably be enough!

Put the dates in the blender and whizz till smooth. Add the melted creamed coconut, mix thoroughly and then add the cacao till you have the right choccy taste for you. It varies. The amount of cacao depends on how much of a chocoholic you are!

Spread onto a tray, about 1/2″/1cm thick and mark lightly into squares. Put in the fridge to set. That’ll be the coconut doing that…

Beware – this is very moreish!

Hmm… Feeling peckish now…

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What, no chocolate?!

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4th March

A week ago I went to see the doctor to see whether I could cut down the medication. I was told that, given my disruptive sleeping patterns and my ongoing tendency to have panic attacks that it would be best to stay on my current level of medication. A bit gutted at that. And then… I made a joke that when I get anxious, my hubby helps to calm me down, but if I get too anxious he just stands well back and throws chocolate at me. The doctor asks if I ate a lot of chocolate… I, er, said that, I er, ate it every now and again. I was then told to avoid chocolate.

Who says that?!

I think that was more upsetting than the tablet thing. Oh well… It’s been a week since I’ve had any (after teasing a friend for giving up chocolate for Lent – Karma!) and I don’t know what I can attribute to the lack of chocolate in my bloodstream, and what are the effects of withdrawal from the medication…

The insomnia itself is starting to wear off, and is now being replaced by the urge to sleep the clock round. For instance, last night I fell asleep before midnight, and I only woke up at 11am.  But I know that tonight I will still probably fall asleep around midnight, rather than stupid o’clock in the morning!

I’m getting lots of headaches and general aches as well, which is less fun.

That’s the thing with depression, you see – happy pills alone won’t work.  If the depression has been set of by a set of circumstances or a specific event, then perhaps fair enough. But, as in my case, where it was due to the situation I was in, then that situation has to change.  I know someone was starting to feel themself go down the depression route simply because they didn’t feel they had any control over their work.  Loss of locus of control is key to triggering an episode in someone who has a natural tendency towards depression. So they have also changed their situation and found a new job where they know they can feel in control.

For me, it had to be changing a lot of what I was doing at the time.

The key to tackling depression is three-fold: medication, exercise and therapy.  I’ve been blessed to work with a superb counsellor from church, who not only got me through the issues I was having in my daily life, but all the underlying issues that had, over the years, created that present situation. Well, if not the situation itself, then it had definitely laid the groundwork for the breakdown!

On their own, pills will just make your current horrible situation a little more bearable.  Like the prescribed equivalent of getting drunk or something. It’s just covering over what’s really going on.

The thing is, even after everything may be changed, dealt with and sorted, the medication has to continue because it’s allowing the brain to continue healing even while enabling you to still be in the real world.  It’s not like a broken leg where everything stops until it’s healed. Perhaps that’s why depressives want to hide away – perhaps it’s their way of giving their minds space to heal. Perhaps it’s an instinctive self-preservation thing. Perhaps that’s why so many basic behaviours go out the window…

Anyone else been told to stay off chocolate? Inquiring minds need to know!

Mood Swings and Roundabouts

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Okay, so my brain and my body have gone swapsies this week….

With depression, I found personally that initially your brain is ill, feels bad and takes your body along for the ride. Then you get medicated. It helps your brain heal, or at least puts the horrors on hold while your brain gets the time off from them to heal. Meanwhile, while your brain is busy, the cat’s away and the mice come out to play with what’s left… Energy changes, weight gain/loss, memory goes up the swanny, and lots of other fun things (fill in the blanks).

I have tried to counter all this by changing my eating habits and getting loads more exercise. I (bizarrely) love running now… So… you get to a point where your brain is almost there, and so is your body. The two meet in the middle and yay! You can start cutting down the meds. Your brain knows it’s time to start flying free, but has actually quite liked the freedom the tablets gave. Your body doesn’t quite know what hit it.

Hence the raging insomnia which kicked in with me, and now the combination of raging insomnia, raging over-sleeping and, well, just plain raging. It’s like that scene in a teen movie where the teens have promised to be good while their parents are away, and you cut to the scene of the ill-advised wild party then cut to the next scene where the parents return and see in horror what has happened to their beloved homestead. I’m at that final scene. I’m the parent, and my body is the house. Which, I suppose, makes the tablets the teenagers. I never said it was the best analogy… And I definitely never said there was any party!

Putting it another way, my brain has (mostly) healed and my body is sulking, because I’ve started taking away its comfort blanky. My body and my brain don’t seem to be on the same page at the moment. I’m starting to experience the same behaviours that I had at the start: not wanting to leave my room – or even my bed, wanting to shut down and hide. But whereas at the beginning it was because my brain was desperate to be left alone, to stop thinking, to stop existing, now it’s my body that wants all these things…

BODY:     Oh leave me here, please, this bed’s nice and warm, plus I just prefer it here.

BRAIN:    No. Come on, get up. There’s lots we want to do.

BODY:     Not me. I don’t want to do any of it.

BRAIN:    Come on. Out of that bed.

BODY:     No. My bed will miss me. It’s got a memory foam mattress and I don’t want it to forget me.

That’s one of many situations you find. Your relationship with food gets weird again. Initially you ate rubbish because it made you feel good. Well, perhaps not good, but it was comforting. Nobody ever got solace from a lamb’s lettuce. Your brain had left the building and your body was fending for itself, Lord of the Flies style. And possibly it was another cat’s-away situation which enabled your body do  a little more to add to the damage.

Now, on the other hand, it’s the body that’s on the rampage, wanting to be self-destructive all by its lickle self (not so lickle, at the moment!)…

BRAIN:    Come on, Body. I’ve made you a delicious kale and pineapple smoothie, Yummy and packed with nutrients! It’ll make you feel fantastic!

BODY looks up from its nest of crisp packets, chocolate smeared all around its mouth, its hands clutching at various sweet wrappers.

BODY:     Huh?

Whereas before Brain felt bad and dragged Body along, now Brain feels better, but Body thinks it’s calling the shots and is repeating all those behaviours. I feel like a healthy brain trapped in a depressed body. Weird.

Oh well, better go play ‘Here-comes-an-aeroplane’ with that smoothie…

Wish me luck!