Buying New Soul

So, I’ve met 13’s girlfriend. Twice. As a matter of fact, she is due to come over in under an hour to watch movies and probably make out with him. Funny thing is, I like her. This reversal is mostly due to her straightening up her act; she has dropped all of the drama, and has seriously toned down the raciness of her texts. She’s polite in person, and not embarrassed or awkward when you converse with her. What’s more, she legitimately wants to spend time with my step-son, even going so far as to choose coming over here to hang out with him instead of going to the mall. That one blew my mind, truthfully. Everything seemed to change a few days after their first break-up. Once she realized that he wasn’t going to drop on his knees and beg her to come back, she also went against type; she sought him out, repaired the relationship, and dropped all histrionics (perhaps I could learn a thing or two from her.)

The past two weeks or so have been a bit rough for me. Depression has reared its ugly head once again, and I am doing my best to stave it off. It sucks so much joy out of my life, but observing how happy this kid is right now is definitely helping me battle my blues. The kid is practically walking on air; he loves his school, he just made honor roll, he has lots of friends, and he has a girlfriend. At 13, that’s akin to winning the lottery.

Now, if I could only improve his taste in music…

The man who chose coffee over eggs…

Remember that time where I said I was going to give up coffee? No? Me, either! Let’s pretend that I never said it. There is a nice coffeehouse a few miles from my home which myself and my wife have just started frequenting. My first visit there I played it safe and ordered a flavored decaf coffee, nothing fancy. It was really good, much better than the normal chain store coffee I was used to. Previously we were purchasing ground coffee beans from a stand at our local farmer’s market but we weren’t very happy with the quality. It always tasted a bit stale. This place, however, uses a higher quality bean which I didn’t even really know was a thing until I tasted it.

This is how I usually enjoy my coffee at home, don't you?
This is how I usually enjoy my coffee at home, don’t you?

To make a long story (and pointless entry) short, I am now addicted to their coffee. Not just regular coffee, though: I am addicted to their lattes. They have a rotating menu of different flavored lattes and I am on a mission to sample them all (yes, even Pumpkin Spice.) Although today I skipped the sugar and sampled their regular latte. Delicioso! We went to a diner for breakfast this morning, and I only ordered slices of bacon so I could fit the latte into my budget for the day. Truthfully, it was out of laziness. I had $25 in my pocket and my wallet was at home. So, it was either eat a big breakfast and drive home to get the wallet and go back out for coffee (probably not going to happen, once I am in, I usually stay put) or budget my expenditures. So, really, it was like a Buddhist exercise on restraint or something. Right? Right.

I started seeing a therapist again. I’ve only had one visit so far, but I am going to continue the sessions. She is very nice, and calm, and doesn’t make me do homework, which is a plus. One thing we talked about (well, me) was cutting back on my caffeine and my sugar intake to see if that would help with my mood. We also talked a bit about brain conditioning, and making a conscious effort to steer my mind away from my usual trappings of gloom. It’s been two weeks since I’ve seen her, and I won’t be back until next week (the first appointments are always the hardest to schedule) but I am already seeing an improvement. My mood has improved; I am not nearly as depressed as I was before I saw her. Therapy alone (without meds) can be beneficial if you are willing to put the work into it. It takes a lot of time and effort to work on self-improvement, and when you have hit rock bottom like I have, what other choice do you have? Live or die, really. I feel like I still have something to give.

I really do need to improve my diet, but this does give me hope. If I am already seeing an improvement, then perhaps I don’t need to be as draconian as I thought. Perhaps just some minor modifications is all I need!

Tuesday morning

I have just completed a 5-day period of cleaner eating. I have drastically reduced my sugar intake (from 2-20 grams a day) as well as reducing my carbohydrates to within a 56 gram range (I routinely averaged over 150 a day before this.) Here is just one of the many sources on the internet linking sugar with depression:

http://psychcentral.com/blog/archives/2011/07/13/why-sugar-is-dangerous-to-depression/

Some of you may also remember that I suffer from colitis, which is another reason to decrease sugar as well as carbohydrates. Although the research is more murky when it comes to colitis, we do know that sugar is an inflammatory, so it only makes sense to cut it out of my diet. Unfortunately, there are a lot more items you need to cut out besides sugar:

http://www.webmd.com/ibd-crohns-disease/ulcerative-colitis/creating-an-ulcerative-colitis-plan

It’s only been about 5 days, but I can confess to feeling less sore (I also have arthritic knees, chronic back pain, as well as constant pain in my legs and feet due to one leg being shorter than the other from a car accident when I was a child. I now wear special shoes but according to my specialists, the damage had already been done to really help stop the pain.) Any day where the pain can register below a 6-8 on the pain scale is a good day for me.

The only thing I haven’t felt any relief from at the moment is my depression and anxiety. I am going to give it another week or so, but if I can’t break through this cloud I will have no choice but to seek professional help. I have also incorporated walks into my daily routine, which is challenging sometimes with my ailments, but the more I sit around the more I feel a very early death. Life may suck at the moment, but I don’t want to give up.

Random things

1. I saw a man getting ready to “beg” today. He was setting up camp on the divider of a fairly busy roadway. He had the obligatory cardboard sign, dirty clothes, and beard. I had to wonder, however, if he would get more sympathy by perhaps not standing there chain smoking. It’s just not a good look to the whole “I am homeless” vibe.

2. My stepson had his first confrontation yesterday on the bus. Typical verbal bullying. He was called a cunt, a whore, an asshole, and a bitch, among other things. I instructed him to congratulate his tormentor on his original vocabulary, and to deflect as much as possible. I am trying to figure out how calling a 13 year old boy a “whore” is an insult, but I guess this kid watches a lot of HBO.

3. Is it just me, or are the best TV shows the ones that are limited to 8-13 episodes a season? Think about it. Isn’t 22 episodes a bit much, especially if the show is an hour long? Cut the season down and get rid of the filler.

4. There are studies out there that link depression with sugar intake. Not just refined sugar, but what you would call “bad carbohydrates” as well, such as fast food, white breads, etc. It makes sense if you think about it. Sugar is an inflammatory, so no matter what if you cut it out of your diet you are going to feel better. I, myself, suffer from depression, anxiety, and colitis. I also have a myriad of other health problems at the moment that I am now convinced can be lessened by just changing my diet. I am going to give it a try, and we’ll all know if it is working because most likely I will start to write more. The more depressed I am, the less I am able to translate thoughts into words.

Home Making

The combination of my mental health and sub-par job market is making for quite an interesting home life at the moment. In a way, I have become the homemaker, except the non-cooking type. I have volunteered to take over that duty but my wife seems reluctant to give up control of that aspect at the moment. For instance, today, I have done all the wash that needed to be done for the family. My step-son now knows that I am the one to talk to if he needs clothes. For the most part, I am the adult in charge of the dishes. We need eggs and dairy products tomorrow, and I volunteered to go to the Farmers Market to procure them. My wife seemed mildly shocked at that. Obviously, it’s not ideal for me to walk around a market alone, but how can I justify making the woman who works her ass off for this family make an extra trip on her journey home while I sit here dicking around on Twitter?

The truth is, I enjoy doing these chores. It makes me feel like a part of the family. It’s true that I can’t provide for my family at the moment, but at least I can keep the house up. Laundry, dishes, vacuuming, errands, cleaning, etc; I know my wife appreciates it and it makes her happy that she doesn’t have to do it herself. That’s enough of a reason for me to do it. My mental illness has taken a lot of things away from me, but it’s not going to take my family away from me, too. I am not in the best of health right now; there are other things besides depression at play here, but being able to accomplish these small tasks are huge victories for me.

Still Cold

I knew there was something about either yesterday (the 26th) or today (the 27th) that was important. I felt like I was forgetting an important date. Looking at my mother’s obituary for probably the 1,000th time, I realized that today would have been her 32nd wedding anniversary with the man formerly known as my stepfather.

I wonder what it would be like if she were still here. I think about that a lot, actually. I wonder what it would be like to still have a relationship with my stepfather, and I probably could if I wanted. I’d just have to pick up the phone, really, but I am not sure I will ever get there.

My real father has cirrhosis of the liver, and the VA also thinks he might have colon cancer. He declined any tests that could actually confirm or deny it. He is accepting his fate, I guess. So now I wonder, will I be watching another parent slowly fade away over a decade? It shouldn’t be about me, but when you are dealing with your parents, it’s hard not to make it that way.

Pretty soon the minimal traffic I get on this blog will trickle into nothing because people will get tired of reading depressing shit every fucking day. Here’s a smiley face for you. 🙂