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.
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!
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:
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:
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.
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.