Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Panic Attacks, Anxiety and Depression

A number of years ago, I was sitting on the GO train on my home from work but I was later than normal so I wasn't with anyone I knew. All of a sudden I started to sweat, my bowels felt loose, I had trouble breathing and my right arm felt a little numb. I sat there thinking I was having a heart attack. And yet somehow I knew I wasn't. But it freeked me out. And it scared me. I felt very alone even though I was with a trainload of people. But then I just dismissed it like I often do.

The next day I saw my chiro who was also a friend. He was concerned and wanted me to go to my family doctor and get checked out. So I did. He diagnosed me as having had a panic attack and immediately suggested Atavan. I took the script but never filled it. I hate how doctors just automatically prescribe drugs for this. Its not always necessary. Sometimes it is but at least give me some options. And yes, he sent me for an EKG just to be sure. My heart was fine.

So life carried on as usual and then it happened again. And again and again. It freeked me out whenever it happened but I learned to control them and even how to shut them down. I still find it unsettling when it happens.  The symptoms weren't always the same.  One day in October of 2005, I came very close to calling the ambulance.  I was home alone, an attack started, it escalated and very nearly got completely out of hand.  Thankfully I was able to get control fo the situtation and avoid an unnecessary trip to the hospital.

Then there was the anxiety that often accompanies panic attacks. I would be so anxious, so scared that things would happen even there was no logical reason for it. Then there were odd physical things ... All part of getting older but at the time I thought for sure something bad was going to happen to me. And I was terrified of something happening to Barry and being left alone. I don't think I ever told him any of this. I often didn't tell him when a panic attack hit either. Silly, I know, but I'm the one who takes care of everyone else, not the one being taken care of.

And then there's the mild (usually seasonal thankfully) depression that hits. It's not the deep, clinical depression that messes people up completely. I am very grateful for that.

But here's the thing. With all of the above issues, since I started working out regularly, eating healthy foods in proper portions, dropping the bodyfat, all those things are gone. There's a physiological reason for that involving our friend, the endorphin. I'm not a health care professional so I cannot say what the reason is, whether its physical, emotional or what. I only know what has worked for me.

I know there are many people who are seriously depressed and this is caused by a chemical imbalance in the body. I am only suggesting that perhaps, instead of going immediately to the drugs that can have serious side effects (antidepressants that make you suicidal????) Among other things, why not try alternative medicine, proper nutrition, exercise. And stick with it for a bit. But make sure you talk to your doctor; be it medical or paramedical.

And please don't think for a moment that I would ever make light of the very real issue of depression.  Most of my family has, to some extent, suffered from depression at one time or another.  I know it can be debilitating.  But perhaps, if we seek treatment in the early stages of any mental health issue, we can avoid drastic measures.

And yes, here is the disclaimer again .. I'm not a health care professional ... I'm just sharing what works for me, my personal experiences only. Please, please, please make sure you talk to a health care professional.

Here's to good health, physical, mental, emotional and spiritual. May we all live long, happy, healthy lives.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

What an awesome group of friends I have

I just wanted to say "thanks".  I have met some really special people in the past couple of years; some through friends, some through Blogosphere.

Over the past several months, I've had a couple of people say negative things about me.  I didn't have to respond at all.  My friends did it for me.

I cannot begin to tell you how much that means to me.  Hell, I did the same thing this past week.  Call me down, ok, I can deal ... I've got broad shoulders ... attack someone I care about ... mama bear shows her teeth, regardless of who it is that is attacking.

I find it sad that people can't just "live and let live".  We are all unique, all special, in our own way.  I try to live my life by accepting people and not putting them down.  Even when they attack.  But everyone has their limits.

A special note to HHL - I absolutely adore you woman.  You are one of the most amazing women I have even met in my life and I am privileged to call you my friend.  Hugs galore.

We are throwing our annual Christmas party today and we're almost ready.  I have to go get gorgeous and make a couple of things, but generally ... I'm ready.  We even had a little snow this morning to put me in the mood.

I wish everyone an amazing weekend and I should be back tomorrow ... maybe even with pictures :)

hugs to all


Thursday, November 25, 2010

Happy Thanksgiving to my American Friends

I  hope you've all had a terrific Thanksgiving and you have a productive Black Friday :)

I know ... it's a little different ... but so am I. 

Although we Canadians celebrated our Thanksgiving about 6 weeks ago, I am very thankful that things are better with my American friend who I last posted about.  I was shocked when I received an apology this morning. 

I miss him a lot.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Judgement and Tolerance

I was chatting with a friend of mine last night. For whatever reason he got very judgemental about something. I told him not to judge. His response ... We all judge every day. Which got me thinking about this topic.

When I was much younger, I was very judgemental ... Out of immaturity, inexperience, ignorance ... I'm not sure why. But he's closing in on 60!

Anyway ... tt got me thinking. Its so easy to judge people based on our own set of beliefs and values. And yes, pretty much everyone does it to some extent. But one of my girlfriends and my husband have helped me realize that although lighthearted judgements (OMG can u believe what she's wearing!) can be a regular occurrence, the harsher kind is simply not acceptable.

How can we judge someone else's beliefs, situation, etc when we really don't know what's going on in their lives; we don't know their history.

It;s not easy just accepting people for who they are; accepting the differences. I know it's helped to make me a better, more tolerant, more understanding person.

Besides, in this case he was sitting in judgement of my hubby. And although I've known my friend  most of my life, I am fiercely loyal to hubby. And I actually stood up to this friend last night.

I've come a long way baby .... I could never do that before.
One of my girlfriends sent me this "the tigress pounces on her prey in defence of her lion".  I don't know where it's from, but I love it.
I guess my point is ... we ALL (myself included always) ... need to be more tolerant, more accepting of others.  Until you walk a day in another person's shoes ... you have no idea what it's all about.
And as a number of the male executives in my company can attest to, it can be a painful experience (they did a runway show, all wearing high (I mean some of these suckers were HIGH) heels.  I think they developed a better appreciation for what we women go through.
So here's the tolerance .... to acceptance ... to just living and let live.
Hugs to all :)

photos ... http://www.weheartit.com/

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Feeling Overwhelmed

(this has nothing to do with the post but they were just WAY too cute to pass up)

This has been an odd year. I don't remember much about the first half of it. It seems as tho this year has gone by at the speed of light. I swear we were planning christmas about 3 months ago. An aweful lot has happened. And I'm struggling to find balance.

Stuff has come up at work which has caused me to really think about what I want to do and where I want to be.

I had worked for someone who is now a very good friend for many years. Then he was promoted, I moved dept, he left the company and then I did a few years later. And I feel like I've been drifting ever since. It only just dawned on me how much of anchor he was. He helped keep me steady. When we were at the company, he pushed me, encouraged me, got frustrated with me. But I never felt like he gave up on me.

I was very good at what I did. I had a lot of pride in my abilities; in my work. Somewhere along the line, I lost that. I don't know how, where or why. But it happened.

It seems like my mind is never at rest and its causing problems. I've lost focus (BFL helps a lot when I'm really focussed on it ... It spills over into other areas of my life). So I spoke with someone yesterday who suggested I needed to find my centre. OMG ... Talk about an epiphany! So I took 15 min last night before bed and did a little yoga and my mind finally calmed. After my workout this morning, I took 10 min to breathe deeply, calm my mind and relax.
Now I feel like I can get back to where I was professionally, I can rejoin my blogging friends, I can really hit my workouts hard, to find more joy in my life.
Interesting how one (technically it was 2 in one day with 2 diff people but u know what I mean) conversation can have such a major impact on your life.

So thanks for hanging in there with me while I got my head together.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Day 45 of 84 - Shapeshifting

One of the best .... and worst parts of working out witih weights is that one's body changes shape.  I'm developing a rounder butt than I've had in years .... and years..... whcih is great!  My abs are tightening but I still have the fat over top and now it looks worse than before I starting losing the fat.  I look like I have a pooch of sorts.  that's bad.  very bad.  of course it probably looks worse to me than it does to anyone else.  but still.

"they" (whoever "they" are) say you can't change the shape of your body.  I beg to differ.  Because I'm doing it.  Wiill cardio alone do it?  No.  You'll end up a smaller version of your larger body.  Weight training ... pushing yoru body to use heavier weights than you have before ... is what will make significant changes in your body.  Is your bone structure going to change?  No.  But can you develop a smaller waist, a rounder butt, a more hourglass shape.

Oddly, you can even grow, just a wee bit.   Because when you're strong and fit, you stand taller, straighter, and that's how you can grow, just a wee bit taller.

I encourage women to push their bodies.  Don't be afraid of using heavier weights (as long as it's safe and you can handle it) ... don't play it too safe.  You won't bulk up ... you don't have sufficient testosterone. What you will accomplish, is strength, sexy toned, tightened muscles, great flexibility, endurance, the ability to go from morning to night and still have energy at the end of the day.

A combination of strength training, cardio work, yoga or pilates (for flexilibility ... very important), healthy eating of lots of fruits and veggies, whole grains and protein, lots of water, will give you amazing results!

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Day 45 of 84 - Never Give Up!

Last week could have been disasterous to reaching my goals.

I think Monday was ok. I think I took my lunch and had a decent dinner and I did my cardio in the morning.

The rest of the week however was crazy and could have totally derailed me but I made healthier choices for 4 lunches and 2 dinners. I only did 1 cardio workout and 1 upper body workout.

To boot, I was fighting something. Wed I felt horrible so Barry took care of me and I had soup for dinner anf went to bed early and got extra sleep. Doubled up on vitamins C and D and felt great by friday.

In a previous life I would have been out of control by Friday. But my attitude has changed when it comes to food. This is a war I've been fighting most of my life. Its not over. I've won a lot of battles but I expect to fight this war the rest of my life. Addicts are addicts. You're never cured of your addiction; you just learn to control it and keep the monsters at bay.

Saturday I didn't eat a lot. It was my Free Day, but the week had been rough so I tried to regain control. Then we went dancing and burned a lot of calories. Sunday was a bit of a wash but we went for a little walk and I tried to eat lightly again. And I've been up the past 2 morning working out and eating well. I'm making lunch dates to walk or shop and take my food.

So the moral of this story is that if you're having a challenging week of eating out, make healthier choices, watch your portion sizes and get back on that horse as soon as possible.

You can win this war!

Monday, November 8, 2010

Day 44 of 84 - Very Important Question ...

As I was walking from my office to the GO train tonight, it occurred to me, once again (it did last year too), that almost everyone wears black coats in the winter.  This makes no sense to me.

It's a dreary time of year - less sunshine, less daylight, makes people harder to see.....

I just don't get it.  Why aren't we wearing red and purple and pink and cream and orange?  Bright, happy colours to lift our mood and make us safer.

Huh.  Odd.

Here's a little tidbit ... exercise is amazing for your sex life :)

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Sorry I've been absent

I had another post ready to go but this has been weighing on my heart way too much.

Thursday was one of the most rollcoaster days I've had in a long time.

First we found out one of our staff members from another office was let go under difficult circumstances.
Then I confirmed lunch with a friend who had to postpone me from Tuesday at the last minute
Then I got an email from a former colleague and friend that a mutual colleauge had died ... he was 50.
Then I went for lunch with my friend.
Then I got handed a bear of a lease ... then my client emailed with questions on another one. Urgh!
Then I left work and met Barry and we went to the funeral home for the visitation.  I didn't see anyone from Brian and my former employer but I did bump into a couple from my current job who Brian had sold a house to.  Tiny, tiny world.
Then we stopped at Aren't We Naughty, found a GORGEOUS black garter belt with rhinestones around the waist and rhinestones on the straps which I HAVE to get soon and bought some sexy undies.
Got home, had a shower and went to bed.....

I was really happy to see Friday.  Thursday was probably one of the most emotional days I've had in a long time.  It was just constantly up and down.

For some reason, Brian's death has hit me hard.  Maybe because he wasn't quite 51.  Maybe it's because we had lost track of each other years ago and then about 4 or 5 weeks ago, he popped into my head out of the blue.  Apparently he was diagnosed with Lymphoma about a year ago, went through chemo and was doing better.  Then about 6 weeks ago, he took a turn for the worse.  And 5 weeks later (on Oct 31st), he was gone. 

He was this amazing guy, who everyone loved; easy going, caring, a talented pianist, loving father of 2 and husband of Anna for 30 years.  I guess it makes me realize, once again, just how short and precious life is.  It makes me so sad that I lose track of people.  That life is just so FREEKING BUSY and I try to keep up with people but between working out, going to work, chores around the house, trying to eat healthy, spend time with hubby, running errands, blah, blah, blah, and going to bed at 10 when I get home at 6 at the earliest, it's frustrating.

To make matters worse, one of the most important people in my life had been travelling the world, was supposed to be back around the end of September but hadn't let me know he was back.  And although he's in great health, he's 58, travelling to South Africa, Europe, Russia, I was suddenly worried.  I didn't think much of it before Brian but I did talk to him on Friday so that's put my mind at ease about that.

In reality, I "take care of people".  My mom always called me a frustrated mother since I didn't have kids of my own (my choice), I "mothered" others.  I need to know that my "chicks" are all ok.  When we had the big blackout in August of I can't remember what year ... I think it was 6 or 7 years ago.... my mind wouldn't rest until I knew that my mom, my sister, brother and especially Barry were all ok.  I can't help it.  It's just who I am.

So my "resolution" going forward is to make the time to keep in touch with people; both people who are current in my life, as well as touch base with those I haven't talked to in a while. And if that means scheduling calls and emails in my BB, I will do that.  And make sure that I'm using my BB productively and keeping in touch with people.

So take care of yourself, keep in touch as I will, hug your kids, your spouse, your friends ... and remember that without people in our lives, it's a very lonely place.

Love you!