My Farmer’s Market Social Anxiety & “I Don’t Feel The Magic”!

 

Ever since I recently reached my goal of losing thirty pounds, I’ve felt like my old self in some significant ways.

Before I was diagnosed with postpartum bipolar disorder in 2007, I worked at a family-owned gym as an A.C.E.-certified personal trainer and circuit training instructor. I didn’t attend college with the intention of working in fitness, but I found that I loved helping gym members achieve their goals. During those years I maintained a healthy weight which was fairly easy to do as I didn’t take care of two kids and a dog! 

Then the shit hit the fan when my postpartum bipolar disorder erupted like a dormant volcano.

From then on, my weight went all over the place: up, down, backwards — you name it — thanks to my depression-fueled binge eating and meds, meds, meds galore – around 30 of them.

 

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This was me.

 

Now that I’m finally doing better, I decided to face one of my fears. Thanks to my post’s title, you already know what it is. (So much for creating suspense!)

Fear of the farmer’s market sounds ridiculous, but we all have our silly phobias, don’t we?  Although I don’t feel that my spider phobia (arachnophobia) is silly whatsoever! 

 

A Santa Cruz Mountains resident

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“If you want my body and you think I’m sexy, c’mon sugar let me know!”

 

Just for the heck of it I looked at the Wikipedia list of phobias to see if there was a specific one for farmer’s markets (you never know!), and the only phobias that fit are:

I planned my first farmer’s market foray of 2016 with my older daughter. She wanted to accompany me so we could buy fruit to make smoothies. Santa Cruz County has a thriving farmer’s market scene, so I picked the smallest one. It was in a town where the chances were extremely slim that I would run into anyone I knew, and that’s exactly what I wanted.

My intrepid girl was well aware of my social phobia, and she was awesome about that in every way. When we got to the farmer’s market at 9:00 a.m. there were very few people, and my eye immediately spotted someone I knew. 

“Oh, shit!” I blurted out.

The one person who I couldn’t handle seeing was there:

X

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X’s presence made absolutely no sense. X doesn’t live in that town; moreover he lives near the best, biggest farmer’s market in this area. Of all the people in the world, I never expected to see X.

I couldn’t help but surmise that this was a test by the Universe, and I got a big, ‘ol F! 

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Avi and I turned around and made a beeline for my car. We went to a park and a couple hours later we returned to the market without any incident. We got some yummy peaches and plums which didn’t even make it into the planned smoothie.

Although that farmer’s market experience didn’t go well (cough, cough – understatement!) I decided my next step would be to attend our local farmer’s market. I couldn’t imagine running into X again, but after a session with my counselor, I was prepared to stick around if that event occurred. 

On the appointed day we had a major heat wave. I love the heat, but this heat wave reached the mid-upper 90’s, and perhaps it wasn’t the ideal afternoon to face a phobia. I did so anyway, and this time both girls came with me. 

When we arrived I felt more relaxed than I expected. I saw a few familiar faces, but no one who triggered me, i.e. no reminders of blown-out friendships to wince over. (I’ve had quite a few of those since 2007, which merits another post or three.)

In the tradition of this blog, I digress.

So, there we were, strolling away in the heat and dripping sweat. We sipped ice water that was kindly given out for free by the market promoters. Despite the soaring temperature, I felt a nice sense of well being that I hadn’t felt in a LONG time.

Until I heard his voice….

Hey Dyane! Is that you?”

It had been over two decades since I last heard him say my name. I’ll call him “Spicoli” because the first time I encountered him he was stoned out of his mind.

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We met over twenty years ago, when my Sheltie dog Tara ran away from my studio. I frantically ran from door-to-door in the neighborhood asking people if they had seen her. Spicoli was one of my neighbors, and after he answered his door, he asked me for my phone number. At that point in my life I was single and very lonely, not to mention hysterical that my beloved dog was missing, and I gave my number to him.

We dated for only a few months. From the start I knew he wasn’t the one for me. Not by a long shot. He dropped hints that I wasn’t pretty enough for him, and that he had dated someone in the past who “looked like a supermodel”. That wasn’t great for my weak self esteem. Oh yes – he also frequently said some rather creepy things about how gorgeous one of my best friends was. Yep. A real winner!

One evening I made him a nice dinner and afterwards we sat on his couch.

“Dyane, I just don’t feel the magic,” he said.

And that was that.

So long, farewell.

I just wish I had been the one to say it instead of him.

Fast forward to the magical 95 degree Felton Farmer’s Market!

I had no idea Spicoli now lived in my neck of the woods. The good news is that I was able to talk to him without freaking out. It helped to have my beautiful girls by my side, wondering who the hell their Mommy was talking to – I must admit the scenario was pretty funny. Spicoli had been a talker when we dated, and he shared that he was divorced and dealing with a really sad situation. I felt sorry for him, to tell you the truth.

While Spicoli was not someone I loved, seeing him brought up a vivid memory of my being rejected. He commented on how good-looking my daughters were, but he didn’t make a peep about my appearance. After losing weight and carrying myself with renewed confidence, I didn’t feel like chopped liver like I did when we dated!

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“Spicoli, I ain’t no Cindy Crawford, but I ain’t no chopped liver! Put that in your pipe and smoke it!”

After he walked away and I caught my emotional breath, I told my girls a little bit about our past. Without thinking, I mentioned Spicoli’s “I don’t feel the magic” phrase and they found that absolutely hilarious! As we visited the various vendors, they took every opportunity to say “I don’t feel the magic about this carrot, Mommy!” and “That ice cream over there might make me feel the magic – can we get some please?”

Next week we’re going to the popular Santa Cruz Farmer’s Market located next to the gym where I used to work. Who knows who I’ll run into there? 

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thanks so much for reading!

love, Dyane

p.s. I started a  Lose It! Wondrous Writers Weight Loss Group. The insightful blogger Bradley of Insights From A Bipolar Bear is a group member. His encouragement has helped me so much – it’s far better than going it alone! I can send you an invite if you include your email in a comment, or sign up for free at www.loseit.com and find us under Groups. 

 

Dyane’s memoir Birth of a New Brain – Healing from Postpartum Bipolar Disorder will be published by Post Hill Press in 2017.

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Hell Hath Frozen Over – I Meditated with My Psychiatrist!

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Over the past couple years the subject of meditation has become somewhat of a running joke with me and my psychiatrist Dr. D. 

The backstory: Dr. D. has meditated regularly for decades. Whenever we’ve discussed meditation, he has sung its praises with such sincerity that if you were in his office, I bet you’d contemplate trying meditation.

I’ve read anecdotes about how meditation can help bipolar disorder. I bought the book The Tao of Bipolar: Using Meditation and Mindfulness to Find Balance and Peace by Dr. C. Alexander Simpkins. (I got up to Chapter Two.)

I resisted meditating no matter what – even for a minute.

Why?

I just didn’t want to do it!

Waaaaah!

I’m in my head enough as it is!

Tell me to eat better. I’ll do it.

Tell me to work out? Okay.

Tell me to clean the nasty toilet? Um, alright.

Last Thursday was my regular session with Dr. D. A last-minute childcare snafu required me to bring along my youngest daughter. Knowing that Dr. D. taught his sons to meditate when they were young, I threw caution to the wind. I asked him if he could tell my girl a bit about meditation, and he happily complied. Rilla listened attentively, making me very proud. (Fortunately she didn’t say anything like, “My mom says that she would rather vomit or clean up dog poop than meditate!”)

He suggested we do a brief meditation together.

Gulp.

Using a free app called Insight Timer on his phone, Dr. D. set our meditation time for two minutes. I dimmed the office light, and he started the program. After we heard a gong sound, the three of us sat quietly, letting our thoughts go where they may – mine raced back and forth as usual. Two minutes later, his phone gonged again. 

We survived, 100% unscathed!

As much as I knew that doing meditation was good for me, I knew I wasn’t about to commit to a daily practice. Yet. (Never say never, right?)

Later Rilla told me her experience was “boring”, a totally understandable reaction from an eight-year-old. (Or a forty-six-year-old.) I praised her for giving it a go.

For a hilarious intro. to meditation, watch JP Sears’ video – if you like this one, check out his “How to Be Ultra Spiritual” video which is even funnier. 

The Groovy Ketogenic Diet Update

Yesterday I got a BP Magazine email containing the article “Bipolar, Food & Mood: My Battle of the Binge: One Woman’s Story of Taming Cravings to Keep Her Diet And Moods In Balance”

I’ve been taking a break from reading bipolar-themed emails, but for some reason instead of deleting it, I took a peek at the piece. Lo and behold, I noticed the first comment was about a reader’s experience with ketogenic diets! In all my years of reading BP I’ve never noticed anything with the word “ketogenics”. Was it a sign? 😉

Jeffrey wrote,

“In July 2015, I switched to a Ketogenic diet, at first to help me improve my athletic ability. A side benefit was a direct improvement of my mood, a clear stabilization. At that time I was unaware that I was dealing with Cyclothymia. Then in August 2015, I had a bad hypomanic episode but I was able to work with it and stay on track. 

I got on anticonvulsants, and I have Zyprexa as a breakthrough when I have a hypomanic moment. I am now extremely stable. The dietary change has helped me stay even more on course than anything else.

The science behind a Ketogenic diet has helped me understand why it balances out my mood. Going on it and staying with it has been a challenge, but now I prefer it. I have more energy, I sleep better, my athletic performance is good (I don’t “bonk” when I run!”) and it keeps me creative in the kitchen. 

A ketogenic diet isn’t for everyone, but there is some scientific evidence that it effective as an adjunct treatment for mood disorders…”

Thank you Jeffrey!

I’m still reading my Keto Clarity book. (I’m a slow reader when it comes to nutrition books!) I remain daunted by trying ketogenics, because if you want to do it correctly, it’s a lot more than simply switching to a low-carb, high-fat diet, but I’m tempted to give it a try.

I have a new friend in this area who has eaten the ketogenic way for several years. She has done a lot of research about the keto diet, and she has offered to answer any questions I have. Nice!

Lose It! Update

I’ve reached my goal of losing 30 pounds! The app that helped me achieve this weight loss is called Lose It!, a food tracking/logging device. It’s easy to use, and it woke me up as far as how I was treating myself like a human garbage can.

Want to join my Lose It! Group Wondrous Writers? I’ll send you an invite if you include your email in a comment. You can also sign up for free at www.loseit.com

That’s all the news that’s fit to blog. There’s more, there’s always more, but I’m tryingt to keep it down to a low roar.

In the meantime, sending you lots of love, & see you next week!

Dyane

Dyane’s memoir Birth of a New Brain – Healing from Postpartum Bipolar Disorder will be published by Post Hill Press in 2017.

Losing A Mirror Carp Feels Good

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Soaking up the sun with my John Cena-worthy 3-pounders. 😉

 

     30 lbs is the equivalent weight of this mirror carp!

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Whoa! 

 

Dear Friends,

I’ve been writing about my weight-loss journey, and I appreciate your sticking with me especially if you have zero interest in the topic. Rest assured, I’ll soon return to expoundng on other important subjects including Bigfoot and my Scoth collie Lucy’s career.

Now that I’ve reached my goal of losing a mirror carp, I’m proud of myself. I didn’t think I could lose 30 pounds, especially becuause I take lithium and tranylcypromine/Parnate, an MAOI (monoamine oxidase inhibitor) for my bipolar one disorder. I took Seroquel from 2013-2015, and that med affected my metabolism, causing me to gain weight in the stomach area.

I’ve mentioned before that I’ve been a compulsive overeater for decades. During the past year I was downing one pint of Talenti chocolate gelato every night, so I couldn’t blame all the changes in my body upon my bipolar medications.

Anyway, here I am, feeling so much better despite my black hairy tongue, hoping that I can keep up my new lifestyle, especially when the sh*t hits the fan.

Weight loss veterans know that the truly hard work comes after one’s goal is achieved.

I can’t loop too much about the future. No matter what happens, it has been awesome to take care of myself. It’s even better being a positive role model to my girls and Lucy. 

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Where’s my treat?

Little efforts add up. I bring a big bottle of water everywhere I go. When I take my kids out somewhere to eat, I don’t order a bunch of grub even when I’m not hungry the way I used to do. I’ll drink water or order a black coffee, and joke with the server that I’m a great tipper. (True.)

I haven’t returned to my 30-45 minute-long workout yet because I’m not ready, but every other day I lift my fearsome Target dumbbells for ten minutes. Bicep curls and tricep lifts – that’s it. I put on Pandora 80’s music channels which makes the ten minutes go by fast.

Yes, it’s all about baby steps. 

 

The Groovy Ketogenic Diet Update

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I’m halfway through reading Keto Clarity: Your Definitive Guide to a Low-Carb, High-Fat Diet and while I want to try it because it allegedly helps with bipolar disorder symptoms, I find the logistics VERY daunting. 

Despite my intimidation, I found an interesting article about this diet’s affect upon bipolar. Check out Dr. Georgia Ede’s website Diagnosis: Diet – Nutrition Science Meets Common Sense: “Bipolar Disorder and Diet Part II: Low Carbohydrate Diets”. There are almost 100 comments, and I’m curious about what they say. In any case, I’ll keep you posted about what I wind up doing.

Do any of you follow the ketogenic diet? I’d love to know about your experience.

Even if you’re not ready to make a major change in your lifestyle (it took me almost two years to stop eating junk) please know you can lose weight while taking bipolar meds. I’m not claiming this credo applies to every person under the sun, but I think it’s true for many people with bipolar disorder. 

The free app that helped me achieve my goal is called Lose It! which is simply a food tracking/logging device. It’s easy to use and it woke me up.

If you want to try it, I’ll send you an invite if you include your email in a comment. You can also sign up for free at www.loseit.com 

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170 pounds and so unhappy that I couldn’t even look at the camera.

Most of what I ate back then was Talenti gelato, countless packages of the Immaculate Baking Company’s raw chocolate chip cookie dough, and Häagen-Dazs chocolate ice cream.

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Sorry for the blur – this pic has selfie-itis syndrome.

While I still have my Seroquel Spider belly, I can live with it because I’m feeling much healthier and happier. Three months ago I cut out 95% of the sugar I was inhaling. I began eating mostly organic food, and kept preparations as simple as possible. My husband supported me, thank goodness; he didn’t mind my doing my own thing. I stopped bingeing cold-turkey and started drinking lots of water and green tea. I also joined Scientology to follow my idol Tom Cruise. (Just kidding! Can’t get too serious about this healthy eating stuff…)

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You can do it!

 

As always, sending you lots of love, 

Dyane

Dyane’s memoir Birth of a New Brain – Healing from Postpartum Bipolar Disorder will be published by Post Hill Press in 2017.

Black Hairy Tongue, Earthquake Fun & Facing a Fear

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My yucky brown tongue & Avi’s healthy pink tongue

Avast, me hearties…yuckier photo ahead!

Greetings, my friends!

It has been an interesting week.

I learned something new, and you’re about to learn it too! Did you know that after one takes antibiotics (in my case, for walking pneumonia) it’s possible to get a case of Black Hairy Tongue? The answer is a resounding yes!

What on earth is Black Hairy Tongue, exactly?

WebMD explains, “The name black hairy tongue may sound scary, but the condition is harmless. Black hairy tongue is caused by bacteria or fungi in the mouth, which make the tongue appear black and hairy. It’s easily remedied by good old-fashioned oral hygiene.” (For more info. visit this WebMD link)

Thank the stars, not all cases are black-colored tongues; I got lucky with a coffee-colored brown one. I could’ve sported this look:

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I freely admit my case could’ve been much worse. The above shot is TAME compared to what else lurks out there. My advice: Don’t do a Google image search for “black hairy tongue”, ever. Yowza!

I’m grateful that my black hairy tongue isn’t black nor hairy! When my doctor looked at it she told me that I just need to wait it out for a month. It’s not contagious. There are no medications to take, but it’s a good idea to scrape my tongue after brushing my teeth daily. No problemo.

My yucky tongue experience brought me back to my childhood. I watched the following jingle a zillion times. It’s sung by the actor/singer Scatman Crothers who warns about a different kind of yuck mouth, but it’s so catchy and convincing that I wanted to share it.

Local Earthquake News:

We had a early morning jolt last weekend that freaked me out. At 3.6 on the Richter scale, it was nothing compared to the Loma Prieta quake I lived through back in 1989. (It registered a fearsome, deadly 6.9.) My entire family slept through the 3.6, except for Miss Lucy and yours truly.

There’s something about feeling this particular force of nature that cuts to the core. You’re out of control in a BIG way. It’s unnerving, to say the least. Hearing our house creak and shift wasn’t the way I preferred to spend the crack of dawn. But once again, this is another situation that could’ve been much worse. I was relieved a bigger quake didn’t follow the 3.6!

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The epicenter was less than 20 miles away from Chez Harwood

Facing My Festival Fears:

My first “grown-up” job was producing annual large-scale festivals in Silicon Valley for four years. After I left that position, I took a looooooong break from attending any festival, even the Santa Cruz Chocolate Festival. I thought I went to enough festivals to last several lifetimes.

Last week I was unexpectedly gifted with tickets to the Redwood Mountain Faire, a local, family-friendly festival that attracts great musicians. It would’ve been rude not to go, so I forced myself. I planned to say hi to my generous friend on their staff, and dash away shortly after that.

Rilla said she’d join me, and I thought she’d also want to leave soon after our arrival. But as fate would have it, she ran into some of her friends, and she begged me to stay all day! (We compromised at four & 1/2 hours.)

The event was well-produced, it was in a beautiful setting, and I had to admit it was fun, especially since I didn’t need to work and deal with angry food vendors, etc. While taking a breather in the shade I chatted with some cool, friendly locals; it turned out they were the parents and grandparents of Rilla’s ballet classmate. The grandma, who used to live on our street decades ago, told me about some fascinating musical history that took place across from our house. (I was flabbergasted, but that’s for another post!) My social anxiety took a backseat for a change.

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A festival isn’t a festival without a shaved ice booth!

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Rilla caught me in a particularly relaxed moment

Ketogenic Update: I’m still very curious about ketosis because of its purported  beneficial effects upon bipolar symptoms. I sampled a few books about ketogenic nutrition on my Kindle, and Keto Clarity: Your Definitive Guide to the benefits of a Low-Carb, High-Fat Diet by Jimmy Moore and Dr. Eric C. Westman impressed me the most. I couldn’t resist splurging on it, and I’ll let you know what I think about it soon!

I hope you’re all hanging in there. I appreciate your reading this blog so much! I’ll touch base late next week, and in the meantime, please take good care of yourselves. Happy Summer!

Lots of love, Dyane

 

p.s. You can still join our Wondrous Writers Weight Loss Group on the website/app Lose It! Group member Bradley of Insights From A Bipolar Bear has helped me with his encouragement! I’ve lost 25 pounds of “Serouqel weight” since I began using Lose It!, and let me tell ya, it feels good to carry around less poundage.

If you join us, Bradley & I will encourage you. Why not try it out? I’ll send you an invite if you include your email in a comment. You can also sign up for free at www.loseit.com and find us under Groups

Dyane’s memoir Birth of a New Brain – Healing from Postpartum Bipolar Disorder will be published by Post Hill Press in 2017.

Vlog Ramble & The Ketogenic Diet’s Bipolar Buzz

Once in a blue moon I record a vlog.

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After watching mental health advocate/blogger Kitt O’Malley’s insightful vlogs yesterday I was fired up to get in front of Photo Booth and yap away.

With my canine muse Lucy by my side, I report on how I haven’t reverted to my daily pint of gelato, and I share my weight loss progress with you. (Hint: I’ve lost the equivalent weight of this massive walleye caught in Washington’s Columbia River!)

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Other points I touch upon:

• The ketogenic diet, which purportedly alleviates bipolar disorder symptoms. I ask for your take on this low-carbohydrate/high-protein style of eating.

These two brief articles about ketogenic diets and bipolar disorder are the most credible ones I’ve read so far, but I’m sure there are better ones out there.

Examiner.com’s Ketogenic Diet Fights Depression, Bipolar Disorder and Aids Weight Loss

Healthline’s Can A Ketogenic Diet Help Treat Bipolar Disorder?

And there’s more!

You get to watch me say “um” way too many times, lisp, and struggle to turn off Photo Booth.

I hope you find it worthwhile listening to my chatter. 

Thanks so much for stopping by, and take good care of yourselves!

love,

Dyane 

 

p.s. Weight Loss Memoir of the Week:

Frances Kuffel’s Eating Ice Cream With My Dog: A True Story of Food, Friendship, and Losing Weight…Again

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“A wake-up call to anyone who believes that weight management is a quick and easy feat. It’s not. And Frances Kuffel’s greatest gift is a blast of hopeful reality for any brave reader ready to take herself on and honestly face her own food and weight demons.”
-Pamela Peeke, MD, MPH, FACP, Chief Medical Correspondent for Discovery Health Channel, and author of Fight Fat After Forty

I’ve only read the first few pages, but I’m intrigued. While yes, she hooked me in with the dog on the cover, I’ve read Kuffel’s acclaimed book Passing for Thin years ago, and it was good.

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p.p.s. Join my Wondrous Writers Weight Loss Group on the website/app Lose It! Award-winning blogger Bradley of Insights From A Bipolar Bear is my fellow group member. Bradley’s encouragement has helped me so much!  If you join us, we’ll encourage you. I’ll send you an invite if you include your email in a comment. You can also sign up for free at www.loseit.com and find us under Groups.

 

Dyane’s memoir Birth of a New Brain – Healing from Postpartum Bipolar Disorder will be published by Post Hill Press in 2017.

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