My depression is cyclical. Since I was diagnosed Bipolar II, I’ve definitely noticed it more. There is a week or so where I can’t sleep a full 8 hours – which is saying something for someone with severe fatigue – and my talk is faster, my restlessness more pronounced, etc.
This also affects my eating habits. When I’m “up,” I eat less. I think part of it is that I’m more distracted. But it’s also that I’m an emotional eater. So when I’m feeling good, I just don’t fall back on it as much.
Of course, when I’m not up, I eat more. Too much, generally. And, while I’ve struggled with weight issues for most of my life, I’m a lot more focused on it during these times. Of course, the overeating doesn’t help either.
I’ve tried thinking positively. I’ve tried asking myself if I’m eating out of boredom — the answer is often yes, but that usually just delays it by half an hour, at most — etc etc. All the diet advice in the world doesn’t really do much.
So I found a cover story on Shape to be very interesting. It’s a relatively common puff piece about loving your body at any age and size. Which, of course, means that one of the 10+ people they show is overweight. But it is a fitness magazine, so what are you going to do?
Still, the pictures are inspiring and very uplifting. You see pictures of people at all different ages in strong, happy positions, with accompanying text about why they like their bodies. I’ve read pieces like this before, and it always helps a little.
I think most women in this society obsess too much about their bodies. But I find that depressives are especially hard on themselves. So these stories can be helpful reminders that there are always things you can like about your body. And that does affect your confidence, which affects how people react to you.
I’ve been struggling to get going on weight loss for a few months now. The same five pounds comes off, then goes back on as a wave of emotional eating hits. And no matter how much Tim tells me that I look great, it’s hard to feel/believe. Then again, he also threatens to sleep-feed me if I ever get too skinny.
Still, I see what I see in the mirror, regardless of how accurate it is. So now that I’ve been working out a bit more, I’m finding a lot more things to like when I look in the mirror. Like a slightly more defined upper abs section — I knew they were there somewhere! — and a more defined waist.
So here’s our homework for the next week: Each time you look in the mirror — especially if you feel the impulse to shudder or think something negative — find at least one thing you like. I think we’ll all be surprised how much it can change our mood.