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Archive for the ‘Health’ Category

Hey, guys!  I know, it’s been a long time.  I’ve written maybe three things in the past six months, and that’s pretty not cool.  But if you were wondering how I’ve been doing, I feel that this picture pretty much sums it up:

Basically, I have traded in my blood for coffee.

This past semester has been the most difficult that I’ve had yet, and I find myself missing the relatively light workload that I had my freshman and sophomore years.  Junior year is tough!  I basically haven’t been sleeping, and I’ve completely lost motivation to actually get work done and study.  Because of this, I definitely am seeing lower grades than normal.  Granted, low grades for me means that I’m getting more Bs than As, but it’s still two more Bs than normal in a semester.

I’ve just felt like I’ve been rushing with no breaks.  The moment one exam or paper or print is finished, I’m starting another because I’m already behind.  Plus, all of my classes have been more labour intensive than usual, which adds an extra element that I hadn’t really been expecting.

I also moved off of campus for this semester, so I’ve been adjusting to living in a house with Noah and Jess.  Not that it’s a major adjustment, though.  We get along marvellously, I love having a room to myself to decorate and be introverted in, and I’ve enjoyed doing my own cooking.  Sure, I miss the conveniences of living on campus, but all-in-all, I’m satisfied with the change.

This is where I spend the majority of my time not sleeping and instead studying, reading, and wasting my life on tumblr.

Meanwhile, I’ve been having a lot of trouble keeping level-headed and maintaining my weight since August.  I’ve been under a lot of stress because of complications with getting my fake tooth, where everything that could have gone wrong did go wrong, and it put me into a mini depression that ended up rearing its ugly head once course work got rolling.  I spent a lot of August, September, and October absolutely hating myself, and it only started to get better last month.  With every wrong move I’d make, a little voice in my head would just whisper I hate myself. or I hate everything.  I’ve never been the type of person to put myself down in this kind of way.  Sure, I’m hard on myself, but I’ve never felt such a hatred for myself.  It was getting absolutely unbearable, and I’d begin to beat myself for beating myself up.

In the end, I probably needed some sleep.  I needed time to find a sense of self that was healthy.  I needed Thanksgiving break.  Things improved over that time.  I didn’t get ahead on coursework, and I didn’t get a long list done that I needed to in Saint Charles.  But I did get my tooth (finally!), and I picked up a few more articles of clothing that would fit me better, and I finally had time to just sleep and day-dream.  It was such a relief.

I’m feeling a lot better now, but, coming back for the end of the semester is still difficult.  Last week contained most of my finals and papers/projects due, and there were some nights where I literally didn’t go to bed and had to squeeze in an hour around midnight so that I could work during the early morning hours when I feel most mentally awake.

Sunday night: 4 hours
Monday night:  3 hours
Tuesday night:  6 hours
Wednesday night: 2.5 hours
Thursday night: 1 hour

It’s been a bit rough, but I’ve found that I can get a lot done even on very little, if no, sleep.  I know that it’s not healthy.  I know, I know, I know.  It’s just how I operate as a procrastinator and some-what perfectionist.  They go hand in hand, really.  You procrastinate because of the fear that you won’t reach perfection.  But when you don’t have enough time to reach perfection, you self-handicap and say that it’s all right that you didn’t reach the point you had wanted.  After all, you’d had so little sleep last night, how could you have gotten higher than a B on that exam?  (Oh, poor baby.  Bleh.)

I mentioned earlier that I’ve been having a lot of trouble keeping my weight at a stable level.  For the entirety of my life, this would mean that I’ve gained a bunch of weight and am feeling all self-conscious about it… until now.  I don’t know how, but I’ve lost twenty pounds in only three months.  I went from being near 160 to 142.  Everyone I’ve told gives me some type of congratulation as though I’ve been working so hard or something, but I just stand there thinking, But this is not what I wanted!  I haven’t tried to lose weight.  I don’t like that I can’t fit into any of my clothing; I figured I’d be a size twelve for years, so I’d started buying my clothes to last and cost more.  Suddenly, I don’t fit into any of my skirts or pants or bras.  My shirts aren’t tugging in the same ways (hell, I can now wear shirts that I haven’t been able to fit into since I was fourteen).  I look at photos of my face from earlier this year, and I literally can’t recognise myself (okay, this may be because of the prosopagnosia, but disregard that) because I’ve lost so much weight from my face.  My arms look different, my collar bones show more, my cheek bones seem a bit  higher, my legs more defined, my stomach flat.

I am beautiful.  And I am completely frightened.

I can’t stop losing weight, and I don’t know what to do.  I don’t know if I believe the people who have told me that it’s from walking more with living off campus or because I’m cold all of the time and using more energy to keep warm.  I feel bad every time I look in the mirror and think I look good, because this can’t be healthy.  And then I argue with myself because I shouldn’t feel bad about being happy with the way I look.  It’s just an odd situation that I’ve never been in before, and I don’t know how to deal with it.

I don’t really know how to deal with anything, actually.  But… that’s okay.  It’s been okay for about a week now.  Between panicking and extreme euphoria and an excessive amount of work, this past week has been interesting, but I wouldn’t trade it for the world.  I wish I could tell you more at this point, but I’m still trying to find my footing.  Just suffice it to say that something is going really, really well, and I can’t remember the last time that I was this happy.

So, while I leave you on a note of mystery, I hope it was positive.  Because I’m feeling positive, even with all of the stress that I’ve carried for the past few months.  Sometimes, life is pretty good, and there are blue skies, and you can’t help but smile.

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The first blizzard of the year is making its way south, punching Kirksville in its skinny-ass torso, and watching the thermometer drop degree by degree is making me dread leaving work here at Grim.  Grim.  I’ve seen all of two people here today–three if you count that one person came twice to get quarters.  It’s a very hopeless kind of place, very cliquey, with a sad quietness to it.  Granted, that means that I can spend my four hours-long work shift eating and reading Questionable Content comics, but I somewhat feel like I’ve landed in the valley of death.  Except this valley of death is significantly warmer than the outdoors, so I’m a little trapped.

I shouldn’t complain too much, though.  I made it through this week, Lord knows how.  I read 190 pages of psych, studied for two exams, and did decently well on both of them–all in less than two days.  It means I didn’t sleep or eat or leave my bed for a long time (seriously, my bed must be sick of me sitting on it or napping rather than just getting a full night of sleep).  I really summed up the situation in my latest Potters video.  The amount of insanity and sleepiness in my life is never the greatest of combinations.

Unless it causes these conversations to occur:

(knock on the door, Missi falls out of bed to answer it)
Missi: H…hello?
Jenn: Missi, for a Christmas card, do you want a gingerbread man or a Christmas tree?
Missi: A… A what?  …Ginger…bread…tree?
Jenn: No.  Gingerbread man.  Or Tree.
Missi: Oh…  They both sound lovely.  …Tree?
Jenn: Okay.  Thanks!  Go back to bed!
Missi: (closes the door and still stands there)  Okay?

(while contemplating if I should actually get out of bed and go eat dinner)
Missi: I could go now.  But I could wait until 6.45 when I need to leave for USMED but just eat on top of time because on top of time I can go to 6.23 and eat until 6.45 so I’m ready at the same time that I’m sleeping.  But would that hurt physics?  Does physics have feelings?  Can I hurt physics’ feelings?!
(and then I fell back asleep)

When I have little sleep, it leads to moments that make it totally worth it, even if I wake up the next morning sounding like death and looking like I’ve lost ten pounds from underneath my eyes and arse only.  Seriously, my jeans fit awesomely today, but the rest of me looks like shit from not having taken care of myself over the past week.  Rest assured that I will be fixing this and don’t plan on being in the same situation for quite some time.

Oh, and for those of you wondering how my little project went last weekend, awesomely.  It looks so beautiful and like it should be in the door of a German pub.  When I get my camera from those OfficeMax punks, I’ll show you an awesome picture or two.

The snow is picking up, though, and it’s glittering from the street lamps outside the window.  As much as it will be freezing walking back to MO, I can’t help but feel that it will be enjoyable.  Maybe I’ll stop for some cappuccino along the way.  Snow viewing and hot drinks are never a bad combination.  In fact, on the list of great combinations, it comes in around the top five, placing significantly higher than the combination of Missi and no sleep.

“From the courtyard, I floated in and watched it go down,
heard the cup drop, thought,
‘Well, that’s why they keep them around.'”

Have One on Me, Joanna Newsom

Update:  See, I could have gone the cheap route and have given you 20 Years of Snow by Regina Spektor or Snow by Emilíana Torrini or anything by Snow Patrol, but my musical gift for today just happened to be what came onto the shuffle.  Lucky you!

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A while back, I mentioned my switch from moisturiser to natural oils for my face, along with dumping the habit of drying out my skin from soap, and now that it’s been about three or four weeks, I figured that it was time to tell you about some progress.

Truth to be told, my acne only went down only while I was at home.  Once I got back up to school, it started back up again (though not as severly as last year) because of the differences in water between Saint Charles and Kirksville.  This is a bit of a bummer since I spend most of my time at school, but if things continue how they have been with there still being acne but not in as great of quantities, then I guess I’ll take it.

Some positive things, though: my skin is slightly less oily (not completely, but I’m a little better off), it no longer feels like it’s been completely dried from my showers, and my hands are less dried out.  That one seemed odd to me, because it took at least a week or two to put the pieces together.  But, as I see it, now that I’m using less soap, my hands are no longer being dried out.  It’s gotten to the point where, for the first time in nearly four years, I no longer have to put hand lotion on every day.  Awesome and money saving.

Another thing that I was not expecting was that my eye condition has improved.  I have a chronic eye condition that causes a lot of, let’s call it ‘gunk’, to build up in my eyes, causing my vision to get blurry and there to be itching and redness and teary eyes.  No fun, really.  Well, I’ve noticed just as much ‘gunk’ being produced (maybe even more), but what has been really remarkable is that the pain and itchiness is gone–completely.  It’s made me wonder if my eyes could have been negatively reacting to my moisturiser for the past five years.

I’m still experimenting with washing my face in hot water and using oil rather than my old soap/moisturiser formula, so I definitely do not have the full affects of the regiment yet.  But, as I learn more about using natural oils and healthier/environmentally safer body products, I will let you know (I suppose that I should mention that I make my own body spray from water and essential oils, and it smells wonderful and is completely one of a kind).

Adios!

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Pescetarianism

I’m happier saying ‘yes’ to the occasional piece of fish or sushi than sitting around, staring at an empty plate, while others eat.  There’s no point in making someone who has cooked a fish dinner feel bad because I can’t eat it, when in all reality, it’s quite the healthy and delicious food.  This doesn’t mean I’m going to be shoving a fish steak onto my plate with every meal, and it most certainly doesn’t mean that I will be chowing down on fried cat fish with my family.  But if it means having a spoonful of fish because of a sushi tray or eating fish three times because I’m visiting my dad who has caught his own fish, then I am perfectly fine with that.  After all, I have absolutely no moral qualms with eating animals.  My qualms only lie in health, as usual.

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Seriously, the amount of spam I get is absolutely ridiculous.  Thank everything that WordPress lets me weed through the comments rather than automatically post everything.  I’d off myself otherwise.

Meanwhile…  It’s a bad joint day, which means that I’m still in bed watching Doctor Who, reading Wikipedia articles, and installing an old version of Oregon Trail onto my laptop.  Somehow, the hours keep slipping by faster and faster until I’m left here with barely a meal eaten and wondering what happened to my morning.  I slept in late until nine, but I still had some morning, didn’t I?  What on Earth happened to it?

I’ve been waiting around for a thunderstorm to roll on by, but it’s done just that: rolled on by without stopping.  Instead, the sun has poked back out from the angry clouds to greet me, but I don’t want that.  I really need some rain, even if it will make my knees buckle all the worse and force me to wear wrist braces yet again.  It’s days like these when it becomes more apparent that my body is falling to ruin.  I may be exercising and feeling so strong, but it can crumble in a split second.

But it does give me some more time to just sit and relax, even if there is some pain involved.  I’ve been watching old episodes of Doctor Who, which really makes me further enjoy the series.  There’s this thing that bugs me with most shows–the characters just don’t die.  Now, I’m not talking about The Doctor, because he’s immortal or whatever, but other characters.  In most shows, the good guy always has to go back and somehow save the other characters to make everything a happy ending.  It means that the main characters nearly get killed, but then everything magically works together.  Well, I don’t like that.  Call me a pessimist, but life isn’t like that.  People die.  People stuff up.  People don’t always live to see the world fall back into place.  It’s for this reason that I’ve come to appreciate Doctor Who as more than just an entertaining series.  Not every character lives.  People sacrifice themselves, repent, get punished.  They don’t just stand there and wait to have everything saved, and I enjoy seeing this realism.  Sure, I don’t enjoy death, but it’s comforting in a way to not have to watch The Doctor and Rose run all around trying to save everyone.  People are more independent in this show, I think.  And it shows when they make their decisions to allow death.  But the loss of life in the episodes shows realism, which is what really matters.

I am a realist after all.  Pessimism and optimism have never quite worked out for me.

But I thought I’d ramble about that for you, because it really is something that I enjoy about the show.  That rational, level-headedness that comes with not trying to appease the world but merely keep it stable.

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To my friends and readers in the Saint Charles area, I’m thinking that we should go to the local farmers’ market over this summer.  It’s supposedly right by Lindenwood University, and I’d love to check it out.  Here is some information about it from the Missouri Farmers’ Market website.

St. Charles County

Town/City: St. Charles
Name: St. Charles Lions Club Farmers’ Market
Open Days: Saturdays, 7:00 a.m. – Noon
May 16 – October 31
Contact Person: Gerry Shatro
Mailing Address: 907 Lindenwood
St. Charles, MO 63301
Phone: 636-723-2412
Directions: Take Riverside Drive 1 block north of Frontier Park in downtown St. Charles, on the riverfront.

I’ve never heard anything about this market, but if it is really there, you can bet that I will be going each week this summer.  That way, I’ll actually be able to live while home from university.  Seeing as how more than half of my diet is only fresh fruits and vegetables while at school, going home is rough where everything is mixed with meat or the oranges have been in the fridge since I was last home (whaddup four month old oranges?).  My plans are to be able to buy tomatoes, fresh greens, and berries to help sustain me through the week.  Then I’ll supplement my diet with the usual fresh baked bread, humus, cheese, store-bought fruits (bananas, pears, oranges), home-made apple sauce, and lots of chickpeas and red kidney beans.

Ugh.  I overly enjoy healthy food.

So, if you are interested in coming with me this summer, let me know.  And if you have recommendations on other markets, things to try, recipes, et cetera, leave a comment.  I hope you guys can attend a local farmers’ market this summer.  It’s a sure way to get organic and local foods.

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I realise that I have put nothing of any substance onto this blog in well over three months.  Actually, let me rephrase, aside from my many posts about depression, I have not posted anything substantial.  And I usually don’t like that.  Trivial matters don’t make a good blog.  Not to say that my blog is any good; I think it’s rubbish.  But for those who do read this, it’s a burden to read something that is not actually interesting in any way.

Let me introduce you to a short summary of my year at university; it seems a good place to start.

I entered Truman State University back in August as a freshmen, completely clueless and maturing far too quickly.  I made no effort to make friends but allowed friends to find me.  In a matter of a month, I knew almost everyone in my dorm house and could call many of them friends.  Today, I count four of them amongst some of my closest friends.

I started studying psychology, which was enjoyable.  I can’t say the same for right now, but it’s because I’m getting my general education classes finished up and that includes the generals of psych.  Experimental designs and biological psychology do not interest me, but they will be gone in two months, and for that I’m grateful.  I also signed up for a studio art minor which I will be starting next semester.

During September, I started cutting down on meat in my diet and became a vegetarian by November.  I’ve been slowly losing weight and gaining muscle ever since and physically feel the best that I ever have, even with EDS catching at my feet and hands everyday, trying to trip me up.  My family has been surprisingly receptive to this.

My relationship with my family steadily grew worse from August to January, and I fought almost constantly with my mum.  A lot of the reasons behind this were about neither of us understanding each other and becoming very different people.  But none of those mattered as much as the fact that I was falling back into a depression.

After analysing my mental health over the past few years, here’s what I can say: I was depressed, possibly with dysthymia from the age of nine until twelve (which was caused by my parents’ divorce, moving across town, et cetera).  I ‘woke up’ from the depression in the middle of seventh grade and barely even knew where I was or what I was doing.  Imagine the fright of suddenly finding yourself in a classroom and realising that you were awake for the first time in four years.  I spent the next two years figuring out a whole lot about myself, dropping habits, picking up new ones.  A large part in getting back to the person I had been lied in making friends–the best of which I am still close to.  I did a lot of maturing in the next few years, and that’s still going on today.

But the thing is, my depression came back every now and then.  It was back for four months when I was fifteen, and it’s back again.  In the middle of December was where I first started to notice that something was going wrong.  By January, I was in completely chaos, and it only grew worse into February.  In the middle of last month, I started making some honest efforts to get well.  I started cutting back on junk food, which had become my diet since late December; I started dressing myself better; and I began to do anything in my power to think positively.  There have been set backs, but I’m getting well again and have been increasing in mood for almost a month now.  Be proud.

During the time that I was depressed, I stopped caring about class and friendships and all kinds of things.  I stopped reading for class, stopped studying until the last moment, and put myself behind.  Now, I’m playing a mad game of catch up over my spring break.  I fought with my mum and became annoyed at anything she did, or my room mate did, or other people would do.  But I’d only take it out on her, and for that I’m sorry.  I’d like you to know, though, that things have been getting better for us over the past month.  We haven’t fought a single time, and I’ve started to talk to her more often and think of it as less of a chore.  Maybe it’s part growing up and maybe it’s part feeling better, but I’m happy.  I love my mum dearly, and I don’t want to hurt her again.

But, luckily, I have gotten to see my best friends over the past two weeks.  I visited Laura down in Springfield, visited with Molly back home, and will visit yet another bestie in a few days at Rolla.  I’ve also gotten to see Erica, Daniel, and Brooke; and though I see Rebecca and Noah quite often, it’s still nice to spend time with them too.  It has really helped to see them.

On the Thursday and Friday before I left for spring break, I was feeling completely down.  It was one of those times where, even though you’ve been doing really well, you completely fall down and crumble to pieces.  For a generally unemotional person, there was a lot of crying–mostly over a falling out with a friend whom I had considered close.  I’d had to leave the living room with my friends just to go cry for ten minutes.  I found myself crying while walking from class.  I even found myself crying while studying.  Terrible two days.  But, on Friday, as I was finishing up a rather lengthy complaint to my diary, I heard a pounding at the door.  So fierce was the pounding, that I leaped from my loft bed in order to answer it, yelling, “Coming!” all the way.  When I opened the door, I was not surprised to see Rebecca (she’s the only one who will pound down my door).  But I was surprised that she, Cat, and Ramina were there simply to say goodbye to me because they were leaving at 13.00 for home while Noah and I were leaving at 16.00.  I told her that it brightened my mood considerably that she had stopped by.  And maybe that’s the point of friends; that, when you’re feeling your lowest, they are there to show you the sun again.

Speaking of the sun, it’s out.  And it’s beautiful.  I can’t tell you how much that I have missed any weather that was not white and grey.  Seeing bright blue skies with temperatures reaching into the sixties and falling rain and the dead grass.  Well, it’s more than I can bare because it’s so beautiful.  When I realised that it was raining last night, I sneaked away from my room, rolled up my pants, and just stood there, letting the rain seep into my hair and sweater and roll down my face.  It was like being washed clean, and it would be impossible for me to describe how much I had missed it.  A fresh start was so necessary; thank God for it.

Here, I wanted to write something substantial for you, and I started talking about depression again, but maybe it was necessary.  Perhaps that’s what I needed to talk about to sum some things up before trying to move on and read psychology and go outside to enjoy this day.  I’m maturing, and quickly.  Welcome to the ride.

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