Tuesday, February 23, 2016

I have been posting regularly to my Fit after Fifty-five Facebook page but I have been neglecting this blog. I hope in future weeks to correct that. A lot has happened in my life since my last post. Too many minor things to go into but one major thing, I lost my sister to cancer. That really knocked me down for the count but it also led me to finally seek help for my depression. The following is something I posted to Facebook just this morning.

I'm going to talk about something that's very difficult for me but if it helps someone else, I think I should share it. I've had the benefit of a weight loss and fitness coach, via our insurance, for the last year. Every few weeks we have a coaching call. Despite my lack of progress, he always tells me that I am succeeding and growing and changing for the better. We've been over the roadblocks I've faced time and again, lack of organization and clutter in my life, personal losses, setting priorities and making fitness and health one of the top ones. We didn't however ever discuss the elephant in the room......depression. He would ask me leading questions because I think he suspected that I had a problem all along but I have been too embarrassed to let anyone know that I had a problem. Even with my husband, Steve, I'd say that my lack of energy, my lack of accomplishment, my difficulty even doing daily tasks was all because of physical ailments not an emotional and mental one. My doctor put me on a mild antidepressant in 2014, after I lost my dear friend who was like a father to me and I couldn't bear the pain. For nearly two years, when asked if the medication was working for me, I'd say, yes. But I was still fighting a battle every day. The medication did not alleviate my depression. It only seemed to suppress my emotions. Inside, I was in pain and turmoil but outside, I constantly looked calm and cool as a cucumber. I didn't realize that this wasn't how I should be feeling because I wasn't sharing this with my doctor. And then my doctor moved away and I was left having to discuss my problems with someone else when I didn't want to be sharing with anyone. I think I viewed depression as something to be ashamed of. I think I thought it made me appear to be weak. I think I hated to say anything because I knew my friends had far worse problems and I didn't want to complain. The only thing I should have been ashamed of was not owning up to the fact I had a problem and getting the help I needed to overcome this. My only weakness was in not accepting that I couldn't fight this or fix it on my own. So, yesterday, I finally came clean with my coach, Lee. I don't think I told him anything he didn't already know or had guessed. I told him that this had been a problem for a long time but it had gotten worse since me sister passed away on January 12th. Since then, whenever someone would ask how I was doing, I'd say, "I'm fine. I'm doing okay." I was lying. I've had a very difficult time sleeping and an even harder time getting out of bed. I hurt all over, I was exhausted to the point of feeling as if I might collapse. I lost all joy and interest in things I once loved. Lee asked if I felt like doing harm to myself and others and that was the one area that I could say with certainty, no. I think to everyone but Steve I probably appeared overly chipper and happy. It was an act. Over the last week, I've started feeling nervous and agitated despite my fatigue. I was angry at myself for accomplishing nothing despite all of my plans and lists. I was angry at myself for neglecting Steve, my animals, my family and friends and especially myself. Lee offered me several different options for seeking help. He told me that he thought a few sessions of counseling should have me headed in the right direction to regain me and my life. I start phone counseling next week, I see my doctor the next Monday to consider changing my medication (which Lee told me might be a big part of the problem since it shouldn't be making me feel the way I am), and oddly, I already feel so much better just because I finally made the decision to seek help solving this problem. I'm trying not to beat myself up anymore but I truly do wish I'd told someone long ago. I've lost a lot of time and life because I was too ashamed to talk about how I was feeling. Lee says that he feels this has been my major roadblock in regaining my fit and healthy life. I think he is right about that and if you are struggling with the same problems, please, don't do what I did for far too long! Seek help. You can't do this on your own but with help, we can all get our lives back.