Tag Archives: medication

An Easy Therapist Check-In (or Virtual Appointments Make Things Easier)

Yesterday I had a check-in with my new therapist. This check-in was mainly to see how I was doing with the new medication dosage. I explained how I had been taking the increases slowly and that I am still adjusting to the new dosage, and she seemed to be pretty happy with the plan. It’s hard to tell what the correct dosage will be, so it will be a lot of trial and error. This is a different process than what I was doing with my old therapist, but I do like this new plan. I feel like it is more collaborative and that we are more of a team than a doctor telling me what to do.

This appointment was so much easier than what I’m used to because it was a phone call appointment. Yesterday morning, we had a time that my therapist was going to call me and we were going to talk over how things went. Of course, if I felt like I needed to meet in person I could have done that. But my therapist suggested a phone appointment for a check-in because it is easier to schedule and wouldn’t take up as much of my time. It was nice not having to drive to and from the appointments and being able to get it done early in the morning before I started work. I felt much more relaxed while talking because it didn’t feel as formal.

I don’t know why my old therapist never suggested phone appointments. I know that with him, he was much more into seeing if there was any more talk therapy that I wanted to do. Even though we came to the conclusion that I don’t really have issues to work through, I just have some sucky circumstances that I need to not rule my life. But those circumstances aren’t things I need to figure out, we know what they are and what they are doing to my mind. But he still liked to talk things through much more than this new therapist. This new therapist understands that in a way I only go in for appointments because I’m on a medication that requires it. She understands that talk therapy might be something I want in the future, but right now it’s not the priority in getting me into recovery. It’s a very different mindset, but I’m glad I had my old therapist in the beginning and this new therapist now.

In my phone call, I did discuss my issues with my workouts. It is frustrating to not be able to do cardio the way I want to, but I also need to give myself a decent amount of time to adjust to things. We did discuss brining my medication back down to a lower dosage (either what I started on or the middle dosage I was doing), but we both agreed that I haven’t had enough time yet on this new dosage to see if it will allow my workouts to get back to normal. I do like how I am feeling on this new dose and I feel like the medication is working much better, so I want to give it as much of a chance as possible. And I do have options if I need them and those won’t be going away so I can take my time.

My next medication refill will be in about 2 months. I will need to call or email my therapist to request the refill due to the restrictions on the medication. And at that point I think I will know what dosage I want to be on. And my therapist seems to agree that the timeline sounds good to her too. Of course, if in 2 weeks I feel like I need to step down to a lower dose, I can call in and she can write me a new prescription. But my plan is to try to take the next 2 months to see how I feel in all aspects of my life. If my eating disorder is significantly better but I can’t run, that might be a sacrifice I want to make. While my workouts are important, my recovery is more important and the priority in my life.

For my first phone appointment, I think it went really well and it reinforced the idea in my head that this is the therapist that I need now. She is much more scientific about things and that is really what works for me right now. My next appointment with my therapist (not counting in 2 months when I get my medication refill) will be in 6 months. I’m on the same appointment timeline as I was in the past, which is nice since I wasn’t sure it would be that way with a new doctor. But the next appointment is going to be unique because it’s going to be my first time ever doing a video chat appointment with a doctor! I’m actually pretty excited to have that option too because again it will save me the time of driving back and forth!

I know that not everyone likes technology, but I love that I have options to do virtual appointments with my therapist! It really helps to make appointments fit into my schedule better and I think that it will give me more options for when I can make appointments in the future. All of these things are good things and make me really hopeful that I’m on the right path toward recovery!

Another Week Of Taking It Easy (or Feeling Strong While Not Working As Hard)

Even though I’m continuing to increase my medication and it’s affecting my workouts, I’m starting to get used to having to be a bit easier on myself. It’s not easy to do it because I always do want to push myself, but I’m more accepting that this is a temporary issue and that I’ll be done with increasing my medications soon and I’ll get used to this new dosage.

Monday was a bit of a tough workout for me. It was the first time on the increased dosage that I had a morning workout (which meant I worked out about 90 minutes after taking my medications) and I really felt it. It was a strength based workout so I was fine with walking on the treadmill. And since it was a 3 group class, I was only on the treadmill for about 1/3 of the class and not 1/2 of the class. I was able to do my normal speed and kept my inclines at my normal inclines. I did have to take more breaks than normal, but overall I was pretty happy with myself.

On the rower the first block was decreasing rows starting at 500 meters with bicep curls using the rower between each round. My times were never that great, but they weren’t that horrible. I did have to take some breaks on this rowing block because of my heart rate going up too high, but it wasn’t anything unmanageable. The second block on the rower followed the same pattern as the second block on the treadmill with doing base, push, and all out paces. The idea was to not stop rowing for the entire block (which was about 5 minutes) and to get to 1100 meters. By the end of the block, I was just at 1100 meters. And on the floor we had squats with weights, triceps with weights, knee tucks using the ab dolly, lunges with weights, hamstring work, and roll outs on the ab dolly.

Wednesday was the first day on a higher dosage of Vyvanse (and what should be the dosage I’m sticking with so hopefully the last increase). It was difficult being on the higher dosage and my body felt it. I dealt with a little bit of light-headedness (I don’t think I drank enough water before class either) and my heart rate was getting super high. I knew that this would happen on the first day of the new dosage but expecting it didn’t stop me from being a bit frustrated at times that I wished I could be doing more. The treadmill format would have been a good one for me to do some running in normal circumstances, but I had to stick with walking. I did my normal speed but only used 4% and 6% inclines.

The floor was one long block. We had sumo squats, skier swings, triceps on the straps, push up to plank jacks, and knee tucks. And after doing all of that we had rowing. The first row was 1200 meters and I managed to do it in 5:45 and didn’t have to take any breaks. That seemed like a huge accomplishment considering how I was feeling. I then had the second round of the moves on floor and then a 600 meter row. This was at the very end of class and my rowing wasn’t my normal speed or intensity. I had to take a few breaks and just as I finished the row class ended so I never made it to a third round on the floor.

Friday ended up being a much better day than Wednesday. I was feeling more adjusted to the new dosage and the workout was a partner day so that helped to keep me motivated and focused. My friend Grace was in class that day so she was my partner. It had a bit of an odd format, but I liked it. Blocks 1 and 2 were the exact same thing. One partner was on the rower and one was on the treadmill. The person who started on the treadmill was the pace setter and did .25 miles on the treadmill (I walked so I did .13 miles) and then tagged the person on the rower. Then they rowed 400 meters and tagged the person on the treadmill. The other partner just ran and rowed for distance. One of us was the pace setter for the first block and the other was the pace setter for the second block.

After those blocks, we had the last block that lasted about half of class. It was a bit more complicated but basically the partner on the treadmill or rower was the pace setter while the other partner on the floor did exercises until they were tagged (so we rotated throughout the block who set the pace). The floor exercises were squat thrusters, upright rows, froggers, high rows on the straps, and mountain climbers. The pacer had .5 miles on the treadmill to start (I walked .25 miles). The next round was 800 meters on the rower. And the last round was .16 miles on the treadmill (.08 for me) and a 260 meter row. Grace and I each were able to complete all the cardio portions before time was called which was awesome! I didn’t want to be the slacker partner and I think that I was able to hold my own.

Saturday’s workout was a bit more like Wednesday’s. I was struggling a bit with the medication dosage and I felt it in the workout. So I just took things nice and easy and did my best. And it helped again that it was a 3 group class. I started on the treadmill where we had rounds of push paces that decreased as the block went on. I was at my normal speed and used all my normal inclines. I was tempted a few times to try running for the 30 second all out paces, but I knew that this was just the beginning of the workout and I didn’t want to overdo it.

Next I was on the floor where we had 2 blocks. The first block was weighted lunges, plank work, good mornings to tricep kickbacks with weights, and pop jacks. The second block had squat jumps, side plank hip dips, squat jacks, and sit ups. And I was on the rower last where we started with a 200 meter row followed by 10 squat jacks. Then it was a 30 second all out row followed by 10 squat jacks. Then 15 pulls on the rower followed by 10 squat jacks. Then we started back at the top again with the 200 meter row but had 15 squat jacks between each rowing segment. I took quite a few breaks and none of my rowing was what I know I could do, but it was the end of the workout plus I was dealing with everything else.

I’ve debated if I should have gone down to 3 workouts a week instead of 4 while I was adjusting to new medication dosages, but I’m glad I didn’t. I did struggle at times but I like staying in this good habit. And now that my dosage won’t be increasing again, I can focus on getting things back to normal and being able to do my workouts the way I want. It still may take another week or two, but I know I’ll get back there eventually.

A Planned 3 Workout Week (or Medication and Workouts)

2 weeks ago, I had an unplanned 3 workout week. It wasn’t easy on me because I’m getting so used to 4 workout weeks. And I knew this past week was going to be a 3 workout week so having 2 of those in a row was a bit frustrating to me. But this 3 workout week was so much better than the week before because this one was planned for and I knew what I needed to do. Of course, when I plan it doesn’t always go that way and that’s exactly what happened.

Monday’s workout was totally my best one of the week. It was an endurance day and pretty much all the work was 90 second push paces with varying base paces. The base paces were either 60, 45, or 30 seconds so it did make the 90 second push paces a bit harder. But I’ve said it before that I’ve been testing the idea of shortening my walking during my run/walk 5Ks and this was the perfect way to test out my endurance for that. I think that 30 seconds was a bit too short for me, but it’s always good to push myself and see what I can do.

The floor had 2 blocks and each block started on the rower. The first block was 500 meters and the second block was 1000 meters. I managed to somehow PR on the 1000 meter row which shocked me. It was toward the end of the workout and I was tired so I didn’t think I could do it. But I must have pulled strength from somewhere (or just was really mad I didn’t PR on the 500 meter row) and managed to get a new best time. The rest of the floor work was pretty mixed between upper body, lower body, and abs.

Wednesday was a tough day for me. I didn’t realize it until almost the end of class, but this was my first workout with the increase in medication my therapist set for me. Vyvanse raises your heart rate so it’s no surprise that I was having issues with my heart rate being super high. But because I wasn’t thinking about that during the workout and I was getting a bit frustrated. I was struggling and couldn’t figure out why. And it should have been a workout that I really excelled in.

It was a power run/row day which meant all the segments were on the shorter side. But it was a unique format that was not the normal run/row. First, we had 3 rounds of running .25 miles (I ran it each time) and between each round we had 2 different arm exercises. After that we had 3 rounds of 150 meter rows with the same 2 arm exercises in between each round. After that, it was a more traditional run/row. For the running, I started at my normal speed but our coach set goals for us to hit on the treadmill. She wanted me to get to at least 7mph at some point. I knew I would need that to be during my last round and I did 7.2mph for the last .05 of my last round.

On the rower, I kept my 150 meter rows between 28-30 seconds which isn’t a record but isn’t that bad either. But I only made it through the rowing and weights by the time we had to switch. I never made it to the last segment that was the more traditional run/row format. That was tough for me, but I know that I worked really hard.

Once I was on the floor, we had 2 blocks with a good variety. The first block was squats, shoulder swings, planks, and sit-ups. But we also had a few different times that we were told to stop what we were doing and hold a plank for 30 seconds. Those 30 second plank breaks almost did feel like breaks to me since we’ve had so much plank work and I had my plank challenge in May. In the second block, we had power jacks which I was able to do with a weight, skaters, rowing with the straps, and more plank work. I was taking a lot of breaks during that second block because of my heart rate, and I was trying to not be upset with myself. It was then that I remembered about my medication being increased so I knew that it was something beyond my control. But it still doesn’t make it easier on me when I always want to do better than I have before.

Friday’s workout was another endurance day. And even though I struggled on Wednesday with my heart rate, I had forgotten about it by Friday and struggled with heart rate issues again. But fortunately, I remembered it much sooner this time and was able to go a bit easier on myself and not beat myself up over those struggles. It also helped that I had an amazing group of friends at the workout on Friday that were next to me and keeping me motivated!

I do totally notice a difference when I’m working out in a class with friends versus a class that only has acquaintances or people I don’t know as well. I’m so lucky that I usually will have at least 1 friend in class, but to have 4 friends in class is a rare treat!

There were 3 blocks on each side and I started on the treadmill. Every treadmill block was a similar pattern. It started with a 3 minute push pace followed by a 90 second base pace. Then it went to a push pace to all out pace, but the time of the push pace changed each block. I ran all the pushes and all outs, but it wasn’t easy. Even though I know I can run longer than 3 minutes, there was something about those 3 minutes each time that seemed longer and longer. I just tried to get into a zone and not think about the time passing by. And in the 28 minutes I was on the treadmill before switching to the floor, I did about 1.9 miles which isn’t that bad!

On the floor the first block was squats to rows with weights and plank work. The second block was bicep work on the straps, plank work, and abs. And the last block was 300 meter rows with tricep work. 300 meter rows are something that I usually use to measure my progress, but these weren’t that great for me. I was tired, dealing with my heart rate issues, and ready for the workout to be done. Normally I strive to get my 300 meter row under a minute, but I wasn’t even close this time. I don’t remember my exact times, but I was around 1:12 each time. I was trying to not be upset and frustrated, but again it’s tough for me to be easy and kind to myself.

I’m glad that this past week of workouts was a 3 workout week. While this was not my worst workout week, it was a tough one and I think my mental state made it more difficult on me. I needed to take some time off so I could get back into a better head space to start this week of workouts. It had been so long since my medication had been changed and I forgot how tough that adjustment could be on my workouts. I’m glad that I remembered it but I wish that I had remembered it sooner so I wouldn’t have felt as bad in the moment. But I guess I needed this past week as a reminder and hopefully this week I can be easier with myself and happier with what I am able to do in a workout.

Another Therapy Check In (or Someone Sees Progress)

I only see my therapist every six months now, and my visit with him was this week. So much has happened in six months and I was trying to think about what I wanted to talk about with him before I went in for my appointment. I know that my time there is limited and I wanted to maximize my time. I knew that not everything was relevant to talk about, but I still took some mental notes on what I wanted to make sure we go over.

A lot of my appointments with my therapist are pretty basic check ins. He wants to make sure that I’m still making progress and doing ok on my medication. But there isn’t a lot for me to work through in therapy anymore. Coming to the realization that I just have bad luck genetically with getting an eating disorder has helped me a lot. I know that I didn’t do anything (or have something happen to me) that caused this and I just have to work on getting through it and figuring out good recovery tools for myself. Sometimes knowing that is tough, but it does make my therapy appointments easier.

The first update we discussed in my appointment was me not having the liver surgery. Even though my therapist has access to all my medical records, I knew he wouldn’t have reviewed everything that has happened lately. He was very excited about me not needing surgery and was asking what might have caused the tumors to shrink. There is really no medical explanation for it, but he agrees that my tumor visualization might have been a big part of it. Our minds are really powerful and can do miracles. He agrees that I should keep that up and see what happens when I have my next MRI in a few months.

We also talked about how I was struggling a bit with the idea of preparing for surgery for so long and then that just stopping. I told him how the unknowns unnerve me a bit and that I was finding it tough to reconnect to myself. I still struggle with a bit of disconnection with my body and I don’t know if that will ever be resolved because even if the tumors go away they could come back another time. My therapist understood why this is so tough for me, but he was encouraging me to work really hard to get through it.

He was talking about how we cannot set expectations for life and then fall apart when they don’t happen. Things can change and we have to be ok with going with the flow. And when something doesn’t go our way, we have to let go of the idea of what we thought would be and start thinking about what is. Obviously, those things are easier said than done, but I do need to work a lot on that idea. And to have him tell me that it’s ok that I struggle with this idea made me feel better because sometimes I wonder if it’s just me who seems so rigid in these ideas.

Even though there are things that I’m struggling with, the main things that my therapist was saying to me were all positive things. He said that he can really sense a change in me and sees that I’m so much happier. He can see that I’m figuring things out and I am making progress. I don’t always see the progress, but I know it’s easier for someone on the outside to see it. He knows that even if my eating disorder isn’t getting better right now, I’m building the skills and gaining the tools I’ll need to be in recovery. So eventually it will all connect and come together and I’ll be better equipped to be in recovery.

We also started to talk about the future and when I will be going off of Vyvanse. I cannot be on this medication my entire life (nor do I want to be on it forever). I am not in a place to be off of it just yet, and in fact we actually made a small increase to my dosage. But we went over how this is just a temporary tool and how I need to be preparing myself to eventually not have the crutch of the medication to help me through the day. It’s a bit scary to think about going off of it because when I don’t take it for a random day off, I notice that things aren’t as great. But to start working through an end plan is something that I know I need to do.

The biggest takeaway I had from this appointment was that I am making progress and improving even if I can’t see it yet. Getting to see myself through someone else’s eyes (and someone who has a critical viewpoint) is pretty powerful and really helped me feel more settled in what has been happening. My therapist wants me to focus on being more in the moment and accepting things as they come. If I am going to have a binge episode, he wants me to do it because I chose to do so and not because my eating disorder is putting me on auto-pilot. I’m getting much closer to that point so it’s good to know that that’s actually progress.

I won’t have my next appointment until December (6 months from now) unless something crazy happens and I feel like I need to be seen sooner. But I’m feeling much better about where things are now after this appointment. Some of the doubts I’ve been having have been reassured as good things and I’ve been given homework to try to work on over these next 6 months. Hopefully when I go back to see him again, he will continue to see progress and be happy with the steps I’ve made toward recovery.

Trip Planning (or Keeping Panic To A Minimum)

This past weekend, I went to Maryland for a family reunion. I just got back last night so I’ll recap the trip tomorrow, but I wanted to share with you how my trip planning went.

I’m a pretty good traveler, but I get so nervous and panicky about things. I always want to make sure I remember everything and I know I overpack because I’m scared I’ll forget something that isn’t easy to find (like clothing). For years, I’ve taken panic meds before traveling (for a day or so before flying and then right before my flight to be ok with flying). But since I’ve been doing better with my panic attacks and my Vyvanse makes the panic meds not as effective, I’ve been trying to get through traveling without the meds. I’ve been doing ok with doing that at the dentist (which is a miracle), so it should be the same for traveling.

I tried to do all of the other things I do to prepare for traveling to keep myself calm. I made all of my usual checklists, I did all of my usual prep work (checking all my travel toiletries and supplies), and tried to plan for some fun things to do on the flights there and back. I flew there with my brother and sister-in-law, but I flew home by myself so I wanted to make sure I had plenty of new library books on my Kindle to read and other things to keep my mind off of flying.

I was doing pretty great with my prep stuff, until I started planning out my clothes. While I am used to occasionally having hot days in LA, we don’t have humidity like they do in Maryland. I wanted to make sure I had clothes that would do their best to keep me cool in 90 degree heat and 90% humidity. Most of what I packed were workout clothes since those wick away sweat (I know that’s gross, but it’s true). And my outfit for the reunion was a tank top and a skirt so I figured it should keep me a bit cooler than other things. But just knowing that I might be sweaty¬†for the entire weekend stressed me out.

I don’t know why that got to me so much, but I really was stressing a lot about the clothes and what would and wouldn’t show sweat if I was gross. I know that everyone else might be just as gross and sweaty, but I still didn’t want to look that way. I think part of it is knowing that I don’t want to look like I’m sweating because of my weight. I don’t want to be that stereotype and while I’ve been making good strides in my fitness and weight loss, others don’t know that and I don’t want to be judged.

I was talking to my mom about this a bit last week before leaving and she helped to calm me down a bit. I said that I just wanted to make sure I was impressing everyone since outside of my immediate family I haven’t seen any of the people at the reunion for 5 or 16 years (or ever in some cases). My mom was telling me how it doesn’t matter whether or not I impress people. I’m living my life the way I want to and as long as I’m happy it doesn’t matter what anyone else thinks. I know I’ve known this, but having someone else tell me it made it finally register in my brain.

I really tried to focus on how awesome it’s going to be to be going on a trip and to see family that I haven’t seen in years. I’m so lucky that I had the opportunity to do this and I’m grateful that I got to go. These family reunions are held each year, but since everyone pretty much lives on the east coast they are always held there. And I usually don’t get to go so this time was really special. Focusing on those things did help me relax a bit and not feel like I really need to take my panic meds. I’d rather not have to take them anymore so testing myself is good for me. I’m so used to taking them, and trying to get off them is a good idea since I pretty much have to choose to take them or my Vyvanse (and I would rather be taking Vyvanse).

A full recap of my weekend in Maryland is coming and I can’t wait to share with you everyone that I got to finally see again!

With The Good Comes The Bad (or My Vyvanse-Free Weekend)

Overall, my weekend was pretty amazing. I had so much fun shooting “Single Parent Date Night” and even though the night shoot was tough, it was the greatest time ever! It’s been a long time since I’ve had to be up all night (and even longer since I’ve had to do it to act), so planning out my weekend was a bit weird and I really did try my best.

Even though I had to work early Saturday morning, I went back to bed after work to get some extra sleep in. And I made no real plans on Sunday because I wasn’t sure how I would feel or if I’d get any sleep. And I also readjusted the medications I take each day to plan for the all-nighter.

I was able to take most of my medications as usual. But I skipped taking Vyvanse on Saturday because I didn’t want to take it in the morning since I wanted to go back to bed after work and I didn’t take it in the afternoon because I honestly forgot. And since the time I got home on Sunday was the time I usually take my first Vyvanse dose, I skipped that one too. And since I skipped the morning one I skipped the afternoon one too on Sunday.

I know I’m supposed to take a break from Vyvanse from time to time, but this was different. I didn’t take the break because I wanted to, I took it because I needed to for the weird schedule I had over the weekend. I thought I had prepared myself for taking the break, but the planning wasn’t enough. And it actually backfired on me.

Saturday and Sunday ended up being 2 of the worst food days I’ve had in a long time. I honestly can’t remember the last time my food was as bad as these days were. I’m not sure if Saturday was also bad because of stress and Sunday was also bad because of exhaustion, but it doesn’t matter. And it didn’t help that our dinner break for the shoot was at midnight and we ate pizza (I was hungry otherwise I would have skipped it). Fortunately I didn’t feel too sick on Saturday, but Sunday felt like a food hangover all day (and continuing to eat “bad” foods didn’t help that feeling). The one good thing with all the bad food choices was that I really wanted to get delivery food on Sunday for dinner, but I managed to resist that and went to the grocery store for a better choice.

I don’t want to completely blame the lack of Vyvanse on these bad days, but I did feel a difference in my body even mid-day on Saturday. I wasn’t feeling as strong as I’ve felt recently and I just wasn’t able to focus properly (Vyvanse is also an ADHD medication so I guess it’s been helping me focus and not just helping me with the eating disorder). I really hated how I felt and I wanted to be in a positive mindset because of the filming that night. I think the excitement of the filming did help a bit, but it still wasn’t quite right to me.

While I’ve been wanting to believe that the Vyvanse was helping me, I never was 100% sure about it. I knew that there was a bit of difference in my life, but I’ve also been doing a lot of self-improvement work lately so I thought it could also be that. But spending the weekend off of Vyvanse really did prove to me that it is working and that it is the right thing for me to be on right now.

I was back to my normal medication schedule on Monday and eating did get better that day. I think now I’m back to being on track but of course my scale is reflecting my bad choices and that stinks. I’ve been making so much progress lately and it does feel like a giant step back. Eventually I’ll get back to where I was and I just have to be patient with myself.

Even though this was a really bad weekend with my food and recovery, the good really did outweigh the bad and I wouldn’t change anything about my weekend. But I did joke to my co-star (and writer of our film) that the next collaboration we have needs to be something that shoots during the day because the night shoot was so crazy for me.

Seeing My Therapist (or Building Habits)

I saw my therapist earlier this week. This was the first time that I had seen him in 6 months because he has been feeling like I’ve been doing a pretty good job lately. So he trusted me to be ok with a 6 month gap between appointments but let me know that if anything changed I could see him sooner if I needed to.

I had been feeling pretty good about this appointment lately. After my interview for the audition recently, I have really realized how much progress has been made and I knew that my appointment would be filled with positive news.

I had brought a couple of things with me to my appointment. Usually, I bring my happiness checklist, but I’m now using an app to track that so I made sure my phone was charged so I could show him if he wanted to see it. I also brought my Spark Planner with me. I’ve been tracking so much stuff in there lately and I wanted it to remind myself of anything as well as proof to show him if he wanted to see it.

The first thing discussed in my appointment was how I was feeling about Vyvanse. I think I’m doing pretty well on it and there was only one minor concern about things. I’ve been taking my larger dose in the morning and smaller dose at lunch, but I feel like maybe those should be switched. There is more time between lunch and bedtime than there is between breakfast and lunch. And since I’m not having sleeping issues with Vyvanse, I’m not worried about a slightly larger dose at lunchtime. My therapist agreed with me completely and my new prescription bottles will reflect that (for now, I just take the afternoon medication in the morning and visa versa until I’m using my refill).

After that check in, we discussed how I’ve been doing with my happiness checklist and other things. I told him how I had been using an app for the checklist since it’s easier and I always have it with me, and I think his biggest surprise is that I’ve continued to keep it up. He wrote down the name of the app (HabitBull) so he can tell other patients as well, so that made me feel pretty awesome.

And then we talked about my Spark Planner. I told him how I had been tracking a lot of stuff in there this year and I was showing off the various sections of it. I showed him where I can track my annual goals, monthly goals, and weekly goals and I think he was impressed that there is such a big focus on goal setting. It’s good for me to have goals to reach toward, so the more I can focus and have to think about my goals the better.

But what my therapist was most impressed with were the monthly challenges that are within the Spark Planner.

30 Day Challenges

I showed him the monthly challenges I’ve been doing and let him know that I’ve basically had 100% success with keeping up each challenge even beyond the month that I set the challenge for (the only one that hasn’t been 100% has been weighing myself in because I can only do that at home and I was in Santa Barbara for Rayshell’s wedding without my scale). And I know that I can’t do 100% perfection with all challenges for the rest of my life, but even if I only keep them up part-time these are all good habits that I’ve been building and that’s just awesome.

And habit building is exactly what my therapist wants me to focus on over these next 6 months. The more I build positive habits in my life, the more likely that recovery from my eating disorder will become a positive habit eventually. While the individual habits are sometimes recovery related, even the non-recovery ones are helping me get into a better space in my life and to build my habit building muscles up so that I can use them for whatever I need to.

I knew when I bought my Spark Planner that it was going to be a good thing for me, but to know that my therapist thinks that this is what will help me get to recovery one day is amazing. I’m still figuring out what recovery really means to me (and that’s something I did discuss with my therapist), but I’m feeling even better that recovery is in my future one day.

At the end of my appointment, I felt incredible and on cloud 9. My therapist even said that in some ways, I’m doing better than he is and he needs to get better and doing some things like I’m doing now. For me, so much of my habit work is having something to remind me to do it. I have so many alarms/reminders set on my phone so I know to do something. If I didn’t have that, I would easily forget and that’s what life was like before. There’s no shame in needing to be reminded to do something, but for some reason I was not willing to do that before.

But now that I’m fine with the dozens of alarms on my phone, I’m making sure I’m getting my new habits done and I’m excited to see how I’ll be doing in 6 months when I see my therapist again.

“BLUE” (or Supporting A Friend’s Film)

This past weekend, I got to attend the premiere of my friend Robert’s film. This was something that I know he had been working really hard on, and I was so excited to see the finished product. So I had been counting down the days to the screening!

Robert worked with Marie and Chris (the epic party throwers) on this project, so a lot of people attending the screening were the same people who I see at lots of parties throughout the year. That made the event even more fun and I think everyone shared my excitement about it!

The film that Robert and Chris did is called “BLUE” and it is a very personal story for Robert. It shows people what it is like living with depression and how it can rule your life even if you are doing something fun or that you love. Depression in the film was represented by Blue, a puppet, and I think it was a really great way to show people what mental illness is like.


Technically, I was diagnosed with depression when I was younger, but the more I’ve learned about mental illness and depression I believe that I was actually misdiagnosed. I think my depression was a side effect of my panic/anxiety disorder. The panic attacks made me sad and I didn’t know how to make things better. That depression is very different from when people are diagnosed with depression, but I can still relate to the concept of the film.

While I don’t deal with my panic/anxiety on a daily basis, I do live in fear for when the next attack will be. Fortunately, they are getting better now so I’m not in as much fear as I was before. But I’m still wondering when the bubble will burst and I’ll have a horrible panic attack that causes me to not be able to do anything for a day or so. That feeling is similar to what some people with depression feels when they wonder when their next down time will hit them.

I loved this movie! It’s short, but the message is very effective and clear. I think it’s a great way to show others what mental illness can feel like and how we can feel crazy when we can’t just forget about it. And I think that everyone else who viewed it felt the same way because everyone was just so touched after the end credits were done.

And because my friends Robert and Chris are so amazing, they have posted the movie on YouTube for everyone to see and share.

(if you can’t see the video above, click on this link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Rk_D9x5BeRI)

I hope that you all take a few minutes to watch this movie and to share with everyone you know. Let your friends who have a mental illness know that you are trying to understand them. And let your friends without mental illness know that they should watch this so that they can try to understand their friends who battle this every day.

After the screening, Robert had arranged for a photographer (Adam, who did my last headshots!) to take photos of us with the puppet who was in the movie. I love photo booth set ups and this one was so much fun! And of course, taking photos with a puppet is a pretty awesome thing too.

Me and Blue

Adam also took some fun candid shots before and after the screening. Most of them haven’t been posted yet, but I love this one of a bunch of us in the backyard before the screening started.


After the screening and photos, most of us hung out in the backyard just chatting like normal. But it wasn’t like normal because everyone was more open than I think we’ve ever been before. We were discussing some more serious things than we normally do and there was no shame in what anyone had to say. This movie really did bring us all closer together even though we were already pretty close to begin with. I think anything that helps to remove the shame from any mental illness is such a gift and I’m so glad that Robert and Chris did this so we could feel more open with each other.

If you deal with depression or mental illness, please know that you aren’t alone. There are so many of us out there who know exactly what you are going through and maybe not everyone is ready to share that with the world. By being willing to share, you might inspire others to share and be open too (I experienced that with this blog).

And if you are dealing with mental illness and want help, please get it. There is no shame in needing someone to talk to or medication to make things better in your life. You may find a way to live a fuller life by getting help, and that is something you don’t want to miss out on.

I’ve Made Progress (or I Think My Therapist Will Be Proud)

Yesterday, I had a phone interview/audition for a commercial about people who have binge eating disorder. I actually had auditioned for this commercial last year when it was slightly different, but when I saw they were shooting again I submitted myself.

Typically for auditions you don’t have a phone interview, but since for this project you have to prove that you have been diagnosed with BED by a doctor and meet other requirements that aren’t normally an issue with commercials, the phone interview is the first step.

I’ll start by saying that I’m not going to get the audition for this because they need to fit certain age and size requirements right now, and I’m not a match for that. It’s not a big deal and I’m totally ok with not being able to audition because I got so much out of this phone interview.

The woman I spoke with yesterday was actually the same woman who I spoke to last year for the phone interview and audition I had. It was nice to catch up quickly with her and she was excited that I had submitted myself again for the project (I was afraid that they wouldn’t want me to since I didn’t get it last year, but I figured it was better to try than not to).

The phone interview first covered a lot of technically stuff. You do agree that you are willing to share medical information with the production team (if you got the commercial, it wouldn’t be public so your privacy is protected) and you have to agree that you are ok with sharing the fact that you do have binge eating disorder. Since I share that on here, I have no issues with saying that in a commercial. I think that most people aren’t as comfortable being public with things as I am, and I understand why the casting team wants to check with the people they are talking with to make sure they know how public it will be.

After going over that I was diagnosed by a doctor, we went over what treatments I’m doing for my eating disorder. I mentioned that I’m still taking Vyvanse and that I’ve finally been seeing some progress with it. I think a lot of the progress is due to some personal development I’ve been doing along with the monthly challenges in my Spark Planner. But to be honest, until I had to share what things were like before versus what they are like now, I didn’t realize how much progress I’ve made.

My eating disorder is not gone (I still wish it was and I know that it is not a totally realistic goal to have), but my episodes are less frequent. The reduction has not been as much as I would have liked it to be, but anything is better than nothing. I’ve also had more clarity lately about things. I’m not letting myself stay down about stuff as long as I would have in the past. If I have a bad meal or bad day, I’m getting back on track a lot faster than I would have before. I’m not waiting until the next week to fix things.

I haven’t seen my therapist is almost 6 months now. When I last saw him, the plan was to go 6 months and to see what that brings. Of course, if I felt like I needed to see him sooner I could have made an appointment. But the past few months have been pretty awesome for me. And when I see my therapist again next week, I think he is going to be pretty happy with the progress I’ve made and hopefully he can help me plan out how to not just continue with what I’m doing but to continue making steps toward whatever recovery will end up being for me.

My Medication Routines (or Feeling Like An Old Lady)

Growing up, I didn’t take any medication or supplements on a regular basis. I took medication when I was sick (and since I got strep throat multiple times a year that did feel like a regular medication), but beyond when I was sick I didn’t take anything. Not even a multi-vitamin. It just wasn’t something that my family did and since I ate a pretty decent diet there was no need for any supplements.

The first time I had to take a medication on a regular basis was right before I turned 18. When I was getting ready to leave for college, I had a doctor’s appointment where I was checked out and got up-to-date on immunizations. One of the things they check for is TB. This is done by a skin test where they inject a little amount of a TB protein under your skin and then you return a few days later and they measure the bump. My senior year of high school I did tutoring at low-income schools and I must have been exposed to TB because my test came back positive for TB exposure. Even though I had my tutoring job, it was pretty unexpected that I would test positive for exposure and since I was leaving for college soon we had to get everything in order quickly.

I had a chest x-ray and tested negative for TB (most people with exposure don’t have the disease), but I was still required to take a year of medication to make sure that my exposure remained dormant in my body. That was a year of medication (which my body didn’t react well to) and a year of a B6 supplement because the medication can cause a deficiency. I had to do this the first time I was living away from home, so I took it seriously and never missed a dose. I knew that I needed to take the medication for a real reason and I didn’t want to make any mistakes or have to extend how long I was taking it for any reason.

Since then, the only other medication I took on a regular basis outside of painkillers for my hip was birth control. This of course changed when I started on Vyvanse. Then I was taking 2 medications in the morning and that wasn’t too bad or difficult to manage. Then my Vyvanse dosage increased and I started taking one in the morning and one in the afternoon. Once I started the afternoon dose, I had to add melatonin to my routine and take that before bed (the Vyvanse can make it difficult to sleep).

Taking medications 3 times during the day isn’t always easy to remember, so I have an app to remind me to take my mid-day and nighttime things (it’s easy for me to remember my morning stuff). It’s actually pretty nice to have an app to remind me especially at night because it’s a reminder to turn off the tv or stop doing whatever I’m doing and start getting ready for bed. Since using the app, I’ve been able to get to bed earlier on a regular basis and I know that even without the melatonin I’m sleeping better now (so that’s a bonus!).

But lately I’ve been working on other things that can help my health and that has included taking supplements. I’ve tried many times to take a multi-vitamin, but my stomach can’t really tolerate them. But I discovered that I don’t have the same stomach issues with the gummy ones, so I take those now. My mom recommended that I start taking Zyflamend and some sort of oil, so I started those. I tried fish oil, but my body wasn’t feeling good on those so I switched to flax oil. And then the new hip surgeon recommended I add glucosamine so I got some online and started taking them yesterday.

My mid-day and nighttime pill routines haven’t changed, but now I’m taking so much stuff in the morning to keep me at my best.

Morning Medicine

I know that some people don’t believe in supplements, but I don’t think they are doing any harm to me so I figure that even a minor benefit will be worth it. And it takes me so little time in the morning to take everything so it’s not a big inconvenience to my life.

But I never thought I would be someone who takes a ton of pills each day. That always seemed like an old person thing and I don’t think I’m that old yet. But it seems that more people my age are looking into more supplements now than people did when I was younger, so it makes sense. Hopefully all of these things will help me as I’m working on my recovery and will keep my body at its best for as long as possible.