Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Power Over Choice

Today I am running full throttle with a pot of coffee coursing through my veins and a smile on my face.  Today is a really great day.  I am more relieved than you know to be able to say that.

If you read my last post, you will know that I have been struggling a lately with the bitch disease we call depression.  Normally I tend to run on the anxious side of things, but the black hole of weariness kind came in for a surprise attack.  At first I wanted to hide, because my first response was to be a tad embarrassed by the melancholia.  But, because I am who I am, I had to find an outlet.  So late at night, I wrote; and it made me feel a little better.  I awoke in the middle of the night feeling a little embarrassed by my outburst of sadness, deciding I would delete my "woe is me" post first thing in the morning.

When I turned on my computer in the morning, I was amazed and overwhelmed by the outpouring of support I had received from my friends.  It made me realize that it is okay to have a really shitty day every now and then.  I am the only person that expects me to have a smile on my face all of the time.

Here are a few samplings from the very sweet words that were shared with me:

"Hey sorry about the slump you are feeling. Been there a lot lately myself." ...  "Hoping you get in a better mood soon! I can't wait for fall either!!" ...  "Oh, Kelsey, we all have those days, weeks, etc.  I bet all those 'little' things have just been adding up over some time, and you know...it is really good to hear I'm not the only one that feels icky sometimes. You don't always have to put on your happy face for everyone, you get your turn to be sad, too!" ... "Everyone is allowed to have a bad day or even week. Its not against the rules. Keep your chin up and it will get better."

I shared with my husband (knowing that it would probably freak him out a bit) that I was fighting a little bout of depression and we discussed several options (including increasing my Lexapro dose), and decided that we would take a short-termed wait-and-see approach to see if I would be able to climb out of my hole without any extra medications.  I gently -- and not so gently -- let him know that I would need his patience and understanding for the next few weeks (patience isn't his strong suit... nor is it mine).  He very sweetly brought me flowers and a card.  I love him.

My parents came to visit for the holiday weekend, which was wonderful.  I never feel like I have enough time with them, and their visits to our house are few and far between.  The time with them was great, but I still felt like I was unsuccessfully wading in the dark waters of angst (does anyone else feel like I'm writing song lyrics for an emo band?).  So much so, that I threw caution to the wind and binged on a delicious trifle dessert that I had made for their visit.  I originally wasn't going to blog about this, but I feel like I want to be completely honest with you -- after all, if I am not honest about my journey, how can I help you in yours?  After eating more dessert in one weekend than I had in 9 months -- I hate admitting this -- I wanted to purge for the first time in years.  Honest to goodness it was hard not to.  I didn't do it, but the urge was there... and it was scary.

I almost felt like I was suddenly standing at a fork in the road, one leading back to obesity, one leading back to bulimia.  I felt panicked, scared, and overwhelmed.  Throughout this entire journey I've been telling people that what has kept me going was a lot of cussing and a lot of praying.  I feel like I've got the cussing down, but have been lately lacking in the area of prayer.  So, yesterday (even though I really struggle with asking for <and receiving> encouragement from others) I sent a text to a few of my friends that said:

"This is probably really silly... But would you please help me by praying for me?  I am super struggling in the area of will power.  Specifically in turning down sweets and also with portion control.  I'm just afraid I'm going to head in a backwards direction if I keep this up.  And I'm feeling like Divine intervention might be necessary.  I know, really silly."

I have to say that I am so very blessed to have such a great support system.  I could have never imagined the kind words that they would say to me.  I am so thankful for them.  I want to share with you some of their encouraging messages:

"Not silly at all!  I will pray for you!" ... "You are strong and will overcome this.  Praying hard.  You are loved!" ... "Not silly.  I will begin praying for you daily when I sit down for meals.  Prayer makes things happen." ... "Not silly at all!  Praying right now that God gives you the power over choice!  Jump back on the horse my friend and keep on your path.  Don't be swayed by the days of perceived disappointment.  With your next breath, next bite, start over!  But most importantly, God has you covered!" ... "Not silly!  YOU are an amazing mentor whether you mean to be or not!  You have inspired me for sure... and I know others as well.  I think it's awesome that you are asking for help like that, because now the people who have gotten so much strength from you, can turn around and try to help you.  Try not to be so hard on yourself.  You will never be back where you were because you have seen the light and you rock!" ... "Love you girl!" ... "2Timothy 1:7 - God has not given you a spirit of fear but of power and love and sound mind."  ... "Take it one day at a time." ... "It's not silly... You are allowed to go through thinks like this.  We all do.  Keep your head up, I know you are doing great and it will get easier.  I will pray for you.  I am here for you whenever you need me." ...  "You can do this, Kels!  You have come so darn far and I tell your story when I talk about CrossFit A LOT!  You are an inspiration to me and I am not just saying that.  With the help of your CrossFit sisters there is NO way you are going to go backwards because we have your back!  Lifting you up friend!" ... "I am always here."

Talk about being humbled and being reduced to a huge ball of tears.  I have never felt so uplifted, so loved, or so blessed.  I could literally feel the prayers of my friends surrounding me, and I still can today.  What their messages of encouragement taught me was this:  It is okay to ask for help.  It is not silly to ask for people to pray for you.  You are always stronger than you think (and other people can see your strength more than you can).  If you ask for help and prayer, it is nearly impossible to fail.  You are not alone.

I feel like I have finally been able to crawl out from under my rock and pull my head out of my ass (as my dad might say), and am finally feeling better today.  Because today I choose happiness.  Today I choose to be wise.  Today I choose to be happy.  Today I have been given the strength to have power over choice.  I have made wise food choices, have stayed active, and have been reminding myself that I have power over my choices.  I do not have to succumb to cravings (hence the reason for the coffee as opposed to diet soda <aka: the hooch>).  I do not have to be a victim of myself.  I will not climb the same steep hill twice.  I have decided to have the attitude of obligation.  In one of the messages above, I was told that I am a mentor whether I mean to be or not.  If this is true, I had better be a good one.  I will not go backwards.  I will continue to encourage others with my story (and will work on allowing myself to be more open to the encouragement of others).

I want to encourage you to ask for help if you are struggling.  If you are feeling down, let the people around you know.  Surround yourself with people who love you, care for you, and who will lift you up.  You are loved so much more than you know.

Keep your chin up.  Don't be afraid to ask for help.  And thank you, more than you will ever know, for keeping me... In Good Company.

P.S. -- It turns out that it wasn't necessary to increase my Lexapro dosage. But because I am almost positive that part of my recent struggle was due to a summer version of Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD), I did increase my daily vitamin D3 intake from 400IU to 5000IU.  The recommended daily intake is 2000IU, but I am taking extra for various health reasons.  I can't say enough for the effectiveness of what is commonly referred to as "the sunshine vitamin."


  1. Kelsey - out of pharmacist curiousity, who/where did you get your recommendation for 5000IU of vitamin D daily? That's nearly 10x what I would recommend for someone your age, barring some unforeseen deficiency and/or gastrointestinal problem. Granted vitamin D has a range of doses (including up to 50,000IU weekly), but as a fat soluble vitamin it can accumulate and has the potential to cause problems over time (unlike a B vitamin which you would just pee out the excess).

    Love your entry. Everyone is allowed to have a bad run of things. Your positive attitude and spirit will bring you through it!

  2. The recommended minimums of Vitamin D were set last April in the JAMA. 2000IU is the recommended minimum. That's why my company, GNC, raised the level in the multivitamin from 400 IU to 1,600IU. I take 10,000 IU every night because of my allergies, PCOS, anxiety, etc. More than 80% of us are severely deficient in Vitamin D. Especially at our age, we need to increase the D as it prevents later health problems, like breast cancer, digestive issues and glucose metabolism issues. Vitamin D, Omega 3 from Fish oil, and a good multivitamin are essential since we don't get it through food. I eat only clean foods, because of my figure competition diet. I probably eat a bag of spinach a day, 3 bell peppers, a whole cucumber and enough tuna and fish to serve to a Russian army. I still take my multi, fish oil, and D. If I don't, I can feel it. You're doing the right thing Kelsey. Keep it up.

  3. http://www.lef.org/magazine/mag2010/jan2010_Startling-Findings-About-Vitamin-D-Levels-in-Life-Extension-Members_01.htm

  4. I hate to disagree, but as a pharmacist I would recommend that both of you speak to your doctors about it.

    The Institute of Medicine reviewed the data on Vitamin D quite recently and the recommended dosage (outside of confirmed medical deficiency and or other conditions) is 600IU daily, with an upper limit of 4000IU daily. Their review of over 1000 studies also concludes that most people are not deficient, and that serious adverse events may result from increased dosages. Unfortunately as a pharmacist I spent a great deal of time dispelling these types of rumors that people gain from the media and lay public.

    While I also agree that a multivitamin, fish oil and vitamin D are healthy supplements (when taken in correct dosages), they are all readily obtained through a proper diet and sunshine! If you are worried in particular about any vitamin deficiencies, a thorough history and possible blood work with a doctor can help reveal any issues.

    Of interest for your reading: http://jama.jamanetwork.com/article.aspx?articleid=645408

  5. Oops! Also meant to acknowledge the following - if you are referring to the Endocrine Society's guidelines regarding higher doses of vitamin D (http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21646368) published in 2011 - there have been some higher recommendations for vitamin D in other published works, but generally the report by the IOM is considered the largest and most robust in terms of current medical knowledge.

    Keep well ladies! :)

  6. Thank you for sharing your knowledge and input, Jordan! I appreciate your professional opinion, as well as your friendly attitude!

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  8. As long as there are natural supplements and as long as there are lab-made prescription medications, there will always be this argument. My doctor is perfectly okay with me taking my vitamins because she doesn't know half as much as I know about supplements and vice versa. She never argues with me about my choices on natural supplementation. There will always be controversial disagreements between both industries. But in fact, the FDA has actually picked up a few of the methods GNC uses to test their products. My boss, being and chemical engineer, and his sister being a doctor, I will trust their opinions over anyone else. They are the most brilliant people I know.


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