Monday, February 22, 2016

Mania Season

Every year for the last three years I have been hospitalized for mania. That is, three hospitalizations in three years. To put that fact into perspective: I've been hospitalized four times, my first hospital stay was in 2007 but the second stay wasn't until 2013. That means I was stable for six whole years. But since 2013 stability has been hard to sustain.

All four of my manias have happened in the springtime. There's something about the sunshine and flowers blooming that send me into a tailspin. In fact, I wrote about me, mania, and the spring this time last year.

For the past few months I've been apprehensive about spring's arrival. I mean, three for three, what are the odds? And what are the odds that this year won't continue the trend? My boyfriend is claiming the Law of Averages for me. Meaning, my episodes will even out. I've had a crappy run of it the last three years, so my luck must look up soon. I don't know if I believe it, but I'm hoping that it's so.

Knowing that spring is coming and soon, I've been on high alert for warning signs of mania. For instance, twice in the past few weeks I've stayed up writing until the wee hours of the morning, midnight on the first occasion and 2am this morning. I felt incredibly productive and felt driven to keep working even though I know how important good sleep hygiene is. (Decreased sleep is often one of the first signs of mania and depression for me.)

You see, the mania doesn't care about my sleep. The mania is single-minded. But I can't feed into it, which I've now done twice.

However, I am taking care of myself: I take my psych meds regularly, I see my therapist every three weeks, I see my psychiatrist pretty regularly as well, I increased the frequency of my acupuncture sessions knowing that spring is a trouble time, I'm exercising and trying to eat healthy. On the self-care front I've got it covered. If only I could stop giving into the heightened-productivity impulses. I vow to work on that.

I claim that this year I won't be hospitalized.

But if I am, I will commit myself to recovery as I have done the previous four times. Neither mania, nor depression, will bring me to my knees.

I am more than my bipolar label.

Sunday, February 21, 2016

Lifestyle Changes and Weight Loss Goals

I want to lose about 10-15 pounds. To do that I've been trying to become more conscious of what I'm eating. I recently started working with a new doctor on lifestyle changes. She believes that there are two types of food. Foods that heal and foods that harm. I can dig that. There is certainly a connection between certain diseases and the foods we eat.

One of the many changes my new doctor suggested is that I stop drinking milk and eating milk-related products. No yogurt, no cheese. This was tough. I used to eat a Greek yogurt for breakfast every morning like clockwork. Well, I needed something to replace the yogurt so I googled healthy breakfasts.


This is chia seed pudding. It's made of almond milk, chia seeds, and maple syrup. 
It tasted okay. But I'll definitely have to get used to the consistency and hopefully I
eat it more, as it is packed with nutrients. Chia is known as a superfood.

These beauties are egg muffins
They were super easy to make and tasted just like miniature omelets.
I put spinach and diced red and green peppers in mine. But you can add any filling you want.
I've seen some with bacon.

Speaking of omelets... 
For about a week I was obsessed with them 
and they were the only thing I was making for breakfast.

In addition to breakfast, I wanted to also make healthy choices for lunch, dinner, and snacks.


I love plantains. I know they're not the healthiest thing I could eat, since they're fried, 
but they're oh-so-good! I paired them with green beans, black beans, and jerk chicken.
I marinated the chicken in a store-bought jerk seasoning,


I made a visit to the year-round, in-door farmers' market. I was impressed with the wide selection of fruits and vegetables they had. I'm trying to snack mostly on fruits and veggies and not junk food.

I've found snack prepping extremely helpful. I measured (literally, with a measuring cup) out a serving size and then put the goodies in Tupperware or Ziploc baggies. Here I have apples, kiwi, strawberries and blueberries, trail mix (cashews, almonds, and cranberries), and carrots. Not shown are my red pepper strips. I eat the carrots and red peppers with hummus.

In the past month, I've already lost about 5 pounds, I just want to lose 10-15 more. I have an ideal weight in mind. Last month I tried to do a 30-day fat loss challenge. It included a meal plan and a 5-day per week workout plan. I only lasted a week. Then I came down with a cold and a terrible cough. Threw me off the workout regime. But to be honest, the meal plan was hard to follow. The food was good but the portion sizes were small. I know I have to change my portion sizes if I want to lose weight. But I was constantly hungry that one week I participated in the fat loss program. However, I wish I could have stuck it out. The other participants posted their before and after photos to Instagram and they got some amazing results in four weeks. I need to get back into my groove of exercising. What are your fitness and health goals?