Friday, September 9, 2016

Weight Gain Struggles

One of the enduring effects of my psychiatric medication side effects is the weight gain.

Side effects can occur when one starts a new medicine or when there is a dose change in a medicine one is already taking. I had a medicine dose change, an increase, in 2013, shortly after the picture on the left was taken to control a manic episode. In 2013 I gained 52 pounds over the span of a three- or four-month window of time.

In 2015, while manic again, I managed to lose about 25 pounds or so. I wasn't consciously trying to lose weight, I wasn't exercising, but when I'm manic I eat less. I wrote about my weight fluctuations last year. But since then I've gained all the weight back. I think it partly had to do with my birth control.

I used to avoid taking pictures after I initially gained the weight. I was used to being thin my entire life and to all of a sudden put on so much weight... I didn't like the way I looked in clothes. I felt frumpy.

Now, I make an effort to buy clothes that flatter my shape. And it doesn't hurt that my boyfriend likes my current body. It's a great boost to my self-esteem and body image.

I'd still like to lose some of this weight. I don't need to get back down to 128 pounds (I'm currently 169 pounds), but I want to be smaller. I haven't been exercising consistently. To change that, I signed up for a fitness class held at my town's recreation center. The first class is next week. I'm hoping to attend regularly.

Wish me luck!

Wednesday, September 7, 2016

Quick Spring and Summer 2016 Update

I need to be better about blogging more often.

In my defense, this summer was really busy. I took two summer school graduate classes during summer session (May and June). Then, when the classes ended, I started a summer job for July and August. I live in New Jersey, but this summer I worked in Brooklyn, New York. My days were long. Super long. I didn't feel like doing much when I got home.

But I maintained my mood stability! This Spring was the first mania-free one in the last few years. 2013, 2014, and 2015 saw me manic and hospitalized. But not this year :)

At the end of my summer graduate classes, I completed my first year of graduate school for my Master's in Social Work. I'm proud to report that I finished my first year with a 4.0 GPA and I was awarded a National Association of Social Workers (NASW) scholarship in the amount of $5500! My first year was a smashing success. A week and a half ago I started year two of graduate school. (I'm attending part time, so it'll take me three years to graduate instead of two.) And this year I begin an internship. I'll be interning three days per week at a local hospital's adult outpatient substance abuse program. The internship lasts all year, September to early May.

Even though I haven't blogged much on Manic Monique, I was published this summer on The Mighty and the International Bipolar Foundation. The outside sites are where I publish less personal, more broad posts. I'm trying to have a presence on multiple fronts.