Saturday, April 6, 2013

Major depression, such a pain in the ass. Seriously.

It's been a few months since I wrote this post; its been sitting in my draft folder while I worked up the courage to hit the 'Publish' button.

One day I saw myself in my mind's eye. My mouth was opening and stretching into a grotesque cavern. The skin on my face peeled and contorted as the pain grew so that I couldn't maintain a mask. This was a face that was screaming, and there was no sound. It dawned on me with an impossible terror that this nightmare face was not in my mind's eye. This was me, standing barefoot in front of a bathroom mirror. The face so terrifying it churned vomit in my belly was my own face. My real face. Absently, I think that I am finally seeing my depression. That whatever consciousness which was seeing this gruesome face was me, and the real face reflected was finally the beast tangible. There. Right there, that is what is hurting me. That thing right in front of me, a thing which is somehow me and not me.

 "One day you wake up afraid you are going to live." -Elizabeth Wurtzel

That is what happened to me. From the onset of my suicidal ideation problems, when I was 9 or 10 or 11, I believed I would die before or around age 21. I don't know why that age specifically, like why do people believe in Santa? When 21 came to pass, the reality of the never-ending storm took hold of me in a vice grip. This was never going to end. My depression would never have the kindness to let me die of it. I would not develop inoperable brain cancer. I would not be mercifully crushed in a car accident, or shot on a midnight walk. I was going to live. Live and suffer for years. The thing inside me would tear and claw and I would bleed and bleed, but never die.

I choose to believe that there may someday be a day when I am cured, but to protect myself, I don't count on it.

The truth is that I am prepared to fight indefinitely. At some point I stopped letting thoughts of suicide be at all forbidden. I then did my best to really look at what I believed about life and living. I weighed what I thought and believed and I chose to fight the depression & the suicidal ideation and to do my best to live as long and as full of a life as I possibly could. The power of making that choice is the power I have harnessed for my life going forward. That is the power I return to when I feel the expanding cavern of depression in my abdomen. It is my foundation for the life I build from now onward.

Look, I get that this is uncomfortable to read. I'm not sorry for sharing it, though (or at least I'm trying not to be)
. See, since the onset of my depression when I was but a wee lass, I have always been hiding all of my symptoms with a feverish passion. Part of trying to heal myself is trying not to be afraid to share what I'm going through, even if its pants-poopingly scary. I read somewhere that an obstacle to overcoming Depression is that we "get good at" being depressed, and hiding is how I do that. So in an effort to overcome yet another aspect of this damn irritating illness, I'm writing a little of what I feel here.

Oh and don't worry, I have an appointment to see a therapist in a few days, and I've been seeing someone else for med management stuff. So at this point I don't intervention-style need help, I'm just tired of being silent about my illness. I'm tired of the pressure to say nothing.

Thursday, June 28, 2012

At Camp They Call Me Tomato

At camp they call me Tomato.

It's something I love about my life, and myself, that there is a place in this world where I am Tomato.

Everything is right when I am Tomato.

Part of what makes my Tomato-ness so exquisitely wonderful, is that I know I am loved, and accepted, all the way down to my salsa center.

This blog, my tumblr, my twitter, my youtube and any other spaces I may create in the future are places of respect and consideration.

In kindergarten, they used to give us 'R & C' slips for being respectful or considerate, but it took me many years to understand that R & C is the core of love, and the answer to eliminating what drives us to hate and hurt each other.

If you have something to add to a post I've written, or a video I've uploaded, share! If you outright disagree with what I'm saying, share!!! 

Your thoughts matter to me, your opinions matter to me, your perspective and your life experience are precious and I will be honored if you choose to share any of it with me.

Please know that this blog is a place where your voice will be heard (and you don't have to agree with me, not even a little!)

If you are reading these words I love you and I want you here. You are welcome here, and I will do everything in my power to give you the respect and consideration that you ALWAYS deserve.

This is a place where you matter.

Love Tiff!

Monday, June 25, 2012

The Crayon Wall

Nearly every day I walk an hour around the marsh at noon. On every walk I have a different daydream, this is one I wanted to share with you, since its about you. 

The daydream goes like this: 

I'm walking in line in a hallway. As far as I can tell, there are infinite people in line ahead of me, and infinite people in line behind me. 
At the beginning of the dream I feel uncomfortable. I don't see anyone's faces. I feel as if I don't belong here. 
The walls are grey, white, beige. The carpet is threadbare, worn down by a billion shuffling feet. 
There is no sound in the hallway, I feel like its possible there are souls in the bodies in line ahead of me and behind me, but I am unable to communicate with them. I don't see that anyone is trying to communicate with me. 

I want a box of crayons, and now I have it. Stopping in line, I turn to the wall and begin to draw and write on it. Right there on the wall. Though I KNOW its not allowed, someone will yell at me. You aren't supposed to draw on the wall. Its not your wall, you're not allowed, its not okay. 
I'm not worried about getting in trouble. 
The threat has only a tiny voice compared to the roaring in my ears. I have to get the roaring sound in my head onto the wall. 
So I use my colors, I draw scribbles at first, then stick people and flowers, blue fish, red fruits, green trees, orange fires. The more I draw the better I feel. I'm not afraid of the hallway anymore. I don't feel anxious. Sometimes I stand up and walk a bit down the line again, when I need more space, or I need to take a break and think about what to draw next. 
I start to write messages on the wall. 
You are beautiful. 
You are a miracle. 
I love you. 
I now feel right about the hallway and the line. I can see that there are pictures all over the wall. Layers and layers of messages, colors painted by the hands that were there before me. Its easy to see I was never alone in line. I know we're all connected, and we're all communicating. When I see a happy message I feel happy, I feel loved, and I make my own happy message. I know that whoever sees my message will feel happy too, and know that I love them. 

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Red Winged Black Bird

Home in the reeds. 

Swaying sentinel. Wings out. Fire bright. 
Warm orange heart and Fierce red soul. 

Floating crisp black, just above the green 
Hickory brown, pebbled blue 
Hidden treasures to protect 

Will you ponder the endless blue above? 
or may eyes search only for threat 

Can you taste the grey white clouds? 
or must duty hold you tightly bound 

Peer down between the cattails 
Strange eyes only see 
Winter's dead brown mixed in tall growing grass 
Brittle dusty debris, jumbled sweet greens 

lines trace and forms dance, quietly rustling 
fragile feathered mama 
precious growing eggs 

Ah. I see your soul, little black sentinel 
Such a duty 
        settled on sun bright shoulders 
Such a beauty 
        I know little of love if I do not love you. 

Saturday, June 23, 2012

95% of Diets Fail

There is a widely quoted statistic out there that "95% of Diets Fail". A little bit of research will uncover that this fact comes from a small study of 100 people done in 1959 by  Dr. Albert Stunkard and Mavis McLaren-Hume.

This statistic is absolutely everywhere in the current dialogue on weight, and the study is anything but strong scientific evidence. 

However, just because the study isn't suitable for the massive citation it receives, does not mean that "Diets don't fail" or indeed that we have any idea how to lose weight or change bodies on a grand scale.

The many wonderful ladies in the Health At Every Size movement have excellent insight into this.

They point out that while the statistic is based on just one small study, there is absolutely nothing out there to refute it. In decades and decades of research, we have yet to produce ONE large scale "weight loss success" story to refute the claim that diets do not work.

It would be more apt to say that "We have no idea". We have no clue how to lose weight.

Pretty depressing.

But what about the people we know who've lost weight and kept it off? The inspiring stories of people in the National Weight Loss Registry?

Its easy to write them off as a statistical anomaly, as a collection of "freaks of nature". Its even more fun to silence those voices by dismissing them in this way.

If you know me in real life, or from my youtube, you know how irritatingly positive and optimistic I like to be.

As far as I believe? I'm not willing to use the fact that no one has succeeded yet as a way to claim that losing weight & keeping it off is impossible. I'm not even willing to say its improbable. Instead, I believe that we have yet to figure it out. OR that the way to lose weight exists, has been found, and has been discarded.

Why discard it? Duh, what if its completely impossible to turn a profit on it? What if its not something that can be neatly packaged for the masses? What if real weight loss is not only one of the most difficult endeavors, but also so complicated, so specific to each unique individual, that we can't possible make billions off of it?

Who is going to shout about THAT from every billboard? Yeah, nobody.

No, I'm not going to say weight loss is possible for everyone. I'm not inclined to believe anyone will find a way to make it easy, simple, and accessible to all. But I also refuse to say weight loss is impossible; only that we haven't figured it out yet.

From all the stories I've read, the people I've spoken with, and the research I've sifted through, I'm still not convinced its out of reach. I think the way to successful weight loss is likely to be super boring, extremely slow, and impossible to turn into a profit.  

~Love Tiff

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Too fat to wear a bikini

The following is a belief I had for a long time, that I changed once I used my goofy noggin to examine it!

I am too fat to wear a bikini.

Hmm. Last July there was a really adamant voice telling me that a bikini was not something I could wear unless I was properly "skinny". But was it the actual fat tissue that was stopping me from stepping one foot and then the other into bikini bottoms and tying on a cute top? I didn't have any trouble getting a bra or panties on my body, and the bikini doesn't seem super different from those things...

Would they stop me at the checkout line and say "We're sorry, you are simply too fat to purchase that bikini."? ...I'm pretty sure they actually just want my money.

Weren't there people in the world who would be totally grossed out by my fleshy roly-poly tummy? Wouldn't they say nasty mean things to me and about my body? Well yeah. But what kind of person would they be? They'd be the kind of person who thinks they're physical beauty ideals are more important than my bikini wearing happiness, right? I decided to take pleasure in their displeasure; to welcome their disgust while simultaneously causing it. If I could get that kind of person to actually vomit, then that would be the ultimate success! Trololololololol ;D

But what about the nasty mean comments? Well, from what I've seen on the internet, people leave nasty mean comments no matter what you do. They also seem to REALLY enjoy making those comments. Wouldn't it be nice of me to give them an opportunity to make nasty mean comments? I'm such a nice lady ;)

After thinking about it, I decided I really wanted to wear a bikini, though I had never ever done so before! What was really stopping me was my belief that so much of my flesh should not be seen by another person, more specifically, that the offensive flesh of my tummy must be hidden or else!

Well, 256lb Tiffy looked down at her soft, white, large and roly-poly tummy and it didn't really seem like it could be all THAT dangerous. So I went and bought a bikini.


I have this blog thing that I write in. I am a person that loses weight without paying anyone money for it. I share tips and things. I have a youtube channel also and I put videos on it that I have been told "will never go away"

Is my fat really stopping me?

What weight loss means to me

The quickest way for me to lose 50+ pounds would be to amputate a few limbs. Bam! Instant weight loss success story!

...Or maybe not?

When we talk about weight loss, we are really talking about changing our body composition. We are aiming to use up some of the extra fat stored on our bodies, and there's about a million reasons why people choose to try to do that.

The big common reasons, though,  are to look more physically "appealing" or to be healthier, and more capable of doing physical activities, sometimes a combination of the two.

I encourage you to take just a few moments to be curious about the actual physical limitations that fat tissue creates. Does its physical presence prevent you from chasing your dream? Does fat cause the inability to think or feel? To love, smile, or laugh? To help others and share your advice and experiences with the world? Are you telling yourself that fat is in your way for something it really isn't?

Its very liberating to realize and understand that the fat on our bodies is NOT actually a deterrent for many of the things we think it is. The physical fat tissue in your body does not prevent you from feeling a warm summer breeze, from watching a duck look after her ducklings, from thinking about the meaning of life, from smiling, laughing, loving and being happy.

Fat tissue just isn't as limiting as we take it to be. Fat Stigma is another matter ...for another post I think.

It's a very healthy practice to be open, aware, and curious about what you are telling yourself about yourself! Be curious about what you believe about fat, fat tissue, fat people, all these things. Why do you believe what you believe? Do some of your beliefs contradict each other?

Finding the strength and courage to question what you assume and believe about ANYTHING is a difficult endeavor, but it can also be exquisitely liberating.
(and fun! ...and it may lead to jiggles!!!!!)


Further Reading and Resources:

Geneen Roth on being more valuable than your weight
Stop Hating Your Body, A Body Positive Tumblr