Taking Care of Physical Health with Mental Illness

Started exercising more consistently a week ago.  I’ve been keeping track of what I eat again.  It seems every time I track what I eat I end up losing weight even if I’m not doing much activity.  Unfortunately I tend to be unmindful of how much I eat when I’m not tracking what I eat.  If I’m going to lose weight again I have to track.  It’s worked before and it can work again.

I’m walking more again and lifting weights again. I’m also doing stretches every day.  I still stretch after lifting weights but I decided to do it more often.  I never was very flexible even as a child.  I get minor muscle pulls pretty easily and that’s probably not getting any better as I age. Weight lifting has been mainly a winter activity for the last few years.  But I decided to get a couple month head start this year.  Weight lifting by itself isn’t a fun activity so that is why I watch tv while I lift.  I started taking a multi vitamin along with Vitamin C and D.  Vitamin D especially is supposed to help alleviate depression.  I’m thinking about starting on Fish Oil but am concerned about it thinning my blood.  I’ll bring it up when I see my psych doctor in two weeks.  I also see my dentist for a regular check up.  Besides having to have some wisdom teeth pulled a few years ago I’ve had good luck with my current dentist.  I was in rough enough shape when I had those taken out I missed two days from work.

I’ve been getting outside more since the weather started cooling off a week ago.  I have my windows open most of the time now.  I’ve shut off my air conditioner and probably won’t have to use it again until next summer.  I’m still avoiding stress inducing people and situations as much as possible.  That really helps me.

I still don’t get as much socializing as I would like.  The writers’ support group I used to go to disbanded this month.  So I’m looking for another group.  I’m considering going back to my mental illness support group that meets once a week.  I haven’t been a regular for a few years.  I usually drop in a few times a year to update people.  I really haven’t needed that much support most of the time as I have long since accepted my mental illness and come to terms with the lost career and lost opportunity for a family of my own.  Instead I have settled for old friends and some friends I have made through the groups I participate in online.  I look at friends as the pseudo family that you can choose.  As my physical health improves I’ll look for more opportunities to socialize.

 

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Getting Back To Stability

It’s been almost three weeks since I threw out my back.  I can get around pretty decent for the most part.  The mornings are the only difficulty, especially the first time I stand up after waking.  In spite of my back issues I’ve been socializing more.  I went to a writers’ support group on Monday night for the first time in over a year.  Told people about my blog.  My blog is the primary writing activity I have right now.  I do occasionally write poetry but there is such a limited market for poetry.  I haven’t written any kind of fiction for almost three years.  But then I’ve always preferred reading nonfiction to fiction.

Mentally I’ve been very stable for quite awhile.  I call at least one person over the phone every day now.  Usually family or close friends.  Things have gotten a little less contentious  at my apartment complex in recent months.  We’ve had a couple problem residents I haven’t seen in weeks so I’m guessing they moved out.  After ten years in the same complex I really don’t pay much attention to who moves in and who moves out.  I just pretty much keep to myself and the handful of friends I have here.  The friend I made back in the winter moved out a month ago.  But I’m kind of used to that by now.

I rejoined my old writers support group.  I’m probably going to rejoin my mental illness support group as soon as my back clears up.  There is a second writers’ support group that meets twice monthly at the local library that I’m joining starting next week.  In short I’m beginning to put myself out there socially.

Been seriously tracking my diet for a week.  I don’t know how much weight I’ve lost.  Probably not as much as I normally would as I’m not yet very active.  I won’t be very active until my back completely heals.  The best I can do right now is put strict limits on what I eat and keep a positive mind set.

Today is also my birthday.  I am now 36 years old.  I don’t have much planned today besides going out to lunch with my family.  Can’t really do a great deal for at least the short term.  But the back has cleared immensely since two weeks ago.  I just have to keep doing things to encourage the healing process until I’m back to full speed.

Early Start to Spring Routines

It seems that spring is starting a couple weeks early this year, at least where I’m at.  So I am taking full advantage in this apparent early end to winter.  I started going to the park to walk and get sunshine (I need sunlight almost as much as a houseplant) a week and a half ago.  Slowly building up my walking times.  I can go a little longer now than even a week ago.  I knew I would be rusty as I hadn’t been able to walk outside much since my car accident back in October.  But I barely made ten minutes walking on my first day of my restarted routine.  It was embarrassing.  I could easily make thirty to forty minutes last summer with no issues.  It just shows what four months of low activity can do.  Maybe I should have gotten a gym membership after all.  But after making walking everyday for a week and a half a part of my routine I am starting to get back into the swing.

I started tracking exactly what I eat too.  I was losing at a regular clip when I was strict about tracking every day.  I wasn’t very fun at family and friendly gatherings when I wouldn’t eat as much as everyone else.  But it worked.  And it was something I had gotten out of the habit of tracking for the summer and fall of 2015.  Since I was lazy about tracking I gained weight.  I didn’t gain for most of winter once I consciously cut down on eating and got heavy into weight lifting.  I finally got back into the habit of tracking a week ago.  But I know I’m eating less already.  Took a few days to adjust but it is easier now.  It is a start and I expect things to only get more active and better as the winter officially gives way to spring.  Survived another winter and I’m already enjoying the warmer, brighter days.

Plans For Spring

 

Looking at my calendar I see that there’s less than one month until the start of Spring.  Looking out my window, I see that almost all the snow we had three weeks ago is gone and the trees are showing buds.  I also heard several flocks of Canadian Geese overhead during the last few days.  We’ve had nicer than usual weather the last several days, giving us a teaser for the spring.  Even preseason baseball practice has started.  I’m thinking it’s going to be another long year for my Colorado Rockies but since the Kansas City Royals put together some excellent teams the last couple years, it has me thinking it’s possible.  But hope springs with all the possibilities of the upcoming Spring.

Now that I’ve stabilized after the problems of the fall and the holiday season, I think that getting out of the apartment complex more is in order.  There is a cool museum in one of the nearby towns that I haven’t been to for a few years.  It’s called Pioneer Village.  Pretty cool place with a lot of antique cars, toys, nick nacks, and a full scale 1880s frontier town in the complex.  I think almost every school kid in Nebraska has made a field trip to this place.  Pioneer Village is definitely a must for any visitor to Nebraska.

Another must is the bird migrations that go on in late February and March.  Every spring thousands of Canadian Geese, Sandhills Cranes, and other migrating birds come.  The fields along the Platte River, particularly along Interstate 80, are so covered with birds the fields are white with them.  They are especially thick the first two weeks of March.  Some places along the Platte River offer guided tours that draw bird watchers from all over the country.  I probably won’t be paying for any tours. I’ll just go a few miles outside of town and check out any field near the river.  Last year I was lucky enough to see several large flocks of geese take off.  Mornings are usually best for viewing the migrating birds, but evenings are pretty good too.

I’m also planning on being at the family acreage this spring.  I haven’t been there since late October.  From what I heard the place wintered well.  A mother cat had several kittens they made it through the winter.  Dad is talking about building solar panels for the cabin.  Since I’ve helped him build a couple cabins and renovate his rental house over the last several years, I’ll help him on this project.  I got pretty decent at using power tools, saws, and wood working.  But I never got very good with electrical work.  This may be a chance to pick that skill up.

I’m going to exercise outdoors as the weather warms.  I’ve been limited to walking indoors and arm weights three times a week since late November. Haven’t gained any weight in the last month, so I’ve stopped the weight gain.  Now the weather is going to warm soon I’ll start losing again.  I should have known that losing weight last winter wasn’t normal unless you have good exercise equipment at home.  Yesterday was the first time I exercised outdoors for any real length in a month.  That large blizzard we had at the beginning of the month is mostly melted.  I’m looking forward to the start of spring.  I won’t be sorry when the winter ends.

 

 

Eating To Avoid Food Allergies and Mental Illness

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It’s been a week since I had my esophagus scoped and was started on two news medications for my EoE problems.  I’ve changed my diet too.  I have severely cut back on bread and most processed foods.  I’m beginning to notice that my mental health is improving in addition to having a more settled stomach.  I haven’t had real problems with delusions and auditory hallucinations since this change.

As EoE is made worse by food allergens, I’m thinking about switching to foods with less gluten or gluten free entirely.  Been doing some research on gluten free foods and found that there are gluten free alternatives for many foods.  Found that some places even have gluten free beer and I didn’t think that was even possible.

So my shopping routine has considerably changed.  For several years I had been buying groceries only twice a month with buying mostly things that had long self lives or could be frozen.  Since I’m buying more fresh vegetables and making smaller purchases, I’ve been to the grocery store at least three times just in the last week.  But I do feel better physically and mentally overall.

Been going to the chiropractor for three weeks.  My back is feeling better already.  I had a tailbone injury as a teenager that for years would flare up on occasion.  But even that has gone away.  I think the chiropractic routines are working.

It’s been an eventful last five to six weeks for my physical and mental health.  I’m still adapting to buying more fresh vegetables and foods with fewer preservatives.  I’m now having to read labels for everything I buy, not just for calorie content.  I don’t think many people realize just how many preservatives are in many supermarket foods, at least here in USA.  Regardless, healthier eating that doesn’t flare up food allergies can be done.  It takes more planning, but it can be done.  I’m still learning how to do this.  I’ll keep everyone posted.

 

Link to a Health and Wellness Blog of a Childhood Friend of Mine

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While I normally post on mental illness and mental health issues, I also believe that there is a connection between physical health and mental health.  I am convinced they affect each other.  With this in mind, I wish to share a link to a blog run by Dr. Amy Bates of Kansas City.  She is a childhood friend of mine.  I take no credit for what she has wrote.  But we do agree that what we eat is very important.  Psychical and mental health very often influence each other.  http://www.theholisticpic.com/blog/