Friday, March 11, 2016

The Dark Side of the Moon

Have you ever studied the phases of the moon?  Doesn't it seem like the full moon lasts for just a day or two?  Yet the new moon, when the dark side of the moon faces the earth, seems to last forever?  This week we are in the new phase, when there is very little light to brighten the evening skies.

With a new puppy in the house, I spend a lot of time outside with her, training and playing with her and Koby.  This week, I couldn't help but think about how the darkness of the night compares with my emotional state.

Leia LOVES all of Koby's toys.  She takes every single one of them out, throws them around his bed and lays on top of it, like she's the Queen Bee.  He doesn't mind too much, she's growing on him.
Since I've lost the weight, I can't help but look inward, so I can identify what contributed to  my obesity (and being stuck there for so long).  I know I struggle with anxiety, which grips me at times. There is a feeling like a vice grip is wrapped around my chest.  It wakes me up in the middle of the night, not being able to turn my brain off.  It's horrible.  I spoke to my doctor about it last fall and he gave me some medication to help deal with it.  It took about a month for me to feel better.  Now the vice grip is gone and I am able to sleep much better now.  I still struggle with it.  I can't turn my brain off sometimes.

Now I can see more clearly that my anxiety is like the phases of the moon.  I am currently in the New Moon phase, the dark side of the moon.  For the past several weeks, maybe months even, I have had a hard time seeing any light.  I feel down.  I lack energy and motivation.  My inspiration is zapped.  There is a name for this and it's not anxiety.  It's depression.

Yesterday I went to the doctor for my annual checkup.  Before I saw him, the medical assistant asked me, "In the past two weeks, how often have you felt down, depressed, or hopeless?"

Ummmm...every day.  

"Has it prevented you from doing things you normally do."

Ummmmm...yes, most definitely.

The doctor increased the dose of my medication.  I go back to see him in a month.

This got me to thinking about not only my journey these past two+ years, but my life's journey.

The dark side of the moon, my depression, has affected me just as much as my anxiety.  Losing weight has helped me overcome it to a point, but when life kicks in, you cannot change your chemical makeup.  I used food as a coping mechanism.  This only backfired, leaving me feeling guilty after.

I have to be honest with you, I feel like this is a tremendous breakthrough for me.  I am embracing it, embracing the depression.  It's me.  It's who I am and I am okay with it.  The change in my medication will help.  But now I have the skills I need to turn on a few internal candles, instead of allowing food to be my source of comfort.

Last night it was difficult.  I wanted a Friendly's Peanut Butter Sundae Cup.  If there had been any in the house, I would surely have eaten all 450 calories of one and snuck in a second one for good measure.  Instead, I had a Skinny Cow, an orange and some peanut butter.  Still was probably 450 calories, but it was controlled.  The Skinny Cow satisfied my need for ice cream, the orange satisfied my need for sugar and the peanut butter staved off any additional cravings and hunger I might have for the rest of the the night.

This morning, I don't feel guilty.

I realize that I am in the New Moon Phase.  Food will no longer rule my world.

Even though the gym is the last place I want to be ...
"Has it prevented you from doing things you normally do?"
I will go, I will work through this.

Now that the weather is warmer, I will ride my bike more often, which will kick my adrenaline back up.  Feeling the sunshine on my skin will boost my energy.
I went out twice this week.  My first ride was a quick 13 mile ride to make sure the bike was working and that everything checked out okay.  Wednesday it was 80 degrees out and I went for a 30+ mile ride with ladies from the Competitive Edge Cycling club.  It was amazing.  No pictures from that ride, though.
Do you struggle with anxiety or depression?  How do you manage it?  Or does it manage you?  Do you use food to comfort you?  If you can relate to this, my prayer is for you to see there is hope, even in the darkness.  You can learn strategies to help you work through the dark times so that food, alcohol or drugs don't rule your life.  Even when you are feeling down and hopeless, there is always hope.  The sun will come out.  The moon will start to shine again.  The light will fill you.

Happy Friday!

The Lord himself goes before you and will be with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you.  Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged.

Deuteronomy 3:18 NIV

Questions for you:  (Answer in the comments below.)
What plans to you have this weekend?  Are you excited about spring?

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