Breathe. It sounds so simple.

I’m trying my hand at meditation.

This is unlike me. I don’t have patience for such woo woo things, things like stopping and breathing.

I began to see a therapist this week. I arrived 20 minutes late.

It stressed me out. Which is the opposite of the point of therapy.

I noted that unlike seven years ago, when I tried a few sessions out for the first time,I did not feel shame walking through the door, which was not in a giant academic hospital satellite, emblazoned with the announcement ‘Depression Center ‘- sheesh why not just put it in neon? – but in a one-room office embedded deep in an 80s office building maze.

I wasn’t sure where to begin my navel gazing, so I sat down on a cushy white love seat embroidered with a white sateen brocade – not my style- and told her about my medication switching that I suspected ran afoul, and caused my panic attack.

Nothing had upset me the day of the panic attack, during which I could not stop crying or seemingly breathe. My son starting at a new school could be ma trigga, I said. He has an illness. Growing up is getting sicker, and even as we focus on the happiness and beauty and joy Eli (and of course buddy Laila ) bring our way, and that living with illness close at hand Β snaps into sharp focus, milestones are bittersweet. I told her I burst out sobbing to a school administrator a week or two before the panic attack, airing a fear that other kids would tell him he would die. Would make fun of him if he coughed. If I tried to put him in a hospital mask during the winter which I had at his last school, where no one batted an eyelash, because most kids there were there because they had health needs, often much more serious than Eli’s.

I told her I tried to shove depression and anxiety into a secret closet, where I fed it a pill through a slot each day and otherwise ignored it, even as seven years back it tried to kill me. I told her that shoving it into a dark locked closet wasn’t working out so hot for me. I told her about my heart palpitations amd insomnia and hands gone numb and dizzy spells. I reported that those all went away with Wellbutrin, though my chest has felt occasionally tight heading into Week 4 and I suspected SSRI withdrawl after seven years on Zoloft, the last three at 100 mg a day, had been behind my panic attack.

She told me that was a high dose.

Really? I asked. Because when my doctor doubled it three years ago when I told him my depression symptoms were returning he’d said it was a low dose, that he had patients in it for decades, some of them at 300 mg, which made me think NBD. Until I quit cold turkey, at his advice, while starting Wellbutrin, and experienced what I imagined was like a low-boil speed freak out that lasted a week. Except for those moments when it went high boil.

She took notes and told me she is a solution-oriented type of therapist. I told her good, because I’m a solution-oriented type of girl. She told me three times a day I should find time to take ten deep breaths, and showed me how to do this, from the belly.

I told her this is how we were trained to breathe in choir, but it had been a long time since I had the time to sing. Three times a day? When? Before I get out of bed, that should be No. 1, she told me. Β That worked. I’ve been deep breathing before work in my car, after I park and steal time to put on makeup and listen to the radio. I’ve also already been taking deep breaths at night when my children hold me hostage while they go to sleep.

1,2,3, badda bing badda boom.

I told her I have refused to afford myself any intellectual curiosity whatsoever regarding my depression and anxiety, which I pretended not to have, until a few weeks ago, when my husband sent me an email with a single line in the body, a link to a PBS documentary on the depression epidemic, which I watched.

I felt both enlightened and disappointed, because while the documentary illuminated the subject and especially the stigma, those they picked to feature could not have been more damn gloomy, which depressed me. I mean those motherfuckers were gloomy. DoomyMcFugginGloomy.

I told her the next link YouTube suggested was a TedTalk featuring the psychologist and author Andrew Solomon called “Depression, the secret we share.”

I hadn’t heard of him, but his book “The Noonday Demon: An Atlas of Depression,” which he spoke of, sounded fascinating.

I decided to give his book a chance, even though he started the talk with a super depressing and dramatic reading of an Emily Dickinson poem.

He lulled me back with the follow-up point that spoke to me: “Half of art is suffering.”

I’d put it at about 85 percent, Mr. Solomon.

The therapist gave me a few more YouTubes to check out. Another author to try, one specifically who addresses stigma around mental health.

I decided a few weeks ago to give this breathing business she had suggested a try.

Yes, I am already top of your class of one,therapist. Haha!

I downloaded the app Headspace, and tonight completed my first 10-minute unguided breathing.

Thus far, I gathered that while you shouldn’t try to suppress wandering thoughts, you should ‘touch them like a feather to fine crystal,’ which is a visual deserving of all the mockery.

I settled in nevertheless and attempted to deep breathe in my room whilst lying down, my children shrieking outside my door, playing games with dutiful Mark.

A sampling of my wandering thoughts included: Is this app voice Moss from the IT crowd? I love Moss from IT crowd. Seriously is this him? *reenacts IT Crowd Moss-isms in head* Christmas shopping – should I get it underway? Oh, here comes the memory of our trip to The Pioneer Woman’s Mercantile in Pawhuska, considered by Mark a hellscape, but it did allow me to start Christmas shopping in early August. Monarch butterfly eggs- are they in my garden and should I go looking for them with the kids? Does meditation have some overarching point? I’m a whore for goals, so what’s my goal here? Should I stop setting goals. Yes, I probably should. Oh shit, I better focus on my breath.

You get the picture. In between those thoughts, tickled with my feather to fine crystal (or not, but acknowledged), I did think about breath, of my cozy blanket, the screeching children, the cacophonous cicadas, my breath. There may have been microseconds of a fairly clear mind in there. Maybe.

Just breathing is harder than it sounds.

I’m a goal whore. Look how much breathing and nothing else I’ve done!

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Day 1: Healthy 65 Holiday Challenge! #healthy65

Today is the first day of the #healthy65 holiday challenge! Nov. 10- Jan. 13, do one healthy thing per day of your choosing to participate. It only needs to be related to wellness – the mental or physical. You can join at any time! Here I am drinking my fruits & veggies this morning via a green smoothie.

Healthy65-Day1

Sixty five has a tie to the cystic fibrosis community (kids sometimes call it 65 roses)- also, 65 days will get us through the holidays and give us power in the face of sweets and holiday parties and various obligations and stressors. This is not a weight loss challenge (though you are free to use it as such — and dropping some poundage is one of my goals). It’s all about creating healthy habits and breaking the bad ones. It is def open to the inspiring cystic fibrosis community, too! Sticking to treatments is a great goal! Coffee with a pal, a brisk walk – anything wellness- oriented goes. Thx for following along. Feel free to make posts on Twitter, Facebook & Instagram about what you are up to! Use hash tag #healthy65 to share.

For those new to hash tags, by typing pound and then a word ie #healthy65, your thoughts are grouped on Twitter or Instagram with everyone else doing the same thing. So in those social communities, searching #healthy65 will turn up everyone posting about the #healthy65. It’s a way to create an online wellness tribe and get inspired by the ideas swirling around us in cyberspace.

You can post about your effort where you like — your own blog, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram etc. You can share every day, every other day, on occasion, whatever you wish. You are free to do the #healthy65 in total secrecy or as noted below “semi-secrecy,” if that’s how you roll. The purpose of it all is to get a wellness movement going. Let’s see how big we can get it.

Get ya background info here.

View my smoothie recipe from today below:

I drank my fruits and veggies first thing this morning. Here’s what I made

Pump it up with Pumpkin Smoothie!

1/2 can pumpkin
2 cups spinach
1 cup frozen fruit blend (mine had peaches, pineapple, grape and strawberries).
2 cups water
Dash of cinnamon
Drop ‘o vanilla

I blended the greens first, with most of the water, until pureed.

I set this aside in a two cups. Next, I blended the pumpkin, fruit, cinnamon and vanilla with the spinach mixture in two batches. I still use our Baby Bullet for blending. One of these days I’ll get a powerful blender. Baby bullet is getting tired and grumpy from all this blending, but she does the trick.

I also added about a cup of 0 percent Vanilla Greek yogurt.

To fatten Eli’s smoothie up, I would add some heavy whipping creek and whole milk Greek yogurt.

Happy Day 1. Do you want to join in? What are your goals?