Present Day, October 8, 2017

There are a lot of things that have headed in the right direction for my life over the past 90 days blogging hiatus. Including the avoidance of some pretty significant pitfalls and traps. I have come through all of them relatively unscathed. However, one area has not gone so well. In fact, it has gone down right horribly. My weight.

10 pounds in 90 days. 20 pounds in 9 months. 30 pounds since being placed on medications and being released from the hospital in September of 2016.

This would come as no surprise to any educated psychiatric provider. In fact, I was warned of it during my last psych review at the hospital. Even warned it would amount to 20 to 30 pounds on average. Guess they called that one.

It is one of the catch 22s of bipolar medications. Feeling depressed? Don’t worry, your meds will help you feel groggy and lethargic. Bad self-image? Don’t sweat it, your meds will help you put on weight and feel even less good about yourself. Uncertainty an issue? No biggie, your meds will leave you trembling and nauseous. In other words, the stuff you need to help you can just as easily hurt you. Or best case scenario, greatly frustrate you.

In the case of my weight, other frustrations are at work. I made a commitment roughly three weeks ago to begin exercising on a regular basis. According to my Fitbit, have managed to log a decent workout 17 of the last 20 days. That’s pretty damn good. But the weight keeps climbing.

I downloaded “My Fitness Pal” to my phone and began counting calories. This was about 10 pounds ago. Back when I thought to be 20 up was enough and it was time to turn the tide. Granted, I have been far from legalistic with it, but I have paid attention which is more than I had done. But the weight keeps climbing.

I had to go through the degraded process last week of updated the wardrobe. Maybe you have been there. The waist gets too tight, and to avoid complete discomfort, it becomes necessary to hit the Goodwills and upsize a bit. Goodwills rather than new retail because you are convincing yourself that this is not going to be a permanent change. The weight will come back off. You’ll figure this out. But in the back of your head, you are wondering if that is true. You are wondering if this is even where it stops.

I am within five pounds of my all-time high. That weight was not medication driven. Just too much time not taking care of myself while sitting at a desk. One morning while going through the struggle of tying my shoes I decided enough was enough. The journey began, and over the next few months (I can’t really remember how long) I dropped just short of 50 pounds. And most of them stayed off until being hospitalized last fall. Now they are almost all back, and I have to try again.

I recently received blood work back from an annual physical. I am pre-diabetic. My kidney function has dropped (maybe related to the massive stone and surgery earlier this year…maybe not). My bad cholesterol (at least, I think it is the bad one) is up a bit. There are plenty of reasons to drop some weight. And tomorrow I will start the journey again.

Maybe past success will provide hope for the future path. One thing is for sure, of all the things that are on my side…the medications are not on the list.

Present Day – New Year’s Day, 2017

Not this year. Not today. I just don’t have it in me. I can not remember the last time this was the case. Years. Probably decades. In fact, I have almost been religious about it. Looked forward to it. But now? I just do not have it in me.

Today is the day millions of people will launch their New Year’s Resolutions. Over the past six or so years I have allowed the numerical year to fuel mine. 12 goals for 2012. 14 commitments for 2014. 16 resolutions for 2016. Even went as far as to connect the year to the next level. 15 challenges for 2015 including losing 15 pounds. Neurotic? A bit. You get the idea.

However, as the now past year wound down and this day approached there was never a second thought. I knew weeks ago. Probably months ago. It simply was not going to happen.

Not that there aren’t plenty of needs. Weighed in today 16 pounds heavier than when I left the hospital and 27 pounds over what my doctor recommends. Split the difference and wouldn’t it sound great to aim for 17 pounds of weight loss in 2017?

Opposite my weight, my reading has dropped to a hideously low level. Let’s aim to read 17 minutes a day in 2017! A little over a date a month is far from too many so how about 2017 including 17 dates with my wife. Hell, I’m not even trying and look how easily they flow.

But no. No way. No how. No chance. I simply am not ready to look another year of resolution failure in the face. I do not have that in me. Not even close.

I’ve been one of those people who have joined the mantra of shouting good riddance to 2016. If you have read many of these blog entries, you know a major reason why. There are others.

I’ll confess, I’m not a fan of the President-Elect and all that 2016 included in bringing us to where we are politically in America. Then I got to thinking, if you didn’t like those results in 2016, how is 2017 going to be any better when the “-Elect” part comes off the job title?

Owning my own business and driving close to 100 miles a day in a 9 miles per gallon F-250, I have been a big fan of sub-$2.00 per gallon gasoline. As we have seen over the last month, that’s gonna change. And not for the better. If you weren’t a fan of gas prices, health insurance premiums, or cost of living budget lines in 2016…yeah, I think 2017 is going to be significantly more disappointing.

In my home state, 2016 was the second hottest year on record. I have some familiarity with the arguments for climate change and tend to agree with them. Are we turning the corner in that area of global challenge in 2017? I think not.

International conflict. Civil war. National violence. Addiction. Crack down on racism. Elimination of stigma. Equal rights for all people. Yeah…fuck you 2016 because these are all about to be resolved in 2017. Right? Umm…no.

I find myself unable to resolve too much of anything for the New Year. I have yet to receive the final bill for my last mental breakdown, and over the past few weeks have not felt that far from my next. If you think 2016 was a rough time to be alive, try being one of us for whom every day is a rough time to stay alive.

So this is my only commitment for 2017…each day when I wake up, I will commit to giving my all to staying alive for the next 17 hours. To doing everything within my power that day to make it back to that pillow 17 hours later.

To recognize that I will likely fail more than I will succeed at the tasks of my day-to-day living, but that failing alive is probably better than succeeding at death.