Tuesday, August 8, 2017

Being Miserable In All you Do

It may seem to some of us suffering from Bipolar Disorder that happiness just isn't in the cards for us. No matter what we try or where we go we fail constantly at all life endeavors. Trust me I understand. I have tried and failed at more jobs than I care to admit. Well I can't say I failed, I would say I quit or gave up. It just seems that when a new opportunity presents itself I get manic, jump on it, get burned out and quit. I've been successful at most of these jobs. I've never been fired, I've almost always been promoted very quickly but just get tired and burned out. Depression is the main reason.

I honestly can't remember the last time I wasn't depressed. I don't remember what true and complete happiness feels like or what a normal emotion or life is like. I've been seeing a regular doctor for my treatment of Bipolar Disorder and now I have been referred to a therapist and have had my first appointment today. I think it went well for a first time session. Of course I was very nervous and very awkward while sitting on the couch. I really didn't understand how I was supposed to react or what I was supposed to say. One thing I mentioned was this blog and my YouTube channel, as well as my history of failure.

Working through these feelings of low self esteem will take time. Having so many emotions bottled up inside me has made me feel almost emotionless. I don't feel joy or pleasure hardly at all anymore and have a constant monotone voice and straight face. It's as if I have been preprogramed to just exist.

Understanding that I do have a problem and realizing it the first steps. I've decided to go to a job assistance facility that specializes in helping people with disabilities employment that meets their personal needs. Maybe this will help me in a certain way. It seems that maybe things will look up for me in the near future. Well, I'm not getting my hopes up yet.

Monday, July 10, 2017

Meds And Me Exercise And Bipolar

Okay so it's been awhile since I posted here. I've been doing okay I guess. I did have a set back with a certain employer. I feel as though I have been discriminated against for having a disability. But that's a whole other story. The good thing is I am still losing weight and building muscle. Through research I've found so much information on bipolar disorder and exercise. It's been simple to find multiple articles advising of how people feel so much better when they exercise regularly. Of course I'm not a doctor as I've said before, but I can say this has some truth behind it. Maybe the fact that it's summertime and I'm out more has a little to do with it also.

I would like to get into the medication side of this.  It seems like my dream of being med free is in fact a long shot. Although I am feeling better lately I do feel like a set back is possible. Using medication is a necessity not just a crutch. In my first paragraph I said I feel like I was discriminated against and the medicine I take was just a part of that act. My particular medicine is working for me and it does require a certain amount of rest time. There is absolutely no way I am going to change a pattern and risk a set back just to suit someone else's needs.

Medication is a life long need for most people who suffer from bipolar. It's just like any other illness that is chronic. If treated properly it stays under control with the occasional flare up but when forgotten and left untreated things get bad or even fatal. Treating this illness is a must!!!

Taking medication used to be shameful in my eyes. The horrid stigma that goes along with mental illness is just the beginning of the cause. I felt that I couldn't be who I wanted to be while bipolar disorder was in my diagnosis. I felt as though I was labeled a "crack pot" or a "weirdo" and felt as though the world was pointing and laughing at me. Somehow I've started to overcome these feelings. Not sure why or how but it's time to stand up for who I am. It's time to make people realize we don't need to be treated bad because we have a disability.

Anyway thanks for reading this update and please check out my YouTube channel located at YouTube.com/dnicholson304  Thank you again.

Saturday, May 27, 2017

How I Lost 40 Pounds In Three Months

So I'm not saying this to sound mean or like I am judgmental but a few months ago I was fat. I felt like I was going down a road that I didn't want to be on. I was winded constantly and had little to no energy. My blood pressure was through the roof even while taking blood pressure pills. I had severe depression as you have read in previous posts and little to no self esteem. Suicide was even tossed around in my head a few times. I knew beyond a shadow of a doubt things needed to change. I am no where near what I should be but I am better off now than I used to be. Heres my journey so far.

As you can see I was a chubby guy. I never felt like I could lose any weight and blamed it on my medications or my work schedule. I felt like I was trapped inside a big body and couldn't do anything about it.                                                                                 

This picture was taken sometime in January 2017 and shows how much my belly sticks out. I was weighing in at 261 pounds around this point. I still went out and lived life but didn't feel good about where I was with my health. I didn't have any idea how much I going to change with in the next five months.

Just another pic of the old me. My face is much more round and I am using my weight bench as a place to store things rather than what is supposed to be used for.

So what made me decide to really start doing this weight loss journey? One day in February my father in law asked me to help him bring in his cows. So of course I agreed and off we went. I live in West Virginia and it isn't called the Mountain State for no reason. Walking up on the hill and gathering cows to walk back off the hill may sound easy for some, but for me it was hard. I had done this before with no problems but this time I was dragging behind everyone else and wheezing. I knew something was wrong and I decided to fix it. 

For the first step in my weight loss I talked to my doctor who advised me of an app called "Lose It!"
This app completely changed my life, believe it or not. The app is available on both Android and iPhone so I'd advise getting it. A few quick questions and you're all set up. It does the calorie counting for you and you can add your daily activities in to the exercise portion to show what you've burned off for the daily total. 

Next thing I realized is that my sweet tea habit was adding calories to my daily intake that I didn't need. So what did I do? I gave it up. I only drink water. No soda, tea, coffee, alcohol, energy drinks or anything else. This wasn't nearly as hard as I thought it would be. I don't even miss the things I drank before which was only sweet tea. I never really drank a lot of soda. 

I decided to start a small work out plan next. I figured since I had trouble walking that is where I needed to start. A mile a day turned into two then three or four. It became a natural thing to do. I enjoyed my walks and since I make youtube videos I used this time to do some vlogs and nature shots. Now I can walk easily ten miles and more on some occasions. 

Lifting weights and pushups are the next thing I added. I'd have to say I added them quickly. I started with lifting 100 pounds 50 times. I'd do 30 bench presses and 20 pull downs. Then I'd do 20 or 30 pushups. I figured adding that into my walking and diet was really good. I was right! The weight started coming off. I would do the weights and push ups four days a week while still walking and dieting everyday. Some days I'd walk less miles or add a jog in depending on my available time. 

Next I added sit-ups and started out only able to do 15. That didn't work to good for me at all. I knew being a 38 year old guy I should be able to many more. Slowly trying to do more and more and about a month later I am up to 47 now. 

By making a few changes and really sticking to them I have dramatically improved my health. I am no longer on medications, feel much better, and have a very active and enjoyable life style. I don't feel embarrassed about my abilities or body anymore. Yes I still have a small belly but I am working on that everyday. I've added more weight to my lifting and am now lifting 120 pounds regularly. It may not seem like a lot to you regulars but we all start somewhere. 


So here I am today. I hope you can see the difference. As I said I feel much better and weighed in at 219 pounds. Like I said I still have a ways to go and will continue working on it. I made a few changes but nothing that has really interrupted how I live my life. Maybe just a little less time sitting on the couch and watching television or playing on the internet. The way I see it, those activities are what put me in that shape to begin with. 

I'm not a diet or fitness guru. I am not a doctor, or personal trainer. All I did was get up and be more active. It was harder to decide to do this than it ever was doing it. At times I wonder why didn't I do it sooner? Why did I ever let myself go that far? I would recommend to anyone who wants to make this change to just start small and move into a more active life style. If you're happy where you are then don't change anything. It is up to you to decide. Nobody should ever judge someone for their own choices in health. I wanted to change so I did. 


Saturday, May 6, 2017

The Journey Continues

Ok so it's been a month since I've posted on my blog. I know, I'm sorry. I've been very busy with work and fitness. I do have some news to post on here though. I have lost a big about of weight and had my medicine (Seroquel) lowered. I have also been taken off of my blood pressure medicine completely.

I went to see the doc last month and discovered I was down 31 pounds and my blood pressure was the best it had ever been. The doc took me off of my blood pressure pills and then proceeded to ask me how I've been feeling. Of course at this point I was feeling great, confident, and in the best health I've felt in years. After a quick checkup and a good talk he decided to lower my Seroquel down to 50mg!!! I was once up to 300mg and lowered to 150mg now at 50mg.

I've wrote before that I really want a drug free life but didn't think it would ever happen. I'm now thinking it could be possible. I thinking if I stay eating healthy and exercising regularly it could just be a key to a better mental health. Now I'm not saying that this could work for everyone or even that I'm not setting myself up for a big letdown. I just may be on the weight loss and fitness high for a while. But I am willing to keep it up and run this experiment till it runs dry.

Through my studies of bipolar disorder I have learned that a healthy diet and regular exercise many patients suffering depression, bipolar, and even some patients with other major psychological problems have benefitted from living a healthier lifestyle. This isn't a new discovery by far.

Like so many that have come before me I denied and procrastinated this lifestyle change for a long time. I felt tired, depressed, lazy, and miserable just thinking about getting up off my butt to do any exercise. I felt that I needed to eat junk food or fast food just to feel happy. I ate for comfort and I even ate because I had developed an addiction to fast food and sugar. Thinking this way for so long had actually reprogrammed my brain into thinking this was normal.

Was this a hard change for me? Surprisingly NO!!! Looking into the mirror, trying to fit into my clothes, feeling so awful all the time was just a few motivators for me. Having a dream to better myself and feeling a little better from making the changes kept me going. I am nowhere near where I need to be at this point. The journey continues for me until I reach where I choose to be.

I heard a gentleman say on a youtube video "Never condemn who you were yesterday, but dream of who you can be tomorrow." These words ring true in my head and will continue to motivate me for a long time to come. I know some of you are wanting to make this change. I know some of you are thinking this could be exactly what you need to do. Some may be wondering could this work for me? All I can say is get up and go outside, let the summer sun rest on your shoulders and make the most out your day. The next time you go grocery shopping don't hit up the drive through before or after you go. Make smarter selections like fresh fruits and vegetables. Be more active in your everyday life. Join a gym or if you're like me and have a little social anxiety buy a cheap weight bench and stair stepper for home use.

I walk everyday now for at least 3 miles and run a little of it. I lift weights three times a week for at least 15 to 20 minutes. I do 20 to 30 pushups and 20 to 30 sit-ups three times a week as well. It  may not sound like much to a major exercise buff but at least I am doing it. I have lost around 40 pounds now in three months and am proud of it. I truly feel like a new person with a ton more energy. I couldn't even go for a long walk three months ago without getting winded.

I believe in you the reader and know that change is possible. I believe that you the reader can make big things happen in your life. Simply make the choice to do it. Well it isn't a simple choice I know. Motivate yourself in some way. Find a friend, loved one, musical selection, or even a television show or internet video that will give you the encouragement you need to do this. If I can do it then anyone can.

Thursday, March 30, 2017

Starving Is Not The Way To Losing Weight

So I've been researching and found out that many bipolar patients who go on a diet develop an eating disorder. At first I was shocked and wondered why? After I began to think about it I realized I understand it more and more. 

You see, Ive got a very addictive personality. I become OCD about things I feel passionate about and have a need to dive in head first. I put everything I have into my new found passion and this would include my diet. Since I've been on this weight loss journey I have been limiting myself to very little food. When I say limit I mean around 500 calories a day. 

Now with that said, I have found this to be an extremely bad way to go about this. It's been five weeks and I have just started to feel the bad affects on my body. For the first time today I feel very weak and in a way depressed. When I was working out this morning I felt my strength was weaker than usual and I felt very sluggish all day. 

Now some people will say it's nothing and other will say eat more. I'm one that will say it's probably nothing. I have a goal and I want to meet that goal so I need to eat a little more so I can exercise like I want to. I will not give up on this journey and I want to lose the weight and prove to myself I can do it. 

So I just wanted to share this info with anyone who has decided to go on a crash diet and drop a few pounds. If you are starving yourself expect to lose strength and energy soon because its coming.

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Healthier Lifestyle Means Healthier You

I have been feeling a lot better lately. I can honestly say that since I've been working out and eating healthier my mood has improved. The water drinking and fruit and vegetables are improving my health not only physically but mentally as well. Maybe my mom was on to something when she said "David eat your vegetables."

The schedule or diet I've been doing is simple and easy. I eat whatever I want except snack cakes or other sugary substances. I cook everything I eat now, so no corndogs or frozen pizzas and other things like that. I drink only water and lots of it. I workout four to five times a week. Now I don't kill myself by lifting huge amounts I just do 4 or 5 reps of 10 at 100 pounds and use the stair stepper for about 5 minutes each workout. I also walk 2 to 5 miles a few times a week depending on how much I walk at work.

In the past month these simple changes have helped me lose 11 pounds and I feel amazingly different and proud of myself. My healthier lifestyle has given me way more energy and boosted my metabolism. I sleep better and of course wake up easier.

I can't say it has cured my bipolar disorder but I do think it has given me more to focus on and helped with that idle mind thing. A combination of blogging, youtubing, and working out has totally occupied my idle time while I'm not working. Being more active is never a bad thing so I would recommend giving a healthier active lifestyle a chance. I think within a month you will feel way better and not regret it.

Sunday, March 19, 2017

"Once Upon A Time" In My Brain

So tonight I was watching that show "Once Upon A Time" and the character Rumplestiltskin made a statement that made me think, he said "Once you give into the darkness it only brings loneliness." Wow, how true is that. When I feel sad and know it is leading into a depression I try to fight it but usually end up losing. After I have fought so long and hard I feel like i have given up and find myself in a darkened depressed state of being.

I know I have described my depression before and know it can be a graphic tale to tell but I find that sharing this with others helps me to fight harder the next time it happens. Trapped inside my own mind you would think I would find my soul. I search down the cobwebbed corridors of my own body but find no one to comfort me. Inside trapped like a prisoner of my own creation locked away in solitary confinement for crimes I never committed. I am alone and lost for the duration of this depressed state of being. Have I given in to the darkness? Is this the crime I have committed to suffer this punishment?

Giving into the darkness is not an option for a bipolar sufferer to choose. This is forced upon us well and true against our own will. I know from experience that if I could throw this awful illness away I would, and at times I thought that I had, but like a boomerang it comes back every time.

Understanding that the darkness is a very lonely place, I had to feel a little sorrow for our little imp Rumple. The one true difference between us and him is that he chose to embrace the darkness and I am only forced to visit from time to time. So in a way my journey is long and full of suffering, but I can always look back at manic and depressed episodes I have lived and say truly "Once Upon A Time."