What it’s like to treat a mental illness

This morning I rolled over at 7:40am — just about my normal natural wake-up time these days — but with a strange feeling that there was no way I could get out of bed. I felt nailed down. I couldn’t open my eyes. My dreams had been extremely detailed and lucid, about infiltrating a coworking space in Corfu where they were extremely tight-fisted with the amenities as I wasn’t a member, but a guest, and my parents had to basically parachute in to save me. 

“Hm,” I wondered to myself. “I wonder what could have caused these strange dreams?”

Perhaps a glass of wine at the comedy show we went to? Perhaps the cold and allergy medicine I’ve been taking the past few days? 

I woke up an hour and a half later with the realization that I was dreaming so lucidly because I had forgotten to take my antidepressant medication the night before.

What tipped me off was that I woke up to an orgasm.

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Hildegard

Hildegard

“Kat, I didn’t know you were pregnant!”

She said it with such joy and enthusiasm, you could tell she was genuinely happy for me. She admired me and thought I was fabulous; having kids would be fabulous, too.

I stole a glance at the 40-year-old woman sitting next to her, a new friend I’d made in the last few days as we were carted around the Dominican Republic to view resorts and excursions where we could send tourists. She had an understanding look in her eyes, wondering what I would do next.

“I’m not,” I replied. “It’s old age. And I’m embracing it.”

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Things I’m doing instead of losing weight for my wedding

When you get engaged, it’s assumed you’re going to lose weight for your wedding. Nearly a third of brides want to lose weight, usually at least 20 lbs, before they tie the knot (or really, before what may be the most photographed day of their lives). This means brides are marketed diets, pills, supplements, and exercise fads as if their lives depended on it. 

I’ve already established that I’m not a great bride, and it turns out, losing weight for my wedding has been struck from the list of things I’m going to do, too. With three weeks to go until the big day, I’m still not sure I’m going to fit into the dress I bought when we first got engaged. 

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Things to do to feel better

In the wake of horrible news (like mass shootings, natural disasters, or political upheavals), I have a tendency to feel very helpless, hopeless, and angry. While it’s important to feel emotions through instead of pushing them aside, sometimes you have to quit stoking the flames of fear and do something to make yourself feel better. Here are my (relatively free) things to do to feel better.

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Please treat my depression like cancer

In talking with my nutritionist during eating disorder treatment last week, we decided that my depression is a bigger issue than my eating disorder, and that seeing her was probably not necessarily going to help much going forward.

But she did give me this gem:

“If someone got cancer, would you blame them for it? No, and you shouldn’t blame yourself for depression.”

I thought this was a pretty great metaphor. I need to start treating my depression like it’s cancer.

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From whence the food issues

When I was in second grade, I remember watching a film in class about volcanoes and thinking that the molten lava looked like melted cheese. Even while the other kids were shouting out funny statements about the image, I kept my mouth shut, because I didn’t want them to think I always thought about food.

We were never restricted food growing up. We were allowed to eat whatever we wanted, whenever we wanted to. I could have string cheese or an apple or Doritos or a sandwich or Oreos. We had plenty of food to choose from.

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