Simplify with Better Habits: The Discipline of Minding One’s Own Business

It’s taken me a while to get this one published; honestly, this is my fourth iteration of this post. Every time I wrote one, it either seemed too sanctimonious, too petty, or too self-deprecating to be useful. Over the last few weeks, I’ve had several experiences that left me confronted with both other people’s hurtfulness and my own shortcomings (more the latter than the former, unfortunately), and I thought I’d write about it since it’s becoming one of my “projects” in this journey to simplify life.

Don’t you love being “in the know?” I sure do. If I overhear some gossip, I’m curious as to what’s going on. If someone’s upset, I want to know why. If there’s heaviness and tension in the air, I want to know the cause. And along the same lines, I struggle with wanting to insert myself into conversations. If I overhear two people discussing something I’m interested in, or something in which I have helpful knowledge, my compulsion is to hop (uninvited) into the conversation and offer my insight, or experience, or the answer to the question they’re looking for. If someone needs help, I want to help them, sometimes even if it’s something that’s not my place to help with.

Do you ever find yourself wondering what people may be saying about you when you’re not around? I absolutely do. But here’s the problem with that: people don’t pay nearly as much attention to you as you think they do, which means that, if they ARE talking about you when you’re not around, it’s not usually a discussion of how sweet you are or how good you are at something. It’s often negative. A few weeks ago, I found out that someone I’m relatively close to snarked about one of my physical aspects behind my back. After I got over being pissed and feeling a little betrayed, it got me thinking. Why on earth would someone feel the need to criticize my appearance to someone they didn’t know well enough to realize they’d share that with me? Why does my appearance matter to someone else anyway (unless it’s impeding their life somehow)? But even more importantly: do I do that too? And, the unfortunate answer is yes, yes I have. Just as this other person should’ve been paying less attention to my business, thereby not ultimately tainting my feelings toward her, I should be minding my own business enough to keep from making that same mistake with others.

This article from Tiny Buddha offers insight; this preoccupation with others’ business makes us depressed, and removes our focus from learning to find contentment and thrive in our own circumstances.

The Bible tells us, literally, to mind our own business (1 Thessalonians 4:11-12).

The desire to know is natural; it’s part of being human. But just because it’s natural doesn’t mean it’s the right thing to do.

Minding my own business is a habit I’m seeking to instill in my simple-living journey. Ditching Facebook has been a wonderful start, and I’m hopeful that, as I continue to pare down things that create needless stress, I’ll have less of an urge to focus on the things that do.

Is this an area of your life that you need to work on, too? Will you join me?

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I am Now Two Weeks Removed from Facebook…

Two weeks ago today, after a very-early-morning toilet moment and subsequent epiphany, I uninstalled the Facebook application from my phone and tablet after turning off all notifications. And today, I can tell you that I haven’t logged back in, not even once, and I genuinely feel like my life is better off for it. I wanted to share a few thoughts with you from what this last couple of weeks have held for me.

The usual disclaimer: I’m not judging you. Plenty of you are able to consume/use social media without negative effects/addictive behaviors. Also, I’m not guaranteeing that I’ll stay off Facebook forever, either. I’m still on Instagram (for now), and I’m still allowing my Insta photos and blog posts to share over to FB, so please know that I’m not against social media entirely.

But, I am against something that’s supposed to bring joy and entertainment becoming a huge time suck and causing stress and dissatisfaction with life. And, with as short as our time here on this earth is, I’m not a fan of something I can shut off and stuff in a pocket dictating my happiness and how I spend my free time. I’m rapidly approaching middle-age, and I don’t want to look back and see that a huge portion of my life was spent staring at a screen (of my own choice).

So here we go: the good, the bad, and the ugly (which is really just the bad, right?)

The Good:

  1. I’m less irritable in general! Since leaving the melee of Facebook, I haven’t seen a single political or theological rant, and no one has tried to sell me something, and it’s glorious.
  2. I don’t feel as bad about my life. It’s still a little shabby, a little overweight, and a lot infertile, but now that I’m no longer barraged with others’ carefully-curated social-media lives, I can maintain a proper perspective about my own little corner of the world.
  3. I’m reading REAL books. I bought a refurbished Kindle Paperwhite for this purpose, so I’ll be able to have several books at-hand but not feel like I’m staring at a blue screen, and I’m currently plowing my way through Walden. I also went to the local library this past Saturday and got a new library card so we can make use of our tax dollars. I haven’t read much since my Master’s program (I had some SERIOUS burnout after two or three novels a week for almost 3 years), and I forgot how much a book feels like an old friend.
  4. I’m staring at screens less in general. The good thing for me about Instagram is that there’s simply not as much to see. I follow a few friends, some celebrities, and some watercolor art and adorable animal accounts, but that’s pretty much it. Once you’ve scrolled for a few minutes, you’ve seen it all. Without Facebook to flip over to, I’ve just got to put the phone down and find something else to do.

The Bad (and Ugly):

  1. I never realized how much I shared random thoughts with everyone. Sometimes I miss it, because there are things that crack me up that I want others to find funny. But then I’m also faced with my own narcissism; do I really think I’m hilarious enough that other people need to see it constantly?
  2. FOMO is real, ya’ll. I’m missing scrolling through my comedy pages and seeing what some of my more distant friends are doing.
  3. People tend to talk to you like you should automatically know what’s going on via Facebook. And when you don’t, they assume you’re being sanctimonious.

But even the bad things aren’t that bad, really. I haven’t felt an urge to go back yet, and as a result, I’ve managed to pare down one more thing that’s causing life stress. It’s much easier to cope with stress when you simply have less stress to cope with.

More to come on this de-stressing, simplifying journey!

The Burden of Social Consumption (aka: Why I am Ditching Facebook (for Now at Least) and I’m Back!)

I let the blog go for a very long time this time between posts. I hate that; it just seemed that, every time I wanted to write, I felt overwhelmed by the blank page, or like I didn’t want to add more to the already loud world of the internet. But here I am, back in this space of mine, and I think I’d like to ponder a bit about social media and the reasons I’m returning to blogging.

Joey and I are in the midst of what’s probably the most stressful couple of years in our lives. Last year, we took over duties as caregivers for his terminally ill aunt, all while working through the process of getting ready for an adoption. We honestly thought we may be parents by the end of the year, but such is not the case. She passed at the end of last year, and through her generosity, we now own her home. It is an amazing gift, but one that came at the cost of a great deal of sanity, as managing someone’s palliative care in-home is overwhelming.

“Overwhelming” has been the theme of the last 18 months, it seems. Between life stress and job stress, I’ve found myself withdrawing from friends, picking at my arms more, and spending waaaay more time in front of the tv and on social media than is probably healthy. And it all came to a head a couple of nights ago.

I was plagued by insomnia, talking to the Lord and trying to hash out some things with Him and plead for some answers, and I got up to go to the bathroom, taking my phone with me as usual (TMI, but there’s a point). It’s quarter after midnight, and I check Facebook (as we all do while on the throne, right?)….and see that I missed my cousin’s birthday. I’d failed to write “Happy Birthday” on her wall, and I was disappointed in myself, and all of the sudden overwhelmed when I realized I’d been forgetting a lot of “Happy Birthday” posts lately.

I finally made it to sleep around 3 am and was back up at 5 for work, and once I got to my desk, in the silence of the office, I was struck by the insanity of it all. Why should something I voluntarily use for entertainment cause me such stress? Why am I liking people’s status updates just because I believe I should; why do I think people need to know if I’m currently watching American Ninja Warrior?

Over the last few months, I’ve found myself typing a status, only to delete it, either because I came to my senses and realized it was something inane, something passive aggressive, or an opinion that may be inflammatory when I simply don’t have the energy to argue with people about it. And I’ve found myself irritated by posts about religion or politics, and began to wonder if I would feel less antagonistic toward those people (who I generally like) if I were not subjected to their inflammatory posts. I found myself feeling increasingly dissatisfied with my own life with every view of others’ carefully curated “social media lives.” In short, I was beginning to find Facebook completely overwhelming rather than fun.

Later that day, I was catching up on Tammy Strobel’s blog (Rowdy Kittens), and worked my way back to her post on breaking up with social media (sorry Tammy! I didn’t realize Feedly didn’t update to your new Squarespace feed!). And I realized it was time to let Facebook go.

What if this season of writers’ block is largely due to my consumption of social media without leaving myself enough blank space to think…and actually write? It’s easier to flip over to Facebook and see who’s up to what or read some ridiculous clickbait article with the same pictures I’ve seen a hundred times. It wasn’t making me happy.

Now, a few things, just to be transparent. I’m not judging anyone; plenty of people genuinely enjoy Facebook without negative ramifications. I’m not being sanctimonious, and I don’t have privacy concerns; we have no privacy on the web, and our conscious decision to use social media means we’re willingly giving that away. I’m also not against social media in general; I’m staying on Instagram (for now, at least), as it doesn’t leave me with the same level of stress. I’m not deactivating my Facebook, and my photos and blog links will continue to share over there. But I won’t be there.

Instead, I’ll be taking advantage of the freedom of not being overwhelmed by every missed birthday, every happy picture of a lifestyle I can’t have right now, every angry political rant I don’t agree with. I’ll be using that “free space” to learn more about being a better horseback rider, to exercise more, to plan more epic hikes, to work on hand-lettering (something I’ve wanted to learn for a while), to talk to the Lord, and to WRITE. To create more than consume.

Life is stressful enough. We shouldn’t be needlessly making it even more stressful for ourselves.

So, I’ll be here more often, hopefully, and I’d still love to interact with you. Drop me a comment, find me on Insta. Send me an email. But also, shut off your phone for a while.

The Lupron Diaries: Final Thoughts, Goal Update, and What’s Next

It’s been quite some time since I last wrote; I’ve actually been legitimately busy.  Brace yourselves, because this may be a long one.  Since my final shot:

1. My side effects have subsided!

Thank goodness; they started to go away after about four weeks, which, from what I read, was the normal timeframe for that process to begin.  I cannot express in words how glad I am for the bone pain to be gone.  I’ve even managed to run a couple of times since with NO pain, which makes me pretty excited about fall/winter hiking and my next two 5Ks I’ve got scheduled.  My mood has improved VASTLY, although I’m not gonna lie, I sure would like to have some PMS symptoms about now so we can get back on the fertility treatment train.  But mostly, I’m just so grateful to have survived the Lupron experience and come out on the other side relatively unscathed.  I even managed a 5.3 mile hike on Labor Day in which I didn’t end up stumbling and tripping constantly.  I can’t tell you how much more enjoyable that makes hiking.

2. The weight has come back off!

I gained about 11 pounds throughout the course of the treatment.  Although I was pissed about it, I didn’t beat myself up too much because I’d largely managed to keep from eating all of the food (one of my Lupron Goals), so I figured that it would come off relatively quickly once my appetite went back to normal.  And it DID!  I’ve actually lost about 17 pounds since July 16th and am seeing numbers I haven’t seen in five years.  It hasn’t been effortless by any stretch; I’ve had to work hard and really clean up my diet, but it’s led to a completely different relationship with food and an understanding about what my body needs and how to fuel it properly (more on that in a future post).

3. I hiked Mount Mitchell!

You’ll recall that this was my most important Lupron Goal.  And I did it.  I’ll post a longer recap of the hike itself later. It was by far the most difficult thing I’ve ever done physically, and outside of holding the family together while my dad was in the hospital back in 2007, it was the toughest mental battle too. I had a panic attack when it started raining on us, and it took significantly longer than I thought it would, but I reached the top, bloody, dirty, and tear-stained, and I stood on the observation deck looking across what seemed like hundreds of mountains, feeling like I’d conquered the world.  I did it.

4. I’m getting paid to write!

This actually happened a little after the Lupron treatment was completed, but I’m still counting it as one of my Lupron Goals.  I’ve been writing for #AmReading for a few weeks now, and while the pay isn’t much, it’s been fun and interesting and is looking to be the launching point for landing higher-paying clients.  I’m writing about books and reading, and you can check out some of my articles here, here, here, here, here, and here!

There is a downside, though, I must be honest. I can no longer blame my grumpiness on the Lupron.  While it has improved and the little bit of patience I had has come back, I’ve always been pretty crusty and prickly, so I’ve lost my excuse.  I’ve had to replace, “sorry!  I’m just Lupron grumpy!” with “Sorry, I’m just a horrible person and you’re annoying.” So that sucks.

I can tell you, without reservation, that I do not regret my decision to go through treatment with Lupron Depot.  It was hard…probably one of the hardest things I’ve ever gone through. But I can also tell you that I’ve come out on the other side feeling better, healthier, and stronger than I have in quite some time.  And I credit a lot of that to Joey. I never would’ve made it through this without a constant source of support and unconditional love (and LOTS of patience), someone to be a caretaker and sounding board, to remind me that I could make it through this. Joey and Jesus got me through:).

This isn’t the end of the story; I promise.  There are too many things going on (both good and bad), and I want this endometriosis, infertility, weight loss, and personal growth journey out there, if nothing else than to show people that it’s possible to survive–and maybe even thrive–through tough times.

More to come!

The Lupron Diaries: Vacation and Victory

Last weekend, Joey and I took a trip to Waynesville, NC, to stay in a cabin in the woods and hike all the miles. Although the accommodations left a bit to be desired, I think this was probably the best camping trip we’ve ever had.

On Friday, we hiked the Pink Beds Loop again, but this time, we made it all the way to the waterfall off the Barnett Branch Trail.  It was WELL worth the mile of straight uphill.  The waterfall was about 25 feet high, and the water was ice cold.  Indy was thrilled to get a drink.

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Here’s a shot of Indy at our campsite.  She looks so regal.  I think I overestimated her ability to adapt to a strange situation, though.  She didn’t enjoy being trussed up on a lead, and she was afraid of the campfire.  She’ll learn, though.

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On Saturday, we went to the North Carolina Arboretum.  I’ll have to do a separate post dedicated to that, because I took a TON of pictures.  The below is part of their quilt garden; every year, they create a different pattern on individual squares. This year was a butterfly; can you see it?

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They also had a fantastic bonsai exhibit.  Joey has dabbled with bonsai here and there, so he was beyond thrilled to see all of the trees. I took pictures of each one, and it’s definitely renewed his interest in picking it back up again.

We ended up leaving on Sunday so we’d have a day to recuperate at home, but not before hiking Pinnacle Park in Sylva, NC.  While we didn’t make it all the way up to the pinnacle, we did get plenty of beautiful pictures along the way.  The below is at Split Rock, about a half mile up the trail.

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The first mile of the hike was along this creek; it was full of cascades and rapids, and Indy wanted to check out each one.

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We hiked a total of 11.5 miles over the course of three days.  It was exhilarating, but also an eye-opener.  We’ve got a lot of work left to do before Mount Mitchell at the end of July.

I’m still counting it as a victory over Lupron, though.  On previous camping trips, we would’ve spent the bulk of our time hanging around the campsite and snacking.  This time, we spent it out in nature, working out and getting excellent views along the way.  I did have a few clumsy moments, but Joey was there to grab me before I stumbled.  I had a few “Lupron sadness” moments as well, but he talked me out of those.  He’s pretty great that way:).

Hiking has been such an effective means of dealing with this journey through endometriosis and its treatment.  I’m forced to unplug while we’re out on a trail…there’s no phone reception, no chance to fiddle around on Facebook or check my Instagram feed.  I’m forced to be observant of the present moment and little else; I have to watch the ground diligently for roots and rocks.  I have to pay attention to my surroundings lest I miss a beautiful waterfall (or a bear…it goes both ways).  There’s no time to think about my dysfunctional body or whether or not we’ll ever get to have a biological child.

There’s just miles of trail.  And not dying…there’s that too.
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The Lupron Diaries: Shot #4 and Running Update (and Victory!!)

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Thank goodness, Shot #4 was painless like #1 and #2.  I made sure that I was completely relaxed, and other than the pinch of the initial stick, it was pain-free.  Ginger blamed #3 on herself, but I told her I was certain that it was my fault for being tense.

The timing of the shot sucked, though…I had a 5K planned for two days later, and if you’ll recall from my list of side effects that suck, I’m usually in for three days of joint aches that make any kind of high-impact activity pretty painful.  But I’d already paid my $35, so I was going to do this 5K, even if I had to crawl across the finish line in agony.

I was nervous, because Friday was a rough day.  My hips and knees ached badly, and ibuprofen was only taking the edge off.  On a side note, the sadness/weepiness and anxiety have been getting progressively worse with every shot.  It’s still bearable, so I’m not waving a white flag, but I’m finding myself crying a lot more and getting overwhelmed by small things/worrying about huge things that I can’t control (getting older, job stress, the never-ending passage of time, etc).  Joey has been an absolute rock through all of this; I have no idea what I’d do without him.

I was also seriously nervous about this 5K, because it was the first one I was going to do without Joey.  I was running it with my best friend Katie, but she had her own goal pace (which was a good bit faster than mine), so I was going to be doing this on my own (although it was encouraging to know she’d be waiting for me at the finish line).  Would I push myself hard enough, or would I just give up without Joey encouraging me to run a little bit more? Plus, this was going to be the biggest 5K I’d ever done.  It was put on by the Carolina Panthers’ Keep Pounding Charity, to benefit the Levine Cancer Center.  This wasn’t just some local 5K with a few hundred participants.  Nope, we’re talking thousands. Would I get stuck in a pack of people?  Would I be in the way, an obstacle for the “real” runners?  Would I get lost and end up in another part of downtown Charlotte entirely?

I woke up on Saturday morning feeling better than Friday; my legs weren’t hurting as badly, so I took 3 ibuprofen and hoped that’d hold me through the race.  Joey made me an egg over toast and a cup of coffee and I triple/quadruple/quintuple checked to make sure I had everything I needed in my race belt, that I had Katie’s shirt and bib, and that my playlist was all set and downloaded (Thank you, Amazon Prime Music!).  I headed her way and we were off!

We arrived (with only a minor snafu getting to the parking deck) in plenty of time to get a shot in front of the stadium before being shuttled to the starting line at the Levine Cancer Center.

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We stood around and stretched (and I agonized over being nervous), and then I noticed SIR PURR! Not only am I a huge Carolina Panthers fan, but (as you already know), I’m a huge cat fan in general, so I was super-psyched.  I actually dressed as Sir Purr a couple of years ago for Halloween.  I yelled “OMG, SIR PURR!!” and he ran right over for a pic.  Forgive the blurriness…Katie had picture-taking anxiety.

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The course itself was brutal; we started at the Levine Cancer center and ran all the way up Morehead street to the stadium.  The race organizer playfully called it “Mount Morehead,” but he wasn’t kidding; it was almost entirely uphill.  When we reached the stadium, we ran a lap around the outside, up the stairs, and into the north gate entrance.  Once inside, we ran a lap around the ground level concourse and then up the ramps to the 500-level (holy crap).  Then we went a short distance around the upper concourse and back down another set of ramps, out the players’ chute and through the finish line on the 50-yard line.  So, as you can see, the bulk of the course was uphill (especially those ramps).

It was SUPER crowded at the start line, which was overwhelming.  I kept freaking out and Katie kept telling me, “We’ve got this.”  She was a little nervous too, but kept it together and kept encouraging me.  Before we knew it, a horn sounded to start the race.  I do wish they’d told the walkers to make their way toward the back, because we had to do a lot of dodging people and running out into the road to get around walkers.  I kept up with Katie for two or three minutes, and I made it almost all the way through my first song before I had to take a walking break.  I tried to stay to the right whenever I walked so I wouldn’t be an obstacle to folks who were running.

I started to get discouraged right away, which sucked.  Normally, I would’ve had Joey there to say something at just the right time or to suggest that we run to some point up ahead and get my mind off the negative thoughts.  But it was up to me this time.

I set a simple strategy; run as much as possible through each song on my playlist, run through each mile-marker sign, and run through each intersection so I didn’t have to have a cop holding traffic for me while I wheezed my way across the road.  The scenery was pretty, and the day was PERFECT…maybe 60 degrees, a little breezy, and sunny.

I also made a commitment not to fall behind the folks around me; I focused in on a red-haired girl who appeared to be about my same fitness level and was run/walking as well.  It worked like a charm.

Until we got to the ramps inside the stadium.  I had to walk up all of them.  Plus, I had only been in the stadium once before, so I didn’t realize that there were two ramps per level. I got up the fourth ramp and thought I was done, and then I saw the door leading inside and it said “300 Level.”  Shit, I thought.  Shit, shit, shit, I’m never going to make this. But I kept on walking and tried my best to keep up with the cadence of the music.  I finally hit the top and I picked up running again.

I REALLY wanted to walk back down some of the ramps, but I told myself I wasn’t going to waste any downhill portions of the race (especially since there were so few), and I kept running.  Toward the bottom, my earbuds fell out for good (I’ve got to get some new ones), so I just took them out altogether.  Before I knew it, I saw daylight ahead and was running out the player’s entrance.  WHAT a rush that was…the same entrance that Steve Smith ran through, DeAngelo Williams, Cam Newton…there I was…dodging some lady and her toddler, but running through nonetheless.  I revelled in the moment for just a second, and then started scanning the line of cheerers for Katie.  I heard her screaming “look at the clock!!” and I looked up and it said 44:20.  WHAT?!!  I spent the entire race feeling like I was going to fail again at my goal (being under 46).  But here I was just a few yards from the finish line, and I was going to end up beating my goal by over a minute!

Katie snapped a pic of me:

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I was shocked and thrilled and exhausted.  My official time was 44:35.  Katie made her goal too (under 39).  And I ran over half of the race (at least).  Four months ago, I would never have believed I could’ve done that.  According to many of the online accounts I’ve read of women who’ve taken Lupron, I shouldn’t have been able to do that.  But I did.

Katie and I snapped a selfie, got our official times, snagged water and protein bars, and then sat in the parking deck for 40 minutes trying to get back out to come home. I also found that red-haired girl and told her I’d been trying to keep up with her, and that she did awesome.  Everyone needs to hear when they’ve done a great job.

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The ibuprofen worked like a charm…not one bit of joint pain during the run, and I haven’t had any since, either.  I even went with Joey and Indy on a celebratory lap around the neighborhood after I got back home.

On the technical front, I need new earphones and a new running belt.  I don’t have enough room in the one I currently have for my phone, ID and keys. My driver’s license fell out on the field while we were getting our official times.  I saw it happen, so I was able to pick it up quickly, but there’s always the chance that it could happen and I wouldn’t catch it.  I’m thinking of getting a Flip Belt; a couple of people had them at the race and they looked comfortable and secure.

On the “what’s next” front, I’m going to focus on endurance for the next couple of weeks rather than speed, because we’ve got two hikes planned over Memorial Day weekend (both in the mountains).  Our next scheduled 5K is July 4th, and I’d like to finish it in under 44 minutes.

I’m proud.  I’m proud that I managed all by myself.  Katie even offered to give up her goal and run with me, and I told her not to.  I’m proud that I picked up and ran again every time I felt exhausted.  I’m proud that I didn’t give up.  I’m proud that I’m not using Lupron as an excuse to stay on the couch, even when I don’t feel the best.  Endometriosis isn’t going to win this.  It’s not going to beat me, and it doesn’t have to beat you either.

Here’s my playlist in case you’d like to use it:

  1. Tik Tok – Ke$ha
  2. Turn Down for What – DJ Snake & Lil Jon
  3. Lips are Movin – Meghan Trainor
  4. Boom Boom Pow – The Black Eyed Peas
  5. Hey Mama – The Black Eyed Peas
  6. Toxic – Britney Spears
  7. Lose Yourself – Eminem
  8. Word Crimes – Weird Al
  9. Chariots of Fire – London Philharmonic Orchestra
  10. Can’t Hold Us – Macklemore & Ryan Lewis
  11. Bring Me to Life – Evanescence
  12. Eye of the Tiger – Survivor
  13. Wannabe – Spice Girls (I finished the race before this one started, thankfully!)

The Lupron Diaries: Dealing with Negative Emotions

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I’ve definitely felt like the Lupron is beating me these past few days.  I didn’t stop to think that perhaps the side effects would compound as the shots went on, but that seems to be what’s happening.  It feels like I’m constantly surrounded by the crappy version of Snow White’s seven dwarfs…”weepy,” “grumpy,” “overwhelmed,” “frustrated,” “stressed,” “bitchy,” and “anxious.”  For the most part, I’m able to keep perspective and remind myself that it’s the Lupron messing with my head, but there are plenty of times that these terrible emotions surface, and I’m left curled up in the recliner crying over some stupid viral story I read on the internet or griping all over Joey for no apparent reason.

However, I’ve figured out some ways to deal with this side effect; hopefully my coping mechanisms will help you as well (also, I’m not a doctor, just a grumpy layperson.  Don’t take my advice to the detriment of your health…if you’ve got problems, consult a professional).

  • Pray.  If you’re not a person of faith, you’ll have to humor me here, but I am a Christian, and I am constantly having to remind myself that God is in control of all of this and He will get me through it.  And I’m not just talking about “pious, churchy” prayers, either.  I gripe at God. Sometimes I yell at Him.  Most of the time I’m contrite and pitiful, but honestly, He knows what you’re thinking anyway, so you may as well be honest and tell Him.  I think God appreciates honesty, even when it’s ugly.  And sometimes, that’s exactly what I need to talk my way through a piss-poor mood.
  • Establish and maintain routinesimageI know this sounds both elementary and
    boring, but it’s true. Routines are comforting, and when you’re struggling with a barrage of uncertainty and stress, you need comfort and stability in every way possible.  I have set times to wake up every day, and I try not to vary from them.  I have set days to run (Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday), and a set day for a long walk or other activity (Sunday).  We have set activities on Wednesday night, Thursday night, and Sunday morning.  Open space (on your schedule) can be overwhelming, so having an established routine can keep you from freaking out.
  • Exercise.  imageSorry…you’re not going to get around this.  There’s a reason it’s suggested in almost any article about mental wellness.  Studies have shown time and time again that exercise boosts endorphins in the brain and is a highly effective remedy against depression and anxiety.  Additionally, since weight gain is another side effect of the Lupron,exercising will help keep that one at bay, too.  I run/walk three days a week, do a long walk (or hike) on
    Sundays, and I’m working on getting strength routines together for Monday and/or Friday.  It also helps to have something to train for.  I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been caught in negative thoughts and I’ve gotten out and run or hiked, envisioning myself crossing the finish line at a 5K or summiting Mt. Mitchell, and I’ve finished that workout feeling like I kicked ass and was ready to take on the world.  You don’t have to run.  Find an activity that you like to do and push yourself.  Sweat therapy is a real thing.
  • Find a stress-relieving hobby (and do it as often as you can).
    When I discovered adult coloring books, my world instantly became more calm. image
    Mandalas are my favorite things to color for their balance and symmetry.  I love the methodical nature of the process…selecting a few colors and setting their pattern, finishing with each color one at a time.  And the finished projects are so gratifying!  Find something that you can focus on that’ll take your mind off negative emotions; reading, scrapbooking, drawing, crossword puzzles…whatever works for you.
  • Give yourself a break.  I’ve had to lower my expectations of myself since I’m overwhelmed more easily and get frustrated much more quickly.  I can’t handle doing something every Saturday or having more than one or two commitments during a week.  I can’t agree to many last-minute or spontaneous requests.  I can’t do as many “favors” for people.  Being realistic about your limits and operating within them will lessen the sense of being overwhelmed by having added yet another thing to your list of responsibilities.
  • Avoid your triggers.  I don’t watch tv shows about obese people.  I don’t read stories about animals (unless I can tell from the headline that it’s silly and cute).  I avoid movies that I know will make me cry.  For a normal person, a good cry can be cathartic, but for someone dealing with Lupron weepiness, it may start a flood that won’t stop easily.  If it looks like it might throw you off and you can avoid it, by all means, steer yourself the other way.
  • Be honest with your family, friends, and partner.  If I’m “Lupron grumpy,” I tell them.  If I don’t want to go out because I need to curl up in the recliner and cry, I tell them.  They need to know if you’re going to be snippy for no reason so they don’t think they’ve hurt you. And they need to know when to try to pull you out of a bad place.
  • Sometimes, just eat the damn ice cream.  You’re not going to win every battle. Sometimes, you’re going to want to pile up on the couch and eat cheetos and watch six hours of Deadliest Catch.  And sometimes, it’s okay to do that.  Don’t do it often, but sometimes, it’ll just have to do.  Pick yourself up tomorrow and move on.

Remember, what you’re going through is tough.  Lupron treatment ain’t for sissies. You are an EndoWarrior, and you can beat the negative emotions (most of the time)!