I've been delinquent. At first I had a hard time figuring out why I wasn't inclined to post but I think I've figured it out. You see, when I started writing a blog again it was with the intention of writing about my hobbies and interests; steering clear of topics like daily stresses that can leave me with quite a negative frame of mind. I wanted to write about things that I love or that interest me while avoiding the stuff that makes me surly. But it's hard to write about hobbies and interests lately because my head just isn't into it.
As you may or may not know, I have ulcerative colitis, a rather unpleasant disease of the bowel. I had symptoms as far back as high school, but it was only diagnosed in the last 10 years. I have flare ups and periods of remission, but lately it just seems like a never ending flare up that won't go away no matter what pill or vitamin I take, no matter how I alter my diet or stress level. I have been left feeling frustrated and depressed. I've never been so uninspired or so lacking in energy. I'm trying very hard, I really am, but if I am left to my own devices I would stay in bed or lay on the couch in my pyjamas and do absolutely nothing. I can't be terribly easy to live with right now.
I realize that the crap-tastic winter weather probably has something to do with it. I had vacation time during the 40+ cm snow fall, which justified (to me, at least) my hibernation. But after the snow was cleared, I still felt like hiding out while. And then a horrible cold snap (at some point it was -39C with wind chill) had me scurrying from my home to work to home, with zero interest in venturing outside for any other reason. I've been taking SAD to a whole new level. During my isolation I didn't even pick up a book, post a blog update, try a new recipe or even organize my closet (a personal favourite); I ate ready-to-eat food (and we know how great that is for your stomach!) and cut through shows/movies on the PVR. At least I had the courtesy to shower and change my yoga pants daily.
But the other day I went to a scheduled appointment with my therapist (I call it my bimonthly tune up) and although I did not want to go, I found it (as always) extremely beneficial. I was getting so weighed down with options that have failed me. It felt good to sit down with someone and explain the symptoms in detail without worrying about how personal it is. I have held back on much of the detail regarding my tummy woes because I don't think my friends and family need to hear the gritty details. But this ends up putting up a barrier when I try to explain how I'm feeling while omitting key details. I guess this is probably a result of not divulging explanatory details but I am so weary of all the dietary suggestions I get from well meaning people that only partially understand the disease; I know they mean well but many of these mainstream diet trends are really not nutritional supportive of a disease of this nature.
All that to say, I'm going to go about things a bit differently and see if this improves my mood and my health. My battle plan consists of:
- Quitting the use of ineffectual medication: I am on daily anti-inflammatories that just do not work. I have been taking 3 pills a day for over 2 years now and I think it's time to see how my body functions without them
- Finding an Acupuncturist to see if this helps with any of my symptoms, specifically energy and pain management
- And the big one; accepting my illness and body as it is now, instead of fighting against it. I've gained weight due to lack of activity and energy, both of which are by-products of UC. I have been feeling pretty low about my appearance and lack of initiative to do anything about it. But as my therapist pointed out, I need to heal, and that requires being gentle with my body. Apart from walking and perhaps some yoga when my abdomen is not swollen, aggressive exercise is a no-no. There is no point in beating myself up over not going to the gym right now. I think this one is actually the hardest thing to do, because I have been upset with myself over this last year about the weight gain.
I guess these kind of look like some belated New Years resolutions. I gave myself an extra month in coming up with them so I better stick with them a bit longer than most.