Saturday, July 30, 2022

Antipsychotics and Weight Gain

  As most of you know, I have been on seroquel for awhile now. But a common side effect that I don’t talk about often is: the weight gain. Since starting Seroquel I have gained roughly 45lbs, and the hit to my self esteem has been a big one. 

Most people don’t realize that antipsychotics cause weight gain, and for me it was a doozy. Seroquel caused me to constantly be hungry, which turned into me eating a ton, and then weight gain. No matter what I tried I just kept gaining weight. Healthy snacks, lighter portions, even straight up fasting.

I would always cave and eat. Countless nights I would find myself in the kitchen in the middle of the night getting a snack. Anything from lunch meat to Italian ice was on the menu. One time even dino nuggets. It was out of control. Work outs, walking, nothing stopped the weight from coming. 

And that is when I learned that antipsychotics had a side effect, a big one, weight gain. And I was now in a cycle of just trying to maintain my weight. But the pounds slowly crept on. The more I gained the worse I felt about myself. And the cycle continued. Weight gain caused anxiety, and anxiety caused stress, and stress caused more eating.

What I have come to learn is that sometimes the sacrifice of stability is going to be my weight. It hasn’t been fair, or exactly easy to come to terms with. But my mental stability is more important. And I did finally take a step in a different direction. A new journey, with my doctors approval and supervision, of weaning off the Seroquel and trying something new.

So, to new adventures and being open about my journey. It is time to escape the stigma and make mental health talk, just health talk.

Saturday, July 16, 2022

Family Vacation: Expectation Vs. Reality

  Vacation. It’s what most people live for. A much needed break from your job, a much needed break from your day to day life. But vacations bring a different kind of stress for me. The kind of wanting everything to be perfect, that you have a panic attack in the middle of a show at Dollywood.

My anxiety has been way up since my dad’s cancer diagnosis. Therapy helps some, but when on vacation, who has time for coping skills? I want everything to go perfectly, and exactly as planned. And when it inevitably doesn’t go as planned, I flip out. Especially with this being our first big family vacation since COVID.

So, imagine the anxiety of taking a big family vacation, 10 of us, and wanting everything to be perfect. Now imagine 2 of them are your children, that you want to give the world too, and one has terminal cancer, that you want to make as many memories with as possible. And now, imagine the rest of your family is also suffering from their own issues. What do you have? An anxiety ridden me trying to hold it together for everyone.

 But the one good thing of being on a big family vacation, most of my support system was with me. And I had anti anxiety medicine with me to help as well. The stigma of mental health, the needing of medicine to literally help a chemical imbalance in the brain. Just like a broken bone or a heart attack, medicine for mental illness alleviates symptoms and saves lives.

 The stigma of having the “perfect” life is just not possible. Even without mental illness, mental health and taking breaks is very healthy in preventing mental health issues. With depression and anxiety running rampant around the world, remember to check in on your family and friends. Encourage taking time outs for selfcare. Encourage their hobbies. Don’t push them, but encourage them. Sometimes just being there for someone can make all the difference.

Most people think taking a vacation will solve all their problems and help them relax. But most people, like me, try to jam pack to many activities and strive for the perfect vacation. In reality, life isn’t perfect, and most vacations are just as stressful as everyday life when you put too much pressure on yourself.

Tuesday, July 5, 2022

The Cancer

  Cancer is a horrible disease. One that sneaks up on you when you least expect it. Something that comes when you least expect it. And that affects the people that least deserve it. At least in my eyes, that is what happened to us. In the world of not being fair, this just takes the cake.

April 21st, we received the news that my Dad has stage 4 metastatic pancreatic adenocarcinoma. To hear the doctors tell us it was terminal was hard to hear. The “It’s not fair,” and “he’s too young,” were said often. How does this happen? The emotions running through me were overwhelming.

In the midst of trying to get stable on my medicine again, my family was dropped a bombshell. Not only am I struggling back to stability, I can only imagine the emotions my father is feeling. How do you swallow that pill? Knowing that your time is limited.

As so many emotions flooded my family, I couldn’t help but feel anger. Why is this happening to us? It isn’t fair. And now I have to watch my dad go on this journey. To start chemo and radiation. Be there for my dad and step mom and my children. How do you be the strong one when all you want is to break down?

Thankfully I have a strong support system, between my boyfriend and my mom. Plus I also go to therapy twice a month. Together with my medicine, and my support system I have been handling decently well. As hard as it is watching my dad's health fail, I am cherishing the time I have. 

Encouraging more time and memories for my children. Supporting and encouraging my dad through chemo. We have good days and bad days. But as a family we are making it through. Taking each day, one day at a time. Slowly we have come together and are becoming stronger. 

Life isn’t fair, and some days are hard. But together we are rising above. Working together to be there for each other. Together we will get through this. One day at a time.

Bipolar and Religion

Did you know that studies show that in combination with medication and talk therapy that religion and spirituality have been known to be i...