Take A Hike!

finn hike

I took Finn hiking again the other day and for the first time, I could smell the woods through my nose. It made me sit down and really take in nature. I love the quote by Henry David Thoreau that says, “I took a walk in the woods and came out taller than the trees.”

The quote makes me think about how united we should be with nature. I say “should” because we’re more united with our phones, our televisions, our video game consoles, our laptops, our iPads… nobody goes outside anymore. How sad is that?

How sad is it that we would rather burn our eyes on stupid useless information than be in nature and smell the amazing smell of nature?

I’m guilty, too. I’m addicted to my phone, and I hate it. When I go hiking, I don’t even turn on music most of the time because I want to hear Finn’s barks, the birds singing, the leaves rustling in the wind, and water talking.

I need to go outside more. We need to go outside more. Turn off the technology and go outside and smell the fresh air. It smells amazing. Plus we all need more vitamin D.

Go outside and go hiking and then let me know it went!

P.S. don’t forget your mosquito repellent and sun block!

Well, here goes…

For a long time now, I have had a really hard time losing weight. I blame it on depression taking all of my energy and motivation, but I have to admit, I’m also lazy. My weight is not consistent; I can lose 5 lbs., not do anything wrong, and overnight, I’m back up 5 lbs. and have a hard time getting it back off. I don’t know why, and my doctor has done all kinds of tests with no answers. I was diagnosed with an eating disorder a couple years ago (binge eating), so that doesn’t help.

I am on medications for diabetes, high cholesterol, high blood pressure, neuropathy, and vitamin D deficiency as well as mental health medications.

I’ve been on the keto diet since February of this year and I feel like it has given me more energy, but I still can’t lose the weight, even when I haven’t cheated or binged. Because of all this, I talked to all of my all of my doctors and healthcare professionals and decided that weight loss surgery would be right for me.

I made the appointment with a weight loss surgeon and on May 8, I was approved for the sleeve gastrectomy surgery. I will be going through 12 weeks of a supervised diet, as well as information seminars and appointments, psychiatric evaluations, and other evaluations to make sure I am mentally and physically ready. In August (or around), I will have the surgery.

During the sleeve gastrectomy, a portion of the stomach is removed, leaving a “sleeve” for food. This procedure also decreases the hormone which causes hunger. The average excess body weight loss is 60-70%. The success stories consist of people being able to get off most of their medications.

I feel like this is what I have to do to be healthy. I’ll be keeping everyone updated here on my blog during this journey, so be sure to keep up with me!

To all that have prayed for me, please continue. This is a major decision that I needed to make.

Wanderlust

img_6941I recently starting hiking with my dog and I can’t begin to tell you how much we love it. Nature is just so freeing and I have been beating myself up for not doing this sooner. I am planning trips to better nature trails and hiking areas close to me, as well as even starting to plan and save up for trips that are a little further from me.

There are times when I have to stop and see what I am around, taking in the sounds and even the smells. It’s unreal.

I have heard for a long time that going out in the sun helps depression. For the longest time, I thought that was extremely stupid. I tried even, and it seemed to make it worse sometimes. But hiking is something that is truly helping because I am exploring the stuff around me; I’m not just standing around.

I think I finally found something that works, and now I want to travel the state and beyond to hike and one day, it will happen. And I can’t wait.

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Stop Spreading The Stigma!

I saw a post on Facebook recently that showed a picture of nature with the title “This is an antidepressant” and next to it was a photo of antidepressants with the title “This is a lifelong addiction.”

I can’t tell you how wrong this is in one blog post.

Because of ignorant people making this, posting it, and other ignorant people sharing it, the stigma of antidepressants remains strong. People, like myself, who take antidepressants are already embarrassed or ashamed that they have to take them, much less get called out on something like this. I don’t speak for all people; some may not be ashamed, and that’s great. But for those who are, posts like the one I am talking about make us feel so much more insecure about our mental illness.

Yes, I agree that nature is a natural antidepressant. But some people can’t go outside because of other disabilities, so antidepressants are the right solution for them. Is there anything wrong with that, or is it just that some people are so ignorant that if that person has to take a pill for their mental illness, that they are going to be lifelong addicts? Do you see how stupid that sounds? If it helps that person, what difference does it make to you? Why go around stigmatizing the thing that helps millions of people?

I’m not saying nature doesn’t help, because it does. We all know that serotonin levels rise when in the sun and outside and in nature. But what if it doesn’t help someone as much as another person? What if the antidepressant helps them more? Does that make them an addict? A crazy person? No, it doesn’t.

Some (actually, most) people who suffer with clinical depression can’t just “get up and go outside” like others think they can. It’s not easy at all. If you haven’t suffered from depression, you have absolutely no say in how someone takes care of themselves during a depressive episode. You don’t know what it feels like to hate yourself so much that you want to die. You don’t know what it feels like to hate yourself so much, you don’t feel as if you’re worth even getting out of bed. That feeling, that empty, worthless feeling, is real. “Getting up and going outside” is not easy, and people need to stop saying it as if it is.

Stop making people feel bad for what works for them. If a pill is what makes them feel normal, then so be it. Antidepressants are designed to help people feel like getting out of bed and trying to live normal lives. Antidepressants are not a “lifelong addiction,” so stop spreading those lies to people that will believe you. Nature is not an automatic fix for depression, but it helps a lot. I can speak for it. But it may not be an automatic fix for other people, so stop making them feel bad about it.

What works for you may not work for others. Stop judging people for it. Millions of people in the world take antidepressants, but people who spread the horrible stigma surrounding them and mental health as a whole truly are scum of the earth.