Campfire Thoughts

Campfire with my boys

I’m sitting in front of a campfire with my two dogs next to me, I’m looking up at the night sky and I see the stars, I hear the crickets, I see the fireflies… and nothing could ever beat this feeling.

I haven’t felt this happy and content, stress free, no depression, no anxiety, since 2016 when I sat on the beach literally by myself in Okinawa, Japan. It’s a feeling I didn’t think I’d ever feel again. It’s a feeling I thought was just a once in a lifetime type of thing.

I say all of this because I’ve been depressed lately. It started right around my birthday, which is right on time, because I always start getting those holiday blues around my birthday, which is in early October. I didn’t think I’d get out of it. I kept up with my homework, but that’s about it. I was able to have enough energy to hike just once since it’s cooled off. I’m behind on my chores, like cleaning the house. I’ve just been depressed.

I sat at my desk last night and stared at the sand from the beach in Japan I went to (I collect sand from all the beaches I visit), and I thought to myself, “What if I never feel that feeling again? What if I’m stuck forever in this endless cycle of depression?” I can have great days, but it never fails that the bad days happen a day or two after. I have felt stuck in that endless cycle for a long time now. But that day at the beach in Japan proved to me that I can feel like I’m floating and feel like I have no stress or worries, even if only for an hour. But I always thought I’d never feel it again.

Tonight, while I sit around this campfire, I am feeling it again. There’s no better feeling in the world. Tomorrow, maybe it goes back to normal. Or maybe I can live my life like I’m on that beach or I’m sitting in front of a campfire.

It’s time to start living, man. I have to or I’ll feel stuck in this endless cycle forever. It’s time to start traveling, hiking more, camping more, writing more! I’m feeling so inspired to just… write. Everything. No matter how real or honest it gets. I just want to write. I want to live. I want to breathe and not feel trapped. Things are changing, my friends. Keep up with me or get left behind, because I’m not slowing down.

Just another cheesy post…

I was sitting at my desk today and was just thinking to myself while I mindlessly changed tabs… I have had a productive day today despite waking up in a terrible mood, pretty sure I was close to a mental breakdown, and really just wanting to throw myself a pity party. Last week, I had a horrific day; depressed, even harmful thoughts… I pulled myself out of it. Today, I pulled myself out of it.

I’ve been working my tail off in therapy, trying hard to make steps forward instead of steps backward. I’m working through my thoughts, through my depression, anxiety, OCD… but I still have my bad days. The difference between now and even just five years ago is that I am able to focus on getting out of that funk, that depression. I have a way to go with the anxiety, but I can tell I’m making progress and so can my therapist.

If you had asked me five years ago if I could pull myself out of a depressive episode and continue to fight and not give in to the harmful thoughts, I would have looked at you funny and probably laughed. I’ve also learned in therapy that it’s perfectly okay to be proud of myself and that it’s not selfish to be proud of myself like I always thought it was. Honestly, it feels weird…

My point is this: keep fighting. Yeah, I know I say that a lot. But if I had given in to those harmful thoughts last week, I would be back to square one. And guess what? I didn’t and I’m not back at square one. I had a horrific day, but I’m here. I’m alive. I’m not in any extra amount of pain.

I think you can do it too. I know you can do it too. Fighting this battle with depression is difficult, but I finally realize that it’s worth it.

I know it’s way more easy to say it than do it, but once you realize you can do it, and honestly you’ve done it before, then you can do anything you put your mind to.

I realize all of this sounds super cheesy, but I don’t care. I believe in myself now, especially after last week, and I believe in you!

Ali Vee

black and white laptop
Photo by Prateek Katyal on Pexels.com

2018/2019… let’s do this

(Trigger warning)

2018 was a big year for me, physically and mentally. I can’t say it was all good, as I lost 6 people within my family and friend circle. I don’t think I’ve ever lost that many people in one year. It’s been a heartbreaking year, an eye-opening year, and a victorious year. I can’t believe how much I’ve accomplished. I went into 2018 with a different mindset that I had never had before. I honestly still have no clue where the motivation came from, other than working my butt off in therapy. I didn’t realize my mindset was changing until it hit me like a brick wall.

The year didn’t start off great; my uncle passed away on January 1. I wasn’t as close to him as I had been in my younger years since we lived a state away, but it was still a challenging time. My mother lost her brother, my cousins lost their father. We are now upon the first anniversary of his passing and I know it’s not easier for anyone. In July, I also lost my great uncle. It’s been a rough year for my family.

In previous years, my “new year’s resolution” always included losing weight, but it never worked out because, well, I never worked out. I would work out or diet for maybe a week, maybe two, then go back to my old habits. This year, that would change. I couldn’t lose weight on my own, so I talked to my doctor and she recommended weight loss surgery. I went for it and made an appointment with a bariatric surgeon. After 3 months of preparation, dieting, and exercise, I had the surgery in August. I haven’t lost weight at the pace I would have liked, but I’ve still lost weight and I’m okay with that. I still have a long journey ahead of me, but I’m still motivated to get the weight off.

As for the people I’ve lost this year, it was rough. I lost a few close friends and two family members. One of them, though, hit me like nothing has ever hit before.

I started my mental health journey in 2014, and I won’t get into details with that, because I’ve talked about it in previous posts. I was checked into a mental hospital and then immediately started group therapy after I was discharged. The first person that talked to me when I walked up to the door was named Katy, and she ended up becoming one of the most important people I’d ever meet in my life.

There were times during therapy and even outside of therapy that she would talk me through it and help me through it. I remember one day in therapy that I was called on to speak, and I ended up crying… hard. I couldn’t get through what I was trying to say. Katy sat next to me every day, and on this particular day, she looked at me and said, “I promise you that nobody here is going to judge you, and everybody here loves you, including me. I’m right here. Just talk to me.” Those words helped me get through the duration of my time in group therapy.

I learned that she had a lung disease when I would talk to her everyday, but I didn’t know how bad it was. She passed away this year, in June. The bad thing for me is that I didn’t find out until July. I missed her funeral, I didn’t get to say goodbye, and I didn’t get to tell her how much she meant to me. It was heartbreaking. I still think about her and cry. I have never grieved over anyone else as hard as I have grieved over her.

As much as her passing affected me, I didn’t let it slow me down. I couldn’t. I know she would want me to keep working hard on my mental health, so I have. I have progressed, I think, a lot in therapy. I’m working my butt off daily to stay alive. Everybody has bad days, including me, but I get through them. Finn (my dog) is definitely a huge help with that. I’ve accomplished so much mentally, but also physically. I made a lot of progress in school. I’ve been getting out of the house more, but one of the main goals I have for myself is to get out even more. I’ve got so much planned; hiking, dog park visits, walking trails, yard work, and even just sitting outside getting more fresh air.

Health wise, I am going to continue to take care of myself. For so many years, I put my health on the back burner because I hated myself that much. I wanted to die so bad that my life didn’t matter that much. But now, I feel like I need to stay alive, and I want to stay alive. Some days are very difficult, and I still have suicidal thoughts from time to time, but I don’t feel as if I would act upon them now. It’s even kind of crazy to think about because I got so used to thinking I would be better off dead.

Another goal is to blog more! I’ve had to take a few months off from blogging, but I’m back at it. I felt like if I had writer’s block, then it was going to happen whether I wanted it to happen or not, and I didn’t try to force anything.

With all of that being said, I want to know how your year was and how you want 2019 to be. If you had a bad year, it’s okay. Not everyone is going to have a good year. And its okay to have bad days! Even if you have perfect mental health (and no one does), everyone has bad days. Try your hardest to bounce back the next day. I know it’s easier said than done, trust me. Depression is no joke at all. But stay strong for me, for your family, for your friends, your pets, your spouse, your girlfriend, your boyfriend, but most of all, stay strong for yourself. Because you’re worth staying strong for. You’re worth the life that the universe gave you. You matter.

Happy new year, and let’s have a great 2019.

My Weight Loss Journey, Part III

On August 10, I had vertical sleeve gastrectomy surgery, also known as gastric sleeve surgery. Yep, I went through with it. I’ll be honest, I am the first one to admit I thought I would chicken out. But here I am on the other side of surgery, and I’m doing great.

At my highest weight, I was 253 lbs.. I am 5’5″, so that is considered morbidly obese. Surgery day, I weighed in at 251 lbs. After the surgery, I was in some pain, but the pain medication kept it away. I vomited a few times (including in front of both of my guests. Ugh… sorry about that!). I had to walk around the hall multiple times and the next day I was discharged and went home.

It was tough the first few days. I could barely sleep on my stomach, but did. I had no problems sleeping (thank you, Ambien). Getting in the amount of liquids I need is still a struggle because my sleeve is so small now that it fills me up pretty quickly. I am on stage 2 right now, the pureed stage, and I am full after a 3 oz cup of blended soup. It’s so weird to me because before, I would eat because it tasted good and wanted more. Now, while I still struggle with that, I can’t eat more or it physically hurts. My sleeve tells me to stop by making it painful to eat more.

Since 8/10, I am down to 237 lbs., which truly blows my mind. That means I am down 16 lbs. in less than a month and I couldn’t be more happy. I’ve hit a couple stalls in weight loss, but I figured out what I was doing wrong, and fixed it. I don’t lose weight as fast as other people, and that’s okay. It’s frustrating at times because I don’t lose weight as fast as others, but my body is different than theirs, and that’s okay. I’ll get to my goal weight in my own time.

I’m walking everyday, but I haven’t made it to my first goal of 30 minutes yet. That’s because I have an intense back pain when I do walk for an extended amount of time, but I’ve discovered that if I wear my abdominal binder that the hospital gave me, then I can walk longer than if I don’t wear it. So I’ll get there. On October 1, I can go back to the gym and possibly start doing more cardio and start weight training.

That’s it for now, but I’ll continue to update as my weight loss journey continues. If you have any questions about the surgery, you can contact me by emailing me at aliveewriter@yahoo.com, or texting me at (318) 321-8725. Be sure to leave your name and a way to contact you.