Monday, November 30, 2009

A Very Cool Site

Check it outtttt:

Zoloft Update

So, I've been on 0 milligrams of Zoloft for 1.5 weeks now! I'm feeling pretty good. I think the biggest change I've seen is the level of patience I have. When I was taking Zoloft I pretty much had infinite patience. It was probably kind of ridiculous, actually. I am less patient now, but I feel like I'm working with that, and finding ways to get back to that ridiculous point of patience that I had before. What can I say, I enjoyed it.
Without the Zoloft I occasionally feel like I'm back to where I was before I took the Meditation Course. However, since I have meditation as a support system, I'm able to quickly come back to a point of patience and mindfulness through using my meditation practice. All in all, everything is going pretty well.

Of course, there were also times when I was taking Zoloft that I found my patience was pretty low. My wedding day comes to mind...Liz's mom's anxiety just about made me a nervous wreck (to be completely honest). Her anxiety also made me pretty anxious over Thanksgiving, which is fine. I understand that she can't help it, but it is triggering for me to be around someone who gets so anxious. I guess previously I just have assumed that the next time I see her she won't be anxious, but I think it's important for me to realize that there's a good probability that she will be, and I need to work with that. Half-way through spending Thanksgiving at their house I realized this and came up with a few things I could do to work with the situation, and it really did make the rest of the stay much better. I know that there's nothing I can do to change her anxiety, but I can change my reaction to it.

I have acupuncture tonight and I think that will be great, too. It was really fabulous last week. I talked with my acupuncturist, and we agreed it would be good for me to go back to two times a week while I'm getting used to no Zoloft. I'm still wanting to meditate twice a day, but so far it's just been happening once daily. I think I would probably see major improvements if I switched to twice a day.

In other news, my boss isn't here today, and it's pretty boring. I had a mandatory financial systems training this morning, which was actually really fun and informative. But there's only so much I can do when he's not here, and I have done it (and checked over it a few times!). Part of working that I may never get used to is just needing to be at work in case something comes up. Right now I'm here until 5 in case someone needs something, but I have gotten everything done and really can't do anything else without someone giving me another assignment. It's odd, but I am much more used to it now than I was when I first started working.

Thursday, November 26, 2009


Thanksgiving. Or as Liz and I have been referring to it: Slapsgiving. It's a "How I Met Your Mother" reference. That show is pretty damn amazing.

I'm Thankful for:
1. Liz
2. Dolce
3. Liz doing well in med school
4. My job
5. Our Cozy Apartment
6. Meditation, Yoga, Acupuncture

We've finished dinner and dessert and Liz is watching "Cars" with her sister and Dad. It's not my favorite movie so I'm online and blogging. I don't know where Liz's mom wandered off to, but it doesn't feel very Thanksgiving-ish. It also always is difficult for me to be around someone who is anxious, and Liz's mom has been very, very anxious today. There has been quite of bit of tense words about preparing the dinner and I feel like I've been kinda fighting off an anxiety attack all day today. I did yoga and meditated before lunch, but it only went so far on this high stress day. I guess I might meditate again before bed.

I think besides meditating I also need to breathe into my feelings and really feel what it is that's going on. I haven't felt like I've really had enough space to do that today, but now that the big meal is over with I can do it. I guess I also miss our little apartment and the quiet time I spend with Liz and Dolce snuggling on the couch and watching TV. There's also the fact that holidays are always difficult for me due to the fooooooooooood. There's just an extra emphasis on it, but it felt pretty okay this year. :)

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Learning to Work with Anger

I feel a million times better now. In fact, I pretty much felt that way as soon as I hit "publish" on last night's post. Before writing I did some reading from Pema Chodron on anger, and I think I felt better because writing the post allowed me to be really honest with myself.

Before writing the post I was, believe it or not, even more upset. I took thirty minutes to just lay down and think about why I was feeling angry. I would like to say I took the thirty minute break because I realized it would be a good thing to do. However, I did it because Liz needed the computer for school and I had to wait to write on my blog. I will give myself a little credit though. There are other distractions in the house. I could have watched TV or flipped through a magazine.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Mmm what [I] say? Mmm that [I] only meant well? Well of course [I] did.

I've had a pretty bad day today. I was completely exhausted this morning when I woke up, and just couldn't seem to wake up at work either. The afternoon was a little better than the morning, but not much. I had a pretty okay night after work. I came home and made dinner and went to acupuncture. Liz even drove me, and acupuncture was great. It felt so good. I left feeling very focused on the present moment. Then a little bit after getting home from acupuncture I decided to try to hem some new jeans I got. It was a mistake. I should not have tried to hem them. It was just the final straw on a bad day.

After a few stitches, I said something about how it was a mess. Now, I meant it was a figurative mess, but I guess Liz took it to be a literal mess because she said something about how if it was a mess then I shouldn't do it. It upset me so much! It was an hour ago that she said that and I'm still really upset, and obviously it wasn't just the jeans/hemming that got me upset. It was just the sum of the entire day. I don't think I would have felt this way while taking Zoloft. I am just so weepy right now. I swear I've cried more in the past two weeks than I have in the past two years.

I hate to say it, but it's getting really hard. I'm pretty sure Liz hates me now, and I don't know what to do. I'm very, very upset and exhausted. I keep getting upset at little things lately, but this is the biggest little thing I've gotten upset about since beginning to taper off Zoloft. I just don't know. I feel like it's really messing everything up.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Can't See the Forrest for the Trees

I just had lunch after getting back from Sunday morning yoga. I tried a new kind of class at a Studio I don't usually go to. See, I'm pretty strictly into Vinyassa (type of yoga) practice, and today I tried Forrest and I did not love it. I thought it might be okay becasue one website said it incorporates Vinyassa, but I didn't feel like it did at all really. From the class I took today, Forrest seems to really focus on form. Not my thing. I mean form is definitely important, and some focus should be given to it, but to me yoga should be more about what you feel your body can do in a particular moment, not what your teacher thinks it can do. For instance, in today's class the teacher even corrected someone's pose when we were laying down flat on our backs in savasana (total relaxation) can you need to correct the total relaxation pose?!? I probably will not go back to Forrest again, but perhaps it's just the teacher I had because I just went to the Forrest Yoga website, and it seems like something I'd be into.

I've noticed that I've been feeling pretty emotional lately. I haven't even been completely off Zoloft for even a week yet, but I will monitor this and keep writing about it. I also think I've been harder on myself and less patient lately than I was when taking Zoloft. I've been focusing on doing the same level meditation to keep up my level of mindfulness, but I might try to meditate twice a day instead of once a day this week. I'm also going to acupuncture tomorrow so that should be very helpful.

Watching the marathon fell through because I couldn't get out of my neighborhood...all the roads were closed because of the race! Bummer.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Written at Work

I just found out I'm not going to be able to take Christmas Eve off in order to travel home. I do get the 25th through 3rd off, though. I think that more than makes up for it! And I do not care one tiny bit that I don't get the 24th off. My mom and dad, on the other hand, may be a different story. I think, logically, this should not be the case. I mean we already get special holiday time at work. Who else gets the 25th through the 3rd off?!? That means I can actually visit with them longer than I normally would be able to. Hopefully they will see this as a win-win. They're very unpredictable though so we shall see.

I had another series of bad dreams last night, which makes complete sense because I just decreased my dose of Zoloft to 0mg on Wednesday. The last time I cut my dose in half I had bad dreams 36 hours later. It's crazy, huh? I think it's crazy, but Liz just said, "Well, it's medicine that's designed to work with your brain chemistry so it makes sense." I think it's more fun to think of things as awe-inspiring, but it's good that Liz can bring me back down to earth from time to time.

I've started doing some podcast meditations. It's nice to expand the scope of my practice. For so long I've just stuck to the recorded meditations from the class I took. Granted, it's 8 different meditations I've been cycling through, but none of them deal with compassion for oneself, etc. It's more just meditation basics, which are oh-so-important, but I think I'm ready for something more now.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Haiku Tuesday

Tuesday Morning Haiku

Inside sad hardwood
Outside fresh air crisps my skin
I smile to myself

I miss my VISTAs. Don't get me wrong, I love my new job. But I really miss working with friends. Because we weren't paid by the organization we worked at, the VISTAs and I became actual friends, not work-friends. It was so awesome, and probably a completely unique experience. I should hopefully be getting to see some of them this weekend because another VISTA is running a marathon(!!!) and some of us are going to go to cheer him on. I'm psyched about that. You know you like people when you'll do something at 9AM on Sunday for them.

But back to my new job. I like it a lot. It's pretty amazing, and there are really nice people here. I just miss the VISTAs. I also realize that the VISTA work-environment is not a normal work environment. I mean, we watched The Office and Lost and gossiped and went on afternoon excursions to Goodwill. We also got a lot of work done, but, still...

It's now Tuesday afternoon. The sadness I felt this morning is far away.

I took my last Zoloft this morning. I'm kinda shocked. I could never have gotten to this point without meditation, Liz, acupuncture and Buddhism. My rocks? I think I also need to credit myself. I found things that worked for me and I stuck with them. Sometimes it was really hard to stick with meditation. I remember the first week of my Mindfulness Meditation class. I cried a lot. Before the meditation could work and begin calming me it made me very emotional. Keep in mind I was taking Zoloft that whole time, which brings up the point that I need to remember that when I was taking Zoloft I did not feel happy, happy, happy all of the time. There were peaks and valleys as wells as plains.

Tuesday Afternoon Haiku

Dripping through the day

Sun coffee, smiles, words, work, paper

They fade? Breathe to sunset.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

My Ode to Nature

I used to hate nature. In fact a running joke among family, friends, etc. is that I once exclaimed, "I HATE NATURE!!!" during a hike. But since doing the mindfulness meditation course and beginning to meditate daily, I've gotten to a point where I can respect nature. I still don't love it, and I'll admit it does sometimes gross me out, but I am much more comfortable with it.

Last weekend Liz and I took a hike at the Wissahickon Gorge. Here are some pictures. I even smiled!

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Revising My Goals

So, the big goal, the baby goal is going to have to be revised. Liz and I had a super special family summit last night at a BYOB near our apartment. Okay, it wasn't really that crazy. It's just we decided to talk about this touchy issue in public so we would stay on topic and neither of us would storm off.

And we came to some great concessions over Tofu with a Mushroom Ragout (me, which is odd because I don't usually think tofu is a good idea) and whole fish with dolmades, chick peas and feta (Liz, which wasn't really an odd choice at all), and caramel banana pie. The food was great, and, hello irony, there was a SUPER cute baby at the next table. Like, super duper cute and well-behaved. Sigh.

Anyway, the terms of our agreement are this:
-We can start trying in January of 2013 if Liz does SUPER well on her USMLE's
-We can start trying after match day (around April 2013)
-If either of us comes into a lot of money, we can have a baby whenever! (oh, money.)

Needless to say, this arrangement is not perfect for me, but it was more important to me that we reach a consensus that we both agree on so we can get along and not bicker whenever the baby issue comes up.

Monday, November 9, 2009

Settling In

I think part of why I had a somewhat overwhelming first week at my new job is because I'm worried what my boss will think of me. He's an awesome boss and really laid back and funny, but I still get nervous.

I gave this subject a lot of thought over the weekend and today, and I've come to some conclusions: 1. Yes, I am most definitely worried what my boss thinks about me/that he will judge me, 2. What if he decides that even though I do my job well, he doesn't like my personal views, and 3. Why should I be worried about any of this? As long as I'm doing my best at work, it's pretty out of my hands.

I know it's pretty typical to be concerned with what your boss thinks of you, and I'm definitely still concerned with what he thinks of my ability to do my job. That's not going to change. But when he asks questions to find out more about what I did before a week ago, well, I shouldn't get nervous. But I do. I stammer over my words in hopes of searching for something I know will adequately meet whatever requirements he might have. He is my boss. It is my job to be professional and do a great job at work, but it's not my job to say everything I can say to please him 100%.

I also need to be mindful that we're coming to this organization from very different backgrounds. I believe he's mostly done corporate-ish work previously, and I know he still owns a for-profit company with his wife. I know he's probably working in the non-profit sector (and on this project, even) for entirely different reasons than I am, and I need to be respectful of that.

We're supposed to have lunch one day this week, and my goal is to take my time, carefully say what I want/mean to say, and breathe.

"Compassion becomes real when we recognize our shared humanity." -Pema Chodron

(Also, in other news, I did check out the meditation center at lunch today, and it was fantastic!)

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Re-Cap of my First Week at Work

I can't believe I haven't posted since Tuesday. I've been pretty exhausted at night this week, though since it was my first week of my new job. And since I'm much busier than I was at VISTA, I can't really write posts at work. But the new job is good. I'm learning the ropes (quickly! but there are a lot of ropes to learn...). I must admit, I felt pretty overwhelmed and even anxious many times during the past week. The one thing that really got me through it was meditation and mindfulness--1. knowing I could come home and meditate or meditate before work to prepare for the day and 2. meditation and mindfulness in the form of making it a point to take deep breaths throughout the day and focus on being solely in the present.

I've also learned that there's a meditation room where I work (it's a large university) and it's open to staff! So, I think I'm definitely going to check that out during my lunch break on Monday, and I'm guessing it will become a regular thing for me.

I have a lot to say about cutting my Zoloft dose in half again, but I'm going to save that for the next post since it's 30 past noon, and Liz and I are both hungry. It's time for me to get in the kitchen!

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Counting Calories

This is an amazing blog post about counting calories. It's definitely worth a read:

I really enjoy the repetitiveness of "It doesn't matter." It's just so true. I'm pretty far along in my recovery, and sometimes I wonder what the hell I was thinking when I was so into losing more and more weight. I guess the fact that I even think this is a testament to how well I'm doing. I mean, when I really think about it I can remember exactly what I was thinking and why I was thinking it. Yikes. I am so, so grateful I'm not in that place anymore.

Monday, November 2, 2009

Zoloft Withdrawal

I had a fairly good weekend. This is a good thing since as of last Thursday I began to take half of half of my original dose of Zoloft. That's 25 grams. I guess it would have been easier for me to say 1/4 of my original dose, eh? :)

However, last night I fell asleep on the couch and then eventually made my way to bed (with Liz's help, I'm sure). I can't remember anything about sleeping on the couch so it must have been all right. Now, when I tried to fall asleep in bed I kept falling asleep and having horrible, horrible, horrible dreams that were not actually dreams, per se. It was more like I could see myself sleeping and I knew I was asleep and I was having these vivid visions, but I could not make myself wake up. Liz said I kept gasping and I do recall feeling like I couldn't breath 100%. But I could breath. I guess there are just no words to accurately describe my crazy sleep scenario last night.

I did a quick Google of "Zoloft withdrawal odd dreams," and found lots of people saying that they had vivid dreams and crazy nightmares. I've also been having blurry vision today, which is another side effect of going off Zoloft. It's unfortunate that the blurry vision had to start today since it's the first day of my new job. Oh life!

I meditated immediately when I got home and it definitely made me feel better. I'm thinking about meditating before work tomorrow, too. It might be a good idea for me to switch to twice a day since I'm dealing with a few, small withdrawal symptoms right now.

I'll leave you with this awesome picture I saw while taking a different route home from acupuncture yesterday.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Realizing Me

I was going to go to free yoga at lululemon this morning, but I think I'm just gonna stay in my neighborhood and be lazy instead. Is this a good idea? I don't know. Am I just avoiding going out? I don't really think so. I think I can be satisfied doing some yoga at home and then (FINALLY) attacking the entire pile of laundry that's been amassing. I've been chipping it down little by little, but, as we share a washer and dryer with all the tenants in our house, I think it's best that I just head over to the laundromat after I do some yoga. I can read in between washing and drying. That's the best.

I also have acupuncture this afternoon, and if I don't skip lululemon yoga to do laundry, there's no chance it'll get done. I don't want to go to the laundromat super late on a Sunday night. And if I'm really honest with myself, I'll admit that there's probably no way I'll actually go late at night. It's just not my style.

Speaking of not my style, Liz and I went to a Halloween Party on Friday night. I found an amazing dress at the Goodwill! Red velvet, puffed at the shoulder long sleeves...and I was a zombie from the Victorian era. It was a fab costume. The party, however, was much less than fabulous. The group of friends I went with all realized that we were the youngest people there by quite a bit, and I realized that I.Am.Old. I am not into drinking glasses of vodka with a splash of juice. I'm just not, and it's fine that other people are into that, but it's just not me.

So that was a bit of a bummer, and it made me worry that I'm not good enough at making friends because I can't just mold myself to be whatever anyone else is at the current moment. After a bit of that, I realized that if I just keep checking in with myself and asking myself what I want I will be able to make friends that like the real, authentic me. One good thing did come out of going to the party, though: I got to see other friends who left with us because the party wasn't their cup of tea either, and it was good to catch up with them after the long work-week.

Some quotes that apply to this post:

"He who trims himself to suit everyone will soon whittle himself away." -Raymond Hull

"It takes courage to grow up and become who you really are." -e. e. cummings

...and my very favorite:

"Every time you don't follow your inner guidance, you feel a loss of energy, a loss of power, a sense of spiritual deadness." -Shakti Gawain