Sunday, August 31, 2014

Week 1 to getting better

Update time!

I meant to post this sooner, but my internet has been out. (Not helpful) Comcast is not on my good list right now. But I digress...

I wasn't sure how my original post would go but for the most part, I have just been overwhelmed by the amount of people who are supporting me in this. And so many people have gone through similar things. Which leads me to the question: WHY DON'T WE TALK ABOUT THIS MORE?? Hiding is a horrible way to do it. HORRIBLE. I've also heard the opposite side: that I shouldn't be sharing it, it's no one's business, etc. But ultimately it's my life and maybe some people do have that thought, but sharing has created MORE of a support group to me. So seriously, THANK YOU to all of those who have voiced your support. And no, I don't know how you can help me, but knowing that so many people are there if and when I do need help really offers me a sense of peace and comfort.

This past Wednesday was my first counseling appointment. I ended up going with a Christian counseling center. I really like my counselor. I was nervous going, but I told myself (with some outside help- thanks for that :) ) to open up because ultimately, that's what is going to help me. Did I tear up in my first session? Yep, sure did. But I got a lot of insight about what I've gone through in recent months and how it shouldn't come as a surprise that this is the outcome. I did get some homework. Yay I love homework! (Such a teacher...)

I haven't started yet, but I have picked out a few pictures to put in the memory book. I'm actually really excited about this part of my homework. I think it will really help me process through everything and create a great memento in the process. I'm also going to ask my family for any pictures/memories they may have. (With that being said, if any of you have any I would greatly appreciate them)

Eat better. So my eating is STILL OFF and it's frustrating me to no end. Last night at 6:30 I checked my calories and had only consumed 620 all day. And wasn't that hungry. I pushed myself to eat up to 1200 calories and then couldn't sleep because i felt so full. So that's rough. But I guess I'll keep working at it. I did hit up the Farmer's Market yesterday so that's good.

Working out. Okay, so working out has been nonexistent in my life for MONTHS. Every morning I wake up and say "I'm going to go for a run" and then i don't. I don't go after work because I haven't eaten enough throughout the day and don't want to pass out. It's awful. Yesterday morning I got up and went for a run. It wasn't great. I made it 1.75 miles, but I suppose it's better than nothing. One of my youth started training with my old trainer today so I tagged along to get in my 2nd workout for the week and it was ROUGH. I don't know if it was the depression or the fact that I just haven't been pushing myself to that caliber in a long time, but it was ROUGH. A good workout, but definitely hard for me to face the reality.

Self Care. Okay, as someone who has been a massive workaholic and CRAZY BUSY all the time since college, self care has always been hard for me. I tried really hard to focus on this yesterday. I went to the Farmer's Market (YAY!) and Target to get a few things for the house.
I also attempted to deal with Comcast (that's 2 hours I won't get back) and then watched tv and laid in bed and read magazines. Good self care day. I am going to try to aim for that again tomorrow since I have the day off of work. 

I'm trying, I really am. On the outside, I think I look like happy Jessica. It is a struggle and I still have my sad moments...

In my search for pictures for my memory book, I found this one. It was taken the day after my grandpa died. We were in Seattle doing a prayer walk and then reflecting on it. Seeing this picture honestly just breaks my heart. I was trying so hard to stay strong, but also deal with my emotions. Other people have said I just look pensive in it. When I look, I just see so much sadness. Getting through this sadness is going to be hard (I have complicated grief) but unfortunately, there is no way around it. I have to go through it. So here goes another week of this...

As far as meds go, we are going to see how I do with counseling and the if I feel stagnant, we will try the meds. 

Thank you for going on this journey for me. For telling me about your struggles. For being a support for me. But thank you for your presence in my life. 

To better days
~Jessica 

Monday, August 18, 2014

If it's not one thing, it's depression

2014 has not been the best year. To be honest, from almost the minute it started I've been saying how much it sucks. And apparently after 8 months, my body has had enough.  So here's the rundown.

January
  • A friend's little girl passes away. Having never met her, it still hit me hard. My heart was just broken for them. It was then that I began to come home from work (skipping the gym), and get in bed. 
  • My friend passes away. I've experienced loss, but this one hit me hard. I think because it was the first loss where it was my friend, someone younger than me. This is when things got really bad and I would go to work, come home, get in bed and cry. And cry and cry.
  • Not going into details, but was forced to face some demons. NOT FUN. 
February

  • I got offered a job and made the hardest decision ever to leave the job I'd been at for 4 years. SO. MANY. TEARS. I don't handle change well. And that was a TOUGH one. 
  • Started a new job. I heard somewhere that is one of the most stressful things someone can go through. 
March

  • Not going into details, but there was a bit of boy drama. Yikes. By this point all I really could do was laugh. So at least that was good. 
April

  • Grandpa fell and was put in the hospital on life support. The night before I was taking my middle schoolers on a retreat I got a text from my mom saying that I had to go down there that weekend. The doctors would take him off sedatives long enough for me to say goodbye. I had no idea how I was even going to do that. I burst into tears at the realization that he would never officiate my wedding. Meltdown central. (Spoiler alert: He miraculously started breathing on his own, the internal bleeding stopped, he got to go home shortly after. YAY FIGHTER GRANDPA!)
May

  • I had a MASSIVE meltdown. The stresses of working ALL THE TIME, never being home, trying to plan Vacation Bible School and the summer trip all hit me at once. Mother's Day after working I went to my parent's house. I walked in the door and my mom asked how I was and I burst into tears. We decided then and there that SOMETHING had to change because this was not good. The following Wednesday I put in my 2 weeks notice at the job I had been at for just 3 months. Can you keep track of my life? I can't. 
  • Okay, so not totally terrible but I turned 30. 
June

  • Vacation Bible School! Stressful but I did it. And without crying. 
  • Triathlon. Woah. That was stressful. And exhausting. And I was super sad afterwards because I didn't do as well as I had hoped. 
  • Trip to Seattle. Had 3 adults and 11 teenagers. And I was in charge. (Eek!) As if that's not stressful enough.... my grandpa's health had deteriorated. Just days before I left I was told that there was a big chance that he would die while I was on the trip and my mom said if that happened, she wanted me to stay on the trip. Ultimately I wanted it to be my decision, but I wanted to be the one to make that decision. So I prayed and prayed and prayed. Day 2 of the trip I got the call that he had just 2 days left. We hadn't even made it to Seattle yet. I didn't know what to do. I was torn. I ultimately decided to stay with the group- they were so great and supportive. But for the most part, I wasn't REALLY there. I was trying so hard to be the fun Jessica (Bestica) they deserved and while they definitely let me grieve and even grieved with me, I didn't let myself grieve while I was around them. Day 6 of the trip I was hanging out with my cousin who lives there. My uncle came to hang out with us as well and told us that my grandpa had passed away. It seemed surreal at first and as the days went on, I just wanted to be home and be sad. The night we got back I went to my parents house where pictures of my grandpa were EVERYWHERE. And it all started to hit me. I talked to my dad a little bit, and I went upstairs and just lost it. Completely sobbed. The next morning I woke up with a fever, feeling AWFUL, stomach hurt, I threw up (which I haven't done since I was 12!) and just felt horrible. From that point I was scared to eat, didn't really have an appetite so pretty much just lived on applesauce, cottage cheese and fruit. 
    The last picture taken of Grandpa and me. RIP. <3 
July

  • We got word that a relative was diagnosed with a fatal disease. This year sucks. 
  • I continue to not have an appetite. I'm not working out because I don't eat and the cycle continues. I'm gaining weight despite eating one meal a day. (As it turns out that may or may not be called starvation mode)
August

  • Still don't have an appetite and it's starting to concern me a little. I go on vacation to California to meet my new baby niece (hooray something good happening!) and the eating thing becomes more apparent as I'm around people who eat more than once a day. I eat once and am STUFFED for 9 hours. And after 9 hours, it's not even that I'm hungry. I just feel like I'm not stuffed and think "hmm... I should probably eat something." I started having dreams about my friend who passed away (2 dreams in 3 nights). Dreams that she's alive again and we're explaining to people how that can be. Then I had a dream that I went to the doctor about my health. My last 2 days there I was in this funk. I was so sad but I wasn't entirely sure why. I went into the shed one day and just cried. Feeling inadequate and worthless. I couldn't explain it. 
I started to panic about what was wrong with me so I decided it was time to go see a doctor. Luckily I found one that is open on Saturdays so this past Saturday I went in. But first I turned to WebMD which told me a million things like cancer, hepatitis C, Grief Reaction, etc etc. Logically I told myself it was probably grief reaction or stress, but then there was the little part of me that thought it could be something worse.

I went in. They took my vitals (guess who SHRUNK 2 inches. not fair!) and asked me a couple questions about what had been going on. I was pretty sure this all was in relation SOMEHOW to my meltdown I had upon arriving back home and finally being able to get all those emotions out. And right as the lady is walking out the door she says to me "Have you ever been treated for anxiety or depression?" "No." I say... and she walks out. And I feel like I've just been hit in the face.

Anxiety? Depression? Me. NO. WAY.

The doctor comes in and we chat a little bit. She examines me a bit. We talk about depression a little bit and has me take a questionaire. My score was a 6. A score of 5-7 indicated mild depression.

So there you have it... I have mild depression.

As soon as I left the doctor's office, I burst into tears. And I spent the rest of the day either crying or just watching tv or lying in bed. Or napping. Here's the interesting thing. So Andy Grammer just released a new album (Magazines Or Novels. Go get it. It's phenomenal) and one of the songs on there is called "Remind You" about when people go through hard times. It's amazing. Totally what I need right now and I just listen to it over and over again.

This whole thing has been really interesting because the diagnosis came as a complete shock to me. Never in a million years did I ever think I would go through depression. But looking back at everything I've gone through lately, is anyone really that surprised? And after getting the diagnosis, more things keep popping up that were signs but I really just didn't know it. (Example: One day in California my brother asked me what was wrong and said I seemed down. I chalked it up to "just being tired".) The last time Andy Grammer was in town I actually didn't go. Given... it was the day after I got back from California, I was tired and had a headache. But I think that's kind of a clear sign that SOMETHING is up. Right?
Me at 3rd Street Promenade- somewhere I've always wanted to go and yet I kept telling myself I should be more excited. Should have been my first clue...


My doctor wants me to start counseling, which I'm working on finding a counselor. Talk about depressing.... The first one I heard back from is $110/SESSION! Sweet mother. In addition I have a prescription for celexa. I am still not 100% sure if I am going to fill it or not. She said ultimately that is up to me. It's a low dosage, but if I go on it she wants me to stay on it for at least 9 months and go in for a "check up" after 2 weeks to see how things are going. I've heard really great things about meds, but I've also heard that they just make you numb. So I'm not sure yet what I am going to do.

Things have been moving pretty slow for me the last couple days. I've had to tell my family, my bosses and co-workers which isn't an easy thing to do. But it's important they know what's going on. I attempted to go work out today. Didn't get through the whole thing but it's a start at least. I need to get my life back on track. Back to the old Jessica. Which is funny because when I told my parents they said I didn't seem sad and my dad said "just cheer up!" Pretty sure he was joking there because we all know that's not how it works... Apparently that's the thing about depression. It sneaks up on you and sometimes it doesn't even show.

You may be wondering why I'm blogging about something so personal. One of my fears in telling people is that I'd be judged. That I would be viewed as weak or that something is wrong with me. And for the most part, that hasn't been the case. And so just like I did with my weight loss journey, I thought documenting this could help hold me accountable but also help others see that depression is something that so many people go through. If I can help alleviate that stigma for one person, then going through this crap might actually have a silver lining. All I know is I just want things to be better. It's going to take some work, but I'm a fighter. And luckily I have an AMAZING support crew behind me. As I head down this journey I will try to update on my progress.

To better days....
~Jessica~


Thursday, August 7, 2014

My First Korean Spa

Greetings from sunny Los Angeles, California! I am here on vacation for a WHOLE WEEK! The main reason for my visit is that my brother and his lovely wife had a beautiful baby girl 13 days ago. Making me an aunt for the first time and it's pretty sweet. While I'm out here I'm playing a little bit. :) (I'm sure I'll blog about my niece another time... you know how she is the cutest smartest baby in the world and all)

Yesterday when we were talking about what to do, my brother mentioned going to a Korean Spa. I heard the word Spa and was all in! Then something clicked and I vaguely remembered reading something online recently about Korean Spas. I don't remember but it was something along the lines of "Oh... you know about those korean spas and what happens there..." I had tried to research it upon reading that but never found any information. So I asked my brother about it (because he goes to one about once a week).

"There's men and women saunas. They're separated. And there's a steam room, dry sauna, different temperature pools. There's a co-ed area upstairs with different kinds of saunas. Oh... and when you're in the men or women sauna, you can't wear clothes."

HOLD. THE. PHONE. You want me to do what?! I hear naked. In front of other people and my mind starts racing. How do people do that?! And internally I am running in the other direction.

Call me prude. Call me too modest. But how in the world is hanging out in a pool with other naked people relaxing?! It's funny because people tell me "well you get massages and you're naked for that, so it's not really that different."
WRONG! When I get massages I am in a DARK room COVERED by a sheet. Not in a lit room, in hot tubs with other naked people. SO NOT THE SAME!

Well... last night we took a walk and were going to go to the spa after the walk. But my brother's dog apparently doesn't learn lessons and chased the skunk again... and got sprayed again. So our spa time was actually spent giving him a spa day to get the skunk spray off of him. Gotta say I wasn't that bummed that our spa date wasn't happening haha

Then today we started making plans and that dang spa idea came back up again. And the more I thought about it, the more I thought maybe I should give it a shot. Try to live a little. 

Now I don't know about you, but public nudity... NOT my thing. I wasn't even comfortable sleeping naked until I was like 20 years old. I don't even let my cat see me naked. In case you don't know my brother, he is definitely the more adventurous one. The dude has no fear of anything... whereas I fear EVERYTHING. 

We grabbed lunch at Whole Foods and then came home so he could go for a run and then we were going to the spa. While he was gone, I decided to mentally prepare myself for what was about to occur and I started looking up korean spas online, read a couple blogs about people who went, etc. It seemed to calm my nerves a little bit, but I was still crazy nervous going there. 

On our way to the spa! 
It's funny... We got there and I was crazy nervous and I think the lady at the counter knew because she asked if I'd ever been there and then explained it a little bit to me. (I was still super lost). We paid, they gave us a towel, a t-shirt (to wear in the co-ed area. You also wear shorts but those are in the locker room area), and a wrist band that is your locker key (water proof and magnetic. pretty fancy) and then they send you on your merry way. 

I found my locker.... and then stood there for a few minutes. Slowly took off my jewelry... took my sweet time. In this time, the girl with the locker next to me came by twice. The second time she told me it was her first time, I told her it was mine too. She said "you're going to see a lot of naked people! Enjoy...." and then was off. I had so many questions for her... Where do I go? How do I enjoy being naked in front of people? Do people stare at you? Is it scary? But alas she was gone... So I told myself it was time to just suck it up. So I undressed... then wrapped myself in the towel and wasted a little more time by going to the bathroom. Then I got lost and couldn't find the dang sauna. 

I walked in... still covered in my towel and went to the shower (I read online that sometimes people tell on you if you don't shower haha). I showered, covered myself BACK up (it's getting a little ridiculous) and then found the WARM TUB and got in. There were probably around 8-10 other women in there. And there I sat. Not talking to anyone, but just sitting. And thinking. After that I went to the steam sauna (118 degrees) for a bit. Then sat in the hot tub. Then went to the dry sauna (172 degrees). Then sat in the cold tub for a bit. They have an option to get massages and body scrubs which apparently make your skin SUPER soft. I wanted to do one, so I walked over to where the tables are and all the ladies were washing the tables and no one asked if I wanted one. A part of me wonders if they were closing down for the night, but who knows. 

As I sat there it made me think about our culture and how ashamed so many of us are of being naked in front of other people. When other cultures (korean) really aren't. Some of the women were talking to each other. There were women of all shapes and sizes there, but at no point did I ever see or feel judgment. In a lot of ways, it was kind of liberating. 

After all that I went back to the locker room to put on that t-shirt and shorts and head up to the co-ed floor. 

I got there and found my brother laying on a mat so I sat next to him for a little bit. I was feeling kind of light headed, so first I went into the Ice Sauna (41 degrees). It felt really nice actually... not too cold, which is weird because I am cold ALL THE TIME. 
THE ICE SAUNA is the final stop after a day at the spa. This room helps bring the core body temperature down, closes the pores and tightens the skin. By finishing with the Ice Sauna, circulation will improve and overall well-being is restored. Recommended usage is 10-20 minutes.

I decided that while I was here I was going to try everything.... So next it was on to the Salt Sauna (122 degrees). There are a bunch of salt rocks on the ground that you lay on. 
THE SALT SAUNA, with the help of thousand-year-old minerals such as calcium, magnesium, iron, sodium and selenium, improves the physical, chemical and hydrodynamic conditions of the body. The respiratory system is purified, circulation improves, the immune system is strengthened, and muscles are relaxed. In addition, halotherapy (salt therapy) is healing for skin conditions. Recommended usage is 10-20 minutes.
After being in there for a little bit, I was a little light headed so I went and got some water (definitely important). And then I made my way to the Clay Sauna (126 degrees). Where my brother was. The clay sauna has clay balls that you lay on. I was under the impression they would be soft, wet clay balls, but they were hard, dry ones, the size of small hail. And when you walk on them, you sink a little bit. 
While THE CLAY SAUNA features clay specially imported from Korea, clay has been used for centuries around the world for its medicinal and cosmetic benefits. This natural mud stimulates the lymphatic system and assists in the heavy metal detoxification process. Guests immerse their bodies under layers of clay balls to increase the body temperature. Recommended usage is 10-20 minutes.

I just laid on top of them. But there was a tv in there so that was kind of cool. It was in korean though so I didn't watch anything. :) 

Upon leaving, we went and got some more water and then went for the Bulgama Sauna (213 degrees). I was convinced I wasn't going to last more than a couple of minutes in there. It was hot, but it didn't seem as hot as I thought it would. It made me wonder about Bikram Yoga and how hot that is. Being as I don't like being hot OR doing yoga, that's not my thing... but I can't imagine doing yoga in that heat. WOAH. 
THE BULGAMA, made mostly out of oak wood, sits at an impressive 231 degrees for intense thermotherapy. As guests lie on the floor, heat helps to loosen muscles, remove toxins and bacteria in the body, and reduce blood pressure -- for an overall cleansing effect. Recommended usage is 10-15 minutes.

After that, we moved to the slightly cooler Jade Room (125 degrees) although it didn't even seem that much cooler than the bulgama. 
The powerfully hot JADE ROOM eases muscle tension, helps with arthritis, and is known to lower the cerebral temperature. The sodium and minerals within the walls of Jade Spa also help in the balancing of hormones. In Asian culture, Jade has long been revered for its healing properties and in aiding stress relief. Recommended usage is 10-20 minutes.
Since the Jade Room is supposed to help with arthritis, I did a little bit of stretching while I was in there (as did many other people in there) and then we decided to end it with the Ice Sauna (since apparently you're supposed to do that last, not first like I originally did. 

After the ice sauna, we went to the main room where there are mats all over the place and laid down for a bit. People are everywhere, playing on their phones, reading (there is a library you can get books from), napping, some are watching tv, there are massage chairs, there is a restaurant up there, there are computers you can get on. Seriously... you could spend ALL DAY there if you wanted to. 

It was definitely relaxing and I'm glad I went. Definitely out of my comfort zone, but after the first couple minutes it really doesn't seem that weird to be naked around other people. 

Have/Would you ever go to a korean spa?
What have you done that is out of your comfort zone?

~Jessica~