ADHD, Automatic Thoughts, Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT), Depression, Nourishing the soul, Weight Watchers

Writer’s block & the quest to stay substance free

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Well hey there!  Long time!

Actually, I apologize for the delay in writing.  I’ve been going through a lot of crap recently including a relapse in my sobriety that lasted for six weeks.   As I ponder “What Was It?” that caused me to relapse in my addictions I don’t exactly know.  I do know that everything happens for a reason and while I may not understand the reason today, eventually I’ll find out.  I trust that the Holy Spirit surrounds me 24/7 and my commitment to Jesus Christ is what is keeping me alive, and chasing my goals daily.

For the bipolar mind, it’s all about routine.  A routine is something you do consistently.  Unfortunately, we are not born into routines, we must create them and adjust them as time continues.  It’s easy to get started.

Here is my advice:

Getting to the gym multiple times a week.
This is important to me because I am an aspiring bodybuilder so getting to the gym is critical to my ambition and my success.  If I don’t train hard, then I don’t get the results I want.   I have found that by putting “gym” in my calendar at a specific time and I program it to ‘repeat weekly.’  I have an iPhone and an Apple Watch and when it’s in my calendar I am constantly reminded that I have the gym after I get done with my career.  It’s automatically there and holds me accountable to my goals.  In fact, when I am feeling depressed I ask myself “When was the last time you worked out?”  If I can’t remember, then I need to be at a gym.  Working out is one of the best things you can do for your mental health, and it’s FREE.  It doesn’t cost a thing to sweat your ass off and drive your results!

I’m feeling good.  It’s been 48 hours since I had my last and final drink and I’m back in the routine.

I am so thankful for my faith in Jesus Christ.  Without Jesus, I wouldn’t be here today.

 

av8r007 @ WW Connect, Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT), Depression, Recovery, Suicide Prevention, Weight Watchers

Setting goals and the realistic approach

I’ve done a lot of soul searching the past few weeks as I have been recovering from alcoholism and I’ve caught myself setting really strict goals on myself in regards to what I can/cannot do eat/cannot eat, having a diet soda / vs a sugared coke?

I was 380 at my highest weight and I remember that when I was first setting a weight loss goal for myself I entered “150 pounds,” I felt overwhelmed by the number and felt that eating comfort food would help me feel better about getting over my weight and the losses that I expect to see vs reality. I have an ADHD brain and I have a really hard time reading books because my mind doesn’t stop racing so instead I look to Audible books and I’m listening to Oprah’s latest book. Something about Oprah reading brings chills to my soul. I love what I’m hearing so far.

After 15 years of fighting myself with my diet and lifestyle I found my tribe on Weight Watchers and lost 145 pounds. I yo-you’d like no tomorrow. I had huge negative weeklies, and I felt less guilty at the end of the day when I know I had logged all my food like I was suppose to do. Except I came from using paper trackers and now we do it all on our phones. Huzzah! I learned that learning how to loose weight and developed ways to keep it off take time, and patience. My best realistic goal is to STOP putting dates on the weight loss agenda. Dates further complicate your goal. Enjoy the ride, that’s why they call it a lifestyle.

Im 6’4″ and I weigh 235 and according to WW I should get to 205 – 210 for my frame. I accept that. So I’m in the final 20-25 pound range and it’s taking it’s sweet time coming off. I won’t deny that my sweet tooth hasn’t played a role in the lack of fat loss recently however I know what I need to do, and therefore I shall because that’s just what I do.

Making small changes LEAD to BIG results.

One Day At A Time.

Automatic Thoughts, av8r007 @ WW Connect, Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT), Depression, Nourishing the soul, Recovery, Suicide Prevention

Learning how to love me sober

Choosing to live a life of 100% sobriety is not easy.  In fact, it’s the hardest challenge I have faced in recent years.  I thought losing weight was the hardest thing ever!

Alcohol is available everywhere, just like cigarettes.  You walk to a grocery store and you see stockpiles of liqueur in the middle of the store, and you find cigarettes behind the cashier ready for sale.   The addiction is legit, and if we’re not careful then we can end up in a rut of personal hell where every goal we set for ourselves is plagued with regret and despair because all we wanted to do was drink ourselves to oblivion, or.. death.  Lord knows I did.

The silver lining in this whole sobriety thing is that I no longer want to kill myself sober.  I’ve realized that all of my suicidal ideas that came to me were because of my substance abuse and the number of drugs that were riddled in my blood.    My sponsor and I are working on the 12 steps, and I recently completed working through Step 1 “We admitted we were powerless of alcohol – that our lives had become unmanageable.”

Let’s think about that for a second.. “that our lives had become unmanageable.”  What does this really mean?  Is this me?  Is my life manageable while I am using drugs and alcohol?  Absolutely NOT!  Addiction was plaguing and ruining every self-positive thing I was trying to do.  I couldn’t do anything right in my life because I wouldn’t quit spending money on things I didn’t need, and my depression and anxiety were all over the map because my medications couldn’t do their job.  I would drink as soon as I walked in the door from work, and I would smoke as soon as I sat down ready to unwind.  I did this 7 days a week 365 days a year.  Yep… Unmanagable for sure.

My sponsor and I met last week to dissect Step 1 and I ended up writing out 8 pages of raw emotions on my spiral bound notebook.  It was a highly emotional experience.

I love who I am becoming.  Stronger EVERY DAY!

One Day At A Time! ❤

34 days clean

ADHD, Automatic Thoughts, Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT), Depression, Suicide Prevention

Chasing my happiness

Magnificent

Aspiring

Remarkable

Kind

Tenacious

Amicable

Yearn

Luminous

Optimist

Retrospective

My name is Mark-Taylor and I am a recovering addict.

I am facing my biggest demons in life head on. Addiction is fierce, but my zest for life will never falter.

Ps while I was away I got a tattoo

Semi colon represents that my story isn’t over while the holy cross shows my commitment to staying alive though Christ, my savior.

I have a purpose to fulfill! I’ve never felt stronger or more clear in my life!

ADHD, Automatic Thoughts, Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT), Depression

6 days sober& never giving up

Wow! 6 days of being without substance and I couldn’t be happier about that! Granted there are periods of my life during the day where I think “oh man, I could really have a drink right now!” Then I remember my why and glance at my wrist and say the Lords Prayer and I instantly feel the thought be dismissed.

Practicing mindfulness is a daily ritual for me and I’m constantly learning new methods so that my bipolar mind can learn how to shut down and reboot.

Yesterday I saw my psychiatrist and he was proud of me for how far I’ve come. I continue to lose weight, buff up, and my smile gets bigger and brighter every time he sees me.

We’re dropping my Zoloft down to 100mg daily from 150mg. My Seroquel went up to 200mg from 100mg and I remain on Adderall XR for my ADHD. I’ve been on meds since I was 27 and now that I’m 33 I realize just how important meds are for my overall stability. I’m very thankful for that. Thank you Jesus for always watching over me and giving me this beautiful life.

ADHD, av8r007 @ WW Connect, Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT), Nature, Technology, Weight Watchers

Foggy, wet conditions ahead

Wow… What did I wake up to today??? It was so dreary outside!  Winter must be here… Nope! Just Fall.  Right now more than ever I need to be sitting in front of my happy light.  This needs to be part of my routine STAT.  I can’t expect improvements until I finish what I started.  I did it last week which means I can still get it done this week.  🙂

“Alexa – Remind me tomorrow at 730AM to use my happy light for 20 minutes.”

I love you, Alexa! You continue to make my life easier to manage…

Fall Revised Routine:

5:45AM – Awake

6:00AM – No seriously, ass out of bed Mark.

6:10AM – 10 Minutes to get ready Shower/Get Ready/Go

6:20AM – Leave for work

7:00AM – 7:20AM (Alexa reminds Mark to use happy light for 20 minutes a day)

7:20AM – 4PM – Career

4:30 – 6:00PM – Gym

6:30PM – 8:30PM – WW Vlog, YouTube editing, Blog publishing

8:30PM – 10:30PM – It’s Hulu time!

10:30PM – Lights Out

 

Keep your eyes on the prize Mark.  You’ve got this!

 

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ADHD, Automatic Thoughts, av8r007 @ WW Connect, Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT), Debt, Depression, Finances, Suicide Prevention, Technology, Weight Watchers

Feeling Good! It’s October!

Good Goblin Evening to you!

What a reMarkable weekend it’s been for sure!  I think I’ve felt every emotion this weekend and I didn’t lose my crap either.. Well made Mark!  🙂

Let’s break it down:

Friday: Worked out extensively after work, felt depression lurking.  Not sure why.  Lack of clouds?  Not at all, it was a sunny day.   Depression can sometimes hit us for no reason.  Out of the blue sky.  Is something wrong with me?  No, not.

You’re just a different kind of brain. A unique brain that requires a particular type of care and can entirely lead a fulfilling life filled with dreams and desires just like an anyone else.

Saturday: hit the gym especially hard, and it was a terrific upper body workout if I do say so myself!  My shoulders are exploding!  Woot!  I then met up with my buddy for lunch post workout, and we chowed down on some delicious five guys grub.  Man protein is so critical When I left I felt like I ate a cow, which I did. However, I rest assured knowing that I earned that burger and it was every bit delicious as I thought it would be while ordering it!  But I compromised and got a small fry because I don’t need chips.. Just a taste Mark.  You don’t need the whole buffet Mark.  🙂

Sunday: Today I was supposed to hit the gym hard, but during my walk today in Volunteer Park I felt my lower back start to ache. I fired up the FitBod app that I use for bodybuilding and realized my back recovery percentage was at 43% and I knew today should be a rest day because I’ve been pushing myself extra hard lately.  Not because I’m manic, but because I have a goal in mind of who and what I want to be.   There is nothing irrational about that.

So what’s with the depression?  Why do I feel depressed?

Oh! Dave Ramsey arrived!  You received this gift from your parental units who felt that you could use this and learn from it.

Yes.  You’re right.  I became super defensive when I unboxed the material and saw the various elements.  It was new, it was overpowering, and it was causing me high anxiety.  Instead of racing for the vodka I went to the grocery instead and got some junk food to carb load on AKA binge.  That’s my heroine.  Food.

But hey it’s been over two years since my last drink!  That’s pretty groovy, and a HUGE achievement!

It may be October, and on November 4th we’re turning back our clocks back however my motivation and dedication to staying fit and healthy will only charge forward!

Last, the other day on CNN there was an article written about a recent study that well.. I don’t want to give it away.. All I can tell you is it’s eye-opening. 

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ADHD, Automatic Thoughts, av8r007 @ WW Connect, Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT), Depression, Finances, Technology, Weight Watchers

Change is in the air

I cannot express to you how different I feel this year compared to last.  As I look back in the past year, I see and find so many vast differences in my mood, my outlook, my body, and most importantly my dedication to lead a happy life.    Previously I held a blog stigmaunraveled.com, and while I loved it, I didn’t enjoy the content of it because I felt that it was very dark in nature.  I felt like I’ve really worked on becoming a new person since my relationship with my ex-ended so about a month ago I decided to let the URL run out and close it out.  I imported my content into this blog so it’s there if you so desire, but it’s in the archives.

I am doing daily vlogs on WW, and I absolutely love what I do because I know it works and I know that I am inspiring millions to chase their goals and become their best version of themselves. Just like I have done.  Everything I do I do for Jesus.  I won’t lie.  It’s easy to forget who I do this for.  I remind myself constantly that I do this for Jesus because I know that he is proud of me for the work I do in the mental health community in person and within my online communities.  I included a video I did last night for you below.  If you have WW, you can find me on Connect @av8r007.

I have been working very hard on myself lately, mostly what I think of myself in the mirror and also working on my confidence when interacting with others, especially handsome men that I might be interested in getting to know. :).   I still have a hard time bringing up that I don’t drink anymore.  It’s odd.  My friends are out drinking on the weekends, and I couldn’t be happier at home either working on my YouTube channel (upcoming) or working on this blog. Writing/Recording/Vlogging brings me great joy in life.  Drinking alcohol brings me nothing but pain and suicidal thoughts and tendencies.

It wasn’t that I had a problem with alcohol, well maybe heavy pours. It was the fact that after a night of drinking I’d want to buy a gun the next day and blow my head off.  Why? Alcohol is a depressant.  I am bipolar.  I cannot drink. My life is highly valuable compared to the cost of what alcohol would cost me.  I sometimes get worried about when I go on holiday about drinking.  Oh well, my why matters more.  I’ll just take it as it comes to me.

I’ve been hard at work in the gym, and I couldn’t be happier with the results that I’m driving.  My training schedule is pretty routine which I love because routine should have been my name!  I train as follows../Tuesday/Wednesday/Friday/Saturday/Sunday.  My growth days are now Thursdays and Mondays.  Thursdays because I have weekly therapy now with my therapist Chris.  It’s hard to believe I’ve been seeing my therapist Chris for six years now.  It was just yesterday I was being diagnosed.  My how my life has changed since my diagnosis.  No regrets

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ADHD, Automatic Thoughts, av8r007 @ WW Connect, Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT), Depression, Suicide Prevention, Technology, Weight Watchers

Routine is key​

In February, shortly after Valentines Day’s this year, my life changed.  The breakup I knew was coming.  It was still winter in Seattle and I really just wanted to curl up into a ball and sleep into eternity because my depression was so thick I couldn’t see more than 2 inches in front of me.  It was a horrible time in my life, and it wasn’t until the following week I had moved out and into my own apt.  My personal sanctuary where I can find my own peace and meditate without fear or distraction.    I just had to remember that after Valentines Day when it was over (after 5 years) that when I quit drinking two years ago, I remember being told to take it one day at a time.

As a bipolar individual, it is incredibly difficult to take life one day at a time when you have a manic episode.  In fact, the world is rushing by you at 12,000 MPH and find it impossible to stop.  You feel invincible, like nothing, and nobody can stop you from anything.  The question that I begged to answer was, how do I prevent this from happening again??? What can I do RIGHT NOW to avoid another repeat hell winter??

Establish your routine:

My mother always told me it takes 21 days to build a habit.  Perfect.  21 days.

So I committed myself to walk to work for 21 days when during the summer months when the weather was clear.  It was so lovely and refreshing, extra steps!   I would bus to my job and then hit up the gym right after and walk home from the gym.  During the summer months, I was averaging close to 20K steps a day.  How cool right?

Until FALL hits like a rainstorm and you just don’t want to walk 2 miles uphill soaked.  So I compensated after the gym and took the bus home, so therefore I didn’t get as many steps.  Rather than feeling lazy about not getting enough steps, I increased my loads at the gym and found new exercises to continue to challenge and push me.  When I did this it told me two things 1.) You can still get just as much benefit as you were if you commit to just a bit longer at the gym.  Do 15 minutes more and then bus home.  Remember, PUSH yourself.  If you want to quit, think about your why.  Think about why you signed up for this.

Now it’s fall, and I’ve gone from 17K steps daily July 2018 to 13K steps Sept 2018.

Is my bipolar mind obsessing over it?  Not today. :). Instead, I’m looking at it this way.  I work my butt off at the gym, and I am driving home results.  I’m proud of my efforts, and I’m making sure that I treat my body right nutritionally to make sure that I’m getting the optimum nutrition I need for a healthy life.  I remember about what I learned after I quit drinking.  One Day at a time.

21 days to start a habit.  Unfortunately, it’s a habit.  Good/Bad depends on you and the choices that you make.

Btw today was my weigh in day on WW, and I lost another five lbs.

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12 months now.. down 85 and counting!  If you are on WW, find my Connect home @av8r007

Live your best life!

Mark

 

 

Automatic Thoughts, av8r007 @ WW Connect, Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT), Depression, Nourishing the soul, Suicide Prevention, Weight Watchers

Dear Lynn, I’ve got your back!

Dear Lynn,

Last Thursday I had posted a vlog in which I asked my followers on WWConnect (@av8r007) what you struggled with in life, and I chose your question for today’s video as well as I wanted to include a note of gratitude to you for opening up and being vulnerable with the community. You wrote: “Struggling with depression. 45 years, never found a med that helped, just muscled through and distracted enough to be ok. Going through a bad patch again and wish there were some new drugs around.”

Lynn, my friend you are loved and you are worth it.  I’ve been on anti-depressants and antipsychotics to treat my own bipolar/anxiety disorder and have found to have the same path as you. My psychiatrist has had me on numerous drugs all thought to treat the same, but no matter what happened, it just got worse. It never got better. It turns out though that it wasn’t the medications that were preventing me from being happy; it was the physical barriers that were standing in my way. I had to play leapfrog and skip right over them because life is short.

You have one mission in life, and that is to love thy neighbor as you love yourself. The issue with depression is self-love can be incredibly difficult to find. I don’t know what struggles your facing personally; however, I do identify wholeheartedly with your struggles, and I want you to know three things in closing.

1.) Jesus loves you just the way you are

2.) You are worth it! Believe it! The tribe does!

3.) Take your meds everyday.  Even if you feel perfectly fine.

Cheers to you and your success in life,

Mark