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.

ADHD, Automatic Thoughts, Depression

The struggle is real and I’ll never give up fighting.

As I continue my journey towards sobriety I have to constantly remind myself that it’s “one day at a time.” There are times that because I am bipolar that I take on too many things at once and think that I can handle it all. The truth is that type of thinking is “all or nothing” and it’s a dangerous place to be in because of you try to carry all of it at once or you risk falling down and everything is ruined.

Except not anymore! One day at a time means, sobriety comes first! Everything else in time.

Just remember Mark.. was your only goal for today is to remain sober. Everything else can wait.

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.

Depression

My story will never end. ;

Dear Tribe,

I cannot begin to thank you enough for all the support that you have shown me since I came clean about my addictions. Truly, thank you for standing beside me and giving me the confidence I need to be able to finally say I AM WORTH it!

When I was a child growing up I didn’t have self esteem what so ever. I was an obese child and learned at a very young age that food was directly connected to my emotions and that when I felt bad, I would just eat and eat and eat because food was my escape. Especially good tasting food like Moms Lasagna.. I just couldn’t stop because I felt so miserable in life.

I acted out a lot as a child and I did some pretty crappy things to my parents because I didn’t know who I was when I was growing up. I knew something was wrong with me but I didn’t want to take the time to figure it out. Instead I just continued to eat junk and the weight just piled on. My actions that I committed when I was a child landed me in therapy at age 7 and it continued until I was 18 years old. I had a family therapist that I saw for many years.

In 2013 one year after moving to Seattle, I had a mental breakdown and made the decision to return to therapy because my will to live was slowly fading. I’ve since been in weekly therapy since 2013 -> 2019 and quite honestly if it wasn’t for my therapist Chris, I don’t know that I would be here today. We practice CBT (Cognitive Behavior Therapy) and it really works well for treating my bipolar disorder.

One of the trademark behaviors of bipolar disorder is distorted thinking. Think of it like you’re looking at the world through two toilet paper rolls. You don’t see the color in the world, you see black/white and everything is in the extreme level. This is called All or Nothing thinking. It’s a trap and I’m really working hard on that. It’s a constant struggle but I know that I am worth it!

Addiction has haunted me my entire life and becoming clean and sober has been a daunting task, however I’m worth it and worth the struggle! Food is still my number one go to when stress hits and right now that is hard to deal with and it fuels my depressive episodes.

When I feel depressed, and I binge eat I don’t log the food in the WW app because I just don’t feel like I’m worthy to do it. It’s a terrible feeling to not feel worthy and it’s something that I’m constantly working at in life by running the mantra “Choose Happiness” because I’ve realized that at the start of every day I have a choice to make. Choose Happy or Choose a Chaos. It’s all or nothing it seems and when i get so tied down with myself, I start to resent myself and my will to live, and I really struggle in this area when I am depressed.

Thankfully I love to write and blog, and record videos for my tribe and my therapist commends me on it because he says it’s very therapeutic for me in doing so and I agree.

I have high aspirations of expanding my vlog to YouTube but I just feel lazy lately in goal setting and that’s what this post is about.

I lead with a line often that “if it’s not challenging you, it’s not changing you.” And that’s the absolute truth.

How can I get to my goals if I’m not holding myself accountable? How can I get rid of this fat on my body if I’m not logging my food in the WW app?

Ps.. I have insomnia right now.. nothing like writing a story at 4am..

The point is, I’m worth it, and so are you.

I’m worth logging my food on WW every day

I’m worth getting exercise and earning Fit Points

I’m worth loving my body

I’m worth being sober

I’m worth life.

I need to embrace that whole heartedly.

I know I can do this. I am a strong willed individual.

Thank you all for believing in me. I absolutely love my vlog on WW and I hope that my videos inspire you to seek happiness and lead a healthy life.

I’m not going anywhere either. I’m going to double down on my efforts and finally loose this fat. I will log my food daily and I will commit to fully being WW and building a sustainable life

I know I can do this. I’m worth it!

Depression

Despite the clouds I’m feeling pretty good.

It must be fall in Seattle if you can no longer see the Space Needle through the dense clouds.

Now more than ever it is time for my happy late to be built into my daily routine, which ✅ totally nailed today! Thanks to Alexa and her handy dandy technology that I use to automate my life. It is so much easier to be bipolar in 2018 then it was in 2003 when technology like this didn’t exist, and the label of bipolar didn’t really exist like it does today.

I had a good day today. I went to the gym after work and flirted with some really attractive guys. Wow.. But hey.. they can spot me anytime. Just sayin.

I’m love being single. Absolutely love it. I’m lean, I’m gaining control of my life, and I look good naked. FINALLY!

What did I do to cause this?

Well.

– I gave up drinking 2 years ago

– I joined a gym across the street from my career

-I logged into WW every day and logged my food

-I posted on WW Connect daily A) for attendance and B.) to let ppl know I’m still alive.. 2017 was a dark year for me. 2018 started out really dark, but in the end turned out to be the year of my lifetime.

I’m not perfect, and I’m not trying to be anymore. I tried chasing perfection and I ended up with nothing but debt and depression. Perfection is flawed. It’s fake.

Be well World. Chase your happiness. I’m chasing mine

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

Automatic Thoughts, Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT), Depression, Suicide Prevention, Technology, Weight Watchers

Binge eating and how I’m beating the hell out of it.

Depression is rotten.  It is a rotten disorder that often haunts me with food indulgences and lack of responsibility in portion control and accurately tracking my points on Weight Watchers.  I wonder why I do things the way I do sometimes however for binge eating I am rather curious how my thoughts form that give myself permission to indulge in XYZ?

I work out a ton.  I am proud of that.  What kills me though is when I do binge I feel like I am ruining my efforts at the gym.  I feel like I’m purposely sabotaging myself by consuming candy at the movie theatre or eating a pint of Halo Top on my bed while watching Black Mirror on Netflix.  What is it that causes me to do this?

For me I believe it comes down to two things:

Am I eating any aspartame?

Where is my Weight Watchers app?  Have I checked into Connect today?

Since giving up Diet Coke four weeks ago I have witnessed sensational changes in my appearance and my outlook is better.  I definitely look less bloated in tight muscle shirts and I like that.  🙂 A lot.  My muscles are definitely growing during sleep.    I’m just learning to be patient and learning everything in time.  I often remind myself it’s not a race, or a marathon Mark so slow down!  I hope I have many many years left on Earth and I want to enjoy my bipolar life.  I want to continue to spread awareness on mental health to everyone I encounter.

“Hi! Is everything ok?”

Just ask.