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!

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.

 

ADHD, Automatic Thoughts, Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT), Daily Prompt, Depression, Finances, Nature, Nourishing the soul, Suicide Prevention, Weight Watchers

CBT for the win! Omg!

Well I’ve been absent from my blog for a few days and I have a really good reason. I’ve been working on my self image, and working to improve my self love and workflow. Sounds amazing right?

Well it is, because for the first time in my life I am taking control of my life and the actions that take place in my life. I’ve spent my entire life making stupid decisions without thinking about long term consequences. I’ve often struggled with immediate gratification and I’ve come to understand the differences between a “Need” and a “Want.”

I need to get my shit together so I create a better life for my life. My life depends on it. Suicide is not an option for me. I believe that God created me to be an amazing human that is born to lead and to shine. I don’t believe God made me bipolar instead I firmly believe it was due to my childhood, and already knowing my brain was different from day 1 1985. Remember the XYY? One of the known genetic traits of XYY is behavior problems.. gee ya think?

Instead of being shameful of the choices that I’ve made in my past I am going to embrace the shame and reverse it into feeling love, and looking for divine power to rid my body of the evil within. Depression is a monster and I’m definitely hiring some exterminators to come remove the nasty beast because I refuse to let it claim habitat at my house!

Yesterday I went back to the gym. I took a really long time off from the gym and I regret it. I’ve become a house since I quit running and I’m not proud of it. However again, rather than shaming myself over my weight I will turn it into positivity and tell myself the following:

“Mark, you’re doing an amazing job with Weight Watchers and you’re seeing results! Hold steady and stay committed to this!”

I am doing an amazing job and I’m really proud of myself for how hard I’m working at getting my shit together. Thank you God for giving me the power to change my life!

❤️

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

Stigma: The silent killer.

It is now almost the end of the first month of 2018 and I’ve made more strides this month for my personal journey than I did in twelve months of last year.  I’ve continued my journey to sobriety and I’m now moving into my 10th month of no absolutely NO booze.  No slip ups, NOTHING, and I couldn’t be more proud of my effort!  My sobriety is shining through my skin and I am at the point in my life where I can openly discuss my journey with sobriety and how blogging has led to redemption in my life.

This last week was very difficult for me as I had two swift episodes of depression kick me in the ass and I was vulnerable for the attack because my partner was away on business and it gave me so much uncertainty about the future that I had a fully enraged manic episode on Wednesday night where I consumed anything in sight.  I must have eaten two pints of ice cream, bags of chips. Any junk food I could get and shove down my throat in an effort to feel better about who I was was taking place.  I am so much of an emotional eater that it stresses me out to just even think about whats for dinner?!

Part of my recovery program is getting in control of my weight gain and work on the parts of my life that trigger me to consume foods that work against me like sugar and aspartame products.. btw 10 days Diet Coke free!  I’m celebrating the small things in life..  The diet coke may only be 10 days but that’s also 150 cans of Diet Soda that I haven’t consumed.    It’s odd since getting off of the Diet Coke my consumption of food has gone way down (Except for the binge eating) I was doing really good.

Then Wednesday happened..  Thursday I felt like absolute shit when I woke up and I’ve recently met a new friend Erin who invited me to sit next to hear in my local Weight Watchers group.  We added each other on Facebook and we’ve chatted occasionally about how our week is going (Tracking our points) and it was quite nice to have that accountability partner.  I told Erin about how much I was struggling with my depression and I told her about the binge episode and she encouraged me to become more aware of my habits and to go back in and track it ALL.  So I did.  As much as I could remember because I wanted to prove something to myself.  I wanted to prove that I could do something and stick with it. Add some cute words and share it on Social Media.  I’d be stupid not to jump for a chance of Universe affirmations.  You know.. Law of Attraction.

 

I posted it on Connect (their subscriber social media tool, really neat btw) and it soared.  I felt so good after Erin encouraged me to go back in and re-evaluate my goals and I got the motivation I needed to get back to where I wanted to be.  I knew that the chances of me losing weight this week were very low because -253 is quite a bit!  It then turned into an opportunity to not obsess about it and instead focus on eating core plan foods (new freestyle plan) and I focused on that for two days until I have my Weigh In Day at Weight Watchers in Redmond, WA.  I have the best tribe there, and the best leader Pat.

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I accomplished a LOT last week and the entire time I thought I was a complete failure.

Folks, the mind will play games on you like you wouldn’t believe.

My depression has lifted and my partner and I are doing better.  No couple is perfect.

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My depression has robbed me of enjoying my life successes and I will conquer this demon and bury it alive because I will not back down from who I am and who I am meant to be.   I’ve lost two amazing people to suicide in the last month.  Tyler Hilinski and a good friend from back home that I knew since kindergarten.  I’m sorry I couldn’t save you, buddy.   It won’t end until the stigma is broken.

We need to surround ourselves with positive sources of information so that we can break down the stigma of hate and unveil the real reason people kill themselves.

People that inspire me.

Erin Callinan is an amazing friend of mine from my childhood who also struggles with bipolar disorder and has written a masterpiece that I absolutely adore. Thank you, Erin for sharing your light with the world.  Erin recently gave a speech that I’ve included below as well that she gave regarding stigma and suicide.  I found it to be very impactful because I know very well of what she speaks about because I have experienced all of it, first hand.

 

Stigma must be eliminated.  If my blog can reach you and you are feeling suicidal please reach out to your best friend, or someone you TRUST.  If you feel like you are alone and feel dark please reach out and talk to someone.  Talk to me.  Write a comment.   Share with me what you experience and let me be your voice.

Don’t suffer alone.  We can suffer together and make this world a better place.

Remember please use the following resources if you are suicidal, having suicidal thoughts or tendencies, OR know someone who is experiencing these symptoms PLEASE save their life and call 911DO NOT IGNORE IT AND HOPE THEY GET BETTER.  

Tyler Hilinski was an all-star football player and he ended his life two weeks ago and nobody knew he was depressed.

STIGMA.

 

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ADHD, Automatic Thoughts, Depression, Suicide Prevention

ESPN: Hilinski had no signs of depression before death

“Washington State coach Mike Leach says there were no outward signs that would have alarmed coaches or teammates before Tyler Hilinski took his own life.

Leach spoke extensively about Hilinski’s death for the first time on Saturday. Hilinski died Tuesday of a self-inflicted gunshot wound.”


Unbelievable. This could have been prevented except for the stigma behind depression prevents the conversation from happening.

Period of moping around??? Seriously. Learn how to understand depression. Every depressed child will confide in at least one friend regarding his depression. If he was suicidal it’s his friends responsibility to report that immediately.

There is no time for error in judgement when dealing with suicidal thoughts

I wish you were still with us. The government failed you. Mental health is never talked about until after suicide or violence. Even then it is mentioned for five days before falling forgotten. Deaf on the ears of those who need their voice the most.

http://www.espn.com/college-football/story/_/id/22162989/washington-state-coach-mike-leach-says-tyler-hilinski-did-not-appear-depressed

ADHD, Automatic Thoughts, Daily Prompt, Depression, Nature, Nourishing the soul, Suicide Prevention, Uncategorized, Weight Watchers

Alone & Vulnerable. You'll never guess what I found.

Today I needed to send out a powerful message that I’ve been harnessing in my soul when I made a discovery earlier this week that if I was weak or didn’t have skills in place I would have been an easy target.  I decided to clean the pantry and I found about .5 of a tall bottle vodka that was from Costco.  It was Kirkland signature and half gone.

 

NOOOOO!!

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I actually wanted to prove to myself that I could pour everything down the train, so I pulled out my phone and started recording the profound moment.  I now have a video that I can go back to my weakest moments and recount the reasons that I announced why I was doing this.  I posted this on Weight Watchers because I made it for the Connect tribe and it was a force of positive force that came with it.

Well – It was the easiest decision I made.

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Every day that I do not drink is every day that I am stronger.  I’m stronger now than I was 12 hours ago when I made the video. NSV = Non Scale Victory.. For WW followers, we’re big on NSV’s! They’re HUGE for us.


 

I don’t want to die young.  I don’t want to be depressed.  I don’t want to be manic. I don’t want this life but I have no choice.

Suicide is not an answer.

I am thrilled to announce that I will be featuring two guest bloggers on my site between now and the end of February.  I’ve chosen these individuals because of the path of freedom they have pursued and how their faith keeps them tied to the ground.

Oh yeah. Here is my progress I’m making with my weight management.

 

 

ADHD, Automatic Thoughts, Daily Prompt, Debt, Depression, Finances, Nature, Nourishing the soul, Suicide Prevention, Weight Watchers, YNAB

Redemption is here

44!

Remember the number 44 I’ll come back to it soon.  As many of you know I’ve been practicing the methods of CBT in David Burns ‘Feeling Good’ handbook.  I am also in therapy weekly with Chris and tonight was easily the best session to date because I was entirely focused on self, and setting up processes and routines are the key to keeping me on success.

About the 44:

Last week at my session I had to do the same survey (we do it weekly to track progress) and last week I scored a 20/25 score.Which put me at ‘Severely Depressed’ and indeed I was.  Over the course of November and December was a very dark period in my life.  I became self-obsessed with the tiniest thing in life that would just set me off and before I knew it I would focus so much negative energy in my heart into my head and it would cause me to either have a mental breakdown or a manic episode within no time.

Today before my apt I did the test again and I didn’t think about the questions I just checked it off as I went down and I scored an 8.  “Normal, but mildly depressed.”  LOL.

Well shit!  I’m not normal.

I am so excited for my blog.  I’ve been working on my YouTube channel and I need to learn how to edit videos!  I want to become good at this and learn a new skill.  I follow some really cool people on YouTube like Brian McDuff who owns a YouTube channel specializing in awesome tech and he’s a fantastic photographer and he makes really good videos.  This is the type of work I want to get involved with next.  I am fortunate to have access to Lynda.com through my local public library,.. <–AMAZING PERK!!  I was shocked when I found out that I could get that for free…. wait .. yeah free!

I’m going to go to the Library this weekend and sit down in a corner and sift out my ideas and start learning a new talent.  I absolutely admire librarians.  They’re the best teachers ever.

Thank you all for the kindness that you have shown me.  I am beyond blessed to the moon & back for all the love and courage that you’ve shown me.  You’ve allowed me to be my most vulnerable and being able to share my life with you and the struggles I face is a very rewarding experience.

ADHD, Automatic Thoughts, Debt, Depression, Finances, Nature, Nourishing the soul, Technology, Weight Watchers

Stigma Unraveled: Defining our successes within depression

Today is day 2 of No aspartame drinks and so far I’m feeling good. After much thought in my head.. OK 5,000 to be exact trying to second guess my best interest! My own health… Who would have thought that a schizophrenic brain would cause us to think that we’re gonna fail at trying to improve our health??

Thanks Brain for trying to be against me! Is this my depression trying to sabotage a positive thought? Or is just the Universe telling me to back off of myself and to let God lead the way to my happiness?

So yesterday I wrote about how I was going to stop drinking diet soda AND fake sugar products all together and that was that, and there was NO room for in between.. Remember for bi-polar folks..we have no middle ground.. It’s either ALL of it, or NONE of it. This is often the hardest part to accept when we think that it’s either I’m fully committed to this, or if I slip up just once I’m going to be a total failure..<—What thought process does that sound like??

ALL OR NOTHING.. I swear I should rename my blog ALL OR NOTHING because as of late that seems to be my entire thinking patterns. However distorted they appear they can look so real. Almost like I’m hallucinating that stuff is happening or that stuff is there that really doesn’t exist. I’m still coming to terms with all these diagnosis and as much overwhelming as it may be I know two things. 1.) God doesn’t give you anything you can’t handle 2.) Rome wasn’t built in a day.

For being 2018 all of us have New Years resolutions that we want to achieve. In reality though how often to we actually succeed in the resolution to lose weight?? Is that not at the top of everyone’s? This is why gyms are so busy in January but come Feb 1st, gyms are empty… Why? Is it because it’s so easy to give up on ourselves? Well for me, absolutely. For the kid with zero self confidence I would say Yes. I gave up on myself long ago and this could explain why I’m addicted to drinking and smoking. What is it that is causing me so much pain and grief?

It’s my wild mind at the end of the day. Despite having so many medications in my system.. Zoloft, Adderall XR, and Ambien I find myself at the pharmaceutical drug lords hoping to stabilize my mind. One of my fellow bloggers (Joseph Emerson – What’s inside a Madman’s hat) wrote a marvelous poem that shows the struggles of medicating in the mental health system and blogs about how when we approach our doctors regarding our continued depression, we are often thrown more of the medication in hopes of stabilizing our minds. His post really resonated with me how often our doctors are prescribing these drugs like they’re handing out candy and then I started to think… John Oliver of ‘ Last Week Tonight’ Have you seen it? Amazing show.. Oliver did a spot about pharmaceutical anti depressant drugs and how overused and abused they are by doctors and staff. The monetary benefit alone that doctors receive are absurd just for recommending the drug! I’ve included the video below. It’s definitely worth a view.

If you don’t mind John Oliver slightly offensive monologue then I want you to watch this and understand me when I’m saying the entire situation in America is fucked up with pharmaceutical drug companies. I couldn’t stand to be on Seraquel.. I had the WORST nightmares on that and I had horrible side effects including night sweats.. Side effects are never fun. Yet Seraquel is one of the primary antipsychotics on the market. Ugh no!

It is my ultimate desire one day to not have to take these drugs to survive mentally but until then I had no choice and I will not voluntarily stop taking these drugs either just because I’m “feeling better.” Remember folks, in order for any drug to be effective and to work for you you have to take your meds everyday, SSRI’s especially. SSRI’s have to build up in the body before they take effect. If you only take it once in a while it will be of zero help to you. It took a good 8-10 weeks before Zoloft (what I currently take) took effect and there was no lightbulb that went off either than said “It’s working now!” It was trial and error for me and honestly learning how to slow down my emotions and thoughts really took some time to learn. CBT is the savior for this.

There are so many videos out there on YouTube regarding depression and every video I’ve ever watched about depression always show’s one primary reason why the fight is worth it… STIGMA.

My entire soul purpose of this blog is to help break down walls and eliminate the stigma surrounding mental health. There are so many people in today’s society that are completely inept and bigoted to the mental health community and god forbid I’m not like him… You know what dude? Fuck you and your ignorance. I am perfect just the way I am.. If you don’t like it.. Here you go. I made this just for you.

Everyday we are better. Every post we make.. Better.

-Mark Taylor

ADHD, Automatic Thoughts, Debt, Depression, Finances, Nature, Nourishing the soul, Technology, Weight Watchers

Facing addictions head on

Today was a weird day. Did you have a weird Monday too? Well on the way to the train this morning at 5am I was tired of feeling like shit when I wake up and I started to think about what I did the previous day and the previous days that I’ve felt similar:

Diet Coke. You are killing me.

For my entire life, all 32 years of it I have been drinking Diet Coke everyday multiple times a day. In fact I would drink more Diet Coke than water everyday because I hate the flavor of water and I’m tired of peeing all the time when I drink tons of water.. but even Diet Coke is a diuretic so it would do the same thing!

Naturally I said, I’m done. Today I’m giving up Diet Coke entirely. If that wasn’t enough I then decided to include energy drinks (diet) and also include ALL fake sugar products to he banned effective immediately. Did I go too far? Maybe.

I wasn’t even having a manic moment this morning to trigger an All or Nothing reference.. I felt like I wanted to vomit this AM so naturally I associated it with my Diet Coke consumption. Because that makes so much since Mark. Or does it?

There have been in mind-numbing out there berating Diet Coke and it’s affects on the body. Most importantly Aspartame effect on the body. Diet Pepsi recently removed aspartame from their product and maintained the taste. Well that’s just great! But it’s not Diet Coke. I have a preference! Had a preference.

So it is now 5:03pm and I’m on the bus ride home and I managed to not drink anything Diet today and I stayed within my points today for WW but I am getting hangry fast! It’s a a process. Maybe I should have done Diet Coke for two weeks and then take out energy drinks (diet) but knowing me and my patterns that wouldn’t have been a good idea either because it would still be TOO MUCH for me to handle and my stresses would barrel out of control and would cause me to fall into a manic episode. Im not fortune telling either (which is another thought pattern in David Burns book) as by me indicating my future would be an assumption that I know may not be true.

As far as the Diet Coke consumption AND the diet products are gone. Now that I am blogging I am expecting my followers to hold me accountable. Ha no kidding. I’m sure you’ll hear about this a lot because like Alcohol, Diet Coke is an addiction.

I think about the science research they say about artificial sugars and aspartame in the body and as much as I don’t want to agree I have to. This shit is disgusting as to what it does to our bodies.

https://aspartame.mercola.com

All it takes is a google search for “aspartame” and if you’re feeling lucky just let Google fill in the rest of the prediction.. Aspartame..kills, depression, causes manic, causes schizophrenic episodes..etc all of it.

There are a bunch of other habits I’d like to get rid of now including:

Leaving the seat up

Going to bed by 9 every night

Waking up at 5am with no snoozes

Doing dishes

Hanging up my towel. (You’re welcome babe)

And many many other things that I can’t even think of.

Where does it all start?

Easy: Be removing Diet Coke from my life I am confident that it will give me a sense of power over my thoughts and what I put in my body. In addition I will look sexier, slimmer, and maybe my teeth will get whiter.

I don’t see any negative consequences yet?

Except for being an irritable bitch.

I know that I will be successful at removing this from my life once again. A few things are different this time that gives me better chances of being successful including:

Blogger

Being stable on medications

Not doing everything overnight

Follow Weight Watchers

All four of these are on my side and should not get in the way of me attaining what I want out of life. As I mentioned in earlier posts. I want to get my physique back. I’m tired of being overweight. Being overweight contributes heavily to my self esteem and mental health.

Everyday that I continue this journey of sobriety, and as I remove these substance battles from my life I will only improve greatly. There is no negative side effects with improving your life. I’m ready to change. I’m ready to feel good again. When I don’t feel sexy, I eat terribly and feel like a sloth in the mirror.

No more! Just Diet Coke no more, AND fake sugar products. If I just gave up Diet Coke and continued to drink fake sugar products I wouldn’t be improving my chances. If anything i would worsen my chances of remaining free from soda consumption. God I make it sound worse than giving up the sauce but I drank diet products 10x the amount of alcohol I drank.

If someone cut me, I’d bleed Diet Coke.