Where to even begin? The last 4+ months have been living hell for me and I sort of don’t want to go down memory lane explaining how awful it’s been. But here we go- a quick recap of this shit so I can get into the positive stuff! 

Anxiety is not just being anxious about something. Everyone experiences anxiety almost daily- if it weren’t present, we’d have no reason to hussle getting to work on time, or to go to the gym, or take care of our families. Anxiety fuels us to do things. It can sometimes come at times that are not needed though and out of nowhere.  In fact, my life was going utterly perfect when this hit me. Ultimately through my 2 therapists (one in-person and one through TalkSpace which is an amazing service) and my pyschiatrist, we have concluded 2 things- I have bipolar depression (so was not expecting this) and the ‘mania’ I experience is crippling anxiety in a very high state, and that the culmination of everything that happened to me the last 3 years family-wise, personal life-wise and job-wise that I tried to bury and not deal with exploded out of me. Basically out of nowhere, but could have been triggered through the high levels of anxiety I had during the flights to and from Mexico and all the stress from teaching so many spin classes daily. When I heard the diagnosis, I cried so hard. I felt completely hopeless and terrified. I have been blessed with a very caring pyschiatrist who doesn’t care what it takes to get you feeling better, he will do it and help you. He saw me at the bottom of my depression a little over 2 years ago, helped me get to the amazing place I was in last year, and was very shocked when I took a nosedive in November. It took us over 4 months to get to this diagnosis, and we did it together. I discontinued the medicine I used for 2+ years and started a new one 2 weeks ago and there’s been a big difference. I won’t lie and say things are anywhere near awesome and that I am scared every day of things going south again, but somehow I dug myself out of the hole I’ve been trapped in and started living again. I gave up teaching Spin in early February and it was heart breaking to say the least. I’m not sure how I kept teaching during the highest states of my anxiety- pure will power I guess. It was making me feel worse so I finally had to stop. As my best friend Brenda reminded me 1000 times, teaching Spin will always be there- for now, it’s time to take care of myself and just keep working my full-time job where my bosses were nothing but supportive and helpful through this. It’s been 4 months of pure hell and terror and I would never have made it through if it weren’t for my wonderful John. Every single night he has let me do whatever I needed to survive- usually just crying myself to sleep- but he pushed me to go running a few times, helped me make food when I could barely get out of bed, texted me hourly to make sure I knew how much he loves me, and his undying support and letting me know that I would indeed get through this and he would be by my side. I have no way to ever repay him, but he is truly the best person in my life. 
So, I only really have to catch you up on the last 2 weeks of my life where I have actually been LIVING again! One of the best things I’ve done for myself was sign up for a 10 week challenge through the most amazing cycling studio in NY- CYC Fitness. I have been basically doing nothing since mid-February exercise-wise so it was time to get back in it. Brenda is obsessed with CYC and I tried a class out last July 4th and it kicked my ass even while I was in great shape! It’s just SO much fun for 45 minutes and includes 4-5 songs where the resistance is up almost all the way and you use 1-2 lb sandbags for a few arm routines. Sounds easy, right? Wrong. Like I said, even last year when I was in great shape the arm portion killed me. I am not stupid enough to think 2 lb weights will tone my arms up since I have fat to lose on them since I was basically sedentary for a few months, but let’s just say I am REAL sore after class in the triceps! The challenge includes 40 classes (4 classes/week) that you complete by May 31st, and the package also included a bottle of VitaFusion gummy vitamins, and 10 blowouts courtesy of Glam and Go which is a blowout station INSIDE the locker room. How freaking genius right? I took my 4 classes last Wednesday morning, Thursday night, Friday morning and Sunday morning with Brenda for my birthday!
IMG_8148 (1)IMG_8152IMG_8190
Blow out #1! LOVED it!
I am super excited for week 2 of the CYC 10-week challenge and to also be teaching for the first time in almost 2 months this week! I’ll continue my birthday post tomorrow and hopefully actually write a few times a week now!
I’ve missed you guys so much. Who out there is still reading?! 🙂
Advertisements

Happy (yes, HAPPY.) 2015.

Even though I am currently still in the throes of terrible anxiety, I am not giving up hope that 2015 will be great. I actually can’t really think of the future too much right now because I have to take things hour by hour and don’t have the energy to think of the future, but my big thing for this year is learning to accept myself. I never thought I’d be able to accept my body and over the last year I did, whether I’m right where I want to be or 10 pounds heavier, I learned to love and accept my body and stop trashing it. Why can’t I learn to accept that with my anxiety issues, I need to slow down and be okay with it? A jam-packed schedule is not something I can handle right now. Maybe one day I can do it again, but for my mental health right now I most certainly can not. I wish I could go back to being the girl who could work 45 hours a week plus teach 15 spin classes, but I can’t. Turns out- that girl was running from some deep-seeded issues that decided to explode out of me 6.5 weeks ago, out of nowhere. Anxiety has a way of coming out of (what we think is) nowhere and leaves us having to piece the puzzle back together. 2014 was SO AMAZING for me and I think it was too hard for me to accept that I deserved all of that happiness. Something inside me sabotaged it subconsciously and now I am left trying to figure out what to do. This isn’t just attacks I’m experiencing, it’s 24 hours a day of anxiety. Just chillin’. I’ve become a huge hypochondriac (anyone else out there feel me?) and every part of my day is a challenge. Teaching Spin has gone from my biggest passion in life, to my biggest fear. Intense workouts makes my anxiety worse, and even teaching off the bike gets my adrenaline going when it’s already high. I’ve cut way back on my classes and while it sucks for not just me and my wallet, I know my clients miss me but I also know they would want me to take care of myself. And right now and for however long I need to, that is what I am doing. I am trying to keep 3-5 classes a week (ha, kind of sad that I consider that cutting back! Hindsight…) as long as I can. Running helps me the slightest bit, but they have been few and far between as usually all I can muster up is sleeping. While my faith of this getting better has definitely been tested, reading this post today made me cry and reevaluate. By nature I am a bit of a negative person when it comes to myself, and I know that I need to change this to see progress. It is SO not easy to do, but all you can do is try. I need to learn how to live more fearlessly which seems incredibly hard for me right now. Positivity is the name of 2015!

 

What do you envision for 2015?

I miss you.

I hate to say “I’m back” because I think I’ve proven that I am a bit unreliable these days when it comes to blogging… but for today, I am here. I am saying hello. And I am trying to pick up where I left off and continue right here, instead of just doing a big massive recap of the last few months. I will have to include some Mexico pictures and highlights because it was the best trip of my life but things the last few weeks have been really rough for me and I’m hoping bringing back writing will help me cope a little more. As I’ve opened up about before, I’ve dealt with depression and anxiety most of my life and it has been pretty tame over the last 2 years since I started taking a low dose of medicine and therapy. Especially in the last 6+ months since I started my new job, I have been the happiest I’ve been in years. So confident and just feeling amazing. For some reason about a week after I got back from Mexico, I got hit with a bout of anxiety from nowhere that has not really subsided. It was so bad 2 weeks ago that I had to get an ultrasound of my heart because my blood pressure was so high. It’s been so scary and just putting it out there that our minds can really screw us up pretty badly. Long story short and after 2 emergency sessions with my psychiatrist, we decided to stop taking the medicine I was on (lowest dose of Wellbutrin) and let my body get used to not being on anything. My body is VERY sensitive to things, like I feel the effects of everything not just medicine almost instantly, so within a few days my anxiety started to get better. I am feeling a little down but that is to be expected after coming off an anti-depressant, and it’s NOTHING compared to how depressed I was when I originally went on the medicine 2 years ago. This is just more worry that I will never feel normal again because that’s my biggest fear. I basically have “denationalization disorder” from extreme anxiety so for 3+ weeks now I have felt totally disconnected from my mind and body. Meaning I have to really pinch myself or touch my face to even remember that I am existing, and sometimes the act of doing that freaks me out. It basically must be what a really bad trip on acid is like? But I can assure you I’ve done no drugs. So my course of action for the next 5-6 weeks is no medicine, starting therapy again, and trying to really get myself to yoga or start a practice at home. I am not against going on another low dose of an antidepressant but I’m really not depressed, just full of extreme anxiety for reasons I am not sure of. The worst part is that it’s effected my spin classes; for some reason exercise has made this worse, so I’ve had to cut back on a lot of my classes because I feel horrible and anxious the whole time and it’s incredibly distracting. It’s also made me develop some social anxiety, so the thought of being in public and riding the subway every day has been SO challenging for me. Here’s hoping answers are coming soon.

If you have any tips or want to share your story of dealing with anxiety, I’d love to hear them! 

Treat. Yo. Self.

I am officially declaring today the last day of this winter. GOODBYE. I can’t with you anymore. I am so sick of wearing layers and a huge puffy jacket and feeling just generally gross and unkempt. I am literally losing my mind so I really needed to give myself some TLC. How did I do this? Yesterday I online shopped (a little toooo much) for birthday presents for myself and today I received my yearly bonus at work and guess what? I BOOKED ME AND JOHN’S FIRST TRIP TO MEXICO!! More on that later because I’m so excited I want to be put to sleep until November 1st. (and have someone do all my marathon training for me)

Let me show you a few things I got and although I’ll probably end up returning some of it since things don’t always look the same in person, I’m so excited to see all of them! I’m all about super easy pieces, something that you can just throw on that’s always comfortable and easy to accessorize.

First up: I got an email from Francesca’s today and I was obsessed with the outfit right on the email! I think it will be a great birthday outfit so I ordered the top and skirt but not the necklace.

photo 1

Francesca’s is a little boutique I found out about last summer in Syracuse while shopping for a dress for my friend’s wedding. I had no idea it was a chain store and they finally opened a couple in the city. They have SUCH great accessories and clothes. Here is the link to the top and skirt, in case you’re interested. (I get no credit for any of these links, FYI) I did use the code FEBRUARY14 to save some money! If that doesn’t work, try MARCH14.

I also ordered these loafers that are finally on sale! I have been eyeing them for a couple of months and I snagged them for $20, originally $70.

photo 2

Too cute, right? They have other colors and designs here.

I then went a little nuts on Forever 21. Twice a year I get the big urge to shop here and ONLY online. I absolutely cannot handle the madness of the Times Square, Herald Square or Union Square locations any longer. I actually hate shopping in stores these days. It’s sad what working in retail does to you! Anyways, I could shop on their website all damn day. Here’s what I snagged:

photo 1 (1)

Super basic sandal, pretty much essential. $12.80! Get them here.

photo 2 (1)

I have been searching for an inexpensive pair of these for months. I believe Steve Madden had them and they were close to $100 if not more. Forever has them for $26. Yup. If you haven’t noticed, I’m a huge loafer/oxford fan and the crazier the pattern the better.

jumper (2)This jumper is hopefully going to be another birthday outing outfit, most likely with a leather jacket over it since I’m sure it won’t be in the 70’s in just a few weeks 😉 It’s going to be a great summer night dinner outfit, too!

I’m a tad obsessed with coats and need one (okay, many) for each season. I’m going to see how this one is but I just need a light-weight coat for the first few months of spring since it stays chilly at night here until June.

parka (1)

shortsThese shorts. I can’t even with how cute they are. Really hoping they fit! I also got some accessories like scarves and jewelry. Once they come in I’ll let you know what I keep! When I first order things I want them all to fit and then once they come like almost 2 weeks later I want to return things to get money back, haha. Anyone else feel like that? But anyways, sometimes you just really need to indulge yourself with nice things! After all, we can’t take money with us on the other side. (I don’t think anyways 😉 )

So, Mexico. After the last 2 years of my life that have been downright awful and I still often wonder how I’ve come out on the other side, I knew that this year I wanted to do something big and extravagant and just LIVE. I have truly felt dead for 2 years now, just going through the motions of life and being miserable. No more. What is the PURPOSE of doing that? Of course it’s easy to say that when you are starting to feel alive again, but please know that there were more bad days than good over the course of the last 2 years for me and I had absolutely given up 99% of hope that things would get better. But you see that 1% I held onto of faith and optimism? It was the only thing that got me up in the morning. I forced myself to start doing things that I at least once loved, hoping that the repetition and routine would eventually make me feel whole again. And it did. I’m not sure where along the way that something turned for me, but it did. I went into teaching my spin classes last November with next to no enthusiasm on the inside, but I had to be present and act during each class. Eventually teaching became my savior. It was finally something to look forward to, and to give me something to work towards. Making playlists each week, visualizing the choreography, and imagining my classes working their butts off and making them feel great about themselves. THAT’S WHAT IT WAS AND IS. When you are feeling down, I swear the key is making others feel good. Think about it: when you’re down you probably spend a pretty good amount of time trying to make yourself feel good and sometimes to no avail. What if you channeled that energy into making other people feel good which basically always works? It DOES work. Teaching spin has given me a sense of self again because I’m doing something I love that really means something. Sure, working 7 days a week is a little exhausting but it’s not forever and my classes don’t feel like work at all. Well, they feel like physical work but not exhausting mental work!

One of the best parts of this trip is when we’re going. First of all, we’re going to Costa Rica in the beginning of August for John’s sister wedding but all we have to pay for is the plane ticket. Obviously super stoked to go! I’ve been waiting for years to be able to afford to travel and it’s what I want to save my money for. I’M LITERALLY SO EXCITED I CAN’T STOP DANCING. But we are going on November 4th which is just 2 days after I run the NYC Marathon! What an amazing treat, right? It will give me something to think about during those terrible miles at the end of the marathon when I will be wishing I was dead. And I won’t have to worry about fitting in workouts or anything on vacation because I’ll be taking the week off from exercising other than walking! SO MUCH SLEEP, CANNOT WAIT.

After weeks of shopping and comparing, the resort I kept coming back to was The Westin. Take a deep breath and take a look at these pics. PS- I’ve never been on a tropical vacation, so my excitement level is through the roof.

westin[Source]

westin2[Source]

westin3[Source]

westin4[Source]

Okay I’m literally drooling.

Only 241 days until we leave! Expect a daily countdown and I am NOT sorry. 😉

If you’ve been to Cancun, please tell me all about it!!

How often do you treat yourself with clothes, shoes, etc? What makes you feel good? 

Blah.

Man this week… has been rough. Really, really rough. The crazy amounts of snow are just adding to the roughness but emotionally this has been a terrible week for me. At least 50% of it is thanks to PMS, but in the spirit of keeping it real I’m just struggling with a lot of personal issues in my life right now. Some days are better than others but this week it has been one thing after another. Getting out of bed is a part-time job to me right now. I just feel depressed before I’ve even turned off my alarm, unless I’m going to teach a class. I’ve had a migraine that started late yesterday afternoon and hasn’t quit. Add on to that eating like total junk and consuming WAY too much sugar and caffeine and I am a walking ball of irritability. Not my best look, ya’ll. I’m just really fried from all the things in my life that just aren’t bringing me any form of happiness. I’d love to open up about it more but I really can’t, just know I am definitely on the journey to finding what I need to get rid of in my life to be happier. It’s just a lot easier said than done. Especially because I’m not rich or come from a rich family who could support me. Ya feel me?

I was supposed to be leaving tonight to take the bus upstate for the weekend but the road conditions are terrible so I rescheduled for tomorrow morning. I am looking forward to a few days of no work, getting my hair done, seeing my family and my good friend Rachel for her baby shower.

On a happier note, I got to go to the SELF Magazine offices in Times Square on Tuesday night because I was chosen to be a healthy food taste tester! How rad is that? A few of us got to chow down on various different hummuses, low-sodium turkey, crackers, sweet potato fries, and raspberry sorbet, all of which were. If you are a reader of Self, you are probably familiar with their annual healthy food awards issue. It’s my favorite! I love reading it every year because it opens me up to new healthy foods that I probably overlook in the grocery store. I can’t wait to find out the results because the raspberry sorbet I picked is SO delicious, I don’t even have words. I was in the dairy-free taste testing group so everything I ate was devoid of lactose. Great news for my stomach and bowels. TMI.

This week’s workouts have included… teaching one spin class, and no running since Sunday. Pretty much waving my hopes of good spring half marathons goodbye (not really, that’s just the PMS talking 😉 ) My left hip was so tight and painful for 2 days after my last treadmill run though and I couldn’t even make it to 1 mile. At least I’ve eaten froyo twice this week? Ugh.

How do you overcome being way down in the dumps? 

Anyone else struggle on the treadmill physically? Why does it want to destroy my hip?

Honesty & Depression

So besides the fact that it’s Holiday season and I work in major NYC retail which is one of the main reasons I have been M.I.A from the blog scene, there is something I have been toying with sharing with you all. I am an honest and open person, so I decided I would share what I felt I could. I also felt that in light of the tragedy that happened to those poor children in Connecticut, light should be shed on mental health illnesses. There seems to be a major stigma with them, some sort of fear or brushing them under the rug because they are so hard to pin point and sometimes hard to believe someone could be dealing with. But I don’t to be another person hush-hushing what so many of us out there deal with on a daily basis. I can only hope that this post will help someone else out there seek the help that they deserve.

For most of my life and especially teenage-adult life, I have suffered from varying degrees of depression and anxiety. As far back as middle school, I remember feeling “off” and feelings of sadness and unworthiness that I couldn’t shake. I never went to an actual therapist but I would talk to my primary care doctor and she never seemed worried, just kind of brushed it off as being a teenager going through changes. I always had a great group of friends, a close family and nothing really to complain about. My weight always bothered me especially going into high school  and finally when I was 17 and felt my depression was out of my control my doctor prescribed me an anti-depressant at a very low dose. Within a week, I felt a lot better but not completely different, which I thought was a good thing. I had been afraid of going on any medicine for fear that it would make me a different person, but this just eased my anxiety and gave me a lot of energy which I had been lacking. After a few short months on it, I didn’t think I needed it any longer and since it was such a low dose I didn’t need to get off of it slowly. I was just able to stop taking it.

Throughout the years after high school, I put on more and more weight and dealt with practically crippling anxiety for a few months in the spring of 2009, right before I gained control and lost weight. I was dealing with tons of mixed emotions all through my weight loss, and even once I got (below) my goal weight, a whole new set of problems appeared. I became obsessed with controlling my calorie intake and obsessively exercising, and only felt worthy if I went to bed eating far too little food. Of course this led to months of binging, into 2012 where I dealt with my greatest loss of all- the death of my grandma this past February. Ever since that day, it has been a struggle for me to even get out of bed most days. I can’t get into detail regarding other areas of my life, but this year has felt like my entire world as I knew it was shattered into a million pieces. Granted, amazing things have happened to me this year but I have gone through the motions and never felt how I should all year. I have tried time and time again to pick myself up, start over, “get back on track” and I feel like I have such little control of my emotions that I snap constantly. I go to bed optimistic that the next day will be better, but wake up and have no hope before I even get out of bed. This has led me to get sick more times in the last 3 months that I’ve been in the last 3 years. My body is essentially shutting down and I finally accepted that I need to reach out for help for myself. This was by far one of the hardest things for me to ever do. After losing 110 pounds, I should be able to do anything for myself, right? Apparently I was wrong.

I have been going to a therapist a few times for the last few weeks and she confirmed my other greatest fear. I simply cannot control everything the way I want to, and she is sure that I am suffering from a chemical imbalance/mood disorder that can only be corrected with medicine. One thing she said to me that really hit me hard is that I don’t have to live and feel like this. There are solutions. A low dose of an anti-depressant/anti-anxiety medicine can simply take away the bad and leave the good. The one I tried when I was 17 proved to help but I didn’t need it the way I need it now. I would never judge anyone at any age who is taking an anti-depressant, but for some reason I felt so ashamed admitting that I need help.

I truly try to come off as someone who is happy and at least approachable, and I don’t like to project my mood or feelings on others as to ruin their mood. I am lucky to have some of the best people ever in my life who never make me feel like a burden. However at some point your friends, as amazing as they are, can only offer so much advice before the next step has to be taken. I have never felt any feelings of harming myself or others, just a disclaimer, but that isn’t the point anyone should get to before they seek help. We are supposed to feel happy and fulfilled and everyone has the right to that. A chemical imbalance is not something any of us can help if we suffer with it. Relating to health and fitness, I think this is the main reason I have been unable to get my stress eating under control this year. These 15 pounds that bother me every day and I want so badly to lose, I can’t muster up the motivation to get there because I am buried with anxiety. Almost every minute of my day is a struggle the last few months and I know that is not the way I should feel!

Mental illnesses need to be taken more seriously and need to have the shame erased from it. I am happy I have taken the (scary) approach to seek help for myself. I hope that this will inspire someone who is afraid to do the same. You are worth it!