April 11, 2018

The Big Fat Mess That Is My Life Right Now

I honestly don't even know where to begin. And at the same time, I really don't even know what to say.

I've been struggling in so many ways lately that I feel like I'm too far gone to fix it.

I mostly just feel very overwhelmed. Overwhelmed with all the things keeping me busy right now, of course; but also at all the things that I've dropped the ball on, and how badly I want to get back to the good place I was in last year.

Last year, I felt fantastic. After my bipolar diagnosis, I started the correct medication, and it worked wonders for me. I had a major breakthrough in therapy, which helped me to stop caring what other people think of me and to do what makes me happy.

And I was! I felt very happy, even though I had made some huge changes--like taking an indefinite hiatus from running, for example. My weight dropped down to my goal weight almost effortlessly, even without counting calories. I had quit drinking almost entirely, having a drink about once a month, which made me feel healthier. I was super productive with everything--my blog overhaul, getting my house cleaned and organized, and putting my life in order.

I'm not sure how/when/why it happened, but things have been changing over the last several months, and I feel like a big old mess right now.

I haven't been blogging much at all (other than the vacation posts I just did). Every time I think about writing, I feel anxious and stressed, so I just avoid it altogether. I've gotten very good at avoidance, which is only making me feel worse.

I haven't been doing a good job with the eating habits I'd developed last year, and I've fallen back into some of the old (bad) habits that will inevitably lead me to gain all the weight back if I don't take control over it. For example, I started drinking coffee with cream and sugar. I had completely given up coffee in 2011, and on the rare occasion I did have it, I would add a tiny bit of cream, but no sugar. Now, drinking coffee adds a couple hundred calories to my day!

My weight is inching very closely to 150--I went on vacation last week and gained 5 pounds, and hoped it would come off when I got home. Well, that didn't happen. A week later, and it's still there. At 148 pounds, I am now 15 pounds over my comfortable weight of 133.

I haven't run in two and a half weeks. At all. My last run was the 11-miler that I did with Jerry a few days before we went on vacation. I had hoped to get in a couple of runs while on vacation, but that didn't happen. Then I planned to get right back to it when we got home; but that didn't happen, either.

I have no excuses not to do it; I just keep putting it off for "one more day". The half-marathon that I was training for (and hadn't missed a single training run for, until after the 11-miler!) is on Saturday, and I have no idea if I'm even going to do it. Considering I was having IT band issues before the 11-miler, it probably wouldn't be smart to run a half-marathon after three weeks of not running. But I feel like I should do it--I paid for it and I worked very hard at it for 10 weeks.

I've been in a depressed episode of bipolar for a while now, and the worst part about it currently is that it's so physically tiring. I feel drained all the time, and a complete lack of motivation to do anything. I never sleep well when I have depression (even though I'm extremely tired, I basically just toss and turn for several hours and call that "sleep").

My boys have started their spring sports (Noah is playing baseball, and Eli is running track) and it has kept me very busy--which I think is a good thing, because otherwise, I might be even less productive than I already am. But it still adds stress to my days.

Something I mentioned on my last series of posts about vacation is that I am dealing with poor body image right now. And that is a very nice, sugar-coated way of saying that I am disgusted with how I look. It sounds so vain, I know, but I can't help but pick apart my flaws and focus on them.

A few days ago, I decided to curl my hair (something I never do) and wear make-up (a rarity these days) in the hopes that I would feel better about myself. We were going out to lunch with a group of people, so it was a good time to put effort into my appearance.


While I was getting ready, I told Jerry that it felt like "polishing a turd" (one of our favorite expressions)... it was almost embarrassing to think that doing my hair and make-up was going to make me look nice. I just don't feel pretty right now, and I can't help but focus on the negative. And then when nobody noticed (or at least didn't say anything) about my appearance, I felt extremely insecure. It was the same feeling I always had when I was obese--are people looking at me with my hair and make-up done and thinking "Why does she even bother?"

(And please, I am not asking for compliments!)

I am also feeling a ton of pressure from something going on in my personal life right now, and it's not helping at all. As someone with bipolar disorder, feeling pressured (about anything) is extremely stressful. It's like my brain is incapable of making a decision (even something as simple as what I want to eat) and that just adds to the pressure.

I realize this is an extremely negative post, and I hate that I can't write something more positive right now, but I know that many of you appreciate my candor and honesty. Hopefully, I'll be writing some positive (and still honest!) posts soon.

I've been thinking about what I can do to make myself feel better right now, and there are a few things I've considered...

I think I'd like to count calories again, at least until I get used to the routine of smaller portions at specific times of the day. Because my eating has been so off lately, I don't feel like my body recognizes correct portions anymore. So, calorie counting will help me to get back to that point.

Running. I think the pressure of the upcoming half-marathon is causing me so much stress that I have just been avoiding thinking about it altogether. I have a plan for what I'm going to do after the half-marathon--I haven't written about it yet, but in a nutshell, I'm planning to do heart rate training to not only build a base, but to get back into good cardio shape as well. It's the long runs that I really dislike while training, so I think I'll max out my running at a 10K distance. And for the foreseeable future, I'm going to be totally fine staying at the mid- to back-of-the-pack. No PR's!

Get back into my daily cleaning routine. I never feel good when my house is messy, and even though I've been doing the necessary tasks, I miss how clean the house was when I was at my peak of happiness.

Take the time every day to do something I enjoy. Lately, I've been so busy taking care of everything/everybody else that I haven't been doing the pastimes that I find therapeutic, in a way--sewing, my bullet journal, reading books, etc.

Look for patterns in my emotions/activities/behaviors to see if I can find what makes me feel my best. I started using an app called Nomie 2 that I think will be helpful to track these things.

Anyways, I am sure I am missing things I could add, but I am so tired right now--it's after midnight, and I have to get up at 6:00 to get the kids ready for school. Again, I apologize for such a downer of a post. I am sure I will regret posting so many personal feelings in the morning, but if it's how I'm feeling this very moment, I might as well document it and get it over with. (Actually, writing and posting this will probably help me to feel better--lighter, in a way).

I keep nodding off as I write this, so I am not even going to check for spelling or grammar. Hopefully it all makes sense!

To end on a positive note, Luke (my nephew) got his first haircut today... how cute is he?!



52 comments:

  1. You're doing much better than you think you are! As someone who has struggled with lots of anxiety and depression (while obviously different than bipolar) I know it can be hard.
    You are killing it.

    Also check out the Bloggess (http://thebloggess.com/) if you haven't yet--her posts and her books have made me feel infinitely better (also a podcast episode she did on the hilarious world of depression).

    Anyways, this isn't meant to be an ad. I'm thinking of you and hoping you feel proud of yourself today for getting out of bed, brushing your teeth. The little things matter.

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    1. Katie, If you’re new to the Bloggess, start with this one: http://thebloggess.com/2011/06/21/and-thats-why-you-should-learn-to-pick-your-battles/. I wish I could read it for the first time again, so funny. 😘

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    2. OMG!! SOO FUNNY! I was crying by the time I finished reading this! She is wonderful!

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  2. I’ve been listening to the podcast “the science of happiness” and I think you’d really enjoy it. Each episode they get someone to try out a method of “creating happiness” and then they discuss the science and evidence base behind it. Two I’m going to start incorporating into my evening routine are to write down 3 things that happened that day that I’m grateful for and 3 things that were funny that day. The key is to write them down in as much detail as possible so you can really recall the event and think about specifics (ie not writing down “Jerry” or “the kids” every day but thinking about something specific they did that day that you’re grateful for). And it could be something as simple as “the sun was out”. I thought I’d mention it in case you might be interested/it might help. Hope you’re feeling better soon! Xxx

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  3. Thank you for posting, Katie. Your posts (and your commenters) are real and I, for one, appreciate the realism and the helpful tips from your readers. "Don't give up. Don't ever give up". You and your life matter. (Looking forward to hearing about you completing the race on Saturday) ;)

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  4. I really don't know what to say, but I identify with this post so much. I just feel as though I have been circling and circling. I know what I should be doing but it just feels extremely difficult at the moment. I think you are fantastic. I think your honesty is commendable. I hope that we both come out of this, fog, maybe soon. Will be thinking about you this week.

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  5. Hang in there. I just came out of a two month depressive phase. And have some big high-pressure things going on too. It makes it hard to deal with little decisions...it's called "decision fatigue," and it's a real thing. You've spent so much time on the big things in life that the little things are just too much. I saw a meme on FB the other day, "this too shall pass...it may pass like a kidney stone, but it'll pass." You'll make it through:)

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  6. I dont consider this a negative post just a real one. sounds like you have a good plan and regarding blog writing maybe take 30 minutes to devote to the blog a day or every few days, even if its not actually writing but just thinking about content. I do this when I have a project that I really dont feel like doing. I set a timer for 30 minutes (no facebook, texting, email etc) and often I end up actually writing something even if it just within the last 5 minutes I feel better.

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  7. Hugs, friend. I'm so sorry you're going through this right now, and please know you are not alone. I took my daughter to her therapist yesterday, and he had just put this quote on his wall, and it hit me, hard:
    “Life is amazing. And then it's awful. And then it's amazing again. And in between the amazing and awful it's ordinary and mundane and routine. Breathe in the amazing, hold on through the awful, and relax and exhale during the ordinary. That's just living heartbreaking, soul-healing, amazing, awful, ordinary life. And it's breathtakingly beautiful.” L.R. Knost

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    1. WOW!! What an amazing quote!!! Thank you soo much for sharing that!

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  8. Dearest Katie,
    Please know you are not alone!
    We are humans, and we ALL go through cycles of ups and downs. I’m struggling to get back to health after a running injury, the flu and shingles with lasting nerve damage. As someone who has paid for more than a few half-marathons that I couldn’t run, I’d suggest that you simply walk it. I do that OFTEN (1) because I paid for the rave and want to ge the T-shirt and(2) because the folks I meet at the back of t pack are SO nice and so much fun to talk to.
    M

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  9. Hang in there Katie! And I know you said you don't want compliments but I honestly mean this when I say you're seriously one of the prettiest girls I know! (And by know, I mean in the internet sense since we don't actually know each other haha). I hate that you're feeling so down, I wish could give you a big hug! You just have to do what's best for you, all of your ideas sounded great. Just do what makes you happy!

    Also, regarding body image, I've been struggling a little myself with that (have been for probably most of my teenage/adult life) and I recently started a book called Body Positive Power by Megan Jayne Crabbe (she's @bodyposipanda on Instagram) and it's such a great read. I'm only halfway through so far but my eyes are opening. Even over the past few days, my husband has noticed a difference. It's a very interesting read at the very least! I recommend it!

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  10. HI Katie!
    First of all, I hear you. I want you to know that you are doing so, so good at so many things, most of all at being honest and vulnerable! I love your heart.
    Second, I encourage you to check out an organization called Revelation Wellness. It is helping me tremendously with focusing on the inner person while doing work on the outer person as well. Full disclosure- it is a Christian organization. The founder is a woman named Alisa Keeton. I am listening to her podcasts as I work out and that makes me look forward to working out and at 52, that has NEVER happened before!
    Bless you, dear sister. I will be praying!

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  11. So very sorry to hear that you are struggling, Katie. Thank you for sharing this, and don’t
    ever feel that you have to say sorry for being real. You are loved!

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  12. I hope this post helped you a little. We all know that things get hard, but I think your ideas at the end sounded great and that you are definitely on the right track! This weather has not helped AT ALL, in my opinion. It's April 10 and we still have yet to see a sign of spring. Hopefully it will come soon and we'll ALL get a little more cheerful! {{hugs}}

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  13. Thank you so much for sharing this with us. I don't normally comment, but I feel compelled to tell you how much your posts mean to me. You are truly an inspiration to me! I hope that you will continue to share. I look forward to seeing your posts, always. Lots of love and hugs to you Katie!!

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  14. I wish I could help. I think you are amazing - at any weight, any level of activity, depressed or manic, you have ibspired SO many. It's ypur heart that we love, and ypur honesty. I hope you get back to a good place for yourself; you deserve it <3 Hugs!

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  15. Oh mama, I'm so sorry. That just sucks.

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  16. I feel you, sister! I have been in what seems to be a bottomless slump and there is no thinking myself out of it. Displaying your humanness and vulnerability for the whole world to see is a powerful choice to speak your truth. YOU ARE AWESOME and you have a lot more strength than you give yourself credit for. I'm sorry for your struggles, you are not alone.

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  17. Katie,
    First a hug 🤗. I have been following your blog for a long time. Thank you for writing it!
    I have lost 26 pounds in the last few months, ten to go, by reading a library book, Bright Line Eating. I used to call myself a “sugar addict “ as a joke, turns out it is a real thing!
    So eating treats in moderation just never worked for me in the long run, I would go back to my old ways! And who knew your brain reacts in a similar way to flour?? What?
    So for no cost, you can read the book and give it a try for two weeks. I think you will be amazed! I love it and feel so free! And did you know sugar consumption is directly linked to depression? I have noticed a difference in my mood as well!
    Debated sending this, didn’t want to sound preachy or annoying but wanted you to have the chance to check it out!

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  18. Thank you for sharing. I have always struggled to understand my mother, who has Bipolar 2. Your open and honest posts help me to make more sense of what she might be dealing with but not articulating (she’s a poor communicator, so not helpful in any way)

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  19. I am going through a depressed month, and I live in Brazil, so is not the weather. I just feel like being in bed and hopefully sleeping. However I have been very fortunate to don't let myself fall and have continue running and venting with my husband. I don't know what it is but I feel like crap, useless and I am afraid I will age poor and lonely ( at this moment we are both unemployed).
    What I want to say is that we all go through these stages, whether there are reasons or not, whether we recognize the reasons or not, but you know what, we have no idea what kind of impact we cause in others. Your post today has made me realized that temptations are everywhere and we all struggle to loose that freaking last 5 pounds or more in my case. Hang in there, to me it helps me to go to yoga, without expectations, just go and feel that my body stretches, and hopefully play some mantras during the day. Good vibes from Sao Paulo and thanks you for sharing your honest feelings.

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  20. Katie, maybe this time away from running will turn out to be exactly what was needed to set you up for a great half-marathon! The rest may have done your IT band good and given your muscles a chance to recover after all those weeks of dedicated training. I've missed plenty of races in the past myself so I'm not trying to convince you to run if it you don't want to. You don't have have to prove anything to anyone. But if you decide you still want to give it a try, I believe you can do it! Either way, take care of yourself with kindness and compassion.

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  21. I am sorry to hear of your stuggles, but appreicate your honesty. You probably don't want recommendations, but in case you do, here are two resources that have helped me with self-care & body image http://jamiemendell.com/ and https://www.youtube.com/user/Lydiapher http://www.lydiawente.com/

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  22. I know you don't know me, but I've been reading your blog for some time now. My heart aches to see you feeling like this. It can be so hard to see a way out from the bottom of a downswing, or the top of a weight gain. I encourage you to do your half-marathon, and the plan you've laid out for getting back to a good place in the rest of your life. I know it doesn't always feel like it, but there are so many people pulling for you. Not people that will be disappointed in you, but people who are ready to reach out and help you up.

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    1. I second it... Do the half, you'll feel better and you've trained for it! Make your bed every day! Since you're a neat person, it is the single best way to start the day... Get good sleep. Do the best you can, be kind and know that life moves forward... Stop thinking about where you were... Where do you want to be?!

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  23. Thank you for sharing your struggles. I really appreciate your honesty about your life. It must be hard to share on the internet, I wanted you to know it is appreciated and it helps me.

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  24. I know you said no compliments, so I'm not really giving you one, but I just wanted to point something out. From an outside observer pov, the pictures you've been posting lately look NO different from the ones you were posting 6 months ago. The photo you posted today looks exactly the same to me as, for example, your profile photo, which I think was from last year. I went back and looked at some of those photos and compared to the recent photos from your trip, and I honestly would not have been able to say that they were from different time periods if I didn't know it. My point is that although I'm sure there is a difference in your looks with 15 more pounds, it is too subtle to be noticeable (or very noticeable) to anyone but you. I'll bet the reason your friends didn't comment on your makeup/hair is because it did not look out of the ordinary to them.
    One other thing, it seems to me like this latest depression kind of corresponded to you starting to run again. Is it possible that a change in your metabolism could have impacted your meds?

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  25. I'm sorry to hear you've been going through a rough time lately. I didn't think this post was negative, especially since you are already coming up with ideas to help you feel better! Just know we are all here for you, and think you're pretty awesome!!

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  26. Those dark times suck so bad. I've been following you for a long time and I feel pretty confident when I say that you always find your way through the darkness. And with all the self awareness and work you have done on your mental and physical health over the years you have so many tools in your tool box. I know you're going to be okay. AND ... I also know how important it is to meet yourself wherever you are. And I for one, will do the same and cheer you on from a far ... you got this.

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  27. Thank you for continuing to share your story. It is helpful for me and others.

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  28. Sending you lots of love

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  29. Thanks Katie. Your posts are always real and I identify with them so much. Sending prayers and support. You rock!

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  30. Back to the basics, sweetie. SLEEP is a priority; even without the BP, no sleep or not enough can spiral you downward. Build from that, one step at a time. The vacation was a major shock to your routine possibly and you're getting back to steady.

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  31. Hi Katie, I’ve been a silent reader of your blog for many years. I don’t really know what to write, but just wanted to say I admire your honesty. I’m so sorry you’re going through such a tough time. I wish I could give you some magical wise words that would help, but in the end I am just a stranger reaching out to send you a virtual hug from the other side of the world. To me, you’re a beautiful person (inside and outside). Take good care of yourself!

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  32. Hi Katie, I have also been reading your blog on and off for years, but never commented. But now I just wanted to tell you that you really do look nice, with make-up or without. But you really sound extremely stressed... maybe it might help to give yourself some "time off" of the things that are stressing you out? I mean, after all you don't HAVE to blog, you don't HAVE to run, and rather think about what you might LIKE to do instead? Of course, some sort of sports would be good, but maybe just walking around a lot instead of taking the car, or trying out new classes at a gym might be better for you right now? Maybe you just need a change? And maybe you will be feeling better and coming back to running and blogging happily some time later, without feeling so compelled to do it?

    Maybe I'm completely wrong though... these were just my thoughts :) Wishing you all the best! :-)
    Cheers,
    Dorothea

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  33. I feel like I could have written this exact post. Thank you so much for sharing! My goal is 133 and I've been fluctuating between 145-148+. It sucks. I'm overeating sweets and need to stop. Maybe its also a little bit SAD (seasonal affective disorder)? I'm hoping! I need to get out of this funk. I have a big stressor going on in my personal life too I can't really share either that is causing tons of anxiety. Its so hard! Just know you are not alone!

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  34. Another ghost reader here, feeling inspired to come out of hiding to respond to this post. We all go through tough times (some tougher than others), and I think your plan moving forward is great. You're recognizing your current situation and actively working to make it better. Just remember to be kind to yourself, and try not to beat yourself up!
    Sending you good vibes from the PNW.

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  35. Thank you for keeping it real. You're so strong! I think it's so important to do the things we enjoy. I like your idea of keeping the distance shorter for running. I'm the same way. I hate those long runs for training!! Though.. I think you should go kick butt this weekend at your half. I am sure you'll still do amazing! And there's not much better than a high that comes from those races. You worked for it. Even if you didn't finish your training. You can still do it! You did most of it! ��

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  36. Thinking of you my dear Katie, and hoping you will soon be out of your funk. I too have let my eating get way out of control, to the tune of a 77 lb. regain. Yesterday was Day 1 back on track. All we can do is try our hardest and pray for the best. For now, that has to be enough. Hugs!

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  37. Katie, I really appreciate you being honest and real. I can't offer much advice but deep breath, and I hope it all turns around soon for you. I am sorry it has been such a struggle for you .

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  38. Katie - when things are this chaotic, just take one task at a time, whether little or big. So focus on eating a healthy breakfast. Then focus on doing the dishes, then the next etc. You are in the midst of a very difficult time. You can do this - you've done it before. You have lots of people rooting for you!

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  39. I haven't read all the comments, but I wanted to chime in that I'm feeling especially tired and sleepy lately and realizing that it's spring my body having an allergic reaction to all the spring pollen that is causing this is allowing me to be kinder to myself.

    it's funny how these external things you may not "see" turn out to have such huge impacts!

    hope you feel better soon. I'm hoping to feel better soon as well!

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  40. I appreciate you and your posts. I love reading them-- all of them. You've inspired me for many years, and I love how candid you are especially with the anxiety, depression, and bipolar. I think it's such a source of shame that plagues so many people, and it makes it less "weird" when people like you are able to talk about it so openly. Keep doing what you're doing. I hope you keep writing despite it giving you anxiety. I miss the posts when they aren't coming-- even what you perceive as negative ones!

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  41. Sending you lots of hugs, Katie. I know you weren't fishing for compliments when you made the comments about how you've been feeling about your appearance lately, but I just want to let you know that I understand, and I've been there. Since I'm on the outside looking in this time, I just want to offer you words of reassurance. You are just the prettiest. Just ask Jerry - I'm sure he'll agree with me. The way you are feeling now truly is just temporary, and it's not the way others see you. I don't know if these words are helpful, but I did want to say them in case they are.

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  42. WOW! I really think I understand how you are feeling. I weighed this morning before work and I was soo bummed. Soo bummed because I already didn't sleep well last night...lots of tossing and turning.. and then I was hopeful I had dropped some weight and NO! I think I've been depressed for weeks now. It's like I'm fine and then for no reason I can understand, everything is off. I ended up not even going to work today, I was soo upset. Stupid right? I drove there and then sat in my car and then left. I've never done anything like that. I just read your post and have followed you for years. I love also reading the outpouring of love and support you have. We ALL love you! At your best and at your worst points! We all relate and understand. What has helped me soo much today is I came across your 100 lb Difference. All the reasons you were happy with your weight loss! I related to many things you said in it. I am very close to your starting weight and struggle with most of the same issues. But reading that really helped me and gave me hope. I also started making my own list of reasons why I AM going to do this!! It is hard to actually write down some of the private and even embarrassing things you want to rid yourself of by losing weight. But your list inspired me to start my own list. And by writing my inner most thoughts down, I believe it will help. Keep being real and honest with yourself and us. I truly appreciate it. Try and have a great weekend and good luck with your race!

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  43. Thank you for sharing your struggles with your readers. I have been reading you since 2011 and have much respect for you. You even invited me to join your original ragnar. So exciting! Unfortunately the timing didnt work out for me. When I did meet you irl on the day a family member died you thought I was weird. Losing a loved one can make a person weird! Maybe now you can relate more to what I was going through? Anyway...

    I don't know if you're looking for advice or not but I'll toss my two cents in.

    I have struggled with depression and anxiety for most of my life. What has consistently helped me was to make a list of what makes me feel good and do one thing from my list every day. Walking, drinking enough water, a good movie or tv series and spending time with people I care about works for me.

    My good streak can last for months or years but I believe it's never to late to well, just feel good. Don't give up!

    I hope you feel better and good luck at the martian. I hope you attend even if you walk/run!

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  44. I can identify with you Katie, as I have worked as a MHRT-C with people that have Bi-Polar and have a son who has it since age 16. No one has the answers to the storms of life, or why we have to deal with trials stresses, and all the things that can set you off balance. I can tell you the best thing to do when it all doesn't make sense, is to PRAY, and stay as close to God as you can, no matter what is going on, good or bad! Read His word for guidance and comfort. Journal the things He shows you as you walk together by faith. What else can we do in this day and age when everything is amiss? You will see, with God all things are possible! Ask a mom who knows! :)

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  45. Katie, thank you for your posts & your honesty. I've been following your journey for years & am inspired by you. Have you ever read the book Women Food and God by Geneen Roth? If you are open to suggestions, this book was life changing for me with regards to putting weight & dieting in perspective. Might be worth a try...I got the audio version & listened to it in my car. Good luck, feel better.

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  46. I truly appreciate your honesty. Not that I want people to have bad times, but it does feel to me sometimes that everybody online just has the perfect life and nothing goes wrong for them, so it is refreshing when someone admits that life isn't always sunshine and rainbows. I know things will get better and soon this bad couple of months will be in the past. Life is like that..some ups and downs and all arounds :)

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  47. This whole weight loss/maintenance thing is a journey that doesn't end. Sometimes it's easy and sometimes it's hard. I'm sorry you're going through the tough times, and from following your blogs for years I am confident that you won't regain all your weight.
    You know what you do and you will do it, if not today then next week.
    I know you were active on Sparkpeople and maybe you want to jump back in? I find that group amazingly supportive.
    We're all with you as is your family.

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