This is my 201st entry. Hooray!!
I took a few days away from writing, as many of my fingers were experiencing pain as a result of doing too much around the house. Now that I’m back, and it’s the end of the month, it’s time for a month-end retrospective.
This is my first one, and it’s something in which I know the value before even doing it. Things like inventories or retrospectives can be kept in a journal or spreadsheet. It doesn’t have to be public.
Mine is public because I want the accountability that comes with people watching what I do, AND because I do have a handful of real-life friends who are reading this.
So let’s jump into the month of November 2022!
FACEBOOK AND DECREASED ONLINE ACTIVITY
At some point in the month, I had decided that I’d had enough of the non-social, stress-inducing thing that is social networking. Instead of deleting my profile, I made changes to how I use Facebook.
I took the Facebook app off of my phone, as well as Instagram, and I deleted my Instagram account. I also deleted most of my Facebook content.
I still have the Messenger app on my phone. Nobody ever writes messages anymore, but I kept it just in case.
I log in once in the morning, and once again in the evening, to see if there is anything that has relevance or my interest.
My Facebook usage is down to <5 minutes per day.
DIET, WEIGHT LOSS, AND BLOOD GLUCOSE
Some radical changes were made on my part, back in October 5, 2022, when I started noticing some changing in myself, such as lowered blood glucose and weight. This was around the time when I started really going after these two numbers aggressively.
Since then, I’ve lost a good deal of weight and have had some success with lowering my blood glucose.
On the left is from October 5, when I’d already made some great advances, by breaking the barrier and getting below 225. On the right is my weight from November 29, which is 0.4 pounds less than today.
I’ve also been keeping track of what I eat and how it seems to impact my blood glucose.
On Monday, I made a salad with some dressing. I eyeballed the dressing, and even then I could tell it was a bit too much.
I made note of this and remembered it when I tested the next morning, and my blood glucose was 100, instead of the 90 from the day before. So I wrote down a note – (salad dressing?) – before moving on.
I made another salad that day, but looked at the bottle first. It says that one serving has 6g of sugar, and 6g of added sugar. To give this context, one cube of sugar is 2.8g, or 1 teaspoon. I put two cubes in my coffee, which is 5.8 grams.
Two tablespoons is the suggested serving size. If one sugar cube is 2.8 grams or 1 teaspoon, and there are 3 teaspoons per tablespoon, and a serving of dressing is 2 tablespoons, then that’s like having SIX sugar cubes in your coffee.
That’s too much! So the next day, instead of going with the 2 tablespoons serving, I went with ONE tablespoon for my serving size. This is like 3 cubes in coffee, which I will sometimes do, but I typically go with two cubes.
This morning I checked, and my blood glucose was back down to 90, and my weight went up slightly by 0.4 pounds. In this scenario, my main concern was the blood glucose.
At my stage of weight loss, it’s okay to see some fluctuation up and down. I am in my final ten pounds, which I’ve heard is the most difficult. At some point, I will end up ditching the scale on a daily basis, and maybe use it weakly, or if I feel somewhat differently. But as I write this, I feel absolutely fine with regard to my physical health.
My mental health has taken a surprising up-tick, considering the fact that I got 50% less therapy this month, thanks to the holidays. The same will be true of December, with the last two Fridays of the month being bound to holidays.
It happens. Sadly, depression doesn’t take a holiday or vacation. The good news this year, however, is that my depression has been parked in the barn. I still own it, and it will always be a part of my life. It will also be something that can show up and provide challenges.
Major Depressive Disorder [MDD], aka Clinical Depression, never goes away. It has to be managed, much like weight or blood glucose.
It helps a great deal that I have a really good therapist who has been effective in helping.
PUBLIC STRESS TESTING
Dealing with the public and strangers in general has always been off-putting and very difficult for me. I’ve noticed an increase in positive interactions, and a relatively low level of stress, which is not the usual.
I do feel that I am better at dealing with people in public.
This does not translate to being able to function in a workplace. With the general public, there is no commitment, no close relationship, and they pose no threat with regard to whether or not I get to eat next month.
Functioning in a workplace has always been highly difficult for me, due to office politics and artificial hierarchies. Plus, I am convinced that the only job the boss has is to be a threatening jerk the entire time.
I don’t need to be threatened to get work done, or to be productive. No threats are required. I think there are many people who work or get things done without threats hanging over their heads.
Whip-cracking is the direct result of greed, which will be another topic for another day.
Yesterday, we went out to Bi-Mart, a marketplace where all workers own a stake in the business and the success of the store. Because they’re personally vested, they put more work into it, resulting in a superior experience with regard to both shopping and personal interactions.
They have an intercom system. Most of the time, these things jolt me, to the point that I am thrust into a mental downturn.
I’m trying to shop, focus, stay out of the way of others, and everything else that comes with this experience, when all of a sudden a harsh, tinny, loud voice will broadcast over the loud speakers and echo through the entire building.
They most definitely DO NOT think of Autistic shoppers when they do this. And it’s NOT productive to yell, “Anyone available, pleases dial Sports!” If you don’t delegate, then everyone else believes that someone else will get it.
There were several announcements during our visit, which was very crowded due to extended Black Friday shopping. I’d jerk a little bit, but wouldn’t feel so much panic. They had way too many announcements, and I did just fine.
So while I don’t think I am ready for the office, and may never be, I am sensing that I am ready for the general public.
I’d say my overall positivity has been very high. When negativity shows up, I am typically able to self-regulate very well.
I have been more physically active, with regard to projects and cleaning. I’ve been working on a top-secret gift project for the past few weeks. I will write about it after the holidays, when I put the project in motion.
I have been doing more cleaning around the house.
I’m more physical with the cats and playtime. I get out of the apartment way more often. I take the car out of the garage more frequently to go shopping, which is something I’d typically put off for as long as possible.
I stand up more frequently at my desk. My Commodore 64 is set up in a way where it’s not convenient to get to the keyboard, and I have to stand up to load a game. Standing up more frequently is no doubt helping with any issues being brought about by excessive bouts of long sitting.
My creativity levels and activities have been increasing over the past weeks. I have been working on more music with one of the guys from Noodle Muffin, and I’ve worked on a total of 9 tracks, utilizing 3 instruments at points.
I’ve been writing more, especially in my offline journal. That writing is important, as is this blog, to me.
I’ve even gotten creative with my creative spaces. My home office has been re-vamped so that more things are easier to access, and efficiency has been increased dramatically.
I’ve even re-worked the little corner where I keep my last drum set and drum gear.
My creativity has most definitely improved by a great deal.
RELATIONSHIPS AND INTERACTIONS
Got a call last night from a friend who is not on Facebook. He’s a person I knew before I left California, and we used to go guitar shopping on weekends. We talked for just over 2 hours and 36 minutes. That’s not something I could do a few months ago.
Without getting into too much detail, I’ve sensed an improvement in relationships and interactions with friends, family, and aquaintances.
As a result, I am more likely to engage in the initiation of conversation. This is something I’d typically avoid.
This never got horrible, but it has improved.
A few years ago, I would shower once every two days, so long as I didn’t get sweaty. I still brushed my teeth twice per day, so there were never any dental troubles liked to mental problems.
I always wore jammies, like the ones I’m wearing in my photo today. I’m wearing them because it’s laundry day and I have no plans to go anywhere.
The changes are subtle, yet profound.
I’ll shower every other day still, but also shave my head and face every other day. I used to do that once per week, but sometimes would not do it for a few months. I always feel better after a shave.
But there have been active days recently where I’ve had to shower twice in one day. I also wear more jeans and shirts, instead of exclusively sleepwear. I no longer go out to the store in my pajamas, as I did from before the pandemic, up to just a few months ago.
For me, it seems the better my mental health, the more I scrub and the cleaner I get. Or it could be in my head. Either way, I feel cleaner.
IN THE END
For those who have been reading recently, you’ll remember my Snickers Diet, where I’d allow myself up to 3 per day. I’d have one in the morning, then two in the evening.
I started skipping the morning one to see how I’d feel about it. In the evening, I’d have to, up until one day when I had one and put the other away.
I haven’t had any Snickers Fun Size bars in probably 5 weeks. I don’t remember the last day, but I haven’t bought any more in over a month, and my coffee can still has at least one bag of bars in it.
I have no cravings at all! Last night, Catheirne asked me to make her some ice cream. It’s Extreme Moose Tracks, and I added a Reese’s Christmas tree to it.
Sometimes when I make this for her, I’ll get a pice of choclate and some ice cream and have that. It’s powerful stuff! Last night, however, I had already brushed my teeth, so I made this without tasting any myself.
And I have NO craving for any of it. This feels like having super-human strength of some kind, which requires no effort to invoke.
Since face-to-face food isn’t impacting me, it feels like junk food commercials also fly right on by, and I feel nothing for them at all.
Overall, I do like where things are headed for me, with regard to my mental health, as well as physical health with Type 2 Diabetes and weight loss.
Changing the foods I eat and doing away with cravings was helpful physically. What helped emotionally, as well as the weight loss, is activities like writing down an inventory of successes.
Yesterday, I was shopping, when I saw a dowel rod. It looked like it might fit a KONG toy that Dr. Tibo Bat loves to pay with. It had a plastic stick on the end, but he chewed it off.
I found a dowell that looked like the right size, and bought it without measuring. I just eye-balled it. Turns out, it was perfect! The wild part that I must acknowledge in this is that I didn’t second-guess myself.
This was something I found accidentally, it cost $0.87 to buy, and took 3 minutes to fix. In days gone by, I’d write this off as something easy to do that “any moron could do.”
Today, I have decided that I must view this as a success, and I must include it in my inventory. Because when you’re depressed, even little things can be difficult to do. This was something I should have done months ago.
Some might say that with all of this I have learned how tough I can be. Maybe. I most definitely know how tough Major Depressive Disorder can be, as well as Type 2 Diabetes and weight loss. The numbers don’t lie, and indicate that I am winning some of my battles.
That says it all, as do the photos below, taken today. I’m at 195 pounds, 70 pounds lost, with 10 to go!
If you like what I write, then please consider sending a one-time donation to me via PayPal. Please use the following link and click SEND to donate, and thank you for reading! https://paypal.me/drumwild