Don’t Quit

Back in elementary school, I had one year where we had a couple of teachers. I believe  our regular teacher decided to retire mid-year so we ended up with a substitute teacher for the second half. This was back in 1984. I was around 11 years old, in the 6th grade and the substitute teacher’s name was Mrs. Mack. I don’t remember much about her except that she was really nice and she gave me something very special.

It was a little card with a poem titled “Don’t Quit.” I don’t know if she gave this out to all of the students or just me. And if she did just give it to me, I wonder why? Could she see what I was going through? Did she know my home situation?

Whatever her reasons were, this card and her note has meant so much to me that I still have it proudly displayed on my desk.

 

Don’t Quit

When things go wrong as they sometimes will,

When the road you are trudging seems all up hill,

When the funds are low and the debts are high

And you want to smile, but you have to sigh,

When care is pressing you down a bit,

Rest, if you must, but don’t you quit.

Life is queer with it’s twists and turns,

As everyone of us sometimes learns,

And many a failure turns about

When he might have won had he stuck it out;

Don’t give up though, the pace seems slow-

You may succeed with another blow.

Success is failure turned inside out-

The silver tint of the clouds of doubt,

And you never can tell how close you are,

It may be near when it seem so far;

So stick to the fight when you’re hardest hit-

It’s when things seem worst that you must not quit.

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This Is No Fun

Thursday night and I am still continuing with my week of depression. By the end of day today, I could barely get any work done and all I wanted to do was sleep.

So after my two hour nap, I could barely raise my arms to reach my laptop that was on the coffee table. It was time to order dinner.

This is the point where my frustration comes in. I can’t eat any take out! It’s my “never let me down go-to” and now all of the fun is gone… Yeah, I could order a gluten-free pizza, but I can’t have cheese, and it will take too much effort for me to call them. I can’t have Chinese food because most of the toppings are based in soy sauce and it would be too tempting to order two orders of pork dumplings. The same goes for Thai or Japanese solely because the online menus are not descriptive enough and I don’t want to take any chances. By this point, I just want to give up and forget about eating all together.

But I can’t skip a meal, I never could. I’ve always envied those people that could miss meals or completely forget about eating all together. I find it fascinating and strangely disturbing. Are they really human? I would probably pass out if I ever missed a meal. The moment I get even an inkling of hunger, my body believes it’s going to starve to death if I don’t eat within the next 5 minutes.

So here I am, lying on the couch, starving to death, and it’s almost 8:00 pm. Now I have not choice but to get up and make myself something healthy to eat.

F**k you gluten and dairy! You take all of the fun out of depressive eating.

I think I should set up a Skype call with my Therapist….

I’m Exhausted

I’ve been feeling a bit depressed for a few days now. The only thing that has changed was my interview going live last Friday… Or it could be PMS… Either way, I’m a big fat ball of emotions right now and when I get this way I don’t want to work, or talk, or socialize or breathe.

A part of me wants to call my therapist, who is away for the next two weeks (talk about timing, huh?) and the other part of me wants to try to deal with this on my own. She isn’t going to be around forever, so I need to learn how to deal with this stuff without her…

I didn’t even want to go to UJam tonight and that’s huge!! I love UJam. I live for UJam. The thought of going made me want to sit on my couch with a tub of popcorn in protest. The only reason I went was because I had to go to the store to get coconut oil for some brownies that I am making for a party tomorrow. The supermarket is right next to the gym, so I decided to go to an early class in order to get home at a decent hour to do my chores.

That’s another thing. For the past few weeks, I feel like my life is one big checklist. I’m so overwhelmed….

  • Wake up – Check
  • Stretch – Check
  • Go to work – Check
  • Workout – Check
  • Stretch – Check
  • Make Dinner – Check
  • Clean up – Check
  • Ice my foot – Check
  • Do coaching homework – Check
  • Check email – Check
  • Write – Check
  • Fix printer – Check
  • Make brownies – Check
  • Pay bills – Check

Next thing I know, it’s time for bed. Then I wake up the next day, wash, rinse and repeat.

And these days it seems like everything I touch takes forever to get completed. I’ve been trying to change my car insurance provider for the past week as well as ensure my cats are set up for their stay-cation the end of this month (My building is getting termite bombed… which is a whole other story). It’s taken DAYS and things are still not settled. DAYS….

And my health… sigh… don’t even get me started about my health. More pills, more blood tests, more appointments, more dietary restrictions, more things to think about every moment of every freaking day. Oh, did I mention that I had a bad reaction to some food that I ate on Sunday? My system is still not feeling right.

And then tonight, while in class, as I look at myself in the mirror, all I see is my fat stomach, my fat thighs and all the weight that I still have to lose. It doesn’t matter that I’ve lost 14 pounds. All I can see is what I have leftover.

I just want to cry.

Okay, I’m crying…

This girl is exhausted.

The Interview with @Mentalpod

About two or three years ago, I discovered a podcast on iTunes on the subject of mental illness called Mental Illness Happy Hour. I was immediately hooked. Here was a forum where people could talk freely about the darkness in their heads… and it was okay… and it was coming from real people.

This podcast became a huge aid in my healing process. I would listen every week as I would make the hour drive up to San Francisco for my weekly therapy appointment and it would trigger so many thoughts and feelings that I would then I would then discuss with my therapist.

Around August of last year, I had the opportunity to drive down to LA and meet Paul. I was in a really weird space. My body was in mid-revolt, I recently had gone off of Lexapro, and I just had the realization in therapy that I hated my parents. Needless to say, I was emotional.

Paul was so awesome, genuine, caring and welcoming. We did the interview, I went back to my hotel room, and slept for four hours. The next day, I drove home and went back to my life.

As time wore on, I had developed so many insecurities about the interview that I was okay if it never aired. Did I sound okay? Did I make sense? I should have said this. I should not have mentioned that. Can people tell that I’m crying?

Then this past Wednesday, as I was lying in bed, I decide to check my email before I went to sleep, which is a really bad habit that I have to break. There was Paul’s email… I was going live on Friday. I sat up and screamed as I felt a wave of emotions and insecurities come over me again. I didn’t get much sleep that night.

Friday came and there it was. My picture and name was on the website. At first, I wasn’t even going to listen to it, but then I decided that I was being ridiculous. It was so surreal listening to myself. Was that really me? Is that what I sound like? I ended up listening to it twice. The first time I was just absorbing everything that was happening. The second time, I analyzed everything thing I said… and everything was okay.

Since the interview aired. I’ve received such overwhelming support from friends, family and strangers.

Thank you everyone:-)

Here is the link to the interview. I encourage you to check out the forums and listen to the other interviews. You will learn so much.

http://mentalpod.com/Tracy-Irvine-podcast

 

 

I’m No MasterChef

but I can still cook. Well, kinda. Let’s just say that I’m still in training, how’s that?
I didn’t learn to cook as a child. Frankly, no one had the time to teach me and I was doing just fine grabbing whatever I could. At age 8, that usually meant frozen pizza, leftover pasta, or I would just make myself a bologna sandwich. On those rare times when I actually had money, I would buy myself a cheesesteak, a slice of pizza or a mound of cheese fries from the corner store. Hey, I was eight!
Why was an eight year old fending for herself, you ask? Well, sadly, whatever did not involve my mother was generally ignored, including me. My mom was diagnosed with Lou Gehrig’s Disease (ALS) when I was five years old and she needed constant 24 hour care up until her death shortly before my 16th birthday. I’m not going to go into any details in this post because it’s long, involved and frankly, I’m not up to writing about it just yet.
So as a child, food for me was a means to an end and not something to savor and enjoy. I think the only decent meals that I got as a child were during the holidays when we would take a trip to my uncle’s house. There were tables, yes tables, overflowing with all kinds of Italian food and I would eat and eat and until I would get sick to my stomach.
At home, my father and my sister would certainly cook, but again, it was food catered to my mother’s strict diet of very bland food. Spices of any sort would increase saliva production and she couldn’t swallow her own saliva. I would sometimes eat whatever food was prepared, but it wasn’t very long before I would go back to fending for myself.
Between the ages of 16-22, I had brief period where I experienced “normal” mealtimes while I lived with my sister and later my mother-in-law, but I never cared very much to learn to cook. Honestly, I don’t even think that wasn’t because I didn’t care… it wasn’t a priority.
So as I got older and my life got busier, I ate out… A LOT… If I did cook at home, it was either out of a box, or I would collect recipes and follow them religiously. My apartment in San Francisco, where I lived after my divorce, had at least 30 restaurants within a four block radius. I could have almost any type of food I wanted. I was really, really spoiled. Plus, I lived alone… cooking for one sucks and the food always went bad before I could get to it. Take out was the best option.
Now that I have dietary issues, I have to cook for myself more. The thought of changing a 30 year old habit was very daunting, so I decided to take a basics cooking class along with a knife skills class. I had a lot of fun and over the past few months, I’ve become more comfortable in the kitchen.
You know? This cooking thing wasn’t so bad…. Until a couple of weeks ago.
Everything that could have gone wrong, went wrong. Here are some observations/lessons learned.
  1. According to the recipe, I had to sauté onions until they stuck to the bottom of the pan. So they are cooking and cooking, but they are not sticking… I probably overcooked the hell out of them by the time I realized that I was cooking with a non-stick pan.
  2. I accidentally bought crushed ginger instead of crushed garlic, good thing I realized my mistake before I added it to my pan.
  3. Instead, I decided to garlic powder. I probably should have looked up the conversion from fresh garlic to garlic powder, but I didn’t… and I added way too much.
  4. The recipe called for white wine. I don’t drink white wine (I’m a red girl), but I did have a cheap bottle on hand for emergencies. When the writer of the recipe tells you to add the wine in slowly to the heated olive oil because it will splash, listen… I added in  about a cup of wine all at once and it shot out of the pan like a volcano, drenching the top of the oven and ending up all over the floor and counters. Well at least my new cookbook looks used now.
  5. Food definitely needs more time to cook on an electric stove versus gas. What should have taken an hour to cook, took an hour and a half.
  6. By the time the food was finished, I couldn’t tell if my kitchen was smoky because of my contacts or because of my cooking. 
  7. Buy a splatter screen.
The result – it was god-awful and the worst cooking experience I have ever had. I ended up having rice cakes and hummus for dinner that night. Since then, my faith in my cooking skills has been restored since I have cooked some very successful meals. I just don’t think I’m ready to invite anyone over for dinner just yet.