My spirituality would probably be classified by many as “woo-woo,” so it’s not like we didn’t know that trying times were ahead. It’s not like we weren’t somewhat prepared for major shifts. In 2004 we were warned that, when choosing our new surname, we needed to be careful because having a name that could be remotely considered “of color” could cause problems for us down the road, in addition to being lesbians. Our guides made it sound like some kind of mass racism was on the horizon. And here we are.
When he-who-shall-not-be-named “won” the election of 2016, I fell into a deep depression, as have so many. This was not the nation I had thought (hoped?) it was. Yes, some of my neighbors would totally sell us out, and other minority groups as well. How depressing.
I was on my third antidepressant, which I absolutely needed, and the weight gain did not ease up. I had to change my exercise routine entirely due to a Taekwondo injury to my foot that still bothers me. Add in depression, and I put on more weight, but I was past caring. In truth, I was also drinking more than I should in the evening, after dinner.
It’s taken a long time to dig my way out. Last fall, I was so depressed that I wondered if I was even doing my family any good. I knew, of course, that they did need me. But the thoughts were there, nevertheless. I felt useless to myself.
In the winter, I remember looking in the mirror one day and thinking that I looked like shit. Overweight, yes, but also my chi was terrible. I didn’t look like a healthy person. I called my doctor and had her switch me back to my first antidepressant, which had always worked the best, but I hated the weight gain. A few weeks later, we doubled the dose.
Over time, this did help. I didn’t feel so useless and despairing. Then my doctor wanted to put me on statins, and I knew I needed to make a change. I said, let me try some lifestyle changes first. And so I did.
There have always been times in my life when weight loss was easy. And there have been times when it seemed I couldn’t move the dial at all. What was the difference? Probably mood, depression. My happiness level. Emotional eating is a thing, and I’m guilty of it. So I enlisted the help of a weight-loss app, something structured and with discipline. I began paying attention to the number of steps per day, since walking is probably the best exercise for my foot. And gradually, it all began to work.
After losing just ten pounds, I felt significantly better and had more energy. I could see now, very clearly, just how depressed I had been. Not just depressed, though — uncommitted to the planet. Somewhere, a part of me wanted to leave. To bail on this whole painful shifting. Which meant bailing on those who loved me, too, admittedly. In order to be healthy again, I had to commit to BEING here. To life, no matter how rocky it gets, and I have no doubt it’s going to be rocky. My family needs me. My neighbors need me. The earth needs me.
I’m now down 35 pounds, and my daughter is learning to pay attention to what she eats and how much, which is a good behavior to learn. I’m glad I’m modeling healthier behavior again. We have so many challenges ahead of us. People have left our lives, for the better. We continue to leave toxic behaviors and people behind. And there are so many wonderful people around us, that I have hope that we can create a better world. That is our challenge, and it will be hard. Not everyone will choose being. But for those who do, think of what we can build, and what we can leave behind.