2014 Resolutions Follow-Up

2014resolutionsI had a number of resolutions for 2014. I had personal goals and marriage goals. I think it’s time to look back at them all and see how I did…

scale1. Lose Weight. Ugh. If you’re a long-time reader of this blog then you know about the continuing battle I’ve had with weight. At one point in 2014, I was down to 221lbs. That, my friends, is the lowest I’ve been in years. I was running multiple times per week and feeling great about myself. Obviously, that didn’t last and I end 2014 at 237lbs…ten of which I’ve gained the past two weeks due to my medication change. Because I now realize just how badly my depression has been affecting my body, I’m not beating myself up too much about it. It was an up-and-down year in terms of my weight, so I can say this resolution failed.

christmas-gifts2. Buy Christmas Gifts BEFORE December. This one didn’t happen, but the pre-Christmas financial planning certainly did. We actually didn’t even start buying gifts until December 12-13. You would think this was a time to panic. Fortunately for Sunshine and I, though, we had already begun working on our budget. This meant that we had money to spend on gifts. ACTUAL MONEY. And out of the three primary areas in the HRM (Halifax, Bedford, and Dartmouth), we did the majority of our shopping in the smallest: Bedford. This meant that we could still go to Walmart, Target, and the other major retailers but the line-ups and crowds weren’t nearly as bad. So while we didn’t get gifts purchased before December, there was considerably less running around. The resolution failed, but we ended up winning.

3. Take a family vacation. UGH. I don’t even want to talk about this one. Needless to say, this one was a giant fail.

Debt-Free-Sign4. Become debt free. It’s hard to believe, but this one is almost accomplished. We combined our finances in late October and started our budget in November. As of the end of December, we’re actually doing really good. I’ve got a very small balance on my credit card and once that’s paid off, we can tackle Sunshine’s two cards and start rebuilding towards a financially sound future. I’ll say this resolution was accomplished. 

Healthy Living5. Have a happy, healthy 2014. Well…things didn’t quite end in 2014 the way I hoped that they would. Obviously, the last month has been tough on me and my family. Depression is not easy to deal with but I’m doing the best I can to become the person I want to become. The next couple of months will be vitally important to both me and my wife. I need to become the guy that I used to be. While this resolution failed in 2014, I think it was a massive step forward to having a fantastic 2015. 

date night6. Go on a “Date Night” at least once a month. Even with a budget containing “Date Night” money set aside for us, we didn’t accomplish this task in 2014. While some dates were had, we didn’t do it on a regular basis. This is definitely something we have to accomplish in 2015. Our marriage needs that “us time”, and we just don’t seem to get enough of it. 

7. Go on a road trip somewhere. Believe me…we NEED a road trip. We need to get out of the city together and get away from it all. Unfortunately, that didn’t happen in 2014. Bah.

CBG, Richard Marx, Sunshine8. Attend at least one concert together. This, actually, was easily accomplished. We ended up having the “Year of Musical Sunshine” because we went to three concerts of Sunshine’s favourite artists: Platinum Blonde, Jann Arden, and Richard Marx. Unfortunately, we didn’t get to see any of my favourites, but I’ve got my fingers crossed for 2015. 

Our money9. Combine finances. Thankfully, this actually took place and we’ve been sharing money successfully for a couple of months now. It’s crazy to believe that I’m doing this, because I’ve had trust issues my entire life. I’ve also had terrible spending habits, so blending our income and handling expenses jointly has done wonders for me and for us.

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So at year end, only three of my 2014 resolutions were accomplished. I need to do better in 2015. MUCH better.

What about you? How did YOU do for resolutions this year?

The Medication Change

So just over a week ago I went to see my doctor for a follow-up about my anti-depressant medication. After a few weeks, my body had been reacting really well. I could feel the difference in how both my body and mind were reacting to things. My wife could sense the difference and see the changes, too. Everything seemed fantastic except for one small side effect.

Well…it was a bigger side effect than what I expected. Y’see, I could handle the dry mouth and dizziness and slight nausea. I could handle the drowsiness during the day and insomnia at night. What I couldn’t handle, though, was the sexual issue that was being caused.

Sigh.

Don’t get me wrong, things were working and all. I just wasn’t…how shall I put this…I wasn’t able to “complete the task at hand”. It was affecting intimacy with my wife and I really wanted to see if I could get that corrected.

I spoke to my doctor and he immediately knew what I was talking about. That’s good because, quite frankly, it’s a difficult topic to discuss. He suggested that I try a different medication (Mirtazapine). He said that some people have to try multiple medications before finding one that works for them.

He said that the new medication’s two biggest side effects were drowsiness (he said I had to take these at night because they’d practically knock me out during the day) and that there was a 30% chance that I’d gain weight. I didn’t even hesitate to say “yes” because, at the time, I thought that I would be in the 70% group and things with my body would be back to normal.

Unfortunately, that hasn’t been the case so far.

After nine days, I’m worse than I was before I took medication. I almost ruined the holidays because of my anger issues, which were practically non-existent while on the other medication. It’s gotten so bad with my anxiety and self-hatred that while I’m able to “function” in the bedroom, Sunshine doesn’t want to be anywhere near me because, quite frankly, I’ve been acting like an asshole.

In addition to all of that, I’ve gained almost 10 pounds in this time. Sure, Christmas sweets are primarily to blame but I’m the one scarfing them down like I’m dying of hunger.

Finally,  I’m getting knocked out cold by these pills. I’m going to bed between 9pm and 10pm and not waking up until 7am or 8am the next morning. I’m used to getting between 6 and 7 hours of sleep per night…not 10. I wake up sore and groggy. While my dreams are vivid and my REM sleep is much improved (not to mention my ability to go back to sleep quickly if I wake up during the night), I don’t think my body should be sleeping this much and it feels a bit unhealthy to me.

Originally, I wasn’t going to see my doctor until January 20th…giving my body enough time to become acclimated to the new medication. But I think it’s safe to say that I’m going to try to see him a LOT sooner. I’ve regressed so much on these pills that I can’t see how continuing to take them will improve me in any way, shape, or form.

So that’s my update. I’m still depressed…only now I’m depressed AND more overweight than before. This is going to take a lot more work than I thought it would. 

Flashback Fun Music Friday – Christmas Edition!

I think everybody has their favourite Christmas song. Well…y’know…if they actually enjoy Christmas. If you’re Jewish or Muslim, maybe those songs aren’t your bag.

But for those of us who do celebrate the holidays, I’d like to think that we’ve got our own favourite holiday song. For me, there are just so many to choose from I can’t pick just one song.

I do remember, though, buying A Very Special Christmas as a teenager. This album was fantastic! There were classic songs by Bruce Springsteen, the Pointer Sisters, Whitney Houston, Madonna, U2, and Bryan Adams that are still played on the radio in regular holiday rotation today.

For me, though, the most memorable song on that album was by Run-DMC. I mean, who had ever thought you could create a rap-music Christmas song?

I remember that MTV used to be big on Christmas music, too. In fact, I remember videos for two of my favourite all-time Christmas songs were based on MTV holiday specials:

As time has gone on, my tastes have changed and varied. I’m a fan of Christmas music, unlike others in my family (ahem…Sunshine…cough). I’m pretty sure I’ll be sitting back relaxing all next week and enjoying the holidays, so until the next time we talk…have a Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukah, a Happy Kwanza, and a happy anything else that you may celebrate at this time of the year.

Throwback Thursday

Sometimes it’s hard to believe how long Sunshine and I have been together. Not only that, but how long our kids have known each other. The great thing about this blended family is just how well the kids all get along. It’s absolutely a blessing.

A couple of Christmases ago, we were all gathered in my old house to celebrate the holidays. We all worked on some gingerbread houses and the kids were all quite proud of their decorating results…

Throwback Thursday

Of course, once the kids were out of the room, the two adults couldn’t wait to have a little bit of fun with the left-over icing…

Throwback Thursday

You gotta love the holidays.

Ch-ch-ch-changes…or a placebo?

I started doubling-up my medication on Saturday. I gotta say…at this point I don’t know if I’ve really seen a huge difference. I’m glad to know that my body isn’t rejecting the meds and that the side effects aren’t quite as daunting as I initially feared.

I’m still a bit dizzy from time to time. I still have extended periods where I’m yawning non-stop. I still feel “weird”…like antsy or anxious but not really (i.e. it’s difficult to describe). There are multiple times where I stare off and “space out”, which is annoying. And there’s another small side effect that I’m not going to disclose at this point in time…but let’s just say it’s something I’ll be talking with my doctor today about on my 2-week follow-up appointment today.

 Sunshine asked me yesterday how I was feeling. I said that I don’t remember the last time I got angry, so that’s a really good thing. I also don’t remember the last time I felt depressed or mopey, though it was probably only a week ago. I feel like I’m on my way back, though this whole thing could be a placebo effect and I wouldn’t know any better.

The one thing I plan on doing in 2015, though, is getting some psycho-therapy. Obviously, there are issues deep down that affect me in a negative way and I don’t want to simply stay medicated in order to feel better. I would like to overcome and conquer these issues after bringing them to the surface. To do that, I need to talk to somebody and try to fix what’s wrong with me. The medication is a band-aid. It’s only fixing things on the surface.

The next few weeks will be interesting.