In the beginning...
*I am not a doctor. I do not know what is best for anyone. This is MY journey. MY story.
I keep writing and deleting this post. Because the reason I'm embarking on this journey at all carries so much stigma around it, that it's difficult to talk about. But I know I'm not alone, and maybe talking about it will help someone, so here we go.
I'm depressed. I suffer from depression. Multiple doctors have diagnosed me with this mental illness. It's chemical and it's not my fault, but the number of people who have told me to "snap out of it" is frighteningly high...and includes people that I love, who I know love me.
It's difficult for people who don't live everyday with their thoughts attacking every little perceived flaw to understand how difficult it is to deal with something like this. They just see a person who lays on the sofa binging Buzzfeed Unsolved videos for two weeks straight and think they're choosing to be lazy, choosing to ignore the world around them. When in truth, somedays that's all I can do.
If you don't know me, this is a pretty heavy way to start an introduction. I'm Dakota Rebel. I'm a best selling author with over 100 published books. I'm a mom, a wife, a daughter and a corporate lackey.
And I'm depressed.
When COVID lockdown first started, MILLIONS of Americans stayed home and turned to food for comfort. The phrase "The Covid Fifteen" was added to the lexicon, because a lot of us put on weight during this time. We were scared, we were confused, we were angry. We are still all of those things.
Add a mental illness to that mix, and I'm also paralyzed. I'm stuck. I'm unable to focus on the things I enjoy doing, because my mind redirects me to everything it thinks is wrong.
I lay awake at night, thoughts consumed by what I didn't get done. I go days without showering. I stop doing the things that are helpful, like journaling, planning, playing games. Instead, I eat sugar and carbs and dairy...knowing the whole time I'm stuffing my face that these foods do not love me as much as I love them. They are like that bad boy who booty calls you, and you go, of course you go, because at least in the moment you'll feel really good.
The problem with that is that the crash always comes. The acne, the weight gain, the
stomach pain ALWAYS follows. As sure as the bad boy is going to kick you out while you're still searching for your underwear, food that is poison to your body is always going to be poison to your body.
*I'm not saying these foods are bad, or that they're poison to everyone. I'm saying that the way MY body processess, or doesn't process them, is painful to ME. See above, this is MY story.
This cycle of depression has been one of the worst I've ever endured. No, I'm not on medication, though I have been in the past and the doctors have never been able to find a cocktail that helps, so I gave up on that a long time ago, and honestly so did they.
*If you're depressed, GO TO A DOCTOR. Don't listen to some idiot on the internet (me) who says "this" helped her so it will help me, too. Our bodies are all different and until a doctor literally gives up on you, stick with them. Medication is incredibly helpful and necessary for most people.
This is why this post has been so difficult, lol. I'm not giving advice here. This is an intro into why I'm focusing on my health, and I feel like I have to keep adding disclaimers. I know you're smart, but I don't want someone to stumble across this and think I know what the hell I'm talking about.
I DON'T KNOW ANYTHING.
That is not a slight on my intelligence. Just fact. I do not know anything about you, your body, your journey, your medication, your medical needs in general. So, don't read this blog thinking what I'm doing is going to work for you. It probably won't.
So now, we get to the fucking point already.
The best I've ever felt, in my entire life, was when I was training for a marathon. When you are running 10, 15, 20 miles a day, you HAVE to focus on your body. You have to make nutrition choices to ensure that you're performing at your best. You have to sleep, you have to shower daily, you have to do laundry. The simple act of moving your body, affects every decision you make. If you don't make the best decisions for your health, you won't be able to run those distances.
Yes, I was also the most fit I'd ever been. But that was honestly a side effect. The thing that kept me going was how I felt physically and emotionally. I was on top of the world...until I got injured.
That was two years ago. Recent enough that I clearly remember that woman. I can close my eyes and see the muscle tone in my legs, can feel the energy I had, can recall how happy I was.
I know what worked for me. And I believe it will work for me again.
So, here we go.
Beginning March 1st, (I've actually already started, but the public sharing of it in detail begins on Monday), I am turning my focus back to my health.
To be honest, in the grand scheme of things, I haven't gained that much weight. HOWEVER, I have lost almost all of my muscle tone. So I'm not much heavier, maybe ten pounds in two years, but the shape of my body has softened. My energy has depleted. And my chemicals have imbalanced again.
I have my nutrition plan in place as well as a workout regimen to ease back into moving my body on a regular schedule. I want to start running again, in fact I'd love to run a marathon in the fall, but I need to get my strength back up before I start training so I don't injure myself again.
The plan is to detail this journey here on the blog. Somehow, I've managed to completely segment my social media presence across the various platforms, and I kind of like it that way.
My Facebook Group is pretty personal, but mostly deals with writing, reading and book stuff.
My YouTube and my Instagram are planner focused.
So now, this blog will be where I talk about my health and wellness. I think it's easier this way, so people who are interested in different aspects of my life, know what they'll be getting on each platform.
I have a terrible habit of flaking off when it comes to blogging. It's easy to get busy and forget the thing even exists. But I'm hopeful that this can be a place of GROWNUP conversation about our health, including mental wellbeing, physical aspects and nutrition.
I will be completely honest with you in these posts. Some days it might just be a quick update of what I ate and how I moved my body. And some days it may be like this. A brutally honest and vulnerable conversation about my mental health.
I only have two requests.
Be respectful with your words. To me and to anyone who chooses to leave a comment on the posts. Personal attacks will not be tolerated. Mean spirited comments will be deleted. Starting fights with strangers on the internet is a waste of time and energy and I won't allow it. Period.
Please respect peoples privacy. Yes, this blog is public on the internet. BUT, the odds of randos stumbling across it is low. Most likely, you've journeyed here from one of my social media platforms. Which means you know me. And you may know my family. PLEASE, don't talk about this stuff with others. I don't need my husband hearing through the grapevine that I'm sharing my depression on the internet. He respects my privacy enough not to poke through my social media, and I'm just asking you to do the same.
If you're still reading this, thank you. It was a bitch to write this, and I'll probably spend another hour reading and rereading, my cursor hovering over the publish button, not sure if I should press it.
But if you've read it, I did.
Going forward, the posts should be more lighthearted, with swearing and jokes and good vibes. But I didn't think it was fair to start posting, without sharing where I'm coming from.
Now, go drink some water. If no one else has told you today, or even if they have, remember that I love you. I value you. And I'm so glad you're part of my life.