I’m tired.

I shouldn’t be; I had nine hours’ sleep. That’s a lot of sleep. But I’m not going to worry about it. I obviously needed it. My body is still adjusting to Sertraline, so I’m going to notice some effects of that. I’ve certainly noticed other side effects – my muscles twitch sporadically, and I woke at 3am three nights in a row last week. I have also realised I can’t drink more than two drinks without it messing with my sleep, leaving me feeling spacey and wide-awake the next day. Lesson learnt: two-drink limit on nights out. Much as I enjoy it, too much alcohol makes me anxious the next day anyway.

My skin has gone a bit haywire. Lots of pimples on my chin, and some in other places on my face. This is unusual and, surprise surprise, it worries me. I bet they’re from stress. Stress pimples lead to more stress. What a stupid vicious cycle.

My poor beleaguered body. My face looks tired and sad. Perhaps because I myself am tired and sad? That might have something to do with it. I’m afraid of what this terrible emotional weight will do to me and my health and my looks. I’m only 30; I don’t want to look old before my time. Anyway, whatever. I’m doing my best.

I feel a bit strange in general. Not ill, not light-headed, just a bit funny. I know it’s the meds, doing their thing. I’ve also noticed a huge reduction in my appetite, which is a noted side effect. It feels weird. I love food and eating, but I just don’t need to eat much right now. Because of this, I’ve noticed some weight loss, which, naturally, has pretty much pushed me into “diet mode”. As soon as I notice weight loss part of me is like, “Great! What else can I do to lose more weight?” At least I’m aware of it and mindfully noticing it. Obviously, in terms of side effects, weight loss is one that makes me happy. I worry about this – I’m meant to be accepting myself, and I do, but it’s hard when I’m bigger than I know my body naturally wants to be. I am trying to put my focus elsewhere and just listen to my body’s signals as much as possible. I don’t even feel like tea very often any more, and I love tea. Long story short, I’m thrilled I’m losing weight and want it to continue but am trying to pretend I don’t care. What would my eating therapist say?

With a reduced appetite, I also now have less opportunity to derive pleasure from food. As in, assuming I eat only when truly hungry, I have less opportunity to use food to make me happy. This is probably a good thing. It is kind of a trial by fire. I need to learn to stop using food as a crutch. Logically, my emotional eating makes sense. For the past six or so years, I have felt low, and consistently used food to give me a mood boost. More eating = more opportunities to get that boost. It feels scary to say: “No; I am not hungry.” It feels like passing up the opportunity for more happiness. For example, I love breakfast and I want to eat breakfast but, this morning, I woke and was not hungry. This is after eating very little yesterday, as well. I was annoyed and sad. I wanted to want to eat. I wanted to be hungry. I compromised by eating one piece of toast. There’s an online piece by a psychologist, I think, that talks about this feeling: “the sadness of saying enough”. Quite. After the toast, I promised myself that I would try to eat only when I knew I was hungry. The diet-obsessed part of me is thrilled. Scary. Shut up, diety part. But still… I can feel it winning me over. Anyway, fuck it. When I’m hungry, I shall eat. If I eat more than I need to, that’s also fine. FINE. I am not on a diet. Goddamn.

Fortunately, food can still give me pleasure and joy and nourishment. I cooked a fair bit on the weekend. I made oatcakes with organic butter, and some applesauce for muffins, and egg salad for wraps, and a delicious lentil salad with balsamic vinaigrette. And I bought a bunch of groceries. Some organic carrots and celery, free-range eggs, a bunch of other stuff. Yummy, nourishing food and ingredients. Feels good.

I saw a new psych last week, through work. He was lovely. He seems to really believe that I can get to a better place. It gives me hope. I will see him again this week. And I start my singing course on Saturday. Finally, I will be concentrating on my voice. Allowing myself to prioritise, invest in, improve and use my voice. My voice, which is one of the most important things I have.

In the interest of practising gratitude, I am grateful for all this stuff. Grateful for the pain and the fear and the anxiety. Grateful because I have the opportunity to learn and grow. Grateful because, despite it all, I am alive.


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