The voice inside my head

You’re so mean when you talk about yourself, you are wrong. Change the voices in your head. Make them like you instead.

I know quoting song lyrics is really cheesy, but hey sometimes a little cheese isn’t a bad thing. The above is actually a quote from a Pink song. I was working away this morning, and my iTunes was playing in the background. I wasn’t paying any particular attention to the music that was playing, as I only put it on to kill the 6am silence. Suddenly these lyrics seemed to jump out at me from the background. They seemed louder than anything else I had heard all morning, or after for that matter.

I am not a mean person (or at least I don’t think I am) and yet, when it comes to how I talk to myself I am a very nasty person. I am constantly berating myself. I am not a perfectionist, but when it comes to me nothing but perfection is good enough. And if it’s not perfect then that must mean I am pathetic, a loser, worthless, never going to succeed at anything…you get the drift.

You see, it turns out that I don’t like myself very much. I’m not sure why, but nothing I ever do is good enough for me. And I often find myself projecting that opinion I have of myself onto others. I don’t mean that I expect perfection from them, but that I seem to think that others also expect perfection from me. If I don’t think that I am being the best daughter, sister, friend or girlfriend, then I assume that they also think that. And so I withdraw from them, and turn to the only thing that I perceive loves me unconditionally – food.

What I am starting to realize, is that is my ego talking. Not my ego as in I am full of myself, but my ego as in that part of psyche that is controlled by my addiction(s). Unfortunately, my ego has a warped sense of reality and it wants me all to itself. It wants me alone, isolated, using and ultimately dead. If not physically, then at least emotionally and spiritually.

I suffer from something called the law of ones. I can walk into a room with 99 people who think I am amazing and 1 who hates me. When I leave that room, I will only ever remember the 1 who hated me. In life what this means, is I can be perfect every day. I can get up, go to work, eat well, take all my supplements, exercise, do homework…in essence do everything “right”. But if I have 1 day where I do everything right, except maybe not work out that day. All I will remember, think about, obsess about is that one thing I did “wrong”. I will use it as an excuse to bully myself. It will become a reason to call myself a loser, to hate myself.

Here is a prime example.

I am currently taking some online classes, which I love. Continuing my education is something I have wanted to do for a long time. However, due to how busy I have been at work lately, I haven’t been able to keep up with the workload. I have already missed 2 quizzes, and am 2 weeks behind in lectures and reading. My ego is screaming at me to quit. The possibility of getting an A in the class is already gone, so what’s the point? (this is my ego talking) You might as well give up, you were stupid to think you could do this. I, however, am refusing to quit. I will finish the class, even if I only just barely pass. Why? Because if I don’t, it will just be another reason to call myself all sorts of names.

Another example is my current living situation. I am 36 (almost 37) and I still live at home with my father. My reasons are all good reasons; I am paying off my debt, it is expensive to live on your own in my neighbourhood, I don’t like living alone and my dad is an ideal roommate. I also pay rent, contribute to household expenses when I can, buy groceries that we both eat (not that there are many) and try to be a good roommate as well. That sounds good right? Not in my opinion. All I can think of is what how sad and pathetic I am that I still live at home. When I run into people I haven’t seen in a while, and they ask me where I live now, I am embarrassed to admit that I still live with my dad. And without them even asking, I proceed to justify it. Not because they care, because really I know they don’t, but because I am ashamed of it. But there is nothing to be ashamed of!

I know I need to change my inner dialogue. But how do you do that? How do you change what has been built up over years of self-abuse? That is where I am struggling. I have to start with paying attention to my inner dialogue, notice what messages I am telling myself and when. I have decided that for this week I am going to carry a small journal and try to be aware of and write down those negative things I tell myself. I’m not sure what I will do with them after, but for now that doesn’t matter. This will be a start. And I need to remember, if I don’t do it one day don’t use that as an excuse to give up or beat myself up. Just pick myself up the next day and start again.


Where was I when they were handing out discipline?

Self-respect is the fruit of discipline; the sense of dignity grows with the ability to say no to oneself.
– Abraham Joshua Heschel

Today was a really rough day emotionally. I have spent most of the day questioning myself, my ability to change, my discipline. Ah discipline, my old foe. I am not what I consider to be disciplined person. I often find myself full of good intentions to change how I eat, to workout more, to take courses, volunteer, and on and on at infinitum. What usually ends up happening is that I start off ok, but things get hard or I get busy and all discipline goes out the window.

It is funny though, I had a conversation about this with a friend last week. She reminded me that I do have discipline. When it comes to work, I am very disciplined. I will work 10 hours at the office, come home, eat and get right back on the computer and work until 1-2 in the morning. Then I will get up at 6 am, and continue working. That takes a lot of discipline.

Yet, when it comes to me, to doing things that are good for me, I seem to lose all sense of that drive, that discipline. I can’t seem to find the will power to do what I know needs to be done. Actually will power is not the right word. The more accurate word would be self-love. Oh how I loathe that word…but really it is the best description for it.

All of this self-doubt led to a serious case of fear setting in. Fear, my other evil foe. All I kept thinking about was “What if I can’t do it?“. All that failure means. Not doing this means the possibility of diabetes, of heart disease, of cervical or uteran cancer. All really scary conditions. I am already showing symptoms of several of these conditions. If I can’t cut the sugar and wheat out, get my hormones under control, manage my insulin levels, and start moving more then my situation can get so much worse. That is scary. It is very overwhelming.

In addition to my health fears, I am developing fears around money. All of these prescriptions, supplements and alternatives remedies don’t come cheap.  While I do have some health coverage at work, it isn’t nearly enough to cover the cost of everything. Am I going to be able to pay my bills? I have a lot of debt, am I going to be able to make those payments? What if I get worse? Will I have to quit my job?

AAAAAAARRRRRRGH!! I need my brain to shut the heck up!!

I have often heard of people talking about fear as a motivator. That is not my experience. Fear paralyzes me. It stops me from doing the things I want to do, the things I need to do. It has been a big reason why I haven’t done many of things in my life that I wanted to. Fear of failure, of success, of looking like a fool, of embarrassing my family, of disappointing others, of disappointing myself. I really could go on and on. It is something that I have been working very hard at overcoming, but I still struggle with it every single day.

I have been told that I need to live in the now. I need to stop worrying about tomorrow because it isn’t here yet. That is easier said then done, let me tell you. The board of directors in my brain is staging a coup. They are taking control and locking me out of the decision making process right now. I even joked to someone last week, that I should outsource my brain to India. That’s the Mecca for yoga and meditation, right? Because I know that meditation is the key right now. And yet, I can’t find the DISCIPLINE to do it!

It’s a vicious circle that I have been stuck in for a long time. Today is just the day that it has all decided to bubble to the surface. I know, that this all boils down to self-love and self-care. I need to find ways to help me believe that I deserve this. I deserve to be healthy. I deserve to be happy. I deserve to live the life I dream of. And yet, somewhere deep in my core I don’t believe these things. My ego tells me that I am unworthy. I am unworthy of love, of health, of happiness. Somewhere in my life this is the message I received. I don’t know why or how, I just know that I did.

I need to change my inner dialogue. I need to be mindful of the messages that I am giving myself that give me permission to give up on myself. The quote that I started this post says exactly what I need to do. I need to find that self-respect. That is what will help the discipline to grow and flourish. I need to have faith. Faith in my doctors, faith in the process. But most of all, faith in myself.

The beginning of the plan…

Wow, what an emotional couple of days, but also a productive couple of days.

9781587610233I have been reading this great book that my specialist suggested to me, called The PCOS Diet Plan: A Natural Approach to Health for women with Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome. I have to admit, I spent much of the first chapter in tears. The relief that was flowing through me was almost too much to bear. The stories of the other women, the symptoms that I have had for years (some of which I haven’t shared because I never realized they were relevant), it was so amazing to know that I am not alone. To know that other women have suffered from what I have suffered and that there is a light at the end of the tunnel. That there is a solution.

I have also been busy getting organized, starting to lay the groundwork for my plan. and cleaning and organizing my personal space. You know that saying a chaotic space is the sign of a chaotic mind? Well, I have a chaotic space…and I guess that means a chaotic mind lol. So I have been spending some time lately getting organized and purging some things. I set up a dedicated “office” for the first time ever. I was in design school for 4 years and have been working/freelancing for 5 years and have never had a dedicated space to work in. I always just worked on my laptop wherever. It’s still a work in progress, but at least the desk and computer are set up. And I finally set up an area in my basement where I can work out at home. Again, I always just had all my equipment scattered all over the house. I also finally threw out some garbage that has been sitting piled up around my house, the woman who cleans my house won’t know what hit her next time she comes lol.

The beginning of an office

The beginning of an office

Throwing out some garbage, that sounds like a metaphor for my life actually. I am physically purging my space, and hopefully as a result I am purging some of my emotional “garbage” as well. Actually, not hopefully, I know I am.

I have also started my health plan. Some of it is stuff I have already trying to incorporate, and some of it is more specific. This is what I have so far:


  • Continue to eliminate wheat and sugar from my diet. The book I have been reading suggests applying an 80/20 rule. Eating “clean” 80% of the time and allowing yourself treats the other 20% of the time. I like this idea, because it gives me room to occaisionally eat pasta, or a pint from Ed’s Ice Cream (the BEST ice cream) and not have to play that mental game where I beat myself up for days. You know the one. Where you are really good at sticking to your diet for days/weeks and then eat something that is not considered on “plan”. This then leads to an emotional boxing match, where you call yourself weak, a loser and say things like “you can’t do this, why not just give up” and then you often do just that. Well, if this is going to be a lifestyle change, and not just a diet, I need to leave room for the idea that I will occasionally want to eat ice cream and just allow myself that ahead of time.
  • Eating regular meals at roughly same time every day. I am learning that when I eat is just as important as what I eat. One of the main issues with PCOS is Insulin Resistance. Therefore, it is important that I try to keep my blood sugar levels as even as possible. This not only means not eating foods that will spike my blood sugar, but also making sure to eat regularly throughout the day so that they don’t plummet either. It’s similar to how a diabetic has to manage their insulin and blood sugar levels, which is why Diabetes is often a secondary condition of PCOS.


  • Dedicate myself to practising yoga 2-3 times a week. This is the first stop on my exercise regime because yoga has so many more benefits then just getting me physically active. It also helps with my neck and muscle issues, as well as helping me get and stay emotionally grounded. I can’t afford to go back to class right now, but I have enough knowledge and the equipment that I can do it at home.
  • Start working out with a personal trainer. My sister is a certified personal trainer, though it’s not her full-time job anymore. She has agreed to work with me once a week to start developing a workout plan I can do at home using my new home gym.

    My new home "gym"

    My new home “gym”

  • Walking 20-30 minutes a day. Every morning on my way to work, I get off the streetcar several stops early to pick up my coffee at the closest Starbucks. It is about a 20 minute walk from my office, though I usually just hop back on the streetcar. Now that the weather is nice, I will start leaving home a little earlier so that I can walk the rest of the way to the office. If, for some reason, that is not possible, on those days I will get off the streetcar early on my way home and walk the rest of the way.


  • Begin taking hormone therapy. My doctor prescribed me progesterone to help to begin regulating my hormone levels. It is not bio-identical, which I am not happy about, but I will begin taking the hormones while I continue to look for ways to get myself on a more natural regimen.
  • Continue to explore/research alternative remedies. I am continuing to read the book I mentioned above. I am also going to speak to my Naturopath at our next appointment about supplements or other homeopathic options that I might be able to add. I am already taking Vitamin D, Vitamin B Complex and EstroSmart. But will see if there is anything else I can do.
  • Be kind and loving to myself. This is the most important one I think. Without it, none of the others are going to be possible. If I can’t treat myself with love and respect, then I won’t be able to keep this up long-term, and it has to be that long. I just need to keep reminding myself to be patient. Be patient with my body, and be patient with me. It’s taken years to get my in this condition, and it’s not going to go away over night.

So that is the plan, so far. I am looking at this plan as a living organism, in that it will continue to grow and flourish and that it is something I need to tend and nurture. I thought about setting a start date for all this, but I realized that I just need to start it now. It doesn’t have to be perfection at first, it just needs to be incorporated into my life. The only goal I am setting is that within the next month, I need to be doing something that works on each of these items. This is going to be a marathon, not a sprint, and I need to pace myself so that I don’t burn out doing everything all at once and then give up entirely. Because giving up just can’t be an option.

The $24,000 question

I am an addict, and have been since I was a child.

Now, before you start having images of a 9-year old me sitting in a corner with a rubber band wrapped around her arm and needle sticking out of her, l should say I am not now, nor I have ever been, an intravenous drug user. In fact, other then a little dabbling with some green herb-like substances, I have never been a drug user at all. They always scared me.

So what then do I mean when I say I am an addict? Webster’s dictionary defines an addict as: “A person who has a compulsive need for and use of a habit-forming substance (as heroin, nicotine, or alcohol) characterized by tolerance and by well-defined physiological symptoms upon withdrawal.” I think this is the definition most people think of when the hear the word “Addict”.

However, the definition I use is “the compulsive need to use anything (food, alcohol, sex, whatever) to fill a void or that allows me to remove myself from whatever it is in my life that I deem unacceptable” or “something I do to excess as a means to avoid looking at what in my life is making me feel unloveable, unfulfilled or just plain unhappy”. By this definition I have a lot of addictions.

This past weekend I spent the weekend downtown at a conference with others who are exploring a spiritual way of life. Now don’t go getting all freaked out, by spiritual I don’t mean religious. Trust me, I am one of the LEAST religious people you will ever meet, ask any of my friends. My definition of spiritual is living a life where I am emotionally connected to the world around me, and by extension the people in it. I attend this conference every year, and it always an experience that gives my emotional and spiritual gas tank a top-up.

On Sunday morning, I had the opportunity to hear three amazing speakers who shared their personal stories of struggle, tragedy and triumph as well as their personal experiences with addiction. I heard a lot of great sound bites, and nearly wet myself from laughing, but there was one thing that really resonated with me, and that I have been thinking about since.

I was reminded of the definition that I use to describe being “sober”, at least as it pertains to me.

“the abstinence from any substance which would affect me from the neck up”.

Please know that I do not take any credit for this definition, it was something I borrowed several years ago. However, one gentlemen spoke about how we conveniently always seem to leave sugar, nicotine and caffeine out of this definition – three substances that I use to varying degrees on a daily basis.

It got me thinking. How extreme does an addiction have to be before I am willing to surrender it? Drinking was a no brainer, because I was so emotionally unwell by the time I gave it up. Yet, when it comes to food, I am still struggling to remain abstinent from wheat and sugar, despite all my health issues.

What is it going to take before I give it up completely? Diabetes? Cancer? Complete muscle deterioration? Honestly, how bad does it have to get before I surrender?

Or better yet, what benefit am I getting from it that outweighs my physical and emotional health? I guess that would be the $24,000 question I need to answer.

Planning a vacation is exhausting


So true…

I need a vacation. I know I do, my boyfriend knows I do, I think everyone who knows me knows I do. Here’s the thing. For most people planning a vacation is easy, assuming of course they have the money. They choose the dates they want to go, decide where to go and then book it and they are off. For me, however, it so much more complicated then that.

Due to a shortage of funds and time (both on my part) my dear boyfriend (DBF) and I have been looking for 2-3 day getaways on groupon. The one he sent me last night was for a beautiful cabin in the woods near the Kawarthas. The price was great, there was a restaurant onsite, a jacuzzi, etc.. All great. So the next thing you do is go look up pictures of the rooms on their website, right? Wrong. You google the location of the nearest hospital and map out the fastest route and how long it would take to get there.

You see, that’s how my brain works. And it is also why planning a vacation, even just a weekend getaway, has become as complex as planning a summit of world leaders. Actually strike that, a summit is probably easier to plan. For every destination/hotel there are a litany of anxieties and phobias that need to be addressed.

  • Niagara Falls? Most hotels are high rises. The windows don’t open. Can I take the stairs up and down from the room? If I have to take the elevator, how old is it? how fast is it?
  • The Caribbean? Too hot. What’s the healthcare system like? Will I be covered under travel insurance with all my “pre-exhisting” conditions? I have to get on a plane.
  • Las Vegas? See Niagara Falls and The Caribbean.

This is just a small list of land mines that dbf has been trying to navigate. Poor guy. All he wants to do is take me away for a few days LOL.

This is what I am like all the time. Even just driving around the city. I am mentally mapping out the fastest routes to the nearest hospital. I won’t let him drive in the express lanes, because if we get stuck in traffic we can’t get out.

The ridiculousness even reaches beyond just travel and cars. Elevators and being trapped in stairwells are big fears of mine. So much so, that last summer when my sister gave birth to my nephew, it took 2 separate trips, dbf to hold my hand and an Ambian just to get me up to her room to see them.

Exhausted just reading this? Imagine living it. Day in and day out this is how my brain works. It has gotten better since I agreed to go on anxiety medication, but it is by no means cured. The meds just make it less debilitating. No wonder my poor adrenals gave out. They are suppose to help with fight or flight…not fight, fight, fight.

Sure I could just go on vacation despite all my “issues”, but that brings all its own baggage. Fear of panic attack, upset stomach, being a right B***h.

So for now, dbf and I continue our search for a vacation that meets my exacting standards (read craziness). And I continue to work on my “issues”. He really is pretty patient…or a glutton for punishment. I haven’t decided which.