Friday, December 11, 2015

Bodytalk: What does healthy and happy even mean?

Hi guys,

I guess some of you might be tired of reading how I rant about my body, but... well, I just wanted to wrap up some things that happened in the past weeks, if not months, and talk about health issues - mental and physical.

So this summer I tried to be more active again, I went to work by bike quite often and while I felt that the trip was getting easier (it's 1 km steep uphill and 4 km slightly downhill in one direction... so 4 km slightly uphill on the way back...) I did not feel that I was really in any better shape. I wanted to lose some weight so badly, because I've been getting more and more chubby over the last years and I really don't feel comfortable in my body anymore. Clothes that I've had for years and really liked don't fit anymore. I feel super uncomfortable wearing tight clothes, shorts, skirts and so on. I had hoped that going by bike each day would help a lot. I also tried to diet a bit, cut down on the sweets for a start. But I saw absolutely no effect whatsoever. I mean, I was in a pretty bad shape after I came back from Australia and started my current job, so I guess there was a bit of improvement from that point on, but not the effect that I had hoped for.

In autumn, I started to go to the gym that we have at work. It's really convenient because sometimes I can plan my experiments so that I leave for 1-2h in the evening, then finish up on something in the lab before I go home. I mainly worked out on an elliptical because keeping track of the steps per minute helps me to breath regularly and not be out of breath so fast. The idea was to switch to running again when I had the breathing thing figured out a bit better. I also went running with my boyfriend now and then, and I really got better! I also felt better, and dared to wear some really old clothes again because I felt more comfortable in my body.

That skirt is an indicator of how much I like my body. It is so short that I really only wear it when I have really good self confidence on that day.

Then grad school hit me in the face with full force. While I had to take classes and work on projects and assignments, in parallel I still had to finish my Master thesis I basically spent 90% if my waking hours on work or home work, the rest on eating, and just tried to get 8 h of sleep each day because I know I do not function properly when I don't. Of course I had no time left to go to the gym. It sounds like a lame excuse but I literally could not afford that hour every second or third day, or I would have had to sacrifice my sleep, or quality of work. On week ends I was so dead tired I could not move at all. I just tried or rather struggled to keep up with my workload on those days were I do not officially have to work, but often end up working anyhow because if you've got an experiment running over the week end, tough luck.

Well, anyhow. I thought it would be okay if I just try not to eat too many sweets so that at least I don't gain everything again. That's what I thought. Reality begged to differ from my ideas and so I gained again and I know it's damn ridiculous to say this when I don't even regularly weigh myself. But I don't need a balance to know that my clothes are getting tighter again and my shirts are hiking up my love handles and come to rest around my waist most of the time. It sucks. It makes me uncomfortable. And it has to change.

So now my thesis is written and until I get a date for my defense, there's not much I can do about it anyway. And I stopped giving a shit about this one horrible subject that I have in grad school that gives us more or less impossible homeworks and that completely shattered my self confidence over the past weeks. It's not worth it. If I pass, that's fine. If I barely pass, I don't care. And they won't let me fail completely and kick me out of grad school just because I'm a biologist and have a hard time understanding fucking partial differential equations.

So at any rate, it means that despite Christmas and the prospect of delicious food being just around the corner, I wanna get back on track NOW and not after the holidays. I went running again today and plan to go to the gym on Thursday with two colleagues. And I will try to eat healthier again.

Why am I telling you this?
Because I realized that if I don't tell someone (my boyfriend doesn't count) I don't do it. I just keep thinking about it and bottle up the self hate for not doing it. It's ridiculous. And I already have enough issues with the nasty demons in my head that tell me how much I suck without having to give them any additional reasons to do so.

So my big motivation is now to lose some weight until the end of January. That's when the Ball of Sciences will be held, and I got a ticket for myself and my boyfriend, and I ordered the most fabulous ball gown and I want it to look good on me!

But there's another complication. Some of you might know that I actually have hypothyroidism and I've been taking medication for a couple of years now. I never really felt that I got back to where I "used to be" in terms of how my body felt. Sure, I was a super skinny teenager and it was obvious that I would not stay that way forever (thanks, hormones!). It's definitely better now than it was before I started taking the meds, but I am still not very happy with my situation, in particular the fact that my doctor is more than an hour drive away and even if I only have checkups twice a year it's hard to schedule them when I have to work so much.

So stupid me decided to just skip the autumn appointment and look for another doctor nearby. And now we have December, I haven't been to a checkup anywhere and I ran out of meds a week ago. I could just go to my general practitioner and she would surely give them to me but then this weird kind of anxiety kicks in and I am too scared to go there and ask. I am also too scared to ask for a referral to another internal medicine specialist. I can't even put into words what I'm scared of and I know it's really stupid. But I can't help it...

My current goal is to go to the GP before Christmas to get the meds and get an appointment somewhere in spring. But there are other health issues that I have to take care of, that have been bugging me and that I didn't find time to resolve... For years I've had problems with my jaw, and now more than ever it is really starting to cripple me in my daily life. I've been in pain pretty much constantly for weeks, to a point where I couldn't even eat properly at the end of October and again around mid-November. I don't know how to sleep without somehow feeling pressure on my ears or jaw joints, and sometimes end up sleeping half-face down on my pillow, which is not exactly a good way to breath well, though. And I've had recurring headaches that are so bad that when it first hit me I thought I'm having a migraine attack. Instead, it went away after a couple of hours and after a few times I realized it's probably connected to the muscles in the back of my neck, behind my ears, and all that regions that get fucked up because of my jaw.

And here the problem is, I don't even know where to go to. A dentist cannot help me. I would need an oral surgeon. And they are scarce and I don't know anyone who knows one, and I am reluctant to try them one after the other. And again, I just don't have the time to sit in their practice for an hour, perhaps get an MRT appointment, wait for a few weeks, wait there another hour or more, have the MRT, go back to the doctor, wait, let him have a look at it.... only for him to probably tell me that it's nothing and stress related and I should just find a way to relax. Ha-ha. I already know exactly how it will play out once I go there, so I am really discouraged to actually go there. I know that it's true - it's mainly stress related, but what can I do? Quit my job, give up my apartment and move back to my parents' place to become a Hikikomori?

Well, perhaps in the end, both things tie together. When I am more exhausted do to sports, perhaps I will sleep better and clench my teeth less. Perhaps it will help me relax. I sure hope so.

I guess I will just have to wait and see.


  1. Schön, dass du es jetzt nieder schreibst damit du keinen Rückzieher machen kannst! Ich hoffe dass es jetzt wieder besser wird, wo du wieder Zeit hast dich um dich selbst zu kümmern.
    Für mich hört sich das auch ein bisschen so an, als würden die Kopfschmerzen daher kommen. Habt ihr Orthopäden bei euch? Der kann das ggf. vielleicht auch schonmal abchecken und dich dann vielleicht weiter überweisen an eine geeignete Stelle. Auch wenn dir das vermutich jeder sagt: Deine Gesundheit ist wichtig! Mental, sowie körperlich. Also nimm dir die Zeit die Stunde zu dem Arzt zu fahren und deine Medikamente zu holen und wenn du MRTs aufgebrummt bekommst, mach sie mit. Wenn du diese erste Phase des Ärztemarathons erstmal durch hast, dann gehts dir bestimmt viel besser und du brauchst dann auch nicht mehr so häufig zum Arzt.

    Liebste Grüße! <3

  2. Hey!
    Ne Freundin von mir hat mit ihrem Kiefer ähnliche Probleme. Sie ist zum Orthopäden gegangen und der sagte, sie verspannt so stark, wenn sie Stress hat. Deswegen bekommt sie ab und an bei der Physiotherapie eine Massage des Kiefers. Vielleicht hilft dir das ja. Ich hatte täglich Kopfschmerzen und Sehstörungen bis hin zu tauben armen. Grund dafür sind verspannte nackenmuskeln.

  3. Even though it's such a serious and sensitive topic I have to say I find it interesting that I can find multiple similarities to how I feel at the moment. Since I've started commuting back and forth to college I've lost a lot of my daily energy, I don't get nowhere near enough sleep and my fitness has deteriorated massively. Additionally I have experienced things during the last year which I have never had before and which I never even thought of having: psychosomatic issues due to stress. It's pretty weird - in my conscious mind I feel like I'm coping OK with stress, but my body lets me know that it thinks differently. This has manifested in several ways; for instance I have had extreme levels of pain in my left shoulder joint and discovered it was due to tense muscles in my neck/shoulder area. Another even creepier experience was a feeling of tension in the back of my throat which I couldn't seem to be able to get rid of, no matter how hard I tried to relax, up to the point where I couldn't sleep because I felt like my airways were closing up because of this tension being so intense. Luckily all of this has gone away again (for now only the shoulder keeps recurring at times)but I know that it's not "gone for good" and I hope I'll find a more targeted approach to get rid of this upon recurrance. Actually I thought about doing sports or some other relaxing leisure activity (like making music or drawing) in order to get rid of it, but I just have to kick my butt on the weekends even if I don't feel like doing anything at all. Sorry for the extensive ramble, I just feel sort of relieved that I'm not the only one feeling this way.


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