there is no health without mental health

I know you’re probably reading this blog for weight loss tips and tricks, some real insight into struggling with body positivity, or just to follow my journey but this week I want to talk about something else, something a little less sexy: mental health. What most people don’t know about me is that I was diagnosed with depression 5 years ago and I have been struggling to find balance ever since. You might be thinking “not you Sandi, you’re so funny, and vibrant, and smart, and beautiful” well, that is correct I am all of those things, but I’m also depressed. Depression looks different on everyone. Sometimes you’re the sad person in the Cymbalta commercial who stays in bed for 3 days and sometimes you’re the life of the party then trying to figure out how to make a car crash look like an accident on the way home. This has become such a taboo topic in our society and I know how divided everyone can be on the subject but after telling the world I gained 40 lbs in a summer and crying in a video, talking about my depression feels less scary.

One thing I think people need to understand is that depression is not sadness or grieving or feeling sorry for yourself. You don’t have to have “something to be depressed about”. My worst bouts of depression have happened when everything else in my life was going great. Over the last year I’ve gotten a new job, new apartment, made some fantastic friends, and filled my mind with books and podcasts dedicated to self-improvement. In spite of these positive changes, my depression has recently hit an all-time low. It’s such a strange feeling to stop involving yourself in things that usually bring you so much joy. I experienced this when I spent a day at the beach this summer. I walked on my favorite boardwalk, shopped at my favorite stores, and ate at my favorite restaurant but for some reason I cried almost the entire day. I can’t explain it; I can’t accurately describe the emotion but I know it takes over every aspect of your life. Anyone who knows me knows that my love for greeting cards runs deep. I enjoy nothing more than spending hours rifling through rows of stationary trying to find the perfect birthday message. However, in the last few months I have not sent one birthday card, not to my dad, or my sister or my best friends. Something so simple that used to be the highlight of my week has been replaced with anxiety and stress. The very idea of picking out a card was so overwhelming to me that I avoided it completely. Ironically, the guilt I felt from not sending cards was just as upsetting as my irrational fear of sending them.

I could go on for hours with examples of how depression has affected my life but I don’t need to, I’m not trying to prove that I’ve been depressed. Members of my own family don’t believe in depression or agree with being medicated so I’ve given up trying to educate people who don’t want to learn. The reason I’m sharing this is the same reason I told everyone that I’ve eaten an entire box of oatmeal cream pies in one sitting- because maybe someone reading this needs to know they’re not alone. I know that sounds cliché like I’m doing an E news interview saying “if I could just help one person it would all be worth it” but it’s true, I do want to help people. I don’t really want the recognition (unless there’s money involved…just kidding, kinda) but I started this blog because I couldn’t find someone at the beginning of their weight loss journey who was going to be honest about the struggle, so I became that person. I’m also sharing this because I haven’t written in a month and I thought y’all deserved to know why. I don’t know if my depression will go away completely, lie dormant for a while, or have to be suppressed by medication but I do know that ignoring it does more harm than good.

On lighter note, we’ve started a new year which is exciting if you count your life in calendar years. Personally, I only measure time by how old I am but I’ve decided to make some resolutions this year because I’m going to be 30 YEARS OLD. I will have taken 30 trips around the sun, experienced five hundred twenty-five thousand six hundred minutes (30 times), and done a lot of other cool shit I don’t feel like listing (if you’re about to turn 30, don’t Google “things you should do before 30” trust me). I COULD dwell on the fact that by the age of 30 I thought I would be married with a bunch of kids and I’m currently single with an empty uterus but we’re not going to do that today. I’m going to focus on fitness and nutrition and really strive to push myself like I never have before. The next 5 months will be my time, I’m sure of it. Maybe you think New Year’s Resolutions are dumb (maybe you’re dumb) but anytime someone sets a goal to better themselves it is something to be celebrated. So blog reading people, I’m setting my goal right here, right now. I’m going to lose enough weight to fit into the overall shorts I bought last summer that I only wore once because who knows how long this 90’s trend will stick around and they can’t go to waste. I don’t want to make it about numbers, I want it to be about how I feel and let me tell you, I felt pretty damn good in those overalls.

Join me if you want! Maybe you’re not turning 30, maybe you’re turning 50 and the kids are out of the house and you can finally make whatever you want for dinner after 18 years of chicken pot pie with extra peas even though you hate peas. Live it up! Throw out the peas and never look back!