Matt With MS

I am uninspiring, fairly lazy, living in denial, and think I'm having the time of my life 90% of the time. Let's change that.

Month: January, 2016

Moving Forward

After 15 days of Whole 30 and no cigarettes I feel like a different person.  Not internally, and not emotionally, but just physically.

Waking up, used to hurt.  My fatigue, I realize now, was pretty bad.  MS wasn’t the only culprit, but aided by a shitty diet, I think it was to blame for some of it.

I can’t take the last two weeks and just go back to what I was doing before.  I can’t.

I can’t let the urge to give up for a bit take over.  Even when I get frustrated with work, lonely, or feel bad about relationship/dating events.

That’s easier said than done.  I’ve sort of isolated myself during the last two weeks, and haven’t been in public much.  I’ve shied away from anything that resembles a party or a bar, and I think I needed to.

I, also, have really missed socializing.  I’ve put too much stock in my close relationships with a few people, and spent all of my time with 4-5 of them.  I want to get back into meeting more and new people, and I want to get out there.  I just am so afraid of smoking.

I know it’s only been 15 days, but the urge has been strong, time to time, and if I had ANY alcohol in my system, I’m pretty sure I would’ve slipped up.

Two nights ago, I was feeling pretty low, and stopped at 7-11 to get ice tea.  Well, I told myself that.  I bought a pack of Camel Crush cigarettes and walked outside.  After packing it a huge feeling of guilt overwhelmed me.  The feeling I would usually get the next day, after I’d smoked 3-4 that night.  I’ve done that before, and have thrown out the pack with 14-5 cigarettes left (usually after smoking one more).   Then, two days later I’m giving a homeless person in SF 9 cigs left in the next pack.  Then the next day, I’m buying the third.  Then I’m smoking again.

I thought about all of this standing in front of the RedBox DVD rental and just took the open pack, and set it on top of the machine and got in my car.  I drove home, played some Xbox, watched some Netflix, and went to sleep.

This didn’t make me feel proud.  It made me question my resolve.  It made me question everything I wrote in the last post.  Was this all about doing this to impress a girl?  Was it for my friends and family that are dying to see me healthy?  Was I able to do it, and was the first glimpse of sadness in weeks enough to push me right off track?  Was me stopping and not falling off a sign that I am stronger already?

These questions have been running through my head for two days.  It goes back to the fear with a disease like MS.  It goes back to that fear of the unknown.  That fear that you can’t predict the future, that you can’t avoid the bad in life.  It goes back to that fear I’ve had all along, “Am I just fucked up?”

Through my half-hearted search for mindfulness and inner peace, I’ve learned a bit about myself.  But I’ve also ran into the same questions.  The questions are usually my inner voice talking, thus ruining the quest for actual mindfulness when I constantly listen to them and address them, one by one.

That leads me back here, to this blog again.  And that leads me to another one of my inner feelings towards myself.  I’m still writing time to time, but it doesn’t feel as meaningful, because no one reads it now.  I could easily post again to Facebook and Twitter, and then I would probably have my 100-300 person audience back.  The attention would be there, the accountability that I had been seeking would be back.

But that wouldn’t change the bad things that I bring into my life.  The NEED for attention, the constant desire to be recognized when I’m doing good stuff, to need to–not so much, account for the bad, but to throw it out there because of my guilt would be back as well.

This is what I’ve been trying to avoid.  And this is not the point of this.  A pat on the back from friends and family is great and all, but one from myself is probably the most important.

I’ve gone two weeks with monumental changes to my health and lifestyle.  I feel better, and while still a bit dark, the depression and anxiety is no where near where it was when I would counter it with alcohol and tobacco and poisonous foods and worse.   The outlook for my future is still bright.  In fact it’s more akin to a bright light in the distance, than a dark cloud.  You can’t decide what either signifies, but the light does seem a lot more fun to travel to.

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Healthy?

Can I say that I’ve ever been healthy?  I didn’t drink much in high school.  I didn’t smoke or chew tobacco either, until the end of my senior year.

I grew up with a step mother, who was educated thoroughly and personally invested heavily in health and wellness.  I listened to her at times.

But, in reality, I ate shit.  I worked out horribly.  I was obsessed with losing weight and “looking good.”  So even in the 2 year period that is now decades ago, when I was in the best shape I’ve ever been, I was literally starving myself and compulsively exercising, not healthy.

Last year I followed up 3 months of the healthiest I’ve been in over a decade with the worst reaction ever, to the freak infection in my surgically repaired ankle.   I got out of the hospital and just didn’t care for a year.  When I did care, it would be out of depression and just trying to grasp on to the fading life I could trick myself into believing I had.

This lead to, possibly, the least healthy year I’ve had in my life.  And this lead to where I am now; two days into not smoking, not drinking, and following Whole 30’s strict dietary rules to start off 2016.

First off, fuck resolutions.  They never work, just like diets.  I want to do this month to a) prove to myself that I can, b) prove to those around me that I can, and most importantly c) quit fucking smoking.

Smoking will kill me and lately I’ve come to the realization that it already is.  In December I would wake up coughing twice a night and every morning.  Sometimes I’d cough so hard that I’d almost pass out.  One time I did, luckily I was with work friends, annihilated, at our unofficial end of the year party and I came right to.  Another time, I coughed so hard I got a bloody nose.

Instead of terror, and a realization that I need to change, now, I started to feel the familiar pull towards “fuck it.”  The pull towards the feeling that this isn’t going to get better, and there’s not anything I could actually do to change it.

For the first time in a while, I see a future that I want to experience.  I realize that I have a lot to experience.  I realize that I may not be able to handle moderation.  I have to do this drastic approach to see if I can slowly inch back in some of my “bad” habits, and not all of them as soon as this month is over.

I am literally shocked how much better I feel 2 days into this.  My lungs are basically thanking me like they just won a championship and me not smoking is their higher power.  My head hurts less and less, and while I am still “expelling the demons,” I don’t feel like I’m going to shit my pants every 20 minutes.

I have an urge to get exercise, as opposed to an urge to sleep all day.   I have a positive outlook.  One where I look at my particular MS and realize that I probably have a great shot at not getting worse.   I understand that people won’t totally get the times i feel horrible, and I understand how horrible it feels to be called lazy when you can’t control it.  But, I also know that I use this as an excuse a lot.  And that I could do more and want to.

I look at the person who triggered most of this, and instead of hoping something works out with me and them, I realize that just that being a possibility is what’s exciting.

An in shape, financially responsible and mostly sober Matt Walker, is a person that is highly date-able.  I’ve looked at most of the people I dated more than just semi-seriously as a “last chance.”  Right now, the possibilities are endless in my head.  I still don’t totally know what I want in life, but for the first time in a long time, being alone isn’t terrifying.

I know that a lot of my thoughts and genuine feelings are, a lot of time, genuinely fleeting.  I know that I cycle, hence the last time I wrote in October.  I know that MS cycles too.  I know that I have a long, long road.

But, it’s just different.  In 2014, when this blog started, it was mostly because I just went through hell with my long time ex, and then dated an incredible girl, that didn’t work out.  I felt like shit about myself, and wanted to make myself the type of person who could work with this girl, and who could move on from my ex.  I wanted to do it to show myself, but really to show her, that I was awesome, that I was desirable.

That’s just not the case right now.  I want to show my friends and family who I am.  I want to look in the mirror and not think about how good I look or about how “fuckable” I am.  I want to look deep into myself and figure out exactly who I am.  The big realization is that if I’m constantly being someone I’m not proud of, and mixing that in with exuberance from my periods or drive and accomplishments, I never will find who I actually am.

I’m not scared.  I’m not anxious  I know this all may change, and I know that it’s shortsighted to act like this didn’t start because of a girl, just like last time.  But, it’s different.  Instead of doing it to be with that person, I truly understand that I get chances to date great people right now even.  What will happen when I’m the me I should be?

That’s a huge change from 2014, and a huge change from even a few weeks ago.

Let’s climb some more mountains.