My Battle With Depression, Weight loss, and Diabetes

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Monday, October 19, 2020

Psyching yourself up for new changes

We all have changes that we need to or want to make in our lives, and sometimes just finding the motivation and the determination to actually start is sometimes the hardest part of the whole overall journey.

I have these grandioso plans of getting out of the house, and placing my foot on the beginning of the Pacific Crest Trail (PCT) which is a 2650 miles (4260k). I watch movies like Wild which is about Cheryl Strayed's personal journey on the trail. It has inspired me. I really want to see new sights and to undertake something like that. Just my short little 13.5 mile hike/walk on the Larry Scott Trail was a spiritual movement and a bit of a "holy shit" moment for me. So I can only imagine what doing something like walking the PCT or the AT (Appalachian Trail) or any number of other trails. 

I find that I have this burning wonderlust that is building inside of me. Clawing for a change. What type of change im not really sure. I hurt 95% of the time that I am out walking. Either my feet are killing me or its my back. But I am pretty addicted to the "high" that you get from doing so. I've started amassing a collection of hiking/camping/outdoor equipment. Started watching videos on how to dehydrate meals and leftovers for backpacking. Im watching with feverish bewilderment, YouTube videos from other hikers and backpackers and their thru hikes. Wanting to see, experience, taste, and smell everything that comes with being out in the wilderness, alone. 

I think that what I am going to strive for is to walk the 130 mile trek of the Olympic Discovery Trail that spans from The Puget Sound to The Pacific Ocean. Mainly because its "safe" and literally close to home. No matter where I am at on the trail, I would only be an hour or so from home. It goes through some pretty interesting areas. Most of which is city, but a good majority goes through part of the Hoa Rainforest and Olympic Forest. 

How much of this is just fantasy and how much of it is something that I am going to ever accomplish are totally different things. But I think that it is something that I could do. I just know that there needs to be a change in what I am doing, how I am living, and how I am feeling.

Maybe playing Moses and walking across the earth is what does it. Or maybe it fuels the fires of unrest and causes me to seek out new and more challenging feats.  

Sunday, October 11, 2020

An Unexpected Journey

So for the last almost 7 months I have been walking more and more and finding it rather enjoyable. I've never been one for hiking or anything like that. I've liked the idea of it, but putting that into the physical act of actually doing so has always been something completely different.

Just recently, I walked 13.5 miles (21.73k) from my town to the next. Now according to the trail signs, the distance is only 7.3 miles (11.75k). But Im not sure if that "as the crow flies" (meaning a straight line) or if that is how far it actually is. But 3 different apps that I have on my phone said that it was 13.5 miles.  Which trust me, either way, my feet and back were killing me. It was such an emotional and almost spiritual adventure. I have NO EXCUSE for why I did it. It quite literally just happened. The day that I went walking, I had it in my mind that I was going to walk to the 6 mile marker. Where I park my car and start walking is about 1/4 of a mile (0.042k) from the 7 mile post marker. So I have always done the trail just past the 6.5 trail marker. But that day like I said I wanted to see where Mile 6 post was. And it was on a part of the trail that I had never done before, so if anything, curiosity got the better of me.

So, when I came up on the 6 mile marker, I decided to "go a little further" to see where that part of the trial went. When I came to the bottom of a steep hill and saw a ranch style fence, I thought "ok i'll just walk up to that fence and turn around." Had I done that, my round trip would have been just under 4 miles at that point, because I had walked over 1.5 miles. But when I got to the top of that hill and caught my breath, I noticed that the trail was flat for as far as I could see. So I thought, "ok I wonder where 5.5 miles is." A few weeks prior to all of this, I picked up the trail from a different access point and walked from the 4 mile marker to the 5 mile marker. I called a girlfriend of mine and asked her if she would come pick me up if I kept walking because I knew I probably wouldn't have the strength nor the stamina to make the return trip to my car. And that I was going to keep walking until I couldn't go any further. So she agreed and so I continued my journey.

When I got to the 5.5 mile marker (8.85k) I realized that I had seen it before, and realized where I was from having walked it a few weeks prior. So that gave me a renewed sense of energy "knowing" that the next trail access was only a mile or so up from where I was. This is when things started getting a bit spiritual for me. As I was walking, and there really wasn't anyone else on the trail, save for a biker or someone running by every now and then, but for the majority of the time, I was all by myself. 

So I started talking to god/goddess/spirit/higher power/the universe/etc and asking for the ability to complete my task of walking further than I have. Now mind you, this is when the wildfires in California, Oregon, and Washington were really bad. The air quality was 289 (which is really really REALLY bad). And because I didn't plan on doing that large of a walk, I had NO previsions with me. Thankfully this time of year all of the Blackberries are in season and so are the wild apple trees. So every so often I would stop at a blackberry patch and grab a few handfuls and mush it around in my mouth. Not only for the sweet sugary taste, but for the juice to help with my thirst. So about 2 miles from where I started eating the blackberries, I met a wonderful lady who was mucking out her horse stalls. I stopped and spoke with her for a few moments, she offered to go get me some water, but her house was about 8 acres from where she was, and I honestly didn't want to stand around and wait for her. So I thanked her and kept on going. I then came to a green apple tree. I thought that it might be crab apples, which are very tart and kind of "woody" and not very juicy. I knocked one off the tree, because at this point I was starving because I didn't eat anything before going on my walk, because having to use the restroom on the trail isn't that fun, and I didnt have any toilet paper with me, so I didn't want to eat and have to deficate on the trail. But that apple was a wild Granny Smith. It was the most delicious apple I had ever eaten (at least right then while i was a bit dehydrated and hungry) that I actually turned around and got 5 more for the trip ahead. 

By this time I was at the 4.5 mile marker letting me know that I was almost to the trail access that I was going to have my friend pick me up at. But I started thinking "its really not that much further into town." So I kept going. By this time im an emotional wreck, and everything is making me want to cry. I had begun "unpacking" emotions and situations that had happened and just really doing some mental and emotional cleaning and soul searching. My feet were in pain, my lower back was numb from the pain. But I just kept telling myself to keep going. Honestly I have no fixed memory of what I was thinking about at the time. What feelings I was having. Nothing. It would come in waves, I would think about it and play scenarios out in my head and then move on to the next thought. They kept coming like waves, and it seemed like everytime I would come up for a breath I would get hit with another one. 

After I got past the 4 mile marker and saw the 3.5 marker I was completely lost. So everything at that point was new. Which brought on its own set of emotional tidal waves. I started talking to myself and the universe or whatever spirit or god wanted to hear me and listen to the ramblings of a fat man walking in the woods. At one point I came to a large tunnel that ran under a road that I had driven over many times before, but did not realize that there was a trail that went under it. And there was a breeze that was passing through it that made it feel like an air conditioner, which took my breath away because I was really hot. I just stood there for a moment, and cooled down.

Then walking through it, I noticed all the graffiti that was on the walls and had thought about my friends from California who are street artists and how they would have loved that tunnel and would have used it as one big canvas for something im sure that would have been worthy of an art gallery.

Just on the other side of this tunnel was a long stretch of forest trail that had the most lush and prehistoric looking Sword Ferns that I have ever seen. These have quickly become one of my favorite forest plants that I have come across. So as I was marveling at the natural beauty around me, and coming to an open field, something walked out onto the road and caught my eye. At first I thought that it was a small dog or a racoon or something like that, but it was an orange tom cat. As I approached it I thought that someone may have abandoned it out there. But as the trees began thinning and I got closer to the clearing, I could see that there were houses on either side of me, and that this little guy had a collar on, and a well worn trail where he had walked many times before. But trust me, I was more than ready to scoop him up and bring him home with me, even though Bella probably would have killed both him and I.

When I had walked about 1500 yards, I could see the highway into town. This of course brought tears to my eyes, realizing how close I was to the end of the trail, and thinking about how many times I had driven that stretch of road and never knew that there was all of this beauty and semi hidden trail. Walking under the freeway and realizing that I had less than 2.5 miles to go before I was at the end of my journey, I began getting really giddy. More street art adorned the overpass. 

When I came to the 2 mile marker of the trail, I almost lost it. Years prior, when I had first moved to Washington, I had walked to the 2 mile marker from the end of the trail, and realized that it was literally all downhill from there, but in the best possible way.  My thoughts and emotions were all over the place. When I came to the 1 mile marker. I started crying uncontrollably. I started talking to my dad, my grandma, and grandpa, telling them how proud they would be of me for making it that far, and for having done something like that in the first place. I could see my end goal in sight. I know that section of the trial all to well, as I walk it several times a month. When I got to the 1/2 mile marker I called my friend and told her where to pick me up. There was a part of me that wanted to keep walking. To keep walking past the trails end, all the way to the end of the road where it met the ocean. But I had kept her waiting by her phone all day, and didn't want to make her wait around for me any longer than what she already had.

As I approached the end of the trail, where it meets a parking lot. It felt like my steps were getting heavier and harder to make. Like subconsciously I didn't want it to end. That even though I was in pain, and numb, that I needed to keep going. But the spark of sanity that I had left told me that it was more of an accomplishment than I was giving myself credit for. Stepping off the trail, and walking to where I told my friend I would meet her, was difficult. Time was off for me. I kept having flashbacks to where I was, what I had seen, and to a smaller degree who i was when I started vs who I was when it ended. Yeah it was only a few hours, and several miles of walking. But it really did have that profound of an effect on me. Especially since the week before I was seriously depressed, and had being toying with the idea of just ending it once and for all. But here I was. I had accomplished a goal that I had set for the following summer, and had accomplished it almost 7 months ahead of schedule. 

When I saw my friends car pull up, I lost all control I had and began crying. She was more than ecstatic for me, and just as shocked as I was that I had done it. I kept my sobbing under control the best that I could, just letting hot tears streak down my face. My back was in spasms, my feet felt like they were broken. My shins hurt, my calves were cramping. But I had done it. I had made a trip that this time last year would have been impossible. 

Me after my friend dropped me off at my car, I was crying here but trying to hold it back

For days after my walk, I had what I can only describe as PTSD from it. I just kept having flashbacks to parts of the trail. Remembering things that I saw, the scent, the sounds. I have since started watching Trail Vloggers, and watching their journey's. And they all have said the same thing. That when they end a hike, that they get what they call "post trail depression".  I have now downloaded several hiking apps, that show all of the trails in my area, and their ratings. And I have also began stockpiling hiking gear. I've been walking with a school backpack with about 7lbs of stuff in it, just to get used to walking with a pack on. My friends husband, gave me one of his old hunting packs and told me that he has some other items that he was going to give me.

I have already planned my next "big" walk. Its just under 14 miles, and another one that I plan on doing next summer too. I would try to do it now, but its fall/winter here in the PNW now and i'm still not that experienced, and still need to build up the strength and stamina to do so. And plus it will give me some more time to get things together for it. 

Sunday, August 30, 2020

Looking back to look forward


More often than not, I find myself looking back over the course of my life. I was once in a relationship with someone who said "quit looking back all the time, you are in the present now. You can't live your life in the past." Well where I understand what they were trying to say, for someone like me, who is typically a cronicaler of events, my past is what shapes my future, and what helps me to keep my focus.

Lately, I have been looking back and doing a lot of soul searching. I am constantly wondering, what would have happened if I had "made that left turn at Albuquerque?" I mainly find myself thinking about these things as I do my daily walks through the woods. It has become a physical and spiritual retreat for me. Allowing me time to pounder things, while walking for weight loss and health, and commune and connect with nature. 
It has become very metaphorical for me, while walking to associate the side paths as the directions I didnt take when I was younger. Staying on the main path as I walk, I know my beginning, middle, and end. There is a grouping of trees that I always turn around at to start the walk back to my car. However, if I was to look at that dusty old path as my life, there is no point at which I can turn back and redo things.

When I was younger (although 39 isnt that old) there were many many side paths that I could have taken. My soul was that of a Gypsy. I had a wanderlust, and a curiosity for the world that I just dont have anymore. And some of the opportunities that were "afforded" to me in my youth, are no longer there. I think of the countless times that I had the oppurtunity to move to Washington starting back at 14yrs old. What if I had just left, and went with my friends. What would my life had looked like at that point? Would I have eventually ended up here in Washington in the end anyways? But what about those people who came into my life during Jr. High and High School and even college? Our paths probably would never have crossed. But who knows who I would have met. Maybe I would have fallen in love and had a family by now? 
And I think of the decisions I made during my college years. What if I hadn't meet and fallen in love with the person I was dating in college. That I ended up dropping out of school, and living on the floor of my friends dining room just so that I could be closer to them. I think about what my life would have been like by now, should I have completed college. Would I be the English teacher that I wanted to be. Would I have gone into marketing like I always wanted to do? Or would I have fallen back on one of my many other degrees that I was pursuing at the time.

I will admit that most of my decisions were fear based. Some were logical dont get me wrong. But me leaving my family and moving to a different state. That was a huge scary step that I was going to take. I had never been more than 45 minutes to an hour from my family. But I was ready to leave them all and move 1500 miles away because I needed a change in my life. I think about that all of the time. What if I had stayed in California? Would I be living on my own? Would I have been happier? Dont get me wrong. Im pretty happy here in Washington. But my mental health also came apart once I moved here. Though I knew that I needed help back when I was living there in California. But I couldn't find it, like AT ALL!

So who knows what would have happened. But things still linger for me, sometimes on the forefront of my mind. Things that happened to me when I was 3yrs old. My first kiss. How it felt to ride naked through the desert on a motorcycle, under the light of a full moon. The hot abrasive sand between my toes. The cold damp air of a foggy morning, when I was walking to school. The anxiety I had/have going into a restroom. The hateful words people have said to me. Its funny I can remember almost every word every bullie said to me, but cant remember the kind ones that others said. Jeez thats a harsh reality check I just had. Even now that I am typing this out, im having flash backs, and memories come to me that I thought I forgot. 

I dont know what the future holds for me. And looking at how much sand has passed through the hourglass, I dont think I have much longer honestly. I dont expect to live much past 70. So the fact that im 39 now drives that home every day. The only thing that I can do is what I have done in the past, take every day step by step. Enjoy the small things, and try to overcome the bad.  To keep looking back at where I came from, and see the growth and progress of where I am now. Ever forward, never backward.

Friday, July 31, 2020

The Weightloss Journey so Far

Well I have been going at it for just over 3 months. And I am proud to say that I have stuck with it this whole time. Yeah I haven't wanted to do anything some days and havent. But I am happy to announce that as of today I am officially 37lbs lighter.

My last weigh in was 467.6, and today it was 460.6. Making it a grand total of 37lbs since I started the last week of March. When I started I was about 510lbs. I hate to even put that into writing, but well there it is. I had an emotional break down the other day when I weighed in at 467. That is the first time in YEARS that I have been that low. My typical weight was about 475-480, but I ballooned up to 510 and that is when I said enough is enough. So being down almost 40lbs is amazing. I've been killing myself trying to lose this weight, and for the longest time I saw nothing happening when I stepped on the scale. So now that im starting to see movement, its giving me hope and even more encouragement. 

I literally had a break down on the side of the road when I saw that I had lost weight and that I was at 467. Now at 460, it has only strengthened my resolve to want to do more and do better. I am still allowing myself a few cheats here and there. I have found that if I restrict my diet that I tend to fail at following through with it. So I am still eating carbs, and pasta, and dairy, chocolate, fast food and the like. But I am being smarter about the choices and amounts that im consuming.

But if you follow along with my Instagram account @michaelscottpeterson you get to see some of my daily posts about how much walking I've done, and see some of the things that I have been cooking. There is also a new Facebook Group that you can join to be more interactive. And of course you can always follow along on the YouTube channel Hello Cupcake It's Me where I post 2 - 3 times a week. 

But for now #imtrying my best to just do what I can to lose this weight. 

Saturday, July 4, 2020

Happy 4th of July

Happy 4th of July to all my American readers.
Today is one of those bitter sweet holidays for me. Growing up my father was the biggest kid of them all, with his love of BBQing and blowing stuff up.
Every year, no matter what, we would always go to the Fireworks stand and get a grandiose selection of combustibles and just wait with baited breath to light them all off. As I got older, we did less and less of them but still spent the day eating food, listening to music, and just hanging out. It was a tradition that I had hoped to pass on to my children, but I never had any. So now I just spend the holiday with friends who do have kids and watch their excitement and happiness when they get to do their fireworks. But I cant help to want a sparkler of my own every 4th.

So today, as it has become tradition for me, I am heading over to my close friends house and going to partake of mass quantities of food and merriment and celebrate what freedoms we still have.

I hope that you and yours have a blessed and safe holiday.

Thursday, June 18, 2020

This Journey

This weightloss journey is one of the hardest treks that I've been on. Why is it so hard to lose what you've gained. I think that weight is the only thing that you can not lose as fast as you've gained. Money, material possessions, etc, you can lose in an instant. Its not fair.
But I didnt become obese over night, so I cant expect to lose it over night. But its killing me to see that I am putting in so much work and not really losing any weight right now. I brought myself down from 500lbs to 476lbs. But it seems like nothing I am doing is breaking past that platu that I've hit. Maybe I need to buckle down and get really serious with myself and limit my eating even further. Instead of 2700 cals, maybe try to only do 1500 for a few weeks.
I need to also stop eating after 7pm.

I just need help.

Sunday, May 31, 2020

#sayhisname George Floyd - my thoughts

I never met the man. But his story is the same as many others. He was murdered. Plain and simple. Murdered by those who swore an oath to serve and protect. A man, died, crushed to death by another grown man. Applying lethal pressure in a submissive hold. A hold that these "peace officers" are taught from basic training not to hold a suspect in for more than a few moments. A hold that is known to kill people.

The aftermath that consumed most of the nation in violence and fiery retribution. George's death was the spark that ignited the riots and protests that happened. It started off as a protest against his killer(s). But there was so much more that was boiling under the surface. So much more that pushed the people to the breaking point.

For years the police have gone unchecked. A localized military group that operates under the guise of public servants. I am not saying that all officers are bad. I personally have family members in law enforcement that I know take their oath seriously. But there are those who should never wear the shield.

Playing Devils Advocate, I understand both sides of the preverbal coin. I understand the heartbreak of the African American Community. I understand the feeling of hopelessness and being voiceless. I understand the fear that many live in, not knowing how they are going to make things work, and constantly having authoritative figures being self serving and never turning their gaze upon the real issues that the people have, only those issues which will better serve those of means. Of living in a "class" system society even when we are not supposed to have equal rights.

I understand the justice department in needing and wanting to keep the peace. But when it is so blatantly obvious that they protect their own, and sweep the wrongs of their peers under the rug, it becomes hard to support a system that shows no support for those they are supposed to serve.
Breaking and entering, vandalizing, looting, rioting, and causing massive damage is against the law and hurts the community yes. But it is also the only language that the repress have many times. Look at all the riots of the last 40 years. Most if not all of them have been in response to Police Violence, or injustice. Sure there have been some that have been due to sporting events and other nonpolitical related events. 

I foresee a new civil war breaking out. With the current administration the tell tell signs are already there. It is quite literally history repeating itself. When the North and South fought, it divided the country in two. The Union and The Confederacy. Now its becoming apparent that it is happening again. Not for a very long time have we seen such a divide in our nation. Starting back in 2008 when the first black man was elected into the role of President. A ground breaking, historical event. We saw the sleeping dragon awaken.

For the Black Community that dragon has always been awake. But it was really the first time that caucasians saw it. People saying things like "if that n***er has a barbeque at the White House, we'll lench him". When the current administration began its run for presidency, the dragon fully awoke and spread its wings. Showing the entire populace that hate and bigotry was still running rampant in this country. Suddenly hate and intolerance had public support, and an "in your face" strength that hadn't been seen since before the Civil Rights movement. Social Media platforms became the new Speak Easy's and Soap Boxes for fanning the flames once more.

"peaceful protests are the only way..." I've heard this said several times over the course of the last week and a half at the time of writing this. But lets look at all the peaceful protesting that has happened in the past. Lets start with Dr. Martian Luther King. He and his band of followers and supporters, both white and black, joined together and marched peacefully. He tried to be peaceful. He tried to be diplomatic.

Floyd McKissick, director of the Congress of Racial Equality, tried to come to terms with King’s death and its meaning for the broader civil rights movement.
“Nonviolence is a dead philosophy and it was not the black people that killed it,” he told a reporter from the New York Times the night of the assassination. “It was the white people that killed nonviolence and white racists at that.” - https://www.history.com/news/mlk-assassination-riots-occupation 

Those riots and protests lasted almost a full year in the very same cities that we are finding civil unrest now. The American People can not live with the "one rule for me and tree rules for thee"  governance that has steadily become the norm. Its not until the people band together under a common banner that they are heard. There are many right this very moment that are not seeing the bigger picture and only seeing the violence and destruction that is happening as mindless chaos, and not the underlying meaning of what is taking root and trying desperately to grow. But it is those in power who think they are above the laws that they swore to uphold and protect. Blind faith in those of a position of power and not in the right or wrong aspects of things. We all make a choice as what to do and when to do it.

Malcolm X, same situation, same result. Yes he was more "militant" but the message was the same. Rodney King, beaten, battered and assaulted. Trayvon Martin, killed for walking down the street and refusing to talk to George Zimmerman. Colin Kaepernick took a knee during the National Anthem in a silent protest, resulting in him losing his position and many corporate sponsorships.

I am neutral in all of this. I understand both sides of the coin. However, I am more favorable toward the peoples side in this case. Police officers use to be wholesome. They were the good guys. They were not feared. Now, people rather deal with crime in their own ways, rather than call upon those whose jobs were to serve and protect, because more often than not, those enforcers kill, mame, or otherwise injure and make the situations worse.

#sayhisname and in doing so, send blessings to his loved ones. That their pain is eased, and that justice isn't blind, and that good, positive, lasting changes are made.

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