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Get the positive thoughts flowing in the worst of times

March 2, 2018 - Andy Flynn
This week: 432 lbs.

Last week: 433 lbs.

Start (Jan. 2): 444 lbs.

Total lost: 12 lbs.

On Monday, I started writing a column about thinking positive and optimism and all that good-feeling stuff you need to crawl out of the holes of depression we find ourselves in when the times get tough.

And then the times got tougher.

On Tuesday morning, my wife found herself without a job. Within hours, still in shock, I began to think of silver-lining sayings like, “It can always be worse.”

Then it got worse.

Aside from the enormous financial stress of the situation, we realized that our health insurance would run out at the end of the month, which was in two days. After all the health problems both of us had last year, and the medication we now take because of them, we need health insurance more than ever, and there shouldn’t be a lapse in coverage.

Dawn had it worse on Tuesday, much worse. After all, this happened to her, and it was personal. Her feelings were hurt, and she needed to process what had just happened.

I was trying to be supportive, but the financial realities hit me hard. The stress began to build as I tried to figure out how to pay the bills without Dawn’s paycheck and with a chunk taken out of my paycheck for the health insurance we needed to start on March 1.

Yet, even as I worked through some of the stages of grief, I knew I had to get my stuff together and be the rock. I was in survival mode and realized that I must now work extra hard to keep the things we absolutely need to survive: a roof over our heads, our vehicles, heat, electricity, food, water/sewer, medication.

And in order to do that, I need a positive attitude. I need to build and maintain the confidence to go forward and make things happen.

So now we get to the meat of the column I began writing on Monday, when I was finally beginning to feel better, physically, after not feeling well for almost two weeks.

My message was “Do everything you can to get those positive thoughts flowing through your brain. When you do, you’ll begin to feel energized. You’ll feel lighter. You’ll have more confidence.”

That’s what I did over the weekend. After more than a week of gaining some weight, I said, “Enough!” Not out loud but to myself. Then I began talking my way into thinking more positive thoughts.

I also worked hard to get back into eating healthier food, and I started an exercise regimen. The exercise is minimal for now: just some stretching, dumbbell work for the arms and walking on the days my lower back feels good and the gout isn’t acting up in my left foot.

It seems like I get an acute attack of gout every two weeks now. It only lasts three or four days, but when I’m having the attack, it’s difficult to walk because of the pain. Some days, I’m on crutches.

While I don’t get depressed like I used to — last year’s death scare from the pulmonary embolisms cured me of that — I do get down in the dumps sometimes because I get disappointed when I can’t walk. That’s when emotional eating starts, and it’s a recipe for disaster. (Switch on the weight-gain mechanism.)

For now, I’ll keep looking at the bumper sticker on the back of my white Ford Focus and get inspired: “Optimism can take you anywhere.”


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