Gambling, self-exclusion and bipolar

Today has been an outstanding day for me. First off, it seems like the tax people agreed with me – and the free tax preparation software I downloaded some time ago – and a nice return wound up in mine and my wife Marilyn’s joint account today. In the past, I’m sure I would have taken a big chunk of this money to the local slots facility and, in all probability, would have wasted it. Instead, I took much of this money and paid down debt with it.

Much of the reason for this anti-slot change is rooted in the fact that I self-excluded myself from the slots facility – and in one fell swoop, cut myself off from all similar facilities in Ontario – just over a month ago. Through self-exclusion, my photo was entered into a facial-recognition database and, if I risked going to the slots, I could face a trespassing charge along with a fine. The self-exclusion decision I made was one of the best things I’ve ever done for myself, to be sure. My gambling career (if you can call it that) started innocently enough with the odd slots visit but escalated over time to result in more, and more expensive, bets. Now, I’m getting more and more used to making better use of of my money, not to mention better use of my time.

Followers of my blog are familiar with the struggles I have had with bipolar disorder – and I’ve seen on many websites and many YouTube videos that people with bipolar are more likely to become problem gamblers. That has certainly been the case for me. If you’re in a similar situation, I heartily recommend going the self-exclusion route. It has made a profound difference in my life.

Health/weigh-in update of April 4, 2017

Today was a good day for me at Ontario’s Woodstock Hospital. After a few weeks of disappointing results on the weigh scale, today I weighed in at 317.4 pounds (down 5.5 pounds from two weeks prior and down substantially from my all-time high of about 400 pounds). I chalk this up to exercise (walking and weightlifting, primarily) cutting back on beer, a sensible diet including a daily vegetable/fruit smoothie and intermittent fasting (with which I don’t eat before noon and not after 8 p.m., generally speaking). I know some people would disagree with this type of fasting, arguing that morning breakfast is important, but it seems to work for me.

My medication clinic nurse, who administers my biweekly shot of fluanxol (one of the medications I take for my bipolar disorder) was pleased with this weigh-in. She was also pleased my blood pressure was down compared to my last session with her – it was 146 over 86 this time around.

I will continue on with this regimen, perhaps ramping up my exercise (bicycling could be in the picture) as the warmer months approach. My goal is to reach 250 pounds, or lower, in the long run.

Health/weigh-in update of Feb. 23, 2017

After a month of disappointing weigh-ins, I seem to be back on track. At today’s weigh-in at Ontario’s Woodstock Hospital, I came in at 319.9 pounds, down 1.3 pounds from two weeks prior. It might not seem like a large loss but at least I’m headed in the right direction once again. As for my blood pressure, it was 133 over 90, which was also down from two weeks earlier.

I credit my weight loss partly to my ongoing efforts with intermittent fasting (I generally eat in an eight-hour window daily, not eating before noon). One of the benefits of intermittent fasting is supposed to be increased insulin sensitivity, which will hopefully help prevent the onset of diabetes (late last year I was concerned about being prediabetic, which my family doctor assured me I’m not).

My medication clinic nurse (who administers my biweekly shot of fluanxol, a medication used to combat my bipolar disorder) continues to be a source of support for me. She has a great sense of humour as well, which I’m sure helps when it comes to supporting her patients. She seemed pleased with my results this time around.