Transparency… and Self Care

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I have gone back and forth about whether or not to write this post.  It has been on my heart the past few days, and I have had a hard time ignoring it.  This is probably one of the hardest posts I’ve written because it is entirely too transparent for my comfort.  But, I feel that there are other people who struggle that would benefit from my transparency.  So, if I can just help one person, it is worth it.

Through the past few months of ups and downs, I have spent some time evaluating changes that I can make in my life to take better care of myself.  Self care has not been a priority, even though I truly thought I was taking care of myself. Turns out, I haven’t been doing a great job in this area, and I knew I needed to make some changes so I didn’t end up back in the hospital.

One of the areas is alcohol.  Despite the fact that I’m not supposed to drink while on my medications, I didn’t let that stop me.  And I could tell that my medication hasn’t been working completely the way it should be.  It’s supposed to help about 70-80% of the time, and I’ve been struggling a lot the past few months.  To be honest, I didn’t use alcohol responsibly anyway.  It became a way to cope with my anxiety and depression, which just makes me spiral down fast. So, I have made the decision to stop drinking all together.  Not even one.  It has been a little over a week, and I can tell a HUGE difference in my moods.  I feel more stable!  I can see why they say not to drink while on them!  I am so incredibly thankful that I live here.  I reached out to some ladies here and they have been so supportive, encouraging, and my prayer warriors.  I’m thankful for women who love me right where I am.

Another area is how I view my body, and how I eat.  I decided one day that it is a choice to love my body just the way it is.  My husband thinks I’m amazing just the way I am, and he doesn’t want me to change.  I am who I am, and I desire to just be content and satisfied with that.  In that, I have decided to be more balanced with food, and for the first time in my life, I actually feel that I have achieved this.  I eat well but allow myself foods that I enjoy.  I don’t think about weight loss 24/7 anymore, which is so freeing!  There is so much more to life than losing weight!  I have gotten lost in the weight lost world for far too long, and it has been like chains for me.  It consumed my life and my thoughts.

I am still hiking and often long distances.  I hike for my mental and emotional well being (spiritual as well since I pray the whole time).  Yesterday I hiked almost 9 miles, and over 20,000 steps.  It is so motivating to see what my body can do.  I plan to do a long hike 3 days a week.  I took today off, but will be back at it tomorrow!  I absolutely love hiking.

I finally decided the other day that it was time to get back into counseling.  I am pretty sure that I will never be able to stop counseling all together.  My illness will always be with me, and I’ll have ups and downs.  I had an intake appointment with a new counselor last week, and I will be seeing her weekly for a while.  She is retired from the local mental hospital and is now working for a Christian counseling group.  She seems to have a lot of knowledge and understanding of mental illness and just life in general.  Even her daughter takes the same mood stabilizer that I take.  She doesn’t just know about it from working with mentally ill people, her own child struggles with this tough disorder.  I am hopeful that she will be a great part of the self-care puzzle.

Most importantly, I have decided to spend more time with my Savior.  He and I meet every morning right after the kids have left.  I am studying Galatians through the She Reads Truth devotional.  It is perfect for this time in my life.  I’ve studied it many times before, but God is teaching me new things through it.  I pray more and am growing into a more intimate relationship with Jesus.  He is who helps me through each day.  Without Him, I am nothing.

Through all of these changes, I have seen a shift in all of my relationships.  Especially with Robert and my kids.  Because I’m taking better care of myself, I can better care for my family.  I enjoy spending time with my husband every night after the kids go to bed.  We communicate better.  We are more affectionate.  I’m less irritable with my kids.  I am more patient and can handle them just being kids.  I spend a lot of time with them doing homework and cuddling.  I find myself missing them through the day, which is a blessing.  My heart overflows when I think about my amazing family.  I’m so thankful that God has blessed me with them.

I listen to this song multiple times a day.  The words speak right to my heart, and I feel that I am living it right now.

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