I Couldn’t Sleep Last Night… Self Care Sunday

I had a hard time sleeping last night.  I knew exactly what was wrong but wasn’t sure how to fix it in the moment… so I just laid there ruminating on it.

I made so many changes this past week that my anxiety flared up the past few days.

I put so much pressure on myself and it all came crashing down last night.

This morning I ended up going back to bed and we missed church.

That was my self care… recognizing what I needed in the moment and taking care of it.

 

Now to address what has been keeping me up…

Friday I met with my dietitian.

I had decided on Monday that I would go gluten and dairy free to see if it would help my anxiety and digestive issues.  I also ordered a probiotic and fiber.  I decided to do all of the things that Karis is doing… we would do it all together.  By Wednesday I was already extremely anxious about food.  I also could never find something to eat, which made it hard for me to eat enough (I already struggled with that and it just made it worse).  When I met with my dietitian, she felt strongly that eliminating gluten and dairy right now probably wasn’t a good idea.  She said we could address it again when she feels like I’m eating enough.

In the meantime, she told me to eat anything I want in order to get enough calories in me.  I have been restricting for so many years that I’m struggling to eat enough.  It’s ingrained in me to eat as little as possible.  I’m pretty much always hungry but I had gotten used to that feeling so it’s normal for me.  My metabolism is completely shot because of this.  I’ve gained weight since I left rehab and she thinks it’s because my body is learning to re-nourish itself.  When I was drinking I didn’t eat much… all of my calories came from alcohol and those are empty calories.  My body doesn’t know what’s going on now that I’m not drinking.  So by eating more, it will actually help my metabolism.  I’m also hiking again which really helps.  If I don’t lose weight that’s okay.  I may even gain some more as I re-nourish my body.  That’s okay, too.  Anything I do from now on will be for health and nourishment (mental and emotional as well as physical), not for weight loss.

 

And school…

This morning I decided to cut back on our morning time because it was going to end up taking so much time every day (at least an hour).  She needs to be mostly independent so that I’m not too stressed, which causes anxiety.

Instead of several different loops, we’re going to study Shakespeare and geography a little each day (keeping it short and sweet, maybe 10 minutes each), and just study/read one other thing instead of a several other loops.

So, for example, we will take the Picasso book and read it through the week so it’s only like 5-10 minutes each day.  The next week I will pick something else that is fine arts or literature and read through it through the week.  I guess it’s still a loop, but we won’t study several things every week.  Just one.

I adjusted my post about this coming week to address the change.

 

It all comes down to recognizing that what I have planned and done is enough.  I don’t need to make it extravagant and complicated… just keep it simple.  She will enjoy the time that we have together more if we keep it simple.

I already see myself going back to my old self which over-complicates things, so I need to put a stop to it immediately instead of continuing.

One positive is that I am doing things cheap or free, so that’s good.  In the past, I would have spent a fortune… but I’m happy that I closed all credit so I’m not able to spend much.  I have to actually stick with the curriculum that I have chosen this time instead of constantly trying something new… because I can’t afford to change anything.  I actually love everything that we’re doing and Karis seems to be doing well with it all!

My Happy Planner

I have heard of these for a long time, but it wasn’t until I saw a picture from a friend on Instagram that I decided to bite the bullet and buy one.  I also bought a home planner insert to go with it!  This is pretty much replacing my household notebook.  That has turned into a personal notebook (AA stuff, medical paperwork, etc) plus homeschooling (lesson plans and Teacher Edition pages).

The monthly calendar contains appointments, events, and meals for the month.

I’m going to have to adjust how I’ve been doing this since I received the home planner.  I will probably make this all about self care!

This planner covers everything that I need for being organized.

Coming Up: Week of 3/27-3/31

This coming week we won’t be doing school Monday because we will be in town most of the day, and Tuesday we will be in town in the morning so we will do just the basics.

Morning time will consist of:

Bible 

Bible study Genesis chapters 5-6 and mom/daughter devotional.

Shakespeare

Learning about William Shakespeare

Fine arts 

Artist study: Getting to Know the World’s Greatest ArtistsPablo Picasso

Geography

For geography we will be studying the continent of Africa.

We will spend 5-20 minutes on each.

 

For spelling we will do All About Spelling Level 2, Step 1: Review.  This reviews what was taught in Level 1, which we did not do.  This step is very necessary to move forward.  We will not use letter tiles like the lessons state because that would just drive her crazy!  We’ll do everything in a composition notebook.

For reading she will read The Devil’s Arithmetic chapters 1-3, do vocabulary, and answer questions.  I love these units!  I have so many more coming up!

I will also have her read something of her choosing for independent reading time (3 chapters will take her like 15 minutes… she loves to read so she’ll need more).

For writing we will do Week 2 of Writing with Ease Level 4.  The excerpts to narrate and dictations are from A Little History of the World by EH Gombrich.

Math will be Math U See Delta, lesson 1 A-F and Test (we are moving through this fast because I went backwards to fill in some gaps). Tuesday she will do A & B, Wednesday C & D, Thursday E & F, and Friday will be the test.

Grammar will be Easy Grammar 6 and Daily Grams 6.  I haven’t received these yet so I don’t know what it covers.  We’ll just go in order.

Art will be creating art like Picasso.

Science will be Apologia Exploring Creation with Astronomy Lesson 3: Mercury.  We will receive her notebooking journal from Rainbow Resource on Monday.  We will study lesson 3 for 2 weeks since we only have 3 days this coming week.

History will be Story of the World chapter 2: “Egyptians Lived on the Nile River.”

Happy Monday and Grati-Tuesday

I realize it’s Tuesday, but I didn’t have a chance to blog yesterday so I’m going to share some things today.

Yesterday was a long, exhausting day, but it was great in a lot of ways.  I have made some decisions to possibly help with anxiety and my own digestive issues.

After Karis’ doctor told us to eliminate wheat, reduce dairy, take probiotics, and increase water and fiber for anxiety and her digestive issues, I talked to my counselor about it and she asked why I wouldn’t try it as well.  She read me some studies that point to lowered anxiety and depression with eliminating gluten.  And dairy makes my stomach hurt.  My counselor has been doing this for 30 years so I trust that when she says it works, it works.  Then I talked with a friend here that is gluten free and she said it decreased anxiety, panic attacks, and depression.  So we’ll see!

I talked with my dietitian about it and she said we can try it for a month (well, she said 3 weeks but I think a month is better) and see how I feel.  I can then add them in one at a time and see if it affects me.

So that’s what I’m going to do.  I’m eliminating dairy and gluten, adding in fiber and probiotics (also encouraged by my dietitian), and drinking lots of water (mainly because I’m taking lithium now and you have to drink lots of water with it).

Yesterday I ordered some good probiotics and fiber (Garden of Life brand) as well as probiotics for Karis (just Vitacost brand).  I also take fish oil and a whole foods multi vitamin.

Now the question that I asked myself and my dietitian has been very adamant about is that I don’t view this as a weight loss diet, but as a way to feel better.  I don’t think I’ll lose weight… I’ll still eat intuitively (eat when I’m hungry until I’m comfortably full).  I won’t focus on eating “good foods” vs. “bad foods,” but just foods that make me feel good.  I’m not planning to lose weight at all.  My goal is health.  Lower weight does not always mean good health (lots of studies show this!).

And now that Karis is home I will be better about hiking.  It was hard to convince myself to go alone.

I also did EMDR and wow it brought out a lot of things that I can work on and process.  I have decided to not go into details about these sessions because it’s very personal.  Just know that I think this will also help my anxiety and increase emotional connection with my family and friends.

I’m trying to be the best me that I can be.  Closer to Jesus, positive body image, healthy, feeling good, lower anxiety and depression, better mom and wife, etc.  And I’ve gotten back to my daily routine which helps so much.

I’m soooooo grateful for spring!

I’m grateful that Karis has been so excited about school.

I’m grateful for a way for Karis to study God’s word at her level.

I’m grateful that she got up on her own this morning, got dressed, made her bed, brushed her hair and teeth, and filled out her planner for the week using my lesson plans!

(Yes her handwriting and spelling aren’t great…)

I’m grateful for coffee (even when it’s decaf with almond milk), water, spring scented candles, and my new Happy Planner!

I’m so grateful for the Bible study that I’m doing.  It is more in-depth than any study I’ve ever done, as you can see by my marked-up Bible.

I’m grateful that she’s enjoying school (mostly… she hates writing and it brought her to tears today).

I’m soooooo grateful for a neighbor that is loaning us so much!  We are using her math DVD’s, fraction overlays, and blocks (Math U See); history (Story of the World); and now writing (Writing with Ease).  She is saving us so much money.

Along those lines, I’m learning to do this homeschool thing much cheaper this time!     Instead of spending the $400 that I originally told my hubby I would need to spend (to get all of the stuff I wanted), I have only spent about $125 (Math U See Delta student books, Apologia Astronomy notebooking journal, Easy Grammar and Daily Grams, and some Teachers Pay Teachers stuff).

I’m currently creating a Geography unit based solely on free stuff that I found on Pinterest!  This is fun!

A Sunday Well Spent and Coming Up This Week!

We didn’t go to church today because Robert is working and we really can’t afford to drive this week (we had about $300 worth of medical expenses this pay check plus counseling, gas, groceries, etc).  Life is expensive.  Especially with mental illness (or any illness for that matter).  I’m looking forward to less expenses this coming check.  We can get through!

The kids touched up the house again and we got caught up on laundry.  I made a big pot of oatmeal for Karis and I this week (she is now gluten free so we have to find whole grains for fiber that aren’t wheat).

I spent most of my time today finishing up lesson plans and organizing binders.  I also enjoyed some time looking at Teachers Pay Teachers for writing and reading curriculum.  It was fun :-).

I’m so excited about the writing and spelling that I have bought (and the reading that I had previously bought).

The spelling is very simple, but that’s exactly what I wanted.  It’s a menu of options for practicing the words on the page.  It was only $2 for an entire year.  Well, we’ll just stop whenever Karis has gone through the whole thing (since we are starting in March, we’ll just continue it after summer).

The writing is my favorite part!!!  I bought a 5th grade informative writing bundle and a narrative writing bundle!  They are so amazing!  I have struggled with writing all along as I’ve homeschooled and this is exactly what I wanted.  I let Karis decide what we are starting, and it will be informative.  This is a research paper (5 paragraph)!  She has never done one, I don’t think.  I already bought 6th grade informative and narrative bundles, and I will be buying argumentative, poetry, and writing a novel bundles!  I have decided that we will just use these formats from now on.  I think she’s going to do really well with them.

I’m also excited about the simple grammar that I bought (decided against what I had from TpT).  It’s called Easy Grammar and it’s just that… easy and grammar.  I printed the sample lesson for this week!

Karis told me this afternoon (while looking through her binder) that she wants to start today!  She doesn’t want to wait till tomorrow :-).

Through planning our history (Story of the World Volume One) the past few days, I’m super excited about it and think that we may actually keep using this instead of moving to Notgrass in the fall.  We’ll see!  I think it’s more what Karis will like because it’s written in story form and has lots of fun activities to go with it.

We’re also going to do morning time again (Bible study, devotional, and poetry memorization) and art.

Karis is excited about it all.

In my binder I have the lesson plans for writing (obviously these were written for classroom teachers, but I will make it work for homeschool):

These are in her binder:

Reading

Writing

Math (this level is WAY too easy for her, but she doesn’t have a good grasp of long division so I went backwards… she should breeze through it and on her level soon!)

Grammar

For some reason my pictures of the spelling and history (maps) won’t load.  The history is just maps and spelling you can see by clicking the spelling link above.

She will have 3 notebooks: A reading response journal, a writing journal, and a history journal.

She and I are both ready!

Robert will be heading to Rocksprings in the morning before I leave to withdraw her.

Her teacher responded to my email and was very supportive and thinks we’re doing what’s best for her.

She’s excited that she still gets to do choir.  She’ll get to see her friends there.

She also has friends here, so she will have plenty of chance for socialization.

I’ll update in the next few days about how things have gone!  Check back!

Self Care Saturday: Happy Weekend!

Today has been so great!  I slept till about 7:30, which was nice.  I don’t like it when my body sleeps till 10 or so.  7:30 is just late enough to feel rested.

Then I spent time blogging about Karis and my new adventure.  We’re both so excited!  I have spent time looking through curriculum and will be working on lesson plans soon!

The kids all cleaned the house, which helps me so much!  All I have to do still with the house is laundry.

 

I’m just feeling so at peace right now.  I’ve been struggling with feeling lonely, feeling like I had no purpose, and just being depressed since I put the kids in school.  I know now that I needed that time for a little while, but now it’s time to start this new chapter.  And Karis has been struggling with severe anxiety, crying at school a lot, withdrawing from kids at school, and has been somewhat depressed. So it’s a win-win for both of us!  Plus, it’s really going to help our relationship.  She really needs me right now.

I’ve been talking with my counselor today and she feels this is going to be so good for both of us!  It’s nice to hear that from my own counselor, and she’s the second professional to tell me that now.

I have lots to do to get ready for the week!

I need to write lesson plans, organize my binder and Karis’ binder, and work on my Happy Planner!

What It Looks Like to Work with an Intuitive Eating Dietitian

(this picture came from her website for Month 1, Week 3)

Have you wondered what I mean when I say I’m working with a dietitian that focuses on Intuitive Eating and positive body image?  Keep reading.

I have been working pretty closely with my dietitian and have been learning so much.  I thought I knew everything I needed to, but I’m finding I know and understand very little.

What I’m learning:

  • She (Tracy) is helping me work through so much more than eating “healthy” (everyone has a different view of healthy)
  • She is helping me determine when I’m hungry and when I’m full… trying to start at a 3/4 and ending on a 7/8.  0/1 is starving… shaky, faint, tired, etc.  9/10 is extremely stuffed.  Also on this journal I discuss feelings, self care, movement, what my intentions are for the day.  She has told me that I am not eating enough (I’m still restricting) and that the amount I’m eating doesn’t make me satisfied enough.  It’s been eye opening.
  • There is a reason for my constant drinking of coffee and Coke Zero.  For me the main reason for my Coke Zero intake is that I am replacing the alcohol.  The main thing I drank when I was drinking was either beer or Coke Zero and rum or vodka.  I pretty much drank most of the afternoon/evening; not every day, but most.  Also, it is helping me numb out some feelings that maybe aren’t pleasant.  So she is having me journal those feelings.  Coffee is mostly because I’m home most of the morning, and I’m just used to always have a drink of something.  The main thing that she and my counselor want me to do is reduce/eliminate caffeine.  My counselor wants me to eliminate it because it affects my anxiety.  Tracy wants me to reduce it because it affects my hunger and satiety cues, which actually means I don’t eat enough.  This is interesting stuff.
  • The main things that she said I should do for my health right now (besides working on reducing caffeine through sodas and coffee) are to add some more fiber (through supplements or through food), take a multi vitamin and fish oil (which I’ve been doing since I was in rehab), and move my body regularly (doing what is joyful for me… no extreme exercise right now).  Joyful movement for me means hiking and walking.  I love being outside in nature, but I don’t like running here because of the hills and rocks.  So hiking and walking it is.  I don’t like anything indoors (like videos, weight lifting, etc).  And I’ve learned that’s okay.  I need to do what I enjoy so that I actually do it.
  • She’s helping me learn to give myself grace with food and drink.  Reducing caffeine, coffee, and soda is going to be a process.  She wants me to give myself grace when I feel like I’m not doing this right.  There is no right way.  Also, I have been conditioned a certain way about food, and I need to let that go in order to learn to eat intuitively.  I have a history of restriction and she says that I’m still restricting (I fill out an intuitive eating food journal).
  • She is helping me pinpoint more areas of self care that I can pick up to help me through my day.  There’s a whole week in the program in which she pinpoints things that we can do for self care.  She also told me yesterday to take time every day to just enjoy something without doing.  Yesterday I sat on my porch without electronics or anything and watching the birds and squirrels while listening to music that makes me happy.  It was so nice.
  • One of the biggest things that she’s doing is helping me work through fat phobia and why I fear gaining weight.  I can tell that I’m still gaining weight (and will continue, possibly, because of my medication), and it is causing me anxiety.  She is working through the whys.  Why do I fear that?  What has society taught me about weight gain that makes me think being bigger is a bad thing?  What will happen because of weight gain?  How will it affect me as a person?  I am so much more than my body.  What things do I have to offer that have nothing to do with my body?  Emily Wierenga says in her book Almost Anorexic, “In a society that equates thin with beauty and beauty with love, we long to be thin, and so we hide. Beneath layers of guilt and shame, not seeing ourselves for the royalty that we are.”
  • “Each person has a ‘natural weight’, the weight at which the body is and feels healthy and is free of risk factors within our control.”  Lower weight doesn’t necessarily equal healthier.  I had high cholesterol even at my lowest weight (it’s hereditary and one of my medications causes high cholesterol).  I know people that are thin and have diabetes and high blood pressure.  I also know over-weight people that are completely healthy.
  • “We have a set point for the number of fat cells in our body and how little fat those cells can contain. Body fat is not intrinsically unhealthy tissue and does not lead to death.”
  • Healing happens in a relaxation response… focus on self care and reducing stress and anxiety first
  • We have different feelings when our needs are met vs. when our needs are not met.
  • I could go on and on!

Through all of this, I am taking better care of myself.

I wasn’t sure if this program would be worth the money, but it has already been worth it and I’m only on Month 1, Week 3 of a 3 month program!  I can’t wait to see what I continue to learn!

Karis Turns 11!

My oldest child, Karis, turns 11 today.  I can hardly believe that I have a pre-teen.  She has grown up so much this year, yet she still has some child left in her.  Being in school has helped her to learn how to act more her age.  She has been going through some hormonal changes, and we are preparing for puberty now.  She will be going to 6th grade in the fall.  I can hardly believe that I will have a child in junior high (our junior high is 6th-8th grades).

Here are some pictures of her as a newborn through a few days ago!  She looks so different, even from a few years ago.  She plans to grow her hair back out because she likes it better, and I think it’s a better look for her as well.

Newborn

8 months

1 year

2 years (and she was smaller than her baby brother!)

3 years

4 years

5 years

7 years

9 years (I miss homeschooling!)

10 years (this is her worshipping at family camp)

Last Saturday!

I’m so thankful for her loving heart, sweet spirit, joyfulness, creativity, love for reading, intelligence, care and concern for others, love for the outdoors, and her love for Jesus.

I look forward to seeing how much she grows this year!

Grati-Tuesday and Update About Meds

Today has been a very long day.  We all got up before the sun in order to get out the door to meet my mom at my grandma’s house.  They had to watch my kids so I could drive to San Antonio to see my psychiatrist.  I had so much anxiety over my appointment, and that didn’t help my exhaustion this morning.

I drove the hour and 40 minutes to my grandma’s house, spent a little time chatting with her, then got back in the car to drive another 25 minutes to San Antonio.

I got to my appointment early, and surprisingly, they got me back pretty quickly.  My doctor knew that I was coming in because the pharmaceutical company had denied my application for patient assistance (for my Latuda), and I can’t afford my medication anymore at $850 with insurance.

She was so sweet and encouraging.  She told me that there are always options, so never feel hopeless around medication changes.

We decided that I will go back on the Geodon to replace the Latuda.  They are in the same class and Geodon is $60 a month with my insurance vs $850.  I’ve taken it before and I had rapid ups and downs… but… I wasn’t on Lamictal yet and I was drinking heavily.  So I have no idea how it will work now.

Another thing we talked about is my recent bad depression.  She was pretty concerned about that and feels that we need to address that.  She decided to put me on a low dose of Lithium.  I have been scared of it for a long time because I know my brother took it… and he ended up committing suicide.  So anything he took, I’m leery.  But I know he is different than me.  I need to give it a chance.

I was overall very pleased with my appointment and just her care and concern for my well being.  I’m thankful that I had to change doctors!

After my appointment, I drove back to my Grandma’s house and had lunch.  My mom made a homemade lasagna, garlic toast, and salad.  We also had corn.  It was all so great!  I’m so thankful my mom cooked so we didn’t have to spend money on lunch.

Then we drove to Kerrville to get prescriptions.  2 hours later (long story), we left for home.  I did about 4 1/2 hours of driving today.  I’m worn out!

Now… Grati-Tuesday.

I’m grateful that we celebrated this girl with my mom and grandma today.  Her birthday is tomorrow.  She turns 11!

I’m grateful for the beautiful weather today!  The temp was perfect and the sun was shining.

My Grandma gave us all of this food from her pantry!  She was happy to give some away because she was out of space.

I’m grateful for these 7 medications (6 for mental health and 1 for cholesterol).  Without them I would probably not be here.  Even though I am sometimes depressed and anxious, it’s not near what it used to be.  I hate depression, though.  I remembered recently just how hard depression is to live with.  I’m so glad to be working with a doctor that is fighting this with me.  And most importantly, family and friends that are fighting this with me.

I’m also so grateful for my dietitian.  She is helping me so much in my intuitive eating and body love journey.  I have a llllooonnnggg way to go, but I’m on my way.  One day at a time!

I’m grateful that I have been too busy to even think about alcohol.  Having my kids home actually helps this.

Now to have dinner!  Robert is making ravioli with olive oil and parmesan and shrimp and pasta with homemade alfredo sauce!  Yummmmm.

Talk to you soon!

Happy Monday! March 13, 2017

Yesterday was pretty great.  We got up early and went to church.  We enjoyed church, then took part in a church business meeting.  Then we had lunch with our pastor where we took membership vows.  We talked to the kids about their relationship with Christ.  They had a hard time articulating things so we have decided to wait a while until we baptize them.

We came home and the kids and I cleaned up the house.  Robert did laundry.

Last night, the boys went camping.  Karis and I had a girls night.  We watched Harry Potter, ate popcorn for dinner, did face masks, and made a homemade no bake cheesecake.

By the time the cheesecake was ready, the boys had decided to come home (apparently Levi was scared).  So we all finished the movie and ate the cheesecake as a family.  It was close to midnight by the time we went to bed.

All of us slept in today!  The kids and Robert slept till 8-9:00, and I slept till 10:00!

I had coffee and chatted with friends.

I normally go to town all day on Mondays but couldn’t today because Robert ended up having to work and the kids are home for spring break.

We had lunch at noon.  The kids and I just did a bunch of nothing all afternoon.  I took a nap at about 3:30.  Did you know that today was National Napping Day?

When I woke up, the boys went outside and Karis and I re-did her room!  That was her main birthday present (the comforter and sheets)!

Before:

After:

It’s not perfect, but she likes it :-).

I’m ending the day with some anxiety.  I have an appointment with my psychiatrist tomorrow to figure out what to do since I can no longer receive patient assistance for my $1000 bipolar med.  I’m feeling pretty hopeless about my future with bipolar right now.  The only other similar med gave me rapid cycles last time I took it.

Also, I have been struggling badly with depression in general since I stopped taking my birth control.  I stopped because my psychiatrist told me that my second bipolar med would work better if I wasn’t taking it, but things have gotten so much worse.

I’m just a mess right now and could use some prayers.