I used to blog every day and now every time I sit at my computer to blog the words don’t come. I have so much on my mind, and I just don’t know how to get it out these days. … Continue reading
It’s been a while since I’ve blogged. Truth is, I have been struggling (still). I don’t know if it’s my thyroid (I just started meds for it) or the hydroxyzine that my psychiatrist put me on, but I’m just sleeping … Continue reading
I realized Saturday night just how much my mental illness affects me these days. The past few weeks I was in town multiple days (town is far, far away). Between the driving (2 1/2 hours round trip), the waiting, the meetings, the counseling, the doctor appointments, etc, I was just worn. I don’t handle being away from home well.
This weekend we planned on going to my parents’, staying the night, then going to church for Easter yesterday. Saturday evening I was sitting at my parents’ just feeling very restless and anxious. I just needed to be home.
We left at about 8:00 to head home. We got home at about 10:30. Sounds crazy to leave that late, but I just couldn’t handle being away from home anymore.
Saturday night I was just lying in bed mad at myself for not being able to handle things well.
In the past (for about 7 years), I would drink to handle anxiety. I would drink at my parents’ house (a lot), most evenings (because that’s when I was most anxious), before going to camp events (and I know I made a fool of myself on multiple occasions), and when we traveled. I would drink every time we had people over (before they came I would binge). It was just how I handled anxiety; mostly social anxiety, but generalized as well. And being the alcoholic that I am, I would just drink “because” a lot. It prevented anxiety.
I remember talking to my previous psychiatrist (well, PA) about my drinking and he would just tell me that it’s common for people who have anxiety to drink to quiet it. Not once did he tell me that it’s a problem (well once he just told me to not drink and take Xanax at the same time). Because of this I was in denial that I had a problem, but that’s for another post.
Now that I’m not drinking, I have to feel my emotions. I also have to have different ways of coping, and my biggest way is to just stay home as much as I can. I keep a clean/organized house because mess and clutter makes me have anxiety. I have to leave the boys in school even though I want to homeschool them, and they want to homeschool. I have to have a quiet morning of Bible study and coffee to start my day out well. I listen to a lot of worship music. I have to end my day listening to “Serenity relaxing spa music” because it quiets my anxiety. I drink a lot of caffeine free Coke Zero to replace the alcohol that I often had in my hand. I have reduced my caffeine a LOT. Mostly just drink half caff coffee in the morning and a Coke Zero with lime when I’m in town. That’s about all the caffeine that I drink now. It has helped. I take a lot of medication. It helps a lot, but it doesn’t take it away. I see my counselor 3-4 times a month. Sometimes I hike or walk to prevent evening anxiety. And believe it or not, homeschooling Karis has helped a ton. It gives me purpose for my days, but with just her it’s not anxiety inducing. She’s easy.
I am trying to get disability and I have been denied 3 times already. My lawyer is trying to get me a hearing date but she said it takes 12-18 months. So I’m just waiting right now.
My desire is to be stable enough in a few years to be able to homeschool the boys again the year after next. I don’t know if that’s going to happen. I will for sure homeschool them when they are in junior high because they will be independent by then.
I just want to be able to do what my heart desires, but with mental illness it’s important to be realistic. Since I’m not super stable right now, I would possibly relapse.
My goal right now is just focusing on coping and self care without drinking. It’s a big goal! With God’s help I can do it. It’s just going to take lots of work!
This past week was lllooonnnggg. I had bad anxiety and I could barely see past it. I was pretty selfish through it and have had to repair a few things. I’m grateful for the grace of people in my life … Continue reading
My day started at 5:15. I love waking up early these days. I got up, made coffee, woke up the boys, helped them get ready, did my Bible study, planned my day, ate breakfast, and did dishes all before 8:30.
I hung some stuff up in the school room. I found a map and decided to hang a frame to make less white space. It feels more cozy now.
We did school (mostly independent but I worked with her on some things such as writing, grammar, and spelling).
I did my AA step work for the day and read handouts and listened to audios from my dietitian.
Next up is online AA.
Lots of hard work and self care!
What is your plan for this beautiful Monday? How will you take good care of yourself?
From the chapter of the Alcoholics Anonymous Big Book, “How it Works”:
“Those who do not recover are people who cannot or will not completely give themselves to this simple program, usually men and women who are constitutionally incapable of being honest with themselves.”
“Selfishness-self-centeredness! That, we think, is the root of our troubles. Driven by a hundred forms of fear, self-delusion, self-seeking, and self-pity…”
“Above everything, we alcoholics much be rid of this selfishness.”
“We had to have God’s help.”
“First of all, we had to quit playing God. It didn’t work. Next, we decided that hereafter in this drama of life, God was going to be our Director.”
“He is the Father, and we are His children.”
We read half of this chapter on Monday in the AA Women’s Big Book meeting and these bold words stood out to me. I have been stuck in this for a long time. I am self-centered, self-seeking; most of all I have had a lot of fear and self-pity. I sit and focus on my illnesses and difficulties in life.
I posted this on Sunday:
“This describes me 100% right now. Mental illness, EMDR, counseling, alcoholism, AA, fighting cravings, taking care of my family, just getting through each day… takes a lot out of a person. I feel that I am a strong person (thanks to Jesus), but I am worn. Starting a new week tomorrow with hope in Jesus, knowing that I can get through the week because He’s with me.”
While all this is true for me, I was really hoping for pity… I was acting in self-pity and I wanted people to encourage me. This is self-centered. I wanted attention because of my issues… and in reality, this is me trying to make them my identity.
I want people to see me as strong. I want people to see me as brave, courageous, and honest. I don’t want people to see me as having self-pity and being self-centered. I want people to see my love for others. I want to be known for my love for Jesus. My identity is in Jesus first and foremost. Without Him, I am nothing.
Something else that’s really important is the reminder that I need to get my butt up and outside moving. Not for weight loss, but for time to commune with God and for mental/emotional health. I hiked Tuesday… I took it slow, took pictures, noticed the flowers, listened to the birds sing, listened to the river running, and was just in the peaceful element of nature. It was perfect. I talked to my counselor about it Tuesday night and she really wants me to make this a priority. It’s hard in the moment when I don’t feel like doing anything, but it is so stinkin’ helpful that I need to do it even when I don’t feel like it. My counselor that I had in Frisco would tell me that when I can’t think my way into acting, act my way into thinking. So in other words, even when I don’t feel like it, just get up and do it and it will help me mentally/emotionally.
It was a beautiful day. Sunny and the perfect temperature.
I used to exercise obsessively when I was dieting, and definitely not for mental/emotional health… mostly to try to lose weight. I counted steps, calories, etc. I would exercise to be able to eat or I would exercise to make up for what I ate. This is not healthy. I sold my FitBit because I was tired of feeling guilty if I didn’t reach my 10,000 steps a day, and when I hiked, I would obsess about getting as many steps as I could, not enjoying it. I now use Map My Walk, only to see how many miles because I’m curious. It’s not something I have to keep up with every day. And I can hike without the app… it’s all about curiosity.
The program with my dietitian is called Attuned Eating for Attuned Living.
Every week I have audios to listen to, worksheets, and lots of readings (including some books). She also goes over my food journals most days and we have a weekly Zoom meeting so we see each other and talk to one another. Sometimes there are one or two more ladies in the meeting.
Today we talked about something that I have been struggling with… my coffee and Coke Zero intake. She thinks it’s keeping me from being able to listen to my hunger and fullness cues. I drink so much coffee in the morning that I have a hard time eating breakfast… then I’m shaky by lunch time and over-eat. She also pointed out that there is a reason why I feel the need to have a lot of coffee and Coke Zero (only drinking those and drinking very little water). She thinks I have a habit to the process. Also, I’m using my drinks to replace alcohol, which means that I’m still trying to not feel certain things. It’s an emotional crutch. She wants me to be journaling about how I’m feeling when I drink coffee and Coke Zero.
We’re also focusing on my eating breakfast every day so that I’m not starving and shaky by lunch. The most common thing that I’ve been eating is breakfast tacos. Potato, bacon, and egg with salsa and cheese. It keeps me comfortable until lunch. Today I had homemade Greek yogurt and steel cut oatmeal. I’m pretty hungry now, but it’s almost lunch time so I’m fine.
The most important thing that she’s doing is helping me to learn to love myself just the way I am. She told me that gaining a little bit of weight is normal as my body overcomes the constant dieting that I did for so many years. My body is trying to find it’s set point. Where it’s supposed to be without dieting. I may end up losing weight eventually. But the most important thing is to not weigh myself at all because it changes my emotional state big time.
The most important thing that I have learned this week is that I need to make God’s word and fellowship with His people priority.
I got very behind on my Bible study because of dietitian homework, driving to and from town, and being depressed and anxious. It’s been a rough few weeks.
I was going to skip Bible study since I was so behind. Robert did everything but push me out the door.
We had technical difficulties so we ended up having Bible study at my house, watching the DVD on my tv, and having coffee and discussion. It was really great! From now on the Bible study is going to be at my house. I’m so excited about that because it’s built in accountability. I also love to host women in my home… especially since I’m alone most of the time!
We decided to start fresh next week (turns out, I wasn’t the only one behind), so now I’m right on schedule!
I started it as soon as we finished!
This book (1 Peter) talks a lot about trials and suffering. It’s just right for what I’ve gone through and continue to. The good news is that it says “for a little while.” That’s hopeful!
So… through struggle comes strength and growth.
Between AA 2-3 times a week, step work, meeting with my sponsor weekly, working with a dietitian that wants to teach me to love myself the way that I am, my counselor working with me on my self worth, daily time in the word, constant worship, church (becoming members), and so much more, I’m growing so much!
Through working hard, I’m learning more about myself and my calling.
I met with my counselor on Monday, and she decided that we needed to do some psychotherapy before we moved on with EMDR again.
We discussed the fact that I have PTSD on top all of my other mess. We discussed the signs of PTSD and how I have many of them. These signs aren’t always there at once, but they are definitely there. She didn’t circle panic because I haven’t been experiencing that lately, but it is something I have struggled with off and on.
We talked about how I can work through my anxiety. And I learned that caffeine greatly affects my anxiety! I had no idea. So I’m slowly working on reducing caffeine which is hard because I love my coffee and Coke Zero. I use it to cope and to not want alcohol so much. I’m so used to drinking something through the day! At the moment I’m at half caff coffee and I’m drinking less Coke Zeros… including some La Croix sparkling waters and plain water in there. I also drink herbal tea at night.
We talked about learning to talk to myself in a more positive way and how important that is to my anxiety. I need to be practicing that right now…
We talked about how to breathe when I’m in the midst of my anxiety. Deep, slow breaths from my belly.
She reminded me to listen to music that brings about positive thoughts. This is a no brainer for me because I mostly listen to praise music and Christian music (Bethel, JJ Heller, Shane and Shane, David Crowder, etc).
She also reminded me how important getting outside and walking/hiking is for my mental health all around. I plan to go for a short hike this afternoon.
I started working with a dietitian on Monday. We met Tuesday and Wednesday via Zoom. It was so great. I have started the program by listening to audios from her, reading lots of things, doing worksheets. Wednesday I started the food log. The point isn’t for her to see “how healthy” I’m eating (I’m learning that food isn’t inherently good or bad), but for her to see how much I am eating and if I am listening to my body. Paying attention to hunger and satiety cues. Processing through how I’m feeling about things. Making sure I’m doing some sort of joyful movement and taking good care of myself. She also thinks I should reduce my caffeine intake for many reasons (just like my counselor). So I’m working on that. Today I had half caff coffee this morning and water with lunch. I ended up having a few Coke Zeros this afternoon, but that’s a start.
Today was a really rough day. I wrote about it earlier in my post Self Pity and Pressing Into Jesus. It only got worse and I got to where I didn’t want to get off the couch. I also had a very strong urge to want to drink. I ended up having get up and moving because I had to pick up the kids. That was the best thing for me. Then, Robert came home and he made me feel so much better. This evening we’re working together to make dinner (fish tacos, black beans, guacamole, and coleslaw).
We also got to talking about what we can do to help me not have days like this. The biggest thing is that I need to be at AA more often. I was planning to do it online but that hasn’t been happening. I need the face-to-face and accountability. I will go at least on Monday and Wednesday… and maybe Fridays. We’ll see. Also, being in town more will help because it will keep me moving and around others. It’s worth the extra cost in gas to make this happen.
I’m going to try really hard to make this a beautiful day! Today is my town day which brings anxiety (I’m not a huge fan of doing a lot in one day). I will be meeting with my sponsor (at IHOP), going to women’s AA, and going to counseling and doing EMDR. I’m so nervous about EMDR after last week. It affected me for days afterwards.
The plan today is to come home and go to sleep. Robert is off so he will be picking up the kids. He will also be making dinner. Everything is prepped for him. Tonight’s dinner is meat sauce, pasta, and steamed broccoli. Easy peasy!
I hope that by resting tonight I will make the rest of the week great!
So I guess it’s a happy Monday because I can take good care of myself!
Tomorrow through Thursday will be busy! Every one of those days I will be in Rocksprings for the afternoon/evening because of basketball and choir. Tomorrow night we have a baby shower here at camp. I need to get lots of rest today because of all of this!
I hope your Monday is happy and wonderful and beautiful! What are your plans for today? What will you do to take good care of yourself?
I woke up at 5:15 this morning feeling such peace. This is a new thing (the past few months). I love getting up early, making my bed, getting dressed, tidying the house, making coffee, lighting a candle, then waking the … Continue reading
When I was working, I would dread Mondays. Working brought me terrible panic attacks and anxiety. I would feel anxiety every single day. All day. I felt like a terrible teacher because of it.
Now I feel excited about a new week. Every day is peaceful. I go to town once a week now (well two if you count church).
Mondays are the day that I go to town. Today I will have coffee with my sponsor, go to women’s AA Big Book meeting, then do EMDR with my counselor. I will be picking the kids up from my dad (they spent the weekend there). Robert is out of town till Thursday so we will keep things simple. Tonight we will have leftovers for dinner.
I will share how EMDR went tomorrow.
My self care is all of the above as well as taking my meds and supplements and eating all meals.
What are your plans for the day? How will you take good care of yourself?