Happy Weekend! Busy Saturday!

Yesterday I met my mom in Kerrville for her to pick the kids up and take them to her house.  They are there till Monday.  I spent a lot of the day today being lazy.

At about 3:45 I had had enough of that so I got up and got busy!  I cut up veggies and baked some muffins.  Robert came home about the time that I was going to cut a cantaloupe and honey dew.  He ended up cutting it for me, then he pan-seared some salmon and chicken breast for me to have over salads this coming week.  I bagged mixed nuts for snacks, made pumpkin steel cut oats in the instant pot, tore lettuce and put it in a big container to have salads, made homemade dressings (creamy buffalo and balsamic vinaigrette), and made quinoa.

I also have peeled boiled eggs (I buy them boiled and peeled from Walmart!) and Greek yogurt to grab for snacks or to go with meals!

I feel like I am set up for success!  It feels so good.

All of this work only took a few hours!  It helps that Robert pitched in!

On a similar note…

I started the Healthy Habits Happy Moms Balance 365 program several weeks ago. The idea is to pick one healthy habit at a time to focus on, and once you are consistent with it for a time, then you add another one. It’s slllloooowwww and hard sometimes. I have honestly struggled with even figuring out what to start with because I feel like I’m not at all where I want to be with my health. I am learning to love my body the way it is, but I know that I have a ways to go in the health department. But dieting isn’t the answer. It’s not healthy, it isn’t sustainable, and it actually leads to bingeing and weight gain. So I want to be okay with the slowness of this program.

Robert and I were talking earlier and I realized that he’s right… I need to focus 100% on being active again. So many reasons. I have high cholesterol and the meds that I was on cause high liver enzymes… since I am an alcoholic my doctor prefers for me to not take them unless I have to (even though I’m not drinking anymore!). Also. With my generalized anxiety disorder and the return of the weird physical symptoms, being outside hiking is REALLY good for that. It’s one of the best things for anxiety, actually. My counselor has told me that she wants me to walk 30 minutes a day and I haven’t been doing that. I find joy in being outside. I love hiking. I have just gotten out of the habit. I used to hike ALL THE TIME. Also, we are backpacking in a couple of months and I am NOT physically ready for that! It’s just the best habit to focus on right now!

My goal is 2-3 times a week by myself and once a week with the kids to do their nature study . I would like to do what my counselor told me to do (every day), but I’m going to start slow.

Overall I am doing SO well right now. I just still have this anxiety. And it’s weird that I’m having the breathing issue off and on.  I know the anxiety is always going to be there, but my counselor tells me that I can get it more manageable if I get outside exercise. So that is what I will do!

Robert also reminded me that usually when I am active, everything else falls into place.  I am more consistent with a lot of things in my life… time in the Word, eating healthier, I’m more active in the community, etc because I’m feeling good mentally!

Contentment and Teaching the Kids to Work Through Hard Things

I have a history of discontent.  If something doesn’t seem to be working well or is hard, I change things.  I see the difficulty as a sign that something isn’t right.

Because of this, we have moved so much and I kept chasing something new.  We have moved 12 times in the 13 years that we have been married (a lot of that was at the same camp).  We moved apartments early in our marriage.  We moved twice when we lived in the Dallas area.

This worked its way into homeschooling.  I have homeschooled off and on for a long time.  When I started struggling mentally, I would put them back into school.  This last time I really had no choice since I had to go to town all the time for AA when I got out of rehab.  But it still counts.

I have spent a FORTUNE (and a lot of that in credit) on new curriculum.  When things got hard for the kids or they seemed to struggle, I would buy the “shiny new thing” thinking that it would be better and they wouldn’t struggle as much.  For Karis, this was math.  For Ethan, this was reading and phonics.

We are using Math U See for the kids and while I LOVE it, Karis has still been struggling greatly.  She’s going into 6th grade and she’s on the 4th grade level and still struggling.  She can barely do basic division (2 digit by 1 digit with a  remainder).  So I was talking to Robert about Life of Fred math and telling him that maybe it would be a good fit for her because she loves reading (it’s story based).  Without him even saying anything, I said, “Wait… I just need to stick with something, don’t I?”  He agreed immediately and reminded me that hard doesn’t necessarily equal bad.  And she may just never be good at math and that’s okay.  And it’s okay that she’s on a level lower than her grade and it’s okay to take it slow.  He also reminded me that it’ll be so good for the kids if I stick with something for a full year.  And honestly, I need to stick with Math U See from now on because there is a DVD with a teacher teaching everything (and I’m terrible at math!).  He teaches it in a way that makes more sense than any teacher ever taught me.  There are also manipulatives and all of the kids make use of them every single day.

I REALLY want The Good and the Beautiful history, handwriting, nature journals, and another science unit.  But.  We have all that we need for those subjects right now.  While I love the set up of those, I need to be content with what we have.

I already have Story of the World Volume one… the book, audio book, activity book, historical fiction novels to go with it (9!), the Usborne Encyclopedia of World History, and the Usborne Book of World History.  I have an amazing set up for history this year.  It would make NO sense to change.

Now. The reason why I love G&B is because the history covers all periods of history in one year (adding to it each year), it has fun activities, it has an amazing book of stories, worksheets, and a game for review.  But I can always get it next year!  No big deal!  I’m not even sure if I’ll want to change after we finish what we have… I may want to stick with Story of the World!

Also, I was looking at buying handwriting from G&B.  I ALMOST did.  Then my doctor and I were talking about my impulsive spending and reminded me that if I am buying something new even though I already have something for that subject (and causing final trouble), that’s a sign of being impulsive.  And she’s right!  It stopped me in my tracks!  I have Handwriting Without Tears, and the kids even like it!

Now.  Next year I will probably buy G&B because I love that it teaches handwriting through copywork.  It would cut out a step of our writing.  But I can wait till next year!  No big deal!

I was also looking at buying the G&B nature journals.  But I already have some from Simply Charlotte Mason!  They love them because they can watercolor right on the page (the pages are thick).

And… Science!  I have SO much to teach science.  I have one unit of G&B science already (which will last us about a semester), and I also have Apologia Astronomy.  AND LOTS of science books and encyclopedias to make my own units if I want.  I really have enough to make science work for a couple of years honestly.  Now.  When Karis is in 7th or 8th grade, I will be buying the junior high science books because she’s going to need them to prepare for high school (and honestly she LOVES science so she’ll be happy).  But I have a year or two before I need to do that (I can’t believe she’s already in 6th grade).

All this to say… I think I will finally have a FULL year in which I don’t buy anything new!  I have everything I need for at LEAST a full year (maybe more) and I am happy about that.  It’s weird, to be honest.

And… we are not going anywhere.  While camp ministry is HARD because especially lately Robert has been working a ton, we are content to stay right where we are.  We love the way Camp Eagle is run, we love the people (camp family!), we love our home, we love that we live on 1400 acres and there are hiking trails and a clear river to play in.  Moving to Camp Eagle has been the best thing that has happened to us!

Deciding to stick with something long-term actually takes away a lot of anxiety.  I have a major spending issue, then I feel bad and feel anxious after I have spent.  It’s so easy to buy online and I just throw money away that way.  We were going to have me spend only cash but it hasn’t worked out well (lots of reasons), but at least this next check I will only have cash to spend (and less than usual because we’re going to New Mexico in a few weeks and we need money for that).  I think we’ll actually be able to save up this year.  And do more fun things with the kids.

I’m feeling content, hopeful, and peaceful.  I know I will still have times of anxiety and depression (hopefully not, but I’m planning on it happening eventually), but I know I can work through them and just do what we need during those moments.  That doesn’t mean we need to move, it doesn’t mean I need to stop homeschooling, and it doesn’t mean I need to buy something new and shiny.  It just means we need to spend time in prayer and God’s word, I need to work through it, and I need to teach my kids to do both of those.

The Best Saturday in a Long Time

Yesterday was a fantastic day.  Robert didn’t work.  He’s not home often right now.  There are so many projects going on here at camp.  Things should slow down soon, and we are taking a few trips this summer.

We cleaned up the house, Robert worked on our Xterra a bit, then we went to town so Robert could buy some things for camp.

We went to Sonic for ice cream, went to the park (a new one that we hadn’t tried before), and went to a book store that we had never been to before.

The kids played on the little kid stuff at the park :-).  Haha.

The book store that we went to gives 75% off the cover price if you bring a book to trade (I didn’t know this so I paid 50% off the cover price). You have to bring kid books to buy a kid book. But we have a lot that we won’t read. I think we’ll plan to let the kids pick out a book each time that we go into town. This will give them something to look forward to and maybe the boys will enjoy reading more (well, Levi enjoys it already but Ethan pretty much hates it). Levi started reading one of his Star Wars books right away and is several chapters in. It blows me away that he can read and comprehend books that are written for older kids. Karis actually struggled with reading until she got a little older (now she’s on like an 8th grade level). Ethan has always struggled (and still does). So for Levi to be in first grade (well, just finished) and able to read big chapter books blows me away. He’s also really good at math. And spelling. Things just come easy to him! I’m thankful!

I didn’t get Karis any books because she has a LOT of books that she loves (the boys don’t), and I just didn’t see any that she would enjoy.

We also got stuff for s’mores and hot dogs at Walmart.

When I went to Walmart to get the stuff for s’mores, I had to walk by the cases of beer (cause grilling, fires, s’mores, and beer all goes together). I looked closely at my Blue Moon that I used to drink. I had a fleeting thought of how nice it was when I could drink it and sometimes I miss it. But. I wouldn’t trade where I am today for what I felt like a year ago. I’ve had anxiety lately but it’s nothing like it was a year ago. I had hyperventilation syndrome and I couldn’t breathe right. I had restless legs a lot. I had terrible insomnia. I would wake up after the alcohol had worn off and couldn’t go back to sleep. Every. Single. Night. I tried everything to be able to sleep. I had an obsession and compulsion to drink and the more I had the more I wanted. It was never enough. I threw up multiple times a week (like I’ve mentioned before). The room spun every night, and I often passed out. Many, many times I woke up wondering if I had done anything that I shouldn’t have (looking at texts, FB messages, and fb posts). I also didn’t remember a lot. Being an alcoholic is ugly and embarrassing. There’s nothing glamorous about it. And statistics show that 15% of people are addicts/alcoholics so I know there are people reading this that are and don’t know it. Or they don’t want to admit it. You can have this freedom that I have with some work! I’m 228 days sober today and I take it one day at a time!

We ended the night with a fire in the fire ring.  We roasted hot dogs and made s’mores.  Some neighbor kiddos came and told camp fire stories.  It was super cute.  The kids had a blast.

Ethan told me yesterday that it was the best day of his life.

I would agree that it was a pretty good day.

Working Through Anxiety and Learning So Much!

This week has been a doozy.

Wednesday I got an email from Levi’s teacher that said:

“I’ve enjoyed him this year! I remember when he first came to school. He had trouble socializing with the kids, following routines, and remembering rules. Public school was a challenge . Now he fits in with the kids, has a lot of friends and does so well. We did a memory book of first grade and one page says “my best friend are”…… Levi was mentioned in all of the boys books and a couple of the girls. He is  a star shining bright! Thank you for giving me the opportunity to spend this year with him!”

Then I found out that Ethan has been mean to another kid.  His behavior has gotten worse since I told them they were homeschooling.

I felt anxiety for several days because of this.  I thought that maybe they were better off in school.

Through anxiety this week I have learned a few things…

  1. It’s probably never going to go away so I need to stop assuming it will.
  2. I’m not causing it by decisions that I’ve made… I have it because I have an anxiety disorder.
  3. Learning to work THROUGH it instead of wishing it away will be the best thing for me in the long run.
  4. Giving myself grace is so important.
  5. I have this assumption that peace means that I’ve done good and anxiety means that I have done something bad.
  6. Anxiety comes and goes.  It’s like waves.
  7. Prayer makes a huge difference, believe it or not.
  8. It’s normal to feel nervous about starting something new again (homeschooling), and I WILL have anxiety some days even though we know this is the right thing.
  9. I have spent so much time over the years changing decisions based on anxiety.  If I felt anxiety, I would change my mind on something.  Then when I would feel anxiety again, I would change my mind again.  It has been a back-and-forth thing for as long as I can remember.  I need to learn to stick with decisions even on the hard days (and there WILL be hard days).

Robert and I talked about how we decided to homeschool based on what is best for our family as a whole, not because they were struggling at school.  It works so much better out here at camp.

I decided that no matter what, we need to stick with our decision.  It wasn’t just me that made the decision, and I need to trust that God is working in Robert’s heart in this matter, too.  The fact that he wants to homeschool now says a lot about this decision.

Yesterday the boys were saying that they want to go to school next year.  They had an amazing week of not doing much school work, playing, and partying.  They were saying that they will miss their friends and bus driver (really?!).  Haha.  I told them that they WILL be homeschooling next year and they seemed okay with that.  I think they needed me to just tell them what we’re doing no matter what (I had to come to terms with it as well).  This morning they were cheering about being homeschoolers now and how excited they are!  They just needed to be home to remember what it was like.  They have played outside all morning, and I’m sitting on the porch while they play outside.  Next week they will start reading 30 minutes a day, and we will start school in July so we can take breaks as needed during the year.  We will take a week off when we go to Glorieta camp for family camp (and to see Robert’s parents) at the end of July (it starts on my birthday!).

We’re all just so at peace today and enjoying life.  The house is a mess, and I’m going to have to let that go now that they are home.  Luckily they clean up quickly, well, and without a fight so it should be fine.

Life is hard, but it is good.  I trust God and His plans even when they don’t always make sense.  I need to stick with things and be content with where we are in life.

The kids and I went swimming after the boys got home yesterday (at 1:00)!  It was super fun!  This will be a regular activity!  When the lifeguards are out, they can play on the toys.  When they aren’t, we just swim :-).  Their favorite thing is the floating dock.  They get on, jump off, on, off.

This morning I woke up (at 9:00!) to them playing on the back porch and yard.  They haven’t done that in a long time… they mostly play across the street under our neighbor’s porch.  They are enjoying the Pokemon card game!

I’m also very rested today, which I haven’t been in a long time.  So that helps my anxiety considerably!  I have been sooooo tired and not sleeping well.  I slept the whole night last night!

I’m realizing today just how different life is now that I’m sober.  In the past I would have started drinking in a few hours because that’s what I did.  I drank typically starting at noon into the evening.  Maybe not every day, but most days.  I wasn’t living life!  I was in a fog all of the time… never alert to what was going on around me.  Now I can think clearly and experience things.

Life is good!  Praise God!

Taking Charge of My Wellness Holistically

I woke up this morning (after only 4.5 hours of sleep) feeling a drive for taking charge of things.  I have been working really hard (counseling, seeing my doctor once a month, taking my medication, working with a dietitian, etc), … Continue reading

My Rollercoaster of Anxiety these Past Few Weeks

Gosh.  The last few days have been ROUGH.  There were several things up in the air.  And I decided to re-address the idea of bringing the boys home next year.

I realized something yesterday.  Two weeks ago I was extremely anxious to the point of being on the verge of a panic attack for days.  I thought it was because I needed to be back on birth control (because it really does help with anxiety and mood… from past experience).  So I made an appointment with my doc to get back on.  A few days later, I felt better (I haven’t started it… the only thing is that maybe the pros/cons list about homeschooling the boys helped).

Fast forward to Tuesday of this week.  I found out that there was a small possibility of us moving to a different house here at camp, but it was up in the air.  Then I decided to think that maybe I CAN homeschool the boys next year and maybe I need to do a trial run over the summer and see how we handle it.

Yesterday was extremely rough for me.  I was processing it and still trying to make a final decision.  I was back to being extremely anxious and on the verge of a panic attack.  I couldn’t think straight, my brain was foggy, upset stomach, racing heart; I couldn’t think of anything else.  I told Robert last night that I needed to take a Xanax (which I’m not allowed to take anymore because it’s addictive, and I’m an addict).

Through my severe anxiety I realized something.  The last time I had this anxiety (2 weeks ago), I was also trying to decide whether or not I should homeschool the boys.  Then the same thing happened yesterday.  That right there gave me my final answer.  I’m just not ready.  As soon as I made my decision to keep them in school, my anxiety lifted.

Then I told the boys that they will be in school next year.  I thought I would get tears, anger, frustration, “whys,” but they just said okay and moved on!

Robert and I talked about how because I didn’t take Xanax, I was able to process why I was having such extreme anxiety.  If I were to take it, I would just be numb, and I wouldn’t have processed it.

Robert was happy that I came to this conclusion.  One of the big things that he wants is consistency for the boys and for me.  We have never had it… not one year has had consistency.  It’s been rough for everyone involved.  Next year will be one of routine and normalcy.  The boys will go to school, we will stay in our wonderful little home, Karis will be homeschooled, my focus will be on teaching her (she’s really independent so this doesn’t take much at all) and self care.  I will continue working on being sober (and AA), loving my self as is (continuing to focus on intuitive eating), having routine in my day, my blog, loving my family, keeping a clean home for my family (along with the kids’ help), counseling 2-4 times a month (including some EMDR mixed in), Bible study, prayer, being a good friend, serving here at camp, and more.  Just continuing what I’m doing now (and maybe being a little better at things as I start to feel better).  What I’m doing now is a full time job.  Any more is too much at this point!

Today has been fabulous.  I have zero anxiety.  I am joyful and full of energy!  I have motivation and a desire to do things around the house again.  I even dried my hair and put on makeup today.  I hardly ever wear makeup anymore.  It feels good :-).

I read while Karis read (on the porch).  This is my new routine.  I have a book a month that I want to read.

I learned so much!  I’m very encouraged.

 

“In recent years, myriad research projects have demonstrated unequivocally that diets do not work. Of those people who go on diets, ninety-five to ninety-eight percent regain their weight, plus some. Diets make us fatter. Diets turn us into compulsive eaters. Diets make us sick!
Why do we keep engaging in an activity that both harms us and fails us time and again? Why do we continue to cling to the promise of diets despite documentation that the more we restrict food, the more desperate we become, and the more we eat? Why on earth haven’t women put the diet industry out of business?”

Then a woman in a group that I’m in wrote this:

“It’s amazing to me that women (and men) continue to restrict their caloric intake to such extreme levels.

The diet industry thrives on failure and it’s perfectly set up for it. You restrict calories and your body goes into starvation, holding onto every calorie you eat. Then when you stop dieting your body is primed with a slow metabolism since it doesn’t know when/if you’ll starve it again. So you gain the weight back (and then some) and eventually begin yet another diet.

It’s such a brutal cycle. How awesome would the world be if we gave up diets, had things we enjoy in moderation, and made healthy lifestyle choices without restricting ourselves?”

I’m just feeling at such peace today and feel like I can move forward with life and be me!  I’m doing what I love!

Learning and Growing with Every New Day

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.”

“…self-seeking…”

“…self-centered, egocentric…”

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.

Intuitive Eating, Body Positivity, Anxiety, and Sobriety

worth

I remember being 4 years old, a tiny thing, and thinking I needed to lose weight.  I remember lifting cans as “weights.”  Fast forward to junior high, and I remember my body going from tiny to “big” when I hit puberty (in a junior high girl’s mind).  I was bigger than a lot of girls around me.  Then in high school I was “overweight” and knew I was bigger than my friends.  I remember looking at magazines thinking I needed to look like them.  I remember feeling like I needed to go on a diet.

When I got to college, my high school sweetheart (and fiancé) broke up with me and I assumed it was because of the way I looked (among other things).  I decided at that time that I had enough so I was going to lose weight.

I went on a diet and lost 25 pounds very quickly.  I felt very proud of myself.

Fast-forward a few years and I met Robert.  We got married very quickly.  I put on a few pounds, but nothing extreme.  I ended up having 3 kids with-in 4 years (starting 2 years after we got married).  I didn’t put on a ton of weight with them (very little, actually).  After Levi was born, I gained weight because of postpartum depression.  But I easily lost the weight when I was working at a charter school because I went up and down lots of stairs multiple times a day.

I ended up fluctuating a lot between then and a few years ago (between dieting, stopping the diet, dieting, and stopping the diet).  I would also have moments in which I worked out a lot, then I would stop, etc.  I have been on an upward trend the past 3 years, starting with my first bipolar med.  It hasn’t stopped.

The last diet I tried was last summer.  I did THM (Trim Healthy Mama) for 3 months.  When it wasn’t working (and it was a LOT of work… I also had digestive issues because of the alternative sweeteners), I stopped.  I then gained back the few pounds I had lost plus a little more.  Then I went to rehab and gained 6-8 pounds in a month.

Since then, I have been trying so hard to eat intuitively (as best I can), have body positivity, and learn to love myself as is, but it has been an uphill battle.  Most days, most of the day, I’m thinking and obsessing about my weight and the fact that I’ve gained more weight.  I think about it every time I get dressed, when I’m sitting (because pants are tighter when sitting), when I eat (it affects my eating a lot… I often just don’t eat until I’m starving, then I eat anything and everything), when I see pictures of myself, when I look in the mirror or see my reflection on a window.  I don’t know how much I weigh because I threw out my scale, but I know I’ve gained weight based on how my clothes fit and it affects me all day, every day.

This causes me a lot of anxiety because I feel very out of control.  When I eat “healthy,” I feel as though there’s no reason because I won’t lose weight anyway.  When I eat “unhealthy,” I feel guilty.  I have a lot of shame around food and my body.

A few weeks ago, a stranger from a body positive group asked to be friends on Facebook (after she commented on one of my posts).  Usually I don’t accept strangers as friends, but she seemed to be safe.  I’ve been watching her on Facebook including posts, videos, and blogs that she has written.  She is a registered dietitian and she specializes in somatic nutrition and body image coaching.  I finally decided to message her and tell her how I’ve been feeling.  She messaged me a link to sign up for an appointment to have a phone call with her.  I scheduled an appointment for the next day.

That morning I thought that I couldn’t deal with one more thing right now so I canceled it.  She didn’t get the email (it was right before our appointment), so she called me.  We had an almost hour long conversation.  I knew that she would be able to help me, but I didn’t think I could afford it.  I decided that maybe we could use some of our income tax refund.  I didn’t think Robert would agree, and he was out of town, so I emailed him.  After explaining how I felt about everything, he agreed.  So, I ended up deciding to do the program.  I kind of went back and forth through the day yesterday because I felt guilty for using money for my health again.  Between counseling, doctor appointments, gas to and from town, and medication, a lot of Robert’s check goes towards my health (we get some reimbursed, but it comes out of our pockets initially).  I can’t work, so I can’t even contribute to this.

tracybrown

From her website:

Today is the beginning of the end of your struggles with food and body image concerns.  Do You…

  • Think about food (how much, when, what) 24/7?
  • Feel you can’t stop eating?  
  • Struggle to manage your weight even though trying to?
  • Want to learn to eat from hunger and fullness?
  • Need help learning to like your body?
  • Want to discover your healthy weight?
  • Feel confused about how to eat well?
  • Sick of counting calories (fat/carbohydrates)?
  • Tired of exercise being a should and feeling guilty about how much/little you move?

All of these describe my struggles.

There will be 9 group meetings (3 per month for 3 months), 4 one-on-ones (one initial, then one per month), lots of online readings and videos, 4 books, worksheets and food logs (to learn my hunger ratings, emotions, etc); I will have access to her every day via email and phone if need be.  She will review my food logs as often as I need her to.  Part of her services also include meditation, personal growth, and help with anxiety.

These are the books that I will be reading:

Intuitive Eating: A Revolutionary Program that Works

When Women Stop Hating Their Bodies: Freeing Yourself From Food and Weight Obsession 

The One Thing Holding You Back: Unleashing the Power of Emotional Connection

Eating in the Light of the Moon: How Women Can Transform Their Relationship with Food through Myths, Metaphors, and Storytelling

So how does my sobriety fit into all of this?  Simply… I’m often so anxious about this that I am driven to want to drink.  Anything that causes me so much anxiety that I want to drink needs to be addressed.  I know it doesn’t seem big enough to make someone want to drink, but it is big to me.

I’m hoping that this is one step towards what I tell everyone all the time!

loveyourself

My First EMDR Treatment

img_9020(This is the sunrise over the hills that I see every morning. Beautiful!)

This has been a really rough week.  I did EMDR on Monday and it has affected me since (I’m assuming that’s what it is based on what people have said about it).  This is going to be a very tough process.

Tuesday and Wednesday I felt terrible.  I felt a huge weight on me.  I was anxious and feeling depressed.  I couldn’t get enough sleep.  I slept several hours each morning (after I got the kids off to school) and just felt like I had been hit by a truck.

Finally Wednesday I texted my counselor.  Sure enough, she said that I must have triggered something when we did EMDR on Monday and we will need to tackle that next Monday.  Also, I found out that being exhausted is just part of the process (which I had been told, but I guess I didn’t believe it until I experienced it).  Also, my feelings will be raw afterwards because we’re digging deep and bringing that stuff out.  Eventually things won’t phase me over time.

So the first thing she did was get to know my history from the beginning.  We did that our first appointment.

Then, we spent some time just talking, for me to feel comfortable with her, and for her to see more into my heart and mind.  We did this for the second appointment.

Then, we worked on creating a “safe space” in my mind for me to go to when I’m anxious.  For me this is the mountains.  Also, I can hear the Serenity Spa music in the background in my mind for my safe space (I listened to this a lot when I got out of the hospital the first time).

Finally, we started the EMDR process.

She uses these vibrating hand held devices.  They take turns vibrating.  The point of this (from what I understand) is to activate both parts of the brain (the logical side and the emotional side).  It goes back and forth, back and forth.

She had me close my eyes and focus in on one specific incident.  For me, this was an event in which I was physically abused by classmates when I was little.

She would have me focus in on it, then we would take a break.  Focus in on it in a different way, then I would take a break.  I could hear the sounds of the events, feel how it felt physically, and with-in my body.  Eventually she led me to how it made me feel emotionally and how it affects me now.

According to EMDR.com, these involve the client identifying three things:
1.  The vivid visual image related to the memory
2.  A negative belief about self
3.  Related emotions and body sensations.

We only addressed one specific incident, and we have many more to address.  I have more situations in which I was physically abused by classmates, a few other things that I don’t feel like sharing, then we will eventually address my brother’s death (gruesome suicide that I feel out of touch with).

I’m also learning a lot about how feelings aren’t facts, they are fleeting, and to use my “safe space” in my mind when I’m struggling with anxiety.  This is what my counselor talked me through when I was struggling on Wednesday.

One other tidbit of information from my counselor is that she thinks I have been struggling with bipolar since I was little (and anxiety).  Some of my behaviors are indicative of bipolar in a child.  So I thought that was interesting.  With bipolar 2, it’s often difficult to tell if it’s an illness or just behavioral issues.

This process will take time, but I see it really benefitting me in the long run.  A lot of my anxiety and depression are there because of these events and how they made/make me feel.  A lot of things have been going on with me since I was little, and a lot was triggered after Joey died.  So I know it affects me.  I’ve been stuffing a lot for many years.

I’m so glad I’m not working or homeschooling right now.  I really do need this time to focus 100% on my healing and self care.

Grati-Tuesday, February 21st

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