I’m so thankful that the weekend is coming. And I’m also happy that today is a “chill day.” I have a short list and my goal is to focus on self care! I have been off of Facebook for a … Continue reading
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
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!
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?
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!
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!
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!
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!
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.