January 07, 2015

Bright New Day

When you are sick for a long time and finally have a day when you feel better, not only does good feel REALLY GOOD, but you realize just how sick you really were and had gotten used to feeling.  I feel like that this week.  I have struggled for the last five months just to get through the day every day.  Getting up was hard, keeping up with the kids was hard, keeping up with the house was hard.  I felt like a zombie a lot.

It's not until I started to actually feel good these last several days that I realized just how sick I really had been.  Not just healthwise, although that was part of it.  Depression.  The baby blues are real.  I might go so far as to call it post partum depression though it wasn't as bad as I had with Porter.  And it wasn't until this week that I am realizing just how bad it was.  In my head I just thought, wow having four kids is HARD. And I never considered that it might be a hormonal imbalance that could be helped with medicine. 

Now, looking back, I realize that I was a sinking ship and didn't even know it.  Thankfully I had so many people around me who were helping in one way or another.  And the Lord buoyed me up when I needed it and got me through.  Things truly were made relatively easy considering how hard they could have been.  But I know I wasn't there for my kids like a should have been.  They were forced to be more independent than I would have liked. They are great kids, and Porter especially was such a great help.  But I am glad to find that I am finally feeling more like myself and I can give more to my kids.  The TV can get turned off and we can spend time together and they can have a Mom that is tuned in instead of zoned out most of the time.

I wish I had realized sooner what was going on so I could have gotten help sooner, but I am glad to be feeling better.  I am determined to pay more attention to my health in other ways so that I can continue to be there for my kids.  I am hoping that by eating better, I can improve my mental functioning as well as keeping myself from getting sick so often.  I am SO sick of being sick all the time.  In the last eight weeks I have had 4 head colds, the flu, and strep.  Stress and depression has had a big effect on my immune system, but I know that sugar has also played a big role.  It slows down my thinking, it makes me tired, and makes me more vulnerable to illness. But when I feel down and slow and tired, what I want is the quick high of sugar.  It is a hard habit to change, but I am working on breaking the cycle, something that will be lifelong and won't happen overnight.

I am working on ways to deal with the stress.  We are getting on better footing with Adam's job and financially, so having a good plan in place is lifting some of that stress.  I still wish he was here all the time, but I am better able to handle what I need to on my own now that the depression is lifting.  So now I need to work on my physical health.  I am doing research on PCOS and have started taking some good supplements that should help.  I will continue to research and start making changes that should improve the way I feel.

It's a bright new day.

January 06, 2015

New Year, New Word

Last year I decided to follow in the footsteps of some friends and rather than making goals, I picked a word to encompass what I wanted to bring about in my life in 2014.  My expectations were low, but I was surprised by the changes that came about.  I wouldn't say that learning about 'enough' was fun exactly, but it was enriching.  I learned, I grew, and I want to do it again.
     I am a little more aware of the power in a word now, so it has taken me some time to come up with just the right one.  I have narrowed it down to two that mean mostly the same thing as far as what I am looking for.  Mindful and deliberate.  For the last six months since Adam started his job and I had baby #4, I have been living in a bit of crisis mode.  Trying to keep my head above water for the next wave and just hanging on.  Life has been living me in some ways instead of me living life.  I am getting used to the new schedule and finally coming out of the baby fog, so I am ready to change that.  I want to start being active instead of reactive.  Putting myself in a place to be able to make some decisions instead of feeling backed into a corner.

     I am not a financial whiz.  Far, FAR from it.  My parents drilled saving and preparing for the future into us from the time we were little, but for some reason, it didn't stick very well with me.  I have a really hard time planning for the future with my money.  Thankfully Adam is much better at saving and he takes care of the retirement account and such.  But I want to be better.  I want to be more mindful of where my money is going so that it isn't wasted on things we don't need.  I would like to be able to have a bigger nest egg put away so that things like the last several months of unexpected expenses don't knock me off kilter as much.  It has been really stressful to have the future uncertain with Adam changing jobs, and maybe that is what it took for me to finally get that saving lesson into my head.  The future is always uncertain and no one knows what tomorrow may bring, so I need to be more of an ant, and let go of my grasshopper tendencies.

     I am not making a health goal this year of losing a certain amount of weight or exercising every day.  I have done that before and inevitably I end up quitting for one reason or another and losing whatever ground I have gained.  The quick fix doesn't work.  But I do want to feel better.  I want to get my energy back.  I want to have the strength and stamina to do more.  Getting Gracie to sleep through the night will help some of that.  But I really want to focus on changing the way I eat so that I feel better over all.  Having learned that I have PCOS this last year with insulin resistance being part of that, I know more now of what will help me be successful in feeling better.  So I want to be more mindful of my body.  I want to be making deliberate choices about what I put in my body and not just mindlessly munching when I am hungry, or tired, or bored, or celebrating, or sad, etc, etc, etc. 

      I know that I need to give up sugar.  For my body, it acts like a drug.  I have noticed recently that when I take that first sip of carbonated, caffeinated, sugary goodness called soda, I breathe a sigh of relief.  I usually drink it when I am really tired and need a pick me up, or when I am really stressed.  And that sigh of relief comes before anything in the drink has had a chance to get into my system, so I know it is in my head. I imagine that might be what someone addicted to drugs might feel when they have been jonesing and get some of their drug of choice.  It is the anticipation of the high to come.  But just like drug abuse, sugar abuse destroys.  I have read several articles about how sugar leads to disease in just about everyone, and given that PCOS magnifies the problems with sugar, it is something I want to start taking out of my life.  I am not saying I will never have it again, or even that I will cut back drastically all in one go.  I know that if I do that I will end up right where I am again.  But I want to be more mindful of what I am eating.  I want to look at labels more so that I can make healthier choices.  I want to be able to make deliberate choices, rather than just what sounds good for dinner or what is easy to make.  I want to slowly, sustainably, change the way I look at food and how I eat.  I want to be aware of how what I am eating effects the future of my body so that I can eat mindfully, rather than mindlessly.

So- mindful, deliberate.  Mindful of where my choices lead both financially and for my body, and deliberate in the choices I make to bring me where I want the future to be. I hope I am up to what the future will bring in 2015, but if it is anything like 2014, no matter how hard it might be, I will be better at the end of it.