Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Wellness Wednesday

As I mentioned, May turned into cheat month. Yes month. Once you've gone completely off track it is so much easier to stay there. I am starting my count for just about every luxury no-no over again as of June 1st. So for now I will keep a running tally of how much I did eat in the last 4+ months, it seems a lot better more encouraging when I say it that way :)

So in the last 141 days I have had only :)
8 desserts
9 beverages
2 portions of chips

I still have not had any donuts, juices or milks! Still not bad considering most of that

And I went for an hour and a half long walk on Monday and about a 40 minute walk last week too. Rain hasn't been making walking outside easy but I'm going to keep trying, as long as it isn't too cold. A lot of season finale's on t.v. lately so my schedule is blowing wide open :)

And on all other fronts I am feeling good, feeling healthy. Intentionally working on how to keep hope afloat but more so how to remember my weakness is when God's grace and power are made perfect. I need to learn to let go of the desire NOT to be weak long before I reach the end of myself. And I have a few tools in my pocket now to help with that.

I have realized also though that I haven't had a consistent spiritual filling since our small group transformed. I think I might be spiritually dehydrated. My soul is refreshed now and then, through certain people, through certain situations, but those just are not happening frequently enough. I am in need of a small group where I have people pouring into me, not just me pouring into others. Or a mentor. I'm still looking for one of those. May have found a candidate or two :) We'll see where God takes that relationship. All I know is I'm doing a lot of pouring out without as much pouring back in.

But overall, I'm good. Better than good. Thank God for that.

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Wellness Wednesday

Well, after just over a week of struggling, physically, mentally, emotionally, spiritually, I think I am back to my normal. I am thankful I have a lot of wonderful people in my life I can reach out to, and talk to, each understands a different aspect, in a different way, and can speak truth into those moments. But mostly I am just surrounded by support and encouragement and hugs and I feel beyond blessed for the people God has placed in my life to love me back to health.

Even my physical health is bouncing back, which it had a lot to have to recover from. The fatigue is gone so I'm going to go out for some walks this week again. Back to cooking rather than eating out. Back to my plateau weight, so a small gain of 3 lbs. And the cheats are now done. I think :)

It feels like I was cheating for so long but it was really just the Sunday to Sunday. No offense to mom's but one day gets so dragged out, it felt like Smothers Day for 8 days. But with some cheating, great friends, and some avoidance tactics, I was actually mostly good by Sunday.

I capped this really difficult time testing out some talk therapy for my depression with my favorite counselor (technically in training), my hubby. I realized, the food did very little to help how I felt. The most helpful thing was talking with friends and God. But even that mostly only worked in the moment I was talking to those friends, in any moment of isolation and no effective distractions, I wasn't ok. And so I've learned I need to work on that while I am back to 'normal', preventative preparation, so that next time I don't feel so hopeless. Sean did an amazing job of helping me see hope that doesn't depend on a future event, but the hope I have in each day. It's strange how I can see and be blessed by joy, gratitude, love daily, yet the absence of hope still trumped that, and so I need to tie in hope to that joy, gratitude and love.

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Wellness Wednesday - Mental Health

Before I get to my usual health related confessional, I wanted to take a moment to talk about a topic still not very prevalent in our society, mental health, since it's mental health awareness week.

I admittedly have a limited mental health awareness. I have had more interactions with some than others, such as bi-polar, anxiety and depression. I did quite a bit of research on the former two, because they have both affected my life directly, anxiety has been a problem of mine and bi-polar was an issue of my ex. But the latter, depression, I hadn't felt it was my concern to understand why some people felt more sad and hopeless than others, I just felt I needed to be understanding of their struggle without needing to understand it.

It's actually been a curiosity unfolding though for 15 months now. After my miscarriage in January of last year I fell into an overwhelming sadness, I felt desperate, anxious, numb, had a lack of concentration, fatigue/low energy, couldn't sleep well, felt irritable and on edge.  I happened to have a close friend who deals with depression and I got up the courage to ask her, is this what depression feels like? Turns out I had described many of her exact symptoms. Because my limited understanding of depression was that it was beyond circumstances and control, I didn't want to equate my short-term feelings to the pain she's gone through a big portion of her life, but I also had this desire to label what I was going through. At the time I just ended up calling it grief.

But since then I've realized I've had these episodes before, and I wondered if it was possible to have situational depression? Could it be a real thing? I never really dived into it though. I, at the most, have only had 2 episodes in a year, usually only one. I could always trace my episodes back to either the hopelessness I've felt in my infertility, or relational stress from repressed feelings. Did it mean I am more prone to them through certain stresses? Possibly, but they were typically gone in a week, two after the miscarriage. I ended up just letting my concerns fade away.

Then I just went through a few more shorter periods between October and January, and even wrote about it here, how my hope was under attack. And I don't doubt that was in part spiritual. Maybe it all is, but just the awareness of the spiritual element only helped things temporarily. Because they are back again.

Last week, for reasons I'm not entirely sure of, the hopelessness started to increase and with it, most of the other symptoms started creeping back in as well. I invited prayer and God into the situation and it alleviated it for a few days, but Sunday it began to grow stronger again, and today at work I'm sitting here wondering how I'm even able to type out coherent thoughts because my mind is so numb, filled with fog. For the last two days I've just wanted to hibernate. I actually did yesterday, called in sick. It was my last chance at being pregnant before Mother's Day. I felt a little ridiculous calling in for just a normal period. But it wasn't just that. I was going to jokingly call it a 'mental health' day, which has been slang for many years for 'I'm just tired of working and I need a break from my job' day. Then it occurred to me though, the feeling of being under depression was truly a mental health issue, I was taking a legitimate mental health day.

Now back at work, a friend and co-worker brought up the mental health awareness week, and asked if we could tie in a talk about it in to our National H&S week activities. She will be giving a talk about it Friday and I decided to help do a little research. And guess what I found, there is such a thing as situational (or reactive) depression. With all of the symptoms I have (plus a few more) included.

What does this mean for me, having all but been actually diagnosed? I'm not sure. Talking about it in therapy-like sessions seems the normal recommendation. I do find when I am talking about it to the people who are understanding and let me verbal process, it really does alleviate a lot of the weight I feel on me. I do need to find additional solutions though. I have been so numb the last week I have been trying to feel through taste. I have cheated on my luxury abstinence in just about every category in the last 4 days. 4 desserts on Monday alone. So that tells you right there how my physical health has been the last week.

The reason I wanted to write about this though wasn't so I could validate that I have a type of depression, but so that other people might be aware that real feelings of depression do exist outside of clinical depression, they are valid, it isn't just you, and it isn't 'all in your head.' And there are options to treat it, you don't have to suffer with it. I intend to start looking for help, because frankly this sucks.
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