I’m back and this time with darker hair again. I’m sorry but the blonde had to go, I was so tired of the endless roots and maintaining my mane, I gave up. Slacker, I know.
Anyways, I thought I’d end the Christmas week with a post reflecting on the year and the ups and downs that I have been working on each day. As the year comes to a crashing end (Thank Lord) , I felt there was no better time to begin a little reflection.
How cliche? I know but as I’m laying in bed, unable to sleep and looking through past photographs, it brings me to a time in my life of struggle and inner torment. A time I have chosen not to talk about openly, a time of my life that left me feeling lifeless.
2019 has been tough to say the least, I started the year by relying on prescribed anxiety meds for a crippling post partum anxiety that left me unwilling to leave home, not talking to my Husband and feeling a whole lot of worry and sadness. The medication was like a ritual, I had to take my anxiety medication before I could begin the day. Rinsed down with a stale morning coffee, it was a horrible time.
I became reclusive very early in 2019 and I shut off from my emotions. Rather than connecting with my body and listening to my needs, I steered away from myself only to become withdrawn and most definitely sad. A person I didn’t know, nor did my family. I know in life we all have our good times and bad but it seemed that 2019 just kept throwing those curve balls. Sure, nothing significant or terrible happened but the day to day events and just getting by was enough to make my toes curl.
Interaction with others has been hard, I have very few friends and those that I call friends, I don’t see. I spend my free time mostly indoors if I’m not out walking and really, I’m struggling to tell you what I did in free time, I don’t really recall. Perhaps nothing, mull around in my own state of sadness being consumed by a bubble where nothing was at it seemed. I’d make mountains from molehills, worry myself sick and favor insomnia over sleep due to stress and panic. I’d pick needless arguments, lash out then feel upset over my actions and reactions. I was the world’s best at over thinking and I was running on empty as I dealt with trials of life which I shall begin to share a little more about.
I’ve previously spoken about my past weight battles, before falling pregnant I was 39kg, at full term in my pregnancy I was 52kg, I wasn’t allowed two paracetamol during my time in the labor ward due to my low weight, I’d have taken a thousand during my labor if I could, never mind one mesley paracetamol, that’s sure to kill the crippling labor pain..
At my worst, my legs were so tired, my body so pale and eating porridge oats for every meal. Days I’d feel my eyes shift as my body would prepare for syncope, I never did faint through my illness other than one time as I got up to leave a restaurant with my Husband where I blanked, I crashed into a table, fell at a woman’s feet. I got myself up in a shock and didn’t look back, although I knew then how serious my illness had become, I didn’t stop. I had no reason too, it felt good to me, to weigh myself after every meal, after every day and see the numbers drop. I went from a healthy 70kg something, to mere 39kg to which I steadily maintained the weight for around two years as I feasted on oats, fruit and little else.
I’d count ribs as I got into the bath and watched my reflection, searching my body for any fat to pinch. A bite of a biscuit here and there only to throw the rest in the bin. On one occasion, I had two oreos for my dinner and went to bed so that I wouldn’t be tempted by food. I had told my Mother I was gluten intolerant so I wouldn’t have to eat foods that she would make for me, instead I could have a salad, soup or god forbid, oats. It didn’t stop, full fat milk became fat free, calories were counted so much so that I can still recall the calories in any food you name and I am pretty good at guessing calories in meals, take outs and drinks. Sometimes I still calorie count, not that I watch my intake but for curiosity and I like to prove myself right.
As we draw 2019 to an end, I’d like to say I feel that this year, despite the lows and the hard times, I have recovered from my food issues and have regained a healthy weight and BMI. My periods have returned after five years of absence – during which time I fell pregnant FYI (shocker, belive me, I know) and I can now eat without remorse, or guilt. I enjoy food again, I enjoy eating with my family and you’ll be glad to hear I can’t bear to face porridge oats ever again frankly. I’ve gone from surviving on porridge and ten strong coffees per day, even into the late hours to three full meals, snacks and no coffee at all. I don’t consume alcohol and I don’t over indulge or under indulge any more. I truly belive I have overcome the demons I faced with food, my arms no longer resemble sticks as I have been told previously and nobody pressures me to gain weight any more. Hallelujah.
Although faced with anxiety and PCOS, I fought through and continued to maintain a healthy weight goal, I stopped worrying about what I was eating and decided to eat what I wanted, when I wanted to. I braved impromptu Burger King trips, I indulged in a Whopper for crying out loud. Little things which were all pretty major for myself and inadvertently led to my recovering and strength. I wouldn’t say I eat well, but I have a balanced diet and I always take time to treat myself to chocolates and take out pizza.
I can’t say that my anxiety with food will be gone forever, I think it will always be a big part of my life and on days where I don’t feel body confident, want to cry in front of the mirror or ache for a better body it is easy to begin to let old habits rise once more, to skip a meal, to cut out the snacks to lose a few quick pounds. To start calorie counts and push away the dinner plate with an empty, aching stomach.
Can you see what Im getting at? Recovery is not perfect nor permanent and it had to be worked at every day. I’m trying to embrace myself as I am and encourage myself to feel confident in my skin on the good days and the bad.
To further work on self care and focus, at the end of 2019 I began to take a barre class to help gain confidence, fitness and strength. To take time out once a week for myself to feel good and do something for me. I won’t be gracing the stage of the theatre production with my (not so) fantastic ballet any time ever, but I like to think Barre is helping to build strength and bring a little peace to my life which has in turn allowed my mind to slow down a little and focus better.
I decided to stop taking my anxiety medication to end the year, not because I didn’t want to take it, but because the urge to take it has gone, my anxiety is barely apparent to myself and I have gained inner strength and confidence to do things again, to be more honest, to be open and to try to understand and explain my emotions. I’m working on myself using my focus and alternatives to medications, I don’t think I’d have got this far without the aid of medical intervention but I can now see the end of the tunnel, I have my motivation and happiness back and I have the drive I need to get through the next year and even set myself goals. I am proactive and forward planning for the future something that I’d have no interest in just six months ago.
Although the year didn’t begin well, it certainly didn’t flow well and I’ve had my issues I have fought through it all and worked on myself enough to be free from the daily anxieties I once had holding me back. I’m not a sudden extrovert with a large social calendar and urge to go sky diving quite yet, but I’m more me again and right now, after a testing period, that’s all I can possibly ask for and more.
A liitle about me right now – I’m hellish tired, I’m more clumsy than I have ever been before, I get headaches nearly each day and I forget.. A lot. Motherhood has changed so much of me, but I don’t live in fear of that person it made me anymore, I have chosen to embrace myself how I am and I know who I need to be. I’ve got some goals I have set for the pending year ahead and I will share those with my next post.
Right now, I’m proud of what I have overcome, where I am heading and my ability to speak about my experience, reflect and learn from the hard times. I’m off to bed to think about what I can do better tomorrow and hopefully get six hours of kip in.