Finding A Balance

The last few years I have been on a path of self-reflection and discovery. Many hours in therapy, in silent contemplation, in writing, in conversing with family, friends and co-workers. One of the things I have grappled with is my health – over the years I truly let myself go and often cancelled doctor and dentist appointments over and over. Case in point: after focusing on overall mental and physical well being all week at work I decided it was time to finally make my 3 month follow up diabetes wellness appointment with my doctor. I keep cancelling it because I say I am busy but really it is because I don’t want to do the blood test because I am afraid my sugar levels are too high. So I keep “losing” the bloodwork requisition forms. But yesterday I decided it was time and called. The receptionist and I had a good laugh over how many times I have been given the blood work form. She informed me they could email it directly to the lab. Great, one problem solved. So then we moved on to making an appointment and she said “Oh, you just saw him on May 2!”.  Which made me pause – was it possible I have been so overwhelmed I don’t remember? Then she gasped and said “NO! that was May 2017!!”.  I have a number of health issues and take about 11 different types of medications and I haven’t been to the doctor in a year. That is not good . . .

I have also been trying to eat better. I am not on a diet, I am just making changes to what I eat, when I eat and how much I eat.  But I was struggling with staying motivated. See I am okay with the fact that I am overweight (morbidly obese according to medical people). I have no problem with my body. But medically I need to lose the weight. There are things about myself that I like more than others but I don’t actively look in the mirror or step on the scale and then berate myself. If I want a piece of cake I have one and I don’t feel guilty. I struggled with why I overeat – is it that I am punishing myself? Am I using food as an emotional crutch? Due to past abuse did I at some point decide to try to make myself unappealing to potential abusers? I examined all of these hypothesis alone and in therapy. I didn’t come away with anything. I was no closer to understanding my relationship with food than when I started. The only thing that was different was that I decided I would make food choices purposefully and not just as a reflex (e.g. oh it’s lunch, there is a McDonald’s, let’s eat).

Then along came this week. Mental Health Awareness week 2018. Two co-workers and I spear headed a week full of activities, speakers and give aways to not only increase awareness of people’s everyday struggles with mental health but to focus on the power of positivity and taking positive steps to protect your physical and mental health. On Monday I spoke on the Power of Positivity and shared part of my son’s mental health story as well as part of my story – but the focus was on what I have done to ensure I don’t end up back in the hospital. On Tuesday we had Jen Oliver of FitMama come and speak to us. She was an amazing speaker – so passionate and knowledgeable about what does and does not motivate people to lose weight. Much like our theme of Mental Health matters, she taught us so much. From her website:

“Feeling guilt, shame and regret around food choices will increase the stress hormones in the body and in fact lead to less chance of weight loss and a cascade of other things you are unlikely to want. Intuitive eating, or “listening to your body” is important and also knowing where the choices or cravings or desires are coming from. Are they coming from “shoulds” and “have to’s” or are they coming from love and connection and a desire to nourish?”  – Jen Oliver

As she talked it hit me

I MATTER

That has been my obstacle. I learned early on, for many reasons, that I did not matter. It is seared into my core psyche. I have lived my life serving others at the sake of my own well being. I have ignored my physical, mental and emotional well being. It shows in both big and small ways. For example, because I didn’t matter I didn’t know what I liked or didn’t like. I was 17 years into my marriage before I finally realized I didn’t like what my husband always wanted on the pizza. When I first told him he thought I had kept the information from him for 17 years. It seems like a silly irrelevant example but it just goes to show you I wasn’t even connected to myself enough to have registered my likes and dislikes. I have spent the last 5 years or so trying to figure out what I like – what is my favourite ice cream? What movies do I like?

So back to the food. I ate whatever I wanted whenever I wanted because I DIDN’T MATTER! Going even deeper – I didn’t even WANT the food. It just presented itself and I took it. It was something to do. Why put in any thought as to whether I actually want the food on offer because what I want doesn’t matter. I don’t matter. I have never mattered.

But I do.

May 11, 2018

Finding What Matters

The last few years I have been on a path of self-reflection and discovery. Many hours in therapy, in silent contemplation, in writing, in conversing with family, friends and co-workers. One of the things I have grappled with is my health – over the years I truly let myself go and often cancelled doctor and dentist appointments over and over. Case in point: after focusing on overall mental and physical well being all week at work I decided it was time to finally make my 3 month follow up diabetes wellness appointment with my doctor. I keep cancelling it because I say I am busy but really it is because I don’t want to do the blood test because I […]
March 16, 2018

A New Normal

So where have I been the last 6 months? Good question . . . mostly at home, lol.  In September I took an online course in an attempt to gain entrance to the Master’s of Social Work program at Waterloo. The class was the last of 2 classes I needed before applying. Of course I left the two classes I didn’t want to take until the end. It was about Social Research and I just sucked at it.  It was a lot of statistical information (which I have never done well with) and concepts that I just could not get to stick in my head.  Aside from Anthropology in first semester of my first year as an undergraduate – this […]
April 4, 2017

Update

So things have been quiet around here lately but it’s not what you probably think. I have been doing great – I am feeling much better. I think being on insulin has helped immensely. I am not feeling so tired and foggy all the time. I am actually getting some housework done and making meals at night doesn’t feel like I am barely able to make my way around the kitchen. I’m still working on eating better and getting more exercise. I went and got my hair done and I love the style. I bought contacts and new makeup. Today I got my eyebrows waxed for the first time since my wedding 22 years ago. lol. In a few weeks we are […]
March 22, 2017

My Husband – I See You

A new article over at Her View From Home
January 31, 2017

Respite

There are 3 things that I feel helped Corbin and our family the most when he was in early years of elementary school. One was Camp Winston ; then there was Occupational Therapy and then respite. According to the Family Respite Services website We are a Windsor-Essex community organization that works with families caring for children under the age of eighteen who have intellectual, physical and mental health disabilities. We facilitate the provision of respite services that contribute to: The sustaining and enriching of a family’s quality of life. Seek the fullest participation of the child in the community. We have always felt it important that respite be viewed more as a way of connecting   Corbin to his community than a break for […]
December 14, 2016

Advocacy is not a 4-letter word

There are times where, as the parent of a child with a disability, you will be told to fight for what your child needs. Us “special needs moms” – we tell each other “fight for him, you know him best” and “the squeaky wheel gets the grease”. People get worked up hearing other parent’s stories. At times I too have believed this way of thinking and engaged in my fair share of fights.  Last week I read a piece that spoke of being a Mama Warrior for your child with special needs and it just seared my heart.  I genuinely felt very saddened by the notion that as a whole, it is thought that parents of kids with a disability […]