May

29

Stuck on Repreat

Do you ever get stuck in a moment?

I’m not talking about a whistful remembrance of a memory from long ago. No, really stuck. Your mind racing over all the “what if’s”, the “I wish I would’ve”, or “if only I could of”and of course, the “I should’ve”. What if those moments never stop? What if every new moment, is you stuck in an old moment? And then your new moments are regrets of not using your new moments to be better or change but to continually be your “if only” moments…. and it never ends…. the cycle never ceases.

I have a million “moments” from my youth. From high school. From college. From being a new wife. From being a new mother. From having my second child. From when I didn’t realize I wasn’t emotionally well. From realizing I had a problem. From how I chose to solve that problem. From the repercussions of trying to fix myself and failing. From all the things I have done and the hundreds of things I haven’t done. To realize I am getting too old to do so many of the things I dreamed I wanted to do because for so many years I thought I couldn’t do it.

I am constantly thinking of all the years wasted, only to get to a year later and realize I am in the same place I was the year before, and the year before that and that I’m constantly filled with guilt and anger that I didn’t change or do ANYTHING. That I barely tried. I’m thirty-two now, and I have missed out on so much. That isn’t to take away from what I have done but deep down I know it’s not enough. I have no specifics tonight. There are too many things to name. This post is vague and incompete but that, that is what I feel like my whole life is right now.

My days are vague, monotonous, and incomplete. The same thing day in and day out. Not growing, or changing, or achieving what I wish I would and the next day comes and instead of doing something different, it ever so carefully slips into that comfortable, yet terribly uncomfortable, existence that is my life.

But, I’m not the only one. I am paving the way for my family to be filled with regret too.

My life is playing on a continuous repeat. Rationally, it feels like it would be so easy to change. But truthfully, it feels like my life ended years ago, or maybe, it never actually begun.

Aug

25

Backsliding

It’s amazing how much can change in so little of time.   I had a whole 2 months of hope.  2 months of feeling I am on my way towards a better life for myself and my family. Then it was gone. No warning. No chance to brace myself or my family.

In April I had found a moment of energy that pushed me to getting things in order.  I busted my butt, and got the house clean, I mean REALLY clean.  Not just straightened up and things thrown in the random corners. It felt nice. It inspired me. I started making goals of all the things I wanted to do in our house. All the things I have put off for 2 years since moving into our house.  I wanted to decorate and make the place a home. I didn’t want that work to be in vain so I maintained it, and it was easy.  The kids were willing to help me, to do their chores with no complaining because it was “doable”. The attitude in the home switched.  Dinners became easier.  Cleaning up as we lived was easier. We started doing more together, the kids would rather play a family board game than watch TV. I even felt motivated to blog, I felt hope and couldn’t work on my old drafts that felt, for lack of a better word, depressing.  I thought this was what I was waiting for. Maybe things will be different now. I was wrong.

Within a blink of an eye I lost it and couldn’t get it back. The motivation, the joy and pride, gone.  I had hit a wall and couldn’t recover.

My cousin was getting married and with only a week left before her wedding my Mother informs me she needs help.  She has no decorations, no one helping nor even really supporting this wedding.  My Mom just wanted opinions and ideas but then she got some bad news. My Mom needed knee surgery and they could only get her in on the Friday (the day before the wedding when she was suppose to decorate and get things ready for the wedding).  So to help my mother and cousin I stepped up.  I took over the decorations and spent a whole lot of time and energy to get things perfect for my cousin’s wedding. I was exhausted.  It took a lot out of me. My cousin never even said thank you, which was surprisingly not a surprise.

As the reception ended I stayed after to clean up and realized my Mother who just had extensive knee surgery was going to be on her own in a very cluttery house (thanks to my father).  I knew she would not take the time she needed to rest her knee.  She would be getting up too often to make food and wouldn’t be able to escape the temptation to clean her house.  So I insisted on her staying at our house.  She was there for 1 1/2 weeks.  With me feeling drained it took all I had left in me to care for her and all of my routines that I had set up to keep the house clean went out the window.  I never recovered. The house never recovered. The burden and failure of being unable to maintain and stay on that positive road pushed me even further down into despair.  The temperature even changed, literally.  In Phoenix we had one of the coolest Mays we have ever had then suddenly in the last weekend of May we went from high 80s to the 100’s.  Trying to work and clean during the day sucks when it’s hot, then factoring in physical and emotional exhaustion, lack of motivation and disappointment, it’s nearly impossible.  I couldn’t do it.  I backslided into a puddle of quicksand. I couldn’t escape.  It feels like I never will.

I look back and think, “Why is this so hard? I did it before and thrived!” but then all those deep dark thoughts steep and stew in my mind and take up all the space in my brain.  All those little hidden pockets of dim hope have been blackened into a cancerous ooze.

It’s times like these that I get so angry.  Why is this my life? Why is this my lot? Why do I have to suffer so? Why does my family have to go through this? I want to give up.  However, I never could do that with a clear conscience. I suppose that’s a good thing. Right?

Apr

17

Parenting with Depression: Something’s wrong with Mommy

It is a well know fact that parenting is no easy task. It is not for the weak of heart. It takes time, energy, diligence, patience, kindness, love, selflessness, discipline, having fun and so much more than I can even name.

When I was young, I always knew I would be a Mom. I thought how my child would never go through what I suffered. I had this ideal in my head, that most ‘never been mothers’ have.  I knew it would be hard.  Something I never factored in was depression and anxiety. How could I know it would hit me so hard and so deep?

After years of struggle and feeling like I have failed and have damaged my children beyond repair (Please see Parenting with Depression: The Fear of Neglect), I had to hope and pray that it wasn’t true and that my kids could still be alright.  Despite all of the struggles and failings, I knew that my kids KNEW that I LOVED them. I also knew that they still LOVE ME. My husband and I realized that my kids weren’t little anymore.  They needed to know that what is going on with Mommy is NOT normal.

As much as it hurt, I swallowed my pride and told them, “There’s something wrong with Mommy”.

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There are going to be times that I am so tired I can’t get up out of bed or off the couch.  That this is a result of the sickness, it is not normal and Mommy is trying to get better.  There are going to be times where Mommy gets mad for no reason, and I may yell.  This is not normal and Mommy will sometimes need a time out to calm down.  There are times when Mommy can’t stop crying but I will be okay. I had always thought that a Mother comforts her children, not the other way around. Sometimes we have to accept that this is what our family has to do. ( I seriously have the sweetest children alive!)

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We have always been honest at telling our kids that we make mistakes and when we are wrong we apologize.  When I have a bad mood swing or can’t play with them the way I need to and want to; I apologize and remind them that I love them with all my heart, that I am going to keep on trying to get better.

The reason I wanted to share this post was because of an incident last Monday with my eldest, Blake.  Last Monday I was beat from a very tiring weekend.  We had guests over so I busted my butt getting things cleaned; 1- to avoid embarrassment and 2- it was a great excuse/reason/motivation whatever you want to call it, to get my house clean, something I desperately want to be done but struggle to do.

So Monday rolls around and I have been trying really hard to be “present” with my kids.  Liam and I decided to make banana muffins, however,  the kids must have woken up super early because they were all grumps.  I took Liam and Keira to the store to get walnuts and on the way home Keira fell asleep.  It was barely 10:30am and I am beyond exhausted.  I try to convince Liam to watch a show so I can lay down for a moment while Keira was sleeping but he insisted on making the muffins right then.  So we did.  Then Keira wakes up. She barely took a 45 minute nap.  The rest of the day felt like it was moving so slowly. By around 3 I knew Blake would be home soon.  Keira was intently watching Tumble Leaf on Amazon while Liam was playing games on my phone and I decided to lay down.  It’s something I always feel terrible about.   I don’t feel as bad when Keira is napping because I know Liam loves having TV time for himself without having to watch Curious George, Tinker Bell or any other “kiddie” show.  However, on Monday Keira was up and I couldn’t last any longer.  I laid down in my bed (which is only 5 1/2 ft away from the Living Room) and I was hoping to just rest but I fell asleep.  I briefly woke up when I heard Blake come home. I reminded him today was his last day of dance and that we will need to leave soon but then I quickly drifted back to sleep. I woke up abruptly only to see it was already time for dance class and he would be late.

I was so mad.  It was his last day of class, they were having rehearsal on the stage where they would be performing this Saturday and he was missing it!  I came out of my room angry! Rushing everyone to get shoes on and taking it out on Blake.  “You knew you had dance at 4. Why aren’t you ready?  Why didn’t you get me?” This anger and frustration and blaming continued as we got in our van and then it hit me! “What are you doing AVA?!?!  This isn’t HIS fault! You are the Mother, it is your responsibility! You are mad at yourself NOT him.”  In the past when I heard that voice, I don’t know if it was pride or fear or what, but I wouldn’t listen to it. I use to not want to admit when I was wrong and when I did it was after the fact. Luckily, the me that wants to get better made a decision that had always been so hard to do int he past. I stopped.

“Blake, I’m sorry.  It is not your fault. It’s mine.  I fell asleep and should have been more aware.  I am mad at me, not you. Do you Understand?  Do you Forgive me?”

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I have always apologized in the past, but this time I not only recognized my mistake IN the moment, I didn’t let it continue.  I stopped it right away. I didn’t let it fester and build. I didn’t realize I was wrong then feel guilty, get more mad at myself and continue to take it out on my innocent son( like I have so many other times in the past). I was honest and in that moment instead of being a mean Mom, an unfair Mom. I became a teacher.  I taught my child that we are in control of emotions, even though it is very hard.  That if they get carried away in the moment, we have the power and control to stop it. We can recognize our faults and fix it there and then if we allow ourselves to.  Apologies and forgiveness can be immediate, powerful and can be healing.

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Yes, there is something wrong with Mommy but I am getting better.  I  can recognize my faults and so can my kids.  I can teach them even when I don’t always think it’s possible.  I can and will always love them.  Most importantly; they show me that I can be loved in return.

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Apr

15

Coming out and Coming clean

Admitting to the world wide web you have depression is not a big deal.  Especially when you are anonymous. Admitting it to the people you know is harder.  I shared this post on Facebook April 6th, 2015.  The response back was very positive.  I even got a few private messages with people sending their support, love, and help.  I didn’t really change a whole lot.  I don’t have to “hide” anymore but I’m not sure I was doing a lot of that before.  If I was to be completely honest, I think the main reason I shared this was so that people didn’t judge me for my weight gain. On Facebook friends post and tag you from parties and get-togethers and I was usually really embarrassed by photos people would post.  I didn’t want people who haven’t seen me in years thinking I was just some stay at home mother who sat around doing nothing but eats bon bons all day.  Truthfully my post below is excusing my weight gain, not really bringing awareness to depression and anxiety.  It kind of shows that shallow side of myself that really hates my weight and judgement from others…

 

 

“Spring represents new beginnings. I have decided to open up about something that is deeply personal, that often has nasty stigmas connected to it. After Blake was born I had began to have issues with postpartum depression and anxiety. I struggled with recognizing the signs. I kept thinking that I would just get better. It sadly got worse, especially after Liam was born. In the Fall of 2011 life happened and I spiralled into severe depression. After some really hard trials I finally decided I should take real action. The choice to start medication was not an easy one especially since I had found out I was pregnant. We waited until the end of pregnancy to start. Since then I have been on about 7 different medications with multiple doses. With each medication and dosage change I gained more and more weight. I never lost the pregnancy weight or any weight since I started medication, which seemed to not really make any difference with my depression or anxiety. In the space of about 3 years I went from my high school graduation weight to gaining almost 150 pounds. Trust me when I say weight gain makes depression worse and it really plays a number on your self-esteem. This whole ordeal has been a really hard life experience not only for me but for my family as well.

Now onto new beginnings. Last winter we stopped all medications. We had not been successful and decided to take a break especially after a really bad bout with my last prescription. We have started seeking out other options. For some reason, in the last 2 months, there had been a change. I’m still not where I want to be or where I feel I should be but there is progress, there is hope for the first time in a long time. As scary as it is I am now trying to conquer this weight that has been a terrible side effect of this ongoing struggle. There is a really long journey ahead of me still but I have to try. I don’t want to be ashamed of leaving my house anymore, seeing old friends or meeting new people. Admittance and acceptance is a step I feel I need to take as I move forward with my life.

So here’s to new beginnings, growth and to learning to love myself again.”

 

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Sep

10

Distractions

When every thought brings guilt, sadness, pain, and tears, it becomes almost necessary to find distractions at any cost.  Everyone uses temporary distractions. I believe it’s only natural. The problem arises when your whole life is filled with nothing but distractions.

Lately, I have been worse than usual. I have had another medication change and life has been tough. I am having nothing but negative feelings. I have been defensive, impatient, critical, moody, angry, hopeless and just plain difficult.  The slightest thing sets me off and leaves me in a deep despair. I love my children but I haven’t been able to feel any joy around them. I feel angry at them for their behavior, followed by anger at myself for being the reason they behave that way.  I want nothing to do with them or anything else in my life and then I hate myself for thinking that way…

The only way to escape these feelings is to distract myself. With technology I have an automatic distraction built into my phone. I can easily put away hours upon hours on my smartphone, distancing myself from my family, life and most importantly, my mind.  Movies, TV, games, Facebook, Pinterest, music, crochet, theatre and sleep are my drugs of choice. I call it a drug because I can’t get enough. I have to up the usage to get the same effect. I can’t  JUST watch one show I have to watch several. I can’t even watch that show and be content.  I have to be playing a game, or pinning pins I will never use. I can’t just take a 15-minute nap. It has to be 2+ hours and the feeling of restfulness lasts for maybe 10 minutes before I feel helpless and resentful again.

Night time is the hardest. Reflecting on my day full of failures makes me want to lose myself in any way possible. Usually with Netflix and Pinterest. Then when I force myself to go to bed, I am not able to sleep. My thoughts run rampant so, I play on my phone until my mind and eyes are so strained and tired I have no time to think before I fall asleep.

Watching a show during the day for escape is impossible, it becomes too upsetting as moment after moment is interrupted by children. So I sit on the couch with my phone as they watch whatever they want for hours on end until it’s my youngest’s naptime and I can finally lay down and sleep. To escape reality. All the while, my 4-year-old is on his own with the TV. Again. The guilt of this is tremendous! I want him to do more, I want BE more but it all feels impossible. And when I try, I fail, or it exhausts me to my core. I don’t know how to do it. I don’t know how to play with my children. Or how to be patient with them and it kills me.

The failing cycle continues as my husband comes home to a despondent wife, misbehaving children, a messy home and a life he didn’t sign up for. His exhausted despair fuels my need to be anywhere else than present.  I didn’t plan dinner, again. I didn’t put the laundry away that has been sitting on the couch for a week. I haven’t done the dishes for over 2 weeks, nor swept the floor in a month…

It’s no wonder he then distracts himself in his office with games and work and business meetings. Who would want to be around me? Who would even want to be around children who act like animals because I am failing them?

I am writing this at 4:30 in the morning, in my bed, on my cell phone.

I am writing this after spending about 4-5 hours watching TV and pinning what I wish my life was like what’s on Pinterest. Instead of doing anything remotely productive.

I am writing this after forcing myself to turn off the TV even though I really wanted to watch at least 2 more hours of shows.

I am writing this after getting in bed looking back on a day of absent mothering and feeling bricks of guilt being stacked on my chest so I can’t even breathe. Knowing how worthless I really am.

I am writing this laying next to my sleeping husband who saw I got to bed at 3 in the morning… Again. Who had disapproval and disdain reflected in his countenance towards me for this action.

I am writing this laying next to my husband who has barely spoken to me in 3 days.

I am writing this sobbing wondering how can I stop these thoughts in enough time to fall asleep and get up with my children in the morning. 

I am writing this knowing that this dreadful cycle will continue tomorrow. Only it will be worse because it’s the day Ryan works from home. It’s the day he sees how screwed up I really am. How much damage I am causing my children.

I am writing this wishing I could just hurt myself, to punish myself.

I am writing this wishing I was dead.

Because honestly, that would be the greatest distraction…

Jul

20

The weight of the world…on my butt

A 29-year-old, mother of three with weight issues?  What???

Shocking, I know, but it’s true.

So a nice thing about this blog is I get to be completely honest and I am going to take full advantage of that.  Let’s start off by saying I am the biggest I have ever been in my life and it is downright physically and emotionally debilitating!  I absolutely hate it. And if it isn’t enough that I am super self-conscious of it, I am constantly feeling the pressure and judgement of everyone around me.  Granted most of it is in my head, or is it?  We all know how obsessed society is with weight and looks, especially women, so there is no reason for me to go off on that. There are a million articles online about it.  But I feel I need to get somethings off my chest… and hips… and butt…

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So here is me and my story.

Let’s start with Statistics:  I am 5 ft 9 3/4 in (the 3/4 is very important)  I have never been a petite woman.  At my lowest, I weighed in at about 150 pounds and that weight suited my large boned, curvy, amazon body type well. At that size, I wore a 34 B/C had a 25 in waist and thighs and butt that refuse to be tamed.  Wore a size 8/10 pants and 7/8 dress.  This was my ideal but staying there is a challenge!  Currently, I am the same height but everything else has changed. I am now bouncing between 280-290 pounds. I can uncomfortable fit into size 20 pants, bra 42DD, and my once favorite asset (my stomach) has begun sticking out past my enormous breasts.

How did this happen?  It was so fast yet so gradual.  The worse part of this is that in the Summer of 2011 I was at my ideal size and in a mere 3 years I am 140 pounds overweight ashamed of everything about me.  I have refused to go to parties, church, the Doctors and even the Dentist because of how ashamed I am of my size.  The idea of someone seeing me (especially people who haven’t seen me in a while, like my Dentist) causes me to have a panic attack. It sounds so ridiculous when I type it out but in my head, the pain is so real!

Through all of this, the hardest thing for me to figure out is how to handle this severe hatred for my body with my children.  My hatred of myself began as a child, mostly based on the actions of my Mother and I don’t want to pass that down to my children.

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The self-hate talk is programmed so deep it’s hard not to talk negatively about myself. I want my kids to have a healthy self-image and also live a healthy lifestyle. Two things that I am desperately struggling with.

Time for some back story:  I have never been “small”. By 2 I was the height of a 4-year-old by 2nd grade I was being confused as a 4th grader. I was always the tallest in my class and therefore the biggest.  With my height and mass; I was a very “sturdy” child. As a young girl, I mistook this to be bad. When I reached 3rd grade my whole life had changed. My parents were now divorced, I was starting a new school with no friends, we had no money, it was the beginning of my awkward phase and as always I was the largest girl in my grade. I had chunked out a bit and with all of the changes in my life I was very insecure.  The first friend I made in school was a little Korean girl. We made quite an odd couple.  I remember lining up to do a physical with the rest of my classmates. We were checked for lice, scoliosis, sight, hearing, height and weight.  My little friend weighed in at 40 pounds and I was a whopping 90 pounds.  That number was engraved into my head. I felt monstrous! I went home to my mom with my concern and insecurities to be met with a response that has plagued me ever since.  Instead of a comforting speech on everyone is different, that you are taller than everyone else so of course, you will weigh more, or that you are growing, not to worry about weight right now, you will even out, etc. Her response was, “Let’s go on a diet together.”

This response told me that I was fat. That I had a reason to feel bad about myself. That even my mother saw something wrong with me.

But did she know any better?  My Mother had weight issues that started as a young girl from her abusive parents who called my petite mother of 5’4″ 112 pounds, bubble butt, and thunder thighs (the G-rated version).  She was consistently abused emotionally, mentally, physically and sexually.  She became bulimic around the age of 16 until she was in her 20’s. It wasn’t until she was in the bathroom puking and feeling the effects of laxatives all at the same time with her 2 yr old son banging on the door crying to be let in that she realized she needed to stop.  All though she stopped the “purge” part of the bulimic process she continued to eat in unhealthy patterns, including the “binge” period.  To this day she still struggles with healthy eating.  She then put on weight, especially when pregnant with me and was no longer her skinny “fat” self, and she was in the constant mind that she was obese, needing to diet and she hated her body.

Her own self-image issues began to transfer to me.  My Mother is not a delicate woman. She says inappropriate things and at inappropriate times, usually with too much info and this did not stop when it came to criticizing weight.  I realized my mother’s faults and trials early on but it still didn’t stop the way her words hurt. The message was heard loud and clear in my young forming brain. It was not okay to be fat and that was what I was.   But she wasn’t the only one. My Mother and Father criticized and judges those who were overweight.  My Dad joked about my size and my brother’s.  I never felt comfortable in my own skin.  These words along with unhealthy eating habits, not so much what we ate but how much and when set my brother and I up to fail.

When my Mother remarried my stepfather felt the need to control everything. Including what we ate.  Although he provided healthy dinners we were restricted to unhealthy amounts.  We were not allowed in the kitchen, didn’t matter if we were growing kids we could never have seconds and although he had a candy drawer in the fridge we were never allowed to touch it without being severely disciplined.  This led to food sneaking and hiding.  Not just my brother and I, but my Mother too.  She would sneak treats and we would binge on them so we could get rid of the evidence.  We would jump between periods of barely any food, to binge eating, to my mom trying to make us all diet so that she could lose weight, and then sneaking and hiding food.  My view of food, health, and nourishment was completely twisted and damaging.

Through my tween and early teen years, I thought I was fat and ugly.  I always wore baggy clothes partly because of that what I would get in hand-me-down charity bags and because I was so insecure about my own size.  I look at pictures now and I see a healthy looking girl who was never overweight. But that isn’t what I remember. I remember my Mom in the dressing room with me as I tried on a black swimsuit that was 1 size too small; and as I tried to get it on my mother laughing and joking that I looked like a beached whale or a seal, followed by seal barks…  Yeah, that happened.  Or trying on an outfit that was not meant for my body proportions  (butt too big, stomach to small) and my mother commenting on my large size saying that I was not “big” I was “massive”.  I followed back saying, “Thanks, Mom, next you will be calling me a cow”.  Her reply, “Well, only a Jersey. They’re the smaller ones”. What was I to think of myself? It’s amazing how words from others and our own thoughts can alter reality.

My Junior year I became sick and put on about 20 pounds.  As I started my Senior year I was about 189 pounds realizing that I was close to 200 pounds.  I decided to get healthy and if that meant I dropped some weight, great.  I began saying no to sweets.  I ate basically the same breakfast and lunch every day.  My portion sizes at dinnertime (or binge time, like it was with my Mother) were cut in half and I took full advantage of going all out and more during my dance and theatre rehearsal, doing crunches and other extra exercises in between.  By the time I graduated I weight 153 pounds.  During my entire Senior year, I dropped 36 pounds and began to feel better about myself.  I still wore clothes that were too baggy (although I was then I size 10 I wore my size 14 and 16 pants).  Again, it was a mixture of insecurity and no money to buy clothes that fit.  You would think that during this time of great success and finally feeling in control of my body my Mother would be happy for me. Instead, she was jealous!  How could I be losing weight and she not? I must be doing something bad to be looking so good.  I was constantly interrogated by ridiculous inquiries and even confessions from my friends that my mother constantly asked the if I was eating or throwing up in the bathroom after I ate.  Because the only way I could lose weight was if I had an eating disorder.  If you couldn’t tell, my relationship with my parents by the time I was in high school was at an impasse.

For a while, I maintained my weight. I gained some in college but was still healthy and sadly insecure.  However, bad habits caught up with me.  During a very busy and stressful semester at college, I began to forget to eat.  I lost weight because of lack of food.  When things started calming down again I began to eat and since I was in a relationship I began to eat a little too much. I began to put on weight and then the real struggle with weight began.  I Married weighing 183 pounds and in that first year of marriage we both put on weight. While pregnant with Blake I gained about 20 pounds and after he was born stayed around 190 -205.  Depression started and eating became a stress reliever. I then had Liam, after the baby weight was gone I found myself at a whopping 223.  I decided to get healthy but I couldn’t get below 209.  My husband and I decided to follow the HCG diet. I dropped down to 155. Although the depression was still there I felt somewhat motivated and better about myself than I had in a long time. I was even able to wear my Senior year prom dress but I still felt I needed to lose more, it wasn’t enough, I was still too big. But for a moment I felt the inklings of being attractive.  Sadly, it was short-lived.  Maintaining weight isn’t easy, especially when trials arrive.

We began to have money problems.  We realized we needed to move, my son was struggling with issues and my depression and anxiety began to take over.  Our marriage (because of my depression) began to struggle as well. I sought solace in food. I put on about 30 pounds in a few months and then found out I was pregnant.  We moved from a 2,300 sq. ft. 4 bed 2 1/2 bath home into a  1,400 sq. ft. 3 bed 1 bath home while I was 6 months pregnant. We downsized everything in our house. It was not the easiest time. During my pregnancy with Keira, I gained roughly 50 pounds.  I was embarrassed and ashamed. Even though I knew I was pregnant all I could see was that in a year I had put on 80 pounds. The depression had become too much and I finally admitted that I had depression and I needed help.  I couldn’t do it on my own. This was for me to officially admit and as soon as Keira was born I got on anti-depressants (Despite my husband being against it at the time). I did not lose any of the baby weight.  In the last 22 months, I have been on 5 different medications and have gained 60 more pounds.

My weight has a strong emotional connection to how I feel.  Heck, I can remember exactly how much I weighed at different times in my life. My self-worth is often tied directly to the scale and as much as I try to use logic to break those ties, I cannot. I just dig myself deeper.  The worse thing is knowing that is I just consistently ate well and exercised not only would I drop some weight it could potentially help with the depression.  Give me more motivation.  How can I do that when there are days I can barely take care of my family? Barely get out of bed?

As I struggle to look at myself in the mirror and battle all of the terrible names I call myself in my head; I look at my beautiful children and fear that if I don’t watch myself they will have the same struggles.  They are all large kids for their ages and very sturdy.  They weigh more than kids their height and size but they are strong and fit. There is not an ounce of fat on them.  This is what I was. Not fat but strong.  But I didn’t know that! I didn’t see it.  I don’t want my insecurities to reflect onto them.  I want to get them under control.  I want to step out of my house without feeling everyone’s eyes on me and my excess weight.  I want to love myself despite how I look but I don’t know if that is possible.  The answer seems so easy but it’s another battle of logic and reason vs. emotion and fear.  And guess which one has been winning?

woman on scale

Jul

10

The convenience of not living.

The idea of taking one’s own life has the appearance of selfishness, cowardliness and is incomprehensible to most.  For someone struggling with depression, it can feel like the only option. In my own life, I have thought of suicide. I remember in 3rd grade being home with my brother on our 3rd story apartment balcony, standing on the ledge looking down at the hot Arizona rocks, thinking how easy it could be to jump.  A few years later holding a kitchen knife almost wishing I was brave enough to cut my wrists or stab myself in the gut.  As I got older the thought of ending my own life made me have many mixed emotions. Feelings fo relief at the thought of being free, no longer bullied, berated and abused but the overwhelming thing I felt was guilt.  How could I think of such a thing?  Imagine what it would do to my Mother?  And then, years later, how would my husband feel? And now, I couldn’t do that to my children?   They would think I didn’t love them, or worse, that they were responsible.  I could never risk that! Even if, in those moments, I truly feel like life would be better for them if I was gone.

So when I look at myself and my family and I imagine how much better off they would be without me, actual suicide does not linger in my mind.  No. Instead, it’s the, What if I got into a car accident? Or a building collapsed on me?  Or any other catastrophe I could think of… They couldn’t feel responsible then! And they would be free of me and all my faults. It would be a very convenient “tragedy”.  One that I some days hope for.  Contrary to what others may think, it doesn’t feel selfish.  It feels like a gift I could give them.  To no longer be in their lives, hurting them by my actions or inactions.  To save them from my own misery, so they could go about their lives and find the happiness that I am keeping from them. It’s a thought that comes and goes, but when it does come…it can be very hard to shake.

 

 

Jun

20

Romantisized sleep

Sleep. It has always seemed to elude me.  However, with its nightly distance, I always found myself more energized.

As far as I can remember going to bed was always a taxing item on my to-do list.  As a child I distinctly remember laying in my bed unable to turn my brain off, to fall asleep blissfully.  I would get up, put a blanket at the foot of my door (to block the light), turn on my light and clean my room. I would reorganize everything.  Refold clothes, arrange clothes by colors, put my toys in the perfect spot and remake my bed so it was perfect.  Once I finished that I wold sneak out of my room to watch Star Trek the Next Generation from the Hallway. It started at 9 pm and as it was ending I would sneak back to my room, get in my perfectly made bed just in case my Mother would come in to check on me.  I remember laying in bed fantasizing. Imagining I was a princess, asleep in my perfect bed, as I would adjust my hair so it would look beautiful. I would lay on my back clasping my hands in front just like Sleeping Beauty and think about a prince who would come, kiss me and take me away.  Who would want me and love me? All the things we would do together.  Other nights I would dream about being magic. Being able to fix all the awful things in my life, my family and the world.  I would imagine I was a famous actress and recite the lines from Romeo and Juliet longing to be Olivia Hussey with her gorgeous long hair. Pretty sure I was the only 5-year-old who had the balcony scene memorized line for line as I would sit on the branch of the Olive tree in our front yard.  But I am getting off topic.

My nights never got easier. As I got older I remember crying myself to sleep, thinking of comebacks to bullies and again imagining a different life for myself. I would stay up late doing homework and there were many nights that I just wouldn’t go to sleep at all. How I managed to do so well in high school is beyond me, but I did.  Being a “night-owl”, I was obviously NOT a “Morning person”. Despite doing decent in school I was often late.  Not only on my own accord, since my Mother is incapable of managing time.

The only time I have had semi-healthy sleeping habits was in College. Trust me when I say I understand the irony.  Long gone are those days, and now I am a Mother.  And being a night-owl is not an ideal situation.  I am 29 years old and going to sleep is still a huge challenge.  If I go to bed, I lay for hours upon hours with lists of to-do’s, what- ifs, could-bes, and no-mores.  I have thought about it and there is something about night time, especially with children, that is just mine.  It’s my time and I don’t want it to end.  I seem to go through the same ridiculous cycle of enjoying my time, losing track of time, realization, and guilt, then the “screw it” attitude, followed by the 4 am inspirations.  That tomorrow will be different.  I can see everything planned out so perfectly.  The way I am to handle the children, to organize the house, to exercise, eat right and to truly be proud of myself.  So I head off to bed only to allow my head to reel with the promises of a better tomorrow, and then the sun is up.  My children will be awake in less than 2 hours. I just made things worse…again.

I know that having a better sleeping pattern will help me dramatically but I am just not sure how to truly follow through. It should be easy but I know there is a part of me that dreads the next day.  I don’t want it to come.  I want to fantasize about its perfection in theory and am too afraid to make it happen.  The fear of failing and judgement is real to me.  It haunts me.  The fear of the coming day is all too real for me.  I still lie in bed imagining a life that is full of magic. Where I can wave my hand and turn myself and my life into my own perfect world.  I long to stay in bed and be awoken by someone who will make all my pain go away and whisk me off to a world of perfection.  Where money is not a problem, fear is not crippling, my love ones are happy and I am anyone else but myself.

Mar

7

The standard explanatory blog post

I am pretty sure I started this blog about 15 times.  How do I start? What do I say? What is the best way to explain why I am here in the blogging world? I don’t pretend to be some great writer or to have anything that will change anyone’s outlook on life. Suppose it to say, I am here for me.

I have been diagnosed with Clinical Depression and Anxiety. It is a difficult thing to say out loud, or in this case, type, especially since there is such a social stigma regarding it. I have suffered from this disease for almost 7 years now but have only started treating it about 18 months ago.  I have struggled to come to terms with what is truly going on with me and how it has affected myself and all those around me.  It is a daily battle that has ripped me from the person I was and has consumed every facet of my life.

I am choosing to share my life and not be ashamed of something I have no real control over. I am here to track my progress, my struggles, and my failures.  I want to be honest about how it all came to be and not hold anything back. That means there are going to be posts that will hurt, posts that may bring harsh judgements by others and posts that could hurt my family. For those reasons, while I am striving to not be ashamed of my disorder, I have chosen to use a pseudonym to protect my family and myself.

So onto the introductions. My name is Ava. I am a wife of almost 9 years and a mother to 3 beautiful children. I am a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, a stay at home mother and homeschooler. I love the arts, especially performance arts and live in Arizona. My husband,  Ryan, and my children, Blake (6), Liam (4), Keira (1) are the people I can’t imagine my life without. However, they are the ones who are hurt the most by my not so personal battle, they are the ones I fear will not make it through this journey without being unscathed. I will be mentioning other parts of my family, as they have had a big influence on who I have become. I will not mention their names yet, mostly because coming up with other names for those you already know is a lot more difficult than I thought it would be.

It is time to come clean, to be set free, to use my voice, no matter how small it may feel.  May I be able to come out on top in this fight for my family and for me.