Over the past half a year or so, things have started to turn around. It's really hard to put my finger on exactly what has been helping me, but so far I feel like I've identified a few things:
- Emily. Our daughter has this way of putting things into perspective for us. She helps us decide what truly matters in this life of ours, every day. Watching her learn how to walk was eye opening for me, in particular. To see a living thing, grow from needing support all of the time, to needing support standing, and then to being able to take one step at a time until out of the blue one day they can walk on their own, was just amazing to me. It reaffirmed what I already knew: that it just takes a little bit of work each day to get to where you want to be. As long as you know whereabouts you want to go, all it takes is a little more determination today, than you had yesterday. :)
- Exercise. Exercise was a scary word for me. I would hear it, and think ugh....sweaty hard work, going to wind up feeling light headed, sick and out of energy for the rest of the day. But now I realize that exercise doesn't mean going to the gym for an hour or two...I mean it can, but not always. For me, I prefer to go on really long, exploratory walks. Instead of taking the bus to where we want to go, recently we've been walking. It's improving the way I feel everyday, and knowing that as long as I put in a little more effort today than I did the day before has made a big impact. It's also been a great way for my husband and I to have little (free) adventures of our own.
- Changing my diet. Yes diet, another scary word. But for me it hasn't so much been about following any specific diet, just about making a few different choices. For example, for our dairy products, we always choose the light, or lower fat version. Yes, fat free sour cream doesn't taste as good as the one with 14% fat....but I'm definitely willing to sacrifice a little taste to know that I'm a lot healthier because of it. I have also been making sure to actually eat. It makes a difference, and a lot of the times I wasn't eating until dinner time. I'd usually wind up sick by that hour. In the morning, even though I still feel a little iffy some mornings, I try and make myself drink a smoothie for some energy through the day. So far with Diet and Exercise I'm down about 10 pounds.
- Finding what makes me happy. That has been the biggest challenge, but then I just figured I'd go back to the basics. I thought about it and figured what better place to start than when I was the happiest in my life. I went all the way back to when I was around 8 and 9 years old. I had lots of friends, I did well in school, I always tried at everything I did. I wanted to be a teacher, a writer or an artist. I enjoyed reading, writing, creating art, and going on adventures, exploring the unknown, swimming, riding my bike, stuff like that....the simple stuff. I started reading again, and writing, and creating. The adventures and exploring part have been more recently reawakened. I am still really hesitant to get on a bike...but we'll get there :) My advice to others out there trying to find their way....As long as you're not hurting anyone, do what makes you happy! Everything else will fall into place as it comes at you.
Years later, I am still trying to figure that answer out a hundred percent, but at least now I have a bit of an understanding and I'm being a little more proactive in making it so, instead of just saying that I want these things.
Over the next few months I'll be making over my outside to match the inside. I want to look like I feel. It starts with the hair :) For the longest time, I've wanted to experiment with fun colours, so I'll be going blonde for the first time in my life. I have no idea how I'll look, and I've always been afraid of it. So I figured here goes nothing, and I don't want to wonder about it for the rest of my life. Next will be a tattoo, to symbolize my mantra for life: Let it Be. It's something I tell myself over and over, reminding myself that there is only so much in this life for me to control. Everything else, I just need to take it stride.
I will be sharing this journey step by step and hope that maybe it will help someone else out there struggling through something similar. You may feel stuck now, but it does get better :)
Have you had any experiences with IBS, anxiety or depression? What helped you through?