August 29, 2012

Focusing on right here,right now.

Last week I missed my therapy appointment,and in the days leading up to my most recent session,I did a lot of soul searching.
I stepped away from many of the every-day things I usually do;a fresh mind set became important to me.

Normally I spend every evening in front of the computer-so instead,I cut that time down and found other ways to amuse myself.

This weeks session was mostly about the character in me....

I started out by expressing my 'cautious' relief in feeling so much better emotionally,and then described my frustration over my physical challenges.

"I was always able to lose the weight before,but this time it's different and it bothers me"

I confided how I'm not happy with my current physical appearance and how a few years ago I would have jumped right in and changed it.

"But there is so much more to you than your physical appearance;your weight doesn't define the good you will do-your character does"

I nodded "I feel like in so many ways I've improved-and there's always room for growth"

We talked about things I can do that might help me both physically and emotionally-but she agreed that being too hard on myself about losing weight will only make things worse.

"You still put yourself through a lot of bad self talk and your hormones are still a bit wacky"

"I feel like I just constantly put myself through the wringer and my self esteem is in crumbles"

I went on to describe how sensitive I am about a lot of things and I'm not able to handle criticism well.

"When women are hormonal-and especially experiencing postpartum depression-it's normal to be a bit  'prickly' towards things that others say...."

She started talking about the women in the bible and how strong they were-yet graceful and the humility they portrayed.

"Have you ever heard of Francine Rivers-she was a romance novelist turned christian author"

I replied that no,I'd never heard of her.

She dug through her books and handed me a thick book "A Lineage of Grace"

That should help keep me busy and off the internet more!

I have been feeling a lot better-I'm taking Hylands CALM,Omega-3's,prenatal vitamin and Melatonin to sleep.
I also just started going to our local YMCA gym to workout with a new friend....I keep telling myself "No pressure....just take it slow and take care of yourself"

I am anxious to lose weight-especially since emotionally I've been feeling so much better-and I admit that I desperately want to have another baby.
But it can't be a race.....there's no deadline and no alarm will sound if I don't get pregnant in the next six months!

God knows what is best for our family....and maybe right now he's in agreement that I need some time to focus on the blessings and trials right here,right now.
Considering we use natural family planning for our contraception method,I'm well aware that God has his hand in all things!

The best is yet to come-and taking care of ME will equal taking even better care of my family.

On a side note,I stumbled onto this article and I thought I would share it since I have been dealing with a lot of feelings of not being 'good enough'
8 ways to be a good mother instead of a perfect one

August 14, 2012

"There is another thing that raises serotonin levels"

I have spent the last week researching antidepressants-well,as much as one can cram into their head in a weeks time.

Currently I am taking Omega-3's,a prenatal vitamin and occasionally some Melatonin.
Many people have suggested some other natural options-some I've tried and others I'd never heard of before.

I have been so worked up about whether or not to go the 'drug' route-and once I started researching some of the more popular medications,I became aware that these drugs can be dangerous!

But seizures,severe allergic reactions,hallucinations,migraines,insomnia,decreased libido,dizziness,nausea,weight gain-the list goes on and on!
And they can make things worse too-suicidal thoughts,panic attacks.

Maybe some people need them....and I'm not saying I'm 100% against them.

Shoot,with the way I have been feeling for nearly two years,I would love to have a magic pill that would just make me 'normal' again.

However,considering that the past week hasn't been so bad,I'm not in a big hurry to open myself up to a pill bottle.
Not quite yet.

I went to a health food store and looked over some of the supplements I'd written down.

Wow,some of them are pretty expensive.....I bought a package of Hylands Calm.

Then,after a large ice cream from across the street (shhh,I made it part of my treatment plan....) I headed for my therapy session.

"How have you been?" she asked.

"You know,this week hasn't been so bad-at least not outwardly....I still feel like inwardly I am struggling"

She asked me to be specific on what I meant.

"The kids weren't fighting quite as much.....hubby and I didn't fight everyday" I explained.

I continued "I am just so tired and I'm completely unmotivated".

"It sounds to me like you are chronically sleep deprived"

I nodded "But even when I take melatonin,I have a hard time shutting my mind off at night"

She explained that my serotonin levels are probably so low,that it's difficult to get good sleep and causes anxiety as well.

"You know,there is one thing that raises serotonin levels...."

Now,let me make sure I am absolutely clear about something :
If it weren't for the sake of raising awareness about postpartum depression,I wouldn't even be talking about if you are concerned of altering who you consider me to be,than read no further.

Decided to risk it by sticking around eh?
I always knew you liked to live dangerously........

I was curious.....What could this 'thing' be?

Was it something I had read about;how much would it cost?
I didn't want to get my hopes up because it might be something currently unattainable.


I blinked.

She continued "Orgasms make the serotonin levels 'jump' and it can really impact how you feel"

I stared-a blank look on my face "OK......?"

"I'm serious" she said

So,there you have it.

Low libido is caused by the very thing that 'doing it' can help improve :Low Serotonin.

Who would have thought.......

So,my treatment plan for this week is :
Hylands CALM or Melatonin
Prenatal vitamin
Water-and lots of it.
Light exercise
All the relaxation exercises from two weeks ago.
Not being hard on myself.


And the rest is better left unsaid because I have done ENOUGH blushing today.

August 08, 2012

"If we don't see some improvement by next week..."

"How was your week"

I actually prepared myself for what would come next by inching my hand closer to the box of Kleenex.

"Rough...I'm just exhausted"
"I can tell"  she replied.

"I'm just getting impatient with myself....I just want to feel like myself again"

Cue the tears.

"And here I go again balling my eyes out...."

"It's normal-and very healing to cry" she said sympathetically.
"Well,it's also very annoying!" I laughed.

Then I continued by sharing some of the feelings I'd had in the past week.
"I just want another baby so bad...I want all of this to just get out of the way" I did a sweeping gesture with my hands.
"This isn't me" I continued "I used to be so strong and steady-like I could handle anything-and had all the patience in the world"

"You need to be patient with yourself-it can take time-and adding to it right now might not be the best idea"
She is right....but if I can just make it all go away and feel like myself again,then I can enjoy my life.

"It's like with my oldest son who is autistic,I used to at least want to go places even though it could be challenging due to his behaviors-and ever since Jacobi was born,I don't even want to go anywhere"

Tears are now streaming down my cheeks and I reach for a fresh tissue.

"I don't get it,I've always wanted a big family-even when it's been rough having many little ones in the past,I always managed it so well"

I continue to share my frustrations over not being in an ideal emotional or physical state.

"I need to lose this extra weight and feel good" I declared.

"You need to try and remember that things aren't set up right in your mind and in your hormones-you have low serotonin levels and high levels of cortisol-and until you start getting some good rest,neither of those will level out."

"I still can't make my mind shut off at night.....and then I don't want to get out of bed" I replied.

"It's part of having such high have all these things going on in your mind-that's understandable"

"I feel like I'm just doing the same things day after day....prying myself out of bed,changing diapers,doing laundry-I never get time with my husband-and I don't even want to answer the phone when people call!"

By now I've gone through two tissues.

"I hate to sound like a bad mom,but I'm so glad school is starting in 3 weeks...I'm hoping it will be easier with Caleb not there tormenting and instigating things with his brothers"

There's no stopping me-I have so many feelings of guilt and incompetence.....

"I try so hard NOT to yell that I keep it all in and end up creating an anxiety attack for myself"

I explain how I put a lot of pressure on myself to be a gentle parent and to follow attachment parenting.

"Attachment parenting doesn't mean you are perfect-it means that you nurture and gently guide your children to a healthy state of independence" she pointed out.

"You want a healthy balance of dependence and independence" she added.

It makes me wonder where I fall on that.....

"I just want to have energy and feel in control of my life again" I pouted.

"You know,you meet all the criteria of someone who is depressed...and I was going to give it another few weeks-but I feel strongly that if we don't see some improvement by next week that we should start you on an SSRI"

I sighed.

She continued:

"I know you said that medication was a last resort,but I just hate to see you struggling so much"

We talked about some of the medications and the side affects....and I mentioned how I had been doing the relaxation exercises,but while they worked in the moment,I still felt an overall sense of anxiety.
I expressed the concern over what medications might do-from making things worse to making me gain weight.

"They have done amazing work in most recent years-most of the ones I might try with you don't have the side effects we used to see,like lowered libido for instance" she explained.

Yeah,that's the last thing I need.....hah!

I have six more days before I need to give an answer.

August 04, 2012

"Be prepared to be weepy for a while"

I was looking forward to my therapy session....I want to deal with whatever is causing postpartum depression so that I can move on with my life!

So on the fluffy brown couch I sit-it's overstuffed and my feet can't touch the floor- "Are you comfortable?" my therapist asks-without waiting for an answer she adds "You're so petite!".

I giggle and think to myself "petite,yeah....what part of me-not around obvisously-she must mean five-foot,five inches is short"

We start talking about my week-and I go into details about how up until the previous day I had been feeling much better.

"My husband and I had a fight.....about spaghetti"

I sense her extreme curiosity and elaborate "I didn't want it to go to waste and he didn't want to eat it,so he said it was stupid to make so much because nobody eats it"
By this time I was balling (because that's what I do nowadays)

She asked what happened next.
"I went to my room and spent the next 4 hours crying because my husband doesn't know how to comfort me!!"

It's true.

But to be a little fair,I'm not the same 'girl' I was two years ago.
I used to be tough and capable of sticking up for myself.
Now my lip trembles and tears fill my eyes at the mere mention of my doing something less than perfectly.

We talked about how men sometimes get 'weird' when their woman is weepy-and how he might be dealing with his own emotions-and many men lash out or say insensitive things when they are stressed or depressed.

"It's not just about the spaghetti!" she said laughing.
We talked about trying to use "I feel" while talking instead of "You do this/You don't do that".

I told her "I didn't even want to eat the spaghetti because I'm watching my carbs-but I didn't want to throw it out!"

"WHOA,I don't want you cutting carbs right now"

HUH? Are you kidding me right now?

"When people are depressed,carbs are what helps them get by-so no cutting them just yet" she ordered.

"I just really want to lose some of this weight...I'm tired of it" I pleaded.

"You need to give yourself more time-you have a lot to deal with" she gently responded.


As if that wasn't enough she added "And I like to warn people that it can get worse before it gets better-be prepared to be weepy for a while longer"

Oh,that's just terrific!
I just love having the tears falling for no apparent reason and not being able to control them.
OK,so all the boo-hooing out of the way.....

She went over some relaxation exercises to help block/reduce cortisol (stress hormone) production.

The first one was a breathing exercise much like what I instinctively use during childbirth.
Closing your eyes can be helpful.
You take a deep breath for the count of five seconds breathing in 1-2-3-4-5.
Then you breathe out for five seconds and imagine your belly button being pulled into your back.
The point is to help rid of all the air-and out 1-2-3-4-5.
You do this for a couple of minutes.

The next one she showed me was flex and relax.
You start with your feet,then your calves,then your thighs,buttocks,abs,chest,hands,arms,back and neck.
You flex/tighten the muscle for five seconds and then relax them slowly,concentrating on the hold and release.

She explained that in the special-ops they use this training for reducing stress while in combat for weeks at a time.

"Try to have an evening routine"

Her suggestions
Take a nice bubble bath-you can even do your relaxation exercises in the tub.
Use lavender candles,lavender bath salts-they can be calming.
I actually do have a lavender scented candle on a candle warmer in my bedroom.

I'm not much of a bubble bath person.....only when I'm pregnant-which I'm not.
But I suppose I could at least 'try' to take a bath sometime.

I'm actually excited to go for my session on Tuesday....even if I do ball my eyes out.