Getting Myself Right Through Forgiveness

I believe there are six blocks of wellness: physical, emotional, mental, social, vocational/educational, and spiritual. I spend a lot of time talking about emotional and mental wellness, but I realized this week that I was in serious need of some spiritual health. 

Most people associate spiritual health with religion, and of course that can be true. From a wellness perspective there is so much MORE to spirituality, and even someone who isn’t religious (like me!) can benefit from working on their spiritual block. 

My personal interpretation of spiritual wellness targets the parts of you that want to connect, and find meaning greater than yourself. It’s the desire to be part of a community where you can find hope and support. My spiritual wellness includes things like healing, compassion, relationships, love, connection, joy, peace, forgiveness, hope and trust. Some people find these things through organized religion, some find it through the flow of energy with chakras and holistic beliefs. I guess I’m completely in my own world about my beliefs, but I believe in the power of positivity and community- and those two things couldn’t exist without the hope, trust, love, etc. that I had mentioned before.

On Wednesday night I sat down to write a blog post. I re-read my post from Tuesday to remind myself where I left off. The post seemed dark to me. Depressing, hopeless, negative. It was a true representation of my feelings at the time, but certainly does not show my overall personality. I don’t have thoughts like that every day. I don’t want to continue having thoughts like that. It was time to work on some spiritual healing. 

When we are disconnected from ourselves, we have a hard time loving ourselves or giving and receiving genuine love from others. My disconnect this week made me hate my body. It made me feel useless and hopeless. It made me feel like my loved ones were emotionally too far from me to understand or help. Obviously these things were just tricks from the bully in my brain, but they are things that I can combat with self healing.

cleanse that soul.

Spirituality to me, means that I have the choice to feel, think, and act differently. Your heart can be a portal for healing. When my heart is healthy, I can give and receive love. I feel love for myself. I have hope that the bad things in life will pass. I have gratitude for everything I have in life, I enjoy being of service to others, and can slow down to appreciate quality time with the kids. When my heart isn’t healthy, the dark feelings take over. I hold grudges against both myself and others. I feel lonely, depressed, and believe I am unlovable.

There are a ton of ways to open your heart. Most will say visit a church. The hippies will tell you to do some chest-opening yoga. doTERRA representatives will try to sell you essential oils. I don’t know if all of that is necessary. I personally believe that spiritual healing comes from within, no external sources needed. 

I think the best way to be spiritually well is to practice forgiveness. Forgive yourself, forgive others, forgive society, forgive the things you can’t control. If you are holding on to hurt and anger, acknowledge that it is time to release it. When you release negativity, focus on the distance you create between yourself and it. Do you want to fill that space with hostility or healing? Understand that bad things happen. Some you can control, some you can not. But you can control the way these things affect your life by deciding to let go of hatred. 

Pray and worship if you would like. Meditate and do some yoga if that feels more like you. Use nature or creative expression. Personally, I’ll be taking some quiet time to reflect on myself, let go of my anger, and fill the space with forgiveness. 

Forgive. Have Compassion. Most importantly, give and receive love genuinely.

Wash your hands. Don’t touch your face. STAY HOME.

-Kate

Can I Just Put the Good Days on Auto-Repeat?

Yesterday was the first ‘completely healthy’ day I’ve had in a very long time. I got my exercise. I ate three healthy meals without purging. I saw my therapist via telehealth (at the beach, no less!) I took my meds. I took time to breathe. I felt great.

So why is it so hard for me to stay on track? Honestly, if you know the answer please tell me. I’m so tired of fighting this battle every day. I’m on the defense against a multi-front war. My head is spinning trying to address issues from all angles. I’m busy all day, but at the end of it I haven’t really done anything at all. 

I’ve got my bipolar disorder sending me up and down, manic high to ultra depressive low. I have anxiety about homeschooling Jacen, and the pandemic in general. I have friends and family that I miss so much that it hurts. I have this body that I hate. I mean really, really hate. I’ve got these kids and a husband that I love. I mean really, really love.

I make a lot of plans, schedules and lists. I’m always trying to trick my brain into making good choices by convincing myself that things have been predetermined with no wiggle room. It works when I can get into a routine. If I repeat the same list every day, I have the most consecutive healthy days. Right now that’s not an option. The pandemic has shaken everything up. I don’t even know what day of the week it is. We have a routine written out, it just seems impossible to follow. 

There is so much on my mind these days. When I imagine what’s inside my head, it looks less like a brain and more like alphabet soup. Sometimes I can’t even gather the floating letters to form simple words, let alone big thoughts. I guess that’s why this post is coming off so rambly and unorganized. 

Yesterday was a healthy day, and I wanted more than ANYTHING to repeat it. We spent 30 minutes getting ready to go outside to be active, and opened the front door to rain. My heart sank. I unpacked the stroller I had just put SO much time, thought and energy into preparing. It knocked me off my rails for three hours. Yes, you read that right. THREE hours. Over the rain. I didn’t get my activity in. I didn’t get my fresh air. I let things get on top of me, and didn’t take time to breathe. I missed lunch. I slept when the kids napped, instead of being productive. I did, however, take my meds. So, one point to Catherine.

I want to have more healthy days. I want consistency. I want to see results in changing this awful body, and I want to feel good. I want every day to be like yesterday. I want to rewire my brain so I can be a problem-solver and not a train wreck. But what am I going to do? Write these things down? Journal? Make a list? Schedule them? Honey, I do that every day.

I usually like to wrap up my posts by taking this part to ask what small changes YOU can make to feel better. This time, I’m looking for help. What suggestions do you have for me? How do you stay consistent, especially through all of the changes the pandemic has caused?

Stay safe.

Wash your hands. Don’t touch your face. Stay home.

-kate 

Eating Disorder Relapse and Medication Withdrawal

I started a medication called Wellbutrin a few months ago. It’s supposed to lift you out of depression, and help get you out of bed when the depression monster steals your energy. Last monday (April 13th) I had a meeting with my prescriber. It was at that time she realized my script had been written for double what it was supposed to be. She told me the high dose was way too much, and I had to go to the half dose immediately.

The fall out has been intense.

The monday we spoke (the 13th) was the first day of being on the half dose, and my life has just spiraled out since. I have no energy. I can not bring myself to work out. I’m irritable. I’m binge eating daily. There were two nights I drank alcohol- which I hate the taste of, so I have no idea why I did this. I woke up with a hangover both times, more depressed than ever, and reaching for food to cope.

I am withdrawing, physically. I have the sweats, the shakes, and the awful, dark thoughts. I’ve watched the scale creep up a bit every day, and the three pounds I had worked so hard to lose this month have been regained. My confidence is level 0, and the weight gain has me feeling like a complete failure. 

I’ve blogged to get through this, but feel like I’m lying. I post uplifting script, and tips to have better mental health. Meanwhile I’m sitting here in a blanket burrito, unshowered, desk littered with empty candy wrappers.

What is wrong with me?

I think I’m over the hump, and it seems like my withdrawal symptoms are starting to get better. I’m still irritable. I’m still tired.. But less than yesterday. Even more less than Friday. I’m hopeful it will continue to even out.

I took about five steps back this week while I adjusted to the new dose. I have a lot of ground to reclaim, and a lot more ahead of me when I keep on forging forward. 

The first thing I had to do was ask for help. I had to be honest with my husband and my sister about what I was feeling so they could understand why I was acting this way.

Then I had to make a plan, including touching base with my prescriber when her office opens tomorrow (Monday) morning. I’ve also decided to start eating off the FODMAP diet for the next month, quit having any alcohol at all, and making exercise a priority- ESPECIALLY when I don’t feel like it. Most of all, I’ve opened up about my binge eating. A big part of BED (binge/purge eating disorder) is the secrecy and hiding of consuming food. By talking about it, and confessing I’m already taking steps to avoid binging today. I opened the door and wecomed my husband into my secret little world. Just by having him here, I feel less of a need to shame-binge When I can be open with him, it makes keeping any secrets feel wrong- especially food secrets.

There are a ton of factors that go into mental health- and chemicals play a huge role. Being medically treated can be a lifesaver for most people. The situation I’ve gone through this week is rare and unlikely. It has been unpleasant, for sure, but It does not make me regret seeking treatment in the least. Getting help, getting medication, was the absolute best decision I’ve made. It saved my life. Even with this little bump in the road, I still have 100% faith in my doctor and their plan. It just sucks to get through.

I’m planning on getting out for a short hike with Mike and the little girls today. I also had a cup of coffee to give me a bump of energy where the Wellbutrin has me lacking. Most of all, I’m opening up to my family and friends to get through this. They make me so happy, they distract me, they support me. Just knowing how much they care for me, and how lucky I am to have them is a major confidence bump. They love me. The greatest people in the whole world love me. That must mean I’m worth something!

photographer unknown

Wash your hands. Don’t touch your face.

Stay home. Stay home. Stay home.

Stay healthy.

-Kate

Who not Have

I want to be defined by who I am and not by what I have. 

I have bipolar disorder. 

I have body fat. 

I have anxiety. 

I have feelings of depression. 

I am more than those things. They are just things I have, and not who I am. 

I am Kate. I am Mama. I am a best friend, a daughter, a wife. I am a writer. I am a shy, but kind person. I am loving. I am hopeful. I am working hard on becoming a healthier me. 

Judge me by who I am, not what I have. 

Tell me in the comments, who are you? 

Stay healthy.

Wash your hands. Don’t touch your face. Stay home.

Be a who. Be more than what you have.

Kate. 

The Empty Cup Theory

Get ready guys, because this post is dedicated to my all-time favorite phrase:

You can’t pour from an empty cup.

What the heck does that mean?:

Pouring from an empty cup is the same as getting blood from a stone. You can’t fill a second vessel if there’s nothing in the first one. It’s a lot like when the flight attendant tells you to “secure your own oxygen mask before assisting others.” You have to help yourself first. If there’s no oxygen for you, you’ll pass out (or die) without being able to help your kids. The same can be applied to self care. You have to be a functioning human being to care for your children.

What fills a cup?:

Your cup is full when your needs are met. This is physically taking care of yourself like eating, sleeping, getting rest and exercising. Mental fulfillment like getting love, attention, peace, and happiness. Socially it will look like connecting with friends, family and peers. It may also include affection, security, feelings of success and productivity, or doing things that you like to do. Overall, you want to fill your cup with things that make you feel well.

What empties a cup?:

Cups are drained by negativity. Stress, rejection, loneliness, isolation, fighting, being insulted, failing and fatigue will all empty your cup. 

What happens when your cup isn’t full?:

kids love stealing from other people’s cups.

Usually, if your cup isn’t full, it’s tempting to steal from other people’s cups. This could be putting down others, fighting, or purposely making others unhappy. 

Sometimes, we want to draw attention to our empty cup to remind others to fill it. This could show as children acting out or adults who are irritable or passive aggressive. 

Some people seem to have bottomless cups. They need constant contact and attention. (she might kill me for saying this but-) My sister has a bottomless cup. In an adult this is a daily need to “check in” with friends, and be reassured no one is mad at you. In person she is super affectionate, and gives us all the love, hugs and kisses. She is thoughtful down to knowing and understanding all of her friends’ schedules, and has some serious FOMO- fear of missing out. She is social and loving, and wants that in return.

Sometimes we can sit still for refills- especially moms. This results in burnout, and can be avoided by taking time to ourselves, even if it’s just a moment to ‘top off’ our cup here and there. 

Moms are also guilty of being too busy filling other peoples’ cups to realize theirs is empty. We tend to stretch ourselves thin by making sure everyone else’s needs are met, neglecting our own needs. 

What fills my personal cup?: 

Rest, taking a shower, venting when I’m full of emotion, blogging, my family, my dogs, my friends.

What do I do to make sure my cup does not run empty?:

I ask for help when I need it. This skill didn’t come easy, but it has changed my life. I take time to rest, I make myself feel better by being clean and taking a shower. I blog because I love to write, to vent, and to help others. I connect with my peeps- even if it’s just on Facebook. I love seeing pictures of my friends’ happy kids, their funny parenting stories, and who doesn’t appreciate a good meme?

What fills my kids’ cups?

Jacen tells me his cup is filled with “love, affection, friendship, family time, play, succeeding and kindness. 

What happens when their cups are empty?

When Jacen’s cup loses ‘friendship’ at school, like the days he is bullied and feels isolated, he tends to lose play. His kindness turns to irritability, and then affection starts to drain. He usually tells me he needs a refill by crying. He is looking for us to replenish his affection with a hug and love. When he can go back and squash his fight with his friends, he will find his friendship and play again. Empty cups aren’t forever. There’s always a way to fill ‘em back up!

I am a die hard believer that it takes a healthy person to raise healthy people. Take care of yourself first, keep your cup full, then share with others. 

Stay healthy. Stay full.

Wash your hands. Don’t touch your face.

PLEASE FOR THE LOVE OF GOD, STAY HOME.

-Kate