Making Progress

It’s now been a month into my journey of trying to become a better version of me.  I decided to do things a little differently from last year as to try not to set myself up for failure.

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I don’t deprive myself.  I eat and snack but make sure to count my calories.  My FitBit app has a counter on it, that even comes with a food scanner, which makes it very easy to keep track throughout the day.  I also don’t feel guilty enjoying the occasional glass of wine or my new-found cocktail made of cranberry juice and Malibu rum with a squeeze of lime.  I allow myself one day a week to indulge and not count calories.

I started out slow with my exercise regimen. It’s still very much winter here so I have been having to get my walking/jogging in via the dreadful treadmill.  I started out with 20 minutes and now after only a month am up to over an hour.  And I have also started to incorporate weights into my routine as well.

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This is the treadmill workout I try to follow most days

I don’t obsess about weight loss.  I weigh myself once a week and have lost 6 pounds this month.  The key thing people need to remember when working out is that you are gaining muscle which weighs more than fat.  Therefore, you will lose inches before losing weight.  I can tell, without measuring, by the way my clothes fit much better.

I am trying out an assortment of essential oils.  I must say that I intend to eventually invest in a diffuser for every room in the house.  So far I am up to 3 and have found a sleep and depression blend that I use often.  The sleep blend I use at night in my diffuser which sits next to my bed, and the depression blend I rub into the bottoms of my feet.  I’ve also discovered bath bombs which used with my Epsom salt manage to relax me at night and helps with any soreness I have succumbed to throughout the day.

I still have bad days.  I’m not going to lie, there are still some days I struggle with not wanting to do much of anything but binge watch television and throw my FitBit at the wall.  But I keep it as a reminder of when I’m doing great as well as not so great.  Plus I love joining challenges with my friends as I can be very competitive which is great at keeping me on track to making progress.  Below are my stats for the last four weeks starting from the end of the month.  Each week I try to do better than the previous week.  As you can see weeks 2 and 3 I failed at that, but like I said…I still have bad days and it’s ok.

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fitbit stats exercise tracker

I feel that as long as I am doing something that makes me feel better than that to me…is making progress.

If you have a FitBit and would like to join any of my challenges you can find me via email on the app (tristasim@yahoo.com).

Chow For Now,

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My Struggles With Anxiety, Depression, And Being A Stay At Home Mom

I think that there are so many other mothers like me that have daily struggles with anxiety, depression and the challenges of being a stay at home mom.  The problem is most of us aren’t talking about it.  I think this is because in many ways we feel weak or that somehow it’s our fault that something isn’t right in our head.

People who don’t suffer from it don’t understand it.  They think there’s just some kind of switch.  And the most common stereotype are those who look at your life, the life where you have more than most do, and they say to themselves “What in the world does she have to be depressed about? She has everything!”

Everything except the correct chemical balance in the brain.

Depression anxiety chemistry
I was put on Zoloft after I had finished nursing my 3rd baby.  I had an appointment with the doctor and I suggested to him that I hadn’t been feeling myself and he instantly just wrote me a prescription for the anti-depressant.  I had read a lot about post natal depression and especially from dissolving breast feeding, so I really had no concern.

I was on Zoloft for 3 years.  200mg a day.  And one day I realized I still wasn’t feeling myself.

So I decided to go off of it.  My mood swings were horrible, I still didn’t feel like doing things most days *like getting out of bed*, and so as most people would do, I decided to make the decision to quit taking something that I felt wasn’t doing a damn thing.

After experiencing brain zaps, body twitches and any other withdrawal symptom, I was finally returning to what I felt was normal.

About 3 months passed.

One morning I woke up and I thought I was having some kind of heart attack or mini stroke only there was no pain in my chest.  My heart was palpitating, I was shaking, my stomach felt like I needed to throw up, and I was dizzy and couldn’t focus on much of anything except trying to breathe.

Of course I didn’t go to the doctor.  I looked up my symptoms on the internet and everything was telling me to meditate, take deep breaths, and try some yoga positions because I was having a panic attack.

After several hours I finally was able to calm myself down.

In the mornings remaining I would always wake up in a state of panic.  Like feeling like the plane was going to crash, only I wasn’t on any plane.  I was in bed and just waking up.  But the feeling of dread was there.  Like literally I felt plagued with it.

Depression anxiety chemistry
About a week later another panic attack occurrred and I went straight to the doctor.  My blood pressure was through the roof and he confirmed what I already knew.  He said that being on the Zoloft must have kept the panic attacks at bay and even though I had been off of it for 3 months my body was still adjusting.

He put me on Kolonopin, an anti-anxiety medication.  I was to take it twice a day, morning and night.  Haven’t had a panic attack since.

In the beginning of 2016 I decided it was going to be my year to finally get in shape.  I started going to the gym, sometimes twice a day.  I found a love for Zumba and watched 28 pounds melt away.  I even got my Kolonopin down to once a day.

But even though I was feeling better, had more energy, and getting a good nights sleep, there were still days I was fighting with myself just to get out of bed.

The warm weather started to roll in and by end of May I couldn’t stand the temperature inside the Zumba room so I quit going.  And then a few weeks later the kids were out of school and so there went going to the gym too.

Now I realize they were bad choices.

But we had a busy summer planned with camping, swimming, and hiking.  But facts are facts and as the summer passed I felt myself feeling worse and worse.  I also found myself “self-medicating” by consuming alcohol on almost a daily basis and justifying it with the fact I wasn’t getting drunk, just trying to wind down from the daily struggles of being a stay at home mom of 4 kids.  Three of which were still very dependent on me every 2.5 seconds.

By the end of last year I started noticing that I had lost interest in everything that used to be important to me.  I stopped blogging.  I stopped being creative through my photography and designing.  I started distancing myself from family and friends.  I even stopped doing craft projects with my kids, which has always been a passion of mine.  And instead I started binge watching TV…something I just don’t do on an everyday basis.  Sometimes confining myself to my bedroom.

But yet the ambition to do any differently just wasn’t there.  I did the bare minimum of what it took to be a mother and a wife.

Depression anxiety chemistry
I decided to go through a series of medical testing through my OB/GYN and my family doctor to see if there was anything that would be causing me to feel so fatigued everyday.  I even started seeing a therapist hoping she would have some answers.  All my tests came back normal, which was good but I knew that this also meant I was faced with the fact that I will probably have to spend the rest of my life on some kind of an anti-depressant.

Both my doctors and my therapist confirmed what I already knew.  Only this time I was put on Wellbutrin at 150mg a day.

I’ve been on it a couple months now and have started getting back to the gym.  I’ve even started keeping my alcohol comsumption to a minimal in order to give the meds a chance to work.  

I quit going to the therapist as I felt completely drained upon leaving her office because she constantly wanted to drudge up a past that I buried long ago.  And also because my insurance only paid for a certain amount of visits and in those 6 visits I felt like I was 20 steps behind from when I started.

Therapy isn’t for everyone.  And it wasn’t for me.

I made a choice to try and work this out with the help of a medication I hate, but any person with a chemical imbalance feels that way.  We think that when we start to feel better we don’t need it anymore.

This is the start of my journey and the end of me beating myself up over something that has, and never will be any fault of my own.

One Day At A Time,

Cuddle Fairy

Quote Of The Week ~ Feb 1, 2016

 back on track worries yesterday today tomorrow 
Well I really splurged over the past several days and yesterday was really feeling the effects of it.  

I dwelled on it all day yesterday but decided that today is a new day and the best thing about starting over is just that…getting to start over.  So I am focused and back on track! 

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Cuddle Fairy

After The First Child

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I remember when my little B was born…like it was yesterday.  We brought him home from the hospital and I was so batshit crazy protective of him that I wouldn’t even let his older brothers carry him in the car seat carrier.  Like somehow I just had this overwhelming anxiety that they were going to drop him and kill him.  I remember taking him to one of their basketball games and I swore I could see the germs floating in that gymnasium.  I even googled to see if it was even safe for my 2 week old baby to be out in public.

One morning I was getting ready to leave the house with him and at the time my husband and I did not have a bed frame, just a mattress of the floor.  Little B was laying on the mattress and somehow had wiggled himself around enough to where he slid down blankets and onto the floor.  He didn’t even cry until I was standing over him with a OH SHIT beyond shocked look on my face.  As soon as he saw that I was upset it caused him to be upset.  He was fine but all day I kept checking him…wouldn’t let him go to sleep, never once let him out of my sight.  The paranoia was overwhelming.  I kept thinking to myself…”Am I a crazy mom or is every mother like this with their first child?”…

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…fast forward to baby #3…

By the time little Z came into the world I was an expert.  I realized that having a beer or a glass of wine wasn’t going to taint my breastmilk.  I knew how to change a diaper with one hand tied behind my back.  When she started to crawl I didn’t mop the floor every 30 minutes thinking that she was going to contract some strange flesh eating bacteria and if her pacifier fell on the floor then I just ran some water over it and gave it back to her without boiling it in a pot on the stove for 10 minutes.  And guess what?   She survived!!!

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Little Z has also become independent a lot faster then my first two.  She hasn’t been in a high chair since shortly after her one year birthday.  She refused to sit in one since her brother and sister were sitting at the table.  And she learned how to prop herself up on her knees to be able to reach.  She was also using utensils.  I remember taking her for a well check and the pediatrician being shocked that she new how already.  Funny thing is I didn’t teach her…she taught herself by watching the others.  When she falls down I tell her she is fine and to just get back up.  I still kiss the boo boo because somehow mommy’s kisses fix everything but once that is done she is up and running again.

Potty training my other two took some time as well and they wore diapers to bed for quite some time after they had learned to use the potty all throughout the day.  But not little Z…she caught on so quick and one night while in the midst of potty training I had ran out of diapers and it was late and I didn’t feel like going to the store so I put her to bed in her undies.  And to my surprise she was dry the next morning…and the morning after that…and so on.

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In answering my own question…yes I do think as mothers we are a bit coo coo crazier after we have had our first child and by the 3rd you just rub dirt on the situation. These days I only get frantic if there is blood involved.  And even then a band-aid and mommy’s kisses make it all better.  Well except for the other day when my daughter stepped on a piece of glass and it got stuck in her foot and I had her sit on the couch until daddy got home because as I attempted to get it out…I almost fainted.

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