Change!

Today was supposed to be a work day for me but I stayed home, under the covers and listened to all 12 episodes of the podcast Serial.  The problem is that I only have two work days a week, so I can’t really afford to stay at home under the covers on one of those days!  So why did I do it?  I felt really tired.

hiding

At first I thought that my tiredness was totally caused by the worry I have been doing, about my 96 year old mother in law (MIL).  She has been in hospital for several weeks now and gently broaching the subject with her, of moving into a residential care facility has been stressful.  She agreed with the suggestion on the weekend and has totally convinced herself it will be the most wonderful thing for her – and we all agree!  I feel so relieved.

Of course, relief can cause tiredness but as I lay in bed this morning, I wondered if there was something else dragging me down.  I looked around for tell-tale signs and discovered that YES they were all there.  This is what I found.

I have not been out of my house since Friday.  I have very little food in my fridge or cupboards – certainly no healthy food.  I have been online almost every waking minute since Friday but have not actually written anything on my blog.  I have played games and watched junk TV all day everyday and have listened to my newest addiction – Podcasts – most nights.  I have also stopped eating …. everything but breakfast.  Cereal morning, noon and night but now I have run out of milk!  I feel fat and ugly.  I am fat but NOT ugly.  I want to give my Boys money that I don’t have …. they haven’t asked for anything by the way.  I am scared.  I feel sick in my stomach and my hands are shaky.  I am mad at myself.

I feel like I am letting myself and my tribe down.  I set the goal of focussing on the positive things in my life when writing The Mandy Diaries – to make myself feel better and maybe cause a smile or two.  But time after time I find myself typing about my anxieties and short comings.  What a downer for people to read, I say to myself.  Maybe I shouldn’t publish everything I write?

Being as authentic as I can be, is very much how I wish to be seen.  Trying not to be self-absorbed is something I struggle with on an hourly basis.  So here I am, once again writing about my issues and trying to say what some of you might be feeling but can’t or don’t have the opportunity or desire to share.

There is enforced change on the horizon for me.  I don’t even do chosen change very well.  So when change comes with no control on my part ….. RED LIGHTS FLASHING!!!!  AVOID!  AVOID!  

panic-thoughts

I am eventually going to have to return to Adelaide to help the extended family, clear out my MIL’s home of the last 35 years.  I know that it is a hard thing to do.  After a death is difficult enough but to do it in a respectful way when the person is alive is such a responsibility.  I am mad at Adrian for leaving me to struggle through this without him!!  CHANGE!

It is only a month before I no longer have a job anymore.  My work has been the only real bit of structure in my life for a while now and although I am often unable to get there, the people I work for and with are the most caring, thoughtful and encouraging workmates and friends.  There are so many questions to answer about my ability to find and keep a new job, about my eligibility for government support, about my short and long-term financial stability.  CHANGE!

I said YES to attending a hydrotherapy class with a friend, tomorrow night.  I don’t want to go!  I am pretty sure I will die!  Dramatic much …. you think?  I am sure this is why I stopped eating this week.  So I will be thin enough to feel comfortable at the pool!  Thanks mind for thinking so logically! (Rolls eyes and shakes head!)  I don’t want to let my friend or myself down.  I need this.  CHANGE!

aqua-1

So I will give myself a massive hug.  Write a small grocery list – hopefully I will get through it without the panic attack that occurred last shopping day and go and buy some healthy food and a few treats.  I will once again begin the journey of change with one small step at a time and if I meet you on the road too, know that I am holding out my hand to you, through my blog, because I need your support and because I want to be your support. Maybe we can do CHANGE ….. one stumbling step at a time, together!

Footprints in the sand

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Worth the Weight (Part Two) Exercise Endorphines, I’m Still Waiting For Those!

Do you ever go to bed at night, satisfied that you have done well – achieving much for the day – only to wake up with dread and thoughts of inadequacy?

I did, just last night!  I went to bed basking in the fact that I had attended work for 2 full days (well full for me) this past week and I had enjoyed it!  I had managed to be there for an ill BabyBoy, provide some reasonably healthy meals for a few days in a row, grocery shopping had been done and the weekend was in sight.

I woke early this morning feeling like every bone in my body had been through the mill.  I ached in places I didn’t know I could ache and I felt every kilo of my overweight body dragging me down.  I still feel this way, even though it is now 4 hours since I woke.  I just don’t know what to do to make me feel better – physically.

Do you know how difficult it is to do any sort of exercise when you are hugely overweight like me?  Well, it is almost impossible to find an exercise that is safe and not too scary to do.  Many of the exercise machines are only for use if you are under 100 kilos – that’s not me!  I don’t feel safe on my exercise bike anymore.  Pathetic is the word that comes to mind but I know that  is my old failure story, that repeats in my mind and so I quickly acknowledge it, as I would an acquaintance, and try to move on to the friend that is the new chapter I am writing in my head.

Walking is an easy exercise that everyone can do – right?   Wrong!  Walking is a difficult exercise for this obese person to do because my breathing becomes scarily difficult in a very quick time, leading straight into an asthma attack or coughing fit.  Then there is the chafing – thank God for 3B Cream!  Useless is the word that comes to mind but I know that is my old failure story, that  repeats in my mind and so I quickly acknowledge it, as I would an acquaintance, and try to move on to the friend that is the new chapter I am writing in my head.

Swimming – everyone knows that swimming is the best exercise for obese people.  Do you have any idea what it is like for me to put on my togs and walk out into the public?  Think about those insecure times that you may have on the beach or at the pool and multiply it by a hundred times.  Terrifying is the word that comes to mind but I know that is my old failure story, that  repeats in my mind and so I quickly acknowledge it, as I would an acquaintance, and try to move on to the friend that is the new chapter I am writing in my head.

It is the same going to a gym.  I know that people are probably not looking at me but I literally want to die with the embarrassment of the situation.  Pilates!  Yoga!  Tai Chi!  All great suggestions given to me by caring people.  Have you ever seen really fat people doing these activities?  Well, I have not.  Simply getting up and down off the floor is a major production.  My knees don’t work like yours do.  They have been carrying my body for many years  now and they function like an 80 year olds, waiting for a knee replacement (which I wouldn’t get because I carry too much weight).  Excuse is the word that comes to mind but I know that is my old failure story, that  repeats in my mind and so I quickly acknowledge it, as I would an acquaintance, and try to move on to the friend that is the new chapter I am writing in my head.

Did you know that sitting, standing and even lying in bed or on the couch is painful when you are a real plus size?  It does. Ridiculous is the word that comes to mind but I know that is my old failure story, that  repeats in my mind and so I quickly acknowledge it, as I would an acquaintance, and try to move on to the friend that is the new chapter I am writing in my head.

I want all this to stop!  I have no idea how to make it stop but I have to find a way or I am going to die!  And that is not the old failure story, that repeats in my mind.  That is my reality!  I am learning to control the negative stories that I constantly tell myself and replace them with new chapters to repeat in my mind but that does not help the physical pain I constantly feel.  I don’t know what to do to make the pain go away.  I would love to be able to do some gardening without feeling like I was going to die!  Or walk to the letterbox without sweating so much that I have to change my clothes after.

My best guess at a solution would be some pool exercise class.  Just writing that here is making me super anxious.  Anxiety is something I am learning to live with and yet not let it take control of my life.  It is a slow and harrowing journey, that is taking much longer than I would have ever dreamed it would.  Movement forward contains pain, just as raw as the physical stuff does.  I feel less like I am going to die from anxiety than I did 6 or so months ago.  So I guess slow movement, in fact any movement is the key!

So, you see – no glib one liners today.  Not even any answers or inspirational quotes or pictures.  Just the hard, ugly, truth sharing that we often hide away from others and most importantly ourselves.

Rant Follow Up and other things!

I am feeling much better.

I still think Stinkalink deserves its new name but after a few reasonable sleeps; a couple of days of comfort food; time processing things with friends and a conversion with the Social Worker!!! (Yes, she actually rang me yesterday) I now know where and what to do.

I am Lantana!

The Social Worker gave me information about discounts and benefits I am eligible for and will not lose if I continue to get well.  I also worked out that working money plus pension discounts,  is more than benefit money.  I found out that my file has, now, been marked, so that I do not have to apply for other jobs!  Such a relief!

So, I can now afford to keep going with my counselling and continue on my slow planned return to work but I will still have a safety net for those days when anxiety takes over.  Such a relief!  My question is “Why could not the Stinkalink people tell me that in the first place?”

Moving on ….. Great things came from this speed bump.  I did not crawl into bed and put the covers over my head – at all!  I did not have a panic attack – at all!  I spoke to people I didn’t know or necessarily trust about hard stuff – on my own!  I stood up for my self – on my own!

Tonight is going to be big for me.  I have registered and will attend a blogging seminar with Nikki from Styling You – ON MY OWN PEOPLE!!!!

Fashion Blogging: Styling You

Join Nikki Parkinson as she shares her journey from journalist to fashion blogger and author. Nikki will explain the inspiration behind her blog Styling You — which draws thousands of readers every day — and how devices and apps can make blogging easier. She’ll also discuss how blogging led her to publish her first book, Unlock Your Style, now available on iBooks.

Immediately after registering I began to talk myself out of going BUT instead of backing out, I decided to contact Nikki to ask if I would be out of my depth.  Brave, aren’t I?  Guess what?  She answered and encouraged me to come and congratulated me on starting my blog!!  Great I thought – I will go.

About 5 minutes later I thought …… OMG she is a fashion blogger …… What the hell will fat, frumpy, old me wear?  I need a pedicure – I can’t afford a pedicure!  I need to have my hair done – I can’t afford to have my hair done!

Breathe….Breathe….Breathe….

My self talk conversation went like this ……This week you conquered Stinkalink!  This is good stuff.  This is growing stuff.  You can do this. Remember how you wrote this at the end of Worth the Weight?

 I have to believe in my new story as I write it.  I have to have courage to say it out loud and to believe I am enough – now!  Not days, months, years down the track – when I am thin.  But NOW.   As I am!  At the moment!   I am enough!

So I will take my enough self to the Seminar and I will learn and grow and I might even try to get a photo with Nikki!

Worth the Weight?

I’ve been wanting to write about my weight for a while now but I have been afraid.  I have lost friends over my weight before and I don’t want to lose you!  Today I am writing for me and I hope you might learn something helpful.

I wasn’t always fat but I think I have always seen myself as BIG!  Even as a youngster, I compared myself to my girl cousins and they were mostly teeny tiny, as was my sister.  Looking back now, they were SHORT but not always SMALL.  I always felt like I was the  biggest at home and at school.  Looking back at photos now, I wasn’t – certainly not at school.  I was athletic and fit and strong but once I became a teenager, I looked at myself in a very negative light.  I was still athletic and fit and strong but with no help from anyone in particular, somehow this became big and fat and unacceptable.  Never do I remember my mother saying anything negative about my body or hers.  She was (and is) always encouraging and positive about me.  But somewhere an internal voice started to be the voice I listened to the most.

Outwardly, I was a happy, out going, flirty, teenager.  I appeared to have everything I needed to those around me looking in.  I had confidence to sing and play the guitar out the front of church, to lead meetings, to speak and pray aloud, and to eventually start my career as a teacher.  But inwardly, I was often second guessing myself – wondering if I fitted in or whether I was the biggest in the room.  I over compensated by often being the loudest and certainly drinking way too much!  I also stopped a lot of my physical activities, as I felt self conscious of my body and how it looked doing things.  Oh how I would love to be the size I was then – now!  I would be so active and busy.

Mandy 1979

Well, life moves on.  I fell in love, married, had three gorgeous boys and went back to teaching.  I had a full  and eventful life with many ups and downs but not for my weight!  It only went up and up and up!  Yes, I had some success with diets and healthy eating programmes but it wasn’t long before self sabotage, stress and anxiety came to the fore and the weight returned.  The little voice inside me continued to privately verbalise and I became my own self fulfilled prophecy.

And here I am today – still overweight.  Still unhappy about it.  Still not in control of the voice in my head that tells me I’m big, only now when I look back at photos of days gone by I can see I wasn’t.  But now I really am!!!  Now it has become a medical issue, with exercising painful for my knees and back and respiratory problems and I’m scared!  I can hear you all yelling at me, that all exercise hurts and that I just have to push through the pain to get the benefit.  I know that!  Telling me doesn’t help me.  So what will help me?  The truth, gently given, is helpful.  Especially, if it is a positive truth about how I look and what I am doing.   I love clothes and colour but often (wrongly) question my ability to choose suitable outfits.  If you think I look nice – tell me!  This is one area that Fev can’t help me!  Do physical things with me and I don’t mean dragging me to the gym.  I do mean, encouraging me to join you in outdoor outings and healthy food choices BUT please don’t judge me when I falter.  Be assured that  I am already judging myself enough for us all.

At the moment I am going to see a  therapist to help me change the little  voice  inside me.  While in these sessions, I have found that that little voice inside me, tells me lots of unhelpful things in lots of areas of my life.  So, whereas I thought that solving my weight issues would solve my anxiety, I now know that the weight is just one of the manifestations of the negative story I tell myself internally.  I am a work in progress.  I am writing a new chapter for my internal book.  It’s going to take awhile because the old chapter that I have been listening to, has been being reread for 55 years.  I have to believe in my new story as I write it.  I have to have courage to say it out loud and to believe I am enough – now!  Not days, months, years down the track – when I am thin.  But NOW.   As I am!  At the moment!   I am enough!

Mana Mandy

Wow, this has been heavy but I don’t apologise for it.  I do promise to write something lighter next post.  You may even smile or laugh when you read it!