One week down, a life time to go.
I’m a week behind on posting. This week will be a double post week. But now that I’m all caught up, I’d like to start posting weekly on Saturdays. That will give me an opportunity to look over my past week and see the good things and the bad things and look forward to the next week with goals and hopefully a better insight into who I am as a person.
During the freak out that will from here on out be called “D day”, I managed to text a co-worker who happens to be a personal trainer and an all-around fitness gem and begged her to help me. She came back a couple days later with an entire meal plan centered around my likes and dislikes. It included allowances like 3 Dr. Peppers a week and 1 bowl of sugary cereal along with a few restrictions like only 2 cheat meals and no salt on the 4 boiled eggs she expected me to eat for breakfast. (Sorry Madison. I have yet to eat a single egg.) Having the structure of a meal plan combined with the fact that my amazing husband has been cooking and preparing all of the food for me, has made this past week so much easier and almost enjoyable. I haven’t had to worry about the money that I’ve spent on food or the quality of the food I’m eating. I’ve felt just a little more energy and the intense cravings that I had for fast food have mostly disappeared.
That isn’t to say this week has been easy. For example, I was proud of myself for going a full five days with no cheats or mess ups. I decided that I would reward myself last night with one of my two cheat meals. My husband brought home a challupa, two crunchy tacos, cheesy fiesta potatoes and a cheesy bean and rice burrito from my favorite restaurant, Taco Bell. I excitedly scarfed down the challupa and tacos, but by the time I got to the potatoes, I realized that nothing really tasted quite like it did before. Everything tasted greasy and stale. I quit before I could shove the burrito down my gullet. About twenty minutes later, my punishment for said meal hit me like a ton of bricks. I felt so sick. Our friends called and asked us to go out for gelato. I heard the call from where I had set up camp in the bathroom and informed Benn that I could not leave the sanctuary of said bathroom for probably another five hours or so. It was so disheartening to me that I couldn’t even reward myself for dieting all week with a properly delicious cheat meal. I wrote a note to myself on the fridge to remind myself that fast food is just not worth it. I think I may have sworn it off for good. It’s definitely poisonous to my body at this point.
Another example: For the first few days of my new regime, I noticed that my anxiety has not been as easy to control. I started taking a natural supplement called Q96 a few months ago and got completely off of all other meds that I was taking for anxiety. It was not a pleasant experience, but I was finally able to feel like myself again and that made it worth it. When the anxiety came back, however, I immediately worried that the Q96 was no longer doing its job and that I was destined to be fraught with anxiety for all eternity. I’m a dramatic person. Give me a break.
That first week, I began to notice that it felt strange to breathe in. It felt like I couldn’t get a deep enough breath or like, you know when you spray that chloroseptic spray in your throat to numb it and then you almost can’t feel the air go down and it sort of feels like you’re suffocating? That’s how I felt. I was able to ignore it for a couple days, but on Thursday, I completely broke down over it. I looked all over the internet for people who had the same symptoms as me and the results varied from heart disease to general anxiety. Both alarmed me. One because I was really, really scared that I had completely blocked all of my arteries with taco bell mild sauce and the other because I thought I had finally gotten rid of the anxiety for good with this expensive product that wasn’t backed by the FDA and could be sugar pills for all I knew.
I threw myself on my bed when I got home and cried in my husband’s shoulder for an hour before texting my sister and asking her what she thought. She’s a Certified Nursing Assistant, so in my mind, basically a doctor.
“It could definitely be congestion related.” The text perked me up a bit.
“Should I take a decongestant?” I asked, which was probably stupid.
“Yeah, it would probably help. But keep in mind that the decongestant can give you a jittery feeling that might feel a lot like anxiety.” Great. Just what I needed. Something else to give me the anxious feeling.
I rooted around in my medicine box (Who has a medicine box at my age?) and managed to find a decongestant from the last cold I had. I popped a couple pills and lay back down while black mascara tears streamed down either side of my face. Benn, bless his heart, lay next to me and comforted me as best he could. About five minutes after taking the medicine, my chest started to feel tight and I got a weird pain in my jaw. Remember that one of the reasons for my weird breathing could potentially be heart related. I instantly thought I was having a heart attack. I raised my arm up over my eyes and started crying again. Benn asked what was wrong and I told him. As I was talking, my arm started to go numb and tingly. I didn’t know what was going on, but somewhere deep in recesses of my brain, I heard a little voice tell me that panic attacks can mimic heart attacks. Thank goodness I still had some Xanax hidden away in the medicine cabinet. (I’ve got a medicine cabinet and a medicine box. It’s fine.) I had Benn run and grab it for me and I stuck a pill under my tongue. My dad always told me it gets into the blood stream faster that way, but I never thought the taste was worth it. In that moment, though, I was ready to do anything. As bitter as it tasted, I felt all the pain in my chest and face and arm dissipate after a no more than two minutes. I was able to wash it down with some water and a tic tac to get the bitter taste out of my mouth before passing out in a dead sleep.
Two hours later, I woke up exhausted and shaky, but with new found understanding of my inner psyche. I lamented to Benn about how stupid I had been. “How could I not realize a. That this was about food and b. That I was just having a panic attack?” I explained to him that food was my major stress reliever. After I got home from work, I would immediately go to the fridge and eat something like left over pizza or some casserole dripping in cream sauce and follow it up with a package of mini M&M cookies. I wasn’t doing that anymore. I wasn’t allowing myself the time to come home and stuff all my feelings down under a layer of mashed potatoes and gravy. I was loving my body with chicken and vegetables. I was giving it the food and energy it needed rather than medicating it with a fast acting dose of sedative carbs and sugars.
It had also been a while since I’d had a panic attack that scary. I don’t know if I was just congested or if I was being OCD about the way that my breathing felt or if it was just another aspect of the anxiety, but I feel like I’m breathing fine now. The thing about me is, once I know why I’m reacting to something, I can usually calm myself down and figure out a solution. But for those first few days, I could not, for the life of me, figure out why I was so anxious. I’ve now made the decision that I need to come up with better outlets for myself. I’ve started this blog to give me a place to tell the complete, one hundred percent truth about this journey and all the good things and bad things that happen because of it. I started a new blanket. I learned how to crochet from my step-mom about eight years ago and found that it was a good way to distract myself from my own thoughts which can sometimes feel like a web browser with 5 million tabs open at once.
I think that once I get over how much I hate it, going to the gym will also be a really good outlet for me. I’ve set a goal to go 3 times next week. Sometimes it’s just hard to come home after work completely exhausted, force myself to change into workout clothes, and turn around and go right back out again to make myself sweat. Good thing Friends is on Netflix and my gym has wifi.
I’ve been cranky. Poor Benn has been nothing but kind and understanding, yet I somehow manage to take everything out on him. I should probably take him on a date tonight. I have been such a home body the last few months. I don’t feel like going out and being around people. Part of it is social anxiety, but most of it is laziness. All I want to do is lay in bed and watch tv or browse social media. Not only is that terrible for me health wise, but also socially and emotionally. Plus I’ve been so bored lately. My goal for tonight is to get out and do something. To actually shave my legs and get dressed up and do something.
I should really bottom line this. The bottom line is, I have hope. I have hope that things are going to get better and that now that I’ve taken the time to figure out some of this stuff about myself, I can take the next steps to be healthier. I’m doing all the right things. All I can do now is be a little healthier every day. Pray and work and do my best not to get discouraged.
More next week. Here’s to a healthy week both physically AND emotionally.
Thanks for reading.