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Friday, January 28, 2011

The Mirror Vs. The Mind!

Mirrors much like scales can be at times your worst enemy! A few weeks ago I was at church and I heard one of my pastors say something along the lines of "who you think you are, may not be who you really are". That got me thinking and it came in the midst of this inner battle I've been having with my brain. I thought for the most part I've been handling these crazy changes pretty well with the occasional can't get out of my head moments but for some reason this most recent one has stuck with me longer than usual and It's bugging me! My husband usually has me look at a picture of myself from a year ago and that usually brings me back to reality! As of late though even when looking at pictures of my progress or I look in the mirror I see the 450 pound person I was a year ago! The scale still says I'm 150 pounds lighter but my mind doesn't seem to get it! I understand that my mind is going to need time to catch up to all the major changes that the last 10 months have brought with it, and thus far I've dealt with it all in strides and with a pretty level head...I think! I guess what I'm having a hard time with is why I physically see whether in pictures, the scale, clothes, or even really looking at myself a different, smaller me but my mind sees something else? I guess when you spend most of your life as one person you're almost conditioned to see yourself as that person even if you've changed. I look at all the different ways I've changed and maybe I'm having a problem with it because I don't recognize the person I see in the mirror. I'm treading in unknown territory, doing things I've never dreamed of doing, being the person I've never been in a lot of ways and it's very foreign to me. It's terrifying to see someone emerge that I kinda secretly hoped I would become but either was to afraid to become or never thought I was supposed to become! Am I that De conditioned mentally/psychologically that I'm afraid to become the person God intended for me to be? Maybe I am afraid of the person that's emerging because all my life I've thought of myself and seen myself as something else, something less. To see myself as the confident, happy, social, beautiful person that I'm becoming is surreal, almost like it's a dream that I'm going to wake up from and be back in that dark, unhappy place I was a year ago! The reality of it is, I'm not in that place anymore and I'm not that person anymore and as exhilarating and freeing as that is, it's also the most terrifying feeling for me. It's like I see the walls and the insecurities coming down and I feel like I'm scrambling to pick up the pieces and try to rebuild because I feel exposed and uncertain. It's confusing because I really like being that confident, genuinely happy person who has a passion for life! It's a struggle learning to love who I'm becoming and embracing this person and letting go of the chains and stop trying to rebuild the walls that have served no purpose other than to hold me back! It's hard breaking a lifetime of self doubt and image issues and it would be so much easier to put the walls back up and hide in the corner, but I know that God has me on this journey for a reason and I can't hide from that anymore, I don't want to! There's no easy way to make the changes to better your life and it's a constant struggle to be who you really are instead of who you think you are! God wants me to be more than what I've been and he wants me to see myself as he and others see me, as a beautiful, strong, confident woman who loves who she is and truly believes she deserves to be the person she's becoming!

Friday, January 21, 2011

Preparing for the unknown!

It's a human condition to want to know what lies ahead. The unknowns in life can be scary and unpredictable. No one knows what will happen or how we'll react and handle certain situations we're in. This year brings with it a lot of unknown and a lot of hope. This journey I've been on for the past 10 months has been full of surprises and unexpected outcomes that have impacted ever aspect of my life. It's no secret that my desire to be a mother is very strong! As I get healthier and take better care of myself the possibility of that dream is more real than ever. At 450 pounds that dream was nothing more than an unreachable goal that really made me feel like I was broken somehow. I felt like it would never happen no matter how much I wanted it to. My health and my weight made conceiving a child impossible. I always thought I'd have children young and didn't realize that I needed to be healthy and in a better place before I brought a child into this world. For the first time my body is functioning like it should and I understand now the reasons God had me wait. From day one, my choice to have bariatric surgery had very little to do with being skinny and everything to do with being healthy and being able to have children. It was advised that I wait a year after having surgery before trying to conceive and as I get closer to 1 year since surgery it's something that is on my mind. As I focus on being as healthy as I can be and taking the steps I need to take in order to have the best possibility of having children I'm faced with a lot of anxieties and worry. It's an emotional roller coaster and there are a lot of issues that I'm dealing with as we talk and think about starting our family. There are things that I am dealing with that complicate an already complicated process. As I do more research, read about other women who have been unable to conceive prior to bariatric surgery but who have gone on to have healthy babies post op I'm hopeful but scared! Aside from being a post op bariatric patient I deal with severe mental illness and chronic pain. I'm aware that if I want to even think about becoming pregnant I need to address the situations that could potentially be very dangerous. I take medications to manage my mental illness, most of which are unsafe to take during pregnancy. I addressed my desire to start a family with my psychiatrist and didn't expect the reaction I got from him. He flat out told me that it's a bad idea for me to be pregnant because I'll be unstable without my meds and since I can't take most psych meds while pregnant I just shouldn't do it! WOW, I wasn't sure how to react. I don't think he understood that I was fully aware of the risks associated with the situation and that I was asking him to help me find the safest plan. I'm faced with a great deal of anxiety over this and I find myself doubting whether or not I will be able to handle being pregnant and not on medications. Deep down I realize that I'm strong enough, I have enough support, and with God's help I'll be able to handle any situation that comes my way but the doubt and the fear still linger! As my physical health has improved so has my mental health! I'm no longer in a constant state of hopeless misery! I feel better about myself and although I know that I still have these mental health issues, I'm in a much better place now than I was then.  I'm in a state of panic and uncertainty because I've been on these medications for a long time and in the past (pre-op) have had some issues with being off of them. I've become dependent on them in so many ways to help keep me mentally stable. I'm not sure how or even if I'll be able to cope well without them and my poor husband tends to be on the receiving end of my frustrations and that's not how I want it to be and he doesn't deserve that! The more I think about it the more I realize I'm going to have to find some way to deal with whatever comes up in a healthy way. I can't turn to food anymore and I shouldn't be taking it out on my husband. I am joining a gym in hopes that by exercising more not only will I get stronger but it'll be a physical outlet that will help me manage. I'm also submersing myself in my music, writing, social interactions, therapy and a lot of prayer! God's brought me through some pretty tough times! I have faith that he'll bring me through this as well. I'm excited for the next chapter in our lives and look forward to becoming a mother! If it were only possible to turn off the chaos in my mind long enough but I know the reality of it is something I'll have to face! He's excited and wants very much to be a father and as we travel this journey together I know that It'll bring us closer together.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Supporting him!!

My husband has been contemplating having Bariatric surgery for a while. At first he was sure he wasn't going to and a lot of people assumed that just because I did that he would too. He's had weight issues as long as I've known him and has tried many many times to lose weight on his own and he's always had that mindset of wanting to keep trying without surgery and there's nothing wrong with that. His health has started to really affect him. He came to me one night about 4 months ago and asked me if I had any regrets about my choice and would I do it again. He's watched me go through a really rough time since I had surgery and he's seen both the ups and the downs that have come with it. I told him that without a second thought I'd do it again because the fact was, I was really sick and well on my way to an early grave if I didn't do something immediately! He has always done so much for me, I want to be as healthy as I can so that he has the wife he deserves to have. I want to be around for him and to be able to give him babies and live a long healthy life for not only myself but the ones that I love! He has made the decision with much thought and much prayer to start the process of having WLS. He's been through all the steps and is hoping to have surgery within the next few months! I'm so excited for him because I know how hard he's worked and I know he deserves to be healthy and happy! He's done such an amazing job at taking care of me and now I get to give that back to him and help take care of him as he starts his journey to being healthier! I've always told him that it's his choice and it's something that only he can decide on and I've never tried to convince him to have surgery because it's such a personal choice and it's not for everyone. I'm glad that I've inspired him to want to be healthier for himself and our life together! I'm so proud of him for everything he does and for wanting to be healthier because it's not an easy change for anyone who has goals for better health and a better life. We both want to be around to have children, watch them grow up and be as healthy as we can be in order to live the life we're meant to live. We've started really talking about starting a family and what that looks like for us. For me it's a whole mix of emotions because for a long time we've been trying and I've always felt "broken" for not being able to give him a child. I know that God has his timing and that I needed to get myself healthy before bringing a baby into this world. As I've lost weight my body has responded and is now functioning the way it should be which gives me hope that conceiving is so much more of a possibility now than it was before. So many changes and so much to look forward to! God's doing some major renovations in our lives and I'm excited to see what this year holds for my husband and I!

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Finding lost passions!!

Have you ever lost your passion for something? I used to be so passionate about so many things and somehow I lost a lot of those things that used to light a fire in my soul. In some ways there was still a flicker, a yearning for these things but I let life get in the way, I let so many things smother the flames until they were nothing more than smoldering ash. I was the queen of procrastination and excuses as to why I had let these passions fade. Whether it was I don't feel good today so I'll do it when I feel better, or I'm not good at it anymore, it's been to long, or some other embarrassing reason. Two of my greatest passions, playing piano and writing I have let slip away and although I keep the occasional online blog I found I don't actually write much anymore. I used to love writing poetry, and keeping a journal and haven't put pen to paper in such a long time. Playing the piano was something that I was never great at but I loved it, self taught I learned by copying what I heard or by reading through some of my mother's teaching books as a kid. As I got older the love for it was still there, but something always got in the way of me really learning anything and advancing as a piano player! Since this transformation began I'm noticing so many shifts in my personality, my thinking, how I relate and communicate with others and my desire for things has changed. To say that every fiber of my being has been affected by this journey would be the understatement of a lifetime! As the pounds drop I notice myself becoming a different person, or maybe it's me becoming the person I'm supposed to be, either way I hardly recognize me! Of course I look like me, sound like me but there are things that are surfacing that I never thought would be...well me! There are things about me that I remember that I'm now seeing again, like a best friend who's been out of touch for years but is now back! It sounds strange but I feel things again, not just feeling but FEELING, with my soul. I didn't realize how much I had let my love for life get away from me. My husband has always supported my passions whatever they may be at the moment and has always encouraged me to pursue them. This Christmas/Birthday he blew me away and has brought two of my greatest passions back into my life. He surprised me with a journal and a piano with the hopes that this transformation I've been going through would inspire me to reconnect with some of the things I love to do! It's like he's in my head when I'm secretly wishing I had a really nice journal and a piano to play again. I had forgotten so much about playing the piano it was almost embarrassing, some songs I could play well and others...not so much!  Instead of giving up or getting frustrated like usual I decided that it was time I relearned what I had lost. The piano has always been an escape for me, a stress release and writing is as well, it's how I share my thoughts, my story, it's how the mess in my mind comes unraveled! I'm finding old passions again and discovering new ones every day and it's an amazingly freeing feeling! The intensity I always dreamed, thought, wrote about is now becoming who I am and as scary as that is, with God's help and a lot of patience I will embrace who I'm becoming and trust that it's who I am supposed to be!