This is a continuation of my previous post. If you haven’t already read it, please click on the link and do so, otherwise you’ll be starting in the middle of the story 😃
At the end of my previous post, I mentioned poking the bee hive with a stick. The first image that came to mind was from the 90’s movie My Girl, where Macaulay Culkin’s character, Thomas, goes to find Vada’s mood ring and disturbs a bee hive. For those who haven’t seen the movie, go see it now. I’m going to spoil it for you first. Thomas gets stung by the bees (he’s allergic them, btw) and dies.
So, back to my story 🙂 I poked my personal beehive, lived, and grew stronger.
My beehive and issues are from a combination of how I personally handled life and a chemical imbalance in my brain.
The therapist I was seeing recommended a book to me to help me learn to love myself.
You Can Heal Your Life, by Louise Hay.
Before I read this book, I didn’t like self-help books. I owned a few, but none of them grabbed my attention enough to help me. But this book, it did catch my attention. I think the reason for that was that I was ready for a change. I was ready to let go, face my demons, and finally heal my life.
That’s important to remember. We can’t expect to change when we are resistant and not ready to change. As much as I wish that I would have realized these things years ago, the sad truth is that I just wasn’t ready yet. Don’t try to force yourself into a situation when you aren’t ready to face it. Yes, it is important for us to meet adversities in order to grow, but I also believe that facing things head on before you’re ready can cause more damage than good.
But, if you are still determined, take these changes in small strides. One small step is the first you take to climb a ladder or a set of stairs. You’re moving forward, so don’t discredit the small step 🙂
Back to the book. Louise Hay was a motivational speaker who had a hard life. She took her sour lemons and decided to make something out of them. She started writing, speaking, and teaching her philosophies on how to heal your life. She believed that the power of our thoughts and mind can shape and heal our lives as long as we are open to the possibilities.
Positivity. Optimism. Things that I would give to others who may be going through a hard time and I wanted to help. But I had trouble giving those things to myself. Looking back, why did I believe that I couldn’t believe in myself any less than I would of an acquaintance or loved one? Again, I was sick. I had a negative image of myself and felt others felt the same way about me. So I would expend all of my positiveness and optimism trying to lift others up and fix them because I felt it would make me worthy in their eyes and possibly my own.
But that is the thing about depression. It’s a sneaky demon that sits on your shoulder, whispering these thoughts that you aren’t good enough no matter what you do. After giving up your reserves of positive and optimistic mojo, you find you don’t have anything left to fight your demons. So they win the day and you just feel like shit.
But when I read Louise’s book, her words resounded in my mind. Start the day out with positive and loving thoughts. Look at yourself in the mirror, smile, and tell yourself (out loud) that you are beautiful. You are worthy of love. You are worthy of everything your heart desires. I never told myself these things. I hated looking at myself in the mirror. But, after some hesitation and grumbling about how stupid this concept was, I decided to give it a try.
I wrote positive affirmations on index cards and taped them strategically around my apartment. I would no longer avert my eyes when getting ready in the mirror. I would smile at myself and tell myself that today will be an amazing day and I would conquor it. I would tell myself that I am loved and I am stronger than my depression.
It started working. I felt so much lighter. I started to forgive myself and my past, and for once, I honestly was looking forward to what the future might bring. I started becoming more open about my struggles and fears with my friends and family. I started feeling that yes, I am worth the fight. I am worth the love. I am worthy of the air I breathe and the space I take up.
I do still have tough days. I do still have anxiety. But instead of cowering, I do my best to fight it. I have started to recognize the signs my body gives me when I’m going to have a bad day or start feeling anxiety. To combat that, I stop and think about what is causing me to feel this way. I may make a list. Or, I might reach out to someone to talk about what is going on in my head and to get some helping shaking it off.
Back in January, we get a profit sharing bonus every year at work. I was so excited because I was going to buy some shelves for my books. I left work a little early that day and started my drive to the nearest Big Lots that was about 30 minutes away – the shelves I wanted were there. As I started my drive, I felt excited. I felt my endorphins start running and I felt myself get a little giddy and day dreamy. It dawned on me what was happening. I was getting ready to spend a good amount of money on something and I was starting to get high from the feeling of buying something. I started to get anxious; maybe I shouldn’t be doing this. Maybe I should turn my car around and go home. Sit on the thought of purchasing these shelves for a little longer to make sure I really wanted them and wasn’t giving into the high of buying something.
I tried to call my mom for some reassurance. No answer. I panicked a little and told myself that it was okay. I had been planning on buying these shelves for awhile now. I had stopped myself from purchasing them a week before on my credit card. I had the extra money. Go ahead. I kept repeating this to myself as I continued my drive. My mom finally called me back and pretty much told me the same thing I was telling myself. She also told me that she was proud of me for catching myself in that feeling. I was proud of myself too. I felt like I had found a way to manage my addiction, which would help manage my depression and anxiety.
Back in February, I took the next step of change. I was ready to shed my shield – my weight. I started walking. On top of that, I started taking selfies of myself before each walk. Two big steps – one to improve my health and one to improve the image I held of myself. You see, I hated taking pictures of myself. But it was time to let go and realize that I am beautiful inside and out. And every day I took a new picture, I could see the improvements in me. I could see my smile was becoming real and light was returning to my eyes. I felt so proud of myself.
In March, my mom started making improvements in her own life. She felt inspired from my own progress that she wanted to start her own. So together, with our FitBits, we formed our workout support system. On days when we didn’t feel like doing anything, the other would push us to at least try, because trying was more than we were doing the month before.
On March 5, 2017 I weighed 311 pounds. I started trying to make better changes in my diet and got down to about 295 pounds during the next year. I was frustrated.
On March 9, 2018, the day my mom and I started our support system, I weighted 299.6 pounds.
As of June 6, 2018, I am down to 284.8 pounds. I was so happy! While it’s slow progress, it is more progress than I had made last year. My new outlook is helping me reach my goals.
Positive Thoughts + Positive Changes = Positive Outcomes!
I still have a long way to go, both mentally and physically in my struggles. But now, I look for the positives in life and try my hardest to banish negative feelings and thoughts before they take over. I know I will get to where I want to be as long as I push myself and stay kind to myself.
I am broken. I am a work in progress. I am beautiful. I am worthy of love. I am worthy of positive changes. And I am no longer going to hide my struggles.
So I promised some tips and tricks that have helped me the past few months.
- Soul-search. Find out what is bringing you down.
- Dig deeper. Figure out what the root cause is. This could be a chemical imbalance or something in your past that is weighing on your soul.
- Get help. Whether you reach out to a friend, family member, or a professional, reach out and talk. Let someone know you are struggling and they can try to help.
- Stay positive. Turn every negative thought into something positive. This is easier said than done, but with practice, you’ll notice the difference.
- Learn the signs your body gives you. Our bodies and brains are amazing. They will give off signs that something is amiss before you even realize it. Listen to it and learn how to react and change with those signs.
- Understand. Someone did something to you, or something happened to you in the past. While the something might be terrible, there was a reason why it happened. Put yourself in that person’s shoes. They might have been reacting to something that happened to them and may have done the action subconsciously. I’m not saying what they did was in any way right, but understanding will help you learn from their mistakes and grow as a person.
- Forgive. Whether it is someone in your past or yourself, forgive. Even if the act was atrocious, that person is not worth your time and energy of holding onto a grudge and negative feelings about them. Forgiving and letting go will lift some of the weight off of you.
- Create a support system. Whether it is a group or one person, a support system will help you face any new challenges that arise.
- Keep making changes and growing.
- And because I thought 10 was a nice even number, the most important thing is to know that you are worthy of love, no matter what your inner demons might be telling you. You have a special light that the world needs, even if it is little.
So, there it is – my story. I know I only talked about the last 8 months even though ‘ve been fighting this battle for awhile now. But 8 months ago, I started living again. I started believing in myself again. I started to love myself. So my battle prior to 8 months ago, while still important, does not define me today and I choose my story to start 8 months ago.
Thank you for reading my story. It is my hope that someone who needs some hope or inspiration will read my story and will get their own fighting spark to start living again.
My next post will either be an Author Recommendation or a Book Review, so keep an eye out my friends 🙂
Until next time!