Someone commented on my last post (and a few others on social media, etc) that they had been through something similar to the personal experience I shared there. (you can go back and read it here.) Being emotionally and verbally stoned for my choices as a mother is one of the most invisibly painful things I’ve endured in my life.
(And I have no shortage of trauma believe me, although, I’m not going to sit and compare or convince either.)
But after the pain (or maybe through it) came the connection with others. I didn’t share my pain so that we could all wallow together. I shared it to lift us up. To bring us together because I really believe there is so much healing and love in this: knowing we are not alone. That others have struggled and are struggling with this too. It’s so empowering and uplifting and the entire reason I put my stuff out there, to be honest.
I crave connection (as we all do) and in this age of digital disconnect, I’ll take it any way I can get it. (I recently met a next door neighbor via a thread on Facebook and I’ve never felt so LAME for not interacting in my real life more.)
The thing is: It is OK to make choices for ourselves, the parent, and to put ourselves first in a way that promotes optimal mental health and happiness. In fact, we MUST do this if we’re going to teach our children by example. I knew that and lived by it the moment I ended my marriage. (My children do not benefit from me staying inside an unhappy and unhealthy environment. The only thing they learn there is how to choose that for themselves later.)
But learning to hold my head high in the face of hurled insults and intentional pain from others is a whole different battle. It’s so hard to sustain strength in those cases. The only strength that keeps me going when the battle goes too long and wears me down is this: connecting with you; with others who have felt the same. With mothers and women and even other fathers who understand what it’s like to feel that way.
But I don’t want to connect out of the negativity. I want to connect out of love. I’m headed upward. When I can’t climb on my own, you can carry me.
I seriously love this tribe.
A practical update:
Things I’ve found out about myself so far (since doing the Whole30): I have a sensitivity to gluten. THIS is what causes the swelling and pain in my calves/ankles/feet. Now that I’ve isolated it, I can avoid it. Problem solved. This is the biggest win so far.
Caffeine is not okay for a daily drink. Coffee is an indulgence (and one I probably shouldn’t have at all but some days I can’t resist).
My MRI test came back all clear. No tumors in the adrenals but then I didn’t expect there to be. My hormonal imbalance truly is borne out of good, old STRESS. For those who think you might have something similar, I recently read The Hormone Cure by Sara Gottfried, MD.
This book seriously changed the game for me. I was weeping by mid-way through because she validated everything I told that dip-shit doctor about my symptoms. (I KNOW MY BODY DAMMIT. I’M NOT CRAZY.)
Takeaway after reading the book: I need to de-stress.
I am starting on supplements: Saw Palmetto, Fish Oil, and Maca Root (in pill form) and eating (mostly) Whole30. (I’m doing another REAL Whole30 starting 6/25 with my son.) Still taking CBD oil daily and I LOVE this stuff. Yoga and meditation daily. I have an oil diffuser next to my bed and use mostly frankincense and lavender.
(Side note: I also dream of the day medicinal marijuana is legal here for something like this because I will be first in line after all the research I’ve done lately!)
And finally, Sleep. This is one I skipped up until now despite being told it was uber-important. (I’m a night owl and would often stay up past midnight reading.) After reading this book, I’m convinced and adding it into the routine. Bed at 10p and up by 8a. (Yes, this is a lot of sleep. Some nights, I function best on 10 hours.) After just one night of this, I could tell a difference the next day in my alertness and productivity. This morning, I woke up on my own at 7:20a so I think my body is already resetting itself. (You’ll read all about how important your circadian rhythm is to your stress levels in the book.)
Oh and soccer. I’m still playing soccer at least twice a week.
I know it looks like a lot but I’ve built things on to this list slowly. I didn’t try to do it all at once. That’s a recipe for failure, in my opinion. If you think you have hormone issues, I highly suggest this book. Even if you have unexplained symptoms of any kind like mood swings, nights sweats, or even depression: it could be hormones and it can be fixed with something as simple as changing your diet.
I sincerely hope sharing my journey helps someone else. To the woman who is struggling to choose herself in a world that screams choosing oneself is selfish and wrong, please know that you’re not alone. And so long as love leads your heart, you’re not any of those things for the choices you’ve made.