Monday, November 19, 2012
Update on me.
A few months ago I posted my "sad story with a happy ending," detailing my decade-long experience with depression and anxiety and the solution. I know many of my readers personally struggled with similar symptoms and were motivated to see my blessed and most caring doctor, Greg Allen, after reading those posts. I am so glad I could be of help to you ladies. I hope you are seeing results from your treatment.
As for me, I thought I would update you all on my progress. In a nutshell, things are going great! But it was kind of a rocky road getting here. And not the ice cream type, I'm afraid.
As you read, I noticed positive results from the progesterone and thyroid hormones almost as soon as I started taking them. This continued for about two months. Then, I started to feel super-confident in myself and my new-found energy and improved mood and started to take on WAY. TOO. MUCH. You know how the flight attendant says you have to put on your own oxygen mask before helping anyone put theirs on? Well, I had somehow forgotten that crucial bit of advice and started saying "Yes!" to everything and everyone. Something Dr. Allen had warned me explicitly NOT to do!
At first, I could manage it all and felt like Superwoman. Two children? Eight music students? Choir? Church responsibilities? Writing job? Housework? Community service? Yes, I did them all. And it actually worked ... for about a month. Then, I kind of crashed. I was getting those headaches again. I was feeling dragged down and unhappy. And my acne came back. And you know, this last bit of information seems silly, but it was very helpful in illuminating the problem of my overachievement. You see, I had wicked acne at the peak of my depression, right before I saw Dr. Allen for the first time. It has now become tell-tale evidence that I am not well.
When I saw the acne at first, I blamed a new make-up product I was using. But I examined my life more closely and realized I had stopped eating as well as I had before because I didn't have time to prepare as many wholesome meals. I wasn't exercising regularly because again, I didn't have enough time. And I wasn't sleeping because I was staying up late doing projects and housework and what-have-you because I wasn't tired at night anymore. All of these former bad habits crept back into my life and before I knew it, I was kind of back to square one, despite my hormone replacement therapy.
One day, I decided I'd had enough of the endless crying sessions brought on by stress. I ended up dropping a few students, which was the most obvious yet most difficult change I had to make because I love teaching so much. I stopped saying yes every time someone asked me for help, which was also hard because I don't like to disappoint people, ever. And I stopped filling my life with too many commitments. I am a loyal person and rarely flake on people, and if I have to for any reason the guilt eats me alive for weeks. So the solution to this is to simply not commit to so much stuff. Prioritize, figure out what's really important and remember this when presented with an opportunity to commit to something. That's what I've had to do.
As predicted, I started feeling great as soon as I made room in my life for healthy eating, sleep and regular exercise. I consolidated all my lessons into two days which leaves the rest of my week free for enjoyment. I go to bed as early as I can (even though it's tough because I love chatting with Dill before bed more than anything in the world, probably) and I usually wake up refreshed and ready to go.
Of course, I still have bad days after I don't get enough sleep, eat poorly the day before or take on too many commitments. Those days are hard and usually end in a big fat headache and tears. It reinforces that I really can't just do whatever I want. I have to be careful in what I eat and how I live. I have to be disciplined because if I'm not, I suffer, and so does everyone else around me.
Overall, though, I love the new me. Even though I miss sugar and wheat products a LOT, when I don't eat them, I can actually function and I wake up energized and refreshed. I enjoy motherhood, my job, my responsibilities and my free time. I don't get stressed so easily, either.
I'm happy to say this treatment is WORKING! Dr. Allen saved me and I don't think I could ever thank him enough for his intuition and kindness. (Never thought I'd say that about a doctor in my life!)