Yes, it is!

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Life Struggles

You know, medical professionals often say that exercise greatly improves moods in those who struggle with depression and other disorders along that line.  I have recently found this to be true, in a sense.
I've had a lifelong struggle with depression and anxiety/panic disorder.  I've taken medications off and on over the years but I don't like the way those drugs make me feel.  Last year, I really struggled.  It was so cold this past Winter which made it difficult to go out and do anything with the kids.  I had gained and weighed more than I ever had other than pregnancy, possibly even more than pregnancy as I gained @20 pounds during pregnancy.  But this last year, I let myself go fitness-wise and weight-wise.  My already low self-esteem plummeted.  Jackie had major foot surgery which made it even more real that my daughter has a mild disability that will be with her for life.  A couple of weeks after the surgery, Jackie started wetting her pants.  Wetting her pants at school, in the car, at home, at church, at the store, everywhere.  I was frustrated with her and constantly yelled at her and begged her to tell me why she was doing this. This did not in any way, help my already fragile state of mind and I felt like a terrible mom.  Added to all that was the frustration with Ben's speech delay made more frustrating because Ben's receptive skills were out of this world but he could do nothing but grunt and use signs to get his needs met.  He had less than 5 clear words in his vocabulary.  I was at my wits' end with 2 kids with special needs. And nobody who I could really count on to provide me with a few hours respite from it all.  Tim was busy with a full-time load of classes for his MBA plus working full-time so the help from him was minimal at best.  During most of the Winter, I was also going to physical therapy twice a week for my shoulder and back. With everyone's needs, including mine, I rarely had a moment for myself.  I was too busy taking care of everybody else and neglecting myself.  And I was becoming resentful.  Even my best friend here was somewhat absent due to her going back to teaching full-time after several years hiatus and I have to admit that I was slightly jealous that she, at least, got a break from her own family's needs on a regular basis.  (Thankfully, we both realized how valuable our friendship is and we try to not let more than few days pass without talking to each other.) Needless to say, I was a mess and even though I tried to hide it, it was affecting nearly every aspect of my life. 
So, I finally got fed up with the way I was feeling, including how I felt about my weight.  Especially after a couple of comments from Tim that alluded to my weight gain. Until recent years, I was always the skinniest one in my family.  I was just blessed with a high metabolism.  But I'm older now and the pounds started packing on.  I joined the YMCA and immediately tried out a Zumba class.  I kept hearing about Zumba and I just had to check it out.  I was immediately hooked.  I started out going to one weekly class for a couple of weeks and gradually added on a couple more classes and now I go at least 4 times a week.  Plus, I have been working with a personal trainer.  And yes, I do feel better mentally although I still have the occasional panic attack.  Getting back into shape and losing a little bit of weight has boosted my self-esteem.  In additional to the exercise, I was able to take the kids to the play center at the Y while I took care of myself without worry for my kids.
I am SO glad that I joined the Y.  It really is a great place to meet people.  I have a tendency to stay to myself in new environments but there are many people there who are very friendly and welcoming.  I usually feel very inadequate around others and unworthy to be around.  But it didn't take me long to feel like I really belonged there.  We were all there (well, most of us) for one purpose and that was to get fit and lead healthier lifestyles. I have met some fantastic people there.  I really hit it off with one of the very first people I met at the Y. Our kids were the same age and we could relate because we both had at least one child who had some special needs.  She is a wonderful person and an awesome wife and mother.And her kids are hilarious.   Unfortunately, something happened (still not sure what) that put a rift in our friendship. Now we're still friends but I'm much more cautious around her because I do not want to say or do anything that could possibly offend.  I can't quite be myself around her because I value this person's friendship too much. I feel bad that as close in age as our kids are, we have not done much together but both of our families have been busy during the summer. 
I have also made some other friends at the Y.  More great friends.  Friends who have commented positively on the physical changes they've witnessed in me.  One of those friends is a great person except for one that makes me feel somewhat uncomfortable. And that would be the potty mouth.  But I value the friendship enough to try to ignore it.  Heck, even I let words fly but this person has a really potty mouth.  However, it makes me feel good that these new friends have noticed the positive changes. It's a shame, though, that until recently I had to hear such positive remarks when I wasn't even getting them from my own husband.  But bless his heart, he is finally noticing and letting me know it.   What I've been doing these last 6 months has been worth it after all.  And hopefully, Tim won't continue to worry that he's going to end up with an obese wife.
Now just having said all that about making new friends in new places and finally coming out of my shell again, I still struggle with where I truly belong.  Especially at church.  That deserves it's own post later.
I've always struggled with belonging.  I never truly belonged in any one group.  I was always the outcast.  I was the outcast because I had the coke-bottle thick glasses, because I was too skinny, because I was too ugly, because I didn't dress like everybody else due to Mother's refusal to buy me decent clothes, I always wore hand-me-downs (rarely new).  There were things but one of the worst was because of Kenny, my parents' son.  I have no relationship with him.  Again, a story that deserves it's own post when the time is right. Even as I became an adult, I was so socially inept that when people did try to get too close to me, I would do something to compromise those relationships.  It's only been in recent years that I have allowed myself to get close enough to others and develop close-knit relationships. But, I still struggle with being with groups of friends.  I often feel excluded from conversations or events.  I have a difficult time with those who monopolize conversations. It brings back old feelings of always being left out and being unworthy.  I try to avoid groups for another reason and that is because of my hearing loss.  Most people don't realize that I have a hearing loss but over the years, I have learned to compensate by piecing together pieces of conversation to figure out what is being said.  Unfortunately, I still misunderstand at times and respond contrary to what was just said.  Needless to say, many people don't think I'm too swift.  And it hurts to be treated as such.  So, oftentimes, in groups of people, I tend to hang back and just let everybody have their conversations around me.  This often leaves me feeling excluded and isolated.
A couple of situations this past week have brought up these old feelings again and it caused me to become somewhat reserved and slightly depressed.  But I am determined to get past this and to try to keep fostering these friendships.  And?  No matter what happens, I am even more determined to continue working on getting my body back in shape and keep it that way and live a healthier lifestyle. And I want to be a good example for my kids on living a healthy life.  Now if only my knee will quit bothering me.

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