I was able to leave work a couple of hours early today. I knew I must take the opportunity to slide in an extra workout. I texted my husband and he decided to go with me.
I changed into my old workout outfit. It’s probably almost a decade old, and the shirt has had paint on it for longer than my 6 year old has been alive. The pants gained a bleached area after moving into our previous home about 2 years ago.
Nathan picked the treadmill, and I chose to do a combo of elliptical and rowing machine. We both did a full 45 min workout, and I did my best to maximize mine (HR, speed, resistance, etc.).
I started with the elliptical set on a big incline to maximize focus on quads and glutes. My quads have been weak and my glutes have been chronically tight; sometimes that’s a sign of weakness, but it’s also potentially just because of the nature of how I stand while working.
Either way, I wanted this workout to help in as many ways as possible. So, I picked my machines based on muscles I wanted to work, and the duration for helping my brain function.
10 min into the elliptical my clothes were bothersome. They are now so baggy that they catch on things. While still in motion I tied a knot in my shirt hem, and pulled my pants up higher and cinched in the drawstring more. I then had to pull my sleeves up as high as possible to get them to stay put.
When I got home I realized they were 18/20W or a 2XL. When I originally bought them I was not quite at my largest and they were comfortably loose. I do remember when I hit my largest they were no longer quite so comfortable and that was one of many signals to acknowledge I needed to fix things. That was over 7 years ago.
Now, I know I wore a fitted size Large scrub top last week that wasn’t quite so tight anymore. I wouldn’t call it spacious or comfy, but it’s not restrictive like it was when I bought it in the frame of mind of being hopeful.
So I’m down from an 18/20W plus size to a solid 14/16 regular, and still shrinking, not quite to a size 12 yet.
This is quite possibly the slowest process I’ve ever noticed, but it is progress. The bathroom scale is still useless registering 217-220 depending on the day, but I’m definitely slowly inching smaller.
I still get frustrated over my tummy because it shows bloating so readily, but I’m definitely smaller. When I stand with proper posture and I’m not bloated, my tummy is smaller than my breasts, the last times that happened was directly after giving birth to my children. It makes me feel good.
This all helps me feel better. The exercise itself, the results, being smaller, feeling better physically, it all helps my mood. This on top of all of my regimen is a big helper, but I’m still inching up.
It’s not taking me weeks or months anymore, but it’s still taking me multiple days to climb out of mental health pits. It is improvement, but I look forward to hours instead. Nay, I look forward to never falling to begin with.
I’m not sure I’m ready to contemplate what that puzzle looks like yet. I’ll get this one down better first.
Anyway, I wanted to share my efforts and the noticable measures of improvement. I will keep plugging away and eventually I will be back up again.
May you have moments of appreciation and validation of your efforts at improvement. May your brain always cooperate with you. May you have stable mental health and a healthy body inside and out. May you know you are doing better and find ways to love yourself for it. May you know you’re loved and supported.
However, this week has been challenging to see any such progress.
I didn’t get a chance to do any InkTober drawings after the 5th, and even that one didn’t get finished on the 5th. I didn’t get all my exercise in. I didn’t get my salt bath last night. My arms and hands hurt, and frankly a lot of my body hurt, that is why I failed to exercise. I was tired all week, and the fatigue was so intense that two days it caused a drop in mood as well.
I did ask for help. I received acupuncture twice and an adjustment today. My husband worked on me despite having a million other things on his to-do list. I used mechanical tools to work on myself and rested more than usual. I also managed to stay very clean on food choices, especially since I know this mess started because of food fails.
Instead of continuing my 7 day a week work journey, I cleared Sunday. I also cleared part of my Tuesdays to have a few extra hours to myself.
Mondays I’m now functional as office staff for the clinic, and this week it was a good thing because I almost ended up alone. The front desk person was in a nasty car accident over the weekend and the friend/office manager wasn’t really at full capacity from chemo. But the two of us managed to get through the day with a minimum of difficulty.
Saturdays are still split between the clinic and the independent living building. The rest of the week is all massage. Regardless of where or when, I continue to do my best to spread love and healing with all my activities and interactions.
It’s a lot, but I want to help, for God and for good, so I do. I know it could be worse because my past has had worse if both extremes (too much and too little). I’d rather keep doing what I’m doing than risk too little again.
Autumn is now out of the hospital and Nathan has been helping her with several things during the day. She is more ambulatory now than we were originally concerned about, and KU Med was finally able to get the MRSA infection under control. She will now receive a weekly infusion treatment of an experimental drug which so far seems to be doing the job nicely. Her thumb was the last surgery done, and she was worked on by skilled plastic surgeons, so instead of loosing the thumb, it’s now just a fraction of an inch shorter and more slender than her other hand, but infection free.
She has many challenges, but amidst the chaos of the medical predicament, her wife has agreed to mariage counseling. So, their divorce which was sidelined by the medical situation continues to be in forbearance. She is unsure of moving forward, so she’ll stay with us at least short term to figure out post hospital treatments and what might happen with her wife.
I told Nathan that I simply wanted to help and if we see her through all the way, it’s great, but if we merely get her started that is okay too. God knows what is best for both her and our desire to help.
Some days I wonder what I’m doing, and why I keep pushing. Others I simply know exactly why.
My feminine half wants to slow down, and my masculine half knows I can’t, at least not yet. I must keep going a little while longer.
My masculine half wants to finally heal and be the slender Venus I desire. My feminine half knows I may never fix it and need to quit being so damn hard on myself.
My masculine half needs to strive to be better, do more, be stronger, be healthier, push and push, to try and make up for all the times I wasn’t good enough. My feminine half knows that sometimes we’re not able to do or be something because it’s simply not our job, not our responsibility. You can’t fix everything, that is why we need to look to God and allow the divine forces to do things for you.
But the I wasn’t raised that way, my parents rarely trusted God, and usually it was my mom demonstrating all the trust in divine will. So I keep trying and weeks like this feel insurmountable. I want to trust, but when I’m so damn tried and achy it’s awfully hard to do so.
I see Autumn as a beautiful woman that has been horribly battered and beaten by life, and she needs to find her inner self and love and trust to be able to truly heal.
Saying those words I also see myself.
Yet, I know I have felt my inner being. I’ve heard my inner being. I know what that means. I love my inner being, and when I look at all the things I’ve lived through and overcome I do love myself.
I love how much I’ve strived to improve myself, not just for me, but for my whole family. I love that I never gave up, when many times I wanted to. I love that I fought depression and despite it nearly winning dozens of times, it never actually did. Despite two decades of a depression ridden brain telling me I’d be better off dead, I have managed to live and find at least some healing.
At this point I feel like the exhausted sprinter that took third place. I feel like I could have and should have done better, but I made it far enough that I do deserve some kind of prize. Right now I just don’t know what that means, but I’m trying not to fall over before I get to find out.
I have one client left for the day, one of my house calls that I’m very tempted to not reschedule with. I definitely have trouble saying NO, especially when something helps me keep up with the never-ending snowball of finances, so off I go for one more hour.
May you see your inner beauty and trust yourself enough for healing. May you find a way to show love even when others choose not to see it. May you know your efforts matter in just the way God intends. May you find ways to help others around you even when you might need help yourself. May you find ways to take care of yourself and keep yourself functional to be able to keep doing more. May you put yourself first just enough to matter and show yourself some love. May you know that in the end it will all somehow be worth it. May you know God loves and supports you.
*image sourced from Pexels library, is not Atutmn*
My visit with Autumn in the hospital was very good and very needed. She is a beautiful woman that has been hurt many times in her life, and in horrible atrocious ways. I think more than anything that is her biggest hurdle to being well.
I took her a $15 orchid from Hy-Vee (midwestern grocery chain). She cried because they were beautiful and unexpected.
She cried several times, because she explained that she honestly had a wary reaction to our offer to help, along the lines of: ‘what do they want from me’.
It took me explaining my journey with mental health caused by thyroid disease (which I now know probably has it’s root cause in a chronic viral infection) and how much I have had to go through and deal with and figure out on my own. I explained that when I begged God to help me pull up and fix everything, that I had promised to return the favor to others, and she was simply my first encounter to fit the bill.
I also explained to her that for both mine and Nathan’s hospital stays 8 and 10 years ago, there was no one that helped us navigate those times. I simply said “everyone needs someone sometimes, and Nathan and I didn’t have that someone when we needed it, so when I realized she didn’t have anyone, I was determined to be there for her”. She cried again.
We connected on similar childhood journeys and the battle with depression, including many of the symptoms that leave a person feeling crazy and like no one understands. She was amazed when to her comment of “sometimes the world seems so flat and two dimensional”, my response was “like everything looks like cardboard cutouts, like paper dolls”. I explained that I now know that is a symptom of brain swelling combined with exhaustion, your brain literally compresses your view into a more easily processed flattened image, it helps conserve energy and enables processing when the physical structure of the brain is literally under pressure. I told her my last bout of that was when the virus flared 3 weeks ago, and it made driving home very difficult. She cried again, and I cried too.
She was so relieved that someone really truly understood what she was going through. That she wasn’t alone and that there was hope. I told her I’m not perfect, I still have bad days and fall downs, but I will take my occasional fails over the constant struggle of years and years past. I reassured her it isn’t the easiest fix, and can be really hard to maintain, but is totally worth it. She wanted to live to try, and that is huge.
She has had a much harder adult life than I have and that led to some of her current woes. The infection itself started when a drug dealer abducted her and forceably shaved her with a dirty razor. That was the precipitating event that was ended with a police standoff and her being admitted to hospital care. That was one of many horrendous stories she shared with me and Nathan. My heart goes out to her, no one ever deserves to be treated like that.
Regardless, I promised her that I knew several things we could try if she made it out of the hospital. Things that would help with her depression and possibly other health concerns that have been sidelined by trauma and the MRSA infection. Even some techniques that combined with her psychiatric care might help release some of the traumas’ damage. I will not replace the pros, merely supplement.
I also told her if I had known about her job loss, I could have helped with that too, but now we’ll have to wait for her to get better. See, like me she was working with an elderly woman doing home health. Where I go and come from several people, she had one lady that she worked with all the time and that lady had passed away causing her to lose her source of income. I told her that I am connected to the elder care network in this city so well, that if I had known I could have found her work quickly. She cried more.
She was simply overwhelmed that Nathan and I are so willing to help her in what seems to her as huge ways. She said “To think I went to a cafe so many years ago to read a book to escape my father’s abuse.” I told her “I know, sometimes you never know when you meet someone as to what it will mean later”.
Please do keep sending prayers. I may have given her just enough of a nudge of encouragement for her to pull through, but only time and God will tell.
On another note, a friend of ours from college, living in Iowa, is going through a rough journey as well. He could also use prayers. He has more of a support network, but he has small children like me and as you’ll see below and equally scary prognosis as Autumn.
These are challenging times, and the virus of the news is really the least of the problems. The news still wants you to think it is the worst, but I really don’t think it is. I keep reminding people that if someone has health problems slowly taking their lives and corona polishes them off, then corona gets the sole blame. I will not be one bit surprised if at the end of the year, the heart disease, cancer, and other death stats are far lower than they typically trend. It’s how they are padding numbers to make the stats scary.
Beyond that, we are experiencing a global shift and the survivors will be the ones that take care of themselves, but also help humanity find oneness and healing.
If you get stuck in fear, anger, or divisiveness it will likely cause you much more immediate problems. The more time you spend in negative thought patterns, the more likely you will suffer and may not survive. I know this is my biggest challenge, but it really is for everyone, especially with the external input we have available at this time.
You must honor yourself and your needs as much as you are able. You must quiet the mind as much as you are able. You must look for your inner being as much as you are able. And when all else fails look for the flowers or cute kids or adorable animals to distract yourself and find moments of positivity. It is difficult, and I too struggle to do so at times, but coming together and aiming for positive solutions is the main solution for everything.
I half want to write a post expounding on why medicine is scared over this or any virus (the lack of post-contraction treatment beyond symptom relief); but I halfway don’t, because it would cause me to focus on things that piss me off and which I have no solution for personally. I want medicine to solve the problem, but acknowledge there are mechanisms far beyond my control preventing the corporate desire to want the ability to cure chronic viral infections.
I know focusing on that topic for too long would be detrimental to me. I may still work on that post a little at a time. It needs pointed out and expounded on, but if I am to do that I will have to do so in manageable ways that help maintain my own energetically-sovereign-self. We shall eventually see if I can do it or not.
May you find ways to maintain your energetically-sovereign-self and stay buoyant in these challenging times. May you take care of yourself enough to survive the shift. May you see ways to help others do the same. May we all reach for oneness and helping humanity progress for the better. May you see the value of acceptance of others and oneness, and thus enable humanity to improve and survive the shift as a collective. If you are certain it is your time to go, and none of this is possible for you, then may you have the easiest quickest gentlest transition possible. May we all know that God loves and supports all of us and wants all of humanity to grow in positive ways. May you see that God really wants us to genuinely care about those around us, regardless of blood ties or any other superficial ties. May you share the light that helps us all get through our days just a bit easier.