Saturday, August 25, 2007

Stepping away

I've been absent three weeks! That is a long time.

This week has been better, but the two weeks before that were pretty awful. I'm not talking about my weight, though that did pop up a pound; I'm talking about my outlook on life in general.

I started sublingual allergy drop treatments for seasonal/environmental allergies, and they made me sick at first (as happens with a minority of patients). Trying to figure out how to avoid food allergens while still feeling the full effect of allergies (while not feeling any better from the effort) was extremely frustrating. Then I got my period; it came with bad cramps and a nearly unprecedented (for me) level of sudden despair. Simultaneously, I was working full-time and then staying until late at night 2-3 days a week while learning my new job and training my new employee. Let me tell you that all of that is a bad combination.

I wanted to hide from life. I was scared--as I get when I feel really down--that I was headed into a new bout of deep depression instead of just having a mini-phase.

Instead of entirely hiding from life, I backed away from the social part of my life and only accomplished what I needed to at first. Then I focused on what I could change to make my life feel more right again. That involved some compromises with how I normally try to live.

I am someone who seeks out local, whole foods whenever I can. I like to eat foods close to their natural state, knowing they are better for our bodies in the forms they take when they are closest to the earth. That's also better for the Earth because eating whole foods avoids packaging, shipment, waste from additives, etc.

But when I am adjusting to these food allergies, I can't suddenly make everything from scratch with my new restraints as easily as I could before them. I also can't eat your typical packaged food because, besides not being very tasty to me now, it almost all contains things I can't have.

What I realized I could do is find well-reviewed sources for allergen-free foods on the web and buy some mixes--cookie mixes, bread mixes, etc. A bad gluten-free, egg-free mix bakes up to be something you would only feed a significant other that you want to get rid of. But a good gluten-free, egg-free mix can make food that is tasty, sometimes very tasty. I read up on the internet to find ones that were well-rated, and then I ordered $100 worth of those mixes.

I decided that this week at work, I would leave by 5 p.m. each day--and I stuck to it.

I postponed a doctor's appt. that I was supposed to have this week that was making me feel overwhelmed with visits to doctors.

My period ended, of course, and that helped me get on a more even keel hormonally.

I cut back (just temporarily) on the amount of local foods I am buying to give me time to adjust to the allergen-free recipes I am starting to use. I am still serving 1-2 local foods per night for dinner, but I'm not, at this point, striving anymore to get as many local foods as I can. I'll pick that up again when I feel more adjusted to my food restrictions.

I made a schedule of things (only one thing per month and one other thing per season) that I want to do and try in the next sixteen months--to keep myself from trying to jump into too many things at once, but also to remind myself that the feeling like my life is in a bad place is only a temporary emotional locale that will pass. Now I'm excited about the various things I am going to try. I put them all in my Google calendar with reminders that will get emailed to me to keep me on track.

I increased how often someone is coming to clean our apartment. Having a housekeeper come for vacuuming, bathroom-cleaning, etc., is a splurge that my husband and I agreed to after our apartment got really dirty after my husband was hit by a car last year. We pay the housekeeper well (she makes more per hour than I do!), but we have the money, and it's well worth it right now for her to come in with her all-natural products and clean once a week instead of once every two weeks as we were having her do. That will continue until my husband finishes the two experiments/papers he is currently working on for his thesis at the end of next month.

I have also been trying to take the time to calm myself down emotionally, to talk myself down from the ledges that I can climb to when I begin to get worked up over how X is going in my life. It's so easy to think things are dire when really they just need a few adjustments.

I grew frustrated two weeks ago when I gained 1 1/2 pounds (at the start of my period) and then could not seem to get it off. Then I realized that I have been exercising very little (even incidental exercise, like parking far from a store) because of how hot it is outside. I also, due to the food allergy frustrating, have been eating more at a sitting than I was doing. I have been eating until I'm full, occasionally until I'm unpleasantly full, instead of stopping eating when I first feel the food hitting my stomach (which I find usually means I will be satisfied after a few minutes). That weight is gone now except for .2 pounds because I reminded myself to pay attention to how I feel when I'm eating. I am trying to remind myself, as I often say and mean when I say, that I am in this weight-loss thing for the long haul and not a short fix.

(Meanwhile, I realized two days ago that a pair of my size-16 dress pants are now certifiably too big. I saw my reflection in a mirror by chance and thought, These look horribly droopy on me! A bad realization when you can't change out of them at that moment, but a good realization overall.)

When you feel bad, it's not good to shrink away from your systems of accountability and care, and both of those are part of what this blog is to me. But I do think I needed a short break from doing anything beyond what I needed to do. I'm back to posting now, and while I am going to be taking it a bit easier, I will try to post at least once a week and get some of my new, allergen-free recipes up here. I still love reading your blogs and having you read mine.


Critter said...

Wow, it seems like you really do have a lot going on right now. We all need to take a break and take care of ourselves sometimes. Good luck with the new recipes.

gaga said...

I missed you Sally. Keep taking good care of yourself. You are obviously on the right track but remember you have so much to adjust to and it doesn't happen overnight.

Fatinah said...

welcome back chicklet!

Dynamo360 said...

VP, Glad to hear things are going a little better than they have been. I can relate to what you are saying about needing to focus on what *needs* to be done first... as when I am in hard emotional spaces it seems much much harder to take good care of myself.

You have accomplished so much and I have no doubt you will continue. :)

Thanks for writing.

Salma Gundi said...

I'm glad to see you resurfacing and am very much looking forward to your recipes :)

celtic_girl said...

imrxcfI know what you mean about hiding out I feel the same when things seem overwhelming. I sometimes wish I could get a "pass out" on life and go somewhere to chill out on my own.