I don’t like to talk about things like my weight. I don’t like to talk about things like my struggle with depression. I don’t like to talk about things like my anxiety attacks.
But I am going to write about them. This is the first I’ve done this to this degree. I read that if you call out these things and share them with others, you’re more likely to be successful as you try to maintain things such as weight loss. They say it holds you more accountable. We’ll see.
Since my son was born, our world, more specifically my world, has revolved around him. I don’t work outside the home. He is my constant. And he is constant. From the day he was born, he has been a complete source of joy and a love so big mixed with a source of anxiety, worry, and fear.
We have had many bumps in the road, but his Autism diagnosis was the one that rocked me. Not necessarily his diagnosis, because that came somewhat as a relief to me once we got it, but just Autism in general. If you’ve loved someone with Autism then you understand how all-consuming it is. There isn’t a single speck of your life it does not touch. It changes everything.
Every aspect of our life is different than I thought it would be. Some for the better, as I wouldn’t change my son for anything. But, there is a lot of hard that I wouldn’t wish upon anyone. As many blessings and gifts I can see woven into Autism that has transformed us, I still would never wish it upon anyone. It’s just that hard.
I think as a mom it’s very easy to get lost.
It’s very easy for your identity to become that of your child or your spouse. I think it’s extremely easy to lose yourself in those things.
If you have a child with any form of special need, that gets magnified. I was kind of hit with a double whammy. Not only do I have this all-consuming thing with my child, but I have a husband who has a job that can also be very consuming, to no fault of his own. Nature of the beast, I suppose.
So, over time, I just faded. It wasn’t anyone’s fault. It was what I allowed, and to a degree, what needed to happen.
We all go through seasons in life where we have to say “not right now.” It’s just not the right time for me to do this or that. Or, I need to put myself on the back burner for this period because something else needs to be the priority. That priority has been our son.
We were doing 35-40 hours of therapy a week at one time. I was driving over three hours a day to and from certain therapies. Not only was it physically all-consuming, but it was emotionally and mentally as well. There was no room for anything else, especially myself.
So over time, weight, stress, and exhaustion continued to pile on. I remember looking at myself and thinking, who is this person? I’m too young to be struggling this much. I had put on a decent amount of weight, I was on antidepressants, three different reflux meds brought on by stress, blood pressure medication, needed sleeping aids every night, and overall just felt miserable. It went on like this for a couple of years.
I finally got to the point where I had enough. Something in me clicked. A light turned on. I had been searching for the right thing to help me lose weight. I knew that was the first thing that needed to happen.
My husband helped me research and he came upon NOOM. It actually focuses on the psychology of weight gain. It sounded perfect for me because I knew most of my issue was mental after everything we had been through. I needed to get my mind right. Right away, I loved it!
As I worked on losing weight, things slowly started to improve in other ways. Over time, I was able to stop all medications. Even my blood pressure medication. It was extremely freeing. It has been freeing, as I’m still working hard at this. It’s been over a year and I have been able to maintain everything at this point.
I finally came to a place where I had to start thinking of myself as a priority. However, I was only able to really do that because things shifted with our son. He started school, and therapies decreased. It didn’t mean things were all of a sudden easy with him, but some things were easier because I actually had time. I had no excuses at this point to not do something. And I knew if I kept down this path, it wasn’t going to get better.
I don’t say any of this with ease. This is extremely difficult for moms especially; this concept of time for ourselves. It’s laughable to many, and it was to me as well. However, I have personally seen the great effects that that laugh can cause.
You’ve probably heard the saying, “you can’t pour from an empty cup.” And that is very true. I had grown extremely angry. I was lashing out and depressed. I needed help. But I needed to come to a place of saying I needed help. And I didn’t mean more medication. Although, I wholeheartedly believe there is a time and place for medications. They can be a true gift when you need them. But I knew I needed something different. So I started to do different.
I also somewhat recently started with a therapist. That has been a huge blessing to me. He encouraged me to start doing some more things for myself. One thing I used to do before I had Callan that I was really proud of was running from time to time. I loved running 5ks with my husband. I shouldn’t say with. He generally did a 10k faster than I could do a 5k. But, we were there together and it was just a fun time for me where I remember feeling really good about myself. So I started running again and have been able to get to that 5k mark.
It’s little victories. One less pill here, one more mile there. It’s taking time to say, “I am important.” It doesn’t matter how many times my husband says it. If I’m not there mentally, then I’m not going anywhere.
Maybe for you, it’s the same. It’s time to make changes. Maybe it’s seeing a therapist, maybe it’s exercising more. Maybe it’s starting to track your eating. Maybe it’s time to talk to your doctor about starting a medication. Or stopping one. Maybe it’s blocking out 10 minutes of your schedule to just step away from reality. Only you know what that thing is. But you have to be willing to say that it’s time. And maybe it’s not your time quite yet, but I pray you’ll find that time soon. You’ll be a better wife, mother, sister, and friend for it. It doesn’t mean things are suddenly easy. But it will make things easier to work through.