Crying in the Dressing Room

Something happened today.  I spent ten minutes crying in the dressing room at Kohls. 

Dear Journal, 

It has been awhile, much too long actually, since I took the time to write.  I had intended on writing more than I have. I’d say I’ll write more from here on out, but that might just be an empty promise.  I’ve been so busy, but aren’t we all? dressing room

Something happened today.  I spent ten minutes crying in the dressing room at Kohls.  It was because many of the things I grabbed didn’t fit.  This experience of nothing fitting wasn’t new, but something about this WAS different: things didn’t fit because they were too BIG.

As you may recall, I had the life changing opportunity to have roux-en-y gastric bypass.  When I last wrote in January, I was a month out from my surgery date. I had my surgery on February 20.  I’ve had no complications.  My first few weeks after surgery I regretted everything about it.  I was sore, I couldn’t eat like I wanted to, and I craved all the good foods.  However, one day everything clicked, and I started feeling great.  I think it started with a positive mind.  Sure, I can’t have anything sweet like cake or cookies, and I haven’t had a Diet Mountain Dew or a Monster in over three months. But, giving those things up is so worth it.  I don’t even miss them now.

So, back to the crying in the dressing room.  I wasn’t just crying tears of joy because I lost seventy pounds already, and the XL shirts I grabbed were too large now. No, I was crying because my diabetes was in remission.  My hormones were more balanced than ever before.  I might not have the same struggles with infertility that I’ve struggled with for the past two years.  My joints hurt less.  My depression and anxiety are better.  Emotionally, I am more confident.  This new found confidence has made me a better wife.  A better employee.  A better person.

I worked hard at loving myself each and every day.  Each and every pound.  Whether I was at my highest weight of 252 or my current weight now of 179.  (I’m 5’8″ for perspective.)  I had this surgery because I love me.  I know we live in a world of body positivity and sure, I loved myself and who I was, but my extra weight was a trigger for my depression. I knew and recognized that about myself.  I started to lose myself and not care about anything.  My shopping addiction got worse because I compensated for my emotional sadness by trying to collect things. Things to make me happy and things to make me forget how empty I sometimes felt inside.  Things I didn’t need.  This surgery was not only a saving grace for my physical health, but my mental health (and my wallet).

My journey isn’t over.  My journey is just beginning.  Each day I learn new things about myself.  I’ve found out that my new love is exercise not food or shopping, and my favorite sweet eat is now raspberries not cake or cookies.  I’ve learned to recognize things that make me anxious and then breathe not eat.  I’ve paid off every last credit card from those shopping sprees and collecting things to compensate for my sadness.  My life is starting over, and I’m so thankful for modern medicine, insurance, and perseverance.

I’m glad I didn’t talk myself out of this surgery.  If you’re reading this because you are debating what to do, whether it is surgery or something else: do what your heart tells you.  Try to picture your life if you do it or if you don’t.  Dream your best dream. Then do it.

Love,

-s

Not so social media.

Dear Journal, 

I did an experiment recently as I was facing a lot of darkness in my life.  I discontinued my use of all things social media for a little over a month.  No Facebook.  No Instagram.  No Twitter.  I only allowed myself to use our organization’s “company media” platform we network with each other on, and I was still on email.  This is part of the reason I’ve been silent on my blog, too. When I write on here, I’m always tempted to have Facebook up in the background for some reason! But, now I feel as though it is time to talk about my experience. Let me tell you this was no easy feat, but it was exactly what I needed.

May was certainly not my month.  If we are really being real, 2018 is not my year. I was worn out, depressed, and anxious even more than normal.  I was facing uncertainty about my evaluation for bariatric surgery, and I was awaiting a different appointment to see if any of my hormone levels improved.  This is a double edged problem, in a sense.  At my current health situation — diabetic, hypothyroid, PCOS, clinically obese — I most likely would not be able to become pregnant or if I could get pregnant, having a viable pregnancy would be unlikely.  That has been so hard for me to accept.  My doctor is fairly certain that about a year ago I had a very early term miscarriage based on some reactions from my body.  I can’t get that off my mind, and wonder if that truly was the case.  I’m getting older (OK, I’m only going to be 27 in a couple weeks, but that is pushing 30!), and the more time that goes by the more defeated I feel about having a family.  My husband, bless his heart, is patient and thinks that when the time is right and if it is meant to be, we’ll be able to have kids some day.  So this leads me to my social media experience.

My summary of my Facebook feed: Everyone is having babies.  Everyone is losing weight.  Everyone seems happy.  Everyone is head over heels for their significant other.  Now, I am very happy for my friends and acquaintances, but as I scrolled, it was not helping my mental state at all.  Essentially it looked like everyone was winning at life and I was losing.  I know that it’s easy to LOOK happy on social media, hell, if you looked at my Facebook page, you’d probably think I was super happy, stable, and enjoying life.  But, even so, I realized that I was living in the world of social media, dwelling on what others had that I might never have, as my husband and I got in yet another fight when I was feeling too fat to go to a BBQ.  I needed to stop.

The first few days of my absence of a social media presence was SO hard.  I realized just how many times I was reaching for my phone to just scroll through other people’s lives and how often I was ignoring what was right in front of me.  It was habitual. The more time that went by the more clear my mind got.  I was reading more, writing more, and even talking to my husband more.  I stopped comparing my life to everyone around me.  I stopped wondering if what I was doing or not doing was “right” based on the people around me.  It was an incredible feeling.

A few days ago I opened up my Facebook page and Instagram page again. I’m happy to be back, but I have a new respect for these things.  I no longer feel the need to spend hours a day on these platforms just in case I might miss some big news.  I cut down my online social circle, and I’m actually happy being on social media again.  If I find myself going down the path of borderline social media addiction again, I’ll put a stop on it.  I encourage you to look at just how much you are hiding behind a social media persona, and to redefine your presence online.  It might just clear your mind!

-s