Do I look stressed in this picture? We were about to embark on a 4 hour drive over the mountains and my 16 year old was driving, I should have been stressed! But I was fine. She wasn’t very experienced yet, and I was able to be relatively calm through the drive and teach her about mountain driving. We laughed and had a fun drive. She traded out with me about half way there, but she did great. We were on a little mini family trip. I took the 3 kids by myself on a camping trip to visit a dear friend. I would have loved for my husband to have come along, but the job situation didn’t work out.
Now let me tell you about what my life looked like 4 years ago. Let’s just say me and 3 kids driving 4 hours to camp would not have happened. My husband worked in the oil and gas industry, before it mostly collapsed. He was gone a lot. I was left to take care of all the household duties, kid duties, yard duties, fixit duties, you name it. Don’t get me wrong, I am pretty handy. I can fix my sprinklers, trouble shoot most household issues, I am quite well versed in programming the heater/air conditioner, turning on the fireplace, unclogging drains, you name it. I am and always have been a fiercely independent woman and I thrive under pressure. However, at the same time, when all is done, and the pressure is past, I would crumble. The nights were lonely and quiet without my husband around to talk to. I would get all the kids off to bed, much later than I wanted to, then I would crawl into bed myself, useless to do anything productive, hoping to be able to fall asleep but too tired to sleep well. Often the dishes would start to pile up, as would laundry. I was short with the kids and didn’t have much grace when they would get on my nerves. And honestly I spent a lot of time hiding in my room. Having my husband home when his job in the oilfield ended helped, but it brought different stresses. I had to learn to share responsibility, to ask for help, to share parenting duties. (Fiercely independent – remember) So this brought a whole new level of stress into my life. I was a hot mess. We were eating pretty unhealthy foods, and exercise wasn’t a word in my home.
One day my story started to change. I started to feel like I could tackle some of those tasks that had fallen behind. I hid from the kids less, and started making an effort to spend time with them. I was sleeping better and able to wake up without snoozing my alarm. I remember laying in bed thinking how strange it was that I was awake and even though it was my habit to stay in bed, I didn’t feel the need to. Every day life became more bearable, not so stifling. One night I found myself up cleaning out the refrigerator at midnight. It was long overdue, and I just dove in without thinking of the former dread. I had started taking things to help me sleep and give me more energy during the day. And it was really helping!
I very likely was (am?) suffering from depression. I don’t use the term lightly, and I do know it is a real thing. I say very likely because I don’t like to go to doctors. It is undiagnosed. 10 years ago, I walked away from an abusive marriage. I was lost, I had forgotten who I was, and how to be happy. And I had two children from that marriage. The time they were not with me was almost as stressful as the time they were. I didn’t know how to stand up for myself, and I let people walk all over me, including my children.
Now I won’t say that I am cured, or that I never have those days where I just want to curl up in bed and sleep the day away. But I have them less often. My stress levels have gone down dramatically. I am doing better. I am functioning better, getting things done, and diving into life with purpose. And I am not on medication to do it. Recently I have been on a path of seeking health. I have some trust issues with doctors and pharmaceutical companies (no disrespect meant to my friends in those industries). I am trying to overhaul the way we eat in our home. I am not perfect, and I struggle with a sugar addiction, but for the most part, if it isn’t natural, I am not putting it in my body. It started with a line of supplements that encouraged my new lifestyle choices and I believe this was the first step in healing for me. I have never felt better. Soon I wanted to eat better and I wanted to exercise. My depression still peaks out sometimes, but I have an amazing spouse who is really good at helping me through (when I let him!) I believe firmly that changing your lifestyle and what you put into your body can change your health. I’m not talking about dieting, or crazy fads, I am talking about real, wholesome foods, all natural supplements derived from fruits and vegetables, and good old fashioned exercise. Together these changes have changed my world. If you want to hear more about the changes I have made or the supplements that started it all, send me a message on Facebook and I will be happy to reach out.