Monday, December 21, 2009

When I snap my fingers you will quack like a duck!

I was talking to my dad the other day when he mentioned that he would really like everyone together for Christmas in Illinois in the next couple of years. After our chat, every minute I was not involved in work, etc., I was thinking about what he said. I would love to be home for the holidays, but it has been out of the question the last few years since even the thought of an airport causes my heart to jump through my throat.

But I really want to have a snowy holiday with the ones I love again and be able to travel there without passing out in the ticket line for American Airlines. So I made the decision to look into other options to treat my anxiety. My therapist had suggested hypnotherapy since a car accident was the trigger to my anxiety disorder and hypnosis would be a way to tap into the emotions caused by the accident. I checked out hypnotherapy last year, but it could run $150 or more a session, so I quickly nixed the idea.

But I decided to look into it again and found a local practitioner with good reviews. I had a consultation with her today and I think that it went well. Even though I thought I was going to vomit when I walked in the door due to my anxiety, I felt quite a bit calmer once I sat down and started talking with her. She noticed my ice pack right away, which I constantly carry around with me because the coolness helps calm me down. The first thing she did was teach me a visualization to cool me down without having to carry around an ice pack, which was really interesting. She suggested imagining that I was in the shower and watching myself turning the water temperature colder and colder. I will definitely try it next time I am in a panic inducing situation.

We talked about the process and what hypnosis actually is. She usually suggests ninety minute sessions once a week for seven weeks to completely work on an issue. Then it came time for the cost and she told me she was not the cheapest hypnotherapist right out, but it would be less expensive if I decided to do the seven sessions instead of just one at a time. No matter which way you look at it though, it is expensive.

I walked out really torn because I want to explore all my options but I do not have money to throw away either. So I came up with a plan. Over the next two and a half months I will pull a small amount of money from each paycheck, which will equal half the cost. If during that time period I keep up with a decent diet, some exercise and listen to the relaxation CD I bought from her, Rommel agreed that we would withdraw the other half (he asked if they make guarantees though). This way there is no crazy withdraw from our accounts, I have time to see if the CD helps my stress levels, and I can do some research to decide if this is what I really want to do.

In the end, my dad said he was disappointed that I was not quacking like a duck. I guess you can't please everyone.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

The pups ... again

We were getting ready for work and Sunny was pawing at us every time we walked by, so I decided to break out the camera.

A day in the park...

Monday, December 14, 2009

Girl Stuff

I started trying to eat better last week, cutting out most processed foods, and it went well the first few days. Then my digestive system started to react to all the fruits and veggies I had been eating. I read that is actually a good thing, the fiber cleaning everything out. It could also be the food combinations I have been eating, which I need to read more about.

On Thursday I was desperately craving something like pizza and was quick to convince a friend to head to a local pizza joint for lunch. As for how much I ate, let's just say buffets are a very bad thing. I was in physical pain the rest of the afternoon.

Things kind of went downhill after that. I knew something was up because I did not feel quite right and I was craving everything that was bad for me. It turns out that I was about to start my period, which was a really good sign. Not a good sign in an afraid I might be pregnant way, but in a have not had my period in months due to stress. At least I know that my stress level is lower now, which is probably because my anxiety is not as bad.

So I gave in to some of my cravings over the weekend, but I am ready to get back to the good stuff. I made three days worth of green smoothies today and filled the cabinet with brown rice and brown rice pasta.

My big question is when will the cravings stop?

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Buying veggies and cleaning cabinets.

Yesterday I really tried to prepare for a week of healthy eating. I stopped by the grocery store and filled my basket up with apples, bananas, carrots, sugar snap peas, and broccoli. I also bought plenty of brown rice and brown rice pasta because I want to avoid anything with white flour or wheat in it. I also knew that I would be craving something snacky like a cookie or cracker. I found a honey brown rice puff cereal that was not only organic but it only had five ingredients and I knew exactly what each one was. I figured it would be the best option when I want something sweet but crunchy, etc, instead of running for some sugar-packed junk.

Then I tackled my pantry, well it is actually more like a small part of the pantry. Over five years I have managed to claim one large cabinet out of several in our kitchen. My mother-in-law uses the rest of them. It's a long story, but I realised it was probably for the best when I had to throw away almost two-thirds of its contents because they had expired. I originally just wanted to get rid of the junk but once I started the garbage bags just kept filling up. I have a tendency to buy things and completely forget I ever bought them, which was hard for me to deny when looking at a trash can full of unopened boxes and cans. More than anything it made me feel guilty for all the mouths that food could have fed if I had not wasted it and also the trash I was creating.

Once that job was done I washed all the veggies and placed them in bags so I could grab them on the way to work.

I finished off by eating some of the brown rice pasta with butter (I can't give up all the bad stuff just yet) and steamed broccoli.

Today I had a banana for breakfast, brown rice pasta for lunch, carrots and sugar snap peas for a snack, and then brown rice and steamed broccoli for dinner. And yes, there was a Starbucks green iced tea in there too. I know that it was pretty boring, but I am not really a big foodie and it was easy. I also have an "allergy" to quite a few fruits and veggies that causes slightly swollen lips and a scratchy throat. It's more annoying then anything, but after a few minutes I usually do not feel like continuing to eat them. When I tried the green smoothies in the past, I actually stopped reacting to them at all, which will hopefully happen again this time. I will incorporate more variety over time, but right now it is whatever is easiest.

I feel pretty good about today and excited about tomorrow.

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Christmas and other days in December

We spent today getting ready for the holidays. Rommel and I spent a little time this morning decorating the front of the house with lights before moving on to addressing holiday cards. The list of people kept getting longer and longer and I ended up having to order another fifty cards. I just can't help it, I want to share pictures of our adorable pups with the world.

Then we moved on to the Christmas tree. We put it up on Thanksgiving, but had not gotten around to putting on the ornaments. We are slowly collecting ornaments with stories behind them, just like I grew up with, and it is fun to pause and think about where each one came from.

And I finally got around to the presents. The pile has been building on the floor of my bedroom over the last couple weeks and I honestly wanted to get them all wrapped just to get rid of all the clutter.

But to be completely honest, the day I cannot get out of my head is my birthday. In three weeks I will be turning thirty and am completely depressed about it. I am not one of the people who dread the big three oh or anything like that because I have never thought of birthdays as me getting older. Birthdays should not be a death of another year, but the celebration of everything you have lived through and everything ahead of you. And I do have a lot to celebrate this year, most importantly a wonderfully supportive husband and happy marriage.

So I am sure you are wondering what I am so depressed about and that is the fact that I am turning thirty but I physically feel a hell of a lot older than that. I have all the usual problems someone who does not exercise or watch their diet does but I also have the added difficulties of my anxiety.

My list of health problems:
  • overweight
  • debilitating back pain*
  • dizziness/vertigo*
  • stomach pains diagnosed as Irritable Bowel Syndrome*
  • migraines*
  • constant fatigue to the point where I am not able to do much more than go to work*
Everything with a * next to it can be attributed to anxiety/stress. Between my increasing anxiety and my heath, there was honestly a point in time that I did not think I would even be able to keep working.

Obviously my priorities have been out of whack and I need to reevaluate how I choose to live my life. At first I was all about changing everything at once, but I know that is just setting myself up to fail. So I am going to try and take it one step at a time.

The first step will be to eliminate the parts of my diet that are the "enemies" of anxiety. The four things that can make anxiety worse are caffeine, alcohol, tobacco, and sugar or as my therapist calls them, the cats. I do not drink and I do not smoke, so those are no problem. I do consume a small amount of caffeine, which may not effect most people, but can still give me the jitters. My big sin is sugar and oh how I love sugar. Sugar causes stress and stress makes me want sugar; it is an awful cycle.

So I will continue to drink my Starbucks green iced tea every morning while I try extremely hard to give up sugar. I will try to avoid all sweets and most processed foods, while filling up on more natural foods. Green smoothies will become part of my everyday diet again.