Friday, October 29, 2010

What a difference you've made...

Today, I went and did Body Jam - it was awesome! Do you know what was so awesome about it? The music was funky and I could pretend to be a gangsta, but the best part, was that when I looked at myself in the long gym mirror, I didn't have to quickly look away or think "gosh...i'm so fat!".  I used to do Body Jam when we first moved to Shepparton in 2008, when I tipped the scales at a massive 122kg.  I was so unhappy, but couldn't get out of the habit of using food as a crutch.  I'd put on a lot of weight after Alex was born due to Post Natal Depression, and feeding my feelings was a lot easier than dealing with them.  My feelings, they sucked. They sucked a lot.

So - today's class got me musing on what else is different in my life these days.  I've been going to Weight Watchers for nearly 11 months now, and I've lost 21.7kg so far.  I'd already started losing some of the bulk in 2009 - with a change of medication, I didn't retain as much fluid, and I started WW at a still hefty 116kg.  Bigger than I'd ever been in my life.  When I first started to lose weight, I'd be discouraged, and think "why should I celebrate losing weight when I shouldn't even BE this weight to begin with!??!?".  But I rewarded myself and set goals, I really really wanted to do it - I was so sick of being tired all the time and having no energy for Alex or anything much.  So, even though I've had days or weeks where I've got off track, just keeping on going has ensured that the days have turned into weeks and the weeks have turned into months, and here I am nearly a year later (hmmm.....that reminds me of something else I did with my life, can anyone guess?)

The things that are different now are:
I can fit into a size 16 or 14, instead of a size 20 (gah!)
I have energy - I no longer want to sit on the lounge and do nothing
I eat lots and lots of salad and fruit and love it!
I have gone almost vegetarian and I love that as well...chickpeas and tofu are my friends
I am still a sugar addict and frequently snack on meringues mmmmmmmmmmmm sugar!
I go for long walks with Alex
I play with Alex a lot more, run around and chase him
I feel more confident in social situations
I can now buy clothes based on whether I like them, not just grabbing something that will fit and cover bulges!
I don't have to keep adjusting my clothes because my tummy pushes on them, that sinking feeling when you realise your pants are rolling down because your sizeable gut is pushing on it is NO MORE!
I am proud of myself because I wanted to do this and I am doing it!
I feel proud that I have inspired other people to want to be healthy
I feel like I respect myself more.  With the odd wobbly paranoid moment here and there, I want to be healthy so I can do more, as well as look nice in a pair of jeans :)
I feel younger.  Fat makes you look old.  I'll never forget being a large teenager in a borrowed pair of my mum's jeans on a School excursion to Newcastle.  My skinnier friends jogged past a group of cute surfies and I shuffled by uncomfortably.  One of the surfies looked at me with derision and said "are you the teacher?".    Ugh.  Not nice.
I am no longer asked if Alex is getting a brother or sister.  I lost count of the number of times someone looked at my plentiful tummy and said "sooo........???" and I had to say "NO I"M NOT PREGNANT".  bleah.
I can shop at the following: Cotton On, Sportsgirl, Jeans West and Just Jeans.  No more City Chic or Big is Beautiful for me.  Fashion for smaller people is so much cheaper.  Yay!

One of the things that has kept me motivated is the idea of being in the WW magazine....and I really really want to do that.  WW says that I have about 13 more kg to lose....and I really want to make this a reality.  I want to have a healthy BMI for the first time in my adult life.  I put weight on in adolescence, when I hit puberty.  Hurricane Deb errupted and I was horrendous.  I was miserable and feeling alone.  Food was my friend and comforter.  The same thing happened when I hit PND.  But now, I don't need to be unhealthy like that.  I can be free from the shackles and uncomfortability that being obese and overweight brings.  The shame and sense of failure.  I no longer hate myself, and I don't think it's all about willpower.  I love WW because you can eat whatever you like, within reason.  Smaller portions, pick your binge, do some exercise to earn more points.  I realised that if I put down the cake and went for a walk, my life would improve.   And it so did. 

I love Ajay Rochester's books, they're totally inspiring because she has walked the walk and is totally open about it.  At various stages throughout this journey I've cracked open her books again and again.  I'll finish on this - today I read in a WW book, this quote

"Eating healthily and exercising is Hard.  Being overweight is Hard.  Pick your Hard". 

I love it.  Because no matter how I struggle to stay on the moderate eating wagon, I know I never want to go back to the sheer torment of being obese.  This is not a battle I'll ever have full victory over, I'll always have a tendency to comfort eat and to be a bigger girl.  But with WW, I believe I have learnt a way of being that is truly sustainable for life.  And I'll be around for my little boy longer, and model good habits for him.  Which is why Ajay did it, and that's what it's all about.

Love and light
Deb :)

Monday, October 11, 2010

great expectations

Or - not so great expectations, as the case may be!

Being the age of 34, by now I'm starting to realise a few things about myself.  I have expectations of people sometimes that aren't fair.  I like people to be like me.  And when they're not, sometimes I feel hurt and wonder why they're being like that.  Crazy, isn't it?

Let me explain.  I am a very social person and my idea of hell is being on a deserted island.  I like time by myself, don't get me wrong, but I enjoy it for recharging my batteries, and don't like it if it goes for more than a day or so.  Being a stay at home mumsy, I find I need to get out and about at least once a day with Alex, so I can interact with others.  Otherwise, when Richard comes home, he's nearly knocked over by the barrage of words that comes flooding out of my mouth...."and then I did this, and then I did that, I saw a cat that chased a bird, then Alex did something cute, etc etc etc".  Richard is a soul who doesn't really crave conversation in the way that I do, and finds this generally offputting.  As you would!

Anyway, I am ok at the developing of friendships. I can be caring and sympathetic, and pride myself on being there for people (hey, I am discovering good stuff as well as bad stuff here!!).  But where it all comes unglued is when I haven't heard from someone for a while. Or if I feel like I'm doing all the running.  If phonecalls go unanswered and unreturned.  I feel hurt, then upset.  I feel like I don't matter to them.  I've come to realise that I have friends who don't need to communicate as much as I do, who I have to make a point of *not* ringing, because it only upsets me when they don't call me back.  They've constantly reassured me that they do love me, but that they know they're crap at keeping in touch.  So, these friends, I know are still in my life, if only on the periphery.

The rest of my friends, especially those in the mummy trenches, I kinda like to see at least once a week or once a month.  I like to keep in touch with people and find out how they're going.  I wish I could be some other way, but if friends continually make excuses or cancel on me then I feel like they don't really want to be my friend anymore.  I struggle with those people who get so busy that they can't catch up.  I never get that busy.  I make time.  But I really have to stop expecting my friends to be exactly like me!!  I need to just let go and let them have their lives without wondering why that text wasn't returned or that email wasn't answered. 

I hesitate to blog about this, because I know it makes me sound somewhat pathetic or neurotic.  I have plenty of people who I share my everyday with, but I seem to get caught up in wondering why those "too busy" people don't contact me - instead of focusing on those who do contact me, and those who I see and enjoy time with.  This is something I'm going to really work on, because it cost me a wonderful friendship last year.  Instead of talking about how I felt, I just got madder and madder, until in the midst of a dreadful bout of PMS, I unleashed a tirade on a dear friend.  She was in a very vulnerable place at the time, and has been unable to forgive me.  I get that.  I know I can be hard work.  So I'm trying to get rid of my expectations of others and give them space to be them.  It's hard.  Cause I want everyone to do what I do - because I'd understand that.  I understand myself.  Other people? not so much!!

Friday, October 8, 2010

history always repeats

Parenting is a funny thing. You learn a lot about yourself, and the influences in your life.  I realised something big today that I wanted to share.

I was hurrying to go for a bike ride with Alex, was in a rush, and was trying to help him get ready.  He wanted to wear his riding gloves, and so I was trying to help him put them on.  First try, there was no finger in the pointer finger, second try, there was no finger in the pinky.  Third try, the pointer was missing again.  Fourth try, the index finger was missing.  "Oh for heavens sake!" I grumped. "Alex, what the heck are you doing? Are you even trying?".  I saw his little face frown and his eyes take on a sad look, but was so caught up in what I was doing that I didn't take it in.  I tried again. "Come on, mate, put your finger in there. It's easy! Come on.  What are you doing?"  he tried again, very tentatively.  And yet again, no finger in the pointer finger.  I felt so frustrated "come on, mate" I exclaimed, "Do it properly or don't even try".   He dropped his bottom lip and looked like he might cry.  Suddenly, I snapped out of the perfectionistic trance that I was in.  What on earth was I doing to my little boy, and where had that come from?

I gave him a big hug.  "Sorry for being such a cranky mummy.  Mummy was being mean, wasn't she? Mummy was cross with the glove, not you".  And suddenly, I remembered someone in my young life helping me with my homework, with different things, and wanting me to do it right first time, getting frustrated with me, and giving up on me, or taking my homework off me and doing it themself.  This person is a perfectionist, no doubt because of their upbringing, and is much harder on themself than anyone else.  But it made me realise how deeply those words, that sentiment had echoed in my little girl psyche.  Because, dear reader, I chose to not even try, because I couldn't do it properly.  The sentiment echoed through all aspects of my life - through my relationships with guys, through my friendships, through my jobs.  All my life I did the bare minimum, only chosing things that I knew I was good at, that I had natural talent at, and avoiding anything that I couldn't do properly.  It's probably something to do with my core personality too, being prone to self doubt and needing reassurance.  Under those circumstances, someone with a stronger core would have thought "ok, I'll do it perfectly".  But I chose underachieving...and unlike Bart Simpson, I was not proud of it.  My life until around 2003 was one long shame spiral for the things that I knew I could probably do, but was too scared to try.

I'm so not criticising this person.  I love them unconditionally.  They worked so hard, and still work so hard, providing for their family.  It wasn't unheard of them to do a 40 hour week in one job, to do a couple of shifts at another workplace, and take on other work on weekends.  They wanted to give their family the best of everything because that's the way they show love.  So no wonder they were tired and frustrated and unable to be patient in every situation.  But I know one thing - I'm never going to tell Alex to do it properly or not at all.  The fun is in the attempt, and the journey, not the destination.

And the great thing about this massive revelation? That I can change the pattern, because I'm aware of it.  I knew I felt like this, but I wasn't sure where it had come from.  Now I know.  Knowledge is power, particularly self knowledge.  You can't change yourself or your life if you refuse to see the unhealthy patterns and exchange them for healthy, loving ones.  Admit, accept and change.  Courage to change the things we can and the wisdom to know the difference.

Love you!

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Depression - an insider's view.

Guilt - seems to be the emotion of the week this week.  I have always been a worrier. A fearful kinda person. I don't believe that anything happened to me to make me like that, I just think it's my inherent personality. I come from a long line of worriers.  I'm the kind of person who can't sleep at night thinking about what might go wrong.

Motherhood has unloaded a massive truckload of guilt on me, though. I didnt' want to admit that I had post natal depression when Alex was born, because I didnt' want to have it. I wanted to be a coper. But at the same time, it was waaaaaaaay scary to be his mummy.  I don't think anyone can realise until it happens to them, what a huge responsibility it is to be a parent. Suddenly, the buck stops with you.  And for a worrier like me, the endless variety of things that could go wrong were almost too much to bear.  So I got PND.  And I fought it.  Imagine the emotional and mental equivalent of a broken leg.  You go to a doctor, you go to a psychiatrist.  "Fix my leg!!" you plead with them.  They try. They give you antidepressants.  They give you strategies.  And, if you're unlucky, like me - nothing works.  The broken leg splinters the more you walk on it.  Your flesh is exposed.  You're in unbelievable mental and emotional torment.  But you're told that it will get better.  So you wait.  But the wound wont' heal and becomes more agonising.  You go to a mother and baby unit, and they tell you that you will have to use your strategies until it becomes better because you are on all the medication you can be.  You go home, you try to cope, but every time you talk to someone, you do anything,  all you can think about is the agony you're in.  Try to look for the positive, they tell you. Try to go for a walk.  Ignore the agony.  If you were in this much physical pain, surely you'd have a strong painkiller. Yet, you have to live without anything to numb it.   You try to self medicate and end up in a psych ward.  God has a sense of humour, because no matter what you try, you can't check out of this horror.

In the end, it was as simple as this for me - did I want to live or die? I wasn't going to feel better or like me for a long, long time.  But did I really want to deprive my son of a mother, my husband of a wife, my parents of a daughter, and my sisters of a sister?  I wanted more than anything to end the unbelievable anguish.  I was suicidal for about a year to 18 months.  But, in the end I was stronger than it (with God's help).  I decided that screw you, depression, I am GOING TO LIVE!  So I just got up every day, and did the best I could.  I couldn't sleep, I couldn't laugh, I couldn't read.  I was less a person and more a collection of horrendous mental agonies.  I didn't think I'd ever get better.  I didn't believe the people who told me I would.  I wished that I had a fatal illness because at least I knew it would END.

But do you know what? it did end.  At first, I had a good bit of a day. then a good whole day. Then a couple of good days in a row.  Then, without me noticing it, I had a good week.  And another.  When I fell back into a bad day, it was terrifying, because I thought it would start again and I'd never have a good day.  But I did.  And when I finally "Woke up" from son was 2 and I had to start picking up the pieces of my relationships again.  It was very hard.  I think that I've only really started to feel like myself this year.  My son is 4 now.

So I spoil him sometimes. I'm so guilty that I wasn't "There" for the first two years of his life.  Yes, I always loved him. That was one of the things that kept me alive.  But I couldnt' always be the mummy I wanted to be.  Because I just wasn't able.  So now I want to be the best mummy I can possibly be.  But I don't want to spoil him.  MOtherhood is so hard!! 

Anyway - I will end on this - I know this is a heavy post but I wanted to get it off my chest.  I'm trying not to spoil him, but I love him so much. Without him, I wouldnt' be the survivor I am today. 

Love and peace
Deb xo

Monday, September 20, 2010

You're my world, you're my everything...

Hello readers!

Yes...I know it's been a while since I blogged. But I've been thinking about it, that's almost the same, isn't it?
well, today was a shocker....I had to come and share about how it felt.  Looking after Alex and Richard and the house is my full time job. I"m a stay at home mum and some Monday mornings I wake up and think "ho hum".  I feel guilty about not spending enough time playing with Alex, I feel guilty about not spending enough time doing the laundry, cooking nutritious meals, being able to earn money, keeping up with world events, and guilty about how I spend a heck of a lot of time thinking about ME, myself, how I look, what I'm going to wear, what other people think of much weight I've lost, how many points are in my snack, how many points were in what I ate yesterday, how much weight am I going to lose, am I a yummy mummy yet?  Argh, it's all so stupid, what I think sometimes.  I just get obsessed with what's in my head and totally lose focus on what's important.  The job that I do is important.....and if I'm distracted by ME ME ME, I miss the important stuff.

Today, Alex had a minor collision with a reversing car.  I was able to reach him before any real damage was done, he was wearing a helmet and neither he nor the car were going very fast.  Still, it was enough to turn my blood to ice.  I was just concentrating on getting Alex to hospital to be checked over, and dealing with what had to happen, to get him lunch and to go home and put a load of washing on, to get dinner, to make his bed.

After dinner, when he was in bed, my sister in law rang to ask how Alex was, and how I was.  Her sweet, gentle inquiry brought me undone.  I was chipper on the phone but after I hung up, it really hit me how precious he is and how sometimes I'm so irritated by countless requests for everything in sight, that I lose focus of how much I love him.  Sometimes he becomes an irritation that I want to escape from, and I know that a lot of stay at homers feel like that, but I feel so bad that it took me so long to actually process what happened today.  I sat there and cried because he IS so precious, he is such an amazing kid and I love him SO much......and it just hit me for the millionth time how BIG a responsibility it is to be his mummy and how much that freaked me out to begin with, because it felt like it was too much for me to take on.  Today, I couldn't get ahold of my mum or Richard, while Alex and I were waiting in emergency to get him checked over.  I thought -  looks like I have to be an adult - but when do the grown ups show up?  It's scary being a grown up.  Half the time, I still feel as clueless as a kid, and that I have no idea what I am supposed to do.  But, you know what I have realised lately? That's part of being a human/adult/married/a mum...there's no magic moment when you realise, hurrah, I'm here! There's just coping with what life throws at you - that's what makes you an adult.  Nobody has a rule book to life (unless it's the bible), and I just have to trust that my best is good enough.

Alex, buddy, I love you. Every night, before I go to sleep, I look at you sleeping peacefully, and can't imagine my life without you.  I'm blessed to have you. God, please help me to remember that, and not to get taken over by my crap and the irritation of daily life.  Help me to delight in the blessings you've given me and not to take it for granted and want to escape from my responsibilities!! :)

Friday, July 30, 2010

In the right type of mood

Awwww yeah.  This week has been a spectacular dietary fail.  Most of you who are my facebook friends know that I"m on a weight loss and health gain crusade - it started in December, when my BMI was 37 and was almost morbidly obese.  Since then, I've lost nearly 18kg and my BMI is now around 29, which means that I'm almost overweight and not obese! hurrah!! 

Except, last week, I was soooo good.....except for Friday, when the killer flu hit.  I've been being Ms activity-pants, and unpacking, cleaning the old house, running playgroup, looking after Alex, sharing babysitting with my friend Marianne, exercising lots and generally being a new improved version of me!!  But, on Friday, I had nooo energy. I was supposed to go to Melbourne to see my friend Michele, but I couldn't imagine getting on a train and walking around Melbs in my weakened state. I couldn't even find the energy to lift the makeup brush!!  So, I drowned my sorrows in cake.  And, on Saturday morning, when I discovered I'd put on nearly a kilo overnight, I decided I was too sick to face bad news.   Then, I used feeling yucky as an excuse to eat badly.....I started each day with the resolve to STOP THE INSANITY, but then by about 3pm, was face down in a bucket of slops.  Mmm, that's a nice mental image, innit?

So - I weighed in on Monday and discovered that the kilo I'd put on Saturday morning had brought a friend to the party in my tummy and I was now carrying two extra kilos.  This put my weight loss back to 15kg :(  So, Monday, after my meeting, I ate a Whopper and had a McFlurry to make me feel better.  Yeah. writing it down, it doesn't seem to make much sense, but at the time, it seemed like a perfect antidote for the flu and bad mood.  Feel bad because you put on weight? why not EAT LARD?  mmmm.

Tuesday and Wednesday, I was perfect.  Stuck to my points precisely, although with the sniffles and body aches, I didn't exercise at all.  Then....yesterday, I decided that I'd have a day in bed, with Alex being in daycare.  I haven't done that for ages, and it's all I wanted to do for the past week.  But.....instead of going to bed with a good book and some panadol, I took the good book, panadol, box of Delite crackers, damper roll, and slept.  Then, I followed that up with a slice of cheesecake from the new Muffin Break here in Kialla.  You know the silly thing? It wasn't even nice cheesecake and I didn't like it much.  But I ate the whole thing.  I guess it goes to show that there are pretty strong "feed me when I'm sick" vibes that I got growing up, and used to self medicate when I've been sick, growing up.  Often when I had the flu in Canberra, when I was single, I'd take to bed with chocolate, a magazine and a packet of Starbursts.  When I had pneumonia last year, I ate atrociously.  Put on about 5 kilos and felt so unhealthy.  Do I really want that for myself again? The answer is "no" - but this morning, something inside me said "you weigh in tomorrow, have a DAY OFF AGAIN AND EAT EVERYTHING IN SIGHT"!! 

I think I need to give that voice a whipping, because the only place listening to that voice got me, is morbidly obese, in a pit of shame and denial and extreme unhappiness.   It's a struggle.  And I think in some way, I gave myself permission to have a few days off, because I have been doing so well. But, normally, once I have a few days off, I can get back on track. But this time, it's been really hard.  I know what I want for myself but I don't want to put the work in.  And, as we all know, the definition of insanity is to do the same thing and expect a different result.  There are always going to be struggles and challenges, but if I let these things dictate my eating, then I can't expect to keep losing weight.  In fact, I will put back on weight and soon, be back where I started.  I have to learn from this struggle, and to say "ENOUGH" to these negative voices in my stick to my points and to focus on the goal ahead, to be a good role model to Alex and show him what healthy food looks like.

You know the killer? It's so much easier to eat crap.  Good, healthy food takes me a lot longer to prepare and organise. This week, when I have been running on empty, it's been so much easier not to chop up lots of veggies and make a soup with no points for snacks. It's been easier to turn to sugar to give me a lift instead of eating fruit and stuff that will fill me up.  I've bought chips twice this week rather than cook a potato.  I'm not going to beat myself up about it, but today...I've had two cups of strong coffee, a mental wake up call, and I'm ready to go into battle in the war against my wobbly bits.  Self love, here we come!!

I know this is too much information for a lot of people, but I find sharing keeps me accountable. I post on my Facebook account every time I lose weight, but often don't mention it when I gain or stay the same.  But, I'm throwing down the gauntlet - this is my struggle and my journey and I'm sure a lot of people are the same.  I need to share it if I want to move on and change.  Thanks for listening! :)

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Just a sucker with low self esteem...

Howdy y'all.

Well, today finds me reflecting on how touchy my self esteem can be at times. 

I have had a sinus infection the past few days, and have also just been in a "stinkin thinkin" kinda mood. Most people who read my facebook page know that I'm on a healthy eating and living kick, and I've been soooo motivated for about five months, and have lost 15 kilos. I've also put on 3 in the past month....but lost two of them, so yay me. Well, it was more like, lose one, put on two, lose one, lose another half, put on one. Which is really demoralising, and I know the reason for it. It's cause I am OVER it. I just want to be at my goal weight now, I am sick of being overweight, I feel like I'm fighting a battle that I keep losing. But, do you know what? I felt like this at the start of my weight loss journey. I really struggled with my focus and wanting to do it...but knowing that I had to and WANTED to, so I could model good food behaviour and a healthy lifestyle to my little boy. I don't want him to have the struggle with food and self esteem that I had, if I can at all avoid it!

So yeah, I've basically been cross with my body cause it's sick, and because it's flabby. Which is unhelpful. I've been trying to combat it by being there for other people and getting involved with things.....I have been making some lovely mummy friends at playgroups and other places, and getting involved with STAG and trying to organise packing. But, it's all been a bit crappy because I was sick and all I wanted to do was sleep..but instead of letting myself be sick, I was cross with myself and kept thinking of all the things that I had to do, like sort out Alex's summer clothes, sort out which of his toys to pack, clean the filthy bombsite of a car, organise myself for the playgroup, fill in forms, tidy up, do a load of washing, sort out the mess that is the paperwork drawer, bla bla bla. I went over to Albury on Saturday with Alex and spent the night and hung out with mum and dad the next day.......and may I say that nobody can do sympathy and care the way my mum can? It was so lovely just to abdicate some responsibility and not feel guilty because mum ordered me to rest!! Dr dad also provided some antibiotics for my sinus infection, which made me feel a little better for actually being sick and not just being a whinger/lazy. But I'm still feeling a bit grey. Blah, like the weather.

I am a whole lot happier with myself than I once was, and am trying not to base my self esteem on people, places and things, but on a sense of contentment and happiness within myself.
The ways that I do this are: being interested in other people, doing things that are outside of me, doing things that I enjoy and am good at, taking care of myself by eating well and trying to exercise, being grateful for what I have, rather than looking at what I don't have, going easy on myself and looking back on the good things that I've done, rather than beating myself up for past mistakes.   I've been reading a great book on healing your self esteem, which suggests lots of ways to reward yourself if you're down and needing a pick me up.  These include soothing your senses by smelling, tasting, or today when I felt urky, I went and bought a new (cheap) pair of ugh boots....they looked nice, and feel toasty warm.  Then, I went and got a frozen yoghurt from Wendys (within my points!!) .....yummmm.......sprayed my "Hypnotic Poison" perfume, which I just love, and gave Richard and Alex lots of hugs.   It almost worked! hehe. 

So, what am I going to do? Well, I'm feeling a lot better - I had a good cry over nothing in particular, and I think that's cleansed my mood somewhat.  I'm now feeling a bit more able to cope, and have struck a few things off the to do list.......feeling more capable and like this week isn't going to be as much of a struggle.  Got a few nice things planned this week as well, playgroup tomorrow, tomorrow night is book club, Wednesday mops, Thursday day off from Alex-ing to do random stuff, Friday dinner club, Saturday church dinner, Sunday Richard's car club presentation.   Should be a good un.  Now that I've got that all out, I'm going to move forward more positively and work on that attitude of gratitude!!

Love you all!
Deb xo

Thursday, May 13, 2010

It's not all about me

I have to say, I'm a big fan of talking.  And I often don't have the filter that other people have. Yes, I've been guilty of the over-share in my life.  Big time.  But I'm starting to learn the value of keeping quiet.

I have been in therapy for about 10 years...I don't mind admitting it. I've always been prone to depression and talking about it has been an amazing way of going from the scared, immature, broken girl I was at 22 to the content, grown up and accountable woman that I try to be most days.  But it hasn't been easy. There have been many layers of thoughts that I've had to sift through, many ugly and frightening beliefs that I've had to challenge and shed.  And I'm going to go all spiritual here and say that the only way I've been able to continue along this path is through a belief in a higher power - in my case, God.

It's been an amazing revelation to see that when I continually have problems with people, and get in arguments, the person who I need to look at is the common denominator - me.  If I keep having trouble in my workplaces, I need to look at my attitude and the situations that I put myself in.  It's been a turnaround to see that most people aren't out to get me, they're just suffering from their own variety of dysfunction.  It's been amazing to free people from their pedestals, and to let them be human.  My thinking has gone from black and white to shades of grey.  I am a perfectionist and get really upset if I don't measure up to my standards, and while this spurs some people on to achieve, it makes me drop out and stop trying.  My desire has been to just do the best I can, and to realise that nobody (apart from me ) is judging me.  I have also realised that it's unfair to have such high standards of my friends and to persecute them when they don't live up to them.  Today I give them space to be who they are.

It's also amazing that, in keeping quiet sometimes, that I can be the one that people confide in, the shoulder that they cry on, instead of being the centre of attention and the one who needs to be propped up.

I had a friend recently ask me about seeing someone to resolve some issues and I realised that this is something I know quite well.  I'm thinking about going into the area of counselling, because it fascinates me, the reasons why we do what we do, and the patterns that we repeat in our lives.  Knowledge is power, and once you understand why you do what you do, then you have the power to change it.   It is painful turning the light onto yourself and examining, but the rewards are...the ability to change behaviour that keeps you trapped.  It's amazing.

I'd also like to say how blessed I am to have my wonderful family, and how amazing it is to have such strong, healthy and happy ties with my sisters and my parents.  I'm also blessed to be part of an amazing family of inlaws, and have found such great unconditional love in the Hay family.  I'm pretty happy and content.  (now is the part where I go and have a massive fight with someone..heheheh....pride comes before a fall!)
peace out, homies xoxoxo

ps -if you want to get some counselling about a problem, the best way to do it is to talk to your GP.  In Australia, we're lucky to have a very supportive health care program.  Your GP can set up a care plan and refer you for 6 visits to a psychologist or counsellor at a reduced rate. Depending on the counsellor's fee structure, these visits may even be free.  We are so lucky we live in an age where mental health is so important and its upkeep so well supported.  Go Australia! :)

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Shorty's like a melody in my head...

What a weekend.

This weekend, with trepidation and excitement, I set off to my gorgeous friend Tammy's 30th Birthday party. There were bound to be all sorts of cool people there, as Tams is deeply, deeply funky....and I was worried that I wouldn't speak the language.  I thought perhaps, that as I live in a small-ish town and don't work for profit, I'd be kinda out of my depth.  I haven't visited my Melbs friends much in the past couple of years, things have been busy with Alex and all that, with the recovering from PND thing, and finding my feet in a new town (Sheppo).

It's weird having a child, some people can do it without losing themselves, but I often have a chamelon-like nature.  So, I've struggled with being "Deb" and being "mum".  Which parts are the immature parts that I don't want anymore, and which parts can I keep? Do I have to wear sensible shoes? Can I still laugh at fart jokes and be generally immature?  Is it appropriate to use the slang of yoof, or am I being a try hard? Should I want to talk about tupperware and scrapbooking? Or can I still enjoy celebrity gossip and reading chick lit?

Well, the answer is, the answer is (to quote Winnona Ryder in "Reality Bites")...I don't know.  But I'm starting to figure it out.  No, I don't have to wear sensible shoes, but it saves time when chasing an errant child.  Yes, I can still laugh at fart jokes and be generally immature, but I have to be consistent with my discipling of Alex.  It may be somewhat appropriate to use the slang of yoof, although this must be watched, and done with an ironic twist.  Nothing worse than being a try hard.  I tried to be interested in Tupperware and Scrapbooking, but have realised I'd rather eat dirt.  Sorry, ladies, but I just don't get it.  And yes, I can still enjoy celebrity gossip and chick lit.  I can even join a book club! whee!

So, it's gradually happening, this building of the picture of the real a Polaroid slowly coming into focus.  Being involved with STAG has definitely helped, as has finding allies in the trenches of motherhood, a good church, a great psych, and becoming good mates with Mon and Leigh and other STAG-ites.

Back to the weekend. Caught up with my girls, Michele and Tams, and Lucy was there too, which was great.  I really enjoyed our chats in the slumber party room.  Me, Michele and Luce in three beds across the room. Most of the time, we just chilled out, talking about boys and relationships. I adored it.  It's the kind of girl talk that I don't get a lot of time for anymore.  Richard and Alex are the people I see and talk to the most, and there's not a lot of satisfying analysis of motives to be had.  I also got to hear about men dilemmas and was somewhat cast in the position of relationship expert.  I am a bit of a phony, as Richard is only my second relationship, and the only one that's beyond 3 months!  It was love at first sight for us, and we've spent a lot of time and energy trying to understand each other.  Some days it's easier than others.  Mostly, I still think I'll burst at how much I love him and how glad I am that he fell for me, too.  But I can remember what it was like to be out there, and to want someone to love me.  And how hard it was to get up and dust yourself off when the latest prospect let you down.  I know the bravery it takes to keep on crusading for Mr or Ms Right.  It's a jungle out there.

I went for long walks (at least an hour, ha!), one by myself, and one with Lucy and Michele.  I had breakfast at a beautiful cafe with a gorgeous view all by myself and felt so happy to be alive, that I just beamed.  Life is beautiful, when you're content.   I was reminded this weekend how wonderful it is to be understood, and to be around people who speak your emotional language, who adore analysis and to whom words are currency.  I met Michele's ex, Mark, for the first time, and I really liked him.  I liked Jo and Dave, Pete and Rennie, Georgie and Nick, Holly and Daisy, James, Alia and Kip and the other smiley guys around.  I though Tammy's parents were wonderful and loved how Linda and Ben made us all feel so welcome.  I felt like I was part of a really cool adult school camp.  Banter and jokes and innuendo flew around the house at all times.  I joined in, I wasn't afraid.  I felt like me again, but a new and improved version.  I don't have to drink to be this me.  I never did, that's the funny thing.  The courage to be this me, has been a long time coming.....and it's a precious gift that I am thankful for every day. 

Love you all
Deb xoxo

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Facebook rehab

They tried to make me go to Rehab, and I said No No no!

Well, last Thursday my husband Richard and I decided that we were spending way too much time on the internet and, therefore, that we'd go from Thursday night til Friday night without switching the computer on.

This sounded easy, but hurt a lot.
I'd just started a new job that was full time, and didn't really see any other people. I had a meltdown all over my friend Mon because I was detoxing.  I had less patience with Alex because I wasn't counting down to logging on.  I missed catching up with my friend Kristy because I couldn't get into my inbox.  I missed the news that my cousin's pop had died.  I missed the social interaction. I missed people knowing what I was up to and commenting on it.  I missed being able to vent about a friend of mine (ex friend now, I guess) dropping stuff she'd borrowed off on my doorstep with a terse note, after I haven't seen her for about six weeks.  we last left things that she'd contact me.  I guess that's a "no" on continuing the friendship.

All of these things on their own wouldn't have made me lose it.  But, the stress of the new job, the lack of personal contact, the guilt about returning to full time work, the fear of losing a friend, the guilt of missing my catchup, the worry of breaking down in front of my friends, the feeling of being out of control.....Yeah.  I didn't like it.  I wanted the internet. But, failing that, I wanted chocolate, or a cigarette.  I have given up smoking for about 4 or 3 years now (ok, so I quit 4 years ago but took it up again when I had PND.  It was the only thing I could concentrate on!).  I am on weight watchers so bulk chocolate consumption wasn't really on the agenda.  So...I suffered.  Tried to keep myself busy...but it was damn hard!

And here's the other thing I realised.  I am a bit of an egotist. I am a bit of an exhibitionist.  I enjoy people knowing about my life. I'm big on the over-share.  I like to talk about me (in moderation, of course).  I think what I've learnt from this experience is, it's ok to share your life with people online.  Just perhaps, half an hour every second day will do.  So that's what I've decided.  It's that old curse word of MODERATION. Yes. everything in moderation, well I don't like MODERATION! I LIKE EXCESS, PEOPLE!!! hehehe.  But I'm committed to moderation on the net.  we'll see.

ps - I broke our bet on Wednesday evening and it felt sweeter than the first bite of chocolate or first puff of a ciggy. ahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh. Internet, how I love you.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010


Howdy all
I'm back on the straight and narrow again. I had a few days where I was having some tummy troubles, and I was eating nothing but toast....but on Saturday, after feeling sick all day.....Richard and I went out to dinner....and I only had 4 points left.  I thought "I'll just order a salad"....famous last words.  I felt too sicky in the tummy to munch on greenery, so decided a plain pizza would suit me a lot better.  Woodfired, if you don't mind.  Mmm...Cellar 47 does great pizzas.   Anyway....18 points later, I've racked up a massive 38 points for the day.  Whoops.  But....Richard and I went for a walk, and that's got to have burnt off at least 1/2 a point. heheh.

Then, we decided to go for coffee.  I am a pest to the coffee chick at McDonalds and ask for a skim decaf cappuchino.  (Yes I know that's a really annoying drink to make, but we all know about me and caffeine). I contemplated my order, Richard asked for a piece of cookies and cream cheesecake.  Dear reader, I had to have some.  So I did.  Another 8 points. aiiee!! But, the slip has been stopped and I've reduced my points by 4 each day to make up for the feast.  Phew.  PLus, I'm thinking that if I just stay the same this week instead of lose weight, that'll be ok.  I am still not exercising heaps....I've still been feeling a lil unwell...but went swimming with Alex today and will start again tomorrow. 

I was really active today though, went grocery shopping and cooked 3 meals for later on in the week, and figured out all the points and put them in containers with the points on them.  I'm stuuuuffed now!

Start my new job tomorrow...wish me luck!!

Ps Novak Djokovic reminds me of Richard, although his honker is a lot bigger.  By honker, I mean nose.  Ok, I'm gonna stop now. bye!

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

You've got a friend in me...

Morning all!
For someone who didn't want to wake up this morning, it seems a little unfair that I'm unable to sleep at twenty past two in the morning.  Doesn't it?  Hmmm.

I have found that since I've had Alex, I am hyper sensitive to caffeine.....I only have to have one coffee, not even strong, at any point during my day, and I will be completely unable to sleep until the wee hours.  And so, when I had a diet coke during the Hi 5 performance today (or yesterday), I shoulda known better.  Never mind.

I've been sitting here thinking about various things, tidied the house, finished reading my book, and am still zinging.  What I've mainly been thinking about are friendships.

Friendships are interesting, are they not?  Any relationship is give and take. Sometimes it's hard not to weigh up who is doing more of the giving and who is doing more of the taking.  For the most part, I think I'm a pretty generous friend, although I think one of my weaknesses is definitely the fact that I get super annoyed if I feel like I'm being taken for granted.  There are a couple of friends that I have, who aren't very good at staying in touch.  I have some friends who are happy to see me or talk to me, yet won't initiate contact.  I hate that!  There are any number of people who I could choose to spend my time with/on, but when you click with someone, you expect there to be some sort of to and fro, not just one person making all the effort.

It used to really burn me up, and I'd have nasty arguments.  These days, I have a simpler strategy.  If I feel like I'm being taken for granted in a friendship, I stop trying as hard.  These days, I value my time, and am not prepared to waste it on people who can't be bothered.  Does that sound harsh? I hope not.....I'm not angry with those people, I've just come to realise that they don't need to communicate as often as I do.  I have come to realise that I'm a very social person and I need input from others.  I'm not someone who can operate in a social vacuum.  The nature of my job at the moment (mothering) means that I often spend chunks of time with just Alex for company, and I crave adult conversation.   And...I'm not into having to fight hard to occupy people's friend-scape.  Not any more.

Recently, on Facebook, I reconnected with one of my best friends from primary school.  We had parted ways in less than ideal circumstances, and she'd responded to my apologetic PM.  we had a little chat about where we were at, what our families were doing...and then, when I explained why I did what I did, she stopped replying.  Years ago, I would have kept talking and wanting a response, but today....I can see that I don't have to know why she isn't writing back.  But...I do have to accept it.  Some people chose not to be in my life...and that can be hurtful.  Some people aren't prepared to give as much as I want from them, and that can be hurtful.  Sometimes, I have expectations that aren't met, and friendships wither and are replaced.   I have learnt that I can grieve over these lost friendships for only so long....before I start to feel depressed.

What helps me to move forward is to count the wonderful friends who ARE in my life, the family members who I DO speak to regularly, the people who DO reply to my texts and comment on my statuses. It also helps to get things in perspective to realise that you don't have to be present in someone's life to be thinking about them.  But, I do like the people who let me know that they're in my life.  That's just how I am.  And that's ok....because saying and doing what I feel is me being real about me!!

And now...I'm gonna stop spouting psychobabble and try to sleep!
night all xoxo

Monday, January 11, 2010

Being mama

What a month.
I'm sitting here at 11pm on Monday night trying to make sense of the past couple of weeks.  A little while ago, everything was going along ok....three weeks ago I lost my job.  It wasn't the end of the world, as it was a stretch of my abilities - I'd never done a full accounts role before...but I like a challenge and thought I was capable.  Nuh uh.  Oh well, it gave me more time to get ready for Christmas and our trip to Sydney.
Yes. the one that didn't end up happening.
Alex developed impetigo, which looks a lot like a mosquito bite when it first starts out.  Hell, for all we knew, it was a mosquito bite that turned into impetigo.

All I know is, he scratched the heck out of himself over Christmas, and only slept a couple of hours straight each night we stayed with Richard's mum in Finley.  We returned home to Shep on the 27th of December, with Alex having started on his second set of antibiotics and having two large sores that he'd scratched and scratched, which were covered by dressings instead of mere bandaids.
Thus began my hell of having to change these bandages daily, after his bath so the dressings would come off easier.  Sometimes if he saw me coming, he'd run away.  We sought advice from my dad (GP) and my mum (nurse) and applied bactroban, betadine, dressings, bandaids, more bandaids, gave panadol, antihistamines......and eventually, graduated to larger and larger dressings, and to pain stop and phernergyn at night so that the poor little man could sleep for more than an hour or two at a time. 

I was becoming increasingly desparate and worried about our trip to Sydney. How on earth was I going to cope with his bandages in the heat?  I forgot to mention that we were having very very warm days and nights (up to 40 and sometimes not below 27 at night).....which only added to a nice warm moist environment for the Staph infection he now had to reproduce.  I sent MMS pictures to mum and dad to get answers and help....we tried so hard to get the infection under control.  Richard and I were sleep deprived.  Sunday night, I went to bed at 2am after settling Alex and woke at 6.30am because I was so excited about our trip to Sydney.

Monday, Richard took Alex over to see dad so he could check out his sores, and to get mum to help him bath and re-dress the sores.  I took advantage of time to myself to pack and catch up with some friends, not catching up on sleep because I wanted to sleep that night.  Little did I know.

Richard rang me about 5pm, telling me that he had a letter from dad for the Paediatrican on call, and that we were to go to the emergency room, because his staph infection was way out of control. I felt like a bad mummy - I had only said to Richard the night before that I wondered if we were out of our depth, were we doing all we could do, was this normal? Should we have taken him to the hospital?  I guess all I can say is that I had mum constantly on speed dial and that the worsening of his sores was just accepted by us because we kept hoping it would get better. we had no experience of this sort....

Anyhow.....Richard met me at casualty at 8pm.  I wish I could tell you we saw the Paediatrican right away, but we all know that things don't work like that.  We spent 2 hours waiting in casualty.  We spent 1 hour waiting in a cubicle.  Eventually alex was given an IV drip, which took 5 people to hold him down, and ended with me sobbing in tears.  Poor little Alex was hysterical.  that took us to 11.30pm, and we were shown to a new cubicle.  around midnight, he was given an infusion of Flucloxacillin, which took an hour.  About 1.30am, we were taken to the children's ward.  by the time we were settled, it was 2am.  Richard left to get some sleep and I eventually settled in the fold out chair/bed by Alex's bed.  He was hyper hyper and I had to lay with him until he fell asleep at 3am.  He had another infusion at 6am and slept til 9am.  I couldnt' go back to sleep after I woke at 6am with his infusion...too afraid that he'd roll over and rip the cannula out of his arm.  He's a very restless sleeper.

Richard arrived and took over the day shift whilst I slept.  this sort of set the tone for the next few days.

I'd like to say a few things about being in hospital.

- most of the nurses are just wonderful, but there are the ones who are on a power trip, who make inappropriate jokes about your conerns, who ignore you, who lecture you on your three year old's dietary habits.  The fantastic nurses just make a horrible experience so much better.  The crap ones add to the stress of the situation and made me want to stick a pick axe through their spinal column.

- I hated the out-of-control feeling that hospital gave me - the lack of autonomy.  Let me explain.  At home, if Alex is fussing, then I can get him what he wants right away....or decide not to give it to him.  In hospital, all his food and medicine were logged and handed out by nurses.  Who were often very busy with children a lot sicker than Alex.  It made me hesitant to ask, but at the same time, I needed the milk/nappy/panadol at the time, not in ten minutes time.  Sometimes the nurse I'd ask would forget and I'd have to go and ask again.  It was just annoying, cause I'm a total control freak...and I hated having to rely on someone else to get stuff for me.
- being in an isolation room with a rambunctious 3 year old can be, at times, a little slice of hell.  Even though I was waking up with his infusions at midnight and 6am (and often not going to sleep in the first place), Alex was mostly sleeping well, and woke each morning full of beans and ready to destroy his toys.

- a tissued cannula (IV drip) is incredibly painful.  When a drip comes slightly loose, the fluid from the IV stops going into the veins and starts entering the tissue.  I was not aware of this when Alex started to scream in pain at 6am on Wednesday morning.  At the ten and twenty minute mark, I had to ask for panadol repeatedly.  At the half hour mark, I asked them to do something. they slowed the drip down.  Alex and I were both in tears and he was screaming in agony.  At the forty minute mark, Nurses were doing handover and one made a joke whilst he screamed in pain about whose fault it was.  I had absolutely no idea what was happening to my poor anguished child and nobody told me.  At the fifty minute mark, They didn't respond to me pressing the buzzer for about ten minutes, by which time he'd started to writhe around in agony on the bed.  finally, after a full hour of intense pain, one of the nurses took his cannula out.  She gave absolutely no explanation or reassurance about this, other than to say we'd have to have another drip put in.  I was in tears and so upset for my poor son, who'd already been through a lot of trauma even before getting into hospital.  When I rang my mum, who is a nurse, she told me what a tissued cannula is, and why it happened.  A day nurse finally gave Alex some sympathy.  Another nurse told another mum that he was spoilt and not in pain.  Fabulous day.

One good thing came out of this, I watched Alex's cannula like a hawk, and if he started to cry or be in pain, I vowed that I would make them remove it at once. At midnight on Friday night, he started to cry.  The nurse advised me she'd slow it down. Still, he cried.  I buzzed and the nurse told me that they'd stop it and try again later when he was asleep.  No. No no no!  I said "no. I want you to take it out now.  I'm sorry, but I don't want him in any more pain".  Luckily I had a supportive nurse, but I was prepared to get shouty if I had to.  That's just what being mama is about.

So, here I sit, two days after his discharge from hospital.  Alex has to be kept away from daycare and too much contact with other children.  At the moment, I am not taking him to be around any children until I have the all clear from the Paediatrician. This is for the other kids' sake, but also for Alex's ....if there is any chance of him catching something else while his immune system is down, I absolutely don't want to take it. a result, I have cabin fever.  I feel very restless and I want to work!  But...I also know that most of the office admin jobs are full time and I want to be home with him at least a few days a week. I miss him too much when I work full time.  So, what's a girl to do?  Try and blog about it, make a list of fun stuff to do with him, count my blessings.  Recover from the lack of sleep and try to be normal again.  Stop having expectations of friends and family to come to my rescue.  My life is mine and God's responsibility. Nobody else owes me a living. 

Oh..and I'm a lot of carrots.  No points!
Love you all
Deb xoxo

ps - google images came up with a pic of how his sores looked.  this is similar, although his were all over one of his legs and on his face.  poor monkey!

Kinda gross skin thingy...don't click if squeamish!