Friday, December 16, 2011

Crying over you...

This time of year brings back too many memories.

5 years ago, Alex was 3 months old, and I was in the grip of truly terrible, severe post natal depression.  I'd had depression before, but that was the "have a few drinks or a coffee with yer friends and you'll feel better" kind.  This was the hardcore, can't eat, sleep or read variety.

It was unfortunate, as I was so excited about having a baby. I had longed for Alex...and thought he was the most adorable thing in the world.  I was so proud to be his mum.  It was just that I worried. I worried every time he went somewhere, that it was the last time I'd see him.  I kept thinking that he was going to die.  I kept being afraid that I was going to hurt him.  I felt like I was a long way away from everyone else, talking to them from under a weight, and watching myself from the ceiling at the same time.

Christmas 2007 was horrendous. I'd never been suicidal before or truly anxious, but I was all these things. When I look back at home videos of this time, I can see my fear, see that I wasn't there, see that I wanted someone to come and rescue me from the prison of my consciousness. I kept wanting to scream, to scream and never stop.
So, on th 27th of December, I was admitted to a mother and baby unit in Melbourne.  I spent a whole month there. Alex wasn't with me at first, so I spent New Years Eve 2007 in a mental institution.  I was so horrendously, severely unwell, and I didn't know why someone didn't come and rescue me from it.  If I was in that much physical pain, I'd be on the strongest painkillers.  How could I pretend, and keep pretending to be normal, when how I felt was as far from normal as I had ever felt?

And it's not just how I felt, it's hearing the stories about how my sister in law drove Alex home all by herself, with him in her car seat.  Because I'd been admitted to hospital again, because this illness was so horrendous that I thought everyone would understand if I just checked out of life.  The time that my mum and sister looked after him.  The fact that everyone loves him, because they all had to pitch in and look after him while I was busy being treated.  I am grateful that Alex was shown such love.  But I'd be lying if I wasn't deeply grieved for a long time that I couldn't be there for him.  Because I loved him, so so so much.  The psychs always said that I had a very strong connection with him. ...and how couldn't you? 
I found a bit about how I felt at the time, and I enclose it below.  To those of you who are suffering - it will end. As long as you keep living, it gets better.  Today I have an amazing life.....but I can't help think about what I went through 5 years ago, what we all went through.  I feel saddest for Richard...because he loved Alex and I so much...and he was so amazing.  He never walked away from me, even when I was angry, horrible, bitter and full of hate.  Neither did my mum, sisters, dad, and my amazing in laws.  Girls from the youth group wrote me beautiful letters.  Thank you, Klasine, Del, Frances and Jossy.  Thank you, all who were there.  I'm all better now.  But I still remember.

16 March07 - I love my husband but I hate him seeing me like this. In fact, I feel like saying to him and the rest of my family "Don't love me!", but I know I don't really want that.

24 April 07 - I am so afraid and so scared that I'll never be all right again. I feel really confused, like I'm stuck in a big black hole. Feel suicidal, like I just want to die....can I go home? I just feel like I want to pass out or die, I can't go on living like this.

18 May 07 - All I want is a good night's sleep, and to be able to sleep again. I miss sleep sooo much and I'm afraid I'll never sleep again. I can't believe that I will ever get better but I have to trust God. I would much rather be the one cheering other people up than the one going through this, wading through so much horrible anxiety and fear. Please God, release me from this horrible prison. Just a tiny little bit, just enough for me to go home and cope at home. I am so weak, Lord, please help me. Lord, this is hell on earth and I would really like to not feel like this for much longer.
A verse I love is Jeremiah 29:11 - For I know the plans I have for you, says the Lord, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future".

10 July 07.I feel unable to copeI feel scared that I'm going mad, feeling disconnected from everyone around me, I seem to be in a world of my own. I feel a sense of impending madness, s though I would fall over a high cliff at any moment, and this would signify my lost grip on reality.I can't enjoy anything about life anymore. All I think about is this illness and the feelings that I'm having. I keep thinking that I just want to be normal, why has this happened to me?
Psalm 13 is really good....David gives it to God in the first bit, I love it!

About May/June 08 I started to feel better. I started to be able to go out in public with Alex or by myself and not worry. Things have just kept on getting better.
And do you know what? I know that I'm stronger for having gone through this. I feel like I know I can get through stuff. I am woman, hear me roooooooooooooar! :)

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

You are why you eat.

I think too much.  That's for sure.  Part of my journey with weight loss, and Weight Watchers, has been unpacking some of the ways that I think and the ways that affects my food, mood and weight.

So.....I love watching those psychological experiment shows where they try to get people to lose weight, put on weight, and work on the way that they eat.  Last night I watched a show that was about skinny people who were made to eat twice their regular calorie intake over four weeks.  It showed that some of them put on weight, but some of them didn't.  Isn't that weird?  Some of their metabolisms were firing so strongly, that any more calories than they needed were put into muscle, automatically.  Their bodies just did it by itself.  This program also explored the idea that genetics has a big part to play in whether people overeat or not.

There seems to be a gene that makes people more susceptible to overeating and feelings of hunger.  Through an MRI, they showed that obese people, who had lost some weight, had a brain reaction of being ravenously hungry when they saw food, even if they were full, or had just eaten.  Isn't that amazing? So persons who have a predisposition towards weight gain not only have to fight the mental battle, but they have their bodies telling them that they are STARVING!

The skinny people in this show were not allowed to walk more than 5,000 steps in one day, and many of them found this difficult.  And, once they had finished the four weeks of the study, they went back to their normal eating habits, and all of them lost the weight WITHOUT DOING ANYTHING.....eating what they needed and stopping when they were hungry was just their body's way of doing things.  Wow. Doesn't that sound fabulous?

I have experienced a phenomenon in the past few days.....that I could relate to with the skinny people.  It showed them eating lots, and not wanting to....that they were looking forward to getting into exercising again, that they didn't want to live with minimal exercise and shovelling food into their mouths.  And I can totally relate!  In the beginning of Weight Watchers, all I wanted to do was eat, and I felt fat and gross, and deprived, and that I couldn't keep doing it.  But, gradually, as this thing has become a way of life....and I have learned to embrace healthy eating and to LOVE my treats...and include them daily....but to feel good about what I eat without feeling deprived.

Does that make sense?  On the weekend, we had a family Christmas, and I ate:

Uncle Tobys' Oats, 4pp
Skim Milk, 4pp
Flaked Almonds 2pp

Beesting from Howlong Bakery 6pp (sooo yum!)

Chicken Breast 3pp
Greek Salad 4pp

6 x mini Milky Bars 9pp
2 x mini flakes 4pp
1 Milo snack bar 3pp

Gourmet Chicken Sandwich 12pp
Hot Chips, large serve 9pp
Cadbury Favourites, 13 pieces 14pp

71 Propoints, baby!! But....guess what? I ate what I wanted, stopped when I was full, didn't eat everything, and felt good about myself.  After eating all the chocolate, I felt a bit piggy, and was glad to get back into eating good food again.  And it's so nice not to have to beat myself up about having a little mini pig out.  Because of the 49 weekly propoints, it's all completely legal.....there is no more forbidden food, and because of that, overeating is less of an issue.  I dont' feel like I have to gorge myself, because I know that I can always have more of what I am eating tomorrow.  And I can fill up on fruit and veg that make me feel fabulous.

Oh...and I had the beesting on the way to my nephew Petey's party....where a variety of party food was served...but because I'd had the delicious custardy creamy beesting, I was so full that I didn't need to eat anything there.  I had that at 10am and didn't eat again until about 1pm...because I was craving exactly that, ate it, and didn't need to stuff myself full of other things that I didn't really want, just because I felt deprived.  I think that's the number one reason why I used to overeat, because I felt lonely, sad, and because the food was so forbidden......I couldn't just have a little bit of it.  There was no moderation...there was either "I am being good and eating salad and cottage cheese", or "I AM A SUGAR MONSTER AND MUST CONSUME EVERYTHING IN MY PATH"....

Yesterday I got up, had a 2 yummy crumpets with peanut butter,  then some fruit salad with yoghurt and flaked almonds.  It was delicious!! I went and did all my jobs, went to the gym, which felt fantastic, and realised I was hungry about 11.45.  I did not feel hungry until then.  For some people, who have never been totally at the mercy of their appetite and food thinking all their lives, this may  not seem like a big deal...but for me it is a total, massive and amazing victory.  I have always obsessed about food...but now I enjoy it.  I listen to my body, eat what I want to, without guilt, enjoy a variety of healthy and unhealthy food, and feel like I am really getting on with the business of living, without being a prisoner to my thoughts any more.

So.....I may not get it all right every day, and I have massive self doubts sometimes.....but I see my life coming together in a way that I am so happy with....and I want that for you.  Yes, you, reading this.  I didn't ever think that I could be this free, and now I am.  And so can you be. 

Love always
Deb :)

Sunday, October 2, 2011

The job of my dreams, the life of my dreams!

Morning's been a while since I posted! About 6 months, to be precise.  There are two reasons for this - number one, I tend to use Facebook as my diary(I over share constantly), and number two, I have the job of my dreams as a Weight Watchers Leader, and life has become busy!!

I never, ever, ever thought that I'd have such an amazing job, where I am able to do what I love, talk about self esteem, about positivity, about eating healthily....and I get to work with and share with the most amazing people.  I didn't think, when I was mired in misery and self hate, at a weight of 122kg, feeling like the most revolting person in the world, feeling weak, feeling trapped, feeling imprisoned in all that extra flesh....that I could ever be someone that could inspire other people.

Do you want to know what? Sometimes I feel like a bit of a fraud.  I mean, yeah, I've lost some of the weight. My life has changed, my wardrobe has changed, and I'm a lot happier.  But in some ways, I'm really scared of getting to goal weight.  I have been this weight now (about 10kg overweight) for most of my adult life, and I am terrified of getting down to the 80s because I feel like I'll be too visible.  Yes, I know I'm weird. 

When I was 11, we moved house, and I started going to Brownies, and doing Netball. I also started working on some modest breasts.  The breasts that everyone else in my year wanted, but that I would have gladly done without.  They made me visible.  They made me a target.  I was mercilessly teased by the girls on the netball team and called "Big tits", excluded from their gossip, and for someone who was already struggling with these strange protuberances, it made it all the harder to deal with.  It was the same story at Brownies. I'd practice a witty comment or even just a "Hello" (did I mention I was cripplingly shy for most of my adolescence?)...only to have it shot down in flames with a taunt of "OH YEAH, BIG TITS?".....ugh.  I guess, looking back on it now, that they were jealous of my advance into puberty - but I would have gladly retreated from it! I slept with a bra on for most of my high school years, as I was so uncomfortable with them.  They made me a freak, they made me different, they made me a target.

So, moving on into the final years of high school, I was a shy and timid gal, who'd subconsciously put on weight as a kind of camouflage for the hated bosoms.  But, unfortunately, at 180cm, I was never going to fade into the background.  Instead of "Big Tits", I became "Fatso", or "Big Red", "Ronald McDonald" or "Big Betty" (anyone remember "Hey Dad"?)

I guess I have spent most of my life trying to be what other people would like, and it's only since I lost the weight that I've regained my fashion sense, that I like wearing my hair bright red and asymmetrical, that I like wearing things that I wouldn't have worn in my "I'm living in Finley and a wife so I best wear sensible shoes" phase.  I'm almost there.  I'm so close to being happy with who I am......but I'm holding back cause I'm scared.

Well, my lovely Area Manager, Cate, has encouraged me to not settle. She's encouraged me to believe that I can lose that final 10kg and I can deal with being visible.  That I deserve to be visible.  How many of us are struggling with being visible in our lives? How many of us mask our fears and our imagined failings in life, with food and trips to the fridge? How many of us want to disappear because we think we don't matter, that we don't have a right to be visible?
I'm making a pledge right now that I'm on my way - that I'm going to try - and I'll tell you how I go.  No fear - I have my faith in a loving God to lean on and the support of my amazing WW friends, Nicky, Laura, Claire and others......This year is the year of Triumph!!  Peace and love to you all xxoo

Wednesday, February 9, 2011


Hello all!

I'm writing to you from a place where I never thought I'd be - happiness!  You see, I've always been a worrier - a bit of a scaredy cat, and always had that feeling of impending doom. Didn't think people liked me, didn't think I was good enough, didn't know who I was but hated myself anyway.  And I'm talking about feeling like this from the age of 8.  Dreadful stuff, eh?  My mum is sad when I tell her that, she feels like she should have known.  But how could I verbalise what I didn't know was abnormal? I thought that everyone else felt like this.  I thought that people stopped feeling like that when they got a boyfriend.  So, that was my goal.  On the pages of a SMASH HITS 1987 diary, and deep into my psyche, the words "THIS YEAR I WILL GET A BOYFRIEND" ruled my life.  If I could get someone to like me, that would prove I was worthwhile, and prove that I was somebody.

Sadly, I was cripplingly shy as a youngster, and most boys tended to like the girls who laughed and talked, instead of the ones who sat mute, gazing in wonder and fear at this strange species called "boy".  I had no idea how to relate to them.  Coming from a family of 3 girls, I had no clues, and trudged through life, and highschool alternately avoiding and stalking a succession of guys.  In my mind, I fashioned scenarios where I spoke to the pretty boy who'd been occuping my thoughts. Sadly, in real life, I stared at him so hard in the canteen line, that he and his friends started to laugh every time I walked past.  I had no clue.

Then, in Year 11, I discovered alchol! Through this magic elixir, I discovered that I could talk to BOYS! I could be witty and funny and unleash all the conversational gambits that wouldn't come out of my mouth otherwise.

I had some success with boys in my uni years and beyond, but my mission to self destruct was starting to interfere with my romantic life.  Some of my suitors even had the temerity to suggest that I had a drinking problem.  It all came to a head when I started to realise that if a guy really liked me, I'd ruin things, by getting drunk, by running away or behaving badly.  I started going to counselling, where, layer by layer, I realised that I didn't really like myself - so if any guy showed an interest in me, I assumed he was insane, or joking. Or both.  I started to realise that I couldn't really be in a relationship until I worked on myself. 

And so, three months after that revelation, I started going out with Richard, and six months after that, we were engaged.  Hey, if you're going to work through existential dilemmas, it's better to drag someone else along for the ride, and make their life miserable too, innit?  Poor Richard. He's definitely seen me through some hard times, but he's an amazing husband (and person), and has given me the space to become truly me.

So what's the quick fix for a low self esteem?  Enter counselling immdiately.  You can't unravel years of patterns by yourself.  Some of us are more emotional and prone to depression.  It's a medical thing.  You wouldn't try and treat asthma by yourself, would you?  Lose the guilt, and realise that the most important thing that you can do for your friends and family is to LOVE YOURSELF.

My existential dilemma came to a head when I had Alex.  Having kids is a surefire trigger for more "who am I" questions, and for someone like me who has tried to be what other people want me to be all my life, it was a freakout.  But - thanks to my amazing family and friends, I've come out the other side stronger and more sure of myself.   Not everyone has to like me.  Not everyone has to share my opinon.  But you know what, as long as I'm honest about me, that can never be wrong.  I realise that I'm not everyone's cup of tea.  Sometimes I'm too honest, too frank, too into emotional mumbo jumbo.  But you know what? I like that.

I like me. I even love me.  Do you love you too? You should. Cause you're awesome.

Deb xoxox