Thursday, January 22, 2015

But You Don't Look Sick

Well, I am three weeks into a New Year, New You challenge.  I don't usually entertain New Year's Resolutions because they are always over-the-moon, never going to happen wishes.  This year however, I am undergoing an overhaul.  I didn't even plan on writing about it until a neighbor blogged a very sweet, honest and real post yesterday, which just made me laugh - I mean, I blogged about Thank You notes!!!!  So I figured I would put it in writing as a way to hold me accountable.

This challenge was put into motion last Spring when I quit my job.  I said I wanted to stay home with my children and be more present.  I wanted to be a better wife, mother and friend.  While this is all very true, I also needed to take care of myself.  

The past few years -  more if I am honest - I have felt very depressed and lost.  I suffer from rheumatoid arthritis, which has been a life altering thing to deal with.  As a former cross country and marathon runner, my passion was stripped from me.  This is something I have dealt with for the past 16 years.  16 years!!!!  You would think I would have a handle on it by now.  I understand the pain part of my disease.  Not a day goes by that I don't suffer pain in some sort of fashion.  But the exhaustion and depression is a side of the disease that I have never gotten a handle on.

There are areas of my life that I like to compartmentalize and running used to be the way I dealt with it - I just ran the frustration out.  When one mile didn't suffice, I ran another - and so on and so forth.  Then boom - I woke up one morning at the age of 26 and literally could not stand. And I've yet to come up with another way to combat my demons.

And if I am still being honest - I'm also not the best patient.  Furthermore, being a stay-at-home mommy who now has the time to volunteer in several community activities has only exacerbated the issue.  Being a stay-at-home mommy is exhausting - give me my job back!  I remember thinking, "if I can just get to my job, I can relax!"  

What is my point?  Simply I, like most women and Mommy's, make sure I take care of everyone else but suck at taking care of myself.  I make sure my boys have what they need - play dates, attend camps and are registered for activities they like.  I see to their education and growth in Christ.  I make sure my hubby has time off and never (err- rarely) complain when the he takes off fly fishing.  He provides for the family and allows me the opportunity to be home.  But I SUPER SUCK at making time for me. This point was driven home as I spent 5 hours bedridden yesterday from pure exhaustion.  R.A. is not something I will die from.  I have lost people I care about over the last year to tragic diseases and accidents.  My best friend is battling breast cancer.  So I think to myself, "boo hoo!  Your joints hurt - get over it!" But being bedridden has become more common and I do need to respect R.A. and know my boundaries - and therein lies my new challenge for myself for 2015.  TAKE CARE OF ME!

While I do plan to lose some pesky pounds, I also plan to rest more, feel guilty about it less, make time for my girlfriends and schedule in some smoochy, smoochy date nights too. When I share what  I am dealing with, people say, "but you don't look sick" or "but you are so happy".  Yes, I am happy; but that doesn't mean there isn't more simmering under the surface.  Somewhere along the way I lost myself and this is the year I am going to get her back.  Because I am convinved the answer lies in taking care of myself without thinking I'm being selfish.  Watch out world!


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