New Year, New Me

As I’ve stated before, I’m not usually one for making New Year’s resolutions.  I generally feel that, if you’re not willing/ready to make the change at any time of the year, chances are you won’t succeed at it just because a new year has begun.  Maybe that’s just a defeatist attitude that I’ve used to keep me from attempting to make any large changes each year, but it’s not like I’m ever graded on my human-ness by whether or not I participate in this social activity, so I haven’t cared to look at it any deeper.

This coming year, however, I have decided to make some changes.  I don’t know that I’d call them “resolutions” per se, but these modifications are things I feel are necessary to my emotional and physical well-being, if I hope to enjoy a healthy long life.

The first is to be MUCH more diligent in changing my eating habits.  I’ve known I had Hashimoto’s for nearly two years now, but I’ve been pretty lax about making sure that I avoid gluten at ALL costs.  Sometimes it’s because I don’t want to cause too much of a fuss, but it’s mostly because I don’t pay that close attention to ingredients when I eat out, so I’m sure there are times when gluten still gets into my system.

Also, the more I speak to my functional medicine doctor, the more I learn that there are other foods I should be cutting down on, or cutting out of my diet entirely.  I’ve been fighting it like a five-year old throwing a tantrum and being mad at my body for being this sensitive, but I’ve finally started to accept that I need to put on my big-girl panties and stop letting my ID control me.  Mine isn’t a life-threatening disease (yet), but I know that I can feel better than I do right now . . . and I WANT that.

The next shift will likely happen as a result of eating better for my body . . . lose weight.  Both Craig and I need to lose quite a few pounds, but we’ve let our reasons and excuses keep us from doing just that.  Well, Craig’s been encountering more and more health problems due to his weight and our not-so-great eating habits, and neither of us wants him to have to be on medications for the rest of his life, so this is one change that we’re gonna work on together.  YAY!  The fact that I want to go to Hawaii for my 50th birthday is a HUGE incentive.  We both want to go hang gliding, walking on volcanoes, and even ziplining . . . And we’d probably have a better time doing those if we were down to healthier weights.  We’ve got until 2020 to get there.

The other switch that I’m going to make is to stop playing so many video games.  I started using them as a little break/de-stressor from the daily grind, but it’s now become more than that.  They’ve come to take up a good hour or two of my days . . . which is time that I could put to MUCH better use with editing my current audiobook or auditioning for new voice over gigs.  Or even taking new photos or editing old ones.  I have two amazing careers that I really want to get off the ground, and playing video games is taking up too much of what little free time I currently have (since I have a day job as well).

These are three really good switches that I’m going to be making in my life.  So, why am I waiting until the new year to make them?  Probably the same reason so many other people don’t make the changes right away . . . I don’t wanna!  lol  While that’s meant to be funny, it’s also quite true.  My ID is definitely sensing the danger of not being in control for much longer.  It’s one of those consequences of not disciplining oneself enough as you’re growing up . . . you spend 40+ years doing/eating whatever you want, whenever you want to and not thinking of the possible repercussions (because you don’t notice any for the first 20+ years of your life).  That’s a LOT of years of bad habits to try to overcome.  So I guess I’m giving myself a couple more weeks of “freedom” before I make the necessary changes.

The funny thing is that deep down inside, I WANT to make these changes.  I know, inherently, that all of these changes will make for a MUCH happier, healthier Alyx.  And I so desperately want to be happier and healthier.

So, maybe these last couple weeks of 2016 are really a chance to let the deeper part of me work on convincing my ID that these changes are a GOOD thing.  Probably not, but I’ve only got two more weeks to make excuses.  ;o)

Leave Me Alone

2015 hasn’t been a great year for me so far, health-wise.  In January I was diagnosed with hypothyroidism, and later found out I actually have Hashimoto’s Disease (which causes hypothyroidism, but whose treatment is more involved). I developed inflamed lymph nodes and a stye in my eye back in February, due to lots of stress in my life.  In March, a chest congestion showed up that’s lasted more than 6 weeks (still trying to get rid of that one), which Craig caught (though his lasted far less time).  Also in March, Craig wound up in a motorcycle accident where he broke his collarbone and has been out of work for nearly a month.  Around that same time, I started feeling pain in my floating ribs, which feels like a tear in the connective tissue around them, though I’m still awaiting final word on that.

I’m not exaggerating at all . . . all of these things have hit within the first quarter of this year.  It’s enough to make me want to weep; which I’ve done a few times over the last four months.

What’s made it harder, though, is people wanting to know how I am.  That might sound weird, but it’s actually quite logical, when you think about it.

When major stressors hit you, you want/need time and space to absorb it, assimilate it, and deal with it before you can move on with your life.  So imagine multiple stressors hitting in a relatively short span of time.  You REALLY need that time.  When people keep asking how you’re doing, you don’t really get the necessary time or space to work through it in a healthy way, because you’re constantly having to relive the initial stress.

There have honestly been times these last couple of weeks that I just didn’t want to talk to anybody, because I didn’t want to have to relive every single crappy health thing that was going on.  I know that my ability to exchange simple pleasantries went right out the window, which added guilt to all the stress, but I did my best to get over that one, because now is the time for me to take care of me and not worry about how other people are gonna take it.

One of the other hard things was having people try to tell me to keep my chin up during all of this.  I actually heard the phrase “Just look for the light at the end of the tunnel.”  Honestly?  After just a couple of these events, I began to worry that light was another train about to hit.

Why do some people have a hard time dealing with someone who’s “in the dumps?”  There are many schools of thought in psychology that says the best way to get through a misfortune is to actually feel it.  It’s widely known and accepted that there are 5 stages of grief/loss (or 7, depending on what school you agree with), but many people seem uncomfortable when confronted with someone in the first few stages.

This same thing may be why people use food or substances to “cope” in life . . . because they can’t deal with the negative thoughts that might occur in their head.  I’m quite sure that’s part of why I’ve had eating issues most of my life.  We’re taught that feeling bad is “bad,” and that we should try to hide it.  I’m not sure if that’s because we don’t want people to think less of us, or if we’d think less of ourselves, but it’s definitely unhealthy to repress your emotions.

So I’m learning to 1) deal with these negative feelings, no matter what they are; and 2) to tell people that I just don’t want to talk about it (if I don’t).  There’s too much going on in my life right now that I need to focus on, and I don’t have the time or energy to worry about whether or not someone will be offended that I’m not my usual happy-go-lucky, optimistic self.  And if they leave me alone, I’ll be able to get through the grief much faster.

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