Yesterday morning, I stumbled downstairs to find my husband at the sink with an apron on over his work clothes, finishing up dishes from the night before. I had stayed in bed as long as I could. My son was already on the bus, headed to the high school, and the girls would be getting up soon.
I made my way to the Keurig more by feel than by sight. I plopped a pod into the proper receptacle, pushed a button, and basked in the glorious sound of the nectar of the gods pouring into my favorite coffee mug.
I leaned into my husband, and he put his arms around me without touching me with his soapy hands as they dripped dishwater onto the floor. We stood like that for a minute.
“I miss me,” I lamented, as I removed myself from his embrace to retrieve the cream from the fridge and added a generous dollop to my coffee.
He snorted as he returned to the dishpan and quipped, “What, the you who used to be up for three hours by now?”
At least he hasn’t lost his humor.
Ever since I was sick over Christmastime, I haven’t been motivated to resume my earlybird ways. It happened gradually, and now I realize I’ve allowed a new habit to form.
Rather than waking naturally at 5:30 or so, getting up and putting in a couple hours of work before the rest of the household awakes, I’ve taken to sleeping in as long as I can. And rather than waking up eager to start the day, I grudgingly drag myself out of bed and try to rally enough energy to make breakfast and lunch for the kids before they get on the bus.
I still go to bed early at night, but I don’t sleep well. I don’t know if it’s because I’m not getting any exercise or because I’ve taken to spending about a half hour with my iPad in bed, catching up on Facebook before I fall asleep. I’ve heard that screens before bed mess with your sleep. I’m more inclined to believe it is the lack of exercise that I had become so accustomed to.
This is a tough time of year for many, I know. I tend to struggle with “seasonal blues” so I’m trying to cut myself some slack.
But I miss me.
I miss the person I was when I was exercising regularly and on a healthy sleep schedule. I miss the energy I had and the heightened enjoyment of life. I liked that girl. She was happy, confident, always ready for the next thing.
Earlier this week, I turned down what sounded like a really cool spokesperson opportunity at a fancy event in New York City because I just didn’t think I had the energy to be “on” for something like that right now.
WHO AM I???
The other night, I read this post by my friend Dresden, and I realized that I’m mildly depressed. Not like I need meds or anything, but I am not myself down deep inside.
I’ve struggled with this before. I know the signs. It starts with not caring about getting dressed or how you look . . . Dresden nails it in her post.
If I didn’t have my Daily Mom Style posts to get dressed for, I don’t think I would be getting dressed for anything other than church on Sundays. I’m actually quite thankful for those posts as a motivator. I do believe they’ve helped me from totally spiraling downward into the murky quagmire of depression. The days I put some effort into myself, I always feel better, although the underlying feeling of hopelessness still lurks.
I have to assume my situation is temporary, even though it feels hopeless at times. I still have pain in my foot that suggests it is not healing, and the thought of surgery or injections and more weeks and months in a boot or brace makes me want to curl up in a ball and never get up.
I envision that sometimes… crawling into bed, pulling the shades, and staying that way indefinitely. I know it can happen. I know that people do that, and it frightens me just a bit.
In fact, I’ve done that a few times in the past months. I’ll go upstairs, crawl into bed and think, I’m not getting up. I’m done.
Then I picture my kids and my husband downstairs going about life without me, and the tug of war begins. Get up…. or stay here and wallow in self pity… get up… or hunker down? Which will it be?
The everyday noises of dishes clattering, children bantering with their dad, and the dog scratching at the door are usually enough to pull me out of my cocoon.
I don’t want them to see me this way, so I get up and plaster a smile on my face and move on with life.
I’ve been thinking about Dresden’s post. Yes, talking about it helps. Writing this post helps. Putting words to my feelings and admitting that this is real, and it is okay… that helps.
I let pretty much everything go with this latest round of injury. (In December, I was diagnosed with a torn tendon in my left foot, after being in a medical boot for 8 weeks in the fall for a stress fracture in the same area. And THAT was after struggling with plantar fasciitis in the right foot for over a year.)
When my doctor told me the only exercise I can do is “seated upper body workouts,” I told my trainer I was going to take a break. That was almost two months ago, and that is when the downward spiral began.
My feelings of hopelessness are fueled by the fact that I don’t feel like my foot is healing, but maybe the discomfort I’m experiencing is part of the healing process… I can only hope. I’m allowed to start weaning out of the brace next week. I’m both eager to start the process and terrified that I will discover it hasn’t gotten better. The doctor told me that the perineal tendon can be hard to heal, and it might require surgery if it doesn’t get better on its own, but I know I shouldn’t allow myself to think about that right now.
I still miss running. Certain songs come on the radio that I used to run to, and the emotions are overpowering, but I know I might have to let that go. And while I will miss it, my standards have definitely changed after being totally inactive for months.
Right now I’d be happy just to be able to walk the dog, hike with my family, and take a bike ride now and then. I miss feeling strong and active. If I can have that back, maybe giving up running won’t seem so bad.
In fact, I would happily give up running just to be able to wear high heels again.
Hey, at least I’ve got my priorities in order. Ha!
It’s so tempting to hibernate and allow myself to wallow in self-pity, but Dresden’s words really hit home with me. It’s definitely a vicious cycle when you allow yourself to stop caring, so I’m not giving in.
At my last doctor’s appointment three weeks ago, he gave me a script for physical therapy. Yesterday I finally got around to making an appointment, and I start next week.
I also emailed my trainer and told her that I am ready to start working out again. I can still only do seated upper body exercises, but she knows how to work with those restrictions. I’ll go twice a week, and hopefully that will help me start to feel strong and active again.
I’m not going to waste time worrying about what I’ll do if my tendon doesn’t heal. After all, sufficient for the day is its own trouble. (That’s one of my favorite verses, as I tend to be a worrywart.)
And finally, I am going to commit to getting dressed and putting myself together every day. Even if I wear activewear all day (after all, I’ll have PT twice a week), I will shower and put on makeup.
My friend Cyndi over at Walking In Grace & Beauty has inspired me to start a new series: 28 Days of Winter Fashion. She did a 31 Days of Fall Fashion in October, and she’s wrapping up 31 Days of Winter Fashion right now. She’s planning to do 31 Days of Spring Fashion in March, and she invited me to join her, but I think I need this motivation right away. Since February starts tomorrow, I figure there’s no time like the present. Besides, 28 days sounds somewhat less daunting than 31. Go figure.
I don’t think I’ll post every day, but I may post more often than just Wednesdays. I’ll have to see how it goes. I’m not promising to wear a totally new outfit every day for 28 days, but I’m going to try.
Getting out is important to my mental health as well, so I’m making plans with friends and planning outings to look forward to.
I’ve definitely learned a lot through this process. I know so many people, both in real life and online, who deal with chronic conditions that prevent them from living the kind of active life they want to live. I have so much more empathy for them now.
If nothing else, this experience has reminded me once again that this world is not my home. For a believer, I think it is important to be reminded of this from time to time. When everything is going well, it’s easy to become too attached to this world. Not that we shouldn’t appreciate the beauty and joy this world has to offer; but ultimately, I can take comfort in believing that a perfect place awaits, and this is just my temporary home.
But it is my home for now, so today I’m taking my life back and choosing joy.