Wednesday, September 2, 2020

A new chapter...

 Ten months ago I came to this little town to take care of my grandma. If Im being totally honest here, I also came to make a new start and escape a marriage I desperately wanted out of. My grandma needed me, my family needed me and I needed all of them. It seemed like a good idea and in hindsight I suppose it was. I didnt understand all the lessons I was to learn from that decision but I did get some very good quality time with my grandma (who we actually have affectionately called Nana).

A little over a week ago my Nana died. I did not expect to be the one sitting by her bed alone when she took her final breaths but I was. I have never seen someone die. The night I went to her side after working all day I knew the time was near but I think I was ill prepared. I am thankful my mom was there not far across the room when it happened. After we were sure she was gone I remember looking around the room wondering if she was still in it. Maybe she was looking at us. We were singing to her "when we all get to heaven, what a day of rejoicing that will be!" It was a beautiful moment. If she was looking at us from above her body Im sure she was just as curious as I was about death and what happens right after. I didnt feel any weird sensations when she passed. It wasn't dramatic....just peaceful. She looked like she was sleeping. We got to still be with her for two hours before they took her away. By that time the other members of the family were there. My mom and her siblings couldn't handle being in the room when they wheeled her out of the house. Me and my cousin Ashley watched for them. They were very considerate of us and my Nanas body as they carefully bundled her up and told us to say our goodbyes. We knew it was the last time we would see her. There would be no open casket upon her own wishes. 

So my last living grandma is gone. She was in my life pretty frequently for all 44.5 years of my life. When I was younger I used to sometimes let my mind wonder about what it would be like when she passed. The thought of her being gone would make me so depressed that I would dismiss the thoughts immediately, and now...its happened.

I helped carry her to her final resting place. I didnt even know that was an option for me to do until they asked. I felt honored. I knew she wasn't there anymore but it felt right to be part of putting her body to rest. Her body that held my hand and hugged my shoulders too many times to count. She was so many things to me that I couldn't possibly go into them without writing a book. I am so glad I was able to spend so much time with her before she left to live in Heaven. Its bitter sweet. She knew she was dying. She had dementia and she would sometimes ask "am I dying? or am I ok?" We would always tell her that she was ok and she didnt need to be scared. 

I guess this is what it feels like to have no grandparents. Ive never had this feeling before. Nana was always there. Just a phone call away. Even when I deemed myself a "not so good granddaughter" and neglected to call or write for a while it didnt matter. She always loved me. She learned to love people unconditionally because she had such a hard childhood and I know she never wanted anyone to feel the way she did. 

Im not sure what to do next really. My weeks have previously been filled with working, single parenting, being a grandma, and carving out any time I possibly could to go care for my Nana. Now that piece is gone I guess a new chapter needs to be started.  

If we could only get through covid!!!! Ill have to address that in my next blog. My son was just texted for covid. Sigh!!!

Here is my Nana and I being silly just a few weeks before she died. I told her to "stick out her tongue" and she did and then said "your silly!" Sadly a couple weeks after this picture she had a stroke in the middle of the night and was never the same. 


This is me and some of my family members taking her to her final resting place. I am the one with black pants on and a flower shirt. The stress of the last ten months really shows in my weight gain. Im not mad about it, thats life. New starts can be amazing and I have recently been working really hard on some new goals. Isn't her casket beautiful? It had these velvet feeling flowers all over it. She was buried right beside my Pappy who died last year. 

Here we are today. This is me and Skyler (my 14 year old son) on our way to get him tested for Covid. Ill touch on that later. 

In the meantime, squeeze your loved ones. You don't realize how fast the years go. Take care my friends!!


Monday, August 17, 2020

Weight loss and more....

 

Good morning!!! 
My sister came to visit this weekend. I missed her so much and was so grateful for the time we had together.

Yesterday was my first day putting back into practice those healthy eating habits and using my new food journal for inspiration. It went well. Here was my first day. 

I love how I can sit down at the end of the day and reflect on the day and the choices I made. Its very simple but it works. I am not tracking my food anywhere else but here. I am not even counting calories. The less pressure I put on myself right now the better. Im enjoying the freedom and also I still have all the knowledge in my head from loosing weight before. 
The previous page in my journal was blank so I decided to jot down my "why" for this new journey. I have more than one why and when you read through them it might seem a bit negative but for me it is important to remember how it feels to be at this weight so that next time I decide to put aside all the healthy habits I know are good for me I can reflect back and remember how uncomfortable I am. Here are my "whys." 
I have a very nasty habit of night eating. Ive had it since I could remember. I have tried everything to combat it. I literally wake up in the middle of the night (usually around midnight or one) after sleeping soundly for several hours and get up and eat. My food of choice is usually a spoon, peanut butter and sugar free jelly with a glass of milk. I dip into the peanut butter and then into the jelly and eat it straight from the spoon. Sigh!! ALL my good intentions go out the window at this time of night. Its very frustrating. Ill keep you updated on my progress. 
I like weighing in every morning. Some people say not to but I like too. It doesn't discourage me. I automatically know if I didnt eat well the day before then im going to see the numbers go up...but if I did eat good the day before then most of the time the numbers stay the same or go down. This is super motivating for me. I have a smart scale. I am proud to announce that I lost 2.4 pounds. Its amazing how just putting into practice good healthy habits can get you so far. Here are my results!!!
If you don't have a smart scale I highly recommend getting one. I got mine off amazon and I love it. When I weigh myself it goes straight to the app on my phone and gives all these cool graphs. I love keeping data on myself. Its a great way to keep yourself accountable. 
So today my sweet Skyler started high school. If you have followed me for awhile you know he has autism (high functioning autism). This qualified him to start school today (just one day a week at this point but we are not complaining). It was weird putting him on the bus with a mask. This kid has grown so much. He is 14 and is six foot one. CRAZY!!
Going to school is so needed. He has been cooped up in the house since covid started. We are so tired of being home. Our town is small and there is very little to do. He was very anxious to go to school today. 
That about sums it up. There is so much more I can share but I will will wait to post again. 
I hope this post finds you all inspired to start your own healthy habits journey. Take care my dear friends!!!

Rebekah 

Sunday, August 16, 2020

Finding my Skinny again

 


Sometimes you just have to start over....from the beginning. Well....for me it isn't quite the beginning. For those that have followed me for awhile, in the beginning I weighed 319 pounds. That was eleven years ago. I have managed to keep off about 95 of those pounds but as you can see I have managed to climb right back into the 200's. Posting my weight is embarrassing. It can almost feel like failure but Im feeling so good about myself lately that I can't be mad....I just feel determined. My mental health is so fantastic right now that I feel ready to dive into improving my physical health. Its time!
Last week I put my name in for a contest on Instagram. I follow a sweet lady named Kristy McCammon. (you can click on her name to go to her web site) She was giving away a food journal. Im a sucker for another cool journal and I was in need of a food journal to kick off my new healthy habits journey that I wanted to start. Guess what??? I WON!! I never win anything so I couldn't believe it. I chose this cover.....


The inside cover has a place for a date...I chose today to be my start date.....

The next page was blank so I personalized it with a quote that I could reflect on and I decorated it with fall stickers. I can't wait for fall!!!!
The next page is your 100 day tracker chart. Ill just use this to be able to check off the days I was able to track my food. I do not expect perfection....but I do expect myself to be consistent and honest about weighting my food down. I also decorated it with some cute fall things. 

The next page is where I will write my food. I do have the myfitnesspal app but I do find that I am more consistent lately if I can write it down and not be so concerned about calories. I have tracked my food for so many years that I have a really good idea of what I should and shouldn't be eating and I know what good portion sizes are. This journal follows the "bright line eating" lifestyle but I won't necessarily be following that exactly. I will try very hard to keep its core principles in place and that would be 1. no sugar 2. no flour 3. no snacking. I will throw in snacks though because I work a lot and I sometimes need protein. 

Over the last seven years I have been gazelle focused on meeting my weight goal. Its just been the past six months that I have lost focused. I could make a WHOLE bunch of excuses why I have gained the weight back (49 pounds to be exact) but that would do me no good. Life is just that way. You gain some, you loose some right? Im not mad about it. I feel great mentally. I am no longer depressed...but I want to feel great physically. 

GOAL WEIGHT 175 

Tuesday, August 4, 2020

Guilt is the driving force for depression!

"Guilt is the driving force for depression." my counselor said to me last week.
"What?" I said. "Can you say that again so I can write it down?"

She repeated it and I wrote it down. It was such a profound statement for me that I had to hear it again and I had to write it down so I wouldn't forget. This statement summarized my entire life. I conditioned myself into depression at the age of 44. When I heard that it opened a door for me that I felt I could actually climb out. 

I am doing really really good.....mentally. Physically I am very over weight and I feel very uncomfortable....BUT....that is OK. I am being very gentle on myself in that area. There is NO WAY I would have been able to stick to a healthy eating  pattern and loose weight in my condition just two weeks ago. I was way to debilitated mentally. 

I understand now why people go through "midlife crisis." Your 40s are truly the mid point of your existence. Its the point where you have lived about half of your life and you are able to reflect back at all the good....the bad...the ugly...the sad...the regret...and then turn all that around and from there you have two choices. You can look at the past and all the regret and pain and decide that you couldn't possibly recover from it and live the next 40 years in that same pain and guilt and regret....OR.....you can view the past as a sort of shaping of who you were really meant to be and use it as a stepping stone to help others and most importantly take your existence up a notch and be the best human being that you were meant to be. I always knew I was not meant to live an ordinary mediocre life. I knew that I was meant for greatness. That may not mean that I will be famous or rich...it simply means that I can and will achieve greatness within myself. I do not have to live in the past....but I can live with the story of the past as my tool to greatness. 

The past week has been absolutely wonderful for me. I don't know who or what to give the credit to. Literally two weeks ago I could barely function. My head was heavy, my brain was foggy, I had almost no energy and no hope for the future. I was getting prescriptions from the doctor to help solve it but the medicines made me feel worse. So, I decided to pray. I did it....I prayed and asked God to please help me. I told him I was incapable of living this life on my own and I was sick and I needed help. I also started taking a BUNCH of natural supplements and stopped taking any prescription medication. I am NOT eating healthy all the time yet and that is why my body is still puffy and im not loosing weight but my mental health is FANTASTIC!! I have energy, I have hope, I can dream again and set goals. Who do I credit that too? Ill credit it all to God because he gave us the knowledge for the supplements....but don't get me wrong....I am NOT about to embrace Christianity again....but I can pray. Thats simple enough for me. 

 I find that I am still very erratic in my decision making. I don't like this part of myself. I heard one life give a lecture on the "stories we tell ourself." She said that when we feel sad its because of a story we told ourself, if we are anxious then its because of a story we tell ourself. In essence, we tell ourself these stories and it triggers a feeling. We basically have the ability to control our emotions based on the stories we tell ourselves. It sounds complicated but its really not. I started really paying attention to what I was telling myself, particularly when I would have an anxious moment or a guilt ridden moment. What I found was the stories I was telling myself were completely irrational. For instance, If I couldn't go visit a family member that I promised I would go see I would start to feel guilty after I told them I couldn't come. The guilt came pretty strong and to combat that I would start to think of ways I could make up for my lack by maybe baking some banana bread and dropping it off at there house or crocheting a couple dishrags and dropping it off. I felt so bad that I didnt visit and I thought that maybe they wouldn't like me anymore so I would have to do stuff to make up for it. The stories I would play in my head is that they wouldn't like me anymore because I didnt visit. This was the irrational part and completely not true but my brain couldn't comprehend that.....until now. I have dealt with this sort of guilt for ALL my life. Now that I am able to sit back and listen to the stories I am telling myself when I feel guilty or sad or anxious, I can stop the cycle right in its tracks and put myself on a better path. I hope to learn soon how to completely let go of all the guilt and anxiety wrapped up in these stories I tell myself but it will take practice. 

I have said all of this because as much as I want to loose this extra 50-60 pounds I have gained, it can not be done until I fix the inside first. Loosing weight is more emotional than physical. I know this because if you have followed me for awhile you remember that I lost 135 pounds all on my own.

I am excited to be back loosing weight. Its soon. I know it is....I am so close to being ready. 

Monday, July 27, 2020

Mental health update

I might as well been a pastors kid growing up. We were in church enough times per week to qualify me as a pastors kid. I went to youth group with the actual pastors kids and attended the same church for years. It was part of my being...part of who I was. I didn't really have a life or a social life outside of church. Everything I was taught at home and at church matched and it presented me with what I thought was a pretty steady life. I didn't know any different. I took on all that I was taught at church as gold and because my personality is such that I have a very black or white thinking...everything I learned and absorbed was truth.

One of the things I learned from Christianity is the principle to "always choose joy." This is not a bad principle. We should always look for the good in things, to always try and be positive. But it went further for me. I felt that as a Christian if I were not happy all the time then I wasn't putting Jesus first and I wasn't "casting all my cares on him," well enough. I always wanted to be the best christian and I never wanted to be seen as week so I always presented myself as happy. I wanted those around me to be happy and I didnt want to put a burden on anyone so I just created my personality to be spunky and always smiled despite what I was feeling inside. I felt that religion looked down on depression or sadness and as Christians we should be able to conquer our downward moods with Jesus and prayer and Bible reading. So my life became a series of stories of me never really knowing how I felt inside. It didnt matter how I felt because I just had to be happy. Thats what Christians did. In fact I even felt that depression was not really a real thing. I thought that people that claimed to be depressed were just maybe being lazy and that they just needed to choose joy and trust in Jesus. In fact, I avoided people that were sad. I didnt know how to handle them. What they said they were experiencing didnt make sense to me. If we were Christians then we had an unlimited supply of joy and we just needed to tap into it. This was a very judgmental way of thinking for me but I did not think that way intentionally, I was just taught to think this way through the preaching at church and the personal relationships I had with christian mentors. Mental illness, to me, was made up. 

Fast forward to 2019. I was married to my third husband and in year six of our marriage I started having bouts of vertigo. I felt like my body was very heavy. If I stood up I would feel very unbalanced and my head would feel like it was falling forward and my body felt like it was sinking into the ground. I also started having feelings as if maybe I had a deadly illness and contemplated what it would be like if I didnt exist. As soon as I had the feelings of "not existing" I realized that I had a problem. I chalked it up to being in a bad environment and moved to Arizona. 

Unfortunately because I did not understand mental illness and essentially thought it didnt exist I did not take the appropriate steps to treat it, its back in full force. 

Nobody ever told me that depression was real. And nobody told me that your depression could start showing up as physical symptoms that are quite debilitating. 

Life has a way of teaching you lessons. I never meant to be judgmental towards people but I was. I was never mean to anyone but I do remember telling people that they just need to "trust Jesus" or choose to be happy. I told people that being happy was a decision and they just needed to decide to be happy. NOW I KNOW THAT WAS ABSOLUTELY HORRIBLE. You can not tell someone who is in the depths of depression to CHOOSE to be happy. It doesn't work like that. I am extremely saddend that I became such an insensitive Bible thumper christian. I am so sad that I wasn't taught that sometimes as humans we get sad and we don't have to be happy all the time. Im grieving for all the people that feel like I feel right now. There is now way, in my current state, that I can snap my fingers and "feel happy!" My depression has taken over my body and I have no control. I have never in my life felt like I had no hope, no energy, and no motivation. The worst symptom is the feeling of sinking into the ground and having my head feel wobbly all the time. This is absolutely my body presenting psychosomatic symptoms and I am shocked that because I didnt know or recognize it that it has gone this far. 

Its hard to say this right now but I have so much empathy and compassion for those with depression...and I could have never said that before in my previous religious way of thinking. I understand how real depression is now and I understand that it isn't anything anyone makes up but I also do know that I am capable of pulling myself out of this. Its not easy but here are the steps I am taking to get healthy again. 

I avoided medication for months. The doctor would prescribe them to me and I would fill the prescription and never take them. About a week ago when my symptoms were at there worst and I could barely work I decided to go ahead and start taking Zoloft. I am on day five of this pill. 

I also started a regimen of supplements. I am taking B12, Vitamin D, Fish oil, biotin, and magnesium. I can not tell you how these supplements with the zoloft have helped. Yesterday morning for a split second, from somewhere deep deep inside of me I felt what felt like a little bit of excitement or euphoria. It lasted for just a second and It almost brought me to tears because I remembered that feeling and I missed it. I want it back all the time. 

If I had any advise for anyone going through trama. I have had a lifetime of trauma. There have been no breaks for me, three divorces, adoption, abuse...you name it. If you go through anything like this please get support. Do not ignore your body, it will talk to you and your body knows best. Its ok to be sad but make sure you do not ignore how you feel. 

I am super grateful for anyone who reads this blog. I look ever day to see if I have any viewers. Somehow it makes me not feel so alone to know that others are out there interested in my story. I love you all!

Rebekah 

Saturday, July 18, 2020

Tattoos and Amazon fails......



For the past few years, as I have discovered my own individuality, I discovered that there were  no more religious rules on me and I could decorate my body however I wanted to. I discovered that getting tattoos was so much fun. I felt empowered and pretty. My latest tattoos are beautiful butterflies all the way across my chest and they are encompassed by two big flowers on the sides of both of my shoulders. I LOVE them. After I had them all done my mission was to find shirts that would modestly show them off. I searched everywhere for off the shoulder shirts. I went to Walmart and Walmart and Walmart again. I know that sounds silly but literally the only clothing stores in my small little town are Walmart and Ross. Its really quite boring. I did venture out onto the internet and searched Kohls and I found nothing. I decided to give Amazon a try. There were not many to choose from but I did find one that I thought was simply stunning and fit my style perfectly. I ordered this beautiful off the shoulder shirt a month and a half ago. It was literally coming from China so I would have to put my patience pants on and wait for it. And wait I did. Here is what it was supposed to look like.
I couldn't wait to get it. I even ordered a strapless bra...and let me tell you that alone was no easy task. Getting these girls to stay up without straps was going to take some finagling....literally!!
I was so so excited when it finally came in the mail one month and one week later. I tore open the package and....before I was even able to try it on I knew it was NOT like the picture. It was stiff and the material was a bit shiny. I could already tell I was going to be disappointed. Never the less, a try on had to be had...so I put it on. I was less than impressed. Of course there were going to be some differences right? The picture above was a skinny blond girl with amazing legs, wearing shorts that I could have only pulled off when I was 12 and of course my boobs are much bigger then the girl in the picture, sigh, but I had hoped I would look halfway decent in it. But I didnt. Instead I felt like my body was not made to fit into this shirt. I felt like I was wearing a sort of mumu with bat wings. So disappointing. 
I emailed amazon and asked if I could return it. To my surprise they said they would refund me and I could keep this AMAZING shirt for my wearing pleasure. Oh my!!!! So I got a free shirt. But not on purpose. Is it a blessing in disguise? LOL I think not. 
I present to you....the way the shirt ACTUALLY looks on an average girl....


Thursday, July 16, 2020

Wavering Faith

I used to pray all the time. My days were consumed with connecting with God. I was always on the prowl to find whoever needed Jesus. I would be witnessing all the time...day and night. It was my mission, my passion, my reason for living. Jesus was my role model and God was my father. I grew up in this religious atmosphere. There was no other way to live for me; however, I was always ALWAYS falling short of what I knew the Bible and God and Jesus expected of me. I was having sex before marriage, smoking cigarettes sometimes, and drinking alcohol. I wasn't praying for an hour a day because It was hard on me to find time in the day to shower and eat being a single mom....but I tried to be THE BEST christian I could be.

When I was growing up in the church the message from the pulpit was always centered around how we needed to be a better christian and the only way to do that was to spend tons of time in the Bible (at least an hour a day) and to not cuss or drink or smoke or fornicate and to spread the good news to everyone I met. I believed with my whole being that this was absolutely the way I needed to live. Looking back at this upbringing and the messages being handed down to me from the pulpit I can see that it bred into me feelings of dislike for myself. No matter how hard I tried I could not meet these perfect expectations that I felt were expected of me by God, Jesus, my pastor, and my parents and christian friends. I began to battle with myself. I always had good intentions but it would never fail that I would let myself down. It could be something as simple as reading my bible in bed before sleeping and falling asleep before I was able to get the full hour of reading and prayer in like my pastor encouraged his congregation to do. When I would wake up in the morning and realize I had fallen asleep it would be the start of lots of repentance for my sins and ultimately lots and lots of guilt. I began to not like myself. I felt that I was the only one falling short of what was expected of a good christian. As I got older and started to struggle with other sins the feelings of shame and guilt just got stronger and stronger until I did began to medicate with cigarettes and some alcohol and sex with men. Of course this type of "medication" only proved to make me more disappointed in myself and the shame and guilt ran deep. I didn't think Jesus and God were happy with me. I knew that they would "never leave me or forsake me," (WHATEVER THAT MEANT) but I still knew that I needed to get my life right with God or I would not make it to heaven or if I did make it to heaven I would not have many rewards stored up for me. This may sound crazy to a lot of you but it is my truth and something I struggle with to this very day. Even this very night I feel like I am not a good enough mom and I am just falling deeper and deeper into this unsuccessful life.

About 3 years ago I made a HUGE decision to divorce religion. Thats right, you read that right....I divorced my religion. When I was growing up I heard from the pulpit CONSTANTLY that we were not religious but just in a "relationship" with Jesus. So I convinced myself for years and years that I was not religious. This was so far from the truth but I just didnt know any better. In the pentecostal/Baptist/non-denominational religions you are told constantly that your not really religious but just in a relationship. This could not be further from the truth. When I made the decision to divorce my religion I did it because I could no longer try and reach these expectations that were being put on me. I finally realized that I was never going to be this perfect christian. So I stopped witnessing, and I stopped reading the Bible and I started really digging into why I believed what I believed instead of just believing what other people told me. It was very eye opening. I learned so many things about the Bible and where it came from and how it came to actually be a Bible and who put it together. In some ways it was good that I was discovering the roots of this religion I had followed all my life but in other ways the information I was learning was really really sad for me. I felt very let down. I had to discard most of everything I knew and start from the beginning.

I still do not have it all figured out. I have put countless hours into research of God and Heaven and Near death experiences. Ive compared stories of people that have died and gone to heaven. I have spoken in person with people that have died and gone to heaven and come back to earth to tell about it and my mind was literally blown (if a mind can actually blow....Im not sure LOL). But this did put a huge rift in everything I believed.

I still believe in God. I don't necessarily believe that is his name because WE HUMANS gave him that name. To me he is bigger and different then the Bible portrays him. I still have trouble connecting with this God. I remember begging God on my hands and knees to please talk to me in a voice I could hear. I couldn't understand why he wouldn't just speak to me. I didnt want a "still small voice," I wanted a loud audible voice to speak to me. I felt I was worthy to hear something. After all I had spent ALL of my life pursuing this God....trying to reach him through my actions and love and prayers. But no.....not a single word.

This post is not to bash faith and Christianity...but I felt reflective tonight as I was looking at the shape of my life right now and just sorting out the pieces of my heart and trying to figure out what I am doing with myself right now. I actually thought that maybe if I reconnected with god that maybe I would gain some clarity. It has happened for me in the past. That is why I have not lost my faith that there is a higher being somewhere that cares about me. So I am not denouncing God....but actually wondering why Ive had to go through the things I have gone through and why do I have to be so confused? I am almost 45 years old. I would have expected to be settled by now and have a few things figured out....but I don't. I know I am not the only one with this story. I think its just the cycle of life. We all question our upbringing, but I think I dive a little deeper then some people. I question more than most and I don't settle for a mediocre life that seems to want to over take me. I want more...I want extraordinary. I think its possible.