Self Care

Warning: this post is going to be personal in nature. If you don't want to read what is likely to be a long-winded and meandering post about my physical*, mental, and emotional state, then I suggest skipping this entry.

*Edited—after realizing how some of this will sound—to add: by physical i mean my health, not my appearance. I've no issue with how I look and do not require validation on that front, despite what you may take away from something I say later on in this post.

Unless you've been following my ramblings from the days well before I began publishing (and to the three of you that I know have, thank you so much for your support), you probably don't know that I am a semi-healthy unhealthy human. Confused? Let me explain:

From about mid-high school to my early 30s, I was overweight, I smoked for the majority of that time, I ate like crap, I all but ODed on caffeine every day, and although I didn't drink all the time, when I did, it was often to excess. Not to mention that I suffered regular anxiety attacks and panic disorder. Needless to say, I was a ticking time bomb of high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and high triglycerides. So when in 2009 I was diagnosed as type 2 diabetic, it wasn't really much of a surprise.

But it was a wake-up call. That fall I made a lot of life changes. Not all at once. I started with my diet, cutting out a lot of excess sugar and carbs, surprised to find that I really didn't miss them. As such, I began losing weight. I wouldn't quit smoking until a few years later, but I began exercising regularly with a group of co-workers and within one year of my diagnosis, I'd basically kicked diabetes' ass. 

Even better? My mental health began to improve as a result of my taking better physical care of myself. I truly believe that this played a big role in finally having the ability to realize my goal of finishing The Eyes of The Sun and forging ahead as an independent author in the age of digital publishing.

That was almost 10 years ago. I wish I could say that everything's gone swimmingly since, but the truth is, it's been a rollercoaster. After the first year, I started to gain back a little weight, which prompted a second wave of healthy lifestyle choices that were... well... extreme. In 2014 I lost enough weight for my doctor to tell me to stop. This was definitely a first for me because only a few short years before, I'd had a BMI that was considered 'morbidly obese.' Unfortunately, maintaining weight that was lost through extreme diet and exercise isn't easy to keep off and I've spent the last 4 years creeping back up. While I've not gone back to my original weight, I've danced around a number that I consider to be unacceptable.

Of course, within this last four years, my mental state took a beating as well. Not only is it extremely disheartening to see so much good work slip away, but there have been... let's just call them "external factors" that have contributed to my trash moods. Yeah, I'm talking about the declining state of the world, but not exclusively. Outside stressors of a personal nature as well as the declining state of things is keeping me on an extended hiatus from writing. 

So I'm now once again finding myself in the position of seeking balance. I've got a few pounds to lose, but I've also got to figure out how to shake the borderline body dysmorphia I've managed to acquire along the way. While I've been good at keeping myself active, I've got to push my physical routine beyond my comfort zone. Not just for my heart, but for my head. I need to reacquaint myself with those endorphins I benefitted from in the beginning. 

And of course, I want to be able to write again. 

In case it hasn't been clear, art is my therapy. That I've produced several hundred pieces since earlier this year is not so much a sign of drive and ambition so much as a prolonged manic episode. As happy as I am to have been able to turn it into something positive, I'd really like to get back to my "real" job. Right now, that's a goal just a hand length out of reach. 

In trying to achieve this balance, I've looked for advice, as one does. Although it's interesting to read about new studies and findings, I've noticed something. Dietary advice is a lot like writing advice: there's no one way that works for everyone, no matter how loudly one shouts that their way is the best. 

I mention this not just because of the parallels, but because of the the fact that I know so many authors who struggle with accepting that these "rules" are nothing more than guidelines that may or may not work for what you want to do (as I've pointed out in many a post before). In as much, I think I've struggled personally with the notion that just because something works for someone else, doesn't mean it will work for me. Or going one step further, just because something worked for me in the past  doesn't mean it will work again. Our bodies are fickle things that don't always do what we'd like.

So what was the point of this overshare? Honestly, just that. It's difficult to admit you don't have it together as much as you project you do, but getting it out there is a form of catharsis. I may not have any control over the external factors keeping me from my optimal mental state, but by sharing openly that which I do have a measure of control over, I gain even more control. 

I hope to start writing again soon, but if it doesn't happen, it doesn't happen. My health comes first. I won't force what isn't there. But I will likely make updates from time to time. Thanks for listening. 

Comments

  1. Bravo, Christina! I hope it was cathartic. And I loved your comments about writing/weight control advice--you're absolutely right IMO, we each have to find what works for us.

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