Today was a pretty uneventful Whole30 day for me, no new foods, nothing new as far as symptoms go, but it was a very reflective day for me. I guess maybe I’ve been thinking about the symptoms that I’m “not” really feeling. First, I decided to do this during my cycle, so everything coincides with PMS, but then again, nothing has been AS bad as it normally is every month. Secondly, I’ve been contemplating if I’m simply denying the symptoms or if mentally, I feel so positive that what normally knocks me out, can’t bring me down. Get ready for pretty much my life story, so don’t go past this if you’re not into that :).
So, now I’ll get into WHY I’ve taken such an interest in my own physical health. I had a pretty adverse childhood that led to a lifetime of symptoms that can most closely be labeled (and have been) as depression and anxiety. The trauma that I took on led me tumbling through my developmental years and well into adulthood on a hazy path of self-destruction, self-doubt, and self-loathing. I started adulthood, pretty much the same way and realized through a series of very destructive patterns, that I needed to make a change.
Since, I knew moving my body made me feel good (as swimming was my outlet through most of those years) I started taking yoga classes, and it pretty much saved my life. I learned to become much more present and grateful through taking care of my body. It didn’t dramatically change my life, but it taught me that a new mindset was possible. One filled with gratitude and self acceptance. Through this acceptance, I decided to take more healthy risks.
I went to a therapist, but she recommended medication, which I vehemently opposed to. It was at a time where I was very low, cried almost everyday and had suicidal thoughts. I knew also, that when I loved myself enough to take care of myself, those feelings went away. So, I fought for myself and decided to workout regularly and that was around the time I became a pescatarian. Slowly, the feelings did subside and I started feeling better.
Then, I changed jobs and the new job set off many triggers for me and I was straight back to the dark and uglies. I knew at the time, I was doing everything right to take care of myself. I worked out and ate healthfully. However, the job was a land mine for old feelings, so I took a huge leap of faith and quit. For a while, I was really happy that I made a change and was working towards a goal.
Fast forward to pretty recently and again, I was sinking pretty deep back into this dark hole. I was using sleep as my coping mechanism and pretty much only woke up to go to work. I had no energy to workout and used sweets and alcohol to help me when I felt “too stressed” and would indulge after school or on the weekends. Even though, I knew both of these things pulled me further down. I had to push myself to attend social gatherings and dreaded that invisible judgment.
Which brings me to the present. I’ve realized about a few years ago, that my depression/anxiety symptoms will never just “go away” unless I actively try to do something about it. I also know now that I have very specific triggers that will shut down progress, if I don’t recognize them right away. I know that I have to actively make sure I’m using positive self-talk because my default is negative self-talk. I also know that scientifically, both depression and anxiety stem from a chemical imbalance. Although I have these symptoms, I have been able to stay resilient because I have always been optimistic. I know, it seems silly to equate depression to optimism, but depression isn’t an outlook on life. Optimism is.
THIS is the reason why I’m open to doing things like the Whole30 and I push myself to workout. Although, I know I’ll look good, boosting my self-esteem through appearance alone is hard for me since, well…negative self-talk. Because it’s kind of essential to my growth and mental health. I am very aware of my body and my mind and when it’s being pulled out of balance. I know that I may always stress out before EVERY social gathering and afterwards. I will probably constantly think my fiance is mad at me, when he’s not. I will also always have days of looming sadness that I have to find the trigger for. However, I am certain that managing those symptoms has to come through managing my physical well being. So, in short, whatever symptoms I’ve felt have really been “okay” so far because the self-love I have overpowers any minor physical discomfort.
I am also happy knowing that Whole30 is bringing whatever balance it means to all of my friends who are doing it and kicking a** at it :).