After my last post, things went south really fast. I wasn't sure at the time why, but the week leading up to the July 4th holiday was a really rough week for me. It was hard to make myself eat and I was so frustrated that I didn't know why I was struggling again so much. A couple of days into that rough patch I remembered what my therapist had said about how our minds are complex things and we cannot always understand why we do every thing that we do. That reminder helped me to stop focusing so much energy on feeling frustrated with myself because I was struggling so much again. Then I was able to shift my focus to remind myself of the progress that I have made and remind myself that I did not want to undo all the hard work that I put in up to this point. That really helped me get through the week. I started focusing on just one step at a time again. I think that when things are going well we are able to focus on the big and small things and handle it all well. But when things are rough, it is best to go back to focusing on the little things until we push through. Otherwise when the small things are out of balance, the big things can overwhelm us. So that is what I did. I focused on each step in front of me. I tried to make healthy choices for myself and if I had a mealtime that I didn't do so well, I put that behind me and focused on making a better choice the next time a meal time rolled around. I remembered H.A.L.T. too and reminded myself to not let myself get too hungry, angry, lonely or tired. I chose to eat healthy snacks whenever I felt hunger, let things roll off my back instead of getting angry, spend time with my husband in the evening instead of studying and go to bed earlier at night. That all really helped me to not lose my progress while I was struggling. Sure, I did take a few steps back but I also continued to take steps forward. The rough week came to an end for me on July 4th when I turned down time with extended family (with homemade ice cream!!!! my favorite, I might add, :)) so that I could spend a completely free day with my husband and kids doing nothing but relaxing together. It really was exactly what I needed after a hard week. It was very soothing for my soul. That, and a really good cry. Tears are also soothing for the soul, if you can find the time and space alone to do so. Late Monday night for me, the tears were coming whether I wanted them or not; they were a long time coming. It was a relief to breakdown because I had been trying so hard to hold it together. Our bodies know what we need if we would just listen to them. I realize now looking back some of the reasons that I was struggling during that week. One reason was because I was exhausted. I had been pushing really hard to get my studying done, plus handle everything else that needed my attention each day. I was staying up late at night and not getting enough sleep. And my hip joints were hurting me so much that I wasn't getting a good night's sleep when I was in bed. It was taking me a while to fall asleep and I was waking during the night because of hip pain. Another contributing factor was that I was so tired of having my joints hurt so bad every day, all day. And I was tired of dealing with headaches and my stomach hurting. I was overwhelmed with all of that and I believe that it was what contributed to my struggling that week. Learning from that, I am trying to take time each day for the important things, like sitting and relaxing, spending time with my husband and kids, and writing. I have been also reminding myself more often that everything does not have to be done perfectly. That is an important thing for me to remind myself. When I remember that, it takes a lot of the pressure off of me.
The last five days have been really good for me. Now I can look back at the whole experience as an opportunity to learn some good lessons and keep making forward progress. The most important thing to remember when we struggle and fall is to not give up but to get up again and keep pushing forward.