I don’t have the worst life there is; in fact- my life most of the time is pretty damn good.
Fact is you can have a great life but still experience unfortunate events.
I have had many ups and downs in my life, and I have tried coping many different ways.
I’ve been on medications for depression and anxiety, I’ve been in therapy, I was even in a support group once. The fact of the matter is that you don’t necessarily have to have a crappy life to deal with crap in your life.
When I was very young I experienced what many teenagers do in their young lives. I felt some depression, and of course anxiety came along with it. I was put on medication at a pretty young age, and for a while it definitely helped. I had the normal teenage stressors of course, that may have not necessarily contributed to my depression or anxiety. My hair was too frizzy, I felt ugly compared to some of the popular girls, and my car wasn’t the nicest compared to others- to name a few.
But these all seem so so trivial now having experienced life as an adult and now a mother. Sometimes I sit back and just have to laugh at all of the things as a teenager that I thought were going wrong in my life. They seem so insignificant and small compared to the stressors in my life these days.
After my teen years I went through a party stage. Like most young adults, I didn’t really have a care in the world besides having a good time. I still was able to go through college and get great grades and graduate at the top of my class. But I also made time for my friends and really focused on my happiness. Sometimes I miss those days. Not so much the drinking and having fun with friends, but more so how carefree things were. How I didn’t have to worry as much about bills or groceries or remembering to pick up diapers and wipes on my way home from work. How I didn’t have to search through all of my clothes to find something clean without spit up on it. How I got to go to the bathroom alone.
I had several jobs, not related to my career field now. Just to make enough money to get me by and pay for the things that I wanted. At the time I was living with my parents, and I look back on that experience and feel lucky that I had the type of parents that supported me through young adulthood until I decided to move out of my own.
Eventually Rob and I moved in together in 2013, and we learned very quickly how hard it was to be an adult. We had to pay our own bills, buy groceries, and make sure we had enough money saved so that we could pay rent every month. This wasn’t that hard for us to do once we got the hang of it, but our carefree days of having fun and not worrying about what bill will come out during what week, were over.
Paying our own way and financial stability has been the least of our concerns over the years. Not to say that we didn’t struggle sometimes and live check to check, but for the most part we had it pretty easy and never really struggled paying bills in a timely manner.
Becoming a mother out of all things in my life over the last 20 years has been probably one of the hardest yet most rewarding things that I have ever experienced.
It would seem that becoming a mother and all of my other life stressors as of late seem to fall within the same time frame. So though my life may be great overall, sometimes lately it seems like there are more downs than ups.
After I had Jayden I hit a very low point in my life. I felt ugly, stressed out, scared for the future, and just unmotivated in general to progress in life. I had started a new job around this time and was putting most of my energy into the new job so of course I also felt exhausted being a new mom working full-time with only three months of maternity leave. I also felt extreme guilt for leaving my baby in daycare 5 days a week. I’m not going to lie, while I understand that being a stay-at-home mother can be extremely difficult, sometimes I am jealous of those moms to get to enjoy every milestone and be with their children everyday – all day. I know that being a stay-at-home mother is so very hard, and I give those who stay home major props. But some days while I’m sitting at work even now, over a year postpartum, I still get emotional over the fact that I feel like I’m missing things that happen in my son’s life.
With everything medically, and behaviorally, that’s going on with Jayden that he’s been dealing with since birth, and everything medically that’s been going on with me since his birth, I have essentially let myself go.
I was already overweight when I got pregnant with Jayden, and I really had a goal after I had him to lose the weight. But with everything that’s been going on it’s just been hard to get back into a routine and I have had little to no motivation to actually put my own self care first. That is, until late this summer.
As most know, Rob and I experienced an early miscarriage in April and have been going through Boston IVF for fertility due to infertility issues. We also lost my grandmother and my dog within a week in June.
As most also know, my son is a “medical mystery”, and we are currently going through Boston Children’s Hospital to hopefully get some answers for some of the issues that have been going on.
These issues all seem minimal compared to some of the issues that some go through on a daily basis. But for me, these issues have negatively impacted my life to the point where my own well being is being negatively affected.
In early August I had a wake up call. I realized how much I was letting the negative events that I was experiencing impact me. I was always tired, grumpy, and sad. I lacked energy and motivation. So I changed my mindset. I stopped making excuses, and took action. I started a weight loss journey and it has completely changed me emotionally and physically. I started wearing makeup, doing my hair, and wearing less baggy clothing and sweats and more flattering clothing. I started a self care regimen that taught me that self care is the key to loving yourself, during both good days and bad.
One very important thing that I’ve learned from my journey thus far is that the motivational mindset is such a powerful thing. In some cases, if you change your mindset – you can literally do ANYTHING.
Yesterday for instance, I did an hour boxing class and then right after, a 45 minute boxing class. I was still sore from the day before after doing a 75-minute class. But I wanted to challenge myself, so challenge myself I did. Those last 7 minutes of class during the last class I gave myself a pep talk. I told myself that I could do this and that I would do this. And I did, as I sang the “I will survive” song in my head 😂 I thought I was going to die. I could barely move my arms after the classes. But I got through it and I felt so good after. I felt so good that I’m doing it again today! It was all mental. I got through it because mentally I pushed myself. I motivated myself and held on to that mindset the entire time. As much as my body wanted to quit, my mind would not let it.
I figured that there’s several things that have helped me maintain my motivational mindset over the last 6 or so weeks. No doubt about it that in the beginning sometimes I did want to give up. I know 6 weeks doesn’t seem like a long time, but it is the longest time in a while for me that I’ve actually focused on my own self care. I wrote the below as a way to help others reach their OWN motivational mindset and explore all possibilities of success and coping skills when life seems unbearable.
Hopefully this inspires you to find your motivational mindset and do whatever you need to find the sunshine after a storm 💕
1. Find your motivation for you first – family and friends second.
In my honest opinion, backed of course by my experiences, you cannot love and provide care and support for others until you love and provide care and support for yourself. What motivates you may not motivate others, but you are only doing it for you.
Example: First and foremost, I am losing weight for myself, to feel better physically and emotionally. I am doing it to kick diabetes ass and become HEALTHY. Secondly, I know that if I don’t become healthy and continue on the path that I was on then I will not be able to physically or emotionally be there for my family as I should. I am also dressing up and actively doing a self care regimen for myself, because it puts me in a better mood, allowing me to feel confident and positive- thus helping to create and maintain positive interactions with those around me.
Find what motivates you for only you, because when you are able to find that, you are able to become better, stronger, and happier for your family and friends.
2. Don’t let loss or grief, or anxiety or depression consume you.
Many have dealt with loss and grief in their lives, in addition to anxiety and depression. Letting these feelings consume you can ruin you. After the miscarriage, and maybe even before it honestly, I felt like I was at some of the lowest points in my life. Just to wake up was a struggle for me. I held a lot of my feelings in until a couple of weeks later, which definitely hurt me in the end because by that time I was already so upset. After I started to feel better emotionally about the miscarriage, I was still depressed and anxious. I let these feelings consume me, making excuses for myself as to why I could not do certain things that would at the end of the day probably make me feel better about myself. I told myself I was too busy to exercise, or that I was too tired. I went to work hair undone, nails a mess. Don’t even get me started on shaving my legs or doing my eyebrows. Ever since I was newly postpartum I have dealt with self-care issues, but it really went out the window after the miscarriage. I was holding myself back from achieving optimal success; I didn’t have the motivation I needed because my emotional feelings were consuming me.
When you get to this point in your life, don’t let these feelings consume you- let them drive you into greatness. Use them constructively, to push yourself to be better. To do better. To want better. When I had self care issues prior to the miscarriage I would try to push myself to paint my nails or do my makeup once in awhile but my mindset was still focused on how depressed and anxious I was. After the miscarriage I let those feelings of anxiety and depression push me to where I needed to be and self-care just came along with it. I didn’t have to think as much about doing my nails, hair, or makeup, or maybe going shopping for myself which is something that I haven’t done in months and months and months. I just did these things. I used all of the feelings that I was feeling to push myself into a better mindset and as a result I now do my makeup daily. I do my hair. Such simple things to do, but I feel good again. I feel pretty again. I feel STRONG again. These positive feelings have only increased my motivation. Sure there are some days when I want to be lazy and just lounge around, but it’s no longer because I’m depressed or anxious. It is just because well, sometimes I’m a hot mess mom and I want a day of laziness where I don’t have to do anything. Feelings are just that, feelings. They can be easily influenced and changed by changing your mindset. It’s very hard to do, and I’m not going to lie it has not always worked, but for the last 6 weeks it has worked for me because instead of wallowing in my sorrows and feeling bad for myself about my depression and anxiety, I have used that to fuel my mind and body towards the success that I hope to achieve. Anyone can do that, mind over matter.
3. Let it out and move on.
One of the things that I’ve always wanted to try to change about myself but haven’t been able to is how I can’t let some things go. It’s affected my relationships with friends, family, even my marriage. It’s affected my emotional well-being. A lot of times for instance, if I get into a fight with Rob, I have a hard time letting it go. The last couple of months, though we rarely fight, we have gotten into a couple of arguments where I will say some things that I don’t mean and proceed to hold on to my anger about the fight and take it out on him. I’ll give you a short example of an issue that came up last week. Jayden has had some issues sleeping lately and in the past we’ve been very quick to bring him into bed because we both work full-time and we need our sleep – especially where I drive so far each day. We made an agreement that we would no longer bring him into bed and we would let him cry it out, something that I definitely do not feel comfortable with but I was willing to try because nothing else had worked. Last week, Rob casually said to me that it was going to be my turn to pat his back after he was crying it out for a period of time. Instantly I became defensive. When we lived in our old house in Manchester, Jayden’s pack and play was on my side of the bed so I was often the one that got up with him. I felt like this was very unfair seeing as I had been the one in majority of times in our old house to get up with him, and on this specific night I had to do an overnight inspection at work and wake up at 3 a.m. We started fighting because Rob disagreed with this because the night prior he had woken up many times with Jayden when he was crying. I was so angry with him that I didn’t even want to sleep in the same bed. He kept telling me that it didn’t matter what happened in Manchester; we are in a new house now during a different time. But I couldn’t let it go. I was so angry and I never really want to go to bed angry, but I couldn’t help my opinions on this. As soon as we shut the lights out Jayden started screaming. It was so bad. I’ve never heard him scream like this before; it wasn’t just a cry – it was literally a top of his lungs, hear it outside of our house, scream. I tried patting his back and he eventually calmed down, but when I tried to go back to bed he started up again. Rob told me to just leave him, so I tried to let him self-soothe but the screaming just got worse and worse. I felt like a terrible mom. What Mom leaves their child to scream like that? I started crying next to him and eventually went downstairs and cried on the playroom floor until I could no longer hear him screaming. Fact is, he did calm down by himself. And though I felt like a terrible mom and still do, I know that this is what’s best right now because he needs to learn how to self-soothe. When I got back into bed I was still very upset with Rob, but eventually fell asleep. In the middle of the night I felt him put his arms around me. My first instinct was to push him off. I was still mad at him, why should I let him hold me? But I let it happen and by morning, it was like nothing ever happened.
This experience has taught me more than ever that in order to be happy and have a healthy relationship with others that I need to move on from disagreements and not hold on to them. One cannot be motivated to work on the things that they wish to work on if their mind is stuck holding a grudge.
These three areas above specifically have helped me maintain my motivational mindset. Life can throw whatever it wants at you, but if you’re motivated to stay positive and succeed, you will have such an easier time getting through the bad times. These last 6 weeks have completely changed my mindset. I feel positive for the first time in years about where my life is going. And even though I’m still dealing with issues relating to fertility and medical issues with myself and Jayden, I still feel positive because I am committed to keeping that motivational mindset no matter what.
Once you find your motivational mind-set, it will change your life as it has mine, im sure of it 💕