First of all, I am so sorry it's been so long since I last posted. I didn't mean to go so long between posts; I've just been really busy--in a good way!
In recent months, I have finally felt well enough--emotionally, physically, AND mentally--to begin focusing on Polly's health. I joined a local gym in January that has a pool because I figured that if I'm going to work out, I'm going to do it in a pool! Besides the fact that my counselor and my team (regular doctor, OB doctor, chiropractor, rheumatologist, and masseuse) all agreed that the pool is the best option for me when it comes to an exercise regimen. Catawba Valley Medical Center Fitness Plus
It has taken me quite a while to build up not only my stamina but also my routine so that I keep going rather than not doing any exercise at all. And let me tell you, I have struggled with going--wanting to go, especially! Quite often, I've made one excuse after another not to go: "I'll workout at home." (But then I don't.) "I've had a rough day; I just need to go home and chill." (As if exercise doesn't help relieve the stress from a rough day, especially moving in the pool!) "I need to get home for my son." (He's all of 14 years old now and can handle being home for an hour--or two--without "Mommy" standing over him every second.) And the excuses went on and on until summer came and I didn't make it to the pool even once.
I could tell that I wasn't exercising. I could tell in my body. I could tell in my emotions!
Wait just one cotton-pickin' second....what in the world does working out/exercising have to do with my EMOTIONS?!
Honestly, I have NO answer that other than to say that it seems to have an awful lot more to do with my emotional well-being than I believed possible. Those of us who are definitely more sedentary than those exercise-a-holics will attest to the fact that we felt just fine sitting on the couch, binge-watching whatever new show appears on Netflix. And that they can HAVE their exercise. I just can't do it---it hurts my knees; my arm hurts; I don't have time. And so on and on--all valid, right? But the longer we continue to sit on the couch, the worse we feel both physically and emotionally.
But for those of us who are couch-potatoes, we are not aware of how much being active influences, affects, more than just our getting up off the couch.
The benefits have been crazy-awesome!
1. My stamina in working out has improved immensely. When I first started exercising, no matter what I did, I struggled beyond a few minutes. I couldn't breathe while working out and it took me what felt like forever to recover after working out. I couldn't even walk but a few hundred feet--ok, truth be told, a hundred feet--without needed to sit down and rest for 10 minutes. (That's no lie or exaggeration. Walking into school from my car or back out to my car after school was over felt like running a 3k marathon. It may have only been a couple hundred feet of walking, but it was pure torture for me.)
Just this morning, I found myself walking in to school from my car at a brisk pace and not being out of breath or feeling as if I was going to die before I made it to my office! Now don't get me wrong; I still have a long way to go, but at least I'm not longer panting like a dog after just taking a few steps!
I also noticed when we did our monthly major shopping venture a few weeks ago that I survived longer this time than I have in the past! Previously, after just one store, I wanted to call it a day, but I'd suffer through a second only to come home and crash for the rest of the day. This last time, we went to three separate stores and I was ready to go to another! The only reason we went home was because there wasn't any more room in my car!
2. My emotional well-being is through the roof. I can't even begin to tell you how much happier and more joyful I've been feeling in recent weeks--since I started working out consistently. I have spent the last 16 years in an extreme state of depression and have hated my life. Yes, suicide was considered. (I'm sorry if that makes you uncomfortable, but I'm shooting for honesty and vulnerability here to help you understand just how much God is doing in my life--where I was and where He is taking me.) Now, I LOVE life! I can't wait for the next thing! I want to hang out with friends and go to parties!
In recent years, I've opted out of most parties and get-togethers, putting my husband and son in a position to make whatever excuses they wanted. No birthday parties. No Fourth of July celebrations. I even avoided most holiday celebrations except with my immediate family.
I've been going to parties and other social events, mingling, and having the time of my life at each and every one!
I even found myself laughing without effort just last night at a Writer's meeting!!! It felt so great not to be fake--not to pretend that something is funny.
3. I just plain and simply feel "Peachie." Or "Pinkie!" (I really do want to start saying "Pinkie" instead of "Peachie," but I've been saying "Peachie" for a little over a year now; it's going to be a hard habit to break!) Anyway, when I first started answering the question, "How are you?" with "Peachie!"--I didn't mean it. But I determined to "fake it 'til I made it" true, so I kept saying it anyway. In recent weeks (months), I've said "Peachie!" and I've meant it! I have no idea when the transition took place, but I can tell you that it was just over the past week when I realized that I was saying it and meaning it!
4. When I go somewhere or hang out with friends, I am able to function longer. Wow. I used to go to events (when I couldn't get out of not going) and leave at the very first opportunity. The longest I would last would be about an hour. If I hadn't "escaped" by then, I'd just up and leave without saying "Goodbye" or anything to anyone.
Now, I want to stay until the very last person leaves! And I'm sad when the "party" is over!
I just have to tell you that God is soooooo good! My healing journey is NOT over. I still have moments (albeit much briefer than in previous years) when I just want to sit down and weep for no reason beyond the fact that I'm just SAD. I still ache for my babies. I'm pretty sure I always will. But I am now in a place where I am LOVING life and I am so very excited to see what God is going to do in my life and where He is going to take me!!!
JUMOY! (My made-up word for "Jump for Joy.")