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I spent most of my life being physically fit. At 5'4" tall, I remained an ideal 115-120 pounds from the time I was in 9th grade until the time I was 36 years old. I was the woman who bounced back into my "old" clothes within weeks of giving birth to my boys, thanks to a combination of breastfeeding and a quick return to my exercise regimen. In fact, I walked 4 miles everyday during pregnancy and continued to workout on the weight machines at the gym until I was just too big and pregnant to do so comfortably. I never had problems staying in shape.
While I was always PHYSICALLY fit, I spent most of my life plagued by mental health issues. Over the years, I was treated by several different doctors with different medications, some that worked but had awful side effects, and some that didn't work at all. While I had struggled with depression, anxiety, and mood swings on and off for years, the worst bout of depression lasted almost two years, culminating in September of 2010, a month before my 36th birthday, with a near mental breakdown. Through the determination and support of a my psychiatrist, counselor, and family, we finally found a combination of medications and counseling that have allowed me to lead a NORMAL life now for almost two years.
So what's the problem, you may ask? Well, there was a trade-off for my mental "normalcy." One of the mood stabilizers I have to take has one major side effect: SIGNIFICANT WEIGHT GAIN! I have gained almost 25 pounds in less than two years, and at the rate I'm going, there's more on the way. The medication causes a significant increase in appetite, while causing a decrease in energy level. A lethal combination! I'm hungry constantly, and it takes everything in me to muster enough energy to get out the house and take a short walk.
So, here I am. Stuck. Caught in a battle between being physically fit or being mentally fit. It's not fair. I shouldn't have to choose. I REFUSE to go back to my previous life. But what good is being mentally "stable" if I'm going to get depressed and cry everytime I change clothes? I have a good life now...I don't want to give that up, but I DON'T want to gain anymore weight. I'm far from being obese, but I'm overweight and out-of-shape! And I don't like how that makes me feel!
I got up early this morning and took a walk. I prayed and I cried and I prayed some more. The answer is NOT getting off the meds, but finding a way to FIGHT through this! So, today is DAY ONE - the first day of ending this battle, of choosing to be BOTH physically and mentally healthy, of taking baby steps to reach that goal! And I think blogging about my battle is just the accountability I need to keep me focused. My blog has continued to evolve over the past 8 months, but the underlying purpose remains the same. There are other women out there just like me. With the same struggles and triumphs, successes and failures. I am not alone!