This week was pretty great. I know as the days and weeks add up I’ve been saying that they’ve been getting better, but let’s be honest some of those weeks had shitty days. This week hasn’t had one bad day. I know that’s so optimistic it’s almost adorable. But it’s true.
On Monday, JP went to work and I went to the gym. He had Starbucks for breakfast and I made myself pancakes. Pancake Mondays are what is right with the world.He did his usual on the way to work thing and I did my usual post-work out thing. We didn’t eat together and I didn’t see him until dinner time. We didn’t text all day – something that is 100% unusual for us. But when dinner came, we could actually say “Babe, how was your day?”
You see, when he was in Indiana we would text all day and night. Around bedtime we would get on Facetime and then fall asleep that way. I know, we’re crazy and thankfully there’s wifi. It was a “we live long distance, but are still dependent on each other in some kind of way” relationship. During work hours, we would sometimes switch to GChat because of poor cell phone reception. We were long distance for two years and I’ve already told you the story about the tree. If you don’t remember it, check out this Instagram post. Anyway, there’s a lot of stuff we’ve never had the chance to do, like spontaneous date night or vacation.
JP moved home at one of the best and worst times because everything came crashing down, and while he definitely added to it and I’m going to get to that, I don’t know what would’ve happened if he wasn’t home.
So this week was great because JP was gone. Because while I was so excited to have him home, I was dealing with everything else and we never had an opportunity to adjust to each other. Yes, he was home for about seven weeks during my recovery, but the us we where then, is different than the us we are now. You see, he moved home and was hit from all sides. After driving 16 hours, we had a family party to go to, where I heard multiple family members ask him how it felt to be unemployed. I’m not saying they meant harm, but what I am saying, is some people can fit both feet in their mouths. He had already been putting pressure on himself to find a job and then that happened, they piled on the pressure unknowingly. I know I added some too because we just couldn’t live the lifestyle he wanted on my salary.
As we were dealing with this, I was dealing with my own problems and while he knew what was going on, I don’t think either of us realized the extent of the damage everything was causing. From this to my car accident, to not having a car for about a week to medical leave – we have been by each other constantly. I wish I was kidding. I’ve told him he’s needy and boy he fucking is. I lay in bed and he immediately cuddles on me, it’s cute until you can’t handle the touching. And sometimes, with my anxiety, I can’t be touched. It makes me more upset – he doesn’t understand this. We would be playing cards at the bistro table and he would ask if I wanted to cuddle and I would blatantly tell him “no, I’m already out of bed and I don’t want to get back in bed.”
His need to help me was turning into suffocation.
On Monday when JP asked me how my day was, I said it was really good. He asked why and I was honest. I told him it was because for the first time in a few weeks I was able to get up and workout and then come home and relax. I was able to make breakfast and show, but then I could get back in bed and write or watch TV. I was able to go to a new to me coffee house and not have to worry if JP wanted to come or not. I just got in the car and went. I didn’t have to be concerned if he was interested. I looked at him and said, “I think you can go to the car show on Saturday alone with your friends. I don’t want to go, I’ll find something else to do.” He asked how come. I explained that before he had moved home going to the car show meant that I lost hours with him. Since he’s here I don’t feel like I need to follow him around. He said “you mean we can have separate lives?”
Yep, that’s what I’m saying.
So the last piece of this puzzle of feeling torn down I think was taken care of this week when JP went to work. I know that sounds terrible, but the past few weeks we really were smothering each other and now we finally can learn how to live together as a couple. That’s scary and weird and crazy, but we haven’t really had the opportunity to do that. We kept saving each other, supporting each other when we felt down. But we haven’t been able to just live with each other, enjoy each others’ company and just be together. This week we got to do that.
Tonight we’re going out for date night and we’re dressing up. We never get to do this.
I’ve told him about all of this, so writing this isn’t a surprise in this house, but it doesn’t make it easier to say or easier to read. This has been hard on both of us and still is. This is the first week I’ve felt more like myself, but I also recognize that I’m starting to get tired quickly and need to relax during the day. Yesterday, after I got out the apartment for dessert and lattes, I felt exhausted, but knew that if I went home I would just nap in the middle of the day and that would impact my night… so I kept myself out and went to Target to pick up a few things. Surprisingly, I didn’t go overboard with all the things pumpkin, but I did get a few things that were necessary… new colored pencils for example. I may have also had some fun in the dressing room…
So many people have asked me how I’ve gotten over mental health issues, but if you’ve been paying attention, I haven’t. I’m working through them every day. I’ve been journaling on my own. I’ve been keeping myself busy and trying to get out so I don’t feel confined within my apartment. Just because I don’t have meetings every day doesn’t mean I should stay shut away. I’m also going to therapy and working with someone who specializes in trauma and disorders that are an extension of trauma. It’s the same therapist that I saw this summer about body dysmorphia – which turns out is just a coping mechanism for my anxiety. Most of his clients have PTSD and other disorders that are connected, like me with anxiety and binge eating disorder. I’m clinically diagnosed. These aren’t terms you through around lightly. These aren’t terms that you joke about. There’s a difference between over eating and binging. There’s a difference between indulging and binging. Yes, you can eat a little too much when indulging, but looking down at the bowl and realizing you ate all the popcorn versus binging the popcorn intentionally. There’s a difference in mentality. When I’m going through a binge episode I’m hunting. That’s how I feel. I feel like I’m searching for what I’m looking for without truly knowing what I’m looking for. I know it when I’m eating it because I then feel satisfied.
This week we talked about the adventures I was going on. I mentioned JP starting his new job and how relieved I felt. We talked about some of the triggers that started this whole ordeal and the original events the created those triggers… childhood. Some things you just can’t truly escape. I felt good during the session and after I felt like we accomplished what I wanted to, so until next session.
That gym life
My workouts this week were really good. I started the PH3 program by Layne Norton that is on bodybuilding.com. You can find the program here. It’s a new lifting structure for me and focuses on strength. I was skeptical at first because the first few days don’t seem like a lot, but as more volume was added throughout the week I started to feel myself really pushing through the workouts. I’m working the muscles differently than I’m used to, so this week was the first time in a while that I was sore, but in a good way. My shoulder after Sunday was pretty sore from benching… something I don’t do often or heavy or really like doing at all, but as the week continued it definitely got easier and my shoulder became less sore the day after the lift. Since I’m trying something new I figure this was a perfect time for new gloves… mine are falling apart. Literally ripped at the seams. I also bought a lifting belt because I feel as I want to get heavier in my lifts, I want the support. I don’t want to rely solely on it, but I feel like it may help prevent my form from weakening as I increase. One thing I did that the program doesn’t really do is to make sure I’m hitting my steps by walking on the treadmill for about 15 to 20 minutes after my lift. While lifting works the body, you’re not moving a lot, walking on the treadmill after my lift let’s me stretch out (sometimes I do long stride lunges), but I can still hit my step goal for the day without exerting too much energy or over working my muscles. So one week down, three more to go with this lifting phase.
This morning I checked in and I was down .6 pounds from last week and I’m really happy about that. I feel like chemically, my stress levels are going down and settling so cortisol is going down. Most people don’t realize that stress increases cortisol, which prevents other processes in the body to occur and weight gain can occur or weightloss can stall. This paired with the binges resulted in a dramatic weight gain in a short period of time. I’m happy to say that I’ve lost 5.4 of the 10 pounds that I did gain through binges.
Physically, I’m feeling better. I mentioned earlier in the week that the gain was pulling at my abdomen around my scar. I was pulled so tight in surgery so bloating can be painful and well, that also means that kind of weight gain can be too. So 136 – I was 126 about a month ago, is a lot for my body. Today I was 130.6 and that feels pretty good. I’m hoping to keep my fluctuation between 128 and 130.
Mentally, I’m getting comfortable with this weight and how my body is looking since developing a range of macros to stay within. The range allows me to have some wiggle room in case I want to eat more one day, but I don’t want to eat as much another day. I’m loosely tracking and below are some of the things I ate this week that weren’t easily trackable, but still allowed me to loose .6 pounds.
Yeah I know, here I’m like let’s balance out our weight, and then I’m like ooh latte’s and cookies. But for me, being able to fit these into my daily life and still loose or maintain or whatever the goal at the time is truly is balance for me. Tomorrow was a little more indulgent than normal, latte and tart, but both were excellent and there were no regrets.
Class because I still have that going on
I got my grades for class this week and I got a 100% on my quiz, homework and discussion. My grades slightly slipped when all of this started, but I was honest with my professor about what was going on and she said if I needed extensions to let her know. I told her I didn’t need that, but I wanted her to know that the quality in my work wasn’t normal and I wanted her to know why.
I’m excited for the upcoming week. It’s week two of the lifting program. JP is at work and I’m figuring out my adventures.We have a wedding next weekend and the rehearsal dinner on Friday. I’m hopeful it’ll be a good week all around like this week was, but if not every day is perfect, it won’t be the end of the world.
We’re watching movies and lounging in the living room until it’s time to get ready for date night. So I’ll talk to you guys later.
I’ve received some stories where the writer has asked to be anonymous. Writing is an outlet for me and I think some of you have found it to be helpful as you’ve sent me your stories. Some of you have pointed out that knowing someone on the other end is reading it, even though it’s a stranger, has been helpful. Some kind of release.
This is a story from a 25-year-old mom. I cried as I read her email, which made JP rush over to find out what was wrong. His heart broke for her.
By society’s standards, I used to be “normal.” I was fun, outgoing, had a lot of friends, spent most weekends out, worked my ass off at a job I loved, and so on. When I was 20, I met a guy who I thought was the end all, be all of men. He was sweet, funny, and kind. He treated me well and we always had fun together. But when I started seeing red flags in our relationship, I started distancing myself from him and eventually broke things off. He didn’t take the break up well and immediately showed his true colors (which he had done amazingly well at hiding up to this point). He started stalking me. He’d spend days at a time outside my house taking photos, calling me, texting me, threatening my family. I bought two guns to keep at home: one right next to my bed and one next to my front door. I was terrified of him. Whenever I called the police, he’d be gone before they could catch him. When they finally did, he was arrested and sent to prison. I spent almost an entire year in court with him. One court hearing per week, every single week until the case was finally closed. It was draining, to say the least. I had to change my phone number several times to avoid getting prison calls. By the second month of court hearings, the judge suggested I see a counselor. I was barely eating, I was having trouble focusing at work, and I was having nightmares so bad, I was afraid to go to bed at night. I gladly took the judge’s suggestion and met with a counselor. She was amazing and helped me through a lot. She even got me set up with an advocate who came to the remainder of the court hearings with me and spoke for me so I wouldn’t have to face my ex alone. The case was finally closed and I felt like I was starting to heal and get back to my normal life. I had no idea what was coming soon after.
Fast forward about a year and a half later. I was happily married and pregnant with my daughter. I went into labor on a Saturday, my husband and I took our daughter home from the hospital on Monday, and my world fell apart on Thursday. I was sitting at home with my 5 day old newborn, enjoying every second with her. My mom was at our house helping me with the baby. She picked up her phone to check the news and her face went white. When I asked what was wrong, she turned her phone toward me and a picture of my ex was plastered on the front page of the news: he had been released from prison and had brutally and violently murdered someone. My husband quickly grabbed my daughter because he knew I would fall apart. And I did. I fell to the floor and could not control the crying. I couldn’t believe it. I didn’t even know what to think or how to feel. Was it true? Maybe they had the wrong guy. The next few weeks went by in a blur. I was terrified. I didn’t answer my phone. I didn’t leave my house. I didn’t see my friends. I didn’t sleep. I didn’t eat. Most of all, I didn’t understand what the hell was happening. Everything was back. The fear, the nightmares, the paranoia. But a thousand times worse than before. I had nightmares of him escaping from jail, breaking into my house, and killing my family; killing MY baby girl. The story was on the news for two weeks straight. All my friends knew. Everyone tried to call, everyone wanted to talk to me. I stayed off the internet and social media as much as I could and tried to ignore it all. But then I got a letter in the mail. It was from him. I didn’t know how he got my address and that scared the hell out of me. The letter was long and detailed. He blamed me for the murder. He went on for pages about how if I had never left him, he would have had a normal life and he never would have murdered this person. Any sane person would have understood the absolute ridiculousness of such a claim. But me, in my mentally unstable state, completely believed him. He was right, wasn’t he? I shouldn’t have left him. I could have prevented that murder.
My mental health deteriorated so fast, it was unbelievable. Three weeks after the murder, my mom came over to my house and found me lying on my kitchen floor staring at the ceiling crying. My 3-week-old daughter was lying on the floor next to me. My family called the police and I was taken to a hospital for observation. I spent 3 days in focus groups with other “mental” people. We had to talk about our feelings and share why we were there. Looking back, I can honestly say that 3 days saved my life. Was it weird? Yes. Did I feel like a freak? Yes. But I needed it. I needed the break. I needed sleep and food and peace and quiet. And something about being locked up in a place with bars on the windows gave me an odd sort of comfort. I knew that he couldn’t get to me. When I got to go home, my family worked hard with me to restore some of the balance in my life. I started seeing a counselor again and I was determined to work as hard as I could to be a good mom and take care of my daughter. But within days, the police were at my door. They needed me to testify in the trial. If I wrote about the next year of my life, I could fill a book. Long story short, my life changed for good. I’m no longer outgoing, I have very few friends (I chose a small circle of people to keep in my life) and I keep my family closer than ever. It’s been a while since the trial ended. My ex was sentenced to life in prison without parole. Some days are great, some days are awful. The awful days are usually the days when I can’t control all the thoughts that fill my head. Most days, I still can’t connect in my head what my ex did. I can’t seem to connect the fact that my sweet, loving, kind hearted (or so I thought) man had violently taken someone else’s life. This man that had told me so many times that he loved me. This man that had planned romantic dates for us and wrote me love letters. Some days, it still just doesn’t make sense.
About 6 months after the murder, through a VERY strange chain of events, I ended up on the phone with the mother of the man my ex had murdered. We talked for 5 hours straight. I told her all the things my ex had said to me and that he blamed me for her son’s death. And I let her talk for hours about her son. She told me all about him. His likes, his dislikes, what he did for a job, what he was like as a person. It was a relief for her. But at the end of the phone call, she said something I’ll never forget: “Forgive yourself. My son is not dead because of you. And you can’t live your life believing that he is.” I was floored. This woman had tragically lost her son and here she was comforting ME? What?! We cried and thanked each other. A few days later, I visited her son’s grave and placed a bouquet of yellow roses at his headstone. I took a picture and sent it to his mother. She appreciated the gesture and said she thought her son and I could have been good friends. We haven’t talked since. I guess we just needed that one 5 hour time period to cry and talk and vent.
Very few people understand my story. Most people look at me and say, “Um, someone was murdered. You have no right to be affected, you’re still alive.” In a way, they’re right. But it still doesn’t change the fact that I am affected. I was and still am. I never would have imagined that this would change my life so much. You see murder everywhere: in the news, on TV, in movies. But it’s never so close to home. It’s never someone you know. Nowadays, I’m a stay at home mom. I do nothing but spend time with my family and do my best to make amazing memories and appreciate the time I get with the people I love. But he’s still in my head. I still have nightmares. Fairly often, I sneak into my daughter’s room and crawl into bed with her just to remind myself that she’s safe because the nightmares are so real. My ex is in a level five facility in the middle of the plains of Colorado. He is guarded by some of Colorado’s finest and there’s no way he’s ever getting out. But some days, that doesn’t matter. It’s still terrifying. I do my best to choose happiness and peace every day, but of course some days I fail miserably. I’m thankful now to have a beautiful, healthy, and happy 3-year-old who loves life and lights up every room she walks into. I’m thankful to have a husband who supports me no matter what, even on my terrible days. Life goes on and that’s something I’ve learned the hard way.
I will find my way if I can be strong
I know every mile would be worth my while
When I go the distance, I’ll be right where I belong”
What do you do when you have left over sweet potato that you don’t think you’ll finish before they go bad? Make pie.
Sweet potatoes and pumpkin are pretty similar in taste and you can prepare them pretty much the same way. The main differences between the two are the nutritional make up. Sweet potato is higher in carbohydrates than pumpkin, it also has more fiber, but pumpkin has less natural sugars. Regardless, both are tasty and are something I can definitely eat all the time if you let me.
I’ve made pumpkin pie before and I know what the ingredients are: eggs, sweetened condensed milk and a few other things. I knew I didn’t want something loaded with sugar, so that meant I wanted a recipe without sweetened condensed milk. I went to Pinterest to see what I could find for filling recipes. I found a lot that used sweetened condensed milk and then I stumbled on one that used regular milk, but a TON of sugar to make up for it.
I skimmed the ingredients and decided to wing it. Recipe below!
What You’ll Need
- 100g of pumpkin
- 2 tablespoons of milk – I used almond milk
- 1 tablespoon of maple syrup
- vanilla extract
- pumpkin pie spice blend (cinnamon, gloves, ginger)
- 1 egg
- mini pie shells – I used Keebler mini graham cracker crust
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
- In a small bowl, measure out 100g of cooked and mashed sweet potato. Make sure your mash is smooth and not lumpy. If there’s a little bit of lumps they will come out as you mix in other ingredients.
- Add vanilla extract and pumpkin pie spice blend to taste.
- Mix in one whole egg until smooth.
- Mix in one tablespoon of maple syrup. Using maple syrup allows you to cut back on the sugar you need to use to make the filling sweet. Many recipes I found had both brown sugar and granulated sugar.
- Measure out filing into pie crusts. This made 3 pies with 62g of filling. I place the shell on my scale and zero it out before filling.
- Place filled shells on a baking sheet and bake for about 30 minutes. The filling will be firm when they are cooked thoroughly. Every oven is different, so keep an eye on the pies between 23 minutes and 30 minutes.
Macros per pie (may differ): 6.1F/24.4C/3.6P