Friday, February 24, 2012

It's All About ME . . . Or At Least It Should Be

A couple weeks ago I hit rock bottom. The stress level in my life had pressed so hard against my sanity, that I completely shut down, retreated from all my internet responsibilities and stopped writing. I was so overwhelmed that I even pulled back from friends and family. Sooo not like me.

I didn't sleep, but stayed in bed all day. I didn't eat. I cried for no reason. Depression, you say?  Yeah, just a bit.

It had been coming on for quite some time, but I'd somehow managed to hide it until our family dynamics changed and I found myself not only taking care of an almost-eighteen-year-old son with autism (with severe behaviors) and a 75-year-old mother-in-law (with advanced dementia). I could handle my son . . . barely, but to add another responsibility was just too much.

I cracked.

And in a desperate attempt to gain some control of my situation, I folded in on myself. NOT GOOD.

So here I was, having my own kind of pity party, not letting friends in, family pushed away, wallowing in the muck, when I began to reflect on my life. Okay, maybe the fact that I'm about to turn 50 had something to do with that too, but the point is, I discovered something. After 26 years of marriage, helping my husband run a restaurant for most of that, taking care of two boys with disabilities, losing one at 23 to a heart defect, and spending every moment taking care of everyone else . . .

I forgot to take care of ME. I forgot to LOVE me. And I never put me FIRST in anything.

How could I possibly care for others when I'd been neglected? How could I show love for those around me when I didn't even love myself?  And most of all, how was I going to put myself first, when I'd always been second or third or tenth?

The answer isn't easy and it certainly won't come all at once, but today I took the first step. I went to a doctor who specializes in Bariatrics (weight loss). They drew blood to check all the important stuff like cholesterol, blood sugar, thyroid, etc. They did an EKG to check my heart. You  name it, I was checked out from head to toe.

And then they got to the stuff that was a little hard to stomach. *gulp* I stepped on the scales. (Not revealing that number. Nope. No way) Then they figured my BMI (body mass index). EMBARRASSING. Took all my measurements. ICK!  And I sat through a 45 minute presentation on how I can become a healthier ME. Pure torture, because I found out what I'd been doing wrong all these years and why I'm so unhealthy.

Like, DUH!

There's a whole list of things I need to work on, some physical, others spiritual and very personal, but taking this first step, to be healthy, has made me smile. And I haven't done that for a long while.

My favorite quote from today's presentation?

"Nothing will change . . . unless there is change." (think about it)

How are you treating yourself these days?  Anything you can do to show yourself a little LOVE?

~ Christine



  1. Oh my dear. That quote sums it up, doesn't it? Stay strong and do take care of yourself. It's not easy and I've bout with depression throughout my life. Over this past year, I'm finally making a change. Doing things for me, while still taking care of my responsibilites. It's not easy and takes time, but it's amazing how it can change you. Take care.

  2. I'm so proud of you for taking that first step!! And I struggle with this too (waaay to many women do). Change is hard, but if it's change for the better - for a better YOU - it can be so uplifting. Go Christine! And thank you for sharing!

  3. That is an incredible step to take, one that many don't take. A lot of moms put themselves last - this is a great message for all parents out there. Our kids are important but to do our job well we have to take care of us too.

    Rooting for you!

  4. You are such an amazing, beautiful person and I've been in awe of your drive and commitment the last few months. You will rock this, Christine!!!

    There is absolutely nothing wrong with taking care of yourself.

    <3 <3 <3

  5. Aw! You guys are all so very, very sweet. Thanks for all your support and encouragement. How can I fail with friends like you?

  6. i think it's a common trait among mothers - to place everyone else if we're not doing that, somehow we've failed at our job. but it's not true! we need to take care of ourselves - in whatever way is healthiest for us. so glad you found your way!

    1. Thanks Amie. And I think you're right. Mothers do tend to take care of others before themselves.

  7. Christine, I'm so glad you decided to love yourself! I totally understand how we forget how to do that, always putting our kids, husbands, etc first, we forget that we deserve to be first sometimes. For me, showing self-love come when I decided it was okay for me to let someone else do my hair. For years I cut my hair myself (I'd add italics here if I could) because I didn't want to spend the money (on me).

    I still don't go to the salon a lot, maybe twice a year, but I DO go and I've stopped feeling guilty about it. In fact, I'm going to go make my spring appointment right now!

    1. OH! I'm exactly the same way. I used to cut my own hair all the time. Didn't look so great, but at least it was cheap. Now I let someone else pamper me. Which reminds me. My roots are showing. I'm due for a color.

  8. I love that quote. And you already know that I believe in taking care of yourself (like writing before you answer email!!).


    I am proud of you for taking this super-hard first step. I am following in your footsteps!

    1. You know me too well. So glad you're there to be my support system. Even happier that you're doing it with me.


  9. I'm glad you're on your way to feeling better and making changes that will benefit YOU!!
    Self-haircutter and colorer here too. If we ever meet in person, we're going out to get our nails done. :)

    1. I am SOOO there. That would be the ultimate slumber party, wouldn't it?

  10. I'm proud of you, Christine. I know how hard making such a change can be.

    You really are amazing. We all know it, and can't wait for you to discover it too!

    1. HI, YOU!! I haven't seen you for so long. Hope things are going well for you. Thanks for your kind words. I have so many great friends (like you) to help me through all this, so I can't help but succeed. HUGS

  11. I know the feelings. Ah, how I know them. I have a mask I wear for when I leave my home to go to work, to class, to poetry readings, anywhere outside my home. That mask smiles, says all is okay, and puts on a front. Behind it, I feel as if I am walking through quicksand and not making any progress.
    It is not easy doing for yourself when you have spent your life doing for others. I know WHAT I need to do, just cannot seem to progress. I make excuses. I am glad you are able to move forward, upward, or whatever direction you need.

  12. Christine, thinking of you!

    Oh, sigh. I'm not treating myself very well lately. I really need to make an effort to broaden my life these days beyond all the work that needs to be done. I feel like I'm moving so quickly and thinking about the next step that I don't allow myself to enjoy the small victories along the way.

  13. Oh, wow. Sounds like a really tough time, but good for you for taking control of your life and your health!

  14. It's so hard for women to give themselves permission to love themselves, especially if they have families to take care of. My heart goes out to you, Christine, and I'm so glad you've found the inner strength to take positive steps in caring of yourself.

  15. When in doubt, love. (Or, you know, when you're ready to have a breakdown. ;) *hugs*

  16. Today, I went to the beach front with my kids.
    I found a sea shell and gave it to my 4 year old daughter and said "You can hear the ocean if you put this to your ear." She placed the shell to her ear and screamed.
    There was a hermit crab inside and it pinched her ear.
    She never wants to go back! LoL I know this is completely off topic but I had to
    tell someone!
    My blog post ::

  17. Its like you read my mind! You appear to know so much
    about this, like you wrote the book in it or something.
    I think that you could do with a few pics to drive the
    message home a bit, but other than that, this is great
    blog. A fantastic read. I'll definitely be back.
    Here is my web blog easy way to quit smoking

  18. I am genuinely pleased to glance at this webpage posts which carries tons
    of useful data, thanks for providing these kinds of statistics.
    Feel free to surf my web page ... shopping reviews

  19. My partner and I absolutely love your blog and find most of your post's to be precisely what I'm looking for.
    Would you offer guest writers to write content in your case?
    I wouldn't mind publishing a post or elaborating on most of the subjects you write related to here. Again, awesome weblog!
    my web page - page seo