Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Rocking the Boat

What a wonderful weekend.  I have so much to share I need to break my posts up, I’ll start with my exciting Friday night.  I’m heading to the Boundary Waters this summer with 8 other fabulous ladies.  This has been on my bucket list and part of my goal to try new things.  At first I didn’t put two and two together realizing that Boundary Waters means canoeing.   Rough camping I can do, rough camping I’m a rock star at.  Canoeing . . . . . total different story.  To be honest, I’ve never really been canoeing, that was until Friday night. 

Canoeing strikes a deep fear deep within my soul, a fear I really want to get over.  It’s a fear I have been unable to understand and rationalize.  My dear friend Heather, whom I can be 100% myself with, took me out canoeing in a “safe” environment on Friday.  While I knew logically I was safe, I was with Heather, I had a life jacket on, I know how to swim, the water wasn’t all that deep, I was TERRIFIED.  Terrified as in I wanted to cry, scream and run away.  I was trying to figure out how I would back out of the trip because I didn’t think there was any way I could get in the darn canoe and live to tell about it.  Heather is so patient and kind, she let me take me time getting in the canoe, helped talk me through my fears.  It was hard because my fears are in no way logical.  I was able to pinpoint my fear to the rocking of the boat.  Once I was out on the water paddling and the boat was calm, I was calm.  At the slightest rock of the boat, I would tense up and panic would set it.  There was a point where we were in 2 inches of water and yet it scared the crap out of me when the boat rocked.  It just didn’t make sense to me why I was feeling so overwhelmed by the rocking of the boat even if I was “safe”.  When the boat rocked, I would become scared, the more scared I became, the more the boat rocked, I became more scared, the boat rocked more, you get the picture.  If I calmed down and took a deep breath, the boat would calm, I would calm, etc. After we had a successful first trip out, I felt a wave of relief and joy come over me.   While I’m still scared, I know I can overcome the fear and go on the trip.

Today on my way to work, I thought about it and realized that’s when I have anxiety in my life.  Suddenly it became so clear and powerful where my fear from the canoe comes from.  At times in life, metaphorically the boat rocks, I know logically that God is there with me, I can have my life jacket on (my tools and resources), I can know how to cope, the water may or may not be deep (big or small problem), but it scares me none the less.  During counseling I’ve learned my core issues to be trust, fear and control.  These issues are deeply rooted within me.    The actual reaction I had on Friday is the same reaction I have when the boat rocks in my life (little or small).  This is why I’m having such a strong reaction to canoeing.   I unlocked the connection and it feels empowering.  I’m so determined to learn to cope, to trust, because I want to live life to the fullest.  The Bible story of Peter during the storm and walking on water is so fitting here.  I will trust God, I will learn to use my resources, I will do this in shallow and deep water and I’ll take a deep breath when the boat rocks realizing that I am indeed “safe”.

Unstoppable “Boat rock’n” Mariah

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Did you hear that snake?

Living with anxiety has it humorous moments.  Usually those moments come far after the anxiety has passed and I look back at how ridiculous my thoughts were.  Take this morning for example.  I awoke to hear a strange almost hiss like sound.  I wasn’t the cat hissing but almost sounded snake like.  I heard the cat meowing so I decided the cat must have found a snake in the house.  When the cat stopped meowing I decided the snake ATE the cat.   Yes, the snake must have eaten my 12lb cat.   I was too darn scared to get out of bed to see a huge snake with the lump in the shape of a cat to get out of bed.  Moments later I heard the cat move around and there were no more hissing sounds.  The world was once again peacefully normal.

I assure you, this really were the thoughts that went through my mind this morning.  I can look back now and find it utterly funny.  Thinking back to the pictures in my head, how I jumped from a strange sound, to a dead cat eaten by a huge snake and back everything is okay in less then 3 minutes; I giggle at myself and shake my head.  Yes, this is what it’s like living with anxiety.  Somehow the irrational become rational, not only rational but REAL.   

My anxiety turns into crippling fear.  Tonight during my run I began to appreciate my willingness to push through my fears.  I haven’t been as active as I used to be, but I’m getting there, yet I fear not being able to complete my runs, my biking, my yoga.  That I’ll be too slow, to fat, I’ll get hurt, I won’t be able to breath, people will laugh at me, you name it, the tape that play in my head is NEGATIVE NELLY.  Regardless, I got out there and I did the best I could today.  I stopped the negative tape instead I focused on positive things.  I thought about the 5K I’m doing this weekend with my family and a friend.  I’m so darn excited to do it even if it will take me 50 minutes to cross the line and last year I was close to being under 45 minutes.  I’m going to stop being hard on myself for what I can’t do and give myself credit for what I am doing.  That’s what being “unstoppable” is about J

Unstoppable “postive focused” Mariah

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Back and Stronger then EVER!

J  Unstoppable Mariah back, stronger and more persistent then ever. Hello my friends, it has been wayyyyyyy too long.  I’m really excited to be back and super happy to be posting.  That is a GREAT feeling.  I sorta had a mini (okay maybe not so mini) episode of major anxiety and some depression going on.  I wasn’t comfortable or even sure how to blog about it.  I was anxious about being anxious which made me even more anxious.  I wouldn’t drive my car for a few days because I was convinced it was going to malfunction.  That’s not even the ½ of it.  Long story short, it wasn’t good. 

I started therapy, medication and getting back in touch with my spiritual side.  It’s made a huge difference.  Regardless of losing my weight before, I failed to deal with why I put the weight on.  When I stopped eating to cope I didn’t learn new coping strategies, unannounced to me, things slowly starting piling up and then one day something small shoved me right off the edge.  So not in line with my holistic approach to getting healthy.  At first I was ashamed, but I’m not anymore.  Instead I’m extremely proud of myself. I now understand the core issues which brought me to over 300lbs.

I realized I was ready to blog when I’ve been able to deal with recent events in a pretty healthy manner.  We found a lump on Hannah’s rib (she’s 11 ½), one doctor blew us off, so we saw a second doctor.  This doctor took the lump more seriously.  During an x-ray they didn’t see the lump rib, but found a nodule on her lung.   The lung nodule turns out to be a harmless benign lung granuloma.  It just sounds scary, but it’s really nothing to be worried about.  No sign of the rib lump on x-ray or ultrasound. Next step is to see a Pediatric Surgeon on Wednesday.  He will help decide what we should do next, possibly a CT Scan or repeat x-ray.  He’s one of the best peds surgeons in MN.  This doesn’t mean Hannah will need surgery, rather that she’s got the best doctor possible and he’ll be able to provide direction and answers.  The thing is, I’m calm.  Hannah’s calm, Paul is calm.  Granted the first few days I did internally FREAK out a little.  I starting telling, okay more like threatening God (yeah, like that works), that he didn’t dare take Hannah after taking my other babies away from me.  Then I stopped, found stillness and came back to reality.  The God I know and love is the same God I knew and loved before we saw the lump on Hannah.  Hannah is going to be fine, in fact, Hannah will be FANTASTIC.   There has been nothing showing us any differently.  God asks me to find stillness and trust in him, so I will do as I’m ask, faithfully.  This my friends is growth of the biggest kind for me.

My blog will be taking a little bit of a different focus, more than weight loss, I’ll be focusing on holistic health.  It will range from weight loss, to mental health, spiritual growth, managing work/school/motherhood/wifehood (he he, my new word).  I’m happy to start this new chapter.  I’m thrilled to be here and glad to have you with me.

Unstoppable "non anxious" Mariah

Monday, February 13, 2012


I made it through my first counseling appointment.  I was thankful I took Friday off to just be mellow with Pauly.  The first appointment was humbling and reminds me of when I first started trying to lose weight.  It's overwhelming and the hill I have to climb looks and it feels ginormous.  Just like physically my body wasn't used to working out, mentally my mind isn't used to "dealing".  The more I do it, the more naturally it will become.  I'll figure out ways to break my treatment into smaller goals so it feels more manageable.

The first appointment is all about an intake form.  Within one hour this person knew more about me than most people I interact with on a daily basis.  I had a constant stream of tears going down my face which is unusual, as the past few years I've been really holding my tears close to me and don't like to shed them.  As I look back at why I cried, it's more about not wanting to be where I am with this.  As she did the intake I realized I was getting "labels" associated with me (eating disorder, anxiety, depression, PTSD, etc).  Argh, the dreaded labels, regardless that millions of people having these labels, I didn't want to be associated with the labels being placed on me.

My newest labels make it feel too real.  It's a double edge sword, they need those labels to find a correct treatment plan, but yet I don't want to fall into that bucket.  Just like when they wrote on my medical report that I was morbidly obese.   I know millions of others have these same "labels", but I don't want it to be me.  The reality of the matter is "IT IS ME".

I plan to keep trying. I plan to keep fighting.  Thanks for all of your encouragement.  I did walk away with a few new things.  Exercise, I knew it made me feel better, but I'm starting to understand it's critical in my management of anxiety/depression.  Self-Soothing, starting to track what helps calm me outside of eating.  Lastly but just as important, it's easier to feel guilt then helpless.

One day at a time, one appointment at a time, one decision at a time, I can do this.

Unstoppable "labeled" Mariah

Wednesday, February 8, 2012


This feels like it's one of the most awkward posts to write.   It feels like forever since I've last shared with you.  I'm not sure I'll even post this blog but it's an effort to get back to it.  I'm sorry I've been to scared, embarrassed, ashamed, (fill in the negative adjective of your choice).    I'm still working towards my goal.  It's all kinda of a mess. I started feeling really vulnerable in my writing and sharing, which contributed to my latest outbreak of anxiety issues.  Granted that was only one part of it.  Many things have contributed to where I am at this moment.  I feel really lost in all of it.  Lost, I guess I didn't know that until I typed it now.  I've lost my bearings and often feel like the world is spinning around me and I'm just trying to catch up, to hold on to something, to stand still in strength, but instead I feel like water going down the drain in the bathtub as I fight to stay afloat.  Before I would have let the current take me down, but now I'm fighting back which in turn makes me physically and mentally exhausted.

It's not all bad and grim; I know this is all part of the journey.  I'm confident that even that I don’t like where I am at this moment; I trust that God has put me on the right path.  I went to see a doctor a few weeks ago about my increasing panic attacks.  They are worse and more frequent than ever before.  I believe the reason why it's been so bad is because I've been trying so hard to fight against the panic, before I would just let the fear totally control me and shut down into a depression.   I've come to the realization that I just can't do this anymore; I can't beat this on my own.  This isn't the person I want to be, not the Mom, wife or friend.  I was so paralyzed with fear, just going to the doctor to get meds almost sent me over the edge.  I trusted God that it would be okay, that the fear in my head of the doctor shunning me wouldn't happened, that they would help me.  My prayers were answer, instead of judgment, a warm heart and soft voice comforted me.  I kept telling her how I knew my fears weren't always logical, but that my body took over, my heart would race, my chest would get tight, I would have heart pain, I couldn't breathe or think normally, instead I just felt FEAR.  No matter how I tried to talk myself out of the fears, they sometimes just got louder and louder.  It is a HORRIBLE feeling and brings tears to my eyes.  I cried during the appointment several times, embarrassed of my mental state and emotions.  She was so compassionate; she helped get me on a few meds and referred me to a counseling clinic.

I've been on the meds for a few weeks and some of the edge is off, but I still have panic attacks.  I'm not sure this is the right medication for me, but I will try it for 8 weeks because it takes a while to fully be in your system.  I also have my first counseling appointment tomorrow.  I made it for 5:00 so I didn't have to worry about going back to work and feeling emotional or people asking me where I was.  Paul and I have off Friday for a fun date day.  While I share on my blog, in person I'm really ashamed and embarrassed at times.  I'm in touch with my feelings enough to understand most of my feelings and why they are what they are.  I take ownership of who I am and how I feel.  My anxiety isn’t about others or anyone else fault. My anxiety is mine to own and to cope with.  I'm ready to get help; I'm scared but ready to deal.  I'm ready to become the person I want to be.  I'm so scared and nervous for tomorrow, but I trust its right.

I'm so much farther then I was in the beginning.  I knew it wouldn't be easy and that's okay.  I don't even view what's going on right now as a setback, rather more of something I've been putting off dealing with and it's just coming to the forefront.  It's almost like I've dusted the top layers off and now I'm getting to the core of what I need to fix.  While I'm having many issues with fears specific to certain aspects of my life, I'm also more adventurous than ever.  I'm doing the Polar Bear Plunge in a hula outfit, OH YEAH!  I'm taking a BWCA trip with 8 other amazing women this summer (still fearful of that, but will work on it).  I've signed up for 3 Sprint Triathlons this summer as well.  When I've follow the right path, I've never been let down, it's been hard work, but it's always been worth the journey and effort.  I will keep reminding myself of this.  I am worth the effort.

Unstoppable "worthy" Mariah

Friday, January 6, 2012

Back to Blogging

I’m not sure where to even begin this post.  It’s been awhile.  I’m ready to get back to blogging but anxious, I’m finding blogging is key to helping me work through emotions.  Something about taking the time to type the words up, it slows my mind, creates a need to focus and requires me to fully explore feelings.

The past two months I have been fighting a battle against anxiety.  I’ve been hesitant to post, not sure how to express this battle.  Worried my words would be offensive to others, worried about being vulnerable.  I found running and hiding from this doesn’t help, in fact it’s opposite, it feeds into the anxiety and makes it stronger.  So here’s to fighting my way back, I’m worth it.  I CAN DO THIS.  Letting anxiety control me has gotten made my scale go up, working out has become limited and mentally I’ve been exhausted.  I hate admitting these things. I’m supposed to be an example, I’m supposed to be “better” than this, I’m supposed to be stronger than this. 

I’m not alone in this, this is why weight loss is hard, and this is also why I knew that this was so much bigger than some fad diet.  I’m broken and I HATE IT.  I hate being broken, I know it’s a strong word, but I do and I need to be fully honest.  The minute I started to deal with my anxiety is sky rocketed.  I’ve had a few instances that occurred in the past 2 months that unfortunately fed the anxiety.  The most wonderful part of this all, I’m able to pinpoint and know why I have anxiety.  This is huge, this is breakthrough for me, never before have I been able to identify it.  I started reading a book by Angie Smith called “I Will Carry You”.  This book in so many ways has really helped me start to get to the bottom of my anxiety.  Now I just need to learn how to deal with it.  Hope to cope and rebuild from the bottom up.  It’s scary, but I know it’s darkest before dawn and friends, I will admit, it’s been very very dark, and now I’m praying for light.

I’m sorry I haven’t shared much.  Sometimes certain aspects of what I’m dealing with aren’t appropriate or fair to share online on a blog.  With that said, I’m starting to make progress.  I’ve had many opportunities and seen so many examples of the person I want to become and who I don’t want to become.  One example is with my Aunt and Mom.  My Grandmother recently passed away, I was so amazed by some of the things they did and how they handled things.   The care they provided in the last months of her life was a testament to their love of her.  At times it must have been extremely taxing for them but they always appeared patient and kind; call after call even if minutes apart, they would calming answer the same question, listen to the same story, they always found time for her.  I pray that the caring loving acts they provided my Grandmother provide them with comfort as they grief the loss of her.  At the same time, in the past few months I’ve seen examples of who I don’t want to be and how far I’ve come in dealing with grief and my feelings.  I’m so thankful to be where I am today, regardless of being broken.  Because I’m open and honest, I’m willing to realize what issues are my issues and what I need to do to fix them.  I love that I can look inward, know what I do to cause chaos and what I can do to remove myself from it.   I feel empowered with the fact that I get to define who I am, how I want to act and what I represent. 

So right now, my goal is to start working on my anxiety issues. To stop letting it control me and to instead cope with my fears, to trust that God will only challenge me as I can handle.  I’m working to find a doctor to talk to but also exploring the possible need to use medication at times.  For example my car was acting up, this caused me so much anxiety that I had a hard time breathing and wouldn’t leave the house for a few days in fear of my car blowing up.  While some might think that’s dramatic, it was truly a fear.  My worries aren’t unwarranted, but it’s to the degree I take them that are.  Every day I fear I’ll die or someone I love with die on the road, or that my house will start on fire, the list goes on and on.  Each time a fear doesn’t come true, I thank God for keeping me and the ones I love save.  Yep, a little crazy ckoo ckoo, but if I can admit it, I’m not too far gone right J  I wish I could explain the courage it takes to post this more eloquently.  Most people don’t know to the degree I suffer from anxiety, but I want to set myself free and let others know they aren’t alone.

Thursday morning, I got my butt up, weighed in and hit the gym before work.  My overwhelming anxiety slowly started melting.  I had pep in my step and felt GREAT.  I still had those nagging fears play out in my head, but they were not nearly as annoying or overpowering.  Conclusion, I NEED to work out.  This isn’t the only tool I need for anxiety, but it proved to be critical in my battle and allows me to take additional steps like blogging, taking to a doctor etc. 

2012 will be a great year with great progress.  I’m confident in this so much that I set up some fun goals which I’ll share more about this weekend.  I also have a challenge for you all out there that I’m really hoping you’ll join me in.  Thanks for taking the time to read this and it’s great to be back! 

Unstoppable “anxiety filled” Mariah

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Peeking out from behind the rubble

Hello out there.  Yes, I'm still alive and well.  I'm stuck on how to post what I'm feeling.  There are certain discoveries that I’m uncovering, because of their sensitive nature and impact to others, blogging about it doesn’t seem fair or right.  I'm not sure the best way to explain the thoughts in my head.  While I'm stagnate in the ways of weight loss, emotionally I'm much further ahead than can be weighed in numbers.  That's not to say I have it all solved.  I'm just finally getting to working on some of the stuff I didn't even know was in the way.  I feel like my life has been turned upside down, shaking side to side and set back down.  I'm just beginning to piece things together.  It's not a bad thing; it's like putting on a new pair of glasses when you didn't realize you couldn't see before.  It shocking, amazing and beautiful, but it's hard to cope with what your eyes are seeing.  Sometimes you think your eyes are lying to you because you want to belief what you always knew to be true.

I'm at the point where many give up, throw their towel in, go back to their old ways, but my friends, I refuse to give up.  This is where Unstoppable Mariah comes charging in (hands on my hips, cape flowing in the wind).  Yes, I've come too far, love myself too much, value my life and my family too much.  I've recently starting seeing all of the amazing tools God has set before me to succeed.  It's up to me to have the courage and trust to use them.  I'm learning to be less afraid.  To trust the support system I have to catch me when I inevitable fall.  They will lift me up, brush me off, slap me on the rear end and tell me to suck it up and get back in there.  They will also be there to give me a loving hug and a shoulder to cry on.  Recently, I took a chance and trusted a dear friend with things heavy on my mind.  It was the gift of that friendship that helped me realize that it's okay to fall; it's okay to have issues, because it's part of the process.  It's part of learning how to be the best Mariah I can be.  I can overcome my fears, facing them head knowing I have peeps in my life to help me when it's bigger than me.

Two goals for this week:  1) set up an appointment with a counselor to address my anxiety, depression, and the causes of my addiction to food.  2) start an actionable workout plan with small and large goals.    The great part, I don't fear it like I used to, I'm ready for it, I embrace it.  I will trust the process, even when it's scary, dark and unknown.  We also have the Challenge Charities 5K that we are doing as a family.  I'm so very excited because a few of my blogging friends will be there too and I can't wait to see them.  Thank you for being part of my journey, your encouraging words and support.  I have a feeling the hardest and best parts are yet to come!

One last shout out, to the most AMAZING guy in the world.  Pauly, you've been great.  Thanks for loving me in all of this.   I love knowing no matter what happens in any given day, I get to curl up next to you, lay my head on your chest, close my eyes and feel so loved, warm and safe.

Unstoppable "trusting" Mariah