My Story: Letting Go of the Past

Sunday, June 02, 2013

Over the past few weeks I have shared a little about the depression I have been struggling with and how I am trying to let go of the past. I think it would be cathartic to write about my last couple of years and finally release the past.

I joined SparkPeople in October of 2009. I spent a couple of months exploring the site and getting to know the people in the groups I joined. In the first three months I lost 20 pounds. I got serious in January. I was in graduate school working on a master's in counseling and I worked full time on top of being married to a high school football and track coach and having three kids. So I was busy but I was determined to lose the weight and get healthy. My schedule that spring was hard but I was happier than I had been in a long time. I woke at 4:30 every morning and did a one hour workout before getting a shower, waking the kids, fixing my lunch and, three days a week, my dinner. At 7:30 I dropped the kids off at school and then I went to work. Three days a week a worked until 5, ate dinner at the office then went to school until 10. The other two days I was home at 5:30. My weekends started early so I could get a workout, run errands and buy groceries, clean the house and get my homework done.

That summer I did not go to school so I started working out twice a day. I was running at least three miles every morning and doing yoga or strength training of the evenings, on weekends I would run as much as five miles at a time. When August came, I started back on the very busy schedule this time taking classes two nights a week and working in the counseling clinic at the university on evenings that I did not have school. When my one year Sparkversary came I had lost 65 pounds. I had gone from a size 24 to a size 16 and had gained self-confidence. That Halloween was the beginning of my downward spiral. I had written two research papers that weekend but they still needed to be edited and I had a genogram and five page paper about my family due the next day. Because I was now out until after 10 five nights a week and my husband was in the middle of football season and worked 7 days a week, I was behind in my classes. It was not the first all-niter I had pulled that semester, but this time I ate an entire bag of candy while working. Later in the week, I stayed up all night again to read chapters for a test the next day. It became a trend. I started working out only a couple of times a week because I was not getting enough sleep. The spring semester was just as difficult and from October until May I gained and lost the same ten pounds.

When June came and school ended, I started back on my previous schedule. At this time I had gone from 195 to 220 and was very determined to get back under 200 pounds. I did well until my babysitter told me she was moving out of state. I depended on her so much to take care of my children while I was in school. At this point, I only lacked two internships and two classes to finish my degree. Because I could not take the internships in the same semester, I had two semesters of school left. That is when the depression hit and I left Sparkpeople. I spent a month feeling sorry for myself and then in July I started looking for a new sitter and an internship. By the first day of class I had not found a sitter and had learned that I would not be able to do my internship and work. So I quit school.

It has been about two years since my babysitter quit and I began to realize I would not be able to finish my degree. The job that I loved but had always been a stepping stone became a permanent career and I began to be unhappy with everything about my life. I felt trapped and hopeless. Last month, when I came back to Sparkpeople, I had gained back 50 pounds. A lot of the healthy habits I had formed were still there. I was drinking a lot of water and eating healthy, but I ate too many sweets and did not exercise more than once per week.

It has been a slow process getting back to where I want to be both mentally and physically. Last August I started the process of becoming a teacher. My husband had been pushing me to do this since I had to quit school but I finally agreed the week before school started. I was accepted in to the Alternative Certification Program and interviewed at my children's middle school. Unfortunately, the principal was on his way out and only interviewed me as a favor to my husband. The new principal knows my husband and has said numerous times that she is trying to find a position for me. The same has been said by another middle school principal in our town who had hired two teachers who were in the ACP program the week before I decided to take the plunge. So now I am hoping to get a job this August. It will mean a $10,000 pay increase and benefits. It will also help me get out of a bad situation because the organization I am working for is not very stable right now. I am really scared that I will not be a good teacher. I am afraid that I will not pass the Generalist 4-8 test that I need to take in a few weeks. I am not even sure I will like teaching. It is outside of my comfort zone right now. I am good at my current job and I like being good at what I do. I don't want to be a mediocre teacher. I don't want to just show up for a pay check. I really want to make a difference.

So, there you have it. It isn't so much about having to quit school after working so hard to keep a high GPA while juggling work and my family. I am very proud of my academic achievements. It has been more about mourning the loss of who I was. I worked so hard to get through the program and made a lot of sacrifices. I had also worked so hard to lose weight and become closer to my weightloss goals. I was becoming a person I was proud of. It felt like my whole world crumbled overnight. I lost my dreams, my goals and myself. I was no longer the person I believed I was. Now I am letting go of that and trying to move forward with this new path. I feel like I am finally ready both mentally and physically to begin again. It is time to work toward a new me that I can be just as proud of.
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Member Comments About This Blog Post
    Thank you for posting this! I suffer from depression & anxiety as well and am starting a Masters program in August. I am petrified of gaining more weight back while I am trying to juggle work, school & a family as well. It's nice to know I'm not alone! emoticon
    2870 days ago
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    I like the analogy that life is a lot like driving a car. It is important to glance in the rear view mirror; but if you focus too much on looking behind you, you can't safely get where you need to be.

    You can do anything you set your mind to do.

    I completed my graduate program after I was married and while working. I can't imagine how you were able to handle classes with having children as well. I am very impressed. Since I know that you were able to do that, I have no doubt that you can be an awesome teacher if that is your goal.

    2871 days ago
    emoticon and letting go is not easy. but know you are who you were meant to be right now... We don't always have the luxury of knowing why things happened why they did.. But I believe it was for a reason.. I /you may never know .

    I understand it is hard when things don't go as planned but you're still that same woman.. only your path has changed.. I hope you remember to be Proud of who you are Today .. right now..

    Tell yourself you CAN DO IT !! you can you just have to believe in you .

    I am Proud of you for writing it and putting it out here for us to see. I hope it gives you some closure and hope for where you are going..

    2872 days ago

    Comment edited on: 6/2/2013 5:11:01 PM

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    2872 days ago

    I think you can be proud of yourself again. It seems the loss of your babysitting really was overwhelming! And then having to quit school! Talk about some grief and depression happening. I have a mental illness and by the grace of God actually made it through to get my MSW. Then my Mom died in 2003. I was a wreck for years and am now finally coming out of it. I am living proof that emoticon , too. I know you can. You sound like you know yourself pretty well. You know what works and what doesn't. Now you just need to go out and grab your future! Teachers are important people and you will do emoticon . emoticon
    2872 days ago
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    Disclaimer: Weight loss results will vary from person to person. No individual result should be seen as a typical result of following the SparkPeople program.