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.