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Category Archives: Family

Hurting someone I love.

Apparently I’m growing up. I’m coming to grips with the fact that my parents and family members are the “be all, end all”. All of a sudden. Now. At 26… shouldn’t this have happened years ago? I went away to college and I was fine. I was independent and did what I wanted to regardless of what anyone thought of it. When I moved back home after school, I was still ‘Ms. Independent’ until 2010 when I had my hormonal imbalance. I’ve since recovered, almost fully mentally and 100% physically. Mentally I still have minor issues, almost like anticipatory issues because I’m kind of scarred from months of having random panic attacks and severe depression. I’m currently on defensive trying to prevent any and all awkward or adverse situations.

The problem now is that I’m having a hard time with trying to please everyone in my life, especially my family. I don’t even know what their preferences/standards are but I’ve had this bad habit as of late to over think and assume these standards and then impose them on the one person who I love and spend a lot of time with; my boyfriend. Together he and I have been spending more time with my cousins. All seems to be going well, then we get home and I proceed to nitpick his “performance” if you will. It’s a terrible thing to do, but in my head it seems as though I have to make sure that my family likes him (we’ve been dating for over four years mind you) and he likes them. My ill-fated efforts always result in a huge fight and this has happened after every meeting with my cousins.

This people pleasing problem stems from when we first started dating and my parents critically judged my boyfriend right off the bat. That first year of dating I was so confident in myself and my decisions that I wasn’t phased by their opinions. Now things are different; my parents have verbalized how they think my boyfriend is a real man and how he is a good guy. Yet, that doesn’t seem to get absorbed in my brain and I get neurotic whenever we all get together hoping to prevent whatever imaginary fallout I see coming in my head.

After another similar incident this past weekend, my boyfriend and I spoke about my actions. I apologized because I know that what I’m doing is wrong. A lot of it has to do with deep seeded issues stemming from not only the beginning of our relationship but apparently my childhood as well.

This is my journal for my upcoming therapy session this week… I think I need to start having more sessions.

 
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Posted by on April 10, 2012 in Communication, Family

 

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Family Fat or Fat Family.

In my other blog, 6 in Six, I’m chronicling my path, journey (enter any clichéd term) to losing weight and reaching my goal of fitting into a size 6 dress. Weight (both management and loss) has always been a focus in my life and in the life of my family; not to mention that it’s also part of the namesake of this blog as well. My own personal story of weight gain/loss/management goes back to high school, where, long story short (Here’s the long version: http://6insix.wordpress.com/2011/12/06/), my weight has fluctuated between 140 and almost 200 lbs. I’m currently around 155, which is fine, but I’d like to look and feel better, hence the new blog.

Even though my personal weight history doesn’t go back way too far (I’m only 26), my family’s spans 3 generations (that I know of). My paternal grandfather had diabetes and refused to stop eating candy and cake before he passed away. My paternal grandmother’s weight fluctuated constantly during her lifetime. My maternal grandmother, or Nonna, (who is alive; she’s a healthy 78, God bless her!), has always been a little overweight, but what Italian woman isn’t? Just kidding, she has never been obese, but she tends to carry more weight especially after menopause. The good part about her is that she goes to the gym – EVERYDAY. I’m very proud of her. My dad’s sister and her husband, my aunt and late uncle (who also happen to be my only aunt and uncle as my mom is an only child), have been obese, even morbidly obese for as long as I can remember and beyond. My uncle passed away in 2006 at the age of 59 because he was so heavy – think anywhere between 350-500 lbs for a man around 6 ft tall, perhaps even shorter, I can’t remember. After his death, my aunt, who was also VERY heavy, lost around 90 lbs. She’s still obese, but I’m glad that she’s at least lost some weight. My brother gained weight in college (just like I did), but he’s never been obese. My dad’s weight fluctuated a lot between the time when my parents got married and I was a baby. After that, his weight has been pretty consistent as he’s very active; going to the gym, riding his bike, coaching football, and refereeing basketball, all of which he still does today (and he’ll be 60 in July – God bless him too!). Then there’s my mom.

She’s struggled with her weight for as long as I can remember. It seems that her weight issues came about post pregnancy/child rearing. She lost the baby weight after giving birth to my brother and then me, but it seems as though as she and my father were raising us, the stresses of having kids coupled with other things took its toll on her weight and she gained. Since I was cognizant of her struggles with weight, she’s tried many things including low-carb diets, pills, detox, etc. Nothing that helps to promote lifestyle changes and healthy habits.

So, here comes today’s story. My mom’s been sick (like has a cold, etc.), so she stayed home today. She called me this morning to ask me if I could buy a book off of Amazon for her, so I did. I asked her how she was feeling because my dad told me that she was up all night throwing up, etc. She told me that she was better, but the chicken that she cooked last night must’ve not been cooked through all the way, which made her sick. She then goes on to mention that she also threw up the 1st night of their cruise last week. THEN she says that she hasn’t been eating carbs and even though she’s thrown up twice recently, she’s lost 5 lbs. I said to her “well, that’s great, but you’ve been throwing up”. I also explained that she doesn’t need to avoid carbs and she needs to make lifestyle changes because she can’t sustain not eating bread/pasta/etc. forever. She gave me the runaround and “yea yea yea”‘ed me, which made talking to her tough. Then I tried to say that she should really consider going to a nutritionist or trying weight watchers but she cut me off and said she doesn’t want to hear it in only so many words.

It’s tough for me to watch her not take care of herself especially since she’s within the menopause age range (she’s 58) and it’s only going to get harder for her to lose weight, etc. as she gets older. For a woman of her height, weight and age, she’s in good shape as in she can move and move quickly. She’s got strong, muscular legs and arms, but she’s carrying a lot of extra weight in her midsection. I don’t want her to get seriously sick or injured as a result of the extra pounds. I am always conflicted as to whether or not I should say things to her about her weight, but I feel like if I don’t, then I would be partially responsible for her condition and I would be completely enabling her dietary and active behaviors. It’s always a fight or argument if anyone brings up this sensitive topic to her, but we (as in myself, my dad, her mom, etc) just want what’s best for her. She has people who can and want to help her (including my cousin who’s a personal trainer!), but she refuses to use her resources.

I can understand where the defiance comes from since I heard a bunch of people trying to offer me “help” when I was 50 lbs. heavier, including the overweight women in my family, which made me unbelievably angry that they “had the nerve” as I would think at the time. Everyone had their two cents and felt a need to express it to me, which always made me mad. In order to combat it, I’d just eat more junk and act defiant to prove that no one can tell me what to do. I felt like that was the only control that I had at that point. I remember the emotions that I felt very vividly and I try to remember them especially when talking with my mom about her weight. I hope that one day the light will turn on for her as it did me. I eventually got so fed-up with being fat; so fed-up that I was finally ready to lose the weight – the RIGHT way.

I guess that’s what it’ll really come down to. Being ready and willing to do the work it takes to lose weight and take up a healthier lifestyle. Anyone can say “I want to lose weight, I want to be healthy” but you really need to be in the right mindset to do it. No one can force anybody to follow a diet and exercise regiment. It’s all up to the individual.

I want her to be healthy; I want my family to be healthy and active. The goal is for everyone to stay around for as long as possible.

We’re all at a disadvantage if we don’t take care of ourselves.

 
 

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An estate piece and home alone anxiety.

The past three days have been weird to say the least. It all started on Wednesday when my mom and dad went shopping during the day (they’re teachers, so they’re off from school all week). My mom received tons of gifts from her students, one of which was a necklace from a jewelry store. She returned the necklace and decided to buy me something instead of herself, which was a nice gesture, but not necessary. She called me at work and told me that she had bought me something but didn’t tell me what. She went onto say that she dreamt about this object and had to buy it. When I got home later that night, she gave me a small jewelry box. I opened it up and inside was a brooch; an estate piece. It was dainty, made of white gold and it had a small sapphire in the middle. Honestly, it was beautiful, but I don’t own brooches, nor do I know how to where them properly. My mom waited in angst for my reaction and I guess it was less than expected. I thanked her, but I probably had my go-to puzzled look on my face, which isn’t very nice. Then I went on to tell her that I was concerned that I’d never wear it and it (plus her money) would go to waste. She told me to “do whatever I wanted with it” and walked away. Minutes later, we were in the living room and talking and she started crying. I asked her what was wrong and she insisted that she was worried about the cruise that her and my dad were going on today (I’ll get to that in a minute). Then yesterday morning I wakeup and my mom says “why is the pin on my dresser” in a nasty tone. Again, puzzled, I wondered why she was so mad. Then last night, we barely spoke and when we did, it was awkward, at least on my end. So I basically let loose on her, at first I told her calmly that I’m sorry if I offended her and that I thought I was doing the right thing by expressing my concerns. Then she pretty much dismissed me, so I got angry and raised my tone. My parents left for their 4 day cruise this morning and my mom still seems pretty awkward to me, so I’ll have to see what happens when they come back on Monday.

Now onto their vacation. I’m happy that they take trips, especially since when our family dog, Boomer, was in his later years they couldn’t travel much because he required constant care (he was very sick at the tail end of his life, we put him down on April 5, 2010). Since his passing, they’ve been travelling more and… my anxiety developed, peaked, and lingered between then and now. When my anxiety was at its worst and even as it got progressively better, I had a hard time when they took trips because of the agoraphobia that I developed as a result of my anxiety. I would fear being alone in the house without anyone to have close by “if” something happened (a big issue with anxiety is the “what if” scenario). I also feared being embarrassed if I called someone and asked for help, thinking that they’d think I’m a lunatic. Clearly, these were all irrational fears, especially since I lived and worked away from home while I was in college.

Anyway, today my parents left at 4:30am and I got a little nervous as I watched the taxi drive off with them and their friends in tow. I went back upstairs to my bedroom and tried to relax, go back to sleep. At first it was tough because I thought back to how badly I felt during their trips past with my anxiety, so I turned on Jersey Shore to distract me, which inevitably relaxed me and got me back to sleep (weird, right?). When I woke up later in the morning for work, I decided to think through my mild anxiety from earlier – I pinpointed my thoughts and realized that they’re really terrible thoughts. I never really looked at them and understood why I was so afraid sometimes, but once I became cognizant of them, it all made sense.

Here’s a list of my thoughts when I get anxious (I had all of these when it was really bad, now I only get a few of them):

– What if I can’t breathe?

– What if I choke?

– What if I get hurt and no one finds me for days?

– What if I need to call 911?

– Who in the neighborhood or surrounding area can I rely on for help?

When driving, my mind raced (sometimes mildly races) to these thoughts:

– Drive in a populated area in case you need help

– Where is the nearest hospital?

– Does this road have a shoulder (emergency lane)?

– What if I’m in the left-hand or middle lanes and I lose control of myself and subsequently the car?

When I look at these thoughts on paper, they’re astounding. I’ve never worried so much in my life than I have in the past almost 2 years. More importantly than that, I’ve been worrying over the worst case scenario during that time. At first I thought that writing these down would get me anxious today, but as I analyze them, it’s actually helped me because logically, my mind is saying “no, that’s not going to happen” and “you have plenty of people to call in case something does happen”. I used to never be like this, that’s what gets me, but I am almost 100% sure (there’s always that inkling of doubt) that this is hormonal, especially because I’m currently in the week before my period, also known in my life as PMS time. If you read through the PMS link, it explains:

“PMS may often be triggered by hormonal changes. It tends to begin at puberty, after pregnancy, after starting birth control pills, after hormone related surgery as hysterectomy or tubal ligation or around the onset of the menopause. In fact, it is not unusual for the PMS sufferer to confuse her symptoms with those of an early menopause.”

I never had PMS before I started on Yaz in March of 2008, which is used to treat PMS/PMDD and as a result of taking it for almost 3 years (ended it Sept 2010), I’ve had several doctors mention that it possibly gave me PMS, which I’m still dealing with today. I have to admit though, it’s gotten better and I’m getting more and more comfortable by myself as time goes on. I’ve been taking Women’s Menocaps (per my Naturopathic doctor) to restart my endocrine system, which was shut down by hormonal birth control. My naturopath also has me on larger doses of vitamins B & D, which were depleted by the pill.

All in all, I’m doing well so far up in New Jersey and I hope that it stays that way. My parents are in sunny Miami on a cruise ship that will be heading for the Bahamas.

Needless to say, I’m jealous of them.

 
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Posted by on December 30, 2011 in Family, Women's Health

 

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Maybe I’m growing up.

The Christmas holiday far surpassed my expectations this year, granted I set my expectations pretty low due to some family problems. However, even in that respect, my great-uncle with dementia seemed to be lucid at points and thoroughly enjoyed himself, which was nice to see. I was so worried about what he would be like and if he were bad, how would I handle it personally. Also, everyone got along pretty well (which, during the holidays, doesn’t always happen) and stress was kept at what I would consider to be an all-time low in my house, so cheers to that!

This was also the first Christmas that I spent away from my parents house. Although I did celebrate Christmas Eve and Christmas with my parents, I slept over at my boyfriend’s house both nights. At first it felt weird, I got mild anxiety thinking that I was betraying my parents, but eventually I realized that they accepted my absence and weren’t bothered by it. All the negativity was of my own creation. Once I figured that out, I calmed down and truly enjoyed the time we spent alone, making cookies, wearing our pjs, opening presents and making breakfast the subsequent mornings. Afterwards, I went back home to my parents’ house and I had a great time with them too.

I guess you could say that I get some anxiety about growing up, transitioning from daughter to wife, if you will (even though I’m not engaged). The thought gets me down some days and on a high other days. I suppose such is life. I’m not the first person to feel this way, nor will I be the last.

This worry is just something that I need to work through.

 
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Posted by on December 27, 2011 in Changing My Situation, Family, Life's Goals

 

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Christmas: Fun, but not perfect.

Christmas provides such a strange dichotomy for many people, myself included. The thought of decorations, time with family and friends, giving presents makes me giddy, yet at the same time, the ideas surrounding Christmas (i.e. perfection and happiness all of the time) make me feel less than adequate. Don’t be fooled, I do love Christmas, but I guess as I get older and see that things aren’t perfect (i.e. my family, etc.), it gets me thinking. I think when I was a child I believed that everyone was happy largely due to the fact that I wasn’t exposed to more adult themes such as depression, drug use, etc. that existed in my family. I only found out about these things later in my life and now this knowledge makes reality, especially around the holidays, a bit harder to swallow.

After I developed anxiety and depression (again, it’s for the most part, controlled or even gone), my ability to focus on my own life and not compare it to others’ has been a bit of a struggle. Last Christmas was my first Christmas with those issues and it wasn’t pleasant as they were running rampant at that point. This Christmas is so much better, but I suppose that my anxiety gets the better of me nowadays and makes me question whether or not I’m “doing things right” or what others would think of my lifestyle. Sounds weird, right? YES because IT IS WEIRD. Granted, there are some things going on, including having a small family and a great-uncle who has Dementia, that can contribute to off feelings at this time. But there is a lot that I have to look forward to and enough people who I have to be grateful for. It’s just hard controlling these feelings sometimes, especially at a time where people are supposed to be living this idyllic holiday season with nothing but positivity abounding as per society and consumerism.

Amir A. Afkhami, a blogger for Psychology Today, explains this as the “Christmas Blues” (the namesake for his entry): http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/global-mental-health/201112/christmas-blues

His advice:

“It is important for individuals to acknowledge the difficulties during this period: seek professional help with severe Christmas depression when needed. However, staying active and not isolated, reducing alcohol consumption and being aware and mindful of difficult family dynamics can lessen holiday blues. Most importantly, remember that the advertising hype and picture perfect imagery is fictional; don’t let it define your experience!”

It’s great advice that I think resonates with many different people.

On a funnier note, the holidays also bring about bragging via Christmas letters. Now I’ve never been the victim of a Christmas letter, nor has my family (I guess we can be grateful for having friends who don’t send out such things). But I know of people who’ve sent them out and how pretentious these letters can be. Dr. Mark Sherman examines them in his hysterically funny blog entry: http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/real-men-dont-write-blogs/201112/our-life-is-perfect-and-yours

This is probably the predecessor to the Facebook epidemic that we see year round now. Life would be so much easier for everybody if people would just stop bragging. Perhaps we can celebrate one another’s achievements and support those who’ve gone through rough times. Even just sharing real news, not just the good stuff, would help make things better for everyone in the sense that people would finally see that they’re not alone in their struggles whether they’re financial, family related, etc. Although, I’m not sure that I’d need to know everything that went wrong…

“On a sad note, we had to put Puddles to sleep. They say you don’t get attached to hamsters, but take my word for it, you do.”

I just had to laugh at that.

I hope that everyone has a wonderful holiday season – whatever holidays you do celebrate! I chose to share my feelings on how I view the holidays not to be sad or morbid (as for the most part, I’m really enjoying myself this year) but just to throw it out there just in case someone else feels the way that I do and needs to know that they’re not alone.

Perhaps my sharing can help.

 
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Posted by on December 23, 2011 in Family

 

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Empowering yourself and others.

Every day I get my horoscope (I’m a Leo) e-mailed to me from the DailyOM. It’s funny because today’s horoscope really coincides with this blog and my other blog, 6 in Six. It went something like this:

“December 21, 2011
Network of Empowerment
Leo Daily Horoscope
You may feel compassionate and loving toward others today, with a desire to offer your financial or moral support to those in need. One of the best ways to help others is by instilling in them a sense of empowerment and courage. Rather than taking on their burdens and trying to solve their problems for them, you can simply ask yourself which words and actions would help them feel inspired and courageous about facing their challenges head-on. Then make an effort to encourage the people you encounter today. You can do this verbally, by expressing your belief in friends or coworkers, or in written form, by sharing your admiration in a heartfelt note to someone who has overcome daunting challenges.

By empowering others, we also empower ourselves. Because the universe reflects back the quality of energy we put forth to others, we also benefit from our efforts to build up others. Not only do we gain a great deal of satisfaction from seeing our friends and loved ones being proactive about taking on challenges, we also begin to feel more empowered about taking on our own. At the same time, as our loved ones grow in confidence and strength, they will feel inspired to give back the courage and comfort we gave to them, and we end up creating a supportive network of encouragement and reinforcement that benefits all of us. As you help your friends and loved ones recognize their own strengths today, you will also be contributing to your own sense of empowerment. ”

Since starting my blogs on WordPress, I’ve come across some really awesome blogs myself and had a bunch of really interesting and awesome people liking and commenting on my posts, which is great and empowering in itself. I can only hope to empower people at least half as much as they empower me. Thanks to everyone who’s read my posts, liked them and/or shared your experiences with me! It’s truly a blessing to know that you’re not alone in this world and that we have such a great medium with which we can share our thoughts, feelings, and experiences.

In regard to the birth control pill and its side effects (perhaps the main reason for me starting this blog) – I hope to continue to try to empower other women affected by synthetic hormones in the new year. I also hope that more and more of you will help me by sharing your experiences as well. It seems as though the more I write about this topic and the more that I research, the more women I come across who have had similar problems as I did/still do. I thank God that many women have shared their experiences via blogs and message boards on the internet – they certainly helped me in my time of need when I was hopeless and scared. Those women have inspired me and continue to do so with their bravery and candidness by opening up about what they experienced and giving others hope that things will get better with time and healing.

I only hope to help others the way that I was helped myself.

 

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Change.

It’s been a very busy month. From job interviews (thank God!) to the holidays to my hobbies – I’ve been running around nonstop.

As I wrote in the previous entry, I’m pretty much debt-free all thanks to my nonna (Italian grandmother). I have about $1,800 left to pay to Sallie Mae to finish off my student loans for good. It’s an amazing feeling. I also have a second round interview with an investment firm in New Jersey tomorrow afternoon. I really cannot complain at this point, I’ve been blessed, especially in the environment that we’re living in today.

In terms of my struggle with anxiety (post birth control pill), I’ve been feeling a lot better mentally, even while waiting on my period. Because my periods aren’t regulated, I’m not sure as to how long I PMS during each cycle because my period has come anywhere between 28 to 40 days since stopping the pill. My anxiety peaks before my period comes, so it can get frustrating waiting for it. However, my anxiety is mild now and seems to get better with each passing day, which I’m extremely grateful for. I still have my moments, don’t get me wrong, but it feels great to know that I’m regaining control of my thoughts and my life.

I also started another blog, one that I hope will keep me on track with my weight loss/body goals. It’s called 6 in Six, which stands for getting down to a size 6 in six months. The link is in Lessons Learned to the right – take a look if you’d like!

Finally, I hope that everyone (in the U.S.) had a wonderful Thanksgiving and is enjoying the holiday season!

 
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Posted by on November 30, 2011 in Changing My Situation, Family, Job Search, Life's Goals

 

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