March 9, 2021

Finding the Silver Lining Through Months of Pain, Sadness, and Self-Doubt

Finding the Silver Lining Through Months of Pain, Sadness, and Self-Doubt

Today was the first day I’ve logged into @orderandbliss for over 8 weeks.

A break I took without even wanting to share. A break I truly didn’t even know was coming. A time where I felt more sadness than joy. Where I cried more than I laughed, and yelled at my kids more than I should probably admit. A time that felt so dark.

The last few months for me have been about healing.

  • Healing from being wronged
  • Healing from loved ones being sick
  • Healing from hormonal imbalance
  • Healing from depression
  • Healing from anxiety
  • Healing from self-doubt
  • Healing from not being enough

These months have also been about learning.

  • Learning how to become a teacher for my kids
  • Learning how to move forward when a dream isn’t coming true
  • Learning how to be the best healthiest version of myself
  • Learning to not let others steal my joy

Lastly, it’s been about contentment.

  • Contentment with a slow growth
  • Contentment with accepting what I can’t change
  • Contentment that our home will be as it is for as long as it takes
  • Contentment with progress, not perfection
  • Contentment from the life that was put in front of all of us in 2020

I don’t take for granted how fortunate I am that I could just take a break. Shut out all the noise and just be. I know for some that would be impossible to do but we’re only human. We have to do what’s best for us to move forward.

As I said above, I wasn’t planning on taking a break from social media. I was planning projects and looking forward to Christmas at the time. However, no matter how hard I tried, how much I tried to push through… I was full of sadness. A sadness that was only exacerbated by social media.

So… I guess I’ll start with the three biggest questions.

Are we all ok?

YES. Have these months been easy? NO WAY but we’re all ok.

Have our kids returned to school?

NOPE! We’ve committed to the entire school year of virtual learning. I’ll touch more on this later.

Is our kitchen finished?

NOPE! Not even close. I said it from the beginning, after everything that happened how could we trust anyone? So that leaves us working on our home whenever we have time over the weekend. So not much has changed.

Now for the smaller questions…

Am I still organizing?

That’s not a simple answer. Am I organizing for other people currently? No. I had to shift my priorities A LOT to take on many new roles. However, I have NEW motivations and plenty of things to come, of course. I’m working hard to push out as much content as possible on the blog. Organizing always has a piece of my heart.

How are YOU doing?

Today, I’m doing so much better. Its been such a roller coaster these last few months trying to heal my body both on the inside and out. I’ve had to push through so much to get to TODAY. I’m truly grateful for the support system I have built.

What’s next?

Well… lots of blog posts, more freebies, and an entirely NEW website! I’ve written so much over the last few months that I cant wait to share. And photos too. Lots of photos.

What the last few months have been like…

As 2020 was coming to a close, I found myself trying to be everything every day for everyone. Have you ever felt that way? No matter how hard you try, you constantly feel like your letting everyone and yourself down. On top of that, dealing with an overwhelming amount of sadness.

One morning, I was so frustrated over the decision looming over us. To keep our kids home from school or to send them back. 2020 and a worldwide pandemic, no one was prepared for that. How could you ever prepare for that? You can’t. You have to make the best decisions for your family and hope they’re the right ones.

I remember feeling sick over it. Most of the time I’m very confident in my decisions but this decision on top of everything else I was dealing with just felt so heavy. Too heavy. We had to decide in November for the rest of the year. This just added to the pressure I was already feeling.

For those of you that are new, our custom kitchen cabinet maker nightmare story will catch you up.

Then one day my husband said something to me and it changed everything. At the time our kids had already been learning from home for several months. I wouldn’t say we had it all figured out but we were finding a groove.

He said to me…

“When you wake up in the morning, just be their teacher and that’s enough.”

I’m starting to get emotional writing this because the truth is it’s hard to feel like one job could ever be enough.

Especially for me, I’m constantly feeling like I have to be everything for everyone…

  • Wife
  • Mom
  • Teacher
  • Housekeeper
  • Chef
  • Influencer
  • Organizer
  • Encourager
  • Blogger
  • Friend
  • Sister
  • Daughter
  • Daughter in Law
  • Neighbor
  • Negotiator
  • Finance Keeper

Have you been here? So many hats.

But what my husband said reminded me that I’m the most important thing in the world to my kids. They just have to be kids, but I need to be there for them.

I don’t need to be everything, I don’t even need to be the best, I just need to be happy being their mom.

I realized that through my sadness and sleeping all day long (it’s true) I was missing the only thing that really truly mattered.

Trust me this isn’t easy for me to write. It’s hard to even talk about how sad I was and for how long. There are only a few people that actually know how bad it was. I’d be lying if I didn’t call it what it was… depression. Why is that word so hard to say out loud? It feels like a Scarlett letter. Somedays all I did was sleep. I bet you’re wondering how? I have no clue, but I didn’t really care either. I was the happiest sleeping. The weight of the world didn’t feel so heavy asleep. Obviously, the people who wrong others don’t truly think about what it actually does to them after the fact. How their choices can cause months and months of pain.

Have you ever walked into your kitchen in the morning and just cried? It makes me sound ungrateful, doesn’t it? I was so lucky to have been able to renovate our home but since it didn’t get finished I’m crying like a baby over it. Well, that’s what I thought too. That my feelings weren’t warranted, that it would just pass. It just never seemed to happen. No matter how hard I tried, I was always sad. Always wishing it had been different. That’s no way to live, friends. I know this now. I couldn’t see it then. Which is why I’m writing this. In hopes that you don’t allow someone to take so much from you as I did. That you’ll fight back sadness and use it as motivation.

So, back to my question. Is being wronged the new motivation? If you would have asked me this a year ago I probably would have said no. My response might have even been more focused on the person who wronged you and not actually you or in this case me. Hang with me for a second or several. My entire life I’ve always believed people were good. Not that they had good in them but that they were actually good (possibly my Catholic upbringing). If someone did wrong to me it wasn’t because they were a bad person, it was just a mistake, a mistake they would inherently be trying to make right. Cue laughs from all of you. The world has taught me time and time again how untrue that is. However, it’s that truth and it’s that belief, that has constantly broken me time and time again. I’m sure you can see where I’m going with this. When I was wronged at the end of last year, I just kept believing that person would realize what he had done and do the right thing. It’s that belief that broke me, even more so than I realized. Anything that was added to how I was already feeling just felt like a sinkhole.

I never wanted to be the person that just continually mentioned how I was wronged or relaying the same story time and time again. However, I’m starting to see why we should. By silencing myself I began to isolate my voice and the people and words that ultimately help me heal. Little did I know how much healing I would need to do.

I was blinded by sadness.

It started off slow. At first, I was just sad. I would walk into my kitchen and just cry. Looking around it was hard to see anything else but everything that was unfinished or missing. It was hard to not see the countless hours ahead of my husband to make MY dream a reality.

That was my initial reaction. We need to fix it all and fast. I can’t possibly live like this, what will people think? I can’t share this! How am I going to share organizing ideas in this space? Looking back this was the first problem. I cared way too much about what people would think that I couldn’t see any of the good in front of me. I cared WAY too much about perception.

Next, it was just anger. I was so mad all the time. I hated our situation, I despised that one guy, I was mad at my husband for not wanting to hire people, I was mad that the entire world was sick. I was mad I was always in pain. I was mad my father-in-law had to be rushed to the ER, I was mad that my kids were all learning from home and I had to be their teacher. I was upset that my kindergartener couldn’t read. All I saw was RED.

I wish I could put into words how bad things got but it’s too hard. It consumed every part of me. Before I knew it I was physically in pain too. I let this drag on far too long. It was about four days before my period was due and I was sitting in the living room and the pain came again. Within minutes I found myself on the floor just crying in pain. I’ve delivered babies without drugs and trust me this was close to that. Just breathing and trying to focus on my husband’s face as we decided if I should go to the hospital. And was it really even an option anyway? This same pain continued for months, and would always come around the same time. Finally, I decided to do something about it. The body can only endure so much, the mind can only take so much.

I called my doctor that day and basically just cried on the phone to her that I needed help. That’s the beauty of a Naturopath, you actually speak to humans in the office. I could tell she knew I needed help. This is the same doctor that helped me overcome my PTSD from losing my Grandma and miscarrying our fourth baby within weeks of each other. It’s crazy if you think about it because I endured months of emotional pain but as soon as the physical pain got so bad I immediately reached out for help. Sure physical pain is bad but emotional pain is just as taxing.

After multiple tests and blood work, It turned out that my body had completely wiped itself of estrogen. A crucial hormone to us as females. We’re not talking a little less, I mean it was nowhere near what it is supposed to be. At this point, she didn’t even check anything else because she knew this wasn’t good. There was a part of me that felt so much relief because I finally knew what was causing the pain but I found myself wondering how I was going to fix it. By this point, I’d had ultrasounds of everything and it all came back normal. I was thankful for those results but it meant that the road ahead would require medicine. The pain I was feeling was inside and not so black and white on the screen.

To be honest I’m still not sure how I got to where I am today. I had convinced myself that I would be on hormones for the rest of my life at 32. It was the reality I was facing if something didn’t change. My body was so confused, it didn’t know what it needed. How could it… I certainly didn’t. I wasn’t sure If I was ever going to be able to fix it.

How I began to heal…

The first thing I did was get on a hormonal supplement for the unbalanced hormones. A bio-identical compounded troche of the main mother hormone-pregnenolone. we chose this hormone over estrogen to hopefully prevent a lifetime of needing to take bio-identical hormones.

I took this medicine for several months and it wasn’t easy. I experienced every symptom you could imagine. The nightmares continued, the sweating, the itching, the anxiety, the bloating, the acne, and the sadness. There were days when I just wanted to stop because I couldn’t see how THIS could be helpful. There were times where I felt worse. But, I listened to my doctor and continued taking it. At the end and final few weeks, I had to cut my dose in half. It was starting to be too much. The problem with hormones is that you don’t know how your body is going to react. It’s a gamble.

Oh, but friends, the pain was finally gone. I couldn’t believe it when my period came and I had no clue it was coming. For the first time in months, I felt hope again. Before this, I was living my life around my “good days.”

This pain that couldn’t be found on any ultrasound but was so real to me was finally gone. Was everything perfect? Definitely not. I still struggled with headaches, acne, and mood swings but the nightmares and the pain was gone.

How I healed…

There were several things that I had to change over the last few months to get to where I am today. I think the hardest part for me wasn’t realizing I had to change but actually doing it. I’m sure that’s true for so many of you as well.

A little timeline

I began taking the hormone in November. By this time I had been experiencing pain and sadness for months. Around two months or so.

I got off Instagram two weeks later and didn’t log back on until the new year.

Things were still pretty bad for me in December. All the usual things weren’t even a thought to me. Why is it that we experience these major highs and lows during Christmas time? My guess would be hormones. I hadn’t scheduled a hair appointment or family photos and my Christmas bins were still sitting in the living room from weeks ago. Untouched.

Halfway through December, things began to shift a little. I wasn’t sleeping as much, I felt joy creeping in, and I had ideas again. I know that sounds a little funny to say but for months my mind was just blank. I was constantly triggered by simple things and it pushed me away from so much I loved. One day I had this idea to capture photos for my Mom of all her grand-babies. With grand-baby number 8 on the way, it seemed like the perfect time. Man am I thankful for these pictures today. I couldn’t quite find the joy for family photos but somehow someway I was able to make this possible for my Mom. I definitely didn’t do it alone though! As I posed these adorable insanely hyper kiddos my husband captured every shot. Our family stood by close and watched it go down. We were all so excited to gift this to Grandma. When I look back at these photos I don’t remember much but as I said man am I thankful. Today these images bring me so much freaking JOY. I cry and smile every-time.

The next few weeks were hard for me. Although I had some good days they were mostly bad. I wasn’t sure if I was even doing the right thing. These hormones were supposed to help me yet I felt like crap still.

Christmas came and went and there were moments of joy. There really was but for me anything that brought joy, ten other things were stealing it away. It was such an awful time. My house didn’t feel like a home worthy of Christmas decorations. It was a mess.

It makes me cry just thinking about it. Man, this post is bringing up all the stuff. Ha! When my husband recalls something to me from that time or the months prior it’s kind of blurry to me. It’s as if my brain has blocked it out. Isn’t it funny how our brains try to protect us from the trauma we’ve experienced? Another thing I am thankful for.

I wouldn’t be telling the entire story if I didn’t share how hard New Year’s Eve was. This was one of the worst days for me thus far. I slept through the entire day. I didn’t celebrate with my kids, I fought with my husband before the clock struck midnight, and I slept through the ball dropping into a new year.

This all just sounds awful right? But it’s ok because although it is hard to relive, there’s good to come. Shoot, there’s not much I want to relive about 2020. I’m sure that’s true for so many of you as well. However, as hard as it was I also think it’s so important to share. The trials and tribulations we go through in life can bring out some of the darkest times for us. The same is true for those trials bringing out the best in us. Everything we go through makes us WHO WE ARE. So many people struggle quietly, and I did too. I shut everything that I loved out. I guess I thought it would be easy to shut it all down. The naive little girl in me was just hoping things would magically change on their own. That of course isn’t reality. When we go through hard times it’s up to us to say, no more. It’s up to us to stand taller than our struggles. Stand taller than our oppressors. No matter how bad it gets. No matter how depressed I felt, I always knew better days were ahead. I know that’s not always the case for people struggling with depression. I never gave up though and you never should either.

And you know what, I was right, something changed for me on January 1, 2021. After a miserable night, I woke up fighting and even ignoring any thoughts that came to my head.

This wasn’t a resolution, it was a fight.

It was me saying no more.

Man, I’ve always loved the day after New Year’s Eve. The first day of a new year. I mean let’s be real… 2020 had stolen enough from all of us, right? It was time for hope again.

January 1 became a new chapter for me. A new outlook as well. I had just finished my medicine a few days ago and made the decision to not continue taking them. From the beginning, it was always a choice whether I’d take it for longer or allow my body to take over naturally. After the emotional roller coaster I had experienced and the pain, now gone, I wanted to try things my way. Don’t get me wrong. I believe in medicine, it healed my body of that terrible pain. I just knew that moving forward that I had to try to allow my body to heal on its own.

How I did it…

First thing’s first

The first thing I did was organize and store all those Christmas bins that had been staring me down for a month. I had put up our tree and a few decorations but nowhere near what I usually do. The bins were a constant reminder of how much joy I didn’t feel over Christmas and it sure felt good to put it all away. Clearing my Christmas decorations has always felt like a fresh start, but this year it was a necessity as well.

The second thing I did was put on my workout clothes and get on my Christmas present.

I know, there was a part of me that was excited when my husband surprised me with a bike for Christmas. I remember it, but again it kind of faded quickly. As soon as he put it together for me I just felt so grateful. Grateful that he not only knew what I needed but did all the work to make it happen.

Within minutes of sitting on that bike, I knew this was what I ‘d been missing. It wasn’t the bike exactly but feeling, the rush of your heart rate rising. When you’re sleeping all day your heart isn’t exactly rising. I felt so good. Sore as heck but so good. I was hooked.

The third thing I did was cut out gluten and dairy.

Dairy isn’t something I typically consume a lot of. Every once in a while I’ll have a little cheese and ice cream but overall eliminating dairy wasn’t very hard for me. Dairy for me seems to be related to adult acne. The less I consume, the clear my face is. Also, my stomach gets a little rumbly. Ha! Now gluten is another story. The last time I had a strict gluten-free diet was when I was full-on Paleo and going to CrossFit 5 days a week. It had been a while, about 6 years. I love pretzel buns and tortillas. Why are they so satisfying? The last time I struggled with hormonal imbalance (after nursing my third baby and miscarrying our fourth), a gluten-free diet was crucial. Eliminating gluten for me is more about gut health and inflammation but always proves to have major benefits. For whatever reason, the less gluten I consume, the fewer stomach and vein issues I have. Also, my energy increases. Anything I could do to convince my body to do the right thing, I was going to try.

I continued to stay off social media. I just wasn’t ready.

The last thing I did and this will probably shock so many of you… is cut-out coffee.

Not caffeine but coffee. I love coffee. I’ve literally perfected my latte at home but the headaches I was experiencing were too frequent. When you’re consuming coffee you don’t have any way of identifying what’s causing headaches. You assume it’s caffeine and then you consume more. Never actually truly identifying the culprit. Also, as we know, too much of something isn’t good for those crucial female hormones. I’d already eliminated gluten and dairy but yet the headaches continued. I knew it was time.

There’s a part of me that just wants to blame everything I experience on hormones but I know that isn’t true. I absolutely had a major decrease in the main hormone, which is all true, but I also wasn’t doing much to change it. I allowed my sadness to become an excuse for laziness. This was when things started to turn around for me. It did not happen overnight, it took months of healing. So many tears, prayers, and learning to let go of what I could not control.

I’m so happy to report that… our kids are thriving in their online learning environment.

I’ve fully embraced… waking up and just being their teacher.

I’ve heard… my daughter recite some beautiful poetry since I was there to record it.

I’ve witnessed… my kindergartener go from only knowing 16 sight words to close to 100.

I’ve watched… my big 6th grader become a responsible, independent young man.

I’ve loved… every moment of Mommy and Me time spent with my little guy.

I find myself dancing in the kitchen with my kids again. Feeding them ice cream and sprinkles for no reason at all, and just being in awe of my husband and how hard he works for us.

I find myself…

  • Laughing more
  • Smiling more
  • Creating more
  • Celebrating more
  • Loving more
  • Appreciating more

I certainly don’t have it all figured out, that’s for sure. There are still so many unknowns. Our world although better is still very broken. Despite all the brokenness, there is good. It’s not always easy to see, and sometimes it takes months to find but it’s there if you’re open to it. Be willing to allow joy in even when things seem too heavy to bear.

I wrote this post for me, but I also wrote this for you. For anyone that’s feeling overwhelmed by anxiety, depression, or sadness.

What I experienced has motivated me to write this. Sadness, depression, anxiety, triggers, loss, burnout, disappointment, it’s all unpredictable. It can happen to anyone and there’s no magical timeline. It can strike at any time. Allow yourself time to heal and reach out to people that can help you. We never have to suffer in silence or alone.

It is never easy to share authentically through squares on our phones. However, on my blog, I can just write my little heart out without fear or judgment. Laying it all out there for anyone that needs to hear {read} it.

One thing I have learned is that no matter how bad things seem today, brighter days are ahead. Brighter does not mean perfect, it means you can find light in any darkness.

Allow the light in. Even, if it’s just a little every day and don’t let anyone steal your joy. EVER.