Once upon a time, I found myself going from being a newly divorced mother of one adorable little boy to being a new-wife and stepmother of four young children within just three short, fast flying years. Our “blender baby” was turning one, I was 35 pounds too heavy and I was seemingly held captive by the “golden handcuffs” of a nearly six-figure income at a job that I loathed more and more each and every day.
I felt like my newly found happiness was slipping away from me and there was nothing I could do to stop it. I loved my husband and our blended family tremendously, but there was so much of our life that I felt I had little control over. I began to spiral.
You don’t even want to know how many days I would spend just sitting at my desk bawling into my hands desperate to throw my computer out the window … if I wasn’t actively sobbing, I was staring off into space, not doing my work, but instead visualizing my dual monitors smashing beautifully onto our driveway. I would picture every single detail of what it would feel and look like if I really did it. Sick, huh?
All I wanted was to be with my children. To really just be with them and not have to be pulled away 40-50 hours a week doing boring, tedious, and un-fulfilling work. Unfortunately a career change or even just staying home and having my husband support us seemed impossible. How would we survive? How would we pay for the roof over our head, let alone his attorney?
Being a stepmother and second wife … insert the biggest facial grimace you can imagine … and then please just hand me a glass of wine. I’ll count it as a yellow for my 21-Day Fix meal plan, just for tonight, while I write this blog.
For those of you that don’t really know me, I am in love with a man who has to fight in court for his basic rights to be a father to his children. His custody battle has raged on for over 3 years. We have lost tens of thousands of dollars and even family. The seemingly endless and unjust fight has brought up such strong and negative emotions from deep within my soul that I’m sometimes surprised that I don’t literally breathe fire the days leading up to when he has to go to court.
Needless to say, a little more than a year ago, the snowball effect of all that I just described almost barreled me over into a real state of depression.
I found myself getting sucked into this scary mental hole that I was not familiar with and it scared the shit out of me once I started realizing what was truly happening … 3 weeks of insomnia and not even finding joy in my children’s smiles and I knew something was just plainly wrong. I didn’t tell anyone, not even my husband. I remember asking myself outloud at 4 AM, “Am I really depressed or am I just losing my damn mind?”
I didn’t know how to feel better or how to get started or even what was really wrong with me at the time. Again, I was totally in love with my husband, my kids, my step kids … but I just hated how I felt inside and out and I absolutely hated my job. I hated feeling trapped to stay working and I was using every ounce of energy not to feel resentful towards my husband for something that he had no control over. It wasn’t his fault that his ex was creating so much conflict for him … for us. All I did know was that if something didn’t change I would suffocate and die from the avalanche that would come from being so overwhelmed and lacking control over anything.
I knew I needed to start with fixing something … anything … just one thing. I just didn’t know how to get started.
Luckily, about 3 weeks in to my mental blackhole, my sister invited me to a live webinar about Beachbody. I said yes merely because she bribed me with free wine and she promised to drive the hour out to my house to come visit me. The rest is sort of history. I signed up with a challenge pack as a new coach so I could get the discount. I jumped into a challenge group. I had no idea what I was doing, but I was so excited to have found something to do for myself that I just dove right in. I was desperate maybe? I didn’t want to be depressed. I was desperate to do anything that might stop me from spiraling. My biomedical engineering background, thankfully, provided me with enough knowledge to know that exercise was nature’s natural anti-depressant.
Exercise and eating right quickly became the one thing in my life at that time that I could control. I had control over pushing play every day and I got to chose what I was putting in my mouth. I began to practice self-discipline and I really made a commitment to make self-care and taking care of ME a priority. As a mom and stepmom, I had been putting the greater good of my blended family over everything else constantly, even over my own basic needs! It was no wonder I felt depressed and as if I was lacking control over anything.
As I started to lose some weight and drink my Shakeology every day, I noticed that I had more energy and I started sleeping regularly again. Every day I would notice more and more positive changes within myself and I quickly found how much I loved sharing my journey with others. That discovery led to me being able to leave that job that I hated only 6 months into coaching. Can you believe it? Sometimes, I can’t even believe it!
Taking care of myself and inspiring and helping other mothers and stepmothers like me to do the same has brought so many positive things into my life, I could not even touch upon all of them in just one blog post. I would be here all night. The biggest and best thing, besides being 35 pounds lighter, a whole ton healthier and happier and home with my boys every day, is how much I have learned about mastering my mindset through self-discipline and personal development. I honestly have such a higher tolerance for frustration, obstacles and negative emotions all because the only person or thing I focus on trying to control these days is myself.
Once upon a time, I didn’t know that the only thing that I could really ever control was ME. That lesson has been a year in the making and truly understanding the power of only being able to control ME has allowed me to find true happiness, no matter what. My husband’s custody issues still rage on and conflict often disrupts our blended family life … but I’m too busy working on building myself up and helping others to do that too to get sucked into that blackhole again.