In lighter news, wash out rainbow bridge hair!

Gotta get back in the groove!

I think what the Trump era has taught me is that I do have a new theme to write about and I should get on it: managing depression!

So I was thrown into a deep pit of incredulous despair in November 2016-along with millions of other Americans, of course. What was especially lucky for me is that I was already on a dozen-years-long melancholy expat experience and had miserable prenatal depression twice in the few years preceding the election. At the time of the election I had just entered grad school with high hopes that I’d get relief from stay-at-home loneliness but the university program I was in had no other students in my program, nor an advisor for me, and no faculty showed me any interest. I felt alienated from society still, so my high hopes that buoyed me through my fourth child’s first year home (with her and a 2-year-old & getting very depleted and lonely) were dashed. 

So after a week of tears I realized I needed to do more to get myself out of the funk. I applied to switch programs, I reached out more proactively to develop social networks and connect with friends, and I just kept feeling worse and worse. 

After about half a year I began seeing a psychologist at the mental health services nearby, and even tried the most successful antidepressant (helps the most people, on average). The pills did nothing so after a couple of months I stopped. I planned a long getaway from Finland. I came back just as miserable. After another 9 months of my mood slipping lower and lower I amped up my proactive efforts and started a band and a singing group. But I was still weeping every day and I started to feel nothing when I held my children. I agreed to see a psychiatrist.

She prescribed venlafaxine and within 10 hours of taking the starter dose (75mg), my mood was totally lifted. It was the first great mood I had had in a year and a half and it felt euphoric. I’m now 6 months in and the effects are starting to wear off and I’m faced with the option of raising the low dose to a higher dose or not. Time will tell.

What I’m going to miss about babies…

What gets me is the unabashed, unrestrained and un-self-conscious physical affection that goes on between mom and babe that I am sure is the highlight of my life and am loathe to let it go. Just the full face plant open mouth kisses and the expressions on our faces and both feeling so much more complete and content when pressed against each other in quiet sleepy moments or exhilaration with reciprocal tummy strawberries and intense clinging whole-body-flung hugs. I mean,…..sigh. I’ve never tried heroine but I can’t imagine any high being higher than when she flings herself at me and I hug her close and inhale her scent and she squees in delight and gets so excited and happy just to be face to face with me. Human beings are born ready to fall passionately in love from day 1 and the early years are meant to be a major love fest with mom and it is intense and addictive. There are tough moments for sure, but the good….oh I just don’t know why I’m alive unless it’s for this. I think it’s humbling to be a part of a mutual 100% trust pact. We lock eyes and our faces light up and she trusts completely that everything in her universe is pretty great if I’m there smiling at her and I trust that no matter how much time and energy and attention (& my dwindling youth) I invest towards her well being, I will never for an instant regret it or view it as time better spent some other way, in retrospect. How many other activities/projects can you devote this kind of Herculean effort and time towards and know that you’ll never one day wonder if you made the right decision? The project is long and intense, the years getting from pregnancy to non-little kid who isn’t just a little bundle of intense needs for you to fulfill, but the payout, man! Mother Nature knows what she’s doing when she designs these babies who are just masters in how to charm their mommies to oblivion. I wish I could get my reserved husband to show his love for me with half as much unrestrained physical affection as my littles do, but I’m afraid when these girls grow too big to fling and cling into my arms just because, that’s it for me.

Until grandkids!

The dreaded chub spilling out over my tank top on each side.

This is unacceptable 

What can I do and how much weight needs to be lost to get rid of it? I am now a pound under pregnancy weight, 139lb and 5’7″, so yes I could start by losing ten more pounds or even 15, but I’m skeptical that will take care of this entirely, even though I sweat on the yoga mat every morning.

I guess I need to just be happy that I’m still in my thirties and I can wear sleeves to cover it. I read Norah Ephron’s I Feel Bad About My Neck and I know what’s coming in a few years and how I will cling to scarves and turtleneck! hey, the alternative to aging is not appealing so….. Shrug

30 Day Elimination Diet Complete!

15 days ago :

Today :

15 days ago :

Today :

15 days ago :

Today :

I haven’t really lost much weight in the last half month, maybe 1-2lb. But I did complete the first 30 days of Lesley Fightmaster yoga fix 90. So maybe I’ve lost a bit of fat and toned a bit and netted not much on the scale. I tried hard to relax my tummy in all these pictures, no tightening of my abs, to get an accurate read on how my bloat looks when I’m standing normally & not thinking of my tummy.
So it’s time to introduce some foods! I started with eggs. Let’s see!

Elimination diet complete. Now what?

I’ve strictly eliminated grains, pseudo grains, dairy products, sugar, eggs, nightshade vegetables, beans, soy, legumes and brewers yeast from my diet for 4 weeks. My 30 days is up the day after tomorrow.

Now what? My hidradenitis supparativa didn’t get better after 4 weeks, it actually got worse, so I’m now in antibiotics and it is instantly all healing up. Boo. I was so hoping that tweaking my diet would solve it. Abx are just not a longer term solution.

So I’ve experienced many many positive wellness changes, but they are a bit more vague. In the first two weeks, I lost ten pounds, and in the third week, two more. Not any in the 4th week so I’m not sure if I’m ‘losing weight’ anymore or just really really slowly. I’m now at my pre-pregnancy weight. I lost a ton of bloating, especially after eating. That’s awesome. I started feeling much more rested and woke up easier after just 8 hours sleep, whereas before I could feel destroyed even after sleeping 12 hours. However that too has been slightly less noticeable in the 4th week as I’ve been feeling pretty exhausted after 9 hours until I drink coffee and do yoga. That could be because my sleep has been interrupted a bunch by the kids lately. Initially I thought my skin looked younger, but either I got used to my slightly better reflection or it was my imagination. I’m not sure.

And… I guess that’s it, in terms of positive effects from my elimination  diet. Now that it’s time to re-introduce food and record any changes, I’m not sure what negative effects I’m on the lookout for. Fatigue, bloating, and cessation of weight loss (I’m still over ten pounds overweight) or even weight gain? Like I said, I’ve been a bit tired waking up lately already this past week so I will have to be hyper aware to notice if it gets even worse or what. And i suppose dramatic bloating is clear cut. But the weight loss or lack thereof might be more cryptic. It has stopped anyway so I don’t know if it continues to stay stable is that because of the food or is my body just done losing weight until I stop breastfeeding? Obviously if I start to gain weight (horror!) that will be a sign that the food is not for me. 

So, yeah, kinda vague effects to be recording in my diary but I guess that’s what I’m doing very soon. I had hoped to be mostly recording HS reactions which are super clear cut, and the other benefits  or lack thereof just side effects. But that was not meant to be, I suppose.

What food first? And I think it is wise to try first to eat a small serving daily for a few days, then not eat it a couple more days to really know if I can handle a bit. Then I can attempt a big portion of it, in the same manner, to see if it’s dose dependent. If that goes well then I can embrace including it in whatever amount, but if part 2 goes badly then I will eat it in small amounts, I suppose.

I think the best to try first, are eggs. They are such a super food and I love em.

Wish me luck!

Coffee. Salt. Oil. WiFi. My cheap morning hacks!

It is just so amazing to shake off the morning blahs that I have always woken up with and transform my night owl self into an almost morning person.

It’s not complicated. I brew coffee, put on my yoga via YouTube and sip coffee between vinyasas while littles watch and play next to me and then I take a super quick shower. I have a homemade concoction in there of coconut oil and salt, heavy on the salt, and I scrub from head to toe, stimulating my skin. Then I just need to rinse and put on bathrobe, no post shower lotion routine needed, the oil left behind after the rinse is perfect. Baby soft skin but not too oily when I get dressed five minutes later, and then I start my mom duties.

I try to squeeze in my toner, serum, sunscreen routine so I feel like my face is ready to go and if I feel fancy, I add a drop of Revlon skin lights highlighter into my sunscreen and put on mascara too.

I am so alive in the a.m. for the first time in my life, and it is awesome!!!