The Bearded Iris

A Recalcitrant Wife and Mother Tells All

Tag: alcohol

ERMAHGERD: The Preparing for BlogHer’12 Edition

In 6 days I will be descending upon New York City for the BlogHer ’12 conference.

I will be meeting a lot of bloggers that I’ve gotten to know and love over the past four years and I’m really excited about it.

I mean REALLY excited.

But I’m a little worried that some of the online friends I’ll be meeting won’t recognize me in person. So I just wanted to give you a sneak peak of what I’ll probably look like when you see me at the Hilton…

Just in case you don’t speak “ERMAHGERD,” that’s me saying “Oh my God…the BlogHer Guidebook.” (And if you don’t speak ERMAHGERD, dude…get with the program. It’s like only the most awesome Internet meme in the history of Internet memes, IMHO.)

So about that BlogHer conference guide, it’s pretty freaking awesome. Do you have yours yet? You can get it here if you don’t. I also highly recommend the BlogHer ’12 mobile app. Both of these items are really helping to alleviate some of my stress about the logistics of this enormous conference.

Also, I just want to put it out there that I’m really hoping to meet Jenny Lawson, aka The Bloggess. I’ve heard she has some social anxiety issues though, so I’m mentally preparing myself that she might not be very easy to approach, particularly by a blogger who looks like this:

 

 

But maybe if any of you know her and could introduce me, that would be super swell.

I too have some pretty severe social anxiety challenges which is why I used to be such a booze whore. At least when I was drunk, I could blame the hooch when I said really inappropriate things. Now that I’m on the wagon, I have no excuses.

So Jenny, I apologize in advance if we meet and I ask you if my camel toe looks fat or I tell you that you smell really good, like a unicorn in the sun who just ate a rainbow cupcake.

You know, on second thought, I’ll just wave at Jenny from across the room. It’s fine. Really.

If you are going to BlogHer next week, and you’re not too afraid of me dry humping your leg or smelling your ponytail, please do say hello! We can speak ERMAHGERD together and put bags on our heads and dance the night away.

ERMAHGERD, did I just say that out loud?

Maybe I’ll just stay home and read about #BlogHer12 on The Twitter instead.

****

Special thanks to my daughter Mini-Me for creating my braces out of aluminum foil and a blue Sharpie! That girl has skills. And also, mad props to my husband for being able to take these pics without making them too blurry because he was laughing so hard he was shaking. (Bless his heart…it can’t be easy being married to a hot mess like me.)

And one more thing, my friend Robyn from Hollow Tree Ventures is awesome, and not just because she speaks ERMAHGERD with me (frequently). She cracks me up and her happy avatar makes me smile every time I see it. Go get some of that, wouldja?

84 days and counting

I have been sober for 84 consecutive days.

It was February 22 when I gave up my beloved wine for Lent. I was hoping it might just be the one change I needed to kick start a series of other healthy changes. It had been a long, sedentary winter and my chronic depression was rearing its ugly head. I knew in my heart that my daily wine habit was only making things worse.

Well, I’m happy to report that indeed, giving up the hooch has made a huge difference in my mental and physical health.

The first few weeks were pretty ugly. Looking back, my body was clearly in withdrawal. And even though my daily consumption was never the kind of thing that anyone would ever question (1-2 glasses, max), it was obviously enough for my body to become dependent.

I tried to be gentle with myself by making healthy substitutions like a cup of green tea every afternoon instead of wine. Focusing on all the good I was doing for my heart and skin with that green tea made me think less about my wine, whose loss I was definitely grieving.

I also ate jellybeans by the fistful those first 6 weeks to keep my sugar cravings at bay. I’m pretty sure that’s why jellybeans are associated with Easter…to keep all the struggling Lenten promise-makers alive.

And then came Easter, the ultimate celebration on the Christian liturgical calendar, and the exciting conclusion to all our Lenten sacrifices.

Only, by the time Easter arrived, I felt so much healthier and less depressed by just giving up my daily wine habit, that I decided to stay the course.

So here we are. Eighty-four days later.

The extreme sugar cravings are finally gone. My temper and sleep patterns seem to have improved as well. And oh my God, what is this strange feeling? Is it happiness? I think it is! Shut the front door! I am happy.

I haven’t started consistently exercising yet. But I do find myself drinking a lot more water every day and not spending so much time in front of the TV. As a result, I’ve lost about 5 pounds. Now my former muffintop is more like a small dinner roll, which makes me feel so much less depressed. I was right! One small healthy choice begets other healthy choices. Well, what do you know!

Last month, my In the Powder Room colleague Heidi wrote a poignant post “Why I’m a better mother when I don’t drink” that really resonated with me. Heidi found that not only did her relationships improve while she tee-totaled, but her capacity for joy increased as well. I couldn’t agree more. The feelings! Good God, the feelings I have now that I’m not so comfortably numb every afternoon…so worth it.

So I take it back. Turns out, I’m not a better mother on the sauce. I was just too numb to know it.

I can’t say for certain that this is the path I will walk forever…I’m just taking it one day at a time. But I will say this: it’s working for me right now, and that is all I need to know.

Originally published at In the Powder Room, May 15, 2012. 

Which came first: the depression or the muffintop?

If you’ve ever been depressed, or out of shape, or more likely…both at the same time, you know hard it is to battle your way back to good health.

I know this struggle all too well.

And make no mistake about it, this is biological warfare, and the enemy knows all my weaknesses.

The enemy, of course, is me.

I don’t know what came first: the depression or the muffintop. Am I depressed because I am so flabby and tired all the time, or am I so flabby and tired all the time because I’m depressed?

It’s a classic Catch-22 for sure.

Seems like the older I get, the harder it is to step off the Unhealthy-Choices-Merry-Go-Round. And there are paradoxes everywhere I turn.

1.) I know I’d have more motivation to do something productive if I got off my ass and exercised, but I’m not motivated enough to get off my ass and exercise in the first place.

2.) I bought a bottle of St. John’s Wort because I heard it is good for brain function and “mood boosting,” but I can’t remember to take it every day.

3.) I know I’d feel better if I ate healthier foods, but I crave such unhealthy things like sugar, fat, and alcohol. I eat crap, then (surprise!) I feel like crap, so I seek out crappy comforting foods. Cue the shame spiral.

4.) It is a known fact that the brain requires a certain amount of water each day to function. Yet I reach for another cup of coffee or a soda when I feel sluggish. And then later in the day I rejoice when I realize it’s a quarter to wine o’clock.

5.) Alcohol is categorized as a depressant, but every time I try to quit drinking I just feel more depressed.

Does any of this ring a bell? God, I hope so, because I would hate to feel like I’m alone in this.​

I’ve long suspected that if I could just make one small change, the rest of the keys to better health would slowly start to line up like a row of dominoes, eagerly awaiting a chain reaction.

But where to begin? Which small healthy change should I make first?

Luckily for me, I didn’t have to deliberate this for long. The Christian season of Lent began a few weeks ago and I chose to give up my favorite vice: WINE.

Ain’t going to lie…it’s been brutal so far. And the fact that my depression has worsened instead of improved leads me to believe that my daily wine habit isn’t as harmless as I thought it was.

Now the real question is: will 40 days of abstaining from wine be enough to set me on a healthier course or is a more permanent change in my future?

Only time will tell.

Originally published by In the Powder Room, March 13, 2012. 

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