I'm a month and 1/2 into my new year's resolution and feeling great about it! I've been sincere through the posts, and this one is no different. But I must admit, it was a lot harder to write and then push the publish button- I would have rather eaten a bowl of pasta!
I hear you asking: "Is there anything on this Hippie journey that’s going to be easy?!"
Me: "NO. There’s nothing easy about hard work and determination. And that’s exactly what becoming a Hippeo is all about."
If you’ve stumbled onto this page, it’s totally worth going back and reading The Beginning, The Wonderful World of IVF and Becoming a Hippie SUCKS
There are so many different emotions you go through during infertility. But when you finally show up on the emotional path to becoming a hippie, you have to show up naked and vulnerable. Which let’s face it- ducking sucks and is so much more than the emotions tied to infertility! Starting to take care of yourself emotionally is not easy, especially when you’ve grown up in a society that made you check your emotions at the door. But it's a must if you want to be the best health you, you can possibly be.
I’m going to make this part brief (where's that bowl of pasta): Most of us have emotional issues, whether we know it or not, closely linked to our childhood. For me, I was often told: “Windy the whiner wasn’t invited.” In straightforward terms, my emotions got shut down, the moment one of my family members didn’t like my attitude. Now, this didn’t make me stop crying or being a little sh*t and my family members are totally not complete dick heads. It just meant that I learned that my emotions weren’t valid and slowly I started to think wasn’t good enough. Unfortunately, I carried this way of thinking on throughout my childhood, teen years and even though my 20’s, which lead to me being defensive, insecure and not taking responsibility for my own emotions. (I know, crazy on the couch kind of stuff). Anyways, I walked through life thinking and acting like everything was okay, but always feeling something could be just that little bit better. It sounds so simple now, but the small thing that could be better was loving myself more.
Right, that’s said and done. As I started to walk down this emotional path naked and vulnerable, working through all my past BS, I came to terms with a simple fact: It’s going to be a long uphill battle with something that has kept me from loving all of who I am- Rumination. You know that little a*shole in your head that won’t shut-up, well he’s called Rumination (and I'm not making this up). He lives inside us all and we only make him stronger with every feeling, thought, sensation, and muscle action! You know the phrase, “neurons that fire together wire together," Hebb’s Law; Neuroscience? Yea, me neither. But trust me, it’s a scientific fact, that each time you repeat a particular thought or action, you strengthen the connection between that set of brain cells or neurons. So to put it in simple words, when you hang out with Rumination, you teach yourself to be destructive and beat yourself up for no good reason at all. This can totally stress out your body, which can have major damaging effects to your mental and physical health. In fact, the BBC’s Rumination: The danger of dwelling states that “rumination is the biggest predictor of the most common mental health problems in the country.”
So here I am talking about, let’s say 20 years of hard-core hanging out with Mr. A*sshole himself, Rumination. He re-plays scenes, through negative thoughts and feelings (even ones that haven’t even happened) over and over, until I was so full of negative emotions, that I start becoming physically ill. I have to honestly admit, that when I look back, I was in a bad emotional state. I used to have mini panic attacks in my late teens and early 20’s; my insecurities came out in different defensive ways, that were ultimately self-destructive. I had loads of ambitions, but little drive to accomplish what I wanted out of life and slowly and surely it started to have a physical impact on my health. I never once made the connection between the cause and the symptoms, why would I? It’s not a hot topic on a girls night out (no matter how much you guys think we chicks talk about our emotions all the time)!
But here's the real sh*t part: There’s no easy way to break up with rumination. HELL, he’s like your baby’s daddy- you’ll never get rid of him for good (Haha- more baby irony, love it). The only way to live with him in harmony is to acknowledge him, ignore him (tell him to shut up) and then immediately distract yourself with something that requires concentration. Again, this is easier said than done. Because now every time you have a negative experience, you have to retrain all those connections that you have embedded in the network of brain cells over the past two decades. (Great Podcast on Positive Concentration and No, it’s not about sitting around a campfire and singing Kumbaya; although that sounds fab right now!!)
It takes constant effort; awareness and the ability to be vulnerable as you walk down the emotional path of becoming a hippie. And YES, I totally think this sucks just as much or if not more than the nutritional path! On the diet side, it can be- out of sight, out of mind (remember, I still don’t keep red wine in the house). But with your thoughts, which you have built up over the years, you have to continue working hard at being better and building new pathways (especially late at night when all there is; is you, your thoughts and your husband snoring).
Two things that I learned about emotions: (1)Take responsibility for your emotions- Sorry, but the excuse that someone made you feel that way is BS- no one can make you feel something! (2) Acknowledge your emotions- give them the support they need and then let them go. Once I embraced these two little nuggets of knowledge, my journey became a little less rocky and I became a little less vulnerable (still totally naked). The knowledge that I had full control over how I reacted to the events that have and will unfold in my life, completely changed the way I looked at the world around me.
Now let me make things clear: I don’t believe that being happy all the time is possible and sometimes I still have strong urges to punch people in the face and I do not believe that positive thinking is ALL powerful. If someone tells you, all you need to do is think, it and it will be! Run- run fast!! I cannot, even with all the sunshine in the world, whish or will my overactive immune system away or be pregnant. I have to use nutrition (and drugs), alongside healthy emotions to accomplish these things. But I do believe that being as kind, grateful, caring and loving as much as I can possibly be (and as much as my constantly retained connections between all the sets of brain cells and neurons allow), does help me to be more physical and mentally healthy.
The new paths that I have created helped me stay immensely grateful after our 3rd round was successful, but at our seven week scan, there was no heartbeat. Tears did fall, but I was grateful that we finally found our answer to why I wasn’t getting pregnant (through testing and a lot of money). I was grateful that my body was able to get pregnant (something I thought for six years might never happen). I was grateful I could combat this issue with nutrition and drugs (that’s why I’m something like a hippie). And I was grateful that I was given back hope (because honestly, I wouldn’t have had any left if I didn’t get pregnant in that round).
NEXT TIME on
How I became a modern day Hippie or something close to it: I LOVE being a Hippeo! Okay, love is a strong word- Let’s just say being a hippie doesn’t suck anymore.
My side note this week is going to be short and sweet (in all honesty, I'm emotionally drained today, and I'm not trying to be ironic). If your journey is all about becoming a healthier you, you have to travel down BOTH the nutritional and the emotional path. They meet up somewhere in your journey (it's different for us all) and will eventually lead you to a more beautiful healthy path. Food and emotions go hand in hand and for many people on a much deeper level than I experienced. But even so, I can honestly say that I felt the connection become stronger the longer I stayed on the path. Like I said before, the nutritional part was easier than the emotional part (for me). So my best advice is to start eating as you love yourself, your emotions will follow!
Other great post about my journey -
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Please remember that this is simply my story and what I have gone through. These are my opinions, that I have formed over the years, through trial and error, study, reading, listening and observing. I am open to change, challenges and new scientific developments. What works for me, may not work for you. I am not a doctor, and all medical advice should be gotten from a qualified professional. If you feel like your doctor isn't reading from the same nutrition and lifestyle book as you are (or want to be), find one that is!