My Quest For Happiness

I would like to thank those who read my last blog and shared such wonderful advice and supportive comments. I had no idea I would receive that much attention.  I mainly blogged because it made me feel better to get my feelings off my chest. I guess that is what happens after you repress your emotions for so long - one day you just explode. I didn't realize that publicly announcing my feelings would hurt my mother. She is a wonderful mother who has always been a positive example to me. After reading my blog, she immediately came over to help me with what ever I needed. If I had just asked my mother for help initially, she would have understood and gladly offered it. I explained to her that when you're feeling down all you think of is yourself and how others do not have time to care for you. My parents both expressed their love to me and encouraged me to seek help without making me feel humiliated. I am so grateful for them.

I followed my parents' advice and made an appointment to get a professional diagnosis from a doctor. I felt that what I was doing earlier wasn't enough and I did not want to feel unhappy, stressful, anxious, lonely, or irritable any longer. I'm sure my husband shared my sentiment. I was able to have my husband's support while visiting the doctor and we were able to get right in and tell him all my symptoms. He was highly recommended by one of my friends, who was experiencing similar symptoms. The doctor fully listened to everything I had to say. He looked at my results from the saliva hormone test, where it shows that I have high levels of cortisol and low levels of progesterone. Based on those results, he decided to take some blood samples to examine what was going on in greater detail.  He didn't want to assume I was suffering from Postpartum Depression before getting enough information. He also checked my thyroid, urine, diabetes, cholesterol, etc. He asked if I would like anti-depressants. I told him that I would like to see the blood test results before I decide and that I wanted to try other solutions first. I asked what his recommendations were. He replied he felt the same. He then wanted to see me in one week to go over the results.

In the meantime, I received an email from a dear friend, who thought I was experiencing all the symptoms of a condition called PCOS (Polycystic Ovary Syndrome), which is basically an imbalance of female hormones. With that in mind, I returned to my doctor who had results from my blood test. I told him that ever since I was a teenager I have had stress/anxiety and that we had problems getting pregnant. I also asked him if I have PCOS. He told me that upon looking at my blood sample, I indeed do have PCOS. He also said my other test results for thyroid, diabetes, cholesterol all came back fine. My vitamin D levels are extremely low as well as my iodine. My Vitamin D level was so low that it seemed like I had not gone outside in the sun all summer long, but in fact my cells were extremely stressed which made it difficult for me to absorb Vitamin D from the sun.

The doc gave me a prescription for 5,000 mg of Vitamin D and told me to take supplements for iodine.The iodine supplement (Kelp) was necessary because I don't eat much seafood and Iodine helps reduce stress and fatigue, eliminate depression and improve brain function. He told me to get plenty of sleep, take magnesium supplements, limit exercising to strength resistance, and non-strenuous cardio exercise to 3o minutes at a time, and to avoid eating inflammatory foods. Inflammatory foods included: sugar, milk (lactose), whole grains like pasta and bread, and PUFA (Polyunsaturated fatty acids - soybean oil, canola oil, etc).

My initial reaction was positive one - what a great a change of pace and something new to look forward to! Little did I know how difficult it would be. I asked him why sugar? Some days I must have sugar; it is my fix for stress. He said he doesn't want to get in the way of a woman and their sugar fix. So for me a Snickers Bar would be healthier than two slices of wheat bread. That's how bad my body is under stress! He said to have a few pieces of candy when needed but to train my body to eat healthy fats instead. I also have to avoid baked goods. I must admit - I'm a baked good addict. I have to avoid the foods listed above for three months, take my suppliments, get adequate sleep, and come in for another blood test to see if these things have improved.

The day after my doctor's visit, I woke up wondering what to eat for breakfast. It was a nightmare come true. I couldn't eat more than half the food in the pantry. No milk, what? I love milk and I could not have it. We just recently bought groceries and a lot of it I couldn't have. Whole wheat bread, any Campbell soups, crackers, granola bars, cereal, pasta, dairy, you name it we had it, and I could not eat it. My panic and anxiety attack was at its worst, and it lasted for three days!! Three days of being in total freak out mode. The only solution was to do research on the things I could have and to focus on the positive.  My husband is great at researching so I let him take over. We found out that more than half of our meals are actually healthy and that I could substitute healthy alternatives for the unhealthy food. We made a menu plan and went shopping at Good Earth for grain-free and gluten-free bread, pasta, and tortillas. My doctor said I could eat rice so I bought rice pasta and tortillas. I also bought sour cream, cream cheese, cheese, and milk that doesn't have lactose or is dairy free. The milk is Almond Milk. Good Earth had healthy alternatives for almost every item I can't eat right now. A great solution and expensive! We later found that Smiths also carries some of the same food and Walmart has a few items. Cheaper options - a perk for me!

Being an active Mormon, I also believe a change of diet isn't the only thing I should be doing to improve my situation. I need to strengthen my personal relationship with my Heavenly Father. I haven't been reading my scriptures or praying daily. During General Conference President Monson spoke about how it's important to be happy even during times of trial and to not wait for some special moment or for my life to improve to be happy. That really motivated me to do anything possible to be happy no matter my situation. I knew I deserved to be happy and needed to be happy to be a better mother and wife. I evaluated my life and thought about what might be causing me to be unhappy everyday and what caused my stress. I suffer from stress and anxiety the most but occasionally I feel depressed and lonely. I realized that my mornings are the worst. Mondays and Tuesdays are the worst because all I do is clean. Today we made a commitment as a couple to improve our mornings. Many of my mornings are rushed. When that happens I don't get time to eat breakfast with my husband before he leaves for work. I don't get to time ease into the day so I start my day off already stressed out. We promised to do the following in order to start the week off right:

  • Go to bed no later than 10:30pm ( our bodies are not meant to sleep in)
  • Wake up no later than 7am (half hour before baby wakes up),
  • Make the bed and say my personal prayers
  • Matt exercises while I feed and change Aunika (take turns as needed)
  • While feeding Aunika I read scriptures 
  • Eat breakfast as a family
  • I then go exercise or get ready for the day
I also spoke with another friend that gave me a solution for my OCD tendencies in cleaning. Yes I feel like I must clean every day or I am a failure. My husband doesn't make me feel that way; I just feel guilty on my own. My friend manages to keep a clean house and stay organized. That's something I strive for in my own home. I asked her how she does it. She says each week she makes a to-do list. She focuses on 2-3 household chores a week to complete her list. She cleans the bathrooms thoroughly once a month, dusts, vacuums and mops the floors every other week. She tidies up and does the dishes on a daily basis. Basically she doesn't have to complete everything in one day let alone one week. What a great reminder for me! I stress myself out thinking bathrooms have to be bleached on a weekly basis. She also makes a list of goals/projects to complete on a monthly basis and then yearly. She writes all this down in a place where she can see it daily and crosses things off for a sense of fulfillment. I am determined to try this out.

I may or may not have Postpartum Depression but PPD is often misdiagnosed. One thing is for sure - my hormones are imbalanced and I also have PCOS. Just because I have these challenges, doesn't mean I need to sit at home and sulk in my depression and anxieties. When I feel that way I look for ways I can serve. Serving others brings me happiness. Praying and reading my scriptures brings me closer to God, dieting and excercising helps me feel better about myself, and so does doing anything to get me out of the house. I have an appointment to talk to a counselor hoping to find other solutions and how to keep things smooth in my marriage while going through this. I do believe in medication but only when it's really needed.

As of today it's been one week with my new diet and I have noticed an improvement. My days have been a lot better so far. Not perfect, because nothing is, but better. I am grateful for my family and friends for their support. Especially for my dear husband who has supported me the whole time. I am grateful for my sweet daughter who has such a cute and bubbly personality and makes me want to smile. I am thankful for my Father in Heaven who gives me strength to endure this trial. My quest for happiness has begun and I feel extremely hopeful for the future. May every mother achieve the happiness that they deserve.

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Lechelle said...

I'm so happy you have found solutions that are working for you. And you are right, you do have a wonderful family, I love your mother and I'm not surprised that she immediately came over to help when she found out what was going on. Like you said, sometimes we just have to ask for help. I'm so glad everyone has been supportive of you, you have good friends and I am happy that we keep in touch.

I don't know if you saw my response to your facebook comment, I got rid of my private blog and started a new public one, I just needed a fresh start.

I love you Brittnee! I hope these changes continue to help you. I wish I were there to give you a big hug.

Kandice said...

I have been thinking a ton about you! I'm glad you found a Dr who listens.
I sure do love you-and I feel like we are a lot alike. Thank goodness for wonderful husbands and parents.
Your daughter is so adorable. Hope this week is going good!!!