I’m baaaaaacccckkkk!

Do not give up

A little reminder from Mark’s Daily Apple

So I have  been neglecting my blog over the last week or so for a couple of reasons.

The first reason, was I was having an issue with DBF reading these posts. While I like the fact that he was taking an interest, he was also misunderstanding the point of this blog. Part of my journey is accepting that I am not going to be perfect. That I am going to have slips and slides along the way. The important part is realizing this, catching myself before I fall too far, and getting back up again. Unfortunately, every time I mentioned something I had eaten that I wasn’t suppose to, or something that I did/didn’t do, he was taking my lack of perfection as reasons I should feel guilty. I refuse to feel guilty or beat myself up for these things, so it was causing a little bit of conflict. He has, however, agree to either stop reading, or at least stop commenting to me about it.

The other reason was, I too was giving myself grief for my lack of perfection. As I have mentioned, this is something I really struggle with. If I can’t be perfect then why bother? The idea of continually failing (or not being 100%) in front of people who are reading this (thank you all by the way, the comments and likes are pretty cool!) was really really scary. However, I know that I just need to get over it. One thing that I am realizing from all your comments has been that I am not alone in this struggle. There are a lot of us out there, and this is my way of reaching out to you all. So my “you can’t do this” brain just needs to shut the heck up!

So, the plan is to pick myself up and start all over again. I am giving myself today as a do what I like (within reason) day, as I am going to see “The Book of Mormon” tonight with DBF and we are going to a really yummy restaurant for dinner beforehand. Tomorrow, however, the journey starts again – at least the food and exercise portion. Although, to be honest, I haven’t been really bad food-wise, but I have been overindulging in chocolate and sugar. It’s not my fault! I was at a BBQ on Sunday where we had chocolate fondue for dessert, how was I suppose to turn that down?!? Ok, so nobody made me dip the peanut butter cookie in the chocolate, but tell me you wouldn’t have tried it as well? lol

Some of the other changes I have made over the last few weeks, I have been sticking to quite diligently. I have got rid of all my plastic Tupperware and water bottle, and have replaced them with glass and metal. This is because the chemicals in plastic (even if they are BPA free) can leach into whatever I am eating or drinking. The problem, for me, here is that these chemical then begin to mimic hormones in my body, and suddenly I find myself with severe Estrogen dominance. So, in order to try and minimize this, I am slowly removing toxins from my daily life. I had already switched from store-bought face wash to coconut oil/olive oil/castor oil for washing my face, as well as a laundry detergent that is lower in chemicals. This was just the next step for me.

So, I will be diligent in keeping up with my writing. I have found it really helpful in keeping me grounded, and have felt the difference this week with not writing. I also started writing a post last week about my daily supplement regimen, so I will finish that up and post it later today or tomorrow. In the mean time, I going to take the advice from Mark’s Daily Apple, and start working on these few things to help keep me motivated.


And this is how the story goes…

So my first few posts seemed to have mostly been about me airing my dirty little secrets. Quite frankly, as cathartic as that has been, I need an emotional break. Being that open and honest, for probably the first time in a really long time, has taken a bit of a toll on my psyche. So tonight I am going to take a little break from the emotional stuff and talk a little about what I have been dealing with the last couple of years and what the plan is going forward. A word of warning some of this content may be a little TMI (too much information), especially for any men that might be reading this.


The first sign that something was off was summer 2009. I had gone back to Weight Watchers for the how-don’t-know-h0w-manieth time. For six weeks I counted my points diligently, I started doing some mild exercising and went to the weekly meetings weigh-ins regligiously. At the end of those six weeks, I had lost a grand total of 2lbs!  Now having been to WW so many times, I knew that this wasn’t normal, at least for me. I talked to the leader, emailed and had her review my food journals. We were both stumped. After another couple of weeks I stopped going, because really I couldn’t wasn’t going to spend the money if I wasn’t getting any results.

Fast forward to summer 2010. At the beginning of August I got my period like normal, or at least that’s how it seemed at first. Two weeks later I realized that I STILL had my period. Weird, but I assumed that it would eventually stop. Two weeks later it was still going, so I decided it was time to go see the Doctor. He gave me prescription for birth control and sent me home, saying it would stop in a few days. To make a long story short, 9 weeks, 3 visits to the ER, 2 more visits to the GP, 3 more prescriptions and a visit to the Gynaecologist later, it did eventually stop. Their diagnosis? It might be PCOS, but were not sure and it seems to have straightened itself out so don’t worry about it (great advice, huh?) I was just so happy it was over that I accepted this diagnosis and went on my merry way.

For the next couple of years, the numbers on the scale slowly inched up. I found myself getting tired easily, often passing out for 3-4 hour naps on weekends. I also seemed to develop a really bad memory. I mean really bad. Like you could tell me something and, if I hadn’t written it down, I would forget less then 1/2 hour later. My periods, while not as bad as 2010, were still all over the place. My anxiety was getting worse and I found myself stopping doing things I enjoyed (going out with friends, travelling, exploring the city) out of fear.

Although all of this was going on, I just continued to ignore all the symptoms. I was under a lot of stress, both at work and emotionally. I knew I wasn’t really looking after myself in terms of diet and exercise. My dad is known for his really bad memory, so I assumed I was getting that from him. There was explanation excuse for everything that was wrong with me. So I did what I have always done, I just kept pushing myself forward.

2012 started out well enough, but things went downhill quickly.

In March I had my first panic attack in almost 6 years. I was at a conference that I attend every year, surrounded by wonderful and supportive people, and I just freaked out. It was so bad, that I made my boyfriend (who I had only been seeing for 4 weeks) pack our bags and take me home the Saturday night. I passed this off as being under a lot of pressure and stress.

In April, the same boyfriend (surprisingly the panic attack hadn’t scared him off) and I began planning a vacation to the Isle of Palms in South Carolina. This is a place I have wanted to visit for quite a few years and I was very excited. We had booked a condo on the beach, and had done a ton of research on things we wanted to do while we were there. The plan was to drive down, which made me a little nervous since I am not fond of driving long distances (I will go into more on this later). We were going in August and it was suppose to very hot – anxiety raised another notch. The planning continued, and my anxiety kept rising and rising. I would burst into tears just thinking about the trip, but yet I kept forging ahead.

And then everything crashed down around me. About 2 weeks before we were suppose to leave, my neck completely spasmed and I started having daily anxiety attacks and dizziness. A trip to the doctor confirmed that I had cervical stenosis (fancy way of saying my neck was too straight) and I was sent to physio. The physiotherapist told me that I wouldn’t be able to make that long of a drive and, with the daily anxiety attacks, I didn’t think I could handle it emotionally. And so we cancelled out trip. Thus began my weekly trips to physio and massage therapy for the next 4 months. My neck got a bit better, but truthfully it still isn’t 100%.

In January of this year, I decided it was time to pull myself together and try and get healthy again. I stopped eating grains and sugar, I was going swimming 3 morning a week and I started yoga. Everyone around me kept telling me I was pushing myself too much, but I didn’t feel like I was. Emotionally I was feeling more stable then I had in a long time. Sure, I was exhausted all the time, and my period had become daily spotting, but that was just my body’s way of trying to adjust to all the changes. It would even itself out eventually, right? Wrong.

After 3 weeks of all of this, I was still spotting, I was still tired and I had GAINED 5 lbs!

And so, off to the doctor I went again. We have done a litany of tests and she still doesn’t really know what’s wrong. Hypothyroidism? No. Hormone imbalance? Not that the tests show. Fibroids? Cysts? No and no. I have had been poked with a needle more times then I can count, and I still continue to gain weight. All of my blood work keeps coming back normal, so I went to a Naturopath to see if she had any ideas/suggestions. After all this we are back to PCOS, although I only have 2 of the 3 markers, and Adrenal Fatigue. Nobody is entirely sure which, if either, it is. My doctor is sending me to a specialist on PCOS and my Naturopath has me on a series of homeopathic remedies. And me? I am blogging.

So that is where I’m at. Still unsure what is the matter, spending a small fortune on alternative medicine, but forging ahead (as usual). What’s the plan? Well that is a post for another day. Until then, I will keep putting one foot in front of the other, one word after the next, searching for an answer and, hopefully, a solution.

Where did she go?

To thine own self be true, and it must follow, as the night the day, thou canst not then be false to any man. – William Shakespeare

I hate having my picture taken. I know a lot of people say that, but I really mean it. I have refined the art of being aware of the presence of any camera in the room at all times, and making sure that I manage to avoid having it pointed in my direction. I also seem to have a sixth sense when it comes to knowing that someone has secretly managed to get me in the frame of their shot and is about to take a picture of me. As a result, my friends have many pictures of me like this:

Oups gotta duck!

Oups gotta duck!

Consequently, since I don’t allow many pictures of me to be taken, I don’t have many pictures of myself around my house. There is one picture of me that I do keep on display in my room. It sits on my bookshelf, diretly in my line of site no matter where I am in my bedroom. It is this picture:

Summer 2002

Summer 2002

This picture was taken 10 years ago. It is one of the few times in my adult life that I was thin. Now you might think that the reason I keep this picture on display, despite the fact I am no longer with the guy in the picture, is because I am thin. And you would be right, partly. This picture reminds me of who I use to be. The girl in this picture had a lot of issues, but she also had a lot of qualities that I admire, qualities about myself that I seem to have gotten away from. I don’t want to be that girl again, because despite the smile on her face she was a very unhappy person. She made a lot of really stupid mistakes, did a lot of things that hurt other people and, to be frank, she was a drunk. However, having said all that she had a strong sense of who she was, she took no bullshit from people, and at the end of the day she was who she was. She made no apologies for it, she accepted all her faults and her attitude was if you didn’t like it that was your tough luck. She was strong. She was independent. She went out into the world and did the things she enjoyed. This is what I miss. This is what this picture serves to remind me.

Now you might be asking yourself, what does this have to do with my current struggles and health problems. The answer is absolutely nothing, and absolutely everything. You see almost eight years ago I made a decision that changed the trajectory of my life forever. I decided to stop drinking. I want to be absolutely clear here, I in no way regret this decision. I am a far better person for doing it, and every day I am grateful for making that choice. And as much as it has brought me so many gifts, it has also brought a plenty of challenges.

You see one of the many reasons I drank was to cover up the feelings of anxiety, insecurity and never feeling like I was enough. Once I stopped drinking all of those feelings were still there – only now I didn’t have my “medication” (booze) to keep them at bay. As a result all of those feelings have been building and building over the last few years. I have never truly dealt with any of them. Instead I have spent the last few years finding new ways to “medicate” them or even just plain ignored them. In the end all this did was make me more anxious, insecure and unhappy with who I was. I lost that girl who accepted who she was, faults and all, consequences be damned.

I stopped fighting for myself. I stopped being in my own corner. Instead, I became the opponent who was beating me senseless round after round. And so, I stopped looking after myself. I allowed my insecurity and fears to take control. I gave it the power to rule my life, and then just sat back while it took me down. This is where it has gotten me. I am over 100lbs overweight (I can’t believe I just admitted that), I lost my sense of my identity, I stopped doing any form of exercise and I stopped doing the things I enjoyed doing out of fear of having a panic attack, being judged, being ridiculed or just being deemed not “enough”. All of this has caused my health issues to become so acute.

Which bring me back to my point. While this blog is meant to serve as a chronicle of my journey back to physical health, it also meant to be a record of my exploration into finding out who Ciara is again. Because, as crazy and messed up as she was, she had a lot of great qualities. Qualities I want to rediscover. I am also acutely aware, that unless I work on this side of myself, it doesn’t matter what changes I make to my food and exercise. I could lose another 100lbs, but will end up right back here unless I accept that this journey is about more then just getting my physical body back, it is about getting me back.

And so, I started this post with the quote from Shakespeare. While I know it is corny and cliche, it is also so very true. Unless I can rediscover who I am at my core, learn to love myself again and be that strong independent woman once more, I will never be able to stand proudly in front of anyone else and say “This is who I am, faults and all, either accept me or don’t, but I make no apologies for it.”

New Beginnings

I started this blog back in 2010 but never took it anywhere. Like a lot of things in my life I was full of big ideas and poor follow through.

I originally started this blog because I was having some health problems and was trying to find a way to chronicle my journey in getting better. However, I didn’t realize how serious my condition was and eventually just went back to living the way I was living. Fast forward three years and here I am in worse shape then I was before. Slowly my body is shutting down bit by bit. Doctors and Naturopaths haven’t been able to figure out what is wrong with. However, they have narrowed it down to two possibilities – PCOS (Poly Cystic Ovarian Syndrome) and Severe Adrenal Fatigue. One is curable but controllable (PCOS) while the other is curable but harder to do so. For both I have been told to do that same; avoid grain and sugar, exercise more, control my stress and hopefully lose weight. I say hopefully lose weight because unfortunately both conditions make it extremely hard to do. In addition, with adrenal fatigue, I have to be careful not to push myself too much because that could only make my condition worse.

Sounds like fun, huh?

The whole thing has been very frustrating and overwhelming, especially the uncertainty of it all. I don’t like uncertainty. I am the type of person who likes to know what is wrong, how to fix and then goes about getting it done. I like consistency. I like structure. Without both of them I feel lost. Unfortunately with life, and especially with my life right now, there is no certainty. That really pisses me off lol but I am slowly learning that there is nothing that I can do about it.

And so every day I get up and put one foot in front of the other and try to keep an optimistic point of view. I try to stay strong and not complain. I am the person that people look at and say she is “strong”. I am the person that people come to when they need help, advice or just an ear to listen. I don’t like to “bother” other people with my problems. Even my best friend of 22 years don’t know everything that goes in my head. I don’t like to be a pest, or at least that’s how I look at it. And so I keep shoving everything down and trudging forward. Unfortunately, there is only so much the emotion and physical body can take before it begins to crack. And I have cracked a few times.

Right now I am on the verge of cracking again. I have been feeling overwhelmed and annoyed by everything. I am trying to stay positive, look on the bright side and keep my stress and anxiety in check (oh yeah I also have an anxiety disorder  – I am real catch huh?) but have been really struggling. I know that I need to start talking about my struggles and getting it all out there. Otherwise I will stay locked up inside the bubble I call my brain and get so overwhelmed that I can’t deal anymore. I am the kind of person who can only ever see the hurdles in front of me and never the ones behind me that I have already cleared.

And so I am laying it all out on the table for all to see, assuming of course that anyone actually reads this. And if nobody does I am ok with that as well. If nothing else I will have a chronicle of my journey – the good, the bad and the ugly – for me to look back on and see how far I have come. I will have a record of my success, my failures, how far I have come and the things I still have to work on.

And so it is a new beginning – of my new blog, of my journey to health, of treating myself better and hopefully of my new life.



This post had to be rewritten since I accidentally reverted to an old draft copy. It is probably not exactly the same as the first one, but I tried to express all the same sentiments.