In 2010, I was blindsided by an unexpected and traumatic divorce. I lost 40 pounds in a matter of months, stopped sleeping, experienced panic attacks, and was ultimately diagnosed with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). As a suddenly single mom of 3 children, I was overwhelmed and grief stricken by the circumstances before me, with a life I never envisioned.
Over the past 3-4 years, I have worked tirelessly on my healing: physical, emotional and spiritual. First and foremost, I sought professional help, recognizing the trauma I experienced was beyond the scope of merely “pulling myself up by my bootstraps.” From 2010-2012, I participated in weekly therapy, and also saw a psychiatrist for medication to assist with the insomnia, panic attacks, intrusive thoughts and depression. While I graduated from both of those professionals in 2012, I think it’s important to recognize them as integral to my healing process.
I read incessantly. I journaled. I forced myself to be social with friends and family. I focused on my children and teaching career. I started eating healthier, after months of not eating. I began sleeping more than a few hours a night. I worked on reframing, rebuilding, rewriting my life narrative.
Against all odds, I fell madly in love again.
With my new husband’s support, I began working out. When I was younger, I was a competitive swimmer. In what now seems like another lifetime, I competed on my Big East college swim team. But then adult life happened. Kids, times 3. Graduate school, times 3. A teaching career. Mortgage. Minivan. Then single parenthood.
When I began “running” (I use that term loosely) in the late spring of 2011, I could barely jog more than a couple minutes. I kept plugging away. I changed my diet. We joined a gym. I registered for some 5k races. Then a 5 mile race on Thanksgiving, 2013.
This year (2014), I turn 40, and am running my first 1/2 marathon. Yes, running. And yes, hopefully, first – of many.
I am still down 40 pounds, but now, it is because of a healthy diet, exercise, and happiness. I still struggle with the circumstances surrounding my divorce. As any parent post-divorce knows, it is incredibly difficult to share my children, to see them every other holiday, to navigate the waters that, in my situation, are particularly murky.
This blog is about my journey to become the best possible version of me – the version that I never saw coming, that I didn’t (initially) want, but that ultimately is exactly where I am supposed to be.