Blog Post by Coach Julie
NCI Certified Nutrition Coach L1 & Certified Mindset Coach
A little bit of a change this week from my usual blog posts. This week I’d like to talk about stress and mindset. As I’m sure most of you know, Kayli’s dad passed away unexpectedly in July. This event just added to what would be the perfect storm for me, which ended up leaving me very sick and struggling with my mindset.
We lost Kayli’s dad on a Tuesday. The first week, I managed well. By managed I mean, Kayli had all the support she needed and wanted and a partner that was helping her navigate all the things that needed to be addressed. I knew that she would not be able to make a lot of decisions or absorb a lot of the information she was being given, so I stepped in and up and was all of those things for her. The problem was, I put myself on the back burner. I completely neglected my own needs. I was stressed. I was grieving, but I didn’t want her to see that part of me because I felt like it would make it worse for her. I was wrong. It ended up being worse for me.
The second week, Kayli started to move through the stages of grief, but while she was starting to move forward, I was just starting to feel the sadness. Since I stifled my own grief, thinking I was helping her, I delayed my own emotions and left me sad and grieving when she was close to being done with that stage. The exact thing I hoped to avoid, happened. I didn’t want her to have to abandon herself to take care of me. Had we gone through this together and I would’ve been transparent with her about my emotions we could’ve leaned on each other rather than taking turns being each other’s leaning posts.
Since Kayli spent the second week taking care of me, I felt really guilty that she was having to take care of me. My mindset tanked. I felt like a bad spouse. I felt weak. Things just kept spiraling.
The process of having to manage all of the final affairs for Kayli’s dad lasted two and half weeks. That period of time was persistent high stress. Add in an insanely toxic and high stress environment at work and you have “the perfect storm.”
I noticed on July 21st that I started having diarrhea that was difficult to control. I felt like I couldn’t control my bowels. I could, but I was not confident in that. The diarrhea, nausea, headaches and fatigue persisted. It is August 15th as I write this and I’m just now 2 days diarrhea free but not nausea free. It’s been going on that long. I’ve been to 3 doctors because I’m worried about my gut relapsing. Through the process of doctors visits, I was diagnosed with Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis, an autoimmune condition that causes your thyroid hormones to wax and wane. Hashimoto’s can be caused by chronic stress and leaky gut syndrome. All three doctors gave me the same unconventional response to help alleviate some of my symptoms, QUIT YOUR JOB.
I was stuck. I couldn’t quit my job yet. Kayli and I just paid for a funeral and we have bills to pay for our home and our business. It just wasn’t feasible. I was stuck in a perpetual loop everywhere I looked. I was stressed so my gut was inflamed, but the gut inflammation and symptoms caused stress. Work stressed me out, but taking mental health days stressed me out because I knew what would be waiting on me when I got back. The cycles kept me in a doomsday mindset. I felt like nothing would get better. I felt terrible about myself. I started having OCD episodes of suicidal intrusive thoughts again. I was panicky all the time. I. COULDN’T. STOP.
Finally, I got a break. On Monday morning at 6:30am I received a job offer asking when I could start. It was the miracle I needed. I accepted the offer and told my boss first thing that morning that I would be leaving effective this week. Suddenly the gut started to feel better. It isn’t perfect yet, it’s still a work in progress, but the gut isn’t where it was. The stress associated with my job had me stuck back in a chronically ill cycle that I hadn’t been in for years. Quitting my job and spending a week being intentional about my time with Kayli and enjoying our time were the meds that I needed.
The take home here is, you have to manage stress. Sometimes you won’t be able to. That’s where I thought I was, but because I didn’t give up and I kept persisting even when things were hard, something shook loose. Stress can absolutely create a mess of your health if you don’t check it. Stay ahead of it. Had I stayed ahead of it, I may not be in this position. Learn from my mistakes.
Kayli is a certified personal trainer and online coach that specializes in fitness, wellness, nutrition, mindset, mobility and everything in between.