Coastal Collective Co.

It's My Birthday! A Year of Trial and Hope.

Personal Development, Winter FashionAnneke McConnellComment

Welp! Another year older and here we are. This is not my typical kind of blog post, but this is indeed a personal blog and today's post is all about real life..........like "I'm scared to put this out there" REAL life.  Yes, it's tough opening up about your personal life online, but today IS officially my Birthday and today I'm HAPPY and CELEBRATING, which is a very different picture from last year.

sweater (sold out) / Necklace / Jeans

Last year, I vividly remember hopping onto Facebook a few days before my birthday and purposely making my birthday completely private so only I could see it. I mean, right??? Silly. But I didn't want any well wishes, except from close friends and family, and quite frankly I had a bad attitude about it overall.

Last year was so rough you guys.....but not many people knew.  I hinted here and there on Instagram, but it's not very inspiring to show up as an Eeyore at "work", so I'd plug away day by day, trying to still be authentic, trying to be more bold, trying new things with the blog, business, video, and different content (I kept telling myself this was not stressful....it most definitely was and contributed to problems).  As I pause and reflect on where I'm at today, I'm happy to share any "words of wisdom" in light of my 35 years here on God's green planet that may help someone else.  It can't go without saying that my personal faith was an anchor through that time. 

Now being in the online space comes with it's own set of challenges and one of them is loneliness.  Throw in being a firefighter wife and introvert, plus living under the gray skies that is Seattle, and it's a quadruple whammy if you don't stay on top of it.  

This time exactly last year was when things in my life felt really depressing, uncertain, frustrating, and like an epic emotional roller coaster.  My husband and I were having major conflicts that resulted in a lot of fear and uncertainty about the future after being married for 14 years.  It makes me tear up just typing that and thinking about that time.  To be blunt, because I was having so much conflict with him at the time, the one person closest to me, I often wondered how anyone else could possibly like me or what I was doing.  Then exacerbating everything was the fact that I had underlying health issues that NEEDED to be addressed. Okay.....you now have a picture of the #hotmess that was my state of being last year.  I understand if you're like "Peace out lady!", but I'm writing this because it is a story of HOPE and PERSERVERANCE.

Ok, so fast forward to the end of December and I was having a complete meltdown (#noshame), and my husband told me I had to start somewhere and get some medical tests done. Just some basic blood work tests to see if something internal was going on.  I was all over the place emotionally, and clearly wasn't myself.  All my tests came back normal, so I began to think of when I last felt my best.  It happened to be when I was seeing a naturopath on a nearby island (the previous year) that specializes in nutrition for people with autoimmune disorders. I initially saw him to get a handle on my Hashimoto's thyroid issues. So this was probably about late February of 2017.

I've been on prednisone treatment in the past for postpartum kidney disease a total of two years (6 months, 6 months, and 1 year) and dealt with the symptoms of Hashimoto's like moderate fatigue and brain fog. I know first hand what it's like to feel like a prisoner in your own body and you just have to keep pushing through. You have to believe that it will get better.  But now I was dealing with extreme mood swings, and it felt like the nail in the coffin.

Seeing my naturopath, again, made me all emotional. (haha) But to have a doctor that will LISTEN to you and work with what you're going through (my initial appt. was an hour and a half long), that will ask you inquiring questions, and is dedicated to helping you truly be healthy - this is priceless these days.  Remember the initial testing I did??? That particular doctor unfortunately rushed me through my appt. and when everything came back fine, sent me on my way like I was just fine.  I understand not all doctors are like this. 

Ok, so by working with my naturopath, over time we realized that my hormone levels were out of whack and my progesterone levels were low.  In case you were wondering, low progesterone symptoms can include foggy thinking, fatigue, low labido, depression, mood swings, anxiety, menstrual irregularities, infertility, acne, dry skin, slow metabolism, weight gain, headaches, and thyroid issues.  Can we all agree that hormones are no joke?! Sheesh!

I may never know, but it's possible I've had low progesterone for almost 20 years since I was diagnosed with thyroid issues as a teenager. THIS is why I get so fired up about health and wellness you guys......because it's been a fight for myself and so many others I know.  It still is.  If you are going through difficult health issues right now, don't give up! Be your own advocate and seek natural options first and foremost.  If you're struggling with thyroid issues, I recommend checking out the Medical Medium Thyroid Healing book. Take it one day and one change at a time.

My naturopath determined the supplements I needed including Evening Primrose Oil capsules to try and help naturally elevate my progesterone levels.  (Always check with your doctor before taking any over the counter medications and supplements) You guys.....within a few months I was feeling SO much better. I was feeling like my normal self. I was actually HAPPY. I would wake up excited about life and excited about upcoming projects. I felt more motivated to make those healthier "obvious" choices like drinking water, exercising, and getting enough sleep.  I could focus more clearly on the task at hand and what my kiddos were telling me about their day. I started to feel more genuine, and whole, and loving, and just ME.

This has been quite the journey to say the least.

When it comes down to it, I've found certain habits to be crucial to my personal well being and quality of life.  All of these things play a part in me living MY best life and if I waver from any of them too far or too long, life just isn't as soul filling:

  1. Understanding, accepting, and working with my personality. I've found the Enneagram to be the most helpful test and went through the book The Road Back to You: An Enneagram Journey to Self-Discovery with my husband to better understand each other as we change over the years.
  2. Drinking enough water.  This makes me chuckle because it's so basic, but seriously. lol
  3. Getting 7-9 hours of sleep.
  4. Exercising consistently. Primarily strength training with light cardio and HIIT training.
  5. Eating 5-6 small meals per day. I am personally gluten and dairy free. (like 90%) ;-)
  6. Leaving margin for the unexpected, because life happens (good and bad).
  7. Getting completely ready for the day. (working from home, some days are questionable, but making the effort most days makes all the difference)
  8. Setting scheduled time aside for friends and family.
  9. Getting fresh air every day. (again.....Seattle native here).
  10. Setting aside time to spend one-on-one with each of our three kiddos and my husband.

 

I can't tell you what it means to be in such a better place in my life this year.  I'm thankful to the family and friends who did know and supported us this past year.  There will always be "down" moments in life, but when they extend into a "down season", having people around you who don't judge or abandon you and simply love you through it are priceless. 

 

Hugs to you and thanks so much for being a part of my "Happy" things in life. :-) Thanks for taking time out of your day to read this and I hope it helps you or someone you know!

 

 

MY BIRTHDAY WISHLIST

 

 

From the beach,

Anneke

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