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You might expect my true confessions about my so-called remarkable positive mindset shift to be tied to New Year’s resolutions, intentions, or word of the year (by the way, I finally settled on Sparkle and Shine). But actually, my mindset shifted last July only to be reinforced in November, just before the holiday season.
What exactly happened?
First, know that for most of my life, I have not been exactly a Polly Positive. And I make no apologies for that. Not to make excuses, but I chalk it up to surviving childhood trauma surviving childhood trauma was about all I could handle.
Trying to make the lemonade out of life’s lemons required too much energy.
And speaking of energy, towards the end of 2017 I started looking more closely at the physical root causes of my extreme fatigue. I was at wit’s end with trying to scrape up enough energy to get out of bed in the morning. I constantly needed to take a nap after work and on weekends.
In search of root causes
I had a uterine ablation to address severe anemia–recommended by my gynecologist–which, by the way, I HIGHLY recommend to anyone past childbearing years who suffers from heavy periods.
But I still wasn’t feeling right.
In July 2018, I had the good fortune of reaching out to a functional medicine practitioner, Kara Dowdall of LifeHub Center, and finally, the root cause analysis that I desperately needed began.
Kara guided me through the fine art of requesting bloodwork from my conventional medical provider (more on that in another post!) and through her sleuthwork, she crafted a plan to begin my wellness journey.
Each person has a unique body chemistry, different triggers if faced with autoimmune disease, etc., so I won’t go into detail. A customized wellness plan needs proper supervision and screening.
That said, one of the changes Kara recommended was truly a gamer changer for me: adding T3 to my T4 prescription to better manage my underactive thyroid. My endocrinologist poo-pooed the recommendation but finally conceded that we could try (after quoting me statistics on the likelihood that it wouldn’t help me).
This tweak in my Rx yielded immediate results.
Yes, you read that correctly. Immediate. Not six or eight weeks, but immediate.
For me, it translates to not needing to take a nap when I come home from work and not constantly needing to sleep on the weekend.
All of this was fine and dandy (I need to check an urban dictionary to update that expression, lol), but I still had a lingering negative mindset dogging me.
Sideswiping negative mindset: the accident
Welp, that negative mindset got hit by a tractor-trailer and knocked out of me in November. I kid you not.
I was making an emergency visit to see my older son who had reached out to his grandmother the day before, in tears, about his academic struggles during his first semester in college.
My plan was to drive up (7 hours round trip) and bring my son home for the weekend so he could talk in person and also so he could visit with his favorite stress relievers, his cats.
I set out early on a Saturday and didn’t realize that the highway was covered in ice. When my car couldn’t handle the ice, I pulled over to the side of the highway, put on the hazard lights and decided to wait for PennDot to treat the roads.
Well, the driver of a double tractor-trailer decided he was better than the other vehicles moving slowly and came racing down the hilly terrain. He lost control of his truck, hit me on the driver’s side three times, and failed to stop to see if I was ok and did not report the accident to state police.
Classic hit and run.
I won’t go into the nitty gritty details about how upsetting this was–and highly aggravating knowing that I was left for dead on the side of the road–but after surviving such an accident, I can truly appreciate that old cliche that life is short, so make the most of it. I am so glad I wasn’t paralyzed or killed in that dreadful accident.
I ended up counseling my son on the phone that weekend and instead waiting until Thanksgiving break to bring him home. I checked up on him every night — something he was not accustomed to since I am not a helicopter parent — and he managed to pull through academically.
[Update: During winter break, my son was diagnosed with Hashimoto’s (hypothyroidism). It’s a major miracle he was ablet to function, given his TSH levels!]
Sometimes it takes a big jolt to adjust your mindset. After my accident, I find that I no longer care about petty b.s. — I might be temporarily annoyed, but I am able to quickly release it.
Don’t get me wrong–I am still not a Positive Polly, but I am able to reframe events and move on.
[Update: I was metaphorically sideswiped again in February — my spouse admitted the week before Valentine’s Day that he will be leaving soon. More on that in a future post, but in addition to my phrase of the year, ‘Sparkle and Shine,’ I am adding the keyword ‘Resilence.’ For I will not let this news define my 50th year and certainly am not letting his decision wipe out my sparkle and shine.]
Got Postive Mindset?
Have you ever experience a major mindset shift? What triggered your change and what challenges were you able to overcome? What self-care rituals do you engage in to nurture a positive mindset?