Stress isn’t kind
And that’s saying a lot. I mean have you seen my daily meals on Instagram? I share most every meal there, I cook them live in real time, you can tell my meals are healthy, delicious and weighed to fit my macros. Not only am I enrolled in the Ketogains Bootcamps but I am part of the coaching team as a food consultant, I help people with recipes, ideas, videos, tips, etc. the whole nine yards. Even though I have not been training properly (torn meniscus) weight loss is the result of eating at a calorie deficit, and I was doing that, so why couldn’t I lose weight like I was supposed to? Well, I for the life of me couldn’t figure it out, but I did.
Let’s Back Up People…
I’m an alpha female. I know how to be in charge, I work by myself, I make my own menu(I am a chef), I buy the ingredients, I cook, serve, clean, fill reports, everything, a one woman show. I am comfortable there, I have managed three bakeries at the same time, food ordering, employees schedules, inventory, fill every position when needed, etc. At work (throughout the years) I have always tried to make things better, faster, more efficient. I see someone doing something, I can do that better, for example, I came up with a system at the Costco bakery I used to work that would allow me to be more efficient than my coworkers, they’d do 5 cakes while I could do 8 at the same time and no extra effort added. The cakes would come out cleaner too! I taught them my system and stopped working there, I came back last summer and guess what? They were using MY system! The manager remembered me and acknowledged my contribution and thanked me for it, that was pretty cool, I wanted a medal though, a diploma, something to show for it but nah, that’s okay though, for me that was good enough.
Scratching The Surface
Anyway, that’s just an example of me in real life. If I see a problem I will find a solution, hell, even if there’s not a problem, I will observe and get a vision and a plan of execution and make something better. I am good at it and the reason I am telling you this is because not everybody’s brain works like this. I am in charge a lot, I currently have four jobs, one full time as a chef and three smaller, part time ones. I am always doing something, always going somewhere, always reading, learning, etc.
Except when it comes to me. And boy was I in trouble. You see, the kitchen I was working for the last five years closed down, I found myself unemployed, it was my dream job, Monday-Friday (as a former cake decorator I was never off weekends or holidays) so being off on the weekends was a big deal, plus I had school schedule, paid federal holidays, sick days, etc. I had three weeks vacation during the holidays, a week off for spring break and the best thing was three months off during the summer! (can you say #RoadTrip?) working school schedule is the best thing ever! On top of that, I didn’t have a set schedule, no direct supervisor, nobody telling me what to do, no coworkers (hellooooooo!) etc. #BestJobEver. The kitchen closed and I found myself sad, depressed (at times) no direction or plans, etc. It was a hard summer for sure. At one point started living off of credit cards to survive, by the fall I was hired by a company similar to the job I had before, I was very happy because I can do that job (current job) with my eyes closed. So the Fall trimester started and I felt great, but I had to save to survive the three upcoming weeks in the winter. Then I went three weeks during the holiday without pay. I came back to work in January and I got sick in February with acute bronchitis because instead of taking care of my cold, I kept on working, entering walk-in refrigerators for 15-20 mins at a time, then coming out to the rain, get into a warm kitchen and cook, so I made things worse. I stopped breathing and I got put into a machine so I could breathe again, it was very scary. The doctor took me out for a week, no pay (didn’t have enough sick time) so I went back to work and then spring break came, again, another week without pay, I couldn’t catch up!
No Peace of Mind
A bunch of things kept happening around me, I was in debt, I couldn’t sleep at all, I’d sleep three hours if I got lucky, then (UGH!) I found a mouse inside my house, I thought he had entered when I was taking out the trash or something, I hardly ever spend time there and I seldom cook except for my videos or special occasions, my kitchen is tiny, so there was no actual food for him to eat so I didn’t get it. Anyway, I am terrified of mice so my sister helped me set up glue traps and it didn’t work. Then I bought a HUGE rat trap and SUCCESS! got the little…RAT! Phew! Then as I was watching TV another mouse went by, and then two, OMAIGÁ! What is happening?! I don’t understand! Finally I found a whole under the sink! I told the landlord about it and he gave me the hardest time about it. I couldn’t sleep because I swear to you I could hear them or feel them around my bed! I had no peace, no rest. I didn’t want any visitors, usually I have friends over every time there’s a local event and I had to deny them and it was hard, my friends are very important to me. A trap would be set up, a mouse would fall, then I’d call my sister for her to take it out, I couldn’t even do that. Horrible, then again and then again, it was never ending. I had this feeling of being dirty, even when I wasn’t home, I felt dirty, ashamed, saddened, etc. It was not easy for me to deal with. I was a prisoner in my own home. I couldn’t even record a video, in my mind I could SWEAR a mouse was going to appear in the background and somebody would spot it LMAO, I kid you not, this was in my mind. Pretending is not something I do, not my thing. Months after it had started, the owner came and fixed the whole, he wanted to make sure it wasn’t me who had done it…(UGH) I haven’t had any in weeks and my peace of mind is returning slowly.
I’m #Lit (PTSD)
On November 2017 there was a fire at work. I had a pot of oil on and it boiled over and the sprinklers went off. The fire department came and the House had to pay a cleaning crew to come clean up the mess.
Weeks after another pot of oil caught fire right when I was there it was too damn hot and I put the fries in anyway (I had been waiting for the temperature to do down and I thought it was ready) it wasn’t. It caught fire and it was gonna set off the sprinklers again. Heart racing. But head calm. I grabbed the fire extinguisher and put it out.
Cleaning crew had to come again. Shortly after that I was let go. At the time (and for almost a year) I thought they had let me go because of the fires and not for the lack of money for my salary. I later found out they were not lying to me. They haven’t hired anyone yet and they offered me the job back in December. But the whole time it was on my head that I had gotten fired because of the fires and that feeling stayed with me.
Then in November I had another fire (this time in the new job). The oven caught fire because the lasagna kept dripping oil and it got lit. I opened the oven and the air made it huge. I closed the oven door, turned off the knob and waited a bit to see if me cutting g the air flow would shut it down
it didn’t. It kept growing. Flames were coming out of it. I put on gloves, then oven mitts and with the fire on I took out the lasagnas and put them on the table. Sprinkled baking soda all over and the fire died. I cleaned it myself.
Shortly after that I was frying again and went to the restroom and when I came back the pot was on fire and the flames were super high. I was so scared because I could’ve sworn the sprinklers were gonna go off and I was gonna lose my job again and the thought of being unemployed again terrified me.
So I put on gloves, mitts and I grabbed the pot in flames and tried to take it out. I added baking soda first but this time it didn’t work. It just slowed it down a bit but didn’t put it down/off/out whatever it’s called I forget. So I grabbed it and as I was taking it out it was burning my face, my right arm and it was too heavy for me to carry it so far away from my body so I dropped it on the floor. But it kept burning. So I picked it up again, I could barely see because it burned my lashes and my skin felt funny, like it was being pulled from all directions like Saran wrap.
I moved the pot a bit more and dropped it again. The door was closed, so I tried to open it and I had put the pot so close to the door frame the frame caught fire. I opened the door and I tried to throw it as far as I could and my foot caught fire with the hot oil. I ran outside to get it off of me. It wasn’t that bad I was just…scared.
When I put off the fire on my shoe and sat down on the floor outside watching the oil burn I realized that I could’ve caught fire if the wind would’ve been blowing on the wrong direction. If I hadn’t been strong enough and drop the oil closer to my body. I realized I cared more about my job than my life. I lost my hair on my right arm. And I couldn’t even cry or freak out because I had a live Q&A session that day at Ketogains. So I had to keep myself together.
On April 11th I had another one. And I was freaking out this time (for the first time actually) because I couldn’t reach it. And I was gonna have to use the fire extinguisher and I didn’t want to. I turned off the flames under the flat top and kept blowing with my mouth until it went out. And again, instead of losing my shit I cooked the green beans quickly so I could take advantage of the residual heat because I didn’t want to turn that shit on again. I don’t even know why is there debris there if it’s a flat top. Protected from all sides. Reason I couldn’t get to it. Ugh.
I put on a calming playlist on the way home and I was able to cry like a baby (for the first time about the fires). After that fire where I had to carry the pot outside every time I come back from the restroom and I mean every single time I see the stove on fire. I’m doing paperwork and the flame from the pilot freaks me out. Every weird smell makes me look in the direction the stove and I can swear I see a fire. I’m washing dishes and I check every few minutes to see if the stove is on fire. It’s a nightmare I live all the time at work. Few people know about my PTSD.
My Blog. My Nightmare.
I had the idea for this blog more than a year ago, I didn’t know how I was going to get it done but I knew I had a good concept, the know how, the history, the proof that it works and all I needed was a blog to put all my ideas together. First I hired a developer, when he sent the first revision (I had sent a third of the payment already) I knew it wasn’t what I had asked for, the site was a website, not a blog and he used Comic Sans as a font. Comic f*cking Sans, I thought I was having a nightmare OR I had woken up in the 90’s or something, really bad. I told him I wanted out, there were a series of exchanges not going in my favor until I gave an ultimatum. I got my domain (not my money)back. Yay. Then, another nightmare which I still can’t talk about because I’m still hurting from it. I’m not ready to share. Needless to say, I got my domain back, again. I got a host, a WordPress theme and I had to type everything over but that’s okay, I made it here but in the meantime, it was getting to me, I was frustrated, upset, hurt, all rolled into one.
Denial is NOT a River in Egypt
Let’s recap, financial problems, PTSD, mice, my blog, and all the stuff I didn’t mention because you don’t want to read ‘The Patty Constitution” but there’s also work related problems, personal stuff I had to deal with, etc. Hitting my macros became almost impossible and one night, around 11:00pm I was at home, eating a can of tuna to hit my macros and I started crying, because I knew I had to wait after eating to even get to bed, it was a weekday, that meant I was not getting any meaningful sleep, and thus I would be tired the next day, again. It was the cherry on the Patty Cake. I realized I was in denial. Or maybe I hadn’t realized it yet, because of the “Alpha Female” role I play everyday, I live by myself, I do everything on my own, I am an island. It’s hard for me to be the “helpee” when I’m usually the one helping everyone out (this is why the second paragraph) I am such a problem solver, always willing to help, always in control, I always know what to do, even during the fires, such a calm feeling would overcome me and even though my heart beats fast, I always know what to do and I get it done.
I do not know how to be vulnerable, I am always in protection mode, always wearing a shield, I do not want to get hurt again, my guard is always up. But this time, I had to reach out, as soon as I knew that I was not in control and that it was stress taking over, I reached out. I don’t think I have ever been so stressed in my life, I didn’t recognize it, I had never experienced anxiety and when the mice situation was out of control, I swear to you I wanted to sleep in my car. And every time I was opening the door, I felt that a mouse was gonna jump on me or something. It was a nightmare. It affected me in such a way that I stopped dancing, I stopped doing stories in which I talked, I only did silent recipes and posted messages that were typed. I stopped losing weight because of the stress, and what is worse, I gained weight! It was very hard to deal with and not because I care about looking a certain way but because I was actually following my macros and that’s when I knew something was very wrong with me.
Asking For Help
I sent a message to my coach, (Thank you Óscar!) not only was he helpful, but he recalculated my macros, gave a bunch of ideas on how to lower the stress, and it just felt good to tell someone “I’m not THAT strong” I needed a hug, so one out of two is not bad, that hug is gonna have to wait. But just recognizing and asking for help, gaining control of my site, having easier macros to reach, etc. Made me feel so much better. It was a step in the right direction, people say the best way to solve a problem is to recognize you have one. It was hard for me to recognize I was not in control of my life.
I had to come up with a list of things that were affecting me. I am a list maker. I get a weird satisfaction on crossing stuff off my lists, it’s a thing! I am not an expert on stress but after I decided I was going to do something about it and take action, my life has improved tremendously! I’m not gonna tell you what to do, I’m just going to share what I did and maybe it will help you too.
- I made a list of things I figured were stressful.
- I then made a sublist for every point with solutions for it or things needed to get done to ease that situation
- The lists were made in order of importance, I tackled the more pressing matters first (unpaid tickets, budget, etc)
- I took it one day at a time
- I knew I was in control of the situation(s)
- I knew everything had a solution because hey! I’m still alive!
Examples of my Lists
- Wrote a list of bills needed to be paid
- Put them in order
- I wrote down how much I bring home (net pay)
- I made a plan to pay it all off.
- I joined a Facebook group about getting out of debt
- It helped to know that people actually owe thousands and thousands of dollars and they have gotten out of it by also making a plan and sticking to it.
- It also helped to know that I am not alone and that I am capable of doing it.
- Once I laid it all out, it wasn’t as bad as I originally thought. I got this.
- I paid for a hosting service
- I chose a theme and bought it
- I started using a recipe plugin (best thing ever)
- I started learning about WordPress
- I put everything I learned into action
- I launched it. (thanks for being here and still reading this long ass post lol)
- I am tackling one thing at a time
- I kept my room colder than usual
- I took a valeriana tea
- I made sure I supplemented my magnesium daily (game changer)
- I turned off electronics earlier
- I get to bed earlier with the intent of falling asleep (as opposed to still work in bed)
- I bought a new set of sheets and pillows (it makes a difference!)
- I started timing my showers closer to bed time (as opposed to when I got home)
- I stopped drinking liquids closer to bed time
- I started tracking sleep with my Apple Watch to be more aware of it (it’s working!)
- I am learning how to meditate (I have the best sessions with myself lol)
To Close the “Patty Constitution”
I am now sleeping 6+ hours, which is a huge improvement from a month ago. I started losing weight again, I finished my camp having lost 8 lbs (in 8 weeks) which is a HUGE win for me having been through everything that happened. I am hitting my new macros and feel so much better because I can even have some blueberries once in a while, and even though I’m not a huge blueberry fan (hey! they should be named purpleberries!) but it makes me feel normal, like an actual normal person having fruit lol. They are easy macros for me to follow and that keeps my mind off of thinking and planning so hard and staying up late trying to hit protein, I feel like experimenting with some intermittent fasting even! Now that my blog is up and running I am working on a schedule for recording, editing and posting so it’s not overwhelming (it hasn’t been yet but I don’t want it to feel that way) so a calendar (full of lists!) will work wonders as a preemptive measure. I am also taking Sunday evenings off to enjoy Game of Thrones and play some Nintendo as a way to deload. I have been cooking special meals for myself to enjoy the show, things I would never cook but that I enjoy so I am taking care of me, and treating myself like the queen of my palace (which I absolutely am!)
I hope this blog helps you in you are going through stressful situations, all I can say is…breathe. Take life by the reigns, take control, make a plan and take it one day at time. If you have gone through or are going through something similar leave me a comment with your experience, I’d love to read about it.