My Wellness Story

My regret though, and it is sizable and tender, is that I let myself suffer and deteriorate - body and soul. And it’s naive to think that didn’t have profoundly negative effects on my children and my husband. I know it did. I cared for all (3) of them the best I could. But the person I was dragging back to our home, week after week, was a poor substitute for the wife and the mother I wanted to be. I was not well. But I was very, very productive. And it didn’t occur to me to stop. In a thousand ways you live by the sword and you die by the sword when you allow other people to determine your best choices, when you allow yourself to be carried along by what other people think your life should be, could be, must be? When you hand them the pen and tell them to write your story? You don’t get the pen back. Not easily anyway. 

-Shauna Niequist

www.angiewarren.com

MY WELLNESS STORY

I enjoy a good story. Hearing why people are passionate, what led them to where they are, what’s their why. It’s because of this I’d like to share a bit about my own.. Specifically, my wellness story.

For me wellness is both physical, it is emotional, and it is spiritual. It’s a fine balance of listening to my body, honoring gut instinct, and making decisions for myself and our family based on a lot of prayer, research, and open-mindedness.

This has looked differently over the years and it’s been an ever evolving journey, one that has twisted and turned, surprising me at nearly every corner. I’ve felt both empowered and terrified, strong and weak, but I’ve also come to a place of peace with the balance we’ve created.

The First Loss

When my mom died in 2013 of a rare, aggressive cancer, I was paralyzed with fear. I lost all trust in modern medicine, in most doctors, and certainly in the specific insurance network she had. I read all 1,200 pages of her medical records shortly after she passed, through the blur of wet eyes, and felt the pain of her loss in a fierce and surprising way. Those records were bursting with medical mistakes on the part of her care team and it would take years for me to come out of that anger.

anxiety

My entire life anxiety has plagued me, though I wouldn’t understand the disorder until I was well into adulthood. PPD was an unexpected guest after two of my three babies, so needless to say, I have been wading in the waters of doubt and uncertainty when it comes to what wellness means to me for a very long time.

EASTERN VS WESTERN

I’ve always leaned towards more holistic choices for our family - turning to things such as colloidal silver, elderberry syrup, essential oils, and good ole vitamin D before jumping the gun to the pediatricians office. We have found and enjoyed discovering all that this earth has to offer, created by a God who loves + cares for us. With that being said, I can appreciate the place western medicine plays in our society, despite the horror story my sweet mama endured in her final months.

FAITH + BALANCE

My faith has brought me out of the darkness of those days, giving me more peace and certainty that the right balance for our family is, the right balance for our family. We have the unique opportunity to do what we feel is best for ourselves and our children - what a blessing!

MORE LOSS

Since losing my mom, grief has come calling again, not once but twice. In early 2017 my brother died of a Fentanyl overdose, devastating us all. Nine months later, my sister and I would hold our dad’s hand as he too entered Heaven. Medically, a fungal infection took him - but I know the brokenness of his heart was his ultimate demise. Emotionally, the last five years have been the hardest I’ve had to walk through and I’ve been exploring what this new normal looks like. It’s a continual search, but I’m beginning to find just the right pieces that fit this puzzle.

my heart

I’m a passionate advocate for mental health, living life after loss, breaking the stigma of addiction, and doing what is best for YOU. Not your neighbor or your cousin, but doing what is the best thing for you and your family. I share a lot about our emotional and physical wellness over on Instagram, as well as here.

My journey towards holistic health and the balance it plays in our lives has been shaped by an assortment of resources: namely my sister, a handful of lovely + incredible friends, and of course some women I’ve only had the pleasure of knowing through a screen - but none the less, I am inspired, educated, and better for it.

Thank you for joining me here. It’s really an honor to speak from my heart, and hopefully, encourage + inspire you as well.

xo

Dear Friend, What if We Had Coffee?

Angie Warren // Writer

Dear friend,

If we were to meet for coffee, I would likely be a few minutes late. I would apologize profusely and then want to buy your drink.

I'd wear cozy yoga pants and my Uggs, maybe a baseball cap. You'd sit across from me while I sip my iced coffee and you sip your ___________, and we would chat, like long-time friends.

I want to imagine it's possible. This coffee date together. I want to hear your heart and share mine too. What would we talk about? What would you ask me? What would we laugh about? What might we cry about?

In the words of myself circa junior high: write back soon.

Love, Ang

Hey Mama, I Hear You

Dear mama, I hear you. You matter, you're enough. // An Essay on Motherhood // Angie Warren

 

Hey mama with the yoga pants on, I hear you.

You want to put your nice clothes on, but it's taking all your energy to get through the day. You'll wear the jeans again, I promise. For now, enjoy the cotton, I hear you.

Hey mama who is in the throes of post-partum depression, I hear you.

You were so excited for this baby, and now, the things you feel scare you. You're not alone, mama, I hear you.

Hey mama with the tired eyes, I hear you.

You've been up all night with your toddler, he's the best thing about this life, but you're tired, and want just a bit of sleep. I hear you.

Hey mama who feels guilty for working, I hear you.

Your job is important to you, but so is your mothering. You feel torn between two worlds. It's okay mama, me too, I hear you.

Hey mama who can't find time for self-care, I hear you.

You know it's important, you miss the days of leisure pampering. You'll get there again, I know you will. I hear you.

Hey mama whose child is fighting anxiety, I hear you.

She's being alienated in school, your heart is broken, and you aren't sure how to help. I get it, I hear you.

Hey mama who is exhausted from fighting with your teenager, I hear you.

They're not itty bitty anymore, and the constant arguing is taking a toll. You wonder what you're doing wrong and will things ever be okay again. I hear you.

Hey mama who just lost your dad, I hear you.

Those last days of cancer were the worst parts of this life, and now you feel like the dark is suffocating you. I've been there, I hear you.

Hey, mama? Can I tell you a secret? You're not alone. You're enough. You're fighting the good fight, putting one foot in front of the other. You're brave and you're strong, and I hear you. There's light where there's dark, there is good when there is struggle. Hold on, mama, and don't let go.


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The Gym Has Become My Prozac

Angie Warren // The Gym Has Become My Prozac

The gym has become my Prozac.

As in, it's chewing me up and spitting me out, in the best way of course. I was a self proclaimed basket case, most of the time. I'm a mother of three, who just this year brought her babies home to educate them. I was on edge all too often, twenty five balls too many in the air. I've been a slave to my to-do list, I've chosen perfect over present, for far too long.

But recently, the gym has become my Prozac.

I'm a PPD survivor, someone constantly juggling anxiety, and three years a motherless daughter. I love a handful of addicts who love their drug more than they love me. I have spent the better part of my mothering years struggling through the murky, dark waters of feeling like, I'm just, not, good enough.

But my friends, the gym has become my Prozac.

I have a good, good, husband, who has walked beside me through every one of the storms life has carried. He reminds me of the good. He sticks around when many would not. He's wonderful and yet, I still felt stuck, suffocated, tangled. I felt like I was drowning.

And then, the gym became my Prozac.

It's true. And truth be told, a year ago, or three or five I'd have laughed at the thought. When my OB wrote out my very first prescription she casually mentioned that activity is good for depression. When my therapist taught me grounding, she suggested daily walks for anxiety.

I've heard it time and time again and yet, I've said under my breath, "You're absolutely nuts." - there was just no way I had it in me. I was trying to survive. I was begging to breathe, to just get through the day so that night would come. There was no room in my mind or my heart to move my body any more than what was required to keep myself and my kids alive.

But it's true, on a cold November day, we did it. That husband and I, we walked with our little chicks into the gym and we haven't looked back. Those first weeks were rough, I'm not going to lie. It was a struggle to go, my body felt sluggish and my heart was heavy.

Slowly however, the most amazing thing began to happen. On my rest days, I felt it the most, that familiar aching tried to return. The rush, the anxiety, the craziness inside of me, it was on the surface again. And it was then that I began to realize, my time at the gym was doing more than changing my physical body, it was changing my entire mind.

That gym, it became my Prozac.

It's the act of going, the sacrifice of my time, it's the space of an hour or so that I'm just me. It's the knowledge that for the first time, in a very long time, I am taking care of myself. I'm putting me first, so I can be the best mom/wife/human to those I love the most.

It's changing my life, the gym. It's the choice to get up, even on my hardest days, when the anxiety flairs, when grief grabs hold - and that awesome husband I mentioned? He does his thing, "You'll feel better if you go, I know you will." And guess what? He's right.

I've become a better version of myself, physically and emotionally. The weight of anxiety and overwhelm don't hold me down, any longer. I breathe new air, smiling is more natural, and I'm choosing present now, over perfect.

The gym has become my Prozac, and I wouldn't change it for the world.


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On Quinn Turning Five

Angie Warren

I think I can speak for most of us mamas when I say, the birthdays of our children are times of great reflection.

My husband laughed at me a bit just now as he walked in on me scrolling through videos from her birth, and then, for a while we both watched. Quinn came bouncing in and said, "Wow, was that me?" to which I nodded, tears threatening to spring.

We've celebrated two 5th birthdays so far, with our boys, but there's something about our little girl, our baby, our last one. Perhaps for us, for my husband and I, it's that these five years have been the most trying, the roughest of roads for us as a couple.

We've walked through fire, and there have been a few times the both of us threw our hands into the air and wanted to just be done. Life and loss and grief and anger will do that, to even the best of people.

So, this week we celebrate more than just our wee girl turning five, this week we also celebrate us. We celebrate how far we've come, how much closer we are, and the strength our marriage now has for having been through the more difficult days.

I loved watching those videos with him, side by side, smiling, remembering. It was as if five years, 1825 days, endless minutes really, flew right before my eyes.

Now, I'm off to snuggle my four year old, one, final, time. Tomorrow is a big, brand new, day, and we can't wait to get it going!

xo


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