My first post!

 

Well here is my first post to my new blog site!  I have many emotions as I start what will hopefully be enlightening for me and maybe helpful for others- excitement, anticipation, apprehension, a little fear. My main reason for starting this blog is a feeling of becoming lost in my life. What do I really want out of life? What is most important to me?  How can I be a better person for my family?  I figure that if I feel like this, there must be other moms, especially veterinarians, who feel the same way. I can’t be the only one, so I’m hoping to reach out to others. Maybe we can share our stories together and help to heal.

My story starts with the many titles in my life- veterinarian, mom, wife, daughter, woman. They are all important to me, but they don’t define who I am as a person. I have always been a very self-driven person and focused on the goal. I did well in high school in order to get into college. I succeeded in college in order to get into vet school. Although I didn’t get into vet school the first year, I was accepted the following year. I had a plan and followed it to achieve my ultimate goal of becoming a veterinarian.  The other titles of mom and wife were to come later and not planned out as clearly.  However, they did eventually happen.

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I started working as a vet and my husband and I eventually had two little girls.  I basically had everything I ever wanted wrapped up in one perfect life.  However, perfect on paper doesn’t mean perfect in the real world.  The real world is hard and busy and exhausting at times.  I was working full time as a vet, then coming home to my family and the never-ending tasks of food prep, helping with homework, paying bills (or forgetting to do so), laundry, dishes, etc., etc…  The life of a vet does not involve 9-5 hours, so some days I would work 11-12 hour days and get home right before my children were getting ready for bed.  I admit to forgetting to sign permission forms or homework papers. I would miss field trips and class parties.  Each day I would start out with good intentions of having more energy, being more organized, having more patience.  Then reality would hit and I would feel frazzled again, overwhelmed by the normal demands of life.

I say normal because I recognize that I am not unique.  My demands are the same as other working mothers, especially veterinarians, whose hours are often atypical.  We work on the weekends and after hours for emergencies.  We have patients to check on when the hospital is closed.  Many times I have gone back to work with my girls in the car in their jammies right before bed.  I have had to cut dinner plans short for emergencies.  I know you moms are out there who deal with these same issues.

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What I eventually realized is that I couldn’t continue functioning the same way I had been for so long.  I finally burnt myself out, quite literally.  My body and mind no longer responded to the stress and demands as it had before.  I no longer had the energy or desire to walk my dog at night or play with my girls outside.  Normally a morning person, I would have to drag myself out of bed.  I never felt rested, no matter how much sleep I would get.  I would practically have a panic attack at night worrying about all the things I couldn’t get done.  A simple change in schedule would have me in tears.  Something had to change or I was going to implode.  Luckily I didn’t except that these changes were a normal part of life.  As difficult as it was for me, I knew I needed help.  Help was not something I thought I needed for myself, because I could do it all, thank you very much.  Thankfully, I was able to find the right doctor to help me realize that I had stressed myself out to the point of adrenal fatigue- when cortisol levels are too low due to intense or prolonged stress.  What!  I am the person who planned out my life and achieved my life goals. How could this possibly happen to me?

100_4159So that is where my story begins.  Begin is the key word, because I am still on this journey to heal my body and mind.  I am still recovering from the mental and emotional stress I have put myself through in my quest to prove that I can do it all.  Unfortunately, no one can do it all by themselves.  I have to learn that, with the support of my family and friends.  Let me say that I grateful for this opportunity to change my lifestyle and do some self-reflection in order to improve my health.  I am also grateful to have a wonderful husband who is willing to follow this path with me, even though he doesn’t completely understand it.  I know there is a better life out there for me and my family and I can’t wait to see where it goes.

 

PS- The pictures are from some of our travels.  They help to remind me that the world is much bigger than I am and has indescribable beauty.

Heidi Ball
Heidi Ball is a licensed veterinarian who left general practice in order to focus on her health and family, and still does occasional relief work. She is a mom and wife who loves to cook real nourishing food for her family, garden in her illegal front garden bed, listen to enlightening podcasts, go out on foodie dates with her hubbie and be a homebody with her family.

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