My Cure for Stress

As I mentioned in a comment, my DH is once again out of work. I'm sure many of us have felt the bite of the bad economy, and some may even call me lucky for DH having found work at all, even if it lasted a mere six months.

However, some good has come of this horrible, horrible year and a quarter since I had my bariatric surgery. Before my band, I was a stress eater. Any amount of stress caused me to run to the fridge for something naughty to shove in my face. The more stress in my life, the fatter I got, and of course when times were good I didn't lose the weight.

DH lost his job six weeks after I had my surgery, and was out of work from March 09 to September 09. We both looked desperately for work, because writing doesn't pay my bills. It helps, but cannot replace DH's income. Neither of us had much luck. Only through a miracle did we manage to keep the house.

Once I had the band, I literally could not overeat in times of stress. The one time I tried, well, let's just say it wasn't pretty. Nothing like worshiping the porcelain god to reinforce what the doc said about not eating bread, cakes, and other carbs. EUWW.

However, that meant I had to find an alternate means to work through my nerves, depression, and of course the inevitable rocky marriage. The cure was literally at the end of my fingertips.

How many of you just pounced on my writing as the possible cure? You're only partially correct. There's only so much keyboard time anyone can do, even a professional writer. My head explodes after a few hours, but I certainly did become prolific last year. Retreating into my own weird worlds was only part of the solution.

The other part was quilting. Strangely enough, I'd just joined a local quilt guild the day before my DH called to tell us he'd lost his job (yeah, March 09.) At first, I was a little frightened and overwhelmed by the complexity of the projects the other guild members produced without batting an eyelash. Moreover, I found out there was much, much more than mere patchwork. I found an art form.

Best of all, as times got more and more difficult and I couldn't afford to buy materials, I could volunteer to make a charity quilt and the materials were given to me to do so! I learned on those simple quilts for Linus Quilts ( where a traumatized child who has lost so much can receive the warmth of a cuddly blanket to help them through a crisis. All I had to do was cut and stitch the material provided, sandwich the top, batting, and backing, quilt it together, and then bind it. My efforts perhaps were less beautiful than my fellow guild members, but just as soft and warm. There was still a mother's love in every stitch, and a sincere hope that each recipient felt the cuddle I sent with my clumsy work. Below is the latest Linus Quilt I'll turn in at the next meeting on the 13th.

When times were good, I could pick up a bit of material and make a quilt for myself or my own family. I learned to make pillowcases for the Million Pillowcase Challenge (another charity)...

And 16" doll quilts for the American Woodworker's Guild to go in the doll cradles they make for Christmas charities...

Now that DH is out of work again, my computer time is very limited. We have not had so much good fortune that every computer in the house is hooked up to the net. Only one--this one. So, I must vacate my office while DH looks for work and sends off countless resumes.

So, when my muse deserts me, I'm quilting. Needless to say, as worry becomes despair, and depression darkens my world, I cling to my little bits of cloth and immerse myself in putting together scraps into pretty pictures to brighten my world for a little while until they go out to bring bright colors and softness to someone who perhaps has lost more than I.

Best of all, I stay out of the kitchen. Occasionally, I can still cheat, so my weight loss hasn't been as dramatic as some. That's my fault. Old habits are hard to break, but I'm quilting instead of eating most of the time.

So, if I am silent, know that I'm probably at my sewing machine, doggedly trying to stay out of the kitchen. Bear with me. I'll be back.

Lena Austin

Writing blog:

Recipe and Pagan blog:

Low Carb Diet blog:



Anonymous said…
Hi Lena,

Your quilts are just beautiful. You are so talented.

I have been having a lot of stress lately and it was because my band was just too tight! About 2 weeks ago I went in for a Barium swallow and sure enough I was too tight. I was having acid reflux at night. Well, they took some out. I still did not have that much relief. Yesterday after 5 more nights of not sleeping due to acid reflux I went back. The Dr. said she was going to be very aggressive and took out a full cc. I even felt it release when she did it. I went down after lunch and I could feel my lunch was still sitting in upper pouch. I felt it go down as soon as she took some out. I slept so well last night. Like a baby I must say. My weight has not moved in four weeks and I am only 3 pounds from losing 100!!! I need to just take it easy for the next few days and maybe it will come off.

I use your recipes all the time. I just love how simple they are and I almost always have the ingredients on hand. Thanks so much and I hope you have a nice day. Love imaluckydog Kathy
Lena Austin said…
I'm glad you got some relief, Kathy. My band could perhaps be a bit tighter, but I like it where it is. I'm losing, all be it somewhat slowly. Like you, I'm only a few pounds from 100 lbs lost.

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