The Eye of the Storm? Or Maybe It’s Passed for Now

Other than the stupidity my new medication has created for me, I’m seeing in color. It feels good. I’m not even going to look over my shoulder to see if any dark clouds are following.

I forced myself, but it didn’t really seem like forcing, because I just went. My photography club had a photo walk yesterday in a small town close to us. This means we meet, and everybody scatters, meeting back up for lunch. Which means I walked around the town alone! A rather large step for me and my confidence.

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The day started off on the wrong foot, because I overslept. Apparently, the medication I’m taking for insomnia is working wonderfully.

I love the quaintness of the little towns, and this town was full of it.

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I may have a glass of wine every one to six months, but this sign spoke to me as well.

 

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This one was after my heart, while I do like flowers, I like to see them in the ground….growing as they should.

Coffee and Fudge? Shouldn’t they be a part of the food pyramid?

dixie

 

However, I’m always reminded that I remain a Yankee.

I do admire the Southern allegiance to their history, but so glad we finally stopped the slavery.

I’m a wee bit sore in the legs, which is no surprise since I have been inactive for so long. Leaving the couch was nice.

 

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I knew that today I was getting better when I was met with this before the animal circus began, and before I had my coffee. It made me laugh out loud. I blew up the photo so that you could read The Wee One’s note.

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When I opened the lid, I was met with this.

An event which would put me over the top with anger, but it started my day off with a good ol’ belly laugh.

Now….I’m ready for some NFL indulgence.

Wishes for a happy day to y’all. (I may be a Yankee, but there’s something about the dialect that appeals to me)

…and I’m going to make sure that son of mine cleans that waffle maker, while I smile.

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Things You Didn’t Know You Needed Thursdays

It is Thursday, right?

5d6c1af0dff6607588947ddecebd8b2dAnyway, for some reason this made me laugh. Not that I enjoy humiliating squirrels it simply cracked me up more than some of the other Thursday delights.

You can purchase one here.

 

Happy Thursday

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The garage door to mindfulness

You know…there is something to mindfulness.

I spent many, many years convincing myself that I was stupid, awkward, ugly….I could go on, but that isn’t my point. My point is that the more I thought about myself in this manner, the more I became that person.

Therefore, why wouldn’t it work in the opposite direction?

Enduring an episode of depression, thinking positive is a futile exercise for me. The reason being, the only thing I think about is how to escape the despair my mind state is in. My therapist swears she can help me with this, and I’m impatiently waiting.

Currently, I’m keeping myself so busy that I don’t have time to fill my thoughts with anything, and I’m not necessarily mindful. I’m not paying any attention to what I’m thinking, I’m just doing as much as I can, in order to avoid thinking.

This is what happens when we aren’t mindful. (I’m twisting the meaning of mindfulness on purpose)

I managed to push in the door of our garage. I was on my way to an appointment and had to move my son’s new truck out of the way. Another car was parked behind his. I went back and forth–turning the wheel, back and forth–turning the wheel some more, back….and for some reason, the garage door was getting closer on my following forth.

I kept pushing on the brake, but it didn’t seem to work. I was in slow motion, while pushing so hard on the brake, and not being able to figure out how to stop the truck. Apparently, I had half my foot on the brake and the other half on the accelerator. Something had to give, and it was the garage door. The cars had minor scratches, but I can’t say the door survived.

No, I managed to rip out the hinges that hold the panels together and bend the track the door rolls on. If we had left it alone, it wouldn’t have been so bad for all the neighbors to see, but my son and I thought we could lift the door and get it on its track, which managed to turn the complete bottom panel inside out. As it was explained to me by the garage repair man–that was a huge no-no. We could have been seriously hurt. So much for my DIY skills.

So for the next two weeks when I come and go to here or there, or go out into garage, I’m reminded to be a tad more mindful. I can’t continue to run from my thoughts without paying attention.

I’m getting rather weary of putting on my rubber gloves and digging through the trash to find my reusable K-cup. Or, I search for it, and find that I placed it in another odd place. I’m tired of losing my glasses, only to discover they are on the top of my head. I’m having trouble concentrating on a simple knitting pattern, falling over while squatting to take a photo–then I can’t get back up. Oh, I have a much longer list of snafus.

Eventually, I will have to face that Little Ms. Negative Pants that lives within the depths of my brain, and boot her once and for all. Ignoring negative thoughts is not the same as replacing them with positive ones. I can no longer afford to ignore.

That will take some thinking.

Some serious mindful thinking. Replacing the negative thoughts, with positive thoughts, and be present in the moment.

Due to the garage door, and my many snafus, I’m reminded daily.

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World Mental Health Day and Motherhood

Today is World Mental Health Day. There are many articles online, or on your television, which are intended to raise our awareness of mental illness.

I raised three kids while suffering from depression and anxiety. I accomplished it! They were great students, and are well adjusted. Our oldest struggles with depression and we are helping as much as he allows. He is also an extremely smart introvert who has struggled to relate with his peers his entire life. I found it hard as a person with a mental illness help another through mental illness—and that has created enormous Mom Guilt. On the upside, he knows he can turn to me because he knows exactly how difficult it is to maneuver through life with a stigmatized, misunderstood illness.

You know what isn’t fair, even if a person has health insurance which adequately covers mental health issues, how do they get time off work for therapy. The decision to tell your employer that you need such and such time off for therapy, can be daunting due to the stigma. When I was working, I didn’t receive help for just that reason.

A little motherhood background for some of you:

Our oldest son is 25. He finally graduated from college a year ago, and has lived with us since. It took us 7 months of encouragement for him to find a job. He has a good job in his field of study, and I think he can afford to live on his own. Of course, he has to give up some of his hoity toity food/beverage preferences.

Our second is our daughter. She left home (not as a run away) at 17. She graduated early from high school and returned to our home state to start her college studies. She graduated in record time – magna cum laude – and at the age of 23, is now in Montana earning a second degree through an accelerated registered nursing program. She has only returned home for vacations.

Our youngest is 20. Academia has never interested him much. He made it through high school, but is kind of floundering with college. He sees it as a waste of time since he doesn’t know what field of study interests him. He has a part-time job, and may have to go to full-time until he figures out what he wants to be when he grows up. We helped the other two through college, we will help him when he decides. We just don’t want to throw out our money if he isn’t going to his classes—which apparently, he isn’t. He lived on his own for his first year of college, but has returned home.

If I could, I would keep all my children at home—as their little human selves. You know, small, cute, and inquisitive. Frozen in time, no growth into manipulative, rebellious teens.

If you’re lucky, like we are, they will return home. Unfortunately, they will have transformed into large versions of their cute little selves, with bad habits.

Maybe I’m not mean enough. My husband and I have this good cop/bad cop thing going on. Yes, I’m the good cop. You know what? Good cops get taken advantage of.

Obviously, the days of spelling things we don’t want our kids to understand what we’re saying, has long past. It doesn’t matter—apparently, they aren’t listening anyway.

They don’t understand blatant passive-aggressive hints, such as, What is the exact day you are moving out? Can I help you find an apartment? I’ve looked online and found some apartments you can check out–they even allow pets. We have the truck and trailer ready as soon as you find your new home.

No, as teens they were excellent students learning how to tune us out. Guilt isn’t even working, and I’m a master at that skill. Tears aren’t appropriate, but even leaking one out while giving them the speech that mooching off of us won’t help them move on with their lives, isn’t working.

I hear that the boomerang effect is very common these days. It’s nice to know that I’m part of the norm.

Our daughter gets it….what is it with the boys?

Anyway, there are many forms of mental illness. Postpartum depression was the worst form for me. After we decided we weren’t going to have anymore kids, I went on anti-depressants. It wasn’t ideal, and my mood was mostly flat, but along with my husband, we raised three well adjusted kids. Well – two, and I can only do so much for our oldest, which is the source of some of my current anxiety/depression. I can’t kiss his boo-boos away. However, as my therapist points out, he is succeeding in life in spite of my perceived weakness of parenting skills.

So…to any mother reading this, feeling as if they are ruining their kids, they need your love most. Get help, and love them to pieces.

 

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Things You Didn’t Know You Needed Thursdays

Yes, in spite of the pity party I’m having, I found something funny.

d4b383a760d09ad8b7ac97b41fbed8b5Actually, this eyelid trainer could be of great help to me as I’ve not slept well, and due to my mental well being, I feel haggard….and I look that way as well.

I was thinking of using some of my handy dandy duct tape to hold my eyebrows up—or a very tight, high ponytail, but if I could train my eyelids…..

You can purchase these here.

Happy Thursday!

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Frogging the blanket

I am out of words.

The thoughts are there, but I’m a bit bombarded with them at the moment.

They aren’t all negative. I’ve learned to flick the Ms. You Can’t Do That away from me.

I’m just out of words.

I’m  busy frogging the blanket I was nearly done with.  I didn’t like it, so I get to knit it again, which is seriously fun for me.

*if you aren’t a knitter, the term frogging is used when taking apart something knitted and one starts all over—you know–ribbit, ribbit (in other words, rip it, rip it)

I’m here reading, but I’m thinking…..

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Engineering my thoughts

6K2A1661aIt’s my thoughts which have brought me to where I am. They have created who I am. And most of those thoughts are a bunch of smelly crap.

The house in the middle of nowhere is now nothing but a shell. Some day, we will retire there. It’s a plan, and a work in progress. Our obstacle is that we aren’t old enough yet.

We recently spent a couple of days in that empty little house, and I had nowhere to hide. All the tendencies I have toward perfection were magnified for the eyes of my husband. Every little producer of anxiety played out as an ugly film in my mind.

Messing with the arrangement of the meager furnishings was like yelling, “hey, watch the crazy lady move that step-stool one millimeter to the left, wait–change that to three millimeters to the right“.

The words of my therapist accompany my personal thoughts these days. In the beginning of treatment, I didn’t believe that I could observe my thoughts.

Oh, how wrong I was.

My thoughts are what brought me to where I was.

My thoughts are what will take me to where I’m going.

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Attempting to conquer a phobia

There and back. I did it. Without medication, but not without anxiety. I truly believed I was having a heart attack when we landed on our flight home.

6K2A1653-EditI took this photo as we were leaving the city of Atlanta. Clouds are just as beautiful above, as they are below. It also let me imagine that we weren’t so far above the ground, because I couldn’t see it.

The trip was not without its fiascoes. They included inner language that went something like this, you freakin’ idiot. But you know what? I said the words, then laughed over the gaffes. The berating didn’t reach my heart nor my beliefs about myself.

On the way back, forcing myself to look out the window, I had a holy crap moment when I realized that we were right by the engine. Birds get sucked into those things causing crashes, you know.6K2A1736-Edit

I’m kicking myself for not embracing the one and only day we enjoyed not connected to the corporation my husband works for. Maybe it’s because the umbilical cord is so firmly attached to that company, that I never expect a moment without it invading our lives. When the moment presents itself, I’m not aware because I don’t let my guard down in order to avoid disappointment.

I need a whole bunch more practice with mindful thinking. I had one day—and I missed an opportunity, because I haven’t mastered living in the moment.

Crap.

Instead of getting up in the wee hours of the morning and driving to the airport, we stayed at a shabby, overpriced motel at the airport.

I had a bunch of things on my mind our last day there. As I observed my anxiety over the most laughable anxiety producers, I also realized that I express my anxiety in a not-so-pleasant way.

So, I have now faced two of my largest anxiety producers, driving to the city, and the phobia of flying. I can’t say that I’m not afraid, and that the next time I get on a plane or drive to the city I won’t have anxiety, but I will live. My world won’t end, and nothing bad will happen–even without medication.

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No Xanax required

When I make a snafu, I enjoy the big ones. After the phase of beating myself up for being such an idiot, there is time for laughter.

I’m actually flying. Through the air—in a tin tube!

I had a queasy stomach but forced myself to breathe through it. Turbulence doesn’t help much, but I’m flying right now!

Anyway, long story short, I thought I booked our flights for Wednesday–tomorrow.  My husband was responsible for the car rental and a night in a motel.

To the shock of all of us, I booked the flight one day early. We found this tidbit of information at 11:30ish last night. We had to be at the airport at 6:30 am or there about.

So the rush to pack was on. We logged 4 hours sleep. Which could explain how I am not in a total panic, I’m still mostly asleep.

Thankfully our flight is short, and I thought it would be great exposure therapy.  To expose myself even more, I’m forcing myself to keep the shade up and look out the window. I even took some photos, which I will share when we get back.

Am I totally comfortable? Ohmygosh no! But just as I survived my trip driving to the city and back, acknowledging that nothing catastrophic happened, I will continue to chip away at this fear.

I still have the landing to go, but I know I will survive this panic/anxiety/phobia.

Luckily, my husband is next to me. If I have a major meltdown he can knock me out. :D Seriously kidding!

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courage is that little voice

When I have moments which transport me to an exact feeling I had as a child, they intrigue me. Not the happy memories, but the moments I felt my stomach drop, my heart break, ugly, or stupid. How can something that happened so long ago be repeated under different circumstances?

A child sees and interprets events at the emotional level of a child lacking a lifetime of lessons and experiences. To have something happen as an adult, which zips me right back to that little girl, is sad, yet I know that living there–in the past–isn’t where I belong. Yet that physical feeling is experienced nonetheless.

Do we have to relive related experiences, producing the same physical responses the remainder of our lives? Meh, I don’t know.

I’m just happy to know that I can let the feelings move through me more rapidly than I used to.

I faced those bullies a long time ago, and I was the victor. I’m who I am because of what I had to do to survive. Not that it was fun, but here I am. Victorious.

My only preference is that I wish that similar experiences didn’t continue to hurt me. I may have been victorious, but I’m still human. Unfortunately, a little bit insecure at times.

Courage doesn’t always roar. Sometimes courage is the quiet voice at the end of the day saying, I will try again tomorrow. ~ Mary Ann Radmacher

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