sharing my life experiences, reflections and insights as a mother, a writer, an Occupational Therapist and and a spiritual being having a human experience

Archive for January, 2016

Don’t Look Back, Keep Moving Forward: Depression Post 3

I wrote my last post  Twisted Sister on January 13, two and a half weeks ago. It fits into  my my Don’t Look Back, Keep Moving Forward post series -post two as well as the first post written on  December 15, 2015.  I can now see that I have made great progress in the past month.  I personaly feel my last post has alot to do with my recent progress, as well as the actions I am taking for my mental health.  Sure, I would imagine the medicine I am taking helps me to move forward, yet without the other components, I’m not sure how much the medication would really help me.

One huge component has been my participation in the Emerald Live Group which meets montly in person to do personal transformation work on “taming our inner ego”, aka, the negative critical voice in our head which kicks us dowen and prevents us from living up to our full potential.    Not only do I have to show up montly, but there are exercises to do each week. (I will be honest, I haven’t done the exercises in over two months, yet I did them for 6 months prior.)  There is also a Facebook group and montly phone calls.  For me, participating in the Facebook group page along with the in person meet ups has been very helpful to me.  Facebook is my main connection to the outside world because most of my life I am either at work with elderly people or assisting my three children with their homeschool/ life journey.

I am a caregiver at work, with my children, and now to some degree for my parents.  That much caregiving is a certain recipe for burnout and personal depletion.  Or it can be, if I do not take care of myself and give myself vacations from “caregiving”.  No, I can’t ever really stop being a mother, even if I am physically not in the same state as my kids, I am still their mother and because they are minors (well, even my 18 year old needs mom, often via text) I always know, I could get a call or a text about them with something urgent to handle or discuss or some kind of scheduling conflict to solve.   I have to balance thier needs with mine.

Parenting is a juggling act.  I made a plaque for my husband shortly after he first went into business for himself in 1996.  And later in 2002, I added to it.  I titled it “Juggler’s Award” and I drew a pciture of  a clown balancing on a moving board, juggling balls and I and etched around the clown the names of his various roles in life:  “Partner, motivator, husband, friend, business owner, lover, managaer, uncle, son, brother, salesman, listener, home-maker, and father.”

When was the last time you stopped and thought about all of the roles you play in your life?

I have done that exercise of listing my roles, yet, the challenge is really in consciously choosing how we spend our time.  First, we need to look realistically how we ACTUALLY do spend the hours of our days and then compare it to our priorities and values.  Only then, can we make action steps to make changes in our life and better schedule our time. There may be things we need to let go of and say goodbye to, if even just for now.  We might need to spend less time playing games on our iphone and scrolling through Facebook and schedule set times to check emails so important messages are not missed.  We may need to schedule time with our children, maybe even individual time, as well as time with our partner and/ or friends. Most importantly, we may need to schedule time for ourself, to engage in a hobby we enjoy, or make steps forward with something we are passionate about or want to pursue, and time to relax and just be.  Just be who we are, the real you, deep down in your inner soul, the person you are meant to be.  And even though I say, “we” and “you”, I mean “me!” Yet, maybe some of it fits for you.  Take what works for you, find your own way,  and leave the rest.

Once again, Pandora has graced me with an appropriate song as I write.

Thank you Tom Petty and Lyric Find

No, I’ll stand my ground, won’t be turned around

And I’ll keep this world from draggin’me down

Gonna stand my ground and I won’t back down

(I won’t back)

Hey baby, there aint’t no easy way out

(I won’t back down)

Hey I will stand my ground

And I won’t back down

Well I know what’s right, I got just one life

In a world that keeps on pushin’ me around

But I’ll stand my ground and I won’t back down

I Won’t Back Down

Songwriters: Jeff Lynne, Tom Petty

 

 

Twisted Sister

Tonight,  I choose to attend a meeting despite challenging circumstances which could have kept me at home.  The meeting was a montly group gathering with The Ego Tamer Academy that I have been a part of for 10 months now.  Our last meeting was in December but with the holidays and lif events, it has felt like much longer than a month.

I had a frustrating day at home feeling cranky and out of sorts.  It was the first Tuesday that I did not go into work in over 3 months.  I snapped at my kids today.  I hadn’t done that in awhile.  I was just off.

Being surrounded with like-minded people all on a path to higher self awareness and discovery, was exactly what I needed today.   I came to the realization (again) that I was resisting what I really wanted.  Like there were two parts of me- pulling in opposite directions.

After just 2 hours in this environment, I left feeling uplifted and empowered.  As I drove home surfing radio stations allowing divine spirit to find me the perfect song.  And it appeared as it usually does and I belted out every word, evening opening my windows depiste the cold night to sing it to the world:

We’re not gonna take it
No, we ain’t gonna take it
We’re not gonna take it anymore
We’ve got the right to choose and
There ain’t no way we’ll lose it
This is our life, this is our song
We’ll fight the powers that be just
Don’t pick our destiny ’cause
You don’t know us, you don’t belong
We’re not gonna take it
No, we ain’t gonna take it
We’re not gonna take it anymore
Oh you’re so condescending
Your goal is never ending
We don’t want nothin’, not a thing from you
Your life is trite and jaded
Boring and confiscated
If that’s your best, your best won’t do
Oh, oh, oh
Oh, oh, oh
We’re right, yeah
We’re free, yeah
We’ll fight, yeah
You’ll see, yeah
We’re not gonna take it
No, we ain’t gonna take it
We’re not gonna take it anymore
We’re not gonna take it
A song to my ego-self, the part of me that resists and fights- that opposes my higher self.
Just like a “twisted sister”.

Gratitude: January 11, 2016

I am grateful for today

I am grateful for:

  • time to myself at home
  • time with Harrison for Algebra II class
  • relearning Algebra (I love math!)
  • sunshine
  • cold winter day
  • newly spacious living room- joy of putting Christmas tree away
  • Don getting all Christmas items put away while I worked Sat.
  • the sun shining into my living room as I sit in the recliner chair, writing on my lap top and listening to Pandora David Bowie radio
  • speaking up for myself at work this weekend
  • David Bowie
  • The Beatles
  • Queen- Freddie Mercury
  • Penguins
  • wonderful field trip last week to the Greensboro Science Center
  • watching Jason and Abby having fun at the science center
  • Jason playing and having his penguin say, “Penguins don’t get married, they find a mate and lay an egg”
  • playing suffed animals with Jason as we wake up
  • time at home with my family
  • the income I earn from my jobs paying our bills
  • bookshelves and all the wonderful books in my house
  • spellcheck (Why is it not on WordPress anymore?)
  • blogging
  • knowing I have posted at least 4 or 5 blogs already this year!
  • flexibility
  • end of the 12 week coverage peiod in which I worked every Tues and Thurs.
  • Five Star and Pruitt
  • Olive, she is a good dog
  • how Don and I work together taking care of our kids
  • I have been a parent for over 18 years- wow
  • helping Harrison fill out federal financial aid form today
  • CPCC
  • Diana- wonderful account
  • the hope of a snow day
  • winter -surprised myself with this one- I am happy it is winter
  • birthdays
  • Jason’s sushi birthday dinner
  • chocolate creme parfait desert I created- dairy free!
  • wikipedia
  • being able to google anything and find instant answers
  • cell phones, smart phones and iphones
  • Talking Heads and Psycho Killer
  • dance break
  • Rockin the casbah
  • won’t be working, as an OT, until Thursday this week
  • looking foward to next Monday and time alone at home again

 

..Keep Moving Forward, Post 2: Depression Returns

In my first post: Don’t Look Back, Keep Moving Forward: Post 1- Reflecting on my depression, I reflected on my realization about depression.  Something that came about because I had moved to a place of high functioning, an upswing, which helped me see my depression more clearly.

Now I will share the turn my life took after those wonderful 5 months.

I don’t recall when I truly saw that I was sinking again. *After i wrote this post, I reread this post:  Quicksand that I wrote on December 15, 2014.

I know that the surprise party I initated and created with a good friend for both our children was the high point. Maybe it was the last big thing I had to look foward to.  I remember that Thanksgiving was a big disappointment last year.  I usually look forward to the holidays especially when my family is getting together which happens either at Thanksgiving or Christmas each year.  Yet, last fall things were very different.  My parents had moved out of their large lake home where we had been gatherning for the past 15 years.  My children “grew up with their cousins” at the lake house, meeting twice each year for many years, we celebrated holidays, birthdays, and childhood.  In 2004, my parents moved to a significantly smaller home on a small property located a 40 minute drive from my home.  Instead of taking off close to a week of work to spend at the lake house, 2 hours from home, I juggled working at three companies where I do prn work and went back and forth to the new house to spend time with my family.  I don’t think I anticipated hte impact of this difference.  I knew I was sad that we would no longer be all together staying in one house at the lake.  Yet, I was trying to stay positive and seeing my being able to work and see them as a plus.  I was wrong.

Not only did I find myself feeling down, I also got sick, very sick.  Some sort of intestinal distress that even caused me to call out sick 2 days and stay home a full day alone rather than having time with my family.

We did have a wonderful Christmas despite financial challenges thanks to a wonderful humanitarian and friend.  Yet, in January, I found myself with my new close friend having a talk with me about my depression.  It was a good wake up call.  She could see it as could my husband.  I knew I was down yet not fully taking responsiblity.  She helped me make a plan and I scheduled an appointment with my primary doctor (a nurse practioner who I respected and have been going to the past several years).  My intention was to ask for medication because I now knew this had been going on for too long.

I even took my husband to help ensure that I would follow through.  I respect this nurse practioner because she is accepting of alternative therapies.  So I was not surprised when she asked if I had tried some supplaments first.  Why had I not thought of that?  I suppose because I was depressed and not able to make good decisions for myself.   She gave me several options including alternative therapies as well as tradional medical treatments.

I decided to order some supplaments and try that first.  Yet, part of me kept wondering if I shouldn’t just try an antidepressant.  It took me about 2  months o contact her again,after trying 5HTP and another supplament she recommended, but seeing that I needed more help than that.  I needed more help to function as a mother and help my chidlren.

My youngest’s sons anxiety issues and possible OCD became much worse that winter and spring and I knew I had to take care of me in order to best help him.

I started on a low dose anti-depressant as per her order and slowly increased it, still a low dose.  It took a good 6 weeks for me to see any possible improvements and then after about 3 months, I was not sure if it was helping or not. I went back to her and she increased the dose, and again it took weeks to see any change.  Meanwhile I had enrolled in another program with Jan Luther, it started in April, right at the same time I started the antidepressant.

When I look back on those months, some of it really is a blur.  In June, my youngest had such a strong increase in his anxiety that we knew we needed help fast. We took him to the Children’s ER at a friend’s recoomendation and with her help after over a day of debating. Spent much time waiting only to be told, “because he is only 6, we can not do anything… and here call this developmental and behavioral pediatrician”. And the other option was to go to the local Mental Health emergency program.  We drove their and went inside. It was scary- cold, concrete walls, bullet proof glass, and was told the average wait was 5 hours- it was already 3pm and we had spent several hours with our 6 year old waiting.  He was calm- probably because I had decided to give him the herbal supplament that his sister, diagnossed iwih OCD,had taken for some time before she went on medication.  We also had been using energy tools like EFT and had reached out to a community of like-minded people who also do energy work.

I decided that staying at the mental health facility and waiting, not knowing what the result would be, would not be in his best interest.  We drove to the pediatrician and saw her and found out with Medicaid, she would need to refer us to the specialist anyhow.  She could only prescrive him medication for sleep- but also recommended Melatoning which we drove to the pharmacy to buy- because getting a better night’s sleep definitely would be helpful for him and for us to help him.

We also got a referall for OccupationalTherapyfor sensory integration evaluation and that happened in July.  It took over 5 months to hear back from the developmental and behavioral pediatrician.  By that time, he had been going to OT weekly and we also started taking him weekly to our chiropractor. He was taking some supplaments and overall doing so much better.  Yet, I do know the improtance of following through with the doctor appointment.  Yet, the papers sit on my desk with me having all the intentions to complete the forms.

Myabe it is denial.  Not wanting to bring him to another medical doctor, to “diagnosis him”.  When so far, I had been the most knowledgeable in diagnosising what was wrong with my son.  See, we had taken him to a Psychologist last Febrruay but he was not able to “sit through and take all her tests”. She sent us her assessment months later, but that experience was so disappointing because I felt like she made no connection with my son in the 2 hours we spent with her and did a lousy job of trying to assess his issues.  I also was not prepared and took him by myself rather than having someone with me so he could sit with that person, while I answered questions.

It is also challenging for me to answer questions about him because he acts differently with me than he does with others, even other family members.   Maybe another reason, I have not yet filled out the form for the doctor.  They ask for a teacher  report.  He is homeschooled.

As I write this, I have a friend who has and observed him through our participation in actitivites with our children, she was the first person who stated, “social anxiety” in regards to him, opening my eyes to what was going on with him.  She has also been his teacher for a class and is again now.  I think her input would be valuable being an observer and interactor with him but removed, not a family member.

This post has taken an interesting turn.

Once again, the song on my Pandora app rings of truth…

“Can I handle the seasons of my life”

“Well, I’ve been afraid of changin’

’cause I’ve built my life around you

But time makes you bolder

Children get older

I’m getting older too”

-Fleetwood Mac, Landslide

 

 

Gratitude Rant: January 3,2016

On January 1, I decided I would write every day.  I missed a day.

Today, I have decided that writing every other day is quite an accomplishment considering my goal last fall was weekly.

I am grateful for:

  • self forgiveness
  • “Don’t look back, keep moving forward.”
  • Don making dinner now and all the times he makes dinner
  • the flexibility with my jobs
  • finishing work early than expected today
  • wonderful co-workers
  • sitting here at my desk, knowing the cabinet next to me is far more organized and decluttered than it was a few weeks ago
  • the nine plum colored crochet squares I have crocheted with plans to make a large blanket for me bed
  • time with my daughter watching cool tv shows on Netflix
  • Don spending time with Jason, making the organizer box from a kit that he got for Christmas
  • knowing there is over $3000 in my checking account at this moment
  • knowing there is also money in my old checking account that I have yet to close out
  • extra pay checks in December- very good timing- thank you calander!
  • winter and winter weather
  • lookint at the stack of papers and notebooks piled high next to me and KNOWING that I am capable of sorting through it and decluttering
  • laughing at the silly before and after pictures in Declutter 365 of people’s silverware drawers…knowing my before picture is much better…ha ha ha
  • the poem posted on the wall behind my lap top, “Poem for Computer Users Over 40”
  • our meowing cat, Peanut
  • our loving wonderful dog, Olive
  • animals in my life: Coco, Lassie, Thumper and my family’s pets
  • calculators and numbers and how math calms me
  • remembering when I was learning Algebra I and my dad was helping me and I was not calm- or just wanted to understand “why”
  • looking forward to Monday and taking my kids to activities
  • knowing I will get more time to write tomorrow night

Gratidude Rant: January 1, 2016

Happy New Year!

I have decided to kick off the new year with a graditude post. I’m inspired by the Emerald Live program I have been a part of through The Ego Tamer Academy.  Much gratidue goes to Jan Luther and all the participants!

Gratitude Rant

I am sooooo grateful for…

  • my life
  • my children and all the challenges, joy and learning I experience alongside them
  • my husband, Don, my best friend, my soul mate, my partner
  • my new purple comforter and the inspiration it provided to clean up my b edroom, clearing dresser clutter
  • the time Don and I spent today clearing out an entire shelf in our giant kitchen storage cabinet
  • how wonderful it felt to through out years of receipts and junk stashed in old purses
  • finding $20 bill today as I cleared out purse clutter!!!!! 
  • hope
  • writing inspiration after clutter clearing
  • inspirational music, thank you Pandora iphone app
  • Prime streaming music
  • MUSIC!
  • the 1980s
  • Fleetwood Mac, Don and I attended their reunion concert last March
  • homeschooling, unschooling and learning through living
  • La Leche League– I found lifelong friends and a parenting lifestyle
  • Elizabethtown College and the 4 wonderful years I spent there
  • Occupational Therapy, my career, flexibility, and people– all the people I have met over my 23 year career

I am thankful for the experiences of 2015…

  • admitting that I needed help for my depression, thank you Mary for the heart to heart talk
  • making choices to improve my functioning in life
  • participating in The Ego Tamer Academy and cotinuing with the Emerald Live program and the amazing people I have met
  • creating Jason’s Harry Potter Tri Wizard Tournament birthday
  • creating Abby’s Friday the 13th- scary movie 13th birthday party
  • watching Abby grow and develop friendships
  • Harrison’s 18th birthday and his new job at Best Buy
  • Occupational Therapy at Achieve- Thank you Ashley!
  • Andrea Dobrich and Inspire Wellness and seeing Jason participate
  • Elefante  3rd DORAL Reunion: REd Top Mountain State Park, GA
  • wittnessing Jason develop a love of hiking!
  • observing Harrison take responsibility for his CPCC classes and achieving a 4.0 with 4 classes completed
  • clebrating 21 years of marriage with Don
  • witnessing Abby succeed in life and taking a big step in working for Michele for an entire week
  • recognizing the man Harrison is becoming and observing his strengths in being in a relationship
  • facilitating and watching Jason develop a new friend
  • Five Star Rehab and my flexible work hours as well as 12 weeks of incrased regular hours
  • forgetting to sign up to work the weekend of December 19-20: and using the time to making pie crusts, 3 pies, and a large batch of chocolate gingerbread cookies as well as cleaning out my closet
  • donating, consigning and regifting to friends
  • using money we earned/ saved to clear out most of our credit card debt as well as much needed household project: septic repair with a new back yard
  • maintaing most of the weight loss that I achieved in the fall of 2014
  • Phillip Phillips and both of his albumns, hoping for a third
  • my Monday afternoons/ nights to myself
  • reading blogs that I have written in the past and declaring what I had written, “good”
  • having the inspiration to write
  • being there for my parents for mom’s surgery, having time with my dad, attending dad’s neurosurgeon appointment
  • my parents being there for me: watching Jason, all the assistance over the years, their support and love
  • my sister, Michele and all she is and her role in my children’s lives
  • my brother, Darrin, and all he is and his role in our lives

I look forward to writing more gratitude posts and all that 2016 holds in store for me and my family!