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 the ‘Mental Illness’ Category

A Day in the Life of a family touched by OCD

I wrote this post over 3 years ago. I never published it.  I am going to share it as I wrote it. It feels unfinished at the end and that is exactly how our life felt at that time.  I am happy to say that Abby is now functioning like a typical 14 year old for the most part, or at least like a typical unschooled 14 year old. She has overcome so much and come so far in 3 years.  Whenever I stop and think about this, I feel speechless,breathless,  amazed at how she has overcome such a severe disability. And then I breath out as reality brings me back to my current life, because we are now going through similar issues with our youngest child.  Somehow, my husband and I have two children with OCD.  We both feel compelled to help others who suffer, Don, with his coaching business, and me with my writing. We know how isolating having a child with OCD, or any mental illness can be, and we want others to know, you are not alone, there is help.  Don has recently written an ebook on OCD. His website

 

I woke up this morning and my little one was still asleep.  I checked my phone and saw my husband’s text:  “Left at 6:50, she was still sleeping”.  I stayed put checking email and facebook on my phone until my youngest woke up at 9:30.

We then headed downstairs to check on my daughter, Abby, asleep on the couch.

She said she had been up for a while but was curled up and calm.  (Thank God!)

I went in the kitchen and got her supplements and a new glass of water and a fresh straw.

I brought them to her and gave her the supplements one at a time, dropping them into her mouth and waiting for her to  reach her body across to the table where her cup sat and drink from the straw.

I then started breakfast.  I heated up pancakes for the kids as I started some hot water.  I got pancakes ready for my 4 year old.  He wanted a special cup for his juice and so I told him to get out the one he wanted which he did.  I then started sausages and then brought my daughter’s plate of pancakes, with syrup and cut and the box of spoons to her in the living room where she sits watching TV.  I set down her plate and opened the box of plastic spoons, moving the lid out of the way for her to reach in and take one.  I pointed out how many spoons were left and reminded her that we will not be buying another box of spoons.

I went back to the kitchen and started my breakfast, cut up apple, and quinoa and got it cooking on the stove and used hot water to make myself tea.  Jason was done eating now and so I got his vitamins out.

The sausage was done and my daughter was now in the bathroom.  I called up to her but she said she was too full for sausage.  I put them away in a container and labeled it “Abby” and then I put on some other sausages that she doesn’t like but Jason and I will eat.

Then she called me upstairs to help her wash her hands.  I pumped soap into her hands and then turned on the faucet, waited for her to finish, and then turned faucet off for her and went back downstairs to kitchen to finish making my breakfast.

Jason managed to play by himself and things were relatively calm.  It’s easier when only two kids are home.  My oldest had spent the night at a friend’s house.  And my husband had an all day workshop and wouldn’t get home until after 6pm.

I managed to eat, and make a batch of nettles (I soak dried nettle leaves in hot water to make an infusion which we then let cool and freeze in ice cube trays to use daily in smoothies and to drink.  Nettles are full of minerals and great for allergy relief.)

Keep in mind that my 4 year old talks almost continuously and comes in frequently to tell me or show me something or requests me to come see what he is doing.  Abby and Jason managed to play together briefly but it ended because Abby made too many rules and Jason came to me crying.  He desperately misses playing with his sister but it is not easy to play with her because he can not touch her or her spot on the couch and she does make a lot of rules when they play.  Abby tried to negotiate with him asking him which rules he didn’t like, but Jason was done.

By now it was about 10 am and so I reminded Abby that she was supposed to be Skyping with her cousin at 12.  Her cousin lives in PA and about 2 times each week they chat on skype or Google Chat.  They are working on a story together and building a house for the imaginary family on Google- Auto Desk Homestyler.

I ask her if she has a towel to use after she showers and clothes to wear.  I go to the kitchen to finish cleaning up, unloading the dishwasher etc.  She finally decides she needs to wash clothes and her towel as well as sheets.  she goes upstairs to get her clothes and comes down, “Mom, I need you to open the washer”.

“Just a minute”  and then I head down and open the washer, she drops clothes in and I tell her to get more and then I start the washer and add the soap.  She brings a few more items down and her towel but tells me she can only wash the clothes she is going to wear today.  And I tell her she needs to wash more because I can not wash clothes for her every day.  She gets mad and huffs off.

 

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Dealing and Coping with Mental Illness

One of my biggest challenges in helping my children with their mental health issues, has been doing so while dealing with my own mental health issues.  I have diagnosed myself with Bipolar 2 because the mental health professionals have failed me in that area. They diagnosed me with Major Depression despite my repeated information on my bipolar symptoms. One practioner wanted me to see if my insurance would cover generic testing, in part to see if Bipolar disorder was likely. I don’t need to take a test for that. My brother is diagnosed with Bipolar 2 and has been for a long time. My brother and I share much other genetic similarities. 

I have found in helping my children, that I have been more qualified than the so-called professionals with diagnosing myself and my children. Especially my youngest child who I know has OCD and social anxiety despite failed attempts with professionals to get these diagnoses. I am a health care professional after all and hey, who knows my children better than me? No one. I homeschool/ unschool them based on my knowledge of who they are so I guess we unschool mental health too. 

That being said, we do use professionals for assistance. We have a OCD specialist therapist who has been vital in helping both my daughter and my son.  But we have been unable as of this writing to find a well qualified Psychiatrist who specializes in OCD.  We had one that was competent and who we liked (we liked her even more after we went to other Psychiatrists) but she was self pay only and we already have enough debt from medical expenses. 

Back to my intent of this post….

Helping my children when I myself am suffering my own mental illness. 

When I look back over the years, there are large periods of time that feel like a fog and in those times, just getting through each day was a big challenge for me.  One area that has been a big issues is getting my children help or following through with referrals and other things when they are doing better. 

When your child suffers with mental illness, it is exhausting, emotionally and often physically. When, they are doing better, there is a feeling of relief and wanting life to “just be normal for a while” or more normal.  As an example of this, last spring, my youngest had a severe flare up of OCD, anxiety and behavioral issues.  We went to a hospital ER to get immediate psychiatric help but because he was less than 7, we could only seek a referral to a developmental and behavioral pediatrician or go to the local mental health behavioral unit which would have been at least a 3-5 hour wait without knowing if they could even help us. We opted for the getting referred to the pediatrician specialist which involved going back to our primary for the referral and then I called to follow up but did not receive any information from them for 6 months.  I repeat, it took the Develpomental and behavioral Pediatrician practice, 6 months to send us information in the mail to complete to be seen.  Well, 6 months later, he was doing so much better. We had started OT services as well as going to the therapist we already had for our daughter. I intended to fil out the paperwork.  I must add that about 4 months prior to this visit to the ER, we had taken him to a psychologist for evaluation, but she was unable to complete her evaluation due to his inability to answer all her questions and complete her tests. It took her a couple months to send her results to us which said nothing really that I did not already know. 

Back to the referral to the pediatrician specialist.  I truly intended to fill out this lengthy paperwork to get my son seen.  I even contacted a friend who had taught him in a class situation to help with filling out some of the information. Since we homeschool, we don’t have a teacher to answer things.  He also acts differently with me than with other people, so I thought her input would be helpful. She is also the person who first pointed out the idea that he has “social anxiety”.  Yet, I have yet to begin to complete this paperwork. Now, I want to get my daughter referred to this practice in my hopes that they will have experience with OCD, particularly child-onset OCD. Because, she needs a prescribing doctor to follow her on her medication. Our previous Psychiatrist, who we did not like at all, does not take our current insurance. 

So why did I not fill out the paperwork for my son when they finally send it to me, 6 months after I requested the referral?

The only answer I really have is: my own depression and anxiety. 

My own depression made doing daily activities difficulty and anything extra was really a stretch for me to complete. I just did not have the time nor the energy to do it. I wanted to do it. It bothered me that I did not complete it. I also think that I did not have much faith anymore that these so called “professionals” could help my son.  Having the experience of taking my time to go to the psychologist assessment and gaining nothing from the experience other than frustration with the incompetence of the psychologist with knowing how to handle a kid with severe anxiety and getting help for us, I had little motivation to pursue this next avenue of help.  

So was it my depression and Axiety that prevented me from getting the help for my son?  

Or was it because I no longer believed that the professionals could help my son?

Most likely a little of both. 

I took some steps today to get my children the help they need.  Despite the utterly inadequate NC government health care system, I soldiered on with 2 different phone calls and even talking to the person who is my “case manager” who I find particularly incompetent and unprofessional.    I know know that I need to do research to find a psychiatrist that takes our current insurance, NC assisted: NC Healthchoscie for Children (when your income is too high for Medicaid). They had Medicaid until the beginning of this year. My husband is self employed and my prn work status does not qualify me for health insurance through my employers. I work 2 jobs. 

I also plan to find that paperwork and fill it out for my son too. Hopefully, I can find it, buried in the piles of paper at my desk. And I do plan to ask my friend to help me fill out the information. She now has seen my son at least weekly in class and might have some valuable insights and opinions to share. 

So this is my affirmation to myself to make these items a priority. 

If you also deal with mental health issues and have other family members with mental health issues, I would love to hear your challenges, thoughts and insights.   Let us help each other. 

Don’t look back, keep moving forward: Post 6

Tonight, I went out by myself like I have done on most Monday afternoons for…a very long time.  I was out-of-town last Monday and the week before that I was recovering from a yucky virus and so three weeks have passed.

I arrived at one of my favorite spots, a Panera, where I can hide in the corner in a comfortable chair and set up with my space with my lap top, music via ear buds and now my new to me iPad, as well as my iPhone, and a bag with journals and books.

As I sat there,  first taking care of emails and Facebook messages both personal and on my Charlottehomeschooling and Child-led Learning pages, and then began to focus, I realized  that for the first time in a long time, if ever, I had SO MUCH that I wanted to write about.  I did not know where to begin!  I posted this to Facebook  stating it was a “good problem to have” and to my husband I texted:

I feel like I am ME again.  Not depressed and not manic. Just me.  It’s a wonderful feeling.  Now to decide what to write about first…So many ideas…..

Where do I go from here?

With this post…

I have lost and gained so much in the past year and a half since I first came out of my depression. 

I have lost over 25 pounds, something I have wanted to do for a long time, since I put that extra weight on after my now 7+year old son was born when I was 39 years old.  That is an amazing feeling.  How did  I do it?  Not with a weight loss plan. Not even an exercise plan.  I did it with energy work and focusing on what is important in my life and important to me.  I can expand upon that in another post.

I have gained a new sense of confidence, a renewed spirit for living.

Hope

Inspiration

My optimism has returned. Something, that I thought I had lost.  I can remember the moment when I realized that I  no longer felt like an optomisitic person.  I felt like my personality had changed. Had I become a pessimist? I did not like this about myself.

For as far back as I can remember, I have always lived with a sense of optimism. And you can view other gratitude posts here and here.     Until I no longer did.  And I don’t really know when that first began.

I know it was likely a series of events that piled on me, each event like a weight, some larger than others yet, all pushing me down into the quicksand.  With each new weight, it became more difficulty to pull myself up. And over time, when I did move upward it was never as high as it used to be.  Like a slowly growing sink hole that I kept attempting to climb out of and each time I did, my base of support moved further down, further down the path of depression. Yet, it happened slow gradually, I cout not see how far I had fallen.

I suspected depression for a long time.  Yet, I did not fully realize it until I I found myself lifted up, out of depression, possibly in a hypomanic state common in Bipolar 2 Disorder which is what I suspect I have.  My brother has this diagnosis and ever since I had my first psychology classes in college, I have suspected that I might be Bipolar.  Yet, back then, I did not know about Bipolar 2. I researched it just now and found this abstract from US National Library of MedicineNational Institutes of Health which appears to state that the classification for Bipolar 2 first appeared in the DSM-IV,  published in 1994, 2 years after I graduated college. I had a pocket edition of the DSM-III-R (1987)  for my psyciatric occupational therapy classes. I have that somewhere and have wondered about where it is over the years.  Yet it is out of date with the newest edition the DSM-V being published in 2013.

I digress.

Above, I have shared almost in chronological order all of my other posts in this series and thorughout my process since my first post.  And so I will share the remainder here:

Gratitude: January 11, 2016

I pulled myself out the first time in summer-fall of 2014 but then found myself back in depression by January 2015, having begun falling since November 2014.  I did much work from that time to get help and recover again.  Yet, it was a very slow process. This post is the night I knew I was really out of my depression again, or at least when I felt the most like myself again:

Twisted Sister

And my remaining posts:

Don’t look back, keeping moving forward: Depression post 3

Don’t Look Back, Keep Moving Forward Post4:The other side

Heart rate: 93 beats per minute

Don’t Look Back, Keep Moving Foward, Post 5

Spiritual Connections

I will close with the lyrics from one of the greatest bands of all times, Fleetwood Mac.

Thank you AZlyrics.com

“Don’t Stop”

If you wake up and don’t want to smile,
If it takes just a little while,
Open your eyes and look at the day,
You’ll see things in a different way.
Don’t stop, thinking about tomorrow,
Don’t stop, it’ll soon be here,
It’ll be, better than before,
Yesterday’s gone, yesterday’s gone.
Why not think about times to come,
And not about the things that you’ve done,
If your life was bad to you,
Just think what tomorrow will do.
Don’t stop, thinking about tomorrow,
Don’t stop, it’ll soon be here,
It’ll be, better than before,
Yesterday’s gone, yesterday’s gone.
All I want is to see you smile,
If it takes just a little while,
I know you don’t believe that it’s true,
I never meant any harm to you.
Don’t stop, thinking about tomorrow,
Don’t stop, it’ll soon be here,
It’ll be, better than before,
Yesterday’s gone, yesterday’s gone.
Don’t you look back,
Don’t you look back.

 

Don’t Look Back, Keep Moving Foward, Post 5

When I look back now, I can see how far I have come.  When I look back now on my life, I can see how long I was depressed as well as how significantly depressed that I was.

It is surreal. I keep having the experience of deja vu and when I  stop and think about it, I realize, I feel like I finally have my life back.  Sometimes, I even picture my life when my older two children were younger, before OCD took over our family and held it hostage and before all the serious of struggles both emotional and financial entered our lives.  I often picture when my children were ages 2 and 6 and we did a “stay-cation” where we planned a week’s vacation but did it all from home.  Positive empowering memories, memories that used to haunt me in my depression because I felt so lost and wondered “what happened to that family?”  Looking at old pictures and especially old family videos were a reminder to me of how wonderful it used to be and a sad slap of realty because the life I was living looked nothing like those memories.  Or at least, in my severe depression, I could not see that life anymore. It was my distant past, a past I yearned for and wished so dearly that I could recapture.

Here I am now, on the other side, so to speak.  Or am I?  Having a family history of Bipolar Disorder and having discussions about this illness with my brother and his treatments over the years, there is a part of me that keeps wondering, “how long will I feel this wonderful? Is this mania or hypomania?”  I am anxious about the idea of the depression coming back and most anxious about the possibility of  falling from my state of emotional high and extremely well-functioning to the depths of profound depression.  I have taken the needed steps in setting up an appointment with a psychiatrist to discuss medications and my family history which is something I am glad to do since I have been taking an SSRI for 10 months now but it was prescribed by my family nurse practitioner.

Another song arrives at just the perfect time as I write, wondering where to go next with my post.  This song is one that spoke to me in my darkest moments or maybe in the moments when I was trying to pull myself up out of the dark. I start with the chorus and share the most meaningful part of the song (for me)  There are two verses before this. .

‘Cause you can’t jump the track, we’re like cars on a cable
And life’s like an hourglass, glued to the table
No one can find the rewind button, girl.
So cradle your head in your hands
And breathe… just breathe,
Oh breathe, just breathe

There’s a light at each end of this tunnel,
You shout ’cause you’re just as far in as you’ll ever be out
And these mistakes you’ve made, you’ll just make them again
If you’d only try turning around.

2 AM and I’m still awake, writing a song
If I get it all down on paper, it’s no longer inside of me,
Threatening the life it belongs to
And I feel like I’m naked in front of the crowd
Cause these words are my diary, screaming out loud
And I know that you’ll use them, however you want to

But you can’t jump the track, we’re like cars on a cable,
And life’s like an hourglass, glued to the table
No one can find the rewind button now
Sing it if you understand.
and breathe, just breathe
woah breathe, just breathe,
Oh breathe, just breathe.

(Thank you Anna Nalick and azlyrics.com)
Many times as I listened to the song and sang the lyrics out loud, I was in that stuck place. Stuck in my thoughts and feeling like there was no way out, that I was trapped in this cycle of frustration, struggle, depression and anger.  I was angry at the world for our financial problems, and all the terrible things that had happened, and angry at my life for not being the life that I had imagined nor the life I had experienced when I first had children. I sang it  to express how I felt and as a way to calm myself and remember to take each day one moment at a time.  I sang it to be heard.  Even though I only sing out loud in private in my home, or when I’m driving. I think this song helped me to feel heard.  One of my core issues has always been feeling like I am invisible.  And with the thought of feeling invisible, I immediately want to share the story of my car accident in 2012.  Yet, I will save that for another post.  Instead, I will end with this thought.
Somehow, I persevered.  I went through the muck and mud and have come out on the others side.  I believe the SSRI (anti-depressant) has helped me as well as being a part of The Ego Tamer Academy with Jan Luther and my active participation in the program along with using the many tools I have learned over the years like Reike, EFT, meditation, exercise,and  Imago Relationship Therapy.  I know changing my diet and taking supplements to improve my physical health have both been very important.   I don’t know if I could have pulled myself through to the other side without my husband, best friend and soul mate, Donald Grothoff and my three greatest teachers ever: my amazing children, as well as all my family and friends.
2 AM and I’m still awake, writing a (blog)
If I get it all down on paper, it’s no longer inside of me,
Threatening the life it belongs to
And I feel like I’m naked in front of the crowd
Cause these words are my diary, screaming out loud
And I know that you’ll use them, however you want to

But you can’t jump the track, we’re like cars on a cable,
And life’s like an hourglass, glued to the table
No one can find the rewind button now
Sing it if you understand.
and breathe, just breathe
woah breathe, just breathe,
Oh breathe, just breathe.

Don’t Look Back, Keep Moving Forward Post4:The other side

I have skipped several weeks writing.  Yet, in that time, I have moved so far foward!

(My last post)

I hardly know where to begin right now.  I parked myself in my bedroom to write about 4pm.  Cold, rainy with chance of wintery mix on this Monday and so I choose to cozy up at home to write.  Took me over an hour to pack up and head to my room- and almost 3 1/2 hours to finally open Word Press.  

I went to my Charlotte Homeschooling Website, which I usualy do first. Wanted to update my profile picture. Then was looking for a new picture for my Child-led Learning page. I just realized, I never found that particular picture I was looking for…

Instead, I spent my time going through my Facebook Album of Uploaded Photos and saving pictures on my computer in a file entitled “Child-Led Learning”.  Each picture I found and shared found me saying,”this would be great for a blog post” and even thinking of things I could write about with each picture.

Procrastination

I procrastinate well.  But I pushed myself with the help of my wonderful husband bringing me dinner and reminding me to write! I then switched my music from Pandora to my old phone playlist entitled, “Writing” which I used years ago for writing inspiration on my Monday nights out.

I wasn’t sure what to write about.  I  really wanted to write a Child-led learning blog because I have not done that in awhile and recently have been filled with inspiration and multiple ideas.  I knew I needed to just jump in and figure it out as I wrote. This too is part of my journey out of depression.  I have found myself on a wonderful “upswing” for well over a month now.  I felt this last back in summer- fall of 2014 before I crashed down in late 2014-early 2015.  I am going to go to a Psychiatrist soon.  First time for me.

I have been taking an anti-depresant (SSRI) for about 10 monts, presribed by my primary doctor (family nurse practioner).   I have a close realative who has Bipolar II and have wondered for a long time if I don’t fit criteria for Bipolar Disorder.  I also know that taking an anti-depressant may not be the best medication choice for me if infact my depression is caused by Bipolar Disorder.  My depression became so signifcant for me, I knew I needed help.  I knew I needed more help than all the things I was already doing.  I had thought about medication for years, at least since my daughter began taking an SSRI in 2013.  That was one of the most difficult decisions I ever had to make, to make the appointment with the Psychiatrist and to realize my daughter needed more help than we could give her and depsite all our efforts with diet changes and a variety of alternative therapies since we  first recognized her  sudden onset of moderate to severe OCD in Spring of  2010.

It took me until early 2014 after a dear friend had a heart to heart talk with me about my depression.   I made the phone call shortly after our meeting and scheduled an apt for myself with my primary and even made sure my husband could attend with me becuase I wanted someone to help me follow through with my request for medication.  I had to wait a few months for the appointment and scheduled it as a well check up, something I was do for anyhow.  I went to her because I liked that the fact that she respected alternative medicine and modalities and saw value of both convential medicine and alternative.  She brought up two things that hadn’t occured to me, bio-identical hormones, I was 45 at the time; and trying supplaments first.  Why had I not tried some supplaments first?  Maybe becaue I was too lost in my depression and drained from carying for my daughter’s mental illness to take that initiative.  The bio-identical hormones information made a lot of sense to me, yet I knew this was more than my hormones because I could look back on my life and see this issue for a long time.  I also could not allocate money for a modality not covered by insurance at the time.

I left with a plan to try supplaments first, ones she recommended.  Yet, I also was kicking myself for not sticking to my plan and not informing my husband ahead of time that the reason he was with me was to be sure I asked for the medication.  It took me a few weeks to order the supplaments, then I took them for maybe 2 months.  Then I contacted her, through their wonderful online patient portal system.  She had told me when I had gone to see her that she would write a prescription for me.

It was easy!  I desribed things to her via email and she called in the prescription. She started me on a low dose (5mg for week then 10 mg). I was happy to start slow.  After 4-6 weeks,  I felt like it might be helping.  A few months later (I think), she incresed it to 20 mg after discussion with her and another appointment.  Again, after about 6 weeks, I thought I saw improvement on the new dose.  Yet, I wasn’t certain.  I was busy engaging in self development work at the same time which I know has had a huge impact on me.

I remember this past fall, wishing I was in the place I had been back in  the fall of 2014.  I knew I wasn’t there and still struggling with depression.  Yet, I was able to pus on, moving more foward then I had been able to do months before.  There definitely was a big switch in January.

For months, probably a good year, I was stuck.  I didn’t know what to write about.  I didn’t have much desire to write.  I began working more on my website first, and making some needed improvments.  Yet, the inspiration for writing came more slowly.  Earlier this month, February 2016, I messaged an online private writing group that I have been a part of.  They are a group of woman writers who set individual  weekly or monthly writing goals and help hold each other accountable.  I last participated in Octover of 2014.  I think t hat was the only month I participated. I contact them, ready to participate again! 16 months later.  Everyone was too busy, but made plans to do a writing challenge after Valentine’s Day, which I am realizing is today.  Guess I need to go to the group and check!

Before I become like a squirrel and venture off on another tangent, something that has been happening to me more often lately, scampering wildly from one idea to another, I will conclude with a few thoughts.

This is one of my favorite songs of all time. It played earlier as I was writing.  It’s been a while since I listened to it and felt the inspiration I used to feel when I would hear it play as I wrote.   It has such meaning and always had for me.  I share it in entirety.

David Wilcox:  Turning Point (from the album of the same name)

Just one turn to steer your fate

Or wait for fate to spin you

Your trusting’s fine but much too blind

Your compass is within you

These days pass you yearning

Like empty pages turning

You’re holding out for somjething real, oh yeah

You can’t play pretender

Because you still remember

Just how full your heart can feel

But how long the distance

Getting by and getting through

Your heart’s strong insistnece

Says that nothing else will do

But you could try on their distractions

And wear some empty compromise

But it’s hard to breath inside

Some cheap disguise

You can live your life completelty

That true path, you’re here to find

Or stay scared, leave your destiny behind

It’s right now, here’s the turning point in time

But just one thing can kill this dream

To compromise your vision

We find our truth or live some lie

It rides on this decision

Meanwhile those othere voices

Hurry up and rush your choices

Try to second guess your fate, oh yeah

You can’t wait forever

Goota pull yourself together

Feel the time is running late

Well, this time right now

The turning point is here

So look deep, see clear

Soon your chance will disappear

Or you could drift into distration

Wear that empty compromise

But it’s hard to breathe inside

That cheap disguise

You can live your life completely

That true path, you’re here to find

Or stay scared, leave your destiny behind

It’s right now, here’s the turning point in time

Here’s the turning point in time

Here’s the turning point in time

Read all posts in this series here. “Don’t Look Back, Keep Moving Forward”

 

 

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”.