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

Posts tagged ‘anxiety’

Today is June 4, 2018

I went to a new psychiatrist today. This is my third psychiatrist in 2 1/2 years. I have not been happy with the psychiatrists I have seen. I have been disillusioned by the majority of the mental health community that I have encountered for myself and my children.

Today, I went to my appointment with a plan to be completely honest.

Refreshingly, the psychiatrist asked what brought me in today and I spoke frankly with her and she was real. She listened to what I said and spoke to my questions respectfully and authentically.

I decided quickly that I liked her.

She did not know what EFT was but she initiated asking me about it. She heard my perspective of my experience of depression and respected that I felt it was bipolar depression. She stated she was going to keep the major depressive disorder diagnosis for now, not sure why, but whatever, it does not really matter. She did understand Bioplar 2 and spoke clearly about it and asked specific questions about my experience.

I felt heard.

After the appointment, I thought about the law of attraction.

I was ready to be honest with the doctor and also wanted to be heard and that is what I experienced.

When I was depressed and sought a psychiatrist, I found one in an old building with no working air conditioning and so she ran a fan which affected my ability to hear her confounded by her soft voice, accent, and my hearing loss. And she only accepted cash payment, very inconvenient for me to have to have cash on me. I don’t have a local bank and so finding an fee free ATM is a challenge. Last thing I need when I am depressed is more challenges, hurdles, to going to the doctor that I most need to see.

When I was hypomania, bordering on manic, I saw a psychiatrist who although very open to alternative therapies and resources, was easily distracted and lacked focus.

Hmmm..

Something very funny about all of this.

The law of attraction is powerful.

I also worked today, at my newest job. The job where I feel like a queen in a palace. Quite an unusual feeling for me at work. I worked longer than I had told them I could work, but it worked out ok because the reason I had to leave early changed, an appointment I was supposed to have in the afternoon got canceled.

I have put in many hours at this new job and am happy to do so. I am getting the best pay rate at this new job, the best and the first time I have had a true increase in pay in over 20 years. Crazy, huh? No, I work in health care.

I went to get a massage today. A good friend offered a special on massages this month, 90 minutes for the price of 60minutes. I couldn’t pass it up, an opportunity to support her, get a great massage, and see my dear friend who I have not seen in a while.

I think I am now clearing toxins.

I feel like I need to exercise or something.

Restless discontent.

Maybe it is the fact that my husband, Don, and I are speaking in just 3 days and I am beginning to feel the panic of do I really know what I am doing speaking to a group of people about parenting?

This Panera closes too early, 9pm. I am used to the Panera that is open until 10pm. They are cleaning the floor already at 8:30 and out of 2 kinds of tea. I got prickly pear and don’t like it.

Restless discontent

That state of being agitated and bored and edgy yet uncertain

Not knowing what is going to happen next and ready to move forward

To move out of this feeling of unhappiness

Was I feeling unhappy?

life has been wonderful lately

Yet, a part of me is grieving

Grieving a loss

My life is about to change

Change in a good way

And yet, a change is still change and loss

Does change have to be loss?

No, yet it is a loss of the way life was…

And the way it was… despite the challenges, was familiar

I am entering into unfamiliar territory

I started 2 new jobs for 2 new companies recently

I lost my hours at a job I had been at for 8 years

They are choosing not to use me and also have changed policy so that even if they choose to use me, there would not be many hours for me

Body Language

A song by Queen plays as I write

Strange combination

Yet, body language is such a perfect image

For change, speaking to people

Not exactly the way Freddie sings about body language…

The way we communicate with each other

Communication includes how we say what we say

Respect

Consciousness

Collaboration

The three tenants of collaborative, conscious parenting

Moving through the restless discontent

The only way out of the mud, is through the mud…

Diving in deep

Deep into the mud

And Journey sings…

Workin’ hard to get my fill

Everybody wants a thrill

Payin’ anything to roll the dice just one more time

Some will win, some will lose

Some were born to sing the blues

Oh, the movie never ends

It goes on and on, and on, and on

Don’t stop believin’

Hold on to that feelin’

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The other side of depression, Bipolar Depression

I found this post in my drafts written February 12, 2018.

For some reason, I never published it. I suppose I felt it was unfinished.

Two months have past since I wrote it….Today is Monday April 9,2018.

I will first share the post as it was written two months ago and add to it at the end.

Written February 12,2018:

I decided today was a day to write about myself and my journey with depression.

I reread the post I wrote 8 months ago, shortly after I started on my current anti-depressant,

Seeing the Horizon

That’s just the way it is

Some things will never change

That’s just the way it is

Ah, but don’t you believe them

That’s just the way it is

Some things will never change

That’s just the way it is

Ah, but don’t you believe them

Bruce Hornsby sings in my ears as I write…

When I am in the midst of depression, I feel stuck like the words of the song, that’s just the way it is.

Yet, I never lost hope, but don’t you believe them.

I have now been on Prozac for 8 months and I feel I first really saw improvement back in October, after 4 months on medication. I insisted my doctor start me on 10 mg before moving up to 20mg for an easier adjustment for the medication. It’s what we did for my daughter and was recommended to minimize side effects and so I wanted to do the same for myself. It was also how the nurse practitioner had started me on a different anti-depressant 2 years ago when I first asked for medication help for my depression.

Here I am on the other side and looking back

Now if you’re feelin’ kinda low ’bout the dues you’ve been paying

Future’s coming much too slow

And you wanna run but somehow you just keep on stayin’

Can’t decide on which way to go

Yeah, yeah, yeah

I understand about indecision

But I don’t care if I get behind

People livin’ in competition

All I want is to have my peace of mind

Boston says it so well. Thank you amazing musicians and azlyrics.

Reading my post Seeing the Horizon….

I feel that I am in a weird fog.  I don’t want to use someone’s suffering to figure out my own life. Yet this expereince today has affected me. I want to take from it to move forward in my life and in my choices.

In my post, Seeing the Horizon, I shared an experience I had going to a new location for my writing time and discovering a man on the floor. My first thought was he was sleeping, which seamed so silly after the fact. He had collapsed, fallen out of his booth onto the floor face down on the ground and I froze, witnessing the restaurant employees try to figure out what to do, offering him ice because he was clammy. And I stood there frozen, knowing what to do but unable to make myself step forward and speak up, “I know CPR”.

This experience and how I handled it has haunted me since it happened. I came to some peace with myself realizing it had triggered my PTSD from when my husband had a massive heart attack and cardiac arrest in my own home. I was so thankful the medics arrived before he went into cardiac arrest. I was grateful that a police officer showed up rather quickly after the restaurant employees tried unsuccessfully to help the man. One employee knew to roll him gently onto his back and someone called 911, while I sat there paralyzed.

I recently completed a 6 week Resiliency Course with the amazing EFT Master, Jan Luther and founder of The Ego Tamer Academy and Author of the book, “Grief is Mourning Sickness”.

This course involved 6 intense weekly phone calls and some other individual work with tapping (EFT, Emotional Freedom Technique) along with other exercises as part of a deep healing experience.

In my own personal work, through the help of Jan and the “borrowed benefits” of my group members, 5 other women, I discovered a connection between my own issues with medial professionals who have failed me and my children in getting the help we need with this experience.

This experience where I failed to respond to help this man in need.

In this realization, I was able to forgive the medical professionals who have failed my family. We are all human and we all make mistakes. On some level, there is still some underlying frustration with the failure to get help for my children when we really needed it. Yet, I have learned that moving past this resentment and anger is healing. Healing to myself including the ability to forgive myself for my own mistakes.

I have always been my own harshest critic.

In reflection, I have continued to move forward with great strides over the past two months.

I went through a long period of only needing 5-6 hours of sleep and getting up very early and accomplishing many things and jumping into many new things. While enrolled in the 6 week Resiliency Course, I realized my job of 8 years was not serving me and the universe had been pushing me to move on, and I had a difficulty phone encounter with my boss that led me to moving forward on my job search process that I had already started due to lack of hours. I also interviewed for and accepted two jobs, both “PRN” work, meaning on an as needed basis which is my status of employment at my other two employers. I have worked PRN for over 16 years since leaving my part time position when my daughter was born.

I was liberated when I moved away from the job of 8 years that was no longer serving me, nor providing me a pay check.

I found new work close to home and a better rate of pay.

I have been an Occupational Therapist for 25 years and for the first time in 21 years, I have found a position with a higher rate of pay than I have previously received. This is the nature of healthcare jobs in 21st century America.

I am still in process of completing online requirements for the one employer. I have begun work for the other employer and am enjoying my 3 mile commute. I have worked at this facility in the past and so I knew several of the employees when I interviewed for the position. Being a familiar place, helped ease my transition to the new job. Change can be hard even when I am not depressed.

I have come to realize that I feel I have had some underlying depression since my teenage years. Most certainly since the challenges that came about in my life after moving when I was 12 years old, just prior to my 7th grade school year. And all the challenges of puberty only added to the struggle for me. I had some bigger issues in college my senior year when my relationship with my boyfriend of 5 years ended. I think the depression was mild until..

Maybe until my daughter was born and the challenges of being home more and juggling the needs of 2 children, or later when I was trying to conceive our third child and having no success but having hot flashes instead. Even then, when I look back, that was a relatively happy period in my life. I was struggling in that year before our third child was conceived and then when I was 3 months pregnant, my husband lost his job. The very job that helped me to stay at home full time and for us to make the decision to have the third child I had always wanted.

My daughter’s OCD symptoms began about this time, but we did not acknowledge it fully until it exploded a year later, when her baby brother was one year old and she was 8 years old.

That was 8 years ago…

The following year, 2011, my husband had his heart attack.

6 months after his heart attack when he had completed outpatient cardiac rehab, I developed Bronchitis that was recurrent for over 6 months and then got in a car accident just over one year to the anniversary of his heart attack.

May 2011 and May 2012: challenging times

My car accident in May of 2012 was far more devastating to me than my husband’s heart attack.

I became a pessimist.

And I wondered how that happened, because I was always the eternal optimist.

Yet, I knew “life had dragged me down”…

Songs like this have kept me going. Music is my therapy.

I will close with the words of the late, great Tom Petty for he has been one of my biggest inspirations over the past several years writing about my depression.

Well, I won’t back down

No, I won’t back down

You can stand me up at the gates of hell

But I won’t back down

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 down)

Hey, baby, there ain’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)

Hey, baby, there ain’t no easy way out

(I won’t back down)

Hey, I will stand my ground

And I won’t back down

Hey baby, there ain’t no easy way out

(I won’t back down)

Hey, I won’t back down

(I won’t back down)

Hey, baby, there ain’t no easy way out

(I won’t back down)

Hey, I will stand my ground

And I won’t back down

No, I won’t back down

Family Road Trip

We left Charlotte at 7am Friday morning.

Four people, suitcases, bags and bags of snacks: gluten free foods, fresh brewed tea sweetened with local honey

Missing a family member, oldest son, home to take care of dogs, attend work and school

Been a long time, four and a half years to be exact, since we traveled to St. Louis

I drove first

Road trip playlist on Spotify

Chai tea with coconut milk, caffeinated chai

When did i become a morning person?

When did I become a morning person who needs her caffeine in the morning to get her day going?

Writing

Time to myself

Music

Starting my day

Time with my husband and two younger kids

Seeing my husband with his family, in his element, relaxed, being the jokester among a family of self proclaimed comedians

Eye rolls from my sixteen year old daughter

“That’s how I know I am doing my job”

Nieces and nephews, who are my age, with children, teenagers of their own

I can’t stand to fly

I’m not that naive

I’m just out to find

The better part of me

Family

Nearly 24 years ago, I married my husband and became a Grothoff

I joined this family

Three new brother-in-laws and four sister-in-laws

Eleven nieces and nephews, from age 8 through age through age 23

Now,

Twenty-four years later… age 32 through age 47, with children of their own

Sixteen great nieces and nephews, if I counted correctly….

Playing with Andrew, age 18 months

Feels like a hundred years since I had a toddler of my own

My youngest is nine…

“9 going on 40” as his aunt said yesterday

Speaking up

Speaking up for my child

Speaking up for my child with social anxiety

Allowing

Allowing him to go off and be alone

Overwhelmed by all these people he does not know

He was four years old when he was last here in St. Louis

He was four years old when he met most of these relatives

That was half his life ago…

It was a house full

They were not all here, several live in Texas and some could not come

Nineteen people, not including us…

Only five other kids, two of them being teens

Family

Large families

I grew up with a large extended family

My mother being one of seven children and my father was one of six living siblings

We visited New Jersey at least once each year

So many aunts and uncles and cousins,

Great aunts and uncles… my parents cousins…

People

Many people

I was the quiet one

Close to mom as a young child

Or hanging with my sister as I got older

Loud family

Difficulty to get a word in edgewise with all the animated extroverts

Fun family

Memories

Creating memories for my own children

Establishing bonds

Building a sense of comfort with being around this family that lives 756 miles away

Three days to visit

Three short days for him to have time to get to know these strange people

People who are “strange to him”, unknown

I feel proud of how well he is doing

He has come such a long way on his journey, overcoming social anxiety and obsessive compulsive disorder

It is an ongoing journey

He came out of the bedroom on his own in the middle of the gathering

“I thought I would come out to be with everyone” he told me

He made that decision on his own

Talking with him and

Encouraging him to be a part of the gathering and talk to people, to at least say hello

He has made such huge progress over the past several years

Family

Oldest son at home

Texting and FaceTime connections

Give a little bit

Give a little bit of your love to me

I’ll give a little bit of my life for you

Now’s the time that we need to share

So find yourself, we’re on our way back home

Family

Two more days to be the parent he needs in this new environment

Meeting his needs

And meeting mine

Balance

Being there for all three of my children,

And my husband

And myself

Easter

April 1

Fresh starts

Foolish fun and games amount family

Easter, April 1, 2018

You’re on the road

But you’ve got no destination

You’re in the mud

In the maze of her imagination

You’re lovin’ this town

Even if that doesn’t ring true

You’ve been all over

And it’s been all over you

It’s a beautiful day

Don’t let it get away

It’s a beautiful day

Thank you to: U2, Beautiful Day lyrics

Supertramp and “Give a Little Bit

Five for Fighting and “Superman””

I am grateful for Google and Azlyrics

And grateful for all the poets of this world

Your words inspire me

Changes…and dreams…home!

My life has taken a big turn this month. I sit down to write on this Sunday morning and my Writing Inspiration playlist echos my thoughts…

Well, I’ve been afraid of changin’

‘Cause I’ve built my life around you

But time makes you bolder

Even children get older

And I’m getting older, too

I have been with one job for 8 years and now I am moving on. The universe has slowly been nudging me to move on and yet I resisted for so long. But I love my co-workers and I know the building, the other staff and even the families, it feels like home to me!

I have said these things over and over again over the years, yet I have been left stagnant, my soul in dire need of change. Sometimes we need a big PUSH to move on in life. I am grateful for a big push.

Tomorrow I start a new job.

The funny thing is that I have worked at this “new job” before. I worked for this same company, in this same building, for the same boss and with several of the same co-workers several years ago. My ego can not argue about change when I am moving to something that is familiar to me and is not really new.

It feels right to move to this new job. And it also is scary. Change can be scary.

I feel excited, yet anxious, eager, yet apprehensive…

Do most people feel these things when starting a new job, or anything new?

For me, I get eager to get that first day over with….

I know once I complete my first day, it will get easier, and once I get used to the computer system and the documentation, and the people…. Part of me wants to jump ahead a few months, knowing it will be easier then and I will have less anxiety then.

Yet, there is joy in the new-ness of the beginning of a new job, a new relationship….

I can feel free to ask all my questions.

I have permission to not know exactly what I am doing.

I enjoy meeting new people and the early questions and conversations with new people.

Discovery

A new job can be like an exploring mission to a new land…

Changes

More than a new job is happening in my life

My life is full of many changes right now.

Don and I attended SHIFT Charlotte yesterday. We are embarking on a new journey together. We are going to speak on conscious parenting. We are embarking on a combined business endeavor.

Child-led Learning and Family OCD are coming together under Focused Healthy Families.

We have been working toward this for a long time.

I have been working toward this vision for 20+years, since I became a mother, and since I first envisioned, “Mommy Daddy STOP.com”.

Mommy, Daddy, STOP.com was the website I first created with the tag line: Consciously parenting our children, our parents, and ourselves.

Once upon a time

Once when you were mine

I remember skies

Reflected in your eyes

I wonder where you are

I wonder if you think about me

Once upon a time

In your wildest dreams

When I listen to songs like Your Wildest Dreams by the Moody Blues, even though it is a “love song”, I hear the message of speaking to my soul, my true self that was lost for so long.

I wonder if you care

I wonder if you still remember

Once upon a time

In your wildest dreams

And when the music plays

And when the words are touched with sorrow

When the music plays

I hear the sound I had to follow

Once upon a time

I feel reconnected with my children.

I feel recommended with myself.

I feel that Don and I are on the path that I envisioned nearly 7 years ago when he was born again, May 4,2011.

I had big visions when Don was in the hospital for 12 days in May of 2011, recovering from a massive heart attack.

I have had dreams since I first became a mother on November 10, 1997 and from when I returned to work in February of 1998.

I had dreams of finding a way to work from home so that I could be a full time mother and earn a living.

Today is Sunday, March 25, 2018

20 years + 1 month ago, I returned to work after my first child was born,

It was the most difficult thing i had done up to that point in my life. My husband was building a business, working from home and we had made this plan long before I had become pregnant. He offered to find a job again so that I could stay home full time. Yet, I knew that we had chosen this path for a reason and him building his own business was a big part of our vision which included him growing the business so that I could work less hours, and eventually even be home full time.

I remember sending away for work from home information.

I got a large roll of ribbon from one company, to make tiny bows.

This was pre-internet, 1998, when I found out about working from home from snail mail resources.

I never made those bows.

Yet, I kept searching for a way to work from home…

I started Charlottehomeschooling.com in 2008, just months before my third child was born.

I began this blog in 2012.

I began Child-led Learning blog in 2014.

I have been working toward a new endeavor for a long time and magically, my husband has evolved his career multiple times into what is now a coaching business working with families with the focus of helping people overcoming anxiety.

Here I am now after 20 years…

Bon Jovisays it well

I spent twenty years trying to get out of this place

I was looking for something I couldn’t replace

I was running away from the only thing I’ve ever known

Like a blind dog without a bone

I was a gypsy lost in the twilight zone

I hijacked a rainbow and crashed into a pot of gold

I been there, done that

But I ain’t looking back on the seeds I’ve sown

Saving dimes, spending too much time on the telephone

Who says you can’t go home?

Mommy Guilt: “shoulding” on myself

I should have…

I should have worked more hours when i was pregnant with baby number 3.

I should have returned to work sooner after he was born in January 2009.

I should have worked more and saved more while I was pregnant.

I should have returned to work sooner so our debt didn’t grow so much.

I should have known to move money from our tax rebate to pay down our home equity line of credit after my husband had a massive heart attack so that Medicaid would have kicked in sooner, rather than exhausting all that money we had from me working extra hours and our tax rebate.

The social worker should have told me the rules…

Someone should have told me that Medicaid says if you have more than $3000 in assesses (savings, checking, cash), then you wont; qualify for Medicaid…until that money is gone…

I should have applied for food stamps once we did qualify for Medicaid

I began the application several times, I should have finished it and sent it in.

I should have gotten more help then we would have less debt.

I should have done so many things….

I should have reached out for help sooner when my daughter showed signs of separation anxiety and other issues when I was pregnant with our third child.

I should have realized it was something more than just me being pregnant.

I should have gotten her help sooner so that her Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, her anxiety disorder, her mental illness did not become so extreme and severe…

I should have gotten her on medication sooner…

I should have listened to my friend who suggested it might be OCD when it was in a mild state.

I should have gotten her to a therapist sooner.

I should have researched OCD sooner, when my friend brought it up.

I should have listened..

I should have gotten her help sooner so she did not have to suffer so much..

I should have gotten my youngest help sooner when he showed signs of anxiety and OCD from at least age 2.

I should have countered when the therapist said, “i don’t think it is OCD”

I should have completed the paperwork even though it took 6 months to get it from the Development and Behavioral Pediatrician

I should have gotten him in sooner and not waited as long as I did.

I should have taken him to a mental health place sooner to get him help, medication.

I should not have had so much fear about giving my kids medication…I should have found more support when I knew that was needed.

Going to the psychiatrist should have been paid for by Medicaid.

Medicaid should have qualified people to treat my children and I should have access to finding the resources without having to jump through a million hoops and experience unqualified people and ill equipped facilities and services.

My children should be able to go to the specialists they need because of their illness even though they have government assisted health insurance.

I work in health care, I should have better health insurance.

I have a bachelors of science degree in Occupational Therapy and training in mental health care, I should be treated with respect when the people from Medicaid speak to me.

Everyone should be treated with respect no matter what their educational level.

I should be able to access information about my health insurance and services for my children even though it is government assisted.

I have paid into the system since I was 15 1/2 years old and so now that I need these services, I should receive them if I qualify.

I shouldn’t have to jump through crazy hoops because my income varies from month to month and so does my 20 year old son’s income.

My 20 year old son’s income SHOULD NOT count toward our household income for the healthcare market place and definitely not for qualifying my younger children for Medicaid or NC health choice. My 20 year old son who purchased his own car, pays for his own insurance, and pays to attend community college part time all with his own hard earned money.

I should have listened to my gut when I realized even though their Dad had survived, that my three kids had gone through a traumatic experience and would need some counseling and help…

Survivors guilt…but he lived, there is no help when your husband lives…

I should have listened to myself because I knew that experience was traumatic for all of us.

I should have let go of “survivors guilt” because he lived and our friends who lost husbands to heart attacks that same year, did not survive. “I should be grateful that he lived.”

I should on myself and others have should upon me….

And I should on other people.

It is really a bad habit and not helpful to anyone.

I should have filled out the special forms and jumped through the hoops to see if my son could qualify for grants for college costs, because they decided to use the same year for 3or 4 semesters to look at our income, the year we took out $65,000 from IRA money to pay down debt.

I should have worked more hours.

I should have been a better mom so my children wouldn’t have mental illness.

I should have been a better me so I wouldn’t have mental illness.

I should have done something different to prevent mental illness?

Is that really possible?

Do parents of kids who have cancer ask themselves this question?

Maybe they do, Maybe they don’t.

I shouldn’t have to wonder about this.

My kids friends and their parents should have been there more for my daughter when she was crippled with mental illness, with Obsessive Compulsive Disorder and Depression.

They should have given her the love and support she needed just like they would have done if she had cancer.

WE SHOULD LIVE IN A WORLD WHERE MENTAL ILLNESS IS TREATED THE SAME AS OTHER ILLNESSES, PHYSICAL ILLNESSES WHICH ARE MORE SOCIALLY ACCEPTABLE IN AMERICAN SOCIETY.

Mental illness SHOULD be classified the same as other illness because they last time I looked, my head and brain are attached to my body.

We need to stop shoulding on ourselves and on others

We need to embrace where we are now and make the best choices we can in the moment and realize we can not go back in time (not yet) and change the past. What is done is behind us and we must keep moving forward.

We need to stop judging other people and their choices and instead come from love to reach out to and help others with respect and kindness.

I give you this challenge today…

Pay attention to how often you SHOULD on yourself or on someone else.

We are often our worst critic and as moms, as parents, we are our own worse saboteur.

Love yourself and respect yourself first.

Only then can you love and respect others.

Depression: Trudging through the mud with chains on my back while trying to keep my head above water

Here comes the sun

It’s been a long, cold winter

When I look back to when I have been depressed, I see sadnesses but there is so much more to it then that.

Life becomes a chore, all of it. Getting through each and every day is exhausting

And I look forward most to going to bed at night and sleeping and being in the quiet

But when I wake, I don’t feel refreshed, I feel tired and want to keep sleeping

Getting up is challenging

Getting up and starting my day takes a lot of effort

Leaving me with a half empty tank for the rest of my day

And some days, getting up takes nearly all my tank and so I am left running on fumes all day

Until I can go to bed again.

I manage to do the essentials, feed my children, feed myself

When I am depressed, I eat, too much

Trying to find comfort in food, but the comfort never comes

Leaving me feeling heavy and disappointed further pushing me down

I manage to wash clothes, I like doing laundry, the only cleaning task I truly like

Something about the simplicity of laundry and the reward

Sort the colors, fill the washer, add the soap and turn the dials

I get myself and my kids to the things we must do, are committed to

I get myself to work and get through the day

I don’t enjoy work very much and it feels like WORK

There are moments of pleasure and times where I feel good at work, work gives me a. Feeling of accomplishment

When I am working, I feel competent, because I have been an Occupational Therapist for 25 years

And I know the routine

I complete an eval, setting goals and then reassess them 3-4 weeks later and see the progress, or lack of it

And when they have reached their maximum potential, I complete the discharge paperwork with reassessment again.

It is logical and familiar.

I am a good therapist and I know what I am doing.

Yet, i have many moment so “I don’t want to do this anymore” seeing all the flaws in the system

And the problems that need fixing and it frustrates me beyond belief

Yet while I am at work, I probably am functioning my best

Home

Thinking about it now, recalling how coming home is always challenging when I am depressed,

I think it is because I come home to “disappointment”

Disappointment in myself for all the things I have NOT been doing in my time away from work

You can look at the menu but you just can’t eat

You can feel the cushions but you can’t have a seat

You can dip your foot in the pool, but you can’t have a swim

You’re the fastest runner, but you’re not allowed to win

YOu can see the summit, but you can’t reach it

It’s the last piece of the puzzle but you just cant make it fit

The doctor says you’re cured but you still feel the pain

Aspirations in the clouds but your hopes go down the drain

There are moments of joy, playing with my youngest and engaging with all my kids

Yet there is this dark cloud over my head the whole time

Just when I think I am pulling myself up and out of the muck and mud,

Something happens creating more challenges in my life

Causing me to fall back into the mud

Don is my rock, steady and always by my side

Yet, when I am depressed all I see are his flaws

I expect him to disappoint me and that is what I experience

This is a new reflection, a new realizing that I am just now fully realizing

As I listen to Peter Cetera sing, The Glory of Love

DEPRESSION

Have you ever seen the rain coming down on a sunny day?

I always thought if you were clinically depressed, you wound have any moment of joy

I always told myself, i wasn’t really depressed or i won’t be able to go to work

I wouldn’t be able to function at all, that is real clinical depression

Those people have it bad

I am still functioning.

It wasn’t until I came out of it, that I could look back and see how depressed I was

It didn’t matter that I was still functioning, I was barely functioning

I was barely getting by and it was painful

Often physically painful with aches and pains, throwing my back out to the point of not being able to move

Many trips to the chiropractor and other doctors for a variety of illnesses

And then I would get sick, stay home from work sick and it would take a long time to get better or I would relapse

Looking back this happened in college, often, sinus infections that just wouldn’t go away

Mood swings

All my life I have experienced big mood swings

When I went to college and learned about bipolar disorder

I wondered, Is this me?

Yet, i don’t experience mania

Not full on mania

It was years before I learned about hypomania

I think I learned about it from my brother and his bipolar diagnosis

From that time, i began to wonder about myself

I went to a psychiatrist after I had been on an antidepressant for a long time, 8 months ore so, prescribed by my primary

Because i finally took myself to the doctor and tole them I needed treatment for depression

So by the time I went to the first psychiatrist, i was having nearly all the side effects from the antidepressant and i was in a state of hypomania but beginning to look more like mania

The doctor diagnosed me with depression, removed me from the medicine showing me how I was having all the side effects fro it

And then

She declared me cured

I knew I was not cured but hopefully that I didn’t need the antidepressant anymore

And so worried that I would fall back into the depression again

I was good for a while, for another few months

Until i slowly began sinking again

So slowly, rreeping up on me

Realizing it but naively thinking along the way that

THIS was the low point and surely I would pull back up

Sinking further and further

Finding a doctor again and trying a different antidepressant and going to a new psychiatrist

Because I wanted to make sure the medicine didn’t cause mania because

That can help end with bipolar disorder

I had been reading and researching becoming more and more convinced that this was my proper diagnosis

And going to the psychiatrist, to the expert, to determine if that was the case

Yet, she diagnosed me with depression

And I got tiered of paying twenty dollars cash each visit and not happy with her

Challenged by th noisy fan because the building’s air conditioner was broken and she had a soft voice and an accent

And my hearing is not what it used to be and it was a challenge to hear her words

And a challenge to be there with her asking dumb basic questions

When I had dug so much deeper with all my purists in EFT and alternative modalities and inner work

Luckily, my primary has continued to prescribe my medication and i don’t seam to baving side effects

I wonder about mania vs hypomania

I realize that it would have been good to continue to go to the same psychiatrist so manybe she could have seen the difference in me,

Why?

To diagnosis me properly

Whatever

I have done that for myself

I am more qualified to do it

Which is sad, really sad that the mental health system has failed me

I intended to work in mental health when I was in college studying Occupational therapy

We had an entire semester plus dedicated to mental health and level I and level II fieldwork in a mental health setting

Only finding traumatic brain injury and a acute rehab pulled me way from my interest in pursing a career in mental health

Here I am

All these years later

Discovering that the doctors don’t always do the best job at diagnosis in

The psychologists and psychiatrist with their MDs and PhDs, all those years of school

Didn’t help me

My own personal education, experience, research and inner work and trial and erro with a variety of approaches

Has led me to diagnosis myself

I would have been the last person to say this is valid,

I am biased, this is why i went to the professions in the first place

They were supposed to be the experts

They first failed me with my children, especially my youngest son

In getting him help for his anxiety and challenges that affected his every day life

Yet, I find myself needing to say, I mean no disrespect for these professionals and they are essential in the system

And I KNOW they help many, many children and adults get the help they need.

And yet, there are those who are misdiagnosed and those who fall through the cracks of the system

Those who don’t get the help they need because of costs and insurance, bad insurance or no insurance

Or no qualified providers in their insurance plan

WE MUST ALL TAKE CHARGE OF OUR OWN HEALTH AND BE INVOLVED IN THE PROCESS

As an Occupational Therapist, my role is to facilitate my patient’s return to a higher level of independent functioning.

I facilitate, but I can not do the work for them and if they are not motivated and don’t make the effort, there is nothing I can do to make them better.

“Man, through the use of his hands, can influence the state of his own health”

The quote is from one of the founders of occupational therapy and something I learned in freshman year in a Theory of Occupational Therapy class. I learned about many different theorists yet that one quote is what has stuck with me.

That quote is what motivated me to help my daughter learn to knit and crochet when her OCD was so severe that it crippled here in her daily life. And what drove me to engage her in Sudoku puzzles and other tasks to help calm the anxiety that was rampant in her Brian causing havoc in her life and in ours.

I have learned that I must go to the doctor and get their advice AND do my own research, go to the alternative practitioners and gather all the resources and information and advice

AND then I must decide what to take in and what to discard in order to maximize my level of independent functioning.

BUT WHEN I AM DEPRESSED, IT IS REALLY HARD TO DO THIS!

I KNOW What I need to do much of the time, but making the decisions to do it and taking the action is challenging.

It can be paralyzing to know what I need to do and not be able to make the decisions to do it.

To an outsider it looks so simple, just do it,, just call the doctor and make the appointment, just get up 30 minutes early and walk every morning, just go. Outside once each day and do grounding exercises, just write in your journal daily.

Sure I KNOW I need to do these things and at times, I can do them, once or twice,

Trudging through the mud with chains on my back, while trying to keep my head above water

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.