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

Posts tagged ‘my story’

I AM HERE NOW…My 500 Words: January 31, 2018

And entire month of focus on writing,

New habits formed

Writing first thing in the morning

Quiet, reflection time before social media and music

Returning to daily gratitude journal writing

Inner peace

Restless energy

Anxiety

Channeling my energy

To what matters most to me

Priorities

New music

Inspiration

Deep within my soul

Reconnecting

To myself

And to my loved ones

Road trip with Harrison and my parents

My first born

The spirit who initiated me into motherhood

My practice child

I am my own harshest critic

Jan Luther

EFT and The Ego Tamer Academy

New opportunities

To explore

Alongside Don,

My soul mate

United together

With one vision,

Together

We are ten times stronger than

The sum of us alone

Shouldn’t you be in Charlotte?

The magazine spoke to me

Back in 1992

Sitting in my kitchen in Whitehall

Pennsylvania

Our paths

Destined to cross

United

As one

May 14, 1994

Here

I

AM

NOW

Living in the present

Pulled myself up

And out of the muck and mud

Raised my head out of the water

Learned to not just tread but to swim

To cross over to the other side of the lake

Feeling our feelings

Living through the experience

Stronger only after

Having gone through it

And come out on the other side

Many puddles along the way

Some deeper like oceans

With strong currents and…

Waves

Today

I

AM

Here

NOW

the present is a gift

Yesterday a canceled check and tomorrow a promissory note…

All we have is now

Right here,

Right now

What is the name of that Van Halen Song?

Jesus Jones sings Right here, right now

Van Halen sings Right Now

Music

Feeds my soul

Connects me to my inner self

My higher self

My

TRUE

SELF

i can’t stand to fly

I’m not that naive

I’m just out to find

The better part of me

I’m more than a bird, I’m more than a plane

I’m more than some pretty face beside a train

And it’s not easy to be me

Wish that I could cry

Fall upon my knees

Find a way to lie

About a home I’ll never see

It may sound absurd, but don’t be naive

Even heroes have the right to bleed

I may be disturbed, but won’t you concede

Even heroes have the right to dream

And it’s not easy to be me

Up, up and away, away from me

Well, it’s all right, you can all sleep sound tonight

I’m not crazy

Or anything

I can’t stand to fly

I’m not that naive

Men weren’t meant to ride

With clouds between their knees

I’m only a (hu)man in a silly red sheet

Digging for kryptonite on this one way street

Only a (hu)man in a funny red sheet

Looking for special things inside of me

Inside of me

Inside me

Inside me

Inside of me

I’m only a (hu)man

In a funny red sheet

I’m only a (hu)man

Looking for a dream

I’m only a (hu)man

In a funny red sheet

And it’s not easy

It’s not easy to be

Superman (It’s Not Easy)

Five for Fighting

Wonderwoman

I

CAN

FLY

My spirit

Can sour high

I am finding it easier to be me

I am finding comfort

In my own skin

The challenge

Is living in this human body

The challenge is letting my spirit shine while occupying this human space

The challenge has been connecting my true self with my human self

I AM HERE NOW

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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

March 21, 2016

Writing

Writing is my passion. It is who I am.

I remember getting my first diary. It was a gift from my sister for my 10th birthday.  I remember because I have this diary and every diary and journal after that first one. When I have read through the entries of my childhood diaries, I have realized that I remember the events described in the pages because I wrote them down.

Parenting and Work

When my oldest son was born, November 10, 1997, we had a plan in place.  I would return to work full-time after a 12 week maternity leave and my husband would stay at home with him while he grew his business.  I was able to return to work at 32 hours a week and remain fulltime.  Before my son was born, this plan sounded great.  I remember telling my co-workers that the father could be the primary caregiver as well as the mother.  My plan was that once my husband’s business grew enough,  I would reduce to part-time hours.  In 1997, I could work “prn” and earn double my full-time hourly rate. It sounded so easy, I could work 20 hours per week (without benefits) and make same amount of money as I did working 40 hours. 

Birth and Bonding

I had hoped for a natural birth but only took the hospital birth class and one offered by my NP at my OB-GYN office.  I wound up being induced with an epidural but was so glad he was born without a c-section.  I intended to nurse for 6 months because that was what was recommended by the AAP at the time.  I was very happy to have a healthy baby boy yet boding with him took time.  Parenting was a whole new experience for me. When he was 12 weeks old, I had to return to work. It was the most difficult thing I ever had to do. 

Motherhood and Parenting

Going back to work was so difficult for me. I was glad he was home with my husband when I went to work and I don’t think I could have left him otherwise.   I wanted to be home full-time with my baby!  Don, my husband, told me he would get a job so I could stay home. We had a plan. He had quit his job to be in business full-time for several reasons but a big one was because he wanted to be involved in his child’s life and be there. His previous job required regular travel.  We both knew we wanted to raise our child and not have the child in day care. We shared the parenting experience and he worked when I was home.  Yet, from that moment when I returned to work, my goal became to find a way to work from home. 

Employment and Working from home

I remember researching working at home opportunities. All I remember about that is ordering some ribbons to make some bows for a company, but the ribbon was tiny and I never made any of those bows.  It was 1997 when my first child was born and we had the internet because my husband wanted it for his business but I did very little on the computer back then.

My job changed dramatically in 1999 with the many healthcare changes that happened. I no longer had a job 4 miles from home working 3 full days and 2 half days.  I had to drive to two different nursing homes, one 45 minute drive and the other a 90 minute drive and work in both each day to keep my job. My salary was cut by 15% and my benefits changed including less paid time off and higher healthcare costs.    I did that for 9 months and managed to change my hours to working just 4 days per week and remained full-time but started job hunting.  Because of the changes in healthcare, there were not many jobs to be found at the time. 

In 2000, I found a new part-time job in home health care. I had more flexible hours and could do my paperwork from home.  Moving from full-time work to part-time was a big jump. Also, having to manage my own schedule was a significant and challenging change for me.   My income was half that year being part-time compared to full-time.  (as a side note: when my husband quit his job to go full-time into his own business, ( because  I pushed him to do so saying I could support us) our combined $100,000 income went to $50,000 that was 1996.  When I returned to work in 1998 at only 32 hours per week, my income was $42,000).  I share all these figures to truly paint the picture for you.  We choose to live on less because being home with our child was more important to us than having a bigger house and a newer car. We were looking at moving to a new home in 2000 but because  our lower-income, we had to suspend that plan.  My husband’s business was slowly growing but I remained the primary breadwinner for some time.

An Idea Is Born

I attended my first LLL meeting when my oldest was 3 weeks old.  I was looking for support with breastfeeding with returning to work.  Being in the room surrounded by moms and babies and children, even nursing toddlers, was an eye-opener to me!  I swore I would never nurse my baby past age one. Yet, being surrounding by attachment parenting moms was a new world for me. I can remember  talking to a mom of a 3 month old. She worked as a nurse and worked nigh shift so she was home with her baby in the day.  I can hear here saying something to the effect of, “aren’t they wonderful “(meaning the babys).  I was still bonding with my baby and adjusting to motherhood at that stage.  I know deep inside of me, my soul knew that this was the life for me. 

My oldest, Harrison, developed a love for road signs at an early age.  You can read more about this here.  I became more involved in the attachment parenting world and learning from my son how to be a mother.  From these two aspects, an idea was born.  I envisioned a conscious parenting website and called it, “Mommy, Daddy, STOP”.  My meaning in this name was “Mommy, Daddy, stop what you are doing and pay attention to me because I will be a baby and a child for a short period of time and spending quality time and quantity time with me is important.  And stop reacting and just parenting the way you were parented, but consciously choose your words, actions and your method of parenting.” By this time, my husband’s business had morphed into a website business and he secured the domain name for me even before I started the website.  I spend time writing about parenting and created a notebook full of ideas for my website.  As I write this, I am picturing my notebook with colored pen marks and realize that I need to find this notebook!

Flash Foward to 2008

I finally created the site on the Ning platform with the help of my now 10-year-old son. And I created a homeschooling website on Ning as well.  I was motivated to finally jump in and do this  because my husband had lost his job August of 2008 when I was three months pregnant with our third child. Backing up…My husband sold his website business in summer of 2007 and then went to work full-time for the man/company he sold his business too.  This was a wonderful opportunity for our family. We had regular income for the first time in years and I was able to not work outside the home for the first time in years.  And it was what I was waiting for to even attempt to have a third child.  I had my second child in 2002 after a year of attempting and one early miscarriage.  I was working in home health care and was able to very slowly return to work when she was 8 weeks old. Literally working just 3 hours per week for several weeks before increasing to about 6 hours per week and slowly increased to an average of about 15 hours per week.

Ning Websites

In 2008, creating a website on the Ning platform was free of charge.  Ning is a platform for creating a social media website which was new and fresh at the time with the growing popularity of that big social media website, you know, Facebook.  I also found work again, prn work as an OT at a local nursing home that summer without telling them I was pregnant.  I needed to bring in some income while my husband rebuilt his business and before my new baby was born! I also poured my time into primarily my homeschool website thinking it would be the one to first bring in income, eventually.  I had no initial plans for making money, I just knew the site would benefit the homeschooling community at a time when it was difficult to find out about homeschool support groups and area resources.  I trusted in the universe that somehow over time, this pursuit would bring me income in order to be home full-time with my children.  And I began posting articles on my Parenting site; the tag line for Mommy, Daddy, Stop was : consciously parenting our children, our parents, and ourselves. 

Baby number three is born in 2009

I worked until mid December of 2008 and then went on unpaid leave. When you work prn, you don’t really “go on leave” you just don’t sign up to work any hours.    He was due January 4 but my other two children were born before their due dates: 12 days prior and 4 days prior. Jason was born on January 8, 2009 in our kitchen, an elective home birth with a lay-midwife.Yes, that story is for another post. I remember getting called from a co-worker after a few months asking if I would be coming back to work.  I told them I wasn’t ready to come back to work yet.  We managed to live from savings and eventually credit because I wanted to be home full-time with my baby for at least a year.  And I did not return to work until after he was  a year old but our financial situation was demanding it and it was a crazy hard decision for me. 

Letting Go of “My Story”… of loss

Grief is a multi-faceted response to loss, particularly to the loss of someone or something to which a bond was formed. Although conventionally focused on the emotional response to loss, it also has physical, cognitive, behavioral, social, and philosophical dimensions. While the terms are often used interchangeably, bereavement often refers to the state of loss, and grief to the reaction to loss.- http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Grief

Yes, I just quoted Wikipedia, this is my blog, not a research paper.

I choose that definition because of the last statement ” grief”  “the reaction to loss”.

Merriam- Webster defines it as “deep sadness especially for the loss of someone or something loved”.

Sadness is a reaction to the loss. There are many other reactions to loss, other feelings and states of being.  I think they are missing something.  I personally think Wikipedia does a much better job of defining it than Merriam-Webster.  It is muti- faceted.

And I am going to go one step further and define it as reaction to change in one’s life.

We can grieve the loss of a job, change in our financial situation, change in our life roles, and so many other large and small changes in our life.

Change

It’s time for a change…

Today, I decided to let go of my story of loss.  I wrote out all of my losses over the past several years, all the big ones, and decided I would let go of “my story of loss”.  What does that mean? I don’t know but what comes to mind is Debbie Ford.  And so I googled to jog my memory and found this:

http://www.debbieford.com/media/NewAgeRetailerArticle.pdf

The following is taken from an article in the  New Age Retailer from Jan/ FEb 2007.  The author and editor in chief is Kathy McGee.

You will find the following starting on the bottom left of page 5:

The interviewer, McGee asks Debbie Ford how does she get rid of her self- criticism and self- doubt.

Debbie Ford replies:

I haven’t gotten rid of it.  When I dip into my story (the negative internal dialogue that keeps us stuck), it’s there anytime I want to revisit it.  It’s part of the collective unconscious, it’s part of our humanity. But today, I know that’s the inside of my story.

When I feel like I’m being self-critical or insecure, I know that I’m deeply in my humanity. Inside our humanity, inside our story, it’s all fear-based.  We compare ourselves, think there’s something wrong with us- we’re not smart enough, pretty enough, don’t have the right whatever.

I try to pop myself out of my story and into my divine self.  I ask myself, “What do I have to do right now?  Do I need to get on my hands and knees and pray?  Do I need to meditate?”  it’s as simple as asking, “If I totally trusted and were in connection with the Divine right now, what would I hear?”  Start to listen to that new frequency, and it raises you right out of your story.

I think what you just asked me is so vital to the process, because most people are trying to get rid of their self-doubt, their self-criticism, and their fears.  you can’t get rid of it.  It’s part of your humanity.

And then the interviewer, McGee, sums up the rest of it when she adds, “And by trying to get rid of it, we’re creating more fear and digging ourselves deeper into our story.”

And Debbie goes on about fear saying that it is a healthy emotion.  She says to identify the feeling of fear and ask what it looks like, what it feels like in order to give fear its own personality, different from your own.

“Anything we are identified with has control over us. So, if you’re just scared and in fear, fear has total control.  If you can make it separate from yourself, you will have control over it.  If you give fear a different name, face, smell, color, or size from yours, it becomes something other than you.  You can say, “OK fear, I see you.  What do you need from me to lie down and be peaceful?””

Today, I wrote the post, What Does it all mean?, and now I can understand that I was “in my humanity”.  I was also in my story and therefore in fear.  What is wonderful is that I have a better understanding of what it means to “let go of my story”.  I have only read Debbie Ford’s First book, The Dark Side of the Light Chasers, but here I am understanding better what I sought to do when I first posted the title for this blog.  The beauty is that I had no idea where I would go with this when I wrote the title.  I only knew that I was in fact, ready to let go of my story of loss.  I used prior knowledge and found my answer.

I don’t have to get rid of my story but I can move away from it. I can also see when I am “in my story” and use my tools to step outside of it if I choose.  No matter what, I don’t have to beat myself up about any of it.  I can be ok with being in my story and with choosing to move out of it.  Because I choose, when I am consciously choosing, to move out of fear, I know that I can have more moments of moving out of my story and stepping back from it.  Even Debbie Ford, author of 7 books, speaker and founder of a Life Coaching Business, admits to still  having dark days.  It is a process.