Monday, July 27, 2020

Mental health update

I might as well been a pastors kid growing up. We were in church enough times per week to qualify me as a pastors kid. I went to youth group with the actual pastors kids and attended the same church for years. It was part of my being...part of who I was. I didn't really have a life or a social life outside of church. Everything I was taught at home and at church matched and it presented me with what I thought was a pretty steady life. I didn't know any different. I took on all that I was taught at church as gold and because my personality is such that I have a very black or white thinking...everything I learned and absorbed was truth.

One of the things I learned from Christianity is the principle to "always choose joy." This is not a bad principle. We should always look for the good in things, to always try and be positive. But it went further for me. I felt that as a Christian if I were not happy all the time then I wasn't putting Jesus first and I wasn't "casting all my cares on him," well enough. I always wanted to be the best christian and I never wanted to be seen as week so I always presented myself as happy. I wanted those around me to be happy and I didnt want to put a burden on anyone so I just created my personality to be spunky and always smiled despite what I was feeling inside. I felt that religion looked down on depression or sadness and as Christians we should be able to conquer our downward moods with Jesus and prayer and Bible reading. So my life became a series of stories of me never really knowing how I felt inside. It didnt matter how I felt because I just had to be happy. Thats what Christians did. In fact I even felt that depression was not really a real thing. I thought that people that claimed to be depressed were just maybe being lazy and that they just needed to choose joy and trust in Jesus. In fact, I avoided people that were sad. I didnt know how to handle them. What they said they were experiencing didnt make sense to me. If we were Christians then we had an unlimited supply of joy and we just needed to tap into it. This was a very judgmental way of thinking for me but I did not think that way intentionally, I was just taught to think this way through the preaching at church and the personal relationships I had with christian mentors. Mental illness, to me, was made up. 

Fast forward to 2019. I was married to my third husband and in year six of our marriage I started having bouts of vertigo. I felt like my body was very heavy. If I stood up I would feel very unbalanced and my head would feel like it was falling forward and my body felt like it was sinking into the ground. I also started having feelings as if maybe I had a deadly illness and contemplated what it would be like if I didnt exist. As soon as I had the feelings of "not existing" I realized that I had a problem. I chalked it up to being in a bad environment and moved to Arizona. 

Unfortunately because I did not understand mental illness and essentially thought it didnt exist I did not take the appropriate steps to treat it, its back in full force. 

Nobody ever told me that depression was real. And nobody told me that your depression could start showing up as physical symptoms that are quite debilitating. 

Life has a way of teaching you lessons. I never meant to be judgmental towards people but I was. I was never mean to anyone but I do remember telling people that they just need to "trust Jesus" or choose to be happy. I told people that being happy was a decision and they just needed to decide to be happy. NOW I KNOW THAT WAS ABSOLUTELY HORRIBLE. You can not tell someone who is in the depths of depression to CHOOSE to be happy. It doesn't work like that. I am extremely saddend that I became such an insensitive Bible thumper christian. I am so sad that I wasn't taught that sometimes as humans we get sad and we don't have to be happy all the time. Im grieving for all the people that feel like I feel right now. There is now way, in my current state, that I can snap my fingers and "feel happy!" My depression has taken over my body and I have no control. I have never in my life felt like I had no hope, no energy, and no motivation. The worst symptom is the feeling of sinking into the ground and having my head feel wobbly all the time. This is absolutely my body presenting psychosomatic symptoms and I am shocked that because I didnt know or recognize it that it has gone this far. 

Its hard to say this right now but I have so much empathy and compassion for those with depression...and I could have never said that before in my previous religious way of thinking. I understand how real depression is now and I understand that it isn't anything anyone makes up but I also do know that I am capable of pulling myself out of this. Its not easy but here are the steps I am taking to get healthy again. 

I avoided medication for months. The doctor would prescribe them to me and I would fill the prescription and never take them. About a week ago when my symptoms were at there worst and I could barely work I decided to go ahead and start taking Zoloft. I am on day five of this pill. 

I also started a regimen of supplements. I am taking B12, Vitamin D, Fish oil, biotin, and magnesium. I can not tell you how these supplements with the zoloft have helped. Yesterday morning for a split second, from somewhere deep deep inside of me I felt what felt like a little bit of excitement or euphoria. It lasted for just a second and It almost brought me to tears because I remembered that feeling and I missed it. I want it back all the time. 

If I had any advise for anyone going through trama. I have had a lifetime of trauma. There have been no breaks for me, three divorces, adoption, name it. If you go through anything like this please get support. Do not ignore your body, it will talk to you and your body knows best. Its ok to be sad but make sure you do not ignore how you feel. 

I am super grateful for anyone who reads this blog. I look ever day to see if I have any viewers. Somehow it makes me not feel so alone to know that others are out there interested in my story. I love you all!


Saturday, July 18, 2020

Tattoos and Amazon fails......

For the past few years, as I have discovered my own individuality, I discovered that there were  no more religious rules on me and I could decorate my body however I wanted to. I discovered that getting tattoos was so much fun. I felt empowered and pretty. My latest tattoos are beautiful butterflies all the way across my chest and they are encompassed by two big flowers on the sides of both of my shoulders. I LOVE them. After I had them all done my mission was to find shirts that would modestly show them off. I searched everywhere for off the shoulder shirts. I went to Walmart and Walmart and Walmart again. I know that sounds silly but literally the only clothing stores in my small little town are Walmart and Ross. Its really quite boring. I did venture out onto the internet and searched Kohls and I found nothing. I decided to give Amazon a try. There were not many to choose from but I did find one that I thought was simply stunning and fit my style perfectly. I ordered this beautiful off the shoulder shirt a month and a half ago. It was literally coming from China so I would have to put my patience pants on and wait for it. And wait I did. Here is what it was supposed to look like.
I couldn't wait to get it. I even ordered a strapless bra...and let me tell you that alone was no easy task. Getting these girls to stay up without straps was going to take some finagling....literally!!
I was so so excited when it finally came in the mail one month and one week later. I tore open the package and....before I was even able to try it on I knew it was NOT like the picture. It was stiff and the material was a bit shiny. I could already tell I was going to be disappointed. Never the less, a try on had to be I put it on. I was less than impressed. Of course there were going to be some differences right? The picture above was a skinny blond girl with amazing legs, wearing shorts that I could have only pulled off when I was 12 and of course my boobs are much bigger then the girl in the picture, sigh, but I had hoped I would look halfway decent in it. But I didnt. Instead I felt like my body was not made to fit into this shirt. I felt like I was wearing a sort of mumu with bat wings. So disappointing. 
I emailed amazon and asked if I could return it. To my surprise they said they would refund me and I could keep this AMAZING shirt for my wearing pleasure. Oh my!!!! So I got a free shirt. But not on purpose. Is it a blessing in disguise? LOL I think not. 
I present to you....the way the shirt ACTUALLY looks on an average girl....

Thursday, July 16, 2020

Wavering Faith

I used to pray all the time. My days were consumed with connecting with God. I was always on the prowl to find whoever needed Jesus. I would be witnessing all the and night. It was my mission, my passion, my reason for living. Jesus was my role model and God was my father. I grew up in this religious atmosphere. There was no other way to live for me; however, I was always ALWAYS falling short of what I knew the Bible and God and Jesus expected of me. I was having sex before marriage, smoking cigarettes sometimes, and drinking alcohol. I wasn't praying for an hour a day because It was hard on me to find time in the day to shower and eat being a single mom....but I tried to be THE BEST christian I could be.

When I was growing up in the church the message from the pulpit was always centered around how we needed to be a better christian and the only way to do that was to spend tons of time in the Bible (at least an hour a day) and to not cuss or drink or smoke or fornicate and to spread the good news to everyone I met. I believed with my whole being that this was absolutely the way I needed to live. Looking back at this upbringing and the messages being handed down to me from the pulpit I can see that it bred into me feelings of dislike for myself. No matter how hard I tried I could not meet these perfect expectations that I felt were expected of me by God, Jesus, my pastor, and my parents and christian friends. I began to battle with myself. I always had good intentions but it would never fail that I would let myself down. It could be something as simple as reading my bible in bed before sleeping and falling asleep before I was able to get the full hour of reading and prayer in like my pastor encouraged his congregation to do. When I would wake up in the morning and realize I had fallen asleep it would be the start of lots of repentance for my sins and ultimately lots and lots of guilt. I began to not like myself. I felt that I was the only one falling short of what was expected of a good christian. As I got older and started to struggle with other sins the feelings of shame and guilt just got stronger and stronger until I did began to medicate with cigarettes and some alcohol and sex with men. Of course this type of "medication" only proved to make me more disappointed in myself and the shame and guilt ran deep. I didn't think Jesus and God were happy with me. I knew that they would "never leave me or forsake me," (WHATEVER THAT MEANT) but I still knew that I needed to get my life right with God or I would not make it to heaven or if I did make it to heaven I would not have many rewards stored up for me. This may sound crazy to a lot of you but it is my truth and something I struggle with to this very day. Even this very night I feel like I am not a good enough mom and I am just falling deeper and deeper into this unsuccessful life.

About 3 years ago I made a HUGE decision to divorce religion. Thats right, you read that right....I divorced my religion. When I was growing up I heard from the pulpit CONSTANTLY that we were not religious but just in a "relationship" with Jesus. So I convinced myself for years and years that I was not religious. This was so far from the truth but I just didnt know any better. In the pentecostal/Baptist/non-denominational religions you are told constantly that your not really religious but just in a relationship. This could not be further from the truth. When I made the decision to divorce my religion I did it because I could no longer try and reach these expectations that were being put on me. I finally realized that I was never going to be this perfect christian. So I stopped witnessing, and I stopped reading the Bible and I started really digging into why I believed what I believed instead of just believing what other people told me. It was very eye opening. I learned so many things about the Bible and where it came from and how it came to actually be a Bible and who put it together. In some ways it was good that I was discovering the roots of this religion I had followed all my life but in other ways the information I was learning was really really sad for me. I felt very let down. I had to discard most of everything I knew and start from the beginning.

I still do not have it all figured out. I have put countless hours into research of God and Heaven and Near death experiences. Ive compared stories of people that have died and gone to heaven. I have spoken in person with people that have died and gone to heaven and come back to earth to tell about it and my mind was literally blown (if a mind can actually blow....Im not sure LOL). But this did put a huge rift in everything I believed.

I still believe in God. I don't necessarily believe that is his name because WE HUMANS gave him that name. To me he is bigger and different then the Bible portrays him. I still have trouble connecting with this God. I remember begging God on my hands and knees to please talk to me in a voice I could hear. I couldn't understand why he wouldn't just speak to me. I didnt want a "still small voice," I wanted a loud audible voice to speak to me. I felt I was worthy to hear something. After all I had spent ALL of my life pursuing this God....trying to reach him through my actions and love and prayers. But no.....not a single word.

This post is not to bash faith and Christianity...but I felt reflective tonight as I was looking at the shape of my life right now and just sorting out the pieces of my heart and trying to figure out what I am doing with myself right now. I actually thought that maybe if I reconnected with god that maybe I would gain some clarity. It has happened for me in the past. That is why I have not lost my faith that there is a higher being somewhere that cares about me. So I am not denouncing God....but actually wondering why Ive had to go through the things I have gone through and why do I have to be so confused? I am almost 45 years old. I would have expected to be settled by now and have a few things figured out....but I don't. I know I am not the only one with this story. I think its just the cycle of life. We all question our upbringing, but I think I dive a little deeper then some people. I question more than most and I don't settle for a mediocre life that seems to want to over take me. I want more...I want extraordinary. I think its possible.

Going Orange

I love that in life, one single thing can change the way you think about things and turn your life down a completely different path then you expected. I love to be on a schedule. Mornings are my favorite and if I am working or if I am not working, I like to be up by five or six and enjoy the quiet crispness of the morning. Its my time, before anyone else in the house wakes up, to just be with me. This habit was probably developed over the years because I have so many children and usually married. In my last marriage we had seven children, two dogs, two giant birds and two cats at one time, and I was the only one who enjoyed the mornings. You wouldn't catch anyone up at five am, just me, and I loved it.
So that habit has stuck.

This morning I woke up at five am as usual and reflected on the past month or so that I have been unemployed by choice. Its been a good time to catch up with myself and just decide what I want in life. Did I figure it all out yet? NOPE! But Im closer. My therapist called me last night. I have not met with her yet. I am brand new to her practice but she wanted to check in with me and just tell me that she was looking forward to meeting with me in a week and a half and then she asked if I had any immediate needs. Oh my goodness...I really had to try hard not to spew all my emotions on her. Instead, I told her that I was struggling with boundaries with my family. I was hired on with Home Depot yesterday, YEP THATS RIGHT, IM GOING ORANGE, and now that I am working I will have to spend less time at my grandmas house helping out with her care. It was hard for me to set boundaries with my family. We do not have any outside help with my grandmas 24 hour care. My commitment to my family is that I would get up early in the morning and head to my grandmas at six and get her out of bed, changed, and fed for the day. I would then go home and spend time with my son, and go back in the evening and get her changed and back into bed. There commitment was to be with grandma throughout the day. My boundaries were that I would not be able to help out on the days I worked. For my own mental health and for the sake of my son, I felt it would be to much to keep my morning and evening commitment on the days I work. I told the therapist that I didnt feel like my family was happy with my decision to not help out when I worked and that I was struggling with THINKING that they didnt like me anymore or they were not pleased with me. (In case you haven't guessed, I need therapy pretty bad, I am a people pleaser). I could tell that my therapist had limited time but she gave me some homework. She said that each time I have those guilty thoughts, I need to write them down in my journal and the thought surrounding them. Ok, no problem, that was easy because I journal. She then told me to go onto Youtube and look up "distorted thinking," or "cognitive thinking" and watch some videos on that and we would talk about these things on in our first session. I thanked her and went right to it. I was shocked to find myself in every single one of the list these you tubers were giving. Just to fill you in on the basics of what I learned about myself. Here is the definition of cognitive distortions:

Cognitive distortions are simply ways that our mind convinces us of something that isn't really true. These inaccurate thoughts are usually used to reinforce negative thinking or emotions-telling ourselves things that sound rational and accurate, but really only serve to keep us feeling bad about ourselves."

This is really the definition of what my life has been. I didnt know that I had these broken ways of thinking and its probably the reason I can not seem to get my life going in a productive path. It was very enlightening and I can not wait to do some work surrounding this broken thought pattern in my life. Its amazing what five minutes with a professional can do.

So today is my first day at home depot. I start in about an hour and fifteen minutes. My position will be a cashier and I couldn't be more thrilled about it. Its only part time but that works perfect for me since I might be homeschooling my son if COVID doesn't figure itself out. 😾

Until next time friends.

Tuesday, July 14, 2020

Mental Health and other things

Hello old and new friends.
I am sitting here in my little three bedroom trailer. My son Skyler is in his room, where he spends most of his time, and I have finally mustered up enough mental energy to start posting here again. I believe its been about two years since I have written any words in this blog. I felt that I had to be successful in my life for me to be any kind of inspiration to anyone. But the cold hard truth is that I do not feel successful. I am hoping that by eventually becoming my own inspiration, I will truly feel successful in my life, and with the help of a few professionals that I have lined up to help me with my mental health.

My trailer is quaint. I didn't plan on living on my own when I moved to this little honky town in November of last year (2019.) My plan was to leave my unhappy marriage in Colorado Springs, and move to Kingman Arizona to make myself useful by taking care of my ailing grandma who had recently been diagnosed with dementia. My family was going to have to hire full time care to take care of her and I decided that since nothing was holding me back in Colorado anymore I would move me and my 14 year old son to Kingman, live with her, and take care of her until she went to heaven. The plan seemed pretty straight forward. I thought I had it all figured out. We packed up, said goodbye to family and friends and ventured off with our dog Harley and hit the road. I didnt think I would need any furniture or kitchen stuff so my ex-husband was "gifted" my share of the things we had aquired during our almost seven year marriage. He wasn't complaining.

We arrived in Kingman and things took a turn for the worst. Dementia is not for the faint of heart. My  grandma, who had been so special to me all my life, was not the same. Unexpectedly she became very indifferent towards Skyler, my 14 year old autistic son. He was very frightened of her. It made me so sad to see her like that. This was NOT the woman I grew up with and I knew it was not her fault but I could not let my son live in those conditions. She literally thought he was going to kill her and everyone else for that matter and would chase him around the house. He had to lock himself in our room just for safety. This was NOT the plan. I had not brought anything with me to build a house for me and him. Luckly I did have some money so I quickly found an affordable trailer for us to live in and started looking for a job.

I did not have a truck and finding help in this little town is not easy so I had to order all our furniture and most of the other things we needed on Amazon. Thank GOD for Amazon. I was able to make our little trailer a home. I will share pictures.

Then began the hunt for a job. This proved to be very tricky for me. I had spent the last six and a half years being a stay at home mom and running my ex-husbands business. Going back into the work force was challenging. I found that finding time for my workouts or any me time was just overwhelming, and then trying to balance spending time with my grandma (I had to visit her without my son because he was frightened of her) and finding me time and making money was throwing me over the top.

And then.....COVID. Sigh!!

There are many parts of the story above that I am leaving out. There is just so much to share that has put me in this sorry mental place that I am in right now leaving me sad, lonely, and feeling hopeless.
Have you ever THOUGHT that you could handle what was being handed to you....and then realized that you were not handling it well? I am at the point right now where slowing down is not an option. My body, my brain, and my soul are telling me that Im done. I can't handle anymore, yet, you know you have to press on. You have to find hope and something to look forward to or else nothing matters. I am reaching for that hope right now and Im stretched very very thin.

My grandma was put into a nursing home right before Covid hit. It was wonderful to be able to visit her and not be her care taker. I would go and decorate her room and have breakfast with her every morning with her friends in the home. Covid was devastating for us all including her. Her facility went on total lock down. My grandma fell into a deep loneliness because she couldn't see any of us and her health failed. Her doctor approved her for hospice. We knew that if she went on hospice in that nursing home she would die there and we would never see her so my mom, Aunt and Uncle made the decision to pull her out of the nursing home and put her in hospice in her home that she lived in for 35 years and WE would be her 24 hour care givers.

This is all good news right? We get to see her and care for her until the end? I am struggling with it. I didnt know how much of a tole it would take on my mental health. I love being with her but I feel like my body and my brain are shutting down and saying....ENOUGH!!!! Its too much! STOP!!! But I don't know how to slow down. I don't know how to be a good mom to my son, and work a job, and take care of myself, and take care of my grandma. Im lost...and this is very sad for me.

So, I am taking some steps for self improvement and that is why I'm here with you right now. I thought about making a youtube channel or maybe doing instagram....but its just not my style right now. I am a blogger. So if your still here with me here are some steps Im taking.

Im not one to take medicine, in fact I wasn't on any medicine until today. My doctor put me on 25 mg of Zoloft. I have an anxiety pill to help me when things get rough, and I start counseling next week. I bought this desk.
This is the desk Ill be writing to you from as often as I can. Maybe every day if possible. It will be my little corner of the world. I also just bought that cute chair. This blog helped me before. It helped me loose over 100 pounds. Speaking of weight....well.....lets save that for another entry. I hope your out there. I hope someone can relate to me. I hope this works. I want my happy back.