Posts Tagged ‘mental health’

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My Heart is Lighter

November 21, 2015

To say that the past two weeks have been an emotional rollercoaster would not even cover it. There aren’t enough hours in the day or hours of sleep. I am drained.

But my heart is lighter. My father is doing well. The surgeon finished early and feels she got it all. There are a lot of details but things look to be in his favor… Size, time frame, hopefully clear lymphnodes. God is good.

My parents of course drove me crazy by not having any clear game plan. “Pray for me to have more patience.” “Why?” “Because I will kill him!” oh, you mean he’s acting like an emotional drama queen? I have no idea where I’ve seen that before.

The next night I pretty much got asked to drop everything just in case he got released early. Let me clearly state, I would have dropped everything for an emergency but I couldn’t wrap my head around why this was being asked of me when my older sister lived in their town, does not have two busy teens, and her husband is home to watch her children. When I checked in with my sister I almost blew a gasket when she said she hadn’t been asked!

Thankfully other family members insisted on being there to help and logic prevailed and we actually got a schedule firmly in place about who was doing what and when.

I took my mother to the VA hospital the day after the surgery. He was not as disfigured as I was expecting. He has a lisp but when the swelling goes down and with a little speech therapy it should not be noticeable. The side of the neck where all the lymphnodes were removed is sunken in but that may flesh out.

It was a good day with my parents. We talked about the every day things of life continuing on. My children are their first grandchildren. Many firsts coming up…concert solos, driving permits, the beginning of the college and scholarship search, and the youngest applying for a special high school. We talked about the Chief and his ever changing schedule. Yes, even would he be home for Christmas and for once I didn’t mind the question even if I had no answer. It took two hours to get mom home and another hour for me to get home, but I didn’t mind. Not with a lighter heart.

Mom took a day off and my sister went to see him at lunch. We got word early in the day that he would be released on Saturday. My sister’s schedule was more open so she is taking mom to get him discharged as per the schedule we came up with. God is so good.

There have been other things come up in these two weeks that have left me saying “I seriously do not need this right now!” and “What now?!” that I can’t go into. I am barely treading water and struggle with sinking into depression. The Chief has been supportive and open with me when I discussed considering antidepressants for a short period. Hopefully the crisis of dad’s illness passing will ease the burden not only on my heart but my head.

But for now my heart is lighter and I know that God is so good.

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“Captain, My Captain”

August 12, 2014

Just a few minutes to gather my thoughts on the apparent suicide of actor/comedian Robin Williams. What a tragedy that depression has taken another life. The world will be a little less bright tonight.

One of the best movies ever.

One of the best movies ever.

I’m thinking of my Silver Ribbon and things I’m going through right now. I think I’ve always prided myself on not having “depression” as one of my “symptoms” … and yet if I were honest with myself, twice this year I have found myself going down that path. This time I felt a similarity to the odd sort of disconnect I was feeling back in February/March. I described my current mood to a friend that I am “anxious and overwhelmed and yet underwhelmed and unmotivated”, wanting to circle up the wagons and let the rest of the world go instead of facing change and starting up activities again. My friend agreed that I’m exhibiting behaviors from earlier this year.

Another friend posted … well now I can’t find the post.

We just need to be talking about mental illness and finding practical solutions. Sometimes it is just talking and finding support. Sometimes it is medication and hospitalization. It is a personal thing and a process. Families need to be open and honest about predispositions. Parents need to be watching their children and having an open and honest dialogue about emotions that may be beyond one’s control.

I am forever grateful to the teenager that ratted out T1’s social media use and allowed me to help T1 navigate some situations and feelings that could have so easily overwhelmed her … “because all the kids are doing it, it must be normal.”

It is such a tragedy that such a public life causes so much pain and suffering. Our most gifted entertainers have some of the most troubled minds.

Related Article: I found this article, shared by a friend to be a good one regarding suicide.
The Death of Robin Williams, and What Suicide Isn’t
And here’s another one…
When the Illness You Live with Becomes Breaking News

 

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Parenting: Conflicts and Avoidance, Part 3

March 29, 2014

Part 3: So what am I teaching my children?

This has definitely been on my mind as the week has gone on. I wrote a letter to these two friends just so that I could process my thoughts. I ended with:

Don’t ever regret telling me. Regret that so much of this could have been avoided if I had only been told sooner. In the name of “letting them work it out” you have only taught them that avoidance is okay and they are learning nothing and T1 is learning exactly what I believe—that no one is trustworthy, no one gives opportunities for personal accountability and improvement, and that walking away is preferable to working things out.

I’ve read this letter to T1, both in its original form and when I edited it to include my self-reflection on if I was just as guilty of not letting the other parents know of their child’s behavior. T1 and I have discussed this entire situation at length. We’ve gone through the whole gamut of emotions.

But have I shown her the correct way of dealing with this? It occurred to me that while I feel justified in my reaction as a parent, it may also stem from my trauma thus making it an extreme reaction. And one that these parents just don’t get.

My initial trauma came from choices of others not protecting me–as my 14-year-old self says, “Not putting me first.” I can be rational and understand that choices were made with the best of their ability and that their hands were tied. I get that. But it has always driven me to demand my due. Even with the Chief. My biggest struggles with my MIL were about her making demands on the Chief and not expecting him to put me and the girls first, or at least give us the common courtesy of checking with us first. (See my posts about the Pineapples.) It really wasn’t until about both girls were born and we had moved south that the Chief and I finally got through to her. And I love her dearly. Just so we’re clear, the Chief isn’t a Momma’s Boy and the situation perplexed him too.

The trauma in recent years, both occasions, were because I was once again not considered and not protected by those that should have stepped up to consider and defend me. Trust me, I am not self-centered enough (despite some accusations) to believe I should be the center of anyone’s world or the first thought before they act. Nonetheless, the damage was done and it could have been avoided.

Was no one going to step up for T1? While the accusations were true she was not alone nor were the other children innocent. The question I keep asking is why is my child the only one who crosses the line with the teasing and nasty comments? Everyone gives as good as they get but it always ends with my child saying the last thing before the others run off to their parents, crying about how mean my child is. And what is that line she keeps crossing?

And why didn’t my friends let me step up to help her learn what that line was? I will always step up for my child–that includes defending her innocence and correcting her when she is in error. Who else is going to do that? Certainly not these other parents.

These thoughts took my breath away. They hurt.

I’ve had friends and acquaintances just up and walk away rather than work things out. Learning later some of those situations could have been fixed if I had only been told is where my outrage comes from. Others maybe I was too young to know how to handle. I wasn’t taught to deal with things head on. Hmmm… much like these girls (and parents)? I expressed as much to T1.

But these other emotions? They come from a deeper hurt.

T1’s emotions this week have also roller coastered. She’s sought out both girls; she’s apologized. The one who has frozen her out has not responded but an actually conversation has not taken place. I’ve seen her get angry, just like me, about the pots calling the kettle black… and coming to me with a myriad of examples.

I’ve had to caution her about doing that. “Don’t give in to that anger. If it’s never bothered you, you can’t bring it up, but yes, those are good examples of how you all treat each other.” But I hope she knows I feel her pain and her outrage, her confusion, and her sorrow.

I did take her aside later this week to express my concern over what I was teaching her. “My emotions, my struggle, are coming from a place of hurt. From damage. I’m not sure it is healthy or that I’m being the best example.”

I’ve never talked to my children about my initial trauma. I don’t intend to if I don’t have to. T1 knows about the circumstances of the last two. “I wasn’t put first. I wasn’t protected. No one stood up for me. That is my damage. But I will promise you this, I will always stand by you. I will always defend you. And teaching you for years to come is my job.”

In regards to my PTSD, writing my response helped me avoid some of the downward spiraling and obsessive behaviors a situation like this could cause. I’m not one to harm myself but man, what would I give to have another friends say to these women, “Did you know I had to talk her off a ledge last night thanks to you two?” I want a knight in shining armor to sweep in and defend me and my child. It is this reaction that got me thinking about where all this was coming from.

I told T1 that I haven’t decided what I will do with my response letter. I don’t know if it is a moot point and they just won’t change or if I should give them the opportunity they never gave me. I did ask T1 her thoughts and I think she very maturely said, “Send it to them.”

Part 4: What to do…

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What a Week … I’m Glad It Is Over

March 3, 2014

I feel like I could be a walking poster child for Cymbalta or Abilify … you know, the one where the voice over asks, “Who does Depression hurt?” Everyone. “Where does Depression hurt?” Everywhere.

It just wasn’t a good week. As I mentioned in my last post, the Chief was having his bout of “PMS” and things got a little snippy between us. He had to also get up at 3:30 AM to drive himself to the airport. Not a good night of sleep to begin with and then I couldn’t go back to sleep till almost 7 AM.

All day I was kind of “blah”. But the weather was gorgeous! We’re talking 70 degrees! So the girls and I walked the dogs. But by 5 o’clock I was feeling anxious and my skin was “itching.” For the first time I actually thought going for a run would be a good idea. So run I did.

That’s when I noticed the achy feeling. I began to think about it. The only time I feel like this during E.o.t.T. is either when I am 1., running a low-grade fever, or 2., I am not 100% my emotional best. I can pinpoint times in the past where my weight training was not its best or the runs just hurt and stank.

It felt odd that running hurt that night. After all, that Friday I ran for the first time in a month and I actually had a decent time! But hurt it did and I had no other indication of a fever. Trust me, I know when one is coming on even if the doctors look at me like I’m nuts when the thermometer just says 98.9.

I’m trying not to let this, this whatever it is, hurt the girls. I just don’t have the luxury of checking out when the Chief is gone. The run did help and I pulled it together for the night.

But I noticed I posted one of my “VagueBooking” status updates:

“An old sack tied over your head by a criminal is not a very fashion-forward accessory.” Nancy Drew in The Spider Sapphire Mysteryfeeling meh.

I post these wonderful word of wisdom from the renowned girl detective any time I want to say something snarky but cannot call people out. And yes, I wanted to say something snarky but it wasn’t about the Chief and our snippiness. I’d probably just post that–he’s not in FB.

Monday was an achy workout but I powered through. My trainer noticed I was not performing but he’s a good guy and I got through it. The elementary school called me in desperation to sub half-day (I wasn’t giving up training) and I went in even though I really don’t like subbing the first week the Chief is gone. Some obnoxious 4th graders and a 50 minute bus delay that I found out later was due to a bomb threat at my children’s school. But I survived and I did perk up a bit. Being busy does help.

Tuesday I woke up still down and still “meh”. I found this positive quote and reposted it to remind myself that I can and will survive the day. “I need to remind myself of this because it is one of those days, gonna be one of those weeks.”

found and shared by Bristol Palin

found and shared by Bristol Palin

Once again I rallied for evening activities. I always do. But it is draining and usually I just can’t wait to send the girls to bed to “decompress”. Being around so many people, in charge of so many girls, it can be a lot… too much some times. Oh, and another bomb threat.

Wednesday I just posted “Roller Coaster Day 2.” The girls were going at it. Even they respond so negatively to the Chief leaving and the older one’s hormones. The younger one is getting worse and they just pick and pick and pick at each other. It is not a pleasant sound to wake up to. My good friend posted the following to her husband’s FB page. See my comment below.

“As I have just yelled “Knock it off!” “Don’t do half-***ed jobs!” and “SHUT UP!” I think it is safe to say we are definitely in the red at the moment. And yes, this is another side-effect of these bomb threats.”

No training because we had a 2 hour delay for snow but I did bike my 6.2 miles in 23 minutes. I subbed for the girls’ kindergarten teacher. Nice to get paid for a full day.

I just wasn’t looking forward to anything. I know that’s a sign of depression. Losing interest in your regular activities, things that used to bring you joy. Thursday we were supposed to be celebrating one of the ladies’ birthdays. There are five of us and we celebrate each one with a lunch out. I didn’t want to go. The feeling started pretty much the week before, even before the Chief left. I just didn’t want to go, to be around anyone. And that’s the strange thing because during all of this I was feeling so strangely isolated.

Isolated because I just didn’t have anyone to vent to. I’m limited in what and when I can vent with the Chief (even when home). It had been a month since my last therapy session and for various reasons I hadn’t been able to make my group session–and I was going to miss it for this luncheon.

My Thursday FB status: “What’s on my mind? ARRRRGGHHHA!”

I went to training… cut out activities to make sure I could get in my run. Went to therapy and addressed this … this whatever it is that seems to be happening cyclically and hormonally related. Got stuck in highway traffic and finally met up with the ladies (plus 1 hubby) to sit miserably through lunch and constantly check my phone for the time. I know of only two who figured out I did not want to be there. I certainly hope the birthday girl didn’t notice. When asked the next day about it I just said, “I really didn’t want to be there. And if you guys ask me what I want to do for my birthday next month, I’ll just say nothing. I don’t want to go out. I just don’t. I’m not even sure I can get excited about our scrapbooking weekend. Maybe next week I’ll feel better but I don’t today.”

Bomb threats 3 & 4 happened on Thursday and Friday. And yes they have one suspect now in custody.

By Saturday I did start to see and feel some improvement in my mood and my motivation. Although the lethargy seemed to have kicked in late in the day and nap could not be resisted. Started to cheer myself up by booking our tickets for our summer trip and being on the same page with the Chief about it.

Sunday, a week later, things did start to look up. Maybe T1’s hormones aren’t so bad. Maybe we’ve all just adjusted. And today, after 65 degree weather yesterday we have probably 4-6 inches of snow. Hey, one less day for a bomb threat. Going to look at more pictures and websites for our summer trip to pretend I’m not so cold.

It is a great thing that it is only cyclical and that the rest of my month, weeks, are great, but it is such a draining experience and there are underlying issues and complaints to be dealt with. One day at a time. One crisis at a time. One big event at a time.

Sorry for the long post…

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