Tag Archive | depression

Alicia – One Year Later

Last night I spent some time thinking about the progress Alicia has made and the things she has endured an overcome in the past year.

It’s not easy being a teen, but I can already see that my daughter has MY strength, determination and sass! She will do good things in life because she is already a strong independent young lady!

Last year on this day, she watched her father marry a new woman. She had just moved from her home she grew up in, to this home of her new step-mother and step-brother. Instantly life had changed, and she had a new – extended family.

In September she began the first year of a new school, in a new town where she knew no one. Eighth grade is a tough one to start alone. To my surprise my shy and quiet daughter made a lot of new friends instantly. I was so happy for her and it seemed that things were going to be okay.

Then came the morning that they were told about their classmates death the night before. She was a girl in her home room, and a few other classes – – dead from a house fire. Alicia was quiet and didn’t talk about it much. When she did talk she commented in how she can’t believe someone, even her age, can be here – full of life one minute – then gone the next. It’s a hard thing for adults to understand, and I felt for all those kids.

She tried to concentrate on school. She was having problems with algebra because she never had pre-algebra in the other school. She took the initiative however to ask for help. She stayed after when she was able, and even started tutoring with her grandfather. I was so proud of her for making such an effort. This is something she wouldn’t have done before.

Things were still difficult at home and it was still a situation in which she was trying to adjust. Her step-mom and her butted heads a lot. Alicia came to me and said she was finally ready to go to counseling, and please make her an appointment. I was happy to do so because when I suggested counseling a year earlier she refused. Again, I can see she is growing up.

Most of you that have read my earlier posts know that she recently started cutting herself and dealing with depression and uncertainty about how to express her feelings at home. She spent 5 days in a behavioral hospital and said she wanted to live with me.

After I began making preparations for that to happen she told me she changed her mind. That despite the way things were at home, she had a lot of friends and wanted to continue school with them. That she would put up with home life and stick it out. She also agreed to finally start taking the antidepressant the doctor prescribed. These have been a lot of hard decisions and situations for a fourteen year old to handle, but she has handled them well. I am very proud of her.

Next week she begins a new year, and a new chapter in her life.
HIGH SCHOOL – – I wish her the best and hope she has an amazing 4 years!

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Life’s Blessings

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The Kids and I

A friend of mine posted on Facebook that in the difficult times, it’s so important to remember what you’re blessed with.  We all go through hard times, difficult times.  But sometimes it seems like the hard times will never end.  So I started to think about all of the things in my life that I have been blessed with.  First and foremost are my two beautiful and healthy children.  Sadly, there are too many parents that have children that are not blessed with good health.  Also I have my health, and a roof over my head and food on the table.  I may not have much money, but I get by with the basic necessities that many people do not even have.  I have been blessed with the ability to start college at 37 years old, because I have the strength and determination to fight like hell to have a better life.  I value my independence, and am proud of myself for being able to survive mostly on my own, and be such a good role model for my kids. 

I could not do all of it on my own though, I have been blessed with the most amazing friends, that are always there for me.  Thankfully I still have a little time for my friends, my flowers, and for studying  despite the three jobs I need to work to pay the bills.  I am blessed to have a good therapist, that has helped me to deal with depression, grief, guilt and loss.  Helping also to deal with the feelings I have about my daughters cutting.

All in all I have more than a lot of people even dream of.  When I feel like I have nothing, or when other people are lucky and they have more than I do, I just remind myself that there is always someone that is worse off than I am.  Always someone who has less or is in a worse situation.  I am a glass half full kind of person.  I always see the good in people.  Sometimes it gets me hurt, sometimes I get taken advantage of, but it’s who I am and it’ll never change.  It is and always has been my nature to believe other people are good. Sometimes circumstances get me down for a while, but I get right back up.  Thanks to all of the blessings in my life. 

– Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff –

My afternoon beach read :)

My afternoon beach read 🙂

For the past few weeks I have been so incredibly tense. Work problems, job searching, the kids, custody situation, school starting again in 2 weeks…I just feel overwhelmed. Yesterday when I went to my afternoon job for the 81 year old that is in a wheelchair, partially paralyzed, she said today we were going to go to a pre-auction showing.  This lady is crazy okay.  She has nothing better to do than sit at home and buy junk from catalogs and buy junk from people she thinks is worth a fortune and her favorite past time is spending an afternoon browsing at The Salvation Army.  I just really wanted a break.  I told her I really didn’t feel like spending the afternoon looking at things that you can’t even buy yet, that she needed groceries and we needed to go get her glasses fixed.  She said, my old glasses are good enough, and I don’t need food> Of course.  You would rather shop for NON-essentials.  Grrr…So I said to myself that I could really use a day away from her.  Tomorrow was Friday after all, and I should just take the day off.  But as usual I drove the 20 minutes to her house and she was not home.  Now I was both annoyed with her and myself.  Her for not telling me she was going out with the neighbor and she wouldn’t be there and myself for forgetting the house key in my backpack at home.  However, I breathed a sigh of relief realizing she had gone to the auction with the lady that told her about it I knew they wouldn’t be back any time soon,  So, I decided It was going to be MY DAY! I put some music on and ran an errand to return something that had been sitting in my car for a friend and then I headed to Barnes and Noble.  I browsed for a while not really knowing what I was looking for and then I found a small book on the clearance shelf called “Don’t Sweat The Small Stuff”, by Kristine Carlson.  There is 100 short essays about dealing with stress, making time for yourself, laughing when all else fails, avoiding letting self doubt get in your way and so on…

I thought, this is exactly what I am looking for.  So I checked out, ran another errand and went home.  I have taken my therapists advice and tried not to worry about holding those who have done me wrong accountable.  She reminded me that what goes around comes around, and they will be punished one way or another.  I thought of all the energy I had put into my anger and was trying to let it go.  I got home and took a nap with the kitty for a little while, and when I woke up I worked in the yard.  I weeded, deadheaded flowers and watered.  Already feeling more relaxed.  Of course, I’m home and not at work, but I have to think positive.  Right now, I’m relaxed and feel a little more centered.  From now on, it’s about me and what I want and what I need.  No, I don’t think I’m selfish.  I think if I am going to be healthy and happy I need to look out for me because no one else will.  My kids need a happy healthy mom, first and foremost.  And no matter how busy I am and how crazy my life  is, I am there for them whenever they need it.  They know that and that’s all I can do.

So, tomorrow is an early day, heading to Gloucester to the beach with one of my girlfriends and I’m going to relax on the beach and read my new book.  Hoping it will be as insightful and helpful as I hope it will be.  I’ll let you know what I think.  Check it out for yourself. She has others as well. If I like this one, I’m going to pick up “don’t sweat the small stuff in LOVE”.

 

A Leap of Faith

When I saw my therapist this morning the events of the past week came spewing out of my mouth like lava from a volcano.  I was so stressed I was actually short of breath telling her about the issues.  She said she could see I was wound tight – no kidding – I’m gonna snap the line pretty soon! Amazingly enough, an hour later I left her office feeling better.  Not 100 percent, but better.  She got me to look at one big problem I kept basing everything in my life on, in a different way.  First off, just because my kids live with my ex-husband doesn’t mean he has to bully me or pull the strings like I’m his puppet.  I need to stay strong and stand up to him.  Also, I keep basing every decision in my life on whether the kids live with me or stay with him.  If they live with me I can work full time days and not pay him child support and then I can survive on one job.  If they stay with him I have to stay doing 3 jobs I’m not happy with just to pay my own bills.  She told me I”m looking at it all wrong.  I need to let go of the work and ex-husband issues that are controlling me because it’s exhausting me, mentally.  It is wearing me down.
She reminded me that I am strong, I’m a survivor, and I always manage to do what needs to be done and I always manage to get by.  She said, first of all, you must get out of a job that is making you physically ill.  And don’t worry about the child support so much, don’t obsess over it like it rules YOU! (oh yeah…my ex bribed the kids into staying with him, so I was once again feeling like what the hell do I do now, I can’t accept a full time job on days because I need these three jobs) So she said, you pay him $150/wk, look at that as your weekly grocery bill, you would have to spend if they lived with you anyway.  You have a job and your looking so  you can afford to be more picky and get what you want.  If you make enough in one job, that 150/wk (groceries) wont  be missed so much and you can survive, you always survive.  I realized, yes, it’s time for me to take a leap of faith.  Sometimes you can’t figure it all out ahead of time.  I need to take the full time job on days if one is offered to me and start feeling like a normal person and then the rest of it will fall into place.  I think the lack of sleep from the schedule I keep is not helping me at all.  When I was 18, going to bed at 1am and getting up at 545 was okay, not anymore.  Its just making me exhausted and cranky.  It’s time for a change, I have faith, that when I make the big leap, I will be okay and find land under my feet.  Even If I stumble a little bit, it’s not like I’ve never stumbled before.  So from now on I’m doing what’s best for me.  I’m not re-arranging my life around everyone else’s needs.  I can’t do it.  I am going to respect myself and the things I want.  Right now my kids are safe, they are being clothed and fed (supposedly) and going for check-ups and getting good grades.  I’m leaving it at that.  My daughter is almost 15 if this is her decision then that is the final decision.  I told her this isn’t a revolving door.  I will not re-arrange my entire life for her every time she has a fight with her father.  I told her I am always here, and if there is a problem she can come to me, but she needs to learn to work it out with her dad and step mom instead of saying I want to live here, no there, no here, no there.  I feel like a yo-yo.  Not anymore.  It’s hard to put your foot down and let go, but she needs to learn you  can’t run from your problems. you also have to live with the decisions you make. 

Now it’s my turn to try to find some happiness and normalcy in my life.  I pray that it’s right around the corner. 

Pure Exhaustion

The exhaustion that I feel today is not from work. It’s from the range of emotions that has gone through me in one day. I went to bed with the anger that I felt from problems at work last night. I woke up still angry and that feeling turned into the feeling of helplessness and frustration after I made some phone calls and waited for others to be returned. Then after hearing from my ex-husband my emotion went back to anger and then sadness and grief and stress thinking about what will come next. Everything in my life he has to turn into a fight so now I have to prepare for another one. I went to work and I was moody because my mind was in another place. And I worked this evening I went to a range of emotions ranging from happiness to sadness, With some hidden tears running down my face So that my partner wouldn’t see how upset I was. I felt determined I felt weak, I felt angry, fearful, hopeful, sad, betrayed, frustrated, happy and loved and probably every other emotion possible all in one day. I cannot believe the energy and the strength that this took from me today…complete and other exhaustion. Holding onto everything that I have inside, everything that I keep bottled up inside of me is really exhausting to hold onto. I don’t know how to let any of it go. I really hope that I can get offered a new job, I got called on one today. I hope I can start a new chapter soon because I’m ready I need some change. Heading to bed because I cannot even keep my eyes open. they’re scratchy and burning they are so tired. Praying things start to turn around for the better, Because I can’t keep going at the pace I am.

**The Burden of a Full Plate**

Tips for managing stress

Tips for managing stress

It’s been a very tiring day today.  Tuesdays are the worst for me because it is my double shift.  Up for work at 545AM working until Midnight. My body and my mind are both equally exhausted.  The ambulance was out for a few hours today, otherwise I spent the day sending out more resumes.  I have been sitting here looking over the job openings until my eyes were burning.  This place has been gnawing at my nerves today.  I have been sick to my stomach to the point of almost vomiting, horrible chest pain, even more horrible pain in my upper back, headache and shortness of breath.  At one point I thought maybe I was having a heart attack but I keep reminding myself It is just stress (I hope). I have not heard anything on the other job I interviewed for last week, but the pay was too low so I’m okay with that.  I would not be able to take it at their starting pay.  I would however, love for one of the other places to contact me.  I just don’t understand it.

To make matters worse I sent a text to my ex-husband yesterday and told him that my son wanted to live with me and we needed to make arrangements and talk so I could register him for school….no answer.  I sent a second text today…no answer.  Every decision I make regarding my employment will be based on whether Jake lives with me or not.  Do I work days while he’s in school, and pay no child support, so I can be home with him at night.  If I quit my full time job at night, which I hate, and for some reason Jake cant live here or it’ll be a long drawn out custody thing, I can’t accept a day job without also having to look for a new part time job at night.  Right now my 3 jobs sort of support me.  I don’t like the idea of upsetting the delicate balance I am barely hanging on too.  I’m so afraid one way or another.  I’m at the point however, where I feel I need to take a leap of faith and do what “I” need, for my health and sanity, and my boy.  Alicia has already decided she wants to attend CT high school and stay with her friends and I respect that but I want my son with me.  I’m strong enough now to go through this. It doesn’t mean I’m not scared.  I am terrified. I’m the one that always gets walked all over.  They say nice guys finish last, I guess it’s the same for nice girls!

On top of looking for a new job, wanting to get my son back home and possibly having a custody battle, I start back to school in 3 weeks.  On deck is Business Law class (how appropriate) and introduction to Algebra…UGH!!! Maybe all of this is why I feel like my heart is going to pound out of my chest.  There is too much on my plate right now….and more and more is being piled on.  I MUST learn how to relax, and I MUST find more time for myself.  Getting back to the gym is in order, not only for my weight, but for my stress and mental health.  But for right now…eyes closed…deep deep breaths…in through my nose out through my mouth…repeat!

 

Check out this site for tips on managing stress.

http://access.ewu.edu/caps/selfhelp/stressmanage.xml

 

Daily Challenge

http://dailypost.wordpress.com/2013/08/12/writing-challenge-health/

 

Being in good health, for me, begins with my mental health.  For many many years I have struggled with depression.  Of course at first I didn’t really understand that was the problem.  It started with panic attack like symptoms when I miscarried my second child.  I was irritable and tired all the time.  I wanted to sleep a lot, had headaches and didn’t want to socialize.  I didn’t take care of myself physically, because I was physically unable too because of the depression.  It was literally controlling my life.  Prior to and the years following my divorce this became worse.  First of all, as a mom and the wife of an “ill” husband I had no time to take care of myself.  I had no time for myself…period..never mind making healthy choices for myself.  I just kept going day after day , feeling more isolated and lost.  I knew I wasn’t happy but I didn’t know why.  After my divorce and the change in antidepressant I became worse but in a different way.  I was thinking about dying all the time.  Thoughts would run through my head that were not ME.  Unbeknownst to me, my best friend was  watching my suffering and mood changes closely.  It didn’t take long before he gave me the name of a doctor that specialized in Antidepressants.  This doctor was amazing.  She finally (and quickly) got my medication correct and within 3 days I felt so much better.  It’s not only a pill that makes me happy though.  You have to want to be happy.  You have to want to move on and get better.  I didn’t realize before that depression was a real illness.  I hear people saying just “snap out of it”. It’s not something that you can snap out of.  True depression is from a chemical imbalance in the brain.  It’s not your fault, it’s not something to be able to control. But without good mental health, you can’t have good physical health. It’s not anything to be ashamed of or embarrassed about. It can happen to anyone. 

I would sit in a chair for hours at a time, watching the raindrops, or the leaves blowing. Before I knew it the entire day was gone.  I didn’t want to leave the house.  I didn’t talk or see my friends, or exercise.  I felt like I could not get out of my own way if I had too.  My mind was like Pea Soup.  It was a fog so thick that I could not see through to make the most simple decision.  It affected every aspect of my life.  My relationships with men, my friends, my family and kids, and even work.  All I wanted to do was sleep until I started to feel better with this new medication.  The color came back into my face, I laughed again.  It was a strange sound, as I had not heard it in so long.  I went to the gym and started feeling better.  I was more relaxed and could finally start to look to the future and make decisions.  It was then I started advocating for people to be open about depression.

Even though I feel better most days I have to be careful.  I need to make sure I don’t miss any doses of medication or I feel horrible.  My alcohol intake has to be small to none at all.  I have found talking about it helps.  I have had a very hard time with this, because at some point over the last 5 years or so I put up some serious walls, and I don’t let people in far.  But I’ve tried to open up to people about depression, and cutting and suicidal thoughts because they are real.  I don’t think you can have a healthy lifestyle or even a healthy relationship with someone if you are not in a good place mentally.  Once you deal with the depression the rest of it seems to fall into place. 

It’s something that I deal with every day.  When I feel it…I need to force myself to push through it.  It’s physically hard to do, but you have to push through it.  I will get into moods where I don’t want to leave the house.  I literally don’t feel like I have the energy to run an errand.  I need to force myself.  I don’t want to go out with friends, and I need to force myself.  I have good days and bad and I constantly have to be aware. 

So even though I don’t have a physical disability or an illness that can be found with a blood test, xray or ultrasound, my illness, when not controlled, still keeps me from having a healthy active lifestyle.  So If you think you may be suffering from depression please go talk to your doctor.  Do some research yourself and fight for your health.  It will not only be good for you, but everyone else around you as well.