Category Archives: Mental Health

I throw in the towel; I give up trying to make everyone happy.

The words I don’t care what you think have passed these lips a time or two. Both in a drunken rant and in a sober matter-of-fact way, but I never meant in. Insecure people are the first to say, “I don’t care what you think or what you say,” but that is because we care too much.

This year I decided to put in the effort to really mean it. I suppose I have been known to make a few decisions not really caring what people had to say, but I always had the backing of someone I view as important in my life. Like my parents or my honorary mom/aunt. This is the year I am taking to work on myself, so I owe it to myself and my husband and daughter to make that the new standard around here.

Having a mom and wife who is prone to stress about the crumbs on the floor, both at home and work, is tough enough. Stress takes years off your life, and that shit is not happening! So I officially denounce trying to make everyone happy.

Especially unhappy people. It is simply impossible; they got too much shit going on in their own life that all they know how to do is project. Project on you, on their significant others, parents, coworkers… hell, the cashier at the grocery store. You know these people. They are the ones SNL makes skits about. These are the people who only ask you how you are so that when you do the societal norm of asking them in return, they get to tell something awful. Something that is a total downer and unnecessary for you to even know. Like about their baby daddy not paying child support or about being evicted or losing a family member ten years ago today. Socially awkward asshats that you eventually avoid at all costs or never fall into the trap of asking how their day is going. *If you have never ran across any people like this, well, I guess you live somewhere amazing and alone, take lots of pills or you are that person.

I have learned through trial and error that no amount of compliments make this type of person happy, no amount of gifts, no amount of quality time… not even a box full of puppies or kittens. They have some deeper issues that need addressing, and chances are it is not high on their list of priorities. Probably because they remain oblivious and believe their self-centered way of thinking is normal.

I realize unhappiness narrows our thinking. Being unhappy creates a whole ‘what about me’ vibe and that shit is just plain annoying. I have lived it. When I am going through a depressive episode I feel pretty darn unhappy and it is all-consuming. I can only focus on how I am feeling and how everything pertains to me. Nothing really makes me happy, comfortable maybe, but not happy.

With all the things I am juggling right now and all the goals Chris and I have, I just can’t fit it on my plate anymore. I can’t waste anymore energy or take any more time away from all things I find important to try to make irrelevant people happy. I am not even going to go through the effort of making small talk with people who insist on sucking the positive energy and fun out of any and everything that they can. Even if they don’t realize it.

I have come to grips that we all can’t just get along sometimes. Sometimes, it is just not going to work out that way. I am not in charge of anyone’s happiness except my own and the people I grow. In an effort to stay on this path I have continued to have cell phone free time, just now I do it so much I have begun leaving it home when I leave. It gives me the chance to focus on the important things going on in that moment and not social media and neurotic family members. Sometimes that works, other times the focus shifts to my husband, but then it is his issue and I don’t have to even pay attention to it. That is what you call a win-win approach.

Join me in not trying to make everyone else happy, and make yourself happy! I have even started shutting down those Debbie Downers before they try to suck me into their pity part. They project their misery, and I deflect with positivity. When that fails I just tell them they are really bringing down my positive vibe, and when that fails I just tell them they are straight up depressing and to keep it to themselves. That works because they think you are a bitch and move on to gossiping about you and projecting all that toxic shit on other people. Boom! Problem solved. Another win-win for me.

You are in charge of your own happiness. It is not rocket science. It has been appearing on apparel and swag for decades. Haven’t you eaten a stupid fortune cookie? You can choose to be happy. You can choose who you allow in your life. You can choose to put you and yours first. If you won’t give yourself permission to do it, suburban mishap does!

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How Organization and Planning are Saving my Sanity

I think by now, the general population that follows Huffington Post  knows that a stay-at-home mom or dad does more during the day than changing diapers and keeping the children alive. Or hell, maybe that is his or her only goal and she achieves day in and day out. I don’t judge.

However, we can’t deny the numerous articles floating around the internet about what a day-in-the-life of a stay-at-home mom looks like that carries the undertone of a shaking finger in your face and eyes as big as a strung-out crack head.

And I get it. I do, I truly do get it. When you are stuck in the throws of endless days that feel like they will never end. Days that are filled with you using words like “blowout” and “lactate.” You start to grow horns and learn how to cuss in a sing-song voice with tears in your eyes.

The slope gets too damn slippery sometimes and you slip right into not giving a fuck. From there you find you self settling into cynical and alone. Hello my Mirandas!

Black and White

So you start reading shit titled, “What I Would Pay My Wife if I Could” and nodding along. You start feeling this stay-at-home mom pride, because you are a part of this group, you know. Then it turns to entitlement and then it ends with truth.

The truth of course being that you are you are alone most of time, changing shitty diapers and praying to someone’s God to please STOP the lactating!

Oh looky there, I went on a rant! Ha! Let me get myself back on track…

Basically, I used to put so much effort and energy into a clean house and appearing like everything was PERFECT.

Then I gave up caring and everything fell apart… as I suspected it would.

So after we settled into Castle Garvey, I found my groove in life again. I had some damn good ah-ha moments that would make even Oprah proud! I found the middle ground that is now keeping this household running so smooth I get to take more than one bath a week. I live for a good bath you guys.

Here is how organizing my life into a simple routine is working for me and keeping me sane.

Note: I don’t have a set schedule for the cleaning. That part has to be flexible because having a two-year old means no agenda on my part (so-to-speak). I stay home to be present with her so I put my chores on the back burner as far as time on the clock. I do them as I can, sometimes she lets me knock it all out, other times I do a little here and there. 

Monday:

Babysit from mid-morning to mid-evening.

  • Babysit from mid-morning to mid-evening.
  • I vacuum every Monday and dust every other Monday.
  • Dinner and I usually do bath time with her.

Tuesday:

  • Same babysitting schedule. I have started strongly ” “suggesting” story time and activity times.
  • I vacuum upstairs every week and dust every other week.
  • Dinner and daddy does bath time. Unless of course it is mommy’s turn again because Charlotte is the ultimate decision maker. Of course.

Wednesday:

  • I schedule most play dates, appointments for whoever needs them and run errands.
  • Laundry every week and bathrooms every other week (spot clean) and a deep clean once a month. We have 3 full baths (one with a double sink vanity) and a half bath downstairs. I am not boasting or bragging; I am pointing out the time it would take me to deep clean those every week. Hell no, good sir. Pass. I put Chris in charge of his own shitter so frankly I don’t know how often that one gets cleaned, other than when we have guest. Moving right along…
  • Dinner and bath time.

Thursday:

  • The Little Gym at 10:30. Run errands if there are any to run.
  • Mom gets to write so if there are not leftovers to eat (which 9 out of 10 times there is) we eat out. I write and work until I summoned by either my husband or child.

Friday:

  • This is a fairly new schedule so on Friday I am often doing something I missed or couldn’t get to earlier in the week.
  • Work 5 pm at restaurant job until I am done. This is the same for Saturday and Sunday.

Having a toddler pretty much requires you to have a ‘no agenda’ type attitude, which makes it hard to have a ‘stay on top of the house work, keep money coming in, have lots of sex with husband and cook delicious meals everyday’ type of attitude as well.

Something snaps eventually, and I am not trying to a 20/20 episode. During my recent self-discovery and coming out to the world that I am not the real deal Martha Stewart type I may or may not have mentioned that I also rely on a village (husband, friends, coworkers, that nice British guy at Target) to make it through my day and I am attached to my monthly planner.

I share a monthly planning app on my phone with my husband for joint stuff, but I am old school to the core and love to write it down. It is a process for me… it relaxes me to put in on paper and read it when I need to. I hold a lot of titles and I do a lot with my time. I need help keeping it all together, down to what I plan to cook to where I need to be at any given time. I like to set goals and I like check them off as I accomplish them.

Plus who doesn’t look forward to buying ANYTHING from Target. Especially their stationary and craft supplies; they have really stepped it up in that department. I get inspired walking around there sometimes.

In regards to anxiety, I find that having a plan keeps my mind on track and keeps me working on what I am supposed to be. It also has allowed to me let go of the feeling that I need to vacuum or dust all the time (for example). I know that I am going to tackle those exact jobs on their designated day, and I can move my focus to whatever else it is I need to, or want to depending on the day! Like today, writing!

I planned this schedule out very carefully. It fits my current schedule perfectly and is flexible all at the same time. Look at today, I saved my day for writing for a day that I know the household chores would be done and a day that dad would be available for an extended to amount of time to take the baton and make sure Charlotte stays alive. Heavy planning that if you notice, isn’t driven by the hands on the clock. I still feel in control, and relaxed enough to bust out something enjoyable for my readers.

Having this routine for the last month has brought down my stress level. I live in a larger house now, not much larger, but a bit larger in square footage and with more rooms. There is just more to do in the area of cleaning. I like a clean house, and even though my husband would say “I don’t really care one way or the other” or something to that affect, he likes the house clean too. He is compulsively doing the dishes.

I quickly realized it takes a LONG time getting this sucker clean. I also realized that in keeping with my 2016 goals, that you can check out in my post http://suburbanmishap.com/the-year-i-took-for-myself/, I decided to break it up into days. More than that, I needed to break up the deeper cleaning and not go bat-shit bananas over a little dust or toothe paste in the sink. I don’t have to pull out the rubber gloves every time I need to clean up just a little.

The cleaning and appointment/errand day routine was born and boom, I sleep better at night.

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The Power of Self-Awareness

The difference between the Jen today and the Jen a couple of  years ago is pretty simple. I lacked self-awareness. I was walking around functioning at minimum capacity. I may have had direction and motivation to better myself, but I lacked a firm grip on my own reality.

I was cocky, though. Cocky about my credentials, my talents, my paycheck… which is funny to me now. None of those things really matter to me.

I had a tendency to mold myself to others. People I admired or people I wanted to like me. I found a pattern of hiding behind the people I hung out with in order to avoid really giving my life any real thought. I would do what they liked doing, talk about what they liked talking about and eventually I would continuously trick myself into believing this version was the version that ‘fit’.

Then one day I snapped. Too much was happening at once, the walls crashed in and I gave in to the emotional breakdown that was years in the making. It lasted days. During those days there was ugly crying, deep thoughts, long baths and long periods alone. I can tell you from my experience, everything in my life suffered when I was in this state of mind. My relationships, my self-esteem and my mental and physical health.

During that time I finally developed some self-awareness. Being away from all those people you hid behind and sobering up in order to create a life does that to a person, maybe. I realized that I was living my life for other people and have been doing it since I left the nest.

For Example, I became a photographer to impress my dad, because it was his current hobby… that he gave up while I was in boot camp when he took the camera back to Costco.

I got caught up making self-destructive decisions. Hanging out with partiers and heavy drinkers (ie: all Sailors). In the Navy, you are prone to being in situations where tying one on is normal and when you have no tolerance to alcohol disaster will ensue. It is inevitable. I met my husband at the tail end of that decade-long shit-show. The party girl reeled him in and the sober chick with goals and a good soul sealed the deal.

During this process, the minute I became self-aware of a few facts about myself, I started using that information to rebuild myself. I realized I am not a good drinker. I do not know my limit, I have no clue when to stop, I get sloppy, make terrible decisions and then owe apologies that are covered in embarrassment and self-loathing.

I also realized that I was working toward goals that were not really important to me. I wasn’t putting in the real effort it takes to adult properly. I also wasn’t doing things that make me happy, (because I still hadn’t figured out what those things were). I realized that because of my stubborn and superiority complex, I had missed out on too many years with my mom to admit to.

I became aware of my over-analyzing, my anxious feelings, my tendency to blow-up and the fact that what I was putting my time and energy into bullshit.

Self-awareness is a magical thing. Just admitting to yourself where you need to make improvements and realizing what is holding you back starts a journey to a happier existence.

The next step is action; that’s a difference post for another day though!

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The Year I Took for Myself

This will be known as the year I took for myself. I really started this over-due and difficult journey last year, but I am making it my official goal this year. Yes I set goals, and yes I stick to them. It is how my brain is wired. Now before you say, “I wish I was like that” read through a few recent post and then decide.

I am the person who wakes up and really enjoys writing out the days plans with her morning cups of joe. Yes you read that correctly, it takes multiple cups and I enjoy making list.

Anyway, I am taking this year to work on myself, do what makes me happy and find out what else makes me happy.

To accomplish this goal, I have to let go of a few things and change the way I think. For example, for some reason I have put people liking me really high on my list of importance. I must have,  because I really do care if people like me. Way too much. I over analyze every relationship I have ever had, nightly. Ok, not really nightly, but I do it far more than I would like.

I am the person who really wishes Facebook required a reason before they allowed you to use the unfriend option. It’s fucked up Facebook, really, it is. I need to know why this person who has requested or accepted a social media friendship contract and has abruptly ended it without my permission. I have to know WHY!

I digress…

I do know that in order for me to keep myself sane and moving forward I need to stop wasting the energy it takes giving a shit whether or not people like me. I need to stop working on this facade of perfection I have built. It’s wearing me the fuck down. I can’t keep all my ‘friendships’ afloat by myself and I need to recognize a dead friendship when I see one.

During our 6-month apartment stay, I was on a low. Let’s call it that. During that time I was forced to deal with some real mental health type issues. After losing too much weight, having a couple panic attacks and bickering day and night with Chris, I knew it was time to get my ass in gear and deal with this issue I knew would surface one day.

Let’s be real for a second. The odds have always been stacked against me in the mental health department. What I mean by this is that I am genetically predisposed to anxiety and depression, and I have enough childhood trauma to fill a two-day Dr. Phil episode.

Let’s not ignore the other elephant in the room. Having a child really pushes you to the edge sometimes. Having a tiny two-year old who knows everything and loves to hide really really well is tough you guys. With the sleep deprivation, constant mini-heart attacks and putting yourself on the back-burner (or what you perceive as the back-burner) can really begin to wear even the sanest person down.

So, in 2016 I have made it my point to get mentally strong, physically strong and emotionally strong. The plan to get myself there is pretty simple. Stop putting other people first, say no when I really want to, no more one-sided friendships, simplify my life (more to follow there) and spend time doing things that feed my soul like working out, going on dates with my husband and learning how to garden. And read, I remember enjoying that too.

My mom would be proud of me and that makes me feel good. So far my confidence is returning, my marriage is stronger for it and damn it feels good to sit in traffic and not want to take my skin off and walk home.

So join in my journey, take some time for you, and maybe learn a thing or two.

 

That was totally an accident and totally lame.

 

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I would like to order a cup of denial, extra guilt and just a sprinkle of reality…

It is absolutely amazing to me that I have denied my own truth until recently. Or I suppose some would say that I have found ways to deny it, escape it or even explain it; ‘it’ being the reality of my mental health situation and how I got there. This post is not going to be about the latter of the last sentence though, so don’t exit this post just yet.

I just feel like my absence on my own blog is just another example of my mental health reality and another situation I can easily explain away. We just moved into a new house that took 6 months to build. We were cramped and unhappy in the apartment, blah blah blah.

But the absolute truth is I was in a pretty deep depression. The truth is I suffer from depression. And GAD.

I have always denied the depressive part to my personality. I believed in to be situation, brief and not a big deal. Certainly not depression. I mean, I have studied depression for years. It is BASIC psychology. Hello, half the world should be at least familiar if not an expert by the constant commercials cramming medications down our throats. I made joke after joke that maybe I chose that particular field of study to try and outrun what ever reality awaited me in that department. I don’t seriously believe that this is the entire case here, but I definitely believed I would see the signs or understand what was happening to me.

I have recently been doing a lot work on myself. Mainly for my daughter. I do not wish to repeat history, that has always been something I have been high-per aware of. This has included therapy sessions, starting medication, changing medication and spending more time doing things that help me feel better (baths, yoga, going to Target alone, etc.).

During this time, I have realized there have been several points in my life that I am sure I was suffering from a depressive episode. I have made horrible decisions, been drunk for years at a time and survived several situations I will never talk about in the company of my daughter.

I know that I feel much better realizing why and how I got here. Despite my best effort, I suffer from what many, many women suffer from. I got tired of all the anxious feelings, the constant sweating, the chest pains, the inability to control my emotions once I reached panic mode. I had to take control of it and get some help. Hiding was now impossible and being a good mom has become my priority so I had to put my pride aside, put my ‘I’m no slave to the system and pills’ attitude aside.

I feel so much better now, truly. And once I got my anxiety under control it became overwhelmingly obvious that there was more to the story. More I needed to realize and more I needed to work on. Slowly, after 32-33 years of life, the smoke cleared. I see myself clearly now. I see that I am broken,  but not beyond repair. I am prone to short and long bouts where my eyes remain puffy and dark from lack of sleep and long sessions of weeping. Moments in time where I say I enjoy laying around and binge watching a show, or sleeping during the day when I really have to no reason to be tired. I have began describing myself as and introvert, and maybe I am, but there is a difference in the level of desire to be around people when I am the throws of a episode. The thought of going out in public, just public, not even an event where I am expected to socialize, gets me all worked up and in a pissy mood.

The point of this brutally honest and exposing post is that I am coming out of one of those episodes and am feeling MUCH better am ready to get this blog moving forward again, and I feel like I have finally found my niche.

Going forward this blog will focus on mental health as well as all the motherhood, kitchen madness, photography and my struggle to adapt to suburban life (DUH). Let me know what you think!

Love,

SM

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