Tag Archives: anxiety

Welcome 2017…

Do you do New Year’s resolutions? Do they work? Do you follow through with them throughout the whole year? Probably not.

–I will fill you in on a little secret, gang. If you wait all year-long to make improvements, you can bet by February you have either modified those resolutions or given up all together. People who really want change and really want to improve don’t wait for January to start–

Obviously I think New Year’s resolutions are just plain stupid, so no, I don’t waste my time coming up resolutions for the new year just so I can feel like shit when I give up on them. No thanks.

I am a goal oriented lady, always have been. Every quarter I visit those goals and review progress. If there has been zero progress I either let that goal go for now, because life, or I figure out what changes need to be made in order to meet that goal. No waiting for January to my best me.

This year, this blog will be getting a make-over to reflect my new goals. I have been working really hard lately, hence the absence.

2016 was the year of self-preservation and making BIG changes to get my mental and physical health under control. I had a mental breakdown around February last year and  it was about a 6-month ordeal.

It led me to understand spirituality in a way that resonates with me, to yoga, to meditating, to Lexapro and to other herbal remedies.

Handling generalized anxiety disorder, depression, chronic pain,  insomnia and PTSD is no longer more than I can handle. I am working toward becoming a certified life coach with focus on relationships and western therapies. I already earned my MS in psychology so this is the easy part! If this is something that interest you; you know where to find me. At home trying to write and mother!

 

So, here is to 2017. More to follow!

 

XOXO,

SM

 

 

 

 

The Struggle of Medicating and Mothering

Let me please start by admitting that as my daughter grows, I grow.

After all, I am learning how to navigate delicate situations that will shape this human being for years to come. In the process I am learning how to be patient, be kind and to be as empathetic as humanely possible.

And I need help, everyday, to accomplish this to the best of my ability.

The struggle of taking prescription medication and accepting that this will be my life, forever, has been a hard pill to swallow. (pun intended!)

I think this feeling is due to my experiences growing up. I would bet that a large population of thirty-somethings and on can remember their parents or grandparents heavily medicated with prescription medication, and perhaps it was mixed with booze at times.

I remember my mother having a plethora of pills. Pills for every occasion, and she had no problem sharing them with me in later years. An over-medicated parent is not a parent, and so I can see the struggle with making the decision to go that route. I can empathize with the desire to keep your household medication free.

But after years of being in denial, the best thing I ever did for myself and my family was to get on medication. I take JUST ENOUGH of a dose that allows me to control my emotions and stay motivated to keep moving forward. I truly believe that spiraling out of control on a consistent basis is counter productive to your desire to live on your own, free of medication. In my own experience, my relationships are better, my day-to-day life is better and my motivation to go after my goals in heightened. And lets be honest, most people, myself included, end up self-medicating.

I think another reason that people tend to avoid treatment is that they sort of view mental illness as a ‘cross they bear’ and something they ‘live with’. For example, I never linked my chest pains or over active sweating and constant queasiness to anxiety. I thought it was just me, just something I had to deal with. The whole time I was just experiencing symptoms of anxiety disorder. Perhaps lack of education leads us to ignore it because it is an illness we can’t see on the outside; other than physiological symptoms you experience (i.e. sweating).

In reality, mental illness is not much different that the illnesses you can see, meaning it needs to be treated. Your brain simply does not perform the way a healthy brain does. Boom, there you go. If you can’t treat narcolepsy or schizophrenia with will power, why would you think you can treat anxiety and depression the same way?

“Hey, wake the fuck up and pull yourself together Carol…” or “you do not see or hear things that are not there, stop fucking around and get back to work Carol so we can make happy hour.” – side note: I am obsessed with the name Carol from that tennis scene in Bridesmaides.  “Get it together, Carol!”

Of course, prescription medication is the just one of the treatments I have in my arsenal. You need to exercise regularly and release those endorphins naturally. Get some vitamin D daily, breathe fresh air. Meditate. Find a hobby that makes your heart sing. And pet your cat (whichever one you want).

One of the ways my daughter is keeping me on my toes and keeping my mind always focused on the big picture is how she mimics my every move. In the morning, I take my prescriptions when I pour my coffee and she sees me do this every day. Well, this past month she has demanded that she take her ‘medicine’ too.

My heart crushes every time, because it brings me right back to my child hood and how I can still remember my mom and her pills. I cried about this my husband and to my girlfriends. I struggle with wanting her to see me work hard to manage my mental health yet I want to preserve that innocence of childhood. However, at the end of the day, she needs a mother who can keep it together and a mom she can count on.

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So for now, I will alter my routine and save that conversation for when she is developmentally ready. With how fast she is growing, that will probably be next week. Sigh.

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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 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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Anxiety with a side of guilt, please

I knew that at some point I wanted to go back to working outside the home, part-time.  I hadn’t really decided on what I wanted to do and for how many hours. I toyed with a few different options, some for a day and some for months.

  • starting up a small photography business
  • writing
  • freelance photography
  • life-coaching
  • going back to serving part-time
  • blogging

All of these earn money and all of these have flexible schedules. I decided well before I had Charlotte that I wanted to be the one to stay home with her. I decided that before I even met and married my husband, actually. Not that I had some deep desire to start a family and stay home, but when and if I ever became a mom I realized that I needed to make myself available to them. That is the biggest reason I decided to wrap up my Navy career and focus on finishing school and starting a family.

Charlotte is now 19-months old and I assumed I would have already dealt with this transition. However my child is what you call a picky eater and sleeps as well as I do. Which isn’t well at all.  As ridiculous as some people may find this, I wanted to be available to help get her through this phase. With her milkers near by just incase it was a no solid food at all kind of day. I was determined that is was in fact just a phase. Luckily, I was correct.

All the reasons I held on to continue working from home only and holding off going back out into the big bad work force are in the review mirror now. She is sleeping well (teething has come to resting point) and she is eating like a vacuum. Especially when me and my irresistible milkers are out of her reach.

So the time has come, paperwork has been submitted and it is happening. I will be blogging and going back to serving part-time. Not just for the money, but for my sanity.

I know this. I know with my brain that we can do this and survive. Even though she has spent every single day with momma, and momma puts her to sleep every night, we will survive. I know this will be good for me, good for her, and good Chris. I am not an illogical person. But the guilt, oh it is consuming. The guilt of needing to be away and the guilt of not wanting to, they keep the wine aisle at Target busy.

My heart feels like everything will fall apart and she will be screaming for momma for hours until I am finally back home. My heart says she will miss me too much, and I will miss her too much. My heart is making my eyes water and I don’t even start until Thursday, and for only 4 hours. My heart can be annoying.

I knew the day was coming and in order to get on the same page and pull my big girl panties up I started seeing a counselor who I can pay to remind me we will survive. To remind me that this is my decision and not something I am being made to do. She reminds me that what I am feeling is normal and I am certainly not alone. All great stuff for someone like me. But, if she tells me to try meditating one more time,  I might have to start shopping for a new counselor.

So Thursday, equipped with some new tools, a new family member to motivate me and a new appreciation for adult conversation, my anxiety-fueled self will be resuming my old spot at O’Charleys and will be serving my favorite cocktails with a side of mommy guilt new assholes who tip lousy.

That’s ok, I will get to relax on the new couch I buy will that guilt-laced money.

Wish me luck.

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