Tag Archives: mental health

Authenticity Equals Longevity in the Blogging World

I would like to re-introduce myself and this blog. I am going to start this website over with a new focus. Authenticity equals longevity; and I want to grow not plateau. I am a new lady, going new places and for that reason we need to start over.

For most of 2016 I hid behind the term ‘blogger’ when people asked me what I did. You know the general questions: how old is your child, what do you do, how do you take your mom crack (coffee)?

I served on and off for about 4 years at the same restaurant. However, I always introduced myself as a blogger. It felt more like an age-appropriate gig. More so than letting people be assholes to you for shitty tips. Managers included.

Well, I have decided it is time to stop referring to myself as a blogger. Because I am not a blogger; I am an entrepreneur utilizing my website.

Last year, I latched onto “bloggers” that I thought I connected with for various reasons. I was really searching for myself in a life I didn’t recognize. I went onto to realize that I was suffering  mental breakdown of sorts that manifested in many ways: excessive shopping, cleaning, never leaving the house, screaming, therapy, medicine, more screaming, dramatic weight loss and excessive drinking.

Soon those bloggers that I looked to for a sense of community slowly began dropping off my radar. Their content that was usually funny and relatable changed to narcissistic bullshit. I can’t relate to mom’s who never have their kids and who care more about appearance than actually helping people. You can’t fake being a good person.

This is when I realized that most internet personalities are not authentic people. They don’t have to be gain a following. People will believe what they want to and that shit is for the birds. The blogger community needs more authentic people who build-up others based on truths and not half-truths. People who will be honest even if it means they are exposed. THAT IS INTEGRITY.

The bloggers that are actually making differences (in my opinion) are the ones who are in their 20’s learning life, sharing real experiences and who tell the truth.

Where am I going with this? Well, I have discussed the direction of this blog until we have all gotten blue in the face. One thing about a chick with severe anxiety is that I am consistent. I will consistently say I am going to do something, and then not do it.

But a bitch can be hopeful. Right? Stick around.

This blog is getting a make-over, but first I will be uploading lots of fresh content that is based around my life, my goals and all the business’ I am running.

-My photography business

-Pure Romance Consultant

-Mental Health– to include life coaching in areas of relationships, lifestyle, sexual health. (MS in Psychology and life coach certified)

-My reality as a cannabis consumer and mother

-YouTube Channel (because 3 people have told me I am funny now, it is time)

-Chakra Yoga (because it is free fucking therapy)

And when I have time, I love to cook, so I will continue adding family favorite recipes!

So, Welcome again.

Business Card Worthy? Just kidding.

 

 

Nature vs Nurture

Why is this important?

I got to talking with a friend of mine after wrapping up a photo session. For the first time, we discussed our particular health issues, treatment choices and just our overall daily struggles. It made me realize that so many women have some of the same worries about the impact of their youth on their adult life.

In my short thirty-something years, I can say with confidence that I have had some pretty bullshit hands dealt to me. I have had experiences that keep me up at night, now that I am a mother.

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            my inspiration

I spent the greater part of my adult life in this cycle of pity, self-destruction and an unhealthy obsession with success and proving everyone wrong. I made terrible decisions; thankfully this was before the ‘cloud’ reared its stupid head.

I really don’t like to dwell on the past anymore; it ruined me. It became this baggage that I literally carried around with me everyday. I was letting it weigh me down and I was letting it become my identity.

At my core, I believed that I would never be anything but that girl who was molested for years and whose mother threw her out like the trash when she was 15. The girl whose father took her in and kept her locked up like a bad secret.

Then life knocked at my door and made me face my reality. And as messy as it was, I did it. In return, I started making better decisions and started fucking sleeping better. In 2011, I started to slowly put the baggage down, piece by piece. It is 100% possible to change your own narrative.

Like anyone who has suffered, you struggle with the notion that history will repeat itself. That no matter what you do, you will become a product of your experiences.

I started to realize that I didn’t have to fight so hard to not become a product of childhood. That I would not become the mother I had or the shitty experiences I endured.

Nature Vs Nurture

Do you ever wonder why you are so different from your siblings? Or how you were able to overcome trauma that others could not? Or maybe you wonder why you do not relate well to your family?DSC_8302-S

Here’s what I know, and I am adding a reference for those who think I pull this shit out of my arrogant ass.

Researchers now believe that genes could have a stronger influence on temperament and personality than perviously thought. This is probably not a news flash, but the genes can influence such qualities such as optimism, depression and aggression. (Nelson, Erwin, & Duffy, 2007)

HOWEVER, “while a child inherits certain traits and tendencies through her genes, the story of how those traits develop has yet to be written,” explains Nelson, Erwin, & Duffy.

So what does this mean to me? We are a product of nature AND nurture. It means that we have genes that have been passed down through genetics that cannot be ignored AND our caregivers have to ability to help shape our personalities.

However, science has taught us that the human brain never stops growing and never loses the ability to form new connections and synapses (cells that join together in a network of connections). It gets more difficult with age, but change in attitudes and behaviors is always possible. Isn’t that a fantastic bit of information!

When have a lifetime of experiences to move past and taught behavior that doesn’t work for you, it can seem impossible. But the magic of the brain is that you have the ability to change your own narrative.

You can take what you learned and experienced through the nurturing phase of your life and use that to fine tune what nature gifted you. 14355531_1279686685397836_7803897842245525869_n

Despite the shit sandwich that was my youth, I am not a stripper with daddy issues who is on Welfare with 10 kids; despite what the statistics say!

Nelson, Jane, Erwin, Cheryl, Duffy, Roslyn. Positive Discipline for Preschooler, For Their Early Years- Children Who Are Responsible, Respectful and Resourceful. New York: Harmony Books, 2007.

 

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Journey Continued…

Summer has a way of lapsing time, doesn’t it? The heat, the consistent summer storms, new adventures outdoors, repeat adventures outdoors and then playing catch-up indoors. With the rise in temperatures I find myself so exhausted by 1, that if I sit down for any amount of time in double digits I am asleep. Like for real. The heat sucks the energy out me; it’s a rough life!

I am not doing a very good job of keeping up my writing schedule either, with all this extra napping brought on my the overwhelming heat in the south. I have been so caught up with work and keeping up the new house I haven’t even made it over to meet the new baby in our little circle. Westin, I promise, I am coming!

Anyway, for me summer adventures include the outside pool, the sprinklers, the beach, and of course the new park (new for us) and mini-playdates if I manage to remember to plan one and then follow through. My kid loves to be outside and moving, and the poor girl gets the power sweats like I do. So we are often incorporating water into whatever we are doing. Somehow June came and went. I think I saw one of my friend’s so far this month. Oh, and she lives next door.

I am sure this is situation; toddlers tend to make the days seem like groundhog’s day. The attempt to keep a routine while creating summer magic for a tiny person who will never remember most of the days I spent planning for her is a constant struggle. But that is ok, it matters on a higher level.

In the past I would let this really get to me. The fact that I have not kept up with my writing schedule, let some of the chores go from time-to-time and have done zero product reviews and not stressed about until I lose sleep is pretty nice. I have let other things become more important like playing with my daughter on demand, sporadically baking something, playing with and loving our new kitten Mavis, and of course my favorite taking a long hot soak. If you follow me on Snapchat I am sure you are sick of seeing bubble baths.

I have also been expanding my year-long journey of self-improvement to include reading and learning from literature that folks I find inspirational have published. I am almost done with Kate Hudson’s book Pretty Happy and I just got it. That says a lot since my extra time is usually spent driving, napping or bathing. I am learning so much and finally have a spiritual path that I find to be alluring for my lifestyle. More on that later, of course.

In the past couple months at work, I have worked hard on talking less and listening more. Listening to my customers, co-workers, management, friends and family. They may not all agree, but I am giving it may all! Anyway, I found that there are a couple personality characteristics that really turn me off; which hit me deeply because I can recognize some of them in myself.

Negative people. The folks that are complaining the majority of the time and like to trash other people. I work with too many negative people, and I have noticed that negative people are toxic. I mean they have a tendency to suck you in and set the tone in the space that they are in. The constant complaining can become catching when you are frustrated and or having a bad day/time. You follow suite and then you pass that negative vibe onto someone else.

Folks with a superiority complex. I only ever come across these people at work; customers who frequent O’charleys. The tend to talk down to me, don’t make eye contact with me, talk over me and have zero manners. I don’t understand this, on any level. Talking to someone any way you please because you feel superior in some sort of way. In my experience, it is usually retired civil servants and white middle-aged women from a state more northern. I don’t want to get too specific, and I am only speaking from my experience. I can’t help but think that the attitude comes from them feeling superior to me because I take their order and clean their mess. Sometimes I get the sad eyes. This poor girl is here waiting tables, I wonder where her life went wrong?

I know I need this journey because my first instinct is to always get defensive and start spouting out my resume to anyone who listen. It is such a waste of energy, and my getting upset and letting me myself get spun up shows me I have a long way to go.

One thing I have learned and incorporated into my life so far into this journey, is that I am in total control over how I use my energy and what energy I project into the world. I have become a more positive person so far and I have a new vantage point on the people I surround myself with. Sometimes we have to be in the company of negative people or people who are just ugly inside, but when you let your positivity shine it changes the situation entirely.

I hope I can inspire you!

To be continued…

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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