Wednesday, August 30, 2017

She's two. The changes that have occurred over the past two, well almost three years has been so much fun to watch. As Little Miss began talking and her language developed more and more, she had some phrases that were priceless! The kind of thing you know you should correct, but it is just too funny to tell her the proper way to say it. Today as she sat on the back porch, we got in to a spat because she wanted to do something I didn't think she should be doing (I gave in, because she's only two once). Anyways, as she yelled at me "I can do it", my heart sank a little bit. She sounded so grown and I realized she'd lost her adorably cute way of talking in third person. Just a month ago, she would have yelled "Lana dooood it!" It was just one snappy sentence that made me realize once again how quickly this life really does go by. Slow down! Enjoy those adorable toddler phrases because they will be gone way sooner than you think.

Sunday, August 6, 2017

We Still Have Sunny Days

I'm not quite sure when this journey really began. Perhaps it's always been there brewing and just waiting to find the right time to strike. Maybe it just began postpartum, or maybe there has been another trigger. Regardless, it's been a journey and the journey still goes on. 
I've committed to being open and sharing snippets, but I don't want it all to come across as hard, or like I'm seeking for an "I'm sorry" because that's not the case. Has it been hard, yes. But let me assure you, we still have so many fun moments throughout our days. 

Little Miss has developed the funniest personality. She's always one second from blurting out in full theatrical mode any song she knows. We are often serenaded with her rendition of the Happy Birthday song, ABC's, Baa Baa Black Sheep, Jingle Bells, Finger Family song, and the list goes on and on and on. We were actually just joking tonight that we would have a built in DJ for our beach trip coming up soon. She never fully finishes a song before jumping to another, it's a never ending mix tape with this one. 

Little Man is something else! He is smitten by his big sister, but has his own hilarious personality. He is always smiling or laughing about something...unless of course it's milk time. The boy is all about his milk! He's crawling around and getting where he wants to go. And he is always grunting or chattering about something. 

Through the dark days, the hard moments, we still see rays of sunlight. These two Littles help keep me going. 

Friday, July 21, 2017

In a nut shell....

When it wins, it really wins. The house calls my name, I long to remain within those walls of comfort. They don't judge. They sit quietly, just doing their job. Leaving seems like a ridiculous feat. One that would likely be rewarding, but the thought of getting dressed, ready and looking halfway decent seems an impossible task. Am I making excuses? Do I really not want to go? Or do I really not feel like going?
Then joining in on the party is anxiety. When I go out, I have to be in front of people. People will look at me. What will they think? What if I panic in public? What if I don't meet expectations? What if....? Those what if's could flow for pages and pages. 

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Depression

Some days this is what it looks like for me. 

It's isolating. It's dark. It makes me feel like my world is caving in. Life is crashing all around me like ominous waves in the midst of a stormy ocean. I just want to scream for help, for someone to grab my hand and pull me up. In the same breath, I just want to curl up in a dimly lit room and be alone. I want so badly to go out and do things with friends, with or without kids in tow. I want to be social and friendly. I want to be myself, unafraid of what people may say or think about me. I want to feel the presence of friendship, the joy in fellowship, the warmth of someone. I fight the battle daily. Every morning I would prefer to lay in bed. Find something to keep the kids occupied and not have to face the day. Some days we get up and get moving. Others I take my time and find myself isolating. The longing to be alone calls so strongly to me. I have control, I know I do, but some days, depression wins. 

Thursday, June 8, 2017

Behind the Smile

Behind the smile I have been falling apart. Behind the smile I have hid my tears. Behind the smile I have suppressed and suppressed until I no longer could. Behind the smile is a woman who really doesn't have it all together. Behind the smile is a mother who is running on empty. Behind the smile is just a broken down woman.

So, this is it. This is where I found myself. I entered treatment for postpartum mental illness on April 21, 2017. I entered treatment thinking I was just going to go in, address the panic attacks that had been occurring and fix the issue. It would be a quick three weeks and I would be myself again, but there was an underlying fear that I would never be the same again. I was wrong. It would not just be a quick three weeks. It would be an emotionally exhausting seven weeks of treatment and my issues were not just "fixed." I was also right; I would never be the same again.

Treatment began and I literally could not recognize myself, this illness had taken over my life. With sleep deprivation, irrational fears, high anxiety, and obsessive thoughts; I was not functioning. I was terrified of being alone, being in busy public places, sleeping, taking care of my children (or failing to do so). My body was running on pure adrenaline from so much anxiety. I no longer recognized myself and the person I had become. It was frightening to wonder if I would be stuck this way forever.

I learned so many coping strategies in treatment and dug up a lot of emotions that I had not been allowing myself to feel. Treatment was so much harder than I ever imagined. I left each day feeling extremely drained, emotionally and mentally. I could not have gotten through it without the support of family, the few friends who stuck with me, my counselor and the therapists. I worked the program, and allowed myself to find a state of vulnerability. This was just the beginning of my healing, my recovery.

After 26 days of Partial Hospitalization and then Intensive outpatient treatment, I was discharged today, June 8, 2017. I will never be the same again, and I mean that in a positive and very empowering way. As I left treatment, I had to write a "good-bye letter" to my issue(s)...


Dear Anxiety and Depression,
We have been "friends" before and I thought I left you in the past. However, here you came again, just like an old friend. We picked up right where we left off. I thought at first we could just continue as we had before, but you had other plans. You came in during one of the most joyful times in my life and intended to wreak havoc. You blindsided me, since we had been apart for so long. You left me feeling confused, hurt and unworthy. You stole my joy, my happiness, my peace. You made an attempt to turn me in to a monster, someone I did not recognize, someone I did not want to be. At times you made me question life and my purpose. You made me an angry person, in cases where anger was not a healthy emotion. You began stealing my faith and replacing it with fear. You did not think I would be strong enough to beat you. Honestly, I did not think I was either. I have now learned that I do not have to beat you. I just have to accept you as you are, because I am strong enough to manage you. I have learned skills to keep you at bay. I will breathe, I will care for myself, I will be present in the moment, and I will not be fearful of you. You will not control my life. You will not steal my joy. You will not make me lose this precious time with my children. You may be in my life, but I am bigger than you. My God is bigger than you. So, though we may be at battle, I have already won this war.

Tuesday, March 7, 2017

Don't Rush It

If there is one thing I would say to new first time parents, it would be do not rush it! Seeing your child hit all the milestones early, rolling, sitting, crawling, walking, it's exciting! You feel as if your child is ahead of the game, which is great and a feeling of accomplishment. But, don't rush it! Take these early days, weeks, months of your child's life and enjoy it, slow down, and just enjoy it. Soon enough they'll master these new moves. Your child will likely be standing before you know it; they'll be walking, and soon running!

Last night it hit me as I watched my oldest, my Little Miss at her gymnastics class, that I was that parent who couldn't wait for their child to sit, crawl, stand and walk. I remember propping her up to sit and holding her hands encouraging her to take steps and walk on her own. She wasn't "early" with many of the tasks, Little Miss was barely standing unassisted when she turned a year old, but just shortly after her first birthday she took off and hasn't slowed down since. 

So, last night as I sat and watched her swinging on the rings, climbing rock walls, walking a balance beam it made me realize how quickly this time has gone, how quickly my baby is becoming less and less dependent on me. She will soon be two and a half years old, then her third birthday will be here before I know it. This means next year my baby will be able to play organized recreational sports and I don't know if I'm ready for this. With each passing day and each new milestone reached, she is slowly gaining her independence, she is slowly letting go of my hand and finding her own footing. Am I proud? You better believe it! My baby is growing up! Though I have learned, don't rush it!

So for now I will cherish each time she grabs my hand. I will cherish the moments where she plays as if she is shy and hides behind me, because I know soon these moments, these days will all just be a memory. I won't rush it!

Wednesday, February 8, 2017

Transparency


What if every day you felt like an inadequate parent? What if every day you constantly thought how your kids deserve much better than you, deserve more than you can offer? What if every day you felt bad for your spouse because they have to live with you? What if every day you hated the person you've become? What if every day you woke up just to go through the motions, but rarely found pure joy in your day? What if every day you were scared of some of your actions? What if every day you slowly felt pieces of your true personality slipping away? What if every day you felt alone? What if every day you felt disconnected from people who love you, care for you? What if every day you felt unloved? What if every day you struggled to get out of bed? What if every day you worried about things that could happen? 
What if every night you laid down and thanked God for your family, but hated how you treated them? What if every night you had to tell yourself tomorrow will be different? What if every night you told yourself it was just a bad day? What if every night you laid down to sleep but couldn't turn your brain off? What if every night you dealt with fears, irrational fears? What if every night you wanted to touch your children to make sure they were okay, that they were still breathing? What if every night you were also terrified to touch them, because what if they weren't okay? What if every night you wished it was day light because you don't like being in the dark alone? What if every night you laid your head on the pillow and just thought to yourself that tomorrow will be better, it has to be, because you feel like you're slowly losing control of your life? What if every night you knew deep down you'd wake up to do it all again tomorrow?

I am the face of postpartum depression and postpartum anxiety. 
I am not alone, you are not alone. Open up, speak out, and don't be afraid to ask for help.