Posts Tagged With: mental health

so far, so good, what’s next?

Now, you know I’m a planner.
I like lists and calendars and color coding by subject.
So, once I recognized what I can and cannot change, I broke it down further.

I ask loads of questions.
I know that.
Y’all know that.
My family and friends know that.
But what’s different about this process is that I answered my own questions.

I asked and answered questions to come up with a plan.
I used the same system of dividing the page in my big sketch book so I could see it all together.

The first question is:
What frustrates me?

*stagnation
(no real growth, no movement, no real participation in life or household, etc.)
*lack of effort to create growth or movement
*caring about (these things)
*wondering if it will ever change

OK, now what do I do about it?

How to stop being frustrated?

*accept that these are the choices YBW and Thing G are making
*accept that nothing I do will change their choices
*focus on myself and my choices
*accept that this is the situation I’m in…until…?

So far, so good. What’s next?

I know it’s hard to read.

Ways to feel more comfortable.

*let go of wife and ‘mom’ guilt
*stop apologizing for choosing growth
*accept as much as possible
*pay attention myself and where my power is
*be kind and courageous
*stop judging
*accept limitations (cannot change situation, only how I function in it)

Ways to regroup if I’m triggered.
(frustrated)

*immediately stop and breathe
*quickly assess if it’s something I can change (if not – do my best to accept and let it go, if so – make the appropriate change)
*accept that this is my work and I may not ever be met with the same
*remove myself gently from the situation
*tap into vast support network without engaging in ‘shit talk’

OK, so in the meantime I have a plan.
But…

How to remain sane in the long game?

*accept this is my work
*accept change may never come
*be peaceful in the knowledge I did all I could do the best way I could
*love

I don’t know how or even if the situation will change.
I do know that if I can do these things I will feel better. I will make the relationship with my husband more positive.
Maybe that’s all I can do?
While I know I have magic down deep in me, I only have power over myself.
If these changes I’m making serve only to keep me from being frustrated, angry, and resentful in an unchanging situation, at least I’m content in the knowledge I am going at this in a mindful and loving way.

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accept don’t judge, or the time of ‘if this then that’ is over

When I got to work on my me things, I meant business.
I used my big sketch book so I could see both what I can and cannot change at the same time.
I wrote in pen so it remains as I wrote it. It is unchangeable. (the irony is not lost on me, further proof of my commitment to this process)

What I cannot change:

*the living situation
*YBW’s point of view
*Thing G’s willingness to do or be
*why it frustrates me

This is what I’ve been on about. I want all this stuff to change. I want it to be different.
I can’t do anything about these things.

What I can change:

*how I function in the living situation
*how I choose to behave when I’m frustrated
*the way I go about discussing it
*what I pay attention to
*how I apply myself

This is where I have the power!

These are the things I can do something about. Now to figure out the how.
I think it must start with to what am I paying attention.
The trick with this is to decide what I need/should/desire to pay attention to.
I’m hopeful that by paying attention to the ‘right’ things, I’ll automatically change how I go about functioning, and behave when I’m frustrated. Perhaps not get as frustrated?

Is that how I can facilitate change?
Not that that’s the goal.
I. Cannot. Change. Any. Thing. But. Me.

I have to figure out how to shift my whole ‘it’s the principle of the thing’ point of view.
I mean, is that really getting me anywhere?

Maybe the concept of ignoring that which bothers me isn’t quite right. How can I accept it without it bothering me so much?
This is a conversation to start with my therapist.

I think I need to brainstorm a bit more.
Maybe it’s baby steps, not jumping in up to my ass.

Accept, don’t judge.

May be key.
This is the situation I’m in. What can I do or not do to be comfortable and content in it?

The time of ‘if this, then that’ is over.
I can’t change the situation. I can only change myself within it.

You might find yourself asking:
How much responsibility can one person take in a multi-person situation?
Is it equitable if one person is making changes for the betterment of the group?
What happens when one member of the group achieves their change making goals and the situation remains the same?
I’m asking the same questions.
Stay tuned for the answers…

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my me things

What am I doing with all my free time now that I’m finished my degree?

I’ve decided to get my shit as much together as humanly possible. (Is there a ‘duh’ at the end of that sentence?)
I even have the perfect notebook with which to handle this task.

All kidding aside, I intend on putting forth as much effort possible into organizing my own personal chaos.
My goal is to get/have all my ducks in a row between now and August of 2020.
That’s when I want to start my Clinical Mental Health Counseling, MEd Concentration. It’s 60 credits plus another 15 to go through licensure.
It took me two years to make this decision.
The decision involved many conversations with YBW, my girls, friends, my therapist, and my creator. (and finally finishing the degree plan I was already in)
I knew I no longer wanted to teach for a living, but wanted a way to help people. I believe I will be good at (as Thing 2 says) ‘therapizing’ people.
I am content in my decision.
I mean, I may be bordering on crazy to jump back into school with both feet, but I truly believe it’s right for me.
(100% believe, 89-93% decided, just so we’re clear)

That’s not actually my point though.
My point is getting my shit straight/ducks in a row/chaos organized.
I don’t actually feel too chaosed…but I do feel the need to be organized.

How will I spend my time now that I’m not always spending my time doing course work?
P.S. still haven’t been called in to school yet. This concerns, but does not worry me. I’ll be turning down days soon enough.
I can be productive.
I keep myself occupied. (TBR much?)
I can run the errands, etc.
I can do the things.

But how can I do me?
What am I doing for me during this gift of ‘free time’?
How am I living my intention?

I want to explore my me options.
Get all my me ducks in a row.
I saw my therapist Tuesday, we spent our time pretty much catching up since I haven’t seen her since I first came home after Baby K was born. We celebrated my achievement with my degree. We briefly discussed the new degree plan.
I intend to spend more time with her as I organize me.

It occurs to me I spend a great deal of my time and energy outwardly focused. The other side of that coin is that I spend a great deal of time and energy focusing on everything ‘out there’ from my own particular point of view.
What I’m after is to focus a bit more inwardly, but from a broader perspective. I think…?

Anybody know that song Complainer by Cold War Kids?

You say you want to change this world
Well, do you really believe in magic?
But you can only change yourself
Don’t sit around and complain about it

I’m talking about healthy boundaries and productive conversations and improving overall comfort.
I’ve become weary of sitting around and complaining about it.

I can change only one thing in this world and that’s me.
Changing me isn’t going to be easy.
But what’s that saying, nothing worth having comes easy, or whatever? Teddy Roosevelt, maybe? (will google after I finish my thought so as not to lose momentum)
So, if it’s worth having all my me ducks in a row in order to live a more mindful, grateful, and content life. Not to mention aid in my preparation for 75 new credits, I’m willing to do the hard work.

I have a brand new notebook and pen.
I have some vague ideas.
I’m going to write down stuff that makes sense.
I’m going to develop those ideas into a plan I can utilize.

Instead of looking around me at what I cannot possibly fix, I’m going to fix me.
My ducks.
My shit.
My chaos.
I’m going to concern myself with me things.
Not in a selfish way.
In a way that makes me the kind of human I want to be.
Mindful.
Grateful.
Content.
Learning.
Growing.
Living my intention.

Now that’s for working hard for what’s worth having!

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“The sooner you learn it’s on you to make life interesting, the better off you’ll be.”

Where’d You Go, Bernadette?
Have you read this book by Maria Semple?

I read it.
I enjoyed it.
I loved the way the story is told using correspondence.
I love that the daughter compiled all this correspondence to understand her mother’s story.

My two favorite lines from the book are:
“People like you must create. If you don’t create, Bernadette, you will become a menace to society.”
and
“That’s right, you are bored. And I’m going to let you in on a little secret about life. You think it’s boring now? Well, it only gets more boring. The sooner you learn it’s on you to make life interesting, the better off you’ll be.”

I can relate to Bernadette.
I have shut myself off and stayed cooped up in my house and been the worse off for it.
It seems to me that we need to be aware of the fact that we know only the teeniest portion of any one else’s life. We view and judge everything from our own perspective without stopping to consider there is more to the story.

I took myself to the movies Monday afternoon to see how the film compared to the book.

Yes, there were changes. But I didn’t miss anything that was omitted, and each small change made sense as it drove the plot in a necessary and believable way.
Oftentimes, film adaptations leave me wanting, but I quite liked this one.
I left the theater with a warm and fuzzy feeling in my heart.
Have you read this book?
Did you see the movie?
Please share your thoughts.

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what a busy day

I know last week I was bemoaning missing out on back to school time. But Friday morning I got so much done I remembered why not being at school every day is an OK thing.
I got up and checked the sub-system, to my (not at all) surprise, there were no open sub jobs.
I got my gear and went out to do a little gardening.

I have these gigantic white butterfly bushes in front of our house. I prune them every other year, this is the year y’all. They’re taller than the front windows, and beginning to creep over the sidewalk and edge of the driveway.
I like to prune them in the fall once all the blooms are gone, even though I know they’re probably better off being pruned in the winter.
Our trash and recycling gets picked up on Fridays, so it was the perfect opportunity to bang it out before they picked up.

I trimmed the butterfly bushes down to a manageable size.
Pulled all the weeds.
Did a little maintenance on the purple clematis that climbs the lamp post.
Cut back the peonies.
Potted three little mums to transition the front porch to Autumn.
When I came back in the house, I hand washed a vase and pitcher. (note to self, make more iced tea)
Stripped and remade the bed.
Bathed.
Started the laundry.

I have this children’s book called Feed Matisse’s Fish. It’s a touch and feel book about art, designed to expose children to 20th century art while providing a tactile experience. The book starts out, “Tick Tock it’s 8 o’clock, it’s time to feed the fish.” it goes on for each o’clock with a new painting. Each page ends “What a busy day.”
I remembered that book Friday morning. Reading it to two, three, and four year olds, hearing their little voices saying “What a busy day!”
What a busy day! And all before 10:00.

As much as I want to be in the school building with people I care about, I’ll take those busy days at home.
Friday left me feeling accomplished and content, with the majority of the day ahead of me.

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giving of thanks for November

November. The month that contains the giving of thanks. And y’all, I am not a Thanksgiving kind of girl.
That said, I am chock full of gratitude this month.


Charleston visit.
Time with Sally and her fam.
Time with Jessica.
Solitary road trip.

My therapist.
Two of the three alternative healthcare providers.
Our therapist.
Amber. (she does my hair)


First snow day of the year! (Nov 15)
YBW’s sense of humor.
An unexpected day spent with Catherine.
Independent bookshops.
Michaels coupons.
Mail from Sundance.
My mother in law’s ring back on my finger.
40% off sale at J Crew. (Roby’s getting a new coat for Christmas.)
Flannel jammie pants.
My monogrammed rain boots.
Target’s customer service.
Old Town Warrenton.
Shop small Saturday.
Accidental wine tastings.
Eric Clapton’s Christmas album.
redbubble.com
Holding hands with YBW.

Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade.

Apple cider mimosas.
Spending Thanksgiving with friends and family and actually enjoying myself.
YBW’s mad kitchen cleaning skills.
A powerful phone conversation with Thing 2.

A new menorah for Hanukkah. (first night is Dec 2)
Christmas decorating.
Making bows.
Fairy lights on the banister.
So! Many! Baby! Jesuses!

And quite possibly what I’m most grateful for!

Thing 1 is pregnant!
The best part is that she is in excellent health, and the baby is strong and healthy!

My cup runneth over.

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September gratitude

September was a difficult month.
That wretched therapy appointment started it off.
YBW and I spent a great deal of time focused on the lack of effort Thing G spends on being responsible for his own life.
I didn’t realize how disappointed I would be when the time came for us to be holding a new baby and there was not one to hold.

That said, there’s much to be grateful for!

Boyfriend J’s birthday.
My therapist.
Our therapist.
Woolly Mammoth Theatre Company’s production of Gloria.

All three of my alternative healthcare providers.
Fall decorations!
Amber. (She does my hair, and it looks GOOD!)
Meaningful conversations with Sally.
The sun finally showed up!
Ridiculously fun meme sharing with Sundance.
The easiest blood draw I’ve ever experienced! (my veins roll and that makes for bad times)
Double date at the art festival with M and J.
Phone calls with Jessica.
Being in the park for the last home game of the season. (Nats won 9-3!!)
Sirius XM Broadway.
Cocktails with YBW.
Sitting in the sun at the Naval Academy watching our nephew play Rugby.
Spending time with great friends-as-family in Annapolis!
Talking with my girls.
Cooler temperatures. (Only by a smitch, but I’ll take it!)
Shakespeare Theatre Company’s Comedy of Errors.

Finishing a successful school term.
Did I mention the sun finally showed up?

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July – more yays than boos

As I put July in my rear-view mirror I’m realizing what a month it was. Some good, some bad. So just plain indifferent.
But as I consider a July-centric yays and boos list, even before I write it down, I know instinctively that July had more yays than boos!
Is that me paying attention to my gratitude? Probably.
Though I also think it has something to do with the fact that I actually do have a lovely life. I have good people in my world. I experience interesting things in the midst of ‘boring’ old normal things. This is not to say I’m without my share of unpleasantness, but the good really does outweigh the bad. Or perception makes it so. But our perception is our reality, so there you have it!

July got me like:

boos:
brand new car needed to go in the shop for a week after owning it only one week
not being with Thing 2 to celebrate her twenty first birthday
(approximately) 8 billion days of rain
substantial rain in the house
Pottermore
one migraine

yays:
fried green tomatoes and fireworks with people I love on Independence day
new reading glasses (absolutely adorable)
O’s game to celebrate Nora’s birthday
two of the three alternative practitioners
celebrating my BIL’s fiftieth birthday
helping Thing C get settled in his new home
Bloom gin
brand new roof
remembering how much I love Cher
last minute vacay planning
the kindness of strangers
wonderfully good friends
stellar mental health providers
Nora’s decree

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our bodies ourselves

Saw my therapist Wednesday afternoon.
First we had to oodgey-goodgey over my new elephants, and talk a bit of catch up before we got down to the me part of the conversation.

I shared that I lost eight pounds by cutting coca cola from my diet.
This lead to a conversation about physical health. We talked on this for a while, expressing the joys and concerns of our bodies. We talked of weight and health and strength. We talked of how grateful we are for our bodies.

For me, it’s not what size I am, or the number on the scale, it’s about how my body feels. As healthy as my brain is beginning to feel regularly, I want my body to feel equally healthy.
I have a magic number in my head, my ‘ideal weight’ but it’s so unrealistic. I’d be nothing but nose, shoulders and breasts. That’s why I ignore the scale and the labels in my clothes.
Does it fit comfortably? Do I feel strong? Can my body do everything I want to do?

I don’t hate my body because it’s got more padding than it used to. I don’t hate my body at all! This body has carried me through forty seven years of life, it grew and birthed two of the most amazing humans. It can run and jump and dance. It can sit and lie and be still. It has freckles and scars and bushy red hair.
My body is precious.

I don’t care what size my body is as long as it’s strong and healthy.
Right now it’s not as strong as I’d like it to be, so that’s what I’m doing, making it stronger.

This reminds me of a conversation the girls and I had about body shaming.
They’re both thin, inherited from their dad’s family, I come from folks of a sturdy stock.
Thing 1 has always been ‘underweight’. She’s an eater, but she just doesn’t bulk up. At all. Think Olive Oil, all arms and legs and neck, but with a cuter nose.
Thing 2 has always been small. She didn’t hit five feet or a hundred pounds until she was sixteen. Petite is the word you’re looking for. She’s a little firecracker.

They shared stories of experiencing skinny shaming.

Now I have personally said, “Eat a cheeseburger and put on a jacket.” to Thing 1 when she’s complained about being cold.
Turns out I was body shaming her. (not about the jacket, just the cheeseburger bit)
That’s horrible to consider.
My daughter’s body is perfect and beautiful. I would never purposefully disrespect it.
I only wanted her to be warmer, so I theorized if she ate more and put on a jacket, she would be warmer.
Thing 1 is underweight. She used to eat like a teenage boy, we wondered if she had a hollow leg, etc. but she just doesn’t keep weight. That’s hard for her. She struggles.
Should she be shamed? Should someone purposefully be hurtful about it?
No.

Thing 2 went through a phase in which she purposefully starved her body. She honestly couldn’t have weighed ninety pounds. She was bones and skin and sunken eyes.
That frightened me. In ways I find hard to put into words.
I trod carefully when discussing what she was eating.
She has since returned to normal eating and a healthier weight.
I did suggest she eat a little more and it hurt her feelings.
I was body shaming her.
That was not my intention, I was fearful for her health and didn’t know what to do but offer food.

I look at photos of my girls, even the ones from the tattoo shop on this blog, I see strong healthy bodies. I see young women who use their bodies for work and play. I see the strength and vulnerabilities of their bodies. I see the difference between the little girls they used to be and the women the are. I see the freckles and tan lines. I see the self-inflicted scars and tattoo ink. I see what carries my daughters through this life.
They are healthy and strong. They are perfect exactly the way they are.
I am awed and overflowing with the maddest love for them!

I’ve used the word ‘porky’ when describing myself to them. They don’t like it.
I’ve worked hard to be clear that I want my body to be healthier, not simply more thin. They’re always supportive of me and my body. Like me for them, they want me to be in a strong and healthy body that works the way it’s meant to. They support my paying attention to what I eat, but never support “dieting”.

Bodies are made of bones and blood and muscle. They’re covered in skin and hair. They’re designed to do wonderful and awe-inspiring things. They even create more bodies! How much more awe-inspiring can you get!?!

I love my body.
It carries me through this life.

Stop worrying about shape and size and weight.
Stop comparing your body with the bodies of others.
Stop shaming your body and the bodies of others.

If a body is strong and healthy, what else matters?

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mental self five

I keep thinking about the war between desire and effort and the more I consider the whole situation, the more I need to clarify for myself, y’all just reap the benefits of the process.

YBW and I do most things together. As a matter of fact, outside of the people we work with, we spend the most time with each other. We do our normal daily routine things together because we live in the same physical space. But we also go out in the world together and do things. Some times things he likes, some times things I like, often times things we both like, or like to do together.
That said, there are some days when YBW doesn’t want to leave the house and I’m itching to get out. Even if it’s simple errand running to Target or whatever. Some days I’ll go alone, other’s I’ll choose to stay put because I don’t feel like going by myself.
There are some times when YBW wants to be in front of his computer in his jammies to play video games all day long. And though I’m cool with that, me spending time alone in this house is something I do most days so I don’t always love it.
My husband loves to game. I don’t. He should be able to do what he loves even if I want to do something else. And y’all, that man will often times do what I want instead of gaming. It’s not always fair to him.

The obvious solution when it comes to one of us wanting to do something the other does not is to be social with friends.
Here’s what’s tricky about that. Most of the people I’m closest to live far far away from me.
When I was in SC, I had many friends to go and do things with. I also had my girls to go and do things with.

The local people I’m friends with mostly have young children.
Because I’m passionate about education and young children, that’s how I spend my time. I don’t really see people that aren’t either moms of young children, or educators of young children.
I have a couple of friends that have grown kids, but they have established friend groups. This means we can sometimes get together, but those friendship bonds are different than those of established relationships.
Even some of the teachers at school that I’m friendly with have children that aren’t old enough to be left alone.
So, unless we’re doing a kid friendly activity, most of my local friends don’t have the freedom of movement I have. That leaves me to fend for myself, or YBW and I do things as a couple.

As I read what I’m writing, it may sound as though I’m making excuses. I’m actually not. These are simply the facts of my life.
Since making new friends is not as easy as it sounds, I’m going to consider how to best spend time with the friends I have.
I’m also going to continue to spend time with YBW.
But, I’m also going to continue to do things on my own.

I want to learn to rock climb, and there’s a great indoor place three miles from home called Vertical Rock. I’ve been considering this for some time and finally decided I’m going to investigate what it takes to learn. YBW is anxious about heights. This is something he would not remotely enjoy doing with me. I’m not sure I know anyone (local) that would like to learn to climb with me and that’s OK, because I just discovered that Vertical Rock has it’s own meet up group! Can’t wait to share that with my therapist!

However I consider any of these things, this is my life.
The question is: Does if fulfill me?
The answer is: Yes…for the most part.

Follow up question: How can I be more fulfilled in my life?
Answer here is keep going and growing.
I’m enthusiastic about learning. I’m enthusiastic about life.
I’m hearing ‘ephphatha‘ in my head: be opened.
I am open to new and different things. To new and different ways of doing old things.
I am ready to be opened up to the world around me.
I have a keen sense of adventure!
It is time for my desire to outweigh my effort.

Who knows?
Stepping out of my comfort zone may be the beginning of something wonderful.
It may blow up in my face.
Doesn’t matter, because I’m up for it.

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