Jsack's Mom's Blog

Welcome to my blog where I share my special needs parenting journey with my heart, truth, and love, one story at a time. ❤️

#Mondaymusings-Lets talk about mental health on #Bellletstalkday

 
I have a story to share I always have. I have a big heart and a big vocabulary and I’m always up for a honest, open discussion. Yet the one thing that always silenced me was my depression. To speak of it meant a horrible feeling of shame that washed over me. I have struggled with the stigma of it since I was very young. I was four years old when my parents separated and with that brought an immense sadness. 

I had no control of it but I was glad to see the fighting stop in my daily life. There were still tears, prayers, and long heart to heart talks but the hurtful words thrown about so carelessly were gone. My Dad took on another life and family and my Mom was forced to make a life as a single parent to two little girls who needed her. She struggled with mental health too, sleeping at odd hours of the day, angry outbursts, tear filled days and nights as her heart was broken over her failed marriage. 

I saw it all, heard the stories, and did my best to comfort her. Being empathic I could feel every emotion and it was like a double edge sword living with this pain. I was so young and impressionable and yet I was growing wise to the ways of the world. I grew up like any other typical kid living in this  existence as I fought with the sadness and anger that would overtake my heart. The world was too loud, confusing, chaotic, and busy. I didn’t know how to cope so I turned to prayer, songs, and my faithful books. 

I grew into a sullen teenager and battled with anyone who would talk to me. My poor Mom didn’t know what to do and so we attended family therapy. I soon started having nightmares as triggers from my childhood came back to haunt me. I would go days on end not sleeping which means my Mom did do. I was finally diagnosed with clinical Depression and Insomnia 

I refused medication as I had such a fear of being drugged into what I call the “Ritalin generation.” It seemed like any child who couldn’t sit still, thought outside the box, and expressed a volatile opinion was put on the token drug of choice. I wasn’t going to be a statistic so I chose to take a more natural route. 

My Mom supported me with this as I changed my nutrition plan, got more exercise, and took Valerian and other herbs for my lack of sleeping pattern. It was a dark and confusing time in my life and I coped with it the best I could. I soon matured into an adult and had years of journals that commemorates that confusing chaotic time in my life. As I grew older graduated and attended college my mental health issues came back full force. The stress of deadlines, securing a student loan to attend school, and maintain a relationship took it’s toll. At the age of twenty I was diagnosed with Generalized Anxiety Disorder.

I also experienced a lot of death in my life losing both my Grandparents, parents, and my step sister all before I was the age of forty. I suffered with Post Partum Depression which I had with both of my babies and it was dark, devastating tunnel of grief and despair. What I hadn’t know that it was being overshadowed by Sensory Processing Disorder. I would come to know that when I took the journey with my children to a diagnosis.  Who both have two types of SPD, (also known formerly as Sensory Integration and Sensory Dysfunction Disorder) Sensory Defensive Disorder which means avoiding all sensory input to the central nervous system and  Sensory Modulation Disorder which is the opposite, it’s the seeking out of all sensory input to the central nervous system. 

 

Clara Hughes

 
I’ve learned a lot as a Mom to children with complex needs and I’m now referred to as a walking medical dictionary by my therapist. I’ve come to know from my experience that being a special needs parent is not for the faint at heart. We’re all struggling in our ways with parenting, making our marriages a priority, and trying to carve out some me time. Some of us struggle, swear, drink, and eat too much. I believe others do too they just hide it better. I still have another leg of my journey to take with my children as more letters of the alphabet are discovered with each diagnostic test and assessment. Since I’ve introduced therapy with a psychologist, a psychiatrist, occupational, physical therapists,  and speech and language pathologist their future is looking brighter with early intervention. 

 

Clara Hughes speaking candidly about her mental health

 
I advocate strongly on their behalf and my own and I share this glimpse into our lives for #Bellletstalkday. This is a mental health initiative in my country Canada and for every talk, text, tweet, and share Bell will donate five cents to Canadian Mental Health. Last year the campaign raised over $500,000 and I had the fortunate experience of meeting one of the spokespersons former two time Olympian Clara Hughes. 

Please share, talk, text, and tweet the hashtag #Bellletstalkday to erase the stigma of mental health and bring it into the spotlight than having it shrouded in darkness and fear. One random act of kindness can do so much to help others like one ripple across the water that can create a wave of understanding. 

It’s time for #Mondaymusings and all you have to do is this list of things. 


Write a post sharing your thoughts with us – happy, sad, philosophical, ‘silly’ even. Make it as personal as possible.


Use the hashtag #MondayMusings and link to this post.


Add your link to the linky which you will find either here and on the post of a co-host. Today’s co-hosts are Everyday Gyaan and Living My Imperfect Life

Use our #MondayMusings badge to help other bloggers join in too.


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Writer’s Quotes Wednesday

My submission to Writer’s Quotes Wednesday touches me deeply with my struggle of sinking or swimming through another tidal wave of grief and disillusionment. I pray that I will persevere by the grace of God as I’m no stranger to this pain. ❤️

 

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#Monday Musings and my Mindful thoughts

I have so much I want to say, write, and express. Sometimes I feel like there’s not enough hours in the day to get it all out! The words spoken or written come out in a humble jumble and I breathe a sigh of relief. Finally I can focus on something that needs my attention like my overflowing laundry baskets, neglected emails, and that ugly bath tub ring staring at me. 

I get consumed sometimes like there will be there be enough hours in the day to purge myself of these thoughts that hold me captive. Will there be enough lyrics in a song, enough stanzas in a poem, will my insatiable thirst for knowledge ever be quenched as I spend my late night owl hours researching neurology? 

Will I allow myself to rest or will the anxiety monster that lives inside me roar up and raise its ugly head yelling at me never shall you sleep with ease while I’m in charge! What is it about this desire, drive, curiousity, and deep seated need that feels like home to me? It’s all I’ve ever known so is it possible to be something or someone else who isn’t acting on the impulse of that steady thrumming in my head and heart?  

To be all I can be, when I can, as much as I can before it’s too late! And why will it ever be too late when will the worry jagged lines carved into my brain cease to exist? I really can’t answer that to worry feels like breathing to me. I can get on a good righteous path and do really well with controlling it for awhile. Then something always happens and sends me into a tailspin watching, waiting, and questioning my anxiety fueled fears. 

Gripping me in it’s vise grip hold choking the pure joy out of me and drowning me in sadness and worry. I want to break free and live that life I dream of on the overside of the coin, than overdose in this blanket of fear. I cry out in pain, praying for God to release me from this torment of my mind! My life has never been an easy one like anyone else on this spinning orb we call earth I grew up in dysfunction. 

I was loved it was just the people who loved me grew out of love for each other. Or maybe there was a deep rooted love there but no respect. I spent my childhood days wanting that picture perfect family I saw shining in all its Hollywood glory on Happy Days. Even the Fonz in his cool leather jacket, and rebellious ways was Arthur to the Cunninghams and was loved and found worthy.

Why did I need this so much I was only four when my parents separated? I worried so much with my religious background, that they would end up in purgatory for their sins. I wanted desperately to solve the problems of the adults around me and everything to go back to what I considered normal. That word always left me feeling so inadequate because I never felt like I could live up to its expectations. 

Normal is really just a figment in my mind. My Mom always told me I was born to stand out and to never let anyone tell me my star couldn’t shine. She had such a lovely positive spirit and a way with words spoken, written, or sung. Losing her was my normal first to dementia, and next to death. When both felt like my heart was being ripped from my body! 

There are days when I just don’t want to worry anymore. How I just want to see my beloved Mama again and collaspe into tears in her lap; where she strokes my hair and tells me this too shall pass. But she’s not there and sometimes it’s only a Mom’s hug that can heal the wounds of your heart. 

An emotional roller coaster on the anxiety highway is my reality. When it gets too much I turn off the world and unplug and slip into my sensory pleasure of music. Singing with all my being so loud that even heaven could hear me. Those are the times I feel closer to my version of normal and as my heart soars and my spirits sings, getting me one step closer to God and freedom and to her voice and love. 

Today I’m linking up with #Mondaymusings hosted by Corinne at Everyday Gyyan and co-hosted by Reflections. I thank them for this opportunity to link up and express myself to a new audience. 😊

 

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Open 

Trigger alert: If you’re suffering from any mental health issues pertaining to cutting or suicide. Proceed to read with caution. I discuss both in text openly. 

My life is an open book I’ve acted like I’ve had together but I really don’t. I’ve found out it takes a village to raise a child. And how lonely life can be when you don’t have a village. I’ve been open about not feeling like an adequate parent, good wife, or being a lousy friend. I have retreated into my world of words and writing, and have tried to make sense of the chaos before me. I’ve advocated for mine and my children’s mental health and have been told to hurry up and wait. Last week after an epic blow up between my oldest son and I, I put all my fears aside and phoned the mental office office. I was told to come down between the hours of 11 am to 3 pm and someone would have a meet and greet with me. 

This is how mental health is dealt with in my province. You’re set up to meet with someone who greets you and sees if you meet the criteria for obtaining services. So I went down there last Friday only to be told the Doctors aren’t seeing anymore walk ins today. That’s the worst lunch bag let down for the week. After talking my son into agreeing he does need help I leave empty handed. Today after battling with him to get up and go to school he decides not to go. I can’t deal with it after being up late myself with his brother having nightmares. I go back to bed, only to be woken up and blamed by my oldest for not going to school.

 I tell him just go eat and get dressed you’ll only be a little late. Then the fight begins that I failed him yet again, and he’s not walking into school late! I get a much anticipated call from my respite worker and I end up telling her everything that I didn’t get to tell her yesterday, with both of my children being home. My Captain (my oldest son, if you’re new to my blog) has been off for a week of school. This has been due to a teachers convention and after eight days of constant battling I NEED A BREAK. Yesterday I drive around in a new neighbourhood looking for a birthday party he was supposed to attend. I couldn’t find the location and my GPS was zero help.

 So I only had respite for a short amount of time as I had my youngest at home. I came home feeling defeated and tried to throw myself into busy ness of housekeeping so as to not start yet another arguement. There’s always something brewing on the horizon and then it came time to get ready for hockey practice. I asked my Captain to get his gear ready, while I quietly and quickly got his brother and I ready to go. We were set to leave when the comments started we’re going to be late, I wish Dad was here, I don’t want to go to hockey. I’ve been walking the thin parenting line between crazy and sane and I blew up and said get out and get your gear in the truck. He refused so I threw his bag on the lawn. Then I proceed to chase my youngest son down the block as he just wants to run away from all the noise. In the midst of my incessant parenting tantrum I lose my keys so I’m frantically looking for them.  

I find my back up set but it doesn’t allow me to lock my door with the key. Useless I know but key fobs are expensive to replace. So my crazy train is loaded up and we arrive at practice. Yes we’re five minutes late, and I just want to run away and hide somewhere. On the way home after practice I encounter a near accident as a racing truck passes five vehicles and is on coming into my lane!  I’ve got my music cranked and I’m singing Paradise by the Dashboard light. When the part of the song sung by the female lead Patti Russo comes on and says Stop right there, a voice inside my head screams the same. So I slow down and head towards the ditch just in time to see this truck fly past me and into the other lane. 

I’m literally shaking as I get home and start preparing dinner for my kids. I listen to them outside chatting while they gaze at the stars. Soon it’s bedtime and I settle in trying to process my day.  Thinking about everything crammed in my brain, it took me a long time to stop shaking and fall asleep last night. Hearing the alarm go off at 7 am after maybe four hours of sleep is like a jackhammer in my head. This morning when my son refused to go to school I said fine you don’t go to school then you go talk to a therapist. I arrive at the office only to be told they are full with walk ins. I don’t take this well at all, I complain you told me this last week and now you just opened up and your full? I have and will always be the squeaky wheel who gets the grease so I continue to triade. The receptionist sees I’m not leaving so she phones the office down the hallway to let them know I’m there.  

I walk over there with my shrieking sensory child who just wants to go home and explain I want to see someone. I’m once again told I can’t and to come back tomorrow. Well the quickest way to ignite the Irish fire inside of me is to tell me I can’t do something. This is unacceptable for urgent care should I be a cutter or slit my wrists would that get me seen faster? That line of questioning and behaviour got me seen faster than taking no for an answer. I have a therapist come to meet me who says I have a few minutes of her time. So I proceed to get my kids in the office while they play with Lego. So I tell her the quickest way to get help is to act crazy. She appears taken back at my honesty, so I spew on and say I’m an open book what do you want to know? I introduce her to my kids and proceed to tell her of the life we’re living.

 I’m told I’ve come to the right place, I’m very well versed, and educated. In another time and place had I known if I’d be walking this path to mental health, I would’ve studied to be an neurologist. Anything to do with the brain fascinates me, neurological disorders, psychiatric illness, all the labels and letters associated with mental illness.  I research about them all and I just want to know more. Being educated, articulate, well versed, helps me as an advocate for mine and my children’s mental health helps everyone. Now I walk a different journey to allowing this help to transform my family. From chaos to calm, from anger to happiness, from power struggles to peace. I’ve found the quickest way to get help is to stop acting like I have it altogether. So why do I tell you all this today? Well it’s simple I live my life like a open book, I can’t hide away from it anymore welcome to my book of life. Today I start to write a new chapter of hope, help, and resolution. I really think my guardian angel drinks if I was her I would too. Cheers to you Mom and thank you for saving our lives. ❤️

This has been my submission to Ash’s Sunday Confessions on http://www.morethancheeseandbeer.com. Please check out her story, the anonymous confessions, and all the other talent who link up. Thank you for following along on my journey. 💓

Today I’m linking up with http://silverliningmama.com for her conquer challenge for the month of February. 

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Pull

I find I’m struggling with myself lately. I’m feeling this pull to my past. Where I felt really happy I had a great group of friends I saw daily. I didn’t feel lonely or shut in like I do now. I had my respite worker recently say I needed people. I know she was right, but that didn’t make me like less of a loser. I feel so pulled to my old life where I knew who I could call, count on, and have my back. Now I try to navigate a new town and new people feeling so unsure of myself. I’ve never had trouble making friends but I don’t know this time around I do.

I need to pull myself up by the bootstraps and just keep trying. Having children with special needs doesn’t always open the door to having friendships. I’m afraid of taking my son to a playgroup and he reacts to too much noise and stimulus. Or if he’s sensory seeking and he gets to aggressive with another child. The times I’ve gone I’ve sat on the edge of my seat drinking my tea, and waiting and watching. I find the pull of my friendships and lamenting that I haven’t found a group. I have a few friends and they lead very busy lives.

So I connect with them when it works with their schedules. I don’t complain, I don’t demand, but I do cry silently at night when everyone else is asleep. With that pull from my heart I have to decide if I’m going to stay stuck in my past, or push myself forward with my future. I’ve been attending a support group and its been helping. I’m hoping to connect and get to know some parents there as we walk the same path with our children. I find more and more each day I have to resist that pull and push myself towards my future.

With that push I’m hoping to gain some more confidence in myself. I have a dilemma with my online life colliding with my reality. Online I’m admired, respected, appreciated, and yes even loved. I’m told I’m beautiful, brilliant, talented, and yes even funny. In my reality I struggle with being social. I have children with special needs. I have to keep them calm, regulated, and comfortable in their surroundings. If I don’t there’s hell to pay. Not to many know my struggles. And honestly I don’t ask for pity just a kind word, an invitation, a smile or a hug.

I don’t ask to impose on people’s lives but maybe just maybe I shouldn’t have blogged about this. Because honestly reading it back makes me sound quite pathetic. I have hid in my online world that makes me feel whole. Today I chose to be brave and put it out here because this is, what is is. My online world meeting my reality, the whole ugly, beautiful, poignant truth of it. Written by me a lonely, heartbroken soul just looking for a friend to understand. I have to pull myself out of my self imposed depression. I’m starting with baby steps and going to attend a playgroup geared towards children with special needs.

I’ve been in denial that it’s what my son needed but no Mom is an island. And the potty training blues have gotten me down and I’ve been stuck inside the house for too long. So time to pull up my big girl sexy panties and get this social thing on the go. No one is an island we all need inhabitants to create some sort of bond, a family.

This has been my submission to Ash’s Sunday confession from http://www.morethancheeseandbeer.com. Check out her brilliance, anonymous confessions, and all the other talent that link up. Thank you for reading my blog today.

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One Liner Wednesday

In honour of Bell Lets Talk day I will share an inspirational quote from my favourite messenger for mental health awareness. Former Olympic athlete Clara Hughes

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This has been my submission to http://Lindaghill.com. Please check out her one liner and all the other talent who link up. Thank you. 😊

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Letting go and Letting God

Today in Canada is #BeIl Lets Talk campaign to raise awareness for mental health. For every tweet with #BellLetsTalk Bell Canada will donate five cents to Clara’s big ride across the northern part of Canada. I’m a great supporter of this cause as it’s one close to my heart. I had a very amazing and fortunate experience to meet one of it’s spokeswoman last year Clara Hughes.

Last year she stopped into the town of Hope, BC while on her ride for Hope to share her message. Clara was on a mission to cycle across the provinces of Alberta and British Columbia to end the stigma associated with mental illness. This year she took a 110 day journey and 11,000 kilometers visiting 95 communities, and over 80 schools along the way.

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She has been the only athlete that had won gold in both summer (cycling) and winter (speed skating) in the Olympics. She has also struggled with her own mental health and she spoke of her journey with courage, kindness, and bravery. She spoke very candidly about herself and I hung on her every word that night. And when I had a chance to meet her and shake her hand I was literally in awe of her beautiful spirit, honesty, and sensational smile. The most recent quote I read of hers is my favorite.

“I cannot be the only one and I’m not the only one trying to make a difference,”
“We have a long way to go but the shift is starting to happen.”

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Today I’m going to share my personal journey with my mental health. I was a happy, curious, bright, and rather serious child. I was in family therapy at the age of twelve to deal with some family issues regarding my parents separation. I was to decide by then who I would choose to live with. I chose my Mom and I grew into a sullen, hell raising teenager who was sent to live with my Dad and step Mom By the age of fourteen, I was diagnosed with depression and insomnia.

I refused to take medicine for it and opted for eating healthier. I struggled with it right up to the age of sixteen. I still opted for no antidepressants and chose a healthier lifestyle. It was when I had graduated, moved out my house and gone to college that I realized I couldn’t keep my demons inside my mind silent any longer. I saw my family doctor and she diagnosed me with anxiety at the age of twenty. I got through my first semester of college and then I decided it was enough and returned to working.

The deadlines, going back and forth to my boyfriends while living on my own, the loneliness and stress got to me so I dropped out. Fast forward in time when I was married and expecting my first baby at the age of thirty-three and I was suffering with anxiety, stress, while working full time on a part time job. My saving grace was my yoga classes that I was teaching at the time. I could relax, meditate, and put myself and my clients first. My son was born via an emergency Caesarean section. About three months into Motherhood I developed Post Partum Depression. It was a difficult journey and I made it through only to have my Dad die two years later.

Grief, raising a toddler, and living far away from my family were the conditions that created a time bomb; that was ticking and waiting to explode! I went into therapy with a PPD support group for two years. I then became pregnant with my second child after trying to conceive for a year when my son was almost four. My Mom became very ill and died while I was eight months along. My world was sent into a tailspin and I prayed I would survive it. My baby was born at nine months, a month premature and spent two weeks in the NICU.

I realized then that no Mom was an island and I went on antidepressants for the first time and enjoyed a bubble of calm while raising my sons. I got through that grief period by attending a grief recovery program and really leaning on my family and friends. I’ve had insomnia since I was very young and gave birth to non sleepers. Eventually my oldest slept through the night at fifteen months, and by the time he was three he was sleeping through consistently. We had moved right after he turned five, and my baby was ten months old. This was our third move due to my husband’s career. 

Life in a hotel, no friends, lack of sleep, lots of stress with an incessant rain clouding my mind and heart; I sank into a deep depression. I found a doctor and she renewed my prescription and then diagnosed me with SAD (Seasonal Affective Disorder). I was only a year into my grief journey with my Mom when we moved into the hotel, while attempting to sell our house in another town. At that time I had noticed developmental issues with my baby at eighteen months. He was meeting milestones albeit later than most. Although he did walk early bouncing between beds in the hotel room. So there were some bright moments for me to hang on to.

I took him to the Doctor and was given a pat answer he’s a busy boy who’s hardly sleeping, you’re sleep deprived here’s a handout. After being fed lip service and sent on my way, I talked to my health nurse and she directed me to resources to look into ideas to help while coping on team no sleep. There was my youngest son speech delayed, having trouble with pronunciation, and moving constantly. Climbing everything, high tolerance to pain, eating ten different foods, and hardly sleeping. Then I began the long six month journey to get him assessed at two and half years, while waiting to see a developmental pediatrician.

He saw Child development counselour, Occupational therapist, Speech and language pathologist, and finally the Development pediatrician. Then with the extensive list of concerns came up he was snoring, he had oral fixation issues, hypotonia of the lower jaw which caused him to stuff his food in his mouth till he choked! I still have to watch him closely when he’s eating. After a thorough assessment the doctor said there’s no doubt in my mind that he has sensory processing disorders with Sensory Modulation Disorder being the official diagnosis. At the time he said he didn’t see any signs of autism, but you may want to have him assessed as he gets older.

So I was relieved to finally have something to work with. I went home googled SPD and took the book Out of Sync Child-By Carol Kranowitz out of the library. I finally saw my child on every page and didn’t feel so alone or lack of a better word, like a crazy hypochondriac dreaming up diagnosis’s for my son. Another month went by while I spent late nights researching and listening to my son on a baby monitor. I was on a waiting list to see an ENT and he was diagnosed with a Obstructive sleep apnea. I’ve been on team no sleep for nine years. Between anxiety, post partum depression, grief, insomnia, and heart ache I’ll admit I’ve wanted to run away and hide.

Here I stand today working through the issues one day at a time; as I take a new mental health journey with my sons and keeping my own sanity intact. I don’t have all the answers but I’ve learned over the years what works and doesn’t work for me. By taking care of myself every chance I get is the key to my emotional stability. By keeping hydrated, eating healthy, taking my vitamins, exercising, and catching up on my missing increments of sleep I’ve started to feel more hopeful than hopeless.

I’ve also started to use essential oils to help my children and myself with our anxiety. As that was what got me off of my antidepressants two years ago. Last night I was anxious and couldn’t sleep, I felt wave after wave of emotional energy coming at me as I recently had a wonderful friend pass on. I held my son who was hurting with his restless legs syndrome, and massaged his feet and legs with an oil blend for pain and let him fall asleep on my chest.

I felt like my heart could just burst from my love, grief, worry, and pain. I thought of my beloved Mama who would say this too shall pass honey child. Don’t forget to smile through it, and take care of yourself too. Day by day I listen to her wisdoms chiming in my head and singing the song I wrote for her. I feel a little more closer to her, God and heaven. And I feel blessed as that’s a team that can help me through anything, by letting go and letting God deal with it.

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Living, Loving, and Surviving

There’s a story I’ve never told, well I’ve touched on it in previous blogs but I’ve never told the whole truth of it. I read a blog last night that hit me with glaring, beautiful, inspiration, and acceptance. This blog at http://heysweetlittlething.wordpress.com reached into my heart and held it in the palm of her hand. She wrote a beautiful, brave,poignant, story about her survival with Post Partum Depression (PPD).

It was liked she walked inside my head went into a filing cabinet and pulled out my memories. I had a beautiful pregnancy with my first child. I ate healthy, exercised, rested, worked retail, taught yoga, and rested some more. Everything was on schedule and I was due on Halloween. What you don’t know about me is I’m short, like 5″1 and by the time I got into my eighth month I was all baby. My Dr asked me how I was feeling and how I was eating. I was starting to slow down walk less, and waddle more. I could only eat small portions because there was just no room. I felt like a whale even though I was told I looked six months along then full term. This should’ve been my cue to my first guilt trip entering parenthood.

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Stock Photo found on Pic Collage

So there I was ready to pop and my baby came into the world two days later. He was a very healthy 7 lbs, 10 oz baby boy and I fell in love the moment I laid eyes on him. He was so long, 21 inches, lean and had a purple cone head. Oh wow he was beautiful to me, as I gazed into his eyes and held him in my loving embrace. He was delivered after eleven hours of labour via emergency Caesarean section. He was only in the NICU for a short amount of time until my IV came out the next day. He had a healthy cry and was very resistant to being swaddled, and had to have his hands and feet sticking out. I called him my baby burrito and little jack rabbit, because he had the biggest feet I’d ever seen on a baby. My dear husband and I took him home and became parents, even though we didn’t have a clue what we were doing. He didn’t sleep much and seemed to be clustered feeding all the time!

My Dr noticed at my six week post partum checkup I was struggling and said I could supplement him. I persevered as I wanted to breastfeed, so I survived on very little sleep, and whatever the nutrition had was gone in one feeding. I couldn’t put my baby down for ten minutes without him shrieking like he was dying. I knew of course he wasn’t, so I took to wearing him in my baby Bjorn carrier so I could get laundry and dishes done. He loved it with being so close to my heart, as I did. My husband had gone back to work after two weeks so I had started a routine to be that stay at home Mom. I started to notice things like how emotional I was and every cry would set me off into panic mode. I knew hormones played a huge role but something was off…

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I remember walking the floor up and down my hallway and around the upstairs and down again trying to get my son to stop crying. I loved him so much and he’d screw up his face and cry until he turned purple. I felt like a huge failure and my heart was breaking with each crying jag. And my sanity was shattering as I was surviving on vapors of sleep. I didn’t know what else to do so I did baby yoga to relief his gas, gave him medicine and rocked him till my body was numb and my ass was square. I then began to lock the doors and check the windows one by one and I was terrified someone was going to break in and kidnap my precious son.

At first I thought this was odd behavior but I rationalized and thought I was sleep deprived and that could make anyone connect with their inner psycho! Then I became possessive and hovered if anyone else held him and I just chalked it up to being a first time Mom. And that could make anyone protective of their first born. Then the day came when my son was three months old and my body was aching from one to many nights in the rocking chair. So I decided to take a bubble bath, I pulled back the curtain and saw this disgusting soap scum bath tub ring and I just lost it! I put my baby in his swing and scrubbed the ring and cried and scrubbed until my bath tub shone, and my hands were raw. I stepped into the tub letting the hot warm envelop and cleanse me from my sins. I loved my baby so much but I couldn’t take anymore sleepless nights. I laid in the tub bawling as my son watched me and rocked back and forth.

Later that evening I was doing my nightly shuffle around the house so my husband could be rested for work. Feed my baby, burp him, change him and try to put him to sleep. He would cry the minute I laid him down and the routine would start all over again. He would eat until I was completely drained, he was like a vampire and could never be full for more than forty-five minutes to an hour. I remember walking past the stairs and thinking if I just fell down them then I wouldn’t have to go through this torture! I never wanted to hurt my baby EVER, I just wanted all the insanity to stop and to finally rest.

I feel such shame and self loathing as I re-read that last sentence. It’s not something I’ve ever forgiven myself for and its been eight years! The next morning I was up when my husband went to work. I told him how I felt and what I was thinking last night. I told him I put our baby to bed in his crib and laid on the floor and cried until I was just an empty shell of a Mom. So my husband called my Uncle and he came over to stay with me so I could get some rest. I called my Dr that day but wasn’t able to get an appointment till the following week so I slept off and on all day, feeding my baby, changing him, till my husband came home. God bless my uncle for being there for me, he saved me that day. As I just wanted to walk out the door and walk away.

The next day my friend and her son’s came over and she took one look at me and said go to bed. And they looked after my baby and brought him to me to feed. She decided to call my husband and tell him I needed a night out and she was concerned about me. I told her how I felt and I couldn’t understand this craziness inside my head. So my husband came home from work, and I was showered and dressed up and ready for a night out. I felt like their was an ice pick plunging into my heart to leave my sweet boy. It had been three months and I never left the house without him. I’m the end I knew it was the best thing for both of us. As I pumped a lot that day, and I knew my friend was an amazing Mom, and my son was in the best of care.

We had a wonderful date night and I felt so relaxed and refreshed. Later that night my husband got up to the what he dubbed the “hockey glide walk” rock, rock, glide, glide, walk around the house. I fed the baby put him back to bed and we all fell asleep! It was miraculous moment in time, later that night I woke up in a panic because I thought my son was in our bed and I was going to suffocate him! I looked at my blankets and I could’ve sworn he was really there and I was going to hurt him. So I sprang out of bed crying turning on lights and looking for him. My husband woke up startled and went to check on our baby and there he was safe and sound, sleeping in his crib.

I called my best friend the next day that lived far away and she said I needed to get out of the house and be around people. She assured me it would be good for me and the baby. I could detect a hint of worry in her voice so I agreed. I went to health unit and there was a few Moms there I had been getting to know. The topic from the health nurse Erin was Postpartum and Beyond. After listening to the discussion and sharing a little of my experience I finally learned what was wrong with me. That day I swear I would’ve kissed Erin, as she saved my life. I had felt horrible for so long then I realized it was my brain chemistry and hormones wrecking havoc with me. After that I went to the library and took any and all books out pertaining to Post Partum Depression. I shared what I was learning with my husband and he could see I had purpose and drive again. Other than being the best Mom I could be for my son. Who I love so much my heart aches with that longing.

My son was growing well and I would lay there on my bed and stare up at the light and watch the fan go round and round. Those were the best times as he was quiet, content, and happy. I had test weighed him at the clinic and then fed him, and he was taking in two to three ounces so the health nurses weren’t concerned. I had kept a food journal since he was in the hospital. Keeping track of how much he ate, what his diapers were, and how long he fed. I had three journals and scraps of papers everywhere so I didn’t lose track. I was able to record it all and take it into my Dr. She said I was very thorough, loving, Mother and I was suffering from PPD. So she gave me the choice to accept medication, nutrition, and therapy. I chose nutrition and therapy and I started attending a support group close by my house.

I met up with the wonderful facilitator and my new friend A from Baby Talk at the health unit was there as well. We were given a manual to read and follow with homework sections. It was about putting ourselves first with rest, proper nutrition, hydration, and socialization. A and I began to bond our babies never slept, ate all the time, and we were walking Mombie’s before The Walking Dead was created as a television series. We spent a lot of time together and she was the one I prayed to God for to help me through my crisis, and gain some understanding. Every since her baby girl reached back and grabbed my son’s giant feet while we were feeding our babies, we were destined to meet.

She is my sister from another mister and we’ve seen each other through another child in our family’s and deaths in our family tree. She has been my rock through thick and thin and her and her family are my own. Even though we live far apart we’re never to far away with social media or a phone call. Our children still have a bond even though they go months without seeing one another. When they are together it’s like they never were apart. Much the same as for us Moms. We walked a very dark path together and have found the light and survived PPD. A. taught me that I’m human being, a wonderful Mom, a loving wife, and a survivor. I admire her courage, bravery, honesty, and the fact that when she wants to give up she admits it, then jumps right into the ring of life again. The journey we take with our children now is a neurological one and we stand by each other sides brave and true.

I owe my survival of Post Partum depression to her friendship, my husband’s unwavering love and support, and the help of my network of kindness from far away. I will agree with Hey Sweet Little Things blog that PPD and any mental health issue are taboo subjects by many in society. They need to be talked about and shared without shame or ridicule. My beloved Mama always said when times were tough life was always better with red lipstick, rouge, and dark sunglasses. And my sweet Gram said that if you had love, laughter, and a cup of tea you could get through anything. I’ve lived my life on these these very wise philosophies. So each day I live, learn, and forgive myself one day at a time.

This story has been written for my Blogging 101 assignment. Getting to know your neighbours by reading their blog and commenting. After commenting write about why it inspired you. Thank you for reading today, and please check out http://heysweetlittlething.wordpress.com. She has a wonderful blog and I’m so happy I found it to start my healing journey. 💓

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This beautiful art used with permission from Arna Baartz http://www.artofkundalini.com

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Always

I will always worry, even when someone says don’t worry about it. I don’t know why I’m like this, is it the way I grew up, or do I get some kind of pay off in the end? Tough questions to ask myself for sure, but in the questioning comes the truth. I come from a long line of worriers. My beloved Mom, Gram, and her sisters were all worriers. Then they raised a next generation of worry warts. I remember when I was kid and I’d hear a family member say something like “I’m going to go visit my sister on Sunday, which is an ordinary conversation. Added with a prayer would be “yes if God spares me, that is. ” There was nothing ordinary about that, I would question “why wouldn’t God spare you, he loves you!” It was a confusing time because then I would worry if that loved one was going to die! Then I would spend my time worrying and praying instead of playing and just being a kid. There’s no wonder I grew up with anxiety, I don’t blame anything or anyone for it. It was a generation of worriers raised by another older generation of the same. Growing up as empathic child was a double edged sword. I could always feel so much love by absorbing the energy around me. Than the alternative was fear, worry, and hate, and emotions so ugly they would wake me up screaming at night. My beloved Mama and my Gram would always protect me from myself. There was lots of prayers, love, and secrecy. As I told them about my dreams, aura colors, and energy I picked up around me. They were my precious protectors and really made me feel safe, even if all I was feeling was uncomfortable. So I question myself endlessly am I the product of my environment or blessed with spiritual gifts? I could let these deep thoughts and emotions overtake me and send me into a swirling vortex and suck me in. Yet I fight against them and just give them a moment of time in my head, and then move on. I owe it to my family to not always feel fear and worry. I don’t want to raise my sons to be afraid of life and all the wonderful things in it. I always have to fight and be vigilant to not let the demons of worry enslave me. I learned a lot from my previous generations of wise elders. I need to have my faith in God, the love of my family, and the believe in myself that I can rise above whatever my fretful mind can worry about. I owe to my family to at least try….

This has been my Sunday confession for Ash at http://morethancheeseandbeer.com. Check out her blog and all the awesome talent that link up. Smooches. 😘

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Dragon slayer of depression and anxiety.

I’ve lived with anxiety for most of my life. It started when I was 4 when my parents separated. I lived with my Mom and sister and had visitations with my Dad and his new family. I struggled to make sense of the situation and developed anxiety over it. I seen, heard, and was exposed to things that a young child shouldn’t have to witness. There was fighting, crying, drinking, and drugs. To cope I began climbing. I would climb out my bedroom window and climb on top of my house. I’d climb up onto my Mom’s piano or the porch of our home. You could find me climbing trees, buildings, and on top of vehicles. The higher up in the air I was, the better I felt. I was a happy child, I had my Mom and Dad and a family that loved me. And I also had heartbreaking, gut wrenching, debilitating anxiety. Even back then at the young and tender age, I felt lonely in a crowded room. In my elementary school years I did my best to cope and hide my anxiety. I’d be out on the playground climbing the highest structure, while the teachers would be trying to convince to come down. I made great friendships back then, but I did everything I could not to show my fears. Even in my teenage years I knew something wasn’t quite right with me and my view point on life. So I did what every other teenager did and went into therapy. I discovered things about myself that encouraged, and yes even scared me. I didn’t like large crowds so I tended to avoid that. As it was one of my triggers for running away. When I got older I survived being bullied and skipping out of school to avoid the mob mentality. I even had a teacher side with my bully, when he’d come up with a particular insult for me. In turn I threatened that teacher, that I’d get them fired if he didn’t deal with the situation. I got into fist fights and ended up in the principals office. I had been suspended and then my Mom chose to withdraw me from my nightmare. My high school years brought me to a new school. And finally I could escape the constant pain and harassment. I was glad to leave that school behind but the memories followed me and haunted me. I had a great existence in that new school. And yet I was still struggling with the depression I was in for a year. I went through the motions in life and turned to alcohol and late night partying. The stress of high school life proved to be too much for me to handle. So I found drinking as a way to cope. Plus no one knew I was anxious when I was life of the party. I could dance, sing, and do anything when I had liquid courage. My bully ended up attending the same school the following year. At first the fear of having to endure all the embarrassment and humiliation all over again, came back to me in waves. And I’d have panic attacks and frighten my poor Mom and Grandparents. A strange thing happened though I made a lot of friends and my bully never even talked to me. I’d talk to my Mom and Gram about it and they’d say he’s a small fish in a big pond. And due to my popularity I had become the whale in that ocean. In my senior years I moved to a large city and attended yet another new school. I needed to stop my partying and buckle down and take school seriously. So I chose to move in with my older sibling and his family. I lasted a year there as my depression took me into a funk that was hard to shake. I was 16 years old and I was too young to feel this sad and homesick. I dated a few guys and made some friends but I always felt like I was living some lie. What would everyone think of me if they knew what thoughts were running through my head. I never did try to self harm with cutting, I wasn’t numb from the pain. My problem was I felt it so deeply that I cried every single day. I decided to come back home for my graduation year to be with my friends. I got a second chance to make things right with my family so I took it. There was trial and tribulations as well as I went back and forth between my parents and Grandparents homes. And I ended up with my boyfriend (now husband) and he protected from life’s cruel storms. He loved me, and loving him gave me a break from my constant anxiety. I graduated and went to college and we moved into together. We started a new life in a new town which led to marriage and our amazing sons. I have to laugh though, because my first instinct was to climb when I was in labor with them! The more things change, the more they stay the same. I have survived Postpartum depression twice and the deaths of my Grandparents, parents, and step sister. I have struggled with depression, anxiety, and grief for many years and yet I’m still here. I have begun to take the steps to look after myself. I meditate, do yoga, and eat more healthy. I’m not on any medication anymore as a personal choice. And choose now to heal myself spiritually and nutritionally. I have a strong faith in God and that has carried me through the dark nights of my soul. I have a great support network and I have come to terms with the fact I’m not my past. I don’t need to go back to it because I don’t live there anymore. And most importantly I have begun to slay that dragon of depression that has taken so many years of my life, happiness, love, and self worth. If telling my story begins to open a door for communication, or help someone heal then it’s all been worth it. Keep on fighting the good fight brave and courageous souls. I know I will, because it’s not the destination that matters, it’s the journey. ❤️

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