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Posts tagged ‘blogging’

Happy Anniversary & Other Such Things

Today is my wedding anniversary!! First, I’ll say that it’s a day worth celebrating. Four years ago today, I pledged my everlasting love to my now hubby in front of God and many of our family members and friends. It was a beautiful day, both due it being one full of love and weather wise as well. Joyous definitely describes our wedding day.

Over the last four years since we said, I do, and even before then, we’ve faced a lot together. We’ve lost loved ones, faced financial issues, dealt with illnesses and injuries, and other things that have put strain on us. We’ve also laughed, enjoyed lots of time with friends and family, experienced great things, and created many amazing memories. Throughout the good and bad, here we are, still standing together. That’s what a team does, sticks together through it all.

So yes, for my hubby and I, today is definitely a day worth smiling about. It’s also my friend Ashley’s birthday. I remember telling her when the date was set that it fell on her birthday, wasn’t sure how she’d feel about it. She told me she was honored to share her special day with us. Yay! So today, I also say, HAPPY BIRTHDAY, ASHLEY!!! I hope today is full of joy and love for you, dear friend!!

I’m sure today is special for others as well. Others are likely celebrating their wedding anniversaries and birthdays. I am willing to wager that it’s also a day for signing paperwork to get keys to their new home, starting/started a new job, made a big move, started dating, stopped smoking, and more. Today is a day for many to smile and I’m happy to share in this joy with all of you.

Today is also likely a day that’s hard for some. Some lost people they love, lost jobs, got into a life changing car accident, found out they’re ill, and other heartbreaking things. My heart weeps for those that hurt today. I know that while we celebrate today, others aren’t, that others have reason to be sad. Life goes on around us, through the good and bad we face, others do their own thing.

Today too, my son has court for some poor decisions he’s made. It is hard to watch my brilliant son throw his future to the wind. He’s starting to see he wants so much and he needs to make some changes, but he’s still being stubborn, fighting it some. I hope he gets a wake-up call and starts to really fight for his future. May today end up being the beginning to a brighter future for him.

No matter what today is for you, I hope you find some joy. Even if today is sad, it brings hard times, may you find at least one reason to smile. If not, if it’s just too hard today, maybe tomorrow? My thoughts and prayers are with the world today, all who struggle, mourn, and worry. It’s also with those who laugh, smile, and celebrate. Whatever today is, at least it is. We’ve been given another day and that is cause to celebrate.

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Mental Health Awareness – Speaking Up.

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May is National Mental Health Awareness month. This is something that speaks to my soul very strongly because I struggle with mental health illnesses and so do many of my friends and family members. I, myself, have anxiety disorder, PTSD, bi-polar – type one, and OCD.

Growing up, I didn’t know what was going on inside my head. I thought something was wrong with me. I must be broken, defective. My moods changed without warning. My thoughts raced and I couldn’t get them to slow down. The littlest thing could set me off. I would cry and not always know why. I’d be extra motivated one day and then not at all the next. I was overly anxious and paranoid. I’d feel physically ill when things became too much to handle. No one understood, most especially myself. (I’m still dealing with these things, but I’m informed now and have the support system that makes dealing with all of this easier.)

On top of that, I was molested and physically abused by my mom’s ex, mentally abused and neglected by my father, and my mom retreated into herself, not knowing what to do or how to react, how to help me, especially when she needed help herself. I was placed into a foster home and went to a few and a group home within the span of a few years. I was hit on by one of my foster brothers in one of the homes to the point I ran away. Things weren’t great.

I wanted to die several times between my pre-teen years and even into my 30’s. I wrote notes, made preparations to leave those I loved, and kept it all to myself. Only those who knew me real well even had a glimpse of how much I struggled and even many who thought they knew me, they didn’t realize how much I was hurting. I either come off as really happy go lucky and people have no clue that I hurt at all or I’m the overly dramatic one, just seeking attention. I can be both and sometimes something entirely different.

Growing up, my issues and I were either ignored, treated like something to be shunned, or like everything was just some way of being noticed. Mental health illnesses and abuse are no laughing matter. They are also not things to be ignored or made light of.

I will always speak out about mental health illnesses, suicide prevention, and abuse. I didn’t always have support and in those times is when things were at their worst. Having that support now makes a huge difference. So, I want to reach out and tell all reading this, if you struggle, you don’t have to go through any of this alone.

There are 24 hour hotlines, shelters, and other resources. Also, I’m here to listen, if you feel comfortable coming to me. You do not have to deal with this alone. No one can live your life for you, but there are people out there who can be by your side as you try to push forward, heal, and get help.

If you see any warning signs, if you even suspect someone you know is hurting, please reach out. We may not always ask for help. Be the light for those who may feel lost in the dark and have forgotten there’s still hope…

To be 17 again…

I worked with a wonderful high school senior recently. Listening to her talk about her post high school is future was great. She has big plans and I just feel she’ll do absolutely amazing!

When I was 17, my plans were to go to school for theater and music. I didn’t end up doing anything big with either. I sing, for myself mostly and my daughter likes listening to me sing. Karaoke is a fun outlet I get to use once in a great while. My theater ambitions have just become dreams of old. Sometimes I’m sad for the future that never was.

When I think about where I’m at now though, I don’t feel so bad. Photography has been a passion of mine since I was 13. Getting to capture life’s moments and turn them into forever memories for others (and myself) fills me with joy.

It took me until I was in my late 30’s to go after my photography dream. Before that, it seemed like all my childhood career dreams would just be that, dreams. Finally, upon a suggestion by a good friend and an impulsive whim, I went for it. Sometimes it’s stressful. When I feel overwhelmed, I find I need to step back a bit and lighten my load. Overall though, it’s been a fantastic journey and I feel blessed I’ve been given this chance.

That’s how I started my blog too. A good friend suggested I share my story with others and on a whim, I decided to go for it. Nearly seven years later, here I am, still sharing my story with all of you. It fills me up with joy that I get to do this and that I get to be a part of your journeys as well.

That’s one dream still that I know is within my reach that I’ve only scratched the surface with, my writing. I blog and it’s terrific! I share my life, poetry, ideas, thoughts, etc with you. I want to do more. I have a couple poems published through poetry.com, but I want to reach even more people. I want to write and publish books. I’ve gotten a start to many and only finished two, back when I was 15 and 16. I never did anything with those. My style has changed as I’ve grown. I want to touch more hearts with my story. So, I’m starting to write a book, again, one I hope to finish and publish. This dream CAN happen!

With that said, if there’s anyone reading this that is wanting to take a leap and go for something they dream of and yet just haven’t yet, DO IT!!!! Don’t say that it’s not the right time. There’s often not a right time to do things, you have to create that time. Don’t let others and their doubts hold you back. Don’t hold yourself back either. DO IT, GO FOR YOUR DREAM! BELIEVE IN YOURSELF AND GO FOR WHAT FUELS YOU, WHAT YOU WANT MOST!!! Write. Bake. Act. Start a band. Record music. Teach. Be a doctor. Fight for injustice and be a cop or maybe a lawyer. Be a parent. Open a flower shop. DJ. Start a business. Whatever it is, GO FOR IT! Be your best you and let others see it! As long as we’re here, still living and able, it’s not too late. We don’t need to be 17 again. We can make things happen at 23, 37, 45, 51, 68, etc. We CAN! LET’S DO IT!

Bi-Polar Unmasked

 

Many don’t know or understand what living with a mental health illness or living with someone who has one is like. It’s definitely more recognized now than in years past and I’m thankful that more are taking this seriously. Mental health illnesses deserve acknowledging, being researched, funding for help, etc. From bi-polar to schizophrenia, doctors, scientists, and more are taking notice and working hard to help those of us that struggle with these seemingly invisible illnesses. Still, there are many out there who treat mental health illnesses as though they’re unimportant, made up, or those who have one are some sort of freak show. Being treated like what we live with isn’t a big deal or like we’re damaged goods gets old. It can be hurtful to be treated like what we live with is just something we can just snap out of at anytime.

Maybe if you eat better, surely it’s just a matter of diet. Maybe if you just willed yourself to overcome it. Maybe if you just get over yourself. Maybe you should just stop being so dramatic. Maybe if you prayed harder. Maybe if you did this or maybe if you did that. Gah!!!!!!

OR…..

You’re a total freak show. I can’t associate myself with someone so messed up. Your moods are just too all over the place. Your depression brings me down. Why are you so anxious all the time? Does it really matter if things are out of place? Why are you freaking out? Is there a reason you’re crying, again? How long has it been since you brushed your hair? I can’t be your friend, you’re just too high maintenance.

Unless you live with a mental health illness, you can’t truly understand how crippling it can be. How long has it been since I brushed my hair or showered? You know, I’m not sure. Why did I just spend money on things I don’t need? I felt a compulsion and couldn’t stop. Does it really matter if things are out of place? Yes. YES! If things are out of place, I feel an agitation I can’t put in check. I MUST have order. I MUST have things a certain way. I won’t rest until I do. Rest? I feel like staying in bed all day. I’m just exhausted. I feel so depressed. The tears won’t stop. I’m a failure and a freak. Why would anyone love me? I’ll just call in today, again. Mania sets in and now I’m crazy cleaning, extra irritable, and ultra hyper. I have such energy. What’s wrong with you? I don’t know. Why are you so touchy? I don’t know. Why are you snapping for no reason? I don’t know. Why are you crying, again? I don’t know. Why can’t you just snap out of it? I DON’T KNOW!!!!

Therapists, pyschologists, psychiatrists, and medications, oh my!!! Say that five times fast! Insults are hurled if we utilize these to get help. Can’t you deal with things without meds? Why do you need some shrink? You’re just weak. You’re just having a few bad days here and there, just suck it up. But then again, if we refuse to get that help, then we are wrong too. Clearly you need help, so why not get on medication to control your mood swings and stabilize yourself? You know, it’s not just about you, right? See a therapist, you need help. No matter what we do or don’t do, we’re failing in someone’s eyes.

It’s a daily struggle, on or off meds. Whether we see a mental health specialist or not, things are still hard sometimes. Fighting your mind isn’t an easy feat. You’re constantly torn. You try so hard to be “normal”. Why can’t I just be mentally stable? Why am I like this? Why?! Why is it so hard to maintain friendships? Why do people turn their backs on me? I know why. I wouldn’t want to deal with me either. I want to hold a regular job. I want to succeed. Eh. This job just wasn’t right for me. Maybe the next one? I want to be loved. I don’t deserve love. I can overcome anything. I am strong. I can beat this. I can’t do anything right. I’ll never amount to anything. I can’t beat this. My past stirs up awful memories. The nightmares leave me barely able to function. The past won’t beat me. I survived. I can survive anything. I am lonely, but I don’t want to leave the house. I want to make my dreams come true. I’ll fight to do just that. Well, maybe tomorrow. Up, up, up, and then crashing down, HARD.

I have bi-polar, anxiety, PTSD, and OCD. I’ve been ridiculed, laughed at, treated like a freak, and pushed away, by many, including myself. Many can’t make sense of what goes on inside my head, least of all me. Growing up, I didn’t know what to make of what was going on inside my head. I just thought I was broken. As an adult, I got diagnosed with bi-polar first. The others followed behind that. I have been on many medications and seen many doctors. It’s been a fight the whole way, with or without that specialized help. One thing I’ve found that’s helped the most is a personal support system. They have made and continue to make a huge difference in getting through the really hard days. They deserve so much credit.

Those who live with people that have mental health illnesses should never be overlooked. They deal with our mood swings, meltdowns, odd behaviors, and more. They help us through. When we’re beyond reason, they just wait it out and deal with whatever we throw their way. If they themselves deal with mental health illnesses, that makes things even tougher. When you have more than one under one roof, it can be a challenge. My son and I both deal with them. Our relationship sure has been tested. Then there’s my husband, the stable one, trying to deal with us both. It’s not been easy for anyone. Somehow, he manages. Accepting us both hasn’t been easy, but I’m thankful he has. Since he’s entered our lives, there’s some semblance of stability. He deserves a thousand shout outs. As hard as it is to live with the actual illnesses, it’s plenty difficult living with those that do. So, thank you.

Things like cancer, MS, Cystic Fibrosis, and heart disease are major concerns and definitely deserve to be recognized, researched, have people fighting for cures, and to have people across the globe raising awareness for them. I find no issue with any of that, at all. I have had family members and friends face cancer, Type One Diabetes, heart disease, CF, Dementia and Alzheimer’s, and more. Some I love have even lost their lives to these. It’s not been easy watching people I love suffer. So I support causes that try to help them and others that live with or have lost their lives to such illnesses and diseases.

I just want to also raise awareness for people who live with mental health illnesses. What we go through is serious and deserves recognition too. So, here is bi-polar and such unmasked. Yes, the illnesses are in our minds, but only in the sense that’s what they effect. They stem from imbalances in our brains. They’re very real. If you know someone that lives with one, try showing compassion, patience, and love. I know we’re not easy to deal with, but we’re far more than the illnesses we live with.

I am not bi-polar. I’m not my illness. I have bi-polar. There’s a difference between being and having something. I refuse to let it define me. The mask is off. Here I stand, telling you about a part of myself. I hope you’ll learn something. Maybe it’ll help you with someone you know or maybe you are dealing with this yourself.  Either way, I hope this opens eyes and minds. Mental health is important. It starts with the mind, but it also effects physical health as well. A healthy mind and body go hand in hand. Having support instead of insults and ignorance is the first step to helping. Let’s all take one step forward today….

The Stars

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Billions of stars represent billions of hearts

Both alive and those that have gone before us

Which one would you say you are?

I’m THAT one, the one with extra sparkle

 

Twinkle, twinkle little star up in the sky

She’s up there singing a little tune

Watching me as I get my shine on

Her light still guides me as I learn

 

When our bodies die, our souls still live

It feels like they give the stars extra shine

When we feel extra sad or unsure of our paths

We can find comfort in the sky up above

 

Twinkle, twinkle little star up in the sky

Where are you on this cold night?

I need you more than ever right now

Can I hop on a cloud and see you?

 

Closing my eyes, I slow my breathing

Listening intently, trying to hear your voice

Willing the voices in my head to grow still

It takes great skill to quiet the noise

 

Twinkle, twinkle little star in the sky

Can you hear me as I call your name?

Is my voice being drowned out by your singing?

I miss singing with you and listening to your voice

 

I hear you, calmly telling me to let go

Let go and trust one we both love

The One that made these very stars I talk to

I feel her hands gently touch my hair

 

Twinkle, twinkle little star in the sky

I still struggle with worry and doubt

But I know deep down You’re with me

I think now I can finally get some sleep

 

Billions of stars represent billions of hearts

Both alive and those that have gone before us

Which one would you say you are?

I’m THAT one, the with the extra sparkle.

 

Break the Cycle

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I’ve been working really hard to be that person. It’s not an easy feat, at all, but when I look at the world today and see so much hatred, ignorance, cruelty, and bitterness, how can I just be a part of that? Sometimes I look at how people treat others and wonder how they came to act that way. I wonder if they were hurt somehow and ask myself what if they’d been shown some compassion, love, forgiveness, or acceptance? What if they had been taught to do the same by someone? Maybe they’d been hurt really badly, but what if just one person had shown them there was a different way to handle things?

We are NOT what happened to us. We are NOT our pasts. We are NOT our mistakes. We are NOT our illnesses. We are NOT defined by the color of our skin, what neighborhood we come from, who are parents are, how much money we have or don’t have for that matter, our political views, our sexual orientation, or any of that which many decide should label us.

We CAN be whatever we choose, no matter what others say we should be. We CAN be greater than the choices we’ve made thus far. We CAN be better than we have been. We CAN make a difference. One person CAN change things for those around them. We don’t have to let the cycle continue. Don’t let the cycle define or confine you. Let the anger, resentment, bitterness, vengeful actions, and state of constant sadness stop here. The choice is yours.

Adjust Your Sails

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After all the posts I’ve seen today where people are putting themselves down, feeling not good enough, feeling ugly, and just not doing well, I feel compelled to say this….

God doesn’t make ugly. He doesn’t make mistakes. He made you. You are not ugly. You are not a mistake. You are worthy of love. You are meant for great things. You are in fact beautiful. You are wonderful.

Today might be bad for you. Maybe this whole year has been hard so far. But. You are not the bad things happening. You are meant to rise above. It may take time. You may hurt for awhile. That’s awful, if that’s the case, but sometimes we have those times when things are hard. This WILL pass though. You can get through. You are NOT alone. You are NOT your past, mistakes, grief, hard times, or doubts. You are more than any illness or label. You are someone of value that is meant to do and be great things. Keep believing that, each day that you can and when you find you can’t, I can remind you.

Let’s adjust those sails, ladies and gents. These storms aren’t meant to drown us, even though sometimes it may feel that way. Sometimes we fall. Sometimes the waves threaten to overtake us and we’re gasping for air. Sometimes we lose battles with depression and other health issues. Sometimes our circumstances are bad. At the end of it, we find that we outlast the storm. The best part is, we don’t need to go it alone. 🙂

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