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Posts tagged ‘help’

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…

Semicolon Project Awareness Day

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It’s Semicolon project awareness day. In honor of that, I want to say…

Depression and other mental health illnesses aren’t always shown by making overly dramatic posts. Living with them doesn’t always mean we’re wanting to die and often times, when it is, it won’t be announced, it’ll be kept hidden. Living with mental health issues isn’t always easily visible to others. In fact, many times, those dealing depression try to hide the pain and sadness. We sometimes hide it with smiles, silliness, and a happy go lucky attitude.

They manifest themselves in different ways and they’re not on the same level for anyone. Maybe plans get canceled because we’re not up to acting happy and sometimes we’ll go out often because we don’t want to be alone. Sometimes we’ll over eat or not eat at all. Sometimes we’ll sleep a lot or barely. Sometimes the joy in things we normally love will fade and sometimes we’ll throw ourselves into it even more to try to distract our minds. Sometimes we will seem perfectly fine and other times, it’ll be easy to see. Some hide it well and others don’t. That doesn’t mean one is hurting more than another.

Depression can kill, not always via suicide, but also many times, over a long period of time, a mind can slowly give up and the body will start to deteriorate. It is not something to be ignored or treated as if it’s something we can just get over. It doesn’t have a cure. There are things that can help and make a difference, yes. One of those things is a good support system.

A support system of people that don’t judge, people that are there to help us through often makes the biggest difference. Coming from someone who has been on medicine, seen therapists, and tried many other forms of treatment, having people that stand by me has helped the most. We can be difficult to deal with. When in deep ruts, we can lash out, become unresponsive, and act out in many ways. When you stick with us through all of it, that says you love us, we’re worth the effort, and we’re more than the crippling sadness, anger, anxiety, etc that we face.

We are not our illness. We are people with hopes, dreams, desires, and goals. Thank you to those that see that. Thank you to those that help us in any way you can. Thank you for supporting us. Thank you for tough love, when needed. Thank you for a kind and compassionate love, when needed. Thank you. Thank you for all you do. Many of us know that what effects us effects you too.

My story is far from over and I hope that yours is too. If we work together, we can lift one another up and get through, one day at a time. You are, he is, she is, I am, we are worth it. Our lives are worth living. I love you. Thank you for loving me too.

A Letter to My Daughter

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Dear Clara,

You’re still so young, but there’s some things I think you should know. I write this letter with the hopes that when you read it, you’ll know how much I love you.

You are beautiful.

Can’t is only a limitation you set for yourself.

If you want it, claim it.

Treat others with respect.

Give, give freely, but don’t be a doormat.

Don’t abuse any power or influence you get.

Laugh, laugh a lot.

Dream.

Chase your dreams.

You most likely won’t need things like Algebra post high school, but I expect you to do your best in ALL of your classes.

You don’t NEED to be in a relationship to have a happy life, to feel complete.

However, there’s nothing wrong with being in a committed relationship, not if it brings you joy and it’s someone you love that loves you.

If you need to cry, do it. Trying to look strong when you’re hurting isn’t necessary. Crying helps.

Girls don’t have to like pink and frills. Guys can, without being gay and whether they are or not, I go back to the respect thing.

It doesn’t matter if someone is different than you. Their skin color, religious beliefs, sexual orientation, political views, etc may not match yours and that’s okay. People can be different and still get along.

I love you. I will always love you. I will be your biggest cheerleader.

Being your biggest cheerleader will not cause me to sugarcoat things when you need to know the truth or cover your butt when you’re in the wrong.

I cry, a lot. Not all of my tears are sad ones. When I’m proud of you, I’ll cry. When I’m scared, I’ll cry. When I’m really angry, I’ll cry. When I’m over the moon happy, I’ll cry. I’m not weak. Like I said above, if you need to cry, do it. Crying or showing emotions doesn’t make you weak, it makes you human.

Did I say you’re beautiful? I did? Well, you are.

If you’re wrong, admit it.

If you need to apologize, do it, but only if you mean it.

Don’t let pride ruin relationships with those you love. It’s okay to apologize first, even if you don’t feel you were wrong or more in the wrong.

Like stated above, if you love someone, it’s okay to say it, but only say it if you mean it.

Words can heal or hurt, use them wisely.

Believe in yourself. No matter how much we may believe in you, it won’t hold nearly enough weight unless you believe it too.

Some people really suck. Some people are mean, beyond cruel. With that said, know that some people are really wonderful. Some people are loving and kind. Don’t give up on humanity, no matter how bad things get.

The world is huge, don’t let yourself get lost in it. Remember too that, one voice and one person can make a huge difference. So stand up for what you believe in.

And before I end this letter, once more, I loved you from the moment I knew I was pregnant. I loved you as you grew within me. I loved you the first time I held you. I loved you every time you threw up on me. I loved you every time you threw a tantrum. I loved you every time you curled up in my arms. I loved you every time you smiled at me. I loved you yesterday. I love you today. I will love you tomorrow. I will always love you.

No matter what life throws at you, me, your daddy, your brother, or any of us, you are my daughter. I love you. As big as the sky, for as long as the stars shine, I love you. You and Zach are my life.

Love,
Your mom

 

**picture I took at my son’s birthday party**

There Are Always Ways to Help…

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Some think the only or best way to help is by giving money to causes, people in need, etc. I have learned something over the years, money can do a lot of good and I would never discourage anyone from giving to worthy causes or helping out someone who is truly in need, BUT there are more ways to help.

Sometimes people aren’t in a position to help financially and feel like there’s nothing they can do. However, we can give our time, energy, and effort to others by volunteering, teaching, mentoring, tutoring, helping people by giving of your services like babysitting, cooking a meal for someone who just had surgery, helping someone move, etc.

Going through our things and giving what we don’t need or no longer use to others who could use it often helps people as well. How many of us have things in storage, stuffed in the back of our closets or the garage, etc that we know we’ll never get around to using again or maybe just bought because it was on sale or thought it would be a good idea at the time and then never used at all? Some can donate blood, which is always in need. Some physically can’t give, but many can.

And let us not forget, sometimes all someone needs is someone to listen without passing judgement. Sometimes people don’t want or need anything of monetary value, they just need a friend to listen, give advice, a hand to hold, a shoulder to cry on, or someone to make them laugh. Sometimes people just need to be reminded how special and loved they are and that there is a reason to go on.

One or many of these things may not be doable, but don’t be discouraged. If you want to give back, pay it forward, or make a difference, there are always ways to do it.

Perfect Parenting

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Many parents have their idea of what perfect parenting is, a style they feel works best and it will often vary from another’s. The thing to remember is just because someone’s views on how to raise their kids is different from how you raise yours, it doesn’t mean they’re wrong or less of a parent. So many sit in judgement and it’s not okay.

It doesn’t matter if you, say, breastfeed and other moms don’t. What some don’t understand is not everyone can do it. Some moms just don’t produce, no matter what they try, some babies refuse to latch, etc. And even if someone can and chooses not to, it doesn’t make them a bad parent. The same goes for whether someone makes their own baby food and another may choose to use the prepackaged stuff, such as Gerber. Either way, the kids are getting their nutrients and are developing just fine. What about potty training techniques, how one might get their baby to sleep, disciplining, how they teach their kid to read, whether or not their kid gets paid to do chores or not, how early they start helping out around the house, curfews, whether their kids go to private or public school, or perhaps neither and they do home schooling, and many other parenting topics.

I’ve been the parent that has had others point, stare, and whisper. I have also had the nosy moms that don’t know the situation butt in while at the store, throwing their unwanted two cents in and have seen it happen to others. It is infuriating to have another try to tell you how to raise your kids. If we don’t like something, fine, it’s our right to disagree. However, just because we can verbalize our difference of opinion, doesn’t necessarily mean we should. Sometimes it is best to keep our thoughts to ourselves. And honestly, where do any of us get off judging another because we don’t give into a child’s tantrum, because we let them have McDonald’s once in awhile, are on a different sleep schedule, decide to home school our kids, bottle feed, or use a different method of punishment for acting out? If the child in question isn’t being abused or neglected, it is really no one’s business how they’re being raised. If there’s genuine reason for concern, fine, but then go about it in the proper manner. If not, it is usually best to butt out.

Sometimes we will ask for advice or help, I mean, they say it takes a village. 😉 Sometimes too, we see someone struggling and we want to be there for them. That is all well and good, but then when we’re coming from a place of kindness and not a harsh or judgmental one, we need to still respect our boundaries. Never put the parent down and don’t make it all about you and how you raise your kids and ALWAYS listen, be respectful. Parenting can be challenging at times and it makes it that much harder when we have others essentially bullying us because we’re not doing things “right”. We want our kids to turn into well rounded, kind, smart, and hardworking adults, which is made easiest when we have a good support system and try our best not to judge one another. These are just my thoughts on it today and not just in parenting, but in life. We should lift one another up, not tear one another down. ❤

No Shame in Walking Away

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When you see someone you love in need

Often times the first instinct is to help out

You want to erase all pain, sorrow, & doubt

To see their minds at ease & hearts freed

 

Sometimes, things work out for those we love

Our efforts are successful & they’re grateful

Other times, things go awry and instead they’re hateful

Or we’re simply taken for granted & we cry to heaven above

 

Why is that sometimes those who are supposed to be closest to us

Are the ones that cause us the most heartache & pain

It should be easy to walk away from those only interested in what they can gain

But when there’s bonds that tie, it’s often not easy to leave without a fuss

 

Sometimes we never find the strength to walk away

For we’re family, family sticks together always, right?

Other times though, we rid the toxic from our sight

And we see there’s no shame in not wanting to stay

 

We ought to look out for one another, especially our family

But there’s nothing wrong with not tolerating abuse

Sometimes we find after trying to help for so long, what’s the use?

One can only try for so long before they need to set themselves free.

Not All Abuse Is Physical

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Physical abuse is nothing to turn a blind eye to. It can break you, it can even kill you. It will leave lasting marks and not just the ones others can see with their eyes. I am by no means belittling those who have been physically harmed or are currently in that situation. It’s something that needs to be taken way more seriously than it is. I have not been physically beaten. In that way, I have lucked out. I have however known people who are close to me that have been through it. I have seen what it does to them, both physically and mentally. It’s a horrible thing to see someone go through. I hate violence, it’s such an ugly thing. Men, women, and children fall victim to violent acts daily and it breaks my heart. If I knew someone was being abused, I would not stay silent, thinking that it’s none of my business. I would step up and find a way to help.

Sexual abuse is not quite the same, but it is still physical and it’s also something that will leave scars no one can see. It will leave you changed and talking from experience, it sticks with you for the rest of your life. Even if you try to make peace with what happened, you never forget. This too is nothing someone should remain quiet about if they know someone is being put through this. I know some feel it’s not their business and some feel they may only cause more damage, but I can tell you that it’s vital to get someone out of situations like these. (I can’t watch Law & Order: SVU without feeling something.)

But, physical acts of violence are not the only forms of abuse. There are people that have never laid a hand upon another, but they have done great damage to those around them. Verbal abuse and neglect does damage to people as well, damage that leaves scars, damage that isn’t so easy to get over. It is hard to just come to terms that it’s not their fault somehow and it creates a lifetime of self doubt. Often times, the physical scars will heal, fade, and seemingly disappear, while the emotional damage it leaves behind sticks around. (though not always, sometimes the physical abuse leaves permanent damage as well.)

All forms of abuse are horrible for anyone to go through and it’s often not easy to speak up about it, either of fear or shame. I think it’s very important to do what we can to help others who have gone through or are going through it. It’s so easy to feel alone and isolated, like there’s no way out, no way to heal, and no way to possibly have a good life. “I’m damaged, too damaged. There’s no hope for me. I’ll always be this….” I have said and thought these things myself. And as someone who has struggled with overcoming the past myself, I find it vital to be there for others. There is always hope to get through and to find a way to heal, as long as there are others willing to reach out to them.

If you don’t feel like you can help, at least don’t make things worse. What we do and say may not always seem to resonate negativity to us, but it may just be causing harm to someone else. So, I want to impress the importance of watching what we do, how we act, and what we say. Don’t be the one who brings others down, even unintentionally. If somehow we find that we have hurt someone, then make amends. No one is perfect and we all have said and done things, whether intentional or not, that have hurt others. So when we cause harm, we ought to own up to it and do what we can to make things right. There is so much hate, violence, and cruelty in the world today and it only seems to be getting worse. So, I urge all willing to listen to do their part to not let it win, to instead let the light shine, to be beacons of hope and love. Let us all do our part to help one another heal.

Rest In Peace, Marie Irene

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The tears have yet to dry, the sadness is still fresh upon our hearts when the news hits us that yet another friend has passed away. This one hits a little closer to home. This was someone I had talked to a lot over the years. Our sons had even become friends. It feels like yesterday when she and James were at our place celebrating Zach’s 6th birthday. A few years later, we got news that his dad had died. Suicide. 😦 She found him. She had to explain to her son that his dad was gone. All the while, she’s been battling Cystic Fibrosis. This young woman has gone through an awful lot and though we would go months without talking, when we would catch up, it would feel as if no time had passed. My heart is broken once more as I find that now it is she that has left us. Only recently, someone else I knew had passed. I didn’t know him well, but others I know did and my heart grieved for their loss. But now, I suffer a loss of my own as this time it’s also a friend of mine and what’s worse is thinking of James, now 11, who has lost both of his parents in just a few years time. There have been a lot of deaths within the various groups of friends that I have, many I haven’t known or known that well, but their deaths impacted many I know and so I felt pain. It is so sad, watching so many die around you. I know that life still goes on and that we best honor their memories by continuing to enjoy our lives while we have them to live. But, right in the very face of grief, that’s not so easy to think about. I do ask for prayer, for those that Marie has left behind to mourn her, most especially her son. She was so young. I am glad that she no longer suffers, but I really do miss her. Rest In Peace, sweet Marie Irene.

Hello June

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Well, the first five months of the year have been interesting. 2014 started out with a car accident. I was trying to stop at a yellow light and my car hit a patch of ice. My car slid out, went over the median, and took down a traffic light. It was so scary. No one was hurt and my boyfriend was able to repair my car. My job ended because my boss was having issues dealing with his business failing and he couldn’t afford the payroll each week. By the time February started, I was feeling pretty rough. Though I still was grateful for the life God has given me. I had a temp. job, but that didn’t last long either. My b/f and I tried to see the bright side of me not working, that I could take care of our puppy and work on her potty training.

I did what I could to be an equal in our home by taking care of Lucy during the day, cleaning, cooking, running errands, etc. I still felt horrible not being able to contribute much. My neighbor did offer me some money to clean her home once a week. It was something and was happy to help her as well because she’d been so busy. Then I was given another temp. assignment, which I am still working. But not long after, I got bronchitis, so badly that it lasted a month. I tried over the counter medicine, but nothing was working. So, finally I gave in and went to a walk in clinic. The doctor knew within minutes what was wrong and got me the medicine that I needed. I am lucky to have such an understanding boss. At the time I was sick, her husband had the same thing, so she said she understood.

All was well, but then this Wednesday on my way to work I got into a bad car accident. It was my fault. I wasn’t paying enough attention. On the off ramp, I noticed the light was green and that traffic was starting to move, but only the cars at the front of the line had moved, which I failed to notice until it was too late. I tried to stop, but my brakes locked up and the next thing I knew, I was breathing in the dust from the airbag. It was a very frightening morning. Luckily, all involved are okay. (The lady I hit slid into a third car, but that woman is okay and her car didn’t appear to have any damage.) Unluckily, my car is totaled and the lady I hit couldn’t drive her car away either. I feel so horrible about all of it. Everyone tells me that I was hurt the worst and since they’re only minor injuries, it’s a blessing because that means I didn’t hurt anyone. But, that lady’s car is so badly damaged. I know that our lives are more important and believe me, I am grateful we’re all okay. I know things will be alright in the end, especially because Doug has been so helpful and supportive. I am beyond blessed to have him in my life and my friends too that have been so wonderful.

I do hope though that with the beginning of June that things look up a bit. I pray for healing, for the ability to forgive myself, for job security, for financial wellness for our little family, and for good times for not only our family, but all in my life. Hello June, please bring with you such joy, friendship, happiness, and love that we can find by opening our hearts and working hard towards our goals.

Trying to Live the Gluten Free Way

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I had been so sick for so long and I couldn’t put my finger on what was wrong. Well, then after doing some research, I found out that what’s likely been going on is that I have an allergy to gluten. It made perfect sense and so I decided to try to go gluten free with my eating habits for awhile to see if that made any difference. It has worked wonders, though I have slipped a few times. Some of that was due to not knowing what to look for and some of it was due to special occasions and decided, “eh, why not?” Though, each slip was something I paid for.

Since beginning this change, I feel so much better. But, I still have so many questions. I have been asking friends and family members who deal with this for advice and for tips on what is edible and what isn’t. Well, now I am going to turn to you, my WordPress family. Two of the things I struggle with most right now is finding a good gluten free bread and also tortillas. I tried Mission gluten free tortillas and I can’t stand them. That so far is my biggest issue actually and for that, I guess I am glad.

I found a gluten free pasta that I love and also other stuff like gluten free soy sauce, pretzels, ice cream, etc. And I love that eating my fruits and veggies, as well as most of my dairy products are still possible for me. And of course knowing I can still eat meat is great, though now I have to watch what I season and marinade it with. So, if any of you has any advice, I am open to it!

I am aiming for a healthier and happier me! This is but one step towards that goal! Spring coming and becoming more active will certainly help as well. Bring on the walks to the park, kickball, summer bowling league, playing outside with my son, and just being able to get more Vitamin D, without freezing. 😉 I look forward to anything you wonderful people can share with me! And if I can help any of you who might just be starting this yourself, I will do what I can! ❤

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