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Posts tagged ‘support’

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…

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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.

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. 🙂

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. ❤

Ramblings of a Bi-polar Nature

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Riding high on a wave of intense mania

Energetic and ready to take on the world

That is until some little thing gets on my nerves

Now it feels like everything is going wrong

And I’m dwelling on every bad thing that’s ever happened

Don’t look at me wrong, I’ll likely snap at you

Though after I’m done ruining everyone’s day

I will feel horribly guilty and tear myself down

Feeling like the worst thing to ever happen to those I love

I’ve fallen into a pool of regret, guilt, and shame

Not seeing a way out of the sadness I’ve slipped into

Wishing for a life preserver so I can pull myself out

Up and down so often I feel dizzy and unsure of where I am

Why does it have to be like this?

I try writing, talking, praying, singing, walking, and more

Sometimes these things help tremendously

And I am so grateful for the support system in my life

Sometimes though, nothing seems to work

And I don’t see a way out or feel the love that’s there

I feel like a yo-yo and I just want to cut the strings

This journey has been rough and is likely to always be

But I know I am not on this path alone

What I go through touches more lives than just my own

My mood swings hurt more than just me

Over the years, I have driven many away

It’s hurt when relationships end and I feel like I have failed

Yet once again, people feel like they can’t deal with it anymore

I do have to say though, that in the most recent years

It’s gotten easier to deal with and as that’s happened

And the bonds formed have lasted, not so easy to break

I will say this now, hoping all will understand

Each of you that stands by me helps more than you know

You make it easier to get through each difficult day

You remind me that each phase will pass

You make me smile, see the beauty within

Your love, loyalty, and devotion is my greatest weapon

When great anger or sadness threaten to take me down

Your support wields within my hands

And like a blaze of fire, conquers it, even if only for a little while

Every day is a struggle, but you make it easier to fight

I lose some individual battles, but the war is far from over

Each victory over my inner demons is celebrated

Bi-polar threatens my happiness and my sanity

But I will not let it win, for I have too many reasons to keep going

Many of them are those of you that are by my side

Thank you for reading this lengthy post

Sort of poetry, sort of prose, more like a solo therapy session

Go from this knowing how very loved you are

And how grateful I am to have each of you by my side.

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.

The Tale of a Baker’s Son

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I am a baker, like my father before me. One might say that I’m rolling in dough. Okay, that pun was a bit corny, but at least a tad bit funny, I think. But, I am not known for my clever wit. However, I once had quite the athletic ability. I used to play baseball, football, and even could be found playing a little basketball as well. Of them, only one truly was a passion of mine. For years, I practiced, trying to perfect my game. And as I neared 18, it became apparent for all in our small town and even some recruiters that I indeed had some real talent. I could have been a famous baseball player, but just as I was about to get my turn in the big leagues, life took an unexpected turn of events.

At the height of my adolescence, I was famous in our little town in Virginia. The way I threw a baseball really seemed to have people buzzing. Maybe someone would actually make it big and be able to leave this place. Oh not that there was anything wrong with our beloved town, but many did dream of getting away and seeing the big cities. What might it be like to live somewhere with busy streets, bright lights, and imagine, a place where everyone owned a television set. It was definitely the dream that many of us shared. I loved my family, had some friends that I grew up with & considered my brothers, and well this had always been home. There was a part of me that longed to leave, but also a part of me that was afraid to do just that. Maybe it would be too much for me, maybe I wasn’t cut out for city life.

Those fears didn’t stop me from dreaming though. I kept on practicing, determined to show the recruiters what I was made of. I’d become a name that would be on many people’s lips. The nation would know who I was now and for generations to come. I would own the big house, a Ford Mustang or maybe three, and well who knows what else. Though, there was something else I wanted to do with the money I’d surely have and that is take care of my parents. They certainly did all they could to give me everything they didn’t have themselves. They also encouraged my dreams from the very beginning. Their unwavering faith in me had gotten me to where I am and I knew I’d always be indebted to them for that.

As my eighteenth birthday approached, I was anxious. Recruiters had been coming to see me since I was 16. They said I had a talent like none they’d ever seen before. I figured it was only a matter of time before I was officially approached and offered a spot on a professional team. My dad came to every single game I played, no matter the weather, no matter how he felt that day. He suffered from old war injuries and lately, he’d been having headaches every single day. After months of them, he had gone to be seen, but no one could give him any answers. My mother was trying to find a specialist who would come and see him. We didn’t have a lot of money, but she said she’d been saving the money she had earned from the side business she’d started a few years back making dresses for the ladies in town and surely, that would help. I didn’t know that it would be enough, but I did agree that he needed answers, we all did.

At long last, the day had finally arrived. The day that I went from being a boy to a man was here. And as it so happened, tonight was the state championship game. I knew that tonight I had to prove myself in a way that I never had before. Our team was nervous. We knew that all we had done was to bring us to this moment. What would happen? Would we be the victors, with our hometown cheering our names or would we hang our heads in defeat? My mother said that win or lose, she would consider us winners. She constantly told me that she was proud of me, that no matter how this turned out, I’d be a star in her eyes always. Now, that meant a lot to me, though sometimes I wanted to roll my eyes. My mother’s pride and love won’t win our games, won’t get me signed, and won’t take care of me for the rest of my life. Though, I had to remind myself that it was her belief in me, and my dad’s, that has gotten me this far. There were times I wanted to give up when I was a kid, but their faith in me was never shaken. I am glad they pushed me to keep at it. They knew it was what I wanted to do and refused to let my doubts keep me down.

As game time was upon us, our head coach was right there talking to us about strategy and heart. He had always been a big believer in passion needing to be a big part of the game, “If your heart isn’t in it, then you don’t belong here.” He’d been known for saying. All suited up, I was ready to go out to the field to warm-up. My hands were shaking in a way they had never done so before. This was the biggest game of my life and suddenly, I wasn’t so sure of myself. I bowed my head, closed my eyes, and silently prayed to God for strength and courage, not just for myself, but for the rest of our team as well. This game was so important to all of us. It was what we’d worked so hard for all year and not just this season, but the seasons that led up to it. We weren’t the strongest team in the beginning. We had to learn how to work together, how to use our talents to help one another. It wasn’t easy, especially when pride got in the way more than once. But over time, our chemistry developed and so did our friendships with one another. These guys I was about to walk onto the field with weren’t just my teammates, but also my friends & brothers.

You could see it in on all of our faces: fear was definitely there in our hearts, but something more was there as well, determination. We were not about to give up this game without a fight. We wanted this just as much as the other team, perhaps more. Though to be fair, I have no idea what went on in the minds of the other players. All I knew is that this was an important game for me and for a couple other guys who had recruiters to impress. My buddy Scott who was probably the best pinch hitter I’d ever seen and Tyler, the amazing short stop, were also being looked at tonight. The three of us had been talking about this for awhile. How great would it be if all three of us made it to the big leagues? And greater still, though the odds weren’t great, what if we got to play for the same team? I mean, you do what you have to and I ever had to face my friend on the field, I’d do it, but it would be different playing against someone you once played with for years. After reflecting on that for a moment, I switched gears so that I could focus on tonight. Warm-ups were starting for us now.

The time for the warm-ups seemed to fly by. I barely remember that time at all now. I remember walking onto the field for our last warm-ups as a team, looking at each of their faces, silently nodding, taking our stances, and then it all became a blur after that. The next thing I really remember from that night is lining up as a team, preparing for the singing of our national anthem. That night, it was being sung by Grace Benson. I had a few classes with her, but I have to admit I’d barely spoken to her. She was too sophisticated for a guy like me. I liked drinking beers we took from our dads at the lake, staying up all night, getting dirty, catching fish, and tractor pulls. Grace was always the lead of our school plays, head of the debate team, always well dressed and not a hair out of place, and definitely not one you could see chugging a beer; wine was probably more her taste, if she even drank at all.

I knew we weren’t supposed to drink, being underage and all, but it was always harmless. We never drove if we’d been drinking and we always took care of each other. When we were 10, my buddy Tyler lost his older brother because of reckless drinking & driving. His brother and a friend decided to play chicken and it went horribly wrong. Tyler’s brother died two days after the incident and the other boy was paralyzed from the waist down. That day changed a lot for the people in our hometown. I sure like having a beer or two, so do many others here, but we’re sure a lot more careful about things now. For awhile actually, many did stop drinking all together. There were talks of making it a dry town, but I think the stress of it all finally made people break down.

Beer, you know, I think I could use one right now. But, I think I will pass. Indigestion, yeah, beer doesn’t go down like it used to. Back then, it went down real easily. But the night of the game, I didn’t drink. I was determined to be at my very best, we all were. After Grace sang, we all cheered, clapped, put our hats on our heads, and prepared for the start of the game. We took our places out on the field, as we were the home team and would bat second. Okay, I told myself that night, I can do this. I will not let my team down. I looked into the crowd, saw my parents first, smiling and cheering us on. I will not let them down, I thought. And so it began, I wound up to make the first pitch….

(TO BE CONTINUED)

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