Friday, August 18, 2017

Back on the horse.

Today has been a better day and I'm not wasting much time when it comes to looking forward and making positive changes.

Recommitting to my health means a lot of work in many different realms. Mind, body, and soul-it's all connected and I need to reestablish a healthy balance. So here's some stuff I've recommitted to working on:

1.  Physical health.

I twisted my ankle over a month ago and haven't let it recuperate fully. I've also been experiencing progressive numbness and tingling in my arms, wrist pain, and difficulties grasping or pinching for several weeks now. 

My primary care provider suspected carpal tunnel and then a coach suggested that I look into thoracic outlet syndrome and wouldn't ya know it! Spot on. I saw an occupational therapist yesterday and boy howdy. Talk about some good hurt.

It's gonna take a while to heal up and I have to make long term changes, but I'm so glad to know what's going on and have a good direction to head in.

Healing injuries is one facet of my physical health. Focusing on my workout instead of letting my anxiety hijack my "treatment" time is another vital part of my physical health. Improving my diet, getting better sleep, and spending more time outside are other important items to work on. (Yes, these can be considered DBT skills)

Maintaining my physical health not only helps with mood stability, it also helps with self-esteem and resiliency. When I do have bad dips, being in better physical health means bouncing back quicker. 

BB gunning after more dates
(I think he's getting more deliberate playin' that "cute card!")

2. Mind.

I've fallen out of practice with my DBT skills. Being around my family has meant a lot of triggers and a lot of pressure toward bad habits. Moving away is the biggest, most helpful step toward regaining my mental stability. The move isn't going to happen instantaneously-though I can begin working on my DBT immediately. 

The top three things I'm going to work on first? Catching judgments, utilizing distraction and participation, and self-care. 

Catching judgments is a helpful way to veer away from black-and-white thinking. It's helped me tamp down my suicidal impulses and negative self-talk. Distraction and participation help with my anxiety as well as not getting carried away with depressive rumination. Self-care means a lot of things for different folks; for me it means mindfully pursuing healthier habits including: bathing, eating well, hydrating, doing my hair more often, putting on "real clothes" instead of PJs all day, and so on. 

DBT skills address body, mind, and soul-true-for me it falls mostly under "mind" because it takes a lot of mental work!

Hospital visit.

3. Soul.

Healing a broken heart means acknowledging the damage and while I've discussed this many times before, I am recommitting myself to creating healthy distance from my family. I found this article very helpful and am continuing to read and muster my defenses and conviction.

It's been so very difficult for me to cope with the intense feelings of (in my mind) letting my family go. I think doing some reading, writing some key points down, and actively pursuing progress will help me make some progress which should garner more stability and health and PEACE!

I also find DBT skills helpful in achieving peace and soothing my soul. 

Heh, when I was in DBT they talked about it as a lifestyle change and not a contained treament. Yep. I can vouch for that ;o)

It's a lot of work and that's okay.
"It's what I do."
(This is from "Alpha House" BTW)

So. I've written somethings out. I'm getting back on the horse. One good day at a time is great, but I'm working toward getting those weeks of remission at a time, and that means a coordinated attack. 

That said, it's all about baby steps. The dance I have to do to maintain health is complex and I've fallen out of practice. Now it's time to relearn it and get my groove back. One step at a time.

Thursday, August 17, 2017

Acknowledge, Accept, Engage

Ya might think this will be a political post and it isn't. The truth is that I've been having a rough time and I haven't posted about it because I'm self-conscious about posting too often and/or posting incongruous posts. Well, that's life with mental health diagnoses. I can have glorious moments on family vacation and horrible lows all in the same week-or day.

So here goes.

The Friday before we left for our road trip I had my first full-on panic attack in months. My anxiety had been elevated for weeks and I think the pre-departure stress put me in a very vulnerable position.

The class that day was probably around triple the usual size because of an altered schedule that week. We were doing an exercise that involved many people dropping barbells almost in unison. That first round put me over. The tears came on, my body began shaking, my heart rate sky rocketed, and a flush came over me beyond my workout glow.

I grabbed my water bottle and purse, bounding into the front room to haphazardly open my emergency pill container that dangles from my wallet at all times. Between the shakes and my restrictive weightlifting wrist bands it was quite a task! After popping my pill I ran cold water over my hands and face before grabbing some frozen sponges and taking some time to walk around outside to calm myself. A friendly childcare/office lady talked with me during this time and helped me calm down as well.

Yesterday, I had to run out of a workout again.

I haven't been able to manage my anxiety the last several weeks and injuries preventing me from engaging in my workouts as I'd like have been quite upsetting. With the elevated anxiety I wasn't able to think straight and ask my coach for help scaling, instead I panicked when the workout began and subsequently walked out before a full blown panic attack struck.

I collapsed on the grass in the sun outside the gym and cried.

My coach hollered from the warehouse door to see if I was okay and I told him it was anxiety and that I'd be fine.

Later, after the workout, he asked if I wanted to talk about it. I started crying and shrugged my shoulders. He asked if the anxiety just "cropped up" and I told him that it had been a problem for a while. This time, it was more than anxiety though, the suicidal impulses have returned. I told him that I had some mental health diagnoses that involve anxiety and chronic suicidality. That these disorders require me to work out frequently at a certain intensity or things can get dangerous for me. My injuries have been gumming that up.

He thanked me for talking to him and I thanked him as well. A couple other folks inquired as to my well being and wished me well.

I love the support I've received there. It does freak me out that I'm experiencing such intense symptoms where I feel most safe. I can understand it, sure, I'm just concerned that I can't even relax at my relaxing place.

I'm very scared. The dips are persisting longer than they have in a long time. I've had suicidal episodes since moving here, they were acute though. This is a different animal. A slippier animal.

The hubs has pushed things into high gear looking for alternate housing. I've been trying to avoid my family as much as possible. I still need to pull out my DBT book and focus on really working some skills...

My brain is slow yet my thoughts are fast.

My body is weary yet I can't relax.

I have to acknowledge this isn't just a little dip. I've had a few intense episodes since the move and this isn't that. It's been a slow, sneaky descent. I find it more difficult to recognize the dark logic as my disease and I'm starting to romanticize suicidal ideations.

I feel like I'm walking a very dangerous line. I feel desperate. I am afraid. And I'm crying at the drop of hat-more and more in public and when driving (not exactly safe).

Moving here was a bad, bad idea. I came in with the best intentions, trying to tamp down the fear and focus on meeting the challenge, but I have to retreat.

Over and over I think, "my family is killing me," and it haunts me. I feel guilt. I feel anger. I don't think they mean to and yet a sense of victimization overwhelms me. It isn't fair. Why me? So many other people have it so much worse... It's so messy. It's so hurtful. They aren't safe. This can't be malicious, you can't hold them accountable for ignorance... I feel like they would be offended and confused to hear this and yet I can't deny it. I don't want to hurt them, I don't want to blame them (though it is so hard to delineate between fact and blame for me)... but a cut needs to be made. I need to excise this threat.

Pain. Pain. Pain. Pain for staying, pain for leaving.

I suppose my brain chemistry at the moment doesn't help either.

Hope this isn't too incoherent. Thanks for being here, from vacation to crisis :o)

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

A Slice of Vacay (Big Slice!)

Last week the hubs, Baby Bananaface, and I escaped from my parents' and went east! 
Our first stop, my in-laws' home. We had a relaxing evening and despite the visit being mostly functional stopover, we enjoyed each others' company as usual.
Next we ventured further forward (those ghastly smoke-filled skies from the wildfires up north following us for hundreds of miles) to a small town in Oregon. BB got to play and make friends-for-a-day at the playground before hopping back in the car and heading for Twin Falls, ID. Another great park experience (surprise pooslide inc.) and then another stint of driving to Boise for the night.
Ugh. Went cheap. Nasty motel. Never again. Anyways.
The next day we made it into Salt Lake.
It was something different to my eyes being in such a large city in such a flat format. The mountains wooed me instantly. On our hike the next day I lost my breath before we stepped on the trail. I was choked up with the beauty of those mountains. I live in Western Washington and am used to big ole mountains covered in pine. I thought that was majesty. I thought those were vital. Now they feel smothering... the mountains there felt like a weight off my shoulders. Freedom. Vibrant vitality. 
I will wrap up with other tidbits, for now enjoy some visual aids!

In front of Donut Falls

Helping BB walk along the creek on the way to the falls.
Ya know. Us. ;o)

At Cecret Lake, the other hike. It was quite popular and very fun despite being more elevation and climb.

The hubster wanted to "catch me in my natural element."

We weren't exactly sure what these critters were at the time
and have since discovered they are ground squirrels!
Quite numerous and quite fearless. Helped keep BB's attention!

Hubby spotting BB as he takes off climbing and scrambling and running down trail!

Walking through wildflower fields at the bottom of the hike....

BB's enchanting stance at The Great Salt Lake...
I love this picture and can't quite sum up why at the moment!

Other moments of our vacation included playgrounds as often as possible, exploring the Aviary at Liberty Park, Wasatch Brewery (YUM), Antelope Island (bison and antelope!!!), and simply enjoying some time to relax in a cozy cottage together as a family. Oh, and BB pooped on the potty again!!! Yay!

Our vacation was fun and beautiful and delicious. It was also speckled with anxiety and depressive symptoms. Arguing. Stress. Part of our vacation mission was to scout the Salt Lake area as a potential relocation spot for us in the near future. With a different weather pattern, great amenities, and job opportunity for both of us there is a lot of potential there to grow and maintain a healthy life. Not to mention, we simply like it.

We've decided to move out of my parents' as soon as possible. Regain our health and stability. I'm going to pursue my master's degree online. We're going to save up money and he's going to apply for jobs and hopefully, within a couple years, we'll be back in Salt Lake to make a new home for ourselves. We are very much hoping that his folks will move down there with us! 

It's a lot to take in a lot of work. We shall see :o)

Sunday, August 13, 2017

A Sluggish Sunday

We are still recovering from vacay today (I'll recap that soon with pics!) and BB and I had a very successful bug hunt!!! 

Tuesday, August 8, 2017


Things are still rocky and I've been able to enjoy some vacation time with thenhjbater and Baby Bananaface anyways.  

We are exploring around Salt Lake City and have enjoyed some great hikes!

My tech is screwing me up and I can't post the pics I want. Been a bad afternoon mood wise so I am just gonna leave this post as is and try to post what I'd like to share later.

Hoping everyone is doing well!

Wednesday, August 2, 2017

Tip toeing

Had another tough day. The aches came on and lost my appetite major. Started feeling weak. 

A nap in the afternoon helped a bit. I knew it was a good sign when I woke up and wanted water. 

Here's to hoping for more improvement tomorrow!

PS those fires up north ain't no joke-really smoky looking down here in WA and can't imagine what it looks like in BC! 

PPS BB pooped in the potty!!! First time he ever used the toilet and he went for gold. Thank goodness, it was a monster.

Tuesday, August 1, 2017

Why does crap travel in a herd?

Bad day.

Diaper in the laundry machine.

Fucked up baking my brother's birthday cake.

Baby Bananaface won't nap and is escaping the crib.

And I'm feeling so worn out from trying to keep another episode at bay.

I'm so disappointed at how much progress I've lost, how destabilized I've become.

I know it's been rough lately. Now I'm feeling like I'm lost again.

Guess I'll be going for a drive to try and get BB down.

One step at a time.

I've been here before.

I'll be here again.

I'll get through this.

One step at a time.

One step at a time.

Thursday, July 27, 2017

Girl's Night!

AKA an afternoon off to get a haircut and chillax up north by myself!

Found these awesome, sky-scraping lilies at one of my favorite dinner spots and then had an attractive and tasty dessert across the street at one of my fave coffee spots. 

Yep. Envy is a natural and understandable reaction 😉

Saturday, July 22, 2017

Sensitivity & Parenting Styles

I've been having a hard time policing my thoughts of late. Increased stress and anxiety has increased my worry and rumination. Rehashing social interactions is a common worry magnet for me and any conflict that involves my family is a common pitfall as well.

The fireside talk with my parents and hubby replays in my mind often. I remember them dismissing my concerns, telling me that I don't have to worry about my nephew, and summing up the conflict as a difference in parenting styles. Not only was it invalidating, it was sad and reinforced my concerns for my nephew.

I know that there are different parenting styles. I know that there are different styles of loving, communicating, and living. I understand that and I also believe that those different styles fall along a spectrum spanning from healthy to unhealthy.

I think that there is no firm line between healthy and abusive-it's subjective. What scarred me for life may have left someone else with a lasting, loving relationship with their family; maybe spurred them on to great achievements and success. I was not so lucky. I don't think my nephew will be so lucky. Maybe things will change directions for him (I hope they do) in the meantime, I do not thing my opinions are unfounded or simply "differences in parenting styles."

BB enjoys accessories! Including random
barrettes found in the hair salon toy box.

All that has been rattling around in my head and heart. I've also been questioning how I parent and what type of parent I am. I've thought about this all before, it's just more nagging lately. Months and months ago, I had decided it was one of those "life's mysteries" that can't quite ever be completely explained and decided to stop worrying about it. Lately, my parents' words have burrowed under my skin.

Am I too sensitive? Am I too "easy" on Baby Bananaface? Should I be more strict? Should I be drilling him on words and shapes? Should I draw a line when it comes to neatly eating instead of letting BB "get all up in it?" Do I come off "hippie dippy" or "laissez-faire?" Is he gonna turn out to be overly sensitive and unmotivated?

Let BB have a cakepop the other day and
rocked his world! Use change (like that nickle)
to distract him and keep him focused while
out and about :o)

I don't think so.

Being around my family has shaken my footing. I think the hubster and I have made specific parenting choices that are quite different from my family's. So what kind of parent am I? What's my style?

I'm patient. I'm kind. I am gentle whenever possible and firm when necessary. I give BB room to explore. I am strict when he needs to be reined in. I distract instead of discipline whenever I can. I try very hard to not take my frustration out on him. I try very hard to stay in the now. Often, I let him lead. Sometimes, I show him the way.

I don't know how he'll turn out. I know he'll have struggles. I know I'm not perfect. Every child is different and what (I think) works for him may not work for others. I think I strike a balance between what he needs and what I can give. I didn't gain a lot of self-assurance from my childhood and I want to try and give that to BB. I'm trying to do that the best way I know how.

Another outfit BB put together himself.
I don't put much effort in "styling"  him myself.

What kind of parent am I? What's my style?

I'm a good parent. I'm loving. I'm sensitive. I'm dedicated.

My style is VERY different from my family!

So that's a peep into some of my pondering of late :o)

Monday, July 17, 2017

Where we're at... (with random pics)

Hasn't been a bed of roses, not that that'll surprise any of ya! It hasn't been disaster either, so that's good.

This past weekend my parents, the hubster, and I had a "fireside chat" about the CPS drama. It was stressful for me although I did pretty well overall. I was able to express myself without stirring the pot too much and stand up for myself a little.

BB developin' his style

That said, I don't think they were interested in really hearing my point of view. They summed up the entire issue as a "difference in parenting styles," even after I'd said something about "we understand that, there's certain things that cross the line for us though." Didn't seem to land in their brains at all.

Same for any allusion to emotional abuse or trauma. My concerns for my nephew seemed to be dismissed as me being overly sensitive. My mother defended my sister by reminding us "BB used to be that age once" and "she's doing the best she can and I think she's doing a great job."

Well, hate to break it to ya Mom, "a great job" by your definition seems to mean a lifelong battle with mental illness, self worth, and negative coping habits. "A great job" seems to mean ignoring a child in need and supplementing emotional support and love with impulse buys and sweets. (A-I know she did what she could for us and I think I've mostly forgiven that aspect, it just pisses me off when she invalidates my feelings and opinions as an adult B-I think everyone has some issue from childhood, nobody is a perfect parent)

I like to assume that everyone is doing their best... and I'm not sure if my personal hurt is getting in the way of me being able to believe that this is the best my family can do or whether I still believe they can do better? I really think I'm giving up on that latter part.

Shaved ice w/ Daddy

Speaking to the hubs last night, I struggled to express my frustration and grief regarding my family. I'm fed up. I'm not willing to put myself and my family at risk to wait around for rare moments of encouragement or empathy. I'm not willing to bite my tongue and invalidate my opinions to avoid conflict. I've spent decades repressing my opinion, negating my existing, and letting others put me down while they desperately try to make themselves feel better... screw that.

My parents closed the fireside discussion with a mandate stating that I need to give my sister an apology. (Mind you, we had established during the discussion that neither myself or the hubby had called and that we thought it must've been my therapist concerned about the things I'd shared with her***)

So apologize for what?

The hubs told me later that it would be a political, meaningless apology. The parents seemed to think that I should say I'm sorry that she's had to go through this... which I could interpret as empathy. I will not, however, apologize in any way that implies guilt. The words "sorry" or "I apologize" ain't crossin' these lips. I'm not even sure how sorry I am that she's had to go through this... I want her to have a wake up call! I want her to think more about how she's mothering my nephew! That means distress, that means the friction of change, that means unpleasantness.

Hiking. He decided he was done
and hopped on the Momma Express!

Still messy. Still getting the cold shoulder. Still tense. I'm trying to refocus on my health and keeping busy with BB and away from the house as much as I can. The hubs is looking into housing options and we're planning a road trip first week of August as our summer vacation/getaway.

Feeling myself slipping and thinking those negative thoughts, having more and more unhealthy impulses, and living in fear instead of living in the now. Things have to change. Tryin' to dance with my family ain't working-I have to get my own rhythm back!

Feel like an over-emotional rebel expressing all these messy feelings... I think these tough transitions in life should feel uncomfortable and challenging, right? Especially for someone that doesn't have a lot of practice having an opinion? *shrug* *sigh* Doin' what I can!

***Did what we had to do, ya know?

Thursday, July 13, 2017

Commercial Breaks

It would seem that this MTV special (AKA my sister's life) is ongoing and trying to script in my family.

We had a wonderful trip to visit my in-laws. Parks, visiting old friends, good food, and good talks. It was relaxing and rejuvenating. Maybe just not rejuvenating enough.

Our weekend was marred by confusing texts and snaps from my family. My sister and mom would snap happy, silly, goofy stuff that would make me feel like everything was simmering down and everyone was moving on. Then we'd get texts about "I talked to my lawyer friend..." or "I really need to know if you or [the hubster] had anything to do with this."

It's like the good times were just short commercial breaks from all the shit! Confusing and stressful!

At one point we were out to dinner with the hubby's sister and had a great, in-depth chat about the CPS system and how investigations work. She had worked at APS for a while and knows people in CPS so she was a great resource.

That chat calmed me down a bit and then more crap came down the tubes. Some more texts freaking me out and pissing the hubster off. He ended up calling my father and telling him, "this needs to stop, Hannah is not handling the stress of this well and hasn't been very good overall the last couple months and we need to make sure she stays safe."

Apparently they seemed to reach a reasonable place of understanding and the next time my sister texted us the hubby took over and told her to stop harassing his family which seemed to shut that down.

Still, I was really anxious about coming back from our mini-vacay. I expected the Ice Queen treatment from my sister, what I didn't expect was my anxiety presenting in an overly chatty, outgoing type of way that was really confusing for everyone...

The hubs kept telling me I needed to get it together and then things spiraled a bit. It was a bad night. Thankfully not suicidal although there were definitely a lot of self-harming urges. I ended up sobbing quite loudly into my pillows at one point because I was so frustrated with the whole kit-n-kaboodle: living here, my sister, my parents, my nephew, my family's well-being, the pets.... The dam broke.

The next evening my mother returned from her trip outta state. I was very anxious to see her and confused a bit by the mixed emotions I sensed during the initial "welcome back" conversation. She was giddy and sharing all her travel stories and then took a break to go do laundry or something. After she returned, the atmosphere became darker, stressful and she said something like, "Well, I know there was some action that went down here while I was gone and we're gonna be talking about that."

It felt ominous and threatening and my already heightened anxiety stepped up a few notches. Thankfully I didn't cry and was able to say something like, "I can't talk about that right now. My anxiety has been really bad the last week."

It feels like a witch hunt. I haven't felt entirely safe here anyways and now I feel like I'm constantly on guard.

I don't know how things will work out and I'm trying to avoid replaying possibilities over and over in my head. That said, I think I've come to realize that living around my family just isn't healthy for me and waiting around for them to become safe to be around isn't a safe choice. I don't know what things will look like in the future, it certainly doesn't look like we'll be living around this area for much longer.

I'm okay with that. I'm okay with distancing, I'm okay with building a life that works for the hubby, BB, and myself that might not involve my family. It will probably be tricky and emotionally rocky, I think it will be worth it though. I need to get back on that positive progress path and keep moving onward and upward. I don't want to be stalling out and backsliding and getting entrenched in childhood muck over and over...

I'm moving on. It's a big rope tying me to this baggage and I'm starting to saw away at it. Come what may.

***Whew. That felt pretty dramatic.... talking about my sister's life being an MTV special and I just felt like I was in "Pirates of the Caribbean!"

Sunday, July 9, 2017

Baby Bananaface Bakes!

First time baking with BB! We baked zucchini bread with Grandma (hubby's mom) with Grandpa, Aunt C, and Daddy watching.

 Quite funny when BB took breaks to tell the hubster to take pics and posed for the camera. 😂 I also enjoyed his trancelike slow-mo stirring. Very psychedelic! 

He's very well aware that he's a star! 

Friday, July 7, 2017

I don't like living in an MTV special...

This morning was a tough one at the gym, especially when my left arch gave out during warm-up. I ended up rolling my feet on a hard ball for a while and when I did the workout of the day I scaled from the running into rowing. Anyways... it was tough. It left me a bit frazzled and without appetite which made feeding BB and staying focused difficult.

While I was grilling a grilled cheese my mother called. Her voice... was frosty. She sounded angry or scared, definitely more serious than I normally hear her. She said she needed me to listen very carefully and went on to say that my sister was in hysterics and that someone had called CPS on my sister and were coming by for an inspection that day.

I felt sick. I got lightheaded. I tried to hold the panic back and focus on one thing at a time. I got BB fed and called the hubster. 

The CPS folks were scheduled to come at 1:30, during BB's nap. Turned out that BB had a hard time getting down for his nap around noon and I had to drive him around for his nap today. I wasn't there for the visit. My sister, her boyfriend, my brother, my dad, and I think one of my sister's friends was there too... 

The investigators called me while I was driving home and I stopped by their office (the hubster happened to be able to meet me there) and they looked over BB and spoke with us. 

It was all so intense. So stressful. Watching my family in distress was surreal and distressing. Seeing my nephew so innocent and unaware of what was happening just heartbreaking.

Most of the time these sorts of things are unable to be properly substantiated and don't get beyond a "here's some resources, try to do a better job," so I'm not afraid of my nephew being taking away or "put in the system." I hope if anything that it will only improve the situation for him and my family. 

Living here these couple months I have noticed how much parenthood is wearing on them. I do believe my nephew could have a better emotional environment. I hope this is all for the best.

My family has been searching for answers and trying to figure out where the report came from. It feels a bit like an MTV special with all the drama... certainly doesn't feel like my "real life." Wow. Guess you never know, eh?

In the meantime I have to calm back down. Probably going to take my sleeping meds tonight!

In other news, we're heading over the mountains to visit my in-laws. We're very excited to see them and excited to have a mini-vacay. 

Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Thoughtful Thursday Moment

I was browsin' ye olde internet the other day and I read this on Marisa Tomei's Wikipedia page: Tomei said in 2009, "I'm not that big a fan of marriage as an institution, and I don't know why women need to have children to be seen as complete human beings."

It really resonated with me and got me thinking.

At CrossFit I had a conversation with another gal about kids. She just had her 2nd a few months ago and she was asking me about how my tubal ligation procedure went and how bad it felt. Apparently she's ready to stop. Two is enough. Her husband is saying no, he wants two more.

It was an interesting peek into the relationship dynamics of another couple. She revealed a dose of sass and some anger that seemed a bit surprising. Don't get me wrong, I never thought she was a completely placid woman, she just tends to carry herself in a rather meek fashion. Like me, she's skeptical of her abilities in class and tends to underestimate herself. She tends to be quiet and seems the type to avoid conflict.

Anywho. Hearing her talk about these feelings and feeling the frustration in her voice as she talked about her husband... it stirred something in my brain, hell, in my heart and soul too. 

ASIDE: Not so much in regards to my relationship with the hubster-we've almost always been on the same page with reproductive issues and he is very respectful of my rights. Even with the hubster, there are times when I have to point out where the line is-where my rights end and begin. I suppose that can be a challenge with any type of right or philosophical concept. It seems to me that it's much more easily forgotten when it comes to women or minorities and so forth.

Having a woman choose how many kids she wants to have all on her own? Inconceivable. (Pun intended)

I feel like there's stigma in the first world about women's reproductive choice on such a wide spectrum (in or out of marriage)-not to mention all the places around the world where women don't have a say at all... there's so much to say about it my brain is shorting out! I think just putting this here is enough for now.

Thoughts? Feelings? Experiences? 

Monday, June 26, 2017

One of those "anger release" exercises...


Seriously, it's really long.

If you have to pee, pee now.

So... I had intended to do a different anger releasing writing project and instead I found myself "gifted" with a new starting point today. I ended up mixing some of my previous complaints with the newer ones. It might be a little confusing-somehow in my process I blended multiple members of  my family into one. No matter. The process is the important part. 

DISCLAIMER: I tried to embrace my anger. I tried to fan the flames. I tried to dig up compacted rage. As intentional as this is, I am still quite uncomfortable with expressing my anger. I don't know if such phrases are effective. I don't know if it's rational or justified or something I can stand by... I'm trying not to judge myself and I hope you can withhold judgment as well :o) I don't like saying mean things. I empathize and I see both sides so much that I struggle to even own thoughts like these let alone express them on paper, screen, or out loud!

DISCLAIMER PS: The hubby has encouraged me to embrace a "go fuck yourself" mentality. Instead of being hurt and trying to figure out what's wrong with me or how to be good enough, reject the hurtful opinion. Think or say "go fuck yourself" instead of throwing myself under the bus or putting myself at risk for relapse. I don't have to analyze every comment... I can let it go. Push it away. So, I tried to embrace that. In real life I don't really say, "go fuck yourself." Ever. Very weird feelings... Anywho. Just sayin.

Here we go. Somehow an offhand comment set my off...

Maybe you thought it was a compliment today when you said I should be on that show, "American Grit." The thing is, when the host describes the show as a place for people "all who either have lost their grit or never had it" I don't take that as a compliment. 

A) How the fuck can you think that I don't have grit? Do you have that little appreciation for what I've survived? 

It's puzzling to me that you have never seemed to grasp my mental health issues. It's been over 15 years since my symptoms surfaced and yet it seems like you still struggle to acknowledge my disease. I mention something relating to my mental health and I'm greeted with a "deer in the headlights" stare. My husband says that he has given up on trying to explain that this type of illness can't be "cured," that it's part of my body chemistry and brain structure. Do you really think I'm not trying hard enough to "fix it?" Do you think that I'm lazy?

Maybe you don't appreciate the years of my childhood and young adulthood spent in quiet desperation. The years of self-harming and isolation. You pegged me as "the Eeyore of the family." Why does my mental illness define my personality? 

Maybe you didn't notice my instability. You didn't notice my disease sending me into months of darkness or jerking me into weeks of elation. Years of feeling like I couldn't be trusted with my own life; whether that meant wanting to kill myself or being aware that I was too starry-eyed to make responsible decisions. I was impulsive and unstable and trying to figure out a solution all on my own... I suppose these deep-rooted feelings of rejection and abandonment have grown from multiple seeds, I'm sure this is one of them though. You didn't know what to do, I get it, maybe if it felt like you tried I wouldn't feel this angry. I wouldn't feel this heartbroken. You turned away from me and fed my self-disgust. 

And what of the last couple years? Do you appreciate the fact that I spent months barely able to care for myself or my infant son? What about the period of time that I couldn't be trusted alone with my son? Surely you remember the weeks in the hospital. I'm told you visited. I know that you helped drive me to ECT treatments. Do you know how many times the hubster drove me? or drove BB north to daycare then drove south to work then drove west to see me in the psych ward before rushing back to BB and caring for our son throughout the evening-multiple wakings in the night-before waking early to do it again all on his own? (Hubby comment: he only got one speeding ticket!)

Do you see the scars we carry? The scars that bind us? That time broke trust and built trust. I couldn't be trusted with my life or with my son's life. He saved us. Why does the hubby ask so openly and abruptly if I'm safe? if I'm suicidal? if I feel out of control? because dozens and dozens of times I've been in danger. He's been rescuing me. That was our norm and we've made it through. We've made it through and are making a new normal from scratch. Your jokes and teasing about his protectiveness and adherence to routine aren't just annoying, they're insulting.

How can you imply that I don't have grit? Over a year of life-threatening postpartum depression, over a dozen medications tried to stem the crisis, over three weeks in the hospital, over thirty ECT treatments... I'm still here. I laid on a bed and waited for my last breath to try and spare my husband and son a lifetime of trying to save a life I thought wasn't worth saving-mine. My husband ripped that plastic bag off my face and saved my life that afternoon and despite having close to no resolve left, somehow I kept fighting. For him. For my son. And a little for me.

How much more grit do I have to have before I can believe you think I'm enough?

I can't count on that anymore. I can't wait to sense some change in you. I can't play these pussy-footing games of allusion and corroding criticism. I may have started my life in this game with your dangerous rules. I won't finish my life at your game. You can call me sensitive, you can tease me and imply that I'm weak, you can make me feel like I'm flawed beyond salvaging-and then you can go fuck yourselves. Just because you don't seem to realize the damage you cause doesn't mean you are devoid of responsibility. 

I don't need your apologies. I don't need you. I don't need more grit.

B) Do you have that little appreciation for how much I do everyday to try and avert relapse and continue to survive? What kind of grit does that take?

You give the impression that the most important aspect of my exercise regimen in my weight loss and being fit. Maybe all your comments about me "being in the best shape of your life" or "a sliver of what you used to be" are intended to be compliments. In reality? It feels like weight added back onto my shoulders. I feel pressure to lose more weight. To lift heavier weight. To tone more parts of my body and fit in smaller clothes and eliminate rolls and embody some image that you, society, and the shadowed part of me have deemed worthy of pride. 

It's not healthy.

My mental state is more important than the state of my ass. I exercise every day to try and maintain my mood stability or actively battle back anxiety and depression. I go to the gym despite my social anxiety, despite feeling inept and insufficient, despite feeling like an outcast and poser. I go to the gym and try to push myself hard enough to be able to push back the disease I will live with for the rest of my life.

It doesn't really matter how much I can lift. The kind of strength I need most can't be provided by regular exercise.

You tease me for my "OCD" while loading the dishwasher or trying to keep the refrigerator organized. Okay, that's not how you do things. Fine. I do it different and for a damn good reason. 

I'm not OCD-which is a  clinical disorder and not something to be joked about-I am sick. I am sick in such a way that I have to avoid any extra stress whenever possible. I am sick in such a way that I have to be mindful throughout my day about big and little choices-from doing dishes or taking medication. 

I am sick in such a way that unloading the dishes and finding several of them dirty because the machine was overloaded or loaded ineffectively can be unduly upsetting. I'm sick in such a way that having sharp knives scattered throughout the other silverware instead of contained in their own section can increase my impulses to self-harm. 

As for a disorganized and sometimes unsanitary fridge or a cabinet stuffed with mismatched Tupperware? If I'm having a bad day, opening a door and being confronted by these things can send me into a panic or distress me in a way that contributes to a depressive episode. Not to mention feeling the criticism and rejection from you verbal teasing in each carelessly placed item. And seriously-why would you want to put your fruits right by (or on) your raw meat!? 

I have to live this way to live. It's working for me and that's what matters-at least to me, my husband, and our son. Don't think that I resent it-it is a lot of work and it's also the greatest sense of stability that I've ever had in my life. My mental state may fluctuate and get dangerous from time-to-time; dinner will always be at 6:00 PM. The silverware will always be sorted and easily accessible. The yoghurt will always be on the same shelf. Baby Bananaface will always have a set bedtime. That stability, having something I can count on, gives me comfort and confidence that I didn't have before. It helps me cope, it helps me thrive.

You want to live in a hurricane made by your own hand? Go ahead. You want to swallow your feelings and eat your loneliness? Go ahead. You want to bury yourself in cheap trinkets in lieu hearing "I love you?" Fine. I'm sick of trying to satiate the needs you don't claim responsibility for or even acknowledge. I'm not interested in maintaining this legacy of delusion and self-imposed suffering. I take this heritage and try to set it aside day-after-day for my own good and for my husband and for my son.

Y'all can sit in your burning building on your own. I'm leaving.

Whew. I tried NOT to edit much. I tried NOT to hold back or censor. I'm sure that this isn't everything though. I have a hard time handling anger. I think this was a step in the right direction though.

What does this mean for the real relationship with me family? I have no clue. I do think that I can't expect them to change or expend too much of my energy fighting to change things. I have to take care of myself in other ways first and that takes a lot of my time and energy. I think it's all right to simply accept things and accept that I don't have to fix it. I can move on and live the best life that I can without making everything neat and perfect.

CONGRATS if you read this entire post.
 You have eyes of steel ;o)

Sunday, June 25, 2017

Highlights AKA Lots of Pics

Been ups and downs like usual around here. I think there have been slightly more ups though :o) Here are some pics from some of the ups!

Father's Day involved sticky buns and strawberry pickin'. I made a pound cake and strawberry sauce for the BBQ that afternoon after we went pickin' just no pics of that :o)

BB wasn't impressed w/ the tractor ride

A different day involved letting a slug nibble on my hand and then my cousin recommended a Slug Fest at a local(ish) wild life park called NW Trek. We had fun and BB was sure exhausted after our adventure! Saw lots of animals though... elk,  caribou, black tail deer, bighorn sheep, moose, swans, geese, snowy owl, barn owl, lynx, black bear, fisher, porcupine, sea otters, beavers, raccoons, opossum... maybe more. Oddly enough, no slugs. :o(

Special cool down treat kept him going!

Then he crashed after making his slug
tentacle hat. Fell asleep not 5 min away!

Monday, June 19, 2017

About a year ago now...

This time last year I started to go to the gym and began working up to my new gym regimen and lifestyle change.

I took a little gander at some of the posts from back then and it made me appreciate how far I've come since then. The changes are more than just muscles and weight, there are so many emotional and mental changes too!

Here's some pics:

I had come a long way from my darkest days last spring and at the same time I was still in a rough place. It was, after all, around that time I had my attempt. I think this past year has been when I've really reached a healthier, safer place---a place where I can say "remission" and truly believe I've reached a good point in recovery regarding my postpartum depression.

It's still a daily battle maintaining good health and emotional stability. I feel much more capable and skilled when it comes to wellness than I did then!

Thank you all for your continued support! Looking back helps me appreciate even more all the people that have been by my side during these tough times as well as my own hard work. Generally it ain't good for me to dwell in the past... sometimes it's good to make a little visit though ;o)

Baby steps. One day at a time. Onward and upward!

Saturday, June 17, 2017

My Husband, His Father

Couldn't have dreamed of a better father for my son.... here's some random shots from the past couple years :o)

The hubster finding out we're preggers...

Father & son at baby's first checkup 

I'm sure there are gonna be lots of these types of shots! #chillax

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Changed Looks Again

I was missing my old header picture and decided to put it back up! Makes things a little tough to read and I just don't care much at the moment :o)

3 Years Ago (Yesterday)

It was Friday, June 13th 2014 when the hubs and I found out that we were preggers! 

Amazing how much ya can age in 3 years.... We look so young there! 

Monday, June 12, 2017

Tongue-biting and Letting Go

Things got pretty emotional for me the other afternoon when the hubby showed me a Wikipedia page. It was all about attachment disorder. Not only did it bring up feelings about my relationship with my mother and thoughts about my mental health challenges-it really, really brought up concerns about my nephew.

I was crying (lightly, still falling tears though) as I read the article. The descriptions of symptomatic behaviors reminded me so much of my nephew. The descriptions of neglect that lead to to these troubles reminded me so much of how my mother and sister interact with my nephew.

Don't get me wrong, they're doing their best. They just seem to be capable of only so much patience and empathy. When it runs out they walk away, put down, tease, or rough handle my nephew. He cries so hard I wonder if he'll pass out.

The majority of the time he stares blankly at others and will only interact with my mother, sister, or father (outside playing with Baby Bananaface). He's warmed up to me over the past month and things have changed dramatically between us. Now I can help him with a toy, pick him up, or exchange a few words. The first time he handed me a toy was a major event for me. I've even been able to push him around in a cart at the store or walk with him alone! Even been able to watch him while my family leaves and help him not breakdown. Big steps.

Anyways. It is all very upsetting to me. When I think about my nephew's past and see (in my opinion) when he's poorly treated now and when I think of his future... it's heartbreaking. Especially as I get to know him better and become more attached to him. He's a sweet and sensitive kid-even more so than BB-and I think that the atmosphere my family creates (has/is/will) by harmful for him.

The hubster and I talked about it and have decided that it's not our place to bring it up or try to change my family. It just feels like a violation of my moral code. I want to help! It's definitely taking some work for me to let things go and accept that it's not my responsibility. It still feels wrong as I type this... I have to take care of myself first though. Myself and my son and the hubster. Ugh... I just don't know if I can bite my tongue. It feels like a betrayal to my nephew. Abandonment or neglect on my part.

Regardless of all that I have made and will make conscious efforts to support him as much as I can. I try to be sensitive, patient, calm, and supportive during our interactions. I've stepped in and tried to deescalate situations when my mother or sister lose their cools. Sometimes that feels like stepping over the line, although the hubster witnessed this on one occasion and said that it seemed like I was helping, not barging in and taking charge or preaching.

So. That's something I'm working on of late.

As for recovery, I'm lifting BB and doing chores and walking. I've been able to get outta the house and being more active has definitely boosted my mental state! I'm nervous about going back to gym class and also looking forward to the exercise and social interaction.

Hope everyone had a great weekend! Any fun stuff??? I made lava cakes (over-baked them a smidge) and battled pine cones on the lawn with rake. Seriously, it was rough. BB went to Build-a-Bear and the hubby spoiled him with an over-the-top stuffie plus accessories. *facepalm* It was quite the event... Maybe I'll write about that later and share some pics.

Happy Monday :o)

Thursday, June 8, 2017

Ask Me Anything Part II

Here's some more answers! Thank you everyone for participating-this was really fun for me :o) Feel free to answer some of the questions yourself in the comments! It'd be really fun to see other answers too!

What is a favourite childhood memory? Hard question. I don't have just one favorite, so here are a few:

I remember gathering pill bugs to make a pet of them all in a potted plant (that didn't work so well).

I remember staying up late with my brother and dad trying to beat a level on a video game. They played and I made maps on paper plates so we could figure out our way through the cave!

I also have quite a few fond memories about wandering around with my siblings and neighbors around "the hill." "The hill" was a big ole hill in the middle of our neighborhood where the construction guys piled up excess dirt. It grew over with shrubs and such and we're wander around playing war games and hunting bugs :o) It also made for good sledding on snow days and a terrifying ramp for braver bicyclers!

What would you do differently during your teenage years? (If anything) I think part of me always wished that I would’ve rebelled. Mouthed off or even stood up for myself, really. Embraced myself as I am instead of trying to do what I thought others’ wanted. Be brave. Be daring. Might have changed my trajectory in a good way... or a bad way. So I'll appreciate how it actually went!

What traits/characteristics bother you most in people? I can’t think of a single word to describe it right now, so I’ll try to explain in more words! Ya know when people bury their own issues and then pick out every little wrong thing about other people? They tend to act like everything is hunky dorey and struggle to communicate on deeper levels or convey true empathy. I find it so sad and troubling and boggling-as well as frustrating. Maybe you can call it some sort of self-induced delusion? I know it’s a coping technique for a lot of people.

My hubby and his sisters recalled an incident where I confronted their brother in that type of situation. He was wrapping himself up in deflection and accusations, being very defensive and even aggressive to my husband. I ripped that mental Band-Aid off in a heartbeat and cut right to the chase by describing the emotional and interpersonal aspects of the situation. He couldn’t handle it and backed off. I struggle with owning my point of view and it causes me a lot of anxiety afterward, though I did deescalate the situation and prevent things from getting physical between the hubby and his brother, so that was great!

Anyways. Cut it out with the deflection. Be honest. Connect on a human level. I prefer to get through this life with compatriots by my side, not minefields of misplaced aggression!

4) How would your loved ones describe you? Creative. Sensitive. Smart. Cat lady. Good cook. Good baker. The hubby says I’m sweet and kind, sassy, gullible and naive (in a good way).

5) How would you describe yourself? Ummm… creative, sensitive, quirky, silly, kind, fragile, tenacious, strong, loving, flawed, harsh (to myself especially), and patient. I’m sure I could go on or simplify things-it’s just a rather hard question to answer so I’m gonna leave it at that! :o)

If you could be an animal...what would you be, and why? Probably a bird of some sort. I’m not a fan of raw meat as a human although the idea of being a carnivore appeals to me. Perhaps a loon? Some type of eagle? I also like cormorants and they travel in flocks so that might be a good option as well :o) No flamboyant colors or fancy feathers here, just a simple bird with a beautiful landscape around her.

If you could have a "perfect" day, what would it be like: who, what, when, where, why & how? I think there are many, many different perfect days for each individual. One “perfect day” that I think I’d like would involve staying in some sort of cabin (yes, with a hot tub) and still having a hotel-type of situation where we (me, the hubster, and BB) could have an amazing brekkie brought in for us. Waffles, pulpy OJ, biscuits & gravy, fruit, eggs, crispy bacon, spectacular coffee-well, you get the picture.

It’d be a cool, bright morning with big puffy white clouds and blue skies. We’d go for a hike around Mt. Rainier (or another beautiful mountain) and see lots of slugs, snails, birds, chipmunks, and maybe a marmot! Then we’d have some pizza outta one of those brick ovens and (in my fantasy) I’d have a nice beer with the hubster.

We’d go for a trail ride in the afternoon. I’d have a big-boned dapple grey, BB would have a stout palomino, and the hubster would ride a tall bay (yeah, I was horse-crazed little girl growing up!). We would ride to a special restaurant and have dinner before riding back with lanterns and stopping to stargaze on the way home.

Hot showers, hot tub, and a good movie with warm brownies full of chocolate chunks and topped with ice cream and hot fudge for dessert! I imagine watching BB drift off to sleep and smiling with the hubster as we watch him start to drool a bit. Then we’d snuggle into bed and he’d say “I love you” into my ear, his warm breath making my hair tickle my cheek… Perfection :o)

Have you ever laughed so hard a drink came out your nose?  Oh yeah. Thankfully I don’t really drink soda anymore so it hurts a lot less when it happens now! I am more of a spurter really… I tend to spray it out my lips ALL OVER. Even in public. I guess it’s better than peeing my pants!