Friday, October 29, 2010

I did it.

I have been in counseling for four months now working on one goal and one goal alone. Well today, I accomplished that goal. I do have to sit back and wait for the bomb to go off but I did it. I am a nervous wreck. My hair is falling out, my stomach hurts constantly, I can't think, I am nauseous, I am getting lots of headaches and body aches, I can't sleep, eating is difficult (unless its a brownie)... but I did it. And for the next several days I just have to wait. And probably go to the gym a lot to combat some of this anxiety! (but hey, can't complain about a motivator to get to the gym... I have been working out 5-6 times a week the past few weeks because of anxiety). Even if nothing changes with the people involved, I know I did what was right. I am confident in that. I am frail and unsure about everything else in life but I am so convinced this is the only solution that it doesn't matter. Anyway I know I am vague but I also know that many of you have been praying for me or shooting your good thoughts my way. Keep them coming because I have a lot ahead of me but the good (and terrifying) news is that I did it. The rest of it is out of my control and I know I have the right people in place to help me get through this.

In slightly less serious news. I went to the gyno today. Found out I have polycystic ovaries which we pretty much assumed since I have had high androgen levels (male hormones like testosterone) for several years now. But I have been on birth control before and between and and after children so we haven't been able to see the cysts on my ovaries until today. Once I was off the pill for a while my ovaries started producing many cysts instead of one to be ovulated. And we saw that very clearly on the ultrasound today. Basically, I don't ovulate or have a normal cycle... the good news is that I don't need to ovulate since I am not having anymore children anytime soon (if ever, from my own uterus. The plan is adoption). And birth control will regulate my hormones. Thankfully I am finding this out for sure after I have already had 2 beautiful little boys. And to this point I have no insulin resistance or other thyroid issues. So really it is pretty good news as far as an incurable disease goes. I hope this doesn't sound too odd. I do really think that it was pretty good news. I am so thankful knowing what my ovaries look like now that I have two children. I sometimes wonder if things would have gone according to MY plan how that would have all ended up. At any rate... hopefully my body is going to be getting regulated like... yesterday :) My doctor was dressed up in her full Colt's garb today. She has season tix to see the boys play and she wears this to every game she goes to. She definitely got bumped up a few cool notches. Now to figure out how to get her season tix when they can't make a game. *sigh*.

Keep thinking about and praying for me though. The next few days are going to be very difficult... it will be a waiting game. Followed by reactions. So I need lots of encouragement, support and prayers for the next little while. But... I did it.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Being okay...

with not being okay.

My counselor asked me to think about how I can be okay with not feeling okay as I make some very big decisions. I have avoided answering this question for days. It seemed the hardest of the things I am supposed to think about.

I guess the first question is: is it okay to not be okay? I generally feel like I am letting people down if I am not okay. I have kids to raise, a house to clean, dinners to make, parent teacher conferences to attend, church obligations, a dog, a husband to spend time with... the list goes on and on and on. Looking at my schedule for next week makes me all too aware that I have a lot of stuff to take care of and it makes me feel like I don't have time to "not be okay". Really, I don't. Every moment of my week seems to be occupied by... something. And the moments that are not occupied by something, I should be cleaning or cooking or making Christmas gifts. So going into it, I thought that I just can't be not okay. I can't because I don't have the time and I don't want to punish my family.

But the truth is that whether I have time to be not okay or not... I am not okay. I am struggling badly with anxiety. Worry about big decisions, social anxiety, general worries about kids and health and family and schools for SM and panic attacks and asthma and allergies and so much stuff. I think people that don't struggle daily with anxiety have a hard time actually knowing what an anxiety disorder must be like. I technically have 2 anxiety disorders. So on top of worrying about everything in life and it's sister, I have triggers for anxiety related to the past abuse and my childhood. It is a fairly complex beast. But when I am not taking care of myself and filling up my cup with healthy and useful coping skills... anxiety can be a very debilitating thing for me. OR even when I am taking care of myself but have very hard choices to make or am trying to do something that scares me to death... I am not okay. Right now, I am not okay.

So after I established that I am, in fact, NOT okay... I started thinking more about the question. How can I be okay with not feeling great? How can I be okay with not being okay? Is it even possible? I often times feel like I just don't work right. Is it okay that I don't work right? That I have to exert a huge amount of effort to just be able to cope with... taking my children out in public or being able to handle anxiety enough that I can actually sleep normally? Is there really a way to be accepting of the fact that even though I love working out I hate going to the gym? I hate people looking at me, I hate talking to people, I have to go to the locker room and calm myself down after I leave my 20 month old with people I barely know? Or that I can't make phone calls.. I have to be desperate for help before I make a phone call. Will accepting that help? When you accept something as truth does it mean that you are making excuses for not doing things right or well?

I don't like being like this. I don't like being socially awkward. I don't like struggling to make friends or struggling to trust people with my kids. I don't like that I seem judgmental to people because my brain works how it works. Because it puts actions and people into very neat little categories and I lack something in there to create more than 2 categories.

So I accept it. Is it like recovery where admitting that it is a problem is a step toward help? Or is it justifying how you behave even if it is unhealthy?

Anyway all of this is basically the preface to an excerpt that I wrote today. This is how I think... its a very long and drawn out process most of the time.

So how can I be okay with not feeling okay (this question is related to a big decision I am making)?

I guess you ultimately stand on principles. You find conviction or confidence or something that makes it worth while. You trust the people around you to make sure you don't break or crumble. Take care of yourself. And... jump in.

I guess I am going to jump in. I might need a push but I am just going to jump in because I have no other choice. Prayers and positive thoughts are very appreciated.

Monday, October 18, 2010


Super Muscles had a dentist appointment at school today. He goes to Head Start in our town and they have a program called Healthy Smiles where they send dentists to the school to check out the kiddos teeth and they get them cleaned. It is a cool program.

Anyhu, Super Muscles got up on the chair and let the hygienist count and floss his teeth. He played with the mirror and he wore super cool shades while the light was in his face. Then... the hygienist turned on the portable machine. He was done. Too loud, too scared, too upset. I did finally get him calm enough to let the dentist peak into his mouth. But the part that annoyed me... she was not nice to my sweet boy. She kept telling him how he wasn't a big boy and how he wouldn't get a tooth brush if he didn't get his teeth cleaned. It made me so sad. Seriously... he is FOUR... not fourteen. He has pretty epic auditory sensory problems which I told them about and that is why his teachers asked that I come for the appointment. But she was not sensitive to my sweet boys' needs.

And thankfully for Super Muscles this generally does not set him aside from his peers. It is infrequently even an issue because how often are there noises so loud that he is scared or that his ears hurt or that he gets stressed out? It isn't terribly often. He is making friends and learning well. But today I saw child after child after child able to handle it. Able to get into the chair and have their teeth cleaned. It just frustrated me that he struggles so much with something most people just intuitively can figure out. But I get him. I am still the same way. I wear earplugs to football games and avoid loud places. I just... I don't like seeing him struggle. I don't like seeing him afraid. And I definitely don't like that, at 4, people are already not very understanding of him.

I spoke to his teacher about it and plan to follow up on it so the dentist can be talked to about it. I think she is a super kind person for volunteering her time to work with some of our communities most disadvantaged children. I really respect that. But I think maybe she needs some new strategies to deal with children.

Thursday, October 7, 2010


THIS is such a good (even if long) read.

I hated middle school... it was seriously the worst 3 years I can think of (and that is saying A LOT). I was teased a lot, I was threatened, I had very few friends, I hated myself. I was short and small and shy. But eventually the teasing helped to turn me into angry and hateful. I wanted some people to die in middle school. I can even feel the sadness just thinking back on it. Heck, I wanted to curl up and die myself many times. I got into a fight one time with a girl that teased me all the time because eventually the teasing turned from me to my mom and what a whore she was (my mom is not a whore by the way). It was the first time I ever used violence to get my way. I was in the 6th grade. And... it worked. Now, I am not saying I became a bully but I did become mean. I protected myself and distanced myself at every juncture that I could. I only had one good friend in middle school and she didn't go to my school. At school I was pretty alone. I did have this sweet red headed boy that I started "dating" at one point who was nice to me. But for whatever reason that didn't work out. Probably because I was mean. ha.

I wish I could say that was my first and only fight. It wasn't... a few months later I got into a fight in my front yard with a set of sibs from down the street who were bullying my brother. I ended up with a handful of hair missing but I sent them both home crying. I smacked the crap out of a kid at a middle school dance for being mean (and nasty) to me when I was dancing with a kid that asked me to dance. He was another loner. Not anyone I liked at all or really knew but I hated feeling like dances were not fun and I hated seeing other people who looked as sad as I felt. Another time... I was playing football with my brother and some friends and one of the kids got angry with me when I got past him for a touchdown. We ended up on the ground because he tackled me as I crossed into the designated end zone. He was mad and he bit me (he was 12 probably). All I could see is red and I got up and just started kicking him... in the head. Eventually my brother helped get me off of him and he ran home crying and had his mom come over to deal with it all. I never got into trouble for fighting (it was the middle of the winter and I had 2 pairs of pants on and the kid who bit me left a giant bruise and teeth marks and blood on my leg) but I can assure you that is never who I wanted to be. But I felt like if I didn't start taking up for myself no one would. And I will defend myself by saying I never picked on other kids or hurt someone for the hell of it. As I neared the end of 8th grade, things did get a little better. At the very least people realized I was an angry kid who wasn't going to be pushed around. I had definitely gotten a reputation for no longer being the easiest target. But gosh I hated who I was and what I felt it was necessary to do to get the teasing to be more bearable. The constant picking to lessen.

High school was much better in a lot of ways. My freshman year was hard. I didn't make many friends. But I was in classes with people who, generally, didn't really talk to me. There were still some mean kids left over from middle school but it was mild comparatively speaking. There were isolated incidences with one girl that I remember vividly. Some times in pre-calculus and French when she would say things to me and I would feel my blood boiling. I ignored it a lot but I did have an outburst when she was very nasty to me one time in French class. I was so embarrassed that I had let her get to me. No one said a word to me though. It was probably the nicest thing a teacher ever did for me... let me stand up for myself without consequence. I just remember her saying something loudly enough that everyone in the class heard and many kids started snickering. I stood up where I was, looked right at her and, not so nicely, told her that she was a jerk and bully and she needed to shut the (maybe a choice word or two) up and leave me alone from now on. I am pretty sure that was the last time that year she said a single word to me.

Sometime in the middle of my freshman year I started asking a sweet blonde haired, blue eyed guy to help me with my math homework. THAT is when things really started to seem better for me. I eventually started dating that sweet guy who valued me and cared about me. I didn't have many friends  but I did have ONE person who genuinely cared about me. One person who believed in me. I still had moments that were hard and I still had a reputation for being explosive when antagonized. But it was slowly getting manageable. I had a person who was reinforcing in me that there were good things. I rarely believed him but his kindness and love encouraged me every day. His letters made me smile and the effort he went through to make sure I was taken care of was noble and wonderful (can you see why I married him? He is totally still that guy who has my back, encourages me, and pushes me to be a better woman).

All I can do is tell my story. I know from experience that bullying sucks. Bullying is hard and hurtful. The effects don't really fully get erased. Life gets so much better after you escape the confines of middle school and high school though. You get to pick a college or career or start a family. And people really learn who they are and what they value, you have a much wider and broader type of people to pick your friends from. You aren't forced into situations where the people you dislike are picking on you. You start to make your own choices and you make amazing, life long friends. You meet your Amanda's and Amy's and Lora's and Joanna's... the people who will be there to share joy and sorrow with you. Who can help you through all that is hard and enjoyable in life.

People have been saying it over and over and it is totally worth repeating: you are strong! Get through high school and the world will open up to you. You will meet people who value you and you will fall in love and start families, you will get great educations and meaningful careers. And life IS totally worth the wait. Living your dreams is worth it. Your dreams matter and are beautiful.

Parents... teach your children to love. Talk to them. Be involved in their education. DO with them. If you had parents who were amazing, emulate that. If you didn't...  DO all that you wished your parents had done with you. But most importantly instill into your children respect, love and honor for all people because that is the biggest step in creating a loving school environment for ALL of our children.

Wide awake and faking it.

Love when its 1am and I am still awake! It usually means I can't turn my mind off or I am not feeling well. Tonight its both :( My ear is not feeling all the cold weather and allergies I have going on. Well, actually, it IS feeling all that. Which means my ear is hurting and clogged and annoying. Good thing I go see Dr. Y on Friday. I am starting to think we will become BFFs before me and my family pack up and leave Chambana. I see him all the time... ha. Not to complain too much but that is one reason I am awake.

The other is that my stupid mind can not slow down tonight. I have been thinking a lot about feeling... inadequate. Not good enough. Like I work so hard but never measure up. Tonight my mind has just been going through all the things I feel so mediocre to horrible at. I know, pity party right? I wish I had more confidence and could just turn these thoughts off. I feel it is useless to try and explain the thoughts because I don't want them to have feet. I don't want to continue giving my thoughts power. I mean, they have power now. I want them to lose power. I want to replace them with healthy and empowering thoughts.

I have a couple of friends in recovery. They give me great advice. I don't mean this lightly. They are two people who understand me better than most people have ever even bothered to understand me. They have been through some similar things and struggles as I face. I have never had a chemical addiction to overcome, thankfully... but they believe strongly that recovery concepts can help me. And they are right. Because their advice has gotten me through some hard days. One such piece of advice I have gotten from both of them lately is to "Fake it until you make it". To act as if... I am succeeding in therapy. To act as if... I don't have anxiety. To be fully in my recovery even when I don't feel like it and even if I am feeling incredibly inadequate. To just keep faking it... and eventually I will get there. Eventually the self-defeating thoughts will diminish because I will be taking action against them instead of living in anxiety. It completely makes sense. I have been trying it... and I am reminding myself of it right now so that when I lie down to try and go to sleep in a few minutes I can fake it and get myself to sleep instead of continuing to dwell on things that I don't want to dwell on.

Anyway, I just want to remind my friends who are struggling... who might even be awake right now thinking about some of the same stuff I am thinking about that if we keep faking it... if we keep aligning our actions with the outcome we want... we are going to get there. And I want to thank my friends L and T for always being an encouragement to me and pushing me to keep faking it, even when I don't feel like it. I love you both.

Monday, October 4, 2010

So envious!

How do people decide what they want to do with their lives? I am 25 and I feel no closer to knowing what career I want than I did at 17. I chose a major that I thought I would like and I got into it and just discovered that it was too... political (special education if you wanna know). I took loads of psychology classes and loved them. And some social work classes. The social work classes I took were intro and kind of boring but I think once I got past that, I would like social work as a profession and be good at it.  People are constantly giving me ideas on what I would be good at. I have thought about nursing, education, midwifery, social work, psych (ultimately working with children in some capacity), photography... I have so many interests. How do people just pick ONE thing they want to do and study it? I know there are criteria. 1) my future profession HAS to help people. I have to feel like I am making a positive impact on the world. 2) I am pretty sure I need to work with children or women or both... specifically. But other than those things... not sure how it all works out. If anyone has advice for me, please let me know. I am sometimes very jealous of my husband who, in his like... 7th year of post secondary education really seems to at least be headed in the direction of a career. And I get a little green with envy when I come by people who have figured out what they want to do with their lives and are on their way or achieving their dreams. I feel like I have no defined dream. I would really like one of those...

Sunday, October 3, 2010


It seems to me like our society really values the idea of altruism. Doing something for someone else at your own expense to better their life. Or putting someones welfare above your own. It is a very noble idea. It is actually something I value very much. I think its a true testament of humanity and "evolution" that such a thing exists in the world. That a species can have some representatives that have this value. It goes against nature. I think it is something deeper than nature. Something a bit supernatural or that God can place into the hearts of man (if you allow me to get all... theological for a moment). I bring this up, because this is a very valued quality in humanity as I see it. And I am someone who strives desperately hard to mold myself into a "good" person. When people look into my life I want them to see me in a way that says "she was a great person. She loved God, she loved others, she worked hard, she helped people". I could create such a list that shows just how much I value other peoples view of me. And you would think the desire to be altruistic or very morally upright in the eyes of others would be a good thing. A healthy thing. That is what I have always thought anyway (I admit, many of my thoughts are not healthy or "normal" so if you think I sound odd that is why).

But I am in the process of learning that self-importance or self-love or self-acceptance is pretty much equally as important. That it is the key, of sorts, to getting to the point where I can love people how I want to love them. I am having a very hard time expressing what I am trying to say... that has been happening to me a lot. What I mean is that if I can't love myself and take care of myself then I can not give to others. Sometimes I just want to love others so much maybe because I feel like it will fill some void that disliking myself leaves. But it never does and generally just perpetuates the self-critical thoughts. Now I am not saying doing for others is bad. Actually it one way to lessen anxiety and it is something that works quite well for me. But I am saying I can't focus on it to the exclusion of myself (which is basically what I have done for a long time... put a lot of effort into other people while putting myself on the back burner). I have to let go of wanting things because I think it is what makes me look good to others. I have to be able to know myself and accept myself for who I am today. I have to be okay with it while striving to do better tomorrow. But mostly I just have to be okay with taking time to work on me. I have to quit thinking it is selfish because it isn't! It is what many people I love and want to help need. A healthy wife, mom, friend... So as much as I value altruism, I am going to be trying to put my own needs first for a little bit. And harder than putting my own needs first for a bit, I will also be striving not to feel bad for that. The logical end to this is me being more able to aspire to the traits I value. Neglecting myself has taken from me the things I want to offer to others. I am reclaiming those things one day at a time. I might not believe it very often but I am going to keep saying it: I am important and I am going to work hard to show myself love and care so that I can show the same to those around me.