Dear Grandson

Hi Bubba. How was your day? Did you play games with your daddy? I bet you have grown so much since I’ve seen you. Are you wearing big boy underwear and going potty in the big boy potty? Do you still fit in all the dinosaur clothes we got? Do you still have the dinosaurs on your walls that Gramma made for you? How about Sissy. Does she still have her frozen decorations?

Gramma and Papa are leaving for vacation. We are going to a beach. I am going to try to get some shells for you and Sissy and put them in your box. Maybe even some white sand! Even better, maybe some day we can take you and Sissy to the beach so we can build a giant sand castle.

What is your favorite toy? What is your favorite game to play? What is your favorite color?

I miss you Bubba. I pray one day we will be able to meet again on this earth and have all the fun we used to have together. We can go on an adventure and go bowling with Great Gramma and Uncle just like we did our last day together. I will never forget how much fun you had, how you laughed and clapped and cheered. Winter is almost over, soon you will be able to go to the park and swing again, play ball outside and take your puppy for walks.

Be good Bubba. Eat your vegetables, brush your teeth every day, be nice to your sister, be respectful to your parents, and say your prayers at night. I love you Bubba, never good bye, but see you later.

XXOO

Love Gramma

Confronting the Bully

When you start to find your true self, when you start to release and let go of the shit. This is when the inner healing will begin. I have remembered, acknowledged, admitted, and shared my demons. Many of them anyways. As I confront each one at a time, I find myself having even more courage to deal with the next. Today I confronted my boss, in a big honest but final way. I was respectful, but honest, telling her I’m tired of her bullying me and that if I wasn’t reaching her expectations as her employee then it was time for me to move on. I’ll be honest, these past few months have been extremely stressful in our office due to conversions and software changes. And I have calmly asked her if she wants me to leave on more than one occasion when she was bullying me. Today was different. Today I was completely honest with everything. I told her she was a bully, I told her I love my job and I love the people I work with, but I am no longer interested in working in an abusive environment. At one point she told me she doesn’t realize she does it. Thats one of her old goto scapegoats, today I countered with if she doesn’t think her voice sounds “attacking”, that a woman her age must know that throwing things, stomping her feet and slamming doors is unprofessional and makes an unhealthy workplace. After an hour of calm discussion, me respectfully giving her examples of her bullying and she told me she gets crabby when she feels stupid. I told her she doesn’t need to feel stupid, shes human and she doesn’t know everything so what’s to feel stupid about? After an hour and a half discussion I hope our office can be a bit more pleasant. But I also realize that I’m done letting bullies bully me, even if the bully signs my paychecks, because I am worth more. I deserve to be treated with respect.

3 demons. 3 contributors to my condition. All confronted in the past 7 days in a solid healthy manner….by ME 🙂 !! I’m not sharing with you because I want to impress you (my husband is proud and that’s the only approval I care about) I’m telling you because I want you to know it’s possible. Take care of yourself. You’re worth it. You deserve it! Don’t wait for tomorrow, because tomorrow may never come.

Be A Duracell

Five days…Five days until I get into the F150 with my husband and begin our 1300 mile drive south to a white sandy beach. Room with a balcony, facing the beach. Dolphins, shells, sand and sun, waiting for me, waiting for us. I deserve a break, my husband deserves a break, WE deserve a break. In the past 6 years we have made it through our son on life support and beating the odds, one of our best friends crashing into the ditch, my husbands family feud, our 2 best friends getting hit by a truck and both loosing a leg, a stalking addict ex, an old surprise income tax nightmare left by that ex, cross country quick trips to watch our son play ball, calls from acquaintances telling us our son is in trouble and rescuing him from himself, showchoir competitions, a graduation, a boat being stolen from our yard, our house being broke into and our electronics and valuables stolen. Bowling meets, bowling league, doctor appointment after doctor appointment, iron transfusions, autoimmune diagnosis, 1st 2nd and 3rd opinions, a botched surgery, car accidents, dying grandparents, the birth of our first grandchild, losing the gift of seeing our grandchildren, a psychological breakdown….I could go on forever. The point being it’s way past time for us to get away and spend some quality time together. I’m so excited while I’m scared shitless at the same time, but I know I need this, he needs this, we need this, our relationship needs this. WE DESERVE THIS!

Have you taken a break? Gotten away? Either with your love or on your own? Maybe a weekend getaway with a friend? Treat yourself, it doesn’t have to cost a lot, it doesn’t have to be extravagant, but do something. Your battery needs to be recharged. If it runs too low for too long, you’re only asking for trouble. Don’t be afraid to be a Duracell. 😁

A Shock & Awe Kind of Week

I’m not sure how to go about this post, other than to simply share it in its entirety and discuss after. So grab a cup of coffee or tea, sit down and get comfortable.

My week started with our oldest dog crossing the rainbow bridge. No matter how many dogs you have, no matter how many times you have to good bye to a pet, it never gets any easier. The dilemma I encountered, was if I should call my sons who have taken themselves out of lives or not. On one hand, I thought, “you don’t want to be a part of our family, then I don’t need to inform you of anything”. So I decided not to contact either one that day. The following day I continued to wonder if I did the right thing. Eventually I sent a text to one of them letting him know. He started asking questions about the dog and of course this led to a little conversation. He told me he loved us all and I went into a complete emotional spin and BAWLED UNCONTROLLABLY for an hour or so. Let me explain. I was filled with so much emotion. It was wonderful to hear (see) him tell me he loved us. At the same time however, I was crushed because I know our family will never completely heal from this and I will never look at either of them the same after the things they said to and about me. My heart was aching for so many reasons. I even told my husband, “I don’t want to see him yet”. The reason? When he comes looking for us, he needs to be ready to reestablish a relationship with us, but not until then. Minutes later he asked what we were doing this weekend and offered to come over. I was speechless. My heart started to pound, and I started clenching my teeth so hard my head started to throb. I didn’t want to say no, because I never say no to him and I really want to see him. But I didn’t want to see him because I knew there would be no apologizing. The horrible things that happened, would be in the corner of the room at all times and everything would go back to the way it was. And one day he would get pissed off at me again, and do the same damn thing. I also felt it important to ask my 17 year old how he felt about it. After all, he this is his home, this brother made threatening comments about beating him up and has ignored him for the past year.

My reply text then was that I wanted to talk with his little brother and check work schedules. He responded very quickly, very harshly that if his little brother was still being petty about bullshit he wasn’t going to put up with any of his shit. I asked him what he was talking about and why he was so mad. He went on to attack me and his little brother that all of the hurt in our family was our fault. I replied to that by stating there is a lot of hurt and mean things were said. Words hurt and can’t be unsaid. I told him I thought people in our family need to remember to be loving & accepting and to take responsibility for their actions and word spoken.

This is where I must stop for a moment. This is when everything became clear to me. This is his weapon, this is how it’s always been. He tells me he loves me, says something he knows I want to hear, and then BOOM, attack and destroy. He goes on to tell me how dramatic we are here, and how I need to stop pointing fingers. He told me it was “nice catching up” but since I am pointing fingers at everyone else and not accepting responsibility for causing all of this he is going to “keep keeping his distance”.

Say hello to your new learning how to be strong and empowered mom. Shit is different now. I’m learning how to control my emotions which control my decisions and I am NOT stepping back onto the firing range again. Normally, this is when I would have cried, I would have said I was sorry, and I would have begged and begged for him to come back home saying something like ‘I need you, I’m nothing without my kids…’. Well guess what 🙂 I DIDN’T DO THAT!! I kept my cool, I replied with stating that I have accepted and apologized for my part more than once and I shouldn’t have to beg. I asked him why he was suddenly so angry and being so mean? I followed that with telling him if he thinks bad mouthing me and attacking his KID brother on facebook makes him look like a hero he is a fool. I told him to go back and look at dates and what was all said on social media and his text messages to remind himself of what really happened. I told him I thought he was the last person that would ever get conned by his manipulating brother, but he did. I said I have no interest in seeing him if he’s going to continue to blame his KID brother and talk shit about him. I reminded him that he is 29 and his KID brother is 17. I finished by saying until he takes ownership in his part and responsiblity for his actions he is not welcome in my home. The last line said “with all of that, I do still love you”

I DID IT!!!!!!! I stayed strong, I stuck up for myself, I didn’t crumble. I set my boundaries and I stood by them clearly. WOOO HOOOO!!!! ALL MY THERAPY IS ACTUALLY WORKING!! LOL

Part 2:

Later in the week, I was speaking with my mother about the weeks happenings. She proceeded to give me a list of reasons what and why I have no right to be hurt by or upset at my two oldest sons. She made every excuse for them possible, and no matter what I said or read to her for proof, she insisted I am the weak link. * This is completely normal for me, and no surprise. I have been blamed for so many things by her in my lifetime that it was ingrained into my head that everything is always my fault. I remember it clearly from my childhood and young adult years. Per my psychologist, it is why I always feel the need to explain myself or justify every word I speak, every action I every take, and every decision I make. It is most likely the biggest contributor to my lifelong self doubt.

I’ve always felt like it’s hard for my siblings to identify with me because of the big age gap, home life was different for them. Most likely they remember my yelling and being angry, but it’s highly doubtful that at their age they understood or even heard what caused it* In years past, when my mother would start to lay it on thick, I would get angry, defensive and start to yell, cuss and probably hang up the phone. THIS TIME WAS DIFFERENT! I calmly told her I appreciated her opinion and value her and that she wants to help. I calmly gave her some examples of why I disagreed with her. After some calm “back and forth” ideas, opinions and statements, I again told her thank you for trying to help, I appreciate it, and I love her. I nicely told her I had to go and we both hung up. I DID IT!!!! I didn’t let her pull me into a shitshow. I didn’t let her pull my down into a hole of “I’m a shitty person”. And I didn’t let her push me into a tizzy. ANOTHER VALIDATION MY THERAPY IS REALLY WORKING!!!! Woop Woop!!

I was so proud of myself, I AM so proud of myself. I set 2 boundaries with 2 important people, but people that knew how to get me worked up. I stood my ground POLITELY and RESPECTFULLY and kept my boundaries in tact. My husband heard both conversations and each time gave me a hug and a high five along with a “good job, I’m damn proud of you”. *brag moment 😉

I feel so empowered. I feel brave. I have a clear conscience. I am proud of me and my actions. I have started to show people that I can stand on my own emotionally, and I can set my boundaries in a healthy manner. Do I miss my son? Yes. But I do not miss the bullshit that comes along with him these past two years. Do I love and appreciate my mother? Yes. She did and does the best she could/can with what she was/is emotionally and mentally equipt with. I owe her respect simply because she is my mother, therefore I can treat her with respect whether I agree or disagree with her.

Do you have people in your life that push you into an emotional corner so you feel like you are helpless? Maybe when you are around them you always feel like you are poo. Can you believe I have been asking people how to do/feel my entire life. Never believing in myseslf to do/feel the right way. I would even regularly ask particular family members that are a decade younger than me. I have more life experience, why would I ask them? Now I’m not talking about getting a simple opinion, I’m talking about asking for suggestions and believing it was significantly better than anything I could ever come up with. No wonder so many people treat me like I have no value. I’m the one who consistantly showed them I had none.

This is a great example of how setting healthy boundaries and not giving into the negative pull of others, can benefit your mental being and your quality of life greatly. I want you to believe that you are capable of not only setting boundaries, but you can make your own decisions without always questioning them. Find out why you doubt yourself and why you don’t value your own opinion. Fix it. Take care of yourself. You can do it. I know you can, believe me, if I can…anyone can. You are smart. You are brave. You are valueable. You are important.

You can love people without letting them walk all over you. You can disagree with someone and believe in your thoughts without allowing your insecurities to cause you to be disrespectul or defensive. People will start to see that you have your own set of values, your own set of beliefs, your own life tactics, your own personal boundaries. At first they will be shocked. They will push back because it will be unchartered territory for them. But if they are worth having in your life, they will get used to it, they will accept it (one way or another) and they will respect it. They will respect you. We have the power to set the standard of how we want/expect to be treated. Set the standard high, you are worth it! Often times things get harder before they get easier, worse before they get better. Every awe moment is preceeded with the shock moment. Allow yourself to be free of all of the crap that others have layed on you. You are worth it. It’s your time to SHOCK & AWE

Here I Sit

Here I sit waiting for my monthly autoimmune blood draw, thinking about the upcoming vacation. My husband’s parents are not far from there, and he has invited them to join us for an afternoon. OMG. They are going to be shocked when they see me 80 bigger then when they saw me last. OMG. What if I can’t stop crying that day? OMG. What if my anxiety is through the roof and my hands are shaking like a leave?

Uuuggggg.

Why is it so damn hard to enjoy life now? I was such a “liver” before. I miss my boys and I am angry with them all at the same time. Someones lies causing their decision of estrangement did this to me. 😦 Sure, the genetics were there, but it was all hidden behind a wall back in the corner.

Is it healthy for me to blame this situation? Is it healthy for me to obsess over it? I’m guessing the answer is no. It may be ok for me to recognize the spark that started this fire, but then I’m supposed to build my bridge, keep it safe in box in my mind, but accept that there’s nothing I can do about it and live my life. Whew! That’s so damn hard to do. It’s interesting to me that I hate not having control of my emotions, but I have been giving control of all physical and tangible parts of my life to my husband, WILLINGLY, and at my request. I’ve NEVER willingly or unwillingly given that up to ANYONE. However, ironically enough, when I really think about it, it’s my decision to give it up, therefore still hanging on to some kind of control. On the other hand, I have felt for a long time overwhelmed and longed for someone else to “be in charge”. For the first time. I feel safe enough in all realms with him to allow him to take the lead. (I should add, he’s a great leader).

Think about what you want, think about what you need for your biggest mental hurdle. First, you will need to discover WHY you have this giant hurdle and WHEN you allowed it to keep you from living. Once you recognize and accept the why and the when, you will be able to slowly dismantle that hurdle. Some pieces will be easier than others. You may need to use several different tools, and you may need to ask for help,but you are strong and you can do it.

Don’t allow those hurdles whether big or small, stand in your way. You may be able to go over or around it, but it will still be there when you are to tired to do so, therefore dismantling is the healthier option. You got this. We got this. It’s our race of life to run at our own speed. We can do it.

I Had A Bad Day

Today was a tough day. This is my vent today, I just need to complain for a quick minute. Nothing depresses me more then realizing all of the weight that I have gained from my autoimmune and depression med mixture since I’ve been in this depression slump. Weight is something I have fought with my entire life. In my 30s I worked very hard and lost 180 lbs all on my own, no surgeries and no gimmicks. I kept it off for many years. My autoimmune meds came with some weight gain, and now this depression and its meds are just horrible and I am getting bigger by the minute. Today several people come into our office that have had gastric bypass recently and as I’m very happy for them and excited for them, I just can’t help but be super jealous of them. And then, of course depression looked at me just right straight in the eyes and said “wow lady, everyone’s getting skinny but you.” And then back into the hole of sadness. I question, why did this have to happen to me? Why did I have to get depressed? Why couldn’t I deal with this all on my own? Why do I have to take meds that cause me to gain weight? Why me? Why me? I just want to be skinny again. My words of wisdom for the day are, depression sucks, autoimmune sucks, and getting fat sucks

And then back into the hole of sadness. I question, why did this have to happen to me? Why did I have to get depressed? Why couldn’t I deal with this all on my own? Why do I have to take meds that cause me to gain weight? Why me? Why me? I just want to be skinny again. My words of wisdom for the day are, depression sucks, autoimmune sucks, and getting fat sucks even worse. 😪

It’s Hard To Have Fun

My husband is taking me on a vacation! EEEEK!! and OMG I’M SCARED!!

Hear me when I tell you that I AM excited. He is taking me somewhere I’ve never been before. He has taken me on long distance trips in the 9 years we’ve been together, but they were quick trips to see my son play college football and our 4 day honeymoon. But THIS is going to be for 8 days. Time away, a well deserved break, is long over due for both of us. However there are several scary aspects of a vacation for me.

1. I have to leave my son, as he chose not to come with us.

2. I have to leave my puppies. My puppies are my “ways to calm me”.

3. I have to leave the safety of my home.

4. I have to do something outside my safety zone. Something not in my regular schedule.

5. My biggest fear…what if something is not the same when I get home?

People with Heightened Anxiety, people with any Obsessive Disorder, people with Depression, people with CPTSD (and undoubtedly more conditions beyond me)…doing anything outside our comfort zone is a BIG deal. I’m scared to face people, especially people in a new place. I’m scared I won’t find places to accommodate my allergies or my bodies medical troubles. I’m scared that one of my ailments will take away from the fun my husband deserves to have. I’m scared of the thousands of things that could go wrong when you travel.

How does a person go from being strong, independent, want to see the world, to I’m best at home ? T I suppose it’s no different than…how does a person go from being 100% healthy to you have 3 weeks to live in the blink of an eye. The brain is an amazing organ, our mind with endless possibilities, the easiest explanation for me is, “WHO KNOWS”. Whether good or not so good, IT IS WHAT IT IS. Years ago had you told me I would be this way, I would have thought you were crazy. (No pun intended) 🙂

I find myself remembering the good old days. The days when I wasn’t afraid of anything except snakes. (They’ve scared the shit out me my entire life) I confronted people when called for, I was known for my persistence and lack of backing down. I didn’t wait or expect anyone to take care of me in any manner, I was proud to be Miss Independent.

But now I’m weak, the weakest…if it weren’t for my husband, I would be gone by now, or at minimum I would be physically lost. Every day necessary, he reminds me of the strength I once had and tells me that I am still that girl with that strength, I just need to find it within me again.

I need to continue to look closely, examine and identify the contributors to my mental disaster. It isn’t until I am able to face each one head on, defeat these inner demons that have taken over my mental being, that I will be able to find the answers I need within, to overcome my anxiety, my depression, my miserable self worth. You can do it to. We can work on it together. We can support each other, listen to each other, hold each other, help each other survive. We’ve got this, we have to. We cannot allow the mental monster to win. We can survive. We will survive.

I Want You to Know I Love You

My dear son. I have been so lost in my depression that I haven’t taken the time to tell you how proud I am of you. You are so responsible, determined, smart, hard working, honest, loyal and with a beautiful heart. I know life hasn’t been easy. Our family being riddled with addiction, alcoholism, selfishness, manipulation, depression…I’m so sorry. A mother always hopes for great things for her children. My greatest dream has always been to raise my children to be decent, good people and for my family to always be loving and loyal to one another. I failed to provide that in so many ways and for that I am truely sorry. I did however succeed in raising two that are loving and loyal. I give you part of the credit for that. After your older brothers left home, things got bad and you stepped up more than you should have needed to and stayed strong. You showed your little brother that just because bad things happen in a family, we still stick together and in the end we will be ok. You made promises and never broke them. That shows us all that you are a good, honest man who’s integrity is still very much in tact. Thank you for being such a good role model, thank you for being understanding and accepting. You have never been greedy, ungrateful or self-involved. I love your sincere, deep love and appreciation for the important people in your life. I am so proud of you and even more proud to tell the world you are my son.

Thank you for being you.

I love you.

Bad For Real or Bad For Me

I go to my psychology appointment today and burst into tears. I tell her all of the shit that’s been going on in my life the past two weeks and ask her if it’s because of medication? Is it because of my new diagnosis? “I feel like it’s all just too much.” And she tells me I’m normal, this reaction is normal, that all the new responsibilities of my job has stretched me to thin and she tells me that anyone would feel this way with all I have on my plate right now. I tell her I don’t want to complain because I’m afraid I’ll be accused of being drama queen. She then tells me just because an ungrateful child bully calls me names doesn’t make it true.

My question today is this…

Once we’ve been “diagnosed”, how do we now if a bad day is a bad day “for real”? or is it just a bad day because of our present mental “condition”? I admit this is a great part of my stress and my anxiety. Since the week that two of my children did what they did, said what they said, I have become so totally insecure that I don’t trust even trust my own thoughts or feelings.

Somewhere in my mind, I try to logically tell myself that I need not let 2 of my children, regardless their age, scare me or bully me into such a place that I become a super stressed out used to believe I could do anything I wanted to do person into an introvert, a loner, a I am weak I am stupid I am a failure person.

One told me he hoped I live and die a lonely person. Funny thing is, I was never lonely, until now. The depressed state this situation has put me into I quit going places, quit talking to people, my husband says I have quit living. Part of me knows that I’m letting someone else’s miserable feelings in their head dictate me and turn my life miserable. But the other part I think has shut down, has stopped believing in anything, because if my own children could hurt me so badly without giving it a second thought, then I must not be worthy of a good life.

I’m so angry. I fought so hard my entire life to overcome so much, including young single mother stereotypes, genetic mental crap, poverty, abuse to name a few. And none of it kept me down, but some mean words from my two oldest sons…crushed me. Turned me into this. I no longer have the strength to fight the good fight. I look at my two younger sons and know I need to be here for them, I need to be strong for them.

But I can’t. Then I get mad as hell that I allowed the two I gave everything up for 30 years ago, to steal my life from me, and to steal their younger brothers mother from them. Then I think, “I know I’m supposed to be strong enough to overcome this, and not to let other people f— with my head.” Yet here I am, a God Damn Fucked Up Mess. My 22 year old thank God has a terrific girlfriend to help keep him grounded after the divorce and dad in jail nightmares. He’s not home anymore so he doesn’t have to deal with a sobbing mother daily. My 17 year old ended up with divorced parents, an alcoholic dad, two big brothers forgetting about him, (thankfully his third & favorite big brother still close and in touch) and now his mom does nothing but go to work or stay home and cry.

Now I realize how damn selfish those oldest two are. Stealing so much from all of us, living their lives like they’ve never done a cruel thing to anyone. Pisses me off. In fact, one sent me a text recently, no words, just enough to leave me hanging wondering WTF does that mean? It’s the third time in a year he has dangled the carrot of hope. The two times before I went for it and he yanked it away as I reached out. I didn’t reach out this time, I’m tired of being played with. But it still hurts like hell and still sparks a little hope in my heart.

So here I am, still asking the question, how do I know if this shit is because of me? Or I’m because of this shit? Do any of us ever know? It all goes back to the old adage. “What came first, the chicken or the egg?” Be strong not only because you need to, be strong because you want to. Don’t let bullies, family or otherwise, steal the happiness you deserve. The happiness you have worked so hard for, it’s yours to enjoy. Let them go, put them and all the hurt they’ve caused to the back of your mind, don’t let it define you. If you let it, it will take you down a road that is so hard to get off of.

Do this for yourself, because you deserve it.

The Mental Monster

People that knowingly suffer from mental illness often ask themselves the question “why me?”.   I think everyone deals with some sort of “personality defect” to some extent.  I suppose it’s simply a part of humanity.  Mental illness however can be a serious complication to ones life, and big or small, the ripple effect can carry on and on.  Genetics can cause a predisposition to mental illness. Some are fortunate to recognize the illness in themselves or a loved one, while others are fortunate not to recognize in themselves or a loved one. Either way, it’s nothing to be embarrassed or ashamed of as it goes wherever it pleases with no regard to strength or weakness and needs no permission. It can be a part of you at birth or join you later in life for countless reasons. It can hide, ly dormant almost within a person for an undetermined amount of time until it decides its time to show its ugly little head.

I’ve known my mother is mentally ill since I was old enough to understand what it meant. Not long after that I understood that because of genetics, the possibility of me suffering from some sort of mental illness at some point in my life was a realistic possibility. I’ve worked very hard since I was a teenager to pay attention to my mental state because I knew there was a good chance of it being passed on and I wanted to keep it at bay the best I could fir as long as possible if not for forever. I taught myself how to get organized and how to stay organized. As soon as I was on my own, I worked hard at keeping my house neat, tidy and clean. I always made my bed every day and I kept up on my laundry. I was never told I had ADHD growing up, but I knew I was different. My psychologist has offered up a few thoughts on what, why and how I developed my mental condition. My chronic anxiety for example as is something I have also dealt with most of my life, likely due to happenings during my childhood. I was never depressed before these past 2 years and I worked hard not to allow myself to be. I remember my mother being depressed most of the time, in fact she is still. Sadly most of my memories are of her being depressed or angry. She was always miserable, and I in no way wanted my life to be that way. More importantly, now that depression currently wants the best of me, I work hard daily to be sure the effect it has on my son and husband here at home with me is as minimal as possible if any at all.

That I think is the key. To be aware of what is happening to you. To acknowledge its exsistance, to embrace it almost, in order for you to control it. And if you cant control it completely, it doesn’t mean you are weak, it only means that for the moment the monster is stronger than you which is why you need to allow your loved ones, your willing fellow warriors, to help you fight the battle and win the war against whatever mental monster tries to consume you. No one should have to face the monster alone. The first steps towards your victory are to recognize, acknowledge, and act honestly. The key begins with loving yourself as you are and believing in your worth. Keep in mind that taking advantage of your mental illness in order to pretend, manipulate, lie or cheat is not part of the good journey. And the good journey, is where we all desire to be.