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i Am every problem.
“A feeling or belief that good things will happen in the future : a feeling or belief that what you hope for will happen.” This is how Merriam-Webster Online defines optimism.
The other day, I said to my husband, “You know, I’m the most optimistic person you’ve ever known.” With a blank stare, he stood there, looking at me. I knew he was thinking, “On what planet are YOU considered optimistic?!”
“Think about it,” I said, “I never give up. I always keep trying to get better.”
He said, “I’d call that persistent, not optimistic.”
I sat for a moment, understanding where he was coming from…19 years of my depression and anxiety affecting our lives for the worse. I knew I had to explain:
“I am persistent because I know there is an outcome that is better than the past. I’m optimistic because, even though there are times I feel as though I’m broken, I stand myself up again and again, fighting for a better tomorrow. Why would I keep trying if I didn’t have HOPE for a better future?”
So, thank you anxiety and depression for teaching me how to be the ultimate optimist.
I let my 5 month old fall asleep in my arms tonight.
It was wonderful.
I usually try to let him fall asleep in his crib to help him learn to fall asleep on his own, but tonight, I indulged his want for my arms and my need for sweet, little face. Everyone needs spoiled from time to time. 😊
It has been a long few weeks as I recover from another bout of depression and anxiety. As I grew more and more tired from the flu during Christmas, my ability to fight away depressive and anxious thoughts weakened. I had to reserve any energy I had to care for the needs of my little one. I didn’t have any energy left to care for myself.
I began making classic mistakes in that I wasn’t eating (a glass of milk a meal does not make) not taking my supplements and vitamins (my iron and vitamin D are a bit low) or asking for help (Umm, I haven’t had a meal, a protein and veggie meal, in days? Could you help?). It is no wonder I was feeling so physically and mentally bleak; I wasn’t taking care of me.
While I’m still not yet in the clear, I am feeling much better. For the millionth time, I realized I had to save myself by healing myself (amazing how we romanticize this experience and hope that validation comes through the unprompted care from another, while we fail to care for ourselves! Lol). I realized that these are the experiences that my child will witness and gain knowledge from…that he can, and should…put himself first so that he can then do his best to care for others. He will witness resilience and discover that it is a beautiful skill that can be built upon and mastered. He will witness a mother who is strong enough to ask for help.
So, in the meantime, I’ll snuggle him close and let him fall asleep in my arms. A spirit needs spoiled from time to time.
Healing anything is a process.
A bruise healing? A process.
An emotional illness? A process.
A process is a “phenomenon marked by gradual changes”. What gradual changes do we allow in our process? What gradual changes do we not allow? We often get in the way of our own process of healing, physical and mental, by being afraid to embrace the discomfort of change. I mean, who likes the process of pulling off a Band Aid, but we heal better once we change that old bandage, don’t we?
That is how I end most trips up the stairs, end getting up (or should I say rolling) out of bed, or simply realizing that there are 18 days to go before Baby Redhead is born. Again…
I have begun 4 or 5 blog posts in the past few months but found myself unable to finish. Between pregnancy-induced Carpal Tunnel Syndrome and general fatigue, I simply have run out of fuel mid-typing. Heck…I run out of fuel mid-anything these days. =)
But I have to be honest in that this painful, weak wrist issue has taken me off guard. Who knew that pregnancy edema could cause my writs to hurt like they do? I always thought that, when pregnant, I really only needed to be concerned with the lower half of me. Boy, was I wrong. I have lost potatoes and mushrooms to a garbage disposal when my hands and wrists simply released them for lack of ability to hold a grip and lost a lot of time in productivity because of the burning, painful inflammation that has settled below my phalanges. In fact, I am sitting in my kitchen at this very moment, typing this brief blog post while a sink-full of dishes eyes me from across the room. (I’ve chosen to use my small window of physical ability on typing rather than dish washing. Does anyone blame me?! =)
But alas…as in all the pregnancy symptoms I have experienced during the past 8 months, I know that this too will come to an end and am grateful that despite the moments where it has caused me great difficulty, nothing about this pregnancy has been nearly as difficult as it could have been.
I could have spent endless hours in physical pain from a back that never relaxed, on bed rest for a month for a baby who thought he wanted to make his debut early, or locked away in a dark room in a episode of depression or anxiety that I simply lacked the physical and emotional strength to kick to the curb. This is not to say I haven’t had difficult moments…I have been brought to tears over a painful back and experienced anxiety that is making me work hard to prepare for the hormonal drops I will have to deal with within moments of Baby Redhead taking his first breath. There are realities that I must prepare for, yet keep hope that my preparation never needs utilized.
But overall…I am a happy mama-to-be, and I am hoping you all are happy, too.
The American Foundation for Suicide Prevention (AFSP) is the nation’s leading organization bringing together people across communities and backgrounds to understand and prevent suicide, and to help heal the pain it causes. Individuals, families, and communities who have been personally touched by suicide are the moving force behind everything we do.
- We strive for a world that is free of suicide.
- We support research, because understanding the causes of suicide is vital to saving lives.
- We educate others in order to foster understanding and inspire action.
- We offer a caring community to those who have lost someone they love to suicide, or who are struggling with thoughts of suicide themselves.
- We advocate to ensure that federal, state, and local governments do all they can to prevent suicide, and to support and care for those at risk.
No matter what problems you are dealing with, we want to help you find a reason to keep living. By calling 1-800-273-TALK (8255) you’ll be connected to a skilled, trained counselor at a crisis center in your area, anytime 24/7.
My pregnancy has been a wonderful “tool” to add to my Wellness Toolbox. Being completely responsible for the physical and mental well-being of my child has helped soften many edges of the negative thinking that I suffer from due to my Negativity/Pessimism Schema. While it has certainly been no cure, I find myself falling back upon the most negative of my thinking, “I can’t do this anymore”, “Life is not worth the struggle”, “God, please let me not wake”, etc. less and less. I love my unborn child and want desperately to parent him to become an all-around healthy young man. If I am constantly considering that there are options to life other than living, I do not think I’ll manage my parenting goal. In this way, I am thankful that the reality of my pregnancy has helped refocus, in a healthier manner, the filter through which I interpret thoughts and feel emotions.
That being said (there is always a however, huh?)…
The past few weeks have been LOUSY.
“But Redheadcase, you just talked about how a major difficulty of your MI has grown a bit healthier. Are you grateful for nothing?!” a reader may ask.
That is just the thing…being healthier in any increment does not mean I am at the end of the journey to reclaim my life from MI. I will always be on the road to better mental health and must always remember that there are no quick-fixes or complete goal attainment. Being healthier, whether it be mentally, physically, spiritually, etc. is a lifestyle and not any single choice. Success is not found in a moment or a day, but all those individual moments, days, weeks, months, and years can absolutely add up to a well-adapted, content, and emotionally healthy life for all of us. We just have to accept that we will stumble and fall, make the choice to pick ourselves up when we can, and tenaciously seek help no matter how uncomfortable or hard it may feel. Piece all those battle wins together to claim the victory of the war. =)
On a side note, I wanted to discuss how the past few weeks have been lousy. Just a few shared experiences and thoughts…
-I have always had much more difficulty with the fluctuation of my mood when I am physically drained and/or hungry. My husband can look at me, seeing me wilt like a flower out of water, saying, “We need to get you something to eat/need to get you some rest because your mood is dropping.” When I am fatigued from a lack of sleep or from running errands or when my blood sugar drops from not having eaten recently enough, I become much more susceptible to the depressions and anxieties of my MI. And I have found that with being pregnant, I wilt at a much more rapid pace, making it harder to catch my decline in time to prevent. I point this out because self-care is of the upmost importance, especially when you are suffering from an illness and ESPECIALLY when you are pregnant, dealing with hormones that fluctuate as they please no matter how carefully you care for yourself. Proper sleep, rest, and diet are essential to an MI-er’s well-being, and we must be willing to tell the people around us that we have to take the time to rest and/or eat. Putting ourselves first is a very good thing because when we are our healthiest for us, we can be at out healthiest for our loved ones. It is a “win-win” for everyone.
-I have really been struggling with feeling useless. (Yea, I am growing a life, yet I feel as though I contribute nothing to anything. 😉 Losing school this semester has really taken a toll on me, as I have discussed in previous posts. I had worked so hard to return to school and to have to stop (again) due to pregnancy-related illness, I find that I feel as though I am good-for-nothing (see how that Negativity/Pessimism Schema sneaks into any crevice of a person’s thinking to try to bring them down?). While I still volunteer at a local hospital, I feel I do little to contribute to my family or the world, in general. This is a thought, and resulting feeling, that I cannot seem to shake. I need a purpose to pursue outside of my home but cannot seem to find one. …Work in progress, right? =)
Well, that is all I have for the moment. I hope this finds everyone feeling well and a little less alone in a world that can feel really lonely. Take care.
Out of the Darkness Walks
Walk to Save Lives
Suicide claims more than 38,000 lives each year in the United States alone, with someone dying by suicide every 13.7 minutes. A suicide attempt is made every minute of every day, resulting in nearly one million attempts made annually.
When you walk in the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention’s Out of the Darkness Walks, you join efforts with thousands of people nationwide to raise money for AFSP’s vital research and education programs to prevent suicide and save lives. The walks raise awareness about depression and suicide, and provide comfort and assistance to those who have lost someone to suicide.
SUICIDE CAN BE PREVENTED. YOU CAN HELP. JOIN THE MOVEMENT.
Call 1-800-273-TALK (8255)
You aren’t alone. No matter who you are or what problems you are struggling with, hurting yourself isn’t the answer. We want to help you find hope.