Adoption, anxiety, depression, Health, lifestyle, pcos, Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome, sobriety, stress, Women's Health

Reflection Time

I’m sitting here. It is a rainy day. It has been a rough past few days with storms and anxiety. We brought one of my dogs to live with us, Rollie. He is scared of storms and fireworks. The past two nights we were up with him calming him down with storms.

Anyways, I’m sitting here drinking a hot cup of peppermint tea to hopefully help my stomach a bit. It has been really off the past few days. I’ve been listening to Anberlin as I work on my dissertation. They have been one of my favorites for a long time. Fun fact, Stephen Christian, their singer, graduated from the same school I attend, and has the same birthday as me, same age! As I sat and filled out the title page of the dissertation paper, I began thinking of how far I have come.

Sometimes in the middles of all of the stress and anxiety, we need to take a step back and see where we were and look at where we are now. Eight years ago, I was in my last year of drinking. I was a mess. One of my best friends lives in England, and he never fails to remind me how far I have come. He always says it is night and day from when he met me nearly ten years ago to where I am now. He met this girl who he saw had potential who did not see the potential in herself. She was this drunk hanging out at a shitty bar, trying to drink away the years of pain and unhappiness. He may not know this, but meeting him kind of kick started my journey. His questions of why are you living like this if you aren’t happy? You don’t belong here. You need to get away from all of these negative people in your life. You deserve more. For some reason, this time I listened.

I had spent so many years believing that I was not worthy of a good life. My life was going nowhere. I was not happy with who I was. I was not a good friend. I’m surprised that my bestie is still my friend honestly. I was not good to her when we first met. I hurt others because I was hurting so bad inside. I hated myself. So first came the quitting smoking. Then I ended up in the hospital because of drinking. That was my day where I told myself I am not doing this anymore. I had another good friend with me at the hospital that day. Another person who saw more in me than I did. He has been one of my biggest cheerleaders throughout this journey.

I was not quite an alcoholic like my brother is, but I used alcohol to numb the pain. I used people to buy me drinks. Just one more drink to numb that pain. Quitting drinking was only the beginning. See, now I had to actually feel things and face things sober. I actually ended up having a nervous breakdown four months after quitting drinking. My family was all living back together. My parents had lost their house to foreclosure, my brother had been kicked out of his girlfriends because of his drinking. My mom nearly died from sepsis and had to have a toe amputated. I was taking care of her and getting my brother to and from work (at this point he had lost his license). I had an eight hour panic attack. One of my friends came and took me to the hospital. I had already been prescribed Ativan, but that was not working. That night, I do not remember getting home. They gave me more Ativan to calm me down. I woke up in my bed with my friend sleeping on my floor because he was that worried about me. The hospital got me hooked up with my therapist that I am still seeing and a psychiatrist to get the right medications to help control the anxiety and depression.

Through therapy, I have learned to let go of many of the bad things I did in my past. I even learned to love myself. I learned to not let people take advantage of me. I went back to school because I had always wanted to get my bachelor’s. I had only had my associate’s. When I was nearing the end of my bachelor’s, I was already enrolled in the master’s program. I finished my bachelor’s with a 4.0 and my master’s with a 3.9 GPA. I took a few months off and then I was like well, why not prove to myself that I can go all the way and get my terminal degree. Here I am, working on my dissertation.

Not only am I working on my dissertation, I got married to a man who I honestly could not have asked for better. He is patient with my anxiety and depression and does whatever he can to help me. He has been supportive with school and everything else. We have never really had a bad fight. We work together as a team. I think going through so many years of therapy has helped me be able to communicate what I want and to get him to communicate what he wants back. He has become my best friend and I can not imagine my life without him. My family loves him. He is such a good man that was also dealt some shitty cards in life. I think together we have both been healing from our pasts. We want the same things in life and enjoy the same things in life. We are both sci fi nerds. We even had a Doctor Who themed wedding.

When we first began dating, his youngest and I began spending a lot of time together. It started because she did not want to be home alone. She had some reservations about getting to know me so soon after her mother had passed away. When I first met her, she didn’t even know the full story behind her mother’s death and could not even talk about her. When others brought her up, she would shut down. She was a hurting young girl. We finally got her in and got her a diagnosis of autism and got her into therapy. She has since blossomed. She talks more, she does more, she laughs more. She can talk about her mom now. She does not have really good memories of her mother. I feel bad that she does not, but she is the youngest and as her mother went further downhill, she got less than the other kids got. Her and I have bonded over certain things that happened to both of us growing up. She is still unsure of herself and still does not have the best self-esteem, but we are working at it.

It took a bit longer with my now son. He began reaching out to go to lunch and go shopping and we slowly got to know each other. He was also a hurting kid and still is to some degree. I think he feels torn between two families. It definitely hasn’t been on our end. He has been degraded by his other side of the family. I can see it hurts him, but he is learning to let it go. He now has a family life, something stable. We all do. We were all missing stability in our lives. I have seen him grow into someone who laughs more, talks more, and is wanting more out of life than the status quo.

Things are not perfect by far. But together we grow. We heal. We have all come a long way from where we were and have more to go. Throughout life, you continue to grow. One thing I learned from my friend that made me realize I could do more is that if you are unhappy and stay in your situation, it is your fault you are unhappy. You cannot heal and grow if you continue to stay stagnant in life. You have to let go of the past and move forward. Never forget what the past taught you and cherish the good memories it has given you, but you cannot live there. I never thought I’d be where I am right now, but here I am. I am here because I fought my demons and continue to do so. I have learned that not everyone has to like me. I have learned that I will fail along the way, this is how we learn. Fear of failure holds me back sometimes, but I have to push through. I also suffer from impostor syndrome. I have to keep reminding myself that I have worked for all of this and I deserve it. I allow myself to have bad days. I try not to be so hard on myself. There is so much more to life than staying stagnant and unhappy.

Adoption, anxiety, depression, Health, lifestyle, pcos, Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome, stress, Women's Health

Anxiety and Depression

The past week and a half have been a roller-coaster of emotions. My anxiety is at a high. My stomach has been having a flare up. I have not been doing the best at self care. I have not done any yoga, I have not meditated, and I have been eating like crap. I have a few older family members that have tested positive for Covid and it is worrying me. My brother’s seizure put me on the edge. So far, he has been staying sober (as far as we know). I have been listening to back episodes of the podcast, Owning It: The Anxiety Podcast. It has been helping quite a bit.

This podcast has opened my eyes to times in my childhood that I felt off and was actually having anxiety. The last episode I listened to had a hypnotherapist on there. My therapist is a hypnotherapist and I have done regression therapy. It was a tremendous help. There is a new treatment called havening. When he was explaining what it was, I realized that my therapist has actually used some of these techniques on me. I can also relate to the woman that does the podcast in that when I feel good, I forget to do upkeep. When you feel good, you forget to meditate or do yoga. Those are things that need to be done. I need that daily check in to see how I am feeling, even on those good days.

I have been getting requests for interviews for more content writing positions. Some are remote and some are in office. I am scared to do a full time, in office position. We are making good progress with my daughter. We made a chart for her to do self care and be more independent and responsible. If she does all of the items she is supposed to do, she gets allowance every Sunday. We are in our fourth week and she has not missed one allowance. I did have a cute experience with her. She texted me that she is a meagling. Then she came into the room to put that into context. She was telling her friends about her allowance. I guess some of them were saying they wish they got that and some of the other perks she gets. She told them to get them a Meagen. They decided they wanted to be adopted to become meaglings. She is so cute and funny.

Things are better with our son. We worked through what was bothering him. He was not happy doing what he was doing and once he talked to us about it, he seemed much happier. We overheard him on the phone calling us his parents. My husband and I just looked at each other and smiled. He is the sweetest boy, well young man.

It was also quite stressful last week with it being my first week of dissertation. I had to take a bunch of short courses and take tests to get certifications that I will be conducting my study according to the law and in a moral way. They changed my dissertation chair halfway through the week and made a typo in the email putting me in the project course rather than dissertation route. I panicked. My new dissertation chair actually called me because he was just as confused. He seems nice and gave me some good tips on my dissertation. I am a bit worried because he is a bit slow in responding. I changed my problem statement and research questions a little bit, so I am waiting on him to approve and then send that on to the dissertation team to approve. Then I can work on the rest. This first part of the dissertation is basically explaining my problem statement, how I will conduct my study, and conducting a literature review.

We had my parents over for dinner last weekend. I know, breaking the social distancing rule. It was good though. My mom is so much better with the kids than she was with me. I think that happens. I think parents sometimes mess up with their kids and then treat the grandkids like gold. The kids have been really taken with my parents. My mom is always getting them goodies. I can’t wait until all this is over so that we can see more of my husband’s side of his family. We did get a video of our niece opening her birthday gifts that we gave her. It was so cute. My mother-in-law and me check in at least once a week to see how things are going. I am lucky to have them in my life.

I was so scared to meet them. When I was 22, I dated a guy who was very emotionally abusive and his parents were very religious and conservative. He went to Iowa State, so when I first moved to be closer to him, I lived with them for several months. Lets just say they were also very emotionally abusive. My husband had told me his parents weren’t very nice to his first wife. Well, it turns out it was gaslighting on her end. She was not nice to them and as other abusers do, used the tactic of trash talking them to separate him from them. Now he has a much better relationship with them and so do the kids. There was so much hurt there and now everyone is healing. One day, I will tell the story of my abuser (the worse one). Once you get into an abusive situation, you tend to get into others until you see your worth. It took me a long time to see my worth. In fact, I still have dreams that I am not really married. I have had so many people walk in and out of my life. When I wake up from these dreams, I am nearly in tears because my husband is still there. My therapist said these will continue until I can trust he isn’t going to leave like everyone else.

As for the anxiety, I keep reminding myself that it will pass. It always does. I’m trying to keep busy in my free time. We have had some family game nights. Uno Flip is a new favorite in the house. I bought a crochet kit to make start wars characters for my husband for father’s day. I’ve always wanted to learn how to crochet. His aunt made us this gorgeous blanket for our wedding gift. I love getting homemade gifts. I also love giving them. They are so much more personable.

Anyways, I keep rambling on and on. I need to get some actual work done. I hope everyone is staying safe and healthy. Remember, this won’t last forever. Anxiety and depression comes in waves, but it does not last forever.

anxiety, depression, Health, lifestyle, pcos, Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome, stress, Women's Health

A Talk about Anxiety and Food

I went for my first appointment with the nurse practitioner for bariatric surgery yesterday. This is the woman that I will be meeting with once a month for the next six months. She was amazing and has me very excited that things can change. Basically where I am right now is that my gut is unwell. I need to fix my gut to fix my mind. It is a chicken and egg thing. Does my stomach hurt because of my anxiety? Or, is my stomach hurting driving my anxiety? She liked the fact that I am data driven. I like to have numbers of what works and what does not. She sent me home with several homework assignments.

So, beginning today I have started keeping a food journal. It is not just a food journal though. This particular journal that I found online records my food and drinks, but it also asks how I feel before and after each. This will help me figure out how different foods effect my mind and body. I am doing a high protein, low carb diet. Because I still need to burn energy, I need to make sure I have good fats when letting go of the carbs. I have to go in at the end of May to have a full blood panel done. This panel will allow them to see how my body handles insulin and which vitamins I may be deficient in or that I may have too much of. Having PCOS, insulin resistance is a major thing. Basically my body’s cells do not react to insulin in the correct way. My body does not use glucose for energy like normal people. So, in reaction, my body creates more insulin, causing my blood sugars to go up. Insulin promotes fat storage. So, while losing weight is possible, it is much harder for a woman with PCOS to do so. There are women who have PCOS that are not heavy, so this is not an every person thing. This panel will allow them to see if I need to be put back on Metformin. Besides birth control pills (which I cannot take hormones), Metformin is the only other way to treat PCOS medically. It is not approved to treat PCOS, but it is the most common medication for PCOS. It is not a fun drug to be on. It can cause stomach issues. For someone who already has stomach issues, it is important that I figure things out before possibly going back on it.

One thing that I have learned is that your gut has more serotonin receptors than your brain. Isn’t that insane? This means that eating crappy will make you feel crappy. Now I have this new woman on my team to add to my regular doctor, my therapist, and my psychiatrist. Through all of them, I am learning that self-care is so important to keep anxiety at bay.

Lately I have been extremely irritable. There has been a lot going on. I am writing my final paper for my coursework. It is due on Friday. Once that is turned in, I switch from doctoral student to doctoral candidate as all of my coursework will be done. All that will be left is the dissertation. I also have all of this research and reading to do for self-care. I have all these books on anxiety, PCOS, diets, and so on that I have been meaning to read. I am hoping that things will settle down and I will have a bit more time to do that. I have to keep reminding myself that two years ago my life was completely different. I was working and traveling a lot for work. I was in school, and my biggest worry was who was going to watch my dogs while I was out of town. I was kid free and only looking out for myself. Fast forward to today and I am now married, have two kids, bought a house, and still have dogs. It is no longer just about me, but I also need to care for me in order to care for all of them.

It is rough when I feel like I am constantly cleaning up after everyone else. And it is little things, like someone not hitting the trash can. I feel overwhelmed with the fact that nobody else seems to be able to deep clean the house. That means moving things and scrubbing things. Everyone else just wipes around things, including my husband. Drives me crazy.

Anyways, enough about that. What I need to be focusing on is some self-care. I have a writing test to do for a women’s health site that is quite popular. Lots of things to do, but I will find time for some yoga and meditation.

anxiety, depression, Health, lifestyle, pcos, Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome, stress, Women's Health

Isolation is Hard, but Necessary

I know many people right now are struggling with some mental health issues due to social distancing. Having PCOS with the changing in hormones, my days are so different every day. Some days I am happy to be home and being able to get projects done. Other days, I just want to be able to put makeup on and go out and have fun. Then I get sad because life is not normal anymore. It probably never will be again. I get anxiety because I do not want to get this sickness.

I had to get tested last week. The test itself was not that bad. However, waiting for the results was the worst. Luckily it was negative. Our home isolation is now lifted, but we are still doing online orders for groceries. We have ordered so many new items for the house. The decorating is coming along nicely. The past couple days we have been working in the yard. We have so many ideas and we both have to keep reminding ourselves that we have years in this house to do what we want. We do not have to have everything done right now.

When it comes to isolation, I honestly think it is for the best. I do not want to get sick, nor do I want to be responsible for someone else getting sick. That is especially true if the person were to die from this virus. I cannot believe that grown men are protesting with guns about the stay-at-home orders. These are the same men who want to deny a woman her own bodily rights. Oh, women too, are protesting this. The things is, a woman’s choice to get an abortion hurts nobody. These men and women protesting, however, can infect others and hurt them. In Alabama, they have had an increase in infections since a protest happened. I try not to get political on here, but we have a shit for a leader. There are people being brainwashed by him and not listening to science. I’m currently reading a book on the 1918 flu. This is not the first time our country has failed to follow science rather than “freedom” or religious beliefs. We have a bunch of ignorant, uneducated people wanting to go out and get infected and infect others.

I have also been struggling with motherhood the past week. We had to show our son how to really clean a bathroom rather than just wipe it down. I feel bad that I am so picky, but I like things clean and organized. I’m a bit OCD. It is disappointing that the kids were never taught how to do things by their birth mother. It frustrates me sometimes when asking my husband why they were not taught how to do certain things. I know my son is sad because the anniversary is coming up, but he is dealing with it well. I feel bad because it does not seem that the kids did not have much of a normal, happy childhood. I feel this immense draw to create that for them, yet I know that I need to teach them things to become responsible adults. I see how my little girl (okay, she is not little, she will be 17 soon, but she is still little) suffers from certain things. I also know how I grew up and I know why she does some of the things that she does or why she feels some of the things that she does.

I am finally meeting with the bariatric surgeon next week. I also got my sinus surgery back on the books. It is scary not knowing if my cough is allergies or if it is Covid-19. Its like a game each day. I have been so stressed that I have been bleeding. My body is going crazy with its hormones out of whack. I hope that the surgery will help a bit with that. I am trying to work on eating healthier and I have been more active working around the house and yard.

We are hoping to bring the other two dogs over in the next couple of weeks. We got muzzles for Olive and Jaxx so that they cannot bite each other. They will have to get along and then the muzzles can come off.

This time has also afforded me opportunities to get back into art. That is in between school. I am working on my research methodology right now. I am literally researching research methods. I am hoping that any day now I will find out if I have gotten into the dissertation course. That will definitely take some of the stress away.

I am wondering how others are spending their time. Is anyone doing anything creative? Is anyone learning anything new? In some ways, maybe this is bettering the human race (besides the protesters).

Also, please sign the petition at http://www.tinyurl.com/sign-pcos. This is a petition to have PCOS recognized as a significant health concern. This would demand national attention and much needed government support.

anxiety, depression, Health, lifestyle, pcos, Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome, stress

Times of Panic

This house is like a ticking time bomb. Our son has tested positive for Covid-19. He did not have the normal symptoms. He did not have the fever, cough, or shortness of breath that they tell you about. He had a very bad headache and some GI issues. They only tested him because he works in health care. I’m not going to lie, both my husband and I were a bit upset as he was not doing social distancing very well. But, we also were not the best role models because we were still going to my parents to see our dogs. Tuesday will be a whole week since I have seen him, even though he is just downstairs. Luckily, he has had a mild case and seems to be on the mend.

On the other hand, panic has set it. My husband and I never know if what we are feeling is us getting sick with Covid or if we are stressed or if it is just allergies. I was supposed to have sinus surgery before this all started, so sinus issues have not been very good. We are constantly taking our temperatures. Last night, I had such a bad panic attack that I nearly had my husband call an ambulance or take me to the ER. I am hoping that none of us get it.

It has been hard to focus on school. My research questions were accepted right away with no changes. Now I need to figure out a new qualitative research method and research that that method to write up my methodology by next week.

I am trying so hard to be okay. When we moved in, this house was my sanctuary. Now, I can barely sit in the living room or go into the kitchen. I know this all will pass, but right now it is hard. Since Covid has come into this house, it no longer feels like my safe place. I was so excited that we had made this house look so nice and have this nice living area to be in. Now, I have been stuck in the bedroom waiting to get sick. I am not feeling positive at all lately. I am trying. I will continue to try.

Adoption, anxiety, depression, Health, lifestyle, pcos, Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome, stress, Women's Health

Managing Anxiety in Uncertain Times and PCOS Flare Ups

To begin this blog, we ended up losing Relish on Saturday. She went downhill after seeming to get better. My husband has been heart broken. She was his baby. It was a sad day. She never did get to come home to our new home.

We had a long talk and will be bringing my two boys here in a few weeks. My husband was angry again with his past. He didn’t realize how far he had let things go and did not realize that the dogs were not being cared for in a proper way, which included being fixed and having regular vet visits. From now on, this will not be the case in this house.

My PCOS has been flaring up. I started bleeding earlier this month, which I hardly ever do because I have an IUD in. It stopped and then started again last week. I went to see my obgyn and she seems to think it is from stress. I have been cramping and it hurts. It has been on and off and for now I just have to watch it. It is frustrating.

My anxiety has been kind of under control. I’m on a new medication and it seems to be working. My doctor is upping the dose and getting ready to bring down the Zoloft. I’m not going to say that this whole Covid 19 thing is not scary. It is messing up my routine. I have been trying to stay busy. I have plenty of art to catch up on and plenty of books to catch up on. I’m waiting for my problem statement for school to be approved so I can move forward with my research concept for my dissertation. I have several freelance writing gigs that are on hold because of this virus.

Lately I have been feeling sluggish and in pain. I push through it to get things done that need to get done around the house. Parenting has been hard the past couple weeks. I have had to put my foot down with my stepdaughter, soon to be adoptive daughter. It is because I love her and I see her going in a way that I do not want her to go. She has so much potential that she does not see. Tensions have been high between her and my husband. I have watched him cry over all of it. I cannot be like her birth mom and just not make her do things. I care too much to watch her not do anything with her life. She has so much talent and is so smart and for some reason she does not see it.

As of Monday, our adoption went through of our son. I really wish things were not the way they were so that we could have had a celebration. There will be an adoption party when we can all get together again. My mother-in-law texts every couple days to see how things are going. She says she hates this distancing thing because she just wants to give us all hugs. On the other hand, my brother is continuing to drink and go out. He lives with my parents and it is pissing me off that he is putting them at risk. I go see my dogs maybe once a week and that is about to stop if he continues to be so careless.

I am wondering how others are managing their anxiety during this time. How are you all keeping yourselves busy with staying at home, if you are able to stay at home. I am hoping that people continue to listen to the orders to stay at home, and those that aren’t begin to. This cannot last forever and hopefully soon life can get back to normal. I am hoping to write more now that I have more time.

anxiety, depression, Health, lifestyle, pcos, Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome, stress, Women's Health

Moving House, Moving on, and Stress

We are fully moved into the new house. There is no longer anything at the old house besides a few cleaning supplies. I am still in the process of unpacking. Some of that unpacking is on hold until our new furniture comes. We ordered it online from Nebraska Furniture Mart, so it is all coming on different days. I am still staying in as we have been told to do. I had to wash clothes right away when we moved in because some of the older clothes smelled so badly like cigarette smoke. It disgusts me. I do not know how people used to deal with me smelling like that. Being a former smoker, I can tell the smell of smoke more. Let me tell you something, no amount of perfume or air fresheners covers that smell up. It just adds to it and makes it smell worse. It is honestly like spraying one of those cheap air fresheners after you poop. It is just gross.

The new house is amazing. It has a much more positive vibe. Our dog, Olive, is like a whole new dog. She is loving the new yard, she is cuddly and loving, and just a happy little girl. Relish is still at the vet. While it seemed that she was better, which in a way she is, she is eating and drinking. There is still the pancreatitis. It could be a tumor. Her blood sugars have been all over the place. I am scared to bring her home and for her to die in a new place that she is not comfortable in. Tomorrow, my husband and I will be talking to the vet to see if we may have some more time with her or if she is in pain. People, I cannot stress enough how important it is to get your dog fixed early. A dog is not something that you get just to have. One of my biggest pet peeves is people who get pets and then give them away. Do not get an animal if you are not ready for the responsibility. Would you have a baby and then decide after a few weeks that you do not want to keep the baby, they are too much work? Would you not teach your child? These poor dogs were never trained nor taken care of properly. It has been a sore point in my marriage. I do not in any way blame my husband, except for the fact that he let it go on for so long and let it go so far just so he could escape the confrontation he continually had to deal with.

As for me, it seems so much is on hold. I am still meeting with the bariatric surgeon, but my meeting with the nutritionist is now cancelled because it is not essential. I am deeply scared of this Covid, yet also angry as to how our government is handling it. We have such an incompetent idiot trying to run our country. We also have stupid people who do not listen when told to stay home. We also have the uninformed that hoard supplies so that everyone cannot get what they need. Moving during this time has been quite interesting. We needed a plumber to come over last night to get branches out of our drain system. Just having people in the house is scary. I barely see my parents and dogs. I cannot wait to bring my two boys to the house. I need to get them in for nail clippings and then they will be here. I cannot wait to be with my bulldog again. I feel like I am missing out on his life.

Moving has been smooth except it has caused some tension between my husband and I. His hours have changed at work and it is hard adjusting. I feel as if I am doing so much work myself without any help. He does what he can when he gets home from work, but during the day, it is all me. I am falling behind in school when it is most imperative that I am on top of things. It would be great to have more help, but I just do not. I was not meant to be a housewife. I never wanted to be a housewife. I feel like a housewife.

This is a very frustrating post to write. I am very frustrated. I think in another week, once we have things more settled, it will be better. I need to focus on the positive things. One is that we have this amazing house and I am so happy here. I have two great kids and an amazing husband. Right now, we are healthy. I hope that we stay that way. I am hoping that the world can begin to feel normal again soon. Times are scary.