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.