I have had yet another long few days thanks to anxiety. I will feel good for a few days and think that I’m “over the hump” for it to all come flooding back even worse than before. This over-breathing/hyperventilation syndrome … Continue reading
I feel like I write posts like this often because we have had so much change. Part of it is my fault and part of it is out of my hands between illness, job changes, etc.
Like I’ve written many times, because of my anxiety, we are keeping the boys in school. I talked with the school a few days ago, and they are happy that our boys will be back. I was even able to request Levi’s teacher! He will have the same teacher that Ethan had last year. She’s fantastic. Our boys are still excited about staying in school and they even got to see a lot of their friends here at camp Thursday :-). Levi thought they were on a field trip with school people. Haha. Rocksprings kids get a special deal of only paying $50 (regular price $800!), and they all come the same week. It’s such a great thing that Camp Eagle does for the community.
We bought school supplies yesterday for the boys and they were so excited to organize and sort them! Their backpacks are full and they are ready! They are also excited to take lunches to school again (they didn’t take them much this past year but they want to take them now).
I’m not going to lie, I’m looking forward to the quiet that will happen once they are at school. I’ve been super irritable with my anxiety and their noisiness. I just can’t handle it. And they have been fighting a LOT so it’ll be good for them to be separate during the day.
I bought a new math curriculum for Karis called Math Lessons for a Living Education. I got it on a used curriculum Facebook group for only $20 and it was new. She has been using Math U See and she hasn’t made any progress, she doesn’t understand the way he teaches (I don’t either!), and she was in tears about it… so I thought I would try this.
I received it a few days ago and while I really like it, I’m concerned that it’s not enough. I talked with Robert and a few friends about it and I have come to some conclusions… 1) She struggles with math a lot and it is okay to do something a little more gentle if she likes it (and she really does), 2) She will learn what she needs to learn and she will be okay, 3) This is Charlotte Mason method math which is what we’re doing for everything else, and 4) I will add in some videos and practice from Khan Academy. Karis used Khan for some grammar in the spring and she really liked it.
One of the things that I kept getting hung up on was what do I do after level 6 (of Math Lessons for a Living Education). It ends there… the publisher does make a junior high and high school one, it’s just a little different? Robert reminded me to take it one year at a time. I don’t have to know what she’s even going to do when she finishes this book. We’ll see how she does with it and go from there! But I am committing to finishing this book. I won’t buy anything else until she does.
I pulled it out Thursday and made a shopping list based on what I needed for manipulatives and Karis loved it and was excited! The list included things like rice, contact paper, large index cards, measuring cups, poster board, etc. I already had some of these things but had to buy a few. She wants to color the rice so we will do that (she has good memories of when we did that when she was a little younger).
I also bought a short Intro to Energy unit from The Good and the Beautiful and Karis is excited about that as well! I need to gather the supplies for the experiments but we have most of them here! I will have Karis complete the extensions for older children (it’s supposed to be for grades 7-12 but I know she can handle it).
I have also decided to go ahead and do level 3 of G&B Language Arts because it teaches diagramming and Karis doesn’t know how to do that. We will move through it quickly (skipping things that she already knows), and I won’t expect her to read the readers… she’ll read what she wants. G&B LA levels are not grade level so it’s totally fine. She’ll be doing this level with me as it’s not independent until level 4. I just love The Good and the Beautiful. We are using the language arts, a creative writing notebook (I got the pdf for free), handwriting (cursive), some science (in addition to Nature studies and some Apologia), and next year we will probably use the history. We’ll see.
I’m so thankful that I’m finally feeling content with doing what is best for each child, that I’m not doing what other people say just based on how it works for their family, and that I’m doing less expensive curriculum. It’ll save us lots of money in the future. And I think in the meantime Karis will feel more confident and successful.
I am really confident about this year.
It has been a long time since I’ve written a Grati-Tuesday post so I thought I would do that today.
I have been struggling for so long that I have forgotten to be grateful. In fact, at one time I wrote “Gratefuls” to my sponsor every day and I haven’t been doing it much at all lately. I need to get back into the habit of gratitude.
My wonderful hubby.
My beautiful kiddos.
Our view and rainbow (second one recently).
Girl time with Karis eating homemade pizza and watching Gilmore Girls. This will happen more often now that it’ll just be the two of us during the day. She’s excited!
Having summer staff (and one full time staff) over for a big breakfast a few days ago :-).
Date night in of steak dinner with Robert thanks to my mom buying the steaks.
We played games and watched a movie :-).
My Happy Planner and seasonal stickers, my household notebook, pumpkin spice candle in a fun mason jar, and coffee with pumpkin spice creamer in it (NO, it’s not too early… see header picture! haha).
The kids played store for HOURS this morning. I love that they spent so much time without electronics by choice!
Then they played with friends. I love that they have great friends that are like family here. I also love that Robert and I have great friends that are like family here. We are so blessed to be here. This is the only picture I took.
Tonight Karis has her two good friends coming over and the boys are going to our neighbors’ house. We will be making dessert and watching a movie.
My anxiety breathing issue has been so much better since Sunday. I don’t want to get my hopes up, though, because it could come back.
On a similar note, I don’t feel 100% because I still have a cough. I called Teladoc and the doc told me that I have a viral cough and they just last a long time. There’s not much that can be done for it… She gave me 3 days’ worth of cough medicine (they can only treat for a few days and if it lasts longer they tell you to see your doctor), and she told me to drink honey and lemon in warm water and use a humidifier (which I don’t have, but I might get one Friday if I decide not to go to my doctor).
Robert and I spent all afternoon/evening Sunday cleaning the kids’ rooms, cleaning the house, doing laundry, and prepping food for the week. We took the boys separate beds and put them back into a bunk bed (their request) and deep cleaned their room. It took hours. It was so bad. The goal is to make them clean after they play now.
I made Italian coffee cake, peanut butter pies, peanut butter chocolate protein steel cut oats (recipe to come!), cut veggies for snacks and meals, boiled eggs, made chicken salad, and cut summer sausage and cheese. Robert helped with a few things.
Fall is coming soon which means ROUTINE! In 2 weeks (from tomorrow!) the boys will be going back to school and Karis will start homeschool. Friday we are buying school supplies. The boys are super excited! Levi will be taking his lunch and Ethan wants to eat lunch there most days (they get free lunch… everyone at that school does).
I meant to do some school planning today but it just didn’t happen. I have time, and I don’t have much to do :-). I pretty much just need to update the schedule/checklist that I made for Karis.
Karis will be staying home alone (with neighbor’s on call for emergencies) on some Mondays or Wednesdays that I go to town for AA and/or counseling. I plan to go once a week either of those days. Robert will be off 2 out of 3 Mondays pretty soon so it’ll most likely happen on a Monday. We’ll see how it goes. I’m going to give her a chance :-). The beauty of living here at camp is that there are people everywhere to help out! And this is a safe place.
Things are looking up :-).
One of my best friends spent some time Monday sharing a bunch of links with me about hyperventilation syndrome (also called disordered breathing or over-breathing). I didn’t read all of the links, but I found a few really helpful ones that made me feel like I’m not just making this up.
From Breathing Works:
“Disordered breathing occurs when upper chest breathing, usually at a faster rate and through the mouth, becomes the dominant pattern of breathing. Disordered breathing can also include big sighs, yawning, breath holding, feelings of breathlessness, or feeling unable to take a good breath in or out. Over time, disordered breathing can cause a large variety of symptoms including dizziness, anxiety, pins and needles, chest pain or tension, blurred vision, feeling easily overwhelmed, and constantly on edge.”
“How do I know if I am over-breathing? You may not be aware that your breathing is wrong or you may be aware of some, or even all, of the following most commonly experienced symptoms:
(I have most of these, though some of them aren’t constant.)
- Frequent sighing and yawning
- Feeling breathless, even after relatively minor exercise
- Difficulty co-ordinating breathing and talking and/or eating
- Breathless when anxious or upset
- Pins and needles in hands/arms/around mouth
- Feeling permanently exhausted and unable to concentrate for no apparent reason
- Throat symptoms (I clear my throat constantly)
- Muscular aches and tension around the neck/shoulders/jaw
- Bloated feeling in the stomach
- Light headedness
What causes these symptoms?
When we over-breathe we eliminate large quantities of carbon dioxide on every out breath.
This causes a chemical imbalance affecting many of the body’s systems. The results can be extremely unpleasant and frightening, causing us to become anxious. This can further upset our breathing pattern and a vicious circle develops.
You may be well aware of a particular event or experience that triggers your over-breathing, although this is not always the case. Possible triggers include bereavement, anxieties at work or home, altered breathing due to chest disease, (e.g. asthma) or following surgery.
(My trigger was anxiety)
How can I help myself?
Become aware of the way you breathe…
and how it may vary in certain situations. By learning to control the rate and depth of your breathing, i.e. retraining:
Learn to nose breathe.
Try to stop yawning and sighing.
Focus your breathing gently into your abdomen, avoiding excessive upper chest movement.
Become aware of your posture and learn to recognise areas of tension in your body.
This can be a good way of increasing your general feeling of well-being and self-confidence. If exercising is particularly difficult, discuss this with your physiotherapist.
(Exercise makes it worse right now but I think I’m going to try yoga.)
Variations in your blood sugar levels can contribute to your symptoms, so:
Avoid large meals, particularly late at night.
Take healthy snacks between meals”
(I’m working on this. I’m not always consistent with my eating.)
I read somewhere else (can’t remember where) that reflux is a symptom, and I’ve been struggling with that as well. Papaya enzymes are my friend! I tried them Monday night, and they worked almost right away.
More Natural Ways that I’m Working on my Anxiety
Meditation and Breathing Training
I have two great apps that have worked really well for me. I wrote about the meditation one before (Meditation Studio), but my friend shared a different one with me yesterday and it made a HUGE difference just using it a couple of times!
The app is called Breathing Zone. It’s really simple. It just has you breathe in and out in different amounts and times. It completely reset my breathing. Then I struggled again, then I started focusing on breathing through my nose only. I have also been meditating when I first go to bed.
I took a picture today of myself before I started my breathing re-training while resting this afternoon. I look kind of a mess (no makeup, hair everywhere, and zits), but I’m just thankful that I have these resources! They have helped so much!
I received these essential oils from a friend yesterday, and I was floored. She bought me 11 oils and some Stress Away bath bombs. I totally don’t feel deserving of this. Young Living EO’s are NOT cheap. I’m praying that they help me!!!
I no longer have a diffuser, so I ordered a pretty inexpensive one off Amazon. Hopefully it works okay. Diffusers from Young Living are at least $60 and this one was only $20! It looks promising. I will probably buy another one in a few weeks to have one in the living room and one on my desk in my bedroom. We’ll see.
I used to be anti-oils but I have decided that I am willing to try anything and my friend is helping me out SO much with this so I will try all of my options!
I take a lot of meds (Buspirone, Lexapro, small dose of Lithium, Lamtictal, small dose of Risperdol, Propranolol, and Gabapentin), but I’m actually hoping to reduce soon because my doctor and I feel that I’m on too much (which I think has been causing me more anxiety). I will always have to take meds, but less would be better.
I recently shared about all of the supplements that I take (Rescue Remedy as needed, Magnesium, Vitamin D3, Cod Liver Oil, Probiotics), but I have recently added 5HTP with Melatonin at bedtime and Vitamin B Complex.
I also ordered Epsom salt to use with essential oils in baths consistently. I bought a “Sport” one because it was $5 cheaper ($10 instead of $15 for 5lbs)! If I find that I’m going through a lot, I will buy a 19lb bag because it’s so much cheaper. We’ll see.
When I was really struggling a few days ago my counselor suggested I try acupuncture. I have never been open to that before in the past, but I was desperate and I made an appointment at a place called Kerrville Community Acupuncture.
I ended up canceling the appointment when I noticed that they breathing re-training was WORKING. It is always a fall back, though, if my anxiety gets bad again or if it just doesn’t settle down long-term. The acupuncture does a lot of good things so it would never be bad to do. I just don’t want to spend the money now (although she is pretty inexpensive with a sliding scale!).
Bible Study, Journaling, Prayer, Worship
This is the most important one. I have been struggling so much spiritually and I talked with one of my best friends a few weeks ago about not totally trusting God because He allows such bad things to happen. In the midst of my suffering with the breathing issue (it’s TERRIBLE you guys) and having to put the boys back into school (again), plus thinking about the gruesome suicide of my brother and mine and my brother’s mental illness in general, I was just low. She was amazing and shared lots of scripture with me, but I just couldn’t hear it.
The past few days I have been reading from an app called the First 5, and the study is on suffering. It’s so perfect and exactly what I need to be reading right now. It has you read a chapter out of scripture (starting with Job, and I read out of my study Bible with commentary), then there is a devotional to follow and an open-ended question that it asks at the end where you can type your answer right into it. I am also using my Quieting Your Heart journal that I’ve shared before in the past.
Then I spent some time listening to worship music (which I haven’t been doing as much lately) and it was so perfect for my heart. I could “hear” God speaking to me again for the first time in a long time. I could feel His love. I felt hope. It’s been a while since I have felt hope.
The Holy Spirit spoke to me today, and He comforted me and was my counselor. I have needed that for a long time. Years. I am convinced that I need to trust Him to be that for me more often.
Speaking of… I decided to pull out a book that has been on my bookshelf for like 8 years. I read a couple of chapters when I got it but never finished it. I totally forgot what I read those 8 years ago. It’s called Forgotten God and it’s by Francis Chan. I started reading it again today and it spoke so clearly to me. I’m looking forward to actually reading it all the way through this time :-).
I’m keeping most things off of my plate right now.
My new focus is my relationship with Jesus, my family and friends, keeping my anxiety low, going to AA (and staying sober), homeschooling Karis, and “healthy” habits that I have been doing for a long time (including gratitude, meal planning, meal prep, self care, keeping the house mostly clean, and one that I have been working on for about 5 months but still have a long way to go… self love). That is all I can handle at the moment. And honestly it’s a lot! What keeps triggering my anxiety is trying to do too much (all of that PLUS a movement habit, still feeling the need to focus on weight loss, planning other Balance 365 habits, planning a backpacking trip that I’m not ready for, homeschooling all of the kids which is the biggest thing, etc), so I will NOT make that mistake again, for a while at least ;-). Now if I can keep my perfectionist brain away!
When I started feeling better with-in a day of telling the boys that they would be going back to school I thought that was IT! I wouldn’t struggle with hyperventilation syndrome (HVS) again. To my disappointment, Friday night, I started … Continue reading
I thought I would give a little bit of an update on things.
I am night and day better from where I was this time last week.
I have settled into the idea that I will only be homeschooling Karis, and I’ve learned to be good with that. She does better at home, she is mostly independent, and she is fun to work with. There is no stress or anxiety involved in it. I’m looking forward to digging into things with her. And we have a good relationship and she’s now a pre-teener so this is good for us. I plan to really dive into stuff with her and learn along side her. And on the days that I don’t feel up to it, she is capable of doing everything on her own!
I hope to do Poetry Teatime every Friday with the girls at the camp. It will be so fun.
The boys are so excited about going back to school, and honestly they do really well in school. I’ve talked with their teachers from this past year (one emailed me and one I emailed first), and they are so happy that they will be back. They were so encouraging and positive. The boys will learn and grow at school. We will have a regular routine/schedule every day which will be good for my anxiety and good for my Ethan’s anxiety as well. He needs that routine.
I plan to still do some nature studies with all of the kids. We will try to take a few “field trips” but not as many as when I would have had them home.
And I am happy to be able to focus on getting healthier mentally and physically. As you know, I have mental illness, and I also went to rehab last fall for alcoholism (which is a mental illness as well). I need to be able to focus on keeping myself healthy and sober. In addition, I’m trying to get back to health physically (using the Balance 365 program) because I haven’t been doing too well there, either. So I guess this is just a season of health for me. Maybe once I’m healthier, I can bring my boys back home (if that’s God’s plan). It’ll probably be a while if that does happen. In the meantime I’m happy about playing with the kids until the boys’ school starts on August 23rd. We were going to start school next week. And I’m looking forward to doing some back-to-school shopping and all of that.
Family camp this week has been pretty great so far. We have 2 more full days, then we leave on Saturday. I haven’t felt good the whole time, though, because of my cough and constant nausea. I’m also really tired all the time. So I’ve just been resting as much as I can. We have done 1-2 activities per day and played in the game room a lot. We have had great meals, fun themed nights, and I’ve enjoyed time with friends. We have been gone from home for a full week already, which is hard for me because I’m a homebody and an introvert. I’m making it, though, and am trying to just enjoy the time that I have with my family all together! It is a blessing to have this opportunity.
Here are some pictures of our week so far:
I actually did the Cross Bows!
The kids love the foam pit, but not as much as last year.
Family devotionals and outdoor worship
RC Cars were fun!
Patriotic night ended up being indoors.
Drift Ball ended in some minor injuries.
Tonight is Luau night.
The next two days are packed full of fun activities. Paint war, lake front, date night, hiking, more RC cars, kickball game, dessert, and a dance.
Bare with me… I’m foggy-headed because my doctor increased one of my meds and it’s too much. I was taking 800mg at night before bed and she changed it to 400mg, 3 times per day. I just can’t keep doing this. Also, I still have a cough AND my breathing still isn’t 100% (but still much better than it was). I’m just not feeling great.
Robert, Karis, Ethan, and my father-in-law went for a drive in the Jeep around the mountain here in New Mexico where we’re staying. I just woke up from another nap, but I feel the need to get things out of my head, so here I am.
I woke up this morning (after 12 hours of broken sleep and lots of dreams) feeling really sad that my anxiety/mental illness doesn’t allow me to homeschool all of my kids. I hate my brain and hate that I don’t get to live out my dream because of it. I’m also sad that the boys are really excited about staying in school. It’s totally selfish, but yeah. I guess I’m going to have to grieve this. I’m totally hoping that I will be able to homeschool them next year, but I just don’t know. Every single time I’ve tried to homeschool them I have had terrible anxiety or depression. I want to be content with just homeschooling Karis (just homeschooling her brings joy but not anxiety). She needs to be homeschooled. And I have just enough mental ability to do that. But I just want to be a “homeschooling family.” Maybe that’s just not God’s plan. I don’t understand why I would have such a strong desire for something that I can’t do. I guess it’s just *my* dream but not reality for our family.
The more and more I think about it, I’m realizing that maybe I am just in love with the idea of homeschooling all of the kids and the philosophies that I have adopted or that I want to adopt. And I feel like I’m a better mom if I homeschool all of my kids and live out those philosophies. This makes me take a deep breath and a huge step back.
What does that mean for me and all the other moms out there that can’t live out the “ideal?”
We all just do the best we can. Each child has a different need. Each mom has a different need. Each family has a different circumstance.
Things may not look the way I want them to, but they will be the way they need to be for the health of our family.
I’m a list maker, so here are some of the benefits of having the boys in school:
- Routine/schedule (which is actually really good for my anxiety)
- The ability to teach just Karis (and she is super independent so she will be easy)
- Very little pressure on me to be their sole educator
- The ability to go to counseling and AA more often
- Being able to focus on my self care
- The boys will be with other kids, and they are both extroverts
- They loved school this past year
- Class parties, field trips, field day
- Being involved in the community again
- Saving money (not spending a fortune on curriculum, homeschooling supplies, books, etc and being able to sell a bit)
The boys are happy that they don’t start school till August 23rd so they have a lot of summer left. With homeschooling, we were starting a full load when we got back from Glorieta! I see several more weeks of relaxation ahead!
I’ll write my plans for enrichment for the boys and for Karis soon!
Wow. This week has been hard and crazy and good all at once.
It started out really rough.
I went to counseling on Monday, thanks to my neighbor watching my kids. The meeting with her went really well, but my breathing/anxiety was really bad. The way home it got worse and worse and when I got home I couldn’t breathe at all and just had a really bad panic attack. And Robert worked late. And Levi screamed at me (this doesn’t happen… he was just really mad about something). Kids kept coming in and out even though I told them not to (my kids kept inviting them back in, haha). When Robert got home I just cried and cried. It got a little bit better after that, but I was still struggling.
Tuesday I woke up still feeling really bad. I called my doc’s office and they told me to come in that very day. So, Karis and I made the long trek to San Antonio (2 hours one way) while Robert had the boys with him at work.
My doctor didn’t really know what to do. She had never heard of Hyperventilation Syndrome and when she did some research she said she didn’t want to officially diagnose it without further testing. But she told me that since I was about to go out of town we could try a few med adjustments and see if it helps.
On the way there I came to some big conclusions. I realized that I had a feeling what was causing this. It all started about the time that I told the boys that I would be homeschooling them. And I have been obsessing about it because I’ve been trying to find a way to do it without taking much time each day, but still covering everything we needed to cover. So yet again I was obsessing about curriculum and methods. And I literally just COULD NOT turn it off. No matter how hard I tried. Homeschooling was all I thought about and all I talked about. With family, friends, and even my counselor. And of course here on the blog. And on Facebook. I was constantly reading books, watching YouTube videos, reading blogs, following people on Instagram… the list goes on and on.
I called Robert while in San Antonio, and talked to him about it. He was in agreement immediately. And the more I talked to him the more I realized how relieved he was that I came to that conclusion. He wanted to keep them in school all along. So, we decided to keep the boys in school. Maybe just this year, maybe longer. We’ll just take it a year at a time. Now. I will keep Karis home. She needs to be home. She has bad social anxiety and was crying every day at school. She ended up with a physical condition from it. She’s doing well at home, she’s mostly independent, and she is thriving. I also don’t want to put her in junior high in Rocksprings. It’s kind of rough.
Unfortunately the breathing issue didn’t resolve right away. It got somewhat better, but not 100%. And yesterday it was actually pretty rough. Until. I told Robert that I really felt like we needed to tell the boys for me to get better (he wanted to wait). The anticipation was killing me. I’m not good at keeping secrets, so that was killing me. I needed to get it out. So yesterday while we were driving to New Mexico (we’re here visiting my in-laws, then for Family Camp starting Sunday), I told the boys. Levi was excited immediately. He had actually brought his class picture with him on vacation :-). He misses his friends. Ethan, on the other hand, was pretty upset at first (I expected that). He is nervous about testing (state testing starts in third grade). And honestly I’m nervous about that for him, too, because he struggles with reading and math. But the more he thought about it and talked about it, the more excited he got. Then I told him that it may just be this year, but we’ll see. He told me that he wants to go to fourth and fifth grade there. The testing gets more and more difficult in fourth and fifth grades so I’m not sure that I want that for him. We’ll just see how he does. I really don’t think that I will put them in junior high, but I don’t want to plan that far out because things NEVER go as planned anyway.
Almost immediately after telling the boys (with-in a couple of hours), my anxiety got better and my breathing got better. I guess I just needed that closure. The only thing lingering is a dry cough. But as annoying as that is, I’ll take that over the anxiety breathing issue.
If this cough gets under control I will truly have a week and a half that I can just enjoy with my family here at Glorieta. I am taking cough medicine and it helps some, but it’s still not great.
I’m sooooo thankful that God made the issue so clear on that drive to my doc. I just wish I had figured it out sooner. Well. I think I knew, but I was stuffing it down, trying to ignore it. I wanted to homeschool the boys. And honestly I’m kind of sad, but since I feel better, it’s totally worth it! That was miserable!
This is a picture of Levi holding his class picture from this past year. He was missing his friends so much that he wanted to “bring them along.” He was so proud :-).
I’m happy for the kids… happy that the boys get to stay at school, happy that Karis will get to stay home and by herself. And I’m happy for me that I will get to focus on self care. I just don’t have it in me to homeschool all of the kids right now. Who knows if I ever will. But in the meantime I need to get more stable mentally. So that’s my goal!
Oh. And I’m also happy that I will get to go to town once a week and bring Karis along (when Robert is working). AA and counseling will happen more often now :-). Which is part of my self care.
“Hyperventilation syndrome (HVS); also chronic hyperventilation syndrome (CHVS) and dysfunctional breathing hyperventilation syndrome is a respiratory disorder, psychologically or physiologically based, involving breathing too deeply or too rapidly (hyperventilation). HVS may present with chest pain and a tingling sensation in the fingertips and around the mouth (paresthesia) and may accompany a panic attack.
People with HVS may feel that they cannot get enough air. In reality, they have about the same oxygenation in the arterial blood (normal values are about 98% for hemoglobin saturation) and too little carbon dioxide(hypocapnia) in their blood and other tissues.”
I’ve had this twice before, lasting 3 months and 1 month. This time it has lasted about 1 month so far (though it has been more off and on this time).
I’m thankful for my hubby. I have spent a lot of time trying to figure out WHY I’m anxious. I’ve been thinking that there has to be a reason, and it must be my fault. I must have done something to cause it. But he reminded me that I have generalized anxiety disorder and it’s a chemical imbalance. I will have anxiety just because. I don’t have to have a reason, and it’s definitely not my fault. I can do things to help, and I am being proactive. Tomorrow I’ll be getting blood work done, going to AA, and going to counseling. I’ll see my doctor in about a month. I’ll be taking some supplements as soon as I receive them from Amazon. Last night I meditated twice and that helped. I use these apps:
I’m also happy that I have continued to be present with my family despite this, and we have done lots of fun things! Poetry Teatime, I cooked a big dinner last night, we made Oobleck and homemade playdough yesterday, Levi and I played several games the other day, the kids have been crafting like crazy in our new craft/reading room, and last night we did independent reading as a family and Robert read aloud to the kids. All of this helps a ton because I’m not as focused on the anxiety (it’s still there while I’m doing all of this, but I’m not thinking about it as much).
I feel like this hyperventilation syndrome will last forever but Sue in my Parenting with Anxiety group reminded me a while back that it won’t. It just feels like it.
Like my counselor says, “feelings aren’t facts.” And what I say to myself matters!
Now on to supplements…
I have these supplements: Melatonin (I take these every night), B12, Cod liver oil, Garden of Life Vitamin Code, and Garden of Life Probiotics.
I ordered Vitamin D3.
I ordered Calm Magnesium but then found out that it isn’t absorbed well into the system and it tastes gross (it’s a powder that you mix with water), so I’ll be sending it back. My best friend ordered me some magnesium glycinate, which is the highest absorbed into the system, and it’s a tablet! I’m so thankful for her (I had found out about the Calm after it was too late to cancel and I am out of money for supplements… this is my birthday present from her!).
I did order Rescue Remedy candies (along with the Calm). These are alcohol free.
I will order a Super B complex when I run out of my B12 and Vitamin Code. I will probably also order some epsom salt because I’ve read and heard that it’s good for anxiety (it is magnesium!).
I listen to my Serenity Spa Music often during the day and especially at night, then switch to ocean sounds (white noise app) to sleep (I have done this for a long time).
Robert and I have decided that we will work on becoming caffeine free again. My counselor told me to do this a while back. We were almost there, then I started increasing my caffeine more and more and now I drink a lot of caffeine again.
Along those same lines, I’m going to switch from Coke Zero to only sparkling water (over time).
I also need to get back to being outside more. I can’t do major hikes because when I get out of breath it makes things harder for me, but walks are good.
I also pray a lot, but I struggle with this because I am kind of frustrated that God would allow me to suffer with anxiety so badly. I feel like my prayers are going unanswered.
Last night right before our reading time, it rained (for the first time in a long time), and I saw this beautiful rainbow out of my back windows/door.
It was a great reminder that God is with me. Even in the moments when I don’t understand why He allows things to happen, I can trust that He will use it for His glory.
The last 2 times this happened I took a LOT of Xanax. My previous doctor gave me 120 tablets at once and told me to take it every 4 hours! And he knew that I drank a lot because I told him and he did urine tests! Drinking and Xanax aren’t options anymore so I’m praying that the natural remedies and things will work!
So I’m sitting here on my back porch just feeling terrible… hyperventilation syndrome, chest hurts, cough, tingly hands and feet, foggy brain. Just bad. And since I’m struggling with the breathing thing, yet again, my mind goes to “fix it” mode. What’s wrong with me this time? What can *I* do to make myself feel better? It has to be anxiety, why am I anxious?
My blog is usually my way to process through things, so I’m going to use it to try to find some relief. And if I can’t, I’ll just go to bed early and do some meditation.
I started Monday out excited. I found a blog called Blissful Britt that is basically who I used to be and who I want to be all wrapped up in one. She’s a coffee lover, hiker, runner, foodie, and blogger. She’s not married and she doesn’t have kids (at least not from what I can tell), so there’s that. Obviously our lives look a lot different, but I can do what I want out of those things to be who I want to be! It’s a choice that I make, right?
Robert seemed very excited because he was happy to see me excited about the outdoors again. He really feels that being outside more will make a huge difference for my anxiety. And for the most part he’s right. I’m sitting on my porch and while I feel pretty terrible still, I can breathe a little bit better. Unfortunately, though, that is what caused my breathing issue Monday night. I went for an hour long hike and started to struggle, and it just never got better.
So now I’m wondering if maybe I’m trying to be someone I’m just not anymore… or maybe someone I can’t be right now at least.
This is who I want to be:
- A person who is outside often and does all the nature-y things with her family.
- Someone who backpacks regularly.
- Someone who cooks and bakes often (and does a good job).
- A homeschool mom who has a relaxed way of doing things and just enjoys being with the kids. A Charlotte Mason homeschooling family (I LOVE her work).
- A sober person with the ability to encourage those who are trying to be sober or are struggling (and sponsors others).
- Someone who uses her mental illness to help others.
- Someone who loves Jesus and that is evident in her life.
- Someone who can let the house go a little. Someone who can let go of organization a little and just live.
- A good writer.
- A mom with a lot of grace.
- Someone who practices regular hospitality.
- Someone who makes health priority, but doesn’t obsess over it or make it the focus.
- Someone who is content with who she is.
- Someone who doesn’t feel the need to live up to anything (in life, in homeschooling, in appearance, etc).
- Someone who can just enjoy the moments as they come and not be so serious all the time (I want to be joyful!)
Oh, and then I actually considered trying to start “living naturally” again yesterday. Like, go back to the no BPA, no paper, natural products, homemade cleaners, all homemade foods, organic, grass fed, herbal supplements, blah blah blah that I let go of a long time ago! Maybe that’s what also caused my anxiety yesterday. Some is good, but 100% is NOT healthy for me! (this is me, the black and white thinker here)
So now I’m trying to decide if I should make decisions based on these things (like a mission statement), or if that’s too much? Am I causing anxiety by expecting too much from myself? Maybe I just need to be okay with “enough.”
This is who I am (now):
- I like to sit on the porch daily to blog or read but I don’t go for hikes as often as I would like (1-2 times a week). The kids and I do nature walks/studies once a week. We have plans for camping in the fall.
- Robert and I go backpacking once or twice a year. (I may not be able to go in August like we have planned if I don’t start feeling better, but I’m hoping to feel better, and there’s always next time)
- I cook and bake often :-). I love using recipes, coming up with recipes, and tweaking recipes. I like to bake bread, pizza crust, muffins, cookies, etc. I love to cook new things for dinner. I have been branching out more lately.
- I am a homeschool mom that is learning to relax and enjoy spending time with her kids using mostly a Charlotte Mason method. I am also learning to throw off stuff that is heavy and doesn’t serve me well (I’m simplifying even more than what I had written on my last blog about curriculum).
- I AM a sober alcoholic that does my best to encourage others when the opportunity presents itself, but I don’t sponsor like I would like to (and should) because I live so far from town!
- I am very open about my sobriety and mental illnesses and I have a small group where people can share their needs. I hope that my blog helps people. It’s hard to know, though. I don’t have many followers/readers/commenters.
- I do love Jesus but I often wonder if it’s evident in my life because my mental illness overshadows it. I’m working on growing this relationship, but it’s going to take a while because I have been running away (not really intentionally, but through my mental illness and addiction).
- I definitely struggle to let the house or organization go. I spend more time organizing than I actually spend using the organization. And I’m constantly cleaning or yelling at my kids to clean. That was the source of major anxiety yesterday (we spent HOURS cleaning and a lot of that was me yelling at the boys to clean!).
- I don’t have as much grace with my kids as I would like to have, but I’m hoping I will get there one day. Most of the time I’m doing much better than I did when they were smaller, but I have my days (I guess we all do… maybe I need to give myself that grace… maybe that’s the conclusion to all of this…).
- I am learning to practice hospitality, but it does bring me anxiety and that makes me sad :-(. Friday through Monday we had people over 3 times! I really only had anxiety one of those days (Friday night).
- I’m working on the health thing, one habit at a time. I’m probably not going to go back to the natural/organic thing because I’ve begun to see that natural/organic isn’t what makes something healthy… it’s the nutrients in things that makes them healthy. And slow, habit change is what’s sustainable (I have never been able to do a diet more than 3 months max).
- I’m working on being joyful but it’s really hard when I can’t breathe right. So that’s going to be a one moment at a time kind of thing.
Maybe I’m closer to who I want to be than I thought. I have a really hard time “just living life” and being content with things. I have had so much change over the years that I am always expecting something to change. Or that we will have to do something differently because of my mental illness (and then it will be all my fault). Thing is, I absolutely LOVE life (I’m pretty much living my dream)! I just hate anxiety!
I’m trying to remember that I am ME, and I don’t have to fit into some kind of box.
Well, after some time writing, I’m feeling somewhat better. But I do think I’m going to go to bed pretty soon and do some meditation.
Tomorrow is a new day. And I am going to town for AA, so that’ll help so much.