I am currently sitting on my parents’ huge porch, on a recliner, with a blanket, and enjoying the sounds around me. The sprinkle on the tin roof, the rooster crowing, the turkey talking, and I’m playing my worship music as … Continue reading
Being in a constant state of worship and adoration, service, gratitude, prayer, and confession are what set my heart on fire. Unfortunately my life has been just one struggle after another and my spirit has gotten lost in all of … Continue reading
I have pulled out my computer and sat there staring at the screen (or getting distracted by Facebook) so many times in the past month or so. We have so much going on and I have so much that I could share, but the words just aren’t coming when I sit down to write. I’m not sure why. I do know that I have spent MUCH less time on my computer lately and that’s a good thing. I used to sit on my computer all day, every day. Now I don’t have time for that, nor do I want to. Part of the reason why I don’t write as much (or sit at my computer as much) is that I used to drink and drink and drink and all I could do while doing that is sit. Also I have been so busy. Mostly in a good way!
The moment that I decided to put Karis back into school, my anxiety went away and my depression lifted. We didn’t even take much time to pray through it once I thought of it because 1) I knew that Robert wanted our kids to be in school, 2) I realized that my mental health went back down hill when I pulled Karis out, 3) Karis went backwards in many ways being home and I knew it would be best to teach her how to persevere even when things are hard (and she needed to be around kids her age).
Since we’ve made that decision, lots of things have hit us… broken arm, asthma attack that landed Ethan in the ER, lots of doctor appointments, bloodwork, lots of medicine, Ethan got strep (and ended up missing 4 days of school), counseling appointment for Karis… And I have been in either Rocksprings or Kerrville pretty much every single day (with a day off here or there). I have also tried to go to AA twice a week but it hasn’t happened as much as I would like (I definitely go once at least).
But do you know what hasn’t changed through all of this craziness? My joy. I may be tired. I may be somewhat stressed. Karis has cried a lot (as we’ve been walking her through things). Levi has been in trouble a lot at school this year (and we’re working with his teacher and doctor to figure out how to handle this). But I haven’t regretted anything. I haven’t felt guilty. I haven’t tried to make something happen that wasn’t supposed to happen (which is how I ended up homeschooling off and on so much over the years). I haven’t made things to be my fault when they weren’t (like putting Karis in school or Levi getting in trouble). I’m just truly living each day. One day at a time. To its fullest. I’m more comfortable in my skin. I have spent a lot of one-on-one time with my kids. Karis and Ethan are doing choir. The house stays mostly clean (except this week because the kids are home, and that’s okay!). Robert and I work together. I focus a LOT on self care because that is what keeps me going. Life is just good. But I don’t take it for granted. With my history and my mental illnesses (and being an alcoholic), I truly have to take it one second, one minute, one hour, and one day at a time. And I’m finally in a place in which I can do that.
So on this beautiful Thanksgiving, I have so much to be thankful for.
It has been literally years since I felt this kind of peace and joy for more than a few days, and especially through stress and difficulty.
My family and friends are amazing, I’m learning to love myself as God has made me to be (and I’m realizing what my true calling is), Jesus loves me and I love Him, we love Camp Eagle and are so blessed to be a part of this family, we have all of our needs met (even when we don’t know how things will work out, they always do), I’m thankful for AA and what it has done in my life (and continues to), I’m so thankful for the Healthy Habits Happy Moms community (and Balance 365 program) that has helped me see myself in a completely different light, and I’m thankful for all the little things that bring me joy each day… music, flowers, coffee, Christmas lights, candles, a hike, spending time with my friends and family, playing games, cleaning, coloring, drawing… the list could go on and on. I am who I am today because of who God is, my family and friends, and through the difficult of the past several years.
The past 2 weeks have been long and stressful and amazing. I was in town 10 times in those 2 weeks (either Kerrville or Rocksprings). Karis broke her arm and we went to urgent care on Monday the 9th, Karis started school on the 10th, choir was on the 11th, we went to the orthopedic doctor on the 12th, the 14th we went to Wild Seed Farms and Robert and I had a date day (amazing day!!!!!), the 15th we went to the Alumni meeting at La Hacienda and I got my 1 year chip (and we picked up the kids), the 16th I went to AA (and Robert took Ethan to the ER that night for asthma), the 17th I went to town to get Ethan’s steroid med filled, the 18th was choir, the 19th Karis met with her partner for science fair at the library, and Friday Ethan and I went to the doc for a follow up and we got groceries. The urgent care, ER, and doctors were not good (well, the docs and stuff were great but having to go wasn’t good), but the rest was! And I’m really starting to feel better. I’m having a few physical symptoms that I’m not sure about, but I’m still just taking it one day at a time. I might go back to the doctor eventually. It’s nothing extreme. And tomorrow I will see my psychiatrist. That’ll be good! I don’t think I really need to make any changes. I feel like things are going better and while I do have anxiety still, I don’t want to take more meds and I think it’s just something I have to live with. I’ve learned a lot of coping skills and put those into place when I’m struggling. Things are going well for the first time in a long time!
Tuesday we had “HAF (Home Away From) Homes.” This is time with our gap year students (well, 3 of them). We share with our neighbors who we love deeply. It’s such a sweet time!
Friday was so fun. I had an entire day with Ethan. The appointment with the doctor went super well. We got all of his asthma meds refilled and we’re going to focus on getting him completely stable in that area. He got a flu shot. Then we got donuts and got some blood work done to see what he’s allergic to. We got groceries (I spent very little and am so proud of myself!) and we got Halloween costumes. Then went to eat at a Chinese restaurant (Ethan’s choice).
This past weekend was so productive.
Saturday I cleaned the house nearly spotless. It has been a long time coming! I have just been having the kids clean it and obviously that means that things weren’t being cleaned super well. So I deep cleaned the bathrooms. I cleaned the floors. I cleaned and organized my bedroom (desperately needed to be done… I had piles everywhere). I got caught up on laundry. Washed some sheets (I need to finish that this week), and washed towels and bathroom mats. The kids cleaned their rooms (not spotless, but good enough for now). I did the dishes and cleaned the kitchen.
After the kids cleaned, they enjoyed time with their friends and Levi enjoyed time reading fall and Halloween books that I pulled out :-). At the end of the day we watched a movie as a family (Spiderwick Chronicles… so good!).
Sunday I did a bunch of food prep! Mini whole wheat pumpkin banana muffins. Homemade whole wheat bread (though it didn’t rise real well). I made lunches for 4 days. I bagged snacks. Cut cantaloupe. Cut veggies for the veggie tray. Froze pumpkin in candy molds for smoothies.
The kids were out playing with friends this whole time. The boys went fishing in the river. Karis played with her friends. I love that they have each other!
Robert worked, then he had to go pick up the camp jeep because it broke down.
At the end of the day I did a quick pick up of the house, finished the dishes, set the coffee up for the next day, signed the kids folders, and did a little bit of spot sweeping. I went to bed exhausted and fell asleep pretty quickly! It was so great!
I really think having all three kids in school is the best for our family. I feel so much better mentally/emotionally. The kids are thriving. Karis is actually doing so much better this time. She feels somewhat stressed, but she’s handling it very well. I encourage her constantly and she has amazing teachers. She’s making A’s and B’s! A 100 in science and even an 86 in math! This is HUGE, especially since she came in late in the school year. Also, she’s doing well writing with her left hand since her write arm has a cast on it!
Yesterday I went to AA (always amazing!), then I had a nice lunch on the patio of Chili’s afterwards. Then Walmart, then home! We had dinner with friends last night. It was so amazing!
I always get my Sonic Coke Zero with lime before AA. And there’s a dollar there because they take up donations to pay for the fee for using the building, material, etc. That’s my AA Big Book. We read “How It Works” last week and this week. It’s my favorite chapter in the book. It tells you how to work the 12 steps.
The burger was a Smokehouse Cheeseburger. It had a special sauce, crumbled bacon, 2 amazing onion rings, and all the veggies. It was so amazing, and of course I love their fries.
Today I’m hosting ladies’ Bible study here. It’s always a sweet time of fellowship.
Life is good!! Praise God for this!!
I used to blog every day and now every time I sit at my computer to blog the words don’t come. I have so much on my mind, and I just don’t know how to get it out these days. … Continue reading
It’s been a while since I’ve blogged. Truth is, I have been struggling (still).
I don’t know if it’s my thyroid (I just started meds for it) or the hydroxyzine that my psychiatrist put me on, but I’m just sleeping all of the time. Also my friend suggested that maybe I am depressed and I think that’s true, as well, to an extent. And my cough has been there still, which is so annoying. My doctor told me that it’s just allergies and gave me a nose spray and Tessalon Pearles. I’ve also been taking Mucinex DM. It helps some, but when it wears off, my cough comes back in full force. There’s also a chance that it could be viral.
I have had no desire to clean, I’ve struggled to be fully present for Karis; Robert has been doing dishes, dinner, and laundry when he gets home from work.
I’ve also been struggling deeply with obsession about alcohol. I had been doing sooooooo well until this week. It hasn’t left me alone. I went to Rocksprings Tuesday by myself and went to the store for a few things. I kept walking by the wine and staring at it. Remembering the wine that I used to drink, feeling the relief that I felt at the beginning of drinking it (not thinking of how bad I felt at the end of the day), and finding a wine that isn’t in a bottle that I could easily buy a bunch of and hide. I was feeling desperate. Luckily I walked away and texted my sponsor when I got home. I talked with Robert and he reminded me that I’m okay. I will be okay. I just need to take good care of myself. I wrote about it on Facebook for accountability (I know, most people don’t share about that on FB but I do).
I’ve been doing a lot of AA meetings on In The Rooms. I want to do more in person but it’s so hard with where we live. Honestly the online meetings are just as good! And I can do multiple a day if I need to.
I’m taking it one day at a time. I’ve read and heard that coming up on a year is really hard. I have a couple of friends that are struggling who I met in the treatment center.
An alcoholic is always an alcoholic. The possibility to drink is always there. All we can do is take it minute by minute and day by day. It has been pretty easy lately until this week so I’m hoping that it’ll get easy again.
I saw my doctor on Monday to discuss my blood work, symptoms, and my cough. She was so great… she was concerned, listened to me, and did a thorough exam. She came to the conclusion that my cough is most likely from allergies based on the fact that my lungs and heart sound great, and I have bad drainage. She gave me Tessalon Pearles and a nose spray to clear the drainage. So every day I take Mucinex DM, the Tessalon Pearles, the nose spray that she prescribed, and Flonase. I feel okay when I stay on top of all of this but when it wears off the cough comes back. And I have a slight cough even with all of that. The cough has lasted about 2 months so far and is wearing on me.
I told her about my symptoms and she said that with my TSH number and symptoms she is diagnosing me with hypothyroidism. She put me on Nature Throid which I was thankful for because I have had bad side effects from synthetic thyroid meds.
She also put me on cholesterol meds because I have been on it before and it worked with no side effects. It’s in my family so changing my diet and exercising did nothing in the past.
I’m on sooooo many meds and supplements.
Night meds and supplements
I have continued to end my day listening to Serenity Spa Music and lying next to my diffuser with essential oils. I take baths when needed. I meditate sometimes (though I don’t do this often enough).
I still feel so distant from God (I have talked about this in the past). I haven’t been leaning into Him like I want to. I miss Him. I do spend some time in worship and that’s helpful. We will be going back to church again in a few weeks, and I think that’ll help so much!
I have been asking Karis constantly if she would go back to school. I have been so worried that she will suffer because I am struggling. But she has begged me to stay home. I then considered the online public school, but I changed my mind after talking with people about it. It’s super difficult and intense. Plus she would still have to test, which is why she struggles so much in school as it is. So we have landed right where we were. She is pretty independent and helping her some actually helps me. It gives me some purpose and something positive to do. She has been doing well these past few weeks.
Anyway, this is a scattered update. I will hopefully come back with a more positive post next time, but this is life with mental illness (bipolar 2, depression, and severe anxiety), alcoholism, and now hypothyroidism (high cholesterol has no symptoms).
This has been an extremely busy weekend so far!!
The kids did most of the cleaning on Friday. I just did some touch up. I am so thankful that they can do that because I had so much cooking and food prep to do.
We had HAF (“home away from”) Homes Friday night with some summer staff. We had homemade carnitas, pinto beans, Spanish rice, homemade guacamole, banana pudding, and coconut oatmeal cookies. And sweet tea and hibiscus mint tea. So I was in the kitchen allllll afternoon and evening. It was so fun though!
The kids helped in the kitchen (well, Karis and Ethan).
The carnitas look pretty in the Instant Pot (one of these days I’ll get around to sharing the recipe!). We also had my favorite corn and wheat tortillas and Spanish rice made from a package (everything else was homemade… just not the rice). Robert makes the best homemade guacamole.
The summer staff and my kids played Mario Cart for a long time after dinner!
One thing that made me happy was when one of the summer staff told me that my home is very warm and peaceful. I have been told that before and that is always my goal! I want people to feel comfortable here.
That night I had a LOT of anxiety. I’m not even sure why, I just know that I had a hard time breathing. I have been much better since, though!
Yesterday I made some peanut butter pies, then got things ready to have people over again. We had a meet and greet last night for a prospective maintenance tech and his wife. It went so well! We all loved them!
Then I did a ton of prep work for the week!
I cut veggies for the week and took the grapes off the vine.
I made whole wheat pumpkin banana muffins (for the week) and pumpkin banana bread (for the meet and greet, and no one touched it…).
I had a piece of the bread and it was soooooo amazing. I know it’s a little early for pumpkin, but I get ready for fall super early since it’s my favorite season!
My neighbor gave me a sweet gift and card yesterday.
The candle is fall scented. It smells amazing! And I love the lotion and I needed some chapstick. The little booklet that she gave me has ways to handle issues with kids including the scripture to go with it. So cool! This gift meant SO much to me. I often feel like I’m annoying to others because of my anxiety so receiving a gift just encouraged me so much.
Today is going to be a nice, relaxing Self Care Sunday.
I’m writing this blog post and another one coming up. I’m planning to read. Maybe take a nap. I will do a little bit more prep including baking some bread (which I love doing), but not much else! I might also do one load of laundry.
This coming week is going to be pretty laid back. Tomorrow I am having some more summer staff over for dessert and coffee (my “Fruit Group,” which is some ladies).
The kids will continue to do their reading and math every day. I will keep up with the house by doing a load of laundry a day, having the kids do their chores, and tidying each day. We will do one hike/nature walk this week, probably in the evening with Robert again. It was so nice last week.
We leave on the 19th to visit my inlaws, then go to Family Camp at Glorieta in New Mexico (which is our yearly vacation)! I am beyond excited. I am not even that anxious about it this year because I’m not drinking anymore and I know what to expect! It’s a very fun and relaxing week! There will be arrow tag, hiking, mountain biking, nerf room, blacklight dodge ball, foam pit, ice cream, coffee shop, good food, putt putt golf, mountain scooters, drift trikes, 50’s night, western night, dances, a date night, white water rafting (if we can afford it, it’s an additional fee), waterfront, inflatables, naps, games, and most importantly worship! We will also have a counselor assigned to us! And a lot of our friends here at Camp Eagle are going too so we will get to have fun together!
OH! And today is 9 months sober!!!! This is HUGE! It feels like yesterday that I went into La Ha, but it’ll be a year before I know it. I am so much healthier than I was. I have grown so much over the past 9 months!
What are your plans this week?
Any plans for a vacation soon?
Yesterday was a fantastic day. Robert didn’t work. He’s not home often right now. There are so many projects going on here at camp. Things should slow down soon, and we are taking a few trips this summer.
We cleaned up the house, Robert worked on our Xterra a bit, then we went to town so Robert could buy some things for camp.
We went to Sonic for ice cream, went to the park (a new one that we hadn’t tried before), and went to a book store that we had never been to before.
The kids played on the little kid stuff at the park :-). Haha.
The book store that we went to gives 75% off the cover price if you bring a book to trade (I didn’t know this so I paid 50% off the cover price). You have to bring kid books to buy a kid book. But we have a lot that we won’t read. I think we’ll plan to let the kids pick out a book each time that we go into town. This will give them something to look forward to and maybe the boys will enjoy reading more (well, Levi enjoys it already but Ethan pretty much hates it). Levi started reading one of his Star Wars books right away and is several chapters in. It blows me away that he can read and comprehend books that are written for older kids. Karis actually struggled with reading until she got a little older (now she’s on like an 8th grade level). Ethan has always struggled (and still does). So for Levi to be in first grade (well, just finished) and able to read big chapter books blows me away. He’s also really good at math. And spelling. Things just come easy to him! I’m thankful!
I didn’t get Karis any books because she has a LOT of books that she loves (the boys don’t), and I just didn’t see any that she would enjoy.
We also got stuff for s’mores and hot dogs at Walmart.
When I went to Walmart to get the stuff for s’mores, I had to walk by the cases of beer (cause grilling, fires, s’mores, and beer all goes together). I looked closely at my Blue Moon that I used to drink. I had a fleeting thought of how nice it was when I could drink it and sometimes I miss it. But. I wouldn’t trade where I am today for what I felt like a year ago. I’ve had anxiety lately but it’s nothing like it was a year ago. I had hyperventilation syndrome and I couldn’t breathe right. I had restless legs a lot. I had terrible insomnia. I would wake up after the alcohol had worn off and couldn’t go back to sleep. Every. Single. Night. I tried everything to be able to sleep. I had an obsession and compulsion to drink and the more I had the more I wanted. It was never enough. I threw up multiple times a week (like I’ve mentioned before). The room spun every night, and I often passed out. Many, many times I woke up wondering if I had done anything that I shouldn’t have (looking at texts, FB messages, and fb posts). I also didn’t remember a lot. Being an alcoholic is ugly and embarrassing. There’s nothing glamorous about it. And statistics show that 15% of people are addicts/alcoholics so I know there are people reading this that are and don’t know it. Or they don’t want to admit it. You can have this freedom that I have with some work! I’m 228 days sober today and I take it one day at a time!
We ended the night with a fire in the fire ring. We roasted hot dogs and made s’mores. Some neighbor kiddos came and told camp fire stories. It was super cute. The kids had a blast.
Ethan told me yesterday that it was the best day of his life.
I would agree that it was a pretty good day.
This week has been a doozy.
Wednesday I got an email from Levi’s teacher that said:
“I’ve enjoyed him this year! I remember when he first came to school. He had trouble socializing with the kids, following routines, and remembering rules. Public school was a challenge . Now he fits in with the kids, has a lot of friends and does so well. We did a memory book of first grade and one page says “my best friend are”…… Levi was mentioned in all of the boys books and a couple of the girls. He is a star shining bright! Thank you for giving me the opportunity to spend this year with him!”
Then I found out that Ethan has been mean to another kid. His behavior has gotten worse since I told them they were homeschooling.
I felt anxiety for several days because of this. I thought that maybe they were better off in school.
Through anxiety this week I have learned a few things…
- It’s probably never going to go away so I need to stop assuming it will.
- I’m not causing it by decisions that I’ve made… I have it because I have an anxiety disorder.
- Learning to work THROUGH it instead of wishing it away will be the best thing for me in the long run.
- Giving myself grace is so important.
- I have this assumption that peace means that I’ve done good and anxiety means that I have done something bad.
- Anxiety comes and goes. It’s like waves.
- Prayer makes a huge difference, believe it or not.
- It’s normal to feel nervous about starting something new again (homeschooling), and I WILL have anxiety some days even though we know this is the right thing.
- I have spent so much time over the years changing decisions based on anxiety. If I felt anxiety, I would change my mind on something. Then when I would feel anxiety again, I would change my mind again. It has been a back-and-forth thing for as long as I can remember. I need to learn to stick with decisions even on the hard days (and there WILL be hard days).
Robert and I talked about how we decided to homeschool based on what is best for our family as a whole, not because they were struggling at school. It works so much better out here at camp.
I decided that no matter what, we need to stick with our decision. It wasn’t just me that made the decision, and I need to trust that God is working in Robert’s heart in this matter, too. The fact that he wants to homeschool now says a lot about this decision.
Yesterday the boys were saying that they want to go to school next year. They had an amazing week of not doing much school work, playing, and partying. They were saying that they will miss their friends and bus driver (really?!). Haha. I told them that they WILL be homeschooling next year and they seemed okay with that. I think they needed me to just tell them what we’re doing no matter what (I had to come to terms with it as well). This morning they were cheering about being homeschoolers now and how excited they are! They just needed to be home to remember what it was like. They have played outside all morning, and I’m sitting on the porch while they play outside. Next week they will start reading 30 minutes a day, and we will start school in July so we can take breaks as needed during the year. We will take a week off when we go to Glorieta camp for family camp (and to see Robert’s parents) at the end of July (it starts on my birthday!).
We’re all just so at peace today and enjoying life. The house is a mess, and I’m going to have to let that go now that they are home. Luckily they clean up quickly, well, and without a fight so it should be fine.
Life is hard, but it is good. I trust God and His plans even when they don’t always make sense. I need to stick with things and be content with where we are in life.
The kids and I went swimming after the boys got home yesterday (at 1:00)! It was super fun! This will be a regular activity! When the lifeguards are out, they can play on the toys. When they aren’t, we just swim :-). Their favorite thing is the floating dock. They get on, jump off, on, off.
This morning I woke up (at 9:00!) to them playing on the back porch and yard. They haven’t done that in a long time… they mostly play across the street under our neighbor’s porch. They are enjoying the Pokemon card game!
I’m also very rested today, which I haven’t been in a long time. So that helps my anxiety considerably! I have been sooooo tired and not sleeping well. I slept the whole night last night!
I’m realizing today just how different life is now that I’m sober. In the past I would have started drinking in a few hours because that’s what I did. I drank typically starting at noon into the evening. Maybe not every day, but most days. I wasn’t living life! I was in a fog all of the time… never alert to what was going on around me. Now I can think clearly and experience things.
Life is good! Praise God!
I realized Saturday night just how much my mental illness affects me these days. The past few weeks I was in town multiple days (town is far, far away). Between the driving (2 1/2 hours round trip), the waiting, the meetings, the counseling, the doctor appointments, etc, I was just worn. I don’t handle being away from home well.
This weekend we planned on going to my parents’, staying the night, then going to church for Easter yesterday. Saturday evening I was sitting at my parents’ just feeling very restless and anxious. I just needed to be home.
We left at about 8:00 to head home. We got home at about 10:30. Sounds crazy to leave that late, but I just couldn’t handle being away from home anymore.
Saturday night I was just lying in bed mad at myself for not being able to handle things well.
In the past (for about 7 years), I would drink to handle anxiety. I would drink at my parents’ house (a lot), most evenings (because that’s when I was most anxious), before going to camp events (and I know I made a fool of myself on multiple occasions), and when we traveled. I would drink every time we had people over (before they came I would binge). It was just how I handled anxiety; mostly social anxiety, but generalized as well. And being the alcoholic that I am, I would just drink “because” a lot. It prevented anxiety.
I remember talking to my previous psychiatrist (well, PA) about my drinking and he would just tell me that it’s common for people who have anxiety to drink to quiet it. Not once did he tell me that it’s a problem (well once he just told me to not drink and take Xanax at the same time). Because of this I was in denial that I had a problem, but that’s for another post.
Now that I’m not drinking, I have to feel my emotions. I also have to have different ways of coping, and my biggest way is to just stay home as much as I can. I keep a clean/organized house because mess and clutter makes me have anxiety. I have to leave the boys in school even though I want to homeschool them, and they want to homeschool. I have to have a quiet morning of Bible study and coffee to start my day out well. I listen to a lot of worship music. I have to end my day listening to “Serenity relaxing spa music” because it quiets my anxiety. I drink a lot of caffeine free Coke Zero to replace the alcohol that I often had in my hand. I have reduced my caffeine a LOT. Mostly just drink half caff coffee in the morning and a Coke Zero with lime when I’m in town. That’s about all the caffeine that I drink now. It has helped. I take a lot of medication. It helps a lot, but it doesn’t take it away. I see my counselor 3-4 times a month. Sometimes I hike or walk to prevent evening anxiety. And believe it or not, homeschooling Karis has helped a ton. It gives me purpose for my days, but with just her it’s not anxiety inducing. She’s easy.
I am trying to get disability and I have been denied 3 times already. My lawyer is trying to get me a hearing date but she said it takes 12-18 months. So I’m just waiting right now.
My desire is to be stable enough in a few years to be able to homeschool the boys again the year after next. I don’t know if that’s going to happen. I will for sure homeschool them when they are in junior high because they will be independent by then.
I just want to be able to do what my heart desires, but with mental illness it’s important to be realistic. Since I’m not super stable right now, I would possibly relapse.
My goal right now is just focusing on coping and self care without drinking. It’s a big goal! With God’s help I can do it. It’s just going to take lots of work!