On this Thanksgiving…

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.

We Can Do Hard Things (with the power of Christ!)

Whew.  It’s only Wednesday and I feel like it should be Friday.  This week has been long and it has been a struggle for Karis and I.

I’m currently sitting in our wonderful library sipping coffee (they have a little coffee bar!) and listening to the amazing library director teaching kiddos about alliteration and assonance in poetry and other writing.  It’s pretty fun and kinda makes me miss teaching, but not really.  We have a fantastic community of teachers, library employees, administration, and more!  I also just signed up for Overdrive which is an app where I can check out ebooks and audiobooks on my phone and iPad!

Anyway.

Saturday the kids were riding their bikes at the basketball court.  They were playing some sort of game.  At some point Ethan threw an empty soda can on the ground and when Karis came up on it, she tried to avoid it, and she fell off her bike.  She scraped her knee and hurt her wrist.  The next morning she told me that she didn’t sleep at all because it hurt so bad.  I wanted to take her in, but Robert wanted to give it a little bit of time because there was no swelling or bruising.  She had some time off and on where it didn’t seem to hurt her as much (like when she played on the Wii!).

Robert and I made some pumpkin cookies and played lots of games (totally a side note).

She was in so much pain when I took this picture.

She fell asleep almost right away.  The next morning she was thrilled that she could make a fist again!  She seemed to be feeling somewhat better so we continued on with our plans.  The kids didn’t have school on Monday so we went to Kerrville and my mom was going to hang out with them while I met with my sponsor and went to AA.  Karis kept going back and forth about how she felt.  She was hurting, she wasn’t hurting too badly, and so on.  I had told my sponsor that I was going to take her in (then changed my mind again when she seemed okay).  I ended up leaving all of the kids with my mom at the park and I went to Starbucks.  After a little over an hour I called my mom to see how Karis was doing and she told me that she seemed to be hurting pretty badly and that it’s a little more swollen (they had gone for a walk in the park).  I decided at that point to just go ahead and take her in.

We went to the urgent care clinic because they have the ability to do the X-rays right there.  When we got there they said that only one doctor is doing the walk ins (they also have primary care doctors) and it would be about 1:30 before someone could see us.  So we filled out paperwork and they set our appt time.  We decided to go have lunch with my mom and the boys.  We ate at Denny’s and Karis wouldn’t move her wrist the whole time.

It took a while but we finally got back to the see the doc and he was fantastic.  He did an exam and pinpointed exactly where she was hurting the most.  After the X-rays he told us that it looks like a significant break in her radius at the wrist.  He said that he was going to put in a referral for an orthopedic doctor and that the nurses would do a splint until we could see the orthopedic.  He also said that I would hear from him in a day or so after they get the final results from the radiologist.  Karis and I were both surprised that it was broken (and her daddy!).  It just looked so “normal.”

The hardest part about this whole thing is that it’s her writing hand.  And she started school yesterday.

She woke up easily and was really excited in the morning.  Unfortunately the excitement turned to difficulty almost immediately.  (I love this picture!)

Yesterday was a really hard day for her.  She was hurting, her splint is heavy, her sling rubs her neck, she was cold because we couldn’t figure out the best way to put her jacket on her with the sling, she had to write with her left hand, she spilled her lunch trying to carry it, she struggled with math, etc.  She came home and cried and cried.  Then when her daddy came home she cried some more.  She told me last night that she already misses homeschooling (which is so hard for me).  Her daddy made her favorite food last night (3 cheese and sausage yellow grits) and she just got to watch some stuff on her Kindle (on Kidstube) so she could zone out for a little while.  She and I slept in the living room one more time because she has been sleeping so good there and she needed that sleep.

Oh, and the doctor called me and said that it is in fact broken (Karis was hoping that the doctor was wrong and this was a big part of her crying).

I asked her that if her arm wasn’t broken would her day have been as bad and she said no.  The arm being broken is what is making everything so difficult.

My friend reminded me last night that “we can do hard things” so I told Karis that when she feels like something is too hard, just tell herself “I can do hard things.”  She said that she doesn’t believe that.  But we will keep working with her.  She is going to learn perseverance through all of this.

This broken bone thing is new to all of us.  I never broke a bone.  My brother never broke a bone.  Robert never broke a bone.  None of my kids have broken bones (until now!).  So it feels like a big deal (and it’s costing a lot!).

Today I came to town and had lunch with each kiddo.  When I saw Karis, she seemed pretty happy!  She told me that it has still been hard, but better than yesterday.  It helps that it’s not raining and cold today!  And she’s slowly getting used to using her left hand for everything.  She was also really excited about choir this afternoon.  I’m happy to be back here, too 🙂 (choir is in the library).

After I had lunch with each kiddo, I had lunch at my favorite Tex Mex restaurant by myself :-).  Then I went to the post office and decided to drive around a bit.  I haven’t seen much than what’s on the main highway, and since I had time, I decided to check things out.  There are actually some pretty cute houses!  It’s a very low income town so I wasn’t sure what to expect.  Pretty much all of the houses are small, but I love that they are all very different.  There are brick, rock, and wood houses and some trailers.  But they’re all mixed together.

She just got out of school and she’s sitting next to me reading.  She had a good rest of the day and I feel hopeful!  Tomorrow morning we will be meeting with the orthopedic doctor.  I’m hoping that she doesn’t need surgery (I don’t think so, but you never know).  I’m looking forward to her getting her regular cast and just moving forward.

We can do hard things (with the power of Christ!).

The Hard Stuff… Processing Through My Fear, Falling into the Gospel

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

Hyperventilation Syndrome and Trying All the Things to Reduce Anxiety

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.

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!).

Magnesium Gly

I did order Rescue Remedy candies (along with the Calm).  These are alcohol free.

Rescue remedy

 

 

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!

Contentment and Teaching the Kids to Work Through Hard Things

I have a history of discontent.  If something doesn’t seem to be working well or is hard, I change things.  I see the difficulty as a sign that something isn’t right.

Because of this, we have moved so much and I kept chasing something new.  We have moved 12 times in the 13 years that we have been married (a lot of that was at the same camp).  We moved apartments early in our marriage.  We moved twice when we lived in the Dallas area.

This worked its way into homeschooling.  I have homeschooled off and on for a long time.  When I started struggling mentally, I would put them back into school.  This last time I really had no choice since I had to go to town all the time for AA when I got out of rehab.  But it still counts.

I have spent a FORTUNE (and a lot of that in credit) on new curriculum.  When things got hard for the kids or they seemed to struggle, I would buy the “shiny new thing” thinking that it would be better and they wouldn’t struggle as much.  For Karis, this was math.  For Ethan, this was reading and phonics.

We are using Math U See for the kids and while I LOVE it, Karis has still been struggling greatly.  She’s going into 6th grade and she’s on the 4th grade level and still struggling.  She can barely do basic division (2 digit by 1 digit with a  remainder).  So I was talking to Robert about Life of Fred math and telling him that maybe it would be a good fit for her because she loves reading (it’s story based).  Without him even saying anything, I said, “Wait… I just need to stick with something, don’t I?”  He agreed immediately and reminded me that hard doesn’t necessarily equal bad.  And she may just never be good at math and that’s okay.  And it’s okay that she’s on a level lower than her grade and it’s okay to take it slow.  He also reminded me that it’ll be so good for the kids if I stick with something for a full year.  And honestly, I need to stick with Math U See from now on because there is a DVD with a teacher teaching everything (and I’m terrible at math!).  He teaches it in a way that makes more sense than any teacher ever taught me.  There are also manipulatives and all of the kids make use of them every single day.

I REALLY want The Good and the Beautiful history, handwriting, nature journals, and another science unit.  But.  We have all that we need for those subjects right now.  While I love the set up of those, I need to be content with what we have.

I already have Story of the World Volume one… the book, audio book, activity book, historical fiction novels to go with it (9!), the Usborne Encyclopedia of World History, and the Usborne Book of World History.  I have an amazing set up for history this year.  It would make NO sense to change.

Now. The reason why I love G&B is because the history covers all periods of history in one year (adding to it each year), it has fun activities, it has an amazing book of stories, worksheets, and a game for review.  But I can always get it next year!  No big deal!  I’m not even sure if I’ll want to change after we finish what we have… I may want to stick with Story of the World!

Also, I was looking at buying handwriting from G&B.  I ALMOST did.  Then my doctor and I were talking about my impulsive spending and reminded me that if I am buying something new even though I already have something for that subject (and causing final trouble), that’s a sign of being impulsive.  And she’s right!  It stopped me in my tracks!  I have Handwriting Without Tears, and the kids even like it!

Now.  Next year I will probably buy G&B because I love that it teaches handwriting through copywork.  It would cut out a step of our writing.  But I can wait till next year!  No big deal!

I was also looking at buying the G&B nature journals.  But I already have some from Simply Charlotte Mason!  They love them because they can watercolor right on the page (the pages are thick).

And… Science!  I have SO much to teach science.  I have one unit of G&B science already (which will last us about a semester), and I also have Apologia Astronomy.  AND LOTS of science books and encyclopedias to make my own units if I want.  I really have enough to make science work for a couple of years honestly.  Now.  When Karis is in 7th or 8th grade, I will be buying the junior high science books because she’s going to need them to prepare for high school (and honestly she LOVES science so she’ll be happy).  But I have a year or two before I need to do that (I can’t believe she’s already in 6th grade).

All this to say… I think I will finally have a FULL year in which I don’t buy anything new!  I have everything I need for at LEAST a full year (maybe more) and I am happy about that.  It’s weird, to be honest.

And… we are not going anywhere.  While camp ministry is HARD because especially lately Robert has been working a ton, we are content to stay right where we are.  We love the way Camp Eagle is run, we love the people (camp family!), we love our home, we love that we live on 1400 acres and there are hiking trails and a clear river to play in.  Moving to Camp Eagle has been the best thing that has happened to us!

Deciding to stick with something long-term actually takes away a lot of anxiety.  I have a major spending issue, then I feel bad and feel anxious after I have spent.  It’s so easy to buy online and I just throw money away that way.  We were going to have me spend only cash but it hasn’t worked out well (lots of reasons), but at least this next check I will only have cash to spend (and less than usual because we’re going to New Mexico in a few weeks and we need money for that).  I think we’ll actually be able to save up this year.  And do more fun things with the kids.

I’m feeling content, hopeful, and peaceful.  I know I will still have times of anxiety and depression (hopefully not, but I’m planning on it happening eventually), but I know I can work through them and just do what we need during those moments.  That doesn’t mean we need to move, it doesn’t mean I need to stop homeschooling, and it doesn’t mean I need to buy something new and shiny.  It just means we need to spend time in prayer and God’s word, I need to work through it, and I need to teach my kids to do both of those.

Easter Weekend!

Friday was a fun day home with my kiddos.  It started out rough with a major fight over the Wii, but once I grounded them from electronics it got better.  We colored and decorated eggs and did some crafts.  The kids also played outside all afternoon with their friends.

Robert was supposed to be home but he ended up having to work.  Oh well.

Yesterday was a great day at my parents’ for Easter.  The kids had 135 eggs to hunt and they found all but a few (whoops).  We had a fantastic lunch of ham, beans, and homemade potato salad.

We ended up deciding to come home yesterday instead of today.  I got their Easter baskets set up last night.  We kept it cheap and simple this year.  A few cookies that a friend of mine made, glow sticks, Reese’s bunny, bubble gum eggs, and a fun cup that matched their personality.  They were happy with what they got :-).

This morning we watched part of the worship service on Watermark’s website, and we praised through YouTube videos.  We didn’t go to church for various reasons, but mostly because my anxiety can’t handle it right now.

We had a great lunch of grilled pork chops, mashed potatoes, salad, and the kids’ favorite Hawaiian rolls.

We read The Flowering Cross and made our cross cake.  This is our yearly tradition.  They’re getting a little big for it, but I will keep doing it as long as they let me.  They didn’t want to do Resurrection Eggs :-(.

We also cleaned the house and got ready for the week.  In a few hours we are celebrating with our camp family!  Lots of celebration!

Learning and Growing with Every New Day

From the chapter of the Alcoholics Anonymous Big Book, “How it Works”:

“Those who do not recover are people who cannot or will not completely give themselves to this simple program, usually men and women who are constitutionally incapable of being honest with themselves.”

“…self-seeking…”

“…self-centered, egocentric…”

Selfishness-self-centeredness! That, we think, is the root of our troubles.  Driven by a hundred forms of fear, self-delusion, self-seeking, and self-pity…”

“Above everything, we alcoholics much be rid of this selfishness.”

“We had to have God’s help.

“First of all, we had to quit playing God.  It didn’t work.  Next, we decided that hereafter in this drama of life, God was going to be our Director.”

“He is the Father, and we are His children.”

We read half of this chapter on Monday in the AA Women’s Big Book meeting and these bold words stood out to me.  I have been stuck in this for a long time.  I am self-centered, self-seeking; most of all I have had a lot of fear and self-pity.  I sit and focus on my illnesses and difficulties in life.

I posted this on Sunday:

“This describes me 100% right now. Mental illness, EMDR, counseling, alcoholism, AA, fighting cravings, taking care of my family, just getting through each day… takes a lot out of a person. I feel that I am a strong person (thanks to Jesus), but I am worn. Starting a new week tomorrow with hope in Jesus, knowing that I can get through the week because He’s with me.”

While all this is true for me, I was really hoping for pity… I was acting in self-pity and I wanted people to encourage me.  This is self-centered.  I wanted attention because of my issues… and in reality, this is me trying to make them my identity.

I want people to see me as strong.  I want people to see me as brave, courageous, and honest.  I don’t want people to see me as having self-pity and being self-centered.  I want people to see my love for others.  I want to be known for my love for Jesus.  My identity is in Jesus first and foremost.  Without Him, I am nothing.

Something else that’s really important is the reminder that I need to get my butt up and outside moving.  Not for weight loss, but for time to commune with God and for mental/emotional health.  I hiked Tuesday… I took it slow, took pictures, noticed the flowers, listened to the birds sing, listened to the river running, and was just in the peaceful element of nature.  It was perfect.  I talked to my counselor about it Tuesday night and she really wants me to make this a priority.  It’s hard in the moment when I don’t feel like doing anything, but it is so stinkin’ helpful that I need to do it even when I don’t feel like it.  My counselor that I had in Frisco would tell me that when I can’t think my way into acting, act my way into thinking.  So in other words, even when I don’t feel like it, just get up and do it and it will help me mentally/emotionally.

It was a beautiful day.  Sunny and the perfect temperature.

I used to exercise obsessively when I was dieting, and definitely not for mental/emotional health… mostly to try to lose weight.  I counted steps, calories, etc. I would exercise to be able to eat or I would exercise to make up for what I ate.  This is not healthy.  I sold my FitBit because I was tired of feeling guilty if I didn’t reach my 10,000 steps a day, and when I hiked, I would obsess about getting as many steps as I could, not enjoying it.  I now use Map My Walk, only to see how many miles because I’m curious.  It’s not something I have to keep up with every day.  And I can hike without the app… it’s all about curiosity.

The program with my dietitian is called Attuned Eating for Attuned Living.

Every week I have audios to listen to, worksheets, and lots of readings (including some books).  She also goes over my food journals most days and we have a weekly Zoom meeting so we see each other and talk to one another.  Sometimes there are one or two more ladies in the meeting.

Today we talked about something that I have been struggling with… my coffee and Coke Zero intake.  She thinks it’s keeping me from being able to listen to my hunger and fullness cues.  I drink so much coffee in the morning that I have a hard time eating breakfast… then I’m shaky by lunch time and over-eat.  She also pointed out that there is a reason why I feel the need to have a lot of coffee and Coke Zero (only drinking those and drinking very little water).  She thinks I have a habit to the process.  Also, I’m using my drinks to replace alcohol, which means that I’m still trying to not feel certain things.  It’s an emotional crutch.  She wants me to be journaling about how I’m feeling when I drink coffee and Coke Zero.

We’re also focusing on my eating breakfast every day so that I’m not starving and shaky by lunch.  The most common thing that I’ve been eating is breakfast tacos.  Potato, bacon, and egg with salsa and cheese.  It keeps me comfortable until lunch.  Today I had homemade Greek yogurt and steel cut oatmeal.  I’m pretty hungry now, but it’s almost lunch time so I’m fine.

The most important thing that she’s doing is helping me to learn to love myself just the way I am.  She told me that gaining a little bit of weight is normal as my body overcomes the constant dieting that I did for so many years.  My body is trying to find it’s set point.  Where it’s supposed to be without dieting.  I may end up losing weight eventually.  But the most important thing is to not weigh myself at all because it changes my emotional state big time.

The most important thing that I have learned this week is that I need to make God’s word and fellowship with His people priority.

I got very behind on my Bible study because of dietitian homework, driving to and from town, and being depressed and anxious.  It’s been a rough few weeks.

I was going to skip Bible study since I was so behind.  Robert did everything but push me out the door.

We had technical difficulties so we ended up having Bible study at my house, watching the DVD on my tv, and having coffee and discussion.  It was really great!  From now on the Bible study is going to be at my house.  I’m so excited about that because it’s built in accountability.  I also love to host women in my home… especially since I’m alone most of the time!

We decided to start fresh next week (turns out, I wasn’t the only one behind), so now I’m right on schedule!

I started it as soon as we finished!

This book (1 Peter) talks a lot about trials and suffering.  It’s just right for what I’ve gone through and continue to.  The good news is that it says “for a little while.”  That’s hopeful!

 

So… through struggle comes strength and growth.

Between AA 2-3 times a week, step work, meeting with my sponsor weekly, working with a dietitian that wants to teach me to love myself the way that I am,  my counselor working with me on my self worth, daily time in the word, constant worship, church (becoming members), and so much more, I’m growing so much!

Through working hard, I’m learning more about myself and my calling.

Grati-Tuesday, March 7th

Like I’ve mentioned… I have been struggling with anxiety and depression lately.  I’m not sure if I’m in a bipolar low or if something triggered it, but it’s been rough.  Even last night it was really bad.  I went to bed really early because I couldn’t function (actually, I slept on the couch because I just couldn’t get comfortable on my bed).

But… this morning… this morning I woke up feeling good.  And that’s all I can ask for.  One moment at a time!  Even as I type this I am sitting on my back porch, listening to the birds singing, with a beautiful view of the hills.  It’s foggy and sunny at the same time.  So pretty!  The temperature is perfect.  I’m in short sleeves.  It’s in the 60s, but warm with the sun on me.

The smell of the dew makes me happy… all of these things bring back good memories of last spring when I started homeschooling the boys.  While I had a lot of anxiety about homeschooling them, I have good memories as well!  I’m thankful for the time I had, and I might eventually be able to homeschool them again one day.  We’ll just see what happens!

I’m thankful for Jesus’ unconditional love.

I’m thankful for bedtime reading and silly pictures with my kids.  I’m thankful for the time I have with each kiddo in their bed at night (cuddling, talking, praying).  I don’t do it every night, but enough.  It’s my favorite time of day.

I’m thankful for the time I have to take good care of myself.  This is what keeps me afloat most days.

I’m grateful for 145 days sober!  I’m so close to 5 months!  I can hardly believe it.  It has gone fast.  While I still have days in which I want alcohol, it’s usually fleeting.  I hope one day I won’t even want it anymore!  One day at a time!

I’m thankful for AA and learning so much through the Big Book.  I’ll be writing about what I’m learning in a new post coming up!

I’m grateful for my LuLaRoe leggings that help me to be comfortable.  I’m thankful that I’m learning to feel more comfortable in my own skin, despite a 35 pound weight gain these past few years (10-12 of those just in a few months).  This is also a one day at a time thing, though.  Even last night I was struggling with body image.  But most days I’m feeling better about my body.

What are you grateful for on this Grati-Tuesday?

Self Pity and Pressing Into Jesus

everythingbeautiful

I have so much to talk about (my counseling appointment, my meetings with my dietitian, etc), but I am just sitting in self pity right now.

I wrote this on FB last night:

I am so mad that I have the illnesses that I do. Without my medication (and even sometimes with medication) it is life threatening. Without my doctor, I couldn’t get my medication. Without the therapy that I have done and continue to do, I wouldn’t be able to work through stuff to get through each day. And along those same lines, addiction is an illness as well that is also life threatening. All of this is in my brain and I can’t do anything about it. These illnesses keep me from being able to work and have a normal life. These illnesses keep me from being able to homeschool like I would love to do.
I just have to continue to trust that God has a plan for it all and He will be glorified. Cause tonight I’m just mad.

 

The fact that it’s so hard to take the meds that work because of not being able to afford them is the most difficult part of it all.

Add in the trauma that I’ve been through and am working through, and I have a lot to deal with.

I was talking with a friend and she told me to find something that I would enjoy and try to use it to snap myself out of this self pity, but I just have no desire for anything right now.  I may force myself out to hike, we’ll see.
All I can do is press into Jesus.  He will use this for His glory, and He will be glorified through it.

I am the Lord your God,
I go before you now.
I stand beside you
I’m all around you
And though you feel I’m far away
I’m closer than your breath
I am with you
More than you know
I am the Lord your peace
No evil will conquer you
Steady now your heart and mind
Come into my rest
And oh, let your faith arise
And lift up your weary head
I am with you
Wherever you go
Come to me, I’m all you need
Come to me, I’m everything
Come to me, I’m all you need
Come to me, I’m your everything
I am your anchor, in the wind and the waves
And I am your steadfast, so don’t be afraid
Though your heart and flesh may fail you
I’m your faithful strength
And I am with you
Wherever you go

When the storm rages
I won’t be afraid
I have locked eyes
On You face to face
Your voice I will follow
Your eyes I will see
I’ll come a little closer
Come close to me

What Being an Alcoholic Looks Like… Who I Am Now

factors-that-contribute-to-alcoholism

129 days ago I hit my rock bottom.  I was at my parents, and I planned on not drinking before I went, but that didn’t happen.  That Monday I drank a six pack with-in an hour, then drove to the store to get more.  Yes, I was already drunk and I drove to the store.  I drank another 6 before I went to bed (I drank all of this with-in a few hours).  My kids were with me and was I paying any attention to them?  Absolutely not.  I was paying attention to me, myself, and I.  I was paying attention the wanting the next drink (a daily thing).  The next day I drank a lot, too, and ended up vomiting in a large bowl next to my bed.  You see, this wasn’t an uncommon thing.  I knew to get a bowl before it happened, so luckily it didn’t land on my parents’ carpet.  Being this drunk was an almost daily thing.

My mom tells me that I had a panic attack that night, but I barely remember it.

In the middle of the night (completely hungover), I was feeling shameful.  I couldn’t believe that I had driven drunk and just kept drinking.

I decided I was tired of vomiting multiple times a week because I was drunk.  I was tired of the room spinning as I went to bed every night.  I was tired of having to sleep on the couch because I couldn’t make it to the bed.  I was tired of passing out and not remembering what happened the night before.  I was tired of having to check my Facebook in the middle of the night to make sure I didn’t post something I shouldn’t have (or checking conversations with friends).  I was tired of not going to camp community events because I wanted to drink OR going to them drunk or buzzed.  I was tired of obsessing about my next drink.  I was tired of trying to quit drinking and not being able to, which brought on feelings of guilt and shame.  I was tired of spending my whole day either hungover or drinking.  I was tired of getting up at 10:00 each day (even though I was homeschooling) because I was hungover and dreaded the day ahead.  I was tired of being irritable and/or allowing the kids to do anything to get them out of my hair.  I was tired of putting them to bed every night hoping they didn’t notice the smell on my breath (um, they saw me drinking all day… I think they knew).  I was tired of not being able to be the person I wanted to be because of alcohol.  I was tired of being sneaky and hiding alcohol so Robert wouldn’t know that I was drinking.

I just couldn’t do it anymore.

I had been going to a Celebrate Recovery in Fredericksburg, but it wasn’t sufficient.  I decided the morning of October 12th that it was time for me to go to treatment.  I emailed the leader of the CR and she gave me the names of the local treatment centers.  After a lot of work, I got the okay to come into La Hacienda to get checked in.

128 days ago (October 13th) I went into my appointment at La Ha.  My life hasn’t been the same since.

It took me a while to finally say the words

problem-drinking-vs-alcoholism

It took a lot of learning and understanding what an alcoholic is.  Now I can say these words with complete understanding.

Alcoholism is a mental illness.  It’s in the mental illness diagnostic book.  It’s called Alcohol Use Disorder.

The National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism says Alcohol Use Disorder signs are as follows:

  • Had times when you ended up drinking more, or longer than you intended?
  • More than once wanted to cut down or stop drinking, or tried to, but couldn’t?
  • Spent a lot of time drinking? Or being sick or getting over the aftereffects?
  • Experienced craving — a strong need, or urge, to drink?
  • Found that drinking — or being sick from drinking — often interfered with taking care of your home or family? Or caused job troubles? Or school problems?
  • Continued to drink even though it was causing trouble with your family or friends?
  • Given up or cut back on activities that were important or interesting to you, or gave you pleasure, in order to drink?
  • More than once gotten into situations while or after drinking that increased your chances of getting hurt (such as driving, swimming, using machinery, walking in a dangerous area, or having unsafe sex)?
  • Continued to drink even though it was making you feel depressed or anxious or adding to another health problem? Or after having had a memory blackout?
  • Had to drink much more than you once did to get the effect you want? Or found that your usual number of drinks had much less effect than before?
  • Found that when the effects of alcohol were wearing off, you had withdrawal symptoms, such as trouble sleeping, shakiness, irritability, anxiety, depression, restlessness, nausea, or sweating? Or sensed things that were not there?

I had every single one of these signs.

 

So much has changed.  My life looks completely different now.

A few days into my stay there, my case manager made it pretty clear that homeschooling wouldn’t be possible for a while because my whole goal in life would be to stay sober.  I have since realized that it’s best for all involved that the kids are in school.  It has definitely helped me to stay sober, and it has decreased my anxiety significantly!  I was wanting to homeschool and had so much anxiety just thinking about it.  That helped me to know that it’s not something I should consider for a long time.  I have a lot of work to do still.  The kids are thriving more than they ever have.

Since I’ve gotten out, my only goals are to stay sober and take good care of myself.  This used to bother me so much, but I have found that I’m a much better mom, wife, friend, and daughter for it.  I can’t believe the difference in my parenting since I stopped drinking.  I’m a completely different mom!  My love for them has grown and my desire to take good care of them/show them how much I love them has grown.  And I’m much more attentive to my husband and desire to love him better.  I am learning how to understand my emotions, and I’m learning that I need to take care of past trauma that I have been ignoring.

I desire to go to church every Sunday.  I desire to spend time in the word every morning.  I desire to read to the kids every night and spend quality time with them.  I desire to talk to the kids about Christ most days and Ethan and Levi have accepted Him as their Savior!

I love waking up early and getting the day started.  I plan my day and stick to it for the most part.  The house stays clean and laundry stays caught up.  I’m learning to delegate to the kids what they need to do because that’s healthy for them.  Our family is just so healthy now!

On another note, I’ve also discovered:

riots-not-diets

And:

intuitive-eating

This is intertwined in my self care.  I am no longer focused on the next diet, and I’ve become more balanced with my eating than ever before.  I am learning to love myself for who I am, even though I’m not at my thinnest.  I’m learning to embrace my body for what it is.  I’m learning that dieting doesn’t work and there’s no point.  I am starting to wear more fun clothes, even if I wouldn’t wear them before because I thought they made me look fat.  Just so much change in how I view myself and others.

Probably the biggest thing that I have learned is how to love.  Myself and others.  I have a new appreciation for the struggles of people and want to love them through those struggles.  I pray for people more, I share God’s love, and I accept people for who they are.  Many of my new friends from La Ha have dual diagnosis (like me) and need to have lots of self care to stay sober and out of treatment.  I pray that through my loving these people that they would feel the love of Christ through me and they would come to know Him or grow closer to Him.

God is love.  The end.