Recovering Beautifully

I wrote a piece for Juggling the Jenkins blog.  If she chooses it, it will go on the blog and in her new book.  We’ll see!  I thought I’d share it here because it’s a short version of my story. … Continue reading

Mental Health, Routine, and Adjusting Expectations

This past week has been full of reflection. With the high profile suicides that are happening, my friend asked me if I was okay.  She was concerned since I lost my brother to suicide and because of my own struggle … Continue reading

Update On All the Things

I’m thankful for Facebook memories.  They remind me of how hard things were the past several years in the spring/summer.  They remind me of how great I’m doing right now.  They remind me that making the decision to put the kids in school (or keep them in school) was the best decision we could have ever made.  It has been amazing for all of us.

Even so, life isn’t perfect and there will be hard days/weeks.

Sleep

I have been so so fatigued again lately despite falling asleep pretty easily most days, and I feel like it has been getting worse.  I just had lab work done to check my thyroid and it’s normal now. I probably really should focus on movement.  I need to get out and hike more (again).  I feel so good when I do, but it’s so hard to convince myself to just get outside.  I honestly don’t know if I have the energy to make it happen at this point.  But I will try.  I have to remind myself that any movement is a good thing.  So a 10 minute walk to start is okay!  That could be enough to jump start something!

Anxiety

I’ve had a little more anxiety this week as well (though nothing like this time last year and the year before).  I’m trying to remember that there is absolutely nothing that I have to do in my day (well, except for picking the kids up from the bus and leading the 12 step meeting in Rocksprings).  I always want a spotless house, the laundry caught up, etc because it truly helps me mentally.  But I can also let it go for the day if I can’t focus on it for whatever reason.  It’s perfectly okay.

Dealing with kid issues is often what causes my anxiety.  Ethan has always been my hard kid.  In the past, he threw tantrums all day every day.  From a baby till not that long ago.  When he was homeschooled it was really bad.  He struggles badly with relationships and being the “mean kid.”  Sometimes I just don’t know what to do with him.  He is in counseling, he takes medication for ADHD now (started about a week and a half ago, and hopefully it’ll eventually help his impulsiveness), and his teacher and I are working with him.  Unfortunately there are some who can’t see all the work he is doing and just focuses in on his flaws.  But I can’t do anything about that.  So we keep moving forward.  I do need to pray for him more.  That’s something big that will help.  My friend also shared a scripture with me that I can pray over him and share with him each day.

Psalm 19:14 (from the International Children’s Bible)

“I hope my words and thoughts please you.  Lord, you are my Rock, the one who saves me.”

I printed it and will be putting it on the boys’ wall.  It would be a good thing for Levi to focus on as well :-).

Younique

This is my favorite part of my days lately.  It is so so so fun.  The women in the community are amazingly supportive and encouraging (who want to see each person succeed), making videos has become fun and less nerve-wracking, there are ALWAYS fun incentives and perks, I’ve made a little bit of money (and have the potential to make a lot over time), I love the makeup, I love the skin care, it’s so nice feeling pretty, I’m taking better care of myself, it gives me some purpose and something to look forward to, I enjoy sharing the makeup with friends and seeing their excitement for our products (and how they make them feel), and I could probably go on and on! I worked several hours today, and it was fun the whole time!

12 Step Meeting

The 12 step meeting is going really well even though we only have a few people going.  We have a new guy that is getting what he needs from the group.  There are a LOT of alcoholics and addicts in our little town and very few of them are in recovery.  Everyone joins each other in their addiction and do it all together.  I’m hoping that by being consistent and continuing to show up even if we only have a few people coming that we will be a soft place to land when enough is enough.

Unfortunately, everyone has grown up in their environment so they don’t know any different.  Anyone trying to get out of active addiction have a hard time because it’s everywhere.

Yesterday I was 18 months sober!!  It’s such an exciting thing!

Robert and the boys are camping and Karis was at a friend’s house until a little while ago.  I did a lot of work because the next two weeks I have 4 Younique parties!  They will be small, but it’ll be a good chance to learn.  My first one will start Monday!  I have lots of videos, photos and graphics, etc along with doing at least one live video each day.  I hope to do games and activities.

I’ll let you know how they go!

I hope you have a fantastic weekend!

Take Courage, I Am Redeemed

Yesterday was really, really hard.  I had my disability hearing and it was brutal.  I had to focus in on what life is like on my really hard days as if that’s my whole life and I have nothing to offer the world.  The weight of my illnesses was very heavy.  It brought on a lot of anxiety, and I came home and had a panic attack.  It’s been a while since I’ve had one.  In my normal daily routine I’ve been okay lately.  Better than I’ve been in a long time.  But as soon as you get me focusing on all the hard and bad, I struggle very badly again.  It was miserable.

I wrote this in one of my favorite groups (I don’t know if I have words today):

“Hey friends. After doing really well for a while (end of January), I had my disability hearing today and had severe anxiety and a panic attack this evening. It was so hard to focus in on my bad days, weeks, and months. I don’t want a label, but I know I can’t work full time and we really need for me to get paid. Now I have to wait an average of another 2-4 months. I’m worn by the whole thing and am feeling defeated. Part of me just wants to move on as if none of this ever happened and part of me wants it to work out. I’m worried that I’ll give up on being a better me if I am labeled as disabled. I am feeling all the feels today. I talked with one of my best friends tonight and she reminded me why I deserve this and I really can’t work full time. I truly am disabled, we just need the court to recognize it. I hate the system and this process. My attorney had me focus in on my bad days as if they are my every days.”

A mama in the group wrote this:

“I hate hate hate disability hearings for this exact reason. I had to go through this with one of my good friends who has cerebral palsy. The woman who denied her disability said that it wasn’t present enough days in her life to affect her ability to work. You know, all those days she woke woke up without CP? Ridiculous.

Anyway the hearing was awful and left her feeling so defeated because we had to focus on on all the things she couldn’t do. But she’s SO capable!!!! We couldn’t talk about any of that though.

After the hearing I sat down with her and told her I hated that and reminded her of what her best days look like.

I don’t know you personally. But I’ve seen enough of you on here to know that on your best days you’re pretty amazing!!! Look at all of you’ve accomplished in your house lately. You are SO organized. When you post your meal planning and thing you’ve decorated I drool with envy!

You’ve started AA! I know your group is small but if you keep one person from drinking think of the ripples in that person’s life and how many lives you’re impacting!

I know you aren’t working, but I also have some idea of how much you do just living where you live. How many lives you touch around you and how interconnected it all is. You also support your husband as he works for the Lord. Think of the people the 2 of you are touching!
You’re amazing and none of what you had to focus on at this hearing even remotely defines you

I heard this song on the way home and I listened to it over and over again.  I have heard it many times (I have the album in my favorites), but I didn’t really pay attention to the meaning of it until yesterday.  It’s amazing.  Music is huge in my life. I love to worship God on my good days and hard days.  It’s how I get through.

“Come Alive (Dry Bones)”

Through the eyes of men it seems
There’s so much we have lost
As we look down the road
Where all the prodigals have walked
One by one
The enemy has whispered lies
And led them off as slavesBut we know that you are God
Yours is the victory
We know there is more to come
That we may not yet see
So with the faith you’ve given us
We’ll step into the valley unafraid, yeahAs we call out to dry bones
Come alive, come alive
We call out to dead hearts
Come alive, come alive
Up out of the ashes
Let us see an army rise
We call out to dry bones, come alive

God of endless mercy
God of unrelenting love
Rescue every daughter
Bring us back the wayward son
And By your spirit breathe upon them
Show the world that you alone can save
You alone can save

As we call out to dry bones
Come alive, come alive
We call out to dead hearts
Come alive, come alive
Up out of the ashes
Let us see an army rise
We call out to dry bones come alive

So breathe, oh breath of God
Now breathe, oh breath of God
Breathe, oh breath of God
Now breathe

Breathe, oh breath of God
Now breathe, oh breath of God
Breathe, oh breath of God, now breathe

As we call out to dry bones
Come alive, come alive
We call out to dead hearts
Come alive, come alive
Up out of the ashes
Let us see an army rise
We call out to dry bones come alive, yeah
We call out to dry bones, come alive

Oh come alive”

I’m thankful for friends and even just acquaintances that speak truth to me in Christ and remind me that I am more than my illnesses and my past.  I can use what I go through and what I’ve been through to glorify Him.

I know I have shared this video before, but the lyrics are really resonating with me today.

“Take courage my heart, stay steadfast my soul.  He’s in the waiting.  He’s in the waiting.  Hold on to your hope as your triumph unfolds.  He’s never failing.  He’s never failing.”

As I wait, I’ll know that He is in control and He has a plan.  It may not be for me to get disability.  Maybe His plan is for me to feel good enough to work 1-2 hours a day with Younique and make just enough to pay for everything that we need to pay for (I don’t need a ton more, mainly just need help with some medical costs).  Maybe he will teach me to be more frugal so that we have the money that we need.

Okay… I have more on my mind, but I can’t think straight because I haven’t slept much in several days.  I need to go back to bed for a little while.

Thanks for reading my scattered thoughts.

Pursuing What Sets My Soul on Fire (Jesus)

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

Finally Thriving, Not Just Surviving

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!!

Scattered Update… An Alcoholic is Always an Alcoholic

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.

Morning 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).

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

Feeling Defeated

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