Happy Weekend!

Hey guys!  I hope your weekend has started out well! I absolutely LOVE that I am no longer sleeping my weekend away!  I woke up a little later than a week day but it was still early enough to enjoy … Continue reading

Hello Friday!

I’m so thankful that the weekend is coming.  And I’m also happy that today is a “chill day.”  I have a short list and my goal is to focus on self care! I have been off of Facebook for a … Continue reading

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

More Organization and Update

This weekend and yesterday I worked a little more on my bonus room.  It is where I want it for now :-).  I want to eventually do some painting in there but it’s fine at the moment.  It’s cozy and practical all in one.  I spent a total of $39 on the room.  Curtains ($20, Walmart), desk lamp ($6, Family Dollar), curtain rods ($8, Family Dollar), and prints ($5, Dollar Tree)

I also changed a few things around in my bedroom and moved some canvases from my room to Karis’ room because it fits better in there.

I want to get some curtains for my bedroom :-).  One thing at a time.

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On another note…

Robert shot another deer last week.  So we have gotten about 70lbs of axis venison in the past couple of months.  Of course, we have gone through it pretty fast :-). We currently have 26lbs of ground, 3 roasts (10lbs worth), a package of tenderloin (about a pound), 3 large backstraps (at least 9lbs worth), and 4lbs of stew meat.

I love my food storage :-).

 

I am worn out.  I have been going, going, going for weeks now and the night before last I only got 3 1/2 hours of sleep.  Today I slept a lot.  I hate sleeping during the day.  I’m so worried that I’m going to be depressed again.  I try to fight it.  But sometimes I just can’t.  So I allowed myself to rest today.  I’m hoping I sleep well tonight and that tomorrow is better.

I just cannot go back to sleeping all day every day.

I’m a little worried that maybe I’ve been hypomanic and that I’m headed back down again.  But I cannot base anything on one bad day.  So tomorrow I will try to get up early again (when they kids get up) and see how I do!

I am still struggling to come up with things to write about.  I have a beautiful space now to write in, and I just stare at my computer.  I want to type up a bunch of my recipes, write about my journey/story, talk about sobriety, discuss mental illness, friendship, loving who I am, self care, etc and I just can’t seem to get started!  I guess I’ll try again tomorrow!

What are some things that you would like to see more of?  That might help give me some inspiration/motivation!

Life is Hard, but God is Good

Wow.  This week has been transformative for my body, soul, and mind.  I had no idea what I needed, and I had no idea that my body could lead me there.

Last Sunday I wrote about how I’ve been struggling, then I ended the post with things that I was thankful for.  I felt a huge weight lift after that post.

My family went on to go to town, play at the park, and have lunch at an amazing restaurant.  It was good for our family to spend a day together.  It has been a long time.  So, that was #1 of what I needed.

We didn’t end up cleaning out the kids’ rooms that day because we ran out of time, so I decided to do it during the week.

Not only did I completely clean their rooms out (they were BAD y’all), I also made myself a new, quiet, relaxing, peaceful space.  The kids had a craft room that they didn’t use often and when they did, they left it a disaster!  It was also SO bad.  So, I turned it into my own room!

Our house just needed a lot of TLC.  I have let it go a lot over the past few years… trying to keep up but letting a lot of things slide.

For most people it wouldn’t be a big deal.  But for me it affects my mental health greatly.  Instead of getting up and moving, I would sleep all day because I couldn’t handle it.  I felt like it was impossible to do any cleaning because the back up mess was so bad (if that makes sense).  Then I would feel so guilty because I knew I shouldn’t be sleeping all day but I couldn’t stop.  I was physically, emotionally, mentally, and spiritually exhausted.

So, I made a point to purge, clean, and organize the whole house this past week.

Monday I cleaned out Karis’ room.  It took like 10 hours at least.  It was so bad.  Trash was everywhere.  I threw away 2 huge black trash bags and a kitchen bag away full of stuff.  I also put 2 tubs of things away in the attic and gave a lot of stuff away.  It is night and day different and she’s sleeping so much better.  She said that it’s so nice to not be tripping over stuff.  I also made her a checklist to help her keep up with it (she asked for one and I also made one for the boys).

Before:

After:

Tuesday I worked on my new office/hobby space/reading/workout (eventually) room.  I also worked on it a bit today (adding some things on the walls and bringing our chair in from the living room).  I am IN LOVE with my new space.  It is just what I’ve envisioned.

Before:

After:

Wednesday I worked on the boys’ room.  They had a black trash bag of trash and I put away a tub of stuffed animals, etc.  I organized their little trinkets and things and they are just in love with their room.

Before:

After:

Thursday I cleaned the house.  Our bedroom, bathrooms, dusting, floors, etc.

Friday I had jury duty and I was selected to be on the Grand Jury!  Luckily we only meet two more times because our county is sooooo small.  Lol!  When I got home I took a short nap, then I picked up the kids from the bus.  That evening I worked on our written routines, rules, consequences, rewards, and kids’ checklists.  The kids are thrilled for these.  They need this structure.

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Yesterday I worked on my office/work out/reading/hobby/etc room (I need a name for it).  I washed sheets and towels.  I did more cleaning.

Here’s a fresh update to our pantry foods:

So right now, my house is pretty spotless and organized.

The beautiful thing… I am starting to wake up early because I’m falling asleep by about 10:00!  And I sleep ALL night.  I don’t wake up at all.

Okay… now onto what I’ve been learning!

Wow.

  1. My relationship with Christ has grown by leaps and bounds this week.  I can’t explain it except that the Holy Spirit has drawn me in.  It wasn’t anything I did.  I have missed spending time with Him for a long time, and I have had a lot of bitterness and doubt.  I have struggled with trust and faith.  I have also allowed other peoples’ beliefs, bitterness, etc affect me.  I have decided to unfollow some people.
  2. I am capable of so much more than I have been telling myself I’m capable of.  So much can happen because of thoughts, in positive and negative ways.  My counselor in Frisco reminded me of that every time we met.  She had me do exercises at home that reinforced that.
    I worked for 8-10 hours most of the week.  My body was sore but my spirit was stronger for it.
  3. My house needs to be clean and organized for my mental health.  Not so that people will tell me how amazing I am.  I have learned that I just cannot function if my house is a disaster.  I also cannot function with clutter, period.  I am working, still, on decluttering.  My counselor reminded me the other day that “environment matters,” and I am a believer in this!
  4. I need to sit at my desk to blog.  It’s my “work space.”  I cannot think to blog at the kitchen table anymore.  I get so distracted by everything around me.  Also my mind is more clear because my house is more organized.  So crazy how physical clutter causes clutter in my mind.
  5. I need structure and routine, and so do my kids.  They asked for the checklists.  The boys’ behavior has improved dramatically.
  6. Ethan got in big trouble at school on Tuesday.  I didn’t freak out about it. I decided in that moment that I need to be more firm with him.  I have been wavering because I have worried about his mental health, but I have determined that wavering is not good for him.  He needs to know what’s expected and that there are consequences when he doesn’t follow those expectations.  He was grounded from all electronics and friends for a week and that truly affected him.  He knows that next time it will be longer and we can always add more consequences.  He is going to counseling today to work on his anger management.  That’s his biggest issue.

…Life is hard, but God is good!

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.

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!!

My Health and Big Changes

Gosh.  I don’t really even know where to start.  I haven’t written in a long time and it has been mostly because I have felt pretty horrible.

I was sleeping all the time, no energy, eating very little, and my cough continued.  I went to the doctor again about a week and a half ago and she told me that she thinks I have bronchitis (though my breath sounds sounded fine, I had some symptoms of it).  She decided to try a steroid and she gave me another 10 days worth of Tessalon Pearles.  Over the next few days I started feeling better, but still not 100%.  I went back in on Monday because I was having a hard time breathing (though my cough was somewhat better).  Again.  Normal breath sounds, oxygen level was normal, etc.  She told me that she thinks it’s anxiety but gave me orders to get a chest x-ray and EKG just to rule things out (though told me a few times that she didn’t think we would find anything).  I haven’t gone yet because it’s very expensive.  Over the next several days things started getting slowly better.  My cough was slightly better and I started having more energy and desire to do things.  Last night was another horrible night with my cough.  I just resigned myself to decide to get the x-ray next week, still not sure that it will be worth the money (we just don’t have the money to throw away).  Then this morning my friend sent me an article that made so much sense.  It was about a woman that had an unexplained cough for 10 years.  She ended up finding out that she had silent reflux.  And I remembered that there were two ladies in a FB group that told me the same thing.  So I did a little research.  Sure enough.  I have a lot of the symptoms.  Robert just happened to be in town so I called him to see if he could pick up a reflux med.  The prescription strength ones are now over the counter.  I’m hopeful!  We’ll see what happens.  Today I’m really tired because I coughed all night.  I’m so ready to feel well.  It has been so long.

Now on to other, bigger things going on in my life…

I have been struggling with homeschooling Karis.  Between my mental illness and being physically ill for a long time, I felt that she needed something that I couldn’t offer her.  I have been asking her for a few months to consider going back to school and she has been completely set against it.  Just the idea brought her anxiety and she seemed stressed to discuss it.  Fast forward to this past Wednesday.

We went to Rocksprings (the town where the boys are in school) for a homecoming parade.  It was so fun!  The whole town shut down to be part of this parade.  Each class had their own themed float.  They threw candy out to the people watching.  Karis gathered a lot!  The boys enjoyed throwing it.  The parade ended with a huge bonfire at the Fairgrounds.

On the way home, Robert and I were talking about how much fun being a part of a small community like that is.  We were talking about how we wished that Karis would be okay with going to school there so we can just fully invest in the community.  It’s hard being split like we have been.

That night I sat down and talked to Karis about the possibility of talking with two of her teachers from last year (one that she just loved, and the other that is now the principal).  I said that we can discuss her fears, anxieties, and reasons why she left and figure out ways to work through all of that to make things more successful if she were to come back.  She was open and willing to discuss things.  I emailed the teacher and principal and they were so happy to hear from me.  They agreed that it would be so good for Karis to be back at school.

We met yesterday morning.  Karis was acting a little annoying… I had to pull her into the rooms.  But she is just literally so anxious/nervous and has trouble controlling herself.  She was making her weird noises and talking like a little kid (also what she does when she’s nervous).  But over time she opened up and started acting a little more “normal.”  We talked about her crying last year, her struggle with math, her struggle with friendships, and counseling.  We decided at the end of the meeting that it would be good for Karis to do a placement test in math to see if she needs to go back to 5th grade or stick with 6th grade.

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She did the placement test (which is just a released STAAR test) right away.  We were told that we would hear back by the end of the day with the score and their decision about what grade she would be in.

She and I went to Kerrville and had a great day in town.  We ate lunch at one of my favorite Mexican restaurants and sat on the porch in 75 degree weather.

We went to Starbucks and I had a PSL and she had a mummy cake pop.

We went to a craft store to get a few fall crafts.

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We had fun looking at Halloween decorations AND Christmas decorations (at Walmart).

We got groceries.  Then we came home.  On the way home I told her that we wouldn’t be trying to homeschool anymore.  I have tried to homeschool her like 4 times (and the boys 3 times).  I think it has contributed to some of her gaps.  Our school may be far away, but it has fantastic teachers and administration.  I told her that I know she prefers to be homeschooled, but it’ll be so much better for her to be in school.  I feel at this point that I will be doing her a disservice to try to homeschool her.  She needs to be with kids her age and she needs to be challenged.

When I got home I had a message and an email about Karis’ score.  She actually did really well!  The principal felt good about deciding to put her into 6th grade. When I told Karis this she was jumping up and down screaming.  She was relieved that she wouldn’t have to repeat fifth grade.  And the cool thing is, she will have the same teachers (well, except one new one).

So, soon I will be alone again during the week.  My plan is to take a week or two to rest.  Then I will get busy!  I need to spend some time organizing things around my house that have gotten disorganized the past 6 months.  I plan to go to town for AA Mondays and Wednesdays.  I will go to Rocksprings Wednesday afternoons because Ethan and Karis want to do choir again.  I will try to volunteer at the school sometimes.  I plan to invite friends over here for coffee, lunch, tea, etc.   I will hike with my friend some afternoons.  Lots of self care and focusing on my sobriety.  I will probably try to find a hobby or two (besides just blogging).

I hope things continue to improve.  All I can do is take one day at a time.  I feel better some days than others.  My sleep is better some days than others.  Some days I have energy, other days I can’t do much.

I’m in the process of selling the rest of my homeschooling curriculum.  I am keeping things like encyclopedias and art books because those can be used even if we aren’t homeschooling.  But the actual curriculum has to go!

Alright, off to make dinner then possibly carve a pumpkin with the fam!

Life is hard, but God is good!

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