Balance 365 and “All or Something”

The kids and I are at my parents’ this weekend.  They got out of school at 12:45 Thursday, for the summer.  I picked them up from the bus, took them to the arcade in Kerrville, then brought them to my … Continue reading

Grati-Tuesday, February 20th

As I sit here and listen to Bethel radio on Pandora, drink coffee, and reflect (while hanging out with my hubby), I’m so incredibly grateful for the life that we have.  It has been a really hard journey for me, … 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

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.

IMG_0627

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!

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

Our Thoughts Make a Huge Impact on Our Lives

Several years ago I worked with a counselor doing cognitive behavioral therapy.  She helped me to realize that my thoughts make a huge impact on my life.  It helped me so much.  I was able to live the life that I wanted to live (for the most part) despite my mental illness.

Since we moved away from Frisco and I no longer have that counselor, I have forgotten so much about how to control my thoughts.  My current counselor is fantastic, but she hasn’t really helped me work on controlling my thoughts.

This past month has been hard on me.  Like I’ve said in past posts, I have had extreme anxiety since I had to change meds.  It greatly affected my life every day.  I felt like I wanted to give up on all the things that make me happy.  I just felt like I couldn’t handle anything anymore.  Then yesterday I was extremely exhausted because of my new medication.  Yet another reason to feel like I just need to give up on everything that makes me happy.  I was feeling so down because all I want is to be able to live life to its fullest… homeschool all of my kids, go on trips, eat in the dining hall, take the kids places, go backpacking, etc without feeling extreme anxiety.

I no longer feel anxiety since I stopped taking the Geodon, but I have been extremely exhausted since starting the new med.  I was feeling really down again because of thinking I’m just doomed to struggle through life.  I was thinking that I’ll never be able to do what I want to be able to do… I should just give up trying.

Everything changed last night when Robert got home.  We had a fantastic talk and I changed my thoughts which made me feel so much better.  I feel hope again.

He went on a field trip with the boys yesterday.  He had a really rough time because Ethan’s teacher sat at the front of the bus completely ignoring the class and he had to discipline the kids (who were very difficult).  His eyes were opened to how things may be in the classroom and he was not impressed.

When he got home I joked with him saying that maybe we should homeschool the boys again because the school isn’t what we thought (knowing that it really isn’t that bad… I was kind of joking).  He asked me if I really think I can handle homeschooling.  I told him that I’m not sure but asked if we could put the idea back on the table and pray about it and see how I’m feeling over time with my new med.  He said that he’s totally fine with that… he wasn’t the one who felt like we needed to make a decision immediately.  He feels like it’s a good idea he just wants to make sure I can handle it.  And we don’t want to decide to homeschool and change our mind again.  He feels like it would actually be better for our family to have the boys home.  It opens up so much… we would no longer have to drive 50 minutes a day to pick them up from the bus.  We would be able to take trips, go backpacking, spend time with grandparents, go on field trips, etc.  The kids would be able to play with their friends here more.  They would be able to stay up later which is easier for things that go on here at camp.  They wouldn’t be away from the house for 10 hours a day.

The hard things about it are that I wouldn’t have as much time for self care, if I have a bad few days it could set us behind (which, we could school year round to account for bad days), and it would cost more to homeschool them on top of homeschooling Karis.

Anyway… just thinking about the possibility of being able to homeschool all of the kids changed my thought pattern completely.  No longer was I thinking “poor me,” “life sucks,” “I can’t handle anything.”  I started thinking that maybe I can handle things.  Maybe life doesn’t suck.  Maybe I just need to be a fighter.  I don’t need to give up.  Robert believes in me, why don’t I believe in myself?  Then I started to think about the fact that the boys will be home this summer and I want to live life to its fullest.  And Robert and I will be going backpacking.  So, summer will be full of swimming, backpacking, hiking, family camp, time with friends.  A little bit of school (math and reading).  Time with my parents.  Six flags, the zoo, etc.  Just busy and fun.  Before yesterday, I would have been anxious about all of that, but now I’m hopeful, peaceful, and excited!

I realized yesterday and this morning that my thoughts have really been impacting me.  Changing my thoughts immediately changed my mental health.

So just like I wrote the other day about Taking Charge of My Wellness Holistically, I want to focus on all of the things that I can do as well as doing things that I want to do that make me happy and work well for our family.

I refuse to give in!  I’m a fighter!  I may have bad days, but that doesn’t mean that I need to give up. That just means I need to take good care of myself.

Now to do lots of prayer about what to do about homeschooling.  At this point, it’s going to be what God wants me to do.  Robert is on board if I feel like I can handle it.  Only time will tell :-).