Doing Hard Work

Routine.  It’s so necessary for my mental health.  While I try really hard to implement it during the summer, it’s not built in so it’s hard. I tend to stay up too late.  Sleep too late.  Sit around drinking coffee … 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

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.

Happy Monday: Would You Give Jesus a Chance?

Happy Monday

I have been trying really hard to not sleep during the day.  When I do, I will take an hour long nap instead of a 4 hour nap in the morning and a 2 hour nap in the afternoon.  Now, even when I don’t sleep well the night before, I try to wait till bed time to sleep.  This worked out so well last night.  I fell asleep at 9:45.  Of course I woke up at 4:10, but I kind of dozed back off till my alarm went off at 5:20.

I am starting to love early mornings.  I get that time with the kids, drink coffee, do my Bible study (currently doing a She Reads Truth Lent study), and spend some time praising Jesus through song.  I also get to see the sun rise over the hills.  We have a fantastic view from our house.

I love this song and have listened to it over and over this morning.

I also just LOVE this song.  It’s a great reminder that we are loved and He has a plan.  Have courage.  Sometimes we have to wait for something, but He will be glorified through His plan.  He wants good for us who love Him.

I’m a little behind in the She Reads Truth Lent study, but I’m okay with that.  It’s not about being perfect but about drawing near to Jesus and spending time with Him.  In turn, He teaches me about Him and His plan.  Today’s study was very relevant for me coming out of a season of darkness.  Check it out!  The Plagues Continue.

If you’re turned off by all things God/Jesus, I pray that you would give Him a chance. While I was in the darkness I was bitter and angry towards Him.  All of a sudden He gave me peace and joy.  He reminded me that He is in control and that despite the hard (that happens because of sin in the world), He truly does want good to come.  Sometimes we have to wait, but the good eventually comes “Miracles happen when you fix your eyes on Jesus.”  And honestly I wouldn’t appreciate the good without the hard.  He has taught me so much over the past several years.  I love others better.  I have less judgment.  I’m stronger, I have more courage, I am able to be vulnerable, I have grown so much, I am able to be there for others, and I just want to share Him with others.  My family is also stronger.  We have grown together.

Today I pray that you would give Him a chance.  He loves you no matter what you’ve done and what you’ve been through.  He loves you just as you are (I mean, I’m an alcoholic and He loves me).

Have a good Monday!

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

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.

IMG_3080

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.

fullsizeoutput_215e

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

My New Journey

Words aren’t my friend right now so bare with me.

A little over 7 years ago my brother died by a gruesome suicide.  A few months later I had Levi and went through terrible postpartum depression and anxiety.  My life has never been the same.

3 years ago I was suicidal for the first time and ended up inpatient at a mental health facility.  A few months later I was diagnosed with bipolar 2 and generalized anxiety disorder.

The past several years have had many ups and downs.  I have been in outpatient therapy and most recently was in a treatment center for alcoholism.

I have spent so much of my time advocating for myself and others with mental illness.  I got the above tattoo (not quality work, but I still like it) almost 2 years ago to represent that (check out Project Semicolon to learn more about the symbol).

Today, I’m not doing well.

I was worried that homeschooling Karis again was the cause of my anxiety, but Robert and I have pretty much determined that it is in fact my medication.

I am feeling hopeless.  The medication that I cannot afford is what is best for me and no other meds have worked like it.  In fact, the one I’m on not only doesn’t work as well, I really feel that it is the cause of my anxiety.

Yesterday I wrote on Facebook that I was no longer going to share about my mental illness because I’m tired of being “known” for mental illness.  If they wanted to read about it, they could go like my FB page.  Then today I woke up with anxiety again, and I asked for prayers on FB.

A lot of people commented and messaged me.  I felt guilty for doing what I said I wouldn’t do, so I deleted my post.

I’m so tired.  Tired of being the needy one.  Tired of being the one that is always struggling.  Tired of being the one that is a drain to others.  Tired of being the one that is too open.  Tired of being the one that focuses on herself so much.  Tired of being a mess all the time.  Tired of being tired.

I don’t know what the future of sharing looks like.  I want to be an advocate, but I also don’t want people to only think of mental illness when they think of me.  I want them to see the other parts of me, too.  On the days when my mental illness is winning, it’s hard for me to see the other parts of me let alone share those things with the world.  I have noticed myself not sharing as much when I don’t share about my mental illness.  I’m not sure why that is.  I think the biggest thing is that I’ve convinced myself that a part of me is me.

Every time I think I’m going to post now, I have to put a lot of thought into it.  I think I’m on a new journey of learning who I really am (with and without my mental illness).  We’ll see where this leads me.

I will probably always be vulnerable on here because that is what my blog is about.  It’s my outlet.  If anyone wants to, they can come read this instead of me complaining all of the time on Facebook.

An Update and Grati-Tuesday

This past week was lllooonnnggg.  I had bad anxiety and I could barely see past it.  I was pretty selfish through it and have had to repair a few things.  I’m grateful for the grace of people in my life … Continue reading