Tuesday, October 17, 2017

My Mental Illness is Unique

MY Mental Illness Is MINE.

At times I am so angry that people can not understand what I am going through each and every day. Occasionally I realize I don't even understand what my depression and anxiety does to my mood.

You might not fully grasp what it feels like - but you can read my account of the last few days and see life from my eyes.

I picked the boys up from their grandparents' house on Saturday morning. They had a day camp for children that have lost a loved one. Sam was anxious but he calmed down once he got there. Jay was excited to do art projects. I went home and watched TV and took a nap. I didn't want to go back and be around people - but I did. After I picked them up the boys took me to the Flagstaff Community Labyrinth. They had walked it with the group and they wanted to show it to me. It was peaceful (well when Jay would stop talking) to slow down and walk to the center. That night I made two batches rice crispy treats, and followed it with a large stack of grilled cheese sandwiches for dinner. Bedtime came easy because they were happy to be home with their mom.

Sunday started slow, I did not want to do any adulting. I wanted to stay in bed, so I did. I think I got up at one point but the headache, anxiety, and depression were too much to handle. I went to lay down and rest. I woke up hours later and could hear the boys playing nicely. I fell back asleep. The next thing I knew it was 10 pm. The boys were still watching YouTube on TV. (Why is it fun to watch others game play on video?) I forced them to clean up their mess and turn off the TV. I made Jay get a shower. They both climbed into bed with me. They fell asleep around 11 pm. I was up for a few hours but finally drifted off.

Monday: I didn't take the boys to school. They were out cold when the alarm went off. I didn't have the energy or motivation to bother. I finally got out of bed around 12 noon. My mom called me. She knew I was upset and angry about my job. I told her that before this job my life was the best it had ever been; we had lived in the same place for 7 years, we had enough money to get by, I had a new car, the boys were doing better in school with me not working. As horrible as I felt, it was just a bump.

After we hung up, I straightened up my kitchen, had the boys take care of recycling, and made us lunch. Then I watched some tv and started a pot of chili for dinner. I sat and cuddled one-on-one with Jay as it cooked. After we ate, we put away all the clean laundry. (I had done a few loads of laundry while they were at their grandparents. I even washed the damn dishes.) Jay went to sleep without a fight. Sam begged to sleep with me. I wanted to finish the movie I had been watching. I took that time to cuddle with Sam for some of his one-on-one attention. We climbed into bed and Sam read a chapter of a Magic Treehouse book as a bedtime story. 

To some of you this reads like a typical day for any family. However ALL of this took A LOT of effort because of my depression. After a couple weeks of not working, not doing dishes, not cooking, and not caring; I had cleaned up the kitchen, made food for us to eat, and I had done chores. 

Even for the few months I was working, I hadn't been cooking. I had no energy by the time 4 pm rolled around. We would go to a fast food place and take some food home. I would only do laundry when we were out of clean undies. 

This is why I haven't blogged as much this year. Every post I would start writing was angry ranting from the hurt and pain of my depression. I didn't want CoCo And Twins to be full of anger. Soon I hope to get back to regularly publishing. I have so many projects started that need to be finished up. I want to share more of what I love with those that will read.

Thank you for letting me share.

Sunday, August 20, 2017

Back to Work

This past week has been exhausting!

The boys started 2nd grade and I started a new job! They decided that going to Cracker Barrel on the First and Last Day of School will be a tradition. 

I have not worked 5 days a week since before the twins were born. Well, even before that with the tough pregnancy. (There was 2 months in 2010 that I attempted to work. The boys were constantly sick so I after many sick days, I quit.) I absolutely love it. I am a Toddler Teacher for the Child Enrichment Center at the high school. I hadn't planned on a job which included changing diapers, but I love teaching and playing with little ones. 

Going back to work is going to be a struggle and a blessing. Trying to work out the boys' school days, after school care, being part of the PTO Board, Boy Scouts, and working is overwhelming. I am still trying to find that balance and perfect schedule. Things should calm down by the end of September. Being a single stay at home mom for 7 years has been tough. Going back to work is going to be just as hard. 

However, the financial blessing for my little family is going to be amazing. I recently bought a new car, and we have a fun weekend in Phoenix scheduled once a month for the rest of the year. These new expenses will easily fit into the budget. (Plus I am really good at finding deals to help stretch our money.)

Last weekend we were able to spend the night in Phoenix and see the Cubs game.

I hope all of you had a great start to the new school year.

Wednesday, August 9, 2017

The Night Before Back to School

The night before the first day of school, 
and all through the house 
no one was moving... 
except for the MOM! 
She was writing names over and over 
on every box, notebook and folder;
checking backpacks and laying out clothes
before she would sleep for the night.

For in the morning would bring 
a Back To School breakfast 
and lots of photos 
once she finally tore the kids out of bed.
Then drive off to school in a hurry, 
to check out the class 
and see all their friends. 
(Plus a few more photos.)

Then the mom would relax
in all the glory of being 
alone for the morning. 

Happy Back To School!

Tuesday, August 1, 2017

7 years in the making...

As I sit here binge watching Netflix, I can barely believe what happened 7 years ago. It feels like a lifetime ago. 

I showed up a domestic violence shelter just before midnight on Friday, July 31, 2010. The twins had just turned 6 months old. I had left their father and moved us 150 miles away. 

2 friends had driven us because my car wouldn't have made it up the I-17 from Phoenix. They left me there and went to a hotel for the night. They came back the next morning to take us to breakfast and to the store for basics.

I did a short intake and then I was given a room. Because I had 2 children, we were given a private room. It was a dorm room of sorts with a shared bathroom in the hall. I had no idea what to expect. All I knew was that it would be better than what I had left, and better than the options available in Phoenix. 

That first weekend is a blur. A trip to Target that Saturday was crazy because the place was crawling with NAU students and their parents. My friends left that afternoon and we were on our own. One hot mess of a mom and two crying babies on the bottom of an old metal bunk bed.


Fast Forward to today - August 1st, 2017. The twins are now 7.5 years old and I am just a 2 days of being 40.5 years old. We just signed a new lease on our duplex. We have now lived here 5 years.{After being at the shelter for 9 weeks, I was given a spot in a transitional housing program. We lived there for 2 years while I completed the program.}

This is the longest I have ever lived in one home since I have left home at 17. This is longest I have ever been part of a community with friends and coworkers and resources. I love Flagstaff with all its quirks and faults. This is where I began a new life for myself and I now consider it to be my home. {But I will not stop rooting for my Cubbies! Go Cubs Go, Go Cubs Go. Hey Chicago, what do ya say? The Cubs are going to win today!}

Next week the boys start 2nd grade at a great school. That same day I start work using the Elementary EDU Special Education degree I earned 10 years ago. I am buying a new car and building my credit back up. I am decorating my house in my own styles and colors. I am purging closets and finally letting go of boxes of stuff that has followed me for years. 

I feel like a new person. I still fight the blues but they are at that annoying exhaustion stage instead of being a full depressive episode. I can handle this! I got this! My life is what I make it! Many people have said I am not worthy, not good enough, not smart enough, not normal enough, not consistent enough, not pretty enough, not rich enough, JUST NOT ENOUGH. 

Well, guess what?


I have so much self-worth! It is hard to see it some days - but it is there!