Rising Above my Darkest Moment

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Reflecting back to where I began to lose myself, it looks like any other awkward teenage existence. But it was different. I was depressed and lived day by day, pretending that everything was fine. I would spend hours alone in my room listening to music, inventing an alter ego if you will. I would imagine a different life, that I was a different person and I would invent this persona down to the very finest detail. And there I would “live” until it was time to go to work, eat dinner, or I just left my room for some other reason.

That’s where I was my happiest, when I was pretending to be someone else. Sad, I know but that was my happy place, where I didn’t have depression. Don’t misunderstand me, I did have friends, but they weren’t interested in me, not really. They were there to hang out or whatever, but I NEVER confided in anyone about my depression or my desire to be someone else. Really I just wanted someone to notice me, to take an interest in my life, however, I hadn’t done that for anyone else. So what did I expect?

As I graduated from High School, my friends list got smaller but they were good friends. There were a couple that I really loved and still do, even though we have lost touch. One of them was a guy (no we were never romantic) and he was my very best friend. As we got older he would give his approval/disapproval on who I dated, but only when I pressed him to be honest. He really took an interest in my life and I his. He was very special to me and part of the reason I am still here today. (Yes, I know that sounded dark.)

There was a very real darkness in my life at one point. I sat on my bed and dumped a bottle of pills on the blanket. I sat and looked at them and believed that I wouldn’t be sad anymore and no one else would really be affected if I swallowed them all. I really believed that. The adversary and his darkness had tricked me into believing I would be better off. However, God had plans for me and His power is much much greater. I thought about my friend and knew he would be hurt, but he would be okay I knew he would (wouldn’t he?) Then….I had a clear picture in my mind. My mom would be the one to find me, and it would be devastating. I just could NOT do that to her. I could not hurt her that way.

I put all the pills back in the bottle and set it on my dresser. That was my only, real suicidal thought, never again did it enter my mind. I had (with God’s help) defeated the adversary in that category. Now 20+ years later, I am working at defeating that bastard every day of my life. Some days better than others, but isn’t that life? 😉

 

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Just Jot it January…SoCS Pause

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I look forward to jotting down thoughts and moments from my life this month. Believing this will help me grow as a writer. Thanks Linda Hill!!

JJJ 2016

JusJoJan: http://lindaghill.com/2016/01/02/just-jot-it-january-2nd-pausepaws-socs/

A pause gives us time to take a breath, reflect, plan, or simply gives us that moment to take a break and move on to another task. 😉

Lately, I have had a lot of time to pause. (More time than I’m accustomed to) As I recover from a recent surgery, I pause to reflect on what changes I want to see happen in the weeks and months ahead. I’m excited for the changes, but nervous at the same time.

I’m moving forward and leaving breast cancer behind me (that’s the plan anyway). This pause in time for me is challenging, but I’m am really trying to be excited about it as well. Maybe in 2016 as this pause ends, I should take more (shorter) pauses to reflect and do more of the things I enjoy. Time moves way too fast and if we don’t pause to enjoy life, we may miss out on some pretty exciting and wonderful memories.

 

SoCS badge 2015

Coping One Day at A Time

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I’m still not moving around like my former self. I make lunch for the kiddos and prepare my own small meals, but that’s about it. I still rest a lot and do a lot of thinking. (Which isn’t always the best.) I’m believing my HER2 results come back on Monday. My first test was inconclusive, so they had to test a portion of the tumor they removed. What that means for me is I do a lot of research on the type of cancer I had and what each test shows. I did all of this prior to my mastectomy, but I feel empowered somehow by gaining more knowledge.

I’ve been able to move my arm some, but I am surprised at my range of motion, or should I say lack thereof. I wasn’t really expecting how much my entire body would be affected by the surgery. Because of the DIEP Flap procedure, my back is very sore and I can only stand/walk for short periods of time. What I really want is to go to the gym and be normal. I don’t feel normal at all, part of me feels broken. It’s not because of the mastectomy (at least I don’t think so) but because of the cancer. Although I am now cancer free, I feel more affected by it now than when I was first diagnosed in November. Yes, I kicked its ugly, nasty ass, but there’s this gnawing feeling that lingers just under the surface. I feel like it is so close to the surface that everyone can see it, but it lies just below where it tempts me to succumb to its trap.   I fight back in my mind and remind myself that I am indeed cancer-free, but it doesn’t stop the thoughts completely. Each day I allow myself time to reflect for just a bit, but when the emotions seem too much, I turn it off and redirect my focus. I’m not sure that’s the best, but for today…it’s okay.

Day 12 With My Foob

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I’m 12 days post mastectomy. I’m feeling stronger everyday and getting around a little better. They removed the drains yesterday, and that made a big difference in how I get around. I’m finding sleeping to be difficult now, but I’m not sure why. Yes, I’m physically uncomfortable at times, but sometimes….I’m just uneasy. I can’t really put my finger on it, but I just don’t feel peaceful. My recovery is going well and I talk to God all the time, so there really isn’t anything to be un-peaceful about. I am so thankful for my life and for my family, and most of all for God’s love and grace. I have nothing to complain about…NOTHING! Now, that isn’t to say there aren’t things that I would like to complain about. 😉

After I received my diagnosis (I mean when I got in the car to leave the doctor’s office) I started making calls to the referred physicians, and made appointments. It helped me feel proactive, but of course there was a wait to see any specialists. That part kind of sucked, but it worked out great! My mom was able to fly in before any appointments and went to meet each doctor with me. My husband works insanely long hours and sometimes hours away from our home, so having my mom help was amazing. Would I have liked my husband there? Of course! He is my first choice, but for me there was a sense of guilt. I had this horrible disease that was going to affect our entire family. I wanted to make it as easy on them as humanly possible. Don’t judge me…I felt guilty for having cancer. My appointments, my moods, my energy level affected everything. My husband was incredibly supportive, but bottom line, somehow this was my fault and I felt guilt. When I really think about it, I still do. 😦

I spent the next few weeks going from doctor to doctor, learning about my options, and having a zillion tests run. On my way to my CT scan, I told a friend that with all this radiation, I was going to end up getting cancer. It was the first time a could smile about all the tests and results and numbers and….sigh.

With God’s help, we completed all my tests and appointments in time for my family to fly in for Thanksgiving. (This was planned months prior). Of course everyone tipped-toed around the subject, that is until my MIL (who lives with us) said one of the stupidest things I’ve heard. When I’m with my dad we usually drink a nice wine. Well, MIL wanted some and added water to it. We teased her that we would have gotten her a lighter rose wine.

Here’s the convo:

MIL: I’m 67 years old, so I can do whatever I want and you can’t tease me.

Me: I’m not 67 years old and still “choose” to do whatever I want.

MIL: No, you do whatever you want because of another “C” word.

OMG!!! The entire room went quiet, and my brother pipes up and says that I’ve been doing what I wanted long before this came along. 😉 I was a little embarrassed and of course the guilt crept back in. I know she was kidding, but my heart sank for a moment, at the thought that people would treat me differently. I just wanted to be me. I’m believing through this journey I will find that person again, and maybe be even better than before.

 

Another Journey…Really?!?!

A few months ago I began to journal some memoirs. I wanted to journey back and reflect on different events that shaped who I am today, believing it would help me make the changes I wanted to make. So….I wrote.

I found it difficult at times to go back and think about those uncomfortable moments of my adolescent years, but it did shed some light on why I think the way I do now and may have even prepared me for how I would handle one of the most difficult moments in my life, that was just around the corner.

Hind sight is truly 20/20, as I look back on the those months before my life would change; God was preparing me, nudging me, and protecting me, without me even knowing until November 10, 2015. That morning I woke with the determination to get the results from my biopsy that I had on the previous Friday. I called the doctor’s office, and they insisted I come in, they couldn’t give me my results over the phone. (Well, that has never happened.) I knew it was not good, but I also knew God would protect me. I called my husband and left a message to call me right back, and then called a long distance friend and made her talk to me as I drove to the office until my husband called back.

My blood pressure was high, my heart was racing, and I could not stand sitting in that sterile, cold examining room all alone. Finally, the doctor came in, she gave me that look (the look I would start seeing more and more as people found out). “It came back positive.” She said. “Positive for what?” I asked. I had to hear the words, I had to be 100% sure we were on the same page. “The tumor is positive for breast cancer.” She said looking me straight in the eyes.

My heart sank, as it does now as I am writing this. The words that frighten most women (and some men). The words that can stop you in your tracks and make you feel like you are living in some kind of parallel world. I cried. I knew I would be fine, I knew it would be removed and I would be fine. I had gone over all the possibilities that I could think of, as I was waiting on the results fro 4 days. But at that moment, I cried. I cried for me, for my husband, for our children, and for my family.

Four days later, my mom arrived ready to spend the next several weeks going to appointments, meeting doctors, and devising a plan of action. Our oldest didn’t really have a response to the news, our middle child was so pissed off, he just walked around mad for about a week, and our youngest…well we didn’t give her all the details (she’s 5). But she is the best nurse I have during my recovery, as I sit here on the couch.

My recovery has been wonderfully uneventful, and has given me a lot of time of time to think. I’m only a week post-op, and I am finally clear enough to think and reflect. Everything happened so quickly that I don’t think I even stopped to process any of it. I haven’t felt emotional until now, as I write down and remember those moments of realizations. I’m believing as I put this journey into words, it will reach those that need it and help anyone who is or has battled this ugly disease.

One last thing before I end this entry: Catching cancer in it’s early stages is AWESOME, but don’t ever (for a second) believe that it makes finding out that you have cancer any less scary. I never once doubted God’s protection, but guess what…I’m human and it was scary and it pissed me off! Please remember that if someone you know is diagnosed early, they need just as much support as anyone else.

 

 

 

Where I Began To Lose Myself

Trigger Warning

Thinking back, I believe it was around the age of 15 when perception of what was acceptance was skewed. Not to say that it didn’t begin at a young age, but these memories are the ones that stand out, and for a lack of a better word…haunt me.

I was a natural athlete growing up. I’m not sure how I learned or even when I learned, but I had a “killer” arm. I could throw a runner out at home (on the fly) from right field, and that wasn’t even the position I regularly played. I won ever throwing competition in Track and Field, and I was MVP every year I played softball. As I got older, volleyball was made available, and guess what, once again I excelled.  It brought be comfort and confidence to be on the field/court; that’s where I was most me. I loved it beyond words and thanked God that I had these abilities. It literally was my whole world. Then came High School. 🙂 I made Junior Varsity as a freshman and had to listen to the ridicule from the older girls who did not appreciate a freshman being a starter over them, but I didn’t care. I put up with it because I wanted to be there, I needed to be there. My entire life worked around my games and practices. I traveled with teams during our off-season and left for camps during the summers. To me, it defined me.

Then one decision changed everything. I wasn’t Miss Popularity, but I wasn’t really anything. I didn’t fit into any one clique, but I did feel invisible. I had my friends and they were great, but I felt like I was missing something. I wanted to feel accepted. So, my friend and my (older) neighbor wanted to skip school one day. I was really nervous and wasn’t sure I really wanted to do this, but I wanted to be “cool”. I did everything they said and it worked. I was at the mall hanging out, while my parents thought I was at school and my teachers thought I was home sick. I was sick most of the day because I knew it was wrong, and I was going to miss practice that night.

Long story short, I got caught. I had three days in-school suspension and my starting position wasn’t the only thing taken from me. I was removed completely from the court for weeks. At that point, in my mind, I lost me. I lost my parent’s trust, my teacher’s trust, and my own identity. When asked why I did it, I could only answer that I wasn’t sure, but I knew I was tired of being invisible. I didn’t know it then, but depression was beginning to make itself comfy in my mind.

This may or may not have been the beginning, but it is what I remember vividly, the hollow feeling in the pit of my stomach, wanting desperately to scream out, “Help!”, but fearing that no one would understand, or worse, they wouldn’t believe me or would think something was wrong with me.  I often wondered how anyone could understand something that I myself could not explain. How do you tell an adult (as a teen) that there’s a lump in your throat, when you think about what your friends might say? Will someone understand the empty, aching feeling you get in your chest when a boy sees right through you as you pass in the hall? How do you tell your parents that you are unhappy, but you don’t know why? I remember feeling alone and completely lost. I no longer knew who I was or who I wanted to be. I began to drift from day to day, pretending that I was happy and carefree, but inside I was tormented by my own thoughts of inadequacy.

Where I’m Coming From

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I have recently decided to begin my memoirs as they pertain to my struggle with anxiety, depression and my desire to reinvent myself. I no longer want to pretend to be someone else. I want to learn to love who I am and have confidence in the fact that I AM A SON of GOD!!! This is an introduction of sorts. It gives you the basics of where I am coming from and where I want to go.

Warning for this post and those to follow on this topic: Possible Trigger Warning!

I found myself recently, realizing that I wasn’t all that “happy”. I wasn’t sad per se, but I felt trapped inside my own prison.  A prison that I myself built and continue to keep myself imprisoned.  I realize that everyone has their struggles, and that it is a part of life and I accept that. However, I do more than struggle; I battle. I have real mental battles with myself. I argue, scream, and sometimes fight to exhaustion, but it’s all with myself.

I know what is right and wrong, what is positive believing and what is negative. I tell myself ALL DAY LONG the positives, but for some reason it doesn’t stick. I have to change my mind on a regular basis throughout the day, but those pesky thoughts and the need to be accepted continue to find the cracks in my mind and sneak in. The more I gave thought to this, the more I realized that I have such a strong need to feel accepted. It’s ridiculous to my logical mind, but it truly is a prison that I have to escape.

I tried desperately to explain this to my husband, after 20 years of “sweeping it under the rug.” But if you haven’t experienced something like this, it is almost impossible to understand the struggle. I told him that it’s been like this for most of my life, and I am too exhausted to try and keep it hid any longer. I explained that I have always pretended to be someone else in order to feel what I thought was acceptance. I truly felt that I needed to be a certain way in order “fit in”. I can go on and on and blame the high school cliques or my “so-called” friends, but the truth is, it’s my own lack of confidence that has made this such a prominent aspect of my thought patterns.

I had my own parents convinced that I was a well-adjusted, popular teen that had a lot of friends and enjoyed life. When the reality was, at 18 I was seconds away from ending my existence.  I wanted nothing more to do with this uneventful, miserable life. I was lonely and spent the majority of my time alone, pretending to be someone else. At the time, I thought nothing of it; I would always play pretend during my childhood. However, now I was a teenager and I still would play these games. Looking back, I feel a little pathetic, but the reality was I just wanted to be someone people loved and looked up to. As an adult reflecting on this, I don’t think I was ever not accepted; I think I just wanted more out of life and didn’t have the confidence to stand up and reach for it.  I think as an adult, I still fight the same battle. I never published my book, after 18 years because of what people might think.  I tell myself all of the time that it doesn’t matter, but unfortunately it can be paralyzing. I feel like I’m missing out on so much more because of this prison I locked myself in. Now, it’s time to break free.

Taking Action to Make a Change

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I’ve been avoiding my blog for months, but I think about it often. I felt that I had nothing interesting to say, that my words didn’t make a difference whether they were written or not. What difference does it make? Pretty depressing, right? But the thing is, I’m not depressed. I have my funks, sure, but don’t we all at some time or another. I’ve experienced depression and this isn’t it.

As I continued to work through my anxiety issues (which has been really great lately), and help my daughter with hers, I uncovered deeper feelings that I thought I had overcome years ago. However, the more I gave this my attention, the more I realized this is a serious problem. The old habits were resurfacing with vengeance, and I didn’t seem to have a handle on them like I thought. I started to be concerned that my thought patterns and behavior would have a great impact on my children. I didn’t want them negatively influenced by my bad habits.

So I think I’ve decided to start a memoir here, as I search inside myself to uncover why I think the way I do and how I can overcome it. I suppose it doesn’t matter who, if anyone, listens. My writing isn’t about anyone else, but my own expressions. I need to start being the one that is important to me, not looking for acceptance anywhere else. Besides, if I can’t accept myself, who else will?

So I invite those that are interested, along with me on this journey; and those that are not interested….that’s okay too.

Heading Home

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Here I sit at the airport; coffee in hand, surrounded by strangers, watching my kids take random pictures of….who knows.

Part of me wants to get back, refreshed and ready to get my shit together. The other part, the part that’s not so extreme, doesn’t think my shit isn’t together. That part isn’t ready to go back to the draining effect my MIL has on me. Unfortunately, my mind is already going there. I have a few, precious hours left and I wish I wasn’t thinking about this.

My habit when I travel back home, from anywhere, is to plan new habits. Habits that will help manage my anxiety better. I’m always thinking about how I can do things better, and I do okay for a few days and then I slowly go back to my routine. Ugh! Maybe this time will be different….probably not. Lol

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Liebster Award Nomination

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Liebster Award

Thank you Kirsty for the Liebster Award Nomination. I haven’t followed through with other nominations due to my limited time I have to write, but since I am on vacation for one more day, I will put some thought into this. Thank you, Kirsty, for consistently reading my blog and for finding it worthy of this nomination. Go check out Kirsty at Outside the Coffee Cup, you won’t be sorry.
Here are the questions Kirsty asked:
1. Would you rather be able to fly or be able to turn invisible? And why?
I thought I would want to fly, but being invisible would really come in handy when I am in a situation with a lot of people. I suffer from anxiety and sometimes I really wish I could turn invisible.
2. Do you prefer Spring or Autumn? And why?
This would depend where in the country I am. If I’m home I would have to say Spring. Although, the pollen is very hard on my respiratory system, it is still very hot during our Autumn months. The Spring is very pleasant and allows us to be outdoors. I love flowers as well!!
3. If you could meet someone past or present, famous or not, who would it be?
This one was very hard for me to answer. I guess I will have to say….Kurt Cobain because I felt the music industry lost him WAY TOO EARLY. I would have loved to sit and have a cup of coffee with him. I just think it would be the most down to Earth conversation I would ever have.
4. Where is your favorite place to be? And why?
I love the Rocky Mountains. I lived there for 3 years and felt the most inspired living tucked away in the mountains.
5. Are you happy with your life or would you change it?
Do I want to change? Yes, but not my life. I love my life and am very blessed with what God has given me. Nothing is ever going to be perfect, but I have the most amazing family.
6. Someone comes up to you and gives you £10 ($10) what do you spend it on?
Easy…I give it to one of my kids because they are always in the “need” of something. LOL
7. Who is your dream guy or girl? And why?
Honestly, my husband is the most amazing person in the world. He puts up with me! 😉
8. Do you believe in Ghosts? And why?
No. I believe there are devil spirits that “impersonate” the dead, but I believe the dead are dead until The Return of Christ.
9. If you could be any Superhero who would it be? And why?
I am a Superhero (to my kids). LOL Other than that, I don’t want the responsibility.
10. What is your favourite song?
Feel The Silence (Goo Goo Dolls) Why? Just go listen to it. It was written by my favorite songwriter, John Rzeznik, a lyrical genius.

The rules state I come up with 10 questions and nominate 10 blogs that have less than 200 followers. So here it goes:
1. How would (someone) describe your blogging style?
2. What do you do when you aren’t working on your blog?
3. If you could live anywhere, where would it be?
4. What is your favorite thing about your career?
5. What is your proudest accomplishment?
6. What makes you laugh the most?
7. What motivates you to work hard?
8. What is the best gift you have been given?
9. Aside from necessities, what one thing could you not go a day without?
10. If you could share a meal with any 4 individuals, living or dead, who would they be?

I nominate:
http://abeautifulmessme.com/
https://tigress511blog.wordpress.com/
https://symphonyofliteracy.wordpress.com/
https://abbiescorner.wordpress.com/
http://angelachristinaarcher.com/
http://bearhavenmama.com/
https://beingderby.wordpress.com/
https://rddocke.wordpress.com/
https://mscassiopeia.wordpress.com/
http://thoughtsofaninternetperson.com/
This was not in any particular order or based on any specific topic. These are just blogs I enjoy showing up in my feed. Congratulations to y’all and I’m believing this helps get you more traffic, if you decide to accept the nomination. Keep up the great work!