Posted in Calming the Voices, Word Therapy

Sometimes Joey McIntyre is Who it Takes

Hurricanes. Earthquakes. Ethnic cleansing. The White House. Is there anything in the news today that doesn’t stress us out? When the Oklahoma City bombing occurred I remember bawling while watching the television coverage and my boyfriend asking me, “Why do you care so much? You don’t know them”-he exited not long after. With anxiety and depression I have learned to identify when I’m feeling bad as a result of them. The next step has been learning to get through it and how. I have had to develop a certain set of skills for this.

Taken GIF

From ’07 to ’12 we moved a total of seven times. I had moving down pat. I didn’t get rid of moving boxes. I became obsessed with purging stuff so we could have less stuff to move. I even had a moving checklist on my hard drive. With our next move coming upon us, I can feel the pressure looming over me. I am in full coping mode: taking deep breaths, taking it one day at a time, and making ALL THE LISTS. To do lists broken down by day and week, address change notification list, what to purge, donate, and sell list, and my favorite-but-gives-my-husband-heart-palpitations list: What to buy for the new house.

As a child I used reading to deal with being bullied. When I would have a bad day I would daydream about a NKOTB member (preferably Joey) taking me to the Oscars where I would win for best actress and look perfect on the red carpet with my perfectly straight hair and fabulous formal gown. As an adult I still use reading to cope while my hubby takes me on dates that no red carpet or fabulous gown could measure up to. I would prefer to lose myself in a Stephen King novel than watch Sarah Huckabee Sanders be rude to the press during her daily bullshit briefings. If I want to be relaxed and focused, I meditate. Running stimulates my mind and helps me be creative. And all music makes me happy.

We all need coping skills, depressed or not. I am proud to say that my daughter will go to her room to color or read while listening to music if she gets annoyed with her brother or overwhelmed. This is in contrast from last year when she used to yell at anybody within shouting distance. Wesley chews his fingernails (he is a work in progress). Setting her and her brother up for success at a young age on how to deal with life’s obstacles is a gift I hope I can give them.

September is National Suicide Prevention Month. If you are sad or feel alone, you aren’t. Here is the link to NAMI for you or anybody that you know is struggling:

https://www.nami.org/

I would like to leave you with a performance of “You Will Be Found” by the cast of Dear Evan Hansen. The show deals with teen suicide and the song makes me feel less alone every time I hear it.

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Posted in Word Therapy

Stepping Down

 

Having it all: A good job that is fulfilling and decent paying, a happy family, and just being satisfied with life in general. Ever since my daughter was born 10 years ago, I can honestly say that even though we have had our troubles, our family life has been a good one. I adore my husband. He is my best friend, my love, and still makes me laugh 18 years in. My kids are great. Hubby hasn’t been out of work since we left Arizona and even though we don’t live an extravagant life style, we don’t want for much. My current role is being head of the household. I plan all meals and shop for them. I clean the house, daily and weekly. I volunteer for the kids’ school and make sure homework is done and signed for. If they seem to be having trouble in any aspect of their life, I’m all over it. Talks with them and/or no electronics are punishment when necessary. I exercise five days/week to be healthy for them and myself. I love being a wife and a mom. But with medication, exercise, and meditation comes clarity. I want more.

I have been writing on and off for 10+ years. I start and then stop. I let life get in the way. I tell myself household and family responsibilities can only be done by me, which translates to I want it done my way. I worry that if I don’t spend more quality time with my significant other, he will leave me (anxiety is a bitch that way). I fear my kids will fall behind in school if I’m not on top of them to get their stuff done. I stress that my house will be a total mess if I don’t follow the schedule I have set for every day. As I am writing this I realize how tight I have the reins. And in order for me to finish that book I have been writing in my head for years, something else has to give.

Official Notice to the Wilson Household: It has been brought to my attention that I do a lot of work around our home. I clean, cook, shop, and make sure everybody is living a comfortable life. Your needs are my needs. You want something specific for your lunch? I will buy it. You want a particular deodorant? Got it. You need help with a homework assignment? Done. I love you all. Some days I live for you. But mom/wife needs time to be Stephanie. It is time to fulfill a part of me that is ambitious, creative, and hard working. I suck at asking for help. But if you will assist me, I can get better at it. And in turn, you can feel good about helping somebody you love achieve a life goal.

Do I think it is possible to “have it all”? Hell no. I’m always going to put my family first, even as I let go. But bringing myself closer to the front will fulfill me and bring me happiness and pride.

Posted in California Livin'

Summer Days

The kids are finishing up their fourth week of school already and I am tired of the triple digits hell that is our California weather. I am ready for fall weather, pumpkin candies and lattes, and the smell of a fire going in my fireplace. And even though we STILL haven’t gotten on a plane with the kids (fingers crossed for next year!) I know that we had a good summer this year and have the pictures to remind me.

That afternoon the kids spent shooting dollar spot sticky frogs at the ceiling…

 

When I made my son pose in front of a movie billboard without realizing how hella inappropriate it was

Inappropriate movie

Trips to Knotts that never disappoint

 

One more picture from the OC Fair because it was that much fun

OC Fair Family

Celebrated Hubby’s 40th at Raging Waters

 

Pool Action

 

I hope you are enjoying the last remaining days of summer. Tell me something fun you did. Thank you for reading!

Posted in Calming the Voices

The Arizona Effect

With anxiety and depression, stability is something I crave. A routine, bills paid on time/in advance, and a job that provides. I don’t need to be a millionaire or have expensive things. But in the past eight years, life has made sure that stability has alluded us. Some of it has been due to our choices and the rest is just life giving us a kick in the ass to build character.

Four months after my youngest was born, my family was living in one room in my sister’s house. The job situation was dire. A month after that we were renting two rooms in a friend’s house in Arizona. For the next 10 months we endured jobs coming and going. Money was tight to the point where I lost weight because I wasn’t eating to save money; all while nursing an infant (not one of my brighter moments). We finally made the decision to move back to California and tackle the job market, figuring we had nothing to lose by being where we felt we belonged. Luckily, hubby got a temp job that turned into a permanent one.

Fast forward four years and hubby’s job is making him sick and growth in the company is nonexistent. With my support he decides to fulfill his dream of owning a business. He quits his job and throws himself head first into the pool cleaning world.

It is now late 2017. We have sold the business after running it together successfully. We had our ups and downs with the business and learned so much. But with the election results in November, we gained a new perspective. The small community that we have been raising our kids in started to feel different. We witnessed ugliness that we didn’t see before or maybe we unconsciously ignored it. Friendships that we thought we could count on were lost in this new world. While we were down in the streets of Los Angeles protesting, people around us were saying we needed to accept this political environment and to “get over it.”

As a result, our life goals have changed. We have new wants and dreams. So rather than stay somewhere because we “should” and feel isolated, we are rolling the dice again. Hubby is ready to go back to an office environment. He wants to go back to his hometown where family will be.

This is the exact opposite of stable. New job, new town, new home, and new school (for the kids). Do we stay somewhere just because we have been there for a long period of time and it’s what our kids know? Is that what sacrifice is? Or do we show them that we are willing to take chances if it means the possibility of happiness and success?

The unknown and uncertainty of it grips me with terror. I imagine a new job not working out and us becoming homeless (this usually occurs at 4 am in the morning). Rationale reminds me in the light of day that we will be fine no matter what but my brain won’t allow to me let go of the worst case scenario.

So that’s where I’m at. We are throwing our whole life up in the air by taking this chance at happiness. We could fail miserably and have before. But I think as much as I want steadiness, taking a chance feels right.

Posted in social media

You Don’t Want to Follow Me

I am on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. I probably am on each of these social mediums at least 5 times/day. I like to post on Facebook and Instagram but Twitter makes me question every word I type. But that’s not the point. The point I want to make is this: You don’t want to follow or friend me on any of these. Unless you support the rights of all people, you like movies and dogs, and you want to read about the struggles of somebody with anxiety and depression.  You’ve been warned.

Take my politics for example. I support LGBTQIA rights, Black Lives Matter, and Planned Parenthood. I live by the Golden Rule: Do onto others as you would have done to you. Gross, right? I mean, are people really kind to one another these days? Do you smile at strangers when you are in public? I do. Lame sauce. I think as a rule if your life is working for you but it wouldn’t necessarily work for me, THAT’S OKAY. If I see somebody being wronged, I try and help. How nosy am I? As such, I share posts from time to time that will put a spotlight on people who are being oppressed. If you don’t want to be offended, make sure to keep it moving.

I also love movies and pop culture in general. I see every movie I can when they are in theaters, I binge watch Netflix shows, and I watch shows that are just trailers. I read movie reviews and make my choices based on some of them. If Entertainment Weekly says I need to read a book or that it is being made into a show or movie, I am most likely going to read it. If I find something to be good, I like to recommend it. Who needs somebody telling you to read or watch something that might be of enjoyment to you? So annoying.

Another thing: I love my kids and like to take pictures of them. They are smart, funny, and open. I brag about them and often. I revel in their love and accomplishments every single day. It really is obnoxious how much I like being around them, considering I wasn’t sure I wanted kids in my early 20s. Even if you’re a parent and can relate, my posts can be downright irritating. Nobody got time for that.

I am a California girl and you will know it if you follow me. Even worse, I live in Southern California, land of Los Angeles, Disneyland, beautiful mountains, beaches, and deserts. My family likes to go to all of them. We might as well be the effing poster family for California travel. Sunny weather and acting like tourists give us life. Ugh, ugh, and more ugh.

I am here for all the animals. I share dogs that need rescuing, missing kitties, goat videos, even birds getting down with their bad selves. I am one of those damaged people that likes animals over people on any day that ends in Y. My idea of heaven is winning the lotto and saving furry critters to my heart content. So if you aren’t down with furry babies, you probably don’t want to recognize my internet presence.

I have saved the worst for last (if you have even gotten this far). I have decided that I am not going to let my mental health problems such as anxiety and depression hold me back any longer. Happiness is within reach and I mean to grab it. The more I talk about it, the more real it feels. But it isn’t always unicorns and rainbows, even with my medication. I have bad days and am honest about it. So if you’re looking for perfection, this sure as hell isn’t it.

So that’s my deal. I’m a sometimes sad tree hugger who loves pop culture, Cali, doggos, and my kiddos. And if that sentence bothers you (which of course it does), you probably don’t want to follow me on Instagram, Facebook or Twitter. Peace.

Posted in Word Therapy

My Not So Little Man

The day after you turned 1, you cut your chin on the TV stand. At 2 ½, you gave yourself an Indiana Jones style scar when you landed on your chin in the bathtub and split it open, warranting a trip to the ER. A few months later, you were potty trained in 3 days. My favorite part was your excitement at going in the portable potty, picking it up to show me, and getting a splash back of pee in the face. A year later you were riding your bike with no training wheels and chanting, “I can do this!” You did all of these things with your sweet chubby cheeks, golden brown eyes, and a handful of freckles. Today you are 8. Gone are the squirrel like cheeks and in its place is a tall, handsome kid.

You’ve grown so much this year. You want a meal and dessert to yourself when we go out for dinner and the hell fire will rain down if you are forced to share:

You love tacos, tacos, and more tacos. You have become more adventurous with what you will eat. You would eat yogurt with every meal if we allowed it (preferably strawberries and cream flavor). You still love your video games, especially Minecraft and Mario Kart. You will sit and watch Minecraft videos on Youtube and yell, “Mom! You have to watch this! It’s so cool!” You binged Lego Ninjago over the summer and want to be one of them for Halloween. You like to read the Diary of a Wimpy Kid books and anything that says Minecraft and Adventure on it.

This year brought out a sullen side of you that I expected but not so soon. You don’t take kindly to the word No and are the king of muttering under your breath. These are growing pains that we will get through together because I know my Wesley is still in there (somewhere).

You get along with everybody you know because of your easygoing and confident personality. Your mind is always moving and if you aren’t playing video games on the Wii U, you are drawing, creating with Legos, or making obstacle courses in the play room, American Ninja Warrior style. You still operate at a volume of 11+ and can shake your booty like no one else. You found your love of performing by participating in choir, making me cry with that sweet voice.  And you are the biggest giver of hugs, kisses, and compliments.

Wesley Hamilton

No matter how big you get, you are still my little boy. You hold my hand wherever we go. I can tell when you aren’t getting enough rest because you are GRUMPY. You try to convince me that Slenderman is real (nope) and that you aren’t afraid of him but you will be damned if I turn off the hall light at night.

Wesley Knotts

Happy 8th birthday, my sunshine of freckles.

 

 

Posted in Calming the Voices

Prozac is my Stacy London

Today is day 38 of me taking Prozac. I have tried over the counter antidepressants, Xanax, and Buspirone before I was finally prescribed Prozac for my anxiety and depression. And just like that it was like Stacy London from What Not To Wear came in and showed me how to live my best life.

For those who don’t know, What Not to Wear was a reality show in the early 2000s where Stacy London and cohost Clinton Kelly would help out a person who was nominated by their friends/family to have an overhaul of their wardrobe. I always thought that was kind of mean for friends and family to do that but the nominated person was always thrilled by the end of the episode so what do I know?

The first thing they would do is to clean out their closet, getting rid of outdated clothes and/or styles that don’t flatter them. With Prozac, it has cleared the cobwebs from my brain. If something is bothering me but doesn’t have a major effect on my life (i.e., the little things), away they go. If a negative thought doesn’t serve a purpose (and what negativity does?), it is shown the door.

Next stop is to give their subject a budget and guidelines on buying a new wardrobe. These clothes ultimately should make this person feel good about themselves and help them accomplish a life goal. Prozac has become the cheerleader voice in my head. If I think that I suck at writing (which happens on a daily basis), Prozac replaces that with, “No you don’t. You just need to work hard, stay focused, and not be so hard on yourself.” If I think to myself, “I will just write tomorrow”, Prozac tells me, “You need to do it today because you can.” If I beat myself up over my parenting, Prozac tells me I am doing the best I can.

At the end of the episode Stacy and Clinton give the person a makeover and show her how to to make the most of her new wardrobe. Prozac has set me on a path where I believe I can be happy even when there are challenges. On the horizon there is the possibility of major life changes: a new job and moving to a new town. I know it will be hard and stressful. But now I have a voice in my head telling me I can handle it. And I can’t ask for more than that.