Two things I am thankful for…

hospital

It’s amazing what a good night’s sleep will remind you of. This time a year ago I was desperate to come home from spending weeks at the hospital without my family. This was a picture of my room as I left…

I started thinking about how thankful I was at home with my children. Then a memory of an article I read recently popped in my head.

You can rewire your brain from depression in 30 days if you think of two things you are thankful for each day.

I used to talk about this all the time with people – about how the brain is plastic and how you can choose to change the way you think. I had gone back into victim mode – and I am not a victim. Lately all I have been thinking about is how I am doomed to fail at everything which is ridiculous I know. All I could think about was all the bad things and I had for years been saying to anyone who would listen…

It’s not what happens to you, it’s how you react.

Yet, I had changed into going into a negative spiral. Too many bad things happened at once in such a small amount of time and I started drowning – and forgetting who I was. That’s the problem with mental health – your perception is skewed and you forget who you are.

SO as I thoroughly believe from Norman Doidge’s The Brain that changes itself that you can rewire your brain to do anything. So I’ve decided I’m sitting here every day and saying two things that I am thankful for, and hope that I will have worked my way out of this negative mentality.

1. My Children. Sometimes as a parent we get exhausted and frustrated with them. I have been treating my children like they are big frustrations to me and that angers me because I remember they were my number one motivation a couple of times when I was in the hospital to get myself out so I can be their mother. I forget this, and this memory today that popped up on my phone that this time a year ago I was breaking out of hospital and the only thing I wanted to do was sit and cuddle them. So I told them this, this morning. I said how much I just love to cuddle them and be with them and how all I thought about while I was in the hospital for weeks was just being home with them.

2. Before I told them this, do you know what they did? They are on school holidays and home and up before I am this morning so my son asked if he could put on the kettle for me for my coffee and my daughter put on a recorded episode of jeopardy (the first thing I like to do in the morning to wake my brain up – instead of watching it in the evening). Not only am I thankful for my children, but that they were thoughtful about what I like to do. How lucky am I?

Hope you have two things you are thankful for today – just two. I guess in 30 days we’ll see if I have successfully rewired my brain to create more joy and a positive outlook.

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When I finally understood Mental Health

 

man in blue and brown plaid dress shirt touching his hair
Photo by Nathan Cowley on Pexels.com

 

I have always been a person who appreciates being fully aware and in full control in my functions. I hate speaking on this, but as I am having another “episode” (for lack of any other word), I am going to be frank.
I am oddly intelligent. I know… what kind of person says that? It hit me later on in life that people did not memorise number plates on the back of a car, or remember almost every thing that has happened to them since the age of two. I have a brilliant memory. I can tell you if my neighbour or people who live down the street or even people who live in my suburb is at the store I’m about to enter because I see their number plate which I have seen once or twice parked at my store. I thought this was normal. Now, you could read this and say automatically that I am autistic or have something similar along those lines. I don’t take that as an insult. I know many amazing autistic people.
I really do not fit hardly any of the autistic checklists. I’ve checked. In fact I remember taking just a “for fun” quiz about “how autistic are you” type test and it said I was negative 10%. I am literally the opposite of autistic and yet I have some strange nuances.

Why I am I writing this? Over 6 years ago my health went down – physical and mental. I know I got angrier and more depressed, thoughts I knew that were not normal for me. It wasn’t just that, I suffered from insomnia, tremors, extra migraines, loss of muscle control etc. Now I cannot fully rule out some conditions – I am unable to get an MRI because of my pacemaker (which is not MRI safe) but there are definitely some conditions that my doctors would like to rule out or confirm. I have been dropping things lately, slurring my words, having difficulty lifting my legs – I know I’m not okay. These are physical but I notice a drop in my mental health too. Don’t get me wrong, I can write better during these days (I am writing academic essays and fictional stories all while going through this).
However as doctors were very clear that they had their suspicions but never could diagnose let alone prescribe me medicine because they cannot do an MRI I am here, alone.

Most people who know me know I am the most competent, in control, reliable people you will ever meet. However, Mental health, REAL MENTAL HEALTH is something that you cannot control. I have my own perception of my emotions and know something is not right.

That’s what I want to talk about. My mother notices I am not myself, but not only can she not understand but she also criticises me not thinking clearly -because she cannot understand why I am thinking and questioning certain things.

The fact is, with mental health, if your brain betrays you, you are questioning if your relationships are solid. You question if your emotions are trustworthy.

Sometimes you question those that you trust most so that you can be sure of what you are feeling. This tires out other people. This causes the “burden effect” which is the worst. Every person who is deeply aware of mental health knows that once you feel like a burden, the suicidal thoughts can appear. This is something I try to resist with all my effort. I have two children and I refuse to go down that road but I battle it.
How difficult is this? I know today that a couple of times I emotionally lost perspective of what angered me and what upset me as a parent. I know my daughter got a few extra words of lecturing than necessary about something that was so stupid. AN hour later I came into her room and apologised for making a big deal out of nothing… but what hurts most is how quickly she forgives me because she deserves better and shouldn’t forgive me that fast. I am not abusive. Yet I still feel guilty over making a big deal out of something that was so not a big deal. My children mean more to me than mistakes. I hate that sometimes for me to deal with my health I have to put them on an ipad because I cannot take them anywhere. The guilt of this doesn’t help.

What worries me is that I know I’m not seeing things in a proper perspective and I have emotions that are not comparable with the situation. I also have no diagnosis as it coincides with physical health too. I hate not being able to grip, or having to concentrate to coordinate my moves. It’s difficult when you can’t put a name to the physical or mental health but have to learn to adjust. I can only pray that my children who are extremely resilient and loving towards me will take their compassion and experience and be able to use it in the future. I also share that I am scared. I am not sure if I will feel better or worse in the next few days – I hope better but my hope has been shattered before and am scared that I am getting worse.

If you have mental health issues (and physical health issues) please get help. See your local GP and be honest – but if you are finding you can’t trust your perception and mental health please see your GP, but if that’s not enough call the hotlines.

US: 1800 273 8255

AU: 13 11 14

Ode to the Dewy Decimal System

Dewy

One thing I admired about a friend who was a journalist was that she said she may not know a lot about one particular subject but she knew a little bit about everything because of the research she had to do. What she said stuck in my head for over 20 years, it’s part of the reason why I tried my hand in journalism so many years ago. I liked knowing something about everything.
I’m definitely no expert in one thing… but to be able to join in a conversation no matter where I am at and know roughly what is being discussed is appealing to me. The reason for this is that I LOVE communicating… so as I am not a journalist (Can you tell?) but I still have this goal of knowing at least something about everything – I thought of how I would love to just pick random books from different categories in a library and just study.
This is different from most people who have a favorite genre, or subject – This is quite literally my own random book club in which I invite you to come with me and comment on books that you have read or share information about that genre.

I’m so happy that Melvil Dewey created this system which we can organise books and find so much information on them all. I really want to learn about things I would never dream about learning. Being a Christian, I even on reading the Qu’ran, however I noticed when studying the shelves in my library that even the Qu’ran had commentary books on how to interpret the book. I plan on doing my own commentary about the subjects and comparisons. However I would like to read and review something less controversial than the above subject.

I think reference books are off the table though… and books in other languages. I think those reasons are clear.

Also, No offence but I have no interest in reading 50 shades of Grey. I read excerpts of it and I nearly vomited. My apology if that’s your thing though…

I would love if anyone would like to drop some recommendations in the comments section. I’m not sure where to start first!

Remembering the Familiar and Embracing the New

couple sitting on bench
Photo by Wendy Wei on Pexels.com

So what happens when you are truly unhappy. Well, you can sit and dwell in the depths of unhappy and become depressed. Eventually, and what I realised is somehow I have to keep going – my children depend on me.

One thing that we changed – on request of my daughter, was to change schools. We found out only too late that my daughter’s teacher last year had bullied her – she had bullied many children. My daughter’s major problem is that the school knew about it and did nothing. So she made the mature argument that the problem is bigger than the teacher but a school problem.  Many times I attended the school and found it to not putting the children’s safety first. I wont name the school – but say that with our new school we are very pleased. We had no clue how much this has changed our lives. They actually do what they say they stand by! You don’t have to come with buckets of proof that your child was bullied by a child that day, they actually handle problems properly and put safety first. For the first time in years, I don’t have anxiety about taking my children to school. I mention this change because I think that there are times where we think we are in the best situation possible, so we put up with some really unhealthy things – only for those things to become the normal.

Only when you find out there are other ways to do things, and there are better options can you raise the standards of now only what you should expect of others but what you expect from yourself.

Our area of the world it is difficult to find a job. It’s hardly what you know but who you know. I have applied to so many jobs and the only ones I have ever gotten in our state is ones where a friend works at the company. It’s unfortunate and difficult but widely known by outsiders that connections are needed. So another wonderful change was – a friend helped me get a job. We desperately needed a change in funds (we are technically living below the poverty line) as we have been assisted by relatives with keeping our heads above water. My husband and I are very independent people so you can imagine how mentally painful this is, as it’s been going on for a couple of years now. We now have hope that we may be able to support ourselves very soon and raise our standard of living. You can see though that there are definitely some contributors to the depression I mentioned in yesterday’s post.

Finally, with some hope giving me some wind in my wings – I have been trying to find myself again – and books were a huge part of that. My friends often would ask me for recommendations and so now I want to start an online book club on this blog. As I can’t buy books anymore, we have been living off of the library for books and videos. I have a challenge to read a book from each shelf (of the library)… so that I read a wide variety as I don’t like just reading one or two authors but discovering new ones. SO I hope you will enjoy this.

I also know getting out of the house is a big deal to help combat depression and plan on spending more time outdoors and being present with nature. So I plan on also incorporating this into this blog.

I do have physical energy now that it has been one year since the spleen shrinkage. SO I plan on taking advantage of this.

SO even though there have been some difficulties – I am either making changes where I can or finding my passions again.

If you feel stuck, I recommend taking inventory of what is working, what isn’t working, and what you can change and what you need to keep in your life.

There is a way to regain control.

A Different Direction

 

 

round grey and black compass
Photo by Supushpitha Atapattu on Pexels.com

So I’ve been absent for a while. I’m going to be honest there have been several areas in our lives (me and my family) that have had several negative impacts and I have been suffering from Depression for months. No one that knows me really knows this. I said to someone – who still didn’t pick up on the red flag that I like to entertain and make people laugh so that no one ever feels as bad as I do. I am not who you would think (if you met me in person) as someone who suffers from depression.

It’s definitely not the first time, and I have had bouts of it since I was 11. People who know me in person always say that I am a positive person. They would have no clue the dark feelings I have on the days I seem most positive.

Right now there are things to be positive about – and I only mention those things when I meet up with people… yes I still meet up with people. I’m not someone who is in my bedroom all the time, although I do have days like that too. I laugh, I Joke, I’ll send cards, and buy gifts, no one asks me how I am and if they do… even if I hint that something isn’t quite right… no one wants to hear it.

I wonder if we are living in a time where we just don’t want to face negativity. That we are more than willing to shove things under the rug because there is too much to deal with in the world.

I am paralysed because I cannot ask for help – I’ve been scared by stories from friends and family about myths and truths of antidepressants – so I don’t bother going to the doctor. I don’t dare tell family – I feel that it’s too much for them if I’m not positive all the time. In fact… that’s part of our problem growing up. It was drilled into us that there is always something to be thankful for, there is always someone worse off than us, and that there really isn’t any reason to feel sadness in any sort of way – so I feel like the sadness is stuffed away until it builds up. Even when it builds up – I can’t say anything but laugh and try to make others laugh because I am too ashamed to let people know.
Can I call help lines? I am scared to give them my name, address or anything else. I have known people who work at the help lines and I would hate for my name to be recognised..  I don’t want people to know.

So, here I am, admitting it on my blog. I suffer from depression. The main reason is that I have suffered from a huge amount of disappointment in one hit lately – for an extended period of time. It’s much easier to believe the bad over the good. I don’t have the energy to think good thoughts about myself or my life. Mainly? I feel alone. I feel alone because I feel that if anyone in real life knew how bad my depression was that they would think of me differently. I would lose respect.

SO what is my new direction? From now on, I Can’t in anyway shape or form to pretend on this blog that I’m here to give you advice on how to overcome when I feel like I am struggling. Instead my blog will be about what I am doing to help me work through my feelings. Books have saved me in the past, along with a lot of other coping mechanisms. Eventually I can pull myself up and get back on the path I need to be. I realise though I cannot blog unless I am being genuine and I’m being genuine with my readers. I am setting myself a goal to read a book on each shelf in the library – I know it’s silly but it’s a goal and it helps me stay focused instead of spiralling. I also am going outdoors more, and finding things that help me work through the hard times in life. I have no advice. From now on this blog is just about working on keeping me mentally healthy.

Thank you for still being here. More explanations to come….

BTW – if you do have depression, and you don’t have friends working at those hotlines PLEASE CALL:
USA 📞 800-273-TALK (8255)

AUSTRALIA: 1300 224 636

P.S. I’m thinking of changing my blog’s site name as well as set a new agenda – hope that works for everyone.

Why we can’t talk about Anything anymore…

man wearing white tank top
Photo by fotografierende on Pexels.com

I love hearing other people’s ideas, thoughts and suggestions. Why? Because I know that maybe, just maybe I don’t know everything about everything… I know shock right? There is so much to learn from other people and I think we can learn a lot more from people than we would from books (that was painful for me to say… as I love my books).

I am going to be honest… I had a strange weekend. My son, who has sensory issues was quite highly strung and I was having to use a lot of patience being able to work with him. He was discussing his goals with me about wanting to make $10 more to pay for a LEGO set he had wanted. I told him how I could not give him $10 in one day for chores… I was going to suggest other options but instead he reacted before I could get there – strongly. His words were “You don’t care about my goals, or that I would like to try to buy Continue reading “Why we can’t talk about Anything anymore…”

Celebrate the small successes!

woman legs relaxation beauty
Photo by Breakingpic on Pexels.com

This week I am celebrating wearing shorts! Why? Well, it’s been almost 18 months since the accident of my car losing my brakes which caused it to drag me down a hill. I had terrible gravel rash. It healed incredibly quickly (within 4 weeks) except for one trouble spot that took over a year to heal. It took so long because my knee still had gravel in it. It was pretty gross to look at and even my 4-year-old niece would ask me when swimming in the family pool “What’s wrong with your knee Aunty Jenny?”
Her sweet little mind was very concerned about the “rock inside Aunty Jenny’s knee” and talked about the subject with quite a few people.

Continue reading “Celebrate the small successes!”