1 Week of Thankfulness

barefoot beach blur break
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It’s been a whole week of finding two things each day to write down that I am thankful for. Have you been participating? I am surprised that even when people are upset about something I automatically am turning it around. This week we saw Notre Dame burn down and a relative posted a picture of my nephew (not more than 4 years old in the picture) in front of the building, not more than four. So many people gave a crying emoji reaction – but I guess I thought how much I would have loved to bring the children to have seen it – and thought how lovely that my nephew had the experience and picture to prove he had seen the gorgeous building before it burnt down. I can never say that. Now normally I would have sat there feeling sorry for us that I never got a chance to take my children to France and see the beautiful building (how many people get to do that?), but instead just felt happy for all the pictures that my friends were posting of their experiences.

I know I would not have been in that place a week ago. A week ago I would have thought about how we cannot ever afford to go to France and focusing on all my friends who got to go there and we didn’t. I also would have focused on how the world is getting worse and how it may not even be worth going forward with crazy things like Notre Dame and such catching on fire. Even as I write this I think this type of thinking is absolutely extreme and yet I cannot stress enough that when you are depressed – the littlest of things like a building that you have never seen burning in another country can feel overwhelming. That’s the problem with depression. I am seeing though that when people have commented on the radio and articles I have read that if you think of two positive things a day (and write them down) that it has better results than anti-depressants because it can truly change the way your mind things. I have to say I am amazed myself. I have tried many things but nothing that gave me results such as cleaning out closets I haven’t done in 15 years and my husband has even been inspired by me by throwing out things he has never done and we have almost a completely different bedroom. I am able to think clearer and organise better. It seems like such a simple thing to do each day and yet has made such a difference so here we go – here are two things I’m thankful for.

  1. My knee. My left knee has been given me trouble for almost 2 years now since I was dragged by my car (many blogs ago I described this event). I did not get proper physio for it, I had surgery to get all the gravel out of it but still it causes me pain and I have been in considerable pain for about 36 hours. SO what am I thankful for? Today I got free treatment from my brother-in-law = part genius and part chiropractor. Physio hasn’t been able to help me but my brother-in-law is quite advanced in how skilled he is with chiropracting. After seeing him (on his day off) today I have some relief and have Kinesiology tape on my knee – which I am told does magic. I have had some relief in this.
  2. My son wrote me a note today – there are no words… only this: note
    How blessed am I? I mean really? A 9 year old still trying to do what he can to make me smile. (P.S. The answer is “Good Job, Now Reward” and the Reward was a lolly/candy on top of kisses and hugs). Now I’m hoping that if I don’t get an assignment in tomorrow (yes I went back to school), then maybe I can submit this picture as proof that I was busy? – one can hope.
    Hope you are having a blessed Wednesday…
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Thankful Day 5

 

So I am on day 5 of writing two things that I am thankful for and already my mind feels like it’s benefitting and changing. I notice things that I would normally feel frustrated or worried about seems a lot more doable.
One thing that has benefitted from all this thankfulness is I felt for the first time in 15 years like I could clean my closet. I unfortunately didn’t take any before photos as I didn’t think I would have the energy to finish and I thought I was just doing a small corner. The more I got into my closet the more I felt so happy that I was throwing old things out. I can actually see what clothes fit me (as you can see, I have a lot of pink things). I haven’t seen the floor of that closet in so long. It was nasty and dusty but I kept going.

One thing I have noticed in is that clutter (which we have a lot of) does in fact cause a lot of anxiety and depression. The other thing that studies have found is that there is a direct correlation to clutter and weight gain. Weight is the other thing I am working on and hopefully I have burned a few calories working on throwing things out.

Currently, as I am typing this – we have two electricians putting in air conditioning into our house. Our house is a mess with things moved everywhere as the electricians are getting into it. It is comforting that one thing I have NEVER EVER worked on fully cleaning – my closet is clean. I cannot stress enough how exciting it is to see the floor in my closet. 15 years people! I know that sounds horrible but when you realise that most of your life you are “coping” with health issues and depression and etc… so much, including your closet can be overwhelming. However, making these changes and decluttering really can decrease that stress. It’s a bit of a catch 22.
Anyway, I did not talk to my stuff like Marie Kondo suggests but I did mentally say goodbye to it all and tell myself “It has served it’s purpose”.

Anyway, if you haven’t noticed already my two things I am thankful for is:

  1. Feeling capable and not overwhelmed when cleaning something that seemed like a big task for me in the past.
  2. organised shoes in my closet.

I’m sure tomorrow I will be thankful for the air conditioning/heaters being installed currently but that’s another post for tomorrow.

If you need inspiration to tidy and clean here are a few people who help:

All things Marie Kondo

Shannon Lush and Jennifer Fleming cleaning tips

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.

When I finally understood Mental Health

 

man in blue and brown plaid dress shirt touching his hair
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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

Remembering the Familiar and Embracing the New

couple sitting on bench
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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
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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.

Celebrate the small successes!

woman legs relaxation beauty
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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!”