Monthly Archives: November 2011

Thanksgiving Week…

He is a wise man who does not grieve for the things which he has not, but rejoices for those which he has.  ~Epictetus

Finally, I am feeling better…Mood leveled out and I am really enjoying spending the week with my kids. Normally they only have off Thursday and Friday on the week of Thanksgiving but this year they are both out of school for the entire week! 

Honestly, I  about this week with my moods being so weird, but so far so good. Yesterday we slept in (well the kids did) and then my youngest and I took off to the shoe store and looked at boots for them for Christmas. No way this year I am buying anything without them approving it, too many shoes and clothes purchased they won’t wear.  Today we sat around all morning kids slept till 11am and I got some work done, then we went to my dad’s house to visit and do a load of laundry.  It’s a 30 min drive to his house and we were just being silly and having a fun time.

*Gratitude is the best attitude.  ~Author Unknown*

Whole Foods Union Square turkey cupcake

Image by Rachel from Cupcakes Take the Cake via Flickr

I am Thankful for so many things in my life! There are so many good people around me this year and they boost me up. My kids for one are really good girls. I am proud of them, they are working hard in school and it really shows. They are kind to their friends and other adults. Then there is Carl, who has really lit up my life this past year. He is super sweet and treats us all with love and respect.  He is giving and open and we really enjoy time together.  My parents are still living and its nice the kids can spend time with them.  Grandparents are an important part of life and I am glad my kids still have my parents as their dad’s parents have passed. :(  Then there is all the wonderful people online that are so supportive and sweet and a joy to know.  I love getting to know everyone.  I really hope that our site, LeanOnUs.co, helps people in some way. Even if we just reach one person and help them in some way, our goal is really to be there for others.  

I really love the idea that my blog or the site could help  someone!  When I was learning that I had Bipolar2 Disorder it helped me so much to know I wasn’t alone and to hear others struggles and the answers to some of the problems we shared.  We can learn so much from others experiences if we open our minds. 

I want to wish each and every one of you a Happy Thanksgiving! I hope that you all enjoy your time with your friends and family and remember what your thankful for! 

*Gratitude is the memory of the heart.  ~Jean Baptiste* 

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What Happiness is to me…

Have you ever wondered what people feel when they say they are happy?  I know I have wondered in the past, so I’m going to try to explain what happiness means to me. 

Happiness came to me a few years ago, while I was trying to heal from my marriage failing and my husband cheating on me.  Honestly I was one of those people going through life trying to find that ‘thing’ that would make me a happy person.  My husband was found on the phone with a woman telling her he loved her, by my oldest daughter and she had woken me,  I then went out to listen to him playing the I love you more game on the phone.  I can’t describe what happened that night but something inside me imploded! There really aren’t words to describe it! Heavy depression set in! I tried to do counseling with him but he wasn’t interested so after 8 sessions he refused to go back, so a couple of months later I moved out.  Ok anyway back on task here… 

I tried to take in what had happened to my life and really wasn’t ready to let go but a year later I think I must have been.  I was driving to pick up my kids at my ex-home and I remember specifically I was at a stop light.  I heard this voice say to me, “happiness is a choice, just choose to be happy.” It was like a higher power was telling me, just be happy.  I remember saying to my self, I’m going to be happy!  I asked myself. “do I have everything I want in life?, no, but I am happy!  Deep inside there was happiness that I wasn’t letting out!

Until I heard that voice I had no clue that I was making myself unhappy, it was a choice to focus on the negative but this is a chance for a fresh start and I haven’t taken it.  I set forth in that moment to be happy.  To focus on the happy and to stop myself from focusing on the negative aspects of life.  If you have read my other posts you know I have suffered my entire life with severe depression and I was finally to where that depression wasn’t controlling me but I had learned to be negative.  

I had to change the way I thought.  I decided I must listen to how I talk to myself.  That inner voice was really hard on me and my anxiety liked to torture me.  I would catch that voice talking down to me and I would say out loud NO, and change that thought to a positive statement.  Sounds stupid doesn’t it?  I even spoke out loud to that voice! I had to take control of it! I focused on smiling and relaxing even if it was just for a moment. 

 So now my happiness is: Enjoying every moment of my   children, good and bad times.  Watching them grow into  women and great people.  Spending time with Carl (my  boyfriend) enjoying his quirks and his personality.  I am  super comfortable with him and we have fun together even  doing nothing. I see the rain as a cleansing of the world and  enjoy every moment of it.  The sunshine brings brightness and warmth to me and the world around me, I breathe it in and bask in its glory! I accept myself for who I am. I have now defined who I am as; a kind, caring mother of two who wants to reach out and help others.  I have major mood swings here and there and will occasionally embarrass myself but I can apologize and improve on it immediately. I am Imperfect, as my daughter would say ‘Perfectly Imperfect’! I see the world and each person I meet as they are, I trust my gut instinct because there are bad people in the world and I don’t deserve to be mistreated any longer. 

Bottom line for me Happiness is simply accepting things as they are and not making excuses or wondering how it would be if I could have done something differently in the past.  It is also a choice to be free from negativity.  I tell my self all the time I’m happy! There are days I have to refocus and stop my old habits but I have a quality life and good people in it! That makes me happy! :)

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My Very First Blog Award :)

I am truly Honored to receive this award from Michael he is one of my followers and an awesome blogger. His blog is Have A Dream. This Blog is inspirational and a positive place to spend some time! Micheal is a nice guy! Everyone should go check it out.

Liebster is German for ‘beloved’.  The rules are as follows, If you receive the award, not only do you have the, “less than 200 followers,” but you should have more. Once you have received this award you should link back to the person who nominated you and you pass this on to 5 other bloggers of your choice, that qualify. Let them know you nominated them by leaving a comment on their blog. :)

I am nominating the following blogs:

  • Bipolargirl82
  • HelpMeToGetRidofAnxiety

Once again, I am very appreciative for this nomination of the Liebster Blog Award!  I appreciate all the support from everyone! Thank you :) 

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Continued: Anxiety and Trouble at School

Well If you have read my other two posts My Daughter and Anxiety and Continued Anxiety and my Daughter you have an idea of how much anxiety my youngest has dealt with, well here is an update! 

Today I called the school at 7am to see if I could set up to where I would be at the meeting Jessica had to have with the Vice Principle at school.  I just wanted to be there to support her and her anxiety about it was so bad that she was making herself ill again.  Never been in trouble at school and had no idea what would happen! 

We met him at 7:40 10 min before school was to start and he wanted the teacher to be there as well. We talked about it all and I explained it wasnt the teachers fault but Jessi had admitted to cheating when she swears she wasnt.  I understand she has to be treated like she is guilty as she said she was.. :(  Well we waited, and waited but the teacher never came to the meeting.  Jessi has math assessment tests today and that was her first period class so now she is late for that class.  Her math teacher called while we were meeting to tell Jessi that she can stay in her class during science to finish the testing if need be. Which is good because that’s the class where she is being punished for Cheating on a test. 

Once she relaxed the Vice Principle and I decided we would not wait any longer and he walked her to class.  Jessi had relaxed and I think the anxiety for today might have passed. Yay!! :)  I came home and went a step further.  I decided I may have mishandled the conversation with her teacher. I upset her and couldn’t shake that feeling so I typed up  a nice email explaining and apologizing for mishandling our conversation and sent it to the teacher.  

I do still believe Jessi didn’t cheat on the test (she did cheat on the homework tho) but really we will never know! I’m OK with that as I think this anxiety she has is a good sign.  She has a conscience and she will not do wrong again with her work. We all make mistakes and I believe she has learned from this experience!  

So here I am reading a website called DamnYouAutoCorrect.com and laughing as my stress level so needs to decrease! I’m exhausted!! lol  :)  Hope you all have a great weekend and a nice holiday coming up! 

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Continued… Anxiety and My Daughter…

Today was a hard day for my youngest daughter and me.  She went back to school after being out for three full days and promptly got another talking to by her teacher.  It seems that her teacher decided she cheated on a test, not hard to understand how, but when she questioned Jessi about it she panicked and told the teacher she was the one who cheated.  The minute the teacher confronted her with the accusation she began a full-blown panic attack.  Yep full-blown panic attack. 

Jessi managed to sit through the rest of the class but by the time she got to her next class she was visible sick.  She was pale, having a hard time breathing and visibly upset.  She was scared and her next teacher noticed she didn’t look good and sent her to the nurse’s office.  The nurse knew she had been out of school 3 days this week and allowed Jessi to call me.  I thought maybe she just  needed to eat something so I took her some peanut butter crackers.  She ate one but she was visible ill so I talked to her about what was wrong.  I told her I thought she was having anxiety and I needed to know what was wrong but she insisted nothing was wrong.  So I took her home. We talked a lot but she insisted she had no idea why she was so panicked and upset.

Then about 20 minutes after we were home she says to me, “mom I think I may know whats wrong.” I said, “OK honey, what is it?”  She proceeds to tell me that her teacher accused her of cheating on a test and that she didn’t cheat, but she told the teacher it was her that cheated. Not sure why because she insists she didn’t cheat on the test.  She admits to cheating on the homework but swears she didn’t cheat on the test.  

So I called the teacher to discuss it, after Jessi told me that the teacher told her she didn’t believe she was sick and she is not dumb she knows why Jessi hasn’t been at school .  That was not a good thing  as that made me angry. This child has thrown up off and on for 3 days, who is this teacher to say she wasn’t sick without talking to me.  So basically that’s what I told the teacher.  Of course she swears she would never say that to her and began to cry.  I thought are you kidding me!  The teacher goes on and on refusing to let me talk and bawling and then tells me its her birthday and she was having a good day until now.  Guilt trip anyone! ugh!

So I told her Jessi and I wanted  to meet with her to clear the air because Jessi is really upset about facing her again.  So I wanted to meet with her in the morning but she can’t do that, Jessi is going to have to find a way through her day. :(  I hope she makes it!!

I ended up hanging up the phone completely upset and confused about what to believe.  My daughter has lied before but this teacher has a reputation for not being very nice. Jessi and I talked a lot today and she is insistent she didn’t cheat on the test, she was copying homework but didn’t cheat on the test.  Since Jessi has been accused and admitted to cheating on the test she has to meet with the vice principal and is really freaked out about meeting with him. The world of the unknown is very scary for someone with anxiety!  I will have to let you all know what happens next.. Stay Tuned!  :)

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My Daughter and Anxiety…

Have you ever wondered, is my child really sick or do they have a serious case of anxiety?  

That is a question I have asked myself since my youngest daughter’s teacher called me today.  She believes that since my daughter received a Step on her Step Card for copying Math homework off a friend, that her anxiety is making her sick to her stomach.  My daughter has missed school this entire week due to a sick stomach.  She has actually been throwing up semi regularly for those three days.  Yesterday, she was fine all day and then when she ate dinner at her dads she got sick and came home early.  Her dad says to me that he isn’t sure she got sick at all and that she mentioned me picking her up by 2nd period today from school and when she got home she promptly asked me about that.  I told her we would see. 

Well this morning her very nice Math teacher called to discuss the incident on Friday with the copying of Math homework and punishment she received that  my daughter is scared to go back to school. She thinks the anxiety of it might make her ill.  A big bright light bulb went off in my head and I realized she is probably right. So my daughter just got up at 9:30 am and I have to talk to her about it. 

It’s this type of thing that makes me worry fully about her mental state. She takes meds for depression and it has helped her tremendously. I think this just shows her mental stability a bit is  questionable.  Not that kids don’t make themselves sick worrying about things but this has gone on since Sunday afternoon, it is now Wednesday! 

I’m not saying she needs more medication but it really tells me a lot about how her mind works. I need help her through this and recognize when she is torturing herself over nothing. We must really pay attention to the cues our kids give us even tho some of them are subtle. 

So off I go to talk to her and reassure her everything is fine at school, her teachers understand we all make mistakes and simply want her to learn from it!  Wish me luck!! :) 

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New Relationship and Bipolar…

Do you wonder how a new relationship survives the mood issues I have had lately? Me too!!  

Today I’m sharing more on my relationship with Carl.  When I met Carl I was a mess he was my neighbor at the first apartment I moved into after my husband and I separated. We said Hi to each other and general niceties but never really spent any time together.  I thought he was a nice man the moment I saw him but I didn’t feel good about myself and wasnt looking for a relationship.  We lived there 3 yrs as neighbors until he moved out to move in with his girl friend.  I wished him the best and went on my way.  A year after he moved, I ran into him at a local park and we chatted for a while.  No big deal really.  I was pretty stable at the time and was happy open to a relationship.  Well as it turned out he had just moved out of his girlfriends house, I told him how sorry I was it didn’t work out etc.

 Then a few weeks later two days before I went to court for my divorce, he tracked me down at a local store and asked me out.  He proceeded to tell me that he always regretted not asking me out and he has looked for me to ask me out for a week or so.  He said he was frequenting the areas my kids went to school in hoping to run into me. He assured me he wasn’t a stalker.. haha   I was shocked had no idea he wanted to date, I accepted his invite to dinner without hesitation and we have dated more than a year now.

We see each other daily with a few exceptions.  He has experienced some of my weird moods and he is still here.  So I guess he hasn’t been scared off as of yet.  I have never actually told him what my diagnosis is because he hasn’t asked.  I have told him about my experience with moods and depression he knows I have had some bad years with it and this last 6 months he has experienced those moods, not the worst ones but some not so good ones.  He gives me the space I need and is not offended by my moods.

I have told him that I have depression and mood issues and have talked about a lot of those and listened to him about some of my different moods that he has noticed.  He knows the doctor took me out of work and that I take several medications daily for the depression.  I really don’t know how he feels about all that as we haven’t discussed it yet, but he is still around and we still have a great time together, even doing nothing. 

This man is amazing, he is easy to be with, easy to talk to about everything, he isn’t perfect mind you but he is funny, friendly, outgoing and loving.  He respects me and all women, he is a bit opinionated on politics so that’s not a good topic. haha  He is the kind of guy that opens doors for you and offers to help with anything and everything, although he doesn’t like me helping him with stuff.  It’s a man thing I think.. :)  I help anyway, sometimes. :) He worries about me being under too much stress but he doesn’t push his opinion on me, he respects my choices.  He has supported me in helping my friend who was having marital issues even though he felt I was being taken advantage of, he voiced that but not disrespectfully.  He then let me realize it all on my time.  He never puts me down in any way!   To me he is nearly the perfect man.  He is good to my kids too and they both like him. He doesn’t overstep boundaries with them though, he respects them. 

So as time goes on and we get to talk more about feelings etc I’m sure I will be posting more about this wonderful man.  Wish us luck!! :)

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My Second Child’s Symptoms…

Alright, you have all heard a lot about my first child.  I am going to share a bit about my second daughter today.

My second child is really a complete opposite of my first.  From coloring to personality to the way they learn its completely opposite.  Her name is Jessi and she has always had a fun bubbly personality.  Not that Sami wasn’t fun but in a different way.  They both are the joy that keeps me going and I love that they are so different.

Jessi was always a fit thrower, if her clothes didn’t feel just right she would lose it.  She preferred to be naked honestly. So when we were home she was just in a diaper.   She always made a huge mess when eating but couldn’t have it on the palms of her hands with out insisting on washing them. She would get mad if you didn’t get them cleaned off right away!

Then her socks began to be an issue and to this day still are, she would take her shoes and socks on and off many times before she would leave the house.  While this is going on she is mad and crying yelling at everyone.. Even when she was a baby there were certain outfits she just would be crabby in. Now that she is older I see it was because she is sensitive to how things feel.

Even this morning she got all upset cause she thought her shirt didn’t look right with her new jacket.  She was mad because she couldn’t find a sweater to wear with a tank top. They have to wear a sweater with any tank top.  She was marching around the house snapping at everyone, all you had to do was look at her and she would jump down your throat. I try to not talk to her and hope she will work it out on her own but I end up every time telling her to stop and check her attitude and take some breaths.  This morning she apologized and her sister helped her with the collar on her jacket and we promptly got her out the door to school.  It seems to help to get her out the door.  Always has had no idea why.

So through her life these issues have been the biggest till last year.  She began breaking down and crying uncontrollably for no clear reason.   She couldn’t tell anyone what was wrong but she would be so upset I would have to lay with her in my bed and rub her head to calm her.  When nothing was working I took her to the doctor.  Mind you she is 12 and I know they have emotional issues at that age but it was more than that.. In talking with the doctor about the issues he suggested we start her with a low dose anti-depressant, since our family has such a history with depression and mental illness we know it isn’t a phase, it’s too severe to think it was anyway.

She has been on the low dose anti-depressant for almost a year now and she is doing better.  No emotional fits any longer, not that she doesn’t have her moments like any other kid and no extra energy bursts like she was having.  So we are pleased that her moods have leveled and she is doing well.

We still have the clothing issues with her but it isn’t like it used to be.  I remember hating to get out of bed because it meant another hard morning with Jessi. It was exhausting and to stay calm when we all are having our issues isn’t easy.  We got through that time tho and we learned to communicate about feelings and help each other..

Well that is a brief view of Jessi.  She is a joy I love her dearly and Hope that her life stays on track.

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Deciding to Medicate my Child…

There are a lot of parents that don’t believe in medicating their children.  I am in two minds about it really.  I think it depends on the illness and what the side effects will be.  

Here is the scoop, when my daughter started having serious issues with her moods and anxiety I took her to a doctor.  Actually we went through several doctors before we trusted one to give us medicine for her.  They didn’t, right away, suggest medication, we wanted to make sure there really was something wrong and not that she was reacting to something we didn’t know etc.  

I was desperate to help her, she was so full of anxiety and getting more and more angry for no reason.  She seemed so unhappy and unable to control of her emotions.  We went to the doctor weekly and then he thought she might benefit from an anti-depressant.  Together over time we had decided she had some type of depression/anxiety disorder.   Nothing we tried worked for her so what choice did we have?? We talked to the doctor about what medication he may suggest and what the side effects were.  We wanted to give her as little as possible and the doctor agreed.  

We talked at length with the doctor about the possible side effects and once we started the medicine we kept in close touch with him, seeing him weekly and discussing all possible side effects.  

I had to ask myself, can she go on like this at this age?, she was 6.  She went from a happy child to a very emotional confused child. She was always sensitive but this was similar to what I imagined went on with me as a child and if you have read my other posts you know I was actively looking for a diagnosis and help for myself. I remembered as a child feeling so sad and not having any idea why, then it got to where I didn’t really feel much at all, I didn’t want that for her.  I swore my child would not suffer the life I did, the life of depression.  I knew this was likely to be more than a stage.  There are medications that I would not give a child due to the side effects I didn’t want her to lose her personality, you know the one underneath the over-emotional reactions. There are a lot of medicines that will just wipe out their personalities and I didn’t want that for her.   Really the anti-depressant didn’t frighten me too much but believe me you must keep a close eye on them and report any possible side effects.  As time went on and she developed more issues we had to once again weigh medications and whether it was worth the risks.  Lots of discussion about all the aspects of the medications and side effects and how much to give her.  Low dose was where we insisted we start!  The doctor is very conservative with the dosage and is very knowledgeable.  That doesn’t mean I didn’t go home and research it more before I filled the prescriptions.  We can’t be too careful with our still growing and developing children where medications are concerned.

I will suggest to anyone that is considering medications for a child to fully research all information on such medications and make sure you completely understand how it works and how it will affect them.  You can’t be too safe.

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Diagnosing my Daughter’s Symptoms…

Have you ever looked at your child and thought something is not right?  Well I had to do just that with my first child when she was around age 5… 

Like I said when my first child was about 5 yrs old, I realized that her moods and reactions toMy beautiful girl, My first born! things were not normal.  I would see her run inside from playing with friends and she would go to her bed and be pulling her hair out while saying she didn’t know why she was so mad.. Well at this point I knew something was wrong with me (although not what was wrong) so it wasn’t far off to think she would have issues as well.  I tried to work with her on it and nothing worked. :( It was so hard to see her be miserable she was losing all her friends and about to start Kindergarten and I knew this wasn’t getting better.  

So I focused on her and getting help for her…. All the while wondering what is going on in her brain.  She hated doctors she had been ill as a 3 yr old and stayed in the hospital a week and it wasn’t a decent experience for her.  She had also been diagnosed with a kidney reflux issue so she had to have tests done annually that were pretty traumatic for her.  

We went to many psychiatrists and some therapists looking for answers.  Why was my beautiful happy child so moody now and unhappy.  Why was she having fits of frustration over nothing and why was she having Night Terrors.  She has them for years she would be crying and screaming and running about the house but completely in her sleep and terrified!  It was impossible to wake her.  We would take her into the bathroom and turn on the light and talk to her and hold her till we could wake her.  That was terrible to see, but then it seemed to be happening to her in the day as well with these fits of frustration.  

Our experience with these so-called Doctors was not good.  They would label her just about anything to make us come back the next week… It was disappointing to say the least.  They would tell me she was afflicted with some disorder and order me to buy a book on it and I would and read it and know it was not what was wrong with her.  I couldn’t believe it not only are we putting out money for these doctors but we are buying books on an illness that she didn’t have ONE symptom from… grr its was frustrating. 

When she was 7 yrs old we went to see the doctor we have now, Dr S. is what we will call him.  Since I was in treatment as well I gave him my history and my family history and what was going on with my daughter.  He knew right away what it was, Bipolar2 disorder.  Heavily depressed and Hypo-manic highs, high levels of anger and anxiety etc.  Ok so now we know what it is, how do we treat it?  We started with meds right away.  I like him because even tho he is giving me medication for my child he tries small doses first as to not over medicate.  He does not want her overly medicated.  It took a year or more really to get her stabilizing but she was better able to deal with her feelings once we had some information on what it was.  She went to him once a week for some time till we had her leveled out.  We have then seen him once a month or on an as needed basis since then.  I am also now seeing him and so is her sister. (a whole other story in itself) 

This daughter of mine is now 15 yrs old.  She is brilliant, beautiful and capable of most things in life.  We have had our ups and down with Anxiety.  There were times that I couldn’t even take her to the store with out her freezing at the door and turning ghost white, she would then go on and on that she wanted to go home. Latched to my hand, tightly I might add, and quietly she would chant I want to go home, I want to go home over and over I would just keep her close and talk to her and once it got too bad we would leave.. then she would regain color in her face and be exhausted.   At this point those anxiety attacks are minimal most of the time she can handle it and function fine but when she can’t we try, then leave if needed.  She is learning more and more about her illness and how to cope and control some of it.  Obviously 15 yrs old means terrible attitude but we love her anyway.. LOL  

Her story is also one of Hope. She went from a disturbed child, who couldn’t concentrate in school to a beautiful teenager that has all A’s and B’s in Honor classes.  She works hard and is also learning to drive.  She excels at almost everything she does!  She is only missing the confidence she needs to exceed her own expectations.  We are working on it and she is improving.  

Well that’s my story in a nutshell there are obviously more incidences but generally this is how it all transpired..  

Remember:  When the World says Give Up,  Hope Whispers Try One More Time!! 

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