Back on Antidepressants :/

After 10 years off of antidepressants, I chose to go back on them. I thought just for the winter but I am not so sure anymore.

Truthfully, I’ve been struggling for a while. I’ve kept busy with herbal apprenticeships and my business course through VR. but not without several little breakdowns and many cries in between.

I had been contemplating medication for months, discussing it with both my doctor and my therapist.

I wanted to try herbal remedies first for the winter depression, but I only made a few and was late in the season making them.

I was teetering.

Then my family pushed me over the edge. Many family members were struggling with their own mental health and it affected me deeply.

I began having suicidal and self-harming thoughts.

Red flag, stop, breathe and evaluate.

Presently I know with all I am that I won’t act on these thoughts; but when my brain starts going there, it is time to get some support.

I realized I could not try to start a business and elevate my life, all while getting caught in the cross-fire of my family, it was just too much.

I felt like I was failing and was ashamed, by going back on meds. Then I remembered that my brain sometimes needs help. That I have a chemical imbalance. That it is okay to get help. That I am still doing the work and moving forward.

I set that shame shit go and am still adjusting; but so far, my focus is better and my depression not quite as severe, and/or for not as long.

Sometimes, recovery and healing is an up and down, back and forth experience.

Learning in layers and spirals can feel like you aren’t getting anywhere, but I know better.

Feeling a tiny bit more stable, I have set boundaries with my family and continue to move forward with my business goals.

Wherever you are at in your journey, know that it’s okay and you are exactly where you need to be❤

5 Ways I am Managing my Stress

I’ve been reflecting and came to the realization that for the first time in a very long time (16 years to be exact) I have a very full life, balancing and juggling quite a few things. I can only describe it as ‘living again.’

Last time I was this busy, I was raising my daughter, attending college, working and caring for my mom as much as possible through her cancer journey. Not to mention attempting to save a failing relationship with my boyfriend. My mom would literally catch me spinning in circles, talking to myself trying to remember everything I needed to do, and she would calmly say, “Breathe”, I joked “how am I going to remember to breathe without you mom”. After her passing, I didn’t have the strength or ability to juggle anymore and had my mental breakdown.

Today I am juggling my herbal apprenticeship (classes, intern hours homework), with a business course through vocational rehab and preparing to launch my own business (which is way more work than I dreamed). Along with still “raising” my adult child, trying to support and encourage her in becoming independent, and developing and maintaining relationships with my family, my coven, and my friends old and new. When I have a spare moment, I am tending to my gardens and doing housework, or simply collapsed.

At first I was severely stressed and riddled with anxiety and panic attacks. I became so overwhelmed I would just sit and cry. After learning more through my herbal classes about how stress depletes our bodies and yes, kills us, I decided I need to get a grip.

I have a few unhealthy coping skills but am developing healthier habits as well. I thought I would share a few ways I am managing my stress, each of these could probably be a full post, but here are the highlights:

1) Shift my perspective, They say things are not as bad as they seem, but when you struggle with mental health, they can seem monstrous! I remember my mom being so stressed out and struggling with depression, when things went wrong, she reacted like it was the end of the world and our family doomed. I understand the reaction, and have been guilty of it myself, but I now know it isn’t necessary or even accurate. In my overwhelmed mind, it feels catastrophic, but reacting this way only adds to the stress. Still, it is challenging. There have been so many obstacles on my business journey, I take a step forward, something happens and it feels like it puts be two steps back, but I now realize this is an illusion. I only feel like it sets me back, when in reality it makes me stronger and in a position to make improvements. When downfalls happen, I immediately stress and panic, but have learned to observe my reaction and shift the way I look at it.

2) Shake it off and let it go. My mama used to say, “let it roll off you like water off a duck’s ass”, yup she was a character! She had a point though. It makes such a big difference to be able to let things go and not brood, or overthink. I can not worry about things I cannot control, and I can’t control other people’s hurtful actions or rude comments. I can’t control the long line at the grocery store or sitting in traffic. If I let these things get to me, it only makes me sick. I constantly remind myself of this. If I catch my mind in race mode, I try to calm myself and breathe. “Worrying is like a rocking chair, you can do it all day but gets you no where!” I try to not be so hard on myself on all the things I don’t get done and acknowledge and celebrate my daily accomplishments.

3) Morning routine. This is a lifesaver for me. I have mentioned before I am not very good at routine or consistency. It took me a long time to develop, tweak and maintain my morning routine but it is an immense help to begin my day in a manner that will carry me peacefully into my day. I get up early and try to make it the same time every day. I have hot lemon and ginger water, meditate to music and affirmations, do yoga and workout, and pray at my altar, giving thanks for another day, followed by my coffee, while I read or journal, or I have my coffee outside marveling at the birds and chipmunks. Then I begin my work for the day.

4) Self care. Self love and care have been a journey for me. I carried a lot of trauma and low self worth because of it. Therapy is a great way to care for yourself, and it has helped me tremendously with integration and my mental health. Other ways I practice self care is to do things that nourish my soul, like gardening, time in nature, loving my pets, time with friends and family, a nice bath, or a cup of herbal tea. Also, basic self care, like eating healthy as much as possible, taking my supplements and/or medications, exercise and time to just sit and be silent.

5) Herbs. I try to take teas, tinctures, infusions and homemade capsules everyday, made with nettles, holy basil, lemon balm, calendula, chamomile, wild lettuce, mullein, dandelion, turmeric and ginger. I use Bach’s Rescue Remedy drops and spray, and I also smoke marijuana (which helped me quit my Xanax and anti depressants years ago) because it helps me center, ground and tune into my spirit.

Of course, I am a work in progress, and have unhealthy habits too, like smoking too much marijuana sometimes, or my wine and Netflix escapes, and recently I have relapsed on smoking cigs, but I know I am doing the best I can and I am proud of where I am. Not long ago I was not able to get up out of bed, get through a day without crying or my heart racing or my mind. I couldn’t socialize or function. My old self could not even imagine that I would be here now, with this full and beautiful life.

Where ever you are in your mental health recovery, please don’t give up, keep going, it does get better and easier. Just keep showing up for your life, one baby step at a time, take a break when you need it, but don’t stay down.

Wishing you love, luck, light, peace and power!

May be an image of flower, nature and text that says 'Transformation formation in progress... @beyouthentic'
I was lucky enough to catch this picture of a Monarch butterfly pollinating my Calendula flower! Butterflies represent transformation and affirms that I am right where I need to be. My healing and metamorphosis is in progress! I AM TRANFORMING!
May be an image of 1 person and text that says 'I HAVE THE POWER TO CREATE THE LIFE I DESERVE!!! @BEYOUTHENTIC'
On the recent New Moon in Leo and the Lion’s gate portal, I thought it was a good time to set a powerful intention!! Yes, I do have the power to create the life I deserve! I AM WORTHY!

Commitment&Consistency

Amazon.com: If you can't fly, then run, if you can't run, then walk, if you  can't walk, then crawl, but whatever you do, you have to keep moving...  Martin Luther King Jr.

If you follow this blog, you already know that I lack in the latter of this post title. Consistency has definitely not been my strong suit. Then again, being a blog of someone who struggles with mental health, I suppose it isn’t a surprise. Consistency is an important element for mental and emotional well being, yet it can be challenging as all hell! To add to the dilemma I never had a firm routine growing up, being a daughter of a single mom. Therefore, it is yet another tool I have to learn or relearn as an adult.

I have been working with a success coach through Vocational Rehab for a little over a year now, her name is Dr. Deborah Osgood and I think I would have given up a long time ago if it weren’t for the support and encouragement from her and my VR caseworker, Lisa Beck, and of course, my therapist and family/friends. The goal is to start my own herbal business; but it is not a simple journey for someone with so many triggers.

The first trouble I had was responding to a “See, Hear, Experience, exercise called Challenging Reality. The worksheet asked you to visit your early life experiences, with questions like, 1) What did you hear about money and rich people early on in your life? 2)What did you see about money and rich people early on in your life? 3)What did you experience with money and rich people early on in your life? I might write a separate post about my answers; but, if you ever read my Being poor post, then you can imagine the feelings these questions brought to the surface. I held a deeply ingrained belief that I would always be poor and unworthy.

FinerMinds - Timeline Photos | Be gentle with yourself, Self talk, Words

It took almost a year to work on rebuilding my lack of abundance&worth mindset. Talk therapy and daily affirmations helped me slowly become more aware of how my thoughts and beliefs affected my reality. Believing you are always going to be poor and unworthy will keep you poor and unworthy. I had to retrain my brain and introduce new thoughts and ideas around money and self worth. Fortunately, the second step of the aforementioned exercise helped challenge those old beliefs and create current views.

I have been working diligently on reforming my routine and trying to ‘do it all’ I am still in herbal school and it is a lot, especially for somebody who has physical limitations and still in mental health recovery. I am learning to juggle, schoolwork, Voc rehab, building a business, health appointments, housework and self management. I have come a long way from my post on My daily battles which were basically just to get up, get moving, get outside and get to sleep!

I get discouraged that I am not further along; but I remind myself that I am doing things every day toward my goals. I often feel I should be doing more, but I know that I am honestly doing my best and mustn’t beat myself up.

Here are some pearls of wisdom and encouragement from Dr. Deb in our email correspondences;

“Congratulations on realizing that you “are and have been” productively working on multiple things all along that are contributing to defining and growing your business.”

“As you shared, homework and intern work definitely counts <smile>. While personal appointments, errands, and housework will also always be part of everyday life, this new perspective and practice simply ensures that your business goals remain a priority as well. 
…and not just a priority, but something to definitely celebrate as you also touched upon – excellent!!!

And I love this last one when I expressed to her that I was worried I wasn’t being consistent enough.

“As for your comment about “having to stay consistent,” I’d like to introduce a different perspective. 
I think I get what you mean in terms of you “have to stay committed to your goal…”, correct?
Even then, I invite you to be true to who you are. You do not enjoy mundane details and routine work. 
You are a loyal and devoted individual to people and causes you believe in. You also thrive on continued growth and are creative and inspirational. (this info is based on the Meyer Briggs personality test that I took on my first appointment with her, I am an INFP) By continuing to create and operate a business model that allows you to leverage these inherent strengths, you will be happy and you will not “have” to force anything.”

This really resonated with me. I realized that while I am still working on improving my ability to be consistent, I can celebrate the fact that I am committed, to my recovery, my health, my family, my goals, my blogs, my business, my education and so on. I can be gentle with myself and allow the flow of life.

Thanks for bearing with me readers, your support means everything! If you have been following long enough then you know that I do always come back. I am committed to this blog and my visions for it. I will be slowly tweaking this blog while building my Beyouthentic blog. Hoping to post at least monthly on both.

If there is anything in particular that you would like to know more about, please let me know.

I hope you are all well during these challenging times!💜

Be gentle with yourself

Deep Breaths and Baby Steps

martin luther king jr quote

This is the frame of mind I have needed in my mental health recovery. Keep moving forward! When I had my nervous breakdown, I felt paralyzed. I was terribly sick physically and just existing was painful. Deep breaths and baby steps, became my mantra.

Healing has many levels and the journey is different for everyone. It has been 13 years since my breakdown and I’m still on the road of recovery.

Through the years, I often feel the return of that drudge pace, like I am walking in mud. Thinking I will NEVER heal, dragging my depression with all my might. Holding on to a thread of hope while I snail through life.

I feel like I have finally come out of the heavy and thick darkness, and I am standing where I can see the light at the other end of the tunnel; but, sometimes that light seems so far away. Each day, I pull myself out of the dark, acknowledge my fears, put my healing hat on and inch forward.

Some days, it takes a little push, others a brave leap, and then there are the days I just can’t move, and that’s okay too. 

Where every you are on your journey, hang in there! Know that all of those baby steps add up and you ARE moving forward. You ARE healing.

One deep breath and baby step at a time!!

maya angelou quote

 

My Rollercoaster Recovery

recovery

It’s been a very long two weeks since my hysterectomy. Recovery has felt like a roller coaster. Moving through an array of pains, emotionally and physically.

After my surgery, my doctor came to tell me that I had had several spots of endometriosis and she cleaned them all out. My uterus and ovaries were sent to pathology. Because my surgery took a while, I lost a bit of blood but I wasn’t anemic. They kept me on iv fluids and kick ass pain meds for the rest of the day and night. I was released the next day.

The first few days, I felt remarkably better than I expected to. Last year, when I had my ablation, I was in bed for a week, flat on my back, unconscious. I was pleasantly surprised that this time I could sit up for a few hours and not feel sick or exhausted. My pain was managed pretty well, thanks to pain pills and anti-inflammatories. I walked around a little without too much discomfort. Walking is encouraged to avoid blood clots.

The third day, I felt sad, like my body was mourning. I expected this and began the grieving process before my surgery. Beginning last year, I had processed that I was letting go of my ‘womanhood.’ However, this sadness felt like it was coming from my other organs, missing their counterparts, like an estranged sibling. I tried to meditate and comfort my body reminding myself that this was for the health of my body as a whole. I also did some sacred womb meditation.

The fourth day I got a call from my doctor with the test results on my uterus and ovaries. Besides the ovarian cysts and uterine fibroids, I had endometriosis in my uterus and an overgrown endometrial lining with precancerous cells.  Needless to say I was relieved I had made this decision. It helped to be validated and I felt quite emotional.

I am also experiencing menopause because of the loss of my ovaries. I have an estrogen patch; but I still have had some hot flashes, mood swings and depression.

The fifth day, I was exhausted. My pain increased. It was hard to pee& an ongoing war with constipation developed. The next few days I was not feeling as good as I did on the first few.

The eighth day was my birthday! I was in pain and felt nauseous; but, I had no birthday depression!!!! I visited with family and friends, and though it was challenging, I felt loving and grateful. I made the huge mistake of having four glasses of wine.

The ninth day I spent puking up my birthday wine. I was terrified I was going to tear my insides! The whole day I was sick and in bed.

This second week, I almost feel worse than last week! I feel terribly sore, like I am all bruised, which I am on the outside, I must be on the inside too. My right kidney feels like I’ve been punched. My vagina hurts like hell. It feels like someone kicked me in the crotch. My incisions hurt. I even have phantom ovary pains.

In the middle of my second week I only had a few pain pills left and my post op appointment isn’t until Tuesday, almost a week away. I called the doctor’s office for a refill and some concerns of a possible urinary infection. They asked me to come in and see the nurse practitioner. Thankfully, my best friend is staying with me to help out and he drove me; because I am not supposed to drive for at least two weeks. I went in, gave a urine sample, had a pelvic exam and my incisions checked. This was a lot more than I was feeling up to and/or expected. After all that, I did not have a urinary infection; but, because of my constipation, (at least that’s what she said) she didn’t want to refill my oxycodone/tyenol medication (similar to a percocet). Instead, she gave me a script for Tramadol. A pill I’ve never been on. After dropping it at the pharmacy to be filled,  I googled it and it had 4 different interaction warnings with meds I was already on. I was scared and called the office venting. After being on hold for what felt like an eternity, they returned to tell me that they couldn’t find any interaction and they called the pharmacy. The pharmacist couldn’t find anything. The office called me back and said I had to print out the info I found and bring it in to the pharmacy and if the pharmacist still had a problem to call them back!!! By this time, I’m feeling very strained. I am upset that they just couldn’t keep me on what was working. They say it’s because of constipation; but, in my mind, I wonder if it’s because of the high addiction rate. There are so many people that abuse these meds, and I understand the medical staff for being cautious; but, I am a woman who is a week and a half into her recovery from a hysterectomy. I am sincerely in fucking pain! Excuse the curse. After trying get my prehistoric printer to work, I sat and cried. I called the office about to let them witness my meltdown, but I was put on hold. I hung up. I asked my friend to drive me to the pharmacist and I pulled up the info on my phone to show the pharmacist. When I got there, the pharmacist kindly assisted me in looking up the info. The interactions were mild, so it was concluded that this pill would be safe to take. My anxiety calmed.

hell

Yesterday morning,  I took the tramadol in place of the other med. An hour goes by, still in pain. Took some ibuprofen. Still in pain. Smoked some herb. Pain is dulled. A few hours later, in pain again, more ibuprofen, a couple of puffs. I had to wait six hours before taking another tramadol. Six hours later, I was curled up on my bed, in infant position and in tears with the pain coming from my vagina. I held myself and let the tears go. Some were from pain, some were emotional. I took a friggin oxycodone/tyenol to relieve myself.

Feeling wiped out, in pain, emotional. I took some melatonin and did some journaling before bed.

The next few days will hopefully bring more healing. I have enough of my old pain pills to take one per day until my post op appointment. I will continue meditation on healing sacred womb space. I will remain calm as possible and know that with every tear and every pain, there is an opportunity to know and understand myself better.  I will trust the process.

Thanks for letting me share 🙂

sharing

 

 

 

 

 

Learning to Listen to my Body~

So, it’s only been a little over a week since my surgery; but, a few days ago I was feeling kind of good and without any pain pills. Naturally, my antsy stubborn self took over and started moving around furniture and lifting things, trying to distract myself from the unpacked boxes. Suddenly, it felt like my belly button ripped! This is where the incision from my surgery is. I didn’t look at it. I immediately sat down and put an ice pack on it. My mind taunted, “Always gotta learn the hard way, don’t ya?”

After sitting about a half hour with ice on my belly, I felt a little better. What do I do? Well, I realized I couldn’t do any lifting, so I cleaned. Did this still agitate my wound,,,,YES! I don’t know why I like to believe I am invincible sometimes. I looked at my incision and it was separated slightly and looked kind of swollen. Frightened and in pain, I spent the rest of the evening with ice and took a pain pill.

The next day I felt better. I had therapy scheduled for 11:30am, and stopped at the house in Kingston to grab some things. LIGHT things. Did I overdo and pack a basket that should not have been dragged into the car? Of course I did. Feeling the pain, I made myself a little ice pack and got ready for therapy. Physically I did not feel like going; but, I was already in the area and mentally I knew I had to go.

On the ride over, my mind taunted again, “Do you want to end up in the hospital with a ripped belly?” “Because if you ignore me, you know it’ll get worse until you listen!” Then I realized, this wasn’t my mind, it was my body speaking to me.

I sat in my session letting the tears and words fly. I learned that not only do I have mental triggers to these particular sections of my body that have been traumatized; but, that my body has those memories too. Therefore, it is to be expected that I would have more symptoms. It was a relief to understand that may be why I have had a hard time healing.

I asked for guidance on how to cope with another week of feeling anxious and not being able to do anything. My therapist then asked me what I thought it meant, that I could not be still and let my body heal. I replied proudly that I had learned quite a few years ago that the reason I used to have to be busy all the time is because I was afraid to be still and listen, and feel. and think. I feared what may surface or how I would cope with it. Although, I have come a far way from the busy wanna be super woman; I still have to learn more about listening to my body. Really listening.

I detached from my body years ago to cope with abuse. As an adult, I learned to care for my body with exercise and nutrition, and it felt good; but, I was still detached. I did not care for my body because I loved it. I viewed my body as an asset. In my modeling. In my dancing. In my relationships. I was disconnected.

I have heard my body but I never really listened. My body tried to send signals, I’m hungry. I’m tired. I need rest. My mind always responded, “I hear ya; but we just gotta do this first!” Usually as a result, I’d end up flat on my back somehow.

I am so glad that I dragged myself to therapy yesterday. I observe my situation and stop feeling anxious and frustrated that I can’t do more right now. I can look at it as an opportunity to relax and to be still. To really bond and incorporate my body into the healing process.

I apologize to my body for so many years of neglect. I thank it for always getting me through. Today, I vow to to nurture and to heal. To care for and respect my body’s needs and limitations. I will learn to listen to and eventually love my body.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Celebrating My 10th Post!

 

I am so proud to have reached my 10th post!!!!

The fact that I have consistently posted once a week for 10 weeks is a huge accomplishment for me.

It may seem trivial; but as a chick with mental disorders, I am marking this as a triumph in my recovery.

I’ve also received 10 likes and 10 followers!!! Wow! THANK YOU!!!

Even though after the first follower, I got scared and self critical.

I thought, what if I let them down?

I wanted to chicken out, but I kept writing.

And I will keep writing.

Thank you to everyone who has stopped by.

It sincerely means so much to me.

I welcome any and all advice/comments, etc.,

Regroup, Reboot, Relaunch

meditation

Have you ever wished that life had a restart button? Me too!
Well, you’ve heard of the three R’s….Reduce, Reuse and Recycle.
Now, meet my three R’s….Regroup, Reboot and Relaunch!!!
Who says you can’t restart?
While we may not be able to rewind and do things over;
we most certainly can regroup, reboot and relaunch.
Which is exactly what I am doing with this blog.
I started this blog a few years ago. It took me almost that long to publish my introduction, “About my Blog and I”
I didn’t really know what to write or how to write it.  I’m not a professional in mental health or writing so I continually doubted myself in being capable.

Then, finally dawn on marble head!!! I said to myself, “Self, you don’t have to be a professional.”
“You’re simply writing about whatever goes through your pretty little head.”
Oh!!!! Revelation!!! So, I regrouped, rebooted and now I relaunch.
Are you wondering how you can use my three R’s???
No worries. Here’s how:

Regroup:
Okay, so something has not gone the way you wanted it to. Regroup! Stop everything, find a quiet place in your mind. Figure out what happened and how you would have liked it to play out. Once you have a clear picture of what you want then move on to the next R.

Reboot:
So, you know how to reboot your computer, right? Simply apply the method to yourself. Mentally, physically and emotionally. Shut everything down. Rest. For a minute, an hour or a month. For however long you need.
Then gather your strength and reboot!

Relaunch:
Once you have regrouped, rested and rebooted, you should be naturally ready to relaunch. You have a clear picture of how you want things to go. You’ve rested and gathered your energies to reboot. Now, it’s time to put the whole plan into action. Relaunch!!!

I hope my three R’s are useful, and I hope to see you next week!!!

Because, I know I will be here!!!