If It Doesn’t Bring You Joy

lifeDepression can really keep you away from the things you love. I’ve been “away” from this blog for exactly one year. Its crazy. To me it had just felt like a mere few months, but that’s how it works. It robs you of your time and if you don’t get a hold of it will take away your joy. Life is hard for all of us. For me 2018 was a blur.  To say it was overwhelming is an understatement. There were with issues with my son, my health, stress, i performed CPR on a guest at my job who had passed away and ultimately it was just too much for me to handle mentally and i checked out. I felt like I was watching myself participate in life but i couldn’t really feel any of it. I tried in vain to run it off, tried Yoga, read all kinds of books and then would end up alone in the house and would concoct these scenarios in my head.

catsMy most recurring fear was that my son was going to move away and i would live in this great big house alone. I would die undiscovered on my recliner and my poor cat would have to eat my face to survive and then by the time they found me it was way too late and it would affect the resale value of my house because I’m sure the carpet would be ruined.

No one said depression scenarios were pretty. Knowing that something was really off and probably PCOS related, I made an appointment to see my endocrinologist. I had been gaining weight after my Lap-band removal and just couldn’t get a handle on it and i was certain my hormones were out of wack. The nurse practitioner, an angel, diagnosed me with depression and prescribed me some medication and realized that yes, i was deficient in some vitamins and all that could lead to depression.  It had to be tweaked a few times but eventually it gave me the clarity that i needed. My son and i were able to go to therapy to just deal with all the life we had been handling on auto pilot for the past 5 years. Life as a single mom had definitely taken it toll on me, but even worse it had taken its toll on my child, who missed his father and was taking his absence out on me. The teenage years are not for the weak.  I’m glad to say that we are now healthier in spirit and mind.

 

I share this because even in 2019 I feel that there’s a stigma with mental health and there really shouldn’t be. If you don’t feel yourself, please get help. My only regret is that i had gotten so used to feeling awful and decided that it was normal and  didn’t speak up sooner about my stress or how badly i had been feeling so i could feel better sooner. Of course, i know that this is easier said than done.

 

marie

Once the clouds were lifted, it did force me to take stock of my life and I realized that I didn’t have to put up with feeling bad. That it was not worth one more moment of my time. I had spent so much time feeling awful that i wanted to try my best to do my part. In my case that meant that I had to really take ownership of myself and my attitude. I had to reevaluate some relationships and I decided to live by the mantra ….If it doesn’t bring you joy be done with it. (This was pre Marie Kondo, for those that are now applying her awesome techniques to your lives) but the same concept applies. If it tastes bad, spit it out. If it’s a bad book, stop reading it. If you don’t like it, don’t do it. No is a complete sentence. I realized that i had to stop punishing myself for my past and trying to make up for it and let it go. That i needed to live for the future and start to write my own story rather than letting someone else ghost write my life for me.

So I tried a few things. I ran my first half marathon. Well, let me correct that, i walked, jogged and almost died at mile 12 of my first half. I traded in my old car that was breaking down a lot, I attended weekly therapy sessions. I started to unapologetic-ally tell the truth (sucked for others but for me it was liberating, this year I’m working on a softer approach without sacrificing the honesty)  I turned 39 surrounded by amazing beautiful women (the sisterhood is a beautiful thing) and i decided that i was just going to go for it. My most courageous thing that year? on New Years Eve, when my son left to hang out with his dad and i was alone i decided to get dressed and go to a bar to bring in the new year. I know that doesn’t seem like a big deal to most. But after a year of practically being a  shut in other than work and kid practices, trust me anyone who knew me personally was celebrating. I also joined the new Kiwanis club they were starting in the area and became President. Crazy pants I know.

 

 

So that’s it. I’m going to commit to blogging more. There are some fun things coming up. But I wanted to just let anyone out there know that there are better days, even when all you see are clouds. It took me a year, but I’m back and i missed myself terribly.

I also wanted to add that sometimes, talking to your loved ones about your depression is hard. And calling one of those help lines feels weird. But I know that this new era has made texting really comfortable, so if you need to just talk, you don’t have to be suicidal to get help, you can reach out to https://www.crisistextline.org/depression/ or text the number below for help.

Text+HOME+to+741741+for+free+24+7+crisis+support+in+the+US

Keep being awesome guys and thank you for listening.

❤ Denise

Get Rid of 100 Things: Chapter 1

Happy New Year everyone!! Its been a while since I’ve written and it’s simply or rather not simply been because the latter half of 2017 was whirlwind. It happens. I helped plan our high schools 20th reunion this past September, Kiddo was struggling with turning in his work on time and grades were suffering because 13 year olds…amirite? And then the holidays of course. I ended up having emergency surgery in December to remove the LapBand that I only had for 18 months. The good thing was I had lost 100 lbs, the sad thing was it almost killed me by slipping, and even worse I still owe $7,000 on that surgery and lord knows what the bill for this will be. I didn’t eat for 10 days and well the icing on the cake was a tree hit my house on New Years Eve. Clearly in  a past life i angered the gods and apparently their time to shine was fourth quarter of 2017. It wasn’t all bad here’s a trip down memory lane for the year before i get to the reason for my post.

 

So now that that is out-of-the-way onto the Getting Rid of 100 Things. When I saw my friend on Facebook post it, i had to pause and i thought hmm how would i do this. The woman who posted it is full of wisdom and always inspires me to think so i knew not to take this lightly. Sure we can look at it physically throw away 100 items. Easy. But I thought I could mix it up to just try to improve my life in general. Yes, there will be a physical purge at some point but i thought it only right that my first thing to “Get Ride Of” is UNREALISTIC EXPECTATIONS.

It’s a new year. If you haven’t been constantly reminded of it by all the New Year New Me posts on Facebook then you’re lucky. I don’t normally make resolutions because I have a hard time committing to anything. Hell, I’m surprised me and my shadow still hang out. But I bit into the hype as one does and mixed in with having my LapBand removed and the fear of gaining weight i decided to sign up for a Women’s Half Marathon in November and that I was going to go on a low carb diet to get these last chunk of lbs off. I figured that i would lose 23 lbs in a month (WTF) AND RUN. Can I tell you that a week in  I was sticking to the diet, worked out but jumped on the scale and i was 15 lbs heavier. Now before you oooh and gasp I need to remind you that prior to this I had emergency surgery, had not eaten for 10 days and then was on a liquid diet for a week so in that time I lost 25 lbs. Its only natural to gain it back for the health of your body as nourishment comes back to sustain you.

But I wasn’t reminding myself of that. I had failed. I gained weight back (which after weight loss surgery, it becomes your biggest fear) i had jumped into bad habits of thinking negatively, I stopped telling myself nice things in the mirror, I criticized my body who really did work very hard this year. I ate sad high protein food and punished myself when I didn’t lose 5 lbs overnight. I found myself crying and depressed and basically had resigned myself to dying alone, undiscovered for years on my couch. Yes I have a flair for the dramatic and it gets the best of me from time to time.

When I saw my friend post the #GetRidOf100Things i sat and thought and came to the idea that my first trash out for the new year was to get rid of the negativity. And that meant, for me. to Get Rid of Unrealistic Expectations. Not only as it pertained to my health, but overall when interacting with people. So ill break it down in the areas where I think this could benefit.

      1. UNREALISTIC BODY EXPECTATIONS: Yes run that half marathon, do it for fun for camaraderie, do it for the adventure. Do not get mad if you don’t finish by a certain time, half to walk a little or are the last one to finish. Do not feed yourself sad food that makes you feel even sadder. Yes make better food choices, portion control, but if you want a piece of pie eat the damn pie. There’s no such thing as bad food enjoy the moment in moderation. Understand that a 23 lbs weight loss in a month isn’t healthy. When I had the LapBand I lost up to 1-1 1/2 lbs a week and i was ok with that. Eventually it got me to a 100 lbs weight loss (OK 85 now that I’m eating again) but if I was happy with a lb then, why all of a sudden is anything less than 7 lbs a week unacceptable?! Who wants to live like that. Stop setting myself up for failure of the heart and mind, I’m not going to win Miss Hawaiian Tropic and I’m OK with that.

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      UNREALISTIC RELATIONSHIPS: Honey if he’s just not that into you, there is nothing you can do to salvage that. This year I held onto, clawed and grabbed and tried to feed an unhealthy relationship because we had been friends for 15 years. I figured if the moon aligned right, i won the lottery, dressed pretty, was agreeable and the moon rose over Capricorn (whatever the eff that means) that it would just come together and guess what? all the sweetness in the world couldn’t make that work. In the end this person couldn’t even call me on my birthday and refused to sit with me in the hospital while i was waiting emergency surgery. Lesson here: You can’t get blood from a turnip. And I’m done trying to sell myself the story that i can. Next time ill read the room early and leave in time to enjoy the day.

 

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    1. UNREALISTIC TIME CONSTRAINTS: If I can do it I will, if i cant oh well. It is what it is

 

 

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      1. UNREALISTIC FUTURES: I have a vivid imagination. Oftentimes it gets the best of me and I go dark. Like real dark. I tend to think about the things that i don’t have and spiral down from there. Well circle back to me dying on the couch. In this scenario, I’m 38 years old, I’m unmarried and a single mom of one child, a dog and a cat. Often i think about how my son is almost a grown adult and will be going away soon to college or start his life. I imagine he wont call or come home often (even though he’s been raised better) and my married friends and family are all far away. I’m too old to date (nonsense) and I’m going to end up old and alone and no one is going to hold my hand as i leave this good earth. What the actual macabre shit brain!? So I’m going to try my best to not doom and gloom myself to the point of insanity. The next time I’m home on a Saturday watching TV and the cat is in my lap and my kid is upstairs ignoring me it’s just what it is. It’s not an indicator of what is to come and i will not in fact die on the recliner alone with the cat eating my face……you see what i did there? this ones gonna take work 😉

diamonds lyric video i choose to be happy GIF by Rihanna

      UNREALISTIC COMPARISONS: I will refuse to compare my journey with others. I will not look at Facebook pictures and get sad because my life isn’t like XYZ or that I cant buy a car like XYZ or that i wish i could buy those expensive xyz like XYZ. Not gonna do it. Its poison and leads to ungratefulness.

 

And that’s it. For my first throw away I am going to choose better health and get rid of Unrealistic expectations. What 100 things can you get rid of? I’d love to hear!

 

Help me Tom Cruise,  Oprah and Baby Jesus 

I just burst out in tears, not my proudest moments as a parent but we all have these moments sometimes where we just fall apart.  I dare any parent to tell me otherwise. Recently I  have entered the wonderful world teenage years.  This is the area where your baby starts to define who they are,  they test boundaries,  they grow,  they dont need you,  but still need you so much.  To me it’s like revisiting the toddler years but with testosterone and lots of eye rolling and back talk and a tiny mustache. This is also the part of your life where as you’re wading in fresh attitude hell,  you apologize to the heavens and your parents for being so awful. I put my parents through pure hell and on a few occasions they both lost their patience with me.  I get it.  Payback is a beyoch and I’m in the throes of it.  

My son is gifted academically and this month alone hes been sought out to be in leadership groups,  invited to take his SATs in the 7th grade and to participate in a 5 year program for kids which will eventually lead to scholarships (I’m a single mom struggling so this is HUGE) hes had to apply to this program by today and write an essay to get in,  get letters of recommendation etc.  He puts it off until this morning. I wake him up, I’m sitting here trying to help and in fussing at him because lately he just has an “I don’t care attitude” and honestly I just want to throw in the towel on this whole parenting thing.  Im stretched thin.  His grades lately have dropped for no other reason than “school is stupid” and well my baby is sullen,  ornery,  and wants to play basketball or video games all day.  This is normal.  This is expected.  There comes a day where you are no longer the favorite human,  the best friend and more of a bother.  I’ve prepared for this,  but what I didn’t expect was the attitude. 

  Going back to this essay that he’s writing,  I ask him “why he didn’t care ” and he says “cuz I don’t,  I’m doing this for you.  You want me to do this,  you said it was for scholarships” 

  So I just was crushed,  because yes he’s 13 he doesn’t realize the opportunities that he has that I never did and how this will help his future.  No 13 year old sees that.  

 

 So then I go into a speech about how I wish my parents had helped me in school, not because they wouldn’t,  but because they didn’t know of these opportunities or how smart I really was and well in the 90s, I didn’t know how to ask for help either. They instilled a strong work ethic in me, so that’s all I knew.  Work hard,  make an effort and it will work out. (Great lessons. Mom and Dad don’t feel bad) i explained to him how I wish I didn’t have to work two jobs to pay for college that I had to drop out of because I couldn’t afford it, (I’m still paying for college loans with a high school education and no degree)  that if I had a chance at an education I wouldn’t be working at a hotel for 20 years and not following my dreams.  That I wanted a different life and if I had the chances hes been given I’d be a success.  Then I realize ive said this crying. And maybe I am projecting my failures on him and I’m trying to keep him from growing up to be me.  

He looks at me blankly.  This is what parenting a teenager is. 

This parenting thing is so hard and all i think most of us want is for them to be better than us. To be happy and healthy and good kind people.  I know he will be,  I have faith that this will all work out.  He’s too awesome and I just have to remind myself to be gentle and loving and patient because this won’t last forever.  

  Hugs to everyone parenting a teenager….. lord knows I ain’t seen nothing yet.