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Tuesday, March 15, 2016

Grandma's Girl

One of my Dad's sisters is currently creating a book about my grandma their mother.  She asked several weeks ago for us all to write a paragraph with a memory of my Grandma Millie.  You would have thought I would have been one of the first to complete this task but that has not been the case.  I really struggled with what to write.  How do you sum up in one paragraph someone who has been a huge part of your life.

The home I grew up in is on the backside of my grandparent's farm.  There were many days of my childhood spent at her home.  My grandpa like my dad was a truck driver and gone for long periods of time.  I would go to grandma's to give my mom a break and grandma some company.  Grandma always mentions how I would play alone in the drive way with rocks.  She had these cute little dolls that I also loved playing with.  A few years ago she gave me the one that reminded her of me.  I was beyond happy that it miraculously was one of very few things that survived the fire.

I think what makes my grandma so special to me is her strength.  She may be tiny but she is not to be messed with.  She managed to raise eight very wild children, often by herself.  No one would have blamed her if she would have been done with kids but her home was always open to her grandchildren.  Yes she did cry when my parents said they were going to be an extra day away but she simply gave my brother a bag of cookies and locked him outside.  Yes some people may think that sounds horrible but first it was the 80's and my brother Mike was a wild child.  I blame him for the times I was naughty; he had to have deserved being hit in the head with the metal gun when Grandma said it was his turn.

Dresses and Doll Grandma Made Me
As an adult my relationship with my grandma is still strong.  I wish I had more time to spend with her and my grandpa.  There is nothing better than her rolling her eyes and swearing at his behavior.  Did I mention my brother is a lot like my grandpa.  I enjoy a lot of the same things as my grandma.  She has been able to help me out with my arts and crafts, knitting and crochet.  I will never be as good as her but I am thankful for the opportunity to learn.

So few adults have the opportunity to have a relationship with their grandparents.  I am beyond thankful that I have such wonderful grandparents and that I get this opportunity to have them be a part of my life.  I could write so much more about my grandma but it would never do justice to how wonderful she is.  Below is the paragraph I wrote for my aunt's book.

I think it might be impossible to write about just one memory of Grandma Millie.  I have been so fortunate to have Grandma as a huge part of my life.  My earliest memories are of my time I spent at her house growing up.  I can’t have waffles without blueberry syrup because of her.  I feel so lucky that her house was always a walk away; of course it wasn’t a walk a four and six-year-old should have done alone but we did.  There was nothing better making that hike through the woods and arriving to Grandma’s smiling face and a popsicle. If I was super lucky I got to go with her to town.  If I was good which I always was, unlike my brother, I got to get a doll from Benfranklin’s.  Grandma just knew how to make me feel special.

As an adult I still enjoy nothing more than walking up through the woods to her house.  I even still have a popsicle when it is really hot.  I have loved getting the opportunity to have her teach me crocheting and knitting techniques.  I will treasure forever not only her knitting stuff but most importantly the time spent with her.  Nothing brings me greater joy than curling up in one of the blankets she has made.

Tuesday, March 8, 2016

The Dialectical Behavior Therapy Skills Workbook

Today seems like the perfect day to jump back into writing.  The sun is shining and I'm once again picking up the pieces of a turbulent winter.  I can now look clearly at the past few months events and realize that yes it was hard but it was better than the year before.  I didn't wait as long to get help and I was able to crawl out of my hole faster.  I opted not to write the last few months out of frustration.  I want my writing to be productive and I was afraid my writing would become large rants from the surge of frustration and anger I was feeling.

Copy right Simply Designing
I am not at 100% and I realize and accept I will probably never be there.  I can say though, I am at a better place than I was a year ago.  Once again I learned a lot about myself during my struggles. I found the courage and strength to pick myself up and try again.

Now that I can function and think rationally it is time to build myself up and develop new and better skills to weather the next storm.  It was recently pointed out to me that my current coping skills are not very healthy or productive.  This is something I could not disagree with. I have a tendency to avoid and shut myself in my room when I can't handle life.

On Monday at counseling it was time to brain storm new, healthier coping skills.  I am the type of person who needs something to do to bring myself forward.  That is why in the past I have turned to school, projects and work.  If I do not have one of those things to focus on I tend to just hide myself in books and movies.

Work is currently still causing me a significant amount of stress so that option is out.  I currently do not have the strength in my hand to work on a project.  I have tendentious in my wrist from work so the less movement when I'm at home the better. I would love nothing more than to go to grad school and get my degree in counseling.  Unfortunately that is not in the budget right now or something I would be able to take on with work.  So the logical thing seems to be to find some workbooks that would not only help me with my personal journey but also educate me on different therapy techniques.

The first workbook I have chosen to start with is "The Dialectical Behavior Therapy Skill Workbook" by Matthew McKay, PH.D., Jeffrey C. Wood, PSY.D. and Jeffrey Brantley, MD.

I had to set the book down at page 9 to write because I am struggling with concentrating.  I need to clear my mind and remind myself why this is important. My phone is being turned off because I am getting work messages that are not helping me control my emotions.  I need to focus on my development so I can answer those messages in a healthy manner.  As discussed in the first chapter I need to distract myself until I can answer properly.  I am not avoiding the situation because I am going to come back to the problem.

My goal is to journal my thoughts as I work through this book.  This is not typical of my previous entries but I feel it could be beneficial for my development.

Wednesday, December 30, 2015

I Can't Breath

I am laying in bed this evening struggling to breath, it feels as if there is a large weight on my chest. I fell unsettled as if at any moment my heart could explode. I am restless in my thoughts and finding it hard to calm myself.  My attempt to aid my sleep with a sound machine is causing discomfort.  Why are the sounds of waves causing me distress when normally they are a comforting sound?

Several years ago I had a therapist suggest that I create a space in my mind to go to when I am feeling anxious, a place that would calm me.  For the longest time my place involved being by the sea and being able to hear the waves crashing along the rocks.  In my mind I could picture the English, Scottish and even Irish coast line. My happy place has always been the scene of a Jane Austen book not a tropical beach.

I was so excited to receive my sound machine today and  listen to the ocean as I fell asleep. At first I thought my anxiety was being brought on by the prospects of going back to work tomorrow. I am currently struggling with my position and it has brought on tremendous stress and anxiety. But the anxiety I was feeling was something more, it was the subject I hate to talk about.

I have spent the last two days in bed with a cold. This has given me the opportunity to binge watch the series "Outlander" on my kindle.  So for two days I have immersed myself into the love story of these characters. Now that it is over I find myself lost and sad.  I know this sounds silly but I am only able to experience love this way. I am so afraid I being hurt again I only allow myself to get lost in these imaginary relationships.

So tonight when the sound of the waves started to play my heart started to feel like a million pounds. I am realizing that I'm so afraid,  I will never have a man love me like a character in a book or movie. I will never truly get to experience that scene I have created in my head that use to bring me so much happiness. I will never be laying in bed in a sea side cottage listening to the waves crash and having a man who loves me laying beside me.

Tonight I realize that I'm so afraid I am ruining my life.

Sunday, December 27, 2015

Holiday Blues

After a three month absence from writing due to my new job I felt the need to write and work through recent events and frustrations.  It will come to no surprise to most people that the holidays can be tough especially if you are dealing with anxiety and depression.  This is that time of the year that I can become overwhelmed by events and loneliness.  Did I also mention I am a manager of a clothing store? Mega stress!!!!

I have spent the last month or more wishing there was some way I could magically go to sleep and wake up around January 5th.  My job is extremely difficult this time of year and to add to my stress, this year I am with a new company.  I am working sixty to seventy hours weeks on little to no sleep in a crazy environment.  I'm trying to keep my staff happy and productive and I'm trying to keep customers happy, not an easy task this time of year.  I have to make people work when they should be at family events to please customers that sometimes are not the nicest.  My job is to make everyone happy while I try and hold together my own happiness.

In my quest to make as many people happy as possible I scheduled myself on Christmas Eve and as few employees as I could within reason.  The company I previously worked for was not traditionally that busy on Christmas Eve and even though I worked I could usually make it in time to spend an hour or two with my dad's family.  This year that did not happen and my exhausted defeated body and soul took it hard.  Instead of rushing out the door to Christmas I sat alone folding clothes and crying trying to put my store back together.

The thing about being alone is too much time to think.  I started to think about the fact I don't really have anyone to spend the holidays with other than my parents.  I even started to go into the self negative thinking, would anyone even care that I wasn't at Christmas.  This lead into a spiral of very negative thoughts and anger.  I was finally at my breaking point.  I felt as alone and helpless as the tiny puppies I could hear crying two stores down.  I was back to my dark place, the place I hate to admit is one where I don't want to be alive.

I decided that it was no longer healthy for me to stay at the store.  I could not physically or emotionally complete the store to the standard it needed to be.  I needed to suck up my pride and ask for help the following day.  I went home and poured myself a large glass of vodka and coke.  This isn't something I've done for a long time but I just wanted to feel numb and continue to feel sorry for myself.  The problem with alcohol is it only numbs the pain for a while, so unless you are going to drink it all the time it isn't a solution.

I woke up on Christmas day and continued my pity party.  I had breakfast with my parents but opted not to watch John Wayne movies all day with my dad.  I instead decided to read a book.  I grabbed the book "A Million Little Pieces" by James Frey.  I was instantly intrigued because it is about his time in a famous rehab facility that is not far from where I live.  I spent the day reading about this man as well as other's struggles with their inner demons and addictions.  I started to realize yes I have issues but it could always be worse.  I'm glad at the time I hadn't read anything about this books, so I could just focus on the character's struggles and not the controversy surrounding the book.  A small disclaimer about the book, his descriptions of events at the facility where fabricated.  I know many people who have attended that facility and the stuff he wrote about could not have happened.

Yes I did spend Christmas alone in my room reading a depressing book about drug and alcohol addiction but it was my choice.  I need to remember that I could have put myself out there and found something to do that was more productive. This was the point where I realized I often do things that cause me pain because I am comfortable and familiar with the pain.

December 25th was technically Christmas and I chose to read all day and be sad but in all reality today was Christmas.  I should have treated the 25th like any other day I did not have work not glorify the fact that it was technically a holiday and I was alone.  In my heart I now know today was Christmas because I was with my family.  I also need to realize I am never alone, first I have my faith and second I have my family.  No they aren't my kids but I love them just as much as if they were my own.  My goal for this new year is to stop the pity party and make better choices!

Monday, September 14, 2015

New Doctor

I have been putting off the search for a new doctor for far too long but today it must happen. This weekend I had another bad migraine. Thankfully I was able to get it under control but it was bad enough that I had to let my mom drive the rest of our way home and I got sick enough that I had to throw up into a bag in my lap. I did manage to sleep it off with medication and not make a trip to the ER.

So why do I need to find a new doctor? Three plus years ago when I realized it was time to get help I made an appointment at the clinic by my home at the time. I was immediately overjoyed at how comfortable I felt with the PA I was assigned to that day. Anyone who suffers from depression and anxiety knows how uncomfortable it can be to reach out for help. Courtney made this so easy for me. She was so supportive and compassionate over the years.

Sadly I moved two hours away and slowly it became harder and harder to make the drives back. On several occasions I have had no other choice but to seek out other medical professionals. I have not made a connections with any of them. I also have had the issue with the fact that the nearest Fairview hospital is over forty minutes away. When you are needing to make an emergency trip to the ER for a migraine you don't want a forty minute car ride.

I now need to decided between the two medical facilities that I live near.  I then need to pick a physician from one of those establishments. I know the easy thing to do would be asking for suggestions from friends and family but I don't feel comfortable doing that. The more open I have become about my struggles the more I realize everyone has an opinion and few are in agreement.

Today I am going to make the first move and go with the medical center I visited for my last ER visit. I am going to visit their website and go through the physicians bios and hopefully find one that looks favorable. I can't keep putting off seeking treatment for my migraines; I need to face my fear and put myself out there.

Tuesday, September 8, 2015


I haven't written a lot about my faith, not because I don't think it is important but because I want to be sensitive to other's beliefs. I have always believed actions speak louder than words. Today I feel want to write a bit about my faith. In order to  understand me and how I get through these terrible days I need to be open about my belief that my strength comes, from God.

Today at counseling I was asked where I stand currently on dating. I smiled at her and told her I still find myself not wanting to even try to find someone.  We talked a bit about control, that I am afraid of getting into a relationship and having to give up the things I enjoy. I have worked so hard at discovering who I am and what I want. I fear that if I get into a relationship I will have to alter those things.

We continued to discuss this fear and ultimately it lead into a 'trust' issue. I don't trust myself and I'm having a hard time trusting God. The trouble with being a Christian is knowing you are suppose to trust God but doing it is a whole different subject. I want to trust God, if my faith has taught me anything it is that I am nothing without God. If I trust in myself alone we are in trouble; I have made some horrible decisions in the past.

But now that I'm ready to trust in God, I realize it is just as important that I start trusting in myself. Yes I did make some horrible mistakes in the past but that was the past and I have learned from those mistakes. Just saying that out loud takes a huge weight off my heart. I know that alone I can't do this but at the same time I know God has given me the brains and strength to trust myself.

Trusting means, that even when things aren't going the best I am going to trust that there is a reason. I also need to believe that good things will happen, that it is ok to hope for better. It is also ok that sometimes I get angry for the struggles that I have had, that doesn't make me lesser of a Christian, it makes me human.

I am thankful that God has given me the strength to seek medical help.  Yes having faith has played a huge role in my recovery but medical treatment is important too. I don't expect everyone to understand or even agree with my beliefs but I wanted an opportunity to share a big part of who I am and another part of my journey.

Sunday, September 6, 2015

Summer's End

I know most people are probably sad that this weekend marks the end of summer. I am not one of those people. I am not saying I am looking forward to sub zero temperatures or snowy roads but I am over the heat of summer. Living in the Midwest we get to experience ninety degree days and on the flip side twenty below zero days. I am not a fan of either!  An example, tonight marks the end of a week of upper eighties and crazy humidity.

The only part of me that likes temps and humidity that high is my hair. My body is not a fan of these hot days. I ended up with another late night visit to the ER, last month. They think the migraine was a combination of heat exhaustion and allergies from ragweed. I was pumped full of fluids and three medications via IV, not something I'm fond of. Two weeks ago I almost had a repeat after trying to spend some time outside with my niece and nephews. Thankfully this time the migraine never got to the point I needed to go in but it did last for six days.
We were going to build a tree house til I got sick. 

Fall can start at any point and I will be completely happy. I love that cooler temps also mean boots, scarves and flannels. We have been transitioning to fall at work for over a month. Working in retail we are always a month or so ahead of the season and fall is the one season I am always so excited for. I have the air conditioner on high at work and no thought of the eighty degree weather outside my door as I am layered up for cooler temps. And I cannot forget to mention pumpkin, I am one of those girls who is obsessed with pretty much anything pumpkin flavored. This week alone I had a pumpkin chi latte, pumpkin beer and a pumpkin pie blizzard.

As excited as I am for summer to be over I also have to face the realization of what winter can and might bring. I now have the fear that winter might bring me back into a horrible depression. Yes summer does bring me frustrations but it does bring sunshine that is very beneficial in combating depression. How am I preparing for winter? What will I do to make sure that it isn't a repeat of the last few winters.

First, I am committed to taking my medicine every night without fail. I had to use a bit of technology to make this happen. I downloaded an app that I have set to go off at 10:00 p.m. and until I take my medication every ten minutes my phone reminds me with a notification sound - mine is pills shaking in a bottle. I have also started to take vitamin D. My therapist said they are now recommending people start taking them in August instead of waiting til fall or winter when they are already deficient. I'm a baby when it comes to taking vitamins so I have jumped on the gummy vitamin bandwagon.

I am hoping this and the projects I have taken on this summer will give me purpose and drive this winter. As much as I love Netflix, spending the winter hidden in my room is not healthy or productive. I want to make the most of this life I have been given. I don't want to shutdown and go to that dark place. I want the cooler temps but not the depression that can come with the winter.