Sunday, March 11, 2018

It’s not Easy Being Strong

Making decisions as an adult isn’t always an easy feat. It’s not like all decisions we have to make as a grown adult come easy. Some decisions are difficult, painful and can leave us feeling hurt. While the pain and hurt suck, sometimes there are decisions that simply have to be made to protect your inner peace. I’ve always been good at making decisions. I’ve never really been that indecisive of a person until recently. I kept hanging onto hope, I wanted to hope that things would be different, that the red flags I noticed earlier one weren’t really red flags. I had hope and love that things weren’t what they really were. I was told things were this way when that wasn’t real. I was led to believe a fictional tale that resided in someone else’s perception, not my own. 

One day I just woke up, opened my eyes, paid attention to the little things and noticed quite a lot more that was going on right in front my face. My hope and love for human beings, my ability to see good within bad and focus on that wholeheartedly had blinded me from a situation that simply drained every ounce of happiness out of me. I lost my spirit.  I started getting bags under my eyes. I wasn’t me. My kids noticed it too. My middle kiddo said I was crying too much, my youngest kiddo said I am not fun or happy anymore. My oldest simply told me to open my eyes. It took months of listening to my kids and actually hearing what they were saying to realize that change must happen.
Now I am not excited about this change, this adult decision is hard and will continue to hurt. Love is something that doesn’t disappear in one day, one week or one month but no matter how much two people feel that they love each other, the reality is when something isn’t healthy space is necessary. 

You can’t consume yourself in a bad situation and fight for it in the way that had been happening. When a situation has become so difficult that all that seems to take over is tensions, stress and painful memories, someone has to step up and make the adult decision to say space is necessary. It doesn’t matter how much pain I’m feeling, it doesn’t matter how difficult this is for me in some ways, I have always been one to make solid decisions based on what’s best for my kids and my own mental health.
Today I am sad to deal with this. I feel upset that I had to make such a decision, but I know it’s what’s best for everyone involved. 

After finding some stuff online in the last 24 hours, and watching how the other person is vengeful and hateful online about me, I have realized that my decision was made for a reason and I stand behind my decision confidently. No matter how many times I cry while I heal the pain from a future that could have been. No matter how much my heart aches, I have to remain strong knowing that my first job is being a mom and ensuring that not only they are safe but that I am safe. Living the way I’ve been living has not made me happy, it’s destroyed every ounce of my positivity and change had to happen. It’s simply how it is. 

So today, I tell you to be confident. Decisions you have to make as an adult are not going to be easy, they are not going to be made at a flip of a coin, but once you’ve witnessed the reality and let go of the perception someone else is trying to fill your head with … you’ll come to a solid decision based on what will allow you to heal, grow and be happy again.

Tuesday, January 23, 2018

Weighed Down ... Journaling Thoughts

Even the strongest of people can be fooled into thinking things are something different. The hope that each of us have as human beings is stronger for some than it is for others. I am one of those people with the high level of hope. I tend to avoid confrontation and when feeling pressured or when yelled at I will slink back and coil away from the situation. I can’t handle yelling. I hate it. It literally makes me want to curl up in a ball and cry, and if I don’t actually do that, I shake like crazy and my stomach gets all knotty up.

People who’ve gotten to know me will know this about me and either use it to their advantage or take care to not be that way to me. In recent times I’ve experienced some very mean times in which I haven’t experience in years, basically since I have become a mom all those 15 plus years ago and started being a more compassionate, happy person, no one has been mean to me. Hmmm… to think back it’s actually pretty amazing that I haven’t had anyone be mean to me in over 15 years, I guess that means I must not actually have anything wrong with me – I am a kind person who deserves kindness and got kindness. Imagine that.

Anyways, with all of that being said, I am exhausted from trying to think that things are something that they aren’t. I hear all of this big talk, great ideas or missions or reasons why something may have gone wrong or why something may have gone right. These words sound great when spoken but when I have time alone to sit deep in thought, I realize that what actually has gone on has not been okay at all. I have been left to feel as if my strength was beaten and my confidence belittled down. I feel tricked into thinking things are a “team” when in reality they are more about selfish needs. That doesn’t settle well with me. It eats at me and makes me ridiculously anxious.

So today, just like I keep doing every other day, I have to continue to figure out what’s right for me and what’s not right for me. I have to figure out what I feel is real and what isn’t real. Even though my gut is kicking my butt telling me what is right, that piece of hope deep inside of me continues to keep me thinking that I am just crazy. And why wouldn’t one who has been told they’re crazy for so long now not start to think that they are indeed crazy? That’s what mean people do to strong people, they make them feel as if they are the ones being crazy or in the wrong only to make their own self feel better and look better.

I’ve always kept it real online and in real life, I will continue to do so. It’s time I got back to what I need in my life and if anyone else doesn’t like my honest thoughts that I know usually help someone else, then they are going to have to deal with that. Me getting back to being honest in my writing isn’t a bad thing, and it’s not meant to be mean, it’s simply meant to start being real again so I don’t feel so weighted down by other people’s issues.

Friday, December 29, 2017

Life is Difficult Sometimes

After becoming a parent there was much for me to learn. I remember my first born child being pretty easy going, the years passed and she really wasn’t ever that difficult to deal with. I understood how she thought and could always seem to find a way to connect in a way that worked to encourage her to be who she is and be confident. The teen years are proving to be a little harder, but not as hard as I’ve heard others have to deal with. My two sons were born later on and with that came the need for me to learn more about raising boys. About three years ago my middle child, firstborn son, was diagnosed with Aspergers and that took me down another chapter of learning how to parent a child on the spectrum. With each difficulty in parenthood, I adapted and I learned. With each step, I had my heart fully in it, because I know parenting is the most rewarding job. At the end of the day, your kids still love you, especially if they feel like you are treating them like a person.

When it comes to relationships, it isn’t as easy as parenthood. You don’t  get that unconditional love that comes from the parenting gig. That love tends to come with conditions, and sometimes you meet someone who only expresses love when they want or needs something. As time goes on, you start to see that you are not treated as you should have been treated. The lack of compassion and empathy towards you, as an individual adult fades or really was never there, depending upon how clear your hindsight is and in turn you start to become bitter. I am all too familiar with bitterness setting in, I’ve been there. I have let bitterness consume me in the past and it led me nowhere fast. Being negative doesn’t get results, so I made a conscious choice on November 16th to start committing to myself. To let go of bitterness and to only take one day at a time.

Fast forward to current date, I literally feel my stomach in knots every day. I am told that I should do this or I should do that. I was shown “love” for about two weeks until it grew tiring and draining, which is what I’ve been living for months. When there comes a time that you are emotionally and physically drained from having been hurt too deeply, it’s time to really think about action steps. What the action steps are, will depend upon what you truly feel within your whole being. You have to take a look deep within and make a decision that brings inner peace. Sometimes this inner peace only comes from stepping away from the difficult times or difficult scenario so that you can test your true commitment to someone.

You can’t test the commitment to another human without stepping away. Getting through difficult times will sometimes take a drastic measure especially if the kind gestures were only being done as a means to cover up the mistakes made. Once you have deeply wounded someone, it’s not as easy as engaging in acts of kindness, it’s about a deep change and when all I see is depression, no talking and signs that would usually spin me into a hurtful response; I stopped. I pause. I reflect.

I realize that no more will I get bitter and angry at stuff. If someone wants to continuously hang around just to inflict hurt and pain on someone – they don’t love that person. That’s the truth and in turn, you have to face reality, because they won’t face it when they have everything they need right here. Why would they leave when they have it made? I made that commitment to myself for a reason because I have three kids that need their mom at 100% more often than not. I am tired of living at 25% and having stomach pains because of the anxiety of not knowing what the next outburst, hateful comment or manipulative action will be. I deserve to live in peace just like everyone else.

Sunday, November 12, 2017

Crap! My Credit is Actually Increasing

My first months of being an adult were fun, interesting and well challenging. Just like everyone else who turns 18 and must make some decisions on what to do next, I was making those decisions. Ha! Just kidding, I totally blew off age 18 and made horrible choices, became friends with people who weren’t real friends and ventured down a path that was full of bad decisions. I am not sure when I smartened up or grew from those bad decisions, but I can tell you that age 18 brought about a lot of issues. I was receiving credit cards in the mail left and right. I didn’t even apply for them.

I remember thinking it was weird that companies were just sending me credit cards, I almost think that I wasn’t even quite 18 when the first one arrived. I had so many credit cards that I could charge just about anything. I remember having a Sears card, a Fashion Bug card, quite possibly up to five regular credit cards and those as just the ones I remember. Credit cards became my addiction. I charged everything and I wasn’t working enough to make payments in a timely fashion. I cannot recall how it all went down, I just remember that I shot my credit at age 18.

This may be why as an older adult I started to be more budget savvy. I started to be less of a spender and more of a saver. I learned that credit is important and once you destroy it, you can’t build it back up too easily. Your credit score matters for rental applications, job applications and so many other things in life. A bad credit score can leave you without being able to rent a decent place, buy a decent car or even survive in a reasonable way. Your credit score ultimately defines your lifestyle in many ways. That little number will matter more than anything else in life because the higher it is – the more chances you have to get further in life.

With all of that being said, a bad credit score doesn’t mean that you totally suck. A bad credit score simply means that you, like me, are going to learn the hard way on how important a credit score is. Around July 2015 I set a goal – to rebuild my credit so that within 1-2 years I would be in a position to have a good credit score. My mission to rebuild credit within 1-2 years from July 2015 was set as a means to no longer have to pay thousands a month for home rentals. It’s exhausting having to pay over one thousand dollars to rent a place when a mortgage plus equity plus taxes can be much lower.

I set my goal in July 2015 then met my boyfriend in August 2015. Once again, I found myself in a relationship and found myself with a place that ultimately went into foreclosure. My landlords contacted me to inform me that the bank was taking over the home. Even though I paid rent every month, this is how it went. The story of my life goes something like this – I make goals and then something happens or I meet someone and those goals become a distant memory.

I swore that rebuilding my credit was not going on the back burner. This is something that is extremely important to me and can help to buy a place that will be my trio’s roots. I want ever so badly to have a home on land that the kids can come back to and call home for years to come. I want so badly to own a home or at least feel like I have some choice in being able to do that. I kept my promise to myself about rebuilding credit.

For me, step one was about dealing with my student loan debt. Those loans had gone into a bad standing but I found there were some ways to work with the debt collectors for those loans. I gave the company a call and agreed to a repayment plan. This plan was that I had to pay ‘x’ amount of payments per month for somewhere around 9 months. If those payments were made each month, then in month 8 or 9, the government would take over my loan and I could work with a regular student loan repayment plan. I accomplished this. I paid that debt collection place off and am now on a repayment plan for my student loans. Goal accomplished!

With this goal came the idea that my credit score would increase, eh, it didn’t really increase magically overnight bit over the past two years I have gone about 170 plus in points. My score is no longer poor, but it’s not “great” either. I wanted to rebuild my credit, which means I had to stop applying for loans, stop applying for credit and start paying off anything that I could pay off. I currently have more work to do but the other day I was approved for something that I haven’t been approved for since the first years of adulthood.

The other day I was able to find out that all of my hard work keeping rebuilding credit score as a goal, amidst all of the chaos, hard times and emotional roller coaster ride I’ve been on, is still there. I am still working on it, even though it’s not in the forefront of my mind. I could look at this as a failure, because remember in July 2015 I made a goal to be in a position to look at homes for sale with a pre-approval for a home loan in 1-2 years. We are now in November 2017 and while I can’t get a pre-approval for a home, I can get approved for other things. This means I am another step closer to rebuilding my credit score.

Whether you feel like your dreams are crashing down on you or not – please take a moment to look in the mirror. Try to find that one sign that things are actually moving forward. Being in a relationship and raising kids makes me feel as if I don’t matter sometimes. My relationship can be a roller coaster of emotions due to him having his own stressors that no one can solve, and often it takes me down with him. I am thankful that my credit rebuild mission is still a priority and that things are looking up for my ultimate goal of raising that credit score I ruined at age 18.

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

That One Thing about Life

There are many things about life that we learn as we get older. When becoming a mother for example, I quickly learned that life didn’t revolve around me. Each decision I made and every action I did would quickly mold who these little children were. As life goes on we make mistakes, we think that in this moment something works and makes sense. We have dreams and goals, life seems so fruitful and you feel like this one thing about life is happiness. Then you get hurt, deeply wounded, make mistakes, say things that hurt and hear things that hurt, eventually that one thing about life is pain.

When you start to feel pain in such a deep way, it’s difficult to think clearly. Positive decision making skills become obsolete and you live in a life where that one thing about life is sorrow. You start to feel bad for yourself; you start to feel like you aren’t good enough and you ultimately deplete your energy levels to a dangerously low place. This is where the one thing about life could be depression. The hope is that many people realize that depression is coming due to the pain from being hurt before it gets too deep, but we are not psychics. Sometimes this depression from the pain sneaks up on us when we least expected it and we have nowhere to turn.

The one thing about life is that you do have somewhere to turn. There are family and friends who will help you, there are professionals such as doctors and therapists that can bring a positive light force back into your life. While you will still feel like this one thing about life is pain and sorrow, something you can’t rise back up from, that isn’t the case at all. So as long as you seek help and find the positive circle of professionals and friends to help guide you when feeling deeply pained, you will rise above. The difficult decisions that must be made in life are a huge part of what helps you to grow as a person. No one wants to hurt and no one wants to hurt others, but it is okay to put yourself first.

When you are a parent that one thing about life is parenthood. You have to make difficult decisions to try to help keep their emotional health good and their ability to enjoy childhood there. When that one thing about life becomes pain versus happiness, the parenthood side slowly goes downhill and you watch as the situation gets so bad that it’s impacting your child’s life. This is not okay. I started this article by saying when I became a mother I quickly learned that life didn’t revolve around me and I meant it. Being a mother means that no matter how much I desire something to work whether relationships or business, the main responsibility that I have is to ensure I make difficult decisions when necessary to provide the healthy, stable environment my children need for proper physical and emotional growth.

The one thing about life is this – you will be tested and you will try your hardest to make something work, but at the end of the day, especially when children are involved, you have to remember the one thing about life is your true inner happiness and responsibility to be a positive parent so that our future generation grows stronger, not weaker.

Tuesday, August 29, 2017

Let’s Chat about Contagious Yawning

Here’s an off the beaten path blog post for today, it’s about yawning. Growing up I was always taught in psychology class and through word of mouth that if someone didn’t yawn when you yawned it was a sign that they were a psychopath. I personally feel like this is a really strong conclusion to come to when it relates to a simply act of whether or not someone yawns after another person yawns. What I came to for my own conclusion is that someone who doesn’t yawn when another person yawns is that they lack empathy. The person simply has a lower level of empathy which could potentially mean that they are selfish, on the autism spectrum or perhaps they could be a psychopath.

According to an online dictionary the definition of a psychopath is “a person suffering from chronic mental disorder with abnormal or violent social behavior.” This surely can fit in with many people, not just someone who is immune to contagious yawning. Let’s dig a bit deeper, the characteristics of a psychopath are; shallow emotions, uncaring, coldhearted, irresponsible {such as passing the blame without ever taking accountability for their own actions}. Click here to see a more elaborate list of what to look for in a psychopath.

Let’s get back to yawning, could perhaps someone who doesn’t respond to the contagious yawn be a psychopath? I do think that it’s a possibility but I don’t think it’s a definite yes. Contagious yawning is actually a basic form of communication and bonding. When someone we care about or empathize with yawns, we naturally respond in a yawn due to our empathetic, deep bond to that person. When your partner doesn’t seem to have this contagious yawn occur, you may want to dig a bit deeper to watch other characteristics to determine if they are on the autism spectrum, a psychopath or perhaps simply lack a deep level of empathy. Be careful trying to use this simple contagious yawn scenario to define someone you love as a psychopath.

There are actually other key factors that go into the contagious yawn; studies have shown that if you are older or not familiar with the person then you won’t be yawning back when the person yawns. While many factors come into play with the contagious yawn, it simply could mean that the person lacks the ability to deeply bond and show empathy towards another human being. Psychopaths aren’t necessarily malicious, evil people; they are usually just a different individual who tends to be more difficult to connect or bond with as they lack the skills and emotions necessary to feel towards another human being in the way humans bond.

Saturday, August 26, 2017

Generalized Anxiety Disorder

Being diagnosed with generalized anxiety disorder merely helped me to have a name for what I’d been suffering from for years. I recall being a teenager who couldn’t go into a store alone, I would be in tears over the idea of going inside a store just to buy a candy bar. I literally could not handle it. I remember my mom not comprehending why it was such a big deal. I remember her getting so frustrated with me. She simply did not understand and quite frankly, neither did I. I had no idea that I was experiencing anxiety and without that knowledge, I simply felt like an idiot. 

Fast forward to the year my daughter was born, I recall having these anxiety spells, I mean of course it made sense since I became a single mom without a job just a few short months after her birth. I assume any one would experience anxiety with this type of new scenario, broke and alone with a little baby.  I don’t recall all of the facts and how all of this came to be, but ultimately I was able to see my family doctor at some point and get diagnosed with generalized anxiety disorder. I opted to go on medication, back then I hadn’t seen the horrible side effects of prescription drugs, so I was okay going on a small dose of Lexapro. I believe I started off on 5mg for a trial run and then the doctor increased my dosage. I really only stayed on Lexapro for a brief period, I actually felt like it made me not care about anything. While I wanted my anxiety better, I still wanted to have logical feelings in life. Lexapro at the higher dose was simply too much yet at the lower dose wasn’t quite enough. 

During my time on Lexapro I learned anxiety coping mechanisms. I worked hard to figure out what type of life worked for me, who I desired to have around me and I learned something very interesting – my thoughts could truly make or break my world. I had no idea about the Law of Attraction back then; it was something I learned about in later years. I recall it taking about three years for me to fully transform my mind forward, away from anxiety induced fear and towards a more level mindset where I felt happier, healthier and in turn made better decisions in life. The concept was simple to me, I had to make sure I was living in an environment that made me feel good, that was more positive than negative and I had to learn when my thoughts were racing to slow the thoughts down and redirect to something positive. 

In about three years I was able to fully transform my mind towards a positive outlook. I had mastered the skill of taking back control of my mind. Anxiety no longer controlled me. Anxiety no longer won. I was a single Mom to one child and ready to be free of this awful mental disease. During the time I worked to solidify my skills of mastering anxiety symptoms, I retained a nearly full time job, found an excellent in home daycare for my daughter and was able to move out of a subsidized housing unit into a real apartment. I was still on some assistance, I believe food stamps at that time, but being able to get off cash assistance, hold a real job in an office as an administrative assistant, trust that my daughter was being cared for while I worked and in turn having a real apartment without income based living? I was happy. Anxiety couldn’t bring me down.

Or could it?

Here’s the reality about living with generalized anxiety disorder, or any anxiety disorder to be honest, it is always a part of you. Regardless of whether you take prescription medication for anxiety or choose to take control in the way I did and still do, anxiety will simply be a part of your core make up. Anxiety will forever be a part of your design, and anyone who befriends you or gets into a relationship with you must 1) know this is a part of who you are and 2) accept you are going to have occasional bouts with irrational fears that will consume you. Being with someone who has anxiety isn’t easy, I know that my boyfriend gets it but it still can frustrate him at times. There’s simply no rhyme or reason to anxiety and it can pop its ugly head up at any moment. 

If you are like me, then you know that living with anxiety is a pain in the butt. You want ever so much to go to a big social event, to go out and be the life of the party but sometimes that ugly little mental illness takes over and it takes all of your might to even move out of bed. I want you to know that you are not alone, anxiety comes in many forms and it impacts many people. The reality of anxiety is that it exists and only those who have experienced to the depth that we have will ever full comprehend just how paralyzing it can be at times. I do know there is hope, there are ways to live a full life with anxiety, it’s just about figuring out what will work for you and what won’t. 

Surround yourself with loved ones who will accept the decisions you have made to live with anxiety. You may opt to not go to social events or to live at home more often than traveling, whatever decisions you have to make in order to feel like you are living life in control over that anxiety, do it! Just don’t give up on living, anxiety sucks, but you are awesome and deserve to live life to the best of your ability, you can gain control!