A letter to a great man

Dad,

Life without you is hard. Everyday I pick up the phone to call you. It’s been 12 years and I still try to call. Some days I tell myself you just moved away.

I’m not a little girl anymore. I have a family now. I have an amazing husband who treats me like I’m high on a pedestal. I have 4 beautiful children that I would give anything for you to meet. We look through pictures and they ask about you. They hurt that they can’t meet you.

Everyday I think about you. It took me 10 years but I visit you sometimes. It’s hard to see that head stone. That makes it real. Knowing I will never see you again, talk to you, hug you, it kills me.

Mom moved back with grandma. Although I love her it’s not the same. Something about a father and his little girl.

I’m so sorry I made you play that game of basketball with me. I’m sorry that when you collapsed I froze. I’m sorry I thought you were playing around. Maybe if I hadn’t and I didn’t freeze you would still be here. If I could take it back I would.

Everyone said that in time it would get easier…it doesn’t. I feel like it was yesterday that we were sitting in the waiting area at the hospital and the doctor came in to tell us you were gone. I hates myself for a long time. I still do sometimes.

I’m having such a hard time right now. I find myself saying I want my dad, and then the reality that i can’t hits.

It hurts that you didn’t get to see me become an adult, or be there when I got married, or get to watch my kids grow up. I know you would be the one person to help me through my low points and understand what I’m going through. You always did. You always took every situation calmly and rationally.

I hope one day I will see you again. Hug you, hear your voice.

Until we meet again

Kirstibird

Stop telling people with depression to get over themselves…..you are killing us.

I wish I knew what it was like to not have depression. What it is like to wake up and not have to drag yourself out of bed. Is this even a real thing?

Are there people out there that just get up and take on the world without a single struggle? What is it like to not long for nap time because you’re not exhausted for no apparent reason?

I’m constantly struggling with my mind. It never seems to end. I really want to go out and be social but when the time comes I cancel because I just can’t handle it. Are there people out there that love going out and never cancel their plans just because they can’t seem to get out of their own minds?

What is it like for you to not have to try and explain your illness to your children. Over and over I say I’m not feeling well, and my kids ask the same line of questions. Does your tummy hurt? Do you have a fever? I give in most days and say yes because it’s easier to explain. It must be amazing to go out and not have your children tell people you take medicine because you are sick, and not have to try to explain this to people.

Depression has become such a significant role in my life I almost forget there are actually people out there that don’t have it.

These people will tell you it’s not real, it’s all in your head. They will tell you to just tell yourself you are going to be happy today. It never fails. Whenever someone finds out you have depression they act as if you are a hypochondriac. They think you are looking for attention.

If you have depression you know attention is the last thing you want. You just want to be left alone in your bed with the lights off.

If you don’t understand depression, look it up before you make comments to someone who does. Telling people to just get over themselves, or it’s not that bad, or just tell your self to be happy is killing us. We start to think there is something wrong with us. We think we are annoying and should just stay away from people, which actually makes the depression worse. We aren’t good enough, loved enough, or likeable so why go on. It’s a vicious cycle but it is real.

It’s not something we can control. It is literally a chemical imbalance in our brain. Depression is as real as cancer and sometimes as hard to treat.

When you have depression it’s not always sadness. I think that is the biggest misconception people have about depression. That is why so many people commit suicide and their friends and family had no idea that they had gotten to that point. It becomes easy to hide when you have felt with it for so long.

People also make it hard for us to get help. We don’t want to see a therapist or get put on meds for fear we will be ridiculed. So many people protest against body shaming, or shaming mom’s who breast feed in public, but no one ever stands up for people who have depression. STOP SHAMING US FOR SOMETHING WE HAVE NO CONTROL OVER!

We sit at home and wither away because it’s more socially acceptable than to seek help. Then people wonder why we don’t do things or why life always seems harder for us.

For everyone who doesn’t know symptoms of depression here is how it feels for me, and I’m sure many others like me.

Pleading with yourself to get out of bed, and once you do pleading with yourself to stay out of bed. If it wasn’t for my kids this wouldn’t work.

Being overly emotional. Not just sadness. Crying over even the smallest thing, both good and bad. Crying out of nowhere and not knowing why.

Feeling like you are treading through mud just to get simple chores done.

Becoming frustrated extremely easily. The other day I got frustrated and started crying because I couldn’t find my kids shoes.

Not wanting to be touched. This one gets my husband. I’m sure he feels like I don’t love or want him when I get this way but in reality it’s just the depression. Some days being touched even in the simplest ways physically hurts.

Wanting to be left alone. Like I said earlier I Like to lay in my bed with the lights off by myself. This one is the hardest one for me to get through.

Wanting friends but not wanting to socialize. I long for someone to come over and just sit and talk with me but if it were to happen I would be struggling the whole time praying they go home soon. This happens especially if the conversation dies.

Irritability. Every last thing drives you crazy from how someone drives to someone not putting the dishes away right.

Helplessness. Feeling like you can’t do anything so why bother.

Hopelessness. Not feeling hopeful at all. Not getting your hopes up for anything because you just know you will be let down anyway.

Worthlessness. Never good enough. Sometimes this one sneaks up on you. One comment can bring this one straight down on top of you.

These are a few. Everyone is different and may feel differently than this. If someone you know is having a bad day just tell them they are doing great. Or, spend a little time with them. Something small goes a long way. You never know how people are feeling.

ADHD, is it real?

I never believed in ADHD. I thought it was just some made up diagnosis for kids who didn’t listen, for parents who couldn’t parent properly. An excuse.

Medicating a kid for a kid who has ADHD was rediculous. This was for people who wanted their kids to be zombies so that they didn’t have to discipline them. How could you put this medication in a child just to get you’re relief?

Damien was a great baby. He started sleeping through the night at a month old. Always took naps and never fussed. He was a happy baby and I couldn’t have asked for a better one.

Around the time Damien was one and a half things got hard. He was so wild. He would climb anything and everything. He ran around the house and got into everything. He had so much energy. I took it as he was a toddler boy.

My sister would always tell me to get him checked out for ADHD, because her son had it and was medicated, and she saw the same signs in Damien. I didn’t believe in it and thought she just couldn’t handle her kids, so I said no.

As Damien got older we realized he had issues with his speech. He started talking late, but all of his physical milestones were hit early or on time. I figured he would grow out of the speech issues, since everything else was on track.

He started preschool at 4. A little late in the game but I couldn’t get him into preschool in our previous town. This was hard for him. He had a hard time sitting still and concentrating. When it came time to transition to another activity or take a nap he would throw a fit, many times ending with me picking him up early. Eventually he went to half days.

Everyone told me Damien was not mentally mature enough to go to kindergarten. I couldn’t believe them! Do you even know this child? Maybe he doesn’t act the same way in school as he does at home. He is the most loving kid I have ever know. He is also super independent.

I eventually got physiological testing done on Damien. It was hard to come to this decision but with mental health being hereditary I felt he had some anxiety and maybe something else. I see myself in him in so many ways it scares me.

The test came back. He was diagnosed with severe ADHD, speech disorter, anxiety, and ODD.

While the psychiatrist explained what it all was, things started to fall into place.

Careless mistakes/lack of attention to detail —check

Lack of sustained attention—unless it’s video games check

Poor listening—check

Not following through on tasks—-check

Poor orginization—check

Avoids tasks that require sustained mental effort—check

Losing things—-check

Easily distracted by extraneous stimuli or unrelated thoughts—check

Forgetful in everyday tasks—check

This is only a few of the things he fell under. My mind went crazy. Why didn’t I see this before now? Still ADHD, really? I know how to discipline my kid this can’t be right.

After knowing the results I slowly started noticing little things. He can never stop moving. Whether it was his leg bouncing or just wiggling in his chair. He even kept moving in his sleep. That was horrible to watch. He looked so pained by it in his sleep. He’s very emotional, and gets very frustrated very easily.

The more I watched him the more I believed this ADHD thing was real. He struggles with so many thing, it was heart breaking to watch.

Finally I gave in. I hated the thought of putting my kid on meds but felt that I had no other choice. I was scared that he would be a zombie and not himself.

We started with a low dose. That didn’t really do anything. We then up the dose. Slowly I could see the change in him. He wasn’t a zombie he was himself! He was more calm and less emotional. He started listening better and doing better in school. Maybe meds aren’t such a bad thing. Some people just need them.

Damien loves himself on the meds. He says they make him calm and think straight.

I know people think I’m a horrible mother to put my kid on meds, but that’s ok. What other people think of me is none of my business. It works for Damien and gives him more confidence. And that is what I love to see.

We still have bad days. Like today. He was screaming and crying because I told him he couldn’t play games. That is his calm place, gaming. I put him in a time out and just let him scream and cry. Sometimes I even do this, scream and cry. I think everyone does from time to time. You just build it up until one day you have no choice to let it out. After all he is a human being.

Once he had calmed down, about 15 mins, he asked to play games. I told him to change his attitude and then we could talk about playing games. Within 5 mins his attitude did a 180. He was calm, helpful, and even helped make lunch.

It’s amazing how his attitude can change so fast, but then again mine goes all over the charts too.

A.D.H.D

Take my hand and come with me,
I want to teach you about ADHD.
I need you to know, I want to explain,
I have a very different brain.
Sights, sounds, and thoughts collide.
What to do first? I can’t decide.
Please understand I’m not to blame,
I just can’t process things the same.
Take my hand and walk with me,
Let me show you about ADHD.

I try to behave, I want to be good,
But I sometimes forget to do as I should.
Walk with me and wear my shoes,
You’ll see its not the way I’d choose.
I do know what I’m supposed to do,
But my brain is slow getting the message through.
Take my hand and talk with me,
I want to tell you about ADHD.

I rarely think before I talk,
I often run when I should walk.
It’s hard to get my school work done,
My thoughts are outside having fun.
I never know just where to start,
I think with my feelings and see with my heart.
Take my hand and stand by me,
I need you to know about ADHD.

It’s hard to explain but I want you to know,
I can’t help letting my feelings show.
Sometimes I’m angry, jealous, or sad.
I feel overwhelmed, frustrated, and mad.
I can’t concentrate and I lose all my stuff.
I try really hard but it’s never enough.
Take my hand and learn with me,
We need to know more about ADHD.

I worry a lot about getting things wrong,
Everything I do takes twice as long.
Everyday is exhausting for me…
Looking through the fog of ADHD.

I’m often so misunderstood,
I would change in a heartbeat if I could.
Take my hand and listen to me,
I want to share a secret about ADHD.

I want you to know there is more to me.
I’m not defined by it, you see.
I’m sensitive, kind and lots of fun.
I’m blamed for things I haven’t done.
I’m the loyalist friend you’ll ever know,
I just need a chance to let it show.
Take my hand and look at me,
Just forget about the ADHD.

I have real feelings just like you.
The love in my heart is just as true.
I may have a brain that can never rest,
But please understand I’m trying my best.
I want you to know, I need you to see,
I’m more than the label, I am still me!!!!

Author Unknown

Making a new friend doesn’t always end in a way you want

Meeting someone new always seems to be great. You become friends with one person but down the road that person turns into something completely different.

Maybe, if you’re like me, you don’t have a lot of friends so when you make a new friend you only see the good. It makes you feel like you can’t choose friends because they always seem to turn out to be someone you don’t want to be associated with.

When we became friends everything seemed great. We got a long so well, and hanging out was fun. We started hanging out more and more. Like I said before, for me, I didn’t really have any friends so making a new one was amazing. And maybe this is why my eyes were really never completely open to the kind of person this new friend really was.

I find myself making new friends only to get annoyed and pulling away from them. I always thought it was me, my mental health throwing curve balls. I blame my mental health on a lot of things, it’s amazing that I even figure out what is me and what is someone or something else.

Our kids made a connection right away. They loved playing with each other and became really close. I became really close to them, as if they were my own. And I thought my new friend had developed a connection with mine.

We did everything together. It felt like I had finally had a good friend.

I look back now and can see how I was slowly changing. I didn’t realize it at the time but I was becoming a mother and wife I didn’t want to be. Funny how you can never see the change until it’s to late.

I hear so many things that are going on with my new friend but push them aside, after all I know how it feels when people start rumors about you. Turns out it wasn’t rumors.

It makes me want to cry knowing what those kids are going through and no one will stand up for them. Then again how do you stand up for someone else’s kids against their own parents?

I feel helpless. What can I do to help these kids who are in my heart? I wish I could just steal them away. Show them how parents are suppose to treat their kids. How does one just stand by and let horrible things happen to their kids?

What do you do when you want to throat punch your “friend” but don’t want to cause bad blood in fear of them never letting their kids play with yours? Do you suck it up and “play nice” So your own kids don’t suffer?

I wish I knew the answer. I wish I knew how this would all end.

We may encounter many defeats but we must not be defeated.-Maya Angelou

3 weeks, 21 days, 504 hours…

Three weeks doesn’t seem like a long time for most people, but for me it seems like a life time.

I guess you could say I’m dependent on my husband. That seems like the easiest way to explain it.

He’s my rock. When he comes home from work at night it’s like the weight of the world lifts.

We have been together 12 years. High school sweethearts. I don’t know anything but him. I don’t want to know anything but him.

I feel like I’m a pretty good mom, but 3 weeks, alone with 4 kids is tough. I feel it would be tough for anyone.

I have a plan to start walking at night with my sister which I think will help, but what I really need is a schedule. I’m not very good at following a schedule so it will be hard for me.

I’m definitely not a morning person. I guess you could say that it’s just me but I find myself blaming the depression.

I remember all to well how my mental illness slammed into me last time he was gone. It scares the shit out of me. All I can think is “will it happen again? Will I be able to handle everything at home by myself?”

Constantly worried. Constantly reminding myself of how horrible things got before. Having panic attacks for things I have no control over. The rational part of my brain telling me it will be fine, but the irrational part, the main part of my brain now adays, worrying about everything all at once.

Do I have him call me every day, or do I have him only call me on a certain day so I don’t depend on his call? What do I do while he is gone? Should I get out of the house as much as I can? Do I stay home as much as I can?

I hear my counselor in my head “take it one day at a time.” Do people actually do this? Somehow I will have to figure out how to stop thinking about what is ahead of me and start thinking about what is happening now.

But as for you, be strong and do not give up, for your work will be rewarded. 2 chronicals 15:7

Premie part 2

I remember staring at the bright light above me, pleading with god to let my baby live. Then I hear people yelling at me. I can’t make it out at first, but I hear a cry. A sound I’ve heard 3 times before. I can finally make out what these people are yelling at me “look at your baby! It’s a girl!” Seeing her for the first time was the best and worse thing I have ever been through. She was red and so tiny, 2lbs 1 oz, but she was crying and kicking. I had so much faith at that time that she would live and be healthy.

I couldn’t go see her for 8 hours after she was born. That seemed like forever, but you can get your ass as soon as the clock hit 8 hours exactly I was calling the nurse to take me to see her. I walked down to the nursery while Michael pushed a wheelchair behind me. I’m not sure how many people know this but you have to scrub down before you can go into the nicu, just like a surgeon before surgery.

We walked in and I saw my baby for the first time since she was born. Tubes and wires filled her little bed. It was so much to take in, but I just kept telling myself she is alive, i think that’s what got me through the nicu stay.

She couldn’t nurse because she was so small so I would pump. They wouldn’t feed her with a bottle but with a little q tip. They would dunk it in my breast milk and then roll it around her mouth. She was also hooked up to an IV that was giving her nutrients. Soon they hooked up a ng tube to fees her and she started taking it very well.

After I was discharged I went back to the nicu every other day. Michael would meet me up there and we would see our beautiful, strong little girl. Finally I was able to hold her. I remember Michael taking a picture of me holding her and my boob was literally bigger than she was. Those were the best moments. She was doing so well she was even impressing the doctors.

One day as I was getting ready to come visit her I got a phone call. It was her doctor. She told me my little girl had an infection in her intestines and would have to be transferred to a bigger hospital 4 hours away to be near a surgeon, just in case.

She was transferred by plane. I got to ride with her. That was the scariest flight I have ever been on. I remember thinking “if this plane goes down at least I’ll die with my baby.”

We get to the hospital and they begin setting her up in her own little cubical. It took a while and I felt like I was in the way so I went down to grab something to eat and have a smoke.

A while after we were at the new hospital the doctor told me that they were going to put her on a special formula, because she couldn’t digest my breast milk. How horrible it was to hear that you were killing your baby. How could breast milk be bad for a baby? But I told the doctor to do what she thought was best.

Things were going good for awhile and then her lungs colapsed. She was put on a new ventilator that gave very quick burst of oxygen into her lungs to open them back up. It shook her whole body. It was terrifying.

As if all of this wasn’t enough, after they got her lungs open she got that infection again. This time antibiotics were not working and it had scared her intestines to the point they were almost closed off. She had to go into surgery. That was the longest 4 hours of my life. Thankfully everything went great, other than them having to take more than they thought.

So here I have a little girl who has had numerous infections, blood transfusions, lungs collapsing, and major surgery, and now she is a healthy 2 year old who has no health concerns. How’d I get so lucky?

You may not understand today or tomorrow, but eventually God will reveal why you went through everything you did….

Remission

Is remission from depression possible? I have had depression for as long as I can remember. Some days are good others not so much. Lately I’ve felt the bad days are taking over. It doesn’t creep in, it comes all at once. It feels like you’re drowning. Like it doesn’t matter how hard you fight you can’t get your head above water.

I’ve been medicated for my depression for the better part of two years. Most days it seems to help, but there are still bad days. Is this how it will be for the rest of my life? Waking up every morning wondering what kind of day it will be. Will I get my house work done today? Will I avoid my family as much as I can? Will I try and sleep the day away? Not knowing the answer to these questions is hard. That’s when anxiety comes into play. Now I have depression and anxiety. The two, a deadly mixture.

Depressed to the point of not wanting to do anything and then scared that you’re not getting anything done. Pushing yourself to get just one more thing done yet scared it’s not enough. Worring that the house isn’t clean enough yet having no motivation to clean it.

If not being able to do anything and then worrying about not doing it isn’t bad enough add in the paranoia that comes from schizophrenia. You never get to feel at ease. Having curtains in the windows help but not as much as one would think. I continuously look out the windows whenever I hear any kind of sound. Always looking around when out in public, making sure no one is too close. Always double checking your pockets or purse to make sure no one has stolen anything, or put anything in there.

So you have no motivation yet you’re scared,or worried, about having no motivation and then you feel like people are out to get you, or cause you harm in some way. You want to clean but you can’t because someone may be watching you through the window that doesn’t have a curtain. So you just sit in your kitchen hoping no one comes over.

It’s a never ending cycle. The meds help some, and having Michael home helps too. I know he gets annoyed by me sometimes because I make him answer the door or check out a noise outside, but it helps me relax more than he will ever know.

My counselor tells me to take things one day at a time, and I try to do that, but it’s hard when you have anxiety over what will happen later in the week or month. Especially when you feel like nothing goes the way you plan, ever. You are always taking everything personally, and you can never really tell who is a friend and who isn’t. You constantly overthink and then think your underthinking things. Loud noises drive you crazy because you can’t hear anything else around you and could possibly get hurt from something you didn’t hear coming. The list goes on and on, so taking it one day at a time is hard.

Sleep isn’t just sleep anymore, it’s an escape……