It’s Okay

It’s okay to have a mental illness…

…to need medication, even more than one, to manage it.

….to see a therapist for it.

…..to feel weak for having such shitty brain chemistry.

….to hate it for the impact it has on you, your relationships, your quality of life, your self-esteem, your perception of yourself and your worth.

….to be grateful for it for what it has taught you about yourself, your limits, your capabilities, your strengths…and for how it’s changed you.

…..to be scared because you have it, and to worry about everything that comes with it from the stigma it carries to the side effects of the medications you take.

….to be a parent with one. To want to have children, and have one, or many, despite living with one.

…..to take the safest medications possible for it during pregnancy and breastfeeding if that’s a choice you and your psychiatrist make.

….to be jealous of those who don’t have one, of their “normal” states.

…..to be resentful of your spouse because they don’t understand what it’s like for you to live with it daily.

…..to hurt for your spouse or loved one because you know what it’s like to live with it daily and you wish you could shield them from that part of you, spare them from seeing how deep your darkness can go or how high your brain can fly, and spare them the hurt the difficulty and weight of how heavy and distressing it can be to witness.

…..to love your spouse or loved one for standing by you as you manage the ups and downs, the nuances, the cracks and crevices of it.

….to be honest with your kids about it.

….to be yourself, to live your life fully, to create the life you want to live despite having it.

……to not let it define you.

……to embrace the parts of it that can help you grow, and learn, and empathize.

…….to feel strong because of it.

……to love yourself in spite of it.

It’s okay to have a mental illness. Don’t let anyone shame you for it. Don’t let stigma keep you silent and held hostage by it. It’s okay. As hard as it is, as dark as it can get, it doesn’t diminish who you are or what you’re capable of. It’s okay. It’s not your fault. Ever.

So take a deep, full breath, and say it out loud: “It’s okay.”

 

Let’s Wake Up From Our Inoculation & Get Real About Violence & Race in America

I didn’t find out about the shootings in Newtown until early Friday afternoon. I don’t spend my mornings watching the news and had spent all of Friday morning playing with Alex and writing my previous post.

When Alex went down for a nap, I settled in on the couch and pulled up Twitter, looking forward to catching up with my friends & posted links.  That’s when I found out. Tweet after tweet expressed shock, terror, anger, and talk about mental illness, gun control…As my mind scrambled to try to figure out what had happened, Bertski started yelling and cussing, his voice angry and choked up with emotion. I ran to the room and found him staring at his computer screen, his face a mix of anger and disbelief. Following his gaze, my eyes met the headline on CNN’s front page. I stared at it, unable to process what I was reading. When I did I quietly went back to the couch and started reading what was coming in about the shooting.

20 children dead. Kindergarteners. First graders. Teachers hiding their students and sacrificing their lives to save those of their students. Assault rifle. A hundred rounds of ammunition. My whole body started shaking, my heart sank, tears blurred my vision. Pain, shock, and disbelief gripped me and rendered me unable to speak. I turned to Twitter to try to express my grief, only to realize that it was too much, too triggering, to overwhelming, the arguing and hateful comments too disgusting. I turned everything off and tried to focus on cleaning my house while processing the grief slowly consuming me.

What happened in Connecticut has shaken me to my core. I’m disgusted, enraged, and mourning the loss of life and desperately wishing the families affected could experience comfort and peace in the midst of their grief.  I’m horrified that such young children were subjected to such terrifying, cold-blooded violence, and feel both grateful and guilty that Brennan had a fun-filled, SAFE day at kindergarten, while the children in Newtown did not and will never have the chance to again or become the people they were destined to be…..

Over the last few days, I’ve read hundreds of tweets and a large amount of posts by people expressing much the same emotions I myself have been feeling. I’ve found solidarity and join in with those expressing outrage and asking as my friend Stephanie did: “If not now, then when?” When will we care more about the lives of our children, and human life as a whole over our “right” to own an assault rifle, or an arsenal of weapons in our homes…even if they are for hunting or so-called “protection?” When will we look at the context of the time period and intent of our forefathers when they originally wrote the second amendment and realize, that the context in which our society now lives is drastically different from the one back in the 1700’s? When we will look at updating an outdated perspective?

I’ve also seen people discussing mental illness, both the need for better mental health care and access to it, as well as the need to “protect” ourselves from such “dangerous and unstable” individuals. “Put them away where they belong, they aren’t fit to function in our society.” I’ve seen the media and others instantly assume that mental illness was to blame for the killer’s actions, even BEFORE we knew he really did have some mental problems we now know were never addressed. I’ve seen heated arguments about gun control, rights, and people demanding we FINALLY do something to make it so these kinds of events are less likely to occur.

So I want to take the time today to address two very important things that I think need to be thought about and acknowledged in the aftermath of this latest tragedy to rock and horrify our nation. I waffled back and forth with whether or not to say these things and make them part of the conversations we’re having with each other and the questions we’re asking, the arguments we’re making. After some thought-provoking and civil conversations with friends who urged me to share my thoughts, I’ve decided to just go ahead and say somethings that I know are not going to be well-received, seriously thought about, and given validation. As I discuss the following points I beg you to not forget that I am in NO WAY diminishing or intending to trivialize what occurred in Connecticut, Wisconsin or Colorado. Bear in mind that I am just as horrified, enraged and heartbroken as you are. But please open your mind up and seriously ponder what I have to say.

First: I hate the way each time something like this happens and captures national attention, the immediate conclusion people jump to is ” this is SUCH a heinous act of barbaric violence that only someone who’s mentally ill could commit such a crime.” Do I believe that there are some mentally ill people who become violent? Yes, definitely. However I believe that it’s a small percentage and know that the majority of those living with mental illness are not violent towards others and have no intent to be. I have a mental illness and while I’ve tried to harm MYSELF I’ve NEVER thought of actually committing a violent act against another human being. So when I hear people instantly associate senseless acts of violence with mental illness, it infuriates me, because I know that doing so only perpetuates the stigma surrounding mental illness, and compromises the efforts to make mental health and the resources it so desperately needs, a priority in this country.  It damages & undermines the empathy and understanding of mental illness that thousands of people are trying to advocate for in this country as well. For more thoughts on this, please read this letter from a mother whose son has a mental illness: “I am Adam Lanza’s Mother.”

What I do believe more is that there are some very sick bastards out there with no conscience, who for whatever reasons they deem important, senselessly embark on killing sprees-either for fun, some kind of glory, revenge, or to send some kind of message they can’t communicate in another form or fashion. I think instantly labeling such people as mentally ill, especially before it’s even been verified, is not only sensationalistic in regards to the media, but also dangerous because it gives these killers a subtle immunity if you will from the justice system and public opinion. It gives these killers the opportunity to capitalize off of the insanity defense and increases the chances they will be institutionalized in an understaffed or funded mental health facility instead of in jail or on death row where they belong in my opinion.  So, I firmly believe we need to be very careful about automatically associating mental illness with violence.

Second: This is going to be very hard for the majority of you to swallow and I’ll be honest and let you know it’s as equally difficult for me to say, because I know that when you force people to confront harsh realities outside of the bubbles they live in, their first reaction is a visceral one; they instantly get defensive and reject what’s being presented because really listening to and acknowledging what’s challenging their belief and world view requires asking themselves some rather uncomfortable and tough questions. I know, because I’ve experienced it myself, several times, especially within the past year and a half.  I also know what I’m going to say will be met with a ” this is NOT about race, race doesn’t play a part in these tragedies, and you can’t compare this to what has just happened.” But I’m here to say that whether you choose to acknowledge it or not, race DOES play a role when it comes to violence and how we respond to it in this country.  Socioeconomics also plays a role, but they really just intersect and sometimes overlap each other so I’m making these points understanding this fact.

Let me be honest and say that as senseless and horrific as what happened in Newtown is,  and as heartbroken as I am over the loss of life, I’m also very aware that this kind of violence occurs EVERY day in minority & poverty-stricken communities and receives very little, if any, attention either on a state or national level.  When senseless violence rocks these communities, no one in the media EVER instantly considers mental illness as a contributing factor, or as an explanation as to why someone decided to go on a killing spree. There are no “we need to ACT NOW and demand our elected officials to make access to weapons more difficult. This is UNACCEPTABLE!” expressions of outrage-at least not on a national level.

I also know that if there is any outcry or demands for change from citizens in these communities those cries for justice and real change are often ignored, stifled, and stalled by politicians who care more about advancing their own “more important” agendas than getting their hands dirty and dealing with the complicated and messy reality of life in urban areas.

You’re going to hate me for saying this but do I believe the reasons for the lack of attention and demand for change are steeped in racial bias? Yes, you’re damn right I do. I know it is, because I’ve witnessed and have family members who have lived it, pushed and argued for change, for help, and been ignored or beaten down by a system designed to stay broken instead of fix the problems. Now I know and have spoken over the years to lots of white friends, co-workers, classmates, etc who adamantly and even vehemently claim that what happens daily in the inner city is not on the same level as what happens in communities that don’t experience violence everyday. I’ve even had heard white people during class discussions on violence and race say that it’s not as serious of a problem because it’s “expected” to happen in urban communities, because “that’s just their way of life. That’s the ghetto. Those people choose to live that way instead of choosing to live the right way.”

My response to this bullshit (and yes, racist) argument? Tell it to the thousands of families that are slaughtered on a regular basis, in cold blood. Tell it to the thousands of school children who are shot and killed in school, walking home from school or while they are outside playing because one of their relatives had a “beef” with someone and that person decided the only way to handle being “disrespected” was to kill everyone attached to the person who supposedly wronged them.; to “send a message.” Tell it to the families of those who are killed on street corners and the front steps of their homes…to the parents of children whose throats have been slashed and bodies thrown away in a dumpster.

Perfect examples of cities with this level of everyday crime are Chicago, Philadelphia, and Camden, NJ, a city that can’t afford to pay their police force so they’ve laid them off.  The crime and violence in Camden is so vile, that the city council has given up and reached out to the state and federal government for help. Are they getting it? Not enough to solve the crisis happening there.  In Philadelphia where my mom is a school administrator in charge of dealing with students who have violated the district’s “zero tolerance” policy, kindergarten-second grade students are constantly being brought into her office because a knife or gun was found in their book bag. One six-year-old girl told my mother she took the pistol from where her mother stored it because she wanted something to defend herself if something happened while she walked to and from school. She was terrified of that daily journey. 4 days later, after being in my mother’s office, she was found dead in an alley down the street from her home with her backpack still on. Was there an outcry then? A demand for stricter gun control laws and a more threatening police presence? No. Why? Because it’s an everyday occurrence. It’s “expected” so “there’s not a whole lot that can be done to fix it.” Too much politics, too much bureaucracy, not enough REAL action or solutions being implemented. Murders in inner cities happen because that’s what “we” do. It’s normal. So we just “deal” with it as a way of life.

So what’s my point?

  • That when things like what happened in Newtown occur, the immediate response and assumption by the media and public is 1) if the killer is white, he probably acted so violently because he’s mentally ill, and didn’t get the adequate mental health care that could’ve prevented his violent actions. When it’s a white man committing these kinds of horrifying crimes, the media and police work overtime to snuff out and explain his motives for doing so. If he has an illness, then that almost gives people some kind of…I don’t know what the right word is, but it gives them something to partially explain away his behavior. “Of COURSE he did this because he’s mentally ill and unstable.” Me personally, my first response is that he must be some kind of vengeful son a bitch who decided for whatever sick & twisted reason that his relatives and the KINDERGARTENERS he didn’t even know deserved to feel his wrath.
  • There is never any national attention, sensationalism, outrage and calls for more restrictive gun control laws unless something this violent and senseless occurs in a predominantly white, suburban community where exposure to violence is not an everyday reality its citizens have to live with. It’s not “real” or worth addressing until it happens in their backyards and touches them, and then there is outrage, there are vigils, there are relief funds, there is mourning. And guess what? There damn well should be. Yes- we need to stop and mourn the lives of those innocent children who died way too young & were robbed of becoming who they were destined to be. Yes, we need to help their families recover and offer them whatever they need to make it through this. Yes, we need to honor those who gave their lives to save others. Yes, we need to help the children who witnessed this unbelievable horror who will forever be traumatized and most likely develop PTSD as a result. But we should be doing the same for those who endure this everyday in communities deemed as lost causes.  We need to be just as outraged, just as saddened, just as heartbroken, and just as vocal for the forgotten and broken down communities who don’t have enough voices to speak & fight for them-for their children. They are American citizens too and their kids are America’s children too.  The fact that we only cry out for some and not others disgusts me just as much as the violence in Wisconsin, Colorado and now Connecticut.

Also? In President Obama’s address to the nation on what happened in Newtown, he said we need to quit with the bullshit politics and get real about fixing this problem, “whether its at a temple in Wisconsin, a movie theater in Colorado, an elementary school in Connecticut, or a street corner in Chicago.” Guess what? That was the FIRST time in my ADULT life I have ever heard an elected official in high office put the violence that happens everyday in urban communities on the same level as the violence that occurs in predominantly white communities and say we it’s past time we deal with this shit.

We need to focus on mental health care in this country. We need to pressure our elected officials to change our gun control laws. But while we’re focused on addressing the immediate needs in the aftermath of what happened in Newtown, we need to think long-term and look within to have a much larger conversation on the racial, and socioeconomic issues that breed violence period. We need to confront ourselves and get real about getting to the real roots of these problems. We need to change the way we teach our children about differences and tolerance of those who are different from them. We need to level the playing field for everyone, no matter what race, creed or sexual orientation. Until we do, the governing systems and climate of our culture will continue to be unbalanced, riddled with double standards, and experience the heavily resistant movement toward the “post racial/post modern” society we mistakenly claim to already be.

****************UPDATE***********************

After I published this post yesterday, I came across an essay today expressing & expounding brilliantly on what I talked about here. It helped me feel proud for sharing my thoughts and it was gratifying to read someone else sharing similar thoughts. It was written by Tim Wise, a noted author & speaker on race relations and white privilege: “Race, Class, Violence, and Denial: Mass Murder and the Pathologies of Privilege.” I’ve been an avid reader of his writing and perspective for close to a year now-I highly recommend taking some time to read and reflect on what he presents in his other essays.

I Wish I Was Stronger…For Both of Us

“I can feel your pain, I can feel your struggle
You just wanna live, but everything so low
That you could drown in a puddle
That’s why I gotta hold us up, yeah hold us up
For all the times no one’s ever spoke for us
To every single time that they play this song
You can say that that’s what Bobby Ray wrote for us
When the tides get too high
And the sea up underneath get so deep
And you feel like you’re just another person
Getting lost in the crowd, way up high in the nosebleeds
Uh, because we’ve both been there, yeah, both of us
But we still stand tall with our shoulders up
And even though we always against the odds
These are the things that’ve molded us
And if life hadn’t chosen us
Sometimes I wonder where I would’ve wound up
Cause if it was up to me, I’d make a new blueprint
Than build it from the ground up..”

It hurts to watch the people you love and care about wrestle their way through the sh^t life throws in their face. I hate it. I try my best to be there for the people in my life who are grappling with life and trying to endure it’s ugliness, even when I’m grappling and struggling to endure the ugliness myself.

It’s especially hard for me to watch a loved one (friend or family) fight mental illness. It’s hard for me because I know from experience how hard it is to fight for your life and well being when all you want to really do is give up…or at least give in for a little while. Sometimes I feel strong enough for others to lean on and gain strength & comfort from…but there are times when I feel helpless…when I wonder if my words and love are piercing through the armor of illness that surrounds their thoughts….when I wonder if I’m doing enough or do I need to do more…should I reach out and push or back off and just wait? Am I being empathetic? Am I allowing them to be vulnerable with me? Am I sitting in the darkness with them but still shining even the tiniest flame of hope?

It’s hard to know sometimes…especially when you aren’t afforded the chance to actually see the person face to face and you only have Facebook, Twitter, email, and text messages to say “Hey, you’re not alone. You matter. I hear you, I know you’re in pain. I’m here with you. You can get through this, you WILL get through this. I love you. You’re beautiful. Don’t give up.”

When I’m in a really awful place, sometimes just having someone to sit next to me so I’m not alone with my thoughts helps. I hate that I can’t sit next to some of you when you’re in that place. It kills me.

When I heard this song today, I thought of you. I thought of where you’re at and how helpless you feel in your fight to live…and I sang this for you, out loud with tears in my eyes and a prayer in my heart that you make it through this….and I vowed to remain in this fight with you, for however long it takes, until you win. Until we both win, because I’m not just fighting for you and I’m not just fighting for myself…I’m fighting to be stronger for both of us…for all of us. We’re worth the fight…so let’s not give up, okay?

 

Mixed

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“I could be daydreaming but for a moment
And somehow they’re creeping back in
I could be sleeping awakened the torrent
Somehow I get caught in their grips again

And here I am in my shame spiral
I’m sucked in to it again
And I reach out for your benevolent opinion
You bring the light back in

Don’t leave me here with all these critical voices
Cause they do their best to bring me down
When I’m alone with all these negative voices
I will need your help to turn them down…” Spiral/Havoc and Bright Lights/Alanis Morrisette

no one loves you.
you’re so weak.
first name incapable, last name burden-that’s you.

the Voice. it mercilessly plays it’s record of shame endlessly on my inner loudspeaker, stirring up my irrational insecurities into a paranoid frenzy.

no one loves you.
you’re so weak.
first name incapable, last name burden, that’s you.

tiny arms reach up & around my neck, pulling me in close as if to say “You’re mine, I won’t let It take you.”

boyish grins light up their faces as giggles escape from their little bodies as if to say “you make us so happy.”

little legs struggle to climb into my lap, seeking solace & comfort as if to say “I need you…we’re safe here, together.”

his voice travels confidently through the phone, reminding me once again that I haven’t been abandoned to wander Illness’ deadly streets on my own. “you’re not alone, you have me, I’m here, I came back, I’m not going anywhere. I love you, we’ll get through this together,” he says.

I am loved, they love me.
I’m strongest when I’m weak because I don’t give up.
first name Addy, last name capable, that’s me.

I am loved. I am needed. I am strong. I am capable….no matter how mixed & chaotic this illness makes me.

*I’ve been in a hypomanic/mixed mood since we left. It’s been hard, but thanks to my meds & my family I’ve been managing ok….until this past week. I’ve upped my meds again & am trying to wait patiently for the Austin VA to place me in their system and assign me a psychiatrist….I was told today it’s going to take 3-4 weeks. I’ll be fighting like hell to keep the heaviness & chaos from weighing me down…and praying my mind doesn’t get any worse. In my next post I swear I’ll finally tell you about the awesomeness that has become our lives in Austin…and those fears I mentioned last post-have to share those too. In the meantime, enjoy your Labor Day weekend lovelies.*

I Will Bloom Where I’m Planted

A couple of summers ago, Bertski & I took the boys to the Grounds for Sculpture garden up in Hamilton, New Jersey. It’s an expansive garden full of lush vegetation, intriguing contemporary art, and some amazingly creative sculptures. Camera in hand, I was inspired to snap away while Bertski & Brennan ran around exploring and Alex slept in the stroller.

I took close to a thousand pictures that day, so many different aspects of the garden captured my attention. My favorite part of the whole trip is evidenced by the large number of pictures I took of a pond in the corner of the garden….it was full of  some of the prettiest flowers I had ever seen, I couldn’t take my eyes (or my camera) off of them. They were tall, with long, strong-looking and thick stems that seemed to push them straight up out of the water and above the surface…boldly standing out from the lily pads and thrushes that surrounded them. Their petals seemed to unfurl as they bent themselves back and curved their way up toward the sun, leaving their innermost part, their circular seed pods, exposed to the sun, wind, and eyes of the world around them.

I’m quite illiterate when it comes to plants & flowers, so I had no idea what they were until I did a google search later that night. I had no idea that what I learned about lotus flowers that night would wake me up two years later, shouting at me to pay attention to an important life lesson.

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one of my snaps from that day…

You see lotus flowers are gorgeous. As they stretch themselves up and over the water, your eyes gaze upon the beauty and unique design of each one-whether they’re in full blossom or just starting to open up. What you don’t see, are the conditions they grow in. Lotus flowers are admired and loved because they can grow in the darkest and harshest of conditions and survive. Despite having to grow in a less than ideal environment, these flowers thrive and bloom where they are planted.

Bloom where you are planted….

I woke up with that thought and this information about lotus flowers shouting in my head this morning. As I laid there trying to understand why today of all days this was on my mind, it occurred to me that it’s June 1st.

A new month. New season. 6 months until a new year arrives (can you believe it?! ) and 5 months until I turn the dreaded 30.

Or do I have to dread turning 30? Let’s go over this again: new month, new season, half of the year left, and 5 months away from having lived 30 years on this Earth.

30 years. Of pain. Of abuse. Of brokenness. Of not knowing or understanding who I am, of living my life under the rule and control of others and their expectations, their standards. Of living my life based on the opinions of others, trying like hell to please them because I thought I needed their approval. Of having my life dictated by circumstance instead of choice.

30 years. Of heartache. Of shame. Of disappointment. Of misplaced guilt. Of misguided decisions. Of regret. Of loss. Of hating myself. Of wishing I could be like the women I secretly envy. Of compromise. Of insecurity. Of lacking confidence and believing the words of those who said I’d die or they’d kill me before I made it to becoming anything of worth and value. Of illness. Of excuses.

30 years. As I laid in my bed this morning I made a choice.

“I will not spend the next 30 years of my life like I have the first. I won’t spend the next 5 months like I have. No I won’t.

I’ve been through a lot of things in my first 29 years of living. I’ve had to see and endure things no one should, and yet I’m still here, I didn’t have it as bad as others. People have looked at my history and expected me to be a drug addict, an alcoholic, or dead. My psychiatrist says the fact that I only have a mental illness as a result of my genetics and trauma is something to be grateful for….and as illogical as it sounds, she’s right and I am. It’s not ideal, and I don’t like it, but in the grand scheme of things, I could be far worse off than I actually am and that’s nothing but a testament to how graceful God truly is.

30 years. I can’t change how the first 29 1/2 years of my life have gone. I can’t do anything about the darkness I’ve had to live in, or change the fact that I have to live with a darkness from an illness that threatens my well being daily.

But I can make a choice to grow above and beyond the environment I was forced to grow in up until this point. I can choose to live above and beyond the dark, murky waters of the last 29 1/2 years. I can choose to let go and push past. I can decide to stand tall like a lotus flower and bloom for others to see. I can choose to use the environment I’ve grown in to reveal what lies within my innermost parts-a woman with an authentic, compassionate, and whole heart to connect with others who are hurting and struggling to make it out of their own dark waters.

Yes. I can choose to let it all go and break forth and embark upon the next 30 years with fresh determination to live my life and not just survive it.

Today I’m choosing to bloom right where I’ve been planted. My beauty may have been broken by what happened beneath the surface, but my hope is that it brings something out of me that encourages and inspires others to reach toward the sun, like I am.

Being Black with Postpartum Depression

Postpartum Progress has a new series!

It’s called “Warrior Moms of Color.”

It was created by Katherine Stone to give women from various racial and ethnic backgrounds an opportunity to share their stories of living with and battling through perinatal mood disorders.

I was asked to be a guest contributor for this series and shared some of my experience there today. I’m grateful for the chance to do so, being as that Postpartum Progress was THE website that helped me find treatment and support for my PPD/PPA.

Please head on over and read what I had to say about my struggle with suffering with PPD as an African American woman, and as always feel free to share your thoughts and comments…..I’d love to hear your feedback on this one.

Manic Monday: Updates and My New Love

WHEW! It’s Monday! I can’t believe it, seriously. It’s MONDAY, people. I have so much going on it feels like it’s the middle of a grueling week, and it’s only Monday. So much to tell you where do I start?

Hmmmm…..

My head is spinning. I can’t tell if it’s from everything that’s going on or from the medium iced coffee I now regret ingesting. Note to self, no more caffeine. If any of you fine readers have alternative solutions for trying to stay awake amidst medicinal side effects such as fatigue, please let a sufferer know….

Ok. So what is going on? SCHOOL. COLLEGE. MIDTERMS. Seriously, this semester took a sharp turn into WTFville very quickly and I’ve had more than I think a human can handle due daily for the past week and a half or so. Seriously, I know my profs are Christians, but between you and me I think they’re smoking something because who assigns this much work? Clearly my profs do. It hasn’t been fun, to say the least…..

But fun IS on the horizon because SPRING BREAK IS NEXT WEEK! I know understand why students go to Mexico and lose all inhibition and get wasted for 5 days in the middle of March. You’ve gotta release the pressure and tension somehow, right?

How am I going to release the pressure and tension during spring mini vacay? First I’m going to have a margarita. Or ten. On the rocks, none of that fru fru frozen nonsense. Next I’m going to board a plane and head to my dream city: Austin, a city I hope to one day live in, even if it’s just for a year or two. Yep that’s right, Brennan and I are heading cross country to the Lonestar State. It will be my first vacation, my first real break in over TEN (count em, TEN!) years. I think its long overdue don’t you think?

I’m very excited because I will be away from the East Coast and seeing some family I haven’t seen in years, so I’m sure it’s going to be a swell trip. And I’m only kidding about the ten margaritas, I’m on meds, so I will of course be responsible and only allow myself one, two maximum.

Speaking of meds, guess what? I’ve jumped out of the dating game and into what I’m hoping is a long term relationship with Lamictal. Y’all I’ve been on it for a solid month and that’s how I feel: solid. Still hypo manic, still a little (tiny) bit depressed here and there but it’s finally manageable. I feel like my mind and emotions are in a checks and balances system that works. I don’t want to jinx myself but I really do think that between Lamictal, Abilify, and my anti anxiety meds I’ve found the right cocktail. So I think I’ve found “the one,” and I’m so in love, I can’t believe it ;)

Speaking of my illness, I was asked by my professor to speak to her abnormal psych class about living with PPD and BP. I did and even though I cried, it went very well. It felt good to be able to be open and transparent with others, especially Christians, and I’m do glad I did it. I hope I eliminated some shame and stigma by speaking out….

And speaking of shame, there will be no shame in my game when it comes to Dance Party Fridays, people, because I’ve kicked it up a notch. I ordered some dancing scarves…

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And ribbons….

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And can’t WAIT to use them in a video! They came in the mail today and made. my. Monday. So pumped, I think my first song with them will be some Florence and the Machine…what do you think?

So in a nutshell that’s my life at the moment. On this Monday.

How was your Monday? Any Spring Break plans with your kids or vacations lined up in the future? Feel free to dish in the comments ;)

(is it Friday yet?!)

Dance Party Friday: Just Dance Edition

I’m going to keep this short and sweet.

It’s been a hellish week for myself and some of my friends in the anxiety and depression department. Both have been rearing their hideously ugly heads this week and devouring people left and right.

School has reached that point in the semester when midterms are approaching and the pace is becoming frantic….fueling the raging fires of anxiety even more for me.

But this afternoon, in the middle of a panic attack, I said ‘eff this. I thought of my friends who have been struggling this week and of how much we could all just dance away our fears, panic, depression, and anxiety. I shuffled through my iTunes until I found a song that seemed appropriate and I just danced my a– off. I played the song over and over and danced until I felt the panic and anxiety start to fade.

I don’t know how to make anxiety go away for forever. But I do know how to help it subside for a little bit.

So Charity, Jaime, and Susan….this one’s for you. I know it’s been a hellish week. I know you’ve been getting beat up and have felt pretty low…but take a few minutes and bust a move to some Lady Gaga with me?

Self-Love Saturday: Celebrate Uniqueness & Embrace Your Superpower

image credit: The Giant Bomb

“Mommie I really like your hair, with all the colors…It has my favorite color in it, green. That’s my favorite. Green & orange. You have those, right there and right there, right?” Awww thank you Bren Bren. Green is your … Continue reading