The Dark Place

I’m in it.  The dark place.  The place where my brain doesn’t feel like it’s my own.  Where the creepy, crawly thoughts start burrowing into my brain.  I can’t get them out.  It’s like needing pest control for my mental state.  

I’m frustrated because things had been going relatively well with everything.  

Maybe it’s stress.  I have taken on a LOT these past couple of months.  Between work, my two babies, the new puppy,my husband and my Climb Out of the Darkness fundraising efforts (see below) – my plate has been mighty full.  I have forgotten about myself. Forgotten that self care is so necessary for me.  Forgotten to take a deep breath.  Forgotten that just because things aren’t perfect doesn’t mean I’m not doing the best that I possibly can.  

I hope this darkness doesn’t last too long.  The good news is I recognized it this time immediately.  And, if all else fails, on June 21st I will use my walk to literally Climb Out of my Darkness.  There is light….I just have to get to it.

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Most of you know that I am participating in the Climb Out of the Darkness 2014 to benefit postpartumprogress.org.  I am leading a climb at the Ijams Nature Center here in Knoxville, TN.  Any donation to this amazing cause would help!  Also, if you would like to walk, please register at http://www.crowdrise.com/rebeccasmith10-cotd2014   

Postpartum Progress (http://postpartumprogress.org) is a non-profit organization and online community of support resources for women experiencing postpartum depression and all other mental illnesses related to pregnancy and childbirth.  Today, half a million women annually are accessing up-to-date information in plain language about perinatal mood and anxiety disorders on the Postpartum Progress blog (http://postpartumprogress.com) and, more importantly, are able to hear from other moms who have recovered. The funds raised from this event will allow Postpartum Progress to create new educational materials to be used by obstetricians, pediatricians and others, as well as new materials to help educate the media on the public health impact of postpartum depression and related illnesses on mothers and children.

For my little girl as you turn 4

Dear Adrienne,

Happy Birthday Sweet Girl.  4 years ago I was blessed to have you come into my life and it has been quite the ride ever since.  I remember the first time I held you in my arms…how small you seemed then.  I wondered what you would be like as you got older.  What you would look like.  What your voice would sound like. Image

Now, 4 years later, I am still learning so much about you, and from you, every single day. Image

You have grown into such a beautiful little girl, both inside and out.  You are still a spitting image of your Daddy which I love, but also like to complain about.  I like to tell your Daddy that looking at you there is no proof that you are actually mine.  Your personality though is a nice combination of both of us.  You have the stubborn independent streak of your Daddy with the kindhearted, loving, intelligent side of both of us.  You get your feelings hurt easily.  That is something you get from Mommy.  

This year you have learned all of your ABC’s, all of your numbers, and countless other things that surprise me everyday.  Just a couple of days ago you told me that Mercury is the first planet in the solar system.  I’m pretty sure I didnt learn that until 5th grade!  You love to dance and sing and I pray every day that you will carry the musical inclination of your daddy and me (plus all of your extended family).  You love The Goddard School where you go every day and I can’t believe that in just a little over a year you will be heading off to Kindergarten.  YIKES!  You also love your best friend Riley.  I have watched the 2 of your cultivate a friendship for the past 3 years and I can’t wait to see your friendship blossom over the years.  When you read this later in life – Mommy and Daddy have already decided you will marry Riley.  Just ask Miss Courtney and Mr Andy.  Keep that in mind.  :)Image

This year you have also blossomed into an amazing big sister.  You love Conner completely and love helping me with him.  You like to show him how “not to be scared” in situations that you know but he doesn’t.  He loves his big Sissy and I cant wait to see how you two grow together.  

Sweet Adrienne…I don’t know how to put into words what you mean to me and your Daddy.  How you have made my life infinitely better.  You make me laugh every single day.  This past year has been a little hard for Mommy but you have been a beacon of light that has always kept me on course.  You challenge me every day.  I hope to continue to let you so that you can grow into your own independent person.  Keep thriving little girl.  Keep bringing smiles to the faces of others.  Keep your stubborn attitude and don’t let others walk on you.  Keep your soft spirit and your loving ways.  Keep making your friends happy and keep feeling sad for others when they are sad.  Empathy is a wonderful trait (painful sometimes but beautiful, and rare).  Keep wanting to give out all the random hugs and kisses that you can.

I love you more than I can put into 1000 words.  You are my 1st little baby and you will always be my little girl.  Image

Happy Birthday Adrienne Carter!  4 is going to be an AMAZING year!

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Time

I just read this statement:  

“Try to imagine a life without timekeeping. You probably can’t. You know the month, the year, the day of the week. There is a clock on your wall or the dashboard of your car. You have a schedule, a calendar, a time for dinner or a movie. Yet all around you, timekeeping is ignored. Birds are not late. A dog does not check its watch. Deer do not fret over passing birthdays. man alone measures time. Man alone chimes the hour. And, because of this, man alone suffers a paralyzing fear that no other creature endures. A fear of time running out.”

And now I feel like someone has dun me over with a Mack Truck.  

Is this what causes my crippling anxiety?  

Is this why I can’t get enough of every second of my children?

Is this why I carry so much guilt for the moments that I spend alone – doing nothing?  

Is this why I feel like I have done so much, but not nearly enough in my 31 years? 

 

 

Learning….and Elephants

How do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time!

 

I have spent my entire life immersing myself in learning.  From a very young age, I yearned for knowledge.  I loved going to school and looked forward to that time more than the weekends.  If I wasn’t studying, I was reading innumerable books.  Anything I could get my hands on.  I have always thirsted for that knowledge.  I was the child who loved school.  I was the teenager who read books while others were off doing whatever they were doing.  I was the collegiate student who took Calculus for fun (Yes you read that correctly).  

What does any of this have to do with elephants?  I find that now I am a thirty-something who is trying to learn how to eat this elephant that is life.  The elephant that is parenthood.  The elephant that is depression and anxiety.  The elephant that is trying to make it in my career.  The elephant that is trying to be a good wife.  The elephant that is trying to be a good friend.  

In younger years I would have thrown myself into learning.  Taught myself everything there is to know about the subject.  Become an expert.  But, no one has written books on how to eat an elephant, much less 5 elephants.  For now, I will keep eating and hope that, bite by bite, the weight of these elephants gets lighter.

 

Kickin’ it back to the old school….

A lot of the blogs that I follow and read on a regular basis have gone back to “old school blogging”.  I didn’t really know what this meant since I’m new to the blogging scene, but as I read, I realized that these were the forwarded emails of my teens through AOL and the like. So i will kick it back old school and see what I can come up with….

 

Where is your cell phone?  It’s in my purse sitting next to my desk.  Withing arms reach and ear shot.  What did I ever do without one of these?
 
Your significant other?  Matt.  He’s at work right now and will never see this as he doesn’t know that I have started blogging.
 
Your hair?  Starting to turn gray which is terribly sad and in DESPERATE need of a haircut.
 
Your mother?  Passed away when I was 10
 
Your father?  Contributed a ton to the type of person I am today (in a good way)
 
Your favorite thing?  The laughter of my two children.  Instantly makes me feel better.
 
Your dream last night?   It was something really messed up.  I only remember pieces like sleeping all day at my grandparents old house and some kind of card game.
 
Your favorite drink?  Diet coke.  I am a true addict.
 
Your dream/goal?  To reach a point of financial stability.  I don’t have to be rich, but I would like to buy a house and quit worrying about the little financial things.
 
The room you are in?  My office.  It’s the size of a closet with white, white walls everywhere.  No wonder I feel like I”m going crazy sometimes.
 
Your fear?  Death.  Don’t want to do it.  Really don’t want to do it young and leave behind and miss out on my children growing up.
 
Where do you want to be in six years?  Happy and successful with my two kids and husband (eek in 6 years my kids will be 9 and 7 – that is terrifying)
 
Where were you last night?  Watching football on my couch.
 
What are you not?  Social.  This is not to say I’m not friendly, but in group settings I am extremely anxious and shy.
 
Muffins?  Blueberry please!
 
One of your wish list items? A new wardrobe.  I am still walking around in maternity clothes or clothes that are 2 sizes too big.  See above re: dream/goal
 
Where you grew up?  Young childhood in Fayetteville, GA and high school years in Libertyville, IL
 
The last thing you did?  Worked on a spreadsheet for a client, got bored, and found this.
 
What are you wearing? Appropriate work attire….and a pair of boots that are KILLLING my feet.
 
Your TV?  is constantly on….mostly just background noise or The Mickey Mouse Clubhouse
 
Your pets?  None.  2 kids is enough until they are able to take on some of that responsibility.
 
Your computer? Just your basic work laptop.
 
Your life?  Roller Coaster
 
Your mood?  Always some underlying anxiety, but  generally pretty good.
 
Missing someone?  At the moment, not really.  
 
Your car? 2010 Black Honda Civic.  Nothing special but it’s mine.
 
Something you are not wearing?  My wedding ring…it’s on the table beside me because it moves around too much when I am typing
 
Favorite store?  Carter’s (for my kids)
 
Your summer?  Flew by too quickly.  So many plans and ideas that never got done.
 
Like someone?  I like a lot of people. 
 
Your favorite color?  purple
 
When was the last time you laughed?  Maybe half an hour ago.  Watching The Big Bang Theory blooper reels while I work.
 
Last time you cried?  I tend to cry a lot, but I think it’s been a couple of days now since I had a good break down.
 
What is one thing on your to-do list?  Finshing the aforementioned spreadsheet

Top 3 Things Bothering Me about Pinterest

I am, admittedly, a social media/social platform nut!  Twitter, Facebook, Blogs, and the oh-so-going-downhill Pinterest.  When I started looking at Pinterest, it was for ideas on what to feed my then 2-year old.  All of the ideas for homemade baby food was overwhelming and exciting.  As time has continued on though, I find myself opening up Pinterest, browsing for about a minute, and then getting annoyed.  These are my top 3 reasons why:

1.  I am TIRED of seeing your rock hard abs with phrases about how if I just wasn’t so (busy, lazy, unmotivated…), I could look just like you.  There are a couple of reason this bothers me.  The first is that I am in no way lazy or unmotivated.  I work a 10 hour a day job and go home to take care of my 2 children under the age of 4 since my husband works nights.  I’m sorry I don’t have 2 hours to spend at the gym everyday.  Secondly, yes I am busy, and yes these may be “excuses” but to me, it is my life and i don’t think that the extra 5-10 pounds that I am carrying makes me any less of a person than you.

 

2.  Holy Crafts Batman.  See above re: job and children as to why I can’t ever seem to find the time to make every craft known to man.  Again….this does not make me a bad or unsuccessful mother.  It just makes me human.  

 

3. Elf on the Shelf.  Enough said.

 

I know many of you love the Pinterest.  People will tell me to stop looking at it if I don’t like it.  And maybe I will.  But sometimes it fills just the space I need it to for feeding my social addiction.

Real world anxieties translated online

I have never been an exceptionally social person.  Not that I don’t like people or socializing, but I am TERRIBLE at being the one to reach out, try to make friends, make the first move.  I have been this way for as long as I can remember.  Waiting for the phone to ring instead of calling someone myself.  Waiting for a friend to ring the doorbell instead of them seeking me out.

Now…many years later….I am finding I have the same anxieties about online interactions (Twitter, FB, Blog Comments, etc.).  I have developed a solid group of other moms and people that I follow on social media.  I have just recently begun interacting with them instead of simply ready through feeds.  I feel like this is putting myself out there and I feel the same twinge of possible rejection.  Is this crazy?

Struggle

strug·gle 

ˈstrəgəl :  have difficulty handling or coping with.
 
 
Yes I have been struggling.  Deeply struggling.  With the hard onset of anxiety/panic attacks, coupled with a terrible reaction to a medication, I have been in my own psychological hell.  For about a week now I have not been able to focus, see daylight or get my brain to calm down for even half a second.  The intrusive thoughts have plagued me to the point of feeling as if I am losing my mind.  I have struggled to the point of not being able to be present for my children.  
 
 
Today – finally – I can get my head slightly above water.  The nagging feeling of anxiety is there in the back of my mind but it isn’t at the forefront.  The desire to hole up and be alone isn’t quite as strong.  I am hoping this is a sign of the medication getting out of my system and me going back to normal.  Back to a place where “hurt” and “death” aren’t part of my every waking moment.  
 
 
I feel incredibly vulnerable putting this out there due to the possibility of even one of you reading it.  I don’t want to admit the dark places that my mind has seen.  I am feeling lucky to be coming out of it.  I keep wishing, hoping and praying that tomorrow isn’t 5 steps backwards.