Getting out of the Holiday blues

For years I hated the holidays. I’ve always seen the holidays time as full of hurt, and a lot of headache. I have a huge family and I love my family very much. But over the years I’ve tended to separate myself from some of my family because of their negativity and attitudes.

This year I decided to go at the holidays alone and to my surprise I didn’t contract holiday Blues this year. I’ve been spending way more time with my kids. Who’s hilarious, by the way. My kids help to keep me grounded. Sometimes I think if I didn’t have my kids I wouldn’t be as much fun.

So this Thanksgiving, my family and I had Thanksgiving here at home. I cooked all the traditional Thanksgiving food that I love to cook for my family each year. We ate, we talked, we drank, and repeated until we all passed out for the night. I must say it was the most fun that I’ve had with my little family here, my husband, my two kids and his brother who currently lives with us.

There was no drama, no fussing, no stress. And this is how I would like every holiday to go but unfortunately I know it won’t be so, or can it be?

I’ve been working on the rest of the Holiday season and how I would like for it to go. Remember, plans will always change. Leave room for the unexpected. I have delegated certain tasks so that I’m not overwhelmed. Done is always better than perfect.

I’ve opted out of heavy decor this year. I have two little monsters that I will keep busy by letting them make the decorations (that I have strategically located online) and put up the tree. Michael’s craft store has been a real time saver for all of the decor and crafts for kids.

Finally, my menu is simple. Minimum leftovers predicted. I’ll have plenty of time to mingle and celebrate. I’ve also gotten plenty of disposable dishes and pans. Minimum cleaning predicted also. This planning didn’t take long and wasn’t complicated. Mostly clever and common sense. I don’t know why I didn’t think of all this before.

I realized that most of my stress and anxiety associated with the holidays is caused by my constant pursuit of perfection. I’ve been chasing a ghost. Perfection does not exist. I don’t have to impress my family. They could care less about the decorations or our outfits for that matter. They’re just happy to celebrate with us and that is just what the holidays are about. Family.

I wish each and every one of you a happy, safe and blessed holiday season. I hope to see you all in 2019.

Happy holidays!

How I have been handling my anxiety.

I have been having anxiety for some time now. How I held my anxiety has been a struggle for me. I finally found new ways to handle my anxiety and have come across reasons why my anxiety has become so bad.
My anxiety usually stems from me trying to do too much at once or having just too much on my brain at once. Now that I’m a grown woman and have two children one of which is a 7 month old, I’ve had to find other ways to handle my anxiety and calm myself down.
So recently I’ve been trying to do journaling, I have been using a planner, and I have been doing more blogging to try and overcome what goes on inside of my head. No one can really understand anxiety and it’s really different for everyone who suffers from it. Anxiety is a strange thing it comes from a strange place and not even scientists or Specialists know the really ins-and-outs of anxiety and what causes it. Like I said before my anxiety came from me having too much on my mind or too much on my plate and just being overwhelmed in general. Having another baby really brought on a lot of my anxieties which were only fears from previous pregnancies that didn’t produce a living child. I’ve always been afraid of having another miscarriage and this time when I got pregnant it was a total surprise and it was a little later in life than I would have liked it to be but God had other plans.
So first of all let me talk about my happy planner which I can’t stop talking about. I found a whole planning Community, a whole planning world of people like me who have become passionate about happy planning. I’m calling it happy planning but the truth is it is Glam planning or memory planning. And the roots of happy planning came from scrapbooking where as one person took a planner and used it to document memories and put pictures in so it became a hybrid of planner from day-to-day and a memory Keepsake. So with that being said, you could always keep your happy planners, one for each year or 18 months that you have. It can be kept that long because it is filled with memories.
So the happy planning thing was something that I got into. I enjoyed looking at everyone’s layout and the stickers really got me addicted.  I couldn’t use the happy Planner on its own I had to have stickers, I had to have washi tape, I had to have everything that went along with this happy planner. I must say that being able to dump out what is inside your head onto paper made my anxiety so much better. I was able to plan out my days and my nights. I got more sleep. I was better focused. I had more concentration because I didn’t have so much on my mind that I had to remember. I had the planner to put it in.
So while I was on the happy planner journey, I found a thing called bullet journaling. Now bullet journaling to me was a hybrid of happy planning it, only that bullet journaling was that you would have bulleted points that you would Journal instead of writing a whole paragraph. This became a problem for me because I am a traditional journalist. I like to write out whole paragraphs. So for me the bullet journaling system really didn’t work like how I would see it on Pinterest or how I will see it on YouTube. But the idea of decorating my journal to make it just as pretty and to get creative with it just like I did my planner was awesome.
So with all this being said, this is how I have been handling my anxiety and it’s helped me in a lot of ways. Planning has helped me to get organized and journaling has helped me to dump out all of the things that are in my mind. All of my fears and worries. When you can write it down and see it on paper, you can just about map out what is real and what is only in your mind. I can safely say that most of my anxiety is really just in my mind. So now that I have these two systems of letting out my creativity and unraveling my mind at the same time it’s so much more comforting.
Not knowing what God’s plan is or why I’m here or why I have kids or why he’s given me kids at this point in my life is no longer a question for me. The question is what am I going to do tomorrow? How are we going to enjoy today? What fun memories can we make?
I’m no longer stressed about what what I’m doing or what I’m going to do. I just plan on being happy. I think that’s why happy planning and bullet journaling has just really taken control of my heart. I’ve even got in my kids creative with me to help me put in the stickers and write things down and it’s just awesome.  So happy planning and bullet journaling has helped me to handle my anxiety in a much different way.
So now my life is filled with so much joy, so much comfort. I have more time for my kids because of how I’ve gotten organized. I’m smoking less,drinking less I’m stressing less and I’m enjoying it.
So hopefully this helps someone out there. If you would like to get into Happy planning there is a YouTuber by the name of Heather Kell, kellofaplan. Her videos have helped me tremendously. I watched videos from the happy planner website, all of these things can help and there are people on Instagram whose Instagram is dedicated just to planning. so if you go and look up #happyplanning or #plannergirls or #plannerbabe you will find these people on Instagram. I hope you all have a blessed week and I hope that someone out there loves happy planning as much as I do. If you have a happy planner please don’t be afraid to share what you track in your happy planner or pictures if you like. You can find me on Google+ and on YouTube.
I hope you find your happy.

One month postpartum update and dealing with depression

On October 10, 2016 we gave birth to a beautiful baby girl. We named her Gwendolyn.

 At first for me this was a struggle to admit to myself that I was even pregnant. I found out I was pregnant on March 1, 2016. I was six weeks and five days along at this point and it was hard to believe. My son is now six years old and with all the trouble I had conceiving, I just thought I wasn’t going to have any more children. I really prayed and asked God for a child when I found out I was pregnant with my son. I was almost 14 weeks along when I found out I was pregnant with him and I must admit it was easier and quicker than this pregnancy. I’m a firm believer in God and I don’t remember asking him for a little girl, but I must admit, I was a bit envious of all the newborn babies I was seeing at the time. Everywhere I went it seemed like someone had a new baby girl. Maybe deep in my heart, I might have whispered that prayer. God blessed me with what my heart was desiring so, that means that the Bible is true. God will give his true and faithful the desires of their heart.

I had a lot of new symptoms with this pregnancy that I didn’t with my son. The swelling of my hands, legs, and feet were the worst. I like to move around and stay busy and the swelling just would not let me do that. I was so miserable and whiny. I also had a lot of shortness of breath with this one. I am already a high risk because of my diabetes. At the end I was ready to throw in the towel. I was so emotional and miserable and I had started to get preeclampsia, which prompted my doctor to deliver a couple of weeks early. I was so happy to finally be done with it and have my little bundle of joy in my arms. My excitement and joy came across a hurdle. My daughter had to spend some time in the NICU and that made me crazy. For nine months I was waiting on the greatest gift God could ever give anyone and she has to fight for her life. Being away from something that grew inside of you is the hardest thing ever. She was right down the hall from me in the hospital but it felt like she was miles away.

I cried and prayed and cried some more. The doctors don’t make it any better. Every few hours it seems they would come back to tell me something else they found wrong with my child. They really pissed me off. That made me cry. I was in pain from the C-section and the swelling still hadn’t gone down. It was hard for me to move and get around and that made me cry. Finally, after six days we could finally bring my love home. I was so happy. I held her so much and gave her lots of kisses and love. My heart was so full. I wondered, how could God, as busy as he is, take the time to make something so beautiful and perfect just for me? He must truly love me. I must be special to him. I felt so loved and blessed and that made me cry. (Tears of joy)

Today my love is a month old and thriving. I have the most beautiful little girl ever. I’m sure every parent feels this way. I wouldn’t trade my two children for anything in this world. Just when I thought my heart couldn’t love anyone else. Here Gwendolyn comes and steals my heart. My son CJ is being the best big brother ever. He and his dad are very helpful and protective of “little Gwen”.

A few months before my daughter was born I was treated for depression and was given medication. It seemed to not help. It was only a temporary fix. When I forgot to take that medicine, I felt it. I didn’t want to become dependent on it. I wanted to feel the joy I should have been feeling being pregnant with my beautiful baby girl. I shouldn’t have been sad or worrying before she was born, but I was. I couldn’t shake this feeling of dread. and I don’t know why or where it came from. I haven’t had a problem with depression since I graduated high school. I felt like I was loosing my mind. Everything drove me crazy. I just wanted to be alone all the time and I cried so much til my eyes were almost swollen shut.

I tried to get to the bottom of what I was feeling or rather why I was feeling what I was feeling. I had a support system. I had people around me to help and rooting for me to be great. My husband was loving and supportive. My family was rallying around me constantly. Everything was done by the time we delivered. What was going on in my mind? Why was I so confused, scared, worried and sad?

Honestly, I never have found out what was really going on. After Gwendolyn was born the fog just lifted. I knew what to do because I had done it before. Not just with my kids but with my cousins, nieces and nephews, all of which I helped to raise because I am the eldest. I remember thinking to myself one night that I was going to be a terrible mother and questioning why would God give such a terrible person children. This was the point when I decided to talk to someone about what I was feeling. I wanted to kill myself so the children wouldn’t have such a terrible mother. This was while I was still pregnant. I immediately checked myself into the hospital. I had people in place to take care of my son and my household for a few days while I seeked treatment.

While in the hospital I came across a situation that made me wake up. A woman had left her children in the car while she went in to the casino to play the poker machines. I was so furious. How could she leave those poor kids in the car so she could go gamble? What kind of mother is she? Then I asked myself; What kind of mother am I? I pondered this question most of the night, still angry from what I had heard and seen earlier that day. I realized how much I love kids. Not just my own but my friends’and families’ kids. I’m the most loving and kind person ever.(according to my friends and family) Oh yes. They put up an incredible fuss about me when I came home from the hospital and did their best to assure me that I was a great mother. That was music to my ears.

As a wife and a mother sometimes we need to hear these things. Even if we know it. I remember bringing my son to his first doctor’s visit and the doctor looked at me and said. “He’s so fine and healthy.You’re doing a great job. You’re a good mother.” This statement alone brought me to uncontrollable tears. The doctor embraced me, gave me some tissue and said it again. “You’re a great mom. You’re doing a great job.” I muffled through my sobbing a very humble “Thank You”. She truly humbled my heart with that statement. My husband also got the same reaction when he told me the same thing a few hours later when he came home from work. I laid my head on his chest and cried for what seemed like twenty minutes. He comforted me and gave me a kiss on the forehead, which was also a first. Later on he asked me was everything okay and I told him that I just needed to know if I was doing it right. He told me that there is no right or wrong way to parent, but the love that I showed our child was all he needed to see to know that I was a great mother. And the sobbing began again.

No matter how old your children are, from a few weeks to teenagers, or grown with children of their own, as mothers we need to hear that we’re doing or have done a good job. It  just validates all the pain and turmoil we go through with and for our kids. This kept me from jumping off a bridge, literally. Maybe it will help a mother you know who is new, tired, exhausted, or just telling it to your own mom will make her day. You never know how your words will affect someone else. Choose them wisely.

To: All the mothers

You’re a great mom.

XOXO
Dee