I’ve been less than my best self the last few months. Frequently I’ve been told my name – my given name that is – Joy – is appropriate for the energy I put into the world. There has been less joy and more sadness in this Joy than in many years. And then … then I realized something more was going on.
I’ve never been shy about writing about mental health. I’m published in a book about my struggles with Postpartum Depression. I started writing for public consumption in the middle of dealing with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). Mental health awareness is important to me. Being open about mental health makes many uncomfortable. I choose to operate from the perspective of if one person who needs to hear
“you’re not alone” reads this and feels even the smallest twinge of peace, it’s worth any pushback I get.
A few weeks ago I recognized that my reactions and emotions were a tad – well – more than a tad – out of my norm. Consistently and intensely outside of how I typically react, even when stressed. This behavior had been occurring every day for weeks. I know myself well enough to accept that I do react, I wear my heart on my sleeve and my emotions on my face. I also know how and when to grab those emotions and display or outwardly experience them at acceptable times. And when to keep them to myself as is appropriate for an adult.
I wasn’t being myself.
So I called my doctor. I’m working with someone. I hope to find my smile sooner than later and am already doing better than I was. Dealing with chronic headaches and migraines makes me more sensitive to the stressors in my life and environment. Perfume makes me cringe but lately has sent me into full-blown migraine status. I live in my sunglasses inside and out because it makes my head hurt just a little less some days.
Today I hope to spread a little cheer. I’m feeling hopeful and a bit more like myself. I know brighter days are coming. In this season of busy and crazy schedules, hectic evenings with kids needing to be in different places at the same time, and prepping for/recovering from holiday plans – just remember to breath.
Take a step back if you need to. See the bigger pictures.
And spread a little cheer. It’ll go a long ways.
If you need help, seek it. The National Suicide Prevention Hotline is available 24/7. Call 1-800-273-8255 to speak with someone.
Cupcakes, crafts and mini bouts of PTSD, oh my!
For the first time in six years I’m doing a birthday party for one of my kids…at my house…with cupcakes, and crafts…in the month of November. *Cue dramatic music*
We have so many birthdays the month of November. It’s a crazy time of year. Two of my own children, two nieces, two of my siblings, one of my sibling’s spouses, multiple cousins, and friends that have become family…..all have birthdays this month.
This is the month Brent Got Sick. A long time ago. I figured once the five year mark passed the month of November, kid birthday parties, ambulances, the exit for Regions Hospital, and the sight of intubated people on television shows would magically move to the “okay things in my life” column. For the most part, things that truly trigger strong emotions in me regarding Brent’s illness have moved into the “okay” column. However this week I continue to find myself on edge. I was downtown with a friend going to an event. We got off at the Regions exit. An ambulance shrieked past us and I fought back tears. My daughter wanted to make special puppy cupcakes for her party and I started crying. (My dear friend made the most amazing cupcakes for the party six years ago – all various kinds of puppies…hence my tears.)
Life marches on. As do I. Tonight I’m taking Littlest to the store. We are buying the supplies to make fondant for decorating her cupcakes. At her party that is on Friday. A party taking place in our home. My friend who made the cupcakes last time shared a recipe and is on standby to come help – for emotional support or technical support – I’ve never made fondant. She may be needed on both fronts.
Another dear friend knows I’m struggling. I want to make sure my daughter has a special party. It’s not her fault I have demons to exercise. My friend offered for her daughter to come and run the party with my older daughter. She’s bringing the labor, I’m supplying the margaritas. And yet another friend…one far away…encouraged me to write this.
Lately I’ve become fearful of sharing what I’m feeling. I want to be funny and entertaining….I want to share that part of myself with you. Instead…the last year….I’ve been in a weird place. Not feeling great and trying to navigate my life with a chronic headache. I’m trying to find my way to where I want to be. I am working really damn hard actually. I’m getting there. I’ll get there.
One cupcake at a time.