Faith Journey

Setting Boundaries VS Putting Up Walls

Setting Boundaries VS Putting Up Walls

Setting Boundaries VS Putting Up Walls

Setting Boundaries VS Putting Up walls is something I struggle with because I sometimes live in fear. I am choosing not to live in fear because fear is a liar. Honestly, I am so tired of living under the judgment of others. Let me tell you something, friends, oh my word. I’m fixing to use my words and all of them. My words may not be pretty, but sometimes you must let it out.

I will have to take a few minutes and watch a Chopped episode. My brain moves faster than my fingers, and the emotions are strong. Let’s say I am completely and totally over it. A change is coming, and it may take till Jesus returns, but I am done!

Let’s Try This Again

I am not a people person. Yet, I’m empathetic (so I’ve been told), and I have the heart to help others. Those people who are unseen. People that other people snub their noses at because they don’t dress/live/act “appropriately.” I’m just saying that those are my people. I see them, I feel them, I understand them.

Their problems, I feel deep within my soul. The look in their eyes can tell a thousand stories, and they want to share that story. They want to be loved, accepted, and NOT judged. I CHOOSE to love, take, and not pass judgment on them. Honestly, I want to meet them where they are currently and walk into their world. It is an honor to step into their stories.

Hard Realization

What a brutal realization that most people in this world do not think the same way. I just don’t get it. How can you not love and SEE the people around you? The unseen, the less than, the “you are not in my circle. Therefore, you do not exist” people.

For the love of all that is holy, Jesus’ second greatest commandment is to LOVE OTHERS. Matthew 22: 36-40 clearly states, “Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?” Jesus replied: ‘ Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. The first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself. All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.’

The Things That Have Happened

I cannot and will not detail the struggles we have had this summer. It has hit me hard that not everyone thinks like this. Love as Jesus says to love. What they want is to steal, kill, and destroy my joy. My joy is my family. They are all I think of and commit to 100% every minute of every day.

So Much Loss and Pain

The loss and pain were entirely preventable. Let’s try something radical. If you think something is wrong with a friend or their family, then TALK TO THEM. Ask how you can help them, pray for them without details, and listen to their cry. Clean their house, run an errand, cook a meal. Be the hands and feet of Jesus.

Radical, you think?

Outcome

Well, our outcome has been standing on Exodus 14:14 “The Lord will fight your battle. You have to be quiet.” I was quiet. There were lots of tears, lots of reflection. There was a period of hiding, a valley of severe depression and anxiety, another medical condition for a child due to the STRESS so-called “friends” put us through. Thank you for that, honestly. It’s been the most fun.

My Oak

This woman. She blew in like a whirlwind. Then, she ironed out all the people in my house. Next, she found me. With that hug, I melted into her arm. I felt her love permeate every single molecule of my body.

She gently walked me upstairs, and we both lay down and talked. I cried, and she sat in silence and rubbed my hair like when I was a little girl. She permitted me to wallow for a day, but tomorrow I have to get up and wash my face and face the day. There will be no hiding for her little girl.

She loves me. Unconditionally. She sees me. Truthfully. She knows all that has happened, yet she loves those who hurt her baby so profoundly. My kids will be blessed if I am 1/2 the mama she is when I grow up. She blesses me.

A Few True Friends

We discovered those who would stand by us and those who judge us. Prayer warriors surrounded us and kept us safe. We stood before God clean. Our family came out on the other side with no truth coming from the claims and lies.

For Now

I choose self-care. Pet a cat (or 12), bake, eat candy, smile more, block people on social media, keep loving on the “less of these” people, wash my hands, wear a mask, parent my kids, love my husband, and love my God. My enemies cannot hurt me because God goes before me, after me, and stands on each side of me. If you want to get to my family or me, you must go through Him first.

Good luck to you.

 

 

 

Depression, Medical Issues, Suicide Awareness and Prevention

The Elephant in the Room

The Elephant in the Room

The Elephant in the Room

There are so many types of mental illnesses! Yet, they are rarely spoken (hence The Elephant in the Room) because it is construed as showing weakness when you can’t handle your crap. Here is a list of the main groups (or classifications) though there are probably a hundred more that can be added.

Some of the main groups of mental disorders are:

Breaking it Down

According to the DSM-V, each category of depression has specific “criteria” to meet. I am not here to argue with the authors of this book. Frequently, I have had to pull this book out to see things, and I use it as a solid guide. Yet, no two people who struggle with mental illness are the same.

That is where my thought process may not line up with the professionals. I guess that is just splitting hairs. If you or someone you love is struggling, PLEASE reach out. Reach out to a pastor, counselor, friend, family member, anyone!

My Story

I have struggled with depression for as long as I can remember. Even as a child, I remember thinking I wasn’t good enough. I didn’t look like other kids or think like other kids. We didn’t have the money to buy things that others had. Don’t get me wrong, I was loved, and I was loved fiercely. So many people do not come from good home lives. I did, and I am thankful.

As I got older, things got harder. My grandpa died when I was 14. That was the first death of someone I loved, so I took it hard. So hard that I was physically ill. I remember having to stay at Susie and Frank’s house (my “other” parents) during most of the mourning time. It was just too much for me, and I didn’t know how to process it properly.

Ice Cream

I remember when my sister and I were in the car with my mom. That moment was so deep in my sadness that I couldn’t see out. I looked at Martha and said something eluding to suicide. That is the only time I remember her smacking me across the face.

The look in her eye was fear; now, as an adult, I can see that. I remember her asking me what Granny would think and how mom could go on if I chose that path. Her tears flowed freely. Again, I was fiercely loved. I couldn’t see it because of this haze that I lived in within my mind. Never have I spoken or thought that again. Her face is burned in my mind. We went for ice cream after that interaction. From that point on, we never spoke of it again.

Diagnosis, Sort of

When I was 19, I started having health problems. I was skinny because I didn’t eat (I wanted to fit in). This was my first year in college (stress), working full-time and catching the attention of inappropriate male humans.

At that time, I was diagnosed with chronic high blood pressure (which ran about 240/120), high cholesterol, Meniere’s Disease, and clinical depression. All had good times! I was shocked, as were my parents. The meds for the “medical” part started, but I was told to buck up and be quiet for the mental aspect. There wasn’t anything they could do for me. I would be fine.

Let’s Add to our Fun

When I was 20, I placed myself where I should have never been. Now, that does not mean that what happened was something I brought on! It was an active choice of another, and I have lived with that for a long time.

Depression, self-doubt, blame, shame, and all the other negative words you can think of piled on top of me. For YEARS I blamed myself. Like I could not function. I felt dirty, unworthy, and unlovable all because of an action of another. It was horrible. I genuinely do not know how Big Daddy fell in love with me. Honestly, it wasn’t very good.

Crisis Center

One day, after I had had V, I got up the nerve to call a crisis center. It was anonymous and before the land of caller id. I knew I could safely call, relive everything, and get a straight answer. My family knew nothing. My husband knew nothing. I kept this to myself for YEARS.

I used all my words. Then I used more words. I can recount every detail like I was reading a book. There is also no more emotion attached to it. I had completely detached myself from this memory.

What she told me stopped me in my tracks and began my healing. Did you know that 8/10 people are sexually abused by someone they know? At the time, I didn’t know that! I thought every case was this violent, horrific act you see on television. Nope. I was so wrong.

I will be forever thankful for the person on the other end of the line. Thankfully, I have been able to heal emotionally, talk openly, and get the needed help. If you EVER need to go through YOUR scenario, please call 1.800.656.4673 for 24/7 help!

Moving On

So many other things in my life. Death, loss of children, threats of losing children, difficult children, loss of jobs, and marriage difficulties. My depression has deepened to the point of frightening my husband and family. Thankfully, I can use my words and communicate my needs.

There is NO SHAME in medication! NO SHAME in therapy! There is NO SHAME in admitting you are not okay! There is NO SHAME depression! It is a disease just like cancer and diabetes! You medicate for those things, and you can medicate for a chemical imbalance in your brain or a circumstantial period of your life.

End the Stigma

Mamas with postpartum, people with PTSD, people with brain damage, trauma, sexual abuse survivors (we are NOT victims), soldiers, police officers, EMT workers, pastors, and people in general!

I see you! You are okay! God is bigger! Help is waiting for you! You are loved! Treasured! Accepted! A child of the King!

Do not be ashamed. Fear is a liar. You are a hero! I hear you and feel you. Medication is OKAY! There are days when I’m good. Like, I’m great! Then, there are days when I want to stay in bed and cry. That is okay as long as you don’t stay there by yourself.

Words of Wisdom

I will NEVER forget my sister saying this in the depths of one of my painful periods. “Brandi, you can let the bird fly around your head all you want…just don’t let it make a nest in there.”

I have learned self-care: I have great doctors and a med that works well with me when needed. Jesus and I are talking again. He is good all the time, and all the time, He is good. My husband has stopped trying to fix it; now, he listens to or hugs me.

You are okay, and if you are not okay, that is okay too! Soon, you will be okay! I hope this has helped someone somewhere. If not, it sure was helpful to me! Onward and upward!

 

Life or Something Like It

What is and is Not in My Control

What is and is Not in My Control

What is and is Not in My Control

What is and is Not in My Control. I am a work in progress. Without hesitation, I can tell you that trying to control everything is 99.9% of my problem. Well, that and lack of trusting anyone…maybe that goes hand in hand, I don’t know. It’s a problem. I know that, get it, and respect it. There is a problem, and I am it.

What is IN My Control

  • my self-care
    • I get my hair done
    • Massages
    • Tattoos
    • Alone time at night
    • Reading
  • asking for help
    • Reaching out to family
    • Communicating with Bart and being vulnerable
    • Therapy
  • my decision
  • the friends I have
    • I don’t do this one well
  • my actions
    • I have apologized to those I need to
    • Forgiven most people, I need to
    • The Lord has made me HYPER aware
  • my boundaries
    • Hahahahaha
  • my thoughts
    • Oohhh…
  • my attitude
    • Well…
  • my words
    • Uhmmm…
  • what I say
    • Learning how to use them
    • Learning how to RESTRAIN from using them
    • Work in progress

What is OUT of My Control

  • who likes me
  • past mistakes
  • other’s feelings
  • what others think
  • other’s apologizing to me
  • other’s actions
  • what other people believe
  • weather
  • who loves me
  • other people’s time
  • someone else’s distraction

What is on Your List?

My struggle in the “out of my control” list is who likes me (why does this bother me so badly), past mistakes (I can’t forget), what others think of me, others’ actions, what other people believe, and who loves me. Those are my Achilles heel problems. What is on your list?

 

Quotes

Quote by Mary Katherine Backstrom

Quote by Mary Katherine Backstrom

Quote by Mary Katherine Backstrom

“I love when somebody says about a woman, ‘Oh, she’s too much.  She’s too much for me.”  Too much of what?  Too much of an opinion?  She laughs too loudly?  Stands too tall?  Takes up too much space?  What would be the right amount and not too much?  She’d have to be less.  That’s what you are saying.  You’re saying BE LESS, if she’s too much.  You know what I think?  I think she should not give a f*ck about what you think about her.”  ~ Quote by Mary Katherine Backstrom

All the Feels

Oh, does this give me all the feels inside? I have been told a lot of things throughout my life. I am too loud and opinionated, and I can’t Biblically submit to my husband because I’m too “Type A.” I have been told that no one will ever take me seriously because I ask questions or because my hair is pink (currently purple).

For the last two years, I have been told that I am not a good mom because of those above traits and that I shouldn’t raise my children. I should quiet down, conform, be SMALL, be LESS THAN, fit in, don’t make waves, SHUT UP.

Shrinking

So, that is what I have done. I’ve stayed home. I have shrunk back, slept a lot, eaten a lot, cried, hid, allowed people to walk all over me, spoken to me in ways I would never let them before, and so many other things.

I think it truly hit me when I was getting ready to go on a little day trip to see some family. For the first time, I did my hair and put on makeup. I wore something that covered 95% of my tattoos and looked the part. It was very much something that a woman, my age, would wear, and it didn’t call attention to me at all. I even wore authentic shoes. Then, we arrived, and I sat in a corner and smiled as I should. I spoke when I was told to and quietly filled the smallest space known to man.

The fact that I wore shoes didn’t faze anyone in that room but three people. They commented on it because they expected me to wear something that was me. I said I didn’t want to do that because I wanted not to embarrass anyone. I just wanted to blend.

Words of Love and Wisdom

My sister, her face, she loves me. She asked why you would want to blend in. We wanted you here for who you are and not for any other reason. She loves me for me. All of me. The sparkly, glittery, tattoo-y, purple-haired human that I am.

See, I didn’t want to stand tall. When I draw attention to myself, I tend to get judgemental looks and words from others. Words that cut me down and did not lift me. Actions that forever change the course of my life and not in a good way. I wanted to shrink and be so small yet be there because I love these people and show my support.

Her words have been bouncing around in my head ever since. Then, I heard this quote, and it all began to fall into place. I am NOT too much. I am ALLOWED to take up space. I am BEAUTIFULLY AND WONDERFULLY created. These ADULT BULLIES will not stop me from being who I am. I have allowed them to take up TOO MUCH of my brain space, and enough is enough.

I Am

I am going to have purple hair.

I am going to get more tattoos.

I am going to swear occasionally.

I am fluffy.

I am amazing.

I am good.

I am a DAMN GOOD mom.

I am an AMAZING wife.

I am beautiful.

I am creative.

I am feminine.

I am worthy.

I am a child of the King.

Love Yourself

For those that are reading this, you are those things as well! Be chunky and wear a crop top if you want. Wear glittery things. Color your hair. Be loud, have opinions, and love those with differing opinions because that is what we are called to do. I have a couple of good friends that are my opposites.

Guess what?

I love that we are! I learn from them, respect them, and love them. Whether you are big, tiny, old, young, middle-aged, atheist, your sexual orientation, or your family dynamics. I love them all. I have no desire to judge any of you because I have been judged for far too long.

My tribe may be the size of the “period” at the end of the sentence, but they are faithful and true. We can have great discussions and not agree, yet we can still love each other. That is because we allow each other to stand tall, be seen, take up space, and be themselves.

Ooooh.

ALL. THE. FEELS.

 

 

Faith Journey

Letting Yourself Be Seen

Letting Yourself Be Seen

Letting Yourself Be Seen

Today, I am going to let myself be seen. Today, I am going to declare that I am enough. For so long, I have struggled with conformity friendships. I desire to conform, but it is not me when I do. I lose myself in that moment and realize that I am doing this to fit in. 

Sisters, you are not created to fit in. You are designed to be salt and light. You are made to be a city on a hill, not a face in the crowd. I was not only a face in the crowd. I had customized masks to wear for each crowd.

God Speaking

I learned very young that I was not like other people. I thought differently, acted differently, and believed differently than my schoolmates, roommates, boyfriends, siblings, and parents. 

At the age of 10, I remember standing in the driveway of my grandparents’ house declaring that, one day, I would adopt from Ethiopia. How I even knew where that place was is still a mystery. I wanted to adopt, and I wanted to adopt an older Ethiopian boy because that is the child that no one wanted.

Storing Up His Promises

I kept that stored in my heart, never releasing it because my family struggled with racism. At one point, I was informed that I could choose my black children or my father. I thanked my father for the love and protection he had given me, kissed him on the cheek, and then told him I would choose my children.

Do you have any idea how hard that was for me? People-pleasing me.

Judgment of Others

The people that no one wants to be around are the people I am drawn to in my spirit. I have been told to be careful who I associate with because it could question my faith and salvation. I have also been told that I cannot be submissive to my husband because I’m loud. I have been told I am not worthy to stand in front of people because no one wants to hear what I have to say. After all, my hair is pink, and I have tattoos. I have been judged on my children acting like children and had horrible things said to me in regards to them. Things have been told, and I still struggle to forgive the words and the people who said them.

My Lady

My best friend was 79 when we met. She was my Lady. That’s what I called her. It started as a mentor, then moved to friendship. Next, it moved to me being her caregiver, then a closeness that I cannot explain, and then I had to give her to Jesus. One of the hardest things I’ve ever done. My Lady saw me. She saw through the masks and the facades I tried to put on. My Lady loved me without abandon, and Ms. Jo treasured my family, though we were all different. She was my person.

That is What Everyone Needs

They need a Lady, a friend, a confidante who sees you, and you see them. It was beautiful but short-lived as she passed away. I miss her. She told me my tattoos were stupid, but she always wanted to look at them and touch them. She would wring my neck if she knew her name was on my body. I took Faith(i.e.), hope, and love to another level. There is a cross (love) with a semi-colon, doves (hope), and Faith(i.e.) because her name was Faithie.

I challenge you all to be you. Love you. Embrace your weirdness, and never do you have to explain yourself. Ever. Let your yes mean yes, and your no mean no and zero explanations.

 

Faith Journey, Quotes

True Beauty from Within the Ashes

True Beauty from Within the Ashes

“True Beauty”

Do You think that a California girl is supposed to have curls and wear a jean size 3?
All the curves in all the right places, spray tanned faces like on TV?
And we read in the gospel of Vogue that we’re all supposed to dress and move and be
Visions of perfection
Such a misconception
‘Cause the real connection is deeper than the eye can see

This reminds me of a post that I wrote about the little squares of life.  We do use social media to compare ourselves to others.  Anyone can control what they specifically present to the world.  What you don’t see is the chaos behind the phone and in the background.

Chorus

What’s inside of you
What’s inside of me
The hands that made the moon and the stars
The mountains and the seas
Made you wonderful, beautiful, marvelously
Let the whole world see your
True beauty

Aw, Psalm 139, about how God created us.  If you haven’t read it, you should!

World Versus Truth

Don’t know much about Dolce and Gabbana
Seems like a lot of drama to me
And you can keep all your red high heels
And open-toed shoes – I’m good in my bare feet
Lets get down to the nitty gritty
Enough sex and the city
What about purity?
Skin is just the surface
The passion and the purpose that’s burning down inside us
Is really what we need to see

Purity is a rarity these days.  How sad is that?  It is such a slippery slope when you fall in “lust” with someone else.  Even if that someone is your forever.  Everyone can fall prey to their emotions.  It is natural.  We just need to be wise, be held accountable, and don’t be alone with the opposite sex.  Saves a whole lot of hurt, even if you are engaged!

Chorus

What’s inside of you
What’s inside of me
The hands that made the moon and the stars
The mountains and the seas
Made you wonderful, beautiful, marvelously
Let the whole world see your
True beauty

Love and Peace

Doesn’t come in a bottle, doesn’t come in a box
You can’t spray it on, you can’t wash it off
You can’t nip and tuck, you can’t sew it up
So don’t waste your time
It’s the love in your heart, the peace in your soul
The hope in your smile lets the whole world know
This little light – you gotta let it shine

Love, peace, hope, smile, and shine are so important in your heart. These things can be so hard to accomplish. It can be challenging for a person who deals with mental illness. Honestly, we all need to work on having these attributes. I need to put sticky notes up that remind me of these things.

True Beauty from Within the Ashes

This song, True Beauty, is one that I have not heard in years. When this album came out, I bought it and listened to it faithfully. Then, life happened, and over the years, things got misplaced. I was working on my “Worship” playlist that I listen to often on Youtube. Shackles is a song I love. It is also by Mandisa. When searching for it, True Beauty came to the top of the list. Then, I found the album.

I thought that I would listen to it since I was working on my blog and feeling the urge to write. I heard this song, and it felt like warm water was poured over me. It speaks to me on a different level than it did when she released this song.

Events of Today

Today, I was ministering to a heartbroken young lady, and we talked about beauty from ashes Isaiah 61:3. It is one of my favorite verses. Her voice has been stifled for so long. She has been silenced from the abuse she experienced to what is to come—in her eyes, broken.

We talked about how the Lord has a purpose for all that went on and is going on. One day, she was going to find the strength to use her story to help others. She would, indeed, hold the hand of another and walk them through the ashes to help them find their beauty.

Encouragement

I hope that you find encouragement that you are not alone. You are loved beyond measure. Regardless of your past, current, or future circumstances, God loves you RIGHT WHERE YOU ARE! You have to do nothing to gain His love. Also, you can do nothing to lose His love. He loves you yesterday, today, tomorrow, and every day till He calls you home.

 

Guest Blogger

To Care for Others, First Care for Yourself

To Care for Others, First Care for Yourself

To Care for Others, First Care for Yourself

 

We are all walking our paths, and the road to healing isn’t always easy. We all need to remember that to help others, we must first ensure that we are maintaining our light and keeping ourselves mentally sound. In other words, To Care for Others, First Care for Yourself. Here are some tips for keeping your mental energy in the right spectrum and walking the path of healing as we move into 2021:

Heal your mind.

Mental health and self-care practices are two sides of the same coin. Numerous studies and research indicate the connection between self-care and mental health. Self-care is the act of increasing self-awareness, which includes cognitive processes. Practicing self-care can then help you recognize your emotional patterns. This means that when you become more self-aware, you can avoid the things that make you feel bad and recognize the things that make you feel more relaxed or calm, so you seek those things out.

Another way to take that step toward healing your mind is to assess your goals and how you can accomplish them. Focusing on the result of your mental health journey can be helpful, especially if you break the journey into smaller steps that you can surmount.

Heal your sleep.

Sleep is a massive part of your physical health, but it can help you maintain a mental balance, so striving to get an entire sleep cycle every night should be included in your self-care routine.

Cultivating a space conducive to good, quality rest is essential to creating a healthy sleep schedule. It will help if you transform your bedroom into a sleep-inducing space by using comfortable sheets and pillows, avoiding light disruption, and keeping the noise down. In addition, starting a pre-sleep routine (e.g., having nighttime tea, reading a book, dimming the lights, etc.) can help signal your body that it’s time to rest.

Heal your body.

Mental and physical health is inextricably linked. Eating healthy foods as part of a well-balanced diet, drinking plenty of water, and exercising are all ways to get your physical health in the right place — and they all provide a crucial component of mental health. Practicing good eating habits and a regular daily exercise regimen is part of self-care.

Heal your home.

An integral part of self-care is the maintenance of the environment around you. Creating a sanctuary out of your home is essential to finding inner peace and re-calibrating, even when the world seems unwelcoming.

Creating a positive atmosphere at home is essential in the healing process. Decluttering, cleaning, and letting fresh air into your home can help you make the kind of sanctuary that will go a long way toward getting your mental energy in the right place.

There is a connection between clutter and the stress hormone cortisol. In other words, when your space is too messy, negative thoughts can spike. So keeping your area clean and clutter-free contributes to the positive vibes you need.

Heal your connections.

Staying in touch with the people you love most is also a form of self-care, especially for families. Spending quality time with family strengthens bonds and helps keep you connected, even when it takes place virtually. The most significant part of maintaining close connections comes from making friends and family a priority and putting time and energy into those relationships.

Focus on you to focus on others.

Use these healing tips to emphasize self-care and your mental health journey. Once you are healthy and whole, you can turn your attention to others who may need help in this area.

For more faith-based, family-centric content, visit barefootfaithjourney.com.

 

Depression, Guest Blogger, Medical Issues

A Letter to Myself

A Letter to Myself

My guest blogger wants to step back in time and parent that child who was abused and never truly parented.  She wants that little girl to know that what is happening is wrong and that she is not at fault.  What a beautiful way to begin the healing process.

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Sarah,

I have written numerous letters to others who have significantly hurt me, but I have yet to write a letter to the person I feel has hurt me the most. 

That person is me. 

For years I have “punished” myself for things that were not my fault. It has been hard to remember that when bad things were happening to me, I was between the ages of 7 and 11. I have blamed myself for years for the people around me dying. I have blamed myself for not being there for them while they die. Like, for goodness sake, Sarah, you were like 9. It is not your responsibility to take care of people who are dying.

Changes

When my dad divorced for a second time, we had just moved, and we were tight on money. It is not that my dad was not making enough. It was because he gave his ex-wife a good chunk of his money. So, I started skipping meals to ensure everyone had enough to eat. When I ate, my brother would comment on my weight or how much I was eating. I stopped eating for weeks and started working six days a week. 

After over a year of doing that 

I finally realized that it wasn’t my responsibility to ensure everyone ate. It was my father’s, and he was incredibly absent then. So I slowly started eating again. I have better eating habits now, but I still have days when I feel I shouldn’t be eating. To this day, if I have to get weighed, I can’t look at the scale because If I see what it says, I will spiral.

Absent Parent

Around that same time, my dad was incredibly absent. All of the cooking, cleaning, and children became my responsibility. I was the parent in the household. I juggled all of my duties at home, schoolwork, and band. 

The only thing I remember from this period of my life is being incredibly exhausted. It was at this time sister would hardly sleep. And she became violent. So I would wake up at three in the morning to her punching me in the face or pulling my hair. I remember the countless morning of me just crying because I was so tired and in pain. 

That was a super dark time in my life. 

This was the beginning of a super dark time for me. I had zero will to live. I didn’t care what happened to me. Honestly, I wish this part of my story had a happier ending, but I’m still learning that Madison isn’t my child or my responsibility. 

I feel guilty when I go out while she’s at the house. Also, I feel anxious that something terrible will happen to her while I am gone. I feel like I have been better about leaving her home, so that is a step in the right direction.

The Shooting

Then, I guess the last piece of this story is about the shooting. I remember that morning going into the band room with my friends. I stood across the room from him and just stared at him. The atmosphere that morning felt off. 

I used to blame myself for not talking to him that morning. I used to think that he wouldn’t have killed two people if I had just talked to him. That was his choice, not mine. It’s not my fault. It’s not my fault. It is not my fault. After a while of repeating that to myself, I finally believed it. 

 Love,

 Sarah.

 

Depression, Guest Blogger, Medical Issues

Take Care of Your Mental Health

Guest Blogger, Jenna Sherman, is writing again to help you to find ways to reduce your stress and Take Care of Your Mental Health.  Due to the subject matter of this month and the continuing pandemic of Co-vid19, self-care and reducing stress is imperative.

Take Care of Your Mental Health

How Families Can Reduce Stress and Tension During the Pandemic

The COVID-19 pandemic has been going on for months, but for self-isolating households, this time probably feels much longer. Keeping up with current guidelines and information is stressful enough. Many families are also dealing with stress from being stuck indoors together. Fortunately, there are numerous ways to address household tension. This will help your family grow closer as you ride out the rest of this pandemic.

Take Care of Your Mental Health

Before you can be there for your family, taking care of yourself is sometimes necessary. Prioritizing your mental health is always important, but it matters even more during these stressful times. Following Barefoot Faith Journey and other bloggers who regularly write about important mental health topics is a great way to start your journey toward better mental health.

 

Practicing self-care is also essential during the pandemic. Self-care can take countless forms, and it means something different to anyone. You might not be able to practice all of your usual self-care habits. During the pandemic, it still helps to prioritize simple things. Such as exercising regularly, getting enough sleep, drinking plenty of water, and eating nutritious foods.

 

If you struggle to cope, the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) has excellent resources available to help you through these times. For example, some resources can help you locate treatment options during the pandemic. In contrast, others can help you find solutions if you are overwhelmed with finances or other stressors that may have worsened because of the pandemic.

 

Keep in mind that your children may also find it challenging to cope well with the pandemic’s changes. Listening to your children’s concerns, providing structure to the day, and giving context to the news are just a few ways to help, according to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America.

Spend Time Outside

Getting fresh air is one of the most effective ways to bond as a family during the pandemic while eliminating stress and boosting everyone’s mental health. You might not be able to enjoy the same activities you did before, such as pastimes that require you to be in large crowds, but there are plenty of other ways to get outside.

 

Going on a camping adventure is fun and socially distant to try something different and get your minds off the situation. Likewise, visiting local parks you haven’t been to before is an excellent way to explore your neighborhood and stay active while self-isolating. You can even have fun without having to leave the backyard. Try having a backyard bonfire, playing yard games, or stargazing.

Keep Boredom at Bay

Boredom can easily cause tension to rise despite your best efforts. Going outside is a great way to reduce stress. There are also various fun indoor activities and equally fun bonding opportunities. For example, having a weekly game night is an excellent way to pass the time. Opting for the cooperative board and video games will allow you to keep the mood light rather than turn it competitive.

 

If you want to get serious about online gaming with each other, make sure your internet connection can keep up. Upgrading to fiber optic internet is brilliant, especially if you plan to play multiplayer games like Fortnite and let your kids play games while you work from home.

Fiber optic internet can handle several devices at the same time. As an added benefit, a faster internet connection makes downloading or streaming movies easier. This is good if you want to have a family-friendly movie night.

 

Some tension is expected as your family navigates the pandemic and adjusts to the new normal. However, it’s important not to let stress get the best of you. Checking in with your mental health, getting outside, and finding ways to combat stress indoors will help your family weather whatever the pandemic throws your way.

 

Life or Something Like It

Self-Care Not For Sissies

Self-Care Not For SissiesSelf-Care Not For Sissies

Self-Care Not For Sissies. For about a year, maybe a bit longer, I have been learning to take care of myself. It is hard as a wife, mom, daughter, friend, and believer. It is hard for a woman to stop and recharge. For me, I felt like I didn’t have time. I had to go go go go and do do do do, and when I was tired, I had to go more and do more.

My Lady

 

One day, I was at my Lady’s house and had things to do there. I needed to get laundry started, dishes started, do some computer clean-up, get the trash, visit, and then I was going to make her dinner and bring it back and eat supper with her. Those were my favorite days.

 

I got there, and we chatted for a moment. My Lady looked me square in the eyes and asked me if I had slept any the night before. She always knew when I hadn’t slept. I mean, she always knew. This day, I must have looked pretty darn bad. I just smiled and told her I was okay and would get some stuff started for her. So, I stood up, and she promptly told me to sit my butt back down in my chair.

It’s a Command, Not a Statement

 

I sat down, looked at her, and asked her what she needed. She had a sense of urgency when she told me to sit down. That smile she just smiled and said for the next 15 minutes, I would sit there, be quiet, and close my eyes. I laughed at her, and then I laughed more. Finally, I told her that I was there for a visit and all I wanted was to visit. There was wisdom that I needed. Also, I needed to get some of her stuff done. She told me the stuff could wait and so could the visit, but I was not to speak or move.

 

I leaned back, propped up my feet, and eyeballed the clock. I would do as my Lady said, but if I didn’t, she’d get me, but I was not going to enjoy it, and I was not going to sleep. Well, after about 45 minutes and a ton of drool, my eyes popped open. I was disoriented. I had no idea what was going on or where I was. I looked at her with this frightened look, and she was smiling in all her wisdom and beauty. She asked how I felt; frankly, I felt like a million bucks.

Finally, Sleep

 

I could not believe I fell asleep without the aid of meds or a fan but command from the most extraordinary human ever. It was glorious. She explained that she worried about my constant moving and going and doing. I needed to stop and regroup, or I would be sick, and then I would be no help to anyone.

 

I took her message to heart. I began, initially, claiming Sundays as a day of rest (literally). After church, I would come upstairs and take off my makeup. Then, I would change my clothes and pile them up in bed. I would watch movies, play on the computer, clean my room, or nap. Bart would buy Chinese, and I would not come out of my room all day. Somedays, I just lay in bed. Other days, I would listen to praise music and pray. To this day, I still do that. I used to feel guilty, and now, I realize it makes me a better human.

Self-Care Ideas

 

Since that time, I have extended my self-care attitude. Occasionally, I would get a massage. I get out by myself sometimes. Also, some days I would head to bed at about 8. Now, I don’t go to sleep, but I take a couple of hours to be responsible-free and reset my internal clock. There are nights when I take long, hot showers. I also do face masks or hair masks cause I enjoy them. I look at pictures, listen to music, text my friends, and call my siblings or mom.

 

My kids can still come up here and chat. My husband comes up here to talk sometimes. I still have a few critters up here in my bedroom. H goes to bed at 9, and his bed is close to mine, so it isn’t like I lock the door. Most nights, I sit and be still.

Still, I am a Good Mom

 

I am not selfish and am not trying to get out of my parenting/wifely duties. Several nights I stay up and play cards with my husband or those boys who have taken over my girls’ lives. I am a mom of 7. Yet, I parent about 11 kids. I mentor, love, cook for, clean for, educate and haul all of these people. Every day, I have four special needs kids…one with behavior issues, one with low functioning and learning disabilities, and then H with Opsoclonus Myoclonus Syndrome. Sadly, I am tapped out by the time supper is over.

 

It does not make us, as women, wrong to go to our rooms and let our husbands take the reins of parenting. It makes me better. It builds relationships that might not otherwise be built if I’m always in the room. Let’s face it, my husband and I could be sitting RIGHT NEXT TO each other, and every single time there is a question or a problem, the kid comes to me. Every. Single. Time.

Daddy Duty

 

Daddy must know our boy parts are bunched in our new Superman underwear. He also needs to know that the squirrels ate the wires in the car. Oh, wait, Daddy needs to answer the bazillion questions with one of our kids. Also, Daddy must tell a certain boy that poop goes in the potty, not in his pants.

 

I’m happy to let daddy do ALL the things……….while I chill.