Coffee & Chaos

Coffee & Chaos

Mehh…Monday, go away. Morning, give me another 5 hours.

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This Mornings Coffee
The entire pot. Literally made an entire Keurig cqoffee pot just for me.

Monday Mindfulness
Discouraged.  Today I feel absolutely defeated and it’s the most discouraging feeling ever.

This Weeks Intentions
– To keep myself afloat emotionally and mentally

This Weeks Goal
– To make it through the week without a massive breakdown

I would love to hear about your intentions and goals this week- even just your Monday mindfulness! Pingback to my Coffee & Chaos page, or this post so I can see it!

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Mental Health · Prompts

Immersed in the Chronic Darkness

Anche Questo Passerá- This Too Shall Pass. 
I look down at my wrist as I sit down to type this, and take a deep breath, reminding myself of that very phrase. I knew today was inevitable. I could feel it coming. I noticed my body ached more, my heart hurt more, and all I wanted to do was sleep. It’s such a vicious cycle. Just as night turns to dawn and I can proceed with business as usual, I find myself immersed in darkness again.

So many times I have promised myself I would blog on this topic in the heart of it all. I find it so hard to do though. I’m exhausted. I’m 17327828_425455287800511_1408103884_nemotional. I’m resentful. I’m agitated. I just want to lock myself in the bathroom and stand in the shower until the water runs cold.

2016 I went in for my VA claim appointment. This just simply means you go see a doctor and walk through what your issue is, and they decide if it is service related or not. If it is, they give you a percentage based on how much it impacts your daily life etc… As I go in to go over all of my claims set to be discussed that day, I am met by the kindest little old doctor I have ever seen. After we did a thorough exam, he started asking me all kind of questions that made nearly no sense to me. After what seemed like forever (I ran 45 minutes over my hour long appointment!) I walked away with a brand new diagnosis, and a forever changed life. Trauma caused Fibromyalgia. I would forever be a spoonie.

My pain has moments where it is barely tolerable, and popping 3 or 4 Tylenol 800’s does nothing me. I wake up after 12 hours of sleep being so tired I can’t keep my eyes open. I find that the slightest hiccup in my day causes me to break down into tears, and amplifies chemical imbalance which in turns effects the depression and anxiety I normally have in complete control. My migraines soar. My patience runs thin with everything from the dog needing out for the 8th time that hour just to be let back in so she can go back out, to my son saying “Mom” before every.single.sentence. I have no energy to go to the gym or do yoga or cook dinner. I don’t have the focus to help Mini Demon i-cant-adult_1024x1024with his homework, or finish a single blog post. If I don’t make checklists, things for work fall through the cracks. The issue? I still have to do all those things. I’m a working single mother. I have a job, a son, a house and dog. I can’t just explain to Mini Demon that I am a worthless lump that day because my body hates me. I can’t let his homework go undone. I can’t not give him the attention he needs or fulfill his most basic needs.  I can’t not let the dog out. I absolutely cannot drop the ball on aspect of work, because lives of others are involved. Did I mention I’m launching my own non-profit? Yeah. Throw that onto the list of crap that can’t get put on the back burner. My usually impeccable house ends up with dishes in the sink and muddy paw prints by the back door. I don’t yell about shoes being strewn all over the front entry. Mini Demon gets a lunchable in his lunch bag instead of some cute and creative Pinterest worthy arrangement of nourishment. I drag myself to yoga, because the worst thing for a Spoonie is to stop exercising and taking care of yourself.

This invisible chronic illness has cost me friends, relationships and opportunities. It brings out the ugliest side I have. The side that stirs my demons awake and tells them it’s time to play.

I know I have to give and take in order to keep functioning, but by day 3 of a flair up I am
where I am mentally at this very moment. I am mad that I am not able to effortlessly and seamlessly multitask. I’m resentful that I don’t get to be like everyone else. I am upset that at 28,  I may actually be as broken as my military retirement makes me feel. I feel like Chronica failure of a mother because patience are thin and energy is low- I’m not the unreasonably fake Pinterest and Blog mom’s who never miss a beat or get sick. Most of all- I feel so absolutely helpless. The girl who is “always busy”, always has so much going on and drifts through it all effortlessly can barely get herself out of bed. On day 3 I am completely immersed in the chronic darkness- ignoring that once again the dawn will come and I will carry on and be just fine. I sit here in a non-productive daze. Feeling so many emotions and none all at the same time. My depression telling me I am worthless. I’m too much to deal with. I’ll never be as good as those who are healthy. I’m a horrible mom. I’m a bad employee. I’ll never achieve my dreams because I’m broken. I’ll never get the life I long for. I ache from head to toe. I want to remove my soul from this broken container and find a new one.

I know that I will not stay immersed in the darkness forever, but while I’m stuck here, I need to remember (like the point of my blog as a whole!)  this is MY  darkness and it makes me who I am. It proves to everyone around me and myself that I am a warrior. It shows my son to never stop, to never not get back up. It allows me to reach out to those who may be in the same boat, and let them know they aren’t alone. I may be immersed in the darkness, but I need to learn to Carpe Noctem instead of resenting it.

Today’s post is based on the word prompt “Immerse” by The Daily Post and couldn’t have come at a better time
Inspiration · Prompts

I am a Warrior

img_5100December 9, 2016 I got my semi-colon tattoo.

I shared it with the world with a post that read”  This is one of my most meaningful tattoos. Life has put me back in an insanely dark place, and it seemed appropriate that I remember I have been given not one, not two, but THREE chances to live my life. I cannot allow things to break me down, affect my happiness, or prevent me from pushing forward. No matter how badly I want to crawl into a hole and avoid the world, that is not the answer. I am stronger than the bullshit. I am not defined by these bumps and bruises. My story isn’t over.”

Little did I know, this would not be my last run-in with suicidal thoughts. It’s never really a “woe is me” or a “the world would be better without me” kind of thing, it’s always a “this is too much”, “I am so tired of fighting”, “I used to be able to handle this”. So many people look at suicide as something “selfish” or “stupid”…and while most of those people are people who have been hurt by someone who did just that- it’s boils down to one thing… to the suicidal, suicide seems like it is the only answer.

My tendencies come from my inability to  manage my stress paired with fibromyalgia. (Yes, I’m medicated. Yes, I see a therapist every other week, and have seen one since 2012. Yes, I see a psychiatrist once a month, and have since 2012.) My issue however, isn’t something like depression or anxiety… I have a trauma caused chemical imbalance. That imbalance does crazy things to my brain that result in stuff like sleeplessness, sleepiness, mood swings, and of course-my inability to handle high amounts of stress. The ONE thing that I worked best under. The ONE thing that fueled my success. I loved stress. I thrived in stress.  After my last deployment to Afghanistan, my ability to manage my stress spiraled downward and than was met with a diagnosis of Chemical issues AND Fibromyalgia all within weeks of each other.

I decided December 9, 2016 that I was no longer going to fight silently or allow others to fight silently. I was going to speak out, stand up, and tell my story to help others realize that there is more to mental health than what we think. There is more to things like suicidal tendencies and depression and anxiety than what people picture when they hear those words. I am a Mom, a Fur Mom, I work full time, I do freelance web design and marketing, I run a non-profit for Veterans and I work for a non-profit for Female Marines. I have multiple degrees. I blog. I read. I sit under the stars. I sleep in. I drink coffee. I live a very normal and successful life. At times though, my brain decides “this one week I’m going haywire” and it does. It doesn’t happen often, but when it does- it’s life threatening. I ALWAYS reach out. I ALWAYS apply what I learned in my years of therapy. I ALWAYS ensure someone knows I’m not doing well and in my opinion, most importantly, I speak out- normally on social media or via my blog. I let others know “Hey, I look normal and happy but right now… I’m not doing so hot. I am human and struggle just like you”.

I don’t do it for attention. I don’t do it because I’m weak. I don’t even do it because I am
depressed. It is a medical thing, and something people need to be aware of that happens and can happen to anyone. I get in a weird mood and it kind of spirals2e88394980fbc1bf6e44b3d539247c96 down from there. I can normally tell on onset and head it off long before it gets bad- and I see my therapist a little more until things are back to “normal”…but sometimes, it just happens. I end up sobbing in the shower realizing how tired I am of not being normal, not being the old me, how I miss being as versatile and resilient as I was. How I hate the pain. How I want my life back.  All of those feelings triggered by feeling “off” which is triggered by a chemical drop in my brain paired with my fibromyalgia, and I just break.

The stigma around talking about mental health issues is just mind blowing to me. It’s the stuff no one wants to admit or talk about and when someone does, it’s like the whole world comes to one of those rusty halts that makes noise and stuff falls off of. Everyone starts to whisper and shake their head. They start “feeling sorry” in the way of pity, not worry. It turns into alienation, distrust, and a barrier between those who don’t understand. Not put up by the sufferer, but by those who don’t grasp what is happening instead of asking, talking, sitting down and trying to figure it out. People whisper behind your back and treat you like a ticking time bomb. The only way to stop the stigma is to stop feeding the stigma. Stop making it not okay to be open about issues. Stop making people feel like they are wrong for voicing their experience, emotions, or struggles. There is NOTHING wrong with being open about any of that. Sometimes, just saying the words or typing the words is an outlet. Don’t deny someone the outlet they need or deserve. Don’t deny someone who may need to see someone else’s words to understand their own struggle better, or to motivate them to get the help they need. I have THREE years worth of once every 2 weeks therapy under my belt. I learned that “manning” up to my emotions, not bottling them up, SEEING in writing what I am dealing with, and than breaking it down and realizing what happened is my best medicine. To be told by anyone, ever that that is unacceptable, frowned upon, or “weird” is aiding in the stigma. Stop. Feeding. The. Stigma.

Since I have started speaking out about my struggles, the outpour of messages I receive here, on social media, and via email about the difference I have made in someones life, or how much I have helped them is so overwhelming. PLEASE reach out. PLEASE speak up. I now dedicate my life to coaching/mentoring Veterans who want to find holistic alternatives and learn skills to improve their quality of life in hopes of reducing the number of Veteran Suicides.

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This post is in response to The Daily Post’s Discover Challenge