Anxiety From the Beginning

Anxiety From the Beginning

Aargh, Insomnia at work again! This time it’s like I’m mulling over a hundred things at once; one of those things is my use of “underlying” in relation to my previous post concerning anxiety. Part of the reason is because I was reading a blog post someone had written about “How they cured their anxiety” and it got me thinking how even when things in my life seem to be going fine, the anxiety is still there niggling away under the surface ready to pounce at a moment of weakness.

One of my early memories of feeling anxious was when I was a kid and it we were running late for a church production rehearsal that I was involved in – a child worried about being late is a bit of an oxymoron; there may have been earlier times of worry. I also have memories when I was a childishly bossy in a true firstborn child manner.

I think the anxiety got stronger as I got older and life kept pounding me with curveballs and would knock me for a six (my hubby is a sports fanaticJ)

Anyway the earliest memory I can recall of having a panic attack was when I was 17, in my last year at High School and had pressure from numerous aspects of my life. Someone in my Home Room threw a paper ball at me – or something, and I just snapped and burst into tears. I ended up in the Sick Bay and while there the Deputy Principal (I think) gave me a glass of water to drink to try and calm me down, the glass had to be put down pretty rapidly  when I almost broke it because my teeth where chattering so much with the intensity of my emotions.

There have been other instances where I have had panic/anxiety attacks and it always seems to be after something small comes along to top things of and send me into a spiral. Most of the time I try to hold it together until I’m away from people, as I sometimes feel embarrassed to feel the way I do in those times and don’t want people’s pity. I don’t know why but I most of the time I feel like I have to be the strong one and the truth is that is tiring; I also don’t like being a burden to anyone and if I do feel like I’m being a burden it seems to make the anxiety/depression worse.

Well, that’s me for now.

T.

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Pro-Choice or Pro-Life: How about both?

Pro-Choice or Pro-Life: How about both?

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Abortion is such a controversial subject it seems that we only have 2 choices; we are either Pro-choice or Pro-life – almost like there is no other option.

Some people are pro-choice and some are pro-life but for me I am both – I am pro-choice for life, all lives. This has a lot to do with how my own experiences have shaped my views on the subject. Before my pregnancy with Zoë I would have said I was Pro-life all the way; however my view expanded when we got the grim prognosis at the 20 week ultrasound. My daughter had cranial abnormalities and was diagnosed as not viable for life. With this prognosis there may be some people that might end the pregnancy and they might have hardcore pro-lifers calling them murderers because of that choice. For me the choice was not an easy one however I decided to carry on with the pregnancy. It was a choice I made with much internalizing and discussion with my husband. Not everyone given the choice might make that decision and that might be the right decision for them

I knew within myself I wanted to give her a fighting chance at life and if she didn’t live – it would not be by my choice,  if I didn’t at least try to give her the chance I might carry around with me a burden of guilt and feel like I killed my daughter.  Yes, I could have decided to terminate the pregnancy as the medical professionals were right and if she’d survived being born it wouldn’t have been much of a life and it would be heart-wrenching for us as parents and terminating the pregnancy might have saved us the heartache.   The medical professionals didn’t expect me to even carry Zoë to term yet at 42 weeks I had to be induced and she still kept on fighting though it ended up being a losing battle. If I had terminated the pregnancy I wouldn’t have the memories I have of her In Utero, those memories of her movements I still treasure even though it got to be pretty uncomfortable, I wouldn’t have been able to say I’ve had 1 vaginal birth.

There are the rare occasions where I wonder if I made the right choice, I also wonder if I made the right choice in not choosing to have a c-section. If I had terminated the pregnancy I might have had many moments of regret and doubt.

One of my happiest moments was hearing the heartbeat of my babies, until then the pregnancy didn’t feel real even if I had morning sickness and I don’t know how I would have felt if I had miscarried any of my babies, maybe if I had miscarried Zoë in the first trimester that loss wouldn’t have been as great as was felt when she was still-born and then again, it might have been worse – I don’t know. Every situation is different and every person reacts differently

Purple Butterfly

I guess that’s the thing about abortion, it’s not exactly a clear-cut subject; it’s never absolutely wrong or absolutely right. In my opinion there needs to be a bit more empathy and less judgment when we hear about someone having an abortion as even if we are told a reason, there may be more to the story and unless we’ve been in a similar situation we have absolutely no idea what the person may be going through. There may be those who abortion is the only medical option or logical option and just like many issues that we come across today, everyone has different views and I believe it’s not acceptable to force those views on others.

One of my favourite quotes is from Dr Seuss’  Horton Hears A Who – “A person’s a person, no matter how small” Both the unborn baby and the mother are important and what affects one has the possibility of affecting the other. If a woman is pressured to go through with a pregnancy that she doesn’t want or if it puts her life at risk then that could lead to pre-natal/post-natal depression or maternal death. No matter where someone may stand on the issue of abortion everyone is entitled to their own views. I could not have an abortion but now after what I went through I have a bit of empathy and understanding for those that choose that option, we need to love the person even if we don’t agree with their particular views.

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Without Family, Life is Mission: Impossible

Without Family, Life is Mission: Impossible

Family 3Life has felt so hard lately but it would have been Mission: Impossible without the help and support of family and friends, with some of those friends being just as important as family.  Family doesn’t need to be defined by those that are related ever by blood or marriage but family can also be friends who are by your side through thick and thin.

Whatever the definition, family plays an important role in all our lives. Family gives us a sense of belonging; they can be a refuge and a support system. Children need a sense of belonging to help them to grow.

Without knowing where we belong, how can we feel secure in going forward on our life journey and know we have roots to secure us. In my opinion if children are deprived of a sense of belonging from a young age then there is a possibility they will look for it elsewhere and it may be in places or with people they may not be good for them.

Family 4One of the places I have found family outside of my relatives is at church. The tells about how we are brothers and sisters in Christ; there are times when that is true however as it is with people there are times when that idea is just that and though people may call each other sister/brother it is superficial or disingenuous, this happens when it is religious rhetoric and not heartfelt. Words unless lived are just words and often family in church needs to come from the heart and not from the head. Some people may not truly understand the meaning of family and so say or act the part but when it comes down to the core of things and they need to give of themselves there is hesitation or resistance.

Life isn’t easy and relationships do take work because if they didn’t relationships/friendships wouldn’t grow. Family in many cases allows us to grow and at times is a safety net for us to venture out knowing someone’s there to help us or to “catch” us if we fall.

If we have no Family around that’s when friends can fill that place, even if we have Family however if they are not there for us is another time when having friends is great. Sometimes Family can put unattainable expectations on family and in those cases sometimes letting family go is the best thing for us. Family shouldn’t be the ones to drag each other down but to embrace no matter what; there will be those times when family members might need to dissuade us from a decision that is detrimental but in the end the choice is ours and it is great when family are there to pick us up.

 

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Social Media – A World of Strangers

Social Media – A World of Strangers

Social Media plays a big part in today’s society connecting people around the world, making the world seem smaller, on the other hand it seems that certain things can get a bit out of control which leads me to the topic of bullying on Social Media

Bullying on social media seems to be quite prevalent these days. Why is it that some people think that they can say whatever they want to other people on Social Media, without thinking about the impact of what they say.

I know I have written a blog about the topic of bullying on Social Media but I believe that the more we speak out about it, there’s a greater chance that it might stick with people that bullying – even on Social Media is wrong. Just because a person may not physically be in front of us doesn’t give anyone the right to say to another person whatever they want without consideration of that person.

I’m on Snapchat a bit and it seems that lately I’ve been hearing a bit from certain “high profile” social media personalities about what they are being subjected to and I’m actually a bit relieved that my “following” has nowhere near the numbers of those that “follow” them. For if I was subjected to some of the comments that are thrown their way, I’m not sure if I could cope so huge props to them they are keeping up with their social media presence, when it could be easier to just throw in the towel.

Just because you may follow a person on social media and in cases like Snapchat know a bit about their life doesn’t mean you know them. Relationships can be built via social media but if there hasn’t been true give and take, positive connections, then all we are – are strangers. Would you want a stranger to just randomly come up to you on the street and say something to you because they disagree with something you are doing; that’s what is going on it seems when bullying is taking place on Social Media. Its often excused by the idea “I was just giving my opinion” Don’t get me wrong sometimes an opinion can be helpful. However, when it puts someone down then its not so helpful, and didn’t need to be shared.

A person may not think they are bullying but maybe before commenting on a post/snap we think these things:

  • How could it affect the other person
  • Would I want it said to me, if I was in that person’s shoes
  • What is the reason behind the comment, and
  • Would I say it to the person’s face

Within social media, tone of voice is not easily portrayed, and often we need to think before we press “send”. There could be times when the comment is innocent yet someone could interpret it wrong, in that case we should be able to explain/apologise if need be. If someone posts something that’s not specifically aimed at anyone, yet someone takes offense then it might not be the original posters intent and if so, that poster shouldn’t need to apologise, an explanation might do if that’s what the original poster wants to do.

This is not a cookie cutter world and people are different so will act/say/do things differently to others and just because a person may reach out and ask for an opinion we can at least be nice about it and not have the other person feel attacked. If a comment you want to post is not positive or at least neutral then scroll on down without comment. Just because you may disagree with a post doesn’t mean you need to comment.

If you do make nasty comments and the other person responds to it in a way which makes you feel attacked, either ignore it and move on or privately message the person and ask them why they responded that way

Life is hard enough without us tearing down one another. There’s enough negativity and bullying in this world without people adding to it via social media.

Music Soothes The Beast

Music Soothes The Beast

Within music there are many different genres and sub-genres that appeal to different people, people from all different walks of life, there are those that are into hard rock, some that like classical and some that like pop music. There are probably those that like all genres. My preferred genres of music would most likely be contemporary country and pop; my husband on the other hand likes rock.

These genres do have a more melodic rhythm and when I’m feeling down it helps me as often it calms my anxious thoughts and helps me to think clearer. When even the positive and uplifting words of friends can be shrugged off, this genre of music speaks to my very soul. When I can’t find the words to express how I’m feeling certain songs express it for me.

However, when my temper gets the better of me and I need to release some anger I go for a drive with music by Pink blaring and that’s like a release valve and eventually my anger cools down. My favourite Christian artists would have to be Amy Grant and Twila Paris for when I need that softer touch. Amy Grant’s song “Don’t Try So Hard” is my favourite song at the moment as it is a reminder that God’s grace can’t be earned as it is freely given. There are also songs that I like to play when I’m missing my baby girl that we lost like Eric Clapton’s song “Tears In Heaven”, and it allows me to feel what I might otherwise keep pushed down.

I’m not a good singer but I love to sing along to songs that express how I feel but can’t get the words out myself, often I sing in the car or when I’m just around Hubby and the kids. When I was a kid I had another kid say to me “You know you can’t sing” which at the time was very hurtful and actually stopped me from singing at all for many years; but as I loved music too much in time I decided to not allow those careless words to stop me from doing something I love.

Music has always been like a security blanket for me. When I listen to music and sing along it opens me up more than anything else, I like to sit down and get lost in a good book but music is the one thing that helps keep negative thoughts at bay, or at least allows them to flow safely away without affecting my life.

Not Always Mind Over Matter

Not Always Mind Over Matter

Anxiety

In this fast pace world we live in with all the opportunities available; and all the talk of tolerance and acceptance, Anxiety and depression still seems to get a hard rap. Those with Anxiety and/or depression are told to “harden up” or “you just need to keep busy” or “Think positive”. These are nice statements and are most likely said with the best of intentions. Sometimes though its not as easy as that.

Sometimes you can try to “Think positively” but it can be a battle, even when you have a great support network; turning off negative thoughts can seem impossible. How anxiety or depression is portrayed can differ from person to person. How a person gets through it at a particular moment can differ from person to person, what works for one person may not work for another.

A person with anxiety can get anxious over what may seem a trifling issue; however the workings of the persons mind can be in overdrive. Sometimes it feels like anxious thought/feelings and common sense are battling each other and you really want common sense to win but that can be a hard outcome to achieve.

Those with Anxiety/Depression sometimes seemed to be deemed as weak, however that can be further from the truth that you know. When a person battles with Anxiety/depression daily they are actually quite tough with every day that they don’t give in to the Black Hole.

The attempt to always seem happy can be a battle as well, when you are smiling and laughing on the outside but are screaming on the inside; or when you’re spiraling downwards but you are afraid to let people know so you work even harder at putting on a happy face; some may do this through being comical.

A person who’s affected by anxiety/depression needs support and not judgment. They need to feel supported and that they are not a burden when they ask for help. Sometimes people dealing with anxiety/depression won’t ask for help either because they feel ashamed, or they don’t want to burden others. When you offer help let it be genuine and selfless and not about you earning “Brownie Points” so to speak.

 

More Prose than Poetry

More Prose than Poetry

This “novel” is me truly opening up and baring more of myself than I would normally do.

When I was younger my literary outlet was writing poetry I’ve found in that I was still able to hide from myself. I don’t know when it started but I would try to be who I thought people wanted me to be and in that was very rarely myself. I put on a mask so much that I think I forgot who I was.

I was bullied at school so became very introverted my my self esteem was very low, I became the type of person that wanted to please people and never disappoint – which I now find interesting as in life I have felt disappointed by people and sometimes it wasn’t the other persons fault.

I grew up in the church and for some reasons thought I had to be this little christian girl – but really I didn’t know what that meant, I could spout out many bible verses and I was the kid who because I felt lonely would say “I’m not alone, I’ve got Jesus”

I remember one night I prayed that I just wanted Mum to be happy – previously that year she had attempted to take her own life – the next morning my Grandparents came and told me that Mum had passed away; she had succeeded (if you can call it that) in taking her own life. I was 14 when this happened and I started going back to church again as I felt that’s what my mum would have wanted, I felt like I was the one responsible for my little sister and brother and to pick up where mum left off. In doing this I think I forgot more about me.

Being a teenager is hard enough, but when you’ve got to go through those years without anyone to really guide you. The next year when I was 15 I had to change schools, the year after I had little choice but to move out as my step-mum and I did not get along, so I moved in with my Granny who’s an awesome woman, but my life felt so topsy-turvy and I felt so alone even with the family around me.

By the time I got to my early 20’s I was starting to feel a bit normal and could manage; or so I thought, I still was not being true to myself which also meant that those around me didn’t really know me either. When I first met Rob he thought I was some “holier than though” girl, and in a way I was though it was more of a way for me to hide my low self-esteem from not just those around me but to myself as well.

Go down the track a few years and Rob and I are married and expecting our first child, however at 20 weeks we find that she is not likely to live. By 42 weeks I went through a traumatic birth  and Zoë  was stillborn, and I felt let down by God, by friends, by myself. I was angry at everyone including myself. My self-esteem took such a beating that it took a while for me to be truly happy again.

A year and a half later we had our first son and my self-esteem started to slowly come back. Then 20 months later our youngest son arrived and it took a long time for me to bond with him and I almost hated myself for it, but eventually things turned right. Now last year we had our gorgeous wee girl who I feel so protective of and would do almost anything to make her happy.

Even after all this joy I am still having to work on my self-esteem and that fact that I struggle with anxiety. Most days I can keep it in check but there have been times when things just feel too much and I almost break. One thing I think I was good at was pretending that everything was fine – because aren’t I meant to be happy, after all I have beautiful children, am married to a great guy and have some pretty good friends.

Even though I have all this, there are times when I feel alone – not all the time of course but in those bad moments it feels really bad.

Lately I’ve been focusing on positive events like the first birthday of my precious wee girl who when she smiles brings so much joy. One thing I’ve tried to do is to not let my boys get worried when I have my bad moments as I want them to be as carefree as possible. I want them to not grow up too fast.