Wednesday, March 16, 2016

Stress, Mental health and The Parent

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Every morning i sit on the  edge of my bed and tell myself, "today, is going to be a good day","I'm not going to be down today even if i feel overwhelmed"."I love my life". "I love Mark", "I love the kids"."We are happy".
I tell myself this because having five kids and working full time can be so overwhelming that sometimes it feels like everything is falling apart, even when it isn't. I also have bipolar disorder,so when things feel wrong they feel really,really wrong. So i have started this little mantra. I listen to motivational speeches on my way to work every single day. It pumps me up. It makes me feel like i can take on the world and anything it throws my way. They tell me to keep moving forward, to never give up. I'm the kind of person who needs to hear that every single day. "Don't give up".I also take my medications.
So much is going on at once in my life right now that it requires me to repeat that mantra several times a day lately.
My grampa is sick and I'm worried about my mom. My two oldest daughters age 19 and 20 are both in college and working full time. They are figuring out the reality of life after high school very quickly. That its super hard and not as fun as they thought it would be. Which in turn gives way to the occasional melt down.So naturally as there mother i worry. I have a 16 year old who feels left out of her older sisters lives because they are so busy. She has been handed the role of the big sister/ babysitter after school while I'm at work. She is a tremendous help , although I'm almost positive she feels like she has no life.So i worry that she feels used and under appreciated.
The two youngest have ballet and swim on the weekends. We are remodeling our house. We have 3 dogs one of which cost me $207 dollars at the vet this morning because he has a staff infection. My chickens have turned into she devils for no apparent reason which requires me to enter the coop with caution while retrieving eggs, and herding them back into the coop with a broom. The dog's pee is ruining the grass we planted last summer, never mind the on going battle Mark has with the mole that is also destroying our yard. The garden i wanted to plant? Well it's still a work in progress because i have had absolutely no time to work on it. So i worry that our house and yard will never look the way we want it to.
Mark just bought a boat, so now fixing up the house has gone to the way side while he plays with that, and i just got kicked off of his health insurance because "domestic partnership" is only for same sex marriages apparently (I'm not judging, just disappointed).
It sounds like I'm complaining i know. I'm really not. I am stressed yes. I however am happy to be this overwhelmed. I am grateful that i have children to take to ballet, and swim lessons, and soccer practice. I am proud that my two oldest girls are learning to be responsible and are going to college. I am glad it's hard on them because they will learn in the long run that all that hard work was worth it. I am grateful that Mark can have a hobby such as his boat because it is what makes him happy. I am glad we have chickens because they provide us with egg's and poop. Yes poop that i might some day use in that garden i have no time to put in! hahahah!! I love having dogs because regardless of the messes and vet bills and pee stained yard and poop to scoop (sorry a lot of poo talk), they make us smile. They lower our blood pressure, my girls adore them and sleep better at night snuggling them. I am happy that i have a job where i help people , make a decent living, and can help mark with our finances. I am grateful that i have been a part of my grandfather's life and now after my own experience with my father , i can help my mother with his death. I am grateful that i no longer am trapped in an abusive marriage. I am happy that the struggles my girls and i face now are normal everyday struggles that every person experiences at one time or another. Instead of living in fear of what the next day will bring.
I used to look down on faith,hope,happiness. I believed i would never feel it. I was just slumming through life, doing only what is necessary to survive. I was in a dark place for a long long time.I was in a fog so thick at times.Every time i thought i saw sunshine, it would start to rain again.
So many of us struggle with just accomplishing daily task's because life is heavy. It really can feel like a heavy burden. For  a lot of us , just getting out of bed is a struggle. Did you know that 18% of people 18 years of age and older suffer from some type of anxiety or depression? (Source: National Institute of Mental Health). Did you know that anxiety and depression is treatable but only about 1/3 of people are treated? Did you know that women are more likely to be affected by these disorders than men? Why? I know that a lot of it is genetic. I have been told that my bi-polar and anxiety are a real physical ailment, caused by a lack of certain chemicals in my brain and that someone in my family probably had or has the same disorder. I have also been told that the environment that i lived in prior to the last six years contributed to making it worse. I believe it is a combination of both.
Our environment? Yes our environment.
Stress we put ourselves under to be liked by everyone. Stress we put on ourselves under by staying in a broken marriage. Stress at our jobs, stress raising kids. Stress is every where.Stress IS our environment. It is how we choose to perceive the level that these things control us.
We need to breath.
Try Meditation.
We need to relax.
Try taking a bath with candles for light.
We need to remember that we part of something so much greater than the opinions of others and what is expected of us.Stop worrying about wether or not you are liked and except that not everyone is going to like you.
You need to know that it's hard.It's painful at times. Some times you are going to want to throw in the towel. Your going to just want to get in your car and leave it all behind.
Don't .
Please try to remember:  YOU ALONE ARE ENOUGH. YOU HAVE NOTHING TO PROVE TO ANYONE!! Take it one day at a time. 24 hours at a time.
I encourage you to get up in the morning and name five things you are grateful for in the morning before you get out of bed. I encourage you to get motivated and do things that make you happy. 
If you don't, know what that is, then try something new each month until you figure it out. Step outside your comfort zone. I'm not going to tell you to live a stress free life because its not possible. Instead look for the good in all the bad and focus on that. I encourage you to simplify your life. Stop wasting time and energy on material things and focus on your spirit. Encourage those you see around you struggling to ask for help.Helping others i believe is what helps us, and if doing all of these things still isn't helping you, then please ask for help from a professional. Mental health is so very important.Not shameful.
"COURAGE IS GRACE UNDER PRESSURE" Ernest Hemingway


www.mentalhealthamerica.net/conditions/stress

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