Let’s chat.

Oh hey there. Today we are officially living in February of 2021. What does that mean? Well, it means that we survived the year of 2020. For that, I think we all deserve a pat on the back. Or do we? The cynical part of me says life could be hard any time. A global pandemic just made it a little more acceptable for things to be difficult, and difficulty to be more widespread. Sure, living in cities that are shut down, having full hospitals, thousands of people dying from the same cause in a short amount of time, adjusting to virtual schooling, thousands of jobs lost, and all of the other consequences of the pandemic are nothing to minimize. While it may be an unpopular opinion, I am going to go out on a limb and say many parts of life can be hard. So far, 2021 is still hard. The national difficulties have shifted ever so slightly with a vaccination for the virus being administered as quickly as possible, so the pandemic looks to be improving.  Things are looking up. Right?


What if you are someone that experiences mental health issues every day? What about the thousands of people who are not able to leave their home due to the fear of the outside? What about the thousands of people who die from suicide each year, the lack of mental health beds in hospitals, the lack of mental health services, the thousands who struggle to maintain a job? What if you were to experience constant stress from the consequences of those inadequacies in our society? Oh and then add a negative stigma on top of that. In other words, mind health issues that are out of your control chronically stress you AND there are very few people to talk to about it.

Mental health issues are often kept a secret. COVID-19 issues, on the other hand, are openly talked about, something to commiserate with one another about. Heck, even governmental assistance has been expected for the COVID-19 pandemic.  While oftentimes, mental health services are the first to be cut from public funding. Ironically, the impact of COVID-19 has actually increased the mental health issues in society.

So what’s my point?

Well, my hope and prayer is that as the viral pandemic crisis dissipates, our eyes can open up to the mental health pandemic that is plaguing our society. I know that it may sounds exhausting to go from one pandemic to the next, especially when the mind health pandemic seems to spread so silently. Life can be exhausting. Life is exhausting.  Nevertheless, the mind health pandemic must be prioritized. The first step is talking about it.

Join me in the conversation.

Well That Didn’t Go as Planned….

The year 2020 in one cliche: Well that didn’t go as planned.

It is now well into the first week of October and we have been social distancing since March 13th. That’s 208 days ago. Two hundred and eight days.

I honestly have very little to complain about overall. So far our household is healthy. The biggest challenge here at The Crazies house is just spending ALL of our time together. The husband works from home. I stay home. And we chose to keep our kids home the first semester for virtual learning. The girls have been in public a minimum amount of times. We have slowly expanded our social bubble just to include close family members. We have socially distanced visits with friends a handful of times. We have went through multiple bottles of hand sanitizer and masks are now a part of the laundry rotation. Such is life in 2020. My only real complaint is not being able to go visit family further away. Oh and it has become very clear that I am not made to be a homeschool mom.

Beyond the obvious effects of Quarantine life 2020 mentioned above, our household has experienced some mental health issues as well. Depending on how you look at them, they could be considered “out of the norm” for us. They may even be a greater consequence of the greater 2020 experience. One thing I do know is that I finally am feeling the motivation to write about some of these “issues”. So stay tuned…


Oh hey. A while back I blogged about being concerned that my weight would be something that other children could use to make fun of my own kids for… you know “your mom” jokes and worse. You can read that initial post here, if you haven’t already. https://cleanlivingwiththecrazies.com/2019/12/05/tackling-the-big-one/

Yesterday, something that I hadn’t really thought to be concerned about happen. Yesterday, I was helping one of my children get ready for swimming lessons, she was saying different adjectives to describe me. Words like silly and nice were coming from her mouth and then came the phrase that has left me paralyzed in many ways ever since: “you’re kind of a big fatty”.

“You’re kind of a big fatty.”

I heard her, but did one of those “what did you say?” that happens when you want to make sure you heard someone and I think that my face must have shown some small hint of hurt and/or her incredibly empathetic and loving self thought maybe she had made a mistake and her response was “I said I love you”.

“You’re kind of a big fatty.”

It was said carelessly just like the more positive phrases of admiration before it. My six-year-old simply states the truth and is learning to navigate this world. She did not say it to be hurtful, it just came to mind as a way to describe me. As evidenced in the previous blog post, she knows how to be compassionate and think about how others may feel. Thinking before you’re speaking in all situations is something many adults have not mastered, so I am not holding anything against her. She could have said it even if I wasn’t overweight. She’s just a child. But I am overweight.

So, there it is. “You’re kind of a big fatty.”

This comment has thrown me off guard. I want to cry. I want to scream. I want to punch the wall. I want to punch myself. I want to start running and never stop. Although, clearly, you won’t really find me running anywhere at all. I am so incredibly disappointed with myself. I am so frustrated with my inability to take care of myself and be healthy. What in this world is going to be the “motivation”, the “last straw”, the “thing” that pushes me over the edge to improve my health? How many times more times am I going to allow myself to feel such disappointment and frustration? I honestly haven’t cried very much over this experience. My eyes well up and then I push down the sadness because I’m afraid if I start crying I won’t be able to stop. So I decided to write a blog post about it. That’s all. I don’t really have an ending. I’m still pretty paralyzed. My mind is trying to muster up the courage to devise a plan to go over the edge, for real, like over to the other side where I actually consistently work on my health.

If I have no conclusion, why actually post to the internet? Because I know that somewhere, someday, out there in the internet there may be someone who has had or does have similar feelings and experiences. It’s comforting to know that we’re not alone. So for now, I’ll just slowly let myself feel these intense emotions. For now, I will continue to love and care for my family as usual. For now, I will consider the next step. Once my legs start working again.

See ya Later, Someday

This past Sunday when I opened up my personal Instagram, literally every post had something to do with the tragic, sudden death of NBA legend Kobe Bryant. I honestly do not have much of an opinion on Mr. Bryant himself. Obviously I do not know him personally and as far as the NBA goes, I’m more of a 1990s Chicago Bulls (aka Michael Jordan) fan. Either way, a tragedy is a tragedy and they occur every day all over our country and the world. The only difference in the tragedy that occurred outside of LA on Sunday and every other tragedy is that the victim and their family are not usually of celebrity status. However, because this tragedy is high profile and all over all of my media outlets for the past several days, it has been a reminder that life is indeed short. Nothing new though, right?

Meet my new motto: Someday is today.

If you are anything like me, you have lots of ideas/items/plans, etc. that you have collected and put aside for someday. Until this latest motto realization, someday did not seem to have happened yet. So even though I have experienced sudden death in my own life, it’s almost as if I was selfishly hoping for someday to walk up to me on the street, wave enthusiastically, and announce its arrival. News flash: after a good 18 years of adulthood someday has not appeared. Weird, I know. Interestingly, today does keep appearing. So I have determined that it is time for me to focus on the today that keeps showing up and let go of the someday that has not shown up even once.

It is going to take many baby and possibly bigger sized steps for me to fully embrace today. Honestly, embracing the today is so out of the norm for me that it feels uncomfortable. Sure, over the last several years and my mental health training, I have spent some time working on mindfulness and being present in the moment. But fully running up, greeting, and hugging the today in my life has never happened. Today’s baby step was to challenge myself every time I thought that I could put something off to be dealt with later. I didn’t do too bad.

What I did today instead of someday:

  • cut back slightly on my sugar intake
  • carried items downstairs that I had been ignoring
  • wrote this blog article

What I did NOT do today instead of someday:

  • laundry
  • laundry
  • laundry

As you can see, these are very small baby steps…. and it isn’t rocket science… but it is different for me. It did make me feel more empowered to keep taking steps torward truly living for today. No matter how small those steps are, I am grateful for the reminder and the opportunity to live another day and focus on the someday that is actually disguised as today.

Expectations or Lack of

I did it!

The last couple of days I have been experiencing heightened anxiety, and/or increased depression. When more significant changes in my mood occur, it makes me stop to look and see if I can identify a catalyst. It’s been the holidays. For many people, that can increase their mental health symptoms. Overall, I feel like I have a pretty good handle on understanding my typical symptoms during the holidays, so I didn’t think that was the problem. It is the first year that I have had kids in school full time, and so winter break time is new, along with the anticipation of returning to school and a routine. So I thought maybe that was playing into my increased symptoms. In reality it probably was, but it didn’t feel like the catalyst I was looking for. So I kept soul searching, and by golly, I think I figured out a big underlying issue that is affecting my overall mood recently. Expectations.

Expectations (or lack of, as the title suggests). Now, I could write articles and articles about expectations, and I’m sure this will not be the last on the subject. But for this instance, I want to share my most recent realizations surrounding expectations. So here it goes.

For as long as I can remember, from the age of 3 or earlier, I have dreamed of being a mom. Becoming a mother was my biggest life goal. Yes, I know that can be considered “old fashioned”, and yes I know that it’s not that “hard” in most cases to become a mother. I know I have accomplished other great achievements that others only dream of in the realms of education and such. But honestly, all I ever wanted was to be a mother. Good news: as of January 2014, I’m a mother of two beautiful, smart, funny, and incredibly wonderful girls. In the simplest of conversations, mission accomplished. Check. I did it. I became a mother.

So now what?

Well, my expectation of myself and the continued dream was to be able to stay at home and raise my children until they became old enough to attend school full time. I would nurture them in the best way I knew how in order to attempt to counterbalance some of the less desired nature characteristics that could sneak up if not attended to. I would show them what unconditional love is, create an environment for healthy brain development, healthy attachments, and optimal growth. Good news: as of August 2019, my two pride and joys entered the world of full time public school. I did it. (We did it. I am grateful for my husband working hard so I could stay home. I’m not intentionally leaving him out, but this is my blog.) Another check mark on the list.

So now what??

I DON’T KNOW! !!! !!!

And here lies the catalyst. Yes, I do know that my parenting job is not over. It will never be over. I get it. For the most part, I know what I signed up for. What I don’t have is a predetermined expectation, from a younger age (maybe even my 3-year-old self) to tell me what I should be doing to feel somewhat successful. And for whatever reason, this lack of expectations has left me feeling anxious, depressed, lonely, frustrated, lost, and even silly. I mean really, I have plenty of adult responsibilities to tend to. It’s not like I’m bored. Again, in the simplest of terms, it’s more like I have accomplished all of my self expectations at the age of 36. So why don’t I feel more free? Why aren’t some new expectations that my older and somewhat wiser self can determine coming to mind? Why am I sitting here feeling completely lost in a very tiny corner of this world surrounded by my dreams come true? Why do all of my ideas that do come to mind seem like a bad fit?

I obviously don’t know the answer to these questions. However, I do know that even if I have somehow accomplished my one and only true goal in life by the age of 36, I’m not giving up. I’m going to keep on searching for the next goal or expectation that feels right for me. I’m excited to talk about this with my therapist. Although, the more I think about it, the more I think that this is what “they” have been meaning all of these years when “they” talk about “finding yourself”.

Here’s to a new year, same old me, whoever that is.

Tackling the Big One

Towards the end of every day, I try to make sure that both Blondie and Brownie have enough space to process events and emotions from the day. Last night, when listening to Brownie talk about school, she mentioned that a couple of the boys in her class were being mean. The boys were making fun of another classmate behind his back due to a characteristic of his mother, who happens to work at the school. Brownie shared that she stood up to her classmates and told them that was not nice. Although, she says they didn’t listen to her, I reinforced that I was proud of her for sticking up for what she knew was right. She then went on to play with her sister. As soon as she left the room, I lost it.

Hello, trigger. Out of seemingly nowhere, I looked at the hubs across the room and started sobbing. Interestingly enough, that thing that those boys were being mean about is one of my biggest insecurities. It’s an insecurity that I strive every day to cover up so that my girls might not have the same one. Although, I’m pretty sure that after my extreme reaction to the trigger last night, it’s time to face it head on. So here we go…. I’m pretty good at practicing exposure therapy on myself. Ha.

The boys were making fun of their classmate behind his back because his mom is “FAT”.

Typing that word now, is stirring up tears for me. That three letter “F” word is something that is not part of my vocabulary because of the negative connotations that come along with it, and the insecurities in myself that it invokes. But why did this story from Brownie specifically send me into a tizzy? Because it’s one of my biggest fears. Because it’s one of my most vivid and least favorite memories from my own childhood. Because I remember as if it was yesterday when my own mother shared that she was sorry if anyone had ever made fun of me because she was overweight and that was one of her motivations for working to improve her health. At that time, in my preteen years, I didn’t have the heart to tell her it had already happened. The “mean boys” had already been making fun of me based on her size. As my heart was breaking during childhood, I never dreamed I would find myself in the same situation once more, just filling a different role. Now I’m the mom and my girls are the vulnerable kids. My heart is breaking once again. I naively hoped kindergarten was safe and kids would just be nice. Oh how wrong I am.

Side note: My amazing and lovely mother worked her ass off (literally) and is now a healthy grandmother who runs whenever she can and would not be someone that even a “mean boy” could call f#@.

If you’re thinking ‘if it was/is “one of your biggest fears” for your weight to be used against your children, why aren’t you doing something about it?’, I don’t blame you. However, I also know enough to know that it isn’t that simple. I have done “something” about it several times. I have tried to lose weight and improve my health. If I’m being honest, I have felt insecure about my body from the moment I understood that it wasn’t socially acceptable to be f%&. I have tried jogging for “fun”. I have tried almost every mainstream diet. I have drank nothing but shakes for 3 months just to gain it all and more back once I started eating again. With every piece of cake I have eaten in the past 20+ years I have thought to myself ‘You shouldn’t eat this. It’s just going to make you fatter. Why can’t you stop being fat?’ I have cried. I have signed up for 5ks 6 months out and not attended. It’s not that simple. It’s not just about cutting back calories and exercising. There are a whole 25+ years of emotions to work through as well.

So here we go. Time to hit this thing head on. Body image. Weight insecurity. Actually being an unhealthy weight. Critical self talk. Addiction. Emotions. Oh the emotions. Little jerk kids. It’s time.

P.S. Please don’t tell me I’m beautiful just the way I am. It may be true, and part of me knows that it is, but a larger part of me hears it as more criticism. So thanks, but no thanks.

My Soap Box on Infant Prematurity (3 of 3)

The NICU can be a very lonely place. It’s one of those places where there are people around all the time, but yet can still feel all alone. So I sat, mostly alone due to the hubs still needing to work, in our girls’ room for 12+ hours a day. I didn’t turn on the TV, because I didn’t want the extra noise to stimulate the babies and keep them from sleeping. I tried to read, but couldn’t focus with all the monitors constantly beeping. I did talk to my babies and sing to them a little through their isolettes, but for the most part they didn’t respond to much. We were told at the very beginning by a nurse that I’m sure had the best intentions, that in order to go home as quickly as possible and get out of there, Blondie and Brownie needed to sleep as much as possible without being bothered. That every time their isolette was opened in the earliest days, it could slow down their development by messing with their body temperature. (Then they would have to spend energy to warm themselves up.) The goal was to have them resting calmly as much as possible so that they could grow as optimally as possible. Their lungs had more developing to do and they needed to learn how to suck in order to eat. In my PPD fog, I didn’t question any of the nurses. Looking back, I wish I would have had the strength to advocate for the 3 of us and insist on letting us figure out the whole breast feeding thing. But again, I was told that the fastest way to go home would be to get them to drink out of a bottle because it didn’t take as much effort from the babes. So, as stated before…. I sat and I pumped every 3 hours.

When I was thinking about what to include in this third part, I discovered that I had several different directions that I could go. Please bear with me as I attempt make things flow all together. Let’s get a little “technical” and define PPD before we go any further. According to psychiatry.org, if any of the following symptoms persist for more than 2 weeks, one should contact their physician for an official diagnosis:

  • Sluggishness, fatigue
  • Feeling sad, hopeless, helpless, or worthless
  • Difficulty sleeping/sleeping too much
  • Changes in appetite
  • Difficulty concentrating/confusion
  • Crying for “no reason”
  • Lack of interest in the baby, not feeling bonded to the baby, or feeling very anxious about the baby
  • Feelings of being a bad mother
  • Fear of harming the baby or oneself
  • A loss of interest or pleasure in life

These symptoms can last for weeks, months, and even years. I read somewhere that 30% of the individuals diagnosed with PPD are still receiving treatment after 3 years. So which of these symptoms did I have? It’s easier to say which one I didn’t have. I didn’t have a fear of harming the baby(ies) or oneself. So I was in a fog… a going through the motions, trying to do the right things, fog.

The healthcare that Blondie and Brownie received was top notch. The hospital that they were born at is ranked as one of the best in the country. I have no complaints about the direct care towards them. However, I do feel that more of a focus should be made on the family as a whole. I do not blame the staff that we encountered directly, but rather see it as negligence on the healthcare system in our country. The medical needs of my children, who were the patients, were always meant without question. But what happens when those patients get to go home? Who is checking in with their parents to make sure that they are okay and can handle taking care of them 24/7. I did fill out the depression survey before my own discharge. But that was basically just to screen for thoughts of self harm. I know that there are families which require more attention due to the level of “drama” in their lives. Overall, from the outside, I suppose we appear to be fairly “drama-free”. I was sinking in a fog, but I was able to go through the motions and did have a support system. This is the population, that I feel goes most unnoticed. If you are able to do the motions without incident, there simply are not enough resources to stop and check in to see how things are really going. This is where the healthcare system needs to step up and add more resources to be able to assist individuals all over the spectrum. In the first couple of days of the girls being hospitalized we had a wonderful nurse who responded to my questions about whether or not I would be able to bond with my babies and if there would be any long term attachment disorders with a suggestion to go to a support group that was held in the hospital for families of those in the NICU. It was nice of them to notice that I may benefit from some kind of intervention, however the support group was the only thing that was suggested to us the whole 37 days that we were there. As someone who is depressed, already going through the motions, and a suffers from social anxiety…. I wanted to scream “THERE IS NO WAY I AM GOING TO A SUPPORT GROUP! I DON’T HAVE ENOUGH ENERGY TO DEAL WITH PEOPLE MORE THAN I ALREADY AM!” But nevertheless, I was appreciative that he cared.

So what is my proposed “solution” to this whole in the healthcare system? A resource, maybe a social worker or counselor, who is assigned to each family. Technically I believe that there is a social worker assigned to each family, but because we were “drama-free” and we had a good home to bring the girls to once they were discharged, she met with me only to fill out the required paperwork. So this additional resource would be someone that would check in daily or every other day with the family to get to know them and look for signs of PPD or unspoken needs. This person would build rapport with the family/caregivers and become a support system during the hospital stay. They could assist the family member in securing the services that they may need once they head home. Looking back, it does seem that the nurses kind of, slightly attempted to fill this role and build rapport. However, every existing position in the health care system already has responsibilities, many more than they can handle. So this needs to be a dedicated resource to start helping families and moms like myself stop from falling through the cracks. Look, I’m a trained counselor. If someone would have suggested counseling to me during those 37 days, I would have jumped at the opportunity. After all, I was just sitting there staring into space waiting for the next alarm to go off to tell me to pump. But no one did. No one even mentioned it. Instead there were some unwelcoming comments like “why aren’t you… (basically initiating more of the care) because you’re going to have to figure out how to do this at home”. HELLO. I WAS TOLD NOT TO ROCK THE BOAT, AKA, JUST LET THEM SLEEP AND GROW. So they slept and grew and I sat and the word around me became foggier and foggier.

Tomorrow, I will share how things are better. In what should be part 4 of this 3 part series.

My Soap Box on Infant Prematurity (2 of 3)

Postpartum Depression (PPD) is no joke. I went into the third trimester of pregnancy knowing that I would be at a significant risk of having PPD, based on my previous history of depression. I had open conversations with my physician and was taking a low and safe dose of an antidepressant in order to start to build up the amount in my system. (If you don’t know, it often takes 4-6 weeks for antidepressants to start to work.) So I was feeling pretty confident that I had done all that I could to prepare for PPD. What I wasn’t prepared for at all was life in the NICU. Now, I want to be perfectly clear and state that I am not complaining in any way about the care that my family received surrounding the birth of our children. We are blessed to live in a 1st world country, with fantastic health care available. Of course it could be cheaper, but that’s a whole different rant and post. Because of the modern medicine available to our family, both of our girls are nearly perfect and show no signs of prematurity when you look at them today. My ‘Soap Box’ is more about spreading awareness to draw attention to an area where there could be more support.

The first time I really met my babies, they were already in isolettes, connected to monitors by wires. They both had been intubated and had feeding tubes. I stared at my babies, so tiny, and cried. We were not able to hold them often or even open the isolettes to touch them due to trying to maintain their body temperature. There was constant beeping either of their monitors or another child’s. A constant feeling of being on the edge. I became obsessed with researching the effects of NICU stays and parent/child bonding. I read all about how some parents, especially fathers can experience PTSD from the NICU experience. I researched and asked our nurses questions to find out more. The doctors said that they would probably be in the hospital until their original due date. I think that’s when things really set in. I may not get to take my babies home for another 6 weeks. Even though I was to be discharged after 3 days. We gave the girls their official names, I filled out a basic depression evaluation, and I was free to go. Just a once pregnant lady going home without her babies. (This is the time that I acknowledge once again that I know things could have been a lot worse and we are very blessed to have the healthy children that we do, but that does not take away from my feelings/experience.)

Commence the 37 day NICU stay for Blondie and Brownie.

The next 37 days were a fog. Not a blur because things went fast, but a fog. The fog of depression set in rather quickly. I sat with my babies in their hospital room, listening to the beeps of the monitors. I did my best not to open their isolettes and touch them because my understanding was that if I wanted to get them home ASAP I shouldn’t do anything to slow down their progress (like mess with their body temperature). I grew two beautiful girls inside of me as long as possible, and now in some ways it felt as if I was being punished for their early birth. All I could do was sit in the room, looking at my babies, and pumping every 3 hours.

I asked my mom when she visited a couple of times if I seemed as out of it as I felt and she said yes. As a mental health professional, if I had been a little more with it, I could have advocated for myself. Although, I’m not sure that the resources were available. What I do know is that I did not realize how depressed I was until I finally was out of that fog (which was actually years later). Being able to look back on my experience from six years away, I can see instances that some intervention may have been beneficial. Join me tomorrow, as I enter into Part 3 to share my minimal experience with resources and my current day thoughts of how things could have maybe went differently.

My Soap Box on Infant Prematurity (Part 1 of 3)

Yesterday was World Prematurity Day. Don’t you just love that there are so many “official” holidays these days to honor and remember different experiences in our society? I do. World Prematurity Day is one of my favorite days to look back on social media memories, because there has been a post for every year since our twin girls were born. This year’s post included this caption: “Happy World Prematurity Day! I’m not much of a planner, but from the day they existed in this world these two have shown me that things rarely go as planned even if you expect them to. Being pregnant with twins was and still is the biggest surprise of my life (I had assumed/planned on just one babe at a time). Going into labor at 33 weeks a day after the doctor said everything looked great was not in the birth plan. Nevertheless, we survived both unplanned events and our lives are definitely better from them. There is never a dull moment in our house. I haven’t been bored in at least 6 years. And for that I am forever grateful.” Ain’t that the truth. Here’s the sweet picture that I included of the babes:

The pictures of them sleeping are when they are in the NICU. The picture below that of them being goofy was taken by the hubs earlier this fall on a Daddy Adventure Day. So what does World Prematurity Day have to do with Mental Health (keeping with the Manic Monday theme)? Well, let me tell you.

As mentioned in my Facebook post, Blondie and Brownie were born the day after a routine doctor’s appointment AND an ultrasound. Both the doctor and the ultrasound tech said that everything looked great and that we should have no problem making it at least until the minimum goal of 34 weeks. Little did any of us know that the next day, at 33 weeks and 3 days gestation, our two little babes would decide that they were ready to come to the outside world. I’ll spare you my birth story for now, but there’s a lot of important lung development and such that is happening around 33+ weeks gestation. 33 weeks and 3 days meant a guaranteed NICU stay. It meant an ambulance ride for me to a higher level of care hospital. It meant lots of medicine given to me as quickly as possible to slow down labor. Our girls were determined to make it out on that day, so when my water broke right before midnight, I knew they were going to be in charge of the situation. 33 weeks and 3 days meant no beautiful chest to chest bonding time post birth. It meant my babies being whisked away without me even seeing them to be intubated and monitored in a NICU isolette. It meant hearing my husband yelling across the room “come on baby” while no one would answer my questions of “what’s wrong with my baby?” It meant giving birth to two beautiful girls, not getting to see them, and then being rolled to my own recovery room. That is where I was told to rest and that the babies would be just fine. So there I was…. a brand new mom whose birth plan went completely out the window, who gave birth but besides for a brief glance at Baby B had not gotten to see her babies, who had very little explained to her about how the babies were doing, supposed to rest because I was exhausted and I had just given birth (twice) after all. I laid down and tried to follow directions, all while the nurse was coming in every hour or so to check my vitals. My body was so exhausted that I did sleep for a couple of hours. It couldn’t have been too long, however because at 6:30 AM I was waking up the hubs and demanding he take me to my babies….

And this my friends, is where it all begins. What is “it”? My journey with postpartum depression (PPD) is “it”. Now that I laid some of the foundation, join me for part 2 tomorrow where I give insight into what it’s like to be in the NICU.

Monday, Monday, Monday

“It’s just another Manic Monday…. ooowooo…”

In true ADD form, I started writing a post for today this morning… got distracted… and just now deleted that and am going in a totally different direction. I mean, who wants to hear about how snow makes me sleepy? Really? So here goes today’s post 2.0. Ha.

2019 has not been the best year for The Crazies. Hubs has been having more bipolar symptoms, actually more than I have ever seen him have in the past 10 years that we have been hanging out. Now with more adult responsibilities, these symptoms seem to have a lot bigger impact on life than they may have when he was an adolescent, or at least directly effect the livelihood of more people. Due to a manic episode and missing time at work, he was discharged from his stable income. (There is a lot I could say about that but I will keep it to myself… the mental health advocate part of me just wants to scream!) Changes in my family of origin dynamics have been major stressors for me, which has increased my mental health symptoms as well… mainly depression. 2019 started out awesome, with a positive outlook on where we were going as a family and then it quickly took a nose dive. Since we are still struggling to just keep our heads above water, it seems like as good as time as any to focus on a Clean Living lifestyle. After all, not only are we trying to keep our heads above water, but we also have to push Blondie and Brownie around in their life boat. Luckily, even though we dove into the stress at the end of March, they are just now starting to show signs of anxiety. Hopefully focusing on decreasing our symptoms will minimize their’s as well.

So here we are, 11 days into November and what am I doing in attempts to increase Clean Living efforts? I have accepted the No Soda November Challenge. For fellow Midwesterners, that means no pop. So far, I think I’ve only forgotten and “cheated” 3 times. Overall, I’m feeling pretty good about that effort, considering I was drinking 32-64 ounces of diet cola a day. What does drinking soda have to do with Clean Living? Well the obvious is that if you are drinking regular soda with the sugar…. that’s a ton of sugar. Sugar is a topic on it’s own, to be discussed another day. What about diet/low calorie pop? According to WebMd, drinking diet soda does not have a direct cause or effect to any negative heath risks. However, there are some links with the drink and increased chances of developing diabetes, weight gain, stroke, and dementia. People who drink diet soda ingest artificial sweeteners, which have been linked to cancer and other health problems. Diet pop drinkers are more likely to eat more calories in a day due to craving sweets, which is not helpful for the diet. Another big issue with artificial sweeteners is that they can mess with your gut health, which is becoming more and more of a topic when looking at overall health. I’ve never been a big caffeine person, as in I can’t tell that it does much for me. So I’m actually pretty indifferent about the decrease in caffeine. So we will see if I can notice a difference once November is over.

For now, I’m just going to “keep swimming” and hope that making baby steps will one day equal a child-sized step, etc. The last 50ish days of this decade will hopefully start an upswing to welcome in 2020. How about you? Do what baby steps have you taken in the past that have grown into something more over time?