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:
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.
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.
Here we are again. I have this constant nag in the back of my mind to go on this adventure of clean living and document it on the internet.I kept up with this site for a hot minute a year ago, but quickly became distracted with something else (hello adult ADHD). I have a good feeling about Clean Living with the Crazies this time around, so join us on the ride and see where it takes us!
Who we are: We are a family of 4 who live in suburbia and are trying to figure out how to best navigate this life despite our mental health issues.I, Emily, am a midwestern mom of twin girls who loves ice cream and true crime. The Hubs, Rick,is a computer geek (not nerd) who enjoys retro video games and hacking the internet. Blondie is our first born sass pants who loves to dance. Brownie is our 12 minute younger second born smarty pants who loves to make new friends.
What is Clean Living?: Clean living is everything from literally doing the dishes to mixing our own dish soap to avoid exposure to so many toxins. On this journey, I am hoping to not only increase our ability to live in an environment that appears clean to the eyes, but is also clean and clear of harmful chemicals. We also will explore clean eating and other aspects of “cleaning up” our life. There has been tons of research done by the professionals about the impact of environment and exposure to toxins on mental health. In this life where there are so many things that we can’t control ourselves, starting with our genetics, I am striving to control what is controllable in hopes that it will improve our quality of life as a family.
What are the Crazies?: In addition to the craziness that can easily become life of families, especially once children enter the picture, both myself and the hubs also deal with mental health issues on a daily basis. While I know it’s not exactly PC to call those dealing with mental health issues “crazy”, I mean no disrespect and only use that phrase when discussing my own family (and they’re cool with it). I have a M.S. in Marriage and Family Therapy, that I use to navigate daily life but do not currently practice professionally. The hubs has text book Bipolar I disorder, along with some PTSD just to make things interesting. (Did I mention that sarcasm is one of my coping mechanisms?) I personally have been diagnosed with a variety of fun acronyms; MDD (major depressive disorder), GAD (generalized anxiety disorder), PMDD (premenstrual dysphoric disorder), PPMD (postpartum mood disorder), ADHD (attention deficit hyperactivity disorder) type inattentive, and who knows what else. We both are actively working with counselors, in addition to regularly meeting with psychiatrists to regulate our medication. It has been on my mind a lot lately, especially after the hubs’ most recent manic episode, that we need to take things a step forward and clean up our living in order to benefit our mental health. So here we go!