Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Happy Birthday to me!

Today is my birthday and I must admit, I did not suspect so many people would wish me a happy birthday. Sometimes it's really good to take a step back and see who all is involved in your life. Today was a good day because I just got realize all the people who care about me. I also have come to realize through the wonder of birthdays, for me it's not always about the stuff, for me I care more about who remembers to wish me a happy birthday over who gives me the biggest or best gift. Just food for thought.

Thursday, November 22, 2012

I'm grateful for:

As promised the list of things I'm grateful for.

My wonderful husband
My 2 year old baby
The medical knowledge of today
My wonderful family who always support me
My Heavenly Father
Christ and his atonement
Our military who fight for our country
Our police, firefighters, and paramedics who are available and knowledgeable enough to save lives everyday.
The internet and all the wonderful things on it
Wonderful music that helps lighten my mood
Beautiful pictures
the natural beauty around us

That's my list for now. I might add to my personal list. But if you feel like sharing things you are grateful for, please feel free to use the comments to do so.

Sunday, November 18, 2012

In Honor of Thanksgiving

So it's the week of Thanksgiving and I have heard a lot of people say to count your blessings. I think I'm going to leave that particular part until Thursday. But I was thinking in my church meetings today about other tricks that put things in perspective and help me to feel better.

The first trick I think about is the self esteem list. There are a lot of times where I'm really hard on myself and I even go so far as to call myself a failure. There are certain things in my life that might warrant that title, but I'm trying not to dwell on those negative moments and move forward. To help me do that, I have a list that I wrote up of things that I believe are true which are worthwhile qualities about me. I also carry my list around to help cheer me up when I completely feel like a failure.

Here are a few examples of things on my list:

I am a good singer.
I can cook a delicious dinner.
I have a good credit score.

While none of those things may be outstandingly amazing or may seem silly or stupid, they are still positive things that I can hold onto when I feel like I'm letting everyone around me and myself down. The point is not to write down what you are best at, but to write down the things that you are good at even if you feel like you aren't as good as someone else you know. For example for me, I can cook a good dinner, but if I were to only go by things I can do amazingly, that wouldn't be there. My mom is a much better cook than I am and there are millions of professionals who cook better than I can, but I can feed my family a meal that they are happy to eat, and that is good enough for me.

The next thing on my list of tricks is a cathartic ritual I take part in when I'm really stressed. When I feel like the world is against me and I'm really frustrated, I sit down and I write a letter. Sometimes it's to someone who has offended me. Sometimes it's to my Heavenly Father. Sometimes it is just to a future self. Now there are 2 versions of the letters I write.

The first version is very positive. This is typically to my Heavenly Father or my future self. In this letter, I try to pull myself out of the situation by writing a letter about how I hope things are going for my future self or by what I wish could happen in the near future. Sometimes getting my mind off the problem and onto possible solutions or hopes is enough to get me out of the dumps. Sometimes I still am dealing with the negative feelings, but I feel like I've been heard which makes me at least feel in a better place.

The second version is entirely venting. I pretty much either go off on the person who I'm frustrated with or I let all of my concerns, worries, and issues spill onto the paper. This could be to pretty much any I listed above. But by letting these things out, I feel like I am heard and I let go of the negative emotion. Occasionally the letters to other people get sent to them to address the issue, but a lot of times they just remain with me in my notebook never to be read by anyone else.

The next trick that I use is meditation and yoga. Yes I am kind of a crazy person for liking yoga, but something about it speaks to me in a way to calm me down. It just puts me into a calm state of being and makes me breathe a lot better and easier the whole day, even if life tries to get me down.

The last coping trick I have in my arsenal is not widely approved, but it helps me. For me, I hate painkillers so when I'm in pain I find my relief elsewhere. I find it in MMORPGs. Usually this coping happens by me inflicting the same pain I'm feeling onto hundreds of bad guys in my games. This means I try very very hard to just run around and hurt things and I'm often not very productive in this kind of mindset in those games. This was how I survived the prodromal labor with my first child that hurt worse than the actually delivery of my baby girl. And for anyone who wants to pick up on a catharsis like this, you don't need to go out and spend a lot of money. For my first kid, I did vent on World of Warcraft. However, I have since left that game and I now vent on Guild Wars 2. However, you can find even cheaper  catharsis in league of legends (which is all player vs player based), runescape, and Guild Wars 1.

Those are my coping methods I just felt I needed to share. If you so feel inclined, you can share some of your coping methods below in the comments. Either way, I hope that anyone who reads this can find peace and comfort in these.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Why I'm on this journey

I guess I need to express why I am on my journey. After all, if I'm not sure where I came from, I won't be able to tell how far I've come.
I have had anxiety issues all my life. With all the ways that my mom talks about me one of the things you will hear her say often is that I like to obsess over things and stress out about things. I love my mother dearly but sometimes I wonder if that should have been a red flag for her. But I do feel like I do obsess and stress out a lot and it's not even something I feel I can control entirely. I mean I've come up with ways to cope but when anything happens I stress out about and I have to talk myself down. I always got really nervous talking to anyone who was positioned higher than me in my mind. I was just always scared I'd say the wrong thing. I've just kind of always coped with it though and never really officially saw anyone.
The next thing is I'm almost 100% certain I suffered ppd with my daughter and sometimes wonder if even though I am out of the major cloud of depression, if it doesn't still hold me a little bit. However not long after my baby was born I started having issues. I began to resent my family for leaving me when I asked them to go because I felt I could handle things. I began to resent my daughter for being a newborn. There were even times that I imagined just throwing her against a wall to just be done with it all. I never followed through with it, but there were times I felt it would just be easier if she was gone. Then I began having problems with her. I was in school and finishing my semester when I felt like my baby just would never sleep. I cried and I tried to help her and I just ended up making methods that worked to fill her needs but allowed me to mentally check out of the parenting process. I tried to keep those processes going as long as I could.  We ordered out a lot and I didn't clean up very often. We stopped going to church because I just couldn't pull myself out of bed to get there. I started pulling away from everyone. I really had no friends at the time and some days I feel like I still don't. I mentally checked out of the 1 social gathering we did go to. I struggled so much that daughter's pediatrition noted that he thought I might have PPD. I came back to him about a month later and told him I thought he was right and then he just ignored the comment and left. We had our apartment threaten to kick us out twice and once they threatened to report us to CPS. And I don't know, maybe at that time they were right. I was struggling to take care of myself and a kid and just feeling like anything I did didn't matter so I stopped trying. I flunked out of my classes at Weber State online. I had felt I had failed at everything. 
But then things changed. My husband got sick. Money got terribly tight. I felt I was drowning and losing everything. I reached out for help from my mom. I then did everything I needed to do to get us moved out. With the change of address, I tried to recommit myself to be better. I forced myself out of many of the habits that let me escape the real world. I forced myself to make some healthy sleeping schedules for my daughter and to focus on getting us both fed 3 times a day. I focused on getting my husband better. This all helped bring me out of the cloud. I started going back to church. I started to be more involved in the world around me. I finally had people I could talk to at easy access.
However, there are still times I look at myself and wonder what's so special about me? There are still times I feel guilty about things I didn't do with my daughter and times I missed. There are times I blame myself for things I feel that my daughter should be doing better with. I'm trying to stop though. I'm trying to leave that pathetic version of myself in the past and move forward to build a stronger and happier version of myself.
And that's why I'm starting this blog. I feel like I've come so far out of this horrible place that I need to document the things I am finding for myself so I don't go back. It was a horrible awful place that I wouldn't wish upon my worst enemy. And I'm posting all of this online, because if I can touch 1 person with my experiences, then I am successful. However, if the only person I can touch with this is myself, I can accept that.

Monday, November 12, 2012

I shouldn't have to . . .

I'm feeling dirty having just said that. As of this minute, I'm trying to strike this phrase from my vocabulary. Why? Because I feel this phrase is damaging to me. When I say that I stop looking at the world for what it is and try to align it with the way I wish the world were. I mean I could sit and say "I shouldn't have to pay for doctor visits with my husband because we have insurance" but that's just not in line with reality. We have to deal with things that aren't so happy and that we may feel logically that we shouldn't need to do. But those words change nothing but our attitude. And they change it for the worst.

What I've tried doing instead is looking at my situation and instead looking for what I need to do. So for instance going back to the insurance thing, I had my husband call the insurance and talk to them about the situation (since he is the policy holder) and looked at what we could do about the situation. It turns out that we didn't need to pay as much as was charged but by trying to take care of it in a positive way, we all remained happier through the whole process.

The trick I'm looking at is not looking at our perfect world when addressing our problems in the present. We can't change what we have to do sometimes and we can't change the circumstances we are given. It's how we react to them that determine both our happiness and the kind of people we are. I know it corresponds with my goal to have people remember me as always happy despite our circumstances. So I guess the first step is to remove words like this which carry negativity from my vocabulary.

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Hi, I'm Melissa!

And I am far from perfect. I am a stay at home mom to a beautiful little 2 year old girl named Elizabeth. I have many faults including the tendency to look on the dark side. I have many challenges with depression and while I will probably indulge and share my good news and my hard times, I also will try to share my thoughts on ways to lift spirits. I know not everything will work for everyone, but maybe something I see someone else might benefit from. I am LDS and it will probably show in some of my posts. I ask you please to be respectful of my beliefs as I try to be respectful of other people's beliefs.

My goal starting this blog is a little cloudy. I guess part of starting this is that I'm a writer at heart and I feel the need to tell a story but I feel like with a little kid anxiously exploring her world, I just don't have time to explore my own imagination. Maybe someday I'll write and maybe someday I'll share some short stories in this blog, maybe though I won't. Right now I'm just trying to feel my flow through this and I'm figuring it out as I go. I know this is a terrible way to start a blog but I don't care. This is my journey to find joy and happiness so I'll indulge myself where I like. I may be entirely alone on my journey here but I feel I need to get this out of my head and into the universe. If you join me for the journey, I welcome you and wish you luck in finding joy in your life.