Some days are better than others

Today has been a good day.  My doctor had tried a new sleeping pill on me last week for my insomnia and it made me lethargic all day.  I didn’t like it because it made me just want to sit around all day and do nothing.  Everything started piling up.  I got dressed to exercise but never made it:)  I talked myself out of it all day.  It was making me depressed.

I didn’t take it last night.  I woke up feeling good and ready to take on the day.  I exercised and am writing while all the wet stuff from my flooded basement dries.

All kinds of stuff goes through my head when I exercise and I was pondering grief, loss and suffering.  I was suffering over the past few days because I couldn’t get myself motivated.  That was depression sinking in.  My little man was back telling me I wasn’t worth much.  But, I persevered and told him off.  Now I am back.

People who battle deep depression suffer loss.  They lose themselves.  It is an uphill battle to find the person who lives below the depressed spirit.  If you have battled depression all your life, it is a day to day process sometimes.  You have to kick the little man in the teeth and tell him where to go.  You have to keep fighting so that he stays away for longer periods of time or you are able to get rid of him quickly if he tries to get a foot in the door.

I am a totally different person now than I was when I was battling depression so hard and losing on every turn.  I am a different person than the one I was before that.  I have the skill now to do battle with the demons in my head.  I have tools to keep him running away even though he sneaks back in from time to time.  It is a daily battle but I am a better person for it now that I am equipped to handle it.

Writing about it is the strongest tool so far.  I can tell you I had a bad few days and it is alright.  I can also tell you now that I had a good day and I plan on having more.  I am not ashamed to say that some days are bad.  I don’t answer with “fine” anymore.  I may not announce it just to announce it.  But if I wanted to say something I could.  I am working towards taking the shame and stigma away from mental illness.  That is the job I promised to you.

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Adversity vs. Anxiety

DSC00466For all of you who have taken AWARE’s online survey on village living.com, the results show that the number 2 worry you have about your children/ community is the stress that is put on our children at such a young age.

As I sit in the stands during baseball season I hear a lot of parents talk on this same subject.  All I can think of is which came first the chicken or the egg?  When did it get this way?  Did the stress start in high school and worked its way down or did it start at rec league and start its way up?  I have been gone for 10 years so I cannot say.  I have a few solutions but I know y’all don’t want to hear them:)  My husband might get mad.

So I will approach it from a different direction.  When my children were young and I knew early on I could only handle so much before things got to me and I had to retreat, I decided to keep things simple as far as children’s activities go.  I said one activity per child per season.  OH, and no travel outside the county.  So far so good except where games are concerned as they get into high school.  Since they didn’t have so many activities we were able to all be home for dinner a lot.  I didn’t realize how precious that was until now.  They are older and while they still only do one activity per season, they are practicing or playing almost every day of the week.Sit down dinners are few and far between but just as precious.

I see these young families rushing to special coaches for all of their sports.  I hear of first grade girls on waiting lists for private tumbling coaches so they can make cheerleading in jr high to high school.  I saw my daughter practically kill herself the week she tried out for dorians.  The stress on these children to excel at such a young age is scary.  There are only so many spots on the teams once you get to high school.  Why not just let them enjoy the activities while they are young?

Academic stress is another topic.  When we registered my son John in the high school, we had to figure out what classes he had that might not count, etc from his old school.  I saw that there were three different diplomas for high school graduation.  At the time I did not think much about it.  I thought is was kind of silly but John wasn’t going to Harvard so I wasn’t too worried about it.  I didn’t ask any questions.  This year I went to the freshman orientation about registration.  When they got to describing the three different diplomas I have to admit I zoned out.  I did hear the tidbit about the colleges to which you apply have no idea from which diploma you graduated. What?!  I get all the AP and advanced and points or something to get into the big schools.  Why push advanced and super advanced diploma on top of it?  See?  Undo stress.

I saw a Facebook post where a mom of a young child had already talked to a counselor about what is required of the different diplomas.  Undo stress.  Again, where did it start?  Did the school board decide we needed more diplomas or did a parent who heard about it from another school approach the subject?  I don’t know.  I have been gone for 10 years.  It is probably not my place to say.

Mountain Brook is a community of overachievers without pushing it to the limit.  If this community’s second major concern for their children is stress, it has to start at home.  Take your child out of that extra training class and take him or her to get ice cream.  Ask your child what they want.  Get to know your child.  Parents say they don’t see depression/anxiety in their child.  We are such a busy society now that we don’t just sit and listen and learn the cues our children are sending us.  If they want to push themselves in a sport or a certain diploma tell them to go for it.  But tell them to do it for themselves not for you or for what your friends will say or what their friends will say.

I am not pointing fingers because I find myself doing the same thing.  But I did spend time with them in their younger years.  We didn’t do extra coaches/trainers.  We were at home.  I am glad because now that they are in jr high and high school I don’t see them anymore.  They are always at a school activity.  I have to pay more attention when they are at home.  It is tough because I know there is a lot of social pressure and stress just being a teenager.

Our children will be gone before we know it.  What do we have to show for it but an empty wallet and memories of driving all over the southeast so our child can play a sport better at the age of 10.  But who stops it?  I hear parents every week at rec sports fussing about this same problem.  Who is brave enough to put their foot down on this merry go round and slow down.

Don’t let your child grow up under so much stress that they don’t enjoy their school age years.  Let them be kids.  Hug your kids, tell them you love them, tell them they did an awesome job and take them to get ice cream or frozen yogurt.:)