Making my entrance (unofficially)

sky-2667455_1280

Well, after nearly 4 months absent from my personal Facebook, I am making a come back.

So, while this post is geared toward an update for my Facebook followers, I want to make a very unofficial relaunch of my blog to inform all of what I am about and what to expect. For those who have not seen past intro posts.

First, as an introduction for those less familiar with who I am, my name is Mandy. I am a mom of two beautiful children. I have a daughter who is 5 and just started Kindergarten. I also have a son who is 3. At this very moment, he is watching Paw Patrol while munching on some pretzels.

I am also married to my kids’ father, Tony. We have been married 10 1/2 years! We met in college (where I subconsciously attended for my MRS degree. Guess I technically graduated). We got married after a year and a half of dating. I was 20, and he was 21. We both dropped out of college to start our lives together.

3 years into our marriage, he swore into the Army as a Korean linguist. He just got out in May of 2016 and is now in a job in a field he loves.

Now, here we are. It’s been a very rough road, but I would not change a thing. We have our two kids, a house, he has a great job, and I am able to stay at home.

Yeah, I get to do all that fun stuff! Keep a perfectly clean house, cook family meals, and have a perfect routine of discipline and function.

Uh huh. Right. Not really ;).

I am far from the stereotypical house wife/mom. My house is far from perfect. Cooking? Can’t stand it.  And tempers get lost quite a bit around here.

See, this is where my story comes in. The purpose of my blog. My life’s purpose.

I was born with health issues. We’re not just talking about physical health. We’re talking mental health as well.

First, anxiety, depression, and all that jazz runs heavily in both sides of my family. Second, I was diagnosed as a baby with an immune deficiency disorder as well as an immature nervous system.

My entire life I have dealt with getting sick a lot and getting extreme anxiety. I remember the irrational fear I used to get as a child. Sure, all children deal with irrational fear. But the fear I dealt with I can recall so well. I often didn’t even understand why I was so afraid or know what I was so afraid of.

It followed me into my preteens and teens. At age 15, as I’ve mentioned in previous posts, I was officially diagnosed with a clinical depression at the same time as being diagnosed with mononucleosis.

In my recent post, “A Past of Pickles”, I go into detail of how it affected my high school years, if you would like a deeper look.

To this day, I still deal with autoimmune health issues and mental health. I have chronic depression and anxiety as well as a general mood disorder. I go on and off meds as my body seems to like to constantly adjust to them.

So my whole life has been a battle with my mind and body. It has been a challenge and a roller coaster ride of learning to train my mind differently.

It makes being a stay at home mom even more difficult. I could write a few posts on the ways it’s difficult. And I probably will at some point!

Through the years, by ways of my personal Christian faith and therapy I have received, I have learned many ways of coping and getting through. That brings me to my purpose. The entire calling God has had for me.

There are many people out there who haven’t been as blessed as I have. Such as having parents who raised them to know they don’t need to be ashamed and to know when to get help. I feel it is my calling to help others in some of the ways I have been helped. I have gone over a lot of this before, but for the purpose of my relaunch, let me go over it again.

Music and poetry

The very first method, apart from prayer, that I ever used to start coping was writing poetry. It was a way of release. This began my art of song writing when, at 10-years-old, I discovered a desire to be in music.

There is always that one song or poem that often just speaks to you. There have been many songs over the course of my life that have even gone as far as to change me. Change my outlook. Put a new perspective on things or remind me of some truth that I needed.

God gave me a gift to sing. He gave me an ear for music. And there have been several times in my life in which I heard my singing had touched someone. That has always been rewarding and fulfilling. It isn’t when I get a compliment for how good I sound. It is when I see tears or smiles from people who were spoken to through God’s gift to me.

I am now working to develop a business in my own independent music ministry. This has taken a huge leap of faith, but as my calling in music keeps pulling at me, I felt it was time. God has prepared me all these 30 years for this. I want to reach out to others with my music to show them that they are not alone in the way they feel.

Writing

My entire life I have loved to write and express myself through writing. I do so much better expressing myself in pretty much anything through writing rather than my own big mouth. When I was kid, I used to even say I wanted to be an artist and an author. So, minus the art part (which I have zero patience for), I go back to another calling that keeps on tugging.

I have always found an article or book that, in the same way as a song, spoke to me in a new way, even if I’d already seen it before. I love reading books on personal development and finding articles that give even a moment of encouragement and inspiration.

So I am now focusing here and there on developing my writing. This blog is my main form as I often just have different thoughts here and there that are best expressed in article form. This is my way of reaching out to pretty much the entire world to show my own experience and methods I have used to cope and better develop myself. It’s another way of showing no one is alone.

Nutrition and fitness

This was a passion that was only discovered a couple of years ago when I started to sell Herbalife. It had developed 5 years prior to that as I began to put a better focus on my health. The way you take care of your body has more of an effect on your mental health than people realize. The body and the mind all work together.

Focusing on my nutrition and fitness has made a difference with how different nutrients affect my body. It has presented challenges to me that I never dreamed I could accomplish, building more confidence and stronger character. Without it in collaboration with music and writing, I would be even worse off.

Selling a product that helped me get a deeper perspective on nutrition and fitness made me see how much it truly affected my mental stability. And I found a love for helping others feel better about themselves and grow personally stronger, no matter what their goals were.

(Important note to my Facebook followers especially) I no longer sell Herbalife. There’s a long story on my journey of direct sales, which you can see a lot of in previous posts. But I still have a calling to help people through what I have learned and experience myself. It is a part of inspiring motivation to better yourself. It is a key aspect to all health, mental and physical. So my goal here is to share that experience through my writing, as well as just others reaching out to me for advice, coaching, and overall encouragement and accountability. I am happy to help however I can!

All three of these things have been the main keys to getting me through my life. It is my overall purpose in this blog to share my journey, my thoughts, and my advice in an effort to inspire the world.

There are other things that I have smaller passions about that I want to share, too. Such as women and working from home (direct sales included), military, faith, and so forth.

The purpose of it all, though, is a journey to a better you. Especially if you deal with ANY mental illness.

So, to my Facebook friends and all followers alike, interested in helping? I have many ways you can! And they’re all pretty simple

Feedback

Comment away! Message me! Whatever form you wish, give me feedback! Tell me how you like my posts. What you think I should adjust. How bored you were. Now, I might not necessarily like what you have to say, at least not right away. But I know that I need constructive criticism and can get over any stabs I might feel at first. This is a learning experience for all of us, including me!

Be warned, though, that I do not tolerate drama or harsh words. I take constructive critism, not rude comments. For example, don’t say things like, “This post really sucks. You need to grow up and make it more professional looking.” Or, “I really cannot stand your views. You make me sick.”

No thank-you.

No arguments with others who comment either, please. It is a goal to maintain a positive and peaceful environment on my blog, especially considering the effect it has on mental health.

Share share share 🙂

Now, you don’t have to share a post you didn’t have much interest in. But if you think a post was especially good, please share it with others in whatever way you feel most comfortable! Social media, text, email, or word of mouth. You can even just share the general link to my blog.

If you know me personally, I do ask that you don’t share my personal info apart from what I share myself as I do tend to be a very private person.

Affiliate links

This is something I am still learning about and toying with, as well as making money on a blog in general, but I have started to include some affiliate links (specifically Amazon for now). Be informed that a portion of the purchase goes to me if you buy it. Even just clicking and checking it out gives me a good perspective of the traffic I get.

I will only be sharing links to things I recommend, too. I do not believe in promoting things that I have never tried or don’t really like myself. So they will be relevent to my post.

For example, here is a personal development book I HIGHLY recommend. It is my life book, second to the Bible. I think everyone should read it, no matter what state of health you are in, everyone needs to learn a sense of boundaries.

Or this one. I just finished reading it for a second time and am working on the companion devotional journal that is below it. It’s especially good for those that struggle with seeing your own worth. Low self esteem, caring too much what others think, perfectionism, etc. Another life book for me up there with “Boundaries.”

All of these are highly applicable to the purpose of my blog, especially because they have helped me so much in my own journey.

Tell me what you want.

Apart from feedback on quality, I also want to hear from you and what you would like to see in my blog. Ask me questions on things you would like to know about. Give me ideas on something you’d like me to post about. Granted, I can’t write a post about every single suggestion. But I might be able to either talk to you personally (after all, I like to help any way I can), or I can make a post based on numerous similar questions or a lot of the same question. I have a lot of ideas swimming in my head, but I always want more! I love to be inspired as much as you do.

So that is the gist of what to expect from me! As life has thrown me a curve ball in my original goals for this blog, I am not going to have much consistency right now. In time, it will come. I just want to share as I am lead in hopes that it reaches those who need the message. All is in God’s timing. Bear with me in this learning experience of making the most of it! I know I am so excited about it and look forward to doing more.

In the meantime, start giving me some feedback! Start sharing! Start going through some of my old posts! Click on links! Tell me what you want and ask me questions!

As I said, this jounery involves both you AND me. We’re in this together!

Edit: A majority of this post was done a month or so back when I was planning to start having more consistency of how often I post. As I stated, though, life threw me a curve ball. My mental health took a sudden plunge as my body, yet again, adjusted to my meds. I am currently working to get a full psychological evaluation in hopes of understanding more deeply what is going on in this brain of mine and get better help. In the process, I weaned off those meds and took an even bigger plunge. I decided, as a result, that I didn’t need to stress as much focus on taking off with this blog. I’m letting myself go with the flow of God’s timing.

As I believe in being transparent and have expressed that we are in this together, it’s only fair that you know my current struggle. In fact, it is a huge method behind my blog. Sharing my story for others who relate to know they are not alone. My last struggle was almost a year ago, shared in my post “I am ashamed”. It was another situation in which I adjusted to my meds.

This time has FELT even worse. Even amidst all my preaching of us not being alone and that we have nothing to be ashamed of, I still have experienced feeling this way. Even more so this time.

But that is why I preach it. Because I know how common these feelings are. It’s such a big part of what depression is! And it’s good to have a reminder to myself and others of what the truth is.

And the truth with me this time is also this- I have coped better than I ever have in my life of mental health. It has felt so terribly miserable and been so dark, but God has kept me going. I get up every morning. I jog or walk (minus when I was physically sick earlier this week). I take care of my hygiene. I take care of my house (slightly slacking, but still). I take care of my family and my pets. I pay my bills. I go to appointments and church events. And I reach out to those I feel I can trust.

Why? What’s the point when I still feel like crap again?

It’s not just because I know I’m supposed to. It’s because it pays off in the end. Because I become that much stronger. It’s doing all those little things that add up to a better mindset at the end of the day or even the week. The month. The year! Because those church events, as hard as it was to go, turned out to be just what I needed. Because my vacuumed living room gives me such a sense of a clean home. Because these things also mean a happy family.

Anyways, that is what is going on right now. Fighting the fight, kicking and screaming, but still living so blessed <3. Let’s do this!

Advertisements

5 ways to mentally go from summer to fall

This year as a mom, I get to experience a whole new level of change, especially in the transition from summer. In two weeks, my daughter, who is my older one of the two, starts kindergarten.
WHOA. Just whoa.

It didn’t all really kick in my head any till I registered her last week. Then this weekend we did back-to-school shopping. And now it dawns on me that she has two weeks!

For somebody with my mental health status, this can be a whirlwind of mixed everything. It’s really messing with my head. Every single detail of everything I need to know and don’t know yet runs through my brain.

How does drop off work? Pick up? What if she rides the bus? How is her teacher? What should I pack for lunches? Should I buy her lunch? Breakfast? How does she know how to get to her class? WHAT ARE THEY GOING TO DO TO MY CHILD?!

It’s like a panic party in my head.

It doesn’t help that I never went to public school until my junior year of high school. I remember being excited to ride the bus for kindergarten only to find out I didn’t need a bus for the living room. (Yeah. Home school if you don’t remember.) So I don’t know how any of this works or what to expect.

This journey these past few months has basically been me learning to fight away negativity in my mind. Now is probably the biggest challenge as new beginnings and change approach. For me and my whole family.

So how the heck do I approach this? Anxiety causes me to worry about all of it. My mood disorder causes chaos in my mind thinking of readjusting our entire routine. Depression just tries to tie it all together.

Well, I’ll tell you what I’m going to do. I’m going to keep doing what I’ve been doing.

These are the techniques I implement every day. (Though not 100% perfectly. Which is ok. Part of the learning process, too.)

1. I wake up early.

My wake up routine is super important to how my day goes. I shoot to get up around around 5 to get in a jog on my treadmill and do my devotion/personal time with God.

Lately I’m trying to do that jog very first thing because it is so empowering if I can get straight out of bed, into my workout clothes, and on that treadmill. Why? Because it takes LOTS of willpower when you’re already not a morning person. Talk about self discipline. I feel like I can take on the world after that jog!

Then my devotion and prayer time are what encourage me and fill me with extra peace. That is my connection time with God. It is when His power is most evident to me. It sets me up for the day.

2. I follow time blocks.

^Source- http://gracebrooke.com/2013/01/get-more-done-with-time-blocking/time-blocking/

If you are unfamiliar with the concept, put briefly, time blocks are time periods throughout the day dedicated to a certain thing. Here is a good article on how they work.

Time blocks are crucial for someone with a mood disorder. We need structure. We need a schedule to help keep moods and brains on better track.

My time blocks basically consist of a specific time to clean, to work, to workout with Tony, family time, and so forth. I also try to make sure I include short breaks for myself, too. Once one time block is over, I move to the next one, no matter where I’m at.

Now, with a new schedule coming up, all I’ll do is set a time aside to make up a new time block schedule. Of course, it might need adjusting. But that’s life, right? We learn and adjust as we go.

3. I tell my thoughts where to go.

This is a big one I’m learning to practice via my therapist.

One thing I tend to do is remember something I need to do or get inspired to look into something and do it right then and there because I’m afraid I’ll forget. Like make a phone call or look up something I need to buy. Then I start doing it and get completely distracted from what needs done then and there.

I now keep a little notebook on my kitchen counter labeled “thoughts.” So when something pops in my head that doesn’t necessarily need immediate attention, I write it down. At the end of the day, I look through the notebook and either take care of those things I write down or put them in my calendar for when I can take care of them. My Google calendar has become very full of reminders, but it is so helpful now.

For instance, if I need to make a phone call about a medical bill, but it doesn’t need my attention for a week, I’ll schedule it for a week later. That way I don’t have to worry about remembering it.

Then, there are the more complicated thoughts. The ones that cause worry that don’t need to be thought about at all. Like what that person thought when I said or did this. Or feeling suddenly like the world is falling on you.

I try to remember to do two things.

A– Pray. Prayer is what got me through my earliest times of anxiety, even as a kid.

B– Actually out loud tell the thought or feeling to go away. Seriously. Like, “Anxiety, go away. You’re not welcome here.” Or, “Worry, leave me alone. You’re driving me nuts, and I don’t like you.” I will even close my eyes and make a motion with my hand like I’m pushing something away. It seems crazy, but it works!

4. I breathe. 

When all else fails and my temper and emotions are at the top and even overflowing some, I take a moment to stop and take a couple of breaths.

This happens most of the time when the kids are fighting or they just keep interrupting something I’m doing. I notice I’m about to lose it and use the mean mommy voice (and start to use it, too). So I just stop and breathe until I’m calm enough to talk to them.

I like to think of Daniel Tiger. You know,

“When you get so mad that you wanna ROAR!! Take a deep breath…And count to four!”

That show teaches good therapy lol. Am I right, parents?

5. I end my day with thanks and relaxation.

Just like I start my day with positivity, I end my day with it, too. After the kids are in bed, I make some Sleepy Time tea and sit down in the easy chair with a small lamp and my Pandora station labeled “yoga.”

This is my time to reflect. I do a short devotion, a bit of personal development reading, and I pray a prayer of thanksgiving.

No matter how my day has gone, I think of at least 3 things to be thankful for. I try to write them down, too. If it felt like a bad or wasted day, it helps me shift my perspective to feeling like the day was a success. If I already feel the day was a success, it only confirms my perspective and gives me hope for the next day.

I have issues with falling asleep, too. So I have to be sure I don’t leave the day with anxiety or things that cause me stress. This includes trying to stay off electronics for at least a half hour before I go to bed. This really does have an effect on my ease of falling asleep. Having a Kindle Paperwhite E-reader helps with this as it eliminates any strain on the eyes. It allows me to read a relaxing book when I lay down in my bed without disturbing Tony.

Edit

So as I go into this period of change in routines and schedules, my child showing signs of growing up, and the potential for stress, it only strengthens my determination to fight this battle. I’ve basically been preparing for this the whole summer, and I’m ready.

How about you? Do you face the same shift with school starting? Or even just some kind of change in the coming season?

Don’t let it overwhelm you. Just don’t. Let’s not waste our precious time worrying about tomorrow or two weeks from now. Instead, let’s empower ourselves and each other to face the change head on with a positive attitude and determination.

You can do it.

A Past of Pickles

In my recent visit to Ohio during the portion in which I was with my parents, I did a whole lot of just sitting around their house being a mom to my two kids without daddy around. During that time, despite the mommy brain distractions, I was able to do a lot of reminiscing. One particular time, I was sitting on the bathroom floor waiting for my 3-year-old son to make the tiniest tinkle in the potty. While he watched another episode of Daniel Tiger on my tablet, I decided to use the time to write my thoughts on the biggest breakthrough I’d had on my mental health journey.

Here were my thoughts:

So this parenting stuff really isn’t so bad. This life I have is amazing. I lose my temper and often just want to escape. I still struggle with anxiety, depression, a mood disorder, all my autoimmune issues, and now my more recently diagnosed PCOS (Polycystic Ovary Syndrome. That’s a new story for another post another time). I get hurt and sad. But my life keeps getting better and better. God has had mercy on me and shown me grace. I see it especially if I think about where I used to be. How far I’ve come.

Especially when I think about high school.

No. Not that. Too complicated and depressing to even think about. Too scarring even.

At least, that’s the way I used to look at high school.

For so long, I’ve looked back at my high school years and seen nothing but pain. I got a broken heart so many times. Boyfriends, friends, not friends…so many put downs on who I was. Including who I was in Christ.

Those last two years of high school were especially painful. My junior year of high school I switched from being home schooled through a Christian private school all my life to a vocational school through my local public school, studying cosmetology. It was just in time, too, because my mom had just been diagnosed with stage 2B breast cancer that summer. I was not prepared for the “real” world.

Long story short, I became more aware of the value of my faith in God. I made it known, too. Not in a loud obnoxious Bible thumping “The end is nigh!” kind of way because I still had a low self esteem after all. But in a quiet fashion. I was rejected by most of my school mates and eventually a long time friend (complicated story). I was told that people called me “God girl” behind my back (though I’m proud of that today).

Point is, 9th-12th grade I felt like each year was worse than the last. I see a pattern that led to me feeling a sense of happiness when I was finally in college.

So, up until [a couple months ago], I looked at high school in pain. It would give me a terrible pit in my stomach, especially when I thought of all the relationships I had during those four years, including those at the “Christian” school.

I had decided not to touch it until it made more sense why I would get that pit in my stomach. I found ways to forgive certain people from during that time, but there was still a sense of pain and resentment.

Then, a couple of days before I left for my trip to Ohio to join the kids, we found a huge box in my son’s unused closet. It was one that had never been unpacked when we moved to the house almost exactly four years ago.

It was full of memories for me. It had old music books from my flute days, as well as vocal repertoires and piano books from college. There were stories I had written about me, my friends, and the Monkees as a “tween,” pictures from my childhood through high school, and so many other random things. I had many good laughs and smiles going through all of that.

Then, there were the poems. Poems I had written all through high school. Poems about my depression, poems about the small joys, poems about lost boyfirends…I sat there solemnly reading every single one. Eventually, I started crying. When I finished reading, I went away to privately sob and cry out to God for a few minutes.

It was then that I realized a huge truth. A big discovery for me.

The pit in my stomach caused by high school was not a result of the people in my life during those years that hurt me. It was not old boyfirends, lost friends, or rejecting peers.

It was depression.

A little after the middle of my freshman year of high school, when I was 15, I was first diagnosed with clinical depression. I don’t remember if I was on meds right away or not. I do know I was on and off a couple of antidepressants throughout my high school years. I also know that as early as 11, maybe even younger, I had already experienced panic and anxiety attacks and gotten some therapy. I was also blessed to be raised by parents who taught me that mental illness was just that. An illness. not a weakness. And that it was nothing to be ashamed of.

However, it doesn’t matter the experience of those around you. A diagnosis of depression does not mean overnight understanding. Being raised to know there is no shame and to know how to get help doesn’t mean you automatically cope with it or share it with others. It does not mean you don’t experience shame.

Being in high school only added to the difficulty. Though I didn’t walk around bragging about my depression, I didn’t do well at hiding my emotions when the sobs wanted to come. I cried with my head buried in my arms in front of my friends at the Christian School. Many times they came to put an arm around me. But too often I depended on that. I think I subconsciously sought after that comfort from everyone and continued to be more open about my overwhelming emotions.

Now imagine that on top of all the other hormonal changes we go through already at that age! I started to learn that not everyone could handle it. I started to learn that not everyone realizes it’s nothing to be ashamed of. If I couldn’t even grasp my own illness, how could anyone else who’d never even been around it or aware of it grasp it? I began to overwhelm others.

Over the rest of those years, I became dependent on having a boyfriend. Over the course of each boyfriend, I would end up overhwelming them with my dependancy on them being the “meds” for my depression. As I gave my heart away, I also opened up deeply about my depression. Each time my heart got given back in pieces, I shut myself off more and more from others. I cried less in front of others for fear of being a burden and making things awkward.

To this day, I hate crying in front of anyone. I even hate crying in front of my own husband. The one boyfriend I ever had who immediately accepted and put up with my mental health after an anxiety attack in his car two weeks into dating. The man who took me in his back seat not to make out, but to pray with me in true faith to calm my attack. I can’t stand crying in front of him even after over 10 years of him never failing to comfort me in my tears.

Going back to high school and the rest of it in general, my depression fought me and trampled me almost every single day of it. While figuring myself out in general as every teenager does, it was too hard to figure out the depression with it. And typically, even with parents who guide well in seeing the signs and getting help, teenagers don’t really open up to their parents about what they’re going through. At least in my experience because, you know, I knew everything well enough, right? I did not have a great relationship with them in high school until sometime into my senior year.

My biggest testimony is that the reason I am alive is because of my faith. My God. He was my source of comfort and intervened several times when I didn’t even realize it. He gave me the gift of writing, poetry, and music. All three of those got me through and still do.

Why do I share this whole story with you? It is my deep desire to encourage and inspire others with the gifts God has given me to show that there is a way to get through. That no one is alone. The best way I can do that is by expressing exactly what I’ve gone through and learned.

This day in age depression is running rampant. Yet it is still so misunderstood and ignored. In adults, our military, teens, and even kids. I hear too many stories of suicides in all walks of life.

So what can you do? How can you be proactive? Whether you are going through it or someone you know is, these are the key things I think you should know.

1. Know the signs.

Loss of interest, unexplainable crying, sense of hopelessness…the list is endless really. But pretty much anything that seems out of the ordinary as far as character or behavior is reason for wariness.

2. No one is ever alone.

There is plenty of support out there. Support of trained professionals and support of those who have been through every feeling. We have all had our tough times. And then there is the One who will never leave you or forsake you.

3. Never be afraid to reach out to someone.

When I said I was realizing there were many who didn’t know how to handle my depression, this was not me encouraging to hide away all feelings. It was a take on how a confused teenager was handling her own depression. It is an example of how many need another person in their life to do the stepping up, as I did have some do. So if you’re noticing someone with the signs, take a step to reach out to them to even just help them find the help they need. But the person going through the depression also has to take initiative to follow through. Get that help you need.

4. This does NOT indicate weakness.

No, this doesn’t hit home overnight. Yeah, it’s hard to not feel weak or see it as weak. But this is just a phrase you have to repeat over and over to remind yourself. Tell yourself it is all ok. Because I promise it is ok. And it will be ok.

So stop overlooking this depression epidemic. Be aware of what is going on around you. And be especially mindful of teens who might be going through this in the cruel world we live in. High school is cruel enough as it is.

And if you are a high schooler who might be going through similar things as I did, be encouraged, love. Guard your heart and your mind. Use your gifts to release and talk to those you trust most. You don’t have to do this alone.

Restored and Renewed

These past few months of my life have been a journey. Granted, my entire life has been a journey. But this one had a new qualification.

Restoration.

God knows my life has been full of growth and new lessons learned. Many big lessons. But each journey just becomes bigger and bigger. Until I make it home.

This time I went all out in determination. I deactivated my personal Facebook page. You would not believe the freedom this gave me. So much negativity that it produced in me personally was let go. It allowed me to focus on my relationship with Jesus. To rediscover who I am in him and my Father in Heaven. To rebuild my confidence and purpose.

During this time I also had a couple weeks without my kids, who went to Ohio with grandparents. Then I proceeded to take the roughly 16 hour drive by myself to join them for a few more weeks. Some of you will be like, “WAT?! I didn’t know this!!” Yeah, I didn’t tell a whole lot of people. I promise it is nothing personal to those I might have been able to see. I just needed the time to relax with my family.

Now I’m back. I’ve made a whole new start. Routines, relationships, and career. This restoration period is over, and I’m ready to step out fresh.

So, what does that mean? Oh, it means so much! But here is the gist.

First, what role does Herbalife now play? Well, I am no longer a distributor. Long story short, a lot of changes were made where it became more difficult for me to remain in my status, especially considering the period of time ahead for me. So I stepped down to being a preferred member. Will I ever sell it again? Maybe. But it’s not in my path right now.

What IS in my path right now in terms of nutrition is still helping others, just without monetary gain. I still have a passion about nutrition and the impact it can have on our entire life. I still want to share what I have learned and what I think can help for each individual according to their own needs. So you still can absolutely hit me up for help!

Second, on that note,  there have been a lot of new things I have learned about myself and nutrition in general. A LOT. I am dying to share every detail, too. But I don’t want to suddenly overwhelm anyone by ambushing you all with my knowledge vomit.

Third, my original true calling was to the gifts that God graced me with. Those are expression in writing and music. I have many ambitions and visions in so many different areas of expertise. Ultimately, though, it all comes down to being able to help people in the ways that I have been helped. I can share my experiences and what I’ve learned right here with you to inspire and encourage you. And I can go even deeper in expressing the feelings that came with the experiences through music and worship to God.

All in all, exciting times are ahead. And bit by bit, I will be sharing all the details of what I’ve learned in the past few months and the months to come. I invite you to learn and grow with me!

 

I am ashamed

5c802059dea17d2c8a3c84aa2440451f

These past few months have been a battle. It was a well fought battle. I was strong. I persisted. I lived. And I had God and His army appointed to me by my side.

But I lost. It was a battle that I denied too long. I wasn’t prepared mentally to win. Through the search of a way to win, I got lost.

It’s ok, though. It’s…relieving, actually. The battle is over, and a new one begins. With God still by my side.

“What was this battle?” you’re asking. One that I’ve been fighting all my life pretty much. And one that God has used in my life to make me who I am today.

db9665d98918f62e5950725a1590bc0e

Depression.

The strongest army I fought was me, myself, and I. That is why I lost.

For so long my testimony in my fitness and nutrition journey has been how much happier I was. I thought I had defeated my depression once and for all. So when I started noticing symptoms coming back, I denied them. I pushed them away.

They kept coming back. As if to taunt me. So I began to become ashamed. Back to thinking that it was all in my head. I knew better not to let it back in my head, right?

I began to blame my circumstances, which, to an extent, didn’t help. I began to search for some other answers. Kept saying I needed to see a doctor. But I kept putting it on hold because I was afraid of what they’d say. I was tired of “everything came back normal; so let’s put you on this or up that dose and see you again in 6 months.”

I’m tired of the roller coaster ride with meds and doctors. Bad reactions to that med, body adjusting to this one. Doctors treating me like they weren’t taking me seriously. Like I was just another crazy patient looking for something to be wrong so I can blame something else.

So I kept fighting. I fought HARD. I refused to let the devil take me in.

But I still did let him in by believing the old lies I used to tell myself or hear people who didn’t understand say.

“Just lean on God.”

“Just be happy and smile!”

“You can get over it!”

“It’s all in your head!”

“You’re being weak!”

87ccf009398443317de11292230d2355

I put on a mask. It was a mask that even had me fooled. What kind of health coach can help others when her own depression haunts her? Or who lets her anxiety fly through the roof? Or who has to take meds or see a doctor? I mean, come on!

A couple of weeks ago, I realized I just couldn’t take the way I felt anymore. It was time to get in with a doctor. My autoimmune symptoms even were getting worse and worse. Even though I was still keeping up with my exercise routine. Even though I was still keeping up with my nutrition. It just wasn’t getting better.

I was fatigue, dizzy, emotional, my joints were aching. I even had one week where it hurt to move my left hand and fingers. My eczema was flaring up like never before.

So I made an appointment with a new doctor. I specifically went with a DO instead of an MD. I had read that they are more open to other alternatives and take more into consideration your nutrition. And this time I planned to go prepared with a list and a determination to be up front and straight with him. No beating around the bush anymore.

My appointment was last week. Happened to be the day I came down with whatever virus my kids had haha. Anyways, I had my list. And eventually I flat out told him that I needed to say something and just get it out. I told him that I’d had a hard time getting established with a doctor out here because I never felt like I was taken seriously. I told him that I was always afraid of being completely honest about what I truly felt about what is going on. And I told him, “I’m not so much looking for relief as I am answers.” I just want answers once and for all. Not a bunch of meds. Not something to blame everything on. I trust the doctors and their knowledge, but only if they trust me.

Best thing I’ve ever done. He kinda changed his air a bit. Like he thought, “ok, this one’s serious.” He took care of me. And made me able to accept what was really going on right now.

The antidepressant I was on my body had, as per the past meds, adjusted to. After 3 1/2 years on it, it was time to wean off and try something new. Again.

But he’s not fluffing off other things going on. He realizes that I do have other issues. He’s first treating my depression because it is clearly the worst issue right now. I see him again in a few weeks after weaning on to my new meds.

Here’s the truth that I realized. No, I’m not happy about the medication situation. It has been ROUGH weaning off my meds, and I still have a ways to go. But, I have still come a long way since the last time I had to deal with a deep depression.

In fact, I feel free. I have let go of my mask. I let go of my shame. In fact, I am ashamed that I was ashamed. 

a49d10ba46e0024048a00328026122df

It doesn’t matter how healthy of a lifestyle I might have. Depression is still a real illness. And while my healthy lifestyle can and HAS helped, there is still an aspect to it for me in which I need medication. I need it to help stabilize some of the imbalance of chemicals I’ve been dealing with all my life due to it being in my genes.

Will I ever be med free? I hope to. But for now, I accept this journey. Because now I have more tools than ever to properly FIGHT the battle. There still is an aspect that I CAN control, and I will. With God’s help and the growth He’s blessed me with in my healthy journey, I will.

So, in all honesty, what kind of coach would I be if I put on a mask? If I hid my struggles? Hid my humanity? Hid the fact that I’ve been through and still can go through the same hard times as anyone else? Not a very good one, I think.

In these journeys, it is so incredibly important to know that YOU ARE NOT ALONE!!! Because this runs in my family, I was raised to know when to seek help. When I was 15 and sobbed uncontrollably for no particular reason, my mom took me to the doctor. That was when I was first diagnosed with a clinical depression.

So many people have not been as blessed. I have seen and heard of too many lives lost because they were ashamed to seek help. They were ashamed to open up. To reach out. They thought they were alone. I’ve been there! I’ve felt so alone so many times. But let me tell you, you’re not!! These “irrational” things you feel have been felt by many, and ARE felt by many.

While wanting to blog for so long, it’s been hard because I had so many ideas I wanted to share. Then I would get so overwhelmed that I wouldn’t type them up. But it really all comes down to one thing for me. My mental health journey. The original reason I created this blog.

I want to help others the way I have been helped in my mental journey. And I have gifts that God has blessed me with that do that very thing.

Music. Oh, music! Who doesn’t have a song that they’ve been touched by? One that said what they felt? That opened their eyes to a new light?

Here’s a song for inspiration to fight.

Or this one to remind you that you’re not alone.

Writing. We all find that one blog post or that one article or that one book that just felt like a miracle. The one that speaks every single word that makes us think “That is 100% me!” or “That is SO inspiring!”

Beauty. Cosmetology. We all have a beauty service we like that makes us feel incredible and beautiful. Getting our hair done, getting a manicure or pedicure, a facial. Men, too! Come on, now. Don’t lie!

945f1f71a1800076759b452b167d5673

^Nutrition and fitness. There is a saying that food is the most utilized antidepressant and exercise is the most underutilized one. Truth, baby. And you really don’t know this until you have improved your nutrition and fitness to a life changing level.

All of these things have helped me in my journey with mental health. And God has made it so clear to me now why He blessed me with all of these things. They are the way He gave me to help build His Kingdom. Because true happiness and victory always lead to Him through Christ, His Son.

The last thing I would like to say is this: Please, seek help. If you have dangerous thoughts of suicide or hurting yourself, remember that you’re not alone. Reach out to someone. Anyone you feel comfortable with. There are 800 numbers for things like this, too. Never ever ignore the fact that you might have a clinical depression. Whether it’s PPD, PTSD, or just a regular depression, it is never something to take lightly. SEE PIC BELOW.

14570440_10209698942084689_3351685431164069527_n

Love and blessings to you, my friends.

[Edit] I realized I wanted to go deeper into the things that I’ve felt that led me to realize my depression had gotten worse again. That way those that aren’t aware may be and those that feel alone are reminded they’re not.

My emotions have become irrational. I’ve wanted to cry about everything and nothing. It’s created irrational fear. Even fear of being around other people. A legit, real FEAR. Not just worry or being shy. But a real anxiety. I’ve felt closed off. Alone. I’ve lost interest in taking care of my house. I’ve lost interest in things I’ve usually enjoyed. I’ve wanted to just stay closed up and hidden in my house. I’ve felt like death would be welcome…

There is a real physical effect, too. That lack of desire to get out of bed? That’s not just from feeling so irrationally down. That is legit fatigue. Even after a good night’s sleep, good eating, and good exercise, still feeling like my body cannot move. Because it hurts. It is weak. Fatigue. Some days I’ve barely been able to do the dishes. Feed the kids lunch. Feed us dinner. Talk.

These are only some of the symptoms, too. Everyone goes through a different degree and amount of symptoms. So I encourage you to further educate yourself apart from what I’ve informed.

Just remember that no matter what you’re feeling or going through, you can lean on and rely on God to get you through. That is what I’ve done. He is the reason I live today <3.

Look to the Stars

image

I was looking through Pinterest as I like to do to find some inspirational or encouraging quote. I came across the one you see above, and it was just what I needed.

Often I will search Pinterest with words based on exactly how I’m feeling at the time. Tonight, I searched “failing at life.” This was one of the first few.

I’ve felt a lot lately like I’m failing at every single thing in my life. There isn’t one thing that I feel is more significantly failing than the other. All of it is pressing down hard on me and on my heart. So much is overwhelming me. So much responsibility felt. Too much I hold myself accountable for.

This quote put in my mind exactly what I’ve been trying to remind myself time and time again, and that which I’m sure God has been trying to throw in my face even more. That’s Philippians 4:8.

image

“Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.” (NIV)

When life knocks us down (something negative), we shift ourselves to look at the stars (something positive). And the best positivity we can go to is God the Father. When we can’t think of anything positive, we go to Him. And with Him comes love, peace, health, and truth.

A New Day

Things have been rough mentally lately. Thought I was shaking it off, but no, the devil is still out to get me.

For those unaware, hubby is getting out of the military in less than a month. We’re becoming civilians. During the course of the last couple of months, he has been taking a class that will in the long run get him certifications and job experience in his fields of interest. It’s really such a blessing that he got in this class, especially when he did.

But the thing is, he doesn’t have a job yet. This class gets done only days before the day he is officially out. So we are left with uncertainty of what’s next. Where we’ll be. What we’ll do. The next adventure that lies before us.

There’s a key word there. Adventure. Adventure is a journey without seeing what is ahead. That is when we turn our eyes to God. Trust that He will take care of us in the here and now. As well as in our future. Faith is trusting in our adventure. It is believing in something we cannot see. And something we don’t always understand 100%.

In looking at it this way, it gives me some hope and excitement. It helps give me a peace. Kind of an odd peace haha. But a peace nonetheless. And there is nothing like peace from God.

I can tell that I must be doing things right in some way. With the state of our circumstances, my anxiety and depression are really trying to take me over. My house is becoming a disaster again. Business is suffering. My relationships suffer. And everything suffers because I suffer inside. So when I suffer, I realize, I must be doing something right for the devil to attack me this way. So all I have to do is continue to try and do my best. And the biggest thing I can do for any aspect of my life is work on personal development. Work on changing myself. I’m going to need work the rest of my life anyways, so why not keep trucking? Working on myself, especially during my suffering times, is only going to make me stronger and stronger. I will only be prepared for extra joy in the good times and for maintaining a joy in bad times.

One thing that I think will help me is getting back into my blog. I love sharing my experiences and insights with others because I’d like to think I might reach someone else out there who might feel like they are alone. Plus, it is a way of me reaching out and reminding people that I am not perfect in any way, shape, or form. It is a way to keep myself from hiding when I feel pressure to be perfect.

So here I am :). Trying still to make my come back.

You might say I have officially started my YouTube channel. You can click here to see my introduction. It’s the only video I have on there at this moment in time lol. The whole video thing is super new to me, and I avoided it so long because I wanted to perfect it. But I think the only way to do that is to just jump right in and learn as I go. So you have me in raw form lol. Don’t expect perfection. I very much welcome feedback and opinions as I do this. I want to learn and hope all of you can learn alongside me.

Videos I will be trying to tie in mostly with this blog. I plan to do videos on Herbalife products along with some nutrition and fitness tips, short videos of encouragement and inspiration and just sharing some thoughts, and even some videos of my singing and worship. These are my passions. God called me to share my gifts. So I’m going to stop being afraid to get out there and share my joys with you :). Again, it’s all new, esp doing the music lol so dude, bear with me. I am only human. And I can be a ditsy one at that. So, anyways, here is to a new start and a new day!!

wpid-3352c99fac3187eca00f086d854707c8.jpg