Friday, August 9, 2019

This Season.

I can't be the only mom who feels this way.

Wake up. Take care of kids. Go to work. Take care of kids. Clean the house. Take care of kids. Go to sleep -- take care of kids -- go back to sleep. Repeat.

This morning I found myself wallowing in what is my life. I have no excitement. It feels so mundane. We are in the midst of potty training our 2.5 year old and the number of trips to the bathroom far exceed my 10,000 steps a day, I'm sure.

The laundry, the sweeping, the 40 hour a week job, the grocery shopping, the bathroom scrubbing - when does it end???? The whining, the clingy-ness, the neediness - when does it end??? I'll be the first to admit, I'm not one of those super emotional moms about my kids growing up. No judgement on those who are (I know I'm in the minority here), but I enjoy seeing my kids grow into their independence and complete their "firsts." BUT, as I sit here in my own self-pity, chocolate donut in hand, I realize something not so very profound -- this season shall pass. My husband pointed that out to me actually, so I can't take all the credit.

This season, too, shall pass. It's true. I may always have a house to clean, but maybe one day I can afford a house cleaner?? Or, how about, I'm just happy to HAVE a house to clean. Our daughter is not going to be clingy forever. She's not going to need me every minute of every day forever. She is not going to be screaming "I need to pee!" in the middle of a restaurant forever. (At least we hope not!)

So, as I finish my chocolate donut, I'm telling myself to enjoy these days. To get over the fact that my house looks like a bunch of slobs live there. To tell myself that I'm only human and isn't it more important that my kids are fed and bathed rather than my floors polished and dishes washed?

Maybe some moms can do it all. But I'm sure even they feel like they are inadequate in some area of their life. So, we need to stop trying to do it all. Stop eating the donut to indulge in our self-pity and realize that this season will pass and we will miss it. We will miss the chips grapes on the floor and we will wish we didn't have time to do the dishes the same day we used them.

You're doing a good job, mom. So hang in there. Life is only mundane if you let it be mundane.

Monday, July 1, 2019

Faith cures the incurable.

Incurable.

That's a scary word.

Faith.

That's a comforting word.

It's also a much more powerful word.

God commands us to have Faith. Faith doesn't know the meaning of the word incurable.
God can cure anything and anyone.

Madi was blessed enough to see that to fruition.

In 2016, after years of weekly fevers, breathing treatments, weekly doctor visits, numerous rounds of steroids, terrifying weight loss, and many days of missed school, she was diagnosed with Bronchiectasis.

Bronchiectasis is an INCURABLE, chronic illness.

About a year 1/2 ago, Paul and I made the difficult decision to take Madi off of her medication because we had seen vast improvement in her condition. She was on a corticosteroid inhaler twice a day, nebulizer treatments once a day, albuterol inhaler once a day at school, and vest treatments twice a day. After taking her off all of that, she was still thriving! Madi has not had lung issues in almost two years. Because of this, I reached out to get a second opinion on her condition. Despite it being "incurable," she seemed pretty cured to me.

Friday, June 28th, I was told that Madi no longer has Bronchiectasis. Wait, what? It's incurable they said. It will be with her for the rest of her life. She will have to do nebulizer treatments and vest treatments twice a day for years and years.

God had other plans. God CURED her. Oh how incredibly blessed we are! I can't remember now if I ever blogged about this but a few months ago I was at communal prayer at church and I got this overwhelming message from the Holy Spirit that Madi was cured. This was before the second opinion appointment. This was before the X-ray results. This was before the clinical confirmation.

I say all of this to say - Never give up hope. Always have faith. Trust God. And if things don't seem to be going your way, He still has a plan. You may not see it now, but it will all make sense eventually.

                                                    THEN                                      NOW

Wednesday, June 19, 2019

Rebuilt


The quote above is from a book I'm currently reading called La La Lovely by Trina McNeilly. 

At the end, there is a beginning. Oh how that resonates with me so very deeply. A few months ago, actually I can tell you the exact date - March 8, 2018, I hit the bottom. The end. The very rock hard bottom. 

I have struggled with a serious condition for as long as I can remember. I have to take medication for it and I have to see doctors about it, yet it's a condition I am often ashamed to admit having. My serious, sometimes debilitating condition, is anxiety. Anxiety. Anxiety has controlled the majority of my adult life. I have many regrets from it and much of my life is lived in fear. Fears that span from if I left my hair straightener plugged in to traveling 30 hours across the world and turning right back around once I landed. On March 8, 2018 anxiety got the better of me. It altered my foundation and I did something I'm ashamed of yet I can honestly say I would not take it back if given the chance. You see, this ending turned into my beginning. My foundation was COMPLETELY rebuilt. Not restored - rebuilt. I'm now working towards living a full life.

On March 8, 2018 I called in sick to work for personal reasons and made same-day appointments with my family doctor and my therapist. (I want to tell my story but the cause of my anxiety is not really something I want to share because it's not only my story to tell. The cause isn't really necessary to relay what I'm trying to say here.)

I went to my family doctor that morning and explained to her that I literally felt like I had been holding my breath for weeks and could not let it out. I told her my medication was not doing its job. I told her that I couldn't function and I certainly was not being the kind of mother I needed to be. She prescribed me with Ativan and decreased my medication in preparation to switch to a different SSRI. 

I went home, turned my TV to the Beachbody app and proceeded to work out while crying my eyes out. I screamed as loud as I could while bawling in squat position. I don't know what I did to kill time the remainder of the day but that afternoon I went to my therapist appointment. 

She did not help me. It was not her job to "fix" me but it was her job to pay attention to me and refrain from googling everything I said. That appointment basically went like this: I cried my eyes out while trying to get words out. She gave me not very helpful, not very Christian advice while googling. 

That evening I went home and continued to just fall apart. My husband had to go get our oldest from Girl Scouts because I couldn't stop crying long enough to drive. Once he got home, he went into the bathroom and I began googling how much Ativan would cause some numbness/put me to sleep but NOT kill me. Let me say that again - I checked with a pharmacist and google to ensure that the 4.5mg of Ativan I was about to swallow would not kill me. I want to make that very clear and although it may not make sense to you, or the insurance company, or the hospital (more on that later) -- I did not want to kill myself. This was a cry for attention. A poor cry for help. A scream for attention really. And ultimately, an act of complete fear of my anxious thoughts. After swallowing 4.5 mg of Ativan I texted my brother and told him. I asked him to tell my husband. And the night gets a bit fuzzy from there.

What transpired over the next 72 hours forced me to look inside myself and reach out to God in complete desperation and realization. Lying in that hospital bed, Paul and I made the tough decision to admit me into an "Adult Behavioral Facility" also known as a mental hospital. That's right - I went to a mental hospital. As a teenager my mother often, very often in fact, threatened to send me to one. Little did I know that it would be the place that saved me from myself. Correction - the complete and utter loneliness and fear and boredom of the mental hospital - is what lead me to completely 110% surrender to God and give Him ALL my fears and ALL my anxiety and ALL my pain. It's not that I wasn't saved. It's that I was saved but did what so many of us Christians do. I had put God on the back-burner. I had neglected Him yet expected Him to fix me.

I'm not sure about you but when I thought of an overnight rehab facility (which maybe that was more of what this was than a mental hospital), I thought of a place to receive counseling and coping mechanisms. When Paul and I decided I should go there we thought I would be getting the help I needed by professionals. The reality is that no such thing occurred. I could write a completely separate post on my experience there, and maybe I will, but for now just know that the only help I received I received by searching within my self and coming to the "duh" realization that only God can see me through the toughest of times - through the deepest of ruts. Only. God.

You see, in that place there was nothing to occupy my time. Sure there was a television but the last thing I could do was focus on a TV show. I was given a pad of paper and a "pen" if you want to call it that. There were no games, no puzzles, no magazines, and no books. Within about 2 hours of being there I asked if they had Bibles. I was given a strange look and then handed a KJV Bible. Now, I don't know if you are used to reading KJV but I most certainly am not and I could not understand what I was reading for the life of me. I mean I tried to read it but it just didn't make much sense to me. So, I journaled - a lot. I wrote my prayers and wrote to people who still had a hold on me emotionally and mentally. I prayed. I prayed all day long. I prayed all night long my last night there.

I went into this place a depressed, fear-ridden, angry person and came out a determined, rebuilt, grateful sinner. My point is this - when you are going through the darkest of pain and the only way you see out is to make a rash decision to grasp any attention possible from those you love - don't. It's that simple. Just don't do it. Instead, get on your knees and cry out to God because God will ALWAYS give you the attention you so desperately need. He may not tell you what you want to hear. But He will always listen and He will always walk you through your pain. Had I reached out to God instead of swallowing those pills, do I think I would have still come to these realizations? I do. They may have taken a bit longer but I would not be $6000 in debt from hospital bills. I would not have the embarrassment and shame that I have. I would not have put my husband through complete terror and pain. I would not have the obligation of explaining to our children why I did what I did (when the time comes, of course). I truly believe God allowed me to fall on my face, hard, so that he could be there to pick up the pieces with me. He knew I would need him and He was right there - He was always right there. I had been waiting for my husband to make me happy. I had been waiting for my life to just turn into sunshine and rainbows without working at it. Let me tell you - life is WORK. I was surrendering to my anxiety instead of surrendering my anxiety to God.

When I got home from that terrifying yet transforming 72 hours at the loony bin (I say that in fun...I like to laugh at my crazy), I was a different person. I could feel it in my soul. I had doubters - my husband and my counselor, in fact. But did I blame them? Of course not. Who goes away for 72 hours and comes back a new person? I'll tell you who - a person who has given all of that ugliness to God. My anger did not completely subside. My fears and anxieties did not completely fade away. My negativity did not diminish completely. BUT my overall 360 degree view of my life had a new lens. I saw my life for what it truly was. I was blessed. God blessed me with this beautiful life and my lens had been fogged for so long that I needed a hard kick in the gut to see through the fog. With God, I can do this. I can do this life. I can push my anxieties back and I can control my anger. I can fight through the ungodly obstacles and temptations of this ungodly world and get on my knees and pray.

I am no longer a victim to anxiety. I am a survivor and you can be a survivor, too. You just have to WANT it. Surrender to the Heavenly Father and He can and will get you through ANYTHING.

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Monday, May 13, 2019

Faith Wins

Today, PMDD is winning. Today, I feel defeated. Today, I feel alone. Today, I feel isolated. Today, I feel invisible. Today, I feel uncomfortable. Today, I feel rejected. 

Four days out from starting my period - it's right on time. PMDD never misses a beat. It doesn't forget a month. It doesn't lose track of time. It doesn't go on vacation. Or even worse - it DOES go on vacation (with you).

Today, PMDD is winning - rather, right now PMDD is winning. But, it's not going to take my entire day. I won't let it. Right now, I'm kicking it to the curb. I'm telling it to take a backseat and leave me alone. I'm praying to God to take over and take control. 

Right now, my faith will prevail. Right now, I will receive the comfort that only God can provide. Right now, I will see myself as God sees me. Right now, I will embrace the love that God has for me. Right now, I will know I am accepted by the One who matters most. Right now, I will overcome.


Friday, May 10, 2019

PMDD

My name is Brittan. I'm 34 years old and I'm still not sure if I have received an official diagnosis of PMDD.

I have had anxiety for as long as I can remember, but over the past 10 years or so I have been having extreme mood changes. I never tracked my moods until a year ago when I was at rock bottom sitting in my therapist's office (the same day I would later swallow too many Ativan) and she mentioned PMDD. She told me to go see my gynecologist because she thinks I have the disorder. She also told me to start tracking my moods. And so I did just that. I waited about 2 months to see my gynecologist so that I would have accurate "data" to back up what my therapist suggested. And sure enough, my irregular mood swings fell right in line with my cycle. About a week before my period and until about the 4th or 5th day of being on it I was a different person. I felt insecure, jealous, angry, short-tempered, unfocused, unmotivated, and sometimes suicidal. 

I brought all of this to my gynecologists' attention. I was hopeful to have some answers, but instead of providing me with confirmation that I'm not crazy and I do in fact have PMDD, she brushed it off and acted like I just had normal anxiety and perhaps my Zoloft was no longer effective. Mind you I was on 200mg, the highest dose of Zoloft. 

I left that appointment confused and defeated. I felt like maybe I didn't have PMDD and therefore, I didn't have an explanation as to why I called out of work once a month due to feeling completely depressed and unmotivated. I felt like I didn't have an explanation as to why I was impatient with my kids and my husband. I felt like there was something wrong with me that couldn't be explained medically. 

It's funny, up until today, when I sat down to write this all out I had not even checked to see if my cycle lined up with the time that I swallowed those pills and ended up in an Adult Behavioral Facility. Sure enough - it did. I was two days off my period and I was having a terrible episode. Sure, I had personal issues going on and I had life stresses but doesn't everyone? Everyone doesn't swallow pills in an attempt to escape from their own mind. Everyone doesn't snap at their friends and isolate themselves once a month. Everyone doesn’t feel completely helpless and alone once a month. For up to two weeks. Like clockwork. It’s like waiting for a crash to happen. Just waiting to ruin all the good things in your life because your emotions and moods take over.

My stint in the behavioral facility provided time for me to reestablish my relationship with God. I may not have an official PMDD diagnosis yet, but I know that God would never have created me to experience such mood imbalances and life-altering symptoms. I know I have PMDD. I don't need a doctor to tell me that. All of my symptoms and tracking proves it. I'm getting an IUD this month to hopefully mask some of the PMDD symptoms, but I don't expect it to fully "cure" me. Now that I have a self-diagnosis of PMDD I can better prepare my mind when that dreaded date pops up on my calendar. I can pray more. I can make myself be around friends. I can recognize that the way I'm feeling is not me, but a disorder that I will not let take over.  Through my strength in God I will overcome this storm! And you can too!




Monday, March 11, 2019

I'm Pro-Life and I Support the Girl Scouts

I'm Pro-Life and this is why I'm NOT pulling my daughter out of Girl Scouts:

To be completely honest I had to meddle with this decision for a few days after the article surfaced about the Girl Scout's Pro-Abortion project. I have heard the rumors, if you will, in the past about the Girl Scouts of America supporting Pro-Choice organizations and having a Pro-Choice "stance," but I could not find reliable information to back that up. (I'm sure you can find some, but I really don't care what it is. Keep reading...)

First of all though, the article that surfaced is poorly titled (on purpose, I'm sure) and misleading. The Girl Scouts "highest honor," the Gold Award, is not a contest. It's similar to the Boy Scouts Eagle Award. There are many criteria a Girl Scout must meet prior to submitting the Gold Award application. If a Girl Scout meets each required criteria of applying for the Gold Award AND completes the final project meeting all the requirements, they receive the Award. So, that being said, I'm sure if a Girl Scout had created a presentation on a Pro-Life movement, she would also receive the Gold Award. The Girl Scouts did not pick this one project over another. They did not say, "Hey we support abortion!" They awarded the Girl Scout the Gold Award because all of the boxes were checked for that honor. She completed her 80 hours of coursework and completed her project - period.

So, that being said, have I read the information about the Girl Scouts donating funds to the World Association of Girl Guides and Girl Scouts (WAGGGS)? Yes. Do I think the Girl Scouts of America supports abortion? Not necessarily. Per their website, they donate to WAGGGS, BUT and read this carefully - YOUR COOKIE MONEY DOES NOT FUND THIS DONATION. Cookie money and girl dues stay within the Girl Scouts' council. The money does not go to WAGGGS. Cookie money is used to 1 - pay for the cookies and 2 - support the Girl Scouts in that particular troop. With the cookie money they are able to plan an end of the year party to celebrate all that they have learned that year, which I assure you is not lessons on "why you should be pro-choice." They learn how to become decision makers and independent leaders. They learn how to manage money and how to improve our environment. They learn how to conserve water and other resources. They learn how to be a good friend and how to improve their self-confidence.

What I want to get across to you is this: If you stopped supporting every organization that supported something you don't believe in, you would have to create all of your own items/resources. If you're pro-life you need to immediately stop using your American Express card. Oh and no more Bath & Body Works products for you.  Are you a germaphobe? No more Clorox. All those deals you're getting? Delete the Groupon app. 

I'm not trying to be sarcastic. I just think if you're going to blast one organization for possibly supporting a morale issue that you disagree with, make sure you have the facts AND be consistent all around. 

The Girl Scouts organization has taught my daughter so many valuable lessons. She looks forward to going to her troop meetings. She loves selling cookies. She is PROUD of her patches that she earns. As long as she isn't being taught that she should be Pro-Choice, I'm going to keep taking her to meetings and keep being the "cookie mom." I love what the Girl Scouts' TRULY stands for and that's empowering girls and building up their self-esteem. 

Now, go eat some thin mints. I'm going to. :)

Sunday, January 20, 2019

The Holy Spirit

The Holy Spirit spoke to me, so clearly, today during worship at church. He said to me - Madi is CURED. He also said to me that I haven't thanked God for that. I stopped and thought about it - I hadn't.

No doctor has declared her cured of Bronchiectasis but the Holy Spirit confirmed what I have suspected for almost a year now. She truly is cured. Two years ago she barely weighed 48 lbs soaking wet. As a then 8 year old girl her bones were protruding and she was constantly pale as a ghost. She could barely breathe and missed over 30 days a school each year for two years. She had to do a corticosteroid inhaler twice a day, a nebulizer treatment once a day, and vest therapy twice a day. She has not done ANY of those things in at least 9 months and has had NO respiratory issues. HALLELUJAH. Truly. When Madi was diagnosed, her doctor told us that she had an incurable illness that would be with her the rest of her life. He said the illness could affect her life expectancy. As her mother I immediately became fearful and saddened for her. She wouldn't be able to enjoy sleepovers without the embarrassment and hassle of taking her vest with her and her inhalers. She would have to pack an inhaler in her purse when she went to prom. She wouldn't be able to get a good life insurance policy when she got older (I'm an Insurance agent; I can't help that thought!). But you know what? What the doctor did not know was that our God is a MIRACLE WORKER. Madi may never be taller than 5 feet due to all the steroids she had to take as a child, but she WILL thrive and she won't have to be tutored at home from missing too much school and she won't have to live with this condition.

My little girl is just fine and she's going to be just fine. Even if she wasn't cured, I know God will always take care of her. But the peace and relief and comfort of her being healed from this illness is something to be celebrated and thankful for.

So today I am thanking and praising and worshiping God. Today and everyday. I may have let the distractions of raising a tween fog my vision but today the Holy Spirit opened my eyes to the blessings of God. GOD HEALED MADI. GOD IS A WAY MAKER, GOD IS A MIRACLE WORKER. And you know what? He can bring healing to your life too. It may not be in the same manner, but God is ALWAYS working and He is ALWAYS good. Lift up your worries and concerns and stresses to God and He will never let you down.

Happy Sunday, y'all!

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