Self-Care: Stepping Away From Social Media

This morning, I woke up and decided I needed a break from technology. I didn’t have the mental energy for social media. I couldn’t sit and stare at the television. So, I watched Iris play. I read a little. Then, we took a nap. Typically, I don’t like to nap because sleeping has always been an unhealthy coping mechanism for me.

Afterward, I got out of the house. We went to my sisters-in-law for a couple of hours. It allowed me to socialize with another adult and let Iris play with her cousin. We left to pick up the boys from school, stopped by the store to get groceries for dinner. When we came home, I unloaded the groceries and took the kids to the park in our apartment complex. There was something within that couldn’t bear to be inside the apartment.

Part of my daily self-care is learning to listen to my emotions and understand why I have them. It’s not a perfect practice, and it may never be. But, today, I needed space from technology. As the day comes to an end, I planned on sitting by the window to read. We had dinner, cleaned the kitchen and bathed the kids. But, the sunshine was too beautiful to not take advantage of soaking in its rays before it set, even if it played peek-a-boo with the clouds.

When you become overwhelmed from your day or the day before, what helps calms the chaos within?

I’m A Mother That Suffers From Sensory Overload.

Every afternoon, I become irritable and anxious. It always happens. It doesn’t matter if my day has been excellent. I become overwhelmed and claustrophobic by the chaos of the day. It hits me like a wall of bricks, an instant urge to cry. I don’t know how to handle the mess. Where do I start cleaning? Why am I cleaning again? There is so much outside noise hurled my direction, and it makes me want to scream. I just want to get away and have everything around, stop.

I still have a hard time processing why this happens, even though it’s always coming. But, the truth is I know what causes it. Anxiety. Sensory overload. My mind is saying that it’s time to calm down and breathe. There are times that I ignore what my body is telling me to do. Instead of centering my emotions, they become erratic, and I begin to lash out due to irritability.

What is Sensory Anxiety Overload? It’s when all of the senses are overwhelmed, and the brain cannot process. This response is alerting you to step away because your mind feels trapped. Any person can have sensory overload, but there are several health conditions that specific triggers can attribute to it. Do you ever feel overwhelmed when your surroundings are chaotic?

The symptoms are Sensory Overload is:

  • difficulty focusing due to sensory input
  • extreme irritability
  • Restlessness and discomfort
  • urge to cover your ears or shield your eyes from the sensory input
  • feeling overly excited or “wound up.”
  • stress, fear, or anxiety about your surroundings
  • higher levels than usual of textures, fabrics, clothing tags, or other things that may rub against your skin

So, what do I do to center myself? First, I take medication. Yes, that’s right, I take an anti-anxiety pill. Second, I drink a glass of water, and while I’m drinking my water, I’ll make a list of things I need to do. To not overwhelm myself, my tasks start in one section of a room. I have to tell myself to start somewhere if not; all I see is the clutter.

It’s important to know that you can overcome Sensory Overload. How?

  1. Identify the triggers. Some people are more sensitive to a lot of noises, and others are more sensitive to crowds. It’s okay to take yourself out of situations that will trigger this.
  2. Plan for the triggers. If you are in an atmosphere that you cannot control sensory input, like your home, have a plan in place. For example, if you are going grocery shopping on a hot day, write out your grocery list. This will help maintain focus.
  3. Ask for the sensory input trigger to be removed or reduced.
  4. Remove yourself from the situation. It’s okay to step away and say this is too much for my brain to handle.

Life is overwhelming and chaotic. And, sometimes, it can be hard to function. But, remember, you’re doing a good job. Even when you have to step away and deal with everything later. Listen to what your mind is saying. You’re strong. You’re powerful. And you’re incredible.

If you are struggling with coping with Sensory Overload, reach out to a medical profession.

 

Postpartum Depression Does Not Make You A Failure.​

There’s been a lot of talk about motherhood and postpartum depression due to the #MyWishForMoms, created by Chrissy Teagan and AHN Today.

I began to read the many stories shared by other moms, and I asked myself, “What would I tell Iris about postpartum depression and anxiety?” The idea that she may suffer, the same darkness that has plagued my mind for ten years, shatters my soul. I am her protector, no matter her age. I am her mother.  There’s a huge possibility that I will not be able to protect her. So, what can I tell her?

It doesn’t happen overnight. The feelings of sorrow, disgust, anguish, hopelessness, and invisibility take over your mind and body. You might push these emotions off because you’re telling yourself that your body is adjusting to the hormones of pregnancy or giving birth. But, in the pit of your stomach, you know, something isn’t right.

shutterstock_534549709

You put on a brave face and smile. A mother is strong. We show no weakness or vulnerability. But, as you fed your baby, tears fall down your face. Unpleasant and unwanted thoughts intrude your mind. Happiness is gone.

At night time, you tremble with fear at the thought of tomorrow. You pray that the baby doesn’t wake up until morning. Anger fills your heart because you believe that you’re selfish. You’re selfish for needing a nap. You’re selfish for needing space. You’re selfish for not wanting to be needed or touched. A mother should be able to put aside her needs, for her child.

Resentment wraps around your heart. How could a mother resent her baby? But, you do. The baby needs you too much. She has taken away your freedom and sanity. You don’t want to do this anymore.

And, that’s okay. It’s okay to step away, and need more. But, when your mind can’t stop forcing negative thoughts, it’s time to reach out for help. Talk to me, your mother, that pushed through my darkness to love you.

When you can no longer hold your baby, call your doctor. When you can no longer brush your hair, call your doctor. When you can no longer step outside from fear, call your doctor.

Postpartum Depression is not a weakness. It does not mark you as a failure.

The Time That You Require

I am not ashamed to say that I am thirty-one years old. I am ashamed to say, that for the first time, I went to a salon. In the past, I would have never allowed myself to spend that type of money or use that time, alone, without my children. It’s cliche, but my mom guilt would take over. There would be a slew of reasons that took priority, in my mother’s mind. At that moment, I could count five reasons that would seep into the guilt and take priority. Can’t we all? There is no time in our life that something isn’t needed or required of us.
take care of yourself
As parents, partners, and beings, our time is up for grabs. As the hourglass runs out of sand, so do our bodies. Each granule of sand that falls brings a weight upon our shoulders. There are many moments, when I have nothing left to give and am expected to continue. Truthfully, I start to become angry or short tempered. Anxiety and annoyance increase. The need for self care has surpassed and is detrimental.
Why are we waiting to care for ourselves at the last moment? Why is it viewed as selfish, when we stop to care for none other than ourself? Because we are women. We are expected to be nurturing to others, yet, aren’t allowed to nurture ourselves. It’s a societal pressure.

 Audre Lorde stares, “I have come to believe that caring for myself is not indulgent. Caring for myself is an act of survival.” And she is right. Self care is surviving.

We must remember, that all things need to be nourished. Self Care doesn’t require money, but it requires time. Time that we all need to heal our soul and mind from the chaos of the daily grind.

Maternal Mental Health Awareness: Newsletter Edition

Let’s Talk About Maternal Mental Health

Did you know that one out seven families are impacted by Pregnant and Postpartum Mood and Anxiety Disorders? Simmer on that. Do you know SEVEN families? Then you know someone that has been affected. But, how come no one is talking? Woman are made to feel inadequate if they admit the mental suffering. They tell us we are less of a mother. They tell us that it’s just hormones. They tell us to pull yourself up by your bootstraps. But the truth is. We can’t do this alone. We need help. We are suffering. We are crying out for help. [Call the Postpartum Support Internation Warmline for help and local referrals: 1-800-944-4PPD]

Brave Mothers Share Their Stories

{Click on the image to read the story}

I Wasn’t Built For Motherhood by Sara Green

I Felt Broken: I Needed Help by Brandee Foster on RealityMoms

Taking Antidepressants Doesn’t Make Me a Bad Mother by Jen Simon

Postpartum Depression: We’re Still Just “Sucking It Up” by Sarah Bregel

My Traumatic Birth Experience Left Me Scared, Scarred, and Struggling with PTSD by Sara Farrell Baker

9 Things I Wish I’d Known About Postpartum Depression by Honest Mom

Trust me, I know exactly how it feels, I know exactly how it feels to cry in the shower so no one can hear you. I know what it’s like to wait for everyone to be asleep so you can fall apart, for everything to hurt so bad you just want it to end. I know exactly how it feels.” – unknown

 

 

 

The Broken Friend

I’m in this suffocating bubble known as depression and anxiety. The bubble increases with room to live. During that time, I throw myself into conversations, interactions, and fellowship. I’m eager to get up and go. Then the bubble shrivels up, taking the life force out of me. When I can’t function or breathe, I forget the people standing by on the outside. I desire life but can’t fully grasp it. My home becomes a prison masked as a haven.

It isn’t intentional. I hate that I didn’t return the phone calls or text. I’m sorry that I bailed on our plans, even though I was looking forward to it and truthfully, needed it. I stay awake at night, upset at my actions and tell myself that in the morning I will apologize and do better. But, tomorrow comes, and I’m in a cocoon of the warmth ignited by my depression. Nothing is appealing outside of this heat. I’m falsely embracing the security of my depression. It is easier to give in and be alone. It takes mental stamina to fight for the willpower and energy to invest and socialize. I’m losing this battle because I’m too tired to fight.
pexels-photo-240223
That lost battle is the edge of dying friendship. A bystander who is tired of being neglected and rejected. It’s easy for that person to raise their hands in defeat. They’re sick of the games and broken promises. It isn’t worth it. They can walk away. And, I know it will happen. I can sense when I’ve reached the point of too many broken promises.  Their distance is a stab in my heart full of remorse and shamefulness. It’s not their job to stick around. There is no obligation in our friendship to make you stay. My depression is not an excuse. It is a part of who I am, and you are allowed not to accept it.

When a friend walks away, proclaiming hurt by my actions, it creates a breath of air that inflates empathy into the bubble. It is not my goal to hurt the people that choice to be apart of my life. But, depression makes me a selfish person. This brutal moment of honesty awakens the nerve endings on my body. I am being reminded to look and truly appreciate the ones that love me. My depression can make me a jerk. But, it doesn’t give me a pass to jerk others around.

World Book Day

In honor of World Book Day, I’m going to share some amazing books available now!

 

  1. Help and Hope While You’re Healing: A woman’s guide toward wellness while recovering from injury, surgery, or illness by Christine Carter

If you face an upcoming surgery, suffer from chronic illness, or are down for the count with a sudden injury, let Christine walk alongside you. Use this working guide to lead you through transforming exercises offering a new perspective on your recovery–one filled with gratitude, a little bit of fun, and hope through the healing!

2) ORDER OF SEVEN by Beth Teliho

Equal parts suspenseful and sexy, philosophical and adventurous, Order of Seven delivers a story that will leave you questioning everything you thought you knew about the hands that carry fate.  Click the image above to order your copy now!

3) Science of Parenthood: Thoroughly Unscientific Explanations for Utterly Baffling Parenting Situations by Norine Dworkin-McDaniel and Jessica Zielger

Based on Norine Dworkin-McDaniel and Jessica Ziegler’s popular illustrated humor blog, Science of Parenthood: Thoroughly Unscientific Explanations for Utterly Baffling Parenting Situations takes the duo’s mix of high-brow science and low-brow humor to a whole new level.

4) Dear Stephanie by Mandi Castle

Dear Stephanie is a sinfully addictive walk through a world of beauty, affluence, and incidental love that effortlessly moves the reader between laughter, tears, heartache, and hope with the turn of every “Paige.”

5) My Lame Life: Queen of the Misfits by Jen Mann

New York Times bestselling author Jen Mann has written a hilarious and heartwarming story for fans of Meg Cabot and Rainbow Rowell.

My name is Plum Parrish, I’m fourteen, and I’m pretty sure I’m invisible. Not like super power invisible, more like loser invisible. There’s a big difference. I live with my dad who doesn’t realize that a job transfer to Kansas is not a promotion; my s’mother who thinks journaling, cheesy inspo slogans, and mani-pedis can solve my problems; and my twin brother Pax who is so perfect I’m convinced we share absolutely no DNA.

6) Kindness Wins by Galit Breen

If kindness wins, accountability rules. The need for this mantra is never clearer than when scrolling through posts and comments left online. Approximately four out of ten kids (forty-two percent) have experienced cyberbullying.

7) Secrets of the Suburbs by Alisa Schindler

Secrets of the Suburbs is the story of Lindsey, a 42 year-old suburban mom who seems to have it all – doctor husband, two great kids, satisfying part-time work; all the spin classes, shopping and lunches she can fit into her busy schedule.

8) Hard to Die (Nowhere Series Book 1) by Andra Watkins

No one knows what happened to Theodosia Burr, the fiery daughter Aaron Burr serenades in Hamilton: An American Musical. When she disappeared she fell into an in-between called Nowhere. For her soul to rest, she has one assignment: Help someone navigate a life-changing crossroad or be forgotten forever.

 

Did a book catch your eye, maybe all of them? Click on the book to read them now!

Happy Reading!