Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Guest Post: A Craft, A Giveaway but more importantly real emotions about dealing with depression, anxiety and being "Good Enough".

I'm Joey from!  I'm so excited to be the guest blogger this week!  I have some great give-aways and hopefully a few good posts, too!

easy peasy craft
I have a little story to share that will hopefully do one of two things.  One, it helps me in my pursuit of sharing anything about myself (because I like to build big walls around myself). And two, maybe it will help someone get a little bit of a fresh perspective that might last at least five minutes.  In the last year, I got married, became a mom of two, worked full time, and had more anxiety, stress, and even depression, than I have had in my whole life.  My story is about how I learned to have realistic expectations, which in turn, lowered my anxiety and increased my faith.

I hate the term "instant family" or "instant mom" but in a short amount of time, I went from a single woman who loved to travel, had a modest disposable income, and felt confident at work and in the roles I had to ... a wife and mom of two.  I hate the term instant because there was a process my brain had to go through (my neighbor calls it a paradigm shift) to choose to live a different type of life.  It's what I wanted but I was scared.  And nervous.  And excited.

There are a few specific challenges unique to our family.  The challenges aren't unique in and of themselves, but the combination, for us, is the challenge.  My family of origin was a safe, stable, predictable home.  So choosing this new family seemed out of my league.  I knew that I KNEW the skills I needed, but I didn't know if I could USE the skills I needed.  That was a lot of pressure to feel in addition to the kind folks who would encourage me by saying, "If anyone can do this, it's you." Enter: Anxiety.  Welcome.

All of the expectations and ideas I had about being a wife and mother were overwhelming.  There is not enough time in a day, or enough cells in my brain, to realistically do what I was imagining.  But that didn't remove the pressure I felt to successfully do everything.  Maybe I'm not the only one who learned the hard way that there are only 24 hours in one day.  Maybe someone else knows, too, that adding one person (let alone three people) to your life, removes your ability to control exactly how your day goes.  But, I still felt the pressure.  Anxiety has now wiped his feet and stepped inside.

The pressure started building up in my body so much that my hair seriously started to thin out.  How do you reduce your anxiety when you think you're going to wake up bald?!  Well, my hair mostly stayed put but my emotions were out of control.  I have cried more in the last 12 months than my whole life combined.  The tears only added to my anxiety because what if my new husband would think I was nuts and this mess was going to taint our entire marriage?  You know the most comfy chair in the house?  Anxiety has settled right in it for a long visit.

Furthermore, when I felt the worst, my grandpa died.  That family issue plus the strain I had already placed on myself did me in for about a week.  I removed all of my obligations outside of my home for about ten days so I could regroup and move forward.  It was humiliating, that me of all people would not have control of myself .... Anxiety and I are like blood brothers now.

During this time, I knew that I needed some education.  I needed to understand what was normally to be expected when kids are involved with a new marriage, I needed to know what brains normally do with a marriage.  And I needed to figure out why I couldn't be the boss of my emotions and why my brain was on sabbatical.  So, I went to a counselor who was the right fit for me.  She helped me use my own brain to figure out what to do because unbeknownst to me, my brain was here the whole time.  What worked for me was a little bit of cognitive therapy.

My family physician also recommended that I take a dose of an anti-anxiety/anti-depressant for a short time.  He described it well when he said that while I work on getting the skills I want or need, the medication will take care of the biological part of the problem.  He gave me a week to think about the medicine because I was hesitant when he first brought it up.  The reason I went to see him was because I was sure my thyroid or something was out of whack and that's why I wasn't feeling good and was losing my hair, not because I was depressed.  After a week of thinking about it, and after talking to my husband, I decided to take the medicine.

Since then, I have had to make a conscious effort to be realistic.  The realistic expectations I have for others, I have to have for myself too.  I could give my kids a safe and stable home, even with a routine, and still have fun in the mean time.  My favorite way of doing this is teaching the kids about the silly little holidays and making it the theme of our night.  For example, Groundhogs Day, Valentine's Day, and Leap Year.  When things don't turn out now I "rename it."  That's the advice I got from my friend's mom.  My favorite piece of advice though is "Good Enough."

So what this all comes down to it ... It's okay to feel pressure.  Anxiety will ebb and flow through life.  But, I can CHOOSE to be happy all the while.  My life overflows with blessings and they are worth the work.

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To win one of these one-of-a-kind, handmade, 100% leather purses, go to Jeremy's Etsy Page and click to like it on Facebook!  Email me after you do that and let me know if you prefer the red or black one at jubbocompany at gmail dot com by March 16th.  The giveaways are the prototypes for his newest creation!  And, they have a surprise inside!  Random winners will be chosen and announced on March 17th!

Jeremy designs, cuts, dyes, laces, and stitches one-of-a-kind leather products.  He also makes custom orders if there is a design or leather product you have been wishing for.  Check out his Etsy Shop at the link above.

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  1. First off, what a cool etsy shop! Next, I have to agree with this post - it's humbling to not be able to "handle everything", but every once in a while, we come to the point of asking for help. And that is totally ok. My first year of marriage sounds so similar....

  2. Great advice--thank you for sharing!

  3. Thank you for sharing your story and I agree, chosing to be happy is the key and asking for help is healthy too. Love the Owl shoulder bag!!! And your sign too ;) I found out that my attempts at crafting are a great stress reliever :) so no matter how experienced or how many followers I do enjoy every bit of it.
    Have a blessed day!


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