It’s been a life-changing while…

Welcome to life on meds that work!!!

I am so beyond excited and thankful to be on medicine that is allowing my brain to function. I knew that the anxiety-driven brain I had been living with for 27 years was NOT up to par. I just thought I was dumb, broken, a mess that could not be fixed.

That belief and experience has caused me sooo much suffering and depression and more anxiety about not being good enough, and losing jobs because of it, definitely feeling inadequate at every job.

Now, I. CAN. THINK.

It is such an amazing revelation that I want to shout it from the mountaintops. I’m not dumb, I’m not broken or damaged beyond repair. I just needed the right combination of medicine that was prescribed to me by a doctor to help resolve so much of that. That was taboo and an unpopular and questioned opinion in a certain group in the 12 step group I am apart of. That held me and my life back for years. Of course, my non-belief in myself is what made their pressure a reality I could not say no to. I will take on what is mine.

And I will grieve what is mine.

A life that for years simply did not have to be as hard and torturous as it was. It was this shield of embarrassment that I held around me like a cloak that could not be taken off. It would only grow stronger in new and unfamiliar situations. So many friends was impossible. Keeping them was even harder. And it was even with my own family that I could not feel like myself or even enjoy their company for years. I was too busy comparing myself with everyone and everything.

Now, of course the medication did not do all the work. I have been striving for over 6 years to have more belief in myself and love and tolerance toward others. But I was getting almost nowhere before starting a regimen from a doctor that works with my brain chemistry. It was like putting in what felt like 8,000 pounds of effort and getting a sliver of hope and change.

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And I am SO thankful I trudged on.

There was always that tiny little voice in my heart and gut saying, “What if it gets better tomorrow?” My mind would scream it wouldn’t and list all the reasons why. But I could not shake that tiny speck of hope, because, what it if was right?

Half the time, I didn’t even have that voice, I was just too scared to kill myself. But whatever the reason, I want to share this to let everyone know, it will get better, for you too.

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Relationships: was it that bad?

 

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I recently broke it off with an ex and kicked him out of my apartment and I was/am asking myself that question. Other people are asking me this question. What about all the good? Remember how he cleaned the apartment top to bottom because he knew he fucked up? Remember all the nice things he said? Remember how good it was in the beginning?

My amazing, wise, caring, best friend Siobhan asked me the question I needed to hear: do you really want a relationship where you’re asking, was it really that bad? Or do you want a relationship where it’s really that good?

This was an ex from 6 years ago.  We tried multiple times over the years to make it work.  We were addicted to each other. I knew this, I knew I didn’t trust him.  He shattered that the first time we dated when he cheated on me. But still, he said all the right things. He loved me, he would spend the rest of our lives making it up to me, he would do anything for me.

I was on my celibacy game and going strong.  Never had I felt more at peace with who I was as a person, never had I been happier in my life with my life.  I didn’t have the best job, or even a job.  I had gig work and unemployment.  I didn’t have my parents, but I had amazing parental figures in my family and my support groups.  But most importantly, I had amazing friends that loved me and I loved.  And I had my independence in my dependence upon God.  I was living the fucking dream as far as this previously suicidal, anti social depressive was concerned.

And then, this person came back into my life when I was not looking for it.  And all the signs were there: he was kind, loving, attentive, spiritual, fucked up just enough so I could save him (a gold mine to someone who grew up in an abusive household) and he was funny.  Everything I wanted.

So I quick moved him in so we could just be happy forever all the time.

We made big purchases, (well, I did and he, truthfully, hopefully, said he would pay me back) we had incredible sex, and we laughed.  He asked me to marry him, and I thought I was going to.

The honeymoon stage did not last long.

 

Pretty soon, I was skipping my regular self care, my therapy appointments, my nights with my girls. I was blissfully happy, what did I need to do all that extra stuff for anymore? Here’s where I always fuck up.

The person, let’s call him person x, he becomes my reason for living, for waking up each day, for happiness. And if person x does not deliver, I’m fucking screwed.

Well, person x began not to deliver.  We would get into little stupid disagreements and x would never be wrong, about anything.  Person x would start to raise their voice at me.  Person x would be a little shit. And I would hope it would be better tomorrow.

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Well, I kicked person X out.  I told him, “First things first, you don’t live here anymore.”

He tried for days, non stop texting, Facebook, you tube, drew me a picture with a crazy note on the back. Every attempted interaction was difficult to see.  I saw him being pathetic and crazy and I saw me being pathetic and crazy.

We were both looking so hard for the promise of the first few weeks, but it just wasn’t there anymore.

 

I went out to Coco with friends when he was doing dishes and trying to figure out the right combination of words to make me make him stay.  There weren’t any.

I wanted to drink, just in a wouldn’t it be nice if I could drink this pain away way.
But I got to see a whole other world of normies just talking.  

A young women, 23, who has never had a boyfriend because she knows she needs to be picky because she’d give the guy the world.
There are other options, other than intense passionate crazy false love.
And I’m choosing that.

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I chose that when I sat at Siobhan’s kitchen table and told her I was scared of him.
I chose that when I talked it through with Shikha and chanted for the right answer for me.
I chose that when I went, livid pissed, to the meeting with the publisher instead of screaming and fighting after he stole my car.

I am choosing me. Because while the crazy, passionate false love is fun, it is not sustainable.

I want to grow up today. Into the person with dignity and real love through boundaries that my higher power has laid out a path for me to become.

I still have to get my money back. Then I will allow him to get his things.

I am very proud of myself for standing my ground when my caretaker part of me wants to tell him to come back, that he can just stay with me for awhile.

I got my keys and my car keys from him and I didn’t listen to the bullshit coming through the phone.


And I am becoming the woman I want to be.
I’m also grieving the promise of love.  

 

The promise of connection and togetherness.  The promise of someone who will always be there for me no matter what.  The promise of understanding and comfort.

It is painful when those promises are lies. It is why people stay when there is so much evidence to the contrary. When they do not support, love or respect you, because at one time, they did. Maybe they can again, if I just… fill in the blank.

I’m hopefully over that wishful thinking. At least, every relationship I get better and quicker at figuring it out. I’m here to break away from my past and stop repeating the codependent bullshit I grew up with. My mother was a saint, a martyr, but she was never happy with herself. I’m doing work to change that, to change my karma and to do the thing I was put on this earth to do, to love rightly.

Love,
Rebecca A. Dombrowksi

Powerless Parenting

20634996_133498810501613_3056429470933057536_nI have the blessing of being mom to three amazing, quirky kids. My oldest is nine, not biologically mine, born of my heart rather than my uterus. My middle is eight, fiercely imaginative and one of the kindest souls I have ever met. My youngest is two, he’s rambunctious and the star of my first post, “Suicidal Toddlers,” if that gives you any hint to his personality. Through the last eight years of being their mom I have discovered a lot about parenting. Most notable is that no matter how much control I think I have, they’ll be the first ones to remind me that I don’t. Nothing like arguing with a toddler to teach you that you have no say in how things will happen.

I find that parenting is much like playing frisbee. You put all of your energy and all of your intention into the throw. You spend five times the amount of effort on the wind up; preparing for it, aiming the jejectory, paying attention to the wind. Doing everything in your power to make sure this is going to be perfect, but the moment that it leaves your hand, all you can do is just sit back and watch. At the end of the day, no matter how practiced you are, once it leaves the fingers you have no control on where it lands.

 

And it’s not just parenting that relates to that, I find comparables to that metaphor within almost every aspect of my life. I was told years ago, in order to live a happy full life of substance I needed to get out of the results business. And whereas I had no idea what that meant back then, I’m beginning to develop an understanding of that concept now. To me, what that means is that I am responsible for investing time and energy into the parts of my life that matter to me. I am responsible for all that I do in this life, but I am not responsible for how things turn out. I am not in charge of the results of my intentions. Which, looking at my track record is probably a good thing.

 

Once I let go of that frisbee, whether it lands in the cautious yet determined catch of my nine-year old’s hands or it goes flying over the fence, it’s not up to me. Parenting is a lot like that. I do my best to put my time in, pay attention to outside influences, spend five times the amount of effort into the wind up then I would ever want to spend on the release, but at a certain point I have to go hands off. Let them fly or fail or fall; however they will. And if they do fall, you don’t blame the frisbee. You can try to make excuses of the wind, but you just pick it up, brush it off, and try again. Believe me when I tell you, that level of resilience that I’m speaking of is not always my forte. Though it is the goal, it is what I aspire to be, because it is what I aspire to instill in them. I would never consider myself to be a helicopter mom, not that I really enjoy that phrasing. I am relatively hands off. Because I’m not raising children, I’m raising future adults. To a lesser extent I am raising the future. I’m raising…who knows, contributors to great things, to terrible things, future spouses, parents, teachers, politicians. The best advice I could give, if any, which I’m very trepidatious about because parenting is not one size fits all, is this:

 

Every situation is different, every child is different; what works in my little nest of misfits may not work in yours. What allows my family to thrive could cripple someone else’s. So the advice that I offer is generalized and in no way original or profound. Merely a collection of tips I have been given from moms that I admire.

 

  1. Wear Parenting Like A Loose Garment

 

When plans change or the status quo shifts, (because what worked yesterday may not work today) know that it’s ok. Go with the flow. Yes, you’re probably going to be late…to everything, but that’s alright. You might miss the first five minutes of every movie you go to for the next ten years, but at least you’re not missing out on their childhood.

 

      2.) Kids Crave Boundaries

 

Hell, humans in general crave boundaries, but since this post is about the mini of the humans, I’ll keep the focus on them. My oldest came into my life at three years old and boundaries unfamiliar to his vocabulary, which was quite large for a three-year old. He has always been incredibly intelligent, but back then, when it came to emotional development or the full spectrum of social skills, he was very much delayed. Part of that had to do with, at the time, undiagnosed mental health issues and learning disabilities. I only experienced my daughter, the freak of nature that she is, being self-containable from birth and only requiring a stern look to alter even the worst of defiant behaviors. So Gunner gave me a run for my money to say the least. He also taught me almost everything I know about parenting. My daughter made me a mother, but he taught me what it meant to be a mom.

 

When it comes to boundaries I have found that there are a few things to keep in mind.

 

Expectations, don’t set a bar that can’t be reached. This is definitely a struggle for me, but I do my best to remember that they’re kids, so childish behavior is part of the game. I also like to ask myself often, “Is this age appropriate?”

 

Consistency, when you say something, mean it. If no doesn’t mean no, then all trust of anything that you say is questionable. When a line does get crossed, there has to be a proportional consequence.

 

Mom guilt, don’t buy in. All it does is waste time and energy that you would much rather spend on them or self-care. Which brings me to my third.

 

3.) Self-Care

 

 Self-care is non-negotiable. Like most moms, when it comes to the care of my kids, I find it very black and white, but when it comes to the care of me, there was all kinds of gray. Most of which just translated to, it didn’t happen. Everyone’s heard the expression, “you have to put the oxygen mask on yourself first.” Logically, it makes sense; I can’t take care of anyone if I pass out. But somehow, as moms, as people, as woman especially, we neglect this logical concept that we can’t care for others if we don’t care for ourselves first. So, no matter what shape it takes, make a date or space to spend time on whatever makes your heart glow. Something that benefits only you. Don’t buy into that inner voice screaming that you’re being selfish. Self-care is NOT selfish, it’s self-love.

It’s a necessity to being a productive person, let alone mom. We’ve all seen that person who will do anything for everyone else, running on fumes, hasn’t stopped to look at a mirror let alone take any time for herself. We’ve all been her, hell I am her more times than not and will be again in the future. There are easy steps to make sure that I don’t get to that point, because when I do take the time to do my nails, take my baths, stay up a little later and dye my neglected roots, or just spending 20 minutes writing instead of doing the dishes – my patience is better, I’m more resilient in this ongoing Frisbee game of parenting. Everyone does better when Mom does well. And I think it’s really important to demonstrate that to our kids, that it’s ok to take time for yourself. That the relationship that you have with yourself is one worth investing in. I do not claim to be any kind of expert, especially when it comes to parenting. These are simply the things that I do that result in the days I want to remember.

 

My last final tip,

 

 

4.) Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff

 

I accepted a long time ago that at some point in their childhood I will f#$k up my kids lives in some unique and special way. However, I don’t have to obsess over whether or not I’m doing “that thing;” that moment that they will talk about for years to come in hundreds of counseling sessions, that I’m not doing that right now. Be easy on yourself, you’re doing great. Even if you don’t feel it. Especially if you don’t feel it. If you think you’re messing up, if you think you are the world’s worst mom, hold solace in the fact that you care enough to work this hard at the world’s hardest job. Here’s to always being outnumbered.

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Imperfectly yours,

Siobhan

 

 

 

 

A day with PTSD

The night before last, I was sitting in my car talking with my friend. I heard a noise behind me. I looked; there was nothing there.

We stayed talking for another half an hour or so, and in those 30 minutes, I looked behind me 4 more times, and wanted to much more than that. I had to check because my brain was telling me there was a serial killer, robber, murderer, behind me just walking up to kill me.

The next day was so much worse. I woke up with dread and horror. It hurt to breathe. Not physically, but emotionally.

Everything I did yesterday was a struggle. I had a panic attack while cleaning my cat’s litter box. Thoughts of defectiveness and incapability plagued me over the simplest of tasks – like driving my car.

Everything was overwhelming. Everything seemed too hard to accomplish.

The bright lights of the cars driving in front of me made me want to hide and run for cover. I felt as though I just couldn’t breathe. The thoughts of suicide came subtly and strongly all at once. Just randomly, as I was getting ready for bed, as I was reading (well, trying to focus on reading).

I am a logical person. I know that getting ready for bed is not a reason for killing myself.

And that just makes it that much worse. It is painful enough to have these thoughts and feelings, but to know that they are misplaced and unnecessary, it makes you think you are insane and unworthy of life. It is truly horrifying to live with.

You wake up the next day, not energetic and ready to take on the day. But tired. Tired of fighting for your life over menial tasks. Tired of the non-stop pounding of tyrannical thoughts racing through your brain. Tired of feeling like you are in a losing battle, so why try?

If you have read this the whole way through and you do not have PTSD, please, hug someone that does. Tell them they are worth life. Tell them you love and appreciate them and the battle they face.

It doesn’t take over my every day, and for that I am grateful. But for a long time, the randomness of it and the all-of-a-sudden of it, made me truly believe I was crazy and there was something seriously wrong with me and my brain. If you are suffering from these thoughts and feelings, you are not alone, and you are NOT crazy. Your brain is still trying to protect little you (whether you were young when your trauma happened or not) so please, just be easy on yourself on PTSD rough days, and take extra special care of the amazing person you surely are.

Love and light,
Rebecca

Self-care Weekly Assignments written.

Self-care Weekly Assignments!

Monday: (Action) Future – 10 positive affirmations, out loud, in the mirror.
(Journal) Begin to visualize 1 year from now.

Tuesday: (Action) Body – 15 minutes of working out
(Journal) Favorite part of your body, and why.

Wednesday: (Action) Creative – color, dance, sing, crafts, finish project
(Journal) What kind of hobby do you want to start/get back into and why?

Thursday: (Action) Spiritual – Pray, meditate, read spiritual books
(Journal) Did you notice the universe trying to connect with you today?

Friday: (Action) Truth – Investigate a “fact” on Facebook, Huff Post, Buzzfeed, etc.
(Journal) What have you noticed differently this week from investing time in your relationship with yourself?

Check out our weekly vlog series “I Don’t Take My Own Advice” live on Siobhan Carr’s facebook page, Friday’s at 9:30pm EST.

We’ll be talking about our self-care week and how it worked for us. Hope it has brightened your week as it has ours!