Welcome!

I’m Wrae and I am delighted to be here.

Please check out the “About Me” page 🙂

I am 34, and I’ve always loved writing. I’ve done some journaling, some poetry. I am on wattpad, and if you want that information, I’ll be glad to share it. This blog came pretty much out of nowhere but sometimes that’s the best thing.

I will be putting up a statement for legal reasons about what I will not tolerate on this blog, but in general, I’m pretty laid back. For sheer example, this welcome post is today’s post.

Guests are always welcome, I hope everyone enjoys what they read and leave having learned something or at least gotten a different point of view. As Jewel once said, “I’d rather see the world from another angle.”

I will post on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Sundays. Sundays are for guest blogs and if I don’t have one I’ll publish something that isn’t related to the other two days. 

Happy reading!

Wrae

 

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Social Anxiety: Mistaken Identity

Mistaken for Not Caring, Not Wanting to Connect.. Or Maybe the Opposite

I’m known for being very outgoing. I have been most of my life. As I have gotten older and changed, I’ve actually drawn into a shell. Some people may mistake this for not wanting to be around others (sometimes this is true, depending on the setting), but most likely, I either have a lot to say and don’t want to look over-eager, or I really don’t have anything to say. It’s a frustrating thing.

It turns out that I am one of millions. According to The Health Encounter, somewhere between 5 and 10 million people have social anxiety in some form. This actually helps me feel a little better, because I know someone else around me is having the same problem I am. I feel a little less alone, even if I don’t even know the person. It’s almost as common as general anxiety, occurring twice as much in women as in men. Many men with this issue, however, are more likely to seek help for it. Social anxiety can start in childhood, as being the “quiet” kid in class (I have one of those kids- Julian. His teachers constantly complain that he barely speaks in class, but this is something I can live with) or can be the result of a life changing event, like PTSD-type situations.

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Social anxiety does have physical symptoms, similar to those of general anxiety. These are from Social Anxiety Disorder Info

  • Excessive sweating
  • Nausea
  • Shaking
  • Trouble breathing, catching breath
  • Flushing/blushing

I also have issues with knowing what to say and worrying about others staring at me. Am I talking too much? Am I taking over the conversation? Am I trying too hard? I once had someone tell me that I made things all about me, and even though I know that I don’t, that stayed with me. (I no longer talk to that person- that statement ended our friendship.) The timing of that statement couldn’t have been worse, and it just threw me into deeper into my pit of anxiety, among other things. It took a lot of reminders from my support system and self talk to get past that one.

Supporting Someone with Social Anxiety

Most people, myself included, need support. This can be as simple as asking them to come out to a simple lunch. My friend Scott has been immeasurably great with this. Don’t give up on us. That’s the last thing we need, because that hurts more than anything else. We feel things deeply as it is, and that will be a crushing blow. We may not be able to make it out one day, but keep trying. We’ll make it out.

We can’t just stop this. Therapy helps, but it takes a lot of work and time to reverse years of thoughts and situations. Be patient. Be supportive. We certainly didn’t ask to be withdrawn and quiet. We do like being around others, just a bit differently. We just need space, understanding and our own time to blossom.

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Resources

Please see my Resources page for other resources not listed if needed.

ADAA

Very Well

Social Anxiety Support

Pics courtesy of Unsplash

**My Collaboration with Bonnie is coming soon! Please stay tuned for more details!**

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Our Three Peas

Priceless People- Featured Post

The original link to this post can be found at Priceless People

Guest Post: Priceless People

I love the topic that Wrae has chosen to write about. It’s all about having people in your corner. People who will support you when times are tough, but also when times are going great. We, especially as women, need supportive people in our lives. We crave it. We yearn for it. Often times, we want it so badly that we form relationships that are not truly in our best interest, just so that we have some kind of connection, with someone.

Over the past couple years I’ve had different experiences happen in my life, that cause me to question if my friends/family are truly my support. If they aren’t, I am learning to let go. No ill feelings. No holding blame. Instead, I inwardly thank them for being in my life. They were there in my life for a reason, to teach me something, and for that I am thankful, but know that I must move forward.
You are the average of the 5 people who associate with most.CLICK TO TWEET

The past couple of years has taught me to look at the people I’m around and to develop relationships with those who truly get me. They support me in all I do. They cheer for me. They slap me (not literally) when I need a wake up call and they are a shoulder to cry on. These people have helped me get where I am today. I would not have the successes I have in life, without their guidance and love and for that I will be forever grateful.

So, here’s to finding those priceless people, who will cheer for you when you’re succeeding and pick you up when you’re falling, for we all need these people in our life. And remember, we also need to be this type of person for others as well.

Priceless People

Some people come into your life right when you need them. Some people are wonderful for you, and some people just aren’t. They may start out as wonderful and are a lot of fun to hang around, but then you start to see them as they really are. That’s when the trouble begins. They complain all the time about the same thing but never change their situation. They tell you that you will never get the person you love so much to love you back, no matter what, because his reputation is so bad.

Those are the people that might be a blast to hang out with and pick you up off the floor when you fall off a barstool and bust an eyebrow, but when the second love of your life dies, they turn on you in a second.

This isn’t a soap opera storyline. This is what happened to me. I really did fall off a barstool, and have the scar on my left eyebrow to prove it. (My husband had to come get me. No way was I driving that night!) The second love of my life (not my husband, and that’s a whole different type of blog) did die in 2015, and my so-called friends turned on me before I could even stop crying after I found out. They spread horrible rumors. They sent nasty texts. I never went back to that job. I learned about toxic friendships the hard way.

I didn’t feel lonely, though, because my real friends showed up. They almost drug me out of my house because I didn’t want to do anything. They called me daily because of my drinking. It was already bad but got worse. They made sure I got out of bed. I simply blocked the fake ones and kept going. On the bright side, however, I made a new friend that helped me out of the darkness that I fell into. I’m pretty sure I have done the same for her.

*Sheila was *Will’s cousin, and we met at his visitation. She had heard about me through his brothers (who I was also friends with) and we have been very close friends ever since. We talk daily and our daughters are best friends. We have cried, laughed and had many adventures together. When Will’s monument finally came in, we went to the cemetery and cried together.

Surrounding yourself with people who care about you is priceless to your mental health. It adds to your feeling of security. You know you can trust these people, that you can call them and know they will try their best to help you, no matter what the problem is. If you’re having a good or bad day, they are there. Even if you are literally having one of the worst days of your life, they’re there.

These people encourage you to be the best you can be. They encourage you before a job interview, to lose those last 20 lbs that you have been trying to lose forever. They ask you how your latest therapy session went. One of these people can be better than five or six of the people you left behind.

It’s not always easy to see if people are sincere or not. I don’t trust easily these days. I really thought my friends were awesome and I was even helping one plan her wedding. She tried to look me up not long ago on LinkedIn. I blocked her. There is nothing she can do for me. Ever.

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How can you tell if someone is sincere?

  1. When you call them, they’re actually there for you. I can’t begin to explain my shock when my friends turned on me suddenly. I never expected it. I was really lost for a while. What’s more, sincere people want to be there for you. They want to be there to help you whenever they can, even through your really bad moments.
  2. They care. This is a pretty simple one. When you out drink everyone in the room and it’s time to go home, giving your husband a trash bag so that if you throw up it won’t destroy the inside of his truck, that shows someone cares.
  3. They ask you every day how you are doing. They want to know if you are really okay, and do not accept “I’m fine” especially if the day before was a bad one.

People are priceless. Everyone needs people in their lives, some more than others. It’s just a matter of finding the right people.

Pics are courtesy of my Pinterest board.

**STAY TUNED FOR MY COLLAB WITH BONNIE IN JUNE!!**

Song Lyric Saturday with Coldplay

This week’s pick is in Jake’s memory- he loved Coldplay. I’m not really a fan, except for one song.

“Fix You” is a great song. It’s very deep and I don’t recommend listening without tissues nearby. I cried through it for months after his death.

I don’t think you can really “fix” a person, but you can help them fix themselves. Jake helped change me forever and I’m so grateful I met him. Two years was not and never will be long enough. As Matthew once said, “He fixed what I broke.”

When you are broken by another person, it is hard to open up to anyone. It is even harder to lose the person you finally open up to. Jake was so easy to talk to. We talked about books, music, our kids, everything we thought of. Not once did I feel like I needed to be someone else for him. That was a gift. He made me smile again. Most of all, he made me like myself again- it was okay to be me because I’m actually pretty great to be around, with or without clothes on.

I can’t thank him for this, but in a way, I am through the work I have done since he died. He helped me change.. I can only hope I helped him change, even if just a little.

Friday Laughs

It’s been a long week. I’ve been struggling with my sinuses- Louisville, Kentucky is the second worst place in the country for allergy/sinus issues. Matthew has been at home on vacation and this stopped being cute on Wednesday.

There is a daily struggle at my house. Housework is not my best thing and this was discussed 13 years ago. I don’t see tumbleweeds yet so I guess we’re good.

This is very accurate. Pinterest is a time sucking black hole but I love it. What’s productivity?

If you’re a fan of sarcasm, like I am, this is a question that you ask yourself often. I have to stop myself before answering a lot. It’s hard to not be sarcastic.

Speaking of allergies… pollen is everywhere. The crap is on my car, flying in the air… welcome to spring in Kentucky. I’m just glad winter is gone.

Happy Friday!

Bringing up Georgia
Run Jump Scrap

Teens and Privacy: Where Do You Draw The Line?

The Challenges of Social Media

Teens are a challenge and a half. I’m just wandering into the pool of those challenges- most of them weren’t even on my radar until recently.

Everyone needs privacy. We need our space from others, physically and emotionally. We need our own space to grow and express thoughts. Teens need this for many reasons, one of the biggest being that they are trying to figure themselves out.

In the age of technology, privacy can get a bit worrisome. Parents have a lot more to worry about now than our parents did. We have to worry about Instagram and other social site pictures being too revealing and suggestive. We have to worry about our kids being bullied, because that ends tragically far too often. We worry about our kids being targeted while they play video games. These are just a few things that our parents never had to think about.

Black and white computer pic

Talking to Your Children

Opening up a conversation about privacy can be a bit awkward. It’s hard to start the conversation without being weird- you may have to look for an opening.

Do you already have an open relationship with your child? If you do, this may be a bit easier. If not, you may have to do a little more work to ease into it.

Go to my Freebie Page and find some helpful tips for talking to your kids. They require careful steps but in the end, everyone will be glad for the talk.

What if my child won’t talk or let me see what I ask for?

This is a rough one. Some kids aren’t talkers. I’ve got a couple. I’m not saying just let the quieter kids be- because they still need to know the importance of opening up and respecting this request. Losing their privilege can be a huge incentive to give you the information you want.

Assure your child that they can come to you if they are scared. That may be all they need.

There are some great apps for keeping an eye on what your kids do online- I use Net Nanny and it is super simple. It’s free and sends me a weekly summary of anything blocked or warned due to something the kids shouldn’t have looked up or sites they don’t need to be on. They also know about this and that they will lose all privileges if I get anything from this page.

As of this post, nothing has ever popped up in the whole time I have had this installed. We share a YouTube account and I can see everything they look up on Google.

I’m not a fan of breaking and entering into your child’s room. I don’t recommend this at all, except in one condition. That condition is if you are certain your child is in imminent danger and/or there is illegal activity involved. By all means, break down the door and go for it. This also applies for self-harm and other mental health reasons.

I’m hoping that I never have to sneak in my kids’ room and go through their things. I hope we are able to talk through things and come to a solution first.

What are your thoughts?

Twin Mummy and Daddy

Our Three Peas
Bringing up Georgia

Join Bonnie and I starting June 2!

Being You is a Superpower

This post is published today, May 15, for a reason. It’s in Jake’s memory- he would have been 38 today. It’s fitting that I chose the importance of being yourself as today’s topic.

I nicknamed Jake my “Superman” because of his size (he was 6’3″- when you’re 5’2″, that’s a huge difference) and because he saved me from the mess my life was in. He also reminded me that it was okay to be me.

Taylor Swift- “Superman”

I had lost myself and didn’t even know it. I’d become absorbed in trying to get Julian somewhere near okay- stabilized on meds and socially balanced. He was less aggressive but still struggling to connect with others. Matthew and I fought constantly over what to do. We clashed on many other things- my anxiety skyrocketed. I began a quest to make things perfect to try to appease his anger. This story can be found in The Reality Check

Slowly, Jake and I began to open up to each other. Both of us had reasons for holding back, but one text changed that.

“I want you to be yourself around me as much as possible.”

I never forgot those words. I felt like it was okay to be myself again with someone I cared about. I felt relieved. I became happy again. As wrong as the situation was, I had found some way to be happy.

Dropping the Mask

As I got happier, I also became stronger. This happens when you have someone in your life that wants you to be happy and believes in you. Jake let me cry when I needed it, reminded me that I was a great mom when I had bad mom days, and that I was still a good person in the end. Jake saw me get angry and call him out on his mistakes but I believe he respected me more afterwards. In return, he was himself around me. (The only times he wasn’t was during an episode, but that was out of his control.)

I started writing poems again. I began to learn my limits and got tired of being yelled at constantly. I got tired of being put down even when I was putting out my best efforts. I lost 60 lbs, straightened my hair and bought new clothes.

I even started engaging with my friends again. I’d hidden away while dealing with Lily and Julian’s assorted special needs therapies and they understood,but it was time. I realized that it was time to drop the mask I had been hiding behind- the struggling-to-be-perfect mom. That mask was slipping away.

My friend Scott and I at his birthday dinner

I’m naturally funny- sarcasm is one of my best qualities. It gets me through a lot. I’d lost this and more. I was trying to be who Matthew wanted me to be and it just wasn’t working. I couldn’t be unemotional, a cleaning machine and basically a porn star. I felt like I was worth more to him with my clothes off than on.

Who wants to feel like that?

Matthew didn’t like any of this. He knew these changes were not good for him- I was going back to my feisty, loud self. I was not going to deal with any more damage. If that meant my leaving, so be it.

Jake died in September 2015. I fell into a black hole and went into therapy to deal.

The Superpower Factor

Even if you change, your true personality will always come back. Mine did. My humor returned, along with my ability to not care a lot, if at all, what others think. I also developed a great ability to cut out toxic people from my life.

You might be wondering: did Matthew like the changed me? He sure did. It was that or we were going to battle things out in court. I gave him time to get used to it and as of this post, we are happily together.

When you aren’t true to yourself, it will show. You’re lost. You’re not happy. Some people fall into a pattern of trying to tear others down- I’ve seen this first hand.

Everyone is different, and that’s why I call individuality a superpower. You have something in you that nobody else has. Find it and run with it. Cherish who you are and don’t change for anyone. Learning about myself was such a good thing for me and I had an amazing teacher.

*STAY TUNED FOR MY COLLAB WITH BONNIE IN JUNE!!**

Happy Mother’s Day!

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I LOVE PUSHEEN. She’s a cat, cute and I’m sure cuddly.

Happy Mother’s Day to all the moms, whether your babies are humans or animals. Enjoy your day and do something nice for yourself. Don’t cook and have fun!

My mom is the best mom and I love her. Being a mom is literally the hardest thing I will ever do with my life, but I have no idea what I would do without my kids. Thanks, Cameron, Julian, and Lily for making my life a million times better. I love you.

Affiliate links for this post: I may recieve a commission from anything purchased. Please see my Contact/Legal Things page for more info.

Until May 31, enter the code ANXIETY18 to get 25% off at this link: Anxiety Pocket E-book

Self-care can be a great present 🙂

Song Lyric Saturday with Oasis

If you like British bands, today is your day. I’ve got Oasis’s “Wonderwall” to discuss.

I loved Oasis, but they were full of drama. It led to their eventual breakup.

I’m full of words but sometimes I lose all of them. I’m also quiet when I know what I have to say has the potential to mess things up. This is thanks to years of watching what I say around Matthew so he wouldn’t get mad.

This issue leaked over into my time with Jake. I cared so much and so deeply for him, but I couldn’t find the words. He died without me ever telling him that I loved him, and to this day, that is a huge regret. I was afraid that it would scare him away. I knew how he was about his feelings and commitment.

I came close, a week before he died, but the moment passed and I let it slip away. I was later told that he died knowing how I felt and that helped heal my heart.

If you have something to say to someone, SAY IT! You may lose your chance forever. 💓

Top Ten Intimacy Needs

I found this very interesting and helpful.

A Vodka Kind Of Mom

This is another handout from a psych class that has helped me a lot lately. This has the top ten intimacy needs and it applies to all kinds of relationships. Let me know what you think.

  1. ACCEPTANCE: The closer we get to someone, the more we notice their imperfections. Acceptance involves looking past these flaws and meeting their needs. For example, our need for acceptance is accentuated when we experience failure.
  2. APPRECIATION: To communicate with words and feelings personal gratefulness for another person. This can be shown by giving cards or special gifts. These physical tokens of our appreciation are very effective and usually long-lasting.
  3. SUPPORT: To come alongside and gently carry a problem or struggle. become personally involved … help bear the burden.
  4. ENCOURAGEMENT: To urge forward and positively persuade towards a goal. To inspire with courage, spirit, and hope.
  5. AFFECTION: To communicate care and closeness through physical touch and…

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Preschoolers and Preteens: How Are They Alike?

I’ve had a lot of time to reflect on how child development works- I learned a lot about it while in college- I got a crash course twice in infant development. I even took Cameron to class once for this and of course, he had the beginning of strep. Everyone loved him anyway, because he was an adorable baby, just a little cranky.

Sleep: How does this work?

Cameron was a terrible sleeper when he was younger- we had to drive him around at night. He was the kid that made me debate if I wanted more. Apparently, he is now catching up on all the naps he refused to take as a toddler. Much like a preschooler who stopped taking naps, he’s a bit cranky later in the day. He takes a nap just about everyday around 4 and if he doesn’t get it, he complains about not getting his sleep. I giggle because he has no clue of the sleep Matthew and I missed out on trying to get him to sleep.

Sleeping Cameron

Family Trip to Natural Bridge.. we weren’t even there yet and Cameron needed a nap.

Good thing he’s so cute while he sleeps, right? The other two are great sleepers- Lily still tells us she’s going to bed and once she’s in bed, there is no waking her up.

Food: The eternal struggle

I’ve touched on picky eaters before in Parenting Pet Peeves. Lily and Julian have been picky eaters since they were small. Both had sensory issues, which creates its own chaos. Lily has since gotten past this, but Julian’s, of course, are permanent. He won’t eat french fries that have potato skins on them, people. That’s where we are right now. I’ve met and worked with a lot of preschoolers that won’t eat a lot of things for many reasons but this one is up there on the wildest things I’ve heard.

We have learned to pick our battles, split Julian’s fries among the rest of us, or try not to get him fries at all and move on. It’s not worth the fight. Preschoolers love to fight their parents on food-related things, and it can get exhausting.

Growing Way Too Fast

This one bugs me the most. When did Lily need a bra? When did Cameron and Julian graduate elementary school? Cameron’s about five minutes from finishing seventh grade. Preschoolers tend to do this before we can blink. I barely remember my kids finishing preschool because it went by so fast, between Julian’s broken arm and other assorted injuries, Lily being the cutest thing in her class and Cameron going off to elementary school. It was a blur. Preschoolers sing songs and make stuff when they graduate, probably to make it a little easier on us.

Cameron's 5th grade graduation

Cameron’s 5th grade graduation

You notice he’s almost as tall as me in the pic, right? Fast forward two years and he is taller than me. Ugh.

They Love Animals

This house is an animal friendly house. So far, pet-wise, we have had a handful of turtles, three mini-hamsters, one dog (Tiger), a rabbit (Bugs), and the very spoiled Tails and Miss Purr. They also love going to zoos and seeing other animals. Cameron wants a koala or a panda, Lily loves jellyfish and snow leopards, and Julian likes almost anything but penguins, because they stink. Every preschooler I have ever met loves animals. They may not like petting them but they definitely like animals.

There is a nearby free petting zoo and we go quite a bit when the weather is good.

Lily’s 9th birthday party was at a local animal shelter and everyone loved it. We got to play with cats, and that was the highlight of the party.

Lily's 9th birthday party

Lily petting a cat at her birthday party- a blast

Exploring is a MUST

My kids, for the most part, love to get into things. Julian is usually the kid that is most likely to get into something he shouldn’t be. His cousin, Chase, used to tell him, “Don’t do it, Julian. Your mom is gonna be so mad.” Chase is a pretty cautious kid, and he was usually right when he said that. I think he stopped saying it because he realized it wasn’t going to stop him, so he just waited to see what was going to happen next.

Matthew and I took the kids to Natural Bridge a few years ago and we loved it. Lily hated the walk up and complained the whole way. The boys loved it.

Natural Bridge

Cameron climbing out of a small cave he found at Natural Bridge.

Preschoolers get into everything they can and squeeze all the fun they can into a day- same thing about ten years later. My kids have all the fun they can, as they should, because adulthood comes far too quickly and then you have to pay bills. Yuck.

They scare the hell out of you.

This award goes to my boys. Cameron wins for his heart condition, because SVT (you can find info here) is scary. He just got off a month-long monitoring for this and we are thrilled no issues were found. The scariest day I’ve ever had as a mom was the day we found out about the SVT in 2015. He passed out at school after playing basketball and an ambulance was called. The school staff thought he’d had a heatstroke (it was early June) but once he was at the hospital, it was quickly seen that it was not that but something else. After a second major episode in March 2018, he had to have a small procedure to stop these issues, and it was successful.

Before Julian’s ADHD and autism diagnosis, he broke his left arm, right foot, had a concussion, and cut a finger with garden clippers. He did all of this before he was four. He has since calmed down, thanks to a diagnosis and meds, but has still had a few injuries-nothing terrible.

Kids of all ages will scare you, sometimes starting with the day they are born. Preschoolers are interesting little people. They have no fear, will try almost anything and just don’t care. This ends badly, especially when they take a flying leap off a bunk bed, which is what resulted in Julian’s broken arm. That ended in resetting his left arm.

They will steal your heart.

When you aren’t settling fights, wondering when the fidget spinner fad will end (it’s still a thing at my house), or doing one of the other many things you do to keep your kids in one piece, your kids will manage to steal your heart. It happens. I think it’s normal?

Twin Mummy and Daddy
Bringing up Georgia

*STAY TUNED FOR MY COLLAB WITH BONNIE IN JUNE!!**