Song Lyric Saturday with Stone Temple Pilots

I loved this group as a teen and into adulthood. I read “Fall to Pieces” by Mary Weiland, Scott Weiland’s ex-wife. I was crushed to hear of his death. Scott was such a talented, but yet, tormented man. Inner demons can and will kill you.

“Sour Girl” is my favorite song by STP. I loved the video, even though it was slightly creepy.

It’s hard to look tough on the outside when you’re crumbling on the inside. It takes energy you don’t have to fake a smile and act like everything is okay. I do this a lot less often than I used to.. because it serves no purpose.

I’m sure my friends and family thought I was a superwoman a few years ago. I worked full-time, finally got Julian on meds and into therapy, the other two kids were doing fine and I had recovered from my stroke and was taking care of myself.

On the inside, I still wasn’t happy. It was about then my drinking picked up. Matthew demanded perfection (or at least that’s how I saw it) and made sure I felt horrible when I fell short. How would I not feel terrible about myself in the end?

This lyric is all about hiding pain from others when they think you’re okay. This isn’t healthy. Please reach out if you’re in this situation. You are worth it.

Song Lyric Saturday with Nickelback

My best friend, Ashley, and I agree on many things. We do not, however, agree on Nickelback.

I like them. She hates them. She’s sent me a lot of memes expressing this and it’s sparked a lot of humor. On the more serious side, “If Today Was Your Last Day” holds a very special spot in my mind.

March 30, 2013 almost was my last day. It was the day I had a small stroke. I didn’t know if I was going to live or not. When you’re 30 and have three small children, that’s scary as hell.

This song made me really think. What if that day had been it? I hadn’t been living my best life. I was seriously stressed trying to deal with Julian’s needs without the support I needed the most. My marriage was almost done. My job was the only thing holding me together. I wasn’t taking care of myself. I was barely eating or sleeping. There was no time for myself.

What was self care again?

After my stroke, I had to get serious with my life. I started seeing a neurologist, who I still see. He recommended eliminating as much stress as possible in my life. I transferred to a “home unit” at work a few months later, meaning that I had a regular unit to go to daily, as opposed to being sent anywhere. This was as stressful as it sounds. As a bonus, Jake was already on the unit I went to. I loved the kids and staff there, so it was an easy choice. I took a small pay cut but money isn’t everything.

At home, I insisted on more help. I put my foot down on Matthew becoming more supportive with Julian and helping me in general. I began working out slowly. I began hanging out with friends again. (This led to my increase in drinking, but that’s a different post.)

I’m so grateful that I didn’t die that day. Every year I plan something fun or just take the day to care for myself. I’m worth it.

Spotlight: American Stroke Association

I chose to do something a bit different today. Strokes aren’t exactly a mental health issue, but they can lead to them afterwards. I’m very glad to have survived a stroke five years ago, so I chose to educate a bit about this today.

Five years ago, just three months after I turned 30, I had a TIA. This is commonly known as a “mini stroke”. TIA stands for transient ischemic attack. I have written about the stroke and the after effects in another post, Invisible Changes.
It wasn’t a fun experience at all. I struggle daily with short term memory issues and on a really bad day, migraines. Those are controlled by preventive meds, knowing my triggers and nerve blocks. I have a great neurologist. Oh, and being sober helps. I’m a year and almost three months into that. Hangovers will cause the worst migraines.
Part of my blog’s mission is to spread awareness. I’ve written a lot about mental health and suicide awareness. This post is dedicated to awareness of the signs of stroke. As part of my former work, I already knew the signs because I worked in medical facilities. I didn’t realize, however, that they can slightly differ from what I learned.
All of my information comes from American Stroke Association

The Details

I’m not going to bore everyone with the super small details but I will give the important ones:

  1. A TIA is a temporary blockage of blood to the brain. Gross, right? It’s what happened to me and I had no clue. However, this is seen as a warning sign for possible further strokes so follow a doctor’s care. (For example, there is a slew of meds I can’t take because of my history-yay.)

  2. A hemmoragic stroke is caused by a blood clot that bursts and prevents blood flow to the brain.

  3. A ischemic stroke is caused by a blood clot that stops blood flow to the brain.

Mine was caused by extremely high blood pressure from a migraine, which put a lot of pressure on a blood vessel in my brain, which narrowed and stopped the blood flow temporarily.
Have I lost y’all yet? If not, let’s carry on.
One Stigma Buster

Strokes can and will occur at any age. They can even occur in the womb, even though that is very rare. I worked with a teen that had a stroke at 4,leaving one side of his body paralyzed. He was a very interesting kid. I wanted to bust that stigma because many people think only the elderly have strokes.


The Symptoms

When I was trained in my previous jobs, I was trained exactly by the Stroke Association’s standards.

FAST

F- Face drooping to one side. I couldn’t feel the left side of my face, so I couldn’t tell you if it drooped, but I’m told it did.

A- Arm weakness. This is still an issue during a severe migraine and it’s scary. I could not move my arm when I had my stroke and it frightened me. Have the person hold their arms out in front of them. Watch for them to drift downward.

S- Speech difficulty. I couldn’t speak well. Generally, words begin to slur and I’m not talking about like when you’ve been drinking. It’s worse. Say a small sentence and have them repeat it to you.

T- Time to call 911. I ended up having my mom take me to the hospital. Make sure that if you call 911 or drive someone to the hospital that you say the person may be having a stroke. Time matters- brain functioning is at stake.

General Info

The American Stroke Association was started in 1997. It’s dedicated to educate, prevent, and help treat strokes. It also helps provide a better variety of life for those who have survived a stroke and their families.

Pics courtesy of Pixabay

The Big Parenting Takeaways

In 13 years of being a mom, I’ve tried to teach my kids a lot. There’s three of them and one of me, and I won’t always be here. I didn’t think about this much until I had a stroke almost 5 years ago.

Unexpected Thoughts

After I recovered, I started thinking about the things I still wanted to teach my kids. I want them to grow up to be forward thinking, well mannered people. I want them to be happy with their lives and just be themselves,no matter where that may lead them.

I haven’t become a millionaire by working in the mental health field or blogging (as of yet) and I’m okay with this. I want my kids to find careers that they love, as long as it pays the bills. (No illegal things, I’m not bailing anyone out.)
Being the sibling of a kid with special needs isn’t easy. Cameron has really taken the brunt of this. He’s seen both siblings in some sort of therapy since he was three years old, beginning with Lily.

I’ve said before in The Siblings’ Turn that this will likely make him and in a different way, Lily, more caring and empathetic people. I can live with that. The biggest lesson? I want them to stand up for others who can’t do it for themselves and each other.

Matthew and I are wildly different people. One is example is that he’s a staunch Republican with a healthy love of guns. (Chillax, they are in a gun safe and none of the kids can even begin to figure out the combo) I’m a Democrat counting the days until we have a new president. This does have many advantages- one of them is that the kids see both sides of politics at home and get to form their own thoughts. We encourage this and watch the news almost daily. I want the kids to absorb and discuss what they see, then think it out.

Just Be Who You Are

Everyone has their own personality and in this house, it gets interesting. We tweak a lot of things for Julian, and everyone is used to it. Each kid is loved for who they are, and not who they “should” be. I don’t even know who my kids “should” be. Lily likes art stuff and hates math. Julian loves Minecraft and pretzels. He also loves “North Woods Law”. Cameron’s main loves in life are napping and playing basketball. Julian tends to be quieter than the other two, but that’s okay.

The lesson here? Be you. Go do awesome stuff with your life. Like others for who they are, not what you want them to be.

I have a zero tolerance for bullshit. My kids have learned this. I went off at a dentist office once because they couldn’t be bothered to call me about a canceled appt FOR ALL THREE KIDS because that dentist didn’t take their insurance. I took them out of school and on top of that, I had a horrible migraine.

We still got milkshakes after.

The lesson here? Milkshakes are even better when you don’t make it to the dentist, don’t anger a person with a migraine and don’t let people run over you, because that receptionist certainly tried.

Sometimes People Stink

This world is full of mean people. I don’t want my kids to be cynical and hardened but I do want them to stand up for themselves and not take crap from others. Lily is very sweet and gentle hearted. I worry that in the future, she will get run over. We’re working on this.

In general, I want my kids to be nice people. Give hugs. Give back to the community. Open doors for others. The small things count, and we work on this often.
Friendship is everything. I have a much smaller circle of friends than I used to, and that’s okay.

They know it’s okay to not need a roomful of friends to feel cared for. Sometimes just a handful is better. Thanks to my own changes in this area, the kids have absorbed a lot about what friendship means and what to look for in a true friendship. I hope they carry those lessons with them.

Love and Money

Then there’s love. I don’t care who they choose to be with, as long as they are being treated well, then I’m okay. I hope they find a deep, long lasting love and that they hold onto it with their whole heart and both of their hands.

Money isn’t everything but it certainly helps. Matthew and I have worked hard over the years to care for our family. I don’t want my kids to work so hard that they forget to live. This also goes for college.

You only get one body. Take care of it. I’m working on that one. They don’t want to have a stroke at 30, even a small one.
These are the big takeaways I want my kids to take from my parenting. I hope I’m somewhere on the path of getting them where they should be.

Photo credit: unsplash

Song Lyric Saturday 

Today’s lyric is from the Foo Fighters. I’ve loved this group since the beginning and I loved Dave Grohl when he was the drummer for Nirvana. (If you don’t know who that group is, please hit Google. They were one of the best grunge rock bands of the 90s.)

“It’s Times Like These You Learn to Live Again”

I’ve had to learn to live again- after my stroke, for example. The after effects weren’t the best and I live with them daily. Having to explain my short term memory issues can be really difficult. For a while, it was very hard to live with migraines until I got them somewhat under control with help from my neurologist. Now that I have medications to help and I have learned my triggers, things have become somewhat easier.

Learning to live again when you are stuck in a terrible situation is hard. I had to learn that I was worth a different life, one that wasn’t full of stress, sadness and daily verbal abuse. I was well on the path to divorce, as I’ve discussed previously, when Jake died. It took a year to fully feel like I was living again. The adjustment was terribly hard, and I hope it is something I never go through again.

I think I may be living my best life now, but it doesn’t mean that it has been easy to get here.

Question: Have you had to learn to live again?

ETA: I was lucky enough to see the Foo Fighters in concert. They came to Lexington in May 2018. I went with my best friend and it was one of the best concerts I have ever been to.

When Dave Grohl says light up the stadium, you light the place up

Longtime besties going to the Foo Fighters

Taylor Hawkins is my #2 favorite drummer. He smashed those drums.