Just In Case Anyone Wondered

I figured I would answer a few questions for my readers, ones that might give you more insight into me as a person, not just a mom, blogger or whatever else.

I can’t change my permanent tan, as I call it, but then why would I want to? Being biracial has allowed me to be funnier, open-minded, opinionated and to be okay with not being like everyone else. I haven’t been since I was born.

I’m 37, so this puts me in a weird spot. I’m old enough to remember not being able to play at a friend’s house because their parents didn’t want a biracial kid in their home, but not old enough to have truly appreciated punk rock and be able to have a category to check for “race”. Those older than me had to pick and that’s somewhat traumatizing within itself.

So if you were wondering, I’m good. I’m proud of being biracial. I have a wicked sense of humor and love of makeup from my mom’s parents and I look like my Granny on my dad’s side. I have curly black hair that people would pay great amounts of money for.

I’ve passed this on to my kids, who have different types of curly hair and have my eyes.

Just in case you were wondering, BLACK LIVES MATTER.

That’s it. That’s the post.

Keep reading, I’m not done.

As many of you know, I live in Louisville, KY, the center of protesting over Breonna Taylor’s murder.

I fully support them and have donated to bond funds and Black Lives Matter in my city. If it weren’t for RA, I’d protest myself. Instead, I’ve been signing petitions for justice and telling people what I think.

All the cops involved in Breonna’s murder need to be fired, arrested, charged and convicted, preferably in that order. Same goes for George Floyd’s killers.

It’s going to be a long road, but Breonna and George will hopefully get justice. Unfortunately, there are others that deserve justice for the same reason- being murdered by a cop.

If you were wondering, my job is fantastic and I love it. I’m still debating the Public Health idea but ugh, my therapist is on medical leave and I haven’t gotten that far with her replacement.

Yep, I’m still in therapy. Every week.

Just in case you wanted to know, my publishing schedule is all over the place and I’m aware.

Ugh.

I’ve put a few posts on the backburner as drafts. Writer’s block is a thing, as is flares and life itself. A couple of recent posts, like this one, popped into my head out of the blue. I kind of like those better.

I’m working on a post a week, but we will see.

In case you were wondering, RA still sucks. I am currently at the end of a flare, which completely wears me out, mentally and physically. One day, it took all the energy I had to stay awake.

This describes the quarantine/social distancing we have been dealing with. I have no clue what I am doing- some days are structured, some aren’t. Like everyone else, all I can do is my best.

Pics are from my personal Facebook and Pinterest.

More Than A Label: LGBT+ Mental Health

Everyone is made differently- looks, personality, likes, dislikes and even sexuality.

Some of us are attracted to men and women, some are attracted to those of the same sex. Some don’t have romantic attraction towards anyone. There are even people that are attracted to men, women, non-binary people and others.

This is okay. We can’t help who we fall in love with.

I haven’t written a lot about sexuality, but it’s Pride Month. It’s somewhat out of my scope but I’m willing to discuss it.

I previously wrote a post about this topic –Talking About Pride

However, being a part of the LGBTQ+ community can lead to some issues that aren’t always given a lot of attention.

This is My Scope of Knowledge

Mental health issues are common in today’s world, and being seen as “different” can add to an existing condition or even lead to symptoms of a new diagnosis.

Anxiety

Those that identify as non-heterosexual are three times more likely to suffer from anxiety than others – this is the same for adults and teens. This can be a result of issues in home life, school/career and other areas of life. Anxiety is hard enough to handle without questioning your sexuality. Anxiety, of course can lead to other issues, as in depression, drug use and even suicidal ideations.

Coming out to friends and family can be a cause of stress alone. A person might be fully ready to live their life but the idea of telling those they are close to can be difficult. This isn’t to say coming out makes these issues disappear, but it helps.

Depression

Depression is very common in the community. Having to keep your sexuality a secret can be devasting, and so can having to pretend to be someone else. It eats away at your soul and can lead to some very dark thoughts. Not being able to share the person you love is also painful.

Sometimes people become depressed or it worsens after coming out. This can be a result of a negative response to the announcement. There are still many people who don’t agree with the “lifestyle” and can be very judgemental towards people who aren’t heterosexual, even if it is their own child. These thoughts of not being loved/accepted can spiral into actions that endanger lives- substance abuse, suicidal thoughts, etc.

For the record, I do not care if my kids are gay, bisexual, or anything else on the spectrum. As long as they find someone who they are happy with and they’re treated well, then I am good.

For some reason, those who identify as bisexual are diagnosed with depression more than those who identify as a different sexuality. One in four bisexual people in a study have been diagnosed with depression at some point. Other sexualities have lower rates. Some of this has to do with support, or lack thereof, especially at school and/or at home.

This is why it’s so importatnt to support the LGBT+ people in your life, no matter how old they are. It’s hard to reach out for the help you need when you feel as if a therapist will judge you or even not see you because of your sexuality.

Teens go through a lot of changes as it is, and figuring this out can be difficult. Teens struggle more if their school is not a supportive place for them, because they may feel they have nowhere to turn.

Bullying is already a topic that many are familiar with. This can be excruciating for teens that identify as LGBTQ+. It just adds to the feelings of not being good enough, or shame at being “different”. It also makes a teen feel unsafe in a place that they should feel safe. Having to defend yourself 5 days a week can be physically and emotionally draining.

The Importance of Community

I can’t stress this enough- if you are reading this and you need LGBTQ+ support, in any way, please reach out. There will be resources at the end of this post.

It’s not healthy to feel like or even try to go through life alone. Everyone needs someone they can tell about really good or even really bad dates. People need to belong. It’s a basic need.

The feeling you get when you are around others that understand you is wonderful. It’s nice to know you are not the only one.

Resources:

LGBTQ Information on Addiction and Suicide

HRC

LGBTQ Youth Hopkins Medicine

MHA

LGBT Community Mental Health

Pictures courtesy of Unsplash

Looking At the Bright Side

A Dark Day Brings Light

November 23, 2011, was a dark day at my house, but yet it brought a lot of light to my mind. That is the day Julian was diagnosed with ADHD (combined) and traits of Asperger’s Syndrome. (This was later amended to a full diagnosis and he is now considered to be on the autism spectrum because Asperger’s was removed from the DSM-V.)

Autism meme

It brought tears and peace at the same time. I finally had answers to so many questions. I wasn’t a bad mom, there was actually a reason he was doing all these things.

I finally had tools to help him. I could help him calm himself so he wouldn’t throw toys, hit his siblings or myself. I might even get dinner done on time some nights instead of stopping to deal with Julian’s meltdowns.

Losing Perspective

Somewhere in the middle of trying behavior charts, evaluations and basically bribing Julian to act appropriately, I’d forgotten the good things about him. He did have those, like every other kid.

Don't say sorry

For example, Julian is so intelligent. For the most part, he’s always done well in math and science. He hates reading.

There is a bright side to having a kid with special needs. It changes you in ways you never thought possible. You may have learn a lot about the diagnosis (or more than one), but you’ll be able to spread awareness about it. I’ve become very vocal about ADHD and autism.

You can read my thoughts on the vaccination/autism debate in this post:

The Autism/Vaccine Debate

I’ve walked for a local organization for families of children with autism. I worked with kids with autism for almost five years, and I loved it. It makes it easier for me to deal with the struggles.

I know I’m far from alone because there are many families that have the same day to day issues that I do. This includes some of my friends.
I’ve learned that you have to be a different parent for each kid.

What works for Lily may not work for Julian. Cameron responds a lot differently to things than his siblings. We have had to adjust to Julian’s quirks and needs and become a lot more creative and open-minded. I’ve had to think on my feet a lot and outside the box a lot more.

Learning to Adjust

I never really went through the stage that some parents do in which they grieve what they imagined what their child would be able to do. Julian will still have a full life- he will just have a few bumps along the way.

Swing
We are able to see the world through a different lens with Julian- slightly narrowed thinking, a dry sense of humor, ability to help with or without asking- he loves to help his dad and grandfather do “big guy stuff”. He does show emotions, but we are still working on empathy.

I have become tougher. I don’t see this as a terrible thing. I’ve learned to fight for what Julian needs and I will do that until he can do it on his own. I won’t let him be in the world on his own without knowing how to get help if he needs it and without the skills, he needs to navigate his issues.

We do have bad days as parents, with or without special needs kids. Looking at the bright side can help bring our focus back to the positivity around us- our kids.

Being the Best Mom I Can Be

I’m clearly not a perfect mom. I tried that but it didn’t go well- I lost weight, was constantly stressed out and miserable.

You can read more about this here

Over the years, as many of us do, I’ve grown, learned and changed as a mother (and person). I’ve figured out my strengths and weaknesses as a mom.

Fifteen Years of Learning

When Cameron was born, like most first time moms, I had no idea what I was doing. Did I know the basics of changing and feeding but beyond that? Not a lot.

As he got older and Julian showed up, I learned a lot quickly. I’ve been a fan of a daily routine for years because it makes life smoother for everyone involved. It has helped Julian and to an extent, Lily a lot.

A routine is about the only way you can function as a mom, much less a mom of multiple kids. I think this may be the biggest thing I’ve learned to do and improve on.

What am I great at as a mom?

  • I’ve become a lot more patient. Years ago, I would basically lose it at the smallest thing and my anger/depression got really bad a few years ago. This is not a good mix. Thanks to therapy and (recently) Prozac, I rarely yell at the kids anymore. I save my lone vocal cord for big situations.
  • I’m funny. My humor and sarcasm have gotten us through many situations, like the current coronavirus situation.
  • I’m honest- the kids and I have discussed sex, drugs, grades, etc. with almost no awkwardness. I think this is my area because of my work plus being sober help.
  • Being sober- three years and going. This has been a huge improvement all around but I’m pretty sure the kids are happy to see Mom not drinking.
  • I’m firm but flexible.

What could I do better as a mom?

  • Remembering things- my short term memory is an issue in a lot of areas, but it’s sometimes annoying that I don’t remember something that I told the kids a day or so before. I write everything down in a note app and they know if it’s not written down, it’s not happening.
  • I could probably not nag so much, but that applies to many parents out there. It’s hard, guys.
  • Remember how hard it is to be a teenager. Life is different from when I was their age and I think teens have it harder now.

I think a lot about if I’m a good mom. Most parents do. I’ll probably never stop worrying about my kids- especially Cameron’s SVT issues. For the most part, that’s kept in check. I hear from others that my kids are great so I guess that’s some proof, right?

Y’all stay safe and healthy out there.

Photos courtesy of my personal Facebook page.

How Do Co-Morbid Disorders Operate?

It can feel draining, to say the least, to be diagnosed with a mental health disorder. This can feel even more so if you have more than one. Sometimes these disorders operate independently of the other OR you can show symptoms of both regularly.

chart close up data desk

Photo by Lukas on Pexels.com

Stay with me..

The term co-morbid (according to Lexico/OED) means that a person has two or more conditions simultaneously. In my terms, it means that a person has two diagnoses at the same time- for example, many people with addiction (of any kind) also have anxiety, depression or another mental health diagnosis. That diagnosis can lead to addiction. Some people aren’t aware of this until being seen for a substance abuse issue, like going into a rehabilitation program. This can also apply to medical terms – for example, I have rheumatoid arthritis and migraines. Both are chronic conditions and on bad days, I’m in pain and have a migraine. (This is no fun at all, but thankfully, it doesn’t happen much, it’s usually one or the other.)

In fact, many of those diagnosed with depression also have another mental health diagnosis, usually an anxiety-related disorder. It’s thought that both disorders have similar mechanisms in the brain so that they appear together. Some co-morbid disorders can be harder to treat because they do show up at the same time. The symptoms can be more severe than they would be in a single diagnosis. More information can be found at NAMI

Things can get a bit complicated with multiple diagnoses. When you are seeing a roster of specialists, sometimes things can slip through the cracks- medication refill issues, remaining compliant with medications and other treatment, etc. All prescribing doctors need to know all of the medications you are taking so that there are no interactions. Some interactions can be serious or deadly.

Example: Cameron had a severe migraine for two days. I called his headache doctor and she was hesitant to prescribe steroids (which are commonly used) because he has SVT. She didn’t want to take the chance of the steroids causing an episode. I appreciated her concern about this- nobody wants to go to the ER for an episode.

It’s important to pay attention to your symptoms so that if things change, you can get help as soon as possible to lessen the impact on your body and life.

Some of this information can be found on Very Well Mind

ball shaped circle close up dark

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

There isn’t a lot of research out there on co-morbid disorders, most research is based on a single disorder. This leaves a lot of room for more research and understanding how disorders go together.

It’s 2020. I’m sure this is coming for us and will allow those with co-morbid disorders to live happier lives.