Where There’s a Will, There’s a Way

Overwhelmed Mom

Yep, that pretty much sums up my week. Fortunately, I made do with a latte and a couple of O’Doul’s. Let me give you a little recap.

Friday:

Finally, the hubs and I get to celebrate our belated anniversary while the in-laws take the kids for the ENTIRE night. And…not so fast. Just as I’m dropping the kids off that afternoon, we discover head lice on my daughter. I’m immediately in denial. My mother-in-law and I are trying to convince my father-in-law they’re fruit flies – nope not happening. We put four on a wet paper towel and book it to Walgreens for confirmation. As I’m standing at the pharmacy counter debating with the two young pharmacists whether these “bugs” are or are not lice, my best friend who I had planned to have afternoon coffee and cake with, walks up to me and hands me a piece of my favorite chocolate cake. Seriously, friend of the year right there. But, now I find myself with a baggie of what we have now determined are lice in one hand and chocolate cake in the other. Something is very wrong with this picture.

Fast forward. We’re home. While my mother-in-law starts the all-consuming lice treatment on my daughter, I frantically tear through the house stripping anything that’s not bolted down. Quickly, piles of bedding and pillows start accumulating; the washer and dryer are going full speed; stuffed animals are being quarantined; dolls are being stuffed in freezers; never has there been a time I’m so grateful for my OCD behavior.

Obviously, our Friday night plans have drastically changed. I call my husband. It’s action time. There’s no way I can dry ALL of this stuff. Is there a laundromat nearby? Do laundromat’s still exist? Yes, yes they do! Thank you, Jesus! We have a little over an hour for hubs to dry four bags of pillows and comforters before basketball practice. Yes, we can do this! Thirty minutes later I get a text and attached pic of hubs and exploded pillow on the floor. Apparently, two of the pillows didn’t like the dryers. He assures me he’s giving the “regulars” quite a show. I’m now laughing so hard tears are streaming down my face.

Wash continues. I treat myself just in the off chance those little suckers are looking for a new home. Seriously. I can’t believe this is happening!

Saturday:

50 loads of wash later, I’m feeling like we might have this under control. I have Googled every piece of head lice info that exists. Friends have given me their steam cleaners and friendly advice and “This too shall pass” comfort. I’m not so sure.

Honestly, this day is a blur.

Sunday:

Morning wakeup with the dreaded daily “nit picking.” I feel like a mother monkey picking bugs off her young – but I’m not eating them. The fact that I’m picking bugs out of my daughter’s hair means nothing to me anymore. It’s just a simple fact.

Highlight of my day – meeting another sober blogger for coffee and shopping. Much needed break and more assurance that I will, in fact, survive this too. I’m honestly starting to think we’re the only family who hasn’t dealt with this dreaded parasite. Is it like childbirth? Horribly painful, but then you forget all about it? Weird.

Monday:

I have notified everyone that needs to be notified and they have promised a thorough check at school. Another before school “nit picking” session and I’m feeling pretty confidant.

Now, that my head cold is in full swing I’m looking forward to a day of rest. Not so fast. An hour after drop-off, I get the dreaded call. More nits. Come and pick daughter up. Nooooo!

It’s time. Time for the dreaded mayonnaise treatment. As I spread mayonnaise through my daughter’s hair, all I can think about is how I might never want to eat a sandwich again with this particular mayonnaise. Then it’s plastic wrap around her head and wait three hours, which for a nine-year-old is practically an eternity. But, I’m determined to smother these suckers. And, to make her feel better I assure her that people do this all the time for silky soft hair. Heck, it’s practically like going to a spa.

While she’s enjoying her spa treatment, I strip the bedding – again. And, vacuum – again. Seriously, this house is freakin’ spotless!

Tuesday:

I’m officially exhausted. I. Need. Rest.  No news is good news. Just in case, I do yet another treatment on myself. I may die of insecticide poisoning, but at least I won’t have lice. Just trying to stay positive.

Wednesday:

Kind of “normal” day. Starting to feel really confidant I’ve got these suckers beat. Not finding many nits in our daily head checking and life is semi-routine again. Okay, I’ve got this. I. Will. Survive.

Thursday:

Normal morning. Head check is good. A few here and there, but all in all looking up.

Hubs and I make an impromptu date for lunch. If we can’t manage dinner, lunch at the local Chinese restaurant will have to do. Maybe we’ll do a little shopping after. We’re alone and it’s a miracle!

And, then the dreaded call. More nits. Come and get your daughter. I don’t know if I should laugh or cry. I’m totally and completely defeated. I can’t handle this. Out of everything I’ve gone through, this might be what ultimately sends me off the deep end. Maybe I should just have hubs drive me to the State Hospital right now. But, no, they might have lice there. Am I safe anywhere?!

Pick daughter up. Yes, there are more. I get a thorough tutorial on how to go through every strand of hair, which I thought I was doing but apparently not to the degree needed. This is going to be a long day.

Once home, I get my supplies out. Well lit area? Check. Wet paper towel (to wipe nits on)? Check. Hair pins? Check. New movie on Kindle to keep daughter occupied? Check. Gummy bears? Check. Because, gummy bears just make everything better.

Two hours and one bag of gummy bears later, I’m feeling like a bad ass nit picker – if there is such a thing. Those guys don’t know who they’re messing with. I. Will. Eradicate. You.

One more lice treatment, two loads of wash and a big ol’ prayer that this is it. The end.

And, I’m reminded for the millionth time that being a mom is by far the hardest job that I’ll ever have…and this too shall pass.

 

 

 

The Struggle to Survive

Be Kind

I was in my last year of college when I got diagnosed with depression and put on my first prescription of antidepressants. I now know leading up to that I had experienced my first mental break. I collapsed in my bedroom and my good friend at the time had to call my mom. She helped me pack my suitcase and I managed to get in my car the next day and drive home. I spent an entire week on my parents’ couch, mostly sleeping and only getting up to shower and eat. It was awful and scary. And, little did I know that I would continue to be plagued by those feelings for the rest of my life.

In graduate school, I was “officially” diagnosed with textbook Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD), which would manifest itself in severe compulsive activity and anxiety, which would then transfer to depression and feelings of despair. It was a horrible cycle and the only way I can describe it is like being stuck in quicksand. The more I tried to pull myself out of it, the deeper I sank. At the time, I had taken a break from my studies to regroup and was working at a nearby gym. I had an early morning shift and I vividly remember times driving back from work and thinking how easy it would be to just run my car off the road; and it would all be over. I felt guilty for the anguish and worry I was causing those around me and, in my desperation, I honestly thought it would be best for everyone if I was gone. Fortunately, the part of my brain that was rational was able to talk the manic and irrational side out of it. I was one of the lucky ones; or as I now believe, it was not God’s will for my life.

As the years went by, I would have good days and bad days. But, when my son was born, and I suffered from what I now believe was undiagnosed postpartum depression, I found refuge in drinking. Like many people who suffer from depression, drinking became my other “medicine.” It’s how I escaped the anguish, despair and loneliness I felt. I was ashamed that I couldn’t just “snap” out of it, which made me sink deeper and deeper into my despair. To those looking in from the outside, my life seemed happy and wonderful. However, at the time, I found little joy and happiness.

I share this because when people talk about the selfishness of those who commit suicide or state that suicide is a choice; I highly doubt that they have ever experienced the despair of depression and addiction. By no means do I agree that taking your life is the answer; I don’t. I believe that all life is a God-given gift to be treated with the utmost respect. But, I also believe, that like any disease left untreated, depression and addiction can and will kill you.

Those of us who do suffer from these diseases must take care of ourselves, which is why I couldn’t get to a meeting fast enough last night. I was starting to become complacent in my recovery. I wasn’t attending meetings, and just as I had heard from others’ experiences, I hit a wall. A day that was already filled with sadness from the anniversary of a close friend’s death, was exasperated with the news of Robin Williams’ death. And, with everything else going on in the world – it became too much. I felt myself begin to sink in that quicksand. The anger, anxiety and depressive thoughts were welling up inside of me and it scared me. Because, I know those feelings lead to a need for escape. The alcoholic in me doesn’t want to feel them; I want to drown them out until I get to a place of total and complete numbness.

So, when my husband got home, I high tailed it out of our house and drove to a new women’s meeting I had been wanting to go to. And, the minute I walked in and was greeted with smiles and hugs, I was able to breathe again. I was with my people. People who knew and understood the despair I was feeling. As we went around the room, we laughed over our crazy alcoholic stories and cried over this disease that has taken so many of us.

But, in the end, we all expressed how grateful we were to be there, in that meeting, not as addicts or alcoholics, but as survivors.

Today I am a survivor, but I know how quickly I could become a victim to this disease. We must be vigilant in our recovery and treatment – and we must ask for help.

 

Does Alcohol Make You Crazier?

As I’ve mentioned in previous posts, I have suffered from anxiety, depression and Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) from the time I can remember. For better or worse, it’s part of who I am. I wasn’t always comfortable admitting I had all these “issues,” but, eventually, you just have to accept it and do your best with what God gave you. Over the years, I have learned various ways to “deal” with my mental health issues – mainly counseling, medication and getting sober (that was a big one).

However, that wasn’t always the case. Drinking was the main way I used to cope – with everything. If I was feeling anxious, I would drink; if I was feeling depressed, I would drink; if I was feeling obsessive, I would drink. And, on and on. It was a nasty little cycle I had going on. Of course, I always thought that drinking would make it better; that a few drinks would make it all go away. I would FINALLY feel relaxed! Ha!

The thing is, I never even realized that those drinks could actually be making my mental health issues worse. So, you can imagine my surprise when I came across the new health guide created by treatment center, Yellowbrick, that states the “Ten Mental Health Reasons Not to Drink Alcohol.”

It was like the first time I took one of those “are you an alcoholic?” quizzes. As I read down the list, I mentally made a check note by each one: interrupts normal sleep patterns (check), leads to rebound anxiety (check), contributes to increased impulsivity (check, check), interferes with prescribed medication (is that why my Prozac wasn’t working like it should’ve?).

Yellowbrick

I’m by no means telling “normal” people not to drink alcohol in moderation, but the reality is a huge percentage of our population suffers from anxiety and depression. If those people were more aware of the real effects drinking had on their mental health issues would that change their drinking patterns? Would they think twice about having that second, third or fourth drink? Maybe.

I’m a firm believer that knowledge is power and if we arm ourselves with the facts, we might be able to make different decisions in the future. Decisions that could potentially change the future of our health for the better.

This post was sponsored by Yellowbrick.

Faux Shutters

Shutters Closeup

Well, it’s been a long, hard week, but I’m starting to get my mojo back! As you may know from my last post, I had a bad bout with my OCD and it really took everything out of me. It’s hard to understand if you’ve never experienced it, but just compare it to being absolutely exhausted, to the point where you can’t think straight. That’s pretty much how it is – kind of.

I think God heard my prayers (and all of those who were praying for me) because today was better. I felt more like myself – more alive. And, with that feeling, my inspiration to write came back – hurray! This is life. Some days will be harder than others. I know that, but it still doesn’t make it easy. However, it does make me more grateful for the days that I feel alive and well.

With that being said, I have a fun project to share with you! We recently finished a small remodel on our house (that’s a future post) and in turn had to replace our electrical box, which happens to be in our master bedroom. The picture that once covered it no longer fit, so I was challenged to find something new that would cover this obtrusive accessory.

Box

I spent weeks looking for something that would be just the right size. I even had one of the local décor shops looking for me as new shipments arrived. No luck. On a whim, I stopped by World Market one day to look around and ended up finding the perfect solution. I can’t tell you how excited I was. It was like I hit the jackpot – well, not really, but almost! At the time, the faux shutters opened to a mirror, but after looking at the back I realized I could remove the mirror and create an area that would perfectly frame the electrical box.

Before

Once I got it home, I went to work removing the hardware from the back, which was pretty simple despite having TONS of tiny little screws. My husband took a shot of me hard at work – who doesn’t like a woman holding a screwdriver?!

Working

Once I got the mirror off, I measured and hung it over the electrical box – it fit perfectly!

After

Now, when we need to access the box (because we do tend to blow fuses now and then) we can simply open the shutters and there it is. Plus, they’re super cute and add a fun flare to our basement bedroom. Now, I just need to find something to do with the extra mirror! Guess it’s time to get those creative juices flowing!

I’d love to hear how you’ve repurposed new or old furniture around your house!

Tip Junkie

Furniture Feature Fridays

The Shabby Nest

God Heard Me Today

Ye shall seek me, and find me, when ye shall search for me with all your heart. – Jeremiah 29:13

I haven’t felt very creative or crafty lately. I’ve been having a hard time. My OCD has been acting up and it’s put me in a type of paralysis. It’s strange because I find it more difficult to talk about my OCD than my alcoholism. I’m not sure why. Maybe it’s because I’m afraid people are going to think I am truly crazy – because that’s how it makes me feel.

Before I had kids, my OCD got really bad. I mean REALLY bad. Fortunately, with the help of my amazing and supportive husband, a good therapist and some medication I was able to get it under control. There are a lot of types of OCD. Mine is the more organizational, must have everything perfect type. Luckily, having kids helped because I didn’t have the time or the energy to spend on obsessing over whether or not the blinds were lined up perfectly (I’m not kidding). Once in a while I will have flare ups depending on my stress level, but nothing catastrophic.

So what happened? Well, we got a new car on Friday. It wasn’t about wanting a new one, we actually needed a new one. My husband’s car had really high miles and we needed something that I could drive around that would get better gas mileage. He took my Jeep and I got the sporty, shiny new black car. ALERT, ALERT. Now, we’ve had new cars before and it’s pretty typical of me to obsess over them for the first few days. However, this time it was worse. Before I go any further, I need you to know that this is real. OCD is a real illness that can be devastating. With some trepidation, I’m giving you a glimpse into this illness. Am I worried of what you’ll think? Yes. I’m scared you’ll think I’m crazy, which, I suppose you could argue that at times I am. Well, here goes.

The second day we had the car, I noticed there was a spot on the sun visor. I tried to get it off, but realized it was a small scrape – it wasn’t coming off. Even though the garage door opener would go directly over this spot, I could NOT get it out of my mind. I cleaned it a half-dozen times, hoping it would magically disappear. Well, of course it wasn’t going to go anywhere, but that’s OCD. I knew I was obsessing and I knew it was ridiculous because it was hardly noticeable. All I could think about was THAT spot. I went to bed thinking about it and I woke up thinking about it. I looked for a pen that might match the color of the visor, but no luck. I thought about replacing the visor. Too expensive and my husband would not go for that. Maybe I had some paint that would match it – nope. Yes, this is the craziness that goes through my mind. Of course, during all of this, I’m trying to put on a happy face for my kids and do all of the normal things I usually do. But, it’s hard. It’s really hard because all I can think about is the spot. I tell myself, I’m done. I’m not going to look at it again, but then I find myself looking at it in desperation.

The thing is, when I’m feeling like this I have no desire to drink. And, when I was drinking, I had less of a desire to obsess about things. Obviously, my happy place is when I’m not drinking and not obsessing, but just enjoying life. This is a fine line for me.

This morning, I was still spinning. I knew I had to do something. I was feeling desperate. I wasn’t going to drink and I wasn’t going to go trade the car in. Can you imagine the look on the sales guy face? Ha! As I was getting ready, I decided to do the only thing I knew I could. I got on my knees and prayed. I prayed to God that He would take away the obsession, take away the anxiety. I needed His help – I couldn’t do this alone. I got up and went back to doing my hair. As I stood there, a thought came out of nowhere. Put a sticker over it. Cover it up with something that will inspire you. And, I knew God had heard me. What a great idea! Why hadn’t I thought of that? I immediately called my husband and told him the answer. For the first time in three days, I felt my body let go of the anxiety it had been holding onto. I felt peace. Thank you, God. A simple answer, but just what I needed to calm the craziness.

I knew I had some inspirational stickers in the office left over from card making. I found them and began going through them. I had no idea what I was looking for – and then I found it. In simple black and white, there was a sticker that simply said “happiness.” That was it. I took it out to the car and covered up the spot with “happiness.”

From here on out, I will look at that sticker every day to remind myself of God’s love for me and that, over all else, I choose happiness.