Posted in Anxiety, Depression, Mental health

Say something…

It wasn’t until Jaime was a week into a depression episode and I was experiencing high anxiety that I realized how important it is to communicate. I was stressed worrying about her, not sleeping at night, tired everyday all day and felt I needed the help of my mom. I needed her to come and ease the stress off me. If she only came and cooked that would’ve helped or just her presence and assistance with Jaime would’ve been beneficial. The only thing was, she was not available to come and In my mind I felt like she wasn’t putting in enough effort to come. Now, y’all understand that I never told her WHY I needed her to come.

I was so disappointed and full one evening I just decided to tell Jaime how I was feeling. I told her that my anxiety was high, and how worried I was about her. I told her that everything she was going through takes a toll on me and makes me uneasy so momo not coming to help out hurt me. I remember saying I’m so stressed and mom should know that. Jaime asked did you tell momo why you needed her to come, I responded

no I didn’t and that’s when Jaime said:

-Hope

momma that’s how I felt about you, you should’ve known how I was feeling.

-Jaime

WOW!!! That was a total eye opener! I in turn said I’m so glad you said that….that was the beginning of Jaime opening up to me about her feelings and it taught me a lesson to never assume others know what i’m going through, and how i’m feeling unless I tell them. I know that some wear their feelings on their sleeves but some are good at disguising things. We are all human, and sometimes we need help, encouragement, and reassurance that things are going to be OK. That doesn’t mean that you’re weak, or less than a man or woman.

Talk to your kids, loved ones, and those that are considered true friends about what you are feeling. It can make a world of difference in how they understand you and how you communicate with one another. Often times we like to assume that others are aware of how we’re feeling when they’re not. Assuming sometimes lead to miscommunication, and thinking that no one cares for you when that couldn’t be furthest from the truth!

I was once told by my husband that you set yourself up for disappointment if you expect people to treat you how you treat them. This is true, because you may be attentive, vigilant, in tune with others emotions & feelings, and all that’s good but you can’t get mad if the next person isn’t. Does that make them a bad person, friend or loved one? NO, we all have different personalities and characteristics. Enjoy people for who and what they are, and lets not impose on them how we think they should be or act. This was a hard lesson I had to learn especially with the kids. You try to give them what they want and need, you’re there for them at all times good & bad, you try to raise them a certain way that will prepare them for the future and you do everything to benefit their well being. They may not always reciprocate our actions and sacrifice but have faith that when they get older they wont depart from your teachings. They’ll refer back to the teachings you taught and the example you showed in good & bad times Trusting In God.

Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it.

Proverbs 22:6

-Hope

Posted in Anxiety, Depression, Mental health

Who Knew…

Life is sometimes hard y’all. We tend to go through things that seem to be never ending. It’s always something, one battle after another.

On August 5th of this year my job received notice that our contract was not renewed as a Managed Care Organization with the state of Louisiana and our current contract we are under is set to end on December 31st 2019. I was actually off when they received the news. My phone was ringing like crazy, and I was getting text every few minutes. Honestly, my initial response was laughter. For some reason it was funny to me. I think my mind was so overloaded with everything that was going on with Jaime til I was just numb to whatever else the world had to offer.

Fast forward to today, I’m currently still working at the same job. Some of my colleagues moved on in fear of not having a job in December which I understand but my faith is strong. LHCC is fighting the decision of not being chosen as an MCO. At the end of it all, if things don’t go our way I know that my God has something more in store for me. Hell, I didn’t plan on working in this capacity for long anyway.

James 1:2-4 says 2 My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials, knowing the testing of your faith produces patience. 4 But let patience have its perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing.

How great is that! Having Joy while going through only to know that in the end we will have learned how to operate in patience and have all we need.

Who knew that all my struggles would activate my purpose? The thing that I thought would take me out made me stronger. Who knew that my understanding for mental illness would be bigger than I ever thought? Who knew that I would put myself out there publicly showing my flaws and all? Who knew that I would want to speak in front of crowds in efforts to bring awareness to something that’s way bigger than I? WHO KNEW?

The key to winning battles is God. Once we realize it’s not our fight it’s his (God) we win.

– Hope

Posted in Anxiety, Mental health

Self Care…

I know a lot of parents can relate to the hustle and bustle of parenthood. We get so lost in doing everything for everybody til sometimes we don’t realize that we’re doing what parents do while experiencing anxiety. After a while It all starts to feel the same. I know for myself i’m a free uber, cook, friend, wife, doctor, nurse, bank, manager, secretary, protector, confidant, and just all around fixer of everything and so much more. This is why its so important that we practice self care. Pay attention to whats going on with you mentally & physically.

On a normal day I would come home and sit outside on the patio (get my mind right). On yesterday, I came home from work and instantly started cleaning, washing, folding, sweeping, sending out emails and doing everything I could. I had this overwhelming need to have everything right before the night was over (so not me). I didn’t take off my shoes until after 9pm. Pretty normal night for a parent right?! But, what was not normal was the amount of anxiety I was experiencing. I could not sit, I was constantly doing something. My heart was beating fast and I felt like I was in a panic.

Anxiety is much more than a handful of symptoms, it can affect your everyday life in more ways than you could imagine.

– Hope

Posted in Anxiety, Depression, Mental health

Unplanned Chaos pt 2…

Sunshine Before the Rain

Every ACTION brings a REACTION…I was already aware of how my husband felt about depression, anxiety, and all things mental health. He would always say that he didn’t understand that “CRAZY SH**”. That being depressed was a choice, and that in our situation Jaime was just spoiled. He would say that kids today are just WEAK, and that when we were growing up kids weren’t depressed. We dealt with all kinds of sh** “The Real Way”. What’s “The Real Way” Lanier? Man they need to “SUCK THAT SH** UP”!!!! LOL! Its funny to me now because I know he knows better but at that time I was stuck in the middle. You see, I somewhat knew about metal health issues. My middle brother suffers with depression. But at that time we were still uneducated on the issue and continued to function as a normal family trough the EPISODES/CRISIS he would have. So, with Lanier’s views on MH and my semi awareness we handled Jai’s episode/crisis (yes I can admit it) all WRONG.

I didn’t recognize the early symptoms. My approach to the signs she was showing of a crisis (pacing & talking crazy) was me going in the room with her and like my daddy would say…. “I told her how the cow eats the cabbage”. WRONG that only made it worse. I should’ve reacted calmly and rationally. At this point her actions bought out my reaction and now she’s reacting to my action and my anxiety is out the roof, she’s crying and so am I. My crying then led to Lanier interjecting and demanding that Jaime go in the room, she rebelled, she lashed out. All kinds of conditions were broken down in our family.

After all was said and done I was having a total breakdown so I called my mom hysterically crying about the whole ordeal. After explaining the situation my mom who some of you may know said in short…..

Hope, you need to WOMAN UP. Take control of your family. I don’t care what kind of episode Jaime is having down there she is not allowed to be disrespectful. Now you get off this phone, stop that crying and call me back when you got everything handled.

Me: OK Ma

When I tell you I hung up that phone and cried like I had just got news my daddy was dead or something. I remember telling Lanier what my momma said and how she hurt my feelings. How could she tell me that? I’m a 40yr old woman with my own family! I cried for hours, every time those words rang in my ears I cried. I even called my cousin Summer and said do you know what my momma just told me? (as if she could do something). Now, was that the right approach my mom took I don’t know but what I do know is I needed that. So, although I had let my own anxiety take over me in that situation my mom knew that In order for me to reconcile things I needed to be in a sound state of mind. And if challenging me to get things under control meant challenging my woman hood she was gonna do it. I believe sometimes we need to be challenged to bring out what’s already in us.

The effects of that ordeal came back with us to Louisiana. I was so stressed I hardly ate anything for weeks, I lost weight (i needed too) but not the healthy way, my stomach was weak for days at a time, and I could hardly function at work. I hadn’t been on my anxiety medication for awhile and boy did I need it. I called my doctors office like PLEASE call me in a prescription.

Each time we experience something different in regard to depression & anxiety or anything in life we have to learn from it, educate yourself on the issue, and PRAY about it. I’m proud to say I survived that situation and is still surviving. I know that God is using this hard situation to bring me to my calling. Let my experience/exposure be a tool for someone else. I pray that my testimony helps someone, If just one my mission is accomplished.

– Hope

A Change is Coming…

Now that the weather is changing don’t be S.A.D. Seasonal Affective Disorder or S.A.D. is depression that occurs when the seasons change in late fall or early winter. Sometimes called the winter blues, people with S.A.D.  often feel depressed during the day, lose interest in activities, have trouble sleeping and can often feel sluggish or agitated. If you feel yourself getting depressed, don’t just dismiss it as having the winter blues. Call your doctor if the depression continues for days and you can’t get motivated to do the things you normally do. Help is there if you need it. 

– Hope

Posted in Anxiety, Depression, Mental health

Unplanned Chaos…

Our family (minus our son) recently took a vacation to Orlando Florida. I had everything planned out. This was suppose to be EPIC for us. I got so comfortable in my planning that I hadn’t factored in anything going wrong. I mean how could it? I had covered everything from what we were going to eat, to what day and times we were going places, and even left time in the schedule for misc events. Oh, but I left out the thought of an EPISODE. Jaime had a horrible EPISODE that shook up the family and trip. There was crying, pacing, threats of hurting herself, threats of her running off, accusations of no one caring for her, just pure chaos. Some of the kids didn’t know that Jaime was having some mental health issues so needless to say the cat was out of the bag jumping and scratching. In hind sight I wish I would’ve made it known to all the kids what Jaime had been going through because we were bombarded with questions of how did she get like that, did anyone do her something, and WHY we didn’t tell them.

Information and education on mental health should be discussed among families. Honestly, I was hiding it from the other kids. I figured it wasn’t their problem. I now know that it is all of our problem. In order for them to understand what Jaime is going through and be able to assist and show compassion they needed to know. After educating myself on depression & anxiety I’m sad to say that i did everything wrong when trying to deescalate an episode. Education is KEY in overcoming and coping with any mental illness.

One moment in time….

Pictures are just one still moment in time, it doesn’t depict the seconds, minutes, hours, days, months or years that you don’t see. In that one still moment of time you may see happiness, sadness, sorrow, excitement, fear etc. So, often times what you think you see in those still moments is not an accurate reflection of the chaos that’s actually going on on the inside. You don’t get to see the turn of events that can be triggered at any given time. I say all that to say living with anxiety and caring for someone with depression is not easy and things are subject to change at any given second, minute, hours or days.

Helping Yourself

Leading a balanced lifestyle can help you manage symptoms of depression. Here are some suggestions from people who have lived experience with depression:

Learn all you can. Learn about the many treatment options available. Connect with other people experiencing depression in support groups or meetings. Attend local conferences and conventions. Build a personal library of useful websites and helpful books.

Recognize early symptoms. Depression often has warning signs, such as a low mood, feeling fatigued or having trouble sleeping. Discuss your friend or family member’s past episodes with them to help them improve their ability to recognize the signs early.

CommunicateSpeak honestly and kindly. Don’t scold or blame people with depression or urge them to “try harder” to “just be happy.” Instead, make specific offers of help and follow through with those offers. Tell the person you care about them. Ask them how they feel and truly listen.

React calmly and rationally. Even if your family member or friend is in a crisis, it’s important to remain calm. Listen to their concerns and make them feel understood—then take the next step toward getting help.

Find emotional support from others. Share your thoughts, fears and questions with other people who have loved ones with similar conditions. Connect with others through online message boards or NAMI peer-education programs.

– Hope


Posted in Anxiety, Bullying, Depression, Mental health

Always Be Kind….

Bullying in school has become a real epidemic. More and more children are committing suicide as a result of being bullied in school. This hit close to home as a student in an EBR middle school took his life. Please take a moment to talk to your kids about bullying. Remind them to treat others the way they want to be treated and to never participate in any gossip, or partake in an activity where they are  being mean to another student.  We must remind our children to be kind at all times. Also make sure that they know they can come to you about any topic. If they see something, say something. It could save a life. 

Posted in Uncategorized

Mental health by the numbers….

After doing research and finding the statistics on mental health illnesses and the effects of it is disheartening. I believe the lack of information, embarrassment and cultural differences play a big role in the silence of mental illness in the African American community especially.

Mental health is not an easy subject but we have to be aware, be educated on the issue, stop judging, show compassion and SPEAK UP. Speaking up is a major step in ending the STIGMA associated with mental illnesses. I had so many doubts about starting this blog and telling everyone what my family was going through. And yes, I said family because it truly effected us all. I was only able to go forward after asking Jaime if she was truly OK with me doing this and she said:

Momma if I don’t say anything how anyone else will know it’s ok.

Jaime

Yes, it is ok hunni! With that being said… just know that mental illnesses are treatable, it’s not your fault, you are not a bad parent, you are NOT weak and yes, RECOVERY is POSSIBLE.

You Are Not Alone

1 in 5 U.S. adults experience mental illness each year
1 in 25 U.S. adults experience serious mental illness each year
1 in 6 U.S. youth aged 6-17 experience a mental health disorder each year
Suicide is the 2nd leading cause of death among people aged 10-34 

The Ripple Effect Of Mental Illness

PERSON

  • People with depression have a 40% higher risk of developing cardiovascular and metabolic diseases than the general population. People with serious mental illness are nearly twice as likely to develop these conditions.
  • 19.3% of U.S. adults with mental illness also experienced a substance use disorder in 2018 (9.2 million individuals)
  • The rate of unemployment is higher among U.S. adults who have mental illness (5.8%) compared to those who do not (3.6%)
  • High school students with significant symptoms of depression are more than twice as likely to drop out compared to their peers

FAMILY

  • At least 8.4 million people in the U.S. provide care to an adult with a mental or emotional health issue
  • Caregivers of adults with mental or emotional health issues spend an average of 32 hours per week providing unpaid care

COMMUNITY

  • Mental illness and substance use disorders are involved in 1 out of every 8 emergency department visits by a U.S. adult (estimated 12 million visits)
  • 20.1% of people experiencing homelessness in the U.S. have a serious mental health condition
  • 37% of adults incarcerated in the state and federal prison system have a diagnosed mental illness
  • 70.4% of youth in the juvenile justice system have a diagnosed mental illness
  • Mood disorders are the most common cause of hospitalization for all people in the U.S. under age 45 (after excluding hospitalization relating to pregnancy and birth)
  • 41% of Veteran’s Health Administration patients have a diagnosed mental illness or substance use disorder

This information can be found at: https://www.nami.org/Learn-More/Mental-Health-By-the-Numbers