Posted in Anxiety, Depression, Grief, Mental health

The back steps of progress…

In her own words…

One can wish to reach a certain goal, but on the journey of becoming a better person, one may tend to back track. When dealing with a “mentally ill” child, parents may not realize their own toxic habits. When faced with certain situations, they may revert to their old toxic habits and behaviors. This is understandable, but the parent may not realize the resentment that may manifest. Every parent should learn their child and as we grow our minds continue to develop, and the things we react and respond to change.

As a child/teenager, trying to understand your own mental health is quite a hard task. Bringing up all of the other stressors’ in one’s life may cause an episode. From my own personal experience, going into a mental institution changed me, and my mindset about a lot of things. While I was there I had time to think and ponder about my life and how I wanted it to be, and the type of people I wanted to surrounded myself with. Being in high school and trying to accomplish my new found goals is extremely hard. At times I feel that after an “episode” or something equivalent to one, I find myself at a point of in dept tranquility. While I stayed in the TAU center I was able to identify some of my issues that I was, and still currently dealing with. It all starts from my childhood.

At the age of 2 my father left. The last time I can recall seeing my father was when I was 5yrs old, shortly after my father was imprisoned. If anybody was to ask me about my father, my answers are always comical or outlandish; that’s my way of masking my pain from the world. Two years later at the age of 7 I experienced my first real depression. My grandmother passed away from cancer while I was on my way to the hospital to see her. In turn for many years I avoided my father’s side, not because I had anything against them, but because they reminded me of my grandmother, so I found no interest in being with them.

Fast forward 5 years later my great grandmother was sick in the hospital. She and I were extremely close, she was like my best friend, and no matter what she always had faith in me. Only God knows how much I needed that. Hell, I need that now. The last day of seeing her at the hospital I can still feel the odd feeling I felt. As I was leaving the room, I can remember one of my great aunts asking me if I wanted to kiss her one last time (at least while she was still alive.) After we left the hospital and made it back to New Roads we find out that my uncle had passed away. The man that taught me how to fish, taught me the importance of hot sauce on every food that I eat. He was gone. So sudden, so unexpectedly. Gone forever. The following day my great grandmother passed. I lost two of the most important people in my life in a span of 48hrs. After that day in my mind relationships with others seemed to just feel temporary, because at any moment the ones you love and care for the most can be ripped away from you in an instant. [While writing this emotions, and thoughts that I’ve never expressed are being let out, and to be quite honest, I don’t know if that’s a good or bad thing]

After their deaths I found myself broken and confused. I wasn’t even a teenager yet, how could God give me all of this pain at such a young age. If people only knew how many demons were in my head, how much pain I was feeling, but how do I dare disrespect my grandparents? My grandmother lost her first born child and remained strong in front of everyone so how dare I shed a tear. My grandfather lost his son and mother back to back, and still found the strength to preach at his own son’s funeral, so how do I breakdown?….. TO BE CONTINUED….

– Jaime

Posted in Anxiety, Depression, Grief, Mental health

Grief & the Holidays…

The holidays usually represent a time of happiness and togetherness with family and friends.  For some, however the holidays are a reminder of a traumatic experience or loss.  Grieving a loved one is hard. Grief during the holiday season can be even harder. It’s a constant reminder of the pain and loss and can be unbearable. For me and i’m sure many others, this time of the year is the hardest part of grieving when we miss our loved ones even more than usual. I mean how can we celebrate togetherness when everyone is not there?! Holidays magnifies loss. If you are feeling loss, alone, sad, and have no motivation to participate in activities over the holidays, you are not alone. 

There are some things you can do to help cope with your grief and sadness. If you find yourself unable to pull yourself out of a depression, please seek the help of a professional counselor. They can help you find ways to deal with your grief and depression. 

1.       Take care of yourself- We often tend to focus on the needs of others and not ourselves. One of the best things we can do to deal with our grief is self-care. Go for a walk, read a book, take a relaxing bubble bath.  Taking care of yourself will help you better take care of others. 

2.       Recognize triggers – If certain family situations or events trigger your grief, it’s alright to distance yourself from them. Your mental well-being is what is most important.  Set boundaries and stick to them.  You will be better for it. 

3.       Learn its ok to say no – we often allow others to put expectations on us that are hard for us to do. If doing something for someone else causes you stress, learn to say no. 

4.       Honor the loved one who passed. If you are grieving the loss of a loved, think of good times and focus on a good memory that makes you smile. The grief will never go away, but fond memories of the person can help you feel better. 

Remembering Geroid

Do’s and Don’ts

  • Do be gentle with yourself and protect yourself.
  • Don’t do more than you want, and don’t do anything that does not serve your soul and your loss.
  • Do allow time for the feelings.
  • Don’t keep feelings bottled up. If you have 500 tears to cry don’t stop at 250.
  • Do allow others to help. We all need help at certain times in our lives.
  • Don’t ask if you can help or should help a friend in grief. Just help. Find ways; invite them to group events or just out for coffee.
  • Do, in grief, pay extra attention to the children. Children are too often the forgotten grievers.

It isn’t as important how you remember, you honor them by the fact that you remember.

Matthew 5:4 Blessed are they that mourn: for they shall be comforted.

Hope

Posted in Anxiety, Bullying, Depression, Disorder, Mental health

Trichotillomania….What?

I never knew that pulling your hair was a disorder. I always compared my hair pulling to a nervous tic like shaking your leg, twirling your hair or biting your nails. So no big deal right!

Trichotillomania (trik-o-til-o-MAY-nee-uh), also called hair-pulling disorder, is a mental disorder that involves recurrent, irresistible urges to pull out hair from your scalp, eyebrows or other areas of your body, despite trying to stop.

My earliest memory of pulling my hair was a couple of years after getting married and although the early years are considered the honeymoon years it was still hard. Hell, still is sometimes! Looking back I know that pulling my hair was definitely anxiety & stressed induced. I can remember my grandmother calling my daddy on the phone saying:

Russell, Hope in here pulling her hair again!

Leotha

The pulling hair thing then maximized after this thing called GRIEF hit me like a ton of bricks! My brother and grandmother died a day apart from one another on March 1st & 2nd of 2015. Every living part of me began to malfunction I had absolutely no sense of who I was anymore. I made an life changing decision to move from my hometown, the only place I’d ever known to a place that I had never been until moving there. I convinced myself it was for a better school system for my kids when in reality I was running from the place that held so many memories of the loved ones I had lost.

The hair pulling had gotten so bad that I would have a pile of hair onside of wherever I was sitting. At home everyone in the house was aware of it but not family members on the outside. Many didn’t notice because I only pulled from the middle of my head under the top layer of hair. Eventually it got worse and I couldn’t control the urge to pull wherever I was. Before long everyone knew what I was doing. I was forced to go see my doctor and I was educated on the disorder and given medication.

At the height of my hair pulling I allowed myself to let go. I had moved away where no one knew me, I allowed my weight to get up to 198lbs the biggest I had ever been, and kept myself secluded from others.


Trichotillomania can be related to emotions:

  • Negative emotions. For many people with trichotillomania, hair pulling is a way of dealing with negative or uncomfortable feelings, such as stress, anxiety, tension, boredom, loneliness, fatigue or frustration.
  • Positive feelings. People with trichotillomania often find that pulling out hair feels satisfying and provides a measure of relief. As a result, they continue to pull their hair to maintain these positive feelings.

Signs and symptoms of trichotillomania often include:

  • Repeatedly pulling your hair out, typically from your scalp, eyebrows or eyelashes, but sometimes from other body areas, and sites may vary over time
  • An increasing sense of tension before pulling, or when you try to resist pulling
  • A sense of pleasure or relief after the hair is pulled
  • Noticeable hair loss, such as shortened hair or thinned or bald areas on the scalp or other areas of your body, including sparse or missing eyelashes or eyebrows
  • Preference for specific types of hair, rituals that accompany hair pulling or patterns of hair pulling
  • Biting, chewing or eating pulled-out hair
  • Playing with pulled-out hair or rubbing it across your lips or face
  • Repeatedly trying to stop pulling out your hair or trying to do it less often without success
  • Significant distress or problems at work, school or in social situations related to pulling out your hair

For people with trichotillomania, hair pulling can be:

  • Focused. Some people pull their hair intentionally to relieve tension or distress — for example, pulling hair out to get relief from the overwhelming urge to pull hair. Some people may develop elaborate rituals for pulling hair, such as finding just the right hair or biting pulled hairs.
  • Automatic. Some people pull their hair without even realizing they’re doing it, such as when they’re bored, reading or watching TV.

Life has a way of throwing some things at you that’ll make you do things you never thought you would. So, be consciously conscious, Be willing to face disappointment, and know that sometimes you have to Let go to Grow!

Hope

Posted in Anxiety, Bullying, Depression, Mental health

Immediate Gratification- Social Media and Its effect on Kids Depression

Teenage Depression is not something new, but Social Media and its effect on depression is. Today’s teens are so plugged in to Social Media and their smart phones that it is effecting how they interact with their peers.  Social Media has taken the place of interacting with others in person, and thus has affected the teens ability to recognize social cues such as body language and tone of voice.  Relying solely on social media has hindered communication with one another.

The problem with Social Media is that social media allows one to present whatever image of themselves they want to present. Often, this image is far from accurate. This is especially dangerous for teens, as they have a need to always fit in with the crowd. They feel pressured to be like their friends on social media and when they can’t achieve it, it can cause them to feel depressed. Social Media is also an avenue for Cyberbullying. Rumors, embarrassing pictures or situations can spread on social media like wildfire and the effects of the fallout from such a situation can cause a teen to contemplate Suicide.

Social Media is here to stay. The best thing that you can do to help your teen navigate social media and its effects is to always keep the lines of communication open. Let them know that they can come to you about any and everything. Also helping them understand, that nobody Is perfect and we all project what we want to be will go a long way in helping them navigate social media. 

-Hope

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, 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.