self care

Self Care Sunday

relaxitssunday

I’ve decided to declare Sunday my self care day instead of Saturdays.  I tend to be more productive on Saturdays and since Sunday is a “day of rest,” it makes the most sense.

Normally we go to church on Sundays, but since Robert is working today, I decided we would stay home and play and relax.

My plan for self care today:

  • Sleep in (done!)
  • No written plan for the day (I wrote a plan out of habit and threw it away)
  • Blog and write (focusing on sexual abuse today)
  • Coffee and time with Jesus

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  • Kitchen science with the kids
  • Play games with the kids
  • Listen to Bethel music radio on Pandora all day
  • Eat all meals (I tend to skip breakfast)
  • Super bowl party tonight!

What will you do for self care today?

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Alcohol Use Disorder, Anxiety, Counseling, EMDR, Mental Health, self love, Trauma

Trauma. This Word Can Mean a Lot of Things.

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Until recently, I would not have said that I’ve been through trauma.

When I think of trauma, I think of war.

I think of domestic abuse.

I think of growing up with parents doing drugs.

I think of being raped.

I haven’t been through any that.

I recently started going to a new counselor, and after talking with her for 45 minutes, she listed 4 traumas that I have been through.  Then I talked with a psychologist for social security disability, and she felt the same way.

So, now I’m trying to figure out what that means for me.

What trauma have I been through, you ask?

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Well, it started at the age of 3 1/2.  I was sexually abused by a 9/10 year old.  I won’t go into the details here, but let’s say it was pretty bad :-(.  What’s sad is that you know that 9/10 year old had to have been abused as well.  I actually don’t remember this, but I’ve learned that it still affects me.

From the age of 6 through junior high, I was bullied.  Not just made fun of.  I was ostracized by most of my grade.  I was punched in the face multiple times.  Knocked off a swing and stepped on.  Punched on the arm multiple times.  Probably more that I can’t even remember.  I would see a counselor at school often because of this.  I practically hated myself.  I felt like I was flawed in some way and that there must be a reason nobody liked me.  I still struggle with this to this day.  I overcompensate often and have a lot of social anxiety.

Then, when I was 19, we were at a dance hall celebrating someone’s anniversary.  My Pawpaw and Meemaw (who I visited at least once a week) had just finished dancing, and he went to sit down next to me.  As he was sitting down, he had a heart attack and died immediately.  On his way down, he fell against me.  Then, I watched them do CPR on him, knowing that he was already gone.  I was in the room at the hospital with my Meemaw when they came in to tell her that he had died.  I lived with her for a month or so after he died, and it was really hard on both of us.  Honestly, this probably has the least affect on me of all four traumas that I have experienced.

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Probably the hardest for me is my brother’s death.  It was a very gruesome death.  He was at my parents’ house, and he used my dad’s rifle to commit suicide.  The top of his head was blown off by the rifle.  My mom was home and saw him :-(, so I would say she has it worse than me.  I was the first person she called, and she screamed, “Your brother blew his brains out!”  When we pulled up, they were carrying him out in a body bag.  My parents didn’t want to leave, so while we were planning his funeral, they had to put a sheet up to keep us from looking in the room.  Serv Pro came out and they had to throw away everything in the room.  It was so bad that they had to completely strip the room… ceiling, walls, carpet.  I remember walking by the window outside and seeing a piece of his brain on the window.  I don’t understand why they didn’t clean that off for so long!

I was 7 months pregnant with Levi.  Being the only other child, I had to take care of everyone else.  I didn’t have time to grieve.  I’ve still only cried a few times over it.  I’m sad that I don’t have emotion over it.

I went through terrible postpartum depression with Levi (probably because of Joey’s death).  I couldn’t function.  Robert has said that I was in a complete fog and barely took care of our kids.  He had to do the laundry, make meals, clean the house, etc.  He would come home from work and I would hand him Levi and leave.

I started drinking to feel “better” when Levi was about 8 months old.  I can remember the first time I realized alcohol would help my depression and severe anxiety (well, technically it didn’t… it was short term).

I have learned recently that a lot of my severe anxiety is because of trauma!  Who knew?

This is what EMDR will help.  I will truly be able to process so I can move forward.

Interested in learning more?  Click the contact page above and contact me!

Body Positivity, self love

Teaching the Kids to Work through the Hard Stuff… and A Project that I’m Starting!

Since my counselor has told me that the EMDR treatment will help with my anxiety, I started thinking that maybe I really can homeschool Karis next year!  Woohoo!  Yay!

Then I emailed Karis’ teacher to ask her opinion of the junior high in Rocksprings.  When she found out I was thinking about homeschooling her again, she sent this (and just know that I realize many homeschooling mamas won’t agree… it’s okay… I do agree with this!):

“I really do not believe that homeschooling is the best option for Karis. She is very quiet and I believe being in a school environment challenges her social skills. It is easy and comfortable for someone to be in the same environment day in and day out, but in my opinion it is not the healthiest situation for Karis. Her exposure to other students is necessary and healthy. She has come a long way since she first came, and the longer she is around these kids the more comfortable she will become. If her school keeps changing, she’s going to have a really hard time making and maintaining friendships.

Junior high will be a very different time and she’s going to experience a lot of change….but change is good and even if it is hard for her, the answer isn’t always to remove a child from a difficult situation. Karis will learn at every new phase she goes through. I believe that public schools help kids emotionally and mentally  prepare for “real world” situations. I would love to talk to you more about this any time. Feel free to call me and I will gladly give you my opinion. I really am honored that you are asking my opinion on this, and I think the more you allow her to sort of ‘fight her own battles’- per say- she will be stronger in the long run. We can’t always protect kids from the world, so we have to prepare them and teach them how to be strong.”

As soon as I read this, I knew what we needed to do.

I want our kids to learn how to be strong, to fight through the difficult moments, to have courage, to be bold, to learn to stand up for themselves, and to learn to be leaders.  They can’t do that if they don’t go through difficulty.  Homeschooling is safe for the kids and for me.  But safe isn’t necessarily best.

Robert and I have decided to leave the kids in public school.  Maybe for good, maybe not.  But for now it’s best.

When Karis gets into junior high, she will have kids older than her around.  She’s the oldest girl here, and I have noticed her regress with playing with younger girls.  She’s almost 11 and often acts like an 8 year old.  It’s not at all the other girls’ fault… they are acting their age!  Totally normal.  She has matured a lot just being around kids her age.  I can only imagine what it’s going to be like when she gets into junior high!  I’m excited now to see how she grows.

I bought some new books for her to help her to learn to love and accept herself.

A Smart Girl’s Guide to Liking Herself- Even on the Bad Days.

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Real Beauty: 101 Ways to Feel Great About YOU

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Overall, I’m just learning to trust God.  He loves the kids more than I do.  He has a plan for their lives.  He knows what is going to happen in the future.  He will guide them through difficult decisions, He will teach them how to be a light to their classmates and friends, and He will use Robert and I to teach them each day.  Our job is to share Christ with them, pray with them, worship with them, take them to church, and just be the example of Christ.  We are not perfect, and I’m thankful that they will see that. I want them to know that it’s okay to not be perfect.

So now what.  What will I do with all my time?  I’m only driving to town on Wednesdays now for AA (and Sundays for church) so I have so much free time.

I started to think through this.

What do I like to do?

Crafting?  That’s a BIG NO.

Reading?  Some, but it’s not my favorite thing.

Cleaning?  Yes, but there’s only so much cleaning that can be done.

Cooking?  Yes, but that can only be done in the evenings, really.

Baking?  Yes, but there’s only so much baking that I can do.

Writing?  YES.  I love to write!  I can’t say that I’m an amazing writer, but it’s something I enjoy.  So.  I’ve decided that it’s finally time to start writing the book that I’ve wanted to write for years.

The book that I’m going to work on will be an autobiography.

To get started, I’m going to do two things.

1) Read a great autobiography of someone that I have a lot in common with.  It’s called Autobiography of a Face by Lucy Grealy.

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A brief description from Amazon:

“At age nine, Lucy Grealy was diagnosed with a potentially terminal cancer. When she returned to school with a third of her jaw removed, she faced the cruel taunts of classmates. In this strikingly candid memoir, Grealy tells her story of great suffering and remarkable strength without sentimentality and with considerable wit. Vividly portraying the pain of peer rejection and the guilty pleasure of wanting to be special, Grealy captures with unique insight what it is like as a child and young adult to be torn between two warring impulses: to feel that more than anything else we want to be loved for who we are, while wishing desperately and secretly to be perfect.”

Cruelty from classmates, suffering and gaining strength through that, peer rejection and wanting to feel special, wanting to be loved for who I am, and struggling to want to be perfect.  These are a description of me… along with mental illness and other trauma.

I’ve also read that she struggled with addiction (heroin).  She eventually died from a  heroin overdose.  While I don’t struggle with illegal drugs, I have an addiction to alcohol.  It’s all the same, really.  If I were to ever have a drug, I would be addicted right away.  Addiction is addiction.

2) I will just sit down and start writing.  Pieces of my writing will be on this blog as I go.  I have no idea where to even start.  I asked a friend of mine who is a counselor and an author.  She said, “Anne Lamott says you put your butt in the chair. You sit down and write, consistently.
You write lots of shitty drafts, she says.”

Used to, I would have apologized for the language, but I don’t care so much anymore.  Having been in rehab, I heard cussing all day every day!  Ha!

I’ve decided to move my discussion of mental illness, addiction, body image, etc over to this blog (and excerpts from the writing that I’m doing).  It makes more sense to have the one titled Home of the Croslands to focus more on my family and household things and Courtney Crosland’s Writing focused on everything else.

See you around!

Body Positivity, Intuitive Eating

What Body Positivity and Intuitive Eating Means for Me… Loving Myself

riots-not-diets

I have been spending a lot of time thinking and learning about this.  I am in several groups that promote body positivity.

As I’ve learned, the main way people lose weight is dieting, and there is only a 5% chance that with dieting you’ll keep the weight off.  I mean, you may lose weight eating intuitively, but the reasons to eat that way have nothing to do with weight loss.  You may or may not lose weight eating that way.  I’ve learned that our bodies have a set point and it’ll always go back to that.  I’ve seen this time and time again.  So many of my family and friends will lose a good amount of weight, only to put it back on and sometimes more.  So, the science shows this to be true and it’s true in my life as well.

So for me, I know that I can’t do much about my weight long term.  Between medication, metabolism slowing down, and just coming to my set point, I have gained 30 pounds in 3 years.  I also cannot lose it (even with dieting) and have only gained more back when I have dieted.

I have learned that weight doesn’t necessarily measure good health.  I had high cholesterol at my lowest weight.  I have normal cholesterol at my heaviest.  I know people that are thin that have high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and type 2 diabetes.  Thin-ness doesn’t necessarily mean that you are healthy!  I know plenty of thin people that drink lots of sugary soda, eat whatever they want, and they don’t gain a pound.  Robert is super thin and doesn’t gain no matter what he eats (he’s been known to eat 8 tacos on Taco Tuesday).

And on the flip side, I know people that are heavy that are super healthy.  I’ve read about so many women who run marathons, lift weights, exercise a lot each day, and not be thin.  Exercise doesn’t=weight loss either.  I have been known to exercise 2-2 1/2 hours a day (when I was hypomanic) and not lose a pound.  Many women that are heavy don’t have high cholesterol, high blood pressure, or type 2 diabetes.  Movement actually helps this.  No matter your weight.

I am learning that body positivity means to love your body no matter what body type you have.  Whether you’re thin, or whether you’re not.

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Now, on to intuitive eating.

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I’ve shared about this before, but what does it mean?

intuitive-eating

For me, this means:

  • Eating vegetables every day because they make me feel good
  • Eating pizza sometimes
  • Eating lots of protein (because of blood sugar)
  • Eating my favorite meal at my favorite Mexican restaurant
  • Eating whatever is served in the dining hall because it’s free food and it allows us the chance to hang out with our community (and I refuse to eat just salad…)
  • Drinking as much coffee as I want with half and half, 1 tsp sugar, and 1/2 tsp Pyure (I love the flavor of these mixed)
  • Eating what sounds good, and what I want (sometimes vegetables and sometimes cookies)
  • Having green smoothies (or scrambled eggs with spinach) or Pop Tarts for breakfast
  • A balanced approach!
  • Food freedom!

This means I move my body how I want, when I want… for me, this means hiking on this beautiful property that we live on, but not feeling guilty if I choose not to!

On another note… taking steps to loving myself is finally doing something that I’ve wanted to do for a long time and have put off for fear of what people will think.

I’m going to finally be getting the tattoo that I’ve been wanting for a long time.  It’ll be on my forearm.

It will be of this tree (a painting in my house, by a friend of mine).

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And it will have this scripture reference: Jeremiah 17:7-8

“Blessed is the man who trusts in the Lord, whose trust is the Lord. He is like a tree planted by water, that sends out its roots by the stream, and does not fear when heat comes, for its leaves remain green, and is not anxious in the year of drought, for it does not cease to bear fruit.”

I’m also going to have my nose pierced again.  I’m going to try it in hopes that it doesn’t do what it did last time (got infected and I had to take it out).  We’ll see what happens.  I’m going to get a small hoop instead of a stud.  I think that will make it work out better.

All of this, of course, with our income tax refund after we pay off debt.  We wouldn’t be able to otherwise.  I’m grateful for the income tax refund!!!

One thing that really helps me is learning to spend my time focusing on what I’m grateful for and what I love about life.  Every single day I share with my sponsor 3-10 things I’m grateful for that day.  It helps keep things in perspective.

Addiction, Alcohol Use Disorder, Anxiety, Bipolar 2, Counseling, Depression, Disability, EMDR, Hypomania, Mental Health, Mental Illness

Working Through the Hard Stuff with a Counselor… And Trying to Win Disability

Conceptual representation of the bipolar disorder

Yesterday was a big day.

I was in town all day.

First, I met with a psychologist that works for Social Security for her to determine that I have the illnesses that I say I have.  I was there for about an hour.  She was great.  I felt safe with her (unlike the last time I had to do this).  She told me that she has no idea how the process works, she just does her job and sends the report to them.  Social Security is the one who makes the final decision.  So that was helpful.

We talked about my abuse.  We talked about the extreme bullying that took place (physical and emotional/mental).  We talked about the counseling that I went through as a kid.  We talked about my Pawpaw’s death (he died in front of me, falling on me as he fell to the ground).  We talked about my brother’s gruesome suicide.  I went into the details of this.  This is always easy for me to talk about, but impossible for me to have emotions about it.  It’s so weird.

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We talked about my bipolar 2 symptoms (she seemed to agree with this).  We talked mostly about my extreme/severe anxiety and how that is something I deal with every single day and it turns to panic attacks when I work.  We talked about my hospitalizations.

[ File # csp10663613, License # 1918991 ] Licensed through http://www.canstockphoto.com in accordance with the End User License Agreement (http://www.canstockphoto.com/legal.php) (c) Can Stock Photo Inc. / kbuntu

We talked about my alcoholism and how much of the reason I drank was to quiet the anxiety that I deal with on a daily/hourly/minute by minute basis.  We talked about my obsessiveness within my anxiety and how I obsess to handle it.  To feel control over it.  I was super anxious when I was there and I think she could tell.  At the end she asked me some simple questions, then she gave me 4 words to remember at the end of the questions and I couldn’t remember all of them (I remembered 2).  She told me that when someone is anxious they have a hard time remembering things.  It doesn’t mean I have a bad memory… it just shows my anxiety.

I love that she didn’t tell me at the end that I don’t have bipolar, just depression.  The last time this happened the doctor told me immediately after our conversation that I didn’t have bipolar.  She seemed to agree that I do.  And she definitely told me that I have extreme anxiety.  She thinks the anxiety is caused by the trauma I experienced.

We’ll see what happens.  They told me it should be about 30 days until they have made a decision, so now I just wait.  I’ve been at this for a few years now, so I can handle 30 days!

I’m thankful for possibility to receive disability, and I am now okay with whatever decision they make.  I have to be okay with it.  I really can’t do anything else beyond this.  I have done it on my own, through a company that deals with disability, and now with a lawyer.  I am spent.  No more options.  I’m okay with that!  It’s time to move on with my life either way!

After I met with her, I went to Chick Fil A and ate (for the first time in a long time).  It was so nice to have something other than what I’ve been eating every day for a long time!  Then I went to Walmart and bought things for Levi’s birthday (wrapping paper, icing for the cookie cake, sugar, flour, etc).  That made me happy!

At 1:30, I met with my new counselor.

She is absolutely everything I need in a counselor.  She’s warm and inviting, she really cares about me, reminds me about God’s grace, and she has been a counselor for 30 years.  She definitely knows what she’s doing.  She also said that my anxiety is from the trauma that I experienced.  We talked a lot about each trauma, and she wants to work on the bullying first.  She thinks that’s why I have so much social anxiety.  It should help the obsessive/compulsive part of my anxiety as well.

We will be doing EMDR therapy to work through the bullying that I went through.

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She will use these “tappers” to do it.

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They vibrate one at a time and works on one side of the brain at a time.  The point is going to try to get me to have emotions about the trauma that I went through so that I can really process it.  We’ll see how it goes!

Uncategorized

Welcome!

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My name is Courtney and I have been blogging for years, but I have decided recently to write an autobiography.  I wanted to have a place to write about the hard stuff, and only the hard stuff.  If you’re interested in family, household organization, recipes, etc, visit Home of the Croslands.

This blog will be focused on mental health, self care, addiction, trauma, suicide, and body image.  I hope you find something you can relate to here!  Feel free to contact me (on the contact page) if you have any questions or concerns, or just want to share how you can relate!  Feel free to comment as well!  I just started a Facebook page (to the right).  I’d love for you to come like it!

Finally, if you would like to follow my blog, click the follow button to the right.

See you soon!