What life has taught me

In the past few months, I have learned some very hard lessons. Ones that I don’t think I was ready for. They came like a shockwave, jolting my entire system and shattering everything around me. Honestly, I’m still going through most of it, trying to make sense of it, but I’ve absorbed it as much as I can.

A few highlights:

Try to listen first. There is a time to talk and a time to listen. Sometimes, just listening is all that is needed. Sometimes, your opinions don’t matter. There will be occasions when your words are needed, but try to listen first.

Taking care of yourself is just as important as taking care of anyone else. I struggled with deep depression as a teen. It was dark and all consuming, but I made it through with help from others. I can’t imagine what may have happened to me if they hadn’t been there, hadn’t been strong enough to help me. I came close to sinking back into that familiar darkness recently, but the will to find my happiness brought me back. I’ve realized that no matter what is happening in my life, if I want to help those around me, I have to take care of myself first.

Never take peace for granted. Whether you notice it or not, everyone strives to have peace in at least one aspect of their lives. Work, home, hobbies; some part of their lives. When every part of life seems chaotic, that sliver of peace is the safe haven a person can curl up in and recoup. Never, ever take that solace for granted. Cherish it completely!

Love will always triumph over fear. I know it sounds very Frozen movie-ish, and I do have a five year old daughter who loves those movies, but it’s true! Love is the greatest weapon, the ultimate conquerer of fear. As life throws me around in this unforgiving sea of fear, I am holding on to the one anchor I know is always there. Love is stronger than fear.

I’ve been learning these lessons hard recently, and I am taking heed. If nothing else, these past few months have given me such clarity in these four aspects of my life, for the rest of my life. I just truly hope life can finally come to a place of peace for a while.

Mental Health Care – the stigmatic sector

I can’t tell you how many times I have started this post and then deleted it. My backspace key is wearing out. WordPress is sending me emails like: Try the Publish button, you’ll like it! But, every time I do, I wonder what the feedback will be. I wonder if I’m saying it right, or saying too much. I want to get this right because the stigma already exists around it, and I don’t want to add more negativity to the topic of mental health.

Mental health is at epidemic proportions in this world, and the past few weeks of my family’s experience in this field of care is a true testament to why.

I’ve been on anxiety medication for years,” the medic smiled.

After five days, the patient will be released with two weeks worth of medication, so they can find a psychiatrist who can continue the treatment,” the in-patient nurse informed.

The psychiatrist has denied you to the practice because you did not complete the program as prescribed,” the intake therapist stated.

Anxiety and depression are two sides of the same coin“, the general practitioner said. “It can be treated in the family practice realm. Come back in a month.”

More than 50% of people who go to the E.R. for heart attack symptoms a

re actually experiencing a panic attack,” the therapist assured.

But, each of those people who end up in the E.R. have different experiences getting help with their condition following the emergency room visit.

The lack of care providers is astounding! And, it only gets worse as you try to get more specific with your search. Does this one take your insurance? Does this one have an office within a two hour travel range? Is this one even accepting new patients, and if they are, do they have any schedule availability within a day or two?

Mental Health Awareness 2016
Pine Rest Christian Health Services Blog

I couldn’t believe how many care providers (psychiatrists and therapists) I called that had at least a 48 hour call-back time then an even longer wait to actually be seen!

You break a bone; you are seen by a doctor immediately. You have a cold or some other physical ailment; you’re scheduled to be seen within a few days.

Your chest tightens. You have unbearable thoughts. You can’t imagine living any longer. We’ll see you in two weeks!

I am not attempting to downplay the care that should and needs to be provided to those with physical ailments. I am simply asking, why isn’t mental health held to the same caliber? Why aren’t those who have dark thoughts and physical symptoms in reaction to their mental state treated with the same expedience? How can a doctor (who is one of a very few in a certain geographical area and health care sector) deny a patient from care?

The stigma that surrounds mental health isn’t there because it is hard to understand how these patients feel. More people than not these days can relate to the list of mental health disorder symptoms. It’s there because the treatment these patients need isn’t. Imagine a world where a patient visited a doctor once and was cured of anxiety, depression, or any other mental ailment. Would there still be a stigma?

Mental health issues are not the problem. Access to care is.

Car Totaled, Totally New Car

I have had the same vehicle since I turned 17 years old. My first car, a 2005 Toyota Corolla, came into my possession in 2007. It was a new to me car with about 42,000 miles on it. That thing was a tank! It didn’t have much as far as features, even for 2005 standards. It had manual windows and keyed entry, but it was mine, and it could go forever!

Fast forward through high school, college, road trips, marriage, and a baby, and that car was still going strong! Twelve years I ran that car on basic maintenance and fluid changes, all the way up to 160,000 miles, and I would’ve put money on it running for at least another five years. Well, I would have lost it all.

A few weeks ago, a stake body truck decided to back into the front of my geriatric vehicle. The driver was a wonderful person, very apologetic, pulled off to the side of be road and took responsibility for the accident. In the D.C. area, having the person at fault actually stick around and accept fault is huge! Anyway, his huge, landscaper type truck almost cut the front bumper in half, shattered the grille, and crumpled the front half of the hood. Luckily, this was all at a very low speed, so no one was injured, but man, my poor car!

Now, I’m driving a rental, and a salvage yard tow truck took my well driven, beyond paid for car away. They haven’t given the official word yet, but the adjuster is under the impression that it will be totaled. Twelve years of travel, of life in one vehicle, gone. Not to mention not having a car payment. Ugh!

Just waiting on the insurance check, so I can go car shopping, I guess, but my heart just isn’t in it. I don’t even know where to start!

Wonder Park – Movie Review

We were looking for a family movie the other night, and came across Wonder Park. We couldn’t really tell by the movie poster what exactly the movie was going to be about, but it’s a Nickelodeon movie, so we didn’t think we could go wrong.

IMDB: June, an optimistic, imaginative girl, discovers an incredible amusement park called Wonderland hidden in the woods. The park is full of fantastical rides and talking, funny animals – only the park is in disarray. June soon discovers the park came from her imagination and she’s the only one who can fix it, so she bands together with the animals to save this magical place and bring back the wonder in Wonderland.

Did you catch that last word there? The title of the movie is Wonder Park, but the name of the park is Wonderland. What?!

As if that wasn’t enough to get your goat, the movie starts off sad. And I’m not talking about Inside Out beginning of the movie sad. More like, Lion King beginning of the movie sad. Literally, my husband googled the end of the movie to ensure it wasn’t a total cry fest type of sad.

Besides the little hiccup in the beginning, the movie evolves into a really cute film. The young heroine has to fix the park she created with her mother after a tragic moment turns her away from the creative, carefree child she wanted to be. Her journey forces her to face her fears and embrace her imagination even in the darkest times. And I promise there is a happily ever after!

Overall, a solid 4 out of 5 for me! A safe, family friendly movie everyone will love.

It’s my birthday!

Happy birthday to me! My 29th birthday! (Truly my 29th. You can call me on it next year if that number doesn’t change. 😉) Who would have thought it would have come around this quick?! I swear, it feels like I was 19 not too long ago. Now, I’m an established adult with a credit score, but I’m still trying to figure out who I want to be when I grow up.

If there is anything I have learned in my 29 years of life, no matter your age, you will always just wing it. There isn’t a single person in this world that can say they have it all figured out. If there was, they’d have found a way to market it and become the richest person on the planet!

What I do know: I want to be good. I want to be a good wife, mother, daughter, sister, and friend. I want to excel at my day job and in my writing. I want to provide a wonderful life, full of beautiful memories for my family and me. I want to look back in my old age and smile at all the good I found, created, and lived throughout my life. I want it all to be good.

So for this next revelation around the sun as the third of my life closes, I’m going to focus on making it good. I’m going to live every moment with the intention of enjoying. If nothing else, my 29th year is going to be good!

Hootie & The Blowfish, Group Therapy Tour

For my fifteenth birthday, I asked my parents for concert tickets to see Hootie & The Blowfish. They were playing at the 9:30 Club in D.C., and I wanted to so badly to see them perform. At the time, I had no clue the club was a 21+ only venue, so my parents had actually gotten the tickets, but I wasn’t able to attend. They ended up selling them and buying tickets to another concert for my birthday.

The other concert was for Green Day, the American Idiot Tour. The concert was great, one that I will always remember, but there was a very specific reason I wanted to see Hootie & The Blowfish.

As a teen, we all go through emotional times as our hormones run rampant. We are finding out who we are during that age, and sometimes, life just felt hard. Whenever I would go through a drama filled, high school day, I would go home and blast my music. It would help me release the mixed up emotions in my mind and heart, and find peace to sleep soundly at night. So long as I had my music, I was able to release the stressors of the day and just feel better.

One song in particular always felt cathartic.

Let Her Cry by Hootie & The Blowfish

I’d play this four minute, twelve second song on repeat for the really tough days I felt twisted within myself. Darius Rucker would sing those beautiful lyrics over and over again until I was able to digest the events of the day and erase their negative impact on me. This one song helped me through my toughest teenage years, reminding me that it’s ok not to be ok before it was a common saying.

Now, fifteen years later, I finally got to go to the concert of my teenage dreams!

Barenaked Ladies opened the show. They were entertaining with all their greatest hits, clever quips, and party atmosphere. They were a great preshow! I don’t think I have ever laughed that hard at a concert before! Nice and “lubed up”, as they band said they wanted the crowd to be for the headliners.

Finally, Hootie & The Blowfish came out! They started with their hottest hits, even threw in a few of Darius’s country hits, but when they got to Let Her Cry, I was brought back to being 15 again. I swayed and sang at the top of my lungs the lyrics I know so well. It was an emotional moment as Darius sang the words directly to my soul!

As the final notes were played on that beautiful song, I felt renewed. The power of great music, and specifically that song for me, smoothed out my emotions and allowed me to feel free! It was an amazing experience!

Fifteen years in the making, and I finally made it to see and hear Hootie & The Blowfish sing Let Her Cry. What a night! What a memory!

IAAP Summit 2019

It’s been a while since my last IAAP event. I think about two years ago is when I went to Atlanta to attend the IAAP CAPstone to earn my Project Management (PM) designation. This year, I’ll be heading to National Harbor to attend the IAAP Summit for a more networking and new-in-the-trade type seminars.

At these events, I always gain so much insight to what other professional assistants are going through. Whether it be people related, technology struggles, or just workload, there is always tons to learn from my fellow administrative professionals. Their stories are inspiring! Some of them even make for juicy writing prompts. 😉

Also, this event set in National Harbor is going to be such fun! Even though I live in the D.C. area, it’s rare that I get to play tourist, and visit the monuments and museums. This visit won’t be wasted! My daughter and husband will come up, and we will be sure to hit all the fun spots.

I’ll give a full report and update following the event and sightseeing, but the most exciting event is going to be the closing dinner! I get to wear my sequenced cocktail dress! I’ll send you all a selfie on Instagram!

When you don’t feel like you

Call it what you want. Hormones. Life. Depression. Just overwhelmed. That was me. That is me. I feel it every now and then. I think everyone does. But there are times where I let myself slip a bit too far.

I notice it most when I stop reading. Even more when I stop writing. I just don’t feel like me.

Maybe it’s my way of releasing all that is pent up in me. Maybe it’s may way of dealing with life. Regardless, when I get out of the routine of reading and writing, things start to feel a little out of wack.

I’m not sure why I ever let myself stop. I know how it makes me feel. It’s just, life. Life happens, and the next thing I know, I’ve gone a month without writing or reading a single word for myself.

I start to feel anxious, like something is missing. My brain feels clouded, and I just can’t figure out how to verbalize what I’m feeling. The flood gates are closed, and life just becomes congested.

The moment I start pounding it out on the keyboard or drinking in a new world on pages, it’s like the sky is new and the fog has lifted.

This is a part of me. Writing and reading makes me feel whole. I hate it when I stop, but man, does it feel good when I start again!

Hiking

One of the things I have found a new love for is hiking! When I say hiking, I mean a few to multiple miles walk through the woods, on a trail, preferably with a general notion of direction. As long as I end up back at my car eventually, I’m good!

We’ve hiked a total of three times since Memorial Day, so I’m definitely no pro, but there’s something peaceful to be found in the tranquility of nature. I swear I could walk for days in the woods filled with green or through an open field with bright blue skies above.

Our hikes haven’t been very long in distance, but we are building up to it. Even our daughter is getting into it! We did about two miles with her over the past weekend, and I think she likes it too! She was so excited to see a bridge over a river. It was the cutest thing!

We also bought water backpacks for our trips. Even one for our four year old. She loves carrying hers and drinking it out of the tube like mommy and daddy. We are hoping to make an afternoon of it one day and have a picnic, but we’re building to that. She’s still building her stamina to go longer than two miles in an hour..

Overall, hiking for us works. There is hardly any logistics or equipment to think of and remember. We just fill out water tanks and go! Bugs are a problem for my daughter (OK, for me too), but that’s why there is bug repellent right? I’m just excited to do something as a family that doesn’t require a whole lot of extra effort and towing additional equipment. On to the next hike!

Candy or Iron Anniversary

The most ridiculous thing to ever be thought of is a themed gift for an anniversary. Half of them don’t even make sense. Take year 6 for example. This year, there is a choice between candy, for sweetness, or iron, for strength. Who in the world sat down and thought, for my sixth anniversary, I want a Snickers and an anvil. Asinine!

Now, I can understand twenty-five, silver, and fifty, gold, because of our make it to those, you deserve all the riches in he world! But all the others are silly. Why does it matter? Why is there an actual list of gifts that you should get your beloved based on how long you’ve been together? What if Becky is allergic to chocolate, and Tim hates metal working? Their anniversary is ruined because they followed a list!

I digress, and move to the real point and purpose of this post. My sixth wedding anniversary is coming up. Honestly, it pales in comparison to how long we have been together in total, but I was hoping to make this year special above the rest until I saw candy or iron.

Before I hop back on that soapbox, I don’t believe I will give my husband any of the suggested, more traditional gifts, but instead, a gift tailored specifically to the man I know and love. That’s what should matter. I know my husband, and I am celebrating choosing him over anyone else, and I will do it the best way I know how, without the support of a crazy list.

Happy Anniversary, babe! I love you more!