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Covid Chronicles: Day 2 11/28/2021

It’s day 2 of quarantine and I am already over it! I have been restless and I wanted something to do that would occupy my mind. I stayed up far too late last night looking at craft projects to busy my threefold with and making Amazon wish lists that I will never purchase. Does anyone else do that? Stave off the shopping bug by creating wish lists of things you would buy if you have a few thousand to blow and no real responsibility? I digress. Today I woke up at 10 again after getting about 7 hours of sleep. {I told you I stayed up too late}. I probably had a hard time sleeping due to the amount of sleep I have had the past few days. I didn’t feel too terrible upon waking. Minor aches and body fatigue, slight headache, and a stopped up nose. Some coughing and sinus pressure but nothing that I couldn’t manage. I’m not going to challenge my new friend Corona, I know she is waiting to inflict her damage on my body. My chest isn’t feeling like it will explode with each breath so that has to be an improvement. Like I always say, this is all subject to change without notice. I’m definitely more edgy and irritable today. I’m not really in a mood for lots of talking, noise, interaction, or banter. I’m pretty funky and so with that I am trying to keep to myself a bit more. Headphones, calming techniques, and walking away so I don’t unnecessarily pop off on anyone for no apparent reason. It seems to contagious, the irritation, I got into a little tiff with ‘E’ about my threefold being loud {and arguing incessantly}. I think we both need manage our expectations about the behavior displayed under our current circumstances. I’ll get over it and everything will be good in a matter of hours. Everyone gets a little more edgy when they are sick and the headache blows so I know the noise level can intensify that constant pounding. I have to manage my own expectations of how we will all react and behave under these circumstances, myself, ‘E’ and my threefold.

I had a goal of showering today. That’s a good goal to have. I don’t want to smell like the back of a Chuck E. Cheese in summer mixed with McDonald’s onions even if I am unable to smell it myself. I think my family will appreciate that I do love them enough to pull myself up and wash off the layer of covid film that is undoubtedly covering my body. This was therapeutic as the hot water not only soothed the aching muscles but also helped to clear some of the sinus gunk that has been accumulating in my nasal passages. Something about a hot shower makes me feel almost better.

I did fold that load of laundry that stared at me through the night. Clean towels, hooray! I switched around the laundry and made an effort to pick up the mess on my bedside table where my snot tissues, coke cans, water bottles, mail, and other items have accumulated since setting up shop in bed the past few days. We got ornaments hung on the tree and began crafting our garland and attempted the tree topper. I found a cute project for string Christmas trees and making your own ornaments. I don’t have glue though. Trying to come up with a way to make an alternative adhesive out of things I do have at home. Suggestions? I have silicone! Ha! At least we are attempting to be productive with our time! The finger knot garland is adorable and all three of my threefold got on board and learned how to do this simple and mindless craft. I think it will be a cute addition to our holiday decorations and something they were able to make that can be on display. I really want to do the string trees, damn glue. I’ll figure something out, I’m resourceful like that!

Today I took it a little easier than yesterday and my body is thanking me. {the house however can tell that I took the day off} I took a long nap snuggled up on ‘E’ as he watched fetch {#2’s name for football} on t.v. and just took it easy. I painted a bit and worked on some projects I had started but not seen to completion. I put some attention on my social media pages for ‘My Threefold’ and did a little digital artwork. I did things that busied my mind without having to be moving around a whole lot.

Unfortunately, #2 started feeling really bad today. Her at home covid test came back positive and she is unfortunately starting to feel the onslaught of symptoms. #1, #3 and BK {bonus kid} are still in the clear so far. I am praying that this doesn’t take out the whole household. I’m not sure how I will manage taking care of my threefold, ‘E’ and myself with Corona on board. She has stayed pretty positive. Not being too whiny and not really complaining. She took a note from my book and attempted to stay a little active when her body would allow by shooting a few hoops, listening to music, and making videos of her cats. I hate she is sick, but she has always been super tough and never really allowed being sick to stop her from doing whatever she wants. Maybe it’s an ADHD thing, but she isn’t much for still, rest, or relaxation.

Tonight, #1 cooked dinner, pork tenderloin, mashed potatoes, Mac & cheese, rolls and broccoli. It was delish! We sat at the table and had our normal ‘Roses & Thorns’ dinner conversation. {we all say at least one positive about our day, and share a negative if we have one}. The thorns were the obvious quarantine, covid and restless energy. The roses were decorations and learning to finger knit! {mom win!} Overall I would call today pretty successful and despite the funk energy and moods we were able to spend some quality time together. For me, that’s what I wanted out of quarantine. For us to take advantage of the unique opportunity to spend time all together. After all, how often is every person home at the same time for days on end?

Another day of quarantine is almost in the books. Only 12 days to go! We will just keep moving forward and hope that tomorrow is better than today. We will keep staying positive and trying to have an attitude of gratitude knowing that we are at home, together, safe, warm, fed and have cozy beds to recover in. Today there isn’t much more we could ask for! Stay positive! ☮️❤️😊~M

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Blessed by the Mess:

Last year I spent my first Thanksgiving without my threefold. I was so upset and felt empty. I tried keeping myself busy, I tried sleeping as much as I could and begged for ‘E’ {who I was dating} to stay with me, even though I knew he needed to go to pick up his own kiddo to spend turkey day with her. That afternoon was the worst time. I didn’t do anything {except wallow in my own feeling} and due to COVID-19 there were no family gatherings to distract me or give me some semblance of Thanksgiving. Thankfully {no pun intended} I had convinced ‘E’ that we, his midget included, should all go have dinner since his extended family all lived out of state and we both had to work the following day, and the VID had pretty much put a damper on life in general. We did. We laughed, had cheese sticks, brownies with ice cream, chicken tenders and fries and spent our first holiday together at an Applebee’s of all places. Then not wanting to go home to an empty bed we went to Walgreens and made fools of ourselves. It was memorable, and I’m so grateful that they made me feel better about my first holiday without my threefold. The following weekend all four kids {defcon four} ‘E’ and I had our first family outing all together where everyone seemed to get along and I was excited that maybe this could be something good. My threefold commented on ‘how happy I looked’ with ‘E’. A comment that still resonates with me when they say it today. I was happy. I am even happier now.

Last November, I was still on a 50/50 parenting schedule with my ex, navigating a rollercoaster divorce, and easily manipulated by my ex and the situation. I was freshly ‘single’ and trying my hand with someone new and putting my best face forward. I was still fairly new at work, but had recently really found my stride and my benefit to the team. I was parenting, but I wasn’t always present even while in the same room and definitely not near as accessible. I was in therapy beginning to work on resolving my past, but still was using old coping mechanisms that were unhealthy to get me through the hard days. I had panic attacks often and had grown accustomed to numbing out my emotions so I wouldn’t have to feel them. My anxiety was at an 8/10 most days and hadn’t gotten better even with the prescription medication, coping mechanisms and therapy. It wasn’t pretty, but I was still trying to make it appear nice and neat all put together and dressed our lives up for conversations and pictures.

Reality hit hard when, the Monday after Thanksgiving of 2020, #2 of my threefold was admitted to an acute inpatient psychiatric hospital for self harm and suicidal ideation for the first time. {this hospitalization marked the first of five we’ve had over the past 12 months} She was only 12. I didn’t understand. The Earth fell out from under my feet and I went into free fall. ‘E’ didn’t know me ‘like that’ and I tried with everything in me to get him to ‘take the out’ and just ‘walk away. no harm. no foul. no hard feelings’ I gave him every reason to leave. I told him we were too complicated, broken, difficult and too much over and over again. He refused even though I didn’t know why he would choose to stay with us through all of that. He did. He didn’t just stand by, he stepped up in ways I never thought possible and became the person who has helped carry us through this year, all of us. He got a lot of push back, misplaced anger, a lot of hard time, and had to be the ‘perky positivity peddler’ probably even when he didn’t want to be because we didn’t know how to love him the way that he was loving us. We didn’t get it then. I can’t even describe the gratitude and love my threefold and I have for him after this year now that we recognize that he chose us even when we gave him every reason to leave. He stayed. He loved us through the healing and loved us as we learned to love ourselves. He has earned his place in our hearts.

While #2 was still hospitalized I moved into our new home. The day we moved I can vividly recall the meeting with the case worker for abuse allegations against my ex. I covered for my ex that day along with my other two children as we stated ‘he isn’t abusive, that was in the past’. I will always regret allowing myself to be manipulated and intimidated enough to do that and for my other two girls who went against their sister to protect their dad, only following my example. This wouldn’t be the first or the last time I allowed the manipulation and intimidation my ex served us dictate my life decisions or the decisions that I made for my threefold. That week I was moving into my home my ex begged me to meet him and I was terrified to go. I went anyway because he said ‘it’s important’. I gained a large piece of myself and my strength back that night as he read the apology he had written apologizing for all that he had ever done to the girls and I. I stared at him and he stared back with tears in his eyes and told him ‘no, there was too much damage done to turn back now.’ The 15 years prior flashing in front of my eyes as I tried to rationalize my decision. I also had the previous few months of my life with ‘E’ and the hope of what the future could look like with him vs. how I felt that the future would look like with my ex running through my head. I am so thankful that even in the turmoil that I thought through it with rationality {I don’t usually display rational thought when stressed} and chose neither my ex or ‘E’. I chose my threefold and what I wanted for myself and for them. I continued my relationship with ‘E’. However, that day I knew it would always be my threefold before everyone and everything else, regardless what I wanted. It was the first decision that changed the trajectory of our lives.

This Thanksgiving looks so different from that Thanksgiving dinner at Applebee’s, that first ‘family’ outing with Defcon 4, ‘E’ and I, and the two weeks afterwards with #2’s hospitalization. I won’t be sharing the holidays this year. I don’t have to have conversations with my ex about anything other than an update on #3 every now and again. There are no more cover ups and a lot less fear. The manipulation is still attempted but I am quicker to recognize the behavior. Instead, this Thanksgiving we are celebrating all the things we have to be grateful for, together as a blended family. We mark the one year anniversary of moving into this house that we’ve made a home. Multiple college acceptance letters for #1 and good grades, plus lots of self improvement. The recovery of #2 being nearly 6 months free of self harm and successfully discharging from treatment 6 weeks ago. Martial arts, good grades, making friends and behavior improvement with #3. Drama club, honor roll and help with coping with anxiety for BK {bonus kid}. Everyone being back in school {in person NOT virtual}, adjusting and doing well. The many blessings we’ve had along the way from ‘go fund me’, to meals, & help with medical bills. That I have an amazing job where I could work and care for my threefold. I am grateful that I was promoted and received two raises this year and so did ‘E’ with a 3rd coming soon for him! The ability to gather with our family this year. And so much more! There are a lot of things that we do differently these days than we did before, but they are all in an effort of making us better.

I am so proud of us all. I am proud because even as we collectively faced the hardest year we have had to face thus far, both individually and as a family, we have come out on the other side closer, better, stronger and more positive than we ever were before. As I reflect on where we are now, I can’t help but think how different things were last year in comparison. How different I am. How different we all are. I don’t think that I ever could’ve imagined how tumultuous, life-changing, or the difficulties the last year brought to our family. I didn’t see any of it coming as I sat at that Applebee’s a year ago missing my threefold. As much hardship and heartbreak as we endured this year, I still can recognize how much good was inspired from the hard times we’ve experienced. We overcame every obstacle and challenge that came our way and persevered. We will continue to overcome our hurdles, together. We are still working through many things and rebuilding what was broken and finding the pieces from the broken parts of our past, but I am amazed at all the positive actions and steps that were taken despite the challenges we’ve faced. The good we have today definitely outweighs the bad we were up against last year. We found ourselves, we found each other, we grew closer, we learned lessons and found a way towards healing. We love bigger and appreciate more. We look for the message in every mess. I wouldn’t ask for the hardship and the struggle, but I am thankful that we have found the silver linings and found ways for us to grow and heal despite it all. We have been blessed beyond measure and those blessings continue to show up in our lives. Today I will recognize our strength and determination to keep fighting for our future. We have truly been blessed by our mess. Today I challenge you to have an attitude of gratitude. Be thankful! Love big! Show gratitude! There is always something to be grateful no matter the circumstances.

Happy Thanksgiving! ☮️❤️😊~M

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Chance or Choice?

Happiness is a choice and not just left to chance? That’s not what I learned growing up or even up until my adulthood. What I was taught is that if I do the right things and follow the rules I might get lucky. If I just color inside the lines and work hard I will get the happiness that I deserve. It’s always been a requirement to do x, y, and z or to walk the straight line with your head down to reach success. I honestly thought it was luck or chance or something completely out of my control. Turns out that I was wrong and so was all the people in my life from birth to now that told me I would find happiness once I graduated college or got married or had kids or found the perfect job or my purpose or God. Sure, those things can add to your happiness, but ultimately happiness won’t ever be attained through who is in your life or what you have in your life.

It has taken me 37 years to figure out that everything I have been told was just frankly a line of shit. I am finally seeing that the energy of those around me greatly affects my own energy. When I was surrounded only by people who complained and never had good things to say about anyone or anything I was also negative seeing those perspectives as my own. Energy is contagious whether it be bad or good. I remember my ex saying “We have bad luck.” It was constantly the universe not giving us what we were entitled to. To the point that I wasn’t even grateful when I got a front parking spot at Walmart. Instead I was saying “Oh look now I’m using up all my good luck for this week.” with a sigh and a slight laugh. Once I started to be around people that are more positive and look for good even in the hard I realized it became very difficult for me to always be the “Debbie downer” or “negative Nancy” all the time. It was unsettling at first that these positive people were just…happy. No offense but there wasn’t anything different about their lives, hell some of them were having problems with relationships or family or kids, but somehow they still had this point of view that was overwhelmingly optimistic. I found it odd that I was never challenged to rethink my perspective by the negative people in my life, but suddenly these positive people were challenging me to rethink everything around me and to start looking for good.

This past year should’ve broken me, and a couple of years I would’ve allowed it to without too much of a fight. There aren’t many people who are able to handle going through a tumultuous divorce, self harm and suicidal ideation, hospitalization of their child for 20 weeks, work through their own trauma and abuse, work full time, and raise three kids with no family nearby, their dad moving away and forgoing responsibility to them financially , physically and emotionally, start a healthy relationship, battle through court hearings, mediation, and custody disputes, and coordinate all the chaos that comes with three kids as a single(ish) parent doing most of the to and from on their own. Hell, honestly pick two and have them coincide and even with support I’m sure it would be difficult. Yet somehow I’m still here standing and not just surviving with caffeine, chaos, cuss words, and crazy meds, but have thrived.

It isn’t over, life is full of surprises. I could get bulldozed by life at any point, but I’m sure of one thing I’m going to fight and I will get back up. Again. Again. And yes, again. I don’t quit when it gets hard. I survived this year with A LOT of therapy. I survived with positive people in my corner challenging me to find the silver lining of every situation. I had the people around me that were supposed to be cheering for me. I didn’t have people wallowing with me in my dark moments. Sometimes I was angry and sad and just needed to scream and cry and say how unfair it was. It was. I could have those moments but I didn’t live there for long. I have an amazing job, a healthy relationship with a positive and supportive person {who is beyond patient} and a great therapist. I have three kids who are working on themselves and who are all accomplishing their goals while they heal. I have an amazing bonus kid who calls me just to check in. A dad and a brother who always come through when I need them regardless if they are busy and live 600 miles away. I have managed to get a promotion and a raise. I have started a blog and established a Facebook and Instagram page that have gained a following. I am realizing my dreams and allowing myself to go for them. I am loving myself more and finding my own path to happiness.

I’m learning that happiness doesn’t happen to you, you make happiness happen in your life. I’m learning that how I spend each day is how my life as a whole will be spent. I am my own obstacle between the life I have and the life I ultimately want. It’s not going to just happen and it’s time I stop waiting around for something amazing to just come my way and bring the amazing to myself. The head game is as important as the physical actions. With mental illness it’s a little more difficult to learn to be present, not overthink, and to enjoy the now. My anxiety is next level some days and it seems that no matter how much I try my brain is bound and determined to over analyze every single thing going on. As important as it is to challenge the facts of the thoughts and conclusions I come to, sometimes I have to be ok with having an off day or being in my emotions. I’m not perfect so that standard is not my goal.

I would be naive if I said my goal was to be happy everyday of my life. It’s unrealistic and just not ever going to be a reality. My goal is to be content with where I am right now. I want to be able to sit with my feelings whether those are good or bad and allow myself to acknowledge them, but let them go not allow them the power over my entire day. I am competing against the me I was yesterday and trying to improve each day. I choose to stay positive and continue to allow my happiness to be the driving factor towards why I do or don’t do things. I choose gratitude for the good and am open to learn from what the bad has to teach me. That’s why I chose to do the #100happydays challenge. I want to focus on my happiness as I know if I’m happy I can speak that into others. ☮️❤️😊~M

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#100HAPPYDAYS Challenge

My last post was about finding a way to reconnect with my inner joy and center myself. I have worked for well over a year to “find what makes ME happy.” I’ve been on a journey to find myself. I have been allowing too many outside factors in my head and it was affecting my energy in a very negative way. I have a big issue with overthinking everything and allowing my anxiety to totally run my life and stress has fueled my motivation. I needed a reset ASAP or I was going to end up burning out, drained, and depressed. I was determined to see my way back to my happy place and find my way through what has been {in my humble opinion} the most difficult year in my life amongst a hard decade. Nearly two years ago, I had found myself a miserable, empty, emotionally wounded, and self-deprecating person who had lost all confidence, security, and had become merely a shell of a person. I was 35 years old and having a crisis of identity, purpose, and had become miserable with myself and with my life.

I remember clearly New Years Eve 2019, I decided it was time for change. I needed BIG change. I had to find something else. I wasn’t going to make a 15lb weight loss goal or promise to cook more I needed something so much more. It took me months of journaling and searching in the bottom of a bottle far too often for what my problem was. I didn’t know where to start, so I wrote, and wrote some more. I had entries that were sober and some that were not, but regardless they all had one theme. “I don’t know where this journey will take me, but I do know it’s the only way.” My first major discovery was that NO ONE was responsible for making me happy. I was. I wasn’t happy and it was up to me to fix it though I had no clue what that looked like or where to begin.

I changed jobs as I knew I was unhappy where I was. I remember how I sat in the parking lot daily at my job and had anxiety to walk through the doors. I was late everyday not because I wasn’t there on time but because I had to mentally prepare myself for going to a job I hated with people that I figured hated me too. I got a chance email with a recruitment for a National company that was local and I wondered what it was. I hadn’t heard of it before but I did some research and took the phone interview. It was like talking to a friend. I met with the manager later that week and after two hours I had a job offer. I thought about it for days. A pay cut. Was it worth it? I decided to make my first leap of faith. II figured I could be paid more and be miserable or I could get paid less and maybe do something that would make me feel more at peace. I am so glad I took that jump. I never knew how satisfied I could be with a job other than maybe a drink in hand on a beach doing exactly this, writing. {Still a goal and I WILL achieve it.}

I took that leap and then slowly saw some pieces I hadn’t seen in years. Yep I was going to find myself. My happy. Life threw the curveballs and I started contemplating what I wanted in my life and where I was headed. Who I wanted in my life and whether I could be happy if this was what changed. I came to the conclusion that Summer of 2020, in May, that I wasn’t just unhappy at work that home was the most important piece of what was making me unhappy. After fact checking, soul searching, fighting endlessly as I began to start standing up for myself and my threefold again. I decided the fight needed to be done. I should’ve left years before, but my own insecurities and fears, coupled with life circumstances and my distorted sense of self and my marriage along with who I had married and my beliefs had kept me in a loveless, disconnected, toxic, and abusive marriage for too many years too long. My threefold were my only successes in that marriage and their unhappiness and own discontent were becoming clearer with each day. I left. With nothing. I walked away looking for myself and my happiness was not ever going to be found in the confines of the prison I had been willingly residing within.

That job I mentioned…it didn’t just lead me to a happier work life. It is where I met the man who would literally turn my world upside down and inside out and totally stir up the life in me I hadn’t forgotten was an option. That job gave me my unicorn the PPP {perky positivity peddler}. My ‘E’, the love of my life. As I said before no one can make you happy except yourself. That’s still true. No one can fix you, except you. I was broken, anxiety ridden, scared, codependent and still overwhelmingly radiating toxic negativity. ‘E’ for whatever reason {my ass in those jeans} decided to see past the shattered me and began “showing” me that not all men are the same. I was waiting for him to be another reason I didn’t trust men. A narcissist taking easy prey. I was waiting for the other shoe to drop and all the red flags to start flying. I couldn’t figure it out. {seriously dude what’s your damage everyone has some.} I couldn’t find it. He had a daughter who adored him and who he treated like his most prized possession. A good relationship with his ex wife and he coparent Ed. He had a job, he didn’t excessively spend money, he didn’t have drug addiction, a record, domestic violence, CPS cases or anything. He worked hard. He had an amazing attitude and his energy was contagious for me. He was charismatic and funny. Sexy {that ass though!} He was kind and loving, affectionate and communicative. This all scared me to death. In my experience too good to be true was exactly that, untrue. It was moving on too fast. I fell in love and he made me feel like I was the only woman in the universe. He has shown me with actions and words that he isn’t running though I’ve given him nearly every reason and so many opportunities to leave. Yet still he is here, loving me. He helped me see things differently and helped me find motivation to continue to heal. I am so grateful for ‘E’.

I felt as if I was getting better but every time that life smacked me in the face with an issue I would slide back into old habits. I have had the rollercoaster I never wanted to ride this year. Ups and downs, twists and turns, and I’ve been thrown from a loop more times that I could count. From divorce, to hospitalization of two {my middle daughter of my threefold}, through diagnoses and therapy, and more stress and struggle than I’ve ever endured. I honestly got whiplash from everything. Throughout this year I’ve still worked on myself and tried to find the pieces of the broken identity that were lost and stolen from me over the years.

I’ve done pretty amazing. {in my opinion} I’ve had my days {honestly though that’s totally normal} but they were more like moments where I strayed from my positivity push. I’ve allowed those moments to come and I acknowledged what was happening then hit that reset button. My mindset has been very present and I’ve been living my life with gratitude. I’ve always been grateful, but I’ve never acknowledged all I have to be grateful for. Honestly, even in the hardest of times I found the things that were good. I knew even if I didn’t want to acknowledge them at the moment and I wanted to sit on my own pity potty that there was more good than bad. For the first time in my life I saw that those two things coincided, good and bad. This was just life, and perspective would be key.

This month I wanted to be more mindful of my good and not relinquish so much energy to the bad. My gratitude mindset started by beginning a “Gratitude Journal”. Everyday since 11-01 {two weeks since my last blog post} I’ve sat down nightly and written in this journal {which is just a cute composition book I picked up from Target} and used my own format. It’s simple actually.

  • Each entry is dated
  • I begin each entry with “Today I am Grateful For:” and list what I am most thankful for that day.
  • Then I have “My Highlights For Today” and list the best parts of my day.
  • A small notation on if I met my goals for that day.
  • Something I am looking forward to about tomorrow.
  • How can I improve?
  • Then I finish out with “My Goals For Tomorrow” that has a list of things I want to accomplish or be the next day.

It’s easy peasy and very straightforward. Each day is about a page worth of writing. Nothing too elaborate. Then yesterday while I was on my first private outing with ‘E’ that we’ve been able to have in months I came across a little book. It caught my eye with its bright yellow cover and cute font. The title said “Can You Be Happy For 100 Days?” I picked it up intrigued. At $2.99 at a bargain store I decided what could it hurt? I read the intro. Then I changed the title to “Choose to be Happy for 100 days?” and today will be day #1 on the #100HappyDays Challenge.

It’s fairly simple, pick one thing. It can be from the book or your own imagination, that makes you happy and do it. Everyone and anyone can find one thing that they enjoy and that brings them happiness each day to do. Then you simply document it by taking a picture and maybe giving a short description. That’s as easy as it gets, but I’m sure it’ll be harder than it sounds. The goal is to find things that can make you happier and be more mindful of the everyday opportunities to be happy that we miss. It’s worth a shot. So now I challenge everyone to join me in that quest. Let’s see if we can bring more happiness to ourselves and others. Take advantage of those daily opportunities and simply appreciate them. Here we go! Follow my #100dayshappy challenge on my Facebook page http://facebook.com/mythreefold and share your journey with me too! Here’s to our happily ever after! ☮️❤️😊~M

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Surviving to Thriving.

Discharge Day was this week and I’ve never been happier to close a chapter of life than I am this one. We have a long road ahead, but this week we celebrate a big milestone. 2 {the middle child, 13} is ready to transition back to traditional school and into full outpatient aftercare. It’s an amazing accomplishment. D-day marked the 134th day of no self harm behavior. Yes, I will celebrate that day and everything this day means for our family, my threefold, defcon four, the sensational six and for our path forward.

It’s been a hard year. It’s been full of change, stress, hard times, hopelessness & mixed emotions. This year has also shown us that we can conquer all things together. We have amazing people on our side & I am so grateful for each person whether you offered a listening ear, a helping hand, a dollar, a prayer, good vibes, checked in or reached out. It’s been a uniquely challenging year. It’s been an emotional rollercoaster. However, we have gotten an education on mental health. We were given a choice to keep hiding in the darkness of shame and fear, hiding the truth of our challenges OR we could step out of that darkness and speak about what has been happening in our lives. I’m glad we chose the latter. That choice has allowed a little light and a lot of humanity to be placed on the struggles some face with mental illnesses and gave a voice to my threefold who have had a difficult time speaking on their feelings.

I was stunned to see how many people on my personal page had a child or grandchild who had a similar struggle they faced behind the closed doors of their homes. Then on my Facebook page for my threefold the messages, comments, and likes came pouring in after I wrote the raw piece about 2’s hospitalization . It’s lonely, hard, helpless and stressful to be the parent of a child with mental health issues and trauma when they go into crisis, then you add in more kids with mental illness, your own, and divorce. I’ve been living in between the rock and the hard place for some time now. I’ve tried to maintain a positive outlook, good attitude and not sink into the depths of depression and anxiety. I will be honest I’m human and I promise I have experienced every human emotion over these past few months.

I realized the why behind the stigma throughout this year as well. It’s not understood and it is often judged harshly. If you say it out loud it must be more for “attention” than reaching out for help. I ask you to educate yourself {and your children} if you have those negative thoughts about those of us who seek help not only professionally but also within the circle of friends. My threefold are only a few in millions of kids that suffer, they aren’t special in their diagnoses. They are unique because our family decided we needed more than just professional support. We needed personal support also. We received that support in many people near and far. We also got the criticism and judgements of other people, strangers, family, and friends. I am grateful for both. I now value my time and role more. I advocate better for my threefold now and I found that I’m not the only mom {chaos coordinator) that is going through a similar situation. I found people I never would have and learned things some may have not felt comfortable sharing. I’ve received a lot of support emotionally, financially, and physically this year. I’ve also changed my own outlook on mental health, mental illness, and began helping others who have reached out to me. I’ve been able to help people with navigating a divorce. I’ve helped people formulate a plan on leaving an abusive relationship. I’ve helped people with mental health struggles. I’ve been an ear for several people that are going through similar struggles. I haven’t been afforded the opportunity to touch people’s lives financially, but I definitely want to create that platform and make a difference in people’s lives. I personally know how financially draining the process is. Without the continued support of family and friends through our fundraising efforts we wouldn’t be where we are today, we wouldn’t be at discharge week.

I won’t let the critics take up space in my life or my energy. I choose today to celebrate 2’s discharge from her hospitalization. I will celebrate the 136 days we have like I did numbers 7, 14, 30, 45, 60 – and so on. Today I will celebrate her decision to fight for herself {to fight with me}. I celebrate the strength, courage, vulnerability, honesty, and faith it took her to commit to a better future. I celebrate going back to school. I celebrate the successful end of treatment that has been continuous since June 6th. I celebrate the hope we have for normalcy. I celebrate this day like it’s another birthday, because in some ways it is exactly that. My child in early June that I checked into an inpatient facility for suicidal thoughts, ideation and attempts is not the same child that I discharged from intensive crisis management. My child is much more than a list of complicated diagnoses and no longer broken down to the point of not seeing a future for herself. She was angry, she was impulsive, she was depressed, she was in a constant state of fear, and she was in pain. Today I picked up my little girl and she cried as we drove away from the facility, more than she did when she was admitted. She was happy to be headed back to a semblance of routine and typical teenage life. She is proud of herself. She finally sees a future. She sees the worth of her own life. She sees the payoff of 4 1/2 grueling months of hospitalization. She sees the path forward. That vision brought me to tears. The relief I felt in actually taking a breath and finally truly believing it’s going to be ok was magical.

Lastly, they may or may not read this but I’m going to do some shout outs…I know, cringeworthy. I don’t do short and sweet, but I’m going to try. {ha} E~my ppp {perky positivity peddler} my rock. You have kept me from losing all the sanity I have left this year. You’ve been the our biggest source of support and encouragement. You’ve picked me up off the floor and have drug me out of the dark place {kicking & screaming} more times than I can count. I know this hasn’t been easy, but I will never be able to express my appreciation, gratitude or my love for you. You were meant to be with me during this, I know it. I love you.

DEFCON Four- 1-you make me smile and are the most caring person I’ve ever known. You made me remember that there is still good. You’re a ray of sunshine that lights up the other people around you. I love you & I am proud of your growth & accomplishments this year. You are becoming a person who has the capability to do anything~better yet YOU finally are seeing that too. 3- my baby, you have made me learn patience. You have made me see things differently. You have challenged me. You’ve also made me realize that even though it’s tough we have to have fun. You make me remember what kind of mom I want to be. I see you my bug, and I see that you want to be the best you. You give it some time, and you’ll grown into it. Keep trying, everything will get better. I love you bug and I hope you always know that. BK {bonus kid} You crack me up! You kept me smiling and checked on me. You helped all the girls. You’re an amazing person. I’m honored to get to be a part of your life. I appreciate you making my threefold your family too. Youre an awesome and beautiful person. I love you. Last but not least 2. Oh my little love, you rocked my world this year and turned it upside down and inside out. You also made me find a strength I didn’t know was in me. I found my grind and my hustle. I found the true meaning of a mother’s love. You made me realize how much I need all of you. I realized that it was time for big changes. They came, ready or not. Your progress and fight has inspired me on many levels. You’re a bad ass. To see your transformation and your dedication to recovery will be a inspiration to all those around you. Thank you for taking the help you received. I am so proud of you. We aren’t threefold, defcon 4, the sensational six when there is a missing piece. This is a marathon not a sprint, but I know together all of us will continue to move forward and find healing.

To everyone who has helped, shared, prayed, commented message or reached out ~ THANK YOU! My girls and their strength is what has gotten me through my own hard times this year. We have all grown exponentially and we are all committed to working to be better each day. I am so proud of my girls and our family. The journey is far from over but we are happy to begin writing the next chapter and with that we hope we don’t only survive it, but we begin to thrive. Thank you from the bottom of our hearts for everything you have done this year and your support moving forward to the future that these girls deserve. ☮️❤️😊~M