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Meet the Critic

At my darkest and loneliest times, she is there. In the silence of the night, she is there. When I’m at my weakest, she is there. She is with me when I walk into an uncomfortable situation. After a heartbreak and in my grief, she never leaves me. When I’m on cloud nine, and hopeful she shows up. When I’m anxious and unsure, she is talking to me. When I’m hurt and angry, she supports my feelings. She validates my actions. She gives me the option to run away. She remembers everything I’ve ever said. She knows my past. She knows my weaknesses. She takes pictures, so I remember what we’ve done together and all of our experiences. She is the one who hasn’t ever abandoned me, and the one never stops showing up.

I’m sure you’re wondering who this is. Maybe a mother, a daughter, a sister, a lover, or a friend. She is none of these and all of these. She isn’t anything and she is everything. She is the voice inside my head that I fight to silence every day.

You may think that you know her, but let me explain. She isn’t there supporting me or empowering me to keep going. She wants me to stay this way so she can thrive while I struggle to merely survive.

Who Are You?

You won’t meet her, but im sure you know someone just like her. You can’t see her, but her voice is always there. You probably aren’t a fan if by chance you know her as intimately as I do. Consider this your proper introduction. However, I don’t know if you will understand.

She steals the spotlight, demands to be heard, and aims to hurt anyone who dares to silence her. She is the one who tells me that I’m never going to be enough. She shows me the worst parts of the people around me. She drives them away, then tells me “see they don’t love you. Otherwise, they would stay.” She manipulates my feelings and twists my words. She tells me the worst-case scenarios and keeps me fearful of my every move.

Where Did She Come From?

Sometimes, she sounds like my mother, telling me I will never be pretty enough, thin enough, smart enough, good enough, or just enough. Other times, she sounds like my abusers who made me believe I was always to blame. In my head, she can make anyone sound like a hurt from my past. She has pictures and videos she can play to remind me of every hurt I’ve ever endured. She holds the buttons to my triggers. She is persistent and doesn’t care about the consequences.

I know she is made up of the broken pieces of my past. She is the child who felt unwanted. She is the teenager dying to fit in. She is the young mother looking for a way out. She is the abuse survivor. She is a traumatized woman. She is bleeding in the shower. High in the bathroom. A thief. A covert narcissist. An abandoned young adult. A lonely wife. The mother who was too scared to fight back and save her children. She is the addict. She is the worst part of me. That’s who she is. She is the version of myself I’m scared to become and equally terrified she is the real version I keep hiding from the world.

Change Her, Break Her, Abolish Her

I have tried to allow her visitation and then quickly see her out. However, she is relentless. At times, she is the only one who validates the unfairness of this life. She allows me to be not okay. It’s oddly comforting to be able to wallow and grieve a life I didn’t live. However, she aggravates those wounds I am trying so hard to heal. She breaks them back open and makes them bleed.

The past suddenly becomes present, and she revels in the power to overtake me. She feeds on my pain. It is as if my own mind is going to destroy me slowly. She holds me hostage. I struggle to break free. No matter how hard I try, I haven’t found a way to rid myself of her.

Fighting to be Free

You may think I’m just negative or that I’m weak. I’m the exact opposite. I am strong because I fight this voice that prays on my downfall each day. I’m successful in defeating her, but she knows when to strike. She pulls me to the darkness and holds me captive to her cruel onslaught of verbal blows.

I’m unsure if others fight off this toxic voice made up of their past. However, I know it’s lonely when it’s her and I. Maybe another person wont feel alone with no one who understands that the voice inside your head is sometimes hardest to silence. Even now, years into healing I still struggle to find my healthy escape from her torture.

Now you’ve had an introduction. If sometimes you see me cloaked in fear, paranoia, resentment, anger, or anxiety, please know I did not choose this for myself. I don’t need your attention, but meet me with compassion instead of judgment. I’m broken, and this is what repeated trauma has left behind for me.

It’s not easy. Sometimes, it’s the hardest battle I fight in a day. It is a battle of dismissing my past negative and limiting beliefs. I try now to remind myself of the 3 years of work I’ve put into my healing. However, I fight every day for the future I want, not to stay prisoner to the past, I escaped. I hope you, too, can find healing, and one day, I hope there is comfort in silence instead of her voice telling me how I will never fully overcome the trauma of my past. You and me, we’ve got this! ☮️ ❤️😊~M

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The Christmas Comedown

The Christmas Comedown, otherwise known as post holiday dysfunction at my home. I wrote about something similar last year and called that post The After Christmas Crash. I must not be alone in this aftermath effect of the hustle and bustle that leaves us feeling a bit like a deflated balloon after a party. Obviously, it is a reoccurring event that now I must find my way through each year.

Post Holiday Dysfunction

This is not a diagnosis in the DSM or even an actual medical term in any way. Its just my description of the feeling that comes after being hyped on Christmas cheer, chaos, and anxiety for weeks and then suddenly the crash happens. We are no longer amped up with this adrenaline, increased serotonin, or oxytocin that our bodies have produced to get us to Christmas day. The side effects of our bodies not producing the same amount of chemicals that our crazy Christmas countdown did leave us feeling in a slump.

The hustle bustle of the holiday season is what keeps us going. The days right before we are overstimulated and overwhelmed with all of our to-do lists. However, the days after, it’s almost like we are missing something. In my opinion, we are. We are lacking those stress responses that keep us energized enough to wrap 27 gifts in the early morning hours. We know longer have the alarm bells of moving elves, finding that last minute deal, or scheduling the seven Christmas visits we need to make.

Substitution or Satisfaction

As a mom, I know, there is always the next thing to start doing. Eventually, a new problem to solve will arise or a child will have something else for us to figure out. The slump of emptiness and unmotivated restlessness will fade away probably sooner than we realize. In the meantime, we are forced to find a way to either substitute the lack of endorphins or find a way to be satisfied with the slower pace.

Substitution

I will be the first to admit that relaxing and just allowing things to settle isn’t my strong suit. I wish it was. I’d love to be more like my husband who can find peace in a TV remote and a comfortable bed. For me, I’m looking for the next thing I need to do.

I don’t just relax very often. I feel restless, stagnant and pretty irritated when there is nothing to do. I can also admit that although I don’t want to get out, I want to not sit still. I don’t want to clean my house, but I want some tasks to do. I’m not sure that makes sense. However, I think that is me thinking that doing nothing is equal to laziness. I know there are many things I could do, but I am just looking to procrastinate those as I wait for the motivational push to actually get them done. That usually only comes with those stress chemicals our brains release when our back is against the wall.

Instead of relaxing into the moment, I overthink myself into this ball of stress and irritation. I find the fight instead of just allowing the battles won to be celebrated. I look for the substitution in order to get the fix of adrenaline and endorphins that my body became accustom to receiving during the stressful holiday season.

Satisfaction

Contentment is one of those things I long for, but to be honest, it also sounds boring. I want a lot, I expect a lot, and I do a lot to try to get what I want. However, I do want to learn to be present and just enjoy the now. I don’t want to plan out the next 5 years daily nor make lists of all the things I need to accomplish. I don’t want to plan for unlikely hypothetical situations or assume the worst. Hello anxiety. I want to be able to just be. No strings attached. Unfortunately, this is a skill that has been elusive to me for years.

I should be counting my blessings, celebrating my wins for this year, and enjoying some time where the kids all are happy and content playing with their new gifts and gadgets. How do I curtail this Christmas Comedown and post holiday dysfunction?

Combatting Christmas Comedown

You guessed it. My own concoction of how to combat this Christmas Comedown.

  • Take some time to do something for yourself.
    • Meditate
    • Buy yourself a gift
    • Read, write, or take a nap.
  • Enjoy time with family
  • Accomplish a to-do you’ve been putting off.
  • Get out of the house for fun instead of out of necessity.
  • Celebrate your wins.
  • Go on a date.
  • Exercise.
  • Meet up with a friend.
  • Have a dance party or scaryeoke.

The short and long of it is to do something fun both for yourself and with others. Enjoy your holiday successes or just celebrate that you survived another Christmas! Either way, it’s done and we have nearly a whole year before we have to be all Christmas Carol, the elf moving, Christmas magic making, PTO participating, merry and bright decking the halls Santa’s helpers again. Count your blessings. As always, we’ve got this! ☮️❤️😊~M

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Trying to Bring the House Down.

If you want to know what it’s like to have ADHD as an adult. Here it is in all of it’s glory! You are so scatterbrained and unfocused. You don’t just lose track of time. You don’t just forget your keys in your room. It’s not just forgetting a drink before you leave. It’s not searching for hours for a key that you are the only person that has a copy of it. It’s not just locking your purse and everything in the truck. It’s next level scattered and unfocused. Stress only intensifies the scatter. That’s what January has been like for me.

One of my scattered mornings where I was rushing too much to stop and check my pockets, I locked my keys in my bedroom. Easy problem to solve right? Nope! My bedroom door can’t be picked with a skeleton key or simply unlocked with a credit card. My bedroom has a keyed lock that we installed to keep my ankle biters from creeping in and stealing our stuff. I couldn’t call the other person who had a key, because my purse was in my truck with my phone, which was also locked. My keys were behind that door and I was late for work. What was I to do? Well I probably could’ve done something else, but I did the first thing I could think of…I kicked the door in. I’m bad ass, but also have no time management skills in my possession.

A few weeks later I couldn’t find the key to the danger drawer. This is not a good situation. All my sanity and that of my threefold is locked in the danger drawer. I looked EVERYWHERE for that small key. My robe, nope. The sherage (my garage), not there. My traveling trash can (my truck), not there either! I cleaned my purse three times and checked all seventeen of its hidden pockets and emptied that black hole, still nothing. My jeans, the laundry basket, the kitchen, under the bed…no. I searched high and low. I even dug in my garbage, just to make sure. No dice. So ‘E’ had to drill out the lock and render the danger drawer unsecured. The next day it was found in my hoodie pocket that I had worn two nights before.

Probably the most dangerous conclusions of my absent mindedness came when I was pulling out of my driveway. I had realized as I was backing out that I didn’t have a coke for my afternoon caffeine kick. Much needed and very important piece of my life for full functionality. Well. What had happened was…I pulled back in the driveway and ran into the garage to grab a coke out of my outside refrigerator. I heard a crash. I came back around the front and realized I didn’t put my truck into PARK! It was rolling into my closed garage. Shiiiittt! Thankfully, my maintenance on my vehicle is pretty much nonexistent. So my alignment isn’t quite right. My Ruby {yes she has a name} took a slight left. And hit the three trash cans in front of the garage before coming to a stop at the wall. No harm. No injuries. Just some spilled trash and a lot of feelings of embarrassment at my brain malfunction. I got the coke though!

When I say all three of these events happened within weeks of each other, I’m not kidding. I have kicked off the new year and also a door in. I lost my key in a sweatshirt. I did not do this month right. I crashed and am crossing my fingers, toes, and legs {because I’m a damn lady!} that I don’t burn too. I am going to have to slow the hell down! My house can’t take the beating I’m giving it!

So that’s my recap for January. I did reach some goals, but mainly I just lost my train of thought. I was in a funk more often than I had anticipated, but February is here and it’s time to clear my brain fog! I am going to refocus, slow down and get my year in gear! January was my ‘free trial month’ for 2022, now the real deal is here. I am keeping the subscription so I’m going to use it more carefully! No option to cancel! Stay positive! We’ve got this! ☮️❤️😊~M

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Funk Off!

It’s been about a week since I posted about the funk I had been in for what felt like a couple of weeks. I was over it. I was so irritated and easily triggered even I was getting on my nerves! I sat down trying to figure out why. Once I started pinpointing my issues I knew I had to find a way to debunk that funk! My attitude is my choice.

I said I would share my methods and here I am. Defunkifying myself wasn’t as easy as I had hoped, but I pushed through and found away to get the funk away. I felt like outside factors were the source. The truth is, however, that I was responsible for my response to those outside factors. I was allowing myself to get wrapped up in the negative aspects of every facet of my life.

I decided Sunday it was time I fight off the funk before it funked up my progress. I did NOTHING on Sunday. It sound like it’s easy, but it’s not, especially with my threefold and what a difficult time I have had just relaxing. I didn’t feel guilty, for the most part. Ok, I really did feel guilty for it, but I pushed past that. I laid around in fuzzy pants and wore house slippers all day. I said no multiple times and held my ground with my Sunday none day. I needed to recharge and relax before the week ahead.

Sunday, I set my goals for the week. I sat down and got intentional with my plan. I couldn’t just leave the week to chance. I needed to decide what I wanted so I had a clear cut path to get those things. I’ve found this is always is my best course of action. I despise making promises to myself and breaking them.

With my goals in mind I forged through the week with determination to not be a negative Nancy. I was going to be better. Go through each day as if I was trying to beat the prior day. Quit complaining and start doing something to change the things that were throwing my energy out of whack. Mindless complaining and irritation wasn’t serving me or making anything better. In fact, it was making it worse, because I was focusing my thoughts on the bad stuff and the things I wasn’t happy about. Instead of continuing to just wait for the circumstances to change, I needed to figure out what I could do to change them now, not later.

  • Time Management
  • My threefold
  • Work
  • Relationship
  • Money
  • Divorce

These areas are what I needed to take action on if my mood was going to change. So I got to work on what was bothering me and how I could make improvements in these areas to better serve myself. It was all about finding where I would be able to change the circumstances that were throwing off my energy surrounding these topics. I got to work.

Time Management: This one is still such a nightmare for me. Maybe it’s ADHD that makes me so unconcerned with time. 15 minutes late is an accomplishment for me in nearly every situation. It’s considered a known fact at work, I will be late or on ‘M Time’ as we jokingly call it. I did however become more mindful this week of the time. I did my best to make sure I was on time(ish) and be less anxious around my time restraints.

My Threefold: This one is a big source of stress right now. It seems like with three kids one is always out of whack. I just wish they could all be good simultaneously! I’ve been struggling with the youngest (#3). This week it all blew up on Monday. After a ‘I hate you’ and some other choice words from #3, I could’ve totally gone ballistic. I could’ve let my whole week go straight to shit, but I mommed that situation so well. {In my not so humble opinion} I’ve held to my disciplinary actions and stayed consistent with reward and punishment. By Wednesday, I started seeing the improvements I needed to in her. Today, we are on a four day good behavior streak. That’s something we haven’t seen around here in a while!

Work: I’m a workaholic. That’s not something I say lightly. I know, it’s not always a beneficial habit to feel compelled to work in order to feel accomplished and reduce my anxiety surrounding my need to feel like I’m a beneficial part of a team. It definitely spills over into my home life.

At work, I’m an overachiever. I feel like I have to be the best. Seeing my name at #2 in sales makes me cringe. Not being on the top 10 nationwide makes me feel like I’m not doing it right. Bad reviews, I take them personally and careless mistakes will make me mad for days. Yep, I’m a one-upper Olivia at work. In the words of Ricky Bobby ‘if ya ain’t first, your last.’ Monday is M-day. It’s my day off every week. There are many weeks I find myself smack dab behind my desk catching up on my work. Not this week though. I took off, for real. No emails, no business calls, and only a couple texts to answer the questions from my coworkers about pressing issues. The rest of the week I did my thing. At night I turned it off, as much as I was itching to open my emails, I resisted. It’s difficult for me, but I see that I’m less stressed and anxious about work at home if I’m not working.

My relationship: Well I love ‘E’ and I’m explicit about that fact. It’s not always easy and I’m definitely a handful. I overthink and can be quite the sensitive sally at times. I can go from a good time to an emotional mess in less time it takes to cook cheese sticks in an air fryer. {I do love my air fryer!} Sometimes I need to fact check my thoughts, because I’m quick to assume and not as quick to ask for clarification. No fighting this week or silly arguments that I blow out of proportion. I was needing a no argument week. Most of those arguments start because I assume and let my head overwhelm me with untrue assumptions.

Money: Not fixed, but I did file my taxes! So here’s to expecting refund and praying the IRS isn’t backlogged. I’m hoping I got in on the first round before everyone and their momma starts their filing. Praying for no whammies and big money!

The impending trial for the finalization of all the terms my ex and I haven’t agreed up {which is everything} is less than a few weeks away. I’m anxious, but it’s not because I think I’ll lose. I’m anxious to have to speak the truth in open court. I have to do all of this crap I don’t feel like I should. I get less than $75 per month per child in child support. Do the math! I have them all but 4 days per month. I carry their insurance and his. Then he goes and buys this $30k Harley!!! I was pissed! I am over her scrapping and going on a thrift shop treasure hunt to find halfway decent hand me downs for growing kids. He is over there blowing every dollar he has. I was livid.

I realized, besides court delays from Covid, his intentional dragging out the process has been to spite me. He wants me to fail. He wants me to be miserable. It’s the only hand he has left to play. The deck is stacked in my favor. That is what pisses him off. Yet, I let his manipulative behavior and his downright rude attitude to do exactly what he wants. I try not to show it, and definitely not with my threefold, but with others when I speak of it, you can hear the downright contempt in my voice.

This week I told him some hard truths. I was matter of fact and it made me feel better. I spoke to my lawyer and formulated a plan. I spoke with others I needed to in the process and handled my side of things. I still have a bit to do, but all in all, I feel better knowing that I’m in control over my reaction and he can’t have the satisfaction of my failure or misery.

Now, I keep going. Setting goals and intentions. I keep noticing my feelings and what is causing them. I keep working to do better, everyday. It’s not ever going to be perfect. There will always be ups and downs in life. When I’m in that down pattern it’s important that I recognize why so I can fix it before it becomes more. Staying positive! We’ve got this! ☮️❤️😊~M

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Funked Up

How many times have I said I don’t have the time? I don’t have time for myself, I don’t have time to clean, I don’t have time…fill in the blank. I put the PRO in procrastination, because I’m a damn professional when it comes to putting it off until the last minute. I have always been this way. I don’t know why either. I know I have anxiety. I know it’s going to increase that anxiety threefold and make me irritable. Why do I do that to myself? How the hell do I fix it?

I’ve been in a funk all week. I’ve been as busy as gets at work. I’m drained of all niceties by the time I get home at 6:30pm. My ‘me time’ for meditation has doubled this week in response, yet within minutes I’m back to square one with my attitude. Funky and foul. I go into the day with good intentions and bam something happens {a mild inconvenience or an assumed backhand comment} I’m immediately spiraling into negativity and irritation. What gives? I’m taking my meds. The kids are healthy and stabile {for the most part} The bills are paid. The sex life is stellar. I’m doing my positivity push. I’m just not sure.

What the hell is wrong? Why am I ready to throw down and so on edge? I’ve been just a mess of up and down all week. THAT is pissing me off as much as anything else. I can’t even seem to find my focus. I sat down and did a spreadsheet today, but I hated every mindless second. I went and began a paragraph of three different blog posts, yet a week later and nothing has been published. I haven’t even been on social media {other than the family group chat with the kids and my make you gag conversations with ‘E’} I’ve barely cleaned and I haven’t cooked. I started an interesting book I haven’t finished. I even started my own first chapter and stopped. I am at a standstill with my personal life as my professional life continues to go at full speed.

I’m burning myself out at work. I love my job, but the list of to do’s grows longer each day. I’m beginning to beg to lock myself away there just to catch up. I find myself calling customers on lunch and responding to emails at night. I even talk about work at home as ‘E’ and I work at the same company. He left town this week {short trip} and came home to an empty house for the first time without the normal enthusiastic greeting of #2 who usually tracks his every move. I have an assignment for therapy I haven’t touched. I feel so unaccomplished in my personal life. Our real talk roundtable {family dinner} dwindled down to two nights this week. I’m just not myself. Where am I?

I’m not depressed or manic. I’m just blah. Maybe it’s the season? Maybe it’s the looming court date that I feel unprepared for? Maybe it’s the increased arguments at home? Maybe it’s the feeling like I am struggling too much financially to work as hard as I do? Maybe it’s my feelings that all that work is still not enough? Maybe it’s PMDD {hormones blow}

I know you make time for priorities. I know I have time. I know I’m going to be responsible for fixing whatever it is that’s bugging me. It’s not going to just disappear. I wish I liked peanuts, I’d almost be willing to try a snickers! Something has to give and I have to figure it out! I am impatient and I want to fix it NOW! It’s time to conjure a funk-free formula! Help a girl out y’all! How do you defunkify your energy? When you start the funk free fall when all else has failed? Trying to…Be Positive! We’ve got this! ☮️❤️😊~M

Leave your tips in the comments! I would appreciate the assist! I need your best defunking devices and actionable advice! ❤️