Showing posts with label Mental Health. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Mental Health. Show all posts

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

My loved one hates me. Should I worry?

My life became healthier after I stopped stressing over certain people

You've tried everything to make aunt Nancy like you, but it just seems she likes your sister (and everyone else) better.  Here's some reasons why.

  1. You remind them of someone.  If you remind "aunt Nancy" of your mother, her elder sister that she simply just can't stand, she'll likely save some of that hate for you. 

  1. You are more successful than they are. How dare you run your own business successfully.

  1. You are more successful than their offspring.  You were not supposed to turn out better than 'ole cousin Jessie.

  1. They cannot control you.  They are used to controlling everything and everyone they come in contact with, but somehow with you, they are unable to do this. You're too savvy for all that.

  1. They are intimidated by your education.  You have a graduate degree and they barely finished high school, so of course they hate to hear you talk about your college experiences or  share any knowledge gained.

  1. They are intimidated by your beauty or confidence.  They could definitely be in a place where their self-esteem is waning. You walking in looking strong, successful, and confident can be quite unnerving. 

  1. They want your attention. Them being mean to you is the only way you pay them some attention, so like a child they "act out" to get you to notice them. Negative attention is better to them than none at all.

  1. They are jealous of your relationship with someone they love/revere.  If Aunt Nancy feels her relationship with someone like her mother is being jeopardized by your meer presence, you could definitely see some push-back.  If you live out of town, and most of the family's attention shifts to you and your children when you visit, this might be a problem for an aunt that craves attention.  If you are willing to make a compromise, you can always include your aunt in conversations so that she won't feel left out.

  1. You actually did something to offend them.  In this case, talking with them would be most beneficial.  I happened to ask my family member and their reason was that I cut them off a couple years ago when we were talking.  We worked through the issue- but sometimes this is not really the reason why they find issue with you. They find a way to gripe at just about anything you do.  This may be due to there being an underlying reason behind their anger, which brings me to the last point.   People like this…
  2.  … Just can't be any better.  You've tried everything you could to smooth things over with them to no avail. They have personal issues and this is who they are going to be. 

So what can you do?
Well, first reach out to them to find out what exactly may be bothering them.  If they come right out with something specific, you know #9 applies.  Work to solve the issue, unless it requires you to do something or be someone totally out of your character.  You should never have to be completely silence yourself when you are around her or the family simply so that she can feel at ease.   But if they tell you something that you admittedly should apologize for, do so.  It may just be that simple.  Be cognizant of the fact she will be watching for any further infractions, so try not to make another mistake in that arena. 
If you remind them of someone, there is nothing you can do about that but to show that you are in fact a different person. I tried not to make aunt Nancy feel as if both I and my mom were ganging up on her.  If she had a disagreement with my mom, I made sure I refrained from offering my opinion, and only informed them that I supported both of them reconciling soon.  This may take a while to overcome, but is worth it if peace is something you're striving for.  If they are intimidated by your education, confidence or success, you should simply remind them that you are indeed the same person you were as a child. 
Offer to do something with them that you two enjoyed when relations were better; a card game, a movie, or open conversation about the latest reality show.  You can't change their insecurity- as this is an issue they have to tackle personally, but you can ease some of the symptoms.  This also gives them the attention they might be craving from you, just in case they are feeling a bit neglected by you lately.

It's imperative that you not allow your thoughts of this negativity to consume you. Making sure you’ve taken the steps to improve relations are integral to being able to move forward and distance yourself.  You've listened and implemented methods to acknowledge their complaints; you've tried your best, but it takes both parties compromising for a relationship to work. If the other party isn't willing to do their part, your next step is to allow them the space they need to re-evaluate the importance of your relationship.  At this point, know that you did your best and strive to retain your joy without the acknowledgement of this person.  Their opinion of you should not hold much weight anymore.  Be courteous but remove yourself from toxic people and environments.  This means keeping your distance from them, and not putting yourself in situations where they have the power to upset you. Don't go up to them repeatedly with desperate attempts to reconcile,; which may actually have a negative effect. Keeping your distance may remind your and Nancy how valuable your love and interactions are to her.  They could come around in time because they love you.  If not, then start focusing on those things that bring you joy instead.  Relationships help us improve our lives; healthy ones, that is.  Prioritizing unhealthy relationships can often hamper health and well-being.  The emotional pain it causes can manifest itself physcially - via conditions like high blood pressure and depression - and lay claim to your life as a result.  As a parent of a little one, you are needed to live a life of health and vitality to help suport your child's growth.  Use those beautiful smiling faces as your motivation to hierarchize your health.   

Until Later….be well.  

Friday, February 10, 2017

How to Combat lingering pregnancy brain fog

If it persists, you may have to take action

So my sister Is going through some postpartum forgetfulness, and it reminds me all too well of my own 2 year bout with it.  It's hard to prepare for your new baby when you can't remember the tips you've been read or been told.  The worst part of having what's dubbed as "pregnancy brain" is that you are mostly cognizant of the fact you've forgotten…What was the name again of that movie we saw two weeks ago?  Ugh.  I loathed it.  
What is this brain fog?  If you're pregnant, you already know.  A general dreadful feeling of trouble concentrating and/or remembering.  A sense of having a "twisted tongue" at times during speech.  You can even experience light-headedness, headache and irritability.   Not good if you're trying to get back to work or school.  The medical world has attributed it to your ever-changing hormones during pregnancy. 

After speaking with my doctor and my family, they all recommended that I wait it out.  "Oh, after you have the baby, your memory will return.  Don't worry about that."  Then 6 months later, my doctor said that it could last up to 18 months.  By 18 months I was sick of dealing with it.  Although I saw some improvement, It was not enough to feel good about.  I had recently started taking omega 3 supplements for my skin and cardiovascular health, but noticed that after taking them for a while, I slept better and also could concentrate and remember more.  I then started challenges to find out what else could help me. After a few months I felt so much better, I started reminding my husband of things he'd forgotten to do (much to his chagrin 😉). Here are some things you can do to diminish the brain fog symptoms and avoid dealing with it for as long as I did.

  • Lower your refined sugar intake.  That means you're going to have to fight your daily donut cravings.  Replace the refined sugar with healthier carbs like fruits and sweet potatoes.  I never even tried to lower my refined sugar, so of course I had issues. The refined sugar helps increase inflammation in your body, which exacerbates your brain fog and increases your chances of developing other diseases. 

  • Increase your healthy proteins.  I ate a lot of chicken already, but it was fried, battered and fried again.  The unhealthy oils used to fry the meat negated the good benefits the protein in the chicken had.  Instead, try to bake, or use olive oil with your meats

  • The Olive oil is a source of omega 3s.  This, along with certain fish like salmon and tuna, is considered to be "brain food" 

  • Increase your antioxidants.  Foods like pecans, cranberries and even green tea contain the antioxidants needed to help reduce inflammation in your body.  Dark chocolate also has the antioxidants, but you should look for unsweetened dark chocolate so the affect won't be countered with that unrefined sugar.

  • Herbal remedies. If you are no longer breastfeeding and you are partial to taking herbs, ginkgo biloba and gotu kola  

  • Exercise.  Also something I wasn't doing too much of. I know it can be quite difficult to keep up with as a new mom, but at least 15-30 minutes a day could bring about results for you.  Put your baby in their swing or play pen and start sweating. I like Jane Austin's 10 minute workout for quick and easy morning and afternoon stimulation.

 It is critical to consult your doctor first before starting exercise or taking supplements to ensure it fits with your medical plan after giving birth.  The goal is to be in good health for both you and your baby.  They're going to need you for years to come.

This is not an exhaustive list of reducing brain fog, but simply what has worked for me.  If you have had good experiences with other healthy options in reducing brain fog, feel free to share below.

Until Later…

Saturday, February 4, 2017

Situational Depression: Managing it with a Toddler

They say you should end your year with a bang.  My year ended with a bang so loud, my ears were still ringing months later.  December began with my toddler son and I being injured in a car accident, where my fight with the at-fault driver's insurance  commenced.  My thoughts were to focus upon getting the injuries my son and I had sustained healed so that I could promptly return to work.  The day I returned to work, my aunt died; with whom I was close to.  I was granted a few days of bereavement time from work so that I could travel down south and help handle her affairs and say goodbye.  I was now not only in physical pain from my accident, my heart bled with emotional pain as well.   

Then, in the least sensitive way possible, I was fired from my job.  Still at my aunts in another state, I happened to check my messages on the second day of my bereavement, and saw that the HR rep had called me 3x and emailed me as well since the day before, asking me to respond back to her ASAP.  I figured it wouldn't be good news, but I took the time from being with my family to call.  "You have taken 3 days off for your accident, and then now this.  It seems you are just looking for ways to be off work." I felt something snap inside me: who LOOKS to be injured in an auto accident and then LOOKS for a loved one to die???

 I realized that I wouldn't want to work for such an insensitive employer anyway, but the damage had been done and the heartless company that boasts during their hiring process about its work-life balance opportunities had seemingly won. When we returned home, I barely could get out of bed, let alone live up to my reputation as what my son calls 'supee mom'.  There was nothing super about me anymore, I thoughtThere I was; absent from my mom duties as I succumbed to the painIt reminds me of the cough syrup commercials where the parents are "calling in" sick to their little ones.  TV Commercial Spot - Cold & Flu Relief - Moms Don't Take Sick Days . How do you take days off from being mom?? 

Your little one doesn't understand why you can't play "tea party", or "dinosaurs eating racecars" with them.  But this illness is not so superficial that it can always be controlled or ignored.  Most times depression becomes your puppet master, effectively pulling your strings no matter how hard you fight against it. 
I knew I couldn't afford to be in this emotional predicament for too long.  I thought to myself that my son being too young to fully grasp the gravity of what I was dealing with could possibly work in my favor - maybe.   It was time to make a plan.  I was going to be steadfast in my resolve to not let this keep me down for too long.  It wasn't something that happened over night, but I saw steady progress working my plan until I felt more like myself again. I want to share with you a few of those steps I took to regain control:

  1. Faith Renewal
    1. Christians often talk of this, so it seems cliché, but it really can be an important step in in your healing.  My faith in God had waivered, so establishing that foundation of sowing my seed of faith helped me understand that things may happen that are not to our liking- but that they may occur to build our character, or to help someone else seeing what you went through.  Re-committing my faith also restored my hope that joy would come "in the morning".   You don't have to be deeply religious to achieve this, just committed.
  2. Meditation
    1. Once my hope emerged, I meditated for clarity and serenity.  I wanted to interact with my son as I had done prior to the incidents, but the thought of possibly snapping at him out of pain scared me.  I took time daily to clear my mind from my frustrations and to just think about things that put me at peace: Being at a beach or shore; laying at the water's edge or floating peacefully out on the water itself, clearing my mind of worries and just focusing upon the peace I had in that moment. Since I couldn't head to a beach or lake, I decided to imagine my being there during my meditation.  To avoid interruptions, I found the best time to do this was when my son was sleep.
b. Not only can this restore peace, this was also when I realized that I was never really depressed about my job- for anyone can get another job.  Was I sad about it? Yeah, but hell, I was interviewing again within a couple weeks.  No, my primary source of pain was the loss of my aunt, for no one could replace her. The other incidents were merely supporting actors- highly effective in supporting the role of the antagonist, but not important enough for me to sob over its effects in the future. With now knowing the source of your depression, you don't have to waste time focusing on something that isn't really as important as initially thought.  If you don't have situational depression, forget discovering the source, and instead try to focus on simple things that give you joy:  snowflakes, sun rays, etc. Meditate on these things.  I felt motivated after meditating, so I practiced it often, making effort to achieve that feeling I'd had while out by the water each session. 
  1. Professional Help
    1. Don't do this alone!  Forget stigmas if you find you can't shake your symptoms. If you are struggling with the judgment you might receive from others, only tell those you trust!  A pro can help you pinpoint your feelings, find the closure you need, help you establish a direction, and/or provide you with medication (or herbal remedies) to help you with the symptoms. 

  1. Be patient and tailor your recovery plan to you!
    1. You won't be "cured" after a couple rounds of meditation if you are depressed. But I made it a point to focus on my son with whatever pockets of positive energy I acheived from meditation, counseling and/or my faith.  I did this so that he didn't feel that my love for him had changed.  Everyone is different and only you know what your children need from you.  While some need your conversation, my son needed my presence and my touch.  So I customized my plan to incorporate my son's needs. On those bad days for me, I pulled from our movie collection and spent time indoors with him watching them- he was happy because he could snuggle up with his mom and watch Disney.  I meanwhile was able to lie around when my body refused to move, but yet finding comfort in his happiness. 
    2. I wanted to take my son out to the park or football games again, so I began setting goals, despite my unreadiness to fully immerse myself in a large body of people just yet. Still, take a little time to do a few things you used to do regularly: shopping (even if you start out with just groceries), dining out, theatre arts, movie theatres, sporting events, races, etc.  Start slow: you may not be able to stay long or go often, but it's part of the process of establishing normalcy.  When you feel strong enough to get out there, do it!  Incorporate your toddler for those short outings.  The last thing you need is to be dealing with the big personality and strong will of a toddler out in public where you're stuck for hours. Taking him to my grocer to pick up a couple of things worked just fine. By the time he got comfortable enough to start changing his behavior, we were leaving the store. I soon found that it became gradually easier to spend more time doing what I used to do.  I soon took him to the park, and found that being there for about 80 minutes was great for both of us- until it was time to leave.   (TIP: don't forget to take snacks to help coax your child away from the slide/swings and into the car).

  1. Secure your mask first before securing your child's
    1. I always cringe when I hear the flight attendants saying that before flight take-off. It seems counter-intuitive for loving parents to put themselves in front of their child.  But focusing upon improving your health should come first if you hope to relieve yourself of the burden anytime soon.  Get yourself better first, then you can fully focus upon strengthening your relationship with your children.  Asking my parents and my cousins to watch my son worked for myself and my son - I had the time to deal with an episode, and my son got the attention he needed from a loving family environment. 

I'm not going to lie, you may find it difficult to begin and work your plan, but it gets better with time, and working with a professional and/or putting your faith in God helps lighten those burdens you carry.