Things I have learned on vacation…

Things I have learned on vacation…

Hoping everyone want to do the same things at the same time sets us up for disappointment

Instead,

  • engage everyone in a conversation about what they would like to do and how important it is for them to do so with others.
  • Be an example of letting others know what you plan to do and inviting them to join.
  • Have a conversation about how we must each choose what we want to do and that others may not want to join in and we can not change other people
  • Repeat this message every day to yourself and to everyone

Allowing our children to be who they are is a booster of self confidence and stopping them from being who they are, sends the message that they are not ok

  • If your 17 year old just wants to stay in the room, don’t fight it
  • If your 10 year old wants everyone to do the activity together, help them to let others know this and listen to what they have to say
  • If your child wants to push the elevator doors open, allow this, it hurts no one
  • If your child talks loud in the elevator, let them
  • If your child wants to pile up rafts in the lazy river, join in the fun

I can build a sandman structure and a sand angel all by myself and have a sense of accomplishment

Joining in my child’s sand building adventure and following their lead/ instructions is a lot more fun for all than telling them what to do/how to build

Listening to my child describe their building plans on the beach is more important then giving them suggestions on how to build a sandcastle

Listening to my child’s requests for what they want to do and doing what they want is a very powerful tool in engaging cooperation, building confidence and connection. It is something that may not seam obvious at the time until we shut them down by telling them “lets do it this way” or worse, ignore their requests.

Not everyone loves the ocean and the sand as much as I do.

My children’s interests in the beach may change as they get older and I need to allow them to be who they are.

Determining what is a change in their interest and what is an irrational fear that strengths the power of OCD is the MOST difficult thing to do!

Sugar causes meltdowns and flare up of any condition your child might have

Sugar in moderation and along with protein can be a good compromise

For children with anxiety, change in environment, even being at the beach with beautiful weather, is stressful and can cause an OCD flare up. (You think I would have remembered that one by now after going through this with child number 2)

For children with anxiety, disruption in plans and a disruption in their expectation of how things will go, can cause a flare up of anxiety/ a flare up of OCD that brings a scratching halt to fun

Accepting where we are in our journey and accepting the circumstances we are in, is far more powerful than trying to change it or wishing it wasn’t so

Reminiscing with your child on how much fun they had the last time at the beach or when they were younger, does not help them to have fun this time

Showing my children memories from our beach trip 9 years ago does not help them have more fun today.

Getting lost in how much fun we had 5 years ago or 9 years ago, takes me out of the present moment and sets myself up for disappointment

The sunrise and sunset at the ocean is one of the most beautiful sights and can not be fully captured with a camera

Talking a walk on the beach without headphones, helps me go within and allows for connection with other people

Random short conversations with strangers can be inspiring, bring joy and help me feel more connected to myself and to my life

Walks on the beach with my favorite music is the BEST form of exercise ever!!!

Dancing on the beach and singing (or lip syncing) along to the music heard through my ear buds is energizing, and so much fun! It’s better than dancing at a nightclub.

Getting up early to have time to myself, to write, watch the sunrise, walk out the beach, sit in the silence, is the best way to start my day

Five nights at the beach is the right number of days/ nights

When at the beach for 5 nights, I don’t have to try to cram all the fun in as quickly as I can… and it took me until day 3 or 4 to realize that

Going on vacation is an art that must be learned from experience and approached with patience and calm or it can turn into a nightmare

Looking forward to going home after an enjoyable vacation is a really good feeling.

Life Comes in Waves: Are you sinking or surfing?

If you scroll through my blog posts by date, you can get a glimpse into the ebb and flow of how I experience Bipolar II Disorder. Merely looking at the months with no posts reminds me of my darkest days. I am sure if I looked deeper, that I would see how the quantity of posts each month are directly correlated to my shift in mood.

My waves are not rhythmical in the sense that there is not a pattern of duration or time of year. Sometimes there is a storm and the waves come in quick and fast and other times the seas are calm with gently rolling peeks.

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I experience depression as a gradual decline that can last one month or half a year. My swings upward that can go into hypomania tend to have a shorter duration than the low points yet also have a varying duration of time.

As I write this, I am listening to my Morning Writing Time playlist and Fight Song by Rachel Platten plays. In case haven’t read any of my other blogs, I have a spiritual connection with music and songs that show up in my life are more than timely.

Like a small boat
On the ocean
Sending big waves
Into motion
Like how a single word
Can make a heart open
I might only have one match
But I can make an explosion

This is my fight song
Take back my life song
Prove I’m alright song
My power’s turned on
Starting right now I’ll be strong (I’ll be strong)
I’ll play my fight song
And I don’t really care if nobody else believes
‘Cause I’ve still got a lot of fight left in meRachel Platten, Fight Song

My youngest child was online for her OCD therapy session yesterday and she asked if she had ever been on a roller coaster, looking for a metaphor as a method for engaging in ERP therapy. I thought about her experience in a wave pool and how it pulled her under but she came back up. And from that, we found an analogy for her to use.

With ERP, Exposure Response Prevention therapy you sit with the uncomfortable feeling rather than engaging in the compulsion in order to retrain you brain to realize nothing terrible will happen despite the obsessive thought that it is a life or death situation. Having a method for riding out the anxiety with a change in thought pattern rather than a compulsive action or aversion response is the key to overcoming OCD. Her therapist suggested she picture the rope in the wave pool that you can hold on to in order to ride out the waves. Holding on to the rope knowing the rope will keep her from going under and that the waves will eventually cease or diminish.

I have used this same analogy of water when I speak about the depression I experience. It can feel like waves crashing and pulling you under. I bob up from the water long enough to catch my breath yet I am pulled under once again. Sometimes I can even hold onto a life raft for a while yet I still feel stranded in the middle of the ocean. At times, I can see the shore and can swim close to it but not quite reach it and other times land is no where in sight.

I wash up on shore often by chance or because I was able to swim in that direction and can stand up and dance on the beach. I enjoy the beach and soak in the sun and enjoy the splashing of water on my feet. I step into the ocean to feel the waves crash against me enjoying the thrill and then walk back to shore and off the beach to explore the boardwalk.

I can return to the beach and enjoy the water and splash in the waves but I never know when a wave will pull me under and how long I will struggle against the current and if I will be able to swim back to shore or slowly wash up on the beach again.

I am at the point in my journey with overcoming and managing this condition that exists within my body, where I am able to step back and see the process and how it has manifested in my life. I choose to not call myself, bipolar, because I am not my disorder and neither are you! The other aspect I am working on is not stating, “I suffer with bipolar II disorder”. Declaring to the universe that “I suffer” only created more suffering.

Riding the waves is part of life for all of us and is exaggerated with depression and bipolar disorder as well as many other conditions.

I close out this year with the intention to embrace the ebb and flow of life. I choose to pay attention when I am surfing on top of a powerful wave so that I do not ride so far out into the ocean that I lose sight of the shore. I will remind myself when I feel the water pulling me under to turn over and float on my back and not resist the current because that will only bring me further under.

My wish for everyone is to find their own balance between sinking and surfing and to be an example for your children.

Communication: New Year’s Resolution

My husband and I have a business together, Focused Healthy Family. We empower parents to be the best versions of themselves to best help their children grow. Our philosophy centers around: Consciousness, Collaboration and Respect. 

Communication is the key to any relationship and as parents we often see first hand how our responses affect our children’s behavior. Our workshops on communication are one aspect of our program.

We facilitate Parent Communication Workshops based on the book: How to Talk So Kids Will Listen, and Listen So Kids Will Talk.

I love this book because it takes positive, mindful parenting philosophy and gives you concrete skills you can learn and practice in a simple one step format. The workshop is designed for 6 weeks with 2 hour sessions. We have recently converted it to 1 hour sessions, twice a week for 6 weeks. We had parents who said taking 2 hours was difficult to do either due to caring for kids, having only one parent in the house or just busy life.

The book has 7 chapters and the first six are the six areas addressed. They include:

  • Helping Children Deal with Their feelings
  • Engaging Cooperation
  • Alternatives to Punishment
  • Encouraging Autonomy
  • Praise
  • Freeing Children from Playing Roles (labels)

The great thing about this workshop and the information learned is that these skills apply to communication with all relationships from our friends, parents, co-workers and everyone!

I was recently talking to an adult family member and really thought about what I was saying, making a concerted effort to really listen and acknowledge their feelings. Afterwards, I realized that because I was able to do this, this person was able to really open up to me and likely shared things they might not otherwise have said. It helped me understand them better and the issue and I would like to think it helped them to process some things they might not have been overtly thinking about. 

What better way to start the new year than by improving your communication skills.

Join us for our upcoming workshop

  • Starting Jan 11 @ 12 pm EST
  • Tuesdays and Thursdays
  • 6 week interactive workshop
  • Live on zoom

www.focusedhealthyfamily.com/workshops

Parenting Ourselves

Child-led learning means more than how we educate our children. I feel my own journey of growth and development has been led by my children who are now 24, 19 and 12. I look at those numbers and it baffles me that I have two adult children!

I envisioned a website years ago as I was first writing on parenting and homeschooling. The tile involved my son’s love of road signs,

“Mommy, Daddy, STOP: Parenting our children, our parents and ourselves”

I have reached the stage in my life where I have elderly parents and at the same time have two dependent children, ages 12 and 19. Both children have anxiety disorders. In addition, I work in adult and geriatric rehabilitation as an Occupational Therapist and my husband has heart disease. What does all that mean? It is recipe for quick caregiver burnout.

As an unschooling parent, I see learning and parenting as one in the same. In the early years of our homeschool journey, I defined time spent on typical school subjects as “Academic Time”. Even before I identified as an Unschooler, I saw learning as part of our life and had no desire to recreate school at home and did not call time spent facilitating my children’s education as “school”. No judgments here, everyone does what works for them. I share and describe my experience both for my own benefit as well as to offer thoughts and ideas for others on their journey as parents.

Today I would like to speak to the caregiving aspect of parenting. And when I speak about caregiving, it is all encompassing for me as I mentioned above.

My immediate family has mental health challenges. I have two children who have suffered with severe Obsessive Compulsive Disorder along with generalized anxiety and I have Bipolar 2 disorder which involves swings from hypomania to significant depression. As an adult with mental illness, I need to be my own self caregiver. All of us need to be in charge of our health and especially our mental health. The time spent on your own mental health is magnified with depression and other disorders. Juggling my own issues along with finding help for my children has created compounding challenges in my life. I have always had the desire to get help for my children yet when depression grabs hold of me, finding the energy to seek our care for my children has slowed the process of getting the help for them. I aim to forgive myself for mistakes and remind myself that I am doing the best that I can in each moment. Yet, during those times when I wanted to get them help but failed to follow through on phone calls and researching options, my inability to follow through only added to my depression.

“Put your own oxygen mask on before you help the person next to you.”

Based on what I have written above, you might think that I put all others first and have spent little time on myself. Yet, I have taken much time for self care over the years, yet depression still grabs hold of me. When I have been most depressed, I still get up and even go to work in the nursing home and make sure my children get fed and I shower. Somewhere there is this idea that significant depression looks like not showering or staying in bed all day. For some, this is surely the case. Does this mean my depression has not been severe? I write that and realize there is no reason to compare my depression to that of others. For me, it was the media portrayal of depression and this idea of doing nothing that kept me from recognizing the severity of my own depression. I think I first realized it after I came crashing down after a long hypomanic period. A good friend helped me to see it as well and had a talk with me suggesting I get help. That was 7 years ago.

Over the years even before that moment, I have taken time for myself including much time spent working with an EFT practitioner and being part of a group for self empowerment, healing and “taming my ego”, the part of us that keeps us from moving forward in our life, our inner critic. I have journaled and had weekly nights out of the house for time to myself. I have read numerous self help books. I learned Reike and completed level 1 and level 2 trainings along with a group of wonderful homeschooling moms. We got together and had “Reike Play Days” where our kids hung out and we practiced our Reike skills, helping each other.

Despite all of this, I have struggled with depression. I have taken many herbals, supplements and homeopathic remedies along with changing my diet. All these things have certainly helped me. Maybe the reason I did not sink to the level of not getting out of bed for days, is because of all the things I have done to help myself.

I worked with a nutritional specialist, her actual title evades me right now. Yet, it wasn’t enough for me and so I went to a psychiatrist with the realization that maybe I needed to take medication to help move me forward. The first medication I took led me to hypomania bordering on mania and I soon realized I had many of the side effects of the medication including a racing heart beat. I went off that medication at the recommendation of the psychiatrist and was also taking another medicine which I found in a more natural form. I almost forgot about that medicine and I cannot recall the name.

I was good for a few months….

Depression creeps up on me which makes it harder for me to see. My energy level slowly drops, causing me to stop things like journaling and exercising and my desire to do anything slowly lessons. It takes a few months before I find myself at the low point wondering how I did not realize this was happening or thinking that my low point was past me, only to sink further.

I found a new psychiatrist and tried a new antidepressant, an SSRI. I suggested to the doctor that I try prozac because it was working for my daughter’s OCD and so maybe that would be a better genetic fit for me. Again, it helped for a while and then I rose to hypermedia, bordering on mania, only to come crashing down again. I had discussions with my brother over the years because he too had similar experiences. I remember him telling me he didn’t like how the antidepressants affected him and was choosing to ride out his ups and downs. I liked this idea, yet it wasn’t working for me. My family was suffering because of my depression and I was struggling to get my kids the help they needed because of my struggles.

My brother started taking mood stabilizer and he shared this with me. I was reluctant for a while at the idea of that. I like my up periods, my hypermedia helped me accomplish so much. Hyper-mania is not full blown mania. You are super productive and have a lot of energy. I accomplished so many things in my times of hyper-mania. I did not want to eliminate my ups and downs but I certainly wanted to minimize my low periods.

I didn’t really like the psychiatrist I was seeing and so I found a new one. With the help of this psychiatrist, I decided to start on a mood stabilizer and she agreed that because it worked for my brother, it might be a good fit for me. It is also one that has minimal side effects compared to other mood stabilizers. Several other medications can cause weight gain which was something I did not want as I already struggled some with my weight. Like my emotional ups and downs, my weight would fluctuate with me. This was another reason that I enjoyed my hypomanic times, I lost weight and so felt better physically! Who wouldn’t like that?

It took many months of adjusting the dose to find the right fit for me and I remained on a low dose of prozac as well. At one point, I felt like I might be going into hypomania again and so I stopped the prozac. My psychiatrist was on maternity leave at this time and so I was messaging one of her colleagues. It turned out that wasn’t the best idea.

I have now been on 150 mg of lamotrigine (Lamictal) and 10 mg of fluoxetine (Prozac) for almost two years.

I share my medications as a part of sharing my journey. I am in no way endorsing any medications nor making any recommendations for medication. Please speak with your health care professionals.

I have been on a journey of natural health and healing for my mind and body. I was cleaning my diet and reducing additives and chemicals. For this reason, I was very reluctant to begin any medication. I know medications can have side effects and long term consequences. I turned to medication for my daughter’s OCD only after trying many different alternative treatments.

Sometimes, western medicine is necessary.

I learned this message first hand when my husband suffered a nearly fatal heart attack.

I sit here today, looking back on my journey and honoring the process. I still have swings of mood and energy which for me last several months, yet I feel that I am far more functional even in my low periods. My current psychiatrist, my third one I tried, draws on her white board when I go in to see her making waves and talks about reducing the amplitude of the waves. She also stated that most people on a mood stabilizer find them selves just below the midline point. We talked about how just above midline is wonderful and we all would like to stay there yet the reality is the higher you ascend, the lower you fall.

Looking over the past two years, I can see that I have been able to have periods above the midline, what some might call hypomania or for me, feeling like the real me. And as of this point, December 2021, I feel better and more functional than I have in years. I first saw this in March of 2020 when I went to the beach by myself, a second time experience for me. I was energized by that trip and started using Noom and lost weight and overall was doing well until about mid to late summer.

For me, my ups and downs do not correspond with the time of year but typically are 3-4 month periods of time. I was frustrated at my low period and yet felt I was doing much better than any prior low periods. I am currently feeling and doing great having more energy and following through on things. I worry whenever I am in this more functional place that I will slip into hypomania and have trouble differentiating functional well from hypomania.

Is there a difference?

I am aware now of this issue. I am tuned in to my emotions and my mental health on a much deeper level now more than I have ever been. I recognize that I can not plow forward sleeping only 6 hours a night and continue to function at that level. I also feel more level in that I don’t find myself in that pattern. I have a few days of super energy and productivity and then have a day where I need to lay low and rest.

I am trying to describe my experience in a way that you, the reader, can see this clearly. I am sure I am over explaining and realize that only I can truly understand my own experience. We can never expect others to fully understand our own experience because it is uniquely ours.

May you find your own path on your journey. As always, if my experience helps even one other person, publishing my writing serves my purpose.

Gratitude: Our children learn most by our example

I first began my gratitude journal, which I called my “Yea Gina Journal”, in order to solidify positive things that had happened in my day. I started this journey because I found myself ruminating at the end of the day over all the things that had gone wrong and that I wish I had done differently. 

Now I often write in my journal at the start of my day in order to proclaim affirmations and the direction I would like for my day to go.

The Superheroes in My Life

Did you ever know that you’re my hero,
and everything I would like to be?
I can fly higher than an eagle,
’cause you are the wind beneath my wings.

It might have appeared to go unnoticed,
but I’ve got it all here in my heart.
I want you to know I know the truth, of course I know it.
I would be nothing without you.

Did you ever know that you’re my hero?
You’re everything I wish I could be.
I could fly higher than an eagle,
’cause you are the wind beneath my wings

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wind_Beneath_My_Wings

The sweet face my youngest child stares up to me with trust and admiration when I unlock my new MacBook Air. I found this photo of her from almost 12 years ago when my son helped me set up my lap top last night. Looking at her face this morning brought tears to my eyes.

“Have I failed you?” I wondered.

You put all your trust in me coming into my life 12 years ago. Have I served you well? Have I facilitated what you need to be who you truly are?

We hope that we give our children what they need. Our children, who are not really ours, but the children who have come into our lives, the souls who have chosen to walk alongside of us.

I found this picture of my children from 2009 when they were so young. My youngest not even a year old, with siblings 7 and 11 years older than her. I love reminiscing with family pictures from the past. I suppose all pictures are in fact, from the past… Reminiscing about what our life was like and how it has changed and evolved over the years. When our life was in a state of total chaos with anxiety taking us to the edge of a cliff, I used to look at sweet pictures of my older kids and wonder, “What happened? Where did this family go?”

Sure my children fought when they were younger, like siblings do. Yet, we had a closeness, connection and a full life busy with activities and time for creativity and exploration. When my middle child fell ill to a crippling anxiety disorder and our life was turned upside down, I felt as if our past was lost forever. I wished I could go back and change things so we could prevent her illness, prevent it from becoming so severe, meet it early on to affect it so it didn’t affect her so negatively, robbing her of her childhood. At the age of 18, she has very little memories of her childhood, before the onset of her illness and definitely after…it is blur for her. This leaved me feeling sad, sad for her and her lost childhood. Somehow it is part of her path and it took a long time to come to that peace.

I have learned far more from my children then I could ever teach them. I say that as a homeschooling parent and when I get lost, I return to my reason for homeschooling. It can be summed up in the acronym that I created for our homeschool name, a name I spent months coming up with. The name was something required on the notice of intent homeschool form I needed to complete to legally homeschool my children in the state of NC. The name really serves no other purpose than to identify our homeschool in a list, yet, for me it mattered. I wanted the name to embody our philosophy of learning.

Playfully Empowering and Affirming Spirit’s Expression

I chose to homeschool my children to nurture the love of learning that is innate in all children. I choose to continue to follow my child’s lead and nurture his curiosity and appetite for learning. I am grateful that my first child gave me this gift. He led me to explore different educational options.

Returning to work while continuing to nurse led me to La Leche League meetings where I met a homeschooling mom for the first time. The idea of homeschooling was new to me. I never knew this was an option. He was an infant when I met this mom who homeschooled her children and it opened my eyes to a new possibility. As he grew and attended “Mother’s morning out” preschool as a means of part time day care while my husband grew his business and I worked full time, I saw how he was learning at home with us and not at preschool.

This became more evident when he was 3 years old and I saw how his intellectual development was not at the same level as his “same age peers”. This was exaggerated by his November birthday, turning 4 years old and being in the “3 year old preschool class”. I still remember his teacher telling me she couldn’t get the other boys to sit down and draw with a crayon and he was reading words, asking her “what is sign in?”. And then her coming to us and telling us how he had turned the faucet away from the sink towards the counter so when the water was on, it ran onto the counter and then onto the floor. She came to us and said, I know how intelligent he is and that he was curious about how it worked and not just trying to cause trouble. He was labeled in that moment by this teacher. Because he was the kid who was reading words at age 4, she did not see his behavior as destructive but creative. Had he not been reading words and showing other signs of advanced intellectual development, would she have come to the same conclusion?

I am grateful that my first born led me to the path of homeschooling. A choice I made when he was 4 or 5 with the intention to continue to homeschool “as long as it worked”. I had no idea that I would continue to do so not only for him but his siblings. I had no idea we would find the path of unschooling and embrace the concept of child-led learning more deeply than I knew was possible.

All three of my children have brought gifts into my life just by being who they are. The greatest of these gifts being love, empowerment, joy, and peace. I see qualities of persistence, passion, perseverance, compassion, curiosity, and courage amount others in my children. As I watch them grow and mature and become adults, I am grateful that they came into my life. I have grown and matured alongside of them over the past 23+ years. I am the person I am now, at age 51, in part because of them. I have come to love my blog title child-led learning because not only do I follow their lead in facilitating their education, they have lead me to my own growth and learning.

Despite the struggles that my children have been through and especially my younger two children who have had to live and cope with mental illness, they continue to persevere. None of them has taken an “easy path” in life and I am empowered by their courage. They are my true heroes, my favorite “Superheroes”. And I am so glad they are part of my life.

Good morning beautiful!

This sweet face now stares up at me every time I open my lap top. Her eyes portray pure love and call out to me, “Are you doing what you love, are you writing?” The emotional response helps me focus, think before I act and choose how I spend my time. Instead of wasted hours on Dragon Merge, Redecor, solitaire, Tangle Master, Toy Blast, or whatever game has caught my attention, I think about what matters most, my kids. Writing about parenting is my passion. Raising my kids is my passion.

What matters most to me? ….My family

I remember the baby and toddler years so vividly, waking up with this sweet face smiling up at me. My youngest, my third child. I waited a long time for you. We waited because I wanted to be able to spend more time at home and despite the financial challenge, I choose to stay home your entire first year of life. I used to feel guilty that I didn’t return to work sooner maybe to have prevented some of our financial troubles. Don had sold his business and had a full time job with a salary when we decided it was time for our third child. Three months into my pregnancy, he lost that job, just when our finances were looking up. And before all the challenges that lay ahead in the years to come that would further tax us both financially and emotionally.

I no longer regret staying home that first year of her life. The guilt for not working is gone. I choose my family, I choose my new baby. I had more time with all my children. AT the time of this picture, my wonderful teachers ages 12, 7 and 11 months old. Just 11 days before her first birthday, nearly a year at home full time with my children, something I had craved since I returned to work in February of 1998, leaving my 3 month old baby with my husband to return to work full time. I was the breadwinner. My husband was building a business but we had yet to see the fruits of his labor.

When I found this photo and choose it for my screen background, it brought tears to my eyes. Tears are a welcomed site for me, a sign that I am truly feeling. Depression for me is not deep sadness, but more like the lack of emotion.

Numb, lost, withdrawn, emotionally unavaible

These words best describe what depression is like for me

Yet, not in a constant, 100% of the time manner. More like waves that swallow me, recede for a brief time, maybe for a week, several days, or even just an hour. It is not until I have sunk further into the depression that I can even see it clearly. The first time I really saw it was after I had swung out into a wonderful hypomanic state and then had slid back with the tide into the waters of darkness. I could not see the darkness until I had been in the full shining light. I only saw the extent of my depression after several months out of the depression, fully engaged and involved in my life. This is what bipolar depression looks like for me.

My medical record lists depression, yet I am convinced that I really suffer from Bipolar 2, which I though is what was meant by bipolar depression. As I research, I am reminded of Cyclothymic Disorder which is a milder form of bipolar disorder. As I think back on my life, I could easily have been diagnosed with this in my early adult years, possibly even as a teenager.

I analyze. It’s a part of my personality. In college, studying psychiatric illness as part of my Occupational Therapy program, I learned about self-diagnosis and how easy it was to become absorbed in identifying mental illness traits in yourself. This was in 1990 before the internet and WebMD.

Yet, between long discussions with my brother who is clinically diagnosed with bipolar 2, along with my own research and discussion with my psychiatrist who has had me on a mood stabilizer for well over a year, I think it is clear that my depression is bipolar 2 disorder.

Before I get lost in a discussion of mental illness, I would like to return to the beautiful picture that initiated this blog entry.

It helps to have something to remind us of what truly matters in life. For me, a trip to the beach invigorates me, rejuvenating my spirit and reminding me of why I am here, my soul’s purpose. When I return home and back to day-to-day life, I can easily slip away from all the insights and intention I found standing in the sand with waves crashing before me.

This picture of my child has done this for me. She pushes me to be a grander version of myself. To dig deep and return to what is truly important to me.

I came to the beach for several days to immerse myself in writing. I brought my childhood journals to delve into my true self and to draw forth the book within me that has been so eager to emerge. Over the years, book titles have come to me with inspiration for a book. I feel as if there are a dozen books within me. I have the quantity of notebooks/ journals filled with writing along with numerous digital entries, some of which I hope to be able to locate and recover from an old lap top and pen drives. Then of course, there are my blog entries here and on my first blog: Ginaslifejourney.

What is your passion? Have you felt a grander purpose or desire to do something?

Maybe you have yet to discover what you truly enjoy. Finding the time to explore your interests and time to sit quietly in a place of contentment: the mountains, a park, near a lake or a stream, or a favorite room in your house , is essential!

We must make the time for ourselves. It is not optional. For our own mental health. If we do not, as we care for others, we will deplete ourselves. The best way to nurture and care for others, is to also nurture and care for yourself. Not only as a way to restore your energy and your sanity, but also as an example.

Find your beauty and share it with those you love.

Morning walk on the beach, alone

Day 2: Refresh, renew, recharge and rejuvenate; take 2

September 25,2019

I went to sleep after reading Hands Free Life, 9 Habits for Overcoming Distraction, Living Better & Loving More. I purchased this book several years ago and have only read a handful of pages.

Talk about a night time wake up call!

The first chapter or habit, is called, “Fill the Spaces”. And at the end of the section is a daily declaration. The last words I read before falling asleep (this is the second half only)

There will be obstacles and challenges that interfere in carrying out these moments of connection, but I will not let the distractions of my life stop me from investing in what matters most- at least not today.

I took this message and carried it with me on my day. Having 3 days at the beach alone was exactly what I needed to reconnect with myself in order to reconnect with my kids, and my husband too!

I am home from the beach now and am so glad I made videos while I was there. Watching my short videos helps bring me back to the beach where I had so many ideas for writing, more than I could possibly have written about even if I had spent every moment writing. Writing in the moment is powerful and easier for me to discover the deeper message that I may not even see until I have written a post.

Living life one day at a time

I discovered many things while I was at the beach. I rediscover who I am.

I came home excited and energized to reconnect with my kids.

I am home and now fully invested in taking time in the early morning to write.

I have been home a week and have taken time for myself each morning, now that I wake before my kids. My goal now is to focus, and write first before I do all the other things that are calling out to me:

  • Dirty laundry piled high
  • Kitchen mess that needs cleaning
  • Checking messages and replies on social media and email
  • Creating a to do list
  • Papers and books piled high on my kitchen “desk” that is no longer a desk but a storage area
    Talking to my husband about everything that is running through my mind so I don’t forget to tell him
    Picking up things left on the floor, the kitchen table…
    Finding the referral the dentist gave me 6 months ago for going to oral surgeon so my 17 1/2 year old can have her wisdom teeth removed while it is still covered by insurance

Deep breath

Though my retreat alone, I have been renewed with a new sense of who I am.

I am feeling refreshed and can move away from burnout

I am recharged and ready for life

I am rejuvenated to dive into regular blog writing, beginning the book that has been growing within me, diving full force into our family coaching business, and eager to spend more time with my children in a more meaningful way.

I turn 50 soon an with age brings wisdom, and it also brings:

Confidence

Clarity

Courage

    Sending Big Waves into Motion, releasing secrets

    Relax, renew, rejuvenate and recharge, take 2.

    I am at the beach all by myself. I have never done this before. I’ve been here for 6 hours and I am finally sitting down to write. It has taken me this long to settle in, move from the shock and excitement of actually being here, all by myself. And finally, focusing on here and now.

    I texted and made videos and took pictures and FaceTimed my youngest, while exploring my room at the top of the resort building, while walking in the beach and pier. I felt kind of lonely when I got here. I always come to the beach with my kids or at least my husband. One time the two of us went, well, before kids, I guess we went several times. Who can remember 22 years ago before kids?

    I have everything I need for my adventure, inspiring books, music, healthy and yummy food, drinks, did you know you can get wine in a can?

    As I packed my bag to head to the beach to write, I realized that I forgot my Bluetooth key board that I use with my iPad. My iPad, has been my computer for a while now… years, I guess. Something else that I can’t quite remember.

    I have a lap top, buried in books and papers on my desk. It is old and I used to use it often, but decided I liked my iPad much better.

    I found myself responding to a post on a Facebook group, Unschooling Special Needs, earlier and it has inspired my writing today.

    There are so many things I can write about. Yet, the concerns shared in the post on the Unschooling Special Needs group are so close to my heart and the reason my husband and I now have a business together helping families with challenges, especially those with anxiety issues and challenging behavior with their children.

    I have Bipolar 2 Depression. My upswings, are hypomania, not full on mania (well, it can escalate to mania). Hypomania is great, highly focused, functioning and much energy! Yet, the downswing is like the riptide pulling you under the ocean water.

    Helping my children with their struggles is extra challenging for me because of my struggles. I can’t even imagine what it must be like for my husband.

    In three weeks I celebrate my 50th birthday. I am proud and excited to reach this milestone! Seriously, I am. With age, has common not only wisdom, but confidence, clarity, courage and healing.

    I always make time to write when I have come to the beach with my family. I have wonderful memories being here with my family. And I also have memories of stress, anxiety, OCD flare ups, and the feeling of disappointment that we couldn’t just have a “normal family vacation” without the anxieties.

    Here I am now, writing and also texting with my tech support son. I might have him help me locate a key pad. Typing on the iPad screen is slow.

    It’s getting dark and the sound of the ocean is mesmerizing me.

    When I was younger, I would never have gone somewhere like this by myself. The silence of being alone was challenging for me. I now cherish time to myself. I still love the sounds of people talking, and my music, Tom Petty and now Mary Lambert sing in my ear..which is even more beautiful with the sound of the ocean.

    They tell us from the time we’re young
    To hide the things that we don’t like about ourselves
    Inside ourselves
    I know I’m not the only one who spent so long attempting to be someone else
    Well I’m over it

    I don’t care if the world knows what my secrets are (secrets are)
    I don’t care if the world knows what my secrets are (secrets are)