Every Once and a While….

Over the years I’ve found that I have become very bitter, or jaded.  That’s a far cry from the girl I use to know.  I started out with NO self-esteem in my teens through my late 20’s.  I found myself being directed by others as to HOW I should be.  I didn’t know that I was okay the way I was.  I was so insecure that if someone was in my way at the grocery store, I’d wait until they moved before simply saying, “Excuse me” because I didn’t even feel worthy of that.  I was a mess.  Through a series of up’s and down’s over the years I learned to close myself off more and more to protect myself from hurt caused by family and friends.  I had no boundaries.  I was the “yes” girl.  I was that girl that thought every argument or disagreement was my fault somehow and I hated confrontation.  I hated myself.

Easy to see why I began to shut down.  I didn’t have a voice.  I was afraid and timid.  To add to the confusion, I was diagnosed with depression, OCD, and panic disorder.  I became angry and the pendulum swung from the left to the middle from the sweet girl I had always been.  I over-reacted, I became the fierce protector of any underdog.  I took everything personally and really started to just not like anyone.  Luckily for me, I was in a loving marriage with a beautiful child *but* I literally could not stand people around me other than them.  I became this little passive aggressive monster.  I began to see no beauty in the human race.  I lost faith in people, places, and things.  Often times would find myself saying “I cannot stand people”, or “I hate people”.

The passive aggressive stage lasted for years and were so painful.  Imagine having shit to say but not having the spine to speak up for yourself because you actually believed that you had no right.  I had zero self-worth.  People knew too, that they could walk all over me and I wouldn’t say anything which lead to more pain and resentment.

One day, a family member went too far and began to attack my child.  That’s how I saw it and while I could not stick up for myself, I had NO problem being a voice for my family.  That triggered a bigger monster.  That’s when the pendulum swung from the middle all the way to the far right.  I was going to right the wrongs, dot the i’s and cross the t’s.  No more was I going to sit by and let people walk all over me.  My therapist recommended a book “Boundaries” by Drs. Henry Cloud and John Townsend.  Best self-help book I have read to this day.  I slowly learned that I had value, that I had to set boundaries, etc.  Thing is, I was still pretty bitter and angry.  Guess you cannot fix everything at once.

But today I don’t want to be bitter and angry anymore.  I do not trust easily, I am skeptical of people, I still am a fierce protector of the underdog and of my family.  It’s almost paranoia.  Like, everyone is out to get me.  Truth be told, I can be a shoulder to lean on for someone but I never have to fight someone else’s battles.  Once again, I’m learning that I don’t have to be this way. I am the creator of my story in this life and I want to go back to the girl I use to be.  I’m the superhero in my story.  “Once in a while someone special comes along and restores your faith in humanity…” and it occurred to me that I want to be that Once in a While from now on.  I am going to be.

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Forgiveness

Forgiveness.  It is a hard nut to crack.  Little by little I’ve been able to let go and let it be.  The Beatle’s really were ahead of their time.

You’ve heard the old saying that forgiveness is not something we do for someone else, it is something that we do for ourselves.  Because by forgiving, you are freeing yourself from hurt.  Thing is, if you are reading this and thinking, “Easier said then done!” and are frustrated, then you are not seeing the bigger picture; just yet.

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I still have hope for you.  Because if I can do it, so can you.  It takes time but at some point in your life, you HAVE to realize the unrelenting toll it takes on your soul to be bitter and angry with someone that hurt you.  We’ve all hurt someone, at some time in our life- whether intentional or not.  If we want the man upstairs to forgive us, we have to be able to forgive.

I’m sending up a prayer for all that struggle with this challenge.  With Love,

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M.I.A.

It’s been a long time since I’ve taken the time to write.  Ever since fb has taken over the world wide web, it seems to be “the place” where everyone goes to check-in and share; including myself.  Writing is more than a status update or a comment.  It’s a way of excavating the crud from ones mind.

I’ve been out of the loop for 2 months due to a crisis in my life.  Even being out of work for 2 months and having that break from the reality that surrounds me wasn’t quite enough but I’m trying with all my might to get back to some semblance of my old self.  I’ll never be my old self because I’ve changed so much but to at least get to where I’m participating in life would be a huge accomplishment for me.  Slowly but surely I’ve managed to crawl out of this shell.

I’ve suffered from depression since I can remember.  It took a turn for the worse for internal reasons.  A toxic work environment didn’t help but wasn’t the main cause.  I tell ya, it’s exhausting to have so much on my mind.  I look around and just cannot see the “point” of all of this.  Yes, I have enjoyment in my life but there are still those lingering, nagging thoughts that at times make me feel like I can no longer go on.  I’m on a good med regimen from a good Psych Doc that’s being closely monitored and seeing a new therapist.  I was in the in-patient program for a while and that was helpful.  Helpful in the sense of being surrounded by people with the same disease and getting real information that made me feel hopeful for the first time in a long time.  People that understand that massive depression, PTSD, anxiety, and OCD are not “circumstantial” issues.  They are caused by an actual chemical imbalance in the brain.

It’s not like I have an abusive husband and am sad about it.  It’s not like I lost a loved one, crashed my car, or lost my job and am sad over it.  It’s NOT caused by an incident *a happy or sad one*.   It’s legitimately caused by an imbalance in my brain.

I wish everyone could try to get educated on what depression is.  One person told me he had been depressed and read a lot of books and I should do the same.  Would he tell that to someone that was diagnosed with breast cancer?  Of course not.  Reading books is not going to cure someone with depression or breast cancer.  I’m glad his bout of sadness/depression lifted and he found something to help him.  Newsflash!  I do read, I draw, I sing, I have a great family life and ONLY excellent friends, I walk my dogs, and have hobbies.  Newsflash!  I hadn’t left my house in a year.  I was sleeping for days on end and lashing out at people in anger for over a year.  All the things I use to do to “get by” or fake it were no longer working for me.  Reading a book was not going to pull me out of that hole.  I’ve had people tell me, “I don’t believe in depression” or “you just need to snap out of it”.  I cannot imagine telling someone that has a disease to “Just snap out of it”.

Then, my brain took that ugly turn.  The derailed train of thoughts of ending my life came pouring in and I just could not shake it.  Relenting and reoccurring thoughts, feelings of hopelessness and feeling worthless.  Once that BIG black cloud settled, it did not want to leave this time and I actually called my GP to say I was in distress.  She sent me to the E.R. where I was “taken care of”.  Then the day program at BHS which was grueling and tiresome but extremely educational.  I was reminded that I was clearly not alone and that I had a lot of work to do on my end.  I had an epiphany of sorts while there and have been trying to stay on the right train of thought ever since and so far, with the help of all new anti-psychotic meds, family support, and GOOD friends have been more successful.

I have ups and downs.  One quote that I try to tell myself when down is, “Just because you had a bad day doesn’t mean you have a bad life”.

There is no magic pill or cure.  I have a lot of work to do.  Anyone with a disease has work to do on their part.  Whether it’s reducing stress, eating healthier, or even cognitive re-construction….  we all have to take a part in our recovery.  I’m trying.  It’s a start.

Thank you to my wonderful husband for loving me, for my family and especially for my friends that have been there for me.  I don’t know what I would have done without your support!

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Missing you ~ my Love

I miss you my smart, silly, wonderfully-beautiful-inside-and-out granddaughter,

Sweetness

I love you so much!

I wish you lived closer so we could do all the things I dream of TOGETHER …

             ♥ coloring

            ♥ walking

            ♥ going to the park

            ♥ arts and crafts

            ♥ bedtime stories

            ♥ nursery rhymes

            ♥ taking care of you, only the way a grandma can

            ♥ singing you the songs that my mama used to sing to me

            ♥ teaching you about letters, colors, shapes

            ♥ taking you to the zoo to teach you about wildlife

            ♥ hugging you

            ♥ bathing you

            ♥ kissing you

            ♥ telling you that I love you everyday – so you never forget

I love you Aniya!  My sweet baby girl.

Reach inside me Lord….

Please Lord Jesus help me find a way

to let go and not be afraid

I am only a shell of the person I use to be

but supposedly you know that better than me

If you know, please take away all of the guilt and pain

that over the years, has caused me to lose my way

Please Lord, I beg you to pitch your tent in my heart

Please made it sturdy so it will never fall apart

Be near me when I feel alone, come inside my heart and make a home.

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Relationships and Forgiveness

So many things have been running through my mind.  Friendships is one the biggest things I grapple with.  Let me start off by saying that I see myself as a funny, kind, loving, friend who would bend over backwards for someone who I care about.  Hey, I’d even bend for someone I don’t know.

I’ve never had a problem making/keeping friends my entire life.  I was pretty easy-going.  I was also a people pleaser.  Maybe that’s why I never had a problem.  Fast forward until I began my 30’s.  Yeah, had some pretty tough “Friendship lessons”.

I would make a friend and put them on a pedestal.  Almost mesmerized by all of their excellent qualities.  Throw out the window that people go out of their way to shine through first impressions.  Forget that other people would warn me, “Something is not right there”.  Red flags?  Ignored.  Forge ahead until I shared too much, got too close, trusted to much, and put my heart out on the chopping block.

I went through this quite a few times, giving a little bit of my heart away each time.  My kids would get attached to these newish friends, I would talk about them often in our home and my husband and kids felt like they knew them just through my stories.  Then to be shocked at the aftermath of an ugly fall out.

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That was 10 years ago.  Fast forward to the person I have become today.  Not only have I become bitter about dealing with issues from my childhood, heap on this assault of “friends”.  You know that old saying, “With a friend like that, who needs enemies?”.  ALL THOSE OLD SAYINGS ARE THERE FOR A REASON.

I am not the same person I was 10 years ago.  I have been burned.  Scorched actually over the years and my tolerance level is at rock bottom.

So, I don’t know if I’m grappling so much with friendship, or forgiveness?  I’m starting to think it has more to do with my inability to forgive rather than the number of friends and family that have “hurt” me.

We are all just human.  We all make mistakes.  Yet, why cannot I not put things to rest?  First it started with friends.  Not the end of the world, not life long friends, just acquaintances from work that turned out to be the type of people I didn’t want to hang out with outside of work.

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Then, my longtime best friend and I have become distant.  We met in kindergarten.

Then, slowly – one by one, picking off my family members.  Not randomly.  Just maybe years of pent-up hurt and resentment, then they pull another stunt and snap!  Another one bites the dust.

The thing is, I don’t know if a single one of them could ever be sorry enough to be in my good graces again.  What is it that I’m looking for from them?  I’ve written them off so much so, that when I think of them on occasion, or their name comes up – for a brief moment I wonder, … or think, remember when we use to be so close and all of the laughter and good times?  It lasts for about 10 seconds and suddenly the thoughts are smothered with a black tarp, covering it up and kicking it too.  And I’m thankful that they are out of my life.  WHAT IS THIS ALL ABOUT?

I’m protecting myself, but from what?I

I know that what friends and family have done to me ARE forgivable.  But I don’t know how I ever will be able to because what’s got me scared and hiding has nothing to do with them.

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It has to do with me, as a 4-5 year old girl.  I will never be able to forgive myself. So, if I cannot forgive myself — why the hell am I going to forgive you for hurting me too?

I wonder when I will ever be released from this hell?

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I’m not sure if I will, but I surely do not have to punish other people for my struggles and my issues.

I have taken positive steps recently.  Reaching out to 5 different family members and apologizing for any hurt I have caused them.  Heaven help me to open my arms wider and extend this to friends as well.

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Peace Out,

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…and I’m all-right with that

Nobody to share my thoughts with, so they sit up high and I’m all right with that.  Like balloon filled thoughts; some beautiful, some not – floating up until I can no longer see them in the distance.

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A lone cup of coffee, more thoughts of how beautiful the earth and all its natural wonders are and nobody to share that with but I’m all right with that.  The trees alone swaying back and forth steal my attention – I’m happily distracted by them.

The injustices of selfish self-centered people surrounds me but I will not say a word, I just have to know that I will not succumb to it – I will watch it in silence and I have to be all right with that.

Layered earth so lovely; dirt, rock, greenery, slate, tall grasses, creeping vines, and my favorite- tree’s outstretched creating a canopy with the solitary sounds of nature coming together in a cadence of splendor and I am more than all right with that.    A myriad of textures, sights, smells, and sounds which is music to my senses.