Yeah, I’m leaving it a bit late for the whole New Year Resolution thing. After all, most people give up their resolutions by now, not start them. But, as of now, I’m making a decision to focus on making SMART goals for myself and this blog. What does that mean, you ask? Well, TONS of planning, for one… and a whole lot more.
But first, let’s look at what happened and how I’m going to fix it!
I have to say…it’s a scary feeling, knowing I have no motivation. After all, I have goals. I have dreams and passions and things that I want to get done. But the fact is, I have no push to pursue them. Hands down, it’s one of the worst parts of chronic depression. It’s that moment when your brain looks at everything you love and tells you: eh, you don’t need that.
Seriously. Not. Fair.
But it also forces me to ask myself: What can we do when we have no motivation to do anything? Here’s what I’ve learned so far…
We’re all going to be too busy tomorrow to have any chance of reading a blog post, so I’m jumping ahead a little and posting today! First off, I really hope tomorrow turns out to be an amazing day for you! Usually, we would spend the day getting ready for a massive meal with friends in the area, but this year everyone’s off to see family. What that means is we’re actually going out to eat with Morgan’s family. No cooking for us! And no leftovers!
Yeah, I’m excited. 🙂
You know what else? I think this is a great time to talk about the importance of family traditions. So, here we go!
Traditions are what we remember
Let’s start with my favorite reason family traditions are important. They are what we remember! I don’t know about you, but those traditions are what stuck in my mind from my childhood. They’re the bright points when things really sucked, because no matter where we were, we still did our best to keep hold of them.
Traditions are an important way to build strong bonds and memories with our children (honestly, with everyone in our family). I can guarantee, as silly as it may seem, that morning tradition of tickling them awake will stick with them, even after they outgrow it. The weekly tradition of going to see the grandparents will, too. They might grumble and moan, but as they get older, those times will become precious. Let’s face it, traditions stick in our minds.
Traditions give us a sense of belonging
The other key part of building traditions is that they make us feel like we belong. Knowing that on Saturday Dad is going to make pancakes tells us we are loved and cared for. Having a Christmas stocking on the mantle tells us we’re part of the family. Making the mashed potatoes shows us we are part of something bigger.
Being a part of family traditions tells us we are family. Knowing you’re part of a family, unsurprisingly, is very important for a person’s mental health.
Traditions connect us to our history
This isn’t the case for everyone, but family traditions are an important part of our history. Some traditions we build on our own, but others can date back through generations. In the midwest, you might find a tradition of lefse at Christmas. Maybe Grandma used to make it every year and for you, Christmas just isn’t right without it. Or maybe your unintentional family tradition is being stuck politely listening to yet another tale of Grandpa’s youth.
Whatever it is, those traditions connect you to your history. The history of your family, your culture, or even something like your hometown.
The Importance of Family Traditions
Let’s face it, tradition binds us together. Whether it’s about remembrance, a sense of belonging, or your own history, it’s an important part of who you are.
So keep that in mind the next time Grandpa traps you in a corner to tell you about his weird Aunt’s habit of trapping him in a corner to force him to listen to some other obscure relative’s history. This is your history, too. One day, Grandpa will be gone and you won’t be able to ask him questions about where he came from. I can guarantee you won’t forget or regret those moments.
And with that, have a wonderful Thanksgiving! Remember and cherish your traditions, no matter how big or small. They are part of who you are!
It’s been a hard day. Let’s be honest here, it’s been a hard week. There’s a lot of stuff I don’t really want to dwell on, but to summarize: Emotions are high, energy is low, outside things are going wrong, and, oh, panic attacks suck. But when you’re a parent, you just have to push through the pain. Life keeps moving, yeah?
But sometimes it all goes wrong.
We all struggle sometimes when it comes to life. I mean, you can’t stop your car breaking down or the dishwasher exploding. That’s just how it works, right? Okay, sure, you can do some things to reduce the risk, but ultimately things are just going to go to crap now and then.
In my case, we had a batch of really emotional days here. When I get really moody, I tend to isolate. Admittedly, sometimes that’s really helpful, but others it makes things worse. The other side effect is that my mood tends to get absorbed by everyone else. So, a bitchy Hana makes for a bitchy Mike and Morgan. When I’m depressed, suddenly everyone else is depressed.
Wanna guess why I hide?
Add it to it a bunch of random stuff going bad and a couple fights, and… well, you get a panic attack. Actually, I don’t really know where the panic attack came from. That’s just my best guess.
So I push through the pain.
In this case, it was quite literal. Yesterday I had a panic attack much like the one that sent me to the hospital. I was in the car when it hit – clenching chest, knotted neck, difficulty breathing. The first time this happened, I seriously thought I was dying. The pain was so intense, it felt worse than childbirth (with no painkillers…). So, when I say it hurt, I mean it.
The problem was, we were on our way to get a whole bunch of errands done, so there wasn’t a lot of room for coddling myself. I had to push through the pain and get stuff done.
Now, is this healthy? Probably not, but it’s a problem pretty much every parent faces at some point, regardless of mental health status. You get a cold? The kids still need to get up and ready for school. You only got two hours of sleep? I’m sorry, but there’s parent teacher conferences today and you can’t just skip those. Day three of a depression bad enough you can only eat the bread sitting on the counter? That’s rough. Kids still need dinner, and no, they can’t just have bread.
What can we do?
It’s an important question. What can we do about the terrible stuff that doesn’t seem to care we have obligations in life? Sadly, not much.
I know. We want to hear “Of course there’s a handy trick that makes it all better!” But there isn’t. Does that mean we’re completely out of luck and destined for a life of misery and pain? No.
There’s no miracle cure, true, just like there’s no miracle cure for our illnesses. That doesn’t meant we are powerless to ease the struggle. We can’t keep our car from breaking down eventually, but we can do preventative things to make it less likely and be better prepared for when it happens. If you know it’ll happen eventually, you have a better idea how to prepare.
So, let’s listen to our doctors and get rest, eat well, exercise as able, and all that jazz. Practice those coping skills. Create a crisis plan. Be around loved ones and make time for the things that bring you true joy. Then, the next time you have to push through the pain, you’ll be ready for it. You’ll have help.
We can get through this together.
Like what you see? Want to help me keep writing? Consider supporting me with a small monthly donation on Patreon or a one time donation via PayPal.
Sorry guys, this one might hurt a little. I’m gonna tell you a secret I’m pretty sure you’ve already guessed. I don’t want to get better. Okay, I do… but there are some days when I really don’t. Wanna know why? Well, here we go…
Well, Halloween is done and you and I both know we’ve crammed as much candy down as we could. After all, this begins the season of tasty treats. Next up: Thanksgiving! Oh, goodie… Crowds of people, hours of travel, days of cooking, and a week of cleaning that kitchen afterward. Actually, scratch that last one… I’m using paper plates.
All in all, there’s a lot to do this month and only a month to do it all in! Not going to panic, right?
But before we get too far, let’s take a second to reflect back on our goals for last month and start thinking about our goals for next month!
If you’re at all like me, you know exactly what I’m talking about. Halloween – a time filled with nightmares and fear… and guilt. Sure, there’s candy and costumes and parties and stuff to look forward to. I personally love handing out candy every year, and there’s that tradition of watching (not too) scary movies on that wonderfully creepy night. All in all, it’s a lot of fun! Once you get there, anyway. The weeks leading up, however, are always full of the Halloween guilt.
Not sure what I mean? Well, let’s think about this…
Here I am, standing in front of this mirror, just like my therapist told me to. I screw up my courage and bravely tell myself my new affirmation: “I am in control of my reactions.” I say it five times, write it on the mirror where I have to look at it every day, and somehow….eventually….. I learn that I can’t trust myself.
Yeah, I know. That’s not how it’s supposed to work, right? Affirmations are a well-accepted therapy technique for people struggling with all sorts of things. Whether it’s self-love, trust, overcoming fears, or pretty much anything, if you say it enough it’ll eventually come true. Supposedly. Possibly. Maybe….maybe not.
Obviously, I’m here to write about speaking out about life with chronic mental illness. That isn’t changing, but I think it’s important to look at one reality we live with every day. No matter how much we value speaking out, we still frequently “hide the crazy” to function in the mundane world. If you’ve lived with depression for a while (or anything like it), you know what I mean. Imagine the following:
Person 1: How’re you?
Person 2: Oh, ya know. It’s been a good day so far. Had my coffee, so I’m ready to face the day. You?
Person 1: I’m fine (or, alternately, I’m good).
So, which one is living with depression on a daily basis? Well, actually, it could be either.
September sure blasted by for me. Admittedly, there was a lot of chaos in this house. For one, I left my job…finally. It was a painful choice because I seriously loved working with everyone, but at the same time, it was clearly necessary. No one should be having panic attacks over going to work. For two, there’s a bit of transitioning going on in my house as far as relationships and what our future as a family might look like. Between those two things, well, I’ve been a bit absent. I apologize for that.
Plus side to me not working right now, though: I can crank up the heat when it comes to getting this blog going! To that end, I figured I should actually write out my goals post for the month. So, without further ado…