Overwhelming

Sometimes it is overwhelming to deal with people that don’t know how to act. You know the ones that treat you like crap or lash out at you for no reason than they feel like it. You find yourself struggling. Trying to breathe from the overwhelming BS that is shoved your way.

I’m dealing with my issues. I’m an advocate for mental health and therapy. I don’t want to own the baggage of others. I try to separate myself from ignorance and people bringing negativity. Some days are better than others.

It is a struggle to balance both good and evil in your life. But, I’m learning. I have great people that surround me who whisper to me “Don’t let it bother you” “Let it roll off your back” and “Don’t carry their baggage. You’re not a baggage handler.”

I smile.

I struggle with this overwhelming guilt that I’m somehow being a bad Christian, sister, daughter, human being if I push back. It’s a learning process. I’m learning to not be overwhelmed.

 

This post was inspired by the Daily Prompt. The word was overwhelming.

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One Day

One day you will wake up from this cold world where you feel all alone and know that I am here

One day you will listen to those whispers of love and encouragement and have them not fall on deaf ears

One day you will see the beauty that your eyes hide from

One day you will hear the beat of the drum

The drum that speaks life into you

Slow and steady

It beats for you

It beckons you to come forth

It beckons you to not stay in the dark

It beckons you that you are a fighter

Feel the rhythm my sweet princess

Dance

Dance and move enjoying the beat

Move

Let the power within take control

Be encouraged

Be faithful

Morning sits on the horizon

Your breakthrough is coming

Manic Monday

Hey Everybody!

I’ve been ill since last week (right after turning 42) and so I don’t have a Motivational Monday Moment to share. I promise I will be back next week with one. I’m still recuperating but I’m back at work today.

Thankfully, Munch was with his dad last week and that allowed me to rest in spite of feeling like death. It’s the little things. However, he is back and in full on I can’t do anything without my mommy mode. Ah, to be 8 and spoiled.

My health is on the mend, I will be going to two more doctor’s appointments this week and one next week and then hopefully all will be well. I’m taking it easy and listening to my body. Getting plenty of rest and drinking lots of water (ugh!).

So, today I will be reblogging some great reads. If you have a great post that you would like me to share, please feel free to post it in the comments. I’m 8-9 days behind on some posts so please bear with me as I go through over 3000 emails for the last week. If you get “likes” out of order, it really is me reading your blog posts.

Until tomorrow loves!

My Breast Health

So, I went in yesterday to get the repeat impressions aka mammograms of both breasts. Remember I posted about them wanting to repeat the test in my post Damn You Breasts? I had to have a repeat because they saw fibroglandular tissue (density) in the picture. It shows up as white on the pictures. But, so does cancer.

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Which is why they had to repeat the pictures. But, can I just say this…mammograms hurt. They hurt like hell. Probably more if you’re like me…a member of the itty bitty titty club. But, I digress.

She took me back in that cold room and said “I got a smaller tray to take the pictures now.” She actually smiled. I looked at her like she was crazy and thought “the instrument of death is made smaller?”

Yep. They make a smaller compression plate for small chested women like me. Woohoo! I guess I should be thankful? Do a happy dance or something?

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I stood there as my head was pushed up against the machine and the death machine began descending on my breast like a wheel of torture. I screamed in pain. The 800 mg of Motrin that I drank with a venti iced coffee didn’t work. I cursed myself for not taking an Oxycontin for pain before going back in to repeat this test. The tech pushed and manipulated my breasts to get them just right for the picture. I was in pain.

“I’m sorry sweetie. Please don’t move. Please don’t breathe” she said. I remember seeing the light and thinking “This is it. I’m coming sweet baby Jesus. Help me Lord!”. My head was pressed against the plastic and I couldn’t breathe. I heard the picture take and the plate lift up and breathed a sigh of  a relief. On to the next one.

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My breasts aren’t as big as hers in the picture so you see the plastic plate descending on her breast? It hurts like hell.

Same process. I almost passed out and I’m pretty sure I cursed the woman out in my head. Not in person of course, but in my head. She asked me to take a seat in the waiting room and went to show the doctor my new pictures.

And guess what? Everything turned out wonderfully. The doctor reviewed my labs and said everything was great and that they were sending a report to my doctor.

Whew! Thank you Jesus. Ya’ll know I did my praise dance right there right?

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Well, I am truly thankful that everything is okay and that we started discussing breast health. Wow! This blogger community and the women surrounding me were so helpful and reassuring. Encouragement and assurances surrounded me in my time of need. I am forever thankful.

It is a blessing to know that breast health is important to all women and it’s a sisterhood circle that we share. We all have breasts. We understand the importance of checking our breasts and routine care. We are united. Thank you ladies.

And yes it hurt like hell! Small chested women have real problems too. LOL.

Damn You Breasts

So, I had my mammogram last Tuesday. This is only the second one in my life. I’m only 41 and when I got my PAP smear in January the nurse practitioner recommended that I get another one. Why? I’m only 41. Just turned 41. I do my own breast exams. I don’t need to do another one do I? Plus, my insurance plan covers it once every two years because there is no family history of breast cancer.

She said, “Nope, you should still do it.” I sighed. I huffed and puffed and said “Okay”. Now, before you start tripping and saying what’s the issue T? Let me explain. The dang thing hurts. Mammograms feel like thousands of angry midgets pushing, pulling and smashing your dang breasts in all different directions. It’s painful as hell.

Well, I’ve been having a heck of a year and putting off the second mammogram that I finally had enough. I got my baby situated and decided that I needed to handle that mammogram this month. So, I went to the radiology clinic last week to get it done. The representative said, “Can I get your orders?” I laughed. “You’ve had them since January.” She looked in the system and then gave me the forms to fill out.

I sat down and filled out the forms and waited. Ten minutes later they were taking me back to go through the process again. I cringed when I had to put on that half robe and it was cold as heck in the office. I walked into the room and thought “There’s the torture machine.” The technician was awesome and tried to get me to relax as she kneaded my breasts to lay flat on the dang screen and instructed me not to breathe.

“I’m about to pass out from the damn pain” I thought. She took her four pictures and said that they looked good that the radiologist will call me if there is anything. “Okay” I replied as I skipped my happy tale out the dang office. I proceeded down the beltway to pick up my Munch from school early because he had a doctor’s appointment too.

My breasts were still hurting last Thursday as I told my co-workers that mammograms hurt like heck. They laughed. They had all been through it. So, as I’m sitting at my desk working on this financial file for retiree data I get a call on my cell phone. I didn’t recognize the number, but I’m always thinking it’s the school so I answered. It’s the lab.

The nurse on the phone says that the radiologist wants me to come back in and do a repeat of both breasts because he saw a change from my last films and is also ordering a breast ultrasound. I sat there looking at the dang computer screen with tears streaming down my face. “What?” “When can you come in next week sweetie?” “I need a morning appointment” I stuttered. “Okay, how about Thursday at 10 am?” she said. “Sure, that will work” I replied.

I sat there with tears streaming down my face and cursing my damn breasts. What the heck is wrong with you? I’ve been good with you. I do my monthly breast exams. I’m always checking for lumps. Shouldn’t I have felt something? I started to freak out.

I called Mr. C and he calmly said “Okay, so what’s the worry?” I sat there looking at the phone like “Dude, didn’t you just hear me?” He said, “There’s no reason to worry. You don’t know anything.” I told him that I needed to call a woman he didn’t have breasts. He didn’t know what I was feeling. I called my best friend. She answered and said, “I have to call you back. I’m in a meeting.” What the hell is going on?

I called my momma. She said “What’s the deal? Don’t worry. It’s normal. I’ve had fluid removed from my breasts. There’s a lot of stuff between normal and cancer that could be wrong with your breasts.” “For real” I asked. “Yep.”

I sighed. I’m waiting. Not patiently. My mind is playing tricks on me. I’m trying not to think the worse. I’m trying. I told my mom at dinner on Sunday night that if I should die I need her to raise my son. She’s not my first choice. Not that she’s not a great grandmother. I just think that it’s too much for a 60 year old to raise an 8 year old.

Ugh!

My appointment is in two days. Damn the beautiful small breasts that are no longer perky because of age. The breasts that served as nourishment for my Munch. I’m screaming at you…Your next exam better be perfect or I’m going to have a dang hissy fit.

Mommy’s Monday Motivation

I just have to say…

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I received so much support and love from other bloggers, parents and people who just stumbled on my blog and left words of encouragement about my munch and therapy. You are amazing. As a mother, heck a parent, it is overwhelming to think your child is going through something and you feel helpless. You try to ease their pain and then you have the added pressure of trying to figure out what is right for your child. Who is right to help them?

The last couple of weeks have seen me crying and praying and researching. I worry which is stupid, I know, but I’m human. I trust God. So, why worry? There in lies my flaw…my desire to be in control of the situation when I know that if I just give it to God it will all work out. LOL! I’m being vulnerable here folks so don’t bash me.

But, in all honesty I can’t thank you enough for all of your kind words about my journey. I’m at the beginning and I promise you that I will keep you posted. Why? Because you are all my family and you give the greatest advice and guidance. For that I am thankful. I know that I’m not alone and it helps that some of you have seen or been there personally and have reached out to me.

So, good news on this wonderful motivating Monday. My baby performed in his first talent show and I have to tell you that although dance is not his gift, he did a wonderful job and I was super proud. This kid is amazing and I love him so much. Here’s Mommy’s Monday Motivation presenting my Munch’s first talent show performance.

 

First Impressions: Munch and Therapy

So, last night we met with the therapist to talk about the crying that Munch has been doing. Let me clarify…it’s excessive. He cries anytime something upsets him. Daily. Multiple times a day sometimes. I’m frustrated. I’m exhausted. I’m worried.

I researched this therapist through my mental health benefit. Unlimited visits and a $10.00 co-pay. I have great health insurance. This is what I do for a living. Analyze health plans. I wanted a male. I wanted a black man if I could find one. Someone who looked like my Munch but could help him find the tools he needed to express his emotions differently.

Traffic was horrible. I left work almost two hours early to make sure to allow enough time for the appointment. It happened to be the nicest day we’ve had all year so there were multiple accidents. I was stressed. I arrived to pick up Munch after sitting in traffic for over an hour. He got in the car and kissed me.

“How was your day Munch?” I asked. He said, “It was good. I had a good day at school and I got a pizza certificate because I read a lot of books. Can we get pizza for dinner? I want pepperoni on my pizza” he stated. “Not today baby. We have the therapy appointment remember? I will get you dinner afterwards before we head home.”

“Okay” he mumbled. Traffic was excruciating. I was ready to give up. However, I knew that Munch needed to be seen and I was going to suck it up and fight the traffic.

We arrived at the appointment with 10 minutes to spare. Beautiful location. Small, but beautiful waiting room. Flat screen and hi-tech video camera recording the waiting room. Two offices. Both doors closed. We sat and waited.

The nice man comes out with a big smile and introduces himself. Shakes my hand. Strong but firm. Not overbearing. He introduces himself to Munch. Munch interrupts and says in a serious yet sad tone “My name is Munch. Mommy says that you’re going to help me. That we’re here to talk and find out why my tears are too big for my eyes and I can’t stop crying.”

He laughed and smiled “Yes, I’m here to help” he told Munch. He looked at me and said, “He’s too cute. I’m about to cry and we haven’t even talked yet. Please come in”.

Big office window. Minimal furniture. Brown love seat with a desk sitting across. A computer in front of him with a side table and two chairs to the right side of the room. The sun shined brightly through the windows and Munch and I sat on the love seat.

Random: At This Moment

Last week a friend of mine said, “I hadn’t heard from you in a long time.” I responded “I know. I’ve been going through some things and haven’t really shared.” She asked, “What’s going on?” I replied, “Every month since October there has been some major hardship/issue that has affected me. I feel like I can’t breathe” I muttered. “It’s at times overwhelming and I’m consistently asking God to please give me the strength to endure” I said.

Silence.

“Do you want to talk about it?” she asked. “No, not right now” I responded.

I didn’t. I didn’t want to talk about my problems/issues. Why? Because I was tired of crying.

Alone in my bed when the world is asleep, I toss and turn and cry.

Crying is cathartic for me. It exhausts me. It solves nothing, so I’m not sure why I do it. But, I do.

I cry for things that have happened, things that haven’t happened and things that I want to happen. I cry and pray. Pray and cry. Non-stop.

Until I go numb. Then I drift off to sleep. Sleep is fretful and disturbing. Weird dreams with no understanding of what they mean. Nightmares. Never peaceful bliss. I’m exhausted by the time I awake.

A hot shower, a cup of coffee and make-up to hide the bags under my eyes. I pinch my cheeks and smile and practice my “I’m in control of my life” look. Why? Because the world expects me to be okay. They expect me to be good. To be in control. I’m not expected to fall apart. I haven’t fallen apart since my marriage disintegrated.

Ugh! Those memories still haunt me to this day. Falling out from emotional and spiritual fatigue and unable to stand. I lay on the floor crying in a heap. My then 5 year old son held my head and rubbed my hair saying, “Mommy, please don’t cry. Mommy, I will protect you.”

I cried harder.

This too shall pass.

I’ve survived worse is what I keep reminding myself. Don’t give in to the darkness. Breathe. Take it one day at a time. Pray. Pray without ceasing. Give it to God.

I have. I do. I’m so weak.

A friend said, “You have it all together.” I smiled and replied “Nope, I am one crisis away from a nervous breakdown.” Awkward silence.

Dang, I didn’t want that. It’s too early for him to think that I’m crazy. It’s too early to show vulnerability. What will he think?

I can’t breathe.

I have to think about something else. I have to focus on today’s task. I have to remind myself that my greater is coming. Strength. That’s what I need.

God please give me the strength to endure and while you’re in the problem solving business give me some grace and mercy. I could truly use it right now. Thank you Lord.

A Bit Of Everything

When Being Strong Kills You

I can’t even tell you how many times I’ve heard men tell me that I’m crazy. But, I think what I’ve heard uttered in frustration is something that I want to bring attention to now. The myth of the strong black woman. This myth that seeks to guide us as we grow up in facts cripples us by the time we’re grown women.

We’re taught that we shouldn’t be vulnerable. That we should be able to get through the problems that we encounter with strength and determination. We should just keep on keeping on. But, that’s not true. So many black women suffer from depression and are not getting the help that they need.

We try to explain it all and say “Oh, she’s just a little sick right now. She needs to pray on it and she’ll be better.” We can’t pray away mental illness. We have to address it and we have to stop teaching our girls that they have to grin and bear the pain. It’s too much.

Being strong is killing them. I’m tired of reading stories about my sisters who are struggling with underlying cases of mental illness and no one in their circle seems to know it. Blame it on the fact that we are uneducated or unconcerned about mental health in this country, but I have to say “Please stop ignoring it. It’s killing us.”

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I know. I get tired. I get tired of being a strong black woman. I watched my grandmother raise 11 children on her own and then raise some of her children’s children. If that wasn’t enough, she took in foster kids. One summer that I spent with her she had 13 other children that summer. Who the heck openly commits to raising 13 children for the summer? Why? I know she loved us but did anyone think that maybe that was too much? Let’s alternate kids for the summer?

My own mother pushed aside her pain to raise her children by herself with no financial, emotional or physical support from my dad. I still remember the day she said to me “Your dad is gone. I need you to be a big girl and help me with your brother and sister.” I was 10. Thus began the need to be a strong black girl who would become a strong black woman.

I’m not against therapy. I’m a big supporter of the need for therapy. I will often say that black folks need three things: Jesus, wine and therapy. We often neglect therapy believing that we can pray away our pain. But, if you are in immense pain can you even hear God’s response? No. The noise is too loud.

So, we put on our cape and continue to fight for the injustices of the world and never worry about how it is affecting us. How it is killing us because we are supposed to worry about everyone else but ourselves. We don’t want to be weak. Therefore, we continue to do everything around us to make people not see that we are cracking under the pressure. Try to live a normal life.

We deny that we are hurting for the convenience of others. To try to appear strong in spite of the pain. To endure. To deny the ugly truth that sometimes life is hard and we need help. We need your listening ear. We need sympathy and we need your encouragement that we should seek help.

I’m tired of reading stories where black women are killing their children, each other or themselves in what is clearly undiagnosed mental health issues. We have to stop saying be strong and tell them that it’s okay to not be strong. Be you. Find your authentic voice and get help. It’s okay.

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Disclaimer: I don’t own these photos. A quick Google search was performed to find them.