First off guys, let me say that if you know anything at all about me, you know that I don’t know much about tech stuff. I can use my computer. End of story. I don’t tinker with it, add to it, or take away from it. I don’t tweak it or meddle around with things I know nothing about.
So when New Life Outlook told me they were going to introduce a new browser extension for Chrome – and asked if I’d like to sample it and write a review about it, I was, quite honestly, a little afraid.
I had no idea what a browser extension did. Yes, I’m serious, so stop laughing.
First off, I had a heck of a time even getting the extension installed, but when I did, I knew it was purely from my lack of knowledge than anything faulty with the downloading or actual installation of the extension. It was, as a matter of fact, quite easy to do.
The only other problem I had was that after I installed the extension and used it, the next time I turned on my computer, Chrome had disabled the extension because it didn’t come from the Chrome Web Store. I spoke with someone who told me the only way I could get it re-enabled was to have the developer add the extension to the Web Store.
Now, the New Life Outlook extension is due to be released May 30, so it won’t be in the web store until then, so although I was able to use the extension and test it out, I didn’t get to spend as much time with it as I would have liked before giving it a review.
Luckily, I spent quite a bit of time with it when I first installed it. What follows is my personal opinion of the New Life Outlook browser extension for Chrome. I look forward to being able to enable it once it’s out.
Again – May 30 – so coming soon!!
Let me apologize in advance for the poor quality of my photos. I was hoping to get better ones, but that was before I knew Chrome was going to ever so politely disable my extension. So crappy photos it has to be. Sorry guys.
Okay, now on to what this browser extension does and what I thought of it!
Once the browser extension was enabled, a little NLO icon appeared in the top right of my toolbar. Clicking on it opened a new tab with NewLifeOutlook features.
The first thing it asked was my name. Once that was put in it gave me a menu to choose conditions I was interested in. I chose ADHD, Anxiety, Asthma, and Depression. Oh – just a side note here when I entered my name there was nothing to click to make it do anything. I hit the enter key and that didn’t work. I couldn’t submit the name I’d just typed. Until I zoomed out a little. My screen was at 100% – I had to change that and back off to about 75% before the “submit” button came into view under the line for my name. Just a heads up on that one.
It then asked me which news feeds I wanted to subscribe to. For general news I chose The Mighty, Healthy Living Today, and Health.com. For health news related to the conditions I had chosen, I picked Science Daily – ADHD news, Medical News Today – ADHD information, Psych Central – ADHD news, Healthline – mental health news, and Science Daily- depression news.
This was all pretty simple to do, as the screen prompted me with each step. Once I’d made my choices, there was my home screen, with a search bar and a link to a recommended article from New Life Outlook.
All of your settings are a click away in a box on the left hand side of your screen. From there you can manage your conditions and your news feed, create a to-do list (I immediately put in my daughter’s next doctor and counseling appointments,) and you can also choose from a few different background images and colors. (notice I started with the default cup coffee and coffee beans in the background then opted for a nice waterfall.)
Next to that is a button for nlo – click that and you are given a listing of articles you can choose to read from New Life Outlook on the conditions that interest you, and there is also a little heart. Each of those articles have a heart in the top right corner and if you click it, that article is added to your favorites so you can always come back to it. Pretty helpful, I thought!
I never spend a lot of time on the “home screen” for my browser. I know I can set it up so that it shows news feeds, and any other information I’d like to keep handy – but I don’t use it. Never have.
What I liked about this browser extension was that it’s something I would use. The news is relevant to me. It’s information I want to have, and the to-do list is an awesome feature! It gives me the opportunity to see articles and news I might otherwise miss, about topics that are near and dear to my heart. I love that it gives me the chance to save articles I want to come back to in my favorites.
This extension was very easy to use. The flow was nice and it seemed natural to use. It didn’t take a long time to figure out how to use it or to find its features. Everything was self explanatory and easily accessible.
It was uncluttered and uncomplicated which is a huge plus for this ADHD girl. I don’t have time or patience to figure out hard to use features. I’m easily frustrated, and that didn’t happen while I was exploring this extension.
I turn to New Life Outlook for fantastic articles on the health conditions that concern me, as well as their vibrant online communities. Now I can also turn to them for a browser extension that has features I will actually use.
I’m looking forward to the release and I highly recommend you guys check it out and try it for yourselves!
What it is: NewLifeOutlook’s browser extension for Chrome
When it is available: May 30, 2017
I’m much more comfortable talking about my ADHD than my Anxiety. I’m much more comfortable talking about A’s mental health struggles than my own. I view hers as much more important than mine. She also deals with so much more than I do, and does it with a bravery that I admire.
I’ve mentioned my Anxiety here and there, but I’d rather talk about anything else.
In light of May being Mental Health Awareness Month, I’ve decided to share a little about my experience with anxiety.
I usually see things long after everyone else does, but I recently came across the #insideoutchallenge. I was intrigued by it, and spent some time looking at posts from those who chose to share what their mental illness looked like.
The challenge, begun by mental health advocate and beauty blogger Yasaman Gheidi, challenges people to use makeup art to show others what your mental illness looks and feels like to you, or to support others through participating. I was absolutely blown away by so many of the raw, honest depictions that people had posted.
Images were sad, haunting, inspirational, and deeply meaningful all at once. I started wondering what my makeup would look like if I were to participate. Since my skills at makeup art are zero, and I’d probably just make more of a mess of myself than anything else, (although maybe that look could well define my ADHD!) I decided to forgo the actual makeup, but I know what it would be.
My mental health image would be a cage. Thick iron bars that hold me back and hold me in. I can’t escape my prison, there is no way out. Questions and accusations crowd all around me, pushing at the bars. “Why did you say that?” “How did it sound?” “What do they think of me now?” “Did I say the wrong thing?” “I looked like an idiot.” “Why can’t you just be normal?” “Why can’t you just be like everyone else?” “Why aren’t you like all the other moms?” “I can’t go in there.” “I can’t do this.”
That is how my anxiety makes me feel.
Yes, some days are better than others, but I’m never free. I can’t go to social engagements that aren’t for family. I don’t go out. I don’t meet new people. I could never begin a relationship because first of all I’m too awkward and uncomfortable to talk to someone I don’t know, but if by some miracle someone got to know me, well, they would have friends, they would have family, and I’d never be able to go out with his friends or even manage a coherent meeting.
People have asked me why I’m still single so long after my divorce, and that’s the honest answer. I’ve met a couple of very nice people, (people who for some reason just kept talking to me no matter what I said) but I talked myself out of it because I didn’t feel it was fair to put anyone through what being with me would entail. I was scared.
I second guess every single word I say every single day. Someone can ask me how I am and I answer “Fine,” and yet I still worry all day that I said the wrong thing or appeared stupid.
I’m locked in my own head in a prison of my mind’s making.
I desperately want to be free. I want to be able to talk to people and do things, but I always stop myself. I’m always afraid.
It’s exhausting. The noise of the day gets to me and by the time afternoon rolls around my senses are overloaded.
Add my ADHD to my Anxiety and even I am never quite sure what is going to happen. I forget more when I’m anxious. My short term memory is bad enough due to ADHD, but during times of high anxiety, I can’t remember anything at all. People can ask me a question and I’ve forgotten what it was before I can answer. I zone out more, then look like even more of an idiot, then worry about how much of an idiot I look like, and end up having a panic attack.
That is the truth about living with Anxiety and ADHD.
Doesn’t mean I’m not happy. Doesn’t mean there aren’t things I’m good at. Doesn’t mean I’m not a kick ass mom. (At least my daughter tells me I am, anyway!) It just means I struggle more inside my own head during a day than I struggle outside of it.
It means that when I’m out in public, or at a function, I’m doing the best I can. I appear anti social – I’m not. I appear angry – I’m not. I appear to be snobbish – I’m not. I appear bored – I’m not. When I appear to be crying and having trouble breathing – well then I just need to leave. If I can’t leave I’ll try to disappear for a few moments to collect myself before trying again. I’m trying to paste on a smile. I’m trying to think of one solitary thing to say. I really am. I WANT to talk to others. I WANT to join in. I WANT to be engaged in what is going on around me.
Don’t assume I isolate myself because I want to or because I’m selfish.
PTA meetings, church social gatherings, school banquets, small talk, even meeting my daughter’s friends all have the power to render me a useless puddle. Walking into any situation where I am unsure of exactly what is going to happen when I get there has my heart hammering and my hands trembling.
I work on it every single day. I’d give my right arm to make it go away.
It isn’t going anywhere. It’s part of me. I’ve gotten used to that fact. I just have never figured out a way to make it better. I can’t figure out how to be someone else. I can’t figure out how to do anything with abandon.
Sometimes I think it would be so amazing to just be able to forget for one second the anxiety and fear. I’d love to be able to walk into a room with my head up, not searching for a corner to melt into or a chair in the very last row.
I’ve come a long way in accepting myself for who I am. But just because I accept it doesn’t make it easy. My head is in constant turmoil. There is always noise. There is always a million racing thoughts.
It would be nice to turn it off once in a while.
It seems to me that stereotypes are EVERYWHERE.
Stigma, prejudice, misunderstanding and fear surround mental health. I’d like to think society as a whole is making great strides toward enlightenment, but at times I’m not so sure.
It amazes me, really, how little educators know about mental health issues.
I am blown away by how much, even the most caring teachers DON’T KNOW about ADHD (and don’t get me started about what they do not know about Depression, Anxiety, or Self Harm.)
I know you cannot expect them to know everything there is to know about every illness, disease, disorder, or disability out there, but sometimes it’s so hard to keep banging your head against the wall as you attempt to explain to teachers why your child does things the way they do and how their actions/words in the classroom harm more than they help.
In my own daughter’s case, she goes to an excellent school. The teachers and staff are completely amazing. Still, in conversations I have with school leaders, they really have no clue. They make these comments to me and I’m sitting there just staring at them, like really? It makes me want to send links to articles I believe they should read and hand out book recommendations.
It’s difficult to be heard even in IEP meetings. It’s frustrating.
A- tries to leave most of her struggles at home. Unfortunately with her extreme heightened sensitivity, often a small trigger can create a mountain of a response. Those things are hard to control in school. It’s frustrating that educators don’t recognize poor emotional control as part of ADHD. It’s frustrating when they tell me that maybe she should wear long sleeves to school so that others don’t ask about her scars. It’s frustrating when they ask me if she is getting all the care she needs. It’s frustrating when strangers stare at those scars and make comments.
A person with mental health struggles is having a hard enough time without having to be constantly judged by the outside world.
On the flip side, you can’t see a smile, and hear the laugh and assume a person is fine, either.
I no longer try to generalize about how my daughter is doing by thinking or saying things like, “She’s doing better.” That doesn’t work. It’s day by day, minute by minute. When someone asks how she is I now say something like, “Today was a good day.” And that’s how we have to look at it. Accept the good with the bad and know that no matter what is going on on the outside, there is more under the surface than anyone will ever know.
One of the things I’m most proud of is how my kiddo has tackled this school year. There have been setbacks, to be sure, but for the most part, she has stuck to her goal of high school being vastly different for her. And it has been.
In just a little while, she will go into Assembly and she will give a speech. She hates talking in front of people like that. But today she will give her speech because she is running for next year’s student council. Vice President. I have no idea what the outcome will be of today’s student voting, but I know that no matter what, A- is proving something to herself.
She’s also making quite the statement, whether she realizes it or not.
She’s standing up for mental health awareness. She is standing up to the stigma and the falsehoods that surround mental health.
She is telling students with ADHD, Depression, Anxiety, Self Harm, or other invisible disabilities that they count.
Running for vice president of student council she is saying she will NOT sit in a corner alone. She is saying that just because she doesn’t do things the way others do them, or just because she battles with her own brain daily that she is not less.
She is blasting through the stereotypes of what “harmers” look like, or how they behave. She is showing how ADHD creates unique, out of the box thinking that makes for excellent leaders. She is showing that having Depression and Anxiety do not make you unworthy and that you have nothing to be ashamed of – nothing to hide from.
A- has shown herself that the quirky, awkward, weird kid that used to get made fun of has something to offer. She has made friends, and has really felt accepted by many for who she is. People have told her so many times this year that her awkwardness is “cute.” She isn’t sure how to take that one – but she has also shown her other side; the funny creative one, the caring helpful one, the loyal intelligent one. And it works. She’s unique to be sure, quirky at best, but from what I can see, it’s what people like about her.
She just had to get out of her own head and put herself out there. That was hard to do after spending years being taunted and teased.
Now, she is a determined force to be reckoned with. She has a great attitude and she is genuinely kind and helpful, which fellow students and teachers alike appreciate.
I don’t know if any of these things will be enough to get her elected as vice president, and I know how badly she wants it so I know how disappointed she will be if she doesn’t win, but I also know that that isn’t really what matters most here.
What matters is the trying. It’s the doing and the standing up for what she believes in. It’s pushing the boundaries of what people expect and what they assume to be true and showing them that they are wrong. It’s about being an inspiration to those who need it and realizing your own vast potential.
People with ADHD are not lazy, stupid or clueless. Harmers are not socially inept loners. Depression isn’t always crying, withdrawal, or appearing sad. Anxiety is more than panic attacks in the restroom.
The face of invisible disabilities is the same face of every person walking around on this earth. It’s the face of every human being.
We all have a story to tell. We all have our private wars and our public face. We all have our strengths and our weaknesses. We all have something to give.
What A- is saying to her fellow students this morning, “I believe in myself, and you should too.”
A few weeks ago I wrote about the wonderful enlightening moment my daughter had while we were out shopping. It was a beautiful moment where she accepted the change that could be hers and felt sure that she had the power to heal herself.
The thing about change is, that it doesn’t make everything magically disappear.
She still has Depression. She still has Anxiety. She still has ADHD. She is still a recovering self-harmer.
And there is nothing wrong with being any of those things. Yep. I said it.
Those things in and of themselves may be vicious thieves, but they do not make a person less. They do not make a person unlovable, or any less worthy than any other individual. They do not make a person any less of a beautiful human being.
Mental illness is hard. It takes its toll and wreaks havoc. It is heartless and cruel. It is draining and senseless.
No matter how long I live I will never, ever understand why some people have to suffer in such a way. I look at my beautiful daughter and I see a childhood lost. It is enough to make a person want to shake their fist at the heavens and shout, “Why??!!”
But despite anything I did, or could have done, it would still exist.
There are always heart pounding dips, hairpin curves, and steep climbs on this journey of life with mental illness. One day can be fantastic, while the very next may prove to be a chore just to make it through. You can be having a great day when something happens that sets off your heightened sensitivity and the rest of the day goes down in a spiral of flames. You can wear a smile, joke and laugh with friends and family, while inside you feel numb.
A- has been doing remarkably well. She has not harmed in around two months. She says she might think about death sometimes, but she does not want to die. She says she isn’t going to do anything to herself. She is still embracing her change and embracing herself. She is still growing in confidence and in acceptance of herself.
It is a remarkable thing to watch.
And yet…just underneath there has been turbulence. About three weeks ago, her three “best friends” ditched her out of the blue. Here was A-, with friends for the first time in her life, excited to have them, knowing she had made friends for life. She was the shoulder they cried on, the one they complained to, and the one that was more loyal than they would ever know. Yet when they decided they no longer wanted to be her friend, they weren’t mature enough to handle it nicely. Instead of just being honest and moving on, they resorted to being mean and petty. A- was upset. Very upset. Here were girls she loved; girls she trusted, and they had turned on her.
I was worried we were in for a horrible spiral of self loathing. But that was not the case.
Other students rallied around her. Others were quick to offer friendship. She was given support. Instead of retreating to a corner and once again becoming the loner, she was more determined than ever. She knew it wasn’t her. She knew she could have friends and continue to have an awesome high school experience.
But I knew it hurt her more than she let on. She smiled on the outside, but I heard her crying in her room. I saw the sad eyes. But she continued on. She talked to new people. She joined new groups. It hurt because of how they treated her, but it did not damper her determination. I was proud of that.
Still, with the treatment from the other girls, and a series of mishaps at school due to her running out of medication for a short time, we were still in for one of those slow click…click…clicks as we tried to make it up this hill. The depression has shown itself but she knows it will release its hold. She knows it won’t last. That’s the big difference. She’s not sleeping well, she’s agitated and restless, she would prefer to sleep the day away so that she doesn’t have to think. Nightmares when she does sleep have been plentiful.
But she refuses to give up. She refuses to harm to make herself feel better. She refuses to withdraw.
High functioning depression can be dangerous because we aren’t sure what’s going on on the inside, but right now, I know she’s just hanging on and waiting for the storm to pass.
And sometimes, right in the midst of the sadness and melancholy she will do or say something that makes us laugh. She still has those moments that make her uniquely “her.” Like earlier this week when they were supposed to be doing wall planks in PE class and she got bored so she started doing the Macarena. (Coach made her run two laps for being “ridiculous” while he couldn’t help but laugh.) And this morning as we were heading off to school she shoved an entire family size box of Cheerios in her back pack. I asked why, she asked why not? I told her she needed to take them out so she didn’t end up dropping them and having cereal roll all down the school halls. She told me she might get hungry today while taking tests and need something to snack on. And she hopped out of the car blowing me a kiss before I could confiscate them.
Newsflash: I was SHOCKED she did not get in trouble with her gigantic box of Cheerios. I just knew impulsive, quirky kid that she is, she’d end up taking them out in English and offering some to the teacher.
It’s the little things that I embrace. The little, daily things that let me know she’s in there and that she’s going to be okay.
Home from school, she was cranky and got in bed to sleep. I figured I’d let her.
We’re going to a new church and she has made SO MANY new friends there! And best of all? She told me that she has stopped blaming God for the things that happened to her. It was one of the worst effects of the things that happened in her past – she used to beg God to help her and felt that He wasn’t listening. She would tell me what was the use of praying and believing when He let people suffer? Being in church and seeing other teens who aren’t just going through the motions, but who take their faith seriously, has been good for her. Now she’d been moving away from her anger at God for some time now, and was almost there, but she finally crossed back over that line, where she no longer blames herself, and she no longer blames God. Last week at devotional at church, she experienced a complete sense of forgiveness and healing from her broken relationship. She told me all she could do was just kneel there on the floor and cry, feeling like a great weight had been lifted off as she made her peace with the things that happened to her and the fact that she had thought God remained silent through it all. She realized He had never been silent. It was in a thousand little things that kept her going all those years. He’d been there all along.
So maybe the depression is rearing its head right now, maybe she’s anxious and moody, but that is the way things are. We just hold on and know it will pass. It seems odd that it can come at the same time that there is also good – but that is the nature of life.
In the meantime, maybe we should just do the Macarena and eat some Cheerios.
Forgive me for a moment because you are about to enter into a strange world of spiritualism, “new age hoo- doo” (as a few people have said to me – people who got annoyed with me when I tried to give them the definition of hoo-doo), auras, vibes, and premonitions.
This is also a very long story. I’ll understand if you don’t hang in til the end. Just don’t ask me to hurry it along. Because I cannot.
I believe in things that can’t always be explained. I believe there are those who are extremely in tune with the vibes of the universe and can see, hear, and feel things that others do not. While I myself have good intuition and feel strong “vibes,” A- has always been tuned in to something that defies logic and reason.
She senses things about strangers. She feels thing in objects others have touched. She can tell you about people she has never met by walking into the home they lived in. She can see people’s auras.
Maybe you don’t believe in such gibberish, and that’s okay. I never knew anyone on a personal level who had these gifts until I met her. I never discounted it, I just didn’t have any friends who owned up to having these talents. She doesn’t talk about it with many people. She feels embarrassed by it. She feels they wouldn’t understand, or would call her crazy. She’s a highly sensitive being, an old soul, and a tormented one.
I’ve made no secret here of A’s mental health struggles. Depression. Self Harm. Suicidal ideation. Anxiety. ADHD. She’s come so very far, but it has been such an uphill battle. She has worked so hard to claim the life she wants to lead. Yet underneath, there is always the fear. The scared little girl that just longs to be free but doesn’t quite know how to be.
Things have been going pretty well lately. She’d gone a month and a half with no self harm, then had a setback. I knew she was ashamed of it, even though I tried to tell her there was no need to be. Healing takes time. She had to be kind to herself. It’s been about that long again, and I’ve tried not to get antsy, hoping she can beat her current record. It’s not a game, it really isn’t, but sometimes unfortunately you do find yourself counting those days “clean” with some sort of reverent hope that the number will just grow and grow without ever having a set back again. We hope. We pray. We try to help fight some demon we can’t even see. We love them through all the set backs and all the pain. We love them through the confusion and tears, the self loathing and the shame, the guilt and the desire. She’s battled her self harm. She’s battled her depression and anxiety, and she has battled her self loathing and the desire to just end it all to make it go away. I know how strong she is; I’ve just been waiting for the day that she knew it too.
Things have been better than they have ever been. She’s been involved and active in school. She’s made friends. She’s so much better that it’s frustrating when people see her and see “mental issues.” My child is not a mental issue. She is not something you can put in a box and define. She is a living, breathing person who has many facets to her personality. She is more than depression or self harm. She is a beautiful soul who is blessed and cursed with thinking too much, feeling too much, and seeing too much. She’s just a girl trying to heal from a jagged past, a girl haunted by memories and plagued with nightmares. A girl who wants desperately to be free.
I’ve watched her on the brink. I see the longing inside of her for wellness. I see her grasping for it, then tentatively pulling her hand back, comforted by the familiar darkness. I wait – just wait for the day she will be ready to grasp at hope. I wait for the day she is confident and comfortable. The day she begins to love herself. I have watched it grow near. I’ve seen her battle with the old thoughts and the new that are crowding them out. It’s been an internal struggle for a while – holding onto the fear and loathing and yet seeking out love, light and acceptance.
Tonight I witnessed something I can only call a miracle.
I’m not saying “Pouf!” all is well and the problems and years of pain have dissipated into the night air, but I did witness something so strong it was almost tangible. Something that left me overwhelmed and filled with wonder.
Tonight I witnessed A- take a leap.
What follows will be a very bad telling of the events that transpired tonight. It will be a poor telling because no matter my fondness for words, I can’t find the right ones to express what I witnessed. I witnessed emotions. I witnessed… change.
A- and I went to a nearby shopping center to find her some clothes. She’s lost some weight and was feeling pretty good about herself and with spring coming and all, she decided it would be nice to add something to her wardrobe that wasn’t a band t-shirt. Don’t get me wrong, my Emo, Metalhead, Punk Rock chick will never give up her band t-shirts and black Converse, but like I said, facets. She’s ready to admit she has more than one side, and is ready to embrace the idea that sometimes, just maybe she isn’t in the mood for a band T and just might be in the mood for oh, flowers? Okay, let’s not go crazy…
So we were ambling along talking and I’ll admit I wasn’t really paying attention when she grabbed my arm and said, “We have to go in here!” pulling me almost violently into a store. At first glance, I wasn’t sure what kind of store it was, there was an odd assortment of many things. Once I was inside I saw it was one of those places with items from around the world. Handmade jewelry, rocks and crystals, purses and handbags, colorful hassocks, and all sorts of delightful treasures that beg a slow stroll. I usually don’t buy much from these types of shops, to be honest. I like to look at some of the items, but would rarely buy anything. A- is drawn to the eclectic. She loves curious and unique things.
When we walked in we were greeted by a lovely saleswoman. Friendly and warm, she welcomed us to the store. I saw A- falter when she looked at her, but I couldn’t read her expression. I knew it couldn’t be bad, because if she had read something ugly or twisted in the woman, she immediately would have had to leave the store. But the thing was, for a few moments, she and the woman just stood there. Both of them just looking at one another. The air felt strange. In a moment A- seemed to shake off whatever it was that had her transfixed, and she went about happily exploring the store. The saleswoman turned her attention to three gentlemen who were interested in information about a Native American headdress that was in the window, and A- and I were left to our own devices to wander around.
We looked around, walking and talking and let’s skip to A- and the sales woman having a conversation about wolves. A- says they are her spirit animal. There was one wolf item in the shop, a garish turquois wallet with a wolf emblazoned on the front. It was in a glass case with other items, and while A- and the woman both said they didn’t like the wallet, she opened the case so they could have a better look. They smiled and wrinkled their noses in distaste. Then she showed A- the other treasures in the case; spy glasses, evil eye ornaments, and little notebooks from Nepal.
Yes, I know this is a long story. I told you it would be.
Here is where something extremely curious happened. There was a symbol on one of the little notebooks. The lady asked A- if she knew what it was. She did not. She told her it was OM. She asked if she knew what it meant, and surprisingly, A- told her she did not. Now, I didn’t ask her, but I’m not sure if A- really didn’t know what OM was, or if she just said she didn’t because she didn’t want to look like a know it all. Just seemed like something A- would know to me – but anyway THAT is not important.
She told A- that the store had had a wonderful cut out OM wall hanging that she had wanted to purchase for herself, but she showed it to a woman and the woman had loved it and snapped it up. She said she was a bit disappointed, but knew it was for the best. The woman was meant to have it. Then she smiled and she asked A- “Would you like to see something else I have hidden away?” She went to a drawer and pulled out a wooden cutout. She smiled and added, “Okay, I didn’t hide it. I found it in this drawer and I loved it and wanted it so I left it in there and put it on hold for myself. But I decided not to get it.” She held it up and said, “This is Masakra. It is the symbol for ‘I have changed.’ It’s about regeneration and how it comes from within.”
A- looked at me and our eyes locked and she whispered, “Change.”
I said, “You need that.” She nodded and reached out and gently touched the wall hanging the woman was holding and said, “I really do.” She looked at the lady and said, “I’ve changed a lot lately.” Her voice caught as she added, “So much.” And there, for some inexplicable reason, A-‘s eyes teared up. I put my arm around her and smiled. I told her I think we needed the sign. And something strange came into the air and my eyes teared up. I told A-, “You have changed a lot and I’m so very proud of you. Change does come from inside of yourself.” The saleslady looked at us, and the thing is, she didn’t look perplexed at all. She didn’t look at us like we had just lost our marbles, getting teary eyed in a store over a wall hanging. But it wasn’t the wall hanging at all. It was that A- identified with the symbol. She felt it. Then this woman said, “I believe things happen for a reason. I had put this aside for myself but decided not to buy it. It didn’t feel right. I’m a strong believer in feelings and letting the universe tell us what we need or don’t need. Something told me that wasn’t meant for me, that it was meant for someone else. You’re the only person I’ve shown it to. Something just told me to show it to you.” She smiled and held it out to A-. “I think I’ve been saving this for you.”
Now, you are thinking, she was just a saleslady trying to make a sale to two sentimental weirdos. Maybe she was, but I don’t think so. I honestly don’t think she really cared if we bought one single thing. I had a couple items we were getting already, so it’s not like we were leaving empty handed. Sure, the more they can sell the better, but I’ve been in that situation, thousands of times. This was not one of them.
A- just smiled a small smile and she told the woman, “The thing is, I have changed. Just this year I’ve changed so much and I want to continue to change.” The woman asked A- if she would share her story with her. She said, “You don’t have to, of course, but only if you want to, I’d love to hear a little of your story and in what way you’ve changed.”
A- looked at me and then looked straight into the woman’s face and said, “I was abused most of my life. I thought it was my fault and I hated myself. Just this year I’ve started to accept that it wasn’t my fault and I didn’t do anything wrong. I’ve hurt myself for years and just this year I’ve stopped hurting myself.” A tear slid down her cheek and she kind of gave an embarrassed smile and looked at the floor. The woman looked at her and then just reached out and put her arms around her and hugged her close and they cried. The woman told her, “I hear you keep saying, ‘just this year’ but I look at it like look at what you have achieved. Look at the amazing thing you’ve done by starting to let it go. So many people live their entire lives wrapped up in hurt and the anger and the pain but you’ve decided you don’t want to live that way. I don’t know you, but I am so proud of you. I am so proud of you for accepting the change that can be yours. You are going to do amazing things with your life. You’re already doing amazing things.” She let her go and held out her hand and introduced herself. They shook hands and the woman said, “Thank you for letting me be a part of this moment. You don’t know me, but you’ve touched me. You have the power and the gift to touch the hearts and minds of others. It’s inside of you. I can see it and I can feel it.”
We chatted a few more minutes with the woman and then we left the store. I know there was so much more said, but honestly, I was so overwhelmed by the tangible emotions in that store, and by the things A- said after we left, that I honestly cannot recall much of what transpired.
A- told me that she really did feel herself changing. She said it had been an amazing start to the year because she really felt she was able to let things go and love herself. She felt that she had so much to live for and so much to do.
I couldn’t help it. I asked her if she realized what she said in the store. I asked her if she realized that she said “I USED to hurt myself,” or “Just this year I stopped.” She began to cry again and she said, “I’m crying because I feel like it’s over. I feel like I can let it go. I feel like I CAN stop hurting myself. I feel like that part of my life is over and I can move on to look forward to other things.”
We cried more. We talked more. We talked about her budding self respect. We talked about her desires for the future. Then she asked me if I wanted to know what she felt when she entered the store. She said we were walking along and something yanked her into that store. She said it was a strong pull, a sudden push to get inside the door as quickly as she could. Then she said once inside, she saw the saleswoman and she told me, “When I looked at her and she looked at me, I had this sudden overwhelming feeling. We had an entire conversation without saying a word. I don’t know if she knew it, but I think she did. It was like our souls had things to say to each other that we just understood.” Then she said, “And mom, she didn’t have an aura. I was so amazed when I saw her that I couldn’t move or even speak. She shone. There was no aura, but she was outlined. There was an outline around her of brilliant irridescent light. I’ve seen white auras before, and this wasn’t like that. She just shined.”
And then she told me – “She pushed me, Mom. I’ve been standing on that cliff for a long time now, too scared to jump and turn the page, and right then, in that conversation we had when we didn’t talk out loud, she pushed me. Before the Masakra before any of it, something in her being forced me off the edge.” She started to cry. Again. She was grinning from ear to ear and she was crying. She put her face in her hands and she sobbed. “She somehow let me know that it was okay to turn the page and close the chapter on everything bad. I don’t know how. I don’t understand it, I just know it happened. I felt it. Mom, she somehow told me everything I needed to hear. She saved me.” She shook her own head in disbelief. “I sometimes try to block out this part of me, this part that sees things or feels things. I try to block it out not just because people don’t always understand it, but because I don’t know how to control it. I don’t know how to control the emotions when I meet someone and I can get overwhelmed. I felt in that moment we looked at eachother that she knew. I felt that she was like me, but in total control of her mind. She sees but, she can control her reactions. I can’t always do that.”
I cried too. The night was surreal. We talked about the woman, we talked about the encounter, and we talked about the change. She talked about how things felt different tonight – how she felt about herself, how she felt about her life. She talked about accepting herself and being at peace with who she was, what her body looked like, her personality and her tastes. She talked about confidence and understanding. She talked about a life that did not include self harm.
How can a stranger push your child toward a truth you’ve been begging them to see for years?
I wish I could explain the whole evening better. I wish I could remember more specific bits of conversation between us and the woman in the store. I wish there was a way to recount the look on A-‘s face. But it was a look of peace. We stood in that store and A- said she “used” to hurt herself and I saw a look of peace on my child’s face that I’ve never seen before. I saw her features relax and for the first time, her eyes cleared. There was no pain in them, no hate, and no sorrow. Her eyes were pure and clear and her features held no trace of pain and guilt. It’s a moment I want to hold onto for eternity. It was a moment in which I felt complete bliss as I looked into her eyes and saw things in them; unmasked and unafraid.
That is what I truly cannot put into words. The look in her eyes. It is the most beautiful thing I have ever seen.
I began this last night after the events and had to leave it. In the harsh light of day I expected to see it was all a dream, or hadn’t lasted. Although things are much more “normal” today, the light continues to shine in my daughter. She went to the beach with a friend and all I heard was laughter. She played in the freezing cold surf, she let go – and it was wonderful to see.
As I’ve watched the news over the past couple of days I am saddened by some of what I have seen. I wasn’t able to watch much of the presidential inauguration, but what I did see where people protesting by breaking windows, and by choosing violence and harm. I hope that there were also instances of people who shared love to others; who shared hope and a commitment to their fellowman. I hope those things happened and I just didn’t see them.
I usually stay away from anything political.
I write about life with mood disorders and ADHD, not my personal opinions and thoughts on politics. I believe we are all entitled to our opinions and I try to be respectful of folks that don’t think the way I do.
But right now I have to ask, where does violence get us?
I am not going to say who I voted for or who I did not vote for. I am not going to say whether I am happy with the person in the White House or whether I am unhappy. It’s not the point and it really doesn’t matter.
I am scared for the future of America.
And that has nothing to do with who sits in the Oval Office. I am concerned because violence has become our way to protest anything we don’t like. We riot. We loot. We set fires. We kill.
Doing harm is not protesting. If you are unhappy with the political climate, wouldn’t it be better to find positive ways to help? What about volunteering with organizations that we support? What about giving our time to assist others and bring awareness to important issues?
When we take to violence because we don’t like something, what does that say about us as a whole?
Regardless of who is in the White House and whether or not I like it, that person IS my president. Even if I cannot respect the person in the position, I still respect that office.
I really don’t understand the ‘not my president’ movement.
If you are a citizen of the United States then Donald Trump IS your president. Wouldn’t we all do well to band together in support of our own country? Couldn’t we do more for our common goals if we worked together?
Yes, being a citizen of the United States gives you the freedom to say whatever you wish. It gives you the freedom to participate in the not my president campaign.
I’m simply saying I don’t understand it. What will it do? What will it change? Will it make a difference in the political climate? Will it change who holds the office of Commander in Chief?
I genuinely don’t know, I only know what I have seen of it on social media. Even if I loathe the President, it doesn’t change the fact that he is, in fact, my president because I am a citizen of this country.
I uphold people’s right to protest (peacefully) in any way they see fit and maybe I just don’t see the bigger picture here; or maybe my brain just can’t wrap around the concept. Maybe I’m thinking too literally. Maybe I’m not thinking enough.
It seems to me that right now would be the time to say, okay, I didn’t vote for this person, I don’t like what he stands for, I don’t like how he talks or how he looks or what he wears, or whatever else it is you don’t like – BUT – now that he is president of my country, I will look for ways to make a positive impact and bring about the changes we need to see.
We forget, I think, or maybe politicians wish us to forget, that this country is OURS. It isn’t up to a president to make our country great, it is up to US. WE have that power. All of us.
Sometimes it doesn’t feel like it, but we choose what businesses we support, we choose how we treat our fellow citizens. We choose our attitudes and our behavior. We choose what ideas and belief systems we support.
We can all bring about change each and every day. Change starts with each one of us, in our own communities. I know I am being naive. I know things are complicated. Sometimes I don’t think they are as complicated as we make them, though.
Yes, I am aware that working together for the benefit of the country is a pipe dream. We will always have discord and we will always have those unwilling to work with others. It would be impossible for everyone to agree. But how do we deal with those we disagree with? With hatred or with compromise? With violence or with peace?
I’m not saying anyone should give up their values and their beliefs, but isn’t there a better way? Isn’t there a way to improve our situation through working together?
Violence begets violence and hatred begets hatred. We don’t prove anything by hurting one another. I believe peaceful protests can have their place. But why resort to anger and hate? Who are we really hurting when we do that? No one but our fellow citizens.
Did breaking windows and rioting in the streets hurt the President? No. It hurt our businesses and our fellowmen. Is there a way to show our distaste and disapproval of the President without violence? I believe so. And maybe that is what the hashtag not my president seeks to do – show distaste in a peaceful manner. On a personal level I can’t support the words, and I do wonder what impact it has as far as what good is accomplished from it, but I’m not judging those who use it.
Maybe we should try getting involved to make a difference. Maybe we should get involved in our communities. Maybe we should build each other up and teach our children the values of this country so that they can grow into responsible leaders.
I just don’t think violence is the way to get what you want. As I watched windows being broken at the Bank of America, it looked more to me like a collective temper tantrum from a group of two year olds. We didn’t get our way and we don’t know how to properly voice our disapproval so we are going to kick and scream and break something.
That’s my opinion anyway. It’s okay if your opinion is different.
I’m not claiming to know all the facts. I’m not claiming to know all the answers. I’m not claiming to be well versed in the world of politics. I’m just talking about what I witnessed in bits and pieces on television that day.
And it made me wonder WHO those actions were helping. What GOOD came of it? What PURPOSE did it serve?
Just my own thoughts. In a time where everything seems to be upside down and our country is locked in some kind of perpetual squabble among ourselves, I keep thinking that we have the power to STOP all this. We have the power to be better than this.
All of us can just keep putting one foot in front of the other and focus on where we can do good in each day. Where can we make a difference? Where can we bring positivity and hope? How can we uplift our fellowman to make our country, and the world, a better place in which to live?
Individuals can be mighty. An individual can bring about change.
What can we do?
It’s all too easy to fall into the trap of feeling like you’ve accomplished nothing with your life.
For me, that is a constant thought – an unwelcome companion that goes everywhere with me. My shadow. Now it doesn’t matter WHY, it just matters that I feel like I’ve never done anything with myself.
I think many of us with ADHD know that feeling all too well.
We’ve jumped from one thing to another, or never found our niche, or get too bored, or too overwhelmed, or too..well, you name it, we’ve felt it. For me personally, it’s more of an “if I’d known then what I know now” kind of thing. Once upon a time I saw myself as a happy little stay at home mom. As my then husband pointed out – there was no NEED for me to finish my degree because I was going to stay home with our children. (Just a piece of advice – always ALWAYS finish that degree. Things don’t always go according to plan and you never know when you might have to unexpectedly enter the work force. Get some skills. Just saying.)
Oh, as the years went by I tried a few things. That’s where the ADHD kicked in. It was all hyperfocus and excitement for a new project for a while, then it just fizzled out and I was left feeling like a failure. Again.
Don’t get me wrong. Life isn’t about just a career.
I let myself feel inferior for all SORTS of reasons – not having a career to speak of was just one of those things.
So there I was, suddenly a single mom. Now what? I worked and decided to go back to school. I entered into a distance learning program which I thought would be great for me, and then…yep…you guessed it.
My then seven year old had a breakdown. Life as we had begun to know it was suddenly something I didn’t recognize. It wasn’t about jobs, or careers, or self fulfillment anymore. It was about getting through the day intact.
The next several years became about getting my daughter through the day. Nothing else much mattered. I worked at my job, the hours were great for our needs and if there was an emergency I could leave whenever I needed to.
Even though I knew better, sometimes I still compared myself with others.
Even though I knew I was doing what needed to be doing, sometimes I still let that doubt enter in. I would look at others and see people that looked so put together. People happily in careers they enjoyed. People that didn’t panic at the end of every month when there wasn’t enough money to go around. I was never envious of them, I just felt like I didn’t measure up.
So today my daughter was having not such a great day. It was a really rough one for her. This evening I went to church and I just felt helpless. I felt like I’d failed in some way. I wasn’t able to protect her when she needed it. I felt like a lot of what happened to her was my fault. Unproductive thoughts. My brain knows I could not control the actions of someone else. My brain knows I did what I could. My heart doesn’t always see it that way.
So during the sermon, the priest was talking about what we would put on our obituaries if we had to write them for God. What would we say we had done? What would we tell God that we had done with our lives that served Him? I sat there, in the back pew in the far corner and I started to cry. What have I done? What have I given back to this world that I could tell God about? What good had I accomplished?
Then the priest said something that changed everything.
He said God does not judge the way the world judges. In the world when you die they print your obituary and talk about the deeds you’ve done, the organizations you’ve belonged to, your career, and the volunteer work you did. In the world they look at the big things you’ve done, the accolades you’ve been given. God doesn’t look at it that way.
God does not care if you’ve done big things or if you’ve done small things.
He said maybe you’ve led a life where you had the opportunity to serve your community in big ways. He said, maybe though, the things you have done are not so noticeable to the outside world. He paused and when he continued, the words meant more to me than any I have ever heard.
Maybe what you have done with your life is to care for a child with special needs. Maybe you’ve given your life to this child to make theirs better. No one might know that but you and God. No one in the world may notice how important it was.
I sat there crying quietly because my child may not be “special needs” in the way other children are. I am blessed and thankful that my daughter has always had physical health. I cried for all the parents out there giving their all to a child with physical or emotional and mental needs. I cried for other parents hanging on by a thread feeling helpless as they watch their child suffer with mental illness. Depression. Self Harm. Suicidal thoughts.
And even though I know that being there for my child was the most important job I had, I felt like God was reminding me that while my life might feel out of control sometimes, and while I might feel like I don’t measure up – that I’m judging myself on the standards of the world around me, and on false importance. Raising my daughter – keeping her safe – was my most important job, and it was enough.
Maybe I haven’t done big things. Maybe I don’t have an important career. Maybe I’m scattered and forgetful, socially anxious and awkward – but I’m enough. What I have done is important and necessary. I kept her safe. I’ve been there for her so that she can one day reach her full potential.
As a mother I don’t regret one single thing I’ve done. I don’t need the approval of others and I’m not trying to sound self righteous like I’ve done better than anyone else. I don’t need sympathy and don’t mean that I’ve had it harder than anyone. I know that in comparison to some, I’ve had it easy. And I’ve made plenty of mistakes.
Sometimes we all need to be reminded though that sometimes we choose our path, and sometimes our path is chosen because it’s the one we are forced to take. We make decisions every day about what is important to us.
I’ve always chosen to care for my daughter’s emotional and mental health. I’ve lost friends, I’ve missed opportunities, and I often feel I’ve nothing to show for my life thus far.
But that isn’t so. I have a beautiful daughter that is still here with me. I have a beautiful daughter whose smile lights up my day. I have a daughter who is getting better every day. So I have everything.
Maybe my life doesn’t look like much from the outside. But I am reminded of what it looks like to me. And that’s all that matters.
Earlier this evening I shared an incident from today on our ADHD Kristi & Co. Facebook page.
It was one of those great mom moments that I believed was one of the uplifting, fantastic things about our ADHD kids.
I just have so many thoughts swirling around in my brain tonight that I just keep thinking about it, and how A- has changed and grown so much!
I watch A- and I see the struggle between the girl she has been and the girl she wants to become. I see inside to the real her, where sometimes people can only see as far as the outside. They see the girl with half her head nearly shaved, and the scars and sometimes they make judgements. Strangers and acquaintances don’t know her kindness and compassion, her willingness to help anyone at any time.
Too many times I’ve seen someone stare at her scars and I see her notice it and quickly pull her arm into her body to hide it. Lately though, I’ve seen her offer a huge, warm smile to the person staring and a refusal to hide her arm. Sometimes people look away embarrassed, sometimes they smile back.
I can’t imagine the strength it takes to look at someone and smile when they are looking at you and judging you. Or pitying you. Or wondering what could have happened to you. I see her confidence growing and an acceptance of herself that is beautiful to witness.
She’s always been a motherly type of girl. She liked nothing better at her old school than to be able to care for the “little kids.” She’s always been a hug when someone needed it, or a lap to read in. She encourages and praises, kisses scrapes and offers advice. It’s just who she is.
This afternoon we went into a restaurant and couldn’t help but overhear some of the conversation coming from the booth behind us. A boy and his mom were talking about his troubles with his peers at school. You could tell he was probably a very bright child from the way he spoke. We didn’t mean to eavesdrop, but they weren’t talking very quietly. He was in sixth grade and didn’t fit in. He was saying all the ways he was trying to make friends, but no one liked him. He talked about walking up and trying to join conversations or make a joke only to be met with complete silence and stares. He talked about being teased and laughed at. His mother was sympathetic, offering that they were the ones missing out. He talked about wanting to be like them so they would accept him. He just wanted to be included.
He just wanted someone to be his friend.
I watched A- as she heard him talking and her eyes were tearing up and she was trying not to cry. Finally she looked at me and said, “Mom, I have to go talk to that baby. I have to tell him it gets better.”
First off, I love how she uses the term “baby” like she is an elderly woman. Anyone younger than her ripe old age of 14 is “baby.” I knew she was nervous about butting into a stranger’s conversation, but I told her to do what she thought she had to do.
Pushing herself up from the table she went to theirs and said, “I’m sorry, I couldn’t help but overhear and there are a few things I think you need to know.”
She proceeded to tell him that he was perfect just the way he was, not to ever change just to be accepted, because it would be fake and he wouldn’t be happy. She told him she knew, she had tried. She told him that she was teased and never fit in so she knew what it was like. She told him that she could tell he was very bright and mature, and that there was just something special about him that the other kids his age didn’t understand. She told him it would get better.
The boy’s face lit up. He grinned from ear to ear.
He asked her if she really thought it would get better. She told him she definitely did. She talked to him about keeping his head up and being proud of who he was. She told him that in a couple of years the people that had things in common with him would find him, that there were lots of people out there that liked what he liked and would understand him.
He told her he liked theater. She smiled and told him she sang and made art.
She told him he was special. She told him middle school was rough and it was mean, but it didn’t last forever. She assured him that he would find friends – good friends that genuinely cared about him and liked him for himself. He just kept grinning and thanking her and asking “Really?”
His mother sat there, smiling, with tears in her eyes, and thanked A- for being a blessing that day.
We left and she cried when she got in the car. I told her I was proud of her willingness to put herself out there to try to make someone else feel better. I told her that maybe she had made a difference to that boy, maybe a small one, but maybe something larger. Maybe he would always remember the stranger who came up to him and told him he was enough just the way he was.
I told her that I never would have had her courage at her age. I’m not sure I have it now.
She smiled, glad that she had made herself walk up to them, even though she hadn’t known how they would respond.
Maybe it’s a small thing, but to me THIS is what makes the world great.
It’s these little moments that we take and share our humanity with someone else.
It’s the times when we don’t talk ourselves out of doing a kindness, or giving a compliment, or standing up for someone who needs it that makes this life worthwhile.
This is what our New Year’s wishes were all about. Becoming people that care about other people. Or at least becoming people that show others that we care.
It’s always difficult to put ourselves out there, but when you have ADHD, or Depression or Anxiety, or you have self harm scars that people stare at – it becomes that much harder.
It’s easier to stay within yourself where you are comfortable, where you know what to expect. Change is only going to happen if we become the change we wish to see. Okay, I think that’s in a song and a million inspirational quotes, but it holds true.
Each of us can make a difference.
It doesn’t have to be something monumental. Each day is made up of moments where we have the chance to do something great. We have the chance to make a “small” difference to someone else. No act of kindness or compassion is ever small. At least I don’t believe it is.
My daughter shows me so many beautiful things daily. And I see her changing and growing and it helps me to know that there are good things ahead for her.
I now must take her cue and have the courage to not be silent when I have the chance to make a difference.
New Year’s is definitely a time where many of us find ourselves looking over the past and making plans for the future.
In our ADHD household, sometimes plans don’t last very long. It’s such a contradiction that we crave order and yet can get so scattered that chaos ensues instead. One of the things I work on. Continually.
It’s been a rough year, I’m not even going to lie about it. It’s had its good moments, of course, but all in all, this has been a DIFFICULT year. A- has fought so hard this year against the depression and self harm, yet sometimes it has seemed like a losing battle.
Don’t get me wrong, she is going to win the war – I just know it, but there has been some pretty rough battles this year. Still, she fights on and I am so, so proud of her. She’s changed a lot this year, and those changes are bringing her closer and closer to the person she wants to be.
Last year I started a Gratefulness jar.
Each week we were supposed to put something in the jar that we were either grateful for, or something good that happened to us that week.
A- indulged me, for the most part, but we missed putting things in a lot of weeks. Some weeks she claimed she just saw no good in, and other times our ADHD and forgetfulness just made us plain forget.
The idea was that on New Year’s Eve 2016, we would take out all those moments and spend a few minutes remembering the good. Tonight before midnight we will dive into our jar and be reminded of some of the good that was to be found in this year.
We decided earlier today to just go all out on the “hokey” stuff and after we empty our jar we are going to put our “wishes” for 2017 in it.
Things we want to do more of, things we want to change, or goals we wish to reach. We wrote down things like being mindfully grateful, being more forgiving and less judgemental. They will go in the jar and then we will continue with our weekly addition of something to be grateful for from the week, and those will be pulled out at the end of 2017.
We can also see our wishes and hopefully we will see that we really did work to change in this new year.
Tonight we will also set fire to scraps of paper that hold the things we want to get rid of from 2016. Anger. Anxiety. Hurt. Anything we no longer want to carry with us.
Personally I’m looking forward to letting go of the negativity of some of the things we’ve been holding onto. We can burden ourselves with so much – guilt, shame, anger – we need to release those things to become our best selves.
That is my wish for 2017. To become my best self.
I want to shed bad health, bad memories, and bad habits. Yeah, I know it’s a tall order. I don’t expect to do it in one day, but I do want to be conscious of the desire to do better. The desire to BE better. I think it’s important.
I don’t know what A- wrote that she wants to get rid of. I’m hoping self harm is on one of those papers. She tries to quit, but I think she mostly tries for me. She won’t be completely successful until she is ready to stop for herself. She wants to stop – I just don’t think she is there yet. I know I will continue to do whatever I can to support and encourage her.
She has no idea how proud I am of her, even though I do tell her. One day she will believe it.
I know the coming year is going to be a good one.
I know that it is within my power to make it so. I can’t change what happens around me and I can’t control or change what other people do – but I control my reactions and I control my outlook.
So I look to be more positive in the coming year. I look to be more kind, more forgiving and more compassionate.
It’s going to be a good year. Goodbye 2016 take all the bad stuff with you!!
2016 will soon be behind us. I don’t want to rush it or anything, but next week this year will be a memory. I’d like to think I made the most of the year, but as always there are moments that passed me by. After all, I do have ADHD, so there is plenty of misspent time and chaos. There are times I feel scattered and rushed and times I feel like I am just in the rut of the daily activities that must be accomplished.
Christmas is over and I find that I am very tired. I guess it’s the overwhelm that can come with the holidays. It’s so busy and everything is so rushed. Even though I promise myself I am going to enjoy it all, it still ends up being pretty stressful. So much going on and no way to process it all. We still managed to have a nice holiday. A couple of snags maybe, but everything has a way of working out.
So with Christmas over, I start to look toward the coming year. It’s always a time of reflection. A little sad to see the old year go and a new one come, yet excited at the possibilities that lie in a fresh start.
This year had its share of challenges, but we have faced them squarely and made it through. I’m proud of us. I am especially proud of her. This year also held some great moments, and I am grateful for them.
For the year ahead I want to read more books, take more time to see what is right in front of me, and do more things that make me happy. I want to laugh, live and love.
I’m not much for New Year’s Resolutions, but I do want to be more grateful, more relaxed, and more present.
I don’t know if I am ready for all the changes the new year will bring, but I will do my best. There are so many things I want to accomplish. I just hope I at least get to some of them.
Happy New Year to you all. I am looking forward to spending 2017 with you.