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Friday, March 28, 2014

Have you ever felt like your life was hacked in some way?

I feel a little like I'm being a little disrespectful by posting a new entry today.  I have a lovely guest blog ready to run, which was supposed to run last week, but I was hacked.

This post may read out more like a journal entry than a blog post, but I'm me and I put it all out there.


Have you ever felt like your life was hacked in some way?

I often feel that way on here - on the internet, that is.

I'm an open book. I always have been. If I think it, I speak it. I don't pretend and I don't put it here if I won't give it to you directly. It's not always popular, but at least people know (or should know) where I stand. Even if it's with my foot in my mouth.

My dad taught me to be me. All of me. The good, the bad and the ugly. Being fake is a mask that you can't wear for very long. The truth always has a way of surfacing. As long as you're YOU people will love you for who you ARE, not for who they think you might be or who you pretend to be. Be true to yourself. Be true to others. Be honest. Be loyal.


The hack to my blog page was a good chance for me to lay low for a few days. To sit back and think about the direction I was heading with all of this.

When I started doing Mental Health March last year (or the year before, I forget) in honor of my dad, I did so with the best intentions. To take the crap that I'd lived through and turn it around to help someone else. What I didn't take into consideration is that whenever I posted something, when ever I dug deep to pour my soul out into the blog - I was also reliving the things I'd healed from.

Healing from this crap is no easy feat - it's always there.

The road to hell is paved with good intentions...

It is always my intention to do good. To help. Some days I receive feedback that brings tears of joy to my eyes. Other days things I've posted have harpooned me in some way, or brought me to a place I don't want to be.

I am LUCKY to not be a depressed human. If I'm sad, I'm sad for a reason. If I'm anxious, I'm anxious for a reason. For that, I'm incredibly thankful every single day. It is in that I am able to realize that I need to pull back a little from Mental Health March. It's not because I no longer want to help others, but because I need to remain healthy in my own mind.


I am older now than my dad was when he died 30 years ago today.

That day will live forever in the back of my mind.
You don't forget when one of the people who loved you most 
leaves this planet.

It has always been my goal to help those who are depressed and / or suicidal but letting them know how the person left behind processes it all. I wish there were more I could say or do.

For now, all I can tell you is that my dad left 30 years ago with no explanation. As one of the people left behind, I felt like my life was hacked.

Though time has healed most of the pain, it will always be there in some way. I will always be a little extra emotional when I hear of a suicide. I will always be a little sadder when a little girl loses her daddy, a sister loses a brother, a young person leaves because they didn't feel (or were made to feel) like they were enough, or even when a rich, beautiful woman dating one of the most famous rockers in the world can't go on another day - because it doesn't need to happen.

Suicide knows no gender, no race, no religion, no financial status.

I am GRATEFUL and THANKFUL to be lucky enough that God gave me the strength to deal with what I have in my life. I know that not everyone feels strong. Let someone be strong for you.

If you are someone confused or suffering in some way, please know that you are loved, whether you believe it or not - someone, somewhere loves you. ALL OF YOU. You have a purpose. You have worth. You make a difference and you will be missed. Don't suffer in silence. Reach out.

I was only 18 when my dad died (yes, go ahead add it up, I never said I was a young chippie.)  I may not have been someone who could have helped him if he reached out to me at 18 years of age. I may not have understood, but if he even once looked at me and said, "Please help me."
I would have done everything in my power to find someone to help him.

My dad was well loved by many. He didn't have to leave.
Neither does anyone else.

National Suicide Prevention Lifeline:  1-800-273-8255

If you are in pain, PLEASE do NOT suffer in silence!  PLEASE reach out.

Thank you for reading my blog!

Much love to you all!

~Jenn


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Wednesday, March 19, 2014

When you don't see suicide coming....or do you?


It was me, several times, that took my brother to the hospital bleeding from his wrists, or pulling a gun out of his mouth when he was younger.

Most people didn't know. Others push it back to the dark recesses of their memory. Some, like my "baby brother", wouldn't remember the specifics, the why's of my brother being in the hospital. He may not remember at all. Then, it was taboo. We hid it. It was a secret.

Many people didn't see it coming, my brother's suicide. I saw it coming.  I believe that was the biggest reasons my brother pushed me out of his life. He knew I'd stop him - again.

My brother and I weren't speaking when he left this planet. It's one of the things that haunt me most about his death. Yes, it's that and not that he's gone, though I will always miss him. In my heart, I always knew he'd succeed some day. I believe he kept me away because I - even above my mother - was the one he answered to, the one who kicked his ass (physically and metaphorically) for putting me through finding him on a floor with wrists cut in my house. I was the one pulling a gun out of his mouth. I was the one telling the hospital, "PLEASE, don't listen to him. Our dad died by suicide. This is not his first attempt. PLEASE keep him here. PLEASE help him."

Eventually everyone listened to him. I was the crazy one. I was the one trying to "hurt" him by having him locked up in a hospital. I was the one he pushed away.

The others who knew, ignored it or were just fooled by his "I won't do it again. I promise."

A week or so before my brother eventually pulled the trigger for the last time, he threw a huge party. A Luau, I'm told. I wasn't invited. He knew I'd know something was up.

I could never believe that no one knew, besides me. I couldn't believe all of the people who gave the gun back to him - after I'd taken it away. I couldn't believe that the people closest to him didn't know.

I wish he were honest with what he felt.

I clearly remember, at dinner in between wake sessions, having a conversation with my brother's heartbroken fiancĂ©e - she had NO CLUE. None. I don't blame her. I'm sure he hid it well. He was a strong, handsome guy who seemed very put together. He had a good job, a nice house and was raising a beautiful son. The picture seemed wonderful. I spoke with her, to try to ease her heart, telling of his previous attempts, telling her that she'd done nothing wrong. It wasn't her. His heart had been full of clouds for years. He was broken his entire life. His best friend, as if a light bulb went off, suddenly realized what I was saying. He didn't know either. It finally made sense. He'd fooled them all.

Just because someone looks / is depressed doesn't mean they're suicidal. Just because they don't doesn't mean they're not. My brother held to his facade for those who didn't know his back story. He didn't display a depressed human. He played the part of the strong, successful man engaged to the woman of his dreams...all happy and care free.  NOT!

His party was a good bye party.
...And no one knew it.

The pain of my brother's loss runs even deeper than the loss of my dad by suicide. Siblings are supposed to run the distance of life with you, not just check out.

Depression / Suicide are hard topics to discuss. It's not a topic anyone wants to hear about. I don't blame them. It sucks! This post, written from my heart, was hard for me to write. It may be hard for you to read. I know that someone somewhere needs to see it. There may be a brother, sister, best friend, parent,  fiancĂ©e somewhere who is looking into the hollow eyes of someone with a beautiful facade. Knowing something is wrong, but can't quite put it all together.
Look for the signs.

None of this is about me. It's not about fortune or fame. I'd probably make a fabulous Greta Garbo running toward, yet hiding from the spotlight. This...all of it, is about them or maybe you. The person struggling. If using my pain saves a life, I've accomplished something I've set out to do.

I truly believe God gives us everything, the good and the bad, in order to help another.

Thank you for supporting me in this quest by being faithful to my blog.

~Jenn

Warning signs of suicide (as taken from SAVE)

These signs may mean someone is at risk for suicide. Risk is greater if a behavior is new or has increased and if it seems related to a painful event, loss or change.
  • Talking about wanting to die or to kill oneself.
  • Looking for a way to kill oneself, such as searching online or buying a gun.
  • Talking about feeling hopeless or having no reason to live.
  • Talking about feeling trapped or in unbearable pain.
  • Talking about being a burden to others.
  • Increasing the use of alcohol or drugs.
  • Acting anxious or agitated; behaving recklessly.
  • Sleeping too little or too much.
  • Withdrawn or feeling isolated.
  • Showing rage or talking about seeking revenge.
  • Displaying extreme mood swings.

Additional Warning Signs of Suicide

  • Preoccupation with death.
  • Suddenly happier, calmer.
  • Loss of interest in things one cares about.
  • Visiting or calling people to say goodbye.
  • Making arrangements; setting one's affairs in order.
  • Giving things away, such as prized possessions.
A suicidal person urgently needs to see a doctor or mental health professional.

In an emergency, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline 1-800-273-TALK (8255).


If you are a survivor of suicide, meaning someone you love died by suicide, there are places where YOU can vent also.  I am thrilled to have found a page on Facebook called Solos ~ Survivors of Loved Ones to Suicide    This page also has separate groups, (loss of parent, loss of sibling, loss of spouse, loss of friend, etc) since Suicide is not a "one size fits all" topic.  It's good to know you're not alone in this.


Big hugs to you all!!


Thank you for your constant support of me and my blog.  I love you all <3

~Jenn <3

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Tuesday, March 18, 2014

An Acceptable Human - Part 2 Guest blog from Lizzi R of Considerings

Today, I give you Part 2 from Lizzi's original post Flashbacks to another Me.

I am, once again, in complete awe of Lizzi.  She has been through and over come so much. Her emotion so raw you can feel it while you read. She apologized for her post being "so long."  I never noticed. I was caught up in her, as I know you will be.


This post affirms, for me, why I write - to turn my crap around for even one chance at helping a person who may be going through the same, or similar. I am again grateful to Lizzi for this post and for gracing me with her words.

I now give you...

An Acceptable Human
by Lizzi of Considerings

I remember the feeling so clearly: “I’m better!”

I couldn’t tell you where I was, or whom I was with, or what I was wearing or whether it was a sunny day or not, but one day, about ten years ago, this sudden realization took hold.

It was freedom to know it.

Having been in the thrall of Depression for 12 years - having undergone intense trauma at the hands of someone else’s, only to be left with my own - this feeling was a golden, shimmering wonder which unfurled in my heart and mind, quite without expectation of it ever happening.

I’d been taking my meds and going to counselling and Getting On With Life. I was gradually checking the boxes on my way to turning into an Acceptable Human, without ever really being certain that it could happen.

But one day, BOOM! There it was. I was better: a sense of security grew as I gained confidence in my job; mended relationships; the new parameters of my world; and (to an extent) myself.

But Depression did return to me.

While we were dating, before he’d even proposed, Husby got sick with an autoimmune disorder. Once we were married, his dwindling mood dropped into full-blown clinical depression, and the cloud of darkness once more settled on my life.

We were battling for a diagnosis (one eventually being found, damning him to a life with a banjaxed hypothalamus and a global endocrine disorder) and the Depression took deeper root, robbing him not only of his job and his sense of self-worth, but of his quality of life; leaving him scrambling rationally through piles of twisted logic, concluding that he didn’t want to be alive at the end of the day. Or at the end of most days.

Three times Depression tried to make a widow of me – the first two times undisclosed until I sat in the doctor’s office with him, having forced him to attend to seek further help. The doctor was stunned on hearing him calmly and dispassionately relate what he’d done. She looked at me and asked whether I’d known, and I remember laughing hollowly and telling her that I was hearing it for the first time – same as she was.

And the Anger returned as well. This time not directed at me, but at him (and cruelly so, for I knew that it was the Depression I hated. It was the Depression which was sabotaging our marriage; his life; my world (again) – not him). He was so tangled up, he couldn’t dissociate, and my kick-backs at the Depression landed each time on him, and each brought him lower, which made him worse to live with. I tried so hard to separate him from it; to build him up and support him and make him feel better.

But nothing I did worked.

And I got weary of always being the enemy. Of not being wanted. Or desired. Of being cared for in snippets. Of always struggling. Of needing to take charge.

Of not being a good enough wife for him to want to be alive to be married to.

And yet you see how my own shadows – those distant ghosts from childhood - didn’t allow me to dissociate, either.

I was so used to inhabiting my worthlessness that it had become part of me, and even though the Depression was his, I took on the responsibility and somehow made it my fault – if blame could be taken, I alternately took it and fought it.

In spite of this, we were going through the motions of being married, and trying to keep up with the timescale of our expectations, which at this point included children. So we tried.
And failed, losing two babies in the earliest stages of pregnancy.

The Abyss opened up under my feet and tried to swallow me again. Because this, also, I took responsibility for. It wasn’t his illness. It wasn’t happenstance. It wasn’t damn bad luck.

It was because I didn’t deserve to be a mother.

Because ultimately, I didn’t deserve anything.

I’m bad and worthless and need to somehow be better before I earn the right to have something as wonderful as children. Nicer. Kinder. Prettier. Thinner. Cleverer. Usefuller. More capable. More confident. More worthwhile. But never valuable, because valuable is unattainable, and so I shall never have children.

And a diagnosis of primary infertility for Husby, because of his illness, rapidly cemented those thoughts.

But this time I got help. I recognised the patterns and I knew I couldn’t face a resurgence alone. So more counselling ensued, and the Wise Woman helped me massively as I tried to untangle my feelings, fears, desires and sorrows. Eventually the thing which made the most difference was the day she told me that I was allowed to (and should) develop a positive opinion of myself.

I’d never thought my opinion to be worthwhile, much less understand that I could even hold one about myself. This news was mind-blowing. So in the midst of my hurt, I tried, and I struggled up that steep learning curve and began to allow the positives to drip in and begin filling me up.

I grieved and I drank, and I resisted any efforts to get me to go and get medicated, and I reached out to others, and I WROTE. I decided that this was the most awful thing, and that in my floundering, where I’d reached out and discovered other people’s stories of loss in the Blogosphere, and been so comforted by them, that I, too, would write, and hope that some day, to someone, my agony would be rendered useful, and thereby redeemed.
And as I wrote, wonderful people – friends, family, bloggers – responded; gave me feedback and validation and love and attention and care, and let me know that I mattered to them. This was shattering and healing and confusing and wonderful all at once.

Gradually, the world got lighter again. I found a new job, and not long afterwards, Husby grew well enough to find a new job and began to turn back into the man I fell in love with. I still clung to people, but this time with the knowledge that I would make it back through to the other side.

I have mostly emerged. I still stumble, sometimes, and need to suddenly reach out and grab the waiting hand of one of my friends, but even as I do this, I can do it in a safer manner; secure in the knowledge that they are there.

I’m almost out. I’m almost on the other side, and this time much closer to being that Acceptable Human I always wanted to be.

Healing happens in stages.

Today I watched a video of the much-lauded speech by Lupita Nyong’o, and my soul suddenly plummeted with awful recognition as she spoke of “the seduction of inadequacy”.
This is my next challenge, and my next stage of healing.
And with my people around me, I’ll get there.
~Lizzi

Thank you SO MUCH, Lizzi, for sharing your words. I am in absolute awe of your strength and know that even one person reading can be helped by recognizing themselves in your words. Thank you!

If you are someone struggling with depression, please know that you are not alone. You are never alone. Reach out - someone will take your hand.

Please be sure to stop in to see Lizzi. You won't be disappointed.


Lizzi is a Deep Thinker, Truth Teller and Seeker of Good. She works a normal job and has a secret life as the writer at Considerings. Wife to Husby and Mother to two Neverborns, now dealing with the challenge of primary infertility, she is a frequent instigator of silliness and loves to entertain with words.




Thank you all for your support of this page!

~Jenn

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Monday, March 17, 2014

The dream that wrecks your day...

Have you ever woken to dream that somehow wrecked your whole day?

This is my day, so far today. Wrecked & full of anxiety and pain from a dream of something that isn't even real, but brought on by something very real.

My dad's suicide.

My dad will be gone 30 years this month. The pain of his suicide is something that I've carried with me my whole life. I've long gotten over the "embarrassment" of saying my dad died by suicide - especially since my brother also died that way. The stigma attached is now lost on me.  I no longer feel like the victim of a choice made by someone else. I'm just someone left behind. Someone just guessing at the why, but never really knowing.

This morning I awoke with a jolt. Someone from my past, someone I dated briefly contacted me out of the blue to tell me he was going to commit suicide. I don't know why he chose me. It's been many, many years since I'd even thought of him. It wasn't a whirl wind romance. It was just a few dinners and a realization that there was no spark. We've never crossed paths. We've never kept in contact. Yet here he was on the other end of my phone - telling me he was going to end his life. I remember pleading with him to rethink his decision. I reminded him that even though he and I didn't click - there were people who loved him. He again told me his detailed plan. Asked me to visit his parents & family at the first news of his death. To visit the wake briefly and then to see his sisters for something they'd have for me. I didn't understand. Why me? Why would he choose me? Someone he barely knew. Someone basically insignificant in his life. My talking did no good. The line went dead and as foretold, I received my call of his passing. I could feel all the familiar pain, the loss, the confusion. I held family members I'd never met and tried to put pieces together for a puzzle I'd never known. They asked me why. I didn't know. As I looked around and deferred to my husband for comfort, I was handed a journal that listed my name several times. I didn't understand.

Then I jolted awake with the familiar emotion that being a suicide survivor has dropped on me....

Guilt for something I had no control over.

I have decided to share this dream, my raw feelings and jumbled emotions with you all today because one person reading may be feeling the same guilt.  One person reading may have decided that today is their last day on this planet.

No matter what side of suicide you are on, it hurts. There is guilt, there is pain.

My brain is a swirl of emotion and questioning what's real, what's not today - even so much as wondering if this random person from my past is OK.  Yes, it's just a dream.  Unfortunately, these are the dreams of those left behind - still looking for the why.

There are resources for all of you. Take 'em. Really! I don't write these blogs for the "poor Jenn's" or the "you go girl's" - I write them to let you know that YOU ARE NOT ALONE! I am one little blogger here in the wonderful world of Jersey who wants to help.

Before you've made a final decision to leave this place at your own hand - know that all you're doing is taking your pain - and handing it over to someone you love who will carry it forever - along with the guilt of not knowing and the pain of loss.

REACH OUT TODAY!

Thank you for reading my blog!

~Jenn

If you are struggling with life:

National Suicide Prevention Lifelinehttp://www.suicidepreventionlifeline.org/


For Survivors, I've found a great page on Facebook that has separate groups for each individual loss:

Solos~Survivors of Loved ones to Suicide 
https://www.facebook.com/SolosSurvivorsOfLovedOnesToSuicide

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Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Flashbacks to Another Me - Guest Post by Lizzi of Considerings

I am so incredibly thrilled to share today's guest blogger for Mental Health March, Lizzi of Considerings.

It has been my goal to touch on as many mental health issues during the month of March as I was able by reaching out to other bloggers.

The gratitude I feel toward Lizzi for this post (and part two coming later this week) is immeasurable.

One of the issues I hadn't considered, while preparing Mental Health March, is how depression embeds itself in the life of a child and grows with them. Lizzi's post has opened my eyes to a place I hadn't previously considered and WOW, what super powerful post!


Flashbacks to Another Me

Overnight, when I was seven, Depression came to take over my world.

It belonged to my father, and it swallowed him whole, tapping into many underlying parts of his story and overwhelming him. But this is my story.

Overnight, when I was seven, I stopped being a cherished daughter. I became a burden (dressed up in the heavy word ‘privilege’, which really meant ‘responsibility’). An irritation. Something to be borne. Dealt with. Put in my place.

Over the ensuing years, I was crushed under the weighty heel of Depression with harsh words and constant undermining; used as an outlet to express some of the pent-up rage with a cruel double-tag of goading into rebellion and sanction for my response. It was permissible that way.

Daily, the idol of an unbroken marriage was taken out, and we were all (in our ways) sacrificed upon its altar, regardless of the fact that this – whatever it was – was the thinnest veneer of ‘How Marriage Should Appear.’ And yet it had others fooled, for we were sufficiently cut off from socialization that very few knew what was going on.

And none of them knew how deep the rot went.

It finally burst its seams and broke; the false-god of marriage finally shown to be the charlatan it was, and it felt like freedom.

But safety played her tricks, and instead of relief, there was space to think – to be my own person – and having never done this before (because victims don’t think – they are mindless automatons of avoidance and self-protection), my mind was found wanting, and Depression took hold there, too.

*flashback*
Standing in the kitchen, anger upwelling within me at his harshness, finally snapping and responding to his jibes with matched (and learned) viciousness, hoping to break him; hoping he’d snap; hoping he’d hit so I could murder him and call it self-defense.

*flashback*
School, wishing I could join in, that someone would talk to me. Hanging out in the same places with the same people from habit, wandering constantly from one circle of closed backs to another, remaining impassive but wincing inwardly each time the backs snugged closer together as I approached. Ignored out loud.

*flashback*
Pain. Anger. Not eating. Anger. Control. Abandonment. Anger. Over-eating. Merry-go-round. New friends. New fakes. Anger. Hurt. Freedom. Inner prison. Anger. Angst. Self-doubt. No worth. Anger. Blackness. Anger. Worthless. Anger. Useless. Anger. Pointless.

*flashback*
Trying to get the bus to college and there’s a woman talking to the driver, wearing bright colours with her grating voice and ridiculous hair, and her face is sharp with make-up and scratchy in its expressions and I want to hurt her. I want to make her stop. I want her to shut up, and the world to shut up and everyone to STOPFUCKINGTALKING. I want a knife. I want to cut her. I want her to bleed and plead and gurgle as she realises she’ll never make a noise again. I disembark quietly and the air has turned to glue with rage, and I can hardly move; it’s taking every ounce of effort just to walk forwards towards the next bus stop. And I want to go back and find that bus and drag that woman off and make her pay…

*flashback*
A leaf rolls past me, scudded by the autumn breeze, and I freeze. Panic. Tremble inside. Because it’s found me. They’ve found me. And they’re everywhere. What a fucking time to develop a panic about leaves. Because they’re not just leaves; they’re another species and they’re following me, plotting. They want to swirl around me and take me down. And they follow me everywhere, whispering to one another about how they’re going to do it.

One landed one day, on the windscreen of the car as we were driving, and it was trying to break through the glass to get to me and strangle me, and I asked him to use the wipers to MAKEITGOAWAY *please, please make it go away, Daddy just do this one thing for me…please* And he laughed and left it there, murderous in its intentions, until I cried and the panic started taking hold.

*flashback*
The anger is inside me. The rage is there. Holding me down and making me sluggish. It’s poisoning me. It’s part of me, because I’m poison. I’m bad and worthless and need to somehow be better. Nicer. Kinder. Prettier. Thinner. Cleverer. Usefuller. More capable. More confident. More worthwhile. But never valuable, because valuable is unattainable. And the anger is in me, and it surges and surges and hurts me from the inside. It hurts to carry it. It’s in my blood and it’s killing me. So I let some out. And as it runs, the more it coats, the shinier that beautiful red, the anger settles and my mind shimmers. Safety in Red. Red for danger. Red for roses. Red for love. Red for Anger. I drip. I drip. I calm. I soothe.

*flashback*
Bang – bang – bang – bang – bang – bruise – bang – bang –bang – 100 – bang – bang – bang – bump – bang – bang – bang – 300 – bang – bang – bang – willIbreak? – bang – bang – bang – bang – can I get to 1000? Will it help? Will it need medical attention? Will it just hurt in the morning? Will it matter? – bang – bang – bang…

*flashback*
“Given the things you’ve been doing, and the way you’re feeling, I’m going to recommend a course of anti-depressant medication. You’re already receiving counselling, aren’t you? Keep going with that.”
Anti-depressants? What? You’re not going to diagnose me or lock me away or take me out of this – OUT OF THIS?! – you’re going to leave me in the midst of this maelstrom, drowning, with nothing but a few pills to fix things? Please, please don’t say it’s depression. No-one ever gets taken away for depression. I need to be away. I need to be taken away. I need to be locked up. I need to be made safe. I need not to be left. It can’t be just depression, pleaseohpleaseohplease…

“In my professional opinion, it’s depression.”

Ofuckno!

*flashback*
“It’s really good that the tablets are helping you so much. And remember, whatever you’re feeling, because of the things in your history, it’s all so completely explainable. All of it. Stop beating yourself up for feeling it.”

EXPLAINABLE?!
Fireworks. Brain spark. Neurones connect; finally – it’s Not. My. Fault.
It’s explainable. The explanation is outside of me not IN me. It’s not me. It’s not me. It’s NOT ME!

Breakthrough.

Twelve years after Depression first entered my life, and perhaps eight after it entered my soul, it began to leave. I began to heal.

But it was the start of a long road, and Depression wasn’t done yet.

~Lizzi

Lizzi is a Deep Thinker, Truth Teller and Seeker of Good. She works a normal job and has a secret life as the writer at Considerings
Wife to Husby and Mother to two Neverborns, now dealing with the challenge of primary infertility, she is a frequent instigator of silliness and loves to entertain with words.




Pintrest: http://www.pinterest.com/LizziConsiderer/

Please go over and see Lizzi!  I am truly thankful to Lizzi for graciously opening herself up and sharing this post on my blog today.

If you believe your child or a child close to you may have fallen victim to depression, please reach out.
For more information on signs and symptoms of childhood depression, please visit:

National Institute of Mental Health:

http://www.nimh.nih.gov/health/topics/depression/depression-in-children-and-adolescents.shtml

http://www.nimh.nih.gov/health/publications/depression-in-children-and-adolescents/index.shtml

Thank you for your support of my blog!

~Jenn



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Wednesday, March 5, 2014

But it's not my fault!

 REPOST from March 2013

I know this sounds like it's going to go to a funny, kid kinda post - but it's Mental Health March over here at the Jenn-ism.

Mental health issues take on many forms and sometimes, you don't know it's happening to you. You're following doctor's orders.


This is my experience.  My experience of unanticipated illness as a result of prescribed drugs.

My fog...

Let's rewind to August 27, 2007.  The day my brother committed suicide. This was the beginning of my emotional frenzy for many reasons...
1) My brother died committed suicide.
2) We weren't speaking.
3) This was the second suicide in my close family.
On top of that my son, who was 14 at the time, was REALLY giving me a run for my money and things in our household were tense, at best.


I cried all the time.  I couldn't handle life at that time, so I went to the doctor and he prescribed me Lexapro to get through the shit.

There was a LOT of shit!

The medicine was weird for me to get used to, but became fine for a few months. Eventually I wanted to be off the medicine and live life as I had before. Without medicine.  Just coping.  I weened off.  No problem.

About 6 months later, I noticed a HUGE red patch above my right breast. The first thing I though was  cancer.  I went to my GP who examined it. The redness was not ON my breast, but above it.  It was big and round about the size of a softball, as if I'd been hit by one and hot to the touch. Infection?  They sent me for another mamo to be safe & then on to a dermatologist who did a biopsy.

I was diagnosed with the skin form of Lupus & was further referred to a rheumatologist, who prescribed me Prednisone.  Now, if you've ever been on Prednisone, it's psycho and weight gain in a bottle.  Especially the dosage I had been prescribed.  That took care of the skin issues so I no longer had to continue the medication.  For a bit, anyway.

Within a few months of treatment, my body soon started to shut down a little at at time.  My hands would no longer close.  I didn't even have enough strength in my hands to open a can of cat food.  My extremities had begun to swell and I was in a great deal of pain.  Walking became difficult.  I went to my GP and  I cried as I told her that I was entirely too young to not be able to walk.  All I wanted to do was be able to walk my children around the block for Halloween and Trick or Treat.  She prescribed me Mobic for the pain and sent me back to the rheumy.  More Prednisone, X-Rays & a few other treatments that did not work.


In April 2009, I was diagnosed with SLE - the systemic form of Lupus.  I didn't understand completely, but after being given the signs, symptoms and effects of the disease - suddenly other things in my life began to make sense.

I was prescribed Plaquenil.  This was supposed to be the thing that helped most Lupus patients.  Most.  Not me....  My system began to further shut down.

On the Bronx Zoo field trip with my daughter in May, I had begun to itch uncontrollably.  Mostly on my scalp.  I panicked because lice had been running through the first grade and asked another mom to check my head. The pain began to course through my body and within days I could no longer walk.  I couldn't lift my head off the pillow and I had giant purple patches all over my body.  My fever was very high, my blood pressure very low.  I was brought to the hospital where I remained for 7 days.  It wasn't until a week after I was discharged that it was discovered that the Plaquenil was making me worse.  At this point, I couldn't even get up off the couch.  I slept all the time.  Everything was difficult.

I was again, referred on to a "super specialist" who put me on a full medication regimen.  Mobic, Prednisone, Zoloft for anticipated anxiety, Synthroid for my thyroid and Methotrexate to keep my immune system at bay.  I was sick all the time.

My moods began to worsen.  I had very little control over my emotions.  I was the spectrum of emotion from weepy to angry bitch from hell.  You never knew which Jenn you were going to get.  Mostly I could control my behaviors around other people, but at home - the walls were down.  I was angry all the time.  So unlike me.

It wasn't until my son's graduation from boot camp in February 2011 that I got my huge slap upside the head that I needed to do something, quickly!

I won't get into all of it, because mostly - it's a huge embarrassment.
Something I've not quite gotten over.

The reader's digest version is that I had an emotional break down.  I embarrassed myself and others that I care about - in public.  I broke down crying, emotional, stupid mess and I don't even know why.

It was a situation that I never wanted to occur and can't fix.  It was also the one thing that stood out in my mind to make me further aware that there was a problem.  I could no longer control my moods or erratic behaviors.  Suddenly all of the times my husband said, "Calm down - why are you so angry?" made sense to me.  I was no longer myself.  I had no control over it.

It was in this and my continued behaviors that I decided to take action.  I spoke to the doctor - he didn't think there was anything wrong.  He said it was in my head... Well, DUH - I knew THAT!  It was the in my head stuff that I needed to fix.  I KNEW that I wasn't myself.  I knew that all my personalities were exaggerated.  I knew I was a shadow of my former self in some ways and a comic book character of myself in others.  I hated it.  I didn't know what to do - so I went back to what I knew before I got sick.  I stopped taking my medicine.  You can read about that by clicking HERE if you wish to read my journey weaning off my medication.

It was a LONG journey.  I did seek outside help to get off the medication.  I do not recommend quitting any medication without professional help.  I was not friendly, normal or pleasant in any manner going through withdrawal from these medications.  I was a total train wreck on every level.

This happens to so many people every single day.  It shouldn't happen to anyone.  I was lucky that I just embarrassed myself.  I could have become a prescription drug addict.  I was taking more than 50 pills a week.
50 pills!  Holy crap!

I share this story today because I was one of the lucky ones.  I was able to notice that there was something wrong and I was able to correct it.  Not everyone is.  Some people get sucked into the hole of medication and can't get out.

Please - know your body.  Remember how you used to feel BEFORE the medicine.  I was genuinely afraid to stop taking my pain medication.  I took it every day - twice a day, without even knowing if I'd have pain that day.  I was following the directions of the doctor and the prescription.

Guess what... when I stopped, there was no pain to numb.

It's been a year now and I am now almost 100% RX free!  I do still need to continue to take my thyroid medication because mine doesn't work - but no other drugs.

I was a complete and total mess and it wasn't my fault.

It wasn't my fault.

Thank you for reading my blog!

~Jenn



If you are suffering at the hands of prescription drug abuse, or suspect that you are having a problem or know someone who is - please contact:



Prescription Drug Helpline Overview  1-866-643-6144 Now 24 hour a day, 7 days per week drug helpline is here to assist you.

When you finally call a hotline for prescription drug addiction help, you can expect to get the essential information you need from a friendly, understanding, and supportive counselor who will guide you about the types of prescription drug addiction treatments available that will help bring about an addict ‘s rehabilitation.


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Monday, March 3, 2014

Why did this happen to me?

Welcome to my first post of Mental Health March.

To be honest, I haven't had the time or energy to properly devote to something so near and dear to my heart, mental health.

Mental health issues take on many forms.


In my family, I mostly lived with depression, alcoholism and suicide. Sadly, those are the things I've seen in my life and the things I can speak of.

Insecurity is at the root of most of those issues, as it is in the following...abuse.

I have been editing this post for over a month. These are not my words. They are the words of someone who wishes to remain anonymous. This was not something easy for me to read, or edit on her behalf.  I have only changed wording, time lines and some scenarios to maintain her privacy. I am honored that she trusted me with something so personal.

As is my goal with every "Mental Health March" post, if it helps even one person - I am grateful.

I now give you...

Why did this happen to me?

I am not a stupid woman.
I am a college graduate, with high honors.
I come from a good family.
I did not grow up poor.
My parents are still married.
I am a successful business person.
I am accomplished.
I am smart.
I don't know how I got here or how I got out.  All I know is that I'm out. Thank God I am out.

When we first met, he was sweet.  Smart.  He graduated from the same school as I.  We met at a party and became fast friends.  I enjoyed his company and he seemed to enjoy mine.  The next thing I knew we were spending more and more time together.  We were in love.

I didn't recognize the signs.  I didn't understand why he suddenly didn't like any of my friends. We were all always together. They were his friends too. Something must have happened. Perhaps he didn't want to hurt me by letting me know what transpired. I respected his wishes. I stayed away. He was always so protective of me.


Then I realized that it was just the two of us.  It was always just the two of us. We didn't socialize with anyone I knew. Only his friends.

When we would go out to his company parties, I was no longer allowed to have a cocktail.  If I tried to order one, he would either down grade my order from a T&T to a wine spritzer.  Only one.  I've never been a big drinker.  Just at social events.  I didn't understand, but I respected his request.  Maybe there was an underlying issue that he didn't want to discuss with me. Was I acting in a way I hadn't noticed? He must be right, I must have been embarrassing him.

He also always ordered for me.  I was no longer allowed to have dessert.  It was going to my hips.  Maybe a nice salad would be better - and water.  Plenty of water.  The next thing I knew I went from a healthy size 8 to a scant size 0.  Yes, there really IS a size zero.

He was, after all, just looking out for me.

After we married, the bi-weekly dinner at my parent's house stopped.  My time with my family was also monitored. I often heard him tell my mom, on the phone, that I was not at home. I was sometimes upset by that, but realized he wanted me to be the center of his world. He loved me so much and wanted as much of me as I had to offer. I could talk to my mom another time - when he wasn't home. He wanted my time.

Things seemed to take a turn after I got my first big promotion. I'd worked really hard. He enjoyed the large salary I was bringing home, when it was less than his.  As soon as my salary and job title became what they were - he changed.  Everything changed.

He didn't like my work clothes.  They were too revealing.  That's why I got my promotion.  My boss was staring at my tits.  He was sure of it, so he generously offered to take me shopping, after he sliced every outfit I owned with the sheers from the kitchen drawer. He bought me a whole new wardrobe, which he chose.  Most of my clothes were too big on me anyway.  It was time for a change. That's what I told myself.

I wasn't much of a cook. I already knew this. I must have gotten it from my mother. He generously set time aside for me to go to cooking classes with his mother, at her house. I also got laundry folding classes and coupon clipping and grocery shopping lessons. I didn't find this too odd. I was a newly wed. I wanted my husband to be happy.

My mom was worried. She told me so. I dismissed it thinking she was being overly protective.

One day he came home from work to tell me that he'd accepted a job promotion in another state. I was devastated. I didn't see my friends or family as it was. It would be nearly impossible now. I supported my husband and celebrated his promotion. I smiled through and thought it an adventure. I gave notice at my job and began applying for positions in our new state.

Before we moved, my mother in law and I went shopping for a frame for our wedding photo.  I was so excited.  I absolutely LOVED the magnificent oak frame I picked for our photo.  It would match our bedroom perfectly.  On the day it arrived, I carefully unwrapped it and hung it right over our marital bed.

That was the beginning of the end.

When he came home, he noticed that the picture I had hanging over the bed was moved. Apparently it was a favorite. I didn't know. He also HATED the oak frame I'd picked. It was an awful, cheap looking, cheezy frame. I had awful taste and how dare I have his mother pay for such garbage.

He hit me over the head with that picture after he ripped it off the wall.

I won't go further into my world of horror - because this was not the last incident I'd endured. It was the first to make me aware that all of the prior "accidents" weren't so accidental. The abuse came fast and furious after that point - and I was alone. I was in another state. Away from my family, my friends, my life, my job - I had NOTHING but him. He knew it and I knew it. I had nothing. I became nothing.

I quickly snowballed into a shadow of my former self. My strong and assertive became meek and submissive. I was afraid. I felt ugly. I felt ashamed.

Today, I am out.  I was able to get out - but not without a plan.  You can get out.

I don't use the word abuse lightly. As Jenn has told me when I gave her this post, the word abuse has  become one of the new "buzz words" - I should be very careful on how I write this.  It's true. So many powerful words have been thrown around so much they've lost their power. I can relate.

Abuse is not - he / she hurt my feelings.  Abuse where someone is somehow able to key in on a single insecurity or weakness, and somehow twist it to a point where you are no longer in control of your own life.  Where you are being physically, mentally or emotionally injured.

It's more than "hurt feelings."


Abuse takes on many forms.  It's not just a "couples thing.  It can come in friendship relationships, work relationships, child abuse, elder abuse.

It's about control.


You should always be /feel in control of your own life - unless you are not of sound mind and / or body and genuinely need to rely on another. Even in that situation - you get a say.

You get to feel whole and like a genuine person. You get to be you.

This type of abuse isn't limited to women.  It can happen to anyone in a vulnerable state - making children and the elderly the easiest target for an abuser.

What to look out for:

An abuser doesn't come to you looking mean and scary.  An abuser usually swoops in at your weakest moment looking to be your hero or best friend. Male or female, it doesn't matter. They are smart / manipulative. They start off kind and sweet, offering you help or gifts. They want to be there for you when you are weak. Your weakness is their power, they thing they key in on. During your weakness, they are your healer. Your shoulder to cry on. The person you can rely on. It is in that weakness and vulnerability that they find their control and are able to manipulate you like clay into whatever they want.

Most abusers are insecure individuals looking to feel or appear important.  Knocking down someone stronger than them is a feather in their cap.

An abuser will first try to separate / divide you from what you are most comfortable with; your friends, your family, your job, your hobbies, under the guise that it's all about you and/or how much they want to be with you.  They are trying to "protect" you. It starts out subtly until you realize you haven't seen or spoken to any one else in months.

You lose yourself and everything you ever knew.

You can get out. I got out. If you can learn the things that you need to do to to keep him/her for getting angry and hurting you, you can learn an escape plan. If you are strong enough to stay, you are strong enough to leave.

Talk to someone you love and trust. Get out!

No one should have the power to control you or your life beside you.

Don't let anyone else dim your light.

~Anonymous

Thank you, Anonymous, for your words and your generous contribution to Mental Health March. I am not sure if anyone realizes how big a part insecurity plays in mental health issues or the damage it can do in another's life.

There isn't much I can add to this other than to say that if you are a victim of abuse or neglect, or know someone who is, please reach out.

Safe Horizon is just one organization that can offer you help and direction:  1.800.621.HOPE (4673)

National Domestic Help Hotline:  1-800-799-SAFE (7233) 
Childhelp National Child Abuse Hotline: 1-800-4-A-CHILD (1-800-422-4453)
National Center on Elder Abuse:  1-855-500-3537 (ELDR)

If you are in a bad situation, I urge you to take these words seriously.  You are amazing and important.

Thank you again, anonymous, for baring yourself here in my blog.

Thank the rest of you for supporting my blog!

~Jenn

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