Starting Over…or Something Like it

I wonder sometimes if anyone truly knows who they are. Harder still is figuring that out and doing it on purpose. I love Dolly Parton and this particular quote hit me hard as I sat here thinking of exactly what/who I am. I’m not at all claiming to have the more complex issue of feeling like I was someone else, a different gender, or even a different sexuality. That was always pretty easy to me.

I am a woman, born physically and emotionally so, I am attracted to men (particularly nerdy/geeky men), and I have always known I was Nicole. But who was I meant to be? At one very early point in my life, I thought I was destined to be a teacher. Then a missionary (although I have made my hometown my mission field of sorts) and later in life followed by an addictions counselor. For a long time, I held positions that included substitute teacher, recovery specialist, and later on collections representative (which at times my experience in the mental health field came in great handy). Then I had got married, had babies, almost died in a car accident, struggled with debilitating migraines and became a sometimes quite outspoken advocate for chronic/invisible illness and addictions. But not once in any of those multi-phased and VERY diverse titles I have held did I truly know who I was and was able to do it on purpose.

I said that 2019 was going to figure all that stuff out! Jesus Christ, at 36 years old to not have a greatly defined idea of who I am and where I am going in life is sad. I have friends who have been in their career now since fresh out of high school or college. That is almost 20 years. It makes me wonder how they knew who they were and what direction they were going. I think half my problem is I question EVERYTHING and EVERYONE. Not that that is always a bad thing. Like the one time I went to the emergency room and they started to give me a medication I was allergic to, and another time a physician wanted to do a spinal tap on my infant daughter who had RSV, had been diagnosed with RSV one day earlier, but wasn’t willing to accept the diagnosis from her pediatrician and even the hospital’s own lab. A list of people/things/situations I tend to question:

  • Doctors
  • Professors
  • Lawyers & Judges
  • Ministers
  • Acquaintances/Friends/Loved Ones
  • My Husband
  • My Children, their friends, and their teachers
  • Employers
  • My Grandmother
  • Store Clerks
  • Store Managers
  • Restaurant chefs
  • My Husband
  • Police Officers
  • Bar Tenders
  • Did I mention My Husband?

It isn’t because I am particularly eager seem difficult or out of control. I really think it is the opposite. I have spent so much time trying to identify with the labels I’ve had or given myself that I want to feel in control of something. Even now, I can’t help but question why everyone is facing the direction of the barista at Starbucks and I am turned in the opposite direction. Even better question, why are they all men turned to face the barista at Starbucks and I am facing all of them. (That thought made me check my lipstick was still in order…if I am being honest).

Every time I have been faced with the prospect of starting over or beginning a new chapter in my life, that particular Dolly Parton quote rears it’s wonderfully ugly head in my mind and I begin to again question who I am and why the hell I am not doing it on purpose. Am I the only one who wonders this? It’s terrible to question your reason for existing with no defined sens of who you are. Yes, I am a mother, I am a friend, I am a lover, and a advocate. Those are all wonderful titles, but what do they truly mean for me?

Any helpful comments are appreciated and will be regarded with several questions. Just being honest…

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Lunch Three Years Ago…

Three years ago, I skipped lunch. It seemed like no big deal, I did it quite frequently and it was mostly because I was just too busy to stop and eat. It always effected me though. My blood sugar would bottom out, I would go sweaty and shaky and couldn’t make sentences that made sense. Sometimes I was meaner than a cat in water. This skipped lunch would prove to change my life in ways I still feel today.

I rushed out the door, late for an appointment I had forgotten, which was very unusual. I was NOT the forgetful one in my family. Since we had moved into our new house, it seemed I was frazzled and forgetful much more than normal. I was also struggling with more migraines and stress, so running out the door and yelling my, “Bye! I’ll see you later! I’ll get the kids…” seemed to have become my norm.

This Day, I skipped lunch. The problem was I had skipped breakfast as well. Not such a smart move for someone who has severe hypoglycemia (a.k.a. Low Blood Sugar). “No big deal. Just grab lunch at that McDonald’s I passed on the way here…” I was thinking as I left my appointment. I got in my new to me 2014 Nissan Versa Note and drove away. I was doing highway speeds as I traveled along. I remember changing the song on the radio and then nothing…

But it was something, I had crossed the center line on highway 20 in Canton which is a very busy stretch of highway. I didn’t hit my breaks and neither did the person I hit head on. I don’t remember, but apparently I was still conscious and was telling EMS personnel that I needed to pick up my children and someone needed to call my husband. I told them that loud noises don’t bother me because I have kids and as they whisked me into the trauma unit at Kennestone Medical Center, the adrenaline was gone and so was I.

I woke up from a medicated coma on December 23rd. The trauma surgeon had eased me out of that coma, removed the breathing tubes, and can I just say waking up to a strange foreign man who knew my full name telling me he was glad to finally see my eyes was a very strange experience. Dr. Kamdar was magnificent. He was calm and knew I wouldn’t be. He knew I would be scared and struggling to understand what was going on and where I was. Because in my mind, it as still December 15th and not December 23rd.

There is a sudden scurry around my ICU trauma room. A nurse rushes out, in comes a worn and haggard Rick trying to explain to me not to fight. My hands are both bandaged, my legs restrained, and I can’t move and he tells me not to fight. My instinct was. “Where are my children? Where am I? You’re okay, but where are they?” But I can’t seem to verbalize any of this. Words won’t come and I don’t know why.

“Nicole, you had a very bad accident. You are in the hospital. The kids are ok. You’ve been here for eight days in a coma…lots of surgeries…we don’t know if you will walk…so many prayers…”

I was in and out. The most important information I gleaned was that the kids weren’t with me and they are okay. My brain and soul rested with that. I slept in and out for days. I cried and apologized to friends and family for not being better when I was awake.

Want the definition of a hot mess? It was me! I had two wound vacs, was having to learn to use my hands, feet and legs again and even simple things like going to the bathroom were a struggle. I honestly think I was every nurse’s nightmare because I was aware of all the pain medications they were giving me that I kept track down to the minute and even gave the whole, “I’m watching you…” eye signal.

I relay this whole story for two reasons. One, never be in such a hurry that you skip a meal. Even better if it’s a meal with a friend or loved one. Enjoy that time of fellowship and communion, even if it’s silence. I enjoy those days sometimes where the kids and I eat our breakfasts in silence while waiting on the school bus and before zooming off to work.

The second thing is that life isn’t always going to be filled with easy peasy lemon squeezey roadways. There are going to be bumps, pits, and curbs. But if life never threw you those occasional hardships, you wouldn’t be a real person. You would be a well crafted character in a story that has nothing really to keep anyone interested in reading or keeping up with you.

My biggest hardship and pit still raises its ugly head around this time each year. It isn’t something I can keep taking an anti-anxiety medication for and expect to live real life. It isn’t something that I can expect to just walk away from either. It is something I have to be thankful for friends who understand when December 15th rolls around and I can’t drive to a holiday party, or I can only make it as far as the end of the road I live on or have to take the long way around Hwy 20. Those friends and loved ones who understand that it isn’t me being anti-social but more throwing up a protective shield.

This is the exact reason I talk about it. I keep the dialogue open about my accident and recovery. I don’t mince words about how incredibly difficult it was or how much I wanted to quit and how my soul called out to do just that so many times.

Recovery is hard. Physical recovery, spiritual recovery, emotional recovery…it all takes work and support and I want you to know I am here and if I can’t help you, I will help find someone who can.

#recovery #wecandoit #daybyday

I Drink to Hide…

I drink to hide the depression,

I drink to hide the pain.

I took the bottle off the shelf,

I did this when I stopped believing in myself.

No one knows the real me,

Because I don’t know her anymore.

She’s drowning in a sea of fear,

Booze, despair, and regrets.

Praises I used to sing to the King,

It’s hard to bring myself to worship anything.

I would laugh and talk to anyone,

Do anything for anyone.

Just didn’t really care about myself,

What was the point?

I was living in hell.

It was hell that I was creating,

I couldn’t get out of and no way of explaining.

Just wanted to numb the pain,

It’s all I wanted, I can’t explain.

Just little relief sounded good for the moment.

That first glass of wine led to another and another.

Then whiskey, tequila, vodka, and bourbon.

I didn’t like the liquor.

It tasted quite awful.

But god how the pain stopped for a time,

I was funny, relaxed, a bit carefree…

I was a little more how I used to be,

Like the past me.

The Nicole of years gone by…

Not depressed, anxious, pained, and shy.

I don’t like who I am after I drink,

Because then I start to think.

“Why can’t I be that way sober?

Normal, enjoyable, able to do what I could before…”

Then the depression starts, then the anxiety wins,

Then the pain starts, then I want another drink.

I drink to hide the depression.

I drink to hide the pain.

I just can’t keep doing this.

No more.

Not again.

To a deeply depressed mother: suicide isn’t selfish, but it is permanent. An Open Response to Jen Simon’s NY Daily News Article on Kate Spade’s Death. #notselfishbutforever

“Suicide is a permanent solution to a temporary problem.” ~ Phil Donahue

Dear Ms. Simon,

First, I want to thank you for opening the dialogue that a mother can suffer from immeasurable depression.  That was bold and gutsy! I love that in a fellow woman, however, the title of your article for the NY Times was neglectful and potentially detrimental to women like myself who are not only mothers, but who have struggled with any form of major depressive disorder or suicidal thoughts at any point.

Case in point, Kate Spade was a remarkable woman.  She built an empire around functional and fashionable bags, glasses and other accessories.  However, she was flawed (as we all are). She struggled with her own mental health issues that are not the same as yours and are not the same as mine.  I mourn for her daughter who now has to struggle with having no mother to help her through the formative years when she needs a mother’s guidance.  However, Ms. Spade is just one in several thousand mothers who daily take their lives and think it is “best for my children.”

You see Ms. Simon, as you said in your article, “Depression is the all-consuming fear that things, emotions, circumstances, life itself — is static.” However, if we stop and think about it, depression encompasses so very much more. It totally engulfs our positive thoughts, our beliefs in morality and compassion, and even our ability to empathize with someone based on their situation.  You see, this is where you are wrong about suicide, it is actually very selfish because all depression and suicidal thoughts allows a person to see is their own situation and not how it affects the people surrounding them.

Suicide is a very selfish act.

Like you, I had thought that my children would be better with ANY mother in the whole world than one who was broken and couldn’t even drag herself out of the bed to shower daily.  You see Ms. Simon, I don’t know your personal mental health history fully, but from what you disclosed in your article, we have a somewhat similar background.  I lost several friends to suicide (especially as therapeutic measures for prevention of drug abuse and suicide in the united states became more and more scarce and even more expensive). I lost my own mother to a drug overdose (we will never know if it was intentional or not, but regardless she struggled for years with mental health issues and a lack of adequate mental health care). But at no point did anyone ever say to them that what their attempts to take their lives were wrong.

No one told them, “You are loved more than you know!”

No one told them, “I need you now and I will need you even more later.”

No one told them, “You are amazing and you show that even broken things are beautiful and shine light to everyone.”

How do I know this? Well, because it wasn’t until I attempted to take my own life after having two children and being married for years that I actually heard these things from people.  It wasn’t until then that I realized I didn’t tell my friends and loved ones “I love you” nearly enough. It wasn’t until I had lost one of my closest friends, who was also a mother, to suicide the devastation that comes with this type of loss.

So, Ms. Simon, when you tell a depressed mother that ” suicide isn’t selfish” you are potentially putting a stick of dynamite into the hands of someone who should never have that stick in the first place. The only thing left is striking the match…

You, Ms. Simon, as a published author should realize what your words could do to another woman.  Another mother.  I did as soon as I read the title to your article.  While it may draw people in to the story of Kate Spade and her struggle with mental illness and your own struggle with mental illness and suicidal thoughts, it detracts from the severity of the issue.

That issue is we are all women, most all of us have spouses and children, but all of us carry painful issues about our own pasts that we have yet to reconcile in order to move forward.  This does not mean telling another person (let alone a stressed out and depressed mother) that “suicide isn’t selfish…”  What it instead means is a friendly gesture like a smile, a “Hello”, or helping with a stroller.  One act of kindness can change a woman’s whole outlook on life and the world surrounding her. It may not be a permanent change, but it could be a momentary change that results in a lifesaving change.

I’ve struggled with major depression and anxiety.  I have contemplated taking my life because I felt that the WHOLE world would be better without me.  The realization is that if I had succeeded in taking my life, I would never get really sweet kisses from my son on my forehead when I have a migraine headache again.  I would never get kisses from him at all.  I would never experience my daughter’s first date or first dance.   I would never eat another taco or bake another cake.

So yes Ms. Simon, while when we (those people thinking death is better than life) are living moment to moment and doing our best to guide our children through as we can, we do NOT need someone telling us that “suicide isn’t selfish.” The quote from Phil Donahue above is a good one, but one that has stuck with me for years was from an associate pastor at my church.

“Suicide is 90 percent about you and only 10 percent about everyone else.  How would it be any easier without you here to guide, love, and protect those that you are supposed to if you are dead?” 

Years later, I understood what that associate pastor meant.  I was more worried about how things appeared for my family (a less broken and hurt mother and wife, a cousin who could do everything she physically used to be able…etc…) than how it would ACTUALLY effect my family.  I never once stopped and asked if my children wanted a new mother or my husband wanted a new wife at the time.  I didn’t stop and ask my grandmother if she wanted my brother to move up and be the oldest grandchild she had.  I didn’t ask my nieces and nephews if they might want a new aunt someday….I didn’t do that at all.  I only thought about ending the pain I suffered and that imaginary pain I caused everyone else.  What the part of our brain that says, “YES! Do it! You can…and you should…”  neglects to tell us is that this is a VERY permanent fix to a temporary problem.

Ms. Simon, had I succeeded in committing suicide, I would not only have left my children motherless, I would have left my husband a widower, my grandmother without her oldest grand-daughter after her oldest daughter passed away.  I would have left my friends without a friend and my loved ones without the candor and compassion that I hope they have come to love.

So, Ms. Simon, suicide is a very selfish act.  There are so many other ways to make your life better than dying.

Call the National Suicide Hotline at 1-800-273-8255.

Have a safety plan with your friends who will support you when you are struggling.

If all else fails, go to the emergency room and tell them how you feel and give them the number for your family.

My whole point of this open rebuttal to your NY Daily News post is that while any person, whether a mother, father, aunt, uncle, grandmother and father, who is raising a child may struggle with deep depression there are always alternatives to taking your life.

The World Needs You! 

Sincerely,
Nicole Price
A Deeply Depressed Mother

 

 

 

Migraine Awareness Month: Day 1 #invisibleillness

“And I have learned now to live with it, learned when to expect it, how to outwit it, even how to regard it, when it does come, as more friend than lodger. We have reached a certain understanding, my migraine and I.”
– Joan Didion, author

As the author of this quote might ascertain, I am certainly not friends with my migraine.  I survive my migraine condition day, by day, by day, by day.  Even when I feel like I can’t do it, I get up and go on, just as many other millions of migraine survivors do.  Even if you are blessed to have family and loved ones to help with those household things you can’t do when you are suffering through a migraine (driving to pick your children up from school or child care, picking up groceries, making sure your household is essentially cared for), or praise God you have never experienced a migraine before,  there are so many millions more who suffer alone.

What we struggle with is the insane stigma associated with chronic migraine syndrome and the chronic pain and tiredness that is associate with recovering from migraines.  “Oh my gosh! I wish I could just lay around when I had a headache!”

eye roll

It is like, “Oh my gosh! Do you really think that I enjoy laying around while my kid go out into the world and experience things without me? Seriously! Yeah, my friend…that is the HIGHLIGHT of my life!?”

It is is like asking Santa Claus if he enjoys salad with carrots, beets and balsamic vinaigrette, and NOT delivering toys to the children of the world.  Or asking the Easter Bunny if he would prefer his Easter eggs hard boiled or soft boiled and NEVER delivered!  It is quite honestly offensive to have someone who has NEVER experienced a body boiling, mind numbing. brain crushing. soul devouring migraine describe a pain that you can’t possibly understand and that even if I don’t like you one little bit, would still never wish this on you. .

This is nothing like a headache that Advil, Alleve, or BC Powders may potentially relieve. Not even Excedrine Migraine that the handsome fireman says helps his migraine condition works…No my friend, it is so much more significant.

Some migraines are called “suicide migraines” because there is no medicinal relief other than something that has recently been described as “medicinal euthanasia.” How sad is it that there are ACTUAL medical treatments for cluster migraines (a.k.a. suicide migraines) as well as homeopathic treatments for migraines (CBD oil which is cannabis oil with extremely low to negative THC oil which is what makes you high from the cannabis in the first place) that make you feel comatose and near death. As though the migraine doesn’t already make you feel that way already!

Such stringent regulations are now being placed on opioid treatments, including those persons who ACTUALLY, LEGITIMATELY using those medications for pain management verses abusing them for getting high instead of chronic pain syndrome and illnesses where no other relief has been found other than through HIGHLY regulated opioid pain maintenance (such as a legitimate pain care clinic and not a ‘pay and go’ clinic that is shady and only takes your cash and gives you what you want and sends you on your way without so much as checking your weight at the door). Chronic illness sufferers are now being denied treatment what worked and are being given secondary and tertiary treatments that provide no relief and at an expense to the sufferer.

Even newly created treatments, such as Amovig, are not easily accessible to people who have commercial insurance since it is so new and after the trial offer provided by the manufacturers has expired, those who have had results are often footed with a bill that is near $6000 for a one year supply.

Sorry, don’t know about y’all but I can’t afford that! If I could, I would rather enjoy spending that almost six grand at the beach. Enjoying learning how to live again with my family and trying to remind myself what ACTUALLY living life is like! Some mixed drink of some kind in hand, slathered in SPF 100 (yes, I know there is no difference, I don’t care! I have had sun poisoning and it sucks!) and enjoying the wafting waves!

You see, people who suffer from and survive migraines look at and experience the world entirely different from everyone else.  We realize that each, precious moment is supposed to be cherished and enjoyed and loved because you absolutely never know when you will be blindsided by a migraine and unable to move from the very spot you are struck .

If only everyone might take an clue from someone who suffers from chronic migraine or any chronic illness, we might all learn to view the world in an entirely different way!

#MHAM #chronicmigraineawareness #wearesurvivors

When you move things to the trash…

When something goes wrong in your life just yell, “PLOT TWIST…” and move on…

THIS IS A POST FROM OCTOBER, 2017…THE REST IS FROM THE REGULAR DAILY DAY!

“Well if that were the case Nicole you have enough plot twists for a Shakespearean play…” I hate friends who have that outlook on life.

Isn’t all of our lives like some type of daily drama?

We shouldn’t have to look at it like that, especially children, but realistically that is the way it is now a days.  Daily we live our lives like we are in a soap opera. “Days of Our Lives”, “Bold and the Beautiful”…it’s so maddening.

“Oh, Nicole! Isn’t your baby’s daddy’s mamma her brother’s mother’s uncle’s mother’s father’s fifth fourth third cousins, brother’s uncle’s, nieces pumpkin’s baby’s toddling monkey NASCAR driving chimpanzee needing a job to buy diapers and formula? Pretty sure I saw that on Facebook or SnappyChat…”

DRAMA folks!!! We live for it!

In politics, news, our neighborhood, churches…everywhere. We are so willing to share the negative but nothing about the positive or what we can do to help.

What can we do to help? Is there anything anymore?

I was reprimanded today for buying lunch for a child who was tripped by a bully.  This boy, who had a physical limitation, spilled his lunch on the floor, explained to me that he had already spent all the lunch money that he had on the lunch he purchased.  He wouldn’t be able to charge his lunch (per county ordinances on lunch charges in the high schools for student lunch purchases), so I did what I was raised to do.

I bought him a lunch. “No child should ever go hungry…” I can remember my Nana saying.

The exact SAME lunch he had on his tray, no more and no less.

And I got punished for it…

A verbal and written warning that would be submitted to the agency that I worked for.

“WAIT? Really?? We have a child who was bullied and lost his lunch in front of the WHOLE SCHOOL, with no other means to purchase said lunch. This that might FEED him for the entire day.  He gets fed, WHICH is what WE ARE SUPPOSED to do as educators and professionals and I get written up for it? Okay.  I understand.  I will gladly take this write up and whatever else is deemed necessary because it meant this child got a lunch, was safe, and when he went to his last round of classes wasn’t empty or embarrassed. Sorry Sir, if that is the caliber of professional you want in your school…”

By the end of the day, word had spread to teachers, counselors, office administrators that I had stood up for something very few had.

That wasn’t my goal.  Personally, I saw a child who needed help. No more, no less.

But why don’t we view every day circumstances in the ideals of “No more, no less…” To give as you have been given and to extend to everyone you know as you have seen far much less…

Why not help those who have “no more and no less…” It takes so very little effort!

When you go in a Walmart or Dollar Store:

  • Pick up a quart size pack of freezer bags:
    • Put in these socks (You can get multi-packs at Dollar Tree)\
    • Peanut butter crackers
    • A bottle of water (you can purchase them in six packs at the Dollar Tree)
    • A small something sweet (you might steer away from chocolate sweets in the summer months, maybe something more like peppermints, butterscotch, root beer barrels…etc…)
    • If you have it, a dollar or more in coins (everyone uses them to wash clothes, purchase necessities, toothpaste..etc…) put them in that bag.
    • Personal hygienic items (toothpaste, tooth brushes, dry shampoo, deodorant…etc…)
    • A small quote or prayer.  (My personal favorite that I live to this day is, “We may throw the dice, but the Lord determines where they land…Prov. 16:33).

We can do this and support our communities as we go.  We may never realize who we are reaching or what community, but isn’t that the point.  We work with those who seek the same mission as we do and we go forth.

I can’t tell you how often I keep a few extra peanut butter crackers or bottles of water for those who need them more than they realized and exactly what Christ happened to tell me to have on hand.  I am amazed daily.

YOU might just be amazed daily, too!

 

 

A Day Like Today…

“Yesterday is history, tomorrow is a mystery, today is God’s gift, that’s why we call it the present.” ~Joan Rivers

I never much cared for Joan Rivers.  I thought she was brash and harsh in her judgments of people and in her tastes.  But in regards of her ideals for what she calls for God’s gift for the day, I couldn’t agree more.

Today I took my minis to a new park with rock walls and huge hills, something that would challenge their bodies and them socially.  Considering they do not engage much with their peers outside of school and scouts (for Aidan every other week and Riley a little more often), I was encouraged to find a park that was only a shorter distance from the house that gave us a picnic opportunity and a little bit of a diversion from the tablets and television.

I packed sandwiches, chips, water, and apples for Riley and off we set for Canton.  Talking about Minecraft (mods and blowing things up), about how dark the latest Taylor Swift song is and how disappoined Aidan is about that (and how secretly I am hating it too), how Riley likes Justin Bieber (gag), and how YES I packed salami and cheese sandwiches for lunch and bottled water and dehydrated apples, and how there is nothing better in the world than Golden Freddy and FNAF (I have no EARTHLY CLUE WHAT THAT IS!).

Reality is, this is what most car rides anywhere are like with two special needs children.  Jumbled messes of random sentences that mean worlds of everything  special.  I have no idea what a mod is or that my son likes Justin Bieber (again, gag) and again what a Golden Freddy is, but it was almost 40 minutes of talking to my children about what they thought was important.  AND THAT was what was important.

We had an amazing time at this park! They made a new friend who plays the EXACT same games they do and speaks the EXACT same game language they do and their dad seemed as lost as I was when they started talking about games as I was, so we sat back and let them climb the rock walls and talk mini gamer talk and we drank water for a bit and I got super burnt in September Georgia sun, but it was totally worth it! Want to know why??? Because, my kids interacted socially with other kids, got some well needed Vitamin D, talked mini gamer speak that I didn’t understand and then talked my ear off the entire way home and are now knocked out like they should be on a Saturday night because they played hard and made a new friend!

This was a Saturday that they spent away from their house, not in the backyard, not on their tablet, not worried about staying quiet because Mommy has a migraine.  It was time for them to be kids on a Saturday and it was WONDERFUL!