Just another manic Monday

Underneath it all…


It’s been so long since I’ve sat down and written a story for my blog. I’ve been writing and writing, just nothing that I am willing to share quite yet. It’s been a rather interesting month and a half.

I successfully (but with major scars) made it through the month of November. I spent the first part of my birthday taking photos for a wedding. It was small, quaint and full of love and support. I feel truly blessed that I was able to be there to capture it for them. I’ve seen majority of the pictures and can’t wait to edit them.
Thanksgiving was a conundrum. Because our littlest one had the most insane skin flare up ever. And so there was a moment that we thought she would need to get admitted to the hospital because of how bad it was. Not only that but that morning I woke up happy and excited and by the end of the day I was fighting off triggers and depressed feelings. It got pretty scary.

I try to be an open book when it comes to my journey but in reality sometimes I’m just not because it’s easier to keep it bottled up. But for the remainder of that week and for at least a week to follow I fought hard feelings of committing suicide. I have had flashbacks, and smells and sights. But I’ve never had a trigger as strong as I did, where I was so completely lost and confused on where I was in time. The only thing that kept reminding me where I was were my kiddos and my favorite calming song, Sitting on the Doc of the Bay… 

Because the trigger was so strong, the side effects have lasted for weeks. I’m tired emotionally, physically and mentally. I feel like I am on alert at all times, but also like I am trying to forge out calm. It is such a weird place to be in. Of course my sleeping and waking stages are off, and that alone is driving me crazy. I finally realized it was time to call my PCP for some type of medication when I had serious thoughts of voluntarily committing myself to an inpatient hospital so that I could not hurt myself.

I’ve officially been on medication for a week, I don’t like any of it. It makes me tired, which I guess is good because my sleep was lacking. But now I’m so tired I just crash every night. I haven’t remembered one dream over the last week. Last night I forgot to take my medication and I woke up this morning and had a small memory of my dreams. But what I noticed the most was underneath it all, underneath the medication, the sleep, the tiredness, etc… I am just incredibly sad and exhausted. I’m managing my days well mostly. My energy is low, so I’m trying to work on that. Initially I tried with caffeine. That doesn’t do anything. So I’ve been doing it with food. Not unhealthy food, which is a good start. I have been eating almonds, carrots, snap peas, salads, etc. I would enjoy some grapes but they are a hit or a miss because they aren’t technically in season.

I have been in communication with my counselor, so she knows. She is sweet, she has built in a weekly check-in between our visits. I understand why she did it… But doesn’t mean that I like it. LOL! She also highly suggested that I voluntarily hand my weapons over to someone that will put them away and not tell me where. I just want to say I feel completely naked without my knife. That has been my comfort for knowing that I can protect myself if I needed to. But I guess something that protects can also cause harm. And so I am slowly learning how it feels to be naked and vulnerable without my protection. As of now my mindset is, “It is what it is…” and all of these people are truly annoying me. Like enough to make me say something but not enough to be rude or disrespectful. Because I am trusting that they have my best interest at heart.

Anyways, today is another ‘slow’ morning. I’ve been cleaning to clear my mind, lol! I hate cleaning. Or more like I dislike cleaning with a passion. I’ve been making small check off lists and crossing things off. It feels good to be able to do that. It’s the small victories. I got up and brushed my teeth. I ate some food. I helped our elves make muffins for the kiddos. I got five kiddos off to school with little fanfare. And now I’m planning to go get a few more things for our elves so they can do more fun things this weekend. I’ve been slacking on that end and the girls miss it tons.

I think the weirdest part of this whole experience over the last week is we took in an emergency respite placement of two kiddos. They are older than what we are used to and they are older than what we would ever want in our home. The girl is 11 and the boy is 12. Having the girl in the house is like looking in a mirror. She has been through a lot and has experienced even more. I can see that she is a fighter, but I can also see where she is just plain tired and exhausted. Since being in our house she has slept longer and seems a little more chill. But this is also the honeymoon period. It’s only through next week, but Ike and I have been talking about whether we want it to be more long term. We can see their potential, but we are not oblivious to the amount of work it will be to help them reach it. If not with us, we truly hope they are reunited with their momma. They both seem to want to go back, but they haven’t been with her in such a long time that I’m not sure the girl is entirely sure anymore.

I am asking for prayers, for myself, for the two kiddos we have in our home and of course for my own children and my other half. There is a lot going on, somethings are known and some things not everyone knows. Eventually I think everyone will be caught up to speed. But for now slow and steady is also my mantra.

Love and Light my friends, Namaste.



When you have a free moment…

When you have a free moment use it! The girls and I dropped the babies off for a visit with their momma and headed out for a quick let’s knock some stuff off of our summer bingo board. So we went to two different farmers markets, saw some chickens, explored a small farm and got tons of hot sun.

I’ll take it. It’s in the small moments that you learn and see the most.

Oh yeah this truck and the lane I’m in speaks volumes of my addiction to scary movies… Final Destination is the movie I’m referring to. Lol!

Namaste, I


But how do you KNOW?

**This was written on June 8th, 2016**

My therapist has this way of giving me homework after each session I go see her. Some of it intentional but mostly it just happens based on what we talk about during our time together. 
One week she actually had me reading a chapter on triggers. I thought it would be easy as pie, I was wrong. So incredibly wrong I regretted even starting to read the chapter and so I stopped half way through. There was a part where it asked you to write out your triggers. Again I stupidly obliged and started it and then abruptly stopped because I started reacting to what I was writing down. The mind is an interesting thing. 

Anyways, last week she told me to pay attention to when I am happy and how that feels within my whole body. And to figure out how I KNOW that I’m happy. 

Something that I’ve never done. I can tell you almost to a T, when I’m sad, depressed, etc. I can almost pinpoint the exact moment when shit started towards the worst. It wasn’t something that I planned, it was just a survival mode I went into when I started picking up on the shift. 

Because when it started happening, back then. I knew a panic attack was not far behind. I knew that I needed to be in an environment that was safe for not only myself but my children and so I made it my duty to pick up on the signs. It’s worked so well that now I can almost talk myself down from one. It just depends on how far down the slope I’ve gone. 

Anyways… I’ve been feeling off today, unsteady, unsure, like I’m waiting for the other show to drop. Completely restless. Kind of jittery and unsure of myself and my capabilities. I thought I would feel more grounded because I actually did do yoga today. But such is not the case. I think I need to clear some energy, put my feet in the grass, BE!

I’ve been floating between happiness and being or feeling depressed. And then feeling sad that I feel depressed and then beat myself up over it. It feels like a curtain keeps opening and closing consistently. And when it’s open, I feel alive, energized, light, open, quiet, radiating, smooth, soft but hard or is it strong?! Just an overall feeling of being okay. 

I’m not tired. When I am happy I can feel an overwhelming feeling of uplifting energy and happy thoughts and feels. When I’m happy I do things differently, i go to sleep differently. I wake up and do my morning routine differently, my body mind and spirit are all different when I’m happy. Even. My hair acts different, lol

I know I’m happy because it feels like the curtain is open. Letting in the fresh air, my body doesn’t feel heavy and weighted down with all of the problems of the world. I feel 15 pounds lighter even if the scale doesn’t reflect that. 

Anyways, right now this moment. I’m happy. This time frame I’m fluctuating between happy and sad. Past and present. I’m trying to stay focused on the present, but acknowledge the past. It’s a fine line, one that I struggle with daily. 

I am going to be grateful in this moment and appreciate the happy feelings I have. Even though I’m tired and just want to hit publish…


Today is…

Today is Tuesday, it is the 19th day of July. It is the year 2016…
I had to have help remembering that today. I could readily remember it was Tuesday because I had made that comment when I first walked in. I was asked how I was doing. And my reply was, “It’s Tuesday and I’m here.” 

She kind of smiled at my reply and I added that I was okay, but mostly it’s Tuesday and I’m here. So I’m fine… The brain is such a powerful tool. I know this, I can feel this. But I forget sometimes. Today I was reminded with such fanfare just how powerful it really is. 
I came with no expectations, I actually really didn’t know what I even wanted to talk about. And so I made a comment about my hair, about being cute wearing a hat and that it’s been busy. Since having the foster kiddos placed, its been a lot of busy and a lot of noise. I don’t mean just noise from having three under five, but noise from just not being able to shut my brain off from all of the crap that is going on in it. It has been so noisy that my sleep has been suffering and my usual productiveness has slimmed down to just being slightly productive. 

I’ve realized that my ability to calm and center myself has fallen to the wayside. It’s weird how issues in the world and the things I’m dealing with inside my own home and inside of my head are all playing off of each other and making me feel anxious and unsure of myself. I realized this when I drove past a couple of state troopers and my heart rate instantly spiked. I gave myself a hard talk that day and decided it was time to disconnect from certain things and reconnect with me. And so, as I was supposed to be editing a recent photo session I stopped, turned on a PBS show and just let it watch me & I took a lot of deep breaths. As I sat there haphazardly sprawled all over the chair uncomfortably, I massaged my shoulders and took long deep breaths. And then I half crawled, half dragged myself off of the chair and went into my room and put on shorts. 

As this PBS show played and watched me I went through a series of yoga moves and realized my body just needed to be there where it was in that moment. I ended in a downward dog asana and for a solid 60 seconds all thoughts disappeared and I was only present to that moment. My shoulders no longer hurt, my heart no longer felt heavy and I had a very different view to the process. It was in those moments that I realized I was letting the world into my space and so I thought, after my realization, that I had it under control again. That is until I went to therapy and started talking about having gone to court for the kiddos on Monday.

Sometimes I don’t easily correlate the way I feel with underlying things that I haven’t dealt with. I was explaining how frustrated I was and how a few things felt off and she, well, she instantly read all of it and I thought my world was crumbling around me. I could see the shit falling out of the box as she reached up and just dragged it off the shelf. 

SHIT! I wasn’t expecting that. My vision goes blurry and I become quiet. I can barely talk above a whisper and my answers, thoughts and ideas get lost in translation. I guess that’s true… yes, I think that’s true but… 
“Iiona, what are you feeling right now? 

Ummm, I… I’m frustrated and sad and I’m frustrated that I’m sad. I feel like I should be crying buckets of tears but it seems stupid to be crying. 

“You said earlier that Love is an action, and with that in mind what do you think you can do to show yourself Love right now?”

I… I… Maybe not beat myself up over this. But why cry.

“What would it feel like to just cry right now?”

Counterproductive. I need to excuse myself, I need to go to the restroom.

“Okay, I will walk with you.”

That was my way to put a pause on the way the conversation was going. I needed a moment, shit I needed about 20 moments but I only had like two. So I used them wisely by breathing deeply while standing in the bathroom stall. Needless to say that moment did not stop the anxiety attack I was trying to prevent. I was too late. It did however come on with no warning signs that I’m used to. No metal taste in my mouth, no tensing of muscles before hand, just a quick SHIT! And then full blown panic attack. I’m still trying to figure out if this is better or worse than what I’m used to. I’m not sure, what I am sure of is it hurt… A lot… My whole body just hurt. 

“Iiona, Iiona you don’t need to go there to that moment. Please keep your eyes open and stay present with me here. Is there anything you need?”

Oh God! I don’t know. SHIT! This fucking hurts. I… I just need a moment.

“Take all the time you need, I’m right here.”

And so I took 30 minutes, 30 moments of time to gather myself. To feel the intensity of each time my body tensed. To breath in deep, hold it and then exhale all of it. To be given help in remembering that “Today is Tuesday, it is the 19th day of July. It is the year 2016…” and to find solace in the small moments that we shared before I left. 

Today is session 13 of 15, almost 17 weeks of letting a stranger into the deepest and darkest part of my mind, body and spirit. Because therapy is a full body experience, no part of you is left untouched. Because I’ve talked about things with her that has never crossed my lips and possibly that will be the last time they cross my lips. Some of those things that crossed my lips left me feeling broken and in small pieces. Pieces that took minutes, hours, days, weeks, months to put back together.

But the difference in putting them together this time was they were put together in LOVE. I am learning to love myself in, during and through this process. It’s hard, I spent the first part of my life being told that I was not wanted nor loved. I’m lucky I’ve had people to fill in the gaps for me, because they were able to show me how much I was loved even if the person I was seeking it from could not nor wanted to offer it. 

Today I had a few hard moments, the whole day wasn’t hard just certain parts of it…

“Today is Tuesday, it is the 19th day of July. It is the year 2016…”