Panic

Thursday, September 8, 2016

I guess I fell asleep at some point because I woke up alone in my bed. It was not the first time nor would it be the last.
I got ready for work. The plan was to push everything out of my head and get through the day.
I got the my son up and ready. We were in the kitchen when my wasband came in. I told my wasband that we needed to talk. He told me there was nothing to talk about. I can not remember what he said next….but it was something that raised the eyebrow of my son. My son turned and, for the first time I had ever seen, stood up to his father.
“Leave Mom alone! What the heck is wrong with you? Why can’t you be nice to her?”
“Son….remember who you are speaking to and watch your mouth….” and my wasband left the kitchen.
My son and I went to school without saying another word.
I did the best I could to get through the day but late in the afternoon, while teaching my class, I felt sick….like never before. I have panic attacks and anxiety. I have been in treatment for these issues as these episodes have had very dire consequences. I know what to expect. I have ‘coping skills’ and  meds to help. But this was different…..
I sent a student to get my partner teacher. My partner teacher and I had worked together for 15 years at that point. We KNEW each other. I remember I must have looked bad because the look on her face was one I had never seen before. She sent me into the hall as I tried to get my breath. She walked my students out of the room to their fine arts class and then ….
I melted down. I could not breathe. It was the panic attack to end all panic attacks. I was breathing into a paper bag and she was trying desperately to calm me down. She went to call 911 and I begged her not to……I finally regained control …..over an hour later.
She covered for me the whole time. Not only did I feel like a weak woman but I felt like a failure as a teacher. I needed to get it together.
I pulled myself together as much as possible and got through the reminder of the day. I didn’t want to go home. I didn’t want to go home that day or any day after that….but home was where my kids were and I knew I had to take care them. So I went home……
Here’s to soaring again….

Divorce

Monday, August 15, 2016

Divorce. That was not a word that was used in my family. It was a dirty word. A word that was whispered. A word that was for others. A word that was like a scarlet ‘D’ on the chest of those “other people”.
I was born and raised Catholic. I went to Catholic school and even Catholic College. I devoted my life to teaching my faith to children, other children and my own.  I was taught, at home and through my faith, that we do not divorce. We pray. We talk to the priest. We go to Mass. We say the Rosary….we DO NOT divorce. Divorce is a sin.
My family does not “do” divorce. No one got divorced. No one talked about problems either. People stayed married in my family. That is what I wanted when I got married. I was made to believe that divorce was for quitters. People that did not do the work before or during marriage were the ones that got divorced. So I planned to do everything right. I was going to pick a man that was ready to do the same.
I dated lots of guys but when I found “my Guy”, I looked at his family. Everyone was married and no one divorced. Yea….good role models.
When I got married I was in it for the long haul. I was dedicated to my husband and would soon start family. As the family started to grow, my dedication and activity level grew too. I was “that” mom. I took the kids everywhere. We went to zoos, museums, sports, dance….you name it…I had my kids doing it. What I didn’t realize was …it was just me. I was the one doing it all. I excused it all because my wasband was working. He was always working (Or so I thought).
So I did what good moms do….I “mommed”. I worked and I “mommed”. I lived for the nights my wasband was home for dinner with the family or nights he would treat me like a queen by taking me out to dinner.
Years passed and the kids grew.
People always say that the wife is the last to know….that is so far from the truth. The wife is the FIRST to know. She is usually the last to admit it to herself and others. That was me. I knew. I knew the first time it happened and I listened to the excuses from my wasband. I let it go and thought that it was a one time thing.
The second time it happened….I let it go hoping it would go away…and it did.
The third time? Well..that was enough. I had had enough. My kids were older and other people knew about this affair.  I knew about the affair. What I didn’t know then was that this was not number 3. This was, well, let’s just say a number more than number 3.
I knew for over a year before I was ready to admit it to myself. I knew. I knew and I knew I was done living like this.I knew and I knew both my kids and I deserved better. I knew and I knew that I needed find the courage and strength to leave this toxic marriage. I knew…And soon it was time to let my wasband know what I already knew…..D Day was upon us.
Here’s to soaring again…..

Broken

On January 18 I turned 55. 
What did I get for my birthday?
I got…
An off leash dog
A missed curb
A wipeout
A drive to the ER
1/2 a narco(my choice)
A hematoma block
A closed reduction
A splint 
An appointment with an orthopedic doctor 
An appointment for a minor surgery 
A covid test
An ekg
A full blood panel
Anesthesia 
K wires
Another splint 
More narco(which I chose not to take)
Gummies
The first dose of a Moderna Covid vaccine 
Another appointment with an orthopedic doctor 
A cast
And I’m not done yet….
I’ve had more medical care in the past few weeks than I have had in years. Do I like it? No. Am I grateful? Yes. 
Medical care and taking care of of myself was not seen as a priority during my marriage. Taking care of of my physical and mental health was seen as a selfish and weak expense that we could not afford. When I did visit the doctor, the bill was never paid and I could not go back so I stopped going all together. It was not worth the embarrassment. 
But now? Now I’m learning to take care of myself. Im learning that taking care of myself is worth every penny. I’m not self indulgent but I go to the doctor when I need it. I go to regular therapy appointments. I take care of this vessel that holds my heart. 
I’m learning… sometimes the hard way… to take care of myself. And it is so worth it. 
Peace
#tutulady
#forwardisapace

Domestic

October is National Domestic Violence Awareness month, which first began in 1981 by the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence. It was designed to raise awareness and empower others to speak up, speak out, and get help. Nearly three out of four Americans personally know someone who is or has been a victim of domestic violence. Now is time to take a stand. Support survivors and speak out against domestic violence.
Domestic violence is more than physical violence. It is a pattern of behaviors used by one partner to maintain power and control over another partner in an intimate relationship. Ending the harm, shame, and stigma of domestic violence requires an understanding of the behaviors that define it. It affects millions of every gender, race, religion, culture and status. It’s not just punches and black eyes — it’s yelling, humiliation, stalking, manipulation, coercion, threats and isolation. It’s stealing a paycheck, keeping tabs online, non-stop texting, constant use the silent treatment, or calling someone stupid so often they believe it. The mental wounds of Domestic Violence are invisible and run deep, with recovery often taking years of therapy.
Domestic Violence is:
Physical
Psychological
Financial
Verbal
Sexual
Digital
Stalking
Spiritual/Cultural
Damage to property
There are so many other forms of abuse and control, many that utilize the children. Once a victim has the courage to leave, they are often not safe and nor free, especially if there are children involved. Abusers use the children and the family court system in a variety of ways to continue the abuse.  The family court system is slow to change, thinking that ordering the abuser to attend anger management classes will address any issues thus correcting the abuser’s behavior. This only angers the abuser more thus empowering them in new ways.
To be clear, abusers never start out that way. They slowly, insidiously destroy the boundaries and self esteem of the victim. In a relationship with an abusive partner, the future-abuser has an agenda. And future-victim will not be aware until it’s too late. Those who abuse others are skilled manipulators who play on the fears and insecurities of others. They feed on the victims need for love and acceptance. They dish out kibbles here and there to keep the victim in line and coming back for more…..just like a casino! Lose every time you visit the casino? You stop going. You need the hope and promise of a win to continue going back. Victims always hold out hope that the abuser will change. Abusers groom victims to trust them, they learn the victims’ weaknesses and use that knowledge as fuel for further control.
What does Domestic Violence look like? It looks like the neighbor who wears a lot of makeup and long sleeves to cover bruises and then lies about how she got those injuries. It looks like the friend that never can go out with friends or when he does, he has to share a location with his partner at all times all the while his phone is blowing up. It looks like the lady in the checkout line who will not speak without looking at her partner first. It looks like a teenager who changes their whole personality for a partner. It looks like the friend who is isolated from friends and family by their partner. It looks like the depressed anxious person who can nor seem to focus, fearful of doing/saying the wrong thing, forever walking on eggshells. It looks like the one that is posting about how perfect life is…..It looks like me.
People who haven’t lived through this kind of trauma will always ask, “Why don’t they just leave?” It’s not that easy — if it was, they would. Choosing to leave an abusive partner is arguably the most life-changing and empowering decisions a person can make, especially if children are involved. Finally, the victim chooses to become a survivor. Victims live in fear and shame. The decision to leave is one that they will ponder many times before actually being courageous enough to actually leave. A nonjudgmental place of safety is what every victim craves. .
What can others do to support victims of Domestic Violence?
Watch for the signs. Start a conversation. Listen to them. Just listen. Do not pressure them. Do not tell them what to do. Do not blame them. Although your natural impulse may be to “rescue” someone from domestic violence, the person being abused needs to make the ultimate decision whether and when to leave and get help. Support them no matter their decision and continue to provide them with a loving and safe place. Once they do feel supported and safe, they will eventually make a life-changing choice. Always…
LISTEN TO THEM!
LOVE THEM!
BELIEVE THEM!
BELIEVE THEM!
BELIEVE THEM!
BELIEVE THEM!
We need to break the cycle of violence. We need to continue sharing stories, listening, supporting and loving, all the while raising awareness, empowering victims to become survivors and thrivers. Lives depend on it!
Peace.
#tutulady
#forwardisapace





Addiction

Back in early March I was asked to speak to a group of women. All the women in the group were in addiction recovery. The women I met were so amazing and strong. They were real warriors who, after hitting rock bottom, were fighting to climb back up the mountain of sobriety. After I spoke to the group, I listened. I listened as they told me their stories and showed me photos of family. We each became social media friends and I prayed daily for them on their recovery journey. I drove home alone that night knowing the time I spent with them changed me for the better. For two of those women, the pull of addiction was too strong. Last week one of the women overdosed and died. For the rest of the women, I know that the fight and the climb is not over….and may never be over.
Addiction is a crisis. Mental Heath is a crisis. In the past month alone I have supported 3 friends entering mental health treatment facilities. I have witnessed 2 different women return to addiction and one overdose. I have read and seen so many people posting about coping with stress and anxiety using alcohol and other unhealthy methods. Fear, Pain, Inability to cope, societal expectations, and many other factors all play a part in this crisis.
I’m not going to claim to be an authority, spouting facts and figures on addiction and mental health. What I am is a woman who has struggled with her own demons. Fortunately, and with support, I have learned to manage my mental health.
Addiction and mental health struggles are horrible masters but there is always help. There are people and places that are professionals at battling these monsters. There are people and places that are willing and able to support your recovery journey. All you need to do is reach out. It is going to take a great deal of bravery and I can’t promise it will be easy but it is going to be worth it. You are worth it! I am always here to listen, to help, to support you and to walk you in if needed. You are stronger than you realize and loved more than you will ever know.
Peace
#tutulady
#forwardisapace