Ten Things of Thankful #1

So I will admit I have watched this particular linkup for a while. I am not sure why I have yet to participate in it aside from my general shyness of joining already established groups. However, I find this to be inspiring, so I am willing to give this a go.

  1. I am incredibly thankful for the love of my husband. He is the rock in my life, even though some days he doesn’t know it. I know I need to tell him more. When I am down and depressed, he in his own way reminds me in his own way that I am not alone and I am loved.

 

  1. I am thankful for making the decision to put tubes in Pickle’s ears. It was not something we came to lightly. However, in the months since he has had it done, his speech has grown exponentially. He went, at 18 months old, from saying Mama and Dada to short sentences. To my husband and I, the tubes are a blessing.

 

  1. I am thankful for being placed on the roster this week for next Saturday’s bout. I know that everyone has a fair chance of getting rostered. It shows to me that the hard work I am putting into practice is paying off.

 

  1. I am thankful for the sunny weather we are having this weekend. This week was very cold and dreary. It was eating at me to the point of throwing me into a depression. Being in the sunshine really helps improve my moods.

 

  1. I am thankful for my new little nephew. He is an adorable little baby. I know that my brother and his girlfriend will be amazing parents. I am also grateful that they drove the 1 1/2hrs up so we could meet him. My boys were excited to meet their first cousin.

 

  1. I am thankful for our little slice of heaven. It is nice to sit out on the deck watching nature at its finest. I love watching my little chickens hunt for bugs. The boys chase each other around in the yard. I love listening to the wind blow through the woods. It is just a little world of peace.

 

  1. I am thankful for my blogging community. I know that I haven’t been as active as I was at one point. However, I know that even in my absence, they would be still willing to support me. They continue to inspire me with their words.

 

  1. I am thankful for waffle cone and all of their delicious goodness

 

  1. I am just thankful for where life has brought me. I was once someone who believed good things did not exist for me. Now not only do I know that I do, I strive for me goodness in my life.

 

  1. I am thankful for all the men and women who protect my freedoms. I am not a blazing patriot. However, I understand the value and sacrifice those of the armed forces have made. To them and all of their family, I am forever and eternally grateful.

Thank you Lizzi for creating Ten Things of Thankful! I look forward to doing this again and again.

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Bipolar Disorder Makes Me Stronger For My Boys

I have done some research about my illness. I learned that 1 in 5 people diagnosed die from it. Those are scary statistics when you think about it. It means I have a pretty good chance of not watching my children grow up. I could miss out on the first day of school, proms, graduation, weddings, and even meeting my grandchildren. A person with my illness has an average shortened life span of 9 years. 9 years. There would be almost of decade of time, I would end up missing out on. 9 years. It makes my heart ache just thinking about it. I would potentially miss 9 years with my loving husband.

The hardest part of it all is there is no cure. There is no getting better. There is only remission maintained by diet, exercise, outpatient therapy, and medications. This is if I have the insurance to cover all my medications, regular blood tests required by some medications, and doctor visits. Then there are the side effects of some of the life-sustaining medications: loss of fine motor skills, liver damage, and weight gain to name a few. The sacrifices made to keep me alive if I could afford it. Sometimes. Sometimes I don’t have the money and I have to go at it alone. I have to take each episode as they come. Just praying I have enough strength to make it to the next.

Some days I grow weary of the struggle. I get tired of fighting and I just want to let fate decide. I look into my children’s face and believe that deserve better than an always sick mom. Then I think about going to the hospital for treatment. Just to stay long enough to get myself in a good place. Then who would take care of my children. I couldn’t be so selfish to expect someone to take care of my kids while I try to get better. I just need to suck it up and keep moving forward. Let’s be honest, I am the modern-day equivalent of a leper. Sure, people may feel sorry for me, but not enough to reach out a helping hand.

And if I finally decide to let my illness claim me as 1 out of 5, I will be a villain not a hero. There will be no ribbons worn in honor of me. No one will be there to light a luminary at a walk in support of my illness. No T-shirts. No fundraisers.  No memorials or 5Ks. I will be viewed as selfish and thoughtless. No one will talk about the fight I put up. They will only focus on the part of where I gave up. The stigma of my death will carry on to my children. For if my children chose to share how I died, they will not be met with sympathy but pity. And my death will forever lower my worth as a mother. It is a shame because my children will know how hard I fought. However they will be frowned up if they choose to honor me.  They will have to defend the legitimacy of my illness.

However there is a silver lining in all of this. Though it may be potential deadly, it is not terminal. Matter of fact death from this illness is 100% preventable. With research, awareness, and proper treatment, no one will ever have to die from this illness. I have bipolar disorder. Bipolar disorder affects approximately 5.7 million adult Americans, or about 2.6% of the U.S. population age 18 and older every year. (National Institute of Mental Health) Bipolar disorder results in 9.2 years reduction in expected life span, and as many as one in five patients with bipolar disorder completes suicide. (National Institute of Mental Health) These are unavoidable truths that need to be addressed.

Truth is I don’t want to be a statistic. And seeing my children have at least 25% chance of being bipolar, I don’t want them to be one either. We need to stop treating mental illnesses so lightly. We need to start recognizing that they are potently deadly illnesses. No matter how someone dies, their life mattered. We need to start recognizing this and start acting upon it.  My fight deserves the same dignity and respect as any other. In this world, every life is precious.

Selfie On, Mama! Selfie On!

At Super Saturday in Pittsburgh

At Super Saturday in Pittsburgh

It is pretty common for Mom to always be behind the camera. Taking precious snapshots of all of your baby’s firsts. Group photos of all the grandparents and cousins, I mean someone has to hold the camera. Even in the age of the selfie, Mom seems to still disappear in the darkness. Let’s be honest, chances are if you are like me, it is because you are a hot mess. I mean no one wants to see you three days without a shower and in need of a good eyebrow wax. As a mom, we have all been there. A majority of the photos of my boys first year do not include me. It was not until recently did this all change.

Now in my younger years, it may appear as though I had invented the selfie. But as I got

Motherhood isn't always pretty.

Motherhood isn’t always pretty.

older, I fell into the feeling that taking pictures of yourself is rather vain. Mix that with a large bout of low self-esteem, I then moved behind the camera. Besides, when my first son arrived, I had discovered a new focus for my photography. When Pickle showed up a year later, there was no need to see my face. I mean everyone wanted to see our babies anyway. It was only when I started to share my fitness journey as a Beachbody Coach did I step back in front of the camera.

Before a bout. #doitfor57

Before a bout. #doitfor57

And yes, I started getting the snide jokes about all the selfies. Yes, I started to doubt myself for doing it. I mean I was proud for all that I accomplished. I was sharing myself doing things that I loved. Instead of just taking picture of my kids, I started taking them with my children. It started becoming second nature. Good Workout. Take a selfie. Snuggle time on the couch. Take a selfie. Getting ready for a bout. Take a selfie. All moments I want to look back and remember. Most of all, when I am long gone, I want my children to remember the women I was. I want my grandchildren and great-grandchildren to know who I was as a person. I want them to see what my life was like.

The other day I was in the car sobbing to the song “Somebody’s Hero” by Jamie O’Neal

Big D and I

Big D and I

when I realized I have no pictures of my grandmother. The most recent picture I have from my own mother is from a couple of years ago. It made me sad. Sure, I remember what my grandmother looked like but as the years go by the memory starts to fade. I am sure the same will happen with my own mother. Honestly, it is a shame. I feel like more mothers should be in front of the camera instead of behind. Who cares if you are in yours PJs? What does it matter. Why do you have to look perfect every-time to take a photo?  No one is saying you have to post them all but don’t stop yourself from taking them. You

Snuggle time with Big D and Pickle

Snuggle time with Big D and Pickle

may scroll through my Facebook page and see me as a “selfie whore”. (I have always hated that term.) I see a scrapbook of memories to pass on to generations to come. So selfie on my friend. Selfie-on