You Can Do It Too!

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You can change your life.

 I know because I did it.

 A year ago, I was in a very dark place. Depression had a death grip on me and I was having frequent anxiety attacks. I was so unsettled in my own skin but the hopelessness I felt was one I thought I would never escape. I was helpless and I reached out but there was no life raft waiting for me as I slipped deeper and deeper into despair. I tried depression medicine and meditation but it only got worse.

A year later I am feeling back to my normal self. I had to change my self talk which eventually led to a change in perspective about my current situation. If I couldn’t change the part I was stuck in then I had no other choice than to change myself and use my perception to gain my power back. My mantra was “the sky is not failing”. You are okay. It took months to convince myself that I would survive my situation. That I could live a happy life right alongside the mess I was in. I decided to lessen my reaction to things that once sent me straight to panic. Ah yes, the sky is not falling and this is only temporary. Patience with myself and gentle reminders turned into a new sense of peace and confidence. I removed myself from negativity and the past few months I have started walking every day. I am up to 35 miles a week and there are no words to express what this has done for me mentally. Most days I feel happy. Did you hear that? Me, happy! And rarely do I feel anxiety for more than a few hours and it doesn’t happen often at all.  

Was It easy? Nope. I had to give up my bullshit stories that kept my anxiety alive and thriving. I had to admit that my thinking was most of the problem and the only fix out there was my decision to fix myself. I share this story because I know the silent suffering and wanting someone to take just a little bit of my despair away so I could get through the day. I also share this to tell you that you can overcome this too. It takes patience and a great deal of self love. I hope my success story becomes your own and please know you are not alone. I am out here cheering for you and I know you can do it too. You’ve got this! I promise.

Carry Your Own Load

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Imagine if everyone in your life minded their business and took care of their own responsibilities. I know for myself, when all I have to do is worry about me, I am happy. I don’t mean that in a selfish way. I mean, when I am doing everything I need to do, including keeping myself in a good way by doing right by my mind, body and spirit, I am truly at peace. Negativity is like lint on a new pair of black pants. At first you only notice one or two specks but before you know it, you are completely covered. When you have to carry someone else’s load on top of your own, it starts to wear you down. You become so overwhelmed while the people who have dumped their responsibilities onto you sit back and take a few hours to themselves. That extra weight on your shoulders turns into anxiety, resentment and anger which replaces all happiness with negativity. It isn’t as simple as taking a lint roller and cleaning that stuff off. It means handing that lint roller over to the person who got it all over you in the first place to start to remove it piece by piece. Why is it some do all and the rest do none? Why can’t people pull their own weight so we could all have a little bit of peace? Maybe I will never know.

My new challenge is for YOU to take something off of somebody else’s hands. Offer out of the blue, to do something that makes life easier for someone around you. It could be as simple as holding open a door when somebody’s hands are full. Then pray they pay it forward. 

Be the change!

A Lucky Break

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Occasionally we are fortunate to get a lucky break. Today that gift was delivered to my doorstep and there are no words to describe how relieved and grateful I feel. That’s all it takes, one small helpful thing that makes a difference in our day to give us the strength and hope to keep trucking along. Isn’t it amazing that each one of us can provide that gift to one another? When is the last time you did something that made someone’s day? When is the last time someone did that for you?

The Kindness of a Stranger

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I flew back home today after a wonderful visit with family. It was a hectic ride to the airport. What seemed like leaving in plenty of time turned into a panic of whether we would make our flight at all. It was pouring, rush hour, accidents and bumper to bumper traffic every way we turned. We arrived at the airport at 9:05 and boarding started at 9:25. I was frazzled and frustrated and didn’t even say goodbye to my mom as I ran from the car.

Every now and then I am fortunate to run into just the right person at  just the right time. One of the curbside workers saw my craziness and immediately grabbed my bags and took me to a closed check in station. He grabbed my license and credit card and before I knew it, I was feeling much calmer as he handed me our tickets and pointed me in the right direction. Newark airport can be a real challenge, especially when it comes to getting through long lines of security. Fortunately for me, this was not the case today. We were standing at our gate at 9:20 with five minutes to spare. Sure I paid that man who helped me out today but I can’t help but wonder if he realized how positively he impacted my day. I am so grateful to him and happy to be home in my warm bed. 

Be kind to everyone you meet. More than ever, people need your kindness. Be aware of the major difference you can make in one precious life. I hope that man knows how much his help and kindness meant to me today. 

Squirrel, pizza, dogs, text!

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Everyday, I discover something new about attention deficit disorder. Tonight, when I got the email regarding what would take place in school this week, as soon as I saw there were four tests in a three day period, I broke out in a sweat. Kids with ADD learn differently than other kids. Because of their lack of attention span, it is necessary to take breaks every 20 minutes or so. This is after 20 minutes of my son leaning back on his chair, petting the dog, getting up to get a drink, throwing down a piece of pizza and that’s just when he’s studying. Get the picture? It’s not like when you and I sit and give something 20 minutes of our undivided attention. It’s also necessary to study over a period of a few nights. One long night of studying never works. So how is this even possible when you have four major tests in four days? That is why I beg teachers to stay in contact with me and to let me know when tests may be coming up so we can get an early jump on the studying part. It devastates me to watch my son who is so bright struggle with time management the way he does. I sit here now as the tears well up in my eyes because of how much harder he has to work to get good grades and keep up with the work. He has very little free time and this week, he will have none. It’s also necessary for me to sit by him and help him study so he stays on task. Otherwise, he might very well sit with his paper in hand for two hours and not retain a thing. It really takes a toll on me and sucks up most of my time. I try not to let it get me down but sometimes, like tonight, it hits me pretty hard. We only have three days to prepare for two tests we just found out about tonight. I guarantee, when I sit down to see what he retains from class, the answer will be nothing. A test in biology and science in the same week is a real challenge. Somehow, it always works out this way. They seem to be the two classes where he learns absolutely nada in class and I know that’s true because of how much teaching it takes me one on one at home for him to finally get it. Sometimes I feel like screaming Why can’t you remember what we just went over? What will it take to make you learn? Can’t you just stop moving around? Will you ever grow out of this? But, somehow I find the strength to keep those thoughts to myself.

If you know a family with a child who has ADD, give them some support. You have no idea how difficult it can be at home. I’ve thought about making a documentary where someone could spend a week in our home when we have several tests taping what goes on so I could use it as a teaching tool to make teachers understand. They just don’t get it and they don’t even try. How do I know this? Because they won’t even stick to a 504, a plan that under the law, they are required to follow. Who’s going to make them? The government? That’s where I would have to file a complaint. Yeah, I bet you just laughed out loud. There’s  a major flaw in the system but isn’t that true for most things they stick their hands into? 

I needed to get this off my chest. If you or anyone you know has any tips for studying and retaining information in the most time effective manner for anyone with ADD, please share them with me. I am desperate and it’s so hard to do on my own.

Compassion, Is It Lost?

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Compassion, where are you? Your voice is often stifled, unheard and drown out by the voice of tough love and suck it up. When someone says he has a problem, a voice answers, we all have problems. When someone asks for help, a voice answers, help yourself. When someone asks for a little strength, a voice answers, strength comes from within. True, we all have problems but our coping mechanisms and ability to handle those problems are not the same. That is one example of how we are really NOT created equal. We have varying degrees of problem solving and pain thresholds, that’s just the way it is. The truth is, we can offer hope, we can extend a hand, we can be there to try and understand. We can help carry the burden of others until they find the strength to stand up and walk on their own again. We have the potential to be a crutch while someone is weak and a voice when someone has lost their own. We can say I am sorry you are going through this right now but I will be here for whatever you need. We don’t have to be a lesson for everyone who shows a weakness. We don’t have to constantly remind someone that someone else has it tougher. Pain is pain, period. Who are we to believe we get to determine who is really suffering and who is not. Even people with the best intentions do this very thing. Be kind. Empathize and by all means, find the kindness in yourself it takes to extend compassion to whoever needs some, without judgement, whether you believe they deserve it or not.

Kindness At Work

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So, today was the first day of school. I admit I might have had a tear or two in my eye or maybe it was just the wind. Every year goes by faster and faster. I remember Chases first day in a new school. He was so tiny, probably one of the shortest boys in the whole grade. We had just moved here and he didn’t know a single soul. He was so brave. Me? Not so much. 

Today, I looked out the window and was so proud. Usually I drive him to school but he wanted to ride the bus to help out the new kid that just moved down the street. He is even smaller than Chase at that age and when we saw him on back to school night, the poor boy was so scared, his eyes welled up with tears. “Don’t worry mom, I’ll have his back.”  Sometimes I think trying to teach my kids to be selfless and kind is a lost cause. But today, he was full of kindness. And my daughter? She volunteered to help the new students find their classrooms and be a mentor. She wore her shirt proudly today with the words, you’ve got a friend in me” in bold print on her back. And, she takes those words seriously. 

Maybe eventually they do learn from us. Maybe example really is enough. Maybe there really is hope they will grow into kind, responsible, young adults. Maybe, just maybe.