NaBloPoMo – Day 2

MUST-HAVE office supplies

  • Sharpies – fine & ultra-fine tips
  • PaperMate Ink Joy gel pens – I prefer 0.5 but I also have 0.7
  • highlighters – I have Sharpie ones w/”text view” tips
  • clipboard – I suggest plastic ones so the corners don’t fray
  • notepads – check the Dollar Spot at Target
  • notebook(s) – use what you like. I like Erin Condren but I also have cheaper ones too

Somehow I’m Still Breathing

Things have gone downhill quite a bit for me since my last post.
I don’t want to go into details, but the changes have left me with more free time than I had before.

This means that I should hopefully be able to post more frequently than I have been. I can also catch up on new Netflix releases and books that I’ve been meaning to read but haven’t had time to. However, it also means that I am the one left to schedule appts for things that need doing at home – like our heating & a/c maintenance.

Lately, I’ve watched all of Young & Hungry season 4, and I’ve been catching up on the US version of Shameless (I’m on season 5), I’ve finished Baby Daddy season 5, and now I’ve started watching New Girl season 5.

I’m also in the process of reading two books, The Thousandth Floor by Katherine McGee, and Dying for Her by Kory M. Shrum (which is on my kindle).

All of this has taken its toll on my mental health. I’m struggling, but I’m doing the best I can with what little I have. I’m hoping that another weekend away, starting this Friday, will do me some good. I’ll have two dogs with me, and a big bathtub to soak in. Cross your fingers for me.

I’ll work on a ‘pamper/self-care’ post while I’m gone as well. So keep an eye out for that.

Finding Dory Reaction

I finally went to see Finding Dory in theaters (back on July 5th). I don’t like going right when movies open cause everyone’s there and it’s just too crowded for me, so I went with a friend on a Tuesday night.

I’ve seen a post going around Facebook from an adoptive mom saying that Finding Dory is a movie that should be screened before taking your kids to see it. And to some degree, I can understand that. But you also need to know your child and whether or not they can handle something like that. I feel like the adoptive mom who said it, and those who agree with her, are the ones who aren’t ready to have a discussion about the birthmother with their child. It’s really not that difficult.

This is what’s going around for everyone to see:

“WARNING! Before seeing Finding Dory, all foster/adoptive parents should preview the movie first! We thought our teenage bio kids & 9 yr.-old adopted son (we’ve had him for 4+ yrs) could see it without us previewing it. Our kids sat in the row in front of us. Halfway through the movie, our 100 lb., very tall son, got up and came and sat on my lap for the duration of the movie. Dory has childhood flashbacks throughout the movie as she seeks to find her birth parents. The movie deals with multiple levels of abandonment and loss. While the ending is sweet as she is reunited with her birth parents & we realize her birth parents were looking for her too, there are elements of the ending that can have detrimental results for our adopted kids.

1) It was Dory’s forgetfulness that caused her to be separated from her parents…. basically, her separation was her fault.

2) Her birth parents were physically, emotionally, & mentally stable and ACTIVELY seeking for her. This is not the case for MOST of our tender-hearted kiddos. This birth parent ‘fairytale image’ can create a false image in their forming minds.

3) At the end of the movie, once Dory, Marlin & Nemo find Dory’s birth parents, they ALL (including the birth parents) travel back together to Dory & Nemo’s home and all live TOGETHER Happily Ever After. Some young foster/adopted kids might think that is the end goal.

So, bottom line… preview the movie first & evaluate for each child. There are some heavy topics brought up in the movie that are difficult for every foster/adopted child to deal with even at older ages, so don’t think this cute Disney movie is for everyone.”

Everyone has been seeing/hearing the adoptive parent side of it, but I think now it’s time to hear the birth parent side of it from one of us…

Let me touch on each of this woman’s points before going into my rant about what I think happened here.

1) Dory’s short term memory issues aren’t something she asked for – it just happened to her. If it was out of her control, it can’t really be her fault that she was separated from her parents.
It’s like saying that a child facing a challenge due to some medical issue they have, it’s their own fault if they fail. They never asked to have the medical issue, so it can’t be their fault.

2) I am a birth mother who more than likely could have cared for my child when they were born, but I knew that I couldn’t provide everything I wanted them to have. But that doesn’t mean that I don’t want to be part of my child’s life. That’s what open adoption is for. I still get to have a relationship with them, and be able to have conversations as they grow up about why I made the decision I did.

3) If you raise your adopted child to know who we are, allow us to be part of your/their life, and have conversations about why we made the decision we did then things won’t become complicated like that.

Okay, now for me to talk about what I think happened here: 

Honestly, I think that this woman hasn’t had (or even tried to have) a conversation with her adopted son about his birthmother. Now, maybe they don’t know about his birthmother. That could be part of the issue here. But I think it comes down to how comfortable the mom is with permitting the birthmother to be part of their lives.
When you have an adopted child, you have to know that things like this can (and inevitably will) happen, and figure out how you’re going to handle them. To me, it sounds like this adoptive mom hadn’t thought it would happen or thought about how to handle it. I can only hope she sat down with her husband and her son at home after the movie and talked about everything.

I also think that the mom is dealing with other things that are frustrating her and taking it out on the movie. There could be a lot of things that factored into her making that post, and I don’t know about them, so I can only write this response based on what I read and how I interpret it.

Birthmom Q&A

This wasn’t an easy post to put together. People were afraid to ask questions because they didn’t want to offend or hurt me, and I wasn’t really sure how to answer some of them. But here’s what I’ve got for you this week. Hopefully I can answer some more questions in the future.


 

Do you ever regret your decision?
Regret? Not at all. But sometimes I do wonder what things would be like if I had kept her.

Both you and adoptive parents named your daughter – is it usual for that to happen or does one party usually decide the name?
That’s  a difficult one to answer, because every adoption is different. However, typically, the adoptive parents choose the first name and the birthmother/-parents choose the middle name (if they’re involved in naming). My daughter’s wound up being reversed, simply because of the way it sounded/flowed. So really, it all depends on the parents and what they want to do.

How did you locate the RIGHT adoption agency for you?
Honestly, this probably sounds bad, but I just went with the agency my doctor gave me the name of. I had done some looking online before that, but I felt overwhelmed with everything that I found. So when I was given a specific agency, with positive comments about it, I decided to go with them. I got lucky that it wound up being such a wonderful experience.
So if you’re a birthmom looking for an agency, please don’t hesitate to reach out to me.

What type of long term support do they offer you counseling wise?
How long does the birthmother get support from the agency? And what type of support (over and above the updates)?
I haven’t really taken the time to look into what I have available to me for counseling through the agency. I did met with someone right before my daughter’s first birthday about several things, and it did help. So I’m not sure I’d really say I have counseling through the office.
But they will help you try to find a support group if you ask. The woman I originally worked with (before she left the agency) was even trying to get me in contact with other birth moms for support.

How involved is the birthfather?
He’s very involved? He helped select the adoptive family. He was there when she was born. He was there when she was placed with her parents. He goes to visit them with me every time. He gets the same updates I do.

Were you two treated differently in the adoption process? If so, how? or were you treated equally?
I would say we were treated equally. Things were obviously a little more focused on me, but he knew he could always speak up if he didn’t agree with something.

Are you satisfied with the amount of contact you have? Or would you have more or less?
Honestly, I wish I had more contact with her parents. I don’t exactly what I want, so that’s something I need to talk with the birth father about – to see what he wants as well. Then once he and I have figured out something, we can talk with her parents at lunch in July.

What do you wish families and friends of birthparents would say or do to be the right kind of support?

  • Just let me have my days where I miss her so much it hurts and I cry  without trying to figure out a reason – there may not be one
  • Acknowledge me on Mother’s Day and on Birth Mother’s Day (the Saturday before) – I need that
  • Don’t be afraid to ask me if I’ve heard about my daughter recently – I want to share
  • Don’t worry that you’re talking about your kids too much – if it’s too much, I’ll speak up

Did you choose adoption because you’re opposed to abortion? Or did you consider both and choose adoption?
I’m not fully opposed to abortion – I did consider having one. But by the time I decided to go through with my decision for abortion, I was too far along and would’ve had to fly all the way to Colorado. That was jus too much… So my decision was kind of made for me.
As I started looking into adoption more and more, I was almost relieved that I couldn’t have an abortion. With adoption, I would have a chance to watch my baby grow up. I would be able to know what kind of person they grow up to be. Depending on my relationship with the parents, I would potentially be able to be in their life as they grow up and have them know who I am.

 

3-Day Quote Challenge, Day 3

I was challenged by my wonderful friend, Courtney, to do a 3-day quote challenge.

The Rules:

  1. Post three consecutive days.
  2. You can pick one or three quotes per day.
  3. Challenge three different bloggers per day.

 

I’ve decided that today I’m only posting one quote. I wanted it to come from the ABCFamily show Switched at Birth but I didn’t have a specific quote in mind, so I could just choose whatever jumped out at me. That’s how I found this one:

 

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I may put on a strong front, just like Bay does, but like she so plainly says that “doesn’t mean that I don’t break easily.”

Living with mental illness (bipolar disorder II and anxiety) can be exhausting and more difficult than I let on. I have a tendency to tell people that I’m fine until it gets to the point that literally unable to fake it anymore and just break down.

I know I put on a facade that I’m ok, but if you know me well enough, please, try to push through and get past it to make sure I’m really ok.


 

Today, I’ve decided that I’m not challenging anyone.

Bucket List

  • own a jukebox
  • write a blog (famous/well known)
  • travel cross-country via train
  • see the Northern Lights
  • parasail
  • ziplining
  • visit Harry Potter castle
  • send a message in a bottle
  • take a road trip with friends with no destination
  • design my own tattoo
  • visit all 50 states
  • drink at a pub in Ireland
  • visit England, Ireland, France, Scotland

Do mental illness labels matter?

Sometimes I wonder about the mental abilities of some psychiatrists when I read things like this. When you’ve had a diagnosis for 10 years, like Marisa has, it’s incredibly hard to believe someone who barely knows you saying that you have a different diagnosis.

I send lots of love and strength, and maybe some patience too, to people who have encountered this kind of situation.

Mad girl's lament

I’ve been thinking a lot about diagnoses and whether or not the label of a mental illness really matters. Within the mental health community and advocacy work, we like to separate the person from the disorder. We encourage people to say: “I have bipolar disorder,” instead of “I am bipolar.” You would never say “I’m cancer,” but you would say, “I have cancer.”

Label Jars not PeopleSome mental health professionals believe that that diagnostic labels don’t matter, as long as you’re receiving treatment that’s right for you. However, I would suggest that learning about your particular illness in conjunction with studying yourself you can learn a lot about what triggers particular episodes. So when my psychiatrist told me that I “do not have bipolar disorder,” I felt like a piece of me had been ripped out.

It’s no secret that I have no love for psychiatrists. I have yet to meet one that I have…

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Emotional Exhaustion

Things have happened recently that have left me emotionally exhausted. That’s not to say that I haven’t enjoyed them, because I really have. But they’re just going to really take some time to recover from.

One thing that I’ve recently found, and posted on my blog’s Facebook page, was a self-care printable. If you click the link for the Facebook page, you need to scroll back to June 30 – there’s really not too much to go through. But if you’re too lazy to do that (honestly, I can’t say that I blame you), or you’re on your phone and it’s not that simple to go find it, I’ll go ahead and type it out for you:


Everything Is Awful and I’m Not Okay:
questions to ask before giving up

Are you hydrated?
If not, have a glass of water.

Have you eaten in the past three hours?
If not, get some food – something with protein, not just simple carbs. Perhaps some nuts or hummus?

Have you showered in the past day?
If not, take a shower right now.

Have you stretched your legs in the past day?
If not, do so right now. If you don’t have the energy for a run or a trip to the gym, just walk around the blog, then keep walking as long as you please. If the weather’s crap, drive to a big box store (e.g. Target) and go on a brisk walk through the aisles you normally skip.

Have you said something nice to someone in the past day?
Do so, whether online or in person. Make it genuine: wait until you see something really wonderful about someone, and tell them about it.

Have you moved your body to music in the past day?
If not, jog for the length of an EDM song at your favorite tempo, or just dance around the room for the length of an upbeat song.

Have you cuddled a living being in the past two days?
If not, do so. Don’t be afraid to ask for hugs from friends or friends’ pets. Most of them will enjoy the cuddles too; you’re not imposing on them.

Have you seen a therapist in the past few days?
If not, hang on until your next therapy visit and talk through things then.

Have you changed any of your medications in the past couple of weeks, including skipped dosages or a change in generic prescription brand?
That may be screwing with your head. Give things a few days, then talk to your doctor if it doesn’t settle down.

If daytime: are you dressed?
If not, put on clean clothes that aren’t pajamas. Give yourself permission to wear something special, whether it’s a funny t-shirt or a pretty dress.

If nighttime: are you sleepy and fatigued but resisting going to sleep?
Put on pajamas, make yourself cozy in bed with a teddy bear and the sound of falling rain, and close your eyes for fifteen minutes – no electronic screens allowed. If you’re still awake after that, you can get up again; no pressure.

Do you feel ineffective?
Pause right now and get something small completed, whether it’s responding to an e-mail, loading up the dishwasher, or packing your gym bag for your next trip. Good job!

Do you feel unattractive?
Take a goddamn selfie. Your friends will remind you how great you look, and you’ll help fight society’s restrictions on what beauty can look like.

Do you feel paralyzed by indecision?
Give yourself ten minutes to sit back and figure out a game plan for the day. If a particular decision or problem is still being a roadblock, simply set it aside for now, and pick something else that seems doable. Right now, the important part is to break through that stasis, even if it means doing something trivial.

Have you over-exerted yourself lately – physically, emotionally, socially, or intellectually?
That can take a toll that lingers for days. Give yourself a break in that area, whether it’s physical rest, taking time alone, or relaxing with some silly entertainment.

Have you waited a week?
Sometimes our perception of life is skewed and we can’t even tell that we’re not thinking clearly, and there’s no obvious external cause. It happens. Keep yourself going for a full week, whatever it takes, and see if you still feel the same way then.


So, since I know that I’ve emotionally exhausted myself, I decided to go through this sheet.

Yes, I’m hydrated.
Yes, I’ve eaten in the past 3 hours.
Yes, I’ve showered.
Yes, I’ve stretched my legs.
Yes, I’ve said something nice to someone.
No, I hadn’t moved my body to music. (Now that I’m writing this I have though.)
Yes, I cuddled a living being earlier today.
No – I don’t see a therapist (But that’s an issue for another post – maybe someday).
Yes, I had to skip a dose earlier this week, and I missed a dose today. Things will get back on track tomorrow though.
It’s currently nighttime, I’m not yet sleepy buy my meds will be making me sleepy soon enough.
I felt ineffective, but then I called a friend I’d not talked to in too long and felt better.
I do feel slightly unattractive, but I’m gonna put the selfie off till tomorrow.
There is a decision that’s unable to be made right now, but it’ll happen in time – and I’m accepting of that.
I definitely emotionally exerted myself today, and I’m going to take time over the next several days to recover – in whatever way that looks like.
I don’t know that I really need to wait a week for some of these issues – because the decision will be made when the time is right, and I can’t rush that.


This emotional recovery, it’s going to take time, and I’m going to have to accept that. This happened to me about a month and a half ago as well. I don’t know exactly how long the recovery took. I just know that it took as long as was necessary. Whether I like it or not, I can’t rush this kind of thing.

There are things that make it easier, but those are temporary. Honestly? That’s fine. I don’t want something to come in and easily reverse the effects of what I’ve gone through. Because that would mean that what I went through shouldn’t have had that the strong effect on me that it did.


But I’ve learned that there is no right or wrong way for something to affect me because everyone is different. Some people may have been able to handle what I went through with little emotional drainage, while others may not have been able to handle it at all. And you know what? That’s perfectly ok. Why? Because we’re all individuals, and we’re each unique.