I started this blog with so many different ideas. What would I want to write about and share with all the world was my main focus. However, after thinking about it over and over again, I couldn’t help but think “maybe what I have to say isn’t important enough”. I thought and thought and thought some more about what I think is important to write about and what do I think the world might want to know about me or my life.
Then it hit me…..
This is my journal about my life story. I can write about anything!!!! So here is the beginning. Not the beginning of my life as a human, but the beginning of my life as a mom. To me, that is where my life starts. To most moms out there, that life starts in their 20’s or 30’s, but for me, that life started at 16…….
I was 16 when I got pregnant. I had been friends with my daughter’s father for several years and we decided to be “a thing”. That thing was short lived, as we got pregnant after a week or so of “dating” and two months later we broke up when I said those oh so famous words “I’m pregnant!” What a scary phrase to say at 16. I don’t think I quite understood what it meant. I definitely did not realize how much my world as I knew it would change. I didn’t think about the friends I would lose, or the respect that would disappear, or the plain, simple truth of “I am creating a life that will be entering the world in just 7 short months”. Even scarier than that, I kept thinking “How am I going to tell my parents?”
For a year or so before I got pregnant I had a horrible eating disorder. I was bulimic. I was 5’6 and weighed approximately 114 pounds on my bloated days. That detail is important because in the months to come, as I hid my pregnancy, I found it rather easy to do, because my parents, bless their hearts, just thought I was finally eating and keeping the food down.
I got pregnant in November and at the end of March I finally broke down and told my mom I was pregnant. That was one of the scariest moments of my life. Up until then, I could and kind of was, in denial. I was able to pretend that I wasn’t pregnant. After saying it out loud to the one person I was closest with, it suddenly became so much more real. There I was, a 17 year old, a junior in high school, telling my mother I am pregnant, with no income, no plan on what to do next. She stayed by my side every step of the way, guiding me along every milestone, being my strength and support system. During that time I had no idea how strong my mom was. She never let me see her upset about the situation. Looking back on it, she took the entire thing with such grace, standing up for me, being there when I was weak. I definitely did not understand how amazing she was. Being a mom now, I have such a deeper appreciation for what she did for me than she will ever know.
Sorry for all the mini side stories! I am trying to remain on topic here.
I gave birth to my beautiful daughter on July 12, 2007, with my sister by my side, encouraging every push, being my strength and the best cheerleader ever. My daughter has been with me through every milestone as an adult. Most moms out there can relate to this next statement. My daughter has taught me how to be patient, how to be more imaginative. I find so much courage from being her mom. Because of her, I always try to be the absolute best I can. Now, don’t let me fool you, I was not always in this mindset. Not even close. I went into several dark places, but those stories are for another time!
My daughter is 13 years old now. Full blown moodiness and in the “I know everything” phase in life. I find myself asking the good Lord for patience as He tests me almost on the daily. Being only three years younger than I was when I got pregnant with her, I notice how different we are and truth be told, I have NO idea how my mom survived me and my younger brother being teenagers. We weren’t trouble makers by any means, but we pushed her and our father to their limits, several times!
My daughter is part of my inspiration for this blog. She has given me so much joy in life, brought so many tears, good and bad. She has shown me what a true, undying, unconditional love is. A love with no bounds. She was my blessing and she has no idea. This blog and the words that flow through the pages are all dedicated to her.
“Sometimes the past is something you cant let go of. And sometimes the past is something we’ll do anything to forget. And sometimes we learn something new about the past that changes everything we know about the present.”
This post, as I am sure you have guessed, is about the past. I am not dwelling on my past, but just quickly revisiting it, as a very special anniversary of mine is coming up on Monday. A couple of months ago, I wrote you all this long novel about my depression and anxiety and touched base on what I felt and how I was thinking. You all know I had hit my lowest point. I tried several times, to end my life. Gratefully, all three times, I failed. I have never been happier to say I failed at something. This post touches back and forth on my thoughts and how I overcame those overwhelming feelings of exclusion, disappointment, depression, heartache, and the overall feeling of being unwanted. This may get emotional, just a heads up. This may trigger some of you. Then some of you will read this and think “Oh My, Why on Earth is she sharing this with us?” The answer to that is simple. If I can create, if you will, a “Survival Guide” for someone out there who is feeling what I felt, if I can break through and relate to just one other person out there, battling demons no one talks about, then I will consider this worth it.
May 31, 2017, was a day I will never forget. I tried to run my car off the freeway and end it. After a quick flash, a cloud of dust, and a racing heart, I knew where I needed to be. It wasn’t any place I had ever been, or ever thought about going to. I gathered my thoughts and once I calmed down, I headed to a Mental Hospital in Riverside. I walked in, crying, telling them I wanted to end my life and I needed their help. I cried for days but I knew I was right where I needed to be. Reminiscing about my past isn’t my dwelling, it isn’t me living in the past, but simply reminding myself what I did, how I grew from that, and how that makes me who I am today. The past shapes us for our future, and often we forget where we came from. Revisiting my past now and then tends to keep me grounded. It reminds me I am no better and no worse than all of you out there, reading this right now. Days before this, on May 27, 2017, I had finally worked myself up enough to consider the idea and try to end my life. I won’t get into those details, because this is not a “How To” on ending your life. The focus point here is I tried and failed. Looking back now, I know I could have succeeded if I truly tried. I was the saddest I had ever been. You all know that from reading my blog post back in February. If you have not read it, check it out! It’s called ” Choosing to Love Yourself Again”. Back to my story here. I was the saddest I had ever been. I was praying, and praying hard for help. I hated myself. I wanted to die, or so I thought. I waited a day, and then tried again, and to my surprise, I failed again. Now I was sad and frustrated.
When you are in the moment, battling all those hard emotions and feeling overwhelmed, you simply cannot think clearly. In those times, you have to reach out to someone, anyone. I pretended nothing was wrong, for a long time. I let myself sit there, dealing with all that pain, sadness, and now a failure, all by myself. I tried to talk about it with my husband, at the time, but the interest wasn’t there. Looking back now, I could have been more serious about that talk, but in those moments, I was doing what I felt was right. Finally, May 31 came. I told myself, this is it. It is going to happen today. God shook his head, and what happened was even better. Rather than allowing me to end it, he gave me a new beginning. He gave me a fresh start. I prayed for courage, He gave me the courage to walk into that hospital and ask to live. I prayed for the pain to go away, He provided me with tools to overcome that pain. I prayed for peace, He granted it. Sometimes we are praying for something and we have an expectation of what that might look like if it were granted, but I have personally learned that when your prayers are answered, sometimes they might not like what you had imagined. Keep that faith, because I promise you this: Those answered prayers and sometimes unanswered ones are better than what you could have imagined.
We all have felt depressed at least once in our lives. We have all been sad. Sometimes we don’t know where the sadness came from, or how to even explain it. We are just sad. I still have those days. Not as much anymore, but I can’t lie, they still happen. The difference between now and then for me is who I have surrounded myself with. I let go of so many toxic friends and people I thought were important to me. Going through what I went through opened my eyes to who had the better intentions in my life and God made it clear as to who didn’t. If you are feeling even half of the sadness I felt four years ago, I challenge you. I challenge you to live your life, not take it away. I told myself so many times that I was unloved and unwanted and that everyone would survive just fine if I was not here. I was feeding myself lies after lies after lies. I knew the truth but those demons buried that truth, so far down. They filled my mind with hatred and darkness. So I challenge you. Face them, head-on. You are loved, God loves you. You are wanted, people just suck at reminding you of that. Everyone will survive if you leave this Earth, that is true, but if they can survive, why can’t you?
I have never been more proud of anything in my life than I am with myself for fighting a silent battle and coming out a champion. Those battles were hard, emotional, and gut-wrenching. It was a challenge to myself, every day. I would tell myself I can’t keep living this way, it needs to end. However, once I decided I needed help, that little voice in my head started to change too. It started to say “Focus on the lesson. The glass isn’t half-empty, it’s half full. You want courage, be courageous enough to live. You want peace, find it. You don’t feel loved? Love yourself.” That, my friends, is the magic. You have to learn to love yourself. I am still learning and it is a never-ending process. I hope that you will all open up your hearts, just a little more. You have friends who are facing these challenges, and I guarantee you they act as they have it together. I also guarantee most of them to don’t. No one wants to be emotional and talk about their feelings and face vulnerability. No one wants to be hurt. Society today can be ruthless. Your friends can say things that stab at you and cut you like a knife. You have to be willing to stand up to all of that. You have to stand up for yourself. If you don’t, no one else will. If you are reading this and you are hurting and feel so alone, God is there. Talk to him. Be aware, his responses and his answers to you might not be what you are thinking they will be. He doesn’t just give you courage. He puts you in situations to be courageous. He doesn’t take the pain away but teaches you how to talk about it. You might be asking him for a sign, for guidance, for help. Pay attention to what happens after that, who reaches out to you, what you come across on the internet, or what you might read… If that still doesn’t work, text me, email me, or call me.
We all have a purpose here. We all have a reason. A bad day doesn’t mean you have a bad life. Depression and anxiety are intense, but challenging them and overcoming them when you feel like giving up is so worth it. I look back at my life and what I went through, and I don’t think about the sadness anymore. I see the champion. When I have those down days where I feel the sadness creeping in, I acknowledge it, spend some time with it, and then remind myself of how far I came, and how far I will continue to go and grow. Depression can make it seem like you have no future but depression lies. You can’t believe those bad thoughts, you have to challenge them. If I had given in and not gone for help when I knew I needed it, I wouldn’t be here today. I wouldn’t have been able to see my beautiful daughter grow into something amazing. She would have fallen into depression herself from losing me. Me taking my life would have taken her happiness too and I didn’t think about that four years ago, but I know that now. I took that courage and left a marriage that I was unhappy in, had faith, and went out on a date with a new man. I am head over heels, in the deepest love I have ever felt, because I challenged myself to live. I was given a second chance, and I am the one who gave myself that chance. Your days might look hard and you might not see that tunnel or the light at the end, but I promise you it is there. You just need to adjust and refocus. Turn yourself around, perhaps you aren’t facing the right way. Maybe the light is shining in a different direction than where you are looking. Have faith.
I have been thinking about the word “Family” a lot over the course of the past few weeks. Who are they, what does it mean to have a family, and what does having a family mean to me.
Tonight I am touching base on of course, the technical definitions of the word, various interpretations of the word, but most importantly, to me, what it means to be family…
According to Google’s dictionary, “family” has two definitions as a noun: 1- a group of one or more parents and their children living together as a unit. 2- all the descendants of a common ancestor. Digging a little deeper into the word and its definition, because even though the first two are pretty spot on, I needed more, family is also a “group of people who want as well as choose to be together embraced by a bond so powerful that not even the smallest tribulations can shake it”.
That definition is a solid one. Family is not only defined as parents, siblings, aunts, uncles, and all others produced by a single bloodline. Family are those that stand behind you. They are loyal to you; they love you deeply, with all their heart. You are not limited to one family. Some have many. You can have your work family, your immediate family, your school family, sports family……. see the pattern? Family is not a limited thing. It is so much more than that. It is that feeling of being home among certain people. Families shape our future on so many levels, starting off as babies, until the day we die. They create bonds developed by deep affection, loyalty, respect, love, and attachment. Being a part of a family means you are a part of something beautiful. It means you will be loved for the rest of your life, no matter what happens.
My family is the single most important thing to me. The rest of my life could crumble to the ground, but as long as I have them, I know I am okay. My family is my rock, my safe place.
Choosing Your Family
Everyone has their own opinion on this matter. My thought on this subject is yes, you can choose who your family is. Obviously, you cannot choose that of which you are born into, but you can choose who you call your family and who you treat as family.
Growing up, I viewed my family as my mom, my dad, and my younger brother. I had a large family, filled with cousins, aunts, uncles, grandparents, the whole 9 yards. I even had two siblings from my mom’s first marriage, and considered their dad family as well. However, we only ever really got together when there was a BIG event like a milestone met or a death occurred. We never had large family parties for holidays or birthdays. It was always just my parents, brother and I, and on the rare occasion, my older siblings would be there. As we grew up, family gatherings started to be held at my sister’s house, with her husband and their kids.
My brother and I played little league for, basically our entire youth. Our extended family became the others at the baseball field. My parents developed close relationships with the other adults and I ended up with “bonus” aunts and uncles. Some of them are closer to me than my actual bloodline. Why is that important? Because this is where my WHOLE point is being made. Families are not only defined by blood. My dad had a friend named Sam and he and my dad were the best of friends. We saw him at every birthday party, BBQ, baseball game, even my baby shower!!!! He was at my graduation party and my going away party when I joined the Navy. He was my Uncle Sam. I never called him by his actual name, he was always Uncle Sam to me. He wasn’t bound to us by blood or marriage. He was just there. He was loyal, he was attached, and he loved us all so much.
My mom had her best friend Judy, who is still her friend to this day, decades later. Judy’s daughters played softball with me, and my mom formed a close friendship with her. Judy became my aunt and my person in so many ways. When my mom got really sick in the hospital and we thought we were going to lose her day in and out for weeks, Judy was my person I would call and cry to. Judy held me up when all I wanted to do was fall to the ground. She was there for my mom during my teen pregnancy; she helped me and my mom through some really tough times. She is not related to us by blood, but man, that bond with her is stronger than anything. She was and will always be family to me.
My family has grown a lot over time, and now consists of not only my parents, siblings, aunts and uncles, my sister’s best friend, my brother’s best friend, but also my boyfriend’s entire family. Along with ALL of them, I have established several of my friends are included in that beautiful family of mine. My family is forever growing and evolving, and that is how I imagine a family to be.
The “Perfect” Family
There is no such thing as a perfect family. We can be close, but there is no such thing. Everyone has in their minds what a perfect family is. I know I do. When I imagine the word family, I think of all those I just talked about, my extended family. When I think of a “family dinner, or family gathering” I see my parents, my boyfriend’s parents, all three of our siblings and their partners, along with their kids. That is my immediate family. They are the ones I lean on with my day to day stuff. They are the ones who I text random memes to, update with random news in my life.
My family is far from perfect. Online we may appear that way, but let me be the first to tell you, we are a mess. My family is loud, opinionated, wrong on a lot of things, rude, and very outspoken. We all have different beliefs and opinions on everything. They all have strong personalities and most are not afraid to show it. My family argues and disagrees on a lot of things. We rarely see eye to eye on more than one thing. We hardly ever have large gatherings. We mainly see each other for holidays and some birthdays, but not all. We don’t speak on the phone that often. I honestly cannot even tell you the last time I called a sibling to just “catch up” with them. Granted, they don’t call me either. However, I know if I truly needed them, they would be there, in a flash, no matter what. My family may be distant, but I know I can rely in them when I really need them. They aren’t that perfect Hallmark type of people, but they are the best to me. That is our dynamic and that is okay!!!
My boyfriend’s family….. They are a little more involved than mine is. They talk on the phone every day, send weekly updates about their week. They get together for ALL holidays, and never miss a birthday. They go on family vacations and have random family dinners throughout the months. Their dynamic is much different than my own family’s and guess what, they aren’t perfect either. They argue, bicker, and complain just like my family does. They don’t agree on everything either. They may look picture perfect but no one is.
My point is, if you think you have a dysfunctional family and are embarrassed by it because you guys dont get along all the time, dont be. No one is perfect. Stop thinking you have to have this Hollywood Picture Perfect type of family. That s*&% isnt real. The arguments, the fights, the teasing, the disagreements, that stuff is essential. The long talks and forgiving each other afterwards, that is where the good stuff is.
What Family Means to Me…
I can answer this in one simple word. Family means everything to me. All of them, immediate and extended. They all hold a very special place in my heart and that spot wont ever go away. Once I consider you family, that title doesnt go away easily. It can, of course, but it is really hard.
To me, family means I am never alone. They are by my side, whether I like it or not. They are there, for all the joys, troubles, chaos, and excitement. Up until about three years ago, family may have had a different meaning to me. Then a death happened that shook us. It changed how I viewed the word, how I defined it. Without my family, I would not be the woman I am today.
If I have learned anything in my short 31 years of life, things never turn out the way you expect them to. I have learned so many things can go wrong and a lot of those things cannot or wont ever get fixed. I have learned a lot of things will break and stay broken. I have learned a lot of things can never go back to what it once was. I have learned you can get through all those are times and those that help you get through them are your family. The ones you lean on when times get harder than you can even imagine, that is your family. Those are the ones you got to hold on to, with all your heart. Don’t take them for granted. Tell them you love them every chance you get.
“Life is a series of thousands of tiny miracles. Notice them”
Hi Family!!! It’s been a minute, hasn’t it? Yep, I know, and I am honestly sorry for that! I know I have been neglecting you all for the last two weeks. I didn’t forget about you, I promise. I have been so wrapped up in life: family, church, reading, and honestly, just enjoying myself. We tend to get so focused on everything going on in life, that we forget to actually live it. I have noticed more and more lately, that those little things we tend to overlook, are some of the best moments we are ignoring. Those are moments we should be soaking up.
I have been deep into enjoying these little things. I worked on my patio yesterday. I busted my butt because I LOVE sitting out there, overlooking the pool that I cannot yet use because of Covid… I love being outside with a glass of wine and a book, just sitting there, enjoying the sunshine and the cool ocean breeze. Those small, insignificant things, the breeze and sunshine, is something so many people take for granted. You know that old saying “stop and smell the flowers”? That has been a motto of my Covid life. Honestly, I am so grateful for it too. If we didn’t have this pandemic happen, I would have been working, no stop like usual. I would have never had the opportunity to sit on my patio and relax and unwind.
Far too often we get so fixated on the big things: work, bills, sports, keeping up with the Jones’s at the end of the block. Hardly do we ever find time to just sit back and watch the clouds move, or stand outside and take a deep breath in and just be in the moment. Over this past year, that is something I realized I took for granted. Now, I have always been one to stop and watch the sunsets, or stare up at the stars for waaaayyyyy too long, but how often do I overlook the other simple things in my life. This past year I have realized I over looked so many little things, that I have since, been able to deeply enjoy.
Children are no “little thing”, that’s for sure. However, a lot of their everyday stuff can be little. Over the course of this last 11 months, I have really paid attention to my little one and the boyfriend’s little one. I have noticed things I have never noticed before. For example, I never really paid attention to how much attention I was actually giving my teenager. Sure, I talk to her here and there, check in with her and her friends, and we go out and about together, but I found myself paying a lot more attention to her and those little things. Turns out, she is a lot more touchy than I am, or anyone in our family. I figured out this kid just needs more hugs, reassurance that she is loved, etc.. B has always been an interesting child. She has gone through a lot of stuff in a short 13, almost 14 years. I will be the first to admit that I have not always been present for her. Since I realized that, and started paying attention to those little things, I have noticed a world of a difference in her. She is doing better in school, she is happier, more pleasant, funnier, and she is inviting me more and more into her life and the gossip within her world. I know to some of you out there, you are probably thinking “DUH Lyndsey, of course if you pay more attention to her, she is going to let you in to her life more” or something of that nature and you are 100% right. Sometimes it just takes me a little longer to learn that. What can I say, I know I am not perfect. None of us are.
Other little things that have been brought into my life by being “present” include the random and fun conversations the 3 year old has with her dolls while she is in the bath tub. Some of her conversations are absolutely hilarious. Last week, they were all having a party in the tub and she talked non stop for a solid 20 minutes, laughing and giggling. It was so precious. Had I had the TV on or been focused on my phone, I would have missed that party conversation. What I am really getting at with this is to be present and pay attention to those small, insignificant things. They honestly make such a difference.
Continuing on with this topic, bleeding over into the world of friends. Paying attention to the little things within your friendships is also going to make such a difference, and dare I say, will bring your friendships closer. I have slowly been focusing on my friendships and rebuilding them, now that I can confidently say I have rebuilt myself, still under construction, as always, but I am in such a better spot. Now that I am good, I can focus on who is good in my life and how I can be good in theirs. Diving more into the little things, like a simple “Thinking about you” text or mailing a card of encouragement to them when you know they are feeling low. Those are a few little things I have been doing to help rekindle my friendships. Most of my friends appreciate and reciprocate that back, others I have found, stay silent. That is okay too, I cannot force those into my life that choose to stay away. At the end of the day, they know where I stand and that I am there for them, no matter what. Paying attention to their patterns and habits may seem like a lot, especially if you are a busy working mom with a lot on your plate. It takes a whole 5 seconds to just send a text with a heart emoji or let them know you are thinking of them. The little things my friends. Its all about those little things.
Yep, I have to touch base here, because this one is important. When we first start dating someone, we try to go above and beyond for them, as often as possible, to show them how much we care or how much we love that person. As the months and years go by, those grand gestures slowly fade away. That does not mean the love is gone. The love is still there, it just took a different form. Those little things, yep, that’s where the love now is.
This is one I am constantly reminding myself to pay attention to. This kind of goes hand in hand with knowing each others love language, so read into that a bit if you have not already done it. I cant speak on all of your relationships, so I will speak out about mine. My handsome boyfriend is far from the touchy feely, mushy, sap that I am. He tells me he loves me everyday, several times, but how does he show it? Several times throughout the months, he has woken me up with a fresh cup of coffee waiting for me on my night stand. I can go on and on about the small little things he does, but I wont bore you with them. The truth is, those little things are the most important things. With out them, none of the big things would matter.
A Better World
We have got to slow down and pay attention to the small things in our every day lives. If you don’t, I promise you, your life will not be as great as you want it to be. Stop and watch the birds fly, the clouds move, or a plane pass by. Go to the beach and just watch the waves, watch the families around you interact, listen to the laughs. In today’s world, all everyone talks about is the negative. If we tried a little harder on those small things, I bet the world would easily be better.
I leave you with these thoughts:
When talking to a cashier, a waitress, or anyone with a name tag, use their name. Ask how they are and pay attention to them talk. Boost the confidence of your friend who is trying to make a change in their life, regardless of what it is. Be their support. Smile at a stranger, and if you happen to be wearing a mask, nod your head at them. Make people feel seen and heard. That smile or nod could be the one thing that saves a person from committing suicide. Be honest with yourself and those around you. Even a simple lie can hurt. Open the door for someone. All these little things may be insignificant to you, but to someone else, it is a big thing.
Many of us have gone through these, some more than others. I have had my fair share of relationships. I met the guy, fell in love, then fell out of love, broke up, then started all over again. I can count on one hand the amount of “serious” relationships I have had. Fun fact, on average, women will have about 7 relationships, out of which 3 last a year or less and 2 last a year or more before meeting “the one.” Today’s post is about what I learned from previous relationships and how I apply it to my current, and hopefully my last relationship. Let’s dive in, shall we?
Mistakes Are Okay
They totally are. We all make them, daily. I have made so many and I will continue to, until my last day. The trick is to learn from them, not make them again, and not hold onto them. I say “the trick” instead of the secret because let’s face it, it IS tricky!!!!! Going waaayyyy back to the past, dating boyfriend #1, I can tell you one of the many mistakes I made was, I was selfish. I had a tendency of only thinking about myself. I never thought about what he wanted or what his plans were. I was the boss. I joke about that now, but back then, I legit thought I was the boss, about everything. I was spoiled, complained when I didn’t get my way. I had no regard for what he wanted, I didn’t care. It was about me and making me happy. He worked a lot, and I was always annoyed with that. He was trying to make us a future but I was far from mature enough to even grasp that concept. I was impatient. I was immature. I had a lot of growing up to do. That relationship ending was hard, but I made that call. He was ready to settle down, I was far from it. Like I said, I needed to grow up first.
Boyfriend #2 was honestly, probably the most toxic. We went through so many ups and downs, constantly fighting. I was blinded by love full heartedly, and with that, I let him talk to me in the most disrespectful of ways. I allowed him to hurt me. I didn’t see how bad it was until my mother jumped in and made him leave. I was broken, shattered. My first close encounter with a broken heart. I felt lost, like I had no purpose. After wallowing in that for a while, I realized how much happier I had become. I no longer had someone verbally abusing me, making me feel like I was there to be seen, not heard. I learned I needed to use my voice.
Boyfriend #3 came around. I thought I was different with this guy. I was yet again, submissive. I let him control me and plan everything out. I moved away from the family and in with him and my daughter. He was obsessive but I looked passed all that. I focused on being happy, and for the most part, I was. I loved his family, they loved me, but something was missing. It was lack of respect. I slowly started to find myself frustrated. He left for Kuwait and it showed the true colors of who we both really were. Mistakes I made included letting him be insecure and not addressing it. I wasn’t standing up for myself. Where did that voice go that I had so strongly in my first relationship? I needed to find it and quickly. One night while I was working, he called my cell phone over 100 times. I worked graveyard at a casino; I was not answering his calls. He was on the other side of the country and completely paranoid. I learned that night that this was not okay with me, and that relationship ended almost immediately. By the time he came home, after several extensions, I was so over him and the thought of us being together angered me more and more. We were done!
Boyfriend #4 and Husband #1 happened next. I met this guy at work. We had a lot in common. Casually, we started dating. At the beginning, like almost in every relationship, we are happy, excited and eager. Blinded by lust and confusing that with love. Russ was not a bad guy. Nothing like the previous two I dated. He was patient, understanding, his family welcomed me and my daughter with open arms. He liked to travel, be out and about, loved science and history as much as I did. Sounded pretty perfect right? Nope…. You are probably thinking, ya know Lyndsey, no relationship is perfect, right? Yep, I know that!!! I learned over time in this relationship/marriage what I was okay with, what I needed, and what was important to me, and unfortunately, his ideas and mine were not the same. We acted more like roommates than anything. As time went by, the respect faded away and resentment started to gradually build. I learned it is so important to keep that respect. Without it, you have close to nothing. Financially, he made some bad choices and I was the one to clean them up. I was always angry that he never tried hard. Nothing felt important to him and the disconnect between the two of us grew. We could no longer be in the same room with each other without being harsh or rude to one another.
Once we decided we were tired of living that life and separated, both of us were happier, almost instantly. The weight was lifted and we were freed. I learned a lot about what I wanted, what was important to me in a relationship from my marriage. Reflecting back, the Lord was definitely teaching and guiding me to where I am now. Rascal Flats has a song about that… “God Blessed the Broken Road“. I am currently in my newest relationship and I truly hope it is my last one. Looking back at what I have been through, where I went, what I learned, I am ever so confident that my relationship with Aaron can be the one of a lifetime.
The Fresh Air After the Storm
I have learned it is important to communicate, all the time, whether it is good or bad. I still struggle with this, and I am far from perfect, but the effort is there. I found my voice again and I use it, a lot! I am not afraid to tell him when he is upsetting me or messing up on something. I learned to have grace while doing it. I don’t need to be mean to get my point across. I don’t need to yell or scream. Aaron is a talker, if you know him, you know that! He is what I need when it comes to disagreements. He will sit down and talk it out. I have learned that is one of the many keys to success. We can communicate without fighting, but if we get into a fight, we always figure it out. There is no name calling or cussing at each other. A mistake I previously would make was that I always expected my partner to think like me, and after years of failed relationships, I have learned that is not the case!
Aaron is a great guy. Handsome as ever, smart as hell, and all around, he is a great partner. He still has a lot to learn but so do I . I have learned to be more patient. Well, I’m trying to! Because of my past, I learned to take things one step at a time. I’m trying to be more positive. It is hard to do, because I am so used to negativity and disappointment. Aaron gives me confidence, he supports me and all my chaos that follows. With him, I have learned to compromise, but not with the big things. I have learned how to be a good partner to him. We know our love languages and how to speak it to one another. I did not have that in the previous days. I know what I need and I communicate that now. I never had before. If I am unhappy, for the most part, I tell him. I have discovered this pretty awesome concept… “If he doesn’t know there is a problem, how can I expect him to fix it?” Crazy right?. I know, I am late to the game with that one, but better late than never. One problem I am currently working on and is kind of hard for me, is reading into everything. I am in a great relationship and I know that. I have insecurities of my own and I am tackling them..(trying to). This blog helps. I find I often read into things that are not there. Luckily, I use that voice of mine that I found, and tell him when I start to stress about something, and he talks me through it. We trust each other and accept each other’s word.
Relationships in their entirety are hard work. No good relationship is easy. We all have our ups and downs. I have learned most people come with baggage, just like we do, ourselves. We need to find that person that is willing to help us unpack all that baggage and help them unpack theirs. We have to communicate, be trusting, and be their support system. Another thing I learned about relationships is that if you both put in the effort and remind each other you have the same goals and are on the same team, you can make it very far. Don’t compromise the big things that mean so much to you. Don’t settle for less. I did, several times, and it got me frustrated and mad. Go into your relationship with pride, self confidence, know what you want and don’t settle for anything less that that. Above all else, don’t lose your voice.
This is one topic everyone can relate to. Everyone has had at least one friend growing up. I have had so many. It comes with the Extrovert Package I have. I love meeting new people and often more than not, I connect well with others, and friendships will start to grow. Sometimes these friendships grow and last what feels like it will be a lifetime, others become toxic and I end up learning a valuable lesson. Either way friendships, as a whole, definitely have a large part of who I am today and who I will become in the future.
You are out and about, maybe at a party or work, and you start talking to a new person you have never met before. The connection happens and eventually your casual talks turn into “let’s get lunch” or “drinks later” and that stumbles you into the venting about all that is wrong in your life, seeking advice from this person. That slowly turns into this thing called Friendship. I have met some of my closest friends in random places. I met my best friend Marlen on a party bus, going to a male burlesque show! I met my other girlfriend Amy at a casino. My girlfriend Julie I met while working at a Jamba Juice and she at a Starbucks. The majority of my other friends are through my various work places.
New friendships are great. You are on your best behavior, similar to a relationship! You agree on a lot and try to be alike one another in one way or another. You are patient, understanding, and excited. I like to ask a lot of questions in the beginning stages of a friendship…. Something like, “What do you do for fun” or “favorite places to eat” or “do you like to travel”. It’s almost a screening, because I am looking for someone who likes to do similar things as me. Who doesn’t do that? I am also looking for someone with similar values. Not in religion or money, but someone who values friendship the same way I do, someone who thinks honesty is crucial, (you’d be surprised who doesn’t think that!).
What I need in a Friendship…
We all are looking for something within our friendships. Companionship, mentor, therapist, realist, motivator, comedian, and drinking buddy are just a few things I need and want in a friendship. I want my friends to be there for me, the way I am for them. I put my all into my friendships, even if at times it doesn’t show. I am loyal and expect it back. I am honest and at times, it can be brutal, but that is what I except in return as well. I don’t want a friend who will constantly agree with me on everything. I like a different perspective.
I have friends with all different types of backgrounds. I have pastors, moms, teachers, veterans, flight attendants, card dealers, students, business owners and ex convicts. My tribe is quite eclectic and each one is very special to me. My friends have all been there for me in one way or another. They have helped me up when the world kicked me down. Some helped me through the darkest of times, while others shined their light on me, in hopes that I would create my own. Others help me be a better parent, a better girlfriend, and a better daughter. Some of my friends are my therapists and I will sit there and share everything with them. Each one of my friends play a different role in my life, no one more important that the other. They all have a special place in my heart, and I try hard to remind them of that.
No One is Perfect
Truest statement ever, am I right? Sometimes we have these images and ideas of what a great friend we are to someone. We think we are an amazing friend to someone, but get annoyed that they are not reciprocating that same level back to us. Could be a problem with them, but it is something we can try to fix on our end!
I go through phases with my friends. They all know this. I will go for an extended period being present, talking to them a lot, checking in, meeting up for lunch and dinner dates, etc. Then something will happen in life and I will get distracted. We still follow along with each other on Facebook or Instagram, but the personal level of texting or calling slowly fades away. It happens to us all. I have noticed the pattern with myself quite often. I have just recently noticed that this past year I have been a little distant with everyone. I wont even blame that on Covid because that would be a lie. I moved, an hour away from the majority of my friends. I started a new life since my divorce and I have been focused on that instead of my friends. Now, I have not completely ignored everyone. I just slowed way down on the socializing, the partying, they luncheons, the beach trips. It’s been an adjustment, and the friends of mine that truly understand that, have remained close to me.
I understand that life happens and sometimes friends fade away and some will come back again. Being patient and understanding as an adult friend is crucial to the survival of a friendship. Being honest and putting an effort in help a ton as well. I recently reconnected with a few distant friends because I realized I drifted away. I have a tendency of not texting my friends, and thinking to myself “If they wanted to talk to me, they would text me first…” all the while, most of them are thinking the same way! I have been saying that for a long time now, and at times, yea, its true. However, I, too, could take initiative. So that is what I have been focusing a lot on recently. It has definitely added a lot more happiness into my life.
Discovering a Toxic Friend
Yep, we all have had them. I have found a few in my tribe. They key is to finding this out and being okay with letting them go. Sometimes you want a friend so badly, and for whatever reason you have, you know they are toxic but you wont let them go. Girl, I am here to tell you that the negativity they pour into your life is not worth it. I swear!
You have this friend you try over and over again to talk to but unfortunately they are always busy and cant answer. There is always something going on. Let that friend go. You have tried and tried and you are frustrated that you aren’t getting though. Let them go. It is hard, I know. Reality is, if they were your friend, they would hopefully have the common courtesy to talk to you at least once! You cant be the only one putting in effort to talk to someone. Friendship is a two way road. Its not complicated. Its rather simple. Life can be complicated and has a tendency of making things messy, but friendships do not have to be that way.
If you have a friend that is always so negative about everything they say, try to help them and if you cant get through, you might need to let them go! In today’s world especially, we need to focus so much on positivity. I’m sure if my boyfriend was reading this, he’d roll his eyes at me over that last statement. He thinks I am negative. In reality, I swear I’m not. I’m realistic. I have been disappointed so many times in my life, that I tend to automatically go down that road. Sorry, that’s off topic!!!!! Before giving up on your negative Nancy, try talking to them. Give them some perspective, let them know they are a downer and they need to look at the good. This is SOOOOO IMPORTANT. This can change your friendship for the good. It lets them know you are there for them, you notice their attitude, and most times than not, that will strengthen your friendship.
With that being said, it could also end your friendship. If it does, that is okay too! A lot of negative people tend to feed off negativity. You do not need that in your life. Negativity is like cancer, I’m sure you have heard that saying before. I have had friends that are always the victim, in every situation. They live the “poor me” mentality. It put a damper on my own happiness and I started to think that way too. Until, that is, another friend called me on it. Remember me talking about that a few paragraphs ago? Yep, they called me out and I was able to realize I was the one becoming toxic. I slowly stopped talking to that person and since then, I feel so much better.
Other toxic friends include those who are too good for everyone else. Now, I only speak for myself when I say this, but I surely do not want to be friends with those who think they are better than everyone else. You know, the kind who HAVE to have all the latest and greatest of everything; The ones who put on a show, act like that have everything. They are different, of course, than the hard working successful women I try to surround myself with. No, these women are the ones that put everyone else down because we don’t have the fancy bag or expensive diamonds. Those women/men are toxic. You want the world to be a better place, not filled with people who put others down. I personally, want to be surrounded by others who are going to fix my crown, without telling the world it was crooked or broken.
The Greatest Gift
Still with me on this Friendship vent? Good, thank you! Let’s talk about some good stuff again!
My friendships mean the world to me. My friends have no idea how much I appreciate them and what I would do for them. They keep me sane, they make me laugh, they let me vent, and they are all around such amazing people. I have friends who will drop everything and go on a 25 hour trip to Hawaii with me, just because I want to go to a Luau for dinner. I have friends who will come over and watch TV with me for hours, and not say anything, they’re just there. I have friends I can call when I am a complete mess and cannot figure out which is up and which is down. They talk me off the ledge, they push me to my potential, and they encourage and motivate me when I am sluggish. My friends are truly the greatest gift ever. It took me a while to come up with the tribe I now have. It doesn’t happen over night. It takes a lot of work, from both sides. It takes a long time to get here. Be patient, be kind, be yourself, and most importantly, stay honest.
Over the past couple of days, I have gotten a lot of responses from so many of you, regarding my posts on my blog; more than I had ever expected to get. I know a lot of what I have written lately is pretty deep and heavy stuff. My life isn’t just about those heavy, intense things. I have SO much good in my life that I plan to share with you guys too!!! Before I do that, I just wanted to send you all a huge Thank You from the bottom of this heart of mine. Thank you for the overflow of support and for encouraging me to keep writing. I’ve never been great at being vulnerable, but you are all making it a lot easier!
Love, Lyndsey ♥️
PS, Feel free to follow along on FB (@lyndseyyyyysworld) and share my page with your friends!!!!!
“The only thing more exhausting than having a mental illness is pretending like you don’t.”
Let’s keep it real for a minute, shall we? How many of you out there are bipolar or have Borderline Personality Disorder? Great, so a couple of you raised your hands and know what I am talking about; the rest of you out there may know people who have either, or both of these disorders, but you, yourself do not have them. Let’s talk about them and how HARD life can be with juggling these and honestly, how exhausting it is.
Before we talk about how hard it can be to have Bipolar or Border Personality Disorder, we should probably talk about WHAT THEY ARE, for those of you who do not know, or many know a little, but not a lot. Buckle up my friends, let’s dive into the educational aspect of this post!
Most people associate those with Bipolar disorder as being “extra moody”. Truth is, we are! To no fault of our own, of course. Being Bipolar is exhausting. One day your emotions are high (manic) then something happens and boom…….. you’re feeling down (depressed) and off your game. It’s a constant emotional rollercoaster. You cant just “shake off” that down feeling and it can become overwhelming.
There is no single cause of Bipolar Disorder, but there are so many factors that contribute to it. Genetics, Individual Biology, and Environmental factors all contribute to Bipolar Disorder. Other factors include failing to use prescribed medication, frequent stress, lack of social support, and poor health can all lead to the development of Bipolar Disorder.
My days are easy to identify. I will have tons of energy, I will feel wired and ready to roll. I will feel like I can accomplish anything and everything, and I will have all the motivation in the world. With that, I also will have a hard time sleeping, falling asleep or staying asleep. My mind is constantly racing and I struggle to sit still. Several people will tell you I fidget, a lot. Some of those days, I wont want to be my normal touchy feely self, and I might get annoyed easily. I will start to transition into what feels like I am on edge and tend to be irritable. I do a pretty good job at noticing when my mood will start to swing and I try so hard to just be aware of it, and try to be more patient. That’s what I mean by its exhausting. I will put so much energy into trying to not be grouchy.
Then something, big or incredibly small will happen and BOOM……. The depressive episodes start. I will feel down, blue, sad, hopeless… You get the picture. I become be more lethargic, I’ll forget things, I cant concentrate and will zone out during conversations, and I will want to lounge on the couch or bed all day long, feeling like a total sloth. I am completely, and Aaron might add, irrationally sensitive. I take the smallest jokes to heart. It will then become my family who are the ones walking on eggshells, trying to avoid me so they don’t upset me, which makes me feel unwanted. It is honestly a vicious cycle, but it is one I am learning more and more about every day.
Border Personality Disorder
BPD is a long pattern of moment to moment mood swings. They mostly relate to relationships, self image, and behaviors. The swings are often triggered by some type of conflict with another person. People who have BPD usually have some other type of mental health problem, like eating disorders, addictions, or anxiety. Some of us have problems controlling and managing our thoughts and feelings, and can sometimes act reckless or impulsive.
An easy explanation of BPD is: We care too much, we apologize too much, we think and feel too much. Our feelings are extreme and intense.
Sounds fun right? *insert eye roll here* This is similar to Bipolar Disorder, but so much more intensified. Those who have BPD will tell you it’s hard to maintain a healthy relationship; we tend to self sabotage. The worst part about that is WE KNOW WE ARE DOING IT, but we can’t help it. We constantly think people are going to leave us, needless to say, our emotions are HIGH. We tend to feel helpless, bored, and tend to isolate ourselves. Then the rage will kick in. There are some days where I am just pissed off, mad, and irritable, and I struggle to let it go.
Everyday Is A Battle.
I am constantly fighting the battle of ups and downs, emotionally and mentally. Some days I want to be alone, but I don’t want to be lonely. Other days I will obsess over so many different things, because I have no idea what to do. I tend to feel this sense of rejection; especially if I stop texting people and because I stopped, I no longer hear from them. That has been my recent battle, and ultimately lead to the loss of so many friendships. Some days I will feel as though I feel nothing at all, and other days I will be filled with emotion and feel like my heart might burst. Describing me as complicated would be an understatement.
This is real life to me. It is so hard for me to wake up and ride these damn waves. I have tried medications, but doctors, at least mine, do not recommend medication since I have BPD. With my suicidal past, it would hurt me more than help me. I have been on different medications for my Bipolar Disorder and anxiety, but most of them make me feel like a zombie. With that being said, I struggle…. Every day.
Being Bipolar and having BPD makes it so incredibly hard for my partner. I have never really cared about their feelings until I met Aaron. I had never taken the challenges they faced with me seriously, until I started dating Aaron. The Bipolar Disorder definitely makes his life hard, but the BPD makes it even harder. BPD brings out my insecurities more than ever. Here I am, dating this incredible, gorgeous, faithful, intelligent man, who is undoubtedly in love with me, and I am constantly wondering when he is going to leave me; not “if” but “when”. He was married once before and together, he and his ex have a beautiful daughter. They do an exceptional job at co-parenting, but that is one of the few things in my life that I have not experienced. I have never dated a dad before, or a dad who was once married.
My insecurities are very frustrating to him, and I totally get it. She will text him about something with their daughter, or someone in his family will bring her up in conversation and I will instantly feel some type of way. I have no idea how to deal with it or even come up with a logical reason as to WHY I am feeling that way. It is like a flood that takes over. Anytime someone mentions her name, I almost instantly get weird. WHY!!!!! I have absolutely no idea why, but I am going to blame my BPD. I am so afraid of him leaving. If dig even deeper than that, it’s probably because I have never loved someone like this before and truth be told, I am TERRIFIED of a broken heart. I have had my share of break ups, and feeling sad that it ended, but I have never felt this way about someone before.
I catch myself wondering why we are together and if I am good enough every now and then. Super healthy right? I know. Deep down I know we are going to be together for a while, hopefully forever, but we never know what could happen. Until that day comes, I will always have this irrational fear that maybe one day the two of them will find their way back to each other. Ever since my divorce, I had decided I wanted to remarry, hopefully have another child. He has days where he will mention “when we are married” and my heart soars with excitement because I would easily marry this man. Then there are days where he will ask why marriage is so important and the fact it doesnt change much, and for some odd reason, I take that so personal. Then I go down that rabbit hole of emotions… If he isn’t looking for marriage, why are we even together, and then I find myself in that depressive stage and self doubt. Nothing really of his doing. He honestly has no clue why I get so down sometimes and it is so hard to explain my irrationality.
Since I am talking about relationships, let’s briefly discuss friendships; Friendships are hard too. I will be so involved in a friend’s life; What they’re doing, who their with, etc. I can talk to them every day or once in a while, either way, I will put in my all and my whole heart. If I start to feel like I am the only one putting in any effort, I will slowly back off, to see if they step up. (It’s a weird game I play with myself.) If they don’t, I watch the friendship lose itself. I have lost so many friends and gained so many acquaintances because I stop trying to maintain our friendship. Friendships are hard, but it’s harder when one person is putting in all the effort. When I stop trying, and I don’t hear from them, I take it to heart. It is hard for me to understand. I get so worked up and feel this sense of, I don’t even know, almost a sense of abandonment. I know it sounds weird and twisted, and if you cannot understand it, I definitely don’t blame you, because I am still trying to grasp a hold on it.
Life In Itself
Dating me is hard. I know that. Being me is hard! We never know what the day will hold for us when we wake up. I wake up optimistic, every day. I try so hard to let go of the negative before I fall asleep, and try to not carry it over to the next day. Every day is a gift, and I try so hard to be grateful and appreciate what I have. Some days it is hard for me to smile. Some days Aaron will try with all his might to get even the slightest smile from me, and it feels like the impossible. Other days, I have an insane amount of energy and I will be so excited about everything. Either way, its exhausting and overwhelming. I am writing this specific topic right now because today has been one of those days where I feel down and I struggled to smile. I felt impatient and frustrated, sad and blue, almost constantly. We went for a long walk at the Irvine Regional Park, saw some animals, but no matter how good of a day we had, I could not get away from what felt like a rain cloud hovering over me.
If you have Bipolar Disorder or BPD, please reach out to me. Lets converse about our mental issues! I could use someone to bounce off of when I am riding these emotional waves. If you think you may have either, but have not yet been diagnosed, please, reach out to a doctor for an assessment and help! By no means am I an expert or a doctor. I am just familiar with my own diagnosis and struggles, and I know not everyone is the same.
When I first stared dating Aaron, I found out he LOVES Boston Cream Pie. With that being said, I wanted to be the best girlfriend ever, and surprise him with a delicious treat when he came over to visit. I searched high and low on Pinterest, to find the perfect recipe for him, and after a long search, okay, maybe only 20 minutes of searching, I found a pretty easy recipe.
I made the cake in the morning, before he came over in the afternoon, and while it was super good, I will say I was slightly disappointed in that sad truth that the cream soaked into my cake, so when we cut into it after dinner, it was just a really moist cake. With that being said, I HIGHLY recommend eating your cake shortly after filling it. I do not recommend waiting all day, or the next day, to eat the cake. If you have any tips or tricks for me on how to not let the cream soak into my cake, PLEASE for the love of all things baking, share with me!!!!
1 box of yellow cake mix (this is definitely the easier way to do it, but you can make your own if you are fully dedicated)
3 large eggs
1 cup cold water
1/2 cup veggie oil
2 cups chocolate chips (I used semi sweet)
1/2 heavy cream (If you don’t have any heavy cream, and dont want to buy it because lets face it, the stuff in NOT cheap, you can make it using milk and butter, just google it!)
2 (3.5 oz) vanilla pudding snack packs. (Yes this is the seriously simplified version….. You CAN make this with all homemade ingredients)
8 tbs whipped cream (I made this from my left over heavy cream)
8 maraschino cherries (I skipped this as I do not like them)
First thing you have to do is prepare the cake batter by mixing boxed ingredients with eggs, oil, and water. Pour batter into the bundt pan. Make sure your pan is coated with butter or cooking spray. Coat it lightly with flour so the cake doesn’t stick!!! I baked my cake at 350* for 30 minutes. When you take the cake out of the oven, let it rest and cool down completely before you do anything else.
While the cake is baking, take your chocolate chips and put them in a medium bowl, and microwave for 30 seconds. Remove from microwave and stir. Repeat process, at 30 second intervals until the chips are all nice and melted.
Add the heavy cream to your melted chocolate. It is a lot easier if your cream isnt super cold, otherwise you will most likely have to reheat your chocolate chips to keep them at a nice consistency.
Once your cake is cooled down, (I put mine in the fridge to cool and stop the cooking process) while the cake is STILL in the pan, poke holes in the bottom. I used a the end of a wooden spoon. Poke them somewhat close together, all the way around the cake.
Fill a piping bag with your pudding. You can use a ziplock bag if you dont have any piping bags. Fill those holes you just made with the pudding!!! (Remember my tip from earlier. You are going to want to eat this sooner than later, as the cake is going to soak up this yummy pudding!)
Now its time to flip your cake and remove it from your pan. I put my cake stand on the bottom of the cake pan, and flipped. My cake slid out perfectly!!!!
Next, pour that delicious melted chocolate ganache you made over the top of the cake. Make sure it drips down on all sides, outer and inner side.
You can add your whipped cream now. Most people do 8 dollops of it, all the way around the cake. I felt my cake didnt need this, or the cherries, but adding them is a lot more traditional for sure.
Now you can enjoy!!!!
This recipe took me about 50 minutes from start to finish.
Let’s talk about Apple Butter for just a second because it’s seriously so delicious.
I have always been a fan of Apple Butter. My dad’s mother used to buy it and put it on toast when I was young, and I fell in love with it! I don’t eat it nearly as much as I’d like to, mostly because it is so expensive. I spent some time on Pinterest, (my favorite social media platform by far!) and discovered a pretty simple recipe for Homemade Instant Pot Apple Butter. Y’all, let me tell you!!!!!!! I became a changed woman. That recipe was incredibly easy to make and it was so yummy.
First, let me give a quick shout out to the boyfriend for buying me Lucille, my instant pot! Yes, I named her Lucille.
Anyways, I went on Amazon and bought these cute little glass containers to put my apple butter in.
What you need:
An Instant Pot or Pressure Cooker
Cutting board and knife
Immersion Blender or Ninja Blender
4 pounds apples (I used Fiji but you can use any one you’d like. Other apples that are great for this recipe include Jonathan, Classic Red, or Braeburn apples)
1/4 cup water
1/4 cup Molasses
1/2 cup cane sugar (I used granulated and it worked just fine)
1/2 cup light brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
1/2 teaspoon allspice
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon lemon juice
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
How to make it:
Core and slice the apples. Cut out any bad spots. Leave the peel on!
Put the sliced apples into your Instant Pot!
Add water, molasses, sugar, brown sugar, spices, lemon juice, and vanilla extract to the Instant Pot. If you want to mix everything together, you can; but there’s no need to until after it all cooks.
Put the lid in place on the Instant Pot. Press Manual or Pressure Cook for 15 minutes and let it cook.
When it’s finished cooking, allow the pressure cooker to do a natural release.
Purée the mixture with your immersion blender, or mash the apples with a potato masher. If you only have a regular blender, feel free to use that. It’s up to you how you prefer the texture or consistency.
Using a ladle, pour the hot apple butter into each prepared jar… You can use a ladle or a measuring cup to pour. I highly recommend a funnel to help with this process.
Wipe the top rim of each jar with a wet towel or rag, so it’s clean and the lid will seal during the canning process (if canning). Then place the lid on, and tighten the band.
You can freeze apple butter, but be sure to leave about a 1/2-inch gap at the top of each jar to allow for expansion in the freezer. Also, allow the jars to completely cool before placing in the freezer.
This topic is a delicate one. It’s one I think about over and over again, almost on the daily. It’s a sensitive topic, one about depression, demons, sadness, and the beauty of forgiveness and acceptance. It was my world for so long and it was a world I hid so well. Many out there who are depressed can do an amazing job at hiding their depression by simply smiling and staying quiet. Some can be completely social and the life of the party, while crying on the inside, begging for someone to help them. Does that sound familiar to anyone? If it does, keep reading. This is the story of my depression and demons, what I did, and how I fought hard to love myself and find happiness. Just as a reminder, it is never okay to harm yourself or anyone in any way. If you feel that desire, please, reach out to someone to help you. Don’t be afraid!
I Hated Myself
One of many common phrases used by me in the year 2017 was “I hate me”. Alongside that, was the thought process of “they’ll go on without me just fine” and “I’m really not that important”. See where I’m going with this?
I worked a job I hated and commuted over an hour each way to get to this job, for almost a year. My boss was a complete, for lack of a better description, asshole. My (ex) husband was very distant, always focused on so many other things, very disconnected from myself and the family. My daughter was 10 at the time and wanted to spend the majority of her time with my mom. I felt very alone and that lead to my downward spiral.
I’ve learned over the years now that I am a caretaker. I need someone to take care of, to help me feel accomplished, to feel like I have a purpose. The only problem with that is, the person I should have been trying to take care of was the one person I was always trying to avoid. Myself. If I was given the opportunity, I would sit and talk to everyone about their problems and how they can solve them, how I could help, but I wasn’t letting anyone know about mine or that I, too, desperately needed help. I didn’t have a bad life, but the life I had, I hated. I hated it so much that I wanted to end it, and I tried. A couple of times.
Being brave saved my life
I decided my life was over for me and I accepted that and was ready to move on, or so I thought. As extensively as I hated my life, I couldn’t end it. I wanted to, so badly. I couldn’t figure out a way to end my life and not ruin the day of the person who would find my body. I spent weeks trying to figure it out. Nothing seemed acceptable. I wanted my life to end, but I didn’t want to ruin someone else’s in the process. After a few attempts that failed, I decided I was being pathetic. Why was I doing this and why is it that no one saw what I was trying to do. It seemed like no one cared. I was convinced I was invisible.
I became so distant from everyone. I stopped going to gatherings. I stopped texting my friends, I stopped going to work. I laid in bed all day long, yet no one noticed how down I was. My husband at the time thought I was going through a phase, and though looking back now, maybe it was a phase, but it was a very real phase to me. My heart was aching and I had no control over it. I couldn’t understand why I was feeling the way I felt. I felt so toxic. I felt so secluded. He’d see me crying and rather than console me or just talk and see what’s going on, he would leave me alone. That only made me feel worse. I’m sure he didn’t realize it or maybe he just didn’t understand how to process my emotions, we will never know.
On my way to work one day, I made the decision. This is it. I can’t keep feeling like this. I can’t keep hating myself and my life. I need to figure out a way to fix it or commit to the alternative. I figured the latter was easier. I tried one more time, to run my car off the road…..but I chickened out and slammed on my breaks. All I accomplished was a giant cloud of dust and some serious blood pressure changes. That’s when I knew it; I didn’t want to die. I just wanted things to be different, I wanted to be different. I called my best friend and spilled my guts. At that moment she knew how much help I desperately needed. I needed to be brave and admit I needed the help. My life depended on it. We found a hospital specializing in depression and the other issues, and I drove right to them and checked myself in. We called my (ex) husband, parents, and work. I let them all know I wasn’t coming home that night, or anytime soon.
To my surprise, they were all shocked I had gotten to this point. None of them had even the slightest suspicion that I was that depressed. I was astonished. How did they not know? How could they not see my pain? I was so angry at them for not seeing how bad it was for me. Luckily, I was in a place where I could understand and where I could learn from this, and I did just that.
My sadness is NOT a burden
While I was staying at the hospital, I went to therapy, individual and group. I met some incredible people with strength I was inspired by. I found the others in our group were so strong and I was incredibly moved by their stories. Some were recovering addicts, others were depressed like me. Each one of us fighting a battle and feeling completely alone and unsure of what to do. We had formed a bond. Even though we each had our struggles, we understood one another and brought special insight to the table. We motivated one another; we wanted each other to survive, to tell the story of how we were brave when all we wanted to do was die. We became each other’s lifeline. Sharing my sadness and my pain with strangers brought on a new outlook to my life. It was uncensored and raw. They didn’t know who my family was or where I grew up, but they understood my pain. It was valid to them and they were going to help me fight it.
Now, this is just me, and I am no expert on this matter. This is just my personal experience of depression. I learned a lot about myself in the weeks that I was at the hospital. I learned how to forgive, although I’m honestly still working on that. I’m learning to trust, though that is very hard to do. I’m still learning, years later, to be vulnerable with my feelings and share what my heart feels. How could I be irritated at people for not knowing how I feel, when I can’t even tell them how I’m feeling? I noticed that’s a common problem of mine. I expect others to just know how I feel. Crazy right? But that’s truly how I felt.
That’s always the hardest thing, at least it was for me. It still is hard for me to tell someone I need them. However, I’ve found by telling just one person that I need them, no matter who I choose, the weight of my pain eases up, almost instantly.
Being happy again…
That is a choice I had to make. I had to tell myself and still tell myself every day that I deserve to be happy. Happiness doesn’t just happen. You have to want it. You have to decide that you’re going to be happy. It’s all in the thought process. People who don’t want to be happy never will be. Trust me on that!
I decided to see a therapist regularly and sort through my issues and get some feedback. I became more vocal about my feelings and expectations. After reading many different self-help books, praying, writing, and talking about what was going on, I figured it out; I had to forgive myself for all I went through, accept that I needed the change, and actually do it. Since I figured out I needed to alter my perspective and ways of thinking, I have been happier.
I cut the negativity out of my life, which included a lot of people. I started eating healthier, taking my medication, exercising more, and I put extra effort into spending more time with my daughter. By me making my happiness a priority, I made her life so much better. She was happier too. We started going more places, exploring more often, laughing a lot more.
I had to put in the time and effort and trust me when I say this: it was hard work. It would have been so much easier to end it all and that was tempting. Looking back now, I’m so grateful that I didn’t dare to end my life. I am so incredibly thankful that I got help instead. I am still here to see my daughter grow up. I had the mindset of “their lives will go on”, and indeed they would, but it would never be okay. The sadness my daughter would have gone through would have been unbearable. The pain I would have caused my parents and siblings would be indescribable, and I would have caused it all because I didn’t want to admit to them or to anyone that I was sad. I thought ending it would be better for everyone, and for once in my life, I am so happy that I was wrong.
If you or someone you know is feeling depressed or having suicidal thoughts, talk to someone! I cannot stress that enough. There are plenty of resources out there that can help. You are not a burden and your pain can be healed. I promise you that. It is hard work but in the end, it is so worth it. You owe that to yourself. You owe yourself nothing but the best. Be kind to you. ♥️
If you are having suicidal thoughts and need to talk , please reach out to the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 800-273-8255