Thursday, September 11, 2014

My Turning Point - How September 11, 2001 Changed My Life

I was already feeling depressed. I'd been going downhill for a little while now, but I wasn't really aware of what was going on with me. Then, it happened.

September 11, 2001 is a day that will go down in history for all Americans. Mostly, we remember how we united as Americans and the signs of love and compassion in New York City where the twin towers fell. For me, it was a personal turning point.

I had a little bit of difficulty getting moving on the morning of September 11, 2001. It was after 8:30 am. My class was at 10 am and I wasn't even out of bed yet. The phone rang. It was my roommate's sister. She told me to turn on the TV. She was a jokester, so I wondered what silliness she was up to today. When I turned on the television, my annoyance at being roused from my sleep was quickly replaced by shock.
"What happened," I asked her.
"Someone crashed planes into the World Trade Center. They crashed one into the Pentagon too."
I watched the news for a few minutes and then I got ready for my class which was, interestingly enough, Introduction to Islam.
We spent the class speaking about what led up to these events. We talked about the Taliban's rise to power. The professor stressed that these actions were not indicative of Islam itself. Some of the Muslims in the class spoke about how they were feeling. It was an enlightening experience.

The next week was difficult for me. There was an overarching sense of insecurity, sadness, and depression throughout the university campus. For reasons I didn't really understand, I seemed to experience these feelings even more deeply than the others around me. Within a couple of weeks, others had moved on with their daily lives. I had moved on as well, but this sense of sadness wasn't leaving. I didn't know why. For a while, I thought I was getting sick. I went to the doctor. They said nothing was wrong with me. Then, one day in March, my professor for one of my classes said the words that broke open that shell.
"You just seem really depressed."
I cried.
Then I sought counseling.

It was a turning point for me. I still don't know if I would have started to feel depressed if the events of September 11, 2001 hadn't occurred. I still don't know if I was already depressed before these events took place. I was depressed, yes. I needed help, counseling, and medication to get over that. But when I was off the medication, when I was no longer depressed, when I opened myself up and really explored those emotions, I discovered something about myself. That something is what has led me on my current career path. That turning point 13 years ago has led me to pursue my Master's Degree in Clinical Counseling. September 11, 2001 changed the lives of so many people in so many ways. This is how it changed mine.

Saturday, August 30, 2014

Little K's Incredible Journey - 8 Months Old

You are now crawling like a pro! You are also pulling up to stand while holding on to furniture and starting to cruise around. I wouldn't be surprised if you are walking within the next month or two! You are certainly a busy boy! You even get distracted when you are eating and have been squirted in the eye a couple of times as a consequence of pulling away too quickly! You have two teeth on the bottom and a third tooth coming in on the top. You weigh 19 and a half pounds and have grown to 28 inches tall. Soon, we will have to move you out of your infant carrier car seat and into the convertible one.

You are finding your voice, squealing and starting to babble a bit. You love to play with your brother, your sister, and the cat. You wrestle with your brother, even when he's trying to get his diaper changed sometimes! You can crawl over to the toy shelf now, so you pick out the toys you like to play with. Just like your brother, your favorite toys are various types of balls. You like to roll them around the floor and chase them. You also like to dance. You will bounce up and down to music and smile.

We can't believe how quickly you are growing! We won't be able to call you "little" for much longer!

Monday, August 18, 2014

It Doesn't Matter What You Say...

I was an awkward child. I had "lazy eye" and wore an eye patch until the second grade. I couldn't tie my shoes until second grade and I couldn't ride a bike without training wheels until fifth grade. Because of my vision problems, my depth perception was off. I walked funny, my handwriting was messy, and I had to go to physical and occupational therapy. I was diagnosed with sensory integration disorder, which still affects me today.

That's me on the right (the younger sister).

Needless to say, I was teased quite a bit. Even in high school, a lot of people didn't treat me very nicely. I guess they remembered me as a child in grade school and couldn't let that go. And I was still a bit awkward in high school too.

This morning, on the way to school, my daughter kept insisting that kids at school look at her and think mean things about her. I told her that people are usually not thinking what you believe them to be thinking. Even if they are, it doesn't matter. She said that sometimes people do say mean things to her. We all know that kids are mean. They sometimes say things just to see if they can make you mad. I reminded her of this. I also reminded her of the one thing that I ultimately learned through all the teasing and people looking at me funny. IT DOESN'T MATTER WHAT THEY SAY OR THINK ABOUT YOU! What really matters is what you think about you. So I reminded her. If someone tells you that you are stupid, or ugly, or anything else that you are not, you just tell them the truth. Tell them, "It doesn't matter what you say because I know that I am smart and pretty and you are wrong." Nothing shuts someone up faster than knowing that you have confidence in yourself. Tell it like it is and move on. Forget the haters. They aren't worth your time!

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Why Robin Williams' Death Matters to Me

Robin Williams' died on Monday at the age of 63. A lot of people may just say, "Another celebrity killed himself. Happens all the time." But to me, it hits so much deeper. It hits close to home.

My father is 63 years old. He has suffered from depression his entire life. When I heard about Robin Williams' death and realized he is the same age as my father, all I could think about was calling him to tell him how much I love him and that I'm thinking about him. I don't know what has gone on with my father at all times. I know that there were probably times that depression had such a grip on him that he contemplated suicide. I am so blessed that my father is still here with me after all these years.

Not everyone is so lucky. I too have suffered from depression. Depression is a monster. It changes your perception of your world. You can have loving friends and family who care so very much about you, but in your mind the world is a dark and cold place. No one cares about you. You are worthless. This is what your mind tells you. People tell you to think positive, but when you are deep in that pit it is so very hard to get out.

There is a lot of talk going on about suicide as a result of Robin Williams' death. There's talk about how suicide is selfish and not considering that Mr. Williams and other depressed people who commit suicide are not thinking about the people that love them so much. The truth is, the depressed mind is selfish. It cannot think about anything about itself, and never in a good way. It is mean. It is unforgiving. It only thinks about itself and sometimes it gets to the point where it only thinks about taking this pain away.

So here's the question. What can you do? Learn about depression. Read about it. Educate yourself. Learn about the signs of suicide, especially if you know someone who suffers from depression. Talk about depression. It is an illness. It hurts the people who suffer from it and their loved ones. I hope that Robin Williams' death will open up people's minds about depression and help to bring about awareness of this condition that affects so many but still has so much stigma behind it.

Above all, tell your friends and family you love them because you never know what they may be going through inside.

Monday, August 11, 2014

Breastfeeding Mothers: Respect One Another!

Last week, Olivia Wilde's Glamour photo shoot created quite a stir. Here in my neck of the woods, a local radio station discussed the photo and breastfeeding in a less than helpful manner. I did not hear the broadcast, but according to friends of mine in a Facebook breastfeeding support group, the host stated that if women need to breast feed in public they need to use a cover, pump and bring bottles, or feed their baby in the bathroom. This upset a lot of women and prompted a nurse-in to be organized in front of the radio station.
This whole thing fueled a lot of debate and the main idea that came across is that no one respects anyone anymore and they all seem to be accusing each other of disrespect.

The radio host was being disrespectful in his remarks, not taking into consideration that there are babies who will not be covered or will not take bottles and that it is disgusting, unsanitary, and uncomfortable to feed your baby in a restroom.

Some of the comments from listeners and Facebook members were along the lines of respect as well. There were non-breastfeeding and breastfeeding mothers alike saying that it was disrespectful to others to show your breasts in public. The answer back to this from nursing mothers (like me) who have babies that will not be covered or take bottles was that is was disrespectful to deny a mother her right to feed her child and to also assume that because you may choose to cover when breastfeeding, every other mother must also do so.

This argument will continue for as long as mothers are breastfeeding their children and as long as breasts are seen as a sexual object. So in other words, this argument will always be around. As a breastfeeding mother, I will do my part to respect those who choose not to breastfeed (or cannot breastfeed), those who choose to cover, and those who choose not to cover. All I ask in return is that other nursing mothers respect that it is indeed legal for me to breastfeed in public, covered or uncovered, and I am not a bad person if I choose to do so uncovered. Nursing mothers, if we respect each other then the ignorant people who disrespect us and our right to breastfeed wherever and whenever our child needs will be silenced when we band together instead of adding more fuel to the fire.
Instead, let's be supportive of each other and that we have made a great choice for our babies. Let's help each other succeed instead of fighting amongst ourselves!

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Little K's Incredible Journey - 7 Months Old

You're 7 months old already! Where has the time gone? You sure have grown up in this past month! You are already 18 pounds, you're still sleeping through the night on some nights, and you're really developing a personality! You're a fun-loving guy. You like play time, especially with others. You are very social. You like to play with your brother, your sister, me and your dad.

You can crawl! You started up on your hands and knees, rocking back and forth and by the end of the month you were scooting and then crawling! You sure have fun now that you can get to the toys you want. You also follow me so I have to shut the baby gates behind me. Right now, you're trying to get into the dining room because you see your brother eating lunch.

Speaking of eating, you also have started trying new foods! So far you have tried carrots and bananas. You like both of them! I think this week we will try some green beans or peas.

I am excited to see what the next month has to bring for you!

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Craft Day - Footprint Butterflies

I decided to up my difficulty level on the crafts and make footprint butterflies after I saw this picture on Pinterest:

Mine were not nearly as beautiful, but that was more due to my limited ability to draw the body of the butterfly than anything else. Also, it's hard to make these with big kid footprints. Baby footprints are much easier.

Big Sis painting her foot. I didn't get pictures of the painted baby feet because I was the one painting them. T-Rex cried while I was painting his foot because he wanted to play with the paints. Little K liked getting his foot painted, I think. He gave me a look that seemed to say, "Mom, what are you doing to me?"

T-Rex's footprints

Little K's finished product

T-Rex's finished product

Overall, this project was fun. I think the boy's turned out well. Big Sis's did not, so I don't choose to show it here. Like I said, this works out a lot better with baby feet!