Category Archives: Beauty and Health

Our Family’s Trans-formation

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“We are writing you all because there has been a bit of change going on in our family’s lives this past six months. It is easiest to write this down and have you all hear it directly and in the same manner, then to relay it individually. This is a difficult topic and will be hard for some of you to understand. It is okay, you do not have to understand or agree with it to give unconditional love and support. And you will likely have questions, but we appreciate your not bombarding us, as we too continue to process things. So now on to what has taken place…”

These are the beginning words to a letter that we just sent to our family this past week. I am sure that many of my readers have felt my struggles through this year in my writings. SO many changes have occurred in the last six months. But, as I share with you this biggest of all, I ask for you to follow these words I’ve written my family as well!

“At the end of last year, just after Christmas our youngest came to me. She had been greatly struggling, which was quite evident. After a good deal of prodding, she finally confided in me a great turmoil what could be called an identity crisis. She felt that she was supposed to be a boy. This was all in her words, nothing put in her mouth. Of course, this was a big shock, but not a surprise in some ways. Of course we give her our full support and reassurance at this time. While shedding our own tears and praying in private, we try to reconcile between us what has happened…”

Yes, my youngest (age 14) has come out as a transgender boy to us. And for a conservative, Christian family, this was certainly a blow. Now, before you begin to think the worst of us, I want you to know, we are accepting in every way. But, it has taken time to understand what support looks like. And overcoming a feeling of “loss” for my daughter, the one I had longed for, planned for and held future dreams for. Needing to accept that this life is not mine to fulfill, but must be his to find for himself.

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“In the weeks to follow he requests some major changes. Asking that we change all nouns in regards of her to “he” and her name to a male one he’d chosen. Also a boy’s haircut is done and a breast binder is asked for (he had already been wearing a majority of boy’s clothing, always the “Tom boy”)… As the months have passed we have been faced with some heart breaking moments as parents. Our son has seen some very dark moments, as have we. He finally confided that he has been struggling, alone, with these feelings since he was EIGHT! How our pain grew!…”

It has taken some time for the name change and “he” to be consistent, but he’s been patient with us. Also, I have always referred to only having one son, now that is not the case. But, if these were the worst things to overcome, it would be a piece of cake. Unfortunately it has been so much more than that. For him, having a body that he does not feel he should be in is heartbreaking to see. What should be a simple shower now has become a struggle with self acceptance! My hope is, as a family we learn how to come together to be what my son needs. Helping him through this difficult journey that his future holds.

“We have told him that we don’t feel that God makes mistakes, and he has never suggested otherwise. But, if God doesn’t make mistakes, we can only feel that there is a reason for this journey too…”

I will continue in the future with more about our story as a family and the life of transformation. But, for now, I leave you with this. I hope that this touches someone who is going through the same struggle and gives you a ray of hope that you are not alone. Support is so important for all involved. I hope you will reach out or pass this along to anyone you know or you personally, that are going through this life transformation.© by Mac

“Sorrow prepares you for joy. It violently sweeps everything out of your house, so that new joy can find space to enter. It shakes the yellow leaves from the bough of your heart, so that fresh, green leaves can grow in their place. It pulls up the rotten roots, so that new roots hidden beneath have room to grow. Whatever sorrow shakes from your heart, far better things will take their place.”
― Jalaluddin Rumi

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Bitterness, Silent Killer

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My body can’t bare the weight
World closing in and I suffocate
Bitterness and anger meet here
Blackness fills, until I disappear

All I need is one more breathe
Just give it to me so I can live
Captured, you hold me bound
Used up, cast on the ground

You refuse to hear all my outcries
Emotionless, believe your own lies
I needed you and you turn away
Unable to make you want to stay

Trust what you want about a soul
But mine is under your control
You keep me locked away, lonely
Tell me I will always be your only

Lies, all lies to keep me enslaved
When I just wanted to be saved
That is pain you see in my eyes
I refuse to wear your disguise

Bitterness you are just so cruel
Stubborn as a big damn mule
Is this all just a foolish game?
To keep me stuck in your pain©

by Mac
A reblog from December 7, 2016

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Free From Me

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I cannot face this thing

The darkness is too much

And the pain is too great

This heart was not meant

To feel an ache like this

My throat closes up tight

How can I still breathe?

You have stollen my air

Ripped out my very soul

I am completely exposed

The elements sting my skin

Beaten down to the ground

There are no more tears left

A cliff is ahead but I am blind

Just set me free from all of me

by Mac

May is Mental Illness Awareness month.

Mental Illness May #1

 

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Mental Illness May #1

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May is mental health awareness month and this is of course a topic that is of interest and close to my heart. Not only do I have my own difficulties in depression, anxiety and a bit of PTSD; but, I also have two teenagers, which both struggle with depression, and one also with high amounts of social anxiety. The list goes on however on my dad’s side of the family.  The genetics of this illness seem to play a large roll. Suicidal tendencies have plagued some, while others have seemed to manage the illnesses well.

And, for the loved ones that must stand and watch us combat this disease, often [it] can be a lonely road. One of trials, loss of the person they once knew, dramatic highs followed by devastating lows and so forth. It is a disease that affects everyone in the life of the individual who is ill.

Quotes About Mental Illness Spiritual Quotes For Mental Illness. Quotesgram

Then there is the stigma that still seems to go with mental illness. It is something that is not widely understood and in some circles it is even thought to be caused by lifestyle choices. Others think that it is an easy fix, “Just pull yourself together!” While some that suffer, do so in silence because they are made to feel ashamed and that they have to hide this disease. Nothing is more isolating then a mental illness.

Even in the treatment of the disease there are places that are still not equipped to handle the mentally ill. Those that have attempted or wish to, commit suicide, are often punished for being ill by being cut off from loved ones and held captive by a guard in a small empty space. And then, perhaps, even finding out the facility does not house an on-sight psychiatric doctor (yes, I am aware of such a situation).

I’ll be talking again this month about how I have gotten better over time with coping skills and other techniques, as well as some of the personal struggles in raising children with mental illness. For some of my other pieces see below. And if you or someone you know battles mental illness, there are many great resources here.

My articles:

Life With Anxiety
Dear Agony-depression
Breaking Free
After The Storm

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Your prompt for Stream of Consciousness Saturday is: “inter-” Use the prefix “inter-” any way you’d like.

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Life With Anxiety

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I’d like to touch on the topic of anxiety. This is a mental health ‘issue’ that touches my family immensely. Between myself and one of my children, we have the market cornered on life with anxiety. It is a genetically inherit trait, along with depression, both running on my side of the family. Unfortunately, my two teenage children and I have depression as well.

My youngest also suffers with social anxiety. Influencing all facets of life, from the struggle to be at extended family events, making friends, ordering a meal or engaging with a cashier. As a teenager these are things most would consider fairly mundane parts of life and take for granite even, but this is not the case here. The anxieties at times can affect life for the whole family. Unannounced anxiety enduced nausea or panic attacks; these can interrupt family outings or keep us from even making it out the door. And, although my two teens are best friends and can engage each other with ease, I do worry what life as an adult for my child will look like. Cognitive therapy (CBT) is a useful tool that we do have, but anxiety will still always play a part in life.

My anxieties are a bit less apparent as I do not have trouble with interactions or engaging in public. My anxiety tends to be in the form of stressful situations. I can have panic attacks when my mind takes over a situation. Whether I begin to feel claustrophobic or I feel like I may be in a confrontational situation. These can send me, but not always, which is the disconcerting part. I find having a strong mind and being in control, keep me centered and away from the panic attacks. Relaxation, meditation and time to myself are great therapies for me, along with good support from my family.

Life with anxiety does not have to be all-consuming, but it can be. However, overall I believe our family has learned to cope with it and just go with the flow most of the time. Afterall this is really all we can do, as well as, being super supportive and understanding of one another. Strength as a family unit is certainly a key part of successful daily living with mental health struggles.© ~Mac

 

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Dear Agony

Agony: extreme and generally prolonged pain; intense physical or mental suffering (source)

Life has a way of battering, bruising and taking much from me. My gut has taken a beating. It actually feels like a few feet have taken turns kicking it in. Bedraggled and torn, that is me. My heart must look like a tattered and worn blanket at this point, full of holes; it surely has been used and abused by hard times and losses.

If you look at me you may see a smile on my face, it may even reach my dark, blue eyes. But, I’ve gotten good at hiding my pain and showing no fear. In fact, I have learned to swallow my tears and breathe through the agony. Just please, don’t let one more person ask how I’m doing, dear God!

Depression, anxiety or any other struggle that takes a toll on the mind, body and soul– well you may know exactly what I’m talking about! Or perhaps you have a loved one that suffers from mental illness. It can be nearly as hard, yet an inability to fully understand or help, this can leave you feeling helpless.

Empathy can truly be a breath of fresh air, finding a person that understands the path you’re on. Sympathy is also an amazing gift, but can feel like a slap in the face too. No one wants to feel like a basket-case that you pitty or are sorry for, especially during an already very low, difficult time. So, while you love and care for that person in your life, be sure that you work together to find ways that make them feel positive about your compassion for them.

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I have felt for years that depression was my journey to go alone. My husband could not fully understand this struggle, so it was not his to help me through. In taking this approach I pushed him away every time I was faced with a low. After all, it is my illness and my difficulty. But, after nearly 16 years of taking this attitude, I will tell you, it was to my detriment. Over time, I have injured our relationship in a myriad of ways, in “going it alone”!

I don’t know why I have felt the need to do [this]. My thought process, he couldn’t possibly understand all the thoughts and dark places that my mind goes. The ups and downs, anger and sadness, all that runs through my mind, perhaps within five minutes! But, I often haven’t even give him a chance to comprehend where I am or consider ways he may make my journey easier. No, he can’t remove this burden from me, but he can help to alleviate some of the weight and pain, and even brighten some of the darkness.

We have recently decided to come up with a plan to put in place for when I am completely consumed with my emotions; times where I get so dark and tend to push everyone away. These are the times when I actually need people the most, but tend to be in too deep a fog to know how to even help myself, let alone tell someone else how they can help. My mind can be so weak that it will go to places that it should not and would not otherwise, go. I feel like I am a different person, looking from the outside in, like an out-of-body experience, almost. I don’t even know the person looking back at me in the mirror sometimes. My poems Counterfeit Identity and I Feel Like A Monster are poignant in regards to these feelings. 

Create An Action Plan (6 Ways To Support A Spouse Living With Depression)
This is the most important tip I have to share about this topic. Sit down with your spouse on a good day — a day where they’re feeling happy and calm. Open up a dialogue to co-create an action plan for their low days. How do they want to approach those days? What would they like to experience on those days? And what would help them shift through those days? As the spouse of someone with depression, it’s easy to unconsciously become an enabler by giving into their behavior or letting them slump around the house for days on end because it’s harder to confront them. Don’t let that happen! Co-create an action plan to inspire them to get through those days so they can shift into a happier state of mind. For example, I told my husband that yoga always helps me feel better and even if I have zero desire to leave the house, a yoga class has the power to shift my energy. On my low days my husband will always suggest yoga, and that serves as a reminder of the beautiful action plan we co-created to help get me through those horrible days.

When in the right frame of mind, I and Hubby have come up with our “Action Plan.” These are things that are positive for me, help my mind focus away from the negative and can aide in bringing me out of my low (even if for only a short time).  The list includes things such as: foot massages, bubble baths, ice cream, music and journaling. These are things that I don’t do on a regular basis, but are treats that help me feel well. Most are done with the help of Hubby, because he needs to be involved. If I need my space, he is still there, but in a different capacity. Even these small changes have a big impact, not only on me and my depression, but on our relationship. I highly recommend an action plan! 

Now, I am looking to the future and trying to not deal with my agony all alone, because we are a team, and a team works together. One may have strengths where the other has weaknesses and vice-versa. That is how a team works; they are there for one another, cheering thee other on when they go up against an opponent. So, go team Mac! ©

**Find the song “Dear Agony” by Breaking Benjamin, my inspiration for this piece, HERE.

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Me, Myself and Hair

“There is nothing more rare, nor more beautiful, than a woman being unapologetically herself; comfortable in her perfect imperfection. To me, that is the true essence of beauty.”~Steve Maraboli, Unapologetically You: Reflections on Life and the Human Experience

I will admit that I am quite taken with my hair. It is my favorite feature about myself, besides my eyes. And, while I try not to be vain, well, it probably comes as no surprise that I can be.

But, to be honest, I actually have quite a bit of body image problems. I may appear to some as being self-confident, but in all truth, I am not. I have suffered with body dysmorphia for years. Weight has always been a problem for me. Fad diets and easy weight loss pills have been my bane at times. I have yo-yoed for years, gone up and down three different clothing sizes. I would love to say I could blame my pregnancies, but seeing as my kids are nearly 14 and 16, I think not, lol! 

So, as I close in over the next few years to the big 4-0 I am working on being healthy. Walking almost daily and attempting at a healthier diet. My doctor has also gotten on board and is helping me with some medications. Not weight loss pills, but some others that are proven to aide a person if they are doing all the right things. These have helped and I did go down 10 pounds in two months! A very healthy rate of loss. 

And, things I do have going for me- I do not suffer with high blood pressure, high sugar, high cholesteral or any other type of problems that can come with weight issues. Yes, the occassional body ache and I do have a bad back. But, overall I am actually very healthy, according to my doctor. Now, if my mind could just get on board and my body could toe the line. 

And all this, just from talking about my hair. Which, by the way, is all natural me. No dyes, except for the sun which likes to kiss me with highlights in the summer. 

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This is me ~Mac

 

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SocS: hair

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