Recognizing that there is work to be done is the first step. Going in and repairing the damage of your previous years, sometimes your entire existence, is next. That feeling alone will literally take everything out of you. As I began the process of reprogramming my brain to think, feel, act and react in different, more healthy ways, it felt like everything I knew was being stripped from me. Because it is!
As we grow up, we acquire a series of learned behaviors such as, how we deal with feelings, what we believe and especially how we cope. At some point, we have to realize that what we were taught is not working and we have to have a desire to change that. Well I realized that a long time ago, but for some reason, I didn’t want to change. It was my comfort zone. It was my defense mechanism. It was even fun to me sometimes. My coping strategies were fun. Not to mention reckless and stupid, but to me, they were still fun. It was only recently that I saw something better for myself. The desire to change was now something I craved. I didn’t want to live the rest of my life being pissed off from things that happened previously in my life that I had yet to tap into. I didn’t want to see people that I love die without being able to mend those deep-rooted issues that we would just act like never happened. I want to know what it’s like to be completely mentally and emotionally free: not allowing others to control me with one slip of the tongue or by reliving past experiences that I have not quite dealt with.
This process has almost felt like an exorcism; like my “soul” is being ripped from my body. (Of course, I’m assuming that’s what it feels like based on scary movies.) It’s painful. It’s depressing. It oftentimes left me feeling depleted and empty. But as I look back and think of the process and the growth that I have seen within myself, that was never my soul that was being taken from me. That was my body rejecting that emotional confusion that I have accrued over the span of my lifetime and is now making room for balance, for emotional understanding, for thoughtfulness, for expressiveness, and most importantly, for healing.
How will you replenish what has just been emptied?
With the recent and “sudden” celebrity suicides, everyone has become a mental health expert, advocate and even a troll. I saw a lot of “he didn’t seem like the type” or “she seemed so happy.” That sends a red flag to me that say that someone wasn’t paying attention. Mental illness is like the “monster in the closet.” You know it’s in there, but you do everything you can to avoid it because it’s huge and scary. You keep the door closed to avoid running into it. You throw your clothes in and slam the door to avoid that scary conflict. Depression is that big, scary monster. Every day, you know it’s there, but we do things to avoid like drinking, drugs or engaging in reckless behavior. I can almost guarantee that somebody saw something wasn’t right; even if it was a simple unreturned call or a comment such as, “I’m over this.” Somebody noticed something; but like the rest of the world, “they didn’t seem like the type.” You just never know what someone is going through and how heavy a problem or a pain can be on them. Don’t ever question whether someone would take their own life. Ask questions! “Are you okay?” “Do you need to talk to someone?” And even if their responses seem as if their “fine,” don’t let up! Let them know that you’re here for them. Text and call them every day to check in on them. Give them the time that they need to work up the courage to say “no, I’m not okay.” Sometimes that can mean the difference between life or death.
If you or someone you know is battling with thoughts of suicide, please reach out any way you can. The National Suicide Prevention Hotline is 1-800-273-8255. If you can’t seem to find the number, simply call 911 and someone will sit on the phone with you until help can come to you.
Being a single mother, I don’t always have the resources to take Bash to all the extravagant places that I would love to take him to. However, thankfully, he is so easy to please. He has a few places that he loves to go to pretty much on a regular basis that are inexpensive and puts a smile on his beautiful face. So, I thought I would share them with you. ?
Chuck E Cheese The down side to this place it that we live in close proximity to it and pass by it every day. Of course, Bash is extremely smart, so he brings it up every time we drive by. (SIGH) Chuck E Cheese is very inexpensive especially for younger kids. If you just want to play, you can get a play pass that is around $10 for 30 play points. If you are able to make it in between 11a-2p, they have a buffet for $8. Who can beat that?! You spend les than $20 and your kid can be a kid!
Jumping If it’s not Chuck E Cheese, then it’s “jumping.” Trampoline parks are the new rage. I swear I see one on almost every corner these days. Although this place is not always ideal financially, they do usually have some great specials going on. Since school is almost out, they have plenty of deals, especially for families or multiple kids. What I don’t like about it though, is that they don’t have a discounted price for kids under a certain age. For the moms that don’t work or have a weekday off and are able to get there during the day, they have “toddler jump” for kids age 6 and under for $7.95.
The Park Every mom’s best friend! The park is free, and it never closes…kinda. This is oftentimes the ‘go to’ for moms, and dads for that matter. It’s a great way to get the kids out the house and into some direct sunlight instead of in front of the TV or holding an iPad. DISCLAIMER: I hate the park. I get nervous thinking about the infinite number of ways Bash could fall and break his neck, not to mention the millions of germs that infest every slide, swing and monkey bar that is on the playground. Bash is a sweet, friendly kid so he will allow the other kids touch, hit and push him out of the way and smile and laugh as if they were playing. SMH.
All in all, this mothering thing is tough, and to be honest, I don’t feel like it’s getting any easier. The older Bash gets, the more anxiety-ridden I get. It just helps when you have places to go that can allow the kids to have fun and you to get a “break.”
Let me know of some places that you like to take your children, and give other mothers some fresh ideas!