Category Archives: self-care

I am Anne, I am Marilla

Anne gives herself freely to each emotion as it passes through her psyche. Surrendering completely, into the depths of despair or the heights of ecstasy.

Marilla is afraid to feel. A life of hard experiences has taught her not to expect too much, lest she be disappointed.  Her moments of passion have led to some of her biggest regrets.

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Sometimes I am Anne and sometimes I am Marilla. Often I am nervous to give in completely. In some ways this is good. As an adult I need to function on a day-to-day basis and one can’t do that very well in the depths of despair. In other ways it is terrible. I struggle to give in to the sweet moments that come, moments saturated with love and safety.

When I get excited about something, echoes of “next time dad gets paid” ring through my head and I remember all the “next times” that never came. The clothes that didn’t fit, the activities I didn’t even ask to participate in. Other times I remember being on the giving end of a Secret Santa and I struggle to express how excited I get to be able to do the same for another struggling family.

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The blessings of being a mother to daughters that feel deeply are not lost on me. They show me every day that you can give in to those feelings and still be worthy of love. I know this because they have my love. Every day I find it easier and easier to give in to my highs and lows, to feel them fully. During these times, I am Anne. Feeling the delights of extreme happiness and the depth of sorrow or grief.

Where do you find yourself? Are you mostly Anne, mostly Marilla, or somewhere in between?

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The unsexy side of self-care

When I started talking about my own self-care as it relates to mental health, I had no idea July was minority mental health month. I am not a minority, but I can definitely empathize with the challenges associated with getting help if you feel like something is wrong.

In that spirit, NAMI has some amazing resources and I hope you’ll check them out. If you want something a little more accessible to kick off with, Emilie and Bridget did a fabulous podcast on this topic recently.  Stuff Mom Never Told You is not a new podcast, but I recently started listening to it religiously when Emilie and Bridget started hosting, so it’s new to me. But I was on a roll with the mental health piece so I also listened to this old episode about maternal mental health the other night (it does make washing dishes a little more exciting) and I really got me right in the “mom gut.” Talking about mental health during and immediately following pregnancy is hard. There’s such a thin line between normal and not normal.

Please, please, please – talk to someone if you feel like something is wrong. It can be discouraging if you can’t find someone to listen. But we are out there, people who love you and want to hear your story.

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To my own “stuff”, I had my first therapy appointment on July 26th. It was such a relief to be with someone who started out by saying I wasn’t crazy for feeling overwhelmed and emotional. It was a relief to be with someone who said we would take some actionable steps to deal with stress. While I am not at all opposed to medication, it was nice to be with someone whose first instinct wasn’t to medicate me. A wholistic approach is exactly what I want and need.

I also recognize that as a white woman, being in therapy is such a privilege. I am not faced with social stigma that comes from seeing a therapist. I am better able to pay that co-pay. If it does come down to needing some medication, that is something that can be managed. In unpacking my invisible knapsack I can arrange to see a therapist that shares my racial and socio-economic background. If you are looking for someone who looks like you (representation matters so much!) please check out Ourselves is Black. They offer a state-by-state directory of mental health professionals of color. You can also visit the Black Mental Health Alliance for state-by-state resources.

Sometimes self-care takes on a sexy veneer. There’s something very chic about having a bubble bath, getting a mani/pedi, or having a facial. There is almost never anything sexy about crying in an office because you feel overburdened and like you’ll never feel like yourself again. But this part of self-care is way more important than soaking in the tub or having pretty nails.

What can you do to commit to taking care of your own mental health? What can we do together to help you get there?

Scattered Self-Care

I have to admit, I’ve really struggled to pull any kind of a thought together for my post this week. There have been some exciting times in the Hanson household. Electric is consistently using the potty and Adorable is continuing to improve her language skills. I think she’s on the cusp of walking, as her younger peers are now cruising around on two legs. Thank goodness our daycare provider is basically a sainted human being. I’ve been fortunate to continue building my home at The Relationship Blogger and visit Levo in the last few weeks!

My scatterbrained feeling is something I think actually warrants a post, just to help me gain some clarity. If this makes no sense, I apologize.

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About a year ago I read this post over on The Honeyed Quill. In the piece, Shawna talks about her experience of being an adult with ADHD. I was surprised as I read it to discover that I kept thinking “That describes me. Oh yeah, that describes me too. And that, and that. . . “ I kept unintentionally coming across posts talking about the lived experience of adult women who have been diagnosed with ADHD. At some point, a coincidence has to stop being a coincidence. I hit that point earlier this week as I was driving to my clinic to talk to someone about these terrible and persistent headaches I’ve been experiencing recently. On the drive I was listening to the most recent Stuff Mom Never Told You podcast about women with ADHD. Once again I thought “What they are saying is describing me perfectly.”  Finally, I made it to the clinic and I came to a decision. When discussing what I thought might be causing, or at least contributing to the headaches, I decided to mention ADHD. Through the tears as I discussed everything that is stressing me out I said, “I know that everything I’m saying is a lot. It would stress anyone out. But I also think that there is an underlying issue like ADHD that makes it more difficult to cope.” The doctor agreed and referred me to a therapist for some diagnostic testing because what I was describing could be a number of conditions and some extra help to manage stress would be, well, helpful.

With all of this, I really have to conclude by saying that I hope you’re engaging in self-care. Advocate for yourself, you matter so much!