“Not a day goes by”

 

I have been wanting to write for some time now…and I have not been able to and it’s ANNOYING! It was irritating to know that I was able to document all the struggles, but unable to write about my new challenges and blessings. I know people are thinking…..challenges….what challenges? I would laugh in the faces of those that believe that just because I have been blessed with SO Much in such a small time frame that I am “exempt” from challenges. Granted, I have a new way of thinking…I have more responsibilities that requires for me to think and act differently…and most importantly, I have grown, but that does not mean that I am anywhere near perfect.

 

For those who have followed my journey…know that I was on a plight of finding happiness and to find myself. Throughout my many ponder sessions, vent sessions, bipolar ups and downs over the years there has been a yearning within me. Something in me that craves growth. In the year of 2015, things simply came together. Because I was able to truly fall in love with myself, I accepted my failures and was able to strive to be greater in my past that I was molded into the women who became all that I prayed for.

I first became a mother…that’s right a mommy! After all that time of beating myself up for being a single mother(yes I did this), I actually was only a single mommy for the first 6 months of my Panda bears life. For that all I can think is “Aint God Good?”

The early stages of being a mommy were filled with anxiety riddled nights, and also loneliness that seemed to swallow me up at times. I was angry because I was in it “alone” or so I thought. What happened is that this Lioness that I always knew I had in me decided to show herself. During that time of deep depression coupled with post-partum depression, I started to feel this strength radiate within me. I was broke….I mean broke! My job at the time did not want to warrant any PTO even though I was on maternity leave. My short term disability was taking forever to get approved. So, I consulted God, and he whispered to me go to DC. So, I called my aunt and told her to “come get me” because I was drowning without water. I was battling all these issues and on top of that this small little chinky eyed baby was depending solely on me. I couldn’t take the thought. Alas, she drove to get me…..and I was there at her home for maybe 2 days before her scheduled vacation. I was “alone” again….or so I thought. I then began to just hop into mommy mode with incisions and all. Though this mode was robotic; Erilyn was cared for. I was unable to hug my baby, smell her hair and little feet, and this drove me insane. I was unable to eat, intake fluids, and/or sleep. I did not have any of my bipolar medications….all I had was the word of God. During this transition phase, I had every thought to NOT return to GA. I simply didn’t think I could do this all alone. It wasn’t until my baby needed diapers. My family was out of the country and I only had 6 dollars. But somehow that doubled by an unexpected source. In that moment, I thought, “God didn’t whisper to me for no reason.” I picked up that phone and didn’t take no for an answer, and got my disability started. When that burden lifted off me, I decided that I could in fact do this. I prepared for myself to go back to GA. I knew if I followed his words that things would change. So, I changed my mindset, and it was the best decision I ever made. See, if I stayed in DC, I would have been great. I have family there who would do anything for me, but that’s NOT me. I had my daughter so that I could care for her. I wanted to be responsible for my choice and for my blessing.

I always knew that when God decided it was my harvest time that there would be no denying it. I mean things happened FAST. Once I returned back to my itty bitty apartment with my newborn in tow; things looked bleak. My entire apartment was flooded and my lease was up. Mind you, my job would not pay me. I started back work and was informed that the timekeeper had mutilated my time, and that they believed that I owed THEM. So, it was decided I’d only get a $600 check on the first and 15th till I “paid them back for time they weren’t sure I was supposed to have.” I was a social work intake supervisor so this was considered pennies by the way the $600 was taxed of course Ha!. Not only was I expected to work for pennies literally, but I was still expected to work 12-15 shifts afterhours with no overtime pay. I immediately began countering the decision, and began looking for work. I had no luck with my measly Bachelors of Social Work. I figured well I might as well go to grad school because I cannot raise a child with only a social work salary with zero assistance from the man who helped me create her. So despite all the craziness, I enrolled into a Master of HR program and took on the responsibility to care for my disabled father. The peace began in that moment. We did not have food so I trucked to the nearest food bank, got a utility or two paid for, and I waited. I volunteered at Hospice a place I felt peace and empathy. I attended church for learning purposes. I worked out and took myself out to lunch. I read and I prayed from the balcony of new apartment.

I didn’t have to wait long. I got a call from an organization about a job that I did not apply for. There was a substantial increase and flexibility to care for my father and newborn. I readily accepted and told the state of GA a thing or two. School began and I put my all into it. I still felt empty….I felt numb and I felt the spirit while sitting in a hot tub with a glass of wine and journal. I felt this feeling wash over me and I got my answer….I needed to wash away the pain. It was imperative that I wash the old Erika away. I needed to wash away the Erika that carried deep rooted hurt from my childhood, regret, fear, depression, and feeling of abandonment and heartbreak. I signed up for the next opportunity to get baptized. I had been baptized SEVERAL times as a child and teen, but this was now my choice for MY reasons. And when I tell you, I emerged from the water a new woman. I felt renewed…..born again. My shoulders had never felt so light.

Within weeks of my baptism, I met my husband as friends and we became one within a year. It’s like I was able and willing to let someone love me for who I was. So, I didn’t hide a thing from him aka I had diarrhea of the mouth. I told Gabriel (I call him Captain America), all the good and bad about me, and he didn’t deter. He became even more determined. I never knew I was capable of having someone love me unconditionally. I have changed so much because of that unconditional love. I feel the strongest in my life. And we prayed….for everything we have now. Our beautiful home, new love baby, and our happy and healthy toddler. When I decided to shed the layers of the old, I gained a new family, a new outlook, and a new level of faith. It seems I rarely worry about things. I simply pray and move on. I also see myself praying it forward for others. I have some answers that have plagued me, and I still struggle with some, but that’s simply life.

Though I do not have the answers at this I am ready to document the journey so that I can once contribute to the world what it feels to not only be Bipolar, but that you can also have it “all” and still stay afloat.

At this moment, I am desperately trying to find that delicate balance between all the roles and hats I wear. To be honest, I believe that is unfortunately one of the reasons why I was unable to write. In my mind, I didn’t have the answers. How do you manage being wife, mommy, student, social worker, friend, daughter, confidant, etc.? Then I realized I never readily had the answers. In my past blogs I had theories, and that’s it. Usually the journey is what helped me to come up with my random Erie conclusions. And now I am with child again. This journey has been different, but a journey nonetheless. Not a day goes by that I do not reflect on where I came from, and ponder where I am going. I am constantly in reflection as I always am. Life is cyclic, and right now though this territory is uncharted from me, and at times feels like I am blindly walking; the journey is so rich in love, forgiveness and understanding. Processing forgiveness of those who caused trauma to me to still struggling to forgive myself. Loving everyone even when they do not righteously return the favor, and understanding that what God has for me is for me……After all, not a day goes by.

 

*sips tea, rubs belly, and listens to music with Eriane via belly buds*

“Post-Partum on a Post-it”

I have literally had a post it with this word on it for more than 8 months. I have  been battling post-partum for some time. Professionals tell me that it doesn’t matter that my daughter is now a rambunctious one year old. Apparently, one can still suffer well after the midnight feedings and tummy times. I always knew that I would be susceptible to post partum due to my diagnosis, but I see it all around me. It’s like a secret society that no one wants to admit that they are a member of the ” Overwhelmed Mommy Club.” As usual, I am no stranger to admitting to my downfalls and weaknesses with the hope that it will help someone.

It feels like I missed some very important times when Erilyn was first born….for some reason (I hate to admit this) but I could not emotionally connect to my gorgeous twin. Make no mistake at the time as a single mommy I did the early morning feedings, pediatric appointments all the while at the time working 60 hours weeks at DFCS. I would change her diaper….and put her back down. I just couldn’t hold her…..I was so overwhelmed, so scared to do the wrong things. I was so upset with my circumstance and believe me things were crazy right after Erilyn was born. My job at then time refused to pay me due to leave discrepancies….  My job still expected for me to work the 3rd shift with a newborn WITHOUT pay. With medical bills coming left to right due to our extended stay at the hospital and Erilyn being in the NICU I didn’t know if I was coming or going. Everything some bleak despite my enormous amounts of faith. I would make myself pick her up in those dark times pleading with her to forgive me for being so depressed. I would lay her close to me and just stare trying to will myself to feel something….I felt so horrible for feeling inadequate for my daughter. After all, I was all she had. My mood swings were out of control. I couldn’t see the glass being half full or half empty. I would pray and pray that I wanted to be a great mommy.But that darn post partum. I would just cry and cry. Moving mechanically as I changed her  diaper. My father was around to help out because there were days I just Couldn’t Do it! And I hated to admit it to myself that though post partum was a trigger for my bipolar that I had to realize that God was my inspiration…that eventually I would just snap out of it. And I eventually did…one day I looked at my Panda and saw the most beautiful face…Her smell would bring me comfort and I enjoyed picking her up….singing to her. Even though this happened there would still be times where  I felt disconnected…..I then began to feel like an alien in my skin. My body was not the same body that I was used to. The aftermath of the emergency c section took a toll on me physically and emotionally…it is sometimes overwhelming to see the scars. Most importanly I felt less than and that Gracie was too good for me . After all I had no idea what I was doing as a mom….a single mom at that. It a was so overwhelming….even now I see that there are women who probably feel the same, but are ashamed. I think that the culprit is that we have  these unrealistic pressures on ourselves. We spend unnecessary time comparing our bodies to other mothers, especially celebrity moms. I think we all should put our superwoman capes on the rack and let ourselves feel anything and everything. We have to come to terms that things are now different….we have received the greatest blessing of all and we are all more alike than different. As I look at the post it in front of me I feel a bit empowered because I have been honest….now my little panda is independent and finding her way and though I feel like I missed her first couple months of life I am blessed to see her grown now….from walking to running…from babbling to speaking….to her yelling mommy and with the support of my husband I can share the work….and that is an what God as preparing me for…to accept this blessing and appreciate life and love….

“It’s Gonna Be Awhile Chile”

Lately I have not been in the mood to write. I have the desire sometimes, but it is usually overshadowed by my many roles and hats that I wear. This has also been the longest stretch of me being completely compliant with my psychotropic medications. In my eyes, this is a good and bad thing. For one, It seems that I have not had any drastic mood swings. I still have mood swings, but nothing that I can’t handle. The bad thing is that I still experience mood swings despite being compliant. But the most horrible feeling is still feeling the side effects. Every now and then, I suffer from extreme anxiety. The kind where you are so anxious that you become irritable and fidgety. Gosh that feeling is the worst. Despite going to the gym daily I cannot seem to get the weight off that my medications caused. I believe that this is the most horrible and unfair side effect. No matter how many times Gabe says he loves every bit of me (and I believe him), but I feel uncomfortable  in my own skin. I  have never weighed this much!!!! It’s hard to feel motivated to take this medication that causes so many issues especially when its doing a number on my self esteem.

Things aren’t all bad because I still have just enough energy to get my grad school assignments done while maintaining a 4.0, I am able to finally connect with my daughter emotionally, I put in tons of effort to show my fiancée how much I Love him and need him. I do this all the while working full time with numerous projects, making nightly meals for my family and trying to remain….SANE.

Over the past couple of weeks, I have been feeling overwhelmed with all the things that I have to do. I also find a way to feel like I am not doing everything for everyone. I reckon this is all unrealistic expectations that I put on myself.  The lesson that I am having to learn is that everything takes awhile and to be gentle with myself.   It’s   going to be awhile for me to become truly healed from the trauma that plagues me daily. Because its gonna take awhile…. I gotta stay diligent with myself…..keep my dreams within reach….and forgive myself for not being perfect……because perfect doesn’t exist……I need to learn to get comfy on this journey…to accept the skin I am in…and to accept the fact that I am medicated to make myself healthier……That its gonna take awhile to eventually become holistically bipolar without the use of meds…I believe that its possible for me…that day is just not today…

so yeah….its definitely  gone be awhile… chile….

It’s Gonna Be Awhile Chile”

Lately I have not been in the mood to write. I have the desire sometimes, but it is usually overshadowed by my many roles and hats that I wear. This has also been the longest stretch of me being completely compliant with my psychotropic medications. In my eyes, this is a good and bad thing. For one, It seems that I have not had any drastic mood swings. I still have mood swings, but nothing that I can’t handle. The bad thing is that I still experience mood swings despite being compliant. But the most horrible feeling is still feeling the side effects. Every now and then, I suffer from extreme anxiety. The kind where you are so anxious that you become irritable and fidgety. Gosh that feeling is the worst. Despite going to the gym daily I cannot seem to get the weight off that my medications caused. I believe that this is the most horrible and unfair side effect. No matter how many times Gabe says he loves every bit of me (and I believe him), but I feel uncomfortable  in my own skin. I  have never weighed this much!!!! It’s hard to feel motivated to take this medication that causes so many issues especially when its doing a number on my self esteem.

Things aren’t all bad because I still have just enough energy to get my grad school assignments done while maintaining a 4.0, I am able to finally connect with my daughter emotionally, I put in tons of effort to show my fiancée how much I Love him and need him. I do this all the while working full time with numerous projects, making nightly meals for my family and trying to remain….SANE.

Over the past couple of weeks, I have been feeling overwhelmed with all the things that I have to do. I also find a way to feel like I am not doing everything for everyone. I reckon this is all unrealistic expectations that I put on myself.  The lesson that I am having to learn is that everything takes awhile and to be gentle with myself.   It’s   going to be awhile for me to become truly healed from the trauma that plagues me daily. Because its gonna take awhile…. I gotta stay diligent with myself…..keep my dreams within reach….and forgive myself for not being perfect……because perfect doesn’t exist……I need to learn to get comfy on this journey…to accept the skin I am in…and to accept the fact that I am medicated to make myself healthier……so yeah….its definitely  gone be awhile… chile….

“The One”

Hands out stretched to mine

as your kisses rewind in my mind from

the first day…..our lips touched

I knew you were the one.

With your Greek God build….

to the way your smile makes me feel

and your arms enclose around me

I knew you were the one.

Though others came and went

with unnecessary time and energy spent.

I

Am

refreshed.

I am relieved,

Because God made me for you, and you for me.

I always knew you were the one

When your hands touch mine

it stops time and at times it feels like

I

Can

Finally

Breathe.

that I can do anything.

No haunting thoughts

no judgments

Just you setting me free

from the bondage and walls I put around me.

I graciously thank thee

for simply loving me and being the one,

No one can compare to the love we have

that grows  so bright that everyone knows.

I attempted to evade it ….the trial an error of something new

But our God continued to hold me close and speak to you.

Directing you to open the door

just a little more

to let my cynicism slide

and dwindle my pride

So that you can wipe the tears from my eyes while

I cried because I felt so forgotten…abandoned….and alone.

No one can judge our love to the point questions because

when you head in my direction on our first real date

I knew that you were the one and that one day I will bare your son

Mi Amore

because you are the one.

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