Jana Says

Living life from cover to cover

Tag Archive: mental health

Thursday confession: Bad habits with a side of hypocrisy

Confession: Sometimes I feel like the world’s biggest hypocrite. 

I’m doing my best to raise a happy, healthy (physically, emotionally, mentally) child and I think, for the most part, I’m succeeding. She’s a pretty amazing, confident kid and I know that much of that has to do with me (and the husband. Need to give him credit, too). I like to think I give her good advice and support and encouragement and do what I can to instill healthy habits and from what I can tell, she’s learning them. 

The problem is that I don’t follow my own advice. Let’s explore: 

What I tell the child: You need to go to bed now. You need a good night’s sleep so you won’t be tired for school/cheer tomorrow.

What I do: Stay up until 2AM reading or plotting how to get my husband to stop snoring without resorting to violence and then get up, exhausted, at 7AM, unable to function at any decent capacity the next day.

What I tell the child: If you have a junky snack now, you need to have a healthy snack later.

What I do: Eat ridiculous amounts of non-healthy snacks throughout the day, sometimes forgetting to eat fruit.

What I tell the child: Clean your room. Make your bed. Pick up after yourself. 

What I do: Leave my house a disaster. Forget to dust/vacuum. We won’t discuss the laundry situation.

What I tell the child: If you are having trouble, ask for help. 

What I do: Continue to get frustrated and struggle because asking for help is not in my nature. See also: me not wanting to burden anyone with my problems.

What I tell the child: Work hard and practice and you’ll achieve your goals. Don’t set a time limit on achieving something you truly want.

What I do: Set unrealistic time frames and then quit when I realize I’ll never achieve my goals by the arbitrary date I’ve picked.

What I tell the child: Be proud of your accomplishments. 

What I do: Never tell anyone anything because I’m 100% confident no one gives a shit.

It goes on like that. 

The thing is, I want to follow my own advice because let’s face it, it’s solid advice. The problem is that I cannot get out of my own way to do it. I’d be so much more productive and better at adulting if I could pull my shit together and do what I say. But I’m stuck in old habits and ways of thinking and, despite the fact that I want to completely transform many of these behaviors, I struggle. A lot. 

So, I’m asking you guys, what is your best advice for getting out of your own way and changing old, bad habits and behaviors? Because this hypocrite thing? It’s not working for me anymore. 

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On pregnancy loss

Seven.

That’s how many years it took to get pregnant again. 

Eleven. 

That’s how many days I got be pregnant again before I miscarried. 

Six.

That’s how many months have passed since my miscarriage.

Fifty.

That’s how many books I’ve read to keep my mind occupied during the empty spaces when my mind wanders to what could have been. 

Two. 

That’s how many failed infertility treatments I had over the summer. There would have been more except money ran out and emotions ran too high.

Countless.

That’s how many tears I’ve shed thinking about my child I’ll never get to meet.

Dozens.

That’s how many people I’ve talked to who’ve been through something similar (including my friend Jeff). Not surprising, though, because roughly 1 in 4 women experience miscarriage. 

Daily.

That’s how often I blame myself for what happen, even though in my head I know it’s not my fault. It typically difficult to pinpoint the cause for one and I know blaming myself doesn’t change or help anything but yet I do it.

The rest of my life.

That’s how long I’ll continue to mourn. I know over time, like any loss, it’ll get better but it’ll still be there.  

One. 

That’s how many children I have and will have. And I feel lucky and blessed that I got the one I did. For so many reasons.

I know my story isn’t unique. There are hundreds of thousands of women like me. And the fact that we’re still so afraid to talk about miscarriage frustrates me. Because it’s not something to be ashamed of. It’s something that happens. Instead of keeping it a dirty little secret, we need to be supporting each other, comforting each other, and being there to help one another through our grief. 

How to help is difficult. It’s hard to know what to say to someone. There are lots of things you shouldn’t say like “Everything happens for a reason” or “At least you know you can get pregnant!” or “You can always adopt”. Why these are wrong and completely unhelpful is a post unto itself. And if you say them to someone experiencing a miscarriage, know that we know you mean well. There’s no malicious intent. But those statements still hurt. What would be more helpful is “I’m so sorry” or “I’m here if you need to talk” or “Is there anything I can do?” or simply just bring us tissues and let us cry or talk about it, even if it might be uncomfortable to hear. 

That’s what we need.

What else do we need? 

We need people to stop asking “when are you having kids” or “why only the one” and my personal favorite, “you’re so lucky you only have one” (yes, I’ve had that said to me. Yes, I had to refrain from launching into a tirade). A) it’s none of your fucking business and B) if you need to make it your business, quit assuming it’s by choice. Sometimes it is, sometimes it isn’t. But you don’t need to concern yourself with anyone else’s reproductive issues or choices. Even if you’re related. 

We need to destigmatize miscarriage and bring into discussion so we can get those dealing with it the help and support they need. Just like with mental health, keeping it secret because of shame or discomfort doesn’t make it go away. And I’m grateful to celebrities like Gabrielle Union and Mark Zuckerberg for openly discussing their fertility and miscarriage issues. For whatever reason, in this country, it takes celebrities to discuss issues to make the rest of us feel like it’s okay to talk about. But with this, if that’s what it takes, then that’s what it takes. 

We also need more stories like my friend Justine’s, who shares what it’s like to know you’ll never have a child and to learn to accept it. We’re saturated with stories of people who tried and tried and then, miraculously, they had a baby. And then another. And then another. We’re bombarded with the message that if you never give up hope, a baby is in your future. But that’s not always the case and women need to know that you can still live a full and happy life without children (Note: I’m only referencing the women who want to have kids and can’t. Those who choose to remain childfree have a different set of issues to contend with).

We need people to know it’s okay to grieve openly.  To talk about their losses. To know that “miscarriage” is not a dirty word.

If you’ve experienced a miscarriage, please know that you’re not alone. You don’t have to grieve in isolation. I’m here for you, even if we’ve never met.

And know that your baby, your pregnancy, no matter how brief, mattered. Just like mine did.

pregnancy-infant-loss-remembrance-day

Today is Pregnancy and Infant Loss Remembrance Day. If you can, please light a candle at 7PM in your time zone (I think that’s how it works. I’m struggling with understanding) to create a wave of light for all the babies gone too soon.

 

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This week in…: Volume 33

this week

  • I made the decision to return A Little Life to the library. It’s a wonderful book so I’m going to buy it and keep on the shelf for the winter. It’s just too heavy for me right now. I’m in the middle of Dietland and picked up three new ones–Ally Hughes Has Sex Sometimes, You Too Can Have a Body Like Mine, and $2.00 a Day: Living on Almost Nothing. I also figured out that I can borrow and loan books from my Kindle app so now I don’t need a Kindle. Hooray for saving money!
  • I need to save money because I finally bought a FitBit. I am in love with it and I’m using it to track my sleep as well as my steps. Hopefully this will give me insight as to why I’m so tired all the damn time. The first night I used it, it told me I was restless 11 times. Eleven!!! That’s a whole lot.
  • Longmire is FINALLY on Netflix (well, season 4, which I’ve been waiting for for what felt like an eternity)! I can’t even begin to tell you how happy that makes me. Also making me happy from TV land? The return of Project Greenlight! Anyone else watch it? Are you as excited as I am about the new season?
  • You know what I forgot to mention in my post about fall? How much I love fall baseball. You know what’s extra exciting about this year? My beloved Mets are still STILL in first place and someone actually used the words “Mets” and “magic number” in the same sentence yesterday. Barring any epic collapse, my boys will get to hang the National League East Division Champions 2015 in CitiField next year! 
  • Speaking of NY, as today is the 14th anniversary of the September 11th attacks, I encourage you to take a moment to remember everyone who lost their lives that day in New York, Pennsylvania, the Pentagon, and the ensuing wars (if you’re curious about my thoughts, you can read my inarticulate post I wrote a couple of years ago). 
  • I finally watched Raiders of the Lost Ark for the first time ever. I did not like it. In fact, I forgot that’s the movie I was watching because it bored me so much and this conversation happened:

Husband: Are you even paying attention?
Me: Yes. He stole some shit. Now he’s teaching some shit. I’m all caught up.
Husband: Now they’re talking about the ark.
Me: There’s an ark?
Husband: IT’S “RAIDERS OF THE LOST ARK”!!!
Me: Oh, right.

  • Internet reads: Are you Gen X like me (or are you in that weird bubble between Gen X and Gen Y like me)? Then read this post with 29 characteristics of Generation X. Maybe you’re not Gen X but you are creative so maybe check out this infographic of the daily routines of famous creative people. I loved the results of this blogger’s experiment of not complaining for two weeks and it kind of makes me want to try it or one of Gretchen Rubin’s 21 Day Projects (and yes, I’d pay $4.99 for one of her books. I love her). And finally, yesterday was World Suicide Prevention Day, so this post from Buzzfeed about the lies your depression tells you is timely and poignant. 
  • Re: Depression. It sucks. It’s the worst thing ever, and if you’re dealing with it, please know you’re not alone. And it might not seem like it now but it will get better. Maybe with medication, maybe with therapy, maybe with time, maybe with all three. But it will get better. And please, if you need help, reach out to someone. A professional, preferably. Especially if you’re thinking about suicide. You can find help at 1-800-273-8255 or via the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline website: http://www.suicidepreventionlifeline.org/ Your life matters. 
  • And thanks to Ali for sharing this which I’ve unabashedly stolen borrowed: 

spice girls

 

Have a wonderful weekend! My new couch is being delivered so expect many pictures from my new sitting perspective! You can follow me on Instagram for those. 

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Sometimes I get…

Sometimes I get:

Frustrated at always being on a budget

Disgusted with my wardrobe

Jealous of people who can travel anywhere, anytime, free from obligations, money worries, or any other constraint

Annoyed that my house is never as clean as I’d like it to be

Angry that I had a miscarriage and even angrier that it’s so damn hard for me to get pregnant

Overwhelmed at all the adulting I need to do every day

Tired of making choices and decisions

Hangry

Sad about past hurts and angry at how they’ve changed me

Irked with myself for not having enough hustle and discipline

Wistful for all the books I’ll never get around to reading and the places I’ll never get around to visiting no matter how hard I try

Disappointed with myself 

Unnecessarily irritated by bad grammar, poor manners, and terrible driving

Caught up in comparing myself to other people

Embarrassed to have people in my home

Homesick for New York even though it’s been almost 20 years since I lived there

Lonely

Discouraged with blogging and writing

Irrationally enraged at small things like chipped nail polish, zippers that won’t close properly, stains that appear on my clothes after they’ve gone through the wash, and pens with light ink

Distracted from what’s important

I don’t deny myself feeling any of these. I think it’s normal to feel any or all of these at some point and if you say you don’t ever feel any of them, or something not so wonderful that’s not on the list, I don’t know that I believe you. No one feels 100% happy and perfect all the time. If you do, you need to share your secrets. Honestly. You can make 80 billion dollars off of that.

It’s important to me to own my emotions, whatever they might be, and deal with them. And after I deal with them, it makes me realize that my life isn’t really that bad and I get over myself and move on (except being appalled by poor grammar, bad manners, and terrible driving. And laundry stains. Seriously. Why are stains appearing on my clothes after they’ve been washed?)

Because while I’m spending time and energy focusing on all the things that are wrong, it’s time and energy I’m taking away from focusing on what’s right. adding

 

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#shareyourugly

I hadn’t planned on writing this post today but after my conversation during a 2+ hour lunch with Steph yesterday, I decided it’s necessary. It might get convoluted and circular, and I apologize in advance for that.

I am not okay.

In fact, I am the exact opposite of okay. I’m a disaster. A mess. 

I have unpaid bills. My house is decidedly less than clean. I have errands to run, emails to answer, calls to make, jobs to apply for, a gray streak in my hair I need to dye, blogs I need to catch up on, and plans that I desperately want to cancel yet I do none of it. I want to smile and mean it, laugh and feel better, and understand that it is okay to ask for help. But it takes all my strength to get out of bed and brush my teeth each morning and there’s not much left over for anything else. I sleep like shit when I actually do fall asleep. I have no motivation to do anything except sit on the couch and play endless games of Rummikub on my iPad or read books. I’m still grieving my miscarriage. I’m still unemployed. My depression is at an all time high (low?).

I feel like an epic failure.

I tell you all this not for sympathy or pity or anything other than I want to share the fact that, despite the humor you might read in a post or a cute picture you might see on Instagram, there’s more going on behind the scenes. My life is not a beautiful, staged on a white background array of sunshine and rainbows. My life, at times, is ugly and awful and not at all enviable. And I tell you that because I know that someone, somewhere, feels like she (or he) is the only one with ugliness in her life. And I want that person to know she’s not. 

We all have darkness. We all have moments when everything feels like it’s falling apart and will never be put back together. We all have moments of shame and sadness and messiness and absolute wretchedness.

Bloggers don’t often do a good job of conveying that, although some are spectacular at it (think The Bloggess, Allie Brosh, and a couple of others I follow with quasi-regularity). But there’s more who hide the ugly than share. And I think that needs to stop. Bloggers have a reach that other people don’t, and you never know how your words can affect someone. Which is why, bloggers (and nonbloggers), I’m encouraging you to share your ugly. Whether it’s a picture or post or tweet or whatever, share something with your readers that isn’t shiny and perfect. I’m not talking a picture of you sweaty after a 10 mile run or epic leg day at the gym. No one looks good after that. I’m talking about showing about a failure in the kitchen. A stain on the rug that you hide with a piece of furniture. A huge zit you cover up with makeup. Something, anything that strips away, even for one small minute, any delusions of perfection your readers and followers may see. 

Our words and images are powerful. We never know who we’re reaching or who’s touched or impacted by what we say. It’s a hard thing, reading blogs and only ever seeing perfection. If that’s what people are using as a basis for comparison, it’s an impossible standard to achieve and can do more harm than good. 

So tell your story.

Divulge your scars.

Discuss your battles. 

Show your ugly. 

 

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