group

“Group therapy? Is that like AA for psychos?”

For the past 10 weeks (literally, the last session was last night) I’ve been part of an ACT group for people who suffer with anxiety and depression. To say that it has been an amazing experience would be a grand understatement. this. shit. changed. my. life.

Only about 8 months (or so) ago did I get diagnosed with an anxiety disorder. For all of my life I just assumed everyone else felt the same way I did, and that they were just better at dealing with it than I was. I have had some pretty shit life experiences, but way more great ones.

So, the group is called Acceptance and Commitment Therapy for people with anxiety. The premise is to accept (duh) your anxiety, realize that it is not going to go away, but commit to living with it and seeing how you can in fact survive.

It was a group seven people from all walks of life, lead by one doctor. I didn’t realize how important it was to hear other people’s struggles and feelings about the same shit I’m feeling until I did. Every single session I found myself saying, “holy shit! I do that too!” and what a fab feeling that is. To know you’re not alone, and that you can learn something about yourself from just talking or listening to someone else.

I found that these six other people and I had more in common than just anxiety. We liked the same things, had kids, had blended families, had troubled relationships, hated our jobs, felt overwhelmed at work, and so on and so on. I really came to enjoy going to group every week just to hear about everyone else’s week and see how they dealt with their anxiety.

As mentioned above, our last session was last night. It was bittersweet, to say the least. I wish we could meet every Thursday forever, but there is only so much learning you can do before you just have to start doing it on your own. My takeaway from this experience is just, “so what?” So what your job sucks? You’re still alive. You’re employed. You have food on the table. So what you think those people don’t like you? Who cares! Why is their opinion of you greater than your opinion of yourself? I have found myself applying “so what” to almost every shit situation I find myself in. And that has helped me in more ways than I can count.

I love leaving work and not bringing my daily stressors home with me. I don’t want to be an anxious wreck at home while I’m trying to cook dinner, or help Cecelia with her homework. I don’t want to be the mom that can’t encounter conflict without flying off the handle. I want to be a calm, rational, fun mom. And I’ve found that since I’m taking the time to really focus on myself and my mental health, that I am a calm, rational, fun mom.

felines

I am a huge cat person (if you didn’t already know).

I’ve had cats my entire life. In my 26 years, there were only 6 months where our home was catless.

In June 2010 we adopted Magic and Merlin, two black cats from the same litter. Merlin is very reserved while Magic was a party girl. She loved to be around the family, loved to run around and enjoy some catnip. In November 2014, Magic was brought to the animal hospital due to some odd behavior that the vet attributed to a change in diet (which she didn’t have) or a side effect to the catnip that she had enjoyed the night before. She came home that day and was a little lethargic but we just assumed it was from the car ride and being taken to the vet, which was never fun for her. That was a Saturday. On Monday (my day off at that time) Magic was on my bed with Johnny and I and went to jump off, but collapsed off of the side of my bed onto my area rug, and was not moving. Her back legs were cold and I immediately went into panic mode. I called my mom at work to let her know what had happened and that I was going to take her back to the vet, but she insisted that I take her to the emergency animal hospital instead, as they are obviously better equipped to handle her case.

Johnny and I get to the vet and the tech that brought us in just said “oh that’s not good” when Magic couldn’t support her weight and just went limp on the table. They listened to her heart, lungs, etc. and determined that she had some type of fluid in her abdomen. Maybe she had a punctured bladder, but it was entirely possible that she had internal bleeding. They put her in an oxygen chamber and told us that we’d need to take her to the 24 hour animal hospital a town or two over to have an ultrasound and truly diagnose her.

At this point, Johnny left to go back to his house and my parents took Magic while I went to pick Cecelia up from her dad’s house. We all met at the 24 hour hospital and Magic was given the ultrasound. They found that she had spontaneous internal bleeding and could do an investigative surgery to try to find where the blood is coming from and fix it, but there was a very good chance that she could die on the table. They kept her overnight to monitor her and we all went home.

The next morning (Veteran’s Day, so thankfully we all had the day off), we get a call from the hospital saying that they can start the surgery, but it will be very costly and again, she could end up dying on the table. We made the impossible decision to go and pick Magic up and bring her home to be put down. My mom, Cecelia, and I drove to the animal hospital and picked Magic up. The tech we met with mentioned that she may not even live to the time when our vet could get to the house to put her down. We stopped by Johnny’s work so that he could say goodbye to her then continued on home where I sat with her on the couch until she eventually passed on her own, surrounded by my mom, myself, Cecelia, my dad, and her brother Merlin.

No one has any explanation as to how Magic was injured or why she started to bleed internally, but she was 100% an indoor cat, never fell off of anything, never got into a bad fight with Merlin. It was just a very unfortunate circumstance.

For the next few months Merlin was our only cat. Since he is sort of a recluse, he seemed OK for the most part, but my mom and I were pretty sure that he was lonely and missed his sister. We started to look around for a kitten to adopt, and after a few failed attempts, we decided to relax and just figured when the time was right we would find the perfect kitten for our Merlin.

Flash forward now to April 27, 2015. Johnny and I walk into the local pet shop to pick up some crickets for Peter Parker, my tarantula, and there is one lonely, crying black kitten in the window. It turned out that his sister had been adopted without him and he was left as the last kitten, who had given himself the raspiest little meow from crying and crying.

The girl at the shop asked if I wanted to hold him, and of course I did. I sent his picture to my mom at work, and she agreed that as long as he was healthy, he was a perfect fit. Johnny and I left the shop to pick Cecelia up from school and then drove right back and brought our new baby home. We decided to name him Onyx. In my mind, it was after the stone. In Johnny’s mind, it was after the Pokemon.

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This little guy has brought to much joy to all of our lives over the last two years. He is an absolute angel, loves to snuggle, purrs like a jet engine, and is always excited to see me when I come home. Merlin even likes him… sometimes.

potential posting? blabbing, really.

I have so many ideas for future posts on here, but I think I’ll start with a general “about me” that will be a smidgen more informative than my actual About Me page. Of course, feel free to use the Contact Me page to ask me any questions or chit chat about whatever.

First things first – my first name is pronounced ‘Shin-ade.’ I’m 26. I’m a mom. I’m a girlfriend. I got pregnant at 16, had Cecelia at 17, and graduated high school at 18. I took a year off after high school to spend all of my time with Cecelia. After that year, I started college at Lesley University. Fab school, loved it. I majored in mathematics. I attended Lesley for 2 years, didn’t graduate, but life goes on. Being a single mom, juggling a full time class load (plus the commute to and from school), and trying to work as many hours as possible for some cash is crazy overwhelming. I don’t regret leaving, though. I loved college, but found that a LOT of the stuff I was paying to learn, I had already been taught in high school. Bit redundant, no?

Right now I’ve got a decent job that makes ends meet. I’ve become sort of a “jack of all trades” in the office, handling everything from Human Resources to production management. It’s a very small remodeling company that specializes in bathroom renovation and interior door replacement. I do enjoy it, although 97% of the time it is high stress.

One of my greatest joys is spending my life with Johnny. We met at a Halloween party at my best friend’s house in 2011, so let’s rewind. I was 100% not looking for a relationship. Corissa (aforementioned best friend) invited me to her party, let me know that Johnny would be there, and insisted that I would just love him. Her mom even backed her up on that. I was like, yeah, oookay! Flash forward a few days, I finish my shift at the shoe store, swing home to shower quick, and drive over to Corissa’s. I walk in (looking a WRECK), and wham! there he is. I. Swear. To. God. this dude knocked me right off kilter. I have not ever been a ‘love at first sight’ kinda girl, but there was something cooking right then. I go down to get ready with a Corissa, bop back upstairs to the kitchen where I extend a nice lil handshake to Johnny and introduce myself. He hands me a baby jagerbomb (one of those half and half shot glasses filled with Red Bull on one side and Jagermeister on the other), and the night goes on. I so vividly remember being dizzy drunk on the couch and looking over at Johnny who was holding conversation with (I think) a deaf guy – not entirely sure where he came from, now that I think about it. I was instantly infatuated with him. We didn’t start talking right away, but towards the end of November and early December we had spent a few nights drinking and playing board games at Corissa’s with some other friends. One night we had been playing Apples to Apples and I have no idea what happened, but I said to him, “we’re not going to snuggle tonight if you’re gonna be like that!” and the rest was pretty much history (for me at least). We slept together in the spare room that night, but it only went as far as kissing. He looked at me and said “before anything else happens, I want to take you on a date.” That was December 11th. Johnny asked me to ~officially~ be his girlfriend right after the ball dropped to ring in the new year from 2011 to 2012. The past 5 (and counting) years have easily been the best of my life thus far.

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Some of my future posts (I hope) will include my daily makeup routine, miscellaneous parenting shit, maybe a lil crime/murder series (I am OBSESSED with true crime podcasts right now), organization, crafting, maybe some ~interior design~ as I redo my bedroom and Cecelia’s room. Who the hell knows! Pretty much just wingin’ this whole blog thing to be honest! ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

It’s Hard

Being a mom is hard. No one tells you that. Ok, maybe everyone tells you that, but it doesn’t really hit until you are a mom. Maybe you’re a mom, not a mom, want to be a mom, don’t even like kids… regardless, being a mom is HARD. It is so hard.

Coparenting is hard, too. You don’t ever see eye to eye. Whether you live together, are married, separated, divorced, whatever your situation is, I think (personally) it is nearly impossible to see 100% eye to eye with your partner/coparent. Our situation is as follows: Cecelia lives with me, and when she chooses to visit her dad, she is allowed to. I have no problem with that. I think father/daughter relationships are sooo important. My dad is one of my very best friends, I say that truthfully. I go to him for nearly everything. I want Cecelia and her dad to have as strong a relationship as mine is with my dad. I don’t know if that will happen, they are both so different than us. Either way, we get along. My boyfriend (Johnny) and I are friendly with Cecelia’s dad and his fiancé. It’s much better than I ever could have hoped for, considering how I’ve seen some other young couples coparent their kids. Or don’t, as the case may be.

I really love being a mom, I do. I love my daughter more than life itself, I have no idea where I would be without her. She gives me purpose. I wake up, go to work, bust my ass, take shit from my coworkers, all to provide for her and to give her all of the things she wants and needs. She is my favorite person, hands down, in the entire world. But god damn, she has the hugest, monster attitude I have ever encountered. She blows my mind. I don’t even know where she learned it. The eye rolling, the back talk, the sassy little voice, the refusal to brush her hair or teeth, the refusal to do homework, etc. Oh my GOD, she is EIGHT. Being a mom is draining. I can’t wait for bedtime most nights. I feel so bad about that, but it’s true. I can’t wait for Cecelia to go to sleep so that I can go to sleep and let the day go. I hope every. single. night. that the next morning we’ll wake up and have a fight free day.

I wouldn’t trade this kid for the world. Even through it all, she is my constant. I love being her mom, no matter how pressing it is, or how stressed out I get, I love that little person. She is the best thing that has ever happened to me.