Learning to #lovelouder

Learning to love louder

“I don’t do classes, *eye roll*.” I said that so smugly before I learned to #lovelouder.

I remember saying that to my friend Mary. Admittedly, I was perfectly happy with the routines I’d been generously given and was happy moving from the elliptical to weighs to the rowing machine back to the weights. She’d talked me into trying Pound. I did it mostly because I wanted to support my friend, I won’t lie. And I went back because I felt like my presence told her I cared enough about her to do something that made me uncomfortable. I stood in the far right-hand corner. I occasionally brought a friend and then? Then I realized how much better I felt after 45 minutes of slamming sticks into the floor and when I began to fully concentrate on what I was getting from Pound, I fell in love.

I can squat like a boss but what I really got was mental peace. 45 minutes of slamming green sticks into the ground and forcing myself to do just one more T & A track. I got lost in it. It was the only time during the week I’d fully stop thinking about what had happened, what was going on and why I was so sad.

I’d started working out to get strong. I was scared for a long time. I still am, if I am completely real. Waiting for the moment that everything changes. I joined the gym to get strong, both emotionally and physically and because I’d read that I could help myself by working out.  And it worked. But it never fully took me out of the prison I’d been thrown into because of the fear. I’d ramp up my speed on the elliptical, hoping to drown out the noise but I never really stopped thinking about all of it. I didn’t until I found Pound.

It’s a game changer for me. I know, it sounds cliché. And maybe it is but it’s another of the things that saved my life. Therapy, medicine, inner strength, and Pound. I am that girl and I am proud of it.

I don’t know what came over me this winter but when Mary announced there would be a Pound Pro training, I wished I could come up with the money. She went out of her way to get me a discount and this month, I officially became a Pound Pro. It was scary and totally out of my normal character but I did it. I have my Ripstiks sitting here every day to remind me of how far I’ve come. A year ago, I’d never had even considered teaching a fitness class, let alone set foot in a gym but here I am, ready to help people, just like me.

The Pound Pro class was so awesome. We got this amazing teacher who just overflowed love. And the thing that stuck with me most was the hashtag she provided, #lovelouder. And so that is what I am doing. I am learning to love louder.  I am learning to take control of the mental illness that used to have control over me.

How can Pound help you?

  • It’s gonna make your ass amazing. Don’t quote me but I think that we do at least 200 squats a class. It’s amazing and challenging and transforming for a once flat hiney. And let’s be real, in the age of the legging, we want to have a phat ass! I know I do anyway.
  • Hitting things? Can I tell you how much I benefit from pounding the hell out of the floor? I take out all my angry and sad and frustration on a mat with those beautiful green sticks. I fully believe it’s what’s kept me from doing and saying things that I shouldn’t. It keeps me grounded, kind and mature.
  • I have met some AMAZING people. Of course, I knew Mary before. But I got to have dinner with area Pound Pros as well as making friends with a wonderful woman named, Katie. Also? Diane. Who stands next to me on purpose because I help her. It’s amazing for my self-confidence to know that me working out, helps Diane who is the kindest, most wonderful, lady.
  • It’s given me power and could you too! I tell everyone about Pound and what it’s done for my body and mind! It makes me brave and makes me want to help others, like you! Who is looking for a way to help your body and your mind.
  • Taken directly from the website: Numerous studies have proven the powerful brain-boosting, stress-relieving effects of drumming. The rhythm of drumming permeates the entire brain to improve focus, increase higher-level thinking and decision-making skills, boost the immune system, lower blood pressure, decrease chronic pain, anxiety, and fatigue. Dude, POUND MAKES US SMARTER!!
  • I mean this hashtag speaks for itself, #lovelouder

I don’t know that I will ever teach. I’m not gonna lie, I haven’t even signed up for the label yet but I am a supporter. I love it. Every moment of it. From the classes to the Pound Pro training to just knowing I have this beautiful group of women supporting me. Because really, that’s what it is all about. Women supporting women and some men too! We’re a village. Let’s pound that into place.

I am setting a goal for myself to learn a routine in 6 months and then gauge if I am ready enough to teach it. I can do it, right? My Pound sisters (and brothers) will tell me yes. You? Be my support and hopefully someday, I will be teaching you!

For more information about Pound fit or about becoming a Pound Pro like me, visit their website. You won’t be sorry. I mean a mash-up of Missy Elliott and The Black Keys. You can’t go wrong. I’ll teach you, someday.. to Pound your way to awesome. Okay, that’s a stretch. You’re likely already there. I just want to show you that you are. #Lovelouder

Hi! I’m Gail, the voice behind Mimicking Motherhood. I started blogging after the birth of my 2nd child as a way to connect with far away family. Things have definitely changed since then. Now, mama to five, this is a place to help connect with other mothers, who feel like me.I love to make and write all while trying to figure out how to be myself in the world of anxiety and depression. Glad you stopped by.

The lies anxiety tells me

I was lucky when my oldest was born. Somehow I managed to not fall victim to the postpartum depression my brain is wired to get. Maybe I did have it, I don’t really know because I was too busy trying to figure out how to be a mama and how to figure out how to be a wife and all these new things that were happening in my life.  I was good at it through with her. I fell into it all fairly easy and even survived a brutal fight with colic which I now realize was likely reflux. Poor baby vomited on everything. But I only remember feeling sad a couple of times. Once when I couldn’t figure out the breast pump and then, as I sat on the floor and watched as everyone passed her around. I hurt, felt overlooked and that was probably the first time anxiety lied to me. I didn’t complain I had to sit on the floor because anxiety told me it was selfish to want a seat and that was rude to expect someone to help me, instead of the fragile baby I was supposed to be taking care.

Yeah, I am pretty sure that was when anxiety and I met for real.

I mean, growing up I struggled with all the what ifs. But what teen doesn’t? And it wasn’t till adulthood that he really came at me. And with a vengeance.

By the time I was pregnant with baby number two, I was fully saturated with motherhood. And I was thrilled he was coming. My big girl would be welcoming a brother and I could not wait. But as the due date approached I would cry, often, in the red bathroom of our tiny, two bedroom condo afraid of what I’d done to her and wondering how I’d ever have enough love or time or energy for two. I’d wake up most mornings around 3 am, run the bathtub and cry. His labor started in the night. I called the midwife who sort of ignored my, “I think this is it” and told me to rest and eat. I took my little girl to breakfast and for a yoga ball and waited, scared I wasn’t really in labor. And I waited too long and sobbed in the hall when I couldn’t walk to the door myself. Never have I been so happy to see my husband walk through the door. I almost had Davis in the hospital hall. The midwife who delivered him had food in her teeth and didn’t know my name. I waited to push till everyone got there, anxious I’d hurt someone’s feelings if I didn’t wait, let people in the room before I was ready and I didn’t keep my little girl with me because my anxiety told me my gut was wrong. They gave him a bottle without my permission and he didn’t latch correctly for weeks but my anxiety told me to be quiet. The doctor knows best. I walked the length of SUPER Target with a three-day old, nipple shields in hand, convinced someone was going to take them away from me because I wasn’t a good enough mother to nurse a baby or stand up for a baby or raise a baby. The day after I brought him home,  I sat on my porch and cried on the phone wishing my mom would get their faster. I was afraid to sleep. Anxiety told me he might die… anxiety told me I might too.

These last two years have been a tough go. If you’ve followed this blog at all you know that there has been this series of events. If I was honest with you all, it’s been more than the two years I have written about it. Moving to Pennsylvania ignited the liar anxiety like nothing I’ve ever seen. Things were supposed to be different here for me. Another lie I told myself thanks to anxiety. I felt like I’d check into our new place and that everything would be different. I neglected to realize that I too would have to change. Anxiety lied though and told me while I was “fine”  nobody would ever like me. Ever. I listened. Especially when my newly found church friendships dissolved over something as ridiculous as who led a mother’s group.

As I added two more children, to the three children I’d moved across the country, anxiety grew and grew. Telling me I shouldn’t have a big family. I didn’t tell anyone about Dexter, my fourth till 12 weeks pregnant and Dixon, baby number five, I waited till almost 22 weeks. And if it were up to me, I would have delivered him before I told a single person about him at all. Lucky for me I was overweight and people mostly ignored me so my pregnancy was easy to hide. I hid that little boy like he was wrong because anxiety told me 5 kids was too many. Anxiety was wrong. He was not wrong. And no one should judge how many children I have. Even when it’s with the best intentions.

And that’s not the first time anxiety was wrong. Two years ago my gut told me something was off and I didn’t listen… it will probably be the biggest regret of my life. Not standing up for myself, because anxiety told me I was overreacting. I wasn’t, and it changed everything.

But now, now I am fighting back.

A little over 18% of the adult population suffers from an anxiety disorder. That’s 40 million adults. FORTY MILLION. Statics shows that while anxiety disorders are very, very treatable only about 36.9% of people are getting treatment. That number is even larger for teens. Only 1 in 5 teenagers that suffer are being treated. And should you suffer from an anxiety disorder you’re also likely to suffer from depression and vice versa. That’s a lot for a brain. A lot.

Women are more commonly affected than men. And anxiety often presents as a debilitating fear. For me, it often came in the shape of losing my children. So much so, I was afraid to seek help because I was so afraid someone would take my kids from me for being “crazy”. And when I finally hit rock bottom, I didn’t seek help until the suicidal ideations got so bad, I wasn’t sure I could stop them anymore. Yet anxiety still told me therapy was wrong and meds would steal my creativity again. I listened because anxiety was right about the creativity once. Only it just wasn’t the right med or meds… I wasn’t patient enough to ride it out and find the right medication for my mental health. Anxiety won, again. But only briefly. I eventually sat, filled with shame, in a chair, waiting to meet my therapist. The shame lifted when her blue hair peaked out through her beanie cap and the tattoos showed through tattered sleeves. It took a couple of sessions to raise my head but eventually, anxiety got its eviction notice.

I will have an anxiety disorder for the rest of my life. Every single day will be a battle to win against it and the abusive bipolar/depression/disorders I fight every single minute of every day. And there will still be moments that the disorders win minutes back in my life. But those minutes are getting fewer and farther apart. I can look at last spring and know someone else’s mental health issues were winning and it wasn’t me but themselves, that they were really talking to.

You probably wonder how you can help someone with an anxiety disorder. I can’t answer for everyone. Honestly, it’s hard to answer for me. But here goes:

  • Remind me that I am okay. There have been days I wasn’t sure and sat and wondered if these things actually were happening or if it was the anxiety telling me they did. So, when I ask you for the 90th time if this is really happening or if it really happened, please tell me it is. And if it isn’t or didn’t, please tell me what actually happened. I want to live in the truth and not what my mental illness painted as the truth. I’ve seen first hand what that looks like and it’s not pretty.
  • Don’t ask me if my period is coming. This isn’t about female hormones. I get weepy all times of the month and not just because my period might be coming. Sometimes I just get slammed with an anniversary or a memory. For example, this Monday, I watched a video of my brother, and I cried all day. It was a deep throat cry I couldn’t explain. He’s been gone over a year but it was as if he’d died that day. That wasn’t my period…. it was my sad.
  • Don’t tell me to choose happy. I don’t have a switch in my brain that goes, “oh you’re right. I am being crazy.” Sometimes I am irrationally sad or anxious and I don’t know why. Come into it with me. You don’t have to fix it. I just need you to make sure the anxiety doesn’t win. Don’t let the sadness take me too.
  • If I am being irrational, be gentle in telling me. There is nothing more embarrassing and hurtful than when someone reacts to me as if I am dumb or well, irrational. Sometimes I don’t know. So tell me, without making me feel stupid. If I react badly, forgive me; help me learn to react better next time. And please, don’t ghost me. Tell me, so I don’t wonder forever what I did wrong. We sometimes have friends for seasons. The truth is easier for me than the what ifs.

I know this is a lot for people. I know *I* am a lot for people but I don’t want to be and I am doing the work. Lots of us are.

Anxiety lies. If you’re listening to it right now, it’s lying. Trust me I know.

To learn more about anxiety disorders, click here.

Also, I feel passionate about education. And really passionate about AFSP. Please take a moment to check out their site. Do it for me and do it for Kevin.

The lies anxiety tells me

Hi! I’m Gail, the voice behind Mimicking Motherhood. I started blogging after the birth of my 2nd child as a way to connect with far away family. Things have definitely changed since then. Now, mama to five, this is a place to help connect with other mothers, who feel like me.I love to make and write all while trying to figure out how to be myself in the world of anxiety and depression. Glad you stopped by.

This is MY 39

This is 39? I stumbled across this article yesterday. Few articles make my hair stand up but this one? It did. You see, I’m 39.  And I don’t feel old or like I am squinting. I don’t feel like I am too cool to be friends with Taylor Swift. And I certainly don’t feel like I could be her mother.  I’ve been talking about yoga pants since my 20s. This isn’t new to year 39, I just can afford better ones even though I still often pick the ones in the juniors section at Target. Let’s be real here, no one REALLY needs 98.00 leggings. It shouldn’t even be a thing. And that it is a thing is the reason we’ve all coined “first world problems”.

Most of my people are still married. I only know one person going through a divorce. And she’s lucky. Because he’s a douche bag and she deserves better. My sister is divorced but by no fault of her own. It doesn’t count because it’s nothing she could have done to prevent it. Not that you should ever have to justify a divorce. My closest friend loves her husband more every day…. and I still love mine, despite really tough few years. I can’t imagine a divorce. I can’t imagine our family every other weekend and on Thursdays. I could and still would hang out with Carrie Bradshaw… I am the Samantha on some days and others, I am Miranda. She is not younger than me. She never was. We all are getting older together. But by no means is 39 old.

I am not getting ready to bury my parents. My mother isn’t even 60 and my husband’s parents are nowhere close to old folks home. We have a 95-year-old Grandma who’s pretty kick ass. She’s not even old. Who the hell defined old anyway?

I’m nowhere near old and this? This is my 39.

This is the year I let go. I took moments, days even entirely for myself. Sometimes those “self” days were with my children at an amusement park and sometimes? They were in the YMCA, alone, sweaty and angry, followed by the amazing endorphin rush and a few moments watching kids splash in the pool before I hurried home. It’s the year I dyed my hair blue and started my sleeve. This is the year I started saying exactly what I was thinking. It was the year I stopped believing that anyone else was in control besides me. It is the year I felt the calm in the storm and the year I realized it really doesn’t matter what anyone thinks about me. I decided to do more in year 39. I’ve slowly been studying to be a doula. Surprisingly,  I signed up to be a Pound Pro. I make things. I wear clothes I never would have before. I am no longer embarrassed that I’m not the textbook beauty. I am beautiful in my own way; even on the days that I forget it. But I am beautiful inside. And while I am loud and sometimes mean, the core is good. Even when the outside is snarky or angry.

Year 39 was the year I went to a concert again. And road a rollercoaster for the first time in forever. It’s the year I felt good in a swimsuit and that I made things that I loved instead of what I thought people would love. It’s the year I started reading again. And learning and loving. It’s the year I figured out that we need a village and that women support women. They don’t hurt them, stab them or mistreat them. The Red Tent should be a thing; sans the religious bullshit. It’s the year I figured out a lot of people use God as a guise to be cruel… it’s the year I lost faith but  without sadness or mourning. And that taught me to trust my gut. When things don’t “feel” right, listen. Your gut is often on point. Mine always has been.

I will say, she finished her article with excitement about 40. So, I’ll toss the grace bone. But to those 39s out there that are remembering like this person was in their article, keep in mind that it’s not the end, the middle or the beginning. It just is. Enjoy it. I’d hate to be the early 30s again. I felt awful most of that decade. This is better. I know who I am and I am not clinging to the past either. 39 is good. Real good.

Hi! I’m Gail, the voice behind Mimicking Motherhood. I started blogging after the birth of my 2nd child as a way to connect with far away family. Things have definitely changed since then. Now, mama to five, this is a place to help connect with other mothers, who feel like me.I love to make and write all while trying to figure out how to be myself in the world of anxiety and depression. Glad you stopped by.