Dealing…

Have you ever been told to Suck It Up Buttercup? Or to get over it because someone else has it much worse than you?

How’d that make you feel, as an adult going through something that may have created great despair or pain?

I think phrases such as that are fine to tell our children when they are acting like spoiled brats upon not getting their way. As a matter of fact, I should probably say something like that more!

Appropriate for everyone, though? I’m not so sure.

Two months ago my son committed suicide. I’m having to learn to live without the one who gave me a sense of purpose and a sense of belonging. I’m learning to live without one of my life’s greatest inspirations and teachers.

This passage is for me, to remind myself of my own strength, will, and determination.

Yes, I’m putting myself out there to be judged and criticized, but somewhere I know that there is someone out there, dealing with what they seem they cannot endure, and I pray this reaches them. 

“There’s someone else who has it worse than you.” Yes, that’s true, but please use that phrase with caution unless you really know that to be true. 

A short synopsis of what life has thrown at me…

Anxiety and misdiagnosed dietary/health issues starting very young. Depression and eating disorders by grade 8. Sexually violated and suicidal by 12th. Survived, after feeling unwelcome and unloved by even God during my near death encounter with the Keeper of the Golden Gates. “Not yet. Someday. You still have work to do down there.” Don’t believe in near death experiences? You should.

Unexpected pregnancy by age 19. Keep or abort this baby? Rocky Relationship, but I love him and I already love this little creation with my whole heart. Keep. I might get disowned. But definitely keep. All I’ve ever known for sure is that I want to be a mommy. Easy pregnancy, relationship turned violent. Addiction returned. Had to walk away. Tried unsuccessfully to get back together but then the toughest of love lessons came our way. I had met another who promised the world so please don’t call anymore. Probably not what I really wanted. Probably wanted him to put up a fight, but he listened. If that was my plan it backfired.

Single mom married to someone who hid his true colors well. Marriage was emotionally/financially/spiritually abusive starting day 1. Within a year, became seriously ill in eating disorders and checked into recovery facilities out of state at 84 pounds, after accidentally overdosing on prescribed medications just to try to get some rest and migraine relief. Left my now 4 year old behind. Heart broken.

Worked my butt off to stay healthy and to try to salvage anything left of my so-called marriage. Unsuccessful, but too afraid to leave. Too many threats, another pregnancy with a daughter this time. Yay!! I had been told no more kids, too much damage to my reproductive system.

Where are we going to live, though, now that she’s a toddler?! Don’t have a clue where all the money has gone, but house payment hasn’t been paid. Foreclosure. How did I find out? My aunt saw it in newspaper, and my mom asked me about it. Seriously? This is happening and I’m the LAST to know? What kind of person am I living with?? Found housing, and took over bills to try to dig us out and figure out finances. Hmmm…lots of things don’t make sense and don’t add up. But don’t question it. I’ll regret it if I even consider it. 

The news that Christopher’s father had died turned my inner world upside down. So much I could have done differently. I let it end without even saying I love you. I had lost him, really lost him forever. Could I have helped save him?

Not sure if it was too much stress or all the anti-depressants and anti-anxiety meds I was on, but I miscarried twins. A boy and a girl. Guess who didn’t care? No support from my husband, so I’ll just keep this one to myself. Most likely no one else will care either. Heavy burden to carry alone. So much sadness and grief and no one knew for years.

New house. New beginnings? Nope. More of the same. Baby boy on his way now. Cannot wait! My kids are truly my world. My whole reason for living.

Wait. Lies. Lies. More lies. Just admit the truth. I can forgive it all. Nope. Denial and more narcissistic behaviors make me think I’m totally nuts. I can’t do this anymore. It’s killing me. I’m living life as a prisoner in my own home. Please go out of town soon, or work overtime. The kids and I need to come out of our rooms and feel welcome in our own house. My kids cannot grow up thinking this normal or ok.

Get out of my house. Divorce. But it’ll be rough. The only promise he ever kept was to make my life miserable and difficult if I ever left him. Two years for the divorce to be finalized, all the while having to watch my back for his vehicle or a co-workers, or vehicle from another agency hiding around the corner watching me and the kids through binoculars. Just within enough distance to let me know their presence to intimidate me, but far enough away that I can’t call in for restraining orders. Well played, but please understand that people at my workplace are noticing, too.

Anxiety. Here, Baby Boy. This helps me. Some Yoga and Pranayama (Breathwork). And carry this special rock with you in your pocket. It has Mommy’s Kiss and anytime you miss me or feel anxious, get it out, rub it or kiss it, and remember that I’m not far away. I promise I wouldn’t leave you here if I didn’t trust your teachers. Thanks, Mrs. Principal for lovingly restraining my boy while I run off to get to work through my tears. Not only did Father choose to leave, but Mommy left her 16 year old position as stay home mom to go to work. I promise I’m not abandoning you, Sweetie. I’m doing the FOR you. We’ll repeat this process all year and have more of this experience for another 2 or three years. Whew! Eventually it does get better.

Ok…hang on tight. Here’s a ride. Thank God I know the signs of depression. Helping a daughter who had discovered self-harm and had her own suicidal thoughts wasn’t fun. How many nights did I cry through this?! Such a difficult thing to go through alone. Poor Peyton. How neglected you must feel while I try to help Sissy. What?! She’s pregnant? OK. Another baby is always welcome, plus he saved her life. Thank you, Angel Child.

Dating? Are you kidding me? How many guys do you think want to date a woman who is in Mommy Mode 24/7. Oh wait…I AM only on standby for four hours a week but I really need that time to nourish myself. Please leave me alone since I’ve finally learned that he isn’t really just going to take off with the kids and not return them! I’ve learned that it is ok to take care of me! Anyway, if you aren’t going to be good for and to me, and be willing to accept me AND my kids for who we are, then we don’t need you. Go ahead. Walk away and use whatever story you need to tell yourself to make you feel less guilty. We’ll be ok. We are perfectly imperfect and we are a chaotic mess. But we are each other’s everything.

Too much stress and overwhelm has created chronic illnesses that make it difficult to function in my everyday life. Guilt arises at all I’m not accomplishing and time I can’t spend in wholeness with my kids. Yoga and meditation help greatly but I need more support. That’s hard to admit…SIGH…

I watch from a distance as my (step)daughter goes through stuff that I’m not in a position to be able to offer help or even much emotional support, and her babies and my (step)son’s are all growing way too fast. I hate that I’m missing it. But I have never been allowed to develop relationships with the rest of the family, so this really shouldn’t bother me so much. Yet, it does. Always has.

Now Christopher.

What did I miss? I think nothing, but there must have been something? He was the one who spent the most time in counseling. His faith in God is the strongest fo anyone I know. He has so much to look forward. Graduating with highest honors, faithfully attending mass and chapel, loyal to his friends and family. What did I miss? There were no obvious signs. He worked hard, he was proud of himself for his efforts. Perhaps it was uncertainty of what’s next after College Graduation. Perhaps he was afraid of not getting into grad school. Perhaps he was afraid of being alone, starting his new chapter in life. Perhaps it was lack of sleep as he tried to excel in his classes, but he didn’t speak about his “maladies” openly to us. Or to anyone, it seems. I have, however, seen notes of encouragement left in his school mailbox. I cannot express how thankful I am for those short, sweet notes.

Because I had allowed myself to become stressed to the point of illness, I did my best to remind him to slow down. Rest. Play. Enjoy Life. He was much like me, in many ways. I could never ever deny him, nor would I want to!

He did Enjoy Life. He travelled. He spent quality time with friends. He knew what he wanted to do, and he did it, with no apologies or regrets, except that he did care whether or not his family supported his decisions. Of course, we usually did! He enjoyed life. Or so it seemed.

Robin Williams. I see now that my child had a soul in resonance with the great comedian.

Someone recently expressed concern over my being alone at my Yoga Studio at night. I assured him I take safety precautions when I’m alone, but that I’ve already experienced so much, that not much else could phase me. Sure, I could be killed, but I’m all good. Death happens, and it’s going to come to me anyway. The worst thing that could happen to me at this point is that something would take away one of my kids.

Damn. I was right about that. So please excuse me while I grieve.

Nothing. And I mean NOTHING is worse than losing a child.

So I write this reminder to myself. Not for sympathy, but to remind myself that I’m strong, determined, and now capable of showing compassion and unconditional love to others. I now know how to share and help others who have struggles, too. I take joy in sharing with and serving others and helping them find their Light again.

I write this as a reminder that I’ve changed tremendously for the better. I’m happy to say I’m not the same person I use to be.

I’ve been through Hell and Back. And I’ve survived. In large part to my parents who always have my back, and in large part because of my Faith in One Higher Than I, for all those times I didn’t feel adequate, capable or able. And of course, Yoga. It makes everything better. 

NOTHING is worse than losing a child. But I’m doing pretty damn good, considering.

And so are you, The Bright Shining Star who is reading this. Go, Do You. Nobody else can do it so well!

Struggling so much you’re not sure you can hold on much longer? Trying to help someone you love?

Call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline today! 1-800-273-8255

Namaste,

Nikki

Eating Disorder Awareness Week 2018: Day 2

6 COMMON EMOTIONAL AND BEHAVIORAL SYMPTOMS OF AN EATING DISORDER, as described by NEDA:

  • In general, behaviors and attitudes that indicate that weight loss, dieting, and control of food are becoming primary concerns
  • Preoccupation with weight, food, calories, carbohydrates, fat grams, and dieting
  • Refusal to eat certain foods, progressing to restrictions against whole categories of food (e.g., no carbohydrates, etc.)
  • Appears uncomfortable eating around others
  • Food rituals (e.g. eats only a particular food or food group [e.g. condiments], excessive chewing, doesn’t allow foods to touch)
  • Skipping meals or taking small portions of food at regular meals

“Today’s challenge: Humanity/Humbleness: What is one activity that you have tried that you failed at miserably that first time you tried it?  Did you go back and try it again?”

This was tough for me because impulsively I answered LIFE! Too many miserable attempts and failures to count! UUUGH! Ok, I do admit though…I’m not in my happiest of places right now, and every day, every thing I do is taking every ounce of effort.

So I chose my favorite yoga pose that helps me break free from ego’s pride. This asana helps me surrender to the truth of what’s happening in my body, mind, and spirit when strong and often uncomfortable sensations arise telling me all those long held “issues in my tissues” are ready to be dealt with and released. When I learn to stay present during difficult moments on my mat, I’m also learning to stay present during life’s perfectly imperfect moments.

Humble Warrior reminds me to stand strong in my truth and in my faith, and to do so in sweet surrender. I am reminded to turn my focus inward so that I can Listen to Divine Calling. During particularly difficult times, I couple this asana with the Kali mudra to connect with My Inner Fierce Goddess. On my darkest days this mudra helps to let go of the pain and allow the light to enter again.

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Do you or someone you know need help? Please call NEDA’s Toll-free Information and Referral Helpline: 1-800-931-2237.

You can also use the form below to contact me. You are not alone.

One, Yoga Mat…Two, Yoga Mat…Three Yoga Mat…Four…

Hi, Lovely!

I have been met with some health and family issues which caused a great deal of overwhelm and exhaustion.

Part of being human is to face challenges, overcome obstacles, and restore health. It’s life!

How do I deal when life happens? I come to my Yoga mat!

Yoga has much to offer, no matter my energy level or my body needs. When I’m stuck in chronic fatigue and my body is inflamed in pain, I rest and relax in restorative asana. When I feel a bit stronger, but still need to go slow and withdraw inward, Yin Yoga is my go-to practice. On my strong and energetic days, I love practices that incorporate Vinyasa Flow. Of course, I have some favorite Kundalini practices that bring my whole being into balance at any given time.

What is your Yoga like? Are you wondering what mat is best for your needs?

I use three mats on a regular basis.

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My favorite mat of all, cheap and generic, is my very first yoga mat. It has seen the most tears and transition. After 20 plus years of practice, it still holds me in its grip, but the sticky these days might be from years worth of grit, grime, and kiddo sticky stuff! This mat stays in my home teaching space, to remind me how I first came to yoga, and how I wish to use my yoga stories to serve others.

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I recently started using a Gaiam Print Premium Yoga Mat  originally bought for my daughter several years ago. For the price, I am impressed by its grip and quality of this lightweight mat! It travels with me when I teach at Take Charge Fitness, and it stays in my car for impromptu yoga practices in parks, on work breaks and road trips.

My most expensive and heaviest mat stays home, for my personal practice, and it is used inside and out. The Manduka PRO Yoga Mat is quite pricey. At first I was skeptical because I found this mat very slippery. However, I have had this mat for a couple of years now and realize it still isn’t fully broken in! This is my thickest mat, perfect for days when tender trigger points are present. The extra cushion is a blessing! My naturally  oily and sweaty body still slips and slides in some vigorous workouts, but a yoga towel on top of the mat helps absorb extra moisture. This high quality mat just may be the last yoga mat I will ever need to purchase!

There are some great yoga mat options out there, and some I wasn’t aware of until I stopped to check out Reviews.com.

While I’m NOT an expert on yoga mats, my friends over at Reviews.com ARE! I love what they have to say, learned a few tips for my Manduka PRO, and I’m awesomely impressed at how they’ve spent hours surveying, researching, and testing top brands at varying prices. They’ve talked with experienced yoga teachers and experienced asana in extreme temperatures and in all asana practices imaginable. Yoga dedication is seen through their ongoing studies, and reviews are updated accordingly to include the newest products available.

I am confident you’ll find YOUR perfect mat as recommended by Reviews.com. Check them out today!

Your Yoga practice is waiting for you!

Namaste,

Nikki