Thursday, May 26, 2011

Grateful.

In case you didn't see my guest post on The Mommies, here's what you missed:

Have you ever tried worrying and being grateful at the same time?

Go ahead. Try. I’ll wait.

Did you do it?

Didn’t think so.

The antidote for worry is gratitude and well-being. It’s impossible to worry about something when you’re busy being grateful. Unfortunately, the same is true the other way around. You can’t be grateful for something if you’re too damn busy worrying about a million other things.

Have you ever been stuck smack in the middle lane of the interstate during 7AM traffic? Do you cope by blowing your horn, or huffing and puffing because you’re going to be late to work, only to get yourself so worked up, you actually break a sweat? And what does all that blood, sweat, and tears (I exaggerate. Kinda.) get you? A headache? Maybe two inches of black top, only to be cut off by a punk on a motorcycle? …aaaannnd, now we’re cursing.

Next time, instead of focusing on the negatives, why don’t you try being grateful? Katie, how can I be grateful for morning traffic?! Well, my friends (& I hope we can be friends!) it’s simple. You have to change your way of thinking and count your blessings: I may be sitting in bumper-to-bumper agony, but at least I have a car. There are people who have never even set foot in a car, let alone have paved roads. I’m grateful for that. I’m grateful I have the money (at least for now) to fill up my tank. I’m grateful this seat belt is keeping me safe. I’m grateful I don’t have to walk to work. I’m grateful for my air conditioning & music to keep me company. And if, and only if, I’m stopped at a traffic light, I’m grateful for Facebook on my iPhone.

Have we forgotten about that punk on the motorcycle yet?

Good! And trust me, it works in all sorts of situations: Baby screaming? I’m grateful she has working lungs. Shins and calves burning after that two-mile run? I’m grateful I have legs to run on. With practice and determination, you’ll soon be riding the “Grateful Train” first-class to “Calmville.” Scout’s Honor.

Now how did I get to be all expert-y, noble & wise about gratitude?

{Hi, my name is Sarcasm. Nice to meet you.}

I am who I am today because of a nasty thing called Postpartum Depression; or “Hell,” for short. The past six months of my daughter’s life have been a whirlwind for me, to say the least. I, probably like most women, skimmed over the PPD sections in the baby books since ‘yanno… never thought it would happen to me. Ain’t that how the story goes?

Anywho… long story short: I found myself hospitalized for a week at a behavioral center. Most terrifying and astounding life-changing experience of my life! I’d like to share with you my personal testimony after spending an additional month in an outpatient recovery program:

Written on February 15, 2011

I have certainly come a long way in this ever so challenging journey. This has been by far the hardest thing I’ve ever been through. My dream has always been to be a mom, so when the foreign and nightmarish thoughts hit me like a brick, it scared the living day lights out of me, to say the least. The anxiety attacks were like nothing I’ve ever experienced or even seen before. I didn’t know who I was anymore.

The best decision I ever made was going to the hospital. Although it was absolutely terrifying at first, it was the right place for me to be. And PHP [the Partial-Hospitalized Program] has continued to help me tremendously. I have learned so much—especially about myself. I never knew I had so much strength and determination.

I learned that in order to gain massive momentum in my recovery, I had to get moving! That became my new mantra. I lacked a lot of motivation when I first stepped foot in here, but I soon realized it didn’t mean I couldn’t still do the things I used to love. I am capable. I am capable of so much. It took a lot of practice, but my mood is finally catching up.

I made a promise to myself to never give up no matter what! I wanted things to change, so with the picture of my husband and daughter in my mind, I knew the only way I was going to make that happen was to JUST DO IT! Even if I didn’t feel like it, I made myself do it because it was the right thing for my recovery. If I didn’t change my thoughts and behavior, then things were going to stay exactly as they were, and I definitely didn’t want that! I took my first step, stayed committed to my recovery, and things started becoming easier day by day.

Seven weeks ago, I was crying and screaming on the bathroom floor, begging to die; and now I’m playing flag football and caring for my daughter like I always knew I could. It’s hard to imagine I once thought about taking my own life, and now I would give it away in a heartbeat if it were to benefit my daughter.

I despised the fact that I got Postpartum Depression. I thought, Why me? Why is God punishing me? But now? Now, I see the beauty of this experience and how it has strengthened me. Every day I’m a little bit more of who I want to be. Every day I become a better person; and for that, I am truly grateful.

***

You can’t have a testimony without a test, right?

A fellow patient—a mom, who lost her twenty-six year-old [former soldier & current police officer] son, to a heinous murder as he was called to a robbery, told me I inspired her. Well if that doesn’t humble your heart, I don’t know what will! If she had the courage to dust herself off, then I surely didn’t have any excuses. I could hold my baby in my arms—she no longer could.

Life isn’t always easy. But it sure is worth the fight.

So that’s my story, and I’m stickin’ to it! I’m Katie. A devoted wife, mother, daughter, sister, and friend, who strives to be the best I can be, every day, for all the right reasons.

Loyally,
Katie

8 comments:

  1. thanks for sharing your testimonial. you are amazing and have come so far!!

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  2. Katie your post gave me chills - but GOOD chills. I can't imagine what it's like to be in that position - to have those thoughts but I'm so PROUD of you for getting help and because of it you have turned into an even more amazing woman, wife and mother. I commend you for talking about this and sharing your experience, because as you said, it's not something people think will ever happen to them. Thanks so much for sharing, lady. I'm so happy you have found your way back to loving life :)

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  3. thanks so much for this post. i'm happy to hear you're happy! and your daughter and husband are lucky to have a momma and wife like you!

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  4. Awesome post, love your honesty. So glad to hear you are back to loving life and mommyhood. :)

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  5. I've been reading for a while, but finally had to comment after reading this post. Thank you for sharing your struggles and strength. I'm inspired to live life more fully.

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  6. Thank you so much for sharing this. It's wonderfully well written, moving, and most of all...honest. I know you haven't shared much about what happened, but I appreciate that you have shared this and am glad to hear how far you have come. Being grateful is something I need to do a lot more of in my own life.

    (This is Laura from My Thoughts-Uninterrupted if the comment shows up weird...I've been having blogger troubles lately with commenting!)

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  7. You da bomb, sista. Our trials can either destroy us, or they can strengthen us beyond our imagination. We control the outcome. So proud of you and love your post. :)

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  8. very encouraging! thank you for sharing theres not a lot of women that talk a lot about the ppd during or after pregnancy thank you for encouraging me exspecially some of the tips u gave,made me think differently on something may God give you strength wisdom an ability to get through each day im sure your family is very proud of you!

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Comments make me smile :)

& I'm always grateful for what you have to say!

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