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Estimated reading time: 3 minutes

Food addiction can be much more harmful than many people think because, unlike other addictions, you can’t just stop food. It’s not just linked to obesity, but diabetes and other health conditions. If left unchecked, it could lead to premature death. Nobody wants that, but it’s a difficult addiction to overcome.

The good news is you shouldn’t need to go to an outpatient center to overcome it. It would be beneficial to consult your doctor and then a therapist to get to the root of what’s precipitating this behavior. It could be just a matter of understanding your addiction and getting professional guidance on how to beat it. While it’ll take time and effort, it could be relatively straightforward.

How To Beat Your Food Addiction

1. Know What Triggers Cravings

In many cases, there’s something that triggers your cravings and makes you want to overeat or eat something unhealthy. You’ll need to know what these triggers are so you can start managing them and beat your addiction. While these can take time to figure out, it’s a necessary part of figuring out how to beat your addiction.

Stress, low feelings, and similar triggers can be relatively common. Whatever your triggers are, take the time to understand and deal with them. Your addiction will become more manageable after that, and you’ll have fewer and fewer cravings in time.

2. Have A Distraction Tactic

Having cravings is relatively natural, especially when you’re still figuring out your triggers and how to overcome them. While you’re doing this, you’ll still want to find a way to manage and start beating your addiction. Having a distraction tactic is one of the more notable ways of doing this.

Instead of eating when you feel a craving, replace it with something else. A short walk, and even some music or a television show, can be great options for this. Focus on something that takes your mind off the impulse to overeat or engage in your addiction. In time, you’ll see your cravings fade away.

3. Explore Non-Food Rewards

Everyone likes to feel good, and eating can often be a quick and easy way to do this, especially with chocolate and similar foods. In many situations, your brain treats them as a reward and something to use to feel better about a specific situation. There are ways to overcome this.

Exploring non-food rewards can be an effective way of doing this. These still give you the satisfaction of rewarding yourself without harming your health. Even something as simple as rewarding yourself with a new book can be a great way to do this.

How To Beat Your Food Addiction: Wrapping Up

Figuring out how to beat your food addiction can seem like a complicated process. While it takes time and effort to understand and overcome, it could be simpler than you might expect. You’ll need to focus on the right areas when you’re doing so.

Exploring non-food rewards, knowing your triggers, and having a distraction tactic can all be recommended with it. They’ll help you understand your addiction and overcome it properly. Your food addiction will be in the rear-view mirror in no time.

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Estimated reading time: 3 minutes

Going to the gym and working out is always a good idea for your health but you need to know how to stay safe and avoid getting injured. Nothing slows down progress faster than an injury, especially when it comes to your body. Between faulty equipment, people who aren’t paying attention around you, and even over-exercising, there are plenty of ways to get hurt at the gym. This guide will help you understand the most common gym injuries, as well as how you can avoid them so that your workout doesn’t become an injury instead of progressing toward your fitness goals!

Lack of training

There are many different machines, tools, and equipment in a gym. If you don’t know how to use them properly, the risk of injury increases exponentially. If you’re new to the gym scene, take it slow and check with the staff about which machines and workouts would be good for beginners.

Once you know what equipment is available, ask your gym’s staff to show you how to correctly and effectively use the machines so that you can minimize the potential for getting injured.

Faulty equipment

When using any type of equipment in a gym or fitness class, it’s important to use it correctly. But, what’s even more important is to use equipment that is reliable. When the machine suddenly breaks unexpectedly, it could lead to severe injuries. This can be frequent for weight trainer gyms that fail to maintain their equipment. An injury sustained as a result of faulty gear can affect your fitness goals and health for a long time. Ideally, you should always check that the equipment is in good condition. You can also refer your case to a personal injury lawyer, who can help recover your medical bills and lost income in the event you’ve been hurt by damaged gym property. 

Lack of attention

The gym is a place for physical activity, not a mental one. If you’re too busy thinking about work or school, that only distracts from your workout. The answer? Bring your phone in your pocket or handbag when you go to exercise but leave it there. Don’t take it out unless you need it for an emergency call or text. Once you start working out, concentrate on keeping your mind on what’s important—your workout goals! Also, I’ve found that when I’m working out, it’s a great way to destress and focus inward; be present for myself, which is something as a busy mom, I seldom get to do.

At the same time, good gym etiquette requires that you pay attention to the people around you. Many gym members use headphones to stay in the zone. They may not hear you approaching them or may not know you are next to them so keep that in mind when coming up behind someone. 

Overtraining

Never let a day go by without exercising. This might seem like good advice, but it’s actually very bad. While working out several times a week is certainly better than not working out at all, an excess of exercise can lead to overtraining—a condition that occurs when you work out so much you break down your muscles and burn away your gains faster than you can replace them with new ones. The solution? Work out two or four times a week, allowing at least one full day of rest between each session.

Exercising is healthy. But it can include risks if you are not careful. That’s why it’s important to get familiar with the gym environment and your own body to always stay on the safe side of fitness. 

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Day 1 Year 50, midlife awakening

Estimated reading time: 3 minutes

I still feel 25 just with bad knees. How fast a half a century has gone by. The first 18 years felt slow as molasses for me but I know in retrospect, as a mom myself now, that only the first twelve months move in slow motion, sometimes even feeling like it’s moving in reverse. But every year after that goes at lightning speed. Too fast for me to notice in the thick of it but it was the burden of my parents to feel every bit of it. I had no idea. I do now on day 1 of year 50.

For the first 25 years, I lived recklessly because the burden to worry was my parents. I was afforded the luxury of living in a gilded cage that my young, inexperienced mind thought was an electrified prison. But in reality, I lived so selfishly that even those I thought were important to me were treated callously. Unintentionally, I was not malicious but I couldn’t see past myself.

The last 25 we’re about building a life outside of my birth family. It was the time when love found me, took hold of me and changed me for the better. That love opened my eyes and my heart. Soon, the pendulum swung too far in the opposite direction and the selfish, self absorbed girl I once was quietly and I in noticeably evolved into a selfless martyr who sacrificed everything for everyone. My body, my career, my wants and needs, the life I’d so meticulously planned and longed for.

But don’t feel sorry for me. In exchange I got so much more than I could have imagined. Not things but something I never had …. Stability which sounds mundane but not to someone whose entire life has been completely nuanced in tumultuous chaos. It hard for a bird to take flight with a chain and cinder lock around its neck. I got unconditional healthy love with no restrictions and ever replenishing. I got loved for who I was not in spite of it.I felt seen and heard so much so that I didn’t have to tirelessly fight to be understood. I felt peace and safe. Safe to be my most vulnerable self and still love remained. In return, I happily dedicated my life to nurturing those relationships. I built a life with my best friend whom I wholly adore as he does me. I raised amazing human beings who I’m

Proud to know and privileged to love. But pretty soon, they’ll be starting the next 25 years of life and I refuse to put the chain of guilt around their necks. Instead I will raise them up towards the heavens and encourage them to take flight.

My last 25 years have been about putting out fires. The next 25 years I will live my life with intention. It’s time for me to set life on fire. I am no longer going to white knuckle through life wishing and hoping things turn out alright. I’m letting go of things, people and other peoples expectations that no longer serve me. The time of mediocrity and sacrifice has passed.

I’ve loved the last 50 years. Honestly, I’ve got a lot of great memories and stories. I’ve gained invaluable memories and experience. I’ve gained something that you can only earn with age…wisdom. I’ve lived 10 lifetimes in the past 50 years..but this next part is going to be about me and reclaiming my relationship with the Big Guy.

No more getting by or doing what I’m supposed to do. If it’s not a hell yeah, it’s a hell no for me. Today’s the day, the first day of forever this is not a crisis it’s just the beginning. This is day 1 of year 50 and this is my midlife awakening. What would you do if you could do anything?

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Uvalde authorities stood by as parents begged them to save their children from a mass shooter, Salvador Ramos, uvalde victims, robb elementary

Estimated reading time: 8 minutes

I’m really trying to wrap my brain around what happened in Uvalde, Texas at Robb Elementary. I saw the news when it happened and, like many parents, I was triggered. You know, my kids are the same age as the Sandy Hook Elementary kids. I never forgot. I will never forget. I couldn’t even if I tried. But the more I learn about what transpired on Tuesday in Uvalde, the more tragic it seems and the more preventable it appears. I want to lay some hard truths on you guys. Those 19 children and 2 adults did not have to die. Where were the heroes? Uvalde authorities stood by as parents begged them to save their children from a mass shooter, Salvador Ramos.

Uvalde authorities stood by as parents begged them to save their children from a mass shooter, Salvador Ramos, uvalde victims, robb elementary

Yes, Salvador Ramos pulled the trigger but it is the fact that we live in a country that allows 18-year-old children to purchase assault rifles that got us where we are today. Why are we allowing teenagers, who are hormonal, moody, full of angst and whose brains will not be fully developed until they are 25-years-old, to buy guns? How was he so easily able to buy two assault rifles and 375 rounds of ammunition? How were there no red flags? Push that aside for a moment, if you are wondering how this happened? Why this happened? How it was able to transpire? How Ramos was able to make it into the building to barricade himself in the room with helpless little kids and 2 teachers and no one stopped him? So are the rest of us.

Uvalde authorities stood by as parents begged them to save their children from a mass shooter, Salvador Ramos, uvalde victims, robb elementary

Uvalde authorities stood by as parents begged them to save their children from a mass shooter, Salvador Ramos.

He posted on social that he was going to shoot his grandmother.

This boy shot his grandmother. Authorities were alerted.

He posted after he shot his grandmother.

He wrecked his truck. Authorities were alerted.

He posted before he entered the building.

Uvalde authorities stood by as parents begged them to save their children from a mass shooter, Salvador Ramos, uvalde victims, robb elementary

NO ONE STOPPED HIM.

He shot at people at the funeral home across the street from the school. Authorities were alerted.

He stood outside for 12 minutes and fired rounds. Authorities were alerted. Authorities were on the scene.

He is seen in a video walking into the building without anyone stopping him or trying to stop him or even in his line of sight.

 NO ONE STOPPED HIM.

He was outside for 12 whole minutes, that’s a lifetime in an active shooter event. Maybe he wanted to be saved from himself. No one did anything.

He gets in the building. Barricades himself inside for 40 fucking minutes. The authorities are captured on video standing outside the gates waiting on I don’t know what the fuck to happen while he is inside shooting peoples children.

Why did no one stop him??? Why?

There is video of parents begging the police to save their children. Pleading with authorities to serve and protect the most precious part of them. When their cries of desperation fell on deaf ears some of the parents were overcome with frustration and anger and lashed out…while they were listening to gunfire and knew their children were locked in Robb Elementary with a gunman while the authorities were safely outside awaiting what? Divine intervention.

Some of those parents were pushed away, handcuffed, arrested, threatened and forced to bear witness to the screams of fear from within not knowing if that was their child or if they would ever get to see their child again. They were made to stand still while their children were murdered. If you ask me, that was as cruel if not more so than what Ramos did.

Uvalde authorities stood by as parents begged them to save their children from a mass shooter, Salvador Ramos, uvalde victims, robb elementary

There is no doubt that Ramos did an evil thing. But he was an individual who had suffered cruelty the entirety of his short life. He was a product of a system that failed him too. But he chose to inflict the same pain he felt onto the world.

Uvalde authorities stood by as parents begged them to save their children from a mass shooter, Salvador Ramos, uvalde victims, robb elementary

But what if the authorities had acted sooner? What if those kids mattered to those officers as much as they mattered to their loved ones crying outside and listening to the wailing of the terrified children inside.

Uvalde authorities stood by as parents begged them to save their children from a mass shooter, Salvador Ramos, uvalde victims, robb elementary

It makes me wonder, what if this was a Caucasian neighborhood? What if this was an elite private school? What if these kids’ parents were influential and wealthy? What if they had power? What if they weren’t poor, humble migrant people? Would these kids’ lives have mattered more to the police if they weren’t brown?

Uvalde authorities stood by as parents begged them to save their children from a mass shooter, Salvador Ramos, uvalde victims, robb elementary

So maybe you’re saying, fuck Debi why are you making this about race. I’m making it about race because everything is about race. If you don’t see color, then it’s more than likely that you are privileged. I grew up in an urban ghetto in a time when everyone had police scanners. They called my neighborhood LA (Little Africa), the white neighborhood where the poor kids lived was called ( Little Waco)  and where the Mexicans lived ( Little Mexico), if you lived in those neighborhoods and something happened and you needed the police…they came when they were ready. It made no difference that the police station was literally 3 blocks from my house.

I come from immigrants. My grandfather was a rancher. My father grew up on a farm. He came to the United States and worked in fields and factories. Mexican people are vibrant, passionate, loyal, loving, family-orientated people and we are humble. Even though we are loud, we are humble. We are hard workers, friendly and respectful. My dad loves the United States more than anyone I know and it’s been something I’ve had a hard time reconciling myself with because I’ve seen this country treat my dad like garbage. I’ve seen the people of this country treat my dad like he was stupid because his skin is brown and he has an accent. I’ve seen my proud father be dismissed because he didn’t look or sound like the person he was talking to. I know, firsthand, the disregard with which police officers treat brown and black boys and girls’ lives.

Uvalde authorities stood by as parents begged them to save their children from a mass shooter, Salvador Ramos, uvalde victims, robb elementary

Honestly, I pray that I’m wrong but I’m not sure that I am. Why did no one rush in to save those babies? Even the ones who survived will never return to who they were before they saw their friends and, in some cases, family massacred in front of their eyes, before they had to play dead to survive before they had to cover themselves in their classmate’s blood to stay alive.

Uvalde authorities stood by as parents begged them to save their children from a mass shooter, Salvador Ramos, uvalde victims, robb elementary

These beautiful brown babies have been failed by our government which they trusted to keep them safe. These parents have been failed by the very country they left their homes for. I know people want to be able to protect their homes from intruders, I get it, I told you I’m from ranchers. But no one without a fully developed brain, under the age of 25, or anyone not trying to mass murder humans needs an assault rifle unless they are in the military. We need to do something, we can’t just keep letting our children be mowed down in a spray of gunfire because the people we elect care more about NRA money than the lives of our children.

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salvador ramos, robb Elementary, uvalde texas, gun control, what happens tomorrow

19 second, third and fourth graders and two adults at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas were gunned down by an armed mass shooter, 18-year-old, Salvador Ramos a student at Uvalde High School. The massacre happened at Robb Elementary School, where children between the ages of 7 and 10 study, occurred at around 11:37 local time, this morning. Ramos was killed at the scene by police.

Uvalde is a small, close-knit community where moms typically walk their children to school. In a town filled with humble, hard-working people with a population of 16,000 residents, nearly 80% of the population is Hispanic.

Ramos bought two assault rifles just days ago when he turned 18. This morning, he shot his grandmother before his massacre at Robb Elementary. While he fled after shooting his grandmother, he got into a car wreck near Robb elementary and then ran into the school and started shooting.

His grandmother is still alive and receiving treatment in San Antonio.

salvador ramos, robb Elementary, uvalde texas, gun control, what happens tomorrow

Again, I am sitting here alone with my thoughts on a day when 19 children were gunned down in a Texas elementary school. Why? How? How do we allow this to keep happening? This morning, 21 families sent their loved ones to school and they will never see those sweet faces again. They will never feel the pull of those little outstretched arms around their necks. Never hear their laughter ring out at something silly. Never get to tuck them in and say good night ever again. Those parents will never get to watch their children grow up and become who they were meant to be because some asshole was able to easily get his hands on guns, walk into a school and snuff out those precious lives. We are all responsible. How many more children have to die? How many parents have to lose the most precious thing on this earth to them before we say no more?

salvador ramos, robb Elementary, uvalde texas, gun control, what happens tomorrow
Xavier Lopez

What makes me the most upset and angry is that 10 years ago ( and many times since) I found myself crying over other people’s children. I send my girls to school every morning since Sandy Hook afraid and praying that when I return to pick them up, they’re still alive. What the fuck kind of country do we live in? A country where Republicans care more in theory about unborn babies than they do about the safety of those children already living? A country where we believe it’s a political decision what women can and can’t do with their bodies, where we don’t respect a woman’s right to govern her own body but we believe it’s more important to coddle those who don’t understand the constitution and believe that every person is entitled to the right to bear assault weapons and callously and randomly murder our living, breathing children?

America, what are we going to do to protect our children? What are you willing to sacrifice to keep your child safe? I don’t know about you but there is nothing I wouldn’t sacrifice for mine. Our children go to school every day knowing that an active shooter is just as possible as a tornado. They have drills for both. Our children live in a world where they know that just existing puts them in peril and they know that some of you are willing to make that sacrifice, as long as you can keep your right to bear arms. What about my right to hold my child in my arms? What about every parent’s expectation to live their life loving their child and watching them grow up as we grow old?

My eyes are burning from crying. I held it in all day until my girls went to bed because I can’t let them see how terrified I am. How broken and raw the thought of losing them makes me. How my heart is shattered for the moms and dads who are going to bed tonight knowing that from this day on, their life will never be the same. From this moment on, they will be changed. There will be a hole in their life and a void in their hearts that will ache every minute of every day for the rest of their days. It will never get better. My heart breaks knowing that nothing will change and in a few days, there will be another shooting and someone else’s child will not be coming home and it will go on and on because we let it. Many Robb Elementary parents are still waiting to find out if their children are alive or dead.

No parent should have to lose their child in such a way and we have the power to stop it. We just need to prioritize our children’s lives above a right ( ironically, that was written into the constitution at a time in history when civilians needed to be at the ready to protect their families from enemies domestic and foreign because there was not a big enough army) to bear arms. We are no longer lacking sufficient armed forces. What we are lacking is humanity and general respect for the lives of others.

We don’t need to bear arms we need to raise better humans with fewer guns and more kindness and compassion. We need to condemn hatred and bigotry. We need to care more about people and less about being right or getting our way. We need to love more and be more tolerant of things, people and cultures we don’t understand. We need to destigmatize mental health and make it the norm to seek support. Most importantly, we need to protect our innocent children from being murdered while doing nothing other than existing.

I am angry because this was senseless and preventable. Yes, we could have stopped this. It’s the guns. The guns are readily available to anyone over the age of 18-years-old who wants one and can afford it. You say don’t give guns to the mentally ill. Do you think mentally ill people disclose they are mentally ill when trying to purchase a gun? No, in fact, since we live in a country that stigmatizes mental illness they simply avoid seeking help. That’s the protection plan. They don’t disclose. If the guns were not so easily accessible if it were more difficult to access firearms maybe the children of Sandy Hook would be going into their senior year next year. Maybe the babies at Robb Elementary would be heading off to summer vacations and camps and all the other things that little kids do in the summertime. Instead, 22 families will be planning funerals. 22 families will be crying themselves to sleep. 22 families have been broken like so many countless others at the hands of a man with a gun.

Who shoots little kids? What have they ever done to anyone? What is so wrong in your head to make a person want to shoot up random strangers (helpless children) because whatever is going on in their own lives isn’t easy? Most of us don’t have it easy. Life is hard and made exponentially harder when we have to constantly worry that something tragic and potentially dangerous can happen to any of us at any time, especially in a world that values getting their way over doing the right thing.

So please keep your thoughts and prayers, they won’t bring those babies back and they are of no comfort to those grieving parents. If you want to do something to change the narrative, lay down your guns. Implore your representatives to push for common-sense gun control. No one is hunting with an assault rifle. No one needs an arsenal of weapons at the ready. A child’s brain is not fully developed until 25-years-old, why are we allowing teenagers to buy assault rifles? Unless, an 18-year-old is in the armed forces, being taught how to properly use a weapon to protect his country, there is no reason he needs a gun. And in no world is owning a gun more important than children getting to live and grow up.

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back pain, sciatica, midlife

Well, it’s been a hell of a last few days. Of course, it’s May so what else did I expect? If the universe is not trying to break me, is it even May? Thursday, I fell down my stairs. Hello, sciatica, not so happy to see you again. My fall was dramatic like a full-on telenovela or someone threw me down our stairs (though it feels like it) but more accurately, our new, gigantic French Mastiff excitedly came down the stairs while I was heading down to refill my water bottle in the middle of the night. Well, if you’ve been here long, you know that at night or in inclement weather I walk like a f*cking pirate thanks to the hardware situation in my leg from the broken leg situation in 2015. Yep, it’s the f*cking gift that just keeps on giving.

My point is that I’m already unstable as it is and when an unexpected bull in a China shop comes running behind you in the dark, I’m more than likely going to end up on my ass and I did.

Disclosure: I was provided the Boppy® Multi-use Slipcovered Total Body Pillow for review purposes but my true love and opinion of this pillow are all my own.

Anyways, it was only about 4 stairs but my life did flash before my eyes because this is not the first time I’ve fallen and, more often than expected, I’ve ended up in the ER. I didn’t this time but, of course, it was no regular fall. In my desperation not to break more bones, I forgot my own “go limp b*tch” protocol and stiffened my entire body up. What happened you asked?

My feet were capoeira style swept out from beneath me thanks to aforementioned adorable, silent but deadly dogue de Bordeaux (big ass dog) and thanks to the carpet on the stairs, I lost my balance. I stiffened my arms trying to catch myself (as if I remember nothing from the 2020 broken toe/concussion situation) and at the same time, I broke my fall into the banister with my ribs while stiffening my legs, arm and entire right side of my body. I thought I escaped with minimal damage until the next day. I woke up pretty sore.

Oh no, bad timing. I had a second job interview at noon with the owner of a company that could prove to be a super exciting opportunity for me. I pulled on my big girl panties, a really cute outfit and sucked up any pain I was feeling. Did I mention the in –person interview went from being 2 people to 7-9, depending when you checked?  Did I mention I haven’t had an in-person interview in 17 years?

The unconventional interview lasted 5 hours (that’s a post for another day) but I wasn’t actually surprised because the first one lasted 6 hours. But for the 5 hours, I was sitting in a typical office chair, super uncomfortable. About hour 3 I started using my left hand as a chin rest because I was actually trying to feign interest in someone else’s interview that I ended up a part of. I think I must have kept it there for about 2 hours. After 5 hours, I tried to stand up and my sciatica said, “F*ck you, Debi. Sit your ass back down!” But I had to go because it had been a long, weird day and I had eaten nothing all day so I was ready to eat the face off of the next person who looked at me.

I got in my car and as I drove, I knew the damage had been extensive and the weekend was going to be for recuperating. As soon as I got in my car, I realized that my left hand that was supporting my face for 2 hours, had tingling in my pinky and ring finger. OMG, did I have a stroke during my interview? I figured it just fell asleep under the weight of my chunky face and double chin. Only the pins and needles gave way to numbness.

By the time, I reached home, I could barely get out of my SUV because my sciatica nerve pain was so intense. I slowly grandpa walked into the house and barked at my poor husband to get us some dinner, as I put the heating pad on my back and prayed the damage wasn’t permanent. I felt about 100 years old. I started to get worried because the funky feeling in my fingers was not getting any better.

Well, it’s been three days. The feeling just came back in my fingers today. It’s an ulnar nerve injury from when I dislocated my elbow trying to do some manual labor in my yard that is acting up. It’s basically a pinched nerve that shows up occasionally t keep my humble.

However, my lower back sciatica pain that started when I was pregnant with the girls has its own plans. I’m currently trying to find a way to position myself to not want to kill myself from the pain. The only thing that seems to work is the Boppy® Multi-use Slipcovered Total Body Pillow it’s a one-piece pregnancy pillow that can be used in multiple ways ( well beyond pregnancy, as I am almost 15 years postpartum) to make you and your growing baby bump ( or your regular mom belly) more comfortable. Its unique contoured design supports your body head-to-toe. That boppy has been my saving grace these last few nights. Without it, I wouldn’t have been able to get comfortable enough to fall asleep.

Well, that was my weekend. How was yours? Did you enjoy every moment of it or was it too short and filled with obligations?

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How to Keep Your Shit Together while Busy Taking Care of Everyone Else, how to protect your mental health while taking care of everyone else

Estimated reading time: 7 minutes

These past few weeks of motherhood have been thus far some of the hardest ever. Shit has happened that no one teaches you about in the parenting books. I’ve studied the whole of the DSM and I still couldn’t have been prepared, as a mother, for the kind of emotional toll that has been taken on me. That’s why I’m realizing how to protect your mental health while taking care of everyone else is so important for parents.

You know there are things you expect, in the back of your head, in the bottom of your heart and right there in the pit of your stomach. Things that you know can happen, like all those terrible side effects they warn you of when you are taking the drugs that will save your life. You take them anyways because living is more important than having the shakes. Well, my friends, this shit was not on the warning label when I got pregnant. Or maybe it was and I chose not to believe it.

I have been struggling with mental illness since the teen years. There is a whole list of disorders and illnesses that I can speak of at length and in-depth. That should have been a red flag to me that maybe I needed to be a little more prepared for what could happen if the girls got triggered. But, I thought, I’ve got this. I found my way out of the darkness. It’ll be fine. And it was until it wasn’t anymore.

In my teen years, my mind was held hostage in a dark abyss. I couldn’t find my way out or at least it felt like I couldn’t but, true to Debi fashion, one step at a time, one moment at a time, I survived. Barely. Even though there were days when it was so painful to be alive that I prayed something or someone would kill me because I couldn’t do it myself and hurt my mom. She was my savior and she had no idea of the dark thoughts that were infiltrating my brain. It’s probably better that way. But I know.

In those days, it hurt to breathe because it felt counterintuitive and I cried more tears than I thought were even possible. But, my childhood was tumultuous to put it nicely. A lot of bad shit happened to me and when you’re a kid, you can only take so much before you break. Or so I thought. I’m more resilient than I ever imagined because I never actually broke, I just bent as far as my child mind and body could.

I promised myself that I would never allow that to be my daughters’ stories. They would live a “normal” life. As if I even know what that looks like. I promised myself they would never be triggered and I thought I could protect them from my same fate. But I was wrong. There are some things we can’t actually stop from happening, no matter how hard we try or how ‘good’ we are at this parenting thing. Maybe this is why I feel like such a fraud when people compliment me. I know the truth. There are simply some things that are beyond our control. That’s a hard and bitter pill for this recovering smother mother to swallow.

How to protect your mental health while taking care of everyone else is a hard, but imperative, balance to find

Today, I took my daughter to her first adolescent group therapy session. Never expected that to be a milestone. She almost cried when I left her. I almost cried when I left her in a room full of strange kids in their own turmoil. Is this a good idea? Is she going to get ideas or learn bad habits? But isn’t this supposed to help her live? All that matters is that she makes it through, by any means possible. She is the most important thing in my life. She and her sister are truly my entire reason why.

A couple of weeks ago, her depressive episode got so bad that I could see her slipping into that same dark abyss that I used to live in. I lived there for years. I honestly thought I’d never escape. I resigned myself to living there alone with my pain until it killed me. For me, it started at 12-years-old with body dysmorphia, then the major depression and suicidal ideations started around freshman year of high school, onto eating disorders beginning around 17 ( bulimia then anorexia with extreme exercising), and ultimately a diagnosis of bipolar 1 when I spent most of my college years and my mid 20’s manic AF. I didn’t have my first panic attack until I was 35-years-old but according to my psychiatrist, anxiety was there first.

As a child, I was prone to terrible stomach aches that landed me in the emergency room on more than one occasion. That’s how little Debi’s anxiety from living with an abusive, alcoholic father first manifested. But I learned quickly, around 7-years-old, how to develop my coping mechanisms. I’m a counter. It worked for years until my husband lost his job when I was 35. #mommysfirstpanicattack Yep, if I’m anxious and talking to people (pushing through my anxiety) I’m probably counting every word you are saying and all the letters in the words.  I know I’m an extrovert but I also have my limits. I didn’t even realize I counted or what it meant until about a year into my therapy. Did I mention now ADHD is on the table? Aye aye aye. Like seriously, what the actual fuck?

Anyways, most if not all of these things are in control ( save for a little mania that gets triggered when I’m under duress…you know like when you’re dealing with the guilt and pressure of passing along your fucked up brain chemistry to your children). You have not had mom guilt of this level if you haven’t genetically fucked your kids up. It is a special kind of hell because it is in fact my fault. I’ve been crying about this a lot lately.

Right now, I’m trying to keep my shit together while putting out a seemingly unlimited amount of mental health trash fires over here daily. It’s a lot. I’m overwhelmed. I’m triggered and I’m trying my best to do what’s best for everyone, especially my girls. I thought I was holding it together. I mean I know that on the inside, I’m falling apart but I thought on the outside, I was taking care of business. I think I am for the most part but I’m neglecting myself. I know this because the other days while I was sobbing about my daughter’s mental health crisis, I could hear my pressured speech and feel my pressured thoughts machine-gunning out of my head and my husband gave me a hug and said, “But Debi, you haven’t looked happy for a while.” And he’s not wrong. I’m too overwhelmed and exhausted and scared to be happy because what right do I have when my children are in pain?

That’s how I know that I need to step back, take inventory and do whatever I need to do to get my own mental health in order. Because skipping myself isn’t doing any favors for my children or my husband. In fact, I’m adding to the pile of neverending trash fires currently going on. Look, I’m not complaining. This is me processing. I write, that’s how I survive. If you’ve ever wondered why my feeds are not perfectly curated, it’s not because I don’t know that it’s what people want its because I refuse to live a lie. My battle with eating disorders made me a liar for about 8 solid years. You have to lie to hide the fact that you are slowly killing yourself from the people who love you. If not, they will stop you from your slow suicide. And I preferred to exile myself from everyone than to let them know how truly vulnerable and pathetic I was. I spent so many years striving for perfection and I’m still a fucking relentless overachiever. It’s just who I am. If I stop moving I die. But now, with years of therapy and doing the work to not only understand my disease but myself, I will never silently suffer again and I don’t want that for my daughters either. I never want them to feel that alone and afraid to live. So how do I protect my mental health while taking care of everyone else? I have to be vigilant that I take care of myself first or I won’t be able to take care of anyone else. I know from a mom’s perspective, it sounds very selfish but it’s not. It is giving myself permission to heal so that I can help the people I love the most heal and get the help they need with my full support.

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how my miscarriage still affects me, anniversary of loss, loss anniversary, moms mental health

Estimated reading time: 5 minutes

Today is May 1st and it’s the day I dread all year long. This year particularly because it’s been a rough year, month, week and day. 10 years ago today, I lost the baby who would have been our third child. It’s weird because on that day, a part of me did die. I am not the same woman I was the day before. I have been broken beyond repair and put back together with existential gorilla glue or maybe just sheer mother’s love because if it weren’t for my 2 living daughters, I’m pretty sure I would have just given up which is saying a lot considering that giving up has never been in my wheelhouse.

I’m sure that anyone who has never survived a miscarriage or loss of a child thinks I’m being overly dramatic but I assure you, when my baby died, I wanted to follow suit. I was shattered and felt betrayed by my body, by the world and even by God. God, is the one thing, I have always had an unshakable faith in but in those moments after hearing that my child no longer had a heartbeat, I wasn’t so sure what I believed anymore. I was angry, sad and felt like I had been completely blind-sighted by the events that were unfolding at an alarming rate. I felt vulnerable and helpless and worthless simultaneously and I hated myself and everyone else for that. Why couldn’t I make this better? Why didn’t I stop this? How could I have prevented this? Why me?

Why me, indeed. You know, I used to think that child and pregnancy loss was something that only happened to other people. I didn’t think I was better. I just thought that it didn’t happen that often and I was probably safe. There was no genetic history of miscarriages happening on either side of my family. For some reason, I thought I was exempt from the possibility even though rationally, I knew horrible things happen to everyone and I’m not special but maybe on some level I thought I was. I’ve survived a lot of tumultuous shit in my lifetime, maybe I just thought I deserved a break.

But when it happened and I was falling apart in every way possible, an invisible community of women who most I had never even met or spoken to previous to this catastrophic moment in my life, rallied beneath me and lifted me up in compassion, understanding and love. From the nurses who wheeled me back to my D & E, to the other moms who read this website and I’ve come to know and love over the years, to my IRL friends who comfortingly disclosed their own losses and even strangers who read my post, these women across the world swooped in like superheroes and saved me from myself. How could I give up when so many stoic women who had gone through this same thing were holding their hands out to me to give me the strength to carry on? How could I give up when I looked into the teary eyes of my little girls who knew but could not comprehend what was going on with their mommy? They needed me and I needed them to be my reason why and they were.

You know, I was so devastated on that day that I became the most selfish version of myself, I had to in order to live. I still feel really guilty about this but in my soul-crushing pain, I never once asked the Big Guy how he felt. I couldn’t even face him. He was the one person who I felt the most that my loss had let down. I’ll never forget in the minutes after finding out that our baby had died, my Obstetrician, Nina (yeah we’ve become close like that after the gynecological tragedies we’ve shared), made me call my husband and tell him so that he could take care of me. She saw me disintegrating before her eyes. She knew a total collapse was imminent.

He knew I was seeing the gynecologist and he answered the phone with his usual jovial, kind, caring voice, “How’s our baby?” I’m crying right now just remembering. When I told him, when I tried to say the words I felt as if I was going to choke to death. I tried to swallow them down and rewind time. Nothing made sense and everything was hazy. I felt like I had betrayed him in a way that I can never undo and that somehow made it all worse. My husband is my best friend and the one person I love and respect more than anyone else in this world. We’ve built a life together, we made an unspoken deal when we got married to always be there for one another and I feel like I didn’t keep up my end of the bargain.

But today has been 10 years since I lost our baby and it still hurts as much as it did on that day, even if I sometimes feel like I am the only one who remembers or commemorates the day. But how could I pretend that today is like any other day when I so vividly remember the devastation that I felt on that day 10 years ago?

Even though I feel completely alone in my loss, I know that I’m not. My husband gives me space and my beautiful, sweet, kind, compassionate girls are extra tender with me every May 1st because they know. They’re only 14 and 17 but they feel the love that I have for them on a daily basis and they sense the gravity of my loss; the void in my heart, the heaviness of the emptiness of my arms that tinges my life every day with sadness that grows just a bit heavier every May 1st. 10 years ago today, I died a little bit.

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Estimated reading time: 5 minutes

Tonight, I’m sitting here with a lot of feelings swirling around in my heart and a lot of thoughts and unanswered questions in my head. At the top of that list is how to help your child survive depression and anxiety. There’s been a lot of big things happening around here. Yesterday, we celebrated Bella’s Junior day at school. How can my first baby be a senior and be leaving for college soon? Sunday will be the 10th anniversary of the loss of our third baby and it’s tinging every day this week with sadness.

Today was the day that I’d been dreading my entire life even before I had my children. The one thing I hoped would never happen, the thing that has filled me with guilt and sadness since even before thinking of becoming a mom.

Today, my daughter verbalized what most adults cannot… she told me that she no longer feels any joy in her life.

I was diagnosed Bipolar 1 when I was in my 20s and back then, I was very regularly manic. That’s how my bipolar presents mostly, I fly so high that I can’t come down so I fly erratically until the extreme irritability and anger kick in. Then, I become unbearable. So, I was relieved when I got my diagnosis because it meant I was bent not broken and that felt kind of like a miracle to me. It felt as good as being cured. But the one thing that scared me the most was the possibility of passing it along to my children. I’d rather live my life dealing with the harsh reality of highs and lows than ever let my children feel one moment of unrest but we don’t always get what we want.

Because of my own experience with mental illness, I am an advocate for my children’s mental health. I’ve raised them knowing that everyone could benefit from therapy and that there is no shame in having a mental illness diagnosis. It just is what it is and all we can do is get a good psychiatrist, a compassionate psychologist and work the plan and take our meds. We have to do the work and it is some of the hardest work you’ll ever do but it’s the only way to get through it.

Today, my worst fear was realized when I heard my child, whom I love more than my own life, say that she could feel no joy and thought maybe she needed more help than I alone could give. On one hand, I was so proud of her for advocating for herself and for being so self-aware at such a young age but on the other hand, I was absolutely terrified. How can this be happening?

I’ve done everything I could think of proactively because of living with and learning about my own mental illness. My girls have been in therapy for the past 2 years. I keep a close eye on their mental health and well-being, we talk about everything openly and I look for the signs because I know how torturous it is to go through it alone. But there are some things you can’t stop from happening. You can only be there to help them find their way and mental illness one of those things that you can’t stop from happening. No matter who you are, how much money you have, where you live or who you think you are, mental illness does not discriminate. The difference in the outcome is whether you get the help you need or not.

In my 20’s, I was very manic almost exclusively but when I was my daughters’ ages (really from about 14-18 years old) I was highly suicidal. But it wasn’t just ideation, I had a plan. I had backup plans to my plan. It was so painful to live that I often felt the only way to stop the pain was to disappear into the abyss. I wanted to die more than I wanted anything else. Honestly, I used to pray for the strength to do it but there was one thing that stopped me, my mom. I just couldn’t get past what it would do to her and the thought of me being the cause of her feeling like she wanted to disappear into the abyss was the very thing that prompted me to keep fighting. I never told a soul and the fact that my daughter discussed her mental health with me, I feel, is evolved beyond what I was at her age.

I knew that if I killed myself, I would essentially be killing my own mother and I could never do that to her so I kept living. One day at a time, some days, one minute at a time and on others, one second at a time. Living during that time felt cruel and unusual but it was my only option. I think that’s where my unbreakable (or as my daughters call it unbearable) optimism comes from. I had to find a way to keep going through the darkest time of my life, alone.

My point is that life is a struggle for all of us in its own way. Sometimes life is so hard and scary that it’s almost impossible to see clear of the darkness. But I promise that eventually, the darkness lifts and becomes bearable. Learn to read between the lines and hear what your teenagers are feeling, beyond what they are saying. It’s not easy being a teenager in today’s digital world. There is so much pressure to be perfect in a world where everything is filtered and curated.

At the end of the day, all I want is for my girls to be happy. I want them to feel loved and filled with hope and a sense of purpose. I want them to know that everything is possible and no dream is too big. But mostly, I want them to feel real, genuine joy and I will do whatever it takes to make sure that I safely get them to a place where they can and they do. It’s been one of the hardest weeks of my life but I am grateful that she felt comfortable enough to talk to me because it terrifies to think about the alternative.

Have you ever been faced with the fact that your child may have a mental health issue and need help beyond what you can offer as a mom? What did you do? How did you get through it and comfort your child in a meaningful way without trivializing or catastrophizing their situation? How did you learn to listen beyond their words?  

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KNowing when to walk away from toxic relationships, toxica

Estimated reading time: 5 minutes

The disappointment of people who let you down whether it be a family member or a close friend is always devastating and somehow unexpected, even when all the signs warn you that it’s coming. Have you ever been let down by friends or family? Let’s be honest? Who hasn’t been? People are human and humans are fallible. We know this. Hell, I practically expect it. I’ve lived long enough to know that shit really does happen, especially when you least expect it. The key is recognizing toxic people and knowing when to walk away from toxic relationships.

The thing is I don’t want perfection in the people I love but I want respect, love and effort. I want you to try to live up to my expectations because I’m trying to be my best for you. I’m not trying to be perfect, because I want you to know the real me, I want to be less uneasy being my vulnerable self with you than the general public. So when you can’t do me the basic courtesy of being honest with me, you fail me, yourself and our friendship. This is what I teach my children. This is something I learned the hard way.

I teach my girls to behave this way and to expect it from others. Relationships are investments and you should expect ROI. Friendship shouldn’t be a bottomless pit of give. You should get what you give. You should get what you want to get. Will that always look like equality? Never. Sometimes one will need more than the other and other times the other will need more. Relationships should never involve receipts, IOUs or keeping score, it should be about being there and giving to one another what the other might need. 

Knowing when to walk away from toxic relationships is a life skill and most of us don’t learn it until we’ve been burnt by toxic people more than once.

As I’ve gotten older, I’ve realized that not everyone feels or views relationships the same way. There are people who want relationships for purely selfish reasons, to see how they can benefit from it with no regard to the other person involved. Honestly, unrequited love has its place but not in a confirmed relationship whether that be friendship, a relationship or a marriage, that’s a violation of the social contract that humans agree to when getting involved with other human beings. It’s a fucking bamboozle and I’m not here for it. 

So, let’s break the cycle. I’ve done my fair share of crying over relationships and I’m done. I’m henceforth accepting people for who they show me they are. I’m no longer putting my hope on how people can or will change because that’s not fair to me or them.

I’m not trying to change anyone and I’m certainly not changing myself for anyone. I’m trying to be my own best self so that I like the me in the mirror. End of. If you don’t like her, no need to discuss or argue, let’s just civilly part ways. TBH, if you tell me you don’t like me, I can accept that. I’m not for everyone. But if you pretend we’re friends or whatever the relationship is and you’re not all in, that’s worse. If I’m not a hell yes for you, let me be a hell no. It might sting temporarily because I’m human and I lean a tad on the narcissistic side but I will get over it. 

However, if you enter into a relationship under false pretenses, that’ll hurt to my core because I allowed myself to be vulnerable, love and trust you when our time together was based on a lie that you knowingly perpetuated. You’ve wasted my precious time and squandered my care for you. That’s grounds for hate to me and you deserve it. I can forgive but I can’t forget so, we will never be the same because the trust and respect isn’t there… it probably never was because when you care about someone, you try to protect them. 

I’ve taught my girls that to have a good friend , you’ve got to be a good friend. They believe this so they know the rules. They won’t waste your time pretending. Faking is not their way. Either they love you or you’re not significant enough to matter in any way that can hurt them. Make no mistake, they care about the human race, they are respectful and kind but they know that relationships are an investment. They don’t say anything behind you’re back that they aren’t prepared to say to your face. They don’t judge people on what they have, do or how they look or how popular you are. They judge you on how you treat them and others. They observe. Still, they’re teenagers and my middle-aged wisdom can only guide them through the murky waters of the teen years. But sometimes their youth and big feelings drown out my experience and they get hurt. 

Relationship hurt has to be felt and gone through to process and make peace with. I encourage them to feel their feelings, talk about them and be honest with others about their feelings. Don’t push them down or pretend they’re ok when they’re not. That’s a recipe for disaster because then you’re just damaged for the next relationship. And don’t be fooled, it isn’t just romantic partners who have the power to hurt you in relationships. This advice applies to friends, lovers, family members, parents and co-workers. Respect  yourself, know your boundaries, speak up and put in what you want to get out and most importantly, don’t be afraid to walk away from relationships that no longer serve you, or worse, actively hurt you. Life is too fucking short. 

Have you ever had to walk away from a relationship that you really wanted to work? What was harder for you, walking away from family, a relationship or a friendship? What are your best tips for walking away from toxic relationships?

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