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Blog

These are my thoughts, yo.

Filtering by Tag: advice

Buy Yourself Flowers: Managing Depression with #SelfCare

jasmine banks

hope and joy  

Managing depression can be hard. I've lived with depression for the majority of my life. As I've educated myself on depression and the debilitating impact it can have, I have learned ways to manage through the rough spots.  These acts are called self care, self kindness, and self compassion. When my depression gets too heavy,  I make the effort to do simple things that help me connect to hope and joy. On its face, buying yourself flowers seems trivial. The reality is that simple acts of self kindness help connect you with being present. It is a measure of #selfcare that helps to combat those painful thought processes that can keep us spiraling in deeper depression.

What things do you do to manage depression and sadness?

When Your Child's School Experience Isn't Measuring Up.

jasmine banks

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My oldest child is on his way to wrapping up his first year of kindergarten. When we registered him for school all of our friends with older children told us to be prepared for the heartbreak. “You baby will never be the same,” they’d say knowingly. I braced myself for tears and anxiety and all the things that come with realizing your child is making the first steps into a journey that leads to moving farther and farther away from being a baby. When Isaiah entered kindergarten on that first day, I sniffled a bit but I was mostly excited for him. He loves school. He loves to socialize and he is ferociously independent.  

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Toward the middle of the school year, though, we began to see Isaiah exhibit anxiety about school. He’d beg me not to go. When homework was sent home he fought us. He’d scream and get annoyed and exclaim, “I KNOW HOW TO TRACE THESE LETTERS MOM!” We decided that we wouldn’t do the homework. The kind of battles that had to be waged in order to get it done weren’t worth it. He did know how to trace the letters, and I wasn’t going to have a two hour stand off over it. Isaiah still gets off the bus and asks to be switched to a different classroom. He talks about a particular child who bullies him. He says the other little boys call him “gay” because he likes the colors purple and pink. One day he told me he hated black people. I asked him where he heard people say that and he named off several of his friends who he reported that, “they don’t like black people either.” When I explained to him he was Black, of African American heritage, he was upset and asked me if his friends would know. He cries and tells me his stomach hurts and he doesn’t want to go to school. Once I get him pass the point of anxiety and we get him to the doors of the school he seems okay. When he arrives home he’ll report he had a great time, but then still ask to change schools.

I adored school. It was my safe place. The women and men who taught me inspired me and I excelled. I had really high hopes for Isaiah’s school experiences. It hurts my heart that my five year old has already had such a negative experience. I ask my friends about their experience and they have very little input. It is hard for them to empathize because they have Caucasian child who aren’t learn to form their identity in a minority status. I am slowly beginning to realize that Siloam Springs school systems may not be able to provide the kind of diverse cultural experience my child will need. We had an amazing experience with the Northside Koala Pre-K program. Our teachers Mrs. Sherry and Mrs. Standifer went above and beyond to accommodate our families cultural differences and Isaiah flourished.

So when my friends were preparing me for what life is like with a school age child, they never mentioned this. There isn’t a handbook to help you decide what is the best option for your child’s school experience needs, is there? I want Isaiah to learn to be resilient, but I also want his first few school years to be positive years to build a successful school career on. I know teachers have rough jobs. I am not insinuating that they aren’t qualified educators, I am simply wrestling with the reality this school year was heartbreaking, but not for the reasons I thought.

Have you ever had something that wasn’t a fit for you and your child in their school experiences? How did you deal with it? What do you do when there is something that needs to be a special consideration in your child’s education? How do you make it work?

 

 

Some Days Are Like This...

jasmine banks

The sun shines in the window. It warms my skin and heats up the room. The joy should be palatable, but it isn't. Isaiah begs, "Mommy... PLEASE can we play." I hear myself answer, "No honey. Mommy doesn't feel good."  

He doesn't understand. I don't look sick, so how could I be sick.

This is depression.

That hardest part is having my mind. I make no qualms about the reality that I have a brilliant mind.

Sharp. Fast. Creative

And completely trapped inside a body that is riddled with depression. My arms and legs are heavy. My smiles aren't real. I get so angry. I feel like I should be able to will myself to move, to enjoy the taste of food, to feel hope. But I can't. Every day tasks become too big.

This is depression.

People who struggle with Major Depressive Disorder, like me, well... we get the label of lazy, melodramatic, unorganized, undependable, and chaotic. Those labels aren't true. Thoughts float through my head and I wrestle them back. It is like another person lives there, whispering poison to me all the time. I still go through the motions- the things that are keeping me holding on.

Today I fantasized what life would have been like to know one one at all. I felt compelled to run away. Live on an island. Never have to be with another soul again.

This is depression.

So I pull the covers up over my head and press my face in the bed. The voices of my children run up and down the hall echo and reverberate through my body. My sister is here with me, caring for them, helping me (again). I want so badly to stand up and play, to be alive and active, to smile and mean it... but I am hidden beneath this dark thing without a name. I mourn so much. I have lost so much. I hurt so much.

This is depression.

SO many people suffer from debilitalting depression. Be it environmental or chemical origins, depression is serious, frightening, and frequently debilitating. I came home from Green Mountain at Fox Run SO raw. Some medical issues and that experience fueled this episode and I am crawling back to "normal". Have you ever struggled with depression? What helped you?