Where the Heck Have I Been? Part 2

So let me begin. November 13th, 2017 is the day that Kahea was born. She was born in the morning...a perfect 6 lbs 9 ounces and 21". She became my everything. We spent every single second together, waking and sleeping for months. We would walk around Manayunk, visit Dada working at the coffee shop, visit friends, do some work, talk to each other, play together, and of course eat together. Kahea was breast fed and cloth diapered until my world turned upside down. It seems like it happened so fast, but my downward spiral was a slow couple of months. It started with the house, as laundry and dishes piled up and dog poop collected in the backyard (gross...I know). As the cleanliness of my house decreased, so did my mental health. I later found out that the condition of the home has a lot to say about your health. That was the first sign.

The second sign was me not wanting to socialize.

The third sign was me not wanting to leave the house.

It seemed like it was only a matter of time before I became so depressed that all of my hope left me and I was left feeling like a total failure...and I just wanted to die. This is hard for me to write about but if it helps even one person then it makes it all worth it. You see, there is a stigma around mental health and people think that it is something you can control if you only "think positive" or "get over it" or "realize that people have it worse than you do". I heard one or more of these statements from loved ones, I won't tell you which or who. Anyway, I quickly learned that statements like that only made it worse. It's like telling someone who is angry "Don't be mad" or someone who is anxious, "Just stop being anxious" like it's something you can control. 

What came next is something so terrifying, I still can't believe it happened. I tried to kill myself. Multiple times. 

The only reason that I am here to tell my story is because I used to work in the Firearms Identification Unit with the Philadelphia Police Department and I didn't want the evidence to get back to my old coworkers. I'll leave you to put two and two together.

So I tried hanging myself instead in the basement of our Manayunk home. I was unsuccessful. I can still hear the voice of the baby coming from upstairs (she was safe in her bassinet). Why would I want to kill myself with such a beautiful gift lying just two flights of stairs above me? Because I felt like I was failing her as a mother. She was breastfed for just short of 5 months before I started losing my milk. I was not able to eat or drink without feeling nauseous and I started to have issues sleeping (which I had never had before). I thought I was pregnant. The thought of having another baby in the mental state that I was in was terrifying. Enough that I looked up "natural" ways to abort a baby. Now I am a Christian and would have never thought about aborting a precious gift of life but now you can understand where I truly was mentally.  

 I'm crying as I write this because I can still feel the pain of feeling empty and numb. Like there was a void in my heart and my life that couldn't be filled. I was surrounded by people who loved me on a daily basis yet I felt so alone. Like no one cared.

Just a few days later, with the shame felt by not completing the task that I set out to do,..

Where the Heck Have I Been? Part 1

As some of you may know, I fell off of the face of planet Earth for a few months.

 

Soooo....WHERE THE HECK HAVE YOU BEEN?!?

 

Before I tell you that, I have to tell you something else...

I suffer from Bipolar Disorder Type I, Anxiety, Depression, and I also have ADHD.

 

Okay, Kels...what the heck does that have to do with anything?

Well...I didn't find that out until about two months ago. All I know is that all of my life makes sense now. Finding this out isn't exactly something to jump for joy over, but for me it is heaven sent.

Everything makes sense. Everything!

From the endless daydreaming to being verbally abrasive to my loved ones to crying my eyes out and wanting to crawl into a hole and die.

For real. 

To continue for the sake of brevity, I suffered with Post Partum Depression a few months after having Kahea. The only problem was that it went undiagnosed and then untreated and lead to psychosis.

"What the heck is that?", you might ask.

Well, it certainly isn't something to joke or laugh about. Although I can make light of it now, it was the darkest time in my 26 year old life. I was in a place where the light itself was as thick darkness. 

To be continued... 

 

Do all things with love.

A little mid-week reflection...

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As I stumbled across this quote on Instagram earlier today, I was reminded of the verse that inspired it from 1 Corinthians 16:14...

 “Let all that you do be done in love.”

‭‭And all I could think about was this life that I've been living. This has been a wild ride of a year, that has tested my faith and stretched me like never before. My husband and I left our jobs to become Entrepreneurs, we found out that I was pregnant with our first child five months in (yeah, I know...it's hard to believe), and have been brought to the end of ourselves emotionally, physically, mentally, and spiritually. 

This has been one of the most challenging years of my life...but it has also been the most rewarding. Not only have I struggled with finances, relationships, self doubt & judgment, but I have cried many, MANY times about where I am and have worried so much about where I might be.

That sounds super depressing, but I learned an extremely valuable lesson that I may have never learned if it wasn't for all the tears and questioning why. 

I have prayed and prayed for a life that is worth living, one filled with passion and purpose and love. One that is not defined by the possession of tangible or material things, but possession of sweet memories and moments shared with those near and dear to me.

If you would have met me years ago, you would have learned that I respected people (well, those who respected me anyway) but would often say, "I hate people". When I looked at those around me, I would be so quick to see their faults and flaws. It's no wonder I treated people like that, because it's how I treated myself. Quick to judge, quick to doubt, quick to say something negative. Looking back to that time in my life, I realize just how far I've come.

I'm absolutely the farthest thing from perfect, but I am progressing, I am learning, and I am growing. Every now and again I find myself reverting back to my old ways, but I am intentionally trying to be better, do better, and live better. I try to treat people with the same love and kindness that I wish to be treated with, regardless of whether it is reciprocated or not. Not gonna lie, it's pretty hard though. In the Bible, Jesus talks about this exact thing. He says, “You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you..."

"For if you love those who love you, what reward do you have?"

That is backwards thinking for many...so, you mean don't get an attitude with someone who gets an attitude with me? Yes, that's exactly what Jesus is saying. Not because it is the easiest thing to do...but because it is the best thing. For you, and for them.

I have some old friends named Bitterness and Resentment and I know them all too well. Over the years, I have learned that these friends are right there when someone mistreats you or wrongs you. They are there to tell you that you are right in feeling the way you do and to encourage you on your path of destruction. Someone once explained  it to me like drinking poison and expecting the other person to die...it just doesn't make sense. Harboring judgement or ill feelings towards someone only winds up harming you at the end of the day.

I have since been learning to look past the flaws, faults, and shortcomings of those around me (including the one in the mirror). Everyone is on their own journey and we are all learning different lessons in different seasons of life. We all have bad days. We all make mistakes. We are all human. Not one of us better than the other. 

I have learned that we all have something special that no one else in this world has. Our own life to live. We have been molded and shaped into who we are by every situation and circumstance that we have faced so far in this life...and it's not just because of what we've gone through, but how we have responded to it and have allowed it to teach us. I believe that every single one of us on this earth has a purpose, and that we all have something to offer this world. We all have gifts and talents and things that we can teach and things that we can learn from each other.

So back to doing all things with love...what does that even mean? Well, in context, it might look different for you than it does for me. For me, it means being open, honest, and transparent. It means communicating my feelings and thoughts to others in a way that doesn't aim to attack or demean. It doesn't mean being fake, or being nice out of obligation. It means being comfortable and confident enough with myself to know that I am not a product of someone's thoughts or opinions of me, or the way they treat me. To me, it means choosing to see the best in someone even when they are showing you their worst. It's loving the unlovable and forgiving the unforgivable.

Easy? No. Worth it? Absolutely.

With love, 

Kelsey 

 I love this unplanned picture taken by a friend who was walking by...she snapped this and sent it to me. Dan and I were just resting and talking about life. I'm increasingly thankful for moments like this.

I love this unplanned picture taken by a friend who was walking by...she snapped this and sent it to me. Dan and I were just resting and talking about life. I'm increasingly thankful for moments like this.