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Purposeful Parenting

Why Choosing Medication was the Best Move for Me: A Lesson in Humility



Why Choosing Medication was the Best Move for Me | A Lesson in Humility | Chaos & Kiddos
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This post originally appeared as a guest piece on the site of a fellow mommy blogger…She has allowed me to cross-post it here as reference to others who may benefit from the information within. Love her! Sharing why choosing medication was the best move for me was so important to my heart, and I hope others find encouragement in this lesson of humility. Be encouraged!
A Lesson in Humility: Why Choosing Medication was the Best Move for Me
Hello, my name is Katy and I’m a perfectionist. Super driven, crazy laser-beam focused and truthfully, pretty successful. My ability to multi-task while managing high level projects has opened some pretty amazing doors for me professionally. I don’t say that from a position of ego. Not in the least. I say all that because at some point, I started confusing my professional drive with the me that my family needed at home. I say that because at some point, I was even so proud as to claim myself capable of managing my OCD all by myself. With some very devastating results. While my OCD meshes mostly well with my professional endeavors and working environments, it most definitely does not have a place in my home. The day I truly realized that and accepted that I needed to ask for help was momentous.
Why Choosing Medication was the Best Move for Me - OCD Medical Inter
My life has never been particularly easy, and I guess over time, I didn’t realize that with each passing challenge, my anxiety increased a little bit more. My need for control and order became more aggressive and insistent. I didn’t see it but it was happening. I was frustrated with my family and with my life for not living up to my expectations of what I considered logical and just. What I didn’t realize was that those expectations weren’t grounded in rational thought. Plain speak. It just wasn’t fair. They were amplified by my anxiety and the compulsive need to have everything under control, excelling at the highest level, and perfectly ordered. All the time. ALL. THE. TIME. Anyone who didn’t see the world the way that I did became an adversary, even at home. Maybe I should even say, mostly at home. There was never a peaceful moment, never a period of relaxation where the never-ending to do list was tabled, never a moment I didn’t feel resentment that the rest of the world and my family didn’t feel the sense of urgency to “get stuff done” like I did. Didn’t they see it?!
I found myself in a very dark, very angry, and ultimately very lonely place. And then the panic attacks started.  My first reaction was to blame. I took the easy way out by pointing the finger at everyone around me. It will come as no surprise that nothing was gained there and the panic attacks got worse. I finally started looking at myself and contemplating my constant edginess and frustration. I started asking myself if I was being fair to my family and everyone else in my life, myself included. And the answer was a definitive no.
At my next appointment with my counselor, I admitted that it was time for me to explore medication. To her great relief, she agreed (I had been steadfastly against it before then, so she was respectfully exploring alternatives to coping with my anxiety). It took a few weeks before I started to notice a change, and then maybe even a few weeks after that before those around me started to notice the change. I’ve reached a happy place. A place where my professional drive can live to its merry heart’s content in the workplace, but where I find peace and a rational approach to life outside of the office. I find myself relaxed, not in a constant rush, and I even see the kids loosening up. I guess I really didn’t know how much my anxiety had affected my daily life and relationships until it wasn’t there anymore. And it felt good. It feels good. Do I still have moments of anxiousness? Yes. But now they are fleeting and I see them for what they are.
Moral of the story here? I’m definitely not saying medication is the one and only right way. Not at all. What I’m saying is that it’s ok to ask for help and to look into options that you previously hoped to avoid for whatever reason. It’s ok to need/choose medical intervention. I’ve finally come to a place of acceptance that I am a better person when I take this medication and that’s a win in my book. Don’t let stigmas or preconceived notions of a particular wellness plan derail your journey. Ultimately, whatever works best for you is best for you. Your journey is yours alone and your chosen path to healing is the right one. Whatever direction that path may take you.
Why Choosing Medication was the Best Move for Me - OCD Medical Inter
Welcome to the chaos! I’m Katy, the writing Mama behind Chaos & Kiddos: Mommy’s SurvivalGuide. In between juggling twin toddler boys, a rowdy preteen stepdaughter, a handful of fish, a newly acquired snail and a self-entitled bull dog with my husband of almost 10 years, I work full time in sales and also run an engagement, wedding and boudoir photographybusiness in Virginia Beach, VA.
When I’m not elbows-deep in kiddo crazy, you can find me behind the camera, teaching others basic photography skills or managing The Studio Hampton Roads. Yup, I’m one busy gal! Call me crazy, but life is good. I’m not sure how I manage to keep it all together, but I’ve got a good feeling that my obsessive compulsive disorder and raging perfectionism probably keep me running at the speed of light, however precariously.
SOCIAL MEDIA                                                                                              

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  1. Tina

    November 8, 2014 at 9:51 pm

    I applaud you for your open honesty! Don’t worry, you are not alone in the meds department 😉 So you are a photographer? I am too! I spent ten years doing wedding and portraits in Kentucky before the move to Mexico. See you around, #ibabloggers!

    • Katy Blevins

      November 12, 2014 at 1:57 pm

      Thank you Tina! Yup! I’ve been a photog for several years now. I used to do weddings and all else, but I’ve really focused my energies on boudoir and female portraiture. That’s really where my heart is. I love celebrating and encouraging women to embrace their unique beauty.

  2. Kristen

    April 18, 2015 at 7:10 am

    I had NO idea you struggled with this and am so glad you found a way to manage it. I am a perfectionist too – but had no idea what OCD felt like. Thanks for sharing your story!

  3. Self Move

    May 19, 2015 at 3:14 am

    wow,I got very important information by reading your post.Your blog is too much informative.I was looking for such information.Thanks for sharing this nice information.I am awaiting for your next post…

  4. Haley

    July 11, 2015 at 11:26 pm

    Thanks for sharing your story. I to suffer from any and panic attacks, and would avoid medicine at all costs. Then I realized I was driving myself and hubby nuts and finally received the help I needed. I wish many more people would be more open minded and speak up like you did. Then maybe the stigma would disappear.

    Thanks for sharing,

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Purposeful Parenting

How to Avoid the Epic Meltdown: Understanding Your Child’s Cues



How to Avoid the Epic Meltdown | Chaos & Kiddos: Mommy's Survival Guide
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This post contains affiliate links. For more information, please refer to my Legal Policies and Terms of Use. The opinions here are entirely my own. 
How to Avoid the Epic Meltdown: Understanding Your Child's Cues - Infographic

Duh, duh, duh….the dreaded meltdown. With one kid, this can bring the strongest mommy to her knees. With multiples, well…the word “epic” takes on a completely new meaning. In the worst possible way.

My system certainly isn’t perfect, and my kids give new meaning to the word tantrum (I have one that goes “no bones, limp baby, immovable and impossible to catch” and one that goes “cement block that weighs a bazillion pounds and can’t be bended, lifted and/or manipulated in any fashion,” with both adding crazy decibel, ear-splitting screams to boot). At some point in the insanity, I learned to anticipate the meltdown.
My husband and I can spot a meltdown coming from a mile away. We’ll give the other that “It’s time to go. Stat. Grab the kids and sprint. NOW. Forget your shoes! Leave them! Run!” look and as the rest of the human race looks on in bewildered dismay, we quickly head for the hills before things get ugly. I think we have our exit down to about 46 seconds these days (58 if I get to grab my shoes).
On a day-to-day basis, I’ve developed a couple of tricks that stave off most meltdowns. IF I’m paying attention. This is where the understanding your child’s cues part comes in to play. You have to catch the cue before it’s too late. “Practice makes perfect” is the phrase of the day here. Or is “trial through fire” more resonant? In any event, here are my go to lifesavers:

1. Mini Baby Blanket with Attachment Loop – Cold is the enemy. Nothing brings on the whine, which brings on the frustration, which brings on the ultimate refusal to act like a normal human being like frigid weather. I was lugging around blankets to tuck the kids in to their car seats (Remember to avoid bulky coats when strapping kiddos in!) and they were getting tossed, dropped, forgotten, you name it. Then I realized my mother-in-law had given us these super cute sensory blankets with a loop that could attach to a stroller and the light bulb went off. I strapped both blankets to the side of each car seat (they are small and hang to the side if unused, so unobtrusive and the loop is short and sweet, so no wrapping around anything else) and they’re always there when I need them. The link above is one of many Etsy shops that make these small wonders, and ours are even sports themed, so the husband is happy.
2. Baby Sign Language – I admit to being one of those people that eye-rolled the idea of baby sign language when I was pregnant. Never gave it a second thought until my kids starting screaming for reasons that I couldn’t seem to identify. A friend suggested I take a jab at it, and purely out of desperation, I did, still with a bit of attitude and skepticism. And then the boys started signing back. HALLELUJAH! We did only the basics – “More, All Done, Hungry, Please, Thank You” – and that opened up whole new worlds for us in communication. Not only were they excited to sign and overjoyed that I knew what the heck was going on, but I was immensely relieved and didn’t feel like Failure Parent of the Century. Big win. I eat my humble pie proudly. I was an idiot to think this was lame.
3. Snacks at the Ready – Baby Cooler – If cold is the enemy, hunger is the Antichrist. I’d say a good 50% of the time, the boys’ tantrums stem from being hungry. We’re usually in transition to our next meal when the tank slips below E. Low fuel = channeling Satan. And the perfect timing for this special little stream of insanity was pick up from day care. The kids were tired and spent and ready for dinner. Like, 5 minutes before I got there. The first words I heard daily were “Mommy! I need my milk! Hungry!” They were whining, crying, going all sorts of Apocalyptic on me because the last thing they wanted was to be strapped into their car seats for the ride home. They wanted to be teleported straight to the dinner table. I got tired of this daily warfare, especially at the end of my own long day at work, so I started packing snacks and milk in this convenient little cooler (which as an aside, a friend gave me with the promise that it would be one of the most handy baby items I received – she was right). It gets stashed in the community kitchen at work and I grab it on my way out the door each evening. Every morning, I repack and head off knowing that I’ve crossed one tantrum off the list for that day. Yay me.Insert random cuteness here…I mean seriously, people, how can these children have meltdowns that rival the End of Days?

Photos Courtesy of Somer Anne Photography

Moral of the story? A little organization and forethought can go a long way. Considering WHY my kids were throwing tantrums and then exploring what I could do to prevent them before they started has saved me a million tears. Like I said, it’s not a perfect system. But every little bit helps.

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Purposeful Parenting

How to Speak the Right Language: Understanding Your Child’s Cues



How to Speak the Right Language | Understanding Your Children's Cues
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Every day I pick up my children from day care to hear “They are such great kids! They had a blast today and are some of the best listeners we’ve ever had. They’re so well-behaved!” Yay, Mama win! And then we go home and they act like total demon-infested, hell-raising psychos and won’t listen to a word I say. Weekends can be brutal and I sometimes find myself praising Jesus that I decided to keep working and not stay-at-home.

What was I doing wrong? Who were these little hellions and where were those
sweet kids from day care?
Purposeful Parenting - How to Speak the Right Language: Understanding Your Child's Cues Purposeful Parenting - How to Speak the Right Language: Understanding Your Child's Cues

Best Thing I Ever Did: I went to pick the kids up one day and they were enjoying themselves, so I decided to just sit and watch for a bit and let them play. Funny thing happened. I started listening to how the day care teachers communicated with my children and how they responded. And the light bulb went off. I don’t know how to speak the language my kids understand.

I started listening harder. And then I came back the next day and did it again. Now, every time I drop off or pick up, I listen. How are they talking to my kids? What are they saying? How are the kids responding? And then I mimick it at home.

Major win!!! My kids are starting to see an extension of their daily routine back into the home and it’s making sense. I say certain words they’re used to hearing and like magic, they listen. Not every time (which I suspect also happens at day care), but the majority of time. Major improvement. We are starting to speak the same language.

Sometimes I forget (or refuse to admit) that I am not my children’s primary care provider. For those of us that work outside the home, most often our kids spend the majority of their time somewhere other than with us. Sometimes, being reminded of that hurts. A lot. But truth is, they develop routines, cues and references that we’re not familiar with. We need to learn the language they are used to hearing every day so that we can communicate our needs in a way they understand. I need to speak my children’s language.

Phrase Adjustments that Worked for Me: 

  • “Walk away please” instead of “No!” or “Don’t Touch!” 
  • “Are you using your listening ears?” instead of “Listen to me!”
  • “I’m going to go to work for awhile, but Mommies always come back!” instead of “Say bye to Mommy. I have to go to work.” 

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Emily Speaks

11 Alternatives to Self Harm: Emily Speaks



Alternatives to Self Harm | Emily Speaks | Chaos & Kiddos: Mommy's Survival Guide
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If you’re just connecting with the Emily Speaks series, be sure to check out her first post, Cyber Bullying and Self-Harm, to catch up. Today, Emily will be sharing 11 alternatives to self harm to help those hurting to make healthier choices to cope with emotional struggles. 

11 Alternatives to Self-Harm: Emily Speaks

I know it can be hard not to self-harm if you’re being bullied, but you need to try to think of other ways to deal with the pain. Cutting leaves angry scars on your body. You should try to deal with your hurt in other ways. Here are 11 good examples that will hopefully help you out a little bit.

1. Try talking to somebody about what’s going on so that you can get it out of your system.

2. Go outside where nobody is around and just scream as loud as you can for as long as you want.

3. Take a rubber band and keep it on your wrist so whenever you feel like cutting you can just take that rubber band and snap it on your wrist (softly – not to where it harms you).

4. Get an old teddy bear or stuffed animal that you don’t want and take your anger out on that.

5. Go on a jog or go out and ride your bike or long board or whatever you have and just ride around to calm yourself down.

6. Go hang out with your friend(s) and get your mind off things that would make you want to cut or do anything else to harm yourself.

7. Sleep it out and take a long nap and see how you’re feeling when you wake up.

8. Go hang out with your family and just relax.

9. Listen to some music.

10. Read a book.

11. Get an art journal and draw out your feelings. You can paint, draw pictures, even just scribble hard.

These are some of the ways that I stop myself from cutting, because I do still think about it when things get rough. When that happens, I try to do these instead and it helps. It does! You need to do anything that would take your mind off of any bad thoughts you are having and make you want to hurt yourself. This might not be the best list of ideas, but if you take a chance and try them out, they might end up working for you. You’re not only helping yourself, but you’re helping everyone else around you by making a better choice to not self-harm. 

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