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What the heck I've been up to lately

February 5, 2016

What the heck I've been up to lately.

Long time no see, friends.  I didn't mean to take such a long break away from here I just needed to take some time for myself.  I wouldn't even remotely say it was "blogger burnout" because that implies that this blog is a chore or drags me down or was something that I needed a break from.  And thats not at all the case.  In fact, it's so much more than that.  Somewhere over the last few years I've lost myself.  I lost my center.  I lost my happiness.  I think this happens to so many of us.  Maybe you can relate?

I don't know if it's still called post partum anxiety & depression when it unravels three years later.  I do know that it didn't feel like the commercials you see on tv with the checklists.  It just felt like my life.  I didn't realize I had a problem until I suffered a few debilitating panic attacks last fall and sought treatment.  Part of which included a panel of testing to make sure I was physically healthy.  Apparently I'm not dying.  Apparently it's not "normal" to always think that you are.  Sometimes a mole is just a mole.   So many of us suffer from anxiety and it doesn't always look like you think it does.  Through recovering I'm realizing how far gone I was and just how much better my life can be.  I actually have a few instagram friends to thank for that.  For extending their hands out to mine when I reached out.  I'm forever grateful.  And for a few of my friends here locally who have been helping me steady my step and making sure know I'm not alone by just showing up.  Simply showing up for someone is enough.  And my husband, my rock.  But that's a conversation for him alone.

Sometimes feeling stuck doesn't look like not getting out of bed.  Especially when you have small children who need to be fed and cared for and loved every day not just some days.  Feeling like you could harm your children doesn't always look like a monstrous evil act lurking in your thoughts but a simple lack of confidence in your ability to keep them safe and alive and happy.  I know food allergies have played a huge role in my line of thinking but I think much of it has been lurking around forever.  Mostly rooted in self doubt.  Apparently stress and an easy going attitude aren't mutually exclusive.



So there you have it, OCD, perfectionism, depression, anxiety, panic attacks.  Why the heck am I publicly sharing this?  I'm not worried about the stigma.  There are plenty of reasons you might not like me but I can assure you this brand of crazy isn't it.  That's part of who I am and I will proudly share it with the world.  Because I'm also really creative.  And smart.  And thoughtful.  And a freaking awesome wife and mother.  I love the crap out of my husband and my kids.  And I'm all kinds of full of empathy and love to help others.  And I'm turning into a pretty good vegan baker.  And I make a ridiculously good chicken broccoli casserole.  And I like to read.  And listen to podcasts.  Oh, podcasts are my new favorite.  I have a few favorites I'd love to tell you about.  It's really nice to just sit and listen to someone else without the ability to interrupt or add in your own experience.  I think that's good practice for the real world.  And I could win a Real Housewives of everywhere trivia tournament.  Like, rock it.  And I learned that I could give up wine without even thinking about it but not coffee.  Lord, please don't take away my coffee again.  And I like taking really long walks but still hate to run.  I'm starting to learn that saying, "No, that doesn't work for me" is so much better than saying Yes and then regretting it.  And I used to be really fun and funny and I'm slowly getting that back too.  And I'm good at photography.  And I love to write.  No, more like I need to write.  And I love cute outfits and pretty rooms.  And putting together mood boards.  And imagining all the pretty stuff I'd buy if I won the powerball.  And finding recipes I may or may not ever make.  And blogging.  Yes, blogging.

So now that I've taken some time to sort through was brings me joy and what I want taking up space in my head and in my life I'm excited to say that this blog is on that list.  And as much as I want to make it 100% about the pretty I just can't.  I thought for awhile that might be a bit better for me.  To keep it all light and positive.  I need to mix in a bit of the real and dirty and raw in with that even if it's not popular.  Even if it leaves me wide open.  Vulnerable.  I have Brene Brown to thank for that via my very brave friend Katharine.  I wanted to be sure of that before I moved forward.  Writing and blogging helps me look inward which is an important part of my recovery.  I'm excited to use this blog again as a place that brings me joy and connection.  I hope it can do that for you too and that you'd still like to move forward with me!

I feel like this is where I should share some uplifting quote on being courageous or strong or whatever so I guess I'll hop on over to pinterest now and find something fitting.  Although really my husband said it best this morning, "You can't just stay home and vacuum forever."  That sentence gave me the courage to hop back on here today and I hope this post gives you the courage you need today too.



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60 comments:

  1. I could talk to for hours about this. I remember when my ocd kicked in to the point I felt I was Imobolized
    Worrying about moles and every other health issue x 5 3 kids, my husband and myself all to panic about. I checked my kids all day long barely breathing - seeing things that weren't there. Knowing It was my mind playing tricks, but couldn't stop. Just wanted you to know your not alone ��
    Pam
    Ourgreenhouse

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    1. thank you so much. I'm not turning this into a self-help blog by any stretch but I do think I'm going to be pretty open about my journey and recovery. Knowing you're not alone is HUGE. I'm glad you shared and I hope you're doing better. My new mantra is "just because you think it doesn't make it true" I know a lot of people can relate to that :)

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    2. The mantra that helps me when I am feeling off is "Feelings are not facts." It is so true.

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  2. It's so good to hear from you on your blog again and especially in this wide open way...Your openness is beautiful! So much truth - like a breath of fresh air. Some days are pretty and some are well, a little more utilitarian and industrial! This is an encouraging post and I know it will grab exactly who needs to hear it. I just read a book by a sweet friend you would really enjoy. I'll tag you on it on IG. You are super awesome and super creative and and living out your unique God given purpose. Keep on sweet lady!!! Xoxo

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  3. Love love love this!!!! I've been checking back regularly to see if you'd posted anything lately and was so happy to read this. Know you are in good company, and lots of us need to hear these things too. Thank you for honesty and vulnerability and yes -- you are all those wonderful things and more!!! Happy to see you back!!!

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  4. Julia sending you lots of hugs. I'm rooting for you!

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  5. Welcome back in more ways than one. You've been missed!

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  6. All too well versed in this.....and it sucks. I'm sorry you are too. Looking forward to reading about you're recovery!

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  7. Brave and honest. Very refreshing! Can totally relate with my two littles and being at home full time. Would love to know your favorite podcasts!

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  8. Been checking here everyday and glad you're back. I appreciate the real right along w/ the pretty and I hope you are able to draw some strength from your blog community. I bet more people can relate than you ever imagined!

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  9. Oh dear friend, this journey isn't always perfect and pretty - and you are better for acknowledging that - for yourself AND others! Glad you are working on a healthier version of yourself.
    xo~Jill

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  10. I have always loved you and your blog for your honesty and being authentic. Honestly, I wish I lived by you so we could be friends in real life LOL bc I can relate to a lot of what you say. Will always follow along with your blog and wish you the best in your recovery. Take your time. Thanks for being real :)

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  11. Life is a journey, I appreciate the fact that you include us in yours:). So glad you're blogging still!

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  12. So good to see you and read your words here, Julia. What's a blog for if not to be our true selves? Thank you for sharing your story, pretty rooms and all. I'm sure there are many that can relate.

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  13. Glad that you're back and that you are on the mend! Thanks for being brave and sharing real life.

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  14. I've read your blog for years and this will be the post that sticks with me most. I've been reading Brene Brown's book too (thanks to Katherine!) and absolutely love it. while vulnerability still scares the pants off me, reading your thoughtful and honest story today made me realize that it what it's all about. Your sharing today was real and honest and hard and I thank you for putting yourself out there because it really is inspiring. So glad you'll be sticking with blogging! Sending all the best!

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  15. Beautiful! Thank you for sharing. You at brave and courageous! I believe so many women suffer in silence while glancing at pinterest, blogs and instagram, etc looking at all the pretty only to feel more anxious, afraid and inadequate! We need more real and raw amongst the pretty!!! Peace be with your healing!!

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  16. Your honesty is beautiful. My 8 year old daughter, who you happened to photograph 2 years ago in Charleston, was just recently diagnosed with general anxiety disorder. During our photo session, you left quite a wonderful impression on her. As we begin to navigate the road to her new normal, I feel it is no mere chance you posted today. Having everyday women with the courage to stand up and say "I am beautiful because..." gives my husband and me the inspiration to keep reinforcing to Sophie just how many wonderful thing lie ahead for her in this world. Thank you for sharing.

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  17. Thank you so much for this post. I'm a new mom and as much as I love the tribe that is motherhood the most frustrating thing is that no one wants to be honest about the darkness, the uncomfortable feelings, the frustrations that come along too. Thank you for being brave and just speaking your truth. This is the trie I want to belong to- the one that is open and honest about the good and the bad of life. I've tried to share my truth and have wanted to scream when other moms pretend they don't know what I'm talking about. So thank you! I have enjoyed your blog for years and I can't thank you enough for sharing and brightening my little corner of the world. :)

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  18. This post is so inspiring, brave and raw. Thank you for allowing us to read your beautiful words. I've always admired the life you've cultivated and shown us through this blog and am so glad to hear it will continue. Best of luck in your journey forward, it sounds like you're already off to a brilliant start.

    Erin, Attention To Darling Blog
    www.attentiontodarling.com

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  19. You are so brave. I love and appreciate the honesty. I've been suffering with anxiety lately. I mentioned it to a friend of mine yesterday (a friend of 25 years) and she said she'd never heard me mention it before. That really shocked me that I wasn't being open with a girl I've since I was a child. Glad you're feeling like yourself again. Welcome back!

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  20. I've been thinking about you & wondering what you were up to and should've reached out. Wish we could sit down to a glass of wine or cup of coffee sometime. Life is definitely a roller coaster. Sending positive vibes your way pretty mama.

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  21. Thinking about you and sending prayers your way! The best blogs are the ones filled with realness like this along with the pretty. :) We've all been where you are at one time or another. Have a wonderful weekend!

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  22. Posts like these are my absolute favorite (though I do also love the pretty posts). I applaud you for having the courage to share this with us...know that you are helping others by doing so! I can definitely relate to the saying "No" piece. It has been empowering to embrace the mantra that it's okay to say "No" and sometimes I also like to say "Maybe." Can't wait to see what the next chapter of your blog holds!

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  23. This is seriously such a wonderful, raw, and honest post. Thank you for sharing what you've been going through! I've missed your posts but am so happy the time away was to take care of you and make sure you're your best you. You are definitely stronger than you think and acknowledging that you need help and can't do it all on your own is such a huge part of that. Can't wait to see what's next for you!

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  24. First time reader so this blog was the first I read...I can tell Im going to like "checking in"...youre very honest and true to yourself. Great qualities. Good luck with what your future brings to you.

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  25. It's good to be honest. You're helping a lot of mommas, I'm sure of it. Hoping each day is better and better!

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  26. You go, girl. You are brave indeed. I'm old enough to be your mama, have been there and done that a few times. Glad you've discovered Brene Brown. She's amazing, and I wish she'd been around back when I was your age. She is a hero of mine. Thanks for sharing. You'll help a lot of folks out there.

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  27. You are so brave for keeping it real! Life is not all about beauty and perfection; beauty is in the way we overcome challenges and solve problems. Thank you for sharing, Julia.

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  28. You are beautiful, inside and out. Thanks for sharing. xoxo

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  29. So happy to read your voice today. Your family has been on my heart, know that you have readers who pray on your behalf, without needing to know the details. You are definitely not alone, I think if we are honest, we all lose ourselves and thankfully find ourselves.

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  30. So brave for seeking help and for sharing! I definitely went through so much of this when my Bigs were young but have battled less every year as I've gotten older. Mental health is nothing to take for granted.

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  31. Totally normal...just keep living your life, loving you kids and husband.....you are great how ever you are..don't pressure yourself...just enjoy your life in all its variations...everyone else is the same...you just don't know their stuff! Good blog.

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  32. I know this sounds strange since I don't know you IRL but i noticed your absence, I was missing your meal plans and classic mom inspired outfits. I am glad you are back. You're definitely not alone. We all have stuff we have to deal with- even people living in beautiful homes with model perfect families it appears. Keep smiling and creating!

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  33. I can stress over anything and everything to the point of making myself sick (and those around me miserable). Super fun! Know you are most definitely not alone. Everyone has stuff going on in one form or another, and those that say they have everything together are just big fat liars. I'm glad your back to writing posts :)

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  34. I've checked in every day and waited for you to be back (because I knew you would be) - I feel your struggle, I hear your pain and hope and uncertainty, and your honesty is so beautiful. Wishing you joy and peace in your heart.

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  35. So glad to see you back, and we all have our struggles and challenges. Glad you sought treatment and are asking for support. we've missed you!

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  36. You're wonderful, Julia. We've not met but I came across your blog a few years ago and enjoy reading it so, so much. I live in a small studio apartment in NYC. My place is fancy by no means, but your photos, posts, tips, and recipes have helped me infuse light and cheer into the little space I call home. Your posts have not only helped me to spruce up my place, your writing encourages and inspires me to live my best life ... at home, out in the world, and with my loved ones. Thank you for your creativity, humor, warmth, and honesty! :)

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  37. Thanks so much for your honesty and transparency! I have definitely felt like I was in a "funk" lately with a few of the same symptoms. It's so nice to hear someone being real and raw about what's going on. So glad to hear you're back blogging, I SO enjoy your posts! xo, mckenzie // winsomeandgold.com

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  39. I've been there, realized I had a real struggle after my first son was born. I didn't sleep for over 48 hours with debilitating anxiety and that's when I finally went to see someone. He put me on medication that brought me back to my old self. I still take it and I'm not ashamed, in fact like 50% of my friends take it. It's a tool that lets me live like my normal self, not this person who can't be creative, can't think straight, can't love properly because her mind is clogged with irrational thoughts. Thanks for sharing, it's refreshing to hear others you admire go through the same sh*t that makes you feel like a looney.

    Lots of love and best wishes, happy to see you back :)

    Liz // purejoyhome.com

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  40. Bravo Julia. Life is not always pretty and I love that you shared that. I love the saying 'grace not perfection.' It makes me believe that even if life sucks at the moment you can have that grace.

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  41. Thank you for your courage. The funny thing about perfectionists (and I'm one too) is that we know that perfection isn't realistic in our heads, but all too often we still operate as if that is the expectation of the world for us. Perfection or extinction. Thankfully God gives us people in our lives who don't operate in such a black and white manner. People who love us no matter what. For me being the perfect mom is a huge stressor in my life, but every time I'm imperfect my children are the ones telling me it's okay. I make a choice to believe them. :-) You are amazingly talented at what you do. You are on the right track - cut out what doesn't bring you joy and add more of what does.

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  42. So glad things are turning around. Your honesty is so refreshing. Books that helped to lift me up- All of the Happiness Project books and The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up. Hope life keeps getting even brighter!

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  43. You have always been so real on your blog Julia, and I'm glad this is a place you can share and connect and find a little therapy in. How many other women feel the same way and can't find the words? Talking about these struggles will surely help others feel less alone and I hope it will help you too. Sending you lots of love.

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  44. I've thought so much about you these last months and hoped life was treating you better... glad to see you on the upswing :-)

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  45. I've just happened upon your blog and feel the need to comment. No one knows what depression and panic attacks feel like until they experience it for themselves. Having suffered through both I understand your pain. It has been a year or so since I've had a panic attack but I live with depression daily. I know if I forget to take my medication and everyone around me knows too. It is a daily battle to function and take care of my responsibilities. Anyway, I wish you the best and advise you to do whatever helps regardless of the "tags" that go along with it. Best wishes.

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  46. I am glad You are back. I also am glad you have received help. Sometimes that is the hardest part. I speak from experience.

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  47. Hi Julia, so happy to see that you're back on the blog. I can relate, so you're not alone. I've recently discovered that happiness is fleeting, but joy can still remain even in the middle of a storm when I fix my eyes on Jesus. We all may not know you on a personal level, but we all care about you and are happy that you are feeling better. God bless you and your family :)

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  48. So glad that you are back Julia! You are so beautiful inside AND out. Many of us can relate to how you have been feeling.... Hang in there, take it a day at a time, and never be afraid to ask for help when you need it. God bless you!!

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  49. i absolutely love every single solitary word of this post dear friend... takes a lot of courage to be boldly honest and i love that about you! i too struggle with anxiety and have sought treatment which has helped significantly so thanks for sharing and for showing it's our version of "normal" and that's OK :) OXOX

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  50. I really respect and appreciate your honesty and openness about anxiety and depression. I've suffered with anxiety for years and though I've learned how to manage it through therapy, it does rear it's ugly head from time to time and knock me off my feet. As a mom of four, I understand the daily struggle to put on your bravest face some days and try your best even when you feel like you can't. It's the people like you who courageously share their journey that gives others who are silently struggling hope and letting them know they're not alone.

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  51. I cannot even begin to express how much I love this post and how much I, unfortunately, can relate. Thank you for sharing your story.

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  52. Thank you for being the real deal. I appreciate your honesty and will continue to follow your adventures. Thank you-you shared so many things that we don't talk about...

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  53. Right there with you....it's nice to know we aren't alone in "the journey". Here's to reclaiming ourselves! And yes, for anyone who cares, PP anxiety and depression are real AND they spiral over time, even years. I too am grateful to not be alone in the struggle....for it IS REAL! Hey, you forgot to mention fabulous artist! Loved those low country marsh paintings you did! I need one! Xo cheers to life!

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  54. I also shared on your Instagram how much this blog post spoke to me. I too suffer from severe anxiety, depression, OCD - you know - the trifecta! I have tried explaining to my husband over and over (when I know he is getting frustrated with my irrational thoughts, fears, "issues") that it is not something I can just "turn off". God knows I wish I could. I had him read your blog post the other day. I think your words were able to reach him in a way that I have never been able to. So thank you so much for sharing your story. I agree with everyone who has made this comment before me - it is so nice to know that you are not alone in this journey and there are others facing the same struggle you do every single day. And I love that you want to share the good, the bad and the ugly. That is real. Sometimes when I am feeling my lowest and looking at everyone else's seemingly "perfect" lives - I have to continually remind myself that I am just seeing others "highlight reels" on FB, IG, etc. The fact you are willing to share that part too is wonderful!

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  55. This is really beautiful, Julia. And I admire your courage and strength for sharing it. I have felt much the same lately. I keep thinking of myself in the Dr. Seuss book, "Oh The Places You'll Go" and that page where he talks about getting stuck. What I love about that book is the reminder that it's only temporary. I hope that since writing this post, you've continued to follow your passions. And don't forget, as Dr. Seuss says, "you'll move mountains" And I have no doubt that you will!

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  56. Julia,

    Thank you for sharing. You are not alone!! I too suffer from generalized anxiety and terrible panic attacks, for the past 10 years or so. I find myself wondering why so many people nowadays seem affected by this, despite having overall wonderful lives on paper. I wonder a lot about our culture- the social media comparisons, materialism, constant newsfeed updates grabbing for our attention. I don't think it's helpful to us. So I applaud you for coming forward with it, it is helpful to have "real" life in the midst of all the Pinterest-perfect things we see online, a reminder that everyone goes through struggles and that it's okay.

    As for me, I eventually went on Zoloft which helps tremendously. It has returned me to the bubbly person I was, helping me to think clearly and put into practice the mental work that can offset anxiety. Before it, the fear and nerves were so intense it was hard to think past them. Also, I am Catholic and find a lot of comfort in my religion, a lot of my anxiety was rooted in fear, control, and lack of gratitude. I find that by following some of the things it teaches (which often go against pop culture), it puts my mind right and reassures me of the good out there in the universe.

    There's also the flip side of seeing the "silver lining" to anxiety- ie maybe nerves about failing help someone to do better at work, or take better care of things, or whatever.

    Anyway this was a long comment....good luck to you, wishing you all the best! Thank you for your post!

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