Friday, December 23, 2016

2016's Silver Linings Playbook


Whew!  For better or for worse, this has been a YEAR alright.  I think I've seen more of the "2016 can suck it" type memes this year than ever before.  There's a lot, and I mean a LOT, that we could focus on that makes 2016 pretty deplorable for a lot of folks.  The thing is though, you have to be careful about that.  You need to ensure that the bad things that happen are never what define you day, your year, or most importantly your life.  I assure you that in my 36 years on this planet, I have never more more certain of anything than the fact that there is always good that comes from every bad. There is always a lesson, a greater accomplishment, a hidden meaning behind your troubles.

In the spirit of reflection, here are my Silver Linings of 2016:

5) I Know I Am More Than My Job

I've worked with Verizon for almost 18 years, which at 36 is literally half my life.  This is the only job I know, and the last year or so has brought with it so major changes and cuts in my company.  I watched many, many friends lose their positions, and I found myself more than once awaiting a phone call to find out if I still had one myself.  I've been switched to new teams with a new manager I didn't know three times in 14 months.  I've learned the lesson that despite how hard you work, you are never indispensable.  As hard and stressful as this was, it made me take a hard look at myself and what I am capable of.  It made me look at what my options are, what talents I have.  It made me realize that if I lost my job, my world would not end.  I am watching my former co-workers thrive in new positions.  I am watching co-workers finding joy they never knew as they now stay home with their children.  I've realized that if it happened, I would thrive too.  I've realized that I am not defined by the name on my paycheck, and that is liberating.

4) I Understand My Loved Ones With Anxiety & Depression More Than Ever

I am blessed as a human with very level emotions.  Despite having superhuman empathy at times, I am generally very calm and rational.  I don't get moody too often, and I am generally in great spirits. After having Ellie in February by C-Section, I found I started experiencing anxiety and extreme mood swings.  I went through a few months where my stress and anxiety levels were so out of control I couldn't get through a day without screaming at someone.  This was NOT me, at all, NOT even on my worst day.  On one particular day, I found myself screaming at Ellie.  She was six months old.  I immediately broke down in tears holding her and apologizing to her.  I called Mark over to take over, and I called my doctor.  After a visit, it appeared my hormones were not regulating and I was suffering from Postpartum Depression/Anxiety.

I have never felt like this in my entire life.  I have never once known what it felt like to not be in control of one's emotions.  I mean, while pregnant, you feel out of control but at the same time you know there's a reason for it.  There's a level of understanding.  There was no reason, no understanding for how I felt six months after until I finally broke down and called my doctor.  You see, I didn't want to call my doctor.  I was afraid.  I was terrified that, since mood disorders run in my family, I was experiencing a break.  Once explaining how PPD/PPA manifest, my doctor stated that if I took medication for 6-12 months I would be back to normal and stop taking it.

I was still afraid, but followed her order.  It was night and day.  Less than a week later I was me again.  I couldn't believe how much better I felt.  I was enjoying my children and my husband again, and not constantly feeling like the world was caving in on me.  I could breathe...  Then, it hit me.  I finally, FINALLY understand what my husband feels like daily.  I finally understood his emotions when his anxiety and depression creep up on him.  I finally understood why he couldn't just "snap out of it" like I wanted to tell him so many times.  I felt horrible, yet I felt enlightened.  I felt closer to him, and more accepting of who he is.  We've grown so much closer because of this one incident, and I am so thankful that I experienced it.

3) Tragedy Can Begin To Repair A Broken Family

I must be vague here.  I'm pretty open about my life, but sometimes a story is someone elses to tell. This story is just that, but I will share my lesson.  We had a struggle in our family this year that we've had before, but this year that struggle reached a level I hadn't seen in a long time where we almost lost someone.  During this struggle, we were in the midst of another struggle where a member of our family had disassociated themselves with the rest of us.  As horrible as it was to go through some of the things we went through, it also manifested into the beginnings of repairing what was already broken.  Sometimes it takes something bad, something REALLY horrible to make everything get back to the good place.

2) Sometimes Losing Is Gaining

We reached a point this year where we realized we could no longer keep our house.  As much as I loved it, and my neighborhood, we couldn't afford to live in a hundred year old home anymore.  After MUCH stress, after way too many tears shed by me about giving up a house I loved so much, we found ourselves giving or selling away more than half our possessions and moving into a condo my sister owned.  I kicked, and screamed, and cried about everything in regard to this move.  I was a complete mess.  Then, we started getting settled.  Our new home is so stress free it's unreal.  It's easy to maintain, the kids are so happy here and easy to watch, and we have expendable income for the first time in years.  Plus, Benny is now in a school that is just blowing every expectation we had out of the water.  He is thriving, and so are we.

1) My Faith In My Marriage Is Stronger Than Ever

Granted, it didn't happen in 2016, but Mark and I did almost get divorced once a few years back.  The Silver Lining of that situation reared it's beautiful face this year.  Through all the stress above, and then some, my husband and I went through quite the rough patch.  This rough patch was bad, but because of everything we went through in the past, I have perspective.  2016 taught me how strong our relationship truly is because as bad as things got, I never lost faith that there was a light at the end of the tunnel.  We are on the other side of this now and as good as it feels, it feels even better the know that our marriage is strong enough to handle anything... even if I do want to back hand him now and again.

2016... Thank You.  This has been a growing year for me and my family!  Thank you for giving me my beautiful, spirited little girl.  Thank You for giving me more clarity than ever!!!

To all of you, I challenge you to do the same.  What did you learn this year?  How did you grow from your trials?  I would love to hear it!!!

Unless it's about the election.... If it's about the election, I'm good with hearing about that for a while!



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Would love to hear your thought, comments, advice, or emotional outbursts!

-xoxo Jamie