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I Am Not My Diagnosis

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I have been diagnosed with Bipolar 1, PTSD, and Generalized Anxiety Disorder. I am not these things. I am not my diagnosis. And neither are you.

Due to these, I have symptoms that must be managed. Things like panic attacks, mood swings, depression, mania, etc. I’m learning to cope within these. I was diagnosed originally with unipolar depression back in 1998. After my first manic episode, I was diagnosed with Bipolar 1 in 2003/4. There are MANY articles about the difference between 1 and 2. I suggest you do some research if you’re curious about 1 vs. 2. In reality, the differences don’t make that big of an issue with this post.

Despite being labeled “crazy” by every man I’ve ever lived with, I’m not crazy. I have an illness. Along with 2% of the population of America. The deal is once you know your own weaknesses-NO ONE CAN USE THEM AGAINST YOU.

The conversation around mental illness is changing. People are speaking up more about having a diagnosis. People are speaking up about getting help. People are no longer afraid of a little label destroying their life.

For me, when I received that little label, I knew it was going to be a long, lonely battle, but one that I was finally prepared for because-frankly-I was sick of being sick. Fact is: I still get sick. It happens. BUT NOW-I speak up about it. I have a voice and you do too. Find yours. It just might save your life.

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The Best Thing Since Instacart!

Okay, y’all. I follow a blogger named Jami Balmet. You can find her here. She and her hubby recently purchased a meal planning site.

Because I trust her and it was on sale, I bought a subscription. I am not kidding. This is the best thing since finding Instacart!

The platform has a gagillion recipes. You just go in. Choose your grocery store. Pick a week’s worth of meals. Annnnnd BAM! It spits out your 1) meal plan and 2) grocery list (with cost!) This thing is life changing!

How do you get it? Click here.

Greetings

Welcome!

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I have lots of new readers this week. I’d like to take a moment to tell you who I am. I am…well, a lot of things. I’ll make a list…

  • I am a life partner.
  • I am adopted.
  • I am a survivor of both domestic violence and child abuse.
  • I am a teacher.
  • I am a student.
  • I am a debtor, but I hope I won’t wear that title for long.
  • I am patient with mental illness. (Bipolar 1, PTSD, and generalized anxiety disorder).
  • I am a dog mommy. (We have 2 bulldogs.)
  • I am on a weight loss journey.
  • I am loved (By both Jesus and a few others. 🙂 )
  • I am musical. (I play piano and guitar.)
  • I am fun. (As heck!)

All of the various things about me come together to create my content. If you like my content, please give me a like or stop by and say hello. Don’t forget to follow. 🙂 Thanks for reading!

Finances

Chic-fil-a, I’m calling you out.

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Recently, our local Chic-fil-a was remodeled. It was turned into a Truett’s. (Some so-called fancier version of CFA.) As you can guess, we are not happy with the change.

The customer service at Truett’s has not at all been up to CFA’s standards. The food has been okay. But that’s just it, it’s been okay. Not outstanding. Not amazing. Just okay. Let me tell you a little story about our experience with customer service there.

A couple of months back, we decided to go get a number one with waffle fries and extra pickles (and of course a large sweet tea, no ice). It was raining. No, let me clarify. It was down pouring. We look up at the entrance of the CFA and see a GIANT America flag waving in the downpour. I get hot. Very, very hot. I think of my stepdad who fought in Vietnam. The anger is pouring from my soul now. We come to the speaker at the drive through (which is unusual. Typically it is a person taking your order at the drive through. I guess it was because of said downpours.) I tell the lady taking my order that there is an American flag getting wet. She doesn’t respond. I tell her I want to speak with someone about it.

We advance in the line around the corner of the building. They bring us our food. I tell the teenager bringing us our food, I want to speak with someone about the American flag. I hear someone around the corner make a snide remark about, “Yes, we’ve already discussed it with her.” At this point, I am boiling angry. They send this young man out that is at least ten years younger than I am to answer my questions. He looks as if he’s been thrown to the wolves. I say, “The American flag is hanging when it is pouring. That is not acceptable. My stepdad fought for our country. He’d be sickened at this site.” He responded with, “I’d be angry too. I have family that has also fought.” (At which point I”m waiting for a response. Any further response. I get nothing.) I ask him, “Is it an all-weather flag?” He sheepishly responds, “Um…yes? Yes. Yes, it is.”

My point is this. They should have handled my situation better. Had the first person at the window responded that it was an all-weather flag, I would have shut my mouth. Had the first person not ignored my concerns and had the second person not been snippy, I may have just gone away. By the time the poor little man was thrown to the wolves with the crazy lady, he was doomed. It is just extremely disappointing to see consistently poor handling of situations from this Truett’s. Here’s the deal: I LOVE Chic-fil-a. Dan Cathy even paid for my meal once twenty years ago when I was in college. I think CFA has the most upstanding customer service generally speaking. They are up there with Publix with making you happy to part with your hard earned dollars.

However, I will no longer spend my money locally in my hometown. I am driving 30 minutes away to another CFA to spend my hard earned dollars. I have told a manager, customers, newspapers on Facebook, and now-you. I will spend my money where it is wanted. Truett’s in Rome, Georgia doesn’t want my money. Chic-fil-a in Calhoun will get my money from now on. If CFA decides to remodel your CFA into a Truett’s-my recommendation-don’t do it. Fight it. It’s not worth it. Stick to your good old number one with extra pickles (which we didn’t get), waffle fries, and a large sweet tea (no ice.)

Finances

Cash Envelopes

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I’ve been using cash envelopes for almost a month. And I must say this: it is true you spend more money with plastic.

I’m pleasantly surprised at how I’ve been able to stick with my budget this month. There will be some adjustments for May, but overall I am happy. My suggestion for you is to get a cash envelope wallet and start using cash.

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Victim’s Rights

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Please do not minimize what victims have gone through. If a victim is sharing what she has gone through, please listen. Please.

I am a survivor of domestic violence. It was December of 2015. To this day, I believe my ex was planning on killing me and then killing himself. I will believe that until the day I do pass. You see, when he was released from jail, I wasn’t notified. The employee of the jail that I left my number with said something about, “he said/she said” crap. MY LIFE IS NOT HE SAID/SHE SAID CRAP.

This…this is why I get hot about victim’s rights. This is why I voted for Marcey’s Law. This is why I find my voice and tell my story. But for the grace of God, there go I.

Domestic Violence is scarily common. Domestic violence with a gun is commonly fatal. I count myself very blessed. Very blessed indeed. Find out what your local laws that need rallying around are. Here in Georgia, it was Marcey’s law. It made victims’ rights constitutional as well. Abusers have their rights guaranteed. Victims need the same.

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Faith When Things Prove Challenging

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It is no secret that sometimes life gets hard. Really hard. Like lay your dad in the ground hard. That has been my last six months. Pop passed six months ago the 29th of this month.

Grief, mental illness, and general discontentment can suck the life out of you, if you let it. Quite literally. I have never in my life leaned into my faith like I have the last six months. Leaning on Jesus. Leaning on hope. Leaning on Truth.

For me, it’s easy to forget my faith when things are going well. When things are tough-that’s when I buckle down on development. I soak up whatever bits of wisdom I can find. Here are a couple of those.

It’s Not Supposed to Be This Way by Lysa TerKeurst

Trusting God Even When Life Hurts by Jerry Bridges

If you are also going through a loss, or a change, or a challenge-these books are great resources for renewing your spirit . Dig in. Dig deep. Hold on to Love and Faith.

Travel

Spring Break

We went camping at Sloppy Floyd State Park last week. We had a fantastic time! The camp hosts were lovely. The weather was perfect. The smores were delicious. And to top it all off, I lost 4 pounds while we were gone!There’s a little glimpse into our break! There are more photos on Facebook and Instagram.

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Camping

We went camping at Sloppy Floyd State Park this past week. It was beautiful camping weather! Great temps and sunshine all the way.

More than just hanging out with nature, we needed to hang out with each other. We needed to see each other. We needed to be present.

We did just that. I cannot tell this man or show him enough how much I love him. From the tip of my head to the souls of my feet, I am thankful God brought us together.

My advice is this: when things become challenging, turn off the phone, put down the social media, take a break from everyone else and focus on the two of you. The things that you first fell in love with-embrace those things again. Don’t give up just because it’s the easy thing to do. Dig deep.

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Roles of Wives

This week on Instagram I talked about Jolene Engle. She is an amazing woman of God who is teaching me about what it means to be a wife.

Backstory: I am a twice divorced survivor of domestic violence. For this reason (and a few others), David and I are not legally married. We are, however, spiritually married. We are equally committed. We are all in. We are one.

Jolene points out that wives have four main roles:

  • Help
  • Submit
  • Love
  • Respect

Out of all of those, I struggle with submission most. I can love, respect, and help him no problem, but to submit my will and wants and needs to David…that’s a little more challenging.

So, here’s what I’m doing about it: I’m going to study Biblical submission in depth. What does it look like? What does it mean? How can I more readily do this?

I know. I know. Lots of feminists out there would be up in arms about this wording. Here’s the deal: submission gives me power. It does not make me weaker. It protects me. With that, I’m signing off to say, “I’ll let you know what I learn.”