Motherhood and Generational Sexism

Tonight’s energy was off, far off. I want to blame it on the full moon however I don’t think it’s the full moon at play for a wonky day. This year and last have all been on paths not understood to many. Parents and kids alike are struggling with discomfort because we have not dealt with a situation with times like right now. Being a neurotypical human being at this time is a challenge. From dealing with boomers and old age opinions I think I’m at my limit with trying to understand the entire situation while trying to deal with marriage and kids.

I’m fighting with myself, my kids, my partner, and now adding to a slim list of people I wanted advice from my grandmother. Tonight I just wanted someone to tell me what I’m dealing with is going to be ok. If not ok just that I’m normal for feeling like I’m going to collapse from all the weight of being an empath. I cannot always be glue holding people together and trying to glue myself back to regular emotions. I’m human it’s not possible to deal with the weight of my family and weight of the outside worlds. Being neurotypical adds to stresses from breaking routines and not being able to cope with constant changes. Sometimes I cannot hold all my frustrations into a bowl without them tipping over and spilling.

I always tell my children that it’s ok to not be ok. I do this by holding them until they feel alright. Telling them often it’s ok to express how they fell openly. I never tell them to stop crying or try to work through the issues with talking. I never give tough love because I feel like it doesn’t hold merit to helping them in their mental growth. Tonight I was reminded why I choose this approach. Phoning my grandmother due to needing a shoulder to lean on she offered her tough love of your mother so hold everyone together and keep your peace to yourself. Feeling more lonely I had to walk away from the conversation. I understand her point of view but the take on it is outdated.

I understand that in times even before I was born woman were not allowed to express frustrations. The world told woman that we needed to keep the family from turmoil and provide only positivity and not let the men fall. There is a whole generation of women who keep these outdated values and pass the knowledge onto future woman with families. This advice blocks mental health and creates environments of depression. A Woman experiencing issues and frustrations should be able to find someone to talk to and have help from their partner in making their households safe. She told me that I should compose myself and make a better environment suited to the boys.

I cannot stress how these words affected a woman in my time. I’ve heard it from the generation as my mother-in-law and grandmother. They grew up in a sexist generation built on trying to dominate woman into silence. This generation my generation have grown away from the sexist values and are finding our voices to seek help. It’s a balancing act to find help, and it’s a balancing act to still help the home front but have independence to do both. My question is how do we build a village and how do we move forward in accepting damaging advice. It’s not about putting on a brave face it’s about actually being able to feel and to be human.

I don’t have immediate solutions to issues in the home right now. What I do know is I need to work and being told to quit my job twice by people above the generation because women need to sacrifice everything for their families is not the solution. Telling a woman to give up everything the love and have is not advice to aid one in a good direction. I don’t agree with the old age idea that woman’s purposes are for children and men only. We need independence. It’s time to have independence. Women have fought hard to get into a place to make a difference in the world. They should not be shunned by one bad day into retreat after fighting hard to stand among men. The equality I seek does not lie just with me, it lies with my partner in helping the home be a home.

The second one was saying that I should send my son who has Asperger away because we have had a string of meltdowns. The words that hurt the most was you need to get control of his autism. I am a neurotypical woman in a non- neurotypical world. My child is also neurotypical. Understanding at one point we would just medicate or force neurotypical people to act normal and hide disabilities from the outside world is not a solution to modern problems. Taking away from that it is sexist to assume a mother should hide her issues when it comes to disabilities and their children. I hid my disability to force normalcy to fit in. I used to take it that I embarrassed my grandparents for being different. What would the other woman say about them? It shouldn’t matter. Women should help women understand that challenges and frustrations with motherhood and special needs is something that needs to be helped not hidden. By sending my child away it states to him that he’s a burden when it’s both our fights to learn to grow and understand one another.

As much as I wanted to reach out for guidance I understand there’s a difference of time between us. I hope one day that if I meet a girl who needs help I won’t dismiss the woman from the time who fought hard the rights we hold to freedom today. I will hold the mind to heal instead of telling what they need to do. Wanting woman to be fierce, but I also want them to have a voice and know that it’s ok to not be ok.

My take from my lesson tonight is I can love someone with a different opinion however I do not have to take that direction when I felt dismissed and unaccepted. I don’t have to give up my job to make others happy, and I can figure out my village even when it feels far away. Motherhood and womanhood is not about giving all yourself to others, so they can be happy. What I do know is I am here, I will keep trying, hear me roar.

Written by Ali Johnson

Photo by Karolina Grabowska on Pexels.com

Staying Alive For One More Day

Warning:

****Following content talks about depression and Suicide. If this is a trigger, please stop reading as I am not liable. If you or someone you know is showing signs or thinking of committing suicide, please contact the National Suicide hot line 1-800-273-8255 or go on https://suicidepreventionlifeline.org/ ***

Often we hear about what depression is like when it is bad. There is a small moment when things become good again. This moment is so small it’s hard to talk about it without missing it. The moment of feeling good can be so rare to some, when it happens its frightening. In the last two months I have been going through depression. This time around my depression led me to the darkest place possible. I had intrusive thoughts about no longer being here. The one day it got so bad I pushed my partner and children away just to breathe. Like the good moment this dark place of intrusive thoughts and feelings of lingering suicidal feelings; for me are rare, but when the occur I need to remind myself to work through it to have the good moment.

I’m going to be bluntly honest these last two months were hell. I refused to reply my text, my calls, and refused any kind of contact that required false happiness. Normally I would call my grandmother every Friday and my Dad every Saturday. I talked myself out of calling them in order for them not to hear my voice. They know during my phases how dark it can go, what they don’t know is when I have suicidal thoughts I don’t want them to know that I’m thinking of ending it. In my blog I can say reach out and get help early; that is my goal to get people better before they get like me, I struggle with taking my advice.

So much happened in the last two months it’s hard to accept I did not handle it well. It took so much out of me to not give up. I really thought about it and almost got to the point of coming up with a plan. Every one of my friends messaged me asking if I was ok, yet every time I would say I’m fine. I wish I could communicate to my friends and say I’m not ok. My depression and anxiety make it hard to reach out and tell them about the struggles. I convince myself that if I reach out I will burden the ones I love. Tag a longing with my depression came the thoughts that my friends don’t want me. I wish I could say I reached out to them but in reality I would hang up before anyone could pick up the call. At this point I should have reached out to my loved ones and said I’m not doing well: not even remotely.

I don’t know what changed yesterday but I woke up and felt good. I turned on my Spotify playlist and danced it out with my two children. Baking banana bread with cream cheese icing and enjoying taste again. Cleaning my house after months of doing basics because why bother. I felt alive for the first time in two months. I didn’t do anything different to feel good yesterday. The reality of mental illness is sometimes it disappears out of nowhere and you can feel human once again. I’ve posted before I don’t know how long this good spell will last. It could be one full day or month or five minutes. This feel alive moment is worth sticking around for. I’m glad I stuck around this time and waited it out. It was beyond painful and mistakes happened, but I’m still alive today. Suicide is not the cure nor the solution, and I have to remember good days will happen.

Written by Ali Johnson

https://suicidepreventionlifeline.org/

The Mental Boardroom

In the last month I hit lows with my depression that I haven’t felt in a long time. This last month I felt like I was being thrown against a brick wall. Everything in my body was exhausted. My mind was going into overdrive. I cannot place what my trigger was but I can say this time I really went to the darkest place that exist. This dark place is hard to break out of because of the mental and physical hold that it takes. Its like having a parasite latch onto your brain by doing so it drives the host crazy until nothing is left.

My depression is not my friend if anything I wish it would completely disappear into a different dimension. I have several things wrong with me in the mental department. Most of my issues are a direct result of my depression or as my therapist put it subs categories. Resulting from depression is my high-functioning anxiety, post-traumatic stress disorder, obsessive compulsive disorder, and insomnia. It may seem like a cooking pot of mental illness but under the surface depression is the CEO of Ali’s Mental department. I may be the CEO of my body but depression is the main guy in the boardroom stating it’s the boss and I hold no stakes in this company. The rest of the mental illnesses sit around the boardroom taking notes on what their duties are to complicate the relationship on healthy mind: healthy body.

I’m really grateful I have friends who remind me to stay alive. Without my friends caring and having family to tell me too not leave the boardroom meeting held by depression probably would have stayed dark. My mind would have stayed in fight club mode. Every emotion who works with rational thought fighting with the subs is not pleasant. I’m pretty sure happiness is hiding out in the broom closet again and needs to be let out sometime soon. I think anxiety locked happiness there and hid chemical balance in an unknown location. Either that or depression gave the eviction notice long ago and the good things simply walked away singing show tunes. On that note healthy sleep habits gave the middle finger and checked out last Tuesday with no polite resignation notice.

My depression thrives on chaos. When everything is going down the crap shoot of chaotic bad; depression sits there in the back of my mind smiling, it loves when I lose control. I will tell myself in the mental boardroom that I will fix this, I will be the person to kick depressions ass. The speech that I tell myself is full of gusto and yet full of false hopes. Depression and I go way back to when I was eight years old so it does know that I’m full of verbal poo. Despite the best efforts’ depression is not vacating the building anytime soon and continues to sit on throne of control.

Today I took a long lunch break as if to say eff you depression. I even got out of bed that I share with depressions minion insomnia and PTSD and thought to myself today I am going to just stay alive today. I didn’t leave my mental cubicle and wanted no part of my depressions debauchery. Though depression decided it was best to send anxiety with a tar like coffee to share, today was pleasant because for one second it remained silent. In my worst moments with depression I have to fight for my bodily rights. One good day such as today can make the difference in how the mental board meeting will go even for a short while.

Written by Ali Johnson

Inside My Anxiety

She looks at herself in the mirror only to see her anxiety staring back at her. For the last three days she has raged war inside her mind again. It started slow she noticed how irritable she felt. Quite rages over small things and the quietest sounds. The silence she holds is deafening and no one else can hear it. The long forgotten videos of past trauma start to play in the dreams. To avoid re watching she will not sleep for weeks on end. She feels the familiar itch to pick her skin raw because that is what she can control. Time for her is passing in hours but it feels like forever.

She stands staring at herself she will analyze every flaw she believes she has. Her face is to large, her skin looks unfamiliar, she is to fat and needs to stop eating, and why would anyone call her beautiful? She feels like her skin is crawling with bumps and lumps that are only in her mind. She will pick each imaginary bump until her arms are covered in scabs. Today she avoided eating because she feels sick to her stomach. Binging and starving is what she knows to do. Its familiar when everything else in her life is crashing around her. She will hear the voice of long ago telling her she is stupid and ugly. She is diseased and needs to be cured. Her mind right now is being bombed with thoughts of wanting to be free.

Everyone on the outside thinks she is strong but as she stares at herself she knows otherwise. She feels weak and worn. Her insides are shredded paper. She cannot understand how her kids called her the best mom today as she fed them Kraft dinner for the second time this week. They binged TV today because she could not talk herself into doing what is needed around the house. She hated that she just wanted to look at her phone and forget that she is here for one more day. This is not her the mom that lets her kids rot their brains and eat processed food galore.

This is not her and she knows it. She knows that it will pass again, and she will feel happy for a short period. It could be weeks or months before she will feel normal again. It makes her so angry on the inside to be this person and battle the mental demons eating her away. Praying that this time will be the last, she knows this is not it. Her body aches with feelings of being squeezed until her insides fall out. The tears she is holding so her children will not see them sting in the back of her eyes. Rejection of happy thoughts are her battle. Anger fills her with desperation to not feel panicked because she cannot place her finger on what brought this on. It feels as though water is above her head, she cannot breathe.

Inside of her sits the person that vacated today. That other side of her the one that makes jokes and feels good is vacationing hopefully to return soon. The spirit that lives right now is temporary. The damage control once she decides to go back to the dark space of the mind is disheartening. I hope that she knows one day we will be OK, and we as two spirits will work together to stay alive for one more day.

Written by: Ali Johnson