On a Positive Note

A couple of friends pointed out that my last post (before Word Wednesday) was not one of my positive posts (thanks to those of you who reminded me I’m human and allowed to screw up). No, it wasn’t a positive post, but it was honest…and blunt. And if there’s one thing I’m good at it’s being blunt (I’ve been told this for years – my argument is “most people don’t ‘get’ subtly, so why bother?”).

A couple of days ago we had a Wraparound meeting (for those of you unfamiliar with the terms in bold – these terms are defined and explained on the Glossary page – it’s been months since I’ve used it – sorry). At the meeting, my fabulous facilitator, recommended that I, with the kids, create a list noting the progress we have made in the last couple of years since she became part of the Madhouse support team (and my wonderful co-facilitator agreed whole-heartedly, noting that we are not the same family she met a year ago when she joined our team).

I haven’t had a chance to sit down with the kids and create their lists, but here’s the one I came up about the progress I’ve made:

  1. I successfully cleaned up the storage room (aka “the man cave”) and it has stayed in a state of cleanliness for a week.
  2. I have tidied up and made our common living areas (kitchen, dining area and living room) livable. I am no longer humiliated when someone comes to the door unexpectedly (on a side note, I’ve always kept a clean bathroom).
  3. I was able to do more purging (kudos to Rian as she was ready to give up more of the toys she no longer plays with and Alexi happily gave his too-small dress-up clothes away to younger boys who love them) thus opening up more space and unloading unneeded stuff.
  4. I found the energy to do some yard work (with help from my kids) and was able to get a good start on eradicating a huge mess (I’m surprised the neighbours haven’t called the city on me, seriously, it was a disaster, I thought I was going to lose the dog back there one day).
  5. I have re-established some wonderful relationships, better late than never they say and I’m so glad I didn’t wait another day! My friends, I have missed you and had no idea what I was missing out on. Thank you for helping me laugh again.
  6. I am feeling more hopeful and optimistic than I have in years (and by years I really mean ever).
  7. I am actually looking forward to things. I’ve been thinking about what I’m going to do next week, next month…I feel like I have a future.
  8. I’ve been creating To-Do Lists and actually doing the things on them (I am notorious for creating lists and losing them – packing lists, grocery lists – I think they must be wherever lost socks go).
  9. The other day a friend told me I look “clearer” and brighter than he’s ever seen me…and I feel it, too.
  10. I feel like going out. I feel like socializing. I want to meet new people and go places.
  11. I want to try new things, like new recipes (since we’re very picky eaters this is a massive thing…new food is a very big deal at the Madhouse).
  12. I want to create a solid foundation in the Madhouse for the kids and I to launch from daily. Not only do I want this, I’m taking the steps to make it happen.
  13. I am overcoming crises and set-backs much faster and am feeling safer faster (one day I’ll explain a little more about that, but for now just trust me – this is big).
  14. I am taking ownership of my own health care. No longer I am just nodding my head and allowing the professionals to take the lead. I am taking the lead. I am doing the work and finding solutions that better fit me (working with the professionals, of course, they are the professionals for a reason).
  15. I am gaining a healthy sense of what wellness is. My previous idea of wellness was a reiterating cycle of unhealthy habits. Not only am I starting to break those habits, but I’m able to evaluate what I’m doing in the doing as healthy (or healthier) or unhealthy.
  16. I am getting my home organized – step by step, room by room and bit by bit – the Madhouse is becoming neat and tidy.
  17. I am successfully re-establishing my Alpha parent role. I am taking back the role of Mom that became weakened while I was so ill. (my counselor has pointed out that by reasserting my role as the parent the kids will begin to feel more secure in our home; I have noticed this with Rian).

And this is only SO FAR!! I’ve only just begun!! (can you tell I’m really excited about this progress and where it will take us??)

Coincidentally (it was Albert Einstein who said “Coincidence is God’s way of remaining anonymous.” I love that.), at my therapy session today my counselor asked me what’s been happening since I saw her last week. I explained some of what’s been going on and how I’ve been feeling. I even told her about the “blow-up” and the apology. She commended me on doing what she called “reparative” work. By acknowledging my poor behaviour and apologizing to the kids I was doing the “right” thing for our family’s well-being (who knew? Alexi & Rian’s therapist did compliment me on apologizing to the kids and acknowledged how difficult that was so I’m guessing she knew, but I didn’t).

My therapist also commended me on all the positive steps I’ve been taking. Being able to acknowledge them and have them recognized by people I respect (my counselor, the kids’ counselor, my Wraparound team, my mom, my trusted friends) has been an amazing boost to my self-esteem.

I told my counselor I feel like I’ve been standing at the train station for so long and I’m finally on board a train.  I don’t know if it’s the right train, but I’m on a train. And there are options if I’m on the wrong train or if I decide I don’t like where the train is going – I can get off, I can get a transfer to a new train, I can study the schedule for a while before re-boarding. The options are limitless and the scenery is going to be beautiful.


*I’m going to sit down with each of the kids and create a list of the progresses they’ve made,  and add any to my list that they mention, and I’ll share those with you in the next couple of posts. 


About Holly

I hope you're able to glean something from this blog, a nugget of wisdom, a new perspective, a smile or even a laugh. I enjoy getting feedback so please comment, share your story with me too. After all, we're here to help each other.
This entry was posted in children's mental health, coping strategies, parenting, Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, PTSD, single parenting and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

6 Responses to On a Positive Note

  1. Wow – that sounds like tremendous progress. You have much to be proud of. Go you!

  2. This is all totally awesome, Holly! I’m glad you took an inventory of all of the positives…in 12-step recovery this is along the lines of a gratitude list. When, on any given day, all you feel is the blues or something troubling happens, it’s good to make a list such as this. Great job! And, I love the last line: “The options are limitless and the scenery is going to be beautiful.” It’s true, it’s true! Much love. XOXO-SWM

  3. Beth says:

    It is so good to hear that things are looking up for you! I think of you often. I’m wondering, how has the decision to go off your meds been a factor in the items on this list? Has it helped you, or did you decide to go off them because things are going so well?

    • Holly says:

      Things have improved as I’ve been decreasing the meds, at least in some areas. I’m able to think more clearly. I have some ambition. Things no longer seem insurmountable although I’m sad and weepy more frequently now than when I was taking a full dose.
      My meds were beneficial when I needed them, but now that I’ve been working on Cognitive Therapy and retraining my brain and thought patterns, I don’t need them as much.
      The decision to go off them was prompted by the change in diagnosis and my willingness to try a different form of treatment.
      I wouldn’t recommend anyone go off their meds without consulting their doctor and therapist. Going off them can have a range of serious side effects – the Madhouse has been a little kookier in the last month but it’s all going to be good in the end 🙂

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