Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Coming Off Of Antidepressants

Day two went superbly.

Day two of what?

Of coming off of an Antidepressant.

Am I depressed. NO! I'm not depressed, in fact, I believe most people on antidepressants aren't depressed. (Though if you are, there is no shame in it... clinical depression and manic depression are very serious illnesses that should be treated and should not be taken lightly). 

In my mid 20's I found myself with 2 gorgeous little boys, aged 3 and 18 months, they were my everything. I was married at the time and we decided we would have a 3rd child. I lost my 3rd child to miscarriage, I was 10 weeks pregnant and it was horrific, I had labor pains and began to "pass" my child (as the nurse said to me), I had an emergency D&C and was devastated. The loss of a child that you so desperately wanted and already loved is beyond comprehension. The worst part was my husband left for Italy a week later and he was gone for 3 months, he was in the Air Force and was gone 8 months out of the year, leaving me alone in South Carolina, 1500 miles from family. After my loss I did go to stay with my family while my husband was away, but shortly after that is when I started having panic attacks. Anyone that has had panic attacks knows that they stop your world. Full Stop. And it doesn't move much after that. Especially when you have them daily, or a few a day. It was a hard time for me and I was diagnosed with Panic Disorder. Thus began my journey of finding the "perfect" medication. I haven't had a panic attack in 12 years. Effexor was my miracle drug.
Before I go any further, I want to talk about the bad rap that antidepressants have. Bad Bad Wrap. Because lets face it, if you have to have a medication for your brain, there must be something seriously wrong with you.
Right?
WRONG.
Nothing is likely "wrong" with your brain. Just like it's not your fault that you might be a diabetic, would you take insulin if you were a diabetic? Of course you would, or you'd be dead! Though you're not likely to die from the causes that require treatment with antidepressants, you may very well "feel" as if you might.

Primary (approved) uses of antidepressants are for the treatments of:
  • Agitation
  • Obsessive compulsive disorders (OCD)
  • Childhood enuresis (bedwetting)
  • Depression
  • Generalized anxiety disorder
  • Major Depressive Disorder
  • Manic-depressive disorders
  • Post-traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)
  • Social Anxiety Disorder
Some "off-label" uses of antidepressant (for an unapproved indication) include:
  • Binge Eating Disorder
  • Bulimia nervosa
  • Chronic urticaria (hives)
  • Fibromylagia
  • Osteoperosis pain
  • Hot flashes
  • Diabetic peripheral neuropathic pain
  • Neuropathic pain
  • Hyperhidrosis (drug-induced) - sweating too much
  • Premenstrual symptoms
  • Ruritus (itching)
  • Tourette syndrome
  • Migrains
  • Snoring
Snoring? Hives? Do you get the picture? I'm not a Doctor so I can't say if antidepressants are over used, but they are used for so much more than mental health.
My Antidepressant works, in fact, it works very well! I NEVER have panic attacks. So why do I want to come off of it? Well ... It's been 12 years that I've on this particular drug, and my body has become addicted to it. The one thing that Doctors don't tell you (And they won't call it "addiction"... but it is truly an addiction) is that you will go through withdrawals if you come off of certain antidepressants. If you go through physical withdrawals coming off of any drug... You're addicted. Coming off cold turkey leaves your brain feeling like nails on a chalk board. I once ran out of my prescription after I moved to Texas and had to change Doctors... 

Withdrawal symptoms begin within hours of missing a dose of this medication, I never let my prescription run out again. 

Common symptoms of stopping an antidepressant abruptly?
  • Terrible nightmares
  • Trembling
  • Sweats
  • Diarrhea 
  • Tremors
  • Extreme Mood Swings
  • "Brain Zapping" Effect
  • Buzzing Feeling
  • Nausea
  • Complete Loss of Appetite
  • Dizziness
It's very serious business coming off of an antidepressant, namely Effexor. 
My reason? When I moved to Austin I got a new Doctor, he told me that because of my life circumstance I may have needed an antidepressant at the time, but he feels that it's a very good likelyhood that I no longer need medication to treat panic attacks any longer. He told me that coming off of Effexor would take time, possibly 6 months of time... maybe sooner. 

Ironically enough, as I talk about withdrawal symptoms, I found this photo on a google photo search!
Doctors fail to mention what it feels like coming off of antidepressants, but they sure don't mind giving them out like candy! 
And so another journey has began for me. Life is, after all, about the journey.

My Doctor completely cut my medication dose by half. I do feel the withdrawal symptoms, however slight, but I'm feeling good. I work out at the gym at least 6 days a week, I eat insanely healthy, I've started looking at life with more of a "holistic" view and I'm in the right mind set. 

The good news is, I'm not afraid to fail. If I start having panic attacks again, I won't have any problem whatsoever with re-looking at the whole anti-depression route again. But I'm the kind of girl that likes to take it one day at a time. So far. So good. 

If you would like to know how to help a friend that is having or has panic attacks, check out this ARTICLE... It's pretty cool!

What IS an Antidepressant, exactly? Medical News Today will break it down.

Mental Health is as important as Physical Health, I only wish that people wouldn't judge and turn their backs on the truth about psychological disorders. There are many intelligent, strong and incredible people that suffer with various disorders, they aren't "weak", I know many personally and they are some of the strongest people I know! They have to work that much harder to live with joy.
I'm seeing my son this weekend after being apart from him for 6 months... Life is good.
In fact, life is very good!
I hope you are having a fantastic week!
Tammy x

Friday, January 24, 2014

Blogs to Check out...

I have been reading these blogs for awhile now and they are brilliant, and I always feel that if I find something extraordinary... I really should share it!

If you're looking for a Travel Blog, these three girls are your first stop.

Sarah is the "Wanderblogger", she's an American living in London with her family, she's VERY Detailed in the best places to eat, visit and sleep... I especially love her blog because not only is she informative, but she lets you know where and how to travel with a "Tweenager"... All mom's need to know where we can go with kids in tow. However, she has walked the Red Light District in Amsterdam, so she's not all about kid travel... there is lots of yummy adult stuff too (I suspect she will want to smack me for saying she walked the red district!! LOL... )But it's all in good fun and the you can read about it yourself ... The Wanderblogger

Selena writes "Oh The Places We Will Go", it's an amazing travel blog! Selena is also an American living in London with her English husband. Now this girl gives new meaning to the word travel, she does it all for fun and travels to many many many countries every year! Gosh If I have to guess, I would say that Selena hits at least 2 different Countries every month.. she has some serious miles on her sneakers! Her blog is full of beautiful photos and she will keep you in the "Know" of the best places to go! You will not be disappointed ... Oh the Places we will go

Then there is Emm in London, I have to say that I don't actually know her that well, but for over a year I have read her blog and her middle name is Travel, originally from South Africa, her blog is full of travel, history, knowledge and lots of London and hidden London, she's worth visiting, you will get absorbed in all that she offers ... Emm in London

If you're looking for a blog full of England's Beauty...

Chel is your girl, Chel has the blog "Sweetbriar Dreams", she takes pride in her heritage and in England's beauty.
Not only does she visit the most beautiful places in England, she will share it's history with you. She's spunky and fun and adore her blog. Check her out, you won't be disappointed Sweetbriar Dreams

Tina is an American that lives in the UK with her family, she travels all of UK and displays amazing photographs, catching England's true beauty. She also shares travel with children in the UK and is quite the World Traveler herself. She's here Girl Meets Globe

Jane shares England in a way that only she can, with a touch of her own vintage beauty. Her blog is full of photos of the UK in all of it's beauty and splendor... Vintage Jane

Fancy a touch of Homemaking? These girls make me look like I can barely make toast! They make exquisite meals, make quilts and crochet and some will share the funny and serious stories of child rearing!

Gillian from Takes of a Happy House
Lizzy from Handmade Homemade Lizzy
Amy from Love made my home
Jennifer from Thistlebear

Is Baking your thing?

Last but not least, I would like to share an AMAZING blog, this girl can bake in her sleep, she makes mouth watering decadent treats. I personally believe she should have her own bakery and her own show! I'm sure a lot of you already know Hazel from Ireland, but she holds a special place in my heart, she's an angel!
Visit her, but be prepared to put on weight just looking at the treats she makes :) Hazel at Cupcakery 
See what I mean?? Look at that cake... swwwoooon!
So there you have it!
If you have some extra reading time this weekend, check these ladies and their blogs out!
Have a wonderful weekend,
Tammy x

Monday, January 20, 2014

Red Phone Box Graveyard

I decided it was time that I researched and found out where the "Red Phone Box Graveyard" is.

Apparently, there is more than one.
(And now for a moment of silence.... )

The two that I found, I want to visit.
I mean what kind of person wants to visit a place full of old red boxes of iron?
ME! PICK ME!!! ME ME ME!
I'm slightly obsessed with them.

Why? Well that's harder to answer. The very first memory I have of England, the first time I ever landed in the Country in 1988 was "Wow this Country is so incredibly green, even in February!"... The Countryside and the forests were so green, and mossy. We took a military bus to RAF Alconbury, so my first memories of England were it's countryside. 2nd...? Well, those phone boxes. Few things stand as a pure mark of England more than the Red Phone Box... And RED! Isn't red an amazing bold color? It says "LOOK AT ME, I AM FULL OF CONFIDENCE!" Just like baseball makes you think of America, those iron red phone boxes make you think of the UK.

What I didn't know, and have recently learned, is that the phone box has had a history of face lifts. One of the more famous red phone boxes is the "K6" (Kiosk Number 6) which was designed in 1935 for King George V's Silver Jubilee.

The first Phone Box "Graveyard" that I learned about was in Newark, Nottinghamshire.
The Telegraph reported that BT planned on selling off 60 of their classic boxes starting out at 1,950 pounds. Well don't be fooled my friends, I found them for $8,000! Would I pay that? At first I said NO WAY. But I've slept on it, and yes, I think I would... just to see it sitting at the bottom of my garden. It would have to be in England though, I wouldn't ever take one out of it's country... I mean I've seen the odd one here in the States, but they just don't blend in!

The 2nd graveyard, is probably the more well known one and I've seen it mentioned in a couple of different blogs. It's off of A61 near the village of Carlton Miniott. Since I'm technically challenged I couldn't figure out how to screen shot on my computer, but this link from Google Maps shows a terrific picture of the front of the graveyard, it was pretty cool to see it from Google Earth ... Find the map picture HERE
The Graveyard is actually part of the Imperial Service Station

If you would like to learn more about the different Kiosks starting from 1920, you can read about them HERE

Here are some of the photographs I have found on Google Image search of the graveyards of these glorious Iron nationalistic icons...






These look as if they have given up, they have already laid down. Which made me think the most morbid of thoughts... Should I use one as my casket in 50-60 years? (Don't judge me!!:)
This poor guy makes me want to shed a tear :(

This next photo was taken by me on Bethnal Green Road, in East London
How could the English let this happen?

In closing, I wanted to add... that though I don't much care for the phone boxes being "Up-Cycled" into something else. I did like like what Cath Kidston did with the boxes this past Christmas 2013, on Old London Road in Kingston, London. This is one of my favorite landmarks and it's called "Out of Order", originally by David Mach.

Here's David Mach's Original Phone Box Sculpture
"Out of Order"
I also snapped a photo of these a couple of years ago when a photo shoot was going on next to Tower Bridge, I wasn't overly thrilled to see the red gone (You know what I'm like :) But I loved the positive words on the sides...

If you would like to own your very own Red Phone box...
You can find a refurbished one at British Bits and The Kings Bay
One is a British Company and one is American.
The British Company will even convert your Red phone box into a cubical shower!
Yes, I have no shame, I WOULD have this in my home :)
So there you have it.
I've had my red phone box happy pill and you've learned you can shower in one! :)

(The following photo is my phone cover, did I mention I just love the Red phone boxes?)

Have a wonderful week!
Tammy

Friday, January 10, 2014

True beauty

I had the most amazing opportunity!!

This is Hannah's report card that she brought home yesterday, I am so proud of her I could burst! Hannah learns in English only 2 days a week and the other 3 days are in Spanish. She earned this report card when most days she learns all of her subjects in another language! I am so proud of my little girl!

So what was my amazing opportunity?

This was my opportunity to share with Hannah that this is one of the many things that makes her truly beautiful... Not someone judging her face.
She's a very intelligent and bright little girl, and I told her THIS is not something she could ever win at a beauty pageant, THIS Is what no judge in the land can give her, this is something that she earned, that she worked hard for and that she deserves. This is her beauty... Deep inside of her little brain where all of those beautiful little neurons are firing off... Hannah's brain is beautiful!

I did have that talk with Hannah, about why I do not want her to participate in Beauty Pageants, not at her age, anyway. When she's an adult, she can seek out Beauty Pageants if she so desires. But right now, I'm very pleased to report that Hannah was fine with the news, and there has been no more talk of it. In fact when I thought that my daughter might cry, she just looked at me and asked "Well can I try Karate then?"... Seriously? After all of that asking to be in pageants? So everyone is content. For now. 

My Peanut. Now known in our family as "Smartest girl ever"
I'm done bragging now.
I just wanted to share that I'm the proudest mom in Texas!
Have a wonderful weekend,
Tammy

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Little Girls and Beauty Pageants

When we raise our children we want them to explore every avenue available to them, we want them to cultivate every corner of their imagination (After all even Einstein said that Imagination was more important than knowledge).

I've always loved the saying "Parenting isn't for cowards", because it's so true. Sometimes we have to stand up and be the bad guy... All parents want their children happy, especially when our children seem to have come across something in this world that awakens their senses... We want to encourage them to chase their hearts desire. I don't want to squash dreams! I want to encourage them!!

I love my little girl, I love her so much, I want to always encourage her to be the best that she can be, and encourage her to do whatever she wants in life. I always tell her that she can be and do anything she put her mind to. She is truly my angel.

I have spent the better part of motherhood raising boys, having 4 boys before Hannah, I was pretty sure that nothing, that no one could shock me. I was sure after boys, I could take on the World.

I was so very Wrong because then...Then I gave birth to a girl. Raising a girl after 4 boys... It's like being a brand new parent again.
Whatever do I mean by that? Well apparently all of the rules have changed, I went from easy going, to "Do not look at my daughter, do not talk to my daughter and do not even think about dating my daughter!!!" Am I getting a little ahead of myself? Yes, perhaps. But I've found myself on the defensive side of Parenting.

Though I'm easy going, I'm very strict about some things. My boys weren't allowed to go to a friends house unless I had met the parents and approved, if they had a girl over They were never allowed To close the door and be completely Alone together in their bedroom and my boys were never allowed to just walk out of the house, I had to know where they were at all times. There were other rules but these were the main ones. 

Then came Hannah... I think to myself  "she wont be having a boy over, much less in her room with the door opened!!" Shes 8, and these things are already on my mind.

Where was I? Oh yes... Back to "Encouraging our children to explore and chase their desires"

To date... Between the 4 boys, they've belonged to city soccer teams, Basketball teams, Had flute lessons, Had piano lessons,  played football, joined boy scouts, Been passionate about art, had hamsters, joined a choir, played the guitar, became good at leather work and so on and so on.

Hannah has been no different. She is active and enjoys, or has enjoyed so many different conquests... Painting, crocheting, sewing, baking, dance... To name a few.
But then she started watching ..."Toddlers and Tiaras"
That was a big mistake.
Since she has started watching it, Hannah has it in her mind that she wants to be in a beauty pageant. 
I have told her no, I have told her that those little girls are basing their whole self esteems on just their looks and that she is so much more than a pretty face. I tell my daughter that she is intelligent and that she has such an amazing and beautiful heart. I want her to always know her self worth, and a persons self worth isn't, EVER... about others judging our beauty.

I thought that was the end of that.
However, Hannah investigated more, in her own little time, and she started to memorize the different Titles that can be won, and she started showing me that she learned how to walk and pose like the girls on the show. Now anyone with a little girl knows, that they like to parade around, they like to dress up and they often do. And when they do, they like an audience, so I am always cheering Hannah on with her new dance or cheerleading routine, or some other song she made up. Hannah's cousin or her brother are sometimes involved and it's fun! But this was different... Her little hips were popping and she was spinning and giving seductive looks and huge smiles, spinning around and walking the other way. I think it's funny when the kids get theatrical, but this was different. Much different. Then Hannah said to me "Mom research and find out when the next pageant is in Texas"

STOP THE PLANET.

This is so not going to happen. I know in my own heart and mind that the idea of beauty pageants just turns my stomach. If you're older and an adult and you want to show off your own body, well more power to you! If you have it! Rock it! But this is my little girl, and I find it so sad when mom's push their little girls with high energy drinks and threats. These little girls are completely exploited by society, their own parents and the whole beauty pageant world. It's wrong. It's very wrong and my little girl will not have a part in it.

I am having "That talk" tonight with her, last night I wanted to have it, but it got late, and today was the first day back to school, so things have been hectic. I will tell her tonight though, that not only is she no longer allowed to watch a TV show that exploits little girls (I honestly thought it was more of a curiosity thing at first), but she will not be participating in any beauty pageants. Her feelings will be hurt, and she will not understand why her mommy won't let her do something she wants to do, especially after I have never told her no about anything she wanted to explore.
One day she will understand.

One day, when she has her own little girl.
It is so important that the mothers of little girls teach them that beauty is deep inside, it's in our heart and our mind. We need to teach our little girls that a healthy self esteem is a must, that they are not special just because they are beautiful, and their happiness isn't based on their attachment to a man. We must teach our girls to first be independent, strong in mind and educated ... In saying all of that, I am a girly girl, I love my clothes and shoes and pampering... I like to have my nails done and I like to look beautiful. But my identity doesn't come from my looks, and I want my daughter to also know this.

Before I close I want to add that I had many of you email me, saying that I needed to be careful and that you were worried that I would get hurt. The thing is ladies, if we are to find a partner, if we are to date and get to know someone, we have to put our hearts out there, finding a terrific man is all about taking the risk of being hurt. But if we don't take that risk, we will never find a fantastic man! Thank you for caring about me! It's like I have about 50 other moms looking out for me :)

Much love to you all,
Tammy