My Life Really Isn’t “Normal”

Yesterday I was hesitant to write out exactly what I was feeling because I had a lot going on inside my head. So at 2am, as my meds had completely worn off, I decided to write this blog post.

If you’re new here or this is the first blog post you’ve read by me, you may not know that I was diagnosed with ADHD (ADD) last year and our household of 7 probably has more than 50 percent of us who will also most likely have the same diagnosis. It’s becoming really clear why our family functions the way it does.

Last night, as I was scrolling through small business videos on TikTok, I came across a video that stopped me in my tracks. It’s an account from a therapist who also has ADHD and wrote a book about functioning in your home. They share videos about having a functioning home versus having an “Instagram perfect” home. They give tips and encouragement to those who are also struggling to function in their daily lives, even with medication.

As I continued to scroll through their videos, I realized that I have spent so much of my time trying to get friends, family, coworkers, and others to understand how difficult it really is to live a life bogged down with constant thoughts of how I’m going to get up and do one simple task. Then actually getting my brain to process this information into action. One task takes me probably twice as long as anyone who doesn’t have ADHD or ADD. Then add in our household family of 7 who, most do not have an official diagnosis yet, but clearly function the same way. Then try to get everyone on the same page at the same time. That rarely happens.

Next, add in something that is not in our normal routine, or set times, preparing the night before, getting up hours early, and still being late. Then having to explain to your friends, boss, school, or family that one of the children had an absolute meltdown, or is dealing with social anxiety about going to a function, event, new school, with people they don’t know. Getting dressed taking 3 hours because someone became distracted, forgot to do something, or forgot where they put something that they needed to finish getting ready.

Let’s also add in trying to prepare healthier meals for our family, staying on task to fold all the laundry, keeping a clean kitchen, bedrooms, bathrooms, etc. We do a decent job with cleaning because of schedules I created that do seem to work for us, but there are some areas of our home that are less than ideal. For example, I’m great at organizing things to look aesthetically pleasing, but then we can have a whole section of a room with tons of mail that hasn’t been sorted and there are just piles and piles of unorganized paper that need to be put away. Also, laundry tends to stay in piles. Clean piles, just not organized and sometimes not put away.

Can you imagine living this way daily? The truth is I do and there are others who are living this way. It is their reality. And some of them are successful business owners, bosses, CEOs, etc. I’m not here to make excuses or expect people to have pity on me for this. I’m just shedding light on how difficult it is to maintain life and relationships especially when others around you just don’t understand. Or they think you’re just making excuses to be lazy. Or you just talk about the things that are at the forefront of your mind and there’s no real deep conversation. Or you’re avoided, left out of, or last to be told things because you’re just not as interesting or intellectually “there” because it takes so much more time to process information. Or you seem disconnected because all the thoughts about “what I need to do when I get home” randomly flood your brain during a conversation that you just can’t seem to focus on in the moment.

I couldn’t go another day without writing this out. I won’t continue to pretend that I am living a life of “normalcy” and trying to fit in to the standards that don’t define my life and weren’t created with someone like me in mind. I may have had some setbacks and definitely struggle to keep up with everyday life, but that doesn’t mean I can’t do “normal” things. I had to get myself up and out of that discouraging mindset and stop trying so hard to get people to accept me so I can move into this next phase of my life.

If you’ve been on this journey with me, you know I’ve been trying to officially launch my business of handcrafted cards. Thankfully I don’t have employees waiting to start work and I have a one person business. I can accept the setbacks I’ve had during this process. I also know that I do have the capability to function well in this role. While there have been mental and emotional challenges along the way, I’m confident that I will look back on all that has come from this and all I’ve endured during this time and be proud of myself and all that I accomplished with a not so “normal” life.

I thank God every day for the ability to wake up and to have learned some things along the way in order to function. I’m glad I am able to raise children, still help provide a loving and caring environment for our family, and work toward my goals and dreams. Not everyday is perfect, probably more days aren’t than they are. I just hope that me sharing all that I am living with can help you if you are struggling in your day to day living with ADHD or ADD. I also hope that you will stick around for my handcrafted cards launch that will launch within the next week.

Now that you know some of my daily struggles, you may see why some things I share that would have “been done” by “normal” circumstances takes me just a little while longer. I’m always pushing myself toward growth and I’m never giving up!😉

Is It Fall Yet?

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𝗧𝗢𝗣𝗜𝗖: Bᴜsɪɴᴇss Uᴘᴅᴀᴛᴇ, Hᴀɴᴅᴄʀᴀғᴛᴇᴅ Cᴀʀᴅs

I couldn’t wait until tomorrow to post a first day of fall photo, so I am doing it today!

I love Maple leaves, especially the Sugar Maple Tree and the leaves that fall from it.

After posting the second part of my organization reel last week on Instagram (𝙜𝙤 𝙘𝙝𝙚𝙘𝙠 𝙞𝙩 𝙤𝙪𝙩 𝙞𝙛 𝙮𝙤𝙪 𝙝𝙖𝙫𝙚𝙣’𝙩 𝙖𝙡𝙧𝙚𝙖𝙙𝙮) I set a date for the official launch!

I was going to share the date last week, BUT I will be posting it later this week (over on FB & Instagram)! I wanted to be sure to receive all of my shipping supplies before setting the official date AND they’re all finally here.

This journey has been filled with some tears, frustration, challenges, joy, and plenty of emotions in between. As I continue to learn, I’m excited to look back on my journey!

I am launching my cards during my favorite Fall/Autumn season AND the sugar maple leaf will be making it’s debut on one of my handcrafted cards.

I look forward to sharing all of my completed card ideas, causes I will be supporting and the future card ideas to come!

So excited about launching and FINALLY being able to share this with you all! 🎉🎉

📸: Marta Dzedyshko

Completion

A few weeks ago I attended a webinar that helped me plan and commit to creating daily posts to Instagram and Facebook and a blog post to WordPress at the beginning of each week. It was a lot harder than I thought.

Each week I was not consistent, but last week was the first time I posted on social media for all 7 days! For me that’s a huge accomplishment! To be able to complete a task, with my ADHD, has been such a struggle in the past! I’m learning that with a lot of hard work, setting goals, prayer, weekly planning, and being consistent, I’m able to focus more time and energy on my business.

I’ve had time to narrow down packaging ideas for my card sets, some design elements for social media, and the online store details in preparation for the launch! I even have some special things in the works for all of you that have been so supportive and patient with me along this journey!

I Almost Gave Up

I almost gave up several times this last week. Being a new business owner can be difficult.

After a great conversation with God (prayer) and another conversation with my husband (Happy 18th Anniversary today, Aug 23), I ended up taking my frustration and throwing it out! I began focusing on changes for the better.

With all of the things that have come up over the last few weeks, you’ll begin to see some things shift here continually until I find what works well. Thank you for the grace and still being here!

In this week’s posts over on Instagram and Facebook, I will be sharing some of those changes along with some Bible verses that have helped me re-center and re-focus.

Here’s one that I hope helps you if you’ve been feeling the same:

“𝙃𝙚 𝙜𝙞𝙫𝙚𝙨 𝙥𝙤𝙬𝙚𝙧 𝘁𝗼 𝙩𝙝𝙚 𝙬𝙚𝙖𝙠 𝙖𝙣𝙙 𝙨𝙩𝙧𝙚𝙣𝙜𝙩𝙝 𝙩𝙤 𝙩𝙝𝙚 𝙥𝙤𝙬𝙚𝙧𝙡𝙚𝙨𝙨. 𝙀𝙫𝙚𝙣 𝙮𝙤𝙪𝙩𝙝𝙨 𝙬𝙞𝙡𝙡 𝙗𝙚𝙘𝙤𝙢𝙚 𝙬𝙚𝙖𝙠 𝙖𝙣𝙙 𝙩𝙞𝙧𝙚𝙙, 𝙖𝙣𝙙 𝙮𝙤𝙪𝙣𝙜 𝙢𝙚𝙣 𝙬𝙞𝙡𝙡 𝙛𝙖𝙡𝙡 𝙞𝙣 𝙚𝙭𝙝𝙖𝙪𝙨𝙩𝙞𝙤𝙣. 𝘽𝙪𝙩 𝙩𝙝𝙤𝙨𝙚 𝙬𝙝𝙤 𝙩𝙧𝙪𝙨𝙩 𝙞𝙣 𝙩𝙝𝙚 𝙇𝙤𝙧𝙙 𝙬𝙞𝙡𝙡 𝙛𝙞𝙣𝙙 𝙣𝙚𝙬 𝙨𝙩𝙧𝙚𝙣𝙜𝙩𝙝. 𝙏𝙝𝙚𝙮 𝙬𝙞𝙡𝙡 𝙨𝙤𝙖𝙧 𝙝𝙞𝙜𝙝 𝙤𝙣 𝙬𝙞𝙣𝙜𝙨 𝙡𝙞𝙠𝙚 𝙚𝙖𝙜𝙡𝙚𝙨. 𝙏𝙝𝙚𝙮 𝙬𝙞𝙡𝙡 𝙧𝙪𝙣 𝙖𝙣𝙙 𝙣𝙤𝙩 𝙜𝙧𝙤𝙬 𝙬𝙚𝙖𝙧𝙮. 𝙏𝙝𝙚𝙮 𝙬𝙞𝙡𝙡 𝙬𝙖𝙡𝙠 𝙖𝙣𝙙 𝙣𝙤𝙩 𝙛𝙖𝙞𝙣𝙩.“ 𝗜𝘀𝗮𝗶𝗮𝗵 𝟰𝟬:𝟮𝟵-𝟯𝟭 𝗡𝗟𝗧

Mindful of Others

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𝗧𝗢𝗣𝗜𝗖: Mᴇɴᴛᴀʟ Hᴇᴀʟᴛʜ, Bᴜsɪɴᴇss Lᴀᴜɴᴄʜ

𝗠𝗶𝗻𝗱𝗳𝘂𝗹: 𝙘𝙤𝙣𝙘𝙞𝙤𝙪𝙨 𝙤𝙧 𝙖𝙬𝙖𝙧𝙚 𝙤𝙛 𝙨𝙤𝙢𝙚𝙩𝙝𝙞𝙣𝙜.

If you’ve ever known someone with ADHD/ADD or read anything about it, you may know that being mindful of other’s feelings, circumstances, and situations can be a struggle for them most of the time.

𝙄𝙛 𝙄 𝙘𝙖𝙣’𝙩 𝙥𝙧𝙤𝙥𝙚𝙧𝙡𝙮 𝙛𝙤𝙘𝙪𝙨 𝙤𝙣 𝙢𝙮𝙨𝙚𝙡𝙛, 𝙝𝙤𝙬 𝙙𝙤 𝙄 𝙚𝙫𝙚𝙣 𝙗𝙚𝙜𝙞𝙣 𝙛𝙤𝙘𝙪𝙨𝙞𝙣𝙜 𝙤𝙣 𝙤𝙩𝙝𝙚𝙧𝙨? The answer to this question has always been a tough one for me to balance.

As you may know from my previous blog, August is 𝘽𝙡𝙖𝙘𝙠 𝘽𝙪𝙨𝙞𝙣𝙚𝙨𝙨 𝙈𝙤𝙣𝙩𝙝. To celebrate, I am focusing on my own business launch.

𝐹𝑜𝑟 𝑡ℎ𝑜𝑠𝑒 𝑜𝑓 𝑦𝑜𝑢 𝑤ℎ𝑜 𝑎𝑟𝑒 𝑛𝑒𝑤 ℎ𝑒𝑟𝑒, 𝑦𝑒𝑠, 𝐼 𝑎𝑚 “𝑚𝑖𝑥𝑒𝑑“ 𝑜𝑟 “𝑚𝑢𝑙𝑡𝑖𝑟𝑎𝑐𝑖𝑎𝑙“, 𝑤𝑖𝑡ℎ 𝑜𝑛𝑒 𝑜𝑓 𝑡ℎ𝑜𝑠𝑒 𝑟𝑎𝑐𝑒𝑠 𝑏𝑒𝑖𝑛𝑔 𝐵𝑙𝑎𝑐𝑘. 𝐼 𝑤𝑎𝑠 𝑎𝑙𝑠𝑜 𝑟𝑎𝑖𝑠𝑒𝑑 𝑤𝑖𝑡ℎ 𝑏𝑙𝑎𝑐𝑘 𝑐𝑢𝑙𝑡𝑢𝑟𝑒 𝑏𝑒𝑖𝑛𝑔 𝑡ℎ𝑒 𝑛𝑜𝑟𝑚 𝑎𝑛𝑑 𝑚𝑜𝑟𝑒 𝑝𝑟𝑜𝑚𝑖𝑛𝑒𝑛𝑡 𝑖𝑛 𝑚𝑦 𝑢𝑝𝑏𝑟𝑖𝑛𝑔𝑖𝑛𝑔.

This month I am celebrating Black Businesses I am learning from, buying from, and reading about, all on my Instagram and Facebook 𝙨𝙩𝙤𝙧𝙞𝙚𝙨.

Being mindful of not just my own challenges, but the challenges of others like me and bringing an awareness to them is important. We can all learn how to be more mindful others by learning about experiences we are each faced with day-to-day.

Launching my own business with 𝙜𝙧𝙚𝙚𝙩𝙞𝙣𝙜 𝙘𝙖𝙧𝙙𝙨 is helping me constantly evaluate myself on how to uplift, encourage, and inspire others.

Throughout this week, I will be sharing more about my process of 𝙝𝙖𝙣𝙙 𝙢𝙖𝙠𝙞𝙣𝙜 𝙚𝙖𝙘𝙝 𝙘𝙖𝙧𝙙 over on 𝙄𝙣𝙨𝙩𝙖𝙜𝙧𝙖𝙢 and 𝙁𝙖𝙘𝙚𝙗𝙤𝙤𝙠, with an occasional post here on the blog! My shop will be linked in a blog post once it’s ready to go!

I am looking forward to 𝙛𝙞𝙣𝙖𝙡𝙡𝙮 being in a place where I can be more mindful of 𝙢𝙮𝙨𝙚𝙡𝙛 𝙖𝙣𝙙 𝙤𝙩𝙝𝙚𝙧𝙨…and bringing you along on the journey!

Black Business Month 2021

Hi Friends! Did you know that August is Black Business Month? I didn’t know until this year! Back in 2004, Frederick E. Jordan, an engineering entrepreneur, and John William Templeton, president and executive director of scholarly publishing company, eAccess Corp., started the yearly celebration while reflecting on the challenges Jordan faced as a new business owner. During the month of August, “individuals and businesses recognize Black-owned businesses across the country.” (NextDoor Editorial Team, 2020)

As a brand new business owner in the startup phase, I have been networking in a few different online spaces. What I have heard, especially in community with Black women, is there are plenty of challenges they have faced when starting their businesses. Being in community with them has shown me that I am not alone, as a Black woman/woman of color, trying to launch my own business.

As I began researching to start my own business, I found that Black business owners, like many business owners, face challenges when starting a new business. However, I started to see a trend in the gap of percentages and how it affected Black business owners in their first few years.

  • Black business owners receive less business financing, less often, and at higher rates. (Perry, 2020)
    • According to Federal Reserve numbers, 80.2% of white business owners receive at least a percentage of the funding they request from a bank. Only 66.4% of BIPOC (Black, indigenous, or people of color) business owners can say the same. When BIPOC-owned firms do get funding, the amounts tend to be about $30,000 less than comparable white-owned businesses, while their interest rates are about 1.4% higher. (Perry, 2020)
  • Only 1% of Black business owners obtain business loans in their first year. 7% of white-owned businesses get loans within their first year. (Perry, 2020)
  • Only 18% of Black business owners receive assistance from loan officers in completing applications, while 59% of white business owners receive help from loan officers. (Perry, 2020)

Even with the challenges of being a Black business owner, I am encouraged by the many business owners who did not let these challenges stop them. I am encouraged to keep going. That’s why I will be celebrating Black Business Month throughout the month of August!

My hope and prayer is that you will join me in celebrating too! I will post a blog here once a week and will have posts each week and through the month over on Facebook and Instagram! I will be sharing ways to uplift and support Black-owned businesses through encouragement, faith, helpful resources, stories, people I’m learning from, and more!

REFERENCES:

  1. NextDoor Editorial Team. (2020, August 21). What is National Black Business Month and How Can My Business Show Support? NextDoor Business. https://business.nextdoor.com/local/resources/what-is-black-business-month-and-how-can-my-business-show-support
  2. Perry, N. (2020, December 16). 20 Black-Owned Business Statistics for 2021. Fundera. https://www.fundera.com/resources/black-owned-business-statistics

One Year Ago – A Birth Story

It was Sunday night, July 19, 2020, and my husband and I drove to the hospital. We had a scheduled appointment to have our youngest child. Our baby was past his due date, so I was being induced. I had never been induced with any of our 4 older children and labor had always started on it’s own, so I had no idea what to expect with an induction. I was filled with anxiety and tears for the days leading up to this.

If you don’t know the process of being induced, the hospital will give you an IV and put Pitocin in it to start contractions that your body doesn’t start on it’s own. Pitocin basically gives you intense contractions in a much shorter time to help the process of labor. When I say intense, I mean contractions every 3 minutes with not much relief in between them.

So, at 10pm, I was induced, given Pitocin and waited for contractions. By 11:30pm they were pretty rough, but I was waiting it out. I had one labor where I had pain relief at the very end (that labor was a whole mess! and probably deserved some legal attention, but that’s another story). I had one incredibly quick, painful labor without any pain relief, and two with epidurals, so I was determined to go without pain relief again. Not much happened between 11:30 pm and 2:30 am except for contractions every 8 minutes, conversations, social media browsing in between and looking at the picture of my older children for inspiration.

2:30 am and things are really intense! I breathed, watched my contractions, watched baby’s heart rate, talked with my husband as he gave me back rubs for the lower back labor pain, held my hand and gave me ice chips. I wanted to eat so badly, but you can’t in labor! So I tried walking around to help labor progress, but on my side was so much more comfortable and I seemed to be dilating at a good rate, so I rotated sides as I lay there for a while.

By 3:50am, the contractions were so intense, I was breathing, praying, focusing on being dilated at 7 centimeters (out of 10) and almost there! My husband had been awake for more than 24 hours at this point so he went to sleep. It was good for me because I focused for the next 2 1/2 hours with such intense contractions and felt so strong at that point. I kept telling myself I could do it.

5:40-6:10 am and “I need an epidural!” is all I can say at this point. My husband is awake now! I laugh thinking about it! But my nurse and my husband said I was so calm…I don’t remember feeling calm! I hadn’t dilated any further and I had been at 7 cm for about 4 hours at this point and not budging. So, I got the epidural. From about 4-6 am I cried, prayed, and felt the most intense labor pain I never want to feel again, but something about it feels so empowering to know I tried my best to labor on my own, with Pitocin giving me the worst of the worst contractions ever!

6:40-6:45, and relief! I was so exhausted and had also been awake for more than 24 hours. So, I took a nap along with my husband. At about 9:30am, I woke up and said, “I’m sleepy, but I feel pressure.” They called my doctor right away. I was fully dilated and baby was right there waiting to be born! So I pushed for about 11 minutes and our 5th child, second son was born at 9:51 am on 7/20/20, in the middle of a worldwide pandemic. I cried tears of joy, just like I had before, every single time!

Today, 7/20/2021, our son Kai is a one year old happy boy! All of the pregnancy scares, the worries, anxiety I felt being pregnant during the pandemic is met with new mom worries. But there’s so much more joy to see who this little guy has become and how he continues to grow! He is such a joy to our lives and I wonder why I ever worried that we wouldn’t be able to handle having 5 children in the first place. All glory goes to God for all that has happened in our lives through these past two years!

I’m sure there may be more details I have not mentioned, but it has taken me a year to go back to relive this memory. I finally felt like it was a good time to share with you on my son’s one year birthday! Thank you for taking the time to go back with me!

My 5 Topics of Discussion

Do you love when something is organized? I know I do!

This is the reason I have taken the time to put this post together for you!

Talking and sharing about multiple topics here can become disorganized and chaotic. So I narrowed it all down and organized it for you here!

Scroll through and let me know what you think!

Quick Hello!

Hey friends! It feels good to be in this space and I had to send out a quick hello!

For my small business launch, I have been working hard on some back end business stuff (still) that no one really enjoys. Okay, maybe someone enjoys it, but I’m now my own admin in my own small business! For those of you who don’t know, almost every job I’ve ever had was in an Administrative role and I just can’t escape it! For now! (No shade to anyone in an administrative role! That’s hard work!)

I will have an official launch date to share with you soon! After playing with some initial ideas, I finally narrowed some down and have created my first sets of handmade ‘Thank You’ cards to be pieced together. I can’t wait to get everything up and running on the site to share with you! It’s almost here!

I shared a small preview on my Instagram stories, so don’t forget to check those out so you don’t miss anything AND the few surprises I have coming up!

Thanks for spending some time with me here today! I look forward to sharing more with you soon! You’re awesome!

Mental Health Self-Advocacy

This past weekend I had to call my pharmacy for my new ADHD medications. Long story short, I ran out of meds and went a day without them when I shouldn’t have. It wasn’t complete chaos, but I definitely noticed the difference. One area the meds help in is time management. I struggled pre-medication days, but with each new medication, I noticed a slight difference. Overall, I still hadn’t found the medication that is the perfect balance.

As I was out today, a vivid memory popped in my head. I was 20 and had a job interview across town. Traffic was busy and I had done everything I thought I could to be on time. My anxiety was high, I was lost, and so frustrated. Cell phones and navigation apps weren’t like they are today, so I was relying on directions online or over the phone. I never made it to the interview. I would have been 30+ minutes late and didn’t want to embarrass myself any further.

I’ve lived my entire life like this. Always late, forgetting how I arrived somewhere without directions, full anxiety around people, driving in traffic, not understanding jokes, slow comebacks because I didn’t “get it”, and wanting to stay isolated so I wouldn’t have to explain or help people understand the inner turmoil I live with daily.

Fast forward to today and I started my new medication. I saw a difference in my focus within the first 3 hours. I’ve completed multiple tasks, was far less distracted, and didn’t procrastinate. Tasks that raise my anxiety, overwhelm or frustrate me didn’t seem to be “life altering.” I still need to see how my body reacts, but for the first day, compared to other first days, this one is the best.

If you’ve been reading my posts for a while you may remember me mentioning that mental health was far less talked about in the Black community when I was growing up. Add this within some parts of the Christian community and it was something that could be healed away or was “just a demon”. I’m confident this is one of the many reasons people are being diagnosed with ADHD or other mental health issues as adults.

As someone who was diagnosed with ADHD as an adult, a Christian, and woman of color, I know now more than ever that advocating for my own mental health is so important. It’s something that I want to teach my children to know about, to know how to be their own self-advocate, and to encourage others who may be struggling in their own journey to seek out good mental health with their mental disorder/illness.