I Heart Mail Day!

Hello my lovelies, I hope your day is going as fantastic. A few weeks ago I put ordered a few things to treat myself when I was going through a bump in my mental illness. At that point in time, I was truly convinced that the things I ordered were going to keep my head above water and prevent me from spiraling into an even deeper depression. I know, how silly?

It has been years since I’ve lost myself in a good story, so I went ahead and ordered some thought provoking, self-help books from Thrift BooksHow many times can I say the word Book in one post? Lets find out!

Excuse Me, Your Life Is Waiting: The Astonishing Power of Feelings by Lynn Grabhorn

Lost in the Cosmos: The Last Self-Help Book by Walker Percy

The Science of Mind: A Philosophy, A Faith, A Way of Life by Ernest Holmes

img_7785

 

Thrift Books is this awesome website where you can get books used books insanely cheap! You’re able to select the condition the book is in, however prices do vary based on the condition. I recommend this website to bookworms searching for that one novel they just can’t seem to find anywhere!

My Package did arrive torn. Luckily, it only affected one of my books and the damage was minimal — nothing to contact customer support over!

 

A few weeks ago I also started familiarizing myself with the practice of yoga and meditation in hopes to help with my chaotic mind. I fell in love with it and decided that I should also splurge on some basic yoga needs, courtesy of Amazon.

img_7782_facetune_05-12-2017-12-53-29

The mat is absolute gorgeous, non-slip, and perfect for a beginner like myself. It does have a factory/chemical smell to it, but I’m sure that will fade with time. I’m absolutely in love with this authentic woven blanket, imported directly from Mexico! I chose the ‘Random Color’ option when ordering, which was about $5 cheaper, and I’m not disappointed! I did also order some yoga leggings that I’m choosing not to include. I was very dissatisfied with the quality of them. They’re scratchy, feel more like tights, and don’t fit my curves as much as I’d like them to.

If you’re curious as to where to find the Yoga items, I’ve listed links below! (Baby not included) 

What are your favorite books? Am I missing any yoga beginner essentials? Let me know in the comments. Have a wonderful day!

 

Advertisements

Connecting With Nature

Happy Monday, everyone! I hope your week is going great so far. Not too long ago I was in a funk that I couldn’t easily just shake off. I felt lost and I felt like I needed to dive head first into the wilderness just to clear my mind of all of my worries, even if only for one day. A few friends and I decided to do just that.

We got up, bright and early, to drive for nearly two hours before reaching our destination — The Umpqua Hot Springs. I looked forward to having a good soak in the mineral enriched waters, but once I saw the hill that I had to hike the first thought I had was what did you get yourself into? Of course the hike was very worth it.

img_7756

It was an overcast day and the forest was still slick from rain the previous night. When we arrived to the pools, to our surprise we were the only ones there, but that changed about an hour in. Soon people started flooding in and that’s when we decided to pack up.

The hot springs consist of around 10 – 20 pools, each differing in temperature. Some were lukewarm while others made me feel like I was stewing in a pot of soup. The pools were carved naturally and had a smooth surface, so our feet didn’t get cut up. While we were there it began to rain and feeling the droplets hit my skin while soaking gave me a feeling of complete zen. Not to mention the view was gorgeous. All we could hear was silence and rain. I’ll never forget.

img_7753      img_7754

img_7755

If you’re ever in the Glide area in Oregon, I encourage you to give this place a try. It gave me a release that I was looking for and I’m looking forward to my next visit! Where are your favorite places to hike?

Inside the Pages of Roots

Hello everyone — I hope you’re having a lovely week. Today I’m going to be trying a something a little different as I take a step out of my comfort zone. As I’ve stated in my About page, I’ve recently published a short debut title that is a collection of some of my poetry, which is available on the Amazon Marketplace.

Cover
Click Here

 

The poetry in Carnations in January is in no particular order and is just a compilation of the poetry that I had been working on. Something in my gut told me that I needed to publish something. As a novice poet, I’ve discovered that writing artistically has given me the outlet that I desperately needed. Which is why I’d like to give a little preview of what I’m currently working on.

Trigger Warning

Below is an excerpt from the first page.

When I was young, I was fascinated with the idea of becoming an author when I grew up. If I wasn’t reading during my spare time, you would have caught me reading on the sofa or in the school’s library – I spent a lot of time there when I was in middle school. Needless to say, writing was a dream of mine. However, as I began to grow I noticed that I enjoyed it less and less. I quit reading. Pretty soon I had quit writing entirely. I felt like all of the creativity that I used to have just disappeared. Was this growing up? Yes and no.

Depression is what drove my passion away. For years I let it control my life. Who I used to be is lost and I’m desperately trying to find her. This book represents retracing my steps and following my roots back to my core, digging through my traumas in attempt to pull myself out of the swamp of negativity that’s now my mind. Each chapter will have a theme of a significant time in my life, something good or bad that changed who I am forever.

This is for me.

 Accepting that I had depression was one thing — but trying to fix it was another. I knew that I needed an outlet and I knew that coming to terms and accepting my trauma was going to feel like re-opening a wound and digging around in it. At first I was apprehensive about writing it all out. What if it was awful? What if it didn’t make sense? What if people think it’s garbage? All I could hear were the What If’s. I cared too much about what other people were going to think of my writing, and that attitude wasn’t going to get me anywhere. I leaped into the world of the unknown and tossed my worries aside, which was much easier said than done.

I was inspired to name this book Roots, because digging through all of the dirt and muck in my mind was going to lead me back to who I was. I knew that writing was going to be difficult, but with each page that I added, it’s as if weight was lifted off of my shoulders. My traumas were tangible and right in front of me printed in black and white. That meant I was human.

Many poems in the book represent some of my most profound experiences that shaped me into who I am today. As much as I’d like to say they were good experiences, this is a book filled with my traumas and is not a light-hearted read. The book is split up into four chapters with a specific theme, representing somewhat of a chapter timeline of my mental illness

Listed below are four poems, one from each chapter.

“I was born

dripping with sadness

in a world that

didn’t believe

sadness existed.”

– N.H.

 

“Don’t you

dare

tell me to

look on the

bright side

when you have

never

seen the

darkness.”

– N.H.

 

“She had lost

who she was

between the cracks

of sleepless nights

spent screaming

and the days

spent pretending

that nothing

ever

happened.”

– N.H.

 

“Suicide

was the

elephant

in the room

and I wanted

so badly

to address it.”

– N.H.

 

As you can see, the poetry is representing some of the darkest points of my life. Every day is still a battle with mental illness, some days worse than others. But healing is not linear, and I think that’s something that we all need to remember.

My publishing date is still being determined, but it will be sometime in 2018. Thanks so much for reading and don’t forget to check out my book that I’ve linked above!

 

My 2017 Holiday Bucket List

It’s the most wonderful time of the year… Yes! Christmas! A pleasant time for people to come together and focus on what really matters — No, not presents; although that is a perk. Giving is such a rewarding feeling, especially if you help those in need. I encourage everyone reading this to perform at least one random act of kindness this holiday season. It could change their life.

Now that we’ve discussed that, time to move onto the fun part! The bucket list. Every holiday I have to complete my bucket lists or else the season feels incomplete, and that’s no fun! I’ve compiled a series of activities, in no particular order, that I do every single season. Feel free to leave your family traditions in the comments!

  1. Decorating the tree!

This is perhaps my absolute favorite, so that’s why I’ve made it the first! Whether it’s a fake or real tree, nothing is more satisfying than switching the twinkling lights on once you’ve finished to marvel at it’s beauty! Personally, I like to switch on some jazzy music tunes and throw on a festive outfit while I drink hot cocoa. BLISS.

A simple and minimal Christmas Tree made with DIY clay stars! See 10 more Christmas Tree Decorating Ideas on dreambookdesign.com
source: pinterest

2. Bake Christmas cookies!

Sugar and gingerbread cookies are my holiday go-to since you can cut them into festive little shapes. Then just top them off with traditional royal icing, buttercream, or just leave them as they are!

snowglobes                                                                                                                                                                                 More
Source: pinterest

 

3. Decorate a gingerbread house

Ah yes, finally the miscellaneous candy I’ve collected throughout the year can be put to good use. Usually I just pick up a kit at the store, but if you’re feeling creative you could bake your own gingerbread house and make it a gingerbread mansion. Get creative!

Pepparkakshus | Recept och mallar för degen                                                                                                                                                                                 More
Source: pinterest

4. Make hot cocoa

I mentioned this earlier in the list, but I just love it so much! It warms up my soul, especially next to a warm, crackling fire. Add marshmallows and even stir it with a candy cane! A wonderful mug of nostalgia served up tree-side.

hot cocoa | #DestinationScandinavia #ClubMonaco
Source: pinterest

5.  Go look at Christmas lights

Some of my fondest memories of Christmas were spent in a car driving around the neighborhoods in my town, looking at all of the different lights. It was magical and the perfect way to really get into the holiday spirit, also — inspiration!

Google Image Result for http://www.dirjournal.com/shopping-journal/wp-content/uploads/2009/12/tackyxmasdecorations.jpg
Source: pinterest

6. Watch a Christmas movie in my Christmas pajamas

Me. A warm blanket. A mug in my hand and The Grinch, which is my favorite Christmas movie. Elf is a close second.

The Dreamer Flannel Pajama - Victoria's Secret
Source: pinterest

 

7. Wrap Presents

A task that some may dread, and others adore. Although my wrapping skills aren’t the best, I will wrap empty boxes just to wrap them.

10 VERY BEST GIFT WRAPPING TIPS
Source: pinterest

 

8. Christmas crafts

Ornaments, garland, decorations — anything!

Cute idea for wine bottles!                                                                                                                                                      More
Source: pinterest

 

9. Shamelessly blast Christmas music

Have you truly indulged in Christmas if you don’t hear at least one Michael Bublé song?

Michael Bublé – Christmas. I’m starting to purchase Christmas songs
Source: pinterest

 

10. Enjoy the holiday cheer

Relish in this season’s greetings. Welcome winter and look forward to the new year. Spend time with loved ones. But most of all, be humble.

Happy Holidays.

 

Continue reading

Where Have I Been?

I started this blog over a year ago for the wrong reasons. I didn’t really care about the content that I posted — I wasn’t passionate about it. To be honest, I’ve grown to hate writing. Everything that I type leaves a sour taste in my mouth. Writing used to be my escape a majority of my life, but when my depression set in and became more prominent, I stopped. All the creativity that used to flow through my head constantly just packed it’s begs and skipped town.

My PPD comes in waves. I’ll be down and useless for a month or two, and then I’ll have an okay week. But then the tides of depression slowly creeps back up and swipes me off of the cliffs when my back is turned. I’m tired of falling victim to my mental illness. I want to fight back and it’s taken me a long time to figure out how to do that. Sometimes it made me depressed just thinking about how I was going to even begin to deal with my depression. It was a vicious, never-ending cycle and I am choosing to break it. Yes, there will still be bad days, bad weeks, but I’m no longer letting it cripple me. I’m not letting it take away from my happiness and I refuse to let it affect those that I love.

I am stronger.

Coming Clean with PPD

Recently I’ve felt my mental health slowly deteriorating and I’m frantically searching for something to keep me from spiraling into a darker place than I already am. I would like to state that I am safe and am in no immediate danger. 

What is PPD (Post Partum Depression)?

Mothers can develop various anxiety and mood disorders that often were never there until they gave birth. From my experiences, most mothers that I have known have not sought help. I happen to be one of them.

Mothers are often given the label of perfect. They’re expected to be everything that their family often wants them to be. They have to be a rock for their children, which is a very hard thing to do when you can’t get a grip yourself and are slowly sinking deeper and deeper into depression. I’ve struggled with depression long before I had a child. I remember being a child and feeling empty, but I couldn’t quite explain it. After I turned 10, I was sad most of the time. Quiet. Reserved. I didn’t want to let anyone in.

As I got older, my mood became worse. I had recurring thoughts of death. I never thought that I would live to even graduate high school. My life was full of self-destructive tenancies. I wrestled with self-harm and anorexia through a majority of my teenage years. I always told myself that it had to be normal, and that everyone had their problems. I wasn’t special for feeling this way.

“Someone out there has it worse than I do.”

I constantly used to tell myself.

My depression lingered throughout my pregnancy. I was bed-ridden and completely useless through the entirety of it due to severe morning sickness. “It’s the hormones.” I would say. I convinced myself that having suicidal thoughts while 8 months pregnant was normal. That everyone had them. Once my son came, I figured that my depression might go away. It got worse. While it never prevented me from taking care of my child, it did keep me up during most of the night. My anxiety sky-rocketed, I wasn’t able to even clean the room without becoming overwhelmed and crying.

Anxiety and depression are a nasty pair. One ridicules you for everything you do, the other beats you down until you feel smaller than a grain of sand. During a breakdown, even if the room is silent, it’s deafening inside. Anxiety will be yelling, like a radio with multiple frequencies. They’re full of nasty words and insults. It’s like a large crowd and everyone is trying to talk over one another. Depression will leave me feeling empty. That I have no one even though the love of my life is laying less than an arms length away, peacefully sleeping.

“You have no one,” my brain will hiss. “Everyone leaves, your own family doesn’t even want you.”

When depression creeps up after anxiety’s first attack, that is when I truly feel most alone. If you ever self-harmed, it will leave a tingling numbness trailing through your veins where the blade used to cut you, or where the bobby-pin would singe you. You never lose that feeling. There’s no way to describe it other than when your heart sinks or stomach drops. Most days I tell myself, “what’s the point?” Because I’m worried that I don’t have a future. My brain has been programmed to not allow myself to have ambitions. PPD could almost be considered a ticking time bomb.

I’ve accepted the fact that I have a chemical imbalance in my brain. There’s nothing wrong with me, and it’s okay to feel this way. It’s not just ‘hormones’, and that’s okay. I still haven’t sought professional help, but I’m working on a better me. I’m taking baby steps and trying to modify my life to work around my mental illness, rather than pretending it’s not there.

This is a very overwhelming thing to live with, but I’m doing the best that I can.

 

11 Things Nobody Tells You About Getting a Cesarean

The tugging.

Before they start the procedure, they will most likely explain to you the process and sensations that you will be feeling. As they pull the baby out, they will put an immense amount of pressure right below your ribs and you might just feel as though an elephant is sitting on your chest. When they began tugging, I swear that my entire body was being viciously jerked around, when in all reality – it wasn’t.

The shaking.

One of the side effects of the spinal block is shaking. You might begin shaking while in the OR, or you might be like me and start shaking once you’re in the recovery room. Wherever you end up being when it starts, it is intense. The more you try to make it stop, the worse it gets. And it doesn’t help that the OR is freezing cold. It took two people to hold me down while I was shaking just to get an accurate blood pressure reading.

The kneading.

Women that have normal deliveries often tell about the rigorous kneading that the nurses come and perform every hour after birth to make sure that you’re bleeding properly. Let me tell you that they definitely still do this for c-sections. Only it feels 10 times worse, because not only are they making sure that your uterus is bleeding properly, they want to make sure that your stitches aren’t bleeding and that you aren’t clotting. Putting the band back on also doesn’t feel that great, either.

Sneezing. Coughing. Laughing.

Anything that involves using your abdominal muscles, it is going to hurt. Bad. When I had first heard of this, I thought nothing of it. I thought that the pain would be bearable and I’d be fine. I was wrong. The nurses will tell you to place a pillow over your incision to brace it and make it a little bit easier on you, but I promise you this only helps a very little amount. With my luck, it seemed as though when I shouldn’t be coughing was when I choked the most. Every time I took even a sip of water, I choked on it. You don’t know whether to keep coughing or just hold your breath until it goes away – which makes you want to die.

Getting up for the first time after surgery.

I don’t even want to think about how bad it hurt again. My stomach felt as if I was being stabbed by multiple knifes from the inside. It took 3 people to get me out of my bed and into the bathroom. The minute that I stood up, I was convinced that my insides were going to spill onto the floor. (Obviously this would never happen, so you’re safe.)

The swelling.

Oh my God, the swelling. You will get an awesome leg massage from the time you go into surgery until probably the next day. These devices are called sequential compression devices (SCD’s) and they’re meant to promote blood flow and reduce the risks of clotting. Once the nurses take these off and you see your legs/ankles, you will feel like you’re walking around on water balloons. Worse than when you were pregnant.

The first shower.

You’d think that the first shower after giving birth would feel heavenly, and you’re right – if you didn’t have a c-section. After getting up for the first time after surgery, which was enough pain as it is, you are then put into a standing shower and told to wash yourself off. Of course you want to use hot water, but that ends up burning your fresh stitches. So, you’re forced to use lukewarm water, which still hurts.

The first bathroom trip.

I was told multiple times that once you have a vaginal delivery, pooping for the first time can be very difficult. I thought that since I was having a cesarean, I wouldn’t have to worry about it. I was wrong, yet again. Peeing for the first time burns like hell. But pooping? I was in the bathroom for over 45 minutes because all of the medication that they had given me had made me constipated. You also cannot strain yourself, so I’m sure that you can only imagine.

Your newly found numb spot.

Everything from the bottom of your belly button past your scar will be numb/tingly. Touching it will give you a very weird sensation. Weird is the only way to describe it. Its most likely that your feeling there will be affected forever.

How awesome that belly band is.

Seriously. I don’t know how people would get cesareans without this thing. It holds everything securely in place, making getting around less painful. It also can speed up the healing process and help everything move back into it’s place.

The spinal migraine.

If you’re lucky enough, you may have dodged a bullet and never got a spinal migraine. However, if you’re like me, the spinal block caused you the worst constant migraine of your life. To the point where your neck, arms, and back will be stiff and laying flat on your back will be your only relief. Luckily, mine went away within a week, but some women have to get a blood patch in order to close the hole that the needle left. Make sure this is a last resort before you go having blood injected into your spine.

Asher’s Arrival: My Labor and Delivery Story

It’s been a while since I’ve posted anything on this blog, which is not what I wanted to happen. Living in the middle of nowhere with shit internet access is really taking it’s toll on all of my technological hobbies. Sad face.

I missed all of the opportunities while I was pregnant to write about this journey, but my boy is finally here and it’s time that I write about it.

When I was around 32 – 33 weeks pregnant, we were told that my baby was breech. Meaning that he was head up and nowhere near my birth canal. I had roughly 7 to 8 weeks to try to get him to flip, but I just couldn’t. Finally, my doctor recommended that we try External Cephalic Version, which is a procedure in which the doctor tries to flip the fetus/baby from outside of the womb. No luck with that. He got stuck half way and just wouldn’t flip because he didn’t have enough room. I remember crying while my baby’s father held me in the hospital room after my doctor had left after the unsuccessful procedure. This meant that my chances of getting a cesarean where higher.

img_5603.jpg

Weeks passed and my son still hadn’t flipped, lo and behold I was scheduled for a C-section. It took a long time for me to accept the fact that I wasn’t bringing my son into the world the way that I had initially wanted. Honestly, knowing the exact hour that he’d be making his appearance into the world was more unnerving than calming. Knowing that I was going to be sliced open stressed me out.

January 30th was the date that was given to me, coincidentally it’s also our dog’s birthday. The night before surgery, my boyfriend surprised me with a king suite in a nearby hotel. I took a relaxing bubble bath the night before, but even the most comfortable bed that I’ve probably ever had the privilege of laying in didn’t help me get any sleep. I was scheduled to be at the hospital at 5:30 AM. Running on only 4-5 hours of sleep, we left to go get ready to welcome Asher into the word.

When we arrived, the nurse gave me a gown and a ridiculous amount of sterilization pads to wipe myself down with. Once I was done, I was told to lay in the bed as they hooked me up to an IV, which took the nurse at least 4 minutes of digging to find a vein. Knowing what was coming was the worst part. My anxiety started to kick in and I couldn’t get comfy in the bed. My belly started itching because of all the alcohol that it was wiped down with. I actually ended up scratching my belly so hard that I made myself bleed. After what felt like an eternity of waiting, after the nurse came and said “it’s time,” everything moved at what seemed to be hyperspeed.

We all walked down to the OR (operating room), which was freezing cold. Micah, my boyfriend, had to wait before he was allowed into the room. As soon as they walked me in, they made me sit on the table. My L&D nurse came and comforted me as the anesthesiologist stuck me in the back with the spinal block, which was more of a weird feeling rather than pain. My toes started to go numb and I actually wasn’t even able to get onto the table myself — I had to be lifted.

Finally after they had the catheter in and everything in place, Micah was able to join me. He stayed right by my head the whole time, holding my hand and stroking my hair. It was all such a surreal feeling. The ceiling was reflective, but luckily the giant light above me blocked what was happening to me from my view. However, I was still able to see what tools they were grabbing.

After only a few minutes of cutting and rigorous tugging, we heard a small cry. My eyes immediately filled with tears as my boyfriend looked at me and said: “Do you hear that? That’s our baby — That’s our son.” I couldn’t stop crying and it’s a feeling of bliss that I will never forget. Nine months of carrying him, getting cut open, it was all worth it. I noticed that he only cried a few times. When the doctors pulled him out, he started crying before they could get him all of the way out. Meaning that he inhaled more amniotic fluid that was already in his lungs.

Thanks to the ceiling, I was able to see them take my newborn baby boy over to the warmer and attempt to get him to cry. I was able to see his full head of hair through it. They brought him over to me and put him on my chest. I wasn’t able to fully see his face, but I knew that he was the most beautiful little boy in the world. My time with him and his father was cut short as they took him to the infirmary in order to get more fluid out of his lungs and clean him up.

img_5698

After I was stitched up, I was wheeled to the recovery room where I sat for about an hour. One of the side effects of the spinal block is severe shaking, which I could not stop for the life of me. I actually had to be held down by a nurse and my boyfriend just to get an accurate blood pressure reading because I was shaking so bad.

Even though recovery has been a long road and I still have a long way to go, I wouldn’t have it any other way. My boy is happy and healthy and I honestly have forgotten all of the pain that I endured the first week of his life in order to bring him into the world. I may make a separate post about how hard recovery was, but for now, I’ll leave this as my labor and delivery story.

Asher Laine Hicks arrived at 7:49 AM on January 30th, 2017. Weighing 7lbs and 12 oz, measuring 20.5 inches of pure perfection. I love you, my son.

img_5859

Mysterious Baking Skills Appear?


Before I got pregnant, and I mean way before. Before my son was even a thought in my mind, I had a knack for ruining absolutely everything that I baked. Every Christmas while I was decorating the tree, I’d have a batch of homemade cinnamon sugar cookies in the oven. However, they were never necessarily good. It was just a way to get my pent up holiday cheer out. And it was a sad, sad way. They were the flattest and hardest cookies you would ever see, and would taste starchy.

Cake mix in the box didn’t even stand a chance against me. I would end up doing something wrong. I had officially given up Baking. I was convinced that I was incapable. The funny part is, I was actually a cake decorator in a bakery for a year and a half. I could decorate extravagant wedding cakes, but I couldn’t bake a cake!

A week or so ago, a huge storm slammed into the west coast. It brought rain all weekend, and we anticipated on losing power. We stocked up on candles, batteries, flash lights, and even canned food. And I decided to get into what the season is all about. Baking a pie with a warm fire going as it rained cats and dogs outside sounded heavenly to me.

Since I’m not skilled with Baking, I picked up some pre-made pie crusts and canned apple filling. I figured that it was going to burn or just turn out completely disastrous. But along with pregnancy, I mysteriously gained motherly Baking skills. This pie was so sweet and flaky to eat, especially curled up and reading a book. I couldn’t help but share the lattice top I did with the cute little pumpkins and ribbons. However, I can’t take all of the credit considering nothing was homemade! Thank you, Pillsbury.

With love,

Natasha. ♥

A Formal Introduction

I’ll admit, for a while I’ve had my eyes on this blogging stuff. I’d always make one every time I was inspired, and then dump it before I got too far. Whether it was lack of motivation or just plain boredom, I have racked up a graveyard of incomplete blogs. However, hopefully this one is different!

My name is Natasha and I’m twenty years old, residing in a rural farming town in Southern Oregon — yep, I live on a farm. Well, it’s more of a ranch. My family consists of my amazing boyfriend/unofficial fiance, our German Shepherd Reptar, and our amazing little boy Asher who is due February 4th, 2017! Being a first time mom, I’m not quite sure what to expect, and I’d love to blog/document my experiences along the way. Maybe they will make someone smile, give them something to think about, laugh about, or even gain some experience of their own. I’m a super-mom in training.