KOHEN PRYOR SMITH

Monday, June 2, 2014

I See the Light

I am doing so much better.  I never thought I would get to this point. After 2+ years of being in overwhelming depression, anxiety attacks & "devil medicine", my grieving is changing into a stage that I never thought possible... Acceptance.

In my last blog post, I talked about my psychiatrist putting me on medication for my depression/anxiety.  Well, I took that crazy ass medicine for about 10 weeks.  Yes, it helped with my anxiety but ONLY because I was a zombie the whole time I was on it.  I call it the "devil medicine" because about 3 weeks ago my BFF, Ashley, had to rush (and I mean RUSH... flashers on, passing cars on busy streets, putting me in a wheelchair once we got there RUSH) to the hospital.  One of the main concerns of this medicine was going into hypertensive crisis.  It is a very RARE side effect, but guess who is in the 1% of it affecting them….ME.  My blood pressure was a soaring 180/131.  This is past the point of the possibility of having a stroke.


I was SCARED out of my mind.  I just kept telling Ashley over and over, "I'm going to die, I know I am".  She would just grab my face and make me focus on her and tell me over and over "I will not let that happen, you will be fine."
I had the most extreme migraine of my life on the right side of my forehead.  I had ice packs on my eyes and I couldn't stop shaking.  I've had to wear a medical alert bracelet ever since I started taking the devil drug (also known as Parnate. Look it up…you'll agree with me).  Basically there are about 900+ drugs that will interact with this medicine that could kill me.  So if the stroke wasn't going to kill me, if they chose the wrong medicine, that could kill me too (can you tell me how he thought by me taking this crazy medicine would HELP my anxiety???!!!).  Ashley KNEW this was a HUGE concern of mine and let me tell you, she did her job making sure every person that touched me KNEW what/who they were dealing with!!  Dr. Hudson was my ER doc and he assured me that the medicine he would be giving me would be safe.  He was right.  My blood pressure continued to come down to normal over then next 20 minutes.  By this time my Mom was at "the" hospital and "the" ER (by "the", I mean the same hospital/ER we last saw my Dad in).  By this time it was after midnight and I told my sweet, awesome, AMAZING BFF to go home!  (I forgot to mention that Jason was in Dallas for a dental event and my kids were at home with Ashley's nanny). The doctor couldn't give me any pain meds for my throbbing headache (which by this time felt much better now that my BP was down) because it would cause an interaction with the Parnate.  I was released after I returned to "normal"…  My mom stayed with me that night and some the next day to make sure I was ok.

I was on 40mg of Parnate.  I took myself down to 20mg the following week, then to 10mg for a few days and now I've been completely OFF of the devil drug for a few weeks.  I can't tell you how much better I feel being on ZERO medicine!

So, you would think I would be back to square one, right?  Well, my life saver, the magic "pill" that has helped me get to where I am today is my weekly visits with my awesome psychologist (not to be confused with my psychiatrist!).  I have been going to her since November 2013.  She (Dr. Smith), along with 26 weeks of GriefShare and of course God, have been the key to getting me where I am today.  Dr. Smith has been not only my doctor, but a friend.  She makes me feel so comfortable and I can tell her ANYTHING.  Yes, I know that is her job and I'm paying her, but I can't help but feel a real connection with her.  I can call or text her any time, and she ALWAYS answers or calls me back immediately.  We joke, laugh, cry and I feel like she KNOWS my Dad.  She is not a grief counselor.  She doesn't have a text book for it.  Who knows, I may even be the first patient she has had that she had to deal with so much overwhelming grief.  I initially went for help for my anxiety and depression.  She quickly recognized that if we worked on the grief first, then the others would fall into place.  She could not have been more right.  For week after week after week, I would go and hash through some of the toughest, most heartbreaking, physically painful emotions a person can have.  I learned my "stuck" points and I learned to recognize triggers of my anxiety.  I learned that intensity and length of mourning are NOT a testimony to how much I love my Dad.  This was a MAJOR stuck point for me.  I can be ok, and get better and this doesn't mean that I love my Dad any less.  This does not mean that I'm over it.  It just means that I HAVE to move forward!!!  I learned the biggest myth of mourning is that time heals all wounds.  This is just simply NOT true!!!  In 30 years I will still love and miss my dad as much as I do today.  Yes, time helps with how much you think about it or cry about it, but time does not change the love you feel.

I'm thankful for my crazy medicine that I took because it showed me that I am strong enough to get through this without it.  I am doing the hard work and it is paying off.  I don't feel depressed anymore.  I feel so much better.  Yes, my anxiety is still there, but it's not like it has been (not being able to breathe, shaking, dizzy, sweating, heart beating out of my chest).  It's more of a healthy level of anxiety.   (well, until the weather forecast looks bad, then all bets are off!).

So, I guess what I'm trying to say with this lengthy post is... I am doing good :)      

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Why I stopped blogging & where I am in my Grief

I haven't blogged in so long.  I used to blog about 6 times a month to only blogging 9 times last YEAR.    Jason asks me all the time to please start blogging again.  The reason I stopped blogging is because my Dad died.  I stopped blogging and started writing him letters.  I've written him 50 letters so far.  I have filled not a notebook but 50, 9"x12" drawing sheets full of letters to him.  I'm out of those sheets.  I bought a new sketch pad to be able to continue writing to him, but I haven't been able to write in that one.  There's something about starting writing in a new notebook.  It's like I've realized that I will be filling a lifetime of notebooks with letters and he still won't be here to read them…
I think for anyone who hasn't lost someone extremely close to them has NO CLUE how exhausting, physically painful and how LONG grief lasts.  At this point I still find myself in the first stages of grief sometimes.  Shock.  I am still, after almost 2 years, in complete shock that my Dad is STILL not here.  I still find myself sending a group message to Mom, Dad, Shelley, Scott…  Then I will have to delete Dad from the list.  I'm just still such a mess.
I started seeing a psychologist in Little Rock about 5 months ago.  I go see her once a week.  She is amazing.  She had me bring my blog that I wrote about when my Dad died and she had me read it to her.  It was the first time I had read it in over a year.  It was almost unbearable.  I've also been bringing a zip-lock bag full of all the cards that I received when my Dad died but have not been able to go through those yet.  She suggested I go see a psychiatrist as well as her (I have developed MAJOR anxiety through the years and my Dads death has just made it even worse).  So I've seen him 3 times in the past 5 months.  I hate medicine.  I hate even taking tylenol, but I'm at the point where I just need some kind of peace.  We're still working through what works for me.
I have homework each week, whether it's writing an impact statement, googling "traumatic bereavement" or doing anxiety exercises (all of which SUCK, but seem to be helping), I really feel safe with her.  (She's also helping me with my weather anxiety!)    
In 28 days, it will be 2 years since my Dad passed.  In GriefShare, I learned that some people thought the 3rd year was the start to their healing.  I'm hoping that's true.  I just can't believe it's been almost 2 years since I've seen or talked to my Dad.  I still haven't washed the last outfit he held Saylor in.  She was only 8 months old, but talks about "PopPop" like she saw him yesterday.
I'm going to try to do a better job blogging about my kids and our lives.  Hopefully I can catch up soon.

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Weather, Birthday & Arkadelphia

Channel 7 did the weather forecast from my backyard!  
I wrote to them about my obsession with the weather and I was so lucky we were chosen!  
 As soon as they got here and were setting up, my phone started blowing up with texts and phone calls! LOL!  I guess my neighbors were a little curious!


 Barry Brandt from channel 7 was the one that did the forecast :)
He grilled for us too!




Picture with the whole crew 


 Barry even jumped in the pool while on-air!  



This was SUCH a fun day!!!  I'm so glad my sister and cousin Laura were there too :)

Max, Kohen and Maddie


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Ashton turned 4 this month.  He had an army themed birthday party.














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My family and Shelley's family went to Arkadelphia to spend the night at Stan and Kellye's house.  
The kids had so much fun!  
Stan is doing an amazing job at being a PopPop figure for our kids.  We love him so much.   

The adults had fun too!! 



Asa and Kohen, lol


Saylor and Maddie


Kohen LOVES hanging out with Max :)


My kids were EXHAUSTED when we got back to Conway!  

Monday, June 17, 2013

Picture Overload

I haven't posted any pictures since Easter, so I'm going to try and catch up... 

I have a TON of pictures of Saylor because Kohen is going through a stage where it irritates him for me to take his picture!  

 My babies

My BFF Ashley







Headed to the George Strait concert!  

Just me and the boys!  Jason, Michael Leal & Paul Alveraz

I sure do love these two Texas boys :)

and I sure did love our AWESOME seats!!!  No zoom on this pic!


We're in the process of turning Kohen's room into a Star Wars themed room.  He got to pick his bedding for his new big boy bed...Darth Vader & Stormtroopers wouldn't have been my first choice, lol  Now we just need to get the bright green walls painted.


My sweet girl is growing up.  
This is my friend Tori holding her a few weeks after she was born, and now.

Playing in Mimi's bathtub and talking to Jinixie the dog








Kohen and I planted a flower garden while Saylor was taking a nap :)


Ashton and Kohen









On the Anniversary of my Dads death, we stayed the night in Arkadelphia at my uncle and aunt's house (Stan and Kellye).  It was great to be with family during that time. 

Max, Asa and Maddie eating breakfast

The cardinal that came to see us that morning (on the fence)



 After going to the cemetery we went to Mom & Dad's house to have dinner and let the kids play.

I now have Dad's Cardinal shirt he was wearing in this picture.






first band-aid 


Silly boy

 Saylor gives Mimi the best hugs and kisses


lots of golfing... helps me get my mind off of things.

Can you see Saylor in the mirror?  Cutie pie

Kohen's Mother's Day performance at his preschool.  He hated it.


It's pool season!  



Talking to his BFF next door

Getting a toy at Daddy's dental office

Treats at Mimi's house










These two have SO much fun together

Golf with Ashley 








I'll post more pics tomorrow.