I honestly can’t believe it is 2018 already. It seems like just a month ago I was saying goodbye to nursing school, forming lesson plans for my daughter, and setting up this blog. So much happened in 2017 that it honestly flew by with me just trying to keep up. There were major accomplishments like my first sponsored post (which I never even planned to happen), and there were major downfalls like ending up in a psych ward for the third time after trying to end my life in the fall. Even though it was difficult to understand at the time, the one thing that remained constant through 2017 was that I learned so much. I learned about being an advocate for my daughter and how to help her by better understanding my own issues. I learned more things about marketing and blogging than I ever thought I cared to know about. Most importantly, though, I learned that I have what it takes to survive both in my personal and professional lives even when the universe decides to throw me a curve ball.
While looking back at my year in 2017 it became apparent through all of those changes that it’s about time for a change on this blog! So many things are different now than they were when I first started this blog last January. Not only am I focused on different things than I thought would be important this time last year, but the twists and turns my life has taken (both in the blog world and in my personal life) have made some things more relevant to me ( and you!) than others. Through really identifying an audience I didn’t even know existed a year ago I realized what my message truly is. Of course, I’m sure as this year progresses this could change again. We’ll cross that bridge when we get there, though. For now, I want to update you guys on a few things that are going to be a little different around here.
I haven’t discussed this much on here because, honestly, I’m still processing it. I wasn’t sure what to do. As much as I love education and homeschooling the fact of the matter is that I am not homeschooling at the moment. In late December, after a very violent outburst, my daughter was placed in a long-term psychiatric treatment facility. Her comorbid diagnoses of high functioning autism, oppositional defiant disorder, and a few others lead her to have very dangerous outbursts. She was hurting me, she was hurting her brother, and she was hurting herself. As much as I loathed the decision it was decided that it was best for her to go for long-term treatment. We had tried acute stays in the past but she is so smart that she knows what to tell them without working on the real issues. We had been to multiple psychiatrists and she quite frankly outgrew them all as her multiple diagnoses were more than they knew how to treat. Grudgingly, I agreed that it would be best for her and now the only times I see her are on twice weekly visits. Needless to say, I am counting down the days until she gets to come home to me.
I cannot put into words how much I miss spending my days with her, but I know that in the long run, it was the right decision. I have lived with so much guilt recently thinking that perhaps I didn’t search hard enough for a better specialist soon enough, or didn’t research a diagnosis enough. I can’t help but feel as though this is all my fault because she no doubt received her mental illness from my DNA. My son has no mental health problems but I knew that these traits appear more often in the females and on the maternal side of the family. Of course, I didn’t know these things 12 years ago when I had her but perhaps if I had I could have looked for signs earlier or done something better.
I will still put the occasional worksheet on the site but for now, homeschooling articles are going to be put aside for more of a tween-friendly activities approach. I have noticed that there are tons of awesome ideas out there for toddlers and younger children, but not as much for middle schoolers. As a mom of middle schoolers, I think it’s time to change that! I will always be an overgrown child and enjoy doing slime and nerf wars as much as my nerdlets do so it just seems right to start focusing more on fun for kids their age and less on educational material.
Chronic Illness & Mental Illness
Lupus is still, unfortunately, very much a part of my life. That is something that will never change. This year I will be focusing more on safe, effective treatments for the nagging symptoms of chronic illness. I really slacked on this one in 2017 because although it was a pretty big part of my life I was still processing the major changes it had caused in a relatively short time. Every time I saw an ambulance or firetruck pass by I had a moment of sadness for the job I once loved. I went through a major phase of thinking there was no way to help people like I once did so why bother. I now realize, through a few amazing communities that I have joined, that I am not alone. More importantly, there are so many out there who are new to chronic illness or bad flares and could use a little help just like I did. I hope, through sharing my experience of things that have helped me, that I can help those individuals live a little easier.
Although I have always used mindfulness and meditation to keep my mental health issues relatively in check I learned so much about just how serious they were this year. I really took the time to go through things that had caused them to be much worse and deal with them one by one. It was far from easy, but I feel that it was one of the most important things I have done in some time. Looking back over my life, I feel that there are so many things that can be used to help others who are going through a hard time from my 20-week miscarriage experience to handling the death of a boyfriend at 15, and even sexual assault. I haven’t discussed many of the things I’ve been through in my life to avoid sounding like I was whining or looking for pity…or perhaps even just a fear of being judged. I realize now, though, that maybe by sharing these things that have torn at me for years I can help someone else who may be going through them.
I am not a typical mom. ( bet you couldn’t guess that one lol) Between my green hair, nearly full sleeves of tattoos, and unicorn gauges I’m not exactly the most popular at the PTA meeting. I’ve always found this funny because I’m one of the first ones to volunteer for anything to help out my kids and their friends. I’ve never been stylish unless you count X-Men T-shirts and big black boots. I couldn’t do makeup if my life depended on it. Thanks to my old friend depression I found myself in a vicious cycle of not being able to do these things to not caring about them to being upset that I can’t do them. This year I am making a valiant effort to change that.
While I won’t be donning New York fashion week’s best I am making an effort to focus more on self-care and I’m taking you guys with me. It will be interesting to say the least, but hopefully, we can all learn a thing or two. I will also be adding information to follow along on my weight loss journey. After years of psychiatric medicine trials, I have put on way too much weight. I lost 90 lbs in 2015 and hope to do it again this year by making simple changes that even the busiest mom can do. I will be adding beauty, fashion, and self-care tips along the way because parents are important too but all too often ( especially those of us with special needs children) we put ourselves on the shelf to take care of everyone else. Be sure to follow me on Facebook and Instagram and keep an eye out for those stories. I can almost guarantee that my adventures into the beauty world will be full of many glorious fails.
I bet many of you who read this blog aren’t even aware that I have a travel site. It’s ok, I forget it’s there too. Travel is a huge part of our lives, though. Whether exploring local spots of heading across the country we have been on some awesome adventures in search of ghosts and urban legends. In 2017 we visited Savannah, New Orleans, and Memphis just to name a few. ( We almost made it to the bell witch cave in Tennessee but got there jusssst as they were closing)
In the coming months, I will be adding more about fun spots for kids, local hot spots, and other travel related material to Ghastly Girl. We might even look into the importance of history and the caution needed when taking children to reportedly haunted locations. We plan on taking an adventure at least once a month over at Ghastly Travels to finish our journeys exploring the ghosts of the south so I welcome you to follow us over there if you are a fan of the paranormal.
I can’t even tell you how much I have learned about blogging, social media, and so many other things internet related since beginning Ghastly Girl last year. I have taken courses, I have pinned everything, and I have read read read. Some of it worked. Other things were just plain useless. I plan on making blogging tips a regular thing around here and dedicating a little more space to them. I found that there is so much information out there but more often than not it’s just the same old thing worded differently or a landing page to buy something. I hope to bring clear, actionable information to newer bloggers so that they won’t have to sift through everything like I did. I have also started a brand new facebook group for mom bloggers of all walks of life that will have daily support threads, blogging tips, and much more. If you are a mom blogger or thinking of starting a blog I welcome you to join us!
Did You Make Any Resolutions?
I’ve honestly never been one to make resolutions. Making changes for myself just because everyone else is doing so has never been a thing that works for me. Either my ADHD gets bet better of me or I just end up frustrating myself when I don’t quite reach where I think I should be after a while. For me, resolutions just suck. What I prefer is to take a day to look at my previous year and decide what is working for me, what isn’t, and what changes I should make for a better year. This way I don’t have to focus on the same things everyone else is but rather look at myself and decide what changes I should make if any.
One thing that I do find useful is to set up SMART goals for things I want to achieve. This makes success achievable through a clear path and completely measurable. Below you can find a worksheet packet for setting up your own SMART goals for 2018 to make your year awesome.
I want to thank all of you who have been readers through 2017 and absolutely welcome you to join our nerdy little family through our journeys in 2018. Hopefully, we can all grow together to have a pretty sweet year of playing, learning, and blogging.
Let’s Make this a Great Year!