“Just Think Positive!” …sigh…

I urge you to challenge your own biases where mental illness is concerned. As you read this, you may be thinking you’re not biased. If this is actually true, you’re amazing.

If you have a loved one who suffers from major depressive or bipolar disorder, anxiety, BPD, PTSD, c-PTSD etc., and they may even be suicidal or have suicidal ideation, I have compiled a list of things said to me by well-meaning loved ones who sought only to support me. With their words, I was left feeling even worse than I already did. So, I’m giving mere suggestions here in this blog post, based on my own personal experience.

Continue reading ““Just Think Positive!” …sigh…”

Sick-lic Supercell Storms

Cyclic SupercellA thunderstorm that undergoes cycles of intensification and weakening (pulses) while maintaining its individuality. Cyclic supercells are capable of producing multiple tornadoes (i.e., a tornado family) and/or several bursts of severe weather.

Sick-lic Supercell: A storm that undergoes cycles of intensification and weakening (pulses) while not caring about individuality. Sick-lic supercells are capable of producing depression, anxiety, suicidal ideation, PTSD, bursts of mania, overeating, undereating, recovery, tentative single-parenting, severe guilt, financial stresses, perfectionism, people-pleasing and a buncha other stuff.


In 2019, one of my daughters seemed really down about something. Like most moms, I worked hard to help her get to the bottom of it. After incessant (and “very annoying”) prodding on my part, my daughter finally shared that she was devastated to realize I wasn’t the pretty princess heroine of a mother she once thought I was. The jig was up — She knew the real skinny; I was actually just a human being with all sorts of imperfections, quirks and challenges. She was most obviously disappointed to learn of this truth. My other daughter was also grieving “the old me,” and I was grieving my daughters’ idyllic perception of me. All of this inspired a blog post titled, “The Practice for the Panicky Parent.”

After the dust of this harsh news settled, I assumed we’d all get on with our lives per usual. It never dawned on me that we might remain in a storm that at times, became increasingly more unpredictable and severe.

I could rattle off a whole slew of reasons as to why our family has been in a cyclic/sick-lic, perfect/imperfect storm. I’m not going to do that here. Instead, I’d rather focus on how, as a family, we are learning to take shelter. What really matters is getting okay around co-existing with and accepting a sometimes brutal storm system that will likely hover and surge in perpetuity. On occasion, it may pelt us with thunder, heavy rain, and hail damage, for good.

Even still, I am grateful for the peace, love and hearty laughter that occurs when we find ourselves in the calm eye of the storm. Sometimes, we can even hang in the eye for a good chunk of time. When there are signs that the wind is shifting and precipitation may increase, my daughters have learned to take care of themselves. They must. Oftentimes, this means leaving me to contend with my own storm surge, without them. Then, it is up to me to reach out to the meteorological masters who know best how to help me brave the harsh elements.

I’m not going to lie. As someone who has been coined, “Supermom,” (even though I have NEVER thought of myself that way,) I have walked through an almost unbearable amount of shame and self-judgement. On the upside, I have learned a whole new level of forgiveness of self, the understanding of and forgiveness of others and effective methods of course adjustment. Naturally, all of this wavers. I am, however, deeply grateful for my commitment to daily practice. I do not always succeed and I will never always succeed. The acceptance of this fact is a welcome gift for this perfectionist.

Through practice and A LOT of practice, I am starting to figure out ways to make it through inclement weather, erosion, sinkholes and other unforeseen circumstances.

For some time, (which felt like an eternity), there were no breaks in the cloud cover. I was nearly sure I’d never see the sun again and while I want to write an inspiring blog post about how I rose from the darkness and emerged into the light, the truth is, sometimes I do and sometimes, I don’t. I never stop trying and practicing and I can’t do it by myself no matter my level of tenacity and will.

Some good news is that I do understand a bit more about how my cloud patterns move and where the breaks might be. This may not sound like much, but it’s improving my personal weather forecast and in turn, benefits my beautiful family, friends and colleagues.

Several years ago, I was taking a walk with someone and she said, “Pam, It’s like you have a dark cloud over you or something!” While I was taken aback and couldn’t believe anyone would ever say this to someone, I responded, “No I don’t have a dark cloud over my head and I don’t ask why certain things happen. I mean, we can’t REALLY know why, right? Asking “why?” doesn’t help.”

Today, my response wouldn’t be that different except that sometimes, I really do have a dark cloud over my head and even inside of me. I still don’t ask why it is. I just do what I can to remember that I am enough in any kind of weather and may my kids know they’re enough no matter what. NO MATTER WHAT.

Through action and a commitment to practice, I find myself capable of believing there will eventually be a break in the clouds. In absolutely any kind of weather, the sun is above and bigger than the clouds.

Also, the sun is patient.

It’s just waiting there, excited to shine once again.

Pam or “Ma’am?”

Today’s crankiness could be attributed to the fact that it’s Monday and some Mondays are extra Monday-ish, (like this one.) It’s also a million degrees outside with 150% humidity and I may or may not be menopausal, but whoa… I’ve really disliked being called, “Ma’am” on this particular day.

Argh.

I visited just two places and at both locations, I was addressed multiple times by the moniker that sometimes, makes me shudder;

  • MA’AM, your prescription can’t be filled today.” (Pharmacy staff)
  • “Polly’s prescription is ready for you, MA’AM.” (Vet staff)
  • MA’AM, do you want to put your rewards number in?” (Cashier)
  • “Pardon me, MA’AM… (Customer sharing the aisle with me)
  • “MA’AM? MA’AM? MA’AM?!” (Pharmacy staff trying to get my attention)

Sometimes, I really don’t mind being addressed this way. Today, it was different. It happened so many times in a period of about 60 minutes.

I do know some women who are downright offended by the term AT ABSOLUTELY ALL TIMES, because it somehow makes them feel old; but really, isn’t it a polite term of respect more than age?

Please discuss and do let me know your thoughts. I’m genuinely curious!

Look, I don’t care much about age, so whether or not someone thinks I’m old doesn’t matter to me. What bugged me most about today is that I felt like “ma’am” put a type of formal distance between me and the human beings who were addressing me. I’m a person who really likes to get to know other people.

So, yeah… it’s my problem. If other people feel more comfy calling me, “Ma’am,” (cringe) I’ll have to be okay with it. I can’t envision myself correcting someone when in actuality, they’re pretty correct. I probably am a “ma’am.” I’m a “ma’am” named Pam. Speaking of which…

don’t eeeeeee-ven get me started on how “Ma’am” rhymes with my name. I often think people who know me are calling out my name when in fact, they’re really saying, “ma’am.”

This minor quibble definitely falls into the high-class kvetch category. Also, on a brighter note, it would be even tougher if I was a man named, “Adam” and I thought people were calling me, “Madam.” 🙂

P.S. I haven’t yet made it to “MADAM/MADAME” status unless I’m at a French restaurant which of course, I frequently dine at. I love French doigt de pied-fou.

Le Yum.

Really, no matter what the moniker du jour, One thing I continuously remind myself is that even when I’m cranky over silly things such as this, I’m a very lucky Pam

and sometimes, “Ma’am.”

Pam or “Ma’am?”

For Juliette: A Love Letter You May (still) Hate, (for now.)

Nov. 24, 2019

I wrote the letter that follows today’s entry, to Juliette, exactly five years ago, one day before her 11th birthday. It’s interesting to look back to see what’s changed, what hasn’t and what will likely never change.

There’s so much in the past five years, no one could have ever predicted, but we walk through and not around. This is something I so love about you and our little family. 

You are without question, one of the smartest, most empathetic and beautiful human beings I know. I’m not even being biased about it because I’m your Mom.

Tomorrow, you turn 16. This is an age I’ve been warned about from many sources. I don’t know, but I am really enjoying this time with you and witnessing all of the many ways you’re blossoming into an extraordinary young woman. (Okay, but you still live under my roof and follow the rules!)

While you’ll always be my baby and the one who made me a mother, I respect the very mature young person you’ve shown yourself to be.

And I won’t even get started on your singing. Your vocal gifts blow my head off of my neck. When others compliment you, believe them.

I love you endlessly and this is something I know you know. I’m so grateful that no matter what doubts we may have, we never doubt that one essential fact.

Happy Sweet 16! I hope our homemade Ramen and purple cake will bring you joy. You know that experiences are everything and stuff is just, well… stuff.

Love,

Mom


Continue reading “For Juliette: A Love Letter You May (still) Hate, (for now.)”

ABCs of 5779 & 5780

During this transition into 5780, I decided to do an exercise: to sum up this past  year and vision for year to come, in less than five minutes.

I forced myself not to overthink, but to fly through a list that I believe is the truth – the good, the bad and the ugly. There was a lot of ugly in 5779, but toward its close, my family and I experienced more hope in our “Happy House.” May it represent better things to come for me, my family, you, your family and humankind.

 Blank Instagram Landscapes

  • Afflicted
  • Burdened
  • Crafty
  • Dumped
  • Exit
  • Freaked
  • Genuine
  • Happy House
  • Inventive
  • Job
  • Kicked
  • Loved
  • Mishegas
  • No
  • Prayer
  • Quandary
  • Responsibilities
  • Scary
  • Tricky
  • Unjust
  • Vacant
  • Whipped
  • X-rated
  • You   (Yeah, YOU.)
  • Zapped

Blank Instagram Landscapes (1)

  • Authentic
  • Better
  • Caressed
  • Defused
  • Energized
  • Free
  • Gentle
  • Hopeful
  • Illuminated
  • Jerusalem
  • Knowledge
  • Loved
  • Mom
  • No
  • Open
  • Present
  • Quiet
  • Renewed
  • Simple
  • Tranquil
  • Unencumbered
  • Visionary
  • Well
  • Xenophile
  • Yippee
  • Zeal

Shana Tova. Even if you feel it more sour than sweet, may we have the patience to wait out the sour until it transitions into sweetness.

XO, Pamegranate

Getting to the meat of the issues

I haven’t published anything in months. While there are enough heart-wrenching stories to tell, they aren’t for public consumption. Continue reading “Getting to the meat of the issues”

The Practice for the Panicky Parent

So now, with my daughters, the jig is up. The jig is totally up.

I recently learned that my kids see all that I am. They’ve known about my flaws for some time now, but I am just starting to someday, maybe, sorta, etc., get okay with this fact. My hope is that I can use their truths about me as a learning tool for personal, parental and professional growth. Continue reading “The Practice for the Panicky Parent”

Lightening up about mistakes

Tonight, for some unknown reason, I suddenly thought of a beauty product I tried a few weeks before my wedding in 2002… Epil-Stop.

Please see below for happy customers.

Like most brides, I wanted to feel and be as lovely as I possibly could.

Continue reading “Lightening up about mistakes”

Philanthropy is Phly: Not Phancy – Redux

I originally wrote this article in 2016. Not much has changed except my two daughters, phor example, no longer permit me to say, “fly,” let alone spell it with a “ph.” I am hardly permitted to breathe as it’s incredibly embarrassing for them.

I am reposting this because of my unwavering love of philanthropy and the importance of instilling it in my children and all of our children. Philanthropy is often perceived as only monetary funding. It is so much more than that. 

ORT has an upcoming event at WhirlyBall in Chicago and it has been designed intentionally to interest kids in philanthropy and tikkun olam. (Repair of the world.)

Worst case scenario, at least the kids who come to Sunday Funday on January 27th can be exposed to the different struggles of other kids throughout the world. This is not to diminish any child’s struggles, but to enhance their lives by opening their world to philanthropy.

One more shift that’s transpired since I wrote this post is that I have learned how to be somewhat handy and forego the need for a “Schneider.”

If you need your toilet fixed, I’m your gal. Continue reading “Philanthropy is Phly: Not Phancy – Redux”

You = VIP: an Experiential Experiment

Last week, I took time off from work. For a brief shining moment, I acted like a stay-at-home mom to my beautiful daughters. It was wonderful. (See photo for proof of great time. Also, we have actual seating in our home.) Continue reading “You = VIP: an Experiential Experiment”

Jake Lawler

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