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Tag: mental health

On Trusting Again

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Hi there. Welcome Home! It’s so good to see you. <3
I realize that I haven’t written as much as I have in the past. Fear not! I will not abandon our little corner of the ‘net.

What about you? How are you feeling?
I hope you’re doing well. I hope your present moment is tolerable. If it isn’t, I’m not going to feed you some line about things being peachy in the future.

Instead, I hope that you find the relaxed, good-natured friends you seek.
I hope that as time goes by, you’ll find that they are the type of friends who want the best for you; May you come to see that you can shoulder the burdens of this life with them.

Photo by Julia Caesar on Unsplash

After all, things can get heavy from time to time.
It is not what you’re going through that matters, but who you go through it with.

More than anything, I hope you find the courage to share who you really are with your comrades. You deserve it.

If you’re anything like me, you might be thinking, “That’s so hard! What if the people I meet hurt me in some way? What if they conjure up some version of me that is untrue, or worse, unkind? What of my reputation…? It’s not like I had much of a good track-record with interpersonal relationships to begin with, right…? Right?”

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Extending our authentic selves subjects us to a world of possibilities, both good and bad – dark and light. This also includes more risk and a lot of deep emotional investment, including vulnerability. That’s no joke. We as people can be so sensitive to pain and rejection – and many of us feel everything.

How does any one expect us to trust them?
How can we ever do such a monumental thing like trust again?

Photo by McKenna Phillips on Unsplash

Even though I’m still trying to figure that out, I say this for you with love:
Do it. Do it, and don’t look back. You aren’t too broken, bad, or damaged to be befriended. You’re never too wounded to be loved.

You’ve nothing to lose but silence. You’ve nothing to miss but the stories that you’ve already read. You aren’t better off alone (unless you need time to yourself to heal). We weren’t made to be paranoid, distrustful, and solo all the time.

Photo by AK¥N Cakiner on Unsplash

Stop telling yourself the same narrative, and invite others into your future chapters – including the best version of yourself, whenever you’re willing and able. Take a chance to witness yourself as beautiful as you really are, and as other humans (and puppies, and cats) really are. 🙂

Photo by Fabian Gieske on Unsplash

You’re worth it.

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Purpose

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Hey, you!
How’s it going? Today is June 9th, 2019.

I’m thankful that I’ve gotten to rest these days. (Rest doesn’t come easy for me at times; I’m working on that).

I have a question for you, and I am genuinely curious to see your answers.
I’m in a group on facebook where other women with Cerebral Palsy come together to share their experiences, joys, and to ask questions we probably couldn’t ask in ‘real life’.

In the group I posted a question:
How do you find purpose if you’re unemployed due to a physical or mental illness?

I’ve been struggling with this because I feel as though I’m in a constant state of letting time pass, or overworking myself when I decide to take on an art project, writing project, or a writing class.

To say that I am unsatisfied would be a lie. I’ve come far from where I was a few months ago, and I’m not ungrateful in the slightest. The scenery is different; it is beautiful here.

Now, I just have to figure out a new routine here, as a disabled person as well as an introvert.

This is why I wanted to ask you, the person reading this, how do you find purpose if you are disabled; or if like me, you are still searching for that fulfillment, what are you passionate about?

I’m so excited to hear what you have to say! Hopefully, we can learn from each other. I’ll see you soon.

-Esmeralda

Letting Go To Grow

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As much as we all dream of meeting our potential, it will not come without sacrifice.

Photo by Simon Harvey on Unsplash

Sacrifices that we, as people on a mission, could never dream of until we are faced with them. When we think of success, we tend to think of a precise line. Success is anything but linear. When we pray for success, it’s not that our prayers go unheard, it’s just that we are responsible for our next steps.

This is where it gets tricky, though;
Sacrifice, never seems like sacrifice in the moment. I have found that sacrifice usually presents itself as ultimatums, and impossibility.

As an example: In an earlier post, I illustrated the fact that in order to move, I had to do the impossible: I had to choose between my two dogs in order to move to my new apartment. I had to move in order to get a fresh start, mentally as well as financially.

I was unable to make that decision at an earlier time, and as a consequence of my indecision, I was faced with it again.

It was time to decide, would I do the unthinkable in order to get a fresh start, or would I stay where I was, because of my resistance to change?
It was not easy leaving my chihuahua behind.

This pain we are asked to face, I believe is why we sometimes stay where we are, even if change would be good for us – because we aren’t willing to lose. In turn, we also forfeit our right to choose.

Photo by Caleb Jones on Unsplash

I can’t blame or shame anyone for that. Letting go of anything – routine, our children, our parents, our habits, at times even our entire identity, is devastating.

There is no manual for letting go. There are no easy ways; there are no ways to avoid the pain of letting go.

As humans, we are wired to choose pleasure over pain – that’s the way our brains are. Our brains are also geared toward habitual ways of being, like drug addiction. Nobody wants to let go of something that makes our world easier to deal with – even if it causes us pain and ultimately, death.

We know that resistance is futile. We know. We only let go when it’s time to, and it’s never the right time to say goodbye to a friend, lover, or family member.


Success looks nothing like our daydreams.

Photo by Wil Stewart on Unsplash

If I could paint a picture of what the road to my potential looks like, it looks an awful lot like indecision, on top of a mountain of self-reflection.

At best, there is recognition and pats on the back. At worst, it’s a whole lot of facing ourselves – our demons, our loneliness, maybe even the fact that we aren’t as nice and charitable as we see ourselves.

That, my friend, is the cross we must bear. When we are pondering pursuing our potential, when we are thinking of our art being published, when we imagine ourselves on the shelves of our local bookstore, or on our local news, we must then ask ourselves what we are willing to lose in order to make our dreams a reality.

This is my question for you, dear reader,
What are you willing to lose, or choose?




In the comments, you can feel free to tell me about some of the choices you’ve had to make to get where you are. What was the impossible choice, what was the outcome? I’d love to hear from you.

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Welcomehomehealing.com‘s Logo, credit goes to the Author: Esmeralda Marie

I love you.
Welcome Home.
You’re Safe Here.

Paying Homage To Caregiving, And Being Taken Care Of – Part 2/2

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Hello again, and welcome home. It’s so good to see you!
This post is going to be almost entirely subjective and deeply personal; I hope you are still able to relate in some ways. Let’s begin.

After thoughtful deliberation on part two, I concluded that I would let you in on my experiences and how I cope, often rather clumsily, with being confined by the limitations of my vessel.

The truth of the matter is simple. Sometimes I can cope. Other times, I’m angry that a chair is a reason I’m not yet gainfully employed. I feel guilty that I need so much help, even though for the most part my life is pretty normal: I can cook, manage my household, take good care of my spouse, I can speak, write, and flip people off when I need to. 😛

I don’t even mind being disabled. I’ve been this way since birth. What I do mind, however, is the warped perceptions of other people. People are understandably curious. Some situations are nothing short of ‘cringeworthy’.

As an example, when I got married, it was so strange to onlookers. I am blessed to have my wife; she bathes me, cooks, cleans, and I never need to ask her to pick up the slack or help me out with anything, really. She knows what I need before I do at times. We work.

Some folks never get to experience that kind of love and care, like this dude we ran into in the Wal-Mart parking lot.

There we are, loading our groceries in the car before going home, and he approaches my wife and taps her on the shoulder. He says, “Who is this? Is this your sister?” (Referring to me as I’m standing by the door). She says, “No sir, this is my wife.” The look on that guy’s face was worth a thousand words.

After a few long seconds of awkward silence, he looks over at my wife and replies, “Wow, you’re an awesome person – not a lot of people would do that.”

Look, don’t get me wrong. I get the sentiment. It was wonderful. In my opinion, he is absolutely right. My wife should win the Nobel Peace Prize for all the devotion she’s demonstrated to me. It’s my job to tell her that.

If she wanted people randomly stopping her while we’re just going home, she wouldn’t be in a monogamous marriage. I don’t need to be treated as a charity case or be viewed as an extra sack of potatoes.

Let me tell you, friend, my wife, the one on two perfectly good legs, ain’t all that easy to be with either. None of us are! If my extra needs are a little bit too extra, she would’ve been gone by now. I know I sound bitter, but I’m not, for the most part. Forgive me if I’m just astounded by how conditional commitment has become.

The guy didn’t have any bad intentions, but some shit should just remain admired rather than pointed out. Even better, how about saying you admire us as a unit, a team, a healthy marriage?

It’s not like I just sit and look pretty. I look a little bit scary and pissed off most of the time to be honest, especially if I’m low on caffeine.

Maybe I take care of my wife’s heart. Perhaps, and this is just my take on things, maybe she likes taking care of me because she gets a lot out of it – like love, strength, purpose and reciprocal appreciation?

Maybe the fact that I hold her at night is more than enough according to her individual needs, even though my needs are vastly different. Although independence is of great value in this world, perhaps me being in need of care isn’t an issue because there are always people in the world who find great joy in serving others?

Maybe she knows that I’m the type of person who would do the exact same thing for her if she were also in a wheelchair. Maybe I’m just badass and she recognized that instead of just looking at the hunk of metal on wheels I use to get around.

I struggle to remember this more often than not. I struggle with feeling like I have nothing to offer because of my physical limitations. I’ll probably always struggle with it.

If you’re in the same boat, it might be a challenge for you too. We just have to remember that everyone’s looking to be loved. We know a lot about love if nothing else.

Maybe we’re not right for the world, but we’re right for the ones who love us, and that’s always more than enough. Love is always the best thing to offer someone.



On Language Surrounding Chemical Dependence

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If you are suffering, or have ever suffered from the cycle of addiction, I love you. I hear you. You are worth so much more than what you realize.

You are not ‘an addict’. You are addicted. There’s a big difference. 
Your name is not “junkie”. You are who you say you are. You are the paths you travel and the hands you hold.

Chemical dependency does not have to erase the core of who you are, and it should never define you.

Letting go is much harder than what we, as fellow flawed humans, have given you credit for.

As a person involved in the sphere of mental health, I’d like to say personally, before anything else, I will do my best to not let your personhood be buried under the weight of the stigma.

Paying Homage to Caregiving, and Being Taken Care Of – Part 1 of 2

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On one hand, living with a disability or chronic illness creates so many barriers; nearly all of these vary or are contingent on a plethora of routes and lives lived up to this moment/up to the onset of disability.

On the other hand, supporting someone with a wide variety of needs, such as someone in a wheelchair, or a loved one who is meeting the passage of time – that’s no walk in the park either.

It is difficult to be the helper. It is also challenging to be the one who needs help. At some point, we all will be fortunate enough to understand both perspectives and their respective realities.

If we are in this dynamic, we might find ourselves feeling guilty for what we can or cannot offer the other, both may feel inadequate or undeserving of the other at times, and because it feels as though we are on opposite sides of the fence more often than not, this can also mean we are prone to forgetting what a sacred relationship we’ve been given.

In my life, out of all of the other relationships I have witnessed or been part of, there is no greater relationship in which two people are more able to give and receive love than that of the caregiver and the loved one to whom care is given.

I have been fortunate enough to see both sides of the “helper/helpee” coin. I’ve needed help, and I’ve been there to help others as well.

One thing that I see most often from people who have Cerebral Palsy, a Traumatic brain injury, or another illness is their struggle with allowing themselves to receive the assistance they deserve.

For some, it may be a matter of pride, modesty, or sheer self-reliance; for others, and I suspect for all of us who have had to look to others for support, and in harsher circumstances, survival, the issue is a matter of much more than surface-level traits. With this in mind, I’d like to express my perspectives on what it felt like to be in each place drawing from my own, perhaps limited, but no less truthful experiences.

To the beloved well-meaning caregivers:

You’re doing the best you can with the tools you’ve been given. These resources are often limited and scarce, and it is you, the advocate, nurturer, and lover who often bears the brunt of your family member’s/patient’s/client’s frustration. I see you. I personally thank you. You are doing God’s work.

If I may, I’d like to remind you that the resistance to your help isn’t out of stubbornness or a desire to be contrary: Resistance is often just a big word for fear. Fear of being of too much, fear of being seen as more of a taker than a giver, fear of facing the prison we sometimes find when seeing our atrophied legs or degenerating muscles, or our declining mental health.

We know we’re difficult to be around. We know you’re tired. We feel that. We know we’ve been in eleventy-seven different moods by the time night falls. We know, no matter how much your good heart denies it, that sometimes we ARE the reason you’re burnt out.

We want you, our caregiver, to know its okay to be tired, and yes, we know you’ll never admit to this because you dont want to hurt our feelings or cause us to feel as though we’re a chore to be dealt with.

Sometimes that makes us, the loved one you’re taking care of, sad. Not because you’re doing something wrong or because we are ungrateful, but because we want your life to mean more.

We don’t want to be the reason you’re held back. We love the quality of your care and of the neverending reach of your love; so much so, that we would also love to share the gift of you in your entirety with some other well-deserving people too!

We often feel as though you’re chained to us by unfortunate circumstances, and we forget that you’ve chosen to care for us because you love us. Sometimes we need to be reminded that you’re here by choice, not because you got stuck with us. Remind us that we didn’t get any less cooler just because we need you more than before.

I’m willing to bet we both forget why God placed you with us: because you have more than just the capacity to love us best. You’re also really good at it, even when you think you’re falling short.

You know just how we like our coffee, pancakes, and sometimes you have to put us to bed or remind us to eat, take our medicine, or tie our shoelaces. You manage to do these things without making us feel worse about the fact that you’re probably the only one who cares enough to do these things.

Let’s not forget your remarkable and convincing arguments on why we’re not the burden we see ourselves as: It is a core belief system you’re working with when helping someone who is disabled in some way.

Speaking from the perspective of someone who is disabled but also works as a volunteer crisis counselor: There’s so much pain involved in asking for help than one might realize. In a sense, it is similar to a collapse of self.

Asking for help is more than just succumbing to percieved weaknesses or afflictions. Oftentimes, grabbing the hand of someone who reaches out to assist you says a great deal not only about one’s level of trust in the person, but of their trust in the world as well.

If I grabbed onto someone else’s lifeboat before I found yours, and the last person tried to drown me under the guise of saving me, I’m going to think twice about accepting your help, even if you’re trying desperately to drag me to shore. Re-establishing trust/building rapport/showing me your intentions is important.

Asking for help is revealing to you that I am a vulnerable human being. It is giving someone access to a wound we would really not like to be shamed for.

There’s a reason no one likes unsolicited advice and hovering, though the intent is to help. Sometimes it communicates that a person may not have enough faith in the bond that is shared, or in the abilities of the person you’re advising. After all, if you’ve told me I can come to you, will you keep giving me advice, or would it be better to let me explain to you what my needs are, and then you help? How can you help if you don’t know what my needs are? Jumping in to help can tell the person that you doubt their abilities; ultimately, you don’t trust them. They will respond in kind, even if you’re intent was the opposite.

Asking for help is an art, just as much as giving it is. Trust that the person you are caring for will come to you after you’ve built a bond, and they will come to you; otherwise, it can come across as nagging, harassment, a sales-pitch or manipulation.

See? All of that is required before someone can comfortably depend on you, especially if they’re disabled and need to keep boundaries in place more so than another.

TLDR, if we bite back, we’re scared. It’s not that we don’t love you, it’s probably just that we’ve forgotten that you love us.

Step 1: We Admitted That Our Lives Had Become Unmanagable

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I did it. Tonight, I joined a Codependents Anonymous Support Group, otherwise known as Coda. I am codependent to a larger degree than I had thought. I also don’t know where all of this shame is coming from, but I’m happy that I’ve taken the initiative.

I’ve known that I was codependent on an intellectual level; tonight I dug a little deeper. This happened by accident. Someone who is struggling was referred to me yesterday evening. My friends know me as someone who is kind, compassionate and a person enjoys lifting people up. I really do love being a helper.

The issue, here, is that I often suffer from burnout. I will toil, and toil, and will not rest. And boundaries? Pfft! Hardest thing ever!

Not to worry though, I’ve taken baby steps. I can acknowledge when things are getting a bit hazy, and when I need to step back. As an example, I formed a bond with my friend and we clicked instantly. Consciously, I put in the effort to ask her if she’s had enough time to “recharge her batteries”. If she has, then we talk. If not, We miss each other healthily until our next conversation.

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Growing up without a mom for most of my life was really shitty. It still is. My mom deserves to rest in peace. Therefore, I won’t go into too much detail about the why and how of her passing. I only know that losing her was brutal. I was a self-absorbed little shit, as all children are, (and I try to constantly remind myself of this so that I don’t punish myself for her death). I digress.

I didn’t have the chance to appreciate my mom.

I was busy trying to sort out these weird feelings in my head, like “Why are these teachers so mean to me?” and “Why can’t I go to my grandma’s house? Nobody screams, fights, or flips their lid every two seconds there.”

And: “Why are you screaming at me because I can’t count quarters correctly?”

Look, I love my mom. I know moms are stressed, tired, and way undervalued; I’m just stating my truth.

My mom could not cope. My mother loved me and I loved her, but it is simply time to let this shit go; I will never be able to move forward if I do not. My mother could not cope and I got the brunt of all the irritation, jealousy, and insecurity.

I catch myself behaving in these negative ways. It’s time for them to stop.
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So, yeah: step 1: My life is a mess at this point, though I do have to say I’ve still made awesome progress. Now, it’s time to change my stinkin’ thinkin’ and realize that even though things are a mess, I’m still worthy.

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