Do People Choose to Be Empaths?

I wanted to start this blog by beginning to explain what an empath is, in case anyone reading does not already know. I tried looking up the definition, but I don’t like it’s wording. I am still going to provide it, but going to clarify some. The definition I found is “a person with the paranormal ability to apprehend the mental or emotional state of another individual”. I feel like using the word paranormal makes it sound like it is not real, and I do think it is real and will explain why more later in this blog. The definition of paranormal is “beyond the scope of scientific understanding”. This sounds like something either out of a scary movie, or a superhero movie. The only way I think that may be true is how even superheroes often feel their power is a burden at first, until they learn how to control it. Even once they do it is a burden in the sense that they are expected it to use it for good to help others even when it puts them in danger. I personally think an empath is someone who has a lot of empathy. They overly feel and overly care. They constantly pick up on the emotions of others, whether subconsciously or not, because they care about other people and what they are feeling and why, so in a sense, they often feel what the other person feels. If someone else is sad, it might make them sad, because they want everyone to feel happy and often try to take on the burden of doing so.

I have researched and I think everyone is born with the ability for empathy, but environmental factors, and maybe even genetic ones can affect how much someone has. The more I research, it doesn’t seem like anyone really knows yet. I was reading the comments section of a post the other day (I know, always dangerous) and someone commented that they chose a long time ago to stop being an empath and have been happier since. Of course many other commented that you do not choose whether or not you are an empath. Although, I wonder if these same people do not think those with less empathy could choose to have more. Most people who consider themselves an empath will argue that they were born like this, it is a burden and they would never choose this. I tried to research this myself and that is undetermined as well. No one knows, do you choose it, whether subconsciously or not or are you just born this way and stuck this way? I personally feel like an empath, and I remember me being this way as long as I can remember, and so do my parents. They tell me stories from when I was younger, like how if they took me to the store and my siblings were not with me, I would want to get them something, but they did not normally do the same for me.

I have always loved giving gifts, donating things and helping people. It usually brings me a lot of joy. As I age, I feel it makes some people more suspicious of you at first and I do understand why. I have come across people in my life who tried to appear really charitable and nice who turned out to be deceiving or conning you, so when someone is genuinely like this, people are still suspicious of it until they get to know you. I used to think I was just born with more empathy, and maybe I was. However, as I have aged and having so much empathy has become somewhat of a burden at times, I do feel like I have learned to reign it in a little, and I have learned that can be possible for me at least, to an extent. If nothing else, I can try to be around certain people, or people in general less when it drains me and I am able. I am not saying it is easy, and I never want to stop being empathetic, but there are times it may be a waste, like when someone does not want your help or maybe does not want help from anyone right now. Why put your own mental health at risk for this? Like with anything else, you still have to look out for you. Even when superheroes are injured badly enough, they can’t help anyone.

Bio: Amanda Dodson Gremillion published her first book in 2012. She began revising it in 2019 and republished it as Just Buy Her A Dress and She’ll Be Fine. The story chronicles her experience with severe postpartum OCD, anxiety and depression. Amanda is a graduate of Auburn University, and now lives in Calera, Alabama, with her husband, Jay, their daughter, Aubrie, and their two dogs, Honey Girl and Cooper. She hopes to write more books in the future. Follow Amanda’s journey on Facebook,  or twitter at https://twitter.com/AmandaGremilli2 and order her book here.  Also, follow her on the Mighty here Amanda Dodson Gremillion | The Mighty Contributor or listen to her podcast here Just Buy Her A Dress and She’ll Be Fine • A podcast on Anchor . You can also find her on Instagram here Amanda Dodson Gremillion (@justbuyheradress) • Instagram photos and videos.

Private Support Group to discuss Parenting, Marriage, Pregnancy, Mental Health and/or Postpartum Mood Disorders…

Hey everyone! I have a support group, but not a lot of members yet. It started as postpartum mood disorders support group, but I have modified to also include privately discussing parenting, marriage, pregnancy and/or mental health. Here is the link if you or anyone you know would like to join…

(3) Just Buy Her A Dress and She’ll Be Fine Support Group | Facebook

Bio: Amanda Dodson Gremillion published her first book in 2012. She began revising it in 2019 and republished it as Just Buy Her A Dress and She’ll Be Fine. The story chronicles her experience with severe postpartum OCD, anxiety and depression. Amanda is a graduate of Auburn University, and now lives in Calera, Alabama, with her husband, Jay, their daughter, Aubrie, and their two dogs, Honey Girl and Cooper. She hopes to write more books in the future. Follow Amanda’s journey on Facebook,  or twitter at https://twitter.com/AmandaGremilli2 and order her book here.  Also, follow her on the Mighty here Amanda Dodson Gremillion | The Mighty Contributor or listen to her podcast here Just Buy Her A Dress and She’ll Be Fine • A podcast on Anchor . You can also find her on Instagram here Amanda Dodson Gremillion (@justbuyheradress) • Instagram photos and videos.

Micromanaging and It’s Effect on Mental Health

I read an article the other day where a woman was seeking advice because she felt her husband did not do anything right when parenting their child. Here is a link if you want to read that first, which I strongly suggest:

https://slate.com/human-interest/2021/01/husband-is-incompetent-father-care-and-feeding.html

Twelve years ago I probably would have related more to her, but these days I related more to the advice columnist, who basically replied telling her she was micromanaging her husband and causing him to lose interest in parenting. Micromanaging your spouse can destroy a marriage and it can destroy that spouse’s relationship with their own child. I was not intentionally doing it of course. It was a symptom of my postpartum depression and my OCD becoming worse postpartum, but some people never overcome this and do it their entire life. I had a boss who micromanaged me and all my coworkers once, and it took a toll on our mental health and majorly affected our lives. It also changed a job I loved, and a company I was devoted to and would have retired with, to a company that disappointed me and broke my heart.

I was at a job I loved most days for years. I was my boss’s right hand man, I got raises and even thought about getting back into management again when my boss decided to leave and my daughter was older. Turns out my boss left, after over 20 years I might add, because she had a new boss who was micromanaging her. After she left, he replaced her with another micromanager, but did promote me and another person to assist them. I stayed for another year and a half. Most others have since either been fired, or eventually left like me. Even the ones who were star employees before were no longer good enough. The thing is though, we are all human and make mistakes daily. If any boss followed their best employee around all day and looked for mistakes, they will find them, as would their boss in them. Once this is done though, it can affect your confidence and of course make you nervous. The next thing you know, you go from making the every day common mistakes everyone makes sometimes because you are human, to making more and more and bigger mistakes because you are a nervous wreck. The micromanager then uses this against you to make you look like you were always this bad, the old boss just was not managing correctly.

Before we knew it, they had HR and upper management believing we were all the problem and not them. No one else would speak up with me, in fear of losing their job. This is how worthless we all felt by this point, that the company would get rid of an entire department, even people who had been great employees for years and would have retired with the company, before they got rid of this person. I on the other hand, could no longer take the toll on my mental health or take the injustice. I got another job, worked out a notice and left on good terms. A party was thrown for me, people gave me gifts and money and food. It felt crazy I was even leaving, or felt I had to. I told them everything I thought, as professionally as I could in an exit interview. I even told them I did not want the person fired, they were good at the other parts of their job, just not at supervising people. I also told them that one coworker I knew, who had never even had Anxiety or panic attacks before, had two caused by this boss, and I, as someone on medication for OCD and the Anxiety it causes, had no longer suffered attacks in a long time since being put on medication, but started having them again.

I loved this job before, and most of the people there loved me and had the same opinion of this boss as I did. I even reflected for that year and half trying to determine if there was anything I could do to change or make the situation better, until I realized it was not me. Everyone saw this at the time, except those that had the power to stop it. By the time they finally did, people’s lives, careers and mental health were already hurt. I had told them most of it before, they just did not listen because they wanted hard evidence, and I was not sitting around documenting everything instead of doing my job like that boss was. Some others were, but it did them no good either. As a former HR director myself, it was hard to lose confidence in HR. I tell this story as much as I can because I have been shocked at the people who have been through the same.

I was told that after I left, my old boss’s boss quit before they were fired or laid off, but my old boss is still there. They are no longer a supervisor though, because once even all the people they hired had the same experience as us, they finally believed us, once most of us were all gone and once our mental health, careers and lives were already majorly affected. Some other good people in the company were laid off after I left , so maybe I got out at the right time. The company was not as good as I thought and disappointed me. Luckily most of my bosses have been great, although I did Nanny for a couple for a short time who micromanaged their kids this way, so I felt kind of micromanaged as well, or required to micromanage them myself one, and both made me uncomfortable. I have also had coworkers at times, some even Leads or ahead of you seniority wise, maybe even training you, who micromanage, and that is hard as well. They see you struggling with something and do not jump in to help unless you ask, and sometimes even then, do not. However, they see you make a minor mistake and call it out from across the room. They never make any, and even have time to check everything you are doing while they do everything perfectly.

In so many of these cases, these people do have the best of intentions. They think they are helping, they are perfectionists. Because of this perfectionism, they are also often very good at certain parts of their job. However, this leads to them being very critical of anyone who even does it the least bit different, even if or when their way might be better, or when it might be okay for someone else to do the same thing differently. I say all of this as someone who has battled perfectionism my entire life, but I do not want to be them, but I also do not expect to change them. That is part of overcoming my own perfectionism. I cannot change them. I can only change me, my reaction, or my situation, as hard as that is sometimes, So I write this, not hoping to change them or those like them, but more so for people that are affected by them, like me, so they know they are not alone, but also for the ones that may find they are like that, as I once was, and do want to change. I also write this for those around who can change things for the person being micromanaged, like the ones who did not believe us all, and the ones who would not stand up with me and risk a job they eventually lost anyways.

As someone who has been a lead and manager, if you see someone struggling, a coworker or someone who works for you, or someone you work for, or your spouse, or your child, help them without them even having to ask, or if you do not see them and they ask, try to help them. Lead by example, by practicing, not preaching, and give them a little room in error. I work in childcare now, so of course if I saw a situation where I truly believed a child was in true danger, I would speak up to someone about what they were doing, whether it was intentional or not. However, I have often found these people often seem more concerned about things that are not life or death, while ignoring others that are or could be. Also, like with kids, when parents get onto you for everything, you eventually drown them out, or just do not care anymore because you seem darned if you do, or darned if you don’t, as is often said. For instance, with that old boss, if you did not take initiative you should have, but if you did take it you should have asked permission first. Life is not a Disney movie. Sometimes the bad guy just seems to win in real life, and it just hurts. I am almost 40, and tired, and I am ready for it just once to easily work out for me, as it seems to for them, but while actually doing the right thing. I guess I just wanted any of you reading this and feeling the same, to know you are not alone.

Bio: Amanda Dodson Gremillion published her first book in 2012. She began revising it in 2019 and republished it as Just Buy Her A Dress and She’ll Be Fine. The story chronicles her experience with severe postpartum OCD, anxiety and depression. Amanda is a graduate of Auburn University, and now lives in Calera, Alabama, with her husband, Jay, their daughter, Aubrie, and their two dogs, Honey Girl and Cooper. She hopes to write more books in the future. Follow Amanda’s journey on Facebook,  or twitter at https://twitter.com/AmandaGremilli2 and order her book here.  Also, follow her on the Mighty here Amanda Dodson Gremillion | The Mighty Contributor or listen to her podcast here Just Buy Her A Dress and She’ll Be Fine • A podcast on Anchor . You can also find her on Instagram here Amanda Dodson Gremillion (@justbuyheradress) • Instagram photos and videos.

Teaching Your Children not to Ignore Their Mental or Physical Health

When my daughter was a toddler, like many, we used to joke it often sounded like she was speaking a different language. She talked early and often, but at times only my husband and I could understand her. As she got even older, and we were still sometimes the only ones that could understand everything she said, some started suggesting something might be wrong. Maybe it was because I was still recovering from severe postpartum depression at this point, but that bothered me so much at first. I don’t know if I felt it was my fault or I thought it somehow made me a bad mother, but it made me defensive at first. My husband and I also did not have any speech issues that I knew of when younger, but some of our family did. Eventually I gave in, got her the help she needed, which turned out to just be speech therapy, and we saw almost instant improvement. This therapy continued for a bit and helped make sure she was ready for Kindergarten.

However, in second grade, one of her teachers, who we still call the best teacher she has had even years later, noticed something with her speech that most probably wouldn’t. She only noticed because her daughter had the same issue. This time, I had no guilt, and did not hesitate to accept the free speech therapy offered by the school, (well, not really free, but paid with our tax dollars, but still, we had to pay the first time, so this was nice). My daughter continued this therapy off and on through the years until recently, and it has helped her tremendously. There are other children I have known, who are now adults with a stutter, because they never got the help they needed, whether it was because the parents felt guilt or shame, or did not want their children to, or for other reasons, I do not know.

I often try to imagine if my daughter had turned out to have a more serious issue, and how I would have handled that. Looking back of course, it seems silly for me to have been so defensive about my child possibly needing speech therapy, when others have much more serious issues. Maybe one of my fears was finding out it was a more serious issue, or it was my daughter experience shaming for having it, like she wouldn’t if we tried to ignore and it and did not get help for it. Of course I felt a little guilty in retrospect, but I have learned it is important to not harp on guilt. As I recovered from my postpartum depression for instance, I also noticed positive changes in my daughter. This made me realize something I already feared, which is yes, I think our children do pick up on our depression, and the hard part is to stop dwelling on the guilt, and to work on getting better for them, and for you. My daughter does not even remember any of it now, but she does know about it, we do talk about it in case she ever goes through the same. She is now my biggest fan and encourager!

Even though her speech issues are resolved for now, she still shows signs of anxiety like me. Because of this, she often talks too fast for others to follow, especially when she gets excited. Of course, I think a lot of people, or maybe even everyone, does this to some extent when excited. I am the same way, because, even on medication, my mind is often full and I try to get it all out before I forget at times. This made some worry she still had speech issues at first, but the speech professionals agreed that was just fast talking, possibly from anxiety and possibly just from normal excitement. My daughter may have speech issues again later in middle school, or in high school, and if she does, I would again not hesitate to get her the help she needs. She also does not feel any shame, and realizes it is to help her. She is proud of how far she has come, and wants to maintain her progress, so I hope if she has any speech issues, anxiety issues, or anything else as an adult, or if she has children with them, that she does not hesitate to seek more help.

Bio: Amanda Dodson Gremillion published her first book in 2012. She began revising it in 2019 and republished it as Just Buy Her A Dress and She’ll Be Fine. The story chronicles her experience with severe postpartum OCD, anxiety and depression. Amanda is a graduate of Auburn University, and now lives in Calera, Alabama, with her husband, Jay, their daughter, Aubrie, and their two dogs, Honey Girl and Cooper. She hopes to write more books in the future. Follow Amanda’s journey on Facebook,  or twitter at https://twitter.com/AmandaGremilli2 and order her book here.  Also, follow her on the Mighty here Amanda Dodson Gremillion | The Mighty Contributor or listen to her podcast here Just Buy Her A Dress and She’ll Be Fine • A podcast on Anchor . You can also find her on Instagram here Amanda Dodson Gremillion (@justbuyheradress) • Instagram photos and videos.

Stop Arguing With People Who Are Not Listening, For the Sake of Your Mental Health

So I was getting a massage the other day. Massages are something I have learned are important for me to splurge on. I still probably spend as much or more in a week eating out, than I do in a month on them, which is how I put it in perspective if I ever feel guilted for spending the money. If I ever feel like my husband is guilting me for spending too much on them, I just buy him one and he is back on board with it. During my last massage, I kept thinking about all the things I let get me this tense and why I let them (yes, during my massage, this is why I am always tense even on OCD/anxiety medicine). As I left my massage, my massage therapist joked, “Don’t undo what I just did!” It was just a joke, but it was like she read what was already on my mind, and it stuck with me. This time I was really going to try not to, because lately I had not been doing the best job of that.

Obviously, I only have so much control over my tension and stress, especially due to my OCD and Anxiety, and I know I am not alone in that. My medication helps some, but certain other things help as well that help most people, like not arguing with people who are committed to misunderstanding you. A lot of us only have so much control over it. With the political climate lately, I often get sucked into discussing politics on social media, like I must do so at times to change the world or something. I think I sometimes feel this way for a moment, because civil discussions and posts online over the years have helped reshape some of my beliefs personally, combined with life experience of course, but I have always tried to have an open mind, and I always try to be kind and civil when discussing such things. However, some people are not capable of this and they will be ugly to you for simply disagreeing, or unfriend or block you online and maybe even in person at times. I have never unfriended someone over politics and love having friends with different beliefs, however I have unfriended them over the way they treat other people, including when politics are discussed.

I have friends and family members who post and talk in person so much about politics that you worry about their mental health, but the minute you disagree with them on even one thing, they will say you are the one brainwashed. For me personally, it is just not worth it anymore to even say anything. I no longer feel I am doing anything wrong, and like the world will not be saved by me speaking up when the person I am speaking up to is not truly listening anyways. I will change the world by voting, I will change the world by the way I live, by the child I raise and the work I do and by putting all of me into it, not these discussions which often negatively affect my mental health, since I internalize everything or often take it personally. I am not discouraging discussing politics. I do not believe in that old rule about never discussing it or religion, but I do now believe in not discussing them with certain people.

This does not just apply to politics and religion, but anything. Have you ever worked somewhere where you expressed concerns you really thought management would care about, things they act like they care about for perception purposes, only to have your heart a little broken when they really do not care and do nothing about it, sometimes even still acting like they do while taking no action? What do people normally do in response to this? Well, for one, they often change jobs, but they also often quit telling management, even when they have a a new job or new management and they do care. This often happens in personal relationships as well, and in marriages, but it can also happen with just small every day things so much, it takes it’s toll that way as well.

I also often have people ask me how to help someone else going through what I did. The truth is, they have to want help and accept it so if you have tried, and they are not listening, do not put your mental health on the line for theirs if they are not ready. This is true with anything, but I will continue to share my story so others know they are not alone, should not be ashamed, and so they will hopefully get help and the stigma will end, but there are people I know personally I still cannot help with the same or similar issues, and not from desire to or lack of trying. They just weren’t listening, or sometimes they are, but it takes a while to sink in and you just have to sit back, give it time and take care of your own mental health in the mean time.

Bio: Amanda Dodson Gremillion published her first book in 2012. She began revising it in 2019 and republished it as Just Buy Her A Dress and She’ll Be Fine. The story chronicles her experience with severe postpartum OCD, anxiety and depression. Amanda is a graduate of Auburn University, and now lives in Calera, Alabama, with her husband, Jay, their daughter, Aubrie, and their two dogs, Honey Girl and Cooper. She hopes to write more books in the future. Follow Amanda’s journey on Facebook,  or twitter at https://twitter.com/AmandaGremilli2 and order her book here.  Also, follow her on the Mighty here Amanda Dodson Gremillion | The Mighty Contributor or listen to her podcast here Just Buy Her A Dress and She’ll Be Fine • A podcast on Anchor . You can also find her on Instagram here Amanda Dodson Gremillion (@justbuyheradress) • Instagram photos and videos.

Having Our First Child Almost Ended Our Marriage

My therapist once told me that when people have young children it is the hardest time on a marriage. I never realized this before. My mother left my father when she found out she was pregnant with me and my sister was not even two years old yet and if you ask my mom why, she says she would have tolerated his behavior forever, but realized she could not put her kids through the same. So you think since that is how my parents marriage ended, that I would realize a lot of marriages end around the same time. However, my mom met met my stepdad not long after and they were married by the time I was 10 months old. He had one child already and she had two, so they started their marriage with 3 children and this is the main marriage I grew up seeing. They are still together over 37 years later. I always grew up seeing them the same way, with kids around all the time. It was not until they were empty nesters that I actually saw a different type of relationship. When the grandkids were around, it was a lot like my childhood, but when it was just the two of them only, I think they had to adjust because they were not used to that.

It was the opposite for me and my husband. We met at 14, started dating at 16, were engaged at 21, married at 23 and had Aubrie at 26. We had been together 10 years just the two of us, we did not even have a dog.  By the time we were ready for that responsibility we decided to have a baby.  Now we have two dogs and a 12 year old daughter and are trying for more kids. If we have more, this time it would not be the shock to our alone time it was the first time of course. If anything, now we have gotten used to this and going back to an empty nest would be another adjustment, but one we are well aware of this time. If Aubrie is even gone for a day, we think it is too quiet in the house. If Aubrie and I both go somewhere without my husband, he gets lonely. I picked on him for being the main one to freak out when she went to Kindergarten, but that might be me when it comes time for her to move out, like the mom in the movie Blockers.

When I worked in a retirement community for years, some of the women would often come hang out in the lobby instead of their apartments or homes across the street. They were so used to their husbands working, but now they were retired and home all the time and got on their nerves. My mom and stepdad are both now retired and have my mom’s mother living with them and they all need breaks from each other at times. I am still part of a postpartum support group to help women who are still going through postpartum depression like I did years ago. Without sharing anything that would identify anyone, here are some regular posts from it relating to marriage:

“Mamas who are/have fought & argued with their husbands a lot… does it get any better?... I feel a lot of anger, resentment, & disappointment towards him. I still love him, but I don’t feel like he hears me anymore, or cares. He says he does, but it doesn’t feel like it.”

“Is this normal? Will this likely get better with time? I feel like we’re heading towards divorce, which scares the crap out of me because I am a stay at home mom…”

“Anyone leave their husband while pregnant or with a newborn? I’ve begged my husband for more support, financial and emotional and haven’t gotten it…”

“It was tough emotionally to leave my husband, but it literally burned my soul to feel like a single parent while laying beside my partner. I begged him to help but it fell on deaf ears because he assumed I was just being a emotional woman…”

“It’s been 19 months since I’ve given birth. I feel as if my marriage is falling apart. I feel like my husband is grieving the person I use to be and I can’t blame him. I hate the way I feel now. This isn’t me. It isn’t the person I want to be. Home doesn’t even feel like home anymore. I just want to be the person I was before having a child.”

For those of you feeling this way right now, you are not alone and it can get better. Your marriage can survive this, but even if it does not, you will be okay. At one point I did not think mine was going to, and my doctor even said I grieved the loss of my marriage like a death. I went through the stages of grief and eventually I decided I had to be okay for me, for my daughter and for everyone else who loved me regardless. I could not control the actions of my spouse and it takes two, so yours could still end even if you personally try everything you can to fix it. It was not easy and it took a lot of time and it took both people admitting their mistakes and trying to do better. Ten years later I feel my marriage is so much stronger and better. It is so important to parent as a team. Life has changed for both of you, you are both tired and stressed a lot of the time, both of you might be missing the freedom you had before and the person you were before, and one or both of you also might be missing the person your spouse was before. Whether you both work outside the home or one stays home or one or both work from home, you both need to support each other instead of it always being a competition of who has it worse or is doing the most.

A lot of times as parents, we try to push through exhaustion, sickness and everything else to take care of our kids. Every once in a while though, if you do this for too long without a break or help, you often reach a breaking point, and when someone helps you even just in those breaking point moments, it can make all the difference in the world. Now my husband and I do a better job of recognizing when the other one is at that point. I try not to keep score anymore on who does what. I do what I can when I can and if I get too overwhelmed or tired or sick or anything else to do it, I know now that my husband will probably realize it and help me, and I try to do the same for him.  Of course our marriage is still not perfect. My husband is not even thrilled about my book and blogs, never has been. He is not as open of a person as me. He will give you opinions about politics and current events and religion all day long, all of that controversial stuff, but when it comes to talking openly about the worst year or two of our lives and marriage, not so open. I had him read my book before publishing it and asked if he suggested changing anything. I even wanted him to write his own chapter or allow me to based on what he told me, but he had no interest in doing that. He tries to be supportive regardless, because he knows for me, the sharing helps me and it helps others too and it is something I feel I need to do.

Bio: Amanda Dodson Gremillion published her first book in 2012. She began revising it in 2019 and republished it as Just Buy Her A Dress and She’ll Be Fine. The story chronicles her experience with severe postpartum OCD, anxiety and depression. Amanda is a graduate of Auburn University, and now lives in Calera, Alabama, with her husband, Jay, their daughter, Aubrie, and their two dogs, Honey Girl and Cooper. She hopes to write more books in the future. Follow Amanda’s journey on Facebook,  or twitter at https://twitter.com/AmandaGremilli2 and order her book here.  Also, follow her on the Mighty here Amanda Dodson Gremillion | The Mighty Contributor or listen to her podcast here Just Buy Her A Dress and She’ll Be Fine • A podcast on Anchor . You can also find her on Instagram here Amanda Dodson Gremillion (@justbuyheradress) • Instagram photos and videos.

When Even Home is Not a Safe Space

I was recently in a situation where I was a Nanny in an abusive home. Of course, I did not realize this right away. What is weird is when I try to google this happening to others, mainly stories about abusive nannies or babysitters come up, but I feel this should be talked about more (even if the names and certain details are kept confidential), because it was a horrifying experience. Of course it is always easier to go back and look in retrospect at what you could have or should have done, and if you have anxiety, that is all you do after being in a situation like this. Even on medication, it is hard for me to let stuff like this go and not forever bother me, but I am trying, and writing this blog is one way I am trying to do that. I even asked my husband, is this my fault, like sometimes you start to feel you put yourself in bad situations and could have prevented them, and in retrospect, there is a little truth to this, but it is also sort of like victim blaming, but you are the victim.

You are still a victim and you still did not deserve this, just like a girl does not deserve to be raped if she wore a certain outfit, or got drunk at a party, or was in a bad part of town, but I also would not blame her for being scared of doing these things after it happened. I used to not understand why some people seemed so guarded and closed off to you. You try to be friends with them and they get weirded out at how immediately nice you are to them. Now, I get it. They probably have experienced what I recently did with this family and with others before this, so many times that they just could not put themselves through it anymore. I will say in 21 years of working I have had mostly great coworkers and bosses, but the ones that were bad, were so bad it affected my mental health, and no job is worth that. My husband says I just give people the benefit of the doubt and want to believe the best in them, and work with them beyond what they might deserve.

With this family, I tried to make personal bonds. I really cared about the children and wanted to have a close relationship with them and the parents, but the parents made it clear pretty quickly that I would never be more than the help and was treated as so. Not that I had never kept children for well off people before, but this time eventually turned into an absolute nightmare. I once babysat for an old boss years ago. She lived in a very nice house and neighborhood, but we were friends and she trusted me so much that I kept her kids often. I once even spent the night at her house while she was in the hospital, picked up her children from preschool and school and dropped them back off. She had two year old twins and a 6 year old. I didn’t even have a child yet at this time and she even paid me well for it. I live in a house just as nice or nicer than the people I recently nannied for, but they lived in an area where prices were so much higher that their home was probably worth 3 or 4 times more.  

These people look like they have the perfect life on Facebook and are probably very respected in the community, but I soon learned their true home life was a nightmare. I only kept the job as long as I did because it paid well and I had lost my previous one due to COVID-19. There were red flags early on. Even the person who referred me to the job did not want to keep the kids anymore because they were difficult, and only did it for a short time because it paid well, but she was a college student and I was a 38 year old mother, I could surely handle this. I love a good challenge and I wanted to help the kids and quickly got attached despite the hard parts. I thought I could make a difference in their lives if even for a short time. We had a lot of fun together at times, but these kids often lied, did not listen, hit each other, hit, kicked and punched me, yelled at me, would hide my phone and purposely steal my stuff and hide it because they thought it was funny. They were older kids, who probably could have even stayed on their own if they had not acted like this, but instead if you did not watch them every second like a toddler or baby, they were into something. 

Their punishment was so inconsistent it confused me, so you can imagine how much it confused the children. I think more than anything it was based on the parents’ mood. If they felt bad at the moment for the times they thought they were too hard on their child, they would be easier other times, but then when that resulted in more bad behavior they would eventually lose their cool again. I believe both of the children had some mental health issues, I was not told this initially but this was often used later as a general explanation or excuse by the parents for any behavior, although I was never given the details of what exactly was wrong so I could be prepared or properly handle it, or even be aware of it at first. What the kids were allowed to do and eat was pretty strictly scheduled. I was even told to keep electronics from them until they had certain chores, schoolwork etc. done but once when I did this, one of them just spent 4 hours looking for where I hid them, and repeatedly harassed me and got nothing done in those 4 hours. The kids told me the parents were already considering military school for one of them, because when a lot of strict discipline doesn’t work, the go to is ironically, becoming even stricter.

One parent was always there working from home and constantly micromanaging, but also constantly changing moods. One minute he was telling me to watch out for his daughter being manipulative at times, but then did not understand why I was frustrated when I thought she hid my stuff my last day, and then she repeatedly ignored me when I asked her about it. I could not just get it the next day as I always had because she had done this regularly before. I know when these children went to school, their teachers handle them more the way I would have liked to, because otherwise they would never make it through a day of school without the parents being called. The frustration of not being able to handle it in any way that worked, was bringing out a frustration in me I had not felt since my daughter was very young. It took time to figure out how to best discipline her and what worked best for both of us and was not easy at all at first. In this case though I knew what to do, but I could not do it, I could only tell the parents and their usual reaction, as I said before, was either to do nothing or to go the other extreme by yelling, or in one case, even abuse, while I was there. The kids said things that concerned me at times about possible abuse in the home. Once I had been at this home for two or three months, I am pretty sure I heard one parent throw one of the children into a door while they screamed, “I am sorry” repeatedly, while the other child and I ran upstairs scared with my heart about to beat through my chest. The child eventually came out limping and bleeding. The kids seemed to hint once the other parent found out this happened “again” they would be upset about it. I ended up telling the other parent and leaving the job. I am not sure if I would ever feel comfortable in someone else’s home like that again. I normally keep kids in a preschool controlled environment. 

I have never felt so relieved that my home feels so much safer than that one for me and for my child, my spouse and our dogs. One of our dogs gets scared and hides under the bed if we ever even slightly raise our voices because of past abuse she both experienced and witnessed in a former home. It is so sad that so many children do not have a safe space anywhere, not even in their own home. I even feel bad for the parents though because who wants to live in that constant stress, and they probably are just mimicking what they grew up with. I think one of the parents is even a therapist. I know none of us are perfect, sometimes parents yell, sometimes they lose their temper. When I was going through the worst of my postpartum depression, a lot of yelling was going on, and our home was not a safe space for any of us. If yelling and/or hitting is a regular thing in your home, break the generational curse and please get help for the sake of your kids, future generations, yourself, your pets, and even your babysitters. Here is one good source I have found for those looking to parent without the constant anger and losing their cool and who want to enjoy parenting more. This one is aimed at mothers but currently, due to COVID, I think everything is online right now anyways through zoom, podcasts, etc. Even when in person they probably allow men, or could supply some other good resources for fathers as well I am sure.  Help for postpartum depression, anxiety and rage | Happy as a Mother

 

Bio: Amanda Dodson Gremillion published her first book in 2012. She began revising it in 2019 and republished it as Just Buy Her A Dress and She’ll Be Fine. The story chronicles her experience with severe postpartum OCD, anxiety and depression. Amanda is a graduate of Auburn University, and now lives in Calera, Alabama, with her husband, Jay, their daughter, Aubrie, and their two dogs, Honey Girl and Cooper. She hopes to write more books in the future. Follow Amanda’s journey on Facebook,  or twitter at https://twitter.com/AmandaGremilli2 and order her book here.  Also, follow her on the Mighty here Amanda Dodson Gremillion | The Mighty Contributor or listen to her podcast here Just Buy Her A Dress and She’ll Be Fine • A podcast on Anchor . You can also find her on Instagram here Amanda Dodson Gremillion (@justbuyheradress) • Instagram photos and videos.

Those Closest To You Won’t Always Be Your Biggest Supporters

When I first started writing a book about my experience with Postpartum Depression, OCD and Anxiety, of course I was worried my daughter might one day think I did not want her, or that she was somehow to blame for how I felt or what I went through. I needed to tell her my story regardless, even if I never told the world, because I did not want her to go through the same thing.  Who knew she would end up being my biggest fan and supporter. She is only 12 now, some might think this will change one day. I do not think so though. I have been as honest with her as I could as she has grown older. I know she still does not completely understand and will more with age, but she is gifted and I think she understands a lot more than some adults. She thinks the thought of me having a book on Amazon is awesome and so do her friends. Yes, she has read my book. Yes, I discussed everything in it with her first. She understands that I love her like crazy, she was very planned, and that what I went through had nothing to do with her and was not her fault.

When I wrote my book, I thought my husband and family and friends would be my biggest fans. I thought they would all buy copies, share all my posts, give me nothing but encouraging words, etc. I thought they would help me sell enough copies to make some money to actually get the book professionally edited and to advertise etc. In reality, this was the case with some, but I ended up giving a lot of free copies away, so many I did not lose money, but broke even. I received some praise but I heard a lot more criticism. Of course, this is something you should be prepared for when writing a book, but I was not ready. I think I was still healing and that is why for the time being, I unpublished the book, and did not try to republish it again for years.  Now that I am republishing, I have almost 1k Facebook friends, but less than 300 likes on my Facebook page and I believe over half of those are strangers. I believe most of my Twitter followers and blog followers are strangers.

My daughter and a friend were the ones who got me wanting to give it another try.  When I told a friend I did not know when I first wrote my book about it, she asked why did I have it unpublished if it could be published and I could be making money on it?  Also my daughter asked why I did not have it published anymore and I did not want to tell her I just gave up because it was hard, so I gave it another go. I am so glad I did and she has been my biggest cheerleader and encourager by far! Of course the big dream is to become a best seller, but the more realistic one is to make some money doing something I love while helping others. The worst case scenario is I don’t make money but fulfill my childhood dream and still feel like I helped people and I will still feel accomplished. Writing is like acting. A lot of actors start as waitresses. You have to have another real job at first because you don’t make any money at first. Only those that make it huge make tons of money, but many do make enough to make it a living, others make enough to make some good extra money.

It is really important to me now that I tell my story in a way that my husband is okay with. He will be reading my final professional edit this weekend and hopefully approving it. When I first wrote the book, instead of just thinking of my target audience as being women going through the same, I also thought of my audience as those around me who missed the signs liked my husband. I eventually gave this up. I mean don’t get me wrong, I still hope and want everyone to read my book and blogs, even those who have not been through this or are not going through this, for one, in case they ever do, or because it is very likely that someone they know will, is or already has.

However, the way I got better was because I finally quit waiting for others to understand, or rescue me. Not saying I did not have any help or support, but even those closest to me did not understand what I was going through in the way others going through it did or I did. I had to do a lot of things that made me uncomfortable to get better including medication and therapy. Some family have never even acknowledged I had a postpartum mood disorder. If I ever discuss it they do not say anything, they either ignore it or change the subject. I feel like they hate me telling my story publicly, while at the same time not being embarrassed to post their extreme political beliefs on Twitter, and yes I do think this has a lot to do with why I suffered so long in the first place or suffered at all. “One stranger  who understands your experience exactly will do for you what hundreds of close friends and family who don’t understand cannot. It is the cool glass of water in hell.” This quote from Laura McKowen in We Are The Luckiest” is why I wrote my book and why I blog and share my story.

Do not get me wrong, I have had many friends and family members, probably reading this right now, who have been so supportive, some that have been through what I have and some that have not, but honestly it has mainly been my daughter and complete strangers keeping me going-hundreds of strangers who have told me I have changed their life, or given them hope and made them realize they are not alone and that they will be OK. My husband and I were at a concert for his favorite band recently and he was talking about how amazing it must be to have a whole stadium singing and relating to the lyrics you wrote. I told him that is how I feel when someone loves my book or my blogs, or writes a comment, or sends a private message about how much they relate or it changed their life. I think he is finally starting to get that.

Bio: Amanda Dodson Gremillion published her first book in 2012. She began revising it in 2019 and republished it as Just Buy Her A Dress and She’ll Be Fine. The story chronicles her experience with severe postpartum OCD, anxiety and depression. Amanda is a graduate of Auburn University, and now lives in Calera, Alabama, with her husband, Jay, their daughter, Aubrie, and their two dogs, Honey Girl and Cooper. She hopes to write more books in the future. Follow Amanda’s journey on Facebook,  or twitter at https://twitter.com/AmandaGremilli2 and order her book here.  Also, follow her on the Mighty here Amanda Dodson Gremillion | The Mighty Contributor or listen to her podcast here Just Buy Her A Dress and She’ll Be Fine • A podcast on Anchor . You can also find her on Instagram here Amanda Dodson Gremillion (@justbuyheradress) • Instagram photos and videos.