What Helps Amanda, 39, with Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder

Normally when I have something published by the Mighty, a mental health website, it is usually a blog I have already published here, but this time, it is a submission I sent in regarding what helps me manage my illness. Please check it out at the link below….

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. Amanda is also a Community Champion for a website and app about physical and mental health called Kopa which can be found at www.kopa.com.

Music Therapy

I was recently contacted by Joseph, who is part of the Community Outreach team at White House Recovery & Detox, and their goal is to educate the public on life skills and essential therapies and resources for mental health and wellness, in hopes to raise awareness and prevention.  

After reviewing my website, they thought their new article on Music and Mental Health would be an excellent addition to my resources and I agreed, which you can see here, https://recoveryatwhitehouse.com/music-therapy-and-mental-health/ . I have also added their main website as a resource on the About section of my website.

Here is some more helpful information Joseph provided: “As you may know, mental health issues are at an all-time high with more cases of anxiety and depression than ever before. The silver lining to the pandemic is that the stigma around mental health has dropped, making it easier for people to seek the help they need. One type of therapy I’ve found interesting to learn about is music therapy. According to the American Music Therapy Association, music therapy is an evidence-based practice of a board-certified music therapist to help clients achieve non-music goals such as improving mental health and recovering from addiction.”

I have actually been meaning to add more to a newer section on my site called “Music and Mental Health” including some blogs and podcasts about how music has helped improve my own mental health, so keep an eye out for new posts on that soon! Please feel free to share in the comments how music has helped your mental health and what music specifically and how? Or as always, feel free to share with me privately if you want me to share your story confidentially.

Autism and Depression Resources

Recently I had Martina Maseko, the Outreach Coordinator with Elemy ask if I could add these valuable resources below to my site and after looking them over I was more than happy to share. I have also added these to the About Section of my site. Elemy is an innovative, tech-forward provider of in-home and online applied behavior analysis to help children on the autism spectrum meet their unique needs.

They recently created a free educational guide on autism and suicidal thoughts. This resource explains how to recognize warning signs in neurodivergent individuals and discusses suicide risk factors and prevalence. Important topics, such as treatment options and advice for parents, are also covered.

Please take a look:
https://www.elemy.com/studio/mood-disorders/autism-and-suicidal-thoughts

https://www.elemy.com/studio/mood-disorders/depression (ASD and overlapping depression guide)

Mental Health and Violence

I am part of a wonderful group on Facebook and someone in the group just shared a post earlier this week. they allowed me to share it here while keeping them confidential:

“So today it’s my turn to share something I’ve been struggling with in the hopes that it can help someone else. I had one of those moments where you suddenly figure something out and wonder how the hell you missed it. For the last couple of months, I have been subconsciously holding my breath. I’ll be working or driving or just goofing off watching Youtube, just regular activities, and suddenly I’m out of breath and I realize I’ve been holding it without meaning to. It really freaked me out. Imagine if you looked down and found a note in your handwriting that you had no memory of writing. Your hand just wrote it without your conscious direction. It’s really disturbing. So, I looked it up. Apparently subconscious breath holding is not uncommon. It’s an indicator of stress. It seems like such a ridiculous thing. Most folks get headaches, or stomach trouble, or high blood pressure, but I gotta be different. Apparently, my body’s reaction to stress is to try and choke myself out. The problem is, I don’t feel stressed. I’m generally pretty happy. Life is good for me these days. It’s really been bugging me. I’ve been doing breathing meditation and fasting- both are easy ways to reduce stress and it has been helping. Then, today it finally clicked. I was talking with a coworker about how rough the last couple of years have been when it hit me. It’s not just the last couple of years. In the last 9 years I’ve moved back home, I’ve changed jobs three times, all three of my remaining grandparents have died, my Dad died, my stepmother died, my niece died from a brain tumor, a close friend committed suicide, my mother had a stroke, I lost two friends to Covid, then my wife and I got Covid and on top of all that, the government shot our economy in the foot right in the middle of me trying to build a new house. It suddenly occurred to me that I’ve spent almost a decade waiting on the next punch in the gut. So that brings me to a question. How many of us are walking around stressed the hell out and don’t realize it? How much of the violence and general craziness going on these days is because of people just like me? But they finally hit that last straw.”

First, I want to say that those last few comments speak volumes. As a society, we spend a lot of time arguing about gun control. I personally am not a fan of guns, I constantly worry about my daughter being shot at school, but this just started becoming a major concern towards the end of my time in high school in the late 90’s. Right before Columbine, there was a shooting at a high school in Pearl, Mississippi, the one my now husband would have attended had he not moved in 7th grade. He knew some people who were shot but recovered, he knew some people on the list the killer never made it to and he grew up down the street from the killer. The reason this story was not as big as Columbine, is because not as many were killed, because the Vice Principal of the school went to his truck, got his personal gun out, and held it on the student to stop him from hurting more, and possibly moving onto the middle school. The student was arrested and is still in jail today. He did not get the chance to kill more students or himself. The Vice Principal was awarded by some for this, and condemned by others for holding a gun on a student. I personally think he did the right thing, and this was one of the few examples of a good guy with a gun actually working out well.

Because of this and because this developing into an issue as I aged, I know it is not guns alone or it would have been before then of course. However, we are also the only country who has this issue so bad and also has the loosest gun control, so I see why some gun control is reasonable to many. I always read stories from other countries about the first major killing in a decade, and it will be a bow and arrow attack that killed a few people, or a car driving into people (which also happens here). I also once read about a school stabbing comparable to a school shooting here in regards to the number attacked, but none died in the stabbing while many died in the shooting. There is also a big focus on mental health. I think this is a little closer to the root of the problem, but still not as simple as that. Most people who snap and do something violent have not been diagnosed with major mental disorders, and some thinking this actual contributes to a stigma. Most people diagnosed with mental disorders do not hurt anyone. Mental health is like physical health and due to a number of environmental and genetic factors, anyone’s mental health can get bad. Now if someone does not get proper help and treatment, of course this can make things worse, but many cannot afford the help they need.

In the last few decades in America, the rich have become richer, the poor poorer despite some working more than one full time job, so in most cases this is not laziness or not working hard. I live in Alabama and the fact that I wish we were more like some countries who have universal healthcare, some even free or more affordable college and daycare, sick days, vacation days, paid maternity and paternity leave and way longer leave than we have, puts me in the minority here. Actually, that is not completely true. So many people I talk to, even ones whose voting expresses the opposite, say they are for these things as well. I don’t think most of those countries have billionaires or not as many as us, but they still have plenty of millionaires, but there is this understanding that when people have their basic needs met, it benefits all of society. There is less crime, and everyone is healthier, physically and mentally, so the cost of healthcare goes down. There is an understanding that taxes are not a bad thing when most of it actually goes towards the greater good through education, infrastructure, healthcare, childcare and other things we all benefit from. Even if you do not have children, someone else having childcare that allows them to be at a job to perform a service for you is to your benefit.

However, many see this type of thinking as globalism and a danger to society, personal responsibility, freedom and independence. People will tell you we are the most charitable country as an argument that we should not be forced into any of that, and should be able to continue doing it as we wish, but that is only because we have to be charitable for survival. Go Fund Me’s often pay for life saving treatments for people. Some around us would not eat or have healthcare or other basic needs if we did not constantly help and you often even do it in case you end up in the same situation, because you hope others would do the same for you. The percentage of money donated and taxes paid by those that have not much more than them, while others who could more easily help and either don’t, or don’t do enough is what happens when you count on people to just do the right thing. Many right above the poverty line start to resent those who are poor enough to get help, instead of resenting the rich. People are having less children or no children at all because there is no village anymore, it often feels like every man for himself. But we are not alone, you are not alone, we are all in this together and it is time we started acting more like that and helping each other more.

I related to my anonymous source’s post so much and even though I never did anything violent, I better understood how people get to that point after all I went through. Going through what I did changed my political beliefs and religious beliefs. I am not writing this to try and convert anyone else to my own beliefs. My anonymous source is actually a Libertarian, not a Democrat or Republican. We agree on many things, but not everything. It is hard to find anyone you agree with everything on, but there are so many things we do all agree on that I wish we could just do for the benefit of society, no matter what the party name is of the people we elect to carry it out. In a period of three years, my father died, I had my first child, my grandfather died, I was laid off from my job and my husband left. We eventually worked things out, but at the time neither of us realized how much those other things had affected me.

I had always been a very positive person and honestly quite judgmental of people who were constantly negative, or seemed to seek attention. We all have problems in life and death and layoffs and things like that are just a part of life I thought, and parenting is hard, even though they had never been a part of my life yet, especially all at one time. As these things happened to me, no matter how hard it got, I would say and think things like, things happen for a reason, there is a good reason this is happening, etc. I continued to care for others and put others above myself even when I resented it, even though I was not okay, and I was not receiving the love and care that I needed, and I was not taking care of myself.

I did not even want to live anymore and once I was finally open about it, instead of getting the love and care I needed, at first, I got judgment instead. Even though I had never acted this way before, I felt like this was my identity now. I still have two friends who have not spoken to me since, despite attempts to apologize and explain. Eventually, I wondered why I wanted to be friends with people like that anyways and how I ever had been, but the truth was, my depression came from trying to be perfect so others would love me, and the first time I felt I wasn’t being perfect enough, certain people abandoned me. That made me start to think I was right along and I did not deserve them or my husband or anyone, I deserved to be alone. Some of this came from the fact that the one and only time I shared my truthful thoughts one hundred percent with some family, they did not come to my wedding and did not speak to me for a long time, even though they shared harsh opinions of me, with me constantly. Many times I have shared my political or religious thoughts that differ from friends and family and been made to feel like an outcast.

I did eventually get the help I needed. Even my mom and stepdad did not understand at first, but they helped me anyways as they always have in any situation no matter what, and my husband eventually came around as well. I often feel people are tired of hearing about my experience, but I don’t repeatedly tell it because I think what I went through is worse or any more important than everyone else. I do it so others know they are not alone, because I did feel alone. I do it to educate people on what I did not even know until I went through it myself. I do it because I especially now think we are all in this together. When someone is unhappy it can affect us all, and no you cannot help everyone. People have to want and accept help, myself included when the time came, but you can help some and you can try your best to take care of your own mental health, because when it came down to it, my main rescuer was myself. I kept waiting for someone to rescue me because I was tired, but I had to put in the work of figuring out how I got there and why, how to get back out and how to try and not get back to that dark place ever again.

I still get frustrated at others who seem to stay in the state of mind I was in all the time, who never seem to get better, who seem to always blame others or their situation, yet at the same I get it more now, I really do, and many have been through way worse with much less support. I even understand people having to set boundaries for the protection of their own mental health, and I actually think that is a good thing, and much better than enabling someone by letting them mistreat you and others. I took this into account with my friends who ghosted me, but I still think once I did everything to get better and sincerely apologized, their continued ghosting went from them setting boundaries, to cruelty that hurt and will forever hurt. It took questioning everything I believed in, how I was raised, analyzing my entire life and childhood for me to heal and in doing so, I learned things I knew could heal others in my family, but some of them do not want to do what it takes to heal, at least not yet. I have not completely given up hope that some might one day, and when they do all I can do is be there for them.

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. Amanda is also a Community Champion for a website and app about physical and mental health called Kopa which can be found at www.kopa.com.

Kopa Mental and Physical Health Website and App

Recently I was asked by someone who was familiar with my website if I would be willing to share my story to help contribute to a website and app being developed. I was awarded a $50 Amazon gift card for an hour of my time. The website and app are now active at www.kopa.com. This website and app are not only for the pregnancy community, but also for general mental and physical health. Please check it out. “Kopa provides people with the support and connections they need to manage their physical and mental health. They offer high-quality education, relevant features and tools, ways to create meaningful connections with other members, and access to experts. Kopa’s vibrant community knows what other members are going through—because they’ve been there.”

“It’s nice to know that when you’re going through a trying time, there are people who know what you’re going through and can help you through it!” —Kopa member 

I have also been asked for become a Kopa Community Champion which asks you to spend 3-4 hours per month across different projects. “Champions are volunteers who partner with the Kopa team to help them maintain a supportive community for their members. Champions may be asked to: • Welcome newbies and become a familiar voice in the community • Comment and create posts to help support and inspire others in the community • Test new features and provide feedback on the member experience • Discuss your health experiences with the Kopa team for research and spotlights • Attend quarterly calls to discuss new and upcoming features and special projects. ” In return, you get behind-the-scenes access and hear about the latest features first! Plus, you get a direct link to the Kopa team to share your ideas. Share your story Champions may be featured in member spotlights, articles, and on social media. You may get to test new features and let them know your thoughts and get compensated for your time. Champions also receive special swag and rewards for being part of the program. I a very exited about this opportunity!

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. Amanda is also a Community Champion for a website and app about physical and mental health called Kopa which can be found at www.kopa.com.

Donate an Hour to Support a Black Mom in Need!

‘She Matters is currently looking for doulas, licensed clinical social workers, psychiatrists, psychologists, and therapists to DONATE up to five hours to support Black mamas during the first 40 days of their postpartum period. She Matters is making huge strides to make change, we are establishing partnerships with hospitals and other organizations to bring QUALITY postpartum care to Black moms everywhere. We are selecting 25 therapists et al. to be part of our pilot program that will soon be adopted by a hospital network. Our volunteers will receive FREE access to our cultural competence certification and access to our network of over 7,500 Black moms ready for therapy and coaching. If you are interested, please complete the form below. We look forward to hearing from you! Thank you for your support. Happy Holidays to you and your families! Best,Jade KearneyCEO/Co-Founder, She Matters”

She Matters is a digital health platform designed to support postpartum Black mothers experiencing anxiety and depression through community, culturally relevant resources and culturally competent therapists. We also train mental health professionals as well as healthcare organizations on how to become better resources to Black moms.

https://docs.google.com/…/1FAIpQLSeM9xB4VLcX9Y…/viewform

Easy to Implement Hacks and Tricks to Reduce Anxiety

Picture Source -Unsplash (https://unsplash.com/photos/rXrMy7mXUEs) “This is a guest post, written by Lucille Rosetti. You can find more information about her, her book Life After Death: A Wellness Guide for the Bereaved and other articles at bereaved.org. While I think some of this is helpful, as someone who suffers from OCD and anxiety, I realize cleaning and decluttering doesn’t always help your anxiety and sometimes having to do so may make it worse, while other times once the mess is gone, I feel so relieved. I personally have benefited many times from yoga breathing during a panic attack and it has helped calm me. I hate drinking water and have to force myself, so some of these hacks and tricks below are easier said than done, like the drinking one if you suffer from alcoholism, and of course we all have the intention of eating healthy, drinking healthy, getting enough rest, etc. but we don’t live in a perfect world and that is not always easy to do, but these things can help certain people at times, and some may be at least worth trying, especially when you want some immediate relief and don’t have medication, therapy or other methods immediately available, or if they take some time to help since they usually do…” -Amanda Dodson Gremillion

Easy to Implement Hacks and Tricks to Reduce Anxiety

If you ever have feelings of extreme stress or anxiety, know that you are not alone. In fact, one out of every five people have had some form of anxiety disorder and are looking for solutions. Luckily, there are many different natural methods that you can try to reduce these feelings and feel better overall as you go through your days. Here at Just Buy Her a Dress, we love to promote relaxation with our meditation and life coaching lessons, so we have great tips for how you can reduce the potential for anxiety attacks and live an overall happier life.

Listen to Relaxing Music

Whenever you are feeling stressed or a situation in life is starting to cause panic, take the time to listen to some relaxing music. Something soft or ochestrial will do wonders. To get the best experience, listen to your favorite music through a set of noise-cancelling headphones, which come in many different formats and sizes and you can take them with you wherever you go. Find a quality pair that fits in your budget. You won’t regret it.

Yoga

When you feel an anxiety attack coming on, then you need to take a moment to calibrate and centralize your breathing so you can return back to a feeling of normalcy, and you can do that by practicing yoga. The idea of yoga is not so much about losing weight as it is about toning your body while focusing on meditation so you can make your stress melt away. Even if you don’t often deal with anxiety attacks, yoga is a great activity to pair with cardio and weights to create a healthier lifestyle.

Clean Your Home

If you often feel anxiety while you are at home, then it could be your residence that is causing the stress. This can often be the case when your home is full of unnecessary messes or clutter because the lack of organization can cause confusion and a feeling of suffocation. You can remove bad energy from your home by clearing the clutter, wiping down all surfaces, and then you can ensure that that negative energy stays away by lighting some sage and bringing it through the home so it can do its work and cleanse the premises.

Avoid Fatty Foods

There are many reasons to consume a healthy diet. The most obvious reason is that by being smart about what you eat, you will be in better shape so you can feel better overall and live a longer life, but there is also a mental health component. Many bad foods like those sold at fast-food restaurants contain trans fats which slow down our bodies and make us feel sluggish.

There are also many fatty acids that can affect our brains and our behaviors, leading us to feel anxiety. While the occasional unhealthy meal is okay, try to stick to healthier options like salads, high-protein foods like fish, and nuts and almonds that are high in vitamins and antioxidants.

Alcohol is Not the Answer

If you are feeling down, the last thing you should do is resort to drinking alcohol to feel better. The issue is that by drinking beer and liquor, you can actually feel worse because these beverages are considered to be a depressant that slows down our bodily functions and the way we think. If you are feeling depressed, the best beverage you can have is a cold drink of water because it helps your brain to work faster while improving your concentration so you can be more productive and less anxious.

In the end, trying the tips above will help you to feel better overall so you reduce the chances of an anxiety attack and live a happier life.

Moving House After the Death of a Loved One

https://threemovers.com/

Image provided by https://threemovers.com/. This is a guest post, written by Lucille Rosetti. You can find more information about her, her book Life After Death: A Wellness Guide for the Bereaved and other articles at bereaved.org. When I went through severe postpartum depression, dealing with the death of two family members was one of the many things that left me feeling overwhelmed, so when she asked to share this story on here I was totally on board. Hope some of you find it helpful…

Moving House After the Death of a Loved One

Navigating grief is a personal journey, and there’s no set time frame of when you need to approach the emotional and practical aspects surrounding the death of a loved one. Following the death of a loved one, you’ll feel raw and overwhelmed. At some stage, however, you’ll need to take steps towards creating a new life for yourself. You have to build on top of your grief in order for the rawness to disappear. One way of doing this is to move for a fresh start, which provides a change of scenery and an opportunity to move away from feeling trapped by grief.

Getting Your House Ready To Sell

There are certain steps you need to take in order to make your house more appealing to potential buyers. 

  • Deep clean. Get carpets professionally cleaned and tiled areas polished.
  • Paint. Wipe down walls or get them painted by a professional.
  • Plumbing. Make sure that the plumbing works properly and the water pressure is good. 
  • Buy light bulbs. Change lightbulbs in the house. 
  • Declutter. Make your home more appealing by removing clutter. 
  • Window repair. Clean all windows, and repair cracked windows and window frames. 
  • Flowers. Add bunches of fresh flowers throughout the house before a viewing to entice potential buyers.
  • Garden maintenance. Get a garden service to remove weeds and tidy up.

Benefits of Moving for a Fresh Start

Moving provides an opportunity to live and not merely exist in your grief-stricken comfort zone. 

Here are a few benefits: 

  • New friends. Although you rely on the support of old friends, new friends don’t constantly feel sorry for you and ask repeated questions about your grieving.
  • Alternate perspectives. When you move to a new place, your perspective on life might shift. 
  • Career opportunities. These can provide a new focus.
  • Fresh scenery. New sights and areas to explore can provide you with a new lease on life. 

Sorting Out Stuff

Sorting out a loved one’s stuff adds a whole new dimension to grief that others might not understand.  It’s important to keep a few things but to also remember that stuff is just stuff. 

Clothing and personal belongings. Invite close friends and family around to help sort through clothes, as it can trigger waves of emotion. Give them an item of clothing that reminds them of your loved one. Keep a few items for yourself for memory’s sake. 

Furniture. You might not need all your furniture, especially if you’re moving. Keep a piece that holds a lot of memories. An idea is to sell the rest, and donate the money towards a cause that your loved one was passionate about. 

Photos and memorabilia. You can always digitize old photos if there are too many. Alternatively, sort through them and hand them out to friends and family who might want them.

Paperwork and contracts. Enlist help if you need it to sort out paperwork, cancel contracts, and find passwords to accounts. 

Moving Forward

The only way out of the raw grief phase is to take small steps towards a new life. Move forward by moving to somewhere new, and embracing the new chapter. 

Visit Just Buy Her a Dress for more information about mental health and how to adjust to the world around you.

I Did Not Realize I Had Depression Once as a Child Until I Got it as an Adult

When I got severe postpartum depression after my daughter was born, I found myself analyzing my entire life wondering how I went from someone who was so happy most of the time, to someone who did not want to live anymore. I eventually came to realize that I had always had OCD and it caused Anxiety and I finally got help for it. I also finally realized that I had depression at one other point in my life and had not even realized it. When I was in middle school, we moved for the third and final time. I had just started 6th grade and was almost 12 years old. We had moved a couple of times before due to my stepdad being promoted. The first time we moved from where I was born in Alabama near Anniston to South Carolina. I was only 6 at the time and had just started school so the move was not devastating to me, and we did not have a lot of money before and now we would have more. I did miss some family though, so when we did get to move back to Alabama two years later I was actually excited about that move, and it meant even more money again, because we were still far from being well off. We would still be two hours away from where we before, closer to Huntsville, but that was better than how far we were now. 

We ended up living in this new place for almost four years and it ended up being my favorite place we ever lived. We moved right around by 8th birthday so I remember my family taking me to Chuckecheese because I did know anyone else yet. We lived in the country on three acres. My mom and stepdad still rented the brick house we lived in, and would not finally own their own home until our next final move. We got a new dog once we had been there about a year that my parents would end up having until she died of old age when I was 23, the year I got married. I will never forget the day we got her. My parents called us all into the living room and we thought we were in trouble, then my stepdad walks in with a little mixed weenie dog puppy from the pound we named Sissy. Sissy was a major part of my childhood and truly a member of the family. She was always following us kids around wanting to be involved in everything we did, and finding her way in to most pictures. I eventually made a best friend who was like a sister. We were always at each other’s houses. She loved my dog too and I loved her cats. We both took baton lessons at the same place outside of school. She got off the bus with us the day of the Blizzard of 1993 hit until her dad could come get her, and we got the closest to making a truly large snowman we ever had as Sissy was hopping through the snow nearby chasing rabbits.

When another move and possible promotion a couple hours away near Birmingham, AL came up not long after that, I was not happy about it this time. The dog even had a hard time with the move, because we went from the country to the suburbs and she went from 3 acres and wandering as she wished and coming back in the house whenever she wanted, to a fenced in back yard when she was not inside. My mom had to start taking her for walks in the morning, and she would often break free if we left a door open too long, but she always came back usually within about 3 hours or less. She also once learned how to jump their small fence until my stepdad found something to put at the top of it to stop her. The move was hard on my mom as well. Where we used to live she would get off at 4pm every day and went to the gym regularly with my stepdad. In the new place, with the same company, they often worked her to death and she would sometimes work until 9pm. Our allergies seemed to get worse and we all got sick more too, and I think it was partially due to living closer to a bigger more polluted city like Birmingham.

Right before we had moved I got a call I had made Silver Belles, which was the highest honor at my baton place. High school girls were in it and I was going to be in 6th grade! My mom had trouble finding a baton place like the old one I went to at first and I never got put back into it. By the time I could try out for majorette in high school, which they would not let you do until 10th grade here, I did not think I was good enough to even try to make it anymore. I think my sister had just made the dance team before we moved, so I know she went through her own similar troubles. My stepbrother was in college by this time, but our move to the country I loved so much, was the move I think was the hardest on him. He was in high school and went from a big city to a country high school, and just did not feel like he fit in, and he had to leave his long time girlfriend. 

I would eventually understand his pain. In this new school district, there were as many people in the high school for 9th to 12th grade as their had been at the entire K-12 school I went before. Yes, every grade was in one school so it was an adjustment to say the least, especially at a time I now realize is hard for most kids that age regardless of moving. My daughter is now 13 and in 8th grade and 6th grade was a rough year for her and most of her peers. Everyone is hormonal and mean and going through so many changes. I felt like there were already cliques here and we did not have those yet at my old school, or maybe we did but I had so many friends I had not noticed them until I had no friends at first. Even though I had always enjoyed school and did well in school, the first couple of years I cried a lot and I missed a lot of school due to migraine headaches. My mom had migraines before and knew how painful they were, so she did everything she could to try and help me. She would miss work, which I felt bad for, to take me to a headache clinic, I had an MRI done and was checked for jaw issues, etc. We never figured out the cause, but the headaches eventually stopped. I now realize it is because over the next two years I would eventually have a good group of friends and was very active playing drums in band and loved it. I also enjoyed high school even more and ended up meeting my future husband there. The fact he had to move here in 7th grade and leave his best friend was probably what bonded us the most. 

Back when we moved, we did not have Facebook and face time, etc., but now we do and I do keep in touch with my childhood best friend. She lives in D.C. now and I have met up with her time both times I visited. Instead of mourning how close we might have still been today had I not moved, I now realize I might not have my husband or daughter if we had not, and moving enabled us to have opportunities we never would have had otherwise and resulted in some generational curses being broken. I truly think I had depression back then now. It was not talked about as much back then so my parents nor I had any idea, but I feel like if the same thing happened to my daughter today, I would realize it and be better able to help her, and I think that means we have made a lot of progress in society, although we still have a ways to go of course.

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.

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.