Depression, Mopping, & And the Power of Prozac

Becky Brownstein, we LOVE HER!!

Becky Brownstein, we LOVE HER!!

Becky Brownstein is a mother of 5 and lives in St. Paul Minnesota. She’s not only hilarious but is an incredible writer as well. We welcome Becky to this blog and hope she continues to send us her big fears….Take a look at a candid interview she was brave enough to share!

Thelma & Louise:  Becky we’re really excited you’ve agreed to be interviewed and walk into our lair, getting real is never easy, and sometimes it hurts a little, lets first start with a little background. What do you do for a living, and how many kiddies do you have?

Becky:  For a living I am a mom, but I also work part time at my kids school here in St. Paul, Minnesota. I am a teacher’s assistant. I have thank G-d 5 children.  I’m excited and nervous. Not sure what’s going to be uncovered here…

Thelma & Louise:  Well that’s good, we promise  we won’t bite, and we’ll keep this as painless as possible. Imagine you’re getting a wax. in the beginning you hate it, but then you’re all, “Wow that wasn’t so bad, and look how clean and pretty I look!”

Becky: I’ll try to keep that in mind.

Thelma& Louise:  Becky you are also a very accomplished blogger, can you tell us a little bit about that?

Becky:  Accomplished is a little bit of a stretch…. After my 5th kid was born I was having a hard time dealing. In an effort for human interaction and to help me change my mind set I started a blog called spits and giggles where I could post funny things that happens in my every day life. It helped me view things in a lighter way. I then shelved the blog when my oldest daughter found out I was writing things about her for all to see.

Thelma & Louise:  Nice, throw your kids on the bus, listen we’re all guilty of that. But seriously, you say that you had a hard time dealing with things after your fifth child, what changed that put you “over the edge”, that forced you to write things down?

Becky:  Oh boy.

Thelma & Louise: I told you we were getting real.

Becky: K I guess I just dive right in then…

Thelma & Louise: Like a wax, just rip it off

Becky: I had postpartum depression-

Thelma & Louise: Oh Cool!

Becky: I totally lost my shit.

Thelma & Louise:  We love when that happens, tell us more.

Becky:  haha!!

Thelma:  Becky, postpartum sucks, did you crawl into a little ball like I did after my third was born and refuse to make dinner?

Becky:  Pretty much-  My husband has been in school for the past 9 years.  He was hardly home, I was having baby after baby and I reached a breaking point.  He is now a psychologist on the way to becoming licensed. Thank the Good

Louise:  Lord

Becky:  Right-  I knew I needed help when a box of spoons from Sam’s club spilled all over the floor and I started to cry hysterically.

Thelma:  Spoons, huh….ya that would have pissed me off too. So what were some strategies you came up with in the aftermath of the Costco Crazies?  Did you go on drugs, or did you just rely on your writing? And don’t think I’m not seeing the irony in the fact that your melt down happened while you’re husband was becoming a shrink.

Becky:  Drugs. It’s all about the drugs

Thelma & Louise:  Totes, drugs is the best. What was your flavor-  Celexia, Wellbutrin, Zanax?

Becky:  Wacky on prozacky Yo!

Thelma & Louise:  Hoo-WAH!  Nice-

Becky:  I lost my shit when I was 16 and did well on prozac then. Depression runs in my veins..It’s a constant battle.

Thelma:  I had a very similar experience after my third child, and infact did go on meds, but had decided to replace that eventually with my own seretonin called Jazzercise, an extremely well choreographed exercise routine that makes you look very white and very Jane Fonda.

Becky:  Hahaha!

Thelma & Louise:  How old is your baby now, and have you managed to wean yourself off the meds at all?

Becky:  I was only on it for a year. Just to get my mind shelved and organized. I was one big overwhelmed mess.  My baby just had his 5th birthday.

Thelma & Louise:  But it sounds like you really got your life together, tell us how did you do that?

Becky:  I went to therapy. I specifically wanted someone who specialized in Cognitive Behavioral Therapy. Someone to help me learn how to not get so overwhelmed.

Thelma & Louise:  What were some of the tips you received in therapy?

Becky:  That I am only one person.  Not to stress over the things I cannot control. And as soon as I feel overwhelmed, I take a pen and paper and make a list and then put it in order of importance.My home does not need to be spotless. It’s okay if laundry is not clean and folded in drawers every single day.  I learned how to survive. Because before, I would mop my floor 4 times a day.

Thelma & Louise:  So just putting things into perspective, helping you to not become so detail oriented, and having the good sense to see the bigger picture.

Becky:  Exactly

Thelma:  Can you come over and mop my floor? Sounds like you’d be good at that.

Becky:  Nope. My OCD tendencies have been cured. I kind of miss them sometimes though.

Thelma:  Wow, I’m really disappointed. Sounds like your therapist was top notch good-

Becky:  I started crying over something at one point and he looked at me and said “Rebecca, I am not joining your pity party.” I was like, wow, you are so right!

Thelma & Louise:  Sounds like he had your number, that’s a good therapist! Becky, If you could give one piece of advice to women out there suffering with depression, what would it be?

Becky:  You’re not alone. Everyone struggles. We just like to hide it because every woman thinks they must be doing something wrong if they can’t keep their shit together.

Thelma & Louise:  Ya we do like to give that “Stepford Wives” impression, don’t we?  The funny thing is, 99.9% of us are all a mess in one way or another, huh?

Becky:  Totally! Some moms can be huge bitches…. mothering is not a competition or what you can  post on Pinterest. At the end of the day, I need to be able to stand by my children. I do not want obnoxious annoying kids. And that is something that is taught by example.

Thelma & Louise:  That’s really the point of this blog, to become less afraid of  getting real, to become authentic and to learn how to open up and stay connected to those around us and to our higher source. We are so grateful you were willing to be candid with us today!

Thelma: And I must say that although I’m  disappointed you won’t come over and clean out my drawers, I think you’re seriously the coolest Chicka around!

Louise: Ya seriously, the COOLEST! Please free to post your essays on our Thelma & Louise site, we love having you!

Becky:  Thanks love!

Thelma & Louise: One more question….

Becky: ?

Thelma & Louise:  If there was no Pinterest, do you think birthday parties would finally die out for good? And how do we pass that in legislature?

Becky:  Haha! Pinterest was created because of those frickin birthday parties. Think about it… Those moms work so frickin hard to make their kids birthday The Best! So they created Pinterest to show it off to more than just their close family and friends. It’s pure genius. Like I want a medal for having 4 successful epidural free V-bacs. Where’s pinterest for that?

Thelma & Louise:  Great ending to an awesome interview!

Becky: Now I have a question for Thelma…

Thelma: ?

Becky: Blast from the past question: Remember we lived down the block for a little while and you backed out of your garage INTO MY FRIEND??

Thelma: UM-  I hit your friend?  OMG, I’m such a terrorist!

Becky:  haha I still laugh about that.

Thelma:  ye, I do sort of remember, I’m trying to forget that, but thanks. Thanks for bringing that back.

Becky:  My pleasure

Thelma: Am I the only one that turns into a raging lunatic the second I enter a vehicle?

Becky: Ya put glass and metal between a mom and a road, and suddenly the beast is unleashed.

Thelma: Glad its not just me.

This has been an exclusive interview for Thelma & Louise 

NOW GET REAL OR GO HOME!

(To get interviewed on your biggest fear, contact us as getrealorgohome@gmail.com- if we think you make the cut you might get interviewed, but you gotta be as messed up as Becky.)

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“I’m afraid of never finishing”- Jacquelyn Redding, Los Angeles, Ca

“I”m afraid I might not find that one true love.”- Johanna Back, Miami, Fl

“I”m afraid to jump, so I stay in one place and I don’t try anything.”- Maggie Lacey, Long Beach, Ca

 

What are you afraid of? Let us know! We wanna hear from you!

send your fear admissions to getrealorgohome@gmail.com

The Vantage Point

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Muslim Quarter, coming out of a dark tunnel

By, Chava Tombosky

 

To be afraid, means that you are unwilling to see the possibilities of your future. It means you are beholden to the thoughts that surround your mind, the irrational ones that threaten the very future you are so afraid of running into. It means you are standing in a dark tunnel watching the light dance, rather than dancing in it yourself.  That fear can be strong. It can cripple you into believing you will never achieve true freedom from your own paralyzing thoughts. It takes away your vantage point, and has you believing that you are frozen in this moment, unable to see past the tip of your nose. There is no real wide space that can possibly get rid of this fear, for the space that consumes your mind is all that, small, cramped, restricting, a confining corner that one can’t escape.

This past week I had the opportunity to confront some of those fears. Lead by a fearless named Daniel Luria who is the head of an organization named “Ateret Kohanim,” a non profit organization strengthening Jewish roots in and around the Old City of Jerusalem, I had no real indication of what I was in for when I showed up for his very exclusive tour. Little did I know that what awaited for me around the corner was the darkest secrets of the Old City that that very few are privileged to discover.  Usually it takes months to get a tour with Daniel, yet here I was somehow right there at the Jaffa Gate about to embark on an exclusive adventure with “The Gatekeeper” himself. I thought we were going for a stroll, instead, I realized Daniel was about to transport us to another century of time, where the shadows of our deep rich Jewish past laid awake amongst the walking dead.

“So we goin on a tunnel tour or what,” I asked.

“Oh Chava, we are going on a deeper tour than that, past the tunnels, in the neighborhoods where Jews aren’t wanted, that’s exactly where we’re going- we’re going to the Arab quarter.”

To say I was scared was sort of an understatement. The last place you want to be found is in a small narrow winding street with nothing but strangers who don’t like you very much surrounding your every breath.  And yet the intrigue of walking into the very place I was not welcomed, yet where I belonged, where stares and unvocal looks of hatred would be met eye to eye, was exactly where I was headed into and where I needed to be to let go of my provoking fears that makes me lay awake at night. Located in the Muslim section in Jerusalem, I took my last deep breath I’d have for the day, and entered through the forbidden quarter in the old city. Very few get the privilege of going on this tour, in fact I’d say the mere fact I was given this opportunity could only be explained as a fluke, or as I like to call it, “Divine Intervention.”  For what is the very thing a person who walks in fear needs, but a dose of reality where fear has been present for centuries to learn how fear really works.

We walked through narrow streets, where countless pogroms once soaked the blood of my Jewish ancestors. Walls that carried the shadows of Mezuzahs that once lined these streets now carried empty skulls of grooved stone where scribes that once read “Hear oh Israel the Lord our God, the Lord is One” were imbedded in.  Daniel took us to a quiet tucked away treasure, the Kotel HaKatan, which is part of the Western Wall, but located farther away from the well-known Kotel plaza. Small and unheard of, totally concealed from Jewish life in the Arab quarter, it has yet to see the light of day, but has only recently started getting visitors as Ateret Cohanim has been raising awareness of the historic site and said they hope to attract even more people to the location.  Infact this wall is an even holier treasure for it is located even closer to the holiest site of the Jewish people’s history, the “Holy of Holies”, where Gd’s spirit once rested here on earth during the reign of the first and second holy temple. He took us to the steps of the Temple Mount where the Jewish holy Temple once stood, and showed us how we could not walk past the third step, for Jews were still forbidden by that area as sanctioned. We walked into Ariel Sharone’s apartment where Mark Twain once stayed and where I imagined he stared through the same small window that led to the cobblestone narrow street surrounded by the old stone walls that once barred the markings of old Mezuzahs as well.

We walked past newly Jewish owned apartments that were once attacked so long ago by pogroms that had exchanged hands by force over and over again through the years, but had miraculously ended up back in Jewish ownership. Blood still stained the rattled stone floor. And as we approached a dark tunnel with no familiar face in site, no friendly neighbor wishing us Jews well, and we came out of the bend, Daniel led us to a locked door, which took us to a small Jewish owned courtyard, which led to winding stairs that he had us climb to the very top floor. The top of the roof gave us a vantage point of being able to see all of Jerusalem. The very vantage point in life I was hoping to finally see! I felt like a baby exiting a womb filled with blood making my way up to the tipping point of light. The Jerusalem I saw at that moment was filled with love, light, clouds of glory- possibilities that made me realize, I have nothing to fear at all but fear itself. For when you climb the top and have the advantage of seeing past all those fears inside your mind, you can truly be victorious in conquering the trepidation that has concerned you and surround yourself with a new charge of knowing that all of life’s battles are there to lift you up past your own potential.  For what I realized in walking through those small streets surrounded by the “Fear” was that the true guide to this tour was G-d himself. The true guide in life is our creator, helping us to see our vantage point, guiding us all the way. All one has to do is look up to know we are but shadowed by the Grace of G-d Himself to realize that our true potential lies in the belief that we can overcome even the greatest of obstacles that lies in the narrowest streets beyond the agitation of one’s self.

Drivin In a Rainstorm

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We love our latest entry by a wonderful spirited woman whom we love! Dina keep’em comin!!

“I think faith and hope are like driving in a rainstorm.  You think your doing well and have it all under control until you come to a red light. You stop and breathe. Then you realize that every fiber of your being is working hard and over time and you are exhausted. You contemplate stopping and just giving up for a few minutes.  Then you think about the alternative. You will be stuck in the rainstorm and not going anywhere. There are no choices, you keep driving even if it means blindly, over a cliff.”

-Dina Hurwitz

 

The Ninja

Here’s a post from my incredible baby sister. We are eighteen years apart. I am clearly the younger looking one. I couldn’t be more proud of her for writing this post. It is DAYUM GOOD. So what if I had to drug her to get it! – Chava (Otherwise known as Thelma)

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THE NINJA

By, Rocky Shallman

They say they give the difficult struggles to the toughest warriors right? Well than i must be one mother freakin ninja! Despite just getting my entire throat cut out thanks to my lovely ENT doctor who decided this after one time too many battles with strep. Everyday I live with a kidney disorder called FSGS.

Thats short for focalsegmentalglomeularscleroris.

Now try saying that 10x fast. Its disorder that not many people know of.  For one, you don’t hear that name being thrown around. I mean between the Kim Kardashian proposal of the century and Miley Cyrus twerking , its difficult to fit that big ass word in there. This disease is a difficult one though, they call it a silent killer. It has to do with having small tears on my kidneys which leak out stuff well that just should not leak out. So when that starts to leak out, I start retaining fluid which makes me look like a little blown up jellybean. (Yes i used jellybean, it felt right being its halloween and all). Everyday I wake up and take a really small white pill that keeps my blood pressure low and my kidneys all in tact.  Most days I feel great, and I don’t even know I have this little challenge.

I’m not one for exposing myself like this, but lately I’ve decided that instead of pretending this all doesnt exist,  I should embrace it. I should just embrace the crap out of it. So I guess thats my big fear. The fear of waking up everyday thinking are my kidneys going to stop working and which assholes in my family am I going to steal one from? Eventhough I know I would never have to steal cuz they would all give one up in a heart beat. Everything I’ve been through in my life has given me a reason to be scared of at least one thing. But today’s the day that I decide that instead of being scared , I  should just embrace it.  Embrace it all.   Cause at the end of the day all you have is the story that God wrote for you to show off to the world.
Now lets hope these pain killers wear off before I decide to send this to my sister”s blog for the whole world to see.

(Too late Rox, You are a warrior, and I’M SO FLIPPIN PROUD OF YOU!! Love, Thelma)

SCREW YOU FEAR!

I am a 5 ft, brown eyed, 9 month pregnant woman from California, who wound up in the heart of Monsey, NY with a dream job, perfect husband and actual seasons. I’m writing this because my older sister, Chava won’t get off my back about her blog and it’s the only thing taking my mind off my aches and pains. I’m not sure if I’m in labor or just suffering from post-falafel and onion rings inhalation but either way I’m going to suck it up and try to be hilarious right now.  Let me just say that I am so grateful and blessed that I am with child and am truly happy with my life. However, this is the hardest thing I have ever done – pregnancy. The non- stop vomiting, swollen feet, sardine cravings and tremendous weight gain has been anything but blissful. I look in the mirror every morning only to find my clothes don’t fit and stretch marks are forming a map around my body…. so gross! Pregnancy nude photos? I THINK NOT.

Being the third in a family of seven and living so far away from my close knit siblings has really taken a toll on my emotional psyche. I am constantly texting, whatssapping and calling them with the most recent updates of my symptoms. I know i know , I need to stop but TOO BAD- I’m pregnant which means I am  irrational and emotional ALL THE TIME. I have to take deep breathes just so I don’t lose it. Like this morning when the plumbers came to fix the shower and the two of them got into a flat out yelling brawl. I took deep breathes, counted to ten and then told them to get the hell out of my house!

So you want to talk about fear? Well I’ve been afraid of a lot since I was a little girl.  I used to wake up sweating with bad dreams over my fears. First there was the worst dream, the worst fear, that was made up by my older siblings. They called her Mrs. Boils. According to the legend she was an ugly crotchety wrinkled hairy woman with long claws and warts on her face. They used to “call” her for help every time they needed me to get into line. Ya I won’t be using that sick twisted manipulative game on my kid. (I’m sure my sister has more stories about her.) I’m not even really sure where they got that psycho Mrs. Boils thing from. But let’s just say, it worked, and yes I am still traumatized by her invention.

Hence, my fears.

Then there are natural disasters, typhoons, tsunamis, nuclear war, ya know the big stuff.  I’m pretty much a sissy when it comes to roller coasters, heights, and being out of control. Yes, that’s right, I am sort of a control freak, which is probably why I’m TERRIFIED to give birth and be a mom. I mean what can be scarier than having NO control over your own body or the fluids that will manage to squirt out at times I may not want them to? What can be scarier than pushing out a human being? I’ll tell ya what’s scarier… raising him or her!  Nope, we didn’t find out the sex only because I wanted to prove to my siblings that I can be patient. Plus, who we kidding, I can’t keep a secret.

I really have no idea how I am going to do this but like everything in my life until now – I am going to take it one moment at a time and KICK ASS! I am choosing to say “SCREW YOU FEAR!” Right now I am going to start replacing fear with faith and excitement. Now I need to stop blogging and start timing these contractions while my husband waives the stop watch in my face as I hold my double decker 7-11 hot dog that is kosher, cause this is Monsey and they got kosher dogs on every corner.

Thanks for letting me share.

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SCREW YOU FEAR!

Tova Altman (also known as Chava’s sister)