I am excited to have been awarded as a Five Star Professional in Texas Monthly and to be quoted on MSN.com

Check both accomplishments on my work website. Julie K Johnson Real Estate

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›Happy to Observe

You may already be aware of this, but doing good deeds has been proven to increase serotonin levels and happiness. We feel “more satisfied” by our life. Well, a new study shows the levels of serotonin increase the same amount in someone observing the good deed as the one performing the act of kindness. So, if we all stopped watching and talking about all things negative and focus on doing good, we will not only increase our own happiness but also brighten the lives of others.

Categories: Your Mind
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I am still wide awake from the steroids, and when I lay down to sleep, I often have horrible images of my baby with his skin all burned and eyes all black. I open my eyes as fast as I can and stare at the wall afraid to blink. I assume I am having these “nightmares” because of the Stevens-Johnson Syndrome, and I am afraid it will happen to my son. I hope it all goes away when I stop taking the prednisone. Otherwise, I don’t know if I will ever sleep well again because, as long as I am awake and keep myself busy, I am fine.

Categories: My Mind
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›Sleepless Night

I can’t sleep. I have been on steroids for 2 weeks to treat Stevens-Johnson Syndrome that I got from taking Bactrim, and it has left me wired all day and night. Instead of sleeping, I just look at pictures of my baby and smile. He is so amazing. He has such a good heart. I know that may sound silly since he is just 3 months old, but his eyes and sweet smile tell me what a great person he is. I hope I don’t mess him up.

Categories: My Mind
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›Postpartum or Sleep Deprivation

After a month of waking up every 3 hours and then feeding Enzo for 40 minutes, I was beginning to feel pretty down. I have suffered from depression before and was worried about getting Postpartum Depression. I have spent a lot of time reading about the Baby Blues and what I might experience after giving birth. Most women start feeling bad after 3-5 days. That is why I found it strange that for the first 2 weeks I was in a great mood and felt fine on just 3 hours of sleep.

But something changed, I stopped breast feeding because it was only making my baby frustrated, and I started to work a little bit. I thought I was doing great until I got angry one night because I had to wash the bottles. It takes maybe 15 minutes to do this, but I did not want to do anything. I still loved Enzo and wanted him to eat, but I did not want to feed him. I realized this might become a problem.

The first thing I did was tell my husband how I was feeling. He really wanted me to see the doctor, but I wanted to do some research first. About 80% of all women experience Baby Blues, and I did not want to be put on medicine if I would naturally get better. Most websites said the Blues last for a couple of weeks and are normally gone by a month. Well, I did not start having problems until it was a month.

So, I wanted a few more days while I got Scott to help with more of the feedings. A couple of days past and I was getting more sleep, but now I felt guilty for making Scott do so much. This is when I decided to call my doctor. As soon as I called my OB and said “possible depression”, they squeezed me in the same day.

When I was talking to my doc, she made it clear that what I was experiencing was very common, but since it was 5 weeks postpartum, I might consider taking some medication to help. Knowing how bad depression can be if it gets out of hand, I began to discuss my options. Due to my previous experiences, I am extremely nervous about anti-depressants. We talked about all the old, trusted kinds and the new ones and what I might experience. We decided on Effexor is the fastest acting and acts on serotonin and norepinephrine making it an interesting choice since most just affect serotonin. I left the office with a months supply and a script and an appointment again in 2 weeks.

Because I want to give my baby the best I have to offer, I took the first pill on the way home. My doctor had warned about possible upset stomach, but I was not concerned. Then, I got home and started to feel the Effexor. Quickly, I realized this was not like anything I have had before. I could barely think and my stomach was a mess. I jumped on line and started doing some research.

While many things on the web can be exaggerated or one-side, I was shocked to read some of the results of Effexor. Wikipedia had info about the make-up of Effexor containing amphetamines and MDMA (Ecstasy). Due to the short half-life, Effexor works fast, but this results in bad withdrawal and problems if you skip just one dose. Although many people were helped by Effexor, I found myself scared of the side effects and how it would effect my family. After just one pill, I decided to give myself 2 more weeks to adjust to my new life and see if my symptoms might improve.

It has been about a week since then, and my baby is sleeping much longer during the night. I only have to get up once. Also, I am trying to take the pressure off myself by enjoying my husband’s help and appreciating how great of a father he is. Amazingly, I want to feed my baby again. I am gladly washing bottles, and I have even cleaned the house (well, at least a little bit). I am still aware that postpartum depression could still be a possibility, but I think the true culprit is sleep deprivation mixed with taking on too much. I was running around showing houses (I am a Realtor) and shopping with in a few weeks of delivery.

Since I have improved, I don’t think I will take any medications, but I do plan on taking steps to improve my state of mind. A healthy lifestyle of exercise and mediation might be all I need to keep myself sane and allow me to be the best mom possible. I know I will make mistakes, but I must feel like I am trying my best.

Categories: My Mind
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›Brain Cells Return

After 29 hours of contractions every 2 minutes, Enzo Austin Johnson arrived on Novermber 13, 2007 weighing 7 lbs. 8 oz. and 20.5 inches. Even though my doctor said it was a difficult labor, the mind’s amazing ability to forget left me with images and facts of the day but erased any negative feelings or thoughts about the day. I can remember saying (well, screaming) “I can’t do this!”, but I don’t know why I was saying it.
Right before I started to push, I began to get a fever. This fever along with strong pain meds left me blacking out after I delivered. Although I had no idea what was really going on, I had a feeling inside telling me everything was going to be ok. It was a strange peacefulness where I trusted my husband and the doctors to take care of me and my baby. I bet this feeling would have been even stronger during a natural birth with no drugs, but I am glad I had my epidural even though it started to shift leaving me numb on only one side.

I really did not like being pregnant. During pregnancy, the uterus steals all the blood from your brain to take care of your baby. This left me feeling like another person. I hated talking on the phone because I often forgot what I was trying to say. At least in person, people saw I was pregnant and could understand why I sounded like an idiot. My normal mind is fast thinking, but during my pregnancy, it slowed down drastically. This did allow me to sit and not think or worry about anything, and for the first time in my life, I had moments where I had no thoughts at all. I would just be staring into space not hearing, seeing, or perceiving anything. Although this was at times relaxing, I often just felt stupid.

Pregnancy took away, not only my mind, but my independence. I had to rely on others, and I am not good at asking for help or excepting it. That is why I was so afraid of giving birth. I would experiencing something totally new that I could not even try to understand. What I found, though, was giving up total control of my mind and body allowed me to enjoy my feelings and the joys of giving birth. It seemed like time slowed down, my concerns disappeared, and I could put all my focus on my new baby and what he needs.

After the delivery, I slept for maybe 3 hours before I felt like I had the world to take on. I wanted to see my baby and get to know him. I needed to learn how to fulfill his needs and make his life amazing. The blood finally returned to my brain, and I discovered the purpose for my over-thinking analyzing mind.

Categories: My Mind
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›The Beauty of Asperger’s Syndrome

One of my many guilty pleasures is watching America’s Next Top Model. This season my favorite is Heather. Heather has Asperger’s Syndrome which is a mild form of Autism characterized by difficulty relating to others and odd posture. One look at Heather and anyone can see her beauty with her long, dark hair and perfect skin. What’s really interesting though is the awkwardness she has due to her disorder which makes her so unique. Her Asperger’s is what makes her special and likely to go far this season.

Categories: Distractions
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›Pregnancy Rage

Over the past months, I have experienced an all new type of anger. I like to call it pregnancy rage. I am 7 months pregnant with my first child and have noticed a ton of changes. Most of these changes are physical. I have the worst acid reflux ever, and I actually pee every hour. Although these symptoms are annoying, pregnancy rage is scary for me and my husband.

Normally, I am a very silly and happy person, and if I do get angry, my normal response is to run away and cry. But, thanks to fluctuating pregnancy hormones, I have had a few angry out bursts like I have never experienced. I read about Jenny McCarthy’s experience with these episodes in her book Belly Laughs. It is funny to read about but not experience. Although there is a trigger to this rage, I know while I am upset the level of my anger is far greater than it should be. To know what you are doing is “crazy� and not being able to control your emotions can be frightening. Like last night, I kept tripping on the power cord to my husband’s computer. Instead of moving it out of the way, I yelled at the cord. Yes, it is frustrating to trip repeatedly, but it is no reason to yell.

Besides rage, I have had a few days of crying for no reason or times when everything makes me laugh. Luckily, I have not experienced too many of these mood swings during my pregnancy. I know many women have them bad, and I feel very sorry for them and their husbands.

Categories: My Mind
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›Killing Happiness

Have you ever been in a good mood and someone found that annoying? I know that I have been in a bad mood and found happy people really annoying before, but today, I think I was on the other side of that. I was seeing the humor and irony of life and enjoying being totally silly. I know jokes are often only funny to the person that makes them, and some how my joy and happiness did not spread today.

I thought it was a great and beautiful day, but come to find out, I was the only one that felt that way. So, instead of just getting to enjoy life, I was pulled down by insults and cruel opinions. I was like a little kid enjoying a day in the sun who was beat by her father and made to stay inside.

I am sorry to anyone in my life that might have had a happy day ruined by me when I was in a bad mood. I have been that cruel person before, but I don’t think I was aware at that time the pain it causes. I feel I have lost the day. A day I thought was a blessing but ended up being one of the saddest days of my life. Someone I thought loved me just wants to kill my happiness.

Categories: My Mind
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›How do you stay organized?!

Does any one have any advice for me? I bought a thingy to put my appointments and phone numbers in, but I keep misplacing it. I had a PDA years ago. I never remembered to charge it so I continually lost any information I put in it. Is there a good mobile phone/computer/organizer that might be helpful?

Categories: Gadget Analysis, Your Mind
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