College Grad, Ya Don’t Say!

This has been my life for the last 3 years (laptop, textbook, and Yeti)

I began my blogging journey with the intent of simply journaling my grief journey, unaware of the connections I would make, and how many other parents were struggling like me.  It is very comforting to know that we are never truly alone although we often think so.


Suicide survivors are a special breed!  We band together whether it is over coffee, lunch, or even right here on the blogosphere.  I am always amazed at the strength of others and then I look back and realize that I too was strong – I just didn’t know it at the time.


I have not been the best blogger over the last few years but I have spent much of my time soul searching and going to college full time.  It seems like yesterday I re-entered college and other days it seems like a lifetime ago.  I will be graduating in three weeks with my bachelor of science in psychology and a chemical dependency minor.  I am so proud!!


I went to school to learn about drugs, substance abusers, and why they do what they do.  I wanted to understand why my son resorted to using every drug known to man and why he chose to kill himself.  As I devoured every word in every textbook looking for answers to my situation, I really didn’t learn a damn thing about my son.  I’m not sure what the heck I was expecting, like his name would be within the pages of the textbook stating something like:


“Hey Mom, I chose to shoot heroin to numb my pain”.  Well folks, that just didn’t happen!


I did however learn about human behavior, pharmacology of all the drugs he did, how to deal with someone that might be suicidal, how to screen people with potential substance abuse disorders, and many other useful psychological “things” that I’m sure will be helpful to me throughout the rest of my life.


Aside from academics, there is a plethora of things I learned about myself.  I learned to have confidence, not the kind of confidence that one exudes when walking into a bar on Friday night but confidence to be who I really am.  I earned confidence in my writing.  I love to write and I never felt confident because I felt one must have a degree to write well.  That is false!  I learned to write academically, which I do NOT enjoy – but it has given me confidence to now write creatively and I am excited as hell to flex that muscle.


Bear with me as I finish my last three weeks of school and then I intend to get back to my regularly scheduled programming.


XOXO and E-hugs!!

PS: I would love shamelessly plug Amazon for their amazing textbook rentals, I would have NEVER been able to afford 1/2 the books without this service.  Muah…


Let’s Catch Up


I started this blog 4 years ago as an outlet or diary if you will for my feelings in dealing with the death of my son. I have not been the best blogger that is for sure but the thought of it is always at the back of my mind.

So let us catch up with one another!

My life has been crazy. I made the decision to go back to school in March of 2013, received my associates degree May of this year, and now I am on track to attain my BS next December (2016) in psychology with a minor in chemical dependency. Now I am wondering…. what the hell was I thinking? Hubs and other family members are convinced that I am continuously psychoanalyzing them. (Well, maybe sometimes when they act like assholes.)

Master D is now in high school with full-blown puberty going on. When the heck did that happen? Right? I awake each morning wondering if my sweet son will emerge from the black hole or perhaps the alien that has recently taken up residence in his cave. I am convinced there is some sort of infestation living beneath the mound of laundry in his closet. How can such a good looking dude with a slew of hot chicks after him not worry about having clean clothes? I simply do not recall my brother living like that. I have found that closing the door to his cave rather than nagging works wonders.

Although I am on Christmas break from school, it is this time of year that I dread so much. As most begin counting the days until the 25th, I begin counting the days until the 26th ~ as the holidays are simply not the same anymore. Although I am not bitter and many do not know or see the pain, I have learned to fake it quite well. (Hollywood, call me!)

I always look forward to a new year though. For me it is a time of renewal and I am not talking resolutions either because I do not make them. I don’t want to set myself up for failure but rather I look for ways I can be a better person and that is what I am looking forward to after the 26th.

I have recently taken up photography and am excited to share some of my pics with you guys.  Follow me on instagram to see them ~ @ctollen

Thanks to those that have reached out to me over the last few months to check in, I have not taken much of a break.



Candy Crush Helped Me Pass Algebra and Curbed Anxiety


Like so many others, I have fallen prey to the addictive game of Candy Crush!    What a time burner!!  Yet, I still find myself playing just to see if I can escape the growing chocolate, or move on to another exciting level.  This game has taken me as its hostage!  I find myself asking hubs to drive when we go out just so I can play in the car.  I have been known to spend an enormous amount of time in the bathroom (not relieving myself), but trying to find some solace while attempting to pass the next level or until I run out of lives.

I realized my Candy Crush addiction was out of control when I began to hiding my iPhone as someone came into the room; similar to a cheating spouse who has been text messaging on the sly.   I have even turned the obnoxious yet tantalizing jingle of crushing, smashing and “Divine or Sweet” responses off so that my family and friends have no idea that I’ve been conquered once again.

Now I am sure you are all wondering how this effortless yet addictive pastime could have possibly helped my anxiety (and pass my Algebra class), because I am sure that Candy Crush has created anxiety in many.

Attending college at 40-something years old is enough anxiety in and of itself,  but throw some algebra into the equation (pun intended) and it can become the perfect storm.  Algebra made me frustrated, sad, pissed off, panicky, anxious, racing heart, and any other adjective that might be fitting for the occasion.  Instead of hiring a tutor reaching for the vodka, I downloaded Candy Crush.  In all honesty, when I would feel frustrated, I began playing this game.  The excitement from matching up blue, red, yellow, green, and purple candies calmed me down for a hour or so little while and I was able to concentrate.  I am not trying to be funny here, this really really helped me.  Candy Crush allowed my brain to simmer down to re-focus on the task at hand.  As a result, not only did I calm the mechanism but my anxiety as well.  (I got a 4.0 in Algebra by the way)

I have not been playing as frequently (okay, maybe a little white lie) since I am currently on break but if the second half of algebra creates another bout of anxiety, I will once again be reaching for the gaming version of Xanax.