Category Archives: depression

Saturday: The Day of Silence

Good Friday is over. Now it’s Saturday.

Saturday. As Jesus’ friends awoke, the day after they watched their dear friend violently die, I imagine it took some longer than others to remember. As the morning sun streamed in the windows, bringing the promise of a new day, their memories of the night before caught up with them. The morning sun no longer held promise. Just defeat.

This wasn’t how it was supposed to end.

How could Jesus leave them like this?

Where do we go from here?

I’ve been there. I’ve lived through a “Saturday” filled with hopelessness. My life wasn’t supposed to look like this. I was supposed to have purpose. Things weren’t supposed to look this way. It didn’t feel as if I would ever find joy again.

Friend, are you stuck on Saturday? It looks different for all of us. Depression. A soul-killing job. Illness. Divorce. But one thing is the same, we feel as if God has abandoned us. He’s stopped speaking. Or at least, we’ve stopped hearing. He’s silent. Maybe even…dead.

Saturday.

But oh, the best part of all, is that no day lasts forever. Even Saturday. As Sunday dawned, so did the hopes of the world.

The women came to the tomb. The only ones strong enough to face what had happened. Women, look in the cracks of history, and you will always find us. Doing hard things. Being present at the most glorious moments. He isn’t here, he is risen! Go, tell the others.

He is risen!

Everything I believe hangs on this historical fact. He. is. no. longer. dead.

Sunday brings life. Sunday brings hope. Sunday brings the answers to Saturday.

God will not remain silent. Death could not contain Jesus. Sunday will come. And when it does, you can look back and praise him for his faithfulness, even on Saturday.

His love is relentless.

Easter is coming.

 

Advertisements

Hibernation is Not an Option

This is me in the summer: wp-1452547324242.jpeg

Looking at that picture, my heart feels light. I’m warm. The grass is green. The sun is shining. I love everything about it. Here’s another:
wp-1452547588367.jpeg

Summertime is my jam.

I lived in Southern California when I was a kid until 4th grade. Winter was not really a thing there. We had a season called winter, it basically meant we didn’t go swimming as often. I’m probably romanticizing that quite a bit in my head, but let me have my memories.

Then we moved to the Midwest. Winter was so cold. So bleak. So long.

For as long as I can remember, my moods and emotions and mental health have been closely tied up in the seasons. I wish very much that it wasn’t this way. Call it Seasonal Affective Disorder or whatever, but the fact is I have to work much harder to feel alive in the winter months.

Until this last year I didn’t realize that my thyroid has a lot to do with this. I’m cold all. the. time. At my in-law’s house for Christmas I was wrapped up in a blanket from the time we got there until we left (those Minnesotans, they love the cold so much they let it in their houses). Am I a wimp? Yes, I am. But I also have a tiny little gland in my throat that sits in a layer of ice from October to April (that might not be medically accurate, but the idea is).

When I wake up in the winter time, many days I start my day at a -3, whereas my husband is always at a 7 (I’m not sure what this scale is, but work with me here). If it’s cloudy outside, I might even be down to -5. The point I’m trying to make here is that before I’ve even gotten out of bed, I’m already feeling defeated. It’s a struggle to even get dressed, eat, brush teeth.

On top of this, I’m pregnant and it’s made me sick since the middle of November. So sick. Barely able to function a lot of days.

I know I’m not the only one. I’ve talked with some of you who have told me the same things. Living everyday life with depression is hard.

I was talking to Tim recently (my husband is so wise, you guys) and telling him I was tired of the struggle. “I’m so depressed in the winter, why is it this way?”

“Okay, so what?” He replied.

“Excuse me?” What does he mean, so what? I think the answer is pretty obvious. At some point we call it quits and move to Phoenix or Fiji where we’ll never have problems again.

“I mean, if your life is telling a story, you’re depressed, but… What are you going to do with it? Where does your story go from here?”

I stared at him, and realized that he was right.

Obviously I can’t just stop living in winter. I can’t only be emotionally present in my people’s lives for only half the year. I’m here on earth for the long haul, I have to do something with this.

Every spring I play a game with myself and the boys to try to find the first signs of growth. Green sprigs coming through the previously-frozen earth, first stems of fresh grass, tree buds. These signs to me cause hope to stir within my soul. The warmth will be back.
wp-1452548104109.jpegI think I still have a lot to learn from winter. In fact, without winter, would I appreciate summer as much? Would I feel the kind of longing hope that leads me to worship?
wp-1452547936668.jpegI think God has put inside all of us a desire for summer. It looks different for each of us. An end to the cold, an end to illness, a desire for peace. Hope for better circumstances.

This longing, this discontentment can either cause us to become bitter and lifeless, or bring us to our knees in desperation.

I can’t live in summer forever. The idea is appealing, but no.
wp-1452548350051.jpegI need winter. I hate to admit that. The cold and misery take me to a place of utter dependence.

Life is hard. But as Tim and I tell our boys, we do hard things.

So as I explore God’s grace this winter, and figure out where my story goes from here, I will acknowledge my own weakness and dependence. And wait again for the joy of summer, and even greater than that, the hope of completeness in Jesus. One day.

Will you do the same?

wp-1452547733774.jpeg

The Story Behind the Insta’

Two weeks ago, I put this picture up on Instagram:

With this caption:

“I love this! This is on the wall in the weight room at my gym. I’m thinking about all the areas in my life that this is applicable to: exercise, art, parenting, prayer. Is this encouraging to you as well?
.
Also, I dreamed that I did squats until my legs turned to jelly, and then my alarm went off and I had to get up, go to the gym and start all over. Why don’t dream squats count, for real?
.
We go to the gym first thing every Monday morning. It’s hard to get there some weeks, but so worth it. It starts the week on a positive tone, makes for a happier momma, and a more productive homeschool week.
.
What do you do to start your week?”

When I read it again later in the week, it made me cringe. Do you ever do that? You throw something on to Instagram or Facebook with the best intentions, but then later you realize it was little more than a humblebrag?

We all know how easy it is to put up the easy pictures, the beautiful pictures, the not-completely-truthful pictures. Pictures taken in the one uncluttered, well-lit corner of our home. Pictures that just tell part of our whole day, skipping the messiness, tears, stretch marks, and dirty laundry.

I wanted a do-over with this picture.

I honestly do like the sentiment. A lot. It made me think about several areas in my life where I need to loosen up and enjoy the process. So I don’t think I should just scrap the photo and the info.

But what if I just told the whole truth, instead? Here goes.

We do go to the gym bright and early every Monday morning. And honestly, it’s hard to get there almost every week. Sometimes I drop the kids off at the childcare and go sit in the locker room and try not to cry, while boosting my courage enough to go to the weight room.

And you know what the biggest motivation for me to get out of bed and get there is? If I cancel my reservation for free childcare, made a week in advance, they will charge me. I don’t want to pay $10 to not work out.

Do you know why I work out? It’s to save my life. I am keeping one step ahead of the weight of depression that is constantly threatening to settle on my heart. For me, the best long-term treatment I’ve found is regular exercise and nutrition. I know that if I don’t make it to the gym, I will have to fight even harder the next morning to wake up and face the day without dread. And with the dread comes negative thoughts. Then self-loathing. Then numbness. Then nothing. And the nothingness is scarier than anything.

So when I write about doing squats, I’m barely lifting anything. I’m just doing it. Doing the little I can to remain emotionally present in my life.

And you know what? I rock at Monday mornings, even when it’s a struggle to get there. My kids are dressed and fed, and I drop them off in a new environment with new toys and books to explore for two hours. Yeah, Monday mornings are my jam.

But you know what’s not my jam? Pretttty much everythig else. After the gym, we come home to a 9 year old puppy that always wants attention, clean laundry that hasn’t been folded in two weeks, a sink that’s usually full of dirty dishes, a floor that probably needs to be mopped, a to-do list that I can’t even find. And I can’t even get started on those things because then our homeschooling day starts.

So that’s the truth. I rock Mondays. The rest of the week? Meh. I’m working on it.

So I’lll ask the question again. What do you do as part of your weekly schedule to bring life to yourself? Do you hit up the gym? Lots of coffee? Employ a maid service? Yoga? Prayer time? How about if we celebrate the life-giving things, while all knowing that we struggle in other areas? We know we’re not all perfect, so let’s stop pretending. There’s freedom and grace there.

#letsgetrealmoms

Do Over

We were dressed, had eaten, had completed school. Long, frustrating schoolwork where Little Guy needed 100% of my attention 100% of the time. That’s mathematically impossible because I have two boys, and I need to help both of them.

We are all cranky with each other, everyone’s waking up at ridiculous hours and going to bed at ridiculous hours, and still detoxing after a weekend filled with sweets.

“I’m hungry!”

That whine. That whining plea for food as if they never eat.

It has to be lunch time, I though to myself. I’ll feed them, and then we will all have an hour of silent, solitary rest before we face the rest of the day.

I looked at the clock.

9:30.

Crap.

I had already had as much Tuesday as I could handle, and it was just starting.

The next half hour did not go well. There was lots of tears, yelling, and time outs. As I sat on the couch contemplating moving to Australia (there are no terrible, horrible, no good, very bad days in Australia), I realized I had a choice. I could let my depression get the best of me and give in to the day, or start over.

The week after Daylight Savings Time ends is consistently one of the worst weeks for my mental health. The extra hour screws up our sleeping schedules, brings the sunset sooner, and leaves us with a cranky, tear filled week. Every. Year.

Last week I felt great. I felt like I could take on the world. I felt like maybe I would approach winter with a better view on life and health, and maybe, just maybe I would escape my depression this year.

This week I want to move to Australia.

“Put your shoes on, we’re leaving!”

No, we didn’t move across the world. Just to Trader Joes. Well, we didn’t move there, we just shopped. We took the dog out. Got away for a bit. Fresh air fixes a lot.

In a little bit we’ll head next door to share lunch with  friends. Then we’ll go outside and play in the warm sunshine while it lasts. And tonight I’ll go to yoga, and remember to breathe. Breathe through the hard moments. Breathe through my frustration at the endless chatter of these munchkins.

We had a do over. I apologized. The boys apologized. I gave my guilt and anger over to God. He gives grace in return. Tuesday has started over.

It’s never too late for a do over.

On the wall next to my bed is lavender. Sometimes I hide up here and just breathe it in.

On the wall next to my bed hangs lavender. Sometimes I hide up here and just breathe it in.

Not the Monday Post I Intended

So this isn’t what I had planned on writing about today. I wanted to write about how I’m treating Hashimoto’s with diet and supplements. I wanted to talk about the Paleo Diet and how it’s The Best Diet. I’ll have to get to all that later, because I can’t get my brain to work that hard today.

I didn’t sleep last night, hardly at all. I suffer from insomnia, and have for a long time. It’s been better lately, thanks to some amazing supplements, regular exercise, and a healthy diet. But every once in awhile, I struggle. Big time.

And my brain and memory do this fun thing where not only am I lying there for hours not sleeping, but I recall every bad, embarassing, awkward, stupid thing I’ve ever said or did in my entire life. And I obsess over them. And by morning I’m curled up in the fetal position convinced that no one could love me, I’m the worst at everything, and there’s a chance I might be becoming Gollum (I’ve been reading Lord of the Rings).

I had scheduled childcare for my boys at the YMCA this morning so I could work out, and as Tim was leaving for work I told him I didn’t think I could make it because I could hardly stand up because of my tiredness. He encouraged me to go anyway, and get the endorphins flowing (that’s what he always says, “Get the endorphins flowing.”), and since he’s almost always right (don’t tell him I said that) I got up and got ready to go.

When we pulled into the parking lot I looked at my phone, expecting it to be 8:00 and saw instead that it was 8:30. Wait, what? My reserved time was supposed to start at 8, and I was half an hour off. I’m still trying to figure out where that missing half hour of my life went, it just disappeared into oblivion, because I really thought we were on time. Sleep deprivation, guys.

Now, if you follow me on Instagram (you should, you should! Check it out! It’s over there ——> ) you might already know most of this. And that is why I needed to write about it.

When I’m struggling, or hurting, or miserable, I sometimes convince myself that no one else could possibly understand what I’m going through. I wonder if you do the same? I tell mysef, “There is not a soul in the world that could even know how I feel or has ever been in this exact situation. I’m hopelessly alone, I know it!” And come on, how stupid and egotistical is that? What? I think I’ve got the corner on human suffering all to myself? Of course not!

So today, I put it out there. I was open on social media about how crappy my day started. And I was overwhelmed by the response of my friends, those I see in person, and those I don’t. I have the best friends on Facebook and IG, you guys. The. Best. I felt lifted up, but I also felt like there were others who knew exactly what it felt like to be in that situation, or to have insomnia and depression go hand in hand. You all rock!

wpid-wp-1443474736377.jpeg

I wonder if you would consider putting yourself out there too? We try so hard sometimes to create this facade of what we want our lives to be by only showing the beautiful things on social media. I wonder what it would look like to truly be our authentic selves. I don’t mean that we should complain all the time. There’s a difference between being honest and straight up complaining.

My good friend, Brittany, over at Little Mountain Momma, started this hashtag a while back: #letsgetrealmoms. She’s the best at it, really. She includes that tag with pictures of her messy life in all forms, created by children, and not. So maybe throw that hashtag out there the next time you post on social media. I’ll probably see it, I occasionally look through those tags, and we both will feel uplifted.

Let’s get real, moms. Let’s get real, women. We are authentic, and we are encouragers. Carry on, Warrior Women.

I’m Back! And Better Than Ever. Maybe.

My palms are sweating, my heart is racing. This might have something to do with the absurd amount of coffee at my elbow. But I’m nervous. The Dependent Life has been in hiatus since March, and it’s time to get it rolling again. This is hard. But I tell my boys all the time that just because something is hard, doesn’t mean it’s not worth doing. We do hard things. So here we go.

In March I initially planned on taking a month off to spend some time planning where I wanted to go with The Dependent Life. I had a solid plan, a financial goal, and a writing schedule. Then April came, and everything fell apart.

I received a life-changing diagnosis in April. Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis. I had sought out medical help because I wasn’t feeling quite right, for years, honestly, and we did all the bloodwork. Everything was off. Even my cholesterol was high, and I’m only 30. That didn’t seem okay. Then came all the words I had never Googled before: Hashimoto’s, hypothyroidism, auto-immune disease.

In terms of diseases, this is not a terrible one to have. I’ll write another post about it later to dig deeper. And I’ve since met dozens of women who have it as well. But it was life changing for me. Ultimately in a good way.

Receiving a diagnosis that explained my chronic fatigue, insomnia, abnormal cycles, depression, anxiety, and pain was the biggest relief in my life. There was a reason for the way I felt! It wouldn’t always be this way! I’m changing things up, in the way I eat, exercise, live. I will write more on that in a later post, for sure.

I feel good. I feel like I’m thriving. Finally. Really. I have hope for my health. Life is good.

But the spring and summer were weird. It was jarring to receive news that there was something really wrong with me. Especially since this is my year of healing. I felt like I had nothing left to say. If you’ve previously read my blog, you know I’m not shy about the hard things in my life. But this was difficult to write about. I didn’t want to write about thyroid stuff. I didn’t want to write about the Paleo Diet. I didn’t want to write about all these things that were suddenly at the forefront of my life. Yet I couldn’t go on pretending this all wasn’t happening. So I stopped writing.

And there was a summer of silence.

I needed the summer of silence. It was good to focus on my family, and my health. But it’s time. My fingers have been itching to write. I’ve got a lot to say (not surprising, if you know me in person). So welcome back, Dependent Life. Readers, welcome back to you as well, and thank you. Thank you for stopping by throughout the summer (my stats keep me updated). And thank you to those of you who have told me how much you appreciate my writing, and who have challenged me to pick it up again. You are the best.

Happy Fall!

IMG_20150816_190612

Winter Blues, Baby

This time of year is always hard for me. I struggle with depression in a major way, especially on cloudy, snowy days. IMG_20150226_165106 I know I’m not the only one. So tonight, let’s talk about it. I want to get it out there.

When I’m at my worst, I feel completely hopeless. Fortunately, I haven’t hit that point of complete despair this winter yet. That level of sadness makes it physically impossible for me to get out of bed. Thank you, God, but I haven’t experienced that in about a year. These days, it’s more mild.

When I’m feeling these blues, it’s paralyzing. I get nothing done. This is because when I start washing dishes, for example, a voice in my head tells me that there is absolutely no point to washing the dishes because they’re just going to get dirty again. I’m going to have to wash dishes tomorrow and the next day, and the next…and the next. It’s crippling. Before I know it, I’m standing at the sink watching the water run down the drain and sobbing at the thought of my own mortality.

Can you relate? How do you deal?

In the past, I’ve tended to isolate myself when this happens. I hide away and don’t leave the house for days. This time, I am purposely doing the opposite.

First of all, it’s almost impossible to not leave the house when my two boys are running circles around the kitchen island. They have to get out. So we do. We go for walks around the block, at the very least. IMG_20150226_165152 We play at the park. IMG_20150226_095043 We go grocery shopping. We visit the library. We get out.

Second, I am filling up my calendar even when I don’t feel like it. I’ve realized by now that I absolutely need community. I can’t live without other people speaking truth into my life. This means that even on days when I barely get dressed I still plan on spending time (even 15 minutes chatting in the hallway with a neighbor) connecting with someone I love.

I’m getting better. I know I am. God is good, even when I don’t feel it. He’s slowly healing my soul. I’m encouraged by my friends and family who put up with me even when I’m at my worst and love me anyway. God is faithful.

Are winters hard for you too? How do you handle it? I wanna know.

IMG_20150226_165204 IMG_20150226_165825 IMG_20150226_165956