Tag 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.

 

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:
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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?

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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!

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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.

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.

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My Dependent Life

This week my baby was sick. Okay, he’s not really my baby. He’s five. Big Brother would be deeply offended if he knew I called him my baby. But when our littles are sick they all are our babies, aren’t they, no matter how old they are?

He woke up Monday with a fever and headache and by the evening he had so much chest congestion he was having a hard time breathing. As I was doing every home remedy I had on hand (read about it here), I was lamenting to a friend that I was frustrated that he was sick because I was doing everything possible to keep us healthy this winter. We’ve been taking our Juice Plus daily, using essential oils to boost our immunity and fight germs, eating lots of fruits and veggies, exercising…

“So why is he sick?” I said to her in a whiny voice.

My friend is so wise. “Sometimes it just happens,” she said.

That gave me an ah ha moment.

No matter how much I do, I can’t do everything. Sometimes I forget that I’m not in control. I’m not God over my boys and their health.

I’m not God.

I’ve been having a rough month. Ha, it’s really only February 5th isn’t it? There’s a lot of month left. It’s no secret that I struggle with depression and the first two months of the year are the hardest for me. It’s cold. It’s dark out. It’s dark in my soul. I’ve been struggling to get out of bed in the mornings and that’s a huge sign for me that I need to take extra care of my soul and mental health so I don’t go into a downward spiral.

I’m doing all the right things. When it’s sunny, we go outside. I’m taking my vitamins and my Juice Plus. I’m eating right. I’m trying to sleep well. I exercise. Okay, I at least think about exercising.

And yet, in spite of all that I am still struggling.

Sometimes it just happens.

And when it happens I get brought back to a place of dependency, where I should have been all along. I forget to worship. I forget to give thanks. I forget to be dependent on my Healer.

Jesus. My Healer. I am utterly dependent on you.

No matter how many things I add to my health routine, good though they are, they can’t take the place of the One who truly knows my soul. I am so thirsty for his love, yet I stubbornly think I don’t need help. Move aside, God, I’ve got this because I’m healthy. I can do it myself. I don’t need you.

What a deception. When I believe that, there’s only one direction for me to go, and it’s not good.

So instead of trudging through the darkness, stubbornly refusing my Father’s love, when I wake up and feel the heaviness I will fall on my knees and lift my eyes to heaven and through the tears cry out, “teach me, God!”

God, use my weakness, use our sickness, to keep me clinging to your everlasting kindness. Give me strength to choose your nearness over my independence.

This is my dependent life.

I Won’t Stop Talking About It

When I was diagnosed with depression a few years back I received some of the best advice that has probably saved my life. Someone told me, “I know you’re hurting, but I want to encourage you to talk about it. Don’t stop telling people what’s going on.”

As hard as it was, I did. I told my friends, I told my acquaintances, I even told the cashier at Walmart, who honestly, was probably a little taken aback at my answer to her simple, “how’s it going?”.

And when I told people about my struggle an amazing thing happened. They told me about their experience with depression, or their daughter’s struggle, or their friend’s. I didn’t feel much emotion in that season of my life, but I felt a little bit like I wasn’t alone. Or at least, when I looked back on it later, I saw that I wasn’t.

Talking about it takes the secrecy and shame away. It opens doors. I’ve met people and heard stories I never would have if I had kept my mouth shut and suffered in silence, even though that was the easiest choice. I didn’t want to talk about it. I wanted to curl up and die.

Even now, when I wake up and sense the heaviness that means my day is not going to go well, I can break the chains by telling someone how I’m feeling. So I don’t stop talking. I can’t.

This past weekend I had the opportunity to tell my story in front of a room full of women. It was really hard. It’s been a few years since I have been able to feel strong emotion (still hoping that comes back, the more I heal), and I was kind of glad for this as I was able to tell my story without tears. Tears are good, don’t get me wrong, but when I cry it’s ugly and blubbering and really distracting, I’m sure.

I had the opportunity to talk with so many women about depression, and suffering, as a result of my openness. Everyone can relate, it seems. So seriously, let’s not stop talking about it, deal? I have several friends who I have heard say they hate small talk, they just want to get straight to the point, which is: how are you, really? I’m so with them. Let’s stop pretending. Let’s talk about how we’re really, for real, doing. In person. Not online, or through text. But sitting down together, coffee is optional, and talking one-on-one.

I won’t stop talking about it.