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Making Friends As An Adult Is Hard

 

I feel like I need to take out a personal ad in order to find friends these days. I have a bunch of acquaintances but not very many real friends anymore. It doesn’t help that I’m a true introvert or that I’ve spent so many years battling depression/anxiety. When my mood dips into a depressive episode I pull away from everyone. I don’t answer the phone, I don’t respond to texts, I just have to focus on making it through the day. So a lot of the friends I used to have either moved away somewhere in the past few years or they moved on to other friendships that weren’t so complicated. It sucks. I get it but I don’t have to like it. 

So now I’m in the position of wanting to be more social. I want to entertain more. I want to do Girls Nights. I want to have people to sit on the back deck and have a beer with on a Tuesday night. I need a person, y’all. But it’s harder now than when I was young. I made friends easily and pretty much everywhere I went. I also worked full time so I had work friends. Now I can put my “friends” into one of 2 categories.

1. Casual Acquaintances- These are mostly neighbors and people in my neighborhood or friends who have moved away that I don’t see very much anymore. 

2. Parents of my kids friends- This is the majority of my “friends” now. You’re stuck with these people every week while you wait for your kid to finish dance or gymnastics or basketball. 

That is terrible, y’all. I feel like the most unsociable person in the universe right now. And it’s my own fault for not nurturing the friendships I did have when depression punched me in the face. Right now my best friend is my sister, which is awesome but she lives 45 minutes away and works full time and has her own life. I need friends. But where do you meet friends when you’re an adult? And when you’re a stay home mom? There are a lot of moms in my neighborhood but is it really a great idea to get up close and personal with neighbors? I made that mistake once and it came back to bite me on the butt when we had a falling out. 

You know what they should have? A service for women seeking friends. Like Match.com for women who are looking for like-minded friends. Why doesn’t that exist? So what do I do to make new friends? We don’t go to church regularly anymore although that probably would be a great idea and a great place to make some friends. I joined the neighborhood book club and I’m considering joining the neighborhood social committee. Maybe I should just make up some business cards advertising for new friends and hand them out. I’m sure that won’t attract any crazies. Note the sarcasm.

Where did you meet your friends? Anyone near Charlotte that wants to come hang out with me? No crazies please, I have enough crazy for everyone. 

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The Lingering Effects Of Depression

4 years. 6 months. 11 days. 

That’s how long it’s been since I slipped from severe postpartum depression into prescription drug induced postpartum psychosis. 

4 years. 2 months. 15 days.

That’s how long it’s been since I began to truly fight for my life, to want to live, to want to be happy.

3 years. 6 months. 9 days.

That’s how long it’s been since I saw light at the end of the tunnel of depression.

2 years. 11 months. 29 days.

That’s how long it’s been since I weaned off all my depression & anxiety medications.

If I had one wish in life, it would be to take me back to the person who I use to be. I miss myself the old me, i don't like who I am now :(

Depression is an ugly, soul-sucking, life- altering disease. It sneaks in when you least expect it and wreaks havoc on every aspect of your life. When you add anxiety on top of the depression it gets even uglier. I was lucky enough to find my way out of the vicious cycle but not without lingering effects. I call it the PTSD of depression and anxiety. 

For the first year or so after I was hit with the PPD I was just going through the motions. I was on such high doses of medicines that I spent most of my time in a fog. Nothing made me happy, but nothing breached the veil of fog to make me sad either. I was just….there. Floating through life, doing the bare minimum. That fog, as awful as it was, saved my life. Then I weaned off all the medications. And the hard work began.

Once that fog lifted I had to face all the feelings. I had to face the guilt of being a mostly absent mother for my kids. I had to face the pain of all the stuff I missed with my kids. I had to face the anger at myself . And facing all of that was horrible and awful and hard. I had to repair relationships that I’d let slide. I had to rebuild the trust of my kids. I had to learn to forgive myself. 

Here I am at almost the 3 year mark of being medication free. There’s been a lot of bumps in the road. It’s been much harder than I thought. I always thought coming out of depression would be like a switch being flipped. I didn’t understand that there would be lingering effects that would last for a long time. I didn’t know there would be triggers. I didn’t know there would still be periodic bouts of depression that would send me into a panic thinking I was sinking back into the darkness.

One thing I struggle with and I imagine I probably always will is the changing of the seasons. When it turns from Fall into Winter and we have the time change that makes the days shorter- it effects me. I find myself hibernating and not wanting to leave the house. I can’t find my mojo or my motivation to do anything. I let things slide and don’t put forth more than the bare minimum effort to survive the season. I have a short temper and I’m easily irritated. I  hate that. Thanksgiving and Christmas used to be my most favorite times of the year and I feel like I’ve lost the joy for them now. I can fake it with the best but I don’t want to have to fake it. I want to feel that joy and the spirit of the season. 

I thought I did better this last winter. I got out of the house more, I did more things with the kids, I said yes to things I would normally say no to. But then we hit April and the sun was shining and the temps hit the 80’s. It’s as if I came to life again. My mood improved drastically and quickly. I was excited to do my Spring cleaning. I was excited to start some home projects. I was excited to leave the house and play outside. 

And I realized that I didn’t handle the winter well at all. I was in a funk for the whole season and it’s so clear to me now that I feel the joy again. I wish I knew why this happens to me or how to fix it without being medicated into a fog for 5 months out of the year. I’ve had people suggest that I have Seasonal Affective Disorder or even Bipolar 2. And I think SAD is probably what I suffer from but I have to get over the fear of being medicated again and slipping back down the rabbit hole. 

So for now I will be grateful that the joy has returned and life is looking bright again. 

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7 Ways I’m Making Myself Happier

I am responsible for my own happiness. 

That right there is a powerful truth in my life. It took me a long time to realize the meaning in that statement. It took me even longer to understand what to do about it. I have been stuck in a cycle of depression for years and it’s startling to realize how much I looked to outside forces to make me happy. It never worked. The depression came back- usually ten fold. And the cycle started over. It’s up to me to make the changes necessary to break the cycle.

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1. Don’t be a procrastinator. Stress amplifies my depression. Unfinished to do lists feed my stress. So the clear answer is to stop procrastinating and save myself the stress.

2. Concentrate on my health. I’ve let my physical health go over the last couple of years to concentrate on my mental health. What I didn’t realize at the time is that my physical health is tied to my mental health. I’m at the beginning of my journey to become healthy right now. I’m exercising every single day- even if it’s just 30 minutes on the treadmill. I’m also being more selective about what food I’m putting into my body. No more fast food and junk foods. It’s protein shakes and fresh veggies for me. 

3. Try without fear of failure. I don’t know when I became hesitant to step outside my comfort zone and try new things but I did. That is not something I want to teach my kids. I need to show them how big my brave is. 

4. No more people pleasing. This is a habit I have managed to break for the most part over the years but I still find myself tempted to say yes when I really want or need to say no. I have to prioritize what is most important for my family.

5. Stop criticizing myself. It’s so easy to find fault with myself these days. The house is never clean enough, dinner is never ready on time, I can’t lose those last 5 pounds. I need to remember that the house isn’t clean because the kids are busy having fun, dinner is late because we took a quick trip to the park, and those last 5 pounds are courtesy of growing 3 babies in my body.

6. Find the positive. Instead of seeing the storm cloud I need to look for the silver lining- that’s what my therapist told me a while back but at that time I wasn’t in a good enough mental place to take her words to heart. But I am now. Positive thinking is my jam.

7. Manage my time effectively. I do best when I schedule my time. When I go to bed at the same time every night, and set my alarm to get up at the same time every day I notice a definite improvement in my moods. Making a daily to-do list also helps me by giving me a visual reminder to manage my time. 

I have high hopes that this Fall and Winter season will be the best one I’ve had in 7 years. Typically by this time of the year- when the days are just starting to get shorter, the temps are starting to cool off, and our family is back on a schedule- I am already starting to feel the first signs of depression creeping in. But this year I am going strong and enjoying every day! 

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Feeling All The Feels

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{Image Credit}

 

 

Someone asked me a couple of weeks ago what it feels like to transition from winter to spring when you suffer from depression. I wasn’t sure how to answer her. I mean, depression is different for every single person who suffers from it and the symptoms are more fluid than stone. I’ve had episodes of depression for as long as I can remember, dating back to middle school. They would come and go, and got much worse when I hit puberty. But back then I was young, I had nobody depending on me, and I kept myself super busy. I didn’t have time to feel all the feels of depression. I got up, went to school, went to soccer, went to work, did my homework, went to bed, and did it all over again the next day. As I got older and into adulthood it became harder to manage those episodes of depression. 

 

Then I had babies. And mild depression turned into severe postpartum depression. And for awhile, my world just stopped. It was a long, hard, ugly fight back from that black hole. And somewhere along the way back from that black hole I shut off a lot of my feelings. I didn’t want to feel the feels. I didn’t want to feel the guilt for missing long months of my kids lives, or the anger that I wasn’t strong enough to avoid the PPD in the first place, or the devastation at how much fell apart in my life as I floundered in the middle of the darkest time in my life.

 

Slowly, as I started coming back to life I had to let the feelings come back. I had to face them, accept them, and move on. It was hard. But over the past 9 months or so I’ve noticed more of my old self coming through. I still get periods of depression but they’re more like days when I feel blue instead of weeks or months when I feel black. Does that even make sense to anyone else? It’s really hard to explain depression to someone who has never experienced it. 

 

The worst time for me seems to be the winter months. The long, cold, dark winter. I hate it. The days are shorter, I stay home more because I hate cold weather, and it all seems to build up. But- and this is a huge BUT- this past winter was not so bad. Dare I say, it was pretty good. I still had days when I struggled but compared to the same time the year before it was a 90% improvement. And it was maybe 1 or 2 days every few weeks instead of a constant black cloud that I woke up with every day.

 

 

Hope shines brightest in the darkest moments

 

 

 Now we’re well into Spring and I feel like my old self again. Little things don’t bother me, I don’t feel bogged down with routine, and I spend a good portion of my day with the sunshine on my face. Life is good. I don’t want to jinx it and say my depression is gone for good but for now, I’m not depressed and I’m not medicated. Even Matt has commented that I seem happier than I have in a long time. The kids have definitely noticed. Mase called me a fun mom the other day when we ate cotton candy ice cream milkshakes at 9pm while reading his new library book. Normally I’d have rushed him off to bed an hour earlier just so I could have some peace and quiet. 

 

I like fun mom. I like feeling happy again. 

 

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The Problem With Chronic Insomnia

I’ve never been shy about sharing my struggles on this here blog. I’m human and therefore I have struggles just like everyone else in the world. Keeping them a secret just feels fake and unrealistic. Sharing your crazy with the world clearly seems like a better idea. I mean, duh. And finding some humor even in the sucky moments is essential to not cracking up. If you take your crazy too seriously then one day you’ll wake up to find yourself wandering through the neighborhood in your bathrobe using a banana as a phone. Not that it’s happened to me….yet. There’s always tomorrow. 

 

7 Consequences of Chronic Insomnia

 

1. You look horrible after a few days with minimal sleep. People who don’t know you ask if you’re sick. Or, even worse, when you’re at the store people will noticeably move away from you as though you have a contagious disease. 

 

2. You are a cranky bitch. Seriously. Just ask your spouse, your kids, your friends, your neighbors, the dog, the mail lady, the UPS guy, the customer service rep from the cable company, the garbage man, the solicitor who tried to sell you a new roof, the pest control guy who called to cancel an appointment, and the Jehovah’s Witnesses who had the misfortune of knocking on your door. 

 

3. Your diet mainly consists of coffee. And the amount of coffee you consume on a daily basis could quite possibly power a small plane. But without the caffeine you will die. Literally just curl up in a ball and die.

 

4. Your head is so fuzzy that after a few nights you find yourself opening a box of (insert some completely useless As Seen On TV item here) that you purchased during an insomnia-induced shopping spree at 4am from QVC. Seriously, it’s disturbing how practical some of those items seem after a week of little to no sleep. 

 

5. Your house looks like a scene straight out of Hoarders. And you just don’t care. The energy it would require to clean up the mess, or even to yell at your kids to clean up the mess, just isn’t worth expending when you’re working on 30 minutes of sleep. 

 

6. You find yourself wandering aimlessly around the house in a haze of confusion because you lack the brain power to remember from one second to the next what the hell you were supposed to be doing. Bonus points if this happens to you while out in public. I was all the way inside a Lowe’s store a few weeks ago before I realized I had absolutely no idea why I was there or what I was supposed to be buying. I still haven’t remembered. 

 

7. You make decisions that are better left to a clear head. For example- cutting 9 inches off your hair and dying it black might seem like a great idea to a fuzzy sleep deprived brain but when that haze clears out and the reflection in your mirror resembles Harry Potter you realize just how bad of an idea it really was. 

 

Insomnia is bad, y’all. So so bad. 

 

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