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Things That Me Me Happy Right Now

Like I told you yesterday, I’ve been fighting off the dark effects of depression for the last week or so. One thing that has helped in the past is taking time to find the little things that make me happy and focusing on them. My old therapist taught me this trick way back when I was really in the dark pit of postpartum depression after Zoey’s birth. I use it whenever I first start feeling the depression coming back and a lot of the time it’s enough to trick my brain out of the spiral. 


Things That Make Me Happy Right Now


1. The new TV show Enlisted on FOX. One of the best things that came out of the demise of our DVR is now we have room to try out some new shows. We watched Enlisted this week and holy balls, it was funny. It was funny without being overly stupid, if you know what I mean. I curled up on the couch in my fuzzy slippers with a comfy blanket, a glass of wine, and Matt and we laughed our butts off at Enlisted. 





2. My sister has a new work schedule starting this week. She is only working weekends now. She’s a home health nurse and she decided once her fiance finished school and found a full time job that she would rather sacrifice her weekends to not have to put her son in daycare. So that means she is wide open Monday-Friday to hang out with me. I love hanging out with my sister. She is probably the most genuine person I have ever met- she is giving and thoughtful and she makes me laugh. I totally lucked out in the sister department.


3. The Sara Bareilles song ‘Brave’. I can listen to this song on repeat all day long. Actually I do listen to it on repeat all day long. It’s one of those songs that I just feel deep in my soul and it makes me happy. Zoey and I had a dance party to this song yesterday. The song makes me feel like I can battle through all the dark moments and come out on the other side stronger and braver. I can do it. And the video? Makes me cry every time I see it. 




4. The Sprint commercials with James Earls Jones and Malcolm McDowell. Seriously, so funny. I laugh out loud anytime one of them comes on but my favorite one is the “Lizzy & Kim’s Call”. Totes Magotes, amazeballs, cray-cray….it doesn’t get any better than that. 




5. We have new neighbors on both sides of us now. I can’t tell you how happy this makes me. The house on our left had been empty for 18 months and the house on the right had been empty for over 2 years. Both houses were falling apart and looked terrible and killed our property value. The house on the left sold in the fall and they spent months fixing it up. They just moved in right before Christmas and to our absolute delight- their son is Ty’s best friend. The family already were renting a house in our neighborhood so Ty had been great friends with their son for quite awhile and now they live right next door. The boys are having a great time playing basketball and having sleepovers and I just adore the parents. They are good people. And they do not own a goat. The house on the right sold a few weeks ago and an entire crew came in and has redone the house inside and out from top to bottom. I am so excited. We have not met the owners yet so I really hope they are nice. I’m just excited to have neighbors again. When we moved into our house one of the things that we loved most about this particular house was the sense of community on the street. The neighbors were friendly, kept their property’s kept up, and everyone was so social. Over the years families have come and gone, houses have been neglected, and it’s not been the same. I’m ready to get back to the way it used to be. 


6. I’ve bought several new books this week that I’ve been waiting anxiously for over the past few months. The newest release in Christine Feehan’s Dark Carpathian series, Dark Wolf, came out. This is my favorite, must-buy-every-book, series ever- right up there with J.D. Robb’s In Death series. Books always lift my spirits. I love being able to escape to a different place for a little while and books provide that escape for me. 


So those are the things I’m focusing on this week. And hopefully by next week I’ll be feeling more like myself. 



Two Steps Forward, One Leap Back

I can feel it creeping back in slowly.


The darkness.


I can feel it in my whole body. The lethargy when I wake up in the morning and have to force myself out of bed and into the shower. The lack of desire to do much of anything I usually enjoy- including write. The annoyance over little things that normally don’t bother me. I can see it in the concerned glances Matt is sending my way. 


I’m fighting it. What else can I do? I’m keeping busy, not straying from our normal routine, taking some extra time at night for a hot bath and a good book. I don’t have the option of going the bed, pulling the covers over my head, and sleeping until Spring. Instead I am waking up on time, getting dressed first thing, and adding an extra 15 minutes to my elliptical routine. Exercise always helps stave off the darkness for awhile. 


I lasted much longer this winter without the darkness hitting than in previous ones. And normally it slams back in with the force of a tornado instead of creeping in slowly. Fighting through it hasn’t been as hard as it was even last year. All these things are silver linings under a dark cloud. 


Moms don’t have the luxury of depression- we run a household full of little people who need us, who need our time and attention, who need our affection and interaction. Moms can’t just go to bed and hide until the darkness recedes. We have to endure.


So for now I am pushing through, setting small goals for each day, and giving myself some grace. Because depression is hard. And depression combined with motherhood is almost impossible.





Laying Down My Soul

Lay your soul down.

I love that line. It’s from the song Little Wildflower by Andrew Simple. I listen to this song a lot, sometimes on repeat. It speaks to me, especially lately when I’ve been struggling to get past the last few days of the winter blah’s. It’s no secret around here that I struggle with depression and anxiety. I’m very open and honest about how much of a struggle it truly is for me. Winter is the worst. Short days, cold weather….it just sucks the life right out of me. I have to force myself out of bed and just put one foot in front of the other taking it one day at a time- sometimes one hour at a time and sometimes one minute at a time. 
Depression sucks. It sucks for the person suffering through it and it sucks for the family of the person suffering. Because your family suffers too. Matt suffers while watching me struggle. He suffers while he picks up the slack of things I just cannot do at that moment. He takes on more than his fair share of crap around the house to help me just keep my head above water. Depression doesn’t just affect me.
This weekend when we set the clocks forward an hour I could actually feel a lightening in my soul. For me, depression is a tangible weight on my chest that pushes and pushes until I feel as though I am suffocating. Longer sunlight, warmer weather, and flip flops go a long way towards pushing that weight off of me. I feel hope creeping back in. I feel joy starting inside my soul again. 
I look forward to climbing out of bed in the morning without having to force myself. I look forward to enjoying my days again, to feeling the sunshine on my face that warms me all the way through to my soul. I feel like me again. 
Not a moment too soon. 

For the First Time

For the first time in I don’t even know how long, I feel happy. Not just content but actually bone-deep happiness. I was sad to see the end of summer and to send the kids back to school but I’m finding comfort in the familiarity of a routine. Life is infinitely busier now that we have school, and sports, and speech therapy, and stuff. But it’s a good busy. It’s the kind of busy that our family thrives on, the kind of busy that I have not found joy in for the past few years.

Everytime I think that I am past the PPD and have found my way, I reach a new level of peace and realize that there is still healing to do. I’m still working on the forgiveness part of the aftermath of PPD. I’m still trying to forgive myself for being a half-assed mom during those months, for letting Matt pick up the slack, for not being present for my kids the way I should have been. I think in some respects I will always be striving to forgive myself for those things. I have to put it away, tuck it on a shelf somewhere deep inside me, and enjoy my life.

This past week I watched my oldest child reluctantly head off to middle school, knowing he was unsure and apprehensive but knowing that he had to climb the mountain. I watched as he found his confidence and discovered his place in the hierarchy that is middle school. I sent my first daughter off to the second grade. I walked her to class and watched her blink away tears. She’s very much like me. I don’t like change, I don’t like new things, I don’t like unfamiliar situations. I walk a fine line with Maia, trying to respect her feelings while still pushing her gently as my mom had to do with me. I sat and listened as Mase began speech therapy and wowed his therapist with his imagination and creativity. He told her elaborate stories that he made up complete with a dragon named Sam and a chipmunk named Bo. He walked in as a sheltered 4 year old and came out as a big boy, proud of the work he did in that half hour.

I’m completely in awe of these little beings that have been entrusted to me. I’m amazed by their spirits and totally in love with their personalities. It is so good to feel that sunshine in my soul again, it’s been missing for a long time. I wake up and instead of feeling that heavy cloud weighing on my heart I feel light and happy. I have purpose again and I enjoy the responsibilities that fall to me by default as the mom.

It’s a good season. I hope it lasts.

I’m Pouring My Heart Out.

I Don’t Want to be That Mom

As I sit here typing this it is almost midnight. The kids are supposed to be asleep. They’ve been sent upstairs to their beds at least 10 times since 9pm. They keep finding reasons to wander back downstairs. Maia is the worst offender lately. She doesn’t want to go to bed. She wants to be tucked in fifteen times, she wants ten stories, she wants me to lie with her for hours, she wants…..I don’t know what she wants. What I do know is that I am exhausted. Last night, Zoey was up in the middle of the night with a tummy ache so I’m short on sleep and even shorter on patience tonight. I just want to sit here and watch mindless trashy television without being interrupted every 3 minutes by a child.

I lost my temper with Maia tonight. I feel bad about it even though she pushed and pushed and pushed me to that point. I don’t want to yell. I don’t want to go to bed irritated and frustrated with my kids. I don’t want them to go to bed knowing that I was frustrated with them. I know a big part of the problem is that we are totally off schedule and we have been since school ended. The kids have been going to bed later and waking up later. I’ve been using those couple of hours in the morning when the house is silent to get some work done. It’s been glorious to have that bit of free time to blog, to get emails out of the way, and everything else that comes with the business side of blogging. Unfortunately that free time comes with a price and I’m paying that price right now.

I don’t want to be that mom. The one who yells at her kids. The one who doesn’t appreciate the small moments. The one who takes for granted the blessings and gifts that she’s been given. I want to enjoy my kids. More importantly, I want them to know that I enjoy them. I try to take a deep breath, to count to ten…okay, sometimes it’s more like fifty. I remember too well the horrible rages that accompanied the postpartum depression. I remember feeling like a power keg that was about to blow. I also remember the looks on my kids faces when the rage would get the best of me. I’m ashamed that my kids saw me that way. I don’t know if I will ever truly forgive myself for that, even though I know it was the PPD.

So I’ll smother that irritation. I will count to a hundred if necessary. And I will tuck Maia in one more time, with a smile and a kiss and a whispered “sweet dreams”.

I’m pouring my heart out.