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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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10 Signs You Might Be Battling Depression

I firmly believe in finding the funny in life, even when your real life doesn’t seem to be anything funny at any particular moment. So for your viewing pleasure, today I’m sharing 10 signs that you might be battling depression. All 10 of these are ripped right from my real life over the past couple of weeks. I should feel shame….but I don’t. 

 

1. Instead of doing that incredibly large pile of laundry staring at you from the floor you buy everyone new socks and undies while at the store. 

 

2. Dumping 6 packs of shrimp flavored oodles of noodles soup into one pot and adding a bag of steamed mixed veggies seems like an appropriate dinner at least twice a week.

 

3. The new season of Here Comes Honey Boo Boo started last week and you have yet to watch the episode saved on the DVR.

 

4. The amount of wine purchased during your weekly grocery trip has the cashier raising an eyebrow and inquiring if you’re having a party. You’re not. 

 

5. You faked a contagious infection when one of your kids accidentally answered your phone when the school called requesting volunteers for a field trip.

 

6. You auto-renewed 17 books at the library even though the kids have read every one of them because the thought of searching the house to find all of them made you want to hide in the closet.

 

7. You totally forgot about Girls Night Out. At a wine bar. 

 

8. Your idea of cleaning the house consisted of shoving anything lying around into the walk-in hall closet and calling it a day.

 

9. You found a container of whipped cream cheese frosting in the pantry and ate the whole thing with a spoon and a glass of wine. And you feel no shame. 

 

10. You can’t muster up the energy to go to Target even though you know all their winter boots are on sale.

 

Luckily I’m feeling much better. Who knows how much more pathetic next week’s list would be? More pathetic than cream cheese frosting from a can? Scary thought. 

 

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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. 

 

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