Category Archives: blogging

All to the Glory of God

Please read all of this.

All to the Glory of God–that is why I blog and share my story so openly.  I want others to know it is possible to live and parent well with mental illness.  This, by necessity, causes my posts to be brutally honest, and that is not always pretty.

I have always endeavored to live by the verse 2 Corinthians 12:9

But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.

I have never been the strongest cookie.  I wasn’t good at physical things growing up.  I wasn’t a strong kid.  And then the Multiple Sclerosis came and I became even weaker.  My needs grew exponentially as my body failed me.  It wasn’t easy, but I had this verse to cling to.  Then I went into remission from the MS.  I thought I was free from weakness.  I guess I thought I would be able to stand on my “own two feet,” but even during this time of apparent strength, that was not the case.

I have always needed Him.  I have always needed to rest on Him, the Solid Rock.  Personally, I believe we all do, that is where true peace comes from.  Now, I am also aware that may sound ridiculous coming from a woman who is on anxiety medications.  If true peace comes from Christ, shouldn’t I be without anxiety?  I can’t completely answer that.  To my satisfaction, or likely to yours, but I know it to be true.  I also know that I have a few illnesses, which happen to be messing with that peace and, at times, my mind, just like diabetics have an illness that mess with their pancreas.  And just like a diabetic, there are medications and tools out there to help me live a strong and healthy life.

Every.single.day I utilize those tools.  I take my medications as prescribed, I work with my doctors, I work with my husband, and I take care of myself.  Some days, that taking care of myself looks scary as I end up in the hospital or I blog something really dark, or reach out to others for help.

It may look scary, I’ll give you that, but it is never without hope and it is never without utmost care for my husband and children.  I hate taking my meds, I hate going to the hospital but I love Caitlyn, Sue, and Patrice enough to always be working toward strength and wellness for them.  I love my hubby enough to take the steps I need to every day to be here every day.

Those days sometimes look messy, and just reading a blog may make them scarier, but know my husband and girls are always safe.  Always.

I share my journey here in hopes of showing others they can live and parent well with mental illness. That may open myself up to a lot more questions about my health and well being than I might have if I kept my journey quiet and that’s okay.

Please, if you ever have questions or concerns about my journey, my family’s journey, or what you read here, please feel free to contact me.  I would be more than willing to share with you how we promote and protect the health of our children, our marriage,  and our family.

All to the Glory of God.

It Is What It Is

A couple of weeks ago, Sue picked out my clothes and my jewelry for my Listen to Your Mother audition.  I, with the help of many, especially my friend Rach, had a piece I had to written in hopes of making it as part of the cast for this year’s Listen to Your Mother in my area.  The show is a group of writers sharing about being a mom, having a mom, knowing a mom, you get the picture.   I of course really wanted to make it, but alas, I did not.  But I wanted to share with you the piece I read for my audition.

 

Life hurts.  Not life with my husband or kids, but life with myself.

The depression started months ago.  And brought up a lot of trauma I experienced when I was working full-time.

I was good at my job.  I moved effortlessly from project to project, remembering years of data and information. I worked seamlessly through many management and corporate changes.

Then came Postpartum Depression and Anxiety, followed by Bipolar Disorder.

 Everything changed.

When I returned to work after my maternity leave, and a manic psychotic episode, I had lost all my confidence. It was just…gone.  I could be asked a question I knew the answer to, but my mind would freeze.  I would stutter out bits and pieces of information, only to realize later that I had made a mistake and needed to retract much of what I had said.

I could no longer trust my memory, or my mind. I got stuck in the rut of fear and self-doubt; in my mind, I was a failure.

I would cry and shake while driving to work. I was so medicated, I was falling asleep at my computer, but it was the only way I could quasi-function. My anxieties and fears drove me to dry heaving in the restroom, sitting in a stall planning my suicide I wanted to give up–instead I called my psychiatrist again, begging for help, begging for hope.

I struggled at home as well. I couldn’t sit still long enough to complete a task, any task.

And now, I seesaw betweeen spiraling into depression and soaring into mania. I struggle to think, as my mind is so focused on what is going wrong in my brain, I forget to care about life and the outside world.

I am terrified, but I keep moving forward. I continue to fight. I listen to every “I love you” my girls say, I reach out to my husband for his loving arms. I make cookies and brownies. I get dinner on the table and I fold laundry.

Somehow I hold it together. I take the rhythm of the day and allow it to force me to function. My three girls and I know what needs to be done, moving forward until we have covered all we need in our homeschooling. School looks different when I am depressed or manic– it includes a lot of independent work when mama is depressed and a lot of hands on activities and games when mama is manic.We follow the rhthyms of our day, taking breaks when needed, learning as we go.

My girls, they are the reason I am still here, fighting the noise in my head.

I accept hugs from my girls, when my mind is telling me I am not worthy of love. I ignore the sound of my brain in order to gather my girls for outings and field trips. Each moment I breathe in and out is a moment of victory. Can I win enough moments to equal a minute, an hour, a day?

Saying this, it seems so easy, but it’s not. Every day is a delicate balance of medication, activity, and self-care. There are days my girls have to be very patient with mama, they have to take initiative in their schooling, and love the broken me.

The last few weeks have landed me in a spiral into darkness.  I couldn’t stop the descent into the black, so now I’m sitting in the bottom of a pit.  I claw at the edges, but they are smooth; there are no handholds.

While I sit here, I feel the weight of life.  Every breath is hard.  Each movement is like walking through sand, all my thoughts play on my weaknesses, taunting me… “You will never get better.  Your girls will grow up to hate you.  You don’t deserve your perfect girls.  They deserve so much better than you.  You better hug them now because they will be long gone as soon as possible.”

I’m doing what I need to.  I am taking care of my girls, throwing myself into raising them, making us a life that puts one foot in front of the other.   I am breathing in and out for them. I am not out of the pit, far from it, but I am still here–waiting.

Slowly, I realize we, my family and I, are getting through the days a breath at a time.

Together we wait for a bright new day.

While, it would have been nice to hear applause and accolades at the Listen to Your Mother show, it apparently not to be so I will continue using my blog as the Lord leads and go from there.

When I Wrote

A couple days ago I wrote about how friendship had always been hard for me.  It was from my heart or at least what my mind has always told me.  It wasn’t to garner pity.  It was primarily an affirmation of a friendship I held dear.

But something else came from that post.  I received an outpouring of people refuting the lies I have believed concerning how people view me in friendship.  It wasn’t anything like I thought.  People came “forward” they didn’t run from my friendship.

I was so blessed by every single comment, like on my post, and words of truth.  Thank you.

Please know my original post was not written to discount friendships in my life.  I just honestly didn’t know I had so many.  I always assumed that most of the people I consider a friend do not hold in the same regard.  I pictured myself as a desperate woman people put up with, not as a friend.

It would seem I have been wrong for a very long time! And for once, being wrong has been a very good thing.  I am hoping my mind and heart will let me soak in this new perspective and move forward with confidence and love.

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Thank you again to each and every one of you.

 

Filled to Overflowing

My heart is filled to overflowing.  So full.

There was so much amazing stuffed into Friday, it is hard to catch my breath.  Talk about living life full throttle.

Thursday I sat down and wrote a couple pieces to be published as guest posts on other blogs.  One, my Stigma Fighters, submission was published yesterday!!!!  I would be so happy if you headed over to Old School/New School Mom to check it out.  (FYI, I proofed it yesterday, but of course found a glaring error today–totally my fault–but I want to clarify, I have 3 girls in 4 years, not 4 girls in 4 years).

I also wrote a piece for the Semi Colon Project.  I originally learned about it in early April when I heard about a blogging round up.  The Semi Colon Project is an International undertaking to encourage those dealing with self harm, suicidal ideations, and other mental health challenges.  It’s goal is to remind us that we do not have to choose a period (ending our life), we as the authors of our lives can choose use a semi colon where we as the authors could have chose to stop our lives (a period) or just a pause (a semi colon).  We were invited to draw a semi colon on our wrists to signify our support and share our stores.  I posted mine here.  I proudly showed off my crayola marker semi colon.

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And went about my day.

Yet slowly, I was drawn back to that post as my depression deepened and the struggle got harder.  I would read the post again, start at my wrist imagining the semi colon there.

It became a lifeline of sorts.

I took a few moments to let the leaders of the Semi Colon Project know.  They responded very kindly and asked me to share more of my story to share on the project blog.  I finally wrote that Thursday as well.

I woke up to an e-mail telling me how much she loved my writing, asking if she could share it on their blog and asking me to join the project as a weekly contributor to the project blog.

I was speechless.  I have been looking for  my voice…

As I read, I found myself hyperventilating.  Caitlyn, said, “what did you win a trip to Paris or something?”  I told her about the e-mail.  She said, “you like writing that much??”  “Yes sweetie, writing makes the world make sense to me.”

I did ask to wait to make my decision until Monday.  I want to make sure I can give the project the attention and dedication it deserves.  But I am pretty confident I know my answer…

Then, if that weren’t enough, Sue read her book, yes, THAT book, Fancy Nancy and the Dazzling Book Report to daddy.

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But more on that later…

My heart is so full.  So much wonderful going on.  I can’t express my excitement and joy at the last few days.  Just amazing.

I’ve Visiting Mrs. Weber’s Neighborhood–Won’t You Be My Neighbor

I have been lurking around Mrs. Weber’s Neighborhood reading about Michigan events and happenings, and fun posts about her growing family.

I love her blog.  I love her writing, her giveaways are great and her space on the blogosphere is really cute!

And today I am there sharing!!!  Little old me.  I am talking about my journey with postpartum mood disorders and the local Climb Out of the Darkness event I am hosting June 21 from 1-3 at Independence Oaks in Clarkston.

Won’t you come join me in Mrs. Weber’s Neighborhood?

 

mrswebersneighborhood.com

The Sky is Falling Scavenger Hunt

Lately the Bipolar and I have been slugging it out round after round.  I keep reaching out because I know I have to.  But when I reach out, I feel like I am crying the same thing over and over.

I feel like Chicken Little crying that the sky is falling.

Because I don’t choose the final solution, so I must not be that bad, right?

“The sky is falling!”

I said that to a sweet friend on Facebook today.  She asked what I enjoy doing, and I didn’t answer right away; she assigned me a photo scavenger hunt.

Here were my 10 items:

1) flowers–not much in the way of real flowers here yet, but these are so pretty.  Our neighbor gave these artificial flowers to the girls and I just loved them.  I love the riot of color in the basket.  Hubby says it is too much all together.  I think it is JUST right all together.

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2) something blue

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3) a favorite book–couldn’t pick just one.

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4) your favorite thing to drink–I chose Diet Coke but really, my new love is sweet ice tea.  We had a bunch of Diet Coke from when the stomach virus tortured us.  We finished up the last of it today.  I am kind of relieved.  Guess I am over that addiction.

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5) favorite picture on your phone currently–she is one of the four reasons I keep slugging it out.  Do I want to give up sometimes?  Hell yes, but I have these three little girls and this hubby.  I don’t want them to ever wonder why I didn’t love them enough to fight harder.  But oh my God, I am fighting so hard right now, and the progress is non-existent.  I fight is hard.  Now please, I know I sound really negative and despondent, but there is no need to panic.   I am fighting.  I will keep fighting.  I promise.

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6) something you created–Here’s a hat Sue and I made together.

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7) scripture in the bible that gives you strength–Psalm 68:19 is my life verse

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8) Your favorite shirt–this is my shirt I got from Cristi to support her walk for suicide prevention.  Go here to get your own.

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9) An interesting button–if I remember the story correctly, this button is on a wrap/shawl that my grandpa brought back from Korea.

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10) your favorite pair of shoes–I hardly ever wear these but aren’t they cute?

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11) your favorite cosmetic–I quit wearing make up when I quick working outside the home, well actually before then, but officially then.

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12) You wearing a funny face

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13) You wearing a smile.

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After crowd sourcing on Facebook, a concensus (which not even auto correct knows how to spell) has been reached, I look better with bangs.  So ends my 1+ year attempt to go without.  I have made an appointment for 9 am tomorrow to have bangs cut back in.  I’ll have her trim the back too, but I will not be going to short hair.  I am one of those who really loves braiding my hair (french braid today), putting in buns (staple hairstyle) and pinning it up other ways, so nope to the short bob.  Plus, I have donated my hair twice and am working on a third time.

I wish I could tell you taking these pretty pictures fixed my whole day.  I wish I could tell you I am all better and on an even keel again, but I’m not.  And that’s okay.  This scavenger hunt gave me something besides the storm to focus on.  It gave me breathing room.  And it gave me something to blog.  I consider that a win.  I really appreciate Alycia’s efforts.  She cared enough to DO something for an internet friend.  She knows what it is like.  She’s slugging it out somedays too.  You should do yourself the favor of checking out her writing.  She has a heart of gold and a golden pen.

Thank you to all who are walking alongside me.  Thank you for not being afraid of me.  Thank you for not being afraid of my demons.  I can’t name, or even see what is causing the battle right now, but I know it has to be fought.  And I’m here, fighting.

 

My Voice

I begin to get upset and obsess over little things when the depression starts to woo me and pull at me.

And when I say little, I mean little.  Like today I felt horrible because I’m not a funny blogger.  I decided that must be why a blogging friend didn’t ask me to guest post.  Le sigh.  Who cares, right?  I mean, dudes, I am barely keeping up with my own writing!!  But nonetheless, I stew.  And stew and stew.  I go round and round in my head.

At the same time I worried that my writing didn’t matter. I’m  not entertaining anyone with my wit and I’m not helping anyone with my candor.

So again, I stew.  Thankfullly, I have a great group of people around me.  I mentioned some of my ruminations to a friend.  She, and another, told me my writing did matter.  And another friend, reallly made it real, when she told me I had to tell my story.  It is my testimoney that no one else can tell.  I talk about the pain and depression when maybe others would stay quiet. (Like right now when I would rather keep my petty silliness to myself, yet here I am, writing it.)

“Embrace who you are, the good, the bad, your strengths and weaknesses….  Your life is a testimony, even the parts you think are insignificant.”

She’s right, you know.  My story, all of it, is mine.  Maybe you need to hear it, maybe someone else does, I don’t know, but here I am writing it.

What do you need to share?  What does someone else need to hear from you?  Write it, say it, own it, celebrate it.

 

 

*This post is dedicated to the many amazing women and bloggers I know.

Ten Random Things About Me

When you’re not sure what to blog…Go Random…

1.  I am 4 ft 9 1/2 inches tall.  Yup, I am shorter than you 🙂

2.  I have never dyed my hair.  I’m too vain.  I am proud my hair is still as blonde as it is and had a lady tell her hairdresser, “I want her color.”

3.  My music choices are very eclectic.  I love classic hymns, P!nk, Kenny Rogers, Florence + the Machine, musicals, Coldplay.  My daughters now dance and know the words to “Raise Your Glass” (clean version).

4.  My hubby is my dream spouse.  I might whine at times, but he is my prince charming.

5.  I have an English degree, used to be an Interpreter for the Hearing Impaired, missionary and sold Pampered Chef.  One of my first jobs was counting worms for a bait shop.

6.  I bought a horse when I was 13.  Sold it when I was 14.  Bought a 1o speed bike.

7.  I know how many CDs/games you can put in a Wii console before it breaks.  Yup, 4.  Getting them all out does not guarantee it will work.  Final results pending.

8.  I am addicted to social media, ie twitter and blogging.  Seriously,  I check it if I wake up at night.  It always makes me smile to get a blog comment, though I am glad to have a plug in that now controls the spam.

9.  I am learning a lot from social media about how different people can be and still care about, even love each other.  I have to say my world was pretty small before twitter.  Most of the people in my life thought like me, acted like me, believed like me.  That is no longer the case, and that is okay.  Thank you for opening my eyes.

10.  My youngest mimics daddy and tries to talk in slow motion like he does when trying to be funny.  And she does a killer lion noise that starts with a great growl.

 

 

Hear my Heart at Butterfly Confessions

The lovely and talented A’Driane has invited me to guest post today at her blog.  A’Driane and I met via twitter and and #ppdchat where she is the always real and encouraging @addyeB. 

A’Driane does an amazing weekly post called Self Care Saturdays.  I was originally going to write for that, but as you’ll see, my post, well, moved a little out of that realm.

It was hard to write and I don’t anticipate it being easy to read.  It is where I am, broken, but trying to get whole.  Surviving til I’m thriving.

 

Guest Posting for Mental Health Mondays

Please join me at

As I tell part of my journey with postpartum depression and where I am now…learning, growing, surviving til I’m thriving.

Let me know if you are looking for guests posts.  I am working on getting the message out there about depression, but also have cute kids to share, crafts, projects, and recipes.