Monthly Archives: October 2014

When You Can’t Breathe

Four years ago today I was crying, big, gulping, body shaking sobs.  My mind had betrayed me and I had found myself earlier in the day taking my girls to my midwife and asking her to take them home and love them so I could just disappear.

Problem is, I had no damn idea of where to go.  I just needed to escape.  She chose instead, to try to get me some help which is what had landed me in a psychiatric hospital.

I can not even begin to tell you how I wish that were the beginning and end of my journey with mental illness.  I wish I could tell you I am not standing at my computer crying tonight, wishing I could climb out of my skin.  I’ve been on medication after medication, and still am, but today, 4 years later, I still feel the need to climb out of my skin, to find a way to escape.

I still have no idea where I would/could go.  So I cry, I shake, I wish it were easier to breathe.

It honestly feels like someone is sitting on my chest while squeezing my lungs and daring me to take another breath.

I am here, rocking and shaking, hoping something I do will let me breathe again.  Or let me fall asleep long enough to feel better, long enough to function.

There are more thoughts, but honestly, I don’t have the ability to think them right now.  I can’t stay here at the computer.  I have to go looking for something to quiet my mind.  Or drowned it out.

Hard to Swallow

*I have no intention to insult or offend anyone, I am just putting out there the stark, harsh truth.

I saw a new doctor last week.  Because mine decided to leave practice in order to teach.  Because of course.  Who does this happen to?  Me.

My hopes for the new person were low.  My hopes for any of them for a while have been low.

Thankfully, I was a little surprised by this one.  She got out of her chair to greet me, walked me into her office and walked me to the door when my visit was completed.  The doctor before her never stood up, not once.  She sat behind her desk looking more at her computer then at me.

She thinks my diagnosis and treatment need some tweeking.  She has added a medication that will hopefully stop the rapid cycling I have been having for, I thought, weeks.  In truth it has been since Patrice was born.  Four years ago.  I thought the rapid changes, with a good week here and there was the best I could hope for.  I thought coping was the best I would ever get.  Turns out, that’s not how it is supposed to be.  Apparently, I am supposed to have good days that last longer than a week.

Who knew?!

There was also talk of some very hard issues, struggles in the last 4 years.  It was a lot to process, and honestly, I can’t.  I absolutely can’t wrap my head around all that she said.  I know she is right, but I want to scream, not me, that is someone else.  I’m not that crazy.

Come on damn it.  I struggled with the Multiple Sclerosis for 16 years.  Give me a break.  I used a cane in high school.  Do you have any idea what a nightmare that is?  I was already one of the oddballs in high school and a stupid cane sure didn’t help that.  I endured 15 hospital stays in two years.  I learned how to walk twice as an adult.    I could go on and on, but I won’t.  I’ll just say it was damn hard.  Couldn’t that have been my burden to bear?  Why this nightmare, why does my mental health have to go to hell?

Picture me kicking, hitting and clawing at a wall that doesn’t care if I live or die.

Today, I want to climb out of my skin.  I want to run so far away from everything I know.  I want to disappear.  I want to be free.  I want all of this over.  Finished.

But instead, I throw together a crappy dinner, make popcorn, and put Frozen in the DVD player for the girls.

Oh my God, I want out.

Time for Thanks

Days don’t always go as easily as we would like.  I’ve had more than a few of those lately and I am profoundly tempted to come here and whine my little heart out, but I think today needs something a little different–thanks instead of whine.

We are truly having an amazingly beautiful fall.

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Monday night we had some dear friends over to enjoy dinner with us before they  head to their missionary post in Bangladesh.  We are going to miss them.  But we are so proud and excited to see them head to fulfill what the Lord has called them to.  We are supremely honored to love them near and far.  And so thankful for new technology that will help us stay in touch.

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I got a mental health day yesterday.  Don’t all teachers need that? 😉  I had a doctor appointment that I could not take the girls too.  Hubby took a day to be the substitute teacher.  I wanted to feel cool so I wrote out 2 pages of instructions.  I went to my appointment while they tackled the first subject, then I took my proofreading project to Starbucks and used a gift card to get one of the fun drinks, without coffee (yes, you can do that) and sat and read.  I felt so cool.  Next I came home and took the opportunity to run on the treadmill (yup, I am up to a mile at a time!!!).  We ended our day with a couple laps around the block as a family.

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Seriously, I felt really cool writing up the lesson plans and notes for hubby.  And he noticed some things that we could do to better support one of the girls’ learning.

And, I am beyond excited that something clicked in my brain this weekend and I am back to craving exercise.  Truly craving it.

(I don’t know what that weird dot is on my nose)

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As I said in the beginning, there have been some challenges lately.  And some of them have rocked me to the core, but for today, I needed to pass on a little thanks.

I hope your fall is treating you well and showing you lots of beauty.

Angst or Photos

Part of me wants to tell you about the spiral into depression that has become a free fall.  I’d like to believe, admitting to it and talking about it would make it go away.  But it won’t.  It will just remind you this is the depressed girls’ blog.

I won’t tell you how my mind is telling me I can’t do another round of this battle.  I won’t tell you how I had to really think about my answer when my therapist asked me if I was having suicidal thoughts.  I won’t tell  you how heavy tomorrow already feels.

Instead, I will show you my cute kids.  God gave them to me for many reasons, but most of all so you wouldn’t have to sit here and read post after post from the depressed girl.

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Aren’t you glad I chose photos over angst?



My Complex

True story–I have a big fat inferiority complex.  Big.  Fat.  Huge.

I always have.  With some pretty good reason.  The list of what I am NOT good at, is much, much longer than the things I can do well.

And it goes way back.

I was 7 before I could ride my bike without training wheels.  The very last of my friends to do so.  When I tried walking on stilts, they just came down on  my head as I fell.  I think my dad spent more time explaining how to push them away from me so I wouldn’t get clobbered, when I fell.  I discovered I was afraid of heights when my cousin and I took our first gymnastics class.  I felt sick through ever lesson.  She was skilled enough to go on and compete if our area had such a team for her to join.  Monkey bars?  Are you kidding me?  I never got past the first bar before I dropped to the ground.  A yo-yo went down but never came back up for me.  Never.  Draw?  No way.  I disproved my art teacher’s theory that everyone can draw, they just have to focus so the right side of the brain could take over.  That pretty book holder I made in shop class?  My instructor did it.  I think I put the stain on.  Maybe.

When other kids understood fashion or being laid back and just laughing?  I was frumpy and serious.  While the other girls rocked mini-skirts, a girl laughed at me for having the ugliest, fattest knee she had ever seen.  At the school dances, I sent my time in the bathroom, calming down the girls who were crying so they could go back out and have fun–while I stayed in the  bathroom miserable.

While other kids were playing sports, I was being put on the B team and benched. When they went to games on Saturday, I went to a recombiant DNA workshop that I had qualified for, but honestly had no idea what I was doing.  Or I was spending part of my summer at a leadership conference where I found out I was the class idiot.  Every darn kid there was uber intelligent.  Like, make up your own language to use with your friends because you were bored, intelligent.  I literally walked in to the program to learn that I was the ONLY one not in a gifted program.

Let’s not even talk about how having Multiple Sclerosis in high school made me a weirdo.  As if I needed help.

College was better.  Not perfect, but better.

Marriage has been a challenge.  My hubby is a better cook than I.  He has skills that allow him to make things, real, tangible things.  He is nicer than I am.  He is calmer than I.  But the one that really shows me up?  Caitlyn.  She yo-yos, rainbow looms, climbs monkey bars and trees like a boss.  I look at her often and see again what a failure I am.  That little girl can do anything, absolutely, anything she puts her mind to.

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And her ever classy mother is jealous of her own kid.

I always wanted to be good at one thing.  Just one thing.  I never was.  I never am.

It is very safe to say I harbor a lot of resentment.  Not against Caitlyn, but against myself and much of my life.


Big Old Flop

We had a bunch of bananas that needed to become bread last night.  I asked hubby to pick up some banana yogurt so I could make my typical yummy bread.  He said, “oh, there has to be a recipe in one of your mom’s old cookbooks that is good.”

So I found this book:

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And found this recipe:

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I started mixing and mashing.  I thought, wow, this will be a fun one to show on my blog and Pinterest.

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We had so many bananas to use up that I did a double batch and put it in a 9×13 pan.

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Thing is, I’m pretty sure the second half will be in the pan forever, or until I feel like scraping it into the garbage disposal.  It is so dry.  My family normally inhales my zucchini and banana breads.  No one has touched this all day.

So, I took the pictures, and I shared them with you.  I showed you my mom’s awesome cookbook from my growing up years, but I can’t recommend you actually make this exact recipe.  This trip down memory lane just did not pan out.



World Mental Health Day

I speak up, I speak out.

Some days it makes me feel better about the battle I fight.

Other days, it’s something I say by rote.  Saying I will use my struggles to help others.

Some days I want to just shut up.  I want to quit speaking out.  I want to just worry about myself and no one else.

But, I can’t.  One of the big lies of life is that it is all about me.  It isn’t.  It is about all of us.  It is about helping, sharing, walking with each other.

So I speak up today, and every day.

Life is worth living.

You are worth more than your diagnosis.

You are worth fighting for.

Choose a semi colon, a pause in life, instead of a period, the end of your life.

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Today and always

Spring Cleaning is for the Birds

Here is a deep, world changing thought for you…I have realized that even though people say they need to do spring cleaning, I do my best cleaning in the fall!

Hubby and I have been married 10 years later this month.  We have lived in this house just shy of 7 of those years.  As I think most couples do, we have a stack of boxes that never, ever get touched.

Until Tuesday.

I started out to clean a small area, then grabbed a few other things and then was drawn to the 11 boxes of life in the corner.  I sorted and sorted.  My legs hurt.  My back hurt.  It was a long project.  But I did them all.  Some of what I found in those boxes is still there, but much has been thrown away or rehomed.

Long ago, I did scrapbooking.  I was never exceptionally good at it, but I did a few books.  I have one for our wedding, one for our honeymoon, one for my trip to Australia, and one for a friend.  It is a book of her very young boys.  They are now in High School.  Boy, did I ever have the supplies.  Paper and stickers, and embellishments.  Punches, adhesives, and many empty books I never touched.

A friend of mine hit the jackpot.  I purged it all.  I kept my cutting tools, but otherwise it is all gone.  It feels good.  One craft out there is no longer haunting me.  I am free to continue doing my scrapbooking via printed photo books.

Yesterday, I took a FULL, had to take out a car seat, FULL Durango load of stuff to the Salvation Army.  There were kid toys, clothes, shoes, ceramic (creepy looking) dolls.  I hope they all find nice new homes.  I am so glad to have them out of mine.  I took 9 large bags/items out of my house!!!

Not everything found its way out of the house.  There were beautiful wedding pictures in there, photo albums from my childhood and school years.  I found my old clip book (samples a journalist presents to prospective clients or publishers), there was all the material and costumes for the clowning my mom and I used to do at various churches.

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And some of my baby clothes.  I was born 6 weeks early.  Unlike most babies, I did not gain all the weight I needed while in the hospital.  I still needed preemie clothes when I went home.  Unfortunately, you could not buy them.  A neighbor lady rescued my mom out of her quandary of how to dress me when I got home.  The neighbor went to the doll store and bought some outfits, she adjusted elastic and made them so a real baby could be comfortable.

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It was fun to show them to my girls, Caitlyn cared, Sue didn’t, and it made me thankful that parents can now get clothes and care for their pre-term babies.

It feels awesome to have found some very precious pieces of my history, of hubby and my history together, and things to share with those who need them.

The family better watch out, I am now on the prowl to get rid of more.  Everything is fair game.

Do you do your big cleaning in the spring, just keep it up year round or do you find yourself cleaning your den before winter hibernation?

Old Love Rekindled

Many years ago I went to college.  Yes I did.  I thought, I’m going to teach elementary school.  That changed when I started my observation hours in the classroom.  Uh, no–that wasn’t going work.  Those kids made me insane.  And they were taller than I thought they would be…

Next thought, maybe high school.  Maybe they will be a little more mature, a little easier to guide.  Yes, you are allowed to laugh at me/with me.  That wasn’t going to work.

I must be meant to teach at the college level, I thought.  I was aware enough to know that took many more years of school which wasn’t an option.

Now what?  I loved writing and journalism and I REALLY liked reading and correcting other peoples’ writing–copy editing/proofreading.  I decided to pursue those interests.  I got an English and Technical Writing degree.  I went on to write for a couple newsletters as well as freelance writing.  Then I added many years of proofreading e-mails and materials for my bosses in the corporate world.

But the dream of becoming a proofreader got pushed into a dusty corner of my mind. Life filled with family, children, homeschooling.  All things I love.

But no proofreading.

Then recently, I started thinking about the proofreading dream again.  My lovely cousin I have mentioned often, e-mailed me and asked if I would help her on a project.  She needed someone(s) to proofread.

“Yes!  Yes!  Yes!

She mailed it to me.  I opened it.  I think the angels sang–“gloria.”  I started reading, marking away, settling in to really enjoy myself.  Seven pages in, I was in love.  Suddenly I remembered all those plans years ago to become a proofreader.

I got so excited I told my hubby.  “I love it!  It’s great.  I love the words, the paper and the red marks!!  I love it!!”  And he says, “why don’t you get into doing that?  It should be something you could do from home.”

That was last week and it keeps going around in my head.

I love that idea.  It’s one of the best he has ever come up with, but I have no idea how to proceed.  It’s been years since I did anything in the journalism world.  All of my contacts are gone.  Where to start?

I see a huge untapped market in self-publishing and e-books.  I have no idea how to pursue finding proofreading work there.  I know it is what I want to look into, but I don’t know how.

That is where you come in…do you know how I can get started?  Do you know people looking for proofreaders?  I would love any and all help!


Patrice Sleeping

From day one, I have had more time with Patrice than I had with her sisters.  Due to the degeneration of my mental health, I had a longer maternity leave with her.  I was off work a couple times due to my mental health, so was with her more, then I got laid off from my job when she was two.  I’ve had lots of time with her since.

Conversely, her sisters were in daycare at about 3 months old, I worked my typical hours, and then they were off to school and away from me for many hours a day.

This difference, during the early days of my mental illness, really struck me.  I became terrified with the fact that God was giving me more time with her at a young age because she was going to be taken away from me.

I enjoyed the extra time, surrounded by fear and sadness at the coming loss of my daughter.

Life kept moving, and here we are at 4 years old and she is still with me.  And I love that little gift.  Her birth may have brought struggle and depression, but her life sure hasn’t.

She loves to give huggies and kissies.  She is a bundle of energy, but always comes back for a quick moment in my lap.  She herself put it best about a year ago, she said, “mommy, I’m pretty much always happy.”  And she is.

Don’t get me wrong, she is a very normal little girl.  She cries when corrected, she runs to her room when mad, and she can needle her sisters with a great deal of skill.

She has a passion that just draws me in.  I love to indulge her love of monkeys, her desire to do homework, drink nolk (milk), and be just a bit of a stinker.  Her eyes just dance when she is happy.

The fear of losing her is not as constant as it was after her birth, but I’d be lying if I didn’t admit it crosses my mind several times a week.  Is the Lord giving me this gift to comfort me later.  I know it is ridiculous, but it is there.  So, I hug her a bit tighter, cuddle her a bit longer, and just take every opportunity to love on her.

And watch her sleep.  Every night, I find myself for a moment or two, standing near her bed, hoping my footsteps don’t wake her.  I just stand there and watch her sleep, listen to her breathe.

My little Patrice, my capstone.

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