Category Archives: depression

Five Years it has Been

Patrice will have her kindergarten graduation at homeschool co-op next week.  I truly cannot believe it.  She is my baby.  How can she be knocking on the door of 6 years old?  That seems so old, so grown up.

Right now, she still has the pudgy little fingers that wrap around mine.  She still makes up words or stumbles upon her own pronunciation of those I say effortlessly.

But I suspect a lot of that will fall away this summer as we get closer to that big 6 birthday.

And I am sad.

I am also sad that it has taken until this month–April–to get to a point where my Bipolar seems to be under control.  It seems the meds might finally be right, though tweaking is still being done, I like the therapist I am working with, I am finally getting stronger.  I still feel fragile and I am scared every day that things will get bad again, but so far, I am holding my own.

It has taken 5 years.  Five years it has been since we brought home baby Patrice and my personal descent into hell began, and a myriad of struggles for my family also commenced.

Thankfully I feel like I remember those 5 years, they are not blanked out; unfortunately, they are muddied with the depression, mania, anxiety, and medication side effects.  There is a veil, a haze, I can never un-remember.  Five years it has been.

I am thankful for the time now of clarity and “stability”, I am, but I am sad about the last five years.  There is no cleaning them up, they will always be muddy, but they are mine and my family, part of the fabric of our 5 years .

Reclaiming Me

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.

Depression is like other illnesses; the longer it goes on, the worse the symptoms are.  There are lots of twists and turns when it goes on for a long time.  For example, when this last depression started, it was like my others in that I fought it with exercise and movement.  Unlike many other people dealing with depression, I didn’t sleep more, if anything I slept less.  I didn’t move less, I moved more, I struggled to stop.  But, as it continued, the depression wore me down, until I found myself hating the thought of the exercise, and especially the energy it would take from me.  I slept more and more as my brain was less and less capable of doing things I once did with ease.

But then my new medication started to work, and layer by layer the depression began to fall away.  I found myself setting aside some activities that I had clung to during the depression and I began picking up things I had lost in the darkness.

I started with walking.  A bit at a time.  Outside.  And then back on the treadmill for miles at a time.  I felt myself reclaiming me…bit by bit.

But there was one activity I still hadn’t tackled–my beloved exercise PiYo.  I kept it at arms length for reasons I can’t explain…until Sunday.  I found myself reaching out my my friend who has encouraged me and taught me so much about exercise.  We decided to restart the program Monday (yesterday) and we did!!!

And I started singing this.

Off Came the Band Aid

My girls have been fighting a lot.  They have been getting annoyed with each other a lot.  They have been getting annoyed with people they know a lot.

Thursday I  had enough.

I unwittingly ripped off a band aid that had been protecting me for 22 years.

Growing up, I had very loving family.  And I had a couple neighborhood friends who were sweet.  I also had some friends from camp, who by the very nature of our friendship were not around or available to me on a daily basis.  Friendship wise, that was about it.*

Friends were hard for me to come by.

My early school memories are sketchy.  There was the day the girl in first grade punched me and broke my glasses.  Or the time I let the boys use my lunch box as a soccer ball because I didn’t like my sturdy metal box anymore.  I still remember the punishment for that decision as well.  And then there was going to my 2nd grade teacher’s house.  She had a pink bathroom.  Who wouldn’t remember that?

The next memory is third grade.

Standing in the middle of the playground alone.  Looking for someone to play with.  I stood there, surrounded by playground equipment I was not good at playing on, alone.  No one wanting to play with me.

Or the bullies in third grade who saw I was smaller and easily intimidated.  They followed me out to the classroom (third grade was in a separate building up a hill), got in front of me and stepped on my toes with their cowboy boots.  But that problem I could handle.  I employed my bigger fourth grade cousin to walk me to class.  That worked awesome until my mom found out and told me I had to stop doing that because I couldn’t make my cousin late for his class.  Then they were back to stomping on my toes.

Every year continued to be more and more lonely.  I just wasn’t a fit for any of the groups of friends, at the Christian schools I transferred to or when I transferred back to the small public school I had started elementary school in.

These memories have always hurt, but I had them tucked, for the most part, in a nice little box back in my memory–until Thursday.

Back to my annoyed little girls.

Girls, you need to get over that.  Mama can tell you what happens to that little girl who gets annoyed easily with other kids.  They end up growing up a very, very, very  lonely little girl.

And with that, I ripped off the band aid that has been protecting me all these years.  Sure, kids are mean, kids are obnoxious to each other, but I played a role in my loneliness as a kid.  I didn’t understand or get along with kids my age for many reasons and I had tucked that away for a long time, but now the sadness and frustration are back out in the open.  And for the life of me I can’t figure out how to put them all away again.  How do I tuck them away?  I really don’t know, so here I stand, crying again, as I have been for the last two days.

My husband is thrilled I shared that with the girls, we are both hoping they learn sooner, rather than later, what mama is trying to explain to them, what mama is trying to share.  I am not so thrilled.  He agrees I may need to share that again.  I don’t know if I can.  It hurt 22 years ago, it hurt Thursday, it still hurts today.

I didn’t know how to carry that pain all those years ago.  And I still don’t know as an adult.

I want my band aid back.

*Thank you to my amazing cousins for sticking up for me in school–for risking their popularity to speak up for the girl no one stuck up for.

Protected: The Turmoil

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Five Years Gone

Patrice is 5 today.  Five.

In some ways that makes me 5 as well.  Five years ago mental illness invaded me first as baby blues, then postpartum depression and anxiety with a psychotic episode.  And it never went away.

My therapist said I should look at all the good times during those 5 years.  And I try, and succeed, pretty often.  But every good time was against the landscape of mental illness.  Me trying to cope.  Me trying to learn to live.  Me trying to live.

Patrice has grown from a little baby.

all three girls 2010 Leah at park 2010To an amazing 5 year old who loves fiercely, can add up to 5, can’t wait to learn to read, crazy cute and oh so funny.  Amazing.

2015-08-07 11.39.05The years have been sweet.  The years have been hard.  But we are here to celebrate them together.  My Patrice and I.

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Sitting With His Love

When your legs don’t work like they used to before
And I can’t sweep you off of your feet
Will your mouth still remember the taste of my love?
Will your eyes still smile from your cheeks?
My legs work and my husband can still make my heart go pitter patter, but I can’t necessarily receive his love like I did before.  My mind tells me I am not worthy of his love.  My mind says he doesn’t mean what he says when his lips say “I love you.”  My mind screams how could anyone love the mess you are?  He would be so much better off without you.

And, darling, I will be loving you ’til we’re 70
And, baby, my heart could still fall as hard at 23
And I’m thinking ’bout how people fall in love in mysterious ways
Maybe just the touch of a hand
Me – I fall in love with you every single day
And I just wanna tell you I am

But he does say “I love you” in a million ways.  He says it when he sends me upstairs to get a break from mommying.  He says it when he takes the girls for a bike ride so I can just sit with my thoughts.  He says it as he allows me hours to exercise when he might want to relax too.

So honey now
Take me into your loving arms
Kiss me under the light of a thousand stars
Place your head on my beating heart
I’m thinking out loud
That maybe we found love right where we are
He shows me his love by taking me in his arms as I sob out how much my mind hurts, how much my soul hurts.  He shows his love by reminding me how much he wants me to fight to stay alive and how he’ll always be here to walk in the darkness with me.

When my hair’s all but gone and my memory fades
And the crowds don’t remember my name
When my hands don’t play the strings the same way
I know you will still love me the same

‘Cause honey your soul could never grow old, it’s evergreen
And, baby, your smile’s forever in my mind and memory
I’m thinking ’bout how people fall in love in mysterious ways
Maybe it’s all part of a plan
I’ll just keep on making the same mistakes
Hoping that you’ll understand

That, baby, now
Take me into your loving arms
Kiss me under the light of a thousand stars
Place your head on my beating heart
Thinking out loud
Maybe we found love right where we are…

I do find his love right where I am.  Sitting in the darkness.  Sitting in the light.  I have his love no matter where I am.
* “Thinking Out Loud” by Ed Sheeran from AZ Lyrics


So Much More

A few weeks ago, I read an article about actress and singer Demi Lovato and her struggles with Bipolar Disorder.  In the article she said something to the affect of wishing people understood that Bipolar is much more than being too happy or depressed.


It is so much more.

It is the mind playing tricks on you, telling you you are worthless, useless and your family would be better off without you–that if you would just end it all now, they could move on and have the life they deserve.  It is not just these thoughts making you sad, but these thoughts coming fast and hard, wearing you down, yelling in your head until they seem to be the only truth there is.

It is the mind playing tricks on you, telling you that you are beautiful telling you that everyone is in awe of your confidence, that you should take on just one more project, and another, and another.  Again, fast and loud.  It makes you want to spin in circles…until it makes you angry, very, very angry.  The sounds get too loud, the colors are too bright.  And finally, or sometimes as a combo, comes the anxiety that exacerbates the anger, grows the fear, causing the suffocating frantic feeling.

Both poles, moving faster and faster.  Both driving you to a point of desperation. Both telling you you need to escape but there is no place to go.  Both putting the fight or flight feeling on red alert.  Both ripping at you.  Both causing constant noise in your head.  Both destroying you bit by bit, every day.


A Year Has Gone By

It hardly seems possible that a year has passed since I led a Postpartum Progress Climb Out of the Darkness walk to raise funds and awareness for perinatal (during and after giving birth) mood disorders.

We were a small crew but we had fun.

2014-06-21 13.46.07 2014-06-21 13.48.53 2014-06-21 13.49.30 2014-06-21 13.57.29 2014-06-21 13.57.36 2014-06-21 13.57.45 2014-06-21 14.05.59 2014-06-21 14.26.23 2014-06-21 15.00.29


I am not leading a climb this year, but I have decided to join another local group who are climbing/walking to raise awareness for perinatal mood disorders, including, but not limited to, depression, anxiety, obsessive compulsive disorder, and psychosis.

I hope you will join us in walking (contact me for details) or use this link to donate to my climb.

Help us help families everywhere!


Happy Birthday To Me

2015-05-13 19.08.07


This post could go so many directions…so I think I’ll just stick with

Thank you for all the love, support, encouragement and help you have given me to get me to my 40th Birthday!!!  It was such a joy to read each and every Birthday wish yesterday!  Thank you more than words can truly express.


Bipolar Is…

Having a perfect day…and feeling completely broken inside.

Yesterday was Mother’s Day.  My hubby and kids did a great job spoiling me.  There were chocolate chip pancakes.  A skirt that was exactly what I asked for.  Homemade presents.

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And an 8 pack of diet coke.

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All neatly tied up with love.

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Still I struggled.  The depression stayed with me throughout the day.  I kept reminding myself what an amazingly perfect day I was having, truly it was fantastic, but my mind didn’t understand how to act; so there was depression, anxiety, sadness, frustration, and tears.

My very patient husband and I had a good talk about it.  He walked me through one of my biggest fears, and I am trying to accept, believe, and know the truth he spoke into me.

But for now, I am giving myself permission to enjoy one of my favorite meals–egg, sausage, and diet coke…and praying my mind follows suit.