Thursday, January 21, 2010

Nothing Funny To Write About Today

I started this blog because I wanted an outlet for creative expression. I wanted a venue to be witty and funny. I strive to write well.

Not today. I am just going to pour it all out. If any of you wonder what depression is like, here it comes. I am tired all. the. time. And if I have an event that I'm looking forward to or something that needs to be done, I muster up enough energy to get through it, and then I crash for hours or even days. Last weekend was my birthday weekend, as you know. After the party, I spent the rest of the weekend in my pajamas, for the most part. And our whole family did nothing but watch TV and play video games. That's not because I think this is a beneficial way to spend time. It's just that I didn't have the energy to suggest an alternative. Once in a while, I'd say, "Quit watching TV already or your brain is going to rot!" And then I would go back to playing my video game.

Winter is hard. It's nice to sit in a blanket, drink coffee and not do anything. But the down side is that such a sedentary lifestyle contributes to my fatigue and depression. The sun was shining yesterday, so I FORCED myself to go out for a walk because I figured it would rejuvenate me. Right. I was so exhausted for the rest of the day that I went to bed at 7.

Now, the worst part of depression for me is that I truly can't cope with life, which is probably why my children watch TV all the time instead of interacting with me or with each other. I hate this, and I feel guilty about it, and then I spiral down into thinking, "I'm such a bad mom" and "All my kids' problems are my fault." Over the years, I've developed enough cognitive tools to get myself out of such thinking, but I don't necessarily have the energy to make any concrete changes.

And so we have stretches of time, like the past 24 hours, which were absolute living hell. It included throwing of scissors, pulling of hair, locking of siblings in a dark basement, venomous sarcasm, kicking, punching, hitting, throwing of boots, and much complaining. As I said before, I can't cope very well during these times. I would prefer that my children don't do or say anything at all - and that they would just sit quietly in front of the TV - but they don't comply, of course, because they're kids.

So this morning, I freaked out - again - remember Shamu? Yeah, it was something like that. I started crying on the way to school and I told my kids maybe they should just find a new mom since I wasn't doing a very good job. Nice, huh? I walked into school with my children, tears streaming down my face and trying not to make eye contact with any of the teachers, because, good heavens! Who wants their children's cutie-pie teachers to see them crying??? (Yes, 2 of my children's teachers are quite handsome, but they're also young enough to be my. . . .younger brothers, so we'll leave it at that.)

And I walked through the grocery store fighting off tears the whole time. I'm a mess right now and I'm not sure how I'm going to clean myself up.

One thing is for sure: I am going to see a counselor. I have some recommendations from my doctor and from my friend who is a Social Worker, but I'm not sure who to see yet. I want my children to go, too. It's just kind of humbling to take the first step.

You don't really have to say anything to this post because I'm not looking for sympathy. I have help & support, but I'm just going through a hard time. And I want other women who struggle with depression to know they're not alone. I would appreciate your prayers as I muddle through this, though, and as I try to figure out what to do with this blog - I do want to write more about living with depression, but without being a Wendy Whiner. I want to use my difficulties to let other people know they're not alone. In all my years of battling depression, I've learned that I'm not alone and it will get better. Hopefully, it will get better soon.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010


Yes, I turned 40. Aren't you proud of me? It took a lot of hard work and effort, but I did it. (My birthday was January 14, but I'm accepting belated birthday greetings as well as gifts of cash, stocks, and real estate.)

Well, actually, the real accomplishment is that I turned 40 without having a nervous breakdown or a mid-life crisis, and I didn't stay in bed all day in an attempt to make it go away. I went out and enjoyed myself.

I dropped the kids off at school and then I came back home to catch up on some sleep. Then I went out shopping. Kind of hard to do when the hubby says we're not buying anything for the next 3 years, but I'm a master bargainer. I sneaked my shopping trip in "under the radar". I hit some thrift stores, grocery stores, and of course, no shopping trip would be complete without a stop at Kohls, my favorite haunt. I love that store, because even if you only have $2.81 to spend, you can find something at Kohls - they always have great sales and clearances.

So, that was a fun way to spend my birthday. I even went to Wendy's for lunch and bought myself a Frosty - without the guilt! And we made nachos for dinner. Pretty simple.

Friday night, my hubby hosted a party for me. And by "hosted", I mean that when I called everyone to tell them about the party, I could say, "My husband is hosting a birthday party for me and you're invited." He's not really into all the details. But it was a very nice time and I was honored by all the friends who came to pay their condolences.

The hardest part was wrapping my mind around the number 40. As I lay in bed the night of my birthday, the number entered my mind repeatedly: "I'm 40. . . . .I'm 40. . . .. oh, my gosh, I'm really 40!!!"

I remember when my mom turned 40. I was 16 years old and we had a party for her. How can I be as old as my mom? Oh well, as they say, age is just a number. You're only as old as you feel. You're still young at heart. Yada yada yada.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Coming Up for Air

I've been down. I've been down emotionally. I've been down physically. I've been down spiritually. Our trip to Florida was fun, but it was completely draining. Now, almost 2 weeks later, I feel like I'm finally recovering.

Have you ever had this happen to you? You plan on something for so long, and then it doesn't quite measure up? Florida was like that. There was definite fun involved, but there was also a lot of hard work involved in creating the fun. So, maybe I've been experiencing a bit of "post-Christmas letdown" both because Florida wasn't the entirely carefree, rejuvenating experience that I thought it would be AND because I'm sad we missed Christmas Day in Michigan. Yeah, Christmas Day was a bit of a disappointment when there was no snow and no presents.

And it was a bit hard to focus on the real meaning of Christmas since I had been totally neglecting to have any kind of prayer time. . . .for far too long. And I didn't really get back to it until today. But yesterday, depression and anxiety came to a head and my husband requested (demanded, pleaded) that I ask some women to pray over me. I had a women's group meeting at my house last night. (We meet in small women's & men's groups bi-weekly through a Christian fellowship that we're involved in.) So my friends did indeed pray over me and it was very freeing. It's amazing how I can let myself get overwhelmed by the little things in life - or to put it another way, to let the little things become HUGE to me - like getting my house cleaned or saving money on groceries. And I get to a point where I feel as if I can barely function, but then I realize that I haven't been focusing on what's truly important. I need Jesus. Period. And if I'm not communicating with Him daily, I am dying.

So, today I made a point to take a long time in prayer and reading Scripture, and my heart is once again where it needs to be: on a straight path, heading toward the Lord and my ultimate goal, which is to be with Him in Heaven.

I also realized that I've been trying too hard to make my family be more spiritual. I've been discouraged because I had a great spiritual renewal last fall, but no one in my family could relate and my kids just continued to pester the heck out of each other and me! :D Then I realized that I'm racking my brain trying to figure out how to force spirituality upon them rather than praying for them and asking God to show me how to lead them to a place where they can better receive HIM.

When it comes to turning 40 tomorrow, I'm down with that. I've worked through my issues. But I still think, "why am I still making some of the same mistakes that I did when I was 20 or 30???" It doesn't matter how old I get - my number 1 priority will always have to be "Seek first the kingdom of God." I hope that wisdom does come with age!

Thursday, January 7, 2010

It's Happening Whether I Like It Or Not

Today is January 8, 2010. That means in exactly 6 days, I will turn 40. I'm not really liking this concept. And I don't really appreciate the patronizing comments like "Age is just a number" and "You're only as old as you feel." I feel pretty old, given that I have many, many, many gray hairs and many, many, many unwanted facial hairs, I'm overweight, and I have at least 2 body joints that give me chronic pain. I'm just not young any more. Don't try to kid me - no one considers 40 to be young any more - unless they're 80. It's just a fact. I'm getting old and I still want to be young.

I am now supposed to be a sage, a wise older woman who can now serve as a mentor to those younger and more naive than me.


Most days I still feel like I'm a kid. I mess up all the time, except nobody spanks me now. I often forget these kids runnning around my house are actually my offspring and not my annoying younger siblings, which would explain the bickering and the noogies.

Ok, I don't have much more venting to do. I will just have to work through this gradually.

Thanks for listening.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Freakin' Out, Shamu Style

Ok, so this was like 2 weeks ago already. But I just have to blog about this because I wonder if any of you out there have humiliated yourself in such a fashion.

I showed you some fun pictures of Sea World, but it was "fun" in a stressful sort of way. It's called "eustress", the opposite of distress. (I learned that in college and it's one of the few things I retained). It's stress that comes from a positive event, like a wedding, Christmas, or dragging 4 tired children around an amusement park after spending 3 days in the car.

So, yes, it was an enjoyable day. But there were moments - like when 2 of my children fought with me during the entire Shamu show, trying to get control of the camera so they could take pictures, even though I repeatedly told them that I would get some good pics and that they should just enjoy the show - that I really felt like my brain was going to explode out of my ears, because although we were at a really cool place for a fun-filled day, some people were insistent on finding ways to dampen the fun.

And then there was the time when we went to find something to eat (which is a stressful endeavor in and of itself because of the ridiculous prices and the horrendous crowds), and some people under the age of 18 had to tell me - repeatedly - what they wanted to eat, as we waited and waited and waited, winding through the very warm restaurant area, until we finally reached the place where we got our trays and ordered our food. The 5-year-old insisted on carrying a gigantic tray for his own food, a feat he clearly wasn't capable of doing, but insisted on doing anyway. And in the process of doing so, he held up the entire food line for an eternity (well, it was probably more like 2 minutes, but it sure felt like forever with a tantruming kid and a mile-long line behind us). By the time we actually procured our food, paid for it, and sat down, I. was. finished. No more patience. No more sympathy. No more trying to have a good time.

I sat down with my tray with my kids, who were fighting about who got to sit by me, and I lost control. In front of my parents, my brother, my 15-year-old nephew, my sister, my husband & kids, and approximately 318 strangers, I burst into LOUD, SOBBING, CRIES for about 5 minutes, which again, seemed like an eternity as I struggled to get control of myself.

Embarrassing. The kids all felt some slight remorse, but everyone else struggled to eat their $12 hamburgers in spite of the awkwardness of me sitting there crying like a baby.

In my defense, I had just endured 3 days of being confined to a small vehicle with 5 other people and stuff piled up in every nook and cranny, and very limited internet access. And I was, ahem, hormonal.

But even so, I pretty much humiliated myself. Anyone want to compete with that?

Bring it on.

Monday, January 4, 2010

Friend Makin' Monday - Christmas Pictures

I've been thinking about posting pictures from our trip to Florida, but I've been pretty busy getting over this silly cold. (I've been thinking about creating my own t-shirt that says, "I went to Florida and all I got was this dumb virus", but that's been overdone.)

Today, Amber is once again hosting "Friend Makin' Mondays" and today's topic is sharing your favorite pics from Christmas. Be forewarned that these won't look very Christmas-y since we travelled to sunny Florida and we didn't bring a lot of Christmas decor with us.

So, here are the kiddos, enjoying the vast beach in front of our condo on the Atlantic Ocean.

Here's our fam on Christmas Day - not too fond of myself in this picture (moo!), but I like the tropical background.
Here are some shots of the cute condo where we stayed for the first week:

The highlight of the trip was Sea World. I have always wanted to go there, so I got to check an item of my bucket list (yes, I have a bucket list - I am almost 40 after all. . . boohoo!) Here are the kids inside an aquarium exhibit - literally!

Saying "Hi" to the dolphins!

And of course, Shamu!

So, not your typical Christmas photos, but a snippet of the fun had over Christmas break!