Category Archives: Deep thoughts

Depression looms

I struggle with depression. Back many years ago, I didn’t struggle with it, I just gave in to it. That’s never a good thing. Thankfully at the time I had some wonderful friends who spotted what was going on with me and encouraged me to get help. It was because of that experience that I can usually sense when depression is threatening to take over again. And thankfully I’m not afraid to be open about it with my loved ones, and I know how to ask for help.

For the past month or so I’ve been sort of dipping my toes into the pool of depression again. It’s not a game I like to play. I can drive myself crazy analyzing the potential causes, searching for solutions. It’s all a bit futile, if you ask me. There are so many factors that make me a potential victim. Family history, multiple sclerosis, recent trauma… oh, and can’t leave out living in Michigan where there is a severe lack of sunshine. I need my sunshine.

I’ve been sleeping a lot, and it concerns me that I could let that go too far. I do feel rested when I sleep, so I’m trying to listen to my body’s cues and determine when it really needs rest or when it’s just the depression killing my motivation. I made a list today of some coping mechanisms. This is based off of what I learned from my housekeeping hero, The FlyLady, a long time ago: you can do anything for 15 minutes. So I have a list of the things I can do for 15 minutes, so that when I’m lacking motivation, I don’t have to think about what I can do. I just have to pick from the list. These are all things that tend to make me feel better or motivated to stay up and out of bed, like crocheting, washing dishes, journaling, showering, paying bills (no kidding lol), and blogging. On the really bad days when I can’t muster enough oomph to do even those simple things, my short list of motivators is to wash my face, get dressed, take my medicine, and/or drink a glass of water.

Depression is real, man. A dragon that is so unbelievably difficult to slay. But one day at a time, I’ll be fighting it. And if I can’t kill it, at least I’ll leave it seriously wounded, while I move on with my life.

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Surviving, and then some

Today I did better than simply surviving, and that felt good. Exceedingly good.

Depression is still an issue. I’m addressing it, one baby step at a time. Talking helps, and I have amazing family and friends who make that task not feel so impossible to do. Baking also helps. I love to bake. Cooking seems to help too, though I can’t say I love it the way I love baking. Still, it’s something. At least with the baking and cooking there’s always something to show for it. And something to share with others.

Though culinary therapy may work for now, I’m not sure if it will be sufficient. I am feeling a lot of ugly emotions, and I know it’s a part of the grief process. I’m feeling some anger and frustration and homesickness. Not much in my life is familiar anymore. Everything looks and sounds different than it used to, and that’s difficult. It’s been three and a half years since I lost my hearing and vision, and I feel homesick nearly all the time. I long to feel at home in my own skin. Someday it will come, I believe.

I don’t know why I’m feeling such strong emotions after all this time, but I suspect they’ve been there all along, waiting for things to settle down before rising to the surface for me to deal with. So I guess I’ve just reached a part of the grief process I’m not familiar with, and may need some professional help to work through it. We’ll see. For now, talking helps. And cookies. There’s always cookies.

The light in the darkness

It’s Christmas Eve, and we’re all ready for Christmas morning with the kids. Breakfast fixings are ready in the fridge, gifts are surrounding the tree.
We went to church tonight and were reminded that Jesus came to be a light in the darkness. Then we drove around looking at Christmas lights, a tradition we’ve been doing since before the kids were even born.
And do you know, my 9 year old son made the connection between the sermon at church (which I thought he was sleeping through) and the decorative lights everyone puts up at Christmas? I don’t know for certain the origin of Christmas lights, but I think my son might be on to something. The lights we put up at Christmas are a representation, a reminder, that Jesus is the light in the darkness. That just blew my mind, to hear something so wise coming from his mouth. I was pretty impressed. And for sure, I will remember that connection and from now on our annual tradition of driving around looking at lights will hold much greater meaning for me.
Merry Christmas, and may you find the light in the darkness.

A momentous occasion for sure

Please ignore my awful complexion, I’m working on that. What I wanted to share with you here is that today I discovered my first gray hair. Do you see it? Right there on top, just bending towards the right? I wasn’t sure if I would ever notice my hair graying, because I don’t see colors well, and my hair is a version of blonde. My mom is a blonde and she still doesn’t have much noticeable gray hair.

So I’m surprised! I don’t know why this excites me really, I guess you could say I’m having a slow day for entertainment.

I think I’m “supposed” to dread the aging process, gray hair, crow’s feet, wrinkles, etc. But I don’t mind. I think with age comes experience and wisdom and personal growth, and those are all good things I treasure. So I’ll take it all in one big package and will hold me head high, thank you very much.

HE KNOWS

I’ve been trying to get back to reading scripture on a daily basis, and I’m glad I’ve been doing it. It’s a great comfort, and God still uses it to speak to me. This morning I was reading in Jeremiah where it talks about the Israelites and how God was angry with them because of their wickedness. That seems to be a common theme in the Old Testament. But after the weekend I had, it really helped me to know that God understands what I’m feeling. See, my daughter had been wanting a mermaid tail for her birthday. I bought her one, but it wasn’t the exact one that she wanted, or rather it was missing a piece she wanted. She was heartbroken and to be honest, ungrateful. It didn’t help that she was at her birthday party, in front of all her friends. I was really upset with her. Then later that night I was trying to help my son get his football uniform and equipment together for turning in the following day, and I was asking him where things were. He had a friend over, so he didn’t like me interrupting him with these questions and told me to leave him alone. So I let him do his own laundry!

But the point is, I had been pretty upset and down about having two children acting ungrateful, after a week spent doing things for them (chaperoning the school field trip, putting together preparations for the birthday party, cooking, cleaning, etc.). So it was really therapeutic and healing to read this morning, and to know that God can relate to what I was feeling. He knows what it’s like to have ungrateful children, and yet He loves us all just the same.

“Nevertheless, I will bring health and healing to it; I will heal my people and will let them enjoy abundant peace and security. I will bring Judah and Israel back from captivity and will rebuild them as they were before.” Jeremiah 33:6-7

How MS Defines Me

I started this post three days ago, but didn’t get past the title. Now I’m deciding to continue with it, with the expectation that I can convey a clear and complete thought. Or maybe two.

I am fatigued. I am not handling it as well as usual, and I think that’s just because my running had given me a nice reprieve from the normal levels of fatigue. But having the kids home all week coupled with my MS medication running low (I get infused with Tysabri every four weeks), seems to have been too much on my body.

What bothers me most about the fatigue, at least this time around, is the effect it has on my cognition. I just can’t seem to make the connections, and even when I do, it takes an uncomfortably long time. So I’m awake, but I’m not really here. I struggle to finish sentences, I forget where I was headed within the house, I can’t put two and two together. And that’s frustrating, but I know this too shall pass. The kids go back to school tomorrow, I’ll go back to the infusion center hopefully Friday, and I will keep taking breaks when they are needed. And my family will be patient as always, they will pick up the slack where needed, it will be okay. We accommodate, together. I will get the rest I need. This is why I make the big bucks courtesy of Social Security, right? It will be okay.

MS is part of my life. It always will be, and I’m not sorry about that. It has taught me how to be patient and gracious, and how to laugh at myself. It has required strength I wouldn’t otherwise know I had. So yes, I guess you could say I am defined by my disability. I wouldn’t have it any other way.

Relishing the daily humdrum

Hmm. Well, I’ve kind of been feeling a blog post on the edge of my fingertips for some time (a couple weeks, not long), but now that I find the time and manage to sit down at my computer I’m at a loss for words. Isn’t that funny how that works? But now that I’ve started I’m sure the words will come. It usually happens like that. Usually.

Remember how I said I wanted to write a book? That’s not really all that true anymore. I love writing, yes, but the book idea was kind of daunting. It was never really my idea. Lots of people told me, after all that had happened to me in such a short period of time, that I should write a book. And I do love to write, so I thought it made sense. But I really never felt a nudge from God on that. He was pretty clear with me about writing this blog, and sharing my stories with others, but that was it. I do love to share my stories, when I can remember them, so I’m sure it’s possible that some day down the road we’ll get those stories all gathered together in a book, but I’m no longer putting pressure on myself to make that happen.

So I’ve decided to focus on other things lately. I am focusing on embracing the gift of each moment, embracing this new life I’ve found myself in. What does that look like? Nothing really out of the ordinary, really. Taking care of our home, taking care of the kids. Spending time with my family and friends. Wrestling tournaments, Girl Scout troop meetings, class parties, shopping trips. All blissfully ordinary things.

I don’t want to bore you with the details of those ordinary things, but I do want to explain why they are so significant to me. When I lost my hearing and my vision 2 1/2 years ago and I was in the hospital, they weren’t sure I was going to make it. But I did, I made it. And the recovery process that followed was tough on all of us, but I finally feel like we have made it THROUGH. We, as a family, have recovered, adjusted, adapted, and we are moving on with our lives. Granted, it’s quite different than what we may have envisioned, but I am firm in the belief that it is better. We have challenges, yes, but we are better off in spite of those challenges. Or maybe, perhaps, because of those challenges.  Life is good, folks. Real good.

“Every day is new again
Every day is yours to win
And that’s how heroes are made”

“Every Day is Yours to Win” ~R.E.M.