Tuesday, October 24, 2017

Miraculous Eating Disorder Recovery

I look back on all the horror of my eating disorder and I feel like I am where I am today by nothing short of a miracle.

How is it possible that I recovered from such a distorted relationship with food and a horrendously negative body image? I am at a loss to detail the journey. I'm sure I'll still try though.

What were the specific steps I took for healing? I don't know. I wish I could spell it out day by day to help others who are also suffering with this awful disease. I don't know how to help though.

All I know is that five years ago, I wanted to die.

All I know is that I wanted to kill myself.........but I couldn't.

The main thing, the one and only thing, that stopped me from "going through with it" was, "I am too fat to be found dead."

..........I am too fat to be found dead? What. the. hell.

Seriously. This is the sad truth. The only thing that kept me from killing myself was the FEAR of the judgement of my "fat, dead body".

That is how much I hated my body. That is how much I hated myself because of my body. That is how much I was suffering.

Ironically, the eating disorder was simultaneously killing me AND keeping me alive...it was nothing short of torture. Every single day was sheer torture.

My severely depressed brain would only take comfort in my vow to postpone killing myself until I was as skinny as I thought I should be.


Why am I so passionate about having a healthy relationship with food?

Why do I shudder and cringe when I hear people talk about "good food/bad food", losing weight, and diets?

Why do Fitbits and "getting your steps in" make me want to scream?


This perspective is a result of the road I've been traveling since high school. This is my perspective based on my experiences. I know not everyone will understand my passionate hate for Fitbits.

Because of my experiences, I general seclude myself from the outside, social world. I actually feel like it's my duty to guard my soul and stay away from certain situations, at this point in my life. I've been give this miraculously wonderful gift of eating disorder healing, a gift I am so unworthy of receiving, and I don't want to throw it away. Our society has absolutely no understanding of this gift and they will stop at nothing to rip me to shreds.

I don't follow current events. I don't have a smart phone. I don't have TV stations, so I don't have to watch commercials. I don't go on the Internet without a specific, intentional purpose. I don't have other social media besides a selective Instagram account, and I guess this blog counts too. And I don't go clothes shopping.

Don't worry, I do have indoor plumbing, a dishwasher, and a microwave.

However, I cannot watch a single college football game without encountering at least a dozen references and insinuations to the "Only Skinny is Sexy" agenda. Think I'm overeating? Don't believe me?  We are desensitized by the constant bombardment of the degradation of the human person. I am blown away in disgust at what I see on TV.

I have to do my clothes shopping online because every single retail clothing store makes me feel like "I am too big to be beautiful".

The world wants me to believe I am not good enough to be loved.

God wants me to rest in His constant, unwavering, UNCONDITIONAL LOVE.

Are you placing conditions on who can love you and how they can love you? Think I'm overreacting? Surely things cannot be THAT bad?

We only get one life, one chance, one soul to serve the ONE GOD.

Thursday, October 5, 2017

For all the Christians suffering with depression

Depression is not "your" cross to "offer up".

Depression is not "yours" in the sense that it is not "yours alone". God is not commanding that you get through it by yourself or without help from other people. If you think it is "your" job to deal with your mental illness, then you are being prideful. Not recognizing that you have depression is one thing, but rejecting treatment on the account of your faith is quite another.

Depression is not something you should just "offer up", keep hidden, or try to mask with work or busyness. Offering up your suffering and uniting it with Christ's on the Cross is a very holy thing. But let's figure out what that really means.

Suffering is a part of daily life. It looks different now than it did even 50 years ago. But despite our smartphones, air conditioning, and microwaves, suffering keeps popping up in different forms! We just can't get rid of the darn thing.

Depression is excruciating suffering. First hand experience. Every task is an impossible mountain to climb. You can try and try to get through life and offer up the suffering, but eventually you will run out of reserves and are in danger of giving up. I think every healthy minded person can agree that suicide is not God's option for you.

When I had depression, I thought it was my cross, mine, to offer up. I kept trying and trying to offer up this suffering, but it was leading me further and further away from God. I didn't realize I had depression at first - it was just this suffering that I couldn't explain. I truly believed I had to work through it, offer it up, and be content with "God alone suffices".

Let nothing disturb you,
Let nothing frighten you,
All things are passing away:
God never changes.
Patience obtains all things
Whoever has God lacks nothing;
God alone suffices.

-- St. Teresa of Avila

Does God alone suffice? Heck yes. Remember, He created us. He is our Divine Master. We are His. He created us. He created us as human beings with a soul .........and a body.

Is our body in the way? Sometimes it sure does feel like it.

God is not asking us to have a contest to see who can torture themselves the most. He is asking us to accept the suffering that has been given to us, not to go out and purposefully seek suffering for it's own sake in and of itself. Suffering is only good because it can lead us closer to God.

God alone suffices because......

......when the kids are hungry and crying at my feet and I'm also starving because it's an hour past lunch time, I serve them first because I know God alone suffices. I can sacrifice my needs in order to take care of them first. After they are ok, I can make lunch for myself. God alone suffices for me to delay my immediate needs to take care of others and serve Him through it.

God doesn't intend for me to give up eating entirely.

God alone suffices, because we are utterly dependent on HIM. Even though God alone suffices, I have to humbly eat to keep myself alive. I have to take showers and order more contacts...humbly. I am not a robot nor above human requirements.

Can you serve God when you have depression? Sure thing. But you can serve Him better when you are treating the depression. Can you serve God with a broken leg? Most definitely! But you can serve Him better when you are healthy. It would be ridiculous to reject a cast or disregard the advice to stay off your feet for a while in order to let your leg heal. When you get a broken leg, you are still offering up the suffering even if you humbly accept healing. We have to humble ourselves. It's all about humility. Humility through the suffering and the healing He give us. ...realize that He made us as human beings with a human body and He asks us to take care of it.


Bad things happen to good people and good things happen to bad people. Sometimes, the suffering we have in this life is not related to whether or not we "earned it". Depression is not the result of something you did or did not do. You do NOT deserve depression.

Theologically speaking, we "deserve" far worse. Because of our sins, our perfectly just God has the power to send us all to eternal suffering. But in His Mercy, He sent His Son to suffer for us. Any suffering we have, any sacrifices we make, can NEVER make us worthy of Heaven!! We can only get to Heaven because Jesus died on the cross FOR us.

So let's humbly accept our measly little suffering God gives us in order to let us be a part of His eternal plan.

It's like when I let my son, Dominic, help me make cookies. The whole time I'm thinking, "patience, patience, patience". Is Dominic helping? Well, yes, but my two year old couldn't do it on his own.

We know this life on earth is not our end goal. That's what makes us different. That's what makes us unique from the rest of the Godless society. It is easier to live through the suffering now, because, when we've done everything we can to take care of ourselves and still experience suffering, we can take comfort in the fact that it is only temporary.

Living in the world but not of the world -- Not that we reject our humanity and try to live as Gods.

We have to live in this world until God says our time is up. Because it's all about His timing, He requires us to take care ourselves until He calls us home.

Treat your depression. Don't reject the medicine or counseling because you think God is asking you to get through it on your own. He's not. He's asking you to humble yourself and ask for help so that you may serve Him to your fullest potential and help other people along the way.

Monday, October 2, 2017

Why do bad things happen to good people?

I've always thought that I deserved my suffering. Depression made my life a living hell. Every daily task was torture. However, I thought I brought this judgement upon myself from my past sins. I couldn't forgive myself, and I felt like I earned every bad thing that that happened to me.

But now, since healing from depression and rejoicing in the Mercy of God, I am able to receive His forgiveness. I can move on and no longer dwell in the past or cringe over my faults and failures.

This new perspective on life has lead me to ponder a different question. ...A perplexing question from almost the beginning of time. I never really understood it before as applied to my personal life because I always felt like I deserved my suffering. I even rejected good things because of my perceived unworthiness. But now I sit here wondering...

Why do bad things happen to good people?

If a person loves and serves Our Lord, why would He seemingly punish them with things like: natural disasters, cancer, unemployment, mental illness, tragic deaths, poverty, infertility? You name it...

If God was God, why would He allow His people to suffer, even if they didn't deserve it?

Because this world is not our home.

Everything we do now has a consequence later. We can't ever just check out and put our lives in cruise control. We are either moving toward our goal or slipping away from our goal.

Bear with me for a moment...I have an interesting analogy that kind of came from reading the Book of Job the other day.

Food that tastes bad is still food.

If all I had to eat were things that didn't taste good to me, like Brussel sprouts and fish, I would eat them so I wouldn't die. I might even eat some crazier things than that if I was starving on a deserted island and in danger of death. I don't know if I could ever eat a snake or a rat or a spider, but starvation is desperate. I wouldn't like eating a snake, but it would keep me alive.

In order to understand suffering, you must first understand that this life is a journey. If life on earth was the end goal, then success, money, popularity, comfort, etc. would be appropriate to pursue. But, life on earth is not the end.

What we do in life, echoes in eternity. And I'm not just talking about how you are remembered by the people in the world. Heaven is eternally living the choice to love and serve God. Hell is the choice to eternally live without Love, as far away as possible from Love.

In allowing us to suffer, God is giving us food for the journey. We may not like what He has to offer, but that doesn't mean it won't nourish our soul in the very way that we need.

As a kid, I didn't like certain foods, but as I grew and matured, I learned to appreciate different foods. As we grow and mature in our spiritual lives, we learn to appreciate the food God gives us. Sometimes, we don't like the taste -- suffering is bitter, like being forced to eat from a garbage dump, but suffering is not garbage, nor sewage, nor bugs -- it is the filet minion of life. We just haven't grown up enough to recognize that yet. Our taste buds are not mature enough to appreciate it's splendidness.

If we cooperate with God's grace, suffering can nourish our souls in a way that nothing else can. It is food for this journey here on earth. If we let it, it will sustain us until we reach our final resting place.

Wednesday, September 27, 2017

Am I cheating God by taking Prozac?

Life is supposed to be hard...............right?

I was living in despair for such a long time that I really don't know what life is suppose to feel like. I don't remember.

Am I allowed to be happy?

Because of or in spite of my Catholic faith, I can sometimes get all tangled up in thought of what is right and what is wrong. I can get turned around inside my brain and think my way into some bizarre notions. So.....life is hard, bad things happen, work, study, work, mental suffering, physical suffering, natural disasters, tragic death, work, sickness, work, work, work....suffering is a part of daily life. Bad or worse, it's always present. These things happen so often that I've just come to accept them as normal.

Sure, I know Coldplay told us that "nobody said it was easy". But did God tell us it has to be ridiculously, wicked hard?

We wandered back out to the desert, with Moses and the sons of Israel. We went out to get something, got lost, spend so much time away that, even when we found the door back in, we could not remember if we were allow back in. So we lingered by the entrance, thirsting, starving, dying. We were wandering around for so long that we forgot that God already brought us into the Promised Land.

I believe, along with the tradition of the Church, that God allows evil things to happen only so that He can make a greater good come from it. In that way, suffering can help us get closer to Heaven if we cooperate with grace.

I struggled mightily when I had depression. Wow, life was Hell. Am I supposed to deal with hell on earth in order to get to Heaven? Is that the only way?

I used to think that.

Before I started healing, I thought that I had to "offer up" my suffering. I thought I had to embrace it, "embrace my cross", as Jesus did. "Am I running away?" I often feared. Am I taking away my "path to holiness" by mitigating my suffering by taking an anti-depressant? I thought it was my burden to carry until the bitter end.

While suffering from depression, I was on the path to killing myself. The suffering was pulling me farther away from God. No matter how hard I tried or how many prayers I prayed, I wasn't able to grow closer to God through the pain.

But since getting help for depression, going to counseling, and taking medication, I am thriving in my faith. Grace is overflowing from my life. I am waking up early to pray and read the Bible. (The Bible, by the way, is coming alive! I used to go to bed looking forward to my cup of coffee in the morning. Now, I look forward to walking with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.)

I know there are Saints who have sought out suffering or kept their suffering to themselves in order to offer it up in union with the sacrifice of Jesus Christ. The hair shirts, the fasting, the torture, etc. However, they did none of it in spite of God, instead they did it to get closer to God. God blessed their efforts and gave them the graces to get through it. The Saints succeeded because God was with them, they depended on Him for everything, owing nothing to their personal efforts.

The fruit of my life before getting help for depression was death. The fruit of my life now is actual life. And I'm not talking about my physical body.

My family is doing great. My boys are a joy. They get to play with their mom all day. They are learning and growing and, most every day, ---happily living life. My marriage is thriving. I am able to show love and receive love. Friendship and family abound. I am surrounded by LIFE.

How can all these good thing reflect a wrong choice? Am I cheat by taking an anti-depressant? No.

I am not shrinking from suffering. Daily life is still filled with plenty of pain and sacrifice. But I have given it all over to God. The things that I cannot do, He does with LOVE. It is no longer my burden to carry alone. It is God carrying me through the burden.

Monday, September 25, 2017

Every Sunrise

Hmmmm....just start writing. That's the trick, they say, to achieving consistent, habitual output for the writer. Practice makes perfect, or at least, practice makes us satisfied with our efforts. If I put in the work, then I know I've tried as hard as I can and the rest is up to God. What I put out there doesn't have to make sense, just start typing and typing and typing for a few minutes to get warmed up...just keep typing. It's like stretching for the runner, because you have to get warmed up before you take off or you'll get injured.

I think this method would be a good experiment to try for painting as well. But painting is tricky business. There is paint involved! There is set up beforehand and clean up afterward, and I just don't have that kind of time right now. But I keep coming back to it....like the urge to eat. I get hungry everyday, don't you? I get hungry like 3 or 4 or 5 times a day......and I usually eat, regardless of the hassle, don't you?

I could set up some space in a room that would be a safe place to paint, drop cloths down or a "who care's about that floor" floor, supplies at hand, classical music ready to go, a lock on the door to keep out dangerously curious hands, etc. I could come and go easily. Situations with the kids change from minute to minute, and I'm often caught in a whirlwind of hundred things to do in about five minutes of time.

Nice. I like this exercise. It's reminiscent of High School Spanish class when our teacher would set the egg timer for a minute and we had to write exclusively in Spanish the whole time. Boy oh boy did we grumble! But, gosh darn it if we didn't get better and better if we just tried and trusted in the pen.

It is so hard to show our vulnerable side...our unedited side. We really like to Photoshop before posting and edit before publishing.

We're fighting a losing battle tying to be absolutely perfect.

Every sunrise is different, every sunrise is beautiful. The sun is not trying to create the perfect sunrise....the sun is just fulfilling it's potential as it was created. It is just, moment to moment, being what it was created to be, nothing more.

Friday, September 22, 2017

The Blind Leading the Blind

During the day, I often think of "great" ideas to write about for this blog. I tried keeping a little notebook to jot down a sentence or two so I could return to it when I had time and finally get the chance to write that "great" post. But it rarely happens because it's not my main mission. And right now, I only have time and energy for my main mission. Writing is an art and I love art. I love language. It fascinates me. But do I throw up on the page because that's all I have time for? Or do I spend morning after morning tweaking and editing my words so that they come across EXACTLY how I intend for them to come across? Eh, first world problems I guess.

I'll keep trucking because of a desire to help other people in the same way that other people helped me. I know I'm not the best writer out there, and that's totally ok with me. I just want you to know you're not alone. So I'll try not to get hung up on the notion of being perfectly understood anymore. It's a balance probably. Everything in moderation. Perfect is boring. cliché. cliché. Have I lost you yet? haha.

I can finally return to those dark days of major depression with just my memory instead of reliving the whole ordeal with my emotions.

Looking back on that time of despair, I had a lot of help. I used to read blog after blog about people like me, reading what they did to help themselves or suggestions they thought to try. I talked to friends and family and counselors, and they listened and tried to help. It was a time of extreme loneliness. Connecting with people who also had depression really helped me not to give up.

See, I thought I was the worst possible case out there. I thought there was no way I could ever get over "my problems". I thought I was unique in my depression and anxiety. I thought it was "my cross" to "offer up". Then, I started to meet other people who suffered in similar ways as me. Of course each person is different and what helps me might not help you. But it was similar enough for me to realize that "this depression thing" is a thing and it's worth talking about.

Also, once I let go of the idea that it was "MY" problem, I could really start to heal.

I don't know what I'm trying to say today. I guess I just feel the need to communicate because isolation is a depression trigger for me.

Friday, August 18, 2017

Struggle vs. Struggle

When you have depression, a "struggle" is more than a struggle. It is the end of the world. It is the most difficult thing to overcome. A struggle is an impossible task. It is despair.

When you have depression...

...and the dishwasher breaks, how can life go on? "Just one more thing that is broken. What is the point of life when everything breaks? Why do we even need to wash dishes? Why do we even need to eat? If we did not eat, then we would not need to wash dishes, then we would not need to have a broken dishwasher. Then we would not need to spend money on fixing the dishwasher. Who is going the call the repair man? I can't talk to him. I am about to cry. I can't answer the door when he comes. I am a mess. I don't know what to say to him. I am an idiot and I don't know a thing about anything. Do I have enough fuel to start up my "fake it till you make it" engine? I think I'm out of gas. I'm not sure I should have gotten out of bed today."

...and you have a cold, you feel like you really might die. "How can I possibly handle anything? I can't even deal with a measly little cold. There is no way I could handle anything worse. How could I ever have a baby? I am the most pathetic person in the whole world. Surely, I don't deserve anything good. Happiness will never be in my heart."

...and you feel like you said the wrong thing, you feel like you do not deserve to live. "Going over this conversation in my head over and over and over, I know I should have said something different. I feel so much pressure to say and do the right thing. How do I even know what is the right thing? I might as well never say anything to anyone ever again. I cannot live with this turmoil, I might as well be a hermit. I am no good to anyone. I do not matter to anyone. There is no one in the world who would care if I disappeared."

When you have depression, small struggles are debilitating. Every daily task is like climbing Mt. Everest. You feel like you can't handle anything. And because you realize these should be simple struggles, the fear of a bigger struggle happening to you is absolutely detrimental.

When you are getting treatment for depression, the medicine is helping, you are reading self-help information and practicing healthy coping skills, and you are receiving good quality counseling, a struggle is no longer the same struggle as it used to be.

When you are getting help for depression and your body and mind start to heal, you realize that there are different kinds of struggles. There are small struggles and big struggles. What used to be huge struggles, aren't so bad anymore. When you hear the word "struggle", it no longer instills fear and shaking nor means the end of the world. A struggle can actually mean a fun challenge.

I promise you there is a beautiful life on the other side of depression. I've been to the pit of hell, rock bottom, despair beyond despair, and I am here to tell you that there is HOPE, there is HEALING, and there are struggles that are actually FUN. You are not alone. Do not give up.

Friday, July 28, 2017

Depression is a real medical illness

Depression is an illness. It is not who you are.

I don't have any other way to describe it other than saying, depression is a disease in your brain; it's complex, it's confusing, and because of this, frustrating, but it's there.

Depression is NOT laziness. Depression is NOT ingratitude. Depression is NOT selfishness. When you are suffering from depression, you are NOT a bad person. Depression attacks the brain and causes all sorts of problems that YOU CANNOT CONTROL, no matter how hard you try.

I actively tried to heal myself of depression for eight and a half years. I dieted hard core. I exercised my butt off, literally. I took vitamins and supplements. I ate so many gosh-forsaken vegetables. I meditated. I prayed so hard I got callouses on my knees. I graduated college. I excelled at job after job. I fell in love. I got married. I gave up smoking. I gave up alcohol. I gave up coffee. I ran a marathon. I volunteered. Gosh darn it, I DID EVERYTHING RIGHT. You want to tell me I didn't try hard enough? I'll punch you in the face. Some people might even try to tell me that I tried too hard.

I just read several articles about the science of depression trying to formulate a summary. When I sat down this morning, I was going to write a technological post that highlighted the facts that depression is a real medical problem. However, I remembered feeling like those kind of articles really didn't help me when I was in the trenches. What helped me was knowing that the proof was out there, and once my brain was healthy again, I could go back and read and understand. If you want to read something "sciencey", read this article from Harvard Health Publications. Harvard, y'all.

Let me remind you AND MYSELF over and over and over that I have an illness, and I am not just an awful person...or lazy or spoiled or the worst kind of sinner. Depression is a real medical disease.

When you are suffering from depression, you are not the sum of what depression tells you that you are. You are not the sum of your symptoms. You are not the sum of what other people think of you.

Similarly, but OBVIOUSLY OBVIOUSLY OBVIOUSLY way different, someone does not choose to have cancer. It happens to you. Could you imagine telling someone with cancer that it's their fault? How heartbreaking would it be to hear someone say to someone with cancer that "if you just would have done some things differently, you wouldn't have this health issue" or that "you could be cured of it if you just changed your attitude and tried harder". Try telling someone with cancer that God gave you this suffering and you just have to offer it up. Try telling someone with cancer that "it's situational and once you get a job, or move, or find love, or volunteer you'll feel better".

I KNOW cancer is a million bazillion times different than depression. I will not pretend to understand cancer. I have absolutely NO IDEA what having cancer would be like. I have absolutely no idea how difficult it must be. But please let me draw the comparison that depression is like cancer in the way that you don't choose to have it. No one would ever choose cancer. No one would ever choose depression.

You can't let cancer go and see if it goes away. You can't let depression go and see if it goes away. You need medical help, whatever that might be.

Seriously, no one would choose depression. No one is choosing not to just "get over" depression.

People who are suffering from depression are some of the strongest, most committed, most compassionate, most caring, most generous, most loyal people you will ever meet. It is likely that they have lived through hell all alone without any support.

Finally getting help for depression does not mean that you are giving up, it does not mean that you are a failure. Getting help for depression means you are acknowledging the great MERCY OF GOD.

I believe God allows bad things to happen so that a greater good can come from it. He also works though other people and gives us the tools to help. Does He reach down His hand and cure someone right out in a dramatically miraculous way? Yes. But, I also believe that He works His miracles through the means He gives us.

I think Prozac is a miracle. It has miraculously changed my life.

In the past, I thought I would die. I wanted to die. Medicine saved my life. I am not a failure for taking medicine. I am not weak for taking medicine. I am acknowledging God's mercy and I will humbly take this little tiny pill because IT HELPS ME. Don't tell me it's all in my head. I know it's all in my head; my brain is suffering, my brain is flawed, my brain does not work the same way other people's brains work, and my brain needs help.

Depression symptoms actually make you feel like a failure. The symptoms actually cause you to think that you are a lazy, selfish, irresponsible, weak, angry, emotional, down-right-awful person. Depression makes you feel like other people think you are a failure too, whether they do or don't.

Something goes wrong in your brain. It could be sudden or gradual. The brain is so complicated. I don't know all the scientific facts. And I'm sure that we, as a society, have not yet learned all there is to know about the human body.

But we do know that depression is an illness. Getting medical help for depression can save your life.

Saturday, July 8, 2017

A person is a person no matter how sick

Recently, someone said something to me that really stuck. You know who you are. Thank you for your wise words.

"A person being on medication for depression is no different than a person being on medication for high blood pressure or diabetes or anything."

You can tell yourself something over and over and over...
...then someone else says it and you're like "ah-ha!". Ya know?

You are no less a person if you take medicine for depression or anxiety or any other mental health problem.

Why is there is so much guilt/shame that comes with taking antidepressant medication? To admit you have depression requires you almost to admit that you are a failure, that you are weak, and that you can't handle pain. Depression, itself, is a disease in your brain that makes you feel this way. Then, in order to accept help, you have to look it, depression, in the face and say, "Yes, you are right, Stupid Depression. I am NOT good enough, I am NOT worthy, and I am NOT the way I wish I was. I admit that I can not do this thing called 'living' anymore on my own. Yet, Stupid Depression, I. DO. NOT. CARE. what you are telling me. Despite all the negative things you are making me believe about myself, I choose to try this medicine. Because I have hope for a better life. Because I have hope that I'm meant for more than misery. Because I have hope that all those things I believe about myself are not true."

There was once a time before antibiotics. We take them for granted now, but they are a modern invention to help people live longer and better lives. Antidepressants are also a medical advancement to help people live longer and better lives. It's different, yet also the same.

A person is a person no matter how small.
A person is a person no matter if they are born or unborn.
A person is a person no matter what they do.
A person is a person no matter if they have a job or not.
A person is a person no matter if they have a terminal illness.
A person is a person no matter what medication they are taking.

Friday, June 30, 2017

Because I LOVE reading books. Because I LOVE to learn. And maybe you do too!

So this book...

A Mother's Rule of Life: How to Bring Order to Your Home and Peace to Your Soul

By Holly Pierlot

About the vocation of MOTHERHOOD. Why didn't anyone tell me about this book before I had kids?!?! Babies don't come with an instruction manual, unfortunately. But this book is the closest thing you can read on how to live a happy, fulfilling, stress-free life with kids.

Before I read this book, I thought kids and chaos went together like Peanut Butter and Jelly. Handling chaos is not one of my strengths. For that reason, I've always been attracted to the religious life. My Aunt and Godmother is a Dominican Sister of the St. Cecilia Congregation in Nashville, TN. I thought I was called to be a religious sister when I was in college. But, long story short, I was just attracted to the tranquility, the schedule, the beauty, the simplicity, the apparent peace and joy that comes with that certain kind of closeness to Our Lord. There was no way to achieve that "spirituality" being a mom..........or was there? Longer story even shorter, I am married with two kids. Holly says there is a way to bring a "Rule" into your home without putting your kids up for adoption and joining an religious order.

I finally have an understanding of my vocation as a mother. Sure, I'm not perfect in putting it into practice. But it's a hel'ov'a lot better. I have direction. I have purpose. Being a mom has so much more meaning now.

If you read this beautiful book, please don't let it overwhelm you. Holly had older kids when she wrote it. With little little kids, it is practically impossible to stick to a time schedule. And I didn't write things down as I read, like she recommends. I just read the whole thing and took the spirit of it and applied it to my own particular season of life.

And let me say....life changing. for me. right now. at this time in my life. 'nough said.

Monday, June 26, 2017

God's plan is infinitely greater than mine

Yesterday was Sunday. I try to follow the mantra, "Lots of God, Lots of Family, and Lots of Rest", a quote that I stole from this great book about the vocation of motherhood called, "A Mother's Rule of Life: How to bring order to your home and peace to your soul" by Holly Pierlot.

Anyway, both boys took an awesomely epic nap....at the same time. This never happens. I caught a quick nap myself and then just kind of chilled out doing I can't remember what. As the minutes went by, I got more and more anxious. I started pacing. What the heck was going on? My heart rate skyrocketed, and I started breathing heavily. I felt like I was going to have a panic attack. I didn't know what was wrong. There was no logical explanation. I thought I'd be refreshed, but instead, I felt awful.

The trouble was that, usually, I have a plan. And when I don't have a plan, I feel "shoulds" and "oughts" and "should haves". Yesterday, I unexpectedly had 2 1/2 hours of "free time". As this rare opportunity grew, I felt more and more guilty that I hadn't used my time wisely........or what I thought was "wisely".  All the things I could have done piled up inside my head until I was about to explode.

As much as I try to make Sunday God's day, I couldn't just let go 100% and be content doing nothing, resting as God did on the last day of the week.

There is so much I feel like I have to do. There is so much I'd like to do.

But all those things on my lists, yes lists, are not top priority.

I have not fully embraced my vocation as a mother. I still try to fit in all this other stuff to make myself happy so that I can just get through my primary job, being a mom.

God called me to this vocation of motherhood because, in His great wisdom, He knows it's my path to Heaven and ultimate happiness. I may think I have the best plan, but God's plan is infinitely greater.

I'll try to let go of my rules and start following God's rule for my life.

Thursday, June 15, 2017

I'll try this for now, but I'm not I'm not getting my hopes up

I think I may have figured out a somewhat suitable solution for my "kids get the screamies and I just want coffee" problem.

I run myself into the ground before asking for help. I try to do everything myself......because that's what I feel like I should be doing. I'm not working, so I need to save money and not get babysitters. At least, that is what guilt is telling me.

Honestly, to maintain good mental health, I need to schedule times throughout the week to take breaks. Whether that's setting up a babysitter in advance, or talking with my husband about a good time for him to watch the kids, or whatever, I think I could use an hour away a couple days a week. Any more than two hours and I run out of things to do, or I feel like I'm falling behind on all the tasks two young boys require you to do.

The thing is though, I'll do this "take care of me" priority for like a week, if even that. Then, things come up and it's the first to go out the window. I'm the first to sacrifice myself when times get tough. I know I am going to do it again and again. Because I'd die for my family. I love them.

But they are going to kill me if I don't take care of myself.

Monday, June 12, 2017

Kids get the "screamies" and I want a coffee break

A new day, a fresh day with no mistakes in it....yet. I think Annie of Green Gables might have said something along those lines. I don't feel like looking it up. Lazy, I guess. I am already feeling defeated before the day even really starts. Hmmmmm.....

Before, like in college and before kids, I used the beginning of a new day as a natural reset button. It feels logical to start over on a new day. The sun will come out tomorrow kind of thing. In the past, if I was having a really difficult time, I would check out for the day, isolate myself, read in my bed, watch TV, cancel all activities, etc. Not exact 100% healthy, but it kept me going.

I definitely can't do that now. As much as I'd like to check out until I can start again tomorrow, I have two itsy bitsy kids who need me to stay checked in.

SO how can I click the "reset button" during the day? I am really limited in what I can do.

I would LIKE to go for a run. Make a cup of coffee and read on the porch. Go to church and pray a rosary. Take a 15 minute nap. But I can't do those things right now, because what are these kiddos going to do? But, by the time I can coordinate a last minute babysitter, if I can do it (which has more to do with me admitting I need help), it seems to turn out more stressful then if I would have just let it go. Missed nap times, missed meals, missed poopy diapers resulting in diaper rashes, them just needing more mommy attention and getting the "screamies"...

I feel so guilty about using television. I feel like I need to figure out another way to "save the day". This week, I'm like, "NO MORE TV". But it's Monday morning at 7:00am and I've already caved.

What do you do? How do you reset in the middle (or beginning) of the day?

Friday, June 2, 2017

From Crazy to Cool

I used to get so angry. I could go from calm to blowing smoke out my ears in a matter of seconds. Like when I would spend a while trying to get Joseph to sleep, and Dominic would waltz in and wake him up just as I was laying him down. I would get so mad. I hated my anger. I was terrified of my anger. It hurt my heart and my head. I don't know why I got so angry. I don't know where it came from. I thought I was just a terrible person. How can you get mad at two little kids? I hated myself for it. I wanted to punish myself for it.

Not too long ago as well, fear consumed my life. So many things used to frighten me. Big things, little things. I was afraid to leave the house. I was afraid of the future. I was afraid of everything. Even bugs would frighten me. Spiders especially. I could hardly function if I knew a spider was in the room. If I thought I walked into a spider web, I would constantly brush my shoulders and flip my hair. Once, we thought a mouse was in the basement. I couldn't sleep. I could hardly think about anything else except that it was scampering over me and my kids during the night.

My poor boys. I used to be so picky about changing diapers. It would take me two, three times as long as anyone else to change a diaper because they had to be wiped just so. No molecule of poop was allowed within a 100 mile radius. And the diaper had to be on just so, not too loose, not too tight. It was frustrating for everyone involved, to say the least.

I used to be really picky about washing dishes and cleaning too. Everything would take me so extremely long to complete. I moved so slowly, so careful not to miss one single germ, rinsing things ten times over. I would have a nervous breakdown every time I cleaned the bathroom. I cleaned it well mind you, but I couldn't get over that it wasn't perfect. I felt like there was always more to clean no matter how long I spent on it. The thought of germs sent me into a panic.

The stomach bug would knock me senseless. Thank God for my husband who always knew how to snap into action. I've been thrown up on many many times and every time he's had to console me and the poor sick child at the same time. Sometimes, I would get a hunch that Dominic was going to get sick and I'd be up all night listening for him. I did not know what to do or how to clean up or how to handle the thought of it happening again and again all night long. It was debilitating.

Cleaning and germs and schedules seemed to be my biggest challenges. When the kids went to bed at night, I cleaned up all the toys and put them back into their special spots. I waited until they went to bed because I was embarrassed and afraid of passing on my obsessive behavior. I even tried to hide it from Craig because I knew it was ridiculous.

I tried stopping these weird habits, but I felt like I had to. I always felt better when it was done, like a hit off a cigarette. I knew something wasn't right. But in survival mode, sometimes you just have to do what you do.

Ever since I've been on Prozac, however, these weird rituals have slowly faded away. At first, I didn't notice. But now, I'm shocked.

My anger has subsided. I laugh things off more. I say, "OK, we'll try again later". My heart and my head and my actions seem to be more aligned. Of course I'm not 100% never angry. But it's more realistic and I get over it easier, like how I used to when I was a kid.

I'm not as afraid of things anymore. I'm squashing spiders left and right. I might even hold your pet mouse, if you asked me to. Surely I'll use hand sanitizer after, but I'll hold it! I'll answer my phone when it rings, I'll answer the door when someone rings the bell. I'll even make scary phone calls instead of copping out with a text. I can take deep breaths and use my coping skills to conquer really scary fears. Like not knowing how or when we're going to move this month. In the past, it would have kept me up all night. Now, I just let go, pray, trust, and give it God. Everything I've practiced and tried is finally working. Of course I'm not perfect, but who is?!

Changing diapers and cleaning aren't as big a deal to me anymore. Today, I set the record for the fastest (and the cleanest thank you) poopy diaper blowout change ever! And as far as house chores go, I only clean about 30 min a weekday. Maybe. If I feel like it. Ok, we'll say 3 or 4 days a week then. :) Dominic plays in the dirt. I let Joseph crawl around in the grass. And, you know, sometimes we even forget to wash our hands when we come inside.

But our house is adequately clean and the kids are joyfully happy.

Instead of focusing on all the "to-do", now I can see all the people around me and rejoice in their presence.

I didn't know how much depression was affecting my life until I started to get better.

Thursday, June 1, 2017

Treating your eating disorder will treat your "sugar addiction"

I've been thinking a lot about sugar recently. Sweet Biscuits! You too?!

I just went to the dentist...da, da, da, duuuuum (the ominous Beethoven chords). I have several cavities, all on the left side of my mouth. The dentist said it was most likely from the gummy prenatal vitamins I took last year. Hmmm. Well, that's a bummer. Sometimes you feel like you just can win, ya know? You think you're doing something right...

Also, my older son has been having chronic diarrhea that comes and goes for, I don't know, forever. We recently figured out that it is likely from a fructose-malabsorption issue. Meaning, it is not good for him to eat too many high-fructose fruits or food with high-fructose corn syrup. We're talking about blowing through boxes of diapers. I've never heard of someone not tolerating fruit before, but a low-fructose diet is helping him tremendously. It is most likely something he will grow out of, hopefully. Or, at least, he should be able to handle more fruits in the future. Weird, huh?

There are so many opinions about sugar. So many. Say! Why don't I add another? OOOOOOK.

Some people think it's a slow acting poison. Some people think sugar is addictive. Some people think that sugar tricks our brains into thinking we aren't full when we are.

I'm not going to scientifically study sugar and it's effects so I guess I'll never really know the answer to the ever popular question, is sugar bad or not? There's fructose, glucose, sucrose, lactose, and maybe more, I don't know. But if you were to say that all sugar is bad and you should not eat it, I'm not sure what else you'd have left to eat!

So, I can't answer the blanket sweep of a question, but what I do think is that I can answer the question of is sugar bad for me? For me. Not you. Not you. Not you either. I can only answer the question of whether or not sugar is bad for me.

Honestly, and maybe a priest can correct me here, sugar is not inherently evil in and of itself. Sugar is neither good nor bad, morally speaking. It's neutral!

Yup, that's right. Eating sugar does not make you a bad person. Go back and read that again. You are not a bad person if you eat sugar! There is no such thing as "sinfully delicious chocolate", "decadently indulgent cookies", "wickedly naughty ice cream", or whatever. All those things, chocolate, ice cream, cookies, or other sweets are morally neutral. Eating them does not make you a bad person.

Similar to alcohol, also something that is neither morally good nor bad. However, ahem, however, how one uses it determines the morality. It's about what you do with it.

Personally, I cannot handle drinking alcohol. It was a long road to get to where I am today, and I'm not about to throw it all away so I can have a glass a wine. By the grace of God, I realize I am limited, and humbled, by the unfortunate fact that I do not know when enough is enough. For whatever reason, and it's not just because I haven't tried hard enough, I cannot moderately drink alcohol.

The best way to approach my situation is to end my relationship with alcohol completely. No more drinking. No more getting drunk. No more addiction. No more sin. (It's so not that easy, I know.)

I used to feel the same way about sugar, once upon a time....like a decade ago....or longer.

I do not feel the same way about sugar now. I feel like I am capable of eating sugar in moderation. I actually feel like I can eat anything in moderation....again by the glorious grace of God. Ever since I found healing from my eating disorder, I am freed from any sugar binging episodes or temptations. I am actually listening to my body and my hunger cues. I actually pay attention to things that give me an upset stomach or headache. I pay attention to food that I like and make me feel good. I don't like to drink pop because it makes me too bloated and gassy. But I'll still have one every now and then. But I'm not like drinking it by the case just because I am over my eating disorder (myth buster #gazillion). I love Sea Salted Carmel Truffles. I get them every now and then and it makes me happy. Again, not eating them by the case.

Treating my eating disorder inadvertently treated my "sugar addiction".

I thought I was addicted to sugar. I felt like I had absolutely no control when it came to eating. And that is absolutely terrifying. Especially, because of, influenced by, etc., all those dang grocery store checkout aisle magazines. We. must. control. our. bodies. If not, we are likely to end up fat, loveless, jobless, joyless, and oh yeah, did I mention fat?

With alcohol, you can give it up and never go back, if you so choose. But if you are struggling with an eating disorder, especially Binge Eating Disorder, you can't really give up eating.....then it would be called Anorexia.....which happens more often than you might think.....and you are still in a mess.

So, I think (just my opinion) it is very possible that some people think they are addicted to sugar or can't eat it in moderation, but, in reality, they are struggling with a binge eating disorder.

The withdraw symptoms of a "sugar addiction" don't hold a candle to the withdraw symptoms of an alcohol or drug addiction. Talking about your past/present/reoccurring sugar addiction at a party is really pretty rude, considering someone else there probably is personally affected by drug abuse or alcoholism.

I will not down play a perceived sugar addiction. The effects of an eating disorder are very awful. It consumes your life. It can cause depression and suicide. So, yeah, misdiagnosing an eating disorder and calling it a "sugar addiction" is dangerous.

Some people are lactose-intolerant. And it makes sense to give up dairy or take those cool little expensive pills. My poor son won't be able to have too much fructose for a while, but he needs to so he can grow and not be in intestinal pain all the time. Some people can't drink sugary drinks like pop or Gatorade because they want to protect their teeth from further decay. But most of the time, these people are totally ok with it and do not battle themselves with their decision.

I think whether or not to eat sugar is personal question. I do not think it should be banned in our country. I do not think the government should get involved. I do not think schools should brainwash children with lists of which foods are "bad" or "good". And I do not think that people should plaster their anti-sugar agenda all over everywhere.

Eating disorder treatment is the better option. I think we could save more lives and give people better lives by facing the eating disorder epidemic in our country.

Tuesday, May 30, 2017

Is it OK to take antidepressant medication?

The past is in the past, but gosh darn it, I should have been taking an antidepressant years ago. I don't know what I was waiting for. Someone to tell me to? A good feeling that I was doing the right thing? A sign from God? The right timing? Or maybe it would just go away? Please God just let it go away.

I realized I would never get that "it's OK" feeling to take medicine.

But I know I was waiting. I knew deep down that I could really benefit from trying out the medicine again. My stubbornness coupled with my "Family of Origin" caused me to resist help for a long time.

Family of Origin (a term described to me by a counselor a while ago) is how we have been shaped by our families. It is not necessarily a bad or good thing, just something that you should be aware of especially when joining two families together in marriage. Most of my family habits are good things, because I was raised in a wonderful family.

Hilarious example, in my family, when we were sick with a stomach bug, we had towels by our bed or on our pillow to throw up in if we couldn't make it to the bathroom. I didn't realize that no one else really did that. In my husbands family, they had buckets or bowls...like most people. Neither way is right or wrong, they're just different. If I think my way is always right, then by default, the other way is always wrong...which can cause a lot of problems in a relationship obviously. It is best to be truly open to other ideas, think things through, and challenge yourself when necessary.

Because of my FOO, I realized that I was holding onto beliefs about taking medicine. In my extended family (and in a lot of families), medicine has this kind of stigma. My perception is that if you take medication you are weak, lazy, a failure, going to die of cancer at a young age, or just plain pitiable. I don't know where I learned this. I don't know how or when. I think it's just a gradual process learned from many conversations over the years. And maybe its just my perception of the perception. I could very well be projecting my fears onto other people thoughts.

Regardless, I am embarrassed. I am embarrassed to be taking an antidepressant. I am embarrassed to admit to my family that I am depressed and I need to take medication. I am actually even afraid to tell anyone that I am depressed and taking medication.

I had known for a while that things were not good and I needed some help. Unfortunately, no one was going to be able to convince me that going to counseling and taking medicine was the right thing to do. No one could walk me through it, holding my hand telling me it would be ok. I would never get those "good feelings" that I was making the right decision. No one would do it for me and no one would make me feel ok about doing it. I had to make the call. I had to show up at the assessment appointment, then again at the psychiatrist appointment. I had to pick up my prescription at the Drug Store. Then, I have to go back to the counseling center and pharmacy every few months. I had to battle myself every time...and still do.

Then why did I make my own decision? I really don't know why. And I really don't know how. I just did. The Grace of God maybe? I don't know why some people suffering from depression decide to take care of themselves while others decide to commit suicide. It's awful. It breaks my heart. There is so much I don't understand.

But I think it would help if we got rid of this medication stigma so people aren't so darn afraid of taking medicine that could save their life.

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Fear not

My son, Dominic, is a little on the timid side. He gets startled and frightened easily. Loud noises, like the horn at a basketball game, or a "dunder-storm" scare him...which I'm sure is typical for a two year old. Of course, I try to be compassionate and understanding. I tell him "it's OK, you're OK, it can't hurt you" or "I'm here and I'll keep you safe" or something like that. I try to help him see that he doesn't have to be afraid. It's hard to see him afraid. But, at times, it's humorous. Like when he screams and covers his mouth every time he sees a fly. I guess I shouldn't have sang him the song, "There was an old lady who swallowed a fly".

Jesus tells us "Be not afraid!" I heard once that, in the Bible, God tells us to fear not 365 times - one for each day of the year. I'm not sure if that's true. I personally have not gone through the bible and counted...If I had that much free time!!!

I imagine that Our Heavenly Father has compassion for us when He sees us afraid of things. Maybe even sometimes we make Him chuckle. "Ah, my silly children, you don't have to be afraid of things like the future, money, or global warming. I AM here. I will keep you safe. Trust me. You don't understand now, but you will later."

Thursday, May 18, 2017

Body, Mind, and Spirit

Thinking about the human person and He who made us who we are.

We are made up of body, mind, and spirit. I think I could get a couple of people to agree with me there.

As a Catholic, we mean the same thing, we just have a little different language for it. In His great mercy, God gave us each of these capacities: a Body, or "the flesh" that will rise again and live forever in Heaven or Hell, an Intellect, and a Will.

After original sin, we, as human beings, were no longer working in harmony as one: body, mind, and soul together. From personal experience, I can attest to the disunity. The body goes against the mind, being obstinate to what we want to do. The mind goes against the spirit...my heart is telling me one thing and my mind is telling me another. And the spirit is sometimes trapped in a broken body.

But God brings about good from every situation. He does not waste one second of suffering, but uses each and every situation to effect good, whether or not we realize it or see the results in this life.

So, I was thinking about all three faculties of the human person and wondering how they all fit into God's plan for my life. He didn't create us to be in constant disharmony, but He created us for peace and happiness.

I know my spirit is weak. I often feel very betrayed by my emotions. I've learned to not trust my feelings all the time. My feelings come and go like the weather and I have little or no control over them.

My mind sometimes fails me too. I doubt, over-analyze, worry, doubt some more, question, assume, etcetera, etcetera.

What do I do, then, when both my soul AND my mind are working against my greater good?

I think this may be why habits are so important. ("Duh!" you say. Well, I'm a slow learner.)

My body goes through habits and rituals each day. I wake up, I check my phone to see the time, I get up, I bless myself with holy water, I make my bed, and, my favorite part, I drink a cup of highly caffeinated, deliciously sweetened, perfectly brewed coffee. I hardly think about this things anymore. My body just goes through the motions with my mind and soul barely even being present.

I used to think these kind of actions weren't good. I thought I had to present for every moment. But, I'm thinking differently now. Perhaps, our mindless habits are our saving grace. Perhaps, they are a good thing that God gave us to help us overcome the disunity of our "self".

We should use the times of a joyful spirit, when our hearts feel the Love of God, to establish a solid, realistic, prayer routine. So, when the time comes, because it will come, when we have dark nights of the soul and our mind is full of doubt, we can trust our bodies to carry us through the motions, even if our hearts aren't fully present. Then, when the time comes, because it will come, when we feel consolations again and feel the peace of the Lord, we haven't gone astray but have tried our hardest to keep on running the race. I sense this is how we form a deep and lasting friendship with Our Lord, instead of just "starting over" again and again.

When I have a healthy mind, when I rejoice in the Lord and I am thankful for His good works in my life, I'll try to establish a habit of positive thinking. And, even still, I'll work on the habit of praying and ordering my whole life to serve God in whatever way He calls me to do. Can I get a "True Freedom!!!"? Oh, don't get me started on the meaning of "freedom". Another time, another time...

Where was I?

Alas! When times are good, I am always tempted to skip prayer...and forget about God. Why? Because I don't feel like I need Him? Because I'm too confident in my own abilities? Because I'm too distracted with making my life HERE comfortable? "D" all of the above.

Something like, the squeaky wheel gets the oil, or whatever that saying is. If my internal strife is not loudly beckoning me to do something, the noise of everything else seem more important: my kids screaming, the piles of dishes by the sink, my frizzy hair.

I'm a slave to whatever seems most important at the time, whatever is the loudest. Hmmm...

Sunday, May 14, 2017

A Day to Recognize Mothers

I have a white board calendar that I update each month. Appointments, Birthdays, Holidays, To-do lists, Bills due, Trash out on Thursday evenings, etc. For today, I did not write in Mother's Day. Not that I forgot about it, I just didn't want to.

This year, I have not felt like I've done a good job at all. I don't want to be acknowledged for all the things I am not proud of. Can't we skim past this Hallmark holiday just this once?

Before becoming a mom, I would have admitted that I was a somewhat virtuous person, kind, thoughtful, and patience, with no temper. Yet, in these past few years, I've discovered that I'm severely lacking in virtue. I have very little patience and a lot of anger when I haven't had a lot of sleep. I am also way more selfish than I would have thought.

Being a mom has pushed me way past my breaking point. And just when I think I have spent it all, I am asked to give a little more.

Like in "The Horse and His Boy", part of the Narnia series by C.S. Lewis, when the horse and his boy are being chased by a lion. The horse thought he was running his fastest, until the lion gained on him and he found he had more speed to give.

We don't realize what we are capable of until faced with adversity. We are our biggest obstacles. And we become complacent in times of peace and happiness. We grow greater and stronger when confronted with trials.

Looking back, I will admit that I am amazed at what I have done. But it is not an amazement of myself. I am in awe of how much God has helped me overcome myself. Kicking and screaming, He has had to drag me through this year. I did not want to do it. I still don't want to. I want to sleep for three days straight. Yet, I am eternally grateful that He pulled me along, despite my protests. I know He loves me because He could have just left me for the vultures.

Now that I realize that I am being carried on the shoulders of Christ, like a sheep and a shepherd, I am comforted. I don't want to do it without God's help anymore.

Carry me through the rest of my life, Lord. If my suffering goes away, will I still remember you, Lord? Don't take away my suffering if it means I will not be united to You.

I'm sure I won't be happy every day about sacrificing...but, at least for today, I am thankful.

Thursday, May 11, 2017

Please let me sleep

Sleep is really important.

Understatement of the day.

My 8 month old son won't let me sleep. I've tried for months to help him, but nothing seems to be working. I'm try to be consistent. I'm trying to train him to fall asleep on his own. But when he's been awake for 2-3 hours during the night, then what? I'm desperate for some more sleep.

How can I take care of myself when I'm taking care of two little kids?

My list of old coping skills makes me laugh:
"Take a walk
Call a friend
Take a nap
Pray a rosary
Take a shower"

While those things are great, surely still to work, there's no way I can do those things when I need to anymore.

With little sleep and little time to take care of myself, my patience occurs less and my short-temper appears often. I hate being so angry at an 8 month old.

Now I'm angry that I'm angry.

Now I'm too tired to be angry anymore. I'm just sad.

Sometimes it helps me to remember that the ultimate goal is to get to Heaven, not to get your kids to sleep through the night.

That line only works on me since taking antidepressant medication. And I can only take a deep breath and let it go after two cups of coffee, as well.

“When you are joyous, look deep into your heart and you shall find it is only that which has given you sorrow that is giving you joy. When you are sorrowful look again in your heart, and you shall see that in truth you are weeping for that which has been your delight.”

-Kahlil Gibran, The Prophet

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

So many questions, so little time

My life sometimes feels like a constant train.

The trains that go by my house are loud, annoying, and worst of all, persistent. All day, all night, trains roll through my back yard, blowing their horns. Some horns are louder than others. Some train driver engineers people feel the need to blow the horn from Versailles to Sidney. Some just give a little "toot-toot" to let you know they are there. I can hear a train coming from far away because of the low rumble. It reaches a height that shakes the whole house. It can rattle the clock and the cupboard doors. My heart beats faster and I hold my breath to see if I might get lucky this time and both kids will sleep through it.

Symbolically, similar trains barrel through my head, in addition to the real trains that go by about two football fields away.

I'm constantly bombarded by negative thoughts, images, torments, bad memories, regrets, "what-ifs", and self-loathing. I can't control these bad feelings, they just keep coming all day and all night.

On the outside, everything is more than fine. I have so much to be thankful for. I have an amazingly wonderful, supportive, kind-hearted, generous, selfless husband. Two beautiful, rambunctious boys who are growing and learning at an incredible pace. We are fixing up a lovely old house, and I am still in shock that we get to live there and raise our kids there. I step back and look at my life and I have absolutely no reason to feel bad.

And, yet, I do. I feel bad all the time. I feel so bad that I think about escaping all the time. Awful.

What have I done about it? Well, first nothing. I just hoped and prayed it would go away. I immersed myself in prayer and came to the conclusion that these bad feelings were a cross that I just had to offer up. Then, when it got worse, I tired losing weight and exercising. It seemed to help at first, but then I just had to exercise more and more and eat less and less to feel better. Then I turned to smoking and drinking and caffeine. Then, I gave all that up. When that didn't help, I took it all back up again. Years went by. I sought the help of priests, doctors, nutritionists, massage therapists, naturopath doctors, counselors, psychologists, and psychiatrists.

I finally started taking medication.......and it helped. Years of searching and trying and one tiny little pill makes all the difference. It's so small. It seems so small a thing. It really is very small. How can one itsy-bitsy dose of an anti-depressant help me so much?

I don't understand, Lord. I wish with all my heart I could understand.

It's a hard pill to swallow. The medicine helps me so much, but I feel like I'm cheating by taking it. I feel like I'm taking the "easy" route by "giving up" and "giving in" and taking a pill...even though it's so far from giving up. I still have to take care of myself. I still have to get enough sleep. I still have to take time to pray and relax and shower and eat and get out from time to time and go to counseling and fail and try again and fail and try again and all that.

Why do I need to take the medicine, Lord? Why does taking medicine make me feel a little less than my peers? Why does taking medicine make me feel guilty? Like, "They didn't have medicine in the olden days. What did they do? They sucked it up and dealt with it!" Or, "Medication doesn't help everyone. Some people have to search and search for a medicine that helps them." And "What if my body gets used to it and it stops working someday?"

So many questions.

Not enough time to work them out.

Ever plopping myself down at the foot of His cross, I beg the Lord. Help me understand.

In the stillness of my heart, I can hear HIM saying to me. "I am not asking you to understand. I am asking you to humbly obey."

Tuesday, May 9, 2017

Tap, Tap, Tap, "Is this thing on?"

Brushing the dust off this here ol' blog.

Guess I have the need to ramble again.

I have things in my head that I need to sort out and work through, feelings to analyze, fears to overcome, hesitations to bring out into the open... Might as well do that here.

About two months ago, I started taking an anti-depressant again. And its just such a gosh darn hard thing to do. Why? I don't know.

But I do know that I'll take it the rest of my life if I have to.

I want to understand. I wish I could understand. I've begged God to help me understand why. Why me? What is depression? Why is my brain different? Why do I need medicine to function? Why doesn't He just heal me? Does He want me to just offer it up? Am I doing the right thing?