Friday, October 30, 2015

Comparison Is The Thief Of Joy

Today's text conversation:

Me: So I'm kind of a shallow jealous person :( Seeing these Facebook posts... buying houses and cars and being so darn happy. Everything I do is such a struggle.

Natalie: I totally get it. But have continued to be a real parent. Comparison is the thief of joy. Go write a gratitude list :)

Ugh. I hate it when people throw the stuff I say back at me.

But, Natalie is right. 

So here is my gratitude list for tonight:

  • Six healthy kids all living (mostly) in harmony in my house
  • Being up-to-date on the mortgage of said house even with the financial struggles I've had the past year
  • Watching my daughter's eyes light up when she dances
  • Boys who are really young adults who have taken over more than their fair share of responsibilities in the house
  • Friends who cheer for me
  • The same friends who remind me to get over it when I'm doubting myself 
  • Good car insurance that is paying 100% the cost of the repairs on my car from being rear ended and paying 100% for a rental car while the repairs are being done

Saturday, October 17, 2015

Good Yogi's Don't Get Depressed

A Book Excerpt

The demons got to me again.

I saw it coming but I couldn't stop it this time. Depression set in and it set in strong.

This last month was bad enough that I finally got myself to the point that I knew I needed help. Of course, I didn't actually go get the help right away.

No I waited until I was tearing down the backyard pool and accidentally gave myself a really big gash on a rusted out piece of metal that required medical bandaging and a tetanus shot. While he was cleaning the wound I decided to ask in a nonchalant way about once again prescribing me some depression medication.

Doctor: Have you considered harming yourself?
Me: I swear this cut on my arm was an accident!
Doctor: But you have considered it?
Me: Well, kind of, yeah.  But this here on my arm really was an accident!

I am very thankful my doctor believed me that I needed help, and that the cut on my arm really was from tearing down the pool. He not only gave me a prescription, but he called the pharmacist personally to be sure I would be able to afford the medication since I don't have health insurance.

Step one - I finally asked for help. Step two - he listened. Step three - I helped myself and began taking the medication.

Today is the first day I can really feel a difference. The heaviness is gone.

I am not ashamed to admit that the chemicals in my brain are out of whack right now and I need some help regulating them. I no longer think this makes me a bad yogi or a bad mommy.

I talk quite a bit in my book about depression in women. I'm sharing an excerpt here with you as a reminder that if you too are suffering with depression, you are not alone. It's also a good reminder for me as well.

Chapter 1: I'm Not The Crazy One! Am I?

Meditation vs. Medication

Good yogis don’t get depressed. Good yogis don’t need medication. Medication is for the weak.

I believed those lies and it almost destroyed me.

During the immediate aftermath of my husband walking out on our family, I fell apart. I couldn’t function in simple day-to-day tasks. Eating was impossible. Sleep didn’t happen. I couldn’t stop crying. It all came to a head one afternoon in the backyard with Kid 1 and his teenage buddy as witnesses.

For some reason I decided I had to mow the backyard and it had to be done at that exact moment despite my lack of sleep, energy and mental capacity. Except the mower wouldn’t work.

Kid 1 tried to help me get it started, but I was so far gone from rational thinking all I could do was huddle under a tree to cry and scream. Without me realizing it, my son’s friend went inside the house and called his mom.

“Ms. Jen needs help.”

As Christy walked around to the back of my house I saw her and began lashing out at her, too. She stood there calmly and listened to me, and then she hugged me. I fell against her and sobbed on her shoulder for I don’t know how long.

She led me over to a chair and we sat and talked. When she first suggested I might need to see a doctor I once again got angry. Eventually I exhausted my screaming and my tears and she sat with me while I called the doctor and scheduled an immediate appointment.

I found a counselor who diagnosed me with PTSD, Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. Again, I lashed out at her and told her that was a bit extreme. I’m not a soldier on a battlefield.

She helped me see, though, that trauma is trauma and my body’s physiology was reacting to a trauma. My body didn’t know the difference between a battlefield attack and an attack on my marriage, my family and my life.

I accepted and began taking antidepressants that my doctor prescribed. The medication helped me begin to function in a way that allowed me to face my situation in a slightly more rational and slightly more calm way.

The antidepressants were a short-term solution to allow me to make long-term decisions.

Entire libraries are full of writings on depression, it’s causes and treatments. I’m not qualified to diagnose or discuss whether medication is the right solution for you. I can only speak from my own experience.

I do want you to understand though, that if you or your doctor feel you need help, take it. Don’t let pride, ego or ignorance stand in the way of becoming the woman you are destined to be. Too much is at stake for you to stifle yourself.

Sunday, October 11, 2015

This Is Depression

Here's what people don't understand about depression:

It is totally possible to feel happy and alive at 9am yet feel hopeless and distraught at 10am.

The 10am hopeless feeling lasts longer and is buried deeper than the 9am happy.

It's possible to be depressed when people say you have "no reason to be depressed".

Depression is sneaky and can hit without warning.

But sometimes I see it up ahead. I know it's coming. And even when I do all the self care things I know I need to do it happens anyway.

You can't just "snap out of " depression.

Most of the time I can paint a smile on my face and mask the depression until I'm alone again. In fact I'm really good about cracking jokes to friends about it. But inside I'm not laughing.

Depression makes me believe I'm weak and a failure.

I know the depression is just in my head. That's the problem. It's in my f'ing head and I can't get it out!

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Writing The Crazy Out

I've been very honest about the reason I write is to get the crazy out of my head. In fact there's a section of my book titled Get The Crazy Out (Creating A Joyful Life: The Lessons I Learned From Yoga and My Mom).  I'm a big believer in getting the demons out of your head and onto the paper.

But sometimes, the demons don't want to go away. Sometimes they are hunkered down for the long haul and no amount of writing, exercise or ice cream will make them go away.

And then I feel stuck. Depression sets in. I lose all interest in writing. I can barely bring myself to read the posts from all the other amazing bloggers I follow who don't ever seem to get down and stuck.

They don't ever get writer's block. Maybe they don't even have demons? Maybe their life is filled with unicorns and writer's retreats?

Not me. My life seems to be one crisis after another. To the point that I even don't want to talk to friends anymore for fear of being "that girl who only ever has bad news". I pull away from friends and loved ones so my negativity doesn't bring them down too.

Yet the demons in my head are still screaming. I've managed to jot down a few notes this past week of the randomness in my mind. Maybe eventually they will turn into amazing pieces of writing. Or maybe I'll forget about them until they start shouting again.

Writing is an isolating activity. Living in turmoil is isolating. I am constantly surrounded by people all screaming at me to meet their needs, yet I feel so alone. And I feel like I'm failing everyone, including myself.

Yet my book is called Creating A Joyful Life. I don't feel very joyful right now. If I admit that does it mean I'm a hypocrite?

Add hypocrisy to the list of my insecurities today.

Friday, October 2, 2015

The Amaranthine: A Book Review

I don't normally read fantasy novels but was given a copy of Murees Dupe first novel The Amaranthine (Thelum Series #1). I was very pleasantly surprised and ended up reading the whole book in just one weekend.

This past weekend I came down with some weird virus - high fever, sore throat, ear ache and the worst case of exhaustion I can remember in a long time. I slept and slept almost non stop.

When I wasn't sleeping I had no energy to do anything so I flipped open my Kindle and found The Amaranthine. I wasn't sure at first if I would like it because fantasy, vampires and werewolves really aren't my normal choice of literature. In fact I'm probably one of the few people on earth who has never read Twilight or An Interview With A Vampire.

But I really did like this book! And you know I'm not just saying that because I've been given many books to read and review that I have never actually reviewed -- because I didn't like the book and didn't want to give it a bad review.

So if I'm saying I liked this I really did like it.

The story line and characters are believable. In fact, although they are immortal, I can think of a few mortal people I know that remind me of some of the characters in the book. There is some sexual tension between the two main characters but it's written in a non-cheesy way. It's tough to write sex scenes but Murees did a good job of keeping it light in a way that didn't make me roll my eyes and think oh puhlease!

I especially liked the way the main female character really comes in to her own through the course of the book. We watch as she goes from a timid loner to a self confident powerful female force.

I definitely recommend The Amaranthine and truly hope book 2 is released soon!