Tag Archives: depression

Choosing Hope

I wrote the blog I promised, but this morning I got this from my daughter who is again struggling with depression–after her fifth baby. It’s so good I decided mine will keep till next weekend. This needs to be out there. And please feel free to repost it.  There are literally millions of people suffering with depression. Hers is postpartum, but depression is depression.

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Choosing Hope

I did so well this time. Six months. Six months I flourished. I was so careful, so aware of my needs. My nutrition, exercise, water, rest, all of it. I was so careful. And in the last two weeks it’s crept up on me. Slowly, silently taking hold.

Postpartum Depression doesn’t discriminate. And it’s close friend, anxiety, is just as ruthless. When they’re together it’s a combination that leaves you constantly fighting to stay afloat.

It’s different this time. The fight is the same but this time I am not the same. I’m talking. Exposing their secrets. Shining light into the darkness. My hubby, my mom, even an acquaintance that God told me to tell, and you. I’m telling you.

We don’t talk about this much and that’s really part of the problem. Depression never tells you to reach out or speak up, it tells you to sit quietly, you’re the only one. No one will understand. And truly, unless you have lived it or loved someone that has you probably won’t. But none of us are alone. Not one.

Prayer is my fiercest tool in battling the dark blanket that falls. Nutrition is also key. Talking, exposing the ugliest of it, that changes everything. But it’s also the hardest thing. It’s hard to make sense of it all. There aren’t words that clearly describe it. No way to explain the way it feels. The way you seem to be drowning slowly and silently and your brain stops working for you and becomes detached. It’s weight. Heaviness falling over everything.

You won’t recognize the face of depression (anxiety) itself. It doesn’t look any different. It looks like me.

It looks like a wife wildly in love, a joyful, happy mother who adores her baby. It looks like one who pushes through and keeps showing up for her family. It looks like blessings and hope. It looks like beauty.

It also looks like exhaustion that feels heavy like death. It looks like battling through a constant fog to stay present and show up. To work hard at listening and hearing and being where you are. It looks like the sudden need to clean something with irrational urgency. It looks like utter panic that something will happen to your baby and feeling the terror of that when all is well. It looks like nightmares and deep anxiety over the reality of how fragile life is. It looks like so many different things for every different woman.

I have amazing support. I’m using it. And I am struggling but also so so good.

Writing these words feels cathartic and yet terrifying. Anyone with depression (anxiety) knows the hardest thing is this. Talking about it. It’s impossible to explain, and yet makes just enough sense to sound crazy. That’s exactly why it’s an epidemic. We need to be exposing it. Fighting it. Coming alongside each other.

Someone with depression (anxiety), postpartum or not, doesn’t reach out. That’s the very nature of the disease. And never mistake it for anything other than a disease. It isolates, suffocates, and steals life.

But there is so much hope. So much.

First, talking. It’s the hardest thing. Something I have to physically force myself to do. But it’s critical. Nutrition, feeding your brain and balancing your hormones is a must. Hydration is another big thing, especially as a nursing mom. Exercise, which is also monumentally hard, is so important. It produces endorphins and releases tension and provides energy. And rest, allowing yourself to rest is so crucial.

For me, prayer is the biggest thing. Staying present with Him minute by minute. It’s the only thing that anchors me in the fog. That shines joy into the darkness. The one way I can keep fighting on one step at a time.

Yesterday my teenager was talking to me in the kitchen. I was making dinner. Fighting to stay present. Praying through each second. I realized suddenly I hadn’t heard anything he was saying. I stopped. Turned and looked at him, and said quietly, “I didn’t hear you, I’m struggling today, can you tell me again?” And he did. In that moment I made a choice, a choice to be vulnerable and to expose my weakness. A choice to fight to be present when showing up was hard. I don’t get it right every time. But when I do I win a little of me back. It exposes the disease and leaves more room for my heart. It’s taken me five pregnancies, five rounds of this battle, to get to where I can do that. I’m so so grateful.

I’m sharing because I know that speaking my truth will empower my healing. I also know I’m not the only one.

There is hope. There is help. You are not alone. You are loved. You have purpose. You have a future.

Just like me.

Postpartum Support International

https://public-api.wordpress.com/wp-admin/rest-proxy/#https://greengrassandgrit.wordpress.com:)

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July 27, 2018 · 9:53 pm

Black Friday

I was a little down Friday–probably the result of too much food over too much time and too many chemicals. Not the first time I’ve witnessed the  effect of food on the mind. My husband went biking–I’m so glad he still likes that at 74! He didn’t feel good either, and said it was really hard to get going, but just after deciding he should quit, he started feeling better and kept going.

I wonder if that is how everyone feels after Thanksgiving Day? Maybe we need some new traditions. Maybe that is why retailers have seized on the concept of Black Friday. Get them while their in a food fog and they will spend more money. And it gives them something to look forward to and gets them moving.

Yes, that’s my humor, but it was another good reminder that what you put in makes a big difference in how you think and feel. “Black Friday” seemed appropriate. You might have guessed I’m not a shopper; and doing it with mobs of people doesn’t appeal.

But I had no motivation for anything. That is rare for me. So I thought I’ll do the things I usually love doing and I’ll pull out of it. I don’t love exercising, but I know it makes me feel better, so I did my 30 minute workout. Didn’t help. I didn’t think I was sharp enough to write, so I sat in the sun in my gazebo for a while and read a book my husband wanted me to read. That helped–the sun always helps.

Then I walked around my yard and got caught up in a project that had been calling me but I hadn’t had time for. That took about an hour and it helped. But I realized I wasn’t choosing to get out of my funk. Under the surface I was feeling a little sorry for myself that I was so far away from family.

While I was exercising I had talked to my daughter who was busy and had just said good-by to her company, and then to my sister who was going shopping with her daughter. It’s their tradition. I think I got jealous. I’m a person who does well with solitude, but sometimes you just need people! We’d had a great time with friends the night before, maybe that heightened it. Put that with my physical state and I felt depressed.

Realizing it put me in touch with choice. I commended myself for choosing not to eat that day and started making some other good choices, and by that evening felt good enough to invite my friend for dinner. (Earlier I hadn’t even wanted to be around people.)

The point is I started making good choices, and my body cooperated, and I was able to start choosing to think better. I was reminded (by God I’m sure) about the wonderful news from a client I heard two days before, and then also the wonderful news from my friend who’s valiantly fighting cancer–yesterday was her birthday–and I began giving thanks.

I still wasn’t normal the next day, but on a nudge from Spirit, I invited some people I had only briefly met for lunch, and it ended up being just what we needed: a lot of laughter and some new friends.

I’m always amazed at the power in choice and thanks to turn a body and a mind around.

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Mothering is Not Easy, but it is Good

Remember how easy it was to run to Mommy when you were hurt or in pain? Needing was natural then.

“Admitting the problem is half of the healing.”

I’m sure you’ve heard that before. Why is it so hard for us to do? Especially if we know how much it helps us?

I think, because we have all been hurt, we are in self-protective mode. We try to shunt responsibility elsewhere. For instance, I always think all the dirt in my house comes from my husband. I don’t even question it! Well, lately I had a humorous and painful thought. When he dies, I might be surprised at how much dirt is still here–and then I’ll have to admit that it’s me.

When you admit responsibility you have to do something. You have to look at yourself–admit you fail, admit you aren’t perfect, admit you are vulnerable.

Or, you get to do something! People who can’t admit they are wrong strain the relationships they are in, putting pressure on the people around them–the ones closest, including yourself.

We think admitting fault or weakness makes us less. Makes us look bad. Or this one–makes us vulnerable.  We don’t like to feel vulnerable –it scares us. We think we have to protect ourselves. What a silly notion. As if we really could! Most of our attempts make things worse–including us. It hardens our response ability into defensiveness (fear), instead of the free-flow of creative thought where solutions or new ideas come from. Defensiveness keeps us from growing. It makes those around us uncomfortable, and sometimes feel hopeless.

Welcoming a new perspective helps. Brene Brown has researched vulnerability for years and has found it to be  the most healthy attitude a person can have: knowing that you aren’t perfect, can make mistakes, and admit it.

Today I am so proud of my daughter for admitting she has post-partum depression! She has already started to feel better three days later! Yes, it can respond that fast. (And for any of you who are fighting depression, research has shown that 1000-4000 mg. of Omega 3/daily, and half as much of 6 and 9, is more effective than anti-depressants, as is exercise, and sunlight, or vitamin D if you have no sun, and in her case iron because of blood loss from birthing).

We knew she was suffering from sleep deprivation, and I noticed she looked like she did when she was depressed after her last son, but she wasn’t into the vulnerable place of being helped yet then. Her main coping mechanism has been to do it herself, take care of everything, be perfect.

In fact she confronted me on being judgmental about her technology. That wasn’t how I saw it, but man, did it hurt. There was just enough truth and just enough misunderstanding to really make it sting.

I didn’t know what to say, but when it hurts that bad, you have two choices: go into defensive mode or pray. So I breathed, and said to God, I don’t even know what to say. We were with her husband and mine, and someone said something, and I heard myself saying, “I just know that looking at yourself is really hard. It’s so painful that you can barely see yourself with any clarity.”

That broke the tension and everyone became more vulnerable. Everyone started sharing, and we even ended up praying together. It ended up making our last day much better.

A real big-picture perspective would show us how futile are our attempts at self-protection. With what we are up against–living in the war zone between good and evil–we regularly get slammed with discouragement and pain, and what fun the dark side has with our pretending to be good and right. They help us make big messes with denial and self-protection.

How much better to let God protect us, so we are free to be real: broken and vulnerable, not hiding, not defensive. Able to hurt, to need help, to be wrong–to be vulnerable. Vulnerability is good, healthy even.

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Filed under depression, Health, Love ed, Mental Health, Mistakes can be a matter of perspective, mothering, Parenting