Change, sometimes the unwelcome visitor, turns our world upside down and hurls us out of our comfort zone.
Change, even when it is invited, still shakes us up and causes stress.
Our family has been anticipating and is now going through significant changes. The greatest, most impactful change has been having our one and only child, a daughter, whom we were never supposed to have in the first place, move out of our house and into her college dorm room. (more…)
My heart pounds harder and harder, threatening to jump out of my chest. A salty bead of sweat runs down my forehead into my eyes.
“Ow! Now, why is it that I wanted to do this, again? And on my vacation?” I ask myself while struggling to find the next handhold while clinging onto the side of a cliff at Smith Rocks, Oregon. My husband, Joel is belaying, below on the ground, holding onto the other end of my rope. He’s yelling words of support while keeping me from falling to my death. (more…)
Society treats depression like a bad word, as if people who have it are broken. Heaven forbid if you make any reference to possibly suffering from it!
About 5 years ago, following way too many days of crying I realized my world was in the midst of a storm and I couldn’t deal with it on my own.
I remember the day clearly, sitting in my doctor’s office. “It’s like having this dark storm cloud hovering over my head all the time. I just can’t seem to see the sun anymore. I have anxiety attacks in the middle of the night that wake me up. I find myself sitting straight up in bed thinking to myself, ‘Oh no! I forgot to turn on the dishwasher before bed.’ I find myself in a cold sweat, shaking from head to toe, ready to go into fight or flight mode. It’s awful!”
“If I am not stressing about messing something up, during the day I feel so low and worthless I can hardly function. Going into public to run errands, I wished I was invisible. That way, I wouldn’t have to put words together and sound like a normal human being.”
This anxiety/depression combo resulted in me being a highly reactionary and impatient mother and wife. I hated myself for it, too. I wanted to be free of my own company. I loathed having to continue being me.
My doctor inquired about my relatives and mental health issues. “Well yes, dementia on dad’s side and depression–that kept the person from speaking for days at a time–on mom’s side.” The doc’s face turned to a look of, “ahaa!” on her face. She then informed me that, at no fault of mine, I was struggling with anxiety and depression. She then explained that they are like two sides of a coin and something that can be passed down genetically. She clarified, ”You have done nothing wrong, there is just a slight imbalance in your brain chemistry.”
In my situation a mild anti-depressant for a period of time was all I needed to see the sun again. I rediscovered my enthusiasm and passion for music plus the guts I needed to get in front of people again.
Now, of course, everyone is different. Sometimes the chemistry in your brain needs balancing out permanently. Again, you didn’t do anything wrong. Getting your brain chemistry balanced just helps the true you shine through!
My world is not perfect now, my anxiety pops up occasionally and I am aware when clouds are threatening to cover my blue sky again. Once in a great while my anxiety will get the best of me and a few thoughtless words will pour out of my mouth, like Harry Potter when he tried to smile at Cho with a mouth full of pumpkin juice.
I am always striving to do better at apologizing as soon as possible and then just moving forward instead of caring my mistakes on my back like a cross I must forever bear. We all screw up. We are human. Forgiveness is not just something we are to give to others. It’s something we need to give to ourselves.
What about you? Do you, or someone you know, deal with depression? Are there tools you’ve heard about, or discovered, that are helpful?
Add to the conversation. We’ll be glad you did. Check out this song for a little encouragement. For deeper resources (books, magazines, support groups), check these out.
As stated in my first blog, completing a task or “closing a loop” can be a huge challenge for me. Especially if I am thinking of other things while doing them. Some tasks are extra difficult due to the fact that there is time sensitivity involved. I shared in part one that opening and closing windows to help keep the house cool during the summer has two parts to it. The second part (*closing*) is normally the tricky part.
Another task I briefly mentioned in blog #1 involves doing more than one thing at a time. Example: feeding the cats. This may not seem like a multi-tasking sort of task but when you have three cats that don’t eat the same food or eat in the same location then you have got yourself a job!
For me something this “simple” will sometimes result in me leaving a can of food out by accident. It’s often the middle cat whose can I leave out for anyone to snack on. I get the first cat all set up downstairs but feeding two boys upstairs in separate rooms with separate foods is often when things go awry. I forget to loop back around to pick up the can of food for cat #2 because I am now focused on cat #3. Plus, since cat #3 is located in the laundry room, I immediately start thinking about the laundry situation and getting a load going. Once I do that, there is no memory of the can of food left out for #2 until it’s lunch time or my hubby finds it.
Persistent About Allowing Growth
Overall, multi-tasking is just not something that works for me. And, even though I have been through this struggle a million times it doesn’t improve the situation. It doesn’t matter if “on pain of death it must be done” because I can’t keep all those thoughts and feelings in some organized order in my head all at once.
I have to break this task down to feeding each animal individually. I also need to ask myself, “Have you finished the task at hand?” “Do you have any loops you need to close before moving on to the next task?”
This, of course, is easier said than done. So, I often put sticky notes up to remind me of daily open loops like washing clothes so we don’t run out! (More on that topic next time.)
Another helpful trick I have learned is pairing up a task you often forget to do with something you always remember to do. That way it will become a new habit much faster than usual.
It takes (persistent) work and a positive attitude (positivity!). If you get down on yourself, you just give yourself another thing to distract yourself with. Experiment! Try different tactics and see what works for you.
Keep on keepin’ on!
Add to the conversation! We’ll be glad you did. Is there an area in your life you’re persistent at improving? Are you striving to bring positivity along for the ride? Invite someone you know into this conversation. Everyone is welcome.
A few years ago I learned that I have ADHD. There are many different types of ADHD, so they don’t all look the same. My flavor is one that is often overlooked. Some describe it as the quiet, good girl version, however, boys often have this version of it too. I was one of those kids who either day-dreamed much of the time or was distracted by the movements and quiet interactions in the classroom.
Unfortunately, what also can come with that is a quiet lonely internal battle with anxiety. Looking back I can now recognize anxiety in my childhood mannerisms. I chewed my fingernails something fierce and often the inside of my lips. When watching TV my mom more than once had to gently encourage my hands to open up from clenched fists.
As an adult, I felt like this monster was slowly taking me over, kind of like “The Blob”, one of my daughters favorite old movie villains. I always had this underlying feeling of being uptight, but when I made mistakes my anxiety would increase exponentially!
New Forest, New Squirrels
Moving to Boise definitely pushed my anxiety level up a few notches. We had been living in a small town, Yakima, in Washington state, for 10 plus years. It was very easy to get around and family was not too far away in any direction. My mother-in-law lived about 7 houses down so I had her support whenever I needed it. Moving far away from everything familiar and everyone I knew shook me up. To magnify matters, Boise was at least 3 times bigger than Yakima! Yikes!
It was during Boise’s school system’s spring break that we moved. Within days of moving I had to take my precious little first grader to a brand new school filled with strangers…and then I was supposed to leave her there for the whole day!
When my anxiety would completely wear me out, then I would suffer from depression and loneliness. This was a really dark time.
Before I came to understand that ADHD was the source of my troubles, I wrote a song to try to help quiet me down. I would go for walks in the morning along the river and I would sing it to myself. Some days it helped more than others. At least for the period of time that I was walking and singing, I would eventually feel a little calmer.
I hope this song brings comfort to you as you listen to it.
Engage here. Do you ever struggle with anxiety? Is ADHD part of your life? What do you do to calm yourself down? Do you need help addressing this issue in your life?
Add to the conversation. We’ll be glad you did! Invite a friend to Prepare For Rain today!