I recently wrote a thank you note to my doctor. It’s the first time I’ve ever done that or rather the first time I ever felt the overwhelming “want” to. It’s not to say I haven’t had great doctors in my life but this one saved my life.
This doctor is my psychiatrist. I chose this doctor when I was in the middle of a horrible depression. Horrible. He listened to me, asked a ton of questions and was never surprised by my answers even though *I* was surprised by my answers. And to have those answers be true… No. I wasn’t supposed to be in there in that spot.
I adamantly refused medication with the exception of an anti anxiety med. A mild dose that worked wonders for the anxiety but did nothing for the depression. I carried on like that for a couple of months. After a while I couldn’t stand the way I was feeling anymore. We then discussed antidepressants. And I started my roller coaster of med trials and dealing with side effects, some more troublesome than others. This went on for 2 years. Some meds did work for a while then stop or peter off. Some I had to give a full trial time of about 6 weeks only to report back that there was no effect good or bad. It was a crap shoot I felt.
It wasn’t until March 2015 did he finally hit the right combo and added an antidepressant I hadn’t trialed before. My mood was great I hadn’t felt like myself in so long I welcomed myself back. I can’t tell you the awe I felt to actually be in a good mood again. To not be a anxiety riddled depressed shell of a person.
My husband noticed that I was “happy” and I was/am. I joke and laugh with my kids. I can laugh at myself and I no longer fill my head with horrible untrue statements.
I say that I chose this doctor but in truth he was chosen for me. Dr. L was originally treating my son and I adored him for Thomas. When the crap hit the fan for me and I really needed a doctor, I chose Dr. L. He was put in my life, in my path for a reason. Not soon after he was treating Thomas did Thomas go to residential school.
So today I wrote Dr. L. a thank you note. I thanked him for believing I would beat the depression when I didn’t believe it myself. I let him know I’m in such a better place right now and it is because of him.
I’m the heaviest right now than I’ve ever been in my life aside from being pregnant. I loathe it; seriously. I tried Weight Watchers and managed to lose 10 pounds but then fell off the wagon around Easter and I’ve had a very difficult time going back to counting points and wondering if I was over my point allowance, did I use up all my “extra” points for the week? I was inspired to try Weight Watchers from my cousin Toni who was and still is doing great on the program. I’m back to being inspired by her and back to following the program. Hopefully I’ll keep it up and lose more weight. I’ve always been on the thin side. I know smoking did help with keeping my weight in check. I’m not advocating smoking cigarettes as a weight loss aide but whether it be the nicotine or any of the other (God knows how many) chemicals in cigarettes there’s something there that keeps your appetite from being out of control.
My husband is wonderful and has never mentioned my weight gain, he tells me not to worry. I think he’s concerned that I may stop taking the anti depressant that caused the weight gain. I won’t do that, it took me long enough to find the right combo of meds to make me not be depressed. I would not want to start over again. If I have to choose being happy and overweight/thin and depressed I’ll chose happy and overweight. I can’t tell you what it took to admit that and even type it out. I really don’t enjoy shopping for clothes anymore. Don’t get me wrong I still do my thrift shopping gig but I get a bigger kick out of shoes and bags more than ever before. There’s no judgement or “fit” for shoes and bags. The right shoe or bag can elevate anything you’re wearing and just make you feel fabulous.
I’ve also ventured into the love of watches. Don’t ask I don’t know where that one came from. I’m thinking much like shoes and bags; with wearing a watch it really doesn’t matter what size you are. Finding watches while thrifting is not easy, there are people who thrift or yard sale shop specifically for watches. I’ve managed to find a couple of nice ones but nothing much to write home about.
So here’s to being back on Weight Watchers and keeping track of points and staying within the lines of their rules.
Yep, it’s that time again…bathing suit season ~~shudder~~. I decided to hit TJ Maxx for their selection and low prices. And believe it or not their dressing rooms were not set up for failure like most major department stores. Last year I went to Macy’s and the lighting in their dressing rooms seemed to emphasize every wrinkle, flaw, cellulite you name it. TJ Maxx on the other hand had bright enough lighting but not the glaring fluorescence that will highlight every flaw you already know you have and don’t need the extra reminder.
I ended up with your basic one piece suit, black and white. Its nice and fit well. Last year’s dilemma over wearing a bikini is no longer a dilemma due to the lovely weight gain I’ve experienced due to much needed medication. I’m not okay or happy with the weight gain but I’m not letting it rule my life as it had in the past. I’m not going to rock the boat and change medication that is already working well in the hopes that I will lose weight. I’d rather be this weight and mentally healthy than skinny and depressed.
Alyssa came home with her yearbook from high school. It was nice to go through it with her and see all the pictures of her and her friends. It brought the reality of her graduating all the more to the fore front. Today she showed me all the nice and wonderful things her friends wrote. It was sweet to read. Especially when the writer was someone she’d known since grammar school. I wrote to her as well. It was easy to write to her, the words just flowed from my heart to the page. Then…I got choked up. Especially when I wrote how God has blessed me with her and now I must let her go to have even more experiences. I’m so proud of Alyssa. She made me grow as a mother while I watched her grow into this amazing young woman. And I have the privilege of watching my younger 2 daughters grow in the same manner.
I’m still amazed at how fast the past almost 18 years have flown by. It does seem like yesterday that I was this young overwhelmed mother of (then) 2 children. I used to put Thomas and Alyssa in the double bus like stroller and walk the neighborhood with them. We were regulars at the Italian deli a few blocks over. Things were much simpler then but to be honest I wouldn’t go back even if I could. Once around that merry go round was enough. I enjoy my Alyssa these days, don’t get me wrong she can exasperate me like no other and she still leaves her stuff all around the house and she doesn’t empty the dishwasher… but I do enjoy her company. She is thoughtful and sweet and most important she talks to me. I pray for her future and that she will enjoy the brightness of it.
I’m wondering when you classify yourself as “cured” from depression? Are you ever really cured or do you learn to manage this very real chemical imbalance in ones brain? I feel good most days. I catch myself in a good mood here and there and I no longer feel the irritability, angst, and anxiety associated with depression. I’m looking forward to the future and toy with the idea of stopping my therapist appointments. I see her every 2 weeks now and when I do see her the 45 minutes are filled with various ways I handle situations in my life. And we also talk about all the good in my life.
The more I think about it, I don’t think I’m ready to stop seeing her. There isn’t a pressing “need” as was in the past, it’s more of a want to see her. To discuss my life; not dissect it. I think that’s the biggest difference in our talks. To not have my life under a microscope as was when the depression was taking over my life. To say that the depression was bigger than me that it was taking over my life is accurate. Today I am bigger than the illness. And I’m proud of myself. Proud that I did not give up because giving up cannot be an option.
Im looking forward to events that in the past probably would have been fraught with worry and I wouldn’t have had any joy in them. I recently caught up with a friend who was visiting NY, she lives in California. When I was fighting the depression I wouldn’t have been able to sit and talk with her in the easy manner that we got along. Conversation flowed naturally and I had such joy in our time together. When events like that occur I know. I’m “okay”.
Joy. It can be so elusive. And when you’re depressed even the word can seem like it’s mocking you and seem so close yet so far away.
The other day (my birthday) my husband and I were talking about when we were younger and dating. We began dating around age 17 but met when we were 15 years old. He asked me when did I know that I wanted to marry him. I told him I remember it vividly. We were driving on the highway towards my house (my Mom and Dad’s house). We were talking about how we were back together after a breakup fueled by teen angst. I remember feeling that this was permanent. I was going to marry this boy. We were about 18 years old at the time. This isn’t to say we dated happily ever after. There were a few more teen angst break ups along the road to engagement time. But I am glad we stayed together and eventually married. He really is my best friend.
I also asked my husband if he ever wanted to “go back” like to when we were younger say in our early 20’s. Tommy answered that only if he could know what he knows now. Smart man. I find it amusing that I can remember so well something that happened over 20 years ago yet my kids ask me if I remember something from a couple of years ago and I’m completely clueless. A couple of years ago was during my depression and I didn’t ever feel “in the moment” like I do now. Today I feel so in the present and I’m glad to be here. I’m glad I have the state of mind that I do. I didn’t realize how detached I was back then until I’m asked to remember something.
I don’t like staying in a remembrance of the past. It was really nice a couple of weeks ago when we got together with old friends from years ago/high school. It was nice to reminisce but it was equally as nice to talk about our lives now, our kids now, us as a whole now; to be in the present with people from the past.
I’m so thankful to be a part of the “now”.
Before I had my son I used to think kids who weren’t talking were never read to or talked to by their care givers, I used to think people who yelled at their kids were monsters and didn’t deserve their kids. I used to think having a child in a special ed class was a terrible “label” and it would follow that child where ever he/she may go and not with good consequences.
I used to think having a son who was labeled mentally retarded was the worst thing ever. So much so that I badgered a developmental pediatrician who wrote that in an evaluation report to also add an addendum that I as the child’s mother vehemently disagreed with his findings.
I used to think a lot of things. Used to. Then life hit with an impact. I had a son who was speech impaired for seemingly no reason when he was a toddler. I tried to read to him as well as you could read to a busy and disinterested toddler. I am a “yeller” or I was anyway. And I know I’m in good company because a lot if not most of my mom friends were yellers too. My son started receiving special education services when he was 3 years old. I swallowed my pride and accepted their “label”, little did I know that such a label is not a bad thing but a ticket to other services he was entitled to such as Physical therapy and occupational therapy. Today I encourage any labels “they” want to put on my son as it doesn’t change who he is to me, because with those labels now comes placement beyond the board of education. My son’s time being educated and cared for by the board of ed is coming to an end as of next year when he turns 21. New labels may be more appropriate for him as an adult.
I used to think depression was a state of mind and that one should just snap out of it or look around at all they have that is good in their life. I now know depression is a real chemical imbalance in one’s brain and there is no “snapping out” of it. You simply can not. Depression clouds all your thinking and makes you feel worthless no matter what riches you possess whether it be a terrific family or terrific wealth.
I used to think God was a mystical father figure only interested in us on Sunday mornings. I used to think Jesus was the son of God who died upon a cross; period. I now know with all my being that God is real; period. He is with us all the time and not just on Sundays. And that Jesus died for my sins and yours. I know now that His grace is sufficient. Jesus’ life and death and resurrection is the best example of love that I know. And I humble myself to follow him the best that I can.
At small group/bible study last night we discussed being discipled or mentored. Were you ever a mentor or the mentee? I was fortunate that I did have a mentor and her name is Louise.
When I started going to small group, Louise was a co-leader of the group. I didn’t think I needed anything. I mean I believed in God, Jesus and the Holy Spirit. But I did need something, I needed that relationship The Lord and I needed a Savior. Louise met with me when I asked her to. She answered my questions and kept reminding me of the Gospel, that we are saved by grace through faith. I remember crying feeling unworthy of such a gift. Louise listened to me and reassured me that I am worthy.
When my world fell apart due to Thomas needing a medication change. It was then that I met the Lord. In the middle of Thomas being hospitalized and him being so very unstable at home, the Lord took that time to meet me where I was. He truly does meet you where you are, you don’t have to clean yourself up or wait for a special time. He picks the time and the place and it was right there in my car during the song, “Praise you in this storm” by Casting Crowns that I met Him. It was amazing and I called Louise to tell her what happened to me.
When my world was in shambles during the depression and after the trauma of having Thomas be so aggressive towards me it was Louise who would after church tell me she saw God’s fingerprints all over me. I needed that so bad at that time.
I finally thanked Louise last night for discipling me, for being my mentor.
Our new Pastor began preaching today. He was awesome! He’s from the South and just spoke the message loud and clear with bits of humor scattered here and there. I truly enjoyed hearing him preach.
Pastor John spoke with such a passion for the Gospel it was wonderful. He also spoke of our finding happiness and joy in things or places outside of Jesus. That nothing but Jesus will bring us joy. Such powerful true words. Lately I feel such peace when I pray that it can only be described as joy. Knowing I can talk to my God, my Savior and knowing that He loves me…How do you describe that feeling other that it is joy? How do you tell other people that that is how close they are to finding joy? To shut out the noise and be still and know that He is God.
Our Pastor also spoke of wrong thoughts we have. Such as, ” Suffering is avoided by a lot of faith; God is mad at you; we deserve or earn suffering to gain favor from God; and that suffering is not part of the good plan of God.” Pastor John also said our suffering is not always oppositional to the work of God. This hit home to me personally in regard to my battle with depression and the trauma of living with my son when he was aggressive towards me. I was did think God was mad at me and for the life of me I could not figure out how this was part of God’s plan, that someone (meaning God) has made a big mistake.
In the middle of a storm it’s so very difficult to imagine anything good arising from what you’re going through. I know I have to always remember that even when things are tough, God is with me. He has not forsaken me and never will and that God will be glorified.
I’m already looking forward to next Sunday.
I went to bible study last night. It was really nice, I like the women there and Louise, the leader is wonderful. I leave there wanting to read more of the bible which I guess is how you’re supposed to leave a bible study group. We studied Hebrews Chapters 3 and 4 last night. Talking about “rest”. Resting in God. I love the imagery of resting with my Savior, the perfect Jesus, son of God. I had an epiphany moment before bible study. It suddenly hit me as I was listening to Christian radio that Jesus died for me. He was put on that cross and died; for sinners. That includes you and me. The levity of that struck me hard like to my soul. I don’t know why all of a sudden now this hits me but it did. And I’m so grateful for the cross. I doubt I can ever be grateful enough to Him who died for me. How do you express or show such gratitude without feeling you are falling short?
I was praying last night before I went to sleep and I came to the realization that I like spending time with the Lord. One on one time when I had no interruptions and it was quiet and it was just Him and me. “Special” is the only word I can think of to describe that time. I truly felt I was in His presence and it was so “right”. It made me long for more time with Him. One of the women from bible study once said that the more time you spend with the Lord the more He makes you long for more time with him. That He draws you to him. When she said that months ago I just shook my head, uh huh… Now today I get it.
I was also thinking today of how I felt towards God when I was depressed. I remember having a dream that I was praying so hard to God, but there was a glass around me and my prayers kept hitting the top of the glass and my prayers never reached Him. I used to make myself listen to Christian music in the hopes that the lyrics would break through somehow. I felt unworthy of His perfect love. Many times the lyrics would make me cry and not cry in a good way. I would weep for feeling so far from God. I felt like he was miles away and I couldn’t reach Him no matter how hard I tried.
Today I’m in a better place. I am loved by God and that love is perfect. He knows my name and I am His. He walks beside me and has already planned out this life of mine. His plans are perfect even though they aren’t the plans I personally would chose at any given situation. His ways are not my ways. His ways are higher than mine. I know these are words you’ve probably read or heard before; they are truth.
I look forward to more time with my Lord, my God.
I’ve been thinking today about how grateful I am. Life has been good even when things get a little hairy life is still good. This past week I was literally yelled at by a client. But you know what it was okay. I knew she wasn’t mad at me personally. She arrived at my office in a po’d mood and just continued being pissed off when I came around to her. Not too long ago I would have taken this woman personally and it would have ruined my day; literally. But now…meh…I know she was just an angry woman for whatever reason and I happened to be in her path.
It also helps that I have a supervisor who has my back. Angry woman called my supervisor. I wasn’t too surprised, honestly. I was however reminded that my boss cares about what I have to say and she contacted me twice to talk to me first before she returned angry woman’s phone call. Thank God for sensible bosses!
I’ve been selling my “stuff” on ebay and it’s been going really well. Much better than I had thought it would. People want what I have to sell. And it’s funny because I did a major clean out of my closets, shoes included. I’ve been selling clothes and bags that I don’t wear anymore for whatever reason but are too nice to donate. Go me! I’ve since turned that money back to ebay to purchase a pair of shoes and an awesomely cool pair of jeans. I can’t wait to get the jeans…
The rest of my sales will go towards Christmas shopping because Lord knows how fast that holiday comes around. You blink after Thanksgiving and bam! It’s Christmas!
So yes, I’ve been grateful. Grateful for a doctor who knows what he’s doing and prescribed meds that help me to be in this good place. When you’re clinically depressed the depression steals all the good things you feel and leaves you feeling empty, worthless and just all around “less than”.
I’m grateful for my kids who love me. No one leaves this house without someone telling them, “love you!” I don’t know when we started doing that but we do. I’m grateful for a husband who loves me more than I even feel I deserve to be loved. He works so hard to give us what we need and want. And he hasn’t said boo about how short I’ve been cutting my hair, bonus points!
I’m grateful for a God who loves us enough to give up his only son to save a bunch of sinners. He loved each and every one of us before we were even born. How amazing is that? And that Jesus willingly took on our sins to save us! Just as amazing and totally worth our gratitude and worship. There is none higher than Him. I’m grateful I live in a country where I’m able to worship the King of Kings without fear.
I’m in a good place.