Thursday, April 27, 2017

When The Fog Won't Lift

I would like to just karate chop depression in the gut right now.

I won't lie. I'm quite the mess. But I'm going to keep it real. I'm not a faker. At the checkout line today the cashier asked me how I am. I told her, "I'm just plain crazy." I then laughed and said, "How are you?" It doesn't mean I tell every single person I meet my struggles... but it also doesn't mean I fake it with my friends.

I know it started with back pain that led to not being able to work out.... and was coupled with the weird knee pain that had me down for almost 3 weeks and still won't go away. The no exercise thing stunk... because I couldn't release my emotions. No endorphins.

Couple that with a little anxiety about Michael's upcoming cleft palate repair surgery and my husband being out of town for a while and you get a whole new special mess. Pour on a little bit of hurts and disappointments. Confusion. Rejection. Criticism. Missing my sister. Dang you National Sibling Day!!! And oh, how bought we throw in some new diagnoses for my already diagnosed child... and we just get it about right.

Dang you depression. You may not lay claim on me. You might beat me up, drag me down a hole, kick me in stomach, but you do not have me. You don't have my soul. And I'm not letting you take my mind either.

So I'm coloring. I'm letting myself get more than enough sleep. I'm trying to eat healthfully and at regular intervals. I dab on a little lavender oil and breathe. I double up on my Juice Plus. I stop making unrealistic to-do lists. I do try and see friends. I do let myself have a treat. I look at flowers and buy a few more plants.

But here's the last kicker that can be helpful but very hard.... I try and stay connected. I don't want to isolate... because isolation leads me down a dangerous path. I try and as Paw Patrol puts it, "Yelp for Help".

Help! I need help. I need your prayers. I need to be reminded that I'm worth keeping around even though I'm not perfect. I need you to give me a hug. I need you to tell me that you love me.

What helps?

~ Reading funny books (Hyperbole & a Half by Allie Brosh, Furiously Happy by Jenny Lawson, All my friends are Dead by Avery Monsen and Jory John, T-Rex Trying by Hugh Murphy,  Anne Lamott's Operating Instructions, David Sedaris, Nora Ephron, P.G. Wodehouse). Watching funny movies/shows (Hot Rod, SNL, 30Rock).  Listening to my favorite comedians... Maria Bamford, Jim Gaffigan, Mike Birbiglia. Emphasis on laughing!

~ Months ago when I was losing it a friend (IH) bought pizza for my family and had it sent to my house... dinner was done. Mike was out of town. I just breathed. It helped me make it through.

~ A card from a friend. (Thanks VZ) and a hike in the woods.

~ A pedicure with a friend. (HY)

~ My friend made dinner for me and all the kids at her house. We ate tacos and watched Sing and snuggled. So healing. Thanks HL

~ Having friends help me clean and organize. A huge thanks to my friend who scrubbed my bathroom and helped me with the kitchen a few weeks ago... you know who you are (AB).

~ Knowing I'm going to see my Grandma tomorrow and sit on the beach with her. That I'm going to be with my cousins on Saturday morning. I love having good things to look forward to.

~ Flowers from my honey. An orchid from my Mom as well as a huge package of strawberries and blueberries.

~Nature is healing. I love the beach. I love being outside in the sunshine.

~Singing at the top of my lungs in the car (without kids).

~Dancing in the kitchen when doing the dishes.

~ Bubble baths with really good scrubs and shower gels... think Lush.

~ A great cup of English Breakfast

~ Coffee date.

Acts of service and gifts are my top 2 love languages. It means so much to be thought of.

And I love when I get to give. It makes my heart to give to someone else. It helps me get out of my funk.

So yeah, that's where I'm at. I know I'm going to get through this. I know I will be stronger. I am an overcomer. But it's okay that I'm hurting. It's okay that I'm sad. I hate the brokenness of this world. I hate racism and my ignorance as I learn about injustices because of someone's color or their poverty. I hate cancer and sexual trafficking. I hate seeing people suffer. There are so many Hurting people. I hate that I can't fix it.

But there is One who can. One who is. One who will make all things new.


The beauty and the power and majesty in that name. The name that stills my anxious soul and whispers to me tenderly that I will be okay.

I've had peaks and valleys. I have struggled with self-harm and suicidal thoughts before.

Do you wrestle with anxiety and or depression? How do you cope? What do you do? How do you love yourself through it? What helps?

I hope that you know if you do suffer from depression and anxiety that you are not alone. Friends, spouses, family, co-workers will fail and disappoint us, betray us, or hurt us... but Jesus loves you perfectly. He knows you intimately and promises to never leave or forsake us. Even if you can't hold on... you can rest in the fact that He is holding onto you... and He will never let you go.

And if you are struggling.... get help. You are important and valuable. You are needed. Important. You are loved. You are not alone. You are not crazy. You are not a failure. Reach out. Be good to yourself. Be kind to yourself. You are made in the image of God.

Sending hugs. Trusting that all will well in the end. And if it's not all well, then it's not the end.

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Peace in the Waiting...

I pull the covers almost completely over my head. Can’t I just stay in bed? When will all the hurt and pain just go away? I'm so frustrated... by my limitations, my inabilities, my lack of control. 

I’m discouraged. I hurt my back last week and am still recovering. I’m doing all the right things. Been to the chiropractor 3 times. I’ve been icing, and stretching and using biofreeze and arnica gel and essential oils for sore muscles. 

And I still can’t safely work out yet… So I must wait. 

Waiting is never a fun thing for me. I hate being still. I’d much rather get something accomplished because I feel worthy if I’m productive. Scary, right? So when I’m unable to be productive and get things done then I feel worthless. Yikes. 

What if my value isn’t from a clean house and a perfectly made meal? What if who I am isn’t based on the car I drive or how well behaved my children are?

So what if our worth doesn’t come from what we’ve done. What if it comes from something greater and deeper. What if it comes from God. What if it comes from what He’s done on my behalf. What if all that is needed is for me to trust in His finished and perfect work. What if He took my place and bore my sin and shame so that I could become righteous. I have to trust and believe that He is who He says He is. What if being in Him is enough? 

So, I’m not magically fixed. My back still hurts. My muscles are tender. But I can rest knowing that I am a child who is dearly loved and being made more and more into the likeness of my Savior Jesus Christ. And that is my hope for today. 

Sunday, April 02, 2017

Self Hatred vs. The Art of Loving Me Now

I have stretch marks. I have rolls. My body has been stretched from giving birth to 5 children in 6 years. It has carried and sustained me in the tragic loss of my sister and nephew. Has born the grief, stress and challenges of having a child with a feeding tube for 5 years and a child who has walked through cancer treatment. Cerebral palsy. Cleft Palate. Orthotics. Audiologist. Cardiologist. Oncologist. ENT. Cranial-facial. Radiologist. Pulmonology. Developmental Peds. NICU. PICU. blah,blah,blah the list never seems to ends...

The list goes on. But that's not the point.

The point is my body is damaged and broken. And I hated it. I hated my imperfections. My inabilities.

My self-worth was never great. I never looked at myself as a teenager and thought I was beautiful. The scars of sexual abuse made me see, "ugly" "worthless" "fat" even when I was outwardly gorgeous. I never saw it.

And now when I look at myself something wonderful has changed. I look at myself with compassion. I look at myself not merely as a survivor but someone who is overcoming. I'm beautiful. Flawed- absolutely, but beautiful. I'm strong. I have suffered severe depression, anxiety and at times have been very suicidal and I didn't give up. I didn't pull the trigger. I didn't die. I see arms that have comforted my son as he threw up for the 30th time that day. I see legs that kept moving forward in the face of uncertainty and darkness. I see lips that keep smiling even through the tears. I see the eyes that are searching for others... who I can love and encourage and wrap my arms around.

The truth is I have yet to arrive. I'm still in transformation but I refuse to wait to love myself until then...

I'm going to love me now.

Now, when I'm broken, scarred, overweight, vulnerable. When I'm the last one to finish the workout at Crossfit and the one huffing and puffing. I love me when I'm not fitting into the size I want. I will buy those fun leggings from Lula Roe because they make me happy and dance on the inside as well as letting me feel the buttercream softness. I will put on make-up when I want to because I want to not because I have to but I enjoy it. I will use lotion and perfume and feel alive and free and myself.

I shed the hatred. I have outgrown it. I will not look at myself in disgust but smile instead and say, "Baby, you've been through it.... but you're story isn't done."

And when I see you... walking down the street, in the check out line of the grocery store, in the aisle in front of me and behind me at church, in Starbucks waiting for your coffee... I love you too. I wonder what you've been through. I wonder if you know that you are beautiful and amazing and strong.

I want you to know that you are made in the image of God. You are wholly and dearly loved. You are unique and precious and there is no other YOU in this world.

I know it might be hard to believe. Or maybe you've known this all along... but in case you haven't I want to tell you... LOVE YOURSELF NOW.

Don't wait til you lose that last 10 or 100+ pounds.
Don't wait til you feel worthy.
Don't wait until you get that new promotion, or get married, or get divorced, or have a baby, or the children are grown or you finally get the house of your dreams or your body is finally the way you want it.

Love yourself now.

When you love yourself then you are free to love others. You can look at them without judgement and shame and disregard. You don't compare yourself. You don't put them down. You're not jealous and envious and discontent.... because you are satisfied with yourself.

So beautiful, what are you going to do today? How are you going to change this world? How are you going to impact those around you?

You are loved... so go live it!