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Monday, February 4, 2013

A Run-in with Depression

I know, it has been ages since I have written a post.  I needed lots of time off after the October focus. ;)  The itch to write has been there a lot lately, so I am scratching.  A few of you have heard this already, but I thought it might be a good one to share with the rest.


About 3 weeks ago, our MOPS director shared with me what we were going to talk about at our February meeting.  Depression.  Sure, I know people who have battled depression, suffer from SAD (Seasonal Affective Disorder), and medicate.  But not me.  I wasn't even really sure how I felt about the whole subject.  Questions fly through my head: Is it biological, psychological, spiritual, or a mixture of these?  Anyway, I knew it would be beneficial for some, but I just brushed it off and focused on my role as Activities Coordinator.  Cake decorating, YUM!


One week before the meeting, the director tells me that she is unable to make it.  She has to take her boys to their first b-ball game.  Ok.  No problem.  I have taught 35 lessons in one week before.  I can handle showing a video and leading discussion.  Psssh.
Little did I know that the week that followed would rock my world; in a negative sort of way.
I have been enjoying being a stay-at-home-mom now for 6 months.  This is exactly what we desired and prayed for.  I love not having to set an alarm most days, making my own schedule, much fewer deadlines, and the freedom to go wherever, whenever (within reason, of course...I have a toddler).  Lately, however, something changed.  I found Josh asking me on an almost daily basis, "Is everything ok?"  Sure, I am content with my position in life and extremely thankful, but apparently to him I was looking tired, sad, and like I'd just been to a funeral or something.
Yes, the kids were really annoying and didn't listen to a word I said.  Every mess I cleaned up, they made two more to take its place.  Elli woke Max up way too early from his nap two days in a row - not allowing me to have some "me" time or accomplish anything on my to do list.  No, I had to cook and wash dishes with a screaming child clinging to my leg.  The list goes on, but I digress.  I found myself wandering around the house in a dehydrated, low blood sugar daze with an aching head.  Hmm... what can I eat to make me feel better?  What can I take?  I prayed, but it didn't seem to help right away.  Thank goodness we don't have alcohol in the house!
Isn't this what I asked for?  To JUST be a mom?  Well, yes, but I thought I could handle it slightly better than I am.  And to add to the stress, Josh was busy preparing for a big church event last weekend, and I still needed to get some things for MOPS and watch the video in order to prepare some answers for the discussion questions, if needed.  Wednesday night did bring some much needed healing to my mind, body, and spirit.  I got to spend time talking with a friend at church and later headed out for coffee and late night grocery shopping with another.  It was nice to talk, especially about what was going on and get some affirmation that I was not alone.
Thursday rolled around.  It was supper time.  Josh usually gets home at 5:09.  :)  This day, on the other hand, he was nowhere to be found at 5:15, 5:30.  Ok, I better text him.  No response.  5:35.  Time to call.  No answer.  My mind had gone to the most negative places by this time.  He was in an accident.  He was not coming home.  His boss would call me any minute.  This type of negative thinking is not new for me, but I was definitely feeling more anxious this week.  5:38.  Call again.  He answered!  Where are you (as sweetly as possible)?  Forgot to tell me he had to work late again, would see me in 15 minutes.  Whew!


That evening, Josh went to bed early to get some rest for his big day.  I decided to finally sit down and watch the MOPS video.  A licensed counselor went through the list of symptoms of depression and discussed possible causes.

  • Tiredness
  • Trouble sleeping
  • Sleeping too much
  • Not wanting to eat
  • Wanting to eat all the time
  • Prolonged sadness
  • No sexual desire
  • Wanting to be alone
  • Finding nothing that brings you pleasure
I could definitely relate to a few of those... As she continued, she explained that it could be hormones or chemicals, family history, low thyroid, etc.  The brain is an organ like the liver, she stated, it has issues that need to be addressed by a professional or treated with medication at times.  Wow.  I never really thought of it that way.  She also talked about negative thinking and how detrimental that can be.  She described a wife waiting at home for her husband who was running late and thought he had been in an accident.  At this I had to chuckle...and cry at the same time.  Maybe something is going on with me that I can't explain  or simply pray away.


According to the video, there are some very simple things I can do to get out of this "funk". Spend at least 1 hour outside daily.  Yes, this sounds simple, but if you are like me, you hate the cold and would much rather the kids stay dry and clean.  They are like magnets to the nearest pile of snow or puddle of mud (whether they find it themselves or trip and fall into it accidentally).  Oh well, guess I need to buck up, dress warm, and get out there to take in what the sun is offering!  Exercise.  Oh no, not the E-word.  Don't get me wrong, I do like to work out.  I always enjoyed gymnastics and track practices (participating and coaching), heading to the gym with a friend, or even running with a partner.  These days, though, those are impossible.  With no excess money and little extra time, my options are limited.  Sure, I could walk or sprint up the big hill of a driveway we have or use the dusty weight bench in the basement.  But I would much rather have a treadmill in front of a TV in my warm house this time of year.  Or, I could follow these suggestions: .  The point is, I need to get my heart rate up, and not just chasing after or carrying my 30 lb. children all day.  Stay away from caffiene.  What?!  No!!!  I LOVE coffee, tea,  AND soda!  Fine, I guess I can throw in some decaf here and there. ;)  Avoid simple carbs and foods high in sugar.  But what about when we are running late and I only have time to grab a pop tart (to go with my creamered, caffeinated coffee) before sprinting out the door?  Found this recipe last night that might help: .  Talk to someone.  I have some great friends and family who are always ready to listen.  This one is easy for me, thankfully.  And finally, think positively.  Now this one is going to be tough.  I have been a negative-thinking worry wart for much of my life.  I've been through stages where it has been easy to see the bright side, but I am now running on E for whatever reason.
There you have it.  My new to-do list.  I must give it a shot for my husband's sake, my children's, and my own.  If all else fails, then I will seek professional help.

If you know me well, then you had to know I would look to see what God has to say about the subject.  I found this verse from Proverbs:

Anxiety in the heart of man causes depression, but a good word makes it glad. (12:25)

His Word is good.  Talking with a friend is good.  Staying positive in conversation and thought is good.  And hey, my prayer was answered... it just took a few hard days.  But they were worth it!  


Kylie said...

I do have to slightly disagree with just one thing. You're not JUST a mom. Yes, you're a mom, and that's one of the most important roles you have in your life, but you're still Heather. Granted, when you have kids, your desires and dreams change, but don't forget Heather. Even if things have to be modified a bit, don't forget Heather in there. Your kids and Josh will thank you. If you remember Heather a little bit, you'll be a better wife and mother. I don't know how you can do that, but if you find something that you love that's yours for a small time each day, it will help everyone.

I remember one ladies' breakfast where April talked about a woman who had a bunch of kids and her quiet time was a blanket over her head while she was in prayer. That was her time to be her. With God. That sticks with me for some reason. My blanket is the bathroom. :)

Heather said...

Thanks, Kylie! I needed the reminder of the blanket woman. :) I usually wait until late (like now) to get in some me time, but it wears off by morning. :P

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