7.11.2021

Vulnerability

 I am in tears.  This right here is exactly why I share the vulnerable things I do.  For some reason that I don't know, my story started circulating again.  It has reached thousands more people in the last couple of days and has brought overwhelming amounts of love into my life.  But this one comment of only five simple words makes my heart burst.  So many people struggle to find hope, including myself sometimes still, but being in a place where I know light and feel hope again right now and can share that with someone else makes my pain feel worth it.  As I have said before, this isn't about me.  It's simply about what God can do with brokenness, and I'm humbled to be a small part of that process.

#ThereIsAlwaysHope 

#YouAreLovedAndNeeded 

#HoldOn

6.24.2021

Coming Back to Life

 "Coming back to life," as I call it, after every episode of severe depression is a process that I never wanted to experience once, let alone repeat so many times.  I don't know if I can find the words to adequately describe it, but I have to try.

At first, it's remembering what it was to feel the emotion of happiness, but wondering if that is somehow no longer attainable for me, like I'm too far gone to find that peace in my life again.  It's hurting so deeply as I try to find whatever life and light is still left in my heart and go on.  It's being forced to face the harsh reality that this problem will likely come and go periodically for the rest of my life and trying to overcome the overwhelming thought of how many years and how much heartache is left ahead of me, knowing that I can't stop it all from happening.  It's often feeling alone in these feelings, because there aren't the right words to explain it, although I'm so thankful for the people who try to understand.  Eventually, through little experiences and tender mercies that build on one another, my days start to fill with more and more light, until I finally feel like myself again.

It takes time and lots of patience to work through this process, but I'm getting there once again.  Little by little, day by day, step by step, I'm coming back to life and hoping that this will stick around for a very long time.

I have to share these three pictures, because they show the process unfolding perfectly.  It started with me laying down almost all the time, hardly able to get through the days, scrolling my phone in an attempt to pass a little more time, not able to be present with my family, because everything hurt too much, feeling like my family desperately needed more than what I would ever be capable of offering, etc.  Kyle sent me this picture from inside our house and pointed out that even when I was just surviving, I was still making my kids happy by playing with them with my feet.  They were laughing, and I hadn't even really noticed.  When I saw his message though, I immediately felt a little spark of light, like there was something good left inside of me, and I could somehow try to be okay again.  And I did.  After that, I started doing a couple of the things that I knew could help me be okay again.

Then, a week later, Kyle wanted to go on a hike as a family.  Somehow he knew what my heart needed, even when I didn't.  We spent time together in nature, in the sunshine, working up a sweat, taking pretty pictures, and it fed my soul.  When we got to the lake at the top, a random man said to me in passing, "It's all worth it," words I had been wondering and asking myself for days.  How he knew that I needed to hear those exact words I will never know, but I felt an even bigger spark, like some sort of energy filled my heart and lifted away a huge weight that had been hanging there.  

We walked back down the mountain and my heart felt different.  I really, really wanted to try to be okay.  I finally felt like I could.  Near the end of the hike, I wanted a picture with my family and with the beautiful view, because it all made me happy, not the fake happiness I had been forcing for a few weeks, but real happiness.

I guess my point in sharing this is to say that coming back to life is possible.  I've done it 23 times, and realistically that number won't stay there, but I'll keep doing it again and again, as many times as I have to.  Thanks to my wonderful husband, sweet kids, and many supportive friends, I can keep doing it, because they help me carry what my heart could never endure on its own.



6.09.2021

Miracles

 When I think of miracles, I think of my medicine.  A little half of a pill that takes me from thinking that I can't go on anymore, that I am completely failing my family, and that they would even be better off without me in their life to remembering what it is to feel happiness and hope again.  Every three months, I have to take a week break from the medicine.  The last week break was three weeks ago, and it was SO rough this time.  It always surprises me how quickly my life can go from beautiful light to bitter darkness, as well as how my heart can feel so much pain and keep beating.  But it does keep beating, because of the people around me who remind me that pain always passes, light always comes again, and choosing life is always worth it!  It's so humbling and feels incredibly vulnerable to have to rely on what other people see and know when my vision and mind are completely clouded by the darkness of depression, but eventually I can remember for myself who I am and why I am here, and I feel thankful that they didn't give up on me.  Today I know the light is coming back again, and it makes me want to hold my little family tight, because it's their love and their need for me that always gives me a reason to stay.

4.27.2021

Another Year Later

Two year ago, this day changed my life.  It still makes me want to cry when I think about it-- what happened, how it affected me for so long, and how it is still a painful part of me.

One year ago, this day changed my life again, but this time for the better.  I shared this part of my story, and for the first time, I really felt like I had a voice that needed to be heard on the topics of suicide prevention and understanding severe depression.  I never would have thought that any of this would have been my life, but being able to find little ways to turn my past darkness into light for someone else fills me with purpose.  

Today, I am happy.  I still have days when I struggle with things, especially overcoming the traumatic memories and triggers from being severely depressed for such a long time, but overall, I'm much happier.  I'm thankful to still be here, thankful to be able to work hard to find my whole peace again, and thankful to feel hope.  I wish I could somehow wrap that hope and happy ending to my story in a little box to give to anyone who is struggling with thoughts of suicide.  Oh what I would have given to have been able to receive that from someone else when I needed it.

So I guess you'll just have to trust me.  Trust me that sticking around is worth it.  Trust me that the people around you really truly want you here, that they for sure wouldn't be better off without you.  I can tell you that they would be devastated to lose you.  *I* would be devastated to lose you.  Trust me that there are people around you who want to and are able to help you.  Mine was a long journey that involved so many different people somehow coming together in the most perfect way to provide me with the help I desperately needed.  The same can happen for you!  Trust me that someday you will be glad you stayed.  Where I'm at now has a really great view, and it keeps getting better.

For so long, I thought I was destined to die from depression, but now I'm learning what it's like to live again, and it's a beautiful life!

4.22.2021

Infertility Awareness

 #VulnerableMoment  #Ugh

Apparently this week is #NationalInfertilityAwarenessWeek, and honestly my heart has hurt so much recently given our baby situation. I know I have two beautiful kids, and I can be happy if our family has to end here, but my heart aches for one more baby to complete our family. This happens each time I get to a good place medication-wise. I want to go off right away and have a baby. Except now, I am really struggling with the thought of going off and facing darkness again. It seems like too much to bear, which leaves me feeling a sense of selfishness that I don't know if I'm willing to go there for the sake of having another baby. We have a tentative plan for if/when I'm ready, but who knows if it will work in successfully getting pregnant or if my body will be able to keep that baby alive.  All of it hurts so much and sometimes feels like if I were a better mom then maybe it would have worked out the last two times.  I know that's not really true, but sometimes that's how I feel.

Anyway, a friend wrote a beautiful blog post that resonated with me. Here is some of what she said that I've really been feeling:

"What is secondary infertility?

It’s remembering how much you loved feeling the movements inside the womb and never getting to feel that again.

It’s imagining the bond that your current children will create as they meet and get to know their baby brother or sister and never being able to experience it.

It’s hearing your kids talk about how they want to have more siblings that they can play with, and wishing you could have given that to them a long time ago.

It’s keeping all of your baby clothes for years for your future children only to have to get rid of them without ever using them again.

It’s loving your little family with all of your heart, and also feeling like it will never feel complete.

It’s feeling lots of emotions when friends have babies while you can’t, and then feeling guilty that you feel all those things because you love them, are genuinely happy for them, and would never want them to not be able to have more.

It’s dealing with the normal emotions of having had your last child, without getting to cherish any “lasts” because you never thought you wouldn’t be able to have more.

It’s being absolutely certain that there is another child waiting to join your family, and then being just as certain that it’s okay to be done, and not knowing how to reconcile that."

Side note: I can completely truthfully promise that I am so overjoyed at the success of my friends and family in having more kids. Really, I am. It only stings sometimes, because I am human and my heart wishes for that success in my own family too.  It's so hard to explain that emotion without sounding like I'm just not happy for someone else, so please try to understand what I'm saying and know that I truly am happy for you!! I hope my day is coming, but if not, I will always be thankful for my two sweet kids who made me a mom.

4.09.2021

The Savior

The most hopeful little corner of my house.  I put all my trust in the promise that Christ can and will and is currently doing this for me.  These words bring me comfort and peace.

3.31.2021

Healing

Happy is a good place to be.  

For the last 7 months, I have faithfully gone to counseling every week.  Thanks to my amazing friend Casey for watching my kids during every single appointment, to my other incredible friend Kristina for helping me find the right counselor and for talking after every counseling appointment, to Kyle for supporting me in this and also talking through each session, and to everyone who has supported me in photography and my Etsy shop for making it financially possible.

Last week, I felt like I could take a break from counseling for a while.  So many of my broken pieces have been coming together again, and I'm finding peace.  Not much has changed as far as certain circumstances in my life, but the way I can face them and move forward has drastically improved.  It's not all magically better.  In fact, it takes a lot of hard work, but it's work that I am now strong enough to bear.

The next step is taking time each day to ponder and write in these awesome workbooks/journals I found on Amazon.  I know they will be valuable resources in my continued healing.

I still don't know what the future holds for our family.  I don't know how long my peace will last, if we'll ever get our last baby, or what other challenges will come to our family.  But I'm okay with not knowing and simply hoping for the best.  That's how I know I'm healing.

3.06.2021

Christmas Socks 2021

You guys!  I have watched the price of socks every single day online and every chance I've been at the store for the last couple of months.  So many of you have watched with me and have sent me messages with different prices and locations too.  Last night, the price finally dropped to where I wanted it, and this morning, I was able to get 150 pairs of socks with the extra money that was donated last Christmas for my "Christmas Socks for Hope" project.  I can't thank all of you enough for supporting this and supporting me.  This project brings me a feeling of purpose for what I have experienced.  The support I've received in doing it brings a feeling that #MentalHealthMatters, and that does so much for my healing heart.  Thanks times a million for helping me spread light and love!  

Also, I had to laugh at the number of eye rolls and snarky remarks about being hoarders or selfish that came when people saw my cart full of socks.  Pretty sure they thought I was a #DoomsdayPrepper and for some reason thought all these socks would save me from the end of the world 😂😂😂

And finally, check out all the variety of styles I was able to get.  It makes my fuzzy-sock-loving heart happy 😍

***Apparently I can't count. My receipt shows that we got 186 🙈😂


2.02.2021

She Kept Going

 Sometimes I feel like my life is some dramatic, weird story 🙈😂 when I would really be fine with it being a normal, boring story. But let's face it. Where's the fun in being "normal"?! Or at least that's what I tell myself... 😉

This last October, after losing another baby and pretty desperately needing stability in my life again, I went back on the "miracle" medicine that had brought so much peace into my life before. I was more than ready to get back to a good place and to work on gaining strength before wanting to try for a baby again this spring. But this time, the medicine didn't work the same.

I became incredibly anxious, to the point that my muscles would tense up and make my arm and leg randomly go numb, which only served to increase my anxiety to an unbearable level as I wondered what was happening to me. I tried to tell myself that this was normal and was just my body's reaction to starting the medicine again, but it kept happening. I also tried to tell myself that the anxiety was caused by counseling as we dug into really hard, painful things. But after more than two months, nothing had improved, and the constant worry paired with the feeling that I couldn't breathe or function normally made me finally reach out to my doctor. I was terrified of what he would think or if he would still believe me. Thankfully, he is not like that, and I was really just crazy anxious about that too.

At my appointment, he mentioned how something must have changed in this process. We remembered how when I switched from the one month supply of the birth control to the three month supply, just before going off to try to have a baby, the brand had changed. Everything else was exactly the same, but the brand was different. When we realized this, I immediately felt something so comforting inside of me that maybe there was a reason for this unexpected reaction and that things could improve without having to start all over with trying to figure out what to do next.

A few days later, I took my normal one week break that I take every three months and then switched to the new medicine. Unfortunately, all of these hormonal changes threw me into the deep trenches of what I call "suicidal hell." I suddenly didn't think I could make it. I didn't want to be here anymore. And even worse, I didn't want to tell anyone. I thought I had to be gone this time. I was so discouraged and frustrated and sad. I couldn't foresee things getting better and felt no hope for my future. It was like the darkness was caving in and swallowing me whole, and I was all alone in fighting it.

One day, a good friend let me into her home and somehow asked the right question that broke through my silent darkness and allowed me to share my very honest feelings. I was so scared that no one could love me anymore like this, but she reassured me of her love and encouraged me to open up to more people. I told a couple more people in my close circle and felt the comfort of loving family and friends in my life again.

I continued to struggle deeply for days, reaching out for help when I needed it and spending time with people constantly, until the darkness began to part and let the light in again. The light has been increasing slowly each day, so I think the old brand is working, and that really was the problem. 🤞

We also found out during this time that the surgery I had hoped would give me a better chance of having a healthy, living baby is not a possibility for me. I'm not ready to try again any time soon, but I'm holding out hope that our family will still be able to grow one more time.

So there you have it. Everything you didn't need to know, but you do now 😆 You're welcome.

I hope someday the summary of my life story can be condensed into three words, "She kept going."

1.12.2021

Broken

 This last while has sure thrown me down. Unmanageable levels of anxiety and bouts of depression mixed in have left me scared, confused, and concerned. My medicine hasn't been working the same this time as it did the first time around, and that has been disheartening, to say the least. At the same time, I've been amazed, once again, at how the darkness makes even the tiniest glimmers of light shine brighter. Really I write these things down for my own benefit to help me recognize and remember, but I share in case they could benefit someone else.

I see the light in my incredible husband who reassures me when I need it that he won't leave me for some better, happier life and who is always there to comfort, uplift, and walk with me through the dark.

I see it in my kids who give me every reason to get out of bed and to keep finding my purpose and who make me smile in the process.

I see it in my good counselor who has helped me take lots of little steps of progress in the last several months and who is slowly helping my heart heal.

I see it in my kind doctor who I know cares about me personally, who won't ever give up on me, and who takes the time to remind me that better days will come again.

I see it in my friends who help with my kids so that I can go to counseling, who listen to countless hours of me explaining what my heart is feeling, and who also don't give up on me, even though they don't have to be there.

I see it in my church family who let me share my whole heart with them this last Sunday and who have since embraced me with such warmth and love. 

My heart physically aches right now for the hurt that it is bearing, but knowing that I don't have to bear it alone is the greatest blessing I could be given.