Things I am sloooowly learning or trying to learn:

How everyone can have a place in the church of Jesus Christ, even when they are broken or weary or have so many unanswered questions about why things happen in life the way they do, and also that there isn't some certain mold to fit into to belong.

How part of praying is accepting God's will, even if that includes enduring literally unbearable pain instead of Him taking it away, and how sometimes God's answers to prayers come through other people helping to make the pain more bearable.

How one desperate, seemingly unanswered prayer last summer doesn't cancel out all of the other many answered prayers.

How my effort really is enough, even though it looks far different now from how it used to.

How to love myself completely, even who I am now compared to who I thought I would be and how my life would be at this point, even as someone who is trying to heal and very slowly making progress, even who I am compared to others who seem far greater and more impactful in the world.

How to work with Kyle to do certain things together that are too hard or overwhelming for me to do on my own and how to figure things out together. Our many late night and early morning talks are paying off in helping me piece together in my mind the things that confuse and repeatedly hurt me.

How trauma is very real and heavily influences so many parts of my life right now but that it can be overcome in time through advances in therapy techniques and significant hard work and pain on my part when I am ready.

How to trust that, in time, Jesus Christ really can bind up broken hearts, not just other people's but mine.

I'm thankful for Kyle, my kids, my close friends, my amazing counselor, many church leaders, and others who offer their time, support, love, and lack of judgment during such a difficult time of trying to make sense of things that simply don't make sense. I cry a lot right now because so many things hurt in ways that I can't explain so that others can understand, but I'm trying to smile through the tears and keep hoping that my heart won't always hurt this bad.


Freedom from Medication Addiction

I wasn't going to share this, but quite honestly, I need all the love and support and understanding I can get right now. I am in the process of slowly going off a medication that my body is highly dependent on. I hate to use the word addiction, but that might be accurate. Tapering down causes great anxiety, insomnia, headaches, and a whole other plethora of possible symptoms that I'm hoping to avoid. The worst part for me is the anxiety. It brings back floods of memories that terrify me. This is going to be a long process that will take a few months. I'm only on day 4, and it is getting harder by the day. In the research I've done, there are certain peaks and then things level out some before the next taper. I'm hoping today is the worst of this round and then things will gradually start to improve again. I'm taking some supplements to try to help with the withdrawal and hoping they are truly helping. It's just so hard. A medication that I was once forced to rely on to control the level of anxiety I was enduring is now causing similar anxiety again as I try to break free from it. I'm counting my blessings that my dose and amount of time I've been on that dose are relatively small. And now I'm praying with all my heart that I can have the strength to get through this tumultuous time. These people, along with so many good friends, give me strength and help me navigate life through all that it brings our way.


My Beautiful Life

 The second time I was in the hospital, I read this quote: 

“I am going to make everything around me beautiful. That will be my life.” ― Elsie de Wolfe

Right then and there I decided that this precisely described what I wanted for myself and my life.  I wanted to find beauty wherever I went, share beauty whenever I could, and try to leave everything more beautiful than how I found it.  

Attempting to find the beauty that surrounds me is what gets me through the ugly of life.  Right now, there is a lot going on in my world, things that I am not ready to share, but these beautiful blossoms made me happy today.



 Easter has always been a day of hope, but this year more than ever before.  As I grapple with so many unanswered questions and difficult doubts, I'm holding onto hope that through Jesus Christ, what is now shattered can be repaired.  Hope that I can always overcome the challenges of life through Him.  Hope that He truly understands what I feel because He suffered it for me.  Hope that anything, literally anything, is possible, even overcoming seemingly insurmountable trauma.  I'm leaning heavily on these hopes right now, praying that they can be true for me, and doing whatever I can to trust in His power to restore my life and heal my wounds.  As Charlotte said, "This Easter is symbolic of my rebirth."


One Last Picture

 Our computer screen saver shuffles through pictures. Every time this one comes up, I feel a punch in my gut and a lump in my throat. 

This one image elicits such strong emotions in me, more than any other picture we have. Our pictures from Glacier National Park are still very painful for me to look at, because it was when we came home from that wonderful trip that I broke. But this one picture is 10x more painful than all of those combined. 

It was taken on July 31. At that time, I was going on two straight weeks of intense anxiety. But that weekend, it had escalated, and I was in a state of constant panic. I had to keep walking around my house and around the block, because it seemed that walking was the only way to release some of the built-up tension and painful energy flowing through my body like a vicious poison. I was somewhat depressed, incredibly anxious, and barely holding onto life. 

I kept pacing around my house, wondering how a person could survive such pervasive darkness and extreme anxiety, when I heard the joyful screams of my family in the backyard. They were running through the sprinklers, getting wet, and chasing each other. For some reason, I snapped a picture from inside, but I didn't go join them as I might have usually done. By that point, I was just a hollow version of myself, and I didn't understand how they could be so happy or have the energy to run and laugh. I wondered what good there was left in the world that a person could find the strength or desire to smile. 

The next day, I left my family with a precise plan of how to be gone forever. This is the last picture I had taken, the last picture my family would have been left with as they would have grappled with all of the unanswered questions, namely how someone with so much to live for could feel terrible enough to end it all.

I share this for many reasons. Because I desperately wish someone could understand the trauma that fills my mind and heart from what I experienced. Because this shows the harsh reality of what depression and anxiety can do to a person. But mostly because I want anyone who reads this to remember that there is so much to live for. Don't leave your family with that one last painful picture. Reach out and choose to stay.


Getting Better

 When I'm depressed, doing a load of dishes or laundry or making dinner feels impossible. Literally impossible. But lately I've been able to do those things with ease, sometimes multiple at the same time, like today.

Tonight a memory flooded back to me. I remember being in the hospital crying painful tears, telling one of the amazing counselors there that I just couldn't keep going, and I didn't know what was wrong with me. I had a beautiful family and seemingly everything going for me, yet all I wanted was to be gone forever. She said, "This is 100% depression. You do have everything going for you, so the fact that you feel this way means you are depressed." I remember the sweet relief I felt in that moment. Relief that there was indeed something wrong with me (yes, I had forgotten that in that moment). Relief that depression was making me feel this way, not my lack of gratitude for how blessed my life is. Relief that we could find some solution to my sadness so that I could feel happy with my beautiful family again.

It's crazy to see what hormones do to me. I can't even describe what it feels like to see how much progress I've made in the last several months since that time in the hospital. And I feel so thankful for being able to do dishes or laundry and not struggle tearfully through them. Life is getting to be so good again.



 If I had to choose just one thing that I am most thankful for about struggling with my mental health, it's hands down Kyle and how our relationship has grown through this trial.  Not only has he been there through the very worst times I have experienced, but he also works hard to earn money so that I can go to counseling and have a gym membership to improve my situation.  He celebrates with me when I work out and encourages me to continue swimming my half mile, improving my time, and working up to swimming a mile.  He spends some of his free time researching hormones and medicine and possible things that could help me.  He takes time out of work to go to my appointments with me so that he can be a second set of ears and an advocate for me.  He is willing to listen after every counseling session and help me continue working through the pains that come out each time.  We have come to the point where we can talk about anything.  I can be completely honest with him about how I'm feeling or what's on my mind.  He has learned to not just ask how I'm doing but to ask more detailed questions to really understand where I'm at.  He takes pictures of me doing things with my kids to help me fight the feeling that I am failing my family and am not good enough for them.  I don't know what I did to deserve such an incredible person, but I'm beyond thankful to have him in my life.  





Counseling Pain

 #VeryVulnerablePost 😬😭

This is me every week both before and after a session of counseling. It's the hardest but best thing I could do for myself. Digging up pain hurts deeply, but my hope is that someday my heart will heal from these pains and I will be thankful that I put in the hard work to get to that place.


Prized Possessions

 Hear me out for this long story, because I have to tell it for my own heart's sake.  And I'll just throw this out there now, this is not a pregnancy announcement 😉

In July of 2019, we found out I was pregnant.  It was such a sweet surprise.  I immediately felt connected to that little baby.  A friend of a friend had an Etsy shop, and when I saw this little "Made in Idaho" onesie and booties, I knew I HAD to buy them.  I also bought a little hat and mocassins from a separate place too, because I was so excited and happy.  

Then at the end of August, I started bleeding.  The baby's heart rate was fine, so I was told everything would be okay.  I came home from the hospital, and my package of baby things had arrived in the mail that very same day.  I was so happy to see these sweet purchases.  I snuggled them close and felt relief wash over me that my baby was fine after this scare.  We were in the middle of moving into our house, so I packed the outfit on top of my baby box and sealed it up.  But then things tragically got worse, and by the end of the next week, our sweet baby was gone.  

We moved into our house, and while we were unpacking, I saw a box that wasn't labeled.  I opened it, immediately gasped for air, and ran to my room to sob.  In that unlabeled box were my baby things, the very things I had saved and bought, sure that this baby would safely join our family the next April.  On the top were my purchases I had snuggled close and felt relief.  I didn't even think to label the box, because I had no clue when I was packing it up what heartbreaking events would transpire.  That tore me to pieces.  

Then in July of 2020, I went off birth control to try to have another baby.  I immediately plummeted into deep depression, but I knew it was worth it to bring one more baby into our family.  One particularly difficult day, I went to Walmart to walk around and pass a little more time.  I saw this cute hat on the clearance aisle.  I bought it as my motivation to keep going through the depression, because the end result would be worth it.  I kept it on my dresser so I could see it each day.  We did end up getting pregnant after 3 grueling months, but that pregnancy ended in more heartbreak and tears.  

And then I had a complete mental breakdown in 2021 and realized that our baby days were over.  I saved my little outfit, booties, and hats, not sure what to do with them.  I couldn't get rid of them yet, but I also couldn't bear seeing them sitting there, so I stuffed them away and thought maybe someday I would have the courage to give them to a sweet friend who was expecting.

When I found out that my friend Jessica was pregnant, I just KNEW she was the one I could give these to.  I knew she would appreciate and love them and know how much they meant to me.  I'm so darn happy for her that it's hard to contain my excitement.

My heart still hurts sometimes, but it is healing, and I know it is healing, because I've found the courage to give away some of my most prized possessions.


Stress-Free Year

According to Charlotte, if I can get to one year of mental stability, then I am considered in "remission."  If I can get to five years, then I am basically "cured."  The depression is coming up on one month of stability.  The anxiety (physical symptoms of anxiety, not the worrying thoughts of anxiety) are still holding on, so that time hasn't started yet.  I hope we can get that part under control soon.

Basically, I have to try my very hardest in the next year to avoid any additional stress or certain triggers that could cause a relapse.  This means postponing a spring break vacation to Arizona and southern Utah, not having a big family gathering (or really any family gathering) for Brooklyn's baptism, and not pushing myself too hard or committing to too many things.  

This is really hard for me.  Sometimes I feel like I am ruining my family's life through my struggles, and that hurts me deeply.  Sometimes I feel like I'm missing out on such sweet, critical years with my kids, and that hurts me too.  More than I can put into words.  Sometimes I miss being able to push myself hard and accomplish great things, or being able to commit to a variety of service and social events.

But when I feel the discouragement start to settle in, I remind myself that I am doing all of this BECAUSE I love my family and want to reach my year of stability for them.  I remember that my heart is still healing, and that's okay.  It's okay to take the time I need to push myself harder.  I still wish this could be some other way, but I just have to think how much sweeter all of these things will be when my darkness is finally far behind me.