Friday, January 11, 2013

Farewell to a Good Girl

I will always have my dad to thank for bringing us together my junior year of high school.

It all started with trips to and from school everyday.

A couple of times you helped me drop packages on boys' doorsteps asking them to school dances.

We stayed out of trouble on the weekends having lots of fun.

There are moments that I have shared with you and no one else.

We got to go to college together and I remember driving on campus the first day, nervous but excited.

You came with me when I went to tell that boy that it really was all over, and you were waiting for me when I came out.

And you were there the night I pulled over in rainstorm, certain that no one else could hear, and screamed at the top of my lungs in utter desperation to have my life as I knew it back during a particularly difficult battle with depression.

My relationship with God grew as we took early morning trips to the Bountiful temple and I would ponder my relationship with Him on the way home.

You were there the first time Danilo kissed me (the first time in my life I truly saw fireworks).
You overheard our conversations as we discussed what kind of future we wanted to have together.

My getting married didn't change anything between us.
While Danilo* wasn't sold at first, it didn't take long for him to appreciate you as much as I did.

We went to internships and job interviews
and together to my first day teaching school.

A couple of years later when Gracie joined us, you were familiar to her too.
We never went to the grocery store or story time without you. 

You lived with us everywhere we lived, your accommodations were better at some places than others.

Last Saturday you drove away.

Happily I know it's to a good home.
He might not listen to country music or enjoy Josh Groban
but he goes to the same high school I did,
so in some ways you're going right back to where we started.

You were loyal and true and will always occupy a special place in my heart.
I will always feel a certain camaraderie with anybody who drives by in a Geo Prizm
because we most likely have a similar appreciation for what a dang good car they are.  
Thanks for the memories sweetheart.
I love you.

(Sorry so sappy. I really care about this car.)

*Danilo had a harder time letting the Geo go than I did. "Can't we just keep it?" He is proud when he tells people that changing the clutch was the only major repair we made on her in the 6 1/2 years we've been married.

Thursday, January 3, 2013

I think I can blog now

I vacuumed the living room right before I took the tree down so I could take a picture... because I did not vacuum once in December... please...let me explain :)

I never checked in here the whole month of December except to quickly announce our baby news. The truth? For some people, pregnancy hormones are not only the perfect storm for morning sickness, but for a bout with depression. I am one of those people.

We found out shortly before the election that we were expecting a new baby (hooray!). When my dreams of having a President Romney were crushed, I expected to feel bad, but I didn’t expect it to drag on for weeks. I felt terribly gloomy. And nauseated. And I finally keyed in to the fact that perhaps my symptoms were not fully related to politics.

During my first pregnancy, I was teaching school, and the world, whether I could keep my breakfast down or not, had to keep turning. I decided to try for the same strategy this go round. I thrive on getting up early and getting things done. I feared morning sickness would keep me in bed all morning, and darned if I would let it. I scheduled all kinds of commitments in the morning that would require me to get out of bed and get moving.

I didn’t feel good for any of it. And the more I did, the worse I felt. Feeling that way day in and day out was wearing on my emotional well-being, which was already thin from the gloomy thoughts and feelings the depression was causing.  I realized one day when my sister was nursing me back to health on her couch with a plateful of chicken nuggets (I am eating like a mother bear at least every two hours) that something had to give. Many things had to give. I decided I could take on one major task each day. Major tasks = one trip to Wal-Mart, one trip to the grocery store, cleaning one bathroom, vacuuming one room, doing the laundry. ONE a day. For years I have exercised at 6 a.m. I bagged any form of exercise completely so I could sleep more (...and continued to eat like a mother bear through the holidays... I hope you get to experience that, guilt-free, at least once in your life!).

The sleep felt good. For the first time, lack of exercise felt good. The little energy I did have wasn’t spent at the gym. And resting throughout the day felt good, though it was hard to see my house kind of crumble in on me. I knew I was refraining from fully taking care of the house for a good reason. Grace and I got to read lots of books and watch lots of movies together.

Little by little as the morning sickness fades away, the depression is too. I saw our baby's face yesterday on ultra-sound, and it brought me so much JOY.

I wanted to include some tricks I use to battle depression when it comes calling. My hope is that some of this information can be helpful to someone else.  

-Knowing what you're dealing with is half the battle. Any battle with depression will never be as bad as the first when it was unfamiliar to you.

-Don't fight it. You will get even more discouraged in the process and it will still settle in anyway. Recognize it for what it is, and know it might stay for awhile. But also know you've beaten it before.

-Understand that the depressed you is not the real you. When you have irrational feelings and thoughts, instead of wondering if you're going insane, blame it on the hormones or lack of serotonin in your brain, and don't give them much more airtime than that. The sane, rational thoughts belong to you and they will dominate more and more as you do your best to just push through each day.

-Don't worry about what you might be losing because of your bout with depression (example: I'm having a baby, this is supposed to be a really happy time and I feel like this???) There is much to be gained from a bout of depression that will make you a better person. The losses will be made up in one way or another.

Each of these tricks represents a light-bulb moment I had in the midst of a bout of depression. Somehow I always think these tricks will be enough, that I won't get down and discouraged but be able to sail on through. While the tricks are essential in getting through, I always find I have another one to learn with each new bout of depression. Here's something I have gained from this time around:

I can choose to be happy in spite of depression (sounds kind of ironic, I know). I was really inspired by this article, and it helped me throughout the Christmas season. Depression kind of colors the way you see everything, but I made a deliberate effort, especially at times and events I was looking forward to, to enjoy them and be happy. I would think to myself, I know the way I'm feeling right now tells me I should feel really lousy tonight, but I've been looking forward to seeing these people, so tonight, I'm going to be happy.

Something I must relearn each time is to trust that whatever adversity I am experiencing is for my good. I sing its praises for all it has taught me, but depression is awful. It is difficult, demeaning, debilitating, causes you to severely doubt yourself and sucks life out of you and the things you enjoy. When you're looking at it in hindsight you think it probably wasn't quite so bad. But when you're in thick of it, you think, "Oh. I remember."

However, I recently read this quote by C.S. Lewis (I love his reasoning on God):

"The tortures occur. If they are unnecessary, then there is no God, or a bad one. If there is a good God, then these tortures are necessary, for no even moderately good Being could possibly inflict or permit them if they weren't."

P.S. These kinds of things run in my family... for a blog detailing my sister's experiences with anxiety, please visit this site.