Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Laughter is the Best Medicine

So, for those of you not aware, I'm a BYU fan and proud to admit that. I'm not so proud to say that although our football team appeared to have great promise this year, they fell a bit short. Do not worry...my loyalties will NOT change. But I did find the following video (made after the BYU v. Utah game) did help lighten the mood. Somehow if you can laugh during the hard times, it really does seem to make things better.

What Christmas is Really All About

The holidays are always a whirlwind of fun, excitement, and definitely some stress too. This year did not fail me on any of those things. But I wanted to be sure to take just a moment (while my 2 year old is sleeping and my 4 year old is next door...thanks Jen) to publicly say that I am SO thankful for the true meaning of Christmas...Christ.

Although His humble beginning was thousands of years ago, it will forever change the world, past, present, and future. His birth was not especially unique. If it were not for His life, it would just have been another baby born. But this is not the case and this is what we truly celebrate at Christmas time...a miraculous life.

Our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, has given us a gift more wonderful than we can ever imagine. We are blessed to simply know of His existence, but the truly beautiful thing is that even those that do not know Him, benefit from what He did. He is truly the Savior of the World, not just the Savior for Christians, or Mormons, or even for those that follow all the commandments. Because He died for us we can all live forever.

I feel so truly blessed to know that my Savior died and suffered for me, personally...as well as everyone else. His love for me extends even beyond the love of a mother for her child...something that I have so often marveled at. His life is truly a testament of His love.

So may you stop, for even just a moment, to ponder on how the love of one who was born in a lowly stable has forever changed your life and will forever more.

Merry Chirstmas!

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

My Best Teacher

Hallmark Hall of Fame, after hundreds of productions can definitely put on a sweet little story. Admittedly, often cheesy, but if you can overlook that fact, they really have an uplifting and inspiring message to share.

I'm not usually one that waits anxiously to see is production, but for whatever reason (I suppose in retrospect I could say divine intervention) I decided I'd try to record their most recent production, Front of the Class. I am so glad that I did.

The basic plot is about a man with Tourettes Syndrome, Brad Cohen, overcoming the obvious challenges his disease presents, to become an award winning teacher. Since it's a Hallmark Hall of Fame (HHofF) movie, I'm not giving anything away by letting you know he accomplished his goal. So in that respect it was no different from any other HHofF production.

So you might be asking, "Then why the heck are you taking up space on the internet to talk about it if it's no better than any other one." Good question!

There was one key point in the movie that really hit home for me. When he was only 12 years old, after a horrible experience with a support group (thank heavens they aren't all like that), he made up his mind that he wasn't going to let Tourettes win.

That is exactly how I've had to learn to approach my depression. I can let it win by allowing myself to become a recluse, sleeping all the time, not seeking the help available (therapy, medicine, etc.), thinking I'm too good for a support group...the list goes on and on.

One thing that Brad learned was that to truly win the battle with tourettes, he had to change the way he thought about tourettes. He finally learned to see tourettes as his best teacher. Tourettes was always with him and if he didn't learn to adapt to the challenges it presented him, then it would win.

Depression is the same way. I have learned SO much from my struggle with depression...hopefully things that have made me a better person.

*I've learned humility. Having to realize you can't do it on your own can be a REALLY hard lesson to learn. (Especially if you're stubborn like me!)

*I've learned that you just don't know what's going on behind the scenes.

*I've learned to be less judgemental.

*I've learned to assume the best about people (kind of the idea of innocent until proven guilty).

*I've learned that perfection is a VERY relative term.

*I've learned that (or really maybe just reconfirmed) Ryan is exactly the husband that I need. (Wow I could go on about that one, but I'll try to refrain from boring you!)

*I've learned that the cleanliness of your home has nothing to do with the effort you've put in.

*I've learned that (or again maybe reconfirmed) the Lord truly knows what we need and will answer our prayers even when we don't completely know that is what we're praying for.

*I've learned that people can truly be instruments in the hands of the Lord.

*I've learned that even 2 & 4 year olds can understand quite a bit about mental illness.

*I've learned that it's okay to take medications...aren't the truly a blessing from a loving Heavenly Father.

*I've learned that what you actually accomplish isn't nearly so important as the direction you're headed and the intent of your heart.

*I've learned that even a little sleep deprivation can lead to BIG challenge the next day.

*I've learned that being open and unashamed about my depression can really go a LONG way.

*I've learned that there are many struggling with various forms of depression and may not even know it.

*I've learned that treating depression is very "trial and error."

*I've learned that blogging (about this and not all the stressful fun stuff my family does) has been SO therapeutic, but then if I'm having a day where it's more overwhelming than helpful, then I just forget it.

*I've learned that plans are great, but it's even more important to flexible enough with myself to not get upset when they don't work out.

*I've learned that planned social events are much better than hoping for the spontaneous ones that never really come to fruition.

*I've learned that the "rules" for my depression change...arrgh...I can't say I'm really okay with this one yet, but I do know that it's a reality.

*I've learned that sunshine is good and I need to get as much of it as I can.

*I've learned that I have to try really hard to not let darkness overcome me (both figuratively and literally).

*I've learned that there are lots of things I can do to create a "slow day," but I've also realized that even when I do everything I should do, I may still have a "slow day" and I can't beat myself up over that.

*I've learned that good enough, really is good enough.

*I've learned that I can be REALLY long winded (okay, so I totally knew that before ;) )

*I've learned that I'm not alone.

*I've learned that the Lord loves me just the way that I am!

Thursday, December 11, 2008

I did it!

First let me just say, I haven't blogged for a bit, not because I'm totally down, but just because it's been way too busy. So no one feel bad that I haven't visited your blog in a bit for the same reason. I still love you all and at some point in time life might be a bit more normal and I can actually check out your blogs.

Anyway...So not only did I shamelessly ask Jen to babysit my kids in my last blog (Thanks so much Jen for watching them!), but I even asked for some other help. Turned out things fell through and I didn't need the help, but I asked...isn't that the major issue? Phew...maybe some day I won't feel guilty about it?!

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Learning to Ask...

Life is full of busyness. That craziness just multiples during the holiday season. I love the excitement and evening the late nights preparing gifts and goodies for family and friends. This is something that truly makes my season bright...or it was in the past.

More and more I find that I have to limit myself. What was once rejuvenating and exhilarating, often drags me down and becomes more of a hindrance than a help. The past few weeks have been right on par with that idea.

I've been buzzing around getting this done and that done. Sure, in the moment I feel a bit of stress, but more so the excitement and joy of the process...so I keep going. I stretch to get just one more thing done. To put away one more toy, complete one more project, read one more page...

So often I feel like a broken record.
“Why am I so exhausted?”
“Why does this stress me out?”
“Why am I not happy?”
“Why is it never enough?”

Some might say I’m not grateful enough. Others might say I have unrealistic expectations. And still others might tell me that I just need to “buck up” and be happy.

Sadly, none of these options really works. I am TREMENDOUSLY grateful for what I have. I have the most supportive husband. At times I feel like he couldn’t be more supportive and then he does something else even more wonderful and I find myself in awe that the Lord would bless me with such a man.

My boys are SO darling. Often Bradley will call from upstairs, “Mom?!” I reply in my usual, “Yes, sweetheart?” And in the way that only he can do it, he calls back, “I love you!” Braeden is a ray of light as well. There is nothing I could wish for more than his excited face and voice when he runs into my room say, “Hi MOM!”

My new neighbor is truly a godsend. I loved the neighbors from before, but the Randalls are seriously exactly what I needed. Jen has seriously wanted to learn about what I’m going through more than almost anyone I’ve ever met, and we’ve known each other for less than a month. She offers to help all the time. I honestly don’t know quite what to do.

I could truly go on and on about how blessed I am. Sadly, I think that sometimes adds to the frustration. I KNOW I am so blessed, but I’m still not happy.

I suppose the unrealistic expectations could have something to do with it, but it’s hard when the same things were once positives for me and now they’re negatives. Or the things that I could once do with ease are now more than I can even think about doing.

And I’ve tried to “buck up” on SO many occasions, but when you’ve got depression that just plain doesn’t work.

I honestly think this process is going to be a LONG, possibly life long road for me and I’ll admit that’s a scary thought.

But…as I’ve said before, the Lord has blessed me. I have so many people willing to help, if I can just learn to ask. Thankfully I’m more than comfortable enough with my sweet husband to let him know when I feel horrible, but I’m struggling to place that burden on others. SO much of me wants to turn over the burden, but then the other part of me just can’t let it go.

So this is my new challenge. Learning to ask, and especially learning to do it without feeling guilty about it. Believe it or not, I am MUCH better than I once was, but I’ve still got a long way to go. I think that sometimes the Lord looks down upon me and just shakes His head because sometimes I’m just so darn stubborn and won’t take the help that is staring me in the face.

So, Jen…can you watch my boys again for me next week so I can go to my support group…?