Hooligan Zoo

Two Zookeepers… many Hooligans… It's always feeding time at this zoo!

Fight the Apathy

I’m a feeler.

I cry a lot.

I cry when others cry, I cry when a sad commercial comes on, I cry when I watch the news.  When I’m mad, I cry.

And there’s no controlling it.

I used to hate it, the crying.  It used to make me crazy.  But now, while I’ve not necessarily embraced it, I have accepted it.

I cry.  I feel.  It’s who I am.  It’s how God made me.

But, it also makes things hard.  The feeling.  Feeling everything, feeling everyone’s hurts.  Especially when you, whether correctly or not, start to feel as if you’re the only one feeling for everyone else, but no one is feeling for you.

Then, enter loneliness.

Even though, even THOUGH, my head, my brain, tells me that it isn’t true.  That while we often can’t count on people, God is always there.  Always on my side.

People will let us down.  I will let people down.

But there’s Grace.  So much Grace if we just choose to reach out and accept it.

However, even knowing all of that, I seem to have entered this stage of apathy.  Of exhaustion.

Fighting is hard.

Fighting for yourself when you feel as if no one is on your side is hard.

Apathy is easy.  Not feeling is easy.

Until it isn’t, and then all of those feeling whoosh back in and take you.

And the devil, he whispers that you aren’t worthy, that you have no one, no one, and that no one cares.

And you try to keep that cloak of apathy on, because having that, instead of dealing with the truth, of dealing with those whispers, it’s easier to not.  It’s easier to just be, to just go through the motions, to just feel as if you can do it without others, as if you can just keep trucking.

But it slips, that cloak, because it’s not true.  You do care.  You care far more than you should.  And you want to feel valued, and you want to feel important to someone for more than just what you do for them.  You want to feel loved for who you are.  Just as you are.  Flawed, feeling, crying, you.

And still, that voice it whispers, it whispers that you aren’t enough.  That no one will ever find value in you.  That you are not worthwhile.  That you are alone.

And you have to drown out that voice with the truth.

The truth needs to be louder than the whispers, and you have to keep going back to them.

Grace, it’s here.  You just have to reach out and grab it.  You just have to believe that it’s yours.  And even if you need to be reminded every. single. day.  It’s there.

Fighting is harder.  Fighting means feeling.

But fighting is better.  I don’t have to fight for grace.  It’s been freely given.

“For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God—not by works, so that no one can boast. For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do” (Ephesians 2:8-10)

 

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The Pit

A good Princess Bride reference is always a great way to start off a blog post, don’t you think?

I fell into the Pit last week.  Winter is always hard for me, lack of sun, cold, being trapped but not wanting to go anywhere…  it usually results in a slow slide into the pit, and by February, I’m mired in the ooze at the bottom, and can’t see a way to get out.

I was shoved in last week.  There was no gradual slipping down the edge, no partway down, and able to climb back out, nothing like that.  It was a full on push, and then a slam right into the middle of that deep dark pit.

It’s not cool to be in the pit.

When you’re in the pit, you can’t see a way out.

There are no ladders down there, no light, no hope, nothing.

Everyone hates you when you’re in the pit.  No one cares.  Everything is out to get you, and everyone wants something from you, but isn’t willing to give anything in return.  You’re all by yourself down there…  and no one really cares.

When I’m in the pit, I stop answering emails, I don’t answer the phone, I hardly speak to anyone.  It’s all I can do to engage with the ones that are around me.  It’s not a cool place to be, the pit.

I managed to get out of that one, but I can feel it, I can feel the pit lurking on the edge of my consciousness.

I’m just hoping and praying that I don’t fall in again…

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Post Partum Depression – a wee little talk

A couple of months ago I was asked to do a little talk on my experience with Post Partum Depression… what happened to me, how I felt, how I could have been helped… that kind of thing. I did the talk today at the health centre here in town to a pile more people than I was originally told were going to be there.

I cried. And then? I cried some more.

I think the most rewarding part was when I was finished, a woman came and sat beside me and simply started crying. Then she just said, “Thank you.”

I’ve always thought that God carried me through ppd, just so that I could share the experience with other people. Help people know that they’re not alone.

In hindsight, I wish that I had spoken more to the self-isolation. For me, getting out to the support groups, etc, was almost insurmountable. I also wish that I had spoken more about the lack of information for Ja.

All in all, a good experience, and I’m very glad I did it.

This is my speech in its entirety for those who were asking me about it.

 


My name is Jamie Wolters, I am 34 years old, and I have suffered and survived post partum depression twice now.

My husband and I are both educated people. We attended university together, both have degrees, are well read, and at one time, thought that nothing other than the usual new parent difficulties would come our way.

We have been blessed with three children. Our oldest and first daughter was one of those babies that makes you want to have ten more. While it was a long labour, she was big and healthy. I recovered well, she nursed like a champ. There were never any breastfeeding issues with her, she was a good sleeper. She was easy going, happy, an absolute joy.

While in hindsight, I can say that I definitely had some baby blues, everything went well with Keyzia.

When Keyzia was 8 months old, I got pregnant with our son, Ephraim. My husband was finishing university, and we were a bit unsure over what our next steps were going to be.

It was a difficult pregnancy. I’m sure that chasing a toddler around didn’t help the pubic dystocia, the exhaustion, or the other generally miserable symptoms that go along with early and late pregnancy. Ephraim was a late August baby, and all I really remember about the end of the pregnancy was how hot I was. If my poor husband even considered touching me in any way, he may very well have come to some kind of personal harm.

Looking back, I can say that the depression started while I was pregnant with Ephraim. We all, the doctor included, chalked it up to being hot, tired, big… the emotions that run the gamut for pregnant women were all rolled up into my body.

My water started leaking early with Ephraim, and we went in for an induction. While I don’t remember much of Ephraim’s babyhood, I do remember how terrible that labour was. It was long. It was awful. I felt so completely out of control of what was happening in my body. The anesthesiologist was unavailable for quite a while, although I do recall asking him to marry me once he did give me the much hoped for epidural.

What I remember most about those early days with our son was the guilt. I would look at this perfect little baby, sweet and tiny, so reliant on us, healthy, perfect… and I felt guilty that I didn’t feel like I loved him. I knew I had to take care of him. I knew that I would take care of him, but I felt so detached from the entire situation. Most of all I couldn’t stop crying. I had no reason to be crying, but there I was, sobbing.

And while you sit there, recovering from labour, you look at this beautiful baby that you’ve been given, and he’s all blue eyes and blond hair, and you know that you should be feeling this incredible rush of love, of maternal affection. But you can’t seem to see it or feel it through the thick grey sludge that feels like it is surrounding you.

Thankfully, our doctor knew that something was up when I couldn’t stop crying in the hospital. I saw a social worker who deemed me “sleep deprived,” and said that I should leave Ephraim with the nurses for a night so that I could sleep. I was even given something to help me sleep. And yet, the next morning, while I rallied and put on what I like to affectionately call the “fake face”, when we got home it was that same thick sludge. Like swimming in mud.

After the hard labour, we had an equally difficult time learning how to breastfeed. That was an incredibly humbling experience for me. I mean, I had just had a baby and nursed successfully 17 months before Ephraim was born. I knew what I was doing. To have a baby who couldn’t figure out what had come so easily before, was very hard. While our nursing relationship went on for over a year, it took me about 3 months, I think, to feel really comfortable when nursing him.

I don’t remember much of my son’s babyhood. I remember trying terribly hard to connect with him. He was breastfed, I wore him in a sling. I had a supportive husband and a wide network of supportive friends and family. I wanted to keep him close to me at all times, like I could make up for not having the “right” feelings for my beautiful son. And yet, even when I look at the picture of us together, of that dark dark time in our lives, I don’t even feel like it was really me.

One of the biggest hurdles we faced once we knew we needed help was figuring out how to get it. After the baby was born, we of course went back to our family doctor, who had not seen me for months and months. I can remember sitting in the waiting room while my husband showed off our new baby, so proud, answering all the questions about him, and I just… couldn’t. I couldn’t engage. I couldn’t be part of it. I very much felt like I was an observer to my own life.

My husband says even now that at that time, when he looked at me, he could tell by my eyes that I wasn’t really there. Sure, I was in the room. I was engaged with whatever activity I should have been doing at the time, but my eyes told him that I wasn’t fully there. It was like a blankness that even he couldn’t penetrate.

I was put on medication right away at our first doctor’s visit out of the hospital. It was confusing, however, because the medication wasn’t explained to me properly. I had one that said to take it daily, and another one that said to take as needed. I didn’t understand when I was to take them. Meaning that I delayed taking them until I spoke with psychiatric care at the hospital.

We were lucky enough to be able to see a psychologist, even though the only benefit that I personally received from him was a clear explanation of the medications. I know of other ppd sufferers that benefited greatly from psychologist/psychiatrist therapy.

I think the most insurmountable task when suffering from post partum depression is the absolute necessity of being your own advocate. Your own advocate in a time when you are simply not able to be the best you can be. You know that something is wrong, you know that you can’t bear to live in that dark dark place, and yet you have to somehow be able to pull yourself out of there to be able to get the help you need. I don’t know what I would have done without my husband in this time.

This was especially difficult when the health nurse called to see if she could come and visit us at home. The same phone call that all new parents receive. The same phone call that we had with Keyzia.

In the best of times, I despise talking on the phone. I like to say that it’s my own happy little quirk, and I get along fine with email and texting, thank you very much.

When the health nurse called us, my husband spoke with her and explained that we were really struggling, and that I was hoping that she would come and visit us. The problem was that the health nurse could not take my husband’s word for the problem that was happening, and not only did I have to tell her to come, but he had to hang up and I had to call back. It was a heart wrenching thing for me to have to do, and I’m pretty sure that all I did was sob while on the phone with her.

The best part of her visit, however, was that she hooked me up with a post partum depression support group, which unfortunately no longer exists, held at the Family Resource Centre.

I can say unequivocally that that support group saved my life. I learned there through the wonderful guidance of the counselours that I wasn’t alone. I wasn’t a bad mother. I wasn’t some kind of freak because I felt so disconnected from my own family. It was okay. The most important message at that point? Was that it was going to get better. Every single week while my daughter played downstairs, and my son was cared for by the very capable child care providers, we went home with the message that it was going to get better.

That’s the hardest thing with ppd. When you’re in the midst of it, and it has never happened to you before, you think that this is your life now. A life without colour, a life without joy, a life without hope. You start to think that your family would be better off without you to bring them down. When you’re driving downtown, only without your children, the thought crosses your mind that you could just steer in front of that big transport truck, and everyone would just be better off. The message that we received every week, that it would get better, was like that little ray of sunshine that you could hold onto until the next meeting.

I often feel guilty for my husband as well. He had no idea what was going on, where his wife had gone. There was no support group for him. No one would really tell him anything, how to help, what to do. He was lost in the dark through this entire ordeal.

It did get better. I was on medication with Ephraim for close to two years before I felt ready to be slowly weaned off of it. My doctor was very supportive of my calling the shots as to when I felt ready to be med free. Even still, I felt a certain sense of shame that I hadn’t been good enough to make it through on my own. And even though I would call myself a survivor? I am forever changed by the experience.

While our first two children were close in age, we waited a little bit before deciding to have Talya. We had been warned that as a sufferer of ppd, the likelihood that I would get it again was very very high, and that it would probably be worse this time. Both my husband and I felt, though, when we were making the decision to try for another baby, that we could be more prepared this time. We could have those supports set up ahead of time, and I knew then, even going into a new pregnancy, that it would eventually end.

The professionals were all absolutely right. I got ppd, but was blindsided by the fact that I got it pretty much as soon as I was pregnant. I was only three months along when I was prescribed medication this time around, and I stayed on medication until Talya was 2.

I managed to rally when I was about four months pregnant. A little more energy, hormones had leveled out a wee bit. I crashed again in the last month. My husband was able to take parental leave, which was a huge blessing for us, and we also had our church and family rally around. Making meals, doing laundry. Watching the older kids.

For me, it’s mostly the crying. It seems so ridiculous, and people ask all the time what’s wrong, what could be the matter, are you hurting, did someone do something? But that is never the case. I would just sit there with tears streaming down my face, and no real reason for it. I was so very very sad… but not about anything. I was happy to have another child. She was beautiful, again, no trouble nursing, she was a pretty easy baby as long as she was being held. I had a stable home, a good husband, two other wonderful children, and yet all I could do was cry.

It was still a terrible experience, but it was different this time. There was hope in this place. It was slim, but there was hope there. I knew it would get better. I knew that there would be an end. With Ephraim, I felt absolutely no hope at all. I thought I was a failure as a wife and a mother. I thought that if I had just done this differently, or that differently, then I would have been okay. The guilt that goes along with ppd is something that no one can really talk you out of, and it lingers. Even all these years later I still regret so much. There is so much missed time. So much that my husband has to fill me in on.

And really, depression still lingers for me sometimes. My experience has made me not totally trust my feelings. I often have to step back and wonder if I’m overreacting, if I’m not reacting enough. Something that has stuck with me from the support group was when we were told that feelings aren’t right or wrong, and it’s okay to feel whatever you happen to feel at any given moment. It’s really what you do with it that counts.

And on those days where the dark clouds seem to be looming on the horizon? When the greyness seems to be seeping in at the edges of my consciousness, I know that there is an end. That depression is not who I am, it’s not who I was. Yes, it happened to me, but it isn’t what I have to become. There is hope in the world, there is light. And that hope and light is always always given back to me.

Thank you.

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Lurking

It’s a funny thing, you know, how once you’ve dealt with depression, grabbed hold of it, taken control, and kicked it out, it’s funny how it lingers. How when you least suspect it, WHAM, it hits you on the back of the head and there it is again. Always lurking in the shadows.

It makes you unsure of your feelings.  Even when the clouds are not hovering.  Makes you wonder if what you’re feeling is true, if you’re overreacting… if it’s okay to feel the way you do.

Even when you know the Lord has brought you through that time once, you wonder if maybe, just maybe, you didn’t learn what you were supposed to and that time is coming again.

And then there’s fear.  The fear that you aren’t strong enough to do it again, the fear that you really are doing it alone.  The fear that this time, this time will be the time that there isn’t an end, that there isn’t another side.  That the clouds will not clear.  That you will stay, mired in the murk, forever.

Because that’s what it’s like for me, that place.  Things are drained of colour, and oh how I thrive on colour.  It’s like the peripheral of your vision is cloudy, and you’re just waiting for those clouds to cover your vision in its entirety.

But now, now I have people who remind me, who tell me when I can’t tell myself, who let me know that I am NOT doing this alone, that while this may be lurking on the edges for the rest of my life?  I am never alone.

When there is fire, and there will be fire, I will not have to do it alone.

When there are rivers that want to drown, I will be held with my head above water.

There is no guarantee in this life that there will not be struggles.  There’s no magic formula to make life perfect all the time.  There’s no chant, no prayer, nothing, that will guarantee that we will not struggle. There WILL be struggles, of that we can be sure.  Different for everyone, yes, but struggles nonetheless.

But in the end?  In the end, there is always an end.  And the journey to get there does not have to be traveled alone.

When you pass through the waters, I will be with you;

And through the rivers, they shall not overflow you.

When you walk through the fire, you shall not be burned,

Nor shall the flame scorch you.

For I am the LORD your God,

The Holy One of Israel, your Savior

Isaiah 43:2-3

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Withdrawal

I've been taking 'crazy pills' now for…  oh, almost two years.  I was put on them back when I was just three months pregnant with Talya.

It was a good decision at the time.  I honestly could hardly cope for a long time WHILE being pumped full of their feel good medicinal qualities.  I have a history of post partum depression, with the last two kids, and once the warning signs hit, my doctor lost no time in getting the drugs into my system before it got really bad.

And you know what?  It was worse this time…  and yet it was better too.  Ja understood more.  We knew what to expect.  Our support level before the baby was born was through the roof.  Some days I simply cried… and he simply held me.

We are so incredibly blessed that Ja, also known as Wonderhusband, was able to take about ten months off of work for parental leave.  Ah, how I love living in Ontario!  Having him home was wonderful at first.  He really got a taste for how it is to be home all the time.  He looked at me one day after he had been home for about a week and said, “How do you do this ALL. THE.  TIME.”  It was a good moment for me!

In the past month or so I've felt that the drugs that I'm on, Wellbutrin, weren't doing their job anymore.  It seemed to me that I had a worse time coping, a worse time with being high up and then low down when I took them than when I didn't.  I was only on the crazy pills for about a year after Ephraim was born, and this time I was in absolutely no hurry to get off them.  I was afraid to go off them.

Now I know it's time.  I started weaning off by taking one pill every other day, then just expanding the time between taking the pills.  I thought I was doing so great, this weekend was the one week marker of no drugs, and I was feeling pretty good.  Ja and I talked about it, and even he said I seemed steadier.  We were both pretty happy with the decision, ready to move on, although always keeping an eye out for the clouds that could smother the family at any moment.

And then Saturday happened. 

It started out okay.  We were going seed planting.  We went, bought some seeds, and I was going to get some gardening gloves.  No troubles, right?  Ja suggested we wait til we stopped at his store for the gloves, because he can get them at slightly above cost.  That's all good.  I knew I was starting to feel a bit panicky…  I'm not sure why.  Well, three kids in a small and cramped seed store is never a good thing, I suppose. 

We got to Ja's store, and he made me go in, even though I just wanted to wait in the van with the kids.  Then they didn't have any gardening gloves.  And I quietly said I was going to take the baby back to the van and wait.  I got back to the van and lost it.  I don't know why I was so hurt that he thought I wanted the expensive gloves in the first place, or why it bothered me so much that they didn't have any gardening gloves at his store, but it seemed to strike me to the core.

The rest of the day simply didn't go well.  I lost it when we were trying to plant the vegetable garden because it was so not ready.  I lost it when the baby would not leave me alone.  I lost it when…  well, there were a lot of times.  And the stupidest thing?  Didn't even realize it was probably withdrawal going on until late that afternoon.  Like after dinner.

Poor Ja.  He didn't think of it either.  Just thought that his wife was some kind of crazy loon, I think. 

We did turn the day around a little.  Went for a walk to the creek, had a little splash.  Snuggled with the kids.  As soon as I realized that it was the withdrawal going on, it was like I could keep a handle on it.

Yesterday was better.

Today will be better still.

I will beat this.  WE will beat this.

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Clouds

I haven't much talked about this this time around.  Kind of preferring to post, albeit not very often, about my very cute (yet incredibly annoying) kids.

When I have babies, I have a wicked bout of post partum depression.  This time around, I've been on medication since I was about three months pregnant with Talya.

I could feel it coming in, edging over my consciousness… of course, the feeling sick and having to take care of two small children certainly didn't help any.

So there it was, the clouds creeping on the edge of my consciousness.  And with it comes the self doubt… the wondering why we're having another baby, the thought that maybe I'm not good enough for this life we have, the idea that maybe my faith isn't strong enough, that maybe I'm being punished for something.

It's all downhill from that point.  I can never pull myself out of it.  Hours are spent crying for no reason on poor Ja's shoulder.  I can't get myself up off the couch.  Knitting seems impossible to me.  My creativity, that which at times is my escape, is gone.  It's like there's nothing left of me, of who I am, of who I was.  I've forgotten who I am, who I want to be.

So then we go to the doctor's, where I'm already being carefully watched, and we're put on some medication.  More feeling like a failure there.  I know that there is nothing to be ashamed of, and yet it is a failure… it's a failure of my body to produce those 'happy' chemicals.  A failure of mine to keep going without help.

This time the medication was increased fairly rapidly so that I could keep the clouds at bay.  And yet they still hovered on the horizon…

Talya is nine months now.  You would think that those clouds would be gone, that it would be all sunshine and roses, and yet they're still there… ready to swoop over me at a moment's notice.  Waiting for that night when the baby won't let me sleep.  Waiting for a bad day with cranky overtired kids.  Waiting for that self doubt to hit, that thought that I'm not good enough to be responsible for these three little blessings that I have generously been given.

It makes me not trust my emotions.  I've always been an overly emotional kind of girl, things just hit me a little harder than some people.  I take comments and jokes very seriously, as a personal affront.  Only to dwell on them until they seem real…  One comment from someone can throw me into a spiral for days.

I think I will be on medication for a while longer yet.  I'm not ready to start going off of it.  I'm afraid of those clouds and what they can do to me and my precious family.  I need to be me so that I can teach them who they are.  I need to be me so that I can be a wife to my husband.  I need to keep those clouds off in the distance, at least so I can keep an eye on when they want to swoop in… be prepared to put up my umbrella so that the rain doesn't drown me when it comes.

I know that it will get better.  I know that suffering from this has been something that has brought Jason and I closer together as a couple.  I know that I have learned so much about myself, about asking for help, about being open with other people. 

I know that I can take this, this depression that so many of us suffer from, and I can make it into something good.  God has given me the strength for that, and I am going to take it.

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Make me let you help me…

There's something about this thing called “pride”.  Pride makes us think that we can do everything all by ourselves.  Pride makes us think that we SHOULD do everything all by ourselves, and that anything less is failure.

I guess right now that makes me a failure.

Back when Ephraim was born, I was hit by a pretty wicked case of PPD. We knew that the chances of getting hit again with the peanut were pretty high, but we also knew that we could get out of it eventually.  That it was a short termed thing.

Well, I think I went back on the drugs when I was about three months along.  I have an excellent doctor who could see the signs, and she prescribed them for us nicely.

We've had to up the drugs once, and now with four weeks to go, we are doing everything in our power not to up them again.

My support circle this time around is massive.  God has drawn this group of people around us that want to help, are willing to help, and won't take no for an answer.

Why should we say no?  Because of that pride issue.  I think that we are learning humility by having to say, “you know what, we're drowning here, we need some help.”

My head knows that it's okay to accept this help at this time.  God created the body of the church for just a time as this.  And, who knows, in a little while, it will be my turn to gleefully give back to the church all that I feel like I am taking right now.

This time around I have really good friends who are taking over for me.  Who want to help and who insist on helping.  I've been told repeatedly that I don't need to do it myself, that this is a short term thing, that we'll make it through.

My head understands this too… it's getting my heart to accept that I can still be a good wife and mother while accepting help that is the hard part.

I am so thankful to be part of the body of Christ.  I am so thankful that He has provided these wonderful and loving people, people that have become as much a part of my family as my own parents (who are amazing as well!).

And yes, I will let you help me.

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One of those days…

I really use the … a lot, don't I??  Hmmm…  I wonder how Freud would analyze that??

Anyways, yesterday was a pretty good day.  I took the kids over to the Family Resource Centre for playgroup, crashed at a girlfriend's house for some knitting and some lunch while the kids were napping…  it was nice.  The kids played nicely, they were crafty (Ephraim's crafty side is developing quite nicely!)

And then it all fell apart when we got home.  And I had a meltdown when Ja walked in the door.  One of those crying get me the heck out of here, comfort me but don't touch me meltdowns.  It wasn't pretty, I will say that.

It's moments like those, moments where I feel completely unhinged with trying to do fourty zillion things at once that I can feel the depression creeping around the edges of my consciousness.  It's like a fogginess, a cloud, threatening to take over what had been the mostly sunny part of my countenance.

The difference seems to be, or at least the difference yesterday was that we sprang into action.  Ja got it.  He could see that I was unhinging in a major way, and he took over.  After dinner I disappeared upstairs, and he kept the kids entertained downstairs.  I vanished into the bedroom, and I told him I would not be offended if he just didn't talk to me all night. 

I read my book until the kids went to bed, put the kids to bed, finished my book in silence, and then I felt better.  I found the “worth it” moment again.  That quiet time with my husband before sleep.  The telling him about the funny things that the horribles had done that day at playgroup.  How Ephraim is starting to do all the motions for the songs during circle time.  Keyzia's obsessiveness with scissors.  And in the telling, it made me remember why I get out of bed every morning.  How God gives me the strength, moment by moment to do what needs to be done, and how He throws those little blessings in there to make it all worth while.

Last night was a thunderstorm.  Brief and passing.  I hunkered down, and this morning the sun is shining once again.

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When I get in a slump…

I REALLY get in a slump.

Hence, no posting. 

I've been taking a bit of a break.  Not intentionally or anything, but I'm really feeling God pulling on me.  I need to put more focus on Him, but I haven't been, and I have been suffering because of it.  My prayer life has been lacking, my study time has been lacking, and then my mood is not so good either.  I just needed some tough love in order to get back into it, I think.

Anyways, mother's day turned out pretty good.  Well, I wasn't cleaning up diarrhea and puke like I was on my birthday, so that's an added bonus.  Ja got me five balls of Red Heart's Cozy Wool with strict directions to make myself something with it…  I don't know if I can handle that!  I haven't made myself something in a long time!!

Right now Ephraim is in time out.  He's been there for about ten minutes now, because every time I tell him he can come out to say sorry to his sister, he says, “Nnno!”  So there he sits.  Man, I thought that Keyz was strong willed, but the boy… the boy…  The sad thing is that I picked this battle, and now I have to win it.  Stinking kids.  Can't we all just live in peace and harmony???

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Is the past ever really gone?

I have been ruminating on the past a lot lately.  Not sure why, exactly, although I have a hunch that new things make me think of the old things.  Here it is spring, here my daughter just turned three, new house, etc, etc.

What I've really been thinking about is the depression.  How some days, I feel like I have totally conquered it, totally overcome it, and will not see any of it again.  On other days, days when I am seemingly isolated from the world, I can feel the dark tarriness of it sucking me back in.

I recently had an interview with a magazine about the depression and how I deal with it.  I spoke with a lovely lady who I'm sure I would enjoy having coffee with one day, and she asked me questions that really brought the whole thing back.  She was such a great interviewer.  It was simply like we just had a conversation between the two of us.

It's kind of funny, though, because I feel like there was so much more I should have told her.  Like how my friend Jen would come up and sit with me while I cried and cried.  How my friend Connie forced me to come out of the apartment and see her new house, forced me to make a connection with the world again.  How Jason would just hold me for hours.  How I feel like I missed out on Keyzia's toddlerhood and Ephraim's new born babyness.

It was such a dark cloud that I was in.  Jason told me, after I was nicely medicated, that he would look at me, and it was like there was no one there behind my eyes.  And, looking back, I was so sucked into myself, drowning in many many ways, that it was hard to make the connections that I needed to get out of it.

I'm totally off of meds now.  Have been for a little while.  It was a bit of a rough go at first, I almost felt like I was being sucked back into that dark place, but I had such a strong support system, so many people prayed for me, that I think God's grace pulled me through.

Sometimes I feel as though I'm headed back there…  when I'm having misunderstandings with my mom, when the kidlets have gone for an entire week without listening to me once, when Jason and I aren't really talking…  that's when I can feel the darkness creeping back in.

Looking back as I am, I wouldn't change it for the world.  While it was a terrible place to be, and if we had another baby, my chances of having post partum depression again are very very high, my relationship with my husband has been strengthened beyond measure.  He is aware of my feelings to an extent that I almost am not.  We communicate in a much more productive way.  Our love has proved itself through a very bad time.  While I am quite aware that our marriage will struggle through many many more trials, making it through this very hard one gives me the courage and the confidence to trust in the faithfulness of God to see us through. 

I think I'm glad that the past never really leaves us.  Remembering is important.  Otherwise, the lessons learned from the past would be futile… gone like memories that never were.

Will I ever completely conquer the depression?  That remains to be seen.  Will I always remember the love and support that I received through a very dark time in my life?  That will always be with me, and I will cherish it close to my heart for eternity.

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