Outside my window... It is a gray, drizzly kind of day, and I love it. We haven't had many of these this spring, so I am more than happy to curl up with a hot cup of coffee and a book. Call me crazy, but we didn't get nearly enough snowy days this winter.
I am thinking... Oh my goodness. If I had a penny for every deep thought that I've had over the past couple of months I would be a rich woman. I didn't express those thoughts here, though, because they were more fragmented than ever, and they came and went like the tide. I've been experimenting with finding the right dose of Prozac that could keep me functional, not TOO 'flat', yet safely on this side of the depression abyss, and other additional measures as well . I think I've found the right Rx (for me): 30 mg/day of Prozac, B-12, 2-3 daily walks, plenty of sunshine, very little social media (Facebook *maybe* once a week) and very little exposure to the news (akin to living under a rock). The Prozac was hard to figure out, initially, but I knew I was on the right track when the panic attacks stopped, the racing heart stopped and I could successfully fend off a downward spiral when exposed to something negative. Anything used to trigger it: a potentially negative personal comment, a sad news story, a bill, an email that required action from me, a Facebook post of friends having fun with other friends (a huge cue for immediate "exclusion" feelings and subsequent pity-party). I've found that (for the most-part) I have this almost tangible sensation of potential triggers just rolling off my back now, but I still do everything I can to limit my exposure to them in the first place.
As for the functional bit, I'm 'here' and mostly present, but I am still struggling with a very potent don't-give-a-shit attitude. Kid's behind in their lessons? so what? Dirty dishes, dirty laundry, dirty house? Yep. And? Unopened mail...about two month's worth. And your point is?? If there is any drawback to the meds, it's this. I just. don't. give. a. rat's. ass.. I'll get it done. When I get it done. Don't make me work on your imaginary deadline.
Depression is a nasty business. What am I so depressed about? That is a hard question to answer when I have to really struggle to think about when was it that I last felt really good about how my life was going. I think that the last time I felt the most 'together' and happy was the time period while I was getting my college degree in 2000-2003. My personal life wasn't all roses as I struggled with huge surges of good and bad feelings as my then live-in boyfriend of 8 years had yet to propose to me, but my school life was awesome. It is hard to put into words, but the 'feeling' of it coincides with a popular concept: flow. When you engage in your work, when you live it, breathe it, don't notice the time pass, forget to eat and your brain is constantly churning with ideas, you are in flow. I was in flow the entire time I was in school. My classes, my writing, my projects, my lessons. All flow. It was the most incredible experience. I graduated magna cum laude, and yes, I worked very hard to earn that, but it didn't feel like work, you know? And then it ended. The flow ended. My boyfriend proposed (under duress), we graduated, we got jobs, we moved and bought a bigger house, we got married in April 2004 and he left me three weeks later, then I found out he had been having an affair for the entire year prior, my teaching job was good but the principle was horrible.... The flow was gone, my self-esteem was completely shot, and it all went to hell.
BUT, the last ten years have been very, very good to me. I met Dean in 2005, we got married five months later and became an instant family with his son Jordan, then had three more kids of our own. We are happy - very happy. Our relationship has always been healthy and loving and the kids are smart, funny, silly and obnoxious. I get the immense joy of staying home and homeschooling. I mean that - it brings me immense joy. At first I had to work through feelings of loss and inequality when I lost my job and became a non-wage earner for the first time ever, but Dean has been unbelievably supportive. I've grown into my role and I relish it.
Despite how good these years have been, I've never found my emotional footing again...and I'm still not there yet. I think that is where the depression comes from. I mean, how could it not? Picture ten years ago - and I am absolutely emotionally crushed. I don't know what I did wrong the first time around with marriage, and then I am extremely lucky to find Dean and fall in love again. And I am afraid, every day, of screwing up and losing it all over again. The fear is always there. And then I added more to the pile. Motherhood. Homeschooling. I always worry that I am not good enough. I think that years and years of feeling that way have taken their toll. The panic attacks started. The thoughts that I just wanted to run away. Or end my life. That is where I drew the line. Never were the feelings strong enough to act on them, but the fact that they were there meant it was time to get help.
These past few months have been much better. Like I said, the panic attacks have ended. Thoughts of suicide have ended. I don't go into tail-spins anymore. My PMS isn't absolute hell anymore. But, I don't like the 'flatness', I experience. I am slow to act from an emotional state. A child crying? It takes me longer to muster an appropriate response. I recently had a falling out with my mom, due to my behavior. It has been resolved, but I am still slow to recover lost ground with her.
My thoughts about depression have run deep and wide over the past few months, but I didn't feel like sharing them, and I didn't think anyone would care to read them. Life is better. I look forward to the day when I feel absolute joy again, without any heaviness in my heart.
And, it is a joy to report that for the first time in the past 11 years, April has been a totally different experience for me. This year spring meant something entirely different. I have let go of April and what it used to mean - and that is a huge step in the right direction.
I am thankful... for my husband. I am so glad that even though he went through absolute hell in his first marriage, that he can be a rock for me and let me work through what I needed to work through. He has always been there with words of love, encouragement and wisdom. We are approaching our ten year wedding anniversary, and it feels like a real mile-stone for me in so many ways. As the barriers and walls around my vulnerabilities fall away, I feel like my connection to him has deepened, immensely. Our meeting and courtship may have been short and unconventional, but we've made it work all this time and formed a relationship that can only be described as a true, united partnership firmly grounded in love and equality. I thank the Universe every day that Dean is in my life.
From the Learning Rooms... I still have a like/hate relationship with Calvert. Note I did not say 'love'. Goodness this year has been a struggle. We have gone through tears, gnashing of teeth and more pencils than I can count. It has been a good experience and the kids have learned a lot, but I am not sure to what expense yet, and I am not sure it has been worth it. I have renewed our enrollment for next year, but I am still on the fence if we will for sure continue with it or not.
In the kitchen... Pumpkin bread this morning. A cold, rainy morning calls for pumpkin bread.
I am wearing... pj's and a sweater.
I am creating... Lots of projects on hold until we are finished with Calvert, so nothing really to report.
I am going... to take Jordan out shortly to purchase a birthday present for a friend, and then deliver him to the party.
I am wondering... Why dogs must circle three times before lying down.
I am reading... "Manage Your Day-to-Day: Build Your Routine, Find Your Focus & Sharpen Your Creative Mind", published by 99U/Behance, edited by Jocelyn K. Glei. It is a compendium of different authors all giving advice about working through distractions, getting into a routine and creating healthy habits with email, social media and making time for creative/productive work a priority. One of the best passages I've come across is this, in regards to why email is so addictive:
"I think that e-mail and social networks are a great example of random reinforcement. Usually, when we pull the lever to check our e-mail, it's not that interesting. But, from time to time, it's exciting. And that excitement, which happens at random intervals, keeps us coming back to check our e-mail all the time." - Dan Ariely
That is soooo Facebook. Most of the time it is ads, political or social rants, or brag/selfie fests. (kid-bragging is okay in my book, as long as it isn't excessive). Only every once in awhile is it a truly funny story or captivating thought, or a good way to keep tabs on what relatives and friends are doing. I have unfollowed a slew of 'friends' in the past few weeks, just so that I could curtail what I saw in my feed, and so I could increase the odds of seeing something good or worthwhile when I pulled the lever, so to speak. :)
In the garden... Just bought a lot of veggie plants yesterday. Sixteen tomatoes, 4 peppers and 4 jalapenos. It is too rainy to work in the garden today, but over the week I am sure there will be some sunny days to get them in, and put up wall-o-waters to keep them safe from frost until mid-May.
I am hoping... My motivation is pretty high today (hence the blog post ;), so I hope to get at least one mail pile sorted and dealt with, and a lesson or two finished with each kid.
I am looking forward to... a family bike ride with the scout troop tomorrow night to Dairy Queen, and then next weekend is the first family fun run for the upcoming season of Healthy Kids Fun Runs. I think I can slow jog for most of it.
I am learning... About a new presentation program that is similar to Power Point, called Prezi. Rylan has a presentation to give in her online class in a couple of weeks. Her presentation will be on artistic styles, and she will show some of her completed projects.
I am hearing... Coldplay's Ghost Stories. It is my go-to background writing music.
Around the house... Colin is using a pool floatie as a hula hoop (he must have retrieved it from the garage), Owen is building with Legos, Jordan is pulling together his scout uniform for an event later today, Dean is doing the same, and Colin is now stealing the rest of my coffee. :/
I am pondering... the advantages of writing out your feelings, vs. holding them, processing them, and then letting them go. Both seem advantageous.
One of my favorite things... A rainy day.
A few plans for the rest of the week... The bike ride, the fun run and of course a bunch of schoolwork.
Here is a picture for thought I am sharing...
Have I mentioned how much I love the rain?
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