Saturday, January 21, 2012

Cleaning House

I am up and moving today... cleaning, cleaning, cleaning!

I decided it is time for a fresh start. Time to put away the old, and start building the new. I am going to start with literally cleaning... getting my apartment in order and all. A little organization would do me good. :-)  Then, I will move on to the emotional cleaning. I need to put some pictures away so that I am not looking at things that make me sad. It's time to put up so new pics, of friends and family and all the amazing people I have in my life. And then, it is time to start physical cleaning. I need to start taking care of my body and feeling better about me. Eating better, working out more, developing good habits and purging the bad ones. And finally, it's time for some spiritual cleaning also. I need to start spending time with God consistently. I need to be in His word and talking to him throughout my day.

All in all, I think it is time for me to start taking better care of me. I have these goals for my life... this woman I want to be. I have goals for my education, for my career, for my family, for my life. I need to start really speaking these goals out loud and living them out. I know I don't have to start all at once, (I am easily overwhelmed!) but I can start small and build up. I am thinking a goal a month for each area sounds reasonable. So here goes...

I know January is almost over, so thiese will be my goals for January & February:

Household: Put away clothes after they are washed, every time!
Physical: Stick to Weight Watchers/Slim Fast healthy eating plan
Emotional: Write in a journal each day, even if it is just a couple of sentences.
Spiritual: Spend time with God, every morning, before getting out of bed. Devotional & prayer time.

I think those are pretty easy, don't you? Feel free to hold me accountable if you would like... Send me an email or Facebook message to check in on me anytime! :-)

Have a blessed day, friends.


Tuesday, January 17, 2012

The "D" Word

Two months ago, I started typing the post below, and then I never posted it. I am posting it now because I hope that someone out there will read this... someone who needs to hear it... and it will help them in the situation that they are dealing with. Sometimes, it helps just to know that there is someone else out there that understands how you feel. That you are not alone. This post is very long, but I hope you will take a moment to read through it, and hear a little about my journey.

Sometimes, life just sucks. There really isn't any other way to put it! Life has it's ups and downs, and when you are in a down, it sucks. Sometimes a lot! Right now, that's where I am. I am in what I would consider the lowest part of my life, thus far. And you know what? It sucks. Plain and simple.

It has been a rough year for me. The last few months has been especially difficult, but the last couple of weeks have been the worst yet. In the past week, I decided I needed to see my doctor about depression.

Here's the thing. I have been walking this line lately... the line between "it's normal to feel sad because my situation sucks" and "I don't ever want to leave my bed again... ever." Considering my life lately, it IS normal to be sad, and to deal with some minor depression. But, I am way over that line at this point. I know me, and I know when I am no longer living in my normal. Lately, I have not wanted to leave my house for work, church, friends, family, or otherwise. I have slept 8-10 hours a night and still been exhausted every day. I have had little to no motivation or energy to do anything productive. I'm sad... all the time. I can't make decisions. I have no desire to do anything good for me (excercise, eat well, etc). My appetite is nonexistant one day and crazy over the top the next. Basically, I'm depressed!

You know what though? I'm gonna be okay. It makes sense for me to be depressed right now. It has been a painful time for me, and there is only so much I can handle! Sometimes, when there is just too much to handle, our body just doesn't function in the same way. And that is why we have doctors and medications. Sometimes, we just need a little help with these kinds of things. Right now is one of those times for me. For the next few months, I'm going to have a little help dealing with life. And hopefully during that time, life might calm down a little bit. I will come out of this on the other side a stronger woman.
Todays update:
So there it is. My confession that I am dealing with something bigger than me. I struggled with posting this mainly because I wanted to be strong enough on my own. I wanted to believe that I could get through this time without being depressed or needing medication. But you know what? I'm not. I decided to post this after an amazing phone call with my dear friend Libby. We were talking about depression, how it effects people, how to get past it, etc. One thing that we touched on is how easy it is to become completely and totally consumed by depression if you aren't willing to admit there is a problem. That becomes even more likely for folks who think that depression is a sign of weakness.

It is difficult to admit that you might be dealing with depression. For me, this is the second time in my life that I have dealt with it. The first time, I was diagnosed by my doctor. I didn't want to admit to myself that I was depressed, but once my doctor pointed out all the symptoms I was experiencing, there was no denying it. I am thankful for that experience, because it has made me more aware of my psycological well being. I am very in tune with how I am feeling, and what changes I might need to make to feel better. This time around, my struggle with depression has been very different, because I noticed the symptoms in myself. Initially, it was my sleep patterns and my energy level. Then, it was my eating habits and my overall happiness. I started taking certain steps to feel better naturally by eating better, excercising, spending time with encouraging people, and so on. But I realized this problem was a lot bigger than me when I had zero desire to do any of those things, and I just didn't care. Apathy. That's a symptom of depression too.

It has been about 2 months since I saw my doctor and started taking medication for my depression. After a month, I distinctly remember a day that I was leaving work and I was humming in my car. I stopped, and thought "Wow, I feel okay today. I feel peaceful. I feel more like me." That is a good feeling! Since then, I have felt more and more like myself every day. I am starting to enjoy life again, and look forward to my future. My vacation to Chicago helped with that also. Getting away for a bit, and just enjoying some time in a great place with amazing people was really good for me. I'm glad that I noticed something wasn't right with myself, because I am not sure where I would be at right now if I hadn't gone to see my doctor.

Okay, it's time for some full disclosure. I have obviously been dealing with a lot over the past year or so. I am sure my blog posts have alluded to that more than a handful of times. It has come to the point where I want to share what I have been struggling with. For the last few years, my marriage has been falling apart. 6 months ago, my husband of 7+ years decided to move out. This last weekend, he told me he would be filing for divorce soon. My marriage is ending, despite me doing everything I could possibly do to save it. In the end, it has become more and more apparent that one spouse alone can not save a marriage. It takes two.

Yes, I am sad. I am sad, angry, heartbroken, lonely, frustrated, and just plain hurt. I have felt decieved and mislead. I have felt let down and hopeless. But this week, for the first time, I feel a little hopeFULL. My marriage is ending, and there is nothing I can do about that now, but I know that I have done all that I could, and I know that God has a plan for my future. I know that God has placed amazing, tremedous people in my life that have loved me, encouraged me, prayed for me, and cried with me through this time. People that will continue to do those things as I figure out where life goes from here. People that have helped me in dealing with this depression that could have been so debilitating.

I'm not through this struggle yet, as I still have quite a journey ahead of me. But, I think I am past the worst of it, and moving forward every day. Most importantly, I am taking care of myself right now. I am taking a couple college classes to work towards my degree. I am looking for new job opportunities in other areas so that I can move. I am spending quality time with God, and with friends and family. I am spending time doing things that I enjoy. I'm eating better, and working out as well. I feel healthier today than I have in a long time.

Friends, there are a LOT of symptoms of depression. Some symptoms are very obvious, like constant sadness or thoughts of harming yourself. Other symptoms are not so obvious, and can easily be misinterpreted. Here is a list of the most common symptoms of depression.
  • difficulty concentrating, remembering details, and making decisions  
  • fatigue and decreased energy
  • feelings of guilt, worthlessness, and/or helplessness
  • feelings of hopelessness and/or pessimism
  • insomnia, early-morning wakefulness, or excessive sleeping
  • irritability, restlessness
  • loss of interest in activities or hobbies once pleasurable, including sex
  • overeating or appetite loss
  • persistent aches or pains, headaches, cramps, or digestive problems that do not ease even with treatment
  • persistent sad, anxious, or "empty" feelings
  • thoughts of suicide, suicide attempts  
If you notice these symptoms in yourself, or someone you love, please do something about it. There are many online quizes you can take in 5 minutes that can give you an idea of whether or not you are really dealing with depression. See your doctor (or encourage your loved one to do so). Depression can overwhelm your life quickly if you do not take action, and then it just becomes even harder to overcome. Please also know that depression does not quickly go away. Medications typically take a month too start working, and sometimes you may need to try a couple medications before you find the one that is right for you. Find a good doctor, and communicate with them so that they can help you! Once you are on the right medication, keep in mind that most doctors will want to meet with you often to check your progress, and will usually keep you on medication for 6 months to 1 year minumum before seeing if you are ready to be taken off the medication. It is a process, sometimes a long one, but it could also save your life. I am not a doctor, so please see one before you make any decisions about your health and wellbeing.
One more thought before I sign off. I have heard people before say that depression is a sign of weakness, or a sign that someone is not "close enough to God" or not "praying enough". Yes, I have even heard christians say this. I am just going to be totally blunt and say that is complete and total BS. I pray often, I go to church events 2-3 times a week, I read my Bible, and I have a close relationship with my Savior. I have strength through him that can get me through anything. However, depression is also an illness, like cancer, diabetes, or an infection. We have doctors and medications for a reason. God gives us the tools we need to take care of our bodies when they are not working quite right. Use them! And if someone says any of those things to you, please do not allow that to hold you back from taking care of yourself. And PLEASE do not let anyone make you feel like you are less of a person because you are struggling.
If you are reading this today, and you relate to what I have been going through, please know that you have a friend in me. Please feel free to email me if you would like to talk. I would be happy to be a friend for you to lean on, and someone to pray for you as you go through this time in your life. You can contact me at abarnum619 at yahoo dot com.
God Bless,