In extreme emergencies

Peanut stopped me after dinner to, as she put it, “have an adult conversation” The other kids went upstairs and she asked me what the word assolence meant.  It took me until she told me it had something to do with growing breats that I figured out that she meant adolescent.  I explained to her that it was just another word for being a teenager.

She told me that sometimes it’s really awkward to ask me questions about stuff like that.  We talked about how even though it’s awkward it’s important she ask me about that stuff.

She responded “and in extreme emergencies, Dad.”

It’s nice to know I’m the preferred parent.

Why I wrote about my depression

I thought I would say a few things that I should have said yesterday about why I wrote about my depression.

First, I wrote in the hope that anyone else who is fighting depression will feel less alone. I know I felt very alone in some of the hardest times, even when I was surrounded by people who loved me would would have helped me if I had said anything. I hope you will reach out to me if you need help.

Also, I’d like to do what ever I can to help get rid of the stigma that has surrounded mental health. I grew up with the attitude that mental health problems are the same as physical health problems. I’m not embarrassed to say I have Asthma. No one, myself included, should be embarrassed to say they have a mental health problem. Often, the first step to getting the help you need is to say that you are struggling.

Third, it’s part of my fight, to admit that I have depression. I am best able to control my depression when I say, out loud, on paper, or what ever, that I’m fighting it.

Last, hopefully this will help someone see the signs of depression in themselves or in those around them and help them get help. Because, as it was with me, sometimes you can’t see it yourself, and you need someone to help you see it.


I struggle with depression.

I’m not sure why we use the word “struggle” for depression. That makes it seem smaller and easier than it really is. That seems more like untying a hard knot or maybe wrestling.  That doesn’t seem sufficient enough to me.

Most days it’s more like an all-out war, guns blazing and bombs going off. Some day’s I’m winning, some days not. Some days I lay down my arms and wave the white flag and the depression wins the battle. Some days I’ve won the battle, and it’s locked in a cell awaiting a jailbreak. A jailbreak will always come.

I always knew there was a very large chance I would have depression sometime in my life.  My mother has fought it for my whole life. I don’t remember ever not knowing that. Many others in my family fight that fight. One of my grandmothers took her life, likely from losing her war with depression.  We don’t really know, she wasn’t ever diagnosed.

I’ve watched for it my whole life, wondering if it would come.

When my first three kids were born I watched for it.  It didn’t come. I watched for it when we feared so much for Peanut. Both times. It didn’t come then either. It came when I had to go back to work after Lunchmeat was born.

Even for all my watching for it, and figuring it would come at some point, I was not prepared, I did not see it for what it was.

I spent six months crying all the way to work.  I would park in the garage and pull myself together, fix my makeup and go into work. I cried whenever I thought my kids or Husband couldn’t see me. Sometimes I cried when they could.

What was really scary is what came after that, when the crying stopped and I went dead inside. So dead that I figured it would be better if I really was dead. I spend the six months’ worth of drives thinking about just driving off an overpass to end it.

Even then, even with all my knowledge and experience with other people’s depression, I didn’t know. I couldn’t see. There was nothing but blackness. I couldn’t think enough to even see what it was. Until, one day, and I don’t even know what it was that caused it, I cried again.

The deadness was gone and replacing it was this crushing, horrible pain and sorrow. Then, I was finally able to see that I was in trouble and I needed help. It took me about six more months to be able ask for it.

I finally went to the doctor, I told him what had been happening. He gave me meds. The meds took some of the burden and I could go on without being crushed. I was able to start fighting.

Fast forward another year and a half, I got pregnant. I was doing really well mentally so we decided for me to go off my meds. My OB told me if I needed them they were fine for pregnancy. I went off, I was okay. My pregnancy was a blessing in many ways, not least of all mentally. The depression got locked far away and deep down. I was very lucky that it stayed locked up for about a year after my second son was born.

About four months ago the jailbreak happened.

This time, I was much better prepared. I was more aware and I KNEW much sooner that I was in a war and I knew that my life, and the life of my family was a stake. I fought, most days, with everything I had.

Right now I feel like I’ve got it backed into a corner. If I keep doing what I’m doing I hope that it will get locked back up again.

If it does or not, I must be ever vigilant, because the jailbreak always comes.

Remembering the Hard Stuff

Cardio appointments are always a mixed bag emotionally for me.

On the one hand I spend the whole time being SUPER grateful that Peanut is well and that we have not been to the Cardio in two years.  SUPER grateful for the miracle of her life.

On the other hand I relive, especially in the time between doing the echo and seeing the doc, every fear and pain that I went through when she was born until I stopped being in a constant dread of her dying, which was at about 19 months.

This last Cardio appointment was a little nerve wracking for me, we were there a few months early because Peanut had been complaining about feeling short of breath, which can be a sign that something has gone wonky with her heart.

She is fine.

But that current fear reminded me.  It reminded me to pray and feel grateful.

I feel very blessed to have wonderful doctors, wonderful family, wonderful friends, and a wonderful Father in Heaven who has helped and continues to help me and Peanut.

I think remembering past trials is probably always like that, you remember what the pain was like, you can feel it the same way you can feel someone’s pain when you see them get hurt badly.  Sometimes it’s even more then that.  Sometimes you relive the pain.  Hopefully, you relive the joy too, the relief you felt when the trial ended or when you understood what it was all for.  Hopefully you pray just as hard as you did during the trial after the trial, prayers of gratitude for what you learned, for help received.  I always try to remember to do that, to pray with as much fervor as I did in that PICU.

How do you remember the hard stuff?

It’s a Natural Habitat for me

When I was talking to Cake about cleaning up her room she started to cry and said “I try to keep it clean, but it’s just a natural Habitat for me!”

And then I tried REALLY hard not to laugh at her.

I failed.

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Am I Doing this Right?!?

As my daughter is laying on the couch, crying, because I took her cupcake away, I ask myself the question that I’m sure all mom’s ask themselves when they do things that make their kids cry.

Am I doing this right?

We all want our kids to grow up to be decent people, unselfish, Christlike.  We want them to be safe, happy, healthy and generally clean.

We DON”T want our kids to be entitled, selfish, brats.  We don’t want them to be dirty, sick, get hurt or be sad.

We all do things, sometimes hard things, hoping to achieve that end.

Like today:

I took the keys from the toddler.

He cried.

I told the boy to get their shoes on so we could go do something fun.

He cried.

I tried to make him take a nap,

He cried.

I told them to play outside.

They cried.

I took some of my kids toys away because they didn’t put them away like I told them to.

They cried.

Then they fought over the cupcake they were supposed to share.  I took it away.

They cried.

As all these things happen I ask myself over and over “Am I doing this right?”

Then, when my daughter calls to me from the couch where she has been sobbing over the lost cupcake, to hug her to make her feel better, I think that maybe I am doing at least some things right.

Clones are people too

Here are a few things that I’ve overheard from my kids or conversations I’ve had with them in the last little while.

Cake: “Oh, I just LOVE the smell of art!”

Cake: upon seeing a fountain light show “It’s like splashy water colors!”

Lunchmeat: He wanted me to play a game with him and gave me a wand “You don’t hold a wand like that!” he critiqued me for about five minutes on my wand technique.  I apparent stink at wands.

Peanut: This one is more me talking to Peanut, We were watching Star Wars Rebel’s and she was talking about how the new storm troopers were real people, unlike the clones. I said “Close are people too baby, clones are people too.” We then had quite the long discussion on if clones are real people or not.