Tag Archives: depression

Seventeen

Do other writers get stuck on a thought, a word, a number that has nothing to do with the current project or task? Anyone else ever struggle to break free from such a grip? I recently resisted a momentary nemesis for days till I turned and met the foe head on.

Fact: Much of my life has been unimaginable to most folks. Several decades ago I realized I was on a collision course with a bleak future. After a series of failed attempts to redirect I got help. It took years to find the right counselor, but for about eight years now I’ve been keeping notes from sessions with the best trauma counselor ever. We’ll call him Rob.

Months ago when Rob pointed out a few concerns, suggested I could be depressed, and insisted I see my doctor, I stopped. I thought hard, prayed harder. And then I stopped longer.

I dread the thought of being known as “that poor thing who…” I write about my life because, well, it’s what I know best. Seriously, I write my stories, my experiences in the hope they help and encourage others. Writing helps me make sense of the grand scheme of things. Plus there’s the perk I get when my work sometimes reveals a bad attitude, it checks me like a friendly punch in the face. Hopefully those that grew up with numerous brothers understand the concept.

This brings us back a little while to shortly after the snow and ice melted here at the ranch, when I hit a wall. That actually had less to do with me injuring my arm and shoulder chopping wood (seriously, don’t all great-grandmothers do that?). The wall had more to do with the preceding twelve years.

Have I mentioned having driver’s licenses in three states within the last two calendar years? Yeah, that’s a lot of moving around. And each move directly resulted from one crisis right after another. When I pointed out this profound revelation to my Go-To Girl, my sister Roan (my on-and-off house mate), she replied,

“Yeah. So?” 

Not the response I expected. She was on her lunch break two time zones ahead of here, so she may have missed my point. We mocked the topic sufficiently enough to laugh it off and we returned to work.

So, after circling back to Roan’s question for a couple of days I set all my other projects aside to seek solid answers.

 

I handle most challenges better when I can break them down to physics, mathematical formulas – or Sun Tzu*. I did the math:

 

 

In the last 20 years Roan has (to my knowledge) moved x times, 6 of which since were her daughter was born, the last six within the past 7 years. But for 17 years she and her daughter were rooted in one place.

Then I again reviewed my nomadic history. Again with the number 17.

  • I was 17 when I married my sons’ father.
  • For 17 years I lived with (and moved around with) my husband.
  • I have lived at 17 different addresses. Seventeen.

Only because of Roan can I imagine living in one dwelling for seventeen years. In my entire life I’ve never lived in any one place for 4 years. That’s a staggering amount of moving around! Additionally some form of drama generated each move and often changed my family dynamics; broken hearts and broken bones (some mine), husbands left, sons outgrew the nest, a heart attack here – loved ones died there, banks became less sympathetic… I tell ya, some hits were hard. But I moved on.

So, our life has been astoundingly complicated compared to most people we know.

So, that itinerant life is over now. And yet, I’m having trouble getting my head around the concept of being home, that I won’t be packing up and moving again in a while. Rob and I figure it’ll likely be three years before it actually sinks in. I marked my digital calendar just in case.

So, days after the aforementioned chat with Rob I visited my Naturopathic Physician. Thanks to our decades old relationship we quickly caught up and then we agreed;

  • I’m tired,
  • I’m possibly slightly traumatized,
  • undeniably I have much to be sad about,
  • but I’m not necessarily depressed.

She studied my blood-work and my DNA evaluation (yes, I happened to have it on me), prescribed a course of supplements and then we went out for tea. Within days the dark heaviness lifted, but I continued to take the time I needed to simply be for a while.

So, the cast in the main house has changed, Kendra and Twelve-Year-Old moved away, but we’re all adjusting. The show goes on. My journals are busting at the bindings and I’m back to working on chapters again. More important, I give myself lots of grace. I walk away whenever I want. And within a couple of hours I walk back – usually feeling lighter. I’m sure there will be more hard days. But it’s like Brother tells me often, “Just settle down. You’re not going anywhere.”

So, today I smile as the mare and the cattle call to me when I step outside my door. I giggle as the hens flutter-waddle to the fence cackling. I’m sure it’s all about me – not the grain, scraps, hay, carrots or apples I bring them.

Most important, hearing how my stories help others also helps me. Having shared the experience with other writers/bloggers, the bobbing and weaving and working it all out, I feel so much better now.

“We now have this light shining in our hearts, but we ourselves are like fragile clay jars containing this great treasure. This makes it clear that our great power is from God, not from ourselves.” 2 Corinthians 4:7 (NLT)

*The Art of War, by Sun Tzu.  Just in case my humor missed the mark, I translate much of Sun Tzu principles into Biblical scripture – and disregard the rest.

Images courtesy ABSFreePic.com

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Filed under A Door Ajar, Longreads

Housebound

Being still and quiet is not my strong suit – never has been. I’m a do-er. Unable to use my arms, this healing season has been my greatest challenge to date, often plunging me into bouts of apathy followed by arbitrary sadness.

The rain and wind have arrived. The lots muddy, pastures soggy, the cottage floors took the worst of it while using a broom or mop is so difficult. Initially I engaged all my creativity cleaning up the mess, but gradually succumbed to going outdoors only when necessary.

Soon I felt the walls beginning to close in on me and my moods swung dark.

Despite physical therapy I see my muscles beginning to shrivel; bicep, triceps, flexor and brachia rubber bands. This concerns me. I don’t spring back as fast as I used to. Still, I flex till it hurts and then stop.

Today the dark dams looming in every corner of the cottage seemed to break open. I could no longer simply sit. I sat on a piece of non-slip drawer liner, arms folded across my middle. Pressing my feet against the sofa I pushed it. Stuttering, and groaning it moved!

“For I can do everything through Christ, who gives me strength.” Philippians 4:13 (NLT)

We must re-stain the concrete anyway, so I’ll live with the scrape marks until the weather is more cooperative.

Repeating this with the love seat and recliner I cleared a circular path through the three rooms.

Then I did the math:

One circle through the rooms is 40-42 steps. Times 13 trips every hour 8 times a day, I not only see little things I actually can clean but I’m also burning calories while pumping the creative juices. Since I work an average of 8 to 10 hours a day – that’s about two miles of steps. Sure, I feel like I’m growing hamster hair, but spring’s coming.

I reset the alarms on my laptop and dutifully respond every hour. Shoes laced and dressed in layers I can peel off and put back on, every hour I stayed on task, returning to work with my brain freshly revived.

This is better. Now I’m brain storming how I can buff out the scrape marks standing on buffing pads from the paint shop… I’ll dance. Mashed Potato everyone!

“Yet what we suffer now is nothing compared to the glory He will reveal to us later.” Romans 8:18 (NLT)

 

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Filed under Notes from the Apex

Renewed

Throughout the holiday season I noticed some people saying, “Merry Christmas,” or “Happy Holidays” and “Happy New Year.” I also noticed how sometimes it seemed mechanical, like a thoughtless, knee-jerk action.

nye-2017

It was me. With winter closing in I’d been depressed. Although I had been missing the company of my sons and other siblings, I was far from sad or unhappy. I was experiencing a bio-chemical imbalance. Today I’m blessed to be able to correct that with diet, exercise and therapy. Today I pray fervently for many people I know who need more help.

cmas-cottage

Today in my cozy little cottage my happiness is unmistakable. Sure, yesterday I didn’t bring in wood for the upcoming week as I’d planned, and then about 4 inches of snow fell as the New Year rolled in. But the wood cribs are loaded with kindling and small logs to get us through until the snowfall lets up.

cmas-cottage-2

Last year I could only imagine the happiness and hope in my life today. For years I stubbornly held tight to my beliefs that God loves me even though I felt alone and lonely – I couldn’t imagine thinking about firewood. Today those hopes are realized, my faith and hopes are marvelously evidenced.

Last year hard times had Roan, Opal and I trudging along step-by-step, each of us hoping our lives could be different.

Last year I’d sigh hearing young people voice their personal dreams. I’d experienced too much disappointment to encourage them. I fell silent. Today I smile and help them so their dreams continue to grow. Last year, when I’d all but buried my hopes, my nearly-vanished dream suddenly came vividly true.

Today a new year began in my new reality.

Now I sip my latte watching Kendra make her way through the gently falling snow to the pastures. For a second I consider staying put to watch her from the window of my own snug little place in the world.

But this is my dream come true, not necessarily Kendra’s. So, excuse me for a little while, I need both hands to pull my pasture boots on.

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Thanks God!

“But blessed are those who trust in the Lord and have made the Lord their hope and confidence. They are like trees planted along a riverbank, with roots that reach deep into the water.” Jeremiah 17:7,8 (NLT)

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Filed under Notes from the Apex

Despondent

It was the third day. The “odd mood” had grown into a darkness now permeating the house.

The water tasted notably worse. Not bad. Off.

Peering through the window to check on the “kids,” the hatchling hummingbirds had flown from the now empty nest on the porch.

That trace of a smell in the kitchen now seemed to be everywhere.

Instead of a reminder to ease the stick back, pulling her from the tail spin, the radio seemed only a scratchy, white-noise nuisance.

Everything stationary seemed to shift, slowly moving into the wind that would surely carry her too away.

Not a glimmer of joy anywhere. A fragment of hope took her to the floor. Face down she cried into the scratchy carpet, “Dear God, are You here?”

worship

That’s when she recognized the all-too-familiar signs. “Is this it?”

Depression

“Then call on me when you are in trouble, and I will rescue you, and you will give me glory.” Psalm 50:15

“You are my refuge and my shield; your word is my source of hope” Psalm 119:114 (NLT)

*Image courtesy Church of Christ Articles

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Filed under A Door Ajar