Monday, June 6, 2016

Beautiful and Broken

"I'm having a hard time!" says my 6 year old.  Almost immediately the giant doberman puppy that I willingly acquired knocks over a brand new decorative glass bottle and "crash!" it breaks into pieces. She's having a hard time?!

I loved that bottle...someone else was willing to part with it for two dollars!  I suppose it's true what they say that "one man's trash is another man's treasure."  I'm oddly upset by the demise of this two dollar turquoise bottle that was most likely manufactured for pennies.  I begin gluing it back together as the defeat sinks in.

I cannot blame anyone, I think that's the worst part about this situation!  I could blame the mindless black blur that is the dog but it's not as if he purposely sought out my new bottle and maliciously destroyed it...or did he???

These are the thoughts of a mother who is completely and utterly tired.  I'm pretty sure that half of the women that you see in the mug shots on television are mothers that just needed a vacation or perhaps a nap.  Exhaustion does crazy things to a person, especially to a person who already exhausts themselves.

It's not the actual bottle that I'm upset about...or is it?  It's what the bottle represents which is a beautiful thing that is now broken.  A beautiful thing that won't be the same despite the immense amount of super glue puzzling it back together.  There are pieces. Lot's and lot's of pieces.  The bottle will turn it's broken side to the wall and be forced to stay that way.  Always broken, always facing one way.

The idea of this is sad to me yet alarmingly familiar.  At the risk of being a complete downer, this bottle is the perfect parallel for a mother battling everyday challenges mixed with a fair amount of anxiety and depression.  Like the bottle she is still beautiful and serves an important purpose.  She brings color and usefulness to the family all while trying to hide the broken parts of herself.

I have battled depression and anxiety from the time I was thirteen.  Looking back I can see that the anxiety started long before that but the official diagnosis and medication didn't start until my teenage years set in and I seemingly lost my mind.  Being a mother to a twelve year old I now feel the overwhelming need to apologize to my parents for my very existence.  Now that I spend my days in what can only be described as terrorist negotiations, a swamp of cheerios and last nights dinner dishes, I understand better what my parents were talking about when they said "I brought you into this world and I can take you out!"

Being a mother with depression and anxiety disorder presents a whole realm of challenges that I never considered before I decided it was a good idea to procreate.  It honestly never occurred to me that laundry and a dirty kitchen floor could leave me balled up in a corner on the couch crying.  I didn't know that Xanax existed until my second child was 6 months old.  Shouldn't that stuff come standard when you have a child?  "Here!  Have a diaper bag with a months worth of baby supplies and a standing prescription for Xanax, you're going to need it!"

I honestly don't know how some of you mothers do it!  I stand in awe of the women that show up to school and church with a row of tiny duckling little little humans all in a row.  They look like they were sent through a primping assembly line and there's a smile on moms face!  IF I show up at all my hair looks like something out of an 80's magazine my expression is that of a crazy person and there's most likely toilet paper or a baby wipe stuck to the bottom of my shoe.  My kids file in eventually and we most likely can't find my two year old.  You laugh but it's happened!  Their socks never match and I'm not sure when they bathed last but they are usually smiling and that has to count for something right?

The majority of the time I feel broken and put back together, trying to hide my flaws from the world.  I am so thankful for those seemingly perfect women that I see because they show me that there is life out there where depression doesn't cripple human beings.  I am also incredibly thankful for other women who every once in a while show me the broken sides of themselves.  It shows me that there are other mothers out there fighting my same battle and probably using just as much Xanax as I do.

Saturday, June 4, 2016

Gloriously Good in Our Flaws

Oh my goodness... I'm not even sure how to begin.  You know that overwhelming feeling where your mind jumps from thought to thought as if your brain and your heart are playing leap frog?  Well many of you do but I hope a good number of you don't.  As someone who suffers from mental illness this is a common feeling.  I leap frog through each day and some days the game is fun and child like and other days it's like losing and getting pushed in the mud. Tonight I feel muddy...

It's not an easy thing this business of living.  It seems to me lately that I am doing it all wrong!  There are so many things to keep track of.  So many things to worry about.  Am I not eating enough dinners at the table with the kids?  Are they going to turn out to be heathens and crazies because mom couldn't cook enough family dinners?  When is the last time they bathed? I had way too many cokes today, I am bound to be morbidly obese.  I should be eating green and clean like everyone else I see on my Facebook feed.  My house is a mess and because unfortunately we rent we are bound to be kicked out.  My son has never potty trained at night so I must be doing something to emotionally scar him.  I mean the struggle is real people!  Without some Xanax this girl is a hot mess!

When did we become such a society of worrisome people?  I know I have always been a worrier and that is a trait that I am sad to report I have passed down to some of my children, possibly by not cooking enough previously mentioned family dinners.  I hate that I worry and I hate that I feel as though I always fall short.  I know so many other people who feel this way and hate the same things about themselves so I am here to say IT'S OK... Take a deep breath... YOU ARE OK!

You are an amazing compilation of gifts and insecurities that make you amazing!  For reasons I cannot explain we are taught to dislike the people that we are.  Instead of being happy with what we have we are constantly bombarded with new ways to change ourselves.  There are labels of every kind that we are slapped with and sent out into the world to be judged upon.  I am so tired of those labels.  I am so tired of falling short of everything that society and the internet and even other people I know and love expect from me.  My soul is tired...Somehow I have to learn to love myself and except what I can and cannot do and refuse to fall victim to the scrutiny of others.  We need to believe that we are enough.  We need to believe that we are great.

This does not mean that we need NOT push to be the best version of ourselves.  We should always strive for greatness.  We need to accept however that some days we will be great and some days we will be good and some days we will simply be lucky to get out of bed.  What matters is that we try and try and try again. Muhammad Ali once said that "Only a man who knows what it is like to be defeated can reach down to the bottom of his soul and come up with the extra power it takes to win when the match is even."  How many times have we been defeated down to the depths of our souls?  I know I have felt that way too many times to count.  I always get back up with new conviction.  Perhaps this is the message behind the madness that we feel and experience, that we come back with conviction and the power to win the fight.

I wish that positivity came easy for me.  I think that we are sometimes scared into being positive all of the time.  Hide the negative, only tell others the positive.  No one wants to hear all that negativity. Well I do...  I want to hear your worst fears and the hopeless feelings that you sometimes have.  I want to know and more importantly I want you to know that you are not alone!  Often when we speak our insecurities and release our demons we can become anew.  We can begin again.  It's our way of coming into emotional Spring, where everything has new growth and new chance.  Where the old insecurities of our emotional Winters die and the new found strength steps out with wobbling legs and endless potential.

This life is hard and it is filled with challenge and defeat but it is also glorious and good!  Be glorious and good in all of your flaws and you will not have failed.  You will have shown others that worry is something that we create to hold ourselves back from reaching for things we never knew we could have.  You are beautifully flawed.  Release that worry into the the air and let it rise to the heavens, where through the Atonement of a loving brother we can be healed and happy.

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

I Lost A Friend

Tonight everything is good!  Everyone is home and healthy and happy.  Although everything is good and everyone is happy I am fighting a feeling I cannot quite describe.  It is not necessarily dread although that is the word that comes to mind to describe it.  It is almost a feeling of homesickness.  I am homesick for...where?  I don't know!  Maybe I'm just cooped up.  I have not had many nail clients lately and its changed things for me.  I knew that over the summer I wanted to decrease my hours but I thought I would be in charge of it.  I wasn't expecting things to just go dead.  It's like this every summer but I tend to forget and then I panic.  So my days are left to tasks I used to do and time I used to have but they have become so unfamiliar to me.  I feel out of place and out of sorts.  With this extra time comes a feeling of unrest.  I want to leave.  I want to pack my family in our little minivan and go to someplace other than here.  I don't know where it is that I am longing to go.  I think anywhere but here.  The beach?  The city?  I don't know but I know I don't want to be here.  I don't want to see the walls of my house.  I don't want to deal with the cleaning and the dishes and the nails. I just want something new.  I feel like this once and a while.  It's an unsettling feeling.  I've lost my sense of home.  There are days where we hunker down within these walls and just feel at home but I do not feel that lately.  Perhaps that is what I am lonely for, a sense of home.
I have been making changes in my life.  They are much needed changes but they are requiring me to re-evaluate myself and grow out of my comfort zone.  I ended a friendship that has been close to the  center of my world for 11 years.  I had to end it.  It was a negative and draining friendship in the end.
It didn't start that way.  I thought it was the best friendship I had ever had.  This person was my person.  I don't miss this person, I miss who this person was.  This person was the one person besides my husband that I called if ANYTHING went wrong and so now if something goes awry or something big happens I pause for a moment because I don't have my person to call.  So I want to leave and find a place that does not feel unfamiliar because of what I have had to let go.  The problem is that I can travel from place to place and it will not fix what I am feeling.  It must come from within.  I must become "my person".

Sunday, March 15, 2015

Tough as Nails

Yesterday I went and got this tattoo and I love it.  I thought so long and hard about this tattoo.  Of course I went back and forth on whether or not I should get it.  I am an active LDS member and I know that tattoos are not something that our church encourages or condones but this tattoo is something just for me.  It is a constant reminder that I can do hard things and have done hard things.  I have struggled so much for the last 3 years.  It's actually been much longer than that but Matt's stroke was the hardest thing I have ever been through.  It became the start of a new life for us and also a new me.  Something inside me died that day and I have spent the last 3 years nurturing the new person that I have become.  Nora's accident was also so hard for me.  I still can't look at air med helicopters without having a panic attack.  Those were two defining moments in my life that changed me forever.  I think that what we have been through in the last three years was harder than anything I've ever experienced and I've been through a lot.  I survived a brain tumor and a rare disease at the age of 19 and that was nothing compared to the last three years.  Recently I was diagnosed with Addison's disease.  I have been completely depleted of energy.  I can't find a balance between being mom, wife, working full time as a nail technician and raising my kids.  I was really struggling before the diagnosis and now I just feel helpless.  The other night I was watching one of my favorite TV shows and one of the characters lost her baby.  She said something that really got to me because it was the first time someone had said what I feel out loud.  She said "This isn't fair. It isn't just.  And I have spent my life believing in a God who is just.  He gave me a calling and I followed it...I finally feel like I am becoming the person that he wants me to be...and then this?  To be handed this?!  It's cruel.  And I feel like God is laughing at me.  If this is a test, I fail.  All these years trusting and believing and praying...and if this were just, even a tiny bit, then I could maybe...I can't..."
Now before anyone freaks out and thinks I've lost faith or don't believe in God I have to say this.  I love my Heavenly Father.  I know that he has a plan for me and that he loves me too.  I do believe however that part of the plan of salvation included our ability to mourn and question what we know to be true.  There are days where I feel like I am being punished for something.  That God is sending hard things my way because he is unhappy with me but those are the days that the fibromyalgia, Addison's disease, work, house, kids, everything piles up and crashes down on me.  Those are my pity days.  They don't happen too often but when they do I cry and I struggle and I feel DONE.  Then I have days where I know that I CAN DO HARD THINGS.  There are days when I finish work at 10pm and am dead tired but I feel like I accomplished so much in taking care of my family.
I know that my Heavenly Father hears and answers my prayers.  I know that he loves me and that I am his daughter.  Satan also knows this and works on me everyday.  It is hard.  These are the days that I need to be reminded that I CAN DO HARD THINGS.  These are the days that instead of taking up drinking or giving up I tell myself over and over these 5 words.  I CAN DO HARD THINGS.  So even though there are days where nothing seems fair or just and I feel like I am being handed way too much I know that I can handle anything that God needs me to with his help.  I know that he loves me.  I know....I just have to remind myself sometimes that he made me tough as nails.

Thursday, March 12, 2015


Tomorrow I am doing something I HATE doing.  Something so scary and dreadful.  Something that I should have done a long time ago.  I am going to the dentist.  UGH!!!  I will be honest here, I haven't been to the dentist in six months and 7 and 1/2 years.  When I put it like that it doesn't seem so bad does it?  8 years I've let myself go without seeing a dentist.  Of course nothing hurt until tonight and now every little thing has me crazy worried that they are going to have to do hundreds of dollars worth of work on my teeth and it's gonna hurt!  Of course I brushed them like crazy tonight and at a 45 degree angle just like they showed the kids so that the gums get clean.  Then I spent the next 5 minutes looking at them in the mirror and finding all of the spots that could be cavities.  One tooth hurts in particular now and I am convinced that it's going to need a root canal or some other horribly painful procedure because that's just how I roll!
I don't know how I get myself mixed up in these shenanigans.  My niece works at the dental office and so I took my kids in for their regular visits.  YES I take my kids to the dentist every 6 months.  I am not an irresponsible mother, just irresponsible when it comes to taking care of myself.  Well I took Claire and Ivan in and because Ivan was so nervous I promised him I would make an appointment if he settled down and let them look at his teeth.  What a stupid promise! My appointment is on Friday the 13th as well.  Oh Geez...
Well it's a good thing we are getting our tax return because man I think we are in for a lot of money on this mouth.  Truth be told this appointment was made out of vanity.  If you let them clean your teeth and do all of your work there they will give you free teeth whitening for life.  They make the trays that custom fit your teeth and then give you whitening gel 6 months at a time.  I look at and talk to people all day which means that people are looking at and talking to me all day as well.  I want my teeth to be amazing.  I want that "Mentos" smile.
Because I am a nail technician it is important for me to look my best.  I try and dress business casual and a bit trendy so that people can tell I am up to date on the world.  The hair and nail industry follows fashion trends as well and so it is important to wear clothing that reflects the latest trends and shows that although you are sitting behind a nail table and being covered in dust all day that you care about what you look like.  Well I want my teeth to match!
So tomorrow I will take myself to the dentist and I will be brave.  I am going to take my earbuds and listen to my music or a show and just let them do their thing.  I will not let them lecture me though.  I will let them know up front I am happy to have the work that needs to be done but do not lecture me on the amount of time in which I haven't been to the dentist.  I think that is a big part of why I haven't gone yet, I don't want to hear it.  So wish me luck!  Here's to the whitest teeth a girl can have!

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Why I Am Insane

They say the definition of insanity is "doing the same thing over and over, expecting different results."  Well then by all means I am INSANE.  Although we all knew this.  I have decided that this whole being a mom thing is just not something that I am good at.  I know it's a little late after 5 kids but I give up.  I sit at a nail table in my living room all day and work and work so that we will have the money to support these children and they don't care.  They just don't care.  I put them in the best schools so that they have the opportunity to have more than I do and they don't care.  I buy them nice things and they destroy them because they just don't care.  Somewhere along the way they learned not to care and I didn't think that I was the kind of mother to teach them that.
I am to the point where I give up.  They do what they want when they want, they talk to me with total disrespect and they know that because I'm behind the nail table with a client that there is nothing I can do.  I am so tired of friends and their "if I had talked to my parents that way..." comments.  What am I supposed to do?  It has become nearly impossible to discipline our children anymore.  If we spank we get turned in for child abuse and I'm sorry but grounding them or taking things away does nothing.  I was better at this at one point.  I had it down when there was only three of them.  I knew what to do and how to get things done when I wasn't a working mom but now that I have to work they seem to have lost all respect for me.  It's like they don't care about me or my existence.  I am ready to walk out for a while and see if it would make a bit of difference to them.
I would be lying if I said that I don't care about them anymore.  It breaks my heart everyday.  I spend so much of my time worrying and crying because they don't seem to care.  It hurts so much.  I don't know what to do to fix this.  I just seem to be "doing the same thing over and over expecting different results."  And that is why I am INSANE.

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Living Through Trauma

      Today was a hard day for a very dear friend and her family as well as my family and I.  A very close friend of ours had a hysterectomy and did not recover from the anesthesia.  We just got home from the hospital.  She was moved from our local hospital to one in the big city near by so that she could receive proper care.  In the beginning they thought that she had suffered a stroke but after a CT scan and an evaluation from a neurologist they are saying that it is more likely that she has had an allergic reaction to a medication and cannot come out of it yet.  She will open her eyes and try to look around but they roll back in her head and she has not spoken at all since the surgery.  She has spasticity in her arms and legs and her blood pressure keeps dropping.  We are asking everyone we know and even those we don't to pray for her.  She is so important to so many people and she needs to come out of this.
It was hard to watch this family grieving the way that they were because it took me straight back to Matt's stroke.  I watched her husband and daughter go through the same stages of grief and shock that I did and unfortunately there was nothing I could do to help them.  When something traumatic happens the mind protects itself by completing each stage of grief and then repeating them in no particular order.  There is nothing anyone can do or say that will make it stop or make it better.  You have to feel what you need to feel and then move to the next stage.  There are those that try and comfort by telling you to have faith and to rely on God but at first those words don't necessarily comfort.  You know that God is watching.  You may ask why and if you really pay attention in small moments of clarity you will get your answers.  You will see why things happen the way they do but each individual needs to discover those answers for themselves.  You know that faith is needed and that prayer is necessary and being reminded over and over in the moment does not necessarily help.  
After the initial trauma is over and you have had a chance to assess the situation and wrap your mind around what to do next and how to put the pieces of your heart back together one by one you can begin to listen to others tell you to have faith and to pray and know that God will take care of you.  This is needed but in my experience it was needed after the initial trauma.  I knew that God was in charge and hearing it while I was going through the stages of grief only made me angry.  I knew that God would take my husband if he needed to and that either way he would be okay but in the initial moments of trauma I didn't want to hear that!  I wanted my husband to live!  The next day when I had been able to sleep a little then I could begin to accept that God was in charge and acknowledge that his hand was guiding us.
I think that many people mistake faith for avoidance.  There is a big difference between having faith and avoiding what you are feeling.  If you are feeling mad you need to FEEL it!  If you are feeling heartbroken you need to FEEL it!  Faith will give you answers and help you move past the anger and the heartbreak but if you refuse to feel what you need to feel then you are missing a huge piece of the puzzle.  Our Heavenly Father gave us the ability to feel these emotions because he knew that we must feel extreme sadness in order to feel extreme joy.  Often times these feelings can lead to deep introspective that in turn can change your life.  For me, the reality that I might lose my husband and the extreme desperation and heartache that came with that helped me to look inside myself and find a renewed testimony of the Plan of Salvation and eternal families.  I found such comfort in the knowledge that we were sealed together as husband and wife for all eternity.  I knew that if he left this earthly life early that he wasn't going anywhere I couldn't follow.  It would feel like an eternity until I joined him but I would indeed join him.
I look back through the massive traumas that we have encountered and I am actually thankful.  Sure it would have been nice not to have to learn the lessons that I learned through those particular incidents.  It would have been nice to have had my testimony of eternal marriage strengthened without watching my husband dying and it would have been nice not to learn to never take your children for granted without having one hit by a car but this is how the Lord teaches us.  This life was meant to be a hands on lesson in so many things.  If you are not living it hands on then you are missing out on so many things.  If you are not living it hands on then you aren't truly living at all.