Saturday, April 22, 2017

Throwing off Our Blankets

I got so frustrated with Baby Girl the other day. Why? She was going into meltdown mode because she wanted food. Here's the kicker: the food was right in front of her. She couldn't see it, though, because she refused to get out from under her blanket. This happens often. She'll get upset because she wants a toy. I'll put it right there beside her. I'll tell her it's there. I'll even place it in her hands. She'll just throw it down in frustration because she still cannot SEE that what she really needs is right there. She only has to LET GO of that blanket! I began to realize something in all of this. How many times am I holding onto things that I need to put down in order to pick up what God wants to give me? And I'm not even talking about sin. I'm talking about things I hold on to for my security: perfectionism, my comfort zone, and even my depression. Let me explain, especially what I mean about my depression being something I hold on to for security. But I'll start with perfectionism; I struggled with it up until a couple of months ago. I thought I had to be good enough to be accepted and loved by God and people. I worked so hard at it. I placed my security in making myself, my family, and my house perfect. Then it all fell apart this past January. I wouldn't remove that blanket myself, so life came in and snatched it right out of my hands. This forced me out of my comfort zone. I had to confront my perfectionism head on. That's when I realized that only one perfect person ever walked the face of this earth: Jesus Christ. That's when I truly accepted Him and allowed Him to fully have every part of me. I finally felt free. Now I finally have true peace. I finally have a real relationship with Jesus. If I hadn't gotten rid of that comfortable blanket of perfectionism, I would have missed all of this. I would still be stuck under that weight and suffering under the delusion that what I had was better than what God offered. Being forced out of my comfort zone was the best thing that could have happened to me. This is not to say that I don't have any struggles now. I still battle depression, and I am not saying that it is something I am able to throw off like I was able to throw off perfectionism. It doesn't work that way. (Boy, I wish it did!) What I will say, though, is that I can choose how I react to my depression. I can use it as an excuse to hide or tell God no, or I can continue to live my life to the fullest and say yes to God in spite of my depression. There are days in which all I want to do is to stay under my blanket, but I choose to put it down. God has better things for me. I know. I've seen some of those things. And I don't want to miss anything that He has in store for me in the future.

"Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us."  Hebrews 12:1

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Birthday Week

I'm excited to announce that my birthday is this week, and I'll be turning 42! Yes, you read that correctly; I am thrilled about being in my 40's. It's been my best decade yet-so far, anyway. I'm finally comfortable in my own skin. I have figured out what's truly important in life. I no longer take things for granted. Plus, birthdays are fun! I don't have to cook or clean on mine. I get gifts. I get to be reminded of how much I am loved by family and friends. I get to be thankful for another year that the Lord has given me. And my sweet sister took me out this past weekend to celebrate with lunch and a movie. (We saw Beauty and the Beast, which, by the way, is fabulous.) We also made a stop by Ulta, which is where I scored this lovely beauty haul you see featured in the pic above. Literally, I treated myself from head to toe! I got three headbands, a cucumber eye kit, exfoliating body scrub, creamy body wash, luxurious body wash, body lotion, and nail polish. So, happy birthday to me!
My happy "I just got back home with goodies from Ulta" face.

Wednesday, April 5, 2017

When The Dark Days Come Again

This picture is from my Instagram post a couple of days ago. The darkness is trying to pull me back in. I don't know why this time. Sometimes I can trace it back to an event or an issue in my life: loss, lack of sleep, forgetting my meds, a sudden change. But none of those things have happened. And that just makes it worse. I want to figure this out. I want a reason for my depression. I want to blame this on something. Here's the thing, though: depression just is. You can't always attach it to something. Certain events can exacerbate it. A tragedy can precipitate it. There are individuals who can make it worse. But these things don't cause it. So here I sit again, feeling helpless and numb at the same time, moving through each day in robotic motions on an endless cycle of repeat. These are the days in which it takes every bit of my strength just to get out of bed, the days in which I try to avoid the grocery store (but if I do have to go, I'm silently praying the whole time that I won't see anyone I know), the days in which the sound of my phone ringing sends me into a panic, the days in which human interaction of any kind is just so hard. I want to just curl up into a protective little ball under a blanket and hide. But I can't. My family needs me, and I want to be there for them.

 This leads me to another point. I feel guilty for having depression. I know it's not my fault, but I still feel that my family suffers too much because of it-because of me. Then, of course, some people perpetuate that feeling. They will tell you to "snap out of it" or to "pray it away." They might even tell you that "it could be worse." And I want to yell, "Don't you think I'd snap out of it if I could?" Then prayer...yes, I pray. I pray every day. I read Scripture. That is wonderful. It sustains me through my darkest times. (I'm still here, aren't I?) But it does not fix depression. It is not a miracle cure. Oh, and it could be worse? Yes, I know that it could be worse. That still doesn't negate the fact that depression is hard, and it's my daily struggle. It doesn't need to be minimized or trivialized.

So, what do I do on these darkest of days? Obviously, the first thing I need to do is to let my doctor know that I've gotten into a dark place again. Secondly, I need to talk about what I'm feeling-even if I don't want to. That's one thing this blog helps me do. Here are some other things that I do (which may seem completely shallow to some of you) that don't cure my depression but at least make me feel a little better:

  1. Wear my favorite outfit - as seen in the pic below (that T-shirt reads "I'm a freakin' ray of sunshine!")
  2. Put on my favorite jewelry. (long silver earrings with lots of hoops, black & silver bracelet-also in pic below)
  3. Do my best makeup look.
  4. Style and color my hair. (pixie cut and RED!)
  5. Listen to my favorite music. (currently contemporary Christian-I gave up secular music for Lent)
  6. Watch my tried and true favorite comedies. (Impractical Jokers, Jim Gaffigan standup, The Office, Friends, Cheers, Frasier, Seinfeld)
  7. Eat foods that I really enjoy. (low carb ice cream, low carb fauxtatoes deluxe, CHEAT: Rice Krispy Treats)

"But you, LORD, do not be far from me. You are my strength; come quickly to help me."                Psalm 22:19

Saturday, April 1, 2017

Self-Care: Important and Fun

Ah, the lovely face mask look! This is "Cackle Spackle" from Perfectly Posh. My local consultant gave me a sample. This mask is for detoxifying.

And this is "Totes Oats," also from Perfectly Posh.  It's a calming mask.

Here are the results: I have on NO makeup here.

I'm quite pleased with both products. I feel the combination of the two left my skin brighter and softer, and they left me feeling happier. The products helped me take care of my skin and myself.  And taking care of myself has become very important to me these days. In the past I often didn't take the time to do much for myself, but lately I've become obsessed (truly, not sure if that's a healthy word, but that's what I am) with practicing self-care. I look for ways to treat myself. I make sure to schedule in something that I enjoy each day. It's a vital part of helping me to cope healthily with my depression and anxiety and also helping me to find my identity outside that of special needs parent. I have a list of several things from which to choose: go outside for a walk or just to sit, exercise, take a long bath, try new facial products (obviously!), read a book, color in my "grown up" coloring books using my "fancy" gel pens, write (poetry, my feelings, ideas for my novel), watch Netflix, drink decaf, go to lunch with a friend, buy new makeup, buy new hair accessories (yes, those of with pixie cuts can accessorize!), just goof off on my phone, listen to music, plan next year's homeschool curriculum lineup, and a few other things that I've forgotten at the moment. It's not selfish to take care of yourself. I had to learn that the hard way. So I encourage you all to find ways to treat yourself, and then make the time to do it. You won't regret it. As a motivation for you all, leave a comment stating at least one way in which you plan to care for yourself this week. Then come back and leave a comment after you actually do it!

Garden of Beauty

"Garden of Beauty" Dancing to my own rhythm, I'm happy in my own skin I have fought a battle and I have won, I love w...