Category Archives: who is ememby

Mental health

someecards.com - It's so comforting to know I have a friend to share the same mental health issues with.
Hmmmm… back in January I shared my list of resolutions and buried in the end was a mention of going to see my doctor to figure out if perhaps my brain chemistry could use a little assistance. Two months later I have a little update for you.

Disclaimer: Every person is different. Every journey is different. This recounting is my experience thus far and I share it with you in case you are looking for answers for yourself and this could resonate with you or help you feel not so alone. We don’t always have the conversations we need to when it comes to mental health and not talking about something doesn’t make it go away. And talking about it doesn’t make it the only thing that defines you or boxes you in and it certainly doesn’t make it the thing that limits you. I am so many things, but I happen to be a person who takes Zoloft. It works for me. Maybe something else works for you. There is strength to be found in sharing our stories and our truths. This is my story – at least a chapter of it.


I don’t remember at exactly what point I started noticing a difference in myself… I think it crept up on me gradually over time as things often do. I wasn’t quite myself but then, I also had quite a bit on my plate with running a business, raising kids, volunteering, keeping up with friends and family and the parenting/work schedule we’ve been handling the last four years (oh how that number makes me laugh when I consider they initially said it would be two years until Simon moved to first shift and back then I would pass the months thinking, “Oh, we’re 1/24th of the way there and then 1/6th, etc…” and those two years have come and gone more than twice now with no end in sight). Still, if you had asked me if I was depressed, I would have told you no, absolutely not. We bought our “forever” home last year and moved into a wonderful neighborhood where our kids will grow up that is close to church, work and many, many friends. Work was the same, my business partner had named me president but it was mostly business as usual with a new title that made me feel all grown up and proud. I had started the book club and was seeing friends regularly, having semi-regular date nights with my hubby and hosting many gatherings at our new house. Who would be depressed about all that? Or how could you be depressed? Depression is a funny thing, well, mental health is a funny thing – it doesn’t care who you are, it can just show up and cause problems, sometimes you don’t even realize that your “normal” doesn’t have to be normal.

For me, everything should have added up to being all right, and yet… I felt it, that niggling feeling that something wasn’t right. That I was drowning in my life but I didn’t have a clue what could be changed or done differently. My kids were just kids, a little hyper at times, not always the best listeners but still just kids and pretty darn good ones at that and yet I was short tempered and sometimes downright mean to them, quick to yell and frustrated as all get out. My husband has his annoying habits as all husbands do – the joy of marriage and living with someone day-in-day out is that you learn all their little “things” and you love them because of and in spite of those things – and yet EVERYTHING he did drove me crazy, made me annoyed and made me so I was constantly reminding myself that marriage is work and that it is a choice to be made daily because divorce isn’t an option – I would find myself muttering with scary regularity, “I’ve had enough, I’m done.” I’m sure I was a real joy to live with. And the new title at work didn’t change my responsibilities or add more stress to my life – and yet if I thought about work in the evenings I would feel my pulse start to race and the anxiety rise to where I couldn’t breathe – 13 years in the business and I was unsure of everything, kept awake at night with thoughts of what the next day held in store (this anxiety was what finally made me realize something wasn’t right). I felt loved, knew I was loved, was actually usually happy and not mopey or depressed feeling and yet I found myself after MOPS one Thursday morning wrapped up in the arms of a wonderful mentor mom, sobbing and feeling so very tired, so very much at the end of my rope.

So I asked for help. I met with two women from church – the mentor mom who first comforted me and another woman who is on staff at church who had led my calm parenting class last spring – I talked, they listened and shared their own experiences, asking questions and giving advice. I prayed, I read and I talked with others about what was going on. I made an appointment with my doctor and after explaining to her how I had been feeling, she asked, “Have you heard of Zoloft?” Her question made me laugh because after talking to other friends who had been on it, it was exactly what I thought I would be asking for, the mommy’s drug of choice.

I started it two months ago and I feel like myself again. I didn’t even realize how “down” I was until I started waking up in the morning, feeling like I wanted to jump out of bed, instead of only wanting to roll over and go back to sleep. I still feel frustrated and annoyed by my children and husband at times (not all the time) but I can react more appropriately and with grace and love instead of anger and desperation. Instead of being my worst self and feeling guilty and anxious, I feel like a better version, I feel like me. I feel like telling everyone that they, too, should be on Zoloft. I don’t know that I will always need it but for where I am right now, it’s exactly what I needed to help get me through. I also need to to keep talking, to keep praying and to keep reading things that help give me insight into my marriage, my children and my life.

The funny thing is, now that my mental health is more stable, I can see how out of whack it was, how I was in a constant state of extreme PMS. Three weeks in to taking my little blue pill, I started feeling that anger boiling up and threatening to overflow, I thought that perhaps I needed to up my Zoloft dosage or worse, that it had stopped working but that time happened to coincide with a little hormonal imbalance that happens monthly in all women (if you catch my drift). It hit me, for the last year what I had been experiencing as my normal baseline emotional state on a day-to-day basis, was the same as what should happen only a few days a month and I had just come to accept it, to think that was just how life was.

I’m very thankful that so far, Zoloft has worked for me without any horrible side effects – I have found that I think I might be allergic to it as the skin on my arms started itching horribly after I started it but after adding a daily allergy tablet to my pill popping, the itching has gone away. And I am so appreciative of the people in my life who have supported me and been praying for me. Special thanks to my husband but just being himself – our marriage certainly isn’t perfect, but at least again I know it is good and worth it.

It scares me a little to be honest about all this for fear that someone will think I can’t do something because I’m unstable or that it will add stress to my life that I don’t need and that simply isn’t the case. I think you could make my life absolutely stress free and I would still have the brain that I have and need some readjusting. If anything, I’m more stable on Zoloft with the knowledge that I’m not perfect or able to do it all on my own. We all need help of some kind and we’re all on the journey of life together. God puts people in our lives to help us, God gives us his word to guide us and God made people smart enough to invent drugs to rewire us in a way that makes us shine more true to ourselves.

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Tuesday Grace Letters: Dear future self

I wrote this letter in response to the assignment from Kara at Mundane Faithfulness… click the image at the bottom of the post to read more letters from other bloggers and to learn more about Kara and her heartbreakingly amazing story.

The assignment: I want to you write a letter of grace to yourself 10 years from today. Include pictures of your life now, but hopes and dreams and fears you have for yourself, your loves, your life in ten years.


Dear 2024,
Ten years into the future doesn’t seem like a long time until I consider the ten years that have just passed – 2004 seems like a lifetime ago. So I think it is safe to say that another ten years will seem like another lifetime. Wow.
IMG_20140224_161740I will be fast-approaching 50 – likely more than halfway through life (Lord willing). I don’t know the heartaches that will have been felt and lived through, though I can imagine what they might be, I pray they don’t seem like too much to handle and that you remember to turn to God for strength – He will always carry you, especially when taking another step just doesn’t seem doable. He will also give you the best blessings and gifts you will ever know, be thankful for each and every thing. I pray you grow closer to Him, putting him ever first. I pray you love your family above all other people and serve them well. I pray that you are content with life – in spite of any challenges and that any area that feels like it is lacking is simply a blip on the screen, or an opportunity for growth and learning. May you be blessed with friendships to sustain you and love to surround you and a confidence in yourself and your abilities that allows you to let go of anxiety.
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My dear husband… you’ll be hitting 50 just before me. And we’ll be approaching almost 20 years of marriage – in fact,  I will have known you a greater part of my life than the part that came before I knew you. I often forget that you don’t know all the details of the time before you were around – not that I’ve kept anything from you, just simply that you weren’t already a part of it, you are so much a part of my life now, you fit perfectly and know me so well. I pray the years of working opposite shifts and single-parenting our kids are long behind us, that we will look to this current stage of our lives and know we are stronger for it, having made it through to the other side of this seemingly endless stretch that is having two younger BOYS and parenting in mostly single-shifts. I pray for good health and no knee replacements (darn rugby). I pray that you become the man that God wants you to be and grow in your faith and step into leading our family spiritually – setting the very best example of what a godly man can and should be for our two young men. I pray you feel loved most by God, then me and then our boys – that you know you are cherished, even when we humans fail at showing you that.
IMG_20130919_183317Liam – you will be turning 18 this year – practical adulthood by legal standards. You’ll be completing high school and heading out onto college (I sure hope) – leaving our home to launch into the real world (or as real as college gets). I am so excited to see the person you’re going to become – I get glimpses from time to time with the things you tell me and how you treat your friends. You have the potential to be so kind and generous, I pray that you lean in that direction and turn away from your impulses toward anger and frustration, that you train your heart to respond in love and empathy. You are a sponge for learning – about the world, about music, about God, about anything and everything – I pray you always absorb what the world has to offer you, discerning what is good and worth keeping and discarding the things that will hold you back. I pray you have someone to look to for guidance (whether myself, your dad or someone else), someone who is your voice of reason and sounding board. That you have built friendships that will last a lifetime and that make you a better man. I pray that you learn from your mistakes and never have to repeat them. I hope that you and Jack will be best friends, he’s the brother God gave you and you two will have each other no matter where you go in life. I’m excited for you to be starting a new stage in your life… heading out into the first step in adulthood, hopefully we have prepared you and you look to God first.
wpid-IMG_20130911_144247.jpgJack, Jack, Jack – you will be 15 and no doubt itching to be heading off the college like your brother but you’ll still have a few more years. At five, you’ve long felt that your life is just one long, unfair game of catch-up with your older brother – I hope that at 15, you’ve discovered the precious truth that playing catch-up is not the way to go and that there is a path set out just for you that has nothing to do with following along behind your brother. God put you second in the birth order for a reason, He has plans for you. You are on the cusp of adulthood, still dependent on us for rides to get you from place to place, straining to be just that little bit older. I pray for contentment for you, the same as with me, that you find happiness where you are, not where/who/what you think you ought to be. I pray that God safeguards your heart against frustration when it comes to your hand and gives you friends who make anyone who can’t see past that difference just not matter. I pray that just as you need strength, that you will also be given a gentleness that will allow you to love and let others in… your independence is a good thing but it should not keep you from needing others in your life.

I pray that both of my boys, nearly men, look to God for guidance, comfort and wisdom. That they are beacons of light in the world. That they will love us as parents and friends, and always delight in coming home.
wpid-IMG_20130821_172705.jpgGeorge (I’m not going to pretend he’ll be reading this but he is a part of our family)… our first “practice” child, born the day before we got married. Just the other day Jack started crying because Liam was talking about the dog we theoretically will get when George dies and my sweet youngest didn’t “want Georgie to die.” Me neither. But that heartache will come, through hopefully not for many more years. Our lives are better for having loved and cared for our neurotic little pet.

No matter what has happened, I pray we have no regrets, no worries that cannot be handled and lives warmed by friendships, laughter and faith.

We are never promised easy, but we are promised heaven and all the rest is part of the journey.
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Mundane Faithfulness

Detritus

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That picture has nothing to do with anything, but posts with visuals are inherently more interesting than posts without them, don’t you think? [Confession: I had to use spellcheck to figure out how to spell the title of my post… and then I googled the word to make sure that was indeed the word I wanted because I really did not believe it had the second “t” in it, but lo, it is right and though I may never say the word aloud for fear of mispronouncing it, I am using it here. Aren’t words fun?]

I have no excuse for my lack of posting, again, it’s not for lack of content or ideas floating around in my head. But it is for lack of motivation or focus… or just sheer procrastination. Work has been busy (good). I have been sick (bad). The kids have been crazy (the worst). Simon and I finally had a much-needed date night (the best). And my mind has been full of other things (so many things). But still, I have missed being here and sharing the various detritus of my life… yes, the discarded details is an accurate definition. I have been reading lots of things, interesting things that resonate with me and make me want to fist pump and also explore all of my feelings about all of the things in life. Perhaps I will share my reading list with you soon…or at least some thoughts.

I have also been thinking of the holidays and closing down 2013 and starting up 2014… as if a calendar creates a clean break in life. Thinking about what the future holds and what has happened in the last year. Also been spending lots of time in the car, carting the children around and fielding their questions about any and all things. Halloween came and went. Rugby season has come to a close. Liam has had his first wrestling match (not sure it is his thing, but he does seem to be enjoying it). Jack amuses me to no end (as does Liam, but in different ways).

[sidebar, a conversation Jack and I had last night:
Jack: Why are boobs squishy?
Me: Because that’s how God made them.
Jack: Did he say, “Let there be boobs?”

sidebar, the second:
Jack likes to say, when he has said something wrong, “Sorry, my voice got out of control.”

sidebar, part three:
Liam cannot, for the life of him, get the knock-knock joke right where you say “Banana” in response to who’s there a number of times and then finally say, “Orange.” (“Orange, who?”) “Orange you glad I didn’t say banana?” And it never ceases to make me laugh.]

Life is good and hard and busy and just so lifey. But I miss sharing that with you, with myself. Writing down words that mean something to me and perhaps mean something to you. So hang in there, I’m working my way back. Here are two post titles I’ve been kicking around in my head: “Muscle Memory” and “We All Fall Down.”

In the meantime, there’s a Facebook post thing going around where you have to tell everyone via status update a certain number of things about yourself, things that people may not know. Rather than post there, how about I post it here? I’ll give you ten (for reference, there’s a whole list of things about me here, here, here and here. In fact, there’s a whole category about me here… if you can stand so much of me at once, I am sometimes witty) things:

  1. I enjoy doing crossword puzzles and other mindless puzzle games you find in the newspaper.
  2. I find soggy bread utterly disgusting, which is what keeps me from enjoying bread pudding, even though I have had it in the past and enjoyed it but there is always the possibility for sog and just, no.
  3. I don’t have the best memory and often worry it is related to Alzheimer’s, like it’s an early sign. It does run in my family.
  4. I’m a starter and not a finisher, probably because I’m a procrastinator, but not entirely because of that.
  5. After my first date with Simon, I drove to my old roomie’s house and told she and her husband that I thought I might have just had my last first date ever. I was so right.
  6. I was once kidnapped in Kazakhstan… it was a fake kidnapping for my birthday while I was there on a mission trip in college to get me out of the dorm while they decorated for the party, but I still imagine it must have looked strange to people driving by since I was blindfolded and being led around outside by a group of boyish looking men. I think that could be labeled under ill-advised. [Bonus item: I still think about this spicy shredded carrot salad we got there from the Korean food truck at the market… and the multi-layered honey cakes we had for birthday celebrations. Two things I’ve never been able to replicate but can still imagine tasting, AGES later.]
  7. Like my friend, Kate, who coined the term, I suffer from FOMO (Fear Of Missing Out) when it comes to social situations.
  8. If I find a cute basket, at an affordable price, I almost always have to buy it. My husband does not relate to this compulsion.
  9. The number one deciding factor for a shampoo purchase is scent; the secondary factor, which determines a repeat purchase, is if it has a positive impact on my hair. I buy a lot of shampoo.
  10. I am an open book. I will 99% of the time answer any question you ask me honestly and am not offended by pretty much any question that you could ask me (which doesn’t mean that I won’t think about the question or my response to it long after our conversation is done if it is something that struck a nerve or chord with me).

Confessions of a mommy blogger

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It’s fairly obvious to anyone who has been reading my blog (or who has met me in person) that I’m a fairly open book. I do have a filter when I talk to you in person (and on this here bloggity blog) but I will also answer any question you pose to me and am rarely put out by an inquiry made of me by another person. I am who I am and I don’t really see the point in apologizing for it (if I think I’m doing something wrong, I try and correct the wrong – I’m not in denial, nor do I think I’m perfect). So, to that end, here are some things that I would admit to you in person but are fairly strange things to just bring up, so instead I’m listing them here for your cringe-worthy pleasure and [hopefully] amusement; maybe they can help you feel better about yourself in comparison. And hopefully it will help you see that I am a real person, regardless of how you might perceive my life, know I’m just as flawed as the next person (maybe even more so).

  • While working on a map for a client, I had to look up on my Googler [thanks, Kara, for that term – it’s my new fave] which state was Utah on the map so I would be sure and note the right one. Those central western states all blend into one in my mind.
  • I was trying to think of the last name of the lead singer of Florence and the Machine [obviously her first name is Florence] but all I could come up with was Florence Henderson or Florence Nightingale… or Florence Machine (clearly, not it). For future reference, her last name is Florence Welch.
  • I often play Words with Friends on my phone while I am indisposed in the bathroom – at home and at work. [My mom just died a little because I referred to that; also perhaps anyone I play against in WWF.] This was only embarrassing once when my phone rang while I was in the restroom at work and someone else was in the stall next to me, the loudness of the ring made it obvious that my phone was out in the open. [This is not at all as bad as the person I heard talking on her cell phone in the public restroom at Meijer – I felt bad for the person on the other end of her call when she flushed her toilet.]
  • I pretended to be asleep very early this morning when Jack came upstairs to cuddle. After a few minutes of tucking himself in beside me, he gave up with a sigh and went back downstairs. It was 5 a.m., I cannot be expected to want to cuddle at that time.
  • Despite my utter disdain for Kesha [cannot, will not put the “$” in there], I have to admit to kind of enjoying her new song (Die Young) when I heard it on the Graham Norton Show – but I draw the line at EVER downloading it. I will not do that.
  • I sometimes drink out of the milk carton (like a stereotyped teenage boy), if you come to my house and I don’t offer you milk, that is why.
  • I do not look forward to helping out with Sunday school or nursery duty; I put in my time in high school and college, I feel like now that I have kids, I should get to enjoy the church service every Sunday. I do, however, still do it with a cheerful heart (or at least attempt at having one).
  • I totally laughed this morning when Jack pranced into the kitchen, singing, “I’m shaking my penis.” Then I admonished him and told him that was inappropriate.
  • I have, on many, many occasions pulled clothes out of the laundry pile and worn them again.
  • I often forget to brush my teeth. But I am really good about chewing sugar free gum, so hopefully I do not offend anyone with my breath.
  • I still refer to non-diet soft drinks as “sugar pop” because that’s what my mom always called it.
  • I have very nasty thoughts about other drivers and very choice words for them – in my head if I have company and out loud if I do not.
  • I am a procrastinator. Why do something now when you can put it off until tomorrow?
  • I can’t tell you the last time I mopped the kitchen floor. Or dusted anything.
  • I very often say stupid things in front of Simon and almost immediately follow it up with, “Don’t you dare put that on Facebook.” One of these days he’s not going to listen to me because I have posted a number of less than flattering photos of him on FB. It’s a good thing he loves me.
  • I feel like I might have admitted this before, but on a few occasions I have used a change in plans (a canceled play date because of illness, for example) as a way to give a consequence to my kids for bad behavior. “Well, kids, since you didn’t listen to mommy, now we can’t go on that play date at our friends’ house.” Nevermind that the plans were cancelled in advance of the bad behavior; in reality, I would never cancel an actual play date due to bad behavior because I look forward to hanging out with my friends while our kids play probably more than my kids look forward to playing with those friends.
  • I dislike making small talk. I would make a horrible sales person.
  • One year after we moved into our new office I finally unpacked the last of the boxes in our storage room but there are still six boxes of files in the conference room that I have left stacked there for a year. [see: procrastinator]
  • Yesterday I had a rice krispie treat for breakfast. [The same treat that caused Jack to dry heave when I told him he had to take a bite in order to have a piece of his Halloween candy.]
  • We still have the Halloween candy in our house which we use to bribe our children into good behavior.
  • I do not get up early and publish blog posts at 5:00 in the morning, I write them the day before and schedule them to post.

Anything you’d like to confess?

People Who Drive Me Crazy

Source: someecards.com

  • Most of the parents in the school pickup line at Liam’s school, the worst offenders:
    • Those who pull ahead and cut in front of the line of cars waiting and pull into an empty space just vacated by someone who just picked up their child. They must have temporary blindness to not see the line of cars WAITING THEIR TURN.
    • Those who double park next to the cars who are waiting in line next to the curb, blocking the cars who are pulling through in the DRIVING lane.
    • Those who PARK in the waiting lane (when there are plenty of actual PARKING spots available 10-20 feet away), get out of their cars, meander to go get their kids and are therefore unable to pull forward when the cars in front of them move and delay further the cars behind them who are waiting to get their kids. These people do not appear to be handicapped and unable to work the extra distance from a parking spot to get their kids.
    • The school pickup situation makes me stabby, stabby, stabby mad is what I’m saying. Just follow the unspoken rules of common sense, politeness and social consideration.
  • Anyone who wakes me up who is not a) sick, b) bleeding, c) suffering from a broken bone or d) has not been asked to wake me up (though that last one is still a little iffy, because a morning person I am not.. [why yes, Jack did wake us up at 5:20 this morning, why do you ask?]
  • Cashiers who act like their could care less about moving at a reasonable speed when scanning your items. I get that they are there for their set number of hours and it makes little difference to them how many people they serve, but wouldn’t their day be so much nicer if the people they were helping didn’t want to hurt them because they were going SO BLOOMING SLOW [not that I would ever hurt someone for this reason, nope, I’ll just badmouth them on my bloggity blog – I slay with words].
  • Teachers and anyone in childcare who do not appear to actually like children.
  • People who drive a) too slow or b) too fast (i.e., recklessly, because, let’s face it, I drive faster than the speed limit a bulk of the time and I don’t drive myself crazy).
  • Door-to-door sales people – not a single one has ever come at a convenient time or convinced me to buy the product/service they were selling.
  • Anyone with a sense of entitlement that they have not earned.
  • Any parent who judges another parent when they are at the grocery store or a restaurant, as if their own children were always perfectly behaved.
  • The entire cast of Jersey Shore – I can’t see a “news” story about them and not sigh or roll my eyes.
  • Newscasters with gratingly annoying voice mannerisms.
  • Nickelback, Nikki Minaj and Kesha

People who do not drive me crazy: YOU. You are awesome and beautiful.

So, who drives you crazy?