Monday, November 21, 2016


It's November - one whole year since the worst mental health dip that I've ever had, just 10 weeks after the birth of my third child.  My daughter is no longer a wakeful newborn/infant refusing to sleep through the night; she is now the 15-month-old definition of a toddler.

God's grace sustained me over this past year, and I can honestly say that I had more good days than bad ones.  This summer and fall have been especially good.  I'm so grateful that the anniversary of my mental crash didn't trigger another one.

sliding down the slide of mental health ocd anxiety depressionI have been struggling a bit over the last couple of weeks, though, although it has been fairly manageable.

  • Scrupulosity - doubting God and feeling awful about that, asking for forgiveness for my sins compulsively
  • Checking appliances, and (for some reason) now the water heater and furnace
  • Experiencing high anxiety out of the blue

Just today I struggled through thinking that maybe I had sinned and that I had to ask God for forgiveness or else He would be angry with me or maybe my salvation would be in jeopardy.  My head knows that He has cleansed me from all unrighteousness through Christ, even if I don't say the words "Please forgive me for..." or "Thank You for forgiving me for..."  I did end up praying about it and also asking God to help me not give in to compulsions.  My 5-year-old promptly interrupted my quiet prayer from the back of the van, which interrupted my compulsive behavior.  Thank God for His grace.

This afternoon, I saw that I had a missed call from someone I  was supposed to accomplish a task for weeks ago.  I instantly got anxious (and it hasn't gone away yet).  After putting the kids down for naps, I pushed through this task I've pushed off for so long and then returned the phone call.  Of course, it wasn't nearly as bad as I had anticipated.

My stress level has been higher the past few weeks - health issues of family members, joining the board of a nonprofit, possibly taking on a leadership position in our homeschool group, being too busy...  I think it may be time to pull back and just breathe deeply.  Because I know that these dips can come on so incredibly quickly, and I want to do everything within my power to avoid another one.

How do you handle the stress of life?  Do you thrive on it, or (like me) does it make things difficult?

Sunday, October 16, 2016

Is God Still Good?

Two weeks ago, my 61-year-old mom went zip lining through the mountains on a vacation with friends.  6 days ago, this same woman had a stroke.

Mom, my biggest supporter (along with my husband), not only in my mental health journey, but also in my life.

Nana, who enlisted my boys (ages 3 and 5) to help her clear out the raised vegetable garden just the day before.

My mom.

Our family is praising God for what can only be described as the best possible outcome of having a stroke - a very probable full recovery within a few weeks.  God is so good!

But you know what?  God would still be good even if her stroke outcome was not as positive.  Even if she lost use of one side of her body, He would still be good.  Even if she never regained her speech, He would still be good.  Even if she would have died, He would still be good.

Because God is good all the time, not only when the sky is blue and the sun is shining.  He is also good in the storm.

Not only when I feel "normal," but also when my brain spirals into anxiety that feels unshakable.

Not only when the kids are healthy, but also when they throw up in the middle of the night.

Not only when I get a full night of straight sleep, but also when the kids are up (and so am I) multiple times through the night.

Not only when our neighborhood feels safe, but also when a violent crime happens just three houses down the street.

Not only when the bills are paid, but also when finances are scary.

Not only when the kids obey the first time, but also when they meltdown in front of strangers or (worse) in front of people we know.

Not only when everything goes to plan, but also when nothing goes to plan.

Not only when a friendship runs smoothly, but also when it gets awkward.

Not only when my husband is home on time, but also when he works overtime.

Not only when the kids are eager to learn, but also when they would rather do anything but school.

Not only when I rest in His grace, but also when I am fully entangled in the vines of legalism and the strive for perfection.

Not only when I complete a task successfully, but also when my efforts fall short.

Not only when I feel joy, but also when depression settles like a suffocating blanket.

Not only when my brain is free, but also when it latches on to obsessions and refuses to let go.

Not only when I have abundant childcare available, but also when childcare is scarce.

He is overwhelmingly and unchangingly good: Not only when my mom zip lines in the mountains on vacation, but also when she has a hemhorragic stroke two weeks later.  He is good.

I would love to hear about your experiences with God's goodness.  If you'd like, leave comments structured like mine that are based on your life: "God is good not only when _______________, but also when _________________________."  

Because God certainly is good!  

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Anxiety, Fast and Furious

Adult Coloring coping with mental illnessThe coloring books made an appearance this afternoon, a sure sign that I've been struggling.  Even though I enjoy coloring, I tend to only do it as a coping mechanism when my brain swirls.

After four really great months, the high anxiety reappeared Monday afternoon.  The onset was quick, and I've been working through the effects of that first episode since.  The physical symptoms of a dry mouth, lack of hunger, diarrhea.  The dread that maybe I'm falling back in to that pit of despair.  The fear that I won't be all that my kids need me to be or that I won't be able to sleep again.

I should have seen it coming, really.  I've slacked on some things that have proven in the past to help me maintain my mental health - exercise, getting enough sleep, stress reduction, not giving in to compulsions.

What Happened?
I recently finished reading the New Testament and am now making my way through the Old Testament.  A few hours after reading yesterday morning, I heard Brant Hansen on the radio speaking Truth about God's grace and us not being able to be good enough on our own.  I thought back to what I read that morning, and I got very confused by how different the God of the Old Testament seems to be from the God of the New Testament.  He is the same God, so how can that be?  Immediately my head began to spin with the obsession that I needed to reconcile this or maybe I was missing something that affected my salvation.  The paradoxes of the Bible confuse me - God's judgment and grace, His compassion and holiness, His justice and mercy, His kindness and anger.

High anxiety covered me like a blanket.  I haven't felt that way for months, and the familiar feeling was not welcome.  My natural response was to start the compulsions - to continue thinking about it (ruminating) in this case.  Instead I spoke to my husband and sister, had some coffee with pretzels and chocolate chips, and chose to not think about it (easier this time than in times past), and by doing that I was able to trust God.  He is who He says He is, and He is able to change the way that He deals with people.  He has never changed, but His methods have.  I choose to believe that He is good, and that His love endures forever.  He has saved me through Christ, and I have been made holy through Him.  The end.

After a couple of hours, the anxiety calmed down and I felt normal.  Until yesterday afternoon when it again hit out of nowhere.  It was like a switch turned in my brain and I was immediately anxious and irritable.  This time the feeling lingered through the evening and more familiar feelings returned (like everyday tasks feeling daunting).

And this morning I woke up afraid.  Afraid that I was going to slip down the slope in to the major depression and go back to that place of intense suffering and extreme difficulty functioning.  The place where doing anything feels daunting.  The place of uncertainty in my faith.  The place of feeling like my kids deserve better.

But then I realized that what I was feeling were the effects of having that high anxiety a couple of days ago, and I wasn't intensifying it by giving in to compulsions.  With that realization came the reminder that the anxiety never lasts forever.  It passes every single time, and I'm okay.  I'll be okay.  And I felt better.

Frustrating Liberation
I've found that I can't handle the things that other people seem to be able to.  Being busy leads to stress which has a direct influence on my mental health.  This is both frustrating and liberating.  Frustrating because there are so many things that I would like to do - get my doctorate, adopt, maybe have another baby, join the board of a non-profit, teach more college classes.  Liberating because I have a reason to say no.  All of those extra things I'd love to do - the doctorate, adoption, non-profit - they have to take a back burner so that I can be healthy for myself, my husband, and my kids.  They need a healthy wife/mom, and for that to happen I have to limit my involvement with outside activities.

I also need to reduce stress in potentially stressful situations (dragging all three kids to two grocery stores in one morning is a bad idea) and take care of myself physically - exercise and get enough sleep.

Keep moving forward, one step at a time.

What do you do when thoughts seem to get the best of you?

Thursday, September 15, 2016

Perfection: A Masquerade

How people view me has always been a priority.  Since total perfection in this life is impossible, my high school self did her best to create the next best thing: a facade so that others in my Christian school/church community would think I was perfect, or at least close to it.  Maintaining this facade of perfection has become less important to me as I've gotten older, but the drive is still there.

The Facade

A.J. is:
  • successful; a high performer who does things to an excellent standard
  • someone to be counted on
  • a faithful wife who submits to her husband
  • a mom who focuses on all of the right things
  • someone who has had an easy life
  • a dependable friend
  • a strong and involved Christian
  • a faithful daughter who is part of a respectable family 
  • a wise decision maker 
  • a vocally happy person who doesn't get frustrated easily
  • physically healthy
Is it bad for people to think that this is who I am?  No, I don't think so.  I want to be these things, and to an extent, I am.  But it isn't the whole truth.

Who Am I Really?

A.J. is:
  • insecure, especially when someone sees mistakes that have been made
  • terrified of disappointing people
  • not good at submitting to her husband
  • a sometimes failure 
  • someone who hides mental health struggles well (all the way back to childhood - lots of practice)
  • terrible at getting back with people 
  • a doubter who has focused on being good enough instead of on grace
  • a worrier that others will think poorly of her
  • a fisherman of compliments
  • a fake-it-until-you-make-it person
  • a lover of dessert twice a day

Truth Conclusions

Some things are impossible.
Perfection outside of God is an illusion, no matter how hard I try.  It's impossible in this life.  So is complete avoidance of disappointing others.  It's just going to happen.  Jesus is perfect, but I cannot be until I am in heaven with Him.

Jesus died for this.  
He died for my imperfection...every sin I've ever committed and will ever commit - my insecurities, my issues of pride and judging others, my difficulty with submitting to my husband.  All of the lies I've believed and the striving to maintain the facade of perfection.  He died for that.  He died for all of the messiness that is real life as a result of sin, and because of Him, I will be made perfect in heaven.

Gratitude, not Obligation.  It's okay to strive for excellence, but not for it to become an obsession. God shows us grace, and it's okay for us to give ourselves some grace, too.  Our goal should be to glorify God through our lives while understanding that He does not expect perfection.

Community matters.  On vacation this past week, my sister-in-law saved me from some pain.  We were talking while other family members were playing Frisbee on the beach behind me.  As we talked, she moved quickly and knocked the Frisbee away just seconds before it smacked me in the head.  This, my friends, is a true picture of community.  We are present in each other's lives, and we look out for one another.  We share authentically about our true selves and let go of the facade of perfection.  We are real with one another, not in a way that glorifies our weaknesses, but in a way that says, "I am human, and I need help."  We are able to show each other tangible grace and model with each other how God shows us grace.  We have to be okay with talking about the brokenness even while pursuing something whole.

What steps have you taken to throw off the facade of perfection?

Sunday, September 4, 2016

Just Breathe

Gasping for Air
I used to think that I liked to be busy.  Then I got married and had a kid.  And another one.  I functioned pretty well with working, a marriage, two kids...and then my daughter was born one year ago.  After her birth, I quickly found myself gasping for airstruggling more deeply with my mental illness, trying to keep up with work and family with a newborn + two young kids, maintaining a facade of perfectionism, struggling in my relationship with God...I mean, really gasping.  Air was in short supply.  I was depressed, anxious, and giving in (a lot) to OCD obsessions and compulsions.  I functioned okay on the outside, but I was suffocating on the inside.

Something had to give.

My Oxygen Tank 
My life needed a major overhaul.  The chaos was more than I could handle, and I was in desperate need of learning what it meant to just breathe like Jonny Diaz sings in his song of that same name ("Just Breathe" - it's worth a listen).  But learning to breathe wasn't going to just happen on its own.  I needed an oxygen tank - an arsenal of things in my life that would make breathing just a little easier.  Here are some of the things that fill my oxygen tank.

The Ability to Say "No"
The American culture seems to measure success by how busy we are.  We can be involved in a lot of good things, but as a result we can totally miss the best things - relationships, personal health, spiritual growth - due to being busy.  Church involvement, Classical Conversations, and homeschooling seem to be enough for us right now.

Organic Homeschooling
I over complicated homeschooling at first.  It became stressful and overwhelming and didn't go so well.  Then I read The Importance of Being Little by Erika Christakis (I highly recommend it).  The overall point of the book is that kids in preschool and kindergarten most need is to spend time doing things with people who love them.  Their environment - whatever it happens to be - is their curriculum.

My son is now in kindergarten.  We do have formal school time, but I'm learning that life is a great curriculum in addition to working on literacy and math.  Here are some recent real life experiences that we turned in to learning opportunities:
  • Cooking dinner - we made salsa and learned how to bake chicken
  • Buying things with cash - The boys brought their own money to the grocery store.  We talked about what items they could afford and how to read the price signs.  After choosing sour gummy worms, they took their item to the cash register, got money out of their wallets, paid the cashier, and got change and a receipt back.  
  • Authentic writing - my kindergartener wrote a list of things he wants to take on vacation (we leave Monday) and a birthday card to a friend.  

Simple, Unemotional Discipline
Kids are hard.  Our oldest son was recently exhibiting behaviors that left unchecked would make life very difficult for him (and us!) in the future.  I read The Well-Behaved Child by John Rosemond.  I don't agree with everything in the book, but based on the information found in it, we have made some major simplifications to what we are doing to help our son with his behavior:
  • Identified target misbehaviors to focus on
  • Communicated clear and simple consequences for when he exhibits one of the target misbehaviors
  • Followed through on the consequences
  • Stopped saying "okay?" at the end of a directive...for example, "don't hit your brother, okay?"  I'm making a statement that he must obey, not asking for his permission.
  • Acted as a referee without emotion instead of becoming angry at the drop of a hat...for example, "You did _____________, and the consequence is ______________.  It's too bad you made that decision."
My son knows exactly what is expected and what will happen if he chooses not to follow the rules.  He is a much happier kid, and our relationship with him has improved.

Forgiven Focus
OCD has greatly affected my relationship with God.  I've struggled with obsessions of making God angry and compulsions of asking for forgiveness for my sins over and over and over.  Now, instead of asking for God's forgiveness over and over, I thank Him for forgiving me for all of my sins.  I'm still working through what it means to confess, repent, and be forgiven, but simplifying my prayer life has been a good start.

I have a problem with disorganization.  I know this flies in the face of what people usually think of when they think of someone with OCD, but it's true.  We have too much stuff.  And it's easy for it to take over our lives.  I've been sorting, donating, selling, and organizing so our lives can be enhanced by our stuff - not enslaved by it.

School Room before:

School Room after:

Bullet Journal
This method of organizing tasks and information seems to be growing in popularity.  A bullet journal is nothing fancy.  Mine is a blank notebook that I use to keep track of whatever I need to write down.  Here's the current content of my bullet journal:
  • My ongoing to do list
  • An old grocery list
  • Notes from a phone call to the pediatrician's office
  • Bullet points of things to talk to my sister-in-law about as we prep for a family vacation
  • The name and author of a book I should read
  • A vacation packing list
  • Daily to do lists
  • A catalog of items I donated this week to write off on our taxes

Routines and Processes
Simple Morning and Evening Routine
Morning: Feed my daughter, read my Bible/pray, drink coffee, fold laundry/straighten up, boys get up
Evening: Fix and eat dinner, start a load of dishes and a load of laundry

These simple routines help the rest of our day run smoothly, and everyone is well taken care of.

Ideally (which is another way of saying that it has never once been perfectly done), our money management process looks like this.  My husband gets paid, I immediately tithe and pay all bills due in the next two weeks.  We then know exactly how much money we have left to buy groceries, gas, clothes, etc.  We use Dave Ramsey's budgeting software, EveryDollar, and that has been very helpful.

Meal Planning/Shopping
  1. Make a list of meals for the week (I use my bullet journal) based on ingredients we already have and what is on sale.
  2. Write out ingredients and amounts needed for each meal, and a place to mark whether or not we already have each one.
  3. Make a grocery list of only ingredients we need.
  4. Buy everything that I can at Aldi.

Deep Breaths
The result of using my oxygen tank has been huge.  I no longer feel hurried and frazzled most of the time.  My brain feels more at peace.  I feel SO MUCH MORE relaxed.  I'm enjoying my family.  My efforts are focused on caring for the people around me instead of feeling divided and spread too thin among different commitments.  We are spending time around the dinner table eating good food.  The house is still a mess (I don't have a good process for that yet!), but there is lots of love under this roof.
I'm able to...breathe.  And that has made all the difference.


What are some things that you do to help you breathe freely?  I'd love to hear about them!


P.S.  If you're interested in hearing more about the need to slow down and rest, take a listen to an interview on the God-Centered Mom podcast with Shauna Niequist, author of Present Over Perfect.

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

A First-Birthday Letter to My Daughter

Dear J,

a letter to my baby daughter first birthdayTomorrow, baby girl, you turn one year old!  Some mommies and daddies get emotional when their baby turns one, but I'm mostly just excited.  What a year it has been!

You were a gorgeous newborn - that mass of dark hair, beautiful little face, and those darling tiny ears.  And you've been such a healthy eater!  You breastfed immediately and often, and you quickly became a very healthy (and chubby!) baby, and still are.  I love it.  Your brothers adore you, and I know the feeling is mutual.  Your quick smile and precious giggle bring joy to all around you.

Even with this marvelous adventure of your first year, it has undoubtedly been one of the hardest of my life.  You changed things, J.  While I wish that I hadn't struggled with postpartum mental health as I did, I would not change the outcome of my changed mindset.

God used you to break some long held lies in my life:

1.  I will remain unforgiven unless I verbally ask God for forgiveness for specific sins.
2.  I can maintain my health while working and taking care of Daddy, you, and your brothers.
3.  I need something - namely, work - outside of our family to be healthy.
4.  Giving in to compulsions is okay if they don't interfere too much with my daily life.
5.  Intrusive thoughts are who I am.
6.  I know better than other moms.  Ugh, this is a bad one.  :(
7.  I can handle a preschooler, toddler, and newborn in a busy public place alone.
8.  Stress and being busy don't negatively affect my health in a major way.
9.  Having a straightened up house and organized basement is not that important.
10.I don't need to meal plan.

So, thank you, J.  Even through your infancy, God used you to change me spiritually, physically, and relationally.

Speaking of change, we have some coming up with your first birthday.  It's time to wean!  You're able to drink cow's milk now, and you won't be totally dependent on me (and solid food) for sustenance.  Now if I need a medication change (hopefully I won't), breastfeeding will no longer be something I have to consider.

We are also that much closer to being past the most vulnerable time for a mom who already struggles with mental health (18 months postpartum).  I'm believing that my biggest postpartum struggles are behind me!

Another change is that your chance of dying from SIDS is drastically decreased (or so I hear).  Most victims of SIDS die within the first year of life (like the five-month-old niece of my friend).  As you approached 5 months old, I became increasingly nervous.  It was very easy to obsess over your safety in your crib, and I compulsively checked the neck of your footie pajamas to make sure it wasn't too tight around your neck.  And for awhile I also ran my hand over the whole sheet in your crib before I laid you down for the night to make sure that your brothers hadn't dropped Legos in there that you might put in your mouth and choke on.  There is a balance between being vigilant and being obsessive.  I've struggled to figure out that balance...but I haven't slept on your floor to protect you yet (and, yes, I have thought about it).  :)

I love you more I can express.  You are a complete joy and a gift from God to me, Daddy, and your brothers.  How fun to be able to watch you grow over this next year!


Saturday, July 30, 2016

Hope, Not Despair

I've mentioned in previous posts (here, here, here, here, and here) that although I suffer from OCD in this life, I look forward to being in Heaven where there will be no more tears and no more suffering.  I will be free of this brokenness!  I've been reading through the New Testament slowly, and I Peter 1:3-9 was part of my reading this morning:

Hope not Despair I Peter 1:3-9 suffering soul anchorPraise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ!  In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, and into an inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade.  This inheritance is kept in heaven for you, who through faith are shielded by God's power until the coming of the salvation that is ready to be revealed in the last time.  In all this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials.  These have come so that the proven genuineness of your faith - of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire - may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed.  Though you have not seen him, you love him; and even though you do not see him now, you believe in him and are filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy, for you are receiving the end result of your faith, the salvation of your souls.

What an encouragement!

  • He has given me hope (an anchor for my soul) through Christ
  • God's power is shielding me 
  • I can greatly rejoice even though I suffer (intensely at times) from OCD
  • Suffering increases my faith and results in glory to God
  • My faith brings "inexpressible and glorious joy"
  • The end result of my faith is the salvation of my soul

Praise the Lord!

What verses have you found to be encouraging in your life?

Friday, July 29, 2016

A Letter to My Five-and-a-Half-Year-Old Son

Dear M.,

Tomorrow you turn five-and-a-half.  Five-and-a-half!  You are still just a baby, and yet…not.  A couple of weeks ago, your face looked older to me than it had just the day before.  Other people are noticing how much bigger you’re getting, too, like your great-aunt at lunch today.  And KINDERGARTEN!  I’m so excited to start officially homeschooling, and I know you’re almost as excited as I am about our new school room in the basement.

There are so many things I love about you.  Your joy.  Your expressions and vocabulary.  When you think something is genuinely funny – a huge grin covers your face, a giggle pushes its way out, and your shoulders shake with laughter – and you tell everyone in the room about whatever it was that you thought was so funny.  You love that stuffed Ninja Turtle, and it was so great that you filled your Spiderman bag with past birthday and Valentine's Day cards to take with us to the restaurant today.  Your little brother and sister adore you, and it's so fun to watch you help them learn and play.  You offer your snack if you know I’m hungry, and because I don’t like “bad guys” on shows/video games (I really said that for you because I don’t like YOU watching anything scary), you do your best to shield me from them. 

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Confessions of an Overthinker: I Wish That OCD Affected...

***NOTE: All posts on this blog are related to my experience.  Obviously not all mental illnesses are the same, and I don't pretend to understand anything other than what I have experienced.  My hope is that my story will bring you encouragement and that you will seek the help that you need to manage your mental illness in a healthy way.***

Mental illness is not a death sentence.  I should know.  I have struggled with OCD, anxiety, and depression for over 25 years (I'm only 34).  Even with the presence of mental illness in my life, I've been able to manage it (mostly well, but with a few serious hiccups) and live a joyful life filled with friends and family.  I thank God for the tools He has provided to help me in my mental health journey (medication, Cognitive Behavioral Therapy/Exposure Response Prevention, etc.).

This post came about as a combination of two of these tools:

  1. identifying positive ways that mental illness has affected my life instead of having a victim mentality (see a recent post on this here), and
  2. humor.

It is in this spirit that I give you areas of my life that could actually use a little dose of OCD.

Thursday, July 14, 2016

Hope of Rescue - My Soul Anchor

The Storm
Life is messy.  Pain and heartache.  Broken relationships.  Illness, mental and otherwise.  Sometimes these things are expected, and other times they hit us out of nowhere.

The disciples experienced this once when they were in the boat with Jesus.  "And behold, there arose a great storm on the sea, so that the boat was being covered with the waves..." (Matthew 8:24a)  The waves and the storm overwhelmed them.

Some days, I've felt this way with mental illness.  My brain is totally overwhelmed - stormy, even.  Overwhelmed by the waves and the wind and everything else that comes with a storm.  Broken tree limbs, hail, thunder, lightning, sleet.  It's a tornado.  Or hurricane.  Or tsunami.

Monday, July 11, 2016

Caring for the Weary Mind, Part 3

This post is part of an accidental series on taking intentional care of our minds.  Click here for Part 1 and here for Part 2.

I didn't really intend for this to become a series, but it seems to be a theme, and I think it's worth mentioning.  I have got to take care of my mind - for my own health, for the health of my family, and to be a good steward of the mind that God has given me.

Just as I drank fluids to heal from the stomach flu or refrained from lifting anything too heavy after giving birth, my mind must be cared for to return to a state of health.

One major way I care for my mind is to avoid unhealthy stress.  I do preventative work by not overcommitting and not becoming too busy.  Or, more accurately, I should do that preventative work.

Friday, July 8, 2016

A Positive Spin

Six days after I turned 34, I fell back into the pit that is mental illness.  I had given birth to my third child exactly 10 weeks before, and I spiraled.  Fast.

This was nothing new, unfortunately.  I have dealt with OCD, anxiety, and depression for about as long as I can remember.  It's part of my makeup.  It tends to flare postpartum, so I should have expected a lapse.  I was not prepared, and that mental illness took. me. out.

Tuesday, July 5, 2016

My Weekend with OCD

OCD checking over and overOCD: a lifetime condition with seasonal intensity requiring daily maintenance.

It's the daily maintenance part that I've failed with most recently.  I haven't been exercising consistently, our schedule has been way too busy, I haven't gotten enough sleep, I've been stressed...and I made the mistake of scratching that OCD itch.  I gave in, checked, prayed one more time, etc., etc., etc., and the result was a holiday weekend with anxiety woven throughout.

My husband loves to spend time with our kids, and he took our oldest son out in the afternoon to do a fun activity.  The plan was for him to come back to pick up our middle son after he woke up from his nap, and then he would be back in time to order pizza for a family dinner.  The afternoon wore on, and they never returned to pick up our 2nd son.  6:00 came and went with still no sign of them.  I called multiple times, no answer.  I texted, no response.  My mind immediately jumped to the worst possible conclusion (a habit of mine) - I was afraid that they had been in an accident and were dead, I was going to have to raise the two other kids by myself, I would have to figure out how to provide for them, and how would I live without them?!?!?!?!  FINALLY I received a message that they were on their way home.  Turns out that they were in a place where he had zero cell reception, so his phone did not work.  The lump in my throat from the fear I had lost both of them stayed long after I knew they were safe.

Saturday, July 2, 2016


I've never been a big fan of screen time, especially for my kids.  The TV is only on if someone is watching it, and kid-time on the tablet is an end-of-the-day reward for good behavior.  TV shows are limited, and computer time is non-existent for the kids in our house.  I don't really watch TV during the day, and I try to be very available for my kids as we spend our days together.  It's not that I think that screen time itself is a bad thing, but it's very easy for us to get out of balance and lose sight of our relationships and responsibilities as a result of too much screen time.

So I basically do okay with limiting screen time, except when it comes to my phone.  I (like most people) am very dependent on the black hole otherwise known as my phone.  The information that is literally at my fingertips can distract me in a way that is unhealthy.  Like when my son is trying to talk to me and I just want to look at Facebook.  Or when I really should be making dinner, but I would rather read an online article instead.  I don't totally ignore my relationships or responsibilities, I just don't give them my full attention if I'm doing something on my phone, which is more often than I like.

Monday, June 27, 2016

Holding on Through Doubt

Recent Days
Two things happened this week that are worth mentioning.

It's baaaaaaaack
The familiar nag of OCD showed up again Wednesday morning after being fairly manageable since my medication increase in May.  I wasn't really surprised since stress tends to agitate my mental health and this has been (and continues to be) a very busy month for our family.  Wednesday morning, I faltered.  I gave in to the compulsive praying, because what if I hadn't actually prayed my morning prayer?  Rookie (which I unfortunately am NOT) mistake.  Giving in ALWAYS makes it worse.  It's ALWAYS better to ride out the intrusive thought, because giving in to compulsions just heightens the anxiety.

Sunday, June 26, 2016

Mommys: To Work, or Not to Work?

My job is in the home, not in the workplace.  It's healthier - for me and for my family - if I don't work.

This is a hot topic in mommy circles, but please know this: my goal is to share my story, not to shame anyone.  This is my story, and hopefully it will bring you encouragement in some way!

The Dream
Since I was very young, I have wanted to be the one to take care of my children.  I have felt very strongly that I did not want to put them in regular childcare of any kind in order for me to work.  Because of the amount of influence a caregiver has, there are very few people that I trust to have regular time caring for these little ones.  I want to be the one to pour in to them, to educate them, to share my worldview, to train them.  

My Career/Mommy Journey
  • 2005 - First teaching job!
  • 2007 - Got married and managed marriage, grad school, teaching, and mentalillness fairly well
  • 2011 
    • Baby #1 - late-term preemie who spent ten days in the NICU; we came home with an apnea monitor that alerted us to his breathing or heart problems
    • I did not adjust well to having a baby during those first few months, even though I functioned well outwardly; my anxiety skyrocketed and I began to slip back in to the darkness that I had previously experienced; the adjustment to having a new baby felt amplified by mental illness
    • Returned to teaching full-time while grandparents helped with childcare
    • Resigned from classroom teaching and began teaching middle school writing online 
  • 2012 - Began consulting on the research, development, and implementation of a teacher professional development program 15-24 hours per week
working mom holding a baby balancing on a tightrope

  • 2013 
    • Baby #2 born at 34 weeks weighing 4 lb. 13 oz.; eight days spent in the NICU
    • Less than two weeks after he was born, I could feel myself sliding back into the mental illness, and we increased my medication; after that, I did pretty well for a long time; I had bad days every now and then, of course, but overall, I stayed afloat
    • I went back to consulting, increased my hours to 30 each week, and squeezed in work whenever I could while the kids were sleeping or being nannied by my sister; my husband took care of most home responsibilities (even though he was working full-time) - laundry, paying bills, shopping, the yard; I was responsible for the kids and getting my work done, and no one was in charge of keeping the house clean, doing dishes, or planning meals, but we squeaked by; eventually my hours were decreased to 20 per week
  • 2015 
    • Baby #3 born full-term with no health issues!
    • Went back to consulting 20 hours per week mostly from home with the understanding that the position was changing; I was offered the new position (less pay, more time on site, increased hours) which I turned down; I was guaranteed up to 20 hours per week through December 31 with consulting on a limited basis in the new year
    • Lots of change; I was still adjusting to having a third baby, up at night taking care of her, looking and interviewing for new jobs that I could mostly do from home...
    • October 26, I crashed; OCD and anxiety had been nibbling at the edges for weeks, but it all came crashing down on that Monday morning when I slid quickly into one of the worst lapses of OCD/anxiety/depression that I've ever had
    • I worked on being healthy by going to counseling, increasing my medication, decreasing my work hours to 15 per week, and holding on to the truth that God is bigger than this mental illness; my therapist encouraged me to consider that not working might be healthy
  • 2016 
    • started teaching adjunct classes at a local college
    • hired to do educational consulting 10-15 hours per month 
Cutting my income by over 90%
My husband is a hard and faithful worker who brings home a steady income.  We've never lived on just his paycheck plus a little from me, and honestly, it has not been easy.  And even though money is tight, we've started tithing again.  We pay our bills (mostly) on time, and we track what we spend our money on using Every Dollar, Dave Ramsey's budgeting website.  We plan ahead for what we need to spend my husband's paycheck on.  We're coming up with solutions for the times we're short.  We shop for groceries at Aldi or a discount surplus store where we can get food for very cheap.  We may be eligible for government assistance (haven't checked in to that one yet).  

The Result
The mental illness is gone!  Yeah, right - I wish!  No, it's still present, but with much less intensity.

Work in addition to taking care of my kids was honestly just too much for me.  The amount of stress involved, the increased brain felt divided and like I was hanging on by a thread.  The pressure that comes from trying to meet others' expectations (realistic or not) was a really bad combination with my mental illness.

Taking work mostly out of the equation has allowed me to focus on the things that really matter - my relationships with my kids and husband and the home environment I can provide for them.  I can focus on taking care of my family instead of just getting by.  With a calmer and less-stressed brain, I can be in charge of the laundry, meal planning, shopping, and cooking - and now my husband's main responsibilities are to work and be with the kids.  I'm able to take adequate time to prepare our homeschool year in a healthy way instead of just throwing things together haphazardly.  I'm more present with my children because my mind is not preoccupied with work.  I can volunteer and be more involved at church.

When I asked my therapist if it would be healthier for me not to work, and he said yes, by 1000%.  And that's something I've come to agree with 100%!

How did you decide your role in your family?  Is it healthier for you to work or to stay home?

Friday, June 17, 2016

What do you do to thrive?

This is a busy month for us.  In fact, it's probably the busiest month we've had since my daughter was born in August and I had a postpartum mental illness relapse starting in November.

And since increased stress can lead to increased mental health struggles...I'm doing my best to keep that stress level down.  To be a good steward of this life and mind (and family!) that God has given me.

I want to thrive not just survive

It's funny, because the scheduled activities that actually make this a busy month aren't even the things that are causing stress.  Here is a snapshot of what's been going on this week (along with how I've also seen God's sustaining grace throughout):

Friday, June 10, 2016

Colossians 1

He is before all things, and in Him all things hold togetherI am not a theologian, but I am a Christ-follower.  My faith and my relationship with Christ are so important to me, which is probably why scrupulosity, or religious OCD, has been such a huge struggle for me.  OCD tends to affect those things in our lives that are most important to us.

I've continued in my relationship with God through the angst of OCD, but it has not always felt joyful.  So when I felt joy as I read Colossians 1 this afternoon, I wanted to share it with you!  See below for the passages that stood out to me along with why I enjoyed them.

Thursday, June 9, 2016

Negative Authenticity

Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouthsAuthentic honesty with others is so important.  God created us for relationship with Himself and grace and healing happen when we share honestly in community.  God is honored through our authenticity.

There is a way, however, in which authenticity can be twisted to not honor God.  When our motives are bad, for instance.  Gossiping, even if it's true.  Sharing in order to boost our pride or gather pity through being negatively authentic.  This last reason, I think, is the one that I've been struggling with recently in the way I talk about my kids.

Being a parent is without a doubt the hardest job I've ever had.  (For one reason this is true, click here.)  Never in my life have I consistently seen the height of my selfishness or my need for humility.  I've learned what it truly means to be a servant leader, even though I fail at this on a very consistent basis.  I've been forced to simplify the way I verbalize my beliefs so that a toddler can understand (still working on this, too).  It's not bad to talk about how hard parenting is, but a few things have happened lately that highlight what has become my habit of negative authenticity.

Saturday, June 4, 2016

Busyness, Stress, and Mental Health

I'm what you might call a task-driven person.  I love being with people, too, but I also love getting things done, experiencing accomplishment, crossing items off the list.  The tasks are good, even, but they can become a problem when I become too busy.  Because (for me) busyness leads to stress, and stress leads to increased anxiety and OCD.

to do list: so many things - avoiding stress while busy

NOTE: Many people can handle commitments and busyness that I cannot.  I used to be one of those people, then I had my third kid.  She totally changed things.

This week was extra busy, so I shouldn't have been surprised when yesterday afternoon was filled with high anxiety.  Or when scrupulosity trigger thoughts bombarded me this morning.  

Thursday, June 2, 2016

Patience: I am not a natural

planting the rain garden for homeschoolingThe rain garden is planted!  Now if I can just manage to keep it alive long enough for the plants to get established in the soil, I think we'll be good to go.  It looks pretty, but we'll see if things actually begin to grow.

I'm not great at waiting for things to happen.  I want the flowers to bloom and the birds and butterflies to come now, but that isn't really how it works.

This is very much the way I would like to be healed from mental illness.  Just do it, cross it off the list, and move on.  But healing takes time, and it doesn't always look the way that I want it to.

       I want to be completely over OCD.

              To never perform another compulsion.

                     To dismiss the trigger thoughts immediately.

                            To live in total peace, not anxiety -  forgiveness, not fear.

But this is a journey, and one that will probably not be completed until I am in heaven.

Do you find yourself also wanting things to be done now?  How do you practice patience?

Sunday, May 29, 2016

Rain Garden

I read a comment on Twitter recently about how having a good hobby can help people manage mental illness.  This blog is that for me, and we are also starting to homeschool (not that educating my child is a hobby, but you know what I mean).  As part of homeschooling, I want to incorporate a new hobby - a rain garden.  Now, I'm not much of a gardener (read: my neighbors wish I did something with our landscaping).  But when I saw the rain garden program sponsored by the city, I got interested.

What's a Rain Garden?
A rain garden uses native plants with deep root systems to soak up storm water runoff as an alternative to water filling up local sewer systems.  The garden has sloped edges to encourage rainwater to stay in the garden and soak in to the ground instead of flowing to other areas.  They are popular all over the world (Australia, the United Kingdom, the USA).

Why a Rain Garden?
My oldest will be in kindergarten starting this fall, and I am currently working through planning content for his school year.  I recently read The Importance of Being Little by Erika Christakis.  The book's bottom line was that kids in preschool and early elementary are most academically successful through experiencing life with a loving and interactive adult.  Their environment (whatever that environment is) is their curriculum.  My goal with this rain garden is to create an environment in which my kids can interact with God's creation (wildflowers! birds! butterflies!) in a way that breeds curiosity and sparks learning.  This happened yesterday as we started to dig the garden and my son discovered a new found love for worm collecting.  The kid who refused to touch a worm earlier this season was excitedly digging them out of the ground with his bare hands and transferring them to their new home in his collection jar (with holes for air).

How much have you gotten done on the Rain Garden so far?
Good question!  I excavated all of the 60 square feet of the garden last night and this afternoon.  The clay soil is MUCH heavier and muddier than I anticipated, which is making sloping the edges a bit of a challenge.  I'm hoping that in the morning (maybe I can stay up after the baby's early morning feeding?!) much of the soil will have dried and it will be easier for me to slope those edges.  We have the plants already, and I need to get them in the ground before they die!

What hobbies do you (or a loved one) have that help you manage mental illness?

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Pride and Authenticity

Why is it so hard to be authentic with others?  I've had several opportunities in recent months to share my story, both on the blog and in other areas of my life.  The more I talk about it, the easier it gets.  Although I do have to say that writing anonymously on the blog is a whole lot easier than talking face-to-face with people I've known for years who have no idea of my mental struggles.  (Click here for why I'm writing anonymously.)

I don't really have a problem telling people in real life that I struggle with anxiety and depression (I once heard depression referred to as the common cold of mental illness).  These two things seem to be fairly common and well understood by the general public.  

Sunday, May 22, 2016

Status Update and Homeschooling

Status Update

Today is the 11th day of my increased dosage of medication, and I'm happy to report that I feel much better.  Praise the Lord!  I'm managing the OCD instead of it managing me.  I've been able to focus this week on preparing to homeschool my oldest two (Kindergarten and preschool), but more about that in a minute.

Today has been a little rough, but still nowhere close to where I was a couple of weeks ago.  My first intrusive thought this morning happened while I was getting ready for church.  I banged my elbow on a jewelry box while I was getting dressed, and it really hurt.  I said, "MAN!" afterwards, and I was afraid I had cussed instead.  I had already prayed my morning prayer (my ERP plan for compulsive praying = praying only three times a day), so I lived with the intrusive thought all the way to church, through dropping the kids off at Sunday School, and into the beginning of the church service.  And then I gave in to the compulsion to ask for forgiveness through writing a prayer down.  This used to be a big problem for me - very much a part of the OCD.  Well, then another intrusive thought came (not surprising) when I thought a cuss word during the worship songs, and the cycle started over.  I contemplated writing down another prayer asking for forgiveness, but I knew it was the OCD.  So I handed the paper to my husband and instead focused on the sermon and the service.

These verses were shared during the service, and I think that they are especially applicable to those of us with mental illness.

My soul finds rest in God alone

Such a good reminder that my salvation comes from God alone - not from perfect performance on my part.  Even if I did think/say cuss words (or sin in any way), God has forgiven me.  I have trusted in Him.  Jesus paid the price for all of my sins.  I'm trying to live forgiven instead of fearfully.

The rest of the morning/early afternoon was pretty good until just a little bit ago.  I read my Bible and prayed my afternoon prayer, and faced another (common, at least to me) intrusive thought.  What if I didn't end my prayer correctly?  I'm resisting the compulsion to pray again and am working through the accompanying anxiety.  These compulsions are hard to resist, but God is bigger than my compulsions.  


On another note, I've really enjoyed thinking through homeschooling for next year.  We have registered for Classical Conversations, which I'm excited about.  We had our first community get-together on Thursday where I met other moms in the community and my son got to play with his new schoolmates.  I'll attend a parent practicum this summer, which I think will be really helpful as we embark on this new journey.

I went to a homeschool conference last weekend and was able to pick out our math and language arts curriculum for this coming year:

My homeschooling goals this summer are:
  1. Teach my 5-year-old to read (we're ordering the IEW curriculum hopefully very soon)
  2. Prepare for next year (how to document schooling, order other curriculum, etc.)
  3. Clean out my office to make it a usable school room

Have you had any experience (good or bad) with the IEW or Saxon curricula?  Any other suggestions?  How have you implemented the Gospel Project curriculum in to homeschooling?  Where is the best place to find used homeschool curriculum?

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Caring for the Weary Mind, Part 2

Quick post today...I have some Mary Higgins Clark reading to do.  :)

I decided to continue yesterday's mission of taking it easy again today.  Tomorrow marks the beginning of a busy few days, and I want to make sure not to overdo it like I did on Monday.

Good intentions, but this morning was not as restful as I'd hoped (side effect of having kids, right?!).  Things went pretty well.  Until the baby didn't sleep for her morning nap.  And my 3-year-old had a potty training accident (which involved pooping on the kitchen floor - seriously?!) which took some time to thoroughly clean up - all while the baby was crying.  And my 5-year-old pushed his brother over throwing a Hot Wheels car at Lego Thor...

But all is quiet now, which is why this post is short.  The kids are resting.  The sun is out.  The sky is blue.  The birds are singing, and that lawn chair recliner is calling my name.  I've got my (decaf) coffee, chocolate, and book.  I'm ready.

What are you doing to take care of your mind today?

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Caring for the Weary Mind

Exhaustion.  Sleep-deprivation.  Limitations.  All unwelcome side effects of mental illness, especially during a slump (I'm currently coming out of my 4th slump since November).

Sometimes adding life to mental illness breeds some of that exhaustion and those limitations.  Yesterday was one of those days.
  • It was Monday, so I was back to being the only parent home during the day to manage these three kiddos while my husband is at work.
  • My cousin's wife came over to go through my maternity/baby boy clothes, which was great, but that meant that:
    • I had to have the house presentable - lots of deep cleaning that was necessary, but also lots of work.
    • She stayed for most of the kids' naptime, so I didn't get nearly enough alone time to recharge (more about being an introvert below).
  • I took all three kids grocery shopping right when they woke up from naps.  
  • We got home to a surprise visit from my brother-in-law and two nephews (4 and 1).
  • I cooked part of dinner last night which I hadn't planned on.
  • I walked with a friend I hadn't connected with in awhile after dinner.
  • I had a not-so-restful night due to eating chocolate chip cookie dough ice cream before bed (bad idea), feeding the baby in the wee hours of the morning, and an unusually early wake up call from the baby who was more than ready to start her day.

As a freshman in college, I took the Myers-Briggs assessment.  I was shocked when the results showed that I was almost right down the middle introvert/extrovert.  I would have put myself as way, way, WAY extroverted, probably because I compulsively filled my time (you can read more about my OCD struggle with time here).  Most of that time was spent with others DOING stuff.  

But the older I get, the more I see that the results were right.  I am an introvert.  I think having kids (and losing any personal space I once thought I had) brought out my true personality more.   

I can easily get overloaded, especially with a day like yesterday.  So I decided to take today off.  Not off from my responsibilities.  I'm still taking care of the kids, making dinner, straightening up the house, doing the dishes, and cleaning up potty training messes (ugh).  Rather, I took off from rushing around trying to accomplish things, that frantic scramble that I can so easily fall in to.

Instead, I've taken it easy today.  
  • We took our time getting ready this morning.  
  • I made pancakes for breakfast.  
  • I watched a couple of shows with the boys.  
  • We went for a leisurely walk.  
  • I picked up some light reading from a friend (I've been reading Bonhoeffer by Eric Metaxas and TrueFaced by Bill Thrall, Bruce McNicol, and John Lynch - although interesting, this is NOT light reading; Karen Kingsbury and Mary Higgins Clark are more what I need!).  
  • I'm protecting this naptime by not answering my phone.  
  • I'm meeting a friend for coffee tonight sans kids.  
  • I'll be able to relax with my husband after the kids go to bed - watch some TV or a movie.  
Today, I'm taking care of my weary body and mind.

What are some things that you do to take care of yourself?  I'd love to hear!

Saturday, May 14, 2016

Being Diagnosed - Part 3

This post is the third installment of journal entries from the time period I was diagnosed with OCD.  You can see Part 1 here and Part 2 here.

October 19, 2004

My mom thinks I should go back to see Dr. ________________ again soon, because I was really supposed to go back in September.  I felt very close to where I was in February today, and I didn't like it.  Lord, please help me not to slip into that pit again.  

Friday, May 13, 2016

A Call for Comments

Comment problems yet again...

I'm hoping that the issue is now fixed, so in an effort to test that out, would you share a bit of your journey with us in the comments below?

What is your experience with mental illness?  Do you struggle with it?  Does a loved one struggle?  Has your relationship with God factored in to your struggles/recovery at all?

Feel free to make your post as long or as short as you'd like.  Thanks!

Thursday, May 12, 2016

Getting Back to Myself

The postpartum roller coaster I've been on over the past 6 months has led me to wonder about increasing the anti-depressant medication (Zoloft) that I have been on for several years.  I thank God for the team of medical professionals that He has given me.  I am truly grateful.  I had appointments with both my therapist and the nurse practitioner at my psychiatrist's office last night and this morning.

The Therapy Appointment

The therapy appointment was difficult but good.  My suffering and mental exhaustion were pretty apparent, I believe.  I had a list of things to talk about, and a medication increase was number one on that list.  I thought he might discourage me from increasing the medication, but instead he helped me figure out what to ask the nurse practitioner.  He suggested other medications that might be helpful, and he encouraged me to write out my "symptom profile" to hand to her (see below).

Wednesday, May 11, 2016

Being Diagnosed - Part 2

This post is Part 2 of journal entries from the time leading up to me being diagnosed with OCD.  You can read Being Diagnosed Part 1 here.

I hoping these excerpts provide some insight in to my journey.

March 28, 2004

mental healthI woke up to fear again.  Why can't it just leave me alone?!  I was worried yesterday about different stuff, and I had a headache all day.  

I'm still afraid of free time, and there is this study out about anti-depressants and how sometimes they cause people to commit suicide.  I'm on Lexapro.  That scares me, too.  I wish I was perfect...

Monday, May 9, 2016

Medication Increase?

Wow.  Rough week, friends.  Same old heavy stuff.

I've been reading through some old journal entries (see the post Being Diagnosed - Part 1) which are very interesting.  Initially, reading through the ways I was feeling 12 years ago helped me remember that the slump I'm in now will get better.  God has always brought me through the valleys.  But then the depressive thoughts arrived - why am I STILL dealing with this?  I just want to be healed.

Every couple of months since the beginning of the year, I have had 1-2 weeks of difficulty, then I am back to managing the illness well for about the next 6 weeks.  And then I hit the next slump.  Each time the slump feels unbearable.  I desperately search for help and do the cognitive and therapeutic work I know I need to do to get out.  I cry out to God and work through it by His sustaining grace.  And I get better.  There are still hard days, but overall I do okay.  And after about a month-and-a-half, I fall into the slump again, which is where I am now.

Saturday, May 7, 2016

Being Diagnosed - Part 1

My mental health journey has been a long one (you can see highlights of it here), and most of it has been chronicled in the large pile of journals gathering dust on my office floor.  Obviously, cleaning is not currently one of my compulsions.  :)

The journals in the picture on the right chronicle one of the hardest seasons of OCD I have experienced.  I was in college and severely distressed by intrusive thoughts and my inability to stop the resulting anxiety and depression.  The excerpts shared below are from the brown journal.

NOTE: I purposely left out the name of my doctor (who is also a family friend) and the city I live in.  For reasons why, see my blog's About page.

Thursday, May 5, 2016

Hard Days

Mornings are Hard
The last three days have been hard.  I mean, really hard - especially the mornings.  I'm not sure why mornings are generally harder for me, but they most certainly are.

It might have something to do with having the whole day in front of me and the uncertainty of what will happen - whether or not I'll struggle, events of the day, etc.

Or it could be that being the only person responsible for the kids for the majority of the day while my husband works can also be overwhelming.  Being a stay-at-home mom is exactly what I want to do, but when you throw mental illness in to the mix, things that should be easy just sometimes aren't.

Or it could be that we have chosen not to be a busy family.  Growing up, I stayed compulsively busy (read more about my relationship with time and OCD here) to a fault.  It wasn't healthy.

Wednesday, May 4, 2016

I was wrong

Since I posted about ERP regarding reading my Bible, I've received some helpful feedback from my therapist.  My compulsions include that I need to read my Bible each day and that I need to do it during the first free time that I have during the day.
Bible and OCD - Scrupulosity

My therapist suggested that I instead practice ERP by making "a different choice that is still based in truth and is healthy."

Truth - Daily reading of the Bible is a good discipline for a maturing Christian.  It is not essential to salvation, but it does assist in growth.

Healthy - 1-2 chapters per day; NOT reading verses over and over until I feel "right"

Different Choice - Continue reading a healthy amount of the Bible in a healthy way daily.  Read at a different time each day instead of reading it during the first amount of free time I have.  

I'm still struggling greatly with this, especially pushing through the high anxiety that initially comes from resisting a compulsion.  Any feedback that you have is very appreciated!

Tuesday, May 3, 2016

Beat Up Brain

Why are some days so much harder than others?  And why do things that I've been able to accept or ignore in the past suddenly become such looming issues?

My brain feels like a towel that's been wrung outThis morning it felt like someone took my brain out of my head, squeezed it like a wet towel, and put it back in.  Tired, anxious, and beat up.

I latched on to the obsession this morning of reading my Bible, and I really, really struggled with whether or not to read it.  I eventually decided that since it felt compulsive, I should probably not read it at all today (like I did over the weekend).  But that still didn't feel right - lots of high anxiety. When I thought about reading it, I felt guilty at the thought of giving in to the compulsion.

Monday, May 2, 2016

Just Do It

I have a problem.  If something is uncomfortable, I put it off.  Especially if it's big and overwhelming.  Like figuring out our finances or organizing medical bills (do we really owe that much?!).  Or potty training.  Or sleep training.  Or fill-in-the-blank.  Obviously, this is neither helpful nor productive.

But do you know what's even more uncomfortable than actually dealing with those things?  Having them hang over your head because you're avoiding them.  The angst that comes with the build up.  The thought of all that it will take to fulfill these responsibilities.

Saturday, April 30, 2016

Chonda Pierce and Clinical Depression

My very pregnant friend and I have been walking to try to help her go into labor.  Seriously, she was due on Sunday with her fourth child, and she just wants that baby to GET OUT.  So, we walk.

On a recent walk, she brought up a clip that she had heard of Chonda Pierce, a successful Christian comedian, talking about Spanx, which she thought was hilarious.  And it was then that I remembered that Chonda Pierce struggles with depression.  Clinical depression, it turns out.