Category Archives: Depression

Butterbean

We’ve had a bit of a rocky start, haven’t we, Baby Boy?

Sometimes it was my rigidity, my inability to stretch myself enough to include you in our “pre-baby” lives. We had a hard time finding a rhythm because of that inflexibility, and I’m sorry for that. I was robotic: make the bottle, change the diaper, wipe the spit-up, just trying to stay afloat.

Sometimes it was my anxieties that kept us adrift from each other, stomping down on my throat, making it impossible to breathe. That’s no fault of yours, Butterbean, but it’s crippled me, nonetheless. The sleepless nights, the constant worry, the uncontrollable emotions have all affected how I’ve been parenting, and I’m sorry for that. But I’ve been trying, everyday, to be better.

Sometimes it was the three-month battle with your severe reflux and colic that drove the wedge. No matter how much I rocked, and walked, and patted, and soothed, I could not make you happy, sweet boy. And in every waking moment, I felt like I was failing you.

But here’s the awesome part, and I’m not sure exactly when it happened, but at some point, I fell head over heels in love with you. Maybe it was the first time you genuinely smiled at me…

Or maybe it was watching your big brother taking the time out of his busy life (practicing his Acrobat-Baseball Star-Pop Singer-Hair Stylist), to dote on you…

Or maybe it was watching you react to the world around you for the first time: reveling in the texture of your fingernails against my skin, blinking into the bright sunlight, singing along with my lullabies…

…but somehow, you wriggled your way deep into my heart. You are a treasure, Butterbean. You make me laugh every single day. And even though we sometimes still have our bad days, I keep reminding myself that everyone does. I can finally see what our future looks like, the four of us, together. I can see your personality beginning to peek through: all giggles paired with seriousness. You’ll be my quiet child, my contemplative child, the one who thinks long and hard before he leaps. But leap, you will, with your big brother in the lead. (I see the way you look at him. I get it, Butterbean, I adore him, too.)

I know we’re getting started a little late. I know the last three months have been hard, for all of us. But let me say to you, sweet boy, that I can’t wait to get to know you, now that we can clearly see each other without the fog of post-adoption depression in our way. Mommy loves you, Butterbean. Always.

Path To A Happy 2015

Guys, my holidays pretty much sucked. There was no Christmas spirit. There was lots of crying and “woe as me.” There was a WHOLE LOTTA forced merriment. I took my decorations down the day after Christmas, and as each bauble found its way back into storage, I felt a little bit happier, like I was packing away the source of sadness that had plagued me since just after the turkey went cold.

Considering the fact that, in years past, I have been accused of being as jolly as Buddy the Christmas Elf, this is some pretty serious news in and around these parts.

The reason why doesn’t really matter as much as finding my way back to happiness. What’s done is done, the past is in the past, and I’m ready to move forward into a happier, healthier, shinier new year.

Since my day-to-day life has been pretty colorless lately, I pointed my browser over to my favorite blog, Heck Awesome, written by the lovely and talented Carrie Baughcum. She is a daily source of inspiration for me, and though she doesn’t know it, I think of her as the Creativity Queen. And just as she has in the past, with one adorable and heartwarming post, she inspired me to try something new.

Art Journaling.

Finally, a way to combine my “artwork” with my words. (Note the quotations. Perhaps “cartoons” would be a more accurate description?) I’ve found a way to fully express the ideas in my brain. And use my awesome multi-hued felt-tipped pens. It’s brilliant.

And colorful. Did I mention art journaling is colorful? <—-COLOR IS GOOD.

So I decided to start my journal with that nasty holiday depression in mind. What can I do to ensure that my path in 2015 is filled with light, and humor, and happiness? I can accomplish the goals I’ve set forth for myself. I can exercise and let the sunshine in. I can write more and whine less. I can start every day with a positive thought. I can hang onto hope, even when hope seems fruitless. I can smile. I can laugh. I can draw and write and paint and doodle. I can create my own sunshine. I can be ME.

Path to a Happy 2015

It’s not as impressive as other art journal pages I’ve seen as I’ve perused Pinterest, looking for ideas. In fact, it’s downright amateur-ish. But it’s a start. And it made me happy, which was the whole point of the exercise anyway. So I’ll move forward. I’ll draw a doodle every now and then, and add the page to my journal. I’ll draw out my feelings when I can’t find the words to express them. I may or may not share them here, depending on how proud I am of said doodles.

Either way, my toes are off the starting line, and I’m moving up that path to happiness. I know it’s there, waiting at the top of the hill for me. It may be an uphill climb, but I’ll make it. And I’m taking my art supplies with me, because…

crayons

(Or, in this case, felt-tipped pens.) (But use whatever works.) (Heck, fingerpaint with pudding if you want to. I won’t judge you if you won’t judge me while I’m licking the paper clean.) (Great, now I want chocolate pudding.) (Mmmm. Pudding.)

To Carrie: You are my sister in creativity. Thank you for continuing to inspire me. XO

Unexpected Moments

I’m on the internet. A lot. So I see a multitude of graphics, memes, links, and videos every single day. Some of them make me laugh, some of them make me think, others I barely pay attention to as I scroll through my feed. But I saw one yesterday that made me pause–amidst a flurry of Christmas tree photos and status updates and holiday recipes, Sandra Bullock’s face popped into my life.

As much as I like her, though, it wasn’t about the striking photograph, but the words that were quoted in the description. I read them a few times before letting the truth of them sink in.

Naturally, when I went back to find the meme to share with you here, I couldn’t find it. (Funny how poignant things have a habit of disappearing into the ether of the internet, while silly or absurd or inappropriate things seem to go viral and stay that way much past their expiration dates.) Anyway, I recreated the meme for you, so I could share it in today’s post.

Sandra-Bullock

This statement has been true for me, especially in the last few months. I spend my day actively searching for those moments to savor. Each day, if it’s a good one, gives me a handful–a passing snuggle with a fluffy cat, a giggling fit with a girlfriend, a peaceful second of solitude, a lingering hug from my husband. While they may be interspersed with moments of grief, anger, resentment, and worry, those nuggets of happy settle into my soul and help to soothe the ragged edges that are there.

I had one such moment yesterday evening. I’d headed out to brave the crowds to do a little holiday shopping. My trip took me to my favorite craft store, which was unusually busy. I wandered the aisles, making my way to the back corner of the store. I dodged a family of five and scooted into the aisle I needed, brushing past a small display of tiny American flags on the way in. Finally, I’d found what I’d come for. I squatted down in the deserted aisle and started perusing the wares, reading the labels so I knew I’d buy exactly what I needed.

In that moment, I was annoyed with the crowd. I was tired from an all-day shopping expedition. My feet hurt, my head hurt, and my Christmas spirit was waning.

From the end of the aisle I heard a sharp intake of breath, followed by the sound of a young child giggling. “Mom, look!” he cried. I glanced over and caught a glimpse of shaggy brown hair and a shoelace coming untied from a colorful sneaker. He seemed to be excited over the flags hanging from the end cap. I smiled and went back to my shopping.

flags

Source

Over the strains of the Christmas music, I heard more laughter, and the rattling sound of plastic. And then, in a 7-year-old’s voice, I heard the familiar tune of the Star Spangled Banner.

I looked up just in time to see the little boy dash by the end of the aisle. He had several flags in each hand, and was singing our national anthem at the top of his lungs. No reservations, no embarrassment, no self-consciousness.

“Ohhhhhh saaaay caaaaan yoooou SEEEEEEE?” he sang, cracking on the high note. “Byyyy the daaaaawn’s eaaarrrrrly liiiiiiiiight….”

I heard the sound of his sneakers as he dashed up the main aisle, in search of his family. “What so PROOOOOOUDLYYY we heeeeeeeeeeeeeeeld….at the twilight’s last steaming…..”

At this point, the giggles completely took me over. I lost my balance and sat down, hard, on the linoleum floor. The Little Patriot dashed down the aisle adjacent to mine, his sneakers slapping on the floor. I imagined the flags whipping in the wind created by his running. He turned the corner and dashed by my aisle again.

“WHO’s broad striiiipes and bright STAAAAAAAAAARS….throuuuuuuuuuuuuuugh the…” Uhoh. “throoooouuuuugh the….”

“Perilous.” Mom’s voice came from several aisles over. I covered my mouth so they wouldn’t hear me laugh.

“Throooougggggh thhhheeee perilous fight, Or the RAAAAAMMMMMMMMparts we waaaatched…at the TWILIGHTS LAST STREAMING.”

“Were so gallantly streaming,” Mom offered, shouting over the din of Frank Sinatra’s White Christmas.

The sneakers stopped squeaking, and I heard his small voice say, “Oh yeah. Right.”

He must have heard me laugh at that point, because his singing became much more subdued. Reverent, even. He finished the last the song in a quiet falsetto, until…

“OVER THE LAAAAAAND OF THE FREEEEEEE! And the HOOOOME of theeee BRAAAAVE.”

I heard him put the flags back in their Styrofoam display, and the squeaking of his sneakers as he skipped off to rejoin his family.

My sides aches from my (not so) silent laughter. I gathered up my purse and my basket, grabbed the items I needed, and headed for the checkout. I never actually saw The Little Patriot’s face, or ran into him again. But that little kid made my day, with his impromptu concert.

It’s unexpected moments like this one that are worth savoring.

The Infertility List Blog

Let’s set the record straight. I’m not a psychologist with years worth of research in my portfolio. I’m not a doctor who knows big words about specific sections of the brain and the hormones that they squirt into the body. I’m not a fertility specialist who can explain to you the complexities of coping with the emotional baggage that comes with having broken lady parts.

But I am an infertile woman living in the 21st century. And I’m also a blogger. So that gives me all the necessary tools to present you with a list of 10 things everyone (especially my friends and family) should know about infertility.

10 Things This Infertile Wants You (The Fertile Ones) To Know

1. Birth announcements don’t come in bouts of 3.
Nay. In fact, they come in groups of a hundred. Sometimes more. In fact, in less than a 2 week time span, practically everyone I knew–from best friends, to that child actor from the 80s, to the kid I used to babysit in the 8th grade–announced that they were expecting. Even the Prince of Friggin’ England was all like, “Heeey yoooou guuuuys….I’m gonna be a baby daddy!”

one

You should be forewarned that when this happens you will find me in holey pajama pants, lying on my bathroom floor, sobbing into the bathmat. Don’t worry–I’ll find my happy for you eventually. It’s just going to take some time to pick up the shrapnel from the baby bomb that just hit my house. (It’s not as cute as it sounds.)

2. Let’s just put it out there–Friends with Kids, We Are Jealous Of You.
It’s nothing personal. But when we come to your house to visit and accidentally step on a Lego, we’re jealous. When we meet you for dinner and you’re a few minutes late because you had a diaper blowout, we’re jealous. When we call you up and can’t really hear what you’re saying over the sound of baby giggles in the background, we’re jealous. When you post a picture of your darling child in over-sized sunglasses and a beer box on his head, we’re jealous. It doesn’t mean we love you or your pint-size mini me any less. It just means that we see what awesomeness you have in your life, and we want it for us, too.

3. We really don’t need to hear about the conventional methods anymore.
I know you mean well when you gently remind us that the best way to get pregnant is to stop thinking about it/take your temperature/get drunk/elevate your hips after sex. Believe me–I’m more flexible than I look.

See?

contortionist

The problem with us is mechanical, not creativity. (wink wink) So there’s really no need to reenact the Kama Sutra to show me just how you got knocked up. (Although, if you really want to, go ahead. Just be forewarned that I will take pictures. I’m always looking for good blog fodder.)

In this same vein, please don’t make weird suggestions about other, less traditional ways to procreate. I want to have Brian’s baby. Not his brother’s, not his uncle’s, and not his third-cousin-twice-removed’s. Sorry. That’s just weird and creepy.

4. At some point in our relationship, I will cry.
I’m a big ol’ fat cry baby about most things, anyway. But this particular thing? I have no control over my emotions. The truth is–I’m grieving. That’s really what infertility is–grieving the life of the child you always imagined but will never have. It sucks. It’s really hard. And I cope by crying.

A lot.

So inevitably, we will be cheerfully chatting about that catty thing someone said at the party, and something will trigger that “OMG I DON’T HAVE OFFSPRING” button in my brain, and I’ll be sobbing all over you before you can grab the stray tissue at the bottom of your purse. I apologize in advance.

5. I use humor as a defense mechanism.
If this blog isn’t proof of that, then let me explain.

Your adorable toddler will run up to me and give me a big kiss. I will make an inappropriate joke about my ovary exploding. Everyone will laugh.

You’ll ask me if I’m available to take photographs at your child’s birthday party. I’ll laugh too loudly and make a joke about always being free since I don’t have a child of my own to throw parties for. No one will laugh.

I’ll be writing a semi-serious blog post about the trauma of infertility, and I’ll throw up a stupid picture of myself Photoshopped to look like a clown.

Clown

With me now?

6. Please don’t say, “You should adopt!”
You’re totally right. A family IS about love, not blood. There ARE lots of kids in the world who need loving homes. We totally agree with you. That doesn’t mean we’re ready, yet. It also probably means we’ve still haven’t worked up the courage to rob a bank, yet. Cuz that’s shit’s expensive, yo.

7. We totally still want to be friends with you, even though you are fertile.
It’s ok. We don’t begrudge you your fully functional baby-making parts. Mostly. So don’t worry that bringing your kids over is an inconvenience. Don’t stop inviting us to birthday parties and baby showers (although sometimes I might not come.) Don’t apologize when your kid squeals loudly or chases my cat or accidentally scribbles on my kitchen table. We love you, and your screaming toddler. I’ve even been known to miss a football game or two just to hang out with you guys. Now THAT’S love.

8. Sometimes, we need to hang out with our “non-kid” friends, though.
It has nothing to do with you. It has everything to do with our desire to drink copious amounts of alcohol, talk about grown-up type things, and say curse words often and loudly.

margarita ole
*Drool.*

I know you can carry on conversations about stuff other than your kids. (There’s a reason we’re friends. You are a super-cool cat with tons of interesting things to talk about. Am I right??) I also know that you want that giant margarita right there just as much as I do. But I also know it’s harder for you to leave the kids out of conversation, because they are your life, as they should be. No guilt trips here, lady.

It’s just this: sometimes it’s easier for us to be around people who don’t have that problem, and who aren’t so hyper-aware that something they say about their child could potentially send me into the ugly cry. It lets me get my drink on with the knowledge that I can be a happy drunk instead of the weird drunk who’s walking around the party blurting out random child-rearing facts that I probably shouldn’t know.

9. Imma spoil yo’ babies.
When they fall down at my house, I’m going to kiss their boo boo and give them a cookie. When it’s their birthday, I’m going to video myself singing to them and email it to you. When I come over to visit, don’t be surprised if I come bearing little gifts of my adoration for your progeny.

There are two parts to this: 1) I do it because I love your kid. He/She is adorable, and I just want to squish them regularly. Kudos, Mom and Dad, ya did good. And 2) I do it because it helps me fill a void. I don’t have my own child to sing to or bake for, so I’m gonna do it for your child.

Don’t worry, they’ll pay you back by pitching a fit at bedtime because they just want to go to Auntie Abby’s house and play.

cooler than you

You’re welcome.

10. We will be fine.
I know you’re concerned, especially because I’ve been in a constant state of funk since we got the official word in June that we won’t be able to join you in the land of Parenthood. (At least not without a crap load of cheddar and a miracle to rival the parting of the Red Sea.) If I’m honest with you, and with myself, I don’t know how long this part of the process takes. We’re sad, and we will probably always be sad. But even though I don’t have working ovaries, and even though Brian doesn’t have the Michael Phelps of sperm, we still have each other. And that, friends, is the really great news.

*It took me a really long time to publish this blog. Do you have any idea how hard it is to make something like infertility even remotely funny?? It’s really, really hard. So don’t feel like you need to send me an email or comment apologizing if you think you’ve possibly done or said one of the things above. Because you probably have. Because everyone has. And it’s totally OK. The important thing is that I know that you care. There’s not really anything anyone can say to make it better, but knowing I have friends in my corner who are cheering for me and who only want me to be happy makes bearing this cross a little easier. I love you–each and every one. And I love your stinkin’ babies, too.

The Little Journal That Could

Things have been pretty tough lately. I know you’re familiar with the phrase “When it rains, it pours.” Well, in the last couple of months, the pouring rain turned into a monsoon, which flooded our lives with worry and sorrow, so much so that we attempted to build the Ark, but it sprung a leak and we wound up stranded on the Island of Despair with nothing but a pack of chewing gum and a plastic spoon, which we tried to use to create a happiness device but failed when the spoon broke.

Yeah.

When things start going wrong, I have an uncanny ability of only being able to focus on the “Woe as Me’s.” I’m constantly looking over my shoulder, waiting for the other shoe to drop. To be fair, since July, an entire Payless Shoe Store has been dumped unceremoniously, one shoe at a time, on my head. I know I shouldn’t focus so much on the bad when there’s so much good to be grateful for. But lately, finding the silver lining has been nearly impossible.

I managed to climb out of my self-made cocoon this weekend, and in an attempt to cheer myself up, did a little Sunday shopping. While perusing the aisles of Target yesterday, I stumbled upon this lovely little gem:

journal 1

I have a love affair with journals, and it was the colors of this one that first caught my eye. Cheerful, but subdued. Sweet but simple.

And then I read the quote on the front.

It felt like this little book was speaking directly to me from the confines of its shelf. I picked it up and ran my finger over the spine. And I knew I’d bring it home and turn it into a gratitude journal.

Last night, with my husband reading next to me, and a fat cat snoring nearby, I opened the journal and wrote out my mission statement.

“I will fill the pages of this little book with gratitude, appreciation, love, and positivity. And I will use the words I share here to soothe my soul and guide me back to the happy life I want to lead.”

 

I know there will be days ahead where I’ll have to really dig to find that nugget of appreciation to write about. There will be days when I feel like there’s nothing to be grateful for. But I will strive to find it. I will write about it. And I will change my attitude about the life I’m living, if only out of my own sheer force toward the positives.

journal 3

And it all started with the little journal that could.

Here’s The Truth:

I haven’t been blogging much lately.

depression 1

The truth is, I haven’t been doing much of anything lately. I get up, I put on my cookie pants, and I flop down in front of the television. I don’t so much as glimpse at my computer–in fact, I go to lengths to avoid it, because sitting down at my desk, even to answer emails, makes me feel guilty that I’m not blogging or writing or sending out query letters.

My Creativity has packed her bags and left. She didn’t even leave a Dear John letter. That bitch.

It’s not just my writing that I’m avoiding. I spend my days coming up with excuses to cancel engagements with my friends and family. It’s not that I don’t want to see them, it’s that I don’t want them to see me. Because I know that those people who love me will see only one thing, despite my fake smile and fancy hair and copious amounts of concealer I use to cover up the dark circles under my eyes.

They’ll see the truth.

depression 3

You’re thinking, “But you’ve had so much AWESOME this summer! How can you be sad?”

It’s easy to toss off the reality cloak when you’re on vacation or going to concerts, but those are the spaces between the pain that glow like stolen embers. I wrap my fingers around them and hold on tight. I close my eyes and recall those fleeting seconds of happiness, letting them warm me through, if only for awhile.

Because it’s been a tough year for me, for my family, for my husband.

While these awful things keep happening to people I love, I can’t help but sink back into my own cocoon. I wrap an afghan over my head and peer at the sunshine through the dappled yarn. I feel like it takes every bit of my strength to smile. Tears hover, unshed, just beneath the surface. I know, without a shadow of a doubt, that there is potential for tomorrow to be better.

This is what it feels like to mourn.

It is a journey I have to take. And while I’m not the only one on this journey, there are parts of the path I have to navigate alone. Some days, as I turn the corner, I can see patches of funny and happy in the distance. Some days I find myself in a mire so thick and viscous that I don’t think I’ll ever fight my way out.

I’m staring at the blue Publish button and wondering to myself if I should just save this one for the archives. It is my truth, but is it too….truthy? I don’t want my mom to worry about me, or my friends to start arriving en masse with casseroles. It’s not as dire as all that. The button beckons me, and I know I’ll click on it, if only to explain my absence from this place that comforts me and offers me shelter. I want to find my way back to the silly that propels this place forward. And I will. I just haven’t reached that part of the journey yet.

The Visitor

Sometimes, I’ll wake up in the mornings and realize that I’m no longer alone. I have a not-so-frequent visitor–one that is never welcome–and he knows just how to bring me down. Having him around makes it nearly impossible to get anything done: from blogging, to house work, to anything remotely fun. In fact, this not-so-frequent visitor really only makes me want to sit on my couch, buried beneath an afghan, wasting my day while dirty laundry and empty water bottles pile up around me like so much trash.

 
My visitor doesn’t have a name, but if he had a face, I imagine he’d look something like this:
 

He makes me feel sad, worthless, and lethargic. Sometimes, he makes me so angry that I tremble. He brings with him all the bad feelings in the world and dumps them on my shoulders, clearly expecting me to carry his baggage throughout my day. 
 
Sometimes, my visitor shows up because of a repeating frustration in my life.
 

On most days, I can cope with these frustrations. I’ll cry in the shower, or watch Firefly reruns on DVD, or vent to my husband, or join a cause that makes me feel like I’m making a difference. Exercise helps. Writing, too. Sometimes throwing paint on a canvas and pretending I’m an artist is all it takes to keep the visitor from latching on, dragging me down. 
 
On other days, I’m vulnerable. And I’m only one Huggies commercial, one Facebook rant, one angry customer away from succumbing completely to the visitor.
 
But sometimes, the visitor shows up, baggage in hand, for no real reason at all.
 

There I’ll be, minding my own business, and suddenly—*knock knock.* And there’s the visitor, ready to drag me down into the depths of despair over something as trivial as bad grammar.
 
Most of the time, I can kick the visitor out after a day or two of torment. Sometimes (like last week) it takes me a few days. Regardless, at some point he packs up and leaves, and I inevitably crawl back in to the sunlight. 
 
 
 
My life resumes as normal: writing blogs, cleaning my house, enjoying time with friends and family. Living, and loving, life. It will take me a few days till Abby gets her groove back. I can still feel the visitor’s presence, vague as it may be. I think, maybe, he’s always there, lingering in the background, waiting for a chance to pounce. I guess my job, now, is to keep myself busy enough, silly enough, happy enough, that there’s nothing for him to pounce on. 
 
Not because there’s anything wrong with being sad, or angry, once in awhile. But because I miss who I am, who I’m supposed to be, when the visitor is visiting.

Abby’s Three Sure-Fire Ways To Get Yourself Out Of A Funk (Or, Drink A Lot of Sake)

I mentioned a few days ago that I’ve been having a bad case of the blues. There are several contributing factors to my funk…ranging from work woes to familial fracas (fracii?) to persistent worry over friends. Quite frankly, there have been a few days in the past month that I’ve just wanted to either A) pack a bag and catch the next flight outta here, preferably to a tropical climate where there is always copious amounts of rum or B) crawl back into bed, pull the covers over my head, and sleep my life away.


As it often goes, life doesn’t work that way. As much as I deeply desire to have my ass in the sand and a beer in my hand, I just can’t get away right now. (Isn’t that a country music song? If not, it should be.) And so, I’ve found other ways to cope with this unsolicited depression. Some things have worked, others have not. Today, I’m sharing with you the list of things that worked…the good, the bad, and the sake.

Abby’s DIY Funk-Removal Program
 
Get thine arse off the couch and get outside.
When it’s sunny, and 65, and absolutely gorgeous, you shouldn’t stay inside watching reruns of Friends on TBS. That’s what I’d been telling myself for about a week when I finally took my own advice. On Wednesday, I got up at 5:30, put on my shoes, and went for a jog. Then, invigorated, I hopped in my car and drove myself to Lowe’s, where I spent a large chunk of my paycheck on living green things.
 
A few pots, a couple of bags of potting soil, and my iPod plugged in, I spent the better part of the morning planting my annual container garden. There’s something therapeutic about having your hands in the soil. My pretty little petunias agree.
 
This year, I’m growing tomatoes, basil, cilantro, dill, and strawberries. I’m already looking forward to harvesting their bounty. There is nothing in the world as wonderful as my favorite Springtime Pasta, especially when the tomatoes and basil come from my very own garden.

I also took the opportunity to fill my new cheery bird feeders. I’ve already been thoroughly thanked by the local bird population. I’ve woken up the past two mornings greeted with birdsong—cardinals, blue jays, mourning doves, purple finches, house wrens, grackles….and I’m holding my breath that I’ll see a Carolina Wren before too much longer. 


My plants, my birds, my sunshine….better than Prozac. I’m tellin’ ya.
 
Get thine arse dressed up and go on a double date with friends.
After scrubbing all the dirt out from underneath my fingernails, I donned a pretty spring dress and headed out for a double date with our friends, Steven and Arielle. We went to an amazing Thai-fusion restaurant called Bambu (which just so happens to be run by our dear friend, Sam.)
 
Let me remind you that we live in the sticks. And all the cool stuff to do is in Charleston. And because we live in the sticks, and Charleston is almost an hour away, we don’t always get to do all the same cool stuff that all the cool Charleston kids do. Well, Wednesday was my day to be cool. 
 
I drank sake. I engaged in witty and intelligent conversation. I ate sushi (for the first time, ever.)
 

Did I mention that I drank sake? Not just your run-of-the-mill sake, but apple-infused sake. It tasted like little shots of apple pie. So. Stinkin’. Good.
 
I will mention here that sake makes me a little silly. Case in point: I was absolutely fascinated with the sinks in the ladies’ bathroom at Bambu. So much so, that I took a video. Don’t believe me? Here it is:

 

 
It’s ok. You can laugh at me. It’s laugh-worthy.
 
So, after 3 (or was it 4?) shots of sake, a couple glasses of wine, the most delicious food I’ve eaten in months, and the kind of gut-busting laughter that only comes with the company of really great friends, life was good again. It was like getting a big ol’ shot of happy, right in my arm. 
 
I’m totally ready to do it all over again. (Especially the sake. Did I mention the sake? Oh my lord, the sake…)
 
Get thine arse in your pajamas and spend the day doing absolutely nothing special with your spouse or significant other.
What can I say about this one other than it works?? Our day went like this:
 
*Cereal. 
*Pointless conversation. 
*Headline News. 
*Sports Center. 
*Skyrim time. (Yes, we play together. One drives, the other navigates. What? It’s adorable.)
*Pause for Abby to make lunch (curry chicken salad sandwiches with fresh pineapple).
*Lunch with a movie (Comic-Con: Episode IV, created by the esteemed and adored Joss Whedon. It was the best stinkin’ documentary, ever. If you have any love for nerdism, watch it!)
*Brian builds a new Transformer’s shelf and rearranges his collection. Abby takes pictures and tries not to laugh at her husband.

My living room looks like Hasbro puked all over it.

*More Skyrim time.
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*Pause for Abby to cook dinner (gorgeous steaks with collard greens and corn on the cob–Brian’s favorite meal.)
*Eat dinner with another movie (We Bought a Zoo–really great, feel-good movie. Loved it.)
*Early bedtime for reading, snuggling, and talking about how awesome our day just was. Vow to do it again next Thursday.

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Are you down and out? Feeling moody? More interested in moping than moving? If so, try these three fail proof methods of lifting your mood. They will work every single time. I swear. 
 
I just managed to make this whole blog sound like a Hairclub for Men commercial. Because I’m just that awesome.
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Also, thanks to those of you who have visited Sunshine for Everett since my post on Tuesday. I’m thrilled and beyond-excited to announce that we’ve already had a few donations come through, both here and on SforE!!! Everett continues his battle with HUS, and for daily updates, you can visit his new blog. Thanks for all your support and continued prayers!!

The "D" Word

With spring comes many lovely things that begin with the letter “D” — daffodils and dandelions and doves and daisies.  Unfortunately, for me, spring also came with something else, something less pleasant, something I wasn’t sure I should blog about at first.

Depression.

I’m not sure there has to be a specific reason to find yourself in this position. A series of events, maybe. A certain date on the calendar that holds meaning for you. The passing of a friend. Loneliness. Discontent. But somehow, for whatever reason, despite the copious amount of “happy” in my life, I find myself in an unhappy place. Like someone attached a weight onto my cheerfulness.

There are light moments. Moments of clarity and laughter and fun. Moments when it feels like the anvil has been released, and my happy balloon is left to its own dancing devices. These moments are filled with family, my husband, my cats, my friends. I find whole pockets of time where I feel normal again. I feel the weight lift when I breathe in the springtime air, lift my face to the sun, feel the green grass between my toes. But when these moments should fill me up, leave me feeling content, instead they are fleeting. I reach for them, grab at them, but they filter through my fingers like so much smoke. And the weight returns, heavier than before. It always feels like Monday.

When I wake up each morning, I tell myself there’s potential for a happy day. I open my windows and listen to the birds chirping at my feeder. I dangle a string for one of my cats to play with, but it hurts to smile. I turn to my writing for solace, but I cannot find the funny girl in me, no matter how hard I try to find her. The potential of a beautiful day is overshadowed by the dark cloud that follows me.

Depression causes suffering. My writing is suffering. My husband is suffering. My weight loss journey is suffering. I am suffering.

Spring tantalizes me through my open windows. The sun beckons me to come out and play. I ache to get my hands in the dirt, to plant something that will grow. I want to start my garden. I want to take a chair and sit in the sunshine, beautiful journal in hand, and write the book that is in my head. I want to lace up my sneakers and run, feet pounding the pavement, the scent of honey suckle filling my nostrils as I jog toward the woods.

But all I do is sleep.

I tell myself it’s because I don’t want to taint something good, something beautiful, with the depression that plagues me. I want the chance to come out of my funk, so that the ugliness of  my gloom doesn’t color the petals of the flowers, or darken the edges of the story I want to tell. I tell myself that I’ll do it later, tomorrow, another day. A day when I feel better.

It’s not something totally foreign to me. I’ve been down this road before. I know it is a passing thing. One day I will wake up and the sun will shine for me again. The laughter in my heart will return. It may take a few days. Maybe a couple of weeks. But I will come through this storm. I may not be unscathed, but the scars give me character. Strength. And I will be better for it, in the end.