Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Step #3

Step #3 (in the Steps for recovering after a truly unsettling tragedy happens) is Gather with like-minded people.

This morning I attended a lecture by one of the pastors at my church about a program she runs that helps parents of other-abled children take a night off. It's a great program. This post isn't about that program (which can be found here).

This post is about me leaving my house 1-3 times a month, dragging Adam to the church-provided babysitter, and sitting in a room with other women for about 2 hours. I'm lucky to have found a church that aligns exactly with what my values are. So when I go there, I feel 100% nurtured and accepted. I can blurt out whatever insane thing my mind comes up with- and I know I'm safe. The catchphrase for the church is, we are a NICE Church: Nurturing, Inclusive, Connecting, Empowering.

Someone this morning asked why we haven't been to children's choir lately. Instead of making up something like, "we've been really busy" or "you know, just life" and making an empty promise to try to make it more often, I looked her in the eye and told the exact truth, "We've been having a lot of trouble with Sawyer lately, and we've decided to pause our extra activities until we can figure out how to help him be ok with himself and the world around him."

The week after the November election, I sat at a table as a leader of a group of women, and we all took deep breaths and cried. We said all the things we'd been holding in so we could appear strong to our families and "not crazy" to our friends. We just let it out, and brainstormed next-steps, and I felt better as I was leaving.

Don't get me wrong- everyone needs their close circle of friends. Jesus is there when there's even just two of us together (how did this post get so religious today???). But when there's more, and you can look around and know an entire pyramid of people share your dreams for our Earth and our future and our children, THAT'S the empowerment you need to keep going in tough times. Stronger Together. I'm SO glad I took the social-situation risk a while back and started Gathering with women. I've gotten SO much more out of it than I ever imagined I would.

Tuesday, January 3, 2017

Step #2

We have too much crap. And it sucks to shuffle it from place to place. And a LOT of self-help books lately have started focusing on the way your energy is drained by the things you own. Which is why my Step #2 is to Donate Things. Make some space in your house and your heart for new ideas and new openness to live. Also- make sure you're not just throwing good things away (but definitely do throw away garbage). Other people can use your stuff.

If I've learned anything from my 12 years of dedicated Hoarders watching, it's this: If you find yourself ever saying, "But maybe one day I'll...." about anything, get rid of it. Entire rooms could be filled with the "maybe one day" projects. No. You're not. And if "one day" you do, you can create that bag of empty toilet paper rolls again. Dry cleaning hangers are closet herpes: they'll show back up out of nowhere when you're feeling a little under the weather.

And you don't need to plan for this donation experience. Just grab one box or bag, throw stuff in, and get in the car. Don't make a day out of it. You're not spring cleaning your house. Just get one box/bag out so you've done something. This one action can knock loose a depressive state, and give you just enough satisfaction and pride to eat a bag of Doritos with satisfaction.

Enjoy those Doritos. You earned them.

Friday, December 30, 2016

Step #1

I'm pretty sure I have more than one post with this same title. This time I'm not talking about the AA steps (Admitted we were powerless over alcohol and that our lives had become unmanageable.... although now that I've typed that out it doesn't seem that far off)

Step #1 Self-care
I have almost 9 years of blogging behind me that proves that I do not do this well. Or at all. But I try, and I try, and I just keep trying. Rest. Breathe. Drink water. Move. Learn. Connect. Sleep. I've focused my self-care over the last year almost exclusively on meditating. A friend pointed me to The Calm App and I've used it several times a week for almost a year now. I love that it tracks how many days in a row I use it (pinging the competitive and numerical part of my brain) and that there are dozens of options I can use to customize it. My kids love the Sleep Stories, and I've fallen asleep listening to the Sierra Bear every night for the last 2 months.

Therapy is also still going strong. I'm about 15 months into treatment with Meg2.0. She's got me convinced that I'm a lot more normal than I've been giving myself credit for. Yay! And I've been able to speak a little more openly to people about the every day benefits of having a mental health doctor as backup.

Running is... still hanging around my life. I ran the Soldier Field 10 Mile this year, and the Fort to Base 5k. I feel like my mind and body are still recovering from Adam and his 18 months of awakeness (18 months?? Yes. Colic lasted for 3-4 months, and the tiny thing didn't sleep a full night until well into his second year of life). I have the gear. I have Charity Miles and Zombies, RUN! I have a new used treadmill in the corner of the garage. 3-6 miles a week is the best I've done lately. So hopefully I'll get back into a routine with that soon.

Wednesday, December 28, 2016

Things I Don't Post to Facebook

Since it's been a whole year since I last posted, I feel like I'm shouting down an empty hallway.

Let me catch you up. In 2016 I....

~closed up my "daycare" (because seriously, worst. idea. ever.)
~helped raise $1000+ for DetermiNation
~ran a little
~drank a lot
~was elected secretary for our church's women's group
~started working at a high-end spa and actually making adult money
~gained a little weight
~went on a diet
~continued worrying about my kids' mental health
~started meditating with more consistency
~found a new friendship soul mate in my son's best friend's mom
~continued therapy
~ran a little more
~was on TV with DetermiNation
~quit DetermiNation
~rejoined DetermiNation
~tread water most of the year

I don't think there's a roadmap for how to recover from 2016. I've tried little things here and there. I created a List of 5 things to do while recovering from a tragedy (e.g. the 2016 election).

Step 1: Self-care
Step 2: Donate something
Step 3: Gather with supportive people
Step 4: Research and decide where your talents are best used
Step 5: Change the World

That's all I've got. I want to write more. Because I miss it. And because creating time to sit still needs to be on my 2017 list.

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Seriously, WHY does the finish line keep moving??

Let me walk through something with you guys.

In 2012 lots of stuff was falling apart, so I went to therapy. Blah blah blah, Bipolar II. Blah blah blah, I can handle this. Yadda yadda I quit therapy. Almost 2 years later I end up back in therapy because things are again not going well.

Then today.... at the end of today's session, New Therapist (Meg2.0) tells me, "hey, I'd like to lift something off of you if you're ok with that." Well sure! You can do anything you want to!

"I want to lift that Bipolar II diagnosis off of you. I've been with you for a bunch of months now and I've heard a lot of things about your life now and your life in the past... and I'm sure a lot of things really do look like bipolar II, but I'm here to tell you right now- it's not that. You don't have that. You have different challenges, but not that. So I'm sorry to drop this on you at the end, and we will definitely talk about it more later. But there you go."

Thud. And also yay. And also also. Wow.

I'm not sure what even to think about this. I'm not sure I totally believe her yet. I have a lot to think about. But if it's true that I don't have that particular flavor of crazy, then a lot of things I think about myself are totally different. A lot of the things I've been afraid of don't exist anymore. A lot of things I thought were permanent, or inevitable, or impossible, are totally changed.

SO much to think about.

Thursday, January 14, 2016

I've Probably Lost My Mind

Between Daycare, life, life, and church, I'm pretty busy. But I promised a few people I would run something this year for DetermiNation, and this week I finally picked it. It'll be my first medalled race since Ragnar two years ago. And it's my first DNation race for three years.

And then Bowie died. And THEN Rickman died. And I just had to move before I lost that momentum. This is a big disease. This stupid thing takes SO many people. And I know that it's technically lots of different diseases that are grouped together.

And I also know that the American Cancer Society is a behemoth organization with occasionally questionable spending habits. But I can't deny that they run the world's largest research, support, and advocacy groups for cancer. And when anyone (against MY advice) Google's their diagnosis, Cancer.org is the first hit. And I just keep hoping that ACS keeps putting out thorough, balanced, intelligent information for people to read. Because the internet is scary. And Cancer is scary. Combining those two can freak people out hard core.

So I'm running. And Stephan is running. We picked the Soldier Field 10-Mile because it had no fundraising minimum, and was our first DNation race together. And we're recruiting like mad for more people to run with us because so many people are hurting right now because of cancer and this one small (?) thing can help lighten that pain. Training and fundraising for a race feels good. It's how I'm fighting back against the scary, the sad, and the angry.

Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Caution: I've Been Drinking

This is about being married. I know a few people who are getting married in the next 12 months. And I've been married for 7 years (maybe 8.... it's almost midnight and I'm not prepared for counting).

If you're one of those people, think about this please.... When you're "getting married" to this person, you're signing up for SO much more than a wedding, maybe a house, probably kids. You are essentially saying to that other person....

I'm ok with washing your clothes.

I'll be awake with you at 1am wrapping Christmas presents for our kids while watching stand-up and drinking rum out of wine glasses.

It's cool that I know where your 8th grade dinner-dance was.

You like eating Spam sometimes, and I won't move out when I have to smell it.

Maybe you'll always put your toothbrush away wet and that means that MY toothbrush will be in contact with your toothbrush-water. And I'm ok with that.

We will naturally know who will hold the vomiting child and who will gather necessary materials (i.e. wash cloths, rags, buckets, thermometer). And sometimes we will switch to keep things interesting.

Occasionally we will text each other instead of talking because we are in different parts of the house and we don't want the kids to know what we are really thinking because it involves swearing.

I'll always save the last drink's worth of your alcohol in the bottle, and find something else to drink for myself. Because I love you.

I'm going to wear your clothes in emergency situations.

I'm going to look at you some days with a look that says, "I can't do this anymore" and you'll know that I need to walk into another room. And you'll take the kids to the store and when you're back you'll just hold me and let me cry and not tell me that it'll be ok because you know I might not believe you tonight. But that I might believe you tomorrow so you just let me be for right now.

Other days I'll get a text that you're going out for drinks with your friend after work and I'll actually go to sleep earlier because I know you need to eat wings and drink beer, and that you'll come home and be happy you're married to me and not anyone else's wife. Because really, other guys have it much worse.

And we'll teach Sunday School together.

And we'll cook together.

And we'll plan things. And execute those plans. And plan more things, and decide that we don't have to do EVERYTHING. And we'll help each other get dressed to go out. And I'll tell you if you have hair growing on your ears, and you'll tell me I have a zit on my back, and I'll throw away your really thin underwear and you'll laugh when I try to shove underwire back into a bra.

And we'll hold each other and cry sometimes because we know that life goes really fast and that however much time we've been given with each other will NEVER EVER EVER seem like enough. And that one day one of us will be gone and the other one will be alone. So we'll stay awake another hour tonight just knowing that for right now, we have everything we need.

That's what being married means.