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Wednesday, October 19, 2011

The Cat's Out of the Bag

What the heck is that anyway - 'The cat's out of the bag'... who the heck came up with that?  We all know what it means (to tell someone something private or secretive), and I looked it up just to make sure (I am SO predictable like that), but why we call it that remains a mystery (to me anyway). 

Do you get the feeling that I am trying to talk about something personal but not sure how to go about it?  Woah, you are perceptive.  Nice work.

Sooooo.... here it goes.  Deep breath (literally, I just took one).  Still trying to spit it out here...

Okay.  So, are you sure you want to hear this?  Because if not, there is this hilarious video on you tube that you could watch instead...

Still here?  Okay... I guess if you are still reading this, you've earned a quick look at the cat (the one sticking out of the bag, remember?)

I suffer from depression.  There.  I said it.  Since most of my audience out there consists of my family and friends, this isn't news to you (and you are probably slightly angry at me for putting you through all of the above antics for that little gem that you can file under information-you-already-knew!).  For those of you who don't know me (or don't know me well enough to know this about me) you are probably wondering why the heck is this person sharing this with me... on the INTERNET of all places!?? 

The truth is because like this blog (and everything in it), 'my' depression (I am not sure why we call it that, but we do) is a part of me, and until yesterday (literally) I had not fully accepted this. 

Here is my story in five hunderd words or less:

Looking back, I have been suffering from episodes of mild-moderate depression for the past 17 years, although I didn’t know it at the time. Everything came to a head when I became pregnant with Chephren – that’s right, my depression started during my pregnancy and continued raging on right into the post-partum period. By the time our son was 8 months old I was a complete wreck… I could barely look after myself let alone a baby. More than that, I was scared. I felt trapped and all I could see were two choices: run away or get help. Sooo… I got help, and yes, that help (mostly) came in the form of medication. I can’t tell you how resentful I was about putting that stuff into my body. But, you know what they say about desperate times…

Anyway, this story has a happy ending. After a few months on the medication I was able to function again and no longer felt the need to run away and abandon my family, however I cannot say that I ‘returned to normal’. While the medication helped me manage the ‘doom and gloom’ it also kept me from feeling ‘warm and fuzzy’… about anything. As a gal who formerly loved to laugh, dance, and generally play the days away, this situation would simply not do.

So, off the medication I went (back in February of this year). This choice is one that I do not regret but it doesn’t come without its risks either. You see as someone who has suffered with this illness for more than half of my life, I am told that I will likely be dealing with it forever. Fun hey? What this means is that I now need to ‘manage’ the depression and avoid triggers that could lead me into another depressive episode.

Every now and then I dabble in the world of DENIAL, and had been doing so since the end of my last depressive episode in June. It looks something like this: ‘Oh I am so glad that my depression is gone, what a terrible and silly way to live my life…blah, blah, blah’. And then BAM you have a bad day with some dark thoughts and you can literally see the downward spiral into despair.

Yesterday was such a day. Now, I know what you’re thinking, it’s just a bad day, we all have them and you are right we do. And today? Today was much, much better, which means that the potential ‘crash’ was averted. But it also makes me realize how vulnerable I am to that state of being, and how desperately I don’t want to go there again. Which brings me (finally) to the reason that I am sharing all of this: to create awareness… awareness for myself, and maybe for others who might be going through something similar.  I am hoping that through awareness I can create positive change...

And then there's this guy:

Always aim at complete harmony of thought and word and deed. Always aim at purifying your thoughts and everything will be well.

- Mohandas K. Gandhi

And now, back to our regularly scheduled programming…

Have a lovely day!

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Update on the last post: An epiphany

After I posted my last blog entry on facebook, some brief conversation followed with some friends who know me well which lead me to have an epiphany.  It isn't the cooking (or even the baking) that stresses me out about entertaining at my house, it's the CLEANING!!!!  In fact, I had written the following entry a few months ago and it was just sitting (unfinished) in my 'drafts' folder waiting for just such an occassion to be published.  I believe the original title was 'Making Peace with Futility'.

I have experienced encouters with futility thoughout my life: any/all attempts to increase my vertical jump (my 2-year-old can already jump higher than me), whittle my midsection to flatness (I am currently and incessantly rocking a diva/goddess/buddha paunch), and for the past two, almost three years, cleaning my house.

The dictionary defines futility as:

1. The quality of having no useful result; uselessness.
2. Lack of importance or purpose; frivolousness.
3. A futile act.
I wouldn't call any of my above three encounters frivolous (except for maybe the vertical jump), so, I guess we can render them 'useless', or as I like to think of them: POINTLESS!
Nap times are dwidling in my house as Chephren approaches three -- making the days when he actually does nap sacred.  I mean, this is literally the ONLY time that I get for me nowadays and I try to spend it as selfishly as possible: naps, reading, yoga, meditation... ahhh... just that string of words brings me a feeling of bliss. 
This past Tuesday just happened to be one of those sacred days... and I took full advantage by scrubbing my floors and toilets...

PSYCH!  (Remember when people used to say that back in the 90's?  I loved it, and I am bringing it back... just sayin'!)

Anyway, why oh why would I spend my precious 'me' time cleaning my house, only to have 'Captain Destructo' wake up from his nap and literally undo my efforts in 5 minutes flat?  Nope.  Not happening.  I would rather have a dirty house.  There I said it.  My house is mildly dirty and often messy.  If you would like to come over for dinner, I would love to cook for you, but you can for sure expect a messy house and week-old cookies for dessert (at best). 

And here, for the record, is what Chephren was up to while I was having my epiphany and writing about it on here:

I rest my case.


The pendulum swings...

People change.  They do.  They DO!  If it seems like I am defending my position on this one it is because I am fully expecting someone to come on here and be all, 'People don't change!', or, 'Once a (blank) always a (blank)'.  Well, I disagree.

As an aside, I was just about to give you the old 'The cells in the human body replace themselves every seven years' line.  Then, I thought maybe I should actually look this 'fact' up before putting my hand on my hip and waving my finger in the air.  Ha!  It turns out that this is a hotly debated topic on the internets (try it, you'll see) and about an hour later I emerged from that wormhole, my brain a hot, hot mess and needing some leftover chocolate cake to help me re-focus.

Ahhhh, chocolate cake.  The whole reason for this post.

I will leave the '7 years' theory alone for now and gently return to my suggestion (and now humble opinion) that people change (a little bit anyway, can we agree on that at least?)

Case in point (finally!):

About 10 years ago, when I moved into my first 'big girl' apartment (condo actually), it was my very favorite thing in the world to have people over for dinner.  Like a lot of people (sometimes up to 20!), in a 900 sq. foot apartment... I would spend the week before planning (many of the dinners had themes), preparing, shopping, and fighting with Trent.  Then I would spend the ENTIRE day cleaning the condo and slaving away in my tiny, tiny kitchen (while Trent hid from me and/or pretended to be busy with something else).  I must admit that on many occasions, I outdid myself.  So much so in fact, that I think that I wrecked it.  I now live in a humongous house (not to brag or anything, but it really is humongous - much, much too big for three people) with the biggest kitchen that you have ever seen.  The counter space!  The cupboard space!  It is a wanna-be-chef's dream!  And, for the most part, I could absolutely care less about entertaining here. 

It's not that I don't like my friends anymore (I do!  I love you guys, I promise!).  It's just that I think I burnt myself out on the whole dinner party thing.  See?  I changed!  Something that I used to be passionate about now makes me want to crawl into my bed and hide under the covers.  It is just so much WORK and EFFORT!  I would so much rather do something outside with my friends, or go out for a meal... or better yet come over to your house for dinner!  (What? I am being honest here)

Anyway, I am way off topic (and I apparently needed to get that off my chest), but we did have friends over for dinner on Saturday.  And yes, I cooked a meal.  It was... average.  Nothing fancy to be sure.  But it was edible, and even followed up by another thing about dinner parties that I hate - dessert.  I don't eat the stuff (well, rarely anyway), but it seems that there is an expectation that people serve/eat that stuff at dinner parties.  Soooo, I mentioned to Trent that I was going to bake a cake.  Here's how that one played out:

M: 'What should I make for dessert?'
T: 'Nothing, we don't eat dessert.  Don't we have some week old cookies or something?'
M: 'Um, I am not serving those... what about if I make a cake.  I would totally eat a chocalate cake with whipped cream and canned cherries.' (Don't ask me what that was all about, I must've been on my period)
T: 'You are the worst baker in the world.  I would strongly suggest that you DO NOT bake a cake.  Just buy a cake mix.'
M: 'Cake mixes are gross, and full of chemicals.'
T: 'Trust me, a cake mix would be way better than anything you would bake.'
M: Silence as I perused my various cookbooks... and then, 'You are totally right.  I hate that about you.'

So there you have it folks.  From a year of 'Marebare Necessities' making everything from scratch right down to my own SHAMPOO all the way to Duncan Hines.

Um, who says people don't change?