Wednesday, April 25, 2018

Depression. It's sneaky.

I’m not exactly sure when it started, but I think it was probably about a month ago. Maybe longer. You’d think I’d recognize it by now, given that I’ve been diagnosed with it several times in the past (and have come out of it each time, thank goodness), but depression can be sneaky and you don’t even see it slowly creeping in.

Yesterday I started crying and I couldn’t stop. Literally, couldn’t stop. I was curled up in bed while Greyden was on the iPad downstairs and Krew was at school, and I saw no end to the tears, so I texted Dave to tell him I was falling apart. Bless that man’s heart, he asked if I needed him to come home, and I said yes.

I think I cried for two or three hours. I cried until he got home. I continued crying after he got home. We talked and I cried. The tears would start to dry up a bit, then I’d try to talk about something else and they would start pouring again. I just couldn’t get all the pain out.

I’m not sure which came first, the overwhelm with life or the depression. It’s a chicken and egg scenario. Either way, I’m filled up with both right now.

Dave and I chatted and agreed that I’m not ok and that I need help. I immediately texted my integrative doc and she scheduled me an appointment for this afternoon. If she can’t get the depression to lift quickly through her herbs and supplements, I’ll call a conventional doctor to get an antidepressant prescription. I know my integrative doc will support me in that decision, because she’s pretty awesome and reasonable like that. I’ve used antidepressant meds in the past, and I know they work, and despite how crunchy I may now be, I am 100% willing to be on them again if it will take this horrible feeling in my chest away.

Speaking of horrible feeling in my chest. I feel like I should share the symptoms I’m experiencing so that anyone else who is feeling this way can recognize it and know that there is hope and help. It will have to come in a future blog post, but I will make sure it is soon while all this is fresh and clear in my mind. But for now, just let me say: “You guys, THERE IS HOPE AND HELP AND I KNOW IT AND WANT YOU TO KNOW IT TOO.” I know because I’ve been here before and I’ve come through. (One of my experiences was postpartum depression, which you can read about here:

I also want to ask for extra grace for a while. I’m having a very hard time being a kind, reasonable human being right now. I’m trying, goodness I’m trying, but everything in me wants to say “Screw you, world” and go curl up under my covers. If you’ve seen that side of me, I’m sorry. I’m trying very hard to fight it. Hopefully it will be under better control soon.

I’m thankful I have the type of people in my life where I can share this and know I’ll receive love and understanding. Thanks guys.

Tuesday, April 24, 2018

Rumor has it, I should be praying.

I want to preface this by saying that the below words are just me being brutally honest about where I am and what I’m struggling with right now. I make no claims to being correct in my logic or beliefs. This is just a little heart pouring that will hopefully be received without judgment.

I am a follower of Christ. I am a believer in the one God. And I believe that He wants me to reach out to Him through prayer. But guys, praying has not been my forte lately.

I’ve felt this resistance. I think, “Prayer, oh yeah, I should be doing that…” But then when I do pray, I feel my chest constrict and my eyes start to water and I’m like, “Oh no oh no, I can’t cry right now.” And I switch my thoughts and focus to something else.

I’m realizing this: prayer pulls the hardest, ugliest things out of my insides. It’s pretty hard for me to pray and not be honest. Because, I mean, He’s God...I can’t lie to Him. And the stuff that’s inside me right now isn’t always rainbows and butterflies. A lot of it is pleading for something wrong to be made right. It’s questions and frustrations and overwhelm and anger and hurt. Stuff that makes me emotional and causes me to lose focus for the day-to-day things that need to get done. In case you’re not aware, I am incredibly emotional person. And once my emotions get triggered, I can be completely derailed. I don’t have a lot of time for derailment right now.

Praying immediately brings to my mind all the people in my life who need His help, comfort, peace, or healing. This includes my oldest son with his severe anxiety and depression and fears. My younger son with his rare food allergy disease. My husband and myself with ongoing health struggles. My friend who lost her husband, my other friend with cancer, my friends who have lost babies or other loved ones, all the people around me who have felt judged or hurt or are struggling hard with something. It’s overwhelming and it guts me.

And then I ponder: I’m thinking about all these things anyway, even though it’s often below the surface. I’m crying about all these things anyway, although I’m always fighting the tears. So if I’m going to think and cry anyway, wouldn’t it be better to be dumping it on God’s lap instead of trying to manage it all on my own? Would that give me some relief? Would it help me release control? Or would I just devolve into a total meltdown as I expect?

Don’t get me wrong. I do pray. If I’ve told you I prayed for you, I did. I pray for friends when I think of them, when their struggle is brought to mind. I pray before meals and at bedtime with my kids. I pray at church when someone else leads it. But the prayers are as quick as I can make them without melting down into tears. And I’m not doing daily, focused, individual prayer. Because to do so would be to subject myself to daily crying and focusing on the hard things. And I just don’t feel like I can right now.

Sunday, April 22, 2018

I am screaming on the inside.

I haven’t blogged about myself or my inner thoughts in two years now. I just checked. My last blog post that wasn’t about either of my two children was on April 26, 2016.

Blogging used to be a regular outlet for me, a way for me to process the things I was thinking and feeling while also sharing with others, so that maybe they too could learn something from it. Honestly, many times I shared because I wanted to be heard and acknowledged and understood.

Life got crazy. We’ve had a downpour of health issues over the last three and a half years that have changed our lives quite a bit. In the beginning of it all, I kept blogging. But at some point, I decided that I couldn’t give blogging the time and energy I wanted to anymore, and I dutifully quit posting about myself because I thought it was what I was obligated to do. I believed that I needed to spend that time and energy on other things like caring for my family and working to help pay for our medical bills.

But gosh, lately I’ve felt like I’m going to explode. You guys, I need an outlet. I’m freaking out. I’m screaming on the inside. I have two years of experiences and growing that haven’t been shared anywhere other than in my occasional Facebook posts and in conversations with my closest family and friends. I have so many thoughts and confusions and angers and frustrations, but also joys and hopes and realizations. I’ve found myself intensely craving someone (ok, actually lots of anyones) to dump everything on. I have, no joke, been doing self-therapy sessions in the shower lately. I pretend that I’m sitting in a therapist’s office and imagine the questions he or she might ask me, and then I pour out my heart to the shower wall while I wash my hair. I have been pondering lately if maybe I do need to go back to therapy, but through these shower sessions I’m realizing that it’s not that I necessarily need a professional to help me figure myself out. I just want to talk and process and feel like it’s ok that I’m doing it and that I'm not putting too much of a burden on any one person. Yes, I have a wonderful husband and close friends and family to talk to. And they are so loving and supportive. But I still feel like exploding. I want to share more. And blogging does that for me. There’s something about writing (or typing) and knowing it will (maybe) be read by others that is incredibly therapeutic. So for now I think I’ll try blogging, since it’s slightly cheaper than therapy. But I will absolutely keep therapy in my back pocket in case I need it.

And by the way, I don’t always love that part of myself, the part of me that wants to dump out everything I’m thinking and feeling and then have it be acknowledged. I expressed this to a close friend recently, telling her that it frustrated me that I felt like I needed people to hear me and understand me. That it seemed selfish. But then she covered me in immense love and acceptance when she replied that God had made me that way, and that I wasn’t being selfish, it was just the way that my love tank filled. (Can I just say that she’s an amazing friend?)

So here I am. I’ve gotta get some of this stuff out of me. Life just keeps knocking me down, and I want to yell, “Is anyone else experiencing this?!?!”. And I’m learning that that’s pretty normal to have these hard things happen, but I still just really really need to share it. Sometimes there's an explosion in my own life, sometimes it’s an explosion in a friend’s life and I still stumble from the strength of the blast even at a distance. Because I care. Gosh I care. I want my life to count, I want people around me to feel loved and cared for and to know that they matter. And when things go wrong, I get so angry that this is the world we live in and that I have to watch people around me hurting and honestly even that I have to go through hurt myself. My thoughts spin and I wonder sometimes, what is the point of this all? God, why is the world this way? Why did You put us here to do this thing called life?

And I know what the generic Christian response to that question is: “To bring Him glory, to become more like Him.” Yes, I get that. But really, what does that mean when a loved one dies or you get a devastating diagnosis? What does that mean when work feels mundane or when there isn’t enough money in the bank to pay the bills? What does that mean when your child is struggling hard with something in his life and you're crying hard on the inside but still have to be so strong as the parent?

But now I’ve started rambling into what should probably be future blog posts.

So there you have it friends. My reintro, back into blogging. I already feel calmer, just from this one post. I hope to be back with more thoughts soon. Heaven knows I need it.

Friday, March 16, 2018

Krewson Lee: 8-year-old interview

Krew turned 8 years old on March 5th! Yaaaaay buddy!

He had a bagillion mini birthday celebrations with family and friends, as seems to be the case for birthdays around here. :)

Here is his annual interview. I love seeing how there are some consistencies with years past, but he's still grown and changed so much. I've posted the other years' interviews below, too, so you can reminisce if you'd like. ;)

We love you Krew!!

Age 8:

Age 7:

Age 6:

Age 5:

Age 4:

Friday, September 29, 2017

Greyden Roy at 5 Years Old

Dear Greyden Roy,

You are five years old now!!

You turned five on July 28th. I really can't wrap my head around how old you are. I still think of you as young because you're our baby, but really, there's nothing little about you anymore.

You are a little above average height and about average for weight/BMI. Your eyes usually look brown but in certain lights can appear hazel. Your hair is still light brown in the winter and blonde in the summer. You still have your small red birthmark on the bridge of your nose, and over the last year you developed a brown vertical line in the nail of your left pinky finger, which the pediatrician told us was no concern but just another thing to make you special. We also discovered in the last year that your epiglottis pops up and is visible in your throat when you open your mouth, which is another rare genetic variant you have. Left-handed, two partially-webbed toes on each foot, birth mark, line in finger nail, visible epiglottis, EoE, cyclic vomiting are a wonderful bundle of rarity, our dear child. :)

This year you are attending transitional kindergarten at your preschool, and then you'll go to kindergarten next year. Given your late summer birthday, we thought it'd be good for you to have another year before starting. I think you probably could have handled kindergarten, but we figured that waiting another year wouldn't hurt. Plus, it gives us more time to get a better grasp on your EoE food restrictions before you have to handle them all on your own at school.

You are such a fun kid to have in our lives. You have a very sweet personality with a strong goofy side. Although often shy at first, once you feel comfortable in a situation, you can be a bit of a clown. You love babbling goofy sayings and making silly faces. You're pretty darn cute right now, which of course causes us to laugh at your antics and likely encourage them even more. You tend to be very loud when you are excited, but you're not as over-the-top loud all the time like you used to be. You still don't say your "R"s properly, and sometimes not your "L"s, which is something we're working on, and also sometimes causes confusion when you're talking to someone. ("Pray" and "play" sound the same, and someone once thought your name was "Gleyden.") You do have the ability to say these sounds, but they don't come naturally to you and can cause you to stumble over your words if you try to use them.

You've been learning to read a little on your own lately, which is exciting. Your favorite books to read are Mo Willems piggy and elephant books. You love to read them out loud with special voices for the characters, especially if your daddy or I join you and read one of the character's voices. You've also been practicing writing, and will sound out and write entire sentences if you're making a card for someone. The letters are always all capitalized and all the words are spelled incorrectly, which actually makes it all the more adorable when you are clearly trying so hard. You also have a decent understanding of numbers, a lot of which I think has happened from being around Krew, who loves math.

You love playing on the iPad, just like your older brother. Your favorite game right now is Pokemon Shuffle, which you've unfortunately gotten me addicted to as well. We like to play it together during our one-on-one time. You also have a new Lego Batman iPad game you love. Your favorite non-electronic toys are action figures and Bey Blades.  Every time we turn around, you are wanting to buy a new Bey Blade with your saved money, which we've had to put a limit on. You already have so many that it seems there's no way you use them all. You also still love doing puzzles and games, and you are an awesome Skip-Bo player which leads to lots of fun games for the two of us since I love that game as well.

You are very into sports and especially competition. Football is your favorite game to watch, and you love playing in a soccer league twice a year. You also did swim team last summer, with your main goal being to earn a rainbow ribbon (which you did). You are a devoted follower of certain sports teams (Notre Dame, Panthers, NC State), and your favorite shirts to wear are your corresponding team jerseys. You still like to turn everything into a competition, as you did a year ago. Who can do it quickest? Who can do it best? Sometimes we'll be competing with you and not even realize it. After doing something, you'll say, "Mommy, did I do that faster than you?" Or you'll be working to beat your personal best, and you'll finish something and say, "Mommy, did I do that my fastest ever?" Although still a bit clumsy compared to many of your friends, you are falling less and less. Nonetheless, you do still trip over your own feet and I frequently find myself warning, "Greyden, don't fall!" when you start running on the pavement.

Your ornery streak that we were experiencing last year has passed, and now you are more considerate and kind with your words. You still have slip-ups, but in general you don't do things to intentionally hurt others' feelings anymore. Also, you take discipline much more seriously now than you used to, and it doesn't take much for your daddy or I to correct you when you do something wrong. In fact, you are quick to break into tears over discipline now, although you get over your sadness very, very quickly.

You still sing very well for your age, and will belt out songs when you don't feel that there's any attention on you. In fact, you like to sing when you're doing almost everything, especially when you're on the toilet. We frequently hear you belting out songs from the bathroom, the most popular one over the last year being your own rendition of Gloria in Excelsis Deo. When people are watching, however, you tend to shut down and only sing quietly if at all. Your favorite songs over the last year have been the Moana soundtrack, the Trolls soundtrack, and most recently, the Newsies soundtrack.

Last year your 4's teachers determined that you are in fact left-handed, and so you've been learning to write with your left hand. However, if we ask you to write with your right hand, the handwriting looks pretty similar. You also still use your right hand for a lot of other things. So I guess you're more ambidextrous than anything.

You are more and more seeming to be incredibly distractable. It takes you FOREVER to do everything because you are always getting sidetracked or thinking about something else. For example, for almost every meal, we have to remind you to keep chewing and eating. You'll just sit/stand there with food in your mouth, watching the room or interacting with someone or something other than your dinner. You can take 20 minutes to go to the bathroom, because you just lounge on the toilet and space off. Just this morning, your daddy found you standing in the bathroom with your hands running under the faucet, doing nothing else, and when he came into the room it jolted you back to reality and then you realized you hadn't even put soap on your hands yet. We oftentimes have to remind you multiple times to finish getting dressed, or to finish putting away those toys you were cleaning up. Along with this, you seem to have lots of energy. You never stay fully in your chair at dinnertime and are usually sitting half-on, half-off, which oftentimes turns into you fully standing to the side. You just can't sit there. And you need very little sleep. Although the frequency is lessening, you still come out of your room at night and will be awake until 10pm sometimes.

Krew is still your best friend, which brings my heart so much joy. You two play together all the time and honestly fight pretty rarely. We are very strict about the way you treat each other and quickly reprimand any misbehavior or even a mean tone of voice, but I also think your personalities play into it quite a bit. Despite being polar opposites in many ways, you complement each other well. For example, when Krew is scared, you are unfazed and will support him (such as going upstairs and turning on the lights for him). And when you don't yet have the physical ability or maturity to do something, Krew will step in and help you.

You are an incredibly resilient and forgiving boy. You always give other kids the benefit of the doubt, and if someone hurts you, you always get over it quickly and never hold a grudge. You still handle your food restrictions like a champ, happily eating your replacement foods when you can't have what others are having. We reintroduced fish, yeast, cocoa, bananas, and sunflower oil to your diet over the spring/summer, and your follow-up endoscopy showed that you stayed healthy, so you've gotten to keep those foods in your diet. Right now we are trialing chicken, peanuts, and tree nuts, and you'll have another endoscopy on Oct 12th where we find out if you get to keep those foods as well. Other than your EoE diagnosis, you are a very healthy boy. You'd don't get many colds, you are growing and developing well, and you have plenty of energy. We are so thankful.

You love being around people and hate to be alone. Lately you've been asking either your daddy, Krew, or I to come be in the bathroom with you to talk while you're on the toilet. You are also still very touchy. You love to be touching someone and to give hugs and kisses. For a while you were opposed to hand-holding, I think because it seemed like a baby behavior to you. Then I told you that when we hold hands, it's like our hands are hugging, and that's why I love it. Ever since then, you've been holding my hand all the time when we're walking places together. It's incredibly sweet.

Alright Roy Boy, I think that's all for now. We are so grateful for you and can't wait to see what the future holds for you.

Mommy (and Daddy)