Christians Cannot Have Mental Illness

Ever heard that? Or worse, ever had it said to you?

“If you are a follower of Jesus, you cannot have ‘mental health problems’ You just can’t. You need to pray and ask God to help you have more faith. If you struggle with depression, you are not trusting in God and you need to repent from whatever is holding you back…”

I wanted to respond with, “So does that go for other health problems, too? Can Christians not have cancer? Or migraines? Alzheimers? Common colds? Learning disabilities? Physical disabilities? I could go on…” But I didn’t say any of that. I didn’t say anything. I was stunned.

This person standing in front of me believed it was a sin to struggle with depression and anxiety.

“Those things are not from God. You cannot have struggles in your mind if the Holy Spirit resides in your heart.”

I walked away because I was angry and didn’t want to say anything in that anger. I wanted to question them. Have you not read the Psalms? Job? There is an entire book called Lamentations!!

I am not suggesting that Mental Illness is okay and from God. Mental illness was never part of God’s plan for humanity. But neither were cancer or migraines or Alzheimers or the common cold! If we treated people struggling with mental illness like we do anyone else who has parts of their physical body that are sick, things would look a whole lot different. Our churches would look a whole lot different. Instead of being ashamed and hiding in the shadows, maybe people would be seeking help in the arms of our Savior and comfort amongst those that claim to be His people!

I think the biggest part of the problem is that so many do not understand what mental illness is. When your body is not working properly, when there is a malfunction of a system, that is an illness. When your brain is not working properly, that is an illness. When you experience trauma and it affects your ability to cope with stress and life, that causes an illness. Things like chemical and hormonal imbalances are not sin. Struggling to deal with past trauma is not sin. We have come so far in the understanding of how the brain works, but we still have so far to go.

This topic stirs up so many feelings in me. I have been on the receiving end of judgment and criticism for the struggles I deal with. I have been on the receiving end of love and acceptance, as well. Unfortunately, the judgment and criticism stays with me well beyond what it should. I should focus on the love and acceptance, but they get drowned out by the negative.

I can tell you for a fact that my brain chemistry malfunctioning or struggling to cope with stress, anxiety or past trauma is NOT a reflection of my faith and trust in the Lord. My struggle with getting up and out of bed because my anxiety is raging is not a lack of faith. Not being able to make a phone call or making my husband order something for me because I struggle with social anxiety is not a lack of faith. Sobbing for hating who I am as a person because my jacked up brain is telling me that I am worth nothing and am just a burden might happen because I am not looking to God in that moment, but it does not negate the fact that I know Jesus loves me and died for me. As a matter of fact, I don’t know that I would trust and rely on Him the way I do if it were not for my struggles with mental illness. When I have been at the end of my rope, literally staring into the face of wanting to die at my own hand, He was there. He held me when I was at my lowest and kept me from breaking. I have loved ones who have lost their battle with depression. I still do not believe that it was a lack of faith that led them to end their own lives. Being that broken is exhausting and devastating and unless you have been there, truly been there, you have to no idea what that feels like. You have no idea what it feels like to not want to exist. If you do, my heart breaks with you because I do know how that feels and no one should ever have to go through that.

These struggles are not from God. His heart breaks when His children hurt. When anyone suffers for any reason- even in the event that our own decisions caused consequences and now we are dealing with the fallout- that we have here in our earthly, imperfect, temporary bodies, our Father’s heart hurts for us. He has the answers… but I don’t believe that we always get to experience them in the here and now. Just like with cancer, MS, diabetes, etc., the resolution of our pain may not happen in this lifetime. Good thing we have hope in the resurrection.

Even Paul struggled. Paul. Sold out to God, giving up his life for Him.One of the greatest missionaries… ever. Check it:

“Three times I pleased with the Lord about this (thorn in the flesh from Satan), that it should leave me. But He said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for My power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me. For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong.” II Corinthians 12:8-10 (ESV)

There is such controversy, and often discrimination towards those who struggle with mental illness in our society. From ‘gun control’ to the stigma of medication, everyone has an opinion.. everyone thinks they have a solution. But until we find an actual solution, we will have a problem. I don’t know what the solution is. I don’t know what to do about the legitimate epidemic we have… I just know something has to change.

So if anyone ever tells you, “You can’t be a Christian and have mental illness!”, send them to me. I’ll fight them for you. I will straight up fight anyone who says this to anyone. It is not helpful. It is hurtful. Do not believe them.

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Maintaining a juggling act- when I don’t know how to juggle

I wanted to have 12 kids. I thought having a huge family would be the most awesome thing! We would live in a big, old farm house. We would have chickens and goats, maybe a cow or two. A pond with some ducks. Rows of vegetables and maybe a fruit orchard… I had this image in my head of my kids running out in the fields, barefoot, playing tag and hide-n-seek for hours. They would come in to wash up for the homemade dinner I made, from scratch, consisting of almost entirely food from our farm. Dinner would always be the time we sat together and talked about our days (with the occasional sibling squabble, resolved by a touching sitcom moment)…

When I was 17 years old, a doctor told me I would never be able to have children. I cannot say my hopes and dreams were dashed, but I was bummed. But if you have read my blog before (if you haven’t, it’s ok, this post will more than catch you up to speed) you know that they were wrong. Straight up wrong. I have three (3!) kids. All I had to do was say “I do!” and I got my first baby 9 months later. Baby 2 and 3 were not as easy. I had fertility issues (not necessarily conceiving, just some super unpleasant reproductive health organ issues- PCOS and endometriosis) with both of them. We had a loss before I got pregnant with E, and S was not planned because I was having all sorts of crazy health stuff going on. S was, by far, my most difficult pregnancy, labor and delivery (that post is coming- I’m still working on it!).

God has a sense of humor (for lack of a better way to put it). Doctors- “No babies!” God- “3 in less than 5 years!”

Now, I am juggling chronic (often debilitating) health issues, depression and anxiety, a marriage and motherhood. I wish I knew how to juggle… I keep dropping a ball (or 3). I don’t think I need to have it ALL together ALL the time. But having some of it together most of the time would be awesome.

I was diagnosed with Bipolar II Disorder, along with depression, an anxiety disorder and PTSD in college. When I was diagnosed with my thyroid disease, it was suggested that I might not have any of those and it might just be my hormone regulation. It doesn’t change any of the symptoms, either way. Also, there is a study that I read that the cause of depression is more complex than originally thought. Here is a link: https://www.health.harvard.edu/mind-and-mood/what-causes-depression

Does it matter what is causing depression? Does knowing the cause of crippling anxiety change the feeling of drowning in your own mind? Does hating who you are as a person and wishing, praying, begging to be different suddenly stop when you know what chemical imbalance is causing it? I don’t think it does…

I know a courageous, bold, well spoken young women who very openly blogs and posts about her life, struggles with mental illness and a tough past. I find encouragement and hope in her daily FB posts. Seeing her so open and honest has inspired me to become more open with my own struggles. If we continue to hide in the shadows, afraid of being judged for something we have no control over- depression, anxiety, self harming habits, suicidal thoughts- they win. If we allow the darkness to consume us without a fight, what is the point in all of this? I know God never designed us with the intent for us to mentally suffer (or physically, for that matter). That was most certainly not His plan.

But crap happens. So we struggle. We all do. Some of us just happen to struggle more than others in certain areas. For me, all of my illnesses/issues are “invisible”. I do not always walk with a limp- even when every muscle/joint/fiber of my body is screaming at me. You cannot see my migraines. You cannot see my thyroid attacking itself, as I wait for the day it inevitably gives out for good. You cannot see the battle raging in my brain, day after day. Frankly, I really wouldn’t want you to. The things that go on in my brain scare me sometimes and I wouldn’t want anyone else to have to see that.

Every single day I wake up, I struggle. Mentally, but also physically. Mentally, sometimes I just don’t want to have to face the day, the world. I want to hide under the covers till the monsters in my head finally pass out. Physically, it takes a while for my body to get going. Everything hurts. But Mr. H is up at the crack of dawn (literally, as soon as the sun peaks a tiny sliver over the horizon), ready to go. Getting him ready for school every morning is a battle in itself. H has his own war going on. Being autistic is not for the weak, I can tell you that much. I have to wake up E, which is a crime. Who wakes up a sleeping toddler?! I do. Almost every day. Now that S is in the mix, things are even more crazy in the morning. He usually wants to eat as we should be out the door. But those three small humans I just mentioned? They are what gets me out of bed every single morning- literally and metaphorically. On a daily basis, my children bring me to the brink of insanity and then pull me right back with their hugs and kisses. The get on my last nerve and then love it all right again.

I struggle… a lot. I am short with my kids, my husband. I am moody. I am exhausted. I want to crawl into bed and stay there for days. I am blessed beyond belief. I HATE when people tell me always look on the bright side of things, look for the good in everything. “It could always be worse!” I know they are a 100% right. They are!

So, every day, I stumble, fail miserably and ask for forgiveness. I make sure my kids know I love them and am so thankful to God for them. I am so far from a perfect mom, but I am learning that there might be no such thing and that’s ok. As long as my kids are loved, fed and clothed, I am doing my job. That’s enough… at least, for right now.

Adulting is “hard”

What does it mean to be an adult? I am seriously asking this question. What actually makes us an “adult”?

Age? Responsibilities? Independent living? Marriage? Parenthood? Being self-sufficient?

I meet all of these supposed requirements/suggestions and yet, I still do not feel like an adult. I am almost 29. I am married and I have 3 kids = loads of responsibility.

When I was in my late teens/very early twenties, I worried about the normal stuff. College. Boys. A car. Boys. Eating right. Did I mention boys?

I wanted to get married and start a picture-perfect family. I thought that the cares and concerns I had as a single, working, college student were tough and I needed to just get past that stage. I laugh at who I was and what I thought was a worry.

At 22, I became someone’s wife. At 23, I became someone’s mom (and again at 26 and 28). Major, life altering things. Seemingly, no change in how I view myself.

I am not judging and certainly not making light of any concerns you have if you fall into any/all of the categories I mentioned (single/employed/college student/young). Each stage of life definitely comes with it’s own concern. But I put so much time and effort into pushing through those stages to get to what I thought would make me 1) happy and 2) feel like an adult. And while being a wife and mom does me me happy (and a little batty), no manic switch went off. When does that happen? Does it happen?

I have 3 kids- do I need a 4th? We rent our house- do we have to buy one? I own my vehicle- do I need one I make payments on? Do I have to have a job outside of the home?

None of those, necessarily, seem like good options. Definitely not right this minute, for absolute certain.

So what is it? What is the secret? Do you feel like an adult? Why?

Just Another Day…

Do you know you’re at your breaking point when you get to it? Or is one of those things where you end up breaking and realize it after the fact?

“Yup. Right there. That was the last straw… The proverbial camel 🐫 has a broken back.”

I have felt at my breaking point before. I struggled with depression and suicidal thoughts for years and years…

But this time, it feels different. Surreal, almost. Different because every night , I feel like, “This might be it. I’m going to snap. I am going to lose my mind for good this time.”

I yelled at them again. I HATE yelling at them. It is not their fault my body feels like it is trying to give up on me. It is not their fault I did not get enough sleep (usually). It’s not even entirely their fault they are still struggling with the whole listening thing. They are still little kids, after all.

The biggest kid had a good day and school and is now spiraling out of control because he used up every ounce of strength to hold it together. Or he had a rough day at school and it is carrying over to our afternoon. Autism is rough. We are all adjusting and trying to figure things out as we go along.

The middle one is at the stage of one tantrum or struggle after another. This week, she was diagnosed with a significant speech delay and will be receiving speech therapy. She wants to talk, but it just isn’t coming out. It most certainly adds to her frustration level (and mine, as well). One minute, she is all cute and giggling. The next minute, her world is crumbling. Being almost two is tough.

The “baby” is growing up so quickly, already. At only 8 weeks old, my brain is telling me that he is basically off to college already and I should be a sobbing mess. Apparently the post baby hormones are not all the way gone like I was hoping.

Approximately 15-20 diaper changes and the endless washing of the same bottles over and over again… it all accumulates and I am worn out.

This stage of life is tough. More difficult than I anticipated as a wide-eyed, eager, 21 year old, desperate to get married and start a family. I did not anticipate financial struggles, major health issues, how trying (emotionally and spiritually) being married can be. How trying being a mom can be.

I love my little family with everything I am.

I love when one of the little ones climbs in my lap and gives me a hug for no apparent reason. Or the baby grins at me with his big baby smile. Or my husband brings me home Taco Bell because I am craving crap and just don’t care. Or I have a friend talk me through something that I needed some support doing. Or I get an invitation in the mail to a dear friend’s upcoming wedding. I smile and realize that there are always going to be difficult times and struggles. But they are all worth it.

So that is why this is not my breaking point. It might be a “go hang out with adult friends for a few hours, maybe have a glass of wine” point. I am so over this week, over this day. I might do nothing but keep the kids fed and clothes for today… maybe tomorrow, too. But I am not breaking. I have far too much going for me and far too much to do.

I Need More Patience…

Starting with myself.

I had our third child on Christmas Day. He was 9lbs 2.9 oz, 20″ long and I had a rough time getting him into the world. I had to be induced because my blood pressure was getting dangerously high. It was time for baby boy to come out and my body needed some extra help. It still took a long time and by the end, I was so relieved to be done. I was not thrilled with how things had gone, my birth plan being tossed out the window again. This time, it was because of medical intervention/necessity, but I was still not pleased. Our son was safe and healthy after a difficult (and for a few minutes scary) delivery. That is the part I have to focus on.

That was just over three weeks ago. For some reason, though, I have gotten it in my head that I should have everything back to “normal”. I should be back into a routine already. My chore schedule should be the same. The kids should be dressed and ready to go in an orderly, timely fashion. Meals should be cooked and on the table at the appropriate time. I should have more energy and not be so run down. I should not still be in my pajamas at 4 in the afternoon.

None of those things are true. Except the pajama part.

However, I am actually dressed today and it isn’t the first time. The dishes and laundry get done on a regular basis (more so than when I was in my third trimester of pregnancy, for sure!).There is generally some sort of a meal to eat (many times, thanks to wonderful friends from church!!). H was at school on time all last week (including one day where I delivered his airport made of boxes and cardboard while wrangling all 3 kids). The house is not a disaster and my kids are doing just fine.

Where am I failing? The question really is this: Why do I feel like I am failing? No one has made that suggestion to me. My kids are alive. They aren’t all healthy, but I can’t control the flu virus (unfortunately 😣). H hasn’t been to school all week, but only the one day counts because Monday was a holiday, the rest have been snow days and the poor kid has the flu! They have clean clothes and food to eat. My husband has not complained (he has not complained for almost 6 years, I don’t think he is going to start now…). So where do these thoughts and feelings come from? I have been a mom of 3 for 3 weeks and 3 days. I had a ton of help from my sister for almost a month before the baby came and then my mom and dad were here. My sister in law and mother in law helped a ton, my daughter being with them for almost a week. So really, I have been doing this parenting them “alone” during the day for just over a week (and that is not entirely accurate, either!) It’s going to take some time to get into a routine. And then it will change again because S (#3) will be going through a new phase, a new stage.

Normal is not a label that can be applied to this family.

I am a tired Momma with a bunch of health issues. I am raising three amazing children, the oldest recently diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder (High Functioning /Aspergers), adding a whole new dynamic. I have a newborn baby, changing everything that had just changed. Again. My husband works his butt off to make sure I can stay home with our babies. It isn’t easy, but we are making it work. It is going to take patience. A lot of it. And I need to start with myself.

Is this really the “last time”?

I could write a mini novel on the “troubles” or issues I/we have been dealing with lately… But at the same time, I could be called “spoiled”. I have a laundry list of stresses and complaints, but I know that I am beyond blessed. So what do I do? I try to focus on the good, the positive, the blessings. I KNOW there is good things in my life. But what about the negative, stressful, plain bad? Do I not get to talk about those things? There are people mourning the loss of their loved ones to a senseless tragedy. Hurting mothers, fathers, siblings, children. But ya know what, that is the crappy side of the world we live in. There are ALWAYS hurting people. That is why it is so important to focus on the good, the positive, the blessing. Everyone has hardships… everyone has stress… So where do we draw the line? Who gets to ‘vent’? Who gets to be stressed? I think that there being hardships, pain and tragedy taking place in the world does not mean that the troubles we are experiencing in our life are any less important. We just need to make sure we are not getting so wrapped up in ourselves that we forget to think about others or to focus on anything else. Are we praying about it? Are we seeking Godly wisdom and counsel? Complaining does not solve anything and “stuffing it down” is not healthy or helpful.

This post started as one thing and has morphed into something else over the last few days… It has just been sitting here, so I have decided that I need to finish it.

I am 29 weeks pregnant today. After much discussion, thought and (admittedly, not enough) prayer, I think this is going to be the last pregnancy for this Momma… And I am not sure how I feel about it, yet. Some days, “Yes. Yes. I am done. No more.” Other days, “Is this really it? Is this the last child I will carry? No more hiccups, rolling and kicking? No more weird pregnancy induced dreams and cravings? No more sleepless nights due to leg cramps and Braxton Hicks and hips being dislocated?” It’s such a strange time in my life… My family’s life. We have discussed the possibility of foster care or adoption in the future, but that’s not for certain. Is this the last baby my body will grow? I am up to my eye balls in motherhood. I love it. It is exhausting. I just don’t know how I feel… I, obviously, have time before a decision HAS to be made. I still have 11 (or so) weeks left with my current wombmate. But the idea that this might “be it”, the last time, is weird… There are so many things to consider. So many factors to weigh. Crazy.

We are currently in the process of getting out oldest evaluated for some very concerning behaviors and issues that he is struggling with. We are searching for second and third and fourth opinions. His pediatrician is great for the cold/flu and vaccine stuff, but I am not satisfied with her level of care (or concern) for the other areas that we have expressed concern. Right now is a time of referrals and appointments. Juggling school and work with one vehicle being shared. Early mornings and late nights. Meltdowns and battles. Loss of sleep. Lots of tears. Lots and lots of tears (and not just from the four year old). The hardest part for me, as the mom, is that I have been expressing my concerns for years. Years. I have heard everything. “It’s a phase, he will grow out of it.” “All children his age do that!” “You worry too much, he will be fine.” But here we are. Years later. He has not grown out of many of those behaviors and adds a new one pretty regularly. Not all children his age do X,Y and Z. He is struggling at home and school and it is affecting every aspect of his young life. I am tired of watching my sweet boy go from his kind, loving self to an enraged, uncontrollable stranger over something that I cannot understand, but his brain thinks is a big deal. I am his mom. No one knows that little munchkin better than I am and I am tired of being told that I worry too much. We all know that I do! This is different. So I am done laying down and rolling over because some “adult” or doctor told me I am wrong.

But I am tired. So tired. I am touched out. Overwhelmed. Isolated- mostly by my own doing, I am not denying that.  It is just so much easier that way. I am trying to keep up with the “demands” of being a wife, a mother and an incubator. I am trying to keep up with the “demands” of keeping the kitchen clean, the clothes washed and the house from looking like an actual tornado touched down in our living room. I am trying to make sure that I am eating enough and getting enough rest. I am not exactly sure who I think is making such demands (other than the health stuff for my current occupant)… My four year old would love if mom didn’t get laundry done and he never had to wear clothes (but  I really do not need any more negative remarks coming home from school, so I will keep doing the laundry). The little one wants bananas and toast and she is happy. Give her a cup of milk and you’re her best friend. They do not ask for much, if you don’t count the wanting mommy to be a human jungle gym even though she cannot see her feet or get off the couch by herself thing. Should I allow my house to get dirty and crazy and not do anything? No. It’s not going to happen because my OCD will drive me into a panic first. But the laundry and dishes can (and most days, lately, do) wait till after the nap that E and I take while H is at school for a few hours every day. I get stuff done. It just does not happen as quickly as I might think it should.

So this post has been another rambling on of me feeling inadequate and my children not really caring all that much, splattered with a little “here’s some crap going on!”.

Here is to working on focusing on the positive, realizing that it all does not have to be done NOW and getting in a nap or two where I can. Cheers!

Where does time go?

I debated posting about H starting school… I could just wait till tomorrow when it has actually happened and I can write what happened, not just me speculations.

His first day of pre-K begins tomorrow morning at 8:30 (because I refuse to take him in any earlier that that- drop off begins at 7:30!). If you have spent any amount of time with us at all, you know how good this is going to be for both us.  H needs this. He needs to be around other children. He needs adults who he will, most likely, listen to better than myself or any family member. His sister needs some undivided mommy attention before baby brother comes in a few months and her world is forever changed, just like his was 16 months ago. His mother needs a nap that is not interrupted every 4 seconds by a random question about aliens, zombies, what color is the moon and (my favorite) questions about why God made us. His father needs to come home to a less chaotic environment once in a while. We ALL need this. I am excited for him. He has been asking to go to school for almost 3 years. But at the same time, I am struggling. Big time. How is my baby, my first born, the child I swear was JUST two little pink lines on a stick 17 days after my wedding day, already going to school? I know it’s just pre-K. We have 13 more First Days! before he “leaves the nest”! Whatever. This is a big deal to this momma’s heart and  I am struuuugggggggglllliiiinnnngggg.

I feel guilty. “Have I done enough? Does he know I love him, even when he is bonkers off the wall? Have I taught him enough? He knows his colors, animals, body parts and pretty much everything there is to know about super heroes… He can sing the alphabet song and can count to 20, but he is not great at recognizing those things written. Should I have pushed him more? He doesn’t like to sit and write. Maybe I should have made him??” I cried last night, laying in bed (as I do every night) thinking about all the things we could have done… I should have done. Now I feel like it’s too late. His teacher will make him learn to write his letters and numbers. She will be the one to make him learn to sit still (or so they say…) Am I going to get letters or calls about how out of control he is? Are they going to think I am a bad parent because my kid is the energizer preschooler? He doesn’t stop. He has two speeds… Is that my fault? Like I said. Struggling.

I know he has to go to school. When he was little(r), we always talked about homeschool. Maybe in the future, that will be something we can do. But right now, he needs to be out of the house.

So I will take him to school tomorrow morning. We will learn a new routine and we will do the best we can. After I drop him off, I will take myself and the little one out for a cup of coffee because she actually sits down. I will be excited. I cannot promise that I will not be a sobbing mess in the car. Stay tuned.

The Weight of It All…

I am sitting on my couch, preparing to FINALLY watch Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them. But I just took a shower, so obviously all the thoughts I need to put in a blog post came rushing to mind.

In the last few weeks, I found out I am pregnant with baby #3. My son turned 4 and my daughter turned 1. Can you say “roller coaster”?!?. Now that we have announced it, I have gotten the typical “what do you hope it is?!” question. I have responded with ‘boy’, because I would love to have another little boy (but another little girl would be amazing, as well). But the answer is, truthfully, whatever God has for us. Because my plans have never worked out to begin with and His plans always have. I wish I could remember the name of the OB I saw 11 years ago who told me that I “had a very high chance of never naturally conceiving and carrying a child of my own”…

This all lead me to the following thought: When someone is expecting a baby, people ask what they hope the gender is. Some people are adamant about wanting a boy or girl. Some people do not care and they will tell you so, but they always add “as long as it is healthy!”. Everyone smiles and agrees. Not a bad thing. At all! Who doesn’t want that?! But what about the babies who are born unhealthy? Who have minor or sometimes major health issues? Do we, as parents, love them any less? I personally know plenty of special needs parents who say it does not make one bit of difference. They wouldn’t change their children because they love them exactly how they are! Do we want our children to suffer physically, mentally and/or emotionally? Absolutely not.  However, not for one second should a disability or illness change the love for a child. Unfortunately, as hearth breaking and unfathomable as it is, there are people who do not want their children when they are born with an illness or issue. This is not in any way a judgment, especially towards people who just DO NOT have the means- financial or otherwise- to care for a special needs child and chose to act with their best interest at heart. After all, some of the most amazing love stories between a parent and child come from adopton and foster care. Some of the most amazing people I have ever known in my entire life (yes, Jordan, you are at the top of that list) live their lives with diseases or illnesses that many of us cannot even begin to imagine. But because they have amazing, wonderful, loving, sacrificing parents, family and friends who gave everything for them, they live/d fantastic lives! This all to say this: You can ask me what I hope this next baby I have cooking is. I might answer you ‘boy’ or I might say “whatever the Lord has planned for us”. But that’s it. No stipulations. (*again, this is not meant to be a judgment post or a “you should think/believe/act this way or that way!!! This is just a thought that occurred to me in the shower!*)

I will say that when I found out baby #3 was alive and cooking, I was instantly excited and terrified all at the same time. Three children? I will have two under 2 when this baby comes in December! What was I thinking?!?! And then I sat down, took a breath and thought about it. H starts school this Fall, so that is going to keep him busy! I have friends and family that are an amazing support system. Larry and I have always wanted multiple children. Do I lose my mind some days? Do I not get enough sleep as it is? Is life already crazy? Do I love this little Lego sized nugget growing inside of me already? The answer to all of these questions is yes. We have always tried to live our lives by going with the flow. Trusting that God knows what He is doing with us and if we trust Him (and His track record thus far) we will be just fine.

I was apprehensive, for sure, about telling a few people that we are expecting our third child. I found out I was pregnant during Infertility Awareness Week. I felt guilty. I know so many amazing couples who want a child, and for whatever reason, have not yet been able to have one (or more than one). How can I be having a third baby? That’s not fair. Me? Who has numerous health issues stacked against her and her fertility? Me, the one who has two beautiful, healthy, smart kids already? I felt overwhelming guilt. It’s not fair. What about them!? While my heart aches for those amazing people I know who struggle every single day, I get to be happy about this. This is a miracle (as is every child) and I will not downplay that in my own life. I will thank the Lord for this child.  I will continue to pray for my struggling friends and I will make every effort to be sensitive to their struggle. But I get to be excited about this baby inside my body and dang it, I am!

Drowning in my own mind

drowning

No matter how many “famous people” get up and speak about mental health, it is still an issue no one likes to talk about, really. No matter how many people say, ” I HAVE depression, depression does not have me!”, it is still a touchy subject. No matter how long I have struggled with depression and anxiety, I still like to pretend it is not something that I live with. It comes and goes as it pleases. Sure, there are “triggers” and somewhat touchy subjects. But in my life, where I spend 98% of my time with two small people-one of whom can only say 3 or 4 words- I do not get exposed to them too often. I (try) to limit what I expose myself to on TV and the internet. Sometimes successfully, sometimes not. That’s part of life.

It isn’t even so much that I do not like to admit that I struggle with depression and anxiety, because I willingly talk about it if it comes up in conversation. That would be like trying to deny that I have Hashimoto’s, Fibromyalgia, Endometriosis and PCOS, Adrenal Fatigue Syndrome and whatever else is wrong with me *insert eye roll*. When my PCOS is kicking my butt (like right this minute), there is not a whole lot I can do about it.When I am in the middle of a Fibro flare or a thyroid roller coaster, I feel useless. But it does not compare to how useless I feel when depression hits me out of nowhere… and I cannot, for the life of me, figure out why. I was thinking about this and I thought, “Maybe it is because I cannot control my health issue… But I can’t control my depression, either, can I? It’s not like I flip a switch labeled “Depression”, indicating that it’s okay to have a full blown meltdown…”

This past week’s ‘meltdown’ was a little different. I didn’t have uncontrollable crying fits, like I often do when I am struggling with a bout of depression. I just kind of laid around, exhausted. Achy. Easily annoyed. Slightly frustrated. Drowning in my own mind. But mostly super exhausted. I cannot pinpoint exactly when it started… I only really realized what this past week has been this morning. I had zero desire to move. None. Just like every other day this past week. I thought, “What the heck is my problem? I’m not sick… Am I? Oh. Yeah. Duh.” Now, sometimes, it is really hard to tell if it is my depression or my thyroid crapping out for the umpteenth time. The problem is that they are linked. It could be straight up, depression. It could be thyroid malfunctioning induced depression… I can’t tell the difference, really. Right now, I am not ever sure if anything I am writing makes any sense. If you have struggled with depression (or thyroid issues, for that matter) you know what I mean. Inside my head looks like a tornado ripped through a library. Words,thoughts and ideas are swirling around and there is seemingly nothing I can do to collect the thoughts and ideas I would like to put down on “paper”.

Through this entire past week of late mornings, it taking me forever to accomplish small tasks and just bumming around the house in my sweats, my husband has taken up the slack better than I could have even asked for. Basically, he is the reason the kids have survived mommy’s meltdown (which brings on a whole other element of guilt and frustration, but that’s another blog post for another day). He got up with them every morning and made sure they were clean and fed. By the time I dragged my butt out of bed, it was time for me to help with lunch. I eventually got around to doing some laundry and running the dishwasher the last couple of days. I even made it out of the house to do some grocery shopping yesterday! But back to my original point. My husband. My loving, kind, patient, humble husband (someone has been taking 1 Corinthians 13 to heart, huh?!). This was not the best week for either of us. He got a new job (yay!) but is still getting everything in order for that. In the meantime, his current job has basically disappeared because they are so unorganized and frankly, stupid. So he has been home, dealing with me. But I thank the Lord that it worked out this way. Funny how that happens… I needed him this week and He provided. I am super thankful to God and my husband. This week would have been a million times worse if it hadn’t worked out this way. So spending money will be non-existent and we will have to cloth diaper for a while. It could be worse. It could be way worse. It has been way worse, but the Lord has always taken care of me and my little family. I am so very thankful for that.

I am being beckoned away to make a PB&J for the small person who is always starving these days. I apologize if my thoughts are not cohesive. It’s just a glimpse into the inner workings of my jumbled up thought process ;-).

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