Depressed Mormon

The last two weeks we’ve been in San Diego, then General Conference, then we all got sick. I’m still waiting for things to get back to normal and I seriously need to be working in my yard!!!!

Bah.

But we had a blast in San Diego. We went to the Zoo, to Disneyland, to Legoland and the San Diego Temple.

I wanted to talk about something that has been weighing on my mind for awhile. I’ve mentioned that I am a Member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, also I wrote about being depressed during pregnancy.

I am a Depressed Mormon.

Yes that is possible. A lot of people in our faith who struggle with mental illness eventually leave because our faith is all about joy and happiness and feeling uplifted.

It is next to impossible to feel uplifted when you are depressed.

Recently my kids have been obsessed with the movie Inside Out. I LOVE that movie. Love, love, love, love.

What Riley felt when Joy and Sadness were lost, is kind of what it feels like to be depressed. Only Sadness is ever present. It is as if it is just Joy is gone. Permanently.

That is what depression is: the lack of Joy.

I love this post from the blog Hyperbole and a Half. She does an awesome post about her struggles with depression.

I have had people tell me that I just need to buck up, move on, and get over it (luckily never from anyone seriously close to me) but it isn’t something you just ‘get over’.

From personal experience:

Depression is a disease.

I have been depressed and I have successfully overcome it. There was a HUGE difference.

Depressed me:

exhausted all the time, couldn’t deal with social interaction (like calling someone on the phone), especially strangers but not excluding close friends, never smiled, never cracked jokes, couldn’t do more than one thing a day, obligations quickly overwhelmed me, multi-tasking was impossible, everything my kids did irritated me, only desire to get by with the bare minimum, and the list goes on.

Not Depressed me:

more energy, ability to talk to strangers, can complete a huge to-do list in a day, no problems calling people, fulfill obligations with ease, multi-task like a boss, smile more, joke more, play with my kids more, more desire to LIVE my life to the fullest.

The difference is stark. Most of my friends and family could tell a difference immediately.

It was my husband (my poor overworked, over burdened husband) who recommended a therapist. And I agreed, without hesitation.

I saw a Psychologist, who recommended medication and therapy, both of which I did. And I got better.

This talk by Elder Holland is amazing.

Even if you aren’t Mormon, this talk is incredibly uplifting, especially if you struggle with Depression or if you know someone who is.

Last Fall, while I was struggling through recovering from depression, I realized that Christ had felt what I had felt. He KNEW what I was going through. Suddenly, through study and pray, I developed faith. Faith that I wouldn’t be like this forever. I knew that eventually I would be better. Maybe not in this life, but in the next.

Please note:

I struggle to feel the presence of the Lord in my life when I am depressed.

To the point that I felt abandoned by God. But He was there, I just had so much chemical imbalances in my head, I couldn’t feel or see His influence in my life. Later, when I felt better I could see how much He was supporting me, but I couldn’t see it when I was depressed.

But even though I couldn’t feel the presence of the Lord, I didn’t stop practicing my religion. I couldn’t. I didn’t stop going to church, I didn’t stop saying my prayers or reading my scriptures. I knew, I KNEW that if I abandoned my religion I wouldn’t be able to recover. With help from family, friends, my church, doctors and therapists, I was able to get better.

I am one of the lucky ones. I was able to deal with it, to the point that I don’t need therapy and my doctor is talking about weening me off of my drugs.

But some have to be in therapy and continue drugs for the rest of their lives. That is just a treatment of a permanent illnesses, like diabetes or high blood pressure.

You are NOT your depression. Depression is a disease that can be treated and overcome much like an ear infection or a cold. As soon as I distanced myself from my disease, I was able to treat it what it really is, rather than letting it define me.

Am I completely healed? No. I still have my days. I’ve been struggling with anxiety lately again to the point that I might need to call my therapist again. And I think I will, because I can’t do this alone. I can’t. But with medical treatment, I can be me again.

And I truly love not-depressed me.

Sunday Nights – Eggs’n’Sweet Taters

Sunday nights are crazy around here.

Hubby has meetings start at 9am (or earlier), so he is gone about then. Church doesn’t start until 12:30pm, but choir starts at 11:30, leaving me to get ready and get three little boys ready in 2 1/2 hours. Bleck.

Church is three hours convincing the baby that all the toys I brought are interesting or walking the halls trying to get him to go to sleep. I haven’t sat through an entire Sunday School or Relief Society lesson in AGES. Hubby has his own responsibilities, so he can only do so much.

I divide my time between the baby and the 3 year old who is refusing to go to his Primary class. If I leave him, he BAWLS until I come back. Sigh…

Luckily Hubby is pretty good about holding the baby while I deal with the 3 year old.

By the time we get home, its about 4 pm, too late for a nap, too early for bed and Hubby won’t be home for at least an hour or so. The kids are running around, expelling all the pent up energy from having no naps and sitting still for 3 hours. Usually screaming the entire time.

I love church, but church with small kids is EXHAUSTING. At least I get to take the Sacrament and chat with people in the halls. 🙂

I don’t like to plan an elaborate Roast Sunday Dinner (Although I do occasionally). I am too busy in the morning to throw something in Crock-pot (all though Frozen Crockpot Dinners are awesome for this) and after church I’m too tired, and frankly hungry.

This is one of my Sunday Night Dinners. No planning, it takes about half an hour, and tastes AWESOME.

Sweet Potatos and Eggs

Eggs’n’Sweet Taters

Adapted from: http://makealongstoryshort.net/2013/01/meals-for-not-much-all-together-egg-and-chips/ 

2 sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into fries.

4 eggs

1 tsp cumin

1 tsp chili powder

2 or 3 TBSP oil

salt and pepper.

Method:

Preheat oven to 425º F.

Place the Sweet Potatoes in a container (like a zip-top bag or a bowl if you wanna be eco friendly). Add enough oil to coat the potatoes, then salt, pepper, cumin and chili powder. Toss to coat.

Place a bit of oil on a rimmed baking sheet, enough to cover it lightly. You can even use a spray oil if you’d like. Add the sweet potatoes and bake for about 25 mins. Keep an eye on them, burned sweet potatoes are GROSS.

When the sweet potatoes are almost done, make space between the fries and crack four eggs directly onto the pan. Let bake for 5 more minutes or until the eggs are firm. I like mine yolks runny and the whites firm, and that takes about 5 minutes.

Enjoy!

I like to stuff all of my portion, fries, eggs and all onto toasted bread to make a sandwich, with a little bit of ketchup.  Or you could eat it with a salad, but where is the fun in that??

 

So I realized this post is a little of a downer. Well I’m tired. Its been a week, what with the 3yrold pooping in the pool, cancelling swimming lessons and Webelos running me ragged. And I think I worked out too much….Time for a rest movie cheat do nothing day.

 

Mommy Depressed Days – Potty Training

My tablet broke. And then I helped it into oblivion.

It stopped charging last week, so I saw online that I could jimmy the back off and unplug the battery and then it might charge again.

I cracked the screen in the process.

And it still wouldn’t charge.

SIGH.

Also this week I chose to start potty training my two year old. I won’t go into the details, it is messy and covered in pee. I HATE POTTY TRAINING. It is the MOST stressful part of parenting, or so I think.

My greatest parental accomplishment was potty training my oldest. Seriously.

Yesterday I woke up, utterly depressed. I was so stressed out about potty training that I didn’t want to get out of bed. I didn’t want to do anything. At all. For all I cared my kids could have run around eating garbage yesterday and I wouldn’t have felt remotely bad. In fact I might have even yelled at them for making a mess.

Luckily I wasn’t so far gone to think that it was okay to have this attitude. I have been struggling off and on with days like this since I became pregnant with my third. My hormones SUCK.

I finally figured out a formula to get me out of this funk. (Yes I have written about this before, but I have to keep reminding myself of what to do. Doesn’t everyone have this problem? No? Maybe? Em you’re nuts??)

1. PRAY. Ask God with every fiber of my being to help me get out of bed and able to deal with my problems. Also the ability to find a solution.

2. READ. God gave us all kinds of answers in the Scriptures, so I put them to good use.

3. ROUTINE. I try to get up and follow my routine (at least in the beginning) as much as possible. Otherwise I end up with a filthy house, feeling more depressed than ever. I get up, make breakfast, do the dishes, move the laundry, shower (eventually). Just the basic stuff. I will avoid anything more time-consuming though. See below for why.

4. NO SOCIAL MEDIA. Yup, you read that right. None at all. (Although I did sneak on Instagram, but that almost always cheers me up). I find the more time I spend on the computer or on social media, the more I ignore the problem, instead of dealing with it. Sometimes causing me to drag out the Mommy Depressed Days for WAAAAYYYY longer than I should. I also have to avoid watching too much TV (like Psych or other shows my kids don’t watch). If we are watching together it tends to be better.

5. HUG. My kids. Excessively. Whatever is stressing me out about being a Mommy is usually cured by loving on my kids harder. I love my kids. They are sweet, rambunctious, curious, lovable kids. When I am depressed, I usually resent them or push them away. Hugging them helps me remember why I had kids in the first place. (And why I am pregnant, when it makes me SO CRABBY).

6. TIME. I spend time with my kids doing none of the things on my checklist. Last night we made nachos (they helped, it was so cute) then we watched Brave and snuggled on the couch. Then I asked them to help me clean up the house (which they willing did) and we got ready for bed. (Although in fairness of full disclosure, my 4yr old pushed the 2yr old off the couch and gave him a bloody nose. We aren’t perfect people!)

When I am depressed, I am usually anxious and crappy and I snap at my kids, driving them away from me. Then they act out more, which causes me to snap at them more, etc, etc, you see the cycle??

Sadly, the hardest part for me is the No Social Media. I WANT to turn away and ignore my problems and hope they solve themselves. They rarely do.

In the end (and after the 2 yr old sat on the toilet for 3 HOURS, then promptly stood up and peed all over the floor) I decided (with Divine Inspiration) my kid wasn’t ready to potty train yet. He need a little more prep work than I had bothered to give him. Basically I had picked a day and plopped him on the toilet with little more than instructions to pee. He was confused and unsure why he needed to pee in toilet, when he was so used to peeing wherever he was.

We are still going to work on potty training, but I am going to do a bit more preliminary stuff. Like sitting him on the toilet several times a day, and letting him watch me and his brother go. I think he’ll get it, and we are going to keep talking about the day when he doesn’t use diapers anymore.

We’ll try again next month.

As I chant my mantra: THIS DOES NOT MAKE ME A BAD PARENT.

The only way I would be a bad parent is to ignore my son’s needs and force something on him that he just isn’t ready for. In the end I could give the poor kid a pant wetting or urinary tract problem by making him feel ashamed or guilty every time he pees his pants. I just about did that with my older kid!! The whole point of potty training is to help him understand and feel comfortable about peeing in the toilet, not meeting some parenting goal..

Just remember that.