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.

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Oh Popcorn, Perfect Popcorn

I love popcorn. If I run out of popcorn I have a nervous breakdown.Seriously. One day we ran out of popcorn and I just about had a melt-down. Then I found the back-up popcorn I had stashed in the pantry and we were saved.

 

Yes I have back-up popcorn.

 

The first year of our marriage, my hubby was amazed at how much popcorn I eat. Just about every night.

Actually, it is pretty good for you if you don’t drown it in butter.

A note on popcorn types. Not all popcorn is created equally. For basic every day popcorn I like Orville Redenbacher. It is kind of spendy, but it isn’t full of old maids (unpopped popcorn) or hard, kernally popcorn. It is more tender and fluffy than the store brands or cheaper stuff you can get. Gourmet popcorn is nice too, but I have to order it online and it is usually a bit out of my price range. Orville Redenbacher is usually a pretty good happy medium between price and quality.

The Perfect Popcorn

3 tbsp oil

1/3 cup popcorn kernels.

1/2 teaspoon salt

3 quart heavy bottom saucepan (with a lid)

2 tbsp of melted butter

Heat the oil in the sauce pan over medium-high heat. Put about 3 kernels in and wait until all three pop. Then add the rest of the popcorn and salt and shake it really firmly to coat all the popcorn in the oil and salt.

Crack the lid, so that the steam doesn’t drip on your popcorn. Leave it alone and wait until the popcorn is popping about 15-20 seconds apart. You can give it a shake if you want to , but I find that it doesn’t need it. It usually takes about 5 minutes, but listen just in case. Burnt popcorn is not yummy.

Pour it out into a giant bowl and drizzle with the melted butter. Use the bowl you melted the butter to stir the popcorn. Then it is time to chow down. Nom, nom, nom…..Everyone at our house LOVES popcorn, so we fight over it until it is gone.

 

This is a pretty good Soda to go with it:

Sipp

 

This stuff is 100 calories a bottle and sweetened with agave AND its organic. My favorite is the Ginger Blossom, but don’t dis the Lemongrass flavor. Yummy. Our local Organic store has these as well as a local organic burrito place. We might live in the sticks, but it is touristy enough we have a few trendy places around here.

Put the kids to bed, kick back on the sofa, pull up a warm blanket, turn on the fireplace and watch something on VidAngel. Or Netflix, but VidAngel has new releases for a dollar. Shoot, I should really be getting paid for all this free advertising I’m doing!

 

 

Split Pea Soup – Surviving February

We are having an early spring. My tulips are coming up, and I keep yelling at them: DON’T, YOU’RE GOING TO DIE IN A SNOWSTORM!!!!

For we have snow storms  all the way until April some years. A few years ago in February it snowed EVERY DAY OF THE MONTH. Or nearly. I think it was 24 out of 28 or something.

Something about the coming of spring screams SPLIT PEAS. I think it is the spring-y flavor of the soup, earthy, warm and sunny.

Can a soup taste sunny? I’m not talking about bright and sparkly, more that warm, toasty feeling you start to get from the sun again in the Spring after freezing your butt off all winter.

Well, this soup does its best. It is the promise of summer and the earthy smell of dirt in the spring. Mmmmm….

Okay, so here it is.

Split Pea Soup

Ingredients:

2 tablespoons butter

3 carrots, cut into pieces

1 onion, diced

3 medium celery stalks

1 medium apple, cut into pieces

1 package of spicy sausage of choice (and as much as you want)

2 bay leaves

1 (1lb) bag of split peas

6 cups of water

½ tablespoon salt

Directions

In a large sauce pot, melt butter over medium high heat. Add carrots, onions, celery and apples and cook 20-25 minutes or until vegetable mixture is tender and golden, stirring occasionally. Meanwhile, cook sausage.

To vegetable mixture in sauce pot add sausage, bay leaves, split peas, water and salt. Heat to boiling over high heat. Reduce heat to low; over and simmer 1 hour or until peas are very tender. (or you can chuck it in the crock-pot and cook on low 6-8 hours or on high for 4-6 if you want)

Remove bay leaves and serve!

This is really good, and one of my hubby’s favorites. I like it too. It is very….earthy. Pair it with a crusty loaf of bread and you have a cheap easy dinner! You can find the dried split peas in the bean and rice aisle at the grocery store.