Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Super Mom

This is the time of year I dread. It gets harder, not easier... and each year I think I am prepared, mentally, to handle it.
I told Mr. Smith that this year I'm going tanning once or twice this winter... maybe once a week. When I was younger, my doctor talked about that. Now, I bet the risks of skin cancer are not worth an attempt to 'brighten my day' but if I get desperate... you'll find me frying like a fish in one of those beds!
I've also gone 'gung-ho' on getting my house in order. Sounds silly, but I didn't realize how 'out-of-order' things were until I buckled down and got down to the nitty gritty. (Boy! "gung-ho", "buckle down", and "nitty gritty"... this outta be good.)
I have been criticized for sharing my struggles with depression. But I think that part of overcoming and dealing with my battles is being real. Call me crazy... oh wait people already do... but at least I'm true to myself.
A few weeks ago I was going through a tough time, I knew that I had to change some things in order to bring myself back up. That's when I busted out my 'list making skills' and made a plan. I figured that worst case... I was still depressed, but at least I'd be depressed sitting in a clean house!
I also realized that maybe I need to expect more from myself. Not be harder on myself, but live to higher expectations. I KNOW the things I can do, when I put my mind to it. I just need to be my own cheerleader! As much as I want the approval of others at times... I need to give myself that boost of approval.
So everyday I have been doing a list of chores. Deep cleaning, organizing, and realizing areas that need improvement, as well as awesome things I take for granted. Simplifying.
I told Mr. Smith last night... I can see how women have mental breakdowns, how they just snap! I've never been wound-tight. If anything... I'm always trying to wind myself up a little more. I tend to get down, and while my high's are scary... I sure get a lot done!
But those 'Super Mom's' who do it all... I can totally see hwo they could lose it! I've tried to be 100% in all areas. Cooking dinner every night... ready by 6pm. Cleaning like crazy... I've had every piece of clothing washed and put away every Monday for three weeks. Losing weight... I've recorded everything I put in my mouth. I've read with my kids each night and put them to bed early. FHE, food storage, clipping coupons, exercising, kids homework, volunteering at school, Christmas shopping, doing a few crafts, planning/hosting social events for friends and family... seriously!? And now I'm writing... blogging that is. I even baked bread last week, I can hardly believe it myself!
No I'm not being boastful... although I should. I have to record these three weeks because I can honestly say that I have NEVER kept up on my responsibilities like this... that's right, 11 years and NEVER have I done this well. Maybe a day or two... but his is a record for me. My schedule has been pretty empty, so I've had the time to get it all in. Next week we have dentist appts, VIP's and I'm going on a mini-vaca... so things will fall apart soon.
I told Mr. Smith that I can see how women eventually get overwhelmed and 'burn-out' doing ALL of that. Then I told him that I'm really looking forward to a 'girls weekend' next week. He kind of frowned and said "I thought you were going to say that you didn't want to leave us next weekend." HA! HA! No way dude! I gotta get out of here for a day or two. Then I'll come back rejuvenated, and ready to take it all on again!
I think it was the kick-in-the-pants I needed to get me out of my funk. I desperately needed it before the weather hit. Now I'm ready to go into hiding. Start reading again. And get nice and fat on hot chocolate!
So I have found a warm and safe place, gathered my nuts, and I'm ready to hunker down this winter. Hey... I've even grown extra fur... for warmth that is. In a week I could be sitting in a messy house and watching some trashy daytime show... but I'll have this moment to look back on.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Basic Survival

For FHE this week I did the lesson :)
Everyone in my family knows that I'm a bit crazy about food storage. I'm not sure what gives me away... the fact that I save receipts on which I save more than I save (usually Albertson's) and mount them like a 1st place ribbon... or that if something is on sale I manage to fill my shopping cart with it.... or that I shop with a 10 page list in my hand, excitedly crossing things off and making notes. Not to mention that I talk about it non-stop!
No really, it has been great to skip shopping for a few weeks and know that grabbing some things in the basement will give me what I need for a great meal. Besides milk, eggs, and a couple loaves of bread... I stretched my grocery shopping longer than I may ever have.
Anyways... I wanted to get preachy for a moment. (I won't make a habit of it!)
We have had lessons on Survival and Food Storage quite a bit lately. So when I got into it, I could see their eyes and minds drifting. We discussed our 72 hour kits and why we have food in the basement.
After an overview on why we need these things... we talked about our Spiritual Survival. Things we NEED to survive. I went into what our spirit might need in an emergency... and how we can store things for our spirit, in case something terrible happens.
So what terrible things can happen that would threaten the survival of our spirit? How about being abused by someone you love. The unwarranted death of a loved one. Divorce. Or simply going through hard times. Anything negative in which it seems easy to blame the Lord, or ask why me?
Life isn't fair. I think that I personally have been blessed with many great things in my life, but I have also gone through so many things of which I have felt I "didn't deserve". There have been times when my soul has gone through serious deprivation.

"Blessed are
they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness: for they shall be filled." -Matthew 5:6

When my body is deprived of food or water... there are obvious sights (and sounds) of issues. My stomach growls, I get weak or shaky, my pee is brown... you know... that good stuff. I will admit that there have been days, not many... obviously, when I have forgotten to eat. I'm doing my thing, and I all-of-a-sudden feel different. Then it dawns on me that I forgot to eat before I left the house.
I'm not good at reading the signs that my spirit is deprived. I forget to feed it. It kind of sneaks up on me. Too many times I have become weak without even realizing it. Then there have been times when I've really needed it, and I realize I'm not as well stocked as I thought I was.

"And Jesus said unto them, I am the bread of life: he that cometh to me shall never hunger; and he that believeth on me shall never thirst" -John 6:35

In our crazy world, big things are changing. People are in heated debates over so many different topics. There are extremes on both sides of every debate. I think there are less fence-sitters, and things are becoming more black-and-white. I think that people in glass houses are throwing stones, and I feel that the difference of accepting and tolerating are both lacking the basics of respecting each other.
I will admit that it scares me a bit to think of the world my children will live in. But amongst all the 'craziness' (and I've come across some real extremes lately) we have to remember the things we DO have control over. We personally can't control much of what will shape our future... but we can control how we handle what happens, and managing the resources we have.
Both spiritually and physically, we can build what we need to survive tough times. "If ye are prepared ye shall not fear" Regardless of what we believe, none of us want to fear what's ahead.
President Benson talked about our food storage being as essential to us, in our day... as building an ark was to Noah. Whoa...
I can testify that making physical preparedness a priority in my life, has helped me to not fear. I realize that crazy things can still happen, and I can still go through really tough times in my future. But God has eased my fears. As soon as I committed to preparedness as a priority in my life, he has made things happen. I think he was waiting for me, probably anxiously, to just cross that line and dive in. Food storage scared me, it felt overwhelming, and I didn't think that financially we could do it. With the Lord's help... I can testify that all things are possible.
The obstacles from becoming better prepared spiritually are different for me. Sadly, they aren't necessarily HARD, I just need to make it a higher priority. In comparison to food storage... It starts small. I feel like I've got a ways to get my full one-year supply, but I maybe have more of 3 month supply. I know that some people haven't started... but it starts small. You might be surprised at what you can gather for... say a 72-hour kit. Do you believe in God? (matches) Do you know you are a child of God? (poncho...99 cents) Do you pray? (flashlight... maybe you just need new batteries?)
All I'm saying is that spiritual preparedness is just as important as physical preparedness. The thought of starving my body sounds miserable, but the consequence of starving my spirit is eternally fatal. I think about my children's dependence on what I can give them... both physically and spiritually. They rely on me to provide for them. (But that's a whole other post in and of itself.)
As Miss MaGoo said "If you starve to death, you can just die and go to heaven.... But if you starve your spirit... you won't be able to go to the Celestial Kingdom." I thought she said it best. Love her awesome spirit.
Whew! Just some food for thought... ha, no pun intended.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Wishes. Fishes. Cigars

Since becoming anonymous I have a hard time following friends and family's blogs. Private blogs are the hardest, because any invitation I got was accepted by my old account. So I have to log into my old account to look at their blogs... bummer. And I removed my blogroll from my old blog before I transferred them all over... suck. How can you ask everyone to email you and invitation... again? And I know there are people I have forgotten to add to my blogroll... crap.
I have toyed with the idea of being a little more public about being private. Things are not so scary around here anymore... or maybe I'm just oblivious to situations around me. (Which is A-OKAY for me!) People have commented that they wish I still blogged, or miss me. I don't know what to say. I'm not one to lie... but what's the point of anonymous if you're not anonymous?
Argh... what to do!
I had thought I had good reasons to change things up. I will admit that feeling anonymous does seem more secure. I feel a little more free in writing, but I realize that using my blog as my personal therapy still comes at a price.
I miss posting cute pics of my kidlets. But I still take hundreds and enjoy the real-life moments.
I have commented on a few blogs, but it's weird. Probably more for them than for me! I assume that people close to me know me... or I leave an anonymous comment assuming that's okay. But anonymous comments freak people out. And you know what they say about when you assume... ass... you.. me. And unfortunately I did make an ass out of myself once already.
Here's the thing... In a perfect world this would be my situation...
The people who I love would know who Mr. and Mrs. Smith were. The people involved in my life lessons and experiences may happen to read, but not know who Mrs. Smith is. The people who have problems with me would just not read my blog. And any strangers or blog stalkers could read and not care either way. (and I would never feel vulnerable or violated)
If wishes were fishes! (Mr. Smith adds... "I'd smoke a cigar"... whatever that means!) If wishes were fishes I would own an aquarium.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Living in the Milky Way

Life is like a box of chocolates... right?

I feel like I am constantly working on being less judgmental. Of others. Of myself.

I had pretty much made my mind up on what I thought of Miss MaGoo's teacher. Our first encounter wasn't the most positive experience... most likely for both of us.
Miss MaGoo shed some tears in the first few weeks of school. She was, well... quite intimidated and frankly scared of her teacher. This teacher is what I would call a 'barker'. In my opinion, that in-and-of-itself is not a bad thing. I think of myself as a 'barker'... meaning I tend to bark at my kids. I'm not a 'sweet talker' and I don't sugar-coat anything for anyone.
Miss MaGoo and I had some long talks about different forms of discipline, threats, and fear. Her 'ah-ha moment' was when she realized that going to the Principal's office wouldn't kill her... and then I said "Ya know what the absolute WORST thing they could do to you is?" Her eyes got real big and in a whisper-type voice she asked..."what?" I got close to her face and said "They will... CALL ME!" She giggled and smiled at me. Then she laughed "Well that's not scary!"... EXACTLY!
This teacher has been good for Miss MaGoo, and she needs to learn how to handle the different types of personalities of people she'll come across in life.

So when I went in for Parent/Teacher Conference, I thought I had this teacher nailed. She's very strict, blunt, and rules with fear. She's not the most tolerant or the most patient. When she started to compliment Miss MaGoo I was taken back a bit. Miss MaGoo is a sweetheart, no doubt about that! She is very kind and always thoughtful of others feelings. She's not in any way aggressive or brash. And while she cut our visit very short, she explained how disrespectful she thought it was to make people wait. She technically had 12 minutes with each parent, but said that she can't take more than 10. (5 with me... even though nobody was waiting)
I guess that I wasn't expecting this particular teacher to credit or notice the good in my daughter. Being as critical as she is, I had pegged her wrong.
My eyes were opened even wider when I spent the next day helping in the classroom.
While I sat in the back of the room renewing my fine motor skills (cutting and coloring) I listened to a rowdy and somewhat distracting bunch of kiddo's. Many thoughts ran through my head... long it had been since I used scissors to cut out shapes... and how I was struggling I had judged this teacher without knowing her day-to-day obstacles

She came back and visited with me few times. One of the times letting me know how much better she's been feeling lately. She has a blood disorder that makes her extremely irritable and gives her anger issues. "Uh... Okay." was all that came out of my mind, and mouth for the moment. (It was going to take me minute to process.) She said it just like that! She went on to inform me that on Labor Day weekend her husband told her she was too ornery and needed treatment. (which she does every 3 months or so) It made me laugh and my sarcastic comment was "That's always nice coming from your husband... even if it's true."
This woman shared only a small part of herself with me... but it was enough to teach me a good lesson.
We are not so different from one another.
My husband has to tell me when I'm headed downhill. Heaven knows it's not always received well, but I'm grateful he tells me.
Even knowing one or two of her struggles makes me realize that under her hard shell, she cares and loves... and really does her job well.
I don't know her personal battles, what she goes home to, what she has gone through in life, what she hopes and dreams about, or what she fears in life. I don't know what gave her a hard outer shell, but I know what gave me mine... and I don't think anyone wants to build up those walls. But I do know that she's a wife, a mother, a teacher, a woman, a daughter of God. After spending time her classroom, I know she loves what she does. I may not agree with everything she does, or how she does it... but who knows? Maybe she'll end up being one of my favorite teachers ever? One thing I do know...I'll always remember her as the teacher who taught me to give the benefit of the doubt.

Miss MaGoo is...well... goo. There's no shell around her softness. So as her and I encounter different teachers... some with nuts, some without. Some too sweet for my liking, some that annoy me and stick to my teeth. Dark chocolate, white chocolate... regardless. Under those hard shells is a soft nougat-type center. Remember the nougat.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Know a good Mechanic?

Life is a process of becoming, a combination of states we have to go through. Where people fail is that they wish to elect a state and remain in it. This is a kind of death.
-Anais Nin

This time of year is always hard for me. Aside from the changing season is another underlying problem. I'm not even sure what it really is or where it came from. I know this post will get a little dark, but writing is a good outlet for me. Battling bipolar disorder is not an easy fight to win. It may be disturbing to people, but voices and demons like to live in my head... it's just the way my brain works. The only way to try and explain it is that my brain likes to run at a very high speed. When it's firing on all pistols, there's not room for the bad things. But when my mind slows down... things creep in. As if I somehow picked up unwanted passengers in my backseat. I just have to find a stopping place to drop them off.

Depression is a funny battle. I think that often times I look for a reason of why I might be depressed... and there just isn't one. My cycles aren't super manic anymore... but they go something like this...

First I find myself being less productive. I socially distance myself from people. I start to become more negative and cynical about life. I then find myself being bothered easier, little things drive me crazy... and I don't have the patience to deal with certain things... or certain people who require more maintenance. Internally I start a battle... but outwardly I'm just sluggish. Pretty soon realize that I'm extra tired, and I have a harder time getting out of bed in the morning.

So this is my 'rut'. The funny thing is that sometimes I can get myself out of it pretty quickly, and other times... I can't. Sometimes I can trace it back to an event or experience, and sometimes... I can't. Sometimes I can explain it all, and sometimes... I can't.

It's frustrating because I feel like I really don't have any reason to be depressed. There isn't anything going on in my life to get me down. My kids are doing well, my husband has a job, we can pay the bills, nobody is ill... life is good. I know people who have every right to be depressed, and yet they are positive and moving forward. It feels as if my 'pedal's to the metal' but I can't seem to get over 25 miles per hour.

My level of functioning goes way down. I can only handle one or maybe two things at a time, instead of the normal ten or more things Mom's juggle at once. I've slowly been letting go of things. My housework... making dinner... working (only once a week)... blogging... and many more little things.

I used to get so bad I would let go of showering and eating. Then the car completely stops. Those days don't happen anymore! I can usually recognize the slowing and push myself to 'pick up the pace'! Like a Flintstones car... even if I'm push with my feet... I've got to keep moving! Thanks to modern technology, and fantastic doctors, my 'rut' doesn't get too scary. When things get darker, I'll look back and remember when life used to get really, really dark. Then I don't feel too bad.

But the issue remains... how do I get out?

There are many things I do to try and push myself. I'll exersice...or make myself a daily schedule to organize my life. I'll start a new project. Clean my house. Cook or bake something. Re-arrange all my furniture. Read the scriptures or Ensign articles. Spend too much money on new shoes or something in my house to look at. (Spending money is a type of drug... but that's a whole other issue!) I've tried all of these... and nothing has given my the 'jump start' I need.

Ironically... I ran out of gas yesterday... literally, I ran out of gas in my car. I'm in charge of driving the carpool this week and I couldn't get the kids to school. Sadly, it made me think about being smarter about keeping my tank full. And mentally trying to keep my tank full.

Today is a good day. I love to see the sunshine and even if the air is cold... the sun is shining. I would love to say that today I will conquer the world and get a lot done. But I'll take it one hour at a time...

...try and stay off the couch and away from my warm cozy bed...
...drink some serious caffeine and remember my medications...
...keep my mind on the thinks I am grateful for... at my children...

...and I'll do better than I did yesterday.