Sunday, December 29, 2013

Faith Enough

In this moment... in this today... in this now... my feelings toward God are bleak at best. My faith has been the thing I have clung to my entire life, it has been the thing that has defined me, my relationship with God has made me who I was, am and will be.

But in this moment... in this today... in this now... I feel forsaken. Alone in a vast sea of desert blinded by the pounding sun of my depression, unable to feel anything but the intensity of its heat.

At this point in my depression I have become one big cliche.

And where does God fit into this? Into me? I don't know... and right now I don't care. I am angry.

And yet in this desert, as I drove in the car trying to escape, this song by Jars of Clay played and brought momentary relief from the heat.

The ice is thin enough for walkin'
The rope is worn enough to climb
My throat is dry enough for talkin'
The world is crumblin' but I know why
The world is crumblin' but I know why

The storm is wild enough for sailing
The bridge is weak enough to cross
This body frail enough for fighting
I'm home enough to know I'm lost
Home enough to know I'm lost

It's just enough to be strong
In the broken places, in the broken places
It's just enough to be strong
Should the world rely on faith tonight

The land unfit enough for planting
Barren enough to conceive
Poor enough to gain the treasure
Enough a cynic to believe
Enough a cynic to believe

Confused enough to know direction
The sun eclipsed enough to shine
Be still enough to finally tremble
And see enough to know I'm blind
And see enough to know I'm blind

Should the world rely on faith tonight


Maybe I still have an ounce of faith left to allow myself to be weak in God's presence. Maybe I will allow myself to be scooped up in His arms once again and maybe I can stop trying to control my outcome and just be His child once again... just maybe.




Friday, December 6, 2013

A Year

Today is Nolan's first birthday. First birthdays seem more of a milestone for the parents as opposed to the baby. We are the ones who have kept our babes alive and safe the most vulnerable year of their life, learned to deal with fitting a "stranger" into our family, and have slept half of what we are used to. This is a true celebration for the entire family!

Read Nolan's Birth Story
It has been hard for me to feel fully celebratory today. My jumbled emotions are difficult to sort out and being so in tuned to my feelings can be exhausting.  Last night I sat on the couch with a pint of ice cream (only recommended for certain times in one's life) and tried to ignore all that was going on in my head by staring at the TV.

But it's time to face the facts... this is the one year anniversary of the hardest year I have ever faced. I hate that the birth of my incredible, precious and innocent son has to be tied to the illness that sent my body into the uncontrollable spiral of postpartum depression. It is no one's fault... it couldn't have been avoided... it is an illness... BUT I hate that it has to be this way.

When I look back through pictures of Nolan's first days, first months, first year... it is hard to not focus on the pain I had been feeling during those days. Part of me feels I have missed out on many moments of my baby's first year. I was so swallowed up in despair I couldn't truly enjoy my sweet blessing. I was so overcome with my illness that I no longer wanted to be here for him, for my daughter, for my husband. The reality of those thoughts still haunt me.

And now my Nolan is growing up... he will not stay a baby. Every day moves forward and though I desperately want to keep kissing those baby cheeks I know that they will lose their baby puffiness.

I can sit here and feel overwhelmed about all I have endured or I can look at the real truth of my situation. I DID have moments of joy even in the midst of great suffering. Dhrumil reminds me of this often... he reminds me how he saw me with the kids and watched genuine smiles, selfless love and unending kisses flow from me. I just re-watched the video I created about seeing myself as beautiful ... praise God that not all was lost in this year!

It is time to take a step back. I give Nolan to God. I thank Him for the precious, joyful, happy, loving, adventurous, mama's boy that he is! Is he not proof enough that I have flourished in darkness to rear my son this past year!? I pray I can look ahead to all God has in store for my son. I pray that I can be still, be now and enjoy who he is today. I pray that I have the continued strength to put one foot in front of the other and model God's amazing grace and love to my children.

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Perfection

Perfection isn't possible!

Go ahead and try, but it is not going to work.

I believe perfection means different things to different people. To me it means: (on any given day and in so many words)

Having happy kids who are happy because they ate amazing organic healthy meals I cooked all day long after I cleaned the house, organized the already organized closets, exercised and felt full of energy. My cleaning of the house and exercising didn't get in the way of my quality time with the happy kids who were not only played with but taught many useful life skills through crafts and reading. Throughout the day I felt confident in my mothering and knew without an ounce of doubt that being home with my children was the correct and most fulfilling thing I could be doing with my life. After work my happy husband would come home to a dinner on the table with happy kids laughing and telling daddy what an amazingly fulfilling day it was. After having a happy bedtime with the kids bathed, read to, prayed with and taught more life skills through memorized Bible verses, Dhrumil and I would have happy talk listening fully to one another and understanding each other and go to bed feeling awed by our lives. Oh not to mention I would have had time to make a gesture that showed how fully invested I am in my friends and family.

Setting the bar a bit to high do you think?

The reality of my life does not look like and will NEVER look like what I sometimes find myself  trying to strive for... but isn't that the point? We can never have the "perfect" life and the culture we live in doesn't help.

How often have you felt bad about yourself or your day after reading Facebook statuses, seeing pins  on Pinterest, reading articles about how so and so lost all her baby weight plus 100 more and now has the best abs of her life only after THREE MONTHS after having a baby, read a blog post about how to parent the RIGHT way or see Instagram photos of smiling children behaving in a fine-dinning restaurant?

It is all too much to take in!!!  The distorted view one may already have of needing to strive for their own individual perfection is further distorted but the glaring headlines of what we SHOULD be like.

An imperfect day!
And so that is why it is important to understand that life is messy and imperfect and that is what it is meant to be. Social media can be great, but know that it is not full reality, just glimpses at some happy moments people may be having. Let us be joyful for them and not compare ourselves because we are all in different places at different times.

We will never be perfect until heaven and even then God's perfection is something beautiful and glorious and maybe not at all what we may have in mind.

So for now I will keep moving through my day rejoicing if my kids actually eat the one semi-organic meal I put before them, loving the fact that my imaginative daughter turns turkey craft projects into snow men and enjoying the warmth of my husband's chest I lay on as we watch TV at night unable to speak on word to each other out of exhaustion.



Setbacks

The higher you climb... the farther you may fall.

So why do we climb? What makes us keep going? After being knocked down so many times why don't we just give up!?

Is it a sense of survival? Are we fools to trust that we may, one day, make it to the top? And what is at the top when we get there? Will it be worth it? Or will it just be the beginning of another mountain that needs to be climbed?

At this moment in time my mountain is the cursed postpartum depression. Yes today it is cursed to me... today I hate the illness and it is hard to see the blessings that are shinning beneath the darkness.

Enduring the setbacks of depression is insanely hard because of the Catch-22. While feeling an overwhelming sense of hopelessness I am also frustrated beyond anything that I am once again in this situation which leads to annoyance of myself which leads to feeling worse... it's like being stuck in a web with no way out.

Dare I kick my feet hard enough to loosen the web of depression so I can again climb the mountain? Is it worth it!?

At least this time I know the way up...

Monday, November 4, 2013

My Prayer

I hear sounds of the ticking clock in the kitchen, Curious George in the front room and the creak of the fireplace as it spits out warmth onto my cold feet. The smell of a pumpkin spice plugin infiltrates my nostrils as the heat from my computer radiates over my lap. I stare at this blog post waiting for my thoughts to form a coherent thought for me to type out. This is now... I am here... I am present.

Since my hospital stay three months ago I have practiced staying present-minded so frequently that it is now second nature. If anything, mindfulness has been an amazing gift I was blessed with through my whole ordeal.

Being now takes focus. I still falter every day but as I continue to practice I have found peace in not worrying about what is next. My anxious thoughts are taken away, my overwhelming state is calmed, I just have to deal with what is right now. God has given me the strength to give the next moments to Him and treasure the gift of life that He has given to me every day.  

"Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; our about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes? Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or stow away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life?" 
Matt 6: 25 - 27

My amazing friend captured moments for us
As I see myself coming out on the other side of postpartum depression, I am amazed to find a different
person. A person who has grown and is continuing to grow. A person who has been changed by the darkest hours of life and has emerged victorious, blessed and grateful for life. I know setbacks will come, I know life will do it's thing,  sin will do it's thing, but in the end God is victorious.

Listen... as you are full aware, life isn't perfect. I still struggle on a daily basis to be fully confident in the person God is creating me to be. I continue to have days of endless questioning the ways in which God works. It can still be hard to fully trust. Though I am healing from this illness, I still have mountains to climb. However, I feel as though I am now prepared with the proper climbing equipment as opposed to taking the mountain with just the clothes on my back. 

The other day I heard Jesus Draw Me Ever Nearer on the radio. During my darkest days, and when I wasn't busy being angry at God, I clung to the words in this song. I am now praying on a daily basis that I remember all I have been learning on my journey. The highlighted parts below are what I am feeling right now... 

Jesus draw me ever nearer.
As I labor through the storm.
You have called me to this passage,
and I'll follow, though I'm worn.

May this journey be a blessing,
May I rise on wings of faith;
And at the end of my heart's testing;
With your likeness let me wake.

Jesus guide me through the tempest;
Keep my spirit staid and sure.
When the midnight meets the morning,
Let me love you even more.

Let the treasures of the trial
Form within me as I go -
And at the end of this long passage,
Let me leave them at your throne.

Sunday, October 27, 2013

A few Disney Photos - Debunked

As you may know... I am all about being real. I am going to post some photos of Disney and our time in Florida on Facebook, as well as create a photo book for our family to remember. However I wanted to remember some of the funny stories behind the pictures... 


Ready for breakfast with Mickey... before this picture Mikayla wouldn't stop running around
Annnd they were scared of Minnie

We were at a character breakfast and I was the one who had to smile with the characters!
 
We went on Dumbo two times... Mikayla loved!

Loved seeing how interested Nolan was in the brass band

The both fell asleep at the same time the first day... 

Mommy was more excited about the Minnie ears and the Swiss Family Robinson tree house

She didn't want to talk to Cinderella and so Dhrumil and I had to make small talk with Cindy

Nolan's first girlfriend

Well she smiled for this one... lunch in the castle was a bit stressful but had lovely moments... all pictures with princesses had to be with me. 

More excited about her chocolate

This cracks me up... she wasn't the happiest princess in the castle... but what do you expect from a three year old who has been at the park all day in 95 degree weather?

Standing in line for more characters... Dhrumil was tired

We asked a stranger to take this picture... she had to wait a few minutes while we tried to rally the troops

A delicious lunch in Italy... one tired little girl

M insisted we take this picture in China

She got this parasol because I got one when I was little... she didn't really care about it ;-)

And she was done in France... it was hard to get her off the ground... but I was still having fun!

Dreams DO Come True

When one thinks of Disney World phrases come to mind such as... "the happiest place on earth" "a place where dreams come true" "magical"... it's as if nothing but happiness should come from such a place.

We were originally supposed to travel to Florida in early September,  but since I was still in my
intensive therapy we decided to push it off. I didn't know how I could travel to such a place of happiness when I still felt so horrible. My "dream" for the vacation was that I would be more stable in my recovery, have the ability to enjoy myself and be the best I could be in that moment for my family.

The week before we left was difficult for me. Though I continued focusing on the "now" I was feeling overwhelmed with every day life. I decided, with no judgment on myself, to take a step back from social obligations (my therapist encouraged me that I was not isolating) and instead spent a whole week packing a little at a time, enjoying the kids and just being silent when possible.

Ready for Dumbo!
My expectations of the trip? I had none! I guess my thinking pattern has changed so drastically that I just went with the moments. Was our time at Disney perfect? Um what do you think? Even if you weren't at the park with two little kids... the possibility that someone was going to stand in front of you while you were trying to catch a glimpse of Cinderella was bound to happen making your day not has happy as it could have been.

In the end the family time we shared on the most magical place on earth went above and beyond anything I could have hoped for... could have even dreamed for.  While in the pits of my postpartum depression I felt as though I could never truly be me again. And I guess you could say I found myself... an even more amazing self... at Disney.

My journey through this illness has truly been given a gift... a different perspective on life. I feel as
though I have been instilled wisdom beyond my years. It is what I do with the wisdom that counts. God has blessed me with a new start. Our time at Disney solidified that I am getting better and as I continue to take life as it comes I pray my growth doesn't end!
Meeting Donald
Cindy! As I call her now...
Minnie is coming to our table!
Delicious food in "Italy" with a sleeping Nolan

Saturday, October 5, 2013

Still here... still fighting

Not much new over in ElisaBeth land to share. I just finished my fourth "normal" week since July and honestly I guess I thought I'd be a little farther in my recovery. Maybe I thought I would be cured by now... and I'm not.

The waiting game... the continued chance encounter of a good or bad day... the frustrating mornings when I'm not sure how I can move through the day, much less move two little souls along with me... the random lows... the panic attacks... and so on and so on and so on... just thought I'd be over them.

Honestly I have been extremely upset at God these past few weeks. "GOD WHY am I still suffering so? I haven't been able to be a mother of two without this illness, I feel as though I have missed so much of life these past months! Haven't I worked so very very hard for myself, for my family? Haven't I asked for help? Haven't I sought you in all of this!?" These very questions have shaken the faith that I have stood on my entire life. They have even made me think... is He real?! Is he true? Am I loved!?

The kids were melting down, a family picture wasn't going to happen,
and YET I was in the now.... I was happy I was me!
And yet I feel that in my suffering, through my tough questions, in my moments where I feel as though I may not believe anymore... GOD is doing a great work in me! HE IS! He can take our anger, He can take our fear, He can take it and He has taken it. My faith will be even stronger after this storm has passed because my questions will be... are being... answered.

How can we grow if we do not question? My growth has been tremendous the past months... rebuilding myself, understanding who I am, understanding what it means to have a mental illness, identifying with others who have similar illnesses, navigating through a sea of those who do not but who are trying to help me, navigating through a sea of those who do not understand at all, seeing myself for who I am now.

So here I am. I have good days, I have bad. I have wonderful mommy moments, I have mommy moments I wish to forget. I am a loving wife, I am a selfish wife. Hey... this actually sounds pretty normal!

Keep on fighting, keep on questioning and keep on believing that YOU are special, amazing, loved and treasured by a God who knows you inside and out. We are all suffering in one form or another. Isn't it amazing that one day our suffering will be over and we will be filled with JOY forever and ever and ever and ever!? AMEN!!!!!!

Monday, September 16, 2013

Friday, September 13, 2013

A Week

Today marks a completed first full week that I have been home all day with the kids since my stay in the hospital. I can't believe it had been 7 weeks since taking part in a "normal" week at home.

Was it a perfect week? Um no... who can ever say they have had a perfect week? Especially a mom of two young kids? Was it a good week? YES! I can say with confidence that it was. It is such a wonderful feeling to feel like oneself again...

The "keys" to my success this week?

- Hung out with friends every day
- Knew my support system of friends and husband were only a call away
- Didn't try to set unreachable goals for myself
- Was fully aware of how things effected me
- Got messy with Mikayla
- Let Nolan eat mulch (well to an extent)
- Spent time outside with the kids
- Didn't think ahead!
- Worked on staying in the moment
- Finished each day by telling myself all of the positive things that I did that day
- Asked God for patience
- Drank a lot of Starbucks ;-) (jk... well actually I did... I just told Dhrumil it was a needed coping skill)
- Met with a new therapist, set a plan for going forward, met again with my psychiatrist (all safety nets in place and making me feel secure!)
- Had amazing friends check in on me with texts and emails
- Enjoyed and afternoon with my mom
- Didn't second guess myself!!! (what a challenge)
- Tried to see myself through God's eyes... a beautiful, intelligent woman

The depression and anxiety? Still there... but I am so thankful to God for the ability to charge ahead despite it and also to have more mild symptoms this week. Spending 90 hours...wow 90... of intensive therapy/work, soul searching, soul digging, renewing of my mind, smashing of the negativism, building my self back up... WHATEVER you want to call it... in the span of 7 weeks... it helped! Thank GOD it helped. And I am so very proud of myself for sticking with it.

The road? Still long and bumpy with curves and dips up ahead. But tomorrow is another day, and then there will be another week and yet another and I will continue on. Trying to remember all I have learned and enjoying the moments of clarity that are coming more frequently!

Soli Deo Gloria!

Some of this week


Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Victory!

I did it! No seriously... I did it!

I have learned to celebrate the small victories in my life... even if it means taking a moment to mentally jump up and down because I took a deep patient breath after Mikayla dropped a glass into my bathtub and two weeks later I am still finding tiny pieces of glass whilst trying to relax in a cloud of bubbles.

So I decided to celebrate my victory today by writing a post.

To preface... Mikayla has a cold, Nolan's nose is a runny faucet and he is getting four teeth at once and Dhrumil (my man who has been doing EVERYTHING for me) is the sickest one out of all of them.

Last night before bed was extremely difficult for me which led to a horrible night of sleep. This morning I had no idea how I would get through the day feeling physically and emotionally drained with two sick babes and an out of service hubby. BUT I did it!

Target Time!
With God by my side I was filled with an energy that I didn't think I could muster. I took each moment at a time and instead of setting lofty goals like keeping the house spotless and everyone laughing all day... I chose to just keep the kitchen clean and take the kid's as they were.

I was able to stay positive even while wrestling Nolan to wipe his nose and waiting for Mikayla to chose the perfect outfit to wear for the day. I even thoroughly enjoyed myself because I left all judgement of myself at the door.

I was able to send my hubby to bed when he came home from work, put the kids to bed bathed and happy and then take a moment to feel good about my day.

Thank you Jesus! Though seemingly small from the outside perspective... I just climbed a mountain today and am still smiling!

My Courage

Patch Adams, Girl Interrupted, A Beautiful Mind, The Snake Pit... these movies were my points of reference for what a mental hospital was supposed to be like. Never in my wildest dreams did I ever think I would end up in one.

But I did...

Courage is defined as the following: mental or moral strength to venture, persevere and withstand danger, fear, or difficulty. 

Courage was the last thing I thought I had when I admitted myself into the hospital. I was in crisis and my mind had seemingly run away with any control I might have had left. I no longer wanted to fight and paralyzed by the feelings of being unworthy of my family, friends and even my God... I felt hopeless beyond anything I thought possible. It was as if I was watching myself fall apart... and yet... a small small voice within screamed out for help.

The act of asking for help was the most courageous thing I have ever done. I see that now. In my weakest moment I was STRONG!


The hospital was NOT like I had envisioned... the patients were some of the most courageous people I have ever met. They showed compassion to me from the very start... these people were dealing with their own sicknesses... most without support... and they still took time to ask how I was doing, to give me a reassuring smile, to tell me it would get better. Even when the darkness of depression seemed to overwhelm us, we sought each other and knew that we were not alone in our fight.

Mental illness is real... mental illness is an illness, it is a sickness! I was so judgmental before... even in my first moments at the hospital... looking around at those on my wing thinking how I was not like them. I judged them!

I left a different person.

True courage is asking for help. True courage is looking at all of the dirt built up within you and
working moment by moment to clean it up. True courage is accepting where you are at, even if it is in the midst of an illness that is unlike anything you have ever dealt with.

I have seen the dull eyes of those in pain, I have seen my own eyes staring back filled with despair... and yet I have also seen the small light of courage shine through all of it.

I am grateful for that. I am thankful to God for this journey because through it I have come to understand so so much.

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Dementors and Roundabout - This is Where I'm At

I have been out of blog "service" for the past few weeks because I went on vacation last week (post on that to come) and my three days a week of Intensive Outpatient Therapy are exhausting and draining.

My IOP days comprise of sitting in a windowless room filled with depressed and anxious people and participating in six grueling hours of group therapy. Don't get me wrong... it is helping SO much... but digging deep into my soul for any positive affirmation of myself that may be left and any "green sprout" of self worth and respect that can be captured, nurtured and coxed to grow in such a hazardous wasteland is not my idea of a good time.  

Look at it this way (and here is my wonderful Harry Potter analogy) it is as if a Dementor* is sucking my soul out and in therapy I am trying everything in me to produce a patronus charm** in order to get it away and move on.

HP Definitions:
* Dementor (aka depression) - a non being that feeds off of human happiness. They drain the peace, hope and happiness out of the air around them. They leave nothing left but a shell of a person behind.
** Patronus Charm (aka my fight) - The spell that gets rid of a dementor - one must think of the happiest memory to produce it

And so that brings me to today and where I'm at in my recovery... and what will I use to describe it? Another analogy of course!

This morning at the playground the roundabout caught my eye and I had an AH-HA moment. It is as if I am stuck in the middle and it is turning so fast that everything is blurry. There is no possibility of me getting off because of the speed and though I am trying my hardest to creep towards the end to slow it down a source of gravity keeps throwing me back in the middle.

Sometimes the roundabout slows down as progress is made through therapy, journaling, prayer, family and friends help... I am able to grasp a glimpse of hope, or am able to accomplish a little goal such as being alone with the kids all day by myself, making a meal or organizing the toys... but then it starts up again going faster and faster, making me dizzier and dizzier. Creating disorientation and a lack of clarity.

That's it... that's where I am. I see progress and yet I don't. I feel like a broken record to those around me... the symptoms persist though I am able to cope with more strength. It is a battle in the mind and it is unyielding, unsympathetic and ruthless.

I guess I will just hold on to the center of the roundabout while the "ride" continues and work on perfecting my patronus charm. ;-)


Friday, August 9, 2013

Stand Tall

Feeling defeated has been the trend of the week. As I lay down trying to escape the enormity of all I was facing this came to me...

It is all going to be ok
It is all going to be alright
You are going to get through this
You are going to fight

God has your back
He has your hand
He won't leave your side
When you fall He will stand

So do not fear and take courage
Though the battle wages on
You are going to win
Because YOU ARE STRONG!

You are YOU, no one else
You are precious to all
So be empowered and move
And remember to stand tall

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Courage Under Fire - a husband's perspective


The definition of courage in the Webster dictionary is “mental or moral strength to venture, persevere, and withstand danger, fear, or difficulty.”  

The TRUTHS about my ElisaBeth:
  • Beautiful
  • Passionate
  • Funny – very Funny
  • Artistic (Musical)
  • Great listener and challenger
  • Devoted to her family and kids
  • The best mother (I couldn’t have envisioned a better mom for my kids!)
  • Intelligent
  • Organized
  • Confident!
  • Great writer & speaker

Honestly, so many more things!  

The frustrating thing, for me as a husband, in this journey with PPD is how the traits of this disease are the direct opposite of what I just listed above.  And in the weakest moments I’ve noticed that it’s very difficult to differentiate between the two for ElisaBeth.  The relentlessness of depression is undeniable.  But the courage and fight from ElisaBeth is also unquestionable.  The new personality trait that goes to the very top is the COURAGEOUS woman my wife is!

I am not a professional that knows all the ins and outs of depression, but as I’ve gone through this journey with ElisaBeth, I’ve seen the destructive lonely disease it is and I honestly hate it.  I despise how this disease is constantly trying to overtake the truths about the individual and replacing them with complete false statements about who they are.

A couple weeks ago is when this attack from PPD was full force.  The response from ElisaBeth is the greatest act of love I have ever received from anyone.  She had immense courage to tell me what was going on and all the ensuing doctors, and go to a hospital for a few days to sort through all that PPD was doing.   When the depression was the strongest it’s ever been, you’d think that the only response would be to wave the white flag, instead what happened was a little warrior woman running around inside of ElisaBeth yelling “Hell no, not on my watch, YOU will never take over!”

I think both of us still really struggle with the reasons why God is allowing this to happen to one of His precious, but the power of His response in this is overwhelming.  As ElisaBeth mentioned in her recent post, the support & love from old friends around the country and new friends in PA has been amazing.  The power of prayer is real and I don’t think I’ve ever witnessed the realistic power like I have the past couple of weeks.  

I share this post to anyone going through his, especially the spouses of those going through it to let you know that you aren’t alone.  Your wife is a hero for going through this for your family.  It’s NOT your fault and it’s NOT her fault.  We live in a fallen world where all kinds of diseases are possible.  

We WILL get through this and the work that God is doing in our marriage and in us individually is something we will relish.  But for now, I have a peace that only comes from above and grateful for the courage He has given her to withstand the pressure of depression.  

Thank you God and thank you ElisaBeth for letting me see what real courage is. 




Happiness

Thought I would post something joyful... I look at my life right now and it seems pretty much in the pits, but when I look upon my gorgeous children and handsome hubby I have moments of clarity and happiness. And so I share with you... Mikayla 3 years old and 5 months and Nolan 8 months old and 1 day.

They, along with Dhrumil, are what keep me going in my fight against PPD!

My two!

Mikayla wanted to take pictures in the crib with her "friends"

Siblings for life

"mama I love my brother"

Nolan's favorite thing.... his thumb

Nolan can clap now!

Oh dear looks like they are hatching a plan... maybe to not take a nap?

What are you looking at?

Saturday, August 3, 2013

Support


Staring at the screen... trying to un-jumble all of the thoughts in my head so I can write something that makes sense... all I know is the overwhelming feeling that is grabbing me right now. That feeling is one of warmth and love... love that I have felt from the support I have gotten since I have been home.

The support from friends, family, people I don't even know... the prayers, the emails, the cards, the flowers, the meals, the kind words, the childcare, the hugs, the listening ears... I have been blessed beyond anything I could ever think possible.

I have seen the love of God pour out through ALL of you and because of this I have been given the strength to continue my fight.

Thank you for showing me how precious I am in the eyes of God. Each moment I have is so much more real and so much more a gift to me then ever before.

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Evenings

Evenings are usually the toughest for me. I am physically, mentally and spiritually exhausted and my guard is down. Since I've been home from the hospital my hardest battles seem to come after 7pm. Negative thoughts want to overwhelm me and drown out anything positive that happened during the day.

Even now as I try to write this my entire self is screaming "JUST STOP THINKING!" It is so hard not be frustrated with the lack of energy I have right now and this has been plaguing me this evening. Thankfully a nurse at the intensive outpatient program I started today said something that really hit home... she said to think about what I went through last week as surgery and I needed a recovery time. My body needs time to recover from the mental exhaustion and though I may look perfectly fine, I really needed to give myself a break.

And so, as difficult as it may be, I am trying to give myself the ability to stop and not try to do everything. This is SO hard for me, but I feel that through this whole experience that is one more lesson I have to learn and that I can carry on with me once I have beat this storm.

When the negative thoughts come at night and the darkness seems overwhelming as they are now I refer back to Pslam 139, particularly verses 11 and 12...

                      If I say, “Surely the darkness will hide me
                                   and the light become night around me,”
12                       even the darkness will not be dark to you;
                                          the night will shine like the day,
                                             for darkness is as light to you.


Last night a picture came to me after I read this passage. God is the big spotlight lighting my path through the darkness. What a comforting thought!

Happy moment today

Sunday, July 28, 2013

I'm Me!

Many days it's been hard to find the true ElisaBeth amidst the depression. It has been a struggle to differentiate between the two. Part of me wants to yell at myself for the loss of control I sometimes feel and the other part wants to give myself a hug and say that it's not my fault.

With the stigma attached to mental illness, depression and postpartum depression, I believe it is hard to understand what it really is... I know I had no idea until experiencing it myself. I wish the cure to depression was as easy as just being happy, just pulling it together, just making the most of what you have...  but it's not.

I have the most amazing God, husband, kids, family, friends, support, place to live, dog, me time, car (you get the picture)... and yet I still continue to fight on a daily basis to get better. This can be extremely frustrating, especially when I get caught in the cycle of blaming myself about the depression and that I just need to get over it already.

Mental illness is just that... an illness. And so, though I continue to struggle to still truly understand it, I know that like any other illness it will take time. Like any healing... work needs to be done and a sense of determination needs to be had in order to stay on the positive side while in the midst of crap.

And so who am I during this storm in life? My therapist in the hospital said something that really stuck with me... I need to just accept where I'm at right now. Soon it will be over, soon I will not have to fight so hard, but right now this is me and I'm an incredible and courageous fighter who wants to get better for her family, friends and especially for herself!

I'm ME!
If I roar like a lion (roar) 
Does it make me a lion?
If I bark like a dog (ruff ruff)
Does it make me a dog?
If I hiss like a snake (hiss)
Does it make me a snake?

No, no, no, no
I'm so much more than 
You can see
I have LIFE inside of me
That makes me move, feel and
love
I can act a certain way
And do all sort of things but in 
the end
I'm me, I'm me, I'm me

- Excerpt from Song I'm ME! by Charlie Hope


Friday, July 26, 2013

Hope

The past few days have been the absolute hardest in my fight against PPD. I feel like I write that sentence at the beginning of many of my posts, but this time I don't think I could sink any lower.

I may elaborate a bit more in some of my future posts, but the fact is that I had to stay in a hospital for a few days. At the beginning of my stay I was angry at God, felt abandoned by Him and didn't understand how He could let this happen to me. At the end of my stay my  heart was changed once again and I felt hope and fight in me that could only come from Him.

This morning before I left to come home I opened my devotion and read this:
What I drew this morning before leaving

Hope is a golden cord connecting you to heaven. This cord helps you hold your head up high, even when multiple trials are buffeting you. I never leave your side, and I never let go of your hand. But with-out the cord of hope, your head may slump and your feet may shuffle as you journey uphill with Me. Hope lifts your perspective from your weary feet to the glorious view you can see from the high road. You are reminded that the road we're traveling together is ultimately a highway to heaven. When you consider this radiant destination, the roughness or smoothness of the road ahead becomes much less significant. I am training you to hold in your heart a dual focus: My continual Presence and the hope of heaven. 

- Jesus Calling

Thank you for those who have been praying for me. I have felt bathed in God's love today after leaving the hospital. The moments I have shared with my children and my husband have been some of the most precious I have ever had. 

I have hope that I will continue to have the courage and strength to fight this illness and get better. With God's help I will win!

Saturday, July 13, 2013

Let's Have a Party

I feel like devoting a post to a pity party.

Though this may not be the mature, correct and helpful thing to do I believe it is necessary for me at this moment.

And so...

You're Invited to ElisaBeth's Pity Party!
Where? Right Here
When? Right Now
What? A non-celebration of how frustrating Postpartum Depression can be
Why? Because... it sucks

This evening my wonderful husband didn't blink twice when I asked if I could head out alone for the last five hours of the day. He was left to conquer feeding the baby peas and a bottle, putting both kids to bed while simultaneously dealing with the sweet and salty attitude of our three year old who is coming off of being sick. I am so thankful to be able to leave on a whim and know that Dhrumil has everything under control at home. I feel that this freedom of leaving really helps me at times.

After seeing Despicable Me 2 (which was very funny), grabbing a burrito and then reading magazines (such as Time and Psychology Today in which I hoped would help keep my brain working on things besides the color of baby poo) at the bookstore, I decided to peruse the depression aisle.

***DISCLAIMER: When one searches the depression aisle one should probably not have the expectation of feeling happier after one skims books on this topic.***

There were no books on PPD and so I decided to check out a few on "mainstream" depression. After reading one section of a book on what one needs to do to not feel so tired... I dropped my hands in defeat and just stared at the shelves of books in front of me. They blurred into one large blob and that's when it hit me... again...

WHY do I have deal with this!? WHY now!? WHY WHY WHY!? WHY can't life just be simple!?

***DISCLAIMER: I know that everyone everywhere deals with something and many may have much worse situations than myself, but this is my pity party and so I will continue on in this manner for a few more paragraphs***

I am learning to be a mom of two, I am learning to stay at home with my kids, I am learning to live in a new place, I am learning to understand who I am in these situations, I am still healing from carrying life for nine months, I am still sustaining life by nursing my child, I am a wife, I am a cleaner, I am a cook, I am the lawn service, I am a dog walker, I am, I am , I am...

And so WHY do I have deal with this blasted postpartum depression on top of it all!? Life is challenging enough... really. And this author in this book has the GAUL to tell me I have to do a whole list of other things on top of my normal day to day to just try to get back to being normal!?

No wonder those who are depressed want to just sit and stare into the oblivion... it can just be too much to handle sometimes.

I digress...

Tomorrow is a new day, tomorrow I will wake up and though I can not predict if I will be able to pop right out of bed and move ahead or if I will have to muster all of the strength left in me just to sit up, tomorrow I will no longer pity myself. I will be ready to once again fight the fight against this illness. I will continue to try with all of my heart to smile and laugh when my daughter does a silly dance, to inhale the sweet baby perfume of my son's breath while he coos in my face, to feel the ever steady arms of my husband's embrace and to thank God for giving me the will to keep on going and finding His blessings in the smallest of triumphs.

A happy moment today... on our way to breakfast as a family