Sweet Sounds

I’m working on a new blog feature, but haven’t yet figured out the details.  In the meantime, how about the song that’s on my mind and is new to me, though certainly not new.  I’m not a huge John Legend fan (which explains why I wasn’t familiar with this song), but if you need a love song today, this is it. It’s magical and lovely and perfect. Also, Lindsey Stirling is awesome and officially my new girl crush.

 

Weekly Prompt – We all Struggle

I am once again participating in Sometimes Sweet’s weekly journal prompts, and this week the prompt is:

We all encounter challenges on a daily basis. You may consider yours something small, like having enough time in the day to accomplish everything you set out to do, or it may be a bit bigger- perhaps something you have to overcome mentally or emotionally, or even a struggle when dealing with a difficult person. Whatever the case, take a look at your daily life- what would you say is your biggest challenge? Or if you have a past struggle you were able to overcome, how did you do it? This week, write about a challenge you currently deal with on a day to day basis, or discuss one you managed to get past.

I bounced back and forth on whether or not I would share what I have actually struggled with for the majority of my life, or if would choose something that felt more “safe” and less personal. I suppose part of the idea of these prompts is to dig deeper, though, so I’ll go with my gut and talk about the thing that first came to mind, which is the black dog  that has been following me around since I was a teen.  (One of the best books I’ve seen that simply and accurately describes what depression feels like).

First a little background, though, beginning somewhere in the middle when things took a turn for the better.

2007

2007

I couldn’t tell you what was different about Memorial Day weekend of 2007, but despite the shining sun and perfect temperature, I felt nothing but cold, alone, and lost.  It felt as though I were destined to continue living under a black cloud that seemed inescapable despite the therapy that I had undergone and the numerous prescription cocktails that my psychiatrist had prescribed over the years.  For so long I had been struggling alone because I didn’t know how to ask for help from family or friends.  How do you tell the people you love the most that you are hurting and tired and ready to give up?  I couldn’t do it, but I also knew I wasn’t ready to give up – not really. Though I couldn’t see a future for myself, I knew there had to be one. I hit a breaking point and drove myself to an acute treatment center and admitted myself for psychiatric care.  It was the hardest thing I’ve ever done in my life, and yet I felt like such a weight was lifted once it was done.

My breakthrough led me to treatment that enabled me to deal with a fairly constant struggle with Major Depressive Disorder, even to this day.  For a long time I was on anti-depressants, but was determined to get off of them before I got pregnant, so I did.  It certainly wasn’t easy, but I knew that while I couldn’t control my brain chemistry, I could control some of my triggers and I knew there was always a light at the tunnel.  I had seen it, even when it was nothing but a pinprick, but that’s enough for me. I know that no matter how badly I may relapse, I can always find my way out again.  Granted, sometimes I can’t do it alone, which is why I’m back on medications after giving birth to Phoebe.  I had enough sense to know I wasn’t getting out of the tunnel without a lifeline this time around. It’s temporary, though.

While some days it is a very hard struggle, I’ve come to just accept it as a part of my life, and thankfully Josh has accepted it as well.  I know it isn’t always easy for him when I’m having a bad day (or week or more) and he’s left to pick up the pieces when I have difficulty functioning. Time and experience have made me more aware of myself, though, and I think self-awareness is key.  I know that while I’m a planner, I can only look ahead so far into the future otherwise I tend to get carried away and cause myself unnecessary anxiety and worry.  One question I’ve always hated at interviews is “Where do you see yourself in five years” because of how much anxiety it gives me.  Silly, right?  So, one of the things I try to do is stay present and in the moment, but also challenge myself to look ahead with an open mind and without fear of the unknown.

While I know many people rely on medications to help them with their illnesses (which is perfectly fine and acceptable), it is my goal to once again get off prescription drugs and focus not only on my mental health, but my physical health since they are obviously interconnected and if one suffers, so does the other.  The hardest part is time, or lack thereof. It seems like there is so little time in the day and my attention is pulled in so many different directions.  Ultimately I’ll have to change my priorities and use my time as wisely as possible, figuring out what will make the most difference for my physical and mental wellbeing.  It’s worth it, though… I’m worth it, and so is my family.

Adjusting

Depending on who you are, you either take big life changes in stride or you aren’t a fan of change, and acceptance is more gradual. Personally, I love my routines and while I can and do adapt as needed, I much prefer to keep things the same. My day will feel off if I wake up late and my routine has to suddenly change. I become generally more clumsy and scatterbrained, forgetting a myriad of things and bumbling about.

SleepingBeauty

After 4 months I think the cats have finally adapted to our newest addition and the changes that come with a new baby.  I just realized the other day that Ziggy hasn’t pooed on the floor in at least a month or two, (maybe even more!) which is cause for great celebration.  We’ve been letting the cats sleep with us a few nights a week, and I think that’s really made the most difference in Ziggy.  She doesn’t come upstairs unless Enzo is asleep and that meant we rarely saw her and she wasn’t getting a lot of attention. Sure, we don’t always get the most restful sleep with the cats, but at least they carefully step around Phoebe… well, mostly. Ziggy has never been the most graceful of cats and is more likely to waddle over the baby.

Ziggy&Toots

I’ve actually enjoyed having the cats upstairs again when they aren’t meowing (Uzi) and waking up the kids or pawing at Enzo’s door (Ziggy) in the middle of the night.  They’ve finally figured out that just because I’m up at 2 am getting Phoebe a bottle does not mean it’s breakfast time, and instead Uzi will curl up in bed with Josh while Ziggy comes and flops next to me feet while I feed Toots.  It’s really the most peaceful time of my day and I don’t mind it all that much… unless I’m super tired, in which case it’s Josh’s turn. 😉

PrettyZiggy

Cooking with Toddlers

Sometimes I think the most difficult part of working full time with two small kiddos is the rushing around that happens in both the morning and the evening.  Try as we might, there just seems to be no avoiding it due to our schedules and trying to ensure everyone gets enough rest.  Dinners during the week are thrown together quickly and are usually easy standbys simply because we know we can get them made in half an hour without thinking twice about it.  Even using the crockpot during the week can be difficult because so many recipes are done in 8 hours and I need something that is more like 10-12 hours.

HomemadePizza1

Because of our time constraints, the weekend tends to be the time when we have the most fun with food or branch out and try new things.  With that in mind, we decided to make pizza because we figured it would be a good meal that Enzo could help prepare and be involved in.

HomemadePizza2

Using my tried and true Weelicious cookbook, I made a fantastic veggie pizza sauce and really great pizza dough.  I may alter them a bit next time, so I’ll share the recipe once I do that.  Catherine’s recipes have always been a hit in our house, though, and great for our entire family. It’s not always easy to convince a toddler to try something new… or sometimes even old favorites for that matter.

   HomemadePizza4

One area in my own life in which I need more patience, however, is when Enzo is assisting in the kitchen. So often it’s just easier to do it myself (as well as less messy and time consuming), but he gets so excited when I ask him if he wants to help me make something. He runs over to grab a chair from the kitchen table and pushes it over to the island so he can climb up and assist me in pouring and mixing ingredients.  I try not to turn my back too long as Enzo is known to stick his fingers in everything and loves the way flour goes everywhere when you stir it really fast.

HomemadePizza5

Anyway, I digress.  The pizza was a hit in terms of constructing it, but Josh and I were the only ones who really ate it.  Enzo had eyes only for pepperoni.

HomemadePizza6