Wednesday, July 2, 2014

And Then Come the Weeds....

If life did not have struggles, then what reason would we have to love, to find what is good in our lives and hold on to it?  I will take the struggles that life offers for they give me the reason, and the strength to love with all I have.

For years we have battled with improvements that have needed to be done in our house and in our yard.  Little by little things have been getting done.  Our yard is overcome with weeds, and last summer and early this spring I have basically defeated the weeds in one part of the yard.  This spring the kids and I decided to weed along the back fence and make a Fairy Garden.  We have had a lot of fun painting wooden birdhouses and making a lake and a road for the fairies.  This picture above is part of the finished project.  Then THIS happened.

YUP!  The weeds came back and totally overcame then entire beautification project I had invested so much into, and that the kids were so excited about.

I have decided that the Fairy Garden is a metaphor for my life.  Just when things get going....the weeds come.  I am forever weeding the garden of my life.  BUT aren't we all?  I have come to a point in my life where I am able to see just how important life's struggles are in shaping the people that we become.  I won't reiterate all of the major struggles with my life, just that I don't regret them.  A life without challenges would be just that.  We wouldn't have the chance to change, to grow, to seek, to hope, we would just be.

I haven't been writing as much as I would like to....I keep falling into these ruts, keep wanting to change, keep wanting to move forward, keep struggling.  But I am growing.

Speaking of GROWING, since I last wrote I know have a KINDERGARTENER:

My precious girl finished her two years at her absolutely wonderful pre-school.  BUT I do still have a little guy will start at this pre-school in the fall.  Some days I am ready for this, some days I wish I could snatch him up in my arms and snuggle my baby forever.....

I also now have a FIVE YEAR OLD!  That's half a decade people....big stuff:

And while I have been helping my daughter move forward, I have also been trying to move forward myself and survive summer.  Summer is a season that most look forward to, but I have to say, over the years has become quite a challenge for my little family.  My husband works a lot to begin with, but during the summer his work is at his peak.  He works pretty much all the time and is exhausted when he is home.  I worry about him, and the kids and I miss him.  He is very present when he is home, but it is hard for all of us.  And for me, it can be isolating and frustrating and exhausting.  When these darlings are in challenge mode it can make days very hard.   I try to plan play dates and activities.  When I am out of the house I do well.  When I am home I am more prone to frustration and that trapped feeling, and that makes me not want to go out and do anything at all.  It is just an endless the weeds growing in and taking over.

Then there is the medication thing.  I am pleased to say that I had another Doctor's appointment in early June and I am FINALLY back on the Cymbalta, which is the medication that has worked well for me in the past but I had to give up for a variety of reasons.  Circumstances have finally made it possible for me to take it again.  The past couple of weeks have been somewhat challenging with the weather, and the husband's work schedule, and the weaning off of the old meds and building up the new med.  That can really mess with a person, especially if you throw a period in the mix. 

Things are finally looking up.  I am finally starting to feel a bit better.  And it looks like I have a wonderful opportunity coming up to recharge and find my bliss.  And I weeded out that Fairy Garden..
I picked up every weed, every house that we painted, every rock that I painstakingly laid out to make my roads, every blue pebble that made up my lake....All of it.  Now my Fairy Garden is a blank slate.
I started mulching it the other day.
Then it got really ridiculously hot for a couple of days followed by some serious rainstorms, so I had to put the mulching on hold for a bit.  BUT, the point is, I started over, pretty much from scratch.  I bought a ton of new birdhouses to paint with the kids.  The Fairy Garden will come back more beautiful and more interesting than we ever could have imagined in the beginning, because it is through our struggles that beauty grows.

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

A Moment of Clarity

The last few days have been rough.  If you read yesterday's post you understand this.  Last night when my  husband got home, I left him to feed the kids dinner and went upstairs and exhaustion took over and I fell asleep for about an hour and a half.  Then I got up and ate and had some quiet time because the kiddos were asleep by the time I came downstairs.  I slept pretty decently last night too.

Today has been a much better day.  It started off with me snuggling with this sweet face for about a half hour after he crawled into bed with me at 6 am.

After Matty got up and ventured off to wreak havoc on the household, I felt a migraine coming on.  So my hubby got up with Matt and I took my headache medicine and laid back down for awhile.  Luckily I was able to ward it off before it turned into a bad migraine.  Then this sweet girl climbed in bed with me for a snuggle.
I can't tell you how much better the day starts out when I am able to take the time to love on my kids.  Part of the frustration I was feeling yesterday was disconnection from my family, feeling like an outsider in my own life.  Cuddle time is very grounding.  It is good therapy.

When I was lying in bed this morning I realized that for the past several weeks I have been taking Claritin to deal with my allergies.  Hmmmm.....moment of clarity....My allergies are not usually super bad in the spring, but this year they have been.  Then I started to it possible that the allergy medication is having some kind of effect on the efficacy of my anti-depressant.  I looked it up on line...definitely a possibility.  Then I dropped Anne off at school and went to run errands with my Matty boy.  The first errand was a stop at the pharmacy to pick up my prescription.  Since I was there I asked the pharmacist if it was possible that the drugs were interacting.  He asked when I took them.  I told him that I have been taking them both at the same time in the evening.  He told me that I want to avoid having the medications reaching peak potency at the same time by taking them at the same time.  He told me that the allergy medication could very well be contributing to some of the issues I have been having over the last several days. 

So maybe all the possible decision outcomes aren't so bleak after all.  I know that hormones in a bad PMS cycle have also come into play lately, and even when I was taking Cymbalta, the medication that has worked the best so far, I did still have two or three bad days a month.  That is way better than every day being a bad day. 

So I made a decision about what to try next.  I am going to stop taking Claritin and keep taking my antidepressant.  I am going to give it a week to get the Claritin completely out of my system.  Then i am going to see if I start feeling any better.  My period will also be over by then which will make me a much better judge of how good or bad the situation really is. 

Right now I am feeling hopefully that maybe this whole situation that I made so complex in my mind yesterday, might have a simple answer and it is not such a big deal after all.  In the mean time I am gong to cuddle and love my kids and take it one day at a time.

Tuesday, May 27, 2014


Matty eating popcorn at Anne's soccer game. This is why he comes to the games.
I haven't written in awhile.  It isn't that I haven't thought about it.  I guess I am just feelings super frustrated and I have been busy too.  We have been going pretty much every day of the week lately between pre-school and soccer and church stuff.  I am not sure that soccer is the "thing" for my daughter.  She says she wants to go and complains when it is time to go and says she doesn't want to play because she never gets a turn to kick the ball.  I am thinking we will try something different next fall.  I think she would love dance but we will have to see if we can swing that on top of pre-school tuition for Matthew and kindergarten tuition for Anne. 

I have also survived my yearly week with Daddy away on his business trip.  My husband travels for a week once a year for his job and that is  probably the longest week each year for me.  The first year he went was when my PPD was at it's peak and I wasn't sure I was going to make it through.   I had some anxiety about him leaving before he left but we all survived the actual week just fine.  Now we are jumping head first into his busy season and I am trying to be relaxed about it.  I should be well used to him working all the time each summer, but that doesn't necessarily make it any easier to deal with.    I get tired and unmotivated just thinking about it.  I hate going out when it is hot and humid and being cooped up with two small children and a dog is not my idea of fun either.  I would rather just take a nap most days.

When I last wrote, I had just started to take my new medication....after weaning off the stuff that clearly was  not working.  Rather than allowing me to go back on the old medication that worked just fine until I couldn't take it any more because of cost, the insurance company insisted that I "try" generic Effexor first and if that didn't work.....maybe I could go back on Cymbalta.  I was doing okay with the new stuff, but I was just not feeling myself, still really depressed so my doc increased my dose.  I figured that would happen because I started on such a low dose.  Now I have been on the higher dose for awhile and I am still having many depressed days and low motivation....with a little bit of that old time anger on the side.  And the side effects....guess what I discovered one of the "less severe" side effects of Effexor is....abnormal dreams.  I am right back to having significant nightmares and intense dreams again.  I am pretty much fed up with those, and sick and tired of being tired all the time.  I am also dealing with a couple of other annoying side effects. 

Now I am at an impasse.  I am tired of feeling depressed and I am tired of dealing with side effects.  Frankly, I feel that all the med changes have done more harm than good at this point.  I am considering going off medication all together.  Even when medication makes me feel better, there has to be some frustrating side effects to deal with along with the constant feeling of being tired.  I wonder if it is worth it, but I am also concerned about/afraid of going back to the state of virtual incapacitation that I used to be in.  I also wonder if I am able to go back on Cymbalta, which I did well with before with virtually no side effects, after being on all these different medications if it would still be as effective as it was before.  Then there is the hassle of changing medications.  It would have to go through the insurance company for approval, if it gets approved at all.  Then there is the nonsense of withdrawal from the current medication, and waiting for the new medication to take effect.

If I decide to go off medications all together, I will have to wait and go through withdrawal and see how I feel for a while after it is all out of my system.  I wonder if I am strong enough to try to go back to the old unmedicated me.  I wonder how much of what I have been feeling since last fall is related to all of the medication changes.  Maybe I really am okay underneath all of it, with the exception of my normal hormonal mood changes.

If I decide to stay on medications, I either have to deal with the current frustration and crap with the medication that I am on and continue to feel as sub par as I am feeling right now, or I have to deal with changing meds yet again and waiting to see what will happen, and it could take months until a med change can actually have me feeling better, if it does at all.  I know that there are lots of antidepressants out there, but I am running out of options in terms of what can work for me.  Many of the major "families" have not worked out at all.

So where does that leave me?  Either option does not make the next few months much to look forward to.  I have really been pondering the options.  I have been praying about it, and I am just not sure what I should do.  There is no clear answer.  I have not discussed this with my doctor yet.  I have an appointment in just under two weeks.  I may call before then, I might wait until the appointment.  I have not decided yet.

There is much to do and look forward to over the next few months.  My Anne turns five in less than two weeks and I have been working on planning her birthday bash.  She will also be finishing pre-school and going to kindergarten orientation.   Then she starts kindergarten in September, which will be here before we know it.  My Matty turns three in August, and starts pre-school in September.  We have lots of opportunities for playdates and day trips and time with extended family this summer.  We might also even get to take a short vacation.  I don't want to just try to get through all of these things....I don't want to spend the summer trying to force myself to do stuff.  I don't want to feel like I am missing out on my own life.  I am afraid that no matter what decision I make, I will leave myself in that state, when I feel like I am in the back seat of my own life.

I really make an effort to not write a blog entry when I am feeling really down, because I always want to leave my readers with hope that their situations will improve.  But I also try to be honest.  Sometimes it is just hard.  Sometimes you will feel awful.  Life can be frustrating.  It feels like I am constantly at war with myself, trying to find my old self somewhere in there.

I am trying to pull my focus on tasks and looking forward to things.  Right now I am working on my daughter's birthday party.  We are doing a Veggie Tales Pirates Who Don't Do Anything theme.  How is that for a mouthful?  I made invitations and am working on decorations and games.  I find it easier to cope when I have a task to focus on.  I am also looking forward to working on Anne's Birthday Scrapbook.  Every year I make my kids a scrapbook for their birthday that covers the whole previous year of their lives, with all important moments and memories captured for them to look back on.  Anne has grown and changed so much in this past year. Here are some of the decorations I have made for her party:
Pirate Larry the Cucumber

Pirate Pa Grape
Pirate Lunt
I think they turned out pretty well.  Here is hoping that the summer does too.

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

That Old Familiar Feeling

     It started creeping up on me yesterday afternoon...maybe it was because it was so beautiful for so many days and then it got cold and SNOWED.  Seriously, it was 75 degrees on Monday and snowing on Tuesday.  That is just weird.  I got through the day okay, but I didn't sleep all that great and our little guy was screaming with nightmares at 3 am.  Then I woke up with that heavy depressed feeling in my chest, you know, the one that makes you feel like there is literally an elephant sitting on your chest.  I am not sure what is going on.  It is a little soon for PMS related depression, and there is not really anything going on that would be triggering maybe it has to do with the med changes.

It has been over 3 weeks since I stopped taking my other meds completely, so it has been over a month since I have been on the new medication Effexor.  It can take a few weeks for the old stuff to get completely out of my system.  I have actually been feeling good depression wise up until yesterday.  Although sickness has been sailing through this house so it has been kind of hard to determine how I am really feeling.  I had the cold and flu and then about a week later a horrific sinus infection.  My little guy has had an ear infection and my daughter and husband have both had the stomach bug, all within a week and a half of each other.    I saw my doctor last week for my sinus infection and I told her that I think that I am sleeping better but it is kind of hard to tell because nobody was really sleeping with everyone being sick.

Now that I am feeling better a week later, I think that I am sleeping a little better.  With the beautiful weather I have been more active than I have been in months.  I spent days doing a TON of yard work to get the backyard play worthy and we spent the day at my parents on Monday which always includes romps in the woods on Grandpa's special trails.  Everything kind of fizzed to a halt with the weather change yesterday...just when we were starting to enjoy spring!  The kids and I have been collecting fun naturey materials to build a Fairy Kingdom in our backyard.  Now we have to wait for the snow to melt before we can get started on that.  Projects are the best thing for me when I am feeling depressed, and the kids, especially Anne are pretty excited about it.

So I am going to give it some time with the new medication. I am on a pretty low dose right now, so we might just need to up it a little bit.  I have an appointment in June with my Doc, but I can call her anytime in the meantime.  I am going to give it through the weekend before I call though, I want to see if it continues....I am happy to stick with a lower dose if I can function with it.  For now, one day at a time. 

I am really looking forward to Easter with the kids and celebrating the Resurrection!  Our Church is also having a huge community Easter Egg Hunt on Saturday that my kids are excited about, and we have playdates scheduled for the next couple of days.  Anne is on spring break this week, so we are a little off routine, but it has been going pretty well.  The kids have been very well behaved, and my Matthew has been using the potty with great maybe no more diapers pretty soon.

I have some fun stuff to write about in the next couple of entries, and I will continue to record my progress.  Life is a Journey!

Monday, March 24, 2014

The Last Day!

So today is the last day that I have to take the generic Wellbutrin.  I am very ready to say good-bye to the intense, wacky dreams and get back into a better sleep pattern.  However the whole situation did not turn out as I had hoped it would.

The plan that my doctor and I decided upon was that I would go back on Cymbalta, the medication that so far I have had the best results and the least amount of side effects.  But my new insurance company requires a pre-authorization for Cymbalta.  We thought it wouldn't be a problem since I have been dealing with side effects now from 3 other different medications.  Well, after a week and a half of waiting I got a call from  my doctor.  She told me that the insurance company denied our request.  They will not approve me taking Cymbalta unless I "try" a medication called Effexor first.

Initially, I was quite upset by this news.  I was very frustrated thinking that I would have to take another medication and suffer with it for who knows how long before I could get approved for the one that I already know works.  My doctor was very reassuring and she told me that Effexor is in the same family as Cymbalta, it has just been around longer which is probably why the insurance company wanted me to try it first.  She told me to take a half dose of the Effexor for a week, and keep taking the Wellbutrin for that first week, and then start taking a full dose of the Effexor and STOP taking the Wellbutrin.

So I filled the prescription, then I did some research and compared the possible side effects of Effexor with Cymbalta.  The possible side effects are virtually identical.  I was relieved to see that Effexor did not list the dreaded "abnormal dreams" or "nightmares" as a possible side effect.  Every thing that I have taken that has listed that as a side effect has been a side effect for me.  Today was the day I have been waiting for, I took my last dose of Wellbutrin this morning.  I am not sure how it will all turn out, but I am hopeful.  At the very least, as long as I can get some better sleep, I think that my outlook will be much better.  For the first time in a long time, I actually took a decent nap yesterday that was not over run with crazy dreams.  This was a great relief because lately even my naps have been tainted with nightmares.  I am definitely ready for this chapter to end.  Spring is coming and I need more energy to get everyone outside in the fresh air.

So in other news....It really seems like my kids are so big all of the sudden.  It is really surreal.  I was watching old videos of them last night and I can't believe how much they have changed.  I am so amazed by how much they can do.  Overnight Anne has turned into this artist, she is suddenly coloring in the lines in coloring books and drawing amazing pictures.  This is the picture that she drew of herself, me, her brother, and her Daddy (from left to right).  She explained to me that this was me being mad that she wasn't picking up.  I think that she captured my "yelly" face very well.  LOL!

Life does feel kind of surreal some days when I look at these kids and see how much they have grown and changed.  Then I stop and think about how much I have grown and changed.  Things are definitely changing in our lives for the better.  Anne is growing more creative and independent and is absolutely blossoming at pre-school and at home.  She is learning things so fast, and I cannot keep up with her imagination.  Matthew is so sweet and loving, and he is suddenly so tall.  His wild side is coming out to balance his serious, focused side.  He likes to jump on the furniture and throw things, which I guess is typical of a two year old boy.  He is also very funny.  He cracks me up every day.  And although he is getting older he has not lost his ability to charm the ladies.

And I am continuing to grow and learn and change as journey along.  There are still many things I know I need to work on but I am also able to see how far I have come. 

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Still Waiting...

So it has definitely been a while since I have written.  I have kind of been waiting to have something different to say, but....

Well I have been having a hard time since I had to go off the Cymbalta, not so much depression wise, but side effect wise.  As of my last entry we had added generic Wellbutrin to the generic Prozac I was taking in the hopes that it would help with the crazy dreams I have been having.  This is where I stand right now with that.  On both medications my side effects did get worse.  Three of these side effects have had a huge impact on the quality of sleep I have been getting.  The first factor of course is the dreams.  I have always been a crazy dreamer but normally that effect is cyclical.  During some days of the month I have more crazy dreams and wake up more often, and during other points it is usually about two times a night that I wake up.  When I say crazy dreams what I mean is my dreams just get me caught up in these intense and confusing stories that leave me waking up feeling like I just ran a three day marathon.  I wish my brain had a shut off switch but it doesn't.  I have long ago accepted this, but I need to get the dream level back to two wake ups a night instead of every single hour.

So at this point I am completely weaned off the Prozac and am only taking Wellbutrin.  This has been somewhat better, I don't feel as groggy during the day as I did when I was on both medications.  I am still battling the dreams though.  I have to take Benadryl or Tylenol PM to get any improvement in my sleep at all, and even with that I am still waking up every hour and a half to two hours.

Then there are the other side effects impacting my sleep which are extremely annoying night sweats,  and dry mouth.  I am constantly waking up thirsty.

Then there is the non medication side effect of parenthood...there has been a lot of this:
At least three or four times a week this little guy wakes up scared and wants a cuddle.  About half the time he does go back to his own bed, the other half of the time we spend the night with his toeys (Matt's word for toes) digging into one of us and his head digging into the other one.  This has been going on for I don't even know how long now.  This past week he was up in the night for two nights with a bad cold that resulted in an ear infection.  I don't mind getting up when he is sick, but I do wish that whatever keeps waking him up at night would stop.  I am always concerned that my kids are going to inherit the wild dreams that I have and that they will never get decent sleep either.

And there has been a TON of this:

Seriously, will this winter EVER end?  As I write this it is sleeting right now, which is supposed to turn to freezing rain in a few hours and then to snow...I keep telling myself that spring is coming.  I feel bad because we have been so cooped up this winter.  The snow is deep and it has been super cold, so we have been inside most of the time.  Which just makes my kids totally wild and I get a whole lot of this:
I am looking forward to better weather so we can all get out more.  I feel bad for my poor dog, I know he misses walks in the woods way more than the rest of us do.

I am relieved to be feeling less groggy taking just one medication.  It seems to be managing my depression very well, but the extreme lack of quality sleep is definitely affecting my energy and motivation levels.

When I last wrote we were still knee deep in the health insurance drama.  I am pleased to say that this has been resolved and my husband and I are now covered...and the coverage seems to be good (so far).  We just started on our new plan on March 1st.  We had temporary coverage before that.  I am so relieved to be able to just move forward now without that to worry about anymore.  I am so grateful for the my doctor.  She helped me to manage my medications over the phone while we waited for the insurance disaster to be sorted out, which is why I was able to wean off the Prozac.  Our temporary insurance covered the medications.  I finally got to see my doctor last week.  A good friend watched the kiddos so I could really talk to my doctor (kids tend to be a bit distracting in the doctor's office).  It seems that my new insurance should cover Cymbalta, which is what I used to take that worked really well.  However it does require a pre-authorization  from the insurance company.  I have been waiting on this for six days now.  After making some calls today it seems that the Pharmacy was trying to put the prescription through to the wrong insurance company, so I am still waiting.  My doctor was confident that this should get approved because of all the side effects I have been having with the other medications.  So now I am just waiting and praying that my doctor is right and everything will go through.  I am thankful that I have an excellent medical team that will advocate to work this out on my behalf.  Right now there isn't really anything I can do but wait.  Once this does go through, I should be completely off the Wellbutrin in a week and then I should start feeling more like myself again.

My husband pointed out to me that I was tired when I was taking the Cymbalta too.  I did not deny this, I am always tired, but I explained to him that there are LEVELS of tired.  The Cymbalta level of tired is easier to live with.  I would be (and I was tired) when I wasn't taking any medication at all.

If you are new to this depression thing don't be discouraged if the first medication that you take doesn't work well for you.  It can take time to find the right medication and the right dosage to get you to where you need to be.  Don't give up, it does get better.

In the meantime,  I have been working on registering one kid for Kindergarten and one kid for pre-school.  I don't know what I am going to do with myself having two kids in school, even if that will be the case only two mornings a week.  Both of my kids suddenly seem so big to me.  They have both grown so much.  I have been buying new clothes for my daughter every time I turn around.  I have been working on setting some goals and priorities, and figuring out how to get from where I am to where I want to be.  I am happy to say that our general life situation is definitely good right now.  Lots of things have been changing for the better over the last year and a half or so, and it is very exciting to see....although I wish my monkeys would slow down a little bit in the growing up department.  My little guy definitely isn't a baby anymore.  He seems so grown up....if only I could get him to use the potty.  That is not a task I am ready to take on just yet though, unless he wants to do the meantime only this guy has been using the potty:

Keep moving forward!  Don't look back, it can only get better!  And hold on to the things that matter most!  Here I am with my three kids...if you look closely you can see my dog's eyes glowing.  He is a black lab so he tends to blend in with the couch :o)

Friday, January 10, 2014

Season of Hope

'Tis the New Year!  Yes it is officially January 2014.  It was exactly two years ago when my baby boy was five months old that the symptoms of Postpartum Depression really set in.  Now...after coping with these symptoms for two years I am considered to have chronic depression.  New Year's is a fresh start, a new I took some time to reflect.

My husband had to work on New Years Eve, so I rang in the new year with this guy:

We watched Marley and Me, which I had never seen before.  It is a great movie to watch with a dog you love....but I will admit mine thought I was a little nuts as I was sobbing through the last hour of the film!  I related to it on many levels.  It beautifully depicts how much a dog IS part of the family, how they change the entire structure of the family, and how their love and loyalty is absolute.  However there were a couple of scenes where I found myself relating to the character of Jenny, the mother in the movie.  (SPOILERS AHEAD-Don't read the next part if you don't want to know about things that happen in the movie).

I was there in the room with the character of Jenny when she had her first ultrasound and found out that her baby had died.  I was with her when she came home and sobbed afterwards.  I also loved how touching it was when Marley, the wild and rambunctious dog, just sat with her with his head on her leg.  Dogs know.  AND I was totally with Jenny after the birth of her second child when she was struggling with postpartum depression.  And she raged at Marley, and I was totally there with her in her rage.  My depression has been very angry from the start....and although I have it much more under control now, there are still days when that anger rears it's head and I have to fight it.  I found her anger so easy to relate to, and I completely understood why she was so out of control.  I look at Moms who seem to be angry much differently now than I used to.

So after I watched this movie, I went to bed, and my husband wasn't home yet, so I took some time to reflect on 2013, and pray about it.  I went over a lot of details in my head.  Triggered by the movie and the fact that my depression has been in the forefront lately, I really started to think about it.  I reflected on it's presence in my life and how I have changed because of it, and I came to a rather startling revelation.  I wouldn't change it.  WOW!  After two years of fighting it, and learning to deal with it, and wishing it would just go away I realized that I wouldn't change a thing.  That sounds kind of funny, doesn't it?

Jeremiah 29:11 "For I know the plans I have for you" , declares the Lord. "Plans to prosper you and not harm you, plans to give you a hope and a future."  This is one of my favorite bible verses.  I realized that although these past two years have brought many struggles, they have also brought many blessings.  My son, of course is the biggest one.  If I had not embarked on this journey with depression than I wouldn't have him.  I can't imagine life without him.  His name, Matthew, means Gift of God, and he is one of the greatest gifts that God has given me in my life.  So I will take the depression if it means I get the gift of my boy, my smiling, giggling, dimpled boy!

My journey has brought me many new friends, all of whom are incredible blessings in my life.  It has cost me a few friends too, but in the end, I understand why and harbor no anger about it.  I have definitely learned to deal with my emotions better.  I am learning (every day) to be a more compassionate person and parent.  It has strengthened my faith in God tremendously.  And definitely seeing things so low and so dark has made me much more aware of the light in the world.  I have learned to be grateful for daily blessings and I have learned to rely on God for daily strength in daily battles, and that has made such a difference. 

My depression is part of me, shaping who I am as a person.  My journey, my battle, is not over yet, but I know in the end I will be a better and stronger person because of it.  I am so grateful to be in a place now where I can see the positive impacts it has had on my life.  Someday the depression will no longer be an issue, but it will always be a part of who I am.

On that note, now that the holidays and my period are over, I have been feeling much better the last couple of days.  Maybe I am just less stressed, or maybe the new medications are starting to work better.  I know it can take up to 6 weeks for antidepressants to work to their fullest.  My biggest struggle right now is getting up and moving in the morning.  My meds are making me extra tired and I have not been sleeping well on top of that.  My dreams have been better though, just wild and crazy like I am used to, they haven't been all tied up with my emotions lately.  I am grateful for that.  I am still in health insurance limbo so I had to cancel my latest appointment with my doctor, but hopefully we will have that all sorted out soon and I can get that rescheduled. 

I have really been enjoying my kids lately, this week especially.  And even when we had the stomach bug thrown in the midst, taking down my poor little guy, I was able to enjoy lots of snuggles with him.  I did feel terrible for him though, he was ultra pathetic.  He kept asking me to hold him.

I have had some great conversations with my little girl lately.  I have really been enjoying time with her and reveling in many moments.  That is a big change for me.  I have often felt guilty for just trying to get through the day and not ever seizing any of those little moments.  Something has shifted lately to make this easier for me, so I am soaking it up.  She drew me this the other day, and I LOVE it.  It captures her imaginative personality perfectly.  I don't want her to grow up too fast, but I can't wait to see what amazing things she is going to do with her life.

I am looking ahead in 2014 as a year of hope.  I can clearly see my changed life and that I am a changed person, and I am excited now, because I know that things are only going to get better.  Happy New Year Everyone!