Anxiety, Panic Attacks & Things I Wish I'd Noticed Sooner (Mental Health Series Pt. 3)

Anxiety, Panic Attacks & Things I Wish I'd Noticed Sooner (Mental Health Series Pt. 3)

For a time I was convinced my 5 year-old-son was allergic to The Home Depot. Not in an “Ew, I hate that store” way but in a “Mom, my throat is closing up” way. I can remember standing in an aisle looking for some random thing, baby Josh was in the cart along with a bunch of odds and ends and Jordanne and Jacob were standing beside me when suddenly Jacob grabbed my arm with panic in his eyes, saying, “MOM, I can’t breath. I can’t breath in here. I think it’s the sawdust!” And he was so scared and literally having so much trouble breathing that I handed the baby to Jordanne, picked Jacob up and we ran out of the store—full cart stranded in the middle of aisle ten.

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Actually, Yes, I am Depressed (Mental Health Series Pt. 2.5)

Actually, Yes, I am Depressed (Mental Health Series Pt. 2.5)

So I started a series on mental health and my first topic was depression and about how it’s okay to ask for help. Ironically, about one week after I published the post on depression, I didn’t want to get out of bed. I had the strangest weekend. It was like I’d open my eyes in the morning and my first thought was, “I don’t want to do anything but close my eyes again.” And I felt angry that I had to get out of bed.

The temptation to shut the world out and sleep away my day was so strong. I got up but I wasn't happy about it. That was my first indication that maybe I wasn’t doing so well emotionally. I went through the motions of my day, all the while very cognizant of the fact that just barely under the surface of my thoughts was a black hole threatening to swallow me up. Everything just seemed shaded over in varied grays. Other than the fact that life is stressful in general, I couldn’t think of a single reason I would be depressed. It made no sense. The following meme's from instagram that weekend perfectly described my mood…

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Am I Depressed? (Mental Health Series Pt. 2)

Am I Depressed? (Mental Health Series Pt. 2)

Sometimes, we have a blah day or two. Maybe a week, even. Perhaps we’ve gotten some bad news or work is really tough or financial woes are keeping us up at night. We might even say we’re depressed, but we can feel depressed without having clinical depression. So what’s the difference?

Often the distinction comes with how long we’ve been feeling low; blue; tired; unmotivated; numb; down or just plain miserable and how difficult it is to pull out of the fog. There are also some risk factors involved. A tendency toward depression can be hereditary, just like anxiety and other disorders.  

I had experienced rare "down times" before, but after I weaned my second child, the blue feeling just stuck with me. Like that old cartoon character with his own personal rain cloud. I couldn't seem to shake it. I tried—really hard. I prayed harder. I got more sleep. I drank more water. I read my Bible more. I did everything I could think of to make myself “get it together.” But nothing worked. (Okay, not EVERYTHING—I’d like to say I exercised but that would be taking hyperbole too far. Walking from my room to my couch doesn’t count, right?) But back to the depression…


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Call Me Crazy—Or Don't (Mental Health Series pt. 1)

Call Me Crazy—Or Don't (Mental Health Series pt. 1)

We’ve all got that “Crazy Aunt Betty” who talks to dust bunnies or that clowning uncle who always has a bit too much to drink at the family reunion. We’ve all seen people walking down the street alone, waving their arms, apparently in a heated discussion with no one in particular. (Of course, this was easier to spot before the advent of Bluetooth ear pieces!) We recognize that those people may be dealing with some mental health issues. 

But how about the quiet girl sitting in the corner of the coffee shop with her ear buds in, angled toward the wall. She has ADHD but you would never know that to look at her (Okay, she’s me.). Or the bespectacled professor at the front of the classroom with his perfectly tied bowtie; You’d never know he has a thirty-point checklist of things he has to do every time he leaves his house—and that’s better than he used to be with his OCD. Often mental health issues can be hidden to all but those who are very close to the person struggling. I know most people would never guess I’ve dealt with depression, ADD and even some anxiety. I mask it well, most of the time. But it’s still a very real issue I’ve had to deal with. 

You’ve probably heard the words, “That’s insane!” or “She’s got to be crazy.” Most of us say these things innocently—lightly. But the problem is that mental health isn’t something we can take lightly anymore. We see the effects of mental illness on the “breaking news” ticker daily. Whether it’s a disgruntled employee going off on a rampage, a bullied loner opening fire on his classmates, or a well-known celebrity ending her life, these things affect our world regularly and most of the time the roots of these stories are buried deep in the world of mental health. 

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On What Makes Us Tick

On What Makes Us Tick

I started this new blog a few months ago with the idea of it being a place to talk about the issues and ideas that seem to resonate with both me and a lot of the people I know. At first glance, these things may not seem to be related (which is a problem if you’re trying to figure narrow down what your blog is all about) but when I listed off the subjects that energize me I realized that they are all basically topics that flow into what makes us tick. I’m interested in talking about and understanding why we are who we are in relation to:

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