Friday, April 18, 2014

Comfort Food

No one wanted to dance today. Not even me. My energy is absolutely zero; it might have something to do with the four kittens bouncing on my head all night.

I’ve noticed the way I’ve been dealing with my depression this round has been by eating a lot. My jeans are feeling tight and, come to think of it, that might have something to do with my lack of energy, too.

I’ve been offering myself all kinds of excuses of why I’m eating whatever I want but it all boils down to—it’ll make me feel better and I want to feel better.

I would say I’m going on a diet, but that’s dangerous for me. The other way I deal with my depression is by eating too little. Cutting out meals. Denying myself to an extreme. With my history with disordered eating, I need to work on developing a healthy relationship to food.

I know I should cut out the sugary treats, but I hesitate to do it because they bring me such comfort. Maybe I’ll have to just start by limiting the junk. But can I do it? Even just talking about limiting brings up anxiety like, if I don’t have food to turn to, what might I turn to instead?

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Chill Out, Anxiety!

I’ve been trying to understand the anxiety bursts I get. They usually pop up right when for a moment my mind notices that everything is OK.

I hear a voice say, “Oh, wait. This is what it feels like to be content, dare I say it, happy.”

I have a few moments of happy bliss and then—boom!

“It isn’t going to last! It’s not real! I’m real! Be scared. Be depressed. That’s your natural state of being.”

And then I return to an anxious space of dread, of knowing peace doesn’t last.

I believe peace and happiness is a moment-to-moment experience, but can’t I back off on myself a little?

I need to figure out a counter response to the voice of anxiety.

“Chill out! Let me relax for a bit. You’ll have your turn. Trust me. But right now, let’s just have this brief moment.”

If I can remember to have this retort ready, maybe I’ll be able to tame the anxiety a bit. Maybe I’ll be able to make the moments of Ok last a bit longer every time.

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Dancing By Myself (to Kidz Bop)

My mood seems to have balanced out this week. The deep despair I was feeling only a week ago has lifted. This is what I always need to remind myself of when I’m at my most depressed: it’s not a permanent state of being. I will feel better.

Of course, the flip side is that when I’m feeling better, in the back of my head I’m wondering when it’s all going to come crashing down again.

It’s like, my mind says, “Don’t get too comfortable; don’t enjoy this feeling. It’s only temporary.”

But I suppose everything is temporary. Like the boys wanting to dance with me. Yesterday seems to have been enough.

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Spring Break Day 2 With the Kids

I managed to convince two out of my three children to dance with me today. True, a lot of the dance was spent trying to convince them to not pause yet.

“No, no, no…don’t turn the music off! Wait until the end of the song!”

And as I type these words, I had to go break up a Lego fight because, you know, we have thousands of Legos and everyone wants the same pieces at the same time.

Crisis averted by breaking the tower in two and sharing it out.

And I have Kidz Bop in the background and hey…they’re actually having fun together at the moment. Knock on wood.

Oops, spoke too soon. No, wait. They handled that one on their own.

A few more minutes bought for me.

Oh, I just remembered a moment of real humanity on Saturday: the boys had their first ever soccer practice. Tommy went first with twenty other three-year-olds; he lasted five minutes. Cole went the following hour and played the whole time. At the end when we greeted him on the sidelines, Tommy walked up to Cole, put his arm around his shoulder, patted and said, “I’m really proud of you.”

Nick and I looked at each other like, what the?!

Thinking about it now, we must say things like that to Tommy for him to know the right context to do it in. 

And maybe we’re not such bad parents after all.

Monday, April 14, 2014

Spring Break for Kids

My kids have Spring break this week, so I’ll only be able to write a minimum amount this week as I try to balance giving them attention and going to work and getting my class work done.

I returned to my teenage years and danced to Falco’s “Rock Me Amadeus” today. This was one of the songs I used to blast from our stereo after school and dance to until I sweated out my frustrations and depression.

Friday, April 11, 2014

To Feel Alive

Not sure how to talk today. Something needs to change. I am failing at things so important to me.

I feel like I should go live in a cave where who I am won’t hurt others. Where I won’t destroy lives.

But even still, as I sit and write these words, I still have the fight within me. I still can recognize these are not the only voices inside of me. I call upon the words that tell me I can fix things, which tell me I can fight day by day.

But how is that fair to those who love the happy me? It isn’t. This is where the loop of depression tries to tangle me up.

Depression sinks its greedy claws into my thoughts and makes me feel like I should remove myself, that that’s what people really want, that that’s the only thing that will cure the people who love me. My removal.

I toss around the idea of pretending to be happy. I really do. Perhaps this is what others do. Perhaps this is what I need to do. Perhaps I am weak for giving into depression. Perhaps it really is a character flaw and not an illness.

I don’t know right now. I don’t know.

So I’m just trying to shake it out. I’m not trying to feel joy. I’m just trying to feel alive.

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Let It Out

Express yourself.

Have you ever stopped and asked yourself what that actually means?

Express yourself.

What is the “yourself” that can be expressed? I feel like I’ve been trying to figure it out my whole life and I come up with different answers as I move through life.

I’ve tried many methods of expression: acting, dancing, modeling, writing, teaching. A lot of the time I’ve been expressing others’ words or ideas or what I think other people want and expect to see and hear.

Now that I’ve given myself free reign to express whatever is “myself,” I want to really get to the core of who I am when I express.

Sometimes I feel like that expression may just come out as pure feeling—like rage at certain injustices I see in the world. Other times, I feel like the expression is just a quiet whimper of emptiness that just wants to be seen and acknowledged.

I think we all have a need to express ourselves, to be seen, to be heard, to be understood.

Is it enough to just express or do we need a receiver on the other end? Does having someone witnessing our expression make the experience feel richer?

I think behind a lot of my expression is also the desire to reach others in some way, for them to be able to relate or be inspired, entertained or educated. So I think an audience can be very fulfilling.

I totally get it when Lady Gaga sings, “I live for the applause, applause, applause.”

I remember the days of applause and it did feel good.