In December, a fog settled in.
It doesn't want to leave.
When I look back to last month, it feels a little surreal. Like I wasn't really present for it -- even though I know I was. And I know certain days felt hard. But certain days were good, too. Even still, depression was with me no matter what my circumstance was each day. It has become a constant friend.
My sister and her family came for a few weeks, and I had quite a bit of time with them. And really, that was last month's only saving grace. The only light shining through the fog, helping me stay on course.
As the new year approached, I was dreading it. Sure, it's a new start. But I remember having hope that 2012 would HAVE to be better than 2011. And now I looked to 2013 realizing I am even more broken than before.
Grief has compounded so I don't even know what I'm grieving anymore -- or who I'm grieving for. I just know that I'm broken. I cry almost every day. And nights are especially hard.
January has felt somewhat better than December. But only by a smidge.
I honestly thought I'd be doing better by now. I THINK my anti-depressants are helping. But I also think they are causing more anxiety, just as they did last time I was on them.
I feel like I'm juggling 20 balls in the air -- with a broken arm and a patch on one eye. I feel emotionally handicapped and unable to function normally.
I don't mean to be a Debbie-downer. I don't mean to say that my life is horrible and you should feel sorry for me. I just seriously don't know how to function right now.
I am trying to make some changes that hopefully will help. First, of course, is starting the anti-depressants. I'm just finishing my first month -- so I know that it still might take a while to fully feel the effects.
I've decided to take a break from Facebook for a while. I think I'm addicted to checking it, and I'm on it far too much. It's become a crutch. I told Ryan today I think it's like the woman's version of video games. Gaming fulfills a need in a guy to conquer -- Facebook "fills" a woman's need to connect and feel important.
I put "fills" in quotes because I don't really think my life is all that much better now that I have Facebook. I don't feel "fulfilled" after time on Facebook. I would certainly argue that having it available 24/7 on my phone has actually made life less enjoyable. I feel a compulsive need to check it. I check it while I'm with other people. I check it while eating breakfast with Maddy. I check it while watching movies with Ryan.
I remember my life before my smartphone, and I actually remember being more present with people. How much better it would be for me to focus on talking with Maddy during breakfast than browsing my newsfeed and reading about what everyone else is having for breakfast and doing with THEIR kids.
Recently, I thought -- man, I'm glad my mom never had a phone in her hands all the time. I'm glad when I was a kid I didn't have to compete with a device.
Maddy should never have to compete with a device.
Not that FB has been ALL bad. Or that I regret everything about it. But I do regret how dependent I am on it. I want to reclaim my life pre-smart phone.
In addition to a phone/FB fast, Ryan and I have decided to go church shopping.
No, there hasn't been some scandal to spawn this change. I just need a change. I need to be fed. I need to connect and belong. And I need to have some say over where I want to do that.
As a family, we had been contemplating this change for several months, half-committed to looking, and half-committed to staying because staying is always easier. Really, the last thing keeping me tied to our church was singing on the worship team. I loved being a part of the worship team. Singing with them is the only thing that ever made me feel like I belonged.
In December I was asked to step down from the worship team because I was not faithfully attending the services. At the time, it hurt. But now I see that maybe it was God's way of severing that last little tie binding me to a church that maybe isn't the best fit.
So -- for the first time in a LONG time, I don't have a church to call "home." That makes me both sad, and a little excited.
It seems to me that the more I experience life, the less I realize things are either ALL bad or ALL good. Usually there's just enough of the good in the bad to make you wonder if it's really bad. And there's usually just enough bad in something good to make you wonder if it's good enough.
In addition to the other changes, I've been reading some good books. I'm reading "Love & Logic," which I'm enjoying. It's important to me that I raise an emotionally healthy child. I think I'll try the "emotionally intelligent child" book after I finish this one. Although Madelyn has gotten much easier to parent as she's gotten older -- she is still definitely a high-needs, high-attention child with insomniac tendencies, a strong will and a short fuse.
As sweet as she is, she's still a tough cookie to parent.
I also read "To Heaven and Back" which I would recommend. It's about a surgeon's near-death experience. I used to not put much stock in near-death experiences -- but after reading "Heaven is for Real" and learning about my own grandma's experience when she died last year and was revived, I'm much more of a believer. I have found much comfort in knowing that death in itself is not something to be feared. The author has also experienced the loss of a child. So I could relate.
I'm seeing my therapist more. For a while I felt like we were just going in circles -- we'd talk through everything that happened the previous week -- which was needed -- but I felt like I wasn't making any headway on tackling my bigger issues like anxiety, depression and low-self-confidence.
We've come up with a game-plan to manage our time together better. I'm hoping I'll make some more headway soon. She's a really amazing person, and I'm so very thankful to have her to talk with every week.
One last thing that's been helpful. We had the chance to watch a precious little baby last weekend. It was so amazing. I told Ryan it was the happiest I can remember being in the last year. He told me that it was the most stressful (ha ha!).
I will say I slept HORRIBLY that weekend. Not because of her -- she was a great sleeper. It was me, worrying that she'd stop breathing, or something would happen to her while I slept. So only got between 3-4 hours of interrupted sleep a night while she was with us.
Even still, having her was the best.
I know that saying I NEED to nurture a baby doesn't always compute with people, or even with myself. I remind myself that all my basic human needs are met -- and that I have Maddy to nurture.
But sometimes you don't always know you need something until it's been satiated.
You know that feeling when you've been starving all day, you sit down to a feast of deliciousness, and that hunger is finally satiated with absolute contentment? That's how I felt rocking and singing a baby to sleep. Totally filled up and at peace.
We might be able to watch this baby again in a few weeks, and I simply can't wait. It's one of the few things I feel like I have to look forward to.
Ryan and I have to decide this month if we are going to try for our own baby, or if we are going to wait for foster care. I know it's in God's hands whether we conceive or not. But if we are going to have a placement soon, I don't want to complicate that by being pregnant already or by going through another loss.
Sometimes it feels like neither decision is the right one.
So -- if you're of the praying sort, please pray for God's wisdom for us. Pray that I can navigate the fog, and for Ryan's patience as I try to get through it. (He, by the way, has been very good to me through this.) Pray that God either fills this need in me or takes it away. Pray that God would protect me from another loss, because I don't know how I could handle it. Or just pray for us in whatever way God leads.
Love to you all. And sorry for the uber-long post. Brevity isn't a strength of mine. :)