Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Coming Out

For some time now, something has been weighing on my heart. I have alluded to mental problems here on my blog. I've told some people a little bit of my history. I don't hide the fact that I'm on medication for depression and anxiety.

However, God is bringing different stories to my attention. He's showing me what happens when people don't speak up when something is wrong. He's showing me that there is still a stigma and a shame attached to depression, anxiety, OCD, agoraphobia and other mental illnesses. I feel like He's asking me to stand up and tell my story a little more clearly.

I became a Christian when I was 10. Like most first-born children, I am a people pleaser and that translated over to my relationship with God. I tried to be perfect for Him. I tried my hardest not to sin, to do my best at school and to always make life easy for my parents. I failed miserably but I kept trying. When I was 20, I married my first husband. Now that I was out of the house and only responsible to my husband and myself, I began to get lax. I started gaining weight and started smoking off and on. I stopped going to church. I quit reading the Bible and eventually stopped talking to God unless it was an emergency.

2 years after getting married, I got pregnant and then lost the baby after 4 days. I spiraled down into a deep, dark pit of depression. I became obsessed with making my body work. I couldn't get pregnant again so we stopped trying. In a haze, I just went back and forth to work. I ate dinner and watched TV. I tried to sleep but almost always had to take pills to get myself to sleep. Once I was asleep, I could sleep for days. I never wanted to shower. I never wanted to go out. I never wanted to interact with anyone. I just stopped. My world became as large as my bedroom. My husband just left me alone so that I could deal with it. He didn't want to bother me.

1 year to the day after the miscarriage, I found out that my husband was in love with another woman. I never heard my husband say that he loved me again. He became secretive. He never mentioned wanting a divorce but he refused to tell me what was really going on with this woman. To this day, I have no idea if it was an emotional affair or if he was sleeping with her. We both went to counseling, individual and marriage. He didn't like our marriage counselor because the doctor was making it out to be all his fault.

In March 2005, I snapped. I drove to my mother's house and began ranting and raving. She recognized that I was gone and took me to the ER. I was admitted into an outpatient program the next day. I've read the journal posts from those first days in the institution and I'm amazed at how...sick I sound. The second journal post is all about my husband who was in a bad mood when I came home from my therapy. It turns out that he was hurt that no one had been paying attention to him during this "hard time".

After 3 days of outpatient therapy, I knew that if I went home then I would be dead the next day. I gave a note to one of the doctors and they would not let me leave. I stayed inpatient for a week until my medicine leveled out and I felt safe going home. The first thing my husband asked when I called him to tell him about staying was whether or not I was going to lose my job and had I called the insurance company. Again, I look at those journal posts and I'm flabbergasted that I lived like this for so long.

While in therapy, I hit rock bottom. I had a husband who was in love with another woman but wasn't willing to let me know what he thought of me. He would rather keep me dangling as some bizarre roommate. I was unable to get pregnant. I had no friends. I hated my job. I was terrified to step outside most days. I was lying on the floor of a co-ed mental institution on a mattress next to a nurse because I was on "Suicide Watch". I wasn't allowed to have shoelaces or caffeine. I wanted my dogs and my Mama.

God found me. I remembered one verse. "Be still and know that I am God."

I began to pray. Actually, I didn't even pray, I just talked to God like an old friend. Slowly, life flooded back into my heart and I realized how cold it had been for years. Every day I talked to God. Every day I felt myself thaw a little more. Every day I cried and those tears cleared my eyes. I needed God more than anything else.

I still took my medicine and I still take it now. I thank God for my medicine and no matter how good I feel I will not stop taking it. That medicine is a gift from Him to allow me to function in this world. I am grateful to have it.

I still think about my first husband. I hope that he has turned to God, too. I hope that he has joy in his life. I pray for him daily. He was more than a good friend. We spent 10 years together, dating and married. I truly hope he has peace and love in his life.

I know I do.

Monday, June 27, 2011

5 Silly Reasons Why I Love My Husband

We got silly one day and I suggested this challenge. It was fun to do and now I want to share it with others. These are five "silly" reasons why I love Ben Dyer. Silly does not mean stupid. It just means not totally lovey-dovey-serious-wedding-vow type of reason.

1. I love seeing Ben the day he trims his beard. He looks so much like the boy I knew in middle school. It makes me want to run and grab that San Antonio Spurs cap and put it backwards on his head. Then we can go make out behind an elementary school.

2. I love watching Ben with the kids. He has this dance that he does called the Daddy Dance that the kids love and beg for every day when he comes home. He sits and plays cars with Gideon. He doesn't just give cars to Gideon, he actually PLAYS CARS like another kid. He knows the right way to ease a baby into being tossed into the air and taught me the Daddy Tricks of the Trade. I still can't do it right and he's the only one who can make Milly grin like a maniac.

3. He is BRILLIANT. We can spend a wonderful afternoon with an Atlas open between us and him explaining how the world has changed over the years. (Yes, we're dorks.) It's started the most amazing conversations where I no longer feel like just a cook/maid/wiper of butts. We are just two adults talking about the ramifications of the War of the Roses.

4. One day we will settle once and for all just who knows more about the Simpsons. For now, he is teaching me more about Futurama and enjoying every minute of it. I love that we don't even have to quote Simpsons or Futurama anymore. We just give each other That Look and giggle because we know what the other one is thinking.

5. He is the funniest person on the planet. From witty remarks to stupid muffin jokes, the man just makes me laugh every single day. Seriously, make him tell you the muffin joke.

I love you, Ben.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Potty Training Tears

Potty Training Boot Camp Day Two was a lot like Day One. There were a gazillion tries on the potty with no results. There was a giant diaper after her nap. There was a 45 minute tantrum on the potty when I refused to put a diaper on her and she just could not hold it any longer. There was an accident all across the floor when she was exhausted and angry and just done with the day. (On Day One, she had the same kind of accident but walked over her sister who was on a blanket on the floor. Poor Milly got caught in the crossfire.)

Today began Day Three. She started doing the Potty Dance around 10:00 and I took her into the bathroom. The tears, screams and tantrum started almost instantly. She sat on the potty and started holding it as much as she could. I held her hands and firmly told her that she had to go.

She cried.

I didn't budge.

She screamed.

I didn't budge.

She cried, screamed, tore at her hair, tried to lunge off of the potty and generally became hysterical.

I didn't budge.

She peed in the potty and then threw up all over me.

I cleaned us up and declared Potty Training over.

Sophie is aware of how to use the potty. Sophie will decide when she is ready to use the potty. Not me, not her father, not her Grandma, not anyone on this Earth will be able to force her to go before she is ready to make that choice. She will wear training diapers and I will take her to the potty every morning, night and at least every 2 hours. If something happens, great. If nothing happens, no big deal. If it keeps her out of certain classes then we'll find something else for her to do.

If people think that this is my fault, FINE.
If people think that my child is retarded or autistic, FINE.

I've already beaten myself to Hell and back over this. I know Sophie better than anyone else on this planet. I know that God has Sophie curled into His palm. She is healthy and wonderful. Sophie will be fine.

Monday, June 20, 2011

Potty Training Boot Camp Day #1

6,435,675,546 empty tries in the potty all ending with a gleeful "Bye-bye potty!"

1 shiney heinie dancing around all day.

1 fake nap in a diaper ending with a VERY wet diaper.

A 30 minute tantrum at 5:00 begging Mama to put a diaper on her so she can tee-tee.  Mama refuses.

2 successful tee-tees in the potty.  Only the first is through tears and requires snuggling with Mama afterwards.