movement

My boy, dancing free of inhibition at a drum circle on New Year’s Eve.

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{365}

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what (my kind of) depression feels like

More often than not there’s no discernible reason – no traumatic event or sad anniversary or painful memory. But it comes anyway. It sneaks in and drops a scrim between me and clear vision. Between me and capability. Between me and reality.

I’m suddenly and painfully aware of all my many shortcomings. I’m lazy. Thoughtless. Bad at my job. Hopeless. Useless.

I want to hide in my bed and sleep or not sleep. I don’t want to talk to anyone. I can’t enjoy my children or my husband.

I match my outside appearance to my inside one – wearing sloppy clothes and maybe not even showering.

I have to force myself to leave the house. I can’t answer my phone – I mean, I am physically repulsed by the thought of talking to even my closest friends.

I become so completely consumed with how bad I feel that I then conclude I am the world’s biggest narcissist, which only compounds the self-loathing.

I can’t pray. I know there must be a part of my soul that’s crying out to God, but it’s nothing I could say with my lips. I think this feels like the most abject failure – what kind of Christian church worker can’t even pray from the depths of despair?

I can’t explain how this feels to anyone when deep in the throes of it. Not even my husband. And so I just appear mopey. And then I feel like I should just be able to snap out of it. But I can’t. I’m not capable. I am unwell. I could no sooner snap out of a broken leg.

Before too long, maybe a day or two, the fog clears. I genuinely laugh. I stretch, and put on jeans that make my butt look good. But there’s a scar on my spirit and it reminds me to be on alert for the next time.

ideas

Sometimes I might use this here idea list from FatMumSlim in order to get a little photo-taking inspiration.

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{Thank you, Andrea.}

So, today’s prompt is ‘heart.” And I’m already breaking the rules by posting a photo I took on our day trip Sunday. But these two are my heart walking around outside my body, so I declare that it counts.

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Nevermind, I didn’t break the rules. My girl’s got a heart on her sweatshirt.

auspicious

2012 by the numbers:

2:  fish that lived and died in our house

1,175:  dollars raised for world hunger which then resulted in me dying my hair red

20:  weight, in pounds, of the cast iron stove grate that fell onto my big toe while cooking dinner for 100 at church

2:  times I traveled to the very same Irish pub in Orlando to eat with visitors from far-away lands

7:  seasons of LOST re-watched

1:  new nephew

2:  airplane trips

672:  estimated number of hilarious things my children said

3,875:  approximate miles driven on my road trip

16:  states I have spent at least 1 hour in

4:  states in which I ate fresh, local corn on the cob this summer

8:  garbage bags of clothing donated

6:  inches cut from Maria’s hair

3:  repair calls made on our new-ish refrigerator

1:  President I’m glad to have helped elect

Bonus feature:
#1 favorite fiction book in 2012:  The Fault In Our Stars by John Green

#1 favorite non-fiction book read in 2012: How To Be A Woman by Caitlin Moran (not for the easily offended)

Saw this little friend right upon leaving the house earlier today –

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month in review: one

I’ve been 35 for one month now, and what have I got to show for it? Let’s see… I:

* enjoyed a gorgeous and peaceful Christmas
* have read three books (far fewer than is normal)
* cooked the best pot roast ever to exist in the history of pot roast
* watched all the Christmas movies I wanted to watch
* mailed three actual letters, including one to Korea
* taken in a Broadway musical for the first time in years (Mary Poppins)
* listened to Britten’s ‘Ceremony of Carols’ no fewer than 10 times
* went to my first Hanukkah party
* won my first game of dreidel
* landed a real live doula client due in January

Not too shabby.

ache

My heart’s hurting for Newtown, for victims everywhere of gun violence, for people suffering with mental illness. I’ve been reading a lot since Friday night. Here are a few links to some smart, sobering, precious responses:

If Not Now, When? If Not Us, Who?

Insanity is Winning

How To Help

I Cry To You From The Depths, Lord.

And I have to end by saying this:  I feel nothing but rage towards people who place a higher value in guarding their personal gun ownership than in protecting our most vulnerable. I feel devastated by those who don’t think mental health is more worthy of funding than special interests. I feel disappointed in those who hate our President so very much that they’ll do anything to stop his efforts to make much needed and reasonable changes in our policies just because they hate him. I felt fury at people telling those who are grieving that this was somehow God’s will.

But I also felt loved by our President last night when he spoke at the inter-faith prayer service. I felt challenged by him to help work for changes to ensure these acts of violence end forever. I felt proud as hell of my high school principal who is now the first-selectwoman (like a mayor, essentially) of Newtown, and sad that this may define her place in history. I felt joy in our morning worship that both honored the grief of the present while remembering the meaning of Christmas.

gift

A year ago today, at just about this time in the afternoon, my friend texted me to inform me she was pretty sure her labor had begun. She and her husband (our former neighbors) had asked me to serve as their doula for the homebirth of their first child. It was such an honor to be invited into this event. As I looked over the photos I took that night, it all came flooding back.

When I arrived that evening (because of course my daughter’s preschool Christmas concert was that same night, but K felt fine with me waiting to come over until afterwards), the hours seemed to fly by. A few minutes after 1am, right on his due date, little L was born after a pretty typical labor and slightly chaotic final pushing stage. We were all euphoric.

L’s dad made this leaf pendant and gave it to me a couple of weeks before the birth.

leaf

Every time I wear it I think of that night, of that sweet baby’s first cries, of his mother’s determination and patience, of his father’s unwavering support, of the midwife’s calm demeanor in an intense 3rd stage of labor. They were the first to trust me in my role as a doula.

And now I have one definite client due in June and a couple of other potentials.

*EDIT* Nope, TWO definite clients! Just got an email from a couple hiring me for a birth in January. 😀

Almost everyone I’ve spoken to about this passion of mine is 100% supportive, even if they don’t fully understand it, and that’s a gift in and of itself.