Morning Glories

My daughter wrote a story about someone who sinks into deep depression and then slowly, slowly, pulls out of it. And the story uses the Morning Glory flower as a symbol of hope. When I read the story I found myself sobbing, recognizing myself in the main character. Finally acknowledging the numbness that had taken over my life, which I had grimly tried to ignore as I pushed through each day, determined to not let my family down. And I was filled with a tiny spark of hope. Yes, you can pull yourself through. Depression does go away. Life returns. 

Since I’ve read that story I have been seeing Morning Glories everywhere. As I was driving down the road to take my kids to school, there, look, Morning Glories covering a fence. Hope. As I took a walk, there, look, Morning Glories in the neighbor’s yard. Hope. And yesterday when I found myself actually having the motivation to get out into my yard with my kids, play with them, plant some things, I found Morning Glories in the very back corner of the yard, a place I usually don’t go. And I laughed and took a picture and I knew that it was no longer a spark, but a full blown flame. Hope. 

I went on a retreat several weeks ago. During the retreat I dealt with some old wounds. Or at least, started dealing. And I found myself feeling emotions again. Sure, it was anger and pain, but I was feeling again. I read somewhere that in order to feel joy and happiness we have to allow ourselves to feel anger and pain. When we stuff the bad emotions we end up in a place where all our emotions are flat. We can’t have the good without letting ourselves feel the bad too. As I have allowed myself to process the hard emotions, I have found the lighter ones returning. 

After the retreat I felt myself going silent. I needed a break from words, from thoughts, from interacting with people. I needed to just sit and feel and mourn and heal. And that’s why there haven’t been any new blogs in a while. I didn’t let it bother me. I knew the words would come back when I was ready. And this morning I felt the familiar itch to put my thoughts down where I could see them. And it’s good to be writing again. 

We’ve had a lot going on in the family the last couple months. Made some big decisions about our kids’ schooling. My third child graduated high school. We got to have a mini family reunion as I had all my kids in one place for the graduation. And now summer is going full force as I try to keep track of everyone’s summer plans with kids going in all directions. I am living one day at a time. Welcoming joy back into my life. Keeping an eye out for Morning Glories. And, as always, resting in the fact that God is good. 

Failing? Still Loved.

Last night I had one of my music major nightmares, leftover from many years past. In the dream here was a big concert hall, full of people. A large stage, all lit up. A grand piano sitting empty, waiting. And my music teacher from college was standing in the wings, ushering me forward to go and perform my piece. Except I couldn’t remember what piece I was supposed to play and even when I looked at the program and saw the name, I had no memory of ever learning this piece. I was going to be made to perform and I was going to fail. 

This seems to be a theme that haunts me all the time. 

I have really been struggling with depression. All motivation seems to be gone. I do the necessary things that have to be done, but nothing extra. This weekend was really hard. I hit Saturday and just getting myself to eat some breakfast and get dressed felt like a major ordeal. I texted my husband to tell him that my ability to accomplish any tasks seemed to have left me. He suggested I take the day off and just not do anything. Which sounded great. Except it was Easter weekend and I had to get everything ready. Does everyone have an outfit to wear? Easter goodies. Easter dinner. Get the house cleaned up, family are coming. Try to get everyone’s schedules lined up. 

Just a lot to do. 

I ended up going to the store with three children in tow and I managed to get everything on the list, but the trip was really stressful. One kid wandered off and I spent ten minutes looking for him. Another kid was being impossible to please. I went through the self checkout  and then in the middle of all that had my blood sugar bottom out on me, which hasn’t happened in a long time. So I was quickly trying to finish checking out and pay so I could rip open some of the food packages that I had bought and eat something and get my blood sugar back under control. By the time I got home I felt like a failure. Bad attitude. Disorganized. The whole trip felt like a disaster. And my brain was just repeating that word over and over again. Failure. Failure. 

I’m not usually that mean to myself and so I made an effort to fight back. You know what, I went to the store. I didn’t want to go. I just wanted to sit in my chair and do nothing. But I went. And it was really hard, but I accomplished what I set out to accomplish. 

Not a failure. 

And telling myself that I’m not a failure feels like a victory in itself. Yay self-esteem! Yay positive thinking!  But I had an interesting thing happen last week that felt like it took this lesson a little deeper. 

I mentioned in my last blog that Child Services showed up to my house last week. I had done nothing wrong. The Social worker said I did nothing wrong. Case closed. She left. I was shaking, I was so upset. Self-righteous anger running through me. Praying out loud. Jesus, you know I’ve done nothing wrong. And it was true. In this scenario I was innocent. But suddenly I had a flashback of other times I’ve really blown it as a parent. My oldest kids saw me make a lot of mistakes. Not so innocent. And I felt like I heard Jesus whispering, even if you were guilty of anything and everything, I still love you the same. My love doesn’t change based on what you do. 

And that’s the lesson I am trying to grasp. Failure. Not a failure. It doesn’t matter. I am still loved. 

Fat Fridays: NonDepressed Me Doesn’t Understand Depressed Me

Happy Fat Friday everyone. I’ve been gone a bit. Almost didn’t write today, but it’s stll Friday, I’ve still got a chance at this! 

This past month my exercise has diminished down to a brisk walk when it’s not too cold outside. I finally canceled my membership with the KICKOFF app that monitors your diet, gives you daily workouts and checks in with you every day. I canceled because I was no longer using the services and it’s too much money to just let it keep going when I’m not using it. I actually felt better when I canceled though. I know what I want to focus on with exercise and I feel like I can do it just using free resources. I also know that I need a different eating plan than what I was doing, so I’m still trying to figure out that one. 

What I wanted to write about today was the fact that Non-depressed Me has no understanding of Depressed Me. This past year as I was exercising and eating healthy, and the weight was coming off, and I was feeling great, I had these niggling memories. Memories of times in the past when I would lose weight, do well, and then somehow, it all came creeping back on. And I was always a little disappointed with that Old Esther who failed her diet and exercise plans so often. What was wrong with me? Why would I exchange this wonderful feeling of health and accomplishment for one of gluttany and sloth? I really had no idea why I had failed so often in the past. But I knew that, THIS TIME, I would accomplish my goals and stay on the path. 

And then Depressed Me showed up. And it was like someone took a big plank of wood and smacked me upside the head. And when I came to, Non-Depressed Me was gone, Depressed Me had taken up residence and I had the “AH HA!” moment when I remembered, very clearly, why I had failed so many times in the past. Depression. 

It sucks the life out of you. My emotions feel flat. My ambition is gone. Nothing is enjoyable. 

I am a bookworm, I have probably read close to a book a day since I was eight years old. This past month I have read one book. And it was one I’d read a million times before and I picked it because it had a happy ending with low-levels of crisis. I find myself zoning out with solitaire and flipping through Facebook and wishing I could find a book I actually wanted to read. I am still taking walks, but only when the weather gets at least into the 40s (F). We are having a cold winter (for us) and it’s no fun. 

These past couple days I have felt marginally better. I started writing my blog again. I’ve been sitting down at the piano, playing Bach. Angry Bach. Agitated Bach. But at least it’s been a good outlet for whatever is going on inside me. I’ve still managed to stay focused on getting the family to eat healthier. I have been baking our bread, about every two or three days, and that has been satisfying. Every week this month I have sat down and found new recipes for the week, made a menu, made a grocery list and tried to stick to it. It’s been cost effective and I’ve been making the kids eat new things which has made meal times more interesting for me, perhaps a little more stressful for them, but they’ve been doing pretty good with it. 

I also gave up paper plates. I’ve been using paper plates for my kids for several years. It meant that I only had to wash dishes once a day. Now I have to wash dishes two or three times a day, so I don’t know if I am actually saving anything, but it has been nice to have everyone eating off of pretty plates and my home has felt more homey. So, it’s not all negative. And I’m starting to try to have patience and compassion for Depressed-Me. Get to know this person again. See what diet and weight loss are going to look like while this alterego is hanging around. I’ll let you know how this goes. 

When You Least Expect It

I stopped writing for a little bit. I have pondered just stopping completely. Just walk away. Reasons? I don’t have anything positive to say. No sense in dragging people down with my negativity. I have a lot of stress in my life that is tied into other people and their stories, and I have no freedom to share their stories and so I can’t talk about and explore all the reasons their stories are stressing me out. And probably the most honest, I feel myself in a deep dark place of depression and why would I want to share that with the world? 

Depression is a weird thing. I can stand back and be analytical. Yeah, the times that I get depressed are when I am emotionally stretched too thin. Too much on my plate. I’m overwhelmed. But then, there have been plenty of times that I have been in that position and not fallen into deep depression. So what’s the difference? How do I stop it from descending on me? I’ve tried hard to practice Self-care. I’ve tried very hard to keep my load at a bearable weight. I’ve tried very hard to be proactive about keeping depression at bay. And then there is a “Last Straw” moment and I feel myself sliding down into a pit. 

Today I sat in my chair in my room, opened the curtains so the sun would shine straight in my face. I sat there with my eyes closed and thought about Hope. 

Hope is such an elusive thing. I don’t know how to summon it up when I am at my lowest. But somehow, it has a way of wafting past my face when I am least expecting it. Today, as my eyes saw bright spots against my eyelids and the light warmed me up, I felt a stirring of hope. I realized that all my thoughts about God and his love for me and my inability to accept that on some fundamental level, all of that angst was not something I had to solve today. Today I could just focus on being thankful and praising God and that was enough for now. 

I decided to cancel my membership with the personal trainer app I’ve been using the past year. Not because they weren’t awesome and super helpful to me, but because I realized I needed to move forward with something different to fit where I am now, a year later. And instead of failure, it felt hopeful to start looking for something new.

Today I have decided that all the other myriad problems that are weighing me down can get fixed another day. Or never at all. Just deal with the problems that are right in front of me at this very moment. Cliche. But still true. Story of my life, trying to remember that and walk in it. 

Hope showed up with some sunshine today. I don’t know why. But I’ll take it. I don’t know how long it will last, but I’ll take what I can get. And on the days when hope doesn’t show up, I’ll keep putting one foot in front of the other. Seek out the light. Trust that it will show up when I least expect it.  

Fat Fridays: Mental Health Check In

Happy Friday everyone. 

It’s 8:45am and I’ve already had a busy morning. Made homemade muffins for the kids for breakfast. I’ve got a big batch of yeast bread started, sitting in a bowl on the mantel to rise. Walked around picking up all the winter clothing that was left on the floor yesterday after we had a small batch of snow (only happens a couple times a year for us). Lit all the candles in the house in an attempt to chase off the gloom from this cold gray morning. I’ve cleaned up several messes from my son’s puppy that we are babysitting during the day while he’s at work. And also let my cats in and out the door about 5,000 times. 

And I’ve been trying really hard to not be snappy at my kids. This is their second snow day home and in my current mood, I’ve found it challenging to have to deal with arguments, fussing, and just a bunch of energetic kids bouncing around the house. (Stop throwing playing cards at my candles, No, we are NOT playing basketball in the house, yes, we ARE going to clean your room, No, we are NOT going to do a science experiment that involves setting paper on fire.) 

I am struggling a lot with depression and irritability. I’ve been working on getting back to healthy eating, cutting out sugar and processed foods again, and my body is in shock and not happy as it is deprived of all it’s junk again. I know I’m making progress, I’m starting to crave healthy food again and I haven’t had a hard time staying away from the bad suff, but it always puts me in a bad mood when I come off sugar and junk. I have a feeling a lot of that is just physical things happening in my body. 

I’m coming off the High of the Holidays and feeling a predictable blah-ness from resuming normal life again. 

The last two years have been pretty traumatic and so I find myself facing this new year with a lot of hesitancy. What craziness is going to happen this year? 

We’ve got an upcoming court date for our foster daughter and I’m having to face a lot of inner-demons as I resolve to make my voice heard instead of staying quiet. 

I imagine everyone has a list of reasons for why their mental health is not doing so great right now. 

What am I doing about it? 

Well, I’ve been really focused on keeping my home in a constant state of tidiness and order and coziness. It is calming to me to sit in a clean room with candles lit and some pretty things to look at. I tend to be very comfortable with clutter and chaos, but lately I’ve been going the opposite direction and needing everything orderly and in its place. 

I’ve gotten back into daily Bible reading. I have a 12 month Read the BIble in Year. Each day has a date and a passage from the Old Testament, the New Testament, a Psalm and a Proverb. I have decided to start in the month of December and work my way backwards, cause that just feels more doable for me. I am finding this reading time to be a time of calm and peace. 

I am working hard on getting our whole family eating healthy again, and one of the things I’m focusing on is baking our own whole-grain bread again. I used to do this a lot, years ago, and then stopped. I find that I need to bake about every two days in order to keep up with the kids. There is something very soothing about making bread. It makes me feel grounded and connected to the earth. Weird? I don’t know. I just know that I am enjoying it and find it soothing. 

The last thing is I am trying to keep life as simple as possible. I’ve had to hit pause on keeping up with community events and concerns, what’s happening in our country, and just focus in on my home. 

And even doing all that, it’s still been a struggle. But, I’m hopeful. My body is going to adjust to the healthier diet again, we’ll get past our court date, spring will come again. Life keeps moving. We just have to take it one day at a time. 

Envy

 Last year my son was in 5th grade. It was a really rough year for him. His class had a lot of violence going on. Fights in the classroom. Fights in the lunchroom. Fights on the playground. I’ve had two other kids go through 5th grade at the same school and they did not have this problem. It seemed to be This Class and This School Year that was having a bad time. The only problem was, all these kids from 5th grade were going to go up to Middle School with my son the next school year and take their problems right along with them. My son was depressed and withdrawn the entire 5th grade school year and we did not see how Middle School was going to help things improve. 

So, here comes the new and improved government Child Tax Credit.  It’s unexpected money. We’ve been living without it, we can continue to live without it. We decided to use a bulk of this money to send our son to a small Christian Private School that is close to our neighborhood, but not IN the neighborhood. 

It has been a night and day difference for him. His academic standards have raised significantly and he is rising to the challenge. He is in a small classroom with kids who behave and are friendly and accept him with all his quirkiness. He has started doing sports and is well liked at the school and has become a happy kid. We are delighted that he is at this new school.

Having him at this new school has opened up a whole new can of worms though. School envy. Discontent. This longing to just pack up ALL my kids and send them to THIS school where they can be safe, happy, well-cared for and they can just thrive in a healthy environment. Apparently though, these kinds of learning environments are only for kids whose parents make a certain amount of money. You can see how it’s really easy to fall into a bad state of mind over this. 

Today I had to stop and take a moment to be thankful for our current income level. It is sufficient to clothe and feed us, give us a home to live in, cars to drive. We even squeeze in low-budget family vacations. If we made more money we probably wouldn’t live where we are. And our location has given us the opportunity to serve people around us in a meaningful way. I know that my kids have been a positive addition to the schools and classrooms that they are in. I know that not having excess money has made us a lot more ready and willing to help others who are living at even lower levels, because we understand where they are coming from. We’ve been there. 

As always, it comes back to faith. Do I have faith that God will provide what each of my children needs? This year he has provided a way for my 6th grader to be in an awesome environment where he is thriving. My 8th grader chose to homeschool and I have been very impressed at his level of self-discipline and scholarship. He’s also been given an opportunity to have an internship at our local Chilren’s Museum which is a perfect fit for his interests and abilities. Each one of my elementary kids have been put in a place where they are getting what they need and are happy. My highschoolers are thriving Despite all the challenges their school is facing. I can’t complain. 

Falling into envy is really easy when I’m not staying in the NOW. When I forget to take stock and be thankful for what I have today. When I get so focused on future worries that I forget that I have everything I need, today. When I spend my time looking at what other people have instead of realizing that, today, I have everything I need. So, here’s to casting off envy and walking forward in a spirit of thankfulness and faith. 

WARNING

I have been feeling nervous lately about having a blog. People are actually reading it. That makes me nervous. I know myself too well. I am so human. I do not have my life together. I am inconsistent. I lose my temper. I’m irritable. I have big bouts of laziness. I blow it with my kids every day. Our family lives at full throttle, very small margins. Lots of risks. Not much of a safety net. In short, there isn’t much that I would say, here you should copy me. I hope very much that my kids don’t repeat all the mistakes I made and that they map out very different lives from me. 

I think what keeps bringing me back to the keyboard is the desire to say, hey, we are all messed up. No one is perfect. But look what Jesus is doing with my mess. Look, this is what sanctification looks like. The daily process of being changed by God’s work in my life. And even this, the sanctification process, I want to show it from a real perspective. No. I don’t become a Christian and then suddenly become this perfect, holy person. In fact, the more I walk with Jesus, the more perfection feels farther and farther away. In truth, every day I get a bigger and bigger understanding of how Unholy I am. And how desperately I need Jesus to cover all my junk with his own holiness. 

Case in point. This past week has been horrible. I have been depressed. My depression has made me revert to bad eating habits which have then made me feel sick. Every morning I got up, got my kids off to school, ran the basic errands, and then crashed in bed until I needed to pick up my kids from school again. I have been walking through a fog and I feel like a failure. How many times have I written about this? You would think, by now, I would be over this and moving on in victory. Healed. Redeemed. Triumphant. 

Apparently not. 

At the same time, a dear friend shared an article about how we keep saying we want God to “Use us”, kind of like employees, but God wants our focus to be on KNOWING him. And it’s out of that knowing that we end up offering service to God, not out of a sense of obligation. And this week, even as I have been dragging low to the ground, I have found myself thinking about who Jesus is, talking to him, feeling his presence with me, and bewildering as it is, not feeling his disapproval of me. Even though I have definitely not been performing or offering any kind of service this week. 

I guess I want to say that I am the poster child of a Messed Up Person Who Is Still Loved By God. Or, this is what God’s Grace looks like in a regular person. And I’m sorry, but it’s not neat and pretty and perfect. It’s sloppy and messy and kind of ugly sometimes. But all that imperfection also serves as a constant reminder that I am saved by Grace, not because I’m this hard working amazing person who follows all the rules, keeps all the laws. No. I’m saved because Jesus decided to save me. And because HE is good and holy and amazing and perfect. 

As I write this blog, I’m sharing myself with you. And that’s kind of scary. Very often I hit the publish button and then instantly have a panic attack. Why did I write that? I shouldn’t have posted that. I need to erase that. Right now. And somehow I fight through the panic, and God gives me peace. It helps to get feedback from you all, and find out that you think the same, have been dealing with the same issues, you know where I’m coming from, etc. I appreciate all of you. I’m thankful for this mutually affirming community we have formed. 

I guess I just want to put out a WARNING label on my blog. 

WARNING: the following material is written by a really imperfect person who is stumbling along through life and trying to figure things out as she goes. Please take everything with a grain of salt. And lots of grace. 

Thanks. 

Emotions Lie

This post is probably a bit off color. Taboo. Things we don’t talk about in mixed company. Sorry. Since this blog is about my life, I get to pick what I write about. 

What has been on my mind this week is how difficult it is to be a woman who is having monthly cycles. For me, once a month, I have an entire week where suddenly my emotions and feelings lie to me. They tell me that I am angry, depressed. There is no hope. Everything is bad. I am a screw up, a failure. I feel tired and run down. Life feels very bleak. And without fail, it usually takes me at least three days before I make the connection…Oh, right. I’m not REALLY depressed and angry. It’s just that time of the month. But the domino effect has already begun. I try to make myself feel better by eating something sweet or some other special treat. I have no energy so maybe I miss a day of exercise. And then I feel worse. I’m so undisciplined. Why can’t I stick to my diet? I’m so lazy. I couldn’t even get out for a walk. 

And then I figure out what’s going on. And it takes me several days to unravel the mess and get myself back on firm ground. And then I move on with life, forget what happened, only to be hit again a month later. 

And reading this, I think, well, duh why haven’t you been more proactive to chart these things and just plan ahead for them? All I can say is, I’m not the most organized person, and life is really busy. I chronically don’t pay attention and then get hit every month. 

And sometimes, the “everything should be fair and equal” part of me rears up a bit in anger. Why is it just women who have to deal with this? And why were we made this way? It seems to be a rather broken system. 

I think this is one of those topics in which I’m going to have to wait till I get to heaven to get the answers.

In the meantime, all I can do is dwell on what I have learned from this aspect of womanhood. 

Here is what I have learned. Emotions and feelings are not reliable, trustworthy or honest indicators of how my life is going. And I constantly have to remind myself of this. One of the things I say to my kids, A LOT, is “Let’s speak some truth over this.” When they tell me about a nightmare that has scared them. A fear that is crippling them. They give me a list of everything that is wrong with life…Ok. Let’s speak some truth over this. Let’s sort out reality from fiction. Let’s count our blessings so we can see that we are actually living in a place of blessing, not curses. Let’s dwell on what God says about us, not what the world says about us. Let’s attack these bad feelings with truth. 

Something we hear a lot in our culture is “Just Follow Your Heart!” And by heart we generally mean what you are feeling. Which seems really weird when feelings are so random and unstable. They are connected to what time of the month it is. Whether we had a lot of inconveniences thrown our way. Whether someone else decided to behave badly toward us. Feelings and emotions are great tools, but only if you don’t take them too seriously. Yeah, I’m feeling really yucky. But that doesn’t mean life is really yucky. It could mean I’m fighting off a cold, my hormones are shifting, my lunch didn’t agree with me. We just have to keep in mind that every surge of emotion needs to be paired up with some truth speaking. 

No More Christianese, Please

Lately I have really been struggling with “Christianese” . These are the set platitudes that Christians murmur to each other all the time, catch phrases that we say without giving much thought to the meaning. “God has really blessed you!” “I’m believing God for a miracle!” “You just need to press in and pray!” 

I am “blessed” because my husband recovered quickly from Covid. What about those who lost their husbands to covid? Are they Not blessed? I am “believing God for a miracle”. And then the miracle doesn’t show up. Must be because you didn’t believe enough? I see that you are really struggling in this area, you just need to press in and pray! And if you continue to struggle in this area it means that you have a bad prayer life and you just really aren’t a very spiritual person. 

I have this image of tapestry in my mind. And, this is not an original image to me, I’ve read many illustrations about seeing life as a tapestry. But here we are staring at the bottom side of the tapestry and everything is backwards and messy looking. We can’t see the other side where the beautiful picture is being made. And I feel like we have everything backwards. 

What if someone being miraculously healed, saved from the brink of death, is actually not the great prize we see it as. Think about a Christian who knows they are going to one day be walking face to face with Jesus, living in paradise. They’re at death’s door, and they are miraculously saved. It almost seems like a big let down. Oh great. I was hoping that my work on earth was finished and I could finally go get my reward, but instead now I have to wait even longer and do even more work. 

We pray for people to be saved from trials, but scripture tells us over and over again that it is during trials and tribulations that our faith grows, our maturity grows. We are refined, the dross is burned away. We are sanctified. But, in our upside down view of things, we see those trials as lack of blessing, lack of prayer, lack of faith. 

Can I just say, “Christianese” can be really offensive. When I am bowed down to the ground with depression, barely able to move and someone suggests to me that I just need to get into the word and pray more…that is not helpful. How about, I see that you are really struggling and I imagine prayer and Bible reading are really difficult right now. I just want you to know that I am standing in the gap for you and lifting you up in prayer. Here, I’ve written out this Bible verse for you, I hope it comforts you. Is there anything in the physical realm I can do to help you? Do you need help getting hooked up with a counselor or a therapist? Can I check in with you regularly so you know you are not alone? 

When my loved one is at death’s door, please don’t tell me that you believe God is going to heal them. What if he doesn’t? Is God still good if my loved one dies? Am I still loved and cherished if they die? Does their death signal a lack of blessing or protection? How about, I am praying night and day that God’s will be done in your loved one’s life and in your life. I am praying that you both have fresh revelation of how loved you are and how secure you are in God’s hands. Can I read Psalm 139 aloud to you? So we can be reminded how deeply and intimately God cares about every detail of your life? I am praying strength and peace for you! What can I do physically to help you? Meals? Help to get to appointments? Financial assistance? 

When I am going through trials and tribulations please don’t act like I have somehow fallen out of favor with God because I am going through these things. “I just need to pray more so that God will forgive me for whatever I did wrong and put me back on the Nice and Easy path that I crave.” How about some encouragement along the lines of, God must have some really important plans for your life because I can see how he is strengthening your faith, maturing you and refining you into an even stronger person than you were before. I can see how you are growing through these trials. I am praying for supernatural strength for you and praying that God will use these things to draw you even closer to him. How can I help you physically? Is there anything tangible I can do to ease your burden and let you know that you aren’t alone while you go through this hard situation? 

I know that every platitude that has been told me has been done in love and good intentions. I’m not mad when people say things that were meant to be helpful, but just aren’t. I see their heart, I know they care about me. But, we can do better guys. Let’s really think about what we say before we say it. 

Fat Fridays: Fatigue

I do not like being tired. I hate it. It feels like I have to do a task that requires 10 units, but I’ve only been given 4 units. And then what do you do? 

Fatigue is one of the leading reasons I started pursuing a better diet and exercise. I needed energy. Really bad. My poor diet messed with my blood sugar. I would eat too many carbs and then my blood sugar would spike and I would feel like I was about to pass out and I would have to lie down. My lack of exercise made climbing the stairs at my house a major event. I felt like I was dragging myself through each day. 

So, I changed my diet, I started really keeping tabs on my carbs, trying to not go over 30grams per meal or snack. I started exercising and felt my endurance growing by leaps and bounds. I now started running up the steps at my house. I stopped taking naps every day. I started averaging about seven hours of sleep, instead of needing eight-plus. I started taking a handful of supplements, like B vitamins and Vitamin D.  And while I will never be accused of being the Energizer Bunny, I felt fine getting through my day. 

And then this past couple weeks happened. Last week I was on a stress-high from the recent gun-violence in my kids’ highschool and our community. Then this week that stress turned into depression. I have barely been able to get out of bed in time in the mornings. I do all my early morning stuff of getting kids off to school, getting young kids fed and settled in, and then I crash mid morning. Fall asleep. And though I don’t sleep too long, it takes me several hours afterwards to get myself up and functioning again. 

I’ve been rolling with it. Been sitting on the couch reading to my little boys instead of trying to tackle grammar and math lessons (I homeschool my six year old). I haven’t attempted to fold the six baskets of laundry, just made sure the kids grab something clean out every night for the next day. I haven’t tried to do any heavy-duty cleaning, just the basic daily tidy-up. My personal trainer is still sending me daily workouts, but twice I’ve traded in a tough workout for a long walk instead. And I’ve just been trying to be patient with myself. Depression is something I’ve fought before and I know it will pass. 

But, I have to say, I’ve been a bit surprised at the fatigue. I think, in the back of my mind, I always presumed that all my fatigue came directly from lack of exercise and an unhealthy diet. I never thought a lot about stress and depression being a significant factor as well. But, I think it is. 

The big reminder I’ve had to give myself is, even though my diet and exercise aren’t giving me energy right now, it would be a hundred times worse if I went back to my old lifestyle. I am still nourishing my body in the way it needs, moving it the way it needs. Fatigue is not an excuse to stop. It’s a motivation to keep going. No reason to make this any worse than it already is.