Wednesday, November 13, 2013

the Sweater Weather Tag

There are always fun tags flying around in the YouTube Community, and one of the popular ones right now is the "Sweater Weather Tag".  My last 2 posts have been rather drull, so I thought i would lighten it up a little with a nice tag.


1. Favourite candle scent?

Right now I'm more into warming scented wax in my warmer, but if I had to choose a Bath & Body Works Candle it would definitely be "Leaves". However, my favorite wax melt right now are any of the spicy apple cinnamon-y pumpkin scents such as this sweet apple pie scent from Michaels. 

2. Coffee, tea, or hot chocolate?

We've had a fair amount of Chamomile tea with loads of honey so for the fall I'd say that, but in the Winter it'll definitely be hot chocolate.  This year I want to make some hot chocolate from scratch with a recipe such as this one - yum!

3. What's the best fall memory you have?

To be honest LA has a distinct lack of cold temperatures or changing leaves, but we recently went about an hour and a half out of LA to Apple Orchards out in Yucaipa.  It was absolutely gorgeous - we pressed apple cider, had apple cider donuts, played in the beautiful forests, it was perfect.  See our day here. 

4. Which makeup trend do you prefer: dark lips or winged eyeliner? 

ACK! I can't choose - I LOVE winged liner, but I am absolutely obsessed with the dark lips trend.  I'm currently wearing Milani's lipstick in Sangria - it looks like a blackish purple in the tube which is scary, but on the lips it's a dark deep berry and I love it!! So I guess dark lips?? 

5. Best fragrance for fall?

Ooh I don't think I have one! I have two favorite perfumes - Armani Code and Viva la Juicy le Fleur, so I guess Armani Code is more suitable for the season. (Just for fun - the Armani Code fragrance is described like this: "a feminine blend of zesty blood orange, ginger, and pear sorbet softened with hints of sambac jasmine, orange blossom, and lavender honey, warmed with precious woods and vanilla.")

6. Favourite Thanksgiving food?

Oooh I have to say I adore green bean casserole, and then ham (not the turkey, the ham). I love stuffing but I think it's overrated (that's right - I'm trying to rile you up!)

7. What is Autumn weather like where you live?

It is warm - even hot.  Stupid LA!

8. Most worn sweater?

Right now I have been wearing my long chunky dark grey cable knit cardigan from Costco (stylish I know).  I never go into the clothes section normally but I got matching pyjamas for my sister and I, and I saw it... it's SO snuggly, and is the perfect thing to wear out when seeing a movie etc because it doubles as a blanket. I couldn't find the exact one online, but it's similar to this.

9. Must-have nail polish this fall?

That would be Royal Flush - a gorgeous berry with purple tone. Best part - it's only $2.99 at Walgreens!

10. Football games or jumping in leaf piles?


11. Skinny jeans or leggings?

Leggings.  I live in leggings in the autumn and winter.  I love it!

12. Combat boots or Uggs?

I have neither - but I'm curious about Ugg's.  I've always resisted the trend but now I feel like I want a pair of my own!

13. Is pumpkin spice worth the hype?

Yup - I think so! I love pumpkin bread and pumpkin pie.

14. Favourite fall TV show?

Right now I'm loving Shady Hollow, Once Upon a Time, the second season, Grey's Anatomy (as usual), and New Girl, among many others.

15. What song really gets you into the fall spirit?

Um.  I can't really think of anything but I'm currently loving "Dear No One" by Tori Kelly.  It's a beautiful acoustic number that I have on repeat.

I really want to know your own answers - here is the tag, please leave your comments below!!!! That would make me so happy :-)

1. Favourite candle scent?
2. Coffee, tea, or hot chocolate?
3. What's the best fall memory you have?
4. Which makeup trend do you prefer: dark lips or winged eyeliner? 
5. Best fragrance for fall?
6. Favourite Thanksgiving food?
7. What is Autumn weather like where you live?
8. Most worn sweater?
9. Must-have nail polish this fall?
10. Football games or jumping in leaf piles?
11. Skinny jeans or leggings?
12. Combat boots or Uggs?
13. Is pumpkin spice worth the hype?
14. Favourite fall TV show?
15. What song really gets you into the fall spirit?

In case you're in the mood, here are Essiebutton's and Missglamorazzi's sweater weather tag videos... 

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Another one

So I guess I've had another one... a chemical pregnancy.  It wasn't just a late period. I didn't mention it yesterday because I wanted to be absolutely sure. Believe me you don't want to hear about the details, but suffice it to say it's happened.

I am more than a little crushed.  I started doing research on adoption just to keep my mind occupied and remember that there are so many ways to build a happy family.  Shawn and I have discussed adoption before and we both would love to be able to do it regardless of our ability to have babies au natural as well.

This little guy just melted my heart... Isn't he precious?

Monday, November 11, 2013

Not this month

I'm not going to lie.  I was super disappointed yesterday when my very late period decided to show up anyways.  I really felt like this month was the month. 8 days late when I'm almost never late?! Unfair! 

Anyways.  If you have an international relationship, or just live far away from your family you may understand this part of my heartbreak - Shawn and I are going to Japan in less than two weeks and I really thought I was going to be able to experience what being pregnant in person with my family would feel like.  Excited conversations about the future, baby names, everything... I was already dreaming up ways to surprise them with the news.

That lost dream was almost equally as hard to swallow as was the fact that this month didn't happen. Now I just have cramps. Bummer.

Friday, November 8, 2013

It takes a village

It's true what they say. It takes a village to raise a child.  I started to reflect on the people in my community that had a positive influence on me outside of my direct family. Obviously the majority of our learning and growth happens in our nuclear family, but after we turn 18 (maybe sooner), the people you surround yourself with will be huge influences on your personal growth into adulthood and beyond. Obviously our modern day community is not always immediate in the physical sense (eg living closeby) but is tangible in a modern web-based sense.

I'll catch myself doing something or saying something and I realize that these actions or words were originally someone else's, but they have become a part of me as well.  A few examples:

Organization. My roommate Tamar was a total guide and inspiration to me.  I feel like I learned a lot of essential things from her - one of my favorites was seeing her in bed at night with her paper shredder at her side.  She always filed all of her bills away in a binder, and shredded unnecessary documents. She didn't have piles of mail piled up 'waiting to be sorted' - she was efficient and organized.  If she needed to find a document, she knew where it was, instead of having to go through THE PILES. I remember when we were working on my Green Card application, I felt like I had it easy because all of the files our lawyer wanted us to keep on hand for the interview were in my handy dandy binder. When Shawn and I got married, we adopted the whole binder system which although isn't a new concept by any stretch of the imagination, was more than either of us organized independently before. Another example is that Tamar keeps all of her DVD's in zipped up containers, they're not piled up and visible.  I liked the look, so when we bought a new TV stand, I kept our DVD's in the little white baskets so they're not visible.  I love how much neater they look doing it that way.

Getting rid of things you don't need.  Tamar again.  Her wardrobe was always super neat - shoes stacked, clothes organized.  Me - I had some on hangers, some in boxes, some in bags, and then a whole bunch piling up on my desk chair when we were roommates.  I remember her telling me that she gets rid of anything she hasn't worn in 6 months, or that don't fit anymore.  That prospect terrified me, especially the part about getting rid of clothes that didn't fit as I had so many beautiful outfits that I "grew out of" that I wanted to fit into again someday. But I did it.  Tamar actually came in, and went through each of my clothing items, asked me if I've worn it in the last 6 months, and helped me get rid of over 3 trash bags full of clothes.  I donated them to the local Goodwill and had a small but organized wardrobe.  I don't know exactly how to explain what it is, but it feels good to see a small variety of clothes, but know that you love them all and they all fit.  Thanks to Tamar, I regularly sort through my clothes, and keep a core wardrobe.  The inner hoarder has been tamed.

Cleanliness. No, I'm not talking about hygiene, GOSH! I'm talking cleaning the house. My friend Ashlee is a germophobe, but a very proactive one.  Her house is always clean and tidy and smells good.  I never developed any habit of cleaning growing up, but really started to learn about it after college. I witnessed my friends vacuuming, scrubbing, and cleaning... and I knew I loved the way their houses looked (shocking, I know)... and I realized that I needed to build some habits, and quickly.  This necessity was highlighted when Shawn and I started dating and every time I went to his room, his bed was immaculately made, and everything was super neat. To this day Shawn is the cleaner of us two, but I am now an equal contributor to the daily tasks of keeping up the house.

Even much more recently, my sister in law Allyssa was an inspiration, unbeknownst to her... she had just had her third child... and when we came to visit her house was immaculate as usual.  After we came back home, I actually asked Shawn how in the world she does it.  He chuckled and said, well she has 3 kids so she probably keeps up by not ever letting it pile up - she picks up after herself! And once he said that, I started to notice that that was true.  Everytime a dish was put in the sink, it was rinsed and put into the dishwasher.  If a game was done, the toys were put away.  If crumbs were on the floor, they were vacuumed after the meal.  I can't even explain what a revelation this was to me.  (Dont judge!) I sure can clean, but I clean in sessions... not intermittently.  I used to fill the sink up with dirty dishes, and then clean them at the end of the day (or the end of the second day, ahem...). I then tried to imitate - I cleaned after each meal instead.  I organized the living room and kept the vacuum cleaner out to experiment vacuuming more often.  The difference was huge - the house was so much easier to keep up with! And I enjoyed it even more than I already did... there was also the additional perk of being ready to have visitors at any time instead of doing the "big clean" before the next expected shindig at our house...

Meal Presentation  This one goes big time to my mother in law Soraia and my sister in law Chelsey. I can cook, and I love to cook - my food even tastes pretty good most of the time, but the thing that never ever occurred to me was presentation.  I don't know why I never considered it when cooking at home, because I definitely noticed and appreciated it in restaurants... but so it was.  I noticed that even when we were coming up for a quick meal, my mother in law would have the table set beautifully, and the food would be laid out on nice dishes.  During festive occasions, salads would be dressed up with vegetables cut into shapes, etc.  At Chelsey's house she even made name place cards for the seats, and would do little details like turning honey butter into raspberry honey butter and other little masterpieces. Even drinks aren't always served out of the bottle, sometimes they're mixed and put into glass dispensaries. Although I haven't invested in any extra items, I do put a little more thought into having something pretty in the center of my dining table.  Sometimes it's a bouquet of flowers, now it's a hurricane filled with a large candle and glittery pinecones.  And now instead of mixing up a salad and serving it, I sometimes put all the little ingredients into containers and have a salad "buffet style".  Same ingredients, different effect.

Crock Pot Cooking My friend Katie gave me my first crockpot as a housewarming for my first apartment.  I had never used one in my life and although my first few tries were huge failures, it has since become a staple cooking method in our rotations. She has always been a great cooking inspiration, and helped me realize the great benefit of cooking at home (since I'm a love-to-eat-out kinda girl). As I type this, I have a pretty fancy pot roast in my crock pot and it smells pretty darn good.  Crock pots - definitely a helpful cooking tool. Ever since I've known her she's been making fancy things - homemade pizzas in college, monkey bread, moroccan tagines, ugh... I'm getting hungry.

Stylish Business Attire This one goes to a lot of my co-workers, but in particular my old colleague Jana. I was never dressed too casually, but I thought business attire was boring, and dressed that way.  I always wore slacks, flats and a collared shirt.  Although there was nothing wrong with that, and I bought well tailored pieces, they weren't very engaging or very stylish.  When I was on the same project as Jana, I was impressed by her beautiful colorful blouses, her accessories, and the fact that she wore high heels almost every single day.  Gradually I noticed my wardrobe changed accordingly.  I now wear more color, blouses, statement necklaces, and have several pairs of patent pumps. I believe that people do notice what you wear, and it can help you feel more equal to a role that may normally intimidate you.  I love that I can enjoy what I wear to work as much as what I wear after work.

Budgeting I feel like most of what I now do came directly from Dave Ramsey, and doing Financial Peace University. I learned about him from Shay Carl, an internet celebrity, and his common sense has been the best influence on the way that Shawn and I now address all of our financial doings. We have no debt, we have a large emergency fund, we invest for retirement, and we save up for large future purchases and events like trips, babies and a new car.  I feel more in control and safe about money than ever before because of his teachings and examples.

Self Esteem.  Although everyone around me has contributed to my self esteem, my therapist helped me understand something very important - how to work on forgiving ourselves, and how to be kind to ourselves. I think for most of us, our harshest critic is ourself, and I am no exception.  Sometimes I would come in and talk about how hurt/angry/frustrated I felt about something, and then how much I hate myself for having those feelings.  She taught me a 4 word phrase that has forever changed the way I treat myself. "I AM FEELING FEELINGS".  They're neither good nor bad, I am neither good nor bad, they're just feelings.  Nothing more and nothing less.  It takes away all self judgment and criticism, and allows me to move to actually deal with my issues rather than try to fight myself on the fact that I'm imperfect and have issues. I say it all the time, and it's a mantra in the Smyres household.

Balance My friend Johanna is a very busy woman - she is a mother of two, a wife, and an OB/GYN resident at a hospital in Philadelphia. I love her spunk and appetite for life - she's strong and intelligent and knows what she's capable of.  When I think about motherhood and career, I think of her as a role model and inspiration.  Currently my desire is to be a stay at home mom.  But as with most things, I am open to change, and am aware that I may want to stay at my job, or go back to work after kids.  I look at her and know that it's do-able. I'm sure it's a lot harder than she makes it look, but I love seeing it in practice.  It's due to her amazing sense of organization and dedication that she is able to balance her many important priorities.

Paying it forward.  My friend Ashlee is probably the most generous, caring and positive person I have ever met.  She made me uncomfortable at first because she would always pay compliments to me, and to everyone around us everywhere we went.  I like to think I was a nice person before I met her, but I sometimes wonder how nice I really was to people in person, and not just on the inside.  No kind act goes by without her lavish gratitude and affirmation, no outfit goes unnoticed without a compliment, and no special event is forgotten. She is the ultimate giver of love and positive reinforcements.  She never has anything bad to say about anyone - in fact, every single person she talks about, she talks about how wonderful they are, how much she loves them, or how misunderstood they are.  She includes everyone, and is a friend to all. I tended to be more closed off, prioritizing my closest friends and she taught me by example the joy of branching out and being a better friend.  I have also learned that it's not good enough to THINK good things about people, unless you let them know, what good is it?  We all live pretty unaware of ourselves, so getting feedback from others makes all the difference! We also don't know what place the other person might be in - what if they're having a miserable day and your kind words could be the only nice thing they hear? What if someone is feeling particularly unattractive, but you can make them feel pretty? What if someone is feeling pretty alone, and you invite them to your next get together? At every grocery store, movie theater or restaurant we have been at together, everyone has lit up as Ashlee showers them with kind words and attention. I have witnessed the difference Ashlee's generous words and acts have made on my life and the lives of all she touches, and she has raised the bar for the kind of person I would like to be.

Gosh. Well there you go.  Once I got started I couldn't stop.  Even while I end this post I can think of almost 6 more things other friends have taught me that I could rave on and on about but these should suffice for now.  There is no end to the influence for good we all have on each other, and if you're reading this I'm pretty sure you've had an influence on me too - for which I thank you. 

What have you been taught by those around you? I really would love to know and learn from you!

A quick afterthought - one of my favorite Blogging Role Models is Daisy.  She's got the cutest family and is a fantastically entertaining and eloquent writer. Check out her blog here. 

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Its been one week...

...since you looked at me
Cocked your head to the side and said I'm angry
5 days since you laughed at me saying
Get that together come back and see me
3 daqys since the living room
I realized it's all my fault but I couldn't tell you
Yesterday you'd forgiven me
but it'll still be 2 days til I say I'm sorry

Who know this song? If you do, you win brownie points.

It's been one week since my last blog post. There went my fabulous streak - 56 days of daily posts, 7 days of silence. I'm not going to pretend that I'm not sad about it... but this blog is meant to be a creative outlet and a hobby for my thoughts - so I guess I'll try to be okay about it. (Be quiet, stupid perfectionist thoughts!)

I have been trying to stay as far away from my blog as possible - couldn't look at it, couldn't think about it, didn't want to do anything about it at all.  And no, I have not figured out why.  I have some hunches. First of all - writing is a way of letting out your feelings... but with that train of thought, what if you don't feel like feeling feelings right now? I know that I wasn't a fan of it this last week. Something about writing those depression posts really did a number on me. I regretted writing them the next morning... but deleting them didn't feel right either.  So instead, I ran away and avoided the blog.

Looking at the posts, I cringe at how much information I shared... even though I keep this blog as a kind of daily outlet for myself, I made the decision to share it with you, my friends, and sometimes I get ashamed.  Putting myself out there felt like a good idea at the time, but then you can't take it back.

One thing I have always struggled with is caring too much about what people think of me. It is a big challenge for me - doing things out of fear of repercussions, or in order to please.  I have definitely not always acted on that fear, but it still sits inside the pit of my stomach on days like the ones I had last week. That's one of the reasons I decided to run away from my blog rather than delete the posts. I thought... if I can just wait it out, and fake it - pretend that I'm okay with everything I wrote, then maybe I can become that person one day... that person who shares of themselves and isn't afraid to be real about themselves.

I'm not that person yet, but maybe one day I'll be a little closer.

I have missed this.  Writing. There's something magical that happens when you allow your thoughts to bleed out of your fingertips into a physical manifestation.  This happens to be black on white... but there are paper scribbles, paintings, sculptures... so many ways we can give our mind a voice. It's weird.  I used to journal every thought and experience I had during high school and college... and I'm glad I did because my memory is at its worst... I am able to reread my journals and I feel like I'm reading a book - things I don't remember happening, and a person that I am very different to... I've changed a lot over the years. They say change is good, so hopefully that still holds true :)

I have to thank you - you know who you are: friends of mine close and far who care enough to read this blog and send me some of the kindest words I have ever received. I thank you because your caring messages helped me realize how important writing is to me - how I'm happier when I do write.

So here I am. Writing.

And for some reason I am remembering that movie with Tom Hanks and Meg Ryan - I think they were email penpals? Well I think she has a scene where she's just "writing to the void" and I feel that way today.

See you tomorrow :)

Thursday, October 31, 2013

Just tired...

It's another one of those days...

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

What my depression feels like part 2

I was driving back from business in San Diego today, and I was blasting the song "Brave" by Sara Bareilles trying to give my courage a jumpstart for this post. Some of the lyrics in her song really have a lot of meaning:

Nothing's gonna hurt you the way words do
When they settle beneath your skin
Kept on the inside and no sunlight
Sometimes a shadow wins

But I wonder what would happen if you would
Say what you wanna say
And let the words fall out
Honestly I wanna see you be brave
With what you want to say
And let the words fall out
Honestly I wanna see you be brave

That's my objective today - to say what I want to say, and be brave enough to let the words just come out. I want to first address the fact that each of us may have very different definitions for depression... some may think it's the 'simple' feeling of sadness, others see it as a mental challenge, some look down upon the word and their perception of its misuse, while others embrace what it means in their life. 

These are the 3 ways I have experienced what I would consider "depression"

That stupor of thought, a decline in enthusiasm, some withdrawal from friends... in more simpler words, that feeling of just being "bummed out" about something or someone. I have had this feeling after a bad grade on an exam, when my crush ended up liking someone else, or when I am feeling sick or lonely... most often when I am feeling sorry for myself.  This is the kind of depression you can, in some ways, help yourself out of. For me, it has usually taken a little effort - reaching out to a friend and confiding my blues in her, asking for advice, or even treating myself to something that has a good track record at lifting my spirits - like a pedicure or burning a good smelling candle at home.

Situational depression. Ugh.  Horrible things happen to people every day.  Accidents, abuse, serious mistakes, deaths, job loss, unemployment, illness, injuries... it doesn't matter if what happens was unexpected or expected, the results are the same - sadness, sometimes misery and despair.  In cases such as these, you can absolutely consider this to cause depression... but you do at least know why you are feeling as sad as you do.  That may be the only positive thing, but yes, it is a positive.  

Depending on the situation that is causing sadness, situational depression can be quite a beast to try and tackle. When the situation feels out of our control, we can eventually get caught in the mindset of "woe is me"... this happened to me, it wasn't my fault, there's no way out... there's no light at the end of the tunnel, etc. Every situation is different, and only through earnest soul searching can you start to map a way out of that maze.  Some recent events are too painful for me to share right now so I'm going to dig into the past a little - the summer of 2008. 

I had just graduated from college, had my job set up with a start date of September... but because I was on a student visa I, for whatever reason, could not leave the country until after my start with the company.  What this meant was that I had to experience my first summer not going home to Japan to see my family. The sadness crept up so gradually that by the time I was drowning in misery it was too late. I had moved into my own little one bedroom apartment with nothing but one ikea bookcase, a mattress, and a cheap vacuum cleaner. I was definitely grateful for finding a job that would give me a good start into grown up life, but I was sad that I was, you know, growing up... In college we always had a cafeteria, and friends around the corner... I was never alone.  All of a sudden I was bolting the door in the evenings, paranoid that someone would come in and rob me. Spiders would crawl in the corner and I would have to kill them myself which caused me more than a little anxiety. I had to grocery shop, and had to make plans to see friends, instead of having a routine where I see them all the time.  I had to use a gas stove for the first time which terrified me (I actually called the Gas company's emergency hotline one night because I smelled gas and I thought my apartment was going to explode.  Turns out that's normal for gas stoves... the nice repairman that rushed out to see me at 11 pm at night educated me.) It was a challenging transition to say the least.

Adulthood lost its appeal. I was just sad and tired and overwhelmed.  I didn't hear from my family very much, and I ended up sleeping day in and day out. I only got up to eat some food and maybe shower.  I cried all the time, kept the curtains closed, and didn't call anyone or ask for help. As the days went on, I noticed that no one ever called, and I realized that I could easily die and it would take many days before my dead body were even discovered.  So I waited... I wanted to see how long it really would take before my dead body was discovered.  3 weeks. I'm telling you this to show you how sadness warped my mind. Finally I called my best friend Katie back who had been leaving me voicemail after voicemail (all of which I of course never listened to). She picked up and told me she was on her way to pick me up.  I started crying and asked her what she meant... she said she was coming to get me, and that I was going to stay with her and her family for a few weeks... that they were worried about me.  I can't even explain the relief I felt... I got off the phone and bawled like a baby.  My eyes were so puffy I couldn't see very well but I packed a suitcase and Katie came from Phoenix Arizona to Los Angeles to get me. I felt rescued.

I will always be grateful to Katie and her mother for that special time where they intervened... they cared for me, cheered me up, and resuscitated me in a family environment.  They made me feel like I belonged, like I had family nearby that I could run to in an emergency. Those 3 weeks didn't solve all of my problems - obviously dealing with life and adjusting to independence in adulthood is a gradual process, but it did help take me out of my cycle of destructive thinking long enough to try to find support and better ways to cope.

Special thanks to the awesome roommates I ended up living with after this situation- Tamar and Diane... No one should live alone! I learned my lesson!

>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> INTERMISSION <<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<
I was proverbially pulling up my sleeves to dive into #3 and I gave my drink a vigorous shake... and the top was off.  I am now encrusted in chocolate milk, it's all over the floor, all over our brand new white curtains (sigh) and all over our couch and carpet. I was frantically running around trying to scrub everything.  I was panicking until I caught a glimpse of myself in the mirror and saw that I was absolutely caked in chocolate milk.  It's matted in my hair, hardened on my cheek, all over my clothes... I started laughing so hard.  I hope this little interlude gives you a chuckle before we go back to talking about depression.  Deep breaths :)

>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> END OF INTERMISSION<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<

Clinical Depression. I'm giving you full disclosure that I have no idea how doctors actually would define clinical depression.  My personal opinion is that clinical depression is the kind of depression that doesn't come and go with the seasons... and it's not situational.  There may be a deep undercurrent of things just not feeling right.  When I had a big episode, it felt like there was no bottom to my sadness. No matter how supportive and wonderful my environment was, I couldn't lift myself out of a deep repressive suffocating depression. When something made me feel sad, I would cry, but then the crying wouldn't end.  In fact, it would just get worse.  I would cry all the time, for no reason, and I wouldn't know how to stop or when and if it would stop.

I remember feeling completely unhinged, no sense of up or down, no sense of day or night... it become difficult to function in regular day to day activities like going to work and cleaning. Don't even get me started on how it affected my interpersonal relationships... it was a nightmare.  I cut ties with everyone I could by not responding to any messages or voicemails, and not attending any social functions. Then the darkness set in - thoughts of escape and wanting everything to end. I knew at that point that although I wasn't suicidal at all, these thoughts weren't me, this behavior wasn't me... I am a happy, positive, productive person... so what did it mean that I was experiencing all of these things?

I kind of see it like diabetes, or Ulcerative Colitis, or even something as simple as bad eyesight.  Something in my body was behaving abnormally and required some attention and correction. I am aware that there were episodes of trauma in my life that set off a chain of events that snapped something inside of me, but once the imbalance was there, I couldn't fake it away.  No matter how hard I tried, life wasn't getting better.

I have been in therapy for over 8 years... and so my therapist understands my mental health better than anyone else in the world.  She has always reiterated that I'm a very proactive, mentally healthy person... and it wasn't until a certain time that she expressed her concerns, and recommended I see a psychiatrist.  So yes. Clinical depression - a chemical imbalance that needs correction.  I, and everyone I love around me can testify to the healing that happened when my internal chemistry started to respond to medication. I was neither happy nor "fixed", but I was ME.  Good old me.

I remember tears welling up in my eyes as I told Shawn, "I'm back! Marina's back!" and he told me that he knew I was, but that I was in there the whole time.  I liken medication, when needed, to a pair of glasses.  I can make my way around the house just fine as the blind bat I am, but if I need to read I need to have the book basically an inch ahead of my eyes... I wouldn't be able to see myself in a mirror, and if I wanted to watch a movie I would have to be right in front of the screen.  I would not be able to drive or do many other things I love that signify a certain level of independence.  But when you wear glasses, your eyesight is corrected! You can see everything! You can function like everyone else... you don't see BETTER than anyone else, not at all, you finally get to SEE what others were able to see all along...

When I feel sad about something, I feel sad, and then I move on. The cycle has been normalized.  I no longer linger and mope and fall deeper and deeper, crying uncontrollably.  I might have a little cry of disappointment and then feel better and move on.  I can't even try to explain what a huge difference it has made in my life.  I always thought I was just the "emotional one"... I thought I was "deeply empathetic" and sadness was my journey... Now I realize that yes I am able to experience the beauty of emotions, and I can be empathetic, but I am healthy, and my mind doesn't get carried away with its own agenda.  My eyesight has been corrected.

So that's the tip of the iceberg of my experience with depression.  I wasn't diagnosed as clinically depressed until last year, so I know that it's possible for any kind of depression to come and go - every person's journey will be different.  Thank you for all of the love and sharing since yesterday's post.  I feel closer to each of you, and I am truly sorry that we have to understand each other on this topic.  I wish you could close this blog post and think to yourself, "Glad I don't have THAT problem".... instead I've found that many of you experience things just like I have, and I see it as a privilege to be able to share in these experiences together and support and love each other.
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