Good things…

Two of my favorite people in the world were blessed with the best Christmas gift they could have asked for on Saturday. They became parents to a beautiful baby girl.

These two have been married for 13 years. They have been trying to have children for most of that time. After so, so many years of trying with no luck, they finally decided to adopt. So, they went to an adoption agency and they went through all of the interviews and they were put on the waiting list and they waited.

And they waited…

And they waited….

Jobs in other cities were turned down. Better, higher-paying jobs that would make one or both of them happier at the end of the day, because they didn’t want to have to start all over on a different waiting list in another city. Being on this waiting list changed their lives in ways that they didn’t think possible at the beginning.

Then one day this past summer it finally happened. After all of the waiting and heartbreak it was finally their time. They were going to get their baby.

The mother, Ann, gave birth to their daughter at 9:21 am on 12/24/11. Proof that miracles really do happen at Christmas.

She was 33 days early and has had to spend some time in the NICU, but it’s mostly precautionary. She’s perfect in every way and absolutely beautiful. I can’t wait to meet her.

Ann, I hope you and Strange do set up that email account for her and send her pictures and videos from these first days all the way through her childhood. I think that is a beautiful idea and something that she will treasure later on in life (plus it’s a great way to store all of those memories so you know where to find them!). You will be the most amazing parents to that little girl and I wish you all the happiness in the world. You deserve it.


College? Yeah, I did that.

Well, I finally did it.  I am a college graduate.

It feels a little anticlimactic since I’m not walking in a graduation ceremony and I don’t have a diploma yet.  And I won’t get a diploma for, I don’t know, 6 months or something like that.  And I don’t have a job.  Or any offers.  So basically I’m kind of the worst student ever.  Or a typical college grad these days.  I think I’ll go with that one. It sounds better.

I wonder when it will set in that I’m done with school.  When the semester starts again and I don’t go back?  When I have an accounting job?  When my diploma comes in the mail?  When I have to start paying back those student loans?

Either way, whether I believe it right now or not, I never have to step foot in a classroom again if I don’t want to.  And, I can finally say that I feel good about that.  Because I went back after seven years and finished my degree after person after person told me it wouldn’t happen.  It did.

It just took a little longer than I thought.

last first day

Today was my last first day of school.

Even as I type those words I can’t believe it.  It’s taken me a long time to get here.

Thirteen years.  Thirteen.  Years.

Granted, I didn’t go to school that whole time, but from my first day of college in August of 1998 until my last day in December of 2011, it will be over thirteen years of overpriced books, late nights of studying, and all-nighters before the big test.  Most people in school that long are doctors.  I will be an accountant.  Not even a CPA.  Just a regular old, run-of-the-mill accountant.  A 31-year old college graduate looking for her first job.  And you know what?  I’m so flippin’ excited I can barely hold it together.

Bring it on, Fall 2011 semester.  I’m not looking forward to those term papers and group projects, but when they’re done I won’t look back.

The times? They are scary.

Tomorrow is Joe’s last day at his current job.

I’m getting ready to start my last semester of school (which my loans aren’t going to fully cover), and we’re going to be living on only my income for a while.  To be honest, I’m a little freaked out.

When we decided to go this route, and have Joe leave the job he hated, there was a back-up plan.  There was going to be part-time (at least) work for Joe until he found something to replace his current job.  That seems to have fallen through at the moment.

It looks like I may have to pick up some kind of part time work while also going to school and working full-time.  That won’t be fun, but you do what you have to do in tough times.  At least it will build character.

It’s a scary time for us.

Tornados can be good. Sometimes.

I can’t believe it’s been over a month since I wrote that last post about my depression.  I want to thank everyone who has reached out and supported me since then.  You have all been so great!  It’s nice to know that I’m not the only one.

My life has been such a crazy tornado of activity since then.  Only three days after I wrote that post, Joe and I took a trip to Bloomington for the weekend and while we were there we got engaged.  Yep!  Engaged!  We’re getting married September 1, 2012.  We’re very excited, but planning a wedding is stressful!  Who knew there were so many decisions to be made?!

My beautiful ring

Showing off my new ring!

We already have our venue (my uncle’s house, in the backyard {yes, there will be tents just in case}), our DJ, our photographer, and my dress.  Oh, my dress.  It’s so beautiful and I wish I could share it, but I can’t because I know Joe reads this.  Just take my word for it.  Beauty in dress form.

We’re definitely on a budget for this wedding, which is good and bad.  Good because we won’t blow our life savings on what really comes down to being a party; and bad because it’s hard to entertain 100 of your closest friends and family when you don’t have a heck of a lot of money to spend.  And you want to be able to remember the day with pictures.  And flowers aren’t cheap.  Oh, and Joe just quit his job so we’re down to one income for a while (gulp).  (It was the best thing, really.  That place is awful.  No one should ever work there.  I’ll be surprised if it’s even in business in a year.)

There will be a lot of DIY at our wedding, much of which I will probably post here to give other brides-to-be ideas on how to do their wedding and reception without going broke.  It can be done, and Joe and I are (hopefully!) going to do it!

Speaking of which, does anyone have any good ideas for food for our reception?  I want it to be original, fun, not stuffy, and yet still inexpensive.  For around 100 guests.  Think it’s possible?  Let me know!

My atypical life*

I’ve done a pretty good job of hiding it from most everyone I know for much of the last fifteen years (god, has it really been that long?!), but I’ve always known it’s been a problem.  Something I’ve been too afraid to even admit to myself, let alone to someone who could help me.  I don’t know why I’ve been so embarrassed, so ashamed.  I’m definitely not the only one suffering.  In my line of work I should know that.  But recently, thanks to Joe and someone else who probably doesn’t even know they helped, I found the courage to seek help for my disease.

Like so, so many other people, I suffer from depression.  Depression can be triggered by many things including biological differences, inherited traits and early childhood trauma, but mine can be traced back to a single life event.

My parents’ divorce.

Not that the actual divorce itself had that big of an impact on me.  It really was for the best for the family.  Even at the age of 16 I could see that.  But that was the problem.  I was 16.  Such a critical age for a girl.  I was very impressionable.  Though by definition I was still a “good girl”, I hung around with the “bad boys”.  I started sneaking out at night.  I even skipped school once.  I had changed from the girl who would never do anything bad to a girl who just didn’t care anymore.

Sometime during the two years I still lived at home before college I had an emotional breakdown.  I couldn’t tell you how old I was, but I would guess 17.  It was the closest I ever came to asking for help.  I’m sure my mom remembers that night.  I still do.  I also remember refusing the help that was offered to me.

I left for college and with a change of scenery came a change in my mood.  I was able to act and feel like a “normal” person for the first time in a couple of years.  The student loans ran out after one year of school but I continued to live in Bloomington because I was happy there.  That would change, though.

When I was no longer going to school it became time to pay for those student loans.  I started having financial problems that would follow me for the next several years of my life.  These problems sent me back into depression.  I never had a breakdown like the one in high school, but there were times where I couldn’t see a way out of the trouble I had gotten myself into.  Every time it seemed like I had finally gotten caught up, something else would happen.  I would get sick during the time I didn’t have health insurance.  The head gasket on my car would go out.  There was always something.

On top of the things going wrong, I developed a spending problem.  I’ve read that this happens to people who get into situations similar to mine.  It’s a disease in its own right.  Walk into any store and they ask you, “Would you like to save 10% today by opening a card?”  Why yes, yes I would.

I couldn’t afford to live from day to day and these stores were giving me lines of credit.

I was buried under a mountain of debt with no foreseeable way out.  It was no wonder I was depressed.

That debt followed me when I moved to Indianapolis four months before my lease was up on my apartment in Bloomington.  The apartment where I couldn’t find someone to sublet.  The apartment I still paid rent on while I was paying rent on the apartment in Indy.  Needless to say, I accumulated more debt after that move.

Somehow, only four years after I moved to Indy, I managed to get rid of all of my debt and get my life straightened back out.  I started going back to school.  Things were starting to look up.  Then I had a couple of failed relationships that nearly ended me.  Not because I would have done anything drastic, but because I just didn’t have the energy to get out of bed afterward.  I don’t eat or sleep when I’m hurting that way.

All of this was kept from my friends and (most of) my family for years.  And it was relatively easy for me to do.  Because, just like in almost every other illness I’ve ever been diagnosed with, I can’t even do depression right.  I have atypical depression.

My friends and family rarely saw me depressed because with atypical depression when I receive good news for myself or for someone else it can lift my spirits for days, weeks, even months at a time.  Even if I’m still technically depressed, and feel depressed when I’m alone, or not thinking of the happy news I received, I can, and do, feel happy a lot of the time.

Some of the other symptoms of atypical depression aren’t so hot, though.  The increased appetite one isn’t so great (but lucky for me my medication suppresses my appetite, so that’s a wash).  The heavy, leaden feeling in the arms and legs is just weird.  I don’t get that feeling in my legs as much as I do in my arms.  Mostly my hands.  It mostly happens when I’m sitting and watching TV.  All of the sudden it feels like there is no way I can lift my hands.  Like someone has placed an anvil on top of them.  It doesn’t hurt, but there is no way I can lift them.  Obviously, the first thing I do is lift my hands and it is even easy to do, but it doesn’t feel like I can do it.  Like I said.  Strange.

By far my least favorite symptom of this disease is the sensitivity to and fear of rejection.  Until I was diagnosed, I had no idea that’s what it was.  I thought it was just me being an introvert that led to me not having many friends.  And maybe that is still what it is.  At least in part.  I do love being at home, reading a book, and having a little “me” time.  But being diagnosed and reading the symptoms made me realize that I am afraid.  I’m afraid to put myself out there because I don’t want to be hurt.  I don’t want someone to say no.  If I just stay home by myself and never even try, then no one will ever say no and I don’t have to worry about the hurt and the pain of rejection.  It’s safe and comfortable and sad and lonely all at the same time.

Why did I decide to put this confessional/life story out there?  Because one of the treatments for any kind of depression is the support of your friends and family.  I want your support.  But I can’t expect you to know how to support me if you don’t know where I’m coming from.  So I took a chance and bared my soul (facing one of my biggest fears in the process…rejection) and I’m asking for your help.  (And what better way to reach everyone at once than through the most public of venues, the Internet?)  Just be there for me.  Know that I’ve struggled with this decision.  Just making the appointment to see the doctor was one of the hardest phone calls I’ve ever had to make.  Walking through that door was even harder.  It’s not easy for me to ask for help.  And I’m asking for it now.

*A not-so-subtle play on “My So-Called Life”, a show from the mid-1990s starring Claire Danes and Jared Leto that I remember to be mostly about a bunch of depressed high school students.  Fitting.

Heaven is a cold beer

With all the talk about the Rapture recently, I have been thinking about what Heaven might be like.  After an unexpected night celebrating our survival of the Rapture on Saturday evening that included the consumption of beer (and the expected effects the next morning), I remembered a conversation I had a few weeks ago with a friend of mine that in Heaven beer would have no calories and would not cause hangovers.  This, of course, led to further contemplation on my part about what may or may not* be waiting for me on the other side.

Since I have already mentioned beer, I’ll go ahead and continue on that thread.  First, and most importantly, as I have already mentioned, beer will be calorie-free.  It will also not cause hangovers.  The best part?  In Heaven water will be beer.  This all stems from the conversation I had with my friend after I realized that, though I love beer, even just a little of it does not love me.

As long as we’re going to have calorie-free beer in Heaven, why not have calorie-free food?  All food in Heaven will be calorie-free.  Everything.  Ice cream?  Zero calories.  Chocolate mousse?  Good for you.  Creamy pasta with bacon and sausage?  Indulge all you want.  Fried chicken?  Call the colonel.  In Heaven you can eat as much as you want and it doesn’t matter.  I sometimes live like that here on Earth, but I have to suffer the consequences (either a larger pants size or time working out), but not so in Heaven.

In Heaven there will be no wanting.  No wanting for food.  No wanting for water.  No wanting for peace.  No wanting for a roof over your head.  No wanting for an end to a war that seems to have gone on forever and to have lost meaning.  No wanting for loved ones to come home.  No wanting for justice after a senseless act of violence.  No wanting for acceptance.  No wanting for a job.  No wanting for a little more time.  No wanting for help.  Everyone will have exactly what they need.  No one will live to excess.  Life will be lived in harmony.

I see Heaven as being a lot like Earth, but without the struggles we face here.  No fluffy clouds, unless you want a fluffy cloud chair.  Then you can have one.  In Heaven, you can have whatever you can dream, as long as it doesn’t do harm to you or to others.  People will still have jobs, but not to make money, because money leads to evil and there will be no money in Heaven.  The jobs will be for “fun” and mostly entrepreneurial.  Shopkeepers, photographers, restauranteurs, etc.  There will also be teachers to teach the children and professors to teach the adults.  But just because they want to learn.  Not because they have to.  But, again, this is just my view of Heaven.

And lastly, waiting for us in Heaven will be all of the loved ones and friends that left this life before we did.  I personally am most excited for that aspect of Heaven.  I can’t wait to sit down with my grandfather and my friend Nicole and have a calorie-free water-beer and catch up on everything that will have happened in my life; however long that ends up being.

*I am a proud Agnostic girl, as evidenced by the Religious Views section of my Facebook profile.  This may affect where I end up at the end of my natural life.