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.


I’m Marching for Babies!

Won’t you join me?

On Saturday, May 7th at the Monon Center at noon in Carmel, I, along with hundreds of other people from Hamilton and Boone counties, will March for Babies with the March of Dimes.

It’s a 2-mile walk to help raise money to support programs that help moms have healthy, full-term pregnancies.  The March of Dimes also gives families with babies that spend time in neonatal intensive care after they are born both  financial and emotional support.

How does your support help these babies?  I’ll let this picture show you instead of telling you, because he is way cuter than my words could ever be:

If you can’t join me at the walk, won’t you please consider donating at my page here?  You can share my link with your friends and family, too.  In fact, I encourage it!  It’s

One little word

I saw this giveaway today over at Lisa Leonard’s blog and I fell immediately in love.

I love how the couple in the photo used the banner as a prop in their photo shoot.  I think it would be an amazing addition to a wedding in both the ceremony and  photos and then to hang in the home afterwards.

You can get the banner customized to say whatever you want, and pick your own custom ribbon color.  Maybe it’s because I’m so glad spring is here and the shining sun has made me so happy, but I think I would choose the word “happy”.  Or maybe “spring”.  Maybe not.  I’d like something I could hang all year round.

I’d definitely have to think on this one.

What word would you choose?

Exploring my (raised) bed options

I’m going to build a couple of raised-bed gardens this year.  I’m really excited about having fresh veggies to cook with this summer, but first things first; I have to actually build the gardens.

I’ve looked around online and found a few tutorials and most have recommended using cedar because its hardy and will stand up reasonably well to the elements (of which we have plenty here in central Indiana).  Unfortunately, cedar is also extremely expensive.  One of Joe’s coworkers, who is supposedly a master gardener, suggests using pretreated wood, but from what I’ve read, using pretreated wood can be bad for raised-bed gardens because, well, all that stuff they use to treat the wood can get into the food and then into you.  And, that’s just icky.

Has anyone built a raised-bed garden?  What did you use?  Did you build it yourself or did you buy a kit?  I’d love to hear your input!

It’s a party!

A refresh your room party, that is!

I chose to refresh our guest bathroom.  There was a little change I’ve been wanting to make for a while and I figured this was the perfect time to take advantage of the situation and go for it.

A few months back (OK, maybe it was back in October), I bought these cute mirrors at a local shop with the intention of hanging them in our guest bathroom to change it up a bit.  When I was at the store, I forgot about the bar hanging above the toilet and when I got home and found the bar hanging there, it discouraged me enough that I just left the mirrors sitting on the bathroom counter and walked away.  Since we never use this bathroom and hardly ever even walk by it, I forgot about them until this refresh your room party was mentioned on another blog.

This was the ugly silver towel bar hanging over our toilet.  Not such a bad thing, really, but this bathroom that hardly ever gets used had three of these bars on the walls.

 I hate this towel bar!

Being the oh-so-crafty girl I am, I had to take a picture of the towel rod and send it to my friend to figure out how to take it down.  I had searched all over and didn’t see a single screw or nail or anything and was utterly perplexed about it.  Of course, as soon as as I sent the picture to my friend I found the two teeny tiny screws right under the part that comes out from the wall. 

I got the little screws out, took the bar off the wall, removed the brackets and found that on one side of the rod they had used drywall anchors, while the other end was anchor-free.  This was more annoying than anything else, but since I have plans to repaint the bathroom eventually, and my current room refreshing involves hanging new things on the wall, I decided to hide the blemishes instead of patching them right now.

How annoying!

After I (finally) got the offending towel rod off the wall and the drywall anchors out, hanging the pretty, little mirrors was the fun, easy part.

I love that the mirrors are shaped like little hand held mirrors.  That’s what made me fall in love with them!  The one on the left completely covers the drywall anchor holes and the shower curtain (which will be replaced when the bathroom gets painted!) is temporarily covering the other two holes.  I notice now that the shower curtain hangs much more nicely without that towel rod there, too.  Love how just a one little change makes a big difference!

After hanging the mirrors, I thought the room just needed a little something extra, and on a trip to Hobby Lobby I found these adorable (and unbreakable!) candle holders.  They were just the thing the room needed.  I could place them on the back of the toilet and not worry about the cat breaking them if they happened to get knocked down.  Love!

Kitty Kitty

I think the kitty approves.

Disclaimer: This post was supposed to be completed on March 7th.  Life, health, school, internet, and blog issues all consipired and got in the way of this happening on time.  Please forgive me! 🙂

I survived Day 1

Joe and I started P90X yesterday, even though we didn’t (and still don’t) have all of the “extras” – recovery drink, resistance bands, pull-up bar – that are needed to get the most out of your workout.  The recovery drink mix came today (yay!) and the other two are expected tomorrow.  I don’t know if I’m excited or not.  It means harder workouts and more pain!

Speaking of pain, my first day of P90X wasn’t as bad as I thought, for one reason: my wrists hurt so bad from all of the pushups that I couldn’t do all of the pushups!  I really need to get some pushup bars to take some of that strain off my wrists.  Joe didn’t have that problem, so he’s hurting a bit more today than I am.  That doesn’t mean I’m not sore, though!  I’m definitely feeling my workout from yesterday morning.

I decided not to follow the P90X diet.  It consists of a lot of protein and, since I’m not trying to bulk up, I don’t really need all of that protein.  I can make more meat for Joe if he decides he needs it (I don’t think he’ll complain – that boy loves his meat!), and I’ll just eat more fruits and veggies if I decide I’m still hungry.

Since I’m not following the recommended diet, a good friend of mine who’s a dietician agreed to help me out with a sensible meal plan and recipes.  She even sent me beautiful, laminated recipe cards that are easy to read so I can keep them next to me in the kitchen!  Thanks to her, I’ve already had waffles with Canadian bacon, eggs, and cheddar cheese; delicious tortilla soup; and tonight we’re having grilled cheese with apples and bacon.  I love that all of the recipes are around 350 to 400 calories a serving and Joe loves that they are absolutely delicious.  Later this week we’re having homemade chicken pot pies for dinner and raspberry pancakes for breakfast.  I’m eating better now than I did before!

I was worried that I would still be a little hungry since I’m not eating as much protein and I’m burning a TON of calories, but the new medication my doctor put me on has taken care of that.  It keeps me in a near constant state of slight nausea.  Not bad enough that it derails me, but just enough that unless I’m really hungry, I don’t really want to eat anything.  I’m really hoping this is one of those side effects that lessens with time; kind of like the crazy palpitations (nothing like having your heart racing along at 173 beats a minute to make you feel alive!) I had with the old medication did.  Of course, it will probably start to go away just in time for me to up the dosage.  Isn’t that the way it always works?

Today was busy with studying (soooo can’t wait to be done with school.  It can’t be done soon enough!) and life, so I’ll be doing the Plyometrics workout when I get done with class tonight.

I’m ready to melt some calories!

Let it snow, let it snow, let it sn…. Ehh, forget it

I don’t know if you know this about me or not, but I hate winter.  I hate everything about winter.  I hate cold weather.  I hate being all bundled up.  I hate snow.  I especially hate ice.

Indiana has not been kind to me this past week.

Monday AND Tuesday we had a major ice storm that pretty much shut down the city.

Today I wake up to about 4″ of snow falling.

I blame this snow for my forgetting my pin number for my debit card this morning.  After I used said debit card last night to purchase something.  Monday through Friday this wouldn’t be a big deal.  Call customer service at my bank and they reset it for me.  Woohoo.

On a Saturday?  Just after noon?

Not so easy.

Joe and I had to make a little trip to Bloomington today.  See, my bank is this little institution based out of that charming little college town.  In this charming little town there is one, yes one, branch of my bank open past noon on a Saturday.  It is in a grocery store.  Could they help me over the phone?  Of course not.  I had to be down there to speak with a manager in person.

And we had to make this drive through a bunch of new snow.

Even my gotta-have-it-every-time-I-go-to-Bloomington chocolate malt from Jiffy Treet didn’t make me feel better about the situation.

Campus really is beautiful under new-fallen snow, though.