Monday, August 22, 2011

too much information

It started about 2 months ago.  I started to feel tired and fatigued no matter how much I sleep I got the night before.  9 hours of sleep should be enough for any human being...even a large animal perhaps.  But for me, it felt like it wasn't enough.  Then it went from tiredness to extreme fatigue.  I felt like moving my body took every cell of energy in me just to move an inch.  My arms and legs had to have weighed 50 pounds each, for sure I thought.  I would plan things for the kids and I to do each morning because it kept my mind off of the fatigue, but then the afternoons came and my energy was zapped and zombie mommy appeared.  And this zombie mommy was not nice.  The littlest things set me off and I would snap at my children so often, I was constantly asking their and God's forgiveness for my actions. 

It was also then that I couldn't make decisions.  Normally I cannot make a decision to save my life so anything worse than that is paralyzing to say the least and that is what it was.  Just grocery shopping took amazing concentration that was difficult to muster.  For example, I scoured our local market up the street which basically is the size of two rooms for over 15 minutes looking for shake and bake.  I was skimming, but couldn't concentrate enough to observe and retain what was on the shelves for my brain to deduce whether each item was shake and bake or not.  Crazy, right? 

That is how I felt....crazy.  I tried my best to seem fine to everyone else, kept up my facebook presence, photographing dates, playdates, etc. It is hard to keep up pretenses when you feel like you are falling apart at the seams.  I really knew something was indeed wrong with me when the crying became a regular occurrence.  A worship song, a commercial, just the thoughts in my crazy head would make me cry...not just tears coming down, but sobbing.  And I couldn't stop!  The thoughts....oh the thoughts...that I am ruining my children and a terrible wife, ungrateful daughter and most of all disappointing God by the second.  All these thoughts just tearing me down little by little.  A grocery shopping trip ended in me coming home and sobbing into Chad's shoulder for a good 15 minutes, just whining that I can't feel like this anymore, that it has to stop because I feel like I am losing my mind. 

Chad convinced me to go get checked out by my doctor.  My amazing doctor was asking all kinds of questions.  When I was explaining what I was feeling, the word despair came out of my mouth.  It felt invigorating to finally find a word that matched for the most part what I was feeling.  Despair.  Then she began poking and pushing on my neck and stomach...her cold stethoscope on my back, asking me to breathe in and out.  She said she would do blood work to rule out any physical health problems.  Then she said, if it came back that nothing was wrong, we will need to talk about possible depression.

Huh?  Hmm...  Really?  The days it took for the blood work results to come back, I was actually hoping that they would find something.  Depression?  What do I have to be depressed about?  Our debt and money issues have not changed at all.  We have been praying about some big decisions, but those decisions have been made.  My kids are more independent now, so life isn't as difficult as it has been in the past.  I have a home, a car, we are paying our bills each month (barely, but thank you Lord we are!), two awesome kids, a husband that supports me no matter what I do.  What could I have to be depressed about?  But it was the thoughts....oh the thoughts:  that I am ruining my children, a terrible wife, ungrateful daughter and most of all disappointing God by the second.  Oh yeah....those thoughts. 

The blood work came back and it was, as my doctor described: perfect.  Crap.  Prozac was prescribed, but I haven't even picked it up from the pharmacy.  Maybe I am in denial, maybe I am afraid to take meds.  Maybe I am going crazy because that is sincerely what it feels like.  Whatever is happening to me is an out of body experience for sure.  I want to slap myself and yell "Snap out of it!" 

I reached out to my church for guidance, for a counselor that could help me.  I met with this angel counselor last week and I felt my spirit be uplifted.  She thoughtfully and supportively reminded me that everything is about perspective.  I was focusing on myself: I am a bad mother, bad wife, etc.  I needed to change my perspective from looking inward to looking above to Jesus.  He is who I need to be fixing my gaze upon.  In Galatians 5: 22-23 it says:

"But the fruit of the spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self control."

When Jesus takes root in my heart and my focus is on Him and how He lived, how He died for my sins, how he demonstrated each of these traits, then each of these traits will be the fruit in my life.  My gaze has fallen in the last few months and I need to stop focusing on the bad thoughts I have about myself and put my focus back on Jesus.  I needed to be reminded that He died for me so that I can be in heaven with Him and He didn't die in vain.  He didn't die for a loser.  To Him, I am worth dying for.  That right there is a bold statement and I am not even sure I believe it, but I am getting there.

The fatigue and the foggy mind are still around.  I have good days and bad days.  So suffice it to say, if I have been slow to respond, acting odd or forgetful, looking literally haggard, this is why.  I am still trying to work through things and I know this is a great learning experience for me because at a time when I feel like my body and mind are out of my control, I lean on the person in which it is in control:  God.  I have prayed to Him through slobbering tears, prayed to Him in with shampoo in my hair, prayed to Him while driving my car, prayed to Him with my children, with my husband, with my friends.  Prayer is what I am holding onto.  My phone call to the Man upstairs.  My lifeline to the One who gave me life.  And He has answered in many ways, one of which is through His word:

"Come to me all you who are weary and burdened and I will give you rest."  -Matthew 11:28

"For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord; plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you a hope and a future."  -Jeremiah 29:11     

"I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me."   -Philippians 4:13

"The Lord is the strength of my life."  -Psalm 27:1

"God always causes me to triumph in Jesus Christ."  -2 Corinthians 2:14

"Cast your cares upon the Lord for He cares for you."  -1 Peter 5:7

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Photography: The Boyd Family

I got to see one of my old friends from middle school last Saturday.  Stephanie is just gorgeous (see second to last photo if you want to be wowed by her beauty!) and so is her family.  They are the kind of people that after you have only known them for 5 minutes, you want tell them everything, like you've known them for years.  Their girls just smiled away the whole time and were so charming.  Steph, thanks for letting me photograph you all and I hope you enjoy the photos!!

Stephanie and a friend are making women's and girls' jewelry (see below) so look out for information on that in the future!  I will for sure promote their webpage when it is up and running!

Monday, August 8, 2011

beach trip 2011 - Portraits

Ah, the beach...  Every year my Dad takes his kids, their spouses and their kids away to Sea Isle City, NJ for some beach fun (and chaos, but mostly fun!)  Here are some of my favorite portrait shots.  The lighting wasn't the best, but we had fun with the photos.  :)

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Photography: Longwood with Family

We went to Longwood with Chad's sister and her two kids while they were in town.  They live in West Virginia so we only get to see them about twice a year.  It is sad because I just LOVE Chad's sister Bridget and can see myself having coffee with her and chatting A LOT!  She and her husband Chris are awesome and we have so much fun with them.  Here are just a few of the photos that I snapped of their kids, Molly and Brady.  Molly has these eyes that are just gorgeously blue and mesmerizing so don't look too long or you will be hypnotized!  :)