Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Depression

It's hard to believe I posted this entry in November of last year, but I did!  I went looking for this old entry and figured I posted it back in February or something.  I was shocked that it was from November!

I had posted:
"Because of the season of life I'm in (nearing 40, newly-expanded family, major life-changing move, and weight gain that ticks me off greatly), I've been experiencing days feeling very low.  I've blogged before about how I don't like using the word "depressed" lightly, so I don't think I'll use it here.  But I've been feeling dark, low, melancholy, aimless, and tired."

Since November, those feelings didn't go away.  Oh, they might subside for a time, but would rear their ugly heads at any random time.  In addition to those feelings, I was experiencing an overwhelming feeling of failure.  

These feelings would manifest themselves by my simply giving up and doing nothing.  I felt so overwhelmed by everything I wasn't accomplishing that I felt I should be accomplishing, that I would want to just stay inside all day.  

By nature, I'm an optimistic person.  Even when I've felt "down" in the past, I haven't felt so paralyzed.  I'm also very social and outgoing.  So the fact that I was turning inward and hated leaving the house and being around lots of other people gave me a clue something wasn't right.  

In addition to my own feelings, I had two different girlfriends come right out and ask me if I thought I might be depressed.  One of these friends gave me a book about women and depression and the other just flat-out told me I needed to go see a doctor....the next day and said she'd watch my kids so I could go in.  (Might I add that these ladies are true-blue friends!! It takes guts to be so honest and I'm immensely grateful.)

I wouldn't have thought I was depressed, because I appeared to be functioning okay, but when I opened the assessment in the book "Unveiling Depression in Women," I cried for half an hour, reading through it and seeing myself in a majority of the descriptions.

I wanted to stay in almost all the time.
I dreaded going out and talking to or seeing people.
I was either sad or just numb for hours at a time.
More than anything, I felt an overwhelming sense of failure in every area of my life.
Reason, logic, nor "pep talks" would help me feel better.
In addition to the failure, I felt like I couldn't pick myself up and dig my way out of the pit this time.

What confused matters for me was that I still had a lot of joy in my life.  I love my husband and my satisfaction with him hadn't changed.  I adore my kids...they all bring me so much deep joy it's hard to put into words.  I like where we live and where we go to church.  There wasn't one thing I could put my finger on that would explain why I felt depressed.  Before I experienced depression for myself, I wouldn't have understood it.  It was just a feeling of oppression.  Lethargy.  Failure.  And I knew I couldn't function that way for very long.

One of my girlfriends had offered to watch my kids, so I took them to her house and went to see a doctor.  I'm so glad I did.  It took some humility, that's for sure.  I struggled with thoughts like:


If you prayed more, you'd not be depressed.
If you were a good mom/wife, you could get yourself out of this funk.
You stink at homeschooling. You used to be good at it, but not any more.
Only people unwilling to change end up taking meds for depression.

But I'm at the point in my life where I don't really mind admitting I need help and then asking for it.  The doctor was able to verify that I did need a bit of a "reboot" and, a month later, I'm feeling much better.   I still have some work to do just to get back into the groove of life, but I feel a lot better.

I considered not posting this.  There is some risk in airing very personal information.  People may misunderstand, misinterpret, or assume things that aren't true.  However, I've logged our journey this far...the good and the bad.  The stresses and joys.  This is something that hit me; I never would have expected it.  My hope is that if anyone reading this ever feels overwhelmed, even if not to the point of being depressed, they would seek help...from friends, church, counselors, and doctors if needed.  There is no shame in admitting you need help.  Your family and friends will be glad you did, too!

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Doing Our Part to Keep Austin Weird

The Brownie Clan has gone through a lot of changes over the past 12 months.  Downsizing, moving, adding to our family through adoption, radically changing our daily schedule, etc.  A few posts back, I alluded to our moving when our lease is up.  Well, we're making one more "big" move and it's to Austin!


Austin is about 215 miles south of where we are now, so we're not moving to the other side of the US, but it's still going to be a big move for us.  Next week, we're going to visit the Texas School for the Deaf and will have both boys tested by an audiologist there.  

There are several reasons why we are choosing to make Austin our home, but the driving factor is Travis' (and possibly Tian's) education.  The boys have made amazing strides with their language development, but I can't spend as much time working one-on-one (or even one-on-two) with the boys as I would like.  I still have a 6th, 4th and 3rd grader to teach, so that leaves down-time for the boys that I'd rather use for more language bombardment!

So next week, the boys will be tested and we'll begin the application process for them to attend TSD.  I know Travis will be accepted, but am not sure about Tian.  In order to qualify, he must have some hearing loss in both ears.  I'm just not sure how much, if any loss he has in his left ear.  Guess we'll know next week!

We will miss our family, friends, church group, homeschool group and my new fellow interpreters at Z here in the Big D, but are excited about the Deaf community and opportunities Austin offers.  

Our move won't take place until late July or early August, so we still have 4 months to say bye to our Dallas friends.  My parents, sister and niece live up in this area, too, so we plan to be back up to visit every couple of months. 

Ken will continue his job with ZVRS and I should be able to transfer to the Austin call center and continue my new, part-time job as a Video Interpreter for Z.  (Have I mentioned that I LOVE my new job?!)

Later next week, I'll report on our Austin trip and tour of TSD.  Can't wait!

Sunday, April 1, 2012

March Update

Where did the entire month of March go?!  The best way to update is through photos:


Spent a beautiful day at Fort Worth Zoo
The boys with the elephant




The kids and I stop at Olive Garden

A day at Parr Park
Fishing at our place

We made two trips to Six Flags in one week!

Swings!

TJ and Kenz entered the Pinewood Derby


Exploring around our ponds.
Already swimming every day!
I'm a VI! Love my new job!

Meeting Matt "The Hammer" at DeafNation

The month of March wore out the boys!