Tag Archives: laughter

an addendum… the REAL way I survive

So, about three, (ok, more like ONE) days after writing this sweet, naïve post, it hit me again. That nagging, dulling, glimpse of the dark cloud that so strangely beckons me to just enter. Just enter, it says. Enter, succumb to the need. YOUR need. The need to be self-centered, to be ALL CONSUMED with how I feel, how I need. Look, it says. Look at how tired you are. Look at how poorly your kids behave. Look at how bad your skin is. Look at lazy you are. Look at how dirty your floors are. Look at how much weight you’ve gained.

You guys, it is in these moments, (NOT the moments in which I wrote that darling previous post) in which I realize that I am sometimes still merely surviving. And I scramble desperately to all the things I’ve learned, I’ve read, I’ve lived, to grasp the hook of hope to pull me the hell out of hell.

So. After reading that quaint list from that cutesy post, here’s the reality of what the last few days have looked like. First, I started getting a cold. No biggie, right? Then I wrote that lovely post. Then my adorable children woke me up at least 6 times for about four nights straight, because, you know, they’re sick, too. Get over it, you’re a mom, I think. So I’m literally sick and tired. Meanwhile, it rained for like four days. So much for that sunshine I was talking about. And, as one does when one is sick and tired and grumpy, I totally drank plenty of fluids, got exercise, took my vitamins, read the Bible, and spent lots of time praying. (You guys, I did NONE of those things. Not a one.) And the last three days have been some of my lowest since we’ve moved here.

What is it about our lowest moments that make us forget about the things that can HELP US?? The twisted spiral that is depression is like no other medical illness. If you break a leg, you go to the doctor. If you have a headache, you take some pain meds. If you have depression, you just sit. You sit in your depression. The very existence of depression means you are almost completely UNABLE TO HELP YOURSELF.

Unless… unless you know the signs. Unless you can catch it BEFORE you completely succumb. I thank the Lord that I am finally at the point where I can catch it. I can’t erase the feelings, but I can ease them. So today, these are a few things that I actually did. So while my previous list was groovy, here’s more of a real one.

First, I sent a few SOSes. I prayed. It was a I’m-in-the-middle-of-making-breakfast-for-the-kids-who-are-yelling-at-me-from-the-other-room-and-making-each-other-cry-and-I-haven’t-had-coffee-yet “Dear sweet Jesus HELP ME” kind of prayer. But I truly meant it. Then I sent AJ a text that said something like, “My patience and sanity is wearing thin and I think I’m getting a sinus infection” at about 8:30am. (He knows me well enough to know that it was a cry for help and support, sweet man.)

Then I made the kids help me clean the house. (This was after I assessed that my stress level would drop a little if there were not DOZENS of ripped stickers all over the floor and if I could walk down the hallway without stepping on markers.) A tidy house can really do wonders for one’s sanity.

Then I took them outside. I was cranky, they were cranky, but we did it, kicking and literally crying (the two year old was so. angry. about having to sit in the stroller) and I forced them to lie on a swing and close their eyes to absorb the weak, 9:30am sunshine. Because I’m so mean.

Then we had to go to a birthday party, which meant INTERACTING. As in, with PEOPLE WHO ARE ADULTS. This is no small feat if you’ve been beckoned by the dark cloud, but it can often be one of the best remedies.

And later in the afternoon I sent a group text to three ladies I knew would give me the right dose of laughter and practical advice.

So here I am, finally aware that it’s been a rough few days but seeing the light. (And I’ve found a cocktail combination of meds to help my sinus pain…so there’s that…)

Guys. You’ve got to stick with it. All the things you’ve done to pull yourself out, DON’T FORGET THEM. USE THEM. And never think that it’s over. Because, if you’ve suffered from depression once, you’ll probably suffer again. But there’s hope :)

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Let it go…

You guys. This is, in my opinion, the BEST version of ‘Let It Go’ EVER. I mean, seriously. Just watch it.

OK, maybe I’m a bit biased, but whatever. To me, hearing my just-turned-two year old son “sing” is one of the brightest moments of my day!

I’m sure I’m not the only one whose house has been flooded with “Frozen” references. (Right?! Please, tell me I’m not alone here…) Even if you live in Antarctca and don’t have kids, you’ve probably heard the song “Let It Go.” Although, now that I think of it, Antarctica would be, of all places, the most appropriate to watch “Frozen”, yes?

Anyway, in my home, the Oscar-winning song has become well-quoted. It comes in handy, for instance, when Tori is trying to take a toy from Anders and starts singing, “Let It Go…” Or when I get annoyed because the kids just knocked over a pile of FOURTEEN folded shirts and my husband starts singing, “Let It Go…”

It has become ingrained into our American life whether we like it or not. And I promise you, when my daughter is 15 and is sulking about not getting her own way, I WILL be that mom who starts singing “Let It Go” in front of her friends.

But think about it. There’s a reason the song is so well-received. It’s a mantra we’ve all heard and said before, correct? But, and I may be going out on a limb here, it’s a concept that is SO FRIGGING HARD TO DO. And we hate hearing someone say it to us.

When Elsa sings about letting it go, she is talking about releasing pent-up emotions, fears and hidden secrets, and allowing herself to be her own unique person, flaws and all.

But often when someone tells us to “let it go”, they’re implying that we are over-reacting or misinterpreting a situation. Or it can mean that we have to take the high road and JUST IGNORE someone else’s ignorance/hurtfulness/flaws/irrationality. Because, you know, it’s so easy to just ignore things that WE KNOW are wrong, right? All of us have these kinds of people in our lives. People who bring you down, who seem to be clueless about the fact that they are saying hurtful things, or who are so irrational and illogical that you start wondering if THEY are normal and YOU are crazy.

But, as the song implies, there is freedom to be found when you are no longer bound to those things or people that bring you down. I know for me personally, it is easy to let other people affect the way I am feeling. I can very quickly go from being content to feeling self-conscious, stupid (“why did I say that??”), ugly, unwanted, or inadequate. I now realize that half of the time I am over-analyzing things and creating scenarios in my mind. But for the other, real moments, I have finally been able to understand that most often, I just need to LET. IT. GO. This is not, and never has been, easy for me.

Being able to let it go assumes several things. It assumes that you are mentally objective enough to look at a situation and analyze it truthfully. It assumes that you recognize and accept that NO ONE IS PERFECT, including yourself. When you have a very high/unrealistic standard for yourself, naturally, albeit wrongly, that standard gets placed onto other people. This is where I struggle the most. My most current prayer is that God helps me to show people grace and understanding, the same way he shows it to me.

And letting it go assumes that you have the ability to forgive. You truly cannot let it go until you have forgiven. And boy, is that hard. True forgiveness does not come easy to us (me). We want justice. We want revenge. We want to be recognized as RIGHT. And if none of that happens, forgiveness is the last thing we want to do. But again, we cannot truly let it go until we have forgiven.

The challenge I’ve given myself right now is that every time I hear the song “Let It Go” (which, at least in the last 3 days, has been about 2,137 times), I ask myself : Is there something in my life that I need to let go? Is there a person I’m holding a grudge against? Is there something I did a lonnnnggg time ago that I can’t forgive myself for? Is there just something that is part of my life that will never change, that I have to just accept “as is” and just let it go??

I know, perhaps I’ve been waaaay to analytical with a Disney song… Sorry. It’s just how my mind works :) Anyway, the next time you sing or hear the song, “Let It Go,” I’d like to challenge you think for a moment about something that maybe you need to LET GO. And then, let it go!

PS: You’ll now be singing this song for the next hour. You’re welcome.

Laughter is…

…THIS: (at least, for me it is…)

So, I’m just curious… did this make you laugh? At all? I really found it funny, in an oh-my-gosh-what-the-heck-is-this-it’s-so-weird-it’s-hysterical kind of way.

I first saw Ylvis’ video at the women’s retreat I mentioned in my last post. In a room full of [mostly middle-aged] women, the dj had been playing lots of 70s and 80s hits and then, WA-PA-POW!, he started playing “The Fox” on a huge projector screen.

I started laughing pretty quickly; I think I’d be friends with the Ylvisåker brothers, I feel like we must have the same type of humor. The entire video cracks me up! Mo-o-o-o-orse!! Guardian angel!! The horse drinking champagne!! But looking around the room, most of the faces I saw were, well, confused.

imageWhen I got home, one of the first things I showed AJ was, of course, this video. He’s so gonna love it, it’s hysterical! I thought. Well… nope. Nada. A barely-there-smile was all the reaction I got from that guy. “Don’t you think it’s funny?” I asked.  “Well, um, a little, I guess. It’s just weird,” he replied, and quickly returned to the world of Angry Birds: Star Wars edition.

This is not the first time I’ve found something funny that to others was either weird or just neutral. I think it stems down to the fact that I just like to make myself laugh!  And what I laugh at is, understandably, not always what other people find funny.

But that’s ok! Having the ability to recognize what you find funny and allowing yourself to audibly and visibly LAUGH OUT LOUD is such a great skill! [Disclaimer: laughing at the expense of someone else is NOT what I’m talking about here.]

Whenever we get to spend time with my sister, AJ always makes a comment along the lines of, “Well, at least you guys can make yourselves laugh…” She and I often find the same things funny, and we’re not afraid to laugh out loud about them.  No skin off our noses if no one else finds it funny! It gave us a good bellowing laugh and that’s all that matters.

laughterAnd now that I’m a mom, I’m really enjoying learning what makes my kids laugh. For instance, when 3-year-old Tori started calling me “Auntie Sue!” at random times of the day (sometimes in public, yikes!) and snorting/snickering/giggling madly about it.  Or when then-4-month-old Anders laughed hysterically at his sister spitting her food out at the dinner table (DOUBLE yikes!).

Or when I showed Anders “The Fox” just a few days ago and HE LAUGHED AT ALL THE SAME PLACES I LAUGHED AT!!! Mom: 1. Dad: 0. :) “The Fox” is now the #10 single on iTunes, so clearly my son and I aren’t the only ones who like it.

Have you ever had that moment when you’ve found something really funny, but no one else did? Did you laugh anyway? I really hope you do, even if you think you might look silly. Just remember Victor Hugo’s eloquent insight: “Laughter is the sun that drives winter from the human face.”

Of course, I prefer to comfort myself by remembering Lord Byron’s acute observation, “Nothing can confound a wise man more than laughter from a dunce.” Haha!