Monthly Archives: December 2012

things i love thursday! (december 20, 2012)

“You never laughed like this when you had Mirena.”

That’s what Dan said to me Tuesday night. He was so right.

Sorry to keep harping on it, but I’m so thankful I got that thing out. I’m also thankful that my life is so amazing that I have so many reasons to laugh and smile.

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THINGS THAT MADE ME SMILE THIS WEEK:

  • Bibleinanight Night.
  • The smiley poop Emoji.
  • New pregnancies. New births, as well! #babyfest
  • Tearful worship.
  • A birthday hair treatment.
  • Quick but jam-packed bible studies over coffee.
  • Lunch with Sydney at T-Flats and the hilarious conversation that always takes place with her.
  • Spontaneous tickle fights on the floor of E3Kids. (My husband is the best.)
  • Haphazardly planned breakfasts at Cracker Barrel.
  • Playing with Dax at bath time. He is so fun!
  • Dan and Dax visited me at work! For no reason! (Typically it’s because Dan needs to bring something to me/get something from me.)
  • Great music.
  • Naps.
  • Serendipitous run-ins at Redeye Coffee.
  • Seeing my awesome primary care doctor and my counselor back to back.
  • Using art to heal.
  • Raw, honest, candid, and enriching conversations over iMessage.
  • Giving Dax sorbet for the first time! (He wasn’t impressed, but it was funny nonetheless.)
  • Walking from my work to my lunch destination to give me the illusion that I was living in a big city again. (It also helped that the weather that day was mimicking that of London and Chicago in the fall.)
  • Texting a friend all morning and then running into them on my lunch break.
  • This, particularly in the wake of the horror that took place last Friday.
  • White elephant gift exchanges, especially one in which a Justin Bieber toothbrush made an appearance.
  • gChat.
  • Harry Potter-themed insults.
  • Hearing someone say, and I quote, “You need to write a book next year and self-publish that SOB.”
  • Margaritas.
  • My non-blood family.

What do you love this week?

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active listening: “crossroads” by sarah mac band.

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I’ve mentioned this before, but there’s something voyeuristic about consuming art created by your friends. I never know how to really navigate it. It’s like you go over to their house while they’re on vacation and rummage through their memory boxes and try to fill in the blanks on your own. It’s beautiful, and raw, but also super sketchy. (Hey, many of you may feel the same when you read my blog! Like, isn’t it weird that you guys get insight into my life without actually hearing it come out of my mouth? Come on, admit it — how many of you stalkers have never actually met me but know my kid’s name? No judgement here, y’all! Just keepin’ it real.)

Anyway. Today’s active listening comes from a band which is comprised of three (sometimes four, when the need for violin or SLEIGH BELLS arises) of my friends. Because I’m creepy like that. This song, “Crossroads” on the album Static and Signals by Sarah Mac Band, has wrecked me since I first laid ears on it. (Don’t be a chump — drop some cash for the album here because OH JUST DO IT, IT’S WORTH IT, I SWEAR.)

Most of the lyrics speak to a younger me, a me that was, for lack of a better term, a hot f-ing mess. And while I’m not there anymore, there are elements of my hot f-ing mess of a past that have weaseled their way into my otherwise completely well-adjusted present and have reminded me of the “crossroads” from whence I came.

I was too young to consider such things as a healthy dose of caution and fear /

I was set on an adventure and how my life would change by things bound to happen there

Five years ago I was standing at a crossroads. I could go one way, a way of the familiar hot mess, or go somewhere completely different and just kind of see what would happen.

So I chose the adventure. I randomly moved to a foreign country.

Sadly, it was not, like the song later suggests, to “save souls for Jesus”. It was to, ultimately, enhance my academic career and, um, oh yeah, mendmyverybrokenheartBUTWHATEVERwedontgottatalkaboutthat.

I knew it wasn’t a financially sound decision; I had my college education paid for (for the most part) by scholarships and grants and would need to take out a butt-ton of loans in order to do it. But something deep within my soul screamed out, You have to do this! You have to go! Don’t ask why now — just go! You’ll know why later. 

I didn’t know it then, but packing “my shit” (a lyrical mention, both in the literal and figurative sense) and hauling my butt across an ocean for a time would end up being the best thing to ever happen to me. The girl I was before I left — heartbroken, reliant on others for validation, battling an eating disorder — died a quiet death on the stoop of 99 Great Russell Street in the heart of London. Her scent is still heavy in the dark tunnels of the tube, but she is but a distant and, thankfully, faded memory.

Fast forward to today: I have a perfectly full heart, a beautiful family, a steady job, a strong community… and all of these things are pretty solid. Pretty stagnant. I’m not really at a crossroads anymore. Rather, I’m on the freeway using cruise control. But others around me, others very close to me, are standing at their own respective crossroads.

New relationships.

New opportunities.

New jobs.

New locations. 

So much newness. So much uncertainty.

But if there is one thing I know, it’s that the refrain of the song is so true.

It’s funny how we don’t know then the weight of what we’re choosing at the crossroads.

Five years ago I intentionally chose to embark on a journey wrought with isolation and uncertainty. That, in and of itself, is beautiful. But it’s what I unintentionally chose that is even better.

Health.

Rebirth.

A fresh perspective.

Self-love.

And so, dear friends. I urge you to not be afraid of the crossroads at which you find yourself. I’m certain that, even if you don’t know it yet, the direction in which your heart tugs you will be the one that offers up the best possible scenario for you. Even if you don’t realize it until years later.

It’s funny how we don’t know then the weight of what we’re choosing at the crossroads.

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friday favorite: being a writer.

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“You write a lot, Lindsay Durrenberger,” a friend observed this morning.

It’s true. I do. I can’t help it, honestly. I have to. It’s how I process things. It’s how I understand things. I cannot fully experience something in my life until I have written it out in words, be it in a story or an email or a blog post or a journal entry. Without words, my days have no life. (Side note: today is still unfathomable.)

Before I started writing this post, I did a Google search for one of my favorite quotes about writing so that I could cite the person who first said it. But the only thing that was returned was a link to my Tumblr, where the simple phrase is plastered across the header. (Which is ironic, actually, because, as my followers can attest to, I rarely post original content there. I typically use it to reblog stupid/weird/inspiring things I find that other people have written/composed.)

Did I coin my favorite writing quote? That can’t be right, can it? At any rate, here it is:

“Why write? Because, quite simply, it isn’t there.”

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all we can do is keep breathing.

Today, I have no words. Innocent children were brutally murdered today while they were in a place they, as well as their poor parents, otherwise believed to be safe.

My heart hurts so badly. So badly.

All I have left is a shaken faith that one day we will all be free from this broken world.

“The Lord is close to the brokenhearted. He rescues those whose spirits are crushed.” – Psalm 34:18

‎”…Here on earth you will have many trials and sorrows. But take heart, because I have overcome the world.” – John 16:33

‎”He will wipe every tear from their eyes & there will be no more death or sorrow or crying or pain.” – Revelation 21:4

All we can do is keep breathing. All we can do is keep praying. Lord be with Sandy Hook Elementary and everyone affected by this horrific tragedy. Be with us all.

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things i love thursday! (december 13, 2012)

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Because what else could I possibly want?

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active listening: “shelter” by jars of clay.

A few of my blogger friends write about the songs that influence their lives on a daily basis, so I thought I’d give it a try today because this song has been the fragile thread holding me together for the better part of two weeks. I’ve written about this song before, but it tends to be my go-to tune to pour into my brain whenever I come into times of self-doubt, loneliness, and fear. I’ve been violently thrust into the throes of these emotions lately, and so I’ve been trying to actively seek refuge in art to effectively surf these unrelenting waves of pain.

Monday, I believe, I pulled this song up on my iPhone, stuck my earbuds in, and pressed the “repeat” button and let myself fall into it.

When I got into my car, I plugged my phone into the auxiliary port and turned the volume all the way up and actually worshiped. Like, for really real worshiped. In my car. With my eyes closed (only at stop lights, of course) and hands raised.

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It’s now Thursday, and I’m still here in this space, running down my phone battery in the name of spiritual health.

The melody is simple, but I wouldn’t call it catchy. It’s not a song that, in my opinion, is easily “stuck” in your head. I think you have to intentionally put it there (as opposed to the likes of “Call Me Maybe”, for example) and I’ve been trying to do just that. The words are small, uncomplicated, and unobtrusive, but extremely powerful in times of defeat.

To all who are looking down / holding on to hearts still wounding
For those who have yet to find it / the places near where love is moving
Cast off the robes you’re wearing / set aside the names that you’ve been given
May this place of rest / in the fold of your journey / bind you to hope / we will never walk alone
In the shelter of each other / we will live / we will live
And Your arms are all around us…

God has given us each other / and we will never walk alone

Whenever I discover a really great record, I listen to it to death. I remember when Plans by Death Cab for Cutie came out, I put the disc (what is this “disc” I speak of?) in my dashboard CD player and listened to it whenever I drove for the better part of eight months. The boy I was in love with at the time found this irritating.

“You always listen to the same songs,” he lamented. “You’re so boring.”

Maybe he was right. Maybe I’m boring. But I’d like to think that, as a writer and a musician, I happen to understand the power of words and music and that I intentionally expose myself — albeit repeatedly — to the good stuff because good art has the ability to, if you let it, seep deep within your DNA. To become a part of you for the rest of your life. There are still pieces of Plans, for example, that, whenever I hear them, bring me back to that time when I was “boring”. With the opening riff of “Soul Meets Body” I can still feel the hot, sticky summer air flooding my Mazda 626 and I can still smell the mold in my tiny student apartment. I can remember what it felt like to know that my soul and my body were, in fact, different things and I can remember being in love and not exactly knowing why.

By listening to the simple, repetitive, beautiful words and music of “Shelter”, I can feel hugs from my husband and scruffy, hasn’t-shaved-in-a-few-days forehead kisses. I can see encouraging text messages from my pastor. I can feel a smile creep across my face at the sight of any one of my amazing friends. I can feel the warmth of God’s embrace. I can actually feel grace. I can feel this grace I read about and know that it is real.

Our tears aren’t ours alone / let them fall into the hands that hold us.

Let them! Let them! 

And Your arms are all around us / and we will never walk alone.

The last words of the song are “never walk alone”, not preceded by the “and we will” part.

To someone who is listening to that song for the first time, it may seem that it is one last mention of the very repetitive refrain. But to someone like me, who has listened to the song so many times that it is almost white noise  — someone “boring”, I guess — I see it as an intentional call to action by the lyricist.

Never walk alone.

Yes, God gives us a shelter. He gives us community in which to do life. But it is up to you to seek it out, to intentionally grab people in your life and boldly ask them to walk alongside you. Even when it is hard. Even when you are hard to love, you have GOT to let yourself be loved because, damnit, that’s what this grace thing is all about.

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what sorrow. oh, but what joy.

So, we’re knee-deep into the season of Advent and I have yet to acknowledge that on my blog. While I do mention my faith on here from time to time, I try not to blog exclusively about it because I’m a bloody coward and don’t want to lose my Atheist followers. (SHOUT OUT! Love y’all!) But, as a woman of faith, sometimes there are things about my life that are totally, completely, 100% wrecked by Jesus and, at the same time, super bloggable.

This post is about one of those times. Sorry if it offends you or whatever. I don’t mean to do that.

We cool? Cool. [Atheist/Christian approved fist bump]

Being a non-denominational gal, I typically shy away from stuff like Advent. But I have been actively participating in Lent the past few years, so I figured why the H not, because Lent is a lot harder than Advent, in my opinion. If I can refrain from straightening my hair for 40 days and learn something about God, I can probably learn something about God in the days leading up to a holiday where I know I’m gonna get a butt load of presents. #winning

My daily devotional time (that’s just a fancy-pants Christian-ese way of saying, “reading the Bible and praying and journaling every day”) has been through a guided set of scriptures put together by a friend in my bible study. Typically we start out in the Psalms, either crying out to or praising God for pain or for joy. Then we read some Old Testament major/minor prophet goodness, then hit the Gospels, then call it a day.

Monday’s chunk out of Isaiah is all about Judah’s guilt and judgment by God. Without getting into too much detail, Judah is a little brat. And God is tired of it.

A lot of the time when I read these stories, I find it hard to connect with them. After all, I’m not a drunkard, I’m not an adultress, and I’m not a murderer. I’m a good little Christian girl, trying my hardest to stay under the judgment radar. But when I read this excerpt, it clawed its way into my heart and hasn’t left since.

What sorrow for those who drag their sins behind them
with ropes made of lies,
who drag wickedness behind them like a cart!

– Isaiah 5:18

While I’ve never killed anyone or had an affair, I felt as though the writer was speaking directly to me.

In recent days, some interesting things have developed in my personal life. (No, before you ask, I’m not having marital problems and my child is completely healthy.) I can’t, in good faith, blog about these things so candidly because I wish to protect the other parties involved. But I will say this — going through what I’m going through right now has made me realize that, like the sinful Judah, I tend to drag my past hurts, failures, and sins behind me, tethered to my weary ankles by the deepest, darkest lies I’ve ever heard told.

You have failed at relationships. You have failed at a lot of things. You are a mess and everyone around you is about to find out. 

Advent is a time of “active waiting” — that is, actively seeking the savior that is bound to somehow be born to a virgin (which, side note, after giving birth I’d like to say that it’s completely unfair of Mary to have to go through the BS that is childbirth without at least getting some action first) and allowing His grace to be enough.

For me in this moment, active waiting looks like this:

  • Allowing those who love me to actually love me 
  • Allowing those who know me to actually know me and still actually love me
  • Basking in the grace I receive everyday, not because of anything I’ve done, but because of what He has done
  • Not giving a f___ what others think about me, as my good friend Nora, the self-proclaimed monk, has told me.

What sorrow for those who drag their sins behind them. What joy for those who die to them and rise to Grace!

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MIRENA IUD RUINED MY LIFE — a public service announcement.

DISCLAIMER: I’m taking a small detour from my normal blog content to do the Internet a favor. When I got my Mirena IUD in September, I didn’t do enough research. The only “research” I did was read the pamphlet my OB gave me. Big mistake. The eight weeks I had the Mirena IUD were the worst in my life and I’m blogging about it, hoping that when poor, unsuspecting women (who are smarter than I was) Google Mirena IUD, my blog will come up and they can save themselves from the hell I went through.

Also, at the mercy of search engine optimization, I’m going to refer to Mirena IUD by its name on every mention so that it will (hopefully) come up high in Google searches and not be buried by other stuff.

Okay. Here’s how Mirena IUD ruined my life.

After I had my son, my OB suggested I get the Mirena IUD inserted because it was one of the only birth controls I could take and still breastfeed. The Mirena IUD is a device that is inserted into the uterus that pumps out a constant, low-dose of hormones that prevent pregnancy but allow you to breastfeed.

A couple days after I had the Mirena IUD inserted, I started losing sleep. At first, it was only that when my baby woke me up in the middle of the night, I couldn’t fall back asleep. But after a couple days, I found myself immersed in full-blown insomnia. I couldn’t fall asleep at night without ingesting huge, unholy amounts of Benadryl and, even at that point, I could only sleep for an hour or two at most. (Yes, I am still breastfeeding. I called my pediatrician concerned about this — they told me that Benadryl was safe. So was Ambien.)

Then, I started having really horrible anxiety. A panic attack here and there. Really scary stuff. The insomnia and anxiety worked hand in hand, too.

After about a week of this, I went to see my primary care doctor. I hadn’t slept in a week and was beside myself upset. The doctor I saw (wasn’t my actual primary care doctor — she was out that day) attributed this to postpartum depression and gave me a prescription for Ambien and referred me to a counselor.

The Ambien worked for a day or two, but after that, I had to start taking more than one, sometimes three in a night to sleep. This was so dangerous. A few times, I had to have my husband drive me to work in the morning because the drug was still in my system. There are days — ENTIRE DAYS, PEOPLE — I don’t even remember. One day (sorry if this is TMI) my husband and I evidently engaged in — uh — married people activities that I HAVE NO MEMORY OF. Finding this out scared the everloving hell out of me and was the last straw.

Then it hit me — these symptoms had only shown up when I got my Mirena IUD inserted. I knew in my gut that Mirena IUD was the problem and I decided that I needed to get the Mirena IUD removed ASAP.

I went back to my primary care doctor even more upset about this, convinced it was the Mirena IUD. Because she did not insert the Mirena IUD, she didn’t want to remove the Mirena IUD. (Again, sorry for the repetition but I’m hoping this gets my blog a lot of hits from search engines.) What she did do was text her OB friend to find out what antidepressants were okay to take while nursing and, after hearing back from two of them, prescribed me Zoloft.

So, at this point, I was taking Ambien, Zoloft, AND Benadryl to try my damnedest to get some freaking sleep. But it still wasn’t working. All of these medications were prescribed to me because I wanted to keep breastfeeding but I didn’t feel comfortable taking so many freaking medications WHILE I WAS BREASTFEEDING.

OMG. The deeper I get into my story the angrier I become.

I did not relent. I knew in my soul that the Mirena IUD was the cause of all the insomnia. So I kept calling my doctor and my OB’s office to get some answers. But everyone shrugged me off, saying it was just postpartum depression and that I should feel good about the fact that I was “treating it”.

Bullshit.

A couple weeks went on and then one day, the anxiety got so bad. I had the worst panic attack of my life. I was shaking so hard and couldn’t breathe. My husband had to dress me. He had to feed me. All the while, my baby boy is laying there, crying, and I couldn’t even care.

I am not making this up. Ask him about it. It was bizarre and scary and horrible.

I was sick of not being taken seriously by the doctors. I was sick of being told this was postpartum depression. I know myself and I know my body and I know that what I was going through was because there was this foreign object inside of me pumping me full of crazy hormones and I was not going to stop until I was heard and the Mirena IUD was removed.

Finally, it came to the point where I had to lie on the phone to my OB’s office and tell them that I had thoughts about hurting myself and my child.

Magically, their “blocked out, totally full” schedule had an opening with another OB in an hour.  Funny how that works out.

When the OB walked into my exam room, he greeted me the way I’d been referred to by all these doctors over the past weeks.

“Got them postpartum blues, eh?” (He’s from Georgia.)

“NO,” I literally yelled at him. My voice scared me so I backed off a little. “Okay. Well. Maybe. But I don’t think so. I really think that my Mirena IUD is causing all of this.”

I then told him my whole story. When I was done he looked at me straight in the eye and said the most beautiful words I’ve ever heard spoken.

“No, you’re right. This isn’t postpartum depression at all. PPD would have shown up 2 weeks postpartum at the latest, and you’ve had this only since 8 weeks postpartum, which is exactly when you had that Mirena IUD inserted.”

I exhaled. He went on.

“This is pretty common, actually. The hormones that the Mirena IUD releases into the body are directly linked to depression, anxiety, and the resulting insomnia.”

When he said that, I swear to God, I wanted to punch every doctor, nurse, technician, pharmacist, receptionist, and OB I’d talked to over the previous weeks in the face. Here, finally, a doctor was telling me that what I knew in my heart was right all along AND EVERYONE ELSE JUST ASSUMED I WAS FULL OF CRAP.

“We gotta take that Mirena IUD out immediately,” he said. “Your hormones should level out within two to three days.”

EDIT/UPDATE: After he took the Mirena IUD out, he asked me how my mood/behavior was around my cycle since having the Mirena IUD inserted.

I laughed at him as I recalled YET ANOTHER way the Mirena IUD was ruining my life.

“I’ve been bleeding non stop since the day I got the Mirena IUD,” I told him. “I don’t know what a “cycle” is anymore.”

He looked at me with wide eyes. “Oh,” was all he said after a beat.

Oh yes, I forgot to mention that lovely little detail. I bled, pretty heavily, for eight. weeks. straight.

SO MANY F WORDS, YOU GUYS.

The night I got the Mirena IUD removed, I didn’t sleep. But I didn’t have any anxiety. The following night I slept a few hours.

The third night, I slept like a f$&king baby. And my bleeding FINALLY stopped a week later.

When I had a follow up appointment with my actual OB she still maintained that what I was experiencing was PPD. She also claims that this is completely “abnormal” and that I am a “special case”.

O RLY?

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TWENTY-THREE COMMENTS, the majority of which confirmed my suspicions. Oh and just FYI, if you do a simple Google search for “Mirena” and “insomnia” and “anxiety” you can have a freaking field day.

God, I’m so stupid sometimes.

Here’s the reality.

PMS is a real thing, y’all. So is postpartum depression. Behavioral and mental changes, directly resulted from hormone shifts within the body, are a real thing. It really really really happens. The medical community confirms this.

SO WHY IS IT SO F’ING FAR FETCHED TO THINK THAT CONSTANTLY PUMPING MY BODY FULL OF HORMONES WOULDN’T HAVE SOME EFFECT ON MY BEHAVIOR AND/OR MENTAL PROCESSES??!?!?!

Dan and I have agreed to keep my body hormone-free from here on out. If the worst thing that happens is that we get pregnant with another beautiful, wonderful, amazing blessing of a child, then so be it. I’d get pregnant a thousand times before I put anything like the Mirena IUD in my body ever again.

[Imagine me dropping my mic and walking away LIKE A BOSS because I am.]

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friday favorite: my friends.

“Maybe you just have good taste in people.”

That’s something a good friend of mine said on the phone to me earlier this week. I happen to think she’s right. I do make a pretty decent effort to surround myself with people I know will lift me up rather than drag me down or drain me of my emotional resources.

When I survey the group of people I’m blessed enough to call my friends, I’m blown away.

Talented artists. Writers. Musicians. 

Fervent believers. Inspirers. Teachers.

Comedians. Listeners. Sympathizers. 

I could go on all day.

Basically, if you’re not friends with my friends, I feel sorry for you because they’re baller.

Happy Friday, everyone. :)

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things i love thursday! (december 6, 2012)

Happy birthday to me, y’all! I turned 27 on Saturday so, obviously, I have a lot to be thankful for this week.

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THINGS THAT MADE ME SMILE THIS WEEK:

  • My epic birthday weekend!
  • My awesome husband for putting that together.
  • Birthday dinner at the Melting Pot.
  • Libby taking on Dax for round two. (She won this time!)
  • Butterbeer cupcakes.
  • My Harry Potter themed birthday party and the fact that Dax (for the most part) slept right through it!
  • Sleep. Always and forever.
  • Getting visited at work by my two favorite guys.
  • Praying over text message. Oh, technology.
  • Getting to hang out with Nora a lot because…
  • … we played a show together on Saturday! What a great birthday gift.
  • The season of Advent.
  • Dedicating our baby to God in front of our community.
  • Dinner with the crew after church, just like old times!
  • A happy, smiley, adaptable baby that allows us to drag him everywhere.
  • Hulu Plus and Netflix.
  • Dinner with the Mocks at Piggy’s.
  • Running into another family from our childbirth class! Baby Oliver is so cute!
  • Friending said family on Facebook so I don’t have to keep praying I just randomly run into them around town anymore.
  • My counselor.
  • MY AWESOME MOM, whose birthday was yesterday!
  • A delicious, fun, agenda-free lunch with this dude.
  • Coffeeeeeee.
  • My friends and family. I have the best life.

What do you love this week? 

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