friday favorite: going from amber to julia.

DISCLAIMER: If you don’t watch Parenthood on NBC, this post probably won’t make any sense to you. If you don’t, here’s a fun guide to the cast to keep you up to speed. 
Pro tip of the day: Watch
Parenthood because it’s great. 

I’ve been catching up on Parenthood, NBC’s heart-warming and gut-wrenching drama all about family, on Netflix over the past couple weeks. When I first got into the show a couple years ago, I instantly felt a connection to Sarah Braverman and her rogue, outspoken daughter Amber, for all the obvious reasons: being a single mom, Sarah’s interactions with Amber reminded me a lot of the interactions I had with my own mom growing up; being the daughter of a drug-addicted absentee father, I could see a lot of my own angst and, shall we say, “colorful” language played out on screen; Amber and Sarah are freaking hilarious sometimes and so am I (humble, too, I might add) and are, quite frankly, hot messes sometimes. (FUN BONUS: Amber is also a musician and Sarah, we find out in season 2, is a also writer! So there’s that!)

I guess the connection was obvious to my husband as well because, after witnessing a rather passionate monologue by Amber, Dan turned to me and said, “Wow, I didn’t know you wrote for this show.”

That prompted me to rattle off all the reasons it was so scary to watch Amber and Sarah on TV because it was like watching myself. But then Dan said something really surprising to me.

“You’re more like Julia, actually.”

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His comment made me scoff at first.

Julia, Sarah’s sister and Amber’s aunt, is very different from Amber and Sarah. She’s been described by other characters on the show as, quote, “a little intense”. She’s a busy lady, what with being a successful lawyer by day and trying SO HARD it almost HURTS to be a perfect mom by night. Her husband Joel — a stay-at-home dad to their daughter Sydney — is much quieter than she, a bit subdued I’d say, but is completely adored by her and is head over heels for her.

At first, I struggled to find anything in common with Julia. But as the episodes wore on, I started to see what he was talking about. I am a working mom. Dan is a work-from-home dad. I have been described as “intense”. I am louder, probably to a fault, than he. In all of these ways, I mirror Julia. But Dan’s point was proven at one point during season 2 when we watched an exchange between the two of them that we swear we’ve had in the past.

There is no doubt that I used to be a hot mess like Amber. Maybe even as hot of a mess as Sarah. And I’ve been pretty reluctant to relinquish that identity because it defined me for so long. But now, I’m Julia. I’m kind of put together, but not without my own obvious junk. And that gives me hope for Amber’s character (no spoilers, please — still working through season 3!).

to be known and, yet, loved.

I think it’s safe to say that there are few things in life we want more than to be totally known and still loved at the same time. If you were to break down each and every insecurity I have to its bare bones, you’d probably find this deep-seated desire.

To be known and, yet, loved.

This blog has been the vehicle by which I achieve self-love. By being honest and vulnerable in my writing, I’ve learned how to look myself in the mirror — through my reflection as well as at it — and be fully delighted in the image before me. (Well, for the most part. We never really arrive, do we?)

But, as far as letting other people love me, I’m not entirely sure I’m there yet. I still seek it. I still crave it. I still wish to, whether it be romantically, familially, or relationally, be surrounded by a small, yet fierce group of individuals who know every deep, dark, twisted ingredient to my soul and still find me worthy of love. However, despite this burning passion (which, as I learned recently, comes from a Greek word that actually appropriately means “willingness to suffer”) to be known and loved, I still find myself holding back out of fear.

I’m just so scared to let many people get close enough.

They get kind of close, I guess. Pretty close, even. But not that close. Not close enough to “smell my farts”, if you will. (Confused? Refer back to this post.)

I lamented over this desire to a friend over lunch last week. As I clumsily poked at my thai noodle soup with my cheap, splintery chopsticks, swirling the chives and roasted duck in a deep brown broth, I breathed my fear into the steam rising from the bowl.

“I’m just so worried I’ll get found out, you know?”

And there it is.

You begin a relationship with someone and, at first, everything is perfect. Everything is coming up roses, as they say. But, as time passes, you get “found out” — the roses begin to wilt and droop, leaving behind a soggy soil of past regrets, hurts, and insecurities. That can be scary. It is, at least, for me.

“When I first met you, I knew you were a hot mess,” my friend replied.

Well, okay but tell me how you really feel?

“But that’s not you anymore,” he clarified. “And those who really know you know that.”

A statement almost as comforting as thai noodle soup. Almost.

The story isn’t over when the roses wilt. If the soil is still there — albeit quite messy — beautiful things, lovely things, can still spring from it.

Allowing someone to get close enough to you to bend down and work their fingers through your dirty soil also allows them to plant seeds of life — beautiful words of encouragement, trust, and, yes, even love can foster the growth of a gorgeous garden of a real life worth loving. A real relationship with a real person worth celebrating.

The ability to be known and, even still, adored.

things i love thursday! (january 3, 2013)

HAPPY NEW YEAR! Here’s the first TILT of the new year. If the first week of 2013 is any indication, this year is gonna be a good’un.

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THINGS THAT MADE ME SMILE THIS WEEK:

  • Not having any New Year’s Resolutions. (Last year’s? Gain 20 lbs and be okay with it. I gained 40 and was still okay with it. Then I lost 50, soooo….)
  • Spending time in my hometown with my family.
  • Watching my baby boy figure out his new toys! He’s so smart, y’all. Oh and he’ll probably be a drummer.
  • Seeing one of my besties for the second year in a row on New Year’s Eve!
  • Getting to see what all the fuss is about concerning Sister Hazel.
  • Finally seeing The Dark Knight Rises. (May or may not have had to watch it in two sittings because I’m, like, old and got tired and needed to go to bed halfway through it but WHATEVER OKAY IT’S A LONG MOVIE DON’T JUDGE ME.)
  • Beer and champagne.
  • New glasses. Yeah, I’m a hipster and I don’t care who knows it.
  • “Bartering” with my husband.
  • Getting a full night’s sleep for the first time since Dax was born. And then doing it all a second time! My husband is the best.
  • Reading books. Like, just because.
  • Friends going into labor! YAY BABIES!
  • Eating junk food.
  • Productive healing exercises.
  • Catching up on Parenthood on Netflix. (When will season 5 of Mad Men be on there?! COME ON, NOW.)
  • Bubble baths. Even if they’re too hot.
  • Watching my baby boy sleep and clutch his blankie. UGHHHHH THE CUTENESS.
  • Being dubbed a “long lost sister”.
  • Food you can eat with chopsticks.
  • New beginnings. Old finishes.
  • Being loved. Like, really loved.
  • Loving others. Like, really loving them.

What do you love this week? Happy 2013!

running is tiring. running from yourself is exhausting.

Happy holidays, y’all! I had quite the lovely vacation, though most of it was spent sick in bed. All I can say is that I’m so grateful that our little boy didn’t get what we had. It was a doozy of a cold. (Not the flu, thankfully, but a cold that definitely tried its damnedest to mimic the flu.)

After the Christmas Eve gatherings at church, the three of us piled into two cars and took the four-hour drive to my hometown to celebrate Dax’s first Christmas with my family. As was expected, Dax stole the show — my mom decorated her Christmas tree with only one “real” ornament (“grandbaby’s first Christmas”, of course) along with a sleighful (see what I did there?) of makeshift ornaments of teethers, rattles, and other such toys for him. There was also a truckload of toys under the tree for him, naturally. He was spoiled rotten on his first Christmas and I wouldn’t have it any other way. (Though Mom has, unfortunately, set a pretty lofty precedent for future grandchildren.)

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The day after Christmas, Dan drove back to Tallahassee for work, leaving Dax and me to navigate a few days of single parenthood in the familiar, yet unsettling arena that is my hometown.

DeLand, Florida — Daytona Beach’s dorkier, less popular, yet slightly prettier little sister.

Because I was sick, I didn’t do much venturing out in DeLand. But even when I did, I found myself rolling my eyes — as I tend to do — at the lack of culture, life, and overall substance of this town. As I always do, I lamented to myself over the ways DeLand will never change, as well as the ways it continues to evolve.

I am a brat, you see. Nothing pleases me in this place.

It’s not like DeLand is a bad city. It really isn’t. It’s a pretty decent place to raise a family, it’s extremely close to everything good the Sunshine State has to offer — beaches and theme parks, really — and it boasts a pretty adorable and historic downtown area. But I’ve never been able shake the reality that walking those streets gives me the heebie jeebies.

When it came time to apply for colleges, I had only one rule: anywhere but here. DeLand, for those of you who aren’t aware, is actually home to the very prestigious Stetson University. It’s also a hop, skip, and a jump from the University of Central Florida in Orlando. When I got my acceptance letter to UCF, I reluctantly resolved to allow myself to attend in the off chance I didn’t get accepted anywhere else.

When my acceptance letter from Florida State University, a campus happily nestled in the northern-most part of the state, came in the mail, that was it. My ticket outta there. After high school graduation, it was all I could do to wait until move in day at FSU to pack my 1993 Toyota Corolla with the essentials and spin out of DeLand like a bat out of hell.

Whenever I come back to Tallahassee after being in DeLand, my spirit settles back down. It’s as if I am returning “home” after being in exile. But that doesn’t make sense. I shouldn’t feel like I’m in a foreign land when I’m sleeping in the same house I grew up in. But I do.

The reasoning was unclear to me until I read this blog post by my friend Beth. At the end of it, I found myself slack-jawed. Did I write this post in my sleep? The way Beth feels about Ohio is how I feel about Tallahassee. But why? Tallahassee isn’t my “real” home. DeLand is.

The real reason I left DeLand in a cloud of dust isn’t because the city itself is bad. It’s because of what I experienced when I lived there and things about myself that seemed to only be avoided if I would just run away from them. Literally, in this case.

Broken relationships.

Abuse.

Heartache.

Rejection.

Pain.

Loss.

I experienced so many of these things — from an abusive boyfriend to an absentee father — in this otherwise quaint little town. And, at the naive age of 18, I thought that all of those things would be buried beneath the sands of time as long as I could just GTFO of there as quickly as possible. (Sorry, Mom, for the gratuitously profane acronym.)

But every time I go back, I realize those hurts are still very real. And, evidently, not completely scabbed over. And it is only by immersing myself within these familiar city limits that I can remember how badly I wanted to run away from it all. From myself.

If only it were that easy.

Tallahassee has become home to me, not because it’s more “cultured” (hold back your LOLs, Eric) or has more “life” in it. Truth be told, Tallahassee isn’t all that great. Sure, it has hills and canopy roads but it also has terrible traffic and sometimes it smells like farts.

Rather, Tallahassee has become home because it was here — in this modest state capital — where I learned that I have no reason to run anymore. I have nothing to hide anymore. I am broken, yes, and I am bruised. But those closest to me — the family I have gained here — know it. They know it all. Regardless, they also remind me on a daily basis that I am not the garbage I — and those who I surrounded myself with at the time — thought I was when I lived in DeLand.

As my ten year high school reunion swiftly approaches, I can only hope that I can confidently return with the realization that there is nothing to run from anymore. But until that day comes, I will wrestle with this idea of home and safety and hopefully learn a valuable lesson:

The faster and harder you run from yourself doesn’t get you any farther away. It only makes you that much more tired.

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.”

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.

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!

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.]

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? 

the power of affirmations.

For those of you who missed it, I’ve recently begun seeing a counselor on a regular basis. Counseling, in my opinion, has gotten a bad rap. You hear that someone is seeing a counselor and you immediately assume he or she is either battling a porn addiction or so depressed even this can’t help.

[Disclaimer: Should my terribly dry sense of humor be offensive to you, please know that I am NOT suggesting that depression be taken lightly. If you are clinically depressed, especially if you feel strongly that you want to hurt yourself or those around you, please know that your condition should be taken seriously and you deserve to be helped.]

I assure you — neither is the case for me. Rather, I believe that anyone who has spent five minutes on this broken earth trying to interact with other imperfect people can benefit from counseling and should, finances and time permitting, actively seek it out.

My counselor’s name is Dr. Maki. She is a bit older, and she’s refused to dye her hair anymore as a physical representation of her acceptance of her own body. This gives her a lovely grey-to-black ombre style. She has big, kind eyes that, when focused on you, seem to be searching your soul for answers. She wears a ring on each finger, each with a different but equally emboldened stone. She is, based on the three sessions I’ve had so far, simply wonderful.

Two weeks ago, when I saw Dr. Maki last, I was in a very bad way. I hadn’t slept in weeks and was battling such real and crippling anxiety I was literally vibrating uncontrollably. I couldn’t even handle my day-to-day activities. I had to call in to work. I was losing control of everything.

[Side note: Later that night I put 2 and 2 together to figure out that my Mirena IUD was causing these symptoms and I made an appointment the next day to have it removed. I have since gone back to my old self. But. That’s another blog post entirely.]

When Dr. Maki asked me what ran through my mind when I was battling the insomnia, I told her that, really, nothing was going through my mind at all. I wasn’t thinking anxiety-inducing thoughts. The insomnia was a side effect of the jitters from my IUD as opposed to something caused by a racing mind. But the thing I did keep thinking over and over was this:

“Why can’t I sleep like a normal person? Why am I so broken?”

As I spoke these words, tears sprang to my eyes and rained down my burning cheeks. I truly wanted the answer to that.

“Why am I so broken?” I repeated, hoping she could enlighten me. She took one of her many rings off and handed it to me.

“This ring is broken,” she said.

I examined the ring — a lapis lazuli stone in a beautifully intricate silver setting. Nothing about it looked broken to me. I pulled it closer to my cloudy eyes and tried to make out any flaw.

“If you look closely, you can see a little black crack that has been mended by a jeweler,” she continued.

As she said that, my eyes found what she was referring to. The slightest dark mark showing that the stone was, indeed, broken.

“Every morning when I put that ring on, I say to myself, ‘I am not broken. I am perfect just the way I am.’ For now, I want you to wear it and say the same thing.”

My eyes shot up from the stone to meet her gaze. “Really? You want me to wear your ring?”

“Yes,” she reassured. “For as long as you need. I’ll get it back. Someday. But you need it right now.”

To be real with you guys, I felt so weird about it. But I did it.

“I am not broken,” I said with a smile I couldn’t contain. “I am perfect just the way I am.” And I slipped the ring on my right ring finger.

not_broken_ringI’ve put that ring on every day since then, keeping my promise to Dr. Maki to repeat the affirmation each time. It has gotten less and less weird with the dawn of each new day and, believe it or not, has even become something I actually believe.

Because this has been working so well for me, I decided to try it with something else I put on each morning — my wedding rings. Now, whenever I put those on, I say to myself, “I am loved.”

I am not broken. I am perfect just the way I am. I am loved.

It is my firm belief that the truth sounds the most beautiful when it comes from within yourself.