Monday, August 11, 2014

A Little About Depression...

Sometimes you wake up in the morning and you feel like you can't breathe.  You want to pull the covers up over your head and sleep the next week, month, or year away.  Other times it just hits you.  Your body feels heavy and going through the motions of everyday life feels like a huge task.  People will tell you that you seem blue or sad, and that you should cheer up, they might tell you that happiness is a choice.  Sometimes you can muster a smile and tell them you'll try, but you know it's not that easy.  Depression is a real.  It hurts, and most of all it's hard to understand.  In the United States 1 in 10 adults report depression, which means more people are probably suffering from it than the statistics even state.   It means you probably know someone who has or had/will have depression.  If you're reading this, you know me...

I remember when the writer from Hyperbole and a Half wrote/drew a blog about her depression.  I read it thinking, I have been there, I have felt that.  There was this inner struggle that I recognized in her post.  It's the point that you try to tell yourself to just be happy, that you have no reason to be sad, and for some reason you can't get out of your fog.  At my worst point I slept a lot.  I slept more than anyone should sleep.  It was my senior year of high school.  I had minor bouts before (7th grade, freshman year, and as an adult around 2008), but this was the worst.  I slept a good month (maybe two) away. I wasn't eating much.  I didn't want to do anything.  Emotionally I was drained, I felt completely apathetic towards school and everything else.  It was a completely different experience when I was working full time and trying to motivate myself to get through all my piles of work.  I definitely have never had severe depression, and that's the thing.  Knowing how it feels to go through what I would call mild cases, it makes me realize how important it is to shed some light on how depression works.

If you haven't lived through it, know that it's not as easy as cheering yourself up.  It's not a choice.  And while it can be hard or frustrating to watch a loved one go through it, know that your gentle support is so important to them.  It is important to show that you care and will give them the space they need, but also that you're close enough so they know they aren't alone.  And while I encourage anyone going through depression to talk to someone, I know it's hardest to get help when you are in the midst of it.  So help support those around you.  If you notice changes in someone you are close to don't brush it off, be there for them.  They probably won't want to have deep long conversations, but sometimes just your presence will be enough.

Learn about depression facts here and here

And Another Story About Depression

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

A Very Open Holiday Letter

It's amazing how quickly the year went by.  2013 is just weeks away from being over. It's hard to believe.  In many ways this year has been pretty quiet except for one major shake-up, the move back to Southern California, which I'll get to more later.

My word for this year is contentedness.  I think for so long I have been in a pattern of constantly looking ahead to how things could be, instead of living in the moment and enjoying what I have.  When Garrett and I found out we were moving to Southern California, I think we were both pretty excited about new possibilities.  We were ready for some changes.  For so long I felt I was going back and forth between two different lives, with Southern California being my home-base.  From the moment I moved the Bay Area I felt overwhelmed by how different life was, but somewhere along the way, without noticing, I just got use to it.  The move to Orange County has been interesting.  Very quickly we found a place to move into, that we both really loved.  We both started working right away, and immediately just started doing life down here.  There was not a whole lot of down time for us to settle in and adjust.  6 months passed quicker than I thought possible, and here we are in December. 
Around September/October I started to really miss the Bay Area.  I missed my friends, I missed my hockey team, and I missed being able to let my little pup lay outside all day in our backyard (something we don't have down here).  It hit me pretty hard.  So as many of you probably noticed, I started making trips up to the Bay Area.  More than I ever planned, and again I felt like I was living two lives.

In the past month I have been trying to focus on everything I do have, and not what I am missing. I am trying to learn to be content.  God has truly blessed me with amazing friends and family that are spread out all over.  I met some fantastic new people this year, my family welcomed another baby girl to the family (my 3rd niece), I got to work with a fantastic groups of singers this summer as they traveled to Asia, I got to see some of you get married, grow your families, I got to reconnect with people I hadn't seen in awhile, and I got to witness some big moments in many of your lives, and better yet some small moments too.  I forget how lucky I really am.  Right now, I know I am where I am suppose to be.  I am looking forward to celebrating another year with the people I love, and thank you all for being in my life, and sharing yours.  

Wishing everyone a Merry Christmas (gee next week already), Happy Holidays, Happy New Years, etc.  ;)  


Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Dear Bay Area, and the People In It

It's been almost 7 years since I moved to the Bay Area.  I never thought I would be up here so long, but those seven years went by so very fast!  It's been a whirlwind, and I would not trade them for anything.

Most of you know, by now, that Garrett and I are moving back down to Southern California.  He has been offered a new job down in Orange County.  We're super excited for this new adventure, but as the time gets closer, I find myself getting sad to leave a place that has been home, and the people I've met here along the way.

My first year here was a little overwhelming.  It's so different up here compared to where I grew up.  It was a complete change of pace, and I wasn't sure I was going to ever be comfortable here.  Eventually though I settled in. Between work, school, church, hockey, etc., I've met so many people along the way.  I've been blessed with amazing friends, co-workers, and teammates.  It's been a fantastic journey, and I appreciate everything I have learned from each and every one of you.  

Everything regarding this move has been happening so fast.  Nothing had really sunk in until this afternoon.  It just kind of hit me. I'm sad to be leaving a place that has challenged me.  I've grown and changed so much while being up here.  I mean let's be honest, who would have ever pictured me playing hockey?  No one, right?  It's been amazing trying new things, meeting new people, and being in a place so different than anywhere I have ever been.

So thank you to everyone who has been a part of my life up here.  I'm grateful to have met all of you!  I have learned something from everyone who has crossed my path.  It feels like each and every one of you have been passionate about something, and I thank you for sharing your life with me.  I appreciate the lessons I've learned, even the really hard ones.  I don't think I can really convey how much you all mean to me, but I wanted to try.  Hopefully, I see most of you before I head south.  If you're ever in the Orange County area, please give me a call.

Thank you all for being so wonderful!

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

An Update

Well it’s been about a month and a half since my last post.  I thought it was time to update.  So, here I am sitting at a restaurant about to eat some lunch, and blogging.

First, I would like to say, thank you to everyone who read my last post about adoption. The responses were overwhelming (in a good way), and I appreciate the support and love I received from all of you. I also loved hearing all of your stories and connections with adoptions.  It really meant a lot to me.  I just went back and read some of the comments I received, and it just touched my heart.

So what’s been going on for the past almost two months?  I started training at the pregnancy center and have been learning a lot. I’ve been asked a couple times if this pregnancy center is shady and forces girls to give up their babies, and I assure you it is not.  It’s a place where women can come, get all their options while being respected and loved, no matter what.  It’s been a really great experience, and I am so glad to be a part of it.

Tomorrow I start a new semester of school.  Between volunteering with the pregnancy center, working, going to school, homework, and hockey, I foresee a busy few months ahead of me (I’m the queen of over-committing), but I am excited to be doing something.  

Over the past couple months I have also been learning to be content with my situation.  No matter what it is.  I have a problem with always trying to plan for something else, but I am trying to learn to just be happy and appreciate where I am.  

That’s it for now.  I hope to get through this semester in one piece.  I can't guarantee that another 2 months won't go by before another post, but if I don't have anything interesting to say, I don't want to post.  =)  Thanks again for your support. 

Friday, May 25, 2012

Adoption and My Decision to Asnwer a Call

I've been thinking about this post for a long time. What I wanted to say, whether or not it was worth talking about, and whether I wanted to write something that could offend some people.  I try not to write things that are too political or too religious. I feel very fortunate to have a really diverse group of friends and acquaintances.  And I want to be clear that even if your values/beliefs differ from mine, I don’t judge and I hope all of you reading this do the same.
That being said here is what is going on in my life.  Yesterday I met with a lady to start volunteering at a crisis pregnancy center.  They do pregnancy tests, ultrasounds, and counseling.  They give the people who come in information on all their options and go from there.  Part of their services is teaching about adoption. 
I have learned recently how negative people view adoption and adoption agencies.  I can admit that not all adoption agencies are good and have good practices, but I think people can agree that, that’s the case in every occupation/industry.  Here is what I believe though, adoption can be a good option no matter if you are pro-choice or pro-life.
Most of you know that I am adopted.  My biological mother was 16 years old when she found out she was pregnant.  She hid it from her family until she went into labor.  She decided to give me up for adoption and unselfishly gave me a chance at a better life.  I grew up with a great, loving and supportive family.  I always had everything I needed.  I never went a day without knowing I was loved, and I feel very fortunate because I know this is not how every adoptee’s story goes.  
Because of my positive experience though, I have felt like I need to do more, give back, if you will, and be an advocate for adoption.  For all the negative feelings people have towards it, I believe that there can be some real positives.  There are plenty of people out there who want to adopt kids, and we all know there are plenty of kids that want loving homes.  I know it’s not easy to adopt these days, I know the foster care program is not stellar, and I understand that there are a lot of problems that need to be worked through, and I am not saying I have all the answers.  I do however know, that people who are adopted need a voice. I know a lot of adopted people, and I can tell you that at one point of their life or another it was tough for them.  People ask really personal questions, kids sometimes tease, and people just flat out do not understand.  There should be no stigma associated with being adopted, or for people who chose to adopt.  In the end, families come in all different shapes and sizes: good, bad, broken, happy, big, small, blended, etc.  
I’m on a path to advocate for these people who are adopted, for those who decide to give their child up for adoption, and for those who do adopt.  It’s not easy, but raising a family isn’t easy, abortion isn’t easy, and being pregnant is not easy.  There is not really an easy solution, but this is the one I feel connected to and understand. 

Psalm 139:13-16

Monday, March 12, 2012

Why You Should Write a Love Letter

It should come to no surprise to anyone that knows me even a little that I tend to embarrass myself often. When I was 14 years old I liked a boy.  That part isn’t so embarrassing on it’s own.  I liked this boy a lot and we talked and saw each other fairly often.  Well after about a year of liking this boy some friends, who will remain nameless (but might be pictured on this blog) convinced me it was time to tell him, because honesty is the best policy or something like that.  Well I did, I told him, in a letter that by all accounts may have been the most awkward thing ever written known to man.  Alright, maybe it wasn’t that bad, but if my life had been a movie you would have been screaming at the screen for me not to give this letter to anyone.  I am not going to go into excruciating details about how nerdy this letter was, but I can say that this boy and I are still friends.  So it all turned out okay, and I am thankful he has never ever brought it up.  
I mentioned today that I think everyone should send an awkward love letter to someone because it gives you good stories.  Well, I mean that.  Here is the good, bad, the even worse, and the happy part about sending love letters.  As a disclaimer when I say everyone should do this, if you are past the point where this can be considered a cute childish whim, I’d skip it.  
Here’s the good.  Honesty really is the best policy.  If you are a teenage girl (or guy for that matter) and have been painstakingly trying to figure out if your so called crush is into you, you need to take matters into your own hands and find out.  There is no point in sitting around and pondering this question anymore.  You’ve already asked all your friends for their opinion.  They have all gently lied to you and told you that sure they think you guys would be a cute couple.  Seriously, if you analyze everything he says to you trying to find a hint of endearment, it’s time to find out.
The soon as you write a letter and give it to said person, you are going to feel mortified.  The pure fact that he is going to read this and know you in fact are in major like with him is going to make it seem like the world is ending.  It isn’t.  He may laugh, he may cry, he may never talk to you again, or he just may in fact feel the same way.  
Then it gets worse.  You then have to wait.  If he is nice (and really you should only like nice boys or girls) he’ll give you some kind of answer.  The waiting up to this point will make you crazy.  Whether it be a minute, an hour, or days, you’ll want to hide under your covers and not resurface, but don’t, be proud of yourself for being bold.
The get an answer.  Even if it isn’t the one you wanted, you now know and can move on with your life. 
Take it from someone who is super awkward in everyday life, you’ll look back at this and laugh. It will give you stories to tell a younger generation. I would like to thank all of you who lived this very embarrassing event with me, and still managed to remain my friend.  The laughing and crying, and spazzy moments were all great fun!

PS to my young NAS it was a singer, and I will tell you all about it at tour camp if you want to know. =) 

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Finding Some Inspiration

Today is the perfect day to be eating outside, which is what I just did.  I skipped out of anatomy lab a little early to get some lunch (because I was starving, and I am not going to keep studying once I am that hungry) and came and sat outside to eat. I know it's been forever since I have written a post, I have started a few, but my attention span has been short lately, so I quickly abandon them. I say I am going to get back to them, but I never do.

For the past couple days I've been in one of those moods, where I feel like I am not doing enough with my small  insignificant life, and that I should be out saving the world or something by fighting hunger in some other country, or helping abolish human trafficing, I feel stuck in a little rut.  There are a lot of things in my life that I feel really grateful for, I just feel like my calling has always been to help people somehow.  So, I am trying to remember that the reason I went back to school, and am doing this work is so I can accomplish this mission for my life.  That the best way I am going to help the most people is to better equip myself.

I'm really touched by how many people I have in my life who have sacraficed time and effort to help and serve others, who volunteer their time, and stand for causes they believe in.  You all really inspire me.  I'm proud to have really great people around me, and it reminds me to keep working.  So thanks!