Saturday, January 19, 2019

Inside my mind when I'm depressed

I wake up and get dressed and "feel" fine so far. I even have a little hope for the day and how it will turn out despite the last few days of mostly struggle to feel normal and act normal.

I get to go in and snuggle with my girls as they wake up, one of my favorite things to do. They reach for me and hug me and I am happy to give them love back... for now, I think because they're quiet and they're moving slowly and gently.

We all make our way to the kitchen where I offer to make them each toast.

Fast forward about 20 minutes. I realize I haven't paid a toll fee from driving through Texas and so I start the automated process on the phone and see that Mia has left her chair at the bar and left almost all of her toast uneaten.

I want her toast, it's from my homemade bread and I've told her so many times that she needs to stay at her seat until she is done and if she leaves then she may lose her food to Sandy or me.  So, I reach over and eat her toast as I key in my invoice number for my fee.

She comes in seconds later, sees her toast is gone and starts whining and crying for it.  I hang up because I can't do both, I'll do it later.  After talking to her about why her toast is gone I must have felt some guilt because I told her if she asked kindly I would make her a new piece of toast.

While it was in the toaster I move to the laundry room which is in sight of Mia at the bar. I start switching the load to the dryer and hear the toast pop.  She tells me her toast is ready and I tell her "just a minute" and then she begins to whine louder because I haven't started walking to the toaster yet.

I hear that whine in the middle of changing the laundry, knowing that I'll be done in a matter of seconds and my body wells up with energy that I feel I have to let out. It's in my stomach and my shoulders, then my neck and then it comes out my mouth as I raise my voice to say "NO!" or some one-word loud answer, I don't even remember what I said.

I knew I was taking advantage of my "bigness" to punish Mia.  Her face squished together, turned red and tears starting coming as she began a big cry.  I had no sympathy in me even though it was my outburst that led to her scared and insecure feelings.

I buttered her toast, cut it in half and push it across the counter to her general area before I walked out of the room.  She was still crying and expressed no interest in the toast.

I walked back to the hallway and briefly considered asking Sarah to sit with Mia because she was sad and then remembered all the times that Sarah has tried to comfort Mia when she wanted me and knew that wasn't a good idea.  Mia was yelling,  "Mama! I want Mama!" in between sobs.  I hid behind the wall, deciding if I would be able to be there for her or not. I took a leap of faith and went into the kitchen and sat by her and looked at her face. Still all bunched up and red and now her cheeks were wet and her green eyes sparkled with the pool of tears waiting to spill over. She cried again, "Mama, I want Mama."

In that moment I felt like an imposter. I'm not going to be able to help her, I've just upset her and I'm just going to keep disappointing her. She would be better off without me is what I thought.

The instant I thought that last thought I recognized what was happening. I was thinking things that were lies. I decided in a split-second to not believe the thought and put my arms out to take my daughter into them.  She came quickly into my arms and I held her tight while her precious head rested on my shoulders and her little strong legs wrapped around my core.  I felt so much love for her. I felt a little relief from my negative thoughts and knew it was best I was there to hug her and talk to her and apologize for yelling.

After hugging, she pulled away from me and looked at me and said, "I want Mama." again which I thought was ironic and telling. She had me physically but I still wasn't completely there mentally.

Now, I'm exhausted. The girls are watching their tablets and I was listening to a book when I realized I wanted to write this down. I wanted to give you a glimpse of my experience when I'm depressed.

It doesn't make any sense at all to me why I experience this so I can't expect others to understand.

This amount of depression for this many days in a row (about 5 as of today) is very rare for me. I am seeing a counselor 1-2 times a week right now and have told friends in all of my circles. 

I know I'm experiencing this for a reason, I feel glimpses of immense gratitude that I go through this so I can empathize with others.  And if you want to, send me a text or a message just to see how I'm doing.  It's most helpful and comforting when someone cares enough to ask how I am and then lets me just talk or write what I want in response. Thank you!

Tuesday, January 8, 2019

My husband

This is on my mind often. The fact that I chose to marry Stephen Michael Keller almost 10 years ago and the incredible, beautiful, surprising joy that has come from that decision.

We met on a blind date after my parents and his grandparents had lunch and "Nana" called Michael with my phone number and a directive to call me.  We liked each other instantly and I wanted to kiss him on our first date. He waited almost a month to kiss me, one of the first of many gestures of respect towards me from him.

On that topic I want to write. How this guy has shown me respect in the most unexpected way.  I want to sum it up in a couple words and I'm not sure how to do that so I'll just keep writing until I figure it out.

When I'm confused, sad, lonely, frustrated, scared, anxious, embarrassed, or mad Michael expects me to make myself feel better.  He will physically be there, listen to me and look at me when I'm talking, hug me when I ask him to (it's OK to need some prompting sometime :)), offer suggestions when I ask for help and support me in any way I choose to move forward, BUT, he will not try to fix my situation and he will not try to make me feel better.

You may have guessed that this perplexed me at first- it bothered me and sometimes infuriated me- that he wouldn't "mirror" my emotions and be anxious for me to feel better! After all, that is what I learned meant someone cared- but now I know that's not always (or rarely) best.

Now, in our 10th year of marriage it's one of the things I'm most grateful for to him. That in the face of a problem his partner is experiencing, he has the humility, wisdom and respect to let me figure it out.

A lot of my confidence  can be traced back to this practice of his and my subsequent experience learning to confront and manage my own emotions, thoughts and actions.

It has inspired me to be an empowering spouse like he is and avoid the nit-picking, nagging and trying to "fix" him.  When I express confidence in his abilities and allow him to learn from his own mistakes he actually does the most growing, has the most joy and is then able to be his best self.  Which, in the end blesses our marriage relationship too.  Same goes for our children and how we empower them to figure things out.

Thanks for letting me share something so dear to my heart, something that literally has kept me up at night in tears of gratitude.  I hope it inspires you to recognize the good in your family and friends and have confidence in them and yourself.

Monday, January 7, 2019

just do it

I compose sentences in my mind all the time. When I'm in the shower, when I'm trying to go to sleep, when I experience something that teaches me something new, when I'm outside and see something beautiful- I go into writing mode and think thoughts that I hope if written down would serve as a beautiful memory of what I was experiencing and maybe even inspire someone else in some way.  As you may have already noticed, I'm no expert on grammer and punctuation and even though I studied journalism in school, much of what I learned has escaped me by now. But, I still have a passion to write. And, so, since school I've written some blog posts, some lengthy Facebook/IG posts, letters, thank you notes, and a lot of journal entries. I've also started a few essays hoping to submit them to our Church's magazine and never followed through.  Now I've decided to just write, hence the title to just do it.
Here are some things I've written about in my head and plan on writing down here on this blog this year.

-my network marketing experience
-finance lessons and goals
-taking things personally
-stuff (like stuff we consume and accumulate in our home)

Those are just from the top of my head.  I just wanna be clear that I'm doing this for me and I'm also excited at the thought that maybe a few people will be inspired by what I write.  But, to be honest, I've learned that even if nobody reads or likes what I've written that it's just as valuable as if a million people read it and like it.  It's from my mind and my heart and that's amazing.  It's amazing because it feels so good to write. It's amazing because it's me and there's no other me. It's amazing because I've been gifted with a brain that thinks deeply about a lot of stuff and writing, sharing and connecting make me feel alive, loved and hopeful.

I'll see you next time I write.


Tuesday, November 13, 2018

Thought Work- an example

I'm going to explain how my day is going in order to learn about myself and potentially relate with others that might be like me.

Tomorrow we leave for a week and a half. We're going to Colorado and Utah. I still have to pack all of us and make food to bring. I want to work out, shower, get ready, do the dishes, pay attention to my girls, help them help me with trip preparations and go to a Relief Society activity this evening. I'd also like to clean my office/home school room and vacuum the whole house.

I also told Sarah we'd take our walk to the cemetery since we didn't on Sunday.

And I have some stuff I told my mom I would send her.

Ok, so I have some stuff to get done today and what do I think and feel and do now? I think, "It's going to take a miracle to do everything. Something is going to be left undone and that's ok. Is it? Michael is going to think I'm a mess and unorganized and irresponsible and lazy. Oh man, I need to get to work. All I want to do is sit and relax.  I want to be calm. I want to feel prepared. Am I willing to do the uncomfortable work of preparing in order to be prepared?"

That was a lot of my thoughts and maybe too much for some of you. If you aren't interested in dissecting my thoughts and hearing what I'll do to turn my day around then you can move on to something else cause that's just what I'm going to do.

I like to think, is the thought helping? And from my work with EmyLee MacIntyre I've learned to ask myself, how does that thought make me feel and how do I show up when I feel that way?

So, because time is finite and like I said before I'm leaving tomorrow on a trip, let me dissect just one thought.

I'm going to dissect the thought about what my husband is going to think about me.

So, when I think, "Michael is going to think I'm a mess and unorganized and irresponsible and lazy" how does that make me feel? That makes me feel mad. Probably because I'm not those things, but why it makes me feel that way is not what I'm working on right now, I'm just identifying in one-word how it makes me feel. 

So, what feeling do I want?

I want to feel peace.

Now I ask myself, what thought can I think that would help me feel peace?

What about, "It's OK for Michael to have the wrong idea about me."

*insert* when we're doing "thought work" it's normal to "try thoughts on" and see how it feels.  If it doesn't feel right because it's not genuine or sincere or doesn't promote any feeling then try a different thought! (all learned from EmyLee MacIntyre!)

When I think, "It's OK for Michael to have the wrong idea about me" I honestly don't feel much.  So, I'm going to try a new thought.

And, as I'm writing this, I'm realizing that I'm not so worried about what Michael will think as I am worried about what I think about myself. That means that I'm going to be honest about what thought it is I'm thinking that makes me feel so worried/powerless about getting everything done today.

"I can't do everything I need to do to be prepared and still do everything else I normally do on a normal day."

That's what I'm thinking and how am I showing up?  Well, I'm still in my pajamas (it's 11:30), My kids are watching tv even though I'd rather them be actively helping with the preparation, I'm writing (which could be viewed as an avoidance but I like to think it's actually going to help!! *I choose to think that and so it will help because of how that thought makes me "show up" when I'm done writing!!- a mini thought work session in the middle of another!), I've done more sitting and worrying and I'm physically tense.

So now I need to decide what thought is going to help me show up differently, productively, peacefully and kindly.

How about, "I am going to get everything necessary done before we leave and enjoy myself and my family while I'm doing it."

I feel calm when I say that out loud, so that's the thought I'm going to repeat and believe today because that's close enough of the same for me as peace like I  mentioned earlier.

And when I'm calm I'm productive and creative and kind and thoughtful.

And because I show up in those ways today I know I will actually accomplish all that I need to today.

So, by choosing a certain thought that will help me feel a specific way I get to have the results I want.

This may seem all too simple and you may think, "I don't need someone to tell me all of that!! I'm not a fool!"  and that's ok if that's the case.

But, if you have moments, times, days, months of stress or depression (aside or added to normal diagnosed depression) or intense worry, regret or sadness, these practices or this thought work might actually make a big difference like it has for me.

I'm still learning so much about circumstances being neutral and the thoughts we choose to have about them or the meaning we give our circumstances being what creates our feelings, actions, results and overall experience.  If what I shared appears to have some holes in it it's because it does.... if you wanna know more you can google "the model"  or look up the people that have helped me with this type of work: Brooke Castillo, Jody Moore and EmyLee MacIntyre.

Good luck and here I go tackling my day with calm!! Woohooo!! Now I'm excited!!

Thursday, September 22, 2016

Mia's Birth

So... it's been over 3 weeks since she came.
Rhea came over and checked me and told me I was 6 cm and progressing quickly, she got real serious and said we needed to go to the hospital right then.
My contractions were coming every few minutes. On the way to the car I stopped to pass through one and Rhea didn't let me, she told me to keep walking, we had to get to the hospital!  I threw the big exercise ball to the side in the garage realizing I wasn't going to be doing a lot of waiting around once we got there.
The Hanns were there to pick Sarah up but we didn't have time to say goodbye so we put her in our car and had them follow us to the hospital.
I'm grateful Sarah was there for that ride.
She was so cute.
I decided to sit in the back with her so I could provide any reassurance she'd need since everything happened so fast and we had just literally woken her up and dragged her out of bed.
It worked out so well because I was distracted by Sarah and didn't even notice the red lights.
I had at least 1 contraction in the car and Sarah was a bit confused and shocked by the low "uhh" noises I started making from out of nowhere.  It was then she must have realized that I was going through something really physically and psychologically demanding because she got really quiet.
Once we were there I stepped out of the car, trying to cover myself with my blue robe- I did have a bra and underwear on underneath at least!
I kissed Sarah and she said she wanted to go with Jared and Jackson and I was soooo happy she went with them willingly and happily.
I walked into the hospital and had a contraction in between the automatic doors.  It was most comfortable to have weight off of my back and hips so I got on all fours and was going through the contraction in silence when a man from the waiting room came over to see if I was OK and started telling the staff that there was "a woman on the ground over here!"
Michael yelled from the outside while the automatic door was open that it was OK, that "[she's] in labor".  The man didn't seem content to just leave me which was really sweet.
It's crazy to think of how in the zone I am during strong contractions... that's how I get through it, though, by fully letting go of everything around me and letting the contraction pass through me.
A woman got me a wheel chair and Rhea helped me onto it.  She helped answer questions the nurses had for me to help since I was barely talking and definitely didn't talk during a contraction! Crazy people- expecting me to talk during contraction.
The woman started wheeling me up to the labor and delivery floor and asked me if I was in Walmart the day before.  I was. Turns out she was behind me in line (we bought a LOT of stuff so she was behind me for a while) at Walmart and said she was positive I was having contractions by the way I was walking and breathing and holding my tummy.  I laughed about thought- what an awesome coincidence!
We got to the elevator and waited for a family to get out before we could get in.
We arrived to the 2nd floor and wheeled down to the delivery room.  They pushed for me to get on the bed.  I was so uncomfortable on the bed and I felt like I was going to push her out any second.
They kept asking me dumb questions like "what is your name and birthdate?"  Later I realized they did that for security reasons...
My water hadn't broken and the doctor wasn't there, but my baby was coming out whether we felt ready or not.  The nurses seemed stressed to me and I didn't care because I could feel that my daughter would come out without much help.
The urge to push was so stinking strong, so much stronger than it was with Sarah, and so much faster to come that I was scared.  I yelled a couple times that I was scared and Rhea reassured me immediately and the calm and happy look on her face kept me confident that everything was going to be OK.  Michael also came and held my hand and tried to show me he loved me even though I could tell he was shocked about the quickness of this birth also.
They had me push, which wasn't very hard to do, my body was doing it for me already pretty much.  And then they had me slow down and not push and that was really challenging.  I had just read somewhere that if I pretend to blow out my birthday candles then that would provide the control to not push even when that's all my body wants to do.  So this came to my mind and I started to do that and it helped!
Michael said that at this point it looked like a balloon was coming out, not a baby.  Mia was still in the amniotic sac and the balloon was the sac.  The nurses were trying to break my water with no success.
It was 5 whole minutes of being on the delivery bed before Mia came out.
I sat up and looked at her.
She was so calm and so beautiful.
I looked at her while she was still in the amniotic sac for maybe 30 seconds but it felt like 5 minutes. It was like time stood still so I could take some wonderful mental pictures and video. :)  She reached her hand out and broke the sac herself!
That first night with her was so magical.  Listening to Pandora with a MoTab station and holding Mia near me all night.  I woke up every couple hours to feed her and record feedins,wet and messy diapers and each time I'd look at her and just want to be by her all the time.

Strong Family Ties from Far Away

I am a physically affectionate person.  When I’m with people I love and feel comfortable with you’ll usually find me playing with their hair, giving massages, hugging or snuggling them somehow.  I am a firm believer that I’ll never be too old to snuggle with my parents… They’ll always be my parents and I’ll always be their daughter. The act of feeling safe in their arms is natural and instinctual and crucial to remembering where I came from.

Somehow, even though I express love and feel love through physical affection, I have felt the love for my family deepen and increase (change to be stronger, better, more mature) over the last 6 years of living in different states.

I guess I could argue that although physical touch is the most powerful way to show me you love me, words of affirmation and acts of service can show me too. And, I can learn to receive love in different ways.

Phone calls, texts, blog posts, FaceTime, Skype, letters, packages, more phone calls, costly visits, more phone calls.  That’s how I communicate with my family that’s far away. 

I could imagine living close to them, like in a nearby town, and how much that’d change our experience.  I probably wouldn’t FaceTime or chat on the phone for long periods with my parents since we would know we can actually see each other in person very soon or that day if we wanted to.  That means that Sarah wouldn’t have her one-on-one phone conversations with my mom where she gets to have her all to herself.  Sarah’s communication skills have definitely been affected by the fact that she gets to communicate on the phone with her grandparents often.  That means she has to focus on something she can’t see if they’re not FaceTiming and she has to practice formulating relevant verbal questions and answers.

I was standing in my kitchen in home we lived in on Fort Rucker, AL while my mom and I talked on the phone. In that conversation I realized that we were trying to love each other without considering how the other feels loved best. I learned that her love language is “acts of service” and one of my strongest next to physical affection is “words of affirmation”.  I wanted to hear her tell me why she loved me and how much she loved me or else it was hard for me to believe that she loved me… crazy, right? Or maybe it’s not so crazy.  These were the words that I heard my mom say next.  “I adore you, Minta.” I felt so much peace and comfort in that moment. It was like I could finally believe that my mom loves and accepts all of me.   That was about three years ago and I still relive that moment in my mind often to remind me how much she loves me.  I don’t know if we would have had a conversation like that had we been living by each other all that time

Being far from family can feel almost wrong at times.  Thankfully we’re conquering that challenge by showing love for each other in different ways only necessary because we’re so far apart.

Tuesday, September 6, 2016

Deleting Pictures and Videos


What if I delete something I shouldn’t have?
Then the memory will be lost forever, right?
It means that whatever we did or showed or learned or discovered in that video is lost, right?
Sarah won’t remember it right? She won’t have a clear or accurate or positive memory of her childhood?
Good parents take good pictures and make them easily accessible to their kids for the rest of their lives.
I won’t have evidence that I was a good parent if I delete these videos.
I am afraid of deleting anything.
I will be so sad.
I will be depressed.
People are counting on me to show them pictures and videos of our lives and if I can’t then I am not doing a good job as a daughter, mother, daughter-in-law, granddaughter or wife.
Michael will be upset if I delete something he wished I didn’t.
If I don’t delete them they will crash my computer eventually and I’ll lose everything.
I can’t make decisions.
I’m too indecisive.
I’m too sensitive.
I’m too sentimental.
Pictures are just things… but they mean so much! They show joy and love and happiness and family and relationships and the beauty and wonder of my children and their experiences.


I will keep pictures that have meaning, impact and are clear and can be enjoyed by everyone.

I will do a little bit every day.

I will clean up my computer and then back it all up so my photos and documents will be preserved.

If I were to lose everything tomorrow, all of my pictures, I would still be a good mom.  I would still be a good daughter.  I would still be a good daughter-in-law.  I would still be a good wife.  My kids, parents, in-laws and husband would all still love me very much.

I can delete a picture I like if there is a similar picture that shows a similar time period that's of better quality and can be enjoyed by many.