MENTAL ILLNESS & MOTHERHOOD

maybe you know that my husband & I were surprised by a beautiful, amazing, gorgeous, sweet-natured, PERFECT (of course) little baby girl who was born just over a month ago. her name is Iola, and we love her to bits and pieces. though not literally. cause that would be odd. and unfortunate. 😉

maybe you also know that I have generalized anxiety disorder & clinical depression. the first time I remember experiencing a very-not-normal type of anxiety, I was only five years old, although it really came at me like a punch in the gut the summer after I turned 16.

if you’ve been around the blog for very long, you probably know both of those things. but here’s something you might not know:

mental illnesses like these run in my family.
and my husband’s family.

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and for this reason, I was never really sure I wanted to have my own children.

so…
sweet, freshly-diagnosed girl looking out into her future with these fears, this is for you.
strong mama in the double trenches of mental illness & motherhood, this is for you.
tentative pregnant gal who never had to think about this until you had to go cold turkey off your meds, this is for you.
anyone who loves a mama with a mental illness, this is for you. Continue reading “MENTAL ILLNESS & MOTHERHOOD”

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LET’S ALL STOP USING “MENTALLY ILL” AS AN INSULT

yeeaahh… let’s all just agree to not do this, okay? 

for those of you who haven’t had to walk this road, please allow me to humbly explain to you why this phrase can really wound when used incorrectly. I know that as our friends & family, you care about those of us who have to battle monsters like anxiety, depression, or another disorder, and we want to communicate to you how we can all best live in harmony! sound good? good.

here’s the thing: some of us are mentally ill. it’s a fact of life. sometimes our brain chemicals just aren’t doing their job, and it leaves us in the dust trying to figure out which way is up! or perhaps it was a traumatic event in our past that has significantly screwed with our emotionally sanity. either way, our lives look a little different from other people’s. 

here’s thing #2: mental illness is exactly what it says it is… an illness. like cancer or arthritis, it’s a sickness that takes lots of time, care, and sometimes medication to begin to heal. and while some mental illnesses can cause things like outbursts, momentary lapses in judgement, and the like, it’s not something that makes people terrible human beings.


when the people we know say things like “ugh what a complete mentally ill moron”, those of us who actually are mentally ill, associate the two. we feel like you must think that mentally ill people are terrible, mean, and ignorant. or worse… that because we are mentally ill, we have no other destiny than to become wicked people who hurt others and cause strife

those are already some of our deepest fears. we’re already scared that we are doomed to become horrible human beings because our mental illness has somehow broken us beyond repair. these are all lies our brains are already assaulted with. these are already lies we are fighting off at every moment. we are constantly striving to be kind & genuine people, despite the fog of confusion that clouds our hearts & minds

people with mental illness may be unconventional, but our illness does not take away our inherent worth, or make us somehow less than, or doomed to a fate where we are brokenly breaking everyone around us.

we are capable of greatness & goodness. but we won’t rise to our height of possibility, unless you believe in us, unless you’ve got our backs, unless we know that you will stand up for us. we can do this… but only with your help! 

can we all agree to no longer use mental illness as an insult anymore?

awesome. I knew I could count on you. 😉

xoxo

I DON’T FIGHT MY DEPRESSION

I don’t fight my depression.

yeah, you read that right.

I just don’t. in fact, after 5+ years of losing every single battle I’ve tried to fight with this beast, I have decided it’s just not worth it to fight anymore. It isn’t worth it to wind up bruised and beaten, licking my wounds.

before all of you go crucifying me on the cross of panic and political correctness, let me explain.

I don’t fight my depression, because I have a greater goal in mind- I don’t want to keep getting beat until I can no longer get back up. nope, I don’t care any longer to be a hero. I don’t want to fight it. I want to survive it.

and I can’t do both. I can’t both keep fighting AND survive.

this is not a pity party, and it’s not a declaration of defeat. this is not me throwing in the towel or waving the proverbial white flag. this is none of those things. this is a decision so much bigger and so much braver than nonsensically charging into battle, armor-free, which is what it is like trying to fight depression.

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hear this well: there is no armor strong enough to protect your mind from itself when it is determined to take you away from everything you are, everything good, everything safe, everything that is true. regardless of what you think you do or do not know… depression plays by only two rules, and those two rules never change: shame and isolate.

you cannot beat shame and isolation with brute force.  Continue reading “I DON’T FIGHT MY DEPRESSION”

A LETTER TO MY BABY GIRL // 25 WEEK BUMPDATE

sweet little Io,

it’s amazing, you know.

you’re this whole little person, just growing away, practicing breathing through your little lungs, stretching out long, curling up small, slowly becoming this wonderful human that will be unleashed upon the world.

you have so much promise in your blood, and so much beauty and grace and strength is being passed on to you from the loving legacies of incredible women and men. I believe with all of my heart that you’ll feel it too, as you grow into your own, as you take hold of the person you’re designed as.

your blood holds brokenness and anxiety and depression and trauma, too. it holds weaknesses that have haunted your people for generations, demons that have hunted us, shadows we’ve cowered in. you’ll come to understand these stories in time, I know; and, though I pray it’s not the case, you may have to learn to own them as your own and fight them better than we’ve fought them. don’t shrink away from this part of you; it is important. stand on my shoulders, sweet girl. learn from our defeats, and carry our love and your learning into battle.

these terrifying possibilities are why I thought I might never want to carry a child, never want to watch her suffer under the weight of things I’ve suffered. but I know now that you’re being built strong as well as graceful, powerful as well as fragile, fierce and full of fire as well as gentle. this is how good women are made, little one. and you’re good.

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your dad and I named you early on. we knew who you are. we felt it in our bones, and it felt right. Iola Grace. dawn of grace is what your name means, said together as one. dawn of grace is the spirit I know you’ve been given.  Continue reading “A LETTER TO MY BABY GIRL // 25 WEEK BUMPDATE”

how to make life less sucky when you’re crazy busy

let’s just be real guys.

when we get too busy, everything becomes a blur of checklists, schedules, meetings, getting things done, disorganization, chaos, family world wars, atomic bombs… waitno. mostly just checklists and schedules. but seriously, as the speed of life picks up, I end up feeling like I’m in the middle of a race I didn’t realize was happening, and I’m all out of breath and miserable and confused. (it ain’t pretty)

and right now, with less than four weeks to pack up and move cross country, you could say I’m stressed worried nervous in a total panic. so, believe me… I need this post as much as you do. let’s take a deep breath and read on.

here are a few ways to make that out-of-breath chaos a little less sucky while you’re living it…

1.) give yourself a time-out
while generally time outs are associated with mischievous toddlers (or, you know, normal toddlers), sometimes we all need a couple minutes to simply get our bearings and take a deep breath. so set that iphone timer for 10 minutes, shut and lock the door, and just breathe for a second. pay attention to that breath in your body, and focus on just how it feels to breathe instead of letting your mind loose on all the things you have to do. I went full yogi on you with the breath. sorry not sorry. thank me later. Continue reading “how to make life less sucky when you’re crazy busy”

Creating Positive Triggers

for those of us whose life stories contain chapters of mental illness or trauma, triggers are a terrifying part of everyday life. it’s like your life is a jack-in-the-box that keeps getting rewound. you’re not sure when it’s going to pop out at you, dragging you back to that point in time you were most vulnerable, most taken advantage of, but you know it’s there… waiting… and the fear of it can keep you from living your life.

it feels rather unfair, that something you survived and lived through should then be allowed to haunt you, to surprise you, to not let you forget. but it is a scar, and though they fade they don’t disappear. I’m right there with you, friend.

but let’s take a step back real quick.

here’s the definition of a trigger:

trigger
verb
(used with object)
to initiate or precipitate (a chain of events, scientific reaction, psychological process, etc.)
so, as you can see, even though it is overwhelmingly used to describe a person, place, thing, word, situation, (etc, etc…) that ignites a negative process or chain of events… there’s no rule that says that has to be the case.
but what if we started combating this with like firepower?
what if we started creating our own positive triggers?
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I realize this might be a new concept to some of you. it’s not really something that I’ve ever heard of either. it just kind of came to me during my yoga flow a few days ago, and it stuck. it won’t leave my head, and I just can’t lose the idea that this could be something so big in my life.

Continue reading “Creating Positive Triggers”

a DIY “little wins” book

hi lovelies!

if you’re like me and are just so over comparing yourself to others, reflecting on your negativity, and dwelling in shame that is none of your business, you need to start a “little wins” book. I chatted a lot about self confidence & comparison in this post, so make sure to give it a read!

what is a little wins book?
and what are little wins?!

well, I’m so glad you asked 😉

1.) what are “little wins”?
little wins are the small things that you SUCCEED in on any given day. whether it’s making sure to eat breakfast when you usually skip it, or finally getting around to that mountain of laundry, or responding kindly to a rude person… those are your little wins. those are the challenges you conquered, however small 🙂

2.) what is a little wins book?
a little wins book, is, simply enough, a small book or notebook in which you record your little wins, so you can go back and look at them later on to be encouraged. (bonus points for prettiness!)

pretty simple, right?  🙂

not only is this an amazing mood-booster (who doesn’t want to be reminded of all of the ways they’ve succeeded and all the little things they’ve won at?), but it’s also a super fun little DIY project that can be as complex or as simple as your little heart desires!

while you can use any number of items for your little wins book, here are some basics to start with:
blank book (I got a multi-pack at Target for $3)
markers
pens

other fun ideas could include:
glitter, stickers, washi tape, ribbon or yarn, stamps, paint, colored pencils, scrapbooking paper, brads or punches, photos, and more!

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then… simply deck out your beautiful cover! make it 100% YOU 🙂

you can choose however you would like to count your little wins on the inside. I decided to simply number them and include the date in parentheses beside them! it works for me!

have you ever recorded little wins before?
do you think this could be a helpful tool for you?

tell me in the comments! 🙂

when faith isn’t the answer

“do you want to be healed?”

I can’t count the number of times Christians have pointed me to the scripture in John 5. ah yes, the man who had been ill for 38 years. the man to whom Jesus so gently, powerfully said “pick up your mat, and walk!

they’ve pointed me there and echoed it… “do you want to be healed?”
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I never really know how to respond. so often their well-intended words feel like a stinging slap across the aching surface of my soul.

do I want to be healed?

oh, gee, I don’t know, I’ve never thought about it before. hmm, let me see…

are you kidding me?! do I want to be healed?

for years, I’ve not just wanted… I’ve pleaded. begged. sobbed, rocking on my bedroom floor to be healed. I believe in the deepest parts of my soul that God can heal me!

and yet I’m told “you need faith!”

oh, Christian, I have faith. through my deepest sorrows and blackest nights of the soul, I have gained more faith than many people I know.

sometimes, faith isn’t the answer. Continue reading “when faith isn’t the answer”

untidy grace // a guide to surviving sunday mornings

ahhh, Sunday mornings…

The day on which we greet the day extra-early, joyfully make our way to service looking like we walked off a Pinterest board. 

HAHAHA.

Let’s be real. It’s a lot of scrambling, smearing on of eyeliner, messily pouring of coffee, making sure you don’t put your shoes on the wrong feet, snapping at your husband (who is totally rushing you and stressing you out, because of course you’re not the one causing yourself to be a frazzled mess) and hoping people don’t notice how rumpled you look walking into the service ten minutes late. Then, naturally, there’s the rushed (and, let’s be honest, fake) “hi, hello, how are you? Great!” as we hurry to get back home and put on yoga pants and take a nap.

It’s a totally real struggle.

 

here are a few simple tips to make your Sunday mornings a little less crazy and a little more Christ-centered. 🙂

1. Pick out your outfit the night before. I know, I know, you’re not in middle school anymore. But this is a HUGE help. When you’re not spending half an hour staring at your closet with half-open eyes, you won’t have to play catch-up with your time later on in your getting-ready routine, AND you won’t have to worry about what hilariously mismatched outfit you decided to wear in your sleepy-brained decision making. (If you have kids, set out their outfits the night before, too!)

2. Set your coffee maker to brew on timer. I realize that not all coffee makers do this, but pull out your manual and see if yours does. This magical feature causes coffee to mysteriously appear in the the carafe at a specific time in the mornings without you getting it ready in the midst of your crazy morning schedule. (Heehee!) Genius. Bonus points for setting out your to-go mug by the coffee maker the night before, too. Grab and go. No Starbucks trip needed. 😉 

3. Memorize a simple makeup routine. Find an easy and quick makeup routine that you feel comfortable with and doesn’t take too long. Having an easy, go-to backup plan really takes the stress off having to look perfect and freaking out over hurriedly applied liquid eyeliner (never a good situation…).

4. Make sure your gas tank is full enough. This might sound silly to some of you, but for me, there’s nothing quite like the gas light turning on while I’m in the middle of a mad dash to church to send me over the edge! And trust me, this has happened more than just a time or two! 

5. Pray, first thing. As you’re getting dressed, putting on your makeup, pouring your coffee… Use this time to focus on Jesus instead of being stressed out. Thank Him for clothes to wear, coffee to drink, and gas money. Set your heart on Him and get ready to worship!

6. Aim to leave 5 minutes early. Even 5 minutes can be enough time to feel like you’re on top of things and don’t need to rush. Getting to church on time will give your spirit the moments it needs to quiet in time to be able to truly soak in the message being presented.

7. Focus on others instead of your comfort. Instead of quick hello’s and goodbyes with some inauthentic “I’m fantastic!”s sprinkled in between, take the time to really pour into the lives of your brothers and sisters. Spend your time and heart on them. Show them that they are more important to you than getting back to the comfort and coziness of your home. You might be surprised at how your stress will dissipate when you’re focused on serving others 😉

8. Remember it’s okay to not be okay. It’s okay to have chipped nail polish and a worn out heart and only be there because you have some coffee in your system. You will have weeks like this. That’s alright. You are human. And any member of the body of Christ who isn’t pulling you in and loving on you during those weeks is being a disobedient child of God. It’s not about showing up perfect. It’s about showing up expectant.

And, plus… If you followed the first 6 steps, you won’t be looking like this 😉 

 
Happy Sunday!

Xoxo

Moriah ❤

3 things to pray when you take your meds

anyone else out there on lovely medication?

just me?
nah, I didn’t think so 😉

medication is an awesome and wonderful gift from God to those of us who need it to live a healthy life! but it can also be frustrating, annoying, or discouraging to have to remember to take them, be sure not to forget them when you go somewhere, etc. it can feel a bit like a ball and chain, reminding you that you’re just thaaaaat close to a mental breakdown or physical collapse (or both!). it’s tough stuff, guys!

I’ve started saying a short prayer every evening as I throw back those pills, and it’s helped me get a little perspective on the grace of God and how much He really loves me and wants me to be well. 🙂

I thought I’d share a bit of that today!
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3 things to pray when you take your meds

  1. thank you for providing
    a lot of times, these medications are expensive, and getting to the point where you’re on the right dosage/right medication is a tough road. I thank God each day that He has provided for me to be able to have this medication, that He’s shown me through this, that He is loving and that He is actively caring for me. I thank Him for the financial ability (even if just barely) and the wisdom of doctors that has made this medication possible for me to have.

    .

  2. thank you for this good body
    even with the weaknesses it faces, and the mental challenges it’s endured, my body can do amazing things! I can laugh and have conversations. I can drop over into a backbend. I can teach people about Jesus. I can hug the hurting. I can worship the Lord. even in its fallen-ness… this is a good body!

    .

  3. thank you that you’re coming again
    “even so come, Lord Jesus!” I’m so thankful that He’s coming again, and when He does, I won’t need medication anymore. I won’t need therapy. I won’t have to battle anxiety or depression. I’ll have a brand new body that can do things this one never would have dreamed of. I am so excited for that day!! and the road I’ve walked has only made me more so 🙂

what do you think?

will you be praying along with me? 🙂

till next time
xoxo