Category Archives: Living with Depression

What is all this crap

Haha. It’s not crap at all. Just sounded better than “Look at my Cool Stuff.”

Should I Stay or Should I Go Now?

img_7864I got super tired yesterday, and sometimes I can be a little under the weather the day after a big day. So I was debating this morning whether or not to go out for my walk/run. Finally, from the security of my warm blankets, my Accountability Elephant agreed that it would be preferable to err on the side of being sorry I went rather than being sorry I stayed under the covers.

The Things People Leave Behind

Note the crumpled up page of comics from the newspaper. I had the good fortune the other day of discovering a delivered newspaper that was not delivered to anyone. It was just in the grass on the side of the road. I brought it home and enjoyed it immensely. The best part, honestly, was the comics page. They now print that on a stiffer card stock, and the entire other side is the puzzles; the basic and advanced crossword puzzles, the cryptoquip, sudoku, and the jumble. I really miss those puzzles! Of course most of them are available in one form or another online or via an app, but I have wonderful memories of doing all those puzzles back in the day.

The comic page was on the driveway at the entrance to one of the local schools. Maybe a teacher brought it along to do during recess? But, like my random newspaper the other day, this was clearly abandoned and therefore I was not being a stealing thief by picking it up. (NB: the original owner actually did do the cryptoquip, so I’m out of luck on that one, but the rest of the page is clear and ready to be filled in!

ROTW (Right on the Way)

Moving clockwise in the photo, you will see a small piles of glasses cleaning cloths. They’re pretty small, so I might have to use one per lens, but since there are four people living here who wear glasses, one can never have enough cleaning cloths. I stopped into an eye doctor’s office near me this morning to inquire about these cloths. I don’t know where all of mine have gone, but I can never seem to find one when I need it.

Next, you will see two screws. (Isn’t this exciting?) I took one to the hardware store to buy a matching one. 12 cents for that shiny new screw.

Lastly, a total impulse buy at the chiropractor’s office. A Standard Process Cocoa Cherry protein bar. That one gets a thumbs down from me. The package looks much prettier than the bar, which looks rather like brown play dough and is about the same consistency.

Bottom left hand of the photo you will see the back side of Pepper, our cat. She was very curious when I emptied my pockets.

Something Needed, Something New

Not shown is the new thermometer I got so I don’t have to keep telling the doctor that I don’t know whether or not Kepler has a temperature. It’s one of those that you just place on the forehead. I took my own temperature. Easy peasy. It even says the temperature our loud, in case I’m too weak and feeble to be able to read the numbers on the screen.

And The Moral of the Story

The moral of the story here is that it is most often the better choice to get up and go exercise. At least for me. And even though it’s a mostly gray day here, again, being outside gives me all kinds of great stuff – both tangibly and physically, and that makes me want to write and share it all with you.



In Which Siouxsie Gets a Seasonal Job


As part of my ongoing journey of digging myself out of this dark hole of depression I’ve been in, someone suggested that I look for a part-time job. And while there are probably plenty of entry-level jobs at fast-food joints, grocery stores, and department stores, I just wasn’t excited about either minimum wage or smelling like a hamburger.

Not to mention, I have a little boy who gets off the school bus at 3:30 every day and who needs to have someone home to greet him. I’ve been that someone for all of his school years, and find it a little tricky to imagine anyone else being able to do the job. (No offense to my excellent older children who are quite capable of doing so.)

But in my semi-weekly internet job site surfing, I saw that UPS was looking for seasonal driver helpers. Having already concluded that I did not care to work inside, I realized that the driver helper position really appealed to my love of the outdoors, my enjoyment of variety, and the benefits of physical exercise. So, I applied.

That was a Monday. I received an immediate email scheduling me for an interview on Tuesday, where I was hired, and completed orientation on Wednesday.

The main emphasis in orientation was not to make the driver wait; that is, put your seatbelt on RIGHT NOW so we can move! Also, don’t make the driver wait.

I found waiting for a call the first few days to be stressful. They can call anytime from 7:30am to 12:00noon to ask you to work that day, and it is highly recommended that you not say no. If you say no, they may not even call again, because UPS is all about getting the packages delivered and ain’t nobody got time for voicemail and waiting around.

I’m the lady that waited on a particular fallen log in the Michigan wilderness for 8 hours one time waiting for a group of students to arrive, fearing that if I were to leave for even five minutes I might miss them and they might just walk on, missing the turn, and we’d never ever find each other and itwouldbeadisasterohmy.

I’m entering my third full week of being a driver helper, and have been working with the same driver most of the days, so it’s not quite as stressful wondering if I am going to work.

And I DO love being outside. We drive with the door open mostly, so there’s lot of fresh air. It’s also cold, but I’m dressed warmly and am for the most part quite comfortable. And I DO love the physical activity. I walk/run 6-7 miles five days per week on this job, made up of short bursts between the truck and the residences. It’s my own little form of high-intensity interval training. And I DO love the variety. Although it is the same route every day, my brain is getting a workout learning the layout of apartment complexes, and paying close attention to house numbers.

could just turn my brain off and run where the driver tells me to go, but I find it much more interesting to be watching the screen where the stops are listed and anticipating which way I will run.

Most people probably do not do a whole lot of thinking about what a UPS driver does. At least, I really didn’t. They deliver packages. Obviously. But I’m learning how much more there is to it, and I have a newfound respect for drivers. They work hard, and they are very smart. I’ve learned quite a bit, and not just about the mechanics of delivery.

There are two more weeks to deliver before Christmas. After that, I may work a little during the week between Christmas and New Years, but that’s it.

Oh, and being a woman makes no difference in the requirements of the job. I am expected to lift the heavy packages and “walk briskly” just like a taller and stronger person might do. The heaviest package I’ve handled myself so far is 65 pounds, and that was pretty tricky. I’m sure I looked like a waddling penguin from the back, but I got it to the porch!

I will say though that I doubt any of the college guy helpers exclaimed with glee like I did when I saw the FULL rainbow. But I mean, it was a complete rainbow from one horizon to the other. I could HARDLY ignore it.


The first couple days of work I was trying to make do with boots I already had on hand. I discovered pretty quickly that 6.5-7 miles is not a “make do” distance. Thankfully, I really hit the jackpot with my new boots. Not because they were on sale, but because they were comfortable from the first step.

So, I would say Brown has done a lot for me. And I’m so glad. And, by the way, I’m actually doing some things for Brown as well. I love bringing a smiling face and a good word to customers and caring about what I am doing.

One thing I’m sure the world in general will appreciate about my experience is it is making me a better driver. By observing someone who is trained in specific and extensive safety measures, I’m learning to improve my own driving as well.

Be good to your UPS men and women. They are the modern-day Santa Clauses!


Climbing out of the Hole

A mere 12 days ago, I posted online the following: “Don’t feel like I have anything important to get out of bed for. What do I do?”

And, OF COURSE, I have plenty of important things people to get out of bed for, not the least of which is ME! But I just couldn’t see it. This is sometimes why my blog is very silent for weeks at a time. Who wants to read day after day, “All the lights of my life are going out. Sad. Blue.”

It’s probably not a surprise to anyone that the Black Dog of Depression has been my faithful companion for many, many years. But I am frankly tired of the Dog running the show.

Darling Daughter #1 asked me a few months ago if I would like to do C25K with her. (Couch to 5K) That got me off the couch and out there moving and grooving, but after a few weeks, I felt like I was exercising too hard for my age? physical condition? BMI? And I backed off from the running part to find the sweet spot in jwalking, my preferred method of exercise, interval training.

I happen to find great joy in allowing my music to play on shuffle when I exercise. It reduces the number of decisions I have to make in a day. Decision fatigue is a real thing. Plus, so many of my songs are like treasures to me, and when one starts to play, I get a rush of something REALLY positive in my brain, oxytocin or dopamine or whatever.

One day while exercising recently, I was just minding my own business, alternating walking and jogging, listening to my music, and one of the “Depression Sessions” came on. This is a series of talks I purchased a couple years ago, and haven’t listened to. Usually, I move on to the next song. But for some reason, this day, I listened.

The speaker was Nora Gedgaudas, whose book, “Primal Body, Primal Mind,” is now in my library, read, underlined, and acted on. As a matter of fact, I bought the book the very day I heard her speak, which I RARELY do, usually settling for ordering it from the library and even waiting if it is not available.

Having taken an anti-depressant for years, and still having had ups and downs, I knew that the anti-depressant wasn’t the be-all and end-all. Perhaps the doctor never said it would be, but I figured it should take care of any brain chemistry imbalance, and therefore should fix me.

Every time I feel up, I think I’ll be ok forever. Every time I feel down, I think no one has ever felt this bad; I will never ever feel good again; and why should I even try.

As I began to act on some of what I read in Nora’s book, I started to notice that I was feeling better. Today I have drawn an extremely artistic rendition of my experience.

poor little me with no elbows

I FINALLY, FINALLY, FINALLY decided to believe and act on the idea that nutrition affects my brain. So far, what I have done is to go gluten-free (except on the airplane in first class, which doesn’t happen that often), eat a much higher fat diet, and kick sugar to the curb. Also I eliminated caffeine and artificial sweeteners. I have also introduced ubiquinol and acetyl l-carnitine into my daily vitamins and minerals.

Yesterday, after being on this new plan for a couple of weeks, I completed this:


What is that, you say? THAT is a table full of homework and games to do with Kepler. Nearly an hour of working and playing together. (It took ten minutes to convince him to cooperate!) And THAT is something I haven’t been able to accomplish in many a moon.

So, here I am, clearing space for joy in my own life, and hopefully inspiring you in yours to keep trying, keep looking for solutions, and keep reading my blog!




I Just Want To Celebrate

Rare Earth

It’s been a long, dark tunnel that I’ve been in. Not sure I’m through it yet, but today I’ve emerged into sunshine and light and thought I’d go ahead and share that with my bae.

Last post said I’d gone fishing. More like gone into hibernation. I think that picture fits me better. The bear lumbering along, getting sleepier and sleepier, and finally just collapsed into a warm lump in my bed.


Just kept putting one foot in front of the other. Most of the time. Sometimes I just stood in one place, wondering when I would have the strength to take another step. Sometimes I sat down, and thought I might just not get up.

It’s been a dark time. Through this time, I have clung to the concept of compassion, generosity, rest, and patience.

Compassion for myself. Learning to be gentle with myself, even in the face of not feeling like I could walk a mile with a broken leg with the bone sticking out. Allowing myself to rest when my natural inclination would be to crack the whip just a little harder. Crack the Whip!

I came up with a couple ways to give my time to others, and a way to share my bodacious skills with someone. Days when I didn’t have any internal motivation to do anything, it helped to have things scheduled with other people, as going out and being with someone else almost always helped. And I did let myself rest, to a ridiculous degree. The difference was I decided that maybe, just maybe, I NEEDED the rest, and therefore I wasn’t going to feel guilty about it. And patience. Just allowing what was to be what was.

The other night I visited Craigslist, the first time in months and months. I can’t remember the last time I looked at Craigslist, and I don’t even remember why I looked at it this time. But I found a job I liked the looks of. A job that involved transcribing the archives of a seminary; a job that asked for someone who knew theological terms, and who would be able to figure out unfamiliar names and terms by efficiently using Google. A job pretty much custom made for my interests, skills, and experience.

Amazingly to me, they responded to my resume and cover letter. And further amazingly, they hired me as an independent contractor. I’m excited about the project, even though it is short-term. Depending on my performance here, this company will assign me other transcribing projects.

Well, I’m here to say that baby steps have been berry, berry good to me. Today is a good day, and I wanted to share that.

Other beneficial (baby) steps:

  • Heart to heart talks with Greg.
  • Scheduling another trip to Alaska (next week!).
  • Successfully completing a research project which drastically altered Kepler’s bedtime routine for the better.
  • Transcribing some of my favorite podcasts in order to give back to the podcaster who is doing such a great service, and in order to allow the learning to go more deeply into me.
  • Sticking with my Alexander Technique lessons.
  • Buying a second CD from my current favorite band and just bathing my soul in the beauty.

So, hello everyone from my hibernation den. See you soon.



About that Moving Target Idea

Yesterday, I heard Eric say “depression can’t hit a moving target.” I took pencil and paper and jotted down all the moving things “we” try to catch.

I thought about how hard it is to change the diaper on a wriggling child. Lasso an animal while it’s running. Tackle a running back who is sprinting down the field. Hit a baseball that is speeding through the air. Catch a butterfly in a net. Capture, shoot, or kill an enemy who is evading you during war (or in a video game). Hit the moving duck in the carnival game.

All of the (sentient) pursued have a goal — not to be lassoed, tackled, captured, or stopped. And so they MOVE, for it is a lot harder to take down a moving target, especially one with momentum.

I’ve watched a lot of football games over the years. Once I was watching Randy Moss sprint toward the goal line after catching a short pass. By the time he got to the 10-yard line, I noticed his strides were 7.5 feet long, taking five yards in just two steps. It’s almost like you can fly once you get your momentum really going.

Although the goal of most of the above examples is something short of actual death, it definitely is to shorten, diminish, or stop the beautiful, free movement we see in a butterfly, a running back, an animal running at full tilt.

On the other hand, we have the “sitting duck.”

image by Michael Bedard at

This refers to the concept of someone or something which is vulnerable to being caught without realizing the danger. It’s much easier for a hunter to shoot a duck which is stationary, as opposed to aiming at a moving target.

I bet each of us has something that chases us — some temptation to an attitude or action that doesn’t serve us. I think of addicts who must be intentional about their recovery so that they are able to remain abstinent. Time and time again, I hear someone say they stopped doing the things that kept them on the path they desired, and they become sitting ducks for their nemesis.

I know I have written elsewhere about the importance and value of movement, in a variety of situations. Not only is movement something that can minimize the chances of the butterfly being captured in the net, movement is often filled with grace and beauty.

Here’s what I want to move TOWARD: freedom, love, joy, compassion, ease in my muscles at rest, new experiences, faithfulness, and curiosity. How about you? What do you want to move TOWARD?

Depression Sucks

That is all.

Just kidding.

I think it’s been too quiet around here. The transition from the busy summer to the busy school year which hasn’t really ramped up yet has left me bereft and with too much time on my hands. Well, maybe not too much time. Too much solitude. Too much time alone without speaking.

So much time to do all the things that need to get done. Time to organize. Declutter. Volunteer. Exercise. Write. All those things!

They say if you need something done you should give it to a busy person. My experience is that is true. I get much less done when I have fewer demands on my time. On the other hand, sometimes when the demands are mostly little nit-picky things, or maintenance tasks which just keep things on an even keel, the demands can be de-energizing.

At this point, I’ve been blogging daily since mid-January, but depression snorts, “to what end?” Every writer feels sometimes like what they write is useless drivel, but depression says they don’t share the useless drivel with everyone else. I like blogging, even when it feels like useless drivel. Maybe I should change the title to Clearing Space for Useless Drivel. Haha. I think the truth is blogging is pretty much a lifesaver for me. Knowing that I am creating something every single day, and that the things I write can be encouraging or can be things that others identify with or can just be interesting to readers — this knowledge reminds me that I matter some little tiny bit in this world that doesn’t care that I emptied the recycling bin again, or even that I recycle in the first place.

Here are two quotes which I find germane to the topic of depression. The first is by Rainer Maria Rilke:

“Why do you want to shut out of your life any uneasiness, any misery, any depression, since after all you don’t know what work these conditions are doing inside you? Why do you want to persecute yourself with the question of where all this is coming from and where it is going? Since you know, after all, that you are in the midst of transitions and you wished for nothing so much as to change. If there is anything unhealthy in your reactions, just bear in mind that sickness is the means by which an organism frees itself from what is alien; so one must simply help it to be sick, to have its whole sickness and to break out with it, since that is the way it gets better.”

The second is from T. H. White’s The Once and Future King:

“The best thing for being sad,” replied Merlin, beginning to puff and blow, “is to learn something. That’s the only thing that never fails. You may grow old and trembling in your anatomies, you may lie awake at night listening to the disorder of your veins, you may miss your only love, you may see the world about you devastated by evil lunatics, or know your honour trampled in the sewers of baser minds. There is only one thing for it then — to learn. Learn why the world wags and what wags it. That is the only thing which the mind can never exhaust, never alienate, never be tortured by, never fear or distrust, and never dream of regretting. Learning is the only thing for you. Look what a lot of things there are to learn.”

I find it to be true that learning things helps me through the dark times of depression. I find it to be true that embracing the experience can be more positive than trying to fight it off. It’s just that Depression isn’t neutral. At times, Depression weighs 1000 tons and is bigger than the tallest tree. How can I focus on anything else when I’m simply trying not to be smooshed down into the earth? Maybe it’s in the acceptance of the smooshing that I cleverly slip out from under the weight and crawl forward a step or two.

Remembering to be curious about this experience helps, too. What would the Universe have me learn today from these experiences and feelings? What might the Universe be offering me here? These are questions I can ask even as the 1000 tons presses down on me. And I believe the answers come when I ask the questions. I just have to remember to ask them.

The Thin Line Between Solitude and Isolation

Perhaps one of these days I will learn how to write about experiencing depression while it is happening. Currently, though, when I am depressed, I just feel like I’m in one of those dreams where walking is so arduous that I feel I am getting nowhere. I figure there aren’t that many people who want to read a page of words like this.











You get the idea. Seems that the desire I have for solitude — quiet, aloneness, freedom, often morphs into isolation, which means remaining alone or separate from others. And where solitude can be healing and restoring, isolation ends up being depressing.

It’s been a long time since I have been in a consistent group of friends. The last group I remember really thriving in was in Australia. The members of our band, the couples in our Bible study, the friends I did religious education with in the schools, the people we went to church with. Since that time, our groups have usually faded away, as we were often in academic settings, and students come and go.

I need alone time, but I also need time with people. When I am alone too much, I think I don’t want to be with people. When I am with people, I realize how easily I can become unbalanced with too much alone time. Sometimes it feels like there can be no such thing, as my role as mom is a busy one, with lots of needs to fill and attention to give and questions to answer, and as much as I love those things, sometimes they make me pretty tired. When I’m tired, the only thing I want to do is be quiet.

Depression and isolation go hand in hand, and not just for me. One brings on the other, and each encourage the other to continue. And, oh boy, when that cycle gets going, there are questions like “Do you even know how to be a friend” and “What’s wrong with you” that echo in the depression chamber.

Something in my writing tonight reminds me of my very favorite childhood band, The Carpenters. Karen’s voice always resonated in my deepest heart. I love the words here, and even though there are plenty of senses in which I haven’t just begun, there are other ways that I have. Each day is a new opportunity to learn and to live, and this song reminds me of that.” target=”_blank”>http://

Volcano Brain

We saw Inside Out the other night. I guess the Lava portion was the short before the film. It was sweet. The film, though, didn’t live up to my expectations. Although it had a very good moral of the story, the plot was pretty thin and drawn out, so the movie just felt too long. 

But my reason for posting the picture on this post is that I often feel like Lava. Kinda weathered, still smiling, with smoke and lava shooting out of my head.

The details! I’m positively positive that there are millions of mothers who have as many or more details than I do to keep track of. When Kepler and I go to his swimming lessons, I see quite a few mothers who are me at a younger age; several kids, a baby on the hip, corraling everyone all at once. I did that, and I think I did it well.

But these days, keeping track of the appointments, and classes, and answering my little man’s questions and requests, and keeping ahead of the carbs that want me to eat them, and doing the household tasks, and keeping track of the money coming in like a snail and going out like a cheetah, there are times throughout the day when I feel like a puddle of pudding. 

I think maybe I’m missing some vital piece of something. I am glad to be the person who does all these details, but I think there is some … rest period, or nap, or boundary setting, or laughing with friends, that I’m not getting enough of.

I’m thinking it’s the difference between stuffing more and more and more into my brain, rather than feeding my heart and spirit.

Perhaps tomorrow’s homework will be to craft a picture of the things that feed me, refresh me, nourish me. How do you nourish yourself?

Yesterday Me, Today Me, Tomorrow Me

I read an article this morning by Jason Smith on Medium is sort of a social media site where people post long-form articles about a variety of topics. Jason has a book coming out in July about his experiences as a drug addict. His writing is compelling. It is, of course, a topic I am interested in.

This morning, Jason posted an article about “Yesterday Me.” The article illustrates the contrast between Yesterday Me, Today Me, and Tomorrow Me. Oh, I could relate.

“Every morning I’d wake up with the same thought:

Fuck you, yesterday me.”

My Yesterday Me always has a “great” idea of how to deal with whatever it is I am faced with, maybe a fresh batch of chocolate chip cookies in the house, maybe a desire to get pizza, a good sale on my favorite chips while I’m at the grocery, perhaps just something talking me easily out of exercising … again. At least, when Yesterday Me was Today Me, it was a great idea. Because Yesterday Me believed that Tomorrow Me would possess all the self-control, genuinely great ideas, and willpower needed that Yesterday Me (which was Today Me at the time) didn’t have.

Yesterday Me is not a popular person in my brain. She gets some significant grief every single day, pretty much first thing.

For instance, this morning, my first thought was, “Yesterday Me, you should be thoroughly ashamed of yourself for that poor excuse for a blog post last night.” Jason’s article was about the addict’s mind. Does that mean I am addicted to something? Or are these conditions present in everyone to one degree or another? (NB: I seem to be unable to link to Jason’s Medium post. I will investigate and see if I can remedy that.)

I wonder what would happen if I were to focus only on Today Me. Blah blah blah. It’s a good idea. I just wonder who would want to read this drivel? Me wallowing around in my weakness. Ugh. Alright, well, let’s say no one wants to read it. I want to write it, and it’s my blog, so.

I realize that Yesterday Me, Today Me, and Tomorrow Me are all the same people, and yet we aren’t.

YM thinks I can figure things out tomorrow when everything slows down. (ha) TodM always thinks that TomM will be able to take care of this issue better than TodM can. Funny thing is, TodM always turns into the reviled YM, and TomM sees YM when looking back. What mind games these are!

I sure do like for my blog posts to have a happy little lesson at the end, or some evidence that I have learned something and now All Is Well.

What if there is no Tomorrow Me? What if the only Me who can do anything about anything is the Today Me? So, what if I try this? Tomorrow Me is Today Me. If I believe in Tomorrow Me to be able to make a good decision, how about if I just try trusting Today Me to make the same good decision. When I notice Tomorrow Me coming into my mind, I will ask what she would do in this situation and then Today Me will do it! And then Tomorrow Me will like Yesterday Me. Ok, it’s a plan.