Sunday, December 27, 2015

Emotions

I need to write this down and this seemed like a reasonable place to do it.

A couple weeks ago I got really, really sad. There was no direct reason I could point to for that sadness. But there it was. The word Depression had recently become frequently used regarding people that I know and love. And I wondered if I was experiencing it myself.

It was a Saturday. I had a long list of things I needed to accomplish that day (as dictated by me and my Checklist). I'd planned a party at our house for the next day and I had cleaning, cooking and prep work to do. And I didn't want to do any of it. I was frustrated and overwhelmed by everything I had to do. I was angry at myself for being lazy and wanting to shirk my responsibilities. But that didn't change the fact that I didn't want to do any of it, in fact. In fact, I didn't even want to get out of bed. I just wanted to cry. So I did.

I'm so blessed to have a husband, J, who supports and encourages me in everything I do. Even when what I'm doing is crying and not wanting to do anything. He reminded me that it was perfectly okay to cry and to feel that way. He encouraged me to take whatever time I needed to let myself do those things. Then he got up to make breakfast. <3

My sister happened to be spending the night and we were supposed to do some things. I texted her from my bed


She loves me too. :) She came up and we talked about some things that were on my mind. I explained to her my mood and cried some more. Then she told me, nearly word for word, what my husband had said. It was okay to be sad, okay to cry. Okay to not do anything today.

It seemed odd that I needed to be encouraged multiple times that these things are okay. Surely I knew that to be the case. But it was apparent that I had not believed it and allowed it to be true for myself.*

We watched some Steven Universe (I dig that show). And I finally felt up to getting out of bed. It was about 12:30pm. I was still "weepy" and not really ready to face the world.

That world sort of included my sister-in-law B, who lives with us (we're a very hospitable household). She was in the kitchen with J, and I went to great lengths to avoid eye-contact with her. That way I wouldn't have to answer any questions or explain that I didn't know why I was crying. But I realized that couldn't last forever and finally just confessed: So, this is what's up with me today, I'm probably gonna cry and that's pretty much all I know. She said, "Ok. I understand."

It was a huge weight off my shoulder. Now I was completely safe in my home.

However, I had made plans to visit my parents, plus I needed to take my sister back home. So I wouldn't be able to remain in my fortress. I sent a quick text message warn my mom of my mood and made my way into the world - like it was my first time ever.

I was nervous. Afraid that I wouldn't be able to control my emotions and I would start crying at my parents' house with no reason, explanation or excuse. Childhood memories and the stigma around crying flooded my mind and I worried that this would not be received well. But L. reminded me (again) that it was okay. So what if I did cry?

So what if I did cry?

I did cry. 

And it was okay. No one got angry at me. And I ended up having great conversation with my mom.

That night I was exhausted. I had pretty much done nothing by cry. And I was mostly okay with that (not something I would ever have said before). I went to bed early, cried a bit more, cuddled with my husband and fell asleep.

---

Sunday I woke up and managed to get out of bed without too much effort. That was a good sign.

I still felt tired. And I still felt sad. But I didn't feel the uncontrollable urge to cry. There were still a ton of things I was "supposed" to do. I had some motivation. So I picked a few thing that mattered and decided to be okay with not doing the rest. It was a surprisingly easy decision to make.

I went ahead with the party that day. I prepped, cooked, socialized, played hostess, and even enjoyed myself. It's who I am, so that felt nice. And then, I was done with the party. I felt tired and wanted to be alone in a quiet place. The nice thing about our friends (and hosting a party at home) is I could retreat to my room whenever I wanted. So I did. It was the first time I'd allowed myself to leave my own party. And it was perfectly okay.

---

Monday I woke up and had all my motivation, and most of my joy, back.

By Wednesday, I felt mostly back to "normal". It was then that I realized it had been 5 days since I'd last looked at my Checklist. This was the overwhelming list that not only reminded me what prep was needed for my party, but also dictates when I wash my hair and schedule dates with my best friend.  I had started using it for a good reason, but in this moment it dawned on me that the list had become a self-created thing of burden and stress. The thought prompted me to write this tweet: 


But the even bigger realization was that, for nearly a week now, I had not only not been living by that list, I was actually okay with that.

This was huge.
We'll see where I go from here...


Footnote
*The most recent lesson in my #StudyOnLove was that loving people is a way of being, not a checklist of doings. The thought occurred to me that this day was to serve as a lesson in being, as opposed to doing.

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

So much for the "Honeymoon Phase"

I recently celebrated 4 years of marriage to the best team mate a girl could ask for. Seriously, the amount of love that man pours out to me on a regular basis is simply astounding. In fact, if you spend any amount of time with me, you're likely to hear some story about something J did or said that rocked my world. (I've just got it like that).


Whenever I'm asked how long we've been married, the response I receive is almost always the same: "Oh, you're still newlyweds." Which just makes me think: "At what point do we get to graduate out of Newlywed Stage?" This topic came up during our anniversary camping trip (a tradition I rather enjoy, thank you). We discussed whether newlywed-ness was related to the perceived "Honeymoon Phase". Seasoned couples do tend to downplay the sappy emotions of the newlywed couple as having not yet awoken to reality. Am I right?

Then J, being the science-loving man that he is, broke down for me the chemistry of the "Honeymoon Phase" phenomenon. (Un)Fortunately for you, I can't/won't recall the details, but it involves pheromones, brain activity and the like. It was fascinating, trust me. But as he described these things and how he remembers them playing out for him, I had the thought (out loud), "Yeah, those things didn't really happen to me."

That's when J dropped the bomb, "I honestly think you didn't have a honeymoon phase". Say what?! Are you kidding me? I'm all about this guy! There are so many things that I ignore instead of being annoyed at - isn't that the definition of Honeymoon Phase? But when I thought about it, I quickly realized he was right. There wasn't a fantasy-like high that I would inevitably come down from. Leave it to me to be the one to just bypass the "norm." And you know, I'm okay with that.

So what do you call the stage after the Honeymoon Phase?... Wait, isn't that just Marriage? Then here's to marriage!

*Choose your own adventure*
<3 R.