|Pumpkin Patch 2016|
When we got back to Rexburg after three weeks of traveling this Summer it was pretty devastating. Idaho definitely didn't feel like "home". In fact, it didn't feel like much of anything at all. It was really surreal being back in the potato state.
Fall semester hit us hard with Jon working two jobs, teaching more classes at a time than he ever had before, and serving in a young single adult ward on campus, which meant that he was out of the house for an extended period of time each of the 7 days of the week.
Meanwhile, I was depressed. I didn't want to tell people how bad it was, because I'm a very private person. I worried about judgment, criticism, people not understanding, people asking questions, etc. The list goes on and on. I held everything in and just got bitter and more frustrated with myself and everyone around me. I started going to see a counselor and also took medication. Little by little my small team of supporters helped me chisel away at the roots of my problems. It felt really uplifting! Not like a major night and day change, but just that it was good to have a direction and feel like I was making some sort of progress and finding clarity. I kept at it, tossed around some ideas, and tried to be in the moment and find joy with one thing at a time. "This week I will have joy in crafting with my kids for Halloween!" "This week I will have joy in traveling to Connecticut!" Small victories :)
After Connecticut, but before Halloween, our family plans drastically changed. I have been apprehensive about this Winter in Idaho because last year I got cabin fever really bad. After weeks and weeks and weeks of relentless grey and grey and grey and snow and snow and snow and grey, I hated Rexburg. Which makes me so sad, because I LOVE Rexburg. But I couldn't stand the grey skies and the grey streets and the grey cars and the grey people and the grey life that makes you feel like your life will be devoid of color forever. Yep, by March I was sure I would never ever escape and experience the beach or green grass under that pile of grey ever again.
Things warmed up, Spring came, bike rides came, our road trip came, and Summer was beautiful!
But the point is that I have been scared of this winter. I have been scared of how I would feel, and even though I CHOOSE to be happy and do happy things, sometimes it doesn't feel like enough. The depression comes and I feel out of control of my own emotions. I did not want to feel that way again.
Add to that my intense anxiety of bad weather that I've had since we moved to Idaho. I couldn't handle driving in any sort of snow or rain, or HECK with dark grey clouds overhead. All my errands and grocery shopping and errands had to revolve around the weather. Which in the winter basically means I can't even bring myself to go outside. It was really a downer.
Why am I telling you about all this? It's definitely not for pity. And I'm usually a VERY private person. I have always wanted to share the positive, focus on the good, and, YES, live up to the expectations of how I knew people saw me. Nobody said to my face that they expected me to be perfect, but when friends and strangers alike say things like, "You always have it all together!" "I didn't want you to see my messy house or tell you what I was going through because your family is perfect." "You are the mom I want to be!" and "I don't know how you do it!" I would just say to myself... "Wow, they see things that I don't. I can't let them down."
But if there is ONE thing that 2016 has slapped me across the face with, it is the fact that WE ARE NOT ALONE.
Many times people will say, "Heavenly Father knows your struggles and what you're going through." And I believed it, but I also felt like, "Well that's great, but Heavenly Father can't sit on the end of my bed and talk with me and give me feedback. Yes, we have prayer, but I still feel alone." I wrote in my journal, I talked to Jon, I tried to reach out to a few people... kind of. But it was a half-ass attempt, because I didn't really believe it would help.
Well, the second half of this year has surprised me majorly. I understand TRULY how much Heavenly Father IS aware of our struggles and what we are going through, and he puts OTHER PEOPLE in our path to be ministering angels to lift us up and help us know that we are not alone. I have felt the spirit in my life through friends and family in the past two months than I ever have in the rest of my life. And it's because I couldn't take it anymore. I cracked. I asked for help. And I shared. And then I shared and I shared some more. I was honest. Even embarassingly honest. And you know what? There are other people who get it. I didn't get judgments, I got love.
Things are far from "better". This is just the beginning. But I'm feeling healing. This week especially has shown me how much we all need each other. We ALL need each other. I can't believe how many people I have found this year who NEED to talk. Who NEED to feel listened to. Who NEED to know someone else will not gasp and mock and judge them. And they all feel alone. They all feel crazy. They all feel like no one will understand, or that they will get kicked out of school, or that they will let people down.
We've created quite the perfectionist society for ourselves.
But if we only knew what the person sitting next to us was struggling with or needed to hear or was dying to talk about, then we would see equals, we would see broken hearts, we would see love. And I wish I could shout to everyone that, "We will all make it through together! We CAN all make it through together! We can make it through life with friends, with love, with compassion, with the spirit of God, and with peace! We CAN. In fact, we CAN'T make it through WITHOUT one another." But we don't believe in ourselves enough to try.
Maybe it's a lofty goal. Or maybe it sounds like everyone sitting in a field with flower crowns singing Kumbaya. But I can only start change with me.
So here I am. Opening up. And letting you know that you're always welcome to talk to me about anything. No judgments.