Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Three Whole Months

I've been depression free for three whole months.


I can't remember the last time I went this long without a depressive episode.  I was tempted to say that I've almost forgotten what a depressive day feels like.  But I haven't forgotten.  I doubt that I'll ever forget.  I totally remember.  I have an excellent memory.  But even remembering doesn't bring on the depression.

I scoured the internet for the perfect beautiful sunshiny blue sky picture to represent my current state of positive mental health.  I decided to go with the beach this time.  Just sounds so nice, doesn't it?

Things have been crazy busy at work.  I'm the data call queen.  I manage one database and have access to a few more.  When someone, anyone really, wants answers to questions, they call on me.  I call on the data.  Well, there have been A LOT of questions lately.

And I provide answers.  And then there are inevitably more questions.  It never ends really.  So I've been busy.

But next week, I'm taking a vacation.  Mostly I'm going to sleep in and walk and read.  But I'm also planning to be out of town for a couple of days.  Nothing amazing.  Just time off.  I think I've earned it.  And I'm gonna enjoy it.

Lord, I'm looking forward to yet another month of depression-free bliss.  Thank You in advance for the gift!

Saturday, August 1, 2015

New Month, New Challenge

So I'm reading "Do Over" by Jon Acuff.  But as I walked three miles this morning, I listened to another Jon Acuff book, "Start".  I love the subtitles of this book... "Punch fear in the face.  Escape average.  Do work that matters."  I only walked for an hour, but I listened to the first two chapters of the book.  I'm already looking forward to listening to another chapter or so when I do this same walk tomorrow morning.

I find myself wanting to start new things on the first.  The first of the month is ideal, but the first day of the week works sometimes too.  I'm really not any good at starting something on a Thursday unless that happens to be the first day of the month.  But today is Saturday, the first of August.  It was a perfect day for starting something new.  Today, I started walking again.

I walked the SummerFest 5k route, though my FitBit insists that I only did 2.63 miles.  Still, it was a good walk and I feel great.  Like I said, I'll do it again tomorrow.  That's the plan!

I'm also going to make sure I spend time reading.  I want to do that every day. I'm in the middle of reading two different books.  And every week or so, I find another book I want to read.  I'll never get through all of those books if I don't spend some time reading every day.

This is what I'm reading right now...

  1. Do Over - Jon Acuff
  2. Total Forgiveness - R. T. Kendall
This is what I have on deck...
  1. The Catholic Guide to Depression: How the Saints, the Sacraments, and Psychiatry Can Help You Break Its Grip and Find Happiness Again - Aaron Kheriarty, MD with Fr. John Cihak, STD
  2. WordPress Web Design for Dummies
  3. Platform: Get Noticed in a Noisy World - Michael Hyatt
  4. The Yahoo! Style Guide: The Ultimate Sourcebook for Writing, Editing, and Creating Content for the Digital World

A couple of those are more for reference than for reading.  But I'll skim through them nonetheless.  I want to get my professional blog up and running and start pitching for freelance jobs.  So I bought a couple/few books to help out with that hustle. And I have another James Patterson book in the mail.  And I love me some fiction, so that one will likely jump to the top of the list.

I love to read.  I just need to make more time for it.  I need to make it a priority.  I'll learn a lot more from reading that I will from watching reruns of "The Waltons", regardless of how relaxing it might feel.  I've gotten into the habit of coming home from work, getting comfortable, and sitting in front of that wholesome family for a couple of hours decompressing from my day.  But it's not very productive.  I need to be/want to be a little more productive.  So I've challenged myself to spending that time walking and then reading.  It'll be good for me.  Just maybe not at the same time.

Saturday, July 25, 2015

I think I want a do over.

I recently started reading "Do Over" by Jon Acuff.  This is coming to me at such a great time.  I don't have kids' activities to run around for.  I don't have a spouse who expects meals on the table at a specific time.  My time is my own.  And I really want to take advantage of this season in my life to pursue a lifelong hobby.

I'm not going to spell out the book word for word.  But it explains that as kids, we knew we had the power to yell "Do over!" and we'd try again.  Why can't we do that still as an adult?  If you want to read this book when I'm done with it, let me know!

The good news is it's never too late to declare a Do Over. [Jon Acuff, "Do Over", page 19]
I also recently joined a really positive group on Facebook called "30 Days of Hustle."  It's more than 14,000 people who are 'hustling' towards a goal.  Their goals are anything from learning sign language so they can communicate with their deaf toddler to learning a new skill that makes them more marketable in their careers.  They spend their free time learning these skills for a purpose.  And I've joined them.

I've always enjoyed writing and have decided to learn more about freelance writing.  My hopes are that I can improve my writing to a point where I'm earning some extra money doing it.  My initial financial goal is to save 3-6 months of living expenses (Dave Ramsey's Baby Step #3).  But ultimately I want to be contributing more to my retirement (Dave Ramsey's Baby Step #4); I just feel like I've been lax on this up to now and I don't want to struggle to survive in retirement.

My HUGE goal is to replace my current income with my own freelance writing career.  I don't expect that to happen the day after tomorrow.  But I'm willing to work at it for a few years.  I want to know if I can own my own business and survive at that.  But even if I don't ever feel comfortable living off that income alone, it should be an excellent side business to help me save up for specific things that are important to me.

So if you know anyone that has a website that needs a blog... If you know anyone who needs a website with excellent content to drive customers to their site... If you know anyone who needs articles or editing or any other writing support, pass on my name... or pass their names on to me.  I'm willing to take them on as a client to build my writing repertoire.

Friday, July 24, 2015

I like coconut frosting.

I've had a relatively bad day.  Sure it could have been a lot worse.  But heck, I was only going to the office for four hours and then running a few errands.  It should have been a GREAT day.  So what the heck happened?!

I spent all day Monday working on this data analysis project.  To be honest, I've spent WEEKS working on this data analysis project.  Hours upon hours!  But this was to be the last day (or so I thought) that I'd be dealing with this data analysis project.  I was scheduled to teach ERP Tuesday through Thursday.  But my data analysis project bled over into my ERP training time.  Shocker!  My fellow instructor hates it when things like that happen and they seem to happen every time I'm scheduled to teach.  And he makes me feel bad for it every time, like it's my fault that I'm over-extended at work.  But that's not my point.  My point is, I worked 12 hours Monday and ten hours both Tuesday and Wednesday.  I worked exactly eight hours on Thursday.  And the plan was to go into work for four hours today to finish a few things that I wanted to clear from my desk that I didn't get the chance to do all week.

First, I had several classes to add to the Master Schedule.  It's not important what that is, but it is important that I needed an NMCI PC to get it done.  I have one sitting on my desk now... but for whatever reason, it won't allow me to update the Master Schedule.  I tried all kinds of things to make it work.  Still no luck.  Very frustrating.  I swear I must have rebooted that thing a dozen times.

So I stuck with processing course evaluations.  It's a boring way to spend four hours in the office, but it has to get done and no one does them but me.  So I did them.  They're done now.  All seven of them.  "Yea, me," she says with mock enthusiasm.

I expected my short, but productive day to feel good.  It didn't.  I was frustrated and bordering on angry all morning.  I couldn't wait to get out of there and get on with my personal errands that were sure to improve my day.

So I drove the interstate to Washington, listening to contemporary Christian music that I could sing along with.  I had plans to deposit my check, make a payment on my dwindling medical bills, get my hair cut, and get another gel manicure.  Lucky for me, my stops to the Credit Union and the Hospital went as planned.  But that's where the joy ended.  I don't like my haircut; it's too short and spiky.  And I don't like my manicure; she got polish on my fingers and it's not all that shiny and even.  What a waste of time and money.  But it doesn't stop there!  I went through the drive-thru at Long John Silvers to grab lunch.  And wouldn't you know it, as I was pulling out of their parking lot, I spilled the entire box of food onto the floorboard of my car.  What the heck was that all about?

I'm telling you, I couldn't wait to get home and just surround myself with bubble wrap and something lovely in my oil infuser.

And then I saw it.  The last piece of coconut cake.  Actually, I think it might be a white cake, but it had coconut frosting.  I ate it!  And I loved it!  I didn't drop it.  I didn't get any on me.  It didn't make me sick.  None of those things.  It was just lovely.  The absolute best part of my day!

Sunday, July 19, 2015

Blue Skies for Two Months Straight

It's been two months.  Two full months since my last depressive episode.  I LOVE that!  I can't tell you how good that feels.  And honestly, May 19th seems like more than two months ago.  The difference between how I feel today compared to the way I felt on May 19th is hard for me to even quantify.

On a scale of one to ten, May 19th was a one; today is a ten.

Yeah, polar opposites.

I don't know that I've been doing anything in particular to maintain this emotional stability.  But I'm going to keep doing what I've been doing to try and stay right here.  Light right here emotionally, is pretty darn good.

Remembering where I was a year ago doesn't even bring me to tears anymore.  I'm doing that well.  And I'm oh-so-appreciative, oh-so-blessed.

Lord, thank You for the break from the depression.  I humbly ask for another two months.

Saturday, June 20, 2015

Blue Skies

A couple of months ago, I started using weather pictures to describe the way I felt.  Check out this post, and this one, and this one, and this one, and this one.  So today... lately, that is... would be sunshiny blue skies... with flowers!

I haven't had a depressive episode since May 19th.  And I feel GREAT!  Even though we've had inches of rain lately, wind, lightning, flash flooding, and power outages due to nasty weather, my mental and emotional health has been full of sunshine.

I wish I could take credit for it, but I'm not completely convinced that I can.  In addition to taking my anti-depressants, I've been saying daily prayers that speak specifically to my depression and feelings of total darkness.  And I've gone back to taking my doTerra supplements.  I've recommitted to hitting 10,000 steps every day.  And I'm reading my bible most days; my plan is to read the New Testament this summer.  I'm also reading Jon Acuff's "Do Over", which is all about getting a do over in life, possibly changing careers and such.  It's very positive and offers hope.  Maybe those things are working.  Maybe I'm just lucky right now and my brain chemicals are behaving themselves.

I've also taken on an old hobby.  Writing.  And I think it's doing me good.

I used to write all the time.  I'd write journal entries or blog entries, or I'd start writing a novel... that I'd never finish.  I've started several novels that I never finished.  Mostly I did it because I enjoyed it, not necessarily to make money off of it.

But lately, I've been drawn to writing of a different sort... freelance writing.  I've found a couple of free online courses.  I've found a supportive Facebook group.  And I'm learning how to go about writing for money.  Not only is it keeping my mind sharp... and busy... and distracted.  But I figure I can knock out Dave Ramsey's Baby Steps 2 (paying off all debt except the mortgage) & 3 (saving 3-6 months of living expenses) with the money I make.

I don't know exactly what's keeping me on the sunny side of emotional health right now.  But I'm here to tell you, with a smile on my face, that you couldn't PAY ME to stop the prayers, the supplements, and the research and exercises in writing.  Pray with me that this season lasts for quite some time.

Friday, June 12, 2015

Find the Time

I don't even remember how I came across it now.  But I'm doing a Jon Acuff challenge called #DoSummer2015.  It's all about finding a task you want to focus on and improve on.  And stop telling yourself you don't have the time. He's only asking for 15 minutes a day.  That's it, just 15 minutes a day... for three months.  By the time you're done, you'll have 1500 minutes (or 25 hours) under your belt doing what you really wanted to do.

Jon Acuff writes about finding the time, if you'd like to hear it from a professional.

I think this might have started out as a way to better yourself as an employee or make yourself more marketable... by choosing a skill you wanted to enhance.  But I honestly wanted something NON-WORK related.  So I chose walking (which will be good for my mental and physical health) and bible reading (which will be good for my spiritual and emotional health).

We started June 8th and won't finish until we get to September 8th.

If you'd like to see more about #DoSummer2015, click here.  I love it when I have a chart I can update everyday with my progress.  Just like I like it when I have a list of things to do and can cross things off that list.  I don't know, maybe I'm strange that way.

At any rate, find the time to do something to get you closer to the person you want to be.  And enjoy it!