Wednesday, February 29, 2012

colouring the blues away.

If you suffer from depression, you will understand me when I say that on some days I wonder if I will ever feel better – or at the very least okay. You do your best to pretend that you're "feeling great" when people ask. Because, nobody wants to hear that you feel sad, and that you are completely exhausted all the time. They want to hear that your medication is working and you are exercising up a storm and productive and ready to conquer the world.

Sometimes it's not that easy though.

So you keep searching for ways to feel better. For me, the only thing that seems to help manage the noise in my head is channeling myself into creative outlets. I'm taking a painting class every week, and that seems to allow me some time and space to just "be" without having to worry about my life and the "what ifs" that keep me awake at night. I have also taken up colouring, which the kids love. We sit together and chat about how many sleeps it is until gymnastics, and I am taken to task for not buying raspberries on my last grocery run.

The hardest part of depression, for me, is that despite all of my best efforts, nothing I do seems to be working to pull myself out of it. I have favourite friends who make me laugh (but you know, they have jobs so I can't ask them to call me every day to help me smile). My writing muse seems to have up and left me. And while I know that exercising would help, I get tired from walking around the block. This isn't the me I want to be. I'm not telling you all this to make you feel sorry for me. I'm telling you so that you can have a better understanding of what a tough battle depression is. It isn't laziness, or being a downer – not purposely. It's a medical issue that is scary for the person dealing with it, and hard on the people around you.  Anyone feel like colouring?

Thursday, February 23, 2012

when your child with autism blows your mind.

Cameron and I spend a fair amount of time colouring together. Max has never really been interested in joining us. This past week I picked up a set of coloured pencils and a fun colouring book in hopes that colouring would help me relax in the same manner painting does, but with a faster set up and clean up. Max and Cameron have found this somewhat curious. Why is mom colouring? Cam seemed to accept that I had special pencils just for me, and liked that there was more colouring happening overall. I picked up a Toy Story colouring book for Max and put it out for him, hoping to lure him in with familiar characters.
On Monday (a holiday in most of Canada), Max decided – without prompting – to sit down and start colouring. He focussed on colouring objects (not just random scribbling), and he stayed for 30 minutes. These moments when Max seeks out spending time with his family are never taken for granted and are always cherished. Seeing him transfer skills he has learned at school and at the clinic where he receives therapy into his day-to-day life increases our resolve to do everything we can to help Max continue to progress.

On Wednesdays, Max has his therapy at home. When I came downstairs at the end of his session, he was playing "Swinging Monkey" with his therapist. The last time we played that game was almost 2 years ago. I put it away because Max was more interested in throwing the monkeys than playing the game. Yesterday he was not only playing the game, he had worked out a strategy to get the monkeys into the tree. He didn't appreciate me trying to take his picture because I was messing up his flow. I fall more in love with this boy every day.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

a chain of flowers.

My mom and dad are in town for a quick visit from the west coast this week. Since she is the one who nurtured my love for the arts, I really wanted her to come to my weekly painting class. It's rare for us to get time where it's just the two of us, so getting a couple of hours with her was a special treat. There was something soothing about getting to sit with my mom, create, have quiet conversation, laugh at the terrible muzak being piped through the store, and share in the learning experience. As you can see, we have very similar styles. And neither of us completed our paintings (all that quiet conversation, I suppose). I only wish she lived closer so we could go together every week.

Monday, February 06, 2012

mental health monday: when were you happiest?

Recovering from this pneumonia is a trip. I was going to say it's a son of a bitch, but in light of the photo of myself and Max right after he was born, that would probably be inappropriate. I am moving slooooow, which makes me completely inefficient and gives me way too much time to think about things I typically avoid thinking about by keeping myself on the move. There is a certain heaviness to me that I find terribly unappealing. I feel like I'm looking all around me for things to make me happy, and coming up short. I've been told that pneumonia is something that takes a while to bounce back from and to be patient and not take myself too seriously. I suck at being patient, and tend to take things way too seriously, so this, compounded with a 10 day cycle of gut-rotting antibiotics have been especially delightful.

One of Cammie's favourite things to do is look at pictures (preferably of herself). She doesn't get that from me. We stumbled upon this picture, and it struck me that I was so happy at this moment. Like, nothing else mattered, to heck with imperfect relationships and the toilet that doesn't quite flush right and the crazy amount of money I am owed and owe others. At this moment, I am holding my first baby, and he is perfect. I am a wee bit stoned and very tired, and oh my god, look at these little fingers! It was a perfect moment, and a tough one to top. Since I am currently struggling with getting better, with the black dog of depression nipping at my heels to boot, these are the things I am doing my best to focus on. Also, when Max tried to open the locked bathroom door yesterday he announced "the bathroom is occupied" (which made me smile). I suppose some moments aren't perfect, just humorous.

Thursday, February 02, 2012

everything's gonna be alright.

January was a disaster. Which is a real pisser, because it had the makings of an incredible month. Painting classes, plans to start the new p90x, my home office getting finished up, and renewed energy and focus on being happy. Well, that all went in the toilet when I got the flu. And then the flu turned into pneumonia. So, not to belabour the point, but January was not what I had hoped it would be. Though I will admit that being forced to stay in bed for two weeks did give me quite a bit of time to think about things and make decisions about what I want in my life, what's important to me, and what I am ready to let go of. I am also quite certain that if there was ever a movie about my life, Drew Barrymore would be my first choice to be cast as me (though I would insist she not rock that terrible hair she has in that save the whales movie).

Awesome things that happened in January? Max was not put off in the least with me being sick (usually a change in routine would throw him for a big loop). He is turning into quite the little comic, making jokes in therapy. His language continues to increase – mostly requests for what he would like, but also singing songs. I taught him how to turn the TV and DVD player on and start his favourite Elmo DVD all on his own (kid can rock his iPad so I figured this should be fairly easy for him).  Cam continues to be his best friend, have sleepovers in his room, and when she decides she is done playing, Max gets very sad and calls for her to come back. Amazing stuff.'re off to a bit of a slow start with recovery taking its sweet time (thanks for the insomnia by the way – really nice touch). Since you're a short month, I have lowered my expectations of you, but I do need to get back to working and exercising and feeling human again. Think we can manage that?? And Valentine's Day – let's see if we can do something fun this year. We need some fun!