I gave myself a little pep talk before I started this blog. I told myself that I would always be honest – that I wouldn’t skirt issues that were affecting me, and so on. This is one of those times that I really don’t want to write honestly, but I’m going to out of a hope that it might help someone else.
I’m living with depression. It’s not a daily struggle, but it is a daily issue. I get in “funks” as Dave and I call them. A funk, for me, is categorized as a period of time – days, weeks, usually all winter, as well – where I don’t function like I feel I should. I usually can feel it creeping up on me. It can start with a little tiny thing pushing me in the direction of sadness, fatigue, or sometimes a complete lack of emotion. But it can also start for no reason. I can be sitting on the couch, watching TV, and feel it come barreling in. It also masquerades as several different things. Sometimes I look overly emotional – I will sob during movies that shouldn’t be so sad or cry during a conversation that shouldn’t warrant tears, often it looks like laziness – I could go days doing nothing but sitting in the house in the dark or sleep 12-15 hours a night several days in a row. Sometimes it feels like deep loneliness, even when I’m surrounded by friends. Sometimes it looks completely normal. My life makes sense, and my emotions make sense. Other times it looks normal, but it doesn’t feel normal. Lots of people are depressed. Most people who live with it don’t understand it, and the people around them definitely don’t understand it either. If you’re someone who is very close to someone with depression, please understand that you can’t fix it. Sometimes even trying to fix it is worse than just letting it happen. Show love and support. Listen. Watch for warning signs of serious mental illness or suicide attempts. But you’re never going to fully understand it, and you’re not going to be able to fix it.
If you are not someone going through depression, I want to use this post as a window of sorts into the feelings. The past few days for me are an example of how my depression works. Last week was a great week. I was feeling up and alive and motivated. All weekend I had a great time being around close friends. Sunday afternoon I went to a party with a group of wonderful friends from church. We talked and laughed and ate some amazing lasagna.
And then Sunday night, I was laughing with Dave, we were having a fun time just hanging out together. Right before we fell asleep I said to him, “I don’t really want to talk about it, but today was hard for me.” He said, “I thought it may have been,” which is proof that I can’t hide my sadness like I generally think I can. And we went to bed.
Yesterday, I couldn’t focus on work, I was irritable, and I was very tired. Last night I had a dream that I was pregnant (which, if you know me at all, you know this is a serious desire for me) and woke up to realize that it was only a dream and became very emotional, I couldn’t sleep well at all, constantly waking up and feeling sad as I tried to fall back asleep and getting annoyed with myself that I was sad in the middle of the night, which meant I was wide awake… filled with emotion that had no cause, and spiraling deeper into the emotion.
When my alarm finally went off this morning, I struggled with whether or not I was going to go to work. I didn’t want to face normal life, normal people, outside situations. I had enough going on with myself, and bringing other people into it was not something I thought I could handle. I finally did get out of bed and got ready because I knew that if I called into work I would have to tell them why I wasn’t coming into work, and that would bring people into my mess even more – which I really didn’t want. Since “getting ready for work” was just an automatic response that I had to put little to no effort into today, I had about 15 minutes to kill before I left for work. I lay back in bed, with Dave still asleep, and cried. For no reason. I was just sad. Sad that I had to go to work, sad about not being pregnant, worried that maybe I could never have children, worried that I was holding on to something so totally out of my control, sad that I didn’t have breakfast, and sad that I was sad. I cried on my way to work, I cried at my desk, I ignored phone calls, I avoided chit-chat.
Although this isn’t a complete picture of what depression can be, it’s a glimpse. I’m not posting this so people will feel sorry for me, or so I can get away with certain emotions. I really do want this to help people in some way, and I want to be honest. If you have any questions about depression, feel free to ask me – but I can’t guarantee I’ll have any answers.


25 Things That Make Me Smile – the sequal

In January, I had a post about things I was loving at the moment, titled 25 Things That Make Me Smile. Since being more grateful is something I think we should all strive towards…I’ve decided to make my 25 things list bi-annual. So, without further ado, here ya go.

  • The way fingers smell when they’re finished peeling an orange
  • Seeing wind – in pine trees and in big puddles
  • “Going shopping” without spending the money. via Polyvore
  • The mood and energy burst I get every spring
  • Shoes…oh, shoes
  • Sticking to a budget. It sounds crazy, I know – but it feels so good
  • Rice and beans, which coinsidentally helps out with the previous bullet point
  • My new food processor
  • Having wonderful co-workers
  • Finally figuring out Twitter (you can follow me @stephaniehagen)
  • Selling my first painting to NEW YORK CITY!
  • A husband who is fun. Really, fun is a big deal.
  • The new album, “Old Time Speaker” by Bronze Radio Return “Digital Love” is great
  • The fact that my giant bean-bag fits perfectly in the bed of our truck. Perfect Drive-in theater experience
  • The wholly perfect, purposeful plan of God
  • Seeing an idea I had being carried out by others successfully, gives me hope for my own idea
  • All my dear, dear friends who are pregnant with healthy babies (currently, 9 friends are carrying, and one is carrying twins. Ridiculous, no?)
  • Trying my hand at writing lyrics. It’s a whole other animal than writing poetry
  • Homemade guacamole. Can’t get enough. Although, avocados are $1.08 a piece. That does not make me smile
  • Living in a super-friendly neighborhood sandwiched by two amazing families
  • Slow months at work (thank heavens for slow phone days)
  • Anything feminine in fashion – bows, ribbon, pleating, florals. – I’m hooked on cutesy
  • Hillsboro Village in Nashville. It’s a magical place
  • Planning my first monthly craft night. I’m thinking of calling it “crafternoon delight”
  • People who comment on my blog and list a few of the things that are making them smile today 🙂

Smile, friends. Life is better when we’re adding to the beauty.

A little of this…a little of that

Today, I have a hodge-podge of things I want to share. Please just appease me in my randomness.

The first thing is health related – (and it’s the last health thing for a while, I promise). And it’s also good news! I got some blood work back this week from my doctor’s office. It was another cholesterol check, and the results were good. Not great, but good. For those of you, like myself before February of 2008, who know nothing about cholesterol – I will put it this way… desirable cholesterol levels are 200 and lower. From “desirable” to “very high” is only 40 points. My cholesterol level was 304 – which is 104 points above desirable (if just 40 points difference is good to bad, then think what 104 points difference is!). Yikes, right? Well, I have gone from 304 down to 221! It took me about a year and a half, not bad. I’m still in the “borderline high” category, but I’m at least low enough now that I don’t have to go on medication, which is great news.

The second tidbit is also exciting, though a bit vague. Today I have an opportunity that may flourish into something fun for me. I’ve been talking with a woman from church about the possibility of becoming the nanny for her little one that’s due in December. The details are still not hashed out yet, and it may not work out in the long run. But I am indeed excited about the possibility. For those of you out there who are the praying type – please send one up for me. I’ve been doing a lot of it in the past few months, and, well, I’m just very hopeful.

And to keep with the theme of random objects with no relation – here is a picture from my current favorite website to brighten your day.

Another recipe

Yes. I know. I am obsessed with food lately. Eating healthier is something that I put all of my energy into for a while, until it becomes normal to me, or it slowly tapers off into eating old junk food again. Since I am still in the all-I-can-think-about-is-eating-healthy-food stage, I am going to post another recipe today. I made a comment about this recipe on facebook, and have had several people ask me for the recipe, so I thought I should probably post it for all to see. It’s simple, it’s delicious, and it’s quite healthy!

Cucumber Crab Salad

1 lb lump crab meat (I used imitation since it’s so much cheaper, but it would be amazing with real crab)
1 cup of plain yogurt
2 tbsp olive oil (I just eyeballed it)
1/2 cucumber chopped
1 garlic clove minced
1 tsp dill (I would use a little less next time, just because the longer it sat, the stronger the dill became)
1 tsp mint
1 scallion
1 lime (zest and juice)

It’s great on whole wheat toast, or in a wrap.

What I Need to Hear

This may not be just exactly what someone else needs right now. So, this may be a pretty selfish post – but It’s exactly what I need. I have my eye on a couple of things lately that I know may not work out…things that I really desire to be involved in, and things I feel would make me feel purposeful, needed, and significant. I have no burning bush right now telling me which steps to take, but in the wandering of my gypsy soul, this is what I need.

Romans 12:12
Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer.

Ephesians 6:18
And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the saints.

Psalm 126:5-6
Those who sow in tears will reap with songs of joy. He who goes out weeping, carrying seed to sow, will return with songs of joy, carrying sheaves with him.

Eph. 3:20-21
Now unto him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that worketh in us, unto him be the glory in the church and in Christ Jesus unto all generations for ever and ever.

Dear Dieting,

You know, as well as I, that our relationship is strained. You are constantly there for me – always ready to take me back when I have failed you. For that, I am thankful. I have cursed you behind your back, cheated on you, and openly denied your existance. For that, I apologize. I do want you to know, though, that I’m really trying this time. Dr. Pepper walked in front of me today in the break room, and I totally ignored him – right to his face. Because, though I can’t say I’m in love with you, I do love the idea that you can change my life. So, dieting, why don’t you come over here and rock my world.