The mood swings are driving me bonkers on the bad ride this time. Stupid depression. Normally I have days in a row that stay up or days in a row that stay down. This time it's up and down and up and down...I think I'm getting whiplash! I believe there are several reasons for these highs and lows, but I think the biggest factor is the lack of consistency in my life right now. Well, sure I feed the dogs twice a day, eat, and sleep, and all that...but that's just life. I know I need to get a job, but I'm not doing that until my husband deploys...time is precious right now. What I should be doing is writing, photography, and working on my art. Writers block and lack of inspiration I guess. Anyway! The fatigue has been awful as well, and today I absolutely did not want to get off the couch. I napped and watched TV for hours. I got up once to eat some lunch and then I wanted to go back to sleep. So I stretched out and settled down into our ridiculously comfy couch and thought, "Tomorrow will be better." But then, I got angry! I have slept so much of my life away, and today, it just pissed me off! I went upstairs, straightened my hair, applied mascara and eyeliner, and as an after thought, put on some bright pink lip gloss. Y'all know the saying that goes something like "if you're having a bad day put on some lipstick and deal?" I tell ya what...that bright pink shiny color on my lips was a legit mood enhancer! I'm so serious, y'all! It was a simple little action that made a big difference. And I love it when simple things can turn a day around! So I say put on some lipstick or walk around in heels or have a t-shirt and undies day...makeup, fashion, comfort, and silliness can all bring a bit of gloss to a gloomy day and make it shiny again!
Hugs and love, my lovelies!
Ro Fo Sho
Lol, I look a bit weird here, but it's weird trying to take a kissy face selfie!
Aagh! Writer's block! Not cool! I just want to share a few photos of my husband and other sailors and his ship, but I can't think of a creative way of writing about it...it just keeps sounding like an informative newspaper article! Nothing wrong with informative newspaper articles by the way. They're very necessary...but not the style I wanna use right now. I know! I'll just ramble about my emotions and observations...I do enjoy a good ramble every now and then! Before I babble on and on, I would like to bring attention to my use of the exclamation punctuation!!! See? Like that back there yonder. I just want y'all to know that I'm genuinely expressing more excitement in those sentences, so I recommend you read them with enthusiasm! Don't let me make you do anything you don't want to do though...feel free to read in monotone if you're more comfortable with that...no judgement. Hahahaha I make myself chuckle sometimes. Anywho! Sailors, ships, water, and such...
I call this his pretty face haha!
Don't we look good together?
Our friends, Zac and Elizabeth.
The most popular photo I took this day. It was hilarious trying to make this work!
Tom and his ship...in case you missed that.
Sooo...I totally wore the wrong shirt...I hate how I look!
She's like a little sister to me; love her!
Mr. Attitude! You'd think he'd be used to being married to a photographer!
Our friend, and roommate, Bri...she likes weird faces in photos too!
The U.S.S. Iwo Jima changed home ports from Norfolk to Mayport, and my husband, and the other sailors you see, drove down before the ship. It was definitely more fun hanging out with them as the ship docked, rather than waiting for them if they had already been on the ship. Whoa I just wrote ship excessively...well it's a shippy post so we'll have to deal! But dang I felt bad for them! It was so uncomfortably hot! Seriously hot hot hot!!! Those uniforms are not light and breezy...not that I've ever worn one, but to the touch they are thick and irritating feeling. When you hear some of the stories they share, I imagine that the discomfort in those uniforms is way down on the list of complaints.
I hear quite a bit of "stuff" that happens on their ship, and it makes me very angry and frustrated for the Sailors. In all honesty there are several things about the military and the treatment of service members that bug me! However, I won't get on that soap box! Despite the negative feelings I have, I can't help but feel a kind of pride with the whole experience of being part of the military community. Seeing my husband in uniform, knowing and being friends with other Sailors, being in the presence of an enormous and powerful ship, watching children run to their daddies or mommies, and even listening to the great and not so great speeches from the higher ups, all bring a sense of joy to the air around me and even a joy inside me! It's a unique experience, and I'm grateful for that.
Back to the uniforms! My husband doesn't like his dress whites or blues, and none of his and our friends have ever expressed anything positive about them. It's a simple uniform, but I still think Tom looks good...real real good if ya know what I mean wink wink! :) Haha anyway, he's always my sexy husband, but moving on. Everyone knows that the Marines have the best looking dress uniforms...why can't Navy have nicer ones? That's just my opinion anyway. Okay so I'm running out of rambling material so I'll wrap this up! I'll leave you with a few more photos of my crush! Also, let me give you a heads up! Next I will be writing about living with depression and being a military spouse...lots to say there so stay tuned ;)
I feel like I need to hurry up and put some color and life on this blog! I know the past couple of posts have had a very different tone than usual, but I simply had to be honest and real and in your face...I hope y'all understand. Right now, though, let's focus on the purpose of life and dismiss that which would try to stop us...to live and love and live live LIVE and LOVE!!! This photographic summary is a little one...just a few snapshots of the first few days in Florida. Oh but first! Just so y'all know! The move down here was one of the most stressful and irritating times in my life! Seriously for real for real! I drove down here once to find a place to live. Then I drove back to Virginia. About two weeks later I drove down to Florida again to get all of our stuff moved in. Drove back to Virginia. A week later I made the final journey and enjoyed a few days of bliss before everything got all difficult and irritating again! Anywho! I'll give a brief little tid bit for each pic...
My friend Elizabeth was with me on that final journey down here. My sofa was loaded up in her truck. We got in late, so we immediately went to sleep. The next morning the sofa needed to be unloaded asap. But first, we had to move boxes around to make room, and that seemingly easy job required some heavy manual labor. Getting the sofa, two sections that is, out of the truck, through the door, and into the living room was enough exercise for a week's worth! We were sweating like pigs and thirsty as all get out! We had one bottle of Gatorade and just two crystal glasses unpacked...I call this a fancy hydration break haha!
That space you see there in the bottom left picture was packed with boxes before shuffling them around to get the couches in there. Ugh. I hate unpacking!!!
Engine 15...super cool bar...yummy beer...delicious food...what else is there to say? I had the Sheboygan for my meal, but I can't remember the names of the beer!
I think my feet got dirty every day. They still do. The ground is super soft and there's lots of dirt...obviously. I walk Kakashi in my flip flops usually but I also have my junk tennis shoes with the soles coming detached. Dirty feet either way...this was after taking off my tennis shoes...hence the reason they look a bit alien like haha!
Most fabulous sushi lunch date ever with my buddy, Karla! This was GLORIOUS!!! Oh man I'm craving it now!!!
Another cool bar called The Pub. Located in the absolutely adorable and beautiful town of St. Augustine...Karla and I enjoyed a couple of beers before her dad and his coworker met us for dinner. The Pub was British themed and very laid back with the hole in the wall kind of vibe going. There was also a sweet old dog roaming around.
Dinner with Karla's dad and coworker at Salt Life. Cool atmosphere and great food! Can't wait for my husband and I to go together! Karla's dad, Brian, paid for my dinner...so sweet...I was very grateful!
And lots of time poolside...a refreshing break from seemingly never ending unpacking! And guess what...I still have boxes to unpack!
My next share will involve my handsome hubby in his sexy dress whites uniform haha! Live and love and enjoy life!
My husband was away. The battle with my depression was becoming more challenging. My emotions were on the bad ride I always talk about. And then. Robin Williams died. He was a person fighting mental illness, and he must have felt like he was losing because he committed suicide. I would have written about this sooner, but he left when I felt like I was losing the fight too...and it hit me incredibly hard. Everyone grieved and still grieve. But, I imagine that those of us living with mental illness felt a different kind of despair. Many, if not most of us, have been to that edge...I don't think that I can write what it's like. I think it's different for each individual. Here's my experience.
I came home from a trip to see friends from college. A few of my family members were mad at me for staying gone longer than I had planned. They had gotten involved with my personal business that I had already handled and taken care of. But, they still had an opinion. It was a lot of negativity pushed on me at once, and I thought, "What was the point coming back here?" "You know what? What's the point in being here at all?" I felt like a failure...failure is my trigger. I know I blow it up and make it bigger than it is, but even knowing it, I can't help it. One failure snowballs with others and rolls all around my brain picking up past failures and self doubt. I had been down like this before, but this was the first time I made it to that edge. Pain and sickness overwhelmed my mind and body and I was tired of feeling the heaviness of it more often than not. I poured my anti-depressants on my bathroom counter and I knelt in front of it. Tears ran freely down my face and my only thought was, "Will I die or will I just get sick?" I was terrified and heartbroken...I knew it would be my biggest failure either way...be gone or everyone knows I tried to leave. Then there was a silence inside me, and whatever I was going to do was going to come from that quiet place. But, my grandma walked in. I'm not sure if she understood what all she saw in front of her, but I do know she saw my tears. I got up and she hugged me tightly. I can't remember what she said. It was either compassion or tough love. That was the end of that. The pills were scooped up and returned to the bottle, and I went to sleep that night and woke up the next morning. I've had several moments since then where I've wondered how it would feel to just be free from depression, but I've never been back to the edge. It's been about 10 years now.
It breaks my heart when I hear about people who went over that cliff. How does it feel to have nothing inside you fighting to pull you back? My anchor will always be love...my unmeasurable love for too many people to count and for this beautiful world in general. I will always choose love, and I know that love will never let me down. Robin Williams was successful, cherished and admired by millions, and loved. Did he have an anchor? And if so, how did he lose it? I compare depression to darkness and suffocation...he must have been engulfed and drowning in it. That dark unrelenting presence must have gotten stronger and pushed and held him down. It's a terrifying thought! It's a crushing and yet hollow feeling knowing that what he did was maybe for just a handful of peace.
And how many people knew about his depression? I didn't know. The media made it sound like it was a big shock to everyone. I'm sure his family and close friends were aware. But, I wonder how involved they were in that part of his life...did he even let them in? He would have had every single kind of help available for treatment. Did he use them? Did he not feel like he could talk about it? Was it because of the stigma attached? Did he think no one would take him seriously since he was known has a happy and funny guy?
I know it's a lot of questions, but here's the big one. How do we keep the conversation about mental illness going and prominent? It's usually just a flash in the media that glows only temporarily before burning out until there's another flash. I try so hard to reach out and be a voice on this blog. No idea if I'm helping anyone, but I'm never going to stop talking about it, and it helps me to talk about it. If I were a celebrity, would more people pay attention? Depression and other forms of mental illness get attention from the media when something bad happens. A celebrity commits suicide, a prominent public figure has a mental break, and then there are the ones who go on killing sprees. Negativity negativity negativity! If my mama wasn't there in the beginning to help me through this and understand it because of her own experiences, I might have felt scared my whole life to talk about it. People might just think I'm crazy or I'm a bad person or I'm going to do awful things...I best just keep it to myself and suffer alone in silence. If that had been the case, I know I wouldn't be here today. So how do we keep the topic alive? How do we make this a global discussion? I'm going to keep doing what I'm doing here, and that's all I can do.
Not everyone is going to feel comfortable talking about it. Luckily for me, I don't feel like I have to hide it. I don't feel ashamed. It's a part of my life, but I'm living. I'm fighting. I'm loving! Screw stigmas and judgement and ignorance...mental illness exists. I'm not going to be quiet about it.
Robin Williams, I'm so sorry for the shadows that overwhelmed you. You will be greatly missed but remembered for all of time as the man who could make us laugh like no one else could! I sincerely pray that you have found peace and relief!
Thanks for listening, dear ones. And as always, hugs and love, my lovelies!
I'm taking a little break from my photographic summary series to talk with y'all a little more openly about how my battle with depression has been going recently. First, I want to say sorry for not talking about the dark days as much as I should have been talking about them. When I read back over what I've written before on the subject, it comes off like a motivational poster or generic words of inspiration...and I never wanted to sound like that! What I've said is true and has absolutely been motivation and inspiration for me on this journey! But after reading those words and phrases again, while trying to view them from a different perspective than my own, I was reminded of a totally different kind of experience that we all go through in our lives.
We all get our hearts broken in one way or another. Our friends and family quickly rally with words of comfort and compassion, and we begin to hear the same kinds of phrases over and over. My favorites fall on the topic of time: "Time heals." "Time will mend." "It's going to take some time." "Be patient, time will tell." And honestly, time is the truth of the matter. There can be a countless number of variables that could help and heal the situation...but the constant is time. However, we don't want to hear it when we're hurting. It sounds like complete bull shit! After a hearing it a million times, you want to start punching people or screaming at people! It's straight up annoying! And it's only after time has passed and we've made it through our trials that we look back and realize, "Yes. I just needed time."
So that is the place I'm coming from when I write the things I do about depression. I only found comfort in those words after I made it through the dark. Basically, the truth was realized on the other side of suffering. Does that make sense? I really hope it does! What I'm trying to say is that maybe my words of encouragement make you want to strangle me and scream at me, and I totally understand, so it's okay! When you're on the other side of it, you'll discover the truth. Unfortunately, being on the other side of suffering doesn't mean you're going to stay there. Depression is the no fun roller coaster ride. For me though, and I hope this for everyone, when I stumble back into the dark, I use those once useless words to help me recover again.
Get up, Amy. Open the blinds, Amy. Don't go back to sleep, Amy. You know this is just a temporary down, Amy. You know you will get through this and feel better again, Amy. Talk to your doctor, Amy. Talk to the ones who love you, Amy. Read or draw or have dinner with friends, Amy. Sing or write, Amy. Email Tom, Amy. Don't eat so much junk, Amy. Walk outside in the sunshine, Amy. Get out of the house, Amy. Get up, Amy.
These words have been ongoing in my head for about a month and a half now. A lot of changes, several obstacles, one problem after another, the long absences of my husband, and the days of loneliness have taken a major toll. It's been hard to get on my feet and stay there. This round on the depression roller coaster has been full of severe ups and downs. I can't tell you how many days I literally stayed on the couch sleeping or watching TV. I had an up day where I was trying to make friends with new people via social networking, but fell again and dropped out of the conversations. I've been doing better, but I tell y'all what, this has been a rough one...I get up and do the things I tell myself to do...but I can feel a physical resistance. The shadow of depression seems solid and combative...I feel like I'm exerting so much energy just to push against it. And I'm tired. So tired. Two of my very good friends spent last weekend with me, and it was such a fun time and I loved not feeling so lonely! After they left, I felt like I could sleep for a week. I wasn't pretending to be happy when they were here, but I was certainly fighting to feel that happiness and enjoy it while that dark shadow was trying to squish it.
I have an appointment with a new doctor coming up soon. I'm eating well and trying to stay active. And yes, I'm still taking my anti depressants. The words of encouragement and motivation are on repeat in my thoughts. I know that this is just a slump, a down time in the fight when it feels like depression is winning. And I know I've written very similar words before. But I also know that I'll get through it because I always do...and I will always ALWAYS be the one that wins the battles.
Stay strong and hugs and love, my lovelies!
Amy...The Ro Fo Sho
Today's photographic summary shares some moments with a couple of my best friends...they were and continue to be such a significant part of my life that I consider them sister soul mates. I'm sure I've shared this before, but just to remind y'all, Anna was my first friend after leaving Oklahoma to join my Sailor in Great Lakes, Illinois. We lived there 6 months, and during that time, I didn't have any friends. I made acquaintances walking Kakashi daily and enjoyed some nice conversations, but that was the extent of those relationships. Tom was a night student and had duty every 4 days, and I barely ever saw him. It was a very lonely time; definitely one of the lowest points in my battle with depression. Before moving to Virginia, I used Facebook to try and make some new friends so I wouldn't have to experience that loneliness again! When you're moving around in the military life, making friends is like dating...I, and I'm sure many others, will basically post personal adds on military Facebook pages describing the best qualities about myself and what I would like to do with potential friends. You know, like, "I enjoy eating out! I love wings and beer nights!" With all of that being said, Anna and I have always talked about our friendship like a couple reminiscing on how we met and how influential we've been in each others lives...it's kind of a weird description, but it really is the best and most accurate haha! Anna is my Itty Bitty (nickname), and she has truly been my saving grace...I wouldn't have handled the military spouse lifestyle as well as I have without her support, strength, love, and friendship! Here's a photo of us on the first night we met face to face!
Itty Bitty's cousin, Clairessa, moved in with her a little more than a year later, and she and I instantly clicked! I was so relieved that I liked her so much because I knew she was such an important part of Anna's life! Anna and I were destined to become friends, and with Clairessa's arrival, it became apparent that she was a part of that destiny as well! I call her my like minded weird friend because we both share a kooky kind of thinking. She brought a new kind of silliness and charm to my life, and she's helped me to smile and laugh during my saddest moments. There have been too many times to count how often the three of us have embraced each other all at once for strength, comfort, and love! Here's a first photo of the three of us together followed by just a few of the many similar photos we share!
The news about moving to Florida was exciting because I was looking forward to living in a warmer state, and I actually enjoy the experience of living in new places! But, I left a lot behind in Virginia...Anna and Clairessa were the hardest goodbyes of my life. And actually, I don't like to call it a goodbye...so long for now, and farewell until we meet again, were the phrases I wanted to use, so it didn't sound so final! The night before I drove down to Florida to stay, was spent with my girls. They showered me with farewell gifts and photos to remember them by to have around my new home. We cried and cried and cried, but we laughed and laughed as well! The three of us have matching tattoos, a double infinity symbol, and my parting gift to each of them was an infinity bracelet..I haven't taken mine off once! We've been through some really tough times together, through shattering heartbreak We've been through too many happy moments to count! We live 10 hours apart now...but these girls will always always always be two of my very best friends. And guess what? I'm going to visit them next month! Too excited for words!
Before I wrap this up, I have to shout out some love for Anna's husband, Eric! He's a Marine, and I'm so proud to know him! He and Anna have a beautiful relationship and are a great example of how marriages in the military absolutely do work! Eric has been a big brother to me and has encouraged and supported me through so many tough moments in my life, and I'm so grateful for him in my life. And I'm grateful for the friendship he and my husband have...it's always nice when the husbands get along! I love him as much as I love my Itty Bitty and Cee...I'm truly blessed to have these three in my life! It's like having more siblings! :)
I'll leave y'all with a simple little collage of what my last night with these gals looked like, dear readers! And remember, depression is a tough battle, but having the presence of friends instead of loneliness, is the very best kind of medicine and pick me up! Hugs and love, my lovelies!
Part one will be a photographic summary of my trip down to Florida to hunt for a house. My husband is on the U.S.S. Iwo Jima, and they recently changed home ports from Norfolk to Mayport, FL...so it was time to start looking for our next home. I went down with my very good friend, Karla. She introduced me to some Florida staples such as; Sonny's, Bev's, Zaxby's, Publix subs, Grannie's, and Ginnie Springs. And we had lots of fun swimming in the Springs, singing karaoke, shooting off a cannon, exploring graveyards, and more! Being in Florida felt a lot like being back home in Oklahoma, but there were some big differences (aside from the Atlantic Ocean being right there lol). The moss hanging from the trees is absolutely lovey and ethereal. The buzzards come a lot closer to town than I've ever seen before. Driving through the countryside looks like any other countryside except for the pops of palm trees dotted along the way. The heat is a horrible humid heat compared to the heat in Oklahoma...my body is definitely trying to adjust...it's becoming a little more tolerable I suppose haha! Ha. And there are lizards EVERYWHERE! All in all I really love it here! I really do! I'm going to be lazy with this summary and just share cell phone pics. I know I know...bad photographer, Amy, bad photographer! I just haven't loaded my "real" photos and I'm anxious to get back on track with y'all! Anywho! Our house hunt was successful and we found condos right next to each other! I hope you enjoy the snapshots!
Karla was living almost next door to me until a break up moved her almost 2 hours away, and it's been a hard time adjusting without my buddy and native Floridian. So I just want to shout out some love for one of my best friends...thanks for showing me around and giving me the run down on your beautiful state! Love you and can't wait to hang out with you again, Karla!
Next photographic summary will be about saying goodbye to my sister soul mates in Virginia...one of the hardest farewells of my life!
Cherish your friends, and hugs and love, my lovelies!
It's been 2 months! How did that happen?! Oh my goodness...I fail. I do apologize...I know I said before that I would not be absent for long periods of time anymore...but it's been a very stressful couple of months. Crazy, hard, challenging, and consuming couple of months.
Here's the scoop. Depression derailment. Ugh...y'all have heard about it from me before right here. It's not a case of my meds this time...I'll explain it more in depth to y'all later. I just wanted to check in today and say, "Hi, I'm still here!" My life basically went from limbo, to transition, to arriving at a new place with a load of problems and obstacles to deal with on my own...while trying to settle into a new home...a frustrating and utterly exhausting experience!
I'm going to summarize the last couple of months with some picture posts...each post shall be called "a photographic summary;" with minimal dialogue...only because there's so much to say and I don't have the energy to type it...pictures are more fun anyway! I'll try and start that tomorrow :)
Okay...I'm super tired...meant to go to bed earlier, but really wanted to reach out here first. I wish I had some words of wisdom or something silly to share, but my brain is empty this time. I'm getting back to my old self though...so hang in there with me, dear ones! I'll leave y'all with a little glimpse of what life looked like a little more than a month ago...chaos!