Sunday, October 12, 2014

Oh Jeez...Am I A Desperate Housewife?!

My Birthday was filled with happy wishes and kind words, and it really was a lovely day. It was so different from birthdays before, and I ended up feeling very emotional about it. In the past, I would have friends and family to celebrate with...if not the day of, the weekend following. And even though I was lucky to have my husband here (instead of gone doing Navy things), I felt very lonely. Tom was very sweet giving me a silly card and beautiful flowers, but all in all birthdays are really not a big deal to him, so he didn't make a fuss. Like I said before, I know that I'm pretty much alone in the fact that I love celebrating birthdays. And again, I don't want to seem self centered!  It's not that I think I deserve a fuss and the attention, and I don't want to sound ungrateful for the birthday wishes and Tom's gesture. They made my day! They made me smile and feel loved, and they made me laugh and reminisce. I'm so thankful for the friends and family and people in my life...I feel blessed to know and love so many! And, I love my husband passionately and (usually) understand his ways haha! But I realized where my lonely feeling came from...getting older means time has passed and life has changed. My family and Okie friends are half of our country away; I left some of my very best friends in Virginia; and my friends here in Florida have their own lives and obligations. My new friendships here have not yet evolved past casual acquaintances and social networking. Tom has been wrapped up with the card game Magic, and he's now completely obsessed with Destiny like all the other gamers in the world. And finally, my interests are either solo or require (preferably) other people to go and do things with like bars or dinner and such. I guess, to try and summarize it all, I don't get as much face to face time with my friends or my husband as I would prefer, and I'm a big baby about it (whining and pouting and stomping feet)! Eventually I will have a job and hopefully several projects with The Ro Fo Sho A & P (art and photography) going on to keep me occupied...but an active social life has always been a big part of my life...and I don't have that anymore. Ugh. I sound like a desperate housewife! I'm 32, married, have no children and no job. My husband is wonderful and a great provider, but he deals with a lot of bull shit at work, and I feel guilty asking for more of his time away from his games. A neighborhood of friends and family close by would fix the situation. Since I don't have those conveniences, what do I do? I know: grow new friendships, stay busy, be creative, and get a job (eventually). (note: waiting till after my husband deploys to job hunt)

Thanks for listening y'all. I've created an email exclusively for this blog. If any of y'all would like to discuss any of my posts, make suggestions for content, or have any questions concerning the topics I discuss, please feel free to email me at Call me Amy, Amy Ro Fo Sho, Ro Fo Sho, or The Ro Fo Sho...or "hey you" etc. if you prefer haha!

I'll leave y'all with the gorgeous flowers and silly card from my husband :) And again, I appreciate all the people in my life and having this little corner of the Internet world to ramble about in and share with you all. Hugs and love, my lovelies!

Desperate Housewife? ugh.
The Ro Fo Sho

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Keep on Ro Fo Sho-ing...

It's afternoon time, but I had breakfast late, and now I'm sitting here sipping tea, so I'm going to just go ahead and say good morning! Aren't you glad I explained my salutation first? Not many people will do that for you! Anywho! Pumpkin Spice Brulee tea from Teavana for anyone wondering...wonderfully delicious! Shout out to my readers from France! My page views indicate I have a good number of people in France stopping by...I'm not sure if y'all are lingering long enough to read a bit or just passing by, but either way, it makes me happy having you take a peek! Thank you!

The number of my page views is steadily climbing, but I'm not getting any more followers and no one is adding me to their Google+ circles. This bothers me, and I feel like it shouldn't; I feel like I'm asking for attention in a vain kind of way, and I don't mean to! I would just like some feedback, you know? Am I helping anyone at all with my discussions on depression and mental illness? Does anyone care about my art and photography? A yes and yes would make me happy, but if it's a no and no, well that's okay too. It helps me to discuss my depression and I'm proud to share my art and photography even if it doesn't appeal to the masses! So I'm just gonna keep on Ro Fo Sho-ing it :)

Well, I guess that's all there is to say about that right now. That's the first time I've used "Ro Fo Sho-ing" in my writing...first time in my life actually. I officially feel a boost to my coolness level...and's perfectly cool to have a coolness level! Okay I'm really rambling now! Readers, please feel free to incorporate "ro fo sho-ing" into your vocabulary, but please do give me the credit if you don't mind! Ro fo sho-ing is the act of keeping on doing what you're doing with the self awareness of one's own awesomeness!

This new little derivative of my "stage name" may be some extra help these days. Still trying to feel balanced and stable again, and still struggling with fatigue. My husband comes home from work and asks me how my day has been...lately my response is, "I'm struggling today." He wraps his arms around me and rubs my back and kisses me and holds me and says, "I'm sorry, baby." I'm so lucky to have him. When he's away, it's hard to feel motivated...I could easily sleep off and on all day. When I know he'll be coming home after a work day, I make myself get up and be productive. He works so hard and provides so much for us, so I feel badly when I get behind on housework and such. Oh but I'm rambling again!

Mmmk time to wrap up or this is going to be the ramble of all rambles! First, thanks again for stopping by people of France! Ireland, Canada, Denmark, and Poland, I see a couple of you have stopped by...hope you'll stay! Hope everyone has a great week and keeps on ro fo sho-ing it!

Ooops one more thing! My last post was my 100th entry!!! Yay!!! I imagine someday I will have give aways and such for milestone numbers as far as posts, years writing, and maybe even followers if that number ever changes haha!

Thanks for letting me ramble! Hugs and love, my lovelies!

Ro Fo Sho-ing,

p.s. Random pic of the day! Cheers!

Monday, October 6, 2014

A Few More Comfortable Years in My 30's

In 3 days I will be celebrating my 32nd year of existence on this lovely little planet. I haven't minded this decade thus far, and aging hasn't really ever been a bother to me either. Time is a big deal though...I don't want to run out of time. If I start talking about time, this will turn into a really long, in depth, emotional exposure of my I'll hold off on that! Moving on! I sometimes have a title for a blog post before I've written the content, and that was the case today. I knew I wanted to write about my upcoming birthday, but there isn't anything significant about turning 32...except of course the gift of life.

So what do I think about moving up towards the next decade of life? My answer is to enjoy these years because they will be the comfortable years in my 30's. 32, 33, and 34 will be less likely to freak me out. And again, it's not a problem with getting older...time my friends...time.

I've spent the last 10 years talking about my photography and art. Just talking with very little not even mention worthy action. Depression, fatigue, and the struggles and obstacles of life have caused me to give excuse after excuse. Now, I know some of those excuses are completely valid, and I will not put myself down for those periods in my life. But for the rest of it, I don't have enough time. I know, I know, I have the rest of my life, but here's the deal. There are things I want to accomplish and I want to do them quickly so I can enjoy the fruits of my labor with more focus on creating and interacting rather than planning and initiating and other practical things. I hope that makes a bit of sense! It does to me anyway, and that's what important haha!

Birthdays are happy times in my world! I love the celebration and focus on the person turning another year older! And I don't mean just for me, y'all, I'm not that crazy self centered I don't think! I love celebrating my husband's birthday even though he doesn't think it's ever any big deal. I love celebrating my friends' birthdays even though most of them are indeed not fans of aging. I love celebrating my family members' birthdays even though they're over 1000 miles away. I guess you can say that I'm just happy about life in general...every year matters to me...every bit of time that one can have matters to me. Oh man someday, I'm going to have to tell y'all more about my feelings and ideas and hopes and fears concerning is a topic I get really in to!

Although I'm an adult, not gonna lie, I looooove presents! Does that make me sound materialistic? Do I simply sound like a child? Well I do love things and I just can't help it. I love the simplicity and beauty of nature and the things that cannot be owned like lakes, oceans, mountains, and forests...but when I'm indoors, I like the things I can enjoy in my home, on trips, with company, and so on and so on. It's just another level of fun! And I love giving gifts just as much if not a whole lot's a constant occurrence that I see something and think of it for an individual. If I had endless money, my friends and family would be showered with presents at every occasion. Just so much fun I tell ya! My grandma knows what I'm talking about; she loves shopping and we would always have a grand ol' time together...we would always treat each other with something. I would usually treat grandma with food lol! If I ever wanted my grandma to go somewhere with me, I just have to say I'm buying breakfast, lunch, or dinner...aww good times. Anyway!

I have a very long wish lists of things I'd like to have, but what I'm mostly looking forward to is that my husband is going to actually be here for my birthday; I'll have friends to spend time with; and I have a trip to Virginia coming up to see even more excited for that! Would I like a big meal of sushi, a new hair do, and a new tattoo? Yes absolutely! But I know I can have those little experiences later, and I'll appreciate them just as much.

Happy Birthday to all the other October babies out there! It's the best month in my humble opinion haha! Thanks for reading about my enthusiasm for birthdays...I know most people don't share my feelings, but that's ok! Good night, dear ones.

Hugs and love, my lovelies!

p.s. Sorry for the lack of photos! I'm working on uploading new stuff!

Sunday, October 5, 2014

The Art & Photography of The Ro Fo Sho

Good day, dear ones! I've been doing a little bit of tweaking, creating, thinking, and planning the last few days. As I mentioned before, getting The Ro Fo Sho Art & Photography out into the public is one of my goals I wish to complete in under a year. This blog is the most important part of it because my stories and my struggles from my life and from my depression are what inspire all the crazy thoughts and ideas in my head! Those crazy bits floating around in there are lacking structure most of the time. It's also a challenging task to draw, write, capture, and share them in a tangible or even comprehensible way! This blog helps me the most. Here I can free write, ramble, talk it out, and be as nonsensical about it all as I wish...and y'all stick with me and my run on sentences and disjointed thoughts...which I very much appreciate! Thank you thank you!

So here's what I've been doing!

* Created a Facebook page to promote The Ro Fo Sho Art & here. It looks like rubbish right now, and I'm honestly quite embarrassed to share it with anyone right now. I figure I might as well do it and hope that it motivates me to fix it up ASAP so I look a bit more professional!

* Simplified the layout of this blog. I don't know how to do any kind of customizing! I need an "about" section, "photography" section, "art" section, and probably some other stuff...I have no idea how to do any of that. So I just did what I could. I will definitely be looking in to classes or books or tutorials or something to become more knowledgeable in this digital age.

* Took some photos for the U.S.S. Iwo Jima's Family Readiness Group (FRG) for a a project we're working on for Sailors, Marines, and their families in preparation for deployment. It was a totally casual set up and most definitely did not illustrate my professional skills at all...but it was a bit of inspiration to start shooting again. And, although I hate all the post production that is involved in photography these days, I understand that I need to learn a little of it if I want to have any success in the field. But I'll still whine and complain...I miss working in a dark room!!! But anyway! Shout out to our FRG President, Ariel, for asking me to take pictures and encouraging me to get back in to my profession again!

It's a small start, but at least it's a start. It's been 10 years since I graduated from The Oklahoma School of Photography. My business name was "Immortality" with the catch phrase "Creating Everlasting Memories." Then my sister started calling me "The Ro Fo Sho" at karaoke, so it became a stage name you could say...and since it fit my personality so much, I knew it would be perfect for my creative side. Thus began The Ro Fo Sho Art & Photography by yours truly, Amy Ro Fo Sho! This was fun sharing this with y'all...I hope it was enjoyable for you guys and gals too! Any advice, recommendations, and such will be happily received and appreciated!

Hope everyone is having a fabulous weekend! Hugs and love, my lovelies!

Love and Peace,
Amy Ro Fo Sho

p.s. I haven't prepared any new photos to share, so here's a look at the creation process of a drawing I did a couple of years ago. I'm not sure where the photo of the completed version is, but I'll get one and eventually share it.

Medicines, Therapy, and Baby Steps!

I saw my new doctor for the first time on Wednesday, y'all, and he seems like he's going to be a good one! He's just my primary care (PCM in military language), but I feel confident in his abilities to manage my medicine for depression. I'm not sure if I've ever told y'all, but I've tried quite a few different anti-depressants: Celexa, Lexapro, Effexor, Welbutrin, Zoloft, and Pristiq are the ones I can remember! Now I'm on Prozac...I was worried it would affect my libido and cause me to gain weight, but I've been taking it for a little over a year now I think, and I haven't had any problems with it. I told the new doc that it was a tailspin out of control managing my depression after a series of changes and challenges. My suggestion was to increase my dose, and that's just what he did! So, for the curious, I take 60mg of Prozac in the morning and 50mg of Trazadone before I go to bed. The Trazadone helps me sleep with the addition of 5mg of Melatonin. 60mg of my anti-depressants is probably the lowest dose that's ever worked for me...previous amounts were in the 100mg range. Well anyway! I just wanted to share the medicine part of my story for anyone curious. It's also a good story to illustrate how it often takes a few tries to get the right medicine that will help the most! Don't give up if you're struggling finding the one that works!

My fatigue has not improved, and so I will be doing a sleep study soon! My once abnormally low Vitamin D levels are back to normal, so that possible cause has been eliminated. I don't want them to find something wrong with me in the sleep study, but at the same time I don't want to come away from it with still no answers! Please tell me I'm not going to be tired for the rest of my life! Ugh. Reminder: My problems with fatigue started in the spring of 2003 when I was diagnosed with Epstein Barr Virus...that's a long time to feel tired. Fingers crossed we figure something out!

And finally from my doctor's visit, I told him that I would be interested in therapy. I didn't really give it a try before in Virginia, but with deployment coming up, I believe it will be a good form of treatment to add to the list! I'll get that set up on Monday probably.

There it is, y'all! I'm just taking the steps to get back on track again and off the bad roller coaster ride! It's not as easy as it appears in writing...believe me. Getting up and taking action takes some time, and it takes some falls and stumbles. I wish I could tell you all that you just need the determination, but we've talked before about how words of advice tend to take some time to be realized. Just know that when I was in the worst place, there have been times when I couldn't take action, and it was a long process to feel balanced again. You know what it really takes? Baby steps, my friends. Baby steps. And eventually those steps will evolve in to leaps and's a process for sure!

I really want this place to be somewhere people feel comfortable talking about their struggles. Just a reminder that y'all can comment anonymously if you'd like. Eventually, hopefully soon, I'll have a private place for readers to message me with questions or suggestions on topics to discuss. I'll definitely keep y'all posted! One more thing. Being able to come to my blog and discuss my depression openly has been a huge factor in my treatment. I just want to  say a simple thank you to all of my readers for taking the time to share this journey with me! Y'all are wonderful souls!

Hugs and love, my lovelies!

Friday, October 3, 2014

Deployment and Depression

The time has come for me to talk about living with depression and being the wife to my handsome husband, my Sailor. We've been through several under ways and one deployment since our marriage. The second deployment is approaching. Depression during these absences is one of the hardest battles. I wasn't prepared last time...

I had my friends in Virginia who had been through deployments and knew and understood exactly what I was going through. However, I made the mistake of going home to Oklahoma during deployment instead of staying in Virginia. Now don't get me wrong, my family and friends in Oklahoma were mostly supportive and compassionate, and I was so grateful for them. However, a few friends were not as understanding about what all I had been through since moving away and the crippling effects my depression had on me. I didn't stay in touch well enough or I missed too many calls...I basically failed in their eyes. And I cried with the memories of loneliness and pain I was experiencing in my own life during the time I wasn't being involved enough in their lives. So the very first challenge during deployment was the guilt I felt for the consequences of my depression. The guilt continued all through the months apart. I couldn't function because of my depression and so I felt like I was failing everyone around me including my husband. It was one of the loneliest times in my life.

Military spouses encourage and support each other! Most of us have been through deployments and have shared the same problems, fears, loneliness, and so on...nobody outside the military community understands it like we do on the inside. However! It is a different story being a military spouse and living with clinical depression and other mental illnesses. The same words of comfort apply to all of us; "Stay strong! You'll get through this! Time will pass before you know it! I'm here for you! You're not alone! I understand what you're going through! You can talk to me!" I appreciate those words and I appreciate the support of women who are always there even if they don't know me at all. They make me feel better and they are comforting. But the dark presence of depression fights it.

Warning: strong language coming up!

I know there are people and resources available to me when my husband is away. I know what I need to do to keep depression from taking over. None of that means that I'm going to engage in what I "should" be doing. During my husband's last deployment, my depression beat me down...way way down. And when I would share my struggle via social networking, I received all the very true and compassionate messages one would expect, but they didn't help. I felt like a failure...the weakest wife of a Sailor...I thought, "My husband must be so disappointed in me." The wives were making it sound so easy, and it simply wasn't for me...I wanted to scream at them and shout, "Go ahead and keep telling me what I can do to fix this, but it's not going to help! I'm fucking depressed...I'm in the belly of the beast. If I could just get up and do the things being suggested, don't you think I fucking would!?" If any of you know what I'm talking about, then you know how hopeless you feel when you've reached that point...

There were moments of happiness, but my mental illness was winning more battles than I could handle. I saw my doctor and tried different medicines. I did as much as I could. But I did not recover. I suffered depression right up and even pass my husband's homecoming. Of course I was thrilled and elated when he was finally in my arms again! It was definitely the best feeling after almost nine months apart! But, I still had a long road of recovery ahead of depression had hurt me badly.

The darkness I lived through is looming again...deployment is approaching...and I'm terrified of exaggeration what so ever. The ship and ombudsman are providing checklists and resources to prepare us, but if you live with clinical depression or other mental illnesses, I strongly suggest preparing yourselves for how your illnesses may affect you during this time because it's a different kind of experience and requires additional planning. I'll be ready this time.

I'm preparing for war this go around. All I can share is what I plan on doing to avoid so much suffering this time; but each of you will have your own plans. Here's mine: See my doctor and share my fears. Make sure my medicine is the right dose and that I feel stable. Have an exercise and healthy diet in place. Stay involved with the ship's Family Readiness Group. Those are my starting points; my solid foundation. After the holidays I will then look for a job and/or start taking some classes to support my own business venture, The Ro Fo Sho Art & Photography. These actions will keep me busy. I want to visit friends, host gatherings, go out to eat, and be social. These will provide fun and happiness, but they will also be the most challenging if my depression takes too strong of a hold. If that happens, I will be honest with my friends and hope that they can help me. I will put together the most awesome care packages for my husband and send as many as I I feel constantly connected...this will be my strength. My goals will be to lose weight, blog/write more, and get The Ro Fo Sho out in to the public.

Depression During Deployment Battle Plan
*Have a foundation in place.
*Work and school to keep busy.
*Fun and happiness.
*Connection and strength for my husband.

It all looks good in writing, doesn't it? I've gotta start somewhere though, right? I've gotten stronger since that first deployment...I've been through trial and error...I've been knocked down a few times and gotten back up. Y'all have probably come to realize that my fight with depression has been a tough time these last couple of months, but don't worry. I'm getting better and my feet are planted...I am aware that I need to be the strongest I can be before deployment gets here. I will be. That's the only thing I need to say...I will be...

Hugs and love, my lovelies!

Photo from Homecoming 2012 - Melinda Larson Photography