Saturday, July 30, 2011

An Analogy

Hi, my name is Miss Priss and I have Myopia- aka Nearsightedness- and Astigmatism (chorus: Hi Miss Priss).  This means that I depend daily on contacts or glasses to correct my vision.  Of course I can, and occasionally do, go periods of time without using glasses or contacts.  This usually entails stumbling around, squinting and holding things really close to my face.  Technically, I could live without glasses or contacts but my life would be very difficult and potentially dangerous if I did.  Things that I take for granted would be more difficult to accomplish- watching TV, telling my children apart, or seeing what housework needs to be done (perhaps there's a case for ditching my contacts after all).   And some things would be so extremely dangerous that to attempt them would be ignorant and ridiculous.  The time, effort and energy to live daily life would be so extreme that to live without my glasses and contacts when they are so readily available and so beneficial to my quality of life is asinine. 

I also have General Anxiety Disorder (GAD) and Depression.  Everyone with these conditions experiences them differently.  Let me explain how they affect me.  For me GAD makes me feel like everything is magnified.  I literally feel like Alice from Alice in Wonderland when she takes the shrinking pill and becomes completely overwhelmed by the enormity of everything in Wonderland.  I can usually function but it's difficult and consumes me emotionally and physically.  Of course there are times that are better than others but generally speaking everyday tasks become very taxing and physically draining.  This feeds into the depression and without conscious effort these take over my life.  Throw any unexpected or difficult life experience into the mix and even conscious effort is not enough.  And so for me I have decided that medication, daily exercise, as well as mental and social exercise are my arsenal to keep these conditions in check.  Notice I didn't say cure.  Let me let you in on a secret:  Life is Hard.  Taking a pill doesn't cure me.  But like when I put in my contacts daily medication allows me to see life in a clearer perspective.  I still feel happiness, disappointment, frustration, elation, loneliness and all the other ranges of emotion.  I just don't feel them so overwhelmingly.  And as with my contacts for me it makes sense to use these (especially medication) when it makes such a positive impact on my quality of life and are so beneficial to me and my family.

So why do I share this?  First because it will give you perspective from where I'm coming from.  When I talk about anxiety I'm not talking about feeling a little nervous.  I'm talking about paralyzing anxiousness that is completely overwhelming.  Or stress about situations that overtakes my thoughts and life.  Obviously with my arsenal of coping mechanism it's not that extreme but situations that those without GAD may be able to handle without any- or very little thought- are more consuming to me.  Secondly, because it's part of who I am.  It doesn't define me any more than astigmatism or myopia does.  But it is part of what makes me, me.  It colors my perspective but isn't the only color on my pallet.  So judge me or don't but I've made peace with who I am and I'm okay with me; contacts, lexapro and all.

**On a serious note if you are concerned that you may need medication or are dealing with overwhelming feelings of hopelessness, sadness, aggression, or any other signs of depression please contact your doctor immediately.  There's help out there with and without medication but the first step is asking for help.  **

Friday, July 29, 2011

Men, Women and Love

*Disclaimer:  These are only my own personal observations.  I do not claim or assume to be licensed, registered or equipped to give personal or relationship advice.  Proceed with caution. 

The other night I was out with a few girl friends and the topic of husbands came up.  These are women that I socialize with often both with and without our families.  A specific couple we all know came up and we were talking about how they just SEEM so in love- truly what fairy tales mean by happily ever after.  What was interesting was that we all had different reasons to think they were truly in love.  For instance one woman said that it seemed he really loved her because when they sat together he always put his arm around her.  I thought they were truly in love because they make it a point to go running together- and he keeps pace with her.  Later that night I was thinking about that conversation.  I realized that what I, as a woman observer, characterized as true love was because he treats her in a way that shows he cherishes and adores her.

As I thought about that I had this realization (WARNING:  sweeping generalizations ahead) women I think define love as being cherished and adored while I think men would define love as appreciation and admiration.

Cherish –verb (used with object)
1. to hold or treat as dear; feel love for: to cherish one's native land.
2. to care for tenderly; nurture: to cherish a child.
3. to cling fondly or inveterately to
Adore- –verb (used with object)
1.  to regard with the utmost esteem, love, and respect; honor.
2.  to pay divine honor to; worship
3.  to like or admire very much
Appreciate- verb, 
1.  to be grateful or thankful for: 
–verb (used with object)
2. to value or regard highly; place a high estimate on
3. to be fully concious of; be aware of; detect
 Admire–verb (used with object)
1. to regard with wonder, pleasure, or approval.
(Definitions courtesy of
I think that many times women- partially because of our nature to nurture and partly in attempt to receive the kind of "love" we desire- tend to treat men the way we want to be treated.  In this case the Golden Rule is not necessarily applicable.  The currency is not fully appreciated by the receiver.  I won't go into detail because there are several people (actually qualified professionals) who have offered legitimate advice concerning this (See "The 5 Love Languages" by Gary Chapman). 
My point is that when we acknowledge that men and women feel loved differently and try and show them love in a way that they are most receptive we get closer to happily ever after.  Let me share a few examples I have recently observed:
One of the same girlfriends from the other night was sharing how she had mentioned to her then-boyfriend (now husband) that she wanted her future husband to propose to her in Spanish.  Time passed and when he decided to propose to her he took a Spanish Poetry class, wrote her a beautiful poem in Spanish and then proposed in Spanish.  Literally, when she told us this story every woman there swooned.  
At the same event where the previous story mentioned was told the husbands of all the wives were sitting about 2 feet away.  In an interesting coincidence the husbands all speak Spanish.  The wives began talking about how romantic it is when their husbands speak Spanish-whether intentional or not.  (My husband can be reading a grocery list in Spanish and it makes my knees weak).  Later that week one of the husbands sends a text to his wife saying "Te amo".  When she mentioned that again I swooned.  How romantic that he heard us talking about it, filed it away and then executed the gesture without a nag or even direct mention?!  
I wish I had some great event where I was a love Rock-Star and was able to be uber-romantic in a way my husband truly appreciated.  But now with this realization maybe I can find a way to make sure J.Crew really feels loved because I know he's my happily ever after. 

Thursday, July 28, 2011

An Introduction

I am a 30-something girl who's just trying to figure life out.  I am lucky and blessed enough to to be a wife to one, mother of two, sister and aunt to many (or too many depending on the day).  I'm married to a really great guy who will be referred to as J.Crew from here on out.  We have two really great sons:  The Producer who's 5 and Adrenalin Junky who's 4.  We live it up on the West Coast of the United States.  J.Crew works his butt off to provide for our family.  I stay home and try and balance raising and nurturing our kids, keeping the house in some semblance of order and feeling fulfilled not only as a wife and mom but also as a person.

This is my non-sugar coated take on life, family, raising kids, and trying to better myself and the world around me- with or without a cape and tiara- but not without my lexapro.  So come join the ride!