Friday, March 30, 2012

Creative Endeavors

Even amidst the depression and anxiety I was able to get a couple of creative projects done for Sketch Support. Yay!

February Card Sketch

First off, at the beginning of February was card week. I loved the sketch and thought that it would make the perfect Valentine's Day Card. My goal was to make 16 of them! A little crazy? I would say so! Especially considering my mental state. I only completed two of them, but I plan on turning the others into thank you cards.

February Card

"Happy Valentine's Day" card
Supplies - Cardstock: Bazzill; Patterned Paper: BoBunny; Ink: Colorbox Fluid Chalk Ink and Staz On; Corner Rounder: We R Memory Keepers; Stamp: craft smart; Floss: DMC

A couple of weeks later was Add-On week. That sketch caught my eye as well and my creative mind started turning.

Februarty Add-On Sketch

It is very similar to the card sketch and I love to handstitich. I knew that this would look great on a gift bag and so I got to work. I love how it turned out and actually found the energy to make two!

February Add-On

"All You Need is Love" gift bag
Supplies - Cardstock: Bazzill; Patterned Paper: We R Memory Keepers; Ink: Colorbox Fluid Chalk Ink; Corner Rounder: We R Memory Keepers; Floss: DMC; Tissue Paper: Hallmark; Hearts: Cricut; Other: Gift Bag

Saturday, March 17, 2012



In the dictionary, courage is defined as the ability to conquer fear or despair. I know many of you thought I displayed courage by sharing my feelings in my last blog post, but honestly that was not hard. (It was harder to find the words to express myself). I have never ever considered myself to be a courageous person. I fear many things. I have a fear of heights. I have a fear of failure. I have a fear of big unfamiliar spiders. I fear not making the right (perfect) choices. I have a HUGE fear of giving talks in church. I fear scary movies. I fear having terrifying nightmares. I even fear going on Splash Mountain. I could go on and on with my list as I'm sure many of you could as well.

In many ways I have let fear rule my life. There are many choices that I let pass by because I let fear get in the way. I have many regrets. Has that stopped me from letting fear take charge many times? No. I'm sure there are many of you that can relate. Many times fear leads to anxiety for me, and that is difficult. I live with a low level of anxiety most of the time. I have learned to cope with it over the years. The problem is when the anxiety spikes to a higher level.

A very dear friend of mine told me closer to the beginning of my most recent battle with depression that my only job was to breathe. At the time that was the most profound statement anyone had said to me. She gave me the permission to just focus on breathing. How simple is that? Especially when the anxiety would increase. There have been many times over almost the last four months that I have just curled up into a ball and focused on just breathing. Many times I felt pathetic that that was all I could focus on.

This same friend sent me the book "Courage" written by Bernard Waber as a Valentine's Day gift. What meant the most to me is that my friend had included a post-it note inside that says "Courage is choosing to breathe!!" I was hit again by the simiplicity of this statement, and it touched my heart once again in a profound way. Courage is choosing to breathe. It sounds so simple but honestly there have been two times over the past months that I have let go of that courage to breath.

Another kindred spirit, to whom I will forever be in debt, helped me find the courage within along with Heavenly Father's help to seek the help that I really needed. I am still surprised that somewhere inside I was able to find the courage to go to the ER with my kindred spirit and admit myself. For the past 10 days I have spent my time in the Johnson Unit which is a psychiatric unit. I was just released  yesterday.

Am I healed? Has my journey come to an end? Of course not. In some ways it is just beginning. In President Monson's First Presidency Message in the January Ensign 2012 titiled "Living the Abundant Life" he says,

"There will be times when you will be frightened and discouraged. You may feel that you are defeated. The odds of obtaining victory may appear overwhelming. At times you may feel liked David trying to fight Goliath. But remember- David did win!"

Since coming home from the Johnson Unit I have found that courage is something that I still need to strive towards. In some ways even more than before. Courage is putting one foot in front of the other knowing your friends and Heavenly Father are right there behind you and even sometimes right beside you. Remember sometimes "Courage is choosing to breath."

Thursday, March 1, 2012

One Little Word 2012: Light

Delta Ponds

I originally was going to choose the word 'trust' for this new year. It is something that has been on my thoughts for quite some time. I even have a quote on my wall by Elder Holland that says, "Trust God and believe in good things to come." Trust is something that I need to work on: trusting others but more importantly trusting God. I felt good about having trust be the focus of 2012 for me until the beginning of December when it seemed like Heavenly Father was letting me know that I needed to change my focus from trust to something entirely different.

I came across a song called "The Light" sung by Sara Bareilles at the end of November and found myself listening to it over and over again. The chorus seemed to really speak to me and how I was feeling at the time.

"And if you say, "Be alright"
I'm gonna trust you, babe
I'm gonna look in your eyes
And if you say, "Be alright"
I'll follow you into the light"

I had just gone through one of the hardest months of my life and I was exhausted. I had been to a friend's baptism, been there for my mom during a hard week for her emotionally, made it to Utah for my grandmother's funeral, had some heart-to-heart talks with my sister, worried about two close friends and all that they were experiencing, and then experienced the craziness that Thanksgiving can bring when family gets together. But even amidst the hard times there were times that I will always cherish. But I felt burned out with nothing left to offer, though at the time I didn't realize how burned out I was. I just always gave the excuse of being tired.

I always love when December rolls around. I love the traditions, the music, the lights and the feeling that the month brings. Tom and I have the tradition of going to the local Creche Exhibit and then listening to the First Presidency Christmas Devotional. I loved all the talks, but Elder Eyring's stood out to me the most this year. He talked about the gifts of Christmas and how one of them is Light.

"One of the most beautiful symbols of the birth of Jesus Christ into this world is Light. The appearance of the long-promised Messiah brought Light to a darkened world."

It was after hearing Elder Eyring's talk that I started to seriously think about choosing Light to be my one little word for 2012. It seemed that wherever I went I was reminded of Light in some small way. I really feel like Light chose me. I definitely did not go looking for it. But little did I know that my life was already slipping into the darkest, deepest pit of despair that I have ever experienced.

Depression is no stranger to me, but the last time that I had felt its wrath was over seven years ago though it has been over eight years since I first came face to face with it. At the age of 21 I came to realize that I had some weaknesses that I had never really given much thought to or realized that I had. A weakness for depression was one of them. That realization altered a path that I had started down and I came to realize that Heavenly Father wanted me to start focusing on turning my weaknesses into strengths. I met with a therapist for about eight months. He taught me many things and I came away a stronger person. I also walked away with tools to work with which, lucky for me, I remembered not too long ago.

It was beacause of a good friend's concern for my well-being that I started to take a closer look at how I was feeling and coping. I had noticed one sign that I was heading towards depression (lack of appetite) but didn't know when I would get the chance to keep it at bay with a trip to Utah for Christmas looming near. It was later that night that it hit me that I was already depressed. I immediately had a panic attack. I had forgotten how horrifying those can be. Here is where I remembered some of the tools I had been taught. I focused on something in the room and started taking deep long breaths. But even so, for the next week my anxiety levels were at an all time high, and I feared that I was always on the verge of having another panic attack. This was my first time dealing with a long lasting high level of anxiety.

That took place the beginning of December and it is now the beginning of March. I am thankful that Heavenly Father guided me to chose the word Light for this year because it is something that I am greatly in need of still. With depression it is hard to feel anything but darkness, despair, fear and anger. So how did Heavenly Father give me Light? Through the support and love of those around me. I came across this quote just yesterday that says it best:

"There is no better way to thank God for your sight than by giving a helping hand to someone in the dark." -Helen Keller

I can guarantee that I would not be here today if it weren't for a loving Heavenly Father guiding those helping hands that have lifted me up over and over again. That have held me as I've cried out in anguish. That have kept me safe. That have wiped away my tears. That have brought me thoughtful gifts. That have written me words of encouragement. That have clasped in prayer in my behalf. That have reached out to me.

Even amidst these hard times I still have much to be greatful for. Thank you for being those helping hands that have showed me that Light can be found even in the darkest of places.