A Good Week: I Chose to be Different

Good days vs bad days quote

This week has been a good one. I’ve realized that much of my blog talks about my bad weeks. To be honest, it makes sense to me. I’ve had quite the whirlwind of a year. A lot of unexpected, emotionally devastating events took place.

But, right now, I am in a somewhat calm part of life. I am having a good week. Yes, I still struggle with depression, but it isn’t consuming me. For now, it is slightly dormant. I know it could come back at any moment. Maybe even while I am writing this. But, for now, I am good.

This week has been good because it was the first time in a very long time I had a day off from work. Yes, I only work five days a week. But, it was the first time I took a day off because I could, not because I had to for a scheduled event or appointment. It was a sweet luxury.

This week has been good because I got to catch up with some dear friends I haven’t seen in quite a while. I knew that no matter what else happened, I had a worthwhile day off solely because I invested in people’s lives. I met them on a heart level.

This week has been good because I deep cleaned my home. Don’t get me wrong, I clean nearly every week to pick up things here or there. But, also, every month or so, I deep clean. It’s so refreshing for me to have a spotless home. I am a neat freak when I want to be.

This week has been good because I got to see family and spend time with them. I got to talk to those I love. I called someone I dearly love, whom I have gotten to know better the past year. I nourished a relationship I hold dear.

This week has been good because my husband is finally starting to consume food at a regular pace and amount. In fact, we even got to cook a meal together the other night! It was quite exciting to see my husband take another huge step in his recovery from his surgery.

This week has been good because I acknowledged a bottled up thought. I faced my fear and anxiety. I was honest with those whom I needed to be honest with. I no longer hid behind my doubts. I took a step in the right direction towards being upfront about my inner thoughts.

This week has been a good week for many more reasons. This week has taught me that sometimes we get so caught up in being adults that we forget to live. It’s natural for some adults like myself to gravitate towards focusing on the negative; towards simply doing.

I know this blog is quite different than my others. That’s the point.

This week I chose to be different. I chose to focus on the good. I chose to make it a good week. I don’t know if next week will be a good week. I really don’t. Nevertheless, I do have good weeks.

Quite frankly, I learn the most from the bad. Therefore, I write about it. Bear with me, please.

Blessings,

Renata

 

Birthday Thoughts: Quality Over Quantity

abe lincoln life in years

My birthday is this week. As it approaches, I dread it even more than the day before. It’s funny how that part of my life has changed since being a kid.

Growing up, I always looked forward to my birthday. I loved the presents and the idea of a whole day for me. I loved everyone telling me happy birthday and giving me well wishes. With each passing year, I don’t really look forward to my birthday.

It has nothing to do with aging. I don’t mind aging. I am completely fine with aging. In fact, I have already decided I will be one of those women who completely and utterly embraces gray hair and wrinkles.

It’s the whole aspect of a day to celebrate my birth that I cannot wrap my head around. Part of me almost finds it selfish and unnecessary. This could be just because I am not a gifts person. I really don’t know.

I mean, yes, I know I am getting a new watch for my birthday. Indeed, that thing is extremely useful. Yet, I could completely live without it. Gifts have never been a way for me to feel loved.

Despite that I am a words person, I don’t want people telling me happy birthday this year either. I don’t want people to shower me with love through my preferred love language.

Quite frankly, I just want the day to be like any other.

As I get older, I realize all I really want for my birthday is for my whole family to get together without gifts for me and simply be with each other. As I get older, I realize quality time is more important than things.

In fact, I am spending my whole birthday with one of my family members simply because I want to have quality time. I am not spending my day lavishing myself in any way, really. Although, my husband does have a few surprises up his sleeve for a later date.

I don’t quite know what to make of my new feelings and notions about my birthday. However, I do know I am confident in them; rather stubborn almost, actually. And though I am stubborn in this decision, I am at peace about it as well. I am choosing to not make a day that should be about me just that.

I don’t know if I will have this perspective this year alone or for the rest of my life. Regardless, my birthday is this week. I won’t tell people when unless they remember it on their own. I won’t make a big deal of it either. I will simply live life and see how it goes.

See you next week: A year older and maybe a little wiser.

Blessings,

Renata

Depression: My Common Experience

Depression J.K. Rowling Quote

As I write this, I am sitting on my bed next to my husband as he sleeps. I am cuddling a stuffed animal dog I have, whom I named Moe. I have been staring at a blank screen off and on for an hour now, completely unsure what to write about.

This form of writer’s block is different than others. Not only do I not want to write. I don’t want to eat. I don’t want to sleep. I don’t want to work. I don’t want to do anything at all really. I am utterly and completely depressed.

I have previously discussed my struggles with depression. I tell you, this moment in my life is one of the worst I have experienced. I have been constantly depressed for about a week now, if not more. I have briefly touched on what it’s like to be depressed, but not in the moment as it occurs.

Some may find this post slightly alarming and maybe even unnecessary. But, I believe it is absolutely crucial, not only for myself but others. I know from experience—sometimes you don’t know you struggle with something until someone who does describes it.

Before I go into detail, my form of experiencing depression may be completely different than someone else’s. I am aware of this. And that’s okay. My experience may not be the only one, but I do know I am not the only person who identifies with this form of depression.

For starters, I simply feel very sad right now. I feel very lonely, even with my husband beside me. In fact, I always feel lonely. Even in an office filled with co-workers I feel lonely.

I am always on the verge of tears. Nearly everything and everyone can make me cry. However, until the very moment I cry, I am stoic. It is in my depression that for once in my life, my face does not say a thousand words. The only thing it may say is I am sad.

I relentlessly fight against human contact. I am most introverted when I am depressed. In fact, I intentionally, if at all possible, try to avoid people. It is in these lowest moments, I want nothing to do with people.

I am sure some may be wondering, “Don’t you know that hurts people? Why would you do that?”

When I am depressed, I am not my regular self. When I am depressed, I don’t even know who I am anymore. I am so lost and confused, as I question everything I have ever known to be true about myself and this world.

Simply put, it’s easy for me to knowingly shut people out because I am not Renata. I am a mutated, emotional wreck. I simply strive to survive with each waking minute.

I don’t joke with people. I only talk to people if I absolutely have to. I don’t seek out further contact. My only main goal is to work and sleep. And even then, all I really want to do is curl up in a ball and hibernate for days upon days.

I used to be one of those people who once said, “Well, can’t you just snap out of? Isn’t it your choice?” All I can say to that is no, I can’t; and no, it’s not. I never knew this until I experienced it. I even tried to convince myself I wasn’t depressed.

But, it doesn’t work that way.

Depression is a monster.

It only desires to grab on and take root. Depression does not care who you are, who’ve you been, or you aspire to be. Depression is lethal. Depression lives on its own terms, time, and rules.

I never know how long my depression will last. Sometimes, it comes with no warning or explanation, although I can usually guess when it will come. It usually comes in the middle of a lot of big life moments or decisions. It comes when I don’t want to deal with life. When I don’t want to be an adult.

But alas, I must be an adult. And that means facing and dealing with a lot of rough choices, people, and events. For now, I simply still sit because I am can no longer put my thoughts to paper. I am sad, tired, and emotionally numb all at once.

I don’t know where I will be next week at this time. Honestly, I am a little unsure and confused about how tomorrow will go.

Nor do I know how long I will struggle with this. It could be for the next couple of days, or it could be for the rest of my life. It could always take form in this way, or it could change over time as I do. I really don’t know. All I know is, depression is real. It is real in my life and in so many others’.

Lastly, I tell you this: If you know people who have struggled or currently struggle with depression, encourage them to talk to a professional about it. Also, please give them grace.  I can tell you right now, if you don’t, no one else will. Love on them and be patient, no matter how long it takes. Remind them of their goodness. Remind them who they are.

Blessings,

Renata

Simple, Yet True: Oh, for the Love of Dogs

5801088163_d604c65e0b_b

There are some facts about myself that I am willing to share with almost anyone. These are not life changing or foundational facts. They are simple, little tidbits that help build relationships with others. Sometimes, I use such facts as an ice breaker with new people. Sometimes, I use them as a defense mechanism and comfort level to guide a discussion. Sometimes, I like to simply share with no alternate motive.

For example, I will tell nearly anyone I am from Russia. It provides an open door for some fun camaraderie. Also, I will tell nearly anyone I love coffee. Part of me always hopes to find a fellow fanatic. But, most of all, I will tell nearly anyone I love dogs and deeply desire to own a dog again one day.

I once had a teacup peach colored poodle named Leo, who weighed a mere four pounds. He looked like an adorable, fluffy lion, thus why I named him Leo. I never really knew how much I would love owning a dog until I got him.

One day after school, my older sister came in carrying Leo. My mom knew a janitor at the school who raised poodle puppies. My mom said, “Here, he is yours.” I was shocked, simply because this was not a desire of my heart at the time.

Sure enough, within the evening we got him, I fell in love with the fur ball. Moments after we brought him home, he climbed up a fence and ran after me as I went to feed the horses. In that moment, I knew he would be my best friend.

I didn’t know Jesus when I lived at home, so Leo was my closest and greatest companion. I sure loved playing catch with him. I could let him out and let him run around and play for a little bit with no worries. He always knew to run back to me when I called his name. He was such an obedient and loyal companion.

He often made me feel safe and protected. As I’ve mentioned before, I grew up in the country. It could get pretty scary at night. It was such a comfort to know if one little sound was out of place, he was there for me. It was in those moments the four-pound little guy fittingly growled liked a lion.

I got to call him my best friend for six years. Unfortunately, I had to give him away when I moved out for college. It was one of the hardest and saddest days of my life. When I think back to that day, I can still see him smiling at me trying to comfort me.

I have not had a dog since Leo. And I so desperately yearn to. Life without a dog is never the same after owning one. Some days, it nearly breaks my heart and brings me to tears at the thought of wanting a dog. I am sure some people find that funny or weird. But, all I can say is, only those who have ever had a dog or really any pet for that matter, will understand. When I let Leo go, I lost a part of myself.

When I look at my life with him, I can honestly say God used Leo to mold me into the caring person I am today, and I didn’t even know it at the time. Having Leo taught me what it was it was like to selflessly take care of someone else. Leo taught me there is so much more to life than myself.

One day, my husband and I will get a dog. I look forward to that day dearly. We do not know what breed yet, but we do know we will go to a shelter and give a lonely dog a loving home. We also know the dog will be small and adorable. For now, I must learn to find my comfort and joy in Christ who sustains me always, regardless of whether or not I have a pet.

Blessings,

Renata

Life Update: An Unexpected Surgery

6a0574ef19431ebb2063133e18513100

Sometimes, the only thing I know to write about is exactly what is going on in my life. When I say that, I mean, I did not really learn a huge life lesson or go through a traumatic event. I simply lived life as a wife and friend. The last two weeks of my life have been a little chaotic, but in a good way.

Yesterday, I sat in a waiting room while my husband had his gallbladder removed via a laparoscopic surgery. He had been experiencing noticeable nauseating stomach problems for nearly two months.

At first, the doctors thought it might’ve been acid reflux. But, after nearly a month of taking a prescription to help the problem, it was better but still persistent. Then, he had an ultrasound, only to find out he had a gallstone. Finally, we had some answers.

After meeting with his surgeon, we learned that gallstones cannot be air-blasted out of someone’s system like a kidney stone. They would only come back. Therefore, the only option was to remove his gallbladder completely.

Surgically speaking, it was a minor surgery. It’s fairly common for people to get their gallbladder out. In fact, within the week leading up to the surgery, we knew of five people who previously had their gallbladder removed.

Although it was considered a minor surgery, my husband and I were still a little nervous. This was his first surgery ever. I had heel cord surgery at the age of five, so I had somewhat of an idea of what would happen. My husband had no idea.

The wait leading up to the moment on the day of was a bit excruciating. Days before the surgery, my husband was more than ready to get it done. Not because he was in unbearable pain, but because it meant getting back to his normal self sooner rather than later.

Eventually, he went back for the procedure. He was in post-op within 30 minutes, which was such a huge relief. Waiting to get discharged took a little bit longer than we thought it would, but he did finally get to go home.

It sure is wonderful to have my husband home, even if he is living the life of a potato for a while. There’s no sweeter reassurance than to know he is no longer in pain because of his gallstones. Nothing hurt worse than to see the man I love in pain and not being able to relieve it.

Lastly, I tell you: This was the first time in our marriage that either of us really had a big procedure. It’s funny how I had ideas of when this type of event or that type of event would occur in our marriage. I can tell you right now, I did not think we would be preparing for and recovering from a surgery removing an organ.

Nor did I think many other events would occur in our first year of marriage. Alas, God had and still has different plans for our lives. It is in those unexpected plans we see His faithfulness take root. It is in those plans that we see He cares for us in His perfect will and timing.

Blessings,

Renata