50 days ago…

c69c55629d9b15c93d8a8e9f4e535b02I’m aware I fall in the vast minority of people who love “Spring Forward”. Other than feeling like I am actually waking up at a “normal” time, it also signals for me that I have in fact survived another winter, Spring itself is within reach, March Madness is just days away and, most importantly, long walks on gorgeous golf courses watching our boys do what they love is close at hand. Yep, golf season is about to take over our lives and I. Can. Not. Wait. The Weather Channel finally showed the forecast for the first tourney of the season and, while I know a lot can happen in 13 days, I’ll take mostly sunny and low to mid-50s.

This day of “moving clocks forward” also comes in the midst of a season that celebrates the defeat of death, the destruction of the grave, the abolition of fear, a horrid death willingly accepted so that we could live in (undeserved) mercy and grace, and a promise that “It is finished.” means that we don’t have to wonder if we really can remove the chains of our “ick”; we can and we’re called to.

820 delta

820 Delta Avenue – the therapist tasked with treating my suicidal “teen angst” 31 years ago was located in this building. She’s no longer here but my new psychiatrist is – well played Jesus. Well played.

50 days ago, I was given an opportunity to literally go back to a place where I’d tried so hard to express the heights and depths of what felt like totally insanity, but wasn’t heard and instead became acutely aware of my “chains of ick” and accepted they were mine to carry for a lifetime. A day later, in the midst of watching social media destroy a high school student, I shut out that source of unrelenting noise I’d used with the intent of making my voice heard. In reality, it added to my anger, fed the voice of “No one listened then, haven’t heard you since and still don’t care what you have to say now.”, and took me so far from who I wanted to be that it made me nearly ineffective in actually being able to do anything I was trying, with good intention, to do.  Yesterday, as I sat 30 or so feet from the room where a resolute diagnosis of “teen angst” nearly 31 years ago was handed down, my new psychiatrist looked at me and said, “I’m happy for you.” to which I responded, “Me too.”

The new meds have put on 10 of the 30 pounds I lost last year but I feel lighter than I have felt in a long time, maybe in my lifetime. I’ve slept and woken up feeling rested. I’ve had some really hard conversations with people that I thought might be the “last straw” for them, making leaving their method of dealing with me. I’ve learned to ask for what I need, in an appropriate way. I’ve weened myself off the poison I’d been drinking while hoping other people would get sick. I’ve been able to read and have actual down time. I’ve become more consistent in “parent first, friend second” to J & C that lets them know “Mama wants the best for me.” but my “ick” made hard to believe all the time. I’ve found my voice but also know when to stop slamming my head into the brick wall because the only one I am hurting is me. I’ve found a lot of windows in those brick walls too: in an email from a virtual stranger who’s found hope in my story, an invite to speak to 5th-12th grade students about my mental health story and how Jesus was in it the whole time, launching a new club at our middle school and, on the first day, have a very quiet student share their struggle with depression and being able to share mine in return – turns out there really is more than one way to do things and if people want to stand in your way, you can go around them.

I’ve also learned that I have the absolute power to decide how I am going to react to something and that no one holds the power to make me feel or force me to react to anything – that falls on me and me alone. I wasn’t so good at that while, say scrolling through social media. 49 days away from it has given me a chance to sort out what I love about it, what I don’t and, most importantly, that I will survive if I don’t know what is happening everywhere, all the time. This week, my Air 1 verses of the day have largely centered on words and the power they hold. It felt like a nudge of assurance that the “chains of ick” have lost much of their power over me.

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I’m headed back to Twitter today. I’ve been tweeting for business stuff but stayed off my feed for 30 days and recently gave myself permission to scroll through and see if I really could not get sucked into “the poison” and instead “find the joy”. I miss interacting with the amazing leaders, teachers and parents in our school district. And I love being able to share the golf season, quotes that speak to me and verses of the day that have perfect timing, being an advocate for mental health, and celebrating all things in Big Blue Nation. This blog will likely post to Facebook because it turns out that it’s okay to want people to find hope in my story and my words but that doesn’t make me a narcissistic. It’s there my personal Facebook use will pretty much end; beyond sharing the blog, it will be a means to be carry out business and volunteer duties. And Instagram, sorry – not going back there.

A lot changes in 50 days and hope springs eternal. I’ve never felt like I had control of my voice but it’s amazing how clear it sounds and how coherent your thoughts can be when the volume of the chaos has been turned way down. He really can do anything He wants so here we go y’all!

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