crash landing

[This is an open letter, certainly, but also a way to process for me… to write out the steps I’ve taken to see where I started and how far I’ve come. It will be too much and too little, depending on where you stand with me. Simply consider this a page from my diary. Thanks for walking with me.]
pasture

For a good while now, I have been on the verge. On the verge of a breakthrough or a breakdown… it could go either way. For months I processed a little out loud and a lot quietly – but I was just inching forward. I was on the right track, certainly, and pointed in the right direction… but I was farther back than I anticipated. It was going to take more.

MORE of something.

Then I read this:

I have to fight against voices that tell me I’m wasting time, especially mine.

When God gave instructions to build the tabernacle where He would dwell, He gave people the gift of artistic design “in all kinds of crafts” — “to engage in all kinds of craftsmanship” to adorn, decorate and make everything. (Ex.31:11)

Now that Jesus is here, you and I have become the tabernacle where God dwells.

We are the living temples, where Jesus lives.  (2 Cor.6:16)

Each of us is created with beauty in mind, to reflect God’s artistic imprint.

[from Bonnie, over at (in)courage]

and sweet Megan’s confession yesterday…

We are over our heads right now. Like, we have to look up to see Survival Mode.

And I thought,

Yes.

YES.

THIS is what I need to see. Moms, real moms, who struggle with their inner voices. Who don’t always match their blog titles. Who find themselves in the basement wondering where the last 4 months went. Who are afraid, sometimes, to take that first step. Moms who are on a similar journey and are speaking about it out loud.

I was afraid to speak it out loud.

The last few years have been bruising to both my body (GIDEON JAMES) and my spirit. Suddenly I found myself sitting at the beginning of June and completely terrified of the months ahead. No school, no schedule, no help. There were LOTS of potholes that had built up over time… some due to the exhaustion of having Littles, some from a crazy-busy work schedule for the husband, a lot from letting simple care go down the tubes.

I wasn’t reading. I wasn’t singing. I wasn’t eating well. I wasn’t MOVING. I was just… surviving.

Which, and hear me here, is real and good and honest for a time… but at some point you must make an effort to move if the scenery is going to change, amen? So I sat down with Curt over email and in person and we made some plans. Specifically, some plans for me.

And with less of a mighty roar and more of tentative creep, I began to crawl out of the hole.

Again.

Because I have done it before and i will surely have to do it again.

There are some new boundaries in place.

  1. No gluten for 6 weeks, but it’s pretty obvious we’ll be going beyond that. Your brain is clear and you are waking up not mad at the world. Let’s stick with good, eh?
  2. Daily supplements (AdreneVive and NeuroCalm), which are just that: supplements to your regular medication that keeps base camp at a normal level and not in the dungeon. And I do take regular medication… let’s be clear about that.
  3. Regular appointments with a counselor who has objective eyes and no personal claim on my life. This started as a twice-a-month visit and has moved to once-a-month recently. Soon and very soon, this will taper off but with an open-door policy to come back and re-evaluate the tool bag if and when needed.
  4. Regular chiropractic appointments to fight the severe TMJ, creeping arthritis, and headaches that complicate daily life.
  5. A good old-fashioned check of the hormone levels to see if everything is still clicking correctly in there after three (equally beautiful and insane) children. The results of this test will help modify the supplements in #2, but the test takes a month to complete.
  6. Help once a week. This, perhaps, is worth more than everything listed above. Once a week, for a couple hours DURING DAYLIGHT HOURS, I get to leave the house with no children and write, grocery shop, fight with phone companies, go to my regular doctor appointments, and eat. Alone.
  7. I asked a friend to mentor me in the fall. We have no idea what that means… either one of us… but I have loved her for years and always look forward to church softball season knowing I will see her in the bleachers. I was challenged in April to actually ask… like, verbally SPEAK [*freaking out*]… to someone about meeting and walking together for a bit. They said to consider your life at the moment and think of a woman a little older, just one or two life steps ahead that might walk alongside me (and me alongside her) for a little while.  Maybe a class together or a book together and certainly food together… we haven’t figured it out yet. But I did it. I DID IT. She laughed at me, and then she said yes.

All of this?

Completely out of character for me. Do you know how many checks I’ve written this summer? A lot. Do you know how hard it is for me to say out loud that a babysitter comes once a week for me? Ridiculously hard. Because I know there are moms out there with more kids and more special-needs and more animals and more everything and yet function just fine.  The reality is- I was not functioning fine. I was not healthy and I was spinning my wheels.

Thank goodness for a spreadsheet husband (Right, Megan?!) who can step into those chaotic moments and say, “Ok. Here’s what we’re going to try.” This approach doesn’t always fly with me (stop laughing), but when you are on the deep side of a hole, a sturdy, evenly-spaced ladder is exactly what you need.

What I need.

Yeah for marrying well. Go, God.

No, seriously. How amazing is it to have and know a God who begs you to have a full life?

I say all of this to simply acknowledge that I am not above or beyond help.

And, neither are you.

It is not a waste of time.

It is never a waste of time to try to make things better.

If you could change one thing right now… one little thing that might make a world of difference, what would you change?

Come on over. Let’s talk about it.

*pats picnic table*

I’ve got lemonade and brownies to help us figure it out.

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About texasnorth

TexasNorth is a little farm in Western Michigan. It's home to 5 chickens, 25 longhorn cattle, a coonhound (Banjo), 1 barn cat, a husband, and 3 ridiculously funny children. The mom of this zoo has been known to mow the lawn in a skirt and roast marshmallows after dark. View all posts by texasnorth

23 responses to “crash landing

  • Mandi Watts

    Thank you so much for being real and raw and honest! I can’t tell you how much that means to me!

    About four years ago, I was in the depths of that hole you’re talking about. But I didn’t know how to ask for help, and as far as I could tell no one else had ever felt the way I was feeling: so trapped and alone in the midst of a truly blessed life. Every feeling I had felt wrong, so I worked that much harder not to let my crazy show. But late at night, when I finally let the tears flow freely, I found that the only thing I really wanted was to run away from my life. I even seriously contemplated doing just that. One time, I came so close that I actually left the house, telling no one where I was going, and I disappeared for several hours. At the time, it was the only thing that made any sense whatsoever. I only wish I would have been as brave as you are. I wish I would have asked for help. I wish I would have not tried so hard to pretend that everything was fine. I wish I would have hired a sitter to come to my house once a week, so I could have a break. I didn’t do any of those things. I just muddled through, and eventually, I started to figure some things out on my own, and I started to make some changes, not only in my life, but also, and more importantly, in my mind. But, it was a tremendously painful process. And, much, much later, I was able to pull out of it. There are still scars on my heart from that particular time in my life. Things have been better in the years since I figured some of that stuff out. But, this summer, without the schedule and structure of the school year and with a potty training toddler and a fun, but demanding job, I have started to feel some of those old feelings creeping back in. And, just this week I was contemplating what needs to change, but still with reservations about asking for help. I need a break. And, reading your post has given me some courage to ask for help. Thank you!

    • texasnorth

      Mandi, we have been friends for years. YEARS. And I love you more today than ever before. I think you said it exactly right: it’s so strange to have trouble in the midst of a blessed life and we are terrible, TERRIBLE at talking about it because we are afraid and even ashamed.

      No more.

      Love you.

  • Amy

    That’s wisdom friend, wisdom I needed. And I am so glad you had the guts to share it.

  • Regina C.

    Oh, Katie. As always, you say the stuff rolling around in my head that I seem to have such a hard time getting past myself in order to actually say. Like, out loud. Thank you. Which way to the brownies?

  • mamajoyx9

    Fabulous post!

    Keep writing – we moms need to hear this stuff outside of our own heads sometimes!

    Blessings,
    Alyson

  • katiethemomlady

    And you are the best. I have also been slowly circling the sink hole and as of Monday, 7/22, I decided to not let the water get too close to the edge. I’m using metaphors–you know this–but, basically I chose self care in the way of drinking less wine and going to weight- watchers and swimming in the pool when my boys ask me to, rather than act like I had somewhere else more important to be. Baby steps. Kudos to you for being real!!

  • Shanda

    Huge love and respect to you my sweet friend. Logan’s in September please. :). I’m gluten free too. Pass the chips and salsa please.

  • Penny

    Thanks for sharing so honestly!! We are just coming “out of the fog” and our youngest is 4. I does get easier as they get older. I needed to hear this almost weekly when I was “in it”. One day you’re able to look up and see a little clearer. There will some day be some space between the Littles. And you will heal. I promise.

  • Lizzy

    Sweet, sweet Katie. I. hear. ya. Loud and clear. I admire your braveness. To put this out there. To take the steps needed to look after you. Nobody has it all together. We all need to stop and take stock. This past week it occurred to me to designate the sweeping of the living area to the newly moved in step-son. And as simple as that seems it was a real ‘aha!’ moment to me. Because all I could see were the grotty floors. And all I felt was my weakness and inability. Praise God for his clarity. Small steps dear friend. Bless you heaps xx

  • Megan at SortaCrunchy

    I love all of this, but especially this: “It is never a waste of time to try to make things better.” I would like to have that tattooed on my arm, please, where I can always see and always remember.

    Self-care is so important and we mamas are so damn good at neglecting it. I am proud of you, sweet lady, for your tentative steps forward. Brava!

    • texasnorth

      And to you, Love. Applause and high fives and fist bumps to you. I have a diet coke and vanilla waiting for you on the picnic table next to my regular coke with grenadine.

  • Leigh Kramer

    KatieKate, you are brave and strong and amazing. I am proud of you for recognizing things needed to change and then for starting to do something about it! Your hard is your hard. Yes, perspective can be good but that doesn’t diminish from what you need to live your life well. No guilt, only grace.

    • texasnorth

      Your hard is your hard.
      Yep.
      I’m so mad that it’s taken me years to accept that, but comparison is indeed the thief of joy.

      Grace and peace to you, Doll.
      Hope you have a fabulous sabbath… and make good use of the new cast iron skillet 🙂

  • Zoe

    Wow, Katie, thanks for sharing this!
    Beautifully written as always.
    It is both brave and encouraging to myself and other moms to admit we all have times where we are in a dark hole. Good for you for taking the right steps to get out of it and help all of us moms who are, have been or will be in the dark hole.

  • Karen @ Folk Haven

    I found you by way of Megan’s blog. Four months into beautiful baby #2 and I’m battling ppd, so this post really resonated with me. Thank you.

  • Margie

    So I meant to ask: Still gluten-free? I haven’t gone that far (right now, I don’t know if I have the energy to do that), but have cut waaaaay back on carbs and sugars. I’ve defeated early morning brain fog (which always set in at 10 am), with a simple, single-egg breakfast. Increasing the protein seems to help. Just as much as your post I have enjoyed reading the responses. For all of us, this has resonated. Perhaps it’s b/c we are experts in the art of self-neglection when the kiddos land in our arms.

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