Getting Ready to Move

Moving is hard work!

I’m out of sorts this morning. Maybe it’s because the first thing I did – before I even got out of bed – was fix my Fitbit account – that took 20 minutes! Maybe it’s because I had to get up earlier than normal today. Probably it’s because I’m a little overwhelmed at packing up the apartment and moving within the next several days. This is going to be a weird weekend, as we want to be in our new house, but the movers don’t come until Tuesday.

We could start moving boxes from the storage unit and some from the apartment to the garage at the house. Maybe organize them by room. We don’t want to take them immediately into the house, as we’re having it cleaned and new carpet installed in the master bedroom and on the stairs. We don’t want to be in the way.

It will be nice to have all our belongings back together under one roof. Although I’ve discovered – by living in the apartment these past four months – that there’s a lot I can live without! I expect to do some sorting as we unpack, and get rid of some items, particularly small kitchen appliances, that I haven’t used for years. And they’re big small items – like a rotisserie and a bread maker; they take up lots of kitchen territory.

We have the walk-through today. That will tell us if we need to do any painting. In one room, the previous owners have lots of stuff on the walls. So we’ll check to see if we need to spackle and paint. Of course, our painting supplies are in some box in the storage unit, so they might be tough to find. I guess we’ll know what to do after this afternoon.

We close on the house tomorrow, get the keys Friday. Someone comes to clean on Saturday, and carpet is installed on Monday. Then Tuesday, we have movers lined up to help us with the heavy stuff, furniture, etc.

I’m overwhelmed, but so excited!

Wanted: Christian Counselor

I’m in need of a Christian therapist.

It’s been over two months since my final appointment with my therapist in Virginia. Since then, I’ve been busy making the move to Colorado and finding grocery stores, the Post Office and the library. I’ve met women at Moms In Prayer and a knitting club. I’ve gone out with new friends for drinks and visited with my son and his girlfriend. So I’ve kept busy.

I’m doing pretty well in making contacts. I’ve found the person to cut my hair. I have a doctor’s appointment at the end of this month, and I’ll get a referral for a psychiatrist to manage my meds with me. I have the names of audiologists for my hearing aids. I don’t need a dentist for five more months, and there’s no need for an optometrist. But I need a mental health therapist.

I’m worried that my depression will return within the next few months. I want to get to know him/her before such a thing happens. I felt a little funky yesterday, and it made me realize that I need someone to talk to, who will help me with these feelings and anticipations.

I know that I really benefit from having a mental health counselor to help me process my thoughts and emotions. It’s great to share with my husband and friends, but I really thrive if I have the professional on my team. And I want this person to see me mentally healthy, not just in crisis.

It’s important to me that s/he have a personal faith in Christ, as that is a huge part of who I am. I often need help differentiating between depression and spiritual battles, so someone who understands who Jesus is to me is critical.

I’ve got the name of one person, and she’s in my medical network. So perhaps I should just schedule with her, and see if we’re a good fit. I gotta start somewhere!

The Lonely Time

I woke up this morning with the feeling that I’m headed into “the lonely time.”

We’ve been here in Colorado Springs for just over two weeks. We quickly settled into our apartment, getting everything unpacked and pictures on the walls in just a couple of days. We’ve been to a church. We’ve been out with our son and his girlfriend. And today I went to a local Moms In Prayer Group – a beautiful ministry of praying for our kids, and a great way to meet other women close to my age.

But having done this thing called “moving” so many times, I know how long it takes to make female friends. Rarely do I find them immediately. And as we all know, relationships take time.

First, there’s the meeting – I have to be in places where other women are. Moms In Prayer, Bible Study, book clubs.

Then there’s the second meeting – maybe a get-to-know-you coffee or lunch date. That’s where I tell everything about me – my kids, my husband, my faith, what I like to do with my time – and they do the same. An information download.

Then, if that second date goes well, there might be a third. Maybe we go to a shopping mall together, or the other person shows me around town. Or we go for a walk in a park. More information download, as we wiggle our way toward intimacy.

At any point in this process, we may decide to just be acquaintances, and so the journey  starts over with someone new.

Once again, I’m doing all the right things. I’m trying to “put myself out there,” be with other women. I’ll join a book club, say “Yes” to lunch dates, maybe find a knitting group, look for a Bible Study that starts after the holidays.

I’ll remind myself regularly that I’m not alone. I have friends who live far away, but they’re still good friends – I’ll make an effort to stay connected to them.

And I have Jesus, “a friend who sticks closer than a brother (Proverbs 18:24).” He’ll never leave me (Deuteronomy 31:6b). So I’m never truly alone.

Moving Again

We’re moving to Colorado Springs, CO, in four weeks. I’m so excited!

When my husband and I were first married, we lived in Utah. We fell in love with the wide sky, the craggy mountains, the desert climate. We’ve always said that we’d like to retire to the West.

My husband’s new job allows him to work remotely, so now seems like a good time to relocate. We’ll be near an airport so he can travel when work requires it. We’ll be near the mountains. We’ll enjoy the out-of-doors lifestyle: biking, hiking, camping.

I admit that I feel a little “unqualified” to live in Colorado. I’m not in shape, by any means. And Colorado is known to be a place of fit and healthy people. I weigh more now than I ever have in my life, and I’m embarrassed by that. I’m hoping that I’ll get moving on the trails and paths, and start to lose weight or at least get fit and healthy. (So why didn’t I do that here? In these mountains of the Shenandoah? I have no idea.)

I’m looking forward to being back in the Rocky Mountains. To explore and discover a new city. To make new friends, find a new church, maybe begin a new Fresh Hope group.

I’m nervous, too. Starting over is hard, and it’s all on us to make friends. There are no work companions to get to know, no child’s parents to connect with. Its up to us to “make it happen.” I realize that several of my stressors will be triggered, and I’ll need to be careful to not succumb to depression’s call if it makes an appearance.

My son lives in CO Springs, and I’m excited to be near him. Of course, he’s in his early 20s, so I don’t expect that he’ll necessarily stay in the area – he’s young and adventurous and may decide to explore the country with his job. But it will be fun while it lasts!

I like the look of the apartment complex where we’re going to start out, but I’m looking forward to finding our forever-home. I’m hoping it will be a place where my husband and I can grow old together. I don’t want to move yet again; I really want this to be the last time!

The role of therapists in my life.

from my therapist’s office

My first therapist was Bill, and I saw him a few times when I was in college. I distinctly remember visiting him before I graduated from school. I was moving back home for some surgery, and wanted his help in learning how to navigate old communication patterns. The tools he gave me were very useful as I adjusted from independence to needing help. I was grateful for the techniques I learned, and I think it made my stay at home a smooth one in an otherwise difficult time.

Ted was my next therapist, about 20 years later. I first started with Ted in April 2008. His practice was recommended to me by someone at the church office. I dialed three times and hung up before I finally let the call go through and scheduled the intake appointment.

I remember “clicking” with him almost immediately. Good thing, because I was in desperate need of someone to help me with my jumbled emotions. I was in my mid-40s, we had just moved back to town, and I had expected to pick right up with old friendships and circumstances. But instead, I was feeling incredibly sad and couldn’t shake it. I tried, but was unable to explain to my husband what was wrong. I could only cry. We both agreed that I needed to talk to someone.

So Ted has been with me from the beginning of my depression, which started that summer, and for all the years since. He was with me through the very worst. When I was at my lowest. When I didn’t think I could go on living. Through my hospitalization. He helped me through the trauma and drama of deep depression, during the days when it was overwhelming and suffocating. He helped me navigate through the darkness and slowly back into the light. And he did this several times as I repeated my depression over seven years.

Ted knows me so.well. Maybe even better than I know myself. He can take the words I say and make them make sense. He finds the thread between my random thoughts, puts order to them and gives them back to me. And he’s done this for me for years.

Ted has served as my coach, as my educator, as my mentor, and as my confidant. I didn’t share with him in place of sharing with my husband, but he helped me to formulate my thoughts in a way that my husband could receive them. So that I could say what I wanted my husband to hear, instead of getting lost in my emotions or randomness. He always pointed me back to my husband.

Ted’s a Christian, and he prays for me at our appointments. He helped me sift through the spiritual battle versus the mental illness, and reminded me regularly that Christ is with me in my depression. He was the first one to really help me see Jesus standing alongside me as I struggled to fight for my mental health.

Ted helped me navigate some difficult memories. He worked with me on abandonment fears. He let me sound off about things that made me angry and helped me learn to express anger in a healthy way, instead of squelching it like I used to. He pointed out my faulty thinking, and gave me a different story than the one I was telling myself. He challenged my all-or-nothing thinking. He showed me that I speak to myself in questions, and I “should” on myself a lot.

I remember one time in particular when he really pissed me off. It’s when he pretended to be me. He told me everything I was thinking, including the things I hadn’t said out loud. I was so angry! Or maybe I was just afraid, because I had been vulnerable enough for him to see through me, to know the way I think and how I form my opinions and thoughts, and he nailed it!

I don’t worship him, nor would he ever let me. But I do have a really hard time finding a therapist, because everyone gets held up to the measuring stick of Ted. And they often fall short. It’s not a fair comparison, I know, because they don’t have the years with me like he does. So of course they don’t know me like he knows me, which puts them at a huge disadvantage when I start comparing.

I found a Christian therapist when we moved to Florida, and she was kind and gentle and accepting. I drove 40 miles one way to see her, and it was worth it. She helped me through the grieving process of relocating, and together we navigated a depressive episode with faith in Christ as my healer.

I’ve tried three therapists here – one was a hit for a little over a year. We just “broke up,” as she is moving to her private practice and I’m looking for a Christian counselor.

But I know that I’ll always have Ted. He’s promised me many times that he’ll always “be there” for me, and he always has been. I haven’t needed him as much as I used to – I’ve found these other therapists over the years who have been helpful. But I suspect I will always reach out to Ted in my depressed moments, for just a word of understanding from him to ease me through the darkness again. And he’ll point me back to my husband, and remind me that Christ is with me.

Now that’s a good therapist!