How Much Do You Think It Would Cost to Hire a Body Double to Live My Life For a While?

The last day and a half have been the worst. I haven’t been diagnosed with anxiety but I have been diagnosed with depression. When my routine or world changes, it makes me continuously worried, as if you’re waiting to get test results back from the doctor.

So all week I have been looking at the end of the week when my family has a bunch of appointments that have coincidentally fallen in these two days. There’s nothing wrong with the schedule. I have plenty of time to get everyone where they need to be, but instead of my normal safe routine at home, I’ve been out for two days. Driving my husband to work, driving my daughter to school, going into the school to set up our family for car pickup so they will release her to me instead of putting her on the bus.

I’ve been dealing with crazy parents who show up to pick up their kids more than an hour before school dismisses, otherwise, you’ll be lined up down the street because apparently everyone picks up their kid. I took my boys to a doctor appointment that’s a half hour away from my house and my youngest had to get four shots and my oldest got the flu shot. Needless to say, that examination room was a mess.

My son’s speech therapist had to change the day she comes to work with him and so for the first time, she was supposed to come today. I couldn’t get the place cleaned up in time and so I canceled on her. I just couldn’t do it anymore.

Oh and I forgot to mention that my son’s therapy coordinator showed up to re-evaluate his needs and I didn’t even remember I had an appointment with her until she knocked on my door. I answered the door to my hurricane of a house that’s been dealing with lice all week and I was barely holding back the tears. I begged her to reschedule and she took one look at me and said, “Yeah, I can tell you’re not feeling well. Can we set a date now?” So now it has officially been confirmed, I look like crap. I apologized profusely as she left and I texted my husband and my best friend telling them how mortified I was. Of course, they told me I was still a good mom, but I know they’re lying because the coordinator already told me. I’m a mess.

So I sat on my couch with my toddler in his pack ‘n play, my preschooler on his Kindle, and my daughter at school and husband at work, thankfully reducing the number of people witnessing this meltdown.

This morning my son woke everyone up at 3:11am and I am dead. I packed up the van and drove everyone where they needed to be while I was on autopilot. I have been in the car for hours these last two days. Seriously!

  • The time it takes to get to hubby’s work (one way): 25mins
  • The time it takes to get to school from hubby’s work: 30mins
  • The time it takes to get to the doctor’s office (one way): 30 mins
  • The time it takes to get to a family event tonight: 30mins

So today alone I have been in the car for three hours and 55 minutes altogether. I hope you guys put lots of lilies on my casket because I’m dead now.

When we returned home from the doctor appointment this morning, I made sure the kids had food, somehow found my last bit of energy to put in a load of dishes and a load of clothes and clean half of the living room before I shut down. We all took a nap and didn’t wake up until my daughter walked in off the bus three hours later.

I had the kids help finish cleaning the living room, we picked up my husband from work, came back home, had an hour for dinner and now we’re on our way to a family party that I don’t even want to go to but in order to keep the peace, I have to pretend I care. I know I shouldn’t have to do that, but either I deal with the effort of shoving it under the rug or the effort of dealing with maybe the most dramatic member of my family.

In my happy place, everyone is gone. They’ve taken a vacation and left me at home alone. I don’t have to drive, cook, change diapers, deal with family or any other human beings. I never clean anything up and I don’t feel guilty about it because no one else has to live in it but me. I have lots of money to order pizza and Dr. Pepper for every meal and I sit on the couch watching whatever I want the whole time. I even sleep on the couch. And I sleep. And sleep. And sleep.

 

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Some Upsetting Thoughts From Today and How I Changed Them

There is a lot of power in how you think. Thoughts are a particular stumbling block for people who suffer from depression. Thoughts of shame pop up way too easily and stick for a long time, whereas thoughts of pride and accomplishment struggle to surface and are fleeting.

And for my next trick, I will make all my successes disappear!

If you don’t know, you can train your thoughts to lean a certain way. For example, if you’ve been brought up as a racist, your initial thought when seeing a black person would be negative and mean. If you learned to recognize those thoughts and make yourself change the thought to a positive one, you can change your outlook on people of color.

Like this…

Negative: “I bet this lady ahead of me has all those babies just to get a free ride and live off the government.”

Fixed: “There is nothing wrong with having many children and I have absolutely no evidence to support the idea that she is getting government assistance. Even if she is, there is nothing wrong with accepting government assistance when needed. I have no authority to decide whether she is worthy of government assistance. Sure I may pay taxes so that people can live with assistance, but I have no knowledge of her personal information and I am not entitled to her personal information.”

I read somewhere that the first thought that crosses your mind is how you’ve been conditioned to think. The next thought is from you. You don’t have to feel bad about being conditioned to think terrible things. You just have to re-condition and re-train your brain until that first thought is the one you’re proud of.

Actual footage of you taking control of your thoughts.

The same goes for the thoughts you have of yourself. You’ve trained your brain to see all the imperfections about yourself, and that they are deal breakers for anyone who might consider a relationship with you. There are many reasons you have been trained this way, but you have the power to change it!

Something I do once in a while is writing out my negative thoughts, and change them so that I see the positive.

1. Negative: I am fat and ugly. Everyone is looking at me and thinking how glad they are that they aren’t me.

Positive:  I am overweight but that has no bearing on my beauty. I have personally witnessed the transformation that occurs between seeing someone for the first time and getting to know them. Beautiful people have quickly become ugly and vice versa. No one is judging you because they are too busy judging themselves, thinking these same thoughts. Not to mention, literally no one has the authority to decide what ugly or beautiful is.

2. Negative: I am so lazy I can’t even take care of myself, my house, and my kids. I am the worst mother.

Positive: Simply because I sit on the couch a lot does not mean I am lazy. I work on my blog and my homework and things for the church, all things that are important and need to be done, things I would feel bad for not doing. I do have a weakness for cleaning the house so I will do at least one thing today to make myself better at cleaning. Every day my kids are fed, safe, clean, and loved. It’s okay that I hit periods where they play their devices all day because I always find my way out, and my children are still cared for very well and they know I love them. I am a good mother.

You have to prove to your mind that you are in control. Lasso those destructive thoughts and make them serve you, bend them to your will. Rebrand them as uplifting thoughts and train them to run through your mind often. It’s not easy, and it takes a lot of work to believe the positive thoughts, but if you practice enough, you will start to believe and think positive automatically. Think of it as a workout you don’t have to get off the couch for!

If you’re interested in the sociology of positive and negative thoughts, check out this ten minute TED talk: “Getting Stuck in the Negatives (and How to Get Unstuck)”

How often do you struggle with negative thoughts? What method do you have for dealing with them?

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15 Things You Can Clean in 15 Minutes

You know Leslie Knope’s house in Parks and Rec when she is going to host a dinner party to impress her well-traveled boyfriend? Remember the complete mess? Okay, please refer to figure 1.a

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Figure 1.a The Official Chart of Messy Houses

Needless to say, my house is such a wreck that Ralph should live here (anyone? anyone?). I have a difficult time getting the cleaning done because I don’t care enough to clean. I only care when someone is coming over. Then I bust my butt and get mad when it’s down to the wire and everything is still too messy. I feel overwhelmed by my house right now and I need simple short tasks I can easily complete. I present to you: 15 things that you can clean in 15 minutes.

  1. Coffee table – mine has a ton of dishes and school books on it with a few other odds and ends, but I can’t see the table so it’s probably time to clean it.
  2. Bookshelf – my kids have half a bookshelf that is for all their mass of books and luckily they like to read. Unluckily, they haven’t figured out how to actually put books back nicely so it’s all pretty.

    Figure 1.b Actual footage from my dreams

  3. Entryway – shoes flood the area since I started the “take your shoes off at the door” rule. Not to mention mail and random stuff has accumulated on the little desk by the door. Time to put it all away and light a candle to get rid of the stinky shoe smell.
  4. Couch – I spend a lot of time on the couch. Like a lot. I pretty much set up camp on the couch and I do all my schoolwork, blogging, and Pinteresting here. As I look to my right I can see:
    • my blog notes
    • my daughter’s homework folder
    • a book that belongs with the kids’ books on the bookshelf
    • my planner
    • a box of Kleenex
    • an empty plate with a knife on top (I had a bagel earlier).
    • my church projection computer notes
    • a few coloring pages
    • a few blankets of various sizes (you need to be ready for anything)
  5. Folding a basket of clothes – I don’t always get the laundry done before we run out of clothes, but when I actually do the laundry, I rarely fold it or put it away. We spend way too many mornings putting our clothes back in the dryer to get the wrinkles out so we don’t look like hobos. I should probably get better at folding clothes.
  6. Putting away the basket of clothes

    Figure 1.c All of the people who have never put away a basket of clothes before

    Calm down. I know this is a ridiculous request, but if we put away our clothes, tomorrow we can get out of the shower and open our closet like some rich girl from the movies and it will make us feel good!

  7. Throw away the trash in the kitchen – I’m not sure why I don’t throw away trash as I make it, but I don’t. It stays on the counter until I or someone else cleans the kitchen. Full disclosure: no one else in my house throws their trash away either, so it’s not just me. It will take no time at all to simply walk around the kitchen throwing things away.
  8. Hallway – I have one hallway and unless someone has thrown the entire contents of their room into the hallway (for which there is a precedent), my hallway cleaning entails picking up a few things and vacuuming. Super quick.
  9. The dining room table – there is a small caveat to this one: I’m not including doing the dishes from the table. I just set them in the sink. #ihatedoingdishes
  10. The top of my dresser/my makeup table – the top of my dresser has the really large mirror on it and it is where I do my hair and makeup. I don’t clean as I go (haven’t you figured that out yet?) and it gets pretty cluttered and wrecked. Putting things back where they belong doesn’t really take that much effort from me, other than deciding to do it.
  11. Start a load of laundry – oh no, we came full circle, didn’t we? It doesn’t take too long and if you’re reading this post, I’m guessing you need clean clothes just as much as I do.
  12. Bathroom mirror(s) – I never think about cleaning the mirrors until its a sunny day and the blinds are open and I can clearly see all the splashes from the sink all over the mirrors. Maybe I need to come up with a cleaning schedule…
  13. The bed – if you have stuff all over your bed such as books, clean clothes, electronics, etc., put them away in the simplest way possible. If you don’t have time to put away the clean clothes in 15 minutes, put them back in the basket and find a place for the basket. Get it? Honestly, I always think making my bed is a waste of time. I’m going to mess it up in a few hours anyway. But when I do, it looks so warm and cozy and special. I remember once again how good the sight of my made bed makes me feel and I wonder why I don’t do it every day.
  14. The kids’ beds – my daughter is just old enough to be able to make her bed. The boys are still pretty small so I make their beds for them… occasionally. Most of the time they just stay unmade. But there is something that inspires me about a made bed (see #13).
  15. Pick up trash in your car – depending on how bad the trash situation in your car is, this whole job might take more than 15 minutes. If that’s the case, set a timer and clean until it goes off. If you are so inclined, go ahead and finish the job. If not, walk proudly back into your house knowing you worked hard today. For me, I pick up the trash while we are going through the car wash. I always grab a few complimentary trash bags as we go through the car wash line. The next time we get a wash, I have the kids unbuckle as soon as I pull into the parking lot and they take a trash bag and fill it up. By the time we get to the trash can, I grab a few more bags, the job is done and I didn’t have to do much at all. Win-win.

If you struggle with keeping a clean house like I do, #1: please let me know because I like to see that other people struggle with the same things I do and #2: know your not the only person who has a messy house. You’re not alone. We may be gross but we’re gross together! Gross power! Okay but seriously, let’s pick something to clean because it’s about time.

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Inspiration to Get Your Homework Done

If you’re anything like me, you are a procrastinator. For example, I’m putting off homework right now! In my intro to college class (that colleges make you take so you know how to study and what resources are available to you and how to make it in the real world) we are talking about how lack of motivation is the number one reason students drop out of school. They may say it’s money or that it’s too hard, but it’s more than likely that they’ve run out of steam.

I wish I looked this good when I don’t want to get out of bed but that’s a lot of effort and makeup to sleep in. Not that I haven’t done it before…

Here’s the thing. You’re going to lose your motivation. It happens all the time. Becoming an adult means learning to find the motivation again after you’ve lost it. Elementary school teachers are constantly trying to figure out how to teach material in a fun and engaging way so that the kids stay motivated to finish the lesson and remember the subject matter. The older you get, the less interested your teachers are about making it fun, more they are looking for meaningful connections and discussion. You have to find inspiration and motivation on your own.

And so it goes with life. BYOI (or BYOM for those who like that better). You’re going to have to do things you don’t want to do. There will be times you have to summon the motivation just to get up off the couch or out of bed. For people with depression, this is impossible. Or at least it feels that way.

The first thing to do is believe it is possible to get your homework done. Repeat after me: I can get my homework done. Breathe. Say it again. Take a bigger breath and say it one more time. You got this.

Look! The Doctor believes in you!

The bright side to doing your homework is that you probably only have to get up to go get your materials. Otherwise, you can just sit down on the couch. You don’t have to get up or do manual labor. Physically, this is an easy task.

Something I do a lot when I am procrastinating and dreading homework is to make a homework plan for this particular homework session and for the week. I like making lists and I like seeing things in small tasks. It helps me. I like having a plan.

Journaling has really helped inspire me lately. Try opening a Google Doc and writing out your ultimate goal for your education. Do you simply want to graduate high school? Go on to college? Graduate from college? What kind of degree do you want? What might be nice to major in? Write out all these things and then write a story from your point of view. I want you to imagine you are achieving your ultimate educational goal right now. I want you to write what is happening to you, where you are, who is with you, a whole complete description. Make sure to include how you feel on this day. Once you’ve finished, you’ve got a vision. Look back at this during the bad times, when you can’t remember why you wanted to go to college in the first place. Resist all thoughts of impossibility. If you can’t, write down the thoughts running through your head and change can’t to can and write down why and how you can do it. Every negative thought should become positive

Go to Pinterest. Make a board just for homework inspiration. Put pictures of pretty desks on it. Find interesting homework assignments and funny ones. Put pictures of what you imagine you will look like after completing your homework or schooling. Find cute school supplies and backpacks. Anything that moves you to want to do your work, put it there.

Make a playlist of your favorite movie soundtracks. Try to stay away from songs with lyrics and songs that remind you of lullabies. Keep it upbeat and moving. You’ll like the familiarity of the music but it won’t distract you from your work. Original video game music is also great for studying because it’s meant to keep your focus and keep you on edge, helping you get your homework done faster.

Play pretend. Make believe that you work for NASA and that it is imperative that you figure out these equations pronto. Maybe you’re a detective taking detailed notes on your subject. You’re not about to let another murder happen on your watch. Or you could be sitting on a train in the early 1900s writing a novel or a letter to your dearest friend while a server brings you champagne (go get a champagne flute with whatever drink you like to complete the picture), or my personal favorite, you are studying with your crush and you are sitting right next to him. He doesn’t know you like him, you don’t know he likes you, but you both have fallen madly in love. He watches you and all your little mannerisms when you’re not looking. He’s learning the little things about you and he accidentally lets it slip that he knows too much about you for your relationship to be in the friend zone. He lends you his sweatshirt and it smells so incredibly good and you and he study together, neither of you willing to admit your feelings, but he is confident and sure of himself. See? You can get super detailed with it if you want to (as you can see I have). Make your homework a part of your happy place.

Look, I know you are dreading this. Start with fifteen minutes of work. If you can get through fifteen legitimate minutes of work, then you can treat yourself to a cookie or reading one chapter of your favorite book. Find something.

You can do this.

You can do this.

You can do this.

I believe in you.

I love you.

Frozen Heart

I adore listening to movie soundtracks and musicals, so naturally, Disney fits right in there. I have been listening to the Frozen soundtrack, with lyrics written by Robert and Kristen Anderson Lopez, and this song just spoke to me today.

Frozen Heart

Born of cold and winter air and mountain rain combining

This icy force both foul and fair has a frozen heart worth mining

So cut through the heart, cold and clear

Strike for love and strike for fear

See the beauty sharp and sheer

Split the ice apart

And break the frozen heart

Beautiful, powerful, dangerous, cold

Ice has a magic can’t be controlled

Stronger than one, stronger than ten, stronger than a hundred men! Ugh!

Born of cold and winter air and mountain rain combining

This icy force both foul and fair has a frozen heart worth mining

Cut through the heart, cold and clear

Strike for love and strike for fear

There’s beauty and there’s danger here

Split the ice apart

Beware the frozen heart

At the beginning of the song, we learn that the icy force (a.k.a. a frozen heart) is born from cold and winter air and mountain rain combining. I love this imagery here because when someone is treated in a cold manner the winter air chills the heart and it begins to freeze. Those two elements come from a bully. I like to think that the mountain rain is the victim’s icy tears of hurt and hate for the people who hurt them, which finalizes the freezing of their heart.

This icy force is the victim’s heart. It’s called foul and fair because I think there is some righteous anger here to stand up for yourself or for others who are being hurt. Of course, fair might also mean beautiful instead of just. Along with that fair nature, there is a thirst for revenge pointing to the foul nature of a frozen heart. It doesn’t matter which way the heart is leaning, the song tells us that the heart is worth mining, which speaks to my soul like a lover to his beloved. It is such a sweet idea that I need reminding of on the bad days. My heart is always worth saving.

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The song tells us to cut through the heart which is cold and clear, it sounds like this is an attempt to get to the heart underneath the ice. The ice workers in the song work hard all day to be able to cut the ice. These men have some serious muscle under their coats because it takes hard work to cut through ice. Likewise, a frozen heart isn’t going to melt right away and you won’t be able to break through on the first try. If you want to break the ice around someone’s heart, it takes persistence and strength.

Then the lyrics add on to that sentiment telling us to strike for love and strike for fear. You’re breaking through the ice out of love for the person and I think out of fear of what they will become with a frozen heart. It could also point to the fact that many people strike out at people with frozen hearts out of fear of them, like the Duke of Wesselton wanted to strike Elsa down out of fear of her powers. In a well-intended, but still harmful gesture, the King and Queen struck out at Elsa in fear by hiding her away, sending the message to Elsa that she is to be feared because there is something wrong with her which makes her dangerous.

See the beauty sharp and sheer. The authors of these lyrics have amazing minds. It warms my heart (teehee) to understand that they can see the beauty in a cold, icy heart. Your frozen heart doesn’t make you ugly. Because the ice is beautiful and sheer, we can see the heart beneath and know that that goodness is still there and its still beautiful.

Split the ice apart and break the frozen heart. I like to think that this is a sort of last call to strike with all your strength to break the ice around the heart because the ice harvesters sing through the whole thing over again (with a bit of a verse in between), but this time they end with there’s beauty and there’s danger here, split the ice apart, beware the frozen heart. They’re saying, strike hard and strike now because a frozen heart may be beautiful but it is definitely dangerous.

The verse says that the ice is beautiful, powerful, dangerous and cold. That ice has a magic that cannot be controlled. Its stronger than a hundred men! Which makes Elsa even cooler (oh boy). Like there’s this legend of the magic in the ice which no man has ever been able to control, and here comes Elsa who figures it out (with difficulty admittedly) and the ice magic bows to her will.

This song speaks to the transformation that can happen to a heart when it is hurt and the beauty and danger of that transformation. It sets up the story of Frozen perfectly, and it shows us that everyone is worth saving. If you’re someone who is having trouble believing that, pay attention. You might be hearing that you are worthless from horrible people, but the rest of us know better. We know that everyone is worth saving, even you with all your terrible parts. Over time, those parts can be chipped away with hard work and it will all be worth it because we know the beauty of the heart underneath.

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Five Great Shows To Keep On Loop

“Thanks, Jack, for coming to this emergency meeting. I’m sorry I’m four hours late, but my alarm clock didn’t go off because it died in a cock fight last night.”

Tracy Jordan, 30 Rock

I keep a screen on all the time. I can pretty much guarantee it’s not a good thing, but here we are. I am a stay at home mom so that screen is pretty much my link to the adult world. I watch certain shows over and over again (usually up until the last couple of episodes so I can start back at episode 1 and it’s like it never went off the air). I could dominate “The Office” themed trivia night.

I’m one of those people that keeps the screen on at night because it’s hard for me to sleep without it. I have tried and occasionally I can, but most of the time I’m up for hours thinking about terrible things like

  • what would I be doing right now if all my family had died in a car accident last week?
  • what if I had never married my husband?
  • what if my daughter had cancer and had to live in a children’s hospital and our family had to move to be close to her?
  • what if I am going to die tomorrow?
  • what will happen to me?
  • will my soul actually go to be with the Lord like I hope?
  • I’m not a great person, maybe I will go to hell.
  • What will hell be like?
  • How will I live for eternity in hell?
  • Oh God, Jesus save me.

Things get real really fast when I try to go to sleep. If I turn on a show, my mind follows what’s happening in the show, even though I can’t see what’s going on because I am literally closing my eyes to go to sleep. It’s why I only put on shows that are light-hearted and familiar. I can’t put on anything I haven’t seen before, because then I will be too interested in what is going on and I won’t fall asleep.

I’ve come up with some of my favorite shows I keep on loop during my time. They can all be found on Netflix, Hulu, and Amazon Prime.

  1. Bob’s Burgers – Hulu: This show is genuinely funny with its musical numbers and quirky family (and turkey). It follows the Belcher family as they navigate three children and running a not-too-successful restaurant, but they are pretty terrible at life. It makes for a great show though. 
  2. Grace and Frankie – Netflix: Frenemies Grace and Frankie meet up for dinner with their husbands, whom they have been happily married to for forty years. They think their husbands are announcing their retirement. Come to find out, their husbands are leaving their ladies… for each other. I am not sure why but this show truly comforts me. It has its fair share of drama but it is honestly funny throughout. Jane Fonda and Lily Tomlin make me excited to get older. 
  3. The Office – Netflix: This one had to be a given. It’s the perfect show to watch over and over because the jokes never stop being funny. It follows a group of office workers in a paper company led by a completely incompetent boss. There are a few fantastic love stories to be found and a million “that’s what she said” jokes.
  4. Doctor Who – Amazon Prime: This is my favorite show in existence. I could watch this and only this for the rest of my life. It is a British show about a time-traveling alien called “The Doctor” who flies around in his T.A.R.D.I.S. (i.e. living spaceship) that is bigger on the inside than it looks on the outside. He usually has a companion with him, usually a human from earth and usually from our time period. The amount of ridiculous is hilarious in this show and the idea of dignity for all is prevalent throughout. It’s been on for over fifty years! If you have never seen it, I recommend you start with the ninth doctor and push through the cheesy special effects (they get better). It’s absolutely worth it. If you haven’t seen it, it won’t be a good one to keep on loop because it’s too interesting, but when you have caught up, it makes for a great companion to your days. 
  5. The It Crowd: This one will have you laughing so hard, so maybe keep it on during the day only. It’s another British show (I end up watching a lot of those) and it follows the I.T. department of a company, which is four people. Two are socially incompetent nerds, one is a woman who lied her way into the job, and the last one… well, spoilers. Try it. Trust me. It’s amazing. 

These are just some of the shows that bring me comfort. I’ll probably do another post soon with more suggestions but for now, check these out. You won’t regret it. Happy binge watching!

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