On the approach


Time passes. Miles pass. At least the watch is cute…

We’re approaching the end of 2015 to usher in 2016. The future is the final frontier that we’re uncovering constantly. While being “on the approach” would typically indicate that we’re descending in a flight, I’m not quite sure that’s the case. There’s less of a predictable nature of time moving where we’re going up, down, and sideways, yet always forward no matter which direction we’re looking.

This year has seen new and different things for everyone. My oldest kid started high school. My youngest started preschool. The middle child started going to preschool 5 days a week. My husband got a promotion at work. I ran a half marathon.

In the past year, we discovered our oldest has Crohn’s disease after a series of doctor visits and tests. Then, we watched in disbelief as she uncovered things she’d been hiding from us. It seemed surreal to hear. Our honor roll student and recently baptized teenager who was once a soccer player, cross country/track runner, and an avid reader had deviated from who we believed she was. I sat in an emergency room praying, crying, thinking, and hoping she’d survive an intentional overdose. I cried as her doctor told me that I needed to send her to rehabilitation for drugs and alcohol. I sought refuge in my husband’s arms many times and I’ve cried on his shoulder when I couldn’t hold back the tears anymore. We celebrated Christmas together at home. The very next day, we were reporting her as a runaway and sending her back to the hospital once she was retrieved and evaluated. She won’t be home to ring in 2016.

My husband attributes my ability to handle the stress to running. I have more friends and less time inside of my head to overthink things. I also have something where I feel accomplished when I’m pretty sure I’m not cutting it in the parenting arena. With parenting, even when I’m giving it my best, someone is standing by to say it isn’t good enough. When I’m running, I’m doing my best and there isn’t much anyone can say to make me feel inadequate about it. Of course, I joke about not being fast enough or not losing a ton of weight. I’m constantly beating my best times and even when I’m not, I’m preparing myself to do something greater. This year, I’ll run a few half marathons and hopefully one will beat my time from 2015. Maybe I’ll inspire some people to run and even try for a half marathon. I’ll also be trying to get the elusive sub 30 minute 5k. I put that goal on hold in 2015 to focus on the half marathon.

I’m not excited about the new year. I’m not optimistic about January 1st being the dawn of happiness for the rest of my days. I’m just hopeful that as time marches forward, I can grow and learn from the things that happen. I hope that I can find things that make me smile and laugh along the way. At the end of 2014, I said that I would run a half marathon before turning 35. I turn 35 in a little over a week. I did it. Now on to other things that keep me excited about moving into the future. I know what I want and I hope I can find ways achieve the tasks ahead.

Do you have any plans for the coming year? Are you looking forward to it? Thanks for reading! I hope you’ve enjoyed this entry. I try to post at least once a week.

Jingle, jingle

This sums up my feelings about "The Most Wonderful Time of Year"

This sums up my feelings about “The Most Wonderful Time of Year”

Jingle, jingle is the actual sound my head makes when I tilt it from one side to another. There’s too much clutter rattling around in there. I have so much to say and so many ways I could say it.

In the lead, I took my teen daughter to the doctor last Thursday and his opinion was to have her placed into the care of a hospital. I drove her there after stopping in at home for her to pack a bag. This facility was different from the last. The location and the general feeling of the place were both different. They had less availability for visitation and it was slightly further from our house.

Friday morning, I cancelled my train tickets to the race in St. Louis and I arranged for my race bag to be picked up by someone who lives in the same town so I could get my ‘goodies’ despite not being there. I mourned the weekend that may have been a fun time away from my kids and housework. I was sad that I didn’t get to give my friend her gift that I’m still looking forward to her reaction when she opens. It was really well thought out. I broke down a couple of times through the weekend seeing the fun that people were having there and that my friend wasn’t going to have me with her this time for what would have been our first 15k race.

Friday night, my husband and I didn’t hear from the teen. I was disappointed, but figured that she needed to settle in before calling. Saturday evening, my husband went for a visit. He called on his way home saying that she wasn’t attending groups because they kept being canceled, she only saw the doctor briefly and he didn’t even talk with her, and that her roommate found a screw and tried to hurt herself with it. I immediately made an emergency call to her psychiatrist who called me back a couple of hours later. He reminded me that we checked her in to a facility to keep her safe and that she was safe and that my other concerns could be addressed during the week. For some reason, that was incredibly helpful and I felt a little bad for having him paged. After speaking with the case worker, we discovered that groups were optional and not being attended by her. I was still a little upset with the facility when they wouldn’t let her talk to my mom on the phone and wouldn’t email me a form to give permission. When I found the form online and faxed it to them from my email, I felt like the facility was disorganized and not trying to help me at all.

We scheduled our family meeting for Wednesday and we had my mom come to our house to watch the smaller kids while we went to meet with our daughter and the case worker. We were tentative about the meeting since she’d been so eager to tell us how terrible the facility was and our impression was not positive. At the family meeting, we met the case worker. He wanted to hold her accountable for her actions, make sure that the words she used to describe what she’d learned actually held weight with actions, and he wanted her to express her feelings. He saw through much of the things that seemed to have been easily missed at the last facility. He explained to my husband and I that he wanted to see less impulsive reactions to emotion and less hopelessness when a situation was not within her control. So when he told her that she would not being coming home with us until Friday or Monday, she was visibly upset. She assured us that she was “fine,” but he pressed on to ask her real emotion. She settled on disappointment. As we left the meeting, the case worker asked us to press her to talk to us about things that might be emotional on the phone later that night. When we called, we started to press on after exchanging pleasantries and she disconnected the call after we tried to press on. The next day, the case worker informed me that a Friday release was looking more like Monday due to the communication breakdown. I realized that her negative reaction was a direct result of her accountability and that the treatment was more effective than I’d been thinking. She was upset because they were handling and addressing the problems head on.

When I visited yesterday, I had a special exception from the case worker to visit on a non visit day. I brought her bi-weekly inflammatory bowel disease medicine shot with me and I sat down and talked to her for an hour. She still expressed disdain for the facility. I maintained that they want to help her. She said she couldn’t wait to get out Monday. I kept most of the conversation light, but I mentioned to her that it isn’t easy to trust someone who you love after they’ve hurt you and there was a long road ahead. I had to explain to her that didn’t mean I didn’t love her. It meant that she’d damaged the trust and I hoped to see positive change in her. Some things  in the way of conversation were complaints about fellow patients, comparison of herself to others who she saw as “really crazy”, and her insisting that everyone will be released on Monday because of the upcoming holiday.

I try to keep up a positive outlook on the situation that she is going to come home and she’ll be safe because she’ll no longer want to hurt herself. Then, there’s the part of me that knows she’ll come home and we’ll still be on constant watch. This isn’t just about her feeling hopeless. This is about impulsive behavior like trying to kill herself. This is about abusing prescription medication and alcohol. This is about things that happen when we aren’t watching and that we can’t always see what’s happening and something did happen when we thought we had a pretty good grip on what was going on in her life.

I’m feeling more anxious lately. I manage to get out and run on schedule unless there is an emergency (like taking her to the facility last week). I realize how much I need to go out more often and I’m actually taking steps to make sure I put myself on a schedule so I stick to it. I gained about 6 pounds in the past couple of weeks. I’ve felt tired on most days and like I’m forcing myself to finish the most basic chores like dishes, cooking, and laundry. I’m just not quite myself and I’m more easily annoyed and upset.

I’ve requested that my daughter join an activity, preferably a sport, once  released. This was part of the family meeting on Wednesday. She used to run track and cross-country. Before that, she played soccer. She had a rough go, and I know that needs some grace on my part. That also means that I will need to be more proactive to assure her safety. Which will probably lead so some level of resentment from her that I’m not looking forward to receiving, but at least that means I’m not an enabler.

While I was going to hold off on this until her release, I am filled with so many conflicting feelings and thoughts, I need to just get it out and really give it a look.

I know many people aren’t feeling like they’re into the holiday spirit. I’m not exactly someone who gets excited about Christmas. I’d say if you’re feeling empty, there is nothing like giving an anonymous gift to someone totally deserving. You can even do it more than once. It doesn’t have to be a total stranger and it doesn’t have to be expensive. You could bring some cups of hot cocoa out to the garbage men or the mail carrier. Just remember to be kind to others. It goes a long way in how you feel about yourself.

Merry Christmas to all who celebrate it. Otherwise, enjoy your week! The first official day of winter is near and here come the months where it gets frigid and people start to feel lonely. Don’t forget your friends and don’t forget your fitness this winter.

Is it what it is?



It is what it is? Is it?

Here I am again and it hasn’t even been a week. I’ll bet you have your fill of Jenn this lovely late Autumn. In all honesty, I’m more likely to write when the going gets tough. When I lay it out into words I can see, sometimes I can see the answer in my own words or someone else sees my words and sees a way to help. It is encouraging to know that there are people who want to help and want me to feel better.

For those of you who aren’t familiar with depression and a major depressive disorder, it is managed through many different approaches. I use medication in addition to coping skills and physical fitness. While these mostly keep my brain chemistry from going too far out of whack, sometimes I have episodes of depression for whatever reason. Sometimes, there is something that brings it on. Sometimes, it just comes to visit to remind me that it never fully leaves. Brain chemistry can be a real jerk sometimes.

I wasn’t going to write a blog post this week because I was afraid it would be laced with profanity. I’ve been dealing with some of the stress by leaning on old friends and exchanging messages. You’d be amazed at how helpful it is opening up to people even when you feel like crawling inside yourself and locking up tight. Also, how some people have actually experienced something similar or can point you to someone who has. It has been comforting to hear a few whispers of “me, too” and “it’ll be ok.”

This week has seen my teen not feeling emotionally stable and having issues that are difficult to extract the whole story from. We have added more layers of security to our home to protect her from hurting herself. More locks, more keys, more following her around, and more resentment from her about these things. Today, we see one of her doctors to discuss some of this. It seems like discussing the issues with this doctor always results in him telling me something that he feels I need to change in my parenting that comes from him knowing exactly one side of a much deeper and more multi layered story than he seems to be aware of. I feel inadequate enough without this little nudge from him and his nurse who felt it necessary to tell me that they deal with teens all of the time and are responsible. Does that mean that I’m not? No idea, but I can’t help but feel that I’m constantly under scrutiny by people because of the things going on with the teen. A part of the problem comes from threats of doing harm to herself when things are adverse to her desired outcome. While we ensure safety in our home from that happening, we also can’t be expected to scoop her up and take her to the hospital each time the threats are made. We also really can’t have things like that heard by the smaller children who are concerned for their older sister. So how does this resolve? I mean it. I don’t know. I need a solution and nobody seems to have one.

At what point is it acceptable to say that I’m unable to constantly cater to these professionals that all want a piece of her on a regular basis and the teachers who need her to be at and stay after school to make up work? I have three children that all require constant supervision. I am fortunate enough to stay at home for now, but my husband works and he needs to be at work in order to do his job. I can’t be in more than one place at a time and neither can he.

Also, at what point can I say that my depression is severe and I need people to understand that I’m sick? I’m still trying to make it to all of my workouts in the week like they’re appointments. This might be what keeps me from sulking because I get out and get energized in addition to talking to other people about things other than my life at home. I still cry often. I still hold back tears often. My husband has held me through crying fits more often in the past couple of weeks than he probably has in the past 10 years that we’ve been together. People tell me that God won’t give me more than I can handle, but I’m starting to feel weak and worn down. I’m starting to not want to fight it anymore and just lay down and admit defeat. I’m starting to think this is just what life is going to be like and that stinks.

I’m sorry I didn’t have anything particularly fun or happy to say. I thank you for reading this. I hope to have some type of happy story to share next time. I’m still running. I hope to make it to my 15k this weekend in St. Louis. I hope to get into another training program after my current one is over so that I can keep lacing up, working out, and running off the crazy. I hope that if you needed to see that you’re not alone, that I’ve helped you with that. Take care of yourself.



What’s that about making lemonade…

I’m not really sure how I’d go through all of the tangled stories I’ve heard from my oldest this week, so I won’t attempt the feat. I’m exhausted. I’d like things to calm down, but it seems like things keep accumulating instead and I’m just trying to keep my footing instead of traversing the hill.

Working out this week was great. While it didn’t make me instantly forget about or recover from my depression, it gave me a temporary escape from the tension at home.

The core workout on Wednesday was better than it has been the past few times. I felt a little more confident and attempted more complicated form for some of the moves that we perform during the session. So, I went up on my toes for push ups and for planks a couple of times. It wasn’t easy, but I tried it out and I’m happy about that. It was also nice that I didn’t quite feel like I was going to pee my pants during the jumps. That made me feel more at ease with the workout as a whole. Oh, the things that seem so small that make such joy are often quite comical.

Thursday was not feeling like a 4 mile night, but I ran 3 with impressive negative splits. This means that I ran faster with each mile. I even beat my first mile by over a minute in the last. I’m excited to get out and run this week.

Friday was a Fleet Feet’s Ladies’ Night where we run or walk from the store and then have a social with potluck snacks after. I enjoyed spending time with people and talking about different things including running and plans for races in the future.

Saturday was the big day that I’d been preparing for. I was using the Ugliest Sweater run to keep my mind off of other things when I was at home. I got a sweater at the thrift store, sweater pants online, and I added my own flare to make a perfectly astounding Christmas-themed getup. It was so much fun! The run was 3 miles with stops to take selfies along the way. My time was over 35 minutes, which was actually pretty good considering the stops along the way to take photos and have conversation. My family even came along to cheer me on and it made me happy to see them along the way and hear them shout out to me. It was a great way to finish off a week that may not have been completely happy, but had so many high points, I can look back with fondness upon it.

I suppose when we’re going through hard times, it’s important to have some good times so we don’t have to look back and see only darkness. There are pinholes of light through the dark canopy. While there were tears, there were smiles and laughs. There was a feeling of being overwhelmed, but there was also joy.

I realized that in these times, I haven’t been as openly grateful to my readers as I used to be. So, thank you for reading. I appreciate your input and comments. I hope that you can find the glints of light through the dark times.



Just a hot Christmas mess with bells on.


Details, details…candy cane lips and red and green eye makeup

Why can’t I be super?

Things haven’t calmed since our teenager has returned from the hospital. She’s divulging things that my husband and I were unaware of and I’m feeling a little like I’ve been taken advantage of by someone I trusted and loved. Her claims of drug and alcohol use go further than she originally reported. There’s also the psychiatrist who wants to send her to a rehabilitation facility, the therapist who wants to see her once a week, and the rehab place that also wants to see her once a week and ensure she’s seeing the other 2 regularly as well. There’s also a gastroenterologist that sees her monthly (for Crohn’s) and school for her to make up from missing a week and teachers who want her to stay after school to make up for things she’s missed.

There are only 2 parents who have 2 younger kids and other obligations  like work. We don’t have family here in town. They are 3 hours away. The younger kids have had more behavioral issues with acting out. The youngest one has reverted to poor sleep habits and often having bathroom accidents despite having been potty trained for awhile now.

I signed up for the Hot Chocolate 15k in St. Louis before any of this began and now I’ve seriously considered cancelling the first chance I’ve had in months to see my closest friend because my home life stinks. We have to lock our bedroom and all of the medicine and watch as the teen takes it each morning and night. We have to walk on eggshells to avoid her volatile mood. We have to field threats from her that she’ll get angry with us if we don’t let her do something she wants to. More than once, we’ve heard that she’ll get “mad at us” if we don’t let her invite a friend to the house. So we live in a mine field by simply parenting.

I haven’t run more than 4 miles in practice in the past month. I try to keep my mind off of the fact that I’m just 10 seconds from crying all of the time. I’ve signed up for an Ugliest Sweater Run in my town and I’m going all out for being festive on this. I’m proud at how tacky my outfit is and I’ll share it once I’ve done the race. I keep my schedule for Winter Warriors like they are appointments that I have to make. It helps burn off my crazy. I am in a depressive slump and I feel bad for my husband. He has to deal with me gently when he already has to put in extra time trying to ensure his paying job is taken care of, he isn’t stepping on one of the teen’s mines at home, and he’s picking up my slack with the smaller children when I’m away at my workouts.

I want my teen to feel better. I don’t want her to be depressed. I certainly don’t want her to use substances to try to be happy. I want the best for her like I do all of my kids. This is just mentally, physically, and financially exhausting for us and it hasn’t waned at all. If anything, things just keep accumulating on top of it and compounding.

I wish I could just make things right and be able to say and do the right thing so that the people I love wouldn’t need to suffer. I wish I didn’t feel like I was crumbling. I wish I was the good mom that people tell me I am.




Wish I was a little more “super”