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Saturday, August 22, 2015

Can you enable depression/anxiety? By Kimberly Evans

If you are reading this, and your first reaction is of anger, or the feeling to defend your depression or anxiety - I understand. 

I don't take either lightly. 

I am not an expert in either, but I have suffered from both. 

I typed "Can you enable depression/anxiety", into the google search bar, and I will share, later in this blog post, the link I found.

I will share just a wee bit of my own experience with depression and anxiety.

First of all, I did not know I suffered from childhood depression, until I was an adult. I thought it was normal to feel as I did, having no frame of reference. I have now been through years of counseling, and I understand my own depression and anxiety fairly well. I no longer suffer from either. I have moments of both. I have learned how to manage both. My depression is not your depression, so I don't speak for anyone but me.

There are very many reasons why I decided to look into the question about enabling. The most reason event that brought up that question, was a conversation I had with someone who also suffers from depression and anxiety. This overly brief description of our conversation will not do justice to all this person has experienced or lived, and is taken out of context, but it allows me to explain my thought process. This is not a reflection of anyone but me.

This person was telling me of their most recent depression episode where they to succumb to the depression and could not leave their house. When I hear of that, a spark of jealously erupts. How crazy is that? Or is that completely normal? It is what it is!

I said to this person that I WISHED I could have succumb to my depression when it was at it's worst. When I had my worst depression was when I had a baby and a toddler, and no one to help me. I was the opposite of enabled. I knew that if I did not get better, my kids would not have a chance. But it was terrible. I wanted medication to help me, but the medication made things worse. It is a long story, and I go into detail in my book about it, but to make it short - maybe by not having help, I got better faster? 

Maybe, for the people like me, with my kind of depression, if you get the wrong kind of help, you might cling to how bad things are? By wrong kind of help I guess I mean like people feeling sorry for me, or helping me do things, or trying to take care of me. I sure thought I wanted that at the time. And honestly, I think a balance is really what is needed. You need both empathy and responsibility. You need kindness and understanding that it is hard, but with the truth that you should do it anyway, and that you are not alone. You need love and support. Those are just words - they mean different things to different people. 

This is a confusing topic. Depending on the severity of the depression, I think, if you are like me, it may be a bit selfish to succumb to depression. It may be a bit of an indulgence. I am not saying that my depression is not real - it is! But I am saying that with daily work, I can and should work very hard to be happy. I read uplifting material, I research, I try to do things for others so that I can feel better. 

One of my main tells of my depression was my eating issue. For some it is drinking or shopping or a myriad of other symptoms. Here is the first page I looked at when I searched, can you enable depression. Here is an off shoot from that first page. I have no extensive knowledge of this person's work, but it looks interesting.  

Here is a link to my book.  

Thanks for reading. I wish you all a healthy and happy mind! :-)

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Why I let my 7 year old daughter shave her head.

My daughter, who is now 12, is what many may call, eccentric. I have called her this as well. But all in all, she is who she is, as all children are who they are.

Starting in the beginning of second grade, my daughter, my second child, started asking if she could be bald. I gave her the answer you would expect. But she kept asking. I kept saying no. I told her that people would think she was sick. I thought maybe they would think that I was sick. I thought she would lose friends. It just seemed so odd. But, she kept asking. Even though I said no, she starting telling everyone she was going to do it. She told her Tae Kwon Do instructor, her Brownie leader, her second grade teacher, he grandmother, all of her friends, her bus driver, and anyone she came in contact with regularly. 

I starting thinking maybe she could do it as a fund raiser, because that made ME more comfortable. I started creating an event called Bald Cutie for a Cause. I was going to find someone to fund raise for. The more I started talking about her doing for someone's benefit, the less she wanted to do it. It made HER nervous to think of doing it in public, to raise money. Bottom line, she just wanted to be bald. 

After about a year of back and forth, and consulting with many, my brother asked me this very important question, "Do you care if she is bald?" The answer was so clear to me. No, I could care less if she was bald. So he asked why I cared what anyone else thought. 

Like many people, I thought it was the responsible thing to do, to keep her from doing something, at such a young age, that could set her so far apart from her peers. I was afraid that by allowing her to do it, she would face consequences she was not old enough to understand. But when he asked me that question, and I immediately knew my answer, I finally decided that we would face it together. By the way, my husband also did not care if she was bald.

So, on Father's Day, the last week of second grade, I shaved my daughter's head. She LOVED it. She loved it from start to finish. I started with the underneath hair, so that she could still change her mind. But she never did. When I was finished with the clippers, she wanted to have it shaved with a razor, so it was really smooth. At that point, why not? 

So today, a pair of cat ears that she ordered, with her own money, came in the mail. They are supposed to pick up on your brainwaves and move with what you are focusing on. She could not wait for them to come. I started thinking about last week, when on the first day of vacation, she wore her long cat tail down to the beach to meet her "vacation friends" that she sees once a year. I felt a bit worried for her. I felt worried on how she would be perceived. But I have learned that with a child like this, she does not do it to stand out - at all! In fact, she dislikes that it makes her stand out. She does it because that is what makes her comfortable. She wears clothes that cause her to stand out, but her intent is to be comfortable in her own skin. 

I thought today, that if she wants to wear her cat ears out to the store, at age 12, I should let her. I wonder how many other kids will wish they could be doing the same type of thing. I wonder how many other kids, that will someday be adults, wish they could just go out in their batman clothes or other superhero clothes. Why is that not acceptable? I don't think I know.