Hello, my lovelies! I bet you didn't expect more photos from my summer shoot with Kel-Z Photography to come up. Bazinga! I tricked ya! I have two more that I'll be bringing to you, but I'll keep you guessing. This photo is one of my favorites. Ogden is ma 'hood and 25th Street is our playground. I really wanted an umbrella shot and Kelsey had this totally amazing vintage umbrella that we were able to use. Flowers, sunshine, blue sky, mountain view, cute shoes and pink? I will take it! Before we headed to the rainbow door (my FAVORITE photos) we snapped this photo at Ogden's Union Station.
I've been on a social media siesta for the last month. Life has kicked my trash a bit and I needed some self care, brain vacay and stepping away from social media seemed to be my answer. During the last month, I've experienced some trigger moments, too many tears to admit, but a myriad of blessings that I may have missed if I was consumed with technology. I've also witnessed some friends and family deeply struggling with the storms of depression themselves and it has reminded me that we can't ever ever ever forget to take care of ourselves and stay on track with what our body is telling us. I have felt the need to share some thoughts with you about keeping an attitude of faith during the shit storm of life, but also being acutely aware of the signs that your body sends to you as a cry for self care.
During the times of my life that I've been in deep, dark, incomprehensible depression, I've always wondered how I would get out of it. My first extreme episode was when I was 19 and I would lay awake at night and pray to God that I would fall asleep so that when I woke up it would be gone. Those are intensely haunting memories that I won't ever let myself forget completely. The biggest lesson I learned from that first round of depression was the beginning of a decade of recognizing triggers. It wasn't until I went to organized therapy that I admitted out loud that I had triggers and that I needed to be aware of them, accept them and be ready to work through them when something brought them up in my memory. Not easy.
Triggers are those events, people, smells, shoes, sayings, tv shows, colors, foods that remind you of a time when you were in danger or volatile and send you in to a tale spin of epic proportions. Triggers SUCK. Most of the time you don't see them coming and when they smack you in the face you think, "DAMN IT, why did I let myself get here?" But, the fact is, once it happens, you have to ride with the waves and go in to self care mode while your brain works through it. I can't and won't tell you that I have all the answers about dealing with triggers. We all have different methods of coping, but I can tell you that if you will turn your eye to the sky, remember that there is a big beautiful world full of people who love you, anything is possible and you will make it.
Along with triggers, I want to talk with you about a little thing called Vitamin D. As a redhead with fair skin who grew up in the insanely cold tundra of Southeastern Montana in an artsy poor family, I didn't know what outdoor recreation really was as a child and youth. The concept of enjoying winter was foreign and it also meant that I didn't see a lot of Vit D time from October to April. We HATE winter in my family. It's depressing, cold as hell and dark at 4 pm. When I moved to Salt Lake and experienced my first winter with the inversion, I thought I was going to die. I was miserable. I could hardly cope. I was sick, it was dark and I craved clean air and sunshine something fierce. It wasn't until my fifth Utah winter (what?) that I went to a lady doctor and asked to have my Vitamin D levels tested. Do you want to guess the outcome???? I barely registered on the charts. She looked at me and asked, "how do you even cope during the winter?" Um, good question, lady! In my previous 10 years of treatment and medical care I had NEVER had a lady doctor say, "let's test your Vitamin D and see if that is contributing to your depression during certain times of the month." I sat in the exam room and cried. I finally had answers. Answers meant I could make a plan and help myself feel better.
When I moved to Ogden, I thought, OK, self, we need to get a grip on winter. My first winter here wasn't a walk in the park, but when I bought my current car, I knew that it was absolutely necessary to spend more money on an SUV so that I had the ability to solve my winter blues symptoms by driving to the grocery store myself after a blizzard for a week-supply of Diet Coke (totally have many times) or drive to Ogden Valley and find sunshine and clean air on a Sunday afternoon. I am going in to my fourth winter in Ogden (holy moly, time flies) and I'm already making a plan of how I will make it FUN! That is a real-life example of knowing my triggers and staying ahead of them as much as I can by having a plan.
Vitamin D is critical to our mental health, my lovelies. However, it can't always be consumed in food or sucked up by being outside in the sunshine. Talk to your health professional and ask the questions. Pay for the test to get an idea of where you stand with your Vitamin D levels. Women generally are always low. Just like me, when you have answers, you can make a plan and start self care and watch for your triggers. Knowledge is power. It truly is.
The moral of the story: we live in a beautiful imperfect world full of people who love us and can help us when we don't know what to do next. Eye to the sky, ask the questions and make a plan. You can do it. I know it.
Until next time, my lovelies.