Friday, November 28, 2014


I started this blog for two reasons:
1       1.        I wanted my far away family and friends to know what is going on with us.
2       2.       And I thought that I could also use this blog for a DeGooyer Family history.
I've been grateful for the place to share my thoughts, activities and fun with family and friends.   But today I want to write a post that is a bit more personal and not so much for history or informative purposes.  I’m not sure why I feel the need to write this blog post, but I feel inspired to do so…  So…
Twenty two years ago I was diagnosed with a chemical imbalance.  In other words, I suffer from depression.  For the past twenty years I have been taking medication and seeing therapists (off and on) to combat this struggle.  I remember being at Ricks college feeling like I was “faking” my smile and my happy, enthusiastic attitude.  I felt like a liar as I pretended to be happier than I felt.  I had lost interest in people and things that made me happy.  I remember feeling like something dark had taken hold of my mind – sadness, despair and hopelessness were all the emotions I felt I could find.  I couldn't fake it anymore.  All my strength at keeping up my pretense had gone.  I spent many days and nights curled up on my bed crying.
Luckily my mother recognized the symptoms I was expressing.  My mom had also suffered from a hereditary form of depression, and she was able to get me to the doctor.  A few months later, with Prozac and some counseling, I felt “normal” again.  It wasn't an easy road to take, but my family was supportive, and I had a very good doctor.  (It takes time to get the right cocktail of meds for most depressions.)  Luckily for me, my Mom helped me through most of the early diagnosis period.  She would sit with me, cry with me, talk with me, and sometimes just hug me.  The fact of the matter is that my memory of this “dark” time is kind of repressed.  I don’t remember a lot.
Twenty two years later, I still take anti-depressants.  They have changed over the years as my depression has changed, but the one constant is that I can’t go off them, or I become despondent and moody.  I still occasionally see psychiatrists and counselors to help when I feel like I can’t cope.  All of these things have helped.
I’m not sure why I am writing this post.  I know it’s not for sympathy.  But I do seem to be struggling a bit more with my chemical imbalance right now.  There are times when it is more prominent than other times.  I just hope that this post can help someone else who is also having a difficult time and offer some hope.  There are a few things that have helped (aside from the medication – which I call happy pills – and the therapists – which I call expensive but necessary).
Depression is difficult to explain to people.  If you have experienced it there is no need to explain it; if you haven’t, I don’t think there are words adequate to describe its despair.  It permeates every part of your life, and sometimes it seems as though there is no light anywhere.  BUT there is hope.
The last few weeks have been hard, and I've had to go “back to the basics.”  What are the basics (besides medication)?  Here is what I have learned in 22 years:
  • God loves me.  I know it sounds simple, but it’s true.  It’s hard to remember in the moment sometimes.  But he truly loves me.  He loves everyone.  He loves us more than we can imagine. There have been moments throughout my life when I felt unloved and unlovable.  It’s usually in these times of deep sadness that Heavenly Father shows me a tender mercy in the form of reminding me of His love for me.  I have literally felt Him hug me.  I have had blessings where His love for me has brought tears to my eyes.  With God’s love for me, there is hope.
  • Prayer and scripture study is a MUST for those suffering from depression.  It’s even more important in times of trials.  Unfortunately, I haven’t always FELT like doing the daily prayer and scripture study when my spirits are that low.  The hymn, “I Need Thee Every Hour,” has been my go-to song to get me through prayer and scripture study when I am feeling that I cannot possibly pray.  I sing it in place of prayer until I can cope.  It’s helped.  It still helps.
  • Get enough sleep.  Eat right.  Move more.  Be healthy.  This also seems obvious, but it works.  Depression can make it hard to get enough shut eye.  And too little sleep can make depression worse.  Trying to stay on a sleep schedule really seems to help beat the blues.  There is no magic diet that fixes depression, but it really does help when sadness sets in.   Some people who struggle with depression may not feel like eating at all, but others might overeat.  I am in the latter group.  I try to be extra mindful of getting the right nourishment.  Proper nutrition can influence a person’s mood and energy.  People who are depressed may not feel much like being active, but if I make myself do it anyway, I usually feel better.  A walk makes me feel much better.
  • Getting outside really helps me.  I think it’s the sunshine and light exposure (the flowers also make me smile) that help lift my spirits.  I find that my mood improves when I've been outside walking for 30 minutes. 
  • Finally, being creative has really been an effective tool to fighting my depression.  Cross stitching or playing the piano has really helped me loosen up some positive emotions.

Depression is an ongoing process.  I am constantly on this roller coaster.  Some days (most days) are wonderful.  Some days I struggle.  For those people who are currently gripped by depression, either experiencing it or are supporting or living with someone with it, I hope my story helps.  There is no situation that is without hope.  There is no person that can’t overcome their difficulties.  For anyone who is suffering silently, there is help out there and you are definitely not alone.  God loves you. 

Tuesday, November 25, 2014


I have been so spoiled last week.
It all began on Wednesday night.  Scott took me out to dinner and a show.  And not just ANY show, he took me to see the Broadway version of Newsies.  It was an absolutely perfect date.  
We went to Chuys for dinner.  (Chuys is my favorite!)  As we visited and enjoyed our enchiladas, we discussed life and love and work and family.  It was fun to reconnect.  We did notice a sad trend though:  We saw many people on "dates" but instead of enjoying each others company, they were on their phones and/or technology.  Scott and I have a no phone clause on our dates.  We consider our dates time to reconnect not catch up on social media, or playing games.  It makes me sad about what this world is coming too.  (Now don't get me wrong.  I LOVE my technology.  And sometimes I have to force myself to be present in the moment with my family.  But I do try to make my family the number one priority over my i-phone.)
Newsies, the Musical ROCKED!  I loved it!!!!  Let's face it.  Disney knows how to make you cry, laugh and in the end provide audiences with a satisfied ending to the story.  And Newsies does all that and more.  I started loving Newsies in high school.  What could be better than watching a somewhat unknown Christian Bale dance around and stick it to the man by protesting through song and dance?  The musical version was just as much fun.  The dancing and singing were amazing.  The sets were awesome.  A few things about the story varied from the movie and I wasn't the biggest fan of those (I'm a movie purest) but I understand the stage needed something different.  I couldn't have been happier.
And on a more personal level: I "tested" my husband with this musical when we were dating.  He said he loved musicals.  I had to make sure, before I started liking him too much, that he really did enjoy the musical genre, so I had him watch Newsies.  He loved it as much as I did!  So I fell for him!
Saturday night I got to go on another date.  This time we double dated with the Bettenhausens.  We went to Qdobas.  (Another favorite restaurant.)  
And then we went to see Mockingjay!  If you don't enjoy (or haven't even read) the books, than this movie isn't for you.  But I LOVE the books.  I LOVE the characters.  And I LOVED the movie (despite how sad it is.)  I just wish we didn't have to wait an entire year for the next installment....
The Hunger Games trilogy is primarily a story about war and human tragedy.  It is about what we will do to each other in the name of preventing the same thing from being done either to ourselves or to someone that we love.  War is awful.  War is messy.  The plot is messy.  Katniss's mental state is messy.  I think, one of the main "take aways" from this story is this:  Humans have always killed each other and will likely continue to do so.  But we find the strength to love and continue on, despite the damage that has been done to us or by us.  I liked the way Mockingjay ended.  It was realistic and full of hope.

Saturday, November 15, 2014


Halloween was wonderful, because we shared it with people I've come to love a lot!  Since we can't spend Halloween with our families (who live far away) we spent it with our "adopted" families here in Kentucky!  Who are these "lucky" (some would say unfortunate since we've decided to claim them) families?  They are none other than: the Bettenhausens, the Larsens and the Schmids.  The Melansons were also invited but got sick at the last minute!
Here are the kids BEFORE candy!
Key Lime Pie and Lemon Drop are "PRETENDING" to sleep.
They can't fool me!
I told Jalapeno to dress up...  I even splurged and got him a skunk costume!
He wore it!  Kudos to this big "kid!"  I'm proud of him and his sense of humor!
Two of my favorite people:  Jelly Bean and Lemon Drop
Aren't they adorable?
The teens took the younger kids trick-or-treating, while the "adults" visited and ate chili.  Chili is tradition at our house.  Mmmmmm!  Scott and I always fix chili with corn bread for this fun holiday!  I love celebrating!

Sooooooo - I love reading.  But I haven't had much time lately.  I did get to read two books in the past month:  The Skeleton in My Closet Wears a Wedding Dress by Sally Johnson and Cress by Marissa Meyer.
The Skeleton in My Closet Wears a Wedding Dress isn't something I would normally read, but one of my good friends from Las Vegas wrote it - so I bought it with the intent to read it right away.  Unfortunately, I wasn't able to read it right away as my daughter "stole" it first and read it first.  As soon as she was done, I picked it up.  I couldn't put it down.  I enjoyed it!  Sophia, the main character, has a lot of emotional baggage because of her sudden divorce.  I thought it was uplifting to see that good things did come from such a sad experience.  I thought the book was humorous AND thought provoking.  It was engaging and sensitive to difficult topics (like divorce and depression).  It provided a sense of hope in such a sad situation.  I look forward to reading more books from my friend.
Cress was the 3rd book in the Lunar Chronicles series.  I STILL love the series.  I STILL think it is appropriate for teens (with no bad language and no immorality).  I STILL want to read the rest of the books in the series when they come out.  Full disclosure:  I love fairy tales.  I also love SciFi.  And Marissa Meyer did an excellent job putting these two together.  It was a page turner.  And if I say anything more, I'll probably give somethings away.  So READ these books.  They are fun!

I LOVE KIDS!  I really do!  And I was privileged to get to have 9 of them for an entire week at my house.  The Larsens were kind enough to trust me with their 7 children for them while they went out of town.  I LOVED it!  The kids were AWESOME!  And it was nice to know that Scott and I could handle a LARGE family.
Do you know how hard it is to get 9 kids to pose without making weird faces?
Check out Kotten Kandy's odd face...  And Doritos put pretzels in his nose?!
Me and a daughter and a son...  Who knew I had a son?!  :-)
9 kids - ages 16 to 3!  :-)
Believe it or not, we still homeschooled with this small army.  We ate well.  (I'm not great at fixing breakfasts and lunches - I consider making dinner a feat) but we managed to keep them all fed.  And we kept them clean.  And we got to church on time.  And we went to the park twice.  And we showed them the Liken the Scripture videos (which a couple of them would sing afterwards and make me smile!)  And I got to tuck them in to bed and sing to them at night.  We still were able to do our scripture study and family prayer and FHE.  I enjoyed every minute!  And I really do love those 9 kids!  I'd "adopt" them all in a heartbeat!