Gentlemen, you are trying so hard, but it's just not working. Are you happily married, but not getting enough of the goods? I'm here to tell you why, and give you a path to the promised land. Follow my guaranteed process to get some loving! Here's what you do.
Take the kids away. Take them to grandma's or friends for play dates - doesn't matter. Just away. It is very difficult for us to get in the mood when we can hear our kids bickering in the next room.
Then tell your wife to go her favorite store and buy some pampering products. Candles, facial mask, fingernail polish, hair deep conditioning treatment whatever she likes. When she gets back have the bath running and a glass of wine waiting. Bonus if you make a playlist with "your" songs.
Give her as long as she wants in the bathroom. This is a luxury that many mom's do not have. Do not interrupt her bath to peek at her boobs. We want to create a vision for you too. It ruins the magic if you walk in when we have a seaweed mask on our face. Give her time to shave, wax and buff. You go down to the living room or basement.
Queue up some slow songs and low lighting. When she comes down, in her own sweet time, tell her how lovely she looks and ask her to dance. No woman will be able to resist and you are in!
I'm not saying this is something you do three times a week. But we all know dry spells can be hard to end. Use this and then build on it. Do not let more than three days pass without some intimate time with your wife. If you are in the middle of a dry spell, this will make it rain.
Here's the real secret, the key. We want to feel pretty and we need to feel relaxed. If those two things line up - we're all yours! It's really that simple. Whatever you can do to create those conditions for your beloved partner, will result in romance. Long term couples need those intimate moments. Without those reminders of love, we start to unravel.. The world seems meaner than it actually is. It's not good for either partner. We need regular reminders that we have carved out a safe haven against the cruel world, right in our own bedrooms.
Ladies - Am I right? What kinds of things do you wish your husband would do for you?
If you are asking yourself this question, there is a good chance that you are depressed. I used to spend hours taking online quizzes and reading symptom lists trying to determine if I was depressed. I look back now and think, how did I not know? But I didn't. I thought I was stressed. I thought I had a virus. I thought it was a passing thing. I refused to label myself as clinically depressed.
The reality was a mess. I wasn't eating. I wasn't sleeping, I was rarely even leaving my room. When I did, people would invariable ask where I had been and if I was okay. I smiled and replied that I had a nasty cold or something along those lines. I hid it as best as I could. When my depression boiled to a point where I could not longer hide it, my friends were shocked. My family was in denial and some close friends were angry that I had never confided in them. What they didn't understand was that I was in such deep denial that there wasn't anything to confide.
The lack of eating and regular sleep habits led to headaches, weakness and dizziness. I thought I was sick. My anxiety could get so bad as to cause physical symptoms such as hives and diarrhea. More evidence in my mind, that my illness was physical and not mental. I could still enjoy some things. I still had good days. This meant it wasn't depression, right? Depressed people are never happy, they aren't functional.
Not true. A few hours of feeling normal a week, is not normal. A loved one told me that I was at a turning point. I could live the rest of my life like this, or I could do something to get better. That sunk in and I started to take steps towards recovery. But at that point, I had suffered for about eight months, sinking deeper and deeper into depression.
The symptom list linked above is based off the clinical description of depression. There are a few more symptoms that are undeniable and specific. You may not have all of these. Each individual experiences depression in their own way. I offer to you some of my symptoms.
1. Slept all day, Could not sleep at night.
2. No appetite. I lost close to 15 pounds.
3. Colors looked dull and lifeless. Everything seemed to have a gray tinge to it.
4. There was an invisible wall separating me from those I loved. I could not reach through that wall to connect with others.
5. I hated to be touched.
6. I felt like a liar. I had a hard time going out in public because I was sure strangers could see there was something wrong with me. I avoided eye contact.
7. I was irritable. I was angry and frustrated at being this way and being unable to change it.
8. My mind played tricks on me. I would swear I had never sent that email or made that phone call. Then they would show the email to me or play back the voicemail. I honestly could not figure out what happened. Who would want to hack my email to send that note? I was 100% positive that I never had.
9. My physical symptoms of hives and diarrhea would disappear soon after the stressful event. I remember watching hives break out on my hands during a test, only to watch them disappear on the walk back to my dorm room,
10. I'd have these almost out-of-body experiences. Nothing around me seemed real. Almost as if life was a movie and I was watching it from the outside. Found out later there is a name for this - derealization.
11. I'd have random thoughts of walking out into traffic or stepping off a tall building. They weren't thoughts I obsessed on, just when the opportunity arose. I thought everyone had these kinds of thoughts.
Depression is not sadness. But a sad incident can trigger depression. My worst episode was triggered by the death of my Grandfather. It's as if you get stuck in that mourning phase and cannot get out. If you've been feeling down for more than two weeks, talk to your doctor about it. I know the doctor's advise waiting longer, but I truly believe the sooner you seek treatment the easier it is to treat.
My doctor once said she gets patients who come in saying they lost their job, the dog died and they are in debt and therefore need meds for depression. They don't. They need therapy. She said it's the patients who come in and say I have a pretty good job, a family that loves me, no major problems, but I'm sad anyway that need the meds.
There is a song called For Real by folk singer Dave Wilcox that describes it best for me. "There's a hole in the middle of a pretty good life . . . not your father, not your mother, not you lover can make it ever go away. There is too much darkness in an endless night to be ashamed of the way we feel, , , , , when the longing takes me it takes me by surprise. I remember that longing from when I could not give it a name. It's lucky that I discovered in the nick a time that the woman and child waiting at home were not to blame. This hole in the middle of a pretty good life, I only face it because it's here to stay."
Read Part 1 of this series here.
My freshman year of college I had this wacky physics professor. The day after tests he would work through the test as a group, make prank calls to students and give us a biography of a physicist related to the next area of study. I've been a life long fan of history and biography, so I really enjoyed these after test sessions.
At some point in that semester, I started to see a pattern in the lives of these great men. They all suffered from a bit of madness! And that made me feel wonderful! Because, just maybe, my quirks and depressive tendencies did not mean I was doomed to fail in this world. Maybe, just maybe, it meant I was among great company.
If you are thinking I can't do great things because I had to change my major. or I was fired from a job, or I had to take Organic Chemistry twice, or I have this skeleton in my closet look to these great men who came before us. Know that madness may just be a part of your personal genius. Know that our skeletons, failures and weaknesses are part of what makes us great. Don't put these momentary stumbles out of your mind, embrace them as part of who you are today. Learn from your past shortfalls, and use them to do great things in the present and future!
Tesla: Most of us are familiar with the stories of his battles with Edison. And maybe you know he had an unusual relationship with pigeons in his later years. But did you also know he had a gambling addiction in college. He lost his scholarship, dropped out and many of his friends thought he drowned. He never graduated.
Newton: In 1690 Newton suffered what is described as a mental breakdown. He sent wild accusatory letters to his friends quickly followed by letters of apology. He argued with many contemporary physicists and mathematicians often accusing them or plagiarism.
Michael Faraday: Faraday's contributions are mostly in the area of electromagnetism. Einstein called him "one of the greatest scientific discoverers of all time." He too is described as suffering from a nervous breakdown.
Georg Cantor: Perhaps most well know for inventing set theory, Cantor suffered multiple bouts of depression. His madness was so severe that he was hospitalized many times and died in a sanatorium.
Kurt Godel: Godel is known for his two incompleteness theorems and made contributions to proof theory. He was also paranoid. He was so convinced that he was being poisoned that he refused to eat and starved to death.
Carl Gauss: He is often called the greatest mathematician since antiquity and described as a child prodigy. Wikipedia has a page dedicated to things named after him! He also refused to share how he derived his formulas, hated having students and was reluctant to publish his findings. He suffered a great depression at the death of his wife, never fully recovering.
Erwin Schrodinger: Schrodinger is most well know for his cats, but he also developed a wave equation that had a huge impact on quantum theory. He had a comfortable position at Oxford and a Nobel Prize. But was fired for his unconventional living arrangements. His wife and mistress both lived with him and had children by him. Maybe not true madness, but certainly eccentric. He is believe to have fathered children with at least two other women before his death.
I hope you enjoyed this dose of Madness! Click here to read more about about my experiences with depression.
It all started with my first child. My husband was traveling weeks at a time for work and I was home alone with a newborn. Grandparents were all at least an hour away. I had no good way to take a shower. Seriously. I'd try to sneak one in during her nap. That is the very moment she would take up. I started bathing with her. Couldn't really wash the hair, but I could get clean and the water seemed to calm her.
When she was about three months old we decided to join the YMCA. We went for a tour of the facilities and one client saw me with the baby and came over. She said "You are going to love this. Some days, I don't even work out. I just come to take a shower in peace." Brilliant! Life changingly brilliant!
Time marches on and kids grow. But it becomes no easier to find bathroom time. A quick shower is no issue these days. But forget about a relaxing bath or those times you just need a moment to get everything out. Poop. I'm talking about poop.
The moment you sit to poop something terrible is going happen. If you are lucky, there will be a knock on the door and endless questions about things that are really urgent to a third grader. You think it could have waited ten minutes, but they really need to know right now if you washed their orange shirt for anti-bullying day tomorrow.
If you are not lucky. there is a crash and a scream followed by that horrible moment of silence. You can picture it - their little face turning red as they suck in air, the moment of quiet before the hysterical crying starts. Now you've got to shake and wipe like you've never shaked and wiped before.
It's even worse for my husband. Ladies you know the drill. It takes them longer than us. Maybe it's the hot wings, but I think it has more to do with the games on his smart phone. I'll be doing homework with one child while trying to make dinner. You know the Witching Hour. Children two and three will pick that very moment to start arguing about who can chew the loudest. You tell them to stop this silliness from the kitchen.
But they are smart. They know you have your hands full and are not going to leave dinner to burn while you walk into the family room to take care of the issue properly. So now they are still arguing, just in heated whispers. You know this is about to escalate, and you know your husband is somewhere in the house. You can't figure out why he hasn't heard this commotion and come to your aid. So you start thinking bad thoughts and then hollering his name.
See husbands have it worse. They have the number of kids +1 bugging them in bathroom. Then they have to come out to pissed off wife and any hopes they had of evening romance are permanently dead.
I know what you are thinking. You'll be a guest in my home. You have poo-pourrii in your purse. You've got this covered. Maybe, Maybe not. Just know you've been warned. It is not safe to poop in this house.
A few weeks into my blog, I started looking for ways to promote my writing. One of the ways I encountered was to answer question on websites such as Quora or Yahoo Answers
When you sign up for these sites they ask you What do you know about? and then you are presented with a list of check boxes. Computers - sure. I know a little about that. My blog is about parenting and self help - so two more checks. And then I got to a check box labeled Depression. And I checked that box.
I know quite a bit about depression. I've suffered from one major, two medium and numerous minor episodes of depression. It's not something I often talk about, and I am very careful who I tell what about this lifelong struggle. Considering that, I'm not sure why I checked that check box. I just did.
The questions started pouring in. They broke my heart. One anonymous question after another. How do I know if I am depressed? Can you get better without medication? What do I do if my child is depressed? How do you convince someone that they are depressed and need help? Can I get married and lead a normal life if I've suffered from depression? What does it feel like to recover from depression? How to I tell my parents I think I'm depressed? Why should I go on living? Is there any hope for a better future?
So many of these questions were from young people still in high school or college, the same age I was when I suffered my worst bouts of depression. I answered question after question to the best of my ability. I tried to spread hope. To let them know that life can and will get better. My optimism was often met with doubt. That's okay, my 20 year old self would not have believed me either.
The questions repeated. I found myself writing the same things over and over again. And like a true engineer, I found this inefficiency unacceptable. And so, even though it is incredibly difficult for me to publicly declare that I struggle with depression, I'm doing it. Furthermore, I'm going to dedicate Wellness Wednesday to the topic for a while.
It's a topic near and dear to my heart, and one that needs to be discussed. A subject that is still somewhat taboo and claims millions of lives a year. This is going to be my small way of trying to eliminate the shame that surrounds the disease and to help anyone who is reading this and relating to those uncomfortable questions that were flooding my inbox.
I end most of my "answers" with a Best Wishes and that is exactly how I want to leave you today. Best Wishes. - Shannon
It's been six weeks since I started this journey. Some aspects have been hugely successful, and others fell flat. I've learned a lot.
What Didn't Work:
1. Setting a goal that was too ambitious to be accomplished in six weeks. My overly ambitious goal was to become an advocate for Dyslexia. A more reasonable goal for the time frame would have been read two books on Dyslexia and prepare a presentation.
2, Setting too many goals. I asked you to set four goals and then found myself unable to limit less than five. Looking back, I think two is a more realistic number. Life interferes in unexpected ways. We get sick, work gets busy, the kids have activities - for most of us two is a good number.
3. Goals that were too vague. Goals need to be specific and measurable. Goals such as better health encompass too much to measure.
4. Getting distracted. As time went by, my goals and actions fell away from the forefront of my mind. I'd have to look back and see what I had set out to do and how I had planned to accomplish it. I need to come up with a method of reminders. I bet there is an app for that! If not, maybe I'll write one.
What Did Work:
1. Six Week Time Limit. That was enough time to create change, and new habits. It was also short enough that it felt manageable right from the start.
2. Weekly Report Cards. Taking a moment to grade myself on the previous week and adjust for the upcoming week helped me stay motivated and moving towards my goals.
3. Examining Past Actions. Looking back at the bad habits that had crept into my life without my realizing it helped me identify behaviors I needed to eliminate from my daily life. Removing bad habits is just as important as adding good habits.
4. Writing. Committing to writing three times a week is the right number for me. I fell into a consistent pattern of writing drafts on the weekends and editing early morning weekdays. The positive feedback has strengthened my resolve that writing is what I should be doing. You responded strongest to the posts that I felt the strongest about. This means I can trust my judgement. If I think I am on to something good, I probably am. It's been a huge confidence booster and I thank all of you who took the time to comment.
This is not the end, but just the time to rethink. I'll keep writing. I'll keep evolving. Hope you're not bored of me yet!
We stood shoulder to shoulder in the department store dressing room, harsh fluorescent lights overhead. I looked in the mirror and literally heard a noise like the emergency broadcasting alert in my head. "Warning, warning! This is not a test. This is an actual emergency. You daughter is now the princess and you are wrinkled and your waist has disappeared." I hushed that damn thing up as quick as I could. But it had spoken and could not be taken back.
It's a really painful thing in a woman's life to realize that you have aged and are being replaced by a younger generation. Nothing makes you realize it faster than having a teen aged daughter. As women, even though we don't like it, we are judged by our face, our hair, and our bodies. As we age, there comes a point where we just can't compete. In fact, were not even in the race anymore. We're cheering from the sidelines.
We fight to stay in it. We diet, we exercise, we try every skin cream on the market, we get Botox and facelifts. I know women older than me that are incredibly good looking. But we are now competing with each other - women of our same age. We show up to PTA meetings with a full face of makeup and judge each other.
I propose something new. Stop the Madness! Let's work together to help this next generation of women mature gracefully. Let's help them respect themselves. This world wide beauty pageant we compete in is unavoidable, but it is temporary. That's liberating. It also means, we have to prepare these ladies to be a lot more than a pretty face.
Let's be role models for them by supporting each other. At the next after school activity, welcome into your group that mom that just couldn't get herself together. Show these girls by our actions, that long after that first gray hair appears we still have one hell of a lot to offer to this world - our brilliant ideas, our hard earned experience, our compassionate hearts. Show them there is a way to get through these teen and early twenty years without having a YouTube video or Instagram picture that will haunt them into their thirties.
That is our duty to these beautiful young girls on the cusp of womanhood and we are uniquely suited to the job. They want to pull away, test their new found independence. Let them be independent. But stay involved. Find ways to connect through music or hobbies. Pretend you think Fall Out Boy is the best band ever, read Cassandra Clare and watch anime. Do what you have to do. Then when you have their attention - talk!
Talk about the pitfalls of underage dinking, unprotected sex and poor choices. Tell them that boyfriend number one is not likely to be the forever boyfriend. Tell them that one quick decision to prank a friend, go along with the group or try that new supplement can have lasting effects that they can't even imagine. And finally, tell them that no matter what they do, no matter what has happened, if they call, you will come.
The first time I had my Vitamin D tested it was 8ng/ml. Yes, 8 ng/ml. There is some argument among the experts as to what our levels should be. But even the low end recommendation is 30 ng/ml. Perhaps you know that Vitamin D helps grow healthy bones. Did you know levels as low as mine can cause joint pain, fatigue and immune system issues?
Maybe your thinking, I'm a pale white girl who lives in a cloudy city - and you'd be right! I tried to find out how widespread Vitamin D deficiency really is. And I found researchers disagree as much about that as they do about what levels are normal! I saw numbers anywhere from 25% to 50% of the US population is estimated to be Vitamin D deficient.
This is a serious issue. The more we learn about Vitamin D the more we realize how important it is to leading a healthy life. Vitamin D deficiency has been linked to asthma, depression, heart disease, rheumatoid arthritis, cancer and diabetes. This goes a lot further than healthy bones and teeth.
The experts have agreed on some risk factors. If you use sunscreen religiously, have dark skin, live in the Northern Hemisphere, or are overweight you have a greater risk of having Vitamin D deficiency. It's called the sunshine vitamin, because in just 5 to 10 minutes a day outside your body can create all the Vitamin D it needs. In cold, cloudy climates you might not be hitting that mark.
You can also get Vitamin D from certain foods. Cheese, butter, fortified milk, healthy cereals and fish are all sources of Vitamin D. If fall into a risk factor category, and don't regularly eat the foods listed here you should consider talking to your doctor about Vitamin D.
It is possible to take too much Vitamin D, so don't run out and start taking highest does you can. If you suspect you have a Vitamin D deficiency, talk to your doctor and be tested. Your doctor can help you decide which type of Vitamin D to take and what amount is appropriate for you.
I don't like working tech support. It completely stresses me out. Some days the calls would come in too quick to actually resolve any and we had to do call backs. At the same time, users would be entering support tickets online. I would feel overwhelmed and not sure how to pick which issue to work first. Do you work the first one that came in, do you work the one on the phone yelling at you, do you work the one that seems most urgent?
I don't have many days like that in my current job. But I have many days that start to feel like riding a carousel. Work, kids, dinner, bed, work, kids, dinner, bed, work . . . and on and on it goes. While I'm stuck on the carousel the rest of world keeps moving on, the weeds need pulling, the fridge needs cleaning, the laundry is piling up, and the basement looks like a disaster zone.
I get overwhelmed. It makes me tired, when I haven't really done anything! And instead of tackling one of the problems, I avoid them all. This only makes things worse!
So what can we do? Of course the Frequent and Consistent Method will help you stop feeling overwhelmed and help you take steps towards your goals. Here are a few other things you can to do get through a particularly overwhelming day.
I'm a big fan of Stephen Covey's 7 Habits of Highly Effective People. In that book, he talks about prioritizing work. I've tried this with my oldest daughter when she was overwhelmed with homework and tests. The act or prioritizing her work was soothing and helped her focus. You start by categorizing your "to-do's." Take a piece of paper and separate it into four squares.
In the top left corner list all your tasks that are Important and Urgent. Top right gets all the tasks that are Important and Not Urgent. The bottom left gets tasks that are Not Important but Urgent. The final quadrant are Not Important and Not Urgent. Start working in the top, left corner first. While you are working in that quadrant do not answer the phone and do not look at your email. Focus!
Then you are on to the Not Important but Urgent, followed by Important but Not Urgent and lastly, Not Important and Not Urgent. The quadrants should be updated as needed and tasks may move from one to another as time passes. This can be helpful when you are having a hard time knowing where to start on your "to-do's."
Too much? Do you lay down to sleep only to have your mind race with tasks you forgot? Keep a notepad and pen by the bed and write them down. Rest easy. In the morning, or when you next have a moment, pick up the list and get to work!
Do you a have method that helps you deal with feeling overwhelmed? I'd love to hear about it in the comments!
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I'm middle aged, rather lumpy, happily married and have three daughters that are not perfect. But I'm working on it!