Thursday, December 18, 2014

Merry Christmas!

We have so much to be grateful for this year. In reflection, I can think of no better place to be. Here are a couple highlights.


  • We moved to Rexburg, Idaho so Adam could finish his schooling at BYU-Idaho. Adam is studying Health Science with a
    Promotional Emphasis and has decided to go on the Physician Assistant track. I will never forget the kindness of my friends in DC helping us pack up and hosting me as Adam and I were apart in January until I could make the move. Shout out to my mom for being my driving companion through the most snowy, hazardous time to drive across the country. We are so risky!!

  • I was fully employed by the company
    I worked with in Virginia working as the Corporate Social Responsibility Team Lead where I developed a project plan to enhance community relations and employee engagement at
    DMI. I was able to work from home, and kept strict hours, was able to get in a daily workout, and cooked food everyday. Unfortunately, my employment came to a close with a shift in corporate direction. I will never forget the opportunity to grow in this position and take charge of something I cared about. I will forever be grateful to DMI for this opportunity, and still respect the people in the company and what they are trying to accomplish.

  • I immediately retained another position at Accelas Solutions, a company specializing in integration and configuration of Oracle's CRM software. I recognize the blessings associated with this position, as we were unsure of the opportunities in the area. My sweetheart's simple testimony and faith of our future is what sustained me through this change. It was only one week that I did not have a job, and we see the Lord's hand in our speedy recovery from unemployment. This job challenged me in ways that helped me grow and learn. I had the opportunity to lead projects, become familiar with a new software tool, work with IT specialists on the other side of things, and develop business processes - something that I love to do.

  • We have an amazing church family.
    I was called to work with the Young Women and bounced around with the different age groups (12-17 year olds). They quickly became my family, and I am grateful for all those crazies! I am constantly strengthened by their faith, and admire how they handle all the battles they have to fight, and do EVERYTHING they do. Adam serves as a Ward Missionary. He knew even before he was asked, and loves the opportunity to teach Sunday lessons, and make visits to people in our church. I have seen his faith revitalized and strengthened by unique experiences too special to talk about. We have been adopted by some church parents and love being with and spending time with them and their families.

  • Adam is a straight-A student. With some of the difficulties revealed in earlier posts, my amazing sweetheart was able to keep his grades up. I can't tell you the joy I feel seeing him grin as he showed me his grades after finals last semester. He has a brilliant mind and perseverance unlike any I have ever seen. He is off taking two test today, and I know he will do well!

  • FAMILY, DISNEYLAND and Sea World!
    Adam and I got to hang with the family at Disneyland and Sea World. Most of you know my parents get rather giddy when it comes to all things Disney. Keeping up with them through the theme parks was crazy, and we had to "caffeinate" as much as possible with a major crash at night! It was a perfect break for us as we bounced from ride to ride, making our fast pass strategy better and better. PS: that tall guy is my bro, Bryan....crazy!

  • Adam helped run a
    Blood Drive for BYU-Idaho.He and some others in his program decided to work with the Red Cross to have a 6-day blood drive. They were able to secure hundreds of donors and met their goal by a stunning margin (I don't have the numbers, but trust me, they succeeded with flying colors). It was a stressful process, but in the end it was a kind of work to be proud of.

  • Being so close to Brendon. I love that my B lives so close to us. A 3 hour drive later, and good times are had by all! This year we rocked it at the Def Leppard/KISS concert. It was our anniversary of sorts since having taken him to his first rock concert in Vegas before his mission. Fun times are had in the good ole SLC
    as he became my bosom traveling and visiting companion and accompanied me on many excursions to visit friends and family. We also hit up the Body World exhibit, ate at amazing restaurants like Caffe Molise, walked around the SLC temple to see the Christmas lights, saw Piano Guys (see this amazing Christmas video) in concert, went to see Dracula at the Desert Star Theater, I could go on and on. I love this guy....he rocks my world!

  • Being with amazing friends. We have had several visitor's (you know who you are) to this frozen little tundra. Actually, we love summer and spring in this amazing place, and had a chance to be with great friends and family as we hiked, boated, toured, and ate. Our experience here is phenomenal...we are in love!

  • Adam learned how to play the piano. I don't know if he wanted me to share that, but his skill has grown immensely and he has dreams of being able to play songs like "All of Me." He excelled in every way, and I was impressed by his perseverance and endurance through the hard task of combining two hands together to make music!

  • I am blessed to work at BYU-Idaho. After reviewing my purpose statement on my business blog kablaucommunications.com, I can finally say I have my dream job. I am doing what I am passionate about. I never thought it would take me 6 years to get here, or that I would be directly working with students instead of influencing policy, but I made it, and I owe it all to God. I love what I do, and I love being a part of student's lives. I love my team and my supervisors. To write so little about the experience seems like I am cheapening it somehow, but I honestly cannot express how I feel about my current responsibilities.

  • Adam's family tree is amazing. Did you know we are related to Daniel Boone? Adam and I have been working on family history to boot! We have been able to find some amazing relatives and back up documentation on ancestry.com, and familysearch.org. Thanks to his aunt, we have photos to go with our tree and hope to continue this work. It is exhilarating knowing where he comes from and all those family members who worked so hard to create an amazing legacy, one of which I am I am proud to be a part of. PS: we are still working on this getting some logistics done, so don't worry - it is a work in progress :)

Most important of all, I know that Jesus Christ is Heavenly Father's son born of a virgin mother. I know He died and lives so that all of us can be with Him and our Father in Heaven again. His birth and life was divinely orchestrated. I hope each of you have been able to reflect on this past year to recognize the divine moments, as I have. 

Adam and I are truly blessed and grateful beyond measure.

Enjoy this amazing video: He is the Gift~
 

Friday, December 5, 2014

I Love Mixing Religion with Work!

As you may know, I was recently employed with Brigham Young University-Idaho. Over the course of the past couple months, I have grown in ways I didn't think possible. I have been given opportunities to serve and be served, and it has made my heart beat in a way I didn't know was possible. I am living my dream. 

My purpose statement on Kablaucommunications.com is being fulfilled right now. Remember how hard it was for me to get here? It took me 6 years to get my dream job, and the experiences along the way have been invaluable. 

But this post isn't about what I did to get here. This post is about how I have the chance to feel the Spirit of God everyday. Today, for example, I was blessed to have two incredibly unique experiences. While they are special to me, I will not share details, but I can share some things.
  1. Happy crying makes me oh so happy. Today, I learned that I helped someone with something they have been struggling and praying about for a while. It is so awesome how the Spirit of God works so that I can help other people.
  2. Topic of conversation revolves around God. There are not too many places where the topic in the office revolves around God. From understanding how we can make our office a better place to work, to wondering what to order for lunch - making decisions and most all our conversations here revolve around God and the principles of our faith. It is pretty amazing to go to a meeting where we pray that all the decisions we make will be the kinds of decisions God would like us to make.
  3. I continue to learn new things. I am part of a family who practiced our faith since I was born. I decided to stay with my faith and developed faith in certain things as I have grown into adulthood. Even though I have been taught certain concepts and principles, I still learn new things everyday. For example, I learned about how prayer worked in the lives of students I spoke with as they were completing certain assignments. I am motivated by their stories and how God has worked in their lives. I learn so much from them and so much from others I work with all the time.
I am so blessed to work at such an incredible University where I know I am needed, and where I know I can grow and excel. My goals this year were to learn how to be a better leader, and I feel that this job is giving me what I need in order to learn and become better.

Monday, December 1, 2014

Reading, Writing, and Talking about Depression is Depressing

It is so depressing talking about depression. I remember buying a book to learn more about it after my sweetheart and I discovered more about his. I started to read the book, and within the first two pages, I threw it on the ground. I didn't want to be sad. I don't like sad. Sad is an awful place to be. 

In our household, we don't talk about depression. After the discovery, my sweetheart told me that he didn't want to talk about it, not because he was in denial, but because he felt saying, "I have depression" was too much. It reminded him that there was something going on that he couldn't control. In addition with trying to understand his ADHD, it was too much to think about. 

It makes him feel like he is inferior. It makes him feel like there is something "wrong" with him. It makes him feel like he should be able to control how he was feeling, and when he can't, it gets worse.

After reading about depression, I needed a clear understanding of the definition. I only found one that I liked from Dictionary.com:

  • condition of general emotional dejection and withdrawal; sadness greater and more pro-longed than that warranted by any objective reason.
Other dictionary entries say:
  • A serious medical condition in which a person feels very sad, hopeless, and unimportant and often is unable to live in a normal way
  • A mood disorder that causes a persistent feeling of sadness and loss of interest....it affects how you feel, think and behave and can lead to a variety of emotional and physical problems
  • All those other definitions talk about "feelings" as if the depressed person has control over them. Am I saying there is no way to control them, no. I am saying that in looking at all these definitions, it seems that people look at depression as being something a person can ultimately control

All those definitions talk about "feelings" or "mood" as if the depressed person has complete control over how they are 'feeling.'  After reading the definitions from Websters, the Mayo Clinic, and Medical Encyclopedia, it is clear to me that the definition of depression is portrayed as a condition that is solely dependent on the person who has it. 

I am still struggling a bit with the idea that people who are depressed don't have any control, but I can say this: do I agree that some of the emotion is controllable? Yes. The way a person responds to it, matters. They way a person decides to figure out happiness for them, matters. However, us outsiders need to understand that sometimes, depression just is.

I remember being depressed for a time, and it was the worst thing I can remember, aside from physical pain. I remember not being able to explain where this sadness came from. I couldn't describe that no matter what I did to make it better, it wouldn't go away. I prayed, fasted, went to church to seek religious healing, served other people, searched for answers in holy writ and other reading material, meditated, exercised, everything that people tell you to do to be happy. Nothing. Not one bit of happiness. Luckily, this only lasted three months. 


I can't even think about what it would be like to combat this all the time. Imagine waking up day after day feeling like you have done everything you can, and you are still unable to shake the sadness. I do not pretend that my little stint of depression could ever be compared with a lifetime of depression.

I was moved by a story of someone who was recently saved from his overwhelming depression. In the article: Suicide and How my Brother Saved Me from Drowning, Seth Adam Smith has an interesting perspective of how we can support those who have depression. 

I think the takeaway for me is that each person struggling with depression will have a different way of finding ways to be happy, or to be "saved" from the struggle. Everyone has different coping mechanisms. 

Some may choose not talk about the fact that they struggle with it. Maybe, just maybe, not mentioning depression means they have found one way they are controlling something that may not be as controllable as we think....because talking about it is....depressing.

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Huffington Post: What if People Treated Physical Illness Like Mental Illness

I loved this article most recently published in the Huffington Post: What If People Treated Physical Illness Like Mental Illness by Lindsay Holmes.

Yesterday, I heard of someone who ended their life. I didn't know him, but I was deeply impacted by this news. Lately, I have been surrounded by persons so affected by sadness that is deeply entrenched and has become such a profound part of their lives, they find it hard to escape.

At first, depression was something I didn't understand. I remember having endless conversations with roommates who tried to explain to me that there is more to it than 'choosing to be happy.' Depression is not something someone chooses, it just is. 

Lately, I have learned that depending on the person, depression can just hit out of no where. One minute someone will seem like they are on top of life and the next minute, they are curled up in their bed wondering why they are feeling the way they are feeling. Granted, each person varies. Knowing and coming to understanding of this information has been eye opening for me.

A repercussion of my sweetheart's ADHD is depression. After going to an incredible 'brain' doctor, one who practiced EEG in terms of behavioral health, we found out that my sweetheart's brain never rests. Therefore, my sweetheart never feels fully rested. Imagine never feeling fully rested and how you would react being tired all the time. 

Because his brain doesn't rest, he often finds himself in a space he can't explain. He gets down on himself often, and finds it hard to be motivated to do things. While he struggles through these endless emotions, we have to remind ourselves that what he is experiencing is less him and more about this thing called depression.

The Huffington Post article was a good reminder to me that I can't expect my sweetheart to get up and get going and put his depression behind him. There are things that he can't explain because all he knows and understands is how he is feeling - and that feeling is often not something he can control. 

The articles states, "...despite the staggering evidence and rhetoric aimed at helping people understand, many people still don't get that being diagnosed with a mental illness isn't something that's in their control -- just like having the flu, or food poisoning, or cancer isn't in their control."

I will have more to say about this, but for the time, I wanted to also share this cartoon as seen in the same article. The graphic is illustrated by www.robot-hugs.com.




Friday, November 21, 2014

Where Did Your Attention Go?

Background: I am a spouse with an amazing husband who happens to have ADHD

As alluded to in my last post, after we were married, there were things that changed almost immediately. After the one week honeymoon was over, we got back to real life and that is when I started to notice some dramatic changes. Over the course of a couple weeks being back in our small apartment in Virginia - the weight of life became my sweethearts reality.

At the time, I didn't know what was happening. In retrospect, I saw that there were several life-changing things that led to this 'crash' including: 

  1. My sweetheart and I met while he was doing summer sales. This means he was only supposed to have been in Virginia for a short period of time. However, we met and fell in love, and continued our courtship when he was originally planning on going back to Idaho to complete his schooling. Imagine having somewhat of a life plan that took you away from family, and doing something you felt so right about, only to have it all changed within a short period of time. He sacrificed a lot for love - something I respect him for.
  2. Along with the move to Virginia, he moved physical locations twice. One move alone is enough to drive anyone up the wall, but he moved twice in a matter of 6 months.
  3. The question of "what am I going to do with my life now" was constantly on his mind. The almost immediate responsibility of being the 'head of a household' was very real and daunting. He went from having a plan to graduate from BYU-Idaho, to being across the country trying to figure out what to do.

What I Mean When I Say Crash

As a newlywed, I would come home so excited to see my sweetheart, hoping to get several kisses, and spending quality time with one another at night cooking, cleaning, R&R, working out, doing grocery shopping together - oh, I was so excited to be a newlywed couple. 

The fact was, I would often come home, my sweetheart would be frazzled, wouldn't want to leave the house, and would really have nothing to do with me or us. I often found myself leading a single life even though we were married. Here were some things I didn't expect:

  • He would often break down if I asked him to accompany me to do anything.
  • He hated the cooking process. There was always something wrong when I would cook dinner: The shelves in our apartment were too loud, and even when I tried silencing them, they were heard being opened and closed from outside our apartment. The smells were often too much. Without ventilation in the house, it was easy for smells in the kitchen to permeate the room. As the chef, I enjoyed those smells, but they were often too much for my sweetheart.
  • I would often eat alone. The sound of munching on food was too much for him, and we would often end up fighting about it.
  • I often felt ignored, ended up doing most of the chores around the house. If I mentioned chores, he would get angry and pout for the rest of the day - as if he were a little child and I had just scolded him or something.
  • When I wanted to be close to him in intimate ways, my requests were often not fulfilled. You can imagine what it felt like being in this situation.

After re-reading this list, it makes it sound like my sweetheart is this terrible person, but he wasn't and isn't. As alluded to in my other post, I had certain expectations during these experiences that made this newlywed situation even worse. My reaction to his sensitivities made the situation almost unbearable, and my heart was broken because I didn't know how to be.

It is Not Him, it's My Reaction and That Thing Called ADHD

Being a proud, stubborn, passionate woman - I found myself getting angry with my sweetheart for these sensitivities, blaming it on the fact that he hadn't lived in such close proximity to a woman, and he just needed to suck it up and learn how to be patient (the way I learned to be patient having worked on this attribute almost my whole life - yeah right). 

In addition to getting angry with him instead of trying to understand him, it was easy for me to ask: Why is he being this way? Why can't he just be patient with me? Is this just normal newlywed stuff? What am I doing wrong? What could I do better? Is it me? Did I make the biggest mistake of my life, I can't even make us a meal without a fight? Amy I really that needy?

There were other things that I won't dive into, but I think the situation that hurt me the most is losing the attention he gave me when we were dating. Where did it go?

After a couple months of feeling neglected, having constant anger, harboring resentment, having endless nights of fighting, ending up prostrate on the ground praying that it would get better, that I could understand, that he could love me again, it became apparent that something else was going on - beyond just sticking two people with very different lives and history together. 

Over the course of this experience, we really started to look at a previous diagnoses that we thought contributed to his focus at school, realizing that this was just the beginning of understanding what adult ADHD really meant.

As the researcher I am, I purchased two books that, admittedly, I still have not completed, but was the impetus for me understanding certain coping mechanisms, and that made me start thinking that I DIDN'T make the biggest mistake of my life. 

After reading several reviews, and reading more about these authors, I purchased the books:


The ADHD Effect on Marriage, by Melissa Orlov
Is it You, Me, or Adult ADD, by Gena Pera

In addition, Melissa Orlov has a blog that helped me in this pursuit of trying to understand better and be better in my relationships with my sweetheart. There was one blog article in particular that really hit home for me within the first 6 months of being married.


QUOTE

  • The start of the relationship is exciting and very focused, for the ADHD spouse is "hyperfocusing" on you and you feel amazed and excited that someone cares that much about you
  • The relationship can change its character rather sharply as the ADHD person loses focus.  The non-ADHD spouse becomes confused and begins to feel ignored.  This generates frustration and resentment
  • This frustration leads to anger, particularly when the ADHD spouse does not respond to criticism that he is ignoring you
  • The non-ADHD spouse, particularly if this is a woman, ends up with all the scut work around the house, feeling like the maid, rather than a cherished wife.  This leads to arguments, nagging and further anger
  • The relationship goes in an up-and-down, seesaw sort of pattern as there are longer and longer periods when resentment and anger are the predominant feeling punctuated by spurts of great fun, energy and togetherness
The issue was really two-fold:  First, he really wasn't as focused on me as he had been.  Second, in my response to this I made the assumption that his lack of "interest" in me was due to the fact that he didn't like to be with me as much as he had previously.

END QUOTE


I can't tell you the relief I felt after reading this article. This woman just described my situation. The realization that there was something else going on in our marriage contributing to its dysfunction was one of those moments where I can only express gratitude.

It wasn't entirely that I lacked patience, or that I was too needy. It wasn't that my sweetheart hated me, or didn't love me anymore, or that he didn't want to be with me. I wasn't being punished for my lack of trust or faith in Heavenly Father. It boiled down partially to ADHD, and partially to our reactions - which always escalated beyond a level that was emotionally stable.

The article continues:

"Most frequently, even though it doesn't feel this way to the non-ADHD spouse, the ADHD spouse is not intentionally ignoring his partner. My husband and I went through this exact pattern (and more!) and he could never understand why I felt so ignored by him at the outset of this pattern (which started almost as soon as we moved from courtship into marriage).  In his own mind he loved me just as much as he had before, and because he was just following what was interesting him at the time (often the computer) he didn't realize just how dramatically different our relationship became once he stopped hyperfocusing on me.  I could tell him that his actions affected me in a negative way, but he just didn't get it because they didn't seem to be affecting him (they were, of course, because my response to his actions was to be angry with him, but he didn't connect this cause/effect yet)


...in my response to this I made the assumption that his lack of "interest" in me was due to the fact that he didn't like to be with me as much as he had previously.  In this scenario, my response to his actions was at least as hurtful to our relationship as his initial lack of attention.  And, because I assumed the worst (he didn't love me as much) I approached in about the problem in a resentful and angry way.  My approach - "why don't you pay attention to me any more?"; "why don't you listen to me?"; "why don't you ever bother to take me out any more?" made me hard to deal with...and suddenly he, too, was with a person whom he didn't really recognize.  As far as he was concerned, I was attacking him simply for being him, and he didn't like it much."


Conclusion

It was as if a bright light came on. I needed to look at our situation in a new way. I needed to stop being so angry with my sweetheart, and recognize him for the man I married. I needed to understand realistic needs, and develop more patience through this process of learning. That is where it started. There are so many other things I also needed to learn to make this work. 

I knew I wouldn't be able to make it through without a constant relationship with my Heavenly Father. I couldn't expect to understand the situation, and my role in it if I didn't have the enlightenment of heavenly help. I also understood that if the marriage was going to work that we needed to work together with a renewed commitment to understand and be patient with one another. 

This is where the learning all began.

Thursday, November 20, 2014

I am a Spouse of an Amazing Husband who Happens to have ADHD

For fear of not wanting to offend my sweetheart in any way, I held this close to me for a long time. After much prayer and consideration, and talking it over with my sweetheart, I have decided to post about my experience so far.

Over the course of our first year, here are the beginnings of what I observed and learned as a spouse with an amazing husband who has ADHD:

  • Dating someone whose attention was unwavering during the dating process
  • Knowing that the person I was dating had ADHD tendencies, but nothing that sent up red flags that would prevent us from being married for all eternity
  • Marrying my (at the time) attentive sweetheart and underestimating how ADHD would impact my marriage, in both negative and positive ways
  • Struggling to understand how to have a lasting relationship, with someone whose tendencies changed - meaning the dynamic of the relationship changed
  • Trying to figure out how to be a wife and have a lasting relationship at the same time, only having had other relationships that ended less than 7 months
  • Separating the idea that he is not his ADHD, and that my reactions to consequences of his ADHD contribute just as much to the inconsistencies and hard times in our marriage
  • Learning that ADHD is more than just a hyperactivity - the message we are given, which becomes our perception when children are diagnosed with ADHD at a young age 

Everyone told me the first year of marriage would be hard. BUT, I didn't realize the emotional roller coaster we were in for. My sweetheart and I talk to people about our journey frequently because we know there may be others out there struggling with the same thing. 

Before I go on, it is important to understand that everyone experiences and deals with these issues a lot differently. That is the beauty of being an individual person with individual emotions and needs.

Over the course of the next several weeks, I am finally comfortable sharing my journey, because I am finally at an emotionally healthy place to speak about these things more objectively and with hope, than if I would have one year ago. 

One year ago, I was ready to give up. Some may consider this last statement as a sign of weakness, or that I am dramatizing my experience, and you know what - it was and is still a struggle I deal with all the time. My parents always said I was an over sensitive person, and I own that. What I share is real to me and my individuality.

I do not mind that you may consider me to be a weak person. I know myself well enough to understand that it is through my weaknesses that I can also find strength. I know that my weaknesses contribute to these trials I have, but I also know they give me the fortitude to turn to a loving Heavenly Father who has helped me (and us) immensely during this time. 

My hope is that I will be able to continue to heal and learn as I share my experiences. I also hope that if you find yourself in similar situations that you figure out what works for you by doing research, observing, keeping the faith, and turning to a God who loves you.

Friday, November 14, 2014

Yup...I live in Idaho

A steady stream of snow has been falling today. I wouldn't say in droves, but steady nonetheless. When we moved here, I told my sweetheart that I wouldn't complain about the weather - that I would embrace it because weather is just weather, right? No need to complain about something beyond my control....

While we have had to adjust the thermostat depending on who is home and what time of day it is, I feel like I am handling it like a champ!

Here is what I feel that I look like:


But here is what others see: