Feb 27, 2012

Catching up . . .

Hello world . . . of 2 or 3! I think I may have understandably lost most of my blog audience with my inconsistent posting the last few months. But, I'm just not willing to give up on the blog. I keep thinking it is something I'd like to do better and cultivate into something productive and meaningful. I just need to continue to get my ducks in a row at home.

Blue Me

copyright by Marsha Jorgensen 1/20/2012. All rights reserved.
Digital collage. Image credits: everything from my personal stash and Tumble Fish Studio image kits including Divas, Remembrances, Nitty Gritty, My Picks and more.

So, I thought I'd finally explain a little more of what's been going on . . .
It's hard to explain completely (that's why I've put it off so long). There are lots of nooks and crannies that would take many pages of words to tell the whole story. The punch line is that back in November, just before my husband had the mini-stroke, our 18 year old daughter was diagnosed with severe clinical depression. I'm sharing this with my daughter's permission.

My husband's situation was not brought on by my daughter, we don't think, but his own stress from work and need for blood pressure medication. His work is going well, it's just growing in responsibility and adjustments need to be made to lighten his load. We're all working hard to streamline life and take time to smell the roses.

I have found, since Lauren's diagnosis, that discussing depression is a bit like discussing politics or religion due to some close minded opinionated know-it-all type people I have encountered - some in my own family. I've found I have to avoid discussing it with some people and that has been painful for me - not talking about my daughter in this case would be like trying to ignore an arm falling off. Talking about it with people that think it is just a case of feeling sorry for herself infuriated me. Lauren's depression is as much an illness as diabetes or high blood pressure or any other disorder many of us could have or develop. It's not a pity party, it's not a mood, it's not an attitude problem. It is a real medical and biological illness that may have very well been triggered by her being so sick with mono last year in the midst of all the pressure of graduating high school, scholarship applications, soccer games and college team tryouts, etc. Stress, lack of rest, and poor health can have a greater impact than many of us realize. Sometimes these things result in more easily discussed medical conditions and sometimes they can trigger mental illness issues. The stress Lauren put on herself, coupled with being one very sick person physically, just caught up with her and the brain chemistry changed along the way and whatever chemical we have in our brain that lets us recognize and feel happiness or relax went missing in Lauren. It took us from July to October to figure out what was going on and she progressively got worse as we misunderstood what was happening. Once we got an inkling and were able to get her proper help (therapy first and then medication), things started to improve ever so slowly and we are so grateful that she is, just recently, returning to the Lauren we all know and love. But it has been a long difficult journey and it took my focus away from work and blogs and emails and made life very simple in some ways - Lauren's survival was my task and endeavor and that was about it for both of us and all of us at some points.

I still don't know much about depression - I know what it isn't in some ways and I know enough to get frustrated with short sighted people that lack the compassion to try and understand it with me/us. We've all had "the blues", been down and out for periods of time and picked ourselves up and got on with life. Clinical depression, not situational depression, is a very different animal and not something that can be flipped around with attitude and coaching alone in many cases. I'll leave it at that for now as that is a lot to read, especially when you don't have to. I just wanted you to know why my focus has shifted and I may seem more distant and inconsistent.

The piece above, "Blue Me", is a little about my own reflection and grief in how I may have contributed to my children's life stumbles/struggles. The piece below, Un-Sung is full of symbolism in my recent months with Lauren. She not able to see life accurately, faking smiles just to get through a conversation or momentary encounter. Me (the bird) trying to "direct" her along the way, describing blue skies ahead, the target of being happy and getting well. Again, I'll leave it at that.


copyright by Marsha Jorgensen 2012. All rights reserved.
Digital collage. Image credits: most everything from my Tumble Fish Studio kits including Etcetera, Happy Place, Freestyle, Random Favorites, City Skies, and more; head from picassoswoman at flickr and used with permission.

On a lighter note . . .
I have some new kits in the shoppe at Deviant Scrap! Making kits has been wonderful therapy for me and the one thing I've been able to continue with at my own pace. I have many ideas swirling in my head for future work and projects and when my situation doesn't allow for focus on them, I have enjoyed preparing for them with the creation of new kits.

Flying Things

HouseHold Items



peggy gatto said...

I adore your pages here!!!!!!!!
I also will keep you in my thoughts and prayers for your self, husband and daughter!
big hugs

The Gossamer Tearoom said...

My Dearest Dear Marsha,
My thoughts and prayers are there with you and your family. Mental illness is real, just in the same way that any physical illness is real and has to be treated. I'm sure I don't really need to tell you this, but in the bigger scheme of things, blogging doesn't matter. Taking care of those around you is what matters. Please be kind to yourself and know that if you did only have 2 or 3 people to follow you (which I would doubt), I would be honored to be one of them!

I love your new sheets!!!

Big hugs to you!


Laure Janus ~ Little Joys Studio said...

Your family's situation is very common and unfortunately very misunderstood. If it were only as easy as just "cheering up." Thanks for writing honestly about this very complex DISEASE. Maybe sharing is one small step toward people understanding the reality of depression. My prayers go out to you and your family.

Jenny said...

Oh Marsha, your digital pieces... Blue Me and Un-Sung are both are full of emotion... they alone tell a story... thinking of you and your family... my heart goes out to you...

Big Hugs
Jenny xxx

bockel24 said...

Thanks for sharing that story and your artwork illustrating it so well!

Donna B. Miller said...

It takes a special kind of bravery to be vulnerable. Thank you for sharing your story with us. Best wishes to your whole family.

Lisa Graham Art said...

Hi Marsha, I am so sorry for all your troubles lately. Clinical depression can be very frustrating especially in someone very young who might already be struggling with the usual youthful ailments like poor self esteem, insecurity...I wish your daughter the best and a quick recovery. I am a registered nurse and depression is EVERYWHERE, so you are not alone and neither is she. Also can I be of help and suggest some simple changes like healthy diet and daily walks in the sunshine. Staying away from sugar can make a world of difference in the body chemistry. You would be amazed at what simple changes like that can do, especially in conjunction with her other therapies.

Your art pieces are beautiful and they express so well what you are going through.

*jean* said...

thank you for being so open about your family's diagnosis and the way you handled it. i have 2 brothers, several friends, and also know some children who have mental illnesses and i have found over the years that things have changed for the better because i chose to keep talking about it...hopefully, the stigma will eventually go away...an invaluable, free resource is NAMI...in case anyone reads this and needs it...your daughter is so lucky to have your love and support...xoxo

Andrea said...

Marsha, Thank you so much for sharing! You and your family are in my thoughts and prayers! And whether you only post occasionally or often I will always be a follower!!

aliceinparis said...

Marsha, What a time you have had over this last year. SO glad Lauren is finding her way to cheerfulness. I had a deep depression about ten years ago and it is a dark and very scary and alone place. Even thinking about it makes me feel dread. Luckily it did not linger or last too long, I had help to climb out of it. Summer is almost here and the bluebirds will be singing! love, Shelagh xoxo

Renee Stien said...

Great to hear from you Marsha. You (and Lauren) should be so proud for sharing your story.
If more people would talk about it then more people would begin to understand the truth of the disease and that it's not something you to be ashamed of. It's an illness!
Prayers for you all!

Shelly said...

Thinking of you and sending sunshine. HUGS (and visualizing a giant steel girdered feat of architectural genius of SUPPORT under you all to hold you up)

Janny said...

Great pages! I wish you all the best, life isn't easy ;o(
Take careof yourself x

Linda Cain said...

For those who chose to judge, in many situations, I say, just wait until a child or grandchild of yours needs help. THEN maybe you will be open to maor Love and Understanding. I feel your pain and hope you find what works for all of you. Don't give up, it takes time to get the right medicaton to work best. Depression if a hidden desease.

Big Hugs,


Sending hugs. You are a very strong lady, but don't forget to take care of yourself too. Blessings to you & your family.

Sherry said...

Brava to you my friend for speaking out and for telling us you are doing so with Lauren's permission. That right there is a sign of excellent established communication between parent and child. I applaud you for that.

But more than this I applaud you for speaking up about a subject that so many people do not understand. Depression, mental illness...none of this is shameful. It is real. It is medical and as you said no different than diabetes or any other disease...dis meaning it doesn't work right.

You talk about the mono and maybe this was the trigger and there is no doubt that when something happens in the body and malfunctions it is easily triggered in the brain. Where if not there do all of our signals come from?

I hope that in being able to talk about this with people who care will go a long way to helping you cope with this -- because first you cope and then you begin to live with it as if you always have. Life is like that. It's up and down.

Some people never get it and that hurts. But the main thing is for all of you to be able to find those you can share with, even if it is through support groups and continue to treat one another as you always have -- with love and respect and caring.

You'll get through this and know it or not, you are being a role model for your daughter. And your daughter is being one for you. I'm always impressed when we learn things from our children.

Tumble Fish Studio said...

Thank you all so much! Your words and thoughts mean the world to me.

In case you didn't arrive here via Facebook, I wrote an introduction there . . . "There's a very personal update on my blog - many of you know the details, but I decided to write a little about it anyway for my own "putting one foot in front of the other" motives. I have to organize/line things up for my brain to move on sometimes. One thing I didn't write and meant to was that I do believe certain people are put in our path to help us through parts of life and I have some very special friends that have run ahead on this journey to light the path for us. And some have taken a detour in the opposite direction and are nowhere to be found. To those that have faithfully and without question cheered from the sidelines and lit the path, "thank you" doesn't cover it. I am grateful beyond words. You are what makes life, and all that it entails, beautiful." So I could not have gotten through this as well without my friends of "light" that have been with us through every step.

And, one last thing . . . I think that one good dynamic of all this is that I have a strong "mama bear" in me, like most mothers do, that has made it real easy to deal with the stubborn ones lacking compassion. It is much easier to deal with that since it is my child suffering as opposed to how I might have dealt with it all if it was just me going through it. Children make us strong, I think.

Gayle said...

Hi Marsha, You don't know me but I have been a customer of yours for awhile. I just wanted to say that my heart goes out to you and your daughter and family. We too had the same disease affect our daughter at the age of 17. It was a long hard battle that took us on a journey that lasted a couple of years. I am happy to say that it is now 9 years later and our daughter is fine and happy and has been for the last 6 years. We do still have to watch her for any signs that it may return but all in all she is good.
I suppose what I am trying to say here is that although it may not seem like it at the moment there is a light at the end of the tunnel and your daughter will get through this with the love and support of her family (which she appears to have) and the help of good counseling (absolutly crucial, took us a while to find one that our daughter clicked with).
I wish you all well.

susan said...

Just stumbled upon your blog for the first time, but I know I'll be back.
My thoughts and prayers are with you and your family, as your daughter continues on her path to wellness. Our family traveled a similar road with our son (about 20 years ago now). I wish you strength in the days ahead.

Lori Saul said...

I too send my best to your husband and daughter ( and to you). Caring about the ones you love is one of the greatest stressors- so take care of yourself and it is good to reach out and express. I have had to take time out from blogging (for life challenges) as well but have re-emerged and am so glad. You have a strong following who care a great deal about you.

PS- I think I will check out your new 'winged goodies' as well.

Wonderful to see your art again Marsha,



Mr. Floyd said...

M. We had such a nice chat with you guys. It takes me back a long way each and every time I sit in that house. Such a big part of my life for so many years. We really should visit more often as all of our time here is finite. We are quite humbled to be able to share so much of life, challenges, warts and all, with you. There is no judgment on our part and we are here for you all if you ever need anything. IMO, your children are super. Respectful, bright. Keira really loves Lauren. Good job! Parent Grade A+ :-) Peace and love...until next time.

Kevin representing the Linda Rosa crew

Tumble Fish Studio said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
junkgarden said...

Big hugs to you Marsha!!!!! I didn't even know about your husband. So glad to hear that things are going well for him and Lauren. I have a friend who went through clincial depression and I know just how hard it can be. You are one strong woman. Take care of yourself too!

Aimeslee said...

Hugs to you Marsha. Thanks for the FB birthday wishes. Hey, I've been there (with clinical depression). For me it was a byproduct of being hit by 5 arthritises at once, and then was ultimately exacerbated by the hydrocodone and the lexapro the doc would not take me off of when I no longer wanted to be a zombie. Forced me to really look in the mirror and change from type a to type b and it was tough. But then after my uncle and mom died, my cousin and I figured out they must have been bi-polar, like 2 of her brothers are. So as weird as this sounds, I was GRATEFUL that is all I had! I would not trade a moment of the long and winding road because I am so much happier today than I have ever been. Hopefully your daughter will come out of it stronger and confident in her own skin. There are strange blessings in everything. xoxoxo

Lee said...

Here's some hope and hugs for you, husband, and daughter !! ((__)) Depression and mental illnesses are hard to grasp. Sometimes they are glaring, sometimes subtle. Sounds like your daugher is on the road to recovery! I hope this year brings good things to you and your family!

PS- love the new stuff!

susie said...

You are so loved sweet friend, you could be gone for a year on hiatus & we would all be waiting right here for your return!

I'm so sorry you & your family have been struggling with this. I know more about depression then I wish I did, I don't think there is a family that hasn't been touched in someway by it. If they say they haven't been, then their probably in denial. ;)

It's so much more common then we think, it's just that kinda taboo thing people don't like to talk about. Which is such a crazy thing, as it's one of the things that you must do in order to get better.

For me, HOPE is one of the answers...just like your little blond haired fairy says. If you can find someplace in your soul where HOPE can live, even just a fraction of it, anything is possible. Yes, I believe in HOPE. If I could wish one thing for beautiful Lauren, that would be the thing. Hope says...not everyday will be like this day, things will get better.
And they will.

Big Hugs to all of you & I love your new designs, as usual!!!


Balinda said...

Big Hugs to all of you and many prayers sent your way for God to continue to send you (and family) the courage and perseverance to just take one day at a time. I can so relate to your daughter and it's family that definitely can pull you through with steadfast love and support.

Cha Cha said...

I'm just now catching up. I'm so sorry you've had all these stressful things in your world! Kudos to you for continuing to create.

As for Lauren and depression ... it IS a biological issue. And anybody who says it isn't is kind of lucky, I guess, b/c they've never experienced it, or had a loved one who has. Maybe ignorance is bliss ... but they should keep their damned ignorant mouths shut already.

It's exhausting to spend so much mental energy to keep other people alive. I hope you're taking care of you in addition to taking care of your lovely family. Hugs to you, my dear.