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By Lauri Mackey — 5 years agoA Story of My Best Friend’s DepressionThe Back Story
Have you ever had one of those days? Or maybe one of those weeks, or months, or a year? How about multiple years? Well, this is a story of my most precious friend in the entire world who was in his second year of things not going well at all and me being in such a dilemma watching him suffer that I just had to figure out some way to help. My best friend is my husband and he was drowning.The back story all started when his mom passed away in March of 2014. No, I think it actually began around December of 2013 so let’s begin there. Our family-owned business was doing great! While we are a very small company, we had always seen an increase every year or at least stayed level, even during the recession. We had been in business for ten years and decided it was time to expand our space. We spent quite a bit of money with upgrades and of course the new rent amount, double the utility bills…you get the picture. Not two months later everything stopped. Quite literally stopped. I swear that our clients were abducted by aliens and left the planet for at least six months. Business was that bad. That’s enough to cause anyone stress, right?Enter mom falling again and going into the hospital. She was in ICU for awhile, began to get better, was moved to the rehab facility that we didn’t like much and during this whole transition, my hubby contracted bronchitis. Not only is bronchitis a knock-down, drag-out illness, but it rendered him unable to visit his mom for fear of getting her sick in her current condition. While he was on the mend with crazy antibiotics and rest, mom took a turn for the worst while still in rehab by catching a deadly form of pneumonia that put her back in ICU to what would become a fight for her life that she was unable to win.Not only was business bad and he was sick, but his mom had passed away which is always a heart-wrenching thing. He was close to his mom, taking her out to dinner on Wednesday nights and us having family dinner with her and the rest of the family every Sunday. While after 5 weeks of her being in the hospital it wasn’t completely unexpected, it changed everything.A couple months of sadness pass and we enter the summer months. Business still isn’t going as well as we would like and while his mom and dad had a trust (WHICH I HIGHLY RECOMMEND) so that things run more smoothly, you still have to take care of things…lots of things. Bank accounts, the house, furniture, knick-knacks, jewelry, the dog, and enough Christmas decorations to light up the White House…you get the idea. That’s when the shingles hit. More antibiotics, more rest.Then come your first set of holidays without your mom with whom you’ve spent every Christmas with the exception of maybe one or two from the time you were born. No one feels like celebrating, much less decorating, even if you have White House worthy decorations. That can just be tough. Really tough…more depression.
January rolls around and he feels a little ambitious. The business picks up just a tad and he starts riding his bike again, but this time he isn’t recovering very well. Gym workouts? Same thing. Sore for too many days than you should be sore. He hates going to the doctor so he toughs it out for a few months to around the one-year anniversary of his mom passing and takes a little fall on his bike. Nothing major, just a little “owie” on his elbow that starts to get better until about two weeks after when the scab gets bumped off and it gets infected. So infected that his one arm looks like Popeye (no joke!) and of course we were out of town so you end up at an unfamiliar urgent care. Dual shots of antibiotics in both butt cheeks (writhing on the bed kind of pain for those shots!) and oral antibiotics just for kicks….let’s just knock this out along with any good flora you might have had left in your intestines up until now.That was the last straw. He felt so miserable, so depressed, couldn’t work out, didn’t want to go anywhere or do anything. I imagine that this is the definition of a permanent funk that just won’t go away. It was awful to watch. It didn’t matter what I did or how much I tried to “pump him up” as Arnold Schwarzenegger would say…it just wasn’t enough. I felt completely helpless as to how to help.
As a last ditch effort, we tried what I call a “voodoo doctor”. Tons of blood tests run, loads of supplements taken (and when I say loads…I mean LOADS), more blood tests in certain intervals. No dice. My man was shot so full of holes you could strain spaghetti through him. His body had been hurt multiple times, his heart hurt over the loss of his mother, he couldn’t work out because it was debilitating which left his self-esteem in the toilet, and work wasn’t altogether going well either. Sleep was the order of the day and the more of it the better. I had to do something!The Physical Plan
I am a Certified Holistic Health Coach, have taken classes through Dr. John McDougall and received a certificate in plant-based nutrition through eCornell University. I started researching everything I could about healing your immune system while my husband started reading books on the subject. While there is a ton of information out there and only varied opinions on the subject, we made a plan to repair his health.We started a 5-day juice fast following the incredible recipes out there by Joe Cross from Fat, Sick, and Nearly Dead. (He has the best ones out there, hands down…although anything that juices a turnip ends up like smelly gym socks or disgusting body odor, so I don’t recommend anything with turnips in it!). Admittedly, after day 2 we were so sluggish that we decided to add a light, healthy dinner as we just couldn’t function at work without more food in our guts, it was wonderful and it made me feel great! It was the perfect re-boot for our bodies.We then followed up with a 21-day elimination diet that took out known trigger foods. All that means is that while you may not have a specific allergy to a food, you could have some sort of reactions to particular foods. We eliminated gluten products, corn, and soy because while they recommend also nixing dairy, we are already vegan so no worries there!We then followed that up with a 2-week round of Arbonne’s pre-biotic/pro-biotic packets once per day. Needless to say…it worked! While it took several months to re-gain strength and endurance (imagine not working out for 18 months…you’re a bit out of shape), but he’s doing fantastically well physically. He’s not 100% yet as I can still beat him uphill on a mountain bike, but he’s sticking right with me now so I know it’s only a matter of time before he will be kicking my rear end again!The Emotional PlanWhat happened with the emotional part, though? I can hardly wait to tell you! This is by far the most interesting and fun endeavor I’ve undertaken…all in the name of love and hope! I call it Eddy’s 60 Days of Sunshine and it brought my hubby’s soul back from the dead…literally. (You can download it for FREE when you sign up for my weekly emails on my website HERE)I got to thinking that the only way to reverse engineer something is to do the opposite of what got you there in the first place. The negativity had built up over a period of time. It snuck in until it had taken over the physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual body. While we had fixed the physical part which in turn helped the mental state, the emotional and spiritual still needed a tune-up.Enter a plan that included friends and family. I printed out 2 months worth of calendars for a total of 60 days and made a list of all friends and family members I could think of that cared about my best friend. The list totaled over 80 people. I then started making phone calls, texting, Facebook messaging all of them. I assigned one person each one day and the only guidance I gave them was to just check in, see how he was doing and let him know they cared and loved him and why.At first I decided not to tell him what was happening. Let’s just say that he was so far down what he would later call a “wormhole” that he didn’t even figure it out or get suspicious until day 16! Day 16!! I was at my mom’s and out of town for the weekend when he called me and I had to confess what I was doing. When I told him it was day 16 he was flabbergasted. I had to tell him who had been assigned which day just to convince him.He will admit that at first it seemed a bit saddening to learn it wasn’t the “universe” just reaching out to him in his time of need, but I figured we are instruments in the Lord’s hands and he has a lot to do so he uses us to answer others prayers for help. Even if they don’t realize they need the help.Some sent him texts or emails. Some took him to lunch or dinner. Some called and visited for an hour. It was an awesome experience to watch that much love being shown for one individual. And you know what? It worked! The 60 days ended with a trip up to San Francisco for him to play a golf tournament with his buddies and visit old friends. The perfect ending to a perfect 60 days.
My only dilemma as the days were coming to an end was how to keep the love going. I created a Facebook page dedicated to him and invited all of his friends to post about their experience they had on their assigned day. On day 60, I added my hubby to the group and he was able to read their messages. He will then be able to go back and read them when he’s feeling blue. He is also more connected to some long, lost friendships that had needed some attention.The best side effect getting out of this depression was the reaction from the friends and family I had asked to participate. I did not anticipate the good will felt, the love felt of service being rendered. The gratitude of those people that they were made a part of something bigger that quite literally saved a life.Today I am grateful again for my husband who supports me in all I do, even if it’s off-your-rocker kinda crazy (which lots of my ideas are). I am grateful to all who pitched in to make this project work. I am grateful to my daughter who would help me text and make some calls while we ran errands to set up the next week’s participants. It worked!You can listen to Eddy’s side of this story by going to Apple Podcasts, Lauri’s Lemonade Stand, Episode #011.While I am not a clinical psychologist and you should seek professional help if you are depressed,this worked for us and I am so happy it did.
By John Greywitt — 2 years ago
Bite Size Chunks
Now that you’ve Dreamed Big and had some time to Reflect, it’s time to set your actual goals by breaking them down into Bite Size Chunks. This year I decided I wanted to make my goals more fun instead of stodgy. I changed my goal title from Lauri’s Goals to Lauri’s Promises. I changed the Relationships category to Family Focus, Physical to Physical Well-being and Playtime, Financial to Abundant Wealth Prowess, Education to Cultivating Enlightenment, Spiritual to Soul Solutions. I even added two new categories this year: Creativity and my favorite? Recess!
Not only am I adding in more fun this year, but I have two pages of promises and this might help you, too. One set is a Promises Summary where it states my goals. The second set (and this is where the bite-size chunks come in) breaks down those promises into actual action steps. How will I accomplish my goals?
Let me share one with you so you get the idea.
Under my Recess Category I have a goal for a Weekly Date with guess who? Me! One my first set of Promises where it is a summary, it simply says, Weekly Dates with Myself. On the second set I have it broken out to say that not only will I have a weekly date with myself, but I will alternate each week from an evening to a daytime date. I have ideas written of a few dates I’ve done in the past and enjoyed and some I think might be fun. Not all of my dates have been a hit, by the way. Some felt as a downright waste of my time by the end, but consistency keeps me moving forward in the right direction so that I keep taking time for myself. Last week I simply set a date to pull out all of my stamp collection, see how much they were worth right now and make a list of a couple of collections I’d like to complete and added it to my wishlist for friends and family for my birthday and Christmas (yes, I’m the OCD one when it comes to lists and preparation…I always have a wishlist going! You should to!)
Now is time for YOUR action step.
You’ve Dreamed Big, you’ve Reflected on past goals that have and haven’t worked for you and where you are now. You are ready to make your Promises, but more importantly, ready to break them down into Bite Size Chunks so that you can actually see yourself accomplishing your goals.
Next week? The last piece of the puzzle to help you accomplish your goals or promises – Accountability. I’ll tell you that I’ve never taken this step before until this year and what I’ve done to make it happen for me.
Please leave a comment below and share one of your promises for this year. I love hearing from you!
By John Greywitt — 2 years ago
Is your routine answer “Life is busy.”? It’s the unmistakably counted on answer when you ask someone the dreaded socially correct question now known as a greeting in our fair culture of “How are you?”. Is your response different? A “fine, how are you?” perhaps? I’m just as guilty as the next person and it has become habit to say either “fine, how are you?” or if I know them a bit better, “I’m busy”. And if I hesitate (usually trying to think of how I really am so I can answer honestly) the person asking the question immediately thinks that something must be wrong in my life and jumps to conclusions that who knows what that has formed in their minds from sour milk to my dog dying.
Now that I’ve formed this little rant on the “how are you” question…I HAVE BEEN BUSY! Haha! I can honestly answer that my life has been busy. You have to understand that I am crazy OCD and an organizational freakazoid who has dialed in my “to-do list” and my “must-do” list so I’m practically scheduled out every day of the week. Throw in a trip to Oakland for a family affair, my women’s conference where I was in charge of the almost 50 women volunteers, a couple of relatives popping in to say hello for a few days, and a planned trip coming up for four days the end of this week, and I pretty much throw my perfectly laid out plan out the window. Well, not all of it…but it does get a bit more stressful and trying to shove 6 days of work into 3 days of available time.
BUSY VS ROUTINE
After some recuperating and catching up I realized that sometimes I consider my life boring. Not bad boring, but routine boring. The same old things week after week. The same chores, the same workouts, the same type of work. Wearing my retainers every night, praying, meditating, daily reading, meals…all of it! And then I remember my younger adult self. Scattered, not settled into a career or a happy marriage. When the dust settled on the last two weeks and as I look forward to this coming weekend trip, I realize that I LOVE the BORING BLISS OF MY ROUTINE.
I love that I’m the first one up every morning because my hubby and puppies are not morning beings. I love going downstairs and getting a glass of water first thing and putting away the dishes from the night before and laying out my breakfast utensils. I love saying my morning prayers, and doing my daily reading and journaling all before the rest of my household awakes. I absolutely LOVE everything about Lauri’s Lemonade Stand…from the podcast, to the blog, to Ms Penelope Pickwick (My Bookworm). I love the routine of cooking dinner or just going out if it’s been a long day and that I watch movies most weeknights with my hubby (If you haven’t seen the movie Embrace…or I Feel Pretty…I highly recommend them!).
In today’s blog I just want to publicly acknowledge the boring bliss of my routine. I absolutely love it. I love the busy moments and the quiet moments. I love the growth moments and the bliss moments that happen after the growth moments and I realize that I’ve learned something new. I love the boring bliss of my routine! The next time someone asks “how are you?” I will answer “Really Good, and you?” What will you say?