Must Love (Downward) Dogs

Ramblings of a Midwestern gal learning how to be Southern

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Sometimes We All Need A Little Help.

I never understood those commercials for depression medication when I was little. You know, the ones where the cartoon character is walking confidently and then just falls into a hole with eyes? I didn’t understand how anyone could just be sad for seemingly no reason. By the time I was 13, my closest friend had attempted suicide two times. I just didn’t get it. Life could never get that bad.


It wasn’t until I was 18 and away at college that depression became very real for me. Looking back, I now know that I struggled from depression and anxiety all through high school, and it worsened when I left the nest and didn’t “have” to do things like go to school, obey my parents, and ask for permission. If I wanted to lay in bed for a week and play Mario Cart, hell, that was what I could do. It went up and down. Some days I felt like to could hold the world in my hand, powerful and stress free, motivated and excited, and other days I could not get out of bed because the day was completely dark.

It wasn’t until I was completely suicidal and self medicating with alcohol at age 21 that I finally was forced to pull the plug on everything and get help. I didn’t want to go on medication, so I went to yoga, I went to therapy, I went on supplements, and I got acupuncture three times a week. I prided myself on not taking the chemical route. I was going to beat this the “good” way. And I did! But it was a full time job. I was always thinking, affirming, down dogging, writing, talking.

But I was all better! Right? So I went back to life as normal. I went back to school, and I graduated, and I got my first job, and then I got married, and got a dog, and bought a house, and all that “normal stuff” we are expected to do in life. I was checking off things on the “life is moving forward” list faster than I probably should’ve been. I was high on the constant motion. It hit a point when it all fell down back to earth – I couldn’t keep running through life.

That point for me was when my best friend’s brother died in a car accident. At the time, me and that friend hadn’t been on the best of terms. But when this accident happened, it was one of those moments when all that stuff just seems so stupid, and you leave work in the middle of the day not caring if they fire you, and you pay a million dollars for a one way ticket, and you be there for them. I had never been to a funeral. It is much harder when it is someone so young. There are no words, no assurances, no nothing that can make it better. There is no “well he lived a wonderful life” sentiments when someone has barely just begun it. It hit me in a weird way. I found myself feeling so much pain not for me, but for the ones I love, and it just didn’t make any sense. I had to just go back to life as normal as if nobody had just been ripped out of our lives, as if there wasn’t going to be a huge hole in every future get together, as if we wouldn’t think every single day about all he had left to experience, as if life was glorious and hopeful and eternal. I felt the entire opposite of life. It was a hopeless, who the hell knows if we are going to wake up tomorrow, who the hell cares anyways, sort of life.

I had been so excited about school and work before all this happened and saw value in working the next several years towards becoming a Veterinarian, and all of a sudden that all just fell apart. School and work felt impossible. Riding my horse became a chore. Everything in life that was supposed to be enjoyable was something to be avoided, and avoiding it made it all the worse. Affirming didn’t help. Talking didn’t help. Down dogging didn’t help – because I couldn’t get myself to do any of it. I was so frustrated.  I was so frustrated because I had already done all of this. I had already fought this fight, and I didn’t have it in me to do it all over again. It wasn’t possible to fight, because I couldn’t just drop out of school and move into my parent’s house and do nothing but think for six months this time. Moreover, I didn’t want to do that. I was so afraid that if I admitted to how I was really feeling, that the world would make me stop everything and commit me to a mental hospital. I am serious. I was terrified that the plug would be pulled on life as I knew it all over again.

Finally W made me an appointment with my doctor (because on top of it all, I was acting like a three year old, and wouldn’t go to the doctor to even just get my thyroid check, fully knowing that I have an autoimmune disease that could be causing all of this. It wasn’t, but that’s besides the point). Once he finally dragged me into an appointment, for the first time I was like YES. PLEASE. MEDICATE ME. WHATEVER YOU THINK. Luckily, I have the best doctor in the world, who didn’t just write a prescription (which was for the lowest dose of Prozac possible and nearly a placebo) but gave me instructions for my daily routine. The plug was not pulled on my life. I remember just feeling immediately 75% better because for once, I felt like I was not alone in this fight. I had help. And yes, it was chemical help, but I learned that sometimes we need chemical help.

This was a valuable lesson learned. All this time I had been so adamant about not going on medication that I refused to see how weak minded it was to not get the help I desperately needed. Going through each day miserable, hopeless, and wishing I would just wilt away to end all the pain I was feeling in the name of being anti-depressant free was so not worth it. I equate it to refusing to take a medication you know you need to be on for a disease or else you will die. This was really no different, because depression is a disease, and I had tried everything else, and it still threatened to kill me.

For the first time in a long time, I was excited about my day. I woke up in the morning and wanted to get out of bed and do something. I got passionate about riding again. I realized how moving certain songs could be. I wanted to talk to and see my friends. I wanted to call my parents. I wanted to pour love into my marriage. It was the return of a bunch little “life is really amazing” things that went missing throughout the past ten years of my life that I didn’t even realize were gone until they were back.

Now those commercials with the little black holes with eyes made sense. I am never going to be done fighting this. I am going to be going along with life and suddenly it’ll get flipped upside down. I am wired this way, and even when everything is seemingly going right, sometimes my brain forces me to think otherwise. But you know what, that is okay. I am not alone, and I can do this.


I just need to ask for help.

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Halloween Home

How most feel about Christmas, I feel about Halloween. I love the month of October. The weather, the clothes, the decor, and yes, Halloween. I get a creepy crawly excited feeling every year when it’s “Halloween Month”.


Bro, Dad, and Me – Halloween 1988

I chalk it up to having the best childhood memories of Halloween. You always got an awesome party at school and got to be whomever you wanted to be. There were chocolate cupcakes with orange frosting, haunted houses, movies of mystery, and of course, all the Three Musketeer’s bars a girl could want.


Big Bro and you guessed it, little me! 1989

This year I was bummed because I had planned on the house being ready enough to have a party, but it’s just not to the point of where I’d like to have bunches of people over yet. That didn’t stop me from decorating! I thought I would share a few shots of this year’s decorations. Each year I add onto my homemade Halloween decor collection… I daresay this year it will require more than just one box to pack it all up.

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Sad to think there are only a few more short days of my favorite month left, but I am looking forward to the trick or treaters and a Halloween screening of The Bride of Frankenstein at the Lucas Theatre!

Happy Hauntings all🙂


Our Old House Then and Now

What a difference half a year makes!

In February, me and W were closing on our very first home together, and we were STRESSED. Although many involved in our home buying process said our closing was one of the most ridiculous and difficult processes (our bank’s fault) they have ever seen, it was worth it once the keys were in our hands.


I still remember the feeling we had when we finally stepped inside and viewed what was ours. It was a feeling of terror. Regardless of the countless months we had planned and processed what steps we were going to take to repaint, renovate, and make this house a home, that first moment it all hit us. Shit, this is ours to fix. I remember thinking ‘Welp, I hope there isn’t anything too wrong with the place!’

Our initial plan was to close on the house a month before our lease was up, so when we moved in, our contractor and all their mess would be moved out. This did not go as planned, and instead of having to worry about paying rent and a mortgage at the same time, we were worried about being homeless. Things eventually came through for us as we closed at the last possible minute – a week before our lease was up.

Five weeks of construction on a kitchen, bathroom, and office/laundry room while you are trying to move into your house is not a smart idea. It was like camping… but way less fun. On the plus side I learned how to make just about every type of food on a George Foreman grill.

In light of things being very much underway in our home eight months later (we finally moved the junk pile out of the back bedroom! Huzzah! it’s the little things in life I tell ya), I wanted to share some before and after pictures of the process.

The dining room and kitchen had the greatest transformations. We opened up the wall between the two rooms, replaced and rearranged everything in the kitchen, and obviously repainted both rooms.




As you can see from the last picture, the realtor had convinced the previous owners to add a hookup for the washer and dryer in the kitchen and move it from the garage. Stupid, but it did help when we decided to move the sink from the back wall to the side wall! We moved the laundry into a middle office room.

I feel like the bathroom transformation was a lot of cleaning and time but very little money. As you can tell, this is the original bathroom this house was built with in 1947. Luckily, we have black and white tile which is in decent enough shape to deal with for awhile. All we actually changed was replacing the leaky sink drain, adding open shelving, and caulking around the toilet, tub, and sink, as well as some small grout repairs in the shower. The real kicker was the paint color. I like lime green, sure, but not in a tiny bathroom like this – and they had painted the ceiling green too! It reflected onto everything white and made the whole place look dank. All better now.Beforeafter3

Other rooms in the house mostly just needed a coat of paint, luckily. I still have yet to get an after picture of the front room once we painted it, but here is the office (where we place a wall to put the laundry, and a lot of storage… this room is still in progress layout wise as you can see things are a bit cramped in here) and bedroom after pictures.

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More to come as time goes on!

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Back to Blogging, An Autoimmune Disease I Thought Was a Videogame Title, and A New Journey

I always thought I liked blogging because I liked to write. Really, I think it became more about support the more I got into it years ago. Over the past couple of years I haven’t needed that outlet as much anymore, which I don’t think is a bad thing. It really just means my struggles have not been at the forefront of my life, which is wonderful. Along the way I guess I have put out a couple feeble posts just to write something… but it was probably forced band just to attempt to keep my blog somewhat “alive”.

As you may have gleamed from these jumbled thoughts, I am back here writing because I feel the need for support again. Which is just fine and dandy in my book.

A little over three years ago, when I started blogging in the first place, I had to take a semester off because I was feeling overall like crap. I had no energy, my moods were completely extreme and unpleasant, and I often had desires that everything would just end. I was essentially self destructing everything good in my life. This was when I started going to a new doctor and began therapy and yoga for the first time.

All of these things changed my life. I have written about it all since that all began. I am such a different person from that low point in my life to now, and so much has happened that it relatively makes my head spin. I met my now husband, graduated college, started a new job, moved, started another job, moved, adopted a dog, got married, moved again into our first owned home, and started school again. It is insane how much change has happened.

Lately, because of all the whirlwind that has occurred, I do realize I’ve let things slip in my health department. During that low point and all those doctor visits which included a myriad of diagnostic tests from bloodwork to hormone testing to heavy metals testing to dietary cleanses involving nasty protein shakes and even nastier pills… I was diagnosed with what my doctor called “early stages of Hashimoto’s”.

Other than sounding like the most awesome video game title of a disease, Hashimoto’s is an autoimmune disease where my body is spewing out antibodies which are attacking my thyroid. My doctor suspected this could be causing some of my symptoms, but at the time the more prevalent issue was my excruciatingly low hormone levels, so that was my major focus to feeling better at the time. After all, my doctor didn’t seem so concerned about it, especially since three years ago it was clearly defined in most literature about Hashimoto’s how individuals with normal TSH levels don’t experience symptoms. So it was just something I knew I needed to monitor because eventually I will become hypothyroid. Blood tests every 6 months. Yadda yadda.

With all this said, my doctor did advise going gluten-free with my diet. However, there was so much going on with my health at the time, mentally and physically, I didn’t know which end was up. Also it seems relevant to add that I have a horrible relationship with food. I came to the conclusion that consciously restricting my diet by going gluten free while I was shoveling though massive amounts of anxiety muck daily in therapy and doing enough restricting unconsciously was probably not the best idea. And/or when I was eating during that time in my life, I just really liked eating cheeseburgers and chicken fingers.

Fast forward to today. I am three years from that point and have made immense progress in the unhealthy relationship with food department, I started learning more about Hashimoto’s. More importantly, the world has been learning more about Hashimoto’s.

I’ve always had a lot of questions and confusion about the disease. First and foremost, why I seem to suffer with textbook symptoms of thyroid/TSH issues… but I don’t have thyroid issues yet. My TSH levels are always fine. It’s always the same thing when I go to the doctor (now a different doctor that who originally diagnosed me)… “Well, I see what your previous doctor is saying about the level of antibodies, however, your TSH is within the normal range. We’ll just keep and eye on things!”

Then why on earth do I feel so groggy and cloudy all day? Why are my moods nonsensical? Why do I have days of such severe, numbing, debilitating depression that I cannot even consider rising out of bed… caused by no situational trigger. It makes no sense?

So lately in light of me feeling like junk all the time and my husband’s growing concern I will keel over from a heart attack at age 25 due to my horrible diet, I recalled this far ago suggestion from my doctor to go gluten free. If anything, it would get me to stop turning to fast food every chance I got. I started reading up on the diet and it’s association to Hashimoto’s, and how many people who experience such symptoms as I do yet have perfectly normal TSH levels can find some relief by cutting gluten among other food allergens out of their diet.

I am about four months in, I don’t even care if it is a placebo effect, I feel incredible. I have 100% more energy during the day. I don’t need my three cups of coffee. I don’t even need one cup of coffee. My moods are more stable when I am sticking to my diet well. My husband and I are getting along better than we have since we started dating. All I can say is… HELL YEA. And peace out, gluten. You and your doughy goodness aren’t worth the trouble (even though at this moment I am drooling at the thought of eating a stack of pancakes as I eat my Chex).

As a result of this change, if you find I am posting more about flour free recipes and reliving bouts of gf breakdown (including but not limited to sob sessions with wine and a gigantic baguette), need not be shocked…

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Life is not a process. It’s an action.

Well, a lot of actions. But I’m trying to be dramatic here.

There are a lot of areas in my life that I’ve always viewed as processes. Waiting. Until I was ready, until I was in shape, until I was confident, until I was happy.

A long time ago I finally understood how my happiness was my choice. I can choose gratitude, humility, motivation, and my mood. Happiness for me is not a process of many different things falling together in a future path, it is seeing how far I have come to get to the present and celebrating the joy of all I have right now.

Still, I plan. It’s what we’ve been trained to do from birth to be successful. Search for the next map, the next goal, the next rung. But what is a plan without action?

I could not wait until it didn’t scare me to get back on a horse. I just had to do it. And now a year later I am so happy horses are still a huge part of my life. Action.

As I learned these past few months, I could not wait until I stopped craving unhealthy foods to begin bettering my eating habits. I could not gradually step myself into the gluten free diet I should’ve been following for years now. I just had to decide that today was the day to quit. Action.

As I just learned these past few weeks, I could not wait until I was entirely comfortable to go on a long vacation with my inlaws. I am not ashamed to say it scared me! I am lucky to have just dove in despite my anxiety, and began to develop a deep love for my husband’ siblings, parents, and my nephew that I never expected. Action.

As I learned just today, I could not wait until I was more in shape to attend a yoga class for the first time in years. Not only did I enjoy it, I signed up for three more next week. Action.

Moving forward, I cannot wait for more time to appear in my daily life to spend time with my family, continue to enjoy my favorite things, and begin to try new things. I have to take advantage of the time I have. I have to make the time. Action.

Process Plan Fear Avoid Procrastinate

Do. Goal Set. Power through. Achieve.


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Savannah St. Patrick’s Day Survival Guide

As you may or may not know, Savannah is one of the best places to celebrate St. Paddy’s. From the millions of visitors swamping downtown to the four hour parade and the madness continuing all day after, I am out of my mind excited to be off of work this weekend in order to take part.


In college at Purdue we had something called breakfast club on football game days, where everyone would dress up in ridiculous costumes and start pounding shots of McCormick’s vodka at 5am so they didn’t freeze in line waiting for the bars to open their doors at 7am. It was an absolute mad show and of course a blast, but I think all those mornings are only training missions compared to what I’m in for this Saturday. It doesn’t hurt that the entire historic district is a to-go beverage free zone. I don’t know if I will ever get used to hearing “would you like another beer for the road?” while out downtown.

I knew this day was something I needed to celebrate at least once while residing here. In preparation, I had my pal from work, a Savannah native, give me the low down on how to survive my first St. Paddy’s attendance. I will now pass along to you this glorious wisdom:

1. Do not wear white unless you wish to look like you’ve rolled around in a pit of dirt and beer by the end of the day, or wish to partake in an unplanned green beer version of a white t-shirt contest. Pastels are likewise discouraged.

2. Bring your own toilet paper. I repeat, bring your own toilet paper.

3. Your purse will double as your survival kit. Trade in your bulky arm bag for a small cross body. Pack only what you will desperately need.

4. Strongly consider packing a picnic lunch for after the parade.

5. Do not drink the entire pitcher of Bloody Mary’s before 10 am if you hope to survive.

6. Bring hand sanitizer, and most likely latex gloves. Port-o-potties tend to get a little dicey around 6-7pm.

7. The use of Five Hour energy shots to stay awake is common and not discouraged.

8. All weather footwear is recommended.

Did I mention I am so! Excited.

Be safe y’all!


Lovin’ You is (and should be) Fun

Sing it, Easton Corbin. Sorry, I live in the South. Country music is king.

My lifelong guilty pleasure is the Bachelor/Bachelorette show. I have watched every season of this show from its debut, whether live or in rerun version. I love it. I can’t explain it, it’s probably for the same reason everyone loved to watch Jersey Shore or can’t miss an episode of Duck Dynasty.

So yea, I am watching the stereotypical prince charming “hunky hunk” Sean Lowe in this most recent season of the bachelor. While I find Sean kind of boring and too perfect (sorry dude), as he goes into the last week of this season where he picks between two of the last remaining girls, I can totally relate to his “idea” (even if it is a bit of a fairytale to imagine that you would know if a person fits your idea after 6-8 weeks of dating) of what type of relationship he is looking for: a combination of love/passion with fun/goofiness/weirdness… your best friend.

When he sent home AshLee (no seriously, that IS how you spell her name), I was thinking FINALLY! She was sooo serious and sooo invested in how passionate she loved the “man that SEAN IS!” that it almost seemed like there was nothing else behind it besides heavy, lovey dramatics. She knew the guy for a couple of weeks and suddenly attributed to him all this magical transformation she had gone through. And she told him that, all the time. Where was the fun? Lightheartedness? Can’t there be that feeling throughout a relationship, especially with someone who you are spending a life with?

I have definitely been there with relationships of the past. You feel so sure and serious and constantly in this fury of “love” that it gets too serious. Too dependent. It stops being fun and just becomes heavy. All you are ever talking about it how seriously in love you are but you kind of stop having any lighthearted moments. Usually this sort of relationship leads where anything heavy leads: down. You start arguing more than you are laughing as you try to grasp at this relationship you are so tightly entwined into.

If my husband ever reads this he’ll probably laugh at me, because I often say “I want you to say you love me in your serious voice!!” and he just cracks up. Despite those pleas, I am very grateful he still talks to me in a mushy voice and he is always goofy, positive and weird. Our relationship and now marriage is a ton of fun, it always has been. While we do spend plenty of time talking about serious stuff, from opinions to dreams to anxieties to what have you, we are still able to be playful goons. When we first started dating I just assumed that “fun” side would just wear away with the newness of a relationship, but it hasn’t worn away. We continue to court each other even though we’re married, and create those moments when we just have a good time. I’ve learned that seriously in love doesn’t have to be heavy. Marriage doesn’t have to be only going grocery shopping and who takes the dog for a walk. It really can be a lifetime a dating, and I don’t want to ever forget that.

So go with your gut Sean Lowe! #TeamKatherine

Sorry, I had to.🙂