Monday, November 23, 2009

Put the cheese on both sides

Here's something I learned yesterday.

If you are going to make grilled cheese and and cut it up into tiny pieces for little kiddos to eat . . . and if you are going to add deli turkey meat to that sandwich, then you need to put a piece of cheese on each side of the meat. Otherwise, the top half of the bread doesn't stick to the sandwich and when you cut it into tiny pieces you will end up with a bunch of open-faced little sandwiches and a bunch of sections of just plain bread. And you'll have to weed through the whole pile of squares to try to find pieces that actually have meat or cheese on them.

Here's another thing I have learned recently. Or maybe relearned.

Yes, I think it is relearned. I think the first time I learned this was during the five years we spent yearning to be parents.

Life is hard. Just when you think you have it altogether and everything seems to be flowing smoothly, you can get surprised by something new.

Nelly's death surprised me.

I haven't written about it since we have gotten back from Mexico and the main reason is, that I haven't been able to. I've tried. I've started numerous blogs. But I can't.

Here's a fact I haven't talked about on my blog before. And, incidentally, one I wasn't sure I would ever discuss on these pages.

I've been being treated for anxiety and depression for a few months now. Since Elijah was about six months old. It may have been postpartum depression. We aren't sure. But either way, I've been dealing with that. I've been seeing a psychologist. Not really for counseling. I haven't really had a lot of things to discuss in that regard. But she's been teaching me skills to cope with anxiety. To help me get through difficult times.

Our trip to Colorado was where things got really bad. Travelling in airports and being delayed. I had numerous times that without JB calming me down, I may have had a full-blown panic attack . . . anyways the details of what lead to me seeking help can be saved for another blog.

I am not sure why I haven't mentioned this on the blog before. I guess, I felt a bit guilty. A bit guilty that I was depressed and dealing with anxiety after being blessed with my two wonderful packages of joy. I didn't want people to judge me. I didn't want people to worry about me. So I told a couple of people but otherwise, just kept it something private.

But Nelly's death changed all that. My psychologist shifted from just teaching me skills to deal with anxiety to counseling me in the aftermath of a difficult situation.

And she gave me homework. She told me that she wanted me to write about the event. To write every detail. To write how it made me feel. To focus on sensory details instead of facts.

I told her that I loved to write but that since I had gotten home from Mexico, I hadn't been able to write about Nelly. That something about it was too painful to return to. She encouraged me to do my best.

This whole week I've been trying.

I've been working on the piece for awhile and it is "due" tomorrow. It's not my usual writing. It's not very organized. It feels discombobulated. It just isn't what I want it to be. I can't seem to make sense of all the details and get them onto paper.

I'm trying. And when I'm done, eventually, I may try to share parts of it with you.

But I have had a few people email me and ask me how I am doing with all of this since I haven't written about it again.

What I can say right now is that I am doing fine. I'm sleeping fine. I just feel changed somehow. I feel life's fragility in a more concrete way. I feel a bit more scared and a bit more aware what a vapor this life is.

And I'm second-guessing myself. I just want to go back and change something and have her live. And have her go back to her family.

But I can't. And I'm working through that. By myself and with help.

As I continue to process it, I'll share bits. But for now, I'll work on my writing piece that may eventually meld into something I share on the blog.

If you lived here with us, I'd share my grilled cheese with you too. Despite my error, it was still really yummy. :)


jjc said...

You are not alone in the depression. I have suffered post partum with my last 2 children. It is really hard and people don't understand unless they have been through it. If you ever need to talk I am here. It's very difficult but I can say it does get better. I have just gone off my meds a couple days ago because we are tring to have another baby, I almost feel so much better going off the meds. I have so much more energy and I just feel much better. But in the beginning the meds really helped me. I hope things go much better for you as they did for me!

Anonymous said...

I had commented once before that I got the impression that you were suffering from PPD. You promptly deleted my comment. I am glad you are honest with us about it now. I suffered PPD and I know the signs.

Wendi Kitsteiner said...

I remember your comment and I remember deleting it. I deleted the comment because at that point, I was not struggling. Elijah was only two months old I believe and I was not dealing with depression at that point. It hit later -- about 6 months along. Also, personally, I think non-anonymous comments are a bit more fair. :)

Erica said...

Wendi, thanks for sharing! I have never been through PPD, so I don't know what that feels like, but I have experienced death up close, and it definitely will shake your world. It's bittersweet - bitter because of the loss but sweet because it causes us all to pause for a moment and recognize the brevity of life. Nevertheless, in all of these things, you are only human. It's really OK that you are experiencing these feelings, and it's OK that you are sharing them. Remember what you always tell me...ultimately, this blog is for YOU, and if people choose to read and have their opinions, fine. But this is your life and your story.

Susie said...

Hey Wen, I'm not sure if you know this, but I am a therapist (I work mostly with teens) and I just have to tell you that I really appreciate your decision to talk about your depression and anxiety on the blog.
I have seen personally and professionally the stigma that sometimes comes from going to counseling/ therapy/ etc, etc, and just want to say as a friend AND someone who has a career in Mental Health, Thank you for putting this out there.
I also struggle with depression and anxiety (I think we all do to an extent), especially after my son was born, and just want you to know that you will be in my thoughts. Let me know if you want to talk... :-)

Wendi Kitsteiner said...

Thanks Sue. I appreciate your honesty too. Blessings old friend!

Thelsmom said...

Wendi, I take meds for both anxiety and depression. I have never had PPD but am dealing with my moms death this year. I have come to realize sometimes your bodies chemicals get out of whack and you need medication to help, just like a diabetic does. Many of my friends also take meds for both. Thank you for being so honest in your blog.

Susan R. said...

Thank you! I have never met you but found your blog through my struggle with infertility. I have recently had my second little girl (12 weeks old). I have been struggling with this for the past several weeks and didn't think I should anything....that I should just try and deal with it myself. Reading your blog just now has changed my mind otherwise. I am calling my doctor tomorrow! Thank you so much and thank you for your blog!

Rachel and Hans said...

As always, you do a great job of sharing your feelings. I think anonymous comments are VERY unfair and you are a saint for even allowing them.

I think that by sharing your feelings, you will definitely touch someone's life in a very positive way.


Anonymous said...

You are so very special!
i love you....
tante Jan

Lady Di said...

I am sure anonymous meant well. It sounds like she got victory in this area and doesn't want anyone else to suffer like that. The delivery came across a bit harsh but maybe there is still some pain there. Hurting people hurt people. Thanx for sharing your heart Wen. You can see you encouraged someone else to seek help. Everyone has their issues and we need each other! Love you.

Wendi Kitsteiner said...

Susan, THANK YOU FOR TELLING ME THIS. It makes my decision to share feel that I was truly doing what the Lord was leading me to do. I hesitated for long minutes before I hit the "publish" button on that post.

Wendi Kitsteiner said...

I definitely think anonymous meant well and I am not upset at him/her at all. At the time, in the original comment, anonymous implied that I was more in love with Isaac than Elijah and I disagreed with that. I loved both my boys immensely and at that point, was not struggling with any depression or anxiety. It hit me much later. The comment then hurt my feelings. I accept anonymous comments but anytime one is not something I want my boys to read 10 years from now, I delete it. I never wanted Elijah to read that his Mommy loved him less than Isaac. I hope that makes sense anonymous. Thank you for your good intentions and trying to help.

crazystegmamaof4 said...

I think I really needed to hear this today. I have suffered from anxiety since Ashley was 2 months old. Depression (while on a lesser level) came with that...mostly b/c I was feeling VERY guilty about being anxious and sad when I felt I should be so joyous over the many, many blessings God has given me (particularly my 4 sweet kids :)) I felt alone even in those times because I tried to hide it all and keep it to myself. I never admitted it was post-partum either...and who knows it if was. But, I'm starting to feel the same way again this year now that the holidays are upon us. Just that overwhelming feeling of trying to be too much to too many people and not trying to "be still" and focus on what's really important.

I guess I just wanted you to know you're not alone and that so many people out there appreciate your honesty. And there is this stigma about "seeking help"...and "not being able to help yourself". I still struggle with that and is why I'm probably still anxious. I could use a little professional help myself :) (maybe wise Sue can help me??) :) Thanks for putting this all out there, Wen. I'll be praying for you as you sort through the feelings of your recent tragedy. That in itself is a whole 'nother thing to have to deal with. I cannot even fathom.

Love ya, friend. Hang in there.

Anonymous said...

It does make sense and I really meant no harm in it. PPD does things to people that others cannot even fathom. You are remarkable in handling two children that are very close in age. I enjoy your posts. I do apologize for being anonymous. I don;t really know how to work this whole comment thing. Nice to meet you, my name is sinnamon.

Anonymous said...

Wendi - making yourself vulnerable to the scores of people reading this is a calling to which you are being obedient. You are a fabulous writer & you are sharing your real life as well as how our amazing God helps you through every single day by surrounding you with amazing people who love you & yours! Your experiences, battles, blessings, overcomings are an encouragement to many, many people!

You are one smart momma with one smart hubby so you will be okay because you know what you need to do to get through this...and you will get through this! The saying, "that which doesn't kill us, makes us stronger" really is true. Just imagine how God will use you as you continue to serve His purpose! Amazing possibilities ahead!

Now...a quick comment changing the topic. I choose to stay annonymous because...I'm fairly new to this blogging stuff. I worry that if I comment here as an identifiable person, someone (besides you) will be able to track me down. I really don't want my personal information out there for scores of folks I don't know. Since I'm not a unique creature, I'm assuming others might feel the same way? might want to give us a basic Blogging 101 that addresses that concern? Until I know more, I will continue to be...annonymous!

May God's peace enfold you today & always!

Wendi Kitsteiner said...

Thanks everyone! As to the comment regarding how to be anonymous, you can not log in, but still leave a first name. If I know you, I'd know that name. However, overall, I don't think anonymous comments are a problem unless you are saying something that appears you wouldn't say if you weren't anonymous. I'll try to touch on this in an upcoming blog. :)

Anonymous said...


Thanks for having the courage to share. I think I speak for most of all of your readers when I say your honesty and openness is why we love you and your blog so much. I think I too struggled with a bit of depression after my first daughter Hannah was born. Even though it's something I desired and looked forward to, having a baby was a really huge adjustment. Also, like you, I had some serious post partum complications. Children are stressful, and I can only imagine how complicated it must be to have two so close in age. I'm glad you are getting the help you need Wendi. You are an incredible Mom!

Jenny Wilson

Bonnie Leigh said...

Hi Wendi,

This is my first comment on your blog, but I have been following it for quite a while. I first found it through a mutual friend. What I wanted most to say, though, is that you have no idea how much you have helped me over the past year. Your journey, struggles, triumphs, and wit have calmed my world and helped me to relax, pray, and remember the blessings in life. Life is crazy but wonderful, and you share that message in a beautiful way. It's very soothing and therapeutic to know that we can still struggle and be happy - and in fact, that's what being a mom/dad is all about!

When I first found your blog, my husband and I had been trying to have a baby for about a year, and your perspective helped me cope with all the feelings. I'm now 20 weeks along, and I still cherish your daily posts. Infertility started your blog, but your blog has become so much more - an outlet to accept life as crazy and wonderful as it is. And, a prayerful oasis in a crazy world of internet.

Thank you,

Sue said...

Kel- You know I love you! Take care of yourself... get in touch when and if you can! :-)

nicole said...


I wondered (and worried a bit about) how you were doing especially after I read about what happened in Mexico. I'm glad you're still hanging in there and that you didn't let stigma stop you from sharing (not that you NEEDed to share, but sometimes it feels good to get it out, right?). Isn't it nice to know that so many others have sought counseling and gotten help with coping in similar situations? And look at how many people you've helped along the way by your honesty! You're my very own little 6 foot tall beacon of light! :-)
I love you, and I'm always here for you - just an email or phone call away (and you KNOW how much I like to talk).