Everyone is Lying or We’re Doing it Wrong

Betsy and I just got back from camping with our three kids. It was one night. In a yurt. And it sucked. I’d like to think I’m not alone in the abhorrence of camping with small children. And yet, according to social media, I’m doing something wrong.

I grew up camping and have very fond memories of it. As an adult I feel okay about it. It’s great when there are a lot of people to share the work, less fun when it’s was just Betsy and me.

Every Spring Betsy proposes going camping with the kids. Last year she even “practiced” by sleeping with the big kids in a tent. When March rolled around I was ready for her enthusiastic pitch to go camping. I caved. All these friends made it look easy. Surely, we could handle it for one night in a yurt. I could not have been more wrong. I’m just going to throw out a list of why “What the fuck was I thinking” went through my head about a thousand times in the 16 hours (that’s all we lasted) we were roughing it. (Some of these apply to children, others just camping in general.)

  1. Given the growing population of Colorado, you have to book a site roughly six years in advance. If the forecast calls for hail two days before your trip you’re screwed. But of course you don’t want to waste your site so you agree to go anyway. Because nothing is more outdoorsy than sitting in a yurt for hours while in rains and hails.
  2. I have pee anxiety. I pee before getting into my sleeping bag and if I don’t fall asleep right away I lay awake thinking about whether or not I should go pee again. Which is a vicious cycle of thinking about going pee, conceding and going pee, hoping to fall asleep, and then thinking about going pee again. On repeat.
  3. Cooking a meal takes forever. So when trying to feed three kids dinner you should start cooking around 3:30PM.
  4. How the fuck do you get three toddlers to fall asleep at a decent hour in a 100 sq ft space? I’ll let you know when I figure it out.
  5. How do you keep three toddlers entertained in a tent or yurt when it’s pouring rain for hours? Puzzles. Check. Games. Check. Coloring. Check. I didn’t go camping to do the same shit I can do in my living room.
  6. How do you warm milk at 1AM when the baby decides he needs a bottle? Sit in the car with the heat on at full blast hoping it warms up before he wakes the other kids with his screaming.
  7. One of the kids will wake up at 5:30AM. Which in turn wakes up everyone else. So now you have three kids that have gone to bed at 10PM and wake at 5:30AM. Not sure how your kids handle life with less than 10 hours of sleep but mine are tiny devils. Tiny devils in a yurt with nothing to do. Sounds fun, doesn’t it?
  8. Things one year olds love; fire pits, crawling on camp chairs, falling off of camp chairs.

I’m sure there are more, but I’m too sleep deprived to think of them. Point being, those Instagram pics are lies. Camping with toddlers and babies isn’t glamorous. It’s terrible. And if no one else will tell you, I will.

Faith in Humanity #1

I just had a brilliant idea for a new series of blog posts. Which means I’ve basically maxed out on good ideas for the week. I, the esteemed side kick of this blog, will share experiences we’ve had that give us reason to have faith in humanity. There is a lot of hatred and negativity in the world today and this will serve as a little glimmer of positivity. And, in the end, it will inspire everyone to be nicer to each other which will lead to world peace. Obviously. So, without further ado, I bring you the first installment of Faith in Humanity.

Yesterday, Jordann and I were at ARC checking out the furniture. Because isn’t that what everyone does on a Saturday morning? No? That’s just us? Huh. Weird. Anyways, we ended up buying a dresser and a small end table. Turns out the dresser and it’s best friend the giant mirror take up the whole back of the car and the little end table doesn’t fit. Jordann asks me what we want to do and i tell her I can just hold it on my lap because one trip to ARC on a Saturday morning is quite enough, and I certainly don’t want to make another trip.

BUT THEN the woman in the car behind us that has been waiting so patiently for us to have this dresser loaded walks up to me and says, “Do you live nearby? Because we can put it my car and I can just follow you home. Then you won’t have to make two trips.” WHAT?! I tell her that’s not necessary and I’m just being lazy. But she tells me that it’s no problem at all and she’d be happy to.

As it turns out, we had to stop at the store to buy milk on the way home so we didn’t take advantage of her kindness, but we thanked her a few more times than socially necessary and went on our way.

Maybe everyone can offer to help someone today. It doesn’t have to be a stranger. A friend or family member would appreciate it too. Then they’ll go help someone else, etc., etc., until world peace prevails!

You can start by picking up our end table at ARC.

All In

I am a behavior activator. A do-er. Give me a challenge and I will accept it. I once found Otis Spunkmeyer cookie dough for a friend’s birthday present. Do you know how hard it is to find those tiny circles of deliciousness? You can’t buy them in a store. Try. Trust me. You won’t find them anywhere. It took months, and a sweet lady name Lucy at a local hotel chain. I ended up having to order a 20-pound box with 500 pieces of dough.

Let’s not confuse this with a Type-A personality. I will never stay up until 2:00am to make sure my kitchen is clean after a party. That shit can wait until morning. Or afternoon.

Or Play-doh mixing (yes it’s a thing.) How the hell do you prevent a toddler from mixing Play-doh? Don’t ask me. Ask a Type-A person.

I have anxiety. I manage it by finding new hobbies. I make stuff. I put stripes on my walls. Fancy stripes.

I sew quilts. One that required 20 hours of learning how to appliqué to make the ‘H’ for Hogwarts.

I used to bake all the time. Betsy told me I had to stop. She was gaining too much weight. I even made the cupcakes for my own wedding. It helped me cope with the anxiety of, well, my own wedding.

Pinterest is my best friend. And Betsy’s worst enemy.

This trait would be really convenient if I didn’t also go all in for everything I do.

I started therapy a few weeks ago. It’s a very specific technique called Brainspotting (more on that later). My therapist told me it was a “gentle” technique. Not for me. If I was going to work through my shit, I was going to make it worthwhile. All in. I am a therapist’s dream.

It’s probably why I don’t take on certain tasks. Like running. I couldn’t just run a 5K. I would want to run a marathon. But probably not. Because running sucks.

I took on furniture painting eight months ago. You’ve seen how that’s gone. A garage full of pieces. Late night painting sessions. Not enough sleep. This one has actually worked out in my favor.

Relationships. All in. This isn’t specific to romantic relationships. It’s friendships, too. I don’t want the superficial version of anyone. I want to know EVERYTHING about you. I ask uncomfortable questions. Which I don’t view as intrusive but I’ve been told otherwise. (Thanks, Elizabeth.)

Here’s the thing. I didn’t know this about myself until a month ago. Which I know seems impossible. I mean I knew I was a passionate person. But I didn’t realize how extreme it was.

A close friend (again, thanks Elizabeth) asked me how my therapy was going.

Me: “It’s super intense. Which is odd because the therapist told me it was a gentler method.”

Eli: “Why is it so intense?”

Me: “You pick something that makes you super anxious and make yourself as anxious as possible without freaking out. And then you work through it.”

Eli: “Wow, that sounds terrible.”

Me: “I mean, you don’t have to take it to the extreme. I just figured if I was going to do it, I might as well DO IT.”

Eli: “Weird, Jordann going all in on something. Totally not you.” (Obviously being sarcastic.)

I literally stopped the conversation and asked her if I do this with everything. She laughed slightly and said, “Really? Have you met yourself.”

Huh, I guess I do. Wow, Betsy must find this super annoying. All people don’t function this way? How am I thirty one and just now realizing this? I have a whole new thing to explore in therapy. Needless to say, it was somewhat shocking to finding this out about myself.




The Luxury Of Mental Health

If you’ve read my blog, you know I have OCD and anxiety. I’ve written before about how my ability to get into a psychiatrist within a week of my mental breakdown was solely dependent on who I knew and how much I was willing to pay. Sad, but true.

Upon my diagnosis five years ago my psychiatrist would only prescribe meds if I was in therapy. I participated in talk therapy for about six months before the therapist felt I no longer needed it. Honestly, I was happy to stop. The experience of going was, in itself, anxiety inducing. Not every therapist’s style fits every patient. Not what you want from therapy.

Prior to that, I had gone to therapy in college. Again, not life changing, but it was free. You can’t beat free therapy.

Fast forward five years and three kids.

I’m lucky that my family physician will prescribe my meds. I don’t have to wait the four-six months to see a psychiatrist. ‘I’m sorry you’re having a mental crisis but you’re going to have to wait four months to see someone. Let’s just hope for the best while you wait.’ (This is the actual wait time to see a psychiatrist. I didn’t just make it up.)

Meanwhile, one of my best friends is a huge advocate of therapy. She goes regularly and loves it. And often encourages me to go.

I’ve reached a point in my life that I know I would benefit from good therapy. So I looked into it. The average cost of seeing a clinical psychologist in the area is $150/session. Guess how much insurance covers; $0.

On the flip-side, it costs me $12 to get meds for 45 days. It’s a lot easier to justify $12/month compared to $300 for two therapy sessions. And yet, I know the research. I know how much therapy would help.

Three hundred dollars. It’s not an easy decision. It’s budgeting and reworking our schedules to make it fit. But, for me it is a decision I get to make. There are plenty of individuals that desperately need it and it isn’t an option. They simply can’t afford to spend the $150 or take the time off work. Instead, they leave it untreated. Or, if they’re lucky, take the meds.

In his interview on The Hilarious World of Depression, Reggie Osse made the point, “I think the issue is not only that mental illness is a stigma, but mental health is a luxury.” I think this explains why we have a mental health crisis in this country.