Her real home. 

If you’ve read any of my previous blog posts or follow me on Instagram then you know about my battle with ptsd, depression and anxieties. Such a dark time with night terrors, flashbacks, depression that left me in bed most days unable to care for myself or my family, suicidal ideations, weight loss and a pillow filled with tears. Yet still, I cannot deny that it has also brought so much good.

During the manic episode my love for nature was remembered. My real home here on earth. Where I lose my fears, anxieties, sadness, grief and instead I see how small my problems are and how big God is. How beautiful and intentional he created nature to be for us. How incredibly restorative it is to pause on the responsibilities of this life and lose yourself in his creation.

To reacquaint yourself with the unpaved paths, the scent of floral trees picked up by the air that surrounds your body and fills your breath. To hear their whisper as they brush against each other to welcome you home. Where conversation has depth but words are never spoken. Where you’re dreaming vividly, with your eyes open. To place your hand in a stream with a current and feel it dance and curl between your fingers.

I am homesick when I am away, can you understand why?

I know what it means to be so devoid of life that you beg and plead with God to take it. I don’t have instructions for a way out, everyone’s journey is different. Though two journeys can have commonalities they can never be the same. Faithfully love those with souls that are at war and you will discover that it is everyone you can love.

Our loved ones see our mental illness differently than we do. 

This post that I’m sharing is very special to me because it is written by my husband. From his perspective of a particular time when I had lost hope. I’ve hesitated on sharing this because my family and friends may read this, there is no need to worry my mental illness is in remission. At the end I share my thoughts.

 
Tiff asks me once again “Can we talk?” with that pained look in her eyes that was all too familiar at this point. It had been roughly 6 months of talks, prayer and many tears over the topic of how depressed she was. Sometimes our talks would help, sometimes I would make it worse by getting frustrated and impatient. Some nights I would get the sense that we were making real progress and then a week later we would be back, her crying and us praying over the same topic I was sure we had dealt with. 

Talk of suicide had come up several times at this point, but it was always in a manner that seemed irrational. This time however, as we talk Tiffany asks me to please hide my guns from her. Now if I ever imagined what it would be like to lose a loved one, the thought in itself is difficult to swallow. But in any case, in my mind the loss was always death in the form of a tragic car accident or failing health. I never really conisdered what it would mean to me if my wife, the person I love the most on this earth was to willingly take her own life. 

As the problem solver of the family, Mr. Fix it I naturally want to think of the most logical solution to the problem. None of this made any sense to me. Life is good! We have a home, healthy beautiful kids, we both have jobs, family, friends, church and God. Why end it? Or rather why would you WANT to end it? Logic is not working. So I turn to self doubt. Is she unhappy in our marriage? Am I not leading her right? Is the life that I have tried my best to provide for our family not good enough? What should I have done differently? 

The fear and the insecurity that came with this request to hide my guns was very real. It was time to get serious about getting professional help and medication. Since Tiff was reluctant to get on medication I would only suggest it but didnt push too hard. I wanted it to be a decision she made on her own. But now it was time to push. I didn’t care if she resented me for making her see a doctor and take meds, I couldn’t deal with the thought of her wanting to kill herself. 

 The guns were immediately concealed, but I was still very concerned. Afterall, having a gun handy would make it easy but if it was this bad she could find another way if she tried hard enough. While i dont fully understand what its like to deal with mental illness, I have been reassured and I’m confident now that it’s not my fault. I am grateful to God that he has provided doctors and medicine to help. The change has been dramatic since she started taking medication and I haven’t heard the word suicide since. Our talks at night are back to being full of laughter and plans for the future. My wife, my love has come back to me. 

There were many times where I cried myself to sleep begging the me that used to exist to hold on promising her that God would bring freedom. In the beginning suicidal thoughts weren’t something I thought about often but over time they became more frequent until I thought about it everyday, all day and even started planning. Understand I didn’t want to end my life, I wanted to end the pain. 

My heart overflows with passion to share this piece of my life. When I opened up I started hearing other’s stories and understood this is not uncommon we just don’t TALK about it. I prayed John 8:31-32 and John 14:13-14. One about freedom if I just obey and the other promising an answered prayer if we would just ask. I was ashamed and fearful for years about this part of my life. Now I treasure this lifelong journey and I’m determined to use it for good. 

My doctor thought I had cancer. 

January 2016 I went to my doctor for a routine wellness exam. During the visit my doctor found some abnormalities and wanted to take biopsies to see if I had cancer. The fear and terror is not something I can explain, it has to be felt. I cried when I got back to my car I don’t know how I made it home. That night I sobbed while my husband held me. 

What my doctor didn’t know was that I had been struggling with realizing my own mortality and had become an undiagnosed hypochondriac. I was also battling re-experiencing PTSD, depression and anxieties.  

I don’t have cancer. There’s nothing like a life threatening diagnosis that will make you think about your life and how you’re living it. This is when minimalism started to really introduce itself in helping me with my mental health, stress and refocusing on what really matters to me. 

We live in America. I was always trying to get somewhere FAST, comparing myself to others, consuming more and more junk putting us further into debt, indulging in unhealthy habits and at the end of the day still unhappy. 

There has been so much pain and suffering this past year. I have so much repairing to do in my relationship with God, my marriage, parenting and friendships. I no longer desire stuff that only stresses me out and pulls me further from my purpose and values. 

When we gave up 80% of our junk we didn’t focus on what we were losing but what we were gaining. I’m not saying minimalism is the answer for everyone but maybe with an open mind it is. 

Time for a change. 

“Mama’s home!!” They run to me with big smiles almost tackling me to the floor as they jump into my arms. All the stress from work is gone and replaced with love and joy. I savor this because I know one day they will be too big and cool to greet mom this way. My husband turns the corner to welcome me home with a kiss and a hug. We walk together to the kitchen while he chats and I look back behind me at the living room and the tornado state it’s in. I try to focus on what he’s telling me but I can’t. Im panicking trying to remember a key word to get myself out of appearing unloving or uninterested.  

Instead I look at the sink. It’s filled. With dirty dishes. I have to wash them first because I need some of them to cook. I also forgot to thaw out the meat and I will end up cooking the meat half-frozen half thawed. I start to gather all the ingredients I will need for dinner and see I forgot to put the laundry from the washer in the dryer. There’s also several loads that need to be done, yesterday. 

We finish dinner and start our evening routine. I bathe the boys and husband washes the dishes. I make it upstairs before the boys to run the bath water. Dirty clothes everywhere. Bathe the boys and there are no clean towels. Grab a towel from our room and come back upset by our unmade bed and clothes all over the floor. Which ones are clean? Which ones are dirty? 

Boys are in their pjs and in bed. We say our prayers give kisses and hugs I walk out close the door and let out a loud sigh. Then argue with myself about how much there is to do but the day was long so I deserve to relax right? I relax because there’s always tomorrow. Can you guess how long I’ve been having that argument? Months. 

This is how we spent many evenings. There’s so much left out though like how most days I got frustrated with the boys or my husband and I argued about “the little things”. 

Something has to change. I finally realized that what I valued in my life weren’t things at all. I value my faith and loving others, my husband and our marriage, my boys and raising them to be loving human beings that would give back to the world in a positive way, my health so I could live a long life and enjoy my family and lastly nature, connecting with the beauty outside that God created for us to enjoy. This does not mean that I am giving my values 100%, no there’s always work to be done. But, I can tell you we do not spend our nights like the above anymore. 

Are you stressed? Is there not enough time in a day? Are you always being pulled in so many directions? Is your health suffering? Are you anxious or depressed? 

Then I ask what are the things you value? And are you nourishing those values? Maybe it’s time for a change. 

Why family night is important?

Since our newly wed days Austin and I have had family night once a week.  Family time was so foreign to me and after our pre-marriage counselors recommended it I was intrigued. Leaving the single/dating lifestyle it was challenging to be consistent. We didn’t have kids and when our friends made plans that happened to fall on our family night we would choose to join our friends.

Figuring out a family night plan required lots of trial and error. We have a no phone rule, no calls, no texts, no phones-okay except for picture taking. Early on we ran into schedule conflicts bible studies, friends birthday dinners, etc. If we have another free night during the week we can switch our family night to we do. BUT if we have a busy week and don’t have a free night our family night takes precedence. Unsaid truth your family is the most important you’re the only one that’s going to make it a daily priority. 

We embrace this welcome it and respect it. We tell the boys often “I love being a Hahn, being a Hahn is so fun, isn’t it good to be a Hahn.” They cheerfully agree. 

Austin and I are a team in building a godly, joyful, loving home for ourselves and our boys. We are responsible for raising them to obey us and one day obey God. We are responsible for training them to be loving, responsible, respectful human beings. One day our boys are going to be men and hopefully have family’s of their own, it is our job to prepare them. 

I also find when I feel disconnected with one of my boys this has become a great time to reconnect. I felt that way last week with my youngest. We dined at a local chain restaurant using one of our Christmas gift cards and he sat in my lap the entire night. I have felt closer to him since and to think it only took him sitting on my lap and having my full attention. 

Here are some of our favorite family night activities:

1). Devotionals, we don’t do this every family night. We also use this time to talk about any issues we see them having such as not sharing, hitting, whining, etc. 

2). Play games. 

3). Family hike. 

4). Play with their favorite toys. 

5). Go to the library. 

6). Movie. 

7). Fro-yo. 

8). Bake. 

9). Fly kites. 

10). Kick a soccer ball around at a local park. 

11). Wash cars. 

12). Go to the pool. 

13). Go to an outdoor movie night. 

14). Make pizzas. 

15). Water balloon fight. 

Multiple studies reveal that kids develop behavioral and emotional problems when there is a lack of quality time with the parents.   That’s enough to motivate me. Sure it’s easy to joke about how our parenting is going to one day lead our kids into therapy, but no one truly wants that. My kids may end up in therapy one day but I’m going to try hard to keep that from happening. Our boys crave our attention and when we give it to them they feel special and find that they are respected and feel self-worth. 

Also on family nights I don’t cook! Yas! Wasn’t my idea that was all the hubby. 

My husband, proof that God answers prayers. 

I still remember when I used to pray for you before we met. For you to love God, be handsome, strong, wise, careful with money, hard working, humble, kind, funny, considerate, honorable, forgiving, disciplined, patient and unconditionally loving. I thought it impossible for there to be such a man…not for God. 
God has given us two wonderful gifts in our boys whom you have loved like every child deserves. You teach, instruct, guide, discipline, encourage, love, apologize, joke, inspire and comfort our sweet, sweet boys. Unfortunately they will see incorrect examples and will one day fully understand how amazing their father is. Prayerfully they will see your example and desire to be just like you in the same way you have with your father. 

The memory I hold closest to my heart with you this past year is when you told me days later that you had woken up one morning and prayed for God to take away my depression and anxieties and give it to you. That week had been particularly dark with thoughts of suicide and so many tears. I was paralyzed, non-functioning and unstable you had become my caregiver. I was angry at first because you’re a faithful man and I knew God would answer. Why would you ask for this? I would never wish it on anyone and the man I loved most especially. But after realizing how God had answered and how I spent a full day without depression and anxiety and you had, I was shocked and in awe and relieved honestly I was suffocating. I hated that it had cost you. I imagine God was amazed by your prayer and granted it knowing it would only help you understand and for certain bring us closer.

Through hardship and loss you have always been by my side. I know it has not been easy for you as you’ve held my hands up and sacrificed yourself endlessly. I will never forget this past year. Though not anymore because of the pain and suffering, but I will remember it now as the year my husbands love led me out of the wilderness and back to my first love. Austin you have helped me find my worth and value in God again. 

You are a light in my life I will never deserve. Rather than spending time trying to understand why me? I will spend it loving you passionately. My husband, I will love you always. I will be faithful and loyal to you all the days I have here on earth. I praise and celebrate the day you were born! Happy Birthday, I love you. 

Mountain mural. 

Several years ago we vacationed at Yosemite National Park and stayed in one of the rental homes in the park. The views were stunning, the air was fresh and the sunsets were unlike any I have ever seen. As anyone who has vacationed can imagine it was very hard to say goodbye. I dreamt of bringing back a piece of the beauty home with us. In a way with this hand-painted mural we brought the mountains home with us. 


While Pinterest-ing one evening I found a DIY mountain mural someone hand-painted. So I started shopping online for mountain scape wallpaper that I could purchase. After comparing prices I decided to just take the plunge and paint it myself. 

 PROJECT

One of the challenging  parts of the project was picking the paint colors, some grey paint colors have underlying colors like green or purple so I had to compare a lot of colors to find the right blend. Thank goodness for paint samples because we went grey-z with them! I think I bought several gallons worth of paint in samples. Worth it once the project was done and we were happy with the color choices. 

After the paint colors were chosen I free handed the mountains. I started at the bottom and worked my way up. I would free hand, step back and add peaks and slopes where I felt were needed. It seems very intimidating but it’s actually pretty easy to paint bumpy, snaky lines. It took about a week to complete the project I’m sure it could be completed in less time but I took my time with it. 

I love doing yoga by candlelight and practicing mediation in a tranquil and peaceful room. Our bedroom now has a sense of calmness and relaxation. 

Feel free to comment below with any questions! 


 

First tattoo. 


I don’t like the phrase “daddy issues” it’s now just another way of saying a girl is crazy. Someone shared with me once about her friend and how she went off the rails. “I don’t know, she has daddy issues so she’s crazy.” She continued talking about her friend and the things she was doing that elected her crazy and it was like I was pulled out and everything became fuzzy. I started to have flashbacks of my father, images of him twirling me around and dancing with me. Of me sitting in his lap as he held me close talking to me, only I can’t hear what he’s saying.  

It’s not like the movies either there’s not a break in the scene where you all of a sudden are watching something that has happened. It’s re-experiencing those moments with all the feelings involved. Sometimes they are moments I remember and other times I’m shocked by the memory that was lost and how clearly I remember it now.

For years I’ve fought against unfurling my childhood trauma it was uncomplicated and painless to just act as though it didn’t occur. My husband has always motivated me to make progress to draw nearer to freedom and to God. He recognized years ago that this 20+ years of fight has drained me and urged me to get help. 

I started taking medication for depression and anxiety several months ago. For me NOT taking medication was the last thing I had left. I had lost my passion to love, to parent, to eat, to laugh, to move and to live. I felt like everything had been taken from me by this unseen force that was killing me from the inside out. But the decision to take medication was mine and I was going to hold onto it until it bled the life out of me.  Understand, I had believed that I would lose myself, that I was weak, that I would be taking the easy route. All of these lies. Now, now I know how sorrowful I had become and how all I needed was to let go, let go of my pride and trust the journey. 

A friend once told me that depression and anxiety was one of the best gifts God has given him. How could so much pain be a gift?! I understand what he means now. Being honest and open about my story has brought me so much freedom and I have made so many incredible friends who have suffered through so much pain. It’s surprising to see how many people are suffocating and drowning and we don’t know. It’s an incredible feeling to be vulnerable with others and be able to help them even if it’s in a small way. 

My tattoo reminds me every time I take my medication that God wants me to trust Him with my weakness so he can give me strength and to that I say… I surrender. 

To my friend out there with the “daddy issues” who is crazy. I’m sorry your first love left you. If I could I would pull you in close, hug you tightly and whisper in your ear…I’m crazy too. 

Why I started a blog and got a dog.

Have you ever wondered why a certain person is the way they are? I’ve wondered this of others but secretly more often than others I’ve wondered this about myself.

I’m depressed and I have been for the past twenty or so years and didn’t know, more on that later possibly, I am not sure where I am going with this. Though, I am sure that my faith has forced me to deal with the dark that has been pulling my soul further from the light. I am also sure that more and more every day I am finding freedom from its clutches.

I have had a desire to write for several years now and I did attempt to blog several years ago but didn’t stick with it. I have kept the itch of blogging cornered for a while now and I believe I am ready to let it out. In the past I believed that I am not impressive or interesting and while I still believe these things I no longer care if I am not impressive or interesting to others. I am writing for me. I want to grow, to learn, to teach, to be inspired and to inspire. I want to be creative, adventurous and disciplined.

On a much more adventurous and exciting note we got a puppy! Backstory I DON’T like dogs as a child I was attacked by one and have been terrified of them since. Being a researcher at heart I have come across article after article about how dogs are used for therapy i.e. depression, anxiety and a host of other mental illnesses. For months I’ve been reading these, so this isn’t a rushed decision which are often how my decisions are made. So far the research has proven true. I. LOVE. HER. She has been such a joy, definitely an “it was meant to be” decision. She is so cuddly and loves taking naps on my lap as I stroke her fur. She helps me relax when I am stressed by just being in the room. She is a shepherd/lab mix and is a month and a half and we Hahn’s are happy we added her to the family. So I say to all the crazy animal-lovers out there I get it, truly, I finally get it.