How a Puppy is Saving Me 

It’s no secret I suffer from Major Depressive Disorder, Anxiety and Panic Disorders and PTSD. Over the last few months I’ve become more open about my struggles in an attempt to help not only myself, but others who are suffering like me. I’m working with a great team of doctors and taking several medications, but most days these things just aren’t enough. I still find myself exhausted from the moment I wake up until the time I climb back into bed. It takes me hours to fall asleep and then I never sleep through the night. It has been a never ending cycle that I have been trying hard to break free from.

For a while now, I’ve thought that getting a puppy/dog that could eventually be a service dog for me would be the answer to a lot of my problems. My husband and I went back and forth on it and for a long time the decision was that it wasn’t the right time for us. We have busy lives; we both work full time, attend soccer matches almost every weekend from March through November, regularly get together with friends in places outside of our home. The list goes on and on. So adding a dog to the mix, especially a puppy who needs training, was just not an option. I was relentless. Nearly every day I would share a puppy post or send him an add from Craigslist. I pushed and pushed and pushed to a point we were both miserable. I know that my obsession over this was stressing him out beyond belief.

Last week I saw a post on Facebook from a local service dog organization who, for one reason or another, was selling some of the puppies from a recent litter. It was the perfect English Cream Golden Retriever. The one I had been picturing in my head the whole time. I thought ‘This is it! This is the dog we’ve been waiting for!’ I convinced my husband to make the call and see at least how much they were charging for the puppies. He conceded under one condition; if this didn’t work out I needed to stop pushing. I agreed, reluctantly. He made the call and was told that the CEO of the organization would call him back. In my mind, that meant in a few minutes. I was wrong.

The next morning when my husband took the kids to school I did something I rarely do, I hit my knees and I prayed. I asked God to help me. I asked that this puppy workout and not cost more than we could afford. I asked that He make this work so that I could finally start recovering because I knew (in my ultimate wisdom) that this was what I needed. Before I finished praying I added one final part; I said that I would leave it up to Him to decide what was the right path for me. That I would accept where He lead me. I got up, finished getting ready for work and went on about my day as usual. Waiting for my husband to call with good news.

It took more than 24 hours (a long time, I know….) before he received the call back. I had just began cooking dinner when his phone rang. I ran to our bedroom and sat on the floor staring up at him trying to interpret his facial expressions on a call I couldn’t hear the other side of. When the call ended he told me they wanted $1,600 for the puppy. I felt my heart sink. That was more than we could afford. I sat there for a few minutes and cried. My husband told me if it was really what I needed, he would do it. I got up and walked out of the room. I finished making dinner, dried up my tears and had dinner with my family. The discussion at least for that time had ended. Once diner was over and the kitchen cleaned up we started the discussion again. I put on my logical, non-depression fueled hat, and told him we would not be getting that puppy. It was too much money and it would be selfish of me to spend that when there are other things our family needed. My husband said ok. Discussion over.

Thirty minutes later my husband sent me a text from a friend of ours that he had received earlier in the day asking him to consider getting me a puppy to help me find a sense of purpose. It was a completely sincere message from a friend who cares deeply for our family. I looked at my husband and tried not to cry. At that moment he said if we could find a puppy that was within our budget and if I would concede to the puppy being a Golden Doodle (to cut down on a little shedding) that he would let me get a puppy. I agreed but had my own conditions; the puppy had to be a girl, more golden that doodle and as close to white as possible. A deal was struck.

My husband and our friend spent that evening and the whole next morning scouring the internet for the perfect puppy. I would get a text here, a picture there. I would say yes or no depending on the pup. Finally the friend sent me a picture of the most adorable puppy I had seen. It checked all the boxes, my husband had seen it and agreed if I liked her. Our friend had already made contact with the breeder and negotiated a price that was acceptable. He was a very reputable breeder and this was the last puppy from the litter. I texted the friend back ‘I’LL TAKE HER!!’. It was about noon and I was leaving work in an hour to pick up the kids from school. I spoke to my boss and he agreed to let me take the afternoon off to go get my new baby.

I picked up the kids and took them to Petco to pick up a few things and that is how I surprised them with the news. They were thrilled. We bought the basics: collar, leash, treats and toys. We left the store and set off on the two and a half hour drive across the state to get our new family member.

From the first moment I met the puppy, I felt the weight lift from my chest. She was perfect. Both of her parents were on site and they had perfect temperaments and she did too. It was meant to be. The breeder and I handled all the paperwork and soon Molly was in the car and on the way home with us. That night we all played with her and let her explore her new home. She slept almost all the way through the night and didn’t have any accidents in her crate. She really was perfect.

The next morning waking up early and taking her out to go to the bathroom, for the first time that I could remember I wasn’t exhausted. I was completely and purely happy. There was no looming sense of doom, no crushing weight on my chest. Just smiles and a heart filled with unexplainable joy. My husband was off work that first day with her and I set off to work with no anxiety or panic at all. I made it through the entire day without a single moment of depression.

Later that morning I received a text from someone at my church. He said that he and Fr. John had been speaking about me and wanted to check in and see how I had been doing. My heart stopped. He had never once since meeting him, texted me to check in on me. Of all days, he reached out the first morning I felt happy, two days after I had prayed to God and left it all in his hands. I texted back how I had been doing and the story of our new puppy. Fr. John was thrilled to hear of the blessing that had been given to me and said that recently, Pope Francis had ‘renewed our need for animal companionship’. It was that moment I realized, God had answered my prayers. It wasn’t the way I had expected. It wasn’t the puppy I saw and begged my husband to call on. But it was the puppy that is the perfect fit for our family. It was the path He chose for me. I have never doubted my faith, but that day it was strengthened more than ever knowing my prayer had been answered so loudly.

It’s been nearly a week since we brought home our Molly Doodle and I haven’t had a single depressed moment. I’ve had early mornings, late nights, constant potty training failures and all the puppy hugs and kisses I can take. So far, Molly has saved me from my depression and I can never thank her enough. I know my battle is far from over, but knowing that Molly is at home waiting for me makes every day a little bit easier.

A Day in the Life with Depression

How would you feel if everyday life was a battle?

For me, every day I wake up is a battle. Most people don’t know, and only some are now learning, that I have major depressive disorder, panic disorder and PTSD (from a currently unknown cause). I see two different therapists, each to treat different conditions. I’m on multiple medications just to try and keep me from completely breaking down every day. Each medication has its own side effect that takes its toll on my physically and mentally.

I have always been the happy girl, the go-to girl, the girl with the answers, and it’s hard for people around me to deal with me not being all there for them. People begin judging or talking amongst themselves on what is going on with me. So instead, I spend most of my days trying to smile and pretend nothing is wrong. On most days I wake up, take my meds, take my time getting ready (at this point I don’t even wear much makeup or bother doing my hair), and eventually drag myself out of the house to work. At work I do what I can to not fall behind, which is a struggle in itself because I’m constantly distracted by my thoughts and emotions. When people come to me with questions or tasks, I quickly put on the happy girl smile and tend to their needs. The whole time just wanting to tell them to go away and let me be alone. But that’s not reality in a work setting, especially when you are the person in charge of getting things handled for your team. When they turn their back to leave, my smile fades and I write down what they needed because I’m likely to forget what it was within 5-10 minutes. I move through my day like a zombie making sure to smile at anyone who comes near so they won’t notice. I barely leave my office anymore. My blinds are drawn and my lights are off. I attribute this to my migraines but mostly it is because I can’t stand looking out a gorgeous day and knowing I’m trapped physically and mentally inside.

By lunch time, I slap a smile on my face and pick up my kids from school. They have grown used to the fact that mommy needs to take a nap during lunch breaks and thankfully haven’t really asked me why. My son even comes over to rub my back occasionally. If I don’t manage to fall asleep, I’m angry going back to work on top of feeling miserable and wanting to cry and hide. I finish up the end of the day the same way I began it; smile at the people, tell them I’m on top of the task they have asked of me. When 5pm comes along, I have to pace myself walking out because running people over in the hallway is not acceptable.

I drive the 5 minutes home nearly in tears. It’s been another day that I simply couldn’t break the depression cycle. I wipe my eyes before walking in so my kids don’t know I’ve been crying. From here I usually lay back down on the couch to rest some more. Faking happiness is exhausting.

Most days I have to order dinner out for the family because I simply don’t have the energy to cook. The days I cook are always made up of “easy meals”; tacos, mac and cheese, leftovers. Anything that will take 15 minutes or less because that’s all I have in me. By the time I’ve made dinner, I’m not even hungry. If it’s just me and the kids home, I won’t eat. If my husband is home, I force myself to eat as much as I can so he doesn’t get too concerned about me “not being hungry” again.

The evenings I usually lay on the couch and play with my phone while watching TV. It’s mindless and requires no real energy. I smile as much as I can when my husband asks me if I’m ok. On day’s where I’m being more honest with myself and him, I’ll answer “I’m trying to be”.

I try to go to bed early. I used to fall asleep within 5 minutes of my head hitting the pillow. Now I lay there for hours, unable to turn my brain off. Begging myself to fall asleep. Praying to let this all get better so I can be ME again.

The next day I wake up exhausted and the battle to get through another day begins all over again. The cycle never ends.

Be Kind, Children Are Absorbing 

Today is the day after the national election and the results are in. We have elected a new president. Today the full spectrum of emotions is running high: happy, sad, extatic, angry, scared, unsure, indifferent, and the list goes on.

Today I’m writing with purpose. Whether you do or do not like the President Elect doesn’t matter to me. What matters is what you teach your children today (and every day really). I’ve said it before, and I will say it until the day I die: hatred is a learned behavior. Our children learn from our words and actions. They see how we react to the world around us and they take it in. If we don’t teach our children respect, kindness and compassion, then who will?

Today I had a discussion with my children on the way to school. I explained to them that we are fortunate to live in a country that affords us the opportunity to vote and let our opinions count. And whether or not the people we voted for won, we have to respect the outcome. We don’t have to like it. We don’t have to like the man that was chosen. But we absolutely do have to respect the office that he holds. And that means we should respect the person that holds it. No matter my opinions on him as a person, I will not bash our newly elected President to my children. I will not fill their heads and heart with hatred for a man they have never met and will most likely never meet. Just as I have taught them not to pass judgment on a person because of their race, religion or social status, I am teaching them not to pass judgment on someone because they aren’t who they would have picked.

Today I ask parents and all people not speak ill of Donald Trump to others, especially children. What you say to them today, tomorrow and in the future will shape the people they become. I like to believe that we can make the next generation better, more tolerant people. The world will never be perfect, but if everyone tries to make each generation just a little better than they are, one day the world will be a better place for everyone.

To My Non-parent Friends on the First Day of School

Today is the first day back to school for our kids. As parents, today we are going to post a ridiculous amount of pictures with sickeningly sweet comments about how big our kids are, how fast they are growing up, how we are so proud, etc. And you are going to post a statement about how sick you are of seeing back to school pictures today. For you my friend all I can say is shut the hell up!

Raising tiny humans is a hard job. A thankless job. And every year, our kids get a little older and start a new year at school. This day is a proud day for parents. It’s how we know we are doing something right. It’s another year we kept them from falling into a well, or going to jail. It’s another year we managed to get them out the door just in time to not be late to school. It’s another year closer to dropping them off at college and taking a much deserved vacation with just the adults. 

Today, the first day of school, is an important day. And one day you too might be a parent and you are going to flood our feeds with sickeningly cute pictures of your kids. But we aren’t going to complain because we already know how great this day is even though you are just figuring it out. 

So to you my friend, I’m still going to love you when this day is over. We will still be friends despite your despise for our milestone. But all I ask is that you shut the hell up today and let us enjoy this moment. Tomorrow we will be back to posting stupid cat videos and PokemonGo updates. Today we’re going to celebrate not fucking up another year!

Your Own Personal Bully

Have you ever been depressed? If you have, my heart hurts for you. If you haven’t, you will never truly know how it feels. But let me try to explain. 

Depression is a bully. It is a soul crushing bastard that lives inside your head. It knows your hopes, dreams, fears and doubts. And it knows how to use them all against you. It twists the hopes and dreams, telling you you’ll never achieve them. It tells you that you aren’t good enough to have them. It takes your fears and doubt and amplifies them. It tells you that you are right about all the things you think are wrong with you.  

Depression is the bully inside your head constantly telling you that you aren’t good enough, and you never will be. It tells you how much better the world would be without you. It tries as hard as it can to make you believe these things. And you do believe them. Your children will be happier without you to disappoint them. Your family will be better off if they aren’t burdened by you anymore. Your friends will stop wasting time listening to your whining.  

Can you imagine for a moment a person standing in front of you, telling you these things everyday? Try to imagine it. Try to think of how it feels to be told nothing will ever get any better and it will probably just get worse. Think of how you would feel if you were told every day that dying is the better option. Imagine smiling at everyone you know, doing your best to hide the pain because they don’t understand and you don’t see a point in trying to explain it to them. But it’s not a person, it’s your own personal bully inside you head. And you can’t get away. 

If you can imagine all these things, now add a pressure in your chest. A feeling like you are being crushed. The weight of all your fears and doubts pushing you deeper into the earth. I told you before it was a soul crushing bastard, and this is where you physically feel the crushing. You chest hurts and everything in your body feels heavy. People don’t understand why all you want to do is lay down or sleep. But if you have ever tried to carry around a large amount of weight, you know that at some point laying down is the only thing you want to do. You want to feel the relief. Except with depression, you can’t put down that heavy box or make the bully go away. There is no relief. 

If, by reading this, your heart aches and you want to cry then you have a small idea of what depression feels like. It is debilitating. People who don’t understand will tell you things like “it’s just in your head”, “why can’t you just snap out of it”, “you’re life is good so you shouldn’t be so sad”. That’s like telling a kid to just make the bully stop being mean to you. You can’t stop something you have no control over. If it were that simple, if you could just make it all stop, don’t you think people would?  

This is my daily battle. I fight this bully every day and most days, the bully is the one that wins. But I keep trying. I’m not giving up. Because I know that the bully is wrong. The things it whispers in my ears are lies. Knowing this and stopping it are completely different though. That’s a whole other battle I live with every day – being smart enough to know what the problem is and still not being able to fix it.  

I don’t know if this will help anyone. Hell, I don’t even know if this is helping me. But I needed to explain to people what this is. Maybe this will help someone dealing with this bully to put it into words for someone else. Maybe it will let someone know they aren’t alone. Or maybe no one will even read it, and it just gave me something to write about again. But it is out there now, for everyone to see. Maybe this will push that bully down and take that weight off my chest. Maybe. 

My World

I think all the time how much I miss writing. I think of all the things I could write about and start in my head, and then I get distracted with life and forget to write. But not tonight. Tonight I’m writing. 

I’ve always had a small family. Most of my childhood it was just me and my mom. The only other constant in my life was my grandmother. 

My grandmother was my world. If you asked me as a kid, I would have told you that woman hung the moon. There were times when life got hard and my mom and I lived with her. As I got older, she moved to Georgia and then Arizona and every summer I would fly out to her and spend months with her. The older I got, the less I wanted to be away from my friends and my summers with my grandma became shorter. But I called her almost daily. 

I was 18 and living in an apartment with my best friend the first summer I didn’t spend with my grandmother. One night, after far to many drinks, I got emotional and just started walking towards the beach (I only lived a block away from it). It was really late, maybe 2 or 3am and I really just wanted to talk to her. Knowing she was three hours behind in time, I called her up crying hysterically. I sat on the beach that night crying my eyes out while my grandmother calmly talked to me. She knew I had been drinking and made sure I wasn’t driving and was close to home. She talked to me for at least half an hour before I calmed down enough to go home. She was my best friend, my rock, my whole world. She knew me better than anyone else ever had. 

In mid 2003, we got the news that she had a pretty rare cancer. She tried a round of chemo and decided she didn’t want to spend the little time she had left feeling terrible. She chose to live out the rest of her days with hospice and moved in with my uncle in California. In August 2003, the family flew me out to see her for the last time. It was the shortest trip I ever took to see her. I think it was only a week, but she put every ounce of energy she had into that week. We drove out to the mountains to see the sequoias. We had a few dinners out at restaurants close to her home. I met her nurses who would take care of her until she no longer needed them. I watched her drift off to sleep under the morphine that kept her pain at bay. In October, my mom went to visit her and her mind was pretty gone. On December 5, 2003, my grandmother passed away. 

The call came in while I was working. My cousin worked at the same place I did and was called up to deliver the news to me. She came to pull me off a phone call and I knew instantly why. I collapsed in the floor that day. My world had shattered beneath me. My grandmother was cremated and her ashes spread in California. My uncle handled everything. And for that I have always been thankful. In the months following, I was numb. To meet me those months you would never had known. Life went on as usual. I went out with my friends. I drank more than I should way to many times. 

Six months after she was gone, the ice wall I had built around me cracked. In a petty argument I was having with my mom, I broke down for the first anyone had ever seen except my grandma. I cried hysterically for an hour into her arms. I was devastated and angry and hurt. My grandma was supposed to be at my wedding. She was supposed to meet my kids, her great-grandkids. She told me she would never leave me and she had. I was lost. 

I recovered as many people do. I met my husband and we had two beautiful children. I ended up with the life she always wanted for me. 

A couple times a year something triggers my memories of my grandma. The look of someone’s hand, the smell of perfume she loved, an old picture. And on those days, I break. Today, right now, is one of those days.

This evening I saw a picture of someone who resembles my grandma. The heaviness in my heart hit and my eyes welled with tears. This is one of those hard days. The days when I realize all the moments my grandma didn’t get to see. The grandchildren that she never got to hold. The husband that picks up the pieces of these hard days, that she never met. 

And tonight, I called my mom. In all my sadness over the last 13 years, my mom has become that person for me. I have called her for the happiest and saddest moments since my grandma passed away. She has kept me connected to the woman that she wanted to be when she had grandkids of her own. On the days when I realize my grandmother is gone, I still have my mom. And that realization today warmed my heart again. I can feel my grandma’s presence through my mom. I can see it in her eyes when she is with my children. I think I realized for the first time since my grandma passed that she isn’t gone. She lives on through my mom with my kids. My kids will forever know that joy that I did. 

Thank you mom for talking and laughing with me tonight. Thank you for finding ways to help Bany live on for me. Thank you for being my world when I thought I had lost it. 

My Christmas Heartache 

I’m sitting in my living room, looking at my Christmas tree and listening to my kids playing together. All of the happiness surrounding me, and and I’m doing every thing I can to hold back the sobs. This will be the first Christmas we have without my mom. I finally understand what it feels like to my friends who have lost parents.

My mom is always the first person at my house Christmas morning to have breakfast with us and to open presents. I can’t remember the last time she wasn’t here with us. In fact, I don’t think there ever has been a time I haven’t spent my Christmas with her, even before I got married and had a family. 

I am lucky though, my mom hasn’t passed away. She is, however, in the hospital on a ventilator and sedated. She won’t be awake Christmas Day. I will go to see her after all the presents have been opened and we’ve had breakfast as a family. But she won’t know I was there or remember it when she wakes up. I’m glad that I will have that opportunity. So many of my friends have lost parents and don’t have these moments anymore. I won’t lie and say I’m not devastated. 

But for now, I put on my ‘mommy pants’ and pull it together for my kids. I smile and laugh and cherish this time with them while on the inside I’m breaking. My heart will not be whole again until I hear her voice and watch her play with her grandchildren. On that day, my heart will heal and my tears will be happy instead of sad. 

A Lesson From My 10 Year Old

The husband and I have tried our hardest to raise our children to be good, compassionate human beings. We’ve taught them that color, race, religion, etc. do not matter in the grand scheme of things. We’ve taught them to recognize bullying and speak up for themselves and others if they see it. You never know if what your trying to teach your children is really sinking in until they surprise you. Yesterday was the day that my daughter surprised me yet again with her kindness. 

At school this week – the last week before Christmas break – the kids can buy Candy-grams for anyone they would like. My kids always get one for their teacher and a friend. Yesterday, after the Candy-grams had been passed out around the school, she noticed a little girl in another class did not receive one. She went to speak to the girl and asked if she had gotten any and was told she did not. So my daughter asked her if she could buy her one. The little girl said she could. 

When she got home she told me about it. “Today I noticed that ________ didn’t get a Candy-gram. A lot of kids make fun of her because she is in a special class and needs help with things. The other girls will walk away from her if she sits near them and call her gross. I felt bad that she didn’t have any so I asked her if she would like me to get her one. She said she would like that.” Today she took fifty cents from her wallet and went straight to the Candy-gram table when I dropped her off. When I picked her up from school, the first thing she said was that she had bought the girl a Candy-gram and it would be delivered to her tomorrow. She let the little girl know that it was coming since she doesn’t really know my daughter. 

My daughter did something this week that most adults can’t even do; she looked past the differences between herself and another person and treated her with compassion and respect. She didn’t judge her for having special needs. She doesn’t follow along with the other kids when they say mean things. My daughter saw a human being, a person just like herself, a person who deserves respect. 

My daughter reminded me what it is like to be a good person today. Tonight I can go to sleep knowing I accomplished something as a parent. I have made a difference in this world through my children. 

If only more people in the world can see others the way our children do. 

Keeping Traditions Alive

This past week was Thanksgiving and for us, that means spending the day with family then kicking off Christmas with going to see Santa at Disney Springs (formerly Downtown Disney). Rather than do the usual family dinner, we opted to get breakfast and spend the early part of the day at Universal with some good friends.


After some Universal fun, we headed down to Disney Springs to meet up with my brother-in-law and his family. We toured their hotel, showed them Disney Springs and had dinner at Morimoto. (If you ever get the chance to go here, take it! It’s a gorgeous restaurant and the staff is incredibly friendly.)


After dinner it was finally time to see Santa and take our annual Christmas pictures. While waiting for our turn, Santa and an adorable 5 week old baby took a little snooze together.

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To wrap up the night we went to the Christmas store and bought a new ornament for the tree. Because soccer needs to be in every part of our lives, even the Christmas tree.


Another perfect Thanksgiving night for the Williams’!

My Son, The Writer

My son is a very talented story teller. Not in the telling lies way, but in the creative genius way. Yesterday, after seeing a book in his school library, he decided he wanted to write his own book.

So here it is, for your viewing pleasure:

The Three Little Ninja Turtles and the Big Bad Captain America

Once there was three little ninja turtles. The first one built a house out of concrete. 

The second ninja turtle built his house made with pine needles. 

The third ninja turtle made a house out of pencils. 

The big bad Captain America knocked on the third ninja turtles door, said open this door or I will knock your house down. ‘No’ said the ninja turtle. ‘Fine. So I will throw and throw my shield now.’

Then the third one went to the second one. Captain America knocked on the door, he said ‘let me in’. ‘We will never let you in.’ ‘Fine. You are too smart for me so I am leaving.’ Knock knock. ‘Go away!’ ‘No, I am throwing my shield so I will throw and throw my shield now.’

The third and the second one went to the third ones house. Captain America said, ‘let me in’. ‘No, we will never let you in.’ ‘So I will throw and throw my shield now.’

Hen he never came again. The End.