When I went to write my last posts, I realized I had these written as well, but I never posted them:


Here’s a post I started to write after my Christmas phone call with Zach:

Next time I talk to Zach (on Mother’s Day), he’ll be home like 3 weeks later!  These 2 years have gone so fast!  I remember how, when I was a teenager & my oldest brother served the 1st mission I had ever experienced, it seemed to take FOREVER!  It was so hard! But this is not “my first rodeo”, & my brother’s mission was before Skype… at least now u can see them on Skype when they call!


Here’s a post I started to write when Giuli left & I bawled like a baby:

Giuli left today, & I bawled like a baby I am terrible at goodbyes!  I get weepy anyway, but if my PBA kicks in, I sob!  I hate it!  & If I want to speak, I can’t, because my breathing becomes so erratic!


The thing I hate most about PBA is how I give mixed signals. I may laugh at a dirty joke, for example. Not because I think it is funny, but either I “sense” how the person telling the joke feels, I hear laughter, or the emotional response of disgust comes out as laughter instead of tears.


Here’s a post I started to write after I read the New York Times obituary for President Monson:

This part of the New York Times obituary for President Monson ticked me off: “…the church declared same-sex couples to be apostates and restricted their children from baptisms and other rites.”  That is not true at all!  If u are a kid of gay parents who are living in a way that conflicts with the church’s teaching about eternal families, how can u be baptized, & live peacefully with your parents???  You can’t!  The church was being sensitive to what could have been an issue!  & it is not like we are against same-sex attraction, but because God has taught us about eternal families, we are encouraged to live in accordance with our beliefs, & unfortunately, a same-sex couple cannot procreateJ, so it is not a lifestyle we promote!  But this has absolutely NOTHING to do with ANY prophet!  Prophets speak for GOD!


That’s all folks!   We are all caught up!

14 years ago…

After so many years, I had to start “doing the math” before each birthday, & now I can never remember how old I am!  I just have lost count…well, I have reached that stage w/my “post-stroke” years: after subtracting this year from my stroke year, I knew this was my 14th stroke-aversary!  Ha!

A good friend recently told me about the movie “Breathe” (a movie based on the true story of Robin Cavendish who, at 28 yrs. old — I was 30—was paralyzed by polio and given just months to live — I was given 24 hours to live. Against all advice, Robin’s wife Diana brings him home from hospital(like Mark did), & he becomes a British advocate for the severely disabled—which may explain why England is SUPER accessible!)

Parts of that movie hit so close to home that if I had seen that movie years ago, it would have been a struggle to watch, but since my stroke occurred so long ago, I was able to watch it & just relate to many of the situations & conversations (only my side of the conversation was either in my head, blink spelled, or signed!) I echo his words: ‘I don’t want to just survive. I want to truly live.’  Thank u to all who make that possible…this day is for u, too!

It’s been awhile…

It’s my nature (well, my OCD-personality!) to apologize & explain when I disappear for a while, so sorry I have not posted in awhile! While I’ve been gone, I’ve been jotting down notes of things to post over the last few months.  Rather than make 1 mega long post, I plan to write this post, & then post about 6 shorter posts in the next few days…

As for a brief explanation of what has been going on:  1st, I was fighting depression (I just had too much going on, so when I crashed, I really crashed)!  Then I was sick (& STAYED sick for like 3 weeks)!  & I have been incredibly busy (I was recently asked to be the primary secretary at church, so I now assist those who help & teach the kids who are 3-12 years old)

I have also been gone…Over President’s Day weekend, we went on a Carnival Cruise.  Carnival cruises are very “red-neck”¸ so I feel very out of place on them: I am like Rose on the Titanic, visiting the lower decks–she kinda doesn’t fit, but enjoys the people, ya’ know?  The entertainment on Carnival cruises suck, but I enjoyed every minute in my room—whether I was playing cards or having family scripture/prayer with the relatives who were on board, or whether I was alone in my room letting Mark rest.

A while ago, to help me deal with my depression, I began reading a book that Mark had introduced to me, called “Feeling Good”, by Dr. Burns.  Dr. Burns mentions 12 Cognitive Distortions. If we can change them, it helps depression, anxiety, OCD, & more. So, in an attempt to really learn them, I began “fasting” from one each week (instead of no food, each week I would focus on a cognitive distortion): I had read something about an alternative approach to fasting–rather than giving up food or TV, it suggested ;

  1. Fast  from anger & hatred (love more)
  2. Fast from judging others (overlook faults)
  3. Fast from discouragement (hold onto God’s promises)
  4. Fast from complaining (remember blessings)
  5. Fast from resentment or bitterness (be forgiving)
  6. Fast from spending too much money (save 10%, & give to the poor)

I liked that concept, so I tried to fast from these  cognitive distortions.  But that wasn’t working, because I need to learn to identify them, before I can “fast” from them…so, since I’d obviously been focusing on cognitive distortions of late, my OCD came into play as I did it…however, I got tired of writing the same stuff, & looking up meanings, so I made a template to fill out. (Mark gave me 4 more distortions that I added to it, as well!)  In case u are curious, here’s my template:



My Thoughts/Emotions: 


Cognitive Distortions/Rational Thoughts:

Filtering (Mental Filter)

Good and bad things are happening simultaneously but you only focus on the bad


Disqualifying The Positive

When good things happen, you reject it by insisting they “don’t count” for some reason or other, thereby thinking that nothing good happens


Global Labeling (and Mislabeling)

Mislabeling involves describing an event with language that is highly colored and emotionally loaded—it is an extreme forn of overgeneralization: Instead of describing your error, you attach a negative label to yourself

 “Black and White” Thinking (All-Or-Nothing Thinking)

If your performance falls short of perfect, you see yourself as a total failure–when something has to be one way or it is ruined



You see a single negative event as a never-ending pattern of defeat


Jumping to Conclusions—Mind Reading, The Fortune Teller Error.

You arbitrarily conclude that someone is reacting negatively to you, and you don’t bother to check this out, or you anticipate that things will turn out badly, and you feel convinced that your prediction is an established fact


Catastrophizing (Magnification) or Minimization

You exaggerate the importance of things, or  you inappropriately shrink things until they appear tiny



a person believes that everything others do or say is some kind of direct, personal reaction to the person. May also see themselves as the cause of some unhealthy external event that they were not responsible for & we also compare ourselves to others


Control Fallacies

If we feel externally controlled, we see ourselves as helpless a victim of fate, but if we feel internal control we assume responsibility for the pain and happiness of everyone around us.


Fallacy of Fairness

We feel resentful because we think we know what is fair, but other people won’t agree with us



We hold other people responsible for our pain, or take the other track and blame ourselves for every problem



You try to motivate yourself with shoulds and shouldn’ts. The emotional consequence is guilt. When you direct should statements toward others, you feel anger, frustration, and resentment.


Emotional Reasoning

We believe that what we feel must be true automatically


Fallacy of Change

We expect that other people will change to suit us if we just pressure or cajole them enough


Always Being Right

Being wrong is unthinkable and we will go to any length to demonstrate our rightness


Heaven’s Reward Fallacy

We feel bitter when the reward doesn’t come.

You can do it!

A while ago, I visited a stroke survivor in the hospital.  This was not my 1st trip back to a hospital (the 1st time, I was freaked out, cuz when I came home from the hospital after my stroke, it took years before I could watch shows on TV that showed hospitals), but I’ve been fine, so I thought nothing of it.   But this was so familiar that going to the hospital brought a  flood of memories of being locked-in.  Both of us were pegged as being stubborn, & I realized that as a necessary characteristic of stroke survivors.  While being stubborn can be a bad quality, it can also be good, if it is determination & persistence…in fact, it can be quite necessary for stroke survivors!  Case in point:

Before leaving for the hospital, I finally did something that has required lots of trial & error, but I FINALLY did it:  Around the time that I was becoming more independent, by being able to make many of my own breakfasts & lunches, I was introduced to this Superfood shake that is a powder…which I needed help mixing with a liquid. It killed me that I again needed help making my breakfast!  It wasn’t like it only was something I wanted occasionally, but I wanted it EVERY DAY!  So, I was taking a step back in my independence… To make matters worse, for some reason the girls hate making them for me, so it felt like a burden!

Well, I have a can of the powder mix on the kitchen counter, but for months, I wasn’t strong enough to open it…so I have a grip exerciser that I have been using as I watch TV.  When I could open it, I thought that was it—but I was wrong…very wrong!  The first time, powder went everywhere, & I was not so good at shaking it.  The next time, was less of a mess, & I stirred it with a fork, which was better, but my daughter still had to vacuum up my mess.  The next time, I thought I was so smart by using a funnel, but the neck of the funnel was too small, so the powder got stuck in the neck of the funnel, & I made a mess again.  So, I got a new funnel with a wide neck.  FINALLY, I could open the canister, not make a mess pouring the powder, & mix my own shake!  It took me awhile; but I finally made it by myself, without making a  huge mess!   I still have not mastered it, but it’s a start!

So, to all of u who are struggling:

“I was giving up. I would have given up – if a voice hadn’t made itself heard in my heart. The voice said “I will not die. I refuse it. I will make it through this nightmare. I will beat the odds, as great as they are. I have survived so far, miraculously. Now I will turn miracle into routine. The amazing will be seen everyday. I will put in all the hard work necessary. Yes, so long as God is with me, I will not die. Amen.”

― Yann Martel, Life of Pi

PBA and depression

Friday we were supposed to fly to Idaho at 8:30 am, with a layover in SLC. All seemed well-we were checked in, told it was on time, & there was a plane…but no crew!  We ended up not leaving until around 3 pm, so we ended up driving to Idaho from Utah, & missing our tour of BYU-I. (bummer), but I wrote this post as we waited;

Awhile ago, I watched an hour long presentation on about PBA.  If u forward about 19 minutes in, & watch until about 25 minutes in, it discusses the differences between PBA & depression.  Since PBA (PseudoBulbar Affect  Disorder) is an inability to control your emotions, & often is classified with uncontrollable laughter or crying, it is commonly mistaken for depression. Though it is possible to have both, PBA is a neurological disorder, & is not “sad on the inside,” like depression.  In this blog entry, I will share how I have dealt with both of them. On my recommended sites, I recently added a blog for those suffering w/depression, & I also have shared some websites that offer PBA resources.

One of the most effective ways that I have found to deal with PBA is distraction. At first, I thought this required me to leave the room, & if I can, that is great, but it can also just mean a change of position, a change of eye position, or as simple as scratching something, or thinking of something else. Focusing on my breath, & taking smoother, bigger breaths has also helped me.

I was once asked about the medicine I take for PBA (Nuedexta), but in the above mentioned video, it explains that before medicine was made specifically for PBA, anti-depressants were used.  Here are the Three Main Treatments for PBA (according to

1)     Tricyclic antidepressants (TCAs) – Examples:  Amitriptyline (Elavil), Nortriptyline (Pamelor)

2)     Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) – Examples:  Citalopram (Celexa®), Fluoxetine (Prozac®), Fluvoxamine (Luvox®)

3)     Dextromethorphan/quinidine (DM/Q, Nuedexta®)

A great tool for depression was suggested to me years ago, & though I have  shared this before, I want to share it again: When I was struggling during the 1st year after my stroke, my husband (who is a pshyco-therapist) encouraged that I start writing down all I am grateful for.

At 1st, I thought he was crazy–I couldn’t talk, or even move, & wasn’t even happy to be alive (even though I had requested to live, certain that I’d “get better” fast).  So, what was I supposed to write???  It took me 3 years before I tried making a gratitude list, & I started because my family got lice–but I did not get lice, because we never shared chairs…so, it dawned on me that I was grateful for something–as minuscule as it was!  Ha!  Ha!  It took me a LONG time before I could say/write that I was grateful to be alive, but now, anytime something bothers me, I look for the good (ie. before I could move, I couldn’t get myself a snack, so I wrote about how it was  a great forced “diet”! Ha!  Ha!  I suggest writing the list though–I tried first to just think about them & pray about them, but writing them down firms them up in your mind, & allows the spirit to talk to u & remind u of other things.

Anyway, I still have days I struggle–many of my posts come after those days: the sprit speaks to me as I type, so all the inspiring stuff on my website oftentimes is the Lord strengthening me, too!