Accepting the pain of the last year

I have spent the last year stagnant.  I have simply survived the day and kept doing the same thing over and over again.  There has been very little done with passion or intention.  As I wean myself off of the antidepressants I am now having to deal with a year that was very hard.  While on the meds I didn’t even realize to what extent I was not paying attention to my life.  Now I sit here and I’m lost.  I have no goals.  I have no direction.  I am full of indecision and I despise indecision.  And yet…and yet with a grateful heart I will look into the last year…and the coming one…and ask for more to be thrown at me.

 

On February 6th of last year I lost one of my best friends to a brutal murder.  My chest is still so heavy when I think of it which is often.  I think of the fear in her last moments.  I think of the life that was cut short.  I think of the laughter we shared and how she would never want me to still be in mourning.  I mourn Mary Lou though, I mourn her immensely.  Grief is a funny thing that while we are trying to fit it in our heart with all the love and joy that we had with that person it sometimes starts to eclipse it.  Our love turns into rage and denial that someone can be gone from our life in an instant and there’s nothing we can do to stop it.  Death…is the only guarantee in this life.  

 

On February 13th my on again off again boyfriend of 9 months told me that he loved me but he “needed to figure some things out”.  This after 3 months of him sometimes living with me, playing a father role in my kids life, being unemployed, and then when he went back to work he left me and got back together with his ex wife who he always said was “his best friend but he wasn’t still in love with her”.  I have forgiven him.  I even emailed him and told him I wished him well.  My God, it still hurts.  I loved him beyond all reason.  It hurts to be taken advantage of, to be set aside, and to know that he is now married to someone else.  I have to forgive him though or I would never be able to move on.  

 

On November 28th my ex-husband, and the father of my youngest, died by suicide.  We had not seen him in 8 years.  8 years that he sometimes didn’t pay child support, that he never contacted her, 8 years of being so mad at him I couldn’t stand it.  8 years of missing him, and knowing that I would have taken him back even knowing that he was a habitual liar and cheater.  I never stopped loving him really.  I mourned him for 8 years and now it seems I’ll be mourning him for a bit longer.  The amount of rage I feel towards the man has grown.  He left me another mess to clean up.  He left her with the loss of hope.  No longer can she think that maybe she would see him when she got older.  He’s gone.  I still miss that man and the way he made me laugh.  

 

This past year was a year of many doctor’s appointments and the diagnosis of Celiac Disease and possibly Rheumatoid Arthritis.  My health has gone downhill quite a bit and I’m so very tired all the time.  I just want rest.  Physical, spiritual, and emotional rest.

 

I don’t write all these things to show “oh look.  I had a really shitty year!  Feel sorry for me!”  or, “oh yea? You think you have it bad? Look what happened to me!”.  I write this because I will be grateful for the things that rip my heart out.  If I had not lost these people, if I had not gone through this pain, would I be who I am?  Stretching back through all the years when you think of all the sorrow, joy, struggle, triumphs, and sometimes the vast expanse of nothing-all of these things made you who you are.  I could hate them and hate who I have become.  The past few weeks I’ve been struggling to find the words and to find the emotion that I am feeling.  I am feeling stagnant.  Restless.  Uncomfortable. These are feelings of future growth.

 

If I didn’t have depression would I have the compassion for others that I do now?  If I didn’t have physical pain would I have the empathy for suffering that I have acquired?  If I hadn’t lost loves and lost loved ones to death, would I have a heart that gives more than it ever takes in?  

 

Most importantly, if I had not had this life would I be able to write effectively and reach so many people so that they don’t feel alone?

 

Feeling grateful and blessed to have felt this grief, loneliness, helpless, and rejection is what I was meant to learn.  I spent most of the year in a stupor, having no clear idea of what I was doing.  I still don’t really know but I am learning and I am growing.  Pain is about growing.  You learn from it.  Sometimes you just learn that you are tough enough to withstand the pain.  Sometimes you learn that you have to accept it and not wish it away.  Pain will always be here while we’re alive.  It’s what we do with it that matters.
Even as I am being battered by the storms of life, ridiculed, forgotten, maimed, judged, and deceived- I will lift my face to the sky and ask for more. It is not my place to be comfortable but to comfort. It is not my place to be accepted but to accept. Storms bring renewal after the damage and they reveal the truth by blowing away that which isn’t solid. Give me the storm that I will know the strength of my roots and the beauty of a life that was tested.

Can’t we rest?

There are layers upon layers that swirl around, not stopping because of other pathways, but making new ones or going through the existing ones.  I try to follow one path only to end up on another one and then another only to find out that I have been going in a circle all this time. Defeated, dejected, and somewhat perplexed, I look around trying to find the right path.  The one that will lead me to the clarity I had not minutes before.  By now there are so many intersections, pathways, interruptions, responsibilities, other thoughts that I want to pursue that I am so lost it hurts to breathe.  My chest heaving, I look around for a guide, a signpost even, that will direct me to where I go.  Everyone sees my confusion and starts telling me the path that they took to get where they wanted to be or they tell me to look above.  I look above and the Almighty smiles tenderly at me and tells me that He has given me the directions I just have to find them.  Disgruntled, I keep searching but by now the exhaustion has come and it has decided that what I need is sleep. Sleep will help me figure it out.  

 

I try to sleep.  I lay my head down, say my prayers, and try to go to that quiet place where I can rest.  There is no rest though.  There are more thoughts and directions I feel I should be taking as well as the dreams.  Dear Lord, the dreams.  The dreams that seem so real, and he feels so real, but he’s not, and he never was and he is gone.  I wake up, always, at 3:30 am.  I have yet to figure out what is so important about that time.  I try and sleep for a few more hours.  I wake up, exhausted.  Wanting nothing more than to rest but I have many miles to walk through the day.  Always seeking out what I can’t find.  If I could just find it, that place that I seek, where there is rest, compassion, solace, clarity, and softness then I could be content.  The world is so dark, and hard, and negative, and striving, and grasping at me.  It’s this monster that is always telling me I am not good enough, never going to get enough done, that my kids are better off without me, that everyone is against me, their laughter and jeers follow me everywhere, and I can’t get off this merry-go-round that is my life.  

 

I see glimmers of hope sometimes but then reality comes in and takes it away.  My hands, my poor, bleeding, swollen, hurting, helping hands are battered beyond belief at what has become of them.  Where I would love nothing more than to help people I am left attempting to help myself.  There are some days that I can’t even keep myself together let alone others.  Those are the hardest days.  The days in which I want to do so many things but I can’t.  I can’t get up and do the dishes, or vacuum, or even put on makeup.  My mind is so exhausted that my body collapses.  My kids are there needing me, needing me to be okay, needing me to support them, and there are times I just can’t.  

 

And so starts the circle again, trying to find the way back, trying to find the light, trying to follow the cues that I’m given, and I just want rest.  Is that so bad?  Can’t we all just rest?

Drugs, drugs, and more drugs

I haven’t written in a while and honestly I couldn’t tell you if it’s from not wanting to write or not being able to write.  My mind is mush, so to speak, and I’m trying to find the pathways that make me who I am and sometimes it’s a damnably hard thing.

 

I started seeing a psychiatrist a few months ago.  Here is what I have learned: brain chemicals are the psychiatrists playground and they are only interested in an end goal.  I’m not entirely sure what that goal is for me.  I was started on a wonderful little drug called Lamictal.  It’s a mood stabilizer (this Dr is leaning towards Major Depressive Disorder with mixed symptoms…lovely) and you have to stop it immediately if you develop a rash.  I totally got the rash.  Okay, well, Dr says, let’s try you on Viibryd.  Holy Aggression, Batman!  I told him by email that I was very agitated on it.  Dr says okay, well here, have some Klonopin.  I went and saw the Dr and he said since I wasn’t having apathy and depression per se that the Viibryd was doing it’s job so just use Klonopin when you want to kill people.  Oh, and here, try some Topamax for a mood stabilizer.  I took the Topamax one night and felt like I was having seizures all night.  I wasn’t…that I know of…but that’s what it felt like.  I woke up that morning and cried for a couple hours for no apparent reason.  I’m not a crier.  It’s just not something I do very often at all.  

 

I have made the decision to say screw the meds.  After a couple of my closest friends and my daughter told me that I had been very angry lately I decided that I would much rather have depression than anger.  I was getting mad about things that never bother me.  I was furious.  I would have racing thoughts for hours, planning rants that I would tell people in my head whilst I should be asleep.  

 

Add onto this that I’m wearing the nicotine patch to try to stop smoking cigarettes (13 days cigarette free yay), that I’m having some kind of flare up that is making my hands hurt like hell, and just the stress of being a single parent.  I am utterly exhausted.  Maybe a little depressed.  

 

I’ve started titrating down from the Viibryd and I am starting to feel a little better.  I’m still cranky.  I’m still moody.  I had to take a half a Klonopin tonight instead of buying a pack of cigarettes.  Everyone says  “reduce your stress!”  Ummmm….how?!  How do I reduce the stress of bills, kids, work, illness, and trying to quit smoking?  Oh, and here’s a fun fact for you…depressed people are more likely to smoke because the nicotine has fun with your serotonin and dopamine making you feel a little better after a cigarette.  I don’t know if it’s worse or better to have that information.

 

All in all, I do know that I need to be writing more.  I have startling moments of clarity (especially when driving) where I know exactly how I want to make a presentation on mental health to a high school student body, where I want one of my books to go, how I’m going to overcome EVERYTHING with working out and eating better, and how to enjoy life.  I lose my grasp on the clarity though so easily.  It falls like sand through my hands and then I’m down on my knees, sifting through the grains, trying to put the pieces of the sand into a coherent picture once again.  It’s maddening.

 

Depression and all mental illness is a horrible thing to deal with because what works for one may not work for others.  Medications and I do not get along.  I don’t like not feeling like I am ME.  If there is one thing that I can say about my life it’s that I have always tried to hold onto who I am as a person…not even as a person.  As a soul.  I want my soul to remain true to how God created it.  It’s been banged up, there are some black marks on it, and some jagged scars but it is still mine and it is still me.  Medications make me feel like they are making the decisions in my life and that just doesn’t work for me.  Good or bad I will be true to myself.  

 

On the plus side, depression always leads to some of my best writing (that’s a secret you know…creative people with mental illness enjoy it somewhat.  The darkness is where the truth hides).  So does hypomania…or whatever it is.  The meds lead to no creativity, passion, or truth at all.  I cannot abide that sort of life.  It is not who I was created to be.

Self care

It’s a bitch to try and maintain your emotional health whenever you’re lonely.  Loneliness can easily lead to depression.  It’s that short step that you take from one room to another.  I’m fighting it.  Sometimes I feel like I’m fighting too hard and I need to just feel it.  I can understand feeling the loneliness, it’s fleeting.  Depression is a hole that it gets harder every time to pull out of the darkness.  I’ve left bits and pieces of myself on the edges of that pit whenever I’ve fallen into it.  I’ve got numerous scars and wounds from the battle.  I’m still here.  

 

I try to take care of myself and constantly watch to make sure I don’t take that fall.  Self care is so important to those of us that battle self destructive tendencies.  I’ve written before about how people consider it selfish to take care of yourself.  It’s not selfish.  It’s a “have to” for me.  I can’t function as a mother, friend, employee, or any other hat I wear if I don’t put myself first at times.  

 

Thanks to Zoloft, I am able to step back from the edge easier.  It’s still there.  I feel the loneliness and the edge more clearly today though.  I’ve been having to think about what I need to do to take care of myself at the moment so I don’t slip.

 

  1. I have to eat better.  Keeping my sugar and carb intake down is so important to my mental health.  I’m not really sure why but it does play a big difference in keeping myself from having an overwhelming amount of anxiety.
  2. Sleep.  I have to get more sleep.  Having fibromyalgia, this is almost impossible at times.  I hate taking medication to sleep because I feel so out of it in the morning.
  3. Mindfullness.  I haven’t been practicing it like I should be.  I’ve half assed it a little bit but nothing major.
  4. Avoiding toxic people and drama.  I stay at home most of the time anymore.  Lately I can’t tolerate even the smallest amount of drama without clenching up and becoming very anxious.  I also need to learn to cut my losses with some people and move on.  
  5. Avoiding Social Media.  Facebook is a cesspool most of the time.  I like it because it has funny stuff on it sometimes and I can keep up with friends that live far away.  I detest it because it stirs up so much BS.
  6. Exercise.  I have to start walking and/or lifting weights again.  Endorphins are cool.
  7. I have to realize that I am complete in myself.  I don’t need a partner in my life.  I’ve been doing pretty okay the last few years.  That doesn’t mean I don’t want someone.  Oh, how I want someone.  
  8. Because of #7 I have really be discerning about who I spend time with frequently.  Marriage #3 mostly happened because of loneliness.  I have to remember, “follow your brain; your heart is stupid as shit”.  
  9. I have to take breaks to spend time doing something for myself.  Whether it’s a walk or sitting in my garage, watching the wind make the flowers dance, or reading a book.  

 

Life is kinda hard right now.  I mean, it’s awesome, but it’s also hard.  It’ll get better though.  There are times that I much prefer being single.  I would say that is 95% of the time.  Those 5% days though are a bitch.  Will I get past it?  Damn right.  While my brain may try to self destruct my soul is all about living.  

Homeostasis

So I have this whole crazy explanation for the reason people do things.  It’s possibly not accurate.  It’s possible that I’m stealing the idea from someone.  (It’s sorta along the lines of Drive Theory in Psychology…sorta) Don’t care!  I like it and I’m sure my friends are tired of hearing about it so I’ll just put it on the blog and y’all can ignore it, read it, live it, or burn it.  Don’t care!

 

Okay, we all know what homeostasis is, yes?  For those that don’t…homeostasis is when your body is constantly trying to regulate its functions.  It’s when you are hot and you sweat.  It’s when you’re stressed out and it tries to calm itself.  I think that our soul/brain/psych does this as well.  In my mind however, homeostasis is a BAD thing for your mental health.  You could also call homeostasis your comfort zone.

 

We can become comfortable in ourselves so easily.  We look at ourselves in the mirror and think, “sure, I could lose a few pounds, but ice cream tastes so damned good!”  We stay in horrible relationships (or keep dating the same type of person) because it is the evil we know versus the unknown.  As people, we aren’t much on change.  

 

I’ve decided to intentionally upset my comfort zone.  I was comfortable with my depression.  I was used to the morbid thoughts, the lack of energy, and the horrible way that I spoke to myself and about myself.  It took me awhile to see that I really needed to do something to change.  I got on medication that actually worked, I saw a therapist, I read great books, and I learned to start caring for myself.  This was very uncomfortable at first.  I was not happy but I was content.

 

I have beaten back the depression for now so I moved on to a different comfort zone.  I was comfortable having low self esteem.  I was not used to praising myself or taking pride in my accomplishments.  I had to change my inner mantra of, “you’re fat, ugly, worthless, unloveable” to “I am powerful, I am capable, I am beautiful, I am intelligent, I am love”.  It took some doing and I still struggle some days with this but overall, I made myself comfortable with positive thinking.

 

My next battle (I’m a fighter, I have to have something to wage war against) is going to be a tough one.  I’ve reached self care, self respect, self worth and now I am working on self control and discipline.  Yuck.  Just saying them makes me feel icky.  I’ve never done well with self control.  I am as fly by the seat of my pants as I can get.  Working a budget makes me want to break out in hives.  Following a diet makes me want to eat the whole refrigerator…including the refrigerator.  

 

I’m doing it though.

 

I made a budget and I’m sticking to it.  I’ve been getting up and walking in the mornings and I’ve been making a conscious effort to eat right. I’ve also not had a cigarette since Friday evening.  I’m using a vape and everyone in my vicinity should be very, very thankful.  

 

I’m feeling very uncomfortable right now.  I feel off kilter and like I need to go do something crazy just to prove that I am myself still.  Here’s the deal though.  Even if I change habits I am always me.  The truth of me isn’t surrounded in lack of self control or in doubting myself.  The truth of me has nothing to do with anything of that nature.  It does have to do with how I see myself, but it also has a lot to do with how I FEEL about myself.  It has nothing to do with what others think of me because it honestly doesn’t matter.  

 

I don’t know what is next after this battle but I’m sure I’ll figure it out.  Right now I’m dealing with being out of my comfort zone until I make it my comfort zone.  I can exist anywhere.  I was made to ride out the storm.

No more hiding

I’ve been going through a lot lately. Same as other people. We all have times in our lives where we go through a bunch of shit and it either breaks us or builds us. I’m riding that line of what it is going to do to me.

Throughout all the chaos that is going on I had the misfortune of meeting one of the most condescending, arrogant, and downright mean people I have ever met. I’ve heard people say what a good heart she has but make no mistake. You judge people by how they treat the ones they DON’T love or care about because that is where true character is shown. I should not care one bit how this person views me. I should let it roll off of me and just give her the middle finger. Really, her opinion of me has no basis beyond the fact that the man I love is so wrapped up with her that I had to completely block him out of my life because he is obviously not the man I thought he was if he can let her act this way and be supportive of it.

She mocked me for having a blog and a semi-colon tattoo. I’ve had my blog for several months and the tattoo for almost a year. The blog was started because of a post I made on Facebook about how people were viewing the death of Robin Williams. I saw then that people really have no clue what depression and other mental illnesses are like. Bless those people who have never gone through it but they need to know. There is so much awareness for other illnesses but people still shun those with mental illness. I was given a lot of support on that Facebook post because I have been gifted with an ability to write. I started writing what I have been through. Every time I post a blog I have someone tell me thank you. Thank you for saying what they can’t say. Thank you for helping them to not feel so alone. I’ve done my job then.

My semi-colon tattoo also has the words “the fighter still remains” written under it. The colors of the tattoo are the suicide awareness colors. I have made connections with people in public who have seen the tattoo, asked me about it, and then looked at me with pain filled eyes and said they understood. If you have never been depressed or considered suicide then you have no idea what it is like to not feel alone. Because of the stigma of mental illness we all feel alone at times. You’re not supposed to talk about it, you’re not supposed to acknowledge it, you’re supposed to just “suck it up” and keep moving on. That’s how people die.

I made this blog private for a few weeks because I didn’t feel that some people needed to see my thoughts. They didn’t deserve to see them because this is my soul laid bare. Then I started thinking about the tags and categories I use on this blog. Some random stranger might see it and recognize that they are not alone in the battle. It might keep them going for one day or encourage them to seek help. One random mean person should not shut me up because she handles her mental illness a different way (she must have forgotten that she said she had one as well she has just never been diagnosed). If the man I love decides to stalk this blog he will just have to deal with the truth that I write because I did not deserve what was handed to me in our relationship.

Everything I put on the internet becomes public knowledge. Everything I say and write becomes something that mean people can use against me. No more hiding. It’s not who I am. The fighter will remain.

Strong mind, strong heart

Sometimes I truly wish I was the bitch that people think I am. I wish that I could hate and that I could blame others for their wrongdoings. I wish that I could take back words that I have said in anger but I can’t. I can look back on all the relationships I’ve had through the years and while I KNOW that there was fault to be given to the others in the relationships, the ones that I focus on are my own. I should have tried harder, I shouldn’t have pushed so hard, I should have listened to my instincts, I should have changed, I should have helped them more, I should have SAVED them, I should have protected them, I should have done SOMETHING, anything, so that they didn’t leave me.

And therein lies the horribleness of me. Blame it on my mental illness, blame it on being who I am, blame it on the rain, blame it on the Goose, got me feeling loose…errr anyway….

I can be angry for a short time about something done to me. I will always find a way to turn it around to blame myself or even if I don’t blame myself I’ll forgive a great amount of wrong. I’m not as easily forgiving to myself though.

I don’t deal well with abandonment. Perceived or actual. I don’t deal well with rejection. Perceived or actual. It’s like someone has taken a scalpel to my heart and cut chunks out of it. My chest hurts like it is in a vice and I can’t get a full breath. Especially if they just quit talking and fall off the face of the earth. I miss them. I miss the hope they gave me that I could have a “normal” relationship. I miss the fact that when I am with a man I feel calm. I can breathe. I have someone in my corner (or at least I think they are). And I hate myself for having that dependency. I hate myself that I can’t be calm without someone there to anchor me. I hate myself that I feel like I can’t keep doing this on my own and that I crave for help from someone who loves me. I hate my inconsistency of thinking.

Those are all feelings. Emotions are my downfall. My intellect is strong though. I know that I am a strong woman. I dare say that many would have cracked by now from what I’ve been through. I know that I can handle anything on my own. I know that I will heal, that I will succeed, that I will become who I should be, and that I will be fine without a man in my life.

And therein lies the rub. I possess strong intellect and strong emotions. I’m constantly at war with myself. My intellect wants to keep me alive. My heart and soul grow weary and at times want to give up. It’s exhausting to have this battle all the time. It’s distracting. It’s the way I live every day.