Category Archives: Depression

One Day

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It’s amazing how quickly things can turn around. How, in the blink of an eye, hope can turn into despair. Things to do become things to be survived. I’m tired of being on this ride that always seems to end in tears.

I woke up this morning in fairly minimal pain. I enjoyed my coffee, and laughed, and thought about how much better I felt today than I had this past week.

One thing. One tiny, insignificant little thing. And now here I am, trying not to cry, trying not to curl up and hide under the covers, trying not to give up.

I can hear one part of me saying, “No, don’t do it. It’s okay. You’re okay. Just breathe. IT WILL BE FINE, GODDAMMIT, JUST STOP. Just. Stop.”

But there’s the other, louder part, chanting, “You fucked up. You ARE a fuck up. You are FUCKED up. You didn’t do this, you should’ve done that, why don’t you ever do ANYTHING right, why even try when you know it’s pointless, remember when this happened and this and this and this and this….”

It feels like there are two people inside of me, both fighting for supremacy. But the ugly part is stronger and it always claws its way to the top and laughs at the small, flickering, almost-blown-out flame of the other. Sometimes I think the part that hurts allows the part that hopes to exist, to creep into the sun, just so it can crush it over and over again.

I want to reach back in time and grab the smile I wore this morning and hold it tight so it can’t get away.

No, you know what? I’m not even asking to be happy. I just want to be okay. Can I have just this ONE DAY without the never-ending litany of pain on repeat in my head? JUST THIS ONE DAY.

Please. I just need this one day.


Sewing, like life, is hard.

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Was I ever whole?

I always feel like there are just frayed stitches barely holding me together, and one day the entire thing will completely fall apart.

I feel like I’ve wasted a lifetime in fruitless attempts to put myself in some kind of order, but my edges are still ragged and I’m covered in rips and tears and bits of glue.

Forever trying to gather the broken pieces of myself and reattach them in some semblance of a person, I sometimes think the messy repairs and faulty seams are all anyone can see.

I see a broken puppet, controlled by a broken puppeteer, trying to pretend that one day I will find the perfect pattern and, with clean, straight stitches, will sew myself up securely, and never be undone again.


No One Wants to Hear About Your Dreams

I know, I know, but the name of this blog came from a dream, so indulge me, just a little.

I’m not doing so great right now, and my dreams are like slaps in the face.

I guess if you look at them symbolically, then they have evolved from convoluted-dream-speak to STEPHANIE, QUIT BEING A FUCKING DUMBASS AND LITERALLY SMELL THE ROSES!

We took the two youngest kids on a short trip, an hour or so away to a touristy-town, just for swimming and playing and “getting away.” (Thanks to a certain Nana and Grandma for making this happen.)

Anyway, YES. I had fun. YES. I enjoyed being with my family. YES. I laughed, and ate, and swam, and sat in the hot tub, and had an entire fancy lobby all to myself with coffee already made when I woke up.

YES. I was hurting and needed SILENCE after just a short while. NO, I couldn’t carry any bags or take the stairs; shit, I had to LEAN ON A WALL just to wait for the elevator. (The only reason I didn’t sit in the floor is that my 13-year-old would’ve died from embarrassment and then who would’ve helped me up.)

YES. I freaked out a tiny bit at dinner. YES, I actually thought my server walked away while I was telling her my order. YES, I was surprised to find her still there. YES, unfortunately, I tried to explain my confusion to her and my family.

YES. It was hard, and I am paying for it now, and I’m so depressed today that I don’t even know if it was worth it. I keep thinking back…

How happy my son was in his new clothes, laughing and joking and BEING NICE TO HIS SISTER.

How happy my daughter was, laughing and joking and giddy with excitement.

How SELFLESS my husband was (and is) knowing that he would be the pool-toy, the bag carrier, the kid-chaser, the driver, and did all these things knowing he had to work the next day.

It was worth it.

That doesn’t mean I’m any less miserable today. I won’t detail my aches and pains; I will just say that as someone who basically did nothing harder than stand in an elevator as it went up and down two floors, I don’t feel like I should be in this kind of pain.

We got home late yesterday afternoon. My husband was still at work. I was SO TIRED. The 13-year-old and 7-year-old were somehow NOT tired. The 30-minute car nap that almost killed me revitalized them I guess.

So I told them I HAD to lay down and to wake me up if they needed me and I was so tired that I didn’t even go over my spiel that they usually say with me because they FREAKING KNOW, MOM!

I thought I would drowse a little, maybe just lay in bed and rest but not even sleep, or get a quick nap and be able to think again. WRONG.

The kids tried to talk to me at least 5 times in the 3 hours before their dad got home. Once (apparently) my daughter said she was hungry and I replied with, “WHAT? You want me to brush your car?” I know the kids came in my room, I know they tried to wake me up, and I know that I was NOT awake at any moment that I spoke to them.

It sounds funny when they tell me what I said, but to me it’s also terrifying. Is this some new thing that’s going to happen? Do I need to teach my daughter what to do if I won’t wake up, but spout gibberish instead?

I realize that my son is 13 and very capable of taking care of his sister for a few hours. Shit, SHE is capable of taking care of HIM for three hours.

I don’t know what that was yesterday afternoon, I don’t know why I didn’t wake up, I don’t know why I was saying weird shit, and I don’t know if it will ever happen again. I do know that I feel like a bit more of my Mom Badge was just ripped off, and that motherfucker was in tatters already.

This morning I woke up because of a combination of terrible pain and a dream. Yes, I’m going to tell you about a dream. I’m sorry. I’ll keep it short.

I saw all these HUGE, gorgeous flowers on the side of the road. So many different kinds, so many colors, growing wild even though the ground was snow covered. My arms were full of flowers and I was GLEEFUL. Then I turned to go and my heart sank because there was so much snow that my car was stuck. Back to reality.

(Y’all have NO IDEA how lucky you are that I’m not bustin’ out some Eminem right here.)

Then I had a rilllll shitty morning ending with my husband telling me “You don’t know how much that trip took out of you. Maybe your body was just so exhausted that it shut down. The kids are fine. Please take your medicine and lay down for a while.”

*He didn’t say that last sentence but I could see it on his face, so that’s what I did.*

So THEN…yes, another dream. Shut UP! The last one was super short!

This time I’m looking out my window and I see that the sun has just almost reached the perfect point where it covers the whole pool and the rock in the center where I like to lay. I am JOYFUL. I can’t wait to get down there. Then I get a text from a mom friend about our kids and I can’t reply because the buttons are weird and the letters are moving all around and then I’m frustrated and worried. Back to reality.

 I feel like my subconscious has literally “dumbed-down” my OWN DREAMS.

 

SORRY, SUBCONSCIOUS, I SEE WHAT YOU DID THERE.

 

I can’t remember ever feeling as happy as in those two dream-moments.

 

Maybe we never feel that way in real life.

 

Or maybe that’s what joy feels like to “normal” people.

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Broken today, still here tomorrow.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


These Dark Days.

This is not going to be a good post. A funny post. A nice post.

“Leave while you still can.” I feel like that’s from Indiana Jones or some shit.

I don’t know, I can’t even remember to put the taco seasoning in the taco soup.

That’s what broke me. I spent Thursday pretending to be okay. In vain, I suspect. No. No. You know what? I’m a goddamn professional when it comes to pretending. I probably looked like a stuck-up bitch, but I was there, and I wasn’t curled up on the floor crying.

My daughter’s Christmas party. I made it.

Then came home and was violently ill.

Friday. Sick. Panic attacks. More sick. More panic attacks. Migraine.

Saturday. Lightheaded. Headache. Everything hurt. Panic attack. I laid down, hoping to wake up and not be this fucking disaster, but I dreamed about being a bad person 20 fucking years ago. LET ME GO!

Anyway. I put a chair in the kitchen to try to make dinner. My husband and kids were having Family Game Night and I. Just. Couldn’t. Just fucking couldn’t.

So I sat in that chair and stirred, and it hurt, so I went and laid in bed until it should’ve been ready, and my son asked, all excited, “Is it done?” and I burst into tears because I remembered that I hadn’t put the seasoning in.

I’ve been crying since then, which has not helped my headache at all, surprise, surprise.

I want to see all my doctors, in the same room, and DEMAND to know why I’m taking all this medicine AND I’M STILL FUCKING BROKEN?!

I know that’s not how it works. There is no magic pill to make me all better. I know I will have good days and bad days, but I am so tired.

I’m so tired of fighting to just be “okay.”

Not “great.”

Not “a productive member of society.”

Just “alive.”

Or “out of bed.”

I’ve lowered my fucking goals and expectations about as low as they can go, and I still can’t reach them.

I did these things yesterday to make myself feel better:

Listened to music. Took a bath. Read. Colored. Played games.

But even though I spent almost an entire fucking day doing what I’m supposed to do, “practicing my coping skills,” I still feel like screaming.

WHY? WHY DO I FEEL LIKE THIS? WHY NOW? WHY CAN’T I JUST…STOP? STOP BEING THIS FRAGILE, CRUMBLING, SHELL OF A PERSON?

Today, I hate myself. Again.

Maybe I will tomorrow too.

Either way, I’ll fucking be here to find out.

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My story isn’t over.

 

 


Depression Lies, Especially in September

This month they call September is fucking brutal. It’s Suicide Prevention Awareness Month, and that is so ironic to me that I can’t even stand it. September sneaks up on me. The memories sneak up on me. The pain comes at me and I feel trapped. Stuck in this mind that won’t forget, that won’t cooperate, that won’t just let me be.

So, I enjoyed the fleeting success that came with a recent post, and it really was lovely. But my anxiety was telling me that I did not deserve the compliments, the comments, the shares, the likes. My depression was telling me that I tricked everyone because I am a terrible mom. My anxiety was telling me that I needed to respond to every single sweet and wonderful person who reached out to me, but my depression was keeping me from all but the most necessary tasks.

I had an emergency session with my psychiatrist on Monday and I am feeling a little better. Talking to her made me remember that there is hope. I will not always feel like this. Yes, I will feel like this again, but when I do, I will wait this bitch out and I will laugh again and love again and still be here when the motherfucker comes back again.

I don’t know if you have heard of Project Semicolon, but I got myself a new tattoo to celebrate making it through the weekend.

My story isn't over.

My story isn’t over.

The following is part of a post I wrote shortly after Robin Williams passed, right before another September.

….I am not alone.

Out there, somewhere, is someone struggling as hard as I am struggling. Out there, somewhere, someone is giving up and someone is still fighting. Someone is feeling just as hopeless and empty as I feel. Someone is putting one foot in front of the other even though it hurts. Someone is hiding under the covers. Someone is crying. Someone is dying.

I understand.

I know the feeling and it is not just one of giving up, giving in, letting go of the pain. Depression is insidious and it lies. It will tell you that your family, your friends, everyone would be better off without you. That you are a useless weight around their necks and that ending your life would be a gift to them.

When you write it out like that it seems so stark, so cold, so untrue. But these are the thoughts that swirl when my head is buried under the pillow. These are the thoughts that I share with others who fight this monster every single day.

If you are reading this, I promise that I will keep putting one foot in front of the other. I promise that I will not listen to the lies, I will wait them out, I will drown them out, and I will keep going.

Come with me?

Here is a link to NAMI: National Alliance on Mental Illness, with numbers you can call if you are in crisis, and a lot of information regarding mental illness.


SMITH Anthology: Tears, laughter, and hope

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As many of you know, this past year has been particularly tough on me, even though I have been dealing with depression, anxiety, and PTSD since I was 14. I’ve been pretty candid about it here on the blog.

When I heard that Alyson Herzig and Jessica Azar were putting together an anthology designed to “Laugh Stigma Into Submission” I knew that I had to be a part of it.

The problem was, at the same time that I needed to write the piece and submit it, I was struggling, hard. I mean HARD. It was all I could do to make it through each day, one step at a time. At that point, I wasn’t even focused on making it through each day. It was each hour, each minute.

I wanted SO BADLY to be a part of this project, but I couldn’t write. I couldn’t even think about writing. It was tough enough to pull myself up off the floor and stop the flow of tears before my kids got home from school. Then I was a robot, just mechanically doing what I had to do to make it until bedtime. It’s a damn miracle that I could do that much. I talked to my kids during that time and tried to explain a little bit that I was fighting to get better, for myself and especially for them. This was not the first time that my children’s very existence saved my life.

I have always used humor as armor against pain. Even in therapy, I crack jokes and poke fun at myself. So it was much easier for me to write the humor piece for this anthology. When it came time to write the piece about my depression, I will admit that I kind of phoned it in. I just couldn’t talk about the pain I was in as I was in it. I think I was scared and ashamed to admit just how bad off I was.

So, my piece on depression ended up being cut, and I was disappointed until I read the book. Then I was floored. The raw honesty, the deeply moving, the unfiltered truth on these pages spoke to me like nothing I had ever read, let alone written. I was humbled, and felt more understood than I ever had in my life. It was like these authors reached into my soul and pulled out the jumbled pieces of my pain and laid them on the pages. I have never in my life been so proud to be a part of something as I am this book.

What makes this anthology different from any other is the way Jessica and Alyson wove humor into the stories of mental illness. Because our illnesses do not define who we are. Despite the darkness we fight off every day, there are precious moments of love, laughter, and joy.

My piece in this anthology is humorous. It is somewhat inappropriate, as is most of my writing. I like to think it is funny. I hope you enjoy it. I am honored that it was chosen to share space with the other pieces in this book.

Whether you suffer from a mental illness or you know someone who does, you should read this book and, if you can, leave a review on Amazon. It will help spread the word about this important project, and make me very happy.

It is available at the following places:

e-reader: Surviving Mental Illness Through Humor for Kindle

Paperback: Surviving Mental Illness Through Humor Paperback

Barnes and Noble: Surviving Mental Illness Through Humor for Nook

Barnes and Noble: Surviving Mental Illness Through Humor Paperback

iTunes: Surviving Mental Illness Through Humor iTunes

Or visit http://www.survivementalillness.com/

 

 


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