Tag Archives: depression

Feckless Joy

I get up and, immediately dizzy, wait, holding on until I feel steady. I look down as I walk and think I look strong. Maybe it’s the Nike Swoosh across my toes. Maybe Pop’s old blue PJs, rolled up above my knees, or the racerback tank with the hollow-eyed skull on the front. For this minute, I feel not-broken. (Maybe.)

I think, “maybe I won’t cry today.”

Quieter, I think, “this is fine.”

“I can go on, like this.”

No more tests, no more doctors—wait—I’ve already taken my medicine this morning.

(I need water, I’ll get dehydrated, always forget, shit.)

Okay, so no more new doctors. No more tests. I’ll take what I’m taking, this is fine.

This, I can do.

Maybe I won’t cry today?

I fill up a big glass of ice-cold water and the thought, “What is Joy?” floats into my head, an abrupt intrusion, and unlike the butterflies that have been landing on me all morning, it doesn’t fly away.

I drink deep and get my notebook and pen, no idea what will come out other than “What is Joy?” and maybe (probably) not even that.

As I walk toward the door, my head feels heavy, like it’s a bowling ball I won’t be able to carry much longer.

I sit and, turning to a new page, glimpse yesterday’s list of things not done, remember today’s things that won’t be done, all the many things always coming undone…

I shake off, push down, smother out the rush of worry these thoughts bring.

No. Not now. (They’ll wait.) I inhale cancer-causing, anxiety-eating smoke and start writing, not about Joy, at least not as could be recognized.

Soon, though the notebook is resting on my thighs, the arm holding it in place aches and starts to tremble. My handwriting becomes illegible as the fingers of my right hand protest at holding a pen for—what? Three minutes?

Another butterfly lands and quickly leaves.

What is Joy.

I sit back, exhausted, feet burning, back and neck and tailbone hurting so much now, too much, and fuck, what was I thinking, writing, both arms from elbow joints to finger tips on fire, screaming in pain and my bowling-ball head, not one to be ignored, tentatively joining in, tapping out a subtle beat.

Fuck.

Loud, I-am-the-boss, I think, “No. Not. Today.”

Quiet, I think, “please.”

What is Joy?

A momentary illusion of strength.

A fragile bubble burst too soon.

A daily dream that is my life-mare.

I don’t know this “Joy” except as it flits in, then out.

Another butterfly, tasting the blue truth of woven cotton, fluttering away.

I shake my bowling-ball head at feckless Joy, scared off by salty tears.

Someone says, “It’s all in how you look at it!”

I look.

“Looks pretty fucking shitty,” I think, sour.

Someone says, “Stay positive! Other people have it so much worse, you know.”

Someone says, “You know she’s faking it. Just wants attention.”

Someone says, “It’s not like she’ll show up. Why bother asking?”

I say, “These butterflies keep thinking I’m a flower.”


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.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Lost in Translation

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This picture makes about as much sense as the post itself.

There are some unwritten rules in the blogging/writing world. One that I continually break is not to read the comments left on sites other than my own. I can’t seem to help it. I want to know what people think.

When I Am Not That Mom was first published here, I was amazed at the response. Then Scary Mommy wanted it. Then Huffington Post. Then All4Women. I was blown away by the comments, and I read as many as I could find. Mostly they said “Thank you” or “Me too” or “Now I don’t feel so alone.” How could I just let those beautiful words languish in internet purgatory, never noticed, never acknowledged? The people that left these comments praised me, for being brave, for being vulnerable, and most often, for letting them know that they were NOT alone. But what they didn’t know was that those comments helped me, probably much more than my post helped them.

When Huffington Post shared that piece again last week, I received two emails. One in Italian (which I initially thought was French because I am Very Smart) and one in German. I had to use Google Translate to understand what was happening. I guess U.S. Huffington Post submitted the article to their Italian and German counterparts.

HOW COULD I RESIST?!

I couldn’t. When I clicked on the link, Google asked me if I wanted it translated to English. Sure. Cause I can’t fucking read Italian. Or German. Or French, for that matter.

This is where things started getting HYSTERICAL. Now, I’m no linguist, as surely you’ve realized by now, and I have no idea how accurate Google Translate is, but holy shit, my word babies were torn to pieces and put back together until I didn’t even recognize myself.

I was laughing so hard last night, I almost couldn’t breathe. I ran around the house shoving my phone in any face that would hold still and yelling, “THEY SAID I KISSED AN OX!” “OMG!” and “CHRIST ON A CRUTCH, THE WHOLE WORLD THINKS I’M A FUCKING MORON!”

Seriously, I sound like a lazy, and possibly insane, asshole.

I wonder if an Italian-speaking person read it, would it make more sense and come across the way it was meant?

Anyway. For your reading pleasure, I present to you excerpts from I Am Not That Mom, in English, Italian, and German. I hope you enjoy it as much as I have.

 

ME: I Am Not That Mom

ITALY: I Am Not One of Those Mothers

GERMANY: I’m Not a Mother

Wow, Germany, that’s a little harsh.

 

ME: I am well aware of my failure in this aspect of parenting.

ITALY: I am well aware that you have failed as a parent from this point of view.

Yeah, you fucked up big time. Wait, what?

 

ME: I’m just not that mom.

GERMANY: But as a mom, I am not easy.

I can’t really argue with this.

 

ME: When I first saw you, I knew that you would hold my heart forever.

ITALY: The first time I saw you, my son, I realized that I’d captured her heart forever.

I’m so confused.

 

ME: I can still feel you, so tiny, snuggled on my chest. When I see you asleep now, I still picture you curled up in footie pajamas, all wispy hair and dark lashes against perfect skin.

ITALY:  I can still hear each of you, curled up on my chest. Even today, when I look at you sleep, I imagine squatting in your swimsuit, with thinning hair, dark lashes and face immaculate.

What the…someone, please, explain this before I laugh so hard I pee my pants. Again.

Too late.

 

ME:  I was the mom who kissed boo boos.

ITALY:  I was one of those moms who kissed your ox.

Oh, Italy, you’re killing me here.

 

ME: (safety scissors, my ass.)

ITALY: (scissors with safety, a horn.)

Scissors. Useful in any language. Asses and horns, not so much.

 

ME: But most times I feel like I am also the mom who is failing.

GERMANY: But mostly I feel that I am the mom who refused.

This is hurtful, Germany. Very hurtful.

 

ME: I was that mom who rocked you all night, patting and bouncing and shh, shh, shhing when you cried.

GERMANY: I was the mom that you all night has gently rocked, patted your Po, up on the exercise ball…

I think you and I might bounce babies differently, Translator Person.

 

ME: …although there have been a few notes from the Tooth Fairy instead of cash.

ITALY: …although the Tooth Fairy, instead of giving me some money, I did deliver the message of warning.

THIS TOOTH IS NO GOOD. NEXT TIME LEAVE ONE WITH FILLINGS, OR ELSE.

XOXO,

The Tooth Fairy

 

ME: I’m also the mom who too often hurts too much to cook dinner. I’m the mom who lets you eat an unhealthy amount of macaroni and pizza rolls.

ITALY: They are also the mother who often do not want to make dinner. I am the mother who lets you eat a huge amount and unhealthy pasta and pizza.

Translation: This woman is lazy and wants you to be fat and hungry.

 

So yesterday was a good, good day, because I got to read all these wonderful comments from wonderful moms, dads, grandmas, future moms, people with no intention of having children, just so many amazingly considerate people, and then I got to laugh my ass off at this. I needed a good day.


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/

 

 


The Spoon Theory

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Warning: This is not a funny post. It is about chronic illness. I’d really like you to read it. I promise I’ll attempt to be funny next time. I’ve been dealing with a lot of health issues this past week and I’ve felt very helpless and misunderstood. I want you all to know that I am not asking you to feel sorry for me. I don’t want anyone to pity me. I just wish everyone could understand what life is like with chronic illness and the Spoon Theory, I think, is one of the better ways to describe it.

The Spoon Theory basically says that with chronic illness, you start the day with a certain number of spoons, when a healthy person would start each day with an unlimited amount.

Pretend you wake up and you have 12 spoons.

It costs you a spoon just to get out of bed because your entire body is one giant ache and you never feel like you got any sleep. Next you have to walk down the hallway and wake up the boys and get the daughter’s clothes for school. This costs a spoon because this early in the morning you have the most intense pain and sometimes can barely walk. You have to use one hand to uncurl the other hand because they don’t want to work yet. You can hardly lift the coffee pot to pour coffee. You think about asking your husband for help and then feel guilty because he is going to work and you are not. It costs you a spoon to get yourself mentally under control and continue getting the kids ready to go to school. If you made lunches the night before that’s good, but if you were too tired then you have to do it now and that will cost you a spoon because of all the bending and walking and you are still in a lot of pain.

The kids and husband leave for the day and you are left with 8 spoons. The house is a mess. Do you have to go anywhere today? If you do, you can’t do anything else because driving and running errands or just running around town will take all the rest of your spoons. All of them. You will be in so much pain and so exhausted by the time you get home that you will be unable to do anything else.

This day, let’s say you get to stay home. So you do the dishes and maybe start a load of laundry. Take away a spoon. You need to think about your depression and do something positive so you will color or write in your journal or meditate or do yoga. This costs at least one spoon, depending on what you decide to do.

Remember, you haven’t showered, gotten dressed, or even brushed your teeth yet. You get dressed and brush your teeth and you are tired, so tired. It costs a spoon.

You’ve got 5 spoons left and it isn’t even noon. The house is still a mess. If you really, really clean it, it will cost all of your spoons for today and probably some of tomorrow’s. You need to eat but you are so nauseous that you can’t, plus you hate to waste a spoon just to feed yourself. You decide to watch t.v. for a while and rest. You think about taking a nap, but you can’t because you are too anxious and feel like you can’t breathe. It costs a spoon to get your anxiety under control.

You have 4 spoons left. The house is still a mess. You still have to figure out something for dinner or maybe your husband will bring something home. You better have him bring something home, because you will have to use at least 3 spoons to check the kids’ backpacks, sign papers, help with homework, and generally be present as a mother when they get home. You won’t be able to make dinner, and since you’re still nauseous, won’t be able to eat it either. It is 7 pm and you’ve only got one spoon, but your daughter still needs a bath and you didn’t even shower today. You still have to pack lunches and make the coffee for in the morning and your husband hasn’t gotten any of your attention. You feel like a failure as a wife and a homemaker and a mother. You feel so sorry for your family because you don’t have enough spoons to do everything you want to do for them. The stress leads to a migraine. You are down for two days, crying and throwing up and maybe going to the emergency room. This takes all of the spoons for those two days, and possibly some from the third day because you are exhausted after such a bad migraine.

So that’s basically the spoon theory, and basically my life. I didn’t mention allergic reactions, and I think I actually spend more spoons on managing my health and depression, but you get the idea.

It takes all my spoons just to get through a day doing the bare minimum. If I want to take the kids somewhere fun, that’s all my spoons. If I want to go out to eat with a friend, I have to realize that I will not be able to do something else. If I have a doctor’s appointment in the afternoon, I better lay down all morning.

I have a really hard time dealing with my health. It makes me incredibly sad to not be able to do the things I want to do. I hate having to plan my day around what I feel physically and mentally capable of. I hate that I don’t have enough spoons. I hate that by looking at me, you can’t see how hard I fight every day. I hate thinking that people think I am hateful or lazy because I don’t do things and I cancel plans all the time. I hate that I have to budget my energy and my time.

The Spoon Theory was written by Christine Miserandino at www.butyoudontlooksick.com. You can check it out at http://www.butyoudontlooksick.com/articles/written-by-christine/the-spoon-theory/

Does The Spoon Theory apply to you? If so, what things do you do to stay positive, knowing that you’ll be counting spoons for the rest of your life? Do you find that you judge yourself more harshly than anyone else does? I know I do. Don’t you love my nail polish?

**EDITED TO ADD: I love each and every one of you. I swear I feel stronger with every kind comment and it really means so much to me that you take the time to send me your thoughts. I might cry, guys. You are all my favorite.


PTSD

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Things are not going well here in the land of the lost.

I realize that I’ve been sick so much in the last few weeks that I’ve missed or thrown up my medication more than I’ve taken it so I’m basically free balling here and that doesn’t work well for me.

I keep trying to tell myself to just hang on until I’m back mostly on level and that Depression Lies and that my kids need their mom. But I keep asking myself what is the point to a life where you are always sick, either mentally or physically or both?

I’m so tired of being sick.

I’m so tired of being sad.

This is a pathetic post and I’m done with it.

Here’s some information about PTSD. The bolded parts are from WebMD.

 

Post-traumatic stress disorder can be crippling. Many people think that PTSD is limited to people who have been in war or lived through some horrific act of violence. Those people can and do suffer from PTSD, but they are not the only ones.

I was diagnosed with PTSD when I was 14. Twenty years ago. And I’m still dealing with it today.

From WebMD:

Posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) … is a serious condition that can develop after a person has experienced or witnessed a traumatic or terrifying event ….

…PTSD is a lasting consequence of traumatic ordeals that cause intense fear, helplessness, or horror…

…Most people who experience a traumatic event will have reactions that may include shock, anger, nervousness, fear, and even guilt. These reactions are common; and for most people, they go away over time. For a person with PTSD, however, these feelings continue and even increase, becoming so strong that they keep the person from living a normal life.

Symptoms of PTSD often are grouped into three main categories, including:

Reliving: People with PTSD repeatedly relive the ordeal through thoughts and memories of the trauma. These may include flashbacks, hallucinations, and nightmares. They also may feel great distress when certain things remind them of the trauma…

Avoiding: The person may avoid people, places, thoughts, or situations that may remind him or her of the trauma…

Increased arousal: These include excessive emotions; problems relating to others, including feeling or showing affection; difficulty falling or staying asleep; irritability; outbursts of anger; difficulty concentrating; and being “jumpy” or easily startled. The person may also suffer physical symptoms, such as increased blood pressure and heart rate, rapid breathing, muscle tension, nausea, and diarrhea.

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A problem I have with PTSD is that I feel guilty that it is still a problem. I feel like I should be “over it” by now and sometimes feel like my friends and family feel that way too. Feeling guilty for being sick doesn’t help, and in fact only adds to my anxiety and depression. I don’t know how to “fix” myself. I don’t know how to be better. I would not choose a life of pain and fear if I had the choice. I did not choose to have fibromyalgia, chronic debilitating migraines, chronic pain syndrome, or the Alpha-gal allergy anymore than I chose to have depression, anxiety, and PTSD. These are all things that I fight through every single day. And it is a fight. Right now, it’s a fight that I feel like I’m losing.

I just have to keep putting one foot in front of the other until I come from under this black cloud. Eventually I will be in the sun and I will be proud that I made it through again.

If you are struggling too, tell me about it. I probably don’t have the words to help, but I can listen. If you are happy, tell me that too. It will help me see through this dark.


Summertime Depression

 

cropped-glass.pngIt’s easier to be depressed during the school year.

As I feel myself falling down this familiar hole with all three kids here, I’m scrambling. I’m scrambling to tell them I’m sick, (which I am) and I’m tired (which I am) and to get them to just play and leave me alone.  I just want to lay in my bed in silence and stare at the wall for about 12 hours.

No, I do not want to play outside.

No, I do not want to go swimming.

No, I am not going to color.

No, I will not help you paint.

I don’t want to play and I’m not going to play.  I’m not good today and I just need you to be quiet and play with your five hundred million toys without needing my constant supervision and cheering on.

Yes, my depression makes me irritable.  No, it doesn’t help that everything hurts because I’ve overdone it this week and the weather is being weird.  Yes, I feel terribly guilty about it.  No, I don’t want to help you find whatever it is you’ve lost.

We made cookies from scratch yesterday.  Last week we put up the kiddie pool and I watched you swim for hours.  Last night we snuggled and watched movies.  Today I am broken.

Today I need to not be anyone’s mommy.  Today I can’t even take care of myself.

Depression is not easy any time, but it is hell in the summertime.

 


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