Tag:

depression

depression, perspective, friendship, Halloween, leaky eyed ghost

I’ve been experiencing some depression lately due to my broken leg. Really down, the kind where you look up and you see nothing but darkness. For all my issues, I’ve only felt this way 2 other times in my life… The hot mess years that I refer to as my teens and when I had my miscarriage.

Anyone who knows me, like you, knows that I’m a glass half-full kind of broad. Yep, I’m scrappy and a little rough around the edges but it’s a coping mechanism I’ve employed for most of my life. When life serves me a bowl full of rancid, rotten lemons… Chances are, I’m going to share it with you in a funny, anecdotal way that’s going to convince you that I’m going to be alright. I’ll probably even make you smile. I do it to help myself get through it.

I’m not the misery enjoys company sort. There’s enough bad, sad, no good terrible shit in the world. I don’t want to add to it. Plus, I’ve never thought of myself as a victim and I certainly don’t want others to. Nope, I’m a bootstrap girl. I pull myself up and I carry on, in fact, I’ll probably exceed your expectations because that’s just how I roll.

However, I’m human and sometimes when circumstances are beyond my control I can’t be that positive, happy person that I will myself to be. This usually happens when my body and my mind decide to both be broken at the same time. I can handle one or the other, but when it’s both… Sometimes it’s too much.

Thankfully, years of therapy, self awareness and a full capability of knowing when to accept the things I cannot change allows me to sometimes give myself over to it. There are somethings in life that simply demand to be felt, whether we prefer it or not. When this happens, all you can do is decide whether you want to be left destroyed in its wake or if you’re going to move on from the emotional, physical or spiritual hurricane that hits your life.

I’ve been in the midst of a very hard, leaky eyed ghost situation. When I say leaky eyed ghost, I mean that I’m feeling invisible and I’m finding myself crying a lot more than usual. It’s hard for me to get right side up from this injury because, quite frankly, I’m spending a lot of time these days in the vulnerable position of on my back alone with nothing but my thoughts, which have all been negative only ever so slightly peppered with breaks in the sadness.

I’ve been feeling lonely, helpless, useless and afraid. Afraid of the unknown, afraid of how this is affecting my husband and the girls and afraid I won’t fully recover. I’ve been feeling afraid of everything. The worst part is that the entire world is carrying on while I’m just sitting here watching it all, being completely unseen.

It’s very unsettling to feel forgotten and even worse to realize that you could cease to exist and your world would simply carry on without you. The world will not stop to grieve for any of us for very long. It will go on just like it did the day before. That’s a hard, sobering truth to accept. There have been days when all I can do is cry, to feel alive. There are days that I’ve kicked and screamed just to make enough ruckus to remind the people I love that I need to be heard. I need them to stop and, just for a moment, make me the center of their world. I realize it sounds selfish and childish but it’s the only thing to assuage my fear of disappearing and the fear and vulnerability that comes with that.

Sometimes when you’re engulfed in the darkness, a change of scenery can change your entire perspective even if just for a few moments, hours, days… enough to get you to survive. That’s where I’m at as I type this.

My best friend, Niki, and her family are family that we chose. Her and I found each other freshman year of college 23 years ago. We’ve grown up together. We are the keeper of one another’s secrets and our friendship is built on mutual respect, trust and 100% unconditional love. I can tell her, literally, anything and there will never be judgement, second guessing or condemnation. The friendship is simple, unconditional love and complete freedom to be ourselves all of the time. She’s my chosen sister which means we will always love each other, even if one of us does something the other doesn’t particularly like. We love each other enough to respectfully disagree on occasion.

We had a trip planned to visit her and her family on our way back from our fall trip to Disney this past week. We cancelled Disney because I can’t walk but we decided we really needed this trip to soothe our souls. But the day before we left, the kids were arguing constantly, my leg was really hurting from physical therapy and it just seemed like a lot of work lugging a shower chair, wheelchair, a walker and trying to stay comfortable. We were all over extended. The girls were being so bad that the Big guy cancelled the trip but something at my core screamed for help. This trip was our lifeline and we all knew it.

This was my way out of the darkness of my depression.

depression, perspective, friendship, Halloween, leaky eyed ghost

So we loaded into the SUV at 4 am on Thursday and emotionally & physically exhausted we drove east, praying it would all work out but knowing this was our road to salvation, our reprieve from the darkness…it was just enough air to keep the darkness from suffocating and killing us all.

It’s Saturday night and we’ve done nothing extraordinary, other than simultaneously coexist in that comfortable silence that only comes from being around the people who love you for real; not in words and declarations but in actions. The people who know that your heart is heavy, your soul is beaten and your body is weary and they take you into their home and make it yours. The people who love you at your worst and only see the best. Words will never be enough to convey what this friendship means to us. But I’d like to try.

Niki, thank you for always getting me and always loving me no matter what and thank you for such an amazing family that love us just as much as we love you. You are my sister forever and always, nothing can ever change that. I hope someday I can take care of you, the way you’ve taken care of us this past week. You’ve saved us by changing our perspective simply by changing our view. Where I only saw darkness a few days ago, I now see all the beauty, love and blessings that my life is filled with.

Sorry Nik, I know how much you worry about ending up in one of my posts but I had to share with the world how amazing you are 😉 Love you , hermanita!

I never knew a person could experience depression from a broken bone but its real and it’s awful.

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Robin Williams, parkinson's disease, 1-year anniversary,robin williams, suicide, bipolar, manic depression, depression

As I sit here, I am saddened no I am devastated by the suicide of Robin Williams. I am, however, not shocked. I want to scream and cry and I am mad. Pissed off that this f*cking disease has stolen another brilliant mind from this world. He was a genius, with eyes tinged with sadness who always made everyone else around him happy. We shared something in common, Robin Williams and myself, aside from being from Chicago, a bipolar diagnosis.

I don’t talk about it often because I am so much more than a diagnosis. It does not define me. But, I take this personally. It’s a punch to the gut because many of us who suffer from this diagnosis know that suicide is a very real outcome for our lives. It’s not so much a matter of will he or won’t he kill himself, it’s more of a when will he just not be able to bear the burden any longer because even though our pain threshold is higher than most, even we have a limit to the torture we can endure.

I’ve never suffered from an official diagnosis of severe depression, but I have spent a lifetime suffering from a diagnosis of bipolar 1 which for me has mostly meant teetering between mania and extreme irritability. People love you when you are manic because you are the life of the party. You are fun and funny and everyone loves you.

But when you stay manic too long, you become irritable; irritable at the fact that you cannot calm down from your manic high, annoyed with yourself for being this person; for breathing. You begin to feel out of control and then you become angry and mean. You hate the world. You hate yourself. Then, just to add insult to injury, sometimes you fall from your vibrant mania heaven to the deepest, darkest pit of depression hell. You feel worthless and unworthy of the air you breathe.

I haven’t been “depressed” since my teen years. Like I said, I used to exist between manic and irritable. I’ve been non–episodic for 12 years. I’m 41. I was officially diagnosed when I was 27 but I had been exhibiting symptoms of bipolar from about the age of 15. At that time, I did frequently got depressed. I used to lay awake at night crying trying to figure out a way to disappear; to kill myself because living felt pointless and it hurt to feel that worthless. But the thought of breaking my mother’s heart was too much for me to bear so I held on.

When I was diagnosed with Bipolar, I wept with relief. I was so happy to have a name for this terrible demon that had literally turned my life upside down. When I was diagnosed, I was on the brink of losing everything but I was so manic that I did not care. I was drinking heavily to try to quiet my mind. I would wake up chipper and pleasant and happy-go-lucky and then it was like my engine got stuck, revved up and I just couldn’t stop and I was so tired of being “up” so then I drank myself into a stupor. When I was irritable, I was mean and biting with my words. A part of me wanted to alienate everyone and destroy anything that was good in my life because I didn’t feel like I deserved it when I was coming down. That’s the thing. It’s a shame spiral. You get manic and feel like the king of the world and then you come crashing down and feel unworthy of life and that’s when the demon creeps back in. Sometimes your meds quiet the demons, sometimes they can’t. But you choose to fight, every single day until you can’t anymore.

I am non-episodic but I know every day could be the day that I become manic. I know that every day could be the end of my life as I know it. I fight. I fight to stay here to be here because today, I know how wonderful it can be. Right now, I am living as close to normal as I’ve ever been.

Robin Williams was 63 years old, he fought his demons every day for all these years but today he was too beat down to fight back and we lost a comedic genius, a father, a husband, a friend. Today, I lost a fellow warrior. He has fallen and my heart is heavy. My thoughts and prayers are for those who loved him that he left behind, may they find the strength and courage to carry on. May he finally rest in peace.

Don’t let his death be meaningless. Don’t let one more person die in mental health vain. We need to be more open, remove the stigma and support one another. Bipolar disorder, manic depression, depression or whatever it is that you call your demon can only be defeated when all the warriors stand tall and share our stories and own our issues. I won’t lie, Robin Williams’ suicide scares me because it makes me feel vulnerable.

There should be no shame in being sick, there should only be compassion and understanding and HELP! Share your stories. Come out of your mental health closet. #RobinsWarriors If you need help, don’t be afraid to reach out. You are not alone. Don’t give up.

24-hour Hotline

National Suicide Prevention Helpline

1-800-273-8255 (1-800-273-TALK)

Do not go gently into that good night…rage until you can no longer draw breath into your body. Rage warriors, rage harder than you ever have before.

Robin Williams, there will never be another you and you will forever be missed.

 

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I have decided to write my first ever Pour Your Heart Out post. I am very open on my blog. I am very honest about what I write and the opinions and feelings that I have about any given subject. That being said, I write a Mommy blog. Every part of me that I ever was, am or will ever be is not relevant to my posts. So you don’t know every single thing about me. And that’s okay because I don’t know every single thing about you. Who really knows everything about everyone? We know what is pertinent and the rest is extraneous information, except for when it isn’t.

This morning,I found myself impulsively writing a post. It was one of those situations where the heart took over and my blog was where the feelings landed. Needless to say, I spent the day being attacked but that’s OK too because we are all entitled to our feelings and our opinions…that includes me. I heard your reactions and I took my lumps, like a big girl. But I realized that you don’t know things about me. I am going to share a part of my past that I don’t like to talk about or even recollect. I’ve not shared it up to this point because it was simply irrelevant. Today, it became relevant.

It was a bitter cold night in January 13 years ago.I was a senior in college and had been out at the bars with my friends and fiance,having the time of our lives. Not a care in the world. In fact, I was on top of the world. I had just newly gotten engaged and the whole world was in front of me. We were out celebrating our engagement with our closest friends. Life was finally looking promising.

This particular night, I had been out with my now husband and my best friend, who introduced us, and a few others close to us. My best friend had grown up with my fiance and he was like her brother. From the very beginning, she raved at how I had to meet him.Here we were, like any other night at college, drinking, talking, dancing, laughing and living.Living life so full and hard that sometimes it felt too good to be true.

This night, something was different. She seemed distant….removed. But when I asked she said that she had things on her mind. A little more drinking and a lot more probing and she told me that she was feeling like she was losing our friendship to the engagement. She felt left out. She felt angry. She felt sad. I hugged her, as best girlfriends do, and I assured her that no this was just the beginning to a very long friendship.I assumed that was it. The night proceeded as usual and then we parted ways. She dropped me off at my apartment and said she’d see me tomorrow and then drove home to her apartment on the opposite side of town.In retrospect, I should have known something was wrong since she hadn’t decided to just crash at my apartment, as she did on so many other nights.

Sometime a few hours later (I’m not really sure of the time as I was in a dead sleep when I received the phone call), she called me. She was half incoherent and she was mumbling. I could barely understand or hear her. She was speaking in a low, heavy whisper. All I remember hearing is “I love you and I wanted to say bye”. Then the phone went dead. My heart froze and my stomach dropped. I tried frantically to call her back as I was throwing on my clothes and searching for my keys. I called the police. I tried to call her again. No answer. The phone rang. It was her mother, frantic and scared sounding exactly the same way I felt. She had gotten the same call. I ran out the door half dressed because in those moments every single second was life or death. I jumped in my car, with no coat and snow pouring down, tears streaming down my cheeks and my heart beating out of my chest. My head was spinning.The car stalled. It wouldn’t start. I called my fiance to come and get me.I called the cops again. Time was moving so fast but so slow.It was like helplessly watching a train wreck in slow motion.Knowing everyone on board was going to die but you couldn’t stop it.

The dispatch ( knowing that I was frightened out of my mind) checked with the on scene police officers and told me that paramedics were at her apartment trying to resuscitate her. TRYING.TO.RESUSCITATE. HER!! Her mother called. My friend had taken sleeping pills and pain killers.Lots of them. Life was muffled and spinning so fast and far out of control that I could hardly breathe. I felt trapped in my own head.What was only 3 minutes felt like a lifetime.My fiance arrived, I jumped into his car, in the middle of that dark, freezing cold night in January and raced to the hospital. I was it. We were her family. Her parents were 2 hours away. So, we sat and we waited. And waited. And waited. Finally, her mother arrived. Finally, the doctors let us know that she was going to be okay.

I have NEVER felt so helpless in my entire life. I am not a victim. I do not sit idly by and watch as life happens to me. I am engaged. I am involved. I make things happen. I keep the people that I love safe. Her act left me helpless and in a panic. All I could do was pray. She called me after the fact. She didn’t even give me a chance to help her. It infuriated me. It infuriates me to this day. When you kill yourself, or even try to kill yourself, the ones you leave behind are the ones who are left with the void and the pain.  Maybe that is why the events that took place this morning incited such a strong reaction within me. In fact, I am sure that my own personal experience is what caused my gut reaction. So, next time, you will know that I hate the helplessness, the situation…not the person or the illness.

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