Dear Me: You are enough.

Standard

Be patient with yourself. The healing will come as you do the work and show up for yourself. I know some days that is really hard because you have a little one who needs so much of you but you’ve been through this before, it will get easier. Babies grow up into toddlers, then preschoolers and then five-year-olds with no patience who can do so much without your help but still need you to be the audience to their big imaginations. Then they will be 12-year-olds who know so much and have such big ideas for their lives but still want game nights and bear hugs and to show off their newest pieces of artwork, and still ask permission to put on nail polish. Then will come 19, so ready to leave the nest and live on their own but still bringing home their laundry on weekends to be washed.

20151108_180743

This new baby will grow up too and all too quickly you will wonder where the small, helpless babe at your breast has gone. You will regain some degree of freedom as he stretches his legs and learns to let go of your hand but the freedom comes at the cost of your sweet babe growing up so try not to rush it. Enjoy your afternoons of rocking together, his head curled tight against your chest, his newborn smell still filling your nostrils for time steals these precious moments away and fades the memories to dull aches of longing for more of those quiet uninterrupted afternoons of just dozing and rocking.

The healing will happen but there’s no need to rush it at the expense of this time with your little one. Don’t let the guilt of unwashed dishes, large piles of laundry and consecutive nights of boxed meals interfere with your healing for it’s in the raw quiet moments that you can let everything go, all the years of pain, disappointment, anger that has built up like uric acid in aching joints so that even when all is well your brain is plaguing you with anxiety and worry, wondering when it will all fall apart, just like last time and the time before that.

I have something really important to tell you, it doesn’t have to be like last time ever again.

You are learning better ways, you are finding your voice, creating your own path to a new future where you will be doing what you want to do and providing for your family while doing it. Right now is just a temporary bump in the road while you nurture and love the newest member of the family in the way that works best for you while navigating your demons from the past and not letting them get a foothold in the present, no matter how hard they might try.

You are stronger than you have ever been but when you are feeling weak know that you are surrounded by people ready and willing to lift you up and remind you that you are enough just as you are and it will be enough to accomplish everything you want to. You just need to reach out to them, they will remind you of your worth when you have forgotten.

And it’s okay to cry. It’s safe now. You’re safe now. You are loved and held. Space has been made for you to release all that pain you hold so tight like an armour around you, keeping everyone out. You don’t have to do that anymore. Let the pain and anger that poisons your soul flow out of you, let the tears come and let them cleanse you. In that cleansing you will be reborn, stronger, more beautiful and with a trust in yourself and your abilities that you can only imagine right now. Let the floodgates open, let the ink on the page be smudged with your tears and know that you are strong and you are more than enough just as you are right now. The tears are just a really long overdue cleansing.

Love yourself, because that’s important too. You are worthy of your own attention. You do not need permission from anyone else to do the basic tasks of self-care. It’s okay to get your hair done and to go to spiritual meet ups and to find time to clear out your space in the house.  It’s okay to read books, to cross-stitch, and to write. It’s more than acceptable to find time for your on-line classes and work on your future, and to purchase the needed materials. I know it feels selfish to do those things for yourself but it’s not, so make your lists, set your goals and get up in the morning and tackle them, one at a time. And if you need to, it’s also okay to ask for help.

I love you and I’m tired of being your punching bag for every little perceived wrong you have done in your life because you have also done so much right. Stop measuring yourself by your failures and start measuring yourself by your successes, and others around you will have no other choice but to also do the same.  You are worthy of your own love and you are worthy of the love of others but you must open yourself up and let them in. I know being vulnerable is really hard for you but it will be so worth it, trust me!

I will write again. You need more pep-talks, someone to remind you how wonderful and amazing and strong you are. Who else is better to do that than me?

Love yourself!

11923422_10153682222139739_1042931032_o

Gaming Addiction – It’s a Real Thing

Standard

5225188282_cc1c7fa459_oI had full intentions of writing more regularly after my last post but the last couple of months have tested every part of me, physically, mentally and emotionally, and the cracks are showing. My words have failed me. Part of the problem is I don’t know what is my story to tell anymore. All the stories are so intertwined. My husband’s, my 18 year-old’s, my baby growing in uteri and the filaments of each story are tangled together with the filaments of the other stories, impossible to completely separate.

I write this blog anonymously but I do know that many of my friends and some family do read this so I have to be careful about what information goes out there that has the potential to hurt the people I love. So my voice and my pen are silenced by fear, fear of betraying the one’s I love and telling too much of a story that’s not mine to tell.

In the same breath the story is one that is becoming all too familiar a story across many spectrums of society, touching so many people. To break the stigma the stories must be told, we must reach out and ask for help. In so doing we put our souls on the line, knowing there will always be those that have negative things to say. My hope is that those people are in the minority and most will try to understand and some may feel comfortable enough reaching out a helping hand.

My 18 year-old suffers with a gaming addiction and depression. It has impacted every part of our lives. It has complicated this pregnancy as I am utterly emotionally exhausted by the unrelenting barrage of craziness that has become my life in dealing day in and day out with an addicted youth. As a mother my heart breaks every day watching him suffer and being unable to help him in any significant way because he has yet to reach the point of helping himself. Options for help are so very few despite all the mental health fundraising and information campaigns to raise awareness. Where does all the money go? It’s just not enough…

It also doesn’t help that gaming addiction is a brand new addiction (no not really) and it is just becoming more recognized by the healthcare community so resources are slow to be directed towards it. Many who suffer with the addiction also suffer with depression or other mental disorders such as ADHD/ADD, or have suffered through some form of abuse or difficult episodes in their lives that like an alcoholic drinks to forget, they game to forget.

Game companies also know exactly what they are doing when they design these games, even some of the simplest ones. The designers build an element of addiction right into the games and anybody who is prone to addiction gets sucked right in. It becomes expensive and like a meth addict needing their next high, the kids look to the gaming companies to source their next hit and they find ways to get the money to pay for it. They can’t control the need or the impulse to do what they need to do to get that hit.

There is no applying rationality to the problem. We can say all the things that make sense but none of it makes sense to the addicted gamer. It’s all about losing oneself in a game, hiding from reality in a fabricated world that allows you to forget everything that sucks in your life, that you aren’t good enough, that you can’t live up to the expectations of others. The outlets into these games are everywhere now, through smart phones, through tablets, through gaming stations, and through traditional laptops and desktop computers. The companies are ruthless and far-reaching with their advertisements and their upgrades and their extra fees that keep you hooked and coming back for more.

So what do you do?

If I knew, I’d tell you. Every day I wake up to this toxic reality running my life and draining my energy. Separating my child from his gaming addiction and seeing him as a lost soul is hard some days. I can’t sit by and enable him. Since he’s not in school and has no job, we lock up the Xbox but he finds other ways to get his fix. The anger and resentment build, on both sides, and it only adds to the problem.

There is a silver lining in this story. I have found a residential treatment program for gaming addicts. It’s only three weeks long. Hopefully it’s a start. I am not naïve, three weeks will not solve everything but if all goes well, he will be admitted very soon and return in time to start his full-time summer job, as well as continue to be supported by his social worker over the summer.

Right now that’s the best help I can find and it beats putting him on the street, which was beginning to feel like my only option and my heart was breaking at the thought of having to take that step. So I am putting out there into the universe a request to anyone who feels called to do so, to hold space for my family’s healing and send us positive energy and prayers as we move through this difficult path. I have to believe there’s healing on the other side and in the baby steps along the way but through all the pain and hurt that shackles my life it’s hard to see those glimmers of hope.

wpid-wp-1432565456186.jpg

Thank you. Thank you. Thank you.

Who is in Control?

Standard

97033289_57fab34574_o

Lack of choice

Other’s voices singing in your head.

You must do things our way.

Change direction.

Don’t argue. Don’t stop.

Just do.

Do it our way.

Who controls me?

Who controls us?

Is it my three-year-old?

Or is it society

disapproving of my ways?

Is it my ten-year-old?

Or is it all the clutter

in our lives

keeping us from authentic connections

with each other?

Is it my seventeen-year-old?

Or is it the emotional baggage

born of years of anger

and frustration?

Or is it mental illness?

ADD/ADHD,

Aspergers,

High-functioning Austism,

Depression.

All of us dealing with it

in our own way,

but never tackling it as a team.

Who is really in control

of our lives?

I have been exploring the idea of control. What is control? Does my youngest control my life? Some people apparently think he does and are concerned about me. Should they be? He’s three. He’s at a very busy stage, learning so much all the time, and I try to provide healthy environments for him to learn and grow in. I have a couple of memberships, we try to attend playgroup as much as we can and we’ve started regularly going to the library to return and discover new books.

He is becoming more independent all the time but still needs me for a lot. I let him do some things that some parents would think are crazy. He’s used sharp knives under supervision, he plays out front of our house and in the gardens while I work in the kitchen. I let him more or less freely explore his environment, make messes with soap and water on my kitchen floor, let him clean – he loves spray bottles and he loves pretending to clean. Yes, sometimes it makes more work, but no one ever said parenthood was clean and tidy!

I’m struggling to understand what is meant by control and how, as was suggested to me, my Facebook posts are giving off the impression that my three-year-old is controlling me. I spent some time re-reading them and there were some expressions of frustration and exhaustion but many were recounts of our adventures or a clip of something he said that I thought was amusing. I don’t even post that frequently, especially since we stripped the data service from my phone so when I’m away from the house I have no internet access anymore. I have to wait until I get home to upload my pictures and put up a status so often I don’t even bother.

So who is reading my status updates and concluding I’m being controlled by my three-year-old? I just don’t see how they are making that connection from my words. As I mentioned, I sometimes express elements of frustration or fatigue and legitimately so, parenthood usually entails some degree of both, but add in my health issues and yes I often do too much and the fatigue and frustrations can get the better of me. Does that mean my three-year-old is in control? I don’t think so. If anything my health issues are running that show. I’m working hard to take that control back but it’s a work in progress.

At the moment I am a stay-at-home mom by choice. If I really wanted a job I could find something in retail but then our lives would be controlled by a chaotic, often unpredictable schedule, and by the time I paid for any daycare, I’d probably be no further ahead financially, and certainly not enough to make the added stress worthwhile. So I have chosen to make my family the priority, even if it has meant choosing a financially frustrating path while I work on building a business for myself that will hopefully begin to fill in the gaps within a year or so, hopefully less. I just need some support to find the time to do that work so that I’m not up all night working on my studies which drains my energy for looking after the children and family during the day. No one can run 24 hours a day, not even a mom…

The three-year-old may be part of the reason for my lack of time but he is not the only reason, and I don’t feel like he is the controlling reason. He is just being three, curious, rambunctious, full of energy and very loving. His behaviours are normal. He doesn’t like to be alone. He’ll play independently but he likes to be able to look up and connect with a familiar person. He is more reserved than my older two were, he’s slower to join in to large groups, preferring smaller groups or one-on-one interactions, but he amazed me the other day!

We met my husband for lunch at McDonald’s, one with a playland, and for the first time my three-year-old went straight to climbing, never asking for help, and when there were other kids to play with he went up and introduced himself and asked their names. It surprised me and filled me with happiness that he was finding his strength and his voice. I didn’t have to force him, or train him, it happened naturally when he was ready. He played for nearly three hours on the playland and still didn’t want to leave but we had to get home to meet my daughter off the bus. I spent the better part of that three hours while he was playing, writing, mostly uninterrupted. It was really amazing.

I’ll take my moments when I can get them but my three-year-old is still at an age where he relies on me for a lot of his needs. Yes, I could plop him in front of a TV or let him have my phone all the time, I’d probably get a little more done but is that truly preferable? We do enough of that when we’re cooped up indoors during the winter. Now that the beautiful weather is here it’s really hard to keep anyone indoors and that’s how it should be. So we walk the dog, take even more advantage of our memberships because we don’t have to fight with layers of outerwear or clear the car off. We go to parks and beaches for the day, pack picnic lunches and explore wherever our feet take us.

I try to squeeze in time for the things I need as best I can, unfortunately cleaning, studying, writing/blogging and reading often find their way to the sidelines. But I am okay with that. My kids will be young once and only really need me for such a short time in the scheme of things, I’m going to enjoy the ride. If that looks like control to the outside world, well I guess it is what it is.

For those who are concerned my message is this, parenthood is a tough gig. I have three children, all with unique needs and personalities. Some days I do feel like I’m being pulled in too many directions, and like I’m going to burst from the frustration. Add to those three different directions, my family as a whole entity’s needs, my husband’s needs, my marriage’s needs and my own needs. It’s a tight rope walk of epic proportions and it’s too easy to stumble and fall, it’s too easy to sacrifice my needs for the bigger picture, or unwittingly hurt someone or overlook someone. If you are truly a friend and you have these concerns, the best thing you can do is be part of my safety net. Listen when I need to talk, don’t judge my mistakes too harshly because I’m harder on myself than you can ever be and if I am to learn self-forgiveness, I can’t also feel like I’ve wronged you somehow too.

Most importantly, if I ask for help and you are able to help, then please help me, not with criticism but genuinely true understanding, love and support, and if you aren’t sure exactly what I need, just ask. Sometimes it could be as simple as an ear to listen, or a shoulder to hold me up, other times it could be physical help with the kids or the house. It is always immensely appreciated, and often rewarded with baked goods.

A black hole

Standard

WARNING – DEPRESSIVE CONTENT, EMOTIONAL TRIGGER

I am completely overwhelmed.

I am in a very dark head space. That is why I have not been writing. I don’t want to share how I feel because admitting to it means admitting I’m losing the battle with my depression.

I have better days. I didn’t write a to-do list this past week but Monday through Wednesday I worked hard to spend time doing the things I want to be doing. Reading with my daughter. Playing with my son. Turning off the computer more. Just trying to focus on the little things.

It’s hard to keep it up….every day….when I just feel utterly miserable inside… all the time….

Most days I barely drag myself out of bed. Just the act of waking up reminds me of my pain, and all I want is to cry, yet I can’t even find relief in tears. I push them down and force myself to get out of bed and do the bare necessities of what needs doing. Get my daughter on the bus in the morning with a lunch. Do laundry so my family has clean clothes to wear. Get myself dressed.

Most days I don’t even manage getting dressed. I live in pajamas and yoga pants, and on more occasions than I’d care to actually admit to, I have worn the same clothes for nearly 36 hours straight.

As a human being I feel like a complete and utter failure.

I feel beaten up. My bruises invisible to the world so there are few words of comfort or understanding. Mostly a lot of messages of “just deal with it” and “why can’t you manage this?”, even if they aren’t said in so many words and many come disguised as words of encouragement.

I took a college course in the spring of 2013 on communication. I loved it. One of the exercises the teacher had us do was draw a picture of an object that represented how we felt.

I drew a black hole.

I drew a blackBlack hole hole because it felt like my whole life was being sucked into one and no matter how hard I fought against it, everything, including myself, was being pulled in. It was dark and angry and destructive.

Then the teacher asked us to take that same image and change it, turn it into a positive image. At the time I couldn’t do it. I just stared at the page and swirled my black pen around and around, making the black hole bigger and darker. I didn’t see anything positive in that black hole or its existence in my life.

But what if there is….

In science fiction there is a theory that a black hole is a gateway between worlds or galaxies, that while its immense gravity pulls everything into it and initially destroys it, something different is reconstructed from the pieces on the other side. Sometimes better, sometimes worse. Either way it’s a one way trip, you are changed forever.

Surrendering to the pull of the black hole is overwhelming and my first instinct is to fight against it with all my might, holding to the familiar, holding to the comforting lull of even the most destructive habits because it’s all I know, and while it hurts, it’s pain I’m familiar with.

The act of being deconstructed is violent and painful. My whole life must flex and break, shattering everything that was so that there is room for the new, and it requires a level of trust in the universe that I will admit I don’t currently possess. A trust that the universe has a better plan for me.

Does it?

I have seen glimpses of a better world for myself. I’m afraid to reach out and take it. I’m afraid to let go of the doubt, the self-loathing, the destructive voices in my head that convince me I’m not good enough, not good enough to be a doula or birth instructor, that I’m not good enough to be a mom or wife, that I’m not good enough to even be me. Failure becomes my only option because it’s the only thing I’ve convinced myself I’m good at, and the voices constantly remind me of my short-comings.  I’m just not good enough…

But what if I am?

What if accepting that I, as I am right now, am good enough, and letting go of all the burdens of angst and anger that weigh me down is the first step of surrendering to the pull of the black hole and allowing the process of deconstruction to happen, so that I can find out what I’m truly capable of?

I just have to be willing to surrender to it.

To take the risk.

To believe I can survive being pulled apart at the very essence of my soul and then be put back together again.

I really, really, really want to but I’m completely and utterly terrified…. What if the result of this cosmic deconstruction means the end of my family as I know it? What if I end up losing some really important stuff a long the way? What if, what if, what if…. There are so many what ifs…

Thus I remain trapped between what is and what could be, frozen by my fear, imprisoned by my loneliness, ensnared by my pain and betrayed by my anger. I just find myself wondering how much worse things can get before the power of the black hole sucks me in and forces the changes on me, willingly or unwillingly?

So what now?

Standard

There is so much I want to write about but right now my brain has been high-jacked by the latest craziness in my life.  My car isn’t going to be fixed.  I will never drive her again.  I am grieving more than the physical loss of her, but what driving has meant for me in general.

Yes, I am getting a good pay out, but the question is do we just take a break for a while from being a two car family and save some money, pay off some debts?  Or do I go out and get another car right away?

I’m undecided.

Driving is everything for me.  It is a key to a level of freedom that otherwise is not attainable.  Yes, I have access to buses.  Yes, I live within walking distance of all major grocery stores and banks.  Yes, my parents’ live a 20/30 minute walk from my house, and my mom is willing to loan me her car if I need it occasionally.  Right now I’m not working so many weeks go by that the car doesn’t move much.  But having my own car allows me to set my own schedule, to go places that busing is inconvenient, like Little Ray’s Reptile Zoo.  It allows me to go up to the airport and sit and watch planes with my youngest son.  It means I can go for a big grocery run all by myself or with just my youngest son and not be constrained by the size of the wagon or stroller as far as how much I can buy and carry.  It means being able to leave at a moment’s notice if someone calls me, or needs me, like my kids at school.  The small housecleaning job I have on the side is made easier by having a car.  I can even meet my husband for lunch once and awhile.

That level of freedom comes with a price.  Not having a car could save us around $400/mth.  That could go a long way to paying bills and catching up our debt load.  Maybe giving up that freedom for six months or so is worth it to regain our financial stability again, and with some luck maybe even move to a more accommodating home.  I will stay on as a secondary driver on the van so I will not lose all my status as a driver, and I will be able to have access to the van in the evening and weekends, but it will leave my husband without a vehicle when I do take it.

Driving, or the ability to get away and do things without having to rely on others for help, is a huge anti-depressant for me.  Even if I don’t use the car to go anywhere, I know it’s there, the option is there.  Plus I just renewed our membership to Ray’s Reptiles and just picked up the membership to three of the big Museums here in Ottawa.  I had my youngest out to the Aviation Museum a week or so ago and he loved it.  He keeps asking to go back.  Without a car, it’s a much bigger endeavour.  Busing to the Aviation Museum is a little more complicated, and often my son is exhausted by the time we leave and is asleep in the car within minutes.  A car makes everything easier.

IMG_3561IMG_3553

So what now? I have a difficult decision to make.  To give up my freedom to make my own decisions, and go where I want to go when I want to go and not have to depend on others for getting me places?  It might free up some financial resources for us to be able to move and at that point perhaps it’ll be easier to afford another car for me.  I may also be further along in my studies and be on the point of being able to earn some money from my education, perhaps even ready to start my business.  I will need a car for my business.  So if I can look at this as a temporary suspension of my driving freedoms, perhaps I can make my way through this time and out the other side where a car will be waiting for me.

Or do I get another car right away?  A part of me feels that’s a selfish choice to make.  It’s what I need, not what this family needs right now.  And I’m a mom, so making a selfish decision is against every principle of my being!  But I have to honour my selfish need to drive, my selfish need to not be at the whim and mercy of other people’s schedules and let myself sit with it so I can release it to make room for acceptance of what is best right now, and in my heart I know what’s best.

I will have a car again, I just have to be patient. Patience isn’t always my strong point, but this will be another chance to work on it!

My Good Samaritans

Standard

Life has a way of testing you.  Just as you are starting to crawl out of the mud and mire, just as you are getting back on your feet and saying “screw you world, you’re not going to hold me down any longer!”, the world says “okay, let’s see how you handle this then.”

Rolling my car!

Rolling my car!

Driving out to a friend’s place on Saturday, I was looking forward to a kid-free, adult-only afternoon that involved good food!  It was dusk, and there was a storm coming, though I didn’t realize at the time how messy it would become later that evening.  It still felt pretty good on the road.  I just wanted to get out of the house.  I tend to avoid some social situations because of my anxieties, and in the past this might have been one as I really didn’t know anyone except the host.

Then it happened.  I let my eyes drift for half a second to check the time or my rear-view mirror.  I don’t even know now what it was as the shock of the car slipping sideways suddenly brought my attention immediately back to the road.  I hit an icy patch, my wheels went sliding left into on-coming traffic and I immediately re-acted, trying to correct and get the car under control, but the tires just didn’t seem to want to grip the road.  The snow was slippery.  I know I didn’t hit my brakes because I re-actively knew enough that I didn’t want to lock my wheels up.  I probably did let up on my gas, though my husband said giving it some gas might have helped regain the control.  I will never know now.  I was more focused on my steering wheel and trying to get the car to straighten out and start moving in the right direction again.  It just didn’t want to.  It had other plans for me.

When I realized the car was not going to come out of the slide and my tires just were not gripping the road, I had a choice, on-coming traffic or the ditch.  I chose the ditch.  If I had just gone into the ditch and stayed upright on my wheels, the damage would’ve been minor, but unfortunately the way I hit the snow, it pushed the car into a roll and my car came to a stop upside down.

Hanging upside down in your car is one of the weirdest, most disorienting, feelings in the world.  The contents of the car just go everywhere.  My Timmies tea went flying, I remember feeling the warmth of the liquid soaking my thigh.  Thankfully it had cooled down a little at that point.  All the garbage and kids toys were tossed everywhere, and I was there held in by my seat belt, suspended upside down.  My first thought was to get the car turned off.  Which I did, but I couldn’t pull the key out of the ignition.  In my disorientation and shock, I forgot to take the car out of drive.  It was the tow truck driver who pointed it out to me!

Having turned off the car, and taken a deep breath, I realized I had to get out of the car.  So I reached over and managed to release my seat belt, letting myself fall to my knees on what had now become the floor of the car!  I tried to open the driver-side door but it would not budge so I crawled over to the passenger-side door and was thankfully able to escape the car that way.

Even before I opened the door, I heard the voices.  “Are you okay?”  “Can you get out?” All kinds of people stopped immediately and were there to offer me a hand as I crawled out of the car and a comforting voice asking if I was okay.  One man called 911 and was talking to them for me.  I kept saying I was okay, I felt okay.  I was lucid, shaken but not crying.  It was their hands reaching out to me, their voices holding me, they were the good Samaritans that for a few moments on a Saturday afternoon on their way to wherever they were going, stopped to help me, stopped to make sure I was okay.

One couple put me in their car, covered me with a blanket and let me stay there until the police arrived.  I had meant to ask their names, get their contact information so I could properly thank them, but after the police officer arrived and I was transferred to her care, I was unable to get that information.  I was only able to wave and yell a thank you as they moved on with their plans that Saturday afternoon.

The police officer was amazing.  We waited together, chatting comfortably.  We after all shared the same first name, spelling and all!  From the initial incident to the arrival of the tow truck, it was probably about 90 minutes, two hours maybe – time lost some of its sense, but the entire time I was watched over by one or another person, transferred from one set of caring hands to another.  The last in the line was the tow truck driver, who carefully righted my car and lifted it to the flatbed.

This was the first time I saw the full extent of the damage.  It’s bad enough, but I’m hoping fixable.  Cracked windshield, plastic bumper gone, license plate messed up, front driver side of car dented and damaged, and the roof compressed, shaped around the roll bar.

My car is hurting, but thankfully, I am not.

The tow truck driver drove my car and I to the collision center where my husband met up with us.  Reunited for the first time after my anxious phone call letting him know what had just happened.

At least it wasn’t like the first time I was in an accident.  My voice when I called him that day was one he never wants to hear again.  This accident, despite the craziness, I never felt out of control and I was never alone.  It has made a huge difference in my ability to cope with the fall out.  My last accident sent my depression spiraling out of control, and I ended up back on sick leave at the end of my parental leave.  I was also charged, so there were charges to fight.  I was at the whim of other people’s bad decisions the first time.  This time it was a fluke of nature, ice on the road.  If I had panicked I might have hit another car, injuring another person, but I made the decision I had control over, and I chose to put the car in the ditch instead of hitting another car.

The bottom line, no one was hurt.

The car will or will not be fixed, though I’m hoping it will be.  It can be replaced.  We’ll do whatever we have to do and while my insurance rates may go up because of this, the flip side of not having the insurance during these incidents is a worse scenario.  It’s worth it.

Having said all this, I could decide that this is life sending me a message that I’m screwed and I’ll never get anywhere, that no matter how hard I try, I will always be pushed back down.  I’m not going to do that.  It’s a dark road that leads nowhere.  It’s in fact shown me what I have to be grateful for, including the hands of strangers, good Samaritans, who stopped everything they were doing, regardless of the urgency of their own plans, to help me.  I can’t thank them personally, but instead of wallowing in self-pity, I’m going to focus my energy on sending out positive, thankful energy to all the people who were there to help me when I needed them.

Thank you! Thank you! Thank you!

See follow up story.

Blue and Yellow Pills

Standard
cymbalta-2

“Antidepressants just bury the pain so you don’t have to deal with it.  They don’t actually make you better.”

WARNING – DEPRESSIVE CONTENT, EMOTIONAL TRIGGER

I am tired, the world is spinning around me, and I feel nauseous.  I hate my antidepressants.  This week, between a number of things, I kept forgetting to fill my prescription and so I went three days without taking my medication.

 

Did I mention I hate my antidepressants?

Yet, I am terrified of living life without them.  I have spent the better part of the last eighteen years medicated in one form or another so I can attempt to live life normally.  To function the way society says I should be able to function, and I tried, I really tried, but after a while even the medications could only do so much.

Truly, I believe these medications are more for the benefit of others than for my benefit.  No one wants to actually see or experience my dark side, my angry side, my craziness.  The drugs suppress all that.  They make me act normal around everyone else.  But I hate taking them.  I hate how I feel like I’m trapped inside a cage.  Why can’t I just be angry?  Or sad?  I certainly have plenty to be angry about.  And yes, I have plenty to be grateful for too, but that doesn’t negate the crap, or make the yucky stuff just go away.  Antidepressants just bury the pain so you don’t have to deal with it.  They don’t actually make you better.

I want to actually get better, but some days it’s just easier to take the little blue and yellow pill than to try to figure out how to get better…

I actually have a really wonderful doctor and he knows the truth that these pills, the medications, are just bandages, not solutions.  He’s a family M.D., and while he has offered me quite a bit of support and understanding over the years, it isn’t his job to help make me better.  He’s not a psychologist or psychiatrist, and they cost too much money.  So he renews my medication and when things get really bad, he suggests increasing the dosage to see if it will help tighten the cage around all the nasty stuff nobody wants to actually see me dealing with.  It’s so much easier for the world if they can pretend it doesn’t exist.

But how do you come to grips with a rape that changed your life in fundamental ways, and that no one even wants to admit happened because it’s easier to think it was my fault?  I even lost a friend over my first pregnancy because she thought I should be happy, that I had no right to be angry or hurt.  That having a baby should make up for everything.  It didn’t.  I had every right to be angry, to be hurt.  What she was going through didn’t negate what I was going through, just as what I was going through didn’t negate her own painful experiences.

I remember multiple times during that pregnancy crawling into the shower and curling up in a ball and just crying, hot searing tears, jolts of pain rocking my body.  I felt trapped, and the key to my cell had been thrown away.  There was no way out.

It was no surprise that my son’s delivery and birth ended up being very traumatic, and that I ended up suffering from severe, debilitating postpartum depression.  I didn’t bond with my son the way it is expected a mother should.  I can honestly tell you that if it weren’t for my parents, I’m not sure either my son or I would be here today.  I came very close to going over the edge on a few occasions, but there was one night in particular.

It had been three weeks of breastfeeding every 45 minutes.  No one told me this was normal.  He was almost three-months-old.  After weeks of hell my milk supply was finally establishing itself.  He was feeding around the clock, nearly constantly.  I don’t think I closed my eyes for more than 45 minutes to an hour at any given point for that whole two to three-week period.  Then one night I was done, I couldn’t go on anymore.  I just started screaming at my baby to go to sleep and leave me alone.  I was in a state of total all out psychotic rage.  My parents were there in an instant.  My mother took my son and fed him a bottle, shielded him from his own mother.  My dad held me while I sobbed heart-wrenching tears of madness.

We’ve never talked about this incident but the memory of it can still bring tears to my eyes as if it happened yesterday.  I felt like the worst mother on the face of the planet.  I know in my heart my parents saved my son’s life that night.  Maybe even mine too.

How do you carry that memory, that pain, around with you, without going crazy?

So I take my blue and yellow pills and douse out the pain and put on a happy face, so the world can go on turning, pretending I’m okay when at the heart of it, I’m not.  If I was okay, I’d be able to work.  If I was okay, I wouldn’t be taking these pills in the first place.  If I was okay, I wouldn’t constantly feel like my world is on the brink of falling apart, and somehow, maybe, it’s those little blue and yellow pills that are keeping it together.  But it’s all just a farce.  A big joke.  An elaborate scheme.  A cover-up.

Unfortunately truly getting better is a dirty, painful, awakening process.  It’ll shake the foundation of who I am, who my family is, who my friends are.  It means facing some nasty truths both about myself and about my past.  It means trading in the victim’s shackles for the warrior’s armour.  I’ve tried several times to do this but have not been 100% successful.  I’m ready now.

The big question is though, are my friends and family ready?

The process will be one of redefinition and it will go through many phases.  Spiritual, physical, mental and emotional.  Some days I will need a crutch to lean on and that may be a friend or loved one.  It may even be you.  Other days I may shine and stand on my own two feet.  For every step forward I take, it’ll often feel like I take two back.

Recovery is a dance between the past, present and future, an intricate dance of honouring all the emotions, even the negative ones, maybe most especially the negative ones, and then letting them go.  Sitting with the emotions, giving them their voice, telling myself that it’s okay to feel this way and when I’m at peace, letting go.  Eighteen years may seem like a really long time to hold onto pain, but if you don’t deal with it, you can’t let go of it.  I need to deal with the pain.  All of it, the ugly, the beautiful, the mixed up craziness, all of it.

I also need to be allowed to deal with it.  I won’t apologize for making anyone else uncomfortable with my truths because the minute I start apologizing, I’m assuming the victim role again.  If it makes you uncomfortable, then perhaps it’s you that needs to examine some part of your own life.  I will not feel guilty for your discomfort.  I have carried enough guilt for other people to last a life time and here and now, I put down those loads.  My own guilt is heavy enough.

For now I will continue to take the pills, but I am also going to continue working through the pain of my past, and slowly but surely I will withdraw from the medication completely, and find my way to a more fulfilling, happier existence where I don’t feel the need to hide.  Where I will be legitimately and completely who I am, defined not only by what society deems acceptable, though what society deems acceptable at times is rather questionable, but by the truths of my past, present and future.