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Wednesday, September 10, 2014

You Never Understood

I watched you poison your body with medication.

I watched you tear your marriage apart.

I watched your children look on with tears of worry and anxiety as we tried to bring you out of panic attacks and various levels of withdrawl from not having your medication.

I watched you lie to everyone you love.

I kept your secrets in my heart and they eventually started to eat away at me, all the while never bothering you. At least if they did, I didn't know it.

I sat in church and cried in the back row because I felt guilty as though I was helping you deceive.

I begged the people with the power to commit you to do it. I begged them to see how out of hand your addiction was. I begged them to take their heads out of the sand and see what you were doing to your life.

You hated me for it. I knew you would. I prepared myself for it because I loved you too much to let this drug steal you from us. I saw what you couldn't. I felt what you didn't.

The position you put me in was horrible. How could you confide all of these deeds to me and then get mad at me when he finally started catching on? How could you expect me to look your destroyed husband in the eye and tell him what he had been told wasn't true? How could you not see how wrong this all was? How could you not understand that him showing up and catching me off guard was not my choice? How could you both do this to me when I cared about both of you so much?

How can you see me at school or around the community and look at me with such malice? How can the end of our friendship not hurt you as much as it hurts me? How does it not kill you to need your best friend and know that she's not there anymore? How can you not see that there was no way out for me? No matter what I did, someone was going to be hurt. How was it fair to have that burden placed on me? Do you know how many times something good has happened and I've wanted to tell you. I've even picked up my phone to text you several times in the last 4 months, but I know how your mind works. In your world, I caused this. I hurt you. I'm the reason things are the way they are. I'm sorry that what happened hurt you. The only way we could ever find our way to being friends again would be if you could find it in your heart to be sorry for what your actions did to me.

I'm not free of sin. I've made mistakes and I've owned them and made amends when I have needed to. I've apologized when I've owed an apology. I've forgiven when the burden of the anger and hurt has become too heavy to continue to carry.

Is this how you wanted it to end up? All the times I was there for you forgotten because of the one time that I couldn't do what you wanted me to do?

It all remains to be seen. I still pray for you. I still hope that you find your way to living a healthier life. I pray that you find happiness. I pray that your pain, physical and otherwise, goes away. I don't know what else I can do for you. Your absence in my life is very noticeable. Sometimes it's a relief, honestly. Most of the time, it's a sore ache because who you were before an opiate stole you is who I want to laugh with; who I want to cry with. I wish she would re-appear.

Friday, August 22, 2014

Goodbye to the Weakness; So Long to the Regret.

Now I see the world through diamond eyes.


I have had some spiritual awakenings in the last week. If I could step out of my body and look at where I am now compared to where I was a month, maybe even a week ago, I would see visible and extreme differences.

Here are some of the things I've realized about depression and the journey people who deal with it are on. There are certain things depression and anxiety want you to believe. There are certain things it sometimes does convince you of and drives people out of your life when you are consumed in those beliefs.

1. Depression wants you to think no one gets it. It wants you to feel isolated; like you are the only person in the world who has ever felt the way you feel when you are in it's grasp. It steals the joy from your heart like a thief in the night. Mixed with anxiety, you might not sleep right for days. You might be up and down worrying about things that don't even exist until you worry them into reality. When the people who would rally around you if you had cancer or a stroke or heart attack, or if you were mangled by a bear back away, it's because they don't know what to do. It's not because they don't love you. They are scared. They don't want to make it worse. They don't realize that not talking to you actually makes it so much harder, but to them, it's easier. If they don't talk about it or think about it, then it's not a possibility that they will lose you to depression in their mind. Yes, suicide is a decision. No, it isn't a good decision, but it is a side effect of this illness and if you are ever having thoughts like that, you need to tell someone. If they don't take you seriously or tell you to "get over it" or say that you're just trying to get attention, get them out of your life. They have no place there. Someone far gone enough to even utter something like that needs help. They need love, and not "tough love". They need genuine care from those around them, and if someone can't give that to you, don't fault them for it; but get them out of your life because truthfully they are dangerous and could end up sabotaging your recovery.

2. Depression wants you to think you don't matter. You do, though. Depression wants you to lay in your bed and cry all day. It wants you to have to make up excuses for why you can't see your friends. Did you hear that? Your FRIENDS. They love you. They want to look into your eyes every now and then and see for themselves you're okay. Sometimes they aren't okay and your voice has the power to help them. Your off color sense of humor can inject a little happiness into their darkness and sometimes they need that. Depression makes you say you have a migraine or the flu when the truth is you just can't get it together long enough to shower and get dressed and presentable to leave the house. The worst part? You don't always know why. Sometimes, depression just shows up and sits on your chest like an elephant. Sometimes you cry and the most irritating question you can even imagine hearing is "what's wrong?"

3. Depression wants you to think you need people you don't. It takes your attention away from the people who love you and puts it on to the people who are "too busy" for you or "tired of your crap". So the longer you go without hearing from someone like that, the more worthless you feel. The sadder you feel. The more hopeless you feel. You're so focused on the person who doesn't care and worried about why they don't, that you don't even see the people around you who do. Life starts to feel like a test. Maybe if I do this differently, this person will love me or care about me. You don't NEED anyone like that. People like that are the ones who need the help. They are the ones who haven't heard of compassion. Sure, being friends with someone struggling with depression can be hard, but it doesn't give them any right to be cruel to you. The first time they are, be done. You matter. You're worth it. You can do better than that, and if you think you can't, call me. I'll be your friend. And I'll pray for the people who aren't strong enough to love someone through their darkness. Don't conform to anyone's demands for you to handle yourself differently. Do it because it's best for you. Change your thought processes because it's healthy for you to look at the world through eyes that see good. Don't ever let anyone make you think that to be their friend you need to change your personality. You're someone who lives with depression. You are not depression walking around in a body. You can deal with it in healthy ways with strong support from people who are able to give it to you. People who selfishly want you to be what they think you should be have to go.

4. Depression wants you to think everyone else is living the highlight reel of their life and they never have dark days. We compare our worst to everyone else's best. Is it any wonder that depression is becoming so much more common? You know what? If you show up at my house at 3am, I'm going to be decked out in my ratty old First Federal tee shirt, glasses, and pajama pants. I won't look good at all, but I'm still me. If you look on Facebook, you'll probably see that I don't have a lot of pajama clad, makeup-less photos up. Those moments exist for me, just like they do for everyone else. You won't see me posting on the days when I cry more than laugh. That's not a chapter of my life I want to read out loud. It exists though. And I have a few people I can trust with those moments in my life, and they help me. I have a few people who couldn't handle it, and it's better that they are off the canvas because there's no healing with people like that chipping away at you. Just remember that what you see is not always fact. Don't compare the darkest moments of your life with the brightest of someone else's. You'll slip into the rabbit hole of self hate and talking down to yourself every time, and you don't deserve that. No one should treat you like crap. Not even you.

5. Depression wants you to think you are a burden. Sometimes people say things to you that just come out wrong or your depressed mind transforms it into something it wasn't meant to be. Forgive them, and forgive yourself. Try not to take the bad behavior of others on yourself. If someone is mean to you, it's not about you. It's about them. People who really love you love all of you. Even the not so lovable parts. You might get on someone's nerves here and there. You might drive someone crazy now and then because your racing thoughts and anxiety grab a hold of you and you need reassurance and are not reassured even when you get it. It's okay. Here's your reassurance. You are enough. You matter. Something you did or said at some point affected someone in a way you don't even know. They might not have had or will never have the courage to tell you that, but it's the truth. Your presence makes someone's life better.

Depression is a bitch. Anxiety is an asshole. By themselves or mixed together, they sure can reek havoc on people who would love to be happy and never feel these things. It's not something you can just "stop". But you don't have to live unhappily with either of these monsters. You just have to figure out the right way to wrangle them in, step on their throats and look them in the eye and tell them that you're not losing today for them. You're not missing out on your life for them. You're not letting them rule anything anymore. Whether it's a pill, talk therapy, art therapy, yoga, or whatever helps you get a firm grasp on your depression or anxiety, get a tight hold on it and tell it that you will be victorious. And remember if you aren't triumphant over this illness once in awhile, it's okay. Don't unpack and live there. Get your through your darkness the best way that you can, and try again when you've built up some more strength to grasp it again. No matter who you are, you matter. Your life matters.

I'm on the front line. Don't worry, I'll be fine; the story is just beginning. Look at the world through diamond eyes. And listen to Shinedown when you need that kick in the butt to motivate you to remember that you will be fine. You've got this.

Monday, August 18, 2014

I Knit These Socks

And are they ever a mess. I'm almost embarrassed to take the credit for their creation to be honest. The strangest thing about it is that I have knit so many pairs of socks over the last 14 years. Some have been for me, some have been for my kids, some for my friends, a pair or two for Mom. And the verdict is always the same. People love hand knit socks. They are warm. They fit your foot like a glove and feeling the warmth of hand knit socks on your feet is a reminder that you're loved. There are over 10,000 stitches in a pair of socks, and their construction is complex, so if someone has taken the time to knit socks for you, be assured that you are loved dearly.

These socks, though. The first problem is that one is way bigger than the other. You see, I was on a road trip when I wanted to start them, and I didn't have wifi, so I couldn't glance at the pattern in my Ravelry library, so I thought I would be okay just going from memory. As I was knitting the toe, I remember thinking to myself, "Well, it's a little large, but perhaps my gauge is just off. I'm sure I can fix it when I block them." I finished the first one and I was pleased...but I couldn't remember how many stitches I began with for sure...when it was time for it's mate to be created, I had wifi access, so this time I looked at the pattern. I saw quickly that I was really off on my estimate for the cast on. Once again, I figured I would just fix it when I block them upon their completion and all will be well.

The difference in size is almost comical. However, when I have slipped them on my feet, I don't feel bothered by the difference. The person I'm knitting them for is someone who is very special to me though we've had somewhat of a tumultuous friendship over the last few months. I wanted to hide the socks for a little while and pretend that they never existed because I'm particular about my knitting. I don't like gifting things that are anything less than perfect, but I had a thought as I was digging out a place in my basket to stash them where they would never be seen again. I'm not perfect. In fact, I'm far from perfect. I don't resemble perfection in anyway. I'm full of quirks and I make mistakes daily. I'm as flawed as a person can get, but all of those flaws and mistakes are stitched together with good intentions and the effort to be the best version of myself that I can be. That's still a work in progress. I still have work to do, but with those flaws and imperfections, there is a warm heart that cares and loves beyond all fault inside of me...and these socks may not be perfect, but they were made with loving care and I know that they will keep my friend warm when the weather is cold, and I hope they warm the heart as well. Imperfect though they may be...they were made to give comfort and warmth and that's a little like me, too. Maybe that's a little like all of us...imperfections stitched together with good intentions. Maybe we could all take a gentler view of each other if we thought of things this way.

Friday, May 9, 2014

It's Always Darkest Before the Dawn? It's Dark In Here.

I cried at therapy yesterday.

First time that's happened. I never used to be much of a crier. Something pretty bad had to happen or be going on. I felt things on a deeper level, but crying just didn't come naturally to me.

That's very different now.

Some days are fine. My eyes stay dry and I feel like I have a good grasp on the things I need to work on. Then other days I feel like there is no energy anywhere in my body. I feel like I don't matter to anyone. I feel like a burden. I feel like the things that hurt me or make me sad are trivial in the eyes of the people I choose to share them with and I should just learn how to overcome things on my own.

I know that's not true. I know there are people who care a lot about me. But knowing and feeling are different.

Therapy seems to be helping. Talking about things with an impartial person who doesn't expect anything from me because she doesn't know me is nice. Last night's session opened up some painful memories that hurt to recount. I felt my throat closing up and I just about choked on the words coming out. It was like making myself feel emotions from events of the past that I thought I had healed from all over again. It gets worse before it gets better is what my therapist said. It's darkest before the dawn. Well, it's dark in here right now. My worst enemy lives in between my ears. The things I tell myself sometimes are horrible. My self esteem is pretty much non existent today. There are so many things in my head and all I really want to do is sleep and not deal with any of it. Losing my uncle so unexpectedly this week still stings. People close to me are busy. Too busy to take a second out of the day to remind me that they are there or that they care. It doesn't matter what I know. What matters to me is the way I feel and right now it's worthless. I know today is just a hard day. I know that they won't all be like this. But while the day is here and the feelings are heavy, it's hard. I'm trying to figure out why I am the way I am. So all of this old stuff that hasn't been brought up in a long time or ever is coming to the surface. Once it's out and I can sort it all out I know it will be better. I know I can get there. Even if some of the people in my life don't think I will, that doesn't matter. I know what I can do. I know what I'm capable of when I put my mind to it and give something all of my effort. This might be the most important thing I do in my life. It's not selfish to want to be well. And I have to focus on that. It has to be about me and no one else.

But the hard days are still hard. The heavy thoughts and worries are still heavy. People always talk to me like it's something I can just "snap out of". It doesn't work that way. I know that the people who genuinely love me will be here the whole way. The people who don't are doing me a favor if they leave my life. It's going to be hard. But it isn't impossible.

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

I Created the Sound of Madness....Well, Not Really.

The weekend was full of ups and downs it seemed. I hate the days like that. I am not a huge fan of change, so it makes sense that I like my mood and my feelings to be relatively even without the highs and lows. If I were to draw a picture of what it felt like on Saturday, it would look like an ecg and you would see v-tach. Up, down, happy, not happy. Angry, not angry. Sad, not sad. Come on brain, snap out of it. I guess that's just the nature of the beast when dealing with things like this. The worst part is not being able to put a name to it. You can't just say, "This is why I feel sad so I can do this to fix it." It's just there. It just is. But it still sucks.

So between taking classes and teaching classes, I've spent the last 4 Saturdays in a class room. Finally a weekend to relax showed up. I started thinking about ways to pull myself out of this funk I've been in, and I thought to myself, "Self. You should paint the living room. Paint it a calming color. Then after a long day, you can sit down with your knitting and your kindle and relax." Sounds legit, right? Once the wheels started turning, there was no stopping them. I wanted to paint the living room. Travis didn't want to paint the living room. So, we compromised and painted the living room. Initially, he was not any help. There is a method to my madness, though. I was not worried. I knew I wouldn't be tackling this job alone for long. He was working on the wainscot project in the kitchen, paying virtually no attention to me. As far as he knew, I was still in the thinking phase of my redecorating mood. Alas, I pulled the couch away from the wall, taped up the edges, and spackled the nail holes in the wall with concrete patch. I honestly did not know you couldn't do that. He walked out to the living room, took one look and said, "What the crap are you doing?!" I jumped, startled, "What? I'm spackling." I hadn't paid much attention to the label on the container. Perhaps I should have, but let's just be honest. Even if I had noticed what it was, I still would have assumed it was fine. It said it would patch stuff. And that's what I was going for so why not? I shooed him away and began my project. He returned with actual spackle and fixed the holes, told me to let it dry, and went back to what he was doing. Now what, I wondered. I sat down and watched the spackle dry. (Hey, feeling down isn't always conducive with wanting to do anything productive. After a few minutes, I assumed it was dry and started rolling the grey paint on the wall. I'm me, so of course I got it all over the baseboard and I wasn't getting it on the wall evenly at all. Now, if I was really putting forth great effort it might have gone better, but this was what I was willing to give at that time because I really just wanted Travis to do it. He emerged from the kitchen and said, "Oh my god, just let me do it." I said okay, and sat down to watch him. One wall in, I realized something horrible. I didn't like it. The paint was not as grey as I had hoped. It was more of a baby blue. No, that will never do. Back to the store we went for different paint. This time I was happy.

Painting continued into the wee hours of the morning. Since I was basically of no use, I sat on the displaced furniture and talked to Travis while he worked. I don't want to sound unappreciative. I'm very appreciative of all that he puts up with, because honestly, it can't be easy. That's one of the things I've really realized along the way to learning more about myself and who I am. It's easy initially to like me. I know that much. At first glance, I'm confident, kind, funny, and compassionate. I know that. It's when people really get into my heart that I have a hard time. I always have felt that if they truly saw my heart, they would see too much. I'm not perfect by any stretch of the imagination. I know what my flaws are. I know why I do the things I do. I don't know how to fix it though, and that's the problem. I'm planning to talk to someone who went to school to handle people like me. I have a long list of things that I want to change so I can finally be happy and content and know that it's going to stay that way. When Travis and I started talking, it all just came out. I'm my own worst enemy. I cut myself down and I legitimately believe the things that I say to myself. People pay me compliments fairly regularly. Whether it's in person, on Facebook, or through a text message or email, I hear nice things a lot. But I don't believe any of them. People tell me that I'm funny. Okay, I believe that a little bit. People tell me I'm beautiful. I don't see that when I look in the mirror. I see a 30 year old lady with dull hair and dull features. People tell me I'm amazing and I deserve to be happy. I don't believe that either, so when something comes into my life that could be a gateway to happiness, or at least supplement a happy life, I destroy it. Times that should have been happy and exciting in my life were not even close to being happy or exciting. For me, it was full of nerves and predictions that everything would implode. In my mind, the worst case scenario has already happened. That's where I live. I think I approach things this way because I'm so afraid of that worst case scenario, that I think if I beat it to the punch I can get ahead of the 8 ball. Like ripping off a band aid. Then if the worst case scenario comes true, I can say, "Ha. I told you so." And subsequently I can lick my wounds (I know they are self induced at that point) and heal. Will I learn for next time to be positive? Hell no. Every time it happens I become a little more jaded. A little more sure that the world is going to hurt me at every opportunity. I'm a little more sure that people will give up on me. Why shouldn't they? Who wants to be around someone like this? It doesn't matter what the situation is. I find the negative possibilities and I focus on them. Eventually in many cases those possibilities turn into the reality because I'm too busy tending to what is going wrong and not paying attention to what's going right. Is it too late by that time? Usually. And again, every time that happens, I just become more jaded.

When I found out my job was in jeopardy in 2004, from the moment I left my office until the day I handed in my keys and my ID, I lived in a box. I couldn't take care of my daughter. I couldn't afford anything because in my world, I had already lost my job and it was all done.

When we put in our offer on our first house, I was a basket case. There's always some hesitation when making a major purchase like a home, but there should be some happy anticipation, shouldn't there? I was positive the offer would be rejected with no counter offer made. To rid me of that possibility, I insisted, and I mean INSISTED that we offer the full asking price. My dad was sitting at the dining room table with me, Travis, and our realtor Karla when I said the dollar amount to make the offer for. His eyes just about bugged out of his head. "Glena Renee, that is the full asking price! You have to negotiate. You can get a better price." I didn't care. I didn't want there to be any reason for them to counteroffer or reject it, so we offered the full asking price. (Actually $5,000.00 over and we built that in as our down payment, but that's just fluff.) My dad wouldn't even look at me for the rest of the night. I felt awful because he of course has more experience with buying and selling houses than I did, but it was the only thing that would reassure me. Except it didn't. And that's another problem. I can never just be content about a situation. If one issue is resolved, I move on to the next. Nothing can be taken at face value. I'm always sure it will be taken away. Again, I can make some assumptions as to why I feel that way, but getting out of that world is what gives me trouble. When I feel myself start to relax, the worries about what could go wrong creep in again. It's almost like I'm not happy unless I'm worrying, and that is sick. If I am not worried, I worry about what I'm forgetting to worry about. If there's really nothing to worry about, then I create something to worry about. When I had to have surgery in 2009, my children were basically already orphans. It physically hurt my heart to look at them because I was positive that I was going to end up having ovarian cancer and I would die. After I was out of surgery and everything was confirmed to be perfectly fine, I worried about a post surgical infection and any time I felt any wave of not feeling perfectly healthy, I panicked.

See, the thing of it is, this is stuff that I've always sort of made fun of about myself. Then the reality hit me that this could actually be driving people out of my life. Again, there are days when I feel like I'm not worth anything and if anyone truly saw my heart and everything that is wrong with me, they would see too much and they would be gone. Perhaps I need to realize that the people who are supposed to be in my life would never do such a thing. Perhaps I'm too hard on myself. Perhaps I do need to learn how to relax and just let whatever is going to happen happen. Is that possible? I think it is. It won't be easy though. It's going to take a lot of work on my part and a huge drive to change and make myself into the person I want to be, and the person people think they know. I like that girl. I want to be her.

Friday, March 21, 2014

I'm Usually Funny.

Depression seems like such a secretive disorder. It doesn't always make itself visible at first glance. In fact, most of the people I interact with on a daily basis don't even realize this about me, but, I suffer from depression. It used to be something I tried to keep hidden. I have finally realized that there is nothing to fear. There is nothing to be ashamed of. This is part of who I am and likely part of who I will always be. Hindsight is often 20/20, and I saw a lot of signs when I really started looking back. If you're struggling at all, I hope I can help.

When I was in high school, I was happy. All the time, happy. The exception was my sophomore year when I had my first brush with depression. It was pretty mild as depression goes, but it was there. I was a typical teenage girl. I knew everything (or so I thought) and I had the usual stress that most teenagers had. Dating, acne, braces, just being get it. I had awesome friends, though. Many of them I still count among my friends today. It only lasted a little while and I found my smile again with minimal effort.

I graduated. Got a job. Got married. Had a baby (not all in that order). Things were going well for me. We had a beautiful little house to match our beautiful little daughter, and some money in the bank. For being 21 years old, I was pretty well set. Then I found out that I was likely going to lose the job I loved and worked hard at. Then my grandma passed away leaving an ache in my heart that I can still feel almost 9 years later. Then our landlord had to sell our house and we were faced with having to move. It was a lot in a short period of time to take. I started doing these strange things. Nothing scary, just sort of strange. If I was feeling nervous (which was almost all the time at that time) I would brush my hair to calm myself down. And sometimes I would pace around the house while doing so. I was also putting on chap stick as if it was oxygen and without it I would parish. My mom noticed these new quirks and my compulsive question asking.

"Do you think?" "What if this happens?" "What am I going to do if..."  I will admit that I was driving my family absolutely crazy. One minute I would be frantically asking questions that no one could possibly answer, and the next minute all I wanted to do was sleep or cry. I felt tremendous guilt because I knew that I was unintentionally cheating my daughter out of the mom she deserved. I was closed off and I became really introverted. This was very unlike me because in high school, I was very outgoing and had many hobbies. I loved life. Suddenly I didn't really love life any more. I didn't get excited about much at all.

We needed to move so we found a house in our price range, made an offer, and it was accepted. We closed in about 3 weeks and began moving. My mind was busy and I had things to focus on. I was excited to own a home. A little scared, but excited. I annoyed plenty of people through that process as well. It gave my family a little bit of a break, which they welcomed, but it was surely hard on our realtor and our mortgage loan officer. I would call them randomly with ridiculous questions. I was positive the loan would fall through. Why? I dunno. I was just sure it was going to. I took to the internet to research and find people who's home loans had fallen through at the last minute. I started grilling my dad about possibly financing the house in his name should something happen. (We had spotless credit at the time. There was no reason in the world the loan would have fallen through). We had to have several inspections done on the house before the closing date. I became an expert on everything from termites to well problems to haunted attics. I needed every single possible contingency thought of and prepared for. How could I sleep if there was a ghost living in my new house that would possibly drive the value down, trashing the loan to value ratio and then causing the loan to fall through? And if it was haunted and we didn't find out until after the fact, what could I do to make sure the ghost was friendly and if it wasn't, how was I to get rid of it? You get the idea. I spent many nights not sleeping. In short, I was a basket case. The hair brushing and chap stick applying was at an all time high. Why was I like this? I had moments of wondering that. When that started, the fear began to sink in. I felt like I couldn't trust anyone to stay in my life. I was annoying. I was insecure. Surely my husband would tire of it. My parents would change the locks on their door and I would have to call ahead to go home. This gave way to a whole new set of racing thoughts. I created things in my mind to worry about. I had a sense of impending doom and I had no idea what was bringing that to me.

It was the anxiety. It was the depression. And I had no idea what I was facing.

All hell broke loose one morning in January of 2006. I was fine (as fine as I could be at that point). Julie and I had started the morning with fruit and yogurt and were getting ready to spend some time together playing and suddenly that sense of doom fell over me. There was tightness in my chest. I was having a hard time catching my breath. I became dizzy and sweaty. I was 22 years old. I couldn't be having a heart attack? I sat down and tried to catch my breath. Julie toddled over to me and wrapped her little arms around my neck and said, "Mommy sick?" I hugged her and found some comfort in that embrace from my sweet 2 and a half year old. My eyes filled up with tears. Why did I feel this way? I knew I had to do something. I called my husband at work and within about 5 minutes he and my dad were both in my living room. By this time, I was laying in a fetal position on the sofa clutching the stuffed sock monkey I had played with as a child at my grandmother's house. My breathing was rapid and irregular. My whole body felt so tight. Somehow, my husband managed to get me into the car and we drove to the emergency room. I didn't want to go there. I didn't want anyone telling me that I was crazy. Was I crazy? I had no idea. I felt helpless.

The doctor in the ER asked me a series of questions. He asked my husband questions, and then he asked him to leave the room. I left with a prescription for Paxil. I have to take a pill to feel normal? That didn't agree with me. But at that point I was willing to try.

It took a few weeks to take full affect, but when it did, I was a new person. The next few years were pretty uneventful and the medicine continued to help. When I found out I was pregnant with my son, I had to go on a new medication that was less risky for pregnancy, but the transition was smooth and everything was well. I had basically no problems with depression for the next few years. My work with the fire department was rewarding and I was enjoying it so much. Sure there were a few calls that hit me pretty hard here and there, but I handled it.

Or did I?

 I noticed that I could actually feel my serotonin dropping. I could be going along doing just fine. I had patience. I had security. All was well in the world. Then ten minutes later, I had despair. I was going to lose everything. This sense of impending doom was so strong that it brought that tightness back to my chest. Sometimes I could reign it in on my own by listening to music (Alexi Murdoch got me through a lot). I began practicing yoga and that did help, but still. Something wasn't balanced. Whatever challenge faced me seemed larger than life even if it wasn't.  Again, preparing for every single possible contingency was a must. The only way I would feel better was if all of my bases were covered, and even then sometimes it didn't feel better. I began to feel undeserving of everything. If someone genuinely liked me because they knew who I was on the outside, I quickly had to make sure that they knew I wasn't worthy of their time. I wondered if I ever could truly be loved by anyone for just being me. If they saw my heart would they see too much? If someone said I was beautiful, I wouldn't believe it. If a friend said they loved me, I doubted. Why would anyone love me? I was so convinced that I was nothing special and even if other people didn't think so, I had to find every negative detail I could and present it to them and if they still accepted me then maybe they were genuine. Until the next day when it began all over again. I didn't trust people, so I pushed them away. I began to see the Wallflowers song "I Wish I Felt Nothing" as my anthem. I felt so much. I felt emotions from the deepest depth of my soul to the surface of my skin. There was no emotion that I didn't feel. But as the song says, when you're alone, it's better cuz nobody leaves you. When no one's your friend, it's better cuz nobody needs you. So you turn your back on a world that you could never have. Cuz your hearts been trapped." No matter what anyone did to let me see that they cared about me, I shut it out. In my mind, I was the girl no one wanted. I was the girl with nothing to offer. And without even meaning to, I became that girl. A good friend told me once, "I wish just once, you could see yourself through my eyes. You wouldn't ever feel this way again if you could." I was touched. And then I went on a full on sabotage of that. I saw someone who loved me. I wanted to accept love, but I just couldn't. I was so afraid of taking it in and then losing it and feeling heartbroken that I had to sabotage it before it could touch me. I began to spend 90% of my time being the woman I made up in my head. When I would get called out on this, I would get defensive. Then I stopped and really looked at myself. Why was I refusing to let the woman my family and friends know and love be happy?

That question, my friends, is to be continued. I'm on a quest for inner peace. I'll find it. I have faith. The journey will likely be long and tiring, but I will find it. I do good things. I am a good person. I deserve to be happy. And I'll get there in my own time. Taking it day by day...minute by minute if need be, I'll get there.

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

I'm a Loner. A Rebel.

Knitting in public.

Anyone who has known me longer than 10 minutes knows that if I'm sitting, I'm knitting. Sometimes even if I'm standing (in line...making a speech...showering...that kind of thing) I'm clicking away on something. Nothing big or complicated comes in my purse if I need some on the go knitting, but I always have a hat or a sock. Why am I so obsessive about this? That is the million dollar question. I decided to really think about it as a result of something that happened last weekend. I was taking a class and the first half was lecture. I pulled out a sock and began to work. Now, here is the thing. I was knitting the foot which was in stockinette. No need for a pattern. No need to count. No need to even look actually. I was listening attentively to the instructor (who happens to be a good friend of mine) and absorbing the information. I even thought ahead to bring a project on a long circular needle to do magic loop so I didn't have to worry about any of the needles being dropped on the floor. I thought I was golden.

About an hour in to the lecture, I was asked to put my knitting away.

I froze. What just happened?

Now, it might sound extreme. In fact, I'm positive that it does, but this is the truth. Tears stung my eyes as I quietly put my sock back in it's ziplock baggie and slid it into my purse. My husband was sitting next to me and studied my expression as I stared forward blankly out the window. Now it's not just the knitting that caused the tears to come. I also hate being 'reprimanded'. If I think I'm in trouble, I will cry. Always have, probably always will. If I had been distracting other students, I would have understood this a lot better. However, I was not bothering anyone. I was quiet. I was sitting still. I was listening. Without my knitting, I began to fidget. I couldn't keep my feet still. I found myself wanting to poke my husband's face. I wanted to dig in the purse of the woman in front of me. I wanted to throw little pieces of paper at those around me. My mind wandered. When is lunch....will we get done early....I wonder if that's a 31 bag....and pretty soon I realized that I hadn't heard much after having my knitting stopped. Later on, the person who asked me to put my knitting away reminded me that we were there to listen and said it was like texting through a class. I said, "Knitting is how I listen. It quiets my mind and lets me absorb information."

Too bad, so sad was the sentiment that followed my plea. And it is. It really is.