Tuesday, June 11, 2019

Hola desde Mexico!

I am writing today from Puerto Vallarta, Mexico.  Kris and I are here celebrating our 20th wedding anniversary.  It has been beautiful here, if not a little cloudy.  Today was the first sunny day we have had and you would think that with the waves crashing against the beach and the tropical weather, everything would be wonderful, right?

Today was a rough day for me though.  I had a mix up with the pharmacy and my doctor and have been off of my anti-depressant for a week, and I am feeling it.  Not in the sense of a deep, dark depression, but there is a definite feeling of my emotions being far outside my control.  Add to that increased pain and it was just a recipe for disaster.  Kris and I had a bit of a rough start to the day, but were finally able to communicate and make peace.  It seems like such a waste to fight in a beautiful place like this, celebrating a long commitment to one another.

Monday, June 3, 2019

Slipping Through My Fingers

I haven't been sleeping well these last few days.  I am on an antibiotic that interferes with my muscle relaxer, so I haven't been able to take that since Thursday.  I can't get back on it until Friday.  So, I have been wide awake at 3AM the last three nights.  There are so many factors going on right now that have contributed to my heightened anxiety.  The medication, the transition to the kids being out of school for  the summer, and the fact that we are leaving the country soon to celebrate our 20th wedding anniversary.

But really, the largest part has probably been that I have officially entered a new phase in my life.  I am 40 years old, and my oldest just graduated from high school!!  It's insane!  I have no idea what happened to the last 18 years but it was surreal Saturday, watching Katherine walk the stage and accept her fake diploma.  ;-)  I teared up several times and just could not get the song below out of my head.  Katherine has told me multiple times that she is going to play this song at her wedding, just to make me cry.  Abbey also has confirmed she plans to do this.  The song is special to me and my girls, but especailly Katherine.  The last time we saw Mamma Mia at The Fabulous Fox Theater a couple of years ago, Katherine grasped my hand and held it throughout the entire song, while I just bawled.  It was such a sweet, tender moment that I will never forget.  So, as the ceremony continued, the lyrics to "Slipping Through My Fingers" wouldn't leave my mind.

Friday, May 31, 2019

How Depression Works

I've been a bit of a mess lately.  We all know I'm not consistent with writing here.  I know that when I'm not writing, I'm not as healthy as I could/should be.  I know that, and yet, I am not actively pursuing the things that keep me the most grounded and emotionally healthy.  This, my friends, is how depression works.  People who struggle with their mental health aren't oblivious to the things that can help them.

Oh I should exercise?

Sure...I can barely get out of bed and force myself to shower, but yeah, let me just muster the energy to run to the gym.

Getting out of the house will help me?

Sure, let me just magically shove down the anxiety that is usually present before I even leave the house and go to a party.

Just stop being sad all the time?

Of course, that's the easiest one of all.  I'll just think positive in the midst of all the negative thoughts that constantly fill my mind.  I'll suddenly shift an entire lifetime worth of lies and other voices screaming that I am worthless so that I am no longer sad.

Wednesday, April 10, 2019

Heavy

Heavy is a good word to describe how I am feeling.  You know, I look at certain things we go through in life and I think, "How in the world do people cope without God, or some sort of higher something when things are hard?"  Because I'm telling you, if I didn't have faith in God and that one day there will be a place with no more pain, I don't think I would want to keep living.  What would be the point?  If there is no God, and if there is nothing else after death, where would the motivation be to continue living in a broken and fallen world, that seems to bring more pain than anything else?  And my pain is so trivial compared to what some people are facing right now.  Cancer.  Death of a child.  Death of a parent.  Financial struggles.  Divorce.  And so many other things.

Monday, April 8, 2019

Distracted and Disconnected

I've spent the better part of a year distracted.  For the first time in the last seven years, I haven't felt as close to God.  I haven't felt far from him.  Just not close.  Not like I was.

I've allowed the circumstances of my life to get in the way.  My priorities shifted.  It happened so subtlety that it has taken me almost a year to recognize it.  I've allowed my pain to take the wheel, controlling my emotions, my body, my heart.  I have been worn and discouraged.  I have become utterly exhausted, fighting against a failing body I cannot control.  And the mental toll that has taken over the last year has been frustrating, to say the least. 

Pain is all I think about.  My life revolves around it.  This is the evening before I go in for what they call a "pain pump trial."  It will determine whether or not having pain pump implanted will be beneficial and allow me to live life again.

Thursday, January 31, 2019

A Mother's Heart

I have spent the last 18 years raising kids, and more often than not, being absolutely terrified that I will be the reason why my kids need years and years of therapy just to lead happy and healthy lives.  I have spent so much time fretting and second guessing myself, and worrying.  Wondering if saying this or doing that will ruin their childhoods.  I want my kids to have good memories when they look back at their childhood.  I want them to see that yeah, I made mistakes.  I failed.  Many times.  I yelled too much.  I was too edgy too often, regardless of the legitimate pain and anxiety and depression behind it all.  But I don't want them to only remember that.

I want them to remember that when I failed, when I yelled or made them cry, and it was done out of anger of something else unjustified, that I said I'm sorry.  That I acknowledged where I had made mistakes and I apologized.  That I made amends.  That I squared my shoulders and tried harder to do it right next time.  That I failed again, and that I owned it, once again.

I don't live with the delusion that they won't remember any bad times.  That's not what I'm talking about.  I want them to see good, even in the bad times.  I want them to see redemption.  I want them to know that I tried.  I tried so hard to do it right.  And I want them to know that I know that I didn't always live up to their expectations.  I certainly don't live up to my own, which I admit are likely unattainable.

Wednesday, October 10, 2018

Too Young To Be So Old

I've spent the last year trudging through injection after injection, new xrays and MRIs, appointments with surgeons, primary doctors, chiropractors, and pain management only to wind up exactly where I started.  Last October, I had another MRI done of my spine, as my pain had been increasing again to the point where it was interfering with my daily life.  I recently completed a set of injections called RFA, or radio frequency ablations.  This was a last ditch effort, really to find a solution to pain, short of surgery of some kind.  When I saw my surgeon back in March, he told me that the only real option was to operate and do a discectomy and fusion at C2-3 and C3-4 in my neck, while pain management told me that my last option was to have a pain pump or neuro-stimulator surgically implanted in my spine. 

Sunday, September 30, 2018

I'm Crazy, Right?

I want to state upfront that I'm not actually looking for anyone to tell me that I am not crazy.  I am just curious if anyone else out there, especially people who battle anxiety, understand the situation I'm going to describe below and the array of feelings that arise from it.

There was an "incident" tonight.  Sometimes I wonder at what point will Kris finally say, "Oh my gosh, you really are crazy!" and then decide he's had enough?  When I'm calm and rational (yes, it does happen...occasionally...), I know the answer.  He will never reach a point where he thinks he just can't deal with me anymore. That man will stand by my side, always.  No matter what.  If our story is any indicator, his capacity to love and forgive and continue to want a life with me even after being profoundly hurt is proof enough.

Why then, if I know that, do I completely lose my mind the moment he expresses agitation or frustration with me?  He deals with my crazy extremely well.  Most of the time.  But in those few and far between moments where he isn't in complete control of how he reacts to my irrationality, I just can't deal with it.  It literally feels like the end of my world.

Thursday, September 27, 2018

Drowning

Have I ever mentioned I'm tired of my spine?  I'm exhausted from hurting all the time and having to put on a smile and pretend that I feel better than I do.  While I hate "faking it," with regards to my pain, I've learned the no-so-subtle art of grinning and bearing it.  Some days I think it's more obvious that I am miserable, but most days, I am able to portray that I am feeling better than I am.  And if you see me and I look like I'm not feeling great, it is almost a guarantee that I feel about fifty times worse than I look like I feel.

This faking it has not been without it's own drawbacks - namely being increased anxiety and most recently, despondency.  I finally broke down and went to the doctor today and asked for something to help me deal with the panic attacks and constant anxiety I can't seem to shake.  I was on a LOT of Xanax for a long time, many years ago.  While it was extremely effective, I was eating it like candy by the end and wanted to get off of it, as I felt like it was controlling my life.  So I have just been managing my anxiety on my own for the last six and a half years.  And it was going pretty well.  But it has now become unmanageable again and I asked my doctor for something to help.  I can't ride in or drive a car without extreme fear and panic, I'm jumpy all the time, and leaving the house and socializing is its own special horror (among other things).  I've never wanted to be a hermit more than I do right now.

Thursday, September 20, 2018

Asking For Help - The Impossible Tasks

A friend and I were talking recently about impossible tasks.  She had read an article which detailed a conversation that took place on Twitter and went viral.  It had to do with depression and every day tasks that are impossible for some of us.  I didn't actually read the article until today.  When I did, I thought, "Wait...this is...normal?"

I had no idea that other people struggled with this.  For some, depression manifests itself as sleeping all day, withdrawing from others, anxiety, and any other number of things.  I don't sleep well at all, so my depression has never come out in the form of sleeping all the time.

When my friend and I were talking (and she was telling me about her list of impossible tasks and how she tries to do one of them each day), I thought the article was about making a list and trying to do those things.  I did not realize that the whole point of the article was that there are a ton of other people who struggle with completing seemingly simple tasks.