Quote of the day...er...week...umm...hey, look, a quote!!

"...besides love, independence of thought is the greatest gift an adult can give a child." - Bryce Courtenay, The Power of One

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Friday, January 18, 2008

Expanding on some thoughts...part one of many, I'm sure.

Warning: This isn't sweetness and light. It may well contain TMI. It does contain strong language and adult themes...but not the fun kind. Read on at your own peril.

I have a few blogs I read regularly. They're listed off to the side of this one. I make bold to comment on them, although I don't know these people from Adam's house cat and may very well make them wonder about the wisdom of public blogging. Oh, well. Sometimes I can't help but butt in.

So one of the women I read when she posts, she's having some trouble balancing preemie twins, a toddler, a husband, a life, and a career...and, oh, yeah, a depression that doesn't sound like it's simply post-partum. Not that post-partum is simple, because it will kick your ever-lovin'
ass with one hand duct-taped behind its back, it's that fierce.

So I try to post supportive comments to her, but sometimes? I feel a little over the top. I want to say so much more than that limited space and our lack of association permits. Really, I have no idea who this woman is, aside from her blog. And she has no idea who I am, aside from the weirdo who feels compelled to write her really long and meandering comments. Sigh. So I'm writing the things I felt didn't belong there, here. Hurrah for you, dear readers, whoever you are.

You see, I hate that anyone feels pain, especially psychological pain. I've spent most of my life dealing with my own psycho-dramas and chemical imbalances - and all the delightful things they entail - and I hate the idea that anyone else should have to juggle these balls, too.

I know, I know...what right have I to deny anyone else their experience, their lessons?

OK, really? Given a choice, I would opt to make sure than no one ever had to learn about the evils of the mind the way I did, and would gladly take the experiences and lessons of deep and abiding sorrow as my own, never to be shared with anyone, if it would ease the suffering in this world even a tiny bit. Perhaps I'm selfish that way. Certainly, it's a statement of tremendous ego. Still...

I am terrified that my beloved son will one day catch these bugs. Oh, my sweet Goddess, what a horror I have of that. I wouldn't hide my own little foibles from him if I could - hiding mental illness isn't the way to deal with it, and kids see so much more than we credit them with - but I don't want them rubbing off on him, either. And don't try to tell me that they are nature, not nurture. Bullshit, I say. It's a bit of both, in my experience...and experience I've had aplenty.

I'll start with a slice of my biggest bugaboo:

Depression.

It isn't reasonable. It isn't a "Pull yourself up by your bootstraps" kind of thing. It isn't a "Snap out of it!" proposition. It's dark, messy, and horrible. It's wriggly, thorny, insidious, physically painful, mentally painful, invisible, unreasoning, and self-aware enough to fight for its own preservation. It's contagious, especially if you've had it and recovered from it...or not...before.

You can't treat it with a favourite food, book, drink, or song. At its best, it is a funk that eventually clears up. At its worst...well, its survivable, but I wouldn't like to be the ones in the fallout area. I have experienced this one from light to dark...unmedicated. That's right. Raw, as is, nothing to dull the bastard one little bit. So yeah, it's survivable, but it ain't fun for me or anyone around me. I have no idea how I managed to hang on to the few friends I have, but they are a special kind of folk for enduring whatever it is they endure when I'm in the middle of the shit-storm.

It is potentially deadly...I once referred to it as emotional cancer, because it eats your psyche bit by bit until there's just a shell left, and lots of people have simply collapsed, succumbed to it. I don't blame them, think them weak or stupid or selfish...I understand. Deeply, to the bone, I understand. Every day, I get it.

Even the happiest days are tinged with the shadows, even the most beautiful moments are touched by it...but that makes them so much more than they would be otherwise, to me. Because I am alive to experience them. So yeah, I am often cranky, glum, unpleasant, and downright mean, but I'm also remembering that I'm alive to be cranky, glum, unpleasant, and downright mean, so I win.

Someone once told me that I must not be very depressed, if I didn't want to kill myself. What the hell? Another person once asked "If you're so unhappy, why don't you just kill yourself then??" What the HELL??? These aren't things you say to someone trying like the dickens to justify the next breath. Really. The first one isn't cheering...it doesn't help to think that it could be worse than whatever you feel right now. Oh, joy, there's more to look forward to?? And the second...well, that's just downright stupid. You never encourage someone to off themselves just to try and shock them into cheeriness. Yeah, that's why he asked me that...because he wanted to shock me out of it. Really. Umm...duh!! If you're that tired of dealing with your depressed friend (and I use the term loosely because no one who is a friend would ever consider that sort of tactic for even a moment), then just don't answer when they call. Or tell them you can't handle it any more. The honesty would be refreshing.

I made a deal when I was younger...a promise. I promised that, no matter how much I wanted to, no matter how much I resented light, life, and everything that went with them, no matter how tired, worn, battered or beaten I felt emotionally, I wouldn't pop myself. And I never, ever break my word. I never have in memory, and I never will. If you know me well enough to speak to my friends, they'll tell you...I don't make promises if I am not certain of keeping them. I'll say "I'll try" or "I shall endeavour" or any number of variations guaranteeing effort, but I won't say "I promise". And if I do promise something, I mean it. Many have been the times when my word was all that kept me going...so I guess I haven't been depressed enough yet.

Oh, it's been bad enough to prompt me to beg for release from that bond, to no avail. I have resented life and the living of it, resented other people and their happiness, resented the people around me who had the gall to love me and tell me so when I felt hateful and bleak. I have spent more than one night sitting in the bathroom staring at the razor and thinking of all the ways to dismantle it; considering all the drugs in the house and their uses; considered simply not taking the medications that treat my diabetes and letting myself go. I have wondered why I should bother to go to the gym, worry about my prodigious weight, eating healthy foods. I have thought about just gorging myself on fats, sugars, and nutritionless junk until my body couldn't maintain life. I have resented waking in the morning to find a bright day and a beautiful world around me, and resented loving the beauty and feeling it deeply even as I hated it. But I kept on.

And I'm still here.

And I will be here, living this life, until the Goddess herself tells me it's time, that I may finally put down my burden and find my own shade and sweetwater with her in the Summerland, or whatever place the spirit goes when it sheds the body and flies free.

It's not all bad. When the depression isn't kicking my ass, I am...well, if not happy, I am certainly appreciative of life and its complexities. The sheer, overwhelming beauty of the world around me, the people in it...the variety, the wonder, the color, scent, sound, and scope of creation delights me. I remember that, when I am slogging through the swamp lost and lonely, wondering where I took a wrong turn and how I can get back within sight of normal. Whatever normal is. I have no idea, truth be told. Most of the time I settle for less horrible and count myself lucky.

I just keep trudging along until things get bearable again, and try not to damage anyone around me while I'm at it. I love my son. He is a brightness that can be unbearable, a brilliance that burns so deliciously...since he was old enough to listen to me, I have told him he makes my heart happy. "Even when my heart is sad, because sometimes mommy is just sad, the place where you live is happy. You are never the reason I am sad, it is never your fault, and loving you lifts my spirit." I tell him as often as he'll listen...because it's true, and because kids will always think it's their fault. I tell him he's my heart, and my best good thing.

He's the reason I get out of bed when all I want is to bury myself under the comforter and forget the world. The kid needs to eat, he needs to play, he needs to have clothing and a moderately clean environment. He needs to bathe and brush his teeth and learn to read and write and function in the world, and it's my job to teach him what he needs to know. You know, life the universe, and everything.

Right, there's so much more I could say, but this got longer than I thought it would, so I think I'll stop now. There's a chocolate chip cookie that is demanding my attention, and I've been sitting in this chair for so long that my feet are all puffy and unattractive and my ass is asleep. And these are the good chairs!

G'night, y'all, and sweet dreams!

6 comments:

Stefanie said...

I'm so so sorry you're experiencing and have experienced this kind of depression. I came to your blog to thank you so much for taking the time to write me such a lovely comment that I almost cried. That there are people out there who can get what you're feeling and care enough to say so never ceases to amaze me but yours went so beyond that. I came here to find your email to thank you and saw this post about me. So, from me to you, I get it too. And not just when I have post partum. Feel free to email me anytime dark or light.

cindy said...

Yes'em those days that feel like one foot is on a banana peel and the other in the grave. White knuckling the darkness that shrouds and pulls you into the land of quicksand and no ropes to grab onto. Then your daughter places her hands on your cheeks and looks into your eyes and says: "you're sad today Mommy aren't you?"(you can run, but you can not hide from the souls of your children) "Oh look, she says, there's an amazing butterfly! It's your mommy saying hello. Oh sweet Mama let me nosey nosey you. It's okay shhh shhh sweet mamasita." No medication or pharamacy could top that. The hand life deals us can be played out, we know when to fold, when to walk and when to run. Just make sure you are holding on tight to the crew you call family. The only part of evil they will experience is the opportunity to kick it in the teeth because disrespect is intolerable in any form. We lead by example. I'd rather my daughter be too feisty any day of the week than a victim of deceit. You're packed full of wisdom. Touche'
Namas Daisy

Faith said...

I don't know if you check comments on old messsages, but I just wanted to say how much this post means to me. It is a great comfort to read. Sorrow, of course, that you have gone through this. But your words express so much that I feel and give so much hope. Thanks for writing, and thanks for making it easy to find.:)

Kyddryn said...

I do read commens on every post, and try to comment back, but sometimes things get away from me.

It's a peculiar community, that of mental health - how odd that we find each other in the Blue Nowhere and make another connection.

Depression is one of the hammers weilded by the Great Smith, and if I don't like how it pounds upon me, well...I can at least acknowledge that it is shaping me into who I am.

I DO hope anyone reading the Variety Plate entries finds something of use for their own journey through the shadows, if only knowing they don't journey alone.

Faith said...

:)

Ellen said...

I made a promise in 2005 to say goodbye to my best friend in person. Seems he is always very, very busy when I am ready to do so.

Thank you for putting into words just how it feels.