Don’t Jump. | HipstaCat #2

Hipstamatic, Neville Lens + Daydream Film

Sometimes it feels like you just want to jump from a great height and be gone. But why?

We all make mistakes. We all do things, fail to do things, or find ourselves in situations we can’t control. For example, sometimes people lie about you and you lose someone you love because of it. But if that person cared about you and not just themselves? Instead of erasing you from their life and losing something that could have been good (erasing you except for holding a grudge/hating you) they’d choose differently.

THEY don’t realize that they broke your heart AND their own. YOU don’t realize that the truth is, it was probably for the best. Rejection is spiritual protection, my friends. And nothing beats your spirit team…

Mother and Child in Crystal | HipstaCat #1

HipstaCat stands for Hipstamatic + Catacosmosis. I’ve decided to make myself play with Hipsta again. Per usual, I’ve lost my creative drive due to stress and caregiving anxiety (that’s on my brain’s inability not to worry and fear, not on anyone being a burden, to clarify) so thank heavens for tools like Hipsta and Mextures that allow me to create without doing so from scratch (if that makes sense). I got this, right? LOL

Hipstamatic, Frederick + Combo2X

This is a crystal statue in a hall at St. Vincent’s hospital. I dig it, so I hipsta’d it.

I Clicked “Write.”

I don’t want to say it but I feel like I need to say it because even though I don’t want to say it I don’t care if it offends people and I do care if just one person reads it and feels a little better because of it.

So, I’m going to tell the self-judgmental demon on my shoulder to kick rocks for a minute and just go on with it… I clicked “Write.”

I don’t care if people don’t get it.

I don’t care if people have all the advice and well wishes.

I don’t care if people care.

I’m tired.

I want to go HOME – not a home here – HOME.

This is depression.

I tried to overcome it with my ways, like with this picture. Walking outside. Focusing on the boy’s writing skills. These animals. This music I was working on. The papers I was reading. The proofing I was doing for another article for another site…

But this is depression. It doesn’t care.

It won today. It is still winning.

My chest is heavy. I feel like I can’t breathe. Every breath I take is literally a huge effort right now, in this moment, like purposeful deep breathing but it’s like…well, not a choice.

I am MAKING MYSELF BREATHE.

This is depression.

Seeing/watching my son makes me feel guilty and selfish for ever bringing a child into this world, and no – I don’t want to leave the house.

This is depression.

I care but I don’t care. I want to care more about some things and not care at all about some things I shouldn’t care about.

That one is normal for most of us on most days, lol, but it’s also heightened by depression.

I love myself enough to live but I hate myself enough to think about dying even though I tell my brain to STOP THINKING ABOUT DYING.

This is depression.

I’m tired of trying and getting nowhere and being told not to give up. It’s been 30 years of this same cycle in my brain. I want to give up. I want off this ride, despite what I have to live for.

This is depression. I know many don’t understand this. But it’s true – it is depression.

I know that people love me but I don’t want to talk and I don’t want to see anyone. I can not physically move from my desk right now and I’d really rather be in bed. It’s not you. It’s me.

This is depression.

I don’t need sympathy – or want it. I don’t want the attention drawn to me, I want it drawn to the stigma and the thing – the depression. So, I am terrified to post things about depression but here we are, because I don’t care enough about anything right now to care if the trolls come.

This is depression.

Why? Where does it come from? Is it the (menopausal) hormones? Is it grief? Is it my chronic MDD? Is it the world? Is it the war? Is it the financial bullshit of the money for the few and near poverty for most of the rest of the people? Is it being afraid of cancer? Is being afraid of disappointing anyone?

I don’t know.

It’s all of those things and none of those things.

Why doesn’t the nature and the sun and the water and the walk and the kiddo cuddles and the writing and the music and the deep breathing and the tools – all of the tools I have to help me – seem to be working today?

I don’t know. But I AM trying. I messaged my therapist. She said nothing useful which is why I fired her in the first place. But I made the effort, or so I tell myself.

I put two feet on the ground this morning. Earlier than usual, even. I put two bare feet on the ground outside, even though it was wet. I ate breakfast, for once. I took the supplements and the meds. I told my people I loved them – well, most of them anyway… I even drove to the corner store for milk. UNHEARD OF for me to do that for just one thing…I’ll suffer and wait til I know it’s not going to be full of people and get a lot of things before I’ll brave running into four people to get one stupid thing.

And yet? I still feel like the scum of the earth, inside…despite knowing I’m not.

Anyway, the point is this – I’m not really ok in this particular now. And if you’re not ok? That’s ok. We can be not ok together. It’s valid, even if we feel guilty for some of it.

It’s not about feeling sorry for yourself. It’s not about you not trying hard enough. YOU ARE NOT LAZY. YOU ARE NOT USELESS. YOU ARE A WONDERFUL PARENT. YOU ARE A BEAUTIFUL HUMAN.

YOU ARE NOT ALONE.

And it’s OK. 🌷💜

PS: Thank you to my friends who do understand, and for the random ways you’ve helped me focus or cheered me up, even if you didn’t/don’t realize you did. I will be ok. And if you’re reading this, and you just feel maybe a little heard or understood and you’re breathing deep just to get the breath in you, maybe you will feel ok again soon, too.

Be patient with yourself.

Be patient with others.

Help is here.

1-800-950-NAMI (6264)

1-800-273-8255

Looking Forward (Or Deja Vu?)

You never know where the road is going to take you. Be careful with yourself. Don’t abuse yourself or others, or take your body (or life) for granted.

One day you may be in a situation where you don’t know what’s next for it – and whether you believe me or not, or like it or not, or think it’s a dramatic statement or not, I don’t care – it’s a terrifying and uncomfortable place to be, especially when you have small children.

It’s funny how you can be considering the future, looking forward and not behind, but feel as though you are watching your past happen all over again – and you never expected it and thought you’d done everything to prevent it from ever being this way again. Well. When it comes to the body, and to life, really, sometimes things just happen.

Sometimes things happen and they’re scary and they’re hard and you can’t talk about it because…well, no one will understand and you don’t want anyone to act a certain way, or maybe you just don’t want to be vulnerable because you’re already possibly more vulnerable than many people assume.

You don’t mean to be vague but you are just doing the best you can to process your own existence – and you have no clue. None. Not even a tiny one. You’re just waiting. You’re waiting because it’s deja vu and you know what happened then; but, it’s also a different experience and you know it’s “now,” not “then,” but you’re gun-shy from the last experience…so time is the only source of answers, if time or answers even exist.

Life is like driving a car. You can drive all you want, but you never really have power or control over anything. Forces far greater than you do – and sometimes they’re not kind. And, if you think you do have everything under control? It’s an illusion.

Don’t delude yourself. You’re going to be in a world of hurt at some point, if you do. Don’t forget that when you dance, eventually you have to pay the band.

Don’t assume you know people. Don’t assume you know what’s going on in their life. Don’t judge based on what you THINK you know, because in reality? You don’t know squat except about yourself. Focus on that, unless you do know facts and you can be of some emotional or physical help in someone’s life.

That’s what the last few years have taught me, in being treated like crap, and allowing myself to be used by people and abused by the medical system. Did it make me stronger? Wiser? Yes. Did it hurt? Badly? Also, absolutely yes.

Don’t be a selfish jerk. Do good. Be gentle. Be compassionate. Be kind. Do all those things for yourself and for others. Make it a great day. I love you all. ❤️

~C.

You’ll never know…

…until you have actually and fully been there.

Until you have actually walked this road in a way that leaves the soles of your shoes worn out and developing holes, and your feet blistered and bleeding twice as much as your heart pumps through you and until you have not only seen but had no choice but to actively participate in the sights and scenes DAILY, because there literally was no one else, for so long that you feel like you’re in a Stephen King novel, no – you will never know what it’s really like.

How it can wear you so thin that it nearly destroys you, the way water seems to work like acid and melts cheap toilet paper.

How it can tear you down to a level that you, as compassionate and kind a person you are or try to be, think, “the next time someone tells me I should smile more, or I should look on the bright side (which is what? That eventually she’ll die and I won’t have to do this anymore?) I’m going to punch them in the face.”

How you start avoiding people because you’re sick of their hypocritical judgments and comparisons, OR the way they pretend to understand when you know good and well they have no clue so you just stop talking about it and pretend it’s easy and everything is fine…

100%. Until you’ve done it, you’ll never understand completely what it’s like. I shared a lot of our journey. Even then it was only a fraction and what I did share was picked apart by completely irrelevant, inexperienced people. But I will keep sharing this until we have real reform and raise the standard of care for caregivers and their loved ones with dementia. (Thank you, Martina.)

When my mom died, it broke me. It wasn’t the grief that broke me, it was the RELIEF that broke me. Because I had no idea what to do with it. And I felt guilty for feeling it in the first place.

Finally being able to breathe and stop and rest after SO LONG of being a full time care giver going between two homes and three people (wait, four – but I never really thought of myself, lol) and dealing with doctors and being sick myself…?

THAT almost killed me.

I’m not exaggerating or trying to be dramatic or draw attention, which is what people always love to say when you share thoughts like this (which reallllly doesn’t help so just shut up because that kind of thing can drive someone over an edge you will never understand when they’re grieving loss after caregiving).

I just finished writing a whole chapter about this. Maybe I’ll share it via my blog… For now, here’s the thing I want you to know and remember:

If you’re in a situation like this or are grieving after a situation like this, know that you’re not alone. Know that there ARE those who see you and feel you because they’re there, too, or they’ve been there before.

I pray not one of you ever has to go through it (or go through it again).

If you are forced to go through it, I pray you get the resources you need (financially and otherwise) sooner than a month before your loved one dies because the only thing that finally saves the day is hospice.

I pray if you do face this situation, you have less people than more coming at you with what you need to do and how you need to act but NEVER actually doing anything to help you do what they think you should do and regularly acting the same way you’re acting despite not being in your shoes and instead having everything they could ever want or need.

And I pray that if you ever find yourself in those shoes, you give yourself grace and you forgive yourself daily, before the day begins, for the fact that you’re never going to be perfect. You’re not going to get it right and keep your cool and manage your emotions well EVERY DAY. You’re just not. Period. So accept it and be gentle with yourself and just keep doing the best that you can. You’ve got this. You really do. You don’t think you do or feel that you do, BUT YOU DO. 🙏💜🙏

And if you’ve never been there at this level and never have to be? I pray you don’t take that privilege for granted. Because you ARE privileged.

💜💙💜

How I Mom

This is how I “mom.” My mom “mommed” like this a couple of times in my life and now that she’s gone those couple of moments are the ones I remember the most. Reading this reminds me to do this for myself more…sometimes, we forget – especially when we don’t have anyone reminding us. This is your reminder.

Do good. Be gentle. Be compassionate. Be kind. Do all those things for yourself and for others. Have a beautiful day.

XO.

~C.

____________________________________________________

The whole world paused this morning. Do you know why? Because an 8 year old’s tank was empty.

The boys had already started their school day at their desks and I was preparing to leave for work when I noticed my littlest standing in the bathroom wiping his face.

I paused at the door and asked if he was okay. He looked up with tears silently dripping and shook his head. When I questioned if something happened, again he shook his head.

So I sat on the side of the tub and pulled him in my lap. I told him sometimes our heart tanks feel empty and need to be refilled.

He cried into my chest and I held tight.

I asked if he could feel my love filling him up?

A nod, and tears stopped…

I waited a minute…

“Has it reached your toes yet?”

He shook his head no…

“Okay man. We will take as long as you need. Work doesn’t matter right now. School isn’t important either. This right here, is the most important thing today, okay? Filling you back to the top. Is that good?”

nods

One more minute…

“Is your heart full of mamas love now?”

“Yeah…”

looks in his eyes

“I see it shining in there, you’re full to the top, and you’re smiling!”

You may not be 8 – you may be 28, 38, 48 or whatever- but ALL of us run on empty just like he did. His week was so busy and so full and his little soul was just dry!

We all have to pause, and take a moment to refill with the good things. prayer, sunshine, laughter, friends, hugs. Refill your empty, or you’ll find those emotions (tears, anger, snappy words) overflowing with no reason why.

Take a moment. Refill. It’s the most important part of your day! ❤

~Jennifer Lemcke