It’s easy for people who don’t have major depression or a chemical depressive disorder to look objectively at a person’s life and point out all of the logical reasons why someone should not feel sad, angry, anxious, or any number of other emotions and emotional experiences that come with depression. But depression isn’t logical. Depression doesn’t care to reason, and certainly not to show mercy.

You can’t talk your way out of it, pray your way out of it, think your way out of it, spiritualize your way out of it… You can’t analyze, theorize, medicate, or meditate your way out of major depressive disorder. You can’t shop, travel, read, or even act your way out of it.

For those people reading this who are in my shoes, you get it. For those in my life who can’t grasp it, I’m sorry. I know that you can’t get it. I’m sorry that I’m sick. I’m sorry that I am not who you want me to be or who I want to be to/for you. For those reading this who don’t get it at all, I hope this helps your mindset.

Please try to remember that it’s a disorder, not a decision. You can’t fake your way through depression every day. You get tired. And when you get tired, and feeling especially tied up in the straightjacket of depression, you really don’t care who sees or doesn’t understand.

Then, you regret that, because they think it’s them. They try to make it about something it’s not, because you should know if you pray or get spiritual or meditate or walk outside or even “JUST TALK” TO THEM!! then you will suddenly be ok! Then, you REALLY hate being here. You REALLY feel misunderstood and unloved. You REALLY want a drink and you REALLY don’t wanna take your meds – because you just want to sleep.

You want to sleep forever. You can’t move. You don’t shower. You don’t even brush your teeth. All you manage to do is go ahead and swallow the pills and go ahead and feed your kid and fake your way through homeschool. So…

The cycle continues. Until one day you say, “f*** the cycle. F*** it. F*** other people. F*** how it looks. AGAIN. I’m going to just make it stop.

And then you don’t. AGAIN. Because of him, in my case. My son. Because you’re too filled with love. That’s right – people with depression still love. They still feel “positive” things. And most often, when they commit suicide, they do so because they love others and they truly believe that the world and their people are better off without them. I know that’s hard to understand. But, it’s the truth.

Why? Why do they think the world would be better off without them? Not because of depression itself. Because they’ve had to fight their depression alone, which is impossible. They believe they are a burden. They feel their depression is causing too many issues for other people.

They feel…. Unloved. Ignored. Unseen. Without worth to add anything good to the world. They don’t want to make the world a darker place because they love. But when they end their lives, and usually while they are still alive and it’s often what pushes them to the end, along with the depression itself, they are labeled with things like selfishness, negativity, cynicism, laziness, etc.

None of those things are true.

You can’t do it alone, and anyone who says they did or do or that you can is a liar. Even if it was influences from media that helped them (music, movies, speakers, writers. etc.), nobody survives depression alone – especially not the kind that wraps itself around you like a second skin and doesn’t let go, and can’t be peeled off, and hurts even to try to put clothes on and cover it for the day.

And that’s the only reason I’m still here.

#welcometomyweek

I haven’t shared any of my music for a while, but, whelp, here’s a thing. Enjoy. All I can do right now is express the music (and the image edits) and that’s what this is. I may not have the words but I have the music. So far, I’ve always had the music.

The basis of this song is to end stigmas, to understand that those with mental illnesses need compassion and they need to be reached out to, not ignored or shunned or pushed away or further labeled, and saying goodbye to those labels.

There is some sort of problem with the video playing on mobile devices so if the video doesn’t work for you, you can listen to the song on SoundCloud as well as download it for free, for listening later.

I hope that YOU are doing well, and I hope that you get something out of this post that helps you better deal with or understand anyone in your life who struggles with depression.

All the love,

C. ❤️

**This song was mixed with Auxy using samples from Fanton ’87’s “Pay Phone.”

Session tonight was…emotional. It was one of those tearful, snotty, sobbing sessions – one of those ones that I go into wishing I could slide down a razor blade into a bucket of alcohol instead because that would hurt less, but at the end of it am left calmer and numb and call my mother back on the phone and say, “hey, I love you. Despite all you do to make me hate you, I love you, and that’s why I have done the things I have done.”

I’m trying very hard to accept and continue to be myself, and appropriately deal with my mother, even while many people in my life are dumping their opinions and unwanted advice on me like seven dust on a yard full of fleas.

I believe that…

No one has the right to tell you how long your grieving should last or how fast or when you need to move on, not even your own mind. Follow your heart.

No one has the right to judge or hurt or ignore you – especially when they call you “friend.” Don’t believe them when they call themselves your friend. Friends don’t do those things – not on purpose.

No one has the right to tell you how to live your life or how to be who you are. Don’t listen to them. Don’t try to manage or live your life based on other people’s double standards.

No one has the right to make you cry. Don’t believe anyone who tells you that your tears are your own fault.

Just because you’re not dealing with things the way someone else is dealing with things is irrelevant – they’re not living YOUR life or YOUR situation or walking in YOUR shoes.

That said, sometimes we care about other people so much – the people who do these things to us – that we continue to try. We continue to take responsibility for them when we know or believe we have a responsibility to keep them safe – especially when they’re mentally ill or senile or sick…

Because while I DO believe in taking responsibility for our lives and in taking care of ourselves, I also believe in taking care of others – even those who have hurt us – when they need to be taken care of – especially when they are mentally ill.

If my husband, for example, had given up on me because of my depression and actions and words (or lack thereof) – and Lord knows how many bad episodes there have been throughout our relationship – if he’d walked away to take care of himself or because he decided not to “allow” it anymore, I’d be dead by now. I’d be dead two or three times over. And that’s the truth. But this post isn’t about my depression. It’s about my mother.

Whoever reads this gets to have their own opinion. That’s fine. But don’t comment to me about how no one has the power to make a person do or feel anything unless the person hurting allows it because that’s bullshit. That’s what my therapist and I have been talking about in session tonight – how that’s all I’ve been hearing for three days now from different people around me regarding my mother, and I’m sick of it.

People’s words – or even lack of them – can HURT. People DO cause tears and pain and it has nothing to do with what someone is allowing to “control” their emotions. That’s a copout and it’s blaming the person feeling the pain for feeling pain that they didn’t bring onto themselves.

Sometimes a person can’t “walk away.” Sometimes there is no choice but to allow it to continue to some extent, or even fully. Sometimes there is no other option but to bide your time and wait for your moment to “escape.”

So for those people who keep saying things to me like, “why do you “allow” it to continue this way,” or telling me how I am only responsible for myself, I have a question (or two or ten):

How many times did YOU choose to allow someone to continue hurting you (in ANY way) because you loved them, or because you FELT you had a responsibility to take care of them (whether you actually did or didn’t)?

How long did it take YOU to start blaming yourself instead of someone else for how they “made” you feel? I’m sure you probably ALWAYS blamed yourself for the actions or behaviors of others, right? I’m sure you NEVER, ever were hurt by their words or actions and only blamed yourself for “allowing” it. Pfft.

And then, how long did it take you to STOP blaming someone else? Or do you still say things like, “he is/was such an asshole,” or, “she is/was such a control freak,” or, “they were/are so ridiculous?”

You know what? He/she may have been or may still be those things. That’s the role some people play in the world. And they’re hurtful and they ARE to blame for the pain they cause. And you may not always be to blame for “allowing it to continue.” Every situation is different. Don’t judge mine.

From my therapist:

“Maybe a person’s situation doesn’t allow them to fully escape the person hurting them. Maybe a person judging, or telling you how to live your life and deal with your situations, even when you agree with a lot of their advice and wish that it COULD work for you, just doesn’t get it. Maybe they don’t or can’t grasp the full scope of your situation.

Or maybe, just maybe, other people just don’t have the heart or the character you have – not everyone is strong enough to endure mental illness or abuse and still love the person or care for the person who has or does hurt them (emotionally in this case), and not want them to hurt themselves, and want to protect them from dying or care for them while they are dying despite the pain they themselves might be feeling, or want to try to help them to help themselves.”

And so this all sums up where I currently am on the situation with my mother. Her idle threats don’t scare me. State laws don’t scare me (at this point). But I DO have a responsibility to take care of a woman who has no one but me and is literally going senile.

Not eating or taking care of herself.

Becoming a danger to herself and others.

Even if that care exists only in bringing in outside help and even if it means having to sometimes be exposed to her narcissistic and emotional abuse, I DO have and carry that responsibility.

She’s not my mother, but she used to be.
Sometimes she was.

Until session tonight I’d forgotten that sometimes she was normal.

Sometimes she helped me with school projects all night until they were finished (even if only because she wanted me to get an A for her).

Sometimes she cooked meals instead of delegating that task to my father despite his working, too.

Part of her controlling behavior was keeping the house spotless and sanitary and that’s was, in some ways, good for me and my health and well being.

Sometimes she made me clothes, with her own hands, because they couldn’t afford to shop for them.

Sometimes she hugged me, and meant it, even if I never remember her ever telling me she was proud of me unless it was in front of someone else.

There were others, but I’m finally sleepy now and will save them for later…

Tonight, my therapist cracked open a whole new set of memories from my childhood with my mother that I had blocked in the process of trying to block the bad ones. And tonight she made it a point, in “forcing” me to share some of those better memories, to remind me that despite my mothers illnesses, she is human – just like despite my illnesses I am human. That’s the thing I have kept trying to get people to understand about my heart and why I struggle so with the whole situation since my Dad died.

There’s a song by Rascal Flatts called, “What Hurts the Most,” that comes to mind and while it is actually meant to be about a romantic relationship, it reminds me very much of my relationship with my mother throughout my life. There are these moments – or have been – of being so close…and what hurts the most is not knowing how it could have been to have had her as my mother consistently when every now and then there would be a little taste of her being kind, being motherly, not hurting me…and those are the parts my heart still carries that keep me in this place of caring…

Don’t. Judge. A. Heart. You. Don’t. Know.

Don’t. Judge. A. Life. You. Don’t. Know.

Don’t. Judge. A. Life. You’re. Not. Living.

Partially rewritten from an old instagram account – the one that used to bear this username, I wanted to take a moment to catch up with you and tell you, in short, I’m doing a 5k in two weeks. 

I know, I know. What!?? My husband has been helping me prepare and is doing it with me, along with our little pup. It’s been a definite lesson in learning to listen to my body. Yesterday I made my best time, averaging just at 15 minutes per mile, which is basically shit for a runner but a miracle for someone pushing through with chronic pain. 

I suffered last night. Today I can hardly move. But this evening, weather permitting, we’ll be out again, pushing that time. Why? Because I WANT to. Neighbors and acquaintances alike are openly calling me crazy and expressing concern for my sanity more than my safety but using my safety as the key words, and I want to combine two things (this older writing rewritten for the now and a piece I wrote last night) and share it with you. Why? Because it helps me to share. 

Walk A Mile in My Shoes

I wrote this a while ago but was afraid to share it because I didn’t want to be seen as a complainer or as weak. This is what the stigma of invisible disease does to people. My friend sent me a challenge to share my truth as I used to – it’s called the #vulnerabilitychallenge. So, I AM going to post this & not be insecure, & know I am not complaining. 

If you have loved ones with CI or chronic pain, be patient with them. They can’t control their bodies & battle with them every day & some days every second. It’s hard to live with pain, especially invisible pain. Try to give them a break. 

Literally hours ago I felt like this black cloud over my head was lifting. I felt…happy. I got excited because the depression was leaving. But what I forgot is that it never leaves. It just rises & falls like the temperature…or the ventilator that kept my dad alive during his coma.

I realized I keep waiting – waiting to get better when I know I never will. I may not necessarily get worse, but never better. That’s what CI means. So I do the best I can…but forgive me when I suddenly crash, or snap at you, or act out of sorts or distant. It’s not just a mood. It’s not just pettiness or whining. Its not selfishness or taking you for granted. It’s fibrolife or a celiac flare. Don’t be angry with me & fuss at me or cuss at me or take it personally. Worse yet, don’t compare me to yourself or others – especially others with CI or depression. 

Instead, just take a moment to try to imagine your skin feeling like it’s on fire. Feeling like your legs are wrapped in barbed wire, and let down because it’s backpain again tonight, first headache in a while, leg cramps, stomach cramps, everything hurts, and it’s stress. My body reacts very bitchily to stress – especially extreme stress, like my preparations for this 5K. 

The day has settled down & now it all catches up with me. Don’t hold it against me if I don’t cope well with stress. But rest assured – I WILL walk on, I WILL keep pushing through, and I DO love you. But I am also upset with certain aspects of how I’ve been approached recently. 

It’s comparison that gets to me. Tonight I was reminded by a film I watched during this painsomnia marathon how my mother has always doubted me and how sensitive I am to rejection, being doubted, being abandoned as the weak or the crazy one…and how that has been feeding my insecurity lately from several different directions. This all in turn reminded me that I am plenty “enough,” and never “not enough” or “too much,” at least not for MYSELF, which is what matters, and I started thinking about how even though I know it will never happen, anyone who doubts me needs to stop judging and assuming and just sit back and watch me succeed despite the challenges I face or my ups and downs. 

Then I wrote this note (blog) that was amazingly well thought out and put together and accidentally deleted it because it posted twice but it was a glitch so when I deleted one it deleted the actual note (and yes I’m pissed). Sigh…

The whole idea was that I no longer believe that our thoughts alone create our experiences, or that life has “terms.” I believe that there is a reaction for every action and that regardless of our thoughts or best intentions sometimes bad shit happens. I don’t believe we can control our lives with our minds alone, and that our hearts and our spirits have just as much to do with it. I believe that our actions and reactions, good and bad, feed on themselves to create our lives, and I also believe (know) that our lives can be effected by the actions and reactions of others but that we ALWAYS have a choice in how we live and face our challenges. 

I don’t believe in living life on life’s terms, I believe in creating my own regardless of what life has to say about it, even if that’s the harder way of dealing with things sometimes, and I’m sick of hearing people tell me lately that I need to accept life’s terms, I need to be careful with my body or I’ll make it worse, I need to just accept that I’m older or that I’m sick and so I can’t do the things I used to. Pffft. I know that they THINK that they have my best interest in mind, but they’re not ME. How can they know what is best for me – especially when they’re only a neighbor or an acquaintance I ran into in the dollar store? They can’t – not even just because they had an experience and found out what was best for them. 

Look… Listen to me hard right now. How many people who get a cancer disganosis say, “ok, I’m terminal. I’ll just die now and not try to fight back?” Some may, I’m sure…but all the people I’ve ever known to get that diagnosis, in real life or friends/acquaintances online? They may already know they’re terminal and they’ll die but they still fight – 99.9% of people I know who have had that diagnosis have not just accepted it as “life on life’s terms.” I even asked Dorie one time, because I used to judge that choice and think, “if I end up like that I’d never choose chemo,” why she made that choice and continued to struggle with it even though it was that that was killing her and not the cancer… Her response? “It’s the only way I know how to fight this.” 

My experience with Dorie and cancer and caregiving and watching her fight…that was the moment that I stopped believing in life’s terms and started believing in the human spirit and in the human heart rather than some stupid idea about how life works the same for all of us. IT DOESN’T. In a general sense, we all live and die. Everything in between? Not exactly the same for any two people. That was a huge lesson and realization for me. I’ve always known we are all different and we all do things differently and for different reasons. But that was my first slap in the face of how stupid it is to compare people or hold them to a standard we might think we have for ourselves but that can change in an instant based on any number of scenarios we may face. 

Fighting my body but learning to listen to it at the same time has reminded me of that. Especially today, after reaching that milestone in my mile time. My hip and my knee – my whole right side from the ribs down, really, is screaming at me. But it’ll pass – and it would have screamed anyway, probably louder, if I hadn’t reached this point. It would all come in waves regardless of any choice I did or didn’t make – because hello…that’s how it works.

Anyway, all of this reminded me about comparison. That was the whole premise of this whole bit of word vomit to begin with. Don’t compare – don’t compare ANYONE but especially not people with mental or chronic or physical illnesses in general. It’s not fair, because we ALL do things and face things and accept things differently and at different times and in different ways and even on differently on different days.  

I get that people may think I’m super crazy or annoying because I deal with life at both ends of the spectrum to an extreme and refuse to just exist or live somewhere in the middle but that’s because I don’t WANT to be or live a mediocre life. And, it’s also because I’ve always been a passionate and very free spirited person and I’ve always had to fight – it’s a learned behavior. I’ve always had to fight – those are hard words for me to “say” out loud, but it’s true and a realization that deeper discussion in therapy has helped me to accept.

I’ve ALWAYS HAD TO FIGHT and it is a LEARNED BEHAVIOR – my mother, my health (yes even as a child – mostly because of allergies and reactions which we now know was related to celiac but especially the time I had chicken pox and then scarlet fever and almost died when I was 7, which is what led to my heart issues as an adult), my depression, and a whole hell of a lot of people in my life as a young person (family, not people just randomly existing in my life, but yes, some of those…) who never accepted me because I was adopted and who always judged and hated me and belittled me because I was different…I was bullied a lot in school when people found out I was adopted – and I still have no idea exactly how that happened; because of how my “family” treated me I NEVER talked about being adopted to anyone. I guess there’s always that “one friend” in middle school… LOL I digress…

Rest assured – I may appear weak at times, especially when depression has me down – depression is the hardest and cruelest battle I face and yes, I face it head on daily and “fail” miserably sometimes in the eyes of others and even myself when I forget that surviving another day is a huge achievement some days, but weak is the farthest thing from reality that I am or that ANYONE with depression is. It’s the farthest thing ANYONE with ANY disease is, physical or mental. So just because someone doesn’t complain or express thoughts about their illness to you and you think, “ohhhh they’ve got their shit together, why don’t I or why doesn’t she or why doesn’t he?” Just don’t. Because they DON’T have their shit together. They’re just dealing with it in a way that makes it look like they do – and if they’re not talking to you about their struggles it’s easy to think they’re not struggling. 

News flash – not everyone talks about their struggles. Some people are very private. Some only express their physical and emotional exhaustion when they’re alone in the shower or in bed at night crying themselves to sleep. Some express it with a scream into a pillow that no one ever hears. Some express it by not expressing it. Silence is a sound, too… I’m not one of those people that is very private, and that doesn’t make me a bad person or a weak person or an ungrateful person or a “not coping well” person… And tonight I’ve been reminded by art imitating life imitating art of how much I HATE to be compared to anyone else and how much I strive not to compare anyone else to myself or to others. 

I don’t want to hear about what you approve of or disapprove of how I have a goal to make it through this 5k coming up with a “broken body,” or about what I should do or what I can’t do or what precautions I should take and so on and so forth. I CAN READ and I have been researching my physical conditions a lot longer than you’ve been thinking about all the ways my legs might not work during a 3.3 mile trail run. Speaking of which, it’s ONLY 3.3 MILES. It’s not the fucking Iron Man. 

What I want is for you, if you’re one of those people, to just sit back and watch what I CAN do, despite my insecurity and fear and pain and my body that screams, “fuck you!” to me every time I begin and end a walk or a jog. I want you to sit back and choke on those words of doubt and judgments, even if you’re only thinking them. Because I will NEVER say them to myself and I don’t want to hear them from anyone else, and I don’t want to be compared to anyone else – especially not anyone else’s imaginary standards for me (which are generally double standards, anyway). Nobody does. 

Tonight I’m laying here with heat on one spot and ice on another, and you know what? I’m relishing in it – I feel strong. I think I’m stronger than the doubters and judges in my life because guess what? I’m doing something besides worrying about what everyone else’s is doing. I’m focused on MY goal and MY current “dream.” And I’m gonna get a T-shirt for this particular experience, whether I come in first or 80th or dead ass last. But what I’m really gaining is a window back into myself. And that is priceless to me, even if it costs me more than I have to pay in the end. 

I was challenged on Facebook to share “just me” in images and not just words. I suppose that’s a REAL challenge for me because I really despise sharing photos of myself, as most of you know. I’d much rather share the intimate details in words than to let you see my physical self. Who knows why – that’s so backward, right? I mean…that’s true nakedness.

Anyway, I didn’t copy and paste what the full challenge is but I did write my own thing because that’s kind of the space I’m in right now. The point of this challenge is to share just you, and lift yourself up, and by doing so encourage others to do the same. So…

This is just me. No filters, no makeup, sweating from hiking, in my element in nature. 

This is just me. No pretentions or expectations, a bit of a grimace coming through my attempt to smile because of the pain I was feeling in my body. 

This is just me. Christy. Leigh. Whoever I am by name, wherever I came from. 

This is just me. The nearly 39 year old mom of one who is struggling through grief, and who has so many diagnosed mental and physical illnesses I won’t even bore you by listing them again. 

This is just me. A woman you may not know anymore because I’ve changed so much or may have never really and truly known but who has been through hell just like so many others and is still here, somehow. Still has goals. Still has dreams. Still has a self inside. Still has a light somewhere inside all this inner darkness of depression and still fights on and walks through a lot more than what can be seen or expressed in words. 

This is just me. Yep, the fighter, the pusher-through. The trying-to-remain-an-optimist. The hoper. The lover. The never-giver-upper. The warrior. The mama bear mama-ing and trying to be the best example of surviving and thriving she can possibly be for her son, despite what she shares with the grown ups in her weakest moments. 

Here are the photos I chose – no makeup, no filters, just as I am about 99.9% of the time. This is JUST ME. I am beautiful as I am, I am strong despite my weaknesses, and I am enough.

“Climb the mountains and get their good tidings. Nature’s peace will flow into you as sunshine flows into trees. The winds will blow their own freshness into you, and the storms their energy, while cares will drop away from you like the leaves of Autumn.” -John Muir

…a very raw, and real one – one of the ones I almost always keep private…

April 5, 2017. 10:55AM

First of all, how is it that my writing today coincides exactly with the timing of my writing about volatility on March 28th, the last time I day-journaled? That’s weird…or not…but mostly, yes.

Today I feel ESPECIALLY volatile. In fact, I just texted that to a friend. The reasons are many. I haven’t had sleep in many hours (one hour, about, in the last 36 or so hours). Anxiety is the fault AND the cause of that, and of many things in and of itself. And all of those things are the cause of many other things. I mean, it’s like I told the fairy god-therapist recently:  we can sit around analyzing that until we’re blue in the face and we’ve managed to work our way all the way back to our time in the womb, maybe even before that based on some belief systems, but it’s going to solve NOTHING about now. I hate that sort of cognitive psychology. Mind stripping bullshit… I hate it, but yet I love it and it’s a huge part of my personality – especially personality and understanding of self – to do just that.

Today, due to lack of sleep, due to anxiety, due to the chaos of thoughts that NEED to escape my mind and can’t escape fast enough, and then annoyingly get lost and ruin my train of thought all together and then I almost obsessively try to start all over (with that cognitive bullshit that I have a love/hate relationship with)…I just feel volatile. This flood of expressive thoughts that I can’t express fast enough, and all the noise around me – even the little noises like the birds chirping – make my head feel like it will explode.

They are like fingernails on a chalkboard, even the positive, happy sounds that we often invite into our environments. Everything makes my brain feel like it’s going to explode and all I want is perfect stillness and perfect quiet – kind of like the “perfect darkness” you achieve deep in caves, which is the only place on the planet you can ever achieve that. I don’t know where to go to achieve a literal perfect stillness and quiet in this physical world, and I certainly can’t escape to a cognitive version of it, even with meditation, with this “dis-ease” that seems to be swallowing my mind and consciousness.

I have been getting to know a new, light-warrior friend via Instagram through chat, and I was just expressing a similar (but not nearly as immediate frustration) in a conversation last night, during the peak of that episode of insomnia. I relayed how I have found myself simultaneously nodding my head and saying, “yes,” out loud as I’d read each thought they shared, whether in their posts or conversation on my posts or the human transactions that were being shared via DM, and how I was so grateful for that but it was also overwhelming.

Isn’t that so odd! To connect with someone who also wishes to spread love and positivity and happiness… Light…. And to be so blinded by that because of my condition. It both took me by surprise and made me sad. I was so happy – ecstatic, almost – to have felt such a deeper level connection with someone again and to have these conversations, but also sad and annoyed at my brain and chemicals and processes being as they are so that I also felt such an immediate and almost panicky need to express all of this I was feeling because I’d forgotten it all once before and I didn’t want to lose it again before I understood it, but mostly before I LEARNED from it.

A conversation ensued about the issue of “dis-ease” and I shared about how I will have down days, sad days, mad days, doubtful days, as part of my “dis-ease” as they call it (doctors and therapists and so on – the “helpers”). Even as a part of my grief. But the reality is that there can be kindness and love shared from THEIR realities (“normal, functioning” realities that they exist in, within themselves) versus MINE (the disturbed, lost, seeking, hurting, grieving, sick version of myself that I have become). They’re just so judgmental, in their perfect little boxes, conforming to a broad spectrum of socially acceptable norms that I don’t fit.

They don’t tell me or teach me positive things. They constantly teach me or relay to me, whether they mean to or not, that I am broken or in some way not good enough. I know I need HELP with my issues and conditions but I do not need to be FIXED. There’s a difference and that’s very frustrating and counter-productive for me.  This new friend said to me, “what if you just looked at it as down days or feeling anxious, instead of labeling it a disease? Don’t listen to mainstream media, doctors or anyone that has no concepts of living outside of that box. You can help ease some of the anxiety and depression simply by not ever calling it a disease anymore. You just have more ups and downs and anxieties a little more often than others. Yet all the same – we are all sharing these same emotions. You’re not alone – just let them come and go. The words we say to ourselves mean everything – shaping reality thought by thought and word by word.”

It was really fascinating because it was like reading back my own expressions not so long ago – mostly, before heartbreak and death… I LOVE it. I totally get where they were coming from because I used to 100% be and live as that person with that mindset. And then, the “dis-ease” of it became a reality that suddenly touched, and then began to swallow me. It was almost like a suitor, wooing me – that’s how it always happens. It woos me and taunts me with certain aspects of it that are appealing to me (the melancholy, the muse of it, the creative expression that comes from it) and then once it begins it sucks me into this “toxic relationship” whereby I end up swallowed in darkness with NONE of those appealing qualities actually being a part of it. It’s a sneaky little bastard, that one.

And it IS disease. It IS illness. There is no escaping from or denying that, or there is no getting better at all. It’s a variance back and forth, for me personally, with the things I face mentally, between believing that our words can shape and even literally heal us and accepting that sometimes that’s just not the case. It’s like cancer – some people are healed and they claim that their believing was part of the recipe. But that doesn’t work for everyone.

When Dorie died I came to accept that even if everyone else believes along with you, with all they have, with all their being, sometimes it’s just not enough to overcome death. It’s similar with my mental health – it’s a hard balance to find when a) it’s hard to find meaning and purpose and believe in positivity and self-worth (depression, ptsd) and b) I’m working with therapists/doctors to try to get help for the medical aspect of it (replacing/balancing hormones and chemicals in the body, along with healing my physical body from the damages of chronic physical illness and rebalancing and at least stopping further damage, even though I can never really repair what’s already wrong – celiac disease).

Those people, as I just mentioned, may be trying to help you in a gentle way (as human beings doing the best they can) but the system is flawed because it’s always spoken about in such a negativistic way. What COULD you do? What SHOULD you do? How COULD you or SHOULD you change and what COULD you or SHOULD you change? All of this, when from the other side of their mouths (and the spiritualist parts of society and our selves), it’s all about how we’re all good enough, worthy, loved, made of love, perfectly designed, etc. Really? Because that’s not how it feels when you struggle with mental illness.

It’s because it IS a disease, down to a physical level. I can’t pretend it’s not or I end up missing out (due to escapism and avoidance) some of the good and even best ways I can be helped. But, at the same time, what that person shared does apply. The disbelieving and the labels and the basic bullshit of American medicine are not helpful factors and it IS important to try to steer clear of those things from a subjective place within ourselves. I love that suggestion and somewhere inside me I DO still believe and need to live more from that place. But mental illness is part of a two-sided coin of very real medical condition for me and it’s all so very hard to cope and to live with.

I try to remain in that positive space regardless and to not give up on myself or doubt when I step outside the positivity zone – I try to avoid definitions and labels of failure or success from that perspective, and I tried to address that in some writing I did about how just continuing to try is, in itself, success for ALL of us. That’s what I encourage others to do, and I know that I have to walk the talk as much as possible, mistakes though I might (WILL) make, and just continue to walk and grow. I feel like if I owe anything to anyone I owe THAT to my SELF, to my loved ones, and to the world. We all do. Just our best, and our love. You know?

He understood all this, even in all it’s chaotic and insomnia-influenced version of expression. He said, “Definitely – always breathe and be grateful for NOW…and YOUR continued journey. It’s not selfish to live and dance for the ones that no longer can… We are all here by ourselves, really, anyway. Love yourself, talk to yourself. Be your own best friend (again). It could a long one, friend!” And he is so right – that, what he described in those statements, that’s who I’ve always been. Even in my darkest times and struggles with depression and mental illness in my past, I was always able to hold on to that somewhere and  now, with her death, it FEELS like that is gone. And I’m so terrified at every level because I literally feel as though I have lost myself.

I love his perspective and his confidence in life and in love – and so many of my other kindred spirits in that community. I can’t even wait to write more posts from the food for though he/they have gifted me. I can’t wait to continue these conversations together and with the world at large. But it’s also daunting, because I have very little faith in myself that I CAN do that. The darkness says, “there’s no light, tunnel or not, you are deluding yourself.” The me that desperately seeks to not become wholly lost forever strives to believe and convince myself that that itself is the delusion. How ridiculous this carousel is, and seems to remain…

In closing, for now, I thank you for reading, and for existing as a very important part of the tool set for me to at least attempt to express myself. I am so grateful for you.  I wish you all the love and light that I want to believe is out there and within you and me – all the light, everywhere. May we all continue to seek it and to find it, and even if in the most unexpected of places and ways may we always allow it in.

C.

I’m sitting here in her casino bathrobe, planning her deathiversary. I’m supposed to have an actual plan, you know, like my fairy godtherapist told me to. So far? I’ve managed to plan to not be alone and to go buy dog food at the corner store. Is that good enough? Wave your magic wand and make it so. 

I’m already a mess. Yesterday I kept flashing to trying to get there in time, over and over again. Today I am flashing to watching her leave. Tomorrow…I don’t know what to expect. I knew this would be a hard time. I didn’t expect to relive her death like this. CPTSD/PTSD cause people to grieve loss in very different ways. 

Another blogger e-mailed me this link and I read the page while having coffee. It didn’t help to consider that I’m complicated. But the truth is, everything about all of us is complicated and that’s ok… 

PTSD does prolong both grief and survivor guilt, along with all of its own characteristics. I’m struggling most with the stuff from the last year. But I’m also struggling with basically 3 years of nothing but grief, let downs, huge life changes, death, trauma and loss, which finally triggered childhood trauma memories and led to CPTSD.

If you’re struggling with any of these things, know that YOU are not complicated, it’s the external stuff that is, and there’s a number below that you can call for help. Here is an excerpt from the article that resonated with me: 

“While it is not clear exactly what causes prolonged or complicated grief, the cause of normal grief can most commonly be attributed to the death of a loved one. According to the University of Rochester, grief can also be caused by the following:

  • Loss of a job
  • Loss of a beloved pet
  • Loss of a friendship
  • Loss of a personal dream
  • Loss of a romantic relationship

The loss of anything important to you can cause feelings of grief. When you are unable to cope with that grief over a long period of time, you may be at risk for a grief disorder. If you or someone you love is having difficulty coping with grief, you can seek help by calling 1-888-480-5593. Our compassionate staff members are available any time of day or night to assist you in finding the most appropriate treatment for grief disorders.”

Check. Check. Check. Check. Check. Some double-checks. Some in bold AND italics. But, all in all, it’s just part of my story, and my story doesn’t end here. That’s what I am telling myself over and over again today. Somehow, we cope. Even if today that means not pushing through at all and instead sitting on the tree deck in her bathrobe watching old home movies on my phone all day, it’s coping. Deathiversaries are hard for me now. But when this week is over, maybe it will feel like just another day…

Sending all the love and support to you all today, and lots of cyber hugs. If you’re into that sort of thing, feel free to grab as many as you need. 

Lots of love,

C. 

I’m grateful for you today, Internet. 

Let’s be real, as usual. This week SUCKS. Anniversaries like this suck. Today throughout the next week is one great big anniversary of the worst, most traumatic, life altering, bullshit of an experience I’ve faced and surprisingly, I am allowing the anger (at least today). I thought I’d be so sad, or so lost, or so “emotional,” but really? Seems like I’m just pissed off.

I’m not pissed off because it’s a “why me” or an “I wish it was different” thing, because neither of those is true. I’m just mad. I’m mad at the world for being an asshole, and at humanity for abusing and hurting and killing each other.

I don’t want a lot to do with people these days. Today I feel like I’d rather be alone forever than have to face another human being for the rest of my life. Maybe we all have days like this. Do you?

Mostly, for me, that’s because I can’t be alone OR around anyone without being so raw and real in expressing who I am and what I feel (which has always been true of me), and I get so tired of hearing (lately), “It’s just grief. That’s how grief works. You’re just depressed.” So, I’d rather just be alone.

Grief is not depression, although it can contribute (no doubt). Grief is not an emotion or an experience or a thing to me anymore. In my experience and my heart/soul, it is as if it is a very small yet significant creature, very quiet and very cunning, very swift to come and go but never ending in it’s patterns and in the way it sometimes dances, sometimes just hovers, around me.

Grief has become my friend. It has given me some of the most precious gifts – the experience of true solitude, by choice; the beauty of the truest and deepest tears; the realization that it exists as truly and with as much compassion and love for the loss of our living as for the loss of our dead.

I admire grief. I admire the way it adapts itself for every other creature. I love the way it never compromises. I love how reliable it is, even in it’s unpredictability. I never know what each day of my life with grief will bring, but I know without a doubt that if I am there then it will be there, too, and it will be dressed exactly to the nines for whatever my spirit needs on any given day.

I have learned not to hate it, or to dread it, or to resent it. I have learned not to view it the way society likes to “paint” it. I have learned to accept and to allow my attachment to it as a part of who I am, just as my child and my own spirit are a part of me. My anger today is not at grief, or because of grief. 

My anger today is because of my lack of and ever-present inability to control my heart and tears, even when I really need to have a grip on things. My anger is born of exhaustion and from all the dreams I dream when I do sleep, and how those dreams taunt me with the past that was and with the lies of a future that will never exist. 

My anger today is of and at myself – for not being more cautious with those people I have chosen to allow in my life. It is of and with my heart – for not giving me a choice sometimes, of who I love and have loved.

My anger today is toward a version of humanity that has no excuse for the way it behaves, for the way it treats itself and it’s planet. It is for the lack of compassion and openness of heart that has caused so much of the pain in my own, because of my own openness… And, maybe part of my anger is in the fact that we are not made to be alone, which is another blog for another day…

Mostly? I just want silence. I just want all the noise to stop…

But, I as I have written above, I am grateful for you today, Internet. I am grateful to have you to escape to, just as often and as easily as I can escape to nature in my back yard, if nowhere more grand. I am grateful for all of you, out there in the land of Internet, who help me to work through the bad shit and back to the good shit, over and over again, whether you know it or not.

I am grateful for those people, even strangers, who take the time to send me messages and emails with encouraging thoughts, even stories of their own experiences and confusion. I am grateful, most of all, for the memes and the quotes that I receive randomly (like today, on a very hard day) that say things like, “If you could see all the beauty that shines through the cracks of your brokenness the way other people do, you’d see that our suffering is not all for naught.”

All the love to all of you today, despite my struggle to smile or appreciate socialization. The stars help, as in the thumbnail above, and each of you are made of that.

See you around…

C.


Good morning… ❤️ I am here at my mother’s now, waiting on the home health nurse to arrive and looking out over the field where in my youth I would surely find myself on a warm winter day like today, doing upkeep and spring gardening preparation with my beloved Mama Kay. What beautiful, cherished memories I have of my home place and of my childhood with my grandmother. Yet, today I find myself in a very different phase of life. As I recollect a childhood passed I realize even more how grateful I am to have been prepared so well for this particular time in my life. 

I am in that phase of life where it’s all about everyone else. I don’t have the time or resources for all the self care fantasies that people (especially women) go on about – bubble baths, manicures, beauty shops (anxiety on fleek in places like that, for me), shopping trips (who can afford that anyway?) – but I take care of myself in the ways I know how, and have available to me, and know are right for me. 

For me, it’s walks in the backyard (or at my mom’s when I’m there), reading a book before sleep, watching space documentaries (or listening) while I clean, taking photos randomly and editing them because I enjoy it so much, ALWAYS listening to and sometimes making music, writing down thoughts in the notepad on my phone (if not a napkin or scrap of paper shoved into my bag) during those waiting moments (in line at the store or over morning coffee). It’s always in nature, and it’s always in self-reflection and self-expression.

You can’t always make time for yourself and you can’t always make yourself a priority. All the self help psycho babble bullshit that puts pressure on people to do that is detrimental. It’s not humanly possible for me, or many people, to be on a daily basis what truly feels to me like being self-indulgent. To be perfectly honest, I don’t CARE about my appearance that much. It does not make me feel better to have fresh hair or nails or perfect makeup or a “style.” My style is just me, as I am. It’s pretty simple – clean self, clean clothes that are comfortable and that I like, a little eye makeup just because it makes me feel awake in the mornings and I really love my eyes… LOL

I’m a simple person. Being a simple person is OK. My self care habits include the things I mentioned above, and I eat fairly clean(ly). I stay hydrated. I take my St. John’s wort and vitamins every day. I wash my hands a lot. I keep my home and the environments I’m in clean. But most importantly, what truly makes me feel better about my life and about myself is that I love. I give hugs to people and I show concern for them – especially my son, and all the animals. I try to smile even when I don’t feel like it or am on a rant somewhere inside myself. 

Loving and caring for and trying to conscientiously be kind to others is the best way for me to love and care for myself. It promotes self-growth and self-love at off the charts levels to simply put others first. How convenient that I’m in that stage of life that daughters and mothers, both of which I am, often face during the mid-life years. It’s a BEAUTIFUL phase of life, even as ugly and dirty and exhausting as the tangible bits of it can be. At least 95% of the time, I feel…privileged to have the opportunity to touch people’s lives and to be a part of making them better or at least more livable than their situations might make them feel. I wish society would stop promoting self indulgence or putting such pressure on people that they only love themselves if they do it a certain way. 

I do get down, and especially in exhaustion I rant and carry on but it’s not from a negative space. It’s from a real space. I wish people would see the beauty in just being who they are and in just loving and helping each other. Anything else – anything more or less than that – is what makes life seem so bad, when really, it’s just…what it is. Not inherently good or evil – just life… Even I, in my darkest moments, know that even when it doesn’t feel or look or seem like it and even when it’s impossible to truly understand, life is a gift – but it’s only a true gift when we share it with those we love. That is what makes any human being’s life worth living. That is the only thing worthy of the pain and heartache and struggle life can be. Just love – any kind. Love, and kindness. I have to muster it from the depths of me some days lately, but I do try, always. Ultimately, I know that it matters. We matter. Please remember that, always… We all matter and we all have something to offer. You – whoever you are, whatever you’re struggling with – are loved…by me…

C.