Sunday, May 13, 2018

Mother's Day 2.0


It's that holiday again, that burning day of pain. If you're just following, it's Mother's Day. I have a previous post titled, Mother's Day, logically outlining all of the sensible reasons that I hate, hate it. Now that I'm on my way to being divorced (still working on my last blog about that) and have largely cut ties with my family this year, I feel like I can share all the illogical reasons that it's so painful.

I have always had an on an off relationship with my mother, I would say mostly off. She was available when I had something she needed but otherwise invisible. For example, in the almost 9 months since my husband and I separated she's called once because she heard I might move and my step dad has some things in my garage. Not on Thanksgiving when I was alone, not on New Year's when I was alone and I rarely hear from her on my birthday.

I grew up with terrible parents and I was left in charge of taking care of my younger siblings. Nothing is worse when you're a pre teen than this. I protected them from my parents as long as I could until my mother tossed me out when I was 16. I also helped them as much as I could as an adult so that they wouldn't have to struggle as much as I did. Unfortunately, none of them seem to remember this and have treated me badly. These were my first children and I was sure I didn't want any of my own.

On a whim I went to college (Whew!) and managed to get knocked up immediately. I had just pulled my life together and I knew I couldn't take care of another human at 18 even though I had seen other people doing it. I barely made it to where I was, and I chose to have an abortion. I did this not because I didn't want kids but because I felt like the timing would ruin everyone's life. Getting the abortion stands out as one of the most traumatic events in my life. I couldn't go through that again so if I did get pregnant again I had to be 100% onboard. Therefore, I continued to be clear that everything had to be right to want kids, otherwise I did not want kids.

While I was dating my husband I suffered two miscarriages. My husband felt strongly about not wanting kids and I felt like I didn't need to tell him about what happened. I may have told him years later but I don't remember. He was gone most of the time for work and we wanted to travel so I agreed with him about not wanting kids but I felt sad inside both times I miscarried. I didn't tell anyone because I didn't know how to articulate it.

Around the time we got married, at 31, I began to have that strong pull. I did want to have a child with my husband, and I shared it with the people closest to me and they urged me to talk to him but he reminded me of all the reasons "we" didn't want kids and I said ok. 

Without going into too much detail between being 32 and 33 I wound up getting a total hysterectomy. The loss was profound. Even if you don't want kids at the moment you still want your choices. I had no one to talk to about this loss. I became hooked on pain medications and it was the first time our marriage hit a bad spot. I actually think possibly some of what's happened could be related to this but I can't know without my husband telling me.

I cleaned up, moved to Oregon, to specifically be around my toddler nieces. Over the years I brought up adoption or fostering but I continued to have health issues and my husband still worked for long periods of time away. Predictably my nieces, after a serious talk, were not ok with this idea and I don't think my husband was either but he said "Do whatever you want". Not exactly a loving home.

Now I have loads of nieces, nephews and young friends. I get teased about being the "cool aunt" but I do my fair share of parenting as well, especially as they get older. I want them to make good choices and lead happy lives and like I did with my siblings I want to protect and help them as much as I can. 

I never thought I would be single again, and it's not beyond the realm of possibility that I still might have found the opportunity to have a child had I not been butchered by that doctor a decade ago but now probably isn't the time for a kid in my life. Oh wait, dating... everyone has kids!

I can tell you this is not a thrilling prospect for me. I'm not always a fan of other people's kids. I don't want to be a step parent. I've had enough of those to be pretty positive on that, and those guys might say they don't want more kids now but what if they change their mind. There's probably two guys out there without kids. Every year this kid thing gets more painful. It's hard to spend time with someone and their child. It's an incredibly lonely feeling and it unearths all this buried pain.

So now you are the first people I've ever told my whole personal story to. How I haven't wanted, had, wanted, couldn't have, and didn't want kids. I suppose if I ever find another therapist I should discuss it but what's the point? Maybe I should have adopted, maybe I should have told my husband, maybe I shouldn't have had an abortion. I think I wouldn't have been a great mom anyway but I know I'm a great aunt and friend and I need to keep my peace with that.

Not all women find Mother's Day joyful, some of us find it very sad for so many reasons. It's ok for you to be happy but it's ok for me to feel my loss as well.

Saturday, March 31, 2018

46



Birthdays are confusing. I love celebrating and having fun but I also dislike taking stock, especially this year. I think people find them comforting because it's a new year and a new start after a previously rocky year, but that's not how I'm feeling at all. I see it as another year that I have to endure and my therapist would say that's my depression talking. She's right but she retired so I really did lose the very last person that knew me well enough to say that.

There have been a few times that I've felt like I've hit rock bottom but I think I can say, with confidence that I've never been this low. I posted the above photo because rock bottom doesn't always look the way that you think it should. Depression, pain, illness, anger and fear don't look a specific way. We are the great manipulators, we can manipulate you and they can manipulate me.

Yes, I appear to have overcome agoraphobia but it doesn't ever really disappear. You just have to make yourself do things you're afraid of and over time the fear waxes and wanes. It's particularly difficult since I leaned on my husband in times of crippling fear. I don't think he knew that but I would wait until he came home to leave the house for many things. Now I just have to do them, and I know that I can.... most days. So I'm a little bit sneaky about hiding my fear and depression.

But I'm so tired. When I know that I'm now solidly in middle age and I take stock in my life I see someone who has achieved very little. I have lost my career, my husband and most of my family. Some of it for health reasons, some of it for self care reasons and some of it for fuck all! Honestly, since I've got no more fucks I'm better off without all the baggage.

But then what am I left with? I'm finding that I'm left with my fear. I don't know where to go and I'm alone. I'm afraid to cross the threshold. Will I stay trapped in my home with my cats having my groceries delivered and knitting? My life is going to change dramatically after my divorce, in so many dizzying ways that I can't even think about it. I'm not even sure I'll be able to continue getting my treatments at Stanford for my Chronic Migraines. So does that mean I just go back to having a migraine all the time again?

If I start down that rabbit hole the panic becomes overwhelming. This is what 46 feels like to me. I want to disappear. Start over somehow. I never thought I'd come back to this place of gripping fear but it does feel a little cozy here, familiar. I'm just going to lay down with my blanket of denial and take a long nap until my 47th birthday.

Sunday, March 18, 2018

I’m Busy

More and more people are spending their time alone, single and childless. We already know that more than 50% of marriages fail. After spending a short amount of time single, and a good portion of my marriage alone, I feel like I have some insight into all of this.




We are consumed with being amazing people, which is great, but we over schedule ourselves. We need more and more “me” time. We’re less willing to compromise and sacrifice our time for dating, friendships and marriages. We are busy and it’s prized. People can’t even reply to a text. Just like, scroll or swipe.

I feel like this might be the end of human intimacy. If you want to meet “the one” you have to make time, if you want to have deep and lasting friendships you have to show up and if you’re married and things get a little bumpy you have to do the work and talk it out.

Call me old fashioned but I want to do the work with someone, from beginning to end. I’ve always been in things for the long haul. My friendships are as good as family. I never imagined getting divorced. I don’t do 50% and I’m tired of people expecting me to meet them at their level. Hey, if you’re someone who values real relationships at 50% and your busy life at 50% and you won’t compromise, cool, but I won’t be doing that because I think you’re important.

If we have a relationship that means I think you’re unique and interesting. I’m investing in you. I will go out of my way to make you feel important to me because you are. If I want to be with you I will find a way to rearrange my schedule to do it. Hell, I’ll even try to travel to see you. Why? Because I’ve lost everything and I know that when you do, all that’s left are people and not your busy.

Don’t tell me you’re busy anymore, we all are, and frankly I’m over your life schedule. Guess what? It all falls apart. However, if you think I’m special too I’ll know it because you’ll make room for me, like I make room for you. If you don’t hear from me anymore don’t take it personally, I just want to stay at my 100% and be the best person I can be.

That person is your new friend, old friend, ex wife, potential date and family member.

Saturday, March 10, 2018

This Day

3.10.17

On this day a year ago I was in Hawaii having a lovely day, 6 hours later I tried to kill myself.

I realized this yesterday and spent the day in bed crying and sleeping, because that's what you do when you're depressed and sad... or at least that's what I do. 

Why? Many of you won't like this answer, many of you may judge me, pity me, or be angry at me. That's your choice but my life is my choice. My choice a year ago was to end my life.

I couldn't take the pain of having a migraine every day anymore, I couldn't look into the future and see hospital visit after hospital visit for the rest of my life. Just to spend the little amount of time walking in the botanical gardens above was torture. 

Also, the time I spent in Hawaii is probably the happiest, or most at peace, I ever felt. I realized how depressed I was. How unhappy my marriage was and I didn't see an end to that either. You don't wake up not having a mental illness and I felt I was doing everything I could to save my marriage. 

I just felt like that was as far as I wanted to go in life, really and truly. Here's the part of the story you won't like.

Unfortunately for me my roommate is/was a firefighter and paramedic. She found me and took me to the hospital. 

The following year has unraveled quickly for me. I decided I had to make some decisions to make changes in my life. I'm getting a new treatment that has improved my migraines for the last year. It's been really amazing but I am at the hospital all the time and it's very expensive. I also gave my husband an ultimatum about our marriage and now I'm getting divorced. It's not the outcome I was expecting. 

So in the last year do I wish things had happened differently? I can still honestly say that I do. I still wish I had died. I thought I had lost everything but it turns out there's always more to lose. I don't care about losing stuff in the divorce, I care about losing my person. I'm grateful that so far my migraines are under control but nobody knows how long that will last and I can't indefinitely afford it.  I applied for two different organizations that do compassionate release but chronic migraines are not considered a terminal disease. 

But it's so much more than what you can put practically on paper. I tried to explain it to a friend recently. I think it's years of trauma, abuse, neglect, pain and mental illness. I hurt on the inside so deeply that I think I must be broken. The highs and the happy days don't matter anymore because the hurt is so strong. There's a tear and I can feel it ripping every day and sometimes I might get a few stitches but then they get ripped away and it hurts just as much again. There is no pain tolerance in your heart and soul, at least not in mine. 

So I spent all day crying and sleeping. 

Where does that leave me now? I don't know. I'm paralyzed. I don't know where to go now, I don't know how to properly adult, I feel more lost that ever. I am frozen. I just try to get out of bed everyday, eat, go for a walk and take care of my basic needs. That's a spectacular day for me now. I've become my own ghost.

And that's the most depressing thing I can think of. 

So why write this post? Because you can never judge someone by the photo's that they post, or the funny quips that they write as their status updates. Mental Health Awareness can mean that not all of us want to be saved but we don't always want to feel so alone either. Mental Illness and depression is a continuum over time. You don't all of a sudden get better because you didn't die and we don't forget. My life remains a choice.

If you are thinking of suicide and you need someone to talk to you, you can always call the National Suicide Hotline

Call 1-800-273-8255

Thursday, February 15, 2018

Valentine


Today is my first Valentine’s Day as a single person since I was 19. It’s given me a lot to think about. I guess I spend a majority of the time trying to understand the nature of love now. I suppose I’m in good company since philosophers, writers and scholars have been doing the same thing for thousands of years.

My end conclusion is that love is like being bipolar, truly. Put in these terms I think anyone can be able to understand how we, said bipolar population, feel all the time. Not just when we’re falling in or out of love. It also seems that there’s not a big difference between falling in or out. Love is straight up painful.

So how do I describe this? Very slowly I think, so stay with me!

1. The bipolar person feels things more deeply, as does the person falling in or out of love
2. The bipolar person makes bad choices based on these overwhelming feelings, as does the person falling in or out of love. For example, drunk texting (for good or evil) I’m sure you can think of others.
3. The bipolar person can have severe mood swings, I don’t need to say anymore do I?
4. The bipolar person rarely feels in control over their own life, I have yet to meet anyone falling in or out of love that seems in control
5. The bipolar person has trouble concentrating and we all know love isn’t good for that either
6. The bipolar person can feel physical pain from their depression, the pain of heartbreak can be real
7. The bipolar person rarely feels secure, but falling in and out of love is the most insecure feeling out there
8. The bipolar person is a big liar (I’m fine),  it’s exactly the same for love (no really...)
9. The bipolar person can either be depressed or manic, that pretty much sums up anyone falling in or out of love
10. The bipolar person has trouble sleeping, you got it...

10 compelling reason that being bipolar is the same as love but there’s one difference. I can take my meds and control my symptoms. There are no medications to prevent love. If there were would you want one? You can try all you want not to have feelings but in the end your heart is like a cat, it does what it wants, and it hurts. Even though you have the amazing highs that come with love, I think I would take the medication because my tender heart wasn’t made for falling in and out of love. It just wants to love all the time. To me it’s infinitely harder to deal with love than my bipolar disorder. So if you had to choose one or the other, I say go with mental illness. At least you have a good excuse for acting a bit off and taking a lot of medication. Cheers to you lovers!

Thursday, February 1, 2018

Safe and Sound



I recently heard the song Safe and Sound by Capital Cities. Here’s the lyrics...

I could lift you up
I could show you what you want to see
And take you where you want to be
You could be my luck
Even if the sky is falling down
I know that we'll be safe and sound
We're safe and sound
I could fill your cup
You know my river won't evaporate
This world we still appreciate
You could be my luck
Even in a hurricane of frowns
I know that we'll be safe and sound (safe and sound)
We're safe and sound (safe and sound)
We're safe and sound (Hold your ground)
We're safe and sound (safe and sound)
I could show you love
In a tidal wave of mystery
You'll still be standing next to me
You could be my luck
Even if we're six feet underground
I know that we'll be safe and sound
We're safe and sound
I could lift you up
I could show you what you want to see
And take you where you want to be
You could be my luck
Even if the sky is falling down
I know that we'll be safe and sound
I could lift you up
I could show you what you want to see
And take you where you want to be


This is how I felt when I was married. I always felt safe. I didn’t think my husband would choose divorce over counseling. I knew he’d be a good husband because he’d always taken care of me  I feel like people don’t really get the grief that occurs when you’ve lost someone you love and was hoping to make it work. He’s right though, I think this is best for him and in many ways he’s still taking care of me and I’m grateful because he’s a good person. We just had too many challenges. I still hope that we both find a relationship that’s right for us. I didn’t realize how much I gave up of myself. I’m pretty useless as an adult. We had been together since I was 23.  I want to be an optimist but given my background it’s very hard to feel safe and sound. 

This has been brutally shown to me as I’ve changed my emergency contacts. I don’t have any. No one local, no one I’m comfortable asking and honestly I don’t care if I have one. You have to sign certain paperwork in this situation, which I’ve done. If I feel the need and have the ability to contact someone, then I will, otherwise my cats will not be helpful. 

I always trusted my husband 200% in any decision. It’s hard to trust. I hardly trust myself! I tried trusting again and I immediately got burnt. No one can make me safe and sound except me, and possibly Daniel Craig. I guess my husband and I weren’t each other’s luck but maybe I’ll be someone else’s if I’m not too afraid of myself. 

Friday, December 29, 2017

New Frontiers





It's almost 2018 and I'm so grateful to be putting 2017 behind me. It's easily been the hardest year of my life, which I think is saying something. I know that just because it's a new year doesn't automaticlly just make everything start fresh and clean but I'm determined to pick myself up and dust myself off the best I can in 2018.

I haven't made Resolutions for New Years in a long time (refer to the post Evolutions) but this year I'm going to give myself some guidelines. I keep saying I need a real adult to help me adult my very scary world right now but that isn't how life works. I have huge decisions to make and I feel like it's going to be very important to take care of myself so that I can build a vision for my future and make some much needed changes for personal growth.

I've been reading a lot of different articles on how to stay motivated this year and I found one I really liked in The Mighty about 12 months of self care. I changed it a little to suit my purposes but this is what it looks like and I think anyone could do it.

January: Feed Your Soul
Eating right! This is something I'm already working on by carefully learning how to cook and staying on the Purium Plan but I think January is always a good time for a detox, so I've ordered my Purium Detox kit. I lost 50 pounds in 2017 and I'm hoping to lose the remaining 15 in 2018.

February: Routine
I know it sounds boring but for me it's so important to have a routine. A regular bedtime, eating schedule, exercise schedule. I didn't realize how much until this winter. It's helped my seasonal depression enormously. Even a grocery shopping schedule helps keep me on track with eating better. It's a good time to get back on track.

March: Physical Fitness
By March I should have been doing physical therapy for my back, coming back strong from swimming every day in Hawaii and I'm already up to walking 5 days a week (which is something I couldn't do a year ago) I'm hoping by this month I can try to start running again or maybe start doing yoga again. If I'm unable to go up in intensity at least really join a gym with a pool to keep swimming.

April:Treat YoSelf
It's my birthday month! I think I should get my rare pedicure, massage and whatever else seems good to me. I'm just going to do things that feel luxurious that I never treat myself to.

May: Meditation Challenge
I'm pretty good about doing this before bed but it's never a bad idea to work on meditation. It decreases stress and improves your move. I may be moving in the spring and it's always stressful. There are some really great apps you can use if you are a beginner.

June: Helping Others
I've taken a lot of time off from my volunteer work and I miss it a lot. I hope by June that my back situation is under control and that I'm settled in whatever new community I might be in and I'd love to get back to helping the community.

July: Journaling
I'm always on the fence about this. I'm pretty bad at keeping a journal but when I do I usually find out some pretty interesting things about myself. I worked on it briefly last winter in Hawaii and it was an interesting thought experiment. I'll have a lot of changes in 2018 so it might be a good habit to form.

August: The Hobbiest
Try something new! I don't know what that is or what it could be but it never hurts to cultivate new hobbies. This will be a tough one for me because I've run out of the hobby phase in life but it's important to keep learning.

September: Social Butterfly
I get stuck in these ruts of not leaving the house or hiding from people. I feel let down and I feel like I"m letting down but I still need to put myself out there because I cannot live on cat friendships alone! I'll be working on putting myself in all those awkward social situations.

November: NanoWriMo
Thankfully November challenges me with National Novel Writers Month every year. I did complete this year and I am having my completed novel being read by beta readers currently. Do I have another novel in me? Only time will tell.

December: Mindfulness
Be mindful of one thing everyday that is amazing. That shouldn't be too hard, should it?

I also downloaded a book called 365 Daily Do Its: Organizing Tips and Challenges to Help You Get Organized. My house is quite large and it's very daunting on where to get started on how to pack it and after I pack it up where do I go. I'm formulating a type of plan in my mind but I'm not sure if it's the right plan.

Obviously, I'm trying to start my travel plans for the year but I have a lot of unknowns between moving and extra Stanford visits but that's always part of my ongoing planning.

If you asked my what my Resolutions were I'd say to be happy and healthy, then in my mind I'd add to be loved deeply. Call me a romantic but I think I've finally found a peace in myself where I could allow myself to feel loved. I met a wonderful man recently who made me think it could be possible to find my own version of a fairy tale, sadly for me he wasn't my prince but I bet there must be one out there for me. I have so much love in me to give that it would feel so wonderful to share it with someone.

Until then I'll keep making myself a better human being and be satisfied with being happy and healthy. I got this!