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Perspective. When I’m feeling low it is hard to remember how much lower I’ve been. Reading my old posts, I’m really stunned to see how far I’ve come in the past few years. I get out of bed – every day. Most days I even put on pants! The anxiety is bad, but the pain is ever so much less. I still face the reality and struggle, but the tools I have available to me know are well-maintained and easy to access compared to the jumbled bunch of rusty and worn tools scattered throughout my life before. I wrote this in April 2010… The depression I feel today is like a cakewalk comparatively.

“So how can I wake up the next day with a huge weight on my chest?  How can I have such trouble opening my eyes against the glaring light.  Why is it so hard to lift my arms to put on my robe?  How is it that the very air has become shards of glass, shredding my lungs?”

https://lifeisterminal.wordpress.com/2010/04/08/it-only-hurts-when-i-breathe/

I was reading my old posts, weeping and nodding at how acute it felt to go through all that and relive it in the writing. I had a wonderful moment the other night that puts my parenting doubts in fun perspective.

I asked my 14 year old son, “Am I a good mom?”

He didn’t miss a beat, replying instantly, “Yes! What kind of question is that? Of course. I mean, look at me!”

 

Little girl lost

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Will I ever stop chasing the little girl I was? I wish I could stop her from feeling all the hurt, change her path so she might find an easier way. I guess it isn’t up to me. All I can do is work to heal the woman she has become.

Or when your mom is broke, depressed and overwhelmed.

I really wanted to come back to this blog in triumph. I planned to detail all the terrific progress I’ve made in the past couple years. I’ve become active daily, lost over 60 pounds, dealt with some chronic health concerns I’d avoided for years and continue to manage my depression and anxiety without medication. I continue to strive to be more mindful and have found that acceptance is my single greatest tool in recognizing what I’m feeling and avoiding wallowing in those emotions… sometimes. On the good days. When things are better.

Problem is things aren’t better right now. Right now I’m struggling to remember the progress I’ve made because it feels like it is always the same bullshit, year after year. I’m still broke, living on a paltry income from disability and the exceedingly rare child support check. I’m teetering on the edge of foreclosure, being sued by my ex, my head gaskets are leaking in my Subaru and I’m miles away from a catastrophic engine failure that I can’t afford to repair. My therapist is away until late next week.

Waaahhh… yeah, yeah, I know. Everyone has problems.  Sometimes I just need to rant.

What about the bright side? I shower more. I like myself better. I feel better about my body. My health has improved by leaps and bounds, my blood pressure is normal, I have fewer headaches and colds. I climb the 5 flights of stairs to therapy without having to stop anymore. My dog is happier getting more exercise. I was able to send my brilliant son away to college 1,000 miles away… it was hard, but I did it and I’m so very proud of him. My younger son is thriving socially and has found his niche performing in theater. I have gained some ground in my financial chaos, working with a case manager to get on top of the paperwork. I’ve been a tireless advocate for myself to get child support collected by the state – even if that office is finding me pretty tiresome. But I’m tired.

I’m tired of being poor. I’m tired of not being ready to work. I’m ever so freaking tired of people assuming I’m just being lazy and feeling like I have to justify my disability. I’m tired of giving my kids underwear for Christmas because it is all I can afford…

I’m grateful that my kids are awesome and will behave as though they are the greatest boxers ever.

I’m tired of people telling me how to solve my problems. Tired of folks thinking it is just a matter of making a phone call or filling out some paperwork – people who don’t understand just how daunting and overwhelming such seemingly benign tasks can become to someone in my position. I’m so exhausted with people being tired of me. People heaving a big sigh and trying to be understanding but feeling like it is really just a question of me being lazy or sorry for myself.

They don’t know. They’re not here when I make a list, set an alarm, vow to accomplish a task only to find my self literally turning in circles trying to figure out where to start and collapsing in tears that I can’t just take care of these simple things everyone else seems to do without thinking. They don’t know what it is like to obsess about an issue until every waking thought is consumed with the agony and fear of not being able to cope with it. They don’t know how I shake to my very core with panic. They don’t know, but they feel so free to judge. They feel so confident in their conviction that it should be just. that. easy.

I’m better. I’m so much better than I was. I’m building relationships, isolating less, successfully advocating for children in my volunteer work, being more present and available to my children and friends… I’ve been taking care of so many things I’ve avoided in the past. I’ve been taking care of me.

The holidays suck. Right now is hard, brutal even, but I’ll be better soon. I know that I have to strength to come out of this low and keep moving forward. I know that the anger and fear will not consume me. I have resources I haven’t been able to access in years. I’m stronger now, even if I’m so very, very weak today.

It has been so difficult to get back to this blog. I’ve been trying for weeks and struggling with avoidance on so many levels. Things are mostly good as far as the state of my mind, less so in the state of my housing and finances. I’m muddling through. I’ve made tremendous progress in treatment and will post soon on where I’m at. For now, I’m reading my old posts and amazed at how far I’ve come.

 

Yeah, me!

I have had my eye on it for a few weeks, sitting at the end of a nearby driveway with a for sale sign on it.  I have stopped to look at it, but there was no price marked and I was afraid they might want more than I could afford.  It is a real peach of a bike… a vintage 3 speed Huffy, classic 80’s metallic teal with barely any rust and brand new tires…  Best of all, it is very sturdy and has a broad seat with springs that can handle my ample backside 🙂  Anyway, it was a steal at $35 and he even adjusted the seat height for me.  Problem is, I haven’t been on a bike in oh, let’s see, 20, maybe 25 years?  They say you never forget, so I hopped on and after a wobbly start, I was off.  I rode around my friend’s driveway for a while, gaining confidence on the gravel as I dodged the potholes and larger rocks.  Eventually, I worked my way up to go out on the road, on the pavement… I could FLY!  It was so much fun – much sweatier and wobblier than I had hoped, but so much fun.  I didn’t ride long, but afterwards I felt like my knees were going to just bend backwards and I’m sore all over tonight.  Further proof of just how out of shape and overweight I have become.  I am trying to remind myself that every little bit matters, and this is 10 times more activity than I had yesterday, or in weeks, even…  In breaking body image news – I squeezed into a bathing suit on Sunday and even briefly took off my cover-up to swim for a while at the lake…

I’ve really been backsliding… I wouldn’t say it is full-blown depression, because I am actually pretty busy and getting out of the house, but when it comes to my treatment I’ve really stalled.  I’m going through the motions of the every day all the while I’m in chaos inside.  I did finally do another EMDR session Tuesday (oh, and I’ve got 2 appts/wk until August now) but it didn’t go very well.  I feel very detached and afraid I’m doing it wrong, messing it up.  We did address some feelings of shame and inadequacy, but I was pretty distant from all of it.  Tomorrow I’m supposed to take some paperwork to my session and sit down to get it done because part of the depression and feelings of shame is that I have this growing pile of stuff relating to my mortgage and finances that I HAVE to deal with – like months ago…  I’m also hoping to complete the application for a volunteer position I’d like to be considered for.  I want to train to be a special advocate for abused children who are involved with the courts and child protective services.  It is something I learned about when I was a court advocate for victims of domestic violence and really wanted to do back then, but didn’t have the time.  My therapist keeps suggesting that I do some volunteer work, so I remembered how much I wanted to be involved in this.  I recognize that there is a concern it might be triggering and cause me difficulty, but I think that is outweighed by the  therapeutic value of giving children a voice.  I never had a voice as a child.  Mine wasn’t a case that ever would have had the authorities involved (regardless of the reality of the situation, I know how the system works and with my parents’ education and social status and the extent my mother had gone to to establish me as a liar – they never would have found jeopardy).  I feel like it would be such a tremendous thing to give my voice to a kid who is ensnared in a system so full of seemingly arbitrary rules and procedures.  If I could make just one child’s voice heard, even if the outcome is negative, to let one child feel like someone is really on their side and will help their voice be heard… it seems like a pretty wonderful thing.  I want to do it.

So, my plan is to drop my son off early at driver’s ed and then take my bike to a trail nearby and take a short ride before driving to my appointment.   It is supposed to be hot, but it will be early in the day, so hopefully I won’t be a complete sweathog when I get there… 🙂

To my best friend’s children, I am “Auntie”.  After taking the boys to the playground several times a few weeks ago, apparently I’ve been associated with that place.  Now, when anyone says “Auntie” at my friend’s house, her two year old looks up, eyes wide and hopeful and exclaims “paygwound!”  He is presently parading around my living room with a Nerf sword as long as he is tall and I am remembering just how much more energy toddlers require.  I remember calling my friend when my boys were small.  I’d call her in the morning and she’d still be asleep.  She’d smile and laugh and tell me “someday your kids will be big enough to get their own breakfast and you can sleep in again!”  Now I’m the one with older kids and she has a second round of little ones waking her up at the ass-crack of dawn.

Strangely, though, I miss my kids needing me more.  There was never any question about being bored or not knowing what to do.  Each moment required me to do something.  I had to keep the house clean for their safety, I had to prepare endless meals, snacks and drinks, I was constantly doing laundry or changing someone and if they were sleeping, there was a long list of things I had to accomplish before they woke.  Now I sit, lost in my thoughts and confusion.  Wasting the day clicking and reading and plaing games on the computer – sometimes curled up with a book.  They occupy themselves and I only prepare meals once or twice a day.  I need to be busier.  I just don’t know what to do.

Lately I’ve been craving extremes.  I want to feel something big.  I’ve worked overtime the past few weeks to suppress the intensity of feeling released by the EMDR.  I’ve been angry about my fears with therapy possibly ending and overwhelmed about finances and car repairs.  I can’t let myself be really angry, though.  There was something that felt so dangerous and vulnerable about how I cried that day that terrified me.  My therapists office has shifted into the category of places where Bad Things Happen.  I’ve been irritable and sullen.  My body is sore and tired all the time.  I’m being pretty productive, but almost on auto-pilot.  I feel like somethings gotta give.  I’m going to explode or implode.  I feel like I just need to keep it together until my little one goes to camp and his brother goes to his grandfather’s, then maybe I can let my hair down.  Maybe I can find some way to let loose.  I don’ know.  I feel reckless and dangerous.  I feel tired and scared.  I feel lost and confused.  But I keep on keepin on.  I’ve got to put on a bra and take the kids to the beach.