I promised I’d continue this update, and, I didn’t want to go 4-5 months with a gap. 🙂
The problem is, a lot of what I dealt with is so personal, because it involves family issues, too. I don’t feel right just throwing it out here online. I’ve gotten better at communication, but there is a matter of someone else’s privacy I have to keep in mind. Sorry, y’all.
2017 was my climb out of that pit, and figuring out where all the good rocks were if I ever ended up there again. On the way out, I had to face a lot of things I’d just pushed to the back of my mind and I started talking about them. I found out what was painful and what I was still angry about, and let myself feel those things.
It wasn’t easy.
At some point along that journey I felt I needed to relocate. Most of my family and all of my close friends were hours away and I never got to see them. I felt isolated and lonely, and felt like I was missing so much. I also had things going on back home, and I needed a break.
When I moved here, I had expectations of spending so much time with them. What I didn’t take into account was that they had their own lives, too. I hardly get to see anyone. Really, there are times I feel as though I may as well be back where I used to live. I suppose the grass is always greener…
More details from here involve the personal info involving another family member… I’m not going to go into further details, suffice to say things are ok. I have another move in front of me now, and this is a good one. 🙂
Moving out was a necessary part of this journey, though. I learned I can’t keep running from my issues. I need to stand where I am and face them. Pushing them down doesn’t work, nor does moving away.
I don’t see this journey of recovery as being over anytime soon. I see it as a journey of growth; and, as we all know, we never stop growing.
Where do I start? Yeah, it’s been a minute or so, but I’m still here, and I’m still alive. It was close there, once, and I’ll write about that. But it’s been so long since I’ve posted, this is probably going to be split up into 2-3 posts.
Let’s see…. Last time you heard from me was January 1st of this year. I suppose, for my writing track record, that’s not such a gap.
Let me start with some serious back story that starts with that pit of depression I’ve always written about, and came to a head in January 2017.
You all know I’ve done a dance with depression for years. Hell, we’ve been familiar with these steps all my life. I’ve been up and down that deep, dark pit so many times, you’d think I’d know where it is by now, and maybe I’d have built a ladder or something to make it easier to get out.
But it’s not that easy.
This last time I fell into the pit was probably the deepest, darkest trip. I remember writing, on Christmas Day of 2016, that year, how I just wasn’t even into the holiday spirit. That was the first year I’d never even decorated. I just didn’t feel it. I didn’t care. I didn’t care about anything.
I felt isolated and alone, and I knew I’d put myself into that position because of my depression. But I felt hopeless, because I felt like there was nothing I could do about it. I was just stuck in the dark pit.
By the beginning of January, 2017, I had my breakdown. I didn’t know when I put the pills in my hand, but thankfully, I realized I had, and I made a phone call.
I spent 3 weeks in the hospital. I won’t go into the details there except to say it was probably the best thing I could have done. It saved my life. If I hadn’t checked in there, I wouldn’t have started my journey out of that goddamned pit.
While I was there, we were all supposed to set a goal for the new year. I wasn’t really into this. I wasn’t into anything – I’d just arrived. So I didn’t write anything. I just drew a wandering line, representing a thread. At first, I thought this was all I was hanging onto, but then I realized that this was my thread back to the “happy”. Eventually, that thread would become a string, and maybe someday, a strong rope.
2017 was a journey back to finding out who I was and finding out what made me happy again. Things changed in my life, my attitude, and I became a little stronger.
I’m wondering if I should just step away from the computer for a few days (or at least, step away from social media). I’ve been in a very …. well, I can’t describe my mood. But for the past few days my filters have been completely gone.
When FilterMode = False, I tend to post and comment whatever is in my head. Yeah, you got it – my crazy, fucked up head.
Now… those of you who are familiar with the cycles of depression will get this. When you’ve fallen into your pit and you’ve been there for a while, you eventually hit a point where you can get up again. But it takes effort, and that first attempt, all you feel is just “numb”.
But you progress to other emotions after that. The first emotion you feel is anger. You go through an entire phase of “angry” at everything, everyone. You’re angry at the world. Everyone is “wrong on the internet” and you have to tell them why. If you do manage to get outside, good gods above, be careful when you drive. Those rat bastard motherfuckers can’t drive for shit! But you’re driving just fine, I’m sure… Road rage is a thing and you are its poster child. Parking lot rage is worse. You might even find yourself ready to get out of the car and choke a bitch over a parking space, for christsake.
But at least you’re feeling something.
I think the anger phase is necessary in the cycle of depression. When you’ve spiraled down to the bottom of your pit and you’ve been there for a while, it’s the anger that gives you the energy to climb out again.
Being that angry takes a lot of energy. You get tired after a while, but you’re still on your climb to get out of the pit. That’s when determination kicks in. You start fighting for your sanity. You look back into the pit and see how far you came and you watch the anger fall into that deep darkness below you. You look above at the climb you have before you and keep looking at the light. The sun is shining outside of your pit. There is hope out there. So you’re determined to keep going because you’ve come this far.
Today, I’m angry. I don’t have a specific reason to be angry – none that comes to mind. It’s more all of the depression weighing down on me and I’m sick and tired of it. I’m angry at the depression. I’m angry at me. I’m angry at the world!
Today, I’m angry. So maybe I do need to step away from the computer. I am typing with my outside voice and I’m probably pissing off a lot of people in the process.
But that’s today. And it’s just something I need to accept. But at least I’m not in a dark room with the covers over my head. I have a list today and I’m working on it. I’m getting things done.
If you aren’t familiar with Spoon Theory, go get a copy of Furiously Happy, by Jenny Lawson, right now. Also, start reading her blog. Gods…. if you haven’t been reading The Bloggess, what rock have you been hiding under all these years?
In Furiously Happy, Jenny Lawson explains “Spoon Theory” in detail. I’m giving her full credit for it here because it makes so much sense and explains the whole “I just can’t…” part of Depression. Let me explain.
First, let’s take a young, perfectly healthy person. This person wakes up in the morning with a full set of spoons. All the things they have to do that day require energy. You have a spoon for everything you need to do. You already got out of bed. That’s a spoon. Eating, caring for people, going places, cleaning house, working…. you get the idea. And at the end of the day, this young healthy person has spoons leftover as he or she goes to bed. When they wake up, the Spoon Fairy has arrived with this fresh supply of spoons for the day. Voila! Infinite spoons!
But if you’re sick, that affects the number of spoons you get that day. If you’re battling mental illness, you start to see those spoons dwindle. There will be days you wake up and the fairy only left you 3 or 4 spoons. That’s all you get for the day and you have to make them last. You have to be selective with your spoons.
You haven’t seen a post from me since … oh …. June of last year, because I haven’t had the spoons to write. Today, I sit and write about Spoon Theory. I’m still in my pajamas. I haven’t had a shower or brushed my teeth. I haven’t eaten. I haven’t brushed my hair. If my husband hadn’t called me to ask me a question, I probably wouldn’t have said one word to anyone. By the time this post is complete, I may be out of spoons; I’m not sure yet. I may have a couple more. I hope I do.
You always seem to get 1 spoon. You woke up. You aren’t dead today. But, yes, that requires a spoon, because the energy that comes pouring in when you wake up…. all the mind chatter and the self-talk you have to fight.
“OMG, can’t I just lay here?”
“No. you have to get out of bed. How can you tell your kid he can’t stay in bed all day if you just stay in bed all day?”
So by the time you guilt trip yourself, you’ve spent a spoon just waking up.
If you only have 3-4 spoons that day, you decide how to spend them. Personal hygiene may have to be put off until the next day. Or the next. Or the next. Some day when you have enough spoons or until you just can’t take it anymore.
You start valuing relationships on a whole new level. Friendships change. Long-term depression will do that to people. But it comes down to talking about what’s wrong and why you don’t feel like this person doesn’t have your back. You tell yourself that this person just has too much going on right now and it isn’t the right time to talk, but in reality, you just don’t have enough spoons to have a conversation.
There are days when I wake up with one spoon and I just want to cry. I know I have to get out of bed anyway and I don’t have the spoons to do it. Those are the days I have to fake it. I have to put up a façade. I become Duch.
Duch is smart, confident, outgoing. She’s anything but depressed. She can damn sure get out of bed in the morning. I put the face on. Oh, and Duch would want to dress up pretty. But, damn… does she have to wear those uncomfortable shoes? So what if they’re pretty? Ok, but she does tell me I look good.
She drags me outside & we go somewhere. Anywhere. Even if it’s to a freakin’ coffee shop. Although, recently, she made the mistake of dragging me to the grocery store (trying to accomplish getting something done while getting me out of the house), but that only resulted in me having a panic attack. Too many people, too crowded. So Duch and I went home with just a few items, got back into the pajamas and drank beer. I was now at negative spoons.
Negative spoons is not a good thing. This doesn’t go away the next day. There is no magickal reset to zero. When the fairy brings your spoons the next day, she subtracts the spoons you “borrowed” against… you know, those spoons that took you into the negative? If you don’t have enough, she leaves you one. She carries the balance over to the following day.
If there is a way to earn spoons, I’d like to know.
But that is Spoon Theory, in a nutshell. Now go read Jenny Lawson’s book. But if you haven’t read her first book, Let’s Pretend This Never Happened, go read that first. And, for chrissakes! Get out from under that damned rock!
I’ve been saying for a while that I need to get more exercise. Running isn’t my thing, although I know it’s good for more than just the body. My friends who do run continue to tell me how they experience a release from their stress and anxiety when they run. They experience that sense of *freedom*, and sometimes everything that’s eating at you finally just shuts the fuck up.
I used to bike a lot when I was younger for those same reasons. Not necessarily for the exercise, but just to get out of the house and see how far I could go that day. Anything bothering me was gone. For that moment, I was free. I kinda’ got away from that over the years…
It’s time I got back to it. I got a bike last night and started riding today (yes, in the rain). I love it! Going riding again tomorrow! 🙂
Gah… Seriously, people, I don’t feel that old. Well, except for right now, but that’s another story completely. I hear, “At your age,” and I think of my Gran when she was in her 80’s. I’m not even close.
But I am post-menopausal and there are things I need to do that I don’t; for example, bone density tests. And right now I’m dealing with that little issue.
A little back history (ahahahaha!! Unintended pun!!!).
A little over a month ago I decided to get a new pair of sneakers. This lovely pair of Chuck Taylors caught my eye. I haven’t worn that brand in a long time. These weren’t your standard canvas CTs, noooo…. They were black leather and canvas.
I had to have them.
About a day or two later we had a very foggy morning, leaving our concrete porch extremely wet. I’d just made a run to … somewhere… honestly, I don’t remember and that part of the story is irrelevant anyway. On my way in my feet, in these new Chuck Taylors, decided it would be a good time to remind me that this particular brand of shoes have crap for traction on slick surfaces. My feet went right out from under me and I landed flat on my tuchus.
I felt everything in my spine compress and I knew I’d broken my tailbone. Eh, what can be done about a broken tailbone? I figured I’d just jammed everything else together and I’d be sore for a couple of weeks.
A month later, not only had things not improved, they were actually getting worse. I had to go to an orthopedist. He did x-rays and an MRI, and I found out I had compression fractures in 3 of my vertebrae.
WHAT??? But all I did was fall on my a**! This didn’t used to happen!!
Oh, and if this wasn’t alarming, evidently, this wasn’t the first time I’d done something like this. I also have older compression fractures that have healed.
So why am I telling you all this?
Get your bone density tests. It doesn’t matter how old you are. If you went into early menopause, get your bone density tests done anyway. You don’t want to end up in a back brace looking that’s more like a medical corset because of your fashion choice on a foggy morning.