mental health

Speaking near Salt Lake City on Dec. 19, 2013

leah_karenwalrond2I’ll be speaking on healing our bodies and minds holistically in Orem, Utah next week. I’m really excited to share what I’ve learned these past three years. When I started this journey, I had no idea how intricately our mind and bodies were connected and how healing our guts and changing our lifestyles could change how our minds worked and felt.

Healing from a chronic illness is no joke and I know many of you struggle with it. If you can make it, I’d love to meet you face to face.

Email me for details.
xo

Photo by Karen Walrond of Chookooloonks.com

True Love

Something caught my eye. I looked up and to the right and saw a woman in her late forties trying to help her aging mom down the stadium steps. Her mother was petrified. She was shaking her head no and holding on to the safety banister for dear life. The daughter pulled her mother’s arms, trying to get her to budge.

It was her feet. I couldn’t stop looking at her feet. Pink Keds with white laces folded around white ankle socks. The way the foot tapped around looking for some safe place to be, the feet of someone older, someone less steady. I saw Grandma Jean in those feet.

Joe turned to me and asked, “Should I help?” “Yes! Do it now!” I replied.

I remembered how Grandma Jean had been scared to fall. How Joe and his aunts and uncles had at first helped her move from chair to walker, walker to car. One person in front, one on the side and someone in back so she would feel safe. Then it was chair to walker to bed. And then there wasn’t a lot of moving anywhere anymore.

I heard the older woman murmuring in a small voice and I wondered if she had dementia. Something about how she didn’t seem to recognize her daughter or the place or what they were doing. She was just afraid to the exclusion of everything else.

I thought about my dad. His dementia has made it nearly impossible to carry on a phone conversation. I miss him. I miss the old him that would get into a lively discussion about pretty much anything and told the corniest jokes in the universe. The kind that made you groan so deep you could cause an earthquake. I love this latest version of him, this softer, gentler version, I will always love however he is, but I hate the disease that makes him unsure of how to speak to someone in case he just asked that question a minute ago or makes him forget who those nice people are in his home, my kids. I hate the uncertainty on his face knowing he’s worried on the inside and aware enough to feel scared or stupid or ashamed.

In an instant Joe jumped up and went behind the older woman, grasping her around the waist and telling her in her ear, “I’ve got you. I’ve got you. You won’t fall. I’ve got you.” And I watched my husband help support her weight and walk her down those steps to sit by her husband, who this entire time had been standing in the row, waiting for his wife, with a look of frustration and love on his face, having been told to stay put by the daughter, realizing his older body wasn’t going to be of much help getting his wife down the stairs, but being unable to sit down and relax until she was next to him, his fists clenching and unclenching.

It was awkward, that walking down the steps all together, the daughter in front showing her mom the way and Joe in back supporting her weight. They jerked down one step at a time. People were starting to stare. Joe kept encouraging her, never stopped talking in her ear. Slowly the procession made it to the row and there was profuse thanks from the daughter and her father to Joe as they all sat down.

I was overcome with so many feelings and started to weep a little. I saw Grandma Jean, my dad, myself in 40 years, and even Phyllis who was loved by everyone but especially her family, just as this woman was.

And I fell deeply in love with my husband all over again.

From the Mailbag

Here is a precious letter from a reader I’ve been hanging on to for a bit, holding it close and letting it fester. It says so many things that I secretly think in my dark hours that it’s almost like this person just reached inside my deepest fears and pulled it out. I’m usually so disciplined about ignoring meanies (especially while United States of Tara airs. Man, my tribe of the Mentally Ill folks can be cruel.) but when my confidence is low, it’s hard to just move through it.

“you know no one reads your blog anymore, right? god your writing is all over the place. You used to be someone that people cared about and now I’m sorry to say it but you are rally just pathetic. I guess if you go back to the oh my god I’m going to kill myself well too often, no one wants to hear it anymore. do you get it! I’m just telling you what everyone is thinking. I’m trying to help you. And what is whith all this crap you are trying to sell? It’s ugly and everyone has bills these days so why do you think someone would want to buy the crap you are trying to make us buy! I don’t come here to buy some stupid fugly crap you made! Your art is ugly!! Stop trying to make money of me. and I’m sure people have told you this before but god you are fat and you should probably wire your jawshut or something because it’s looks really bad. I’m just trying to help you and someone should tell you.”

First of all, thank you for considering me your god, but I must happily decline the position. Secondly, I read this incredible post from Gluten-free Girl this morning. I say incredible because I started bawling and by the time I was done reading, I was reminded why I do this, this writing online thing. Because it makes me feel good.

This website is 9 years old in a few weeks, friends. I’m a grandma around these parts. And at times I have no idea why I keep writing. And months go by when I don’t because I don’t want to be open to the haters for awhile. And then I feel stifled and stabby and low and SAD because this is MY space, my online home. If I’m feeling low, I write about it. If I’m feeling positive, I write about it. If I’m in the mental hospital or thinking about my career as a meth addict, I write about it. And if I painted something and need to pay the electric bill, I’m going to try and sell it because I’m more comfortable with that than a Donate button on my website. I can’t work a full-time out-of-the-house job. I’m getting comfortable with the limitations of having Lupus and creating things at home makes me feel good.

I’ve struggled with my body and its size and my mind and its weaknesses for so many years and it took me until turning 39 that I finally got it. I could finally, FINALLY, turn to my daughter and tell her, and MEAN it, “I’m so happy to be myself! Like, right now! Just like I am!” I won’t spend any more time wishing I could have done that years ago for her sake. I’m just so happy I can do it now for both our sakes. Like Shauna said, “For the first time in my life, at 45, I am relaxed into my body. What am I going to do, spend until I’m 75 wishing someone I was someone a little bit different, a little less, a little more conforming? Hell no.”

I told my husband last year that I didn’t want to spend one more second of my time with anyone who didn’t love me for exactly who I was. No more time spent with people who are “trying to help me” by changing who I am because I’m not good enough. Well, horseshit. I AM good enough. Better than good enough.

I am enough, full stop.

5/12/11

Today was a low day. A very low day.

In another life, today would have been the day I decided things were too hard to bear and so bleak I’d never see the blue skies again.

I would have left my OBGYN results appointment (from the same woman who raked me internally) knowing she wants me to get my uterus biopsied because she thinks it’s precancerous and knowing she wants me to get on birth-control pills and remembering how she called me a liar just moments before when I showed her my daily food logs and exercise chart, because I’m fat, so I must not be telling her the truth. And how she rolled her eyes at me when I explained how painful the fibroids in my breasts make a mammogram.

I would have placed those thoughts next to the ones from the two rheumatologists who tell me I have lupus and need to take antimalarial drugs and noninflammatory drugs and muscle relaxers and it doesn’t matter what I eat or what drugs I take, my life is going to be painful, however long it lasts.

And then I would have added the words from my psychiatrist who told me I need to up my dose of some things and add other things and that fibromyaligia is mostly all in my head. Because I have bipolar, along with other things.

With those things lined up next to each other to look at, I would have added my guilt at not earning money to pay for all these doctors and tests and how uncomfortable I feel calling my health My Full-time Job right now. And how shameful I feel thinking about applying for disability in case I never have reliable healthcare. And how ashamed I feel that I have such a need for it.

I would have really honed in on that shame and guilt and despair and frustration at my inability to change things to be easier.

Then I would have gone to bed. Maybe fantasized about selfharm. Maybe begun the journey toward the romantic notion of ending it all, because surely that would be better for my family who has to watch and feel helpless and uncomfortable at my flailing. Who must surely feel I am such a burden.

And then the darkness would have been fully descended. Over my eyes, and ears and mouth. Over my brain that couldn’t think straight anymore. And it could have been months before I resurfaced to try again if I hadn’t been successful at terminating my life and never tried again at all.

As I sat in my car, outside the hospital, dizzy with so many thoughts and feelings, I decided to breath. I made a small choice. A very small choice, to open my lungs and take in a breath, and then expel the air with a little force, listening to the sound in my throat. And then I did it again.

I thought of Grandma Jean, who just left us days ago. She fought her way back from a debilitating stroke and learned to live her life again when most people just die who experience that same stroke, it’s so damaging. I thought of her smile and quick laugh, even as her body failed her these past weeks. How she thanked me every time I did anything for her and told me she loved me even when she couldn’t recall who I was, because she knew I loved her.

Grandma had her brushes with depression and contemplating her own death. She didn’t have the knowledge or support I have with managing those symptoms. And she survived for years, decades, from sheer determination. And I’m better for knowing her. I’m so thankful I didn’t miss out on knowing her like I did. Thank you, Grandma Jean, for what you suffered in this life so I could know you.

Then I thought of Phyllis, my mother-in-law, who passed last October. The cancer never won. It was just her time to go. And she was ready. She told me so every day, but it was always with a smile and expectation of meeting her God, not sadness, fear or regret.

I watched her barely able to carry the groceries, mop the floor or move the vacuum, but refusing help because it was her sincere joy to do it. She loved her work. She delighted in doing what she could to care for others. As she told me many times, she loved the work because she loved the people she did it for, and her face would shine when she said it and I knew it was true.

As the cancer grew in her body and ate her alive, she refused to get down or be afraid. She prayed and read and worked at the soup kitchen when she could. She found new recipes and showed me how to cook them. She laughed. She was beautiful always, but when she laughed, her countenance beamed. She laughed all the time and her smile was so genuine and sincere it made you smile and laugh, too. She was a great beauty even as breath left her.

Phyllis was careful what she said and how she said it and said nothing to hurt others. I knew I was safe with her because I never heard her say an unkind thing about anyone else. She taught me so much just by being herself. The year I spent as her companion was so precious. Thank you, Phyllis, for teaching me so much about how to live as you prepared to pass. Thank you for your unconditional love even as I carried my shortcomings around on my back and brought them out to show you on occasion. Thank you for showing me how to love others with the fierce fire of love I also carry in my chest. And thank you most of all for giving birth to and raising a beautiful, caring son who has become my partner and champion. Because even with his few shortcomings and my many, we somehow make a perfect fit and support for each other.

At 3pm today I went to yoga. My Yogini welcomed me and listened while I poured out my heart in a rush and never hurried me when I paused, choking on my words and tears. She placed my body in poses while I cried and she used her own breath to show me how to better breathe out my pain. She soothed my shoulders and neck and witnessed my entire body in sorrow. Her kind and loving touch calmed my fears and sadness and in time, I felt calm and strength in my chest instead of tightness and daggers. With each breath’s inhale and exhale, my body released the old and filled with new strength.

With my eyes closed, breathing deeply, I thought of the women in my life. My daughter. My mother. My friends. My sisters and aunts and grandmas, some of them here with me now and some carried in my heart. I drew on the power of Mother Earth and felt connected to everything and everyone.

The things that are hard in my life didn’t seem so overwhelming in that moment. It felt shared, like a thousand shoulders were carrying my pain and I even felt room on my own shoulders to help carry another’s hurts, should they want or need that.

And I felt a bit of joy in the journey. It was just a bit, but large enough that I think I might find it again.

Remember That One Time? When I Had Lupus?

Here’s the skinny – I have lupus. Here’s the story, and it goes a little something like this –

Lupus affects skin, joints, blood, and kidneys – for me specifically = pulmonary hypertension and pleurisy/chest pain 3 winters in a row in 2001-03 and now off and on, swollen lymph nodes, memory problems, confusion, headaches, high fevers, behavioral changes such as depression and bipolar, personality change and psychosis***, fatigue, painful joints, anemia, rash on forehead and beginning on cheeks, sun sensitivity, hair loss, abdominal pain, nausea, and vomiting, abnormal heart rhythms, blood in the urine and long-term elevated white-blood count since a child.

The Lupus begat

Fibromyalgia, a full party on its own including widespread musculoskeletal pain, more fatigue, sleep, memory and mood issues, more headaches and irritable bowel syndrome.

The Lupus also begat

PCOS -cysts in my ovaries causing pain, miscarriages, hormone disorders (more headaches, exhaustion again)

Hashimotos -hypo-thyroid, male-pattern baldness, weight gain, also exhaustion (I’M TIRED, OK?), more depression, mania, sensitivity to cold and heat, constipation, migraines, muscle weakness, cramps, memory loss.

And last but not least, The Lupus begat

Barely working liver and spleen, kidney issues, food sensitivities.

The DID is a separate issue, but by this time, your head is probably spinning and it might be hard to distinguish one thing from the other. Get out your punch card! You’ve all won a free hoagie!

And all because of a kitty that didn’t want to have a bath. Yes, my docs believe I have lupus because of an ornery, panicked kitty with bacteria on his claws that punctured me in the back and activated a lupus gene lying dormant inside me in 1997. And the leg bone’s connected to the brain bone. Who knew?

SO anyway, at this point I give you permission to use the phrase, in the most sarcastic voice possible, “Thanks A LOT, The LUPUS!”, every time something in your life goes wrong, because the kids and I are getting quite good at it. Example being, you all pile in the car to go out to dinner and someone forgets their wallet, well, Thanks a LOT, The Lupus! Or you knocked over your glass of milk. Or forgot someone’s birthday. Or stubbed your toe. Seriously. Try it. It’s good fun. The possibilities are endless.

Lupus is kind of scary. Here is a good website with lots of info. Lupus.org. I have Subacute Systemic Lupus, meaning it’s not full blown, if you can imagine. And actually, I can. It could be so much worse. Lupus in an auto-immune disease, so basically, your body eats itself up acting like your organs are foreign enemies that must be obliterated. Friendly fire, if you will.

In Acute Lupus, you’re losing parts or whole organs, taking steroids to slow the process and getting your affairs in order. You are your own worst enemy.

In Subacute, your body is just waiting for an excuse to be a real jerk, but it’s not quite there yet.

So, YAY for Subacute!

And here comes the boring part, mostly for my personal history record. I have a lot left to learn about lupus. I could be wrong about some stuff I think I know.

My plan of attack at the moment is building, not detoxing. My spleen and liver couldn’t handle it and my intestines aren’t working, so if I get more toxic, those toxins would just go round and round in my body killing me slowly with their song. I need to get stronger and help my immune system work if at all possible. I can’t stay in the sun very long. I can’t exercise vertically. So I have to get creative.

MY TEAM of docs and heathcare providers include

Rheumatologist
OBGYN
Homeopath
Acupuncturist
Yoga Instructor
Psychiatrist

My Rheumatologist and Homeopath have given me mostly the same diet suggestions, which follows closely to the Blood Type O diet found here. Heavy on the protein and dark green veggies, very, very low on the carbs and starches, light on the fruit and dairy. No sugar, caffeine.

What I currently take daily –

-Prescribed Meds
Synthroid 112 mcg/morning
Trazedone 100mg/night
Lamictal 100mg/night
Prilosec OTC 1/night
Acetaminophen as needed, up to 3000mg/day

Next week I will add-
Flexeril
Plaquenil
And one of these – Mobic, Naproxen, or Relafen.

-Current Supplements
The Blood Type Diet “O”, Live Cell
The Blood Type Diet “O”, Polyvite
Nordic Naturals, Balanced Omega Combination
Dr. Clark Store, Allied Amino Acids

Next week I will add-
PepZin GI
Digest Gold

Also next week I will have more tests with the OBGYN and get a sense of the damage done to my ovaries, kidneys etc. It’s the missing piece of knowledge. Once I have those results, I’ll pretty much know exactly where I am and how far I need to go to get stable.

***YES. THERE IS A LOT TO PROCESS HERE. I HAVEN’T EVEN BEGUN TO FIGURE OUT HOW I FEEL ABOUT THIS. That is why it’s down here at the bottom and not explored in this post.

I Fell Down. Hard.

I was fine. Then I was great. When things broke into a spectacular million pieces, no one was more surprised than I.

Riding Bipolar’s emotional roller-coaster is tricky. Sometimes when you see yourself at the top, you’re really nearing the bottom and in for the mother of all spills. Only you don’t know it. And because it’s so much fun to be around a highly energetic, charismatic and bubbly person, people close to you might not have any clue. At least until you turn that corner from charming and energetic to scary and frenetic, immediately followed by obsessive, negative, frustrated and unkind. Ultimately, you hit the wall and enter loathing, depression and hopelessness where death seems like not only the solution but the inevitable.

I’m trying to figure out what happened. Beyond a major chemical imbalance where my medications stopped working, there were more things broken than I understood. Understand.

Standing outside myself, poking the situation with a stick to see the size, color and consistency of it, I’m afraid. But much less afraid now. Months have passed. I’ve gained a little perspective and I’m much more interested in figuring out what I was doing/thinking that contributed to hitting the wall than hiding what I still can, scrambling for some strands of dignity. Trying to save face and appear as ‘normal’ as possible. Fuck normal. Normal is whatever is happening at any given moment to any certain person in any specific situation. Impossible to quantify and regulate. Let it go.

I’ve been online a long time. I’ve shared much and been as honest as I can, where honest for me in the past has meant fully transparent. Divulging everything, almost vomiting truth all over the place. As I consider how I want to approach things now, I wonder how healthy that is for me, to lay everything out like that all the time. I think I might need some balance. Bipolar and balance are not often found in the same place. It’s either not talk at all or talk about every, single thing happening, no matter how deep or intimate. No thought to if I’ll wish in the future I could somehow reach out and grab that wisp back.

I’m so great at making unhealthy and ridiculous declarations like I’m not going to do that ever again! From now I’m always going to do it this way! I will only accept that if you present it this way! I will only give to you if I can do it this way! First of the year resolutions have in the past felt like declarations to me. I think I’ve confused them. Resolutions. Declarations.

Instead, let me just say that this new year finds me puzzled, intrigued, interested and motivated to work on how I share myself.

The Real World

My life-coach, Piper, told me about a used bookstore downtown that would give you store credit for used books. I decided I would go there and see what I could get in exchange for some airplane novels I had hanging around.

Venturing out into the world that day was hard. Since I was released from the hospital, I haven’t gone and done much of anything besides going to my support groups, appointments and meetings. That morning, everything sounded overwhelming and I didn’t even want to get up. I called Piper to tell her I was staying in that day and she basically said, “Get your ass out of that bed, woman!” and so I did.

Then I called Piper back. “OK. I’m up. Now what?”

“Get in the shower, dumb-ass! And I’ll save us a phone call – after your shower, GET DRESSED.”

After completing those tasks, I grabbed the box of books and went to find the bookstore, armed with my printed GoogleMap. Miraculously, I found it with no problem.

I looked for parking and found some parallel spots in front. I’ve parallel parked before. I know the drill. I’ve been an expert at it since I was 15. I’ve amazed people with my ability to snug a large vehicle in spaces a large vehicle has no business being. Seeing the open spots didn’t even register as anything that might be a hard thing. I pulled up to the parked car, swung the backend towards the curb and proceeded to place Bessy in between the cars. Only, I ended up not in the right place and my car was about 3 feet still in the driving lane. No worries. I pulled up and did it again. Same result. This time, I was embarrassed. SOMEONE was watching from SOMEWHERE on the street and they were laughing at me. I couldn’t see them, but I knew it.

I then began one of those endless up, back, up, back, up, back things where you do move closer to the curb each time by about 2 inches, but it’s very unsatisfying. I paused, looked around for the laughing people, and noticed a space that had opened up a few spaces up. The space looked bigger! I was saved!

I pulled out of the stupid space that wasn’t working and went up to the one that was bigger. Bigger enough, in fact, that I could just drive nose in first and swing the back in afterward. I thought. And I thought wrong. SO THEN I had to back out of THAT space and try to parallel park in it. IS THIS GETTING BORING YET?

I finally got the car’s tires only about 3 inches over the line and said GOOD ENOUGH, grabbed the books, wiped the sweat from under my pits with a slightly used napkin from Sonic, took some deep breaths and went in.

Inside was a woman furiously going through boxes of books and setting them into piles. She looked busy. She was busy. But, she saw me standing near the door watching her and correctly assumed I was weird. Then she held her arms out for my box.

As she started going through them, I noticed that the middle book of a trilogy was in the wrong spot and she wouldn’t know they were together. I reached my hand into the box and pointed.

“This one right here…”

“Yep. I see it.”

Why didn’t I stop there? She said she saw it. But I thought maybe she SAW it but didn’t LOOK at it and didn’t realize it went with the other two. I stuck my hand back in the box and pointed.

“Right, but this one right there, it goes with these two.” She continued going through the box, but replied, “Yes, I know my job. I got it!”

She wasn’t really mean. She was busy. And I was fragile in the middle of a really hard day where I was summoning courage I didn’t have to venture out in the world. And I even knew that at the time logically. She was doing her job, she was busy, and I was making her job harder and longer.

I straightened back up, leaving her bent over the box to finish and to my horror, I started to cry. Like, chin wobbling, crocodile tears and drippy snot cry. I stood there like a statue, 1. because I didn’t want to call attention to myself and 2. because if I left, I wouldn’t get my little red card with my store credit amount and I would never get a book there and I would NEVER come back in because I would be so embarrassed. So, I stood there. And I WILLED myself to stop crying.

The lady stood up, grabbed a card, glancing at me a few times, wrote down $27.00, and handed it to me. I took it and tried to smile.

“Um, are you OK?” I nodded yes and wiped my nose on my sleeve. She walked from around the desk and came in to give me an awkward hug. And then I cried harder. With noises. I was so horrified that I couldn’t stop and I had no idea why I was crying in the first place.

I decided to act normal. Why not? It couldn’t get worse. She asked me to follow her as she walked around the store pointing out things I might like based on what I had brought in. I kept sniffling and nodding and wiping tears. She patted my arm and went back to the front of the store and left me looking at Guide to Holistic Medicine. Being alone was nice, with no one looking at me. I kept trying to get it together, man, get it together! A few quiet moans came out followed by one semi-loud one. I was so glad no one was there to hear me.

I kept staring at the book, not comprehending what I was seeing and I finally put it back on the shelf, and decided to leave. I turned around and bumped into a short Asian woman who was trying to look over the Self-Help section. She looked at me with concerned eyes. “I don’t know what is making you so sad,” she said, “But whatever it is, you need lots of hugs.” Then she leaned up on her tip-toes and gave me a huge hug. And I gave her one back and it felt so nice. It didn’t feel awkward at all which surprised me. She rubbed my back and said, “There, there.” I thanked her and walked out the door, to the car, where I found that all the surrounding vehicles were gone, giving me easy access to leave.

I got in the van, locked the doors and called Piper to tell her how mean it was that she made me get out of bed and showered and go out in the scary world, but I was crying so hard that all that came out sounded more like the seals and whales talking together.

WHHHOOOaaaaaaaaaaaaaahhhhhhhhhhhhnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnngggggggggggggggggguuuuuuuu!!!1

And I’m pretty sure she laughed. And today, I can laugh about it, too. But I don’t know if I’ll be going into that bookstore any time soon.

Humongous Thank You

Friends,

I can’t express how much your notes, emails, texts, messages, love, support and prayers have meant to me this past week. Joe printed everything out and brought them to me in the hospital. Every night it was like a surge of encouragement to work hard and keep going.

My meds are still being fine-tuned. I’m a little up and down. I occasionally get a wave of hopelessness that dissipates in a few minutes, but the lithium is definitely making a difference.

I’m not quite ready to jump back into regular life, but I am sticking a few toes in.

I would be dead if it wasn’t for Joe. He saved my life and continues to do so. He’s gentle and sincere and kind and loving and I can’t believe how lucky I am to have him as a partner in life.

I’m still processing everything that’s happened. I’ll write more next week.

Have a wonderful holiday weekend.

xoxoxoxoxoxoxo

Leahpeah Update I Suppose

They’re fucking with my head, switching around my medications. Huge-ass increase of lithium today. This afternoon I was able to stop crying and all signs point to improvement.

I hope this weekend finds me at home with Joe having coffee on the deck. Thanks so much for your love and support. It has meant the world to me and helped me through some very dark places.

xoxo.

dictated to Joe 8:15pm Eastern, 31st of August, 2010

Message from Leah

To Leah’s readers, friends, family, from Leah and via Joe (her husband):

I won’t have a computer or my phone (so no twitter) at the inpatient facility I’m going into, but know that I’m getting help.

Thank you to all of you for all your kind comments, twitters, direct messages and texts.

I’ll have visiting hours with Leah in the late evenings and will be able to pass messages to and from her. Thank you all for your kind support. It really means a lot to Leah, and to me.

UPDATE Saturday August, 2010: I went and visited her at the hospital yesterday evening. It’s about an hour away from where we live now — and it’s a great facility, fairly new and also clean. She’s writing, journaling, and engaging with treatment. Visiting hours are limited to an hour a day weekdays (2 hours on weekends), but it was wonderful to get to see her. I printed out your comments and tweets and some of her email for her and passed them along. I think this decision, to go into the hospital, while very hard, and not necessarily cheap, was 100% the right one. I am relieved, and I think Leah is relieved too. I’m overwhelmed at the outpouring of support. There’s hope out there, for Leah and for all who are struggling.

Slip Slidin’ Away

I know in writing this out in the open, I will lose readers. And that is alright, readers that want to leave. I totally understand. I’ll also turn potential employers away. And that is alright, potential employers. I totally understand. No one wants to read about someone else’s misery. It sounds pathetic, self centered, whiny and stupid. But, write I will, because today I still can.

The thing about slipping away, slipping under, the light getting smaller and smaller, is that you don’t realize it’s happening until it’s too late.

You’re going along, not thinking about how things are getting incrementally harder because you’ve always had days that are harder. And then get better. And then harder again and then better again ad nauseum until you are pretty much used to the ride. You don’t consider it remarkable anymore because it’s your “normal” life.

But the black hole is sneakier. The days get harder and harder. You’re waiting it out. You know if you just get through another day, things will get better again. So another day passes where you’re holding on with both hands. Then one hand. Then a few fingers. Then you notice your fingernails are torn and bloody stumps and finally, FINALLY, you realize you’re not going to be able to get back up. You are losing your grip completely and it’s too late to take precautionary measures. Way to late for that.

It becomes a life of lying under the water, looking at the world through goggles and trying not to think about all the ways you could die. Accidentally, of course.

And then it becomes a life of trying not to think of how to die on purpose. And you can’t even see out of the water anymore. Someone turned out the lights. You can’t hear or see or feel anything but extreme sad and bad and guilt.

“I’m trapped!” I yelled at the psychiatrist yesterday, “I can’t stay here and worry everyone while my mother-in-law has stage4 cancer and I should be taking care of her! I can’t go see family because they would worry the whole time I’m there! I can’t stay alive because this is how things will be the rest of my life – up, down, up, down – I can’t do it anymore! And I can’t kill myself because my kids would never get over it!”

It feels like I’m trapped in hell.

A med change is underway. I don’t feel better, I feel weird. Even more distant from my surroundings and I care even less.

I can write this because I’m a writer and this is what I do. I can’t change anything in my brain because this is how I am. I haven’t stopped crying for over 2 weeks and I shake all the time. I don’t want food. I only want to drink and fall asleep. But I don’t. I just think about it. Because maybe I won’t wake up. That would be nice.

My husband says, “There are lots of people who want you around, and alive. I love you Leah. You are valuable and precious.” I hear it but I can’t hear it because it feels like a lie. I didn’t think I would get married again after my divorce in 2002. I figured no one should be married to the mess that is me. But, I did marry. And he’s wonderful. And I fill his life with stress and drama and worry. In loving him I’ve ruined his life. If I really loved him, I would leave him.

This is the black hole talking. In this flash of sanity, I know it. But, sometimes the black hole just takes over everything and reason and sanity are nowhere.

The Slump

So, my friends, here I am, back with my ever lurking friend, The Slump. His good friends, Depression and Hopelessness are waiting in the wings, always knocking softly on the door, getting a bit louder as time passes and I sink a little further.

It’s so cliche and I hate even writing about it. I mean, how many times am I going to talk about being depressed? And then eventually, being amped up and slightly out of control? I think we’re on about 5,372 times up to today.

So, sighing, I tell you – I’m sad and getting sadder. I’m depressed and getting depressededer. I’m weepy and getting weepier. My iris’ are ratcheting ever smaller as I disappear on iota at a time, waiting for the inevitable moment when I vanish completely. That blessed moment of ceasing to exist and saying goodbye to this cruel, mean world etc., etc., etc.

Oh, look. Joe made cheese toast. I guess it’s not the end of the world if we still have cheese toast.