The Shrinking Time

So I saw the head doctor today (finally).  First let me say that I love my psychiatrist.  He is the perfect blend of just plain doctor with a side of empathy.  I’ve seen him for the last 12 years and honestly don’t know what I’ll do if and when he retires.  Hopefully I’ll have conquered this whole business and it won’t be as big of a deal.

Yeah…I don’t think so either.

I went in and told him how I wasn’t in a good place and then proceeded to whine about how frustrating it is to have to keep going in and getting my meds adjusted.

Side note:  When I’m healthy those thoughts do not enter my mind.  I know that I’m lucky to be getting the help I need and to have people who support whatever I need to do to make myself well.  It’s only when I’m on the downswing that I start to whine about it all and the fact that I’m not “normal”.

Oh for Christ’s sake.  Seeing that in print really pisses me off.

Anyway, the doc really wasn’t having it either.  In short he told me that if I wanted to figure out why I keep cycling in and out of depression then I was going to have to get some therapy.  He can adjust my meds from now until the cows come home and will continue to for as long as I need but if I’m going to whine about my mental state, then I should damn well try and do something about it.

Okay…maybe that last sentence had a lot of me in it and less of him but you get the picture.

I even brought up the fact that therapy is expensive and that I can’t really afford it and…well…he didn’t actually call bullshit on that one but I sensed he was thinking it.  Not because he doesn’t think therapy is expensive but because we’ve been together a long time and he knows my schtick.  If I really wanted therapy I’d FIND the money to get it.

Well played doc…well played.

He changed my meds around and I want to get stabilized on them before I make any real decisions.  I want to see how I feel on the new meds before I embark on dating a new therapist (actually I think I’ve found one if I decide I need to go so that will make the process easier).  Or maybe I should just look at the finances and bite the bullet and just GO.  I don’t HAVE to go every week right?  I can go once a month if that’s all I can afford right?

Right.

Bottom line?  Get your shit together Sherry.

Namaste

 

 

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The Shore

“if
the ocean
can calm itself,
so can you.
we
are both
salt water
mixed with
air.”
― Nayyirah Waheed

Sometimes I think it’s odd that someone born under the sign of Taurus (the bull) who is so connected and rooted to the earth should get so much from being at the shore.  There is something life affirming (we all know this – I’m just stating the obvious here) about being there.  Listening to the gulls (after they steal your fries and poop on your head), watching the tide come in and then go back out, taking in that briny, salty smell that is uniquely ocean.  I often find myself physically pulled to that seaside spot.

And so it is that last weekend, in celebration of our 36th anniversary, the hubs and I took a couple of days and went to a sweet little beach on the Atlantic seaboard.  Surfside Beach is a charming little community just south of Myrtle Beach (which I would NEVER describe as charming) filled with cottages and huge beach houses, families and old people (us being of the latter category).  It was perfect.

When I say I love the shore I mean just that…the actual shore.  I don’t especially love what we’ve done to the area around the shore.  I don’t like all the hub bub and the putt-putt and the amusement parks and the calabash seafood buffets (which, if you don’t know, is just a fancy way of saying, “we fry everything”).  Don’t get me wrong, when the kids were little I was very grateful for all of that because of course their attention span was that of a gnat (on a good day), and when I was in my 20’s I loved the restaurant and bar scene, but my real love is, and always has been, right next to the waves.

Notice I say next to the waves.  This is where the bull in me comes out.  I seldom actually get into the water.  I’ll cool my feet.  Stand by while the kids play.  Wiggle my toes into the sand.  But the fish and I have an agreement – they stay in the water and I stay on the land.  Plus I hate being wet and especially hate being wet in Lycra so…there you go.

But I can sit by the shore for hours provided I’m well shaded.  This is why my favorite time at the beach is fall/winter and early spring.  I actually like the brisk (okay cold) weather.  I’ll bundle up and huddle down and just watch the waves and listen to the roar and let my mind just do whatever it wants to do.

In a word, meditate.

So that’s what I did this weekend.  I sat by the shore for several hours.  I sat on the balcony for several more.  I positioned the sofa in the condo so that while I was watching TV I could still watch the ocean.  Bliss.

And a crazy thing happened (she said with her tongue fully in her cheek), as the waves rushed in, I imagined all my own negativity rushing back out when they left.  I imagined peace rolling in and depression rolling out.  And I feel better.

I’m not sure how long this peaceful easy feeling will last but I’ll ride this particular wave to the end.

Namaste

Empty Nesting

I started a post on the patterns I’ve discovered that lead me in and out of depression when I landed on this…empty nesting.  As soon as it popped into my head I knew it was it’s own post. (Perhaps more than one?  Probably a book.)

I’m not sure what I hate most about empty nesting, the not being needed or no longer connecting with my husband the way we used to or being bored without a thousand things to do or making dinner no one wants to eat or…you get the picture.  I guess I just feel exactly the way I’m supposed to feel – empty.

Here’s the thing, I never found anything that I was truly, TRULY good at until I became a mom.  I spent my life with a couple of narcissists who insisted on dragging me down to build themselves up so no matter what I did and how much I professed to be in control there was always that little tiny voice in my ear that continually chanted, “You’re not good enough.  You’re not good enough,” and of course I believed it.  I mean after a while you’ll believe anything that’s pounded in your head day in and day out unless of course it’s positive.  Then you deflect the praise until you convince yourself once again that the voice is right.

Or is that just me?

But then I had a baby.  It didn’t happen when I was caring for my sister’s two kids although I could PLAINLY see that I was better at parenting than either my mother or sister would ever hope to be but they weren’t mine and my sister delighted in handing them over only to snatch them back simply because she could.  It didn’t happen with Lori because she was 12 when she came into my life and though I felt an immediate connection with her, I was trying so hard not to step on anyone’s toes or do anything wrong that I don’t think I relaxed until the kid went to high school!

But when William came along I knew, down to the marrow in my very bones, that this, THIS was what I was put on the earth to do.  Raise kids and love them unconditionally and the best part was that it was retroactive so I could then love Lori and Michael and Theresa with the same ferocity.

And it came naturally.  God knows I was flying blind but I didn’t need any instruction. (I needed constant validation but no instruction.) It was like my entire being had just been preparing me for this moment, this child, this life.  I never felt so complete in my whole life than I did when I brought William home, laid him on my bed and promptly burst into tears.  This was it.  This was me.  (Wait – isn’t that a line from The Greatest Showman?  I love Hugh Jackman.  Sorry…veered off there for a second.)

Note:  this did NOT happen to me in the hospital or when I first looked into his little face.  I was so goddamn scared that I was going to screw him up and traumatized by giving birth that I walked around in a fog for the first 24 hours.  Plus I was so wound up about making sure every I was dotted and every T was crossed so that we could get out of there and begin our family that I couldn’t focus.  I tried to feel that whoosh of maternal love.  I waited for it – but it didn’t come.  I actually thought something might be wrong with me.  That maybe I wasn’t good enough.  In fact, maybe I was defective.

Until we got home.

For the rest of my child rearing years I operated in a blissful world of just being.  Soaking up every moment with those stinky little boys.  Wiping tears.  Cleaning up puke.  Listening to stories about school and baseball and computers and video games and, eventually, girls.  I made lots and lots AND LOTS of mistakes and I beat myself up but good for them but overall, I was content and very, very happy.

Now the little shits are all grown up and moving away.  Not necessarily in the literal sense because two still live at home – one because of his eyesight and the other because why in the world would you move out and pay exhorbitant rent until you absolutely have to?  I’ll admit that I couldn’t wait to get the hell out of my house but I find it so wonderful that the remainder of my kids aren’t in a rush to get out and start paying for life (don’t worry – they pay plenty of rent – THAT part of empty nesting I don’t mind.)

But they are doing the perfectly natural act of moving away.  Conversations don’t always involve me now.  They are making some big life decisions with just a cursory nod to our parental nosiness (and to throw me a bone from time to time) while they consult with each other, their peers, their bosses, their mates and all of those others in their lives that mean so much.  It’s SUPPOSED to be this way.  This is what Bill and I worked so hard to prepare them to do and they are DOING IT WELL and we couldn’t be more proud.

But fuck if it doesn’t suck for us…or at least for me.  I’m not really sure what Bill thinks about it because even though we’ve tried very hard to keep our relationship on the forefront – and we have (36 years on Saturday) – going through life changes you over time.  I find myself looking at him now with absolutely nothing to say.  Not because I don’t want to talk to him but because I feel like it’s all been said (I’m talking about deep shit here – not the everyday stuff).  We know each other better than anyone else on the planet so what’s left to say?  It’s gotten to the point where I can think about what I want for dinner and damn if that isn’t what he’s making when I get home – a little freaky if you ask me and not in the good way.

And what do I DO now?  I have zero motivation to do anything but work and redecorate the house and look at other’s houses.  People tell me to travel or get a hobby (what the actual fuck is a hobby anyway and why would I want to spend time doing it – if someone could tell me I might do it) or volunteer or…lots of things…and I’ve tried.  I tried to volunteer with the local humane society but they’re so disorganized it drove me batshit crazy so I only went once.  I swore I was going to learn Spanish this year and while I’m still slowly working at it, I lack the motivation required to get it done.  In fact, I lack the motivation to do anything.

Traveling’s not an option because the dogs have one foot in the grave and Bill won’t board them so we can’t go long or far.  BTW – did I mention the dogs are dying?  They’re 12 and 14 so OF COURSE THEY DYING WHY DIDN’T SOMEONE TELL ME I’D HAVE TO SAY GOODBYE TO THEM BEFORE I WAS READY?  I have to admit – the blind one is so cute when he runs into things that I think I love him even more this way.  I could do without the beagle peeing everywhere but I hope when I’m their age and I’m peeing everywhere someone is there to treat me as kind as we treat her.  But I digress…

I’m empty.  I have a hole in my soul that, thankfully and blessedly, I no longer fill with wine but that I still try to fill with food (which will be yet another post because it’s all wrapped up in depression) and sometimes shopping, and my depression is rearing it’s ugly head more and more frequently and fucking with my “wellness”.

And I swear to all that is holy if one more person mention “self-care” I’m going to rip off their heads and spit down their necks.

Too much?

Anyway, I’ll close by saying I miss little boy hugs and late night conversations with Lori.  I miss shopping for prom dresses and going to Little League games. I miss snuggles and baby necks (and baby feet and baby everything) and Christmas morning when Santa still visited (I do NOT miss the Easter Bunny – that is one creepy mother fucker). I miss high school plays and watching Nickelodean and talking about who did what to whom and who is dating whom and trips to Target.

I miss it all.

And missing it sucks ass.

Namaste

On Depression

Depression
Whoa.

tap…tap…tap…is this thing on?

If you’re out there than hi!  I’m writing again!  We’ll see how long it lasts and whether or not it makes me feel better but for now, if you’re there, I’m here…and even if you’re not there I’m here because after all it’s all about me (but you already knew that).

For those of you that know me let me just say that yes, I’m still sober and very happy with that decision.  I don’t know what label I prefer (alcoholic, problem drinker, dual diagnosis with my depression) but I do know that I don’t want to feel that particular More Monster ever again.  I say that particular More Monster because, of course, I have several more which is why I’m back…that and because I can’t afford therapy in the traditional sense.

All I know is that I feel a pull to the keyboard that I haven’t felt in a VERY long time.  A need to remove my thoughts and put them somewhere where I can properly arrange and re-arrange until I can make some sense of what is rolling around in there.  A need to PROCESS what is becoming a constant, and very boring btw, dialog about myself and how inadequate I am as a human.  In other words, my depression.  I’ve ridden this rollercoaster for so long now (almost 25 years) and I’m so bored with the whole process I could spit.  I’m so tired of hearing my own voice in my head that I just want her to shut the ever-loving fuck up – and that feeling scares me.  It feels like giving up on myself and accepting what is and that is not what I do.

I do not give up.

I was taking steps to find and see a therapist and I was about to pull the trigger when I realized how much it was going to cost me, out-of-pocket, to go and talk to a stranger about things that could just as easily be typed out in a blog for a others (or no one) to read.  It worked so well while I was getting sober why shouldn’t it work again?  In fact, while I was praying the other morning, the thought just popped in my head – WRITE.  Never being one to ignore a God moment I thought, “Well okay then!”

So this will likely start out with a long stream of consciousness that will essentially be gibberish until I have the time to sort it all out.  Fortunately the published versions of that gibberish will not actually BE gibberish as I’ve learned how to save things in draft to return (or not) later.  I hope that I can retrain my brain to vomit my thoughts all over the page again since that seems to be the only way for me to truly process what’s happening.

I may take this blog private depending on what I have to say or I may leave it public.  There are a few souls out there who I once trusted that I may or may not trust any longer and therefore with whom I do not want to share even more intimate details.  Then there are those that I actually NEED to hear from (you know who you are and even if you don’t, I’ll reach out to make sure you do) and even if I go private, they’ll know how to get to it.  Then again, I really love when random souls stumble on my writing and take away something.  It’s like I’m repaying the Universe for all those bloggers who loved me until I could love myself again.

But for now I’ll just say…

Namaste