Category Archives: depression

Over the weekend …

I had a total bipolar meltdown on my dad.

He was, at first, completely blindsided, and then perplexed.

I usually meltdown on my mom, who knows to just let it ride until the event is over.

But she wasn’t there and I was melting down in real time.

I think it was good for him, my Dad, that is, to see me as I have a propensity to be.

Totally crazy, on the edge of straight-jacket territory.

A mess.

I try to shield him from this side of me, because, well, at the risk of starting a riot, he is my dad and is, with abject certainty, a man.

Men rarely understand the astounding psyche of women.

Don’t roll your eyes and pretend to be insulted.

We know that maneuver.

Add bipolar to the mix and a total discombobulation takes over.

I love my Dad.

He is my, second only to Jesus and third to John Robert (who is dead, by the way), my hero.

A man who’s integrity I would bet my last dime on.

But he isn’t my mom.

He wants desperately to pat me on the head and tell me all is ok.

All is not okay.

I’M HAVING A MELTDOWN, WHERE IS MY MOTHER?

In my own defense, I didn’t say that.

I wanted to, but felt the ramifications would skew the effort to find out WHERE THE HELL my mom was.

So I cried, sobbed, made little sense while blindly clinging to my Dad.

I seriously doubt he will
ever be quite the same.

It’s a bit, I suppose, like trying raw oysters.

It sounds gross, but the rewards … well, they, by spades, outweigh the risks.

I hope, some day, to eat raw oysters with my dad.

A small, and yet ambiguous dream.

He hugged me while I was sobbing incoherently and told me he loved me, no matter what.

Major points for that.

Major.

Points.

Major.

I had every intention …

of blogging about driving around today with the convertible top down, the music loud and the wind in my face; of blooming trees and budding flowers, puffy clouds in a blue, sun-drenched sky and the perfectness of a warm April day.

But I just hung up the phone after talking to my mom and the things I previously held up in importance faded into the background.

She is a rock, a beacon, a lighthouse, a safe haven.

She knows everything about me, the things that shamed me and, at one time or another, shamed her.

In my youth, I hurt her deeply and couldn’t find within myself the knowledge or ability to make it right.

She knows of my dreams and aspirations and is always the first one to encourage me even as she puts her own dreams and aspirations on hold.

It isn’t easy to explain to someone that thoughts, images, words, experiences, memories and a myriad of other flotsam runs through my head, in a constant stream, even when I’m sleeping.

And that is when I am at my baseline and not in manic mode.

She takes it in stride without judgement or condemnation and, I have come to realize, did so even when I felt I was being judged and condemned.

Nobody can condemn me any more than I condemn myself.  It is the nature of my world and I live with it.

She knows, though, simply by looking at my face or hearing my voice ,when I am in the throes of mania or, thankfully more rarely, the despondency of a depressive crash.

She understands that sometimes, I have to go away; from her, from myself, from everyone and just be dormant.

She knows these things and doesn’t hold them against me.

There is no “well, you did this or that or the other thing”.

She isn’t like that.

She is patient and kind.

She is, without doubt, the Proverbs 31 woman.

I would like to be like her, but that is an aspiration that will never come.  It isn’t that my cup is half empty, but that I live, as much as I can, in a reality-based existence.

She is a light in a dark place and I migrate to her when I need simply to know that someone loves me unconditionally.

I tell her I love her, but how do you describe to someone that  you cannot imagine a life without them.

Unless I die first by some freak event, by the natural order of things, I will lose her at some point in my life.

I cannot imagine a world without my mom.

So I will put that with other things I cannot imagine into a box that lives in the outer-regions of my heart.

When I am manic, the box will break open and I will have to face the possibility, but for now, when I am am simply on overdrive, it is secure in the  little locked box.

She inspires me with her acceptance and encouragement and that, without doubt or reservation, beats blooming trees in springtime seen from a back road drive with the convertible top down.

I love you, Mom .

A houseguest

 

My Mother's Mother's bleeding hearts

My Mother’s Mother’s bleeding hearts

 

This is how she makes me feel ... cherished

This is how she makes me feel … cherished

All of that being said about my mom, I want to extrapolate to another area and  extend prayers and encouragement to a friend that I have long lost touch with.  She lost her son, the light of her world and is now lying among the shattered pieces of her world.  Keep Pam Begley in your prayers when you pray.  I cannot fathom losing a child.

 

Sometimes, at Christmas …

people are sad.

They are lonely and grieving and sorrowful for things they can’t change.

Even happy people get sad during this time of year.  They start thinking about what they have or haven’t done.

Things they’ve said or left unsaid.

They look away from the homeless on the street and the hungry in their own hometown.

The look for friends where there aren’t any and find reasons to feel sorry for themselves.

I can say this because I live it.  I experience it.  I understand it.

I am an optimist, but sometimes, my smile is painted on and my heart is heavier than I think I can carry.

I look around at my life and take stock as Christmas looms on the horizon, as the New Year stares me in the face and I think “what do I have to offer anybody?”

And then, like the soft light rising out of a foggy Spring morning, I am reminded that Christmas isn’t about me.

It isn’t about trees or gifts or money or family or friends.

It is about something so magnificent, so profound, so incredibly huge that it leaves little room to be sad.

It is about a child that was born of a virgin.

Not just any child.

The child.

The Christ child.

Think about that for a minute.

In this sex-crazed world, think about a young girl who had never given herself to a man and yet found that she was pregnant.

If you feel crazy, imagine what she was feeling.  Imagine what was going through her mind when she told the man she loved that, although she had never been with anyone, including him, that she was pregnant and that God had told her that it was ok.

How insane would that sound?

How could Joseph possibly trust her?

He trusted her because he trusted God and God trusted Mary with His son.

It sounds complicated and weird and yet it is so beautifully simple.

Who among us would not want to be chosen to carry the Savior of the world and who among us would not want to care for and love the one carrying that child?

Who among us would not want to be an integral part in raising that child, in cherishing Him, wiping His tears, telling Him bedtime stories, hearing Him say “I love you” as He wrapped His little boy arms around our neck?

I find that, when I think of the reason that we celebrate, the joy and inexplicable magnificence of it all, it is difficult to be completely sad.

Not impossible, for we are human and as humans, we can always find things to complain about, be sad about, be mad about.

We can always find ways that people hurt us or make us feel unworthy, who leave us wishing for more and hoping that tomorrow will bring the fulfillment of our dreams.

But if we let all the human emotions crowd our minds and hearts, we will forget why we celebrate to begin with and if we remember why we celebrate, then there will Joy unspeakable.

Yes, there will still be sadness and loneliness and melancholy … There will be loss, grief and memories that threaten our sanity … but they will, if we put them in perspective, be in their rightful place.

Behind joy.

Behind thankfulness and awe.

Behind beauty and love that surpasses anything we will ever find if we only see with our human eyes.

And because the feelings that threaten to destroy us are behind the Joy of remembering why we celebrate to begin with, we will live through them, move past them, learn from them and be stronger and more resilient because we have hope in something bigger than who we are and what we feel.

With hope, there is nothing impossible.

With hope, there is always the possibility of another day.

With hope, there is the image of Heaven.

Sadness can’t hold a candle to that.

My hope is that each one I know, each person I come into contact with, each spirit that crosses my own will know joy and that, even for a moment, the sadness will become obsolete.

Merry Christmas, my friends.

snowfall

Luke 2: 7-14

And she brought forth her firstborn son, and wrapped him in swaddling clothes, and laid him in a manger; because there was no room for them in the inn.

And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night.

And, lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them: and they were sore afraid.

10 And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people.

11 For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord.

12 And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger.

13 And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying,

14 Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.

what is it about dreams …

that seem to plot the course of the day ahead.

I have always, nearly without fail, remembered in detail and almost painful clarity, my dreams.

Sometimes they are of strangers and other times, erotic and provocative images and happenings of and including  people I am acquainted with.

Images that have no business being in my head are there and they tempt me to try to relive them in reality as well as in the dreams, of which I have no control, in which they were born.

I don’t make a secret of them.  I share them with the cohabitants of my dreams, often to my regret afterward, but nonetheless, I find that the ability to lie escapes me.

It doesn’t help matters that I, on occasion, am a blabbermouth and just blurt things out at random.  A curse and one of the things that, were I able, would immediately change about myself.

Those, I think, are more disturbing than the bloody, murderous ones for they are more realistic and leave me feeling vulnerable and exposed.

And then there are the non-dreams that are climatic in their own weird and distorted way.

I am certain, given facts that I am sure of, that I sleepwalked last night.

Things that were present when I went to bed were missing and no evidence, anywhere, of their disappearance, could be found.

I looked.

In the trash.

Under the couch cushions.

Under my mattress.

I know what was there and what is now missing so either I walked (and ate chocolate Nekot cookies) in my sleep, or there was an intruder who only wanted my cookies.

And who, pray tell,  breaks into a house leaving a priceless collection of vintage vinyl and takes only chocolate-peanut butter cookies.

Especially if they know me and know that I sleep with a very large cast-iron skillet capable of causing a serious brain hemorrhage or, if aimed just right, instant death

Nobody, that’s who.

So since the latter is improbable, I have only left to assume that I am, once again, up to my old tricks.

Walking and performing tasks, like eating, cooking and cleaning, in my sleep.

It disturbs me on some level that I do things in the night that I don’t remember.  It should disturb me.  It should disturb anyone.

But I know the cause, or at least I think I do.

For several weeks, as anyone who knows anything about me knows, I was manic to the point of being carted off by the men in white coats.

I thought it would never end and once it did, I missed it immediately.  That rush of feeling, the power of confidence that, in a normal state, I lack.

But one phase which lasts so long does not go without the alter-ego phase coming in to claim their share of the  psychosis.

I call it psychosis because what else is one going to call it … hyper to the point of explosion one moment and despondent to the point of mediocrity the next.

I live this every day, every week, every month.  One would think that by now, I would know what was coming next.

I don’t.  And people who try to pinhole me into their idea of normalcy don’t either and end up doing nothing more than pissing me off.

As do those who lie to me. Or make excuses instead of just being up front.

An omission or generated excuse is no better or worse than a lie and I put them all in the same bag.

I expect people to be straight with me no matter what and if they aren’t then they immediately lose their credibility and, as far as I am concerned are no longer relevant in my life.

I no longer listen to their words for they are, from that moment, nothing more than blather.  Filler because they can’t think of anything useful to say and therefore are useless to me on any conceivable level.

It is disappointing to me to think that I have friends who pretend to understand me only to find out that not only do they not understand me, they have no intention to.

Valuable time wasted if you ask me.

I try to conserve the space in my mind for those who actively want to be a part of my life.  I realize that I try too hard to make friendships sometimes.  I find people who pretend to understand me but have no real inkling as to who I am or what makes me tick.

It is a disappointment to realize that I have been, for lack of a better term, led on by their pretense.

But in time, all is revealed and life goes on.

I don’t hold it against the pretenders because in all essence, I have better things to do than hold a grudge.

But I will be more cautious in the future.  Once a manipulator, always one.

Funny, isn’t it, how they don’t see themselves that way.

Life. Goes. On.  and that is just the way of it.

I may be hanging, at times, by a thread, but in my mind, I am happy simply to be hanging.

Until next time, be well, be yourself and know that whatever you learn today will be most useful at some point (unless is is geometry and the jury is still out on that one)

in reality, what dreams are made of ...

in reality, what dreams are made of …

It’s not easy …

to look over decisions that we’ve made, roads we have taken, choices we have labored over only to find that they weren’t the right decisions, were the wrong turns and were bad choices.  But it is a constant in our lives.  Not every crossroad we come to will have an outcome that is favorable.  Sometimes, the results can be downright devastating.

If the only person such things effected was ourselves, it wouldn’t, I suppose, matter, quite so much.  But our decisions, our outbursts, our tantrums, our misdirects … they, like a long, intricate line of dominoes, fall, one against another, starting a chain reaction that can last for years and through multiple lifetimes.  Purity and innocence can be taken away so quickly that it would seem as though they never existed.

I have a wealth of understanding on making mistakes and living with them; learning from them.  Some of my mistakes have hurt no one but myself, others have touched the people I love the most, causing pain that was never intended, hurt that, though time has surely layered with a cushion, can never, ever, be completely erased.

I understand pain and insecurity.  I have known joy and heartache with equal measure.  I have lain, curled in a ball while sobs wracked my body to the point that I feared my bones would break and didn’t care if they did.  I have known despair and felt the icy fingers of death claw at my mind.  I have thought long and hard about how easy it would be to simply drift away into nothingness where life could no longer kick me senseless.

It is because of these things that I have more understanding than I wish to, that I stand now, with my head up and my spirit intact.  Life did not break me.  It bent me, at times nearly beyond redemption, but it did not break me.  I look around and see others that have been bruised and bent themselves.  They weren’t broken either, but none of us came out of the fire unscathed.  None of us came away from it all whole, but full of holes that left room for the pain and suffering of others to fill.

Because of my broken road, I have found compassion, I have found empathy and I have found beauty that is so stunning that, at times, it nearly breaks my heart.  And along the path strewn with shards of brokenness, I have found others, stumbling along trying to find their way.  And through discouragement, faith and determination, I was encouraged.  We are all, in one way or another, broken and simply knowing that makes me feel less alone.

2-46

Matthew 12:20 ~ A bruised reed shall he not break, and smoking flax shall he not quench

Get out of my OR …

were the words he said.  Actually, he didn’t say them as much as angrily and red-faced screamed them, and this, might I add, is the severely cleaned up  version of his tirade.  There were many other quite colorful words he said as he pointed his scalpel at me.  A scalpel, I must say, that he hadn’t had the chance to use yet.

I was a very young, very green, very squeamish nursing student.  It wasn’t a hundred years ago, but looking back, it seems so.  I had already told my instructor that I was a bit apprehensive about rotating through the surgery suite, but she, having more faith in me than she should have, encouraged me to “give it a whirl”.  I gave it a whirl alright; right to the ground.  I had one of my biggest pump-knots ever from that experience, not to mention my wounded pride.

The victim, aka patient, was draped and swathed over their entire abdomen, with betadine.  The first incision hadn’t been made and yet, just seeing that poor soul lying there like a corpse, covered in the magenta colored antiseptic, made my head spin.  I sang in my mind, as I often did when I was nervous, Bee-Gees songs.  Something about that beautiful Barry’s falsetto  just calmed me right down.  In this particular case, however, it was ineffective.  The head Operating Room nurse (who was a very formidable character) had placed me nearby, but not close enough to get in the way.  At least that was what she thought.  Every time she looked at me with those sharp, intelligent, hard eyes, I felt like I was five years old and about to get a spanking.  I stood in the exact spot she put me and didn’t move an inch; not one single inch.  Up until , that is, the point that I passed out.

The Surgeon, one who was known for his quick temper and blatant intolerance, didn’t even glance in my direction.  I was, as far as he was concerned, little more than a gnat to be swatted away.  He was in his element an he knew it;  reveled in it … a god in his own heaven.  The fact that there was a young nursing student watching his every move just enhanced his already inflated ego and even so,  he still didn’t acknowledge my presence.  I was glad of that because I was, without a doubt, terrified.

I looked at the poor soul that was about to be cut on, saw the red hue of the betadine and felt myself getting warm.  I had never passed out before, so I didn’t recognize the warning signs.  I had no idea how much damage simply collapsing in a heap could cause.

If I had only passed out and fell without incident, I suppose he would have just left me there until he was finished; caring not if I were alive or dead and happy in his existence, either way…  but that isn’t what happened.  At the moment I realized that I was going down, I reached out.  (after all, isn’t that what people do when they realize they are falling?  reach out for something to brace themselves with?)  In this particular case, the thing I caught hold of was THE  sterile tray of items needed for the surgery at hand.  I pulled gauze, instruments and towels to the floor, thus compromising the sterility of everything that would be needed f0r the surgery.  One of the towels landed across part of my face; the instruments and gauze strewn about me.  The spell lasted only, as fainting spells often do, a few seconds.  But my, oh my, the havoc that a few seconds can have  on an already tense situation.

When I woke up (again, after only a few seconds), the surgeon was standing over me, scalpel pointed at the part of my face (namely my eyes) that weren’t covered by the previously sterile towel, screaming at me to get the #$&% out of his OR and ensuring me that if I ever came back to his operating suite, he would strangle me with his own hands and laugh while I was being buried.  Being young, green and very impressionable, I did the only thing I could think of to do; I started crying.  That pissed him off even more and I learned a whole slew of new words.  Some of them, nearly thirty years later, I still don’t know the meaning of.

Needless to say, I was banned, for all eternity, from the OR and had to spend an extra three weeks (I’m now convinced it was solely as punishment) in Pediatrics just to get enough clinical hours to get me through Nursing School.  By some miracle, I graduated, passed my boards and ended up actually making a living as a nurse.

I became less squeamish as years passed and tasks that had to be don were less daunting. Other than watching someone be hacked on, I found could tolerate many gruesome things.  As I get older, though, and I am older for that experience happened more than 25 years ago, I find myself becoming  squeamish again.  More often than not these days,  I find it’s hard not to gag at the myriad of things that people bring to “show the nurse”.  There are things I don’t need to see, things I don’t need to hear and things I wish I never knew existed.  These days, my least favorite phrase is “ears!” for God knows that the things that grow in people’s ears is as close to Hell as one can come without actually getting burned.

I am not thwarted, though, because unless I am discovered as a writer or photographer, I can retire in  another 100 years.  Wait, I’ll be dead by then and I won’t have to worry about it anymore and the fear of humiliation will be noting more than a bad memory.

We learn things as we go through life.  Things that make us stronger, more secure or simply cut us off at the knees and then kick us while we are bleeding out in front of the spectators.  I still sing Bee-Gees songs when I get nervous about something and I still wonder, at times, if this will be the moment when I hit the floor.  It is, if nothing else, an adventure in itself, but I’m finding the adventure to be less adventurous and more arduous as time passes.  But, like I said, in 100 years, I can retire.  I am counting the minutes.

Soaring

Dear God, make me a bird so I can fly far; far, far away from here ~ Jenny in Forrest Gump

When the words I dearly love mean nothing …

then I know that I am in a fix.  The words are there, the right words, but they are so jumbled and discombobulated that when they come out, they aren’t right.  They are harsh or meek or, worst case scenario,  make no sense at all to anyone but me.  I lash out at the ones I care about for no good reason at all.  I expect them, since they know me, or say they do, to understand, but it doesn’t make it fair.  It doesn’t make it right.

Right now, at this moment, it takes all of my concentration to simply string words together in a coherent sentence.  Knowing this and knowing that I have conversed with people I care about about in my current state of mind brings about something that, while I am adept, they really have no experience with.   I was told recently by a friend that they were sorry they caused me anxiety.  I don’t have anxiety, I have racing thoughts that, at times, coincide with an intense “non-emotional” state.  It isn’t sadness.  It isn’t depression.  It is simply the absence of emotion.  And the absence of emotion is never, ever a good thing.

I called my mom tonight just to hear her voice. She doesn’t try to fix me or offer advice, she just listens as I tell her how nuts I feel.  And I do feel nuts, whether I really am or not.  That still remains to be seen.  She listens to my thoughts and says to me “we’re here if you need us”.  And she means it.

When I told her I had to get out of here for a while, she didn’t question it, but only said to let her know where I was going.  I have no idea where I’m going, but the ocean is calling to me.  The ocean, it is said, has no memory.  That is what I’m looking for.  Something without a memory.  Something that will not recall the harsh words, sobbing tears or indifference that, over the past few days, I have felt.  Maybe I will make it there and maybe, by the end of the week, I will be back to myself.  Either way, I cannot stand to be here for a second more than is necessary.  And dumping on the people in my life is not the answer.  I don’t know what the answer is, but I know that doing so is not it.

After work on Friday, I will start driving.  What direction is, as yet, unknown, but I will drive until I get where I am going.  And once there, I hope I will find what eludes me at the moment.  Sanity.  Pure and true sanity with a calm mind and rational thoughts.  I will let my  mom know where I am because she asked me to; as for everyone else, there seems no real need.  I am an anomaly in their lives.  I don’t hold it against them. I am an anomaly in my own life; how can I possibly expect someone else to know what makes me tick when I’m not certain myself.  A solitary life.  For the most part, it is the perfect solution; except, of course, when I filet the people I care about because I come to a point where control is  nearly impossible.  Yes, for the most part, a solitary life would be the perfect solution.  I rely on music to get me to a point when I can, once again, speak coherent thoughts.  I am grateful for the pianists, who play the notes my mind sings, that keep me, on some level, sane.  May God bless each one of them.

pianist

John 14:27 ~ Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid