I wrote this post four years ago, almost to the day, on my old blog that isn’t online anymore. Timehop showed it to me and I thought, you know, this was good for me to read again. This might be good for others to read, too. Life is hard, and it’s so much better when you know you’re not the only one going through difficult times! With that in mind, I decided to republish it right here.
An explanation, a confession, some insight, and a bouquet of f-bombs.
originally published on lalagirl.org, December 2011
I never know how to start out these huge, epic posts of mine that turn into mini novels. And I have a feeling this is gonna be one of those. I guess I’ll just say what I have to say. I am not myself lately. I’ve been a little…okay, a lot…more depressed than usual. As you may or may not know, I have a history of depression, and I can usually start to tell when things are getting frayed around the edges. It’s like I’m on roller skates. I’m gliding along, navigating around obstacles, and stepping over cracks as they appear. When I start to spiral into depression, it’s like the ground changes. Suddenly there are little pebbles everywhere, and I can’t plan for them – they trip me up and I fall flat on my face, again and again. That’s exactly how it is with anxiety and depression. Life just becomes such an ordeal, and it pretty much sucks. Worst of all, trying to explain depression and anxiety to someone who hasn’t experienced it themselves is nearly impossible. Here’s the thing: I know my life is okay. I know I don’t have anything to be depressed about. (Okay, actually, I do, and I’ll get to that in a minute, but first…) I know that it’s all in my head. I know people are about as happy as they make their minds up to me. I KNOW THIS. And this is what you can’t explain to someone who hasn’t been depressed. I can tell myself all day long not to be depressed, but my brain has other plans.
And as many times as I’ve gone through this, you’d think I’d have some plan in place to stave things off. Like I’d be all, “Hey, Laura, you seem to be a little down. Perhaps you should start getting more fresh air and sunshine. Go get a pedicure. Talk to someone. Have sex. Cry in your beer!” But no. I see myself tunneling more and more inward, and the sadder I feel, the less I want to reach out to anyone. For weeks, maybe even months, I’ve thought to myself many times that I should call my doctor, but I never have. I’ve gone through this so many times in the past couple of decades, that I know how it’s going to play out. My depression manifests itself in feelings of massive anxiety, and a feeling of being completely overwhelmed with my life. With a side order of guilt! Basically, I turn into Buzz Killington, and I don’t want to hang out, I don’t want to go anywhere, and I don’t want to do anything. I ignore my friends and I ignore my house. It’s a downer and a half.
THIS time, however, I’ve had something new going on. For the first time in my life, I’m not feeling sad and weepy. I mean, there’s SOME of that, but for the most part, that ain’t it. I am feeling TOTAL FUCKING RAGE, and it’s so foreign to me, I don’t even know what to do with it. I mean, I am nice! I might be a little snarky sometimes, but I am pretty much Suzy Fucking Sunshine. I let things go, I don’t get bent out of shape about things, I am mellow. I don’t hold grudges, and I try to see the good in people. So you can imagine how weird it’s been, wanting to punch people in the throat over the slightest transgression. There’s a crossing guard lady with a giant stop sign on a pole who stands in the crosswalk at the middle school. Every day, I drive past her on my way to the elementary school, and every day, I want to snatch that giant lollipop stop sign away from her and beat her with it. Why??? That is so not like me. The other day, I was sitting at a red light and the car in front of me didn’t go right away when the light turned green. I had to literally will my foot to stay put on the brake, because I wanted SO BADLY to smash into the back of his stupid Subaru. This is pretty much how I feel every day:
Essentially, everything in my world is pissing me the fuck off. And this isn’t something I’m used to.
I think I’m starting to understand it a little, though. I FINALLY confided in my husband yesterday that I’m having, y’know, trouble. And God bless that beautiful man, I think he would do anything in the world to try to make me feel better. One of the best things that came out of that conversation, surprisingly, was something nobody’s ever told me before. I told him I just felt completely pissed off all the time, and he said, “So? Is anything bad going to happen because you’re mad? Are the kids going to go hungry? Is the world going to end? No. It’s okay to be pissed off. People piss me off all the time!” Imagine that. In all my life, nobody’s EVER told me it was okay to get upset. I’ve always sort of clung to the notion that I need to handle my shit, and keep it together. So I’ve sort of come to the conclusion that being totally fucking pissed is just somewhere I need to be right now. It must be something I need to go through.
Time and time again, I’ve written about experiences with Pablo, and dealing with people who don’t understand what autism is. I always take the higher road, and try to turn altercations into “teachable moments”, both for my own children and for the dickbag adults who so often seem to think I need a dose of drive-by parenting advice. So many times, I’ve dragged four crabby children and one crabby teenager through Walmart, which is torture for EVERYONE, but it’s a special HELL for a mom of a special needs child. Sooooo many times, I’ve tried to create special, fun memories for my kids, trying to do things that are just normal, typical things for other people. Like going to a movie. Or taking my kids to Dairy Queen. And it just turns into this ORDEAL. I try so hard to keep a smile on my face and make things seem just normal and fine for my kids, when in reality, life is MOTHERFUCKING HARD. Could it be that it’s just catching up with me?
I think there was a trigger. I think it was my sister getting sick. See, I can deal with my crazy, chaotic life where I’m buried with children, broke all the time, and dealing with a special needs child. I can do it. I don’t always do it with grace or style, but I can do it. But I can’t do it when my heart is hurting. And believe me, my heart has been really fucking hurting lately. Did I mention that my sister got sick? Yeah. My awesome, sweet sister, who moved 6 hours away from me last year to be with the love of her life, had major surgery over the summer to remove a large tumor from her colon, along with about a foot of her large intestine. As if that wasn’t terrifying enough, she developed a life-threatening infection a few days after the surgery, and is still recovering from it now, months later. It was horrible. For awhile, we didn’t know if it was cancer, if it was spreading, and if she was going to have major, lifelong complications from the surgery. Seeing our parents so upset and worried was just the worst. And throughout all of it, I was like, REALLY? NOW? Kim has spent years getting her life together, she’s happy and in love, and NOW she has to deal with all of this? WHAT THE FUCK, UNIVERSE? WHAT THE FUCK?
THANK GOD, she is doing much better. I’ve seen her a couple of times over the past couple of months, and I am sooooo thrilled to see that she’s almost back to her old self. In fact, the last time I saw her was when she came down to be with our dad during HIS surgery. He had a knee replacement last month, which was supposed to be pretty routine. Unfortunately, he had a bad reaction to the narcotic pain relief he was getting a day after the surgery. Between the heart medication he takes and the narcotics, he basically sort of OD’d. The hospital called my mom and urged us to get over there immediately, because he was unresponsive and not doing well. That was pretty much the worst phone call I’ve ever had with my mom, I’m thinking. By the time I got over to the hospital, he was awake and doing much better. I was, obviously, RELIEVED, but at the same time I was like, REALLY? I spent an hour driving from southeast Aurora to downtown Denver, crying my eyes out, and now you’re fine? The hell, Dad? In the days to come after that, the hospital was understandably wary about how much and what kind of pain relief to give my dad, and he suffered horrendous pain because of it. It was awful to see. But he’s doing great now – it’s been a month, and he’s getting around pretty dang well. Yay!
Yeah. Yay. Everyone’s healthy now, but I feel like I have electricity running through me, and I want to punch people in the face all the time. I’m okay with it, though. I know it sounds crazy, but hear me out. I think maybe I’ve just been, y’know, juggling chainsaws for so long now that it seems normal to me, and all of a sudden I’m realizing that I am TOTALLY fucking justified in feeling pissed off at the world. My life is hard! It’s probably totally okay for me to admit that, and possibly even feel angry about it once in awhile. And maybe, if I can embrace my feelings and not bury them all the time, they won’t bubble up inside of me until I explode like Tourettes Guy. Maybe if I didn’t spend my life worrying so much about what people think of me, I’d be better at relaxing and enjoying my perfectly imperfect life. Because, honestly, my life IS AWESOME. There are lots of things in my life that completely kick ass. And I plan to enjoy the heck out of those things as soon as I get through this I HATE YOU ALL GO DIE IN A FIRE phase. I really, truly think I just need to go through this. I hope you’ll stick with me while I muddle through?
When I posted this in 2011, I was overwhelmed by the amount of support I received, in blog comments, on Facebook, in people texting and calling to check on me! I ended up writing a followup post a few days later, and here it is.
The Sequel to the HOUSE OF RAGE!
originally published on lalagirl.org, December 2011
Here’s a followup post to the mini-novel I wrote the other day about depression and anxiety. I was so touched, to the point of being a little overwhelmed, by the massive amount of support I received after writing that post. And, true, I did feel a little vulnerable and conspicuous after putting it all out there like that – but I’m so glad that I did. After hearing from so many of you, what I’ve come away with is that I am truly cared about and supported, and that I am definitely not alone. I talked to lots of moms I know in person, too, and I was stunned to hear from a couple of different people that they occasionally feel intimidated BY ME because I’m like Supermom. And to that, all I can say is, are you HIGH? Even on my really good days, my kids are walking around with tangled hair and yesterday’s water bottle in their backpacks. But it sounds like lots of us are in that same place, so there ya go.
And that’s what I keep coming back to. I’ve had so many people reach out to me privately to tell me that they suffer from depression/anxiety/anger issues, but that they don’t want anybody to know about it. I think many women, mothers especially, feel pressured to push it all down and appear to be in control of their lives. I think those stupid Keep Calm And Carry On posters you see EVERYWHERE may even be partially to blame. Sometimes, we get to a point where keeping calm isn’t really within our means, and that’s totally okay. Why don’t we GET THAT, though? Why is there still such a stigma associated with depression, to where nobody wants to talk about it? One of the worst things about going through depression is feeling misunderstood, and feeling like you’re the only one suffering. It’s miserable to feel like everyone is doing their thing, and living the dream, while you’re trying to just keep from drowning. Why can’t we just admit to one another that life is really fucking hard sometimes?
Anyway – I’m not sunshine and happiness yet, but I do feel like the clouds are parting. Many thanks to all of you who aren’t letting me suffer alone! Just knowing you’re there for me makes a world of difference. xo
And there you have it! A glimpse backward in time, where I admitted that having 2 sets of twins, an older kid with a stepparent situation, and dealing with autism is really hard. Fast forward to today and…well, it’s still really hard. It’s always hard. Having kids is HARD, YOU GUYS – whether you have one or five. It’s a lot. And it’s okay to say so. Hugs!