I Survived Mother’s Day!

Holidays can be really hard when you suffer from depression. The expectations, the “forced” gatherings, the millions of triggered thoughts that go along with it… It’s easy for us to get lost in our thoughts and find new reasons to mentally beat ourselves up.

However, I’m happy to report that I made it out alive! The negative thoughts were there, but the good overpowered them in the end.

The Good

My daughter was super-sweet. She drew me a card and gave me gifts that she made at school. I was able to go to a nice brunch with my parents. My step-kids had gifts for me when I got home. My husband even did some housework for me, and made a point to give me extra hugs! And I swear my pets knew something was up, because they all seemed a little more lovey that day. =) I was also able to face time my brother from overseas; he’s always so thoughtful.

The Bad

My anxiety was boiling up before the brunch. I don’t usually wear dresses and I was feeling super self-conscious about it. I couldn’t even wear a shoe that matched because of being on crutches; all my nicer shoes had heels which just seemed like a bad idea. I was starting to panic about having to cross the dining room on crutches with everybody staring at me (a shy, introvert’s nightmare!), not to mention getting a plate of food! As we headed out, all I wanted to do was to get the morning over with.

Upon returning from brunch, the step-kids were back home from grandmas house. I never know what to expect from the moody teens so I just wanted to go hide in my bedroom. There were colorful packages sitting on the counter, but I brushed past them pretending not to see. I felt really awkward about receiving gifts from them on Mother’s Day. I’m not their mom. And I felt even worse that they didn’t send anything to theirs (totally their choice). I was worried they felt obligated in some way, and I didn’t want them to feel pressured.

After recent weeks of feeling really unappreciated, the bad thoughts started to swarm. I told myself they only got me something because their grandma had pushed them to. I told myself that nobody really cared. The days leading up to the holiday I had told myself that my forgetful husband wouldn’t even pay attention to the holiday because he was preoccupied with the trip he was on all last week. I didn’t have high expectations for this day.

The Conclusion

Overall, the day turned out well. I counted my blessings and was thankful for the love from my family. As you can see, even a good day doesn’t go by without a million mini-battles (I didn’t even mention all of them!). Depression is a fight. Every. Single. Day. I don’t know how the good managed to come out on top this time. I’m just glad it did.

 


Happy Mother’s Day to all the moms that are fighting to get through the day! I hope you found at least a tiny bit of peace. 💝

The Brass Ring

As I rode down the street I used to travel every day, I tilted my head up to take in the view. The beautiful canopy trees reached out from both sides of the street as if they were playing the childhood game ‘London Bridge’ with the passing cars. The air was warm and the sun was bright. I missed this.

This street made my heart happy. I enjoyed living in this town and would happily go back. I was amazed that after so long I could still get the same feeling I did the first time I drove down this road. I can remember it so clearly.

I had lived here for several years. And the sad truth is, that feeling faded while I did. It became normal. The same view day after day, as I drove home after a stressful day of work. It was hard to capture the magic during rush hour traffic, coming off a 1-2 hour commute. I stopped pausing to look up.

It’s human nature to get distracted by life or caught up in the details. The magic is still there, but you forget how to see it. Maybe happiness is in the big picture. How often do we think to ourselves “If I could just live here..” or “If I just had this…” or “If I were just…”. But even if you had those things, there too, would come a day when you get used to it. The excitement fades. The newness wears off. It becomes normal. It won’t always feel the same as it did when you were looking in from the outside.

I feel that when people are depressed they tend to view life in this way. A magical setting or situation that would be the cure to all that ails them. Failing to realize that the picture can’t sustain itself. It’s either a warped view of reality, or something else is missing that we aren’t able to see.

Are our expectations just so high that we don’t realize what we have when it’s right in front of us?? Does “happiness” turn out to be a disappointment, never living up to the image we had in our heads? Or is it the missing piece that makes the perfect situation still seem empty?

What are we missing? What is the invisible wall that blocks us from the life others are living? Why are we outside the box? What is so hard about feeling an emotion?? We have plenty of them (all the bad ones)! It doesn’t make sense.

Depression is an illness, a mental condition. It is not controllable; occasionally manageable, at best. It’s not a switch you can flip on or off. It’s a mental state that runs your life regardless of what you try to do, or how you try to think. Depression is bigger than you.

Chasing happiness in the midst of depression is like looking for that brass ring to grab onto. Sometimes you get your fingers on it, but they slip off again before you can really hang on. 🎠

 


Thoughts?

Days To Come…

Struggling to keep the anxiety at bay today. Worried about the upcoming week because my husband will be out of town for all of it. Not looking forward to dealing with everything on my own, considering I’m still sidelined.

Taking care of your own kids is one thing. But taking care of someone else’s- teenagers, at that- is a whole other beast! My position is at a disadvantage in more ways than one. =/

Maybe the stress of the upcoming situation is why my thoughts have been able to overrun my mind lately. Ruminating is in full effect, quite possibly making me act a little crazy. Of course, don’t think so. Everything seems pretty logical to me. But that’s what “others” tell me.

It sucks when you can’t escape the stress of your own mind. All you can do is distract yourself. Time for another Netflix episode!

 


What is your go-to method of distraction??

 

Reflections On Happiness

I haven’t written in several days. At first, it was because of a lack of privacy. While having others around, however, it was easier to get absorbed into various activities and even enjoy them a bit. When having a good time, it’s hard to break from that and write about depression. A good mood is such a fragile state that you don’t want to chance anything ruining it. So you run with it. My apologies.

I had a few good days. That’s not to say that the entire day was good. I’m not sure a depression-free day ever truly happens for me. There seems to always be something hiding behind the curtain, waiting to pop out. A simple “good day” doesn’t seem like too much to ask for. But when you get so close you can taste it, and the day is once again marred by depression, you begin to feel as if you must be punished for having fun.

Happiness sometimes feels surreal. It’s as if you’re borrowing someone else’s (a happy person’s) life and just renting it for the day. Just to get a taste of what it’s like. But the happiness isn’t truly yours. You don’t belong there because it’s not who you really are. Who are you trying to fool? You know better. Stop pretending.

Some of the “good” days were just… days. Notable only for their lack of bleeding emotions. While it was nice to not have an emotional meltdown for once, it was this kind of day I found truly disturbing. You see, without something good happening to make a day stand out in the opposite (positive) way, the entire day becomes colorless. All the motions are mundane. You feel empty with nothing to look forward to. At least with the crazy emotions of depression there’s a vibrancy to life. You’re alive because you are feeling something; even when it’s bad. It’s scary to think that all this time I’ve been chasing happiness, only to find out it could really be nothingness. What a disappointment that would be.

But maybe this, too, is the depression talking. Maybe what I thought was a “normal” day was still a bad one… just higher up on the happiness scale. Maybe I wasn’t as close to feeling what others feel as I thought I was. Maybe there’s more. I can only hope.

——

As I look around me watching others go about their day, they don’t seem to struggle like me. They don’t look like they are just waiting for time to pass, like me. They don’t seem to have to try as hard to grasp onto something that makes them feel good. It has to be me. There’s more. I believe that.

Now if I could just figure out how to get there……

 


What is happiness to you? How does it feel?

So Much For That

I started this day off right. I was in a good mood, still fueled by yesterday’s progress. I felt rested, had some coffee, and everything was going smoothly. I glanced into the computer room and saw the sunlight bursting through the blinds (I love sunlight; it makes me feel happy!). It was so inviting, so I took the bait.

Sitting down to the computer, I opened all the blinds in the room. I had thoughts of productivity, mentally making plans for the day. I thought to myself “today is gonna be good”. My silly dog was running around the room chasing all of the light reflections on the walls. It was annoying, but I didn’t care because I was digging the atmosphere.

I began to go through my calendar, making updates as necessary. I was looking for some information I know I had already stored. As I searched back, I saw some stuff that never got deleted. I decided to clean things up a bit in the effort to save space on my phone. I scrolled further back to try and start at the beginning. As I went through the old appointments and notes, I inadvertently stepped into a past world.

Some of the items brought a smile to my face. My brain was eager to stroll down memory lane as I was reminded of the time when my daughter was born. Some of the items were surprising. I had forgotten (blocked out?) some of the details of one of the most tumultuous years of my life. I shook my head as I thought “I’m glad all that is over with”. I marveled at the fact I had made it through so much, and was shocked that just a handful of years could feel like a lifetime ago.

Suddenly, one of the dogs barked at something they saw outside the window next to me. (I have a Great Dane. She’s LOUD!) I was so lost in thought, and the house was so quiet. The noise scared the shit out of me and, like a bolt of lightening, I was instantly enraged. I began irrationally screaming at the dogs to leave the room, and the next thing I know I am sobbing on my desk. Wtf?!?

It was like one of those slow-mo moments in a movie, or an out of body experience. In the back of my head, I knew the situation didn’t warrant that kind of reaction. While it was happening, I was even thinking “This is crazy. I’m acting crazy.” But that didn’t stop me from screaming. I felt like I was watching myself from afar.

I guess I was really reacting to the emotional stuff I was looking through. But I didn’t realize that at the time. I didn’t feel the shift in my mood as I was reading. I had no warning of what was coming. One moment I’m sitting there calmly (and trying to be positive, don’t forget). And the next, I’m overcome with… everything. All the bad memories that accompanied my tumultuous year came flooding back. All the bad feelings. All the hurt and regret.

The subconscious is a sneaky bastard. Always working behind the scenes… jerking the puppet strings at will. Fuck you, subconscious.

Now, as I look around the room (back in the present), everything seems a little dimmer. A little lonelier. My enthusiasm has been completely dashed. I don’t know how to recapture it. I’m left with the remnants of sadness and uneasiness. I feel empty. It’s not even 9am.

The day started out with so much promise. My actions were so innocent… I couldn’t have foreseen the downfall of looking through a stupid calendar. Nothing is safe.

Excuse me while I go attempt to salvage my day. And by salvage, I mean escape.

 

 


Can you relate?

Sidelined

I was doing better for a while. I think. I was exercising routinely and eating healthier. Focusing on being more positive. Reaching some goals I had set for myself…

Until I broke my foot.

Now I can’t drive, I struggle to move around and accomplish simple tasks. Everything is harder now… cooking, bathing, getting dressed, carrying things, and even crossing the room. I’m trapped in my own house, forced to rely on others (difficult for my independent self). I feel like my identity has been stripped away. I’m the stay-at-home mom, and I can barely do the mom/housewife things. Ever try sweeping a floor on crutches??

I tried to remain positive at first. Looked at it as a much needed break from the daily grind. An acceptable excuse to take it easy for a bit. Then I found out I would be sidelined for 2+ months. It only took a few days for the cabin fever and frustration to set in.

And just like that, all my progress and good momentum was halted. My plans derailed. I wasn’t prepared for the new bout of depression that would accompany my situation. It came hard and fast.

My days are now spent sleeping and watching Netflix. Sounds like a dream, but it gets boring and monotonous. And it’s lonely. What’s the point in changing clothes everyday? I don’t do anything or go anywhere. What’s the point in participating in family activities? They move on whether I’m there or not.

I watch the gorgeous weather from the window, unable to partake. Being like this makes me realize how much I’m not needed. My existence no longer seems to have a purpose. And I’m not sure how much I’m even missed- aside from making other people’s lives easier by doing tasks such as chauffeuring kids through their busy lives. I feel like nothing.

And I was doing so well. Fuck.

I keep telling myself that I will accomplish something tomorrow. Place some phone calls I’ve been putting off, pull out a craft, or research something on the internet. But that “Next Episode” button is too easy to press and it compliments my complete lack of energy perfectly.

Oh well. Maybe tomorrow….

 


Ever have a break in your routine that completely got you off-course? How did you fight it?