But it doesn’t seem like grief.

This is a Really Real Mental Health Post.

But also a Really Real Widow Post.

One of those ones that blur the lines because I’m not sure where depression ends and grief begins, or if grief is even a part of this.

Brains are dumb.

I just spent 18 hours in bed, taking Benadryl part way through it so that I could force myself to sleep for as long as possible. I still want to be there, in that warm, safe, space, but my back is hurting too much to get comfortable and I can’t ignore it any longer.

Three years ago was the Celebration of Life for Parker.

Three years ago, today, we dug a heart in the sand on a beach in Florida and spread Parker’s ashes.

Three years ago today I watched her wash out to sea.

I knew this date was coming up, but couldn’t remember the exact day. Early on, people told me the dates would begin to fade and I couldn’t imagine that ever happening, but it has.

This doesn’t feel like grief. It feels like depression. I knew this date was coming but I didn’t feel particularly upset about this as I’ve fought with depression this past week. Maybe it was the cause, but maybe it was just chemical.

Brains are dumb.

I just spent 18 hours in bed.

I try so hard not to let the brain goblins win like that. Curled up in bed staring at the ceiling, watching the numbers on the clock change.

I didn’t cook dinner.

I didn’t feed the dog.

I didn’t feed myself.

I just laid there watching time tick by.

At some point I got up to take Benadryl, forcing myself into a stupor and hated the fact that we only had a few in the bottle. Knowing in the back of my head that even a whole bottle wasn’t likely to kill me. (I’ve researched these kinds of things.) Also knowing that I didn’t really want to die I just wanted this feeling of nothingness mixed with anxiety to go away.

I just needed a break from everything.

I needed a break from my head.

Brains are dumb.

Maybe that’s all Parker wanted that night. Sometimes I wonder. Did she really want to die or do she just want a break. Did she expect me to find her and get her to the hospital? Did she really think this through?

It doesn’t really matter now, so I try not to go down that road.

I try to distract myself, I try to stay busy, I try to keep going so I don’t have time to think.

But sometimes I end up in bed for 18 hours.

Three years ago we dug a heart in the sand.

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Wow, that was a full month.

This is a Really Real Mental Health Post.

Facebook just showed me my July Moments video.  You know, the one where they make a compilation of a bunch of things that you did and pictures that you took in the previous month and put them all together in a template.

This has been a rough week or so.

But watching that video I realized just how much I’ve done this month.

Just how much I’ve accomplished, just through living my life.

Just how different that is compared to a few years ago.

And I know, I know, that I talk about this pretty often, but sometimes I need reminding. I’ve come a really, really long way.

A few years ago I couldn’t walk around the block without running out of air. Making it to my monthly doctors appointments was about the only thing I did outside of the house. I lived at my desk. I didn’t go places alone, even doctors appointments. Some days, even for weeks, I couldn’t leave the house at all because of anxiety.

And now, I look at all I did in July, and I am amazed that I’m the same person.

You couldn’t have told 3 years ago me, who hadn’t started going to the gym yet, that I’d be going almost every day.

You couldn’t have told, 3 years ago me, who freaked out flying to Florida for Parker’s Celebration of Life, that I’d be flying alone and really being mostly okay with it (minus fat people problems, but that was another post).

You couldn’t have told 3 years ago me, still thick in the trauma that life kept dealing me, that I’d see Hamilton because good things could happen to me.

You couldn’t have told 3 years ago me that I’d have this much control over my reactions to emotions.

That I’d go this long without yelling.

That I could be in a relationship without fighting.

You couldn’t have told 3 years ago me, still completely miserable, that I could be fighting through a depressive episode, and still be happy on some level.

You couldn’t have told 3 years ago me that I’d be living my best life 3 years later.

And that I still think it’ll get even better one day.

So.

I may not have that car.

And I may not be finished school.

And I may not have a job.

But I packed a whole lot of stuff into this past month, which is a really big deal, because at one point in my life, I couldn’t have done that.

And I’ve come so, so far.  I’m sure I’ll keep going.

Better Than The Alternative

This is a Really Real Aging Parents Post.

My dad isn’t the same anymore.

He was . . .

the youngest 50 year old I’d ever met.

the youngest 60 year old I’d ever met.

the youngest . . .

Not any more.  He’s old now.  At 75, the years of taking his body for granted have finally caught up with him.

He walks with a limp, wobbling, almost drunk like. His head tilts slightly to one side. Nothing like the solid strong man I idolized when I was younger.

He grabs my bag from the car, insisting on carrying it into the house. The weight of it pulls him off his feet leaving him on the the ground. He crawls to the closest thing he can use to lift himself back to standing.  I protest as he takes the handle of the suitcase again.

He’s still stubborn as ever.

But age has caught up with his mind as well.

The line between reality and confusion has begun to blur. A hazy barrier that is no longer clearly defined. I wonder if he knows how often he’s weaving back and forth across that line. Sometimes it’s hard to tell which side of the line he’s on, even from the outside.

This visit has many goals.

First and foremost, I want to see my dad. We’ve spent too many years barely talking. An invisible moat between us, neither of us quite sure how to bridge the gap. None of that matters anymore. I’ve realized that time is running out. Time is running.

Second, I want to see what his life is like. What does he do all day? What is he eating? Is he still able to take care of the dogs? The house? Himself? I feel like I’m a world away.

Third, we need to figure out what’s next. What’s now? What does he want to do? Want us to do? How? How do my sister and I take care of him from states away? He still has and deserves an opinion and I need to hear it so we can do things his way.

He sleeps a lot during the day. Falling asleep sitting up at his desk and the kitchen table. Leaning sideways in seemingly impossible positions. He barely sleeps at night.

The house is so quiet.

Days without other human contact would be unbearable for me, but it is his reality. At least he has his dogs, dogs he sometimes has a hard time controlling. Conversations with them are one sided. He says he’s okay with his life, okay with getting older.

“I’ll live till I die.”

As I load up the car to leave he says to me “I’m fine, I’m a big boy. Stop worrying so much.”

But I will worry.

And I’ll also wonder.

When does living stop being better than the alternative?

 

 

 

Wait For It

This is a Really Real Widow Post.

But also a Really Real Mental Health Post.

One of those that blur the lines because in the days after Parker died it was hard to tell where grief ended and depression began, where mania subsided and constant running for distraction took over.

That first year was probably the hardest year of my life. I found dozens of different methods to cope, trying one thing after another, some of them helping, others being left behind. One thing that kept me going was making playlists based on where I was in my grieving process. There was”Cry” and “Remembering Her” and “Joy” and the one that got the most play was the “You Got This” playlist.

One of the songs on there was “Wait For It” from Hamilton.

For me, that was my song that told me no matter how bad I felt in that moment, if I just kept fighting, things would get better. I just had to wait for it. There were nights that my suicidal thoughts were screaming in my ear, urging me to join Parker out of desperation to see her again. I would put “Wait For It” on repeat, blasting it through headphones trying to drown out the thoughts. It was one of my anthems urging me to just hold on.

I listened to the entire Hamilton soundtrack on repeat hoping that one day they’d put it on TV so that I could actually see it. Seeing it in person didn’t even cross my mind, because that was outside the realm of possibility for me. It wasn’t even on my radar. That was something that other people dreamed of, my hopes were much simpler than that.

But in the three years since then my life has changed. I’ve started seeing more of life, started seeing there is more than just survival. I knew it wasn’t likely, but just maybe, one day I’d get to see Hamilton in person. The soundtrack was such a huge part of my life, I knew the lyrics by heart, seeing it preformed would be amazing.

Tickets went on sale locally. Of course they were way outside of my price range, and they were so hard to get. I knew there was no way.

And then Wonder Woman calls me to tell me some friends were taking us to see Hamilton as an engagement gift.

What?!?!?

This can’t be real.

I spent weeks just knowing it wasn’t real. That any day now someone would tell me it was all bullshit. That I wasn’t really going. I had misunderstood, they had changed their mind, I dreamed it. I refused to get excited, I just got anxious. More and more anxious.

And then the night is here. We walk up the street and I see the marquee. Holy Shit! I’m going to see Hamilton.

Such a mix of emotions the entire show. While there was amazement and excitement and awe, there was also this mix of grief and remembrance. What if she had just realized that she could wait for it. That life could be like this. That maybe one day she could sit in a theater and see something as amazing as Hamilton.

But holding Wonder Woman’s hand, sitting beside her and feeling her emotions, feeling my own emotions, just being there. Actually being present in that moment. The audience disappeared and it was just us and the stage. My anxiety was gone, my grief was gone,

I was enthralled.

I’ve had a hard life, there’s no denying that. I’ve been through more than a lot of people can imagine. I still have a lot to process and heal. But my life is good. Honestly my life is pretty amazing and as hard as it is to see sometimes, I believe I will continue to make forward progress It might be slow progress, but it will be forward progress towards better things. And you know what?

I’m willing to wait for it.

Poor Me

This is a Really Real Pity Party Post.

Sometimes my financial situation gets to me. Tonight, I was doing the dishes, listening to a podcast that happened to be about plus size fashion, and it hit me.

I’m never going to be able to afford those kinds of clothes!

Don’t get me wrong. I’m thankful to be where I’m at compared to where I was. Three years ago I wasn’t sure if I’d be able to pay the rent each month and I never knew whether I could keep the lights on. Three years before that I was living in a homeless shelter. But even now, I’m getting help to stay afloat. I mostly wonder if I’ll ever be financially independent.

I’m afraid I’ll never be.

But today that wasn’t what bothered me.

I want more than the bare minimum. I want to be that person who can afford to do shit without worrying about it. Today I’m feeling greedy and I’m honestly in tears because I know that even if I get a degree and get a job and get off disability I’m never going to be “wealthy”. I’m always going to struggle. I will be lucky to ever reach middle class.

I’m in a better place than I was, but I still send a frantic text message asking for money when mobility leaves me and I have to take a Lyft, because that $30 just wasn’t in the budget this month.

I’m lucky to have family that helps me out that way, I appreciate that I have the help, but damnit. I don’t want to need the help. I want to be the person in a good enough position that I can hand out help and not think twice about it. I want to be the person with a house and cars and the ability to travel around the world. I want to be able to see places and do things.

I want to be spontaneous in really big ways and not worry that I won’t be able to buy food at the end of the month because of it.

I want more than poverty and for just this moment, I want even more than middle class.

I want more than I’ll ever have, and tonight, I’m having a really hard time with it. Life really dealt me a shitty set of cards and I played them to the best of my ability, but that doesn’t change where I’m at.

Normally I don’t care about money, so I’m not sure why I’m so upset about it tonight. I’m not sure why it’s such a big deal right now.

It would be nice to live that life though.

And it would have been even nicer to have a life that would have allowed me to get there.

Defining Myself

This is a Really Real . . .

Well, I’m not sure how to categorize it actually.

It’s maybe a Really Real Dating Post and kind of a Really Real Identity Crisis Post.

Wonder Woman and I are polyamorus (simply put, we can openly and separately date other people) even though we’ve been functionally monogamous for the majority of our relationship.

This isn’t really about that, but it’s about defining myself for a dating profile and I figured I’d mention the whole polyamory thing before someone thinks we’re either breaking up or that I’m cheating in a very strange out in the open way. Neither of which is happening here.

Online dating means having a profile.

Which means I need to define myself.

Which is fucking hard.

I go to the gym almost daily, but I’m not really all that into fitness.

I write almost daily, but I don’t really know anything about writing.

I love coffee, but can’t really discuss any of the finer details or even explain what I like (Starbucks is fine, thank you very much).

I love cooking, but couldn’t tell you my favorite meal.

I enjoy officiating with derby, but don’t really do derby.

I’m a widow and that changed my life in HUGE ways, but I’m not only a dead woman’s wife.

I can have long conversations about weekly doctors appointments and DBT classes and therapy, and what’s it’s like to survive with not enough money and too much trauma.

I can’t keep up with politics or anything else in the news. I don’t read or watch TV or follow any current pop culture. I’m not big into board games or even video games. I can fake my way through conversations about music but mostly have no idea who sang which songs but I might know a few of the lyrics.

And all of this seems like a really negative way to describe myself but every time I think about who I am as a whole, that’s all I see.

All the things I’m not.

So, even though I don’t believe one person can meet all of my needs and I wouldn’t want her to even if she could.  And even though I strongly believe in polyamory as the right choice for me. I still haven’t really put much effort into dating, partially because I can’t figure out how to put myself out there authentically.

I can’t really figure out who I am.

And it makes me sad.

Wonder Woman obviously sees something in me. I have friends who obviously want to spend time around me so I obviously have good qualities. But being a good friend, a good listener, a kind person, those things aren’t really who I am and what I like to do.

Those things aren’t the kinds of things you use to describe yourself to another person.

Dating is hard!

Oh No, All Alone.

This is a Really Real Mental Health Post.

Today is one of those days where the only thing on my calendar is my date with gym.

Side note: Gym sure is a lucky person, they get to see me almost every day but I’m not quite sure I enjoy our dates. I’ve considered breaking up with them because sometimes I feel like the relationship is causing me pain, but I guess there are benefits in the long run.

Anyway, as I was saying. Today the only thing I have going on is a trip to the gym in a few minutes (yay for best friends who are also gym buddies and the accountability that goes along with that).  After the gym I have a long day of nothing except school work.

Lots of sitting around the house.

Lots of quiet.

Lots of time for my brain to get wrapped up in this depression.

This is the prime time for a problem.

I hate that being still and alone becomes such a problem for my brain.

And it’ll be worse later this week.

Wonder Woman is going out of town for a long weekend and as much as I’d love to say I’m a strong independent woman, I’m also scared of where my brain is going to go during my time alone. I have a whole four day weekend with no real plans, no real desire to make plans, every desire to hibernate, and every bit of knowledge that sitting still will let my brain wander into dangerous territory.

It’s too easy to let suicidal thoughts take hold when I’m alone and still.

But I’m always reminded of the days that I needed a babysitter because Parker was leaving town. I hate feeling like I’m still like that. I hate feeling like nothing has changed.

Maybe this time will be different. Maybe I’ll be just fine. Maybe I’ll suddenly be interested in everything around the house and I won’t have a problem.

Not likely.

I’ve grown so much but yet sometimes I feel like nothing has changed.

I’m a strong, independent, scared-to-be-alone, woman.

Brains are dumb.