Day 11

This is a Really Real Mental Health post.

I forgot about my therapy appointment tonight.

She messaged me when I was 15 minutes late, but I didn’t see it until I was almost 30 minutes late.

She saw me anyway.

In the 6ish years I’ve been seeing this therapist, I think this is the first time I’ve forgotten and been late.

I’m thankful that she checked on me so that I didn’t miss it completely.

There wasn’t a lot to talk about. Life has been pretty uneventful.

I’m flip flopping back and forth between depressed, and functional. Things are getting better.

Slowly.

I’m crafting.

Slowly.

My sink is empty, but tonight we ordered out because I didn’t have the energy left over to cook.

My machine is cutting an intricate project that will take me hours to weed (removing the negative space).

I’m looking forward to the meditative process.

I’m enjoying writing every day, but I don’t have anything major to write about.

Just random ramblings about my day.

Random thoughts.

Random.

I’m tired today, but I’m avoiding a nap.

I want to sleep tonight.

I slept well last night, waking up this morning fully rested for a change.

But I still slept too much. I had told myself if I woke up early, I could get Starbucks before PHP.

I didn’t get Starbucks.

I’ll try again tomorrow.

Day 9

This is a Really Real Mental Health post.

Today is one of those days that I’m not really sure what to talk about. But also, it’s the 9th day in a row of me writing and I feel like I might actually make it to one post a day all month.

I woke up early this morning, to start PHP (partial hospitalization program). Well, early for me, I’ve been sleeping till noon (or later) and today I was up and ready to go before 10.

PHP was exhausting, it’s so mentally draining even though it’s only a few hours long. I wanted a nap afterwards but had drank too much coffee to sleep.

That’s probably a good thing, I need to stop napping so much during the day.

I’ve been working on a really neat holiday card. I’m enjoying this particular design. I spent the afternoon getting the pieces cut out, and assembling the first one.

Three more to go.

Group group (group therapy) was at 530, and even though I felt too emotionally drained to attend, I did.

I feel like the fog is lifting, at least a little. I was able to do dishes today without fighting myself over it. I’m not dreading the idea of cooking dinner.

But I’m still tired.

Drained.

It’s been a long day with too much coffee.

Too much talking.

Too much vulnerability.

I’ll spend the evening putting together the rest of the cards, and maybe starting another one.

It’s nice to get a little bit of feeling like myself.

Here’s hoping it lasts.

Day 8

This is a Really Real Mental Health post.

I woke up today feeling like it was a better day.

It was a late start, but I felt good.

I made my morning coffee, my morning smoothie, and I sat down to craft.

I cut out the pieces for four copies of one of the more intricate cards I’m doing.

I washed the dishes.

I was feeling really good.

And I put the first card together.

And started to drag. The pieces for 3 more were sitting there and I just didn’t want to start on them.

I climbed in bed to cuddle with Wonder Woman.

And she decided to take a nap.

I stayed in bed, awake, for over two hours. Not tired enough to sleep, but too blah to be out of bed.

I just booked a cabin on a lake for my 40th birthday. A 4 day vacation that I’m both looking forward to,

and not all that excited about.

I mean, I am definitely happy that we get to go away.

That I’m home to celebrate my 40th.

But I just can’t feel the joy.

It’s stuck behind the fog.

Now the pieces for 3 more cards are staring at me.

Pieces that will surely be knocked around by a playful kitten if I don’t put them together.

So even though I feel no interest, I’m going to grab the glue and start assembling.

Hopefully some joy will find me while I’m working.

Hopefully I can find my way out of this fog.

Day 7

This is a Really Real Mental Health post.

We went on a road trip today. Drove out to the middle of nowhere, Amish country, with no agenda in mind.

Except for hopefully leaving our depression behind.

My depression decided to tag along.

I enjoyed myself, but it was through a thick fog.

I didn’t really want to get out of the car and do things, but I did.

And I’m glad I did, I think it helped a little,

maybe.

We saw hot air balloons way too high in the sky.

We saw horse drawn buggies.

We went to an orchard and got apple butter and pumpkin pie.

And before driving home we sat in a converted railcar diner and ate while watching a beautiful sunset.

It really was a good day.

But depression was along for the ride.

It was hard to see through the fog and smile.

I wanted to come back home and sleep.

And I was pretty sure, when we got home that was exactly what I was going to do.

But instead I picked up my current crafty project and started working on that.

Instead I put fingers to keys to keep my November streak going.

Instead I put headphones in with uplifting music.

I’m trying.

Really really trying.

But the dishes are piled up from last night’s dinner and I’m wondering if I’ll have the energy to tackle them tonight.

I feel like I’m drained from our all day adventure.

I feel like it took everything out of me.

I feel overwhelmed every time I glance into the kitchen.

Every time I look around at a house that needs to be cleaned.

It feels like so much, and I feel like I did so much leaving the house today.

And I know this will pass.

I know it’ll get easier.

But for now, depression is my constant companion.

Day 6

This is a Really Real Mental Health post.

I did my dishes.

This morning when I went to cook brunch, I piled dirty dishes upon dirty dishes on the stove.

I hate cooking in a dirty kitchen.

But I cooked. And after I ate (kind of, most of it got thrown away because it did not turn out well) I put loud music on my headphones and I did the dishes.

I should have wiped down the counters and the stove, and I didn’t, and that’s okay.

I did the dishes.

A LOT of dishes.

Now I’m going to sit and play a video game until my tele-pdoc apointment at 2. And then I’m going to game some more until my therapy appointment at 430.

I’m tired.

I’m sleeping for around 12 hours at night (sometimes more) and still taking a nap in the evening.

Depression is exhausting.

When I woke up at 630 this morning I really tried to get up. Tried to find something that was worth getting out of bed for. Tried to drum up enough interest in my current video game, or maybe cooking a good breakfast, or maybe making some more cards.

Or even just coffee.

And instead I woke up again at noon.

But I got up, and I cooked, and I did the dishes.

Small baby steps to keep myself moving forward.

Yesterday I showered. A way overdue shower that I had been beating myself up for.

But I showered.

Today, I might even do my hair before I get on video chat with my therapist.

Maybe.

It’s finding that fine line between pushing enough to keep myself going, and pushing too much and shaming myself further into depression.

Such a fine line to walk.

And today,

I did my dishes.

Day 5

This is a Really Real Mental Health post.

I’m not suicidal.

I’m ridiculously depressed.

But I’m not suicidal.

Normally they come together. And I’ve had the passing thoughts, but they are quiet and go away quickly.

My new tools help them pass along.

But I’m depressed.

I’ve been telling myself I have to take a shower for a few days now.

Really, just take a shower.

But the fog is getting deeper.

I walked yesterday. Sent her a message in the middle of the day saying “I’m dressed and I think I can make myself get out of the house if we go right now.”

So we walked.

This morning I woke up early after a weird dream about getting my father on antidepressants.

I went out for a bit and had breakfast with a friend.

I came home and went right back to bed. Hours later I still didn’t want to get up, but I couldn’t sleep anymore.

Now I’m just staring at facebook. Seeing the same posts over and over again because I’ve been looking for so long.

This will take time to lift. Changing medications is hard and they made so many changes while I was in there.

I’m hungry, and I can’t tell if I’m hungry because I’m actually hungry, or if I’m hungry because I’m depressed.

I still have hope that this will get better. It will. I’m not filled with dread over the thought of this continuing. It’s just a passing phase and it will get better.

I start PHP on monday and that’ll help.

I have therapy tomorrow and that’ll help.

But this isn’t a quick fix. Antidepressants take weeks to kick in.

I’m on so many pills right now. Between medical meds and mental health meds and vitamins.

So many pills.

But, they keep me alive.

And I’m glad to be alive.

Day 4

This is a Really Real Widow post.

I don’t feel like it’s a big deal this year.

I mean, her being gone is always a big deal. She left a hole in a lot of people’s hearts.

But this year her birthday isn’t ripping that hole bigger. Maybe it’s just because so much else is going on.

But today I went and bought cheesecake.

Tonight I’ll get on video chat with our son and talk about her life.

That’s a tradition I hope to continue each year. A few moments remembering the wonderful person she was.

So many memories are slipping away.

The sound of her voice rarely comes to me anymore.

I no longer remember her smell.

I have one shirt of hers left that I wear regularly, but it doesn’t hold the emotion that it once did.

I did intentionally take it with me to the trauma unit though. So I guess there’s so emotion left in it.

She spent her last birthday in the hospital, the psych unit, because of a change in medications that left her reacting violently to me.

She even raised her fist, which was the moment she decided to check in. She was there for almost 2 weeks.

I had balloons and decorations on the walls when she came home. A belated birthday celebration.

A belated celebration of her.

She was dead before her next birthday came around.

I can’t remember how old she would be now. I’m sure I could reach back in my memories to remember what year she was born and do the math, but that doesn’t seem important anymore.

Her mother still sends me the occasional Pineapple Upside Down Cake recipe. It’s my favorite cake. She would bake it for my birthday every year.

We talk for a few moments about life and how we are doing.

A superficial conversation that still leaves much unsaid.

I’m sure today is hard for her. I can’t imagine what it’s like to celebrate the birthday of your child that is no longer with you.

I hope I never experience that loss.

I just sent her mother a message. Letting her know that she was in my thoughts. Another small connection between two people who were left with holes in our hearts when she died.

She is missed. She is loved.

I wish she had lived to see the better side of life. The life where the lights don’t get shut off and we aren’t in fear of an eviction notice.

The life where there’s enough food in our cabinets.

The life where there’s even an occasional vacation.

I still wonder if we ever would have seen this life together.

Or if we would have always struggled.

Today isn’t as hard as it used to be, but it’s still hard.

I still miss her.

Day 1

This is a Really Real Mental Health post.

TW: Talk of weight loss.

I still haven’t decided if I’m going to do this every day this month or not.

But just in case I keep going, I figured I should write something today.

I’m not really sure what to write about though.

Today was a nice laid back day. Lunch at a new (to me) place, Starbucks, and a nice long nap that I apparently needed.

Such a good nap.

Now I’m about to go walking with my gym buddy and hopefully get back into this routine.

I’d like to make it back into the gym eventually.

But it doesn’t feel safe to me right now, so walking it is.
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Writing was interrupted by walking. The shortest walks leave me so winded now. I remember doing miles without thinking twice and now going the long way around the block leaves me panting and wheezing.

I’ll get back to where I was, it’s just going to take time.

And dedication.

And perseverance.

I’m afraid I’m going to repeat my old pattern again, and I’m trying to stop it. The last time I lost a significant amount of weight, I gained back almost twice what I lost.

I don’t honestly care about the numbers on the scale.

I care about being fit enough to walk up and down my stairs without needing my inhaler.

I care about the other numbers.

I care about becoming diabetic again.

I care about my blood pressure.

And I know I can be fat and active and keep those numbers under control.

But I have to start somewhere, and right now I’m starting back at the beginning.

Walks the long way around the block. Both for my body and for my mind.

Eventually I’ll be able to go the even longer way around the block. The way with the steep hill.

The way that’s intimidating for me now.

I’m tired of getting out of breath this easily.

I’m tired of letting myself fall back into old habits.

I’m tired of eating because I’m upset.

And then getting upset because I’m eating.

I’m just tired of this same old battle, that will probably never stop.

It’s just like my mental health. I’ll be battling that till the day I die.

A constant fight hoping to stay stable and keep myself alive.

A constant fight to keep myself active and fit.

It’s tiring.

I’m tired.

Home Sweet Home

This is a Really Real Mental Health post.

It’s been far too long since I’ve put fingers to keys for one of my regular posts. I’ve been home for ~36 hours and it feels like days and days and days. So many things that I missed that are right at my fingertips again.

Typing was one of those things.

I wrote every day while I was inpatient, multiple times a day. Working out of 2 composition books. One for my regular journaling, and one for daily goals and assignments.

So many assignments.

I think I should continue the practice of setting daily goals. These weren’t meant to be “laundry list” items, or things that we were expected to do as part of our treatment, but it was more for goals of what to work on for healing. Practicing certain skills, or doing internal checks on safety, feelings and grounding.

Considering that I only ended up being there for 2 weeks, I got so much out of it. I can’t decide if I’m glad it was this short, or if I wished it would have been longer.

I am glad to be home though.

I spent most of today crafting. Cutting out so many pieces of cardstock for the holiday cards I’m making this year. I don’t have enough time to do individualized cards for each person, so I’m batch making 4 or so of each style. I have 8 pages of addresses, with more to come.

So many cards.

And I’m so thankful that I have all of these people in my life. So many people that I can spread joy to, through crafting.

And it keeps my hands and my mind busy.

Staying busy, distracted but grounded, is a big part of my healing. Letting myself think enough to process whatever is going on, but not so much that I ruminate and get into trouble.

At this point it’s been weeks without suicidal thoughts and while I don’t fool myself into thinking that they are gone forever, it’s a nice break, and I have more tools to handle them when they come up.

I didn’t really have a goal in mind when I started writing today, I just miss the routine of putting words on the screen.

I miss this sort of processing.

Don’t get me wrong, there are benefits to journaling with pen and paper, but it hurts my hands so much that I can’t fully focus on what I’m trying to get out. My entries end up being short and choppy, with horrible handwriting that is difficult to read.

Tomorrow starts NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month), where people try to write X number of words in the month of November. Basically finishing an entire book in one month. It’s quite the commitment and not something I’m interested in doing, but in the past I’ve spent the month of November writing one post a day, as my own modified challenge.

I’m trying to decide if I want to do that again this year.

Writing just for the sake of writing can go both ways. Sometimes I end up with incredible posts that let me do some deep introspection that I didn’t even know I needed. Other times I’m just putting words on the screen with no real direction, no real topic, no real beginning or end.

Kind of like this one.

We Missed Out

This is a Really Real . . . well, a lot of things, post.

TW: Suicidal Thoughts Mentioned. Death Mentioned.

I’m sitting at an antique kitchen table, the light overhead the only one illuminating the expansive and open area.

Wonder Woman is asleep in a recliner in the connected living room. The Mountain Goats are playing quietly on the portable speaker that she was thoughtful enough to bring with us.

I almost fell asleep on the couch, cuddled up under my favorite blanket that I brought from home. Unfortunately I can’t fall asleep without my CPAP. But time slipped away as I laid there with my eyes closed.

Now the music has ended and I hear Wonder Woman snoring ever so quietly. The tap tap tap of Siah’s nails against the old linoleum floor. I wish she would relax and lay down some place, the constant noise of her nails makes me anxious.

I’ve wanted to write all day, but couldn’t quite figure out what to write about. I didn’t want to interrupt our quiet time together anyway.

My brain has been quiet for over 24 hours. The dreams and nightmares I had last night just quietly passed by, without the anxious reaction that they normally cause.

I didn’t realize how loud my brain has been since I went to my dad’s house, nearly a month ago. First there was worry about caring for him, and then there was the trauma of his death.

I mentioned to Wonder Woman earlier that I felt more connected to her than I have in awhile. Not because anything was wrong with us, or because we’ve done anything differently, but because trauma takes up so much emotional space that it’s hard to find room to truly connect.

I would notice how loud it was and how much space it was taking up when it was distressing. The times when my Facebook posts were quick and terse and scary. The times when I wasn’t sure I’d make it through this. At those times the noise is apparent.

But during the times when it’s just there, when I feel like it’s quieted down and is just gently simmering in the background, I didn’t realize how much space it was still taking up.

I suspect that some day I’ll look back on this vacation and see that it’s still taking up a lot of space.

But right now it seems quiet. It’s quiet enough that I can lay still and awake on the sofa with my eyes closed. I don’t feel the need to fill every moment with, something, until I pass out full of medications at night.

But there’s still a quiet thought in the background. Something completely unrelated to my current trauma, but a reminder that past traumas are always with me.

I walked into a game and toy store that sells wooden toys and puzzles and games. It’s a store that we came to last time we were here and I was so glad to see that they were still open, they had just moved one street over. I was talking to the owner, a woman who talks about so many different things because she’s just happy to have company for a few minutes. I told her, “My son is nearly 21 now, but this is exactly the kind of place I would have brought him to when he was a kid.”

Back when Parker was alive.

I wish we could have come to a town like this. I wish we could have experienced the long drive through the mountains to get here. I wish we could have seen the sun set over the rolling hills in the distance. I wish we could have seen how different the colors are, just from the difference in elevation.

I wish.

And I feel guilty for thinking about Parker, and thinking about old times, and thinking about how things were . . . while I’m on this amazing vacation.

But those times make me appreciate what I have now.

Don’t get me wrong, we’re still pretty poor, and it takes family help for us to experience these sorts of things, especially when it’s been a month since I last worked.

But this is a different sort of poor. This is the kind of poor where I can afford to buy something I forgot when I was packing for the trip. The kind of poor where we can stop for something to eat on the road instead of packing a cooler.

I’m sad that Parker died without experiencing this kind of poor with me.

I’m sad that Kidlet grew up without experiencing this kind of poor with me.

My bottle squeaks as I open it and Wonder Woman jumps awake to make sure I’m okay. I feel bad that I woke her up from that peaceful evening nap.

But she’s already fast asleep again.

It’s so quiet here. The music has stopped playing, the dog is finally resting on the carpet, and I can hear the bugs outside. I hear the wind gently blowing through the long grass in the field just beyond the little cottage we’re staying in.

This is a kind of peaceful that I don’t get to experience often.

And my brain is quiet.

I wonder if Wonder Woman jerked awake because she was afraid that she’d left me alone too long.

But the suicidal thoughts are quiet.

We talk of future trips and visits overseas and she says “But you have to stay alive that long.”

We’ve eaten at a restaurant within a local resort and Wonder Woman mentioned that she could see us vacationing in a place like that when we’re old and want everything close by.

“But you have to stay alive that long.”

I feel guilty that she even has to say that. I feel guilty because I know those thoughts tear us both apart. They aren’t just scary for me, they are scary for everyone around me.

But they are quiet right now.

I shiver slightly as the cool night air blows through one of the still open windows. I don’t want to get up and close it because I don’t want to disturb her again.

We’re both experiencing a sort of peace here that we rarely get.

I know there’s always the possibility that the peace will be broken before we leave. I don’t get to decide when trauma will speak up and remind me that it still exists.

But right now I’m going to sit here and enjoy the sound of the bugs, and the feel of the cool breeze coming in the window. And I’m going to listen to Wonder Woman peacefully sleeping.

And I’ll deal with everything else, when it gets here.