Brain, Brain, Go Away

This is a Really Real Mental Health Post.

My brain is an asshole.

A quiet asshole, but still, an asshole.

This has been an incredible weekend. Calm and quiet. Sitting around the house playing video games side by side with my girl. Something that we don’t do often. Both of us doing our own thing in the same make believe world.

It’s nice to be fully engaged in a game again. It’s nice to be interested in something, anything, again.

But then, in the back of my head is this little voice

It starts telling me I’m never going to be anything but a failure. I’m never going to make it. I’m never going to be enough. I’m never going to be skinny enough, stable enough, pretty enough. I’m never going to have enough money. I’m never going to be successful at anything.

It tells me I should just stop trying.

It tells me I should just die.

It tries to convince me everyone would be better off, everyone would be happier.

I push it away, I go about my day. I ignore the voice. But it’s still there, quietly, whispering in the back of my head.

Brains can be assholes sometimes.

This weekend has been amazing. Cuddles galore, and little moments when Wonder Woman walks by me in the kitchen and steals a kiss or rubs against me.

I tell her “You make me so happy”

“Good, because you deserve happy”

And the voice in the back of my head speaks up again. Telling me I don’t deserve this. Telling me it won’t last. Telling me that any day I’ll fuck it up, or that somehow it will be taken away from me. The voice reminds me of all the sadness in my life, tells me that’s what I deserve, that’s where I belong.

That’s why I should die.

Brains can be assholes sometimes.

This has been a really good weekend. Quiet and low key, the kind of weekend that I almost feel guilty for having. Nothing got done, except for a trip to the gym, and some cooking.

But I also spent the whole weekend quietly fighting a battle in my head.

I know the quiet voice is a liar. I know I’m making huge progress in my life and that my life worth isn’t even based on the progress I make. I know I deserve happy and that what I’ve been through in my past is just one part of my life and there’s so much more to live.

But, my brain is an asshole.

Brain, brain, go away.

Come back when you can play nice.

 

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.

Things To Do When I’m Alone

This is a Really Real Mental Health Post.

That’s it! I’m tired of spending my alone time laying around in bed moping like some lost puppy.

I totally get it, missing Wonder Woman is like grief all over again but I can’t keep doing this. It puts me into a dangerous position especially when suicidal intrusive thoughts work their way into the mix. It’s time for a plan of attack.

I need a list of things to do.

This feels silly, why does a 38 year old woman need to sit down and write out a list of interesting things to do when she’s alone? But the fact is, once I’m alone, my mind goes blank and gets filled with nothing but sad and grief and bored and a shit load of spiraling thoughts that often land on suicide. If the way out of this mess is a list of things to do, then lets start making that list!

Creative Stuff

  • design shirts (even if I can’t make them)
  • design stickers (even if I don’t know where to stick them)
  • look up new shirt/sticker designs
  • chainmaille
  • diamond painting
  • etched glass

Cooking

  • figure out how to make a current recipe healthier
  • find new healthy recipes
  • cook something Wonder Woman doesn’t like (EAT ALL OF THE SEAFOOD!!!!!)

Cleaning

  • who am I kidding, if I’m in the mood to clean, there is no shortage and I don’t need a list

Self Care

  • finally use one of those lush bath bombs (I am my own special occasion)
  • read one of the psych books
  • read one of the grief books
  • go for a long walk, alone

Entertainment

  • get over phobia of Xbox and watch Netflix
  • get over phobia of Xbox and play video games (finally get into Kingdom Hearts)
  • play one of my many video games on the computer

 

I’m sure there are dozens more ideas I can add, but this is a good start. If you can think of anything I don’t have here let me know so I can keep this growing.

 

 

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.

Notifications

This is a Really Real Mental Health Post.

I’m an Inbox Zero kinda person.

The kinda person that can’t stand those little notification bubbles anywhere.

The kinda person that will leave someone one read just because I have to click on their message to make the notification bubble go away even if I don’t have the time or energy to respond right then.

Right now I have well over 300 unread emails in my gmail account.

Blog posts and important messages and not so important messages and advertisements.

Things I clear out and take care of the second they hit my account.

Right now they are backing up more and more and more.

I don’t really care.

I mean, I guess I do care, I’m in a state of functional depression. It’s not quite dragging me under but I can’t quite stay on top either. I keep dropping some of the balls I’m trying to juggle.

I’m making it to the gym and eating a healthy diet and getting to my appointments but ugh, do I really have to clean the house? Do I really have to take care of my email? Do I really feel like focusing on my blog? Do I really feel like taking care of every day mandatory self care stuff?

Just how mandatory is it?

Can I put that shower off just one more day?

I have phone calls I’ve needed to make. Benefits I really need to apply for.

I keep saying I’ll take care of that tomorrow.

Tomorrow.

Tomorrow.

I don’t think I realize how much depression is taking its toll on me until I type it out like this because really, I feel fine. I still feel like I’m finding joy in life, I guess. I’m not actually miserable. I don’t feel sad. I’m not crying.

Mostly I’m not suicidal.

But in between activities my bed keeps calling my name and I fight to stay out of it. Such a comforting nest of blankets to wrap myself in.

It’s funny how depression can hide itself in the middle of a seemingly typical mood.

But over 300 unread emails isn’t typical for me.

And right now I don’t really care.

 

Is That You?

This is a Really Real Widow Post.

Dear Parker,

Just typing those words brought tears to my eyes.

I can’t believe it’s been three years since I last heard your voice.

I can’t believe it’s been three years since I last saw you breathing.

You’ve missed too much.

Kidlet’s grown up now. He moved out to Seattle and lives with his girlfriend. You would be SO Fucking proud of the man he has become. He’s doing so much better than we ever did and I can only see him going further.

I’ve been fighting harder than we ever did when you were alive. That’s the one thing you gave to me by leaving. The will to go on. I realized what was at stake and I gave it everything. I’ve gotten so much healthier mentally and physically. As my favorite niece on your side would put it, I’ve pulled so many damn weeds and I’ve grown a lot of flowers in their place.

Speaking of my favorite niece on your side, you should see her now. She’s doing so well, but I’m sure she writes you her own letters. She’s such an amazing writer and her voice  . . oh, her voice. I can’t wait to attend her first major concert. She’s done so much work on herself since you’ve been gone.

There’s a firefly that’s been hanging out on my porch pretty much around the clock for the past week. Is that you? I don’t even know if I believe it could be you but the thing seems to be there every morning and every night when I take Siah out and it just won’t leave me alone, so maybe, just maybe . . .

I’m sorry that our last words were so hurtful. I’m sorry I was so angry. I’m sorry we went through so much and didn’t have any outlet except for each other. I wish I could take it all back.

And I wish you could have seen that it would get better. I wish you could be here to see the other side. I wish you wouldn’t have lost your battle with this soul sucking bullshit.

But I get it, I really do.

Sometimes I’m not sure how I keep going either.

I miss you, and I love you.

Was It Ever Different

This is a Really Real . . .Something? . . . Post.

Maybe Relationship.

Maybe Widow.

But no matter what the subject is, it’s Really Real.

You should all know by now that I check Facebook memories and Timehop every single day, without fail. It lets me see how far I’ve come, lets me see the amazing things I’ve done with Wonder Woman and Kidlet and Batwoman, and before that it shows me little gifts in the forms of messages left behind on my wall to and from Parker.

A year ago I was in a partial hospitalization program. I was in a severe mixed mood episode, was both suicidal and manic. Wonder Woman had been staying with me for 2 months but was officially moving her stuff in.

Now, a year later, I’m reading those posts and remembering when we first moved Wonder Woman’s bed into the house and got rid of mine. Remembering all of my stress over the moving happening too fast and not fast enough. Wanting her stuff here now but holy shit her stuff is invading my space and changing the way I live.

It all feels like it’s from another lifetime.

It’s only been a year but it feels like she’s been here forever.

I can’t imagine this house without her shoes (so many shoes) all over the floor in the living room.

I can’t imagine not knowing the recipes I’ve learned to cook because it’s food she likes.

I can’t imagine coming home and not seeing Trillian (her sweet kitty) in the tub.

I can’t imagine waking up or going to bed without cuddles, almost every single time. 

So many cuddles.

But at the same time, I absolutely can imagine the day that this all goes away.

I have, almost the benefit, of knowing that life can change in an instant.

Sorry friends, this is where the sweet sappy post gets grim and dark.

I still check her breathing, I still panic when she’s late, I still wonder who I would call, I still wonder if they would know to call me if she wasn’t home.

I almost can’t imagine a day that she wasn’t here but at the same time I’m constantly aware that any day this could all be taken away.

But I try, so hard, not to live like I know, while always living like I know.

The benefit to widowhood is that I appreciate all of those little things that I mentioned before. I even appreciate things that would have annoyed me in life before death.

I wish everyone could learn the lessons without the loss.

What can you be more appreciative of?