Tag Archives: depression
Aside

One Time, I Freaked Out.

16 Jun

Lazarus almost choked on a penny.  I don’t even know if that’s a fair description, really.  It was more like he gagged on a penny for a second before expelling it from his mouth.  But I flipped out.  I mean:  FLIPPED OUT.  Allow me to paint a picture:

He was lying on the ground (probably in a dress or naked, his usual uniform) talking to me, and I noticed there was something in his mouth and knew that we hadn’t eaten recently.  So I asked what was in his mouth?  And as he was saying it, I was realizing with some dismay that it was a penny.  I told him to spit it out!  Now!  As he moved the penny from the pocket of his cheek to his tongue, I could feel what was going to happen vibrate through me:  that penny was going to slide down into his throat and he was going to choke and he was probably going to die because Lord knows I do not know what to do in emergency situations.  I yanked him up (by his head, if I remember right) as he started to gag and saw a look of, albeit brief, panic.  I started to spin him so his back was facing me and was starting to reach around him with my hands to find the spot to start giving him the Heimlich, when the penny popped out of his mouth onto the couch in an aura of spit.  You could’ve choked!  You could’ve died!  Why do you do things like this?!  I demanded of him, my voice quivering.  His face rumpled into it’s pre-crying visage, but so did mine.  I couldn’t stand it– this could have been the day he died.  This could’ve been the story I told for years to come.  This moment– so short; so uneventful, really; a moment of almost-but-not-quite disaster– was too much for me to handle.  I began sobbing, shuddering with fear and anxiety and premature grief.

Why doesn’t he listen to me?  Why doesn’t he stop putting small things in his mouth at this age?  Why is he always getting hurt?  Why is this so scary to me?

As I sat on the couch sobbing into my hands wondering all these things, the kids would wander in and out, near and far.  They suggested I go upstairs to scream.  Maybe I could leave the room or something?  Here.  This animal will help you feel better, Mommy.  These little people are kind to me when I’m obviously upset.

I called Joe and sobbed to him for about 15 minutes; he tried his best to calm me down.  But there’s not much you can do to calm down a person in a completely irrational panic.  Yeah, it was scary for the nanosecond it was happening.  But it was over, and no one was hurt.  (Well, I was hurting, I guess, but that’s not what I mean.)  I know that I have emotional responses that are past what would be expected sometimes; and I know that I can become really scared of something that could possibly maybe potentially happen without actually experiencing the “thing”.  And that’s part of why I was so upset.

But I was also beside myself because of this:  As soon as I was able to calm down enough to stop crying, it was back to business with the kids.  And that’s exactly what happened.  As soon as I was done letting my chest heave and my breath run short, Laz wanted me to make the tent that I said I’d make and Zoe wanted to eat.  My whole world was being held together, loosely, with delicate threads of silk, and they wanted food and a tent.  They wanted me back to normal.  They wanted life to go on.  And I wanted to stop.  I wanted to lie in bed and cry for hours and fall asleep.  I wanted to lose control and sob and scream and be exactly what I felt in that moment.  But I couldn’t.  I mean, okay, I did tell Lazarus to shut up (NOT MY PROUDEST MOMENT, TELLING A 3-YEAR-OLD TO SHUT UP, MIND YOU) at some point during the wailing when he asked for his tent to be made.  So I did indulge in my despair some.  But I couldn’t sit in it like I wanted to, like I sometimes need to.  I had to calm myself down as quickly as possible and get over it for then.  I didn’t like it.  I don’t like it.  Sometimes, I hate being a mom because you always have to take care of the kids.  Always.  Having a panic attack?  Kids still want lunch.  Sobbing so hard you might faint?  Kids still need to go to bed.  Just generally freaking out?  Kids are still going to hit you, hug you, lick you, ignore you.

Sometimes I feel so trapped in motherhood.  And it is scary as f**k.  Seriously.  Sometimes I feel so scared of loving them because, hey, maybe they’ll choke on pennies suddenly and die because I couldn’t protect them and care for them like I’m supposed to.  I love them and hate them sometimes for making me step outside of myself.  These little people– so needy, so want-y, so sweet and lovely and caring and callous all at the same time– are my people, my family, my children and what does it even mean?

It means sometimes I freak out but have to come right out of it; that I cannot be as selfish as depression and anxiety tend to make me; that sometimes I keep moving solely because I have to in order to keep 3 other people alive.  Kids, for me, have been both trigger and cure.  It is kind of horrifying (man, do I love to exaggerate and use hyperbole…) to feel such conflicting things about someone you made in your body.

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Depressive Episode

9 Jun

I had family in town this past weekend, and I seem to always lose a bit of self-control whenever a visit is over.  I love getting to see my family enjoy my kids and play with them and my kids put on a show for everyone.  It’s overwhelming but delightful to see my kids love other people.

But, like for so many others, family for me is painful, too.  Family are the people who don’t understand me and might not ever try.  Family are the people I put on a mask for.  The ones I turn much more introverted for.  Become less opinionated around.  Speak up for myself less.  I shrink any part of me that might become offensive because I’m not sure anyone’s love is unconditional.

The other day, I read this confession from an adult adoptee and realized I related to so, so much of what she wrote.  Obviously, my life has not been the same as an adoptee; please don’t think I’m saying that.  But my life isn’t like yours with both biological parents around, either.  I often feel like I’m in some weird other place, and it’s hard to find voices saying familiar things.  Adoption is the closest scenario to mine, I guess, and so I’m finding a lot in common when reading the stories of adoptees.

I also wanted to read more about ambiguous grief that I’d heard mentioned in talk about adoption.  So, I did what any Millennial would do:  I Googled it.  And this is what I read.  And, all of a sudden, I felt like I could forgive myself.  All this jumble of feelings; all these times of feeling sad and confused around holidays and, as I’ve gotten older, my birthday; all the faulty coping I’ve engineered for myself— all of this has a reason behind it.  I mean, I guess I knew that; but I’ve never been exposed to the idea of ambiguous grief before very recently, and the ability to name something is so very powerful.

Because, even though I know that I’m not the only one to feel sad at Christmas because I don’t know my bio dad/my family of origin doesn’t really know me/whatever else is in the mix , it can feel that way.  It can feel like an impossible hurdle to overcome, this being different thing.  But I’m not so different; I fall into a whole lot of categories.  And while the teenaged rebel in me still hopes thinks I am undefinable, I feel a lot calmer and merciful with myself when I figure out that I’m not so outside these distinct, knowable boxes.

I’ve been reading a lot about “peaceful/gentle/positive parenting” stuff (see herehere, or here for what I’ve been reading), and something that gets brought up frequently is knowing your own stuff– your deep wounds, your painful associations, your traumas and triggers and tipping points– so that you can parent well.  And I feel like I’m digging deep into myself and dragging out all kinds of sad, mangled feelings; things that I’d rather not think about or deal with.  But my daughter reminds me of myself as a child, and I have to let things go so I don’t go on being jealous of her.  Of a 4-almost-5-year-old.  Yes, my heart is an ugly place at times; but I am more than the sum of my past hurts, and I can be different.  I can try to love myself so that I can love my kids better than how I was treated.

 

Here’s to breaking the cycle.

To making a family where we can know each other even if we are not alike.

To loving fully and totally and painfully.

To having a vulnerable heart even though it can be more easily bruised.

To being who I am even though it’s scary.

Today, I feel bad.

7 Feb

Sometimes everything just seems so sad.  The world is just marred  and scarred and ugly.  Every time I yell at my kids because I can’t control myself; every time I wake up with that old friend draped over my back bringing me further down; every time I realize how selfish and self-centered I am:  this is the place I live.  This is where I wake up and eat breakfast and wish for things to be different but can’t seem to change.  This:  is life sometimes; is overwhelming; is only temporary.

Maybe tomorrow I’ll wake up and the heaviness will be gone and my ability to hold my tongue and breathe quiet, tranquil breaths will come back and the fire-breathing dragon will be hibernating again.  Maybe tomorrow will seem bright and new instead of blinding and cruel.  Maybe everything will be okay again for a little while tomorrow.

Tomorrow feels like a brick in my throat.  Jumbled words in my brain trying to make their pitiful way out feel like punishment.  It’s times when my mind is so clouded like this that I realize how much I prize my intelligence and ability to think and form words and pictures and understand things.  I can’t right now.  And I don’t know when I’ll be able to again.

 

This is it, isn’t it?  This is life with little kids.  With little kids and ongoing depression.  Isn’t it?  This is a heaviness that is friendly in its familiarity but is suffocating nonetheless.

 

And I write these things down and just… what is this?  It is so melodramatic.  It is so bourgeois.  It is so very real.  This is why I hate myself sometimes; can’t I just calm down?  If I tried hard enough?  I must be doing something wrong?  I must be doing something wrong.

 

I know it’s crazy, but sometimes I’m glad to be depressed.  Maybe because it’s the only thing I feel like I’m good at.  Maybe because it’s so worn in for me already.  It’s different.  It’s… not fun.  Or funny.  But people who are interesting throughout history have been depressed and did cool stuff. 

Then– obviously– other times, depression is like cotton balls shoved deep in my mouth; like desiccants poured down my throat, in my eyes.  It is stifling and stiff and sore.  It is hard to move or think.  It is foggy and cloudy and misty and bad.  It is bad.  It feels so bad to feel like this.

 

I want this post to have a point, and it just doesn’t.  There are just real problems in the world, and this isn’t one of them.