Yin-Yang Twins…No, not those guys…

I lost a dear friend this week.  It was a hard shock and my soul is still trying to stop crying over the premature loss of a soul whose very essence screams purity and wholesomeness.  We lived in the same neighborhood when we were middle and high school kids and we went through the same awkward phases together.  It was the early 90s and therefore we lived by the nights of MTV, when it still legitimately stood for music television videos, to watch the latest hairbands release the next big hit.  We spent many nights together listening to music, watching videos, and crushing on the likes of Axl Rose and Bret Michaels. We did silly things like tease each other’s’ hair, try on rad ass clothes, put on bright, powder blue eye makeup, and all the jewelry we could possibly find in her mom’s room.  It was a great time.

Honestly, she was my safe space.  She was the one person on the planet that wouldn’t judge me, hate me, or try to change me.  She was honest in a way that worked for a rebelling teen.  She balanced my yin with her yang, which is probably why we kept the BFF yin-yang necklaces for years.  You remember those necklaces, right?  The ones that started with half heart pieces that looked broken and one side had BE FRI while the 2nd half had ST ENDS…the yin and yang were much, much better options because honestly, who wanted the 2nd half that read ST ENDS, it was like getting the utter and ass section of a two-part cow costume…and who wants to be the ass?  No one.

Yep, yin and yang best friend necklaces in the form of hip chokers were our thing and it just fit perfectly.  She was always the positivity that everyone needed in their life, the shining brightness in an otherwise dark, dark world.  I remember I asked her once how she stayed so happy all the time and she simply said, because it’s easier to be happy than it is to be sad or angry.  It was simple, but it was right.

I remember when she had her 4 wheeler accident and she ended up with some permanent damage.  My mom, God bless her patient self, drove me to Macon, GA several times while she was in the hospital.  It was a scary time and it was some of the longest days until we were confident she would come through it.  It wasn’t long after that when we started to drift apart.  Boys got in the way, more specifically, Mr. Medic got in the way.  Don’t get me wrong, it wasn’t his fault in the slightest, but it was something that happened the way it usually does when a boy enters a teenage girl’s life and suddenly there’s no time for anything or anyone else.  I was completely smitten and mine and her time became less and less until my family moved three states away.  We spoke a few times after I moved and a few times after I came back a few years later, but nothing was ever as close as those middle and high school years.

We met up a few times after I got back and she was still a pillar of sunshine and rainbows on a stormy night, but like with life and kids, time got busy again.  Technology advanced and eventually social media became a thing and we reconnected via Facebook, but we never really reconnected they way we were once connected.  I’ve always regretted that, but then I thought there was time.  Don’t we all think that?  Don’t we all think there’s time?  Time, it’s a fickle thing – you always think there’s more of it, until there isn’t.

So, here I sit in the darkness and silence of my living room with tears streaming down my face – thankful that I know my keys and I can punch these words out without needing to see – and I wonder.  I wonder if she knows.  Does she know?????  Does she know the light she poured into my soul some 25 years ago that has never, not once dulled?  Does she know how many lives she’s touched by just being the angelic, sweet person she was born to be?  Does she know how special she was to every single human being she met?  My guess is that she doesn’t. She saw herself as any selfless person would, just another person.  She was so much more though, she was the person that ALL people who meet her aspire to be more like.

She was unapologetically herself and who she wanted to be.  She strived for happiness and peace when others only dreamed of it.  As I sit here and reminisce over years gone by and time forgotten, I remember her smile, her positive thoughts, and the way she lived her life and I smile through the tears and heartache knowing that I am immensely blessed for having had only a blink of time with her.  I am a better person for just having known her.  I take this time to make a promise to her beautiful soul that I will strive to live in peace and happiness when others only dream of it, and acknowledge that if something does not bring that peace and happiness, that I must let it go and find what does.  She taught me that.  She taught me to be brave. She taught me to love endlessly and hopelessly and it’s time to start living for her.  I will grieve her, I will love her, and I will get busy living in peace and happiness because to do anything else would tarnish the perfect memory of the most beautiful soul I have ever known.  God bless you, Pamombeau, my darling friend and know that you will live on through time and space.  I love you and I can’t wait to see your smiling face again one day.  Fly high and shine bright my sweet friend.

The Darkness

I used to be vivacious.  I vaguely remember those days, the days where I was always on the go and in want of someone’s company because life was full of possibilities.  I remember smiling and laughing without force.  Sometimes, when I try, I can even remember what it was like to not have constant darkness standing over me and threatening to pull me into myself.

I’m not that person anymore and I’m left with only memories of who I once was.  I clinically suffer from depression and anxiety.  I’ve only said it or admitted to a handful of close friends and my husband, only 2 people truly believe me and not one really knows what it means.  I should have a shelf full of Oscars for the performance I put on pretending that “I’m fine”.  Today, I’m not fine.

So, what does it mean?  For me, it means pain.  It means fear.  It means sadness.  It means anger.  It means loneliness.  For me, it does not mean suicidal or batshit crazy.  I was spared the batshit crazy gene, thank God.  For me, it’s most definitely NOT “in my head” and I cannot simply choose to “get over it”.  There is no medication I can take and magically feel better.  I take medication to manage this condition, but sometimes it’s unmanageable.

More often than not, I can be in a depressive state or having an episode and you’ll be standing right next to me and never know.  I still show up to gatherings with friends and family because I still show up for my kids and my husband every day and these are the things required of me.

I am a mother, wife, aunt, daughter, sister, friend, and coworker and sometimes that’s really hard for me.  Sometimes that makes me cry from the overwhelming knowledge that so many people rely on me and deep down I know I cannot even rely on myself.  So many days I just want to let the covers swallow me whole and disappear until these horrible feelings disappear.  But, I can’t.  I have a life, I have children, I have a husband, I have a career and all of this means I can’t escape to a corner in my room for days like I want to.

I wish I could openly talk to my loved ones about this to help them understand what I feel, but I can’t.  I can only write.  It’s my mask.  Today, behind my mask, I will try to explain it to those who don’t battle these consuming disorders.

Anxiety makes me feel everything all the time and at one time.  It feels like suffocation.  It feels like drowning.  It’s consuming.  It’s scary as hell.  I feel like I’m losing control.  I can’t catch my breath, I can’t see my way through my own fears and I just want to find a dark room.  Hearing my loved ones tell me to breathe or calm down or take a pill only adds to these feelings.  I feel like they’ve just pushed my head a little further under.

When the anxiety starts to fade and I come out of the suffocating fog, depression is there to latch on and its hold is so strong and so hard to get away from.  Depression knows that’s when I’m at my weakest and it twists and turns like smoke and smothers everything that is good in life.  My doctor once said that depression is an emotional paralysis.  He’s right, it really is.  Depression lies to me, fills me full of thoughts of how worthless I am, how much I have failed myself, my family, my friends, my coworkers.  Depression steals any ray of light that reminds me I am loved and worthy of being loved.

When the smoke of depression begins to pull back, it leaves me with anger.  Anger at myself for falling victim to this disease.  Anger at myself for being so miserable.  Anger at my friends and family for not seeing through the fake persona I put on so that no one sees just how weak I am.  I just want to scream “I’M FUCKING DROWNING, DON’T YOU SEE ME??”, but instead I smile and say, “I’m fine”.

Depression is exhausting.  Once the anger subsides I am too tired to care.  I am too tired to get up and cook dinner for my family.  I sit and I cry because I know I have chores, I have duties, I have kids to feed, dogs to feed, clothes to wash, a house to clean and I just can’t.  I’m so exhausted.  I’m emotionally drained and I just need to lay down and cry and cry and cry.

These are my bad days.  These are the days when I succumb.  I can be like this for a few days and then not again for several months.  It sneaks up on me and I’m never prepared when it hits me.  Depression is a sneaky bastard.  It’s an evil I never knew existed and then when I knew, I never fully understood what all it was.  Now that I live with it, I know all too well that depression can be debilitating and suffocating and incorrigible, and I hate it immensely.

Man is least himself when he talks in his own person. 
Give him a mask, and he will tell you the truth.
– Oscar Wilde

I’m losing my shit, y’all

I’ve recently opened up (a little) about this little alien disease that seems to have taken up residence in my body.  Depression.  I really didn’t think I would have it or be diagnosed with it, but what do I know?  Nothing.  Absolutely nothing.  Yesterday was some interesting business.  Thank God for medication and my husband because honestly, I don’t know how else I would have made it out alive.  Oh, and my new doctor.  I guess I should thank him, too.  Any who…

Yesterday started off as any other Monday does…with eye rolls, sighs, grunts, feet stomping, and whines – the kids felt the same way, too.  It was their first day back after fall break (what the fuck is that by the way?  They get a break because of a season change? Pfft).  About an hour after I get to the office I get a call from the middle school that my kids attend.  Lovely.  I answer, hoping and praying it’s some stupid “will you bring me a book” phone call so I can tell them they’ve lost their ever-loving mind and go back to class.  No such luck.  It’s The Middle’s counselor.

I listen as she explains the events that have transpired this morning, concern from a friend of The Middle’s led them to an investigation and a sit-down.  She’s been self-harming and that one single time that happened months ago “as an experiment” has been on repeat for a while now.  It’s at this point I can’t breathe, I can’t see, I can’t think and I have no idea what happened to my voice.  I don’t know how much time passes before I’m able to mutter a cognitive sentence explaining I’m on my way to the school.

On the way there I call Mr. EMT, who’s exhausted and hasn’t yet fallen asleep from working the night before, and crazily go through what was just explained to me.  He’s still dressed and he will meet me at the school and suddenly I feel a little better.  He’s home, he’s awake, he’s going to help us through this.  I love my Mr. EMT.

At the school The Middle is in tears, Mr. EMT is his perfectly calm self, and I’m shaking uncontrollably as the counselor goes more in detail to what happened.  I’m numb.  I’m scared.  I’m broken.  My heart hurts for The Middle and all I want to do is grab her and hug her, all I want to do is tell her she’s going to be ok.  I wait for that until we’re in the safe bubble of our living room, away from prying eyes and awkwardness.  Here this beautiful little child sits and she’s scared, and she’s broken, and it takes everything inside me not to join her in the endless tears.  But I have to be strong.  I have to be the mom and her backbone.  We talk at length and we look at the paper her school counselor gave us with the name and number of a therapist who specializes in this and we all three agree it’s the best thing.

Mr. EMT eventually goes to sleep and The Middle and I spend lovely moments together talking about anything she wants to talk about.  It’s like any other day, but more.  I hate to leave her, I hate that I have an appointment with my new doctor, but I need to go to this more than ever.  We spend an hour going over me, what’s been going on, how I cope with things, and I let him know about the events of earlier and I lose it.  I crumble and I just cry.  It’s too much.  Everything is just too much.  I feel like a rubber band must feel when it’s stretched so far that it’s developing a hole just before it breaks.

He speaks of depression, how my medicine will help me out of it, and he mentions seeing the possibility of a nervous breakdown.  I’m not there yet, he says, but he fears I’m pretty close.  Maybe I am.  I gather myself back together and we talk for just over an hour.  He told me the one thing I’ve read from The Bloggess countless times that has always resonated with me, Depression Lies.  It’s not hopeless after all.

I left his office with a sliver of hope.  I might be losing my shit, but I have help finding it and putting it back together and most importantly, so does The Middle.  I think The Middle and I can both become better and we can do it together.  She won’t feel alone going to therapy because her mom needs it just as badly.  The scar we both carry inside and outside will heal with time.

This week’s prompt from Tina, at Not Just Another Mother Blogger.

“Best hidden away” and/or “scar”

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