For your love of me – a mother

I stress myself out because I worry that my children will have these same issues. No mother wants to have their children go through the same suffering. They have their whole life to go through, so much happiness and fun, love and learning, exploration and growing. They can’t do that if they suffer anything like I have over the last several decades.

They were not aware of the times I was sinking into the blackness. They were young and not aware. Mum is always yelling, sometimes not full of life. Sometimes she is full of laughter, we go outside and play games then … then she would be tired, sad. I hope they did not think they were the reason I was sad. I worry that I made them feel like it was their fault. Something else I failed at; being a good mother.

I must save them from feeling this way. I watch them, very closely, can I see their signs? They can not go through this, I won’t let them.

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Am I worth life

Some days I watch the news and I think, if someone killed me, no one would really miss me other than my husband and children, then there are days I think they would be better without me; for everyone else I seem to be burden on them.   Not happy enough, talkative enough, too bossy or controlling, too kind, too helpful.  Being told by family members that I’m never going to have friends, that I allow people to walk all over me, but also that I am too opinionated, too caring.  I have been told by “friends” that I am too much and for some not enough.  I have even been ridiculed for having faith. 

And I wonder why my head and heart spin so much.  Am I not enough or am I too much?  Why can’t I just be?  I know I do not fit in with everyone in this town.  I never have.

In my clearer moments, this is what I tell myself:

I am me.  I am an individual.  I have something to offer people, be it friendship, a smile or a helping hand.  My Dad always told me to stand on my own two feet.  Never rely on someone else to get you through the day or to get you to where you want to go.  And for the most part of my days, that is what goes through my head.  I put on a good face to the outside world.  I smile because it makes me happy.  I believe I can tell myself what to think, I won’t let others dictate how I feel.  I choose to be happy.  I choose to have faith in myself that I can get through this.  I choose to live.  I choose to ignore the negative people who are so sad in their own lives that they feel they have the right to put someone down, to tell them they are nothing when they themselves are nothing.  No one can tell me I am not worth my life.

Sounds very uplifting.  Very strong.

Until it’s not.

Smile or not to smile

During my good days, I always believed, and I guess some part of me still believes, that you should always smile when in public.  I tell my children, always smile and never dismiss anyone because you never know what others are going through. Maybe that smile or that hello is what helps someone feel better about themselves or helps them see that not everyone is judging them or ignoring them.

This is something I have always done; hello to the cash register operator, smile at people as we cross paths on the footpath.  And I did not think anyone really bothered with me doing it.  Until one day, someone who I use to think was a friend, not a best friend but a friend, told me that I walk around the town like I own it, like I am so much better than others.  When I asked them what they meant, they replied, “you are always smiling and so nice to people.  It’s annoying to watch”. First, how does someone say that to another person … where do they get the impression that it is ok to complain about how happy someone seems.  Is it because they themselves are not that happy and don’t like others to be?  Obviously, the saying – misery loves company – comes to mind.  But what that person did not realize is that the need for my “friend” to make me feel bad for spreading happiness was yet another trigger for one of my declines into blackness.  I was not strong enough to dismiss the comment as their own problem, not mine.  I was not strong enough to ignore my raging thought that everyone in our town thought the same thing.  I was not strong enough to think logically and realized that that person was not a friend but a grim reaper of my soul.  I was not strong enough to stop myself.  I was not strong enough. 

Even today, reliving that experience, my chest rises and falls with pain, with tightness; my eyes start to water and my anger is rising.  How do I let people get to me like this?  And why.  Just why? I don’t understand what makes people think they the authority to speak to someone like that, to have such disregard for how their words affect people.  Even though I understand that people are this rude and horrible it still hurts.  I would not say anything like that to anyone I know or don’t know because smiling and being happy does not hurt anyone.  It is the one thing that costs you nothing but can be worth a lot to someone else.  Except when you are me and you have the “friends” I have, it then costs you enough.

Days

As much as I try to overcome these feelings, there are days.

Silence – driving on a beautiful summer day, I think, how easy it would be to just aim the car into that tree up ahead. Easy. Quick. Freedom. 

Noise – In the middle of another argument or rant. I want to stop this verbal barrage that is falling out of my mouth but my head is spinning so fast I am not sure what I have said or if they heard what I said, so I say it again.  Walk, walk away, but it’s too noisy in my head I can’t find the out. Too much noise. 

Darkness – I am standing there, so many people around. Family. Should be full of happiness but it feels like I am drowning in a bottom less pit.  Alone, blackness, everything in slow motion. Stop breathing, it will be freeing. 

Forward – coming home from work, females are ganging up on me. I could take one more step; the car, tree, forward motion, freedom. 

Pain –  when people hurt me, those close to me. They judge me, they don’t like something about me.  This blade could take my pain away, it would be the last pain I feel.  Freedom. 

For your love of me – a family member

I worry that my extended family will judge me although they will try not to.  I have had some family members tell me that they don’t know what to do with me.  They don’t understand why I am so quiet, then sometimes moody.  I am not like them that much is clear. 

I just want to scream, why does no one see my pain! What they see is not the real me. I have so much passion burning inside me. I just want to be a real part of this family but you all push me aside, still judging me from my childhood, not seeing I have changed, I am grown. I have opinions to share and thoughts to discuss, I have love to give and arms to hug. But why does no one want to know me? I am the insignificant extra, the one to make up the number of siblings. Why can I see others pain and try to help when others can’t. I know I may be more empathetic because of what I feel every day but why can’t my family see a small part of it? We are blood after all. But reality is what it is. It is too hard to deal with me.  They would have to admit they were wrong about me, they judged me when they should have been beside me during my hard times, telling me to stay, you are worth the fight to get to know you.  A problem shared is a problem halved, but a problem ignored is a problem too hard.

For your love of me – a wife

I remember the first time I considered telling my husband about how I was feeling, no not just the normal marriage feelings, but …. the feeling that I can’t get passed the feeling of sadness.  A feeling that weights heavy on my mind, weights down my normal thoughts, pauses my normal emotions and just stops me.  You can imagine the look of confusion.  There were no visible signs, there was no eyes rolling in the back of my head, not anything that he could “see” to be able to understand what I was saying.  Hello I could hardly understand it.  As I mentioned, I have struggled with this for some time. 

Don’t get me wrong, over the many years together he has tried, and tried again to understand, to help and sympathize but then, every time we get into an argument, I am thrown the “go take your tablets” or ” you need to up your meds”.   Why is it that the ones who you love, who you have shared your daily struggles with hurt you with the one thing they know should not be used.  How do you go back to trusting that person.  Yes, yes, we only hurt the ones we love …. I don’t get that.  If you love someone then there should be no conditions to when you love them and when you don’t.  Love is unconditional right, even though I am the one with a scattered brain I would never use something against them like this.  I guess the reason why I would not use someone’s sadness against them, is I know how that feels, how it cuts, twists, rips, burns at every cell of my body.  It drops me into a spiral without words or sound, just blur and swirl, I want to go down and not come back.  I am obviously not good enough for him.  Not someone you want to be in public with, someone to wrap up in your arms and hold, protect, shield.  I have learnt to stand on my own two feet in childhood, in my marriage.  I have learnt to not rely on others for safety or protection to get me through, or so it looks on the surface.  All the while I am screaming inside, crying for someone, desperate for anyone, anyone who can hold my hand and keep me from drowning.  Tell me I am not alone.  Tell me I am worth staying around.

For your love of me

But I am a person who likes answers.  So I read a lot,  tried to figure out what was going wrong with me.  But not before I hit rock bottom, and I do mean, what I think, is the bottom of the anything and everything. 

The moment that I replay over and over again in my head, the point in time that jolts me back to my path … It was a normal weekend, everything started out fine, no real sadness to report, no shaking or hokey pokey feeling.  I remember, sitting on the end of my bed as I have done before, looking down at my hands but not really seeing anything, except a red pool, the white carpet, the ease with which i could do it and thinking; I could just leave this earth and all my sadness would go away.  The feeling of numbness, sadness, hopelessness would just go away and I could be happy again.  No one would really care.  My husband could find someone who doesn’t have to ” up their meds”, my family wouldn’t have to try to understand me, my kids ……. it was at that point that one of my kids called for me, I blinked, I blinked again and I decided at that moment, in that split second, that I don’t want to feel that again.   I felt it too many times. 

So what did I learn.  I learnt that I now have to deal with my life in a different way than others.

You know what I want to do, I want to sit outside and feel the sun on my face without any worry of the darkness.

Society

I struggle to believe that the public chatter chatter of depression has been good for us.  It seems that now every man and their dog has depression weather the medical profession is just finding it easier to label it all the same I don’t know. But I look around me and hear so many cases of people who are just having a bad day or who chose to have such high expectations that can’t cope when they fail and they are given antidepressants or label of suffering from depression.  It make me feel like all my years of suffering is being belittled or just not worthy of any real help or understanding as everyone is so blase by the depression tag.

Oprah Winfrey had a whole television show based on the saying “You have to know yourself so others can love you” (not actually that wording but something like that) well that scared me …. get to know myself ….. let’s see, some days I am too scared to go out in public because I don’t have anything to say, I am overweight and I am not sure anyone would want to spend a nanosecond with me.  Sometimes I feel so low, so worthless that I can’t see anyone caring if I am here or not.  Some days I can’t process the most smallest of daily tasks because they seem to be to hard to defeat, too large to tackle, too complicated to do.  Some days I have so many thoughts of anger towards people who have dismissed me or hurt me.  Some days I am paralyzed with the thought of being around people, for people to judge me.  People who I knew before I fell on to this roller coaster of darkness.  They still think I am a capable person, I always smiled, talked to everyone, joined in with thinks, now some days I am only capable of  going through the motions of my daily jobs, trying to not slip into the darkness. So get to know me so others can love me, why?

Welcome

Black dog, mental illness, disease, whatever you want to call it … it can only be understood by those of us who have gone or are going through it.  Wait, that last sentence made it sound like you can cure it like swine flu (yes, they have a vaccine for it!).

But like anything that people don’t understand the people in the position of making decisions about out issues don’t really know the daily struggles.  Yes, I know it sounds like a clique.

Take it from me, although you don’t know me, but I have struggled with this since before the doctors started handing out antidepressants like tic tacs and before it was acceptable to talk about it in public. I have suffered in silence, cringed in silence, watched in silence and cried in silence but no more.

This is me.  I grew up in a family of 7 from a small country town. Never at the top of class during primary school but high school proved to be good for me academically.  On the social side of school, well, imagine a child growing up in a very strict family, my parents cut my hair so imagine a mullet on a female, and I was overweight.  The onset of acne and puberty while in primary school was the proverbial icing on the cake of my childhood, and although I tried to get out and explore the world I am still here.  Now a parent I look back often on things that make .. well me.  Good or bad, many things have influenced my personality. But none more than my depression.  It has altered my ability as a daughter, a wife, a mother, a co worker, a friend, a member of my family …… well you get the idea.

I am guessing that many people who suffer from depression have different ways of explaining their emotions or how they get to that feeling and why it makes them feel that way so this may just be my own way of  describing how I feel.  One thing I  can say is, there is no rhyme or reason to what triggers these thoughts and emotions, I guess if there was it would be easier to handle and probably for the medical community easier to treat.  But we are all unique and unique to each individual depression is.

Yes everyone is different. I know my signs. My hands seem to shake constantly, my head feelings like my brain is detached and doing the hokey pokey inside my skull so much that I can’t see or talk straight. All I want is to go to bed and sleep, but scream at the world at the same time.  Now I know to some people that sounds completely …..mad and yes, to those who don’t suffer from it, it goes against all normal human behavior.

Have you ever been in a room full of family, because genetics says they are family, and felt so alone that there is no hole deep enough or no blackness dark enough to swallow you up and get you out. You know no one would miss you because after they say their customary hello, how are you, how’s things …. non of which they care to hear about … that they then move on to the fun, shallow yet good looking, easy going family members and never leave their side.