It’s a thing

Depression is a thing.  It’s real.  Let me tell you how I know.

Throughout this week (and yes, it has been a very stressful couple of weeks lately), I’ve been getting more irritable, more impatient, more unreasonable.  I’ve been crying constantly, even though I feel dead inside.  Why am I crying?  What is my problem?  I couldn’t pinpoint anything.  It was many things, I thought.  But that’s anxiety.  I don’t feel anxious.  I feel nothing.

Yesterday was my breaking point.  I brought Elliott to Cait’s so I could go get my blood drawn for an upcoming test.  I actually couldn’t stop crying, and I found my self yelling at the little guy for not eating (which is his norm).  She kept him all afternoon and he had a great time with his best friend cousins.

I got my blood drawn, treated myself to a nice lunch by myself, and took a long brisk walk.  It felt good, but it was hard.  I still kept crying on and off.  No reason.  Many reasons.  Cried in the shower.  Felt tender and sore and irritated.  Barely held myself back from verbally attacking someone for saying my house smell liked Gary (even though it was the cauliflower Bill nuked for dinner).

At 6:30, I went to bed.  I couldn’t stop crying.  Everything was so painful.  I want to stay in my dark bed all the days.  I cried myself to sleep.  Woke up, cried myself to sleep again.  I was so lonely, but I couldn’t be near anyone.  I felt hideous, didn’t want to be seen or touched or talked to.  But I didn’t want to be alone.  I stayed in bed until nine this morning.

Poor Bill didn’t know what to do.  So he just kept real quiet and checked on my every so often.  Decky asked me what was wrong a few times, but I didn’t know what to tell him – nothing, everything.  It was better I stayed in bed.

This morning, Bill coaxed me out of bed with a nice breakfast.  I stopped to take my pills, and noticed something.  My little blue pill was missing.

Every Sunday, I fill up Bill’s and my pill boxes so we don’t have to do it every day.  Yeah, we’re old.  This past Sunday, I apparently forgot my little blue pill, my zoloft.

I cried.  I went back to bed.  I had a devastating epiphany.  I realized I had depression.  I realized that those pills don’t just make me feel normal.  I’m not just taking them to get through my grief over Dad’s death.  They keep me from falling apart.  They keep me sane.  They help me perform my activities of daily living.  They help me be the best me I can be.  Every day.

There’s some chemical in my brain that I just don’t have.  The one that Bill has in abundance.  And my little blue pill gives me that chemical, it keeps my brain balanced.

And I can’t do without it.

I have depression.  And it’s a thing.  And I will take that pill for the rest of my life.  Small price to pay for being able to get through the day.  Every day.

Exciting times we live in

So many important things are going on right now, good and not-so-good, that keep me busy and thinking all the time.

My brother Greg survived a significant heart attack and subsequent double bypass open heart surgery.  Getting the call from my Mom was the biggest shock of my life.  But he’s a few weeks out now, the cardiac surgeon has released him from his care, and the cardiologist has set him up with cardiac rehab in a week.  Greg’s physical and emotional worlds have been rocked and he’s struggling to reconcile his old activities with his new limitations.  He’s doing so well.  I’m so proud of him.

Mom’s been his rock all this time.  She’s been busting her hump, trying to give him the support he needs, encouraging him to do more each day.  She’s on the front lines in this war recovery effort.  She’s a saint and we have to get her a really big gift this year.

Bill’s company was bought out and he started with his new employer last week.  So much frustration and uncertainty over small and big things.  I worry that he’s too stressed out.  I do what I can to keep things calm and comfortable around here, giving him loving support and meals that he likes.  He works so hard.

I’ve started to give my grandboys some learning opportunities while I watch them.  We have a Letter of the Week, with activities and hands-on projects, and I’m working on coordinating a weekly field trip.  It’s really hard to go out with three little men, but even if it’s to the playground, that’s something.  Doing preschool stuff makes me feel like I’m not just sitting on my butt watching them do stuff.  I’m actually working to prepare them for school!  And it brings me great joy when the ‘light bulb’ goes on and I can see that they’ve actually learned something.  They’re so proud when they succeed!

The Cubs have had their best year in so so long.  It’s been so wonderful to watch this season.  They seem so relaxed and happy, like they’re having a great time.  The Wild Card game is Wednesday, and I can’t wait!  Maybe I’ll make a poster…

Ryan and Michela are finally married!  It was a wonderful wedding, thrown by her wonderful family, and we were all so happy.  We danced every dance.  New moves were invented, toasts were given, babies were exhausted.

Stefanie and Kevin and Elliott are moving into a rental house in less than two weeks.  It’s a big step, and they’re so ready.  I can’t wait to see Elliott playing in his own yard with the dogs, Stef cooking in her kitchen, Kevin mowing the lawn.  And they’ll be so close by, too.  Yay!

Caitie has been dealing with so much crap, but still has manage to mostly keep her shit together.  She is currently looking for a new job, since the first one was not right for her.  I have faith that she will find something that will fit her needs and allow her to grow, build a clientele, and earn lots of money to support her boys.

Declan is so tall now, and he’s still growing.  His voice is low, he shaves, he wears the same size clothes and shoes as his brother and dad.  And he’s becoming more mature in other ways, too.  I know he could take care of any baby or kid in the world, and keep him/her safe and happy.  It’s in him and it’s wonderful.

The grandboys are my joy.  Owen is in second grade and has long blonde hair.  He can catch any ball you throw to him and run like the wind.  He is a wonderful boy with a strong love for his mom.  And he has no teeth in front.

Ollie is our sensitive one.  He wears his emotions on the outside, so he is joyful and goofy one minute, sulking and quiet the next.  He’s bright as they come and loves to learn.  I also heard him mediating a babyfight between the younger two the other day.  He was so calm and patient.

Elliott is his own man.  He is slightly smaller in stature than Theo the giant baby, but he holds his own.  He is smart and sweet and is excellent at all sports.  He’s not afraid to catch any ball!  I can tell he thinks a lot, and he’s got a great sense of humor.

Theo is a tornado.  He runs through the room, hair all bushy and disheveled, destroys whatever he sees someone playing with, then turns to you with a brilliant smile and reaches up for a hug.  He pushes the other boys’ buttons and laughs to see their reactions.  He snuggles hard and is a joy to be with.

Sure, not-so-good things happen.  Some days are diamonds, some days are stones.  But life is good.  With this wonderful family of mine, it’s certainly never dull.

Cheaper than therapy

It’s been almost a year since Dad died.

It is inconceivable to me that the planet has continued to rotate and has actually gone all the way around the sun since then. Time didn’t stop. The world just went on as before. But not really.

My dad is gone. I don’t know where he is really. He may be in heaven, whatever that is. Maybe a fishing hole in the north woods? On a little boat with good cigars? At the final clinching game of the Cubs World Series? In his big recliner with his many children and grandchildren running around him? At an all-you-can-eat buffet at a casino?

Or is he nowhere? Just gone. Or is he all around us? Or in us?

I don’t know. I wish I did. Then I could know that I’ll maybe see him again.

I take meds now. The original dose made me numb. I couldn’t cry even if I tried. I cut it in half and now, if I concentrate, or if I write, I can bring my feelings out for air. I am glad I finally found this outlet. Or re-found it, I guess. So I may be writing again.

I had a few dreams a week or so ago, and Dad was in them. He wasn’t a main character, and the dreams weren’t about him, but he was there. He was a benevolent presence, encouraging, comforting. I felt relaxed, calm, happy with him around. I felt like I knew where he was, and that he could find me if he wanted to. But I couldn’t find him at will, I could only hope for him to pop up from time to time to make himself known. I could live with that. Begrudgingly.

Times when it is very quiet and I’m alone are hard. I think too deeply and I cry. The relief is welcome, but I am left drained. I am doing the work. Still.

Dad did the work. He worked hard, and he did it for us. He wanted to be alive for us. I thanked him for his work, I praised his effort. I reassured him that it would be worth it, he would be better than ever by Thanksgiving. I wanted to believe it so badly. But each ‘episode’ killed another piece of his heart muscle. He was running on fumes and will at the end. Even Greg, the strongest man I know, who exerted every effort and devoted every waking minute to Dad’s loving care, couldn’t keep him alive.

It was beyond our control and our powers. Dad was taken in his sleep. I hope it was instantaneous and that he didn’t have to fight. I hope it was easy at the very end. I feel bad he was alone, but he was in his bed, in his home, with the people he loved.

I can only hope for such an exit.

I miss my dad. I love him and I miss him. And that is all.