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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.

Work and party

Today was my first day back at work. Luckily, it was at the PACU and not the ED. The ED would probably have been way too hard.

I was so apprehensive this morning, I took a xanax before I left for work. It helped buffer me from people talking to me, people looking at me, people expecting things of me. I felt slow and still borderline weepy, but I think it was better than it could have been.

When it wore off, however, I started feeling everything way too much. I felt irritable – not in a crabby kind of way, but in a can’t-handle-any-stimulus kind of way. I had the other half of my pill in my bag, just in case, but I did not take it. I made myself feel stuff. And by the end of the day, I felt a little more comfortable at work. Not like I am at home certainly, but I knew what to expect and my ‘safe’ bubble got a little bigger.

It was exhausting. Just the mental and emotional effort it took to ‘act normal’ took so much out of me. And when I came home, I was met by a dozen happy people wearing mustaches. We had a Mustache Birthday for Koby so everyone was there, including Michela’s mom. It was loud and happy and busy. I wanted nothing more than to lie down, but it wasn’t too bad. Ryan and Bill made dinner, we had ice cream cake, and the mustaches were a lot of fun.

When everyone left, I cleaned the kitchen, ran out to the store real quick, and put Decky to bed. This is the first quiet time I’ve had all day. Although I could fall asleep right now with no problem, I will stay up a little while just to be by myself.

Tomorrow I don’t work. There is nothing on the calendar. I will apply a second coat of burnt orange paint to the upstairs walls, and maybe attempt to paint the two-story stairway. I will stay in my jammies all morning and watch the morning news shows. I will clean. I’ll stay busy. I will be safe in the shelter of my cozy house, recovering and gearing up for my Friday shift at the PACU.

I want to go back a few weeks to my happy life with Dad in it, but I can’t. The world keeps moving forward, and it pulls me with it. But I can keep Dad in me, bring him along, think about him. Some day it might not hurt so much.

He would have loved the Mustache Party.