More Like a Swift Kick

I’ve been told that God won’t stop pursuing me.

I’ve been told that God loves me unconditionally.

I’ve been told that God speaks in a still small voice.

For the last six months, I have vehemently disagreed with those statements.

I have been convinced that God had stopped pursuing me–that He has abandoned me.

I have been convinced that God hates me.

I haven’t heard any still, small voices lately. But then again, I haven’t really been listening for any either.

It has been a long stretch of oppression.

It started as a typical episode of depression and darkness. I didn’t panic. I am all too familiar with depression. But it grew. It took on a life of its own and turned into not only impenetrable darkness but also wielded a force of evil.

Almost an unbearable presence of evil.

I think that even if there was a still, small voice that tried to talk to me, and my ears would have been attuned to such a phenomenon, it wouldn’t have gotten through anyhow. I’ve never felt a darkness this thick weighing on me.

Ever.

Within the last couple weeks, though, there has been a slight, ever so slight, piercing of light through the thick darkness that has threatened my life multiple times in the last few months. I still have not heard a still, small voice, but I am wondering if maybe God is trying to get my attention with a good, swift kick. I wonder that because there has been a longing in my heart to return to the path I wandered off of while stumbling in the darkness. I have found myself missing Sunday morning church services. Maybe that can be attributed to the time of year. After all, Christmas is the time when we celebrate the birth of Jesus. It only seems natural to be in church this time of year. I have also found a sense of disdain, for the most part at least, for some of the choices I made in the darkness of depression. There’s one more thing, too.

I’m tired of fighting.

Not too long ago, I was tired of fighting to live. I felt like my whole world was crumbling down around me as God seemed to take one thing after another away from me while, it seemed to me, to bless others I know with some of those things. Jealousy RAGED in me–and still does to a degree. But that’s for another post (maybe). Now, though, I am tired of fighting God. I’m pretty sure I am not going to win anyway.

Last week I had an appointment with a specialist regarding my MS. I did not get good news. My first thought was to curse God again, similar to what I did when I found out my grandson would be moving away from me. More than once I looked up toward heaven and screamed “I hate you!” at God. I blamed Him for my losses, my health, my depression, even my bad choices. The temptation to replay that exact scenario crossed my mind for sure. But, I didn’t do that. I didn’t thank Him for it either, but I’m okay with that for now, even though I know we are supposed to be thankful in all circumstances. I can’t bring myself to thank God for the potential to lose even more of my health.

But I did not feel the desire to turn my back on Him; if I did feel that, I quickly dismissed it and resigned myself to the fact that all my anger, all my cursing, all my screaming, would not change what God has in store for me. Fighting against God, I am learning, is fighting a losing battle.

I don’t know what will happen if I decide to return to church. I just know that there is a longing in my heart to return to God. I suppose I could accomplish that without returning to church, but I don’t know if that is the right answer or not. Regardless, I can’t completely ignore what seems to be a good, swift kick by God to get my attention. I have heard a quote from C. S. Lewis that says, in essence, that God shouts to us in our pain.

I think I can hear that…and feel it too.

Image result for kick in the butt

 

 

Posted in Change, CHURCH, death, depression, Grandma, Grandson, MS, trust | Leave a comment

Moving…Backwards

There are moments, sometimes I can pinpoint the reason and sometimes I cannot, that I hate myself. This self hatred is a deep seated belief I have held for most of my life, and tonight is one of those nights that said hatred is raging through my thoughts and emotions. Tonight I can pinpoint the reason for this hatred. It is multi faceted, but definitely comes down to the fact that, as the title indicates, I have taken large steps backwards in a few areas of my life.

Oh, and comparison. That one gets me every time.

Six months ago I ran a 5K. I literally ran the entire course. It came after four months of discipline, getting up early and hitting the gym to attempt to regain some of my health. At the end of May, I was thrilled to feel like I was on a healthy path for the first time in a very long time.

Then, for reasons that I don’t know–and may never know–a tidal wave of depression came flooding into my life. It beat me down and threatened my very existence. I lost motivation to continue my health journey. The overbearing heat of a Minnesota summer didn’t help much either. I kept telling myself that it would pass…depression, after all, is not a new friend to me, and if history really does repeat itself, this crushing weight of depression would disappear after a time.

Except, here I am, over six months later, and that depression is still hanging on.

Now, it is being fueled by my self hatred because all the hard work I put into my health has been lost and, at the same time, it is fueling the self hatred.

It is a vicious cycle.

Throw in just a short time on Facebook tonight that showed me just how many steps backwards I have taken, and life kind of sucks.

The frustrating thing is I know what it is going to take to get back to where I was. I also know it is possible to achieve that success again–what it’s going to take to look in the mirror and not hate at least the weight of the person looking back at me–yet I’m not sure I will be able to get there again. Depression is one factor; physical pain is another. And throw in a part time job that taxes this unhealthy body and I find myself one, big, unhealthy mess.

Again.

Few have chosen to stick with me on this difficult journey. I don’t blame them, but the fact that I don’t blame them doesn’t take away the sting of their choice to abandon.

In all honesty, so often I don’t want to live this life anymore. Self hatred, I’m sure, factors into that statement as well.

Posted in depression, loneliness, MS, Uncategorized | Leave a comment

In the Ring

Image result for boxing ring

I guess it has been  some time since I have written. Like most people living in these days, I have found myself busy. Of course, the holiday season adds to that busyness, but for me, with the exception of Thanksgiving, the holidays haven’t had their full impact yet. I cannot remember a Thanksgiving Day that I did not have the majority of my Christmas decorating done. Until this year, that is. A combination of factors combined to cause me to not really care much about decorating for Christmas.

The first factor, and probably the most responsible, is one about which I have written much. My precious grandson (our only grandchild) is not living in the same state as us anymore. If he were here, putting up colorful Christmas lights and decorations that play music would have been an exciting chore. The lights reflecting in his beautiful blue eyes as he takes in the wonder of the season in pure childlike delight would have made the work worth it. His mommy is hoping they will be here at some point around Christmas. Of course, that depends on weather and road conditions as well as how generous new employers want to be with time off. I am hoping with all that is in me that it works out so they can be here. I did not take for granted the Christmas mornings we had with children. Even as they entered the more difficult to buy for teenage years, I enjoyed buying gifts and delighted in watching those gifts be opened on Christmas morning. But, as much fun as it is watching my grown children open gifts, it can’t be compared to watching a little child do the same thing.

A second factor in my lack of zeal for Christmas decorating has been the weather. Case in point: it is the end of November and it is currently raining outside. I love rain…in the spring and summer. But NOT in November. By now, there should be snow falling outside my window. In fact, I remember Thanksgiving Days in Western New York where I grew up that I went sledding! I feel like I haven’t experienced a real winter in many years. If you know me, you know I really love winter. I love snow. I love cold. None of those three things have made their appearance yet this year. It is difficult to get in the spirit of Christmas–a winter holiday–when there is no hint of winter to be found outside.

A third factor in my late celebration of Christmas, and probably the one that has impacted me the most, is the ever present depression that has plagued me since way back in spring. I can’t remember a time in the recent past that a bout with depression has held on this long. At times, there has been some light that has broken through the ever present darkness. Sadly, those times are few and far between and very short lived in duration. I can say that I am taking the right steps–everything that someone would suggest are things I have done and continue to do. Yet, the grip of darkness continues.

A fourth, and the final factor I have the energy to write about, is some difficult waters we are walking through with a few of our adult children. Christmas has always been my favorite time of year; this year, my heart has been pulled in so many other directions that there is nothing left for celebrating. Part of me wishes we could just skip Christmas this year. My love language is gifts, and given the money we have spent on medical bills and have to spend for needs for some of our kids, I don’t foresee gift buying in our future. This is absolutely breaking my heart.

So why did I assign this entry the title I did?

I am not a fan of boxing or kickboxing or any similar type sport, but I have watched a fair share of these events. I have seen a fighter, trapped in a corner, as his opponent hits him with a right hook, then a left hook, and then another quick right. The blows keep coming, relentlessly pummeling him until the referee blows his whistle to put an end to his misery. Bloodied, he staggers to his safe haven, relieved to be free of the repeated blows of the more powerful fighter. I feel like that bloodied fighter. For more than seven months, I have been on the receiving end of blow after blow after blow. Only, for me, there is no referee to call an end to the fight. A fighter, if the match is not called, will eventually fall to the mat in defeat. I am close to falling to the mat of this fight called life. I am tired of being hit time and time again. I want out of the ring. I need relief soon.

But there is none in sight.

 

Posted in Uncategorized, depression, Children, Holidays, Grandma, Grandson, Parenting, famiy | Leave a comment

Courtesy of Pain

I read a quote this morning that really hit home with me. Part of it reads:

“A drop of water on a stone doesn’t do much, but a constant drip eventually erodes and changes the shape of the stone forever. Unrelenting pain is like a constant drip, forever changing parts of your soul…it takes its toll, physically and emotionally.” (Trisha Sidenquist)

Pain has changed me. I am a different person than I used to be. And, I don’t like the person I have become. I’ll get back to that point in a minute. First, how has pain changed me?

I once was a person who was self sufficient for the most part. I didn’t have to think about a trip to the store. I just went and bought what we needed, drove home, and carried the goods into the house. Things that stayed upstairs were put away. Things that needed to go downstairs were carried downstairs (in as few trips as possible so hands and arms were always overloaded) and put away. A dog or a cat would run on the stairs ahead of me and it wasn’t a huge concern. I could sweep the next step with a foot before taking it to make sure I wasn’t about to trip on an animal. Now, a trip to the store has to be thought out. After getting out of bed, showering, getting dressed, and eating something for breakfast, do I still have enough energy to go to the store? What is my dizziness level at that point? Is it safe enough for me to drive? And, if yes, how far? Is it a day where I can hot the freeway and drive the fifteen or twenty miles to Walmart, or is it a day that, while it is safe enough for me to drive, it is probably best that I drive only the five miles down the road to Target or Cub? What do I need to buy? Simple groceries aren’t too much of a problem, but if a twenty pound bucket of cat litter is needed, it is probably going to have to wait until the weekend when my husband is home. Lifting said cat litter up, hoisting it high enough to clear the sides of a shopping cart, and setting it down into the cart is usually not possible…not to mention the impossibility of carrying it from the garage to the door of our townhouse. It is just too far. Any type of excursion out of the house, especially by myself, not only takes careful planning, but needs to be held loosely since I never know if I am actually going to be able to follow through with it. Since most people do not understand this factor, making plans with others is usually a problem. I may have to cancel fifteen minutes before showing up to a coffee date, simply because it isn’t safe for me to drive. A few cancellations and most people write you off as a friend. I know all too well that sting of rejection.

There was a time when housework, while never fun, didn’t task me like it does now. I once could rearrange furniture or tackle several rooms for deep cleaning in one day. Now, thanks to pain, organizing a bookshelf is taxing and drains my energy for the day. Deep cleaning is seldom done unless we are moving, and even light cleaning is put off far too long. Big chores, like organizing a pantry (something that has been on my to-do list for six months) is just too much for me. The mental task of preparing for it and trying to figure out how to arrange it is too much. The physical task of actually doing it is even more so. This in turn frustrates me as I search to find something I know is in there somewhere, only to give up and go buy it, then to find it later that day while looking for something else I just know is in there…ugh.

There also was a time when, if I was cold, I would throw on a sweatshirt, drink something hot, or turn on a space heater and I would be fine. Or, conversely, if I was hot, I could sit in front of a fan or drink something cool and my body would cool off. Now, thanks to MS, my body’s thermostat is broken. When I get cold, multiple layers of blankets, space heaters turned as high as they can go, and all the hot chocolate in the world will not warm me up. If I get too hot, which is often more of a problem than getting cold, not only will nothing really help to cool me down, my body reacts in a way different than most. It will painfully spasm, I will feel very sick, and vertigo ramps up to the point that I can barely stand. Imagine trying to make plans with a body that reacts like this. In the summer, a simple invitation to a BBQ puts me in an instant conundrum. I ask my husband all sorts of questions. “What is the forecasted high for that day?” “Do they have air conditioning in case I get too hot?” “Will I look stupid if I wear my cooling vest?” “What do I do if the ice packs in the cooling vest start to melt before you are ready to leave?” Wintertime invitations aren’t much easier (although they are somewhat easier). Poor circulation and muscle spasms cause my feet to be ice cold all the time. Fuzzy socks and extra warm slippers, combined with microwaveable feet warmers (a gift from my youngest daughter that has been an unbelievable resource!) temper that level of iciness somewhat at our home, but going into someone else’s home can be a problem. Removing shoes and having only socks on can cause my feet to become painfully frozen–even if those socks are fuzzy and warm. The last six months have seen the nerve pain levels in my feet jump dramatically. That, in turn, causes any type of coldness in my feet to be excruciatingly painful. As my husband advances at his job, it has happened more and more that he is required to attend get togethers in homes of those higher up in the firm. It doesn’t look good if his wife never attends with him, but those kinds of things can be so difficult when one deals with such pain.

These are all examples of how physical pain has changed me. Physical pain almost always leads to emotional pain to some degree. In my case, the emotional pain has far surpassed the level of physical pain I experience–and since I used words like excruciating and difficult, perhaps you can imagine (but you probably cannot) the level of emotional pain to which I refer. The emotional pain is compounded by the fact that I WANT to be able to do all the things I used to do. I want to be able to grocery shop like a normal wife instead of making my husband take part of his much needed weekend to go to Petsmart to buy cat litter or to fight the weekend crowds at Costco because I can’t carry it all into the house. I want to be able to make plans with someone and be as certain as one can be that I will be able to follow through with them AND be present in the moment when I do–as opposed to forcing myself to follow through and then be mentally half checked out because I am exhausted or in pain. I want to be able to bake or cook of clean and feel a sense of pride and accomplishment in what I finish. But often, this is not the case. Too often I don’t even attempt to bake my husband’s favorite apple pie or cook his favorite dinner because I know that, while I can force my body to do these things, the pain is going to take its toll on me and drive me to an emotional godzilla-type person who has no patience when something simple goes wrong or a cat decides to lay on the floor directly in the path I need to walk. I know this because I have forced myself to do almost all of the things mentioned so far, and I have become an angry, impatient person in the process. Some of the things mentioned, like organizing, I don’t even attempt. It is a Catch-22; I get frustrated because the walk in pantry is in disarray or the upstairs closets desperately need to be cleaned out, but the physical task of doing so would send me into a tailspin of sheer agony. Not doing these things, though, emotionally sends me into a tailspin. I feel lazy and worthless because I can’t do the tasks a wife is expected to do.

Pain has changed me. It has taken its toll in so many ways. I have lost friends because of it. I hate myself because of it. I didn’t ask for it, yet it has become very much a part of my life. Most cannot understand the day to day struggle it causes. At one point, it caused me to seek out God. Now, it seems to have done the opposite, for it has contributed to my doubts about a loving God. I have said I could handle the physical pain if the emotional pain, the death grip of depression, would leave me alone. I stand by that statement. I wonder if its opposite could also be true–could I deal with the emotional pain if the physical pain were not so great? I don’t think I’ll ever know, for it seems they come as a package deal. They are constant friends that, ironically, leave me feeling so alone. Only death, I think, will rid me of this hell once and for all. Some days I plead with God to allow that to happen. Some days I contemplate taking that matter into my own hands. Most days, though, I just try to do the basic things I know my family expects me to do, hoping that if sleep decides to make an appearance that night, I will have a short reprieve from the torment of pain.

Posted in death, depression, faith, loneliness, marriage, MS | Leave a comment

Lied To?

Lies hurt. If you’ve ever been lied to by someone you love and once trusted, you can fully understand that statement. From my earliest recollections, I have been lied to.

As a child I was told repeatedly by two individuals that the way they were treating me was because they loved me. In reality, their treatment of me was ongoing sexual abuse.

I once asked one of those individuals if the saw blade he had just cut wood with was hot. He assured me it wasn’t. The inquiring mind of a nine year old touched it to find out and ended up with a 2nd degree burn on my hand.

A young man, older than this sixteen year old who dated him, told me he wanted to marry me. Nine months later, he came to my house and told me we couldn’t see each other anymore.

Years later, a family member told a lie that put my family in danger of being split apart. It also permanently destroyed  relationships with family of origin that were, at one time, extremely close.

As a recovering victim of sexual abuse, I was once assured by a therapist that everything said would be held in confidence. That person then turned around and discussed some of the things I said with another person we both knew.

As a mom, I remember the sting of learning that one of my children outright lied to me about something. Childhood foolishness, I know, yet the sting of knowing they would intentionally hurt me was still painful as hell. Maybe that was a direct result of the lies that had been told to me throughout my life.

Today I feel that over the past forty plus years of my life, I have been lied to. The subject of that lie–God. I have been told that God was a watchdog in the sky, waiting for me to do wrong in order to punish me to get me back in line. Then I was told those teachings were a lie. Instead, God was portrayed to me as a loving being who was always good. I learned songs that proclaim the “goodness” of God. I tried so hard to believe they were true.

Today’s pain, both physical and emotional, have me wondering if perhaps all of that has been a lie.

I wonder how inflicting me with a physical illness that, for the first time, is threatening to rob me of the ability to walk can be considered good.

I wonder how causing my daughter’s little family (and taking with them my only grandchild) to move hundreds of miles away can be considered good.

I wonder how allowing years and years of depression to infiltrate my life can be considered good.

I wonder how causing my husband, who works so hard and so unselfishly, to chip away at medical bills that just never seem to end, leaving us with no savings account and little extra to really help our kids, to be saddled with a wife who is more of a burden than a blessing, can be considered good.

I could go on. Maybe you are reading this and thinking that I have it all wrong. Maybe you are right. But…maybe you aren’t. Because right now, I have never felt more abandoned or more despised by God.

Today, after attempting once again to attend church, getting there and staying for about 25 minutes, then quickly leaving long before the service ended because I just couldn’t be there right now, my husband and I stopped at Lowes. I needed a special light bulb for a cabinet in our living room. As tears ran down my cheeks from the sheer pain that came with putting any pressure on my feet, my husband said to me, “You may end up needing to use a walker.” I quickly thought of a few weeks ago, when we traveled to see our grandson and his mommy and daddy, and how he held his little arms up because he wanted Grammy to pick him up. I replied to my husband, “Then I won’t be able to carry the baby.” At that moment, I wanted nothing more than to scream and curse at a God who not only moved them away from us, but may take away my ability to even lift him up the few times a year I will get to see him. The tears, even as I type this, are flowing freely from eyes that I didn’t think could cry anymore.

This hurts like hell.

To feel like I’ve been lied to just adds salt to already deep, bleeding wounds.

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Beautifully Dying

As I sit on the floor typing today, outside the window directly in front of me is a large maple tree. The crisp, autumn temperatures have caused its leaves, once all green and full of life, to turn to a vibrant yellow. The leaves are wavering back and forth as the breeze blows through them, causing several of them to lose their grip on the branch they’ve called home for the last several months. They float to the ground, the deck, the car parked under the big, yellow expanse of branches–wherever the wind takes them will be their new home for a short while. Eventually, the yellow will fade as it is separated from the life that it once held onto. The ground is covered with leaves gone before today. They are no longer the summer color of green, nor are they the autumn colors of red, orange or yellow. Instead, the ground is a variety of brown hues. The once soft leaves now crunch under foot, the life completely gone from them.

I recently read a quote that said, “Autumn is proof that death can be beautiful.” I had never thought of the fact that the beauty of autumn exists because of death. A tree sheds its leaves to go dormant for the cold months that characterize our Minnesota winters. With branches bare, one may think the tree itself is dead, but this is not the case at all. Just the leaves died in order to allow the tree the energy it needs to rest through the winter months when sunlight is scarce. Inside the tree, there are still processes happening that will allow the tree to come to life again in the spring. Autumn has always ranked as a top season for me. I love to watch the leaves fall from the trees in a stiff breeze and then walk through them and hear the crunching under my feet.

This year, autumn has been a difficult season for me. In some ways I wonder if I am like the giant maple tree outside the window. I feel as though I am a picture of death. There has been little life in me for some time now. I get through each day, thankful when the respite of sleep sets in, only to have to wake up the next morning and hope to get through another day. I don’t know what I am supposed to be doing right now. My life seems to hold no purpose. Depression and pain scream at me everyday, telling me I am worthless. I hate myself. I hate what I’ve become. Yet, I feel powerless to change it.

Several months from now, new buds will appear on the empty branches of the giant maple tree. Those buds, with the right combination of sunshine and rain, will eventually open up to big, green leaves. The branches will once again be full and will once again give shade from the heat of the sun. The tree appears dead for a season. My depression hit in the spring. It continued through summer and now through fall. Will it ever release me from its grip? Will I eventually experience life once again? Or am I destined to forever be the winter version of the tree–alive somewhere inside but dead to those around me?

Posted in Change, death, depression, Uncategorized | 2 Comments

Crossroads

Image result for crossroads

I have reached what I am calling a crossroads moment in life. I have some decisions to make.

Actually, I have ONE decision to make, and two options from which to choose.

The road only goes two ways.

This Way and That Way.

This Way is the road I have been on for the last several months. It has been a difficult path, but walking it has gotten easier since telling myself that this is just how life is going to be. I’ve battled depression most of my life, so a depressed person is my destiny. I’ve struggled with alcohol addiction in the past, so alcohol is destined to be a part of my life. I’ve never had many friends, so a lonely person is just who I am destined to be. I’ve had a track record of making poor decisions, so poor decisions are just going to be what identifies me. This Way is characterized by landmarks such as depression, alcohol use (and abuse), loneliness, pain, hurting those I love, and feeling like no one gives a damn anyway so why bother.

That Way is the road that I have come to. I’ve been on that road before too. It just doesn’t seem to be a road that I can stick to walking. For some reason, I always find myself back on This Way. That Way is characterized by decisions that, while initially difficult and painful, eventually lead to a better and healthier life and attitude. These decisions could include doing the hard work of replacing negative thought patterns, abstaining from alcohol, eating better and generally taking better care of my health, cultivating relationships that are healthy, and attending to the spiritual part of me.

I hate failing, and since I’ve already failed at That Way more than once, it seems so much safer to stay on This Way. I’m pretty comfortable here.

Except, I’m really not.

Part of me wants to concede to the world–to give into what my body desires–whether that be alcohol or gluten–with the attitude that I’m not getting out of here alive anyway. I may as well enjoy the time I’m here. You know the saying, “Eat, drink, and be merry, for tomorrow you die.” I kind of like that as a mantra.

Another part, though, whispers to stand against the world. It flashes pictures of my husband, kids, and grandson. It whispers that they want me to be here–really be here, in each moment–not in a fake, drunken happy but rather a genuine love for life happy.

Why is it that I usually give in to the beckoning of This Way over That Way?

This Way screams at me.

That Way whispers to me.

If God really does love me, and if others who claim to love me really do, why is it that I don’t hear those voices all the time? Sometimes I think I do, but upon further inspection, realize that it was most likely the wind whispering through the trees and not God or anyone else at all.

I am at a crossroads in life. This Way and That Way are my only two choices. I need to make a decision quickly, for the night is closing in to swallow me…

 

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Not a Good Place

Image result for dark place

This morning I sit here in the quietness of an empty house. The only sound other than the clicking of the keyboard as I type is the hum of the space heater that is keeping me warm. My two faithful companions, Moo and Sadie, are close by as always. The last several nights have been long and difficult. Physical pain, nerve pain from this frustrating disease, has been constant. It feels like my feet, and sometimes my hands, are a raging fire. My eyes burn with pain and fatigue–even though I have done nothing strenuous on them yet today. Emotional pain has taken over my mind–the grip of depression tightening each minute that I lose sleep. My mind bounces from thought to thought.

Racing thoughts. A byproduct of depression.

If only those racing thoughts were positive or good in some way.

They are not.

They are taunting thoughts, taking me back to a time three years ago when I was in  a very good place. I was reminded of it again this week.

Facebook. More specifically, Facebook memories. You probably know what I mean. Each day Facebook gives me memories–previous posts from that day, dating as far back as the beginning of my Facebook journey. Sometimes those memories bring smiles–like the picture this week of my son in his high school soccer uniform dancing on the sidelines. Sometimes, though, those Facebook memories bring tears–like pictures of the cat I suddenly one day was forced to put to sleep. She was my baby. One memory that popped up this week was a video of my baptism three years ago.

My mind screamed at me to not click on it. Don’t watch it.

But I did.

As I listened to my own words from that day, it was so evident that I was in a much better place then. There was joy that just isn’t there now. Although the video doesn’t show it, there was a sense in my mind that I was loved by the people witnessing that moment. There was a confidence that God was for me; now I feel the opposite. I have been told many things about God by various people over the past several months. Some of those things have only made me question even more if God loves me.

I am tired.

Tired of being in pain.

Tired of hanging on–wishing I could just let go but afraid to do so.

Tired of watching people I love treated unfairly.

Tired of the loss that comes with change.

Tired of tears. Every. Day. So many tears.

Tired of the bombardment of bad and sad news that streams into my life via television and internet.

And tired of being in this place. It’s not a good place. I have often wanted to have the talent to draw–to somehow put my feelings and emotions into a picture that others might understand. I can’t do that, though. Art is not my gift. So I try to use words to paint that picture. This morning, though, I am struggling to come up with words that will accomplish that. My mind is a jumbled mess. My life is a mess. I’m not sure if even God can fix it this time. Part of me wants to cry to him. Part of me wants to curse at him.

Part of me wants desperately to reach out for help. Part of me is afraid of failing yet again if I do that.

Part of me wants to begin to break down this wall of protection I have built around a very fragile heart. Part of me is scared as hell to do that–scared of being hurt even more. I don’t think this heart can survive more hurt.

Daylight is trying to force its way in through the closed blinds. For now, I will keep them closed to shut it out. I am not ready to face the day. I used to dislike the darkness, but now I find the darkness to be my friend. It is easy to hide when it is dark.

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Lies

Image result for lies

There is a monster that resides within my head much of the time. The monster’s name is Depression. Sometimes, I am able to wrestle the monster and lock it away for a time. Sometimes that duration is long; other times that duration is short. Either way, if a reprieve can be had, I welcome it regardless of how long it may last. My current go ’round with the beast, though, has been a long battle that has taken so much out of me and, I’m sure, out of my husband who does his best to put up with me.

Depression can be fed by a variety of things. Failure, comparison, loneliness, and illness are the biggest feeders of my depression. Others would have a different list. Some may be able to mask the fact that they are plagued with the monster, while others, like me, maybe could do that at one time but not every time…and especially not this time.

A mind that is held captive by depression hears messages that a mind that is not held in such captivity cannot usually understand. Some of those messages for me include:

“No one loves you.”
“It’s never going to get better.”
“Life is not worth it.”
“You’ll never be enough.”
“Death would solve all your problems.”
“You deserve this.”
“Your life is pointless.”

I have had people tell me that all the above are lies of the enemy. I’m not sure if when they say that they are insinuating that I don’t know that fact. Because, the things is, I do know that. I really do. It’s believing that fact that is often the problem.

When I was a child, my mom baked wedding cakes for people in our church. With the help of our next door neighbor, she would spend hours in the kitchen baking and assembling multi-tiered cakes. Most weddings were in the summer so I, along with aforementioned next door neighbor’s son, was banished to the outdoors so as to not get in the way. Intellectually, I knew what needed to happen to bake a wedding cake. But, until I was given the privilege of baking my daughter’s wedding cake, I couldn’t fully appreciate the work that went into the task. I think I baked five or six different cakes to find just the right flavor. I agonized over how to decorate it so it looked beautiful but not overdone. My daughter’s cake was small compared to the cakes my mom often made, but since it was my first attempt at such a feat, I was nervous as could be when it came time to actually decorate, assemble, and transport the two-tiered, heart shaped cake I created (with the help of my future daughter-in-law). From the outside looking in, it didn’t seem like such a huge task. Baking came naturally to my mom as it does for me. It was only when I stepped into that role of baker-in-charge did I realize how much work went into baking wedding cakes.

From the outside looking in, it has been easy for people to tell me exactly what they think I need to do to beat this oppressive depression. I’ve been told to have more faith, to remember that God is in control, that everyone goes through sad times, that I need to choose happiness and joy, that God will use my depression for his glory, that other people have it so much worse…I could go on. Now, if you are reading this and you are thinking, “Well, those things don’t sound like horrible words. All those statements are true,” then you obviously have never been caught in the death grip of severe depression. With the exception of the first statement (I don’t believe the level of a person’s faith is a protection from difficult times), I understand that all those statements have truth value to them.

That doesn’t mean they are helpful.

I have suffered at the hands of varying degrees of depression nearly all my life. I have attempted to take my own life and have thought about it too many times to even count. I have a preferred way to die.

Yes, I know that sounds horribly wrong. But it is the sad truth.

Depression is an evil monster that wants nothing more than to destroy a person. I would dare say that in many cases, and I think I would include my own here, that destruction doesn’t always have to take the form of suicide. For the last six months or so I have felt like a walking dead person. I have been breathing, eating, existing, but with little life. There have been times that I have been able to force myself into nearly normal existence. Those times usually happened when I had my grandson with me. Now that he has moved away, in all honesty, I fear that any normal existence for any extended period of time is a chasing after the wind.

Maybe that is another lie I am believing.

I guess only time will tell.

Posted in Community, death, depression, Grandma, Grandson, loneliness, love | Leave a comment

Thursdays

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I am a creature of habit. It has been said that most people are. It is why we tend to eat the same foods, watch the same television shows, listen to the same kind of music, and follow certain routines across our lives. I am also a person who likes–no, needs–to know what the plan is. I hate going into a day or an event or even a vacation without having some type of plan in place.

Over a year ago, when my daughter and her little family moved to our area, she would come to my place a couple times a week to do laundry. I loved the extra baby time I got during those visits. A few months after relocating, she and her husband decided to sell their second car in order to save insurance money. She knew I was more than willing to go pick her up and take her anywhere she needed to be. I admit to enjoying the fact that I felt needed once again. It was also nice to know if I was feeling a bit lonely, I could text her and ask if she and the baby wanted some company for a bit. She always answered with a “Yes!”

As the weeks passed, little man’s schedule started to fall into place. This meant picking one day to pick them both up for laundry day and, subsequently, take them home in time for his nap. Thursday was designated as that day.

Every Thursday I would leave my house by 9:00 AM, pick up my daughter and grandson, swing through a McDonald’s drive thru on our way back for diet coke and breakfast sandwiches, and bring them to my place to start laundry. We would watch Food Network or Game Show Network while laundry was being washed. I would rock or play with little man. We always got lunch as well. Sometimes, we would go out somewhere. The older lady at Smashburger looked forward to seeing the baby each week. If we didn’t go there, we might meet Uncle DJ and/or my son-in-law for lunch at Culvers. Sometimes I just went and brought something home for us to eat. She would get as much laundry as she could done before having to leave for his longer nap. We would load the baby and laundry into my van and I would drive them back home. Any unfinished laundry would be left here for me to finish and take to her over the weekend. (Another chance to see the baby!)

Today is the first Thursday since they moved. There was no one to go pick up this morning. There was no diet coke from McDonald’s or Smashburger for lunch. There was no baby to rock or loads of laundry waiting to be done. There was no little baby shirts and pants to fold. The toys are still neatly put away in our living room. Eventually I will need to pack them away, but I haven’t been able to do that yet. My heart is not ready to pack away his singing toolbox or the Sesame Street toy that sang when he pushed the buttons. The sippy cup and baby spoons have not left their cupboard home for a week. There are still sweet potato puffs on the floor, but that is only because I have not had the emotional energy to vacuum them up from his time with me last week. The clock says it is 12:30. I need to eat lunch but have no desire to do so. I wish we could go to Zupas–Grammy would buy him the chicken fingers he loves so much. Or maybe Culvers and Uncle DJ could meet us there. But that can’t happen. I wonder if he misses me? Probably not. He is too young to know what habit means and how deeply ingrained our Thursdays together became for me.

But this morning, when I woke up and realized it was Thursday, I pulled the covers over my head and cried. I cried tears that I didn’t think were even possible to cry. I felt my heart break even more as I wondered what he would spend his Thursday doing…and I wished so much that he was spending it with me.

I hate my life right now. There is only so many ways one can escape the pain of a broken heart. None are healthy.

But I don’t care right now.

Right now, I just need to escape.

Posted in Change, death, depression, Grandma, Grandson | Leave a comment