The phone rings, and it’s Mom.
“Yeah, so Krystal called, and Cody’s back in the hospital…they think it might be just a matter of days”
“Yeah, so your Dad and I are leaving Friday morning to go down, I think I told you that, but wanted to make sure…we’ll keep you in the loop”
“So, how was your day, honey?”
“Ah, Mom, doesn’t even matter”
….there were a few more words…but they seem to be little more than a buzz…
My cousin is dying.
It’s not fucking fair.
It’s not fucking fair.
It was a whirlwind weekend.
My Youngerdaughter came home, as Saturday was her 25th birthday, & she wanted to see me & spend her birthday here before she & her boyfriend moved to Wisconsin next week.
Yeah, Youngerdaughter is finally spreading her wings towards new skies. Her boyfriend is going to be going to school there, & she’s been wanting to experience other places for a while now, before she settles down to family-life.
I was also lucky enough to have my eldest grandson, Schnicklefritz, here for the weekend!
He’s my snuggler, my buddy. And one of his big wishes for the summer was to spend time at my house, so YAY!
Yesterday was a FULL HOUSE.
My parents, Youngerdaughter & her BF, OnlySon & his doggo, & Schnickelfritz.
We had fried tacos & Texas chocolate cake for YD’s birthday dinner celebration, & everyone had a good time.
Except, my Mom dropped a family news bomb on me, but I’ll get to that.
Today was all goodbyes.
Youngerdaughter & her BF left early this morning, and the hugs were choking and emotional, but I didn’t actually cry. Close…but no tears hit the ground.
Then this afternoon I had to drive Schnicklefritz back to his dad’s 75 miles away.
He didn’t want to go.
He misses his mom, his brother, his sister, his step-dad. He didn’t want to leave me.
His chin wobbled, and his eyes fogged up.
But Gramma’s are no-nonsense kind of chicks, you know, so I calmed him down & we got him home.
The drive home wasn’t so easy, alone.
Everybody was gone.
Yeah, yeah, I live alone.
I should be used to it, right?
And the family news bomb?
As I was making my daughter’s birthday cake, my mother told me that, not only is my uncle in hospice care with cancer, which I knew…
But so is his son, now.
My cousin who is 31 years old has only an expected couple of months to live.
And I won’t be able to go see them.
I can’t afford it.
I haven’t seen these family members in years.
Guilt, extreme grief, depression.
It’s at times like this, that I wish, when I come home, that there was someone here…
Someone who would put their arms around me, hug me, and let me know that I’m not always alone.
But that doesn’t happen anymore.
Always hug the ones you love goodbye.
Even if you know you’ll see them tomorrow?
Tomorrow isn’t a promise.
So, I’ve been working and pushing myself on trying to claw my way out of my depression that I’ve been in since last October.
Yes, since October.
Normally, the winter months are notoriously bad for me, dark and cold. Long nights, and very little sunlight, which is an awful combination for someone with depression.
But – I can usually start to pull myself out of it once Spring starts.
When the sun starts to return, and things start to “green up”, when things start blooming again, normally, so do I.
Not this year.
Here we are, already in the middle of July, and I’m still struggling to see the point.
You know? The point in getting up in the morning. The point in doing the things. The point in breathing.
I keep doing it, just in case I catch it, one of these days.
But I don’t feel it.
This week, I decided it was time to pull my head out of my ass and start doing some of the real work around here.
I’ve been having a difficult time keeping up on the yardwork this year, between depression, arthritis, and my lawnmower not working the way it used to ( battery-operated, the battery is not charging like it used to, & those suckers are kinda spendy), I’ve fallen behind.
Basically, my yard looked like an overgrown, abandoned lot.
I broke down & bought a small battery-powered weed trimmer, because that’s what my arthritis can handle. It only runs for about a half hour, but that works.
My hedge trimmer? Well, I have to do what I can, in small chunks. I’m still working on it. This is difficult for me to do, as I hate leaving a job unfinished, and tend to push myself until the job is fucking done. Never mind if the body is broken at the end, which it would be.
My back yard…is a work in progress.
That’s all I’m going to say.
It’s all I can say.
And after yesterday, which was spent doing indoor work, cleaning house with OnlySon…
Today is a self-care day.
It has to be.
Yeah, I pushed too hard- I won’t deny it. Yeah, I’m feeling a little broken today.
So I’m taking today off.
Doesn’t mean I’m not still thinking about all the shit I still have left to do.
The brain keeps going.
I’ve been depressed for a long time.
I HAVE depression. It doesn’t just go away magickally, by itself.
Add my Generalized Anxiety Disorder into the mix, and it’s really a hot mess on the bad days.
And, I get it, it’s uncomfortable.
It’s difficult to talk about, especially when you don’t understand it, when you’ve never been through it yourself.
It’s not just being sad.
It’s not just being down today, because you have [insert legitimate reason here – breakup, funeral, bad grade, bad hair, flat tire] going on.
It’s not just a random feeling, one day, of anxiousness, or panic, because you have something big coming up.
This is ALL DAY. EVERY DAY. For weeks, months…..years…
I get it.
It’s hard to be around someone who has trouble enjoying life.
It’s hard being around someone who doesn’t socialize much, or at all, really.
It’s hard to be around someone who is always down on herself, uses self-deprecating jokes as a shield, and who is usually too tired to do all the really fun stuff.
It’s hard to be around someone who is quiet, most of the time, because she’s living so much in her own head. Mainly because that’s where she socializes. Because everyone else has already left to find the “interesting” people.
It’s hard to be around someone who wants to go home early, because she’s been watching everyone else enjoying themselves, out with their dates/spouses/S.O.’s, and is now on the verge of an internal meltdown, but doesn’t want anyone else to know – so she smiles tightly, says “Nope! Just tired/ gotta go home & feed the cats / do the laundry /” whatever reason gets her out quickest.
So you just stop asking her to go places.
You stop inviting her anywhere.
Because it’s uncomfortable.
I get it.
Even though, when you’re the one that’s having problems, I’m always there. Willing to lend a confidential ear, a shoulder, a tissue.
But that’s ok. I don’t keep score.
Because I know what pain feels like, I don’t want anyone else to have to experience it.
Because I know the crush of depression, I don’t want anyone else to have to live under it.
Because I know the constant dread of anxiety, I don’t want anyone else to have to fear it.
Just – stop dis-counting me.
I’m not invisible.
And my feelings get hurt too. No matter what I might say in the moment.
Last weekend, OnlySon & I were arguing about addictions & video games, but something I said to him has stuck.
“Gaming addictions, drug addiction, alcoholism, Depression, Anxiety, Bipolar Disorder, Schizophrenia, you name it, they’re ALL chemical imbalances that cause physical and mental problems.
JUST LIKE DIABETES.
No one blames a diabetic for BEING diabetic.
Why do people blame someone with Depression for being Depressed??
I take my medications, but they don’t work perfectly. They don’t magically stop me from being depressed, or anxious.
They do stop me from being tense all the time, grinding my teeth in my sleep, oh – and they’ve stopped me from killing myself.
It’s the little things.
We, as a society, need to STOP dis-counting mental illnesses, and the people who have them.
They need to be seen as just as valid as diabetes, hypertension, etc. They are all medical conditions. They should all be treated as such.
Stop treating me as less than.
And maybe, just maybe, I’d stop seeing myself that way.