“Suicide…the elephant in the room”

“I think about my dad a lot more now, mostly because I’m almost 18, this month actually, his birthday is exactly one week after mine, and I’m a senior, and I wonder if he would be proud of me…”

This was written two years ago, I feel the need to repost-
So I saw this on Facebook the other day, I have no idea who actually wrote it- but i paraphrased a little and posted it to my wall.

“I tried to begin to put up the tree and couldn’t get the strength to do it. I just couldn’t do it.  I stopped in my tracks and sat down and just went down memory lane…All I can say is it wasn’t pretty. I think I cried for over an hour with memories of what this time used to be for me and how it was filled with such love and anticipation – and now it brings back memories of the reality of emptiness and sadness.
So I would like to remind you that there are people for whatever reason are not looking forward to Christmas. Some people are not surrounded by large wonderful families.
Some of us have problems during the holidays and are overcome with great sadness when we remember the loved ones who are not with us any longer.
For many it is yet another Christmas without a particular loved one. Some of us still physically have our loved ones but Alzheimer’s has stolen their hearts and minds. And, many people have no one to spend these times with and are besieged by loneliness. We all need caring, loving thoughts right now.”

You all know by now that my Husband passed away ten years ago, but what you don’t know is this- He committed suicide, leaving behind brothers and sisters, a wife, two small children and two almost grown step-children. It damaged all of us, it left a gap nothing can fill. It left unanswered questions and feelings of guilt. It left a lot of us questioning our worth. People say ‘Oh, how did he pass? and when you answer you get that look. The one where you know those people want to sink into the ground, they are sorry they ever asked and wish they were anywhere else at the moment. The entire conversation gets awkward, sometimes those people never talk to you again because they don’t even know how to act around you. After a suicide, people you’ve known for years fade out of your life, they just can’t deal. You never, ever look at life the same way again.

Holidays seem especially hard for depressed people, I know they are hard for me. There are a lot of suicides around Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Years. Please- if you need help call

Call 1-800-273-8255
If you know somebody who is struggling, talk to them and encourage them to get help. Sadly, the ones who are serious usually don’t talk about it. If you know someone who has lost someone to suicide DO NOT SHUT THEM OUT! Let them know that when they are ready to talk you will listen. Don’t get stupid when somebody mentions suicide, talk about it. For Christ’s sake do not make them feel like its wrong to talk about.
Ten years later, my daughter, K, is finally speaking about her life. She gave me something to read today that ripped my heart from my chest, but I am rejoicing that she is finally finding words. Here they are:
“Losing a loved one.-
I picked this topic because at a glance I knew I would relate to it better than any of the other topics. But as I sit here, at my desk, I’m drawing a blank. Whenever this topic would come up I could never form the words, describing the situation was hard enough, but when people would ask me how I felt, putting it into words was nearly impossible. Instead of jumping right into it, let’s start at the beginning where any great story starts, though this is far from great.
I was always a daddy’s girl, I looked forward to him coming home after work, he would always make time to play with me, even though he was tired from working all day. He often worked laboring jobs, he always came home dirty and exhausted. On Saturday mornings, when I would wake up, I would lay in bed and call out for him, and when I heard him coming up the stairs I would dive under the covers and pretend to be asleep. He would jump on the bed, saying something along the lines of “I know I heard a little girl in here somewhere,” and when I would giggle, he would grab the blanket and pull it back saying “There she is!”. I vaguely remember his smile, he always looked at me with pure joy, and sometimes when I’m going through a rough patch, I think about that and wonder if he would still look at me like that, if I would have made him proud. I remember this one specific occasion, when I called out for him but he never came, I, being an impatient child, went down stairs, getting ready to demand an answer as to why he was ignoring me, but he wasn’t home, when I asked my mom she said he started working Saturday mornings. Instantly my little heart shattered, I don’t remember what I said to my mom, but I remember her saying “Don’t say that to your father, he already feels guilty working Saturday’s, you saying that will make him sad.” Thinking back on it now, if I had asked him to stay on Saturday’s he probably would have. Because of his long work days he would often miss my soccer games, but there were a few times where he did show up and it meant the world to me, and to make up for missing a game or a practice, we would play soccer outback, even when it started to get dark, we only came inside because mom would tell me he needs to relax after working all day, something he would have never told me, because he just wanted to make me happy. Being young I took all of that for granted, I didn’t realize how much those little things would mean to me, especially after the person is gone.
When I was 7 years old, my father, that I loved so much, killed himself. My mom was very upfront about it, she told me that he took his own life, even though I was young, because she didn’t want me to resent her for lying to me, because she knew my dad meant a lot to me. Of course being young I didn’t quite understand, but I got the ‘dead’ part and knew that he was never coming back. I locked those feelings away for a long time, I never dealt with his death properly. Years later at 15 years old, I found myself falling into what felt like an endless pit of numbness and depression, I contemplated suicide, and at that very first thought, it clicked in my head why my dad did it. Life is hard, things weigh on you, the never ending anxiety of not being good enough, especially in his position, a father of two children of his own, and two step children, struggling to make it working odd jobs with long hours, all while he struggled with alcoholism. He wasn’t a violent drunk, he just drank to escape his pain, and he tried his hardest to not be drunk in front of me. He was intoxicated when he killed himself, I’d like to believe that if he wasn’t, maybe he wouldn’t have done it, but then again if not that time then maybe another. I think about my dad a lot more now, mostly because I’m almost 18, this month actually, his birthday is exactly one week after mine, and I’m a senior, and I wonder if he would be proud of me, and I think about how he isn’t going to be at my high school graduation to greet and congratulate me like the rest of my family, or see me off to college, or be at my college graduation, and the reason why I swore I’d never get married, something no one else knows, is because he won’t be here to walk me down the aisle, or why I promised myself that I wouldn’t drink on my 21st birthday, or ever again in my life because he was an alcoholic and I don’t want to associate with the thing I believe to have been the cause of his decision, or the reason why I’m so bitter about holidays is because he isn’t here, holidays are about family, and we don’t have that, it will never be the same without him. Or how his death impacted me so much emotionally I find it hard to connect and open up to people, making relationships hard, getting close to someone and opening up and sharing my feelings scares me, I could name so many things that I view to be less painful than expressing my emotions. It’s so easy to vaguely vent about my emotion status to my best friend, but even though they’re my best friend I find it so hard to go in depth about how I feel and part of the reason is because I can’t find the words to use, I feel like half the time there isn’t a word or a sentence to describe how I feel. But mostly when I think about my dad I think about how he’s going to be absent from a lot of big milestones in my life, and the thought pains me, but that doesn’t mean I’m not grateful for the people I have. Because I am beyond grateful for the people I have.
From this I’ve ultimately learned some things about people and how their minds work, it makes me want to pursue a career in psychology. I want to study people and their emotions and functions more in depth, I want to find the root of things, and I want to counsel people and help them with their problems, because I don’t ever want someone to feel the way I’ve felt, and the way I sometimes still feel. I feel numb, and everything feels surreal like nothing and no one exists, including yourself like you’re having an out of body experience viewing everything from outside almost like you’re viewing someone else’s life, and you feel almost nothing, it’s just empty space with muffled noise and shapes painted in the distance, everything blends together, you can’t tell whether or not something happened that morning or a week ago. The only thing you feel is either a dull ache in your heart or a weight on your chest and sometimes you’re stuck with both and that’s the only reminder that you and everything else is real. Sometimes you can’t tell daydreams apart from reality, and at night you aren’t dreaming, you’re staring at the ceiling for hours thinking about all of those awful emotions that only seem to exist when the lights go out and you lay in bed crying and you wake up feeling like you’ve been hit by a bus and you want nothing more than the sweet release of death but you can’t have it. Sometimes those emotions come alive and you’re stuck with body wracking sobs and you feel like there’s no air left in your lungs and you’re weeping out and hyperventilating and you can taste the bile in the back of your throat daring to bring everything you’ve eaten with it, if you’ve even eaten, you can lose interest in food as well as everything and anything that exists. There’s almost nothing worse than staring at or thinking about something you once enjoyed and not feeling that same spark of happiness. Those are all dark feelings that I would never want anyone to feel and if I can be there to help then I will. Because nobody should ever feel that way”
This is what my baby wrote, this it’s what we live with every day. This is the reality of suicide survivors. The ones left behind. This is depression, crippling devastating depression. The fear I live with every day is this; the children of parents who commit suicide are 80% more likely to attempt suicide at some point in their lives.
Treasure every moment of every day, and if you love someone tell them…
Please, if you need to talk do not hesitate to call the Hotline- Call 1-800-273-8255
Someone is there 24 hours a day

I cried. I got back up. I got this!

 

IMG_20170701_191934You know what? I got this! I track my steps. I track my food. I started out in a wheelchair half the time, now I’m mobile and don’t even use the handicap cap cart to shop anymore for the last five weeks. Today, I got myself up off the floor without help. ( Yes, I fell). For me, that was major. Three weeks ago I was able to take a shower without the shower chair for the first time in almost two years. And I haven’t even had the surgery yet, this has been the toughest, yet most rewarding six month prep. I can breathe, I can walk and I am ready for a new life! I can walk the pasture, play with the critters, swim with the grandkids. I got in the ocean for the first time in two years! I’m gonna do this! I decided to be brave, and post a picture. There you go. The fat me, soon to be the old me!

It’s not easy, this pre surgery liquid thing is getting old real quick, but I got this.

All the hoops, all the requirement, all the mental victories, all the new recipes… It had been worth it. I’ve grown. I’ve learned. This is it! I’m ready.

Monday the 3rd is my day. 8:45 I report to the hospital. It has been a helluva ride. This morning I was so ready to be done. I’m so tired of broth. But I have come way to far to do something stupid now.

I’m not gonna lie, the last few months have been busy. I’ve had grandkids here days at a time. M is working doubles all the time so I’ve had B and R here quite. a bit. My JD is thirteen, and grandchild B is nine and half, so they bicker back and forth. Little R is so full of life and energy starting at six AM, thank God for the pool – it keeps them busy and gives me exercise.

 

My mother has been in a bit of downward spiral since Christmas. I have to laugh, otherwise I’d cry. Sometimes it is hilarious, sad, but hilarious. For instance – So, Mom, we went to BJ’s Tuesday after a very long appt with my surgeon (which I had to repeatedly convince her the appt was for me not her), halfway through BJ’s parking lot mom’s slip completely dropped down around her ankles, practically causing her to fall. I tried to discretely take the slip and stuff it into my bag to which she shrilly replied that it came off her and was darn well going back on her. She proceeded to pull her skirt up around her waist as a car parked right next to us, and struggle with the damn slip. I begged her not to make a spectacle and she yelled at me, asking me ” do you really think they haven’t seen a woman in a slip before!!??”. I died a thousand deaths, dad just helplessly shrugged and laughed. Seriously nobody needed to see all that. She just didn’t give a shit. New Mom 2.0 and I’m not so sure it’s the better version, but it’s definitely the funnier one.
Oh, and I lost three more pounds this week…

And then there is this – When mom graduates to eating between 600-800 calories worth of pastries and cookies at a single sitting and your trying desperately to keep her from buying tons of baked goods from BJ’s ( the only things she wanted to get from BJ’s, not one other food in the cart)
She kept putting them in, and I kept sneaking them out… She finally turns around and snaps “at least I’m not the one with the big belly!”.
I got nothing…
I’m over here drinking chicken broth…
She made it out of the store with one huge cake. Which she then proceeded to yell at dad for buying an hour later.
I’m still over here with my chicken broth and protein shake…

My week in a nutshell. I love her too death and someday will look back and be so glad I preserved these stories.

My Dad is a saint, full of love and patience. He’s so hard on himself for being human enough to get occasionally frustrated. So devoted, so in love… Almost 52 years.

I have so many things to share, I can’t believe I let it go this long without writing!

Recipes – one of the soups I’m supposed to be on during this liquid phase was so gross, I made my own. Surgeon approved tomato bisque: I used chicken bone broth with 9g of protein, I added two cans of tomato paste, a healthy amount of garlic powder, onion powder and basil flakes, and 1/3 cup of Carnation powdered non fat milk. You can also add some low fat grated Parmesan.

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It has more than the fifteen grams of protein the nasty soup had.

I’ve also added little bits of “better than bouillon” au jus flavor paste to plain beef broth, because it helps. So does a dash of cumin, or onion powder.

You do what you got to do to get it down. Be creative. Don’t be afraid to tweak it all little or you’ll go nuts. Trust me, I was in tears this morning thinking about another cup of broth.

So, I’m gonna go drink another protein shake! Have a nice night! Be blessed!

Next time I’ll tell you all about how I found my real biological family after 49 years! The power of technology and science!

 

 

It’s been forever…I’m Still Here!

I am amazed by how long its been since I’ve written, I’m so ashamed.

I’ve lost weight, gained weight, and lost it again…the only good thing is I have never gone above my original weight. I’m sticking to my calorie intake numbers, but am not always making great choices. Sometimes my proteins are low and my fats high…

I’ve gained a beautiful grandson since I’ve last written…he is healthy and chubby and perfect. He is seven weeks old, so now you know what I’ve been busy with.  I am watching him 3-5 days a week since my daughter and her fiance’s shifts tend to overlap.

baby gray

I’m in school 4 days a week, and trying to hook up with my parents at least 2 days a week- sometimes that doesn’t work out. We usually do a Sunday meal and at least one weekday get together (hopefully at the gym) We had brunch last week- veggies and egg scramble. Just saute and add egg beaters…great use of asparagus, onion and mushrooms. I added a little feta to the eggs. Egg Beaters are a great choice with less fat and less cholesterol.

sunday morning eggs

Any days I have to myself I tend to spend cooking and/or running around, unless I’m driving the local Amish to pay my hay bill since my animals never stop eating.

I’m still in ‘therapy’ to satisfy the shrink the bariatric doctor made me see, that is like ripping a wound open on a regular basis. She always manages to tap a nerve…I swear she’s gonna have me committed one of these days. I cry like a little bitch all the time. Stupid emotions!

I wish I had more time to go to the gym, I just seem to always be short when it comes to squeezing everything in.

I’ve spent some serious money on protein drinks and some are good while others are just plain terrible. I’m trying to refine my options before I’m locked in to liquid only diet.

Spring is NOT starting out well as we’ve found numerous holes in the pool liner which doesn’t bode well for my wallet this summer. Lots of repairs need to be done. Yesterday was 77 degrees, so I foolishly thought today would be nice to work in the yard- its freezing out. Dammit. I’d have done it yesterday but I had a 9 year old, a 6 year old, two 4 year old boys and an infant- sooooo, I was somewhat busy and could not get out in the yard. However we had a great day and they enjoyed each other and I in turn enjoyed them.

kids weekend

My newest goal is to organize my time and make better use of it. With all the things I’m juggling I need to find a way to cram it all in and still get good grades at school.  I may have possibly missed a few classes over the last two weeks and I know I did horribly on an exam. Hopefully it’s still early enough to fix. I aced the last one so one failure shouldn’t define me. I probably got a C or a D so overall I’ll have a B or a high C….which a great paper should redeem.

I’m getting impatient about the surgery, whether or not the therapist will ‘pass’ me, when I  can get it over with. When I can get some of this daggone weight off!!!!  So I can move better and walk better and function again!!!!

I’m kind of scared, worrying about complications….like blood clots and stuff. I just want to fast forward and get on with it.

I still want to smoke. Everyday. But I don’t and I won’t. Smoking is NOT going to take the opportunity of a future from me.

Time. Time is my biggest enemy. Or the lack thereof. Easy food is the bane of my existence. Take out is so convenient after being on the road all day, or babysitting. Yes, I juggle the calories, but fatty food is still fatty food. And spending calories on dumb choices can mean that you end up going to bed hungry. Which sucks.  Protein shakes are your friend, they can bring up the protein numbers and save the day with very few calories. However, cooking healthy food is ALWAYS the better choice. Also lite cheese sticks (50 calories) and low cal meat like hard salami are a quick way to get rid of hunger pangs! Bagel thins (110 calories) with low fat flavored cream cheese is also a good option!

Next week I am going to practice substituting non fat powder milk with chicken broth for heavy cream in a sun-dried tomato and garlic sauce with chicken. I made it this week with the cream and a chicken broth/corn starch rue to stretch said cream. I used my Ninja to chop (pulse) the sun dried tomatoes and garlic, I shredded rotisserie chicken (to cheat time) and threw a chunk of Parmesan Reggiano into the Ninja as well until it was thoroughly grated and added it to the bubbling cream mixture. You can also add baby leaf spinach to the sauce which is an awesome upgrade. I was thinking I could maybe make those cauliflower crusts everyone is always talking about and make a pizza with the sauce instead of using pasta….less carbs!!!

sun dried tomato sauce

 

So- it’s been a while

Be blessed, move forward, tomorrow is a new day!

I apologize for my absence, I hope you’ve liked the posts I’ve made from other authors that I found relevant.

It has been a crazy ride so far, I have seen the cardiologist, the pulmonary doctor, the psychiatrist, and the endocrine doctor. All have given approval except the Psych, and I have started therapy. I also have decided that even though I felt like this particular psych was a prick, he was right about me not dealing with the trauma of the suicide and my self-esteem issues. Fortunately I like my new therapist, and am wondering why I didn’t do this sooner.

I have steadily been going to the local Y (my gym) and can go for a entire hour without pain or bad fatigue. I am getting stronger every day. I was able to go to my favorite horse rescue yesterday and stay on my feet for a change. I think I needed to see them more than they needed to see me!

I have lost over 9 and a half pounds since December, as of last Tuesday ( I really need to get a scale for home use). I am still smoke free and passed my urine test. I had my first group meeting at the bariatric center last Tuesday. A lot of support and a lot of information was gained. I downloaded the MyFitnessPal app on my phone, which syncs with my FitBit and tracks all nutrition, steps, exercise, calories, fat, and carbs for me. IT IS AWESOME!

I discovered riced cauliflower!!! I’ve been making stir fry with veggies and chicken while using the cauliflower in place of rice. (See photo above for finished product) I dump these veggie-blog3veggie-blog6

in and Viola!

It’s only like 217 calories per bowl  made with shredded roast chicken, a bunch of sliced mushrooms, 1 TBS Hoisin sauce, 2 TBS soy sauce, 2 TBS teriyaki sauce with sesame seeds, 2 cups of spinach,and a quarter cup of chicken stock to help soften the veggies. I cook mine in a wok, but any frying pan will do!

Also I have made a cold tortellini, baked chicken(shredded), feta cheese, and spinach salad (with a little shredded kale and cabbage in it) topped with Greek salad dressing. It only has 220 calories in it.veggie-blog1

On another note-  I was viciously attacked on social media the other night, it had to do with a parental responsibility issue. A family member of the parent in question felt the need to attack me for being fat, stupid, alone, etc. Comments like “Whats the matter? did  you miss your Fitness all you can eat cheeseburger and fries class?” That perhaps I’m alone because I’m ugly, fat and stupid. “You’re a piece of trash fat bitch” and “you’re such a fat-ass”. I tried to remain calm, and completely resisted the urge to name call and body shame back. But the truth is I cried, all night. You see, I learned a long time ago that there are some things you never say, even in the heat of argument, because once said- words can never be unheard. I say all this to tell you, I know how hurtful people can be. I know how painful harsh words about our bodies or our past mistakes can be. I have seen how cruel some people are. Never give up on yourself, never give in. You are valuable, you have worth. You can change, whether it is your body or your life or your situation. Do NOT sink to the level of the type of person that takes pleasure in causing pain. Rise up! Show that you are better, stronger, and more honorable.My past was thrown up at me, which actually didn’t upset me like she though it would, which is probably why the name calling and body shaming escalated so much. I stayed strong about that because I know who I am, I know where I’ve been, and I’m usually pretty open about my past. So here is my past, if you have questions feel free to ask. It is what it is, and I am constantly moving forward.

In case anyone doesn’t know
For the record- I smoked crack for two years … I’ve been clean almost nineteen years…. I’m an Honor Student that has won five scholarships for academic work, professional bearing, and volunteer service….. I’ve been an asshole, I neglected my kids while I was high, I chased men to fill a gap in my self esteem, and I’ve recovered. I’ve reconciled with my family and my God. I’m a better mother, a better person, a better daughter because of where I’ve been and what I’ve seen. I’ve dedicated countless years to volunteer and humanitarian service. I’ve spoken at recovery groups, women’s groups, and churches. I am not afraid of who I’ve been or the path I’ve walked. I’ve faced death over and over and I believe God has a purpose for me, otherwise I wouldn’t be here. I am a work in progress
Just so you know…

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Be blessed, move forward, tomorrow is a new day!

If you like what I’ve written please like or comment! It’s nice to know I’ve been read! If you have questions on recovery, suicide, depression, or healthy choices please feel free to ask.

Ugh

All the more beautiful for having been broken and repaired

So, I’ve been sticking to my gym schedule and have managed to increase my workout by ten minutes each day (I go every other day for now) so I’m up to forty minutes in the pool. I wasn’t expecting this much pain, but I should have known. After all, I did it to myself. I lost basic muscle just being lazy and letting pain control me. I just keep telling myself the pain is good and it will fade.  It has faded some, this last workout didn’t hurt much at all, it just left me tired. My legs and arms are soooooo tired. The pain comes at night in the form of leg cramps (or for those that know what they are – charley horses).

Thank God my breathing is improving more than I had hoped, that is an incredible encouragement. I now forget to use my inhaler instead of walking with it clutched in my hands.  I do think about smoking every single day. Not one day goes by that I haven’t wished for a cigarette. I’m really hoping that goes away in time.

I saw the pre-surgery psychiatrist yesterday. That did not go well. He flagged me for three months of therapy. Apparently my lack of whatever about my husband’s suicide puts me at risk for stress eating, along with all the other things I worry about. I’m not even going to go off on a tangent trying to explain how ridiculous it is to put a lifetime of emotion in a twenty minute interview with a stranger. Because suicide is so frikking easy to talk about. Hhhhhhhhh!!! Fine, I’ll go. Whatever the hoop is, I will jump through it.

He also seemed very concerned that I was underestimating the recovery, which I didn’t understand. Every one I’ve talked to or read about seemed to be okay other than tenderness and nausea which is standard for abdominal surgery. I explained that I’d had four C-sections and also had my gallbladder removed and he scoffed at me, literally to my face scoffed at me and told me I could be bed ridden for weeks, and did I have someone to care for me.  I’d really like to talk to the surgeon again at this point. I don’t remember seeing bed ridden as one of the probabilities.

I ate a horrible breakfast today, I could have had salmon and rice or nachos. I picked light nachos. It was low carb, but cheese is not low calorie. I didn’t eat much, just a taste. Still, I should’ve picked the fish.

I feel broken, the shrink thinks I’m broken, I must be broken. Part of me thinks, “yeah therapy probably would be good for me”. The other part screams “you’re broken! They know you’re broken! You’re not worth fixing! You don’t deserve this chance. You don’t deserve this surgery! He saw failure written all over you!” There is yet another part of me that says “screw these people, you will do this!”

I got my period yesterday – I should probably write off all internal responses and re evaluate at a later, less hormonal date.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Crippling fear…I know it’s stupid

Here I sit, outside the gym. I have my packed gym bag in the car. Hhhhhhhhh. Every person I have seen so far is tiny, with cute little Yoga pants and cute little work out companions. I seriously want to cry. I know it’s stupid. I know I’m too old for this shit. People will see me. They will watch me walk in awkwardly, doing my fat shuffle. They will see me struggle to breathe. They will be in the changing rooms. They will be by the pool. I just want to go home. I’m crying. I can’t breathe. Now my eyes are red and puffy. How did I let myself get like this?! Don’t these people have jobs? Why are so many here? Oh God, there go a bunch of soccer mom with their yoga mats… Even the old geezers are thin. This is ridiculous. I hate people. I hate being fat. I hate being afraid. This sucks. for-blog6

Alzheimer’s and Depression

We’re not in Kansas any more Toto….. Hell, Kansas ain’t even on the map.

Five years ago my mom forgot the Christmas tree in the trunk of her car…I thought that was bad. Now she thinks every day is Sunday. We’re not in Kansas any more Toto….. Hell, Kansas ain’t even on the map.

As mom progresses, my grandmother Helen comes to mind more often, Helen died of Alzheimer’s back in 2005. I was never as close to Helen as I am to my mom, but the symptoms are all to familiar. Some days I just cry for the mother I’ve lost- the confidante, the shoulder to cry on, the unconditional fan of my life. Other days I struggle with patience as we go around and around the same topics endlessly during a single conversation. Daily I thank God for the patience and strength of my father, who is an absolute rock through all of this. Most get-togethers are actually amusing, some can be stressful since she seems to get more angry more often. Yesterday was a good day, we had a late breakfast together at a restaurant and she kept it together most of the time. She talks to everyone now, and I mean everyone! She was best friends with the waitress by the time we left, even though she had no clue as what meal she had just eaten. We watched a huge party of elderly people come in with their walkers and wheelchairs and she commented on their diminished capacities and mental state, thanking God out loud that she still has her wits.. .I bit my tongue. Then we all went to BJ’s food shopping, I only lost her maybe five times. She is always easily found talking to random people, especially people with children. Somehow she feels the need to tell everyone that I’m adopted and all about God providing her with children. It’s cute actually, most people are very friendly and kind. One particular bitch almost got her head handed to her for being mean to my mother. She was so rude! Lord give me patience, because if You give me strength I might kill someone! Fortunately mom forgot in about two minutes, I however stewed over it for quite a while. My mom is obviously old and genteel looking, there was no need to be ignorant. The good news was we got her out of the house, she got some exercise and some socialization.

Christmases are harder now that she is not herself. My mother and my aunt (her sister) were the two that kept traditions and made Christmas spectacular. My aunt died of cancer so those Christmases are over. Mom doesn’t decorate or bake or shop or play old Christmas music anymore. It’s just not the same. My Husband is gone, his birthday was December 30… Christmas is just not right anymore. My daughter turns 18 next week, and she’s missing her dad for the milestone birthday, and she hates Christmas without him.

Depression sucks, it leaves people vulnerable and hurting. It robs you of joy, it impedes communication, it steals motivation, it can give you physical symptoms- headaches, loss of appetite, fatigue, weakness. My daughter and I both suffer from clinical and situational depression. Occasionally communication gets skewed and we both end up feeling attacked and hurt.

That happened this week. She’s been struggling real bad this month (see post Suicide… The elephant in the room), and so have I. I had a bad day, I wasn’t ready for my final exam, I ate at McDonald’s twice that day (after I just lost six pounds, I know, I’m stupid), I was trying to be a good parent and I ended up hurting her feelings trying to be parent, and then she hurt mine with the silent treatment. She had a bad day, she was too depressed to function. We both lost it, I went to my room and had it out with God – “You promised life wouldn’t be more than I can bear”, and my dead husband- one of those “if you can hear me I fucking hate you for leaving me alone” rants. Then I thought of all the million things I have failed at (there are many), and “what a waste of space I am, they’d probably be better off without me” crying jags complete with hyperventilation. She went and drove back roads for hours in the dark with her best friend feeling like she wanted to die, believing I hurt her on purpose,  and that I’d be better off without her…

It’s bad. Depression is dangerous and bad. I get scared for her. I don[t think either one of us would ever actually kill ourselves because we’ve lived through the aftermath of a suicide, but that doesn’t mean we don’t think about it or wish for never-ending sleep. It doesn’t mean we don’t occasionally feel like we are worthless, useless, and broken – because we do, all too often.

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There is no magic pill for Alzheimer’s or depression. You have to fight to live through it. Every damn day is a battle. It’s a choice to fight for one more day.

That was two days ago- we still are walking on eggshells around each other. I’m not ready for Christmas, I’m not in the spirit, even the tree holds little joy for me this year. Happiness comes in spurts, one minute I’m happy about my progress- the next I feel lifeless…

I’m just trying to keep it together one day at a time. So is my daughter.

Be kind to each other, be clear when you speak. Remember tomorrow is not promised. Be wary of each other’s feelings and never leave the words “I love you” unspoken.

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PS – I told you when I started, if you want a pretty story go read a fairy tale. This is real life. The good, the bad, and the ugly.