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Life of V

The journey from being broken to being queen

Month

December 2015

Rebirthday

I meant to send out sparkly Christmas cards to everyone. But I’m sitting here today, staring at the stack of them, yet to be mailed out. Oops. Fuck it. You know I love you.

I’ve been through a lot this year. That’s an understatement if I ever made one. This time last year, I hit my absolute rock bottom. I was miserable every single day, I stopped caring about the things I used to enjoy, and I shut out people I cared about. I was terrified of the thoughts in my head all the time. At one point, those thoughts told me that all the hurt could go away if I just stepped off a curb and in front of a city bus. I dissolved into a soul-consuming, core-shaking panic attack one night at work, and some of my friends and coworkers witnessed me at the moment I shattered. And lucky me, it was even caught on a security camera, so I can relive the day I died over and over again.

I asked my boss to keep that video. He did. Never asked why. Probably didn’t have to. I’ve had a couple of people since then ask me why I wanted to keep it. It’s embarrassing, right? Well, yeah. I do NOT look good when I ugly cry (that’s why they call it ugly cry) and there was a lot of that in this video. I lost my shit in the middle of a dinner service, crashed and burned into a pile of ashes. Poof. Done.

I haven’t actually looked at the video. But he’s told me that he saved it and I trust him. He’s got no reason to lie. Plus, he gets me a lot more than most people do. He’s seen it. Several people have seen it. Fuck, I’d upload it for the world to see. Not every day you get to see someone’s rebirth.

This actually happened on my birthday last year. No bullshit. I’m gonna go all symbolic and say that my birthday has a whole new meaning. That was my lowest moment. I wanted to be dead. I didn’t care anymore. I just wanted to be gone. I crumbled. I was no longer in control, my depression and anxiety and grief had taken over. And that scared the living hell out of me.

There are some really good people in my life. Like, REALLY good, decent people surround me every single day. When I lost my mother, I lost the best person in my life, hands down. But my depression told me that she was the only one. And she was gone. Depression had me just going through the motions of life like nothing was wrong, because no one cared that anything was wrong. I was alone now. Right? Thankfully, the people around me aren’t quiet. Your calls came from around the globe, your love and support radiated from near and far. You all swept in to pick me up and dust me off.

I spent the first few months of 2015 hiding. Going to doctor appointments and therapy sessions and counselling. I got hideously sick in March/April and I thought everything I’d been doing for those few months was going to be for nothing. I felt like I was going to die again. I threw up constantly. I lost 20 lbs in 6 weeks (I did NOT keep it off). I couldn’t eat, drink, sleep, could barely move. Chad and I hardly touched, because I felt so rotten, and I hate being touched when I’m sick. I cried every day, but eventually, there were no tears, because I was so dehydrated. So I went to the hospital. I was pregnant. Or sort of pregnant. My Mirena IUD had failed and an embro had latched on, so I was pregnant. But because the Mirena was still up in there, it was IUD hormones vs pregnancy hormones, and I wasn’t winning. My ultrasound showed even further news. The embro was stuck to the Mirena, and I would mostly likely miscarry within a month. Hardly ever are Mirena babies carried to term. Okay. So I had to continue feeling like shit for another month. And I didn’t even get a baby for my suffering. I miscarried two weeks later. Then I had my period for two straight weeks. 2015 didn’t start well.

Once I was sent home from hospital, my health improved drastically. Physical health anyway. I was still going to counselling and therapy, but there was colour in my face, I could eat and drink again without vomiting. I felt more energised. I had been running on empty for so long, mentally, physically and every other way there is, when I finally was able to stop and fill up the tank, and check under the hood. It takes time to restore a clunker. I’m the clunker. But eventually I can be a classic. It’s just going to take time.

Time you all have given me. Thank you for being my safety net. For showing me that there are people behind me every step of the way. I am learning how to handle my depression and anxiety. It was a drastic change that needed to happen, and I think I needed to be at the very bottom before I could see it. I tried to go it alone for so long. It’s not like when I was a kid and a teenager and I didn’t fit in because I was different. Some kids were cruel. Some were violent. That’s the past, this is now. I’m still different, I’ll never be normal. I’ve got an uphill battle to fight every day, but this is now, not then. I’ve got resources, friends, colleagues, and the most amazing partner a woman could ever have (I love you Chad). I talk about it all now, I cry and put it behind me. Back then, all I could do was dwell on it, because it was all I had. Now, I’ve got so much. Depression won’t win.

I went back to work in May, and it was baby steps for the first little while. I felt like everyone was walking on eggshells around me, afraid I was going to go off again (a reasonable fear, let me assure you). But we all talked about it. I told them how to handle me if I went off the handle, just let me cry and hyperventilate, I’ll be back in a few minutes. I’ve had numerous panic attacks at work, I still have them today. I cry in the walk-in cooler, or sit on the staircase and cry and say fuck a lot. They check on me, ask me if I need a glass of water, and hug me. Several minutes later, I pick myself up and go back to work, and everyone continues as if nothing happened. They hid the knives after a panic attack, which I thought was kind of hilarious, but they don’t have to anymore. We’d talk about it if I want to, we’d discuss solutions so the next time we saw it coming, we could nix it before more pork shanks lost their lives. That helped me more than any therapy. Love really IS the answer people.

So where am I now? I still feel crazy. I feel like every feeling I exhibit and everything I say is carefully orchestrated, like they’re lines of a script. They’re honest, but they feel scripted. It’s hard to explain. I’m very aware of the thoughts and feeling going through me, and that can be really intense sometimes, espceially if there are a lot at once. It was rather embarrassing to lose my senses like I did last year and not be able to just play it off like it was nothing. I broke. I was strong and stupid for a long time. Holding on to all these things that weighed me down and wore me out. Crippling self-doubt and distrust, guilt about the smallest of things, a snide comment made by a stranger 5 years ago, my brain was incapable of letting this shit go. I dealt with this on my own for so many years, and the only person who ever knew about what I was feeling was Mom. She was my therapy and comfort for so long, and when she died, it changed everything. I no longer had my rock. Chad tried his hardest to carry me through the grief and despair. He’s stronger than he’ll ever understand. My family and friends carried me too. They talked softly to me and treated me delicately while I picked up the pieces of my shattered self. They pushed gently as I progressed, and hugged me when I slid backwards.

I’m happier. I used to think it was always about more more more, and being miserable about not being special enough to be able to get it all, I lost sight of what I had, and I wasn’t enjoying anything. I have to force myself to see the beauty sometimes, because some days my brain just doesn’t want to cooperate. Other days, it’s easier. Those are the days I really like. I know what I want now, and I know how to get there. Remember the KISS method? Keep It Simple Stupid. Or Sweetie. That sounds nicer. I don’t like complications that can be avoided. That’s hell for someone whose brain regularly creates conflict where there is none. Citalopram is working so far, most of the time. I have to keep pushing myself to do things. It’s exhausting.

I’m getting there. You’ve been there with me. I don’t ever want to be where I was. If I start to slip, that’s what that security camera footage is for. To remind me that I’ve come a long way. To remind me that I’m stronger than I feel. To remind me that I was reborn that day, and that progress is much better than perfection.

See you in 2016.

2016… New year, same me

2015 has been a rough year. My anxiety and depression have kept me in a rollercoaster of meltdowns and to be honest, it’s left me exhausted this December.

I’ve learned a lot about myself this year. Starting off the year, I was on stress leave, after literally breaking down to my absolute rock bottom just after Christmas. I was so bottled up and stressed and miserable on my birthday in 2014 that I lost my marbles, began sobbing on the line while working a dinner service, and getting so frustrated about the screaming in my brain that I stabbed some pork shanks in anger. I kind of scared the shit out of the other line cook (I’m sorry Colby) and the decision was immediately made to take sick leave. I had the full support of the hotel where I worked, they said they would do all they could to help me. Through resources at work, I got some help. I finally learned that I can’t deal with everything all by myself.

I hardly left the apartment. I was sad and sleeping most of the day and night. I ached. Everything hurt. Chad was afraid for me. He went with me to my appointments to make sure I went and he listened. He talked to me, and he listened. And he helped me solve problems I was having and helped me stand on my own, by encouraging every move I made.

I started back to work in May, and we took baby steps, because at first, I really felt fragile and on the edge. I wasn’t sure if I was ready to stand on my own two feet again, I’d fallen so hard, I didn’t want to tumble. I was still too hard on myself, and my boss stated the obvious to me one day when I got overwhelmed at work. He looked me straight in the eye and said, “you’re not responsible for EVERYTHING”. Lightbulb.

Since then I’ve been struggling to keep my cool, and not weigh myself down with things that aren’t my burden to bear. I had to let go of living my life for other people, and figure out who I was. Well, let me tell you, that is easier said than done.

So my new year’s resolution is not to make a resolution. I’m not going to spend 2016 trying to change things about myself when I should be learning about myself. I don’t even know myself and that’s just plain fucked up. I’m going into 2016 with some optimism, and we’ll see where the year takes me. I’m going to stumble, but if you’re there with me, I’ll get back up and keep going.

Hello

It’s me.

Okay, I’m not Adele (I WISH!), but I’m me. And hello. It’s been a while. I’ve gotten the urge to write a few times in recent weeks, but all the thoughts start screaming all at once, trying to be heard, and consequently, becomes the white noise of my head. Static? Fuzz? I’d lose focus and then be exhausted from trying to

Where do I begin? All this noise in my head leaves me worn out, struggling to catch my breath, and worst of all, depressed and anxious because I can’t seem to catch my footing and move ahead with my life. I keep spinning my wheels and am exhausted from the effort. I take steps back, and the frustrates me. Old habits creep back in, like bottling things up or trying to do everything myself. I’m hard on myself, and people keep telling me that, but for some reason, it’s having a hard time getting through. Too packed full of useless worries that are just dragging me down. I need a lifeline.

I miss my mom, so much. Especially this time of year. Everything reminds me of her because she worked so hard to make Christmas a magical time for our family. I cry a lot. I’m confused and forgetful about things that are happening today, it almost feels like I’m trying so hard to hold onto the memories, that I’m not making room for new ones. And it drives me crazy.

Crazy. That’s probably a word I shouldn’t use to describe myself. It’s not politically correct. But it’s accurate. Crazy, by Merriam-Webster definition, means:

  1. a:  full of cracks or flaws:  unsound <they were very crazy, wretched cabins — Charles Dickens>b:  crooked, askew

  2. 2a :  mad, insane <yelling like a crazy man>b (1) :  impractical <a crazy plan> (2) :  erratic <crazy drivers>c :  being out of the ordinary :  unusual <a taste for crazy hats>

  3. 3a:  distracted with desire or excitement <a thrill-crazy mob>b:  absurdly fond:  infatuated <he’s crazy about the girl>c:  passionately preoccupied:  obsessed <crazy about boats>

Check, check and check. So, fuck it, I’m gonna call myself crazy. It’s a cool word. I mean, it’s got a “z” in it. That makes it quirky and unique. Stuff like that.

Full of cracks or flaws. Well, I certainly have flaws. And my butt has a big old crack in it. Sometimes I feel the list of flaws is longer than the list of flawlessness, but I guess that’s what always makes me a work in progress, right?

Mad, insane, erratic. Yup. I certainly feel that way. Out of the ordinary and unusual? Well, maybe not. Sometimes I feel like I’m the only one who feels this way, and can’t make it through the day without the pain and the panic. But I’m not. I’m reminded all the time that I’m not alone in my struggle, there are so many of my friends who struggle to feel normal, balanced, and safe. They’re determined not to let it crush them, and they’re so graciously letting me into this delicate and vulnerable part of their lives, it inspires me to do the same with them, and we help each other carry the burdens. That way we’re stronger. And go farther.

Distracted with desire or excitement, absurdly fond, passionately preoccupied? Absolutely. But I don’t consider this a bad thing at all. I’m lucky to have an outlet when I’m stressed and worried that I’m not enough. I bake. I know, you’re thinking “no shit Sherlock”.

Christmas is so close. It’s hard to believe this is my second Christmas with my mother. Last year, at this point, I was on the verge of a breakdown, therefore, Christmas kind of fell by the wayside. I hardly noticed it passing. I miss her at Christmastime, my Christmases used to be about cooking with her, showering her with gifts that made her smile and light up, and of course, just having her around. Sometimes I think about how much I miss her and for a fleeting moment, I feel like I might crumble again. I don’t ever want to go back there, so I’m forcing myself to think about something else. Sometimes that works. Sometimes it doesn’t. I don’t want to push memories of her away, in case they make me cry. I can’t seem to grasp that it’s okay to cry. And it’s okay to cry as often as I do. I’m sensitive dammit.

If I could give myself a Christmas gift, it would be the ability to really not give a fuck what people think of me. Or think about me in a given situation. They don’t know my life. That sounds bitchy. HA! But they don’t. And I don’t know theirs. I’ve got shit going on, others have shit going on, and we’re all dealing with our shit together. And Christmas shit is the worst. Anybody who’s lost anybody ever is feeling overwhelmed with memories of their loved ones. At some moment, nearly everyone’s heart feels a twinge when you think about with whom you can’t spend Christmas. But I’ve learned something. It’s true what they say, so long as they are with you, they’re never really gone.

Deck the halls. I have very few Christmas decorations. But I have a plastic canvas NOEL sign that is hanging on my front door to welcome anyone crazy enough to visit. Mom made it. I see Mom every day when I get home from work, and that’s kind of like old times. And that makes me feel good. It sometimes makes me cry, but it still makes me feel good. She’s everywhere. And I’m crying… BRB

That’s all I’ve got in me today… I’m on the verge of some kind of revelation, but I’m not there yet.

 

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