If you noticed, I did not blog throughout the entire year of 2013.
Mainly because, 2013 was a pretty horrible year for me personally, professionally and every other way, shape and form.
While there were some definite bright spots, like renewing my vows (twice!) in both Las Vegas and in Mexico,or spending my granddaughter’s 5th birthday in Disney, there were far more dark patches; times that I really didn’t think that I would make it through the remainder of the year without some serious professional intervention.
My personal health was poor throughout this year, and it made matters so much worse. Anything you go through in your life seems far more trying when your health is not where it should be. My stellar marriage was put through some incredibly trying times. Relationships with family members worsened and in some cases, deteriorated altogether. I feel like I spent most of 2013 in tears. In short, things were hard.
And on the precipice of this brand new year, they are still…well, hard.
My best course of therapy has always been to turn to my writing. It’s saved me through some of the most torrid times of my life. Just to be able to achieve that sweet release of putting thoughts to “paper” has always managed to help me put things into perspective. But, this year, the strength to even turn to my blog did not come. A year long case of writers block caused by being in the throes of some of the deepest, darkest depression I have ever experienced.
People do not understand how seemingly happy people can be “depressed”. If you sorted through my facebook photos from this past year, you would see dozens of “happy” photos of me, smiling brightly for the camera. But, what you do not see are the seconds before the photo and the hours afterward. Smiling on command is easy and that is what the camera captures. But if we had the ability to see what takes place the second before or the seconds after the photo is taken, you would see the smile fall away just as quickly as it appeared. Again, not saying there were not moments of genuine happiness, but in 2013, they were few and far between.
I think, if I were to be honest, I spent most of 2013 curled up in a fetal position in my bed. Too exhausted to face the day, too tired to cry. And when you are just too tired to even cry, that’s when depression is at its worst. I find a good, hard cry to be cathartic. It cleanses the soul, erases some of the negativity by releasing the pain and makes room for new, perhaps better emotions to seep into the soul. But when you just cannot cry, when the pain of life is so overwhelming that you cannot even produce tears…when the thought of crying exhausts you, there is a problem. Usually a problem that is much bigger than you are.
In 2013, the problem was not only bigger than I was, it hovered over me like a large, black winged bird, casting a shadow upon me. I went many days without showering. I would stay in bed for days straight, scarcely exiting my room. I would stare into the television set, enthralled with nothing; just an empty vessel waiting to be filled with something, anything. I can’t tell you much about what I did in 2013. I rely heavily on my Facebook timeline to remind me, but there’s a problem with that. The problem being, I fooled myself with many statuses on there in order to fool the rest of the world. I couldn’t have the world knowing how I was struggling with my depression. The world, my friends en masse, they expect me to be funny, charming, irreverent. Somehow, I managed to keep up that persona, or rather, facade, on my statuses. But with every “LMAO” I posted, I assure you, there was very little laughing being done, let alone laughter that would remove my ass from my body. I would type statuses, replies, comments with the same blank look on my face that I reserved for the television set. I would appear interested and engaged when in reality, I could not care less about most of what I was writing.
Trying to keep up appearances became exhausting, hurling me into a far darker place than I had previously been, until in mid August, just before my birthday, I melted down altogether. I wanted out. Out of my family, out of my friendships, out of my marriage, out of my house, out of my bed, out of my job, out of my life. Ideally, I just wanted to be left alone to rot. For anyone who has ever experienced depression, you know that loneliness is the devil at work.
But, this is not where I am heading in 2014. I am not over the depression. Not by a long shot. It’s plagued me all my life and I doubt sincerely, that it will take leave any time soon. However, I am actively involved in making sure that I don’t spend 2014 with the blankets pulled up over my head. I am in the process of healing the pain that encompasses me. I have rid myself of the toxic people in my life who won’t allow me to breathe normally. For those I cannot rid myself of, I have opted to ration my time carefully, wholly in consideration of my mental health. You can have 15 minutes of me a week, nothing more. The pain I experience physically, I am finally putting myself under the knife to heal.
Basically, I am not giving away another year of my precious life to this monster that is seeking to consume me. I know it will be challenging, but it’s important that I remember 2013 as the year that almost did me in. I am not a victim. I will never be a victim. I don’t want pity, not even empathy. I just want another opportunity to ensure that I won’t be a statistic. I don’t want to fall prey to my long standing depression. I don’t want to wallow in those deep waters any longer. I have plenty to be grateful for. I have healthy, happy, beautiful children and grandchildren. I have a husband who truly loves me and wants me to get better and is willing to support me on that journey. I have friends who are compassionate and caring. I have a talent that not only earns me a living, but heals me in the process.
There is so much for me to live for and in that instance, I am richer than most.
My excuses have worn thin. The time for denying my reality has come to a close. I am not going to be a living dead girl for another year. I have to be an active participant in making sure that I do not die. Not a physical death, but rather, an emotional one…which I find to be worse. A physical death. It’s easy. Anyone can do that. Suicide is never an option. Not for me at least. It’s too easy to make the choice to check out. As the great Annie Lennox once opined, “dying is easy, it’s living that scares me to death”. Living is harder, but the rewards of doing so are far greater. With every sunrise comes the ability to change the course of your life.
I am not saying that it will come easy, nor am I saying I will be successful at it. I am positive I will have days where pulling myself from my bed will be a hardship for me. I am sure that there are days I will fail miserably. But, I am also positive that, if I push myself, I will be able to rise to the challenge. Mistakes quickly become regrets, but I will not punish myself for those. I have been hard enough on myself…harder than any of you could ever be on me.
So, on this, the eve of my surgery, I am making myself the promise to try a little harder.
I give so much of myself to everyone in my life. Why am I so reticent to do for myself what I do for others? Am I undeserving? Am I not valuable enough? Not worthy? Of course not.
Here’s my fresh new perspective on the matter:
Inside all of us, there is a child. We all have that inner child. It’s the one who laughs at inappropriate times. The one who looks over at a set of swings while you are in high heels and an evening gown and decides that running over to the playground would be a blast. The child who starts a food fight in the middle of Denny’s at one o’clock in the morning over pancakes. The same one who secretly watches old 80’s cartoons on Saturday mornings, cross legged on the floor in pajamas. But, it’s also the same one who cries when they are hurt. It’s the same child who desperately needs a hug when they are inconsolable. It’s that same child who begs for forgiveness when they have done wrong.
And I am the mother of this inner child. She is me. I am her. It is my duty, obligation, desire to take care of her as surely as I would take care of my own children. I would do anything for my children. I would die for them. I would give my last breath for them. So, why not that inner child? Why not give my last breath to fight for that little girl within me who is suffering and struggling? Why not nurture her and love her the way she deserves? Why would I leave her alone, abandoned, needing and desperately wanting?
She needs me as surely as I need her.
So, for 2014, I promise to be a better mother. Not only to my children I have given birth to, but to the little girl inside of me. It is my job to heal her and in turn, heal myself. I will hold her when she needs to be held. I will kiss her tears away when she cries. I will wake her with a gentle hug at the start of her day and lay her down, bundled in warmth and affection when it is time for sleep. I will rouse her from the nightmares that plague her and remind her, I am here. Shhhh…I am here. Nothing is going to happen to you, sweet girl…because I am here. I will give her daily affirmations of how beautiful she is, how smart she is. I will feed not just her belly, but her soul. I will set her free to play, but keep an ever watchful eye on her, keeping her safe from harm, from all the dangers lurking in this world. I will protect her from the bullies on the playground of life. I will not abandon her when she needs me most. I will be the mother to her that I never had in my own life.
She will be loved.
All I can ask is that she forgive me the first 40+ years that I did not realize I had left her alone.
She is me. I am her. And in this knowledge, I am comforted, for I know she is a forgiving soul and will allow me back into her life.
Only this time, I will do things the right way. And she will flourish. She will grow.
And someday, under my guidance and with my unrequited love, she will heal.
She deserves that. We both do.