Wednesday, September 13, 2017

On Depression

To write is to be vulnerable. You bleed your soul out on paper for others to point and laugh. But maybe you find that one person who gets it-who gets you.

"Who in the world am I? Ah, that's the great puzzle." (Alice in Wonderland)

I fell down the rabbit hole without knowing how I got there. One day, I found myself in bed and didn't get up until six months later. The storm had been raging for about two years before that, and then the rabbit hole just grew deeper and deeper.

Depression is a mean bastard. It creates noise in your head that you just can't shut out and a deadening silence all at once.

I thought about all the things I should be doing as I laid in my bed, but my legs wouldn't work. My mind wouldn't work, or it would be screaming at me to just do something and that was really overwhelming, so I just went back to sleep.

I begged for death. I didn't care how. I prayed for a car accident so my family wouldn't have to deal with the awful burden of my depression. I had suicidal ideations.

"Who in the world am I?" I was a shell. Broken and feeling as though I would never be anything more.

By the grace of God, I have a loving family and amazing friends who supported me and got me the help I needed.

Every step, every action is a victory. Yesterday, I ran outside in the sunshine and cleaned my house. The medicine I take causes me to shake, but I journaled in my kindergarten handwriting. And I was thankful. I still lay on the couch and tell myself that in fifteen minutes, I am going to get up and do something productive, but I do it. Another victory. I haven't cooked in months. Friends brought us food (God bless them!) and my dear husband cooked almost every night. But I cooked yesterday which still feels like a giant task, but I did it. I picked up my kids from soccer instead of my husband taking off work because I couldn't get out of bed to drive there. I'm getting stronger everyday.

You might wonder why I've chosen to write something so personal, and it's because I believe people suffer in silence. I have never felt so isolated or ashamed of the way I was feeling and I was too scared to reach out.  Reach out. To someone. Anyone.

"The bravest thing I ever did was continuing my life when I wanted to die." -Juliette Lewis

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

The Door Girl, Part 41

Did I miss her? God, yes. She could’ve slain millions of people with her bare hands and I would have loved her still. But she never came back to me to love. And that was her choice.
As an adult, I had to learn to accept that. Everyone has many doors they can walk through. And sometimes the darkest doors overgrown with weeds are exactly the door we need to walk through to gain our humanity.
We are human. We want things to be pretty.  But life is dirty and messy. The sooner we accept that, the sooner we become what we were created to be, and that is authentic, powerful warriors.
I will tell you a little story, however, that I keep in my back pocket when I am feeling low on my love supply.
I was 9-years old and we were living with Tommy the child molester. I walked through the back alley to the corner store where they sold chick-o-sticks in giant plastic containers for only five cents a piece. I bought two and a coke. Back in those days, coke came in glass bottles. As I was walking out of the door, I tripped over the brick holding it open. My mouth was bleeding. Oh my God, my teeth were covered in blood. The store owner ran out and carried me in his arms to my mother.
Tommy ran to take me and I kicked him as hard as I could. I can remember it like it happened yesterday. She said something to the effect of, “No. She only wants me.”
And that summed it up. I only wanted her. In that moment, she showed me love and I have kept it with me all of my life.
That door I tripped through, the threshold, the brick…in a back alley of Detroit. It was ugly. But it was my beautiful. Because in that moment, I knew I was loved.
And so, I guess if I had anything to say to you, dear reader, it would be, “Don’t be afraid of the ugly doors and the broken places. Don’t be afraid to die in order to be brought back to life.” Life is there on the other side of that door.

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

The Door Girl, Part 40

As a child, I had to act in survival mode, and I recognize that I often still operate out of this place of fear. It’s a place of mistrust because it is the belief that the Universe/God won’t provide and she always does.
I felt abandoned. Alone. And I was alone.
Am I asking you to feel sorry for me? Hell no.
Because my dis-ease is what makes me glow.
This madness, these demons, they make me restless until my hands shake and I know I have to wring the words  from them.
It’s time. The craze will make you insane or make you raw and genuine.
Am I looking for a shoulder to cry on?
No. I have worked hard to wear my big girl pants.
So, is it wanting you to feel sorry for me I tell you my own story? No.
And there’s a single reason why.  Because I am a survivor. I’m an overcomer.
So don't pity me. Because if you asked me to trade my ugly for your pretty present tied with a bow, I would politely say, “No thank you, “ with a story of power to tell.

Monday, September 12, 2016

The Door Girl, Part 39

I would always let her back in, my mother. No matter what she did or who she did it with, she was my mother.

It was late one night and we were living in Detroit. On Florida street, if my memory serves me well. It was dark and all I could see was the streetlights glowing on the incline of the alleys. I sat in the backseat like a pet. I was my mother’s pet. I tried not to touch her to much because I had seen the ways that cats got under their master’s feet and then began to annoy them. They wished they’d never shown the cat any damn attention in the first place. I would not make that mistake. I was well-educated on the behaviors that suited my mother. Stay out of her fucking way. And if she touched you, stay as still as possible because a miracle is currently taking place and you don’t want to screw it up. I never wanted to surprise her when she stroked my hair, so I sat like her toy and let her do whatever she wanted to me. I didn’t care if I was like a bag she threw in the backseat as she drove down the back alley. I just cared that I was her toy.

Thursday, September 8, 2016

The Door Girl, Part 38

I can remember that day vividly. We had been at the neighbor’s house who had a big inflatable pool in her backyard. We spent a lot of time there.
                  She was high as a kite. I watched her climb in to the pool with all of her clothes on. She was wearing a flimsy navy blue top with a full length skirt. She was stunning and elegant.
I watched her lower herself slowly in to the pool. The sun was an endless fire that day. I watched the look on her face and you would’ve sworn she had died and gone to Honolulu. With a drink in her hand and her body saturated with pool water, she became someone else. I don’t think my mother was ever happier than when she was not herself.
Again, from her journal:

Because that’s the thing. I’m happiest when I’m not myself. When I escape and hide behind whatever I can…I guess I never learned that lesson—to be a big girl and face my problems.

Wednesday, September 7, 2016

The Door Girl, Part 37

So, what was the unspeakable thing I did? This crime I committed that I likened to a suicide of the soul?
I became someone I wasn’t. I lived inauthentically. And when it’s all said and done, that is my goal—to be me.

To live as though you are someone else is the greatest crime one could ever commit. Just think of the art we are not seeing, the words we are not reading, the songs we are not hearing because people aren’t living authentically. It is, in fact, a suicide of the soul to prostitute your life to the highest bidder. I refuse to be that girl anymore.
This was found in my mother's journal:
What gets people is the damn monotony of the everyday—wake up, fill in the blanks, go to bed. It is those fill-in-the-blanks that get me. I feel lost. I don’t know what to do with myself that has any value. And so I sleep. I get high. I drink. I have sex with random men. I break things.
And so, I know it’s better for everyone if I just sleep. I take whatever pills I can find and whatever weed I can smoke and I just sleep and hide from my child. Because the best thing for her is when I am asleep.
It's like Ernest Hemingway says, "I love sleep. My life has the tendency to fall apart when I'm awake, you know?"
I don’t want to be this way. The mediocrity of life and the fear of failure paralyzes me.
Sometimes, I just want to get in my car and drive…

Monday, September 5, 2016

The Door Girl, Part 36

I have been given beauty for ashes. When we buried one of our sweet babies, the preacher, said, “The seed that goes in to the ground bears much fruit” (John 12:24). It brought me to tears. I didn’t want to bury my baby in the ground. But what I wanted and what I got were very different things. What I didn’t understand at the time is that graces come later.

The gifts I’ve been given are remarkable. Grace, humility, compassion. My baby that I never once held in my arms bore so much fruit in my life and consequently, in to the lives of others. We planted a peach tree for them. This year was the fullest it’s ever been. Each summer I am reminded that something always needs to die in order to come back to life.