Archives For Depression

Mental-Illness 2

 

 

When you have a kid who’s “challenging” (euphemism for “major pain in the ass”), receiving a phone call from his preschool teacher at 8:30 at night is NOT a good thing. You know she’s not calling you at that hour to gush over what a little darling he is.

At 3, my son was defiant, intense, uber-intelligent, willful and aggressive. Hence the phone call from his preschool teacher, asking,

“Is there a problem in your family?”

Mrs. Katz-  in your vast experience educating 3-year-olds, have you never encountered this type of kid? Even the best 3-year-olds make you want to drink in the daytime.

I’m sure it’s hard to be an underpaid, overworked preschool teacher with Little Dude in the room, making his weird-ass noises and destroying furniture and what not. But, lady – this is your JOB.

Did she really think I was going to sigh with relief, and say, “Oh,  YES” and then have a heart to heart with her?

I’d explained, in detail, to the the director of the school that my son had already been diagnosed with ADHD and Sensory Processing Disorder. So, please don’t give me shit about “is there a problem in my family?” We’re FINE.

Or are we?

 

In 1990, I lost my eldest brother, who raised me. My Protector.

My EVERYTHING.

He was the funniest, kindest, gentlest man anyone ever knew, and when he died, I curled up into a little ball and died with him.

I stopped eating and sleeping and when it became apparent I would need hospitalization, my uncle took me to a psychiatrist who treated me for severe depression.

The psychiatrist spent 18 months looking for the right psychotropic cocktail; one that would give me a reason to get out of bed in the morning.

He also articulated for me a childhood of abuse and abandonment that I filled with overachievement and a quest for constant approval. A deep abyss of sadness that I covered with a comic facade and a sharp wit.

Is there a problem in my family?

I have 4 other brothers.

One of them lives in Florida with my mother. He is a brilliant patent attorney who graduated first in his class from NYU Law School. He was the poster child for “the best and the brightest” but somewhere along the way, the delicately constructed wiring inside his brain short-circuited.

He suffers from bipolar disorder which he treats successfully with strong chemical concoctions.

10 years ago, when he decided he no longer needed his medication, he suffered a frightening psychotic break.

He changed personas daily, eventually becoming convinced that he was being persecuted in an elaborate government conspiracy. He decided every member of our family was part of the conspiracy. He threatened us in extended, hostile, middle-of-the-night telephone messages.

Fleeing faceless demons, he drove up and down I-95 at 130 miles per hour, burning out his transmission and enough brain cells to land him in two different psych wards.

His doctors were finally able to help him chemically wrangle his illness into submission. He remembers nothing of his psychotic fracture.

He only remembers that he spent a year afterwards in his bathrobe, watching “The View.”

Is there a problem in my family?

My third oldest brother has a relaxed, likable personality. He laughs easily and makes a fabulous uncle/playmate to my kid.

He is retired military. He was in the army over 20 years and was deployed to Somalia.

He NEVER discusses it. If pressed, he will shrug it off.

When he visits, he pretends to sleep on the fold out couch in my den, but only dozes.

Wakes up. Has a cigarette. A soda. Watches some TV. Dozes again. I hear him downstairs, moving around all night.

The sound of the patio door sliding open, then closing; the refrigerator door opening, the swoosh! of the soda can opening. The sigh when he settles back on the couch. The TV channels changing, changing, changing.

He has been diagnosed with PTSD – post traumatic stress disorder – which is a convenient way for the government to say, “We sent you to war, you saw unspeakable things, and now you’re completely fucked up.”

He toughs it out without meds or therapy.

He’s never been the same.

He has an impenetrable shell of nonchalant behavior, acting normal when nothing is normal.

The man has not slept in 15 years.

Is there a problem in my family?

My youngest brother is a lung cancer survivor. He works too hard, plays too hard, and even after losing a lung, still smokes.

He’s a frustrated musician masquerading as a Vice President at JP Morgan Chase. He’s a confirmed bachelor because he cannot deal with intimacy or relationships.

He has bottled up rage against every single member of my family. His grudges date back to events that transpired over 30 years ago, events no one else remembers.

He’s brilliant, erratic, emotional, fiercely loving, and astonishingly gifted. He can listen to a guitar solo ONCE and duplicate it, note for note. 

All he’s ever wanted to do is play guitar, and somehow he ended up in a corner office, his essence rotting like moldy fruit.

He takes a cornucopia of anti-anxiety medications to cope with a life that crept up on him when he wasn’t looking.

I am certain that his lung cancer was caused not by cigarettes but by the fact that he’s an acutely lonely man who spends all his time alienating those who would love him.

A frustrated artist emotionally eroded by spending the last 22 years at a job that’s killing him.

Is there a problem in my family?

 

Did I bring a child destined to mental illness into this world?

Did I selfishly ignore the familial signs so I could give birth to a child who struggles with heightened emotions and diagnoses full of letters?

He is my child. He is my heart.

I want him to be HAPPY.

 

At night, we cuddle and talk over the day.
“What was your ‘sad’ today? Your ‘glad’ today?”

Our ritual for years. It’s his safe place to open up to me about his world.

But does he?

 

Dear God, I want to know,

Is there a problem in my family?

We walk home from school as he chatters happily about his day.

It’s hard for my 10 year old kid to sit still all day. I like him to blow off steam before he sits down to his homework.

Today, it’s out to the trampoline in my backyard. He loves that trampoline; his sensory issues assuaged by the movement, and all his bottled up energy released.

 

Today I want to talk.

Today, I am writing this, and I am troubled.

Today I need to know that he is having a having a happy childhood.

Today, I want to know,

Is there a problem in my family?

I go out back.

But he’s not talking.

He’s not saying a word.

 

He’s just jumping.

Jumping,

reaching,

arms outstretched,

flying,

so high.

It looks like he’s touching the sky.

Yes. Like this.

Like this.

 

Do you have a child like this? Siblings like mine?
Talk to me. I’m listening.

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self harm

I’m brain deep in a conspiracy of lies.

A nastified little gremlin lives in the deconstruction zone of my confident facade.

like this, only with anal warts and horrible breath

like this, only with anal warts and horrible breath

His mission: expose my prodigious self doubt by verbally annihilating me with meticulously fabricated lies.

He’s good, too – he’s hot boxing his ditch weed, playing Flappy Birds, and killing me softly, without even breaking a sweat.

And to shut his FAT MOUTH up, I stop feeling.

Which perpetuates more lies.

And then I hide it all in an extravagant online cover-up.

Quite a network of lies.

I get dressed to go to work, and he says,

“Motorcycle boots?  Grow UP, you fashion magazine ‘DON’T.’ Go home and rot until your AARP card comes, loser!”

And then the black vortex sets in.

black-hole-photos-25

DEPRESSION.

But I can lie. And hide behind a gravatar and a whole lot of snarky comments.

I lie about the secrets I’m living, and the ones that infiltrate the grooves of my brain.

The Cycle begins…

Taste deafness. Everything tastes the same. Like nothing. When pizza tastes like fish, is there any reason to eat? So I don’t.

Brain fog. I lose my car keys/ wallet / train of thought / that thing I put on the thing / the – wait, what was I typing?

Forty-eleven voice mails about snow days and delayed openings. I end up bringing my kid to school on President’s Day.  A national holiday.
Now I get to keep my crown as Neighborhood’s Weirdest Mom.

I can’t bring myself to wash my hair. That movement of my arms is too uplifting and victorious. Or I’m out of shampoo. Whatever. It’s a THING. I go for weeks.

Where will we go?

I brush the shit out of it, and wear backwards Kangol hats I own in every color. They were my signature look when I performed spoken word.
In the 90’s.

Steve, once they sell them at Marshalls, they’re NOT cool.

I look more pathetic than that director of Pulp Fiction, what’s his name, and him wearing a Kangol was how the term “asshat” was invented. But Who Cares?

I’m just deleting these from now on.

NO sleep. I drift off at gray milky dawn. The music of everything just stirring to life is an ironic lullaby precisely 90 minutes before I have to get up to get my kid ready.

I’m OVER this. He’s “gifted,” he can put a damn bagel in the toaster oven.

Mama please don’t sign the papers.

My students are looking at me funny. Check it, I know I look like a slump buster right now. What you should be worried about is that my brain is on planet Zorfly.

So I have no CLUE how to explain what the horizontal translation of the equation of a function on the XY coordinate plane is. Which means you’re FUCKED.

I stay in bed. I cancel work. I don’t leave the house unless I have to. For therapy. To pick my kid up at school. That’s the worst.

These women spend their days grooming to go home to husbands they never sleep with. How much eyeliner do you need to buy cold cuts?

I haven’t bathed in 2 days, my hair is in dirty dreds, this is the third day I’m in these clothes and

I smell like a cat that got fucked over a garbage can.

or a dumpster

or a dumpster

My shrink says my depression tells these lies:

1. I don’t matter

2. People don’t care

3. I’m an imposter

.

Number 3 is the Gremlin’s specialty mind fuck.  It’s called “Imposter Syndrome” and it means I can internalize nothing I’ve accomplished.

My therapist is financing a beach house off of me and my Imposter Syndrome.

Number 2 – maybe, people don’t care?
Which is why I’m took Xanax to hit “Publish.”

Dr. Beach House wants me to reach out to people, but I’ve been independent since I was 16. I don’t like asking for help. I don’t want to be rescued.

But I’m over this Halle Berry Gothika nightmare.

I call my IRL BFFS. They don’t quite know what I’m saying; part sobs, part Barsoomian. They listen anyway. Dor sha-pan

Email is better. If I can feel my finger tapping the keys, I exist. I reach out.

To YOU.

And YOU are why I’ve healed enough to write this.

I get emails; offers to Skype or talk on the phone.

And each response is like novocaine in an excruciating impacted wisdom tooth.

The absence of pain is a beautiful thing.

TwinDaddy tells me there’s no need to suffer alone.

Jennie wants to rescue me from the abyss and mail me cupcakes.

Rara talks to me about the healing power of blogging. And helps me get this damn post up.

Sheena reminds me she’s always there if I need her.

Matticus tells me I’m amazing, and that I am LOVED.

Beth tells me she’ll walk in my rain, hell, she’ll hold the umbrella.

Guap reminds me that depression is a lying bastard.

REDdog is brilliant.
I told him I feared writing this, that no one might read it, and he understood. Because hate, he said, is not the opposite of love.

Indifference is.

The truth is, when you’re ill is when you find out who your friends really are.

Yes. I said it. This is…

A mental illness.

It’s “situational.” It happens when my life implodes.

My illness is depression combined with some OCD combined with an urge to self harm.

Self-harm creates distance from emotional feelings. Picking until there’s blood is a distraction from the agony in my head.

Self harmers are encouraged to wear rubber bands around their wrists.

Last night, my kid and I are watching a movie and

SNAP! SNAP! 

OUCH!

That sucker did the trick.

Luckily my son is ADHD and he fidgets with SO MUCH SHIT he’d make Ghandi want to punch a cow. So, he just goes with it.

We had chips and salsa.

I chopped jalapeno pepper in my salsa. It stung like fiery hell. I was choking and snotting and tearing up. But it doesn’t scar.

My kid thought it was hilarious.

My gremlin popped in,

“Look at you, sad-dy face, your life is WORTHLESS. You’re watching a stupid hip hop movie with your ten-year-old, you know you turning him into a homosexual, right?”

Only I’m not even watching the movie.

I’m imagining myself

SLAMMED!

Hard by the tractor of an 18 wheeler. I bet that would be better than car sex, which I normally dig, cause how many things do we own that are both an object AND a location?

I’m imagining

BANG!

The back of my head blown away, big time, full-time, by a 45 caliber Glock, not some pussy “handbag” 22. I’d hold the gun sideways in my mouth, gangsta style.

This is suicidal ideation. It’s an OCD thing. People with suicide ideation don’t usually try to commit suicide. I personally have no interest in dying.

I just have these images.

They’re comforting.

BANG! DONE!

Sometimes, for me, they’re pleasurable to the point of erotica. I’d be jacking off to them if I could feel my vagina.

And sometimes frightening.

Which is why I can’t drive to my bestie’s house and lay on her couch while she feeds me tea.

I’m afraid to drive 100 miles.

Between snapping rubber bands, replaying my erotic deathscape, and blowing jalapeno snot out of my nose, who has the energy to shampoo?

Little Dude asks, “Mama, how exactly during intercourses does the sperm fertilize the egg?”

WHAT THE FUCK?

“Where did you learn that?”

“Health class.”

“They’re teaching THAT in 4th grade?”

“Well, only to the kids whose parents signed off on it.”

That’s what happens when you’re in a depression. You sign things you have no memory of signing.

Now my blog isn’t a lie.

I’m sitting here.

Filthy haired.

Under my blankey.

Under eye circles like Uncle Fester.

My kid’s googling “intercourses.”

Number 1 IS a lie.

I matter.

Because-

1. You’re reading this, and maybe you feel less alone?

2. I’m my son’s only mother.

He gets all I can muster. At night, when we cuddle, he strokes my face and tells me how much he loves me.

That’s how I know I matter.

Everyone keep saying it’s been such a hard winter, and I’ll feel better when it’s spring.

I personally love the fall.

Did you know that leaves don’t actually change color?

Those are the underlying colors of the leaves.

They’re just covered in green, like a veil, because of the chlorophyll. In the fall, the leaves stop producing chlorophyll.

The green veil lifts.

And what remains are those brilliantly vivid colors of fall leaves.

They were there, all the time.

They were just covered.

Quentin Tarantino! That’s his name! Awesome flicks!

But he looked like an idiot in those hats.

I’m SO washing my hair.

Author’s note: I’ve been listening to Lenny Kravitz’s debut album Let Love Rule compulsively. Fuck Cinna in Hunger Games. Kravitz is a genius songcrafter. Played every single instrument on the record.

This track is dirty funk; a retro ode to 70’s R&B. This dude can pocket a bass groove; he’s got the raw, gritty vocals; and I dig the 60’s uplifting Farfisa organ at the bridge. It gives me hope.

“And all I do, is sing the blues…”

Do you ever get depressed?  Or know someone who does?
Talk to me. I’m listening.

DEATH OF A BLOG

January 19, 2014 — 110 Comments

depression (1)

I can’t write anymore.

I have 12 drafts sitting here. Mocking me.

Tick. Tock.

He commented on my first post:

“There’s a huge world between “black” and “white” (avoid the beige, the fucking Gap khaki beige),

so write truthfully what you’re feeling, wherever you are.

Make this blog at your image(S).

Keep this blog about the real you.”

 

But I’m afraid.

Can I say that?

I’m never good enough.

Is that what you all come here to read?

If I comment, she screams at me.

I haven’t washed my hair in a week.

Tick. Tock.

 

 

I came here

After another blogger decimated me.

Destroyed my family.

Destroyed my child.

Out of the blue

reached into my life, took hold, played with me for a few days.

Got bored.

Threw me in the garbage.

 

 

Didn’t know I’d had a childhood in which nothing I ever did was good enough.

Didn’t know it was the first time in 20 years I’d written after a horrible fall from grace.

And I was broken.

 

Don’t go pushing yourself into my life and disappear.

Because I damn near died when it happened before.

“Sweet Samara, I’m not going anywhere. I promise.”

So where ARE you?

Again.

Tick. Tock.

.

I love my child so much I sometimes look at him and can’t breathe.

Just looking at his eyelashes against his cheek when he sleeps takes my breath away.

“Mama, you’re wearing the same clothes again today.

It’s like, the third day.”

Tick. Tock.

 

 

I want him to be the person in his blog.

I want him to be the way he was when he first emailed me.

So. I go back.

Hoping.

Never finding what was never there in the first place.

“All writing is betrayal.”

Jen once wrote, “the more you want closure with someone, the less likely you are to get it.”

Tick. Tock.

 

 

I’m sitting here waiting.

I can’t walk home with all this poster board and the mechanism I constructed to illustrate

Kepler’s Third Law of Planetary Motion.

The square of the orbital period of a body orbiting around a larger body is proportional to the cube of the semi-major axis of the body’s orbit, which is basically the body’s distance from the larger body.

Which made sense to me in the 6th grade, but I can’t even process that sentence.

And I can’t carry it all home

And the first place trophy.

You said you’d pick me up

You forgot the science fair was today.

Again.

fuck.

TICK. TOCK.

Really loud, that one was,

cause it’s cold out.

 

 

“Here – here’s my world. Please handle with care. ”

He never even looked.

You said, in that considerate and polite way you have,

I’ll read and comment appropriately, if you’ll let me.

That would be good. That would be healing.

It never happened.

Just carefully constructed words

To hide a painful lack of interest.

Again.

Tick. Tock.

 

 

“Mama, can we have dinner together, please?”

“Baby, I made a great dinner for us.”

“I meant – will you EAT. Not just sit there.

You’re doing that thing where you push the food around your plate.

but i can tell you’re not eating. Give me a break.”

 

 

Pain.

So tired of recycling it.

I want the bliss I was put on earth for. That I’m certain we were put here for.

Not this recycled pain.

From 1974. 1979. 1994. 2013.

 

We were put here for something different.

I know because I wrote it in my comment section.

Three days of making it through 200 comments.

Yes, I know there are 40 more in my queue.

Tick. Tock.

 

And when she wrote,

“I can’t take it anymore! Why are my child and I even HERE?”

I responded, “because YOU are worthy of love. You deserve bliss.”

So it must be true, since I wrote it. I must have believed it.

 

 

I’m right back where I started last fall.

Only

 

There will be no one to pick me up this time.

No one to champion me on.

I can’t write.

 

My blog was on life support.

It’s unplugged now, and dying.

 

 

I put my son to sleep a while ago.

We cuddled for sads and glads.

He said, “mama, where ARE you?”

“I’m right here, baby.”

“no you’re not.”

I’m failing him.

Again.

 

Freshly Pressed. 209 new followers.

nothing to say.

I’m failing you.

Again.

 

 

I have an old grandfather clock in my foyer.

It was my uncle’s.

My cousins gave it to me when he died.

It’s really loud.

Tick. Tock. Tick. Tock.

Tick.

Tock.