Posts Tagged ‘depression’

Been a long time…some thoughts and stuff.

Yeah I haven’t posted in a while. I’ve been meaning to, just like I’ve been meaning to actually work on my book blog, but I can’t get to the fucking computer for more than 15 minutes without The Man bugging the hell out of me to get off.

The Job

I’m going to find another job soon. I’m being criminally underpaid. He decided (remember I’m off the books, as is everyone else I work with) that $50 every two weeks was ok. Now, I’ve taken on an extra day. Initially I was doing a 20 hour week. Now it’s 26. I should be getting $138 every two weeks. I’m being jacked for $88. Here’s the problem, if I go report him, everyone I work with gets in trouble because no one is paying income taxes at the moment. We never filled out a W2 so we don’t get W4s. I’d be happy to tell The Boss to go fuck himself and sic the IRS on him (and MiOSHA) on the sly, but that would put my coworkers (who really don’t need/deserve that sort of stress) in harms way. So I’m stuck. If I complain to a Labor Board, Cook, Mel, Mo and The Amazing Beulah (who I’ve found isn’t really so scary after all) all get caught up in it (S1 and S2 have both quit, S2 didn’t last her first week).

So I decided (and I told Cook today) that I’m only going to stay there a little while longer, then I’m going to try to find another job. Whether it’s waiting tables or something else, I don’t care (well…I won’t work fast food, that’s just something that’s not going to happen), I need to get out of that place. I don’t need the drama.

Have I mentioned that we haven’t had Coke there since the 6th of this month? And that our CO2 tanks are now empty as well, and have been for over a week? We’re a restaurant that serves pop but has no pop to serve. How in the hell does that make sense?

So I’m restarting my job search. Now that I’m in the work force it should be a little bit easier.

Revelation

Since getting back to work I’ve realised something: Being a stay at home mom made me disgustingly dependant to the point where I lost sight of myself.

Let me state right now that I don’t regret being a SAHM. Not in the least. I loved watching my daughter grow up and discover something new every day. That look she gets when she gets something makes me feel like I’m on top of the world. No, I wouldn’t trade that time for anything.

I’ve always been a really independant person. It’s just part of my nature. I started working as soon as I could so I could get what I wanted when I wanted it without having to wait for someone to be nice enough to give it (or the money for it) to me. I hate feeling like a charity case and I hate it when I have to depend on others to take care of my needs. That is what happened when I became a stay at home mom. I became dependant. I couldn’t buy groceries because I didn’t have money because I didn’t have a job. I couldn’t get things for the house because I didn’t have money because I didn’t have a job. I couldn’t…I couldn’t…I couldn’t… I can go on forever like that.

This isn’t to say my husband didn’t take care of us. He did. And he did an amazing job doing so. He has no college education, works (mostly) part time at a job that pays under $12 and has no health benefits for anyone not full time (and then you’re paying so much that you may as well get private insurance on your own). And he’s been working his ass off on his music career and has made some big moves of late. Yet and still we’ve never gone hungry, we’ve never been without the necessities. The Kid has always had clothes and shoes that fit. She’s never needed for toys, or books, or crayons, or some sort of entertainment. We’ve always made a way no matter what happened. My problem is just that I hate asking people for what I need. I feel like a child asking if I can have some money to get a new shirt, or a new pair of shoes or jeans. I get eaten by guilt spending that money on myself. I look and see a bill that needs paying, or something The Kid or The Man may need/want and that becomes priority. Spending on me can’t happen without spending spending on them first to assuage my guilt, and my feelings of being greedy for not being happy with what I have.

Since starting at The Job I have rediscovered my independance. Even if just a bit. It’s an important bit. I feel like an adult. I feel like I actually bring something to the table in this relationship. I feel like less of an undue burden. I can feel myself regain some self confidence that I lost when my Demon decided that my being unemployed (even if it was by choice to raise my daughter) meant that I was less than, that I was a disappointment to everyone around me and that I was nothing more than a bother and burden.

Of course, intellectually, I knew I was something something very important by being there for my daughter and raising her. I knew, intellectually, that there was no job in this world that can pay me better than seeing those beautiful brown eyes look at me and watching her as she sat up on her own, took her first steps, said her first words, coming home from her first day of school, watching her write her name for the first time. All these big things and all the little things in between. No office or cubicle or promotion or paycheck could ever replace that. But intellectual knowledge, and all the love I have for my daughter, can’t stand up to the steady, repetitive drum beat of my Demon slowly erroding the wall intellect and love build up.

Not being able to actually get a job for almost a year didn’t help matters any. In fact it seemed to confirm everything my Demon told me. I was worthless, useless. No one would hire me because I wasn’t good enough to be hired. It’s hard to fight that and not put in applications thinking “I’m not going to get it but why not.”

Slowly, slowly, I am beating back my Demon. I am regaining confidence lost over the years. It is taking time, but I am finding who I am again. I’m rediscovering my personal light and path.

Slowly, slowly.

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This weekend sucked

Not all of it. We finally got the tax return (turns out it got delivered to a house around the corner with the same house number, and since both of our streets start with the same letter…*shrug* we get a lot of their stuff too). H sent me out shopping. And The Kid was off with her Grandma J (my MIL) for the weekend.

All of this, plus the great weather, should have added up to an awesome weekend. Not when you’re me it doesn’t.

Two of my closest friends were in a funk (and still are) all weekend. One friend, I’m trying to get her husband to remove his head from his ass so that he can finally see that she needs help. I’m getting close but he wanted to whine about how hard he’s having it. Well it’d be a damn sight easier if she wasn’t beating herself up, now wouldn’t it. sigh People can be so flippin short sighted.

Then there was MT. I know he doesn’t come up much but check the Cast of Characters page. MT is one of my best friends and closest confidants and I knew he wasn’t in a good place but I didn’t know how bad it was until I checked my email this morning and found a note from him talking about he’s been lying in his bed all day playing with his gun (he lives in the deep south out in the woods…he basically needs a gun). My heart sank. Partly because I’m something of the cause of MT’s bad mood. (long story, SO not going into it here).

I don’t know what to do anymore. I feel like I’m not helping anyone anymore. People come to me for help and I show them the path for them to be able to help themselves but no one seems to want that. They want me to do the work for them and I can’t. I would if I could, but that’s not my path to travel. But no one seems to care about that. They all just want the easy way out. Hell I want the easy way out. But there is no easy way out. There is just life and all that comes with it, and God knows life ain’t easy.

I think I’m going to tune out for a while. Focus inward and start some of the healing that needs to go on in there anyway. My spiritual life is a mess and my personal life will be headed down that road if I’m not careful.

I’m growing resentful of my disease.

My mind is clearer now…at last, all to well, I can see where we all soon will be…

I’ve been on anti-deps since August, and with my meds and time there has come a lot of clarity and discovery. The one thing that I have recently begun to understand fully is that my depression has had an affect, not just on me, but on my whole family.

Four years. I lost four years of my life to my depression. Oh, I’ve lost more than just that on the whole, but those four years were the most important. Four years of a new marriage. Four years of new motherhood. Four years that I spent living in a fog, detached from the world around me while I drowned in this disease of mine. My husband, the sweet darling he is, stood by me patiently and helped me through those four years, rough as they were. In the mean time he sacrificed so much personally for me to get to where I am now.

My daughter suffered also she saw some of my worst behavior when I was in the depth of my depression. Imagine the earliest memories your child has of you is you screaming, crying and flying into irrational rages. I saw her face one day when one of these episodes happened and she looked at me as though I were a total stranger. And I was. I couldn’t even recognise myself when I was raging. That look was what convinced me to get on meds. I was slowly destroying my relationship with H and my daughter.

Now I look back and see what damage my depression has done. Some of it is totally irrepairable. There is damage to my marriage, damage to my relationship with my daughter, damage to friendships.

I hate that I have been given this disease. I hate that I allowed it to control me like that. I feel weak when I think about it. Like some stupid puppet; out of control of myself and my actions. I hate that I’m going to be on medication for the rest of my life. But I know it’s for the best. There is no cure for depression. You don’t grow out of it or get over it. You either handle it or let it consume you.

This is my life. The only one I get. I won’t live it ruled by this disease. I won’t let it decide how I feel everyday. I won’t let it destroy me, or my family any further. My goal is to repair and rebuild. My foundation will be the knowledge that I am not my disease. I am not the person it made me be on my worst days. I am better than that.

Ok…In all fairness to God and His(Her?) sense of humor

Yesterday was a much better day for me, emotionally at least.

Doing something I loathed doing to ensure someone I cared deeply about had a chance at happiness was the trade off for an episode-free day.

Normally it’d be about here that I throw in some pseudo-philosophical about life and making hard decisions…but my throat is killing me, my right ear feels like there’s something in it (there isn’t) and I’m not in the mood to be insightful right now.

Sure, God is still fucking with me (“Dance, puppet. DANCE!“) for shits and giggles, but that’s nothing new.

…And then BAM! it hits you

This evening wasn’t a very good one for me. I had something of an episode.

H asked me what was wrong with a little too much attitude in his voice. So I left the kitchen (where I had been sitting) and went upstairs to my room. I started crying. Not bawling, just crying. The Kid knew something was up and started to come up after me (she’s pretty intuitive for a four year old), but H stopped her and made her go back into the living room. That I was happy for. Fact is I don’t like her seeing me upset. I’ve only recently gotten on anti-deps, so for three years she’s seen me at my worst. I don’t want her seeing me like that, or even near that, again.

All the things “wrong” came pouring from me while I sat there. I grabbed a pen and paper and scribbled them down, sobbing the whole time but feeling better with each line that I wrote. A little over two pages later I went back down stairs and dropped the notebook on the kitchen table for H to read (that is if he actually could read it…my handwriting got a little bad as everything flowed from me). Then I went back upstairs to the bathroom and ran a shower. After standing under the water for a few minutes I flipped up the lever to close the tub drain, sat down and let the shower head fill the tub and the water pound down on my back and neck.

Once I started losing hot water I turned the shower off and laid back, sinking slowly into the water until my nearly my entire head was submerged, leaving only my nose and mouth above the water. I allowed my body to just relax and float (insomuch as one can in your average bathtub). In that suspended state my mind cleared. I could hear noise through the water, but I focused on the sound of my heartbeat and breathing.

That’s as close as I ever get to a truly deep, meditative state. In my tub, mostly submerged, listening to the blood pulse in my ears and my breathing. And it was here that I discovered what the true source of my episode was. A mass of conflicting emotions over a situation with a friend. The answer came right after: I had to be honest with him and make the hard choice neither of us really wanted to make.

After running what I was going to say through my head a few times, using my breathing as a sort of metronome to keep the thoughts from racing too fast for me to put together properly, I emerged from the water (once near scalding hot, now luke warm), ran some conditioner through my hair (soaking as long as I did underwater will turn my curly hair into a natted mess) and got out, confident in what I had to do.

And I did it. And I bawled for about an hour and a half afterwards. I hurt someone I loved dearly, but did it so they’d have the freedom they needed to do what will, hopefully, end with them being happy. It hurt like fuck on my end, and I’m sure it wasn’t very pleasant on theirs either. I cried a few more times after that too. One friend assured me it was the right thing to do. A mutual friend of ours echoed the sentiment. I know it’s right. But right still feels like having a limb torn from you.

But that’s the way these things work. You struggle for the right answer, the one that makes everyone happy. And sometimes there is no answer that makes everyone happy. Sometimes you have to just hurt someone, and yourself, in the process of making them happy.

Ah hell…I won’t end on that load of pseudo-philosophical bullshit. Fact is I tore out his heart and mine all in one swift move and I did it because I loved him enough to want him to be happy in his life and that wasn’t going to happen so long as I was still holding on to him. That was the answer I came up with to my problem. It was a fucked up answer, but if I had kept on the way I was it would have been detrimental to my emotional health, and I know he wouldn’t have wanted that.  I still consider him one of my closest friends and confidants. He knows me inside and out. I don’t know if he’ll forgive me, or even talk to me, but I’ll have to live with it anyway.

Thoughts on body image

(Warning for those who are faint of heart: the links below are from two Dom/sub blogs; if the idea of Dominant/submissive relationships offends you then I suggest you go and read another post because I’ll be referencing them throughout this entry. I am not here to promote their -or anyone else’s [not even mine]- lifestyle, but I speak on wisdom where I find it. Either read without judgment or keep it moving.)

Surfing around through wordpress I came across a blog about body image. He referenced another blog about it, so naturally I scooted over there and read what she had to say. She was on point with everything and her suggestions for helping with one’s body image issues were insightful. Of course, I had to speak on this myself.

I’ve always been an advocate for the destruction of the false beauty model as set by Hollywood and mass media. Everything I learned growing up goes counter to what Elle and Cosmo says I should look like. Guys I knew and met growing up much preferred curvy women (“Girls with some meat on their bones,” as they so eloquently put it). And growing up in a family that is largely from the south (Alabama, and Mississippi) and was dominated by women who were big, I was taught early on that “only dogs like bones, men need meat” and then had another helping of ribs, macaroni and cheese (baked, not from the box), greens and who knows what else heaped onto my plate because I was “too skinny” (I was, and for the most part still am, the thinnest woman genetically related to my family, with only one or two exceptions in my age group).

As a kid and teenager, I was afraid of being too skinny. When I hit 5th grade and saw girls my age blooming while I maintained my rail thin, tomboy figure, I got nervous that I would never “have what it takes” to net one of the cute boys in my neighborhood. Especially not when placed in competition with girls who had long since passed their training bra stage and whose hips and butts were rounding out nicely. (If you read my boob post, you already know how that story ends)

Even in college, after finally having caught up with (and in some cases surpassed) my female peers in the figure department, I was still an advocate for a curvier female population. Jessica Alba was on tv in those skin tight outfits showing off her lovely figure (which she subsequently lost after drinking the Hollywood Kool-Aide and decided to abandon any aspect that would hint of her multi-ethnicity…I’d call her a sell out, but that would be oversimplifying it). Jennifer Lopez was shaking her badunkadunk across stages all over the world to her Diddy-ised Latino-hip hop beat. Maxim came out and was profiling women with lush hips (though, not too lush). Then there was the girl-next-door homegrown good looks of Rachel Ray (I can’t stand her, but she is cute). Jazzyfatnastees. Jill Scott. Tyra Banks (I can’t stand her ass either lol). Curves were everywhere. I was delighted.

However, I was also broke. When I saw a flier in one of the campus food courts looking for young women to model nude, I decided “what the hell, why not?” I checked his site and all of his shots were tasteful. Nothing pornographic or questionable. It was artistic nudity. And I had no problem with that. So I shot him an email expressing interest (oh don’t look so shocked…at least I would have been getting paid, unlike those morons who do girls gone wild tit shots for a fucking t-shirt) and he asked me to describe myself. At the time I was 5’4″, fluctuating between 127 and 130, 36DD and a size 8 in jeans. I thought I was pretty damn thin and I looked good in shorts. He said he wanted more of an athletic body. Less curve, more of a flat stomach, etc etc. And I was willing to diet to give it to him, until I stepped back and thought to myself “Um, wait a second. There is nothing wrong with my shape or my weight. Why in the hell am I trying to lose weight that I don’t need to lose?” I admit, I could have used to some toning, but weight loss? Nah. So I flipped that idea the bird and settled for a minimum wage campus job answering phones.

I walked a lot in high school and college, so keeping weight off was never really a problem, but when I got married and moved to a new city (that I wasn’t familiar with), walking went out the window. Not long after getting married I got pregnant, and that’s when all my problems started.

My first trimester I lost 11lbs, dropping me down to my college weight of 131. The doc said this was normal and was because my body was just burning off fat stores for energy while it was preparing to carry my baby. I was fine. My sex life was fine. Everything was fine. Until I hit month five. That’s when I really started to show and my baby started moving a bit. Sex became uncomfortable and I was unhappy with my distended belly, but I tried anyway. Around 7 months I simply couldn’t bear the idea of showing my body to my husband, who insisted that I was just as beautiful pregnant as I was before. Even with all of his heartfelt assurances, I couldn’t accept that the whale I had become could be considered beautiful.

My pregnancy weight topped out at 161, which meant I had only really added 20lbs to my pre-pregnancy weight (about 140), but I was very unhappy with my appearance. Even after having my daughter and losing most of the weight I was unhappy with my stretch marks, love handles and saddle bags (all of which were a result of pregnancy). I was a stay at home mom and often too exhausted to work out. Plus there was no where for me to work out. I have a lifetime membership to Fitness USA, but the closest one is over 20 minutes away and gas prices were rising. I hated my body, and slipped into a deeper depression over it. Sex was almost totally out of the question. I felt completely undesirable (though my husband felt differently, he loved my extra curves). And though I kept up my banner waving for women with curves, I kept thinking back to my thinner high school and college figure.

I often spoke with my friends about having pride in our curves. Taking pleasure in the stretch marks that came from us bearing children. I was all but singing “I Am Woman, Hear Me Roar”. But away from all those people, my inner-voice became especially nasty.

Let me break in here real quick to explain my “inner-voice”. I have had depression since I was 12, and my depression often came in the form of a “voice” that repeated over and over about what a failure I was, how unattractive I was, that I was a disappointment to my friends and family, I was worthless, useless, hopeless. Most of the time I could tune it out (without the aid of medication), but it was a steady drum beat that never wavered from its typically self-assured tone, and when it got bad, I would believe everything it said. After I had my daughter, the messages of this voice grew nastier as my self confidence began to falter. I became not only unattractive, but unlovable. My husband was, of course, cheating on me (so my voice said), who wouldn’t? I was fat, ugly, unemployed, useless, a drain on our finances, a horrible mother…and on and on. And I believed it. No matter what my husband said to the contrary. This left him frustrated on many levels.

I knew I needed to make a change when a doctors visit revealed that I had hit 170. Years after having my daughter, I had gained 15lbs. And as I said earlier, my family is full of big women. On both my mom and my dad’s side. I accept that there is some genetic propensity towards holding our weight, especially after we have babies. However I knew I could choose how much of that weight was genetic and how much was voluntary. I also knew that the older I got, the harder it’d be for me to lose. So if I was going to take control of my weight, my life and, most importantly, my self image, now was going to be the time. I started working out (not just to lose weight but to help alleviate my depression naturally) and asked my doc for anti-depressants.

It wasn’t until after this that I began to believe my own hype about the beauty of curves again. Yes, I’m curvy, and yes I’m good looking (I’m too humble to call myself beautiful). No, my breasts aren’t sitting right on top of my chest, but you show me a 36DDD woman whose breasts are and I’ll show you some fake boobs. I still have a pooch from my pregnancy and I’m fairly convinced that’s not going to go away completely without surgery. I’m still fluctuating between the mid to high 150’s and low 160’s, but I’m ok with that too. I don’t pay attention to BMI results because I saw first hand how very wrong it is to gage one’s health (I had lost 6lbs, gained muscle tone, but my BMI went up two points saying I was at risk for obesity…that was when I flipped BMI charts the bird). My sex life is back on track and I love my husband all the more for sticking with me when I was at my absolute lowest.

I haven’t given up my fight against false beauty standards either. I refuse to watch shows like America’s Next Top Model. I don’t buy fashion magazines. I expose my daughter to women of all shapes, sizes, heights, colors and tones so she understands that we’re all beautiful. I don’t watch music videos (I don’t have cable, but when I did, I didn’t watch them). And though I can’t stand her annoying ass, I applaud Raven Simone for not drinking the Hollywood Kool-Aide and loving her body and herself, curves and all. It’s a small effort, hardly a dent in the mass media image machine, but it’s my dent, and it’s a dent I pass on to every one of my girl-friends and my daughter so they can add on to it.

It’s not going to be a good day today

I can feel it.

My nerves are on end.

I’m stressed (God am I stressed).

An inevitable event has taken place, but it happened much sooner than I planned. And while I’m happy for the friend involved, it feels like someone’s amputating a limb with a swiss army knife.

I’m feeling “blah”.

Really all I want is to be alone somewhere. Where I can just bawl my eyes out without having to worry about worrying someone (especially my daughter).

I think that’s what I need. A good, hard cry. Something to relieve the stress that’s built up in me.