my 100% track record


So far…yes, this.

Won’t lie, of late it has been wretchedly hard to maintain that 100% track record of mine. Thank goodness for the kind of people who do more than just offer the trite “let me know if I can help” bullshit then avoid you like the plague because that’s what happens with people in your circles when shit happens. It’s okay. I understand. I promise you that I’m not contagious.

Meanwhile, thank you Kari, Mike, Tori, Grace, Craig, Kim, Erika, Jenn and Brenda for little messages and reminders to hang in there. Thank you.

Thank you also my darling husband for just being patient and kind because more than anything that is what I need right now. Wait, I need hugs. I need lots of hugs. Thank you and thank goodness for Daniel and for Hollie sending Hazel and Fallon with hugs. Yeah, I know Hazel might be using these opportunities to get out of homework because 1st grade life is hard and Fallon is absolutely using the opportunity to get out of naps but those are mighty fine hugs and something to look forward to the next day, tomorrow, because yeah today is almost done.

the lost little spark of madness


You’re only given one little spark of madness. You mustn’t lose it.
~ Robin Williams July 21, 1951 – August 11, 2014

Unbelievable!

My daughter Abby described the feeling of hearing the news of Robin Williams’ death this afternoon perfectly. It was as if suddenly all laughter and joy was sucked out of the atmosphere.

Unreal!

To hear his death was by suicide and that he had been struggling mightily of late with severe depression made it all the more palpable for me…for so many. Sometimes the most gifted, the most brilliant, the most talented, the people who touch your hearts with the most laughter, joy and love are the ones living in the darkest depths of despair.

If you only knew.

I know.

I know too well. I was raised in that despair. I am living in that now. God what hard work it is to live every day like this!

My heart breaks for this huge void left in the world, for the heartbreaking loss his loved ones must now live with. Still I give thanks…for the laughter, so much laughter…for opening my eyes to a different, delightful world view seeing the humor, the laughter and the joy in the simplest of things every day. I give thanks for his truly amazing body of work and the fact that each one of my children could recall their favorite characters he portrayed…except for Mork…none of them knew about Mork from Ork.

GAH!

Kids!

The first thing I intend to do is go through his vast filmography and binge for the next few days. There’s nothing else on TV worth watching right now so why not? Yes, introduce this circus act of mine to Mork from Ork is on that agenda for sure.

The next thing I intend to do is go to my doctor for help because the depression and anxiety I live with is becoming again too much. The usual self care is just not cutting it lately. When your young son points out that he doesn’t like your overwhelming sadness well, yeah, it’s time to ask for help. I have no shame in that. There should be no shame, no hiding, no fear of being mocked or looked down upon as weak, no brushing depression aside as a “lesser” disease. No one should feel shamed to ask for help. I’m asking for more help.

I’m also sharing thoughts and information from a February 2010 post about suicide, anxiety and depression because people need to know…people need to care.

It’s Never Painless
originally posted February 27, 2010

My heart just breaks for Andrew Koenig‘s family and the family of Michael Blosil,  Marie Osmond’s son. I can’t imagine any parent that would not feel for the pain they must be in right now.

Living with depression is hard. Living with a loved one with depression is hard. I don’t doubt how hard it was for Koenig’s and Osmond’s family. I don’t doubt the pain both young men suffered through and the pain their families are in is more than evident. Still I have a hard time with those who choose ending their life as a way to end the pain. Walter Koenig spoke of how despondent his son was and how low he sunk in his despair but I would suggest that this wasn’t the case. I don’t doubt the depression he shares that his son had suffered from but it takes energy to do something about the depression one suffers from. The same would be for Michael Blosil as well. It takes energy to seek help or accept help and it takes energy to decide to end it all.

I speak from my own experiences. Working on recovering from depression I know how hard it is. This last year has been so hard, so very hard. It is hard-freakin’ work. I also know watching my own mother living with bipolar disorder over the years that it takes energy to take your life or attempt to take your life. In the lowest, most despondent times of her life mom never had the energy to do much of anything. She physically could not. As a child I did not understand why she could not get off of the couch and why she would remain in the same clothes for days just curled up in a limp ball there. I just knew that in worst days this was how it was. This was her life…and it was our life. It was when mom would get up off the couch that I would worry because that is when she would do something and her doing something would be to attempt to take her life. She attempted this a number of times when I was a child. She never was successful. Years later in a more candid, close moment she shared with me the depths of her pain and how she just wanted it to end. She admitted that she really didn’t think of anything else. She just wanted the crushing, crippling pain to end. I told her then and I still believe now that had she been successful in any of her attempt the pain would not be over. No. The pain would remain. It would remain with her children, with her parents, her husband, her siblings. We would carry her pain. We would carry it with us always.

Suicide is not painless. The pain remains.

According to the National Institute of Mental Health, symptoms of depression may include the following:

  • difficulty concentrating, remembering details, and making decisions
  • fatigue and decreased energy
  • feelings of guilt, worthlessness, and/or helplessness
  • feelings of hopelessness and/or pessimism
  • insomnia, early-morning wakefulness, or excessive sleeping
  • irritability, restlessness
  • loss of interest in activities or hobbies once pleasurable, including sex
  • overeating or appetite loss
  • persistent aches or pains, headaches, cramps, or digestive problems that do not ease even with treatment
  • persistent sad, anxious, or “empty” feelings
  • thoughts of suicide, suicide attempts

Depression carries a high risk of suicide. Anybody who expresses suicidal thoughts or intentions should be taken very, very seriously. Do not hesitate to call your local suicide hotline immediately. Call 1-800-SUICIDE (1-800-784-2433) or 1-800-273-TALK (1-800-273-8255) — or the deaf hotline at 1-800-4889.

Warning signs of suicide with depression include:

  • a sudden switch from being very sad to being very calm or appearing to be happy
  • always talking or thinking about death
  • clinical depression (deep sadness, loss of interest, trouble sleeping and eating) that gets worse
  • having a “death wish,” tempting fate by taking risks that could lead to death, like driving through red lights
  • losing interest in things one used to care about
  • making comments about being hopeless, helpless, or worthless
  • putting affairs in order, tying up loose ends, changing a will
  • saying things like “It would be better if I wasn’t here” or “I want out”
  • talking about suicide (killing one’s self)
  • visiting or calling people one cares about

Remember, if you or someone you know is demonstrating any of the above warning signs of suicide with depression, either call your local suicide hot line, contact a mental health professional right away, or go to the emergency room for immediate treatment.

Don’t be afraid. Don’t be afraid to ask for help. Don’t be afraid to reach out to help, to hug, to talk, to be there.

No matter what people tell you, words and ideas change the world. ~ Robin Williams

 

therapy


Sometimes, some days the weight of all that presses down on my heart, my head, my soul is just too much.

Like today. For so many reasons, today was one of those days. The sadness overwhelmed, pressed down and enveloped my very core.

And so I forced myself to run. I didn’t want to; but run I knew that I must do today…especially today. Today I ran because I knew that for at least the 30 minutes and 3.2 miles that I was running all that is right now always weighing down my heart, mind and soul was behind me. It wasn’t gone. Today I feel like none of it will ever be gone in my lifetime. But at least it was behind me for a blessed half hour.

And then reality.

What a bitch reality is.

It wasn’t all bad. No. One problem that in the last month went from bad to worse to clusterfuckedupness when Bill’s car met it’s demise in the Santa Cruz Mountains last month and then when he broke his motorcycle this weekend was solved…with monthly car payments to now worry about. Then again a family with a Bay Area commute to one job and a commute to Stockton with another job and a commute to Modesto for another job and school starting next week there was no way that we could survive with just one reliable vehicle that remains.

I should be thankful. I am. But today was a horrible, rotten, no-good, very bad mental health day and so I let the can-we-really-afford-this-car-payment-when-I-get-cut-from-work-pretty-much-every-scheduled-shift overwhelm me because, I got called off from work. Of course!

Bill handed me the keys telling me to take it for a drive. So I did.

I drove and drove and drove all over the place, past orchards and vineyards and parched fields and into the sunset with the windows rolled down and Iggy Azalea loudly promising that in spite of her 99 problems you won’t be one on the radio.

Therapy, much needed therapy for a pretty emotionally fucked up day.

Tomorrow’s another day. It might be a better day. It might not be. But it will be tomorrow.

One day, one hour, one minute at a time.

It’s therapy.

 

5th grade life


In the beginning…

And in the end:

Note to self: when taking end of year pictures with your son’s teachers in order to capture a glimpse of how he has grown you might want to give his teachers a heads up and not let Daniel choose the setting as it was a rather bright, windy afternoon and Mrs. B and Mr K both were busy packing up their classrooms and moving boxes. Just saying. Take note, self. Write it down for next year.

Meanwhile, don’t you just love Human Growth Hormones? Accelerated velocity, y’all. That’s what this is. It’s kind of cool to see for the first time that your child is visibly taller at the end of the school year…at the end of his 5th grade life.

Bring it on 6th grade and Middle School!

Hold me!

wish I knew then what I know now


So have you seen Amy Purdy on Dancing With The Stars…or perhaps you saw her earn a Bronze Medal at the Sochi Paralympic Winter Games in Snowboarding. That girl just takes my breath away. You might think it’s because of her amazing skill as a paralympic snowboarder or being a finalist on Dancing With The Stars…and yes, you would be right because I do appreciate obvious skill and talent. But what really catches my breath every time, literally every time I watched her dance across the ballroom with Derek Hough during this season of Dancing With The Stars was our own fight with bacterial meningitis with our own dancer just five years ago.

Really, it has been five years!!!

Purdy lost both her legs and kidney function to bacterial meningitis and, not unlike Jodie, complained of not feeling well with a headache and flu-like symptoms only to be literally fighting for her life just hours later. I watch what this athlete, this dancer, this warrior, does on the dance floor under the direction of Hough and I am in awe. Then I cry just a little because I find myself back in that ambulance, in that ER pod, in that pediatric ICU looking at my little girl, my tiny dancer literally fighting for her life when just hours before we were together skipping through Guadalupe Park in San Jose.

We got lucky.

We were so very lucky.

It would be weeks later that we truly realized just how lucky we were as she was able to take to the stage again doing what her body seems to be made to do…to dance.

Five years later, she and I both still can not believe how lucky we both were as we both fell ill to meningococcal meningitis and spent some time in the hospital miles from home.

Five years ago, holding my baby girl’s hand as I watched her life slowly slip away, I could never imagine that I would watch her defy gravity now as she often does on stage.

Nor pirouette and spin the way that she does with such effortless beauty and grace.

Yes, perhaps you could say that I am just a tiny bit overwrought with emotion and melodrama…unless you too stood helplessly by your child, your baby as you watched them begin to slip away.

We’re so lucky. So damn lucky. For that, every day with every leap, every turn, every time she takes the stage I give thanks.