crazy together

Consumed with self doubt and worried I was in the midst of a manic episode I asked my partner, "am I crazy?"
The answer; "of course, that's why I love you."

Touche, sir.

I forget sometimes that crazy is a part of me and he loves all of me.  Other people love me too.
How anyone can really love me  I'll never understand.  I can't stand me most of the time.  Often I can't stand anybody.  Sometimes I can't stand.

Lots of people around me stay for no good reason.  They know I need regular talks off the ledge.  I may be Dr. Jekyll or Miss RunAndHide one day or the next.  I'm exhausting and exhausted.  Most of the people in my tiny chunk of the universe seem to be more ok with who I am than I am most of the time.

Don't hand out any shiny halos just yet.  That doesn't mean my friends return my calls, kids come home when I need them, or he is the perfect supportive partner all of the time. 
They sometimes say, "why don't you go away for awhile?",
She doesn't always say the right thing or give loving and helpful answers or advice.  They occasionally tell me to suck it up and get over it.   His default reply is often, "you should probably talk to a professional about that".  It's insulting, insensitive, and correct and it pisses me off.

When you are dealing with mental illness it's especially important to surround yourself with people you can trust.  There needs to be someone on your side who will tell you the truth.  Someone you can trust to look out for your needs when you aren't doing a good job of it.  Someone with a prescription pad is pretty helpful too.

My best suggestion is to gather a squad, a posse, a team.
First, make a deal with someone whom you love that they can always tell you the truth- even when it hurts.  You do not always see clearly- that is part of the definition of mental illness.
Something is busted.

Next, enlist a good medical professional.  Find a doctor who listens and doesn't just plow through drugs until you're numb enough not to know or care how you feel.

The next team member can be the hardest.  You need a counselor or therapist of some description.  Odds are you didn't get here by yourself- you aren't going to get out of it alone either.  Even if your diagnosis is primarily a medical one, you need to do some talking.  You also need to know you can listen to someone who has their shit together more than your friends, family, and whatever you're watching on TV.

Don't think you are the only person in the world who doesn't have 3 people on your side.
You are not.
Good friends are tough to find.  Loving family seems to be an exception instead of a rule.  A doctor who listens and finds the right meds or therapy might be expensive or have a long wait list.

If  you don't have all of the above, then you need to start today by having just one friend.  And if you can't find one to call or sip coffee with, if there is nobody in your family you can lean on, if you have never been to see a counselor or a doctor.... then start here.  I will be your friend.
Though a virtual relationship might not seem like much, maybe it's an ok place to start.
Know that there is SOMEBODY here that understands how low and crazy and unlovable and desperate you really feel.  I'll be here for you.  We can be crazy alone together.


My Unique Day with a Ferret and The Bloggess subtitled "How did so many people get in here? The Story of Now, Inside My Mind"

One of my favorite friends isn't answering my calls, emails, letters, or smoke signals.  I decided to write about it in my blog so maybe she would read it here and meet me for lunch one day next week.  There's a great Hawaiian place in Atlanta I just heard about and I'd like to see a fire show while I enjoy a meal.  Unless there's dairy involved; then I won't enjoy the show OR the meal.

She is so cool and funny and smart and she has a dog named Dorothy Barker, writes a blog, has a precious daughter and very understanding husband and lots dead stuff in her house.  When I say "friend" of course I mean someone famous on the internet whom I've never actually met.  But now it's kind of like we've met because I just had the Best Day Ever and it was because of her.  And because of the actual Unique person I met.  She makes me laugh and sometimes cry.  She also has no idea who I am or that I even have a blog.  She would totally "get" me and want to go get matching tattoos if we (Me and Unique) ever did meet Jenny Lawson,  The Bloggess who is famously worldwide famous for her love of ferrets.  She is so popular that some pet stores ask her to leave before "that thing that happened last time you were here" happens again.  She is also a celebrity, popular, and probably crazy rich since she writes books but is also sad and vulnerable. (Same as my other Bestie, Brene Brown).

Nobody is probably following me at this point.  (Not blog "following".  I have family and friends with Multiple Personality Disorders to prop up my ego.  So not kidding.)

What I mean is, nobody is probably understanding that I am actually talking about a REAL girl; Unique, and a VERY real person with a blog who is only virtually my friend.
And Lazarus, a furry girl.
Continue, dear reader.  This will make more sense if you finish this post.
(Especially if I actually finish and post it- b/c usually I don't.)  Don't Judge Me.
Lazarus, before her bath. (The one on the left)

Books can be expensive but blogs are free and so are ferrets.  As long as you don't take them out of the store with you.  Or damage them.  I begged the lady at the pet store to let me hold one and she LET ME BATHE HER!!!  (the employee let me bathe the animal, to be clear).

So now I have a real friend and not just computer generated ones that may or may not be Robots.  This is Unique.  (the employee, not just the condition of having an actual live friend, also unique in a way that, in this case means, out of the usual manner of circumstance)
I don't claim to be capable of using the internet.  Or this computer thing.  

Much like my own head, there are so damn many people in this post that even I am confused.  And I wrote it.  And I know them all... well, know OF them all.
And yes, they ARE real and not just voices in my head.  (Mental Illness is not funny, gotdammit.
My people with visual and auditory hallucinations live in their own special little hell on earth
-and furry things are the only things that keep us from stepping off the rooftop some days.)

I don't know if her past is like mine... and if it was I would never Tell Her or anyone else.  But her people are my people... I goes where she goes- even when that means down the damn Rabbit Hole in Raccoon pants (Brene and RSA can help us).  I am committed to her and her people even at the cost of my sane, safe, comfy way of life.  If I have To Write Love On Her Arms then imma get a tattoo of Rory on my bicep. Or maybe on the saggle that hangs down from where my tricep used to be.
That's in the Bible- look it up. The love/tattoo/follow that woman thing, not the raccoon pants or saggle arm part.
That I know of.

 (Now you can use my blog in Sunday School too.  WTH?! I AM brilliant.  I have crashed the church  market, they can't throw me out, and the people who only come a few times a year will totally like me more than the dry devotionals and will read my blog instead for spiritual guidance.
TBH- I don't need more people to read this.  My self worth is tied to my performance in other areas, my thickness and width, and my lack of ability to maintain long term friendships.  except as above referenced mentally ill friends and family.  Besides, I'm as qualified to be a spiritual guide as Lazarus.  The Ferret.  The guy Jesus raised from the dead probably knows his shit.)

God doesn't really need my help. Unique doesn't need help at the petstore and Jen doesn't need me to send traffic her way- they is all doing just fine without me.  As are Damn GirlMo Isom,  James GrobPeople I Want to Punch in the Throat, and my neighbors Natta, Mindy, Lara, and Jennifer.  Really, I'm not writing all of this so famous people will thank me for increasing their traffic. (But, you're welcome James.  Here come ten depressed women to check you out.  Make them laugh, please).  I'm writing because at 2am I'm still awake writing a blog- if I get it all down on paper it's no longer inside of me threatening the life it belongs to.  (Sorry, Anna Nalick, now you too are part of my flying monkey circus circle of virtual friends.)
I am writing this, and everything I write, so that you don't feel alone.  You are not.
If you think you can not take another day or another breath- call someone.  Read all of the links in this post before you do anything desperate.  Stand in the street and yell, "Heeeeellllllp".  There are helpers out there if you look for them.  Google Fred Rogers and spend all the time you need listening to his soft, loving coo.  He is my first love.

I do have actual friends but you'll have to track down another blog to find her, or She, or Two Feet, or a Bunny Princess to read about them.  You might also have to prove you are not a robot.
Or go ask my neighbors.

It might be pathological, but only a support group and the internet have effectively and safely connected me to those who are like me and who understand; who make me laugh, make me feel good and - gawd forbid not feel NORMAL- but okay.

And for that, I thank her.  It. Them.
Thank you.  Thank you all.


High low. How are you?

Are we all a little crazy?  Therapists and doctors hate that word. 
"Crazy" might mean she is a dingy blonde who can't keep up with her car keys or a sociopath who plants bombs at marathons. 'Those crazy kids' might mean young lovers -or tweakers making meth behind the gas station.
It's a little hard to nail down.

Crazy CAN be defined, of course.  The DSM is the holy grail of how we professionally sort nuts into their appropriate piles.  We call people names according to their clusters of symptoms. 
Which seems kind of mean.

It's a valid attempt for knowing how to prescribe the right meds to manage the most problems with the least amount of N/V/D, flatulence, weight loss, weight gain, floppy dick, and migraine with episodes of bleeding from the eyeballs.
But it's no fun to be called bipolar, schizoid, or SAD.  Even worse is the paint by number with first middle and last names:
 F43.24 Adjustment Disorder with Disturbance of Conduct. 

Well... maybe if someone calls you F43point24ADWDOC... it sounds a little like you're a fighter pilot.  Or related to a duck.  It still doesn't really help you feel all that much better. 
Unless the pharmaceutical industry happened to stumble upon something that makes your conduct less disturbed and adjustment less disorderly.  Then you're golden.

How about "broken"?  Maybe we can all just say we are broken.  At least while we are not in the doctors' offices or pharmacies.  Because we are all broken in some way. 

You can't say, "I love you".  He won't be faithful to his wife.  They can't keep the voices in their heads from drowning out what is true.  I can't stop shooting up heroine.
(Mom, if you're reading this, I haven't STARTED shooting up heroin.)

My particular flavor of crazy/brokenness/tomfoolery is unusually abate today.  Or maybe I have come down with a new diagnosis altogether.  Either way, I plan to go out and have some fun being free from the symptoms that usually bother me the most.

I don't plan to call anyone else names today either.  Everyone gets a pass.  If you eat too much, weigh too little, smell funny, swerve, swear, stumble, or sort your M&M's before you eat them- you go have a great day out there.


No More

The problem with doing what I feel like doing is that sometimes I stop feeling.
It's not the same as when a kid gets bored on summer vacation and "doesn't feel like doing anything".  It's more like when a diabetic's feet stop feeling.  There might be a point when every feeling feels bad or irritating or painful but there is an even more ominous moment.  When the feeling goes away completely.

I can't speak for everyone but there have been a lot of people whom I've spoken with who have the same experience.  Nothing is beautiful or lovely or ugly or moving in any way.  The things I've always loved to do hold no appeal.  Everything is a chore- breathing in and out is exhausting.  It's not that we don't care what happens to our children, or the whole world, it's just that we are certain they are better off without us.  If I could stop being- I would.
Even better than dying, which would be a total pain in the ass for everyone I love, would be to just cease to exist.
It's not that I want to destroy the whole world and cause everything to end, it's just that I know that relatively soon everything else will be just as exhausted and expended as I am right now.  It's mercy.  It's really best for ALL of us if we just call it quits, lay down, and stop.
No more moving.  No more breathing.  No more of all of this exhausting being, for god's sake.
Enough already.
Everything we do gets undone.  All that's created gets destroyed.  Every fed belly will be hungry again and it's just too much.
I just want it all to stop.

And that is how depression feels to me this time around.


I'd like to sing the world a song, and shake an egg.

It's funny how sometimes a song can say just what you can't.
There's this recurring theme in my life.  I want to start over- do a better job now that I'm in a better place.  I want to hit the reset.
It's like that with my partner, my job, several friends, my kids, and even my home.  I want a different outcome without having to move to California and start all over.  I want a change.  Really, only I can make that change and I'm realizing it's not as hard as I've feared.

A very good friend of mine once told me if I want my life to be different I should just write.  Writers can create universes.  We can be and go and do anything we can imagine.  That's a lot of pressure.  When life is really difficult is when we most often have failures of creativity.  It's nice to know there are universes out there to choose from though.
Another good friend taught me about the writing of comedy and tragedy.  We talked for a long time about the outcome of every story and how subtle a change is required to change from one to the other.  Sometimes just a matter of perspective makes the shift from comedy to tragedy- like viewing life from the lense of a victim.  The swap is also possible for tragedy to comedy when we can practice letting go of hurt and laughing occasionally when things don't go as we'd hoped.  Life is still unfair and the pain and suffering are real.  Our responses to them are sometimes what make circumstances good or bad.  I can look at my own mother's life and decide either it was a devastating failure of raising hurt kids who had more than our share of struggles- or I can see it as a colorful adventure that made me incredibly resourceful.

If I could sing you a song, I would.  I can't -but I want you to hear my friend.
(We are imaginary friends- she doesn't know who I am, but in my mind she laughs and laughs at my stories and writes songs about me and our friendship and our adventures and we drink tea together with our pinkies out).
I've listened to this one hundreds of times and I'd like for you to hear it today.  Maybe you're in a place in life like mine... you'd like to think things can change.  It might not seem like they can- or you might be on the brink of it.  Relationships sometimes change on the turn of a phrase.  I like to think that can happen; that I can change my whole life by not just saying the same thing I always say.  When we respond differently everyone around us has to as well.  It's the dance of relationships.  When I change my steps, you have to as well- or you can get your toes stepped on or  you mught bump me awkwardly.  It's hard to do -but worth it.  And the power of change starts with me- me not saying the same thing I always say when I'm angry, or not doing the same thing everytime situation A or B happens.  Small change...

Rewrite song

Did you hear it?  My favorite parts....
"Come on- let's rewrite this tragedy".  She's not doing it herself.  She invited someone else in to write with her.  I love co-creating.  My best work, two daughters, has been done with my husband, our dogs and family and a whole village of loons.  My effort alone is not enough to create such intricate work.  I need help.  And it's available THANK GOD!
And the "ooooohhhh ooh ohhhh ohhhs".  That's another favorite part.  I dance around in circles to it.  Something about the wordless joy of it sends me spinning.   (You should try it.)
The crash and hi hat, the little Eric Clapton riffs at the end... I love the guitar and the percussion and the way everything blends so perfectly.  I love it "one line at a time".  "Another first chance to be truly Brave".  And the egg shaker; the only instrument I can play with any proficiency.  Did you miss it?  Go back and listen again.  Go rewrite.  Go give it a try.

I know, this is easy for me.  I have a happy marriage- I just want some small changes; less criticism, more fun, healthier living for all of us.  But listen to me.... I got here from a place of complete devastation.  It all happens with one choice, one rewrite at a time.  You can do this.
If I could, everybody can.


super pissed about the beach

My kids are super pissed at me right now.  I wouldn't let them come to the beach for the weekend with thier father and I.  Just the fact that I made that statement blows my mind.  Sounds like a real first world problem, right?  I also have a kid who, "Isn't interested in going to college".  This morning I had a revelation about "millennials".  It baked my noodle - and pretty well done too. 

The Preacher and I needed to get away- alone and together.  There are lots of reasons (Christmas shopping for our kids, mental health vacay, separation from our jobs -so that we can't be reached or called in to help, and so we can have hot monkey sex without the teenagers hearing us. Important stuff, ya'll.)  We don't feel we need to give our daughters excuses, so I said- "No, I'd planned on you coming along but I've changed my mind".  When that set off the alarms and a poutfest I decided I must've failed as a parent.

How spoiled do these kids have to be to think that they have the "right" to go to the beach? Just because we CAN go they believe we all MUST go!  Well, as it turns out, they're not spoiled, just disappointed.  And pretty smart.

My knee jerk reaction is to be mad at them for being mad at me.  That's not fair; everybody gets to be mad.  
If everybody doesn't get to be mad then nobody gets to be.  In families where nobody gets to be mad feelings aren't felt and dysfunction is forced to flourish.  In those where only SOME of the members get to be mad, resentment is built, respect is impossible, and rebellion is certain and severe.

So, surfer girls DEFINITELY get to be disappointed that they didn't get to come to the beach.  Plans change and, especially for a young adult who had taken a day off work, a change in plans can be super disappointing.  Frustrating.   Ok, maddening.  (When your Momma is unable to keep up with her own plans, constantly changes plans/shifts gears/has her own conflicts, and melts down like a toddler on occasion- frustration can be part of life.)

There's another element to the beach thing.
The ocean is a source of healing.  If you don't believe that, you've never been.

When I was 19, I hadn't.  At the cusp of adulthood I had been taking care of myself for more than a decade.  I'd taken care of my alcoholic mother for much of her life too.  I had set out on my own and was living a life I abhor to think that my daughters might choose.  I'd had a nearly-live-in-arrangement with one boy for almost five years at that point and was headed from one man's arms to another at the time.  My new man had a picture perfect family and a pickup truck.  My 19th summer I got in that truck with him and headed for the Atlantic Ocean for the first time.
Having grown up in the midwest I hadn't ever been and had no idea what I was missing.  I had suffered from Major Depression Disorder for several years but was the only teenager I'd known of to have such a diagnosis back in those days.  (It was severe enough that it had already almost cost my life and had required months of hospitalization.)
The first time in the water I made he and his friends laugh by saying, "It really does taste like SALT!!"  They couldn't understand my surprise, but anyone who hasn't tasted the ocean prior to adulthood will understand the intense salty saltiness cannot be duplicated with table salt.  It's it's own thing; warming and comforting and slightly disgusting at the same time.  Even my surfer girl doesn't understand my naivete of ocean salinity- she and her sister have tasted it from their very first summers.
So, all those years ago, during my summer of love I headed to the beach with Not-yet-preacher in a pickup truck and fell madly in love... twice.  

We spent the week in a big rented house with his friends.  (Will I let my girls go if invited?  Oh HELLS no! Judge me for a double standard if you like.  I am NOT letting my babies do what I done.)
He was a perfect gentleman, giving me a double bed in a room alone every night while he slept on the couch. Being a depressed and over medicated on antidepressant kind of girl, I was in that bed alone at least 8 hours per night with an occasional nap during the day.  I was egocentric enough at that time not to realize how his friends tormented him for bringing a girl on full scholarship with no expectation of booty.  A part of me did realize what an exceedingly good person he was, even then.  I was completely safe in the care of a man for the first time in my life since my parents had divorced.  (Age 3)
There was another new experience during that trip.  I knew the salt water would heal cuts and sores.  I'd already worked in college in a major hospital with a level I Trauma Center and specialists from all over the world; one had been a Marine Biologist who'd shown me "marine minded medicine" that he'd learned while working in a coastal area.  There are tips and tricks related to marine injuries and treatments of which the rest of us Landlubber medical staff were unawares.  That was the sum total of cool information about the ocean I'd been exposed to.  While it was impressive and fascinating, it wasn't experiential.  Actually seeing the ocean water heal up a cut AMAZED me.  Like, stupid about it, showing everyone what it had done in just a day or two.  Just imagine young adults who just want to party for a week listening to the "smart girl from podunk talk about salt water like it was "maaaagic".  Sure, good luck in medical school, blondie.

But it was much more than that.  The salt water seemed somehow to soothe something in me tht I didn't even know needed soothing.  It might have been the waves or the sunshine or the comfort of the tides, whose rhythm I could never quite calculate.  Maybe it was the waves, whose sets I couldn't predict no matter how many times I've counted them.  Catching and riding waves still escapes me but letting them crash over me seems to work just fine to fix what's broken inside.

I come from a farming family.  We are generations of working the earth and the animals and most of us have never seen the ocean.   My kids have never worked the earth and wouldn't know a bull from a dairy cow.  Trying to explain the seasons or the birthing of a calf or the misery of detasseling corn is a waste of the breath I already can't hold long enough to wait for good sets.  Some things have to be felt; experienced.
The ocean; they know.  
They know the waves and the tides, marine life and sand in their sanwiches.  They are mermaids who recognize the sweep of the wave hitting shore with it's bubbling hiss that fades to a fizzle.  They can feel the waves even surf them.  They have something I never had -not because they're spoiled millennials but because we gave them an awesome thing- beach memories.  That doesn't mean they get  a trip to the shore every time they long for fresh seafood but it doesn't either mean they're entitled or spoiled.  It means they're blessed- lucky, fortunate, and tan more of the year than not.