Monday, October 13, 2014

If I Could Be Happy, I Would.

I had a "friend" recently tell me that I need to "snap out of this depression" I'm in. Wouldn't it be nice if we - those of us suffering from depression, anxiety, PTSD, ADHD, what have you - could just "snap out of it"? Not only was it one of the most insensitive things I've ever heard, it actually enraged me. I told them, "If I could be happier, don't you think I would?"
Anger is no stranger to me. It's always there, even when I don't realize it. Something as simple as my cat snoring next to me, distracting me while I'm trying to focus on a paper for school is enough to make smoke come out of my ears. It just builds and builds inside of me, but unlike a volcano, it never erupts. I'm actually waiting for the moment where it all comes to a head and I snap. But I haven't yet. And I don't think I will. It's hard to describe feeling claustrophobic inside your own body and mind.
I've always held the fact that no, I'm not suicidal, as if it were a badge of honor on my chest. I've been through more than some could handle, and I'm still here. Whenever I meet a new doctor or therapist and that question comes up in the first session, I've always been happy to honestly say "no," and actually mean it. I don't have thoughts of seriously jumping in front of a train or swallowing an entire bottle of pills at once. I don't want to die; death terrifies me. Who knows what actually happens when we die? Does life just go on as it is now, only in space, forever and ever and ever? An eternity of feeling the way I do now? No thank you.
Recently, though, I've come to realize that I need to address something that's been there for years (and I mean YEARS. Going through the adoption process might've brought these issues to light, but it certainly did not create them. I've been this way since I was probably twelve or thirteen.), but I've ignored. Or I've talked about it lightly. I actually am killing myself. Slowly. After I had (and placed) my daughter, I felt like I had no one. While that's not true, it's still how i felt. No one was there for me the way I thought I needed them to be, and no one...try as they might...could understand. I wanted to talk to someone all day, but I didn't want to talk to anyone at all. I wanted someone to hold me and be there for me, but I wanted to be alone, isolated in my bedroom. I wanted someone to ask how I was, and I wanted to throw my phone across the room when someone texted me to check on me. But then there was food. I didn't need to get dressed and put makeup on and brush my hair to eat. I didn't need to shower to eat. I didn't need to make actual plans; food was always there waiting. And if I didn't feel like cooking, well, most restaurants these days do carry-out orders.
I became that girl who stayed inside and literally ate her feelings. I became that girl who could eat a small cheese pizza all by herself...three nights a week. When I was sad, I ate. Then, because I ate an entire two-course meal in one sitting in my bed, I felt sad all over again. Guilty. I was so secretive. If I throw away all of the trash or packaging, no one will know what I do. No one will know I cancel plans to stay in my bedroom and eat an obscene amount of food that I would never actually eat in front of people. After I had my daughter, I lost more weight than I had gained during the pregnancy. I was smaller than I was before becoming pregnant. Now, slowly but surely, I've become bigger than I was when I was pregnant. I'm miserable. I'm making myself miserable. I may not be suicidal, but this behavior is killing me.
Now that I've accepted it myself, admitted it, and am talking about it (even though I'm talking to a computer screen), I believe I can start working on it. It will take time. It took time to get to this point and it will take time to get back to where I know I need to be. I want to be healthy. I want to be here on this earth the day my child decides she wants to see me again. And I don't want to be on medication for high cholesterol, diabetes, or heart disease. Or any other illness that comes about when you eat the way I have eaten for the past three +/- years. I might need help, but I'm too proud and simultaneously self-conscious to ask for help. So I'm giving it a go and hoping that, by putting it out there, I can change.

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

"The only way out is through. You have to let it in & then let it go"

Lately, it's been a struggle. When it started getting worse, I'm not sure. What triggered it....I'm even less sure. But what I've quickly learned from it is that I don't want to live my life on autopilot anymore. I'm being forced to realize that things have changed SO much, but at the same time, things are still SO much the same.
I don't let negative emotions surface. I just don't. I feel them lurking around, light as a feather, for days. Sometimes weeks. Then they get a little heavier, like a pebble. That's manageable, right? You can push a feeling that weighs on you with the strength of a tiny pebble down, down, down, until you can't feel it anymore with little to no effort or exertion. But in retrospect, dealing with an emotion or thought with such little emotional weight to it is far easier than dealing with the monster that emotion can turn into if you let it sit there and grow. I feel as if I have small, impulsive thoughts on a regular basis. I'll be sitting at work, and someone with a toddler comes in and without warning and without control, I'll find myself starting to think, "what if that was me and A holding hands and chattering right now?" See, that thought stings. So to avoid the sting, I push the idea out of my mind in mid-thought. I make the pain vanish before even fully feeling it.
I have spent YEARS, years pushing emotions that I felt were undesirable down. I've pushed them so far down that I don't even recognize them anymore. My feelings of sadness, unworthiness, and just plain depression have become so commonplace deep down inside of me that I do not even recognize them anymore. Ignoring something doesn't make it go away. In fact, it just makes it build and build and creates a snowball effect until you have no choice but to look it square in the face. I ignored my feelings of guilt and the hole in my heart and the emptiness in my arms until it turned into something almost tangible.
Lately, I've been held prisoner in my own mind and body. Something almost physically stops me from getting out of bed. It's as if there are invisible restraints on my body, and I'm the one that put them there. I've held myself back from being happy in SO many aspects of my life. I don't know if I'm scared to feel happy or I simply just don't even know how to feel anything anymore. When you become an expert at hiding - or THINKING you're hiding - sad feelings from your own self, it only makes sense that you wouldn't recognize other emotions as readily either.
This isn't a 'pity me' post. Not in the least. This is me realizing that the only way to 'get over' something, is to go through it, as they say. I will never GET OVER my daughter not being with me physically every day. Nothing will ever replace her. Not a degree, not my dream career, not a husband, not 8 more children. Nothing. That fact remains and always will remain. Do I miss her? There are no words that would even dignify that question. I wish she were with me. I wish she called me "Mommy." I wish it was she and I against the world, even if we were against it alone. But I also wish for her to be surrounded with love. I wish for her to be a daddy's girl. I wish for her to not have to watch her mother struggle and wonder where money for her school clothes will come from. There are days I wish I could go back in time and run out of the hospital with her and never look back. Those are the tough days. But when you know something, you know it. I know my daughter is well taken care of and I love her parents for providing her with a life I still, to this day, couldn't dream of providing her with.
I have a choice every morning when I wake up. I can wallow in depression and sadness and ruin the rest of my day - and before I know it, the rest of my years - or I can embrace the fact that I have the rest of my life to live and that I plan to do it to the best of my ability.
Too much of my life for the past three years has been spent being held back by my own mind. I've focused on my shortcomings and punished myself for not knowing then what I know now. NO ONE gets to have a crystal ball. NO ONE knew then what they know now. We only get so much energy in this life, and we only get so much time. I believe in my heart that I did - and am still doing - the best I could for my child, and until the day comes that she tells me otherwise (which I PRAY it never does), I will start there and move forward. It's high time I stop beating myself up over "being a birthmom." I am SO much more than that. I am a woman who has the capability to work through my struggles until I've broken my own chains; I just need to dig deep down and pull the strength out of the rubble inside me.