What I Think, What I Want

I haven’t been writing much, but I have certainly been thinking a lot about the blog recently. I’ve thought about where to go with it and whether or not I want to keep writing in this format. I’ve wondered what else I have left to say. Have I shared all of my insights? What do I write about when nothing is going on? Is it worth the tiny bits of criticism? They are few and far between but still biting because of my depression and anxiety. I have to work to push aside my fears that the critics are right. I have to put in effort to remember how insignificant those comments are in the grand scheme of things. 

But I also think about all of you who have reached out to me over the last couple of years–old friends and new–encouraging and supporting both my health and my writing. I think about the 17 plus years I have struggled with this illness, and the last three years of relatively good health. I think about how even though I have stayed out of the immersive pit of a major depressive episode,I struggle daily to stay that way. Even though I’m winning the fight, I can’t ever stop fighting or I will lose. I think about how many of you have seen yourself or a loved one in my writing. I think about how man of us suffer from depression and anxiety. We are all different, but we are not alone. And I hope that telling my story helps people like me know that they are not alone.

So after all of this thinking, what is it that I want? I want to keep writing. I want to still have something significant to say. I want to continue to use my writing to bring awareness to mental illness, to encourage people to get help, and to inspire people to just keep fighting not matter what. I want to finish my next book and think about future book projects. I want to figure out how to be a confessional writer to a relatively small audience but still maintain some privacy. I want to better handle criticism in order to stop losing ground on my mental health when working on the blog. I want to keep getting better–to be a better daughter, wife, mother, friend, and person. I want to continue to learn and share.

I want to get back to writing daily. Whether or not this means blogging or something else, I don’t quite know. I want to be helpful and inspiring to those of you who need comfort or direction. I have a couple of post ideas rattling around in my head and plenty of work to do on my book manuscript. You all are a blessing to me, and I love the community we have built here, even if I’m not as present as I have been in the past. Be well and take care of yourselves.


Stopping By

I guess it’s been about 6 weeks since I wrote to all of you, or wrote at all for that matter. Every year the winter gets to me and I start to crack. It has happened every winter I have been in the Pacific Northwest, and this was my 5th winter. The key is when I crack. If it happens before the new year, then I am in trouble because there are still months of winter weather. This year I made it past the new year and now spring is beginning. We have sun and breaks from the rain and it’s getting warmer. Things are going to be okay because things almost always feel better when the weather is good. 

By the time I left you all, I was on a bit of an undeclared strike. A lot of things had come to a head, and I felt vulnerable and on edge. I felt out of control. I didn’t feel myself because I was feeling myself too much. I was living in my head. I was thinking a lot and doing little. Then I started doing less. I was sleeping to avoid being awake. I was unhappy. I didn’t like things the way they were. So I just stopped. Everything. I stayed in bed mostly and did the minimum for a week or two. I just thought about what I wanted to do next. I wasn’t sure, so I just thought or slept.

When I was 19 I had this image in my mind of walking down a path in a lavender field. And when I was really depressed, I thought of myself as having gone off the path and lying in the lavender just waiting to know what to do next. Trying to decide whether to get back on the path, make a new path, or just lie in the lavender forever. I was kind of there again. Lying in my thoughts just off the path, trying to decide where to go next. 

What I realized was that I was not suicidal. I didn’t want to die. I wanted to live. It may not seem like a big deal, but when you’re used to having suicide on the table, it matters when it’s not. I wanted to be happy, not dead. I still believed in happiness and hope and love. I just didn’t feel it. I wasn’t worried about never feeling it again, I was worried about being too scared to work for it. 

So I got out of bed a month ago and just started living with what was right in front of me. If I didn’t want to die, then I needed to get up and do. So I started doing dishes. I started spending more time with my daughter. I started trying to laugh more. 

One day, early in March I was doing some dishes and decided to put music on my headphones for the first time in a couple of weeks. This stupid song got to me. It was a pop song and it wasn’t the words, it was the way it made my body move. I love to dance and I am a sucker for a good pop song. I started dancing to this song while doing dishes, and for the first time in weeks I felt energy surge through my body. I felt feel-good chemicals surge through my body because I was moving and listening to something upbeat. I got this lump in my throat. I wanted to cry, but I didn’t. I just kept moving. I just kept going. I didn’t want to stop and think about what was going on. I just wanted to feel it.

And that’s about what I’ve been doing for the last month. I’ve just been feeling and acting. I’ve been trying not to think too much. If I get back in my head I’ll get lost again. But I’ve been working with what’s right in front of me and blocking out pretty much everything else. If I can’t see it, I don’t think too much about it if I can help it. In the last week I have been thinking about re entering the larger world. I miss many of you, I still don’t quite feel myself without all of you, but I don’t want to get lost again. 

Time is weird. It just keeps moving and we change with it in ways we don’t expect. Things happen that we couldn’t have possibly foreseen. Depression complicates things because it can make it impossible to see things clearly. I don’t know how much of what was going on with me was depression, how much was winter weather, and how much was just life. It doesn’t really matter though because I got up and got back in the ballgame. I decided that I wasn’t a diabetes robot. I wasn’t a prisoner of depression. I wasn’t hopeless. I wasn’t lost. I wasn’t stuck. I was just me. Now. And it’s all I have to be. Just me, now. 

This doesn’t mean I feel all better. That I am now happy, fixed, healthy. Nothing went away or changed. I just realized that it wasn’t going to break me so why should I let it stop me if I had the energy and will to keep going. I don’t know what to write about next. I don’t know whether I’m back or just stopping by. But I am here today. And I’m okay. I’m living, breathing, smiling, working, and being. I’m sending love to each of you as you walk your own unpredictable journey. May you face the twists and turns with hope and fight. Don’t give up. It isn’t over until its over.