Sunday, November 29, 2015

A Prayer?

I don't know what else to do, but ask God to help me.  I've felt selfish, to imagine praying for myself, but prayed for others...  I also wonder if God would want to listen to me, or if even he can heal me, or ease this horror that I feel...  Because I feel hopeless:  And God deserves faith and hope and love.  I feel hopeless, after all this time.

Times when I have felt better, have led to the lowest dips in my depression and I'm scared how far down I can go.  I know I'm at the bottom, the very bottom, yet then I guess I can't be.  Isn't it said that some people have to hit rock bottom, before they can get back up and get better, or want to get better?  I do want to get better!  I pray to God, that I will get better.

I think I'm still falling... Or maybe I motivate myself up, up, then fall back down, down.  Isn't that what PMDD is?  Fine, Fine, Terrible, Terrible.  Two weeks on, two weeks off.  And I'm always bracing for the fall back down, not living fully when I can actually feel and do and burn, burn, burn. I'm too scared that the higher up I get, the farther I will fall when darkness comes back upon me. There have been times, I wasn't so very scared... I felt arms around me, that would keep me from crashing and smashing to bits.

Should I feel God's love wrapped around me?  Don't I believe in God?  Don't I believe there is hope for everyone else?  I do.  I think I do.  I'm scared to believe fully sometimes, because that means maybe God has done all he can for me... and I fucked it up, or I'm fucking it up: I missed my chance. My light is flickering, dangerously.  My soul...

I should be coming out of this any day now.  Any day now, I'll have energy and think normally, and want to do things, anything at all, just something!  I'll believe I'm human, and I deserve to be alive.  Without feelings, there is a lack of humanity... I'm as important as our living room couch.  I'm worth less than a piece of old furniture.  I'm inanimate.  Un-animated.  Inhuman.

I used to find relief in sleep, but I'm scared to sleep, now.  I'm scared of waking up again, and again... and knowing there is no relief most days.  I want to stay awake, as if I'm waiting for something amazing and miraculous to happen and make everything okay.  I wait, wanting so desperately for to good to come, and to come alive.  I wait to wake up so I can go to sleep.

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Black Eye.

6 years ago, I thought I was happy.  I thought I was living a wonderfully enviable life, and nothing could take me out of there, and put me on the other side.  But suddenly, there I was, looking through dirty glass, at my family, at my life, at my future, and I was just watching.  

And that's a horrible feeling.

A year ago, my life was very different, again.  A year ago I thought I knew the path my life would follow, and I felt better.  I felt like the Joanna I thought I always could be.  I felt alive and safe and scared and happy.  I was sure I was happy; because I trusted.  I trusted and I was happy.

When you trust fully, with your complete self, and honestly seems like a given, not a maybe, or a wish, it's the most freeing feeling...  it is the most happy feeling.  It is beautiful.  I wish everyone felt this all the time. I wish it were the truth of life, and humanity, and love.  

There is no doubt or worry when it comes to trusting love.  It is the safest, warmest... it's home.  It's home.  You are finally home.

Oh my goodness, how could anything be more perfect?

It can't be.

And it isn't perfect at all... because it's not real.  There is no safety in love.  If you trust fully, you lose everything.  You lose everything.  

No.  No.  No!

It can't be real.  If you believe in it all, if you have believed in it, then when anyone, even your own self, tries to tell you it is not real, you can't believe it. Why would you want to?  Who wants to be unhappy and disappointed, or devastated and wasted by truth?  So you keep trying to prove your own view of the truth to yourself... and you refuse to see reality.

 How long does it take to believe it?  What if you don't want to believe any of it, except the good things.  What if you want to just keep looping back in time, over, and over, and over to that place where everything was beautiful, and you felt safe.  What if you'd rather live with a false sense of happiness, and keep pretending in the truth you used to know, than accept that life can't be that happy and that perfect.

Well, then you become like me.  I have been shocked--and I mean fucking blown away--any time reality crept up on me and even dared to whisper:  "It's a lie."  

When I look at the calendar and see PMDD written a few days away, I don't think, "Alright, it's going to get ugly."  I just feel what I'm feeling at the moment, which is usually fairly normal, and I am not at all prepared to feel too tired to move... to think... to tired to care about anything.  I am never prepared to feel nothing.  Apathy is terrifying.  And when you are feeling so much, even when it's sadness or anger, the idea of apathy seems so distant... and unwanted.  

"I don't care."  I say that a lot.  I really don't.  When I feel the numbness and emptiness I truly don't care about anything lately... I have to reach deep inside myself to feel anything at all.  And trust me, I wonder how I can be a good mother when I am like this:  but I fight it.  I fight it and I make all the right faces, and do the best I can.  I'm sure there are worse mothers than a mother with PMDD.  

At no point am I thinking about myself, and what I want or need.  I'm thinking about what I should be doing and I need to be doing to make my children feel loved and happy.  And when I can't deliver, I am devastated.  I'm devastated every month.  And I want to tell you it's not fair, and I don't deserve this, but I can't say either of those things. Because people suffer from all kinds of problems... and I'm just one person.  

When we first found out we were having twins, someone told me, "God only gives you what you can handle," and they were thinking we were the perfect couple to handle the craziness of twin babies.  We could do it, and so we were blessed with two healthy babies at once.  And I wonder if I am supposed to be handling all this PMDD stuff the same way.  I should be able to handle it.  I have, so far, haven't I?  I'm still alive.  I'm alive, even when I often don't want to be.  So that's at least handling the worst of it, yeah?  

And I also wonder if I should be able to handle my life, as it is now, and how it has gone along, and all the hills and valleys and light and darkness, and somehow come out of it with a... what?  What am I supposed to do with excruciating pain and disappointment?  What am I supposed to do with dreams deferred?  I guess that's what I'll find out.  
And, I don't need help.  Not from anyone.  My life got so much harder by "helping."  Some  kinds of help leaves deep, ugly scars, I'll always see, and never forget.  

To my helpers:  What did God think you could handle?  Knowing you're a sick, twisted person? Dying alone?  I'm sad for you...  Because I think I'll be alright... and I'm not so sure you ever will.


Monday, November 23, 2015


There is something called PME, which is premenstrual exacerbation of already existing major depressive disorder or some other mental illness.  I was once told, by the doctors at DHMC, that that might just be what I was experiencing instead of PMDD, since my baseline (how I feel when I am not luteal) is not so awesome.

However, if you actually have PMDD, (you would know that after 5 years), you start to get less and less hopeful about feeling better, and losing half your life to something you can't control... you will start to feel depressed all the time that you can't be what you want to be and do what you want to do, because you have a calendar reminding you how many days you have until you potentially can't even get out of bed for a week...

So PMDD, just leads to depression all the time, you see?  I do feel better when I am not luteal, but no where near how I should be, knowing myself and all I used to be!  I'm just anticipating the darkness, and hoping it doesn't fall on a holiday, and hoping this new medication will work, and wondering why the other medication I tried made things feel worse... worse...

I'm trying Lamictal now.  It's a mood stabilizer.  So Prozac, Wellbutrin, Cytomel, Lamictal, and Adderall... and Klonopin when I need it.  I can not use it at all some days... I don't need it when I am in the follicular phase, unless something situational has blown my brains apart.

So, what I'm saying, is if you have PMDD, and your quality of living and ability to function starts to diminish for more than 14 days of the month, it's because the walls of that well are slippery... and you're trying to climb out, but you might keep slipping back down, and want to just rest there, and say, "Forget it."  FORGET IT!  How am I supposed to climb a fucking vertical wall with nothing at all but my feet and hands?


I need a rope.  I need upper arm strength.  I need someone will a harness to come get me, and pull me out, even if they do it by one foot and I'm dangling upside down banging my face off the side. I don't even care.  At least I'm looking up and knowing there is light, and I want to be there.  And if I'm all battered and exhausted when I'm deposited on the ground, on the Earth, I can lay there, face up and see the sky and the tree branches, and I can breath, and deal with my bloody nose and abrasions later.

My goodness, if I look presentable after two weeks of PMDD, than I'm totally beating this thing, and not beating the Hell out of myself.  I haven't yet gotten there yet.  Lamictal takes about a month before I'll know...  If it will help...

A bloody face is a small price to pay, to feel the sunshine on my face, and not be alone.

It doesn't mean I'm giving up, if all I want for Christmas are more yoga pants and clothes that feel like pajamas, yet might be presentable in a public setting, right?  I mean, getting dressed 14 days out of each month feel like a Hell of of job, so, like at least 7 pairs of Yoga pants, and tops would just be Heaven... Heaven.  Hey, My uncle just saw me last night, and even though I hadn't showered and was covered in sawdust, and wearing sloppy clothes, (from helping Sam with a woodworking project), he said, "Joanna, you look so much better.  The last time I saw you, you looked like you were fading away."

And, you know... Shut up.  You know you don't even have an excuse for wearing Yoga pants all the time, and you do it
anyway...  Or you really, really want to!

Read more.

Thursday, November 19, 2015

Soul Meets Body.

I want to live where soul meets body

And let the sun wrap its arms around me
And bathe my skin in water cool and cleansing
And feel, feel what it's like to be new

I was enormously pregnant, (with twins even though I didn't know it yet), and the only music I felt like listening to was Death Cab for Cutie.  Almost the entire last 5 months of pregnancy I only listened to Death Cab for Cutie.  It seemed wholesome and good.  I liked Death Cab for Cutie, right when I heard them. (Sam still doesn't like them at all).

It started when I popped in Mikhaila's CD in my Trail Blazer, while I drove to the high school for my first day as an English Teacher.  I had switched positions, from District Technology Coordinator, to High School English Teacher, when I found out I was pregnant and because my parents told me it would be better to be in one place and not traveling from school to school or going to school board meetings when I was going to have a baby.  Being a classroom teacher was much better...  Less stress...

That wasn't true.  It wasn't true at all.  I would have been far better off with the power and freedom of my technology job, and dealing with the central office, and not having a "boss" like a principal.  I have always been very independent and bossy.  If I knew what needed to be done, I wanted to do it and do it the way I thought it should be done.  I didn't want to mess around.  I didn't want to ask other people what they thought, unless I needed their advice.  I knew what I was doing.

I wrote several grants as the technology coordinator and the only one the district didn't receive was one that I was forced to write with the curriculum director.  Every other year, I wrote the whole damn thing by myself, and then I would present it briefly at one of the monthly administrative meetings, to all the principals and the superintendent, and they would all put their names on it, like we wrote it together and we'd get the money.  Big money.  I knew how to write them, and writing it wrong was what happened the year the curriculum director inserted herself into the process.

You had to have a focus, be very focused, and have a specific goal for the funds to achieve for student learning.  The curriculum director wanted me to just write in we wanted 10 computers here, 5 there, some other shit for something else.  She didn't listen, and I was under a teacher contract and she was an administrator.

The following year we got a huge grant to start a broadcast news program for the high school, and mini-programs in the elementary schools, and middle school.  My father still advises the high school newspaper and the broadcast news show, "Green Horn Live."

Cause in my head there’s a greyhound station
Where I send my thoughts to far off destinations
So they may have a chance of finding a place
where they’re far more suited than here

Anyway, it was the first day for teachers, and the song Soul Meets Body came on, as I was pulling into the parking lot.  I started to cry.  I was sobbing.  My hormones were a mess, and I missed my little sister.  She was not so little, 18 years old, and had gone off to college for her first year.  I was starting a new job, even if it was in the same district.  For some reason, the song made me think of Mikhaila and I was sobbing on my steering wheel and luckily my dad pulled into the parking space next to mine and knocked on my window and told me we'd better get inside for the district wide opening day meeting.

 I laughed at myself, being pregnant and hormonal and all, and my dad understood how much Mikhaila leaving affected me.  It was a good day.  When I got back in the car, the song was just ending and I started crying again.  I might have even wailed Mikhaila's name in sorrow, as I drove home.  She was my best friend.  Even though I had always been 10 years older, (duh), we were not much different... and suddenly I was very different, I was much older, and I was having a baby (or two).  No way.  It just didn't feel right.

And I cannot guess what we'll discover
When we turn the dirt with our palms cupped like shovels
But I know our filthy hands can wash one another’s
And not one speck will remain

I was supposed to be able to drive to Burlington and, like, sleep on her dorm floor, if we felt like seeing each other.  She came to visit me when I was in college all the time, even though it was very difficult on her when I left and was gone for such long stretches of time.  She was 10, 11, 12, and I loved having her come to stay with me.  

But she was different too.  She didn't want a pregnant Joanna around, so she changed too.  She saw me as different so she changed too.  

I do believe it's true 
That there are roads left in both of our shoes
But if the silence takes you
Then I hope it takes me too

Gosh, so much changed that year... too much, and we never were the same again.  I hated it, and I hate it, and I will always hate it.  

I wanted to have children.  She had told me to wait to have kids until she graduated from high school, and I did.  I love my children, but I lost my sister.  I lost my sister.  It wasn't fair it was one or the other.  I guess that's the only moment, yet the most destructive moment, when being 10 years apart made a difference to either of us.  

And brown eyes I hold you near
Cause you’re the only song I want to hear
A melody softly soaring through my atmosphere

Where soul meets body
Where soul meets body

Gosh, then I found out I was having twins!  She wanted me to call her first.  She was upset that we called the house from the sonogram table and I told my mom.  You see, we found out we were having twins the day we thought we were finding out if we were having a boy or girl.  And when the doctor told us we were having twins, he said, "This is out of left field," and left the room for a few minutes to make sure he told the front desk that the sonogram would take longer, and make sure it would fit in the schedule.  In those few minutes Sam and I were in complete shock and delirious.  We were completely nutty.  We were out of our minds.  I just called and said, "We have twins," to the first person who answered the phone and my mom freaked out, of course, and we couldn't tell her any more than that... that's all we knew.  I know I wrote that I thought one of the babies was dead and Sam thought they were siamese.  I tell you we were crazypants.  We were not prepared for that news.  Unfortunately, my mom, being my mom called everyone in the 20 minutes it took for the doctor to finish the sonogram and tell us they were both alive, not conjoined, and we were having a boy and a girl.  There were two babies in there and one was my Stella and one was my Michael, the names we had picked out before we even got pregnant.  When I did talk to Mikhaila she was obviously crying, but not happy for me, or laughing crying like we were... she was angry I didn't tell her first. 

I do believe it's true
that there are roads left in both of our shoes
But if the silence takes you
then I hope it takes me too

Cause you’re the only song I want to hear

A melody softly soaring through my atmosphere
A melody softly soaring through my atmosphere
A melody softly soaring through my atmosphere
A melody softly soaring through my atmosphere

I didn't know what I was doing.  And that song just started playing and I remembered that, God, I don't know what I'm doing, still.

Monday, November 16, 2015


Do you read things you wrote in the past (like you come across old email messages, or your journal...), and realize you haven't changed, and your life hasn't changed, and everything just ended up the same?  Maybe you have been in the same type of relationship over and over again, but with different men.  You keep picking the same kind of guy, right?  And years go by, and you're alone again, and wondering how and why?

How and why?

You know how and why.  You know, because you can feel it.  You feel it inside you.  You realize you haven't changed, and maybe that was where it was all supposed to happen.  It depended on you, not the people around you, or people in your life; and you are the same, unchanged, even if something drastic has added a blip to your flatline.  

My goodness, how often have I written about moving in circles and about change just on this blog, yet where am I?  Have I changed my tone, or subjects?  Have you seen personal growth in the writer?  No.  

People leave my life, but I let them.  I tuck inside myself, close up tight, and hide away, when I'm scared.  And I'm most scared when I know I have changed, yet I'm in the same place, and I'm not fitting in anymore.  But I just try to fit in and go back to how I was before, instead of changing anything else around me.  I don't move forward in life with my personal growth or development (good or bad).  I stand still and hold onto anything that is stationary and bolted to the floor.  "I'm supposed to be here, so don't move."  

And although I'm the one responsible for my own life, but it is impossible to not say that people can anchor you in place or hold you where you are, instead of helping you live and grow.  
Stay a bud, I'll wrap around you and hold your petals in.  Becoming a flower is scary.  And you won't be a bud anymore, ever. Ever.  You'll be a flower.  You'll be a different thing.  Do you know how to be that thing?  Do you know how to stop being a bud?  Isn't being a bud just fine?  What is wrong with being a freaking bud?  

Don't you dare try to bloom.  It's not worth it.  It's not that great.  

Even if your petals have been pried or stroked open, and it felt good, you realize that you can't open up, fully, unless you keep having sun and water.  You need it.  If the sun disappears, you can't blossom.  If you don't have water, you shrivel and dry up.  So if people leave, people who were helping open you up, and it's your fault, then you are left without sunshine.  You are in the dark.

It's funny that when my sister and I chose our "matching" tattoos, I chose to leave out the bud, and only have the two flowers in the image we selected.  She wanted the bud, the stem... I just wanted the flowers...  

Thursday, November 12, 2015

I'm Sorry.

I think the worst part of having depression is feeling how selfish or self-centered I have become.

Look.  This blog is completely self-centered and self-serving.  Poor Joanna.  Joanna feels sad; Joanna feels mad; Joanna feels apathetic; Joanna feels frustrated... Joanna...  Aaaaaaaa!

I don't write to check myself, let's be honest.  I'd like to think so... I'd like to think I think about things before I do them, particularly when they may hurt me emotionally.  I don't think so much about that.

I don't write to help other people suffering from PMDD and depression. I just write all my thoughts and my feelings, ones I want someone to hear, and it's not entertaining or interesting to read.  It's just ramblings about how depressed I am.  And I know no one reads it at all.  I think the only reason this site gets hits is because google image search might bring someone to a picture I used in one of my blog posts.  Oh, wow.  Listen to me.  Poor me and my blog:  Talking about myself again.  Shut up!  I want to shut up.  I really do.

I want to shut the Hell up and leave people alone who don't want to talk to me, and make myself better so I stop hurting the people who do.  I don't blame people for not believing in me.  I don't believe in myself.  When I give up and stay in bed all day, isn't that selfish?  It's so fucking selfish.  I have responsibilities. I have children.  I chose to have children.  I have a husband.  I chose to have a husband.  Living as a human being means responsibility to others...  To the others we affect.  To the ones who love us.  To the ones we love.  We have to do what they need and what they want.  We have to.

When I don't give loved ones the attention they need, because I am too wrapped up in my own head, isn't that selfish?  Focusing on something that will only ever be a sinkhole, sucking me lower...  Didn't I let myself slip further into the abyss of depression?  I did.  I should be focusing on my children, thinking about them, and them only, if I don't have much left in me.  They should get me.  They should get what I've got left.

I emptied my email-box today.  I trashed messages, hundreds of them, written for my benefit, because I wanted a response, because I was sad and wanted attention.  And I spent that time writing those messages instead of spending that time with my children.  I wrote messages, grasping for attention, when my children need attention.  They actually ask for it.  They want it.  They need their mommy.

I am so numb, and I know it's not right.  I know it's not right, to feel so little.  I'm scared that these years of looking for a successful treatment for PMDD and depression, have only led to this:  At this moment I would like to disappear... just not exist.  I'm so numb, I don't care if I move, or think, or do anything.  I'm somebody that I used to know.  I feel empty.  I am empty.  I am sitting at the bottom of the well, hiding my head in my knees from my own children.  I hide from the people I love the most.  I block out the people I love the most.  I don't know why.

The Joanna I used to know never wanted to be selfish.  She only ever wanted to give to others, and help other people.  You know what breaks my heart?  When I was 22, I was a new teacher, and I had so much energy and life. My little students, second graders, came to my wedding, and I danced with them all night.  My babies are making little movies on their ipad right now.  I used to make elaborate iMovies with my students, up until I had my own children.  Why did I wait until I was 27 to get pregnant?  Why did I wait?  I needed to have that energy and life and not PMDD and this deeper depression that I sank into.  What is happening to me?  Why is this happening?  My children deserve better.  My children deserve a mother.  I'm a poor excuse for one.

I remember when I only wanted to make other people happy.  That made me happy.  That made me happy.

And now I don't care if I'm happy, and I can't even imagine how I could be of any use to anybody.  I'm uncomfortable being selfish...  Yet I lay in bed and live in my own head, and feel terrible: and I've settled into that feeling... I've let it happen, and that makes me the most selfish person I know.

Wednesday, November 11, 2015


Luteal explosion!  ...Then it's over, and I feel better...

PMDD is bananas.  I feel really, very crazy sometimes.  Really, I know, hard to believe.  Then...  It's like, "Pow," I feel a lot more like myself.  I've been pretty depressed and sad, even when I wasn't luteal, the last few months, but there is a marked difference in the type of depression and sadness I experience when I am in the follicular phase.

On my "good" weeks:

1.  When I feel depressed, I don't want to be dead.  I don't think I will forever feel that way, and I can get up and do things that make me feel less depressed.

2.  My hopelessness and brain nausea isn't all consuming.  I'm sad, yet I accept it, I feel it, and I realize I'll be okay.  I don't fall into complete apathy or craziness.

3.  I don't obsess over things that I can't change.  I don't cry and lose my mind imagining how nothing will ever be the same again, nothing will ever be right, and I have ruined everything.

4.  I'm not impulsive.  I don't write impulsive emails or texts.  I don't take 8 Klonopin and some Unisom so I can just "sleep" and not really care if I wake up.  I don't want to drink copious amounts of alcohol, then cry, lose my mind, and take 8 Klonopin.  I have my wits about me.  If there is one thing I learned from going to the ER for depression, it was that PMDD makes me impulsive in the maddest throes, and I could really hurt myself physically (i.e. taking medications that could kill me), or hurt myself mentally and emotionally by trying to move backwards and writing, writing, writing... Writing to people I shouldn't about things I shouldn't... I would not do any of that when I am feeling like myself.

5.  I realize I'm awesome.  I am.  I am a strong person and I have accomplished amazing things.  And I have survived storms of tragedy and stress that should have pushed me over the edge, especially when at least half of these things were happening when I was Luteal.  I might be impulsive when I'm luteal, but I fight the fuck out of it too.  I fight it, and I want to get better.  I never stop wanting to get better.  I don't give up.

6.  I'm not lazy.  I feel so exhausted and apathetic and completely useless very often when I am luteal.  I feel like I should be able to do a whole lot of stuff, and I just don't... but really, I just can't.  I can't.  I am a crumpled heap of stress and hormonal nuttiness and although I'm fighting it, I'm in an imaginary boxing ring at that time.  I can't lift my arms, you know?  I don't even know where to throw my punches... I mostly want to punch myself.  When it passes, I feel like I can take things head on, and I can smooth out at least most of the creases and stand up and get something done that I know I need to do.

But there's another thing too...  When I'm able to think clearly, and be "myself,"  that's when I reflect a whole lot about my life and where I have been; where I am now; where I am going... And I feel sad and despondent.  I'm freaking sad that I'm not a teacher.  I can't believe I'm not a teacher.  I can't believe I don't have any job at all. I am sad that half of my life I feel crazy.  I am sickened by the idea that I'm not all the mother I want to be.  I'm sad for things I've done and things I've failed to do.  I think about people who have hurt me.  I think about the people I have hurt...  I'm sad I haven't visited my grandmother, or even called her:  And I don't feel like I can... I don't feel good enough to get out of bed, really.  I spend the day in bed.  I had been up, doing things, wrote the first part of this blog, did some work around the little house... and then yesterday evening, around 4:30, I laid down, thinking too much, and wanting to block it out... and I just stared ahead of me, laying on my side, with "Hello" playing on repeat softly until I fell asleep.  Sam rushed in an hour or so later asking me if I "had taken anything," and was worried.

I hadn't taken anything.

I think I am in shock.  I am in shock, and when I have a moment to even think about all the reasons why, I shut down.  It knocks me down.  At least I'm standing in the first place, and trying to do all the things that
need to be done, yet... POW! Something hits me right between the eyes, and I realize how very sad I am. And I'm sad for very good reasons, and not just because my hormones are a shit show.

I have to stay distracted.  I know that.  I have to stay busy and distracted.  That's how humans deal with sadness, yeah?

Sunday, November 8, 2015

Messy House.

My house is incredibly messy.  I mean, it's kind of grossing me out.

I remember thinking that it was messy when my kids were toddlers, and I thought, "When they are old enough to clean up after themselves, that will be nice."  Hahahahahahahahahaha
hahahahaha... ha.  Yeah, they just got messier, like big kid messes, that they don't clean up at all...

Food dishes left in the living room, half dumped on the floor, a hot chocolate spill with a freshly cleaned bathroom towel tossed on top of it in the kitchen, clothes... everywhere...  And towels everywhere.  They use our dish towels and bath towels to clean up an little spill, and when I say clean up I really mean just cover up the spill with the towel or wipe it partway, then throw the towel off to the side... of the room... just thrown somewhere in the room.  Oh, and every time they go to the bathroom and wash their hands, (Yes, they wash their hands), they vigorously rub them on a bath towel, if the hand towel has already been left on the floor, and then let it fall to the floor when their hands are sufficiently dried.  If I don't see it happen, and I have witnessed it many times, towels pile up on the floor until I discover them and I don't know what's what, they are all damp, on the bathroom floor, and I give up and put them in the dirty laundry.

Drawing by Sam Coleman.  He gets it.
I really love doing laundry, and washing large, just-cleaned bath towels, strewn on the floor with small amounts of food or drink absorbed smack in the middle of them is fun.  Washing towels in general is just fun. They take up so much space in the dirty laundry baskets, then in the washer, and then have to be dried.  They often have to be washed with warm water and bleached, which is great for our oil bill and the environment.  And I do try and hang them up, not always use the dryer, but carrying them across the basement then trying to drape them all over the thin line of clothesline wire, without overlapping and then staying wet in places and getting that musty smell which means they go back in the wash...  ain't nobody got time for that.

How do we teach the children?  Let's see...  Sarcasm about my love for washing towels has no effect on them.  Michael says, "You're being facetious," and then goes alone playing Minecraft, like, "That lady is messing with us, and we aren't falling for it."  They also remind me they were trying to clean up a spill, which is obviously a big accomplishment, right?  Enforcing chores?  Making them clean?  Hmmmm...  Yeah, I remember chores when I was a kid...

I remember my parents suddenly imposing TV limits and chores on my brother, sister, and I when John was 8.  Listening to my older sister complain about whatever chore she had and seeing her do it in the laziest, most ineffectual manner annoyed the living daylights out of 10 year old me.  She was 12.  Get a grip:  Empty the fucking dishwasher and fill it back up.  Fold the laundry, don't just wad it up and throw it onto the beds.  See, I was a kid who helped out anyway.  I wanted to help my mom.  If she asked me to do anything, anything at all, I would always do it without even thinking about complaining.  And on top of that, I had a brand new baby sister, whom I wanted to help take care of, and who actually moved into my bedroom when she was about a year old, because I wanted her to.  I wanted to share my room with my little sister.  If my mom was making dinner, I would help her.  When my mom was really worn out, after just having a baby, I was the only one out of the rest of us, and this includes my dad, who knew how to cook anything at all.  I remember making eggs at the big brown stove for him.  I remember him being very hungry and helpless looking.

And I remember the "chores" sort of falling away, because I think it was more of a hassle for my mom to try and get everyone to freaking do them, when it was easier for her to just do it herself.  That's what it's like here.  It's easier for us to do the laundry.  It's in the basement anyway, so having an 8 year old try to lug very heavy loads of towels up and down, clean, then dirty, then clean, then dirty, wouldn't work.  It's easier for us to do the dishes.  And, you know, all we really want is for them to clean up after themselves in a respectable manner... respecting themselves, their parents, potential guests (thank goodness we never have any), and respect the house.  Just clean up your own darn messes.

In this house, the youngins' seem unphased by cereal and popcorn and crackers and chips on the floor, being stepped on and ground into the rug.  In fact, when you draw a picture, you toss it on the floor and draw another.  When you take off your socks, you drop them right where you are and leave them there.  When you spill Spaghetti-Os on the couch, you can just leave it, unless it's totally in a spot that might interfere with your comfort...  Then you yell as if the world might end so mommy or daddy will bring you a "towel" quickly.  If your toys are starting to fill up the living room floor space, you get really good at maneuvering around and over them.  If you make a pillow fort, it's expected to be left alone, and admired for its engineering and construction quality.

When I wasn't teaching anymore, but the kids were at preschool, then at elementary school I would clean all day, every day. I could just put on loud music, and clean, and by the next morning, my job was there waiting for me again.  I'm enormously conscious of the house being clean, even if it's messy.  The bathroom, and kitchen better not be nasty.  And food spills, and dirt and dust are unacceptable to healthy Joanna.  Depression has made it harder for me to care, sometimes, or maybe I just don't have the energy...  The house hasn't stayed "clean" for more than a day for about 5 years.

But now, since the kids have been home sick, at least one of them home, for at least three weeks, has meant I haven't done any cleaning really at all.  I haven't even left the house.  I love my babies, but having not a single moment alone for 21 days x 24 hours = me losing my G.D. mind.  I was luteal for 14 of those days, which means... hmmm...  I really needed to be doing healthy things, and not stuck in this house.  Over these weeks, I could clean, but I was needed periodically, and I couldn't play music, or vacuum or do anything too loud if they were snuggled, sick watching a show.  Their meals were taken in the living room, ordered throughout the day, and the spills and dish piles were even more impressive than usual.  And during these times I often walk like a person possessed by numbness, blankly watching the microwave count down the timer for the noodles being cooked, or staring down at the apple I am slicing, barely focusing on what I'm doing.  And I hand it over, as I step on Apple Jacks, and popcorn and whatever other godawful stuff is sticking to the bottom of my feet, and hand over the food, and then climb into my bed and dumbly wait to be called again for something else...  Tylenol;  Kleenex;  A towel;  More blankets;  The ipad charger;  a snack;  A drink--No, not water;  A different drink...  And we're still in the thick of it.  They had a half day Thursday and Friday off from school.  Monday... Monday will be the first day they will both be at school for the full day.  I will have a full day to... clean.  I can't wait.  Oh, just kidding.  Stella has a weird allergic reaction and her feet and fingers are swollen.  Hahahahhahahahah...  Holy shit.  I'm totally going to lose my mind.

And wow.  At least I realized that when I felt like I wasn't doing anything at all, and being completely unproductive every day when I was home alone, and useless to Sam and my family, I was doing a whole lot of shit that was necessary to keep myself sane.  Dirty houses make people crazy.  Laying in bed with depression makes otherwise healthy people crazier.  So something better happen, or I'm going to paint this house the color of a dumpster and just freaking watch them turn it into one...

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Ignis Fatuus.

It takes me about 8 times longer than a normal person to actually believe someone when they are telling me bad things about themselves; when it goes against everything I thought I knew about him or her.  I am at least 100 times more likely than the average person to believe all the good things about people, and keep believing them even when I shouldn't.  I begin by believing all the good things, and no matter how many times people lie to me or take advantage of me, I go about my life believing the truth, which is the lie... it's not real.  I believe all that was before, and nothing after...  nothing after someone reveals the bad.  I like the before.  I can convince myself the admitting of lies is pretend, and the truths revealed aren't real.  I can convince myself I am right.  I believe in the good things.  I believed in all the good things.

I try to for Goodness Sake.  I want to be angry and hurt for the right reasons.  I want to be hurt and feel absolutely gutted by people who reveal the very shocking and painful things they have done and lied about... I try to remember that someone can say, "I love you, " and that doesn't mean anything at all.  "I love you," can be a lie.  I love you is the coldest, most despicable lie ever told.  It's heartless.  It's soulless and heartless. Cold and heartless.

I'm trying.  Don't.  Don't.  Just don't.

I've just spent...  Let's see, how many years have I been writing this blog...  Because it's been that many years in which I have blamed myself for every fucking thing that other people did to me, and the lies they told. I probably deserved only 50% of the blame, taking on 100% is a heavy burden.  And I have done that. And no medication fixes that shit.  I deserve almost half the blame for falling for any kind of lie, and believing in people who should clearly reveal something to me that shows me their true colors.  I fall in trust with people.  And I trust them even when they don't deserve it.  I trust them when they tell me not to trust them.

I wish I could say that I've learned a great lesson, and that I'm writing this because I'm finally believing in myself and my own intelligence, and that my heart is not broken by liars and cheats and users and abusers... But isn't my heart the problem?  Didn't I become a teacher because I cared about people?  I cared about every single child, my students, and I believed in them.  I believed in them, and didn't give up on them.  My grampy taught me that.  Every day, every person has a new start.  "Every day is a clean slate."  I believe that still.  I believe, unless someone is inherently evil or ignorant, that every day is a chance for each of us to start new, and be better.  Stop living a lie.  Tell the truth.  Say we're sorry.  Help someone, even if you have burned your bridges with another.  Be a blessing to someone every day.  Be a blessing.  Be a blessing.  My nanny told me that.  She said she wanted to live her life that way, and her biggest regret in aging is that she couldn't always do that...  She thought she wasn't.  She is a blessing to the world with every breath she breathes.  She is a blessing.  The way she sees the world and her love and care and prayers are the blessings Heaven is made of.

Now, I shouldn't swear in sentences even close to those talking about my nanny.  She would not like that one bit.  And it's not right, to drop the F-bomb anywhere near Nanny Tops.  But I'm angry.  I'm angry and when I get angry I say bad words.  I'll add a picture here to break this up:

Maybe one more:


Fuck people who use other people.  Fuck people who are selfish and only care about themselves.  Fuck people who don't care if they destroy other people's lives, just so they can get what they want.  Fuck them for not even having the heart to understand that life isn't part of a piece of fiction where things fall apart, then the story ends and you assume the characters keep going along, and life turns out okay for everyone.  No. Human beings aren't all resilient:  Some hearts aren't so resilient; some minds aren't so resilient.  Fuck you for destroying a human being on the inside, turning her insides to char and ash and rotted, putrid self-loathing. And the story doesn't turn out okay in a few chapters... a few volumes... an entire series.  Sometimes she doesn't recover... ever.  She lives that way the rest of her life!  You have killed all that she was, and all she thought she could be, and all she wanted to be, and all she believed in...

Guess who gets to blame someone else after he trashed his wife, and cheated on her with no regard?  She isn't what you want, but she's okay.  Content, you were.  Are.  Not happy. Content with your life.  Fuck you.  Poor you?  Poor you, who doesn't get to be happy?  You blamed someone else, to your wife, so you could continue to be content, and that person suffers...  with that hot poker in her back.  You say it will make me feel better, even if she says, "No.  It will kill me."  Kill me.  And when she falls apart in front of you, you think, "Great, I can get what I want now."  Fuck you!  The problem with people who believe in others, and believe their heart knows how help...  is they want to help.  They want to save people.  They save everyone but themselves.

The way to feel better about all that?  Believe in the good.  Believe good intentions were meant, and felt, and it wasn't his fault.  It wasn't his fault.  So whose fault is it?  People like me take that blame on our shoulders and say, "How could I?"

Yet, it perpetuates...  friends seep in and say, "I will save you.  I know you.  Look at how amazing you are.  Look how strong you are.  Look how much love you have in your heart."  It's so good to have someone lift the responsibility of the fucked up shit off your shoulders.  It feels so good to breathe.  When was the last time I breathed?  I can breathe again.  Thank you!  My goodness, how could a stranger care so much? That's because the world is good, and people are good, right?  Believe in all the good things.  Good people save us from the fucked up ones...  Until their intentions aren't to be a friend at all.  They can't be your friend. They never wanted to be, stupid.  They can lay you to waste with a few words, sharper than any blade.  "Figure out your life, you're messed up."  Really?  Really?  Fuck you.  Did you see that puff of darkness come out of my chest where you cut me?  That's just the remnants of the last one.  I'll sew it back up and hold that powdery, ground up, darkness in.

Hold on.  It gets more complicated.  Because the more you let people in, the more you, in turn, hurt other people in your life.  You say, "I have a friend to talk to, he makes me feel better, see how much happier I am?!"  And you think it must be a great weight lifted off the people close to you, yet it just starts to burn up their insides too.  I mean, unless they get something out of it.  Happier you, might mean they get something they want from you.  Most people want something from you, even if they really do love you.  They want it at the expense of you.  They don't see the damage that can cause, is causing, will cause.  Where are we safe?  The only place I have ever been safe, truly safe, was with my grandparents.  When I was with nanny and grampy, they didn't want anything from me but my company.  They radiated love, and felt the love radiating from me.  Love reflects love.  Good reflects good.  Healthy hearts beat together.  The warmth and love and appreciation from Nanny and Grampy was the only truth I have known.    I hope you have a nanny and grampy like mine.  I wish I had known how deeply I needed them, and prepared myself for that loss.

My children... their love is pure and good.  It's different, though.  They need something from you, always.  And they can't see when you might have nothing to give, even if it's just for a passing moment.  They miss the empty eyes.  I think as children get older they can become a mother's truth.

I'm empty now.  It's because I am fighting my greatest ignis fatuus.  When I walked into that house, it felt a little like walking into my grandparents' house.  It felt safe and warm and giving and that I was just myself...  I felt safe.  A friend...  Is it worse when it's not a a stranger at all, but a long time friend who comes along and is ready to save you?  Oh, well, you see, you find out he was a stranger all along.  He was a stranger all along.  And he wanted everything from you, and he said, "You opened yourself up to me and I took without regard for [you]."  He said, "I'm selfish."  And for 8 months I have been fighting those words, (and there were other awful words... And he treated me like I was not a human being, that I am not a human being...), wanting to believe in the good.  There's been a mistake.  I'm not stupid.  I used to be one of the strongest women I knew.  I was strong and I was proud of myself because my grandparents were proud of me.  And I have become the weakest, most pitiful excuse for a...  an anything...

I've been forced to face evil.  I have been forced to examine myself and search for my flaws and accept that maybe having a fucked up biological father who abused us, and being raped when I was 17, broke me apart, and started eroding my insides, and my strength, when I was still a kid.  I had all the other responses when I was so young:  "I am stronger because of it."  "I learned I could be manipulated, and I will never let that happen again."  "I could have ended up marrying someone like that, I could have thought that was love."  "If it hadn't happened I would..."  You know what?  I would have been normal and healthy if that hadn't happened to me.  And maybe that's what women should be able to admit and face down and say, "That was a really bad thing that happened to me, and it has messed up my life..."  And then maybe move on the best we can...  Instead of pretending we're somehow survivors and therefore better for it.  No.  No.  That's not the truth at all.  I died a little when that happened.  And I could never get that back.  I never have.  And I'm had small deaths since then.

Yeah!  Fuck that noise.  Look at what has happened to me since?  I have been manipulated over and over, even though I'm married.  And I've given up on teaching, because I don't believe in myself...  because one time was enough... two times...  More?  When you know you were duped and weak, you become a duped, weak person.

But I accept the 50% I am responsible for, in all of my adult situations.  And I'm not the kind of person who can just write those things, all those bad words and accusations without feeling extreme amounts of guilt.  No, no... erase all that... it was my fault, right?  I believed.  I am naive and stupid.  I spend many days feeling like I can't live with the shit that I'm responsible for.  And I need to actually be a grown up and stop obsessing over the past, and living in the past, and blaming myself or anyone for the past.  I'm allowed to be angry.  I can be angry at them, and angry at myself.  But, then, like my nanny, I have to forgive.  I know I have to forgive and move on and stop.  Stop.  Stop.  Then go on living...

Still falling
Breathless and on again
Inside today
Beside me today
Around, broken in two
Till your eyes shed
Into dust
Like two strangers
Turning into dust
Till my hand shook
With the way I fear

I could possibly be fading
Or have something more to gain
I could feel myself growing colder
I could feel myself under your fate
Under your fate

It was you
Breathless and tall
I could feel my eyes turning into dust
And two strangers
Turning into dust
Turning into dust
--Mazzy Star

Monday, November 2, 2015


Why am I so easily broken.  Why is it so easy for someone to just flick their finger and me and I fall down and smash to pieces.  That's what it feels like sometimes.  I feel so breakable.  I feel so fragile.  I can be strong.  I can be really strong, and defend other people and take charge and...  I used to be like that.  I don't know if I am any more.  Is it in me?  I'm feisty, when I'm Joanna.  I'm just a blank page when I'm really depressed.  Being really depressed didn't ever define me, until recently.  It seemed to come one so often and so easily it became who I saw myself as... sad.  I'm a sad girl.

Can you blame other people for breaking you?  If they broke your bones, and beat you senseless we would press charges and it would be their fault we were in traction in the hospital.  But what about when people break you in the ways you can't see, and plaster and resetting bones doesn't help.  What happens when they just wedge huge cracks in your psyche, and shatter your emotional stability?  We don't get to blame them.  We can't press charges.  We're told to move on, stop focusing on the past, and work with doctors who will help you get all better...  All better.  All better.  All better!  

Thing is... bones heal.  They do!  It's miraculous.  Brains don't.  Memories don't.  Love doesn't.  Hearts do get broken.  The internal wounds are much more dangerous than the ones you can see.  I assure you.