Sunday, August 28, 2016

Enough... never.

My bare feet are on warm grass and I'm spinning around with my arms stretched out.  Spinning.
A kaleidoscope of fabric and nature:  A summer dress, a summer day.
My knees buckling, dizzy, I fall and lay down, looking up at the bluest sky and the scattered clouds. Cumulus.  Cumulus Clouds.  Fluffy and white...  Spinning sky. 
My mind is swimming in a funny pool of colors and laughter.  
I hear someone laughing. 
It's me, I think.

Most of the time, I can only go into that place if I stop up my ears with sleep, or music.  Music.  If I shut out every sound except the music, I can stop smelling, stop thinking, stop knowing...  As much as I am capable of letting go.

I know I've written so often when I felt most depressed and crazy and hopeless.  I don't need to express those thoughts here.  I feel that way, still. I know when I think that way, I think I shouldn't really be here at all... I don't think I should exist.  I often don't think I can keep existing.  I want to disappear.  That's what I wrote, and what I know I thought.

However!  In the years since I started writing this blog, (and saying very morbid things about wanting to disappear), I did finally and truly absorb and retain the understanding that me not being here would be horribly detrimental to my children. The crazy-I'm crazy-filter coloring my thinking was shed, and I knew I would damage my children and mess them up, (maybe make them as crazy as I am right now, at a far younger age) if I... died.  Holy shit and what the fuck, right? Of course!
I didn't always see the of course.  Not really.  I might have said I did, but I really was thinking that it would be okay if I died.

But, yeah.  Holy Shit.  A parent dying, particularly in tragic and unexpected circumstances fucks kids up.
It fucks them up.
Adults can't handle tragedy like that.
Innocent young children?  Gosh, they would be even more fucked up by it.

I got that.  I get it.  I don't want to fuck up my children. So, even in my dark mind, I began to focus on the idea that I will stay here and do whatever I need to do to stay here.  I was not going to be reckless with my well being...  I was not going to die on purpose.
That's a big step for a crazy person.

Oh, no!  Then I had to face the reality that, even if I was not dead, the way I have been existing didn't mean I was here fully.  I understood if I was just existing to not die than I was doing a shitting job at living.  I was not being a good mother.  I don't know if I am, sometimes.

But...  I am fighting one battle at a time, I have decided.  I'm onto that next fight, after realizing I can't be dead, where I start to live...  Because, Oh man, I know I am not in any way actually here.  

I can't say I know what to do.  I don't know how to be present, when I feel like I'm disappearing. 
 I have massive depression, and right now I am not existing as any Joanna that anyone who had known me for more than 5 years.
I am a mother, yes.
I love my little baby faces and give them attention, yes.
I am a good mother, yes... Good enough.

Good enough?  That bullshit-crap.  Blech.
If you knew me--know everything that I was--you would know that "good enough" is the worst kind of mother I should be, by every account.

Tears.  Lame.
Ugh.  My face is contorted in disgust and anger, now, knowing that all this has gone on for so damn long.  I'm relieved my children are not in this room to see this ugly expression.  My face reflects my devastation in my failure, whether it is something I think I can control or not.  Good enough is despicable.  

You see, my children are superior beings.  I know the Joanna inside me is the mom that they deserve.  I would be a superstar for them. I would overwhelm their awesomeness with my energy, and love, and enthusiasm, and love.

I'm going to stop crying about being depressed and at least believe that I can be better.  Doctors, medicine, brain surgery... somethin'.
Let's be okay with that-be okay with believing.
Whew.  Anyway!  Yes! Stop crying into your hands like a emotional basketcase!

In my delirious and darkest moments, I know what I say:  I cry and say, "I was a teacher." I cry and say, "How did this happen?"  I cry and say, "I miss my grandparents." I cry and say, "I miss my mom."  I cry and say, "I want to be a good mother."  
As if it any of my life was caused by a thing or experience I could have stopped.
I've had none of those... moments where I felt in control when I felt so very, very bad...

It's an accomplishment to feel peace in believing and hoping.
It is lovely to feel any kind of freaking peace.
It's okay to feel some peace for a few moments.
It's meditation.
It's prayer.
It's thoughtfulness.
It's healing.
And the fact that my brain can do any of that shit is wicked amazing at this point.  I thought I was so far gone off the deep end, you know?

I have to confess though... I mean...
I have to say that blocking out everything with sound, with music, (stopped right up in my ears so nothing else can creep in), is the way I have to meditate at times.  Yes, I'm not paying attention to my kids, or Sam, or anything, really.  I'm just listening and breathing and my mind is taking a gosh darn break.
I want to stop feeling for awhile, sometimes..
And that's fine.

Why do artists, over the span of humankind, write and sing songs that take us away, if they didn't mean to take us away?  If they didn't mean to move us to feel, than I don't understand music or art or anything at all.

I have to hide behind deafness still.  I'm still a mess, really.  I reconciled one truth, but realized there was much more depth to it than a proclamation or a determined thought that was in my mind at a certain moment: (I'll not make myself stop being alive!  Yes!) I knew I had to and have to actually be here All of me.  100% Joanna all day, every day, all the time.  I can't just lay in the bed and stare at the wall and call that an accomplishment in mommyhood.  I need to be a healthy mom.  I need to be Joanna.

Sigh.  (Big SIGH).  I don't know.
I don't know...
I just know it is nice to escape from the reality of what I need to be, and should be, and not think too much... Just some times.
Some times.

Thursday, August 25, 2016


It seems too frequent that I am walking barefoot in my house and suddenly feel the sharp puncture of something foreign in the ball of one foot, or the pad of my toe, or my heel, and to look down and see bright red blood, leaving a gory trail where I hobble, and I can register what the Hell just happened.
It's a shock to suddenly feel a shard of glass pressing through layers of your skin.
It's a shock to be walking in your own home and experience this pain so frequently.

Luckily the kids, also always barefoot, like me, rarely experience this.  My feet seem to find the danger and bring it with me, wherever I move, until I can pull it out, and wonder where it came from. Hopefully not something that I cherished was cleaned up poorly, after being destroyed, and long ago put in the trash...  My foot just finding a tiny remnant.  Hopefully the broken thing--a water glass, a mirror, a candle, a dish, a vase, a teacup, a wine glass--was an accident, a mistake; not just carelessness or a purposeful smash.

My body tenses when I hear glass breaking.   It's a sound I hear so very often.  It's a sound that makes me cringe.  I have cried, when I'm already really on the edge, when I hear that sound, (and then Sam's voice cursing), because I feel like I know when the shattering signifies something important.

I was thinking about writing about this a few days ago.  I guess it's not funny to tell you that just this evening as my husband came home from work with groceries, I heard glass smashing, and although Stella exclaimed something vague, he didn't tell me what had broken.  "A vase," Stella said.  I didn't want to know.  I often don't want to know.  And Sam doesn't tell me.  If I ask him a few times, "Was that glass I heard break this morning?  What broke?  What glass broke?  What broke?"  

Sometimes he avoids telling me.  He said he is embarrassed for being clumsy.  That time it was a crystal vase; the only large vase we own.  Owned.  It was a wedding gift from one of my former elementary school students, and her family.  We had other, small cheap "vases," however this one was used for every bouquet of flowers Sam has given to me since our honeymoon.

It was out on the counter, pushed to the back, because it is usually stored under our kitchen sink, but Sam emptied the cabinet a month or so ago because the sprayer/hose thingy was leaking into the cabinet and it started to smell funny.  He was swinging bags of groceries up onto the counter, between our sink and stove, and it was tipped over.  He told me all this a few days later.

I only asked him again, or even remembered that most recent "smash," because I was getting the kids a snack and as I was walking from the fridge sink to wash a nectarine, my left foot was impaled by an thick, clear piece of glass.  I'm pretty sure I must jump a little whenever I step on something sharp, and then lift the injured appendage off the ground, not wanting to rest any weight on it.  Anyway, I stopped to pull it out, studied the piece carefully, turning it around between my thumb and index finger, and I tossed it in the trash.  

This time I realized there was most likely more pieces of glass, like that one, around that immediate area, (since such a large piece was missed during clean up).  I thought, I will sweep, then vacuum, then get down on my hand and knees and wipe the floor down once I'm done with my task...  (Getting snacks for the kids, remember?)

Ah, the bloody prints multiplied on the maple floors, until I was finished feeding the kids.
Blood just gets sticky as it congeals--coagulates--if you leave it.
I even forget it happened.  I forget about the wound.
I don't forget to clean up the blood, I just forget that it even happened.

Anything that can puncture skin is an object.  It is a thing.  And things made of glass are delicate.  And delicate things break easily.  And even if that delicate thing was something you wanted to see intact forever and ever and ever, there is no truly safe place for it, is there?  Even if you place it away from reach, and try to protect it with soft things, there will always be a chance a piece of it will end up in your foot.  

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

I wanna know, I don't wanna know.

Well, Amy hit the atmosphere
Caught herself a rocket ride out of this gutter
And she's never coming back I fear
Anytime it rains she just feels a lot better
And that's all that really matters to me

Well, Amy hit the atmosphere

Caught herself a rocket ride out of this gutter
And she's never coming back I fear
Anytime it rains she just feels a lot better
And that's all that really matters to me

We've waited so long
For someone to take us back home
It just takes so long
Meanwhile all the days go drifting away
And some of us sink like a stone
Waiting for mothers to come 

Yeah, it's one of those posts again, and if you don't like it, I'm just going to write it anyway.  That's how I do.  That's who I be.

 I'm smiling even though I feel like shit, because I know I'm just telling myself to go fuck myself.  I write for myself, wallowing in sadness. I'm selfish.  If realize if everyone else sunk into the sadness I let myself sink into, well, they would drown them too. We'd all be fucked: Humanity would be so screwed... 

I mean... If everyone was crumbling, like I crumble every month, there would be no one left to...  live.  

Everyone would want to die, yeah?  
We'd all be dead, I think... Yeah?

And I know I'm not talking about suicide here, but I am talking about depression, and I know I write about it selfishly; I write as though I'm the only one suffering.  However, I know many people are affected by depression, and I know that even my own pain has caused many other people pain.  My depression hurts the people I love.  That's the worse part about it, really... depression.

I don't want to feel like this.  I don't want any of the darkness.  But I absolutely don't want anyone else to feel it either.  I don't want to make other people suffer because of my illness... Is it contagious?  No. Depression isn't contagious.  It does rip families and friends apart, though.  I know it does.  

 I have hurt many other people with my shutting down, "checking out," running away...  I was always trying to run away from myself, but I ended up running away from people who love me.  Loved me.  Love me...  (God, I tell you, I don't forget my babies, though.  I remember them and try so hard to protect them from this).  

Depression seems selfish, doesn't it?  From the outside?  When you love someone who has depression, don't you ever truly feel really, really fucking angry at them?  
Don't you want to shake them and tell them to pull themselves together and see all the good things?  
Don't you want to tell them to just stop making everything feel so damn sad, and dark all the time?  
Don't you want to tell them to stop ruining everything, and making life so damn difficult for you?  For you?!

You have a right to feel that way.  
You are being hurt, when they are hurting.  
I understand that more, now than ever.  I don't want to hurt.  But it's disgusting to me that I make other people suffer along with me...  They don't deserve it... They deserve light, and love.  Everyone does.  

God, in the midst of my pmdd,  I do think, on my very worst days, I am the most hurt.  I am feeling the most pain.  I am feeling the most pain?   
Doesn't it feel like I'm falling apart, and not one can see it?  Inside me it's so catastrophic, and distracting, that I think everyone else must be okay? I mean, I can see them moving, and living, and smiling, and just... being... 

Yes.  No one could feel as freaking bad as I do...  No one...  no one...

Certainly not because of me.  I suffer alone? 
I'm hurt, but I didn't hurt anyone else, right?  
I mean, the people in my life understood what I was thinking, when I shut them out...  when I blocked them out... right?  Right?  right...
They understood how much I didn't want to hurt anyone at all... not the way I hurt...  right?

I wanna know, I wanna know, I wanna know, I wanna know
I wanna know, I wanna know, I wanna know, I wanna know

It's hard to swallow right now.  My throat is tight.  Because I know the truth:  When one of us is in pain, everyone who loves us is feeling pain too.  Love means empathy and caring.  Loving someone means we need them.  We need them.  And if they are absent, physically or mentally, than we are alone.  Aren't we?  No.  That can't be.  We can't all be alone...  I don't know.  I don't know anymore.  

Sam and I started watching the Blacklist a while ago... from the beginning, because James Spader has given me the biggest creepy creeps since "Pretty in Pink," and I couldn't even think of watching a show starring him without... just feeling so many creeps... But Sam said it was so good... So I watched the first episode, and it was amazing.  Excellent.  And James Spader doesn't creep me out playing a sociopath/arms dealer/killer, as he did playing a teenage, cocaine snorting, asshole.  Hmmmmm...  Go figure.  

Anyway, James Spader's character, Raymond Reddington said something in that last episode I watched.  It was a really surreal, freaky episode, and I haven't seen any of the episodes after it.  (I will watch them at some point, probably)...  I guess I just needed that episode to settle into my head. I'm a weird TV/Movie watcher.  
I'll admit it.

Reddington said:  Have you ever seen the aftermath of a suicide bombing…  I have. June 29, 2003. I was meeting two associates at the Marouche restaurant in Tel Aviv. As my car was pulling up, a 20-year-old Palestinian named Ghazi Safar entered the restaurant and detonated a vest wired with C4.  The shock wave knocked me flat, blew out my eardrums. I couldn’t hear. The smoke… It was like being underwater. I went inside. A nightmare. Blood. Parts of people. You could tell where Safar was standing when the vest blew. It was like a perfect circle of death. There was almost nothing left of the people closest to him. 17 dead, 46 injured. Blown to pieces. The closer they were to the bomber, the more horrific the effect.  That’s every suicide. Every single one. An act of terror perpetrated against everyone who’s ever known you… Everyone who’s ever loved you. The people closest to you… the ones who cherish you… are the ones who suffer the most pain, the most damage. Why would you do that?  Why would you do that to people who love you?  There’s always a choice."  

Suicide is the result of depression.  I mean, I think it almost always is.  I think it's a level of complete, and absolute giving up of everything that is rational, and a long history of seeing no hope...  Or maybe a brief moment of complete hopelessness and despair, when a person has too easy an opportunity to end it all.

 Or psychosis.  I'm not psychotic, though.  I know I'm not.  Suicide is selfish.  We hear that all the time.  I believe that.  I also know there are times I feel like it is unequivocally impossible for me to keep thinking and feeling, because it is so excruciating...  It feels like it's impossible to keep living.  But I know that horror wanes, and then often goes away.  I also know it will come back.  I'm used to all of this now.   

Even depression is selfish, in a way, when the person who is sick doesn't ever try to get better;  I mean, when one accepts the worst emotional states are truth, and nothing else is real... 

It's when I just sit there and bury my face in my knees, hugging them in darkness.  I know I am giving up at that moment, if just momentarily.  

I know, (I know), I have often said I don't have a choice, with PMDD and that I have to ride out the hormonal insanity.  Yet I also know that I could and can do something.  Some things...  Every time.  I could do better. 

When you have depression, you might cut yourself off from others.  When you have it, if you are like me, you do want to disappear... stop existing... You sometimes want to be dead.  You think it will be so much better for everyone else...  And you think it will be so much better for yourself.
to just not feel anything.
And stop experiencing the numbness,
the brain nausea,
the mind-fuck.

When you have depression, you are in your own head.  

All I really know is I wanna know

And all I really know is I don't wanna know

Heavens, I have laid on my bed, curled up, holding my head and screaming silently.  I rip at my skin: scratch it until it's bleeding.  I punch my temples, so it hurts more than the the terrifying, uncontrollable anguish inside my head... Pain is better on the outside, I assure you.  You can put a bandaid on it, or an ice pack, or take all strengths of medications to quell it temporarily... then take some more.  There is always something strong enough for fairly immediate relief.

Medicine for depression, you say?  Ha.  ha...  It's so arbitrary and a shitshow of trial and error.  "Maybe this pill.  Maybe this combination of pills.  Let's talk about it."  What might be a breakthrough treatment for depression, or PMDD, or Bipolar, or PME for one person, could make another individual feel worse.  There is no cure for depression.  There is no cure for PMDD.  There is no cure for heartbreak.  

And all I really know is I don't wanna know

And all I really know is I don't wanna know

And all I really know is I don't wanna know

And all I really know is I don't wanna know

And all I really know is I don't wanna know

Monday, August 8, 2016

Drowning for ya.

I should have known that trying to swim to shore, also meant the risk of sinking under, limbs exhausted.  Drowning.  Gosh, I started to go through life, not jumping in, not swimming toward warmth and safety... But then I do something totally crazy.  
Maybe it's crazy.
Maybe it's healthy.
I sometimes think I must feel myself losing my breath, and I just know I have to do it.  I feel I have to do it.  And so I do.  I do something totally nuts.  Is that crazy or okay?

You tried to lie, I can see that you don't need me
All of your words, they've been cursed with dishonesty.
Take it from the girl you claim to love, you're gonna get some bad karma
I'm the one who had to learn to build a heart made of armour
From the girl who made you soup and tied your shoes when you were hurting
You are not deserving, you are not deserving

PMDD:  Yeah, that makes me think I can't stay afloat and I think I can't keep pushing the water behind me.  I feel the water closing in on me, sucking me deep.  
But I don't want to give up.  
I haven't.  
You see, I'm still here.  I still write, and I still live, and I breathe.  Through it all, I'm fighting, and kicking, so my head is above water... most of the time.  

I could see that you wanted me cold
You're so bold while you're watching me moan
You tried to hide, I can see that you don't see me
What do you gain by the names that you're calling me?
Take it from the girl you claim to love, you're gonna get some bad karma
I'm the one who had to learn to build a heart made of armour

From the girl who made you soup and tied your shoes when you were hurting
You are not deserving, you are not deserving
(Cause I'm drowning for ya)

What are marked traits of PMDD, though?  Are they:  "Frantic efforts to avoid being abandoned by friends and family.  Unstable personal relationships that alternate between idealization—“I’m so in love!”—and devaluation. Distorted and unstable self-image, which affects moods, values, opinions, goals and relationships. Impulsive behaviors that can have dangerous outcomes, such as excessive spending, unsafe sex, substance abuse or reckless driving."  

Doesn't it sound like that describes my behavior?  Doesn't that seem like it describes me?  Doesn't it seem like all that, (which is written above), defines the behaviors and feelings I have experienced these past years? Or, have I been depressed, and really unhappy, with breaks of sanity, and happiness, and action, and hopefulness?  Wasn't I moving... towards something else?  Trying to feel better?  If we do something that seems crazy to everyone else, does that make us crazy?  

Or what if one person understands that it's not crazy at all... that the accepting of unhappiness is most crazy, and jumping into the water--without knowing what will happen, and how far I'll have to swim-- is actually brave and wonderful?

I know.  I know inside myself.  And I know that I have fallen into wanting everyone to think I'm sane and happy and normal, so I end up making everything think I'm crazy:  The people who see me as happy and acting irrational; and the people who see me as rational and sane, but being irrational and crazy by not getting away from all that is unhealthy, and makes me feel so very badly.  I am not crazy.  I'm not.

I could see that you wanted me cold
You're so bold while you're watching me moan
Holding out like you could pull me down
Cause I'm drowning for ya
(Cause I'm drowning for ya)
Cause I'm drowning for ya
The traits or symptoms I listed are actually a clinical description of the traits of Borderline Personality Disorder which my mother thought she should send me.  PMDD and my unhappiness have eluded her always, all these years, and she has always come up with some other thoughts about why I have felt the way I do, or acted the way I do.  She thinks maybe that's the ticket, this month:  BPD.  Okay.  Thyroid results be damned.  Blood tests be damned.  Brain scans be damned, (Oh, that's another post).  Me telling her what is happening in my life and how I feel be damned.  Reality, be, fucking, damned.  

Can you follow me out to the water?
I can show you we're sinking deeper
Let me know
Cause I'm drowning for ya

I remember when I signed Stella up for swimming lessons when she was two or three, she decided she would get into the pool... Ever.  She sat on the concrete, against the chain link dense, as far from the water as possible.  "Want to just sit on the side of the pool and put your feet in, Stella."  (She shakes head, serious look on her little baby face, which meant:  "fuck no, I know what you assholes are up to.  I'll put my feet in, and you'll grab me and put me in that water."  That was her exact facial expression.  She watched moms dragging their children by their arms into the water, telling them to stop screaming, "you are going to learn to swim!  Get in the water right now!"  The teenage swim instructors were handed these screaming, terrified children, and forced to try to "teach a swimming lesson."
I was not that kind of mommy; I would never force her to get in the water if she was scared.  I mean, why make a poor little kid more horrified by the idea of "swimming," and also scared of water...  And also scared of their parent...  I knew she needed to trust me.  She watched the lessons very closely, with a furrowed brow. We pretended we were swimming, making the movements, while sitting with our backs to the fence.  (4 years later she learned how to swim, because she wanted to.  "I'm ready to learn to swim," she said.  She started swimming like a mermaid (she'd want me to say that instead of 'fish' because she loves mermaids).
You see?  No one should push anyone into the water.  You have to wait until they jump all on their own. You can't tell them why they should jump, or should never jump, or analyze all the reasons they won't jump or can't jump, or all the reasons they could jump, or all the things that could help them jump, or things that will totally protect them from jumping in the future...  Don't tell them all the reasons that cause disappointment for "everyone" because we did jump, or didn't jump, or how it was all such a failure, every single way, for every single reason.

Can you follow me out to the water?
I can show you we're sinking deeper
Let me know
Cause I'm drowning for ya

...Every single reason...  Guess the common treatment is for BPD... SSRIs and mood stabilizers...   I'm taking or have tried both.  No change.  Because I have PMDD.  Or something that affects my hormones or is deeply affected by my hormone fluctuations and totally fucks me up.  Something to do with my thyroid, for example...  (Another post, again, entirely).  

Can you follow me out to the water?
I can show you we're sinking deeper
Let me know

And the craziest person isn't you, or me at all.  They are the ones who tell you to jump, and give you the old, "I believe in you," speech, then aren't anywhere to be seen when waters get rough.  When they think they can handle PMDD, but they can't.  They tell you they understand, but then they let you sink.  Good people.  Good people can't be truly crazy.  Those who are selfish and self-centered are the craziest people I know.

Cause I'm drowning for ya
Can you follow me out to the water?
I can show you we're sinking deeper
Let me know
Cause I'm drowning for ya