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Why Can’t I?

Why can’t I …….

Stop feeling lonely

Stop being who everyone else wants me to be

Be my authentic self

Why can’t I…..

Cry when I need to

Stop feeling obligated to making others happy

Feel unconditionally loved

Why can’t I…..

Say what I’m really thinking

Feel what I’m really feeling

Trust my instincts

Why can’t I…..

Stop feeling like I owe everyone

Feel like I’ve paid my dues

Feel like I’ve got nothing left to prove

Why can’t I…..

Rest on my laurels

Enjoy my legacy

Stop pretending everything is fine

Why can’t I…..

Figure out what to do

Figure out who I am

Find my bliss

Why can’t I…..

Stop hurting

Stop trying so hard

Stop feeling exhausted

Why can’t I…..

Just….

Be……

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The Lowdown On The High Road (Observations from my occasional visits)

Just take the high road, they say

Be the better person, they say

Rise to the occasion, they say

Don’t stoop to their level, they say

You’ll feel better, they say

The high road

Is lonely

Depressing

The few people there

Are unhappy

Unsmiling

Grim

Pissed

Withdrawn

Irritated

And jealous

As they glance down

At the low road

Where the crowds are gathered

Merrily commiserating

Gleeful in their honesty

Confident in their candor

Sincere in their authenticity

Just having a hell of lot more fun.

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Don’t You?

You miss me, don’t you?

You miss seeing me, don’t you?

You miss talking to me, don’t you?

You miss hearing my voice, don’t you?

You miss seeing my face every day, don’t you?

You miss laughing with me, don’t you?

You miss telling me about your day, don’t you?

You miss kissing me good night, don’t you?

You miss me comforting you, don’t you?

You miss me wiping away your tears, don’t you?

You miss me telling you that you’re the best thing that ever happened to me, don’t you?

You miss me telling you how much I love you, don’t you?

You miss hearing me tell you that I’ve loved you your whole life, don’t you?

You miss me telling you how perfect you are, don’t you?

You miss me right now, don’t you?

You miss me, don’t you?

Then come back, won’t you?

Come home, won’t you?

Please? Won’t you?

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Stop Saying Unhelpful Things

In my own journey with crippling depression, I have taken umbrage with that rather pithy expression, “Suicide is a permanent solution to a temporary problem “. I’ve been personally subjected to these ill-perceived words of wisdom on more than one occasion, and adding to that narrative vein, another unhelpful expression, “Suicide is the coward’s way out”, has also been tossed in my direction at the precisely inopportune time.

I only recently have come to what, for me, is the simple and obvious and frankly, quite rational counter response, which is this: when one’s body, one’s person, sustains an injury or endures a pain of some sort, isn’t it the natural reflex, the very human nature ingrained among us, to find and execute the quickest and easiest remedy to that pain? If we cut ourselves, do we not apply a bandage? If we have a headache, do we not take a pain reliever? If we sprain an ankle or strain a muscle, do we not use a hot or cold compress and/or apply a wrap to stabilize the affected area? If we break a leg or an arm, do we not have the bone reset and get a cast?

All relatively permanent solutions to temporary problems, no? All the quickest, easiest (cowardly?) way to address the pain, no? So as with the very real emotional and even physical pain of depression, why wouldn’t we afford ourselves the same avenue of relief? When did the desire to ease the pain as quickly and efficiently as possible become “the permanent solution to a temporary problem”, and “the coward’s way out”? Who decided that masochism is the first and foremost appropriate reaction to pain like this?

Such is the ongoing stigma of mental illness. We’re making progress but we still have a long way to go. I would submit to anyone that managing to continue to live my life every single day is the bravest thing I’ve done so far.

Am I Still Their Sun? A Poem

My three shining stars

The compasses to my moral fiber

The guiding lights to all that is good in my world

The beacons that stared down my hopelessness

My three shining stars

Have begun their journey

To spread their radiance

Share their sparkle

Beyond the purlieus

Of the star cluster

From which they were formed.

I, the Mother Sun,

Gifted by God

Of these luminous new stars

Find that they have traveled

Too far away.

Their brilliance

Shining more lustrous than ever

Seems now but a soft glow

That I am sometimes

Barely able to discern

Barely able to grasp

Barely able to follow.

For I remain in the original nucleus

From where these stars

Were conceived,

Designed,

Strengthened,

Cultivated,

Stimulated,

Emboldened,

Encouraged,

And ultimately

Prepared

To take their effervescent

Sparkling light

Beyond that which they’d always known

As the safe place

Bathed in the sunlight

Of the origin of their light.

Am I still their Sun?

My light has dimmed

My glow has narrowed

No longer pinpointed

Directly,

Essentially,

Towards my now scattered shining stars.

Am I still their Sun?

The warmth of my light

Encounters a brisk

Sometimes bleak

Barrier

That seems to chill

The ends

Of my ever reaching tentacles of warmth

That were previously

And constantly

Entwined amongst my stars.

The three shining stars

Now beam a dazzling light

All on their own

And their Sun

Begins to flicker,

Dim,

Blur,

Fade……

A Thank You Note.

How can my baby be 18 years old today?
We call her our “ Migraine Baby”. We also call her “Our Angel Sent From God”. We tell her that she was an exceptionally unique soul that God was looking down from the heavens searching for just the right family for whom to gift her. There were many families to choose from, many who would love this precious soul, who would cherish her, give her all the love she deserved, give her every opportunity to use her myriad of gifts, and share her with all the world.
But God also wanted to find the family who needed her. The family who already had already been given an abundance of gifts and were thrilled to have had such good fortune after various difficulties earlier in life. This particular family of four, we were settled in for the long haul after my husband and I married in our early thirties, had minor struggles with conceiving our two amazing children, including two miscarriages, but ultimately having a beautiful baby girl and then two years later, a strapping baby boy. We had full-time careers, a lovely home in the country, and our two darling children, making our lives filled with charm and thankfulness. We had it all and couldn’t imagine how life could be any better.
One day, when our daughter was 4 and our son was was 2, I was stricken with a horrifying headache which evolved into vomiting, dizziness, and severe pain. It would not pass for several hours and I realized I’d suffered from a migraine headache for the first time in my life. I was blindsided by this; I was 37 years old and had never experienced something so painful (barring childbirth) in my life. And with a full and crazy-busy schedule, I certainly didn’t have time for this nonsense. But it happened again, and again, and again, so I finally sought help from my doctor. After several months it became clear that the majority of these migraines were happening during my monthly period and my doctor recommended discontinued use of birth control pills and see if that helped.
WHAT??? I’m not going to be able to take the pill, keep my periods regulated and painless? And what was I supposed to do about……birth-control? Jeez, this was turning into a bit of a hassle that I really didn’t need at this stage in my life. I was now 38 years old and I was totally over all this woman reproductive stuff. Bring on the menopause for heaven’s sake! (A most regrettable wish I now know at age 57. That’s a story for another day). My husband and I were flummoxed by this conundrum. I mean really, what were we going to do now? My husband is a man of very few words, albeit deep thoughts. He said, oh so simply, “Well we could just put it in God’s hands….” And I said, “Oh? Well, I guess we could……OK, that’s what we’ll do then.” Based on previous experience, I didn’t have any thought or expectation that God had a Plan, because I’d had such difficulty getting pregnant before so I was assuming, given my history and my late age, that life would go on as normal, and hopefully migraine free. Pretty much a win-win.
I conceived three days later.
I was two months shy of my 39th birthday when she was born.
And she was perfection. She completed me. I had no idea that I’d been waiting for her my whole life. I had no idea that she would enhance our already perfect family to a place that I didn’t even know existed. Make no mistake, I was madly in love with my first and second children. They were, and remain as great a gift as I could ever have imagined. I play no favorites. I suffered greatly when my oldest child left for college six years ago. I nearly lost my mind when my son followed her two years later. I mourn for them daily, even though they are only an hour, a text, a FaceTime, a phone call, a family holiday get together away. But I still have this amazing third child, this amazing young woman, who turned 18 years old today. She will be going away in 5 months, just like her older brother and sister. I’m officially the mother of three adult children.
But she’s still here, and we are all going to be together tonight to celebrate all the gifts God has given us. And I will cherish these next remaining months of still being a mother with a child living under my roof. She is the very definition of the extraordinary gift that I never knew I wanted or could possibly be worthy of having. She is the final brush stroke of an already beautiful work of art that we had. She made it a masterpiece.
And so what’s next?
Only God knows. And I trust Him. And I thank Him every single day for this embarrassment of riches. A loving husband, three amazing children, an unknown future, but a perfect present.