I have missed you all.
It’s been a long 2 1/2 months.
Woah. Has it really been 11 weeks since I last wrote anything? Wow.
It has been a long 11 weeks. I feel like I hopped on an out of control roller coaster ride that finally spit me out last week. But not before totally wreaking havoc on me.
I am slowly regaining the ability to walk without stumbling. Finding the motivation to put one foot in front of the other. Reminding myself to not let fear hold me back, because I will fall over. And I will get back up again.
But what happened to me? Why did I, and still, feel so burdened and struggling to find hope?
(Preface: This is going to be LONG. And for 99% of my pack – this will be the first time they hear about how badly I was drowning. There is a reason I kept these feelings to myself. I wasn’t ready to talk. I still am not ready. I am forcing myself to open up. Because I need to move forward. I need to find hope again. I have to find hope again. I want to feel hope again.)
11 weeks ago we were getting ready for our huge Disneyland trip. It was fantastic. And I will always remember it.
But it took ALOT out of me. Emotionally. Mentally. Physically. From sunrise to almost midnight, every single day, I was (I put this expectation on myself) in charge of getting 6 people coordinated and to all the places we needed to go/be/see/experience. I was in charge of making sure at least 4 of those people (me included), remained positive, and if they weren’t – I was in charge of getting them to that point. The other 2 – if they weren’t also satisfied and happy, I mentally notated that as a failure.
By the end of the trip – I was excited to go home and not have to be so immersed in everyone’s lives. Bathroom trips. Eating schedules. Activities in line. Making sure Thing 1 does not give attitude and Thing 2 does not meltdown and runoff.
But at the end of the trip, I misjudged the distance between a curb and the dirt. It was a long 3in and I ended up spraining my ankle pretty badly. I thought I broke it. I heard sounds I can never unhear.
Snap. Snap. Snapcracklepop.
Thankfully it happened on the day we were driving home. So we just took a 5hr side trip to an emergency room in Bakersfield. That was an epic failure of a trip. I will never take my home hospital for granted again.
But we finally got home. And I was sidelined for the first week. I was stuck in the house the first week. And the following week I was in so much pain, bc I had to go back to work, I couldn’t think of anything else.
I hit a level of depression I did not know existed. I had never felt that low before. And while I am doing better 8 weeks later – I am still having to attack it in hand-to-hand combat mode, or I will drown again.
Yes. I was drowning.
Whatever little energy I had, was directed at getting up, going to work, coming home.
Dirty laundry? Piled up
Dinner? Fast food or take-out
Dishes? 1 plate away from paper plates.
Kids activities? The bare minimum
Showers? 1x a week. Deodorant daily.
Pets? Bare minimum attention given.
Bills? Thrown in a pile
Happy pills? Conveniently forgotten.
Appointment with my counselor? Absentmindedly forgot. And then consciously didnt reschedule.
Talking? Kept to a minimum. Caring? Minimum. Thoughts? I don’t think I had any.
You get the point. While I yearned to just sit in a ball, under my blankets, watching Netflix on my phone as I lay on my left side. My foot poking out the bottom blanket.
I couldn’t. I had kids, that needed to see me at some point. I had to work to pay bills and eat.
But then it got to the point that I wanted to get in the car, and drive. And keep driving.
I didn’t know where I wanted to go. But I didn’t want to be at home. The kids were driving me crazy. Their attitudes out of control.
The house was falling apart. Without me – nothing gets done. Or so I had convinced myself.
I was so angry. I had so much contempt and hatred boiling over.
I felt like no one would miss me if I were to just drive off into the sunset.
No one asked me if I was OK. Or checked in on me. And this is where I am going to get a little selfish.
I make it a point to check in on people in my pack. I make sure everyone is OK. Not every day. But I make an attempt. I do what I can to lift their spirits.
But what about me? Who was checking on me? Besides my husband, and kids, and immediate family (questionable), and like 2 coworkers, a work husband, and a best friend?
No one. That is who. At least that is what I thought. That is what my depression convinced me of.
So I performed an experiment. To either confirm or deny my depression biased beliefs.
I silently ghosted Facebook. I made one last post on December 18th, 2018. Of Thing 2.
I didn’t post pictures of our Annual Christmas Light Adventure. Or of the kids wrapping their presents better than me. I didn’t post videos of Christmas morning, or of the kids dancing crazily to music on TV. I didn’t post pictures of Thing 1 learning how to cook, or the kids getting their hands dirty with whatever we were doing. I didnt post about a cousins night out or date night with my husband.
I stopped posting anything personal. I have shared a few articles. And the SuperPawsPack is still active.
But my life – I went silent. Who is going to notice? Who is going to check in to make sure I am OK? Not posting a couple days in a row – normal. Not posting anything for a week? Slightly unusual behavior for me.
But for a month? Even I am still concerned about myself.
So what has been the outcome of that little experiment? 1 person checked on me out of the blue. 1 person that is not in my immediate family and outside of the couple of coworkers and bestie.
I have just north of 200 “Friends” on Facebook. And 1 person checked on me.
My depressed biased views of who I am as a person, and what people thought of me – were validated.
It was coincidence that the week I realized only 1 person checked on me, out of the kindness of their heart, bc they hadn’t heard from me in awhile – it was also the week that work had been hell.
But maybe it wasn’t coincidence that everything – my depression, loneliness, anger, stress, desperation, exasperation – all merged at this moment.
Friday afternoon, I told my husband I needed to drink liquor straight from the bottle. Bypassing the mixer, shot glass, and cup altogether.
Just remove the lid and drink.
It was the first day I had any sort of energy after being sick with ear aches/sinus drainage/sore throat/body pains for 10 days. I spent 2 days questioning if I had somehow swallowed a lava flow.
(side note: I do drink occasionally. Normally only on Fridays and Saturdays due to work. But I drink sparingly, and I do not drink to excess. And I have NEVER drank as much as I did this time. And I will NEVER drink this much again. I promise you that.)
Because of X,Y,Z – I did not end up drinking. I thought the feeling passed. Saturday was much better. At least I thought I was heading in the direction. But then Saturday night came.
And everything I had stuffed down below. Everything I had locked away. Everything I had held tight to my chest, not letting anyone in on my deepest darkest secrets…
…came spilling out. Every dark thought. Every pain I kept secret. Everything that I had felt I was wronged by in the past year, my weaknesses, my flaws – came crashing through my weakened flood gates.
I have been drowning. Holding on to the flood gates tight. White knuckled so they do not break open. Forcing myself to sink to the bottom of the Mariana Trench.
I wanted to avoid the aftermath. I knew what I held secret – would harm others. And I did not want to let that out. They were my scars to bear.
3/4 of a bottle of cheap vodka, 2 shots of whiskey, and half a bottle of cheap rum later – my lungs were expelling themselves of everything I had swallowed and locked away.
The minute details of what unfolded, how, and why – are not important at this moment in time. Because unfortunately – while I drank way more than any person should ever drink, I still remember every single moment of that night. Every single emotion I felt. Every single word that was said. And frankly – I really don’t want to relive it.
So, moving on.
I remember stumbling from the garage, down the long concrete pathway. It was freezing cold. Up the deck, and then upstairs to our room. And I remember being scared. I remember vocalizing how scared I was. At the time – I don’t know why I was so scared. And I still do not know. But my soul was scared. I couldn’t shake it.
I closed my eyes. My husband tucked me in. And I went to sleep. And I slept.
And I dreamed. The most vivid dream I have ever had. It was a dream that will always remain with me. A dream that, when I close my eyes, I can transport myself back into that dream. 10 days out – I can submerse myself in to that dream once more.
I can feel my legs running. My breath labored.
I can feel the anxiety rise. My eyes darting.
I can feel the increase in desperation. My palms sweating.
I can feel people disappear. My pack dissolving.
I can feel the panic as my identity is lost. My resolve changing.
I can see the sky darken. The clouds gather.
I can see the tides rise. The water approaching.
I can see the end of the pier. I can feel the tug of my pack telling me to run.
To run faster. Away from the monster in front of me.
I turn. I face the dark. I feel the terror. I see the pain. And I run.
I can feel the need to reach something. Someone. Back in that storm.
That storm, I felt, deep within my core, I would find it. That something. That someone. I desperately needed to get to.
As the skies darkened, the seas quieted, the world calmed. As the winds grew, the hail started, the land ripped apart.
As the tornado approached, it was in that moment, that I felt the most at peace I have been in a long time.
I woke up Sunday morning, feeling like my head was going to explode while I was riding the Mad Hatter Tea Cup from HELL.
But I also remembered that sense of peace that I felt while snoring in the fetal position.
I may have spent most of the day with my eyes closed.
But I spent the day remembering hope.
I may have to force myself to do what is needed to be done for a little while.
But that tornado saved me. And I will always remember.