pitstop, march 18

FB ‘on this day’ reminds me that three years ago today I’d packed up all three kids for a two day road trip to southern California. The caption of the post, “Pitstop. Yep, they’re are still here,” above a photo that I’d taken at a stop in Medford. The trunk of the Jeep is open, rear door high up pointing toward the sky. Rear trunk space bursting at the seams with everything we can hope to need for what should have been a spring break getaway. Firework burst of flowers on an army style duffle, full of who knows what but will eventually be emptied and used as a dirty clothes bag, laying on it’s side toward the front and surely being squished when the rear door slams down. Pink yoga mat crammed into an in-between space, duffle bags on one side and backpacks on the other. One of the girl’s gray and neon green track shoes peeking out of a paper grocery bag on the left. Red carry-on suitcase stacked on top of black and white polka dot duffle bag on the right. Pastel butterfly pillow perched atop it all, easily accessible to the lazy arm of my 9 year old when she gets sleepy. Above all of this, in the narrow space between luggage and the soft of the gray roof, peek the smiling faces of my three children. They’re in the backseat, turned around facing back, propped up high on their knees, peering out with goofy grinned faces. My son is in the middle between his two big sisters. His hands up by his ears, a shoe in each hand dangling by his fingertips look like giant puppy dog ears on either side of his head. All three kids eager to arrive at our destination the next day. Excited to see friends and family and the familiar places of what used to be home.
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sixty-five days of mental breakdown

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Roughly sixty-five days ago I began having a mental breakdown.

Forty-four days ago I went into the hospital.

I spent seven days (not enough!) in a ‘residential mental health facility’.

Thirty-seven days ago I came home from the hospital.

Over the past forty-four days my meds have been changed more times than I can count. I stopped keeping track at some point because I just couldn’t keep up. The anti-depressant meds that I’ve been taking for several years at the highest recommended dose were reduced and increased and then reduced and increased and then again and maybe even again, over a span of 3 weeks. Three. Weeks. These are meds that require a very slow titration up and an even slower titration when tapering off (read: just a little bit of an incremental increase/decrease every 2-4 weeks). Slow as in weeks to months. I’m not sure I can even explain what this flip-flopping of dosage in such a short amount of time does to the brain and the body. It made me feel insane (more than I was, ha!), and like I wanted or hoped to die, and like my brain was being electrocuted and I just wanted to fucking rip it out of my skull.

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strength is what we gain / from the madness we survive :or: having a very public nervous breakdown

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Oh look! I failed Self Care 101!! I wrote this blog post back in August about self care and listening to my body because it knows.
I was watching myself spiral.
I thought I was catching myself.
I was wrong.
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Life Savers

These are my six life savers
I take them each night
without shame
without fear of judgement
out in the open
not hidden in the bathroom
or the closet
two bring me sleep
two bring me alive
two bring me through
all six allow me to breathe
day in and day out

I supplement these life savers
with meditation
and mindfulness
with yoga
and essential oils
with nature and toes in dirt
with lungs filled with fresh crisp air
with giggles of my children
and kisses from my love
with words that bleed
from my fingertips to the page
these are my six life savers

#noshame #mytruth #thestruggleisreal #depression #anxiety #grief #insomnia #ptsd #mooddisorder #bipolar #breathe #everydamnday #transparent #authentic #connection

Self Care 101: listen to your body. Always. It knows.

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As someone with a history of disordered eating, severe depression, anxiety, PTSD, insomnia, grief, surgery induced menopause (goddammit!), adult diagnosed ADD (seriously?!), autoimmune disease, and all the ‘other’ ‘regular’ shit of life-ing and mom-ing and wife-ing and writing and working and schooling and and and (can you say, ‘hot mess’?)…it’s easy to fall back into old habits. To not make the best choices when it comes to food and water and sleep and all of the other oh so important for survival self-care things.
It’s so easy, that I usually don’t even realize I’ve fallen back into those bad habits until it’s too late.
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bluetooth connections from the grave

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I pull open the car door. Climb in. All the soft blurred in shape lines of my body settle into the soft worn blurred in shape contours of the leather seat. Feel the cold steel metal of the key in my hand as I slide it into the ignition, and turn. The machine stretches and yawns and let’s out a low rumble as it awakens and comes to life.

I sit for a moment in the silent cocoon of the space. Feeling the car stretch and shake out all its limbs. Feeling the vibration of the engine as it pulsates through metal and plastic and leather and skin and muscle and bone.

Silently, and without hesitation, phone and car reach out and search for each other. Mysteriously connecting over the airwaves. Desperate to feel the fingertip touch of current and connection. A heartbeat that allows them to communicate.

I’m sure I haven’t turned on the Bluetooth on my phone.

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I love you grievers.

Up, Up and Her Way

for Ann.

I love you grievers

you who reveal to near strangers your deepest wailing. at first, because you have to. because it cannot be contained. because it is the truest expression of you. you who have never been more you while feeling so completely foreign and unknown to yourself

you who continue to reveal your deepest wailing after it is no longer inevitable. after you have come to find the sliver of self-control that can keep it under wraps. but you don’t anymore.

I love you grievers who keep revealing yourself anyway

I love you grievers

you who are angry. who look to the heavens and condemn the god you don’t believe in. who are willing to look the Father in the eye and say Fuck You! Fuck You for leaving me here with this. for taking my beloved. the one I cannot live without and then watch me…

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