[disclaimer: I actually wrote this last night and saved as a draft. It came from a place of deep emotion based on personal experience, as well as from a place of the advocacy in which I dedicate my energies and exercise my voice. Clearly I had no idea that this morning would be met with a shitstorm of unethical un-constitutional un-American all-phobic racist intolerant (i could go on and on) utter bullshit.]
Two of the best most reassuring heartfelt words we can hope to hear when we’re hurting : I’m here
Closely followed by: I hear you – &/or – I see you
Rounded out with: I get it – &/or – me too
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.
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.
These are my six life savers
I take them each night
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
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