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It’s not my place to judge

“Suicide is painless. It brings on many changes. And I can take or leave it if I please.”

Remember those lyrics to the M*A*S*H theme song? Well, it wasn’t sung in the opening of the show, but I had the sheet music when I was 9 to play on the piano. I thought those words were so odd to me at that age. What on earth could be painless about killing yourself?

But I’ve learned in my adult years, that to the person who commits suicide, the pain of living is greater than the act of death. Hard to comprehend, I know.

There’s been much talk about suicide after Robin Williams’ death on Monday. Many bloggers have written about the topic. Some with stupidity and ignorance that makes me cringe, and some with understanding, poignancy and heart that reaches out to those who might be in a dark place.

I’m not writing this as click-bait. I’m sort of jumping on the bandwagon, I suppose. But I want to keep the dialogue going. And I want to offer my comfort and love to those suffering among the living.

Not the depressed ones, no. The survivors of someone they love that has committed suicide. This post is for them. I know a few, sadly. And what I’ve been reading and hearing on the Internet and social media makes my heart break for them. Because it’s no one’s place to judge or condemn their loved one for something that person did. Albeit final, permanent and devastating, but not their place to judge. No.

The stages of grief are first Denial and then Anger. I think some people dwell in the stage of Anger longer than is appropriate.

Can you imagine your mother or husband taking their own life? Leaving you behind to grow up alone with your sisters, or raise children without a partner? I can’t either. I do feel angry for those left behind. I could scream on their behalf. But I’m not the one living it. It’s not my place to judge.

But I know people that are living this. And I want to tell them that there is no shame. The pain of that family member was so great, so confounding that no one can understand. And it isn’t anyone’s right or place to tell them what ‘choice’ (not my words) they made. They were sick. Sure it wasn’t cancer, but they were sick. And it’s not my place to judge.

The mind’s chemistry is still a mystery. But we have come many strides in science to know that there are chemicals the body needs to function. Just like insulin or oxygen, we need a balance. And when that balance is off, things can go haywire.

How horrible that Sarah goes to school ashamed she has no father because he killed himself over the summer when he lost his battle with Bipolar Disorder. But Sally’s mom passed away from cancer and everyone is making her cards and offering help. But Sarah’s mom and siblings don’t talk about their loss. They’re too ashamed. Everyone says, “How could he do such a thing? How could he leave his family like that?”

He didn’t rob a bank. He didn’t gun down a school. He was sick. Just like Sally’s mom. He was sick. And the flames of pain and darkness burned too hot. It’s not our place to judge.

I can’t say it better than David Foster Wallace:

“The so-called ‘psychotically depressed’ person who tries to kill herself doesn’t do so out of quote ‘hopelessness’ or any abstract conviction that life’s assets and debits do not square. And surely not because death seems suddenly appealing. The person in whom Its invisible agony reaches a certain unendurable level will kill herself the same way a trapped person will eventually jump from the window of a burning high-rise. Make no mistake about people who leap from burning windows. Their terror of falling from a great height is still just as great as it would be for you or me standing speculatively at the same window just checking out the view; i.e. the fear of falling remains a constant. The variable here is the other terror, the fire’s flames: when the flames get close enough, falling to death becomes the slightly less terrible of two terrors. It’s not desiring the fall; it’s terror of the flames. And yet nobody down on the sidewalk, looking up and yelling ‘Don’t!’ and ‘Hang on!’, can understand the jump. Not really. You’d have to have personally been trapped and felt flames to really understand a terror way beyond falling.”

I feel so unqualified to even broach this topic. But battling depression myself, knowing a friend who sought help to keep from attempting suicide, and the dear loved ones of friends and family that I know who are survivors of suicide; I can only offer my words as a salve. A balm to their wounds that might wear off temporarily, but hopefully will be felt at a time of need. It’s not my place to judge. And it’s not yours either.

 

It's not my place to judge by Frugalista Blog lifting the shame of suicide for those left behind

 

 

PET Scans and Ultrasounds and Dream Miles – RTLF #35

This is my one year anniversary of Reason To Live Friday (RTLF) and yes, it should read #52. Well, too bad I didn’t post one every week!  Okay? Geeze!

As you might remember, I started this series after some dark times and a friend of mine took her life. That same week, a fellow PTA volunteer at my daughter’s school died suddenly from a heart condition. And over the years, friends have lost their children to cancer. Life can be pretty shitty. So I wanted to remind myself that there is always something better and brighter out there to look forward to. Yes, living in the moment is pretty great. But what motivates me is having something to look forward to.

Last week I had an ultrasound. I knew something was wrong with me since each month it felt like my ovary was trying to kill me. As I’m doubled over on the bathroom floor shoving Advil down my pie hole as fast as I can, I’m cursing my monthly curse with  a raised fist saying, ‘damn you ovary, what did I ever do to YOU?’  Okay, maybe not exactly like that, but it was pitiful.

So my lady doctor, who is in fact, a lady, ordered an ultrasound. Now this is the fun part. No, it’s not. It was one of those ugh, I can barely type it, let alone think it, TRANS VAG INAL ultrasounds. With the long pokey thing that looks like a cross between a sex toy and a curling iron, but isn’t at all as much fun as either of them.

The doctor noticed my ovary loves my uterus so much it wants to be friends. Somehow it has attached itself to the uterus and isn’t floating out in ovary land like it should. So I guess I’m thankful for modern medicine to see these things for me and I don’t have to just make a wild guess at handling my evil cycle every month with more advil and more exercise. Which is what one doctor told me many years ago would help with my endometriosis. More exercise? I wanted to kick her in the taco.

Anyways, I don’t have a plan just yet. We’ll see if the IUD is the answer or surgery. Gee it sucks being a woman, doesn’t it?

PET scans. No, these aren’t where you take some kind of device up to your dog or cat. A Positron Emission Tomography scan is a really fancy test for cancer or where cancer is in the body. The definition includes the words gamma rays, so it sounds like Spiderman or something. My mom went in for a PET scan last week. I went with her for moral support. It’s a long process. You have to have a no carb diet for 72 hours, like seriously, no carbs. Not even an olive. It registers on the carb scale believe it or not. By the time I drove her to her test, she was weak and had lost 7 pounds. No wonder people swear by the Atkins diet.

We knew she had a spot in her chest that needs removing from uterine cancer she had 10 years ago. What we didn’t know if it was anywhere else in her body, or if it had grown bigger.

Yesterday she met with her oncologist to discuss the results of the scan. And. The news. WAS GOOD!! Just the same old spot from before that they’ll remove with surgery and it’s not bigger or anywhere else. Praise Jesus!!!

The fear of chemo or radiation in her future was underlying, and being able to virtually see in the body like that and know she only needs surgery, what a miracle of science!

And last on my list- The Dream Mile at Owen’s school. A tradition of 20 years where the fastest runners of the mile get to compete in front of the whole school. The top 12 boys and 12 girls are picked from their qualifying PE fitness tests. Owen qualified this year and was excited to race. He runs constantly with soccer practice and soccer games. This seemed like a piece of cake. Only, the catch was he hadn’t played soccer in about 3 weeks since he’s between seasons. The body de-conditions rapidly.

But regardless of his waning stamina, he was mentally ready! He was so excited. Even wore his new Nike lunar glides.

I went to the school to cheer him on along with the other parents. The whole school was out on the field and playground. Each class had made signs. Owen’s class made some for him. Now, I might have teared up and started to cry. It’s a good thing I was wearing sun glasses. I didn’t see any other parents crying!! But the cheering and fanfare for the runners was so special.

Just the gift of running and being healthy is such a huge wealth and I don’t take for granted my kids’ abilities.

The race started and I knew he was going to burn out faster than he hoped. But that’s okay. He ran strong, I could see he was fighting the pain of a side ache.  He came in 5th. I think he was a little bummed. But his classmates were supportive and he has already started planning his strategy and training for next year.

I was so proud!!

So there you go. My silver linings of the last couple weeks. I hope you can count your silver linings and look for the bright side.

 

 

A mile in her shoes

What if I was so depressed, so profoundly sad, so completely out of my right mind, I took a gun to my head and ended my life? Would you judge me? Would you wonder why I didn’t get help? Wonder why didn’t I get some anti-depressants? Why didn’t anyone see the signs?

Now imagine knowing someone who is on anti-depressants. Or imagine knowing someone who checked themselves into a crisis center or psych ward. Someone who told their spouse they needed help. Would you judge them? Would you say they are weak for relying on drugs or therapy to help them get through their day? Would you say they shouldn’t have had children in the first place?

Harsh, huh?

All these things HAVE been said though. Not to me maybe. But maybe to you. Or your friend. Or maybe you have said those things once or twice.

Depression is like any other medical condition that needs help. It is not a bad mood to snap out of. It is not a blue time that’s easy to pass. It’s a serious disease. Like heart disease. Diabetes. Arthritis. Addiction.

If someone needs a medication for them to live with a disease then let them. Support them.

Would you tell the woman who’s ready to take her husband’s hand gun out of the safe, to just snap out of it? To just exercise more, take a few vitamins?

I didn’t think so.

I wish I didn’t know of 8 children that don’t have a parent because that parent took their own life. 2 moms and even a dad. You hardly hear about the men. But my cousin jumped off a building when his boys were just of preschool age. I didn’t know him very well to even begin to understand how someone could do that.

My childhood friend took her husband’s service revolver and shot herself in bed on Memorial day. Her family thought she was getting ready for work. They were at a relative’s for a barbecue. She had been unhappy. On pain medication. Withdrawn. Was there anything anybody could do? I don’t know. The what-ifs are a mile long. Does everyone now wish they could’ve done something? Yes. The pain is so raw, so great. Not just to those little girls that are left without a mother each of their birthdays and Christmases. But the mother of this woman, who still misses her little girl. Her sisters who miss weekends at the lake and summer days by the pool. Her husband that wants his wife there for his girls.

Then there’s my neighbor. 5 years ago she was home with her four little girls. She had been hospitalized for depression once before.  She had battled personal demons that we only knew about until after she was gone. She home-schooled her girls and always looked so cheerful. So happy. Her husband liked golf. He would leave her in the afternoons to go play and she would hang out with the kids. Get dinner ready. Set up for a dinner party with a few friends.  On the outside, I thought she was happy. We were wrong. Inside she was battling darkness. Darkness she hid from almost everyone. Especially her neighbors and friends who saw her every day. Why didn’t she say something?

One summer afternoon, right as she was getting ready for dinner; she put down the meat she was marinating, the salad greens she was putting in a bowl and she went upstairs to the master bathroom and shot herself. Her four little girls, ages 1 year to 8 years old, were home. No one heard anything. But when a neighbor discovered her after the eldest went next door to say she didn’t know where mommy was; the horror began for this cul-de-sac. You never, ever want to see a coroner’s van on your street.

Is this post about suicide or depression? Well, both I guess.

I’m trying to get people to understand that depressed folks do in fact, take their own lives. And I don’t understand how anyone can judge someone who needs help.

My own depression started after Emma was born. She was 3 months old and I could feel myself slipping into what I guessed was post-partum depression. James was helpful. My mom was helpful. I got myself through it. But a year and a half after that a friend passed away from breast cancer. I couldn’t snap out of my grief. I was melancholy, crying and having a hard time just getting through the day.

My doctor prescribed an anti-depressant. A very low dose of Prozac. It was just enough to help me. I admit, I’ve tried quitting cold turkey a couple of times. Thinking that I feel good enough not to take it and then go a couple weeks without. Boy is THAT a BAD IDEA. Even the low dose needs a doctor to help you wean off of it. But not only that, without it, the chemicals in my brain are such that, I would be sad, crying, bitter, helpless. I don’t need to be those things. I am not those things the chemicals, or lack of, make me.

I’m proud to take 20 mg of something that helps keep me in check for my kids’ sake. My husband’s sake and my mom’s. Thankfully, I’ve never contemplated suicide.

I know a friend that did though and she got help. She is the bravest person I know to have checked herself into the psych unit at a local hospital when she realized that harming herself would be okay. I’m so grateful she took that step. She got help and we supported her for it.

Please don’t tell someone all the things they should be doing differently, or that maybe they shouldn’t have had children in the first place if motherhood is such a burden. Is motherhood harder than expected? Yes. Would I trade it for anything? No. Do I need my sanity for it? You betcha!

Nobody’s life is perfect. Nobody can understand what it is like to live as anyone else. You haven’t walked a mile in their shoes, nor could you.

I’ve disclosed to several friends, happily even, that I got help, got some meds and feel so much better.

They too have told me that they got help themselves. That they weren’t sure they should take any pills. That they were embarrassed to tell their spouse about it or tell their doctor they need help. But that after talking to me, they took that next step to talk to their doctor. And they are glad they did.

Wake up people. If a man has no problem telling his doctor he needs erectile dysfunction drugs, then we shouldn’t make a woman feel bad that she needs drugs to keep her mental health in order.

The stigma related to anti-depressants is still out there. Maybe some of you reading this post are shaking your heads at me wondering why I would go such a route. Well, because it works for me. It helps me.

I don’t want to be that mom who contemplates what a gun would feel like. How long my car’s fumes would take. I will NOT be that person.

I will be here for my children. I will make sure that I am in control. That I can see things clearly.

If you need help. Please get some. If you can’t figure out what is making you feel sad and the sad doesn’t go away. Talk to your doctor. If your spouse will understand, tell them. It’s okay.

If you need to tell just me, I will listen too.

I want to thank Honest Mom for her candid and honest discussion you can read here, and The Bearded Iris for her bravery, and The Bloggess for inspiring me to write this post. For giving those with depression a voice and for keeping the conversation going. Thank you. Take care my friends. And be understanding to one another.

 

How to kick the Winter Blues in the nuts

 

 

Wow. Did you feel that? It’s the winter doldrums coming to suck the life out of us like an Azkaban Dementor.

Usually I do pretty well and don’t get this ‘seasonal affective disorder’ thing. McSweetie is usually on a man-period throughout the months of January and February. All grumpy and stuff because he goes to work in the dark and comes home in the dark. I try to stay cheerful. But let’s face it- December was fun and festive, even if it’s stressful, it feels special. Nothing feels special about January and February. If you say Valentine’s Day, I say- shut it.

We aren’t going to any sunny destinations this winter. We are stuck in the rainy northwest. Actually, the last few days have been sunny and cold. I’m confused. I don’t know what to do in this dry sunny weather.

Also, the crud has been going around and everyone has been sick. I’ve been just ‘off’. Not sick, not great. Which doesn’t really count. I mean, right? Who cares if you just feel blah? If you aren’t in bed with a fever, then just get off your ass already and get things done. Ha.

No.

So I made a list of why I am trying to convince myself to a) choose happy; and b) be glad it’s winter and not summer.

Don’t we always complain about how hot and awful summer can get? I mean, yes, we love the sunny warm weather, but mother nature gets carried away and starts to cook us like Hades. So here is why I will try to like winter:

1. There’s no need to shave your legs.

2. There’s no boob sweat since it’s 30 degrees out.

3. Dinner can be made in the oven and not heat up the house.

4. The sound of a furnace running makes me feel so modern and first world.

5. Hot chocolate

6. Who doesn’t like leg warmers?

7. You don’t need to wear a swimsuit or even go near a pool.

8. The beach is really overrated. The sun and sand are so harsh on your hair and skin and sand keeps showing up in unexpected places.

9. Think of all the money you are saving not buying sunscreen.

10. It gets dark so early you can tell the kids to go to bed and they actually do (to a degree), instead of the ‘but mom, it’s not dark out yet’ excuse. I HATE THAT.

11. The kids are in school. Okay, yes- there’s Martin Luther Kind Day, end of semester break and sometimes a snow day, but hey- it’s not summer break- thank GOD!

12. TV shows aren’t in reruns like during the summer. Who ISN’T excited for season 3 of Downton Abbey?  I mean, come on!

13. When the weather is crappy, no one blames you for napping under a blanket or having a ‘movie day’ with the kids.

14. Donuts.

I threw that last one in because I think a lot of problems can be solved with donuts. Fitting in my skinny jeans, isn’t one of those, but who cares.

With a fabulous list like this, who needs summer?

 

 

 

 

 

Reason To Live Friday #26 – Still trying to find happy

There’s a lot of folks out there that are sad. Sometimes I’m one of them. But my sadness comes and goes. I’ll watch news coverage of a young child’s funeral in Connecticut and burst into tears. I’ll look at my children and think how lucky I am that they are in front of me, and burst into tears. I’m lucky enough to be distracted away from my sadness. Unlike some people’s sadness that’s like a smudge that is stained on their skin. It will need to be washed again and again to start to fade.

I can be gripped with anxiety that makes me think irrational thoughts about my children’s safety. I can start to panic and feel my skin get that cold prickly feeling.

But I can also try to remember that if I don’t get my happy back, I can fall down a rabbit hole of never ending sadness.

When something awful happens to someone else, it brings up our feelings of grief and despair. I know people who have lost a loved one tragically, by their own hand even. I know people missing loved ones from cancer. Little loved ones. I worry about them at times like this. The holidays are bad enough. But to have constant images of grief and tragedy. Motorcades and balloon memorials.

Maybe they feel there is no point for them to go on living. That they too could just leave this earth, and things would go on, and the pain would be over. But that would just cause more pain for others.

Pain and sadness can be contagious. They can be a viscous cycle that doesn’t yield. The dark can keep creeping until the light has been snuffed out permanently.

Don’t let that happen.

We all need to find our happy. We feel guilty laughing. We feel guilty enjoying Christmas movies and cookies and presents. We feel guilty getting to have loved ones to spend these times with.

We need to stop feeling guilty. We deserve to be happy. We deserve to share the happy. Spreading kindness randomly. Sharing joy with others gives them more reason to share it to someone else.

And then it’s okay to be sad again too sometimes. Feelings are good. To feel pain, means that you will feel relief eventually. To feel grief, you will feel joy soon. See the pain as a window, a perspective. Tell yourself, I will look out this window, but only a short time. And then I will close it to open the door of happy once more.

Thankfully, children seem to have the best recipe for finding their happy. If we let them, they seem to flourish in their own lost thoughts. Thank heavens in times like this, their little brains can have the attention span of a flea.

Owen only gets sad if I remind him of sad things. His heart is naturally happy. He has given me plenty to laugh at this week in the area of farts, penis love and boogers. Yes, the Owen trifecta.

At a shop in the mall with all kinds of weird, crazy things like squirrel underpants, and bacon flavored gum, he sees a magnet that reads, I <3 my Penis.  He whispers to me so no one else can hear, “I do love my penis actually. It’s there for me when I’m bored.” Dear heavens son, only in the privacy of your bedroom please. He assures me, only in privacy.

Also this week, in a parking lot, Emma somehow was compelled by the power of song, and decided to belt out at the top of her lungs, “Santa Claus is Coming to Town”. I admit, I laughed and tinkled. I had to be careful not to literally pee my pants. She was skipping and singing, and on key too, as a matter of fact. Who says (almost) teenagers are self conscious?

I laughed heartily at the recent Saturday Night Live episode with Martin Short. I’m sure it was a little bit funny, but I seem to laugh harder when I desperately need it.

I’ll leave you the link to my favorite skit and you can check it out for your amusement. You’re a Rat Bastard Charlie Brown.

I heard the song on the radio “The Most Wonderful Time of the Year”, and thought it was Will Ferrell singing. But it was actually Robert Goulet. Which is funny because Will Ferrell impersonates Robert Goulet singing that song and apparently he does a good job. Or I’m just hard of hearing.

Just remember that there will always be light. We have to focus on that. On the giggles and the belly laughs. The sunshine and the snowflakes. That there is a tomorrow.

Peace to all of you my friends. Be safe. And shine your light.

 

Reason To Live Friday #24

This annoying dang holiday season. Are you wondering if I’m giving you whiplash? Do I spin a 180 turn each and every post? First complain, then gush? I know. I know. Try living with me.

Last year I wrote about how the holidays suck for some of you if you’ve lost a loved one. Holidays are like a trigger of emotions. They make you ponder on Christmases past and when life has changed permanently, it can be hard.

But then I thought of something. Maybe those little reminders are like the loved ones past speaking to us. Bear with me.

When my friend Reshma lost her daughter to Siona from Leukemia, she woke up one morning with a pressure point on her chest over her heart in the shape of a butterfly. You know when you sleep hard and the pillow case leaves an imprint on your face? Like that. I know, weird. But butterflies were a favorite of 6 year old Siona and this silhoutte of one was perfectly formed. It lasted several hours before it just faded. Reshma cherished her little butterfly form she had over her heart for the few hours it was there. Like Siona had given her a kiss.

Now don’t get all weird on me. I’m not saying that there’s messages from beyond. I’m not going into paranormal stuff here. You can think that or not. I’m cool with it.

I’m saying that the holidays hold so much hope and joy. That I’m going to hold on to the parts that are dear to me. I’m thinking about my dear, dear old friends who are living through their first holiday without their mom, sister and daughter after she took her own life in May. Their grief is palpable. Their grief is ripped open anew with each box of ornaments.

So here’s my list of what to do to get through:

Ready? Take a deep breath and go into downward dog yoga pose. Just kidding.

But breathe deeply anyway.

Hug the ones that are with you. Yep, just do it. Even if they piss you off. Stephen Stills was right with his song, “Love the one you’re with”.

When you see a reminder of a loved one gone- smile at it. Close your eyes and hold it to your heart. Say, “I miss you and I love you and I know you’re still here with me.”

Take last year’s coat or boots that don’t fit anymore or are hardly used and bring them to a charity. Someone needs those more than you.

Write down your feelings. If you blog or not, write that stuff down. You don’t ever have to read it again, but getting it on paper is helpful.

And one more time, love the ones you’re with. Dang it. Hug them, smush them and tell them you are happy they are with you.

Well, I’m not Dr. Phil. I’m not a trained professional. I’m just trying to lend a hug, and let you know I’m here for you. We can do this together.

Guest Post- A brave friend

Today’s post was not written by me. This is a true account of a friend of mine and her fight to keep her friend alive. You see, I know of suicide. I know children of parents that have committed suicide. It’s an ugly bitch. It leaves the people behind confused, angry and grieved. When my friend asked if she could use my blog as a space to share her story, I didn’t hesitate. I want her story to be shared without any worry of identities being discovered.
If this story speaks to you, then message me or her and we can get you help.

**************

First, I want to take the opportunity to thank Frugalista for allowing me to post anonymously on her blog.
You see, I am a blogger, however, given the nature of this situation, I could not post this on my blog, but I
had to get it out. I needed to get it out. For my own personal mental health and so maybe, just maybe
if you are having thoughts of ending your own life you will read my words and know you are loved and
that you are not alone. If you think you know who I am, please do not post anything about my identity
publicly. Instead, email me at youarelovedalways2012@gmail.com.
My best friend, Mary left her abusive, sociopath of a  husband earlier this year and her already precarious
mental health started to spiral downwards rather quickly after she left. She has always suffered from
depression. So this summer, when I received the first call for help, I was expecting it.
What I wasn’t expecting was to see someone so sad and so hysterical that no amount of words could get
through to her. She was convinced that her daughter would be better off without her. She convinced
herself that she was a burden to everyone and that she was worthless. She couldn’t work; she couldn’t
get out of bed. She was in a completely irrational state of mind. I tried everything I could to make her
see the devastation and destruction her daughter would face if she killed herself. It didn’t work.
Nothing worked. I have never in my life experienced someone in this state of mind, with so much raw
pain that it seemed to just emanate from her soul. It was heart-wrenching to experience and we didn’t
know what to do.
We got her to bed that night and in the morning after the pills and the booze wore off she seemed to be
okay. In her sober, rational state of mind, she knew she couldn’t kill herself, she knew it would destroy
people. She knew the pain would go away. We tried over and over to get her to seek counseling. But,
no matter what we said, she repeatedly stated that therapy wouldn’t work.
After that incident, we considered an intervention to force her to get help. It didn’t sit right. I can’t
really explain it, except to say, I knew it wasn’t the right time.
Over the next several months, we tried to brainstorm with her to figure out ways for her to make an
income, because her asshole husband refused to provide any support. We got her an attorney. Her
parents provided for her financially. She cashed in a 401K to support herself. We had a plan for her to
take some classes. Most days she felt good and positive. But it was just a mask.
Then, just a few weeks ago, she stopped returning my calls and texts.
Friday night our other friend, Carrie, called; she was the one I was with during the above episode. Mary
had called her wanting her jewelry out of the safety deposit box. Carrie was concerned and so I called
Mary and thankfully, she answered.
I asked her why she wanted her jewelry. She wanted to sell it so her daughter would be provided for.
She said she had found a place for her beloved dog and was giving up custody of her daughter to her
daughter’s father. She also stated that she was meeting with her attorney to make sure her will was
updated so that her soon to be ex-husband would not receive any of her assets, “in case something
happens.”
“What do you mean, in case something happens?” I asked, already knowing what she meant.
“Well, I’m not going to kill myself. But I just can’t do it anymore. I don’t want to burden anybody
anymore. My daughter will be fine. She doesn’t need me.”
The most terrifying and disturbing part about that conversation was the nonchalant manner in which
she was saying these things. She had a plan. She wasn’t the hysterical crying mess that she had been
previously. She was sober and serious. I knew that night that no words I could possibly say would make
a difference. I told her I loved her and I would talk to her tomorrow.
Saturday morning we got on the phone with her parents and conferenced in the suicide prevention
hotline. After repeating the conversation from the night before, he was understandably concerned and
advised us to dispatch a crisis van. He also informed us that if she didn’t go voluntarily then we could go
to the courthouse, file a petition and have her involuntarily placed in a treatment facility. We were
prepared to do that.
We met the crisis van at her house and she was pissed, angry and betrayed. It took nearly 2 hours to
convince her to go with them. We did have to threaten to file the petition, but she went.
I spoke to her that night and she said the place was miserable. She didn’t get a bed and she had to sit in
a room with 25 people, mostly men. She did not sleep.
She met with the nurse practitioner the following morning to be evaluated. She refused to say that she
was a danger to herself and they had no choice but to discharge her.
After learning this, I immediately starting searching for hospitals. I got on the phone to make payment
arrangements, as she does not have health insurance and cannot qualify for state or federal aid due to
the fact that her divorce is not final. I found one and I met our friend Carrie at the facility Mary was at
awaiting discharge. We sat down with her and a counselor and, again, tried to talk her into staying. She
refused. We then told her we found a hospital with a women’s unit. She refused. She didn’t care what
we did, she wasn’t going. She didn’t need counseling or therapy. She just needed to be left alone. She
slammed out of the room.
The counselor followed. And I have no idea what he said, but within 2 minutes she agreed to go with us.
I can only say that our prayers were answer.
We got in the car, chain smoked cigarettes, all of us nervously awaiting the next chapter. We arrived at
the hospital and began the 4 hour intake process. We stayed with her the entire time. She almost left.
She almost left again. But she didn’t.
At this point, she had been awake for nearly 30 hours. She was so tired. She agreed to stay. That’s
what matters. She is right where she needs to be to get better. To learn how to cope with what
happened to her. To deal with the ugly and the nasty. To learn how to prepare for the future.
I visited on Tuesday. It was difficult and a little awkward. But she seemed better.
I have no regrets about what I did. Nor am I concerned with the state of our friendship. I’m not sure
that she will forgive me. I’ve made peace with that.
I would rather her be angry with me than be dead.

*******
If you or anyone in your life needs help- please contact these organizations-

National Suicide Prevention Hotline

1-800-273-8255

American Foundation for Suicide Prevention: Warning Signs

Rainbow Goblins and Holes in the Sky

I think of what life would be like if something happened to my children or my husband. Like a hole in the sky.

I was just picturing how life seems normal, the usual everyday grind, but for those grieving, what looks like normal is really just a shell with a dark hole underneath.

If you are sad, grieving, mourning, the universe is never going to be the same. You might as well live on Jupiter. This Earth might as well have chunks of blue sky missing.

Not to worry folks. All is well. My kids are fine.  McSweetie is great. Today that is. But what if suddenly things changed.  I went to a funeral last week for a friend who passed unexpectedly and far too soon, leaving a wife and child in a path of shock and grief. I arrived thinking how much I hate funerals. It’s so hard to be composed in your sadness, especially if you didn’t know the person well. I’m always emotional. What can I say? I laugh loud, and cry ugly. It’s just who I am. I prefer to be goofy. So being serious and composed is hard for me. I am likely to say something ridiculous and inappropriate. So I keep my mouth shut. I don’t want to draw away any attention to why people are really there.

Listening to the comforting words of family and friends give their respects to this man that passed away. This husband, father, son and brother who died before his 50th birthday leaving a wife and a child, I was comforted by the stories, peaceful in the hymns, almost lulled into the recollections of his childhood, the courtship of his wife, his days as a Cub Scout leader. And then when it all came to end, and it was time to rise while the casket was to be lead outside, I had to hold back the tears. The pain of what it must be like for those closest to this loved one to say good bye. To really, actually, truly say good bye to the person. The physical person being taken away, in a box, covered in flowers. To put that person in the ground. And I thought how truly painful this part is. How do you let go?? Then I realized, oh if only the funeral could last forever, sitting there in the warmth and comfort of people who love and have understanding, compassion!  Not to go out in the cold, cruel world of bills, deadlines, work and struggle. The dark of night, alone in a bed that you’ve shared for so many years.  Or for parents who have lost a child-  a child’s room, quiet, bed un-made, clothes everywhere, never to be worn again. Oh, THAT is the painful part.

Sitting in the church singing and talking, crying and laughing, hugging and comforting. How easy that is compared to the days ahead.

I know parents who have lost children.

Or people who desperately want to be parents. Sometimes you grieve over a child you never had. Or only had for a short time, either unborn or born unwell.

I’m not sure why but it made me think of a book I was fascinated by as a kid.

Remember the book the Rainbow Goblins? These creepy ass little mo-fo goblins stole the colors of the rainbow. The story intrigued, creeped, and compelled me as a child. The illustrations were fantastic. These goblins ate the colors of the rainbow. They sucked the color from this world for their greedy selves. How much the thought of death feels like it just sucks the color from our world. How your loved one gone is like the sun missing, or a world without rainbows, a night sky without any stars or moon.

Sometimes my imagination runs rampant. I get weird thoughts on horrible things that could happen to my children. I become hyper-sensitive to the dangers of the outside world. I want to wrap them in bubble wrap. I want to spend the day in bed curled up next to them watching Tom and Jerry all day. This will never work, because they will constantly be asking me to bring them stuff like juice and Poptarts. And I’ll be like, ‘what about me? Who’s bringing mommy lattes and waffles?’

THEM- “you can get those for yourself mommy while you get us our juice and Poptarts.”  Gee thanks.

Okay, back to the hole in the sky and the Rainbow Goblins. Today I will remember to be glad that I have my children to smush and snuggle.  That I have my husband to not load the dishwasher properly, put his socks away or roll his eyes at me. I would miss that terribly. He has really pretty eyes- by the way.

But for anyone out there who feels like there’s a hole in the sky. Or the goblins stole your rainbow- my heart is with you.

The good news, is in the end, the goblins were consumed by the flowers of the valley. Colors were vivid once again in the butterflies, birds and flowers. The valley celebrated and rainbows never let themselves to touch the earth again for fear of being stolen.

I do believe in heaven, resurrection and the great hereafter. I do know that regardless of pain here on earth, the dull shades of black, white and gray- there will be color and rainbows and happiness for all eternity. I know that is very optimistic of me. I’m a faithful believer in my Savior. That is what gets me through. I wish others the hope in their hearts for the rainbow again, whatever their faith may be.

Happy National Mental Illness Awareness Week.

Okay, so I’m a few months off. It was actually back in October. But don’t you think every flippin’ week should be Mental Illness Awareness Week? What about National PMS week? Oh wait, never mind.

My mom gave me an article from the New York Times Magazine (“All the Rage” by Ayelet Waldman) that flipped a light bulb on in my head like a dark attic lighting up for the first time in years (insert blond jokes here, if you will). It was about a woman’s diagnosis of Bipolar Disorder II that was really her body needing SSRIs (Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitor). Chemicals in a woman’s body that metabolizes Progesterone the week before Aunt Flo and that is what causes our roller coaster mood drop. So she wasn’t Bipolar at all, just really PMSing! BAD!  Apparently, we also go through mood shifts right before ovulation when our luteinizing hormones surge- aka estrogen. Apparently, these really fuck up our brains . Yeah, no shit!! I’ve discussed my PMDD and Dysmenorreah before with you.  I’m not going all WebMd here, just making some realizations that might help me and help us all.

Thank you Ms. Waldman for a candid and eye-opening piece.  Could we have your article printed on boxes of Tampax please so everyone gets this information?

I should just call my blog the Freakin PMS blog, I know! I seem to always write about it. Well, there’s a lot of mommy bloggers out there writing about diapers and shit and they don’t call their blogs, ‘the diapers and shit blog’. If there is one called that, please send it my way, cuz that’s probably some funny stuff.

So where was I? Right. Complaining. Again. More like, enlightening you all on your own vicious cycles. Ohh, wouldn’t that be an awesome name for an all girl indie-bitch rock band- The Vicious Cycles!! Okay, if THAT already exists, then I want to know and buy their single on iTunes.

I feel like everything in my life is related to my hormones. The good days, the bad days. The productive days. The please-honey-don’t-touch-me-you-mother-fucker-asshat days, to the -gosh-you’re-the-sweetest-husband/father-anyone-could-ever-want days. To the I’m so strong and awesome when I work out, to I’m so fat and gross and pathetic. Anybody else relate?

The woman in the article said she kept a journal of every week of every month and recorded her sleep habits, irritations, moods, etc. She saw patterns develop and could anticipate what hormones were doing what when. She knew what anxiety medication to take, what hormone therapy to take when, when a glass of wine was helpful (not everyday as you might think!) and when she was most productive, and least effective. She knew when to anticipate the honey badger days, or the honeymoon days.

I guess what really inspired me was how much she took control of her situation. Not just laid around feeling crummy, home in her bathrobe with a half-melted pint of B&Js Americone Dream opened next to her on one side, and a bottle of vodka on the other. And just happening to check Google calendar and ‘oh whaddya know’, notice the date. Sound familiar? Too familiar. No kidding.

The article even mentions having your husband in on the process and when you are about to go all honey badger on him over the dishwasher or credit card bill, he looks at the journal and realizes the week, writes down his misgivings, and saves them for when you are in a good mood. Nice husband. Not sure all will want to play by those rules. I’m going to have a dry erase board in my bedroom color coded like the kids’ after school activities and car pool charts of my moods, sleep patterns and irritations each week- so he’ll know when I’m heading into my honey badger days. Maybe I’ll find one on Pinterest that someone has crafted themselves.

Oh dear god, please don’t tell me THAT exists too! Someone came up with a Flow Chart on Pinterest?? Get it?? Flow chart??

I crack myself up! (Must be a good week.)

And there’s something else lurking around the corner. My daughter will be 12 soon. 12. We know what THAT means. James is clearly relieved we have only one daughter. He’s already outnumbered with just me. I know, I’m a freakin’ force to be reckoned with. When Emma comes along, OH BOY…Satan’s Exacta.

Did you see Modern Family? You know what I’m talking about- “Satan’s Trifecta’.

Modern Family ‘Monsteration’ episode

Thanks Amazon. This makes menstruation look fun for sure.

A happy uterus is a...happy uterus? Are MY ovaries purple too?

well of course there's an app for it!! This is for conception, not mental health. I might try it anyway.

Oh- don’t be an asshat and forget to vote. Scroll up and click on the Circle Of Moms badge and vote for me. Thank you!

As if it wasn’t hard enough.

They say staying at home raising kids is hard work. Really? I must be doing it wrong because I think it’s the easiest thing in the world! There’s no TPS reports, no budget meetings, no politics or backstabbing. I sit around all day drink Gin and Tonics and watch TV. Oh wait… that was a dream I had. Never mind.

This is where I introduce an acronym for my new (not new, just new to us) phrase of Are You Fucking Kidding Me? (AYFKM?) My family says I’m swearing too much lately, I think it’s some leftover hostility from my 20s I never released, so I’m trying to use curse words less often, even in print.

Parenting is hard work. No shit.

Now the ‘experts’ say that raising children full time at home, makes you less healthy than if you go off and work in some actual paying job, according to the American Psychological Association’s “Journal of Family Psychology” article.

AYFKM? Yeah. DUH.

Thanks. So now I have the guilt of, “oh, I never pursued my career past the  rearing of my children, and devoting all that time to them is going to shorten my life span so now I won’t be able to enjoy my grandchildren.”

Let’s rewind a little shall we?

I’ve always wanted to stay home and raise my children. My mom did this for us kids. She was completely there for me. She packed my lunches, made dinner, did the laundry, sewed our clothes, everything. My dad worked hard at his job Monday through Friday. It was pretty much your traditional 70s/80s upbringing.

After college, I fell in love, got married and had a kid. Well it took 5 years, but still, I didn’t take the option of running away to Hollywood or Broadway to pursue my acting career. Something deep down told me to stay put since love and family was probably going to prevail longer than any waitressing acting jobs that might come.

I have no regrets about this. None.

My job at the time of getting pregnant with Emma was a glorified administrative assistant for a start-up company. What am I saying? It wasn’t glorified. It was hard ass work. I did the job of 3 people and was paid the salary of an admin, but it was good experience and great medical benefits, if I remember. So I stuck it out and counted the days until my maternity leave. (I was put on bed rest at 25 weeks of my pregnancy, but that’s another story altogether). Lucky for me the company went under while I was on maternity leave, so I didn’t have to leave my sweet pink bundle of joy and diapers called Emma, for my stingy, troll of a boss that micromanaged every trip to the bathroom I took. Now I took my boss (Emma) with me to the bathroom!

So staying home with her was a blessing. BUT, GEEZUS it was HARD. I mean, really HARD. No adult interaction, no showers, no make up, no cute clothes, saggy engorged boobie bags that looked like a cow’s, nursing bras that had been leaked through so many times I didn’t care anymore. Feeling like a zombie. Rinse and repeat….

The idea of pulling myself together enough to leave the house to look professional, spend 8 hours away from her and then to come home and have to spend half the night up breast feeding, just didn’t sound like a party.

So I admire those that do this! Being a mom is hard. A mom of a newborn especially. Heading off to work must be painful.

But, and I mean a big BUT, I can see the rewards. To get paid for what you do is a good thing.  Intellectual stimulation from peers and colleagues- good. Going out to lunch- good. Looking like a human with clothes and makeup- good.

I found this excerpt of the article to sum it up: “After interviewing hundreds of mothers repeatedly over the course of a decade, the researchers found that those who worked 32 hours per week or less were more sensitive to their kids’ needs, less likely to have symptoms of depression, and more likely to split household duties with their spouses than mothers who were not employed.” AYFKM?

And therein lies my problem. I’m depressed and don’t share household duties. Okay, I’m not really depressed. I take my meds and do fine. But I know a lot that are, and I’ve been down some dark times myself. And I always feel like I’m doing all the household duties myself. Not very well, but still.

Then the kicker later in the article:

“Additionally, mothers with higher levels of depressive symptoms may have more difficulty seeking employment or keeping a job.” AYFKM?

Fantastic. Now I’m just screwed if I did choose to go back to work. Who wants a whiny, not employed in a decade housewife to come work for them? Apparently, no one.

Here’s what it boils down to:

I chose not to work. I never regret staying at home with my children. In fact now it’s the greatest. They go off to school, I pretend to get stuff done around the house, they come home from school and I’m in a good mood since absence makes the heart grow fonder.

I’m not getting paid, I don’t need to prove anything to anybody. My children are fine individuals. I’m raising them real good.

I don’t need an article to tell me I’m depressed and overly sensitive- my husband tells me this all the time.

Pretend I never wrote this blog. I could have started with the last three sentences and have been done. But alas, I just wanted other depressed, pill popping, gin and tonic drinking moms to feel empathy with me.

(borrowed from Bluntcard) Look how happy she looks!

Here’s that full crappy article if you want to read for yourself:

Working Moms are Healthier