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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 Withdrawn.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.

 

I met the Bloggess and she drew a picture of her reaching into a cow’s vagina.

I know! Right?

First of all, if you don’t know who I’m talking about, why do you even bother reading MY blog? Just kidding.

The Bloggess aka Jenny Lawson, is one of my favorite bloggers. She used to be the ONLY blogger I knew of until I, myself,  started blogging. Now I know a whole bunch and there’s many that are my favorites. Last year I read, And That’s Why You Should Learn To Pick Your Battles, about the giant metal chicken she bought herself when her husband threatened her not to get new towels. It’s a hilarious post, almost satirical, on the mechanisms of marriage.

The Bloggess’ book, Let’s Pretend this Never Happened has been a NY Times best seller for over 15 weeks now. She’s been featured in magazines, will be on the new Katie Couric show soon, and has been featured on networks like ABC and CNN. So despite her obscurity, she has several thousand, if not a million, awkward fans who belong to her club. We feel like she is our new leader of the mentally health challenged, socially awkward, fan club. Quirky doesn’t begin to describe her.

She writes with wild abandon about her marriage, depression, anxiety, vagina, and childhood.

Speaking of vaginas– the chapter called, “If You Need an Arm Condom, It Might Be Time to Reevaluate Some of Your Life Choices, (Alternative Title: High School Is Life’s Way of Giving You a Record Low to Judge the Rest of Your Life By). A little wordy, I admit, but wait until you read it. Jenny grew up in rural Texas and her high school had an Ag barn (that’s Agriculture Barn for you non rurals out there.) She was offered a field trip along to an animal husbandry class with some classmates. Not having anything better to do, she obliged. Yes, this is where they artificially inseminate a cow.

Let’s just paraphrase and say, if you aren’t laughing by the time she’s discussing the arm condom, her hand in the cow’s vagina, and her leaving the turkey baster in that cow’s vagina, then I don’t know what is wrong with you.

Cutting to the chase:

Last night at the book signing, Jenny was incredibly patient and jovial with all her fans. Weird and socially awkward were welcome. We brought gifts- taxidermied things, metal chickens, squirrel toys. I didn’t bring her any of these things. No. I brought her Cat Butt gum. That’s what us tasteful folks bring. Yeah.

When it got to my turn, I asked if she would sign the cow page (there’s a cow graphic on the title page, nothing related to the animal husbandry chapter) and would she mind drawing a stick figure of herself reaching into the cow’s vagina?

She graciously replied, “Of course I will. I’m surprised no one else has asked me to do this.” And that my friends is how Jenny signed her book. And since Seattle was her last, last, last, stop on her tour- I felt like one of the cool kids who did something new and unique. Around The Bloggess, that is a huge compliment. Because she is one of a kind. And I think so many of us are grateful for the entertainment and hilarity she brings us.

Also, I like the chapter on when she OD’ed on Ex Lax and thought her cat was a burglar. What? You want more? You have to buy the book then.

You’re welcome.

I mean, is that the best, or what?

You can’t see that I’m shaking in this picture, I’m so excited.

I break for metal chickens. Actually, I don’t. I almost rear-end cars in front of me.

Or, I should call this,  how my husband tells me how to drive.

Or, how I will tell The Bloggess that it’s really weird not to care to almost get in a car accident because you see a whole parking lot full of giant metal chickens.

I guess that’s a little long and wordy for a title. I suppose the title above that is kinda long. Is it bad that I’ve almost forgotten what I’m writing about?

Oh yeah- The Bloggess is coming to Seattle for her book signing! HOLY SHNIKEY!!!! Did you hear?? THE BLOGGESS IS COMING!

And I’m going. I will bring my mini Beyonce, her book “Let’s Pretend this Never Happened”, and my 2012 Bloggess calendar.

Oh, I know, I’m going to title this- “Let’s not pretend, but that in fact, it DID happen”.

Enough with the title dammit!

The Bloggess is why I started blogging. After reading her post on “And That’s Why You Should Learn To Pick Your Battles” from last June, (probably THEE best blog ever written. You better go on over and read it so you know what the hell I’m talking about.) I discovered what blogs really are.  Anyone can write a blog. But writing a blog that is fucking hilarious is a totally different story.

I appreciate all kinds of bloggers. But honestly, I want to laugh. I am passed parenting tips on how to potty train, I’m not planning a wedding, and I don’t can my own vegetables. So reading about other people’s marriages is way funnier than anything else right now.

I’m not saying that I aspire to be The Bloggess. Not at all. It was last year when my Facebook statuses were getting longer and longer. People are all like, you’re so funny, you should write a blog. Gee, okay. Twist my arm why don’t you.

So now I can tell random people around the world about my kids, my sweet and tolerant husband, my vajajay and whatever else I feel like dammit!

Recently, while driving to a party with the family, and I was driving so it’s always irritating when McSweetie is next to me saying things like, ‘don’t you want this lane?’, ‘I’d pass this guy’, or ‘are you staying behind this slow grandma?’. You get the idea. My driver’s ed teacher was less annoying.

So I’m humming along just fine, and what do I see out of the corner of my eye? GIANT METAL CHICKENS!! A whole parking lot full of them! I’d never seen so many in one place. I turn to look, when suddenly, I hear “LOOK OUT!” So I look straight ahead. And yes, indeed, the car in front of me has stopped. I gently step on the brakes and stop with PLENTY of time (plenty, dear sweet husband) and say, ‘Why are you screaming?’

McS- “You weren’t stopping!”

Me- “I totally was going to stop in time. And I did. So there.” (Okay, I didn’t say the ‘so there’ part at the end, but I was pissed!)

McS- “What were you looking at anyway?”

Me- “You didn’t see all those metal chickens at that store in the parking lot? How could you miss them? They were so colorful. I’ve never seen so many!”

McS- “I was watching the road, which is what you should’ve been doing.”

Me- “I am able to do both, thankyouverymuch.”

Well, I’m happy to report that it was Emma’s idea to stop on the way back home and get pictures of all those chickens. I’m glad we did. Oh, and I’m not sporting a new fad in makeup. There was a professional face painter at the birthday party we went to, so I didn’t want to miss out on the fun.

Dear Bloggess- I’m coming for you! I mean, I’m coming for you to sign my book.

Love,

Frug

Knock Knock Mother Fucker

Look, it’s Beyonce!

This here, mother f’er costs $1400! That’s some expensive yard art!

Reasons to Live Friday #4

Today’s list…..My daughter’s side-splitting sense of humor.

Here’s a recap of the day-  It was the last day of school and we went to the beach with her brother and his buddy. They went off to dig in the sand and play on the play structure.

She and I stayed back at the beach chairs and towels and played that game where you throw the wiffle ball back  and forth with those basket like catcher thingys. Yeah, that game.

Remember this?

At first I was seated playing catch. I know, I’m so sporty. I was in the chair, and she was lobbing the wiffle ball over to me. Let’s say I was wearing some less attractive shorts. Like culottes. Oh, just hush. It was a beach day. This isn’t Malibu. So anyway, she says, “gee mom, you’re sporting a camel toe”. Don’t ask how my 12 year old knows camel toe. Oh, who am I kidding? She goes to middle school! She probably knows all kinds of foul things!

THEN..

We saw some Sandhill Cranes swoop in to shore. Thems are huge birds. Seeing them swoop in is kind of cool. Then they started chasing each other mid- air so Emma and I were watching and I’m like, “maybe they’ll start fighting”, then she starts yelling, “mate, mate, mate!” Like it’s some kind of chant in the cafeteria of high school egging on a fight. I’m just cracking up. She’s giggling like she’s got YouTube gold ready to happen. Nothing happened and they just did their crane strut down the shore a bit and then flew off for good.

Meanwhile, back at the ranch (I just wanted to say that)

We went back to our game. We noticed an older couple sunbathing further down the beach. I think these folks were in their 70s. The woman was rotund and wearing a two-piece. The guy was wearing trunks, NOT Speedos, thank goodness. The woman started to head down to the shore. Mind you- we have a rocky beach, and our water is freezing. This isn’t Hawaii. So she’s just walking barefoot over all those hard barnacle crusted rocks. My kids have flip flops on. They have tender feet. Not this woman. I think she was Russian. She looked like a Helga or Svetlana. I think she could crack walnuts between her thighs. This woman was- sturdy. So she started wading in the water. Emma says to me, ‘I can’t go in the water, it’s too freezing and she’s old!’ We’re giggling wondering when Owen will catch sight of this woman and gross out. Since anyone in a two-piece is gross to him. Although the gentleman hanging back at his towel, Emma reports, is straightening himself. A LOT. She can see him in her direct line of vision. I can’t without turning around. So she’s describing that he’s continuing to ‘fix himself’ inside his shorts. Then she says he’s groping his stomach and chest. I try to turn and look but don’t want to be obvious. I said, maybe he’s giving himself a massage. For circulation. Or something. It’s probably a Russian thing. Like  what Tai Chi is to Chinese people.

‘Helga’ walks back from the beach after splashing herself in the surf. Emma is impressed with her capabilities to withstand the cold and rockiness. I said, ‘I think she has balls of steel’.  And then Emma replies, not missing a beat, “I think her husband likes HIS balls of steel too much”. I’M D Y I N G!

As if this wasn’t enough… then she and I reclined to our loungers to listen to me read a chapter of The Bloggess’ Let’s Pretend This Never Happened aloud, because I’m cool like that. We were cracking up at the pet wild ‘quail’ (turkeys, cough-cough) chapter. I sometimes don’t read the swear words. Emma particularly enjoyed the pet raccoons with ‘jams’ (pajamas for those not reading it) and the dead squirrel puppet in the Cheez-its box.

To top it off, we ended the day watching the first few episodes of Pretty Little Liars on Netflix.

I think this summer is going to go just fine. I also think my daughter is way cooler and mature than I ever was at 12.

And I am grateful that she thinks I’m cool enough to crack jokes with, and comfortable enough to giggle at kissy, smoochy stuff on TV.

Have  a great Friday y’all!

Bigfoot, PosTvac- which is which?

One is a mythical giant, furry, erect primate. One is just an erect primate. Can’t figure out which is which?

First, I find it funny that all these scientists on the History Channel continue to hunt Bigfoot. If he was real, wouldn’t we have seen him by now? But Chupacabras those are real.  I’m certain. There’s hours and hours of footage of people searching Bigfoot. I like the History Channel. It has all those programs on Jesus and Pearl Harbor, and shows about Hitler and the Shroud of Turin. I put a great deal of respect into the History Channel. They need to have shows on Bigfoot on the Syfy Channel, along with ones on UFOs and crop circles. The History Channel is like school. It shouldn’t be for mythical creatures. What’s next- unicorns? I know, I know. How can I not believe in Bigfoot? I’m disappointing The Bloggess for sure.

PosTvac. Let’s just say, PosT-ridonkulus. Here’s the commercial:

Are you shitting me? Medicare and major insurance companies pay for this!

I didn’t expect to see a black dude in this commercial.

What’s with all the slow dancing in the kitchen and spinning your lady on a tire swing?

Quote from the one weird guy with a mustache- “If you have a brain in your head, then call this 800 number.”

Quote from other weird guy with a mustache- oh, wait, same guy, “why leave the best thing in life, out of your life”.

Let me just make a point here-

I have no problem with men needing to seek solutions for their erectile dysfunction. I think everyone should have such a happy, fulfilling sex life.

BUT WHY IN HEAVEN’S NAME DOES IT ALWAYS HAVE TO BE ABOUT THE PENIS? and yes, I’M YELLING!

I just feel a little left out. That’s all.