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Archive for the tag “depression”

Project Semicolon

No, this isn’t a grammar lesson.

Project Semicolon is a movement that promotes mental health and suicide awareness. The stigma that is attached to mental illness often prevents sufferers from speaking out or even seeking help.

The stigma needs to end. And that starts with all of us rising above and sharing our stories.

I’ve struggled with mental illness my entire life.

[cut for talk about suicide]

Read more…

My Thoughts on Robin Williams, Mental Illness, and Suicide

"Robin Williams 2011a (2)" by Eva Rinaldi → Flickr: Robin Williams -  Licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 2.0 via Wikimedia Commons -

“Robin Williams 2011a (2)” by Eva Rinaldi → Flickr: Robin Williams – Licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 2.0 via Wikimedia Commons –

It’s been over a week now since the world was shocked with the news that Robin Williams, beloved actor and comedian, committed suicide. Celebrities die all time, but suicide? He’s not the first and won’t be the last. The rash of suicides filling the airwaves, from big name celebrities to small town teenagers, has had one positive effect: it has gotten people talking. Talking about tough questions like what does it really mean to have a mental illness, what pushed these people to suicide, how can we help, and what is wrong with our health care system?

For me, Williams’ death hit a very, very tender spot. Last month, I found myself spiraling into a deep, scary depression after my bipolar medications stopped working. Things escalated quickly from being just a little tired and sad to suicidal a week later. Even in my diminished condition I managed to reach out to people online. I posted a few comments on Facebook eliciting responses of “contact me” and “hope you are okay.” I emailed two friends to apologize for not being strong enough and made preparations to turn over control of my livejournal to one of them. I wrote down the passwords to my laptop and most important websites where I wanted my husband to leave a message about what happened to me. I wrote a letter to my husband explaining why I broke and couldn’t hang on any more.

Through it all, I cried. I cried because I didn’t want to die, but I could see no other way out of the constant pain. It was agonizing. I emailed back and forth with my two friends for twenty minutes, but the more they worried the worse I felt. At some point I had downed about ten Ativan, a few Klonopin, and two Trazadone (sleeping pills). I think in the back of my head I knew this combination at those doses wouldn’t kill me, but the intent was there. I told both friends good-bye, turned off my computer and laid down in my bed. I wanted to sleep and never wake up to the pain again.

It couldn’t have been ten minutes later when one of my kids came in and shook me awake. I was sleeping and confused, but followed him into the other room where the police were waiting to talk to me. They called for EMTs to transport me to the hospital because I had taken so many pills. During all of this, my husband and kids were in the rest of the house enjoying their lives and oblivious to the abyss I had fallen into. I couldn’t reach out to them. I don’t know why, but I couldn’t. It ended up being one of those email friends who called the police for a well check.

I spent the night in the ER–probably the best night sleep I’d had in weeks. There were no ill-effects from the pills I took. The next three and half days I lied in an inpatient treatment center where I had some therapy and got my meds straightened out.

So, you can imagine, hearing that one of my favorite actors committed suicide hit a little too close to home. Having just gone through the desperation, my heart broke thinking of how much pain Williams must have been in to end it all. In the days following I read articles and Facebook commentary on the death, mental illness, and suicide. Many times I had to shut my computer down and do something else.

While reading, I alternated between tearful joy at the number of people that understood depression–who had the same experiences I had–and rage at all the people that had no clue but spouted their opinion as fact. We’ve come a long way as a society in understanding mental illness, but we still have a long way to go.

I read some very hurtful and dangerous comments giving out false information and guilt trips equally. The outpouring of love from other sufferers and their family and friends, though, has outnumbered the haters, at least in what I’ve read. I have hope that in the future we will understand this awful disease and the people that suffer from it. No more will people have to languish in emotional torment with nowhere to turn. There will be no stigma in admitting you have a mental illness and people will all be willing to help you with only love and caring. No more will we hear news reports of ten-year-olds having hung themselves.

Robin Williams is sad. The world lost an amazing entertainer, philanthropist, and man. I’m not sure any one else could fill the hole left in his wake. It will take time for the country to mourn and heal from this emotional blow. In the meantime, we need to continue the discourse on mental illness and the lack of resources sufferers encounter every day. The best way we can do that is to simply keep talking. Tell our stories and not hide in the corner. It’s not easy, I admit, but the more people that share, the stronger we will be. Our voices will be louder than the ignorant haters that try to keep us down.

We are strong. All of us that suffer and survive every day–we are strong. And those that didn’t make it were strong until that last day when the disease won. They were strong to make it that long. 

Are You SAD?

For most of the United State and Canada winter is a desolate, gray time of year that drags on for months. It’s cold, snowy, rainy, and just plain gloomy. Many people get depressed this time of year. They get SAD.

SAD, also known as Seasonal Affective Disorder, is a kind of depression brought on during the dark time of the year, usually starting in fall and ending in spring.

According to the Mayo Clinic website the symptoms of SAD are:

  • Depression
  • Hopelessness
  • Anxiety
  • Loss of energy
  • Heavy, “leaden” feeling in the arms or legs
  • Social withdrawal
  • Oversleeping
  • Loss of interest in activities you once enjoyed
  • Appetite changes, especially a craving for foods high in carbohydrates
  • Weight gain
  • Difficulty concentrating

For someone already suffering from other forms of depression (such as clinical depression or bipolar) it can be hard to tell the difference. Usually someone with depression will feel an increase in their apathy and energy. This makes the long winters even harder to deal with, especially around the holidays.

The causes of SAD aren’t exactly known. There’s a theory that the lack of sunlight causes an imbalance in the chemistry of the body and brain. Melatonin (a hormone related to sleep) and serotonin (a neurotransmitter that affects mood) can be affected by lack of sunshine. Circadian rhythms (sleep patterns) can also be altered by the early sunset and long nights.

Those more at risk are, obviously, people already depressed or susceptible due to personal or family history of depression. The main thing to remember is not to shrug off seasonal affective disorder. It’s a serious mental illness.

Talking to a doctor is a good first step in finding a treatment right for you. Medications for depression can be an option but there are some simple remedies to try.

The biggest thing is to try to get outside any time it is sunny. I know this can be especially difficult in the northern states and almost impossible the farther north you get. If the gloom of winter sticks around for too long try some new lights. There are special SAD lamps sold that mimic the rays of a sun that can help with symptoms for some people. They are costly and only meant to be used for 15-20 minutes a day.

Another simple solution that can help alleviate some of the depression is to buy “daylight” style CFL lights. They don’t pack the lumens (the measurement of light output) a SAD light would but putting some 100w equivalent bulbs in the room where you spend most of your time can really help. Make sure the temperature is “daylight” or “blue.” This gives off a bright, crisp light, more like being out in the sunshine. It’s only a little thing but it can really boost your mood when you are stuck indoors for extended periods of time.

SAD can be a frustrating, sometimes life-threatening, illness but luckily it usually only lasts for nine months. Okay, so maybe that isn’t so great. If you think you are suffering from SAD talk to your doctor.

When You and Your Teen Both Have a Mental Illness

I have dealt with debilitating depression since I was a child, although at that time I had no word for it. I knew I didn’t feel write, didn’t seem to feel happy the way the other kids did. By high school I’d developed severe social anxiety that has only gotten worse over the years.

Recently my doctor changed my diagnosis from clinical depression to bipolar with hypo-manic episodes. I’m the kind of person that stays depressed for long period of times then suddenly has a week where I feel really good and want to take on the world. I don’t go overboard with the manic stuff, but I do a lot of out-of-character things for me. It was my getting a tattoo back in October that made me realize something was up.

Right now I’m in the process of weaning off of certain anti-depressants and easing into some bipolar meds. It’s not going very well and causing me to feel a little nutty. So dealing with my thirteen-year-old daughter who also has mental illness problems has become an ordeal.

She’s been diagnosed (well, her counselor at school and her primary care doctor both agree) with depression and anxiety. Whether a therapist said it or not doesn’t really matter because it’s obvious she suffers from both. Her anxiety is more general whereas mine is mostly social. I have a feeling she’s bipolar, too. My dad has been saying for a long time he’s manic-depressive. That’s another way of saying bipolar. Looking back a lot of his actions when I was growing up fit the description of the illness.

Trying to deal with my daughter’s mood swings isn’t easy when I’m already a mess in my head. We get into screaming matches. Well, mostly she screams at me and I try to ignore her so I won’t say something I regret. When I do yell it’s because I have to get loud to be heard over her tantrums (which can flip on at any second over any trivial little thing).

We both need to be in therapy, but even with our medical insurance, we just don’t have the money. So far the best way I’ve learned to cope is to stay in my room and try not to piss her off. It works to a point. Night time is the worst. Right around bedtime she suddenly feels a need to scream at me in the face and tell me everything I’ve ever done wrong.

And call me Satan.

That makes her laugh.

Honestly I’ll take the new name if it gets her to quit screeching at me. With my meds not set yet my head is too muddled up to deal with her.

fat-shaming is never inspiring

2013-10-19-maria2I’m sure a lot of you have heard the hoopla around Maria Kang and her “fitspiration” faux pas that has lead to all sorts of backlash across the interwebs. It all started when she posted a photo of herself and her three children. Her very skinny, perfect self. With the headline: What’s your excuse.

Hmmm, I can see why people got upset. Not everyone can be as perfect as Maria after having three kids right in a row. I know I didn’t and I had three kids just like she did, one right after the other. Then again I was never thin before I started having kids.

My oldest three kids–Meagan, Owen and Brenna–were born in 2000, 2001 and 2002, respectively. There is 28 months (2 years, 4 months) between Meagan and Brenna (and only 13 months between Owen and Brenna). All three of them were c-sections. Yes, I had three c-sections in just over two years.

familynovemberHere’s a picture of me right after my third child was born. You can’t see my stomach but trust me it was all hanging out. During my pregnancy with Owen (#2) my abdominal muscles split right down the middle (ouch) making it impossible for me to suck my stomach in. I got pregnant with Brenna right away so they didn’t start to heal until she was almost two.

Back then exercising and staying fit were the last things on my mind. I was busy with three babies/toddlers in diapers and making bottles and cooking, cleaning, laundry (oh, the never ending laundry) and dealing with my debilitating depression. My husband worked as much overtime as he could get so there could be days where we didn’t see him at all. And I had no other help. It was just me and the kids all day long. There was never time to exercise. When the kids laid down for a nap I was either cleaning or resting because I was exhausted. Yeah, those were my excuses and I’m sticking with them. I was doing the best I could.

Almost 11 years later (that teeny baby in the picture will turn 11 in a couple weeks) and nothing much as changed except that I added two more children, moved 2000 miles from my hometown and had a nervous breakdown that almost ended with me swallowing a bottle of pills.

Here’s me now:2013 05 11_0222The real me.

A friend of a friend wrote this article over a Huffington Post about the whole kerfuffle. She also started a meme of her own on Tumblr and Facebook. If you look right now my photo is at the top of both sites. And I’m proud.

Here’s my answer to Maria’s question:myexcuse

It’s true. The picture may have been taken over two years ago but my kids tell me every day how pretty I am and how much they love me just as I am. My husband also thinks I’m beautiful and sexy just as I am even though I’ve gained about 50lbs over the 14 years we’ve known each other.

Personally, I don’t really fault Maria Kang for her photo. It wasn’t meant for the general public and I think people are blowing the thing way out of proportion. Women, especially, are getting their panties in a twist. I guess maybe I’m secure in my fatness after all my 36 years. I’ve been overweight since I was a kid. But I’m pretty healthy–blood pressure is fine, no diabetes, I love to walk (although I have trouble finding time, especially in the winter when it’s raining constantly). Yes, I know I’m obese and my knee wouldn’t flare up if I lost thirty pounds. But this is who I am.

Fat-shaming will never inspire a fat person to lose weight. Most likely it will have the opposite effect–they’re likely to pull out that pint of Hagan Dazs and finish it off. Or pop open a family sized bag of potato chips and eat almost all of them. Or they might just wish they were dead because they will never be as perfect as Maria Kang and no excuse will ever be good enough for those people that do the fat-shaming.

The only way someone is going to lose weight and get in shape is if they want it. Really, really want it on an elemental level. They can’t want it for someone else (so their husband will think they are sexier). They can’t want it because society thinks they should be thin. They have to want it at the core of their being because they know they will be healthier and happier and free of the weight holding them down. It takes a lot of strength and will-power. I know, I’ve tried it and lost over 20lbs but I’ve never gotten lower than that.

My real excuses (in case Maria Kang was wondering):

  • I have had six pregnancies and five births–all c-sections (my fifth pregnancy ended in a traumatic miscarriage in the waiting room bathroom at the hospital).
  • I had my first three kids in just over two years, never giving my body time to recover (just like Maria Kang except I started at about 60lbs overweight).
  • I’ve suffered from severe clinical depression, general anxiety and severe social anxiety my entire life. It was untreated until two years ago after I almost killed myself because life had become too much for me. Had I seen her poster back then it might have pushed me over the edge. The depression left me uninterested in life, in pain, and unable to cope with stress.
  • I’m anemic. Apparently I have been since I started having kids 13 years ago except I never had it treated until a few months ago. As my iron builds up the more energy I have. That paired with my increasingly good mood thanks to antidepressants and anti-anxiety medication has given me a new look on life, a want to change me to the person I always should have been (but depression stole from me).
  • I’m a stay-at-home-mom with a toddler at home. I can’t make it to the gym whenever I want. Sure I can do simple exercises but at this weight just cleaning the house can leave me worn out. Something thin/fit people don’t seem to understand is that exercise when you are obese is hard. Really, really hard. It’s hard on your joints, breathing and energy levels. You can’t just jump up and run a few miles to counteract that big lunch you had. You do what you can but a lot of people get frustrated, depressed and unmotivated.
  • I’m a writer. No, I haven’t published anything (yet), but I plan to some day. Writing means sitting in a chair… writing.
  • And, really, I don’t give a fuck half the time. Who cares what I look like? I’m the person that has to live in my body and why is it anyone else’s business if I exercise or sit in front of the TV eating bon-bons. You can see from my picture that my kids did not get my genes and I have taught them better habits than my parents taught me. They are all skinny as heck (a few of them underweight and needing to eat more fatty food–which is fun when you’re cooking and you need low/fat-free foods).

So to Maria Kang and all the fat-haters and fat-shamers out there I want to say:

I don’t need an excuse because I’m perfect just the way I am. And it’s nobody’s business but my own.

To all the overweight/obese women (and men) who feel ashamed or despondent, who can’t find the energy or the want, who saw Maria Kang’s poster and didn’t feel inspired but instead felt shame or inferior, I say there is nothing wrong with you. You are perfect the way you are. If you want to lose weight–you are perfect. If you hope some day to look like Maria Kang–you are perfect. If you are skinny or fit and had to work for it–you are perfect. If you are skinny or fit and it’s natural–you are perfect. If you don’t really care about your weight–you are perfect. If you want to lose weight but can’t find the energy within–you are perfect.

family_051113

One last picture of me and my family taken in May of 2013. I was 240lbs, recently had gallbladder surgery and I’m not ashamed of who I am. My family loves me how I am and tell me every day. I don’t need the likes of Maria Kang to tell me how I should look or how I should spend my time.

Mental Health Week

Apparently this week is Mental Health Awareness week. Funny how I didn’t know that. One of the few things I’m passionate about is getting rid of the stigma around mental illness. So I’m going to talk about my story.

My name is Jen and I’m mentally ill. I’ve suffered with depression my entire life and then got slammed with some severe social anxiety in high school that has only escalated over the years.

Image

The picture of depression

The first time I realized there was something different about me was when I was about eight or nine. I would see all the other kids happy and laughing and playing and I just didn’t feel. It just felt blah. And tired. I didn’t want to be around them. It wasn’t all the time but it happened enough that I noticed I was different, even if I didn’t understand why.

By the time I was twelve I knew I had depression. It was just typical teenage hormones as my parents wanted to believe. I would spiral into these terrifying pits of despair and somehow manage to claw my way out enough to fake it for my parents so they wouldn’t worry. Every person that suffers from severe depression learns to fake a happy smile, a normal life. Inside I was falling apart. I guess even then my anxiety was a problem. I wasn’t good a social interactions which meant I had no friends which fueled the depression and feelings of worthlessness. I was twelve and wishing I had never been born, that I would die, that maybe I could find a way out on my own.

Eventually my parents sent me to this psychologist because my parents were doing marriage counseling and they wanted to do some family stuff, too. So both me and my brother had to go on Saturday mornings. I fucking hated it. The chick was a cunt bitch. She was rude and condescending and looked at me like I was trash. There I was suffering from a severe mental illness and she was telling me to get over it and act my age. Her greatest advice to me was to stop hanging around my best friend who was five years younger than me (I was 14 at the time and she was 9 and we were like sisters) and find friends my own age. I told her I had nothing in common with those girls who only talked about celebrities, boys, clothes, shoes, gossip and other girlie crap. I did not fit in with them, nor did I want to try.

Then one day she pissed me off so I quit talking to her. I was so mad. I screamed and cried for my mom to not make me go but they forced me. So every week I wasted an hour of my Saturday staring at the ugly carpet in her office, arms cross defiantly over my chest. She tried to sooth me, cajole me, sweet talk me, bribe me, and when none of that worked she threatened to have me sent to a group home for bad girls because I was a bad girl. That hurt but I knew it was a bluff because she’d need my parents’ permission and they’d never in a million years send me away. My mom finally stopped making me go after that but I never told her about the threats. Read more…

feeling better

I’m feeling a little more in sorts today.  It helps to have several stresses alleviated.

I’ve been internally worrying about doctors for the kids and infected ear piercings and dealing with the social security administration.

Today we took Meagan, Nora and Jack to the doctor.  Meagan went to get her ear checked but the salt water solution did the trick.  No infection at all.  She ended up having a full check up anyway and 2 shots since we were there (instead of coming back and having to pay the co-pay again).  She was almost 4’5″ (she’s grown like 2″) and 52lbs!  Two pounds in one year.  That’s a lot for her.  She’s 11, by the way and going into 6th grade.  She’s tiny and her weight and BMI aren’t even close to being on the charts any more but still–2lbs!

Nora went for her kindy checkup and shots.  She ended up needing 4 of them.  She was not happy.  She’s a little over 3’7″ and was 35lbs.  She’s tall and skinny (barely on the charts for her weight any more).

Then there was Jack.  If you read some earlier entries you might know that Jack isn’t insured and hasn’t seen a doctor since he was 5 days old.  Which is almost exactly 1 year ago today (he’s 1 year, 4 days old today).  Our problem has been that the hospital never applied for a SSN for him.  I have no idea why.  Plus they didn’t have the birth certificate automatically mailed to us like in the past so I had to order it online.  But the online fee plus the cost of the certificate came out to be like $40! which we didn’t even have until he was almost 6 months old.  Got that and tried to get his social security card only to find out that he didn’t have a number so we needed ID for him.  ID for a 6 months old!

After that things just got crazy and we forgot about it.  Next thing I know he’s turning 1 and hasn’t seen a doctor in a year.  Ugh.  So, since we have extra money this month we took him to have his goopy eyes looked at.  We just needed them to give us a letter stating his name, birth date and our names to prove he exists to the SSA.  While there I got talking with the doctor and she was very understanding and sympathetic.  She hooked us up with the letter and gave him a full checkup and offered us shots for $15.60 each which state aid will probably pay for once he’s on it.  He was not a happy boy by the end of the appointment.

Jack is 18lbs 11oz and 28″.  I swear he feels heavier.  He’s on the small size for his age which just amazes me because he’s wearing almost all 18 month clothes now.  Huh.  So he got his first round of shots and when we go back (with the state insurance) he’ll get the next round and she’ll give us a referral for the eye doctor because he’s going to need surgery on his tear ducts (we already knew that since we had the same issue with Brenna).

We immediately left the doctor’s office and drove to the SSA and got his application in.  Hopefully in 4 weeks he’ll have his card and I can get the insurance stuff up and going and we can amend our taxes (because were supposed to get another $1000 for him but I couldn’t put him on there without a SSN).

That whole thing is a huge weight off of me.  I already feel so much lighter and relaxed.  Also, while I was at the pediatrician with the kids, my husband took the other two over to the eye doctor to get them appointments.  Brenna has worn glasses since she was 18 months and was overdue for a checkup.  Owen has been complaining he can’t see far away.  He’s almost 10 which was right around the age I started having issues with my eye.  I got glasses in 4th grade (which is what he’s going into in the fall).  He’ll probably need them.  I can’t imagine him in glasses.  He’s going to look so different.

So all that is settled and I feel better.  It also helped that I was able to write a little last night.  The story I posted was mostly written last week but I did finish and edit it a lot (had to cut out almost 200 words to fit the word limit of the challenge which was actually a really big CHALLENGE for me, lol… I hate word limits).  It felt good to write anything.  Still haven’t decided if I want to drop out of my challenges yet.  I’m hoping this is a crack in the block and I can at least push out my sg1friendathon which is due in 2 weeks according to the email I got this morning.  Especially since I was the first to sign up.

Also feeling good because I started a “diet” (god, I hate that word but it’s easier than saying “adjusting my attitude about food and making a lifestyle change”) a couple weeks ago.  Mostly I’m just watching what I eat, portion control and all that (using sparkpeople.com).  I’ve lost like 15lbs already just cutting back on high fat food and controlling my portions.  I think my knees are already thanking me.  That’s not why I feel good, though (although that was a nice surprise).  I feel good because so far I haven’t felt like quitting.  I’ve pushed through the first hard days when I always felt hungry and envious of what everyone else was eating and now have accepted that I have to limit my food.  We went to the buffet today and I had 1 scoop of rice and stir fry, a huge helping of green beans and broccoli on the side and then a plate of salad and a scoop of cottage cheese.  I rounded that out by having a rice crispie treat and a oatmeal raisin cookie.  This is a big step up from when we were there on Thursday and I just didn’t worry about it.  I ate way too much that day but it was Jack’s birthday and we were at the zoo and there was cake so… yeah, I knew I was going over my limits that day.

Now I just need to get motivated to exercise.  Baby steps, I keep telling myself.

Anyway, I feel better now.  I’m also reading again hoping that will unblock my creative side.  It seems to be helping.  My dreams have already become more vivid and interesting (been reading Rachel500’s Aftershocks series… good stuff).  Oh and I broke down and bought a new mouse which is making me extremely happy.  Before I had an old Bamboo Fun tablet (the older one before the touch ones came out) but it’s mouse broke so I had to start using the mouse from an even older Wacom tablet I had before.  Well the last few weeks it’s been acting up–double clicking when you want to drag something or letting go when you are holding down to highlight stuff.  It was just crazy.  Now I have $50 mouse (YIKES!) and it works great.  I might get a new tablet but not plug it in unless I want to use it for art stuff.  Next up is a new keyboard because mine is burning through batteries like crazy.  When  I first got it things were fine.  I changed the batteries like every 6 months or something.  Now I have to do it at least once a month which is nuts.  But I need one of those ergonomic keyboards or I can’t type and they are pricey.

So, yeah, I’m rambling.  I should be cleaning the kitchen and doing laundry.  Or maybe walking to the store to get some chicken to grill up for dinner because all we have is high fat stuff in the house (we go through chicken really fast and our freezer only holds so much).

blocked and depressed

Writer’s block sucks.

Not sure why I’m depressed (other than it’s my natural state of being but I’m feeling more down than usual and don’t know why) but the writer’s block isn’t helping.  I was feeling great all day yesterday while we were at the zoo (for Jack’s birthday) even though my brother couldn’t find a parking spot to come hang out with us and I had some kind of sudden onset sinus pain that lasted an hour (with nothing to take for it).  Then we got home and did the cake and presents and then I started feeling down.  It’s not the birthday, though (that was fun and exciting and I’m happy my little guy is growing up).

I know my wedding ring is part of it.  I got us new bands for our anniversary in January but a couple months ago I started to have some kind of allergic reaction to mine.  Every time I wear it my finger gets all inflamed, red, itchy and I get blisters all over the one side.  I thought it was from getting water under it (it’s a wide band) and having it sit but even when I put it on for a few minutes my finger starts itching.  It just makes me so mad that I can’t wear my damn ring.

Then my oldest daughter got her ears pierced the other day and they are looking infected.  So I feel sad for her because she really wanted them done and now her ears are hurting her and there isn’t much I can do for her.  We can’t take her to the doctor until Monday.  She’s being a trooper but I know they are bothering her and it’s bugging her that hers got infected but her 8yo sister (who only got hers pierced because she was there and hubby dared her–I wasn’t there) is fine.

Blah.  I can’t seem to cheer up at all.

I’m thinking about quitting all my writing challenges.  I’m so completely blocked right now I can’t even imagine a story in my head.  I try and nothing comes to me.  I haven’t written anything in days (actually can’t remember the last time I wrote anything).  And it’s not just writing.  I can’t do any art stuff either.  😦

So having all my writing challenges hanging over my head is stressing me out and making me more depressed.  But I hate quitting.  Makes me feel like a failure.  Ugh.

crying over TV

I admit I’m a TV junkie.  I like good TV, though.  I want a show that sucks me in and makes me really care for the characters.  I want to feel what they are feeling.

Very few shows really pull me that far into their world.  Most I fall in love with for various reasons and I like the show because it’s funny or has memorable lines and the characters are interesting and silly or whatever but certain shows just really get me.

A couple weeks ago I was watching Lost and I got to the episode where the freighter blows up taking Gin with it.  I actually screamed (well, not a full scream because it was the middle of the night and I didn’t want to wake people, more like a very loud gasp) and then I burst into tears.  I cried for several minutes.

I cried during the season finale of House in the spring, too.  Watching the characters deal with Amber’s death was heart-wrenching.  Same with Bones.  I teared up when Zack admitted he was the killer and couldn’t bare to watch that episode again for weeks.  It was just too painful.

Now another show sucked me in: One Tree Hill.  It’s not really the kind of show I watch normally.  I kind of outgrew the major teen dramas in college (besides Veronica Mars) but after watching Lost I needed to find something different to watch.

A friend of mine really likes the show and I know it is popular so I checked it out.  After watching the 1st season I was interested.  I was starting to like the characters and really loathing some of them (because that is what you are supposed to do).

Well I’m half way through season 3 and I’m devestated.  I haven’t cried this hard in months, not since my seperation.  If you’ve seen the show you probably know I’m talking about Keith’s death.  That whole episode was sad and I didn’t cry only when Keith died.  I cried through most of it.  The kid that went on the rampage…that was so sad.  I was that kid.  I was the invisible kid in school, just skating by–happy to be ignored most of the time.

I was the kid that went home and cried myself to sleep because I couldn’t understand why people disliked me so much or cared so little. I was the kid that had to learn not to care, to be flippant and uninterested in other people.  “Whatever” became my catch phrase because I didn’t want to care any more.  It was the only way to survive.

And I did survive.  There was a little speech in one of the scenes about how the point of high school is to just survive and go on with your life.  I think I figured that out back then, sometime mid-sophomore year.  One more day over was one less day I had to spend in school.  And now as an adult looking back, it doesn’t seem so bad.  All the things teens find important usually don’t matter in the end.

Anyway, I watched that episode and the next with a heavy heart.  I cried and cried and felt all the pain the characters were feeling.  I graduated high school 13 years ago and that one episode brought back a lot of old feelings and pain.  Watching characters deal with a death of a loved one brought back all the hurt and confusion of losing my mom 8 years ago.  Then there was the pain I felt being seperated from my husband.  That was the freshest pain of all.  He might not have been dead but the stages you go through when you grieve are the same.

The denial, the anger, the guilt, the depression…they are all the same.  I felt them all in the 6 weeks he was gone.  Right down to the acceptance.  The only difference between a seperation and a death is with the seperation there is a chance to make ammends.  Just days after accepting that things were over and he wasn’t coming home, that I would have to live my life without him–he called and begged to come home.

Six weeks doesn’t sound like much now but it was an eternity back then.  I didn’t think I was strong enough to go on, but I did.  Just like I didn’t think I was strong enough to go on after my mom died, but I did.  Just like I didn’t think I was strong enough to get through high school and junior high (which was 10 times worse then high school), but I did.

Makes me worry about my kids.  In just 6 years my oldest will be off to high school.  Two years after that my son will join her and the year after that my middle daughter will be a freshman.  I’ll have 3 kids trying to navigate the insanity.  That’s a scary thought.

Okay, I’m rambling yet again.  All this silly nostalgia over a TV show.  All the tears over a TV show.  All the memories…

Now that’s good TV.

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