Archive for May, 2010|Monthly archive page

Saved By the Towel

Yesterday was a ridiculous day. Work was insane. Just plain insane.
Today was worse.
And right when I really needed it to not be.
I need to catch a break – or at least my breath.
Doc’s worried about me. He didn’t warn of looming burnout – but actually stated his observations of its current presence. And he used his serious face.
What?
Five graduate classes in a single calendar year with a child who woke on average three times a night and a husband one-legged and no-handed for two months and a new job that didn’t turn out to be anything like what it was advertised as while suffering several miscarriages, unending sniffles and volatile brain chemistry?
Pshaw.
Well, what can you do.
On my way to doing laundry (three loads in arrears), I noticed that the tea towel needed changing.
So I picked my cheeriest one to replace it with.
I went wild. I hung a red and white striped cheeky little clean tea towel on the oven.
So there, world.

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The Darkscape

In the darkscape, sight is obscured, hearing heightened.
In the darkscape, skin crawls, bones ache.
In the darkscape, anger – the depth-breadth of which there is no explanation – reigns.
Rains.
In the darkscape, you are always alone.
Others do not see it, this darkscape.
They see occasional shadows, too bright light.
They do not see you, in it.
The darkscape moves.
It follows you, dogs your heels.
It always changes.
It is always familiar.
In the darkscape, you only know that you’ve stumbled from the scabs on your knees.
In the darkscape, voices echo, doubt surrounds.
Criticism abounds.
Fear confounds.
In the darkscape, lifetime pillars – upon which confidence rests – crumble.
Vanish.
In the darkscape, every language is spoken, except yours.
There is beauty, in this darkscape –
But only the terrible kind.

On Surviving

My dear friend tells me how much she understands my personal challenges with this wisdom:

“It sucks.”

Yes. It does. I’ve been doing better these past few days, as I’ve proven to myself once again that feet are for landing on. But, there is no better statement, or more gratifying empathy, than these words. Depression just sucks.

My little big man turned three this week. I’ve never been prouder, or humbler, or more grateful. He’s a person, a whole person – and, while it doesn’t sound so humble, I know that it’s in very big part because of me. Because of surviving. Of getting back up again. And again.

I found this quote a few days ago, during a dark time. It helped. Reading it again, it still does.

“Your willingness to wrestle with your demons will cause your angels to sing.”

– August Wilson (American Writer, 1945-2005)

If wrestling is what it takes, then I do it gladly. Because I couldn’t live if my singing were silenced. Even if the wrestling sucks. Which it does.

There’s so much at stake now. It’s not just my angels singing anymore. I have a real live one (angel, that is), singing at full volume at very ungodly hours and fluttering (well, stomping) about.

Merci Bonhomme. You are my heart.

Perspective I’d Rather Have Foregone

I’ve run the full spectrum of emotions in the last couple of weeks, due, yet again, to an unplanned pregnancy – and inevitable miscarriage. I am cursed with being insanely sensitive to hormonal changes while at the same time being overly fertile. I’m on just about the best birth control science can come up with short of surgical intervention, or good old abstinence. And yet, again and again, my eggs get fertilized, implant, and detach. This one made it a week longer than usual. So I’d gone through all the “am I pregnant?”s, and the “surely not!”s to “damn. yup.” – and then “not anymore”.

What really sucks is that along with the physical discomforts and rollercoaster doubt-certainty cycle comes all the psychological baggage. The fear of having another pregnancy. The fear of not. The god-awful relief of getting my normal brain chemistry back. The torture of why it’s back. The guilt of even being relieved. The rage of having such a screwed up brain that five weeks of perfectly normal hormonal upheaval, survived by every mother under the sun, is enough to make me abruptly face, once again, that I may never be able to have another child. Not because my body can’t, or my energy can’t, or my finances can’t, or my marriage can’t, or just because I plain old choose not to, but simply, purely, because my disease can’t. I’m broken.

We’re all broken, I know. Each in our own ways, hobbling along together. But the thing about depression that just kills, is that you forget. You just forget. As easily as forgetting the grocery list on the fridge. And then you get the wind knocked out of you and you remember, with only enough time for your lips to shape a four-letter word.

This is my fifth miscarriage – of an unplanned pregnancy. Not accidental. Not incidental. Not unwanted. I’m starting to get used to the landscape. It’s full of sharp edges and bright colours, volcanoes of wishes and reservoirs of tears.

I’ve been here before, and found my way back home – more or less. More and less. I will again. But son-of-a-goddamn-gun, it could have been better freakin’ timing.

Mastering Kicking

I would like to officially annouce to all and sunder that I kick ass. Yup, I KICK it.

I just got my final grade from my final course in my Master’s degree, nine years in coming. B+, Baby, B freaking plus. I shoot for the stars, I tells ya!

I’ve never been prouder of a mediocre grade in my life.

To put this in context: I’ve been studying part-time for nine years straight. I’ve passed twenty courses (one twice), in over six disciplines – from sociology to international relations to economics to public policy and back. Throughout it all, I’ve achieved temporary, then contract, then term, then permanent status in the Government of Canada. I’ve worked for five federal departments. I’ve had ten jobs. I’ve doubled my entry salary. I’ve shown, and sold my art professionally. I’ve gotten married. I’ve had a baby. I’ve had four miscarriages. I’ve parented a very bright and active boy who only started consistently sleeping through the night about a month before his third birthday. I’ve nursed a husband through a broken leg, now held together with more hardware than a Lee Valley shelving system. And I’ve battled depression every step of the way.

Thirteen years ago I couldn’t get out of bed in the morning. I lost days, in a daze. I spent months unable to work. I didn’t think I could finish a single course, let alone a degree. I couldn’t even conceive of tackling a graduate degree. Eight years ago I suffered anxiety attacks so severe that I would lose all sense of myself – frequently. Four years ago I hurt so much emotionally I could barely breathe. A year and a half ago – I couldn’t breathe.

Next month, I’ll walk up four steps, cross a stage, and climb down a Master of Arts.

Today, I will climb down twelve steps, start a load of laundry, climb back up and crawl into bed a Master of Life.