The silence gets louder every day. It seems like I lose more and more of who I am every day until all there is, is silence and emptiness. I feel like a void. And today, it feels like the void is swirling with feelings that I can’t control, and whose origins I can’t trace. I am overwhelmed and tired and sad. And I can only hope that tomorrow will be better.
Over the last two weeks, I have been extremely busy in a way that is rather unusual for me since 2011. Last week, I realized way too late that the housewarming party was less than two weeks away with no free weekend in between and with many lists of things to get done.
Friday I went to the Madonna Center with forty other women for my church’s (mostly) annual women’s retreat. I have gone to the last three or four women’s retreats and they have always been uplifting and thoroughly enjoyable.
There hasn’t been one since Erik and I got together in late 2010. In fact, this past weekend was the first time since Erik and I met that I have gone away and left him at home. It’s usually the other way around. So when I found myself on my own, away from home, knowing Erik would be home in our bed at the end of the day, my anxiety shot through the roof. I was so racked with anxiety I could hardly think straight and I certainly couldn’t pray, meditate, or connect with other women. Well anyway, I eventually managed to shake the worst of it, enjoy the weekend, and learn a few things as well.
And this is how I found myself more busy than I’ve been in years. Monday was full of completing a weeks worth of ‘regular’ tasks in one day, so I can spend the rest of the week preparing for the housewarming.
Today, Erik and I overslept again. He ran off to work and I spent a half hour cleaning up paw prints from Sanka who had jumped up and down in his own poop and then come bounding into the house. Then I ran off to work, only to grab the kiddo I was taking care of for the morning and run back to my house because I forgot the landscaper’s were coming today and I had left the doggies in the back yard. I made phone calls while my kiddo played fetch with the dogs and then ran back to his house to make lunch for everyone. Home, Costco, Home Depot, Lowe’s, the bank, Walgreen’s, pay the landscapers, lay the rubber pavers, eat dinner, take Sanka to puppy preschool, and…and…and.
Tomorrow, onto my ‘inside the house’ to do list. Oh yeah and buying more pavers to finish the back yard, finding storage benches, training the puppy, making dinner, and…
We are a one car, one scooter family. So, when Erik works 11-days straight (and takes the car because he hasn’t taken the class yet that will allow him to drive on base) it really cramps my ability to keep the house running. Trips to the grocery store are severely limited, no Costco runs, no trips with the dogs, no recycling gets taken to the drop off, etc.
My activities are limited to what I can accomplish on a scooter with barely one cubic foot of storage space. Not to mention the freakishly cold/windy weather we’ve been having.
So what would normally be a small inconvenience has turned into a veritable tornado of deadlines and complications. Forget the recycling, Costco, and the dog park; I have to make sure there’s food in the fridge for when Erik finally gets home.
So it’s Thursday night and I had the car today, but I also had to work all morning, an appointment at 3pm, someone coming to the house at 5:30pm to give us an estimate on landscaping the backyard before the party, and someone else coming at 6:30pm to see about renting our extra room.
In between all of that I was supposed to do laundry, pack for the retreat, buy groceries, make dinner for tonight and something for the weekend, clean the room for rent before 6:30pm, get the dogs ready to go to the kennel, and who knows what else.
Only half of that got done and I’ll give you one guess what this does to my anxiety and depression. More on that next week. I have absolutely no excuse for spending time at the computer.
Wish me luck. See you Monday!
On Wednesdays, I get a guilt-free pass to sleep-in. Wednesday is knitting night and I will stay up late so I need the extra sleep in the morning. So when Erik’s alarm went off, I rolled over and went back to sleep. When my alarm went off at 5:20am (This is my, make sure Erik is up and getting ready alarm), Erik was still in bed. I spent the next ten minutes cajoling him out of bed. And then I rolled over and went back to sleep.
Somewhere between 5:45 and 6am Erik came in and out of the room three different times because it was really cold today and he needed his jacket and his gloves, but he couldn’t find them and he was late so he was frustrated. By 6:05am Erik was gone and I could get comfy and really fall back to sleep.
At 8am, my alarm went off for the final time. It’s time to get up. Wednesday is counseling day. Every week, Wednesday is counseling day. If I don’t see my counselor on Wednesday’s, my week gets completely thrown off. You see, my counselor keeps me functioning. He reminds me that really I’m not that crazy, and really, I’m doing pretty well considering. But most importantly, he lets me rant and rave about whatever it is that requires ranting and raving about. I love Wednesdays.
Despite this fact, it was very difficult to get out of bed this morning, especially since I had two soft, warm doggies snuggled up to me. So I didn’t get out of bed until 9:05am and my appointment was at 9:30am. But the office is only 5 minutes away.
I called my counselor, rescheduled, and resumed crying.
I should have boarded up the bed at 3am.
In reality, we’re all in the dark about what’s coming in the next minute. To some extent, we’re prepared; we make decisions about what to do in any given moment, which leads to whatever we will be doing. We can “predict” the near future based on the current moment. Except when we’re stuck behind big white van’s that block all view of what’s coming next.
“Live Through This is a collection of portraits and stories of suicide attempt survivors, as told by those survivors.”
So what if there was this technology that existed? And what if there were people, really old people, at the very end of their lives, who were willing to take a younger person’s illness to the grave with them? Certainly that older person would still be sacrificing something, a peaceful death perhaps; or maybe we would allow doctor-assisted suicide in this case, if the patient were very old, opted for it, and wanted to help these other people.
I would be the first in line. Because mental illness is not who I am; it is not the singular factor that defines me, but it does directly effect how I show up in the world. It changes the quality of my personality, my relationships, my work, my joy. Rather than adding something to who I am and have become, it takes away from me. Without mental illness, I would be a better me, more creative, compassionate, selfless. I would write more, love more, live more.
(Of course, there are advances in science as a result of medical research and the kind of compassion and understanding that shared illness can inspire to consider. And if any such technology did exist, it would certainly somehow turn our society into a dystopian nightmare, because that’s what miracle technology like this does. But since it’s always just going to be a pipe dream, what’s wrong with a person dreaming?)