Sunday, March 24, 2013

I must confess

The view from my desk. :)

I have had some comments lately congratulating me on being such an amazing person, so I feel I must confess that I am really not amazing at all. First of all, after the severe crisis in my life that had started me taking antidepressants, I figured I didn't need them after all and decided to quit. But I didn't. I had only taken them for a couple of weeks, never even got up to a full minimum dose, but I started cutting them back to every other day. Then one day I was sitting at my desk at work and I got this overwhelming feeling that I just couldn't do it, just couldn't keep going. So, I started taking the antidepressants again. (It's Celexa, for those who are curious.)

And I have to say, I think they help. They don't make me deliriously happy. They don't make me optimistic. In fact, I think they flatten things out a bit. I don't react so emotionally. I will see a sad movie or read a sad book, and I will think, oh that's sad, but I won't cry. I'm not sure, actually, that I like this reaction, but we will see. Bad behavior from other people doesn't push me over the edge as it once did. I certainly think how bad it is, but I just don't really care. By bad behavior from other people, I basically mean people who act like jerks toward me in one way or another. I don't mean rapists and kidnappers and the like. But with personal affronts I am able to step back from it in a way that was more difficult before. So this is helpful in doing what I have to do and getting through life.

I have never taken antidepressants before because I have never classified myself as being depressed. In fact, I have always characterized myself as being unusually optimistic, especially considering the things I have been through. But I recognize that the thing is, the pain and suffering have been there. It's just that I have always been determined to make sense of them. They always served an ultimate purpose as I have honestly believed, and still believe, that they are stepping stones on the pathway to becoming who I am meant to become in this life, to accomplishing whatever purpose I came here to accomplish. The pain could not defeat me because I embraced it as part of the journey to where I had to go.

And I do still believe that, in every fiber of my being. What might antidepressants do in this scenario? Are they cheating? If they dull the pain, might they make it harder to get to where I am going? Well, at this point, I am in my fifties and I have had a child missing for going on 25 years. That last statement implies far more than looking for a missing child, missing her, worrying about her. That statement implies an entire mountain range I have had to climb through as it has affected every part of my life and my love. In addition to losing my daughter, I have watched my mother die. I have watched my other children each suffer their first, and sometimes second and third, broken hearts, and that is really a far more painful experience than it sounds. I have experienced and internalized all these things. They are a part of me.

Perhaps now it is time to stop wallowing in them and to climb out of the muck and start doing what I am supposed to do to fulfill this purpose I have felt behind everything. One of those purposes is writing. I have known this since I was six years old, that my destiny was to write. I have a book I have been "working" on for awhile, but quite honestly there has not been a lot of actual work going on. Although it is fiction, it is based on Michaela. It is about the mother of a missing child, and while I toyed around with fictional missing children, my heart kept returning to my truth, to my own true love, my daughter. But I also was avoiding it, because it was so difficult, so painful. In the last couple of weeks, though, I have been able to get to work on it again. I have been able to take out those tender memories and hold them in my heart and my hands, and feel their beauty without falling apart. So perhaps I can do something with them. Perhaps that it what today is about.

There is something I have discovered, however, in going through my memories, and that is that I have suffered from depression before. Most shocking to me was the recognition that I suffered from quite extreme post partum depression, with both my first and second children. When I look back at those times now I can see a really deep darkness embracing me. The interesting thing is that I didn't recognize it at the time because my babies, Michaela and Alex, were such terribly bright lights in my heart that they dazzled me, completely blinding me to the darkness that was surrounding me. I've always said that I didn't understand how people could suffer from post partum depression because it was such a wonderful time in life, but I guess I don't have to wonder anymore. And I don't know what caused it. I don't know if it was from hormones, or from fear of the intensity of the love I felt ... Or if it was from my life situation, moving into a relative isolation as a stay at home mom. But it was very real.

As for some of the other stuff ... the really hard stuff (for me anyway), the healthy lifestyle ... I still have not got a firm grasp on that. I get it, and then it slips away. I have lots of reasons, primary among them being the fact that I have a very demanding job and a long commute, and on top of that I have to do every thing that gets done around the house (well, except for taking out the trash), because I have failed to train anybody else in the family to do this stuff. Also, my mind demands so much more of me than my body. It wants to read, it wants to communicate. What it really, really, really hates to do is to be still and to listen to itself, which actually happens during exercise. And the food? Well, this has been a lifelong battle for me, and although I have maintained a winning stance here and there for relatively long periods of time, it requires a concentration that is hard to maintain while spending the majority of my time dealing with the outside world. Anyway, excuses may be good but they are still just excuses. I need to get a grip on this. I'll let you know if I come up with a good method of doing this!

But, I am just really not an awesome amazing person, and it is completely embarrassing for people to make that leap from the things I write. I am trying to prop myself up, and quite honestly by writing about my battles I hope that I can help others to prop themselves up. Perhaps others will take what I say and do a better job with it than I am doing, and hey, then you can tell me and I can learn from you. I am a long way from where I need to be, from where I want to be.