Thursday, March 5, 2015

This past week or so has been a mess. A wet, cold, dark, dirty, feverish, sad mess. And today is where I park my sad car in its parking spot and say that I need help.

Here's how the past 10 days have gone around here....

Snow, rain, repeat.  Get really, really sick, share with a friend and/or family member, repeat.  Take kid to emergency room for what appears to be appendix pain but luckily find out that it's not and that kid kinda enjoys the attention and the private hospital room with Sponge Bob cartoons on the TV.  Mom and Dad will not enjoy the hospital bill.  Miss some work, miss some more work, have school cancelled again and again to the point that every time the phone rings I  cry out a dreadful sounding scream of panic that they're calling to do it again. 

So I've held off writing a bit till I felt better.  Which today I actually do.  And I got out of the house for the first time in days.  To go to the doctor, but it's still something.  Longer periods of time between fever and husband is on the mend as well.  Kid 1 who stayed in the emergency room till middle of the night last night is exhausted and home from school.  And sad to say that more ice is on the way for our area and I almost just can't stand the thought of it. 

And here is where the topic of today's truth all comes out.  And I could say that I feel like a delicately balanced house of cards waiting for one more strong push of sickly winter wind to blow me down.  And that wouldn't be too much of an exaggeration at this point.  Because I'm a big believer in the fine line between physical and mental health -  And how often those two lines intersect and at so many different points and angles that it can seem sometimes hard to tell which path I'm on.  Does that make sense? 

I seem to be greatly influenced by the weather and really think that had this sickness hit us all on a sunny spring like week, or if I lived in Tahiti, the recovery time would've been much quicker and easier.  But as miserable as it has been here on the outside, it's really been a big mirror of the way I've felt inside.  Not just the fever and the yuck that comes with any illness, but the worry that it may never end.  The feeling that every morning we are reliving the same day over and over again like the bad dream in the movie, Groundhog Day. 

And I think depression is much like that.  **Disclaimer..... I am no expert on the subject.  But I have dabbled a bit here and there in the mood swings of middle aged women.  And in years past, at one point or another, truly suffered physically and emotionally the losses that life threw my way.  Losses that required a little more help than I could give myself.  So I don't speak from expertise, but from experience.  I don't speak from knowledge of the subject, but from knowing it all too well as it has played a few dark roles in my life over the years.

But I do know this.... depression in any form or degree can be triggered by physical trauma and stress on the body.  Women tend to feel its effects more than men, while some women just hold their own and ride the boat successfully through the waves of life without even getting their hair messed up.  Lucky girls.  Not me.  

There was a time for me many years ago, that within a few short months I experienced 3 back to back deaths of loved ones, the recurrence of my dad's cancer, a completely separate and seemingly huge life change that was key to me at the time, and..... holy cow, was the victim of a violent crime.  And after all was said and done, things just turned out to be more than I could handle.  And I knew I was at a point that something had to change.  

So I took time to learn.  I learned that the brain has its own unique reactions to stress.  And how your particular brain responds to stress may not be like mine, but mine just quit responding with anything more than tears, indecision and frustration at even the slightest attempt to move forward from where my feet and mind planted themselves in their new sad home.  Their sad home just this side of Crazy Town.

And I learned all about brain chemicals that I never even knew existed before.  And I learned that doctors can be a wonderful resource for those of us that are willing to ask for help.  And y'all, it was the best decision I ever made in my life.  To walk into that doctor after work one day and confess that I was tired and a mess and how I was afraid of becoming a bigger mess if I didn't do something about it then.   

So here I am saying it today.  This past week or so has been a mess.  A wet, cold, dark, dirty, feverish, sad mess.  And today is where I park my sad car in its parking spot and say that I need help.  I need sunshine and warm air.  I need work and friends and family.  And please, for the love of all the flowers in springtime,  please no more snow days for the rest of the school year.  And while I'm asking, please no more sickness for me or husband because our kids have been lonely too long.  

And more than anything I need to be strong in myself and in my memories of past struggles triumphs.......  so I can be reminded that spring time always comes one way or another.  That's where faith comes in.  

Faith isn't meant to prevent the ups and downs in our moods and minds, but gives us hope of finding a light in the darkness.....  God's little surprises. 

That time I told you about from years ago?  I still remember the exact moment I laughed again for the very first time.  The. Very. First. Time. In. Ages. 

Because it was a monumental laugh for me.  It was huge and encouraging and proof that change can pop out of nowhere and yell surprise!  And gosh, did I ever need that laugh.  Husband and I were in a furniture store shopping for a new mattress.  And I have no idea what was even funny.  But thank God in his perfect Heaven that it was.  Because that laugh became my ticket to do it again and again.

And thank you to that years ago doctor that took hold of a sad young lady and assured me I could move from my confused place and into a safe and secure place of well body and mind again.  Thanks to that doctor that told me that mental health and emotional health go hand in hand with their best buddy, physical health. 

And here is what this past week has taught me.  God loves to surprise us out of our pajama clad state of sickness and sadness and bring in little hints of light and goodness all around.  Visits and calls from friends, gifts of homemade soup to heal the body and the soul, and the love of others large enough to leave their comfortable wellness entered into my darkness this week to cast some much needed strength and hope into my winter blinded eyes.  

post script..... Yes.  They did it.  Another snow day here.  BUT... the sun is shining and I've never been happier to see it.  

And y'all, each visit this week from a friend was a surprise worth a million smiles.   Even though each time I was caught unprepared and looking all carefree in my pajamas and my new flu-like hairstyle.... But y'all, not a one of them ran away.  How lucky am I?     

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