Category Archives: families

Sick

This post contains references to self-harm and suicide. I just wanted to warn readers who may be sensitive to these things.

Last week, an important anniversary passed by. I had a post in mind; I wanted to celebrate with you all. I’d had a huge accomplishment.

One year ago, last Wednesday, I found myself in my doctor’s office, crying so hard I couldn’t breathe, asking for help. I’d fought, and I couldn’t fight anymore, and I knew I couldn’t continue. It was ask for help, or stop fighting. I asked for help. And last Wednesday, October 19, marked one year of fighting this war against my own brain. When I realized my tools weren’t enough. When I asked for that stick, because damn it, I was tired and battle scarred and hurting and I couldn’t fucking do it.

“Fighting bare-handed is great. Until you can’t anymore. Then you ask for a weapon.”

And I’ve put my loved ones through hell. I know it. I still am not sure why they stuck with me. But I’m grateful. And my girls at work have been like another family… checking in and holding on and crying with me. And my partners have held me together. My husband, my boyfriend… these incredible people who’ve been my glue when my bottle has run empty. My kids, who’ve made me hand drawn cards and bought me candy bars with their own allowance on the days when life hurt too much for me to get off the couch. My friends,who’ve sent me mental health check-ins via text and twitter…

I’m sitting here crying while I write, thinking of this incredible amount of love and support. I don’t deserve it. I did nothing to earn it.

And here you all are, anyways. I can’t believe how fortunate I am. And I’m well enough to realize how sick I was, and that I will get sick like that again. 

So, I store up memories and experiences… I live like The Bloggess, Furiously Happy, and build a bank of the happy times so I can get through the sick times and know there will be happy times again.

Last Wednesday, I wanted to write to you all, a post of hope and light. “Look at me!” I wanted to shout, like an addict with a year of sobriety. “I’m winning! I’m fighting!”

But reality has a way of getting awfully real.

And, last Wednesday, I was busy. 

A friend of mine, someone I love dearly, someone who fights her own battle and has given me so much insight into my own, she nearly lost her battle. Her war with her own mind got the better of her and she fell into a black hole.

I learned she’d harmed herself, tried to kill herself. Wanted to die because the pain in her head was too much. She wanted the emptiness to swallow her. This beautiful funny flawed imperfectly perfect friend thought our world was better without her in it.

You know what? Fuck depression. Fuck that bitch with a rusty sawblade. I’m tired of it destroying people I love.

Last Wednesday, I nearly went into a tailspin of my own, because I saw how fragile this thing called sanity really is. And it terrified me to know that, no matter how hard I fight, that Bitch is still gonna be fighting me and trying to take it away.

People ask me what they can do, to help me when the times get dark. Here’s my answer: don’t let the darkness win. Take care of you. See you health care professionals, all of them. Take your medications. Practice self-care. And keep fighting. We all need you here.

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When September Ends

It’s September first.

Those of you who know me, know that September is a tough month. My SAD usually gut-punches me right about now, as I get fed up with feeling overheated, itchy, and achy from the summer heat and dryness. Add to that the anniversaries of my father’s death in 1999 and my sister’s disappearance in 2003, and September usually bites pretty hard-core for me.

So, I’m checking in. I figure today is a good day to take stock, to assess, and to look forward.

I’m generally doing well. This summer hasn’t been so hot, so there has only been a few bad days for my heat-related issues. I had one bullshit low day… Started out down, my daughter got sick so I had to scramble to cover my shift so I could be home with her… It was a bad bad day. Usually, I can feel my antidepressants catch me, and that day I felt like I fell through a hole in their safety net. I called on my lifelines. I texted with Ziggy and Mr Awesome. I put out a call for help on Twitter, and finally, I made it through my day, ending it with an Ativan and reading the Bloggess until life didn’t feel so awful anymore. I woke up the next day feeling fragile, but better. I pulled through.

I’m meeting new people and making New friends. I got a new tattoo, a gorgeous tigress on my right calf. My relationships are going so, so well. Ziggy lives nearby now, and we get to see so much of each other. I’m even going on a trip with him next month to LA and I’m going to meet his family. He’s staying with me this weekend while Mr Awesome is camping with his girlfriend. Mr Awesome and I are doing so very well.

It’s been almost a year since I started the Cymbalta. The unremitting pain I was in is a memory. The brain fog and bullshit lies of the Bitch are pretty much gone, too. I’m stronger, braver, and more fierce.

I feel alive. And there is joy in being alive. My life is full and fascinating. My kids are unbelievably amazing.

I am happy and strong.

I still dread September and its hurts and its bad memories. I know September 10th will be a tough day and the memory of my father’s final hours will be more with me than they sometimes are. There is a hole in my life that is shaped like the aunt my children will never know and that is a heavy weight for me. Maybe, this month, I will take the kids to CapeDisappointment and tell them stories of my father. Maybe I’ll buy some Cindy Lauoer and Madonna albums and dance with my daughter who looks so much like my sister that it hurts me to look at her sometimes. And in sharing the stories of the good times, maybe I’ll make the sad memories hurt a little less. 


bad brain

For clarity, my long distance boyfriend decided he liked the idea of me calling him Ziggy, here. I will update the cast of characters accordingly, when I get around to it. I hope.

Ziggy has ADD. This is helpful, as he is pretty understanding about what it’s like to deal with mental issues and the ins and outs of daily medication. He’s also gifted my life with a phrase that I really love.

Bad brain day. This is, for me, a day when things are off. When the meds aren’t quite cutting it. When the world is a little blue, and everything is a bit muddy and weird.

Today is a bad brain day, and I’m not really sure why.

I feel tired, foggy, grumpy, and a little blue. The tasks on my plate seem too big, too hard, too much.

And I’m ok. The best thing about bad brain days is that they simply are days. I can get through them. I’m at ronger and better than I was. I have tools at my disposal, and friends to help when the tools aren’t enough. Hell, even just writing all this down is helping a lot. 

Why am I sad? I don’t know. My cat died last week. David Bowie and Alan Rickman both died. And old friend of my husband’s is sick with cancer and in the hospital. Work yesterday was really tough. I’m in the middle of an extremely painful cycle this month. The yarn I ordered isn’t here yet. I had to take Ziggy to the airport this morning. I feel my son growing up and growing away from me. I spilled my hot cocoa while I was at new seasons this morning. 

All of these are valid reasons to feel sad, and I know what I really need to do is sit down and sort them. Process them, worth through them. I feel sad because my lap is empty when I sit down to knit. I am frustrated with my coworkers for not being more flexible with the scheduling, which causes long days and weird hours for myself. It was hard to drop Ziggy off at the airport today because he is going to a convention I want to go to, and I always miss him  when he is in a different state. I’m hurting for a old friend who was dealt a shitty hand and just, fuck cancer, all the way around. And I am more emotional because I am hurting physically and the physical pain is big and scary now that it is mostly gone. Because physical pain reminds me too much of the darkest times and I am terrified of those monsters coming back, now that life is finally getting so good.

So, today is a bad brain day. But I’m gonna make it. Because that’s what I do. And I’m gonna turn this around. Life is too precious and sweet to let one bad day ruin the rest. 


More

One of the most common questions/criticisms I hear about the poly lifestyle has to do with people expressing concerns about my children. It’s second only to the questions about jealousy and time management.

“What about your kids?” people will ask. They frequently whisper this, like it is too taboo a subject to even speak aloud. I often just shrug. It’s a big topic to tackle in the space of what is usually a small conversation.

“Our kids are fine,” I’ll say. “They don’t know much; when you were eight, how much did you know about your parent’s sex lives?”

And that’s the crux of it. Our kids don’t know the ins and outs of it, haha. Our son is almost 13, our daughter will be 8 this weekend. They are far more concerned with Pokemon, social studies homework, and whether Gramma paid them for their chores this week. Our son is best friends with Velah’s son. They are the same age, share the same interests, and are frequently thrown together during social functions. I’m glad the kids can still be friends, and I hope their friendship will flourish. 

So, what about our kids? At almost 13, our son probably knows what happens when I send the kids to bed and take my boyfriend into my room with me. He knows that his dad stays over at Velah’s house. He sees us kiss each other, often, and passionately. He also sees us kiss our other partners. When I was kissing my boyfriend one time when he was visiting this fall, I saw my son looking at us and grinning. He knows this man makes me happy.He also knows that Splatoon is currently on loan from my boyfriend, and that he has another grown-up in his life to talk about pokemon with.

Kids have a very self centered view of their world. And in a healthy poly family, the kids have multiple adults with multiple talents and interests who are there to help them figure out this crazy world. Our group of friends and partners includes multple faiths, backgrounds, careers, and interests. I feel this provides a well-rounded safety net for the kids; if they can’t come to a parent with a question, chances are some adult in their life will have the answer.

It’s better than I had as a kid.

Somewhere, our society has lost the village… We tend to hole up in big houses and wall ourselves off from other people. Feeling like we need to be the only answer for our kids shortchanges them of the richness of experience that a different point of view provides to them. I’m not saying that poly is the answer for everyone; it’s hard work, and a person can do a lot of damage to a family if they do it for the wrong reasons or go into it with an unhealthy mindset. But, I think everyone can learn a little from the idea that more people in someone’s life can be a very good thing.That sitting down with someone of a different faith or from a different part of the country can give you a perspective on your own life that you might not have had. That having a group of caring adults looking put for a group of kids is actually ok… and admitting to ourselves that we aren’t always the best person to answer our kids’ questions or concerns.

When I think of the vast amount of intangibles that our partners and friends have brought to the table for our kids, I can’t think of raising my kids any other way. The poor kids get exponentially more parenting than they would have if we were doing it by ourselves. But they also get exponentially more love and support.

“Our kids are fine with it,” doesn’t even begin to cover all of this. “Our kids are better for it,” sounds smug. Maybe in writing this out, I will have found a better answer.

In the meantime, thank you for reading.


Yesterday

Yesterday wasn’t a very good day; today has been much better.

Again, I find myself apologizing for a long absence. There’s not much I can say. I’ve been busy, and I haven’t felt like writing. I’ve been getting my creative time elsewhere, I guess. I knit a lot these days. We’re on a neat program for food assistance now, which gives us boxes of random food every week. This is fun, like a crazy home edition of the tv show Chopped… you know, the show where the chef contestants are given baskets and told to create memorable meals. That’s where I am at right now, only with insane quantities (five pounds of garlic!!! 50 pound of potatoes!! 2 gallons of sour cream!) and a vast amount of almost ready to spoil produce. It’s been interesting, to say the least, and I’m learning a lot.

I had eye surgery. I’ve worn glasses for my whole life, almost, and in the space of fifteen minutes, my head precisely positioned under a poweful medical laser, my corneas were re-shaped and my glasses became a thing of the past. 

With that, I found how much of my “self” was rooted there, and I’m learning not only how to see again, but how to see myself. I’ve always been the fat chick with the short hair and funky glasses… and it’s been interesting to learn who I am again, now that my self has changed.

I’m still single-ish. Still married, happily, and still poly, I guess, though it’s hard to feel poly when there hasn’t been anyone else for nearly a year. Hard to believe it’s been that long, to be honest. There was a brief fling with a wonderful fellow, who is still a good friend of mine. An online flirtatious friendship which is wonderful and fun. A single night with an amazing and beautiful woman. But that’s it. 

I’m happy, I guess. I’m not actively seeking a partner at this point. If it happens, I will be happy. But I’m no longer on OKC, no longer seeking. I’m tired of it, to be honest, and my bar is set so high. My marriage is happy and thriving, and Mr Awesome is still happily partnered to Velah, who is still my friend, too. It’s a good life, and it would take someone incredibly special right now, to be able to find a place in it.

But…

I find myself wanting to contact certain people again. I miss the feeling of “other” that comes from having, well, others. I miss the things that past partners offered, even while I don’t want the drama of having them back.

The past few weeks have been crazy. My aunt died, which meant keeping my  mother together emotionally for the funeral and the facing of the family. Fundamentalist Christians, that side is, and it was a hard day, dealing with them, knowing how they hate people like me. But I went, and I’m glad I did. I was glad to be there for my mother, and I know it meant a lot for her.

It was a long work week, last week, full of last minute catastophes and “aggresively inconsiderate” people. It was already a long week, 7 days straight. 54 hours on my feet, with new registers and a huge sale on top of it all.  My son’s birthday was in the middle of it all…. 12 years old and as tall as I am. He had a group of great kids over for video games and cake. I’m not sleeping well, and I pushed myself to hard, and then both kids got sick. Mr Awesome was able to stay home with our daughter, and I felt so guilty.

I felt like I should have been there for her. I hated that I was making him miss work, so I could go to work. And I couldn’t  be there for my girl. Then, yesterday was my day off. I was to have lunch with Velah, and do some errands, and my son got sick. So I stayed home with him, and cancelled my lunch, and felt miserable. I snapped at him and felt worse, for being angry at him for being sick. I told him I wasn’t well, I apologized, but I still felt terrible.

Then the worst thought hit me.

I would never ever wish my mental illness on anyone. Not my worst enemy. It’s a horrible thing to live with, and turns me into a person i hate to be. But here I am, and my precious, amazing son probably will deal with it too. It’s hereditary, in my family. And I’ve probably given it to him, just like his freckles and blonde hair. 

This devastated me. Mr Awesome held me while I had my breakdown. And I cried and railed about being a bad mother for passing this to our kid. How my week overwhelmed me and how disappointed I was to not get to go out. How I missed Wash and his ability to pull me out of a spiral, because he’d pulled himself out of so many. How I felt very, very alone and sad and scared.

Because every bad day has a fear lurking behind it… the fear that it isn’t just one bad day; that it will turn into another cycle, and that the bitch will win, again, and I’ll lose weeks or months or even a year to the dark. But here’s what different, the game changer in all of this.

I recognize it happening, now.

And I have words, now, to tell those close to me that it’s where I’m headed.

So, yesterday was a bad day.

But today wasn’t. I haven’t felt well, today, the stress and the sadness has caught up with me. My stomach hurts and I’ve slept a lot today. But I feel clear-headed, and strong, and ready to move forward, again.


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