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Into the dark.

It comes on so fast.

Fucking bulldozer.

I’m fine.

And then I’m not.

I’m really not.

It’s like liquid mercury reaching out and sliding through me. Becoming me.

I can feel it. The pouring. Warm suffocation.

Kelly once told me she worried about me because my normal is so borderline. I think about that randomly. I even thought about it this week. I overcome it–somehow–so often that it’s easy to forget. It’s easy to imagine it’s no big deal. That it’s navigable.

But I left the house to get R and I was okay. And then I was not. I was consumed with the slippery tentacles. The squeezing in my chest. The liquid slipping past eyelashes. The all consuming vast nothingness.

I kept hearing Beth say I’m doing good work and that voice telling me it’s a good lie. That the work isn’t real. That I hide too much to make progress. That I won’t ever unearth it. That I’ll never be able to differentiate between compartmentalizing and progress.

That there isn’t more than the emptiness.

And me–my voice and my mind–I can only….experience the darkness.

And know it’ll pass. Know I’m not okay. Know I’m not me and I have to wait it out. Know that I am fucking drowning. Know that it feels like a fucking split personality. Know that I have to bide my time. Know that I have to fight if the darkness wants to take action along with the thoughts.

It is fucking exhausting.

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A song to take the pain away.

I sat in for a therapy session with R. It was supposed to just be five minutes. Enough to tell her counselor that we’d be starting the process to get her on antidepressants. It is time.

It was not a decision that I came to lightly. There were a multitude of factors. Mostly it was that she was getting so much more explosive, and to me, that meant her pain and hurting were at its max. Unfortunately the only factor that really stuck out for my girl was that her behavior was scarring her brother and his¬†trauma was my highest priority and that’s why I finally agreed to the medication.

This turned a five minute conversation into an hour and a half session.

She hurts. I know this. I never know just how much. And it always catches me off guard. The one person who it would be helpful to be privy to said information doesn’t get to know. It’s just part of the mom deal, I suppose.

Being a parent is hard. Knowing all the logical psychology doesn’t really help much. I mean, sure, in the long run sorta. The short run is a different beast.

The long run tells me that she can lash out at me because she feels safe with me. The long run tells me that she will viciously push me away over and over in order to see if I’ll abandon her.

Depression runs her short game.

It requires her to believe she is nothing and not worth sticking around for. Pushing me away and me following suit gives the depression its validation.

Depression begets depression. We feel like things are shit. That we are shit. We feel worthless so we seek all the ways we’re unworthy. And because we get what we look for, all she sees are examples of her nothingness. The cycle feels impossible to break.

~~~~~~~

Depression is a big fat liar and not even this strong, badass mama can contend with it.

I can show up. Over and over. No matter how much it hurts. No matter how it can bring excruciating heartache and practically break me.

But it can not change her perspective. I learned that today.

It hurt a lot.

I have always known that she is hard on herself. I have always known that she has ridiculous expectations of herself. Expectations that no one could ever meet. I know she thinks in black and white and that she truly believes perfection does, in fact, exist.

I know I have always been the first to say “you did great!” and “what do you mean a B on your chem test isn’t good enough?!” and “of course I’ll be at your musical!” I have supported her through countless endeavors. Providing moral support and transportation and peptalks and space when she asks.

Despite her spending so much time trying to convince me she’s nothing, I haven’t faltered in being her biggest cheerleader.

This is my lens. This is how I see it.

No, I don’t notice every single thing that happens. Yes, there are things she’s told me about that I’ve forgotten. Yes, sometimes I’m annoyed that she needed to be picked up at 5 and she still isn’t ready at 5:40. I’m human. I’m fallible. I make mistakes. I don’t always show up how she prefers, nor do I show up 100% of the time. But I show up. I show up often and to the best of my ability.

And then today, the short run played its game. She tells me that I make her feel worthless. That I make her feel like nothing. That she feels like a nothing because of me. That I have instilled this in her.

No amount of logical psychology could have kept my feet firmly planted. The short run won.

~~~~~~~

Her lens is so much different than mine.

I never knew–I never understood–that the voice in her head feeding her all that bullshit is my voice.

It is a devastating blow.

~~~~~~~

Not all hope is lost. I’m silver lining girl after all. Navigation is required. A whole fuckton of navigation. As well as extra reinforcements for this sad mama’s heart.

Above all else, I show up. I may not be able to contend with her depression through her lens, but I won’t go down without a fight. Especially when it’s my daughter’s life at stake.

I don’t know what that looks like yet. I don’t quite know yet what I need to do. I know that whatever it is, I can do it. I will do it.

First tho, I will cry and grieve.

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Damn sure better than rain.

I went to my first Al-Anon meeting.

I wasn’t nervous at all when I left for the meeting. When I got there and sat down I was suddenly doing all my nervous things. People were inviting and warm, but also people were inviting and warm. They were paying attention to me and fawning and supportive and caring and gosh, that is a lot.

But I went. And I stayed. And I plan to go back.

Really, I already knew I’d go back before the meeting. I’ve been to AA meetings and OA meetings and I know the program is good. I know the people are supportive.

Well, most of the people. OA was a completely different fish. I once had a man tell me I didn’t belong there because I was too skinny. As if my appearance precludes me from using food as a coping mechanism. As if anyone in food recovery has to forfeit community support once they find healthier tools to survive. But I digress.

Al-Anon isn’t like that. I can be there for any reason, for any timeline in my life, for any alcoholic who has touched my life. And I didn’t really understand until recently that I probably should have been going all along.

I should have gone six years ago when Chris and I started dating. In the days when a small argument could have compromised his short sobriety.¬† Or when he switched jobs for his dream job and then they insisted he throw away his integrity or quit. And he quit. At an immeasurable hit to his self worth, closing not only that dream in his mind, but a true hope for any dream at all. Or the moment we got pregnant and then miscarried and didn’t get to keep Caleb and he retreated from life for a bit. I could have used Al-Anon when his doctor and seizure medication fucked him over completely. Or when he started taking another medicine he put all his faith in and it backfired and, for all intents and purposes, took away his sobriety. For three years.

I could have used Al-Anon. I could have used the support and guidance of people. And I just…I didn’t know better. I didn’t know there was help for me for all of that or where to find it or, really, that I needed the help. That I deserved the help. I thought maybe that’s just how it was going to be from now on. I knew I needed help–wanted help–, but I didn’t know the help I needed was possible to receive. That it was out there.

And so now here I am. Going to meetings. Getting the community I have so desperately needed. Allowing myself the self-care of actual help. Of not going at it alone. Of being told I’m braver and stronger for showing up than I ever was of trying to hold it together by myself. And so I’m gonna keep doing this awhile.

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Just hold on.

I’m having a moment where I’m trying to remember all our lasts. In case you don’t come back. In case the devastation of that undoes me so irrevocably that I can’t recall a single thing about today. Or yesterday.

I slept on you this morning. It was the best half hour of sleep I’ve had in months and I don’t think I ever actually slept. You kissed me and called me beautiful when I got home from my walk. I don’t want to remember that last tho…because it wasn’t you anymore.

We kissed last night. It felt like you. A glimpse of you between the drinks.

I’m trying to find the hope and the light, but it is currently too far to reach.

Your life doesn’t mean anything to you in this moment and I am now standing here, the girl who doesn’t know which story will be hers. Will I be the girl who loses you forever come morning? Will I be able to honor the me in another universe who got to keep you when I didn’t get to? Is there another me in some other universe who has already gotten the call?

I’ve never been this sick with worry and fear. They say that to keep going, you just have to put one foot in front of the other. I’m doing that, but all I can manage is pacing circles.

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Swallow the light from the sun.

It’s like the glass floor beneath my feet has spiderweb’d into a million stray lines that, at any moment, could splinter to their end and fall away completely.

I haven’t written in forever. I post on twitter occasionally, but I didn’t take the time to transfer them here like I had planned to. I didn’t write when life got really amazing and Chris was the embodiment of all I always knew he could be–better than the picture I had in mind even. And I didn’t write when mental illness took him from me–for the weeks of his anxiety at a level I had yet to experience from him, and he hadn’t experienced himself in over a decade; for the endless loop of anger and confrontation I didn’t know was possible to direct at me; for the impatience I didn’t know he could direct at our children; for the revolving anxiety and depression and paranoia and insomnia; for the random moments of cognizance that dripped with apology and hope that he could come back to himself by sheer will.

And then he was himself again. I was cautious, but I could tell I had him back. That it was the real him. For a bit. For a couple days. For a few.

And then yesterday it wasn’t him again. And I cried. And then he took a walk with our son and they had a good time. After they got home, he texted to say it felt like I was upset with him. I told him I felt on edge from our conversation earlier. He said he didn’t know what I was talking about. He didn’t text back more because he had gotten very tired (as one would after a long day of hard labor) and he fell asleep.

After he got up, he got almost belligerently, unreasonably upset about his family (his parents and sister) and couldn’t be calmed about it. Then told me he still didn’t know what I was talking about in our text conversation. I recounted our conversation from earlier in the day and he stared at me blankly.

He has no memory of that conversation.

And so here I am now, writing. Because I feel lost and this is how I find me. I love my husband like nobody’s business. I don’t know what to do. He needs to go to the doctor, but I can’t make him. We have vacation coming up in a couple days. I don’t know when the floor under me is going to shatter further. I don’t want to survive him slipping away from me. Yet I’d have no choice.

I am terrified.