In the past week, my father called me a drug addict and a friend told me she thought I was depressed and might need medication.
The drug addict thing was a joke, or at least I think it was, based on my last post. (see here) The depression thing was totally serious and said with great care and concern. Though she did preface that statement with the words, “Don’t get mad when I tell you this…” which immediately put me on the defensive (as that lead-in always will), I did not get mad. I know she’s looking out for me. And really, can I blame her for thinking that?
My last two blog posts practically scream “Depressed!” Not sleeping, no energy, body aches, being distracted, sleeping pills, cigarettes…. In “real” life, I’m quiet (definitely not normal for me), moody, and my sense of humor is gone. Kaput. I haven’t said anything snarky for a week or more.
So her words rang true, but I denied it anyway. ”Oh no, I’m just tired and my back hurts a lot. I’ve just got a lot on my mind.” All true, but there’s more to it than that.
If you don’t know, my house burned down in June, leaving my family of 7 with nothing but the clothes on our backs and whatever junk happened to be piled in my car. (For that story, see here.) The months after that were moving to a new house , getting a job after 10 years of being home with the kids, putting my baby in daycare, and adjusting to the hectic schedule of a working mom. Not to mention making sure my kids were adjusting psychologically to the whole mess. They were and are. The resiliency of children amazes me.
My resiliency amazes me. I think I’ve handled the whole thing beautifully. I kept my eye on the big picture. It was stuff. We are safe. We have more stuff. Our church and community helped us so much. Donations came from everywhere. We are taken care of. And yet.
My life is not in my control. I did not choose the house we live in, the furniture, the clothes the kids wear, or even what brand of toothpaste I use. That sounds ungrateful. I’m not. I am blessed to have so many incredibly generous and loving people in my life. I appreciate everything they’ve done for us. I am grateful.
I’m also human. Control, or the illusion of it, is important to me. I haven’t felt in control of anything for almost 4 months and it’s very discouraging.
We’re trying to buy a house. It’s not going well. Too long a story to get into, but a little common sense would go a long way on the home loan front. It’s an ongoing process.
I’ve said to myself and to others, “It was just stuff,” a lot since the house burned down. And it was. But some of that “stuff” was priceless and irreplaceable. I hadn’t thought much about those things, probably out of necessity, but I’ve been reminded lately of what we lost.
When Baby Girl gives me her hand print wreaths and paper plate fruit baskets she made in daycare, I remember all the kids’ kindergarten projects that were destroyed. I think of the binders full of my autistic son’s work, marking the progress from age three to age 10, reminders of how insanely proud I am of him and his success. When the kids bring home their new school pictures, I think about all the sports and school pictures that I lost. When I see Christmas decorations coming out in stores, I remember all the homemade ornaments my kids made and the special wedding ornaments my husband’s grandmother brought from Austria that won’t be on our tree his year.
We accumulated a lot of mementos in the first 12 years of our marriage that I’ll never see again. I don’t remember them until something reminds me. Lately, everything is reminding me and I’m sad about it. When I’m sad, I go into my own head. I tend to ruminate. I can’t blame my friend for her concern. I guess I am depressed.
Do I need medication? I don’t think so. I know what chronic depression looks like and this isn’t it. This is grieving, in a sense. I didn’t have time to grieve for what I lost. I was too busy getting our lives back to normal. Now that we’re settled into our new “normal,” I’ve had time to reflect and all the feelings a “normal” person would have felt while watching her life go up in flames, have finally made their way to my brain. I didn’t cry that night or since and I won’t. I’ll do what I’ve always done when I’m upset. I’ll mope about it for a couple of weeks and watch an especially sappy movie and cry over that instead. It’s my way.
Medication would make it easier. A little pill that will even out all the emotions I’m feeling, leaving me with the desired “whatever” attitude. No doldrums, but no exhilaration either. No thank you. Far too many people pop up a pill to escape feeling anything.**
Life isn’t always easy. I don’t want it to be. I want the pain, heartbreak, and failure. Then, when the joys and blessings come, I appreciate them all the more.