Archive for the ‘Depression’ Category

Remind me…

I constantly find myself thinking about things to write about here.  All. The. Time.  I should really write my ideas down, but I’m more of a fly-by-the-seat-of-my-pants kind of girl.  So I don’t.  When I sit down to write, you get what’s on my mind.  I kind of like it that way.  It keeps things more journal-like.  I like that I can go back through my blog archives and see precisely what was on my mind a year ago.  I find it amazing how my perspective shifts without me even realizing it.

Lately I’ve been thinking about my marriage.  Well, more like I’ve been trying to remember how I even got here.  Not to say that I don’t want to be here…I very much want to be here, but this relationship kind of came out of nowhere 6 years ago.  I wasn’t even this same person.  In fact, I think back to things I said and did 6 or 7 years ago and I don’t get why I thought the way I did.  It’s weird.  I wasn’t very happy then.  I was looking for anything and everything outside of myself to make me happy.  Whether that was a person, a place, a job, a possession…anything.  And then I met Mark.  At work.  He didn’t make a very good first impression and he made plenty of negative impressions after that too.  I knew him for about 3 months before I started to like him at all.  A year after we met…almost to the day, we got married.  Mark was 37 and he had never been married.  I was 28 and newly divorced.  My line of thinking in the last few days has been something I think every married person should think about on a regular basis…what was it that brought us together?  Why did I fall in love with this person?  It’s so easy to lose whatever that “magic” was in the course of everyday life.

Mark was different than anyone I had ever dated.  He was older than me by 9 years.  He lived alone.  He knew how to take care of himself.  He knew how to pay his bills.  He knew how to cook.  He knew how to clean.  He was very much independent, but he seemed pretty lonely and unhappy.  He made me feel needed, but not because he needed my help with anything.  He just made me feel like he needed me there.  That was a pretty big deal to me.  He didn’t need me to be his maid or his mother.  Awesome.  I admired his dedication to his family’s land…the house and the farm as a whole.  I admired the way he could fix anything, or at least, is never afraid to try.  We didn’t/don’t have much in common on the surface, but we have complimented each other well.  He has (somehow) settled me down…and I think, really, I’ve done the same for him.  I feel more grounded and content than I ever have, and really, I can’t ask for much more than that, can I?

We don’t talk about these things much.  Mark is an intensely private person, and that’s ok.  It wasn’t at first, but it is now.  Every now and then he’ll open up a little, and the fact that he does that – for me – makes it even more special.  I’ve learned not to fight the way he is, just to respect it and let it go whenever possible.  He does the same for me…and that is what has made the difference.  That is what helped me to calm down and stop fighting so hard against what I am and what my life is, and quit trying to make my life whatever way I thought it was supposed to be.  He may not have taught me to live in the moment, but he has made it so much easier for me to do just that.  That is where I am most content.  That is where I find happiness…it’s really not in a person, place or thing at all, it’s in just living…going with the flow.  He has allowed me to be me on a level that I had never quite experienced, and in doing that he allowed me to see how frivolous, even ridiculous some of my ideas on life were.  Not that he ever ridiculed me for thinking those things, but the contrast in his views and mine was so stark that it made me think.  And after I’d think something through I could see his perspective and understand it…my perspective began to shift…and here I am 6 years later, a much happier person.

When I thought earlier today about writing this post I considered waiting until our anniversary which is about a month and a half away.  I decided against waiting.  I don’t need a special occasion to remember why I married my husband.  It’s not been a smooth, problem-free 6 years, but I can say, without a doubt, I would do it again in a heartbeat.  I love you Mark. 🙂

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Parenthood is fraught with fear.  Sometimes even terror.  Always anxiety at the very least.  No one tells you this ahead of time…not that you’d believe them anyway.  Before I became a parent I had the same ideas everyone has before they become parents.  I thought I would have way more control than I actually do.  The truth is I have very little control and it freaks me out all the time.  For example, tonight I was getting William dressed after his bath.  He was lying on our bed…or rather he was supposed to be lying on our bed.  In reality, he was rolling all over, bouncing around and doing naked back-flips.  He came dangerously close to the edge once & I caught him and yanked him back over towards me.  As I was attempting to get a diaper on him, he rolled away from me again, and then it happened…he did a back-flip right off the other side of the bed onto the (hardwood) floor.  My heart lurched.  He was screaming immediately and he was in my arms seconds later.  It happened too fast for me to stop him and it could have been bad…very, very bad.  As it was I kept him up later than normal just to watch him.  He seems fine.  No bumps or bruises so far.  His speech was fine.  He was walking fine.  It’s been over an hour and I just went in to check on him…tried to wake him slightly.  He seems fine.  I’m still going to worry all night.

It’s not just the physical injuries I fear though…it’s the less visible emotional injuries.  I know they are going to get their feelings hurt.  I know it’s unavoidable and even sometimes necessary.  I just hate the thought of them hurting for any reason.  I worry about us screwing them up as parents.  Does every parent worry about that?  The worst part is I know that no matter how much knowledge and wisdom I amass in my lifetime I can never give it all to them.  I can never keep them from making the very same mistakes I have made.  The mistakes I’ve made are countless and some of them are huge.  The thought of my children going through what I put myself through absolutely kills me.  Kills me!  I know there is no way I can 100% prevent them from going down those same roads.  I have the advantage of knowing, at least to a large extent, what led me down those paths.  I just can’t control how they will internalize things, how they will deal with being hurt emotionally.  I can’t control what is in their genes any more than I can control what is in mine.  The chances of one or both of them dealing with serious depression are pretty good.  I hope it’s caught early, and I hope they understand through watching me that it’s ok.  Depression certainly doesn’t have to be the end of the world…it sucks, but it can be dealt with and people (like me) go on to have happy, pretty normal lives.  It weighs heavily on my mind though…and my kids are still so young…there are plenty of other things for me to worry about.

I look at my kids pretty much every day and wonder what they will be like when they are older.  Of course, I would like to think that they’ll be angelic, perfect teenagers and wonderful, productive adults.  Then I remember –  I know their parents, and that’s  really unlikely…not to say we aren’t productive adults, but we certainly weren’t angelic, perfect teenagers (as if there is such a thing)!  So the thought of my children being teenagers terrifies me.  Completely.

I see why people tell me to soak up all the sweetness while they’re so young, even though I’m usually looking tired and frazzled when people are telling me this (because I have 2 toddlers).  I see the sweetness everyday.  Sometimes it’s just glimpses amongst the chaos that my little bundles of energy create, but it’s there.  And I do try to take it all in and soak up every ounce.  They’re growing and changing so fast and it’s exciting and terrifying all at the same time.

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2003 was a year that changed me forever.  For so many reasons and in so many ways I cannot even begin to list them or explain them fully.  In 2003 I was the wife of an Army officer.  In January of that year he deployed to Kuwait.  We had been married for just 10 months.  I was also still coming out of one of the scariest and darkest times of my life.  A time when I had no direction and no desire for direction.  A time when I just did. not. care. about anything anymore.  I time when I was just a shell of a person.  It had been about a year at that point since I had begun climbing out of that dark, cold place, but I wasn’t completely done climbing yet.

Those 2 very big things converged at the beginning of 2003.  I was alone, but not.  I had family near.  I lived in an apartment with my younger sister.  My parents were across town, my in-laws were in the next town over.  I had support, but in ways I can’t explain I was alone.  2003 was make or break for me and I knew it.

It was at that time that I bought this CD and it became the soundtrack of my 2003.  I listened to it incessantly.  Through the magic/technology of Pandora I heard a song from that CD a week or 2 ago.  I had to find that CD again.  I didn’t own it anymore.  It was left behind, like so many other things, when Lee and I divorced.  I downloaded it from iTunes & burned it onto a CD (leaving one of my favorite songs out…thanks Daddy for remedying that!)  for my trip (alone!) to my parents’ house this weekend.  I left Friday night, it was rainy and windy.  It was an awful drive!  But I had that CD and about 45 minutes into my drive I put it in…Suddenly all those memories flooded back.  Just as fresh as if it had all happened yesterday.  All the uncertainty of having my new husband on the front lines of a war…with no communication at all from him for weeks at a time.  The fear of a knock at the door or a late night phone call.  The starkness of that reality.  The way I somehow held it all together even though I was convinced I would never be able to.  How I finally realized I was not as weak as I thought I was.  When I, for the first time in my life, was ok being alone.  It’s amazing to me sometimes how much I tie my emotions in with certain music.  The funny thing is, as I listened to the CD, like I said…I remembered how life  felt in 2003.  Exactly…every emotional detail.  I know how I felt the lyrics to certain songs then, what I related the lyrics to, but now I relate them to different things.  And they are every bit as powerful to me, they’re true to me still.  I love that I have this sort of emotional time capsule in musical form.  Honestly, I’m sure I have many of them, but this one stands out simply because of the time it’s tied to.

There are a few songs in particular that really say it all for me…a song called The Scientist in particular.  In fact, it’s actually so much more true to me now.   But now it’s a different relationship.  My marriage now and parenthood.  Parenthood, parenthood, parenthood…Nobody said it was easy.  No one ever said it would be this hard. As I listened to that song Friday night, driving through the rain, after my initial 2003 thoughts, I thought about the first 6 months of Anna’s life.  I didn’t think my marriage was going to make it.  I was thisclose to just giving up on it.  I remember going to visit my mom for a couple days with Anna when she was just a couple months old.  My dad traveled a lot at the time then and I wasn’t working, so I just went to keep my mom company in the evenings…or that’s why I told myself I was going.  I ended up staying for almost a week.  I didn’t intend to stay that long.  I just didn’t want to go home.  I didn’t want to deal with Mark…or rather with my relationship with Mark.  I was so done.  After 4 or 5 days…Mark finally asked when I was coming home, he said he missed me and he missed Anna.  There was just something different in his voice that made me go back home.  Maybe he knew it was a breaking point.  I don’t know that we’ve ever even talked about it, but it was one of those make or break times.  Obviously we worked it out somehow…but it’s that little something in Mark’s voice that night in the summer of 2008 that I hear when I hear this:

Nobody said it was easy
It’s such a shame for us to part
Nobody said it was easy
No one ever said it would be this hard
Oh, take me back to the start

The fact that the title is The Scientist is just an added bonus.  I guess you’d need to know Mark well to get just how perfect that is. Or maybe it’s just perfect to me…

There are 2 other songs I love…one being the title track, the other called Amsterdam.  The darkness of these 2 songs appealed to me at the time…it’s appeal is a little more limited now.  But I know why I liked the songs so much then and I still like them now.  Sometimes I forget about everything I went through in my early 20’s (i.e. – the dark hole I was still climbing out of in 2003).  Of course, I never truly forget, but maybe I don’t always give it the weight it deserves.  Sometimes I need to remember just so I can feel the contrast between then and now.   A little excerpt from Amsterdam just for the purpose of illustration – I know I’m dead on the surface, but I am screaming underneath (seriously, there is no better illustration than that, but moving on a verse or 2)…You can say what you mean, but it won’t change a thing, I’m sick of the secrets.  Stood on the edge, tied to a noose and you came along and you cut me loose. I cannot tell you how much that describes that period of my life, not in a totally literal sense, but still, in a very real (sad but true) sense.

The title track, A Rush of Blood to the Head, was the one Pandora randomly threw out there a couple weeks ago.  I won’t go all in-depth with this one.  The song is about moving forward…leaving behind a troubling place or, in my case, a troubling time.  It’s all one big metaphor to me.  And I know the mistakes that I’ve made.  See it all disappear without a trace…And they call as they beckon you on, they say start as you need to go on.

I can’t believe I just wrote a whole blog post based on a Coldplay album, but…well I did.  That CD made my 3 hour drive interesting and it made me think about things I haven’t thought about in a long time.  That music defines that year for me, but it also defines the changes that took place in me.  In a lot of ways those lyrics were cathartic at the time, but some parts also acted as catalysts to keep me moving forward at a very critical time.  It still stands out as relevant to me now though…maybe because it’s ingrained in my history, maybe because it speaks to experiences I’ve had in the years since.  For whatever reason I love it and I’m glad to have these reminders of where I’ve been and how far I’ve come…in musical form.

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