The Room Of Requirement (Part 1)…

I’ve recently started a new form of therapy switching from my years of CBT (Cognitive Behavioral Therapy) to EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing) Therapy.  This is a whole new ballgame.  Where CBT would try to train me to constantly think positively about myself by saying positive things into a mirror, EMDR is actually tricking my brain into rethinking that way as to erase all the negative thoughts I have about myself concerning Tyler last year and concerning Sophia with Postpartum and last year.  It is not an easy feat for someone who for almost 36 years has always been extremely self critical and lives with and Inner Bitch.  This Inner Bitch is very cruel.
EMDR started like any other form of therapy with intake questions.  Then we went over the “calm down” exercises.  One of these would be performed at the end of each session to calm any anxiety brought about during the session.  One such “calm down” exercise is “The Container Exercise”.  For this, you picture a container in which you can put the highly emotional thoughts discussed away until the following session.  After describing this to me, the first thing I thought of was The Room Of Requirement from Harry Potter.  Let me tell you, J.K. Rowling knew what she was doing with this Room.  The Room Of Requirement is … a room that a person can only enter when they have real need of it. Sometimes it is there, and sometimes it is not, but when it appears, it is always equipped for the seeker’s needs


Basically, it is a room, at several points in the books, that contains junk people have thrown away.  Okay, it is not only junk, but several important items that people want to discard because they are too powerful… just like my memories and emotions.
It was after my first true EMDR session using bilateral stimulation (tracking my therapist’s fingers from right to left) that he chose this “calm down” exercise.  Problem was, he missed a step, the step about me NOT entering the room.  Here I am, eyes closed, staring in a room like the picture above with piles and bookshelves of stuff, chatzkies.  I am poised in front of a wooden bookshelf about 6 feet tall.  It is made of thick rough wood, chunky but worn.  There are a variety of things already on this bookshelf… a diadem, books, a golden snitch… and other various items from the Harry Potter world.  From the corner of my right eye I can see the Vanishing Cabinet Draco Malfoy used and in the corner of my left eye, a Gothic arched opening.  I am intrigued by this opening but need to finish the task at hand.
“Place those memories in the Room Of Requirement,” my therapist says.  I take a metallic box, like a small treasure chest and put it on the shelf directly in front of me. “Now close the door to the room.”
Um, uh oh.  “I can’t,” I say, “I’m stuck!”.  He seems slightly perplexed by my statement and asks me to describe further.  “My feet are fused to the floor.  They can’t move.  It’s like a magnetic force is holding me to this spot.”
He thinks a moment, “Hmmm… it seems that maybe you can’t leave these memories behind, that you are too attached to them for now.”
What started out as a calming exercise, now became an anxiety inducing one!  We tabled this exercise for the following week.
So, this past Monday, as I am following his finger from the right to the left, I find myself back in the Room Of Requirement.  I am still fused to that spot with my treasure chest of emotions and memories in front of me, but my eyes are very much focusing on the sunlight coming from the Gothic Arched Opening.  I can turn my head toward it slightly seeing the royal blue skies with the cumulus clouds, rays of sunshine casting shadows over the gray stone floors. 
“Do you feel safe in this room?” he starts.
“Yes, although cold in nature, I am calm.” 
“Do you hear anything?  Can you see anything else?” My therapist asks still moving his fingers.
“I can hear Sophia laughing outside the opening.”
“What do you think that means?”
And the epiphany… “Happiness lies outside this Room.  My daughter, the sun, the fresh air.”
“Can you move?”
As I glance back into my mind, I realize that my feet have shifted to the left toward this opening.  “I haven’t lifted up my feet but I shifted toward the opening.”
“That’s a great start!  You moved.”
Of course I didn’t see this as overly wonderful, what’s shifting an inch or two in one direction, but then again, I live with an Inner Bitch so naturally I would not see this as amazing.
“I wonder, though, why you feel so safe in this room when you know Happiness lies outside that opening?” My therapist states.
Safe… was safe the best term?  Was it more that I felt comfortable?  Why did I find this dark place so relaxing?  And then an answer hit me:
“I have been attached to these emotions for so long I do not think I can part from them yet as much as I want to be happy.  I know that there is so much work left to do and I don’t want my family to see this part of me so it is better it is hidden and fused in this room.”
“What part of you is this?”
“The evil Stephanie.”

“Dude, She Crazy, No Gun Purchases For Her”…

I read somewhere that this year (and 2015 is not over yet) there have been more violent attacks in the United States than days in the year.  This saddens me deeply.  As a force to be reckoned with, the United States, has a huge flaw… we are violence happy.  Regardless if you are Republican or Democrat, Tea Party or all for Han Solo & Chewy for President, we all as a people do agree there is something wrong.

Where we differ is the reasoning.  The Democrats are pushing hard for more gun control laws while the Republicans are lobbying for stricter Mental Health Screenings.  I am not one to discuss my political point of view or religion as I love all my friends and do not judge them nor do I want to be judged.  We are all entitled to our views.  With the recent event in San Bernardino, CA, I have to voice an opinion… an opinion from someone who is Mentally Ill, someone who if stricter screenings were enforced, would definitely be on the “Dude, She Crazy, No Gun Purchases For Her” List.

I hate guns.  I do agree with the constitution though, that guns should be allowed to be purchased to protect yourself and your family.  While it is a well-known fact that people usually wind up shooting people they know, by accident, there are many instances where they have helped to protect people.  I will stand behind our constitutional right to bear arms, but my arms will not bear any guns even if Mental Health screenings came to pass.  That’s just me.  When the 2nd Amendment was written, these colonial men were not arming themselves with semi-automatics that could shoot off hundreds of bullets within seconds, they were holding muskets that took minutes to load.  5 minutes… 5 minutes was all it took at Sandy Hook.  5 minutes led to the deaths of 20 children and 6 adults.  All innocent people.  That type of gun, semi-automatic, I feel should not be in the hands of the general public.

Would it be any different if there were Mental Health screenings?  How would the government be able to enforce them?  If you go in to see a therapist or psychiatrist once are you automatically put on a “No Gun Purchase” list?  Where is the cutoff?  I suppose this is why the screenings have not been enforced yet.  With my history… several diagnosis’… Major Depressive Disorder, Generalized Anxiety Disorder, Mild PTSD… I am sure red flags, sirens and alarms would be blaring with my name but…

I would never hurt anyone.  With all my manic episodes the only person I ever desired to hurt was myself.  It was me who was going through major mental pain and anguish.  Me who suffered while wearing a happy face.  Just me.  But, I’ve been diagnosed.  I sought out help.  I am on medication and take them daily.  I am not trying to hide that I am different and messed up.  My ego is not so enormous that I don’t believe Mental Illness can happen to me.  Maybe this is the difference.  So, do we clear all those who are seeking help and actively taking their medication from this “No Gun Purchase” List?  Do we only ban those that are diagnosed but refuse care?  What about those that aren’t diagnosed?

It is also a proven fact that those with Mental Illness are more likely to be the victims of violent acts.  This is in a past blog post I wrote What Mental Illness Truly Looks Like.  Then why the huge fear of the Mentally Ill?  Is it because there is still so much the general public does not understand about Mental Illnesses?  Is it because the media and the politicians need some group of people to blame… after all, who would shoot up a building of people but those that are “crazy”?  The problem is, and what most people in this country do, is we will blame a whole community of people for a few acts carried out by those people… The Japanese in WWII (yes today is the anniversary of them bombing Pearl Harbor) but we did not need to react like the Germans did and place them in concentration camps… The Islamic people.  Their whole community is to blame for one tiny sect… And now, the Mentally Ill.  Just because we are different and our illnesses are strange and unknown to most doesn’t mean we all possess the nature to perform a mass massacre.

Yesterday, while reading the Sunday paper, I came across a letter to the editor on the “real” problem… change of heart.  It was actually a very interesting read.  It was written by a pastor, Ken Brooks, who notes that if you “go back as far as you wish in human history… you will find murder.”  He also states, “It’s not the guns.  It’s not the weapons.  Man doesn’t need a weapon: The hand alone can kill.”  Change of heart?  How does one institute that?  How do we turn the evil in this world, or in ourselves, to compassion?

Anyway you look at it, there is no simple solution.  Make stricter gun laws… people will go underground to buy guns.  Increase Mental Screening… you will have a group of people who will fear getting help for being labeled and put on a “No Gun Purchase” list, a stigma that will never go away.  Grow compassion… there is no way of achieving this for everyone.  With all this being said, we do need a change.  We are the only first world country that sees violence as our only answer on everything, even the smallest acts of crime.

Delusional…

Imagine lying in bed at night… your eyes, although they feel slightly heavy, are wide open.  Your brain is unable to put itself into sleep mode.  Your building up frustration as this is the 4th… no maybe 5th night you can’t fall asleep.  Tears are now falling down your cheeks because all you want to do is sleep, but you can’t.  So you lay there for a bit, get up and go to the bathroom, go downstairs and watch some TV and then decide to read.  At about 2am you fall asleep.

Nothing a little coffee won’t fix, right?!

Downing the coffee the following morning works great to wake your body up physically, but mentally the damage is done.  The lack of just a couple hours of sleep for multiple days in a row has revved up my anxiety and with that my fears.  I have now become irritable at the smallest things and delusional in thought.  Not a good combination.

Last night I expressed a delusional fear of mine to my husband, Jimmy.  After hearing it, he kind of giggled and said that would never happen but he understood.  My fear, because something somewhat like this happened before, was that my Inlaws were going to send letters to DCF, a lawyer, doctors, etc about how I should not be allowed to be a mother to my daughter.  Crazy right?!  I honestly believe this.  I believe they will use my Mental Illness labels against me.  How did I develop this delusion?  My Inlaws have gone behind my husband’s and my back before… years ago.  Without notifying us they sent letters to our lawyer and our real estate agent about the “filthiness” of the condo we were about to purchase (It wasn’t filthy).  I took this bitter memory and fabricated this new illusion.  They are currently upset with me for some bizarre reason relating to our vacation months ago.  So much so that they won’t call our house for fear of getting me on the phone which in turn has led to many weeks of not seeing their granddaughter.  Me, a woman who has been in their only child’s life for the last 19 years.  A woman who has blessed them with their only grandchild.

I can visually see this letter and can see the phone calls.  In my head I see DCF and the police showing up to the door to question me and others as to my mental health and my parenting capabilities.  After all, I already lost 1 child to my illnesses, why would they not take away my other?!  With this delusion I am constantly questioning parenting decisions… are the decisions I make coming from my Depression, my Anxiety, my PTSD?  Or are they real decisions from my true self, this person that seems so buried deep down?

My experience with my children… my Postpartum Depression, my recent 6th episode of Major Depression… has spawned a new delusion about myself.  I feel as if I do not deserve to get better, that I should suffer from everything that has happened.  This has honestly worried my Therapist a little to the point that we have to stop EMDR therapy to get over this road block.  My emotions are telling me that I should hurt because I hurt Tyler by giving him this hope of being with us forever and then “returning” him.  I should hurt because of that.  I should hurt because years and years and years ago I had strong thoughts of hating my daughter, hating this tiny innocent baby because of her huge dependence on me.  I should remain in pain because I lied to my husband and parents about never being hospitalized again after my Postpartum Depression.  I should be in pain for giving my daughter several weeks without her mother while I was hospitalized.

It doesn’t matter if I know these to be untrue… my tired brain, barely awake due to the days of insomnia, believes these delusions.  It is foggy up there in my head.  I’ve blurred the line between reality and delusional that I do not know what is real anymore.  At times I can’t see the logical answer.  All I see is losing my daughter because I am “unfit” to be her mother.  Losing her would be like losing my lifeline.  She is such a strong life force for me.  I just can’t seem to get over it.

Grateful…

As the Thanksgiving holiday passes and we all take time to think about what we are grateful for, who we are grateful for, I am reminded that being grateful has a whole other meaning when talking with anyone who has a Mental Illness.

Sure, I am extremely grateful for my beautiful, caring, intelligent daughter.  I am grateful for my husband who took his wedding vows seriously and has stood by me through hell several times in the last 19 years.  I am grateful for my parents who helped me and advocated for me instead of abandoning me.  But, what am I most grateful for?

I am most grateful to be alive.  I am grateful I didn’t slash my wrists seventeen years ago.  If I had done that, my daughter would not exist today.  There would not be the light in many people’s lives that is Sophia Faye.  There would be no blue-eyed, dirty-blonde-Hermoine-from-Harry Potter hair.  There would be no sweet smiles and daily kisses.  She would not be here because I would not be here.  If I slashed my wrist then, I not only would have killed myself, I would have killed her.

I am grateful I did not run away nine years ago.  I am grateful I could not think of where to run away to because that kept me home.  It kept me with my husband.  It kept me with my daughter.  It kept me from missing so many firsts in her life including her first word, “Mama” at 10 months old.  If I ran away, I would have missed her first step, her first real hug, her first day of school and eventually her high school graduation, marriage and any future grandchildren.

I am grateful I did not gain access to that screw on the lunch tray table in the Behavioral Crisis Center last January.  If I did, it would have pierced my skin and gone into my head.  I could’ve caused myself extreme damage that would have made my daughter motherless.  It would have caused her so much pain, years of psychotherapy and possibly hospitalizations.  She would feel the grieving I felt then and so much more… the grieving I still feel now.  I would have given my only ever supportive husband a vegetable for a wife.  I would have extolled my pain, guilt and anger on the 2 people I love the most in this world who have only ever supported me.

As we all sat just a day ago, going around the table saying what we are grateful for, these are the things I instantly thought of… not committing suicide, not running away, not giving myself a lobotomy.  The real answers of someone with a Mental Illness.  But when it was my turn I said, “I am grateful for my loving supportive family.”

The Death Of Evan William…

A little boy around age 5… straight medium brown hair bordering on chestnut in color.  Wide blue eyes eager to learn.  When he smiles, you can see dimples in both cheeks, rosy in color as he plays with leaves on a brisk autumn day.  He’s wearing blue jeans with a red and black plaid shirt and a denim jacket.  I’m watching him as he runs around chasing his big sister.  They are giggling.  They are playing hide and seek.  Before I know it, both of them have fallen down on a big pile of leaves and are now wearing them in their hair.  They’re both still smiling.  As the camera pans around, there is an image of myself, overjoyed, watching these children interact.  Watching my children interact.

And then a sudden acknowledgement that one of these children was never meant to be.  One of these children only resides in my head where he lives frolicking amongst the leaves of red, orange, yellow, green and brown.  One of these children lives with an eternal smile on his chubby-cheeked face playing with his big sister whom he has never met.  One of these children died… a dream whose flicker burned out.

This is Evan William.  This is my son.  A boy I never birthed.  A boy I never carried.  A boy I never even conceived.  He was born on a dream so long ago with me as a preteen at camp sitting on a bus with a little boy very similar in description and having the same first name.  Evan, named after my mother’s uncle and William, named after my paternal grandfather.  My young warrior and determined protector by definition.  The image of him so strong that I thought I was in fact carrying him prior to having my 20 week ultrasound with Sophia.  Unscathed by having a girl, and completely in love with her, I just went with, “My next child will be Evan.”

But, there is not a next child.  There almost was, a little boy similar to the vision of Evan.  But he was not meant to be.  Gone into a family whose mother would not suffer a mental break or two.  As I mourn losing him, I mourn Evan.  A sweet boy who has just plucked a dandelion and handed it to me, “For you Mama!”.  His tiny arms embracing me.

Pain.  Heartache.  Tears.  My son.

The death of Evan William… beloved son, brother, grandchild, nephew, cousin… and dream.

Hitting A Wall…

It’s Wednesday.  I’m back at work following a whirlwind business trip that had me awake at 6am on Monday and back at home by 4pm Tuesday.  There were flights, driving, appointments all in the midst of those 36 hours that right now seems like a bowl of mush sloshing around in my head.  I can visualize the trip but pinpointing where I was at an exact time of day is a far off dream that can only be solved by photo and text time stamps.  Just like the trip 2 months ago, I am experiencing deja vu all over again with my Business Trip Bipolar Disorder.  Coming down from extreme highs of feeling important at work with thoughts of, “Wow, it’s only been a year and I am being entrusted to do this landlord turnover myself?!” to “I finally feel so respected.”  Then enjoying a meal with friends you haven’t seen in a couple of years from your good ole’ college days… hearing their work tales, reminiscing… completely fabulous…

Then why do I feel so cruddy?

And in comes the lows… the deep dwelling I hate falling into as it takes a few days to climb out.  Taking a 5 mile walk before my flight back was exhilarating… brisk sunny day, and yet I only feel the physical drain of it.  My ankles sore from power walking on pavement and my mind just wishing it had more time to rest, getting anxiety because it is unsure of the rest it will get.  Everything after that went smoothly… car rental return, security line at the airport, the flight.  And then I got to my car.  Ugh, the 1 hour and 30 minute drive home without traffic.  My eyelids were heavy, very very heavy.  Oh so heavy… and I was only 20 minutes into my drive.  I have never been so scared of falling asleep while driving as I was yesterday.  Somehow I made it home and when I did, I climbed into bed for a nap.

Now we are onto the next day, and I’ve hit a wall!

I can’t.  I just can’t function.  I am still so tired, drained of all physical strength.  Drained of mentality.  Drained of all emotions.  I can’t focus.  My brain is so foggy I feel like a scene of a Scottish Moor after it has rained is in my head.  I want to focus, but there is no use.  Once again, I have read the same line in an email for the 5th time and I still do not know what the email is about!

The kicker… I never felt this way when I wasn’t in the middle of suffering from Depression and Anxiety.  This is all new to me.  New, yes new, new to this veteran of these Mental Illnesses.  I am constantly questioning myself about all my thoughts, feelings and symptoms.  Am I foggy because I am tired?  Am I foggy because recently I am living with constant Anxiety?  Am I foggy now because I have a mild form of PTSD?  Am I foggy because of my ongoing war with Depression?

I don’t have the answers.  Everything changes with age.  It just seems that for me as I get older, my bouts of Depression and Anxiety worsen and tend to hang out with me longer.  Now I worry.  I worry the brain fog will be more constant. I worry about it affecting my driving.  There are many things I have learned about myself over the years, but  what happens when you keep learning new stuff about yourself and you still haven’t corrected the other stuff?  What happens when that new stuff plays games with you… mental games… twisting thoughts, erasing emotions, draining your battery until there is no juice left?

It is Wednesday and I know there is still at least 1 more day of recovery for me.  1 more day that will add to the predicted mental break that is beginning to grow inside of me.  1 more day I will try my hardest to remain present.  1 more day for my anxieties and fears to grow.  1 more day that might grow into 2 more days…

I’m Trapped…

Five days a week I am good.  Some of those days are better than others, some worse.  All of them end poorly, they end at my house.  My house, a place that use to provide safety and comfort, is now a place I hate being in.  It is a place where my Anxiety hangs out, a place where it decides to throw dance parties.  And the last two days of the week, Saturday and Sunday, I attempt to leave, but have nowhere to go.  Nothing needs to be bought.  It’s raining so no outdoor exercise.  I’m trapped.  No hopes of escaping for another year and a half when we move to get Sophia into a better school system for Middle School.

I despise going home.  I feared it to an extreme a year ago.  I would cry, in silence, when it was time to leave work.  The darkness outside only mirrored the fear that grew within me.  At home was where all the tension was.  It was where all the noises were.  It was where my children, my newly born annoyances, were.  I didn’t want to go there.  Bedtime, my Anxiety only grew.  It was a Goliath.  What noises would I hear tonight that would keep me awake? Would I hear coughing?  Would Tyler wake me?  Would Sophia wake me? Ugh, the heat just turned on… I just want to sleep.  I NEED to sleep.  All would be better if I slept.

Sleep didn’t come for a long while.  I thought once Tyler was removed, I would return to my normal sleeping habits.  Problem was although Tyler left, my Anxiety didn’t.  It remained as strong as before.  I was only growing weaker, submissive.  Every morning, I woke up gagging when I opened my eyes.  Every night, I shook out of fear of this house.  This house, that my husband and I bought so our family could grow, so Sophia would have a yard to play in.  This house I used to love so much.

I still hate it.  It still hasn’t kicked out the one resident that was never invited to stay.  That relative you so desire to leave but doesn’t.  I force myself to go home.  A bit easier now than a year ago, but I still need to force myself there.  The nights are still full of Anxiety.  I still take medication to subside it, but it is still there.  There are no sounds from that bedroom right across the hall, only the residual ones that play in my head.  The heat still goes on.  The neighbors still come home late and slam doors.  The dogs outside still bark to each other carrying on a conversation.  And I still fear it all.  I still sit wanting to plug up my ears.  If only I didn’t hear all this.

I sleep with earplugs.  I have for years.  They go into my ears when I decide to roll over and sleep.  Before that time my ears hear the sounds of the world while reading and watching shows on the Kindle.  In addition, they hear the overwhelming voice of my Anxiety, that gripping annoying tone that forces you to listen.  That is something the earplugs will never cover up.  I just want to yell at it, to just shut up for once, to leave me alone.  I want it to take a vacation, travel the world, but it doesn’t. 

I turned everything off, put my earplugs in my ears and went to sleep.  Tossing and turning, brain overloading with racing thoughts.  Geez, just shut up already!  I turn toward my clock, 45 minutes later.  Ugh!  Not again.  Knowing I shouldn’t stay in bed, at least all those doctors say not to, I rise and go down to the basement.  Laying down on the loveseat, with the cat curled into me, a throw on my legs, I watch a DVR’ed show.  One more hour I’ll lose of sleep.  So many hours wasted. 

I’ve let me Anxiety in.  I’ve embraced that it doesn’t want to leave.  I’m so drained of fighting it.  I give up.  You can stay.  You can keep me awake.  You can do what you want to me.  Just take away the fear of my home.  Let me enjoy my evenings and weekends.  Let me enjoy the occasional day or two with my family.  Let me live again already.  You’ve trapped me and I want my freedom.  I want to have control again.

Ticking…

I am sitting here… antsy, ants in my pants.  Internally shaking.  I know it is coming, but I don’t know when.  The ticking time bomb inside of me.  When will this geyser blow?  When will I have a complete mental breakdown?  I can feel it, feel the bubbling within.  I’m writhing in my chair.  I can’t focus.  My breathing is quick and shallow.  An anxiety attack that will most likely continue on and off for the rest of the day, for many days.

I woke up this morning with a heavy heart after therapy last night.  Hearing Jimmy and Sophia talk about our time with T in the house… hearing them say they missed him.  It was helpful after they have cautiously tip-toed around me trying to avoid those stubborn painful Lego pieces of my brain.  I needed to hear it.  I needed to know I was human with all my emotions.  My husband was hopeful, saying he could see the person T was turning in to.  He could see our family of 4.  He wanted to try to make it work.  My anxiety and panic ruined that.  Hearing him say he could not handle the 2 kids, his full time job, and me.  It was an emotional blade that kept stabbing me with guilt and anger toward myself.  Hearing him say he was frustrated because he didn’t know what to say to me, trying to avoid triggering me, knowing logic wouldn’t work.  All this I appreciated and only made me love him more but on the flip side made me self loathe more.  Hearing him say that right after T left the house when he was hoarding all of the toys and stuff into T’s old bedroom was painfully hard, sent more heartache.  But I wanted to know.  I needed to know.  I wanted to know he felt something.  I wanted to know that they both felt something.

It isn’t just the heavy heart.  I can’t stop moving.  My fingers keep wiggling.  Fists clenching.  I keep slithering around.  My heart is rapidly beating.  I know it is coming.  Something I desperately fear, the mental breakdown.  Unsure of what it will bring as I already spend most days with anxiety attacks and tears.

I need to subside my fears, to disconnect the ticking clock but my incredible amount of guilt lies in the way.  I know what I need to do.  I need to call in sick.  I need a Mental Health day.  I need a day that breaks this deja vu routine.  A day where I put myself first.  But, my guilt is strong.  Guilt… Stigma…  I’d feel guilt because I am  not physically ill.  No fever, no headache, no vomiting.  What some would view as a day of freedom, even call me a liar, although that day would most likely consist of me in bed maybe taking a hike.  What am I so afraid of?  Work knows my history.  My brain is ill and at times it needs to rest, yet I don’t allow it to.  As if a different outcome would arise this time.  As if it would all just go away.  I am stupid to think that.  My illnesses have only gotten worse with age.  Come on Stephanie, why would you think this time would be different?!

Tick, tick, tick… still can’t focus, still shaky… tick, tick, tick… Go home Stephanie, you need the break… tick, tick, tick

Spark In The Darkness…

I remember last year clearly.  How could I forget?  Facebook likes to remind me daily what occurred this day over the last few years.  I did not need the help of the magical Facebook fairies to tell me what day T moved in with us.  It was a Sunday, October 26th, 2014.  Overcast but warm for a fall day.  I can easily picture T and Sophia playing with the leaves on the deck as Jimmy raked them.  T was having a blast throwing leaves up and watching them fall on top of him.  What 2 1/2 year old little boy wouldn’t?  What I didn’t remember, but what those stubborn FB fairies did remind me was the anxiety I had from day 1.  I didn’t sleep.  I didn’t sleep because I didn’t think T would sleep.  I didn’t sleep because I was nervous how T would do the next day, his first day of daycare in his life.  Maybe I should have paid attention to those signs, but the dream of having a son, a 2nd child, were too strong and pummeled the anxiety in my head down.  My nerves didn’t take over for another 2 months.

I now continue to suffer daily from a Depression so soul sucking that after going on holiday for a few months, it decided to move back into that empty spot in my head and not only reside, but take over.  It brings constant images of T back then, Sophia back then, Jimmy back then and the horror of myself from back then… a year ago.  It causes me to hate myself, to think of myself as worthless and undeserving of love… undeserving of my husband and my daughter.  It brought back that guilt I felt because it was me who had the anxiety and panic that caused T to leave us.  It brought back the blame game… the blame that I feel toward myself because I am the one who is Mentally Ill.  It brought back the anxiety attacks, the crying fits, the desire to want to remain in my bed and not move.  I am immersed in it.  I fear the next few months but hope my new therapy will make it somewhat bearable.

Deep in this darkness, though, I am reminded of something my CBT therapist would constantly say to me… “Look what you did for him in those 2 months.”

2 months, 60+ days, 1440+ hours… What I (okay Jimmy and Sophia too) did for him… A Spark in the midst of my current darkness…

1)  He began to eat food – In T’s former foster house, the one he was in since birth, his former foster mother gave up with trying to feed him food and decided that several 600+ calorie shakes of rice cereal, milk and banana was the way to go.  It was difficult for Birth To Three and us to get him to eat.  On Halloween of last year, he wouldn’t even drink.  It was scary, so scary, that I didn’t eat.  I feared him dying from it.  After a few days he began to eat and would try anything we placed in front of him.  He began to LOVE food.  Within a few weeks, he became a typical toddler and started to reject anything that was vegetable in nature.

2)  He began to talk – ALOT!  At first it started out with a few words here are there.  It mostly revolutionized into repetition of certain objects he would label, “Pumpkin!”, “Penguin, Penguin, Snowman!”, “Christmas Tree!”.  In between this there were several melt-my-heart sentences including, “Look!  It’s a Mommy!”, as he would point at me.

3)  He began to interact with his peers – T was extremely sheltered at his former home.  Although there was another child there his age, his foster mom was honestly too old to be handling 2 toddlers with Autism diagnosis’.  Whether she took them out of pity and fell in love with them or just did it for the extra money, who knows.  The 2 boys barely interacted together and most of the time they were each alone in their own rooms.  There were no play dates, nothing.  T started daycare on his first weekday with us.  He learned to play with these kids and realize that was what he was supposed to do.  Toward the end, he learned what to do with toys and how to interact with them with his friends, family and teachers.

4) He began to love – This one truly pulls at  me.  I am grateful we could teach him what it was like to live in a typical family, where hugs and kisses were a multiple-time-of-day occurrence.  I cherish the fact that he finally got to experience a true Thanksgiving, sitting at a table surrounded by family engorging himself on turkey and acorn squash.  He got to meet Santa.  He experienced a true Christmas morning, learning how to open presents from under the tree.  Throughout it all, I held his hand.  I would kiss his cheek goodbye when I left him at daycare.  I would hug him when I picked him up.  He never felt unloved by any one of us.

I hid my issues well with him and Sophia.  Jimmy knowing my history and living it several times before knew there was something going on but there were so many factors stopping me from getting help and admitting I was in trouble until it was too late.  In my heart, it truly feels as if I have lost a child, as if he died.  Even though he is alive and well, he is not with me anymore.  I still don’t quite understand these huge emotions as he was only with us for 2 months but I am starting to dissect them.  I am starting to realize that as I suffer, I still have this spark of light amongst the constant darkness of my Depression.

Reflections Of My Daughter… Take 2

Because I am human and accidentally erased the text and then deleted the “Reflections Of My Daughter” post from a couple of weeks ago, I am going to try to organize my thoughts again…

————————————————————————————————————————–

9 years old and full of compassion, love, humor and sass.  You are an amazing child.  When I was pregnant with you, my heart swelled with love to a point I thought it would burst.  I didn’t know it was possible to love someone so much before ever meeting them.  I had so many hopes and dreams for you.  So many traits I wanted you to get from your father and from myself.  When you were born, my love, I stared at you, my daughter, my baby girl.  At that moment I could see what things you may have inherited.

You were stubborn since birth.  We could have used someone in the house who wasn’t stubborn but you had 2 strikes against you with your father and myself.  Your stubbornness led you to taking your sweet time to come out.  It led Mommy to taking over 2 1/2 hours to push you out.  You were also impatient since birth.  A characteristic I wish you didn’t inherit from me, but you did.  This impatience made you decide you didn’t want to wait until your November due date, October would be your birth month.

I didn’t think of these 2 traits when you were born.

I was dreaming of creativity from myself, which you have;
An ability to see people for who they are on the inside, which you have;
Athleticism… not so much;
Loyalty… too much just like myself;
An ability to love, which you have.

But with these my sweet girl, you inherited a few things that are not dreams but more like nightmares and I am sorry for this.  I never wanted you to suffer from anxiety, but you do.  When you change, like a flick of a switch, my heart breaks.  The catastrophes you live in your head, I have lived them too.  The amount of tears you shed, Mommy has shed them too.  The thoughts of not wanting to live these emotions, you’re not alone.  The pure exhaustion you feel after coming out of your anxiety attacks, Mommy has felt it often.

My Sophia, as you enter the world of Preteen-dom, just know you can always come to me.  I will not turn you away for I understand.  I’ve lived it all and more, far too many times.  I will be your biggest advocate, your biggest fighter, and your biggest supporter.

I love you, my Sophia Faye, to infinity and beyond.

————————————————————————————————————————–

Ugh… not quite worded the same as the first post, but my points are there.  Wish I didn’t delete it.  The perfectionist in me is yelling at myself for deleting such and important piece.