A Reprieve

September 19, 2017

Something has shifted lately. I don’t know if it’s meds, therapy, prayer, or what, but I’ve been feeling… content. Maybe even joyful sometimes. And much less sorry for myself.

I went to a family event over the weekend. When I spend time with my family, I go way into self-pity mode. I’m the only adult there who’s not married, who doesn’t own a home, who doesn’t have children. Mostly, I’m just the only one alone.

But something about this time was different. I got to spend time with my nephew and nieces who I love very very much. My youngest niece just warmed up to me (she’s two and VERY picky about who she spends time with) so I got to read her books and have her sit on my lap and play games with her. My nephew and I have always had a really strong bond and even though he managed to spill a whole jar of syrup all over my lap, we still had fun.

Things feel good. The tough part is that depression waits. You don’t get cured, you get reprieves. One of the triggers that has been most consistent for me is the season change from summer to fall. So here we are on September 18, and I feel like it’s tapping me on the shoulder. I don’t want it, I don’t want anything to do with it, but there’s a reminder.

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The Peace Of God

September 4, 2017

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I grew up in  the Episcopalian Church and there was a part of the service called “passing the peace,” where you turn to someone near you and say “Peace be with you,” answered with “And also with you.” It’s been a while since I’ve been in an Episcopal church but I believe there’s also a part where the priest says, “May the peace of God be with you,” and the congregation responds, “And also with you.”

I miss the liturgy. I think I need to visit an Episcopalian church soon. It gets ingrained in your heart and our mind and I need that right now.

I’ve been thinking a lot about the peace that surpasses all understanding, that Paul promises we get from God. And Jesus saying that he brings us peace, not as the world gives.

The world is making me CRAZY. I’m worried all the time. I’m worried about nuclear war, and deporting DREAMers, and losing my health care, and public schools getting worse, and Nazis having a say in our world, and sexually assaulting men running the country. I’m worried about my own life, and dying alone, and the health of my dog, I’m worried about everything from the world ending from climate change to not being able to lose weight.

And yet, I profess to have a belief system that tells me not to worry, that tells me that I have peace, should I choose to accept it. I don’t know how to reconcile those two things.

I certainly don’t believe it means I close my eyes and plug my ears and pretend none of this is happening. I think it’s time for activism and speaking up. But I do feel like it means this shouldn’t break me. I shouldn’t be up all night worrying.

This is where I start believing I’d be a much better atheist than a Christian because I am better at worrying and not trusting God. But somehow I still believe.

If anyone has their own thoughts about this, please do share!


I Felt Hopeful Last Night

August 25, 2017

I’m really tired so it’s hard to remember details, but last night, I felt really hopeful.

I felt like my life was good and I was going to be OK, and I felt happy and hopeful.

I just feel like it’s important to write that down and remember. Today wasn’t bad, but last night, there was a flash of incredible hopefulness.


Worrying, Again

August 23, 2017

I’m so tired of worrying. But I don’t know how to stop. The Bible has a million verses about not worrying, but they’re all verses that tell you not to worry. None of them tell you HOW.

I’m worried that my landlord will sell my house and I’ll have to leave. (He hasn’t said he was considering it but he sold one of his three properties last year)

I’m worried that my dog will die soon. (She’s seven and in good health)

I’m worried that I won’t have enough money to keep living in my area. (While not a ton, I’m making more money than I ever have)

I’m worried that I’ll never find a partner. I’m worried about car accidents. I’m worried about health problems. I’m worried, I’m worried, I’m worried.

It’s exhausting. And I don’t want it. I just don’t know how to end this cycle.

Any ideas?


I Don’t Have the Words Today

August 3, 2017

Last night, I got an email from my ex-boyfriend. When we broke up, his father was sliding into dementia and I asked him to keep me updated on his dad’s health if there were any major changes. He also had some elderly women in his church that I had gotten to know pretty well and so we agreed to give health updates to each other on important people.

So when I got an email with the subject line “Sad News,” I thought that his dad had probably taken a turn for the worse and that was sad but you now, his dad had lived a good life and was elderly, and this happens. But it wasn’t his dad.

It was his 13-year-old goddaughter, who had been killed by a car. Maggie was crossing the street on her way home from a dance class, in the crosswalk, with the light. She was hit by a car and died on the way to the hospital. She was almost 14.

Although I haven’t seen Maggie or her family (or my ex) in over a year, I am devastated. Her parents were my ex’s best friends, more like family to him than his family. he had been friends with Maggie’s dad since they were in 7th grade and with Maggie’s mom since their freshman year of college. He had been on family vacations with the three of them, had 13 years of photos and artwork and notes from Maggie, who referred to him as her uncle. We went for dinner there every month and he went more often. Every vacation we took together, we got a gift for Maggie.

One year we took a vacation to Veracruz, Mexico. We got Maggie a hammock, not realizing that they didn’t have trees to hang it from. My ex and Maggie’s dad stood in the living room, trying to hold up the ends of the hammock and lift her off the ground while she laughed hysterically. I had my ex buy her flowers for a dance recital a few years ago. He said it was boring and that he didn’t want to go. I said he was her godfather and basically her uncle and he had to. He said it didn’t matter because she would just take the flowers, say thanks, and go back with her friends. I said that is totally age-appropriate and one day she would remember how he came every year with flowers and how special that was. Only she never made it that long.

She was an only child. She was very close to her parents and good with adults and their lives revolved around her, but not in a bad way. I don’t know how they are even still breathing.

I won’t get to say good-bye. Unless he invites me to the memorial, it wouldn’t be appropriate for me to go and even if he did, I’m not sure. I’d have to bring someone with me and that’s a weird ask, “Will you go to the funeral of a child you don’t know so I don’t have to be alone?” My mind is not letting me believe this really happened. I wrote her parents a condolence card and in the back of my head keep thinking that they’re going to be so annoyed because clearly their daughter is fine. I’m exhausted from trying to make myself believe it’s real, and I feel guilty that I’m this sad when it’s not about me, I’m not her family. But I was close to it for a while.

Obviously, being depressive doesn’t help any of this. Everything feels so much stronger and sadder than it would, I’m sure. And all my grief about the break-up is coming back. I don’t want him to have to go through this alone, but he chose that.

So I guess I did have words. But I still don’t, because nothing I’ve said has made one bit of difference. It’s too much.


The Birthday I Wanted and the Birthday I Got

July 31, 2017

It was my birthday on Thursday. Birthdays were, for some reason, one of the only things my family did really well. No matter how depressed my mom was, she’d make a birthday cake and give me great ideas for parties: costume parties, pool parties, skits, games, and more. My dad would get into it and help and be silly and it was always really fun.

Maybe because of that, I still really like birthdays, even at my advanced age of just turned 42. But it’s also hard to not have expectations or dreams of what my perfect birthday would be. It’s even harder because I’ve had what I’d consider my ideal birthday.

My ex-boyfriend also did birthdays well, because he knew I loved them. For my 40th birthday, he took the day off work and we went to my favorite places in San Francisco: the mural stairs, the Japanese tea garden, the Palace of the Legion of Honor, and an excellent seafood restaurant even though he doesn’t eat seafood. It was a wonderful, wonderful day, and I think we ended with watching the sun set over the ocean. Then he had all my friends over for a potluck with a children’s book theme, where people got really creative and had a lot of fun. He did a really good job and made it really special, even though he’s not a big birthday person.

That’s what I wanted again. And it’s harder, because it’s not a baseless fantasy – I’ve had this. I wanted someone for whom I am the first priority to spend the day with me, flowers, natural beauty, nice walks, good food, cake, and quality time. I wanted reassurance that I was that special for someone.

That’s not what I got. But what I got was very good, if in a totally different package. My housemate got me balloons and gummy bears, because she knows I love gummy bears. One dear friend sewed me pillows that have black labs on them because they look just like my dog. Over a hundred people wrote on my Facebook timeline to wish me a happy birthday, and while Facebook does prompt people to do that, some of them were really personalized. Others called or texted. A student’s family showed up because I had told them that they could meet the dog, and they brought me a beautiful bouquet, birthday cards, and a Target gift card. A few friends went 80s dancing with me on my actual birthday, which was a wonderful escape. Two friends who don’t know each other went out to dinner with me on my birthday.

Then the absolute crowning event for my birthday was a friend who threw me a birthday party. She asked me if I’d like that and I was a little nervous because she is someone who struggles with a lot of fatigue and her own issues and who also does events really well, down to the last detail, so I didn’t want her to take on more than she would be comfortable with and I wasn’t sure if I wanted to be the center of attention with the depression/anxiety struggles.

So I was honest. I said that I didn’t have the bandwidth to plan anything and I didn’t have the money either. And that it sounded like a wonderful offer but if there was any way she’d be resentful or would need me to do anything, that it wouldn’t work, and that I would still appreciate the offer. She said she would love to do it for me.

She asked a few others to co-host and it was absolutely beautiful. The co-hosts made amazing, amazing food, and the hostess had thought to make it a Moroccan theme because I love Moroccan food (and have been to Morocco!) She made me a wonderful memory book, with photos and memories from each friend who came, as well as photos of the flowers and food. She remembered that I love princess cake (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Princess_cake) which is fairly unusual and got that.

It was amazing. I had friends from church, knitting, and other places I can’t even remember. There was not one person there who knew everyone, except for me. And people mingled, and got to know each other, and made new connections. I was worried that people would feel awkward, and it didn’t seem that way. I saw really excited conversations between people who had never met. And I had people who have been part of my life for periods of time from between 6 months and 17 years all together for me.

So, I didn’t get what I had wanted. But what I got was a beautiful, beautiful gift, and I’m so grateful.


Worry, Worry, Worry

July 24, 2017

I can’t remember if I’ve mentioned this here, but fairly recently, a friend of mine, who is an atheist/agnostic, depending on the day, called me out on something. She said, “Listen. You believe in this God who takes care of you. You believe in a God who created you and loved you. That should make a difference in your life.” She went on to explain that this was something she (and a to of people) didn’t have. She doesn’t believe there’s any higher power or anything past humans, and she thinks that if I believe that, my life should reflect it. I should have more hope than people without this.

She explained it better, but you get the idea. If I believe in a loving God, who I can even TALK to, why doesn’t this make a difference?

I need it to make a difference. Either I believe this or I don’t. If I do, then I should, well, not give up worry entirely, because I’m human, but I should have a basic confidence that God is with me. Who can be against me? What can “man” do to me? I shouldn’t be afraid of housing prices or illness or anything else, but have a “peace that transcends all understanding.”

I know that a lot of people who read this are not necessarily people of faith, but many of you are. Do you have any ways to remember this, really deep down? As someone very very prone to anxiety and depression, this is essential for me to not go down.