It's been a long time.
I don't really know how I feel about blogging anymore. But I'm here writing a post now, so let's just take it one day at a time...
I sleep less and feel more. I need to start writing again. I need to pick a novel off the bookshelf and get reading. No novel sounds good, unless it's about Paris, but that hurts too. I don't really think about that as much anymore but it still hurts. And you have no idea what I'm talking about...Paris, of course! Croissants, and la vie est belle, and I need it.
I'm thinking about reading In Search of Lost Time by Proust but it's so big and scary I doubt whether my noggin' can handle it. I can try though. I used to read complicated books but since depression has taken over my life reading gets complicated. I miss my old bookworm ways, like a lot. When I read I worry about panic attacks, and all the anxiety comes in and it's real scary. I still love reading though, and usually it goes fine, so I can't give up.
I have to stop thinking about sad things and everything bad that could happen. But that's a big wish with an anxiety disorder and depression. This morning I woke up almost ok with being alive...almost. That's, as Donald Trump would say "biggly".
It's really hard to move forward with your life when you are in a 3 month depression that doesn't want to leave, dealing with intense chronic pain from fibromyalgia to the point that you can hardly function, having sky-rocketing anxiety that isn't responding to medication, and a PCOS flare. Well, that's exactly where I'm at and I'm moving forward anyway.
Even though I may be stuck on the couch most days due to pain, I'm reading books that are helping me define who I am and find more happiness, I am also making jewelry that I hope to sell on Etsy and am enjoying being creative. On days I can stand and move a bit I doll up and go on solo self-love date where I grab a coffee and journal and then treat myself to a thrift store run. I also am slowly learning to bake (and burning things quite frequently), but not giving up! I water and care for the garden every day and am planning on creating a gorgeous rose garden, I love my life and even if it hurts I'm taking care of things. I am loving Ronald and trying to be more and more vulnerable and open with him (I hate being vulnerable HATE). I'm also reaching out and trying to make some new friends and I have intensive therapy sessions twice a week. I'm also returning to writing which is so hard and lovely at the same time. I've been seriously ill for 12 years now and I just want to move forward and live a simple and happy life.
Ronald and I have struggled so much. It's very isolating and we've lost a lot through this struggle. We are trying to take our lives back and get me better. Ronald is an amazing support for me. He has taken over all the chores while working 50+ hours a week, he comforts me and reminds me that my illness is just that, an illness and not a character flaw or who I am. I just adore him more and more. We have been married nearly 13 years but lately things feel so new between us. I think it's because I am able to see some light at the end of the tunnel so we have a new way to connect. It's exciting, it's scary, we keep moving.
Sitting at the dining room table looking at all my houseplants set on my childhood dresser that was vintage when I got it second hand in the eighties. Outside sways my swing, three years old and falling apart. My favorite rest place in our house, one hundred dollars worth of happiness. It's breaking down, and sun damaged. On the mess of our deck are roses, peony, violets. Flower pots waiting to be filled with green treasure. Next to the deck, close and kissing, is our growing mimosa tree. Sprouted from nowhere, just for us. It's frothy pink blooms covered in bees, pollination at it's best. I try to settle and think of it all.
I'm struggling. As my therapist says I'm "in it". Depression is...lots of awful. I don't really leave the house during the week other than going to therapy. I am lucky if I shower. I sit watching a baking show over and over because it makes me feel calm and like I might be able to make something with my hands one day. I cry a lot and panic, even on meds, and wake up in the middle of my nightmare sleep so sad without knowing exactly why. Waking heartbroken and tearful in the night is even worse than waking from a nightmare sweating and racing. I get both, lucky me.
I'm past and present heartbroken. I think of past things. Saying goodbye to Lisbon and how I had no idea how that trip would ease my depression for almost a year. Crying all the way home, filling airports and airplanes with tears. Not knowing how lucky I was for a break or how the depression would come back in March. Only knowing I left a lot there. On those cobblestone streets from the 17th century. I found and lost myself and little bits of my heart are scattered across the world. No one knows but me.
I try to stay present. I meditate. Get to the market when I'm lucky. Today buying bunches of peonies like sweethearts. They say I'm making progress. Committed to getting better. Doing the best I can. Developing dreams for my life. I feel none of it. I feel failure and suffocation. Not all the time, there is some good, but goddamn I don't know if I'd do this again.
Then I realize that isn't worth thinking about. I'm here and if they say I'm on my way, then I'm on my way.
Then I realized that the reason I felt most like myself when I had a week alone was because it was easier to not fall into my old patterns that don't suite me anymore. I'm forging a new identity. I had this breakthrough just a few weeks ago, that I don't want my identity to be based on my illness. It has been for a long time, and I'm over it. I don't want the narrative of my life to be "I'm sick, but..." I want it to be "I am myself. I am whole." that is what I'm working towards. A fully congruent life, ruled and mastered by me. Full of experience, conquering fear, and helping others.
I'm really excited about what the future holds. I'm going back to school to get a Bachelor's Degree in European History (there is a lovely story behind this too, that I'll share at some point). I'm going to start volunteering as well. I'm also garden-girl crazy, planning my one day farmer's market florist stand (that I'm hoping I can turn into an entire business), and teaching myself to bake. All these things feel great. Moving forward feels great.
Identifying the patterns I was in that no longer worked was/is a hard process, but it really has helped me become more myself. What patterns are you in that no longer serve you? What can you do to be unapologetically yourself?
Until next time, xox, C