Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Not Alone

The last few months have been full of ups and downs - ha, surprising, I know. More downs than ups, but I guess that's to be expected, all things considered.

Once a week on Sunday afternoons I go to a friends house and we play board games, D n D, or just watch movies. But mostly, we laugh. There are no kids running around, no loud pressing groups of people to set off the social anxiety, no loud noises, just fun with a few people I love, and lots of laughter. I usually end up going home feeling recharged and ready to face the week.

Last week was not one of my better weeks, though, in spite of all the things I do to try to cope with the down days. One of the days I was pretty sure I was going to have to walk myself across the street and check myself back into the psyche ward because I could feel myself slipping.

That "I just can't do this anymore. I don't want to do this anymore. I'm done." feeling. Perhaps you know this feeling. I think everyone knows this feeling. The danger when I feel that is that it's two steps from "Ok then, end it, already." And I can't do that. I'm not allowed. I'm needed.

So instead, I call my psychiatrist and say, "Hey, my meds need to be adjusted, because I can't talk myself out of this slide, and I feel like I'm going to be a danger to myself really soon." And then I wait until he calls me back. If it's a day where he's working the floor at his hospital, which it was last week, I end up waiting a while. If it's a long wait and I feel it getting worse, I then call a friend or sister-in-law, arrange for the kids to be taken, tell the hubster to take me out to a movie, anything, I don't care what we see, I just need to get out of my head for a while, and then take a xanex to sedate my brain enough to wait for the change in meds. Because I have help, I have people who love me, I can do this.

It can't be easy for the people who live with me to deal with my ups and downs. My mood swings that go from exuberant and excited tail-wagging puppy to curl up in bed and not move because I suck, I suck, I suck. Yet they do. I've discussed it with my kids and they try to understand. My eight year old understands the anxiety more than she understands the depression, but she is the sweetest little thing on my bad days.

Today my cousin linked a blog entry that I found touching. Robin Merrill Kramer's blog entry about dealing with her husband's ups and downs. And while I'm not on her side of the fence, my husband and kids are. And I admire her viewpoint and strength as much as I admire the folks suffering with mental illness who continue to fight the fight.

I have to admit, though. It's so nice to know I'm not alone in this fight. I know there are people who don't understand. My mother is one of them. She just doesn't get it, or understand why I won't stand up in church and do a flute duet with her now, or why I curl up and hide in bed when the kids are being normal kids and laughing and being loud and it triggers the anxiety. And that's ok. I'm glad she doesn't understand.

But there are people who do get it. There are people who live it. There are people who care, who pray, who hug and hold and don't judge me if I have to leave church early or if I can't make it at all. Who understand that I can't do the things I did a couple of years ago. Who step up and help and are angels.

Oh, it's such a relief to know I'm not alone.