Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Robin Williams

I haven't written in this blog for a long time.  I've been busy between working full time, raising three teens (one who recently turned 21 and is no longer a teen) and living life there isn't much time to write a blog too.  Depression is part of my daily life, sometimes the pit is deeper than other times, but it has been manageable.

2014 is about to end and I'm so glad.  It was a year of endings for me.  Among other things my marriage ended and my grandmother died.  We lost a lot of wonderful celebrities too Shirley Temple, Mickey Rooney, Casey Kasem, Ann B. Davis, Lauren Bacall, Joan Rivers.  But the big one was Robin Williams.  I've seen so many posts about Robin Williams.  So many people who claim to have all the answers...he should've reached out!  He should've known how many people loved him!  Committing suicide is the most selfish act!  People who say they've experienced depression but managed not to kill themselves, or that have considered suicide but didn't do it, are very self righteous right now.

I'm going to go out on a limb here and say...maybe you don't really know what it was like.  You aren't Robin Williams.  In 1992-1993 I had the worst depression of my life.  I couldn't get out of bed most days.  Making it out in the late afternoon and getting to a doctor's appointment was a major accomplishment.  I had no life, no interests, no hobbies, nothing.  I wanted to be dead.  I thought that if I was dead then the pain would finally be over.

Some of my family and close friends noticed what was going on, and a few even asked me if I was thinking of harming myself.  Incredibly brave people they were!  I still thank God for them all the time.  I couldn't articulate my desire to be dead but that I didn't have any plans to do anything about it.  I remember distinctly driving on a windy road with trees along the side...wondering what speed I'd have to be going before I hit a tree to guarantee I'd die and not just be paralyzed.  I worried that my family would know it wasn't an accident and the fear of failure was probably all that kept me from trying.

I told them no, I wasn't thinking of harming myself.  It was a lie.  I didn't want to get into that discussion because I knew they'd never understand the difference between wanting to be dead and actually planning on doing it.  I was a chicken and afraid of all of the emotions that conversation would rile up.  Not in me, I didn't feel anything, but in my loved ones.  I was also afraid they might commit me against my will.  I wanted and needed help.  I didn't need to be locked up and medicated and electroshocked...okay, all I know about mental hospitals was from movies and books.

I managed to get out of the deep deep pit I was in.  Inch by slow inch.  It helped that I gave birth to an amazing baby boy (yes the 21 year old I talked about earlier) and he gave me a reason to keep trying.  I don't know what I would've done if I'd not been able to pull myself out.  At the time I didn't have medical insurance and I didn't have the wherewithal to even try to find those sliding scale places that are supposed to exist everywhere.  I did try and after three phone calls I hung up the phone and just sobbed.  It was too hard.

Suicide isn't a selfish act, not really.  It is an attempt to end the pain.

Saturday, August 16, 2014

To the Motorcyclist in Portland Oregon yesterday

I know I frustrated you yesterday when I kept changing my mind as I approached the metering light to the on-ramp.  The traffic ahead of me was doing the same and I didn't want to be the fourth car in one lane if only one car was ahead of me in the other.  Maybe you couldn't see what the cars ahead of me were doing and you were only paying attention to my car.  We had our windows open because my air conditioner is broken.  That gave you the perfect opportunity to yell into my car "Dude pick a lane and stick with it."

I didn't respond because 1. I'm not a dude and that should be obvious to anyone looking at me and 2. I had all three of my kids in the car and I need to set a good example for them and yelling at random motorcyclists on freeway on-ramps isn't a good example.  We're supposed to turn the other cheek, so I did.  I hope that you felt better and calmer after yelling at a middle aged woman in a junker car full of teenagers.

We were in rush hour traffic and I'm sure you were just on your way home.  I don't live in Portland, I was lost and hoping that the map app on my phone wasn't leading me astray.  You see, we had to drive to Portland in my 17 year old car with the broken air conditioning to see a liver specialist at Oregon Health and Science University for my son.  We can't afford a better car or to fix this car right now because despite having good insurance we still have too many medical bills.

I may be having more difficulty lately making decisions because I've had to make so many.  I have to make decisions that can affect my son for the rest of his life.  Should he take this medication that may save his life right now but cause a tumor later that may take it?  Should I put him through another liver biopsy when the last one gave me nightmares for weeks?  Should I pay this medical bill this week or buy food for my growing teens?  What will I do if my company lays me off this month or next?  You see, those decisions are more important to me than which lane I should occupy, even if my indecision is driving you nuts.

I know you will probably never see this entry in my blog but I still want to say I'm sorry that I made your commute more difficult yesterday.  I hope you can accept my apology and be a little more human in your next interaction with a random stranger because you never know what battles they are fighting.