Wednesday, January 23, 2019

Mental illness is no indicator of failure

"If you've lost someone, please remember that mental illness has swallowed whole millions of well-loved people. It is no respecter of persons or families. It is no indicator of failure. It makes no concessions for intentions. It tempts us to take on its blame and shame, but that is a great lie."

I just read these words by Jen Hatmaker, posting about the suicide of her friend's 18-year-old son.

So powerful. I'm posting them as a reminder to myself and to others out there dealing with hard stuff.

Here's the rest of the post:
Dear ones, if you are struggling, feeling alone and hopeless, please call someone. Reach out. Ask for help. You are desperately wanted and needed on this earth. You are not alone. There is no scarcity of hope; a portion exists for you specifically. You are created with much purpose. God loves you entirely. You are not a mistake. 

If you love someone with mental illness, I send so much love and strength to you in your difficult, sometimes confusing, important work. Thank you for staying close. Thank you for intervening. May you find rest when you are weary. Ask for help. Let people love you too. Let them in. You are doing your very best. There is no handbook here. 

If you've lost someone, please remember that mental illness has swallowed whole millions of well-loved people. It is no respecter of persons or families. It is no indicator of failure. It makes no concessions for intentions. It tempts us to take on its blame and shame, but that is a great lie.

Sunday, January 20, 2019

Approaching one year

It's almost been a year. I feel like I should have something deep and personal to say. I keep wondering what I should say, what I should write. 
But the thing about my writing is that I never force it. Sometimes my fingers just fly, and sometimes there's nothing. And the thing about my grief-stricken brain is that I'm not even sure what I'm feeling right now. SO... that makes it really hard to write something deep and personal.
I've been warned that the approaching one-year anniversary - just a couple weeks away - might hit me really hard. And, like the anxiety I felt before the holidays, that kinda freaks me out. I already scheduled the day off, ready to feel all the feels and be with Mom and Eryn and do whatever feels right and appropriate in the moment.
But I found that the holidays weren't as bad as I feared. In fact, the anxiety was definitely more intense than the events themselves. Not to say that it was all unicorns and rainbows, because it definitely was not. The sense of loss was real - not just the loss of Dad, but also the loss of tradition in Mom's house (we'll never have Christmas morning there again) and things we always do (did?) as a family. Things were very different, and we adopted a no-rules attitude. We allowed ourselves the grace to do what felt right. And I think it worked well enough. 
I'm beginning to feel some normalcy in life. Granted, it's a new normal, but things don't feel as frantic and obsessive now. Part of that came from a short reprieve we allowed ourselves around Christmas. We've been working hard to prep Mom's house for sale and also prep the new house to move in. We took a little break from those chores, which can be consuming. Now we're back at it, as the finish line is nearing - Mom's extensive remodel is almost done, and the old house will soon be on the market.
We're all ready to have this part of the process behind us so we can move on. But I'm also grieving the loss of my childhood home and all the memories there. But I'm excited to get Mom and Eryn into their new spaces. But... see - lots of mixed feelings.
Then there's a bit of guilt, which I think is just part of this process. The more "normal" I feel life is getting, the more guilt I feel that I'm feeling normal. It's a bit of a catch 22.
Well, I guess I had a bit more to say than I thought I did when I sat down this evening in front of the computer. Not too deep, but definitely personal.

We'll see what the next few weeks bring. 

Wednesday, January 2, 2019

Nos. 48 - 53

No. 48 was Donna Andrews's How the Finch Stole Christmas:

No. 49 was Deck the Hounds by David Rosenfelt:

No. 50 was A Nancy Drew Christmas by Carolyn Keene:

No. 51 was 'Twas the Knife Before Christmas by Jacqueline B. Frost:

No. 52 was Debbie Macomber's Dashing Through the Snow:
I listened to a lot of trashy Christmas books while running errands and doing holiday chores :)

And my last book of the year was No. 53: Liz Thomas's Long Trails: Mastering the Art of the Thru-Hike:
Brad dreams of someday doing a shorter thru-hike - possibly the John Muir Trail :)

Monday, December 10, 2018

Nos. 41 - 47

No. 41: James Patterson's Merry Christmas, Alex Cross on audio book:
No. 42: Blake Crouch's Dark Matter on audio book. Brad recommended this one and it was worth listening to!
No. 43: Donna Andrews's The Nightingale Before Christmas on audio book:
No. 44: James Patterson's The Christmas Mystery on audio book:
No. 45: Jill Shalvis's One Snowy Night on audio book. Totally trashy and dumb :)
No. 46: Jan Burke's Liar:
No. 47: Angie Thomas's The Hate U Give on audio book. It was so good - highly recommend!

Wednesday, December 5, 2018

Maybe I *am* mad

Months ago, my therapist asked if I was angry. Anger hasn't been one of my overwhelming emotions during these past (almost) 11 months. But I'm starting to realize I do have some anger in there.

I'm absolutely not mad at Dad. He was ill - and looking back at the 42 years we spent together, I see that more and more. All those times I thought he was just being a poop about stuff - not wanting to participate, getting angry about dumb stuff, acting like a doofus - that was his illness.
But now I'm starting to admit that I am angry that he worked so very hard to overcome these struggles and wasn't healed. He sought counseling and medication and prayer and meditation and exercise - all the things you're supposed to do. And it didn't work. He still, in whatever was going through his head in those moments, ended his life.

Am I mad at God? Maybe. I have good understanding of free will and all that. But he still could have healed my dad. Why do some people receive healing and some don't?? I guess that's the age-old question asked by everyone dealing with suffering.

I'm mad that my life has been disrupted to the point that I'm barely hanging on. I'm mad that I have to triage my daily tasks just to get through. I'm mad that I don't have the time or energy to enjoy the holidays like I want to. I'm mad that I'm not happy like I used to be. I'm mad that Mom has to move. I'm mad that she has to deal with all these things (moving, remodeling, house repairs) on her own. I'm mad that my mom lost her life partner.

I'm mad that my sister is struggling and is just as wiped out as me. I'm mad that Brad has to spend all his energy taking care of me. I'm mad that when people ask how I am, I have to decide whether to tell the truth or just say I'm fine.

I'm mad that my grandparents weren't better parents to my dad. I'm mad that my dad felt so desperate to have a relationship with his father that he basically traded his life for Grandpa's in the end. I'm mad that I have to live the rest of my life without my dad. I'm mad that I wasn't a better daughter. I'm mad that I wasn't more compassionate to his struggles.

I think the list could go on and on. That's all for now. No neat-and-tidy bow - just my feelings.

Saturday, December 1, 2018

Saturday, November 17, 2018

Holiday grief

The holidays are confusing right now. I want to be festive, but more than anything, I'm just exhausted. And I'm struggling to know the "right think" to do with celebrations and such.
I think the key is for people to be supportive and understanding. I don't need to be told how hard the first holiday season is/will be. Duh. I simply need your love and a little patience as I navigate this time.

This illustration is a good start to understanding how I feel.