I cannot begin to express my joy for the new year finally gracing us with her presence, my spirit is still happily spinning around and giggling at all the possibilities that this new beginning brings. I can finally shake the water off my back and begin drying off, after a year of slowly drowning in sorrow and anxiety, feeling lost and hopeless…….it was dark and scary, but here I am, pruned skin slowly warming as the waterlog slowly evaporates.
This air is sweet. It is fresh and filled with hope, something that I lost so early in 2014. Being overly optimistic can only carry you so far, so I learned. I was tripped one too many times and that’s when the water got deeper, creeping into my nostrils, stealing my breath.
Once the water crept in, my footing lost, I couldn’t stop the murky waters from filling my lungs, very literally making it hard for me to breathe. I found myself suddenly forgetting all other worries and stresses, consumed for my genuine inability to simply take a deep breath. I felt I was suffocating, and the very idea gripped my chest like a vice, my heart pounding, wondering if it would burst from my rib cage….. And then it would fade, my mind would cloud over with another tumbleweed of stress over car repairs, or unpaid bills and the mounting avalanche of debt rumbling in the background, always coming closer, always in the background, always a threat.
The phone became an alarm, a constant reminder that things were crumbling. The moment it rang, my stomach knotted and my knees were weak. The answering machine would catch the call for me, but the warning bell had sounded, and even if I enjoyed a solitary moment of rest, of mindless enjoyment in reading a story with my babies, or snuggling while watching a cartoon, it was that quickly stolen and murdered before my very eyes.
Enough became enough, and so the phone was simply unarmed. I pulled the plug and was instantly filled with near maniacal laughter, tears of joy and relief streaming down my cheeks. Was it the responsible thing to do? Bury my head in the sand while my broken mind tried to come up with solutions to problems too complex for it to understand anymore? No. But I felt glimmers of sanity the moment the plug was pulled, and that began to lead to my very slow, and still in progress recovery.
I got so used to falling in 2014, that I stopped standing up again. I crawled and only when there was absolutely no other option. I began expecting the worst, and I was never disappointed. When Desi got sick in August, it was devastating. I honestly thought he was dying, and honest and truly, he certainly could have. He had an abdominal obstruction, requiring hospitalization and a lot of money we absolutely did not have. Part of my regular, everyday anxiety is a fear of something happening to my loved ones, so this left me depressed beyond comprehension.
Depression is bizarre to those who have never truly experienced it. Until you feel it’s icy grip, you cannot possibly understand the power it has to completely shut down a person’s life. I have tried to explain it, but words can’t even begin to touch the anguish and despair that it brings along in it’s bag of nasty tricks.
Strangely enough, it was when Abe started stressing out about money and bills that I was able to snap to my senses. I am so familiar with the dark veil of depression that I always find myself overcompensating to make certain he never falls too deeply into it.
Every self help guru message, every happy go lucky mantra, any and all good things I could possibly come up with, I was showering Abe with. It became an obsession, playing happy and tending to him, reassuring him, distracting him, whatever I could do to keep him from falling, from even stepping foot near that nasty cesspool that still gripped my soul. This is around the time that we found out about donating plasma for money, something Abe did to fund Christmas for our babies.
I didn’t have the worry of the phone ringing non stop at all hours of the day, and the mail reminders are far fewer. As Christmas drew closer, I could feel hope beginning to creep back into my mind, shining some much needed light around the cob webs and the tumbleweeds. We had a very modest Christmas, but I had some cherished time spent with family that absolutely made the entire Christmas season for me. Gifts are nothing. My babies won’t look at this Christmas as “The One Where Santa Brought Us Cheap Toys.” Instead they will remember visiting family, having our Christmas Eve get together, the nearly two weeks of vacation time Abe took so we could just spend the day watching Netflix, or playing board games, or just sitting and watching them play blissfully together. It was magic, it was re energizing, and it was exactly what this mama needed so badly.
No matter what, we have each other. That. That, my friends, is what matters, and that is exactly what finally pulled me from the water.
I’m not “fixed”, but I’m doing better. My vision is clearing, I can see who and what matters. I am leaving 2014 with a long list of heartache, from Abe’s car accident and constant car repairs, mounting debts and rotten luck, to hearing about a family member being diagnosed with leukemia and even more family members so deep in the murky waters they contemplated suicide. It’s dangerous on these shores, so I am relieved to see them behind me at this moment.
Writing this down, I can’t help but feel utterly nude before you. I’ve shown you my cards, I’ve admitted to severe weakness. So not my style. But it’s real. It’s scary, and it’s awful, but I know I am not alone. Neither are you. And it does get better. It has to. Otherwise, all of us wading in this nonsense will grow gills and become kickass merpeople and we shall rule the world.