On Mental Health

A Reluctant Monday

Eight years ago this past weekend I was heading on a blog-related trip to Chicago and I wrote a super-benign entry about mousse and the liquid ban at airport security. I read that entry 100 times in the following weeks because the girl who wrote that seemed so surreal and magical. She didn’t know her Dad was dying, I guess neither did he, maybe. But she would get a phone call as the plane was boarding from her Dad’s doctor that would start a whirlwind of chaos until his eventual death 6 weeks later.

So this is always a weird time of year for me. I tend to spend these 6 weeks in a weird permanent state of grief as the calendar just serves as a constant reminder of what these weeks meant in 2009. The days in ICU, the angry days still at the hospital, the somber trip home, and the eventual first out-of hospital dialysis that would be the final straw to help him decide he didn’t want to continue dialysis or pursue treatment, then hospice and then the tidying of affairs and the waiting to die.

I was able to try to ignore all of that this weekend in the chaos of our trip with Eliah but today I can feel it settling in.

I don’t want the memories.

And that trip with Eliah – it was amazing – but it didn’t end how we wanted. While the show was superb (I saw it THREE TIMES) and the basketball game was won in the final seconds (I screamed like a crazy person), they didn’t actually come out the College Night victor. I saw so many of his friends just sobbing while he stayed strong and gave out hugs and told everyone to be proud. Watching him this weekend was a gift of stepping into his world and seeing his friend who love him and watching him lead in a way I could never do…it was an amazing experience making me even more reluctant to embrace today. I don’t know when the next time we’ll spend a long weekend with him will be as he graduates in a few months. I didn’t want the weekend to end with him or with my brother and sister-in-law. Seeing them always fills my heart and starting this Monday means I have to officially end our wonderful weekend together.

I don’t wanna.

And then there’s the fact that I haven’t really kept up with the news since Thursday. I posted some actions on Facebook for a bill we have in the Alabama legislature this week that would allow discrimination against LGBTQ families in the foster care system, but other than that? Completely out of touch. And I’ll be honest…I kinda liked it. I know that’s a sign of my privilege. My white skin protects me from people questioning my citizenship when I travel or assuming my intentions if I’m dressed a certain way, my middle-class status protects me from removal of free health care funding, my husband’s job-provided healthcare protects me from losing ACA, my lack of religion protects me from questions about my Faith and terrorist ties…I’m safe. My heterosexual relationship and my age keeps me out of concern of who is allowed to foster or adopt in my state. My privilege allows me to turn off the world for a weekend, and I am aware of that and I promise I’ll tune back in today.

But I’m reluctant.

If you struggle with mental health issues like I do, the dark days are happen. I felt this weight on me as I made my coffee this morning. I chose my Practice Reckless Optimism mug because I have weird spiritual relationships with my coffee mugs and I only drink out of a few because they all have the power to lift my spirit.

[Previous paragraph edited from version my blog sent in email. Casual references of a past mental health issue seemed to be misinterpreted.]

But even as I picked it up I felt burdened by dread for the day. The day that ends my sheltered weekend and forces me back into the real world where I have to stay alert about politics and legislation, where I have to relive the terrible days of 2009, where I have to start to accept my son is about to leave college and move on to his future, where I have to deal with the chaos of our home sale (still delayed) and work chaos after taking two days off and catching up on volunteer obligations and…and…AND.

Most Mondays bring me joy as I love the feeling of the start of a new week, a clean slate. But today? I just want to curl up in my bed and listen to some podcasts that make me laugh all day.

Is that too much to ask?

Let’s be kind to each other. Maybe your kindness to people you encounter today will create ripples of love that reach me on this reluctant Monday.

6 thoughts on “A Reluctant Monday”

  1. Your mental health is not the price you have to pay for your privilege. Listen to yourself, the thought of re-entering the 24 hour news cycle has you writing about suicide.

    Donald Trump is uniquely horrible and his election was a tragedy. But if it had been 30 years ago you would have had to wait until the evening news -or even the Sunday paper!- to find out what he did that day. And you STILL would have been a kick ass activist. This news/Facebook/twitter cycle is a trap for you. Let yourself out.

  2. I only got about 4 hours of sleep last night and when I came in to work one of my co-workers had bought me coffee just because. It was a nice bright spot in my Monday. Hopefully you have a few bright moments today, too.

  3. I agree with Jenny. Please pick one or 2 issues and concentrate on them.Let you newsletter have reporters. Designate people to follow what is happening in different governing bodies with the legislation and report to you for the newsletter.

    I had never thought about the guns in the house aspect of suicide. There have always been guns in my house. Now I do know how to use them, but I really haven’t thought about using them, even in the very dark period I went through 10 years ago. My truth is that the one night that was really bad, it was when I was looking into a bottle of ambien. I do need it to stay asleep. I took it to another place in the house, to where retrieval would give me long enough to think it out. I also realized that the depression was being exacerbated by extreme fatigue from being awake 3 to 5 hours in the middle of every night. That time is gone now and has stayed gone for years.

    As for the deep depression regarding your Fathers death, I do hope that you find one or several ways to cope with his death on the day it happened. It took my 10 years to figure out how to finally grief and let my Moms death go. She had been given 6 to 12 months after a diagnosis of pancreatic cancer. I visited her twice and she traveled to see us once (She lives in NY) I went up a week before she died and helped with decisions to move her to a hospice house – New york has a fantastic law that allows residences for 2 people without the state requirements that a nursing home or large scale hospice would require. I said my goodbyes and made the decision that I would not be there at the time of her death. I went the next day. My sister in law later described t it to me. I thought all was processed. As it approached the 10 year anniversary, my counselor pointed out that I was mentioning my Mothers death a lot, and there appeared to be a part that I had not yet grieved. (smart lady)On the anniversary I went to the botanical Garden( a place she loved to visit when here). I lingered in the Garden of Hope. I felt relieved. I went home and went in the backyard with my CD player and started to listen to my guided walk in the woods meditation with my trusty meditating dog at my side. Half way throughI started to sob- like really ugly cry and just said over and over, I’m sorry- then Im sorry Mom that I was not there when you died. Good thing the only person that was outside was my neighbor , who was on her riding mower. I am sure she saw, but luckily she s a licensed counselor and therefore didn’t think I was nuts, or come over to see what was wrong. I needed my own space to process.

    Well now that I hijacked your blog, I hope there is something in here that can help you

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