Thursday, May 12, 2016

This Ain't No Vacation

"Im not lazy. I'm just exhausted from  fighting myself though every, single day."
 - Mimi Love

I'm on a leave of absence from my job at the moment due to depression and anxiety.

Can I finicially afford to be off work?

Well thanks to my work benefits I do get a little bit of money…but my entire salary at the moment does not even cover my overhead costs.

I have a house. I have a car. I have three kids. Who play hockey!!

Do I want to get better and return to work?

Of course I do for the love of the baby Jesus!!

So why do some people seem to have some sort of notion that I'm on a fucking vacation?

I am pushing myself hard. I try to get out of the house. More often than not I am pushed by the realities of my life - like looking after my boys or getting groceries (both of which I get extra help for from my family) and occasionally to make the short trip to my boyfriend's place (because I tend to to feel better when I'm with the people that I love). Also, of course, doctors' appointments.

Because I live alone half the time, it is particularly hard to get myself doing much of anything at the moment. That is a symptom. I feel down and/or anxious and am so depleted of energy that my first inclination is to make it go away.

My bed is my escape of choice.

I spend a lot of time curled up in my bed agonizing how I should be doing this and doing that and doing more to get better…and hoping to fall asleep for a little reprieve from trying so hard.

I have better days than others - which is a good thing. Sometimes I am feeling down and get a little glimmer of light from somewhere and it reminds me of who I am.

And let's be clear.

I am not my depression.

It's just a shitty thing I'm dealing with. Sometimes I need to adjust things to get back on track. But I am not my depression.

What I know - at least intellectualy - is that I'm a pretty awesome chick.

I'm not perfect…but I know I'm generally a good person, a kind person, a funny person, a person who loves to laugh, a person who loves other people, a person who likes to help others and also have fun.

That's who I am.

But right now…I am taking wobbly, little steps.

For example, some days I eat fairly normally. Some days I practically don't eat at all. One day recently, my folks told me they were taking me out for lunch and so they did and I ate and while it felt good to get out I was also exhausted afterwards.

This ain't no vacation.

I have times when I can smile and laugh - but part of me still feels a certain numbness or yearning inside.  I know laughter is the best medicine - but that at the same time, sometimes I just cry instead. And I usually don't really know why. And this feels so disjointed and confusing because I have such wonderful people and things in my life. I have a lot to be happy about.

So what's the deal?!?

I ask this a lot. Because it is so fucking confusing. Even to someone going through it.

But I know it is a sickness. A chemical imbalance. Something I don't have total control over - but also it's a situation where I know I have to me my own biggest cheerleader, even when the last thing I want to do is cheer.

You have to want to get better.

And I do.

I recently went to a fundraiser event for a friend - and normally I would have actually been excited to attend. This time I felt a bit anxious and ambiguous about the whole thing. I pushed myself - and when I got there…I saw great friends and had a good time.

I even went to a huge, bucket-list-worthy concert this past week and I had a great time. But I also felt a little overwhelmed and over stimulated and…it was a lot. Again, I'm glad I went because it was a great show I will never, ever forget…but now it's over.

What do I have to look forward to now?

What is next?

What is this journey trying to teach me?

Because I know there is another side to this.

The light.

I feel like I'm moving slowly but surely in the right direction but it's a slow process. It's difficult to do things that go completely against exactly what you feel like doing when you are depressed - which is nothing.

But I push.

I set small, daily goals. I'm trying to eat healthily. I know I need to move my body more - and I know I will get there. I know I need to expand my life to include more time for my passions - like singing and acting. And I've started to explore options for this.

But doing too much all at once is too overwhelming right now. It's such a hard thing to explain to people who have never been in this place. But I'm doing the best that I can. And that has to be good enough.

I keep telling myself that it is good enough. I will get there with each, little step.

And because this is not my first rodeo, I know I will probably come out of this even stronger than I was before.

But in the meantime - this ain't no vacation.

It's work.

It's some really, really hard work.




  1. Oh my God you captured this so well. It is so frustrating to have people not understand. I'm a mother like you…and am motivated to get better as well. But people need a better understanding of what depression is and what it isn't. Thanks for this post and for being honest with your journey.

    1. Thank you for your comments. Stay strong and we will both see the light. And hopefully others will too. Take care. Lora.

  2. It is definately not a vacation and I know the feeling of having people wonder why you need time off work if work is not the problem. No one questions if you have an obvious, physical condition. But the truth is, this is physical as well as mental. It is a chemical imbalance in the brain. What if we had a chemical imbalance in our heart for example? Would people be so judgmental or so quick not to understand? No. They wouldn't. Stay strong. You are on the right path and you are sharing your experience which is only going to spread awareness and help others who are hurting. Please continue to write about your progress. Even if it is two steps forward and one step back. That is progress! And as you said...hard work. I know. Take care of yourself and don't listen to the "noise". Know you are doing the best thing you can do for yourself right now which is focussing on your health. So many don't and end up in a deep hole. Thank you for letting people know that it is OK...even if sometimes you don't even believe it. I believe it as I have been there. Bonnie, Dallas, Texas.

    1. Thanks Bonnie for your thoughtful words of compassion, understanding and encouragement. In turn, this helps me. I appreciate your readership and support. Lora.