It's been more than a month since I posted last. I hope everyone's having a great summer. So much has been happening here. My stepson, Ben, graduated from high school, my daughter, Katy, turned 16....Kimber became a "woman" if you know what I mean....which has drastically improved our relationship.
Lily got spayed, and all the pets (which include Muffin and Murphy) got micro-chipped, their teeth cleaned, updated on shots, medicated for fleas and muffin got a lion cut. He's so regal. :)
We leave at 4am monday for the airport. We're taking all 4 teenagers and I'm bringing Lily as my carry on. We're visiting my parents in North Carolina.
I've never flown with a pet at my feet before. If it were a straight flight, I'd be less stressed, but as it is, we will be flying out at 6 am for Dallas (4 hour flight), then switch planes, then another long flight to Raleigh NC. From there, we rent a van and drive 3+ hours to my parents place. One nice thing is that they found us a beach house to rent while we're there....so, after causing chaos all day with my parents, we'll be able to say "goodnight" and leave them with some peace and quiet and a chance to recover before the next day of chaos.
We're all really excited for the visit with my family. I'm not so much concerned about that, just flying with the dog. I had her groomed yesterday and got advise from her vet which basically amounted to not feeding her much until the trip is over with only a few laps of water here and there. The vet also said to keep her on benadryl every 8 hours starting just before we leave the house for the airport. She had to start on heart worm medicine because heart worms are rampant in NC....who knew?
If you've read much of my journal, you know that I've had a lifelong battle with depression. It's genetic, runs in my birth father's side of the family. I wasn't diagnosed until after my youngest daughter was born and I was having major post partum depression....once seeing my doctor and a counselor, I realized that the things I struggled with on a daily basis were due to depression (having a hard time getting out of bed, wanting to sleep nonstop, crying and emotional, blah blah blah)....that diagnosis was 13 years ago, I can't believe it. I've basically had it under control with the help of medication and wonderful doctors but have had at least 3 major setbacks during this period of time.
One of my last bouts of depression was in September of last year. I tend to deny that anything is happening, that I'm actually falling back into depression when it's happening....I'll blame PMS or whatever. Once the kids were back in school and I had time to myself I had to face the fact that I was feeling miserable and sad. When the kids were home over the summer, they kept me busy enough that I didn't have to deal with it. I went to see my doctor, who had been pushing me to see a psychiatrist, someone who specializes in medications. So, September 2005 I had a few visits with a wonderful psychiatrist who listened/interviewed me and who chose to do some different things with my meds. She also referred me to a wonderful therapist. I wanted to find someone who could help me come to terms with my quirks...as I tend to beat myself up over everything dealing with my "issues"....mainly ADD. I saw Susan Giberson almost weekly from mid September through early December. It was life changing for me.
I experienced 6 months of improvement, the longest time I'd gone in several of years where I wasn't battling depression on a monthly basis.
Looking back, I can now pinpoint the beginning of my most recent emotional dip back to March. Nothing horrible, but just the beginnings of
struggling emotionally.... I have recognized for the first time (although it's been a pattern for at least 3 different bouts of depression) that one of the first red flags that I'm heading towards depression is my need to "redo" my studio. This basically means that I begin dragging everything out of my studio and into my dining room which is across the hall. Every single time I've done this, it seems the poopoo hits the fan and I'm faced with chaos in the dining room and chaos in my studio. I become so overwhelmed by the chaos, that I shut down and can't even go into either room. In the midst of this happening, I was in denial that I was falling into depression again. The next red flag which points to my depression coming back is my tendency to withdraw from everyone outside my home....I stop answering emails, I don't answer my phone, won't listen to voice messages and don't call anyone. I'm not someone who will ask for help, instead, I just isolate myself and basically dig a hole and jump inside.
During the start of these red flags we had tons going on around here including a vacation to Hawaii (our first ever vacation since getting married in 2000), Artfest, filming That's Clever (for those who have asked....I will find out when my segments will air sometime in September), and a weekend trip to Vegas with girlfriends. I remember a doctor once telling me that during times of stress, medication doesn't work as effectively as it normally does. Maybe this is the reason things started coming undone for me....who knows.
After almost 3 months of the depression progressing and my denying what was actually happening, I fell apart. I felt so frustrated that it was happening again and honestly felt like I'd literally had only a month or two without depression....(now I know I had a blissful 6 months...but it REALLY felt like I'd JUST recovered and in a heartbeat I was suffering again). The only people I saw during this time were my immediate family and my neighbor, Tami. She could tell I was disappearing and would call and call and eventually ring my doorbell.
My husband works weekends and his official weekend falls on Mondays and Tuesdays. We planned for the girls to spend those two days with their dad so he could take me and escape the real world.
It was the perfect thing for me....hubby golfed, I went antiquing finding awesome treasures.
While I was there I remember thinking that the depression was something I would never kick...that I would struggle every month or so with it for the rest of my life. This wasn't a positive realization, quite devastating, in fact. How could anyone live this way?
Upon returning home I sat down at my computer and sent an email out to some friends who I'd not been in touch with during this recent bout of depression. In every episode of depression, after I withdraw and crumble....I begin to just beat myself up over not being able to be there for my friends....honestly, it's all I can do to be there for myself...but still, I start feeling the guilt and loneliness that comes with isolating myself. The majority of my friends know and understand me...trust me, you find out who your friends are when you're like me. I can say with all sincerity that when I'm feeling normal, I'm totally there for my friends. I've been so blessed with wonderful women in my life. I have made friends with artists online that I've come to love like sisters....
I know that I'm not the only person with issues and a life and difficulties...this is why I turn inward during my struggles...I know all too well that life is many things...awesome, beautiful, exciting and often times difficult and challenging. I'm a firm believer in the saying, "what doesn't kill me makes me stronger." When things are challenging for me, you're just not going to hear much from me...
not just you, my mother's not going to be hearing from me, my best friends don't hear from me and people who email me won't be hearing from me.
My sweet friend and neighbor, Tami (Larry's mom), came over upon my returning from the beach.
She sat with me in my studio and let me show her all my treasures from my "weekend trip"....
She showed me all her treasures from her Goodwill thrift store stop and we just talked....
I told her about the email I'd sent to friends apologizing for being a big pile of crap in the friendship department....told her about the responses I got back...most good, one bad. I cried as I told her I'd come to terms with the fact that I would be depressed for the rest of my life.....and...like true friends do, she said..."What?!?! NO WAY!~ You DON'T have to spend the rest of your life struggling with depression....get your butt to the doctor!!" You'd think that would have been a given, but it felt like a HUGE wake up call....so I did! I called my psychiatrist (whom I haven't seen since October or November), I left a message on her voicemail and she called me back right away. In tears I told her I'd been struggling and asked if she could help me....she said "OF COURSE!" and I went to see her the next day. This was about two weeks ago and I'm better...not 100% yet but my family and Tami have said that they can see in my face that I'm better....I get teary eyed and emotional, but it's not all the time. I know the stress of my upcoming trip is a factor in my not feeling completely well, but I'm okay with that.
If you're my friend and your reading this....please know I love you. I'm so blessed. I'm not a great friend when I'm sick....but it's because of me and not because of you.
So, now that I've walked away and watched tv with hubby for a bit, I'm wondering where all this is going and why I'm pouring it all out on this page. I can only think that it's meant to be...so there you go. I'm so grateful for everything in my life and want to encourage any of you reading this who finds themselves facing these same struggles, there's hope and help.