Telling the Blues

Starting Here

You wouldn’t know it by my writings I am extraordinarily private about much of my life, especially if it is imperfect in my own eyes. I intimated I was struggling in my last somewhat personal writing, here Introversion and the Blues, still, it doesn’t tell the entire story. I find I haven’t had the words, my voice simply silenced by my internal war with depression. I could not find a way to tell the story of my own fear, melancholy and my failure to be compassionate toward myself.

The truth, while this isn’t the first time I have been laid low by depression it has been one of the worst. It was exacerbated by external influences, some over which I had control but chose to push to the limits and others over which my control was limited if not non-existent. I allowed others inside my world, wanting to believe they had my best interest at heart, even while knowing they did not. I dug my hole deeper, shook my soul harder turned myself inward, allowed myself to be hurt, time and again and ultimately doubting myself, questioning myself, my value and my worth.

There were days when the sun came up and I despaired that I had woken with the sun. There were nights, I lay down and prayed for that one last seizure that would stop my breath and heart.

Terrible, I know. Terrible to write the words. Terrible to admit that I felt this for so long. Terrible to acknowledge there are times I still feel this way some nights, some mornings.

The truth is, my blues had gripped me hard this time and initially I had not realized just how hard or for how long they have had me in their grasp. I kept thinking I am out of it, the fog is lifted I am moved beyond this thing but the truth is, I hadn’t. I keep looking for the starting point, that place in time I can put a stake in the ground, in my soul, in my psyche; when did it start where the Y in the road had appeared and I took that path that led here, to this place right now. Honestly? I don’t know. There are so many intersections over the past five years, so many points in time.

I am so grateful there are a few beloved friends and family members who saw my despair and continued to stand by me, shake me now and then, reach into my self-imposed bubble of silence and demand my participation. They did this even when I retreated further into my natural state of isolation. It would have been so easy to stand aside, let me draw my darkness closer and allow me to withdraw further knowing my introversion was simply part of my personality but that this was different. They saw me and saw this was more, this was dangerous and they sometimes kicked the shit out of me and other times just gently prodded me into the world, if even just for an hour or two.  These diehards, who dug in knowing I was closer to the edge than I would ever admit to withstood my rejections, my absolute and outright sometime lies of “I am fine, really”. They threw lifelines and drug me through and demanded I stay in the world, even when my one true desire was to give up when the world seem pitiless and I wanted nothing more than to get up and get off.

depression4

Am I beyond this funk, this fog, this blue? No, really I am not yet. But I know it has been clinging to me and I get that I have been reacting badly, letting too much of my life be taken over by this terrible. I know I have made some horrible choices because I was hurting. I know I allowed others to hurt me because I was hurting and thought they were the most I deserved. I know now I nearly broke myself because I didn’t heed the warning signs, I didn’t listen to my own heart and soul when I screamed. Thankfully, even during this time, I have made some great choices too. I have done some good things for .  myself though I nearly took myself to the brink of destruction and lost it all.

Is it over? No, not yet. I have recovery to do. I have to find those doors to walk through, those steps to take to recover what I have lost. I have to find ways to be healthy, to embrace what I know and allow others to take care of me when I need it. It is time for me to start the slow climb back, emotionally, financially, physically and elsewhere in my life so I can live with all the choices past, present and future. It is time to re-engage the world on my terms, without apology or recrimination. I have to recognize I am subject to the Blues, not let them overtake my world, destroy what I build and be proactive or one of these days I won’t have the opportunity to say no more.

For those who suffer from Depression, I get it. This is hard. It is always hard. We lose so much every single time. Do not do this alone, reach out if you can and if you can’t let others reach in grab the lifelines they throw.

Friends, Lovers et. al.

It has been a strange, trying and even sometimes miraculous few years. My world turned inside out, upside down and sideways. I lost myself, struggled to find the way through to a new normal and all too frequently wondered just what in the hell normal really was.

I find, my new normal isn’t normal at all. In fact, I find my new normal is constantly shifting under foot and I am frequently reevaluating to test theories. Just when I think I have it down, when I think I am settled on the answer for what ‘normal’ needs to be I prove myself wrong or slightly off center and must try again. So what is it, is it me? Is it my expectations? Is it the world we live in? Really, what is it? I surely wish someone would let me in on the secret, this constant shifting of the sand under my feet, it is making me dizzy as hell and I am tired.

The past week has proven to me I am not who I believe myself to be, at all. Most days I think I have a larger portion of bitch than most, you know tough girl bitch. Been there, done that and come out the other side, bitch. Not mean girl bitch, simply not going to take your shit, bitch. Then something comes along to prove me wrong, someone meanders through my day and I am pulled up short, set back on my heels and sent searching my soul and asking my monsters, ‘hey, wtf, where the hell did you hide my bitch!’

It isn’t that I pride myself on bitchiness. It is simply life has taught me I need some of this to protect me from harm, from the hurt the world and other people will do if I don’t surround myself with12341638_10208005258989848_2508813082028178841_n a hardened exterior. But I am weak, I am soft. I am figuring this out also. I forgive easily and I don’t like hurting other people. I have a difficult time turning my back on those I love or have loved even when they have broken me, even when they have consistently placed themselves and their desires ahead of me. Still, I have a very difficult time saying, ‘get the fuck away from me’. I don’t do ‘No more’, easily. I don’t draw boundaries easily, I don’t like to feel as if I am the source of other people’s pain.

Now, just how truly stupid is that? Really, how truly stupid can I be that I fail to place boundaries and walls that will protect me from future hurt. Even when those I am trying to prevent from hurting have proven they do not, will not and have not in the past shown the same consideration, the same concern.

Well the other side of this failure, I own my heart and forgiveness often leads to unexpected releases of held pain, even pain I did not know I still held. Despite my natural tendency toward isolation and introversion I reach outside of myself, leaving doors and windows open for people both old and new to sneak inside, around edges and corners leading to friendships unlooked for. Doors swing wide where I thought I had slammed them shut, where I had turned my back and wept my tears of hurt, frustration and pain. At the slightest breeze, the quietest knock I open the door and allow myself to be drawn back, without hesitation or trepidation even knowing how much pain the last encounter caused.

11210400_10207936403708509_5830202822718948331_nAm I an idiot? Perhaps, certainly I open myself to more pain. Surely I open myself to being hurt again. These relationships, these friendships are not always healthy and often difficult to sort out. This is especially true where the relationship wasn’t a friendship but a lover or a spouse. It is hard as hell to change the boundary, draw new lines in the sand and not rehash old hurts. It is difficult not to ask, ‘Why the fuck did you do this to me, do you know how badly you broke me?’

Yes, it is likely the other person knows. It is likely, both of you know the content of the ending. Whether short or long-term, whether lover or spouse one of you left, one of you ended the relationship. It is never mutual, no matter how you might portray it to the public. One of you was ready for it to end and the other was left in pain and wondering what happened and why you are alone and in pain.

Do you wonder what in Hades I am babbling on about today?

I have had a strange week. I am trying to sort relationships. Trying to not hurt those I care for. Trying to regain balance, take back my life and make healthy choices for myself. I recognized many things about myself over the past year, things I needed to understand about what I needed from relationships and from myself. I also realized just how easily I sometimes allow myself to be manipulated, not because I am weak but because I am by nature kind, beyond my kindness though is a history of not standing up for myself within ‘love’ relationships. This history goes back 40 years, is grounded in brutality, fear and force. I realized over the past year I haven’t shed some of my history, it remains rooted inside of me, a dark part of my make-up easily called up and easily taken advantage of; one of my personal monsters I clearly haven’t danced with in the light.

As I have struggled toward enlightenment, toward taking back all of me and all of who I want to be I have also fought to let go of hurt. Perhaps it is simply providence, this shedding of anger and 12507215_10208294405378327_4514737177470774775_nhurt this not holding on that out of the blue as I come more to peace with myself, the one person who had so deeply hurt me reached out to talk. Yes, my ex-husband sent a friend request on Facebook and we talked about God and being better people than we were before. We did not talk about why we failed, I don’t think for either of us it was relevant.

That, that one forty-five minute chat allowed me to finally let go.

So despite I ask my monsters to stop hiding my Bitch, maybe it is fine they leave holes in the wall for people to sneak through. Maybe, just maybe this is how I find myself and find peace. There is no going back, no true second chances. There are though opportunities to learn, to forgive and to forge links in the chains that bind us to the world and our own humanity.

What I Learned

Well it is time to finish up with the Minnesota trip, it was fabulous; great fun, great people and really two truly wonderful causes to support and talk about. I don’t want to end this on a sad or terrible note; however, I think it is important to remind everyone why we went to Minnesota, why we walked in the cold and the rain.

Kay Marie Sisto

Kay Marie Sisto

We walked in memory of Kay, one victim of domestic violence who lost her life. Please visit her sister Kim at My Inner Chick to learn more.

Some terrible facts about domestic violence, why this is important to support solutions and an end:

  • One in four women will experience domestic violence in her lifetime.
  • An estimated 1.3 million women are victims of physical assault by an intimate partner each year.
  • 85% of domestic violence victims are women.
  • Historically, females have been most often victimized by someone they knew.
  • Females who are 20-24 years of age are at the greatest risk of nonfatal intimate partner violence.
  • Nearly one-third of female homicide victims that are reported in police records are killed by an intimate partner.
  • Nearly 7.8 million women have been raped by an intimate partner in their lifetime.
  • Sexual assault or forced sex occurs in approximately 40-45% of all battering relationships.
  • 1 in 12 women and 1 in 45 men have been stalked in their lifetime.
  • Most cases of domestic violence are never reported to the police. 1

These are just some of the cold facts of domestic violence, for more read the domestic violence fact sheet. If you are a victim of domestic violence, please seek help there are resources available. If you know someone who is at risk, please reach out to them, assistance is available.

We learned the power of life through organ donation over this weekend also. We met Ed Dean, who received Kay’s lungs, saving his life. He drove twelve hours with his family to meet Kay’s family, walk in memorial, pray at her grave in thanks. It was a powerful testimony. If you aren’t an organ donor, please consider it there is so much need.

Mr. Ed Dean praying at Kay's Grave

Mr. Ed Dean praying at Kay’s Grave

What else did we learn and see?

Here are the last of the pictures from our four-day extravaganza in the great state of Minnesota.

We learned people still live in little red and white trailers. Even in the cold, the young man we suspect lived in this one was under the shelter with his computer, guess he didn’t get good reception inside. Isn’t this adorable?

Not a little red corvette

Not a little red corvette

We learned shopkeepers in Duluth are funny, just go ahead and shoplift in this store why don’t you? Prosecute and advertise!

Bad Criminals!

Bad Criminals!

We learned Red likes Moose chairs, isn’t she adorable? Please pay a visit the esteemed Red and her blog about the trip here.

A Throne for Red

A Throne for Red

We learned even wet and cold we can still smile!

To the end, dammit

To the end, dammit

We learned dinner with friends, both old and new makes things nearly perfect.

Friends, new and old

Friends, new and old

Thank you Kim, for the opportunity to participate and contribute; you welcomed us with open arms and made us feel part of a wonderful group of family and friends. Your warmth and hospitality made the trip so much grander than it already was just because we were supporting a cause close to both our hearts.

What I learned? Sometimes it is better to get outside of myself, outside of my comfort zone, let my walls down and reach out beyond the security of my electronic home (blog, internet) to the real people who make up my world. They are worth it, they are fabulous.

1 http://www.ncadv.org/files/DomesticViolenceFactSheet(National).pdf

http://www.nnedv.org/resources/stats.html

http://donatelife.net/understanding-donation/statistics/

http://www.ncadv.org/

You Want to Go Where?

Minneapolis is the home to one of my all-time favorite restaurants, Jax Café. Having done several projects in Minneapolis I was determined to spend one night in town before heading to Duluth, catch up with a couple of old friends and have dinner at Jax.

My favorite place to eat, anywhere

My favorite place to eat, anywhere

I arranged my flights to insure I would have plenty of time, even with a slight delay of getting to the hotel, showering and getting over to the restaurant in time.

Dinner was fabulous! I knew everyone of course, but not everyone knew each other, they met that night. Conversation flowed with ease and we sat for hours over our meal and then over coffee. One of the reasons I love this marvelous restaurant, they do not rush you through the meal instead encourage you to stay. What a wonderful night.

Next up, we had the entire day on Friday to do anything we wanted, dinner was planned in Duluth with Kim and family for 7pm and it was approximately a two-hour drive from Minneapolis. Hmmmm, what could we do to fill the hours? Well, if you are Red and Val you drive South to the Spam Museum! That is right boys and girls, after a night of refined dinning and great conversation, what you really want to do is jump in your rental car and go to the one and only Spam Museum, why not.

There and Back Again

There and Back Again

With a bit of side trip, looking for lakes, rivers and other photo worthy items we saw this!

Red considering the consequences

Red considering the consequences

We also saw these, Red was surprised by the lack of flat terrain but finally remembered Minnesota was the home of Little House on the Prairie.

Catching the wind

Catching the wind

Finally, we arrived at our destination and it was well worth the trip.

It really is the Spam Museum

It really is the Spam Museum

Spam Curds?

Spam Curds?

Where it starts, hogs

Where it starts, hogs

Really a Spam Wall

Really a Spam Wall

Oh my what will people think

Oh my what will people think

Can you guess?

Can you guess?

Conveyor ran throughout the museum

Conveyor ran throughout the museum

Pig Door to Spam Theater

Pig Door to Spam Theater

Of course, we now had to turn around and drive nearly five hours back through Minneapolis (in rush hour traffic on a Friday) to make dinner in Duluth!

More pics and adventures tomorrow.

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