**Trigger Warning: Anxiety, depression, crying, despair **
I hit my breaking point two days ago. I was on my mom’s website looking at the menu, considering what to order for takeout after a trip to PA, and saw a picture of a summertime patio filled with people eating and drinking and enjoying each other’s company. And…Boom!
I just started crying. And couldn’t stop. And unfortunately, once floodgates are opened, there’s no end in sight. I usually have control over this particular emotion, but once it’s left to roam free it’s like the National Guard. Always ready to deploy.
There was a slow and steady buildup to this. I knew it was happening, but I’m very good at avoidance strategies. Little things. Little things that normally might make me stop and think, feel melancholy, and then quickly push them to the back of my mind. Any professional will tell you the back of the mind can be a dangerous place. It may be quiet and dark, but nothing in there is dead.
Anyway, the patio. I snapped. Not like a tree, more like a fragile glass ornament. My mind raced to “those” thoughts that I’ve kept pushing away every time they tried to sneak in. But not this time.
That we’ll never know this again (sitting on a crowded patio on a beautiful day). That we take so much for granted in this life and so we never realize the value of our everyday normal until it is ripped away.
At some point I got up from my desk here, deciding that a quiet walk around the yard – in nature – listening to the sounds of a world older than all of us – would help ground me. To some extent yes, as I stopped crying and the hysteria building in my chest subsided.
I, a long-denier of depression affecting me, am becoming depressed. It’s wrapping its slippery fingers around my arms, my legs, my chest… and stealthily creeping into my head. Depression is not loud. It’s sometimes so silent, like a virus you don’t know you have until suddenly you’re an emergency. See what I did here? And this is going on every day on some subconscious level.
I realized that I’ve wanted someone to tell me it’s okay to bring V home. But NO ONE can do that. No one can assure me. It’s a decision I make not blindly, but with all the faith I can muster today. None of us can predict the future, any more than we can know a decision we make today won’t have negative consequences for someone.
So I’m SAD and I’m ANGRY that no one can tell me what I want/need to hear. And so the tears kept coming. And still come.
I miss my daughter. I miss my mother. I miss my dad. I miss going to work without a mask on and seeing all my coworkers. I miss having get-togethers with friends. I miss everything I can’t do today. And soon, I’m going to be missing my son again.
I’m sad about all the people out there who are protesting their “right” to do as they please. I’m sad that a friend lost a relative last week. I’m sad that my friends with elderly parents can’t visit them. I’m sad for all those who’ve lost someone who had to die alone in a hospital. I’m sad that people are scared and unemployed. I’m sad that the numbers around us are growing, all while the media keeps giving that incompetent canker blossom air time to suggest new and dangerous possibilities for curing a disease no one has ever seen before. And I’m angry. So angry I cry.
I tried to pull myself together at some point. I didn’t want to cry in front of O, who was packing up to go to his dad’s for a month. He’s sensitive and particularly to me and the last thing I wanted him to see was me falling apart the night before he leaves. Well guess what? I failed miserably.
I went downstairs to play pinball with Todd, throwing darts between turns, and started trying to tell him – terribly ineptly, it turned out – how I was feeling. A) Because we’re both drinking at this point, B) I go off on tangents and introduce irrelevant commentary that confuses the listener (which in this case is already compromised by “A”), and C) Todd just finished a long, frustrating day for the 47th time in the small office in the basement dealing with people who don’t communicate well. (Let’s add on D: Todd is also dealing with his own shit. Just. Like. Me.)
So, it didn’t end well. I stormed off, unwilling to talk anymore to someone who so clearly (in my compromised mind) was not listening to me. I went upstairs and proceeded to cry my way through the evening. That is, until O interrupted my self-pity while unloading the laundry basket in my bedroom and told me he’d grilled burgers for dinner. Which were, by the way, delicious. Man can cook.
I had to tell him I’m just overwhelmed by all this, just like everyone else. Sometimes I have to let it out before it eats me alive. Better for him to know that even I don’t know what to do sometimes.
The next morning, Todd brought me coffee in bed and we talked. I put all my thoughts together in brief, succinct statements. One, I don’t communicate well verbally. I tend to run off in all directions and then my meaning is lost. I have been working on this, but I still tend to bypass this with those I’m closest to. Two, I’m depressed.
When I got to the part, through tears because the floodgates are open and there’s no turning back, about how things will never be the same, he shared a story.
Back when he was in high school, he met this girl and they dated for a long time. And then one day she broke up with him. He thought to himself then, that things would never be the same.
And now – here we are.
*** I want you to know you’re not alone. Millions of people are struggling. It’s okay to lose your shit. It’s okay to cry. You don’t have to prove anything to anyone. We’re all suffering in our own ways. And we will get up and dust ourselves off again. It’s what we do. Just maybe not today.
It’s going to be okay. Todd says so, and he’s usually right about stuff. (Except for me being the most careless of all of us with a cell phone. He’s not right about that.)