The last two-three weeks have been rough. Really, really rough. In bed by 9, still exhausted in the morning, teary-eyed and unable to concentrate at work rough. Beyond brief random sobs in the car, well into crying in the shower and at "My Little Sunshine" rough. I've made it in to work though, and my kids are still getting dinner and stories, so... that's something.
I've never tried anti-depressants. Don't get me wrong, I'm not exactly a beacon of sunshine - I've been offered them several times, but every time that soul sucking blackness was an appropriate response to a really crappy situation and I've muddled through. One time I even made it to the point of seeing my primary care doctor, but he mentioned weight gain and reduced sexual drive so I cut him off. I didn't think staring at a broken scale while Matt complained about nookie was going to cheer me up.
I know anti-depressants have saved a lot of lives and if your brain isn't pumping out enough endorphins or serotonin, or whatever it is that makes getting up in the morning possible, then by all means, fill your script. I don't see the difference between them and insulin and I'm not judging. This is just about me.
My occasional bouts of angst and "Holy crap, is it only Wednesday?" feelings are 86% attributable an impossible to do list, self-inflicted financial woes, and my inability to survive on 4 hours of sleep a night. I've never considered that a chemical imbalance, it's just life - One night I'll work late to satisfy the boss, the kids get extra attention the next night, and sometimes, maybe twice a year, I'll stay up late to vacuum. I aim for balance, sometimes I trip, but the sun keeps coming up. The other times... well, the sun has a nasty little habit of rising those mornings too.
But this month... it has been too much. Gigi's recovery has been bumpy, with some really disturbing phone calls (though she's home now, with help). Multiple couples in the extended family are divorcing, including one in the not-so-extended family that has resulted in some really disturbing emails. And one of my very favorite people lost her granddaughter in almost the exact same way I lost Brennan and that has brought me to my knees. Just felled me. It's been eight and a half years. You'd think some scar tissue would have formed. It has not. The bandage was ripped off and the blood and tears are drowning me.
Her granddaughter and my girl share a name.
Emily Rapp just lost her son too, nine days ago. Just after posting my sad story a few years ago, I read this line of hers, "[It] felt straight out of a Victorian novel: I was hysterical, inconsolable, stricken. I had the urge to run down the stree in pajamas (for lack of a period nightgown) tearing at my hair and wailing."
I remember one person telling me, after I'd lost Brennan, that they would have ended up committed if they'd lost a baby. There was a suggestion, in that comment, that my grief was somehow lacking, because I didn't end up in a padded room, or running down the street half-clad. Or medicated. Lacking because my grief is conveyed in a series of unfinished sentences trailing off in an excess of ellipses and not the actual rending of garments. I did, while on my mockery of "maternity leave", have a couple very strong martinis, very early in the morning, but I remember deciding several days into that experiment that it wasn't going to do anyone any good if I became a full blown alcoholic. We also didn't have enough vodka.
I've thought about getting blitzed again, this month, but a second drink is about all I can handle. Even my self destructive streaks are lacking. And just in case I was thinking about trying harder, Matt and I just watched Flight - I clearly hadn't been paying attention because I thought it was going to be a fun plane crash/thriller (we made popcorn!) but it turned out to be a bleak look at what happens when people start on their 4th drink before breakfast.
The film was loosely inspired by Alaska Airlines Flight 261 which flew, inverted, into the Pacific thirteen years ago. I remember reading the transcript in Harper's, linked here, when it was first published, back before children when I still had Harper's delivered and had time to read it. It took those men 81 seconds to fall out of the sky and they kept trying to fix it. They flew the last full minute of their lives upside down, dropping over 13,000ft/minute and they did not blink. That, my friends, is composure under duress.
I did not remember the transcript correctly though, as I could have sworn the pilot said goodbye to his mother. Turns out that was actually PSA Flight 182, which had crashed years earlier just a little further south in San Diego. Knowing they were going down, knowing the little black box would pick it up, the pilot's last words were for his mother.
The little bit of ground I have been clutching at this month are my girl's first words. Technically, 'word approximations' and really just the one word - the only one I've been waiting four and a half years to hear.... Mommy. Said with more B and P than the spelling might suggest, but said with delight, joy, and emphasis. There is no question what she's saying or who she's talking to. Mommy!
This, of course, makes me cry as well. Cry with joy, but also because there is another mommy out there who won't hear those same words of grace. And maybe my girl picked this month to start saying Mommy for all the little girls out there who can't. I have no words of comfort for my friend's daughter, because here I am crying eight plus years later for both our losses and I can't tell her it will ever hurt any less. I know the sun will come up tomorrow, because it can be bastard that way, and I can tell her that I survived, even after flying inverted. But I can't tell her how to move thru the next hours or days or years. I don't know if what I did was any good, or if it would work for anyone else. I don't know what the goal is, other than to stay standing. I don't know what to do.
So I sent flowers.