Sunday, December 17, 2017

Falling apart

I don't have time to write this blog post. I don't have time to clean up the dishes and are still joyously scattered all over the house. I don't have time to write the list of things I need to do today. I don't have time to snuggle the feverish 4-year-old who is curled up in my bed. I don't have time to respond when my husband kisses my shoulder while I'm clicking away at the keyboard, trying to look like I'm doing my homework. I don't have time to mail the New Year's cards that just arrived. I don't have time to correct the mistake the card company made. I might have made the mistake, I don't know. I don't have time to check my horoscope, I don't have time to observe the new moon, I don't have time to really think about how I want to start the new year. This is my FAVORITE time of the year- not Christmas. The end-of-year wrap ups. The BIG GOAL SETTING season. I don't have time for any of it. I'm barely surviving. 

How many times have I written this? I've been blogging for almost ten years and everything I write is some form of this post. "I'm sorry I've been so absent lately! I'm not reading as much as I want to right now! Things are really hectic right now. But don't worry, I'm on the cusp of something new, and everything is about to change." I earnestly believed that. I have spent most of my adult life thinking I was JUST about to nail the magic combo of meal planning, organization, water-drinking, routine following that would make things easier. That would make me happy. If I wrote about it, it would come true.

I've explained away my mental illness for a long time. For two reasons: 1) I figured if I wrote about it, it would become true. 2) It seemed self-indulgent. I've been dramatic my whole life, and I didn't want to steal this battle from the people who were really struggling. Even after being prescribed antidepressants and anti-anxiety meds a few years ago, I told myself it was a mistake. That the doctor was just going along with it to make me quiet. I didn't really need them, or worse, I didn't deserve them. I was being dramatic. I was making a mountain out of molehill. I could go off them at any time. Spoiler alert: that didn't go well.

I'm learning it's not normal to have a stress response that requires you to spend a more than a week sleeping 13-15 hours a night, completely cutting off contact with the people you live with and shirking a large amount of responsibility. "Oh, you're tired, your body needed it," well-meaning friends would say. Meanwhile my husband hasn't spoken to me in a eight days and my professor is wondering if I've dropped off the planet. I'm learning it's not normal to be so afraid of getting caught by a wave of emotion (positive or negative) that you religiously avoid all television and movies you haven't seen before, and that watching something that MIGHT make you cry, for any reason, is so scary that your body shakes and your teeth chatter. I'm learning that it's not normal to save every negative word and feeling for the people at home, showing the world your sweetest face and letting your rage leak out behind closed doors. I'm learning that once you've decided that you're not going to subject the people you love to your nastiness, once you firmly get a grip and shove it deep inside, it POISONS you. It physically weakens you. Your bones hurt all the time and you have no idea why, so you watch another episode of New Girl that you've seen fifteen times and wait for your kids to get into bed so you can pass out and sleep away the feelings. 

I'm learning that being busy is not something to be proud of, and I'm terrible at surviving it. I'm learning that I'll never wake up early enough, plan strictly enough, or drink enough water to do all the things I put on my own plate. I'm learning that my kids will ALWAYS get the least of me, the most squeezed-out-toothpaste-tube parts of me, and that I'm not okay with that being their memory of me. I'm realizing that I used to think "At least they're too young to remember me snapping at them, me choosing the laptop over them." And they're not too young to remember anymore. 

I'm learning it's not normal to keep yourself from crying for months. I'm learning that if you keep it all in, it will eventually explode out of you and the tears will rush so fast that your throat will go raw and your body will rebel and your muscles will feel like you were hit by a truck. In the middle of all of this you'll realize it's been MONTHS since you cried. You'll realize you can't remember the last time. And you'll know something has to change. 

I'm going to the doctor tomorrow and asking for help. More than just medicine. Referrals. Something. Because I'm not healthy, and my family needs me to be healthy. I'd like to be healthy. I'd like to stop spending every Monday thinking THIS TIME I'LL NAIL IT. I'm tired of thinking that this happens to everyone and I just need to suck it up and get over it. I'm tired of falling apart, but even more, I'm tired of trying to pretend like it isn't happening. I'm so tired, and believe me, I'm getting enough sleep. 

I've never been private, and still writing this all seems a little scary. It also feels like taking a deep breath after taking little gasps of air through my nose for a solid hour. I've only survived the last few weeks because wiser women than I have wrapped me in their arms and shared their stories and honored me with their own tears and checked in with me consistently. And if I can be that person to someone else, even virtually, every bit of misplaced shame is worth it. There is nothing wrong with being a little broken. And there is nothing wrong with needing to get help. 


At December 17, 2017 at 5:51 PM , Blogger Sarah Mul said...

I love you. What am I do to support you? This just changed my life after struggling with the same things - Good luck at the doctor ❤️💜💙 mulc

At December 18, 2017 at 4:59 PM , Blogger Molly said...

Sending you so, so much love and empathy. I found myself nodding along with everything you wrote. I don't know when I stopped sharing and feeling, but somewhere along the way I did and it's so. hard. to come back from. I'm so proud of you for all of the steps you're taking to get well--SO. FUCKING. PROUD. You're a warrior. If you ever need someone to talk to, I'm here. <3

P.S. Audre Lorde's essay "The Transformation of Silence into Language and Action" is so helpful to me and helps me find strength. Maybe it can bring some comfort to you as well.

At January 26, 2018 at 6:24 AM , Blogger ashlie said...

<3 Thank you my friend. I'm just revisiting this words after SPEWING them. I'm going to check out that essay!

At January 26, 2018 at 6:25 AM , Blogger ashlie said...

Hey mulc I love you. I've been SO inspired and intrigued by all the amazingness in your life recently. We need to catch up. <3 <3 <3

At December 14, 2018 at 6:04 AM , Blogger Piotr LA said...

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