Fun Fact #14 – Sometimes You Just Cant Cope
So many wonderful things happened last year, and then it hit me. Depression, out of nowhere. Most days I feel like there are two different versions of myself. A curious and creative child, yearning to grow and absorb as much information as possible, taking in vast amounts of knowledge and piecing together the world through fragments of broken glass that lay shattered around me. Sometimes, with that glass, I can create a mosaic of bright vibrant color that glistens when you look through it. Sometimes I can color my world and leave shadows of light in the darkness that surrounds me, but most days I can’t find the energy to create anything.
This past year sped by so quickly, I hardly had the time to catch my breath. It’s been a while since I last wrote or posted anything, I kind of went on a social media hiatus. I mean, sure I clicked the “like” button a few times or threw together random videos and pictures but for the most part, I’ve been out of the loop on everything. I tried my best to avoid anything and everything that connected me to the outside world, and without realizing, became extremely withdrawn (which is totally not me). On top of that, that I lost my Macbook Pro, yea! That sucked a whole lot. It was the only outlet that I really had to be creative and make sense of the world through art and writing. So I’ve been kind of behind in that department as well.
At first, I told myself I was too busy with my work and everything that I pushed to achieve everyday and THAT was the reason I stopped talking to friends, accepting invitations to go out, or taking my daughter to the park. Sure I was busy and that may have all been true, but after a while it turned into something else entirely. I spent this past year filling my day to the brim with things that would help others, so much… that I forgot to take care of myself and my family in the process. I think a part of me was secretly still hurting and trying to avoid feeling anything at all. Staying busy in a world that never stops moving was my way to cope with everything I suppose. I know it wasn’t the right way, but it worked at the time. I mean, it’s much easier to stay busy and pretend like nothing else existed because at least then, I’m making a difference right? I’m using every fiber in my being to make something special happen. Creating opportunities for people so that I could convince myself there still was a bit of good left in this world. All the while, trying to convince myself that everything I went through was for a reason.
I spent the past few years working at a non-profit agency, hiring over 300+ instructors, teachers and employees to work in title one schools throughout Sacramento. I ignited a new hiring tactic to recruit staff members, “Hiring Parties” I called them. I went from school to school, opening themed parties to the public and hosting two hour sessions in lieu of interviews. Candidates would walk in and play games, crafts, and engage in activities that allowed me to truly see their personality and potential. We had fun and it allowed me the opportunity to hire the right person to work with youth in our schools. I loved it! (for maybe a year or so) After time I really began to feel as though my efforts, while important, were not feeding my soul in the way that I needed. Up until this point, I’ve always felt as though I was O.K because there was a bigger picture or purpose that I had yet to see. I was never a prostitute, gang member, on drugs, or alcoholic, “I made it out for a reason.” and I was going to use that reason to help others survive too! One of my old bosses called it the “savior” complex, what the fuck does she know right?
Meh, maybe she was right! But yanno what, I didn’t care, I know that what I’ve been through and how far I’ve come was for something greater, something inside told me that my story needed to be heard, shared and read. Had I been a younger version of myself, and read a book that I was able to connect with and relate to, I know that I wouldn’t have felt so alone and that in itself would have made a difference. That’s what life is about right? Love, connection, helping each other move forward in this world. My time at the Center was fulfilling, until it didn’t become enough anymore. No matter how much I loved my co-workers and friends that I had made through my time there, my soul wasn’t being fed. Between the struggles I faced at home and the environment at work, I just fell into this deep, dark depression.
I went through a phase where I was filled with a constant reminder of everything that ailed my soul. Laughter, smiles, and painful recollections of all that I had lost in this life constantly spun through my mind and like a spider web collecting dust, I became stagnant in this dreary cesspool of places and people I missed, things I’ve encountered or aspirations I never achieved. I worked 9:00 AM – 5:00 PM and sometimes on the weekend to distract myself, but even that became too much. Life became too much and I began suffocating in the work that I surrounded myself with, so I kind of gave up. I wanted to help establish transitional housing for foster youth, begin work in marketing through video creation. I wanted to establish a solid platform for our social media network at the Center and create a campaign that helped ignite the work that we did back at the office. For awhile I was on track. I started seeking partnerships with local shelters, some closer than others. I traveled to San Francisco often and met with executives of various organizations to learn and discuss the possibilities of our shelter idea. I worked on video interviews and engineered advertisements to help start and fund a campaign. I connected a local foster care agency and students throughout Sacramento with Paramount pictures and hosted a free screening for Foster youth, families and social workers to, “Instant Family.” I pushed to impact as many people as possible.
In my time there, I did so much! So why did it feel like so little? Because I forgot to heal my soul before feeding my soul? Perhaps because most of my time was spent tucked away in a little cubicle, hidden from the world and confined to the thoughts that scavenged my mind. For the most part, I was able to motivate myself in new and exciting ways, but mostly I suffered. Like a caged bird, I needed to spread my wings, and after a while I grew tired and depressed. When the chaos of life began to slow down, my mind began to wander, and where did I find myself? At the end of my rope, again.
I’ve been here before, twice. Once as a child suffering at the hands of adults, and another as an adult, just before I wrote my book, “Dandelion.” What I remember the most is the feeling of hopelessness, like no matter what I do, or how far I push myself in this life, it’s never enough. I’m never satisfied with anything, and I can’t find something that quenches my thirst, this insatiable hunger that pains the pit of my stomach making it difficult to breathe, let alone move. Hell, maybe its the unresolved issues that I never had the true opportunity to dive into and fix. If I’ve learned anything from living in the past, it’s that nothing will ever be “fixed” per say… but at least addressing them makes me feel better. I suppose that’s why I write, because it feels better, its therapeutic.
Anyways, Just before my emotional break, I started going back to school again this past January… I’ve known the direction I want to take in life, I know where I want to end, but I don’t know how to get there I suppose. I picture myself, living a comfortable life, perhaps somewhere along the beach or in the busy streets of the city with my family. A place near the ocean, where I can still smell the salty breeze. Maybe, I’ll write on the beach at night or crochet as I watch the tide swell. During the day, I’d help families and as many youth as I could, I don’t know to what capacity but I’m thinking some type of social worker to say the least. I just want to be able to use my experiences and impact others in a way that helps them continue to grow and learn through trying times. I want to save all the little versions of myself that I see in these kids, mostly because no one saved me. I want to make a difference. My goal was to work toward that Master’s in Social work degree, I have a long way until I get there but at least when I enrolled for school this semester, I knew I was fighting for something. Now I just feel weighed down by the intensity of life and everything that comes along with it.
I’ll be honest, I spend most of my time sleeping or crying. It’s pretty pathetic. I feel like a shroud of dark mass or energy wrapped itself around every molecule of air that I’ve inhaled, weighing down my lungs, making it difficult to breathe. Most days, I feel like I’m stumbling through life, listening to the world pass by in a haze like a muffled conversation behind closed doors. In fact, most days it’s difficult just to get out of bed and take my daughter to school. I stopped working about two weeks ago, I knew it was the right decision but it was difficult. All of these people, coworkers and friends that have turned into family and held me together like glue just vanished. Like everything else does. Gone. I’m close with my biological sister now, but it took years of learning each other and figuring out how to get along. Other than that.. It’s just my husband and daughter. A part of me feels so guilty because it’s not enough to keep me going. I can’t rely on my tiny child to push me through difficult times. My husband, as supportive as he is… just doesn’t get it. I don’t think most people do.
Last week, I lay in bed everyday crying and watching re-runs of stupid TV series and movies I loved as a kid. One day, my daughter comes up to me and says, “Mommy, sit up!” It took her about 10 minutes of arguing with me to convince me to pull the blankets off myself and sit at the edge of my bed, but she was persistent! After vanishing for a minute, she popped back into the bedroom and carefully tip-toed to the edge of my bed with a big pot from the kitchen sink full of cold water. She placed my feet into the frigid water as I screamed in shock and laughed through tears once I understood what she was doing. She was washing my feet! After a thorough scrub with scented bubble gum soap, she began drying my toes and painting my toenails a variety of colors. She then moved onto to brushing my hair, massaging my back and tucking me back into bed with a cup of orange juice and silly bent straw to sip from. She’s so sweet and observant. I felt guilty in that moment, upset at the fact that I hadn’t been there for her lately. I stopped helping her with homework, I stopped playing dolls with her. I spent the majority of my time distracting myself from living these past two months, that I forgot about her. I tend to be selfish in that way when depression hits and hits HARD. I think a piece of her knows that something is wrong with me, it’s why shes been so kind lately. Instead of begging me to go to the park, she plays with her toys quietly on the floor or draws pictures upon pictures of imaginary worlds that she creates. She also spends a lot of time on mine craft now days, but what 8 year old doesn’t right? Most the time the time, I let her do pretty much whatever she wants because anything other than laying in bed is exhausting. When she spends time with her daddy, he keeps her pretty occupied but he works a lot these days so it’s tough to spend quality time together.
I recently went and saw a doctor, yanno the kind in white jackets? The kind that wears tiny brimmed glasses that sit at the bridge of their nose, making their eyes seem more exaggerated than they really are, “Now tell me, what’s wrong?” he says.
“The fuck if I know?! I wouldn’t be here if I did, jeez.”
Sobbing, I couldn’t seem to keep my mouth closed and all at once the floodgates to hell were kicked wide open, I was a sobbing mess. I think we talked for about 2 hours before the doctor finally stopped me and suggested that I attend an IOP classes daily. Apparently Intensive Outpatient Therapy classes will help me become more mentally adapt and stable. Give me tools and resources to use that I can implement in my life. I’ve been attending “sessions” everyday about 4 and a half hours each day and so far… I haven’t learned anything except that I know I’m a little distressed about some of the events that happened in my childhood. I’ve been going for a little while now. We have community meetings, art therapy, mediation and skills classes. Oh! We also do that fun little “open discussion” in a small white room with about 15 metal chairs. Yanno that cliche, ” Hi, I’m America” …”Hello, America”. Ya that bullshit.
In all honesty though, it helps. Just sitting there and listening to others share their story makes me feel less alone. And when the person sitting next to me says something out loud that I’ve been struggling to say to anyone for years, it really hits home and makes me feel understood. Things have been really dark lately so it’s nice to find meaning in some of these sessions. It’s just so intense, and overwhelming at times. That week I stayed in bed crying until my daughter scrubbed the sadness out of me, I missed a lot of school. I fell so far behind in my English class, I wasn’t sure I could catch up. A part of me just wanted to say, screw it! I’ll just focus on myself and quit school like I did everything else. Then another part of me battled to stay in class. I begged my instructor to let me make up the assignments, and somehow, she magically said yes. I wrote 4 essays, completed 3 homework Reading response journals, drew a thought bubble and read 3 lengthy excerpts from novels that she gave me as handouts in less than a day, before zooming over to Kinkos to print everything out before class. If I learned anything from that lesson it’s that,
- I’ll never miss class again.
- I need a fucking printer and a new computer.
If I could pinpoint my downfall into this dark place in life, I would have to say it started with the release of my book. Re-reading a few experiences really set something off inside me. When I started seeing the sales roll in through Amazon, A part of me became excited… Then the stress and anxiety of having my story “out there” really got to me. I haven’t taken it down yet though, so you might as well grab a copy on Amazon HERE: before it disappears. I’ve been heavily contemplating quitting at that as well.. Until next time.
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