Give me a shovel and I’ll show you what rock bottom looks like…

I don’t know what it is lately…but it’s been a looooong time since my depression has been this bad. I’ve had my bad days before, but daaaaamn, lately it has been rough. Amanda’s been busy with the fair and I’ve barely seen her. I guess I gotta admit I’m lovestruck because not being able to sleep beside her for over a week now has seriously been hard to deal with. On top of that, work is still extremely stressful. Things are coming together and some stuff is smoothing over, but every time one thing gets easier, I get knocked upside the head by a new surprise.

A lot of people don’t understand what goes on in my head…telling them they don’t understand and then not explaining it usually just makes their attitude toward me worse, but to be honest, it’s just not something I can sit down and explain. Some stuff I have no explanation for. It usually relates to social anxiety, which anyone with any knowledge of phobias can tell you has no actual RATIONAL explanation. Other stuff is just stuff I’m not comfortable discussing face to face. Why? Because it’s stuff I have a difficult time talking about without getting choked up and most people can tell you, I’m not one to cry in front of my friends not matter how much I’m hurting. Often times, the only way my friends know I’m really hurting is when I end up drinking myself stupid. That’s about the only time I let myself go…and I know I shouldn’t…it doesn’t solve anything, but it just allows me to forget that my problems are there. At least until morning arrives…then my problems are there and on top of it I feel like a trainwreck.

So where to from here? I want to touch on something that’s been on my mind a LOT more as of lately…everyone reading this knows my mom died of cancer back in 2003. I’ve preached it and I’ve preached it and I’ve preached it. Everybody who cares to know the story knows the story by now. But the story you’ve all read is the story from my mom’s point of view. She wrote that website, not me. I wrote the final entry announcing to all her readers that she’d passed away. Nothing else was ever reworded by me. And I kept it positive and encouraging for her readers because that’s what my mom would have wanted. Aside from that the only real thing I’ve written and shared regarding my mom’s death is my account of the day she died (my “Flashbacks” blog posting).

You see…there’s a whole year and a half there that I never covered….and then there’s the 10 years since then where certain things still bother me. I don’t talk about that very often.

I don’t talk about the fact that even now, 10 years later, I still have flashbacks of my mom’s battle and cry myself to sleep. Not every night, but when I’m really feeling down, they come back to haunt me. I don’t talk about how I watched my mom go from a perfectly healthy naturally tan adult with long, beautiful black hair to a pale, broken, thin-haired/sometimes completely bald woman who couldn’t walk 30 feet to the bathroom without getting out of breath, even when she had an oxygen tank helping her breathe. I don’t talk about the fact that I often would walk upstairs to the kitchen to find my mom asleep, sitting on the floor with her legs crossed laying across the ottoman because that’s the only way she could breathe without choking and gasping for air. She rarely, if ever, slept in a bed during her final months. I don’t talk about the fact that when my mom was battling her cancer, I developed such a huge fear of hospitals that I rarely went to visit her–something I quickly came to regret upon her death. A regret that I can never make right no matter how hard I try. Or the fact that the night before my mom died, I was told to be home by curfew and I stayed out well past because it wouldn’t have mattered. Except it did matter. Had I been home by curfew I may have actually been able to have one more conversation with my mom before her condition suddenly worsened to the point that they had to call an ambulance. The next time I saw her, she was gasping for every breath on a hospital bed. The bed she died on just hours later. I don’t talk about the fact that I originally planned on killing myself if my mom lost her battle with cancer. I suffered from depression and she was the only person in my life who understood what I had to deal with and how it made me feel. SOMETIMES I talk about how my mom’s death tore our family apart…but those conversations are usually brief. My dad became an alcoholic. Same goes for my brother…as well as hard drugs. Both of them have straightened up, but because of it, there’s quite a void there.

One night recently Amanda wanted to smoke a cigarette with her friends while we were all out drinking…she knows I don’t like it, so she asked me if she could. I shook my head no. Sometimes it doesn’t bother me too much, but any more it’s difficult to think about. She asked if she could just take one puff. I said ok, just one puff. I really hate looking like a controlling ass and I felt that was allowing her a little ground. Of course after that one puff she looked at me hoping I’d cave in and let her smoke the rest. I was fully prepared to put that cigarette out with my hand just to make a point. She gave the cigarette away and moments later her friend commented to her in private that she appreciated me caring about her well-being, but she hated to see her being controlled like that. With my friends, situations like that are easy. I just remind them to re-read my mom’s website. But random people, especially smokers aren’t going to give two shits. I understood where she was coming from in a way…there are few things I’m controlling on…and even in that situation I hate being controlling, but what they don’t see is the flashbacks I have of my mom. When they’re sitting there smoking that cigarette, I see my mom battling her cancer, laying in that hospital bed gasping for air trying one last time to tell me she loves me. And even though it makes me look like a total ass…I try not to let them smoke…because it makes me an emotional wreck. And when I’m already having problems with my depression flaring up, it could be the final tipping point for me.

I used to carry a gun. I don’t anymore. Why? Because it’s too accessible for me and right now I just don’t trust myself keeping the barrel off of my temple. Between my depression, stress from work, and the flashbacks from my mom’s battle that have become more and more frequent, I have a hard time staying happy. Until Amanda came along, I used to try to occupy my mind with work or alcohol…when I couldn’t be with family on holidays, I spent them either working or drunk. I worked as often as I could because I didn’t want to get caught in the same boat my dad and brother were in. I was the only one in the family who didn’t have a DUI and I wanted to keep it that way. Now I’ve tried to ease up on the work aspect as I’m honestly working TOO much or wracking my brain TOO hard (I’ve had more stress headaches this month than I did all last year) but since I’m still trying to avoid the alcohol that leaves a void when Amanda is busy. She doesn’t always realize it, but she’s the best thing to happen to me in a long time. We have this little inside joke where she’s my koala and I’m her tree (although we’ve recently agreed that we’re both each other’s koalas)…but truth is I’m the koala and she’s my tree. Without her, there is no foundation for me to hang onto. I know I frustrate the shit out of her at times, but she’s had such a positive impact on me…she keeps my attitude in check. When I’m stressed…everything just kinda falls away when we’re cuddled up watching movies or sleeping. I’m still not on an 8am-5pm work schedule…but up until the past few weeks, most days I was at work by 10-11am…compared to 2-4pm last summer. It’s progress. I don’t even remember where I was going with this now…I guess that’s a good thing…3 hours ago I wanted to put my head through a plate glass window. I’m feeling much better now. Guess I just wanted to explain a lot of those pent up thoughts that I normally can’t bring myself to talk about face to face with people.