Monday, April 28, 2014

A Typical Day in My Current Life

A typical day when you are clinically depressed is not the same for someone who is not depressed. Take my day yesterday. It was Sunday. I went to the grocery store bright and early, before the rush. I was happy to have a task to complete. It must have been sad, slow song 80s morning at my local Big Y as that was playing. As I went down aisle after aisle, I had tears in my eyes as the music was not agreeing with my mood. I completed my task though and got through it.

 I next went with my husband and daughter to a birthday party. I was able to be social and smiley and yet at the same time, it felt like my body was stopped in time and the world was continuing on all around me. It is the worst feeling and I cannot do it justice in describing it. I was upset when I tried to take pictures with my phone and my hands were shaking too much (from meds) and they kept coming out blurry. I completed that task though of being the party-goer.

Next we took a family trip to Old Navy so I could use my money earned from already spending too much money. My husband wanted pajama pants, so we got that and a few other items. Task completed.

We came home and prepared for my daughter’s friend to come over for a play date. (normally, we are not this popular!). The girls played beautifully and I had good conversations with her friend’s mom. We hung out and time flew by. Task completed.

As we headed to dinner time, my husband looked at me and asked what we would have for dinner. I had nothing left in me at this point. You see, in order to put on a smile and interact with others, I utilize all of my emotional energy I have. It is a level of exhaustion I cannot begin to explain. I told him to order sushi and I did not have to feel the stress of making dinner. (My husband does not cook).

Evenings are both good and bad. When I get home from work or when I end a weekend day, it is time to decompress. I don’t have to “act” so much. My anxiety level decreases one minute but the next it increases as I stress about getting through the next day. Sundays’ are especially difficult (for most people) as I need to ready myself for returning to work. I make it through the evening with a check-in phone call with my psychiatrist. Task completed. 

Day completed.

Now off to Monday...may G-d give me strength.

Thursday, April 17, 2014

What is Love?

I have learned a lot about love during this depression. I have always known my husband, Ken, loves me, but what I have experienced over the past few months is simply love personified. His patience, trust, respect and commitment to “us” is the most incredible thing I have ever experienced. While I am in my own personal hell, he is right there by my side. He will spend extra time with our daughter when I need a break, he will bring her to birthday parties so I don’t have to cope with crowds, he cares for our daughter one night a week when I go to my psychiatrist. He is not allowing my depression to get in the way; it is only making him an even better husband and father.

While I have always known that Ken is amazing, it has taken these past (almost) 8 years to truly feel it, experience it and live it. Our relationship is stronger today than it was just a few months ago. While my depression is horrible, it is bringing us together in a poignant, loving and incredible way. I could never have imagined this. While I am doing my work in therapy, our relationship is becoming stronger as a result. It is almost like a therapy two for one (we are saving so much money!!). In the past when I have struggled with depression I was single and it was a very different experience, emotionally. I have been worried about its effect on Ken and our daughter but Ken has taken charge and we are working together in the best possible way. We have not been in such symbiotic harmony before and my worry has lessened as a result.
I have to thank my depression for moving my love forward for Ken. Weird, huh? It feels weird to write it but it is true. If I never got depressed, Ken and I would not be where we are today. Things really do happen for a reason. I am a firm believer in that. I knew that Ken was my b’shert (meant to be) when I met him in Starbucks via Jdate almost 8 years ago, but everything we have been through has brought us to this pivotal point.

I thought I knew what love was especially when I fell in love with Ken, but what I am feeling now is so much more. It is a light and it is a gift. While we have had our struggles, like everyone, I would not change what the past months have been in order to get to this point. I am still depressed, still playing with medications, but I am not alone. I have an amazing man by my side, literally and figuratively.

Monday, April 14, 2014

More Questions than Answers After the Kansas City Shootings

When bad things happen we always ask the same questions: “why did this happen?” The real question is, “what led to this happening and how can we fix it?”
The shootings at the JCC of Greater Kansas City in Overland Park and Village Shalom Retirement Community is simply, horrific. At this point, it appears that the shooter was a white supremacist, neo-nazi. 

How do we fix our society?

That is a daunting question and I am not sure of the answer. There will always be people, extremists, whose minds have already been taken by harsh ideas and notions that simply cannot be undone. What does this mean for our individual communities? How can we feel secure? As someone who works in the Jewish community, I am always vigilant. Our building is always locked, cameras scan the building and parking lot and it is not easy to be a visitor. It feels safe though.

Precautions are good, but, as in the case in Kansas City, there are those moments when there just is not enough security to go around. This is why it is scary. Kansas City represents “Anywhere USA,” for this horrible act of violence could happen in any of our communities. 

While I wish I were raising my daughter in a carefree manner, this is not the case in a post-9/11 world. Everything is heightened due to communications, technology and access. I cannot allow my daughter to go play with her friends down the street on her own, as I was able to when I was a child. There always needs to be adult supervision. 

It is as if we are forming a new way of life, a way to feel safer in the world we live in now. My niece goes through metal detectors at her city high school every day. At this point, I don’t believe this phases her.
The question is, will we ever feel safe in our home communities? While I wish for the “perfect” community to raise my daughter, that does not exist. There will always be people who hate and feel the need to act on that hatred. We can’t always find these people early enough to stop the violence or law enforcement does not have enough evidence to act.

What is the answer to this violence?

I am sure there will be much reflection as we sit for our seders tonight.