4 weeks ago
Wednesday, November 25, 2009
Sometimes suicidal… really???
As you know, I just returned from a trip to Ontario to visit my folks. It was great… lots packed into a very short time… and I left wanting more in many ways. I miss my family.
While I was there, I showed my parents how to find my blogs, both Sometimes Suicidal Mama and My Grace Notes, as well as the main page to Pink Ink Workshop. I wanted them to see where I was putting my writing energies these days, and I wanted them to, in a small way, affirm that part of me. I know, I know, still trying to get my parents approval!
After showing them my blogs, we got up from the computer and were walking out of the room when my Dad said, 'You know, that name you chose really upset me when I first saw it'… and I knew he meant the name of this blog… and I knew he was upset because he wasn't comfortable or happy to know that his baby girl was 'sometimes suicidal'. The mama part was fine, I guess. And I remember having a conversation with my brother about it a couple of weeks ago, where we discussed what the name meant, and how he might help me illustrate this when I redesigned the look of my blog with him (talented graphic designer brother).
And maybe that's also the case with you? You read this blog, you look at the title, and you think, what on earth is she talking about. Maybe you think I'm making light of the subject of suicide, or maybe you think I'm being melodramatic. It's something I think about… what your reaction is to the title. So it's time for me to come clean on this.
Emotional imbalance and mental illness are not to be mocked, nor discounted or made light of. I am not suggesting that I understand anything but my own experience, and that is what this blog is, a written account of my own experience. As such, I have chosen to be open about what my life is like, and I've written a little about anxiety, depression, hopelessness, doubt, mixed in with faith, hope, inspiration and wonder in my life.
And I have to openly admit that, at times, especially times in the past, I contemplated ending my life. The times came and went, and thanks to God I didn't follow through on those thoughts. But, they were real.
For me, menopause has resulted in emotional struggles too, so when I chose to write my life down at this fork in the road, I knew a part of what I wrote would be about depression.
If I'm going to be real, then I have to admit that my struggles are real. I have to admit that I am less than perfect, do not have all the answers, am a wounded yet hopeful God seeking woman who has been and may again be a 'Sometimes Suicidal Mama'. I hope and trust and pray that this transparency and knowledge encourages you, because I'm not alone in this… am I?
That said, here is an early posting that will help to bring you up to date on where I've come from and what has inspired me to write down my life, openly sharing my humanity with you.
Tell me what you think… I'm hoping for a two way conversation… maybe…
A LITTLE BACKGROUND
I'm thinking it might help to know a little bit of my history at this point… nothing too detailed, but just a general idea of who I am and where I'm at. About 18 months ago my menstrual cycle stopped. I was 45, and not expecting to be cold turkey into menopause.
But, I was. I began to experience all of the symptoms that you have no doubt heard about, or even experienced yourself if you are with me in this phase of life… hot flashes (a tingling feeling in my head followed by blood rushing through my body and face - like being embarrassed all over), night sweats and sleeplessness, weight gain (not a lot but enough to be frustrating), moodiness, lack of focus, lack of desire, irritability (yes, even more than usual!), and I went to my Doctor to investigate what next steps there might be for me as I walked through this change of life.
The Doctor said it was just a matter of managing things, and making adjustments as necessary. OK, I thought, and I did a little bit of research (talked to my Mom and various friends) to find out their insights, what worked, what didn't, and proceeded to make some adjustments to my life, including walking more and eating less, wearing cotton and in layers that I could easily remove when necesary, and lowering the expectations I had for my productivity in lots of areas.
The symptoms came and went, and things were going well for the most part, except for the difficulty in focusing on tasks, or completing them in a timely fashion. And, the overall feelings of anxiety and depression were sometimes quite strong. And, all this 'mental' stuff was and is going on in someone who is supposed to be filled with hope and joy and all the other trappings of being a 'woman of God'.
It wasn't the first time I've found that depression and faith are polarized, but here I was again… feeling ashamed, on the outside looking in, embarrassed to share the truth of what I was going through for fear of being 'too much' for those around me. So, I began to withdraw from relationships, and spend more time alone. (YIKES - not the best choice really)
Again I sought 'medical' help, and ended up finding some great nutritional supplements that are still helping me to regain some of my energy and vitality again (Macaroot). Some days are better than others, and there are even stretches of good days where I'm not even aware that there is this new reality for me… I feel like the old me those days. But, most days are different and I'm still trying to figure out what my new reality is.
All this to say that I'm tired of pretending that all is well all the time, that I've got it all together, and that being a Christian is the answer to everything. I need you to also know that God is my foundation in life -- he really is. I believe that God is close by and understands and provides, but that is not a bandage solution for me. I don't think it's fair to the rest of you for me to say one thing and then experience another. How much worse things would be for me without God in my life is hard to say (probably a lot worse)… but to say that all is well all the time would be a lie.
So, my passion being writing, and my purpose being to let my life be an open book, I decided to write my way through this time of my life… sharing the ups and downs and realities of these days with you. If you catch me preaching, forgive me for that, and if you catch me being a wet blanket, I hope you can forgive that too. What I simply want to be is real. I'm tired of pretending, hiding, and making excuses for who I am.
This is me. A sometimes suicidal mama.
This is me with God. A sometimes suicidal mama with God.
Maybe, somehow, my life experience will help you?
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