Tuesday, November 5, 2013

I have been fighting depression pretty hardcore. This time of the year makes me literally want to kill myself. Its dark. Its sad. I have kids who have an ideal image of Christmas/Yule and I have no money and feel pretty much entirely alone, so I can't even begin to give them their imagined holiday. 
In the last few weeks, I have been dealing with a growing, generalized sense of despair, intrusive thoughts and even resentment of those who would be hurt if I died. I have a sense of responsibility in staying alive that is both beneficial and annoying. I was swimming in this depression, feeling broken in my essence, but then... something shifted.
I had an epiphany while chatting with a friend of mine this evening. I'm not just depressed because my brain (and body) are broken. I'm sad because I'm actually grieving! My last few years of Novembers and Decembers have really sucked.

November 22, 2009, my dad died. It was the Sunday before Thanksgiving that year and two days after Ev's 3rd birthday. (This was just under two years after my stepmother died.) Thanksgiving & Christmas were really big for her and I would have always had somewhere to go for those holidays if they were still alive.

In 2006, when I was pregnant and recently divorced, we moved to this area to be near my maternal family. My mom was born fifteen minutes away from where I currently live, and was raised there. I probably have 100 first cousins within 30 minutes of where I live right now. I grew up going to Thanksgiving and Christmas dinners with them my whole childhood and know they all have several big family dinners around town, but I'm no longer welcome. My mom's family have completely turned their backs on me.

When I was literally two days out of the ICU, my aunt (my mom's sister) accused me of stealing my mom's social security retirement money and demanded I explain my whole financial situation to her. I refused and basically kicked her out of my room. Since then, they've not only simply avoided me, they have actively rejected me.

The first Christmas after my coma, they even told my mom that Christmas eve dinner was just for her generation. (Sometimes they did have get-togethers that were just siblings, so she didn't question it.) But when I asked her who was driving her to dinner, she answered that my cousin was picking her up. Turns out, it was the whole family. But, they deliberately lied to her so that I would not be invited. I tried to brush it off because I didn't want my mom to feel manipulated and betrayed, but she felt guilty and sad, regardless.
Not once, in the last two and a half years, when I've literally gone on Facebook and asked for assistance with FOOD - not once - have they been the ones who've helped.

Last Christmas, we were so poor. I was living on $405 a month in child support and $600 a month in food stamps, but everyone pretty much figured we were basically ok so we didn't have the outpouring of offers to help with Christmas we'd had the previous year. I didn't have the heart to ask again. The kids each got three small gifts and we didn't have food, so Christmas dinner consisted of eggs & bacon. I didn't even have bread for toast. I wanted to kill myself.

November and December are now 8 weeks of consistent reminders that my family has either died or actively rejected me. Eight weeks of not enough food. Of kids who have expectations of a great holiday filled with joy, gifts and treats. Of long, dark days without enough of anything. Of me constantly being reminded of all the ways I'm failing them. Failing myself. Failing at life.

No wonder I hate this time of year. No wonder I'm depressed! I'm not depressed because I'm dysfunctional. I'm depressed because this shit is fucking crappy! Its an APPROPRIATE response to this stimuli! Anyone would be depressed in my shoes. 
I needed to understand that this isn't just an unending bought of depression. I was just really, honestly sad and didn't acknowledge how hard it was. Now that I have realized that there is at least a big situational component, I'm not trapped in it, you know?

I can address the situation. Its not me drowning; its just... I've been knocked down, but I can recover just by feeling the sadness and injustice of it and then moving on with my life. Lots of unfair shit happens in life and it doesn't mean I am a broken person. 

My essence isn't broken.

But that's how I was feeling and it was hopeless. When I finally put together that its situational, I realized that a different situation will create different neuropathways in my brain and in a few years, it won't have the same association. Its something I can resolve.

So my goal for myself now is to work to renegotiate what this season means for me. To create new memories that will override the sad ones, even if it means letting go of expectations of how things "should" be. 

I wish my family were there for me, but they aren't, so I have to move along. I have to create a new family for myself and my kids. And I can. I can do this because I'm not broken.


  1. Dude <3 You certainly aren't broken, but healing is always so much slower than we'd like and that is maddening. I want your holiday to be joyful, too, in whatever that looks like for you. Call on your ladies, we want to help. XO