“I’m Having A Hard Time Right Now…”

That’s a line from a short guided meditation I like that aims to acknowledge an upset and help regain balance. It’s in my head these days though. I am, in fact having a hard time.

I had six pretty good days in a row last week, which was so encouraging. For most of this year, I’ve had at most two, maybe three good days at a time, lots of days in the fair to poor range, and rather a large number of desperately depressed days. It hasn’t been my best year.

Although. Although to be fair, I will say I feel I’ve learned a lot about myself and about caring for myself this year. I feel I have grown spiritually through my meditation practice. I think I’ve recovered from almost all effects of my gynecological surgery. Furthermore, I summoned the courage to quit my job. Plus I went on a short trip to China. So it hasn’t been the worst year, either.

Bah, it’s still November, too early for an end-of-year reflection. So back to my point. I was having a good streak and then I started sliding downward Thanksgiving evening. And it was a fast shot down to longing to hurt myself and wondering how long it would take my husband and sons to recover if I died.

I swear I haven’t said anything about that, but it’s like my husband can read my mind, because this morning at breakfast he looks at me and says, “I don’t know what I’d ever do without you. You are everything to me.”

Shit, I really do have to stay here. And not only is my husband a truly wonderful person, but I also have a son with disabilities. He’s a young man now and doesn’t live at home, but we communicate daily, and when things go wrong in his life, he turns to me first. He counts on me.

And yet, absolutely everything hurts. My skin literally aches when my depression is bad. Is that just me? Yesterday I felt my heart was a stone, heavy, cold and hard. Today I feel an invisible weight on my chest, pressing down, making it hard to breathe.

E is convinced that every part of us seeks wholeness. She says the voice in my head that say, “I am a horrible person,” and “I deserve to be hurt,” or “I am so worthless,” is the voice of a wounded part that needs care and attention. What is it trying to tell me, underneath all that mean talk, she wonders. She suggests I tell it that I’m happy to listen, but it needs to communicate in a more constructive way.

So I try. It’s hard because my concentration is disrupted by the negative thoughts. The physical discomfort is a distraction as well. But I write in my journal and try to figure out what is going on.

At first I think it’s sadness, triggered perhaps by Thanksgiving. I loved the big Thanksgiving celebrations at my grandma’s when I was a kid. But it hasn’t been like that for years, really since my mom married my stepmom and moved us all far from the rest of the family. And these days, it’s not just extended family far away, but my own family. My son with disabilities spent Thanksgiving with his girlfriend (again). My other son was planning to come but ended up having to work. My mom is geographically far away and emotionally even more remote. My sisters are the best part of my family, but they live over 800 miles a way. I’m hoping to see them for Christmas.  My husband’s not from the U.S. and doesn’t really care about Thanksgiving. We could go get a burger together, and he’d be satisfied.

Maybe some of this is about wishing for a family life that doesn’t exist? Anyway, so I write about this some and put the journal aside, and soon I feel so much worse. There’s an edge of desperation and urgency, but it doesn’t really seem to be about family.

I text E to ask her what she thinks:

If I really try to listen to what’s going on inside of me, and then I feel worse, does that mean I’m not understanding it right? Maybe I’m getting it wrong?

She says she isn’t sure. She wonders if maybe my self-destructive self really wants to prevent me from looking at what is wrong.

I sleep uneasily and wake up with the weight still heavy on my chest. I try to defy it, getting up and cleaning our bedroom, vacuuming. I eat breakfast and start the dishwasher. But it just gets more painful. I end up crawling back in bed and staying there past noon. Ha, more ammunition for the mean voice, who now feels justified in saying, “lazy” along with everything else.

It’s just like being sick with the flu. It derails everything. It dominates my day. I try to be good to myself. I go on a walk with my husband and the dogs (they are so cute and so joyful, and I can see that even when I’m depressed). I use a gift card that has been sitting around for months and order us Indian food for dinner.

This evening I’m thinking that maybe I need to retract what I told E in therapy two weeks ago, the secret I shared with her. Maybe I got something wrong about it. Perhaps it’s actually a voice of integrity that is berating me for twisting things around and now it wants me to backtrack. I mean it. I don’t say this out of fear or panic.

I try to say this in a text this to E, and she doesn’t buy it. She thinks it is another lie from depression designed to keep me away from a painful truth. I tell her I don’t agree, and she doesn’t respond to that last text.

I get that the truth about a child’s traumatic memory (or whether it even happened) might not be best discussed over text. And it’s nighttime, and she’s already been generous about texting me with her support over the past two days. She’s impressed and encouraged because I haven’t harmed myself, even though I’m pretty sure it would help, short term. So I can’t blame her for not texting back. I wish she did, but I can hang on. I have no choice, really.

I’m having a hard time right now. But that’s okay. I’ll make it. It won’t last forever… right?

13 thoughts on ““I’m Having A Hard Time Right Now…”

  1. I know that each and every time I reach the depths of despair, no matter how many times it has got better, it always feels as if this time is different, this time it will last forever. But it does always get better, and it will get better for you as well. Be kind and gentle to yourself in the meantime. I understand that feeling of wanting to take back what you said to E, and I don’t believe for a minute that it is because what you said was untrue. If you have lived your life believing that you must keep those things to yourself or something bad will happen, it is incredibly difficult to make that feeling go away. Believe E, and believe in yourself. xx

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  2. No, it won’t last forever although it feels like it will. And you are not lazy or worthless – you are hurting and doing your best to stay stable and recover. You’re going to be okay, as am I. Remember all those kind words you wrote to me earlier? I think that you deserve those kind words too. Xx

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  3. No, it won’t last forever, even though it feels that way. I totally understand the physical feelings of it on your skin, it’s a horrible feelings. It will pass and you won’t feel like this forever, you are doing great with the self-care. Going back to bed is also good self-care!

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  4. It won’t last forever. These are feelings from a really long time ago, this is how bad it felt when you were so little. Or maybe even a Teen, or during your first marriage. The past is intruding on your present and it sucks and is so hard to deal with it. I think E’s compassionate approach is wise, and I agree with her thoughts. Lately, I have been approaching my “parts” more, the really intense sensations and emotions. And it is hard and I am not too great at it and I forget a lot, but when I do it, I feel relief. More relief than any email to/from my therapist or self-harm. But I am not going to bullshit you Q, I still ache and hurt, it is just a different kind of ache and hurt. A kind that doesn’t prompt the suicidal thoughts or urges, just a deep longing inside my heart. That fades when I return to my present life and the goodness in it. Like all of the goodness in your life. But feeling crummy right now doesn’t mean you don’t appreciate what you have, it means you have many, many, many memories from the times things were really unsafe and unbearable. And that isn’t a defect or fault of yours.

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  5. You are right. There is life beyond this pain. It sounds like you are fighting it well…..even though the pain is still there. For me, sometimes, it is worse before a memory or acceptance of something emerges. You mention the secret you told your therapist. Do you think your body is reacting to that?

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  6. I really know how depression /grief can feel like a physical illness. I can see an improvement in your focus on self-care since I started following your blog Q. You seem to do more of it and see the importance of it more, which is great.

    I relate to trying to focus on a bad feeling, or work with it, and having it get worse. This happens to me routinely. The explanation I have is that when I don’t focus on it, and leave it kind of swirling around, it’s still at a bit of a distance. It feels bad, but it’s a kind of bad I’m used to – diffuse sadness or wrongness. When I work with it, it comes into focus, and I really feel it. The hope is that by allowing it to come up fully it then processes through and transforms. So my opinion is it’s worth while trying to work with stuff, even though it feels crappy. Always to a point. Sometimes it’s best to let sleeping dogs lie. Just thought I’d offer my experience.

    And the secret you shared – I’d bet it’s true. Anything forbidden that’s shared stirs up a backlash saying ‘it’s a lie, you awful person’. Again my experience.

    Hope you feel better.

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  7. You’re not okay right now and that’s not okay.

    I use to cut all the time. I cut myself to remind myself of ‘what’ I am.
    The early lessons in life, those unspoken lessons of who and what we are stay with us a long time. We do have to fight them for years after the fact.
    One time I wrote down everything I could think of that my mother called me or said about me. I hand wrote it out. I still have the paper. There are key words in it that trigger me more than others. Liar, manipulator, disobedient. Once I figured out which words triggered me the most I could then process those feelings.
    I only filled one college ruled page, front and back. I didn’t go beyond that. I didn’t write in complete sentences. I just wrote and wrote, sometimes words, sometimes phrases until I got it out. I think it was one of the most healing things I could do.

    To this day I fight the urge to destroy anything that makes me happy or validates me. It’s as if I can’t allow myself to feel happy or satisfied or loved. I feel like a fake, like I’m lying by pretending I’m good enough to be called a friend, good enough to put art work online and let people see it, good enough to get a like on a comment. I’m not good enough, I’m a bad person, I’m dirty but I pretend I am not. Sooner or later people are going to find out. I should sabotage and disappoint them and leave them before they leave me…… …….that fight in my head rages from time to time…..but guidance from medical professionals and a healthy support system has made those raging fires roar less and less. It will happen for you, too. I now know what triggers my need to remind myself of what I was told I am. I know what triggers the words my mother used against me. I also know I have a choice to be who I was born to be instead of continuing to live as the little girl she did her best to kill.

    With hope,
    Faith

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    • Faith, I’m so sorry y our mother didn’t see your talent, beauty and kindness. How unfair to the little girl you once were!

      I like to think I have a choice but sometimes when stuff is going in circles in my head, it doesn’t feel like it. I need to just survive those times, and then when I have a little mental space again, I can go back to behaving like I have a choice and doing things that are good for me.

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  8. I hope things are going better for you know. I think the flu analogy is very apt. The depression and mean thoughts just sap the life out of you. It is good you are writing about it, I find that helps me to recognize what is going on. Do you ever feel that trying to explore it makes it worse?

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